Oh JoyOh Joy

what's in a name?

Oh Joy! What's in a Name?

I was born Nantaka Joy Deangdeelert. It’s pretty much the most Thai name you could have...soooo many letters! Nantaka means “Happy Lady”, Joy is actually a very common Thai nickname (Thai people are often given shorter nicknames since our first names tend to be long), and Deangdeelert means  “Red, good, and luck.” It’s a name with so much meaning yet it was a name that I struggled with my whole childhood.

I would DREAD the first day of school every year. That moment when the teacher would call my name for the first time...where they would have no idea how to say it. It would come out like “Man-taka Dingleberry” or “Nanataka Dingledirt” or so many other crazy versions that I dreaded hearing because I ultimately knew I would correct them and mostly likely, they still wouldn’t get it right. So every year, on the first day of school (soon after they would see my name for the first time), I resigned to telling everyone to just call me “Joy”. It was my middle name and so it felt totally fine—almost like giving permission to call me by my nickname.

In hindsight, I wish I had stayed true to my real first name and continued to correct anyone who said my name wrong. But in those moments where I wanted to be American SO badly, I needed the ease and the acceptance to be called a name that didn’t cause disruption or confusion. I had ONE teacher in all of my 21 years of schooling (through college) who refused to "just call me Joy" and made it a point to call me by the name I was given. And, he always made sure to say it correctly. I didn't' realize it then—but looking back on that time—it really meant so much. He made an effort that most people don't. I realize now how often people never tried to pronounce my family's name correctly—when they met us in-person as strangers, when telemarketers called our house, or when reading our name out loud somewhere. They were so quick to butcher it and not ask how to pronounce it.

When I got married, my maiden name changed to my middle name and Cho became my last name. I changed Joy to my official first name then since I had already used it my whole life and now I was Joy Deangdeelert Cho. Now, having a MUCH shorter name of Joy Cho, you would think it would be a no-brainer to say. But I can't tell you how many times Cho changes to Chow, Choi, Choy or Chung.

As our world expands everyday, I try to remember that everyone's name is a part of who they are, whether it's their given name or the name that a person has chosen later in life. If you've ever been in a situation where you are unsure how to say someone's name, it is okay (and even respectful) to ask how to pronounce a name. Or, you can even ask what name they prefer to go by. And then follow through with effort just the same as you would like for your own name!

My Dad, to this day, always calls me Nantaka :)

P.S. Great videos on this topic by Uzo Aduba and @navthepoet

oh joy for clover is here!

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

I'm so excited to announce our newest collection out today...Oh Joy! for Clover kid's pajamas! These are the softest and most wonderful quality PJs, and we were so thrilled to bring you a collection with our whimsical Oh Joy! patterns and designs inspired by our Oh Joy! Kids Story Books. Put on your new PJs while reading your favorite books for an extra fun and cozy bedtime. Sizes start from 0-3 months and go up to 4/5T!  Here's a closer look at all the fun designs...

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

1. Slumber Party Pals- Find your favorite characters on your PJs from our books! Read along and spot your favorite friends!

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

2. Goodnight Galaxy - As our Curious Cat flies into the sky on his balloon, your little ones can join in on the fun!

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

3. Sweet Sleepy Stripes - Stripes are always in style and are a fun way to remember...you are you, and you're OKAY!

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

4. Dreamy Dots - Our Curious Cat and his curious spots have been reimagined in cool blue tones to make your little one as curious as a cat, and also just as sleepy! 

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

5. Daydream Daisies - There are "hidden" daisies all through You're Okay! Can you find them all? 

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

Oh Joy! for Clover Pajamas

All of our designs are available now in a Footie or Cloverall style and a Two-Piece Shirt and Pant style. Plus, you can get them bundled with the book if you don't have your copies yet! The quantities are limited and this collection will not restock, so get them while you can! 


Special thanks to: 

Lifestyle photos: Photos by Lily Glass, styling by Joy Cho

Kids' Photos: Photos by Charlie Wrzesniewski, styling by Lark & Co.

Book illustrations and pajama prints by Angie Stalker, Designer for Oh Joy!

oh joy loves pumpkins!

Oh Joy Color Blocked Pumpkins

Over the past few years, we've done some amazing pumpkin projects. Here are few of our favorites to inspire all your own pumpkin decor this year. Take a look...

Oh Joy Art Pumpkins

1. Art Pumpkins — I love the interpretation of Matisse, Warhol, Calder, Monet and Pollock. Which artist would you chose? Find the tutorial right here...

Oh Joy for Cloth and Co Painted Pumpkins

2. Oh Joy! Pumpkins — We did an entire set of pumpkins matching the patterns on our pasr upholstered furniture line. I love them all, but especially how perfectly the pumpkins fit in these kid chairs! (Tutorial Here)

Oh Joy Geometric Pumpkins

3. Geometric Pumpkins — Inspired by art deco, these painted geometric shapes are fun without being too kiddy. I really love the color palette on these as they go outside of your typical fall colors. (Tutorial Here)

Oh Joy Pumpkin Planter

4. Pumpkin Planter — How cute are these pumpkins turned planters?! This was such a fun twist on the traditional pumpkin or jack-o-lantern. (Tutorial Here)

Oh Joy Fall Colorful Pumpkins

5. Color Block Pumpkins — I love these because they make a wonderful transition from "Halloween" decor to fall decor. They're gorgeous, and the more you have the better. Best part is...choose whatever colors you like best! (Tutorial Here)

Happy decorating!

(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong

milk jar chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe by Milk Jar Cookies

I have loved seeing the unique and inspiring ways that businesses are pivoting and reworking models and ideas so that they can still flourish during this unprecedented pandemic. Our friends over at Milk Jar Cookies, one of my favorite cookie spots here in Los Angeles, had to temporarily close. But their owner Courtney Cowan came out with a baking book, so you can make their delicious cookies at home. Or, if you're not in the mood to bake, they are now also offering nationwide delivery! Today, they have graciously shared their chocolate chip cookie recipe with us, so you can try them out for yourself!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe by Milk Jar Cookies

Serving Size:
This recipe makes about 15-18 three-inch cookies. 

You'll need...

For the Base Dough
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 extra-large eggs (cold)
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Here's how...
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
3. In large bowl, add butter, shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until just small chunks of butter remaining.
4. Add half the dry ingredients and mix until no flour is visible. 
5. Add half the remaining dry ingredients until flour is incorporated and all butter chunks are gone.
6. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is not sticky to the touch. 
8. Mix in chocolate chips
9. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and place dough balls (approx 1-1/2 inches in diameter), about 6 cookies on each sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, spinning the pan halfway through, or until the tops are just slightly turning golden brown and hairline cracks on the side. Let sit for 10 minutes before moving cookies to a cooling rack
10. Let the baking sheets cool before repeating with the remaining cookies.  

Thanks so much to our friends at Milk Jar for sharing this recipe with us. Get this and many more delicious cookie recipes in their new book now available!

(Photos from Milk Jar Cookies)

positive things you can do this weekend...

Basket of Flowers

Happy Friday! The world seems upside down right now, and sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel during this truly atypical year. But there are also good things in this world, and things we can do for ourselves, our families, and our communities to bring light, change, and happiness! So I'm encouraging you this weekend to do one of these three things for yourself and for your community. And, you get extra credit and fifty gold stars if you do all three! :)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection is so important. I have had friends and family member with breast cancer and have seen how early detection saves lives. So call your doctor, get your yearly appointment scheduled, check yourself monthly, if you're old enough (like me ;), get a mammogram.  Do it for yourself and your family.  I can't say it better than Anada Lewis did in this IGTV. Check it out and then take care of yourself!

I have shared a lot about COVID-19 safety on Instagram, but one of the things I have learned in this pandemic, is how much injustice we allowed or ignored in our society before. One of those areas is the flu. Between 8,000-20,000 people die each year from the flu. While we should all be getting our flu shots every year, this year it's more important than ever to protect against the flu while Covid-19 is still very present. There are those around us that need us to get flu shot because they have weakened immune systems or are susceptible to the flu, but getting the shot (even if you're healthy) helps to prevent you from spreading it to someone who may not be as healthy. A week or two of misery for you might be a hospital stay or death for someone else. So go get your flu shot, and encourage everyone around you to get theirs as well. Let's emerge from this pandemic with more empathy for others and a willingness and eagerness to make small choices that help ourselves and everyone around us. And on that same note, please wear a mask when in close proximity to others in public. It's still our number one protector for the spread of COVID-19.

TAKE A WALK (and pick up trash!)
My only escape from the house right now includes outdoor walks and parks, and I know it's the same for a lot of you. And, have you noticed the amount of plastic gloves or disposable masks left as litter? Since you already have your mask and gloves or hand sanitizer with you, challenge yourself and your family to each pick up ten pieces of trash. Sanitize after you pick up and, of course, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home. Help clean up your community while you're getting a breath of fresh air. It's win-win.

Happy weekend all!

(Photo by Lily Glass, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.)