Oh JoyOh Joy


Oh Joy | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

I am thankful that my parents came to this country 38 years ago with only $600 to their name and the dream to start a new life in the States.

I am thankful that even while on welfare and living in student housing with a new baby, they worked hard, started their own business, and found the American dream. I learned so much about starting something from nothing and going after what you want through them.

I am thankful to have a husband who is my biggest supporter, who inspires me to be the best version of myself, and who can laugh with me on a daily basis.

I am thankful to have friends who inspire with their creativity and talent, friends that remind me that it's okay not to have it all figured out, and friends in which we can always pick up where we left off like no time has passed.

I am thankful to have a child—one that delights me daily and makes me appreciate the simple moments of life (and makes me more aware of my actions) thanks to her curiosity and determination.

I am thankful to have a job that I love—even if most people don't really understand what I do.

I am thankful for you and that you care to visit my little place on the internet, otherwise this whole blogging thing wouldn't nearly be as fun without you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving for those of you who are celebrating! I'd love to hear what you're thankful for this year. And, I'll see you back here on Monday after a little rest and a whole lot of eating...

{Thanks Bonnie for the photo!}

a happy note {giveaway}...NOW CLOSED



As we approach Thanksgiving and thoughts of whom and what we're grateful for are even more apparent, we often tend to write a lot more notes and cards of appreciation this time of year. To encourage more thanks and random notes of kindness, I've partnered with one of my favorite stationery lines, Tokketok, to give away three sets of her happy note collection to three readers. Each set includes one each of these note pads and cards shown: Happy, Hello, Love, Thank You, and Birthday (a $84 value per set).




To enter, simply visit Tokketok's website and tell me who your next note of gratefulness will go to. Entries must be posted by next Monday, December 2nd, at 8 a.m. PST, and three winners will be chosen at random*

*Hooray! Open to readers anywhere in the world. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $84 USD total value per set. Winners will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. 

traveling abroad with a toddler...

Oh Joy | Traveling Abroad with a Toddler

After all of our travels with Ruby lately (and especially after our two-week trip to France), I've gotten to know the ins and outs of being on the go with a toddler. For all you parents out there who are planning trips soon and are nervous about any aspect of it, I thought I'd share 10 tips for traveling abroad with a toddler and what I've learned along the way. While this post is focused on traveling abroad, many of my tips apply to traveling with little ones in general, no matter how close or far...


last minute thanksgiving inspiration...


I have a special little weekend post for you guys! With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes, centerpiece DIY's, and decor inspiration I've been collecting this month to inspire merriment, beauty, and lots of good eats with your nearest and dearest this coming Turkey Day. See more from my Thanksgiving Sharing and Caring Pinterest board right here and my own sweet centerpiece right here.

Follow Joy Cho / Oh Joy!'s board Thanksgiving Sharing & Caring: Oh Joy + Target on Pinterest.

{Sources: lace pumpkins by Mon Carnet, pumpkins by The Daily Basics, cranberry orange sorbet by The Vintage Mixer, roasted carrots by Cannelle et Vanille, cake by Confetti Pop.} 

happy friday + falling into fall...





Growing up in California, Ruby hasn't had a chance to experience some of the seasonal things I grew up with on the East Coast like autumn leaves and snow fall. So while we were in Philly last week, I wanted to make sure she got a good dose of fall when found this amazing patch of ginkgo leaves in a nearby park. They were perfectly shaped, a magical shade of school bus yellow, and touched with just a tad of morning dew. Once she got into it, she made us shower her with leaves again and again...and it was just pure joy.

I hope you guys have an amazing weekend full of all the natural beauty that fall brings...

{Photos by Bob Cho}

a name game {giveaway}...now closed

Mark and Graham | JOY monogram

In celebration of Thanksgiving next week, we're doubling up on giveaways this week! As we head into the upcoming gift-giving season, I always think about what makes a gift special and personal. I was never big into the idea of monogramming because it often involved one bad font option to stamp your initials. But now, there are way more beautiful and modern options thanks to companies like Mark & Graham. To celebrate the upcoming gift-giving season, I've partnered with Mark & Graham to give away a $500 gift card to one lucky reader to buy any custom gifts of your choice from their site.

Mark and Graham | JOY monogram

One of my favorite monogram options is this simple and modern three-letter version because you could use it to spell out a word like, HEY, MOM, or in my case...JOY. It's a fun way to personalize with or without your actual initials. To enter this giveaway, simply try out the monogram maker at Mark & Graham, then leave a comment here telling me which kind of monogram you made and which item you'd put it on (I love the opera gloves and the fold-over clutch). Entries must be posted by this Tuesday, November 26th, at 8 a.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random*

UPDATE: Congrats to Kirsten G. from Kailua-Kona, HI for being the winner of our giveaway this time.

*Sorry, limited to readers in the U.S. only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $500 USD total value. Winner will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. 

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

clusters of things...

Zebra balloons at The Land of Nod

Lawn flamingos clustered on a wall at The Land of Nod

Last week, while at a spring preview event for the Land of Nod, I was really inspired by how they used lots of simple objects in clusters for the decor. They'd make great party or room decor any time of year. How cute are these lawn flamingos grouped together on the wall? And those zebra balloons are just pure whimsy...

{iPhone photos by Oh Joy}

vedging out...


Okay, vegetarians and vegetable enthusiasts...I need your help! Bob and I have realized we don't eat nearly enough vegetables. We want Ruby to eat well-balanced and healthy meals, and cooking for her has made us more aware of the lack of vegetables we consume ourselves. So we've decided to make one vegetarian dinner per week in addition to being better about making sides that go with our non-veg dishes. But I have the hardest time coming up with vegetable-only meals that don't leave us hungry again two hours later.

We went to the best vegan restaurant in Philly last week called Vedge, and I was blown away by the deliciousness of what they were able to whip up without any meat. I think vegetables get a bad rap for being tasteless, but it's just a matter of what you do with them. I'd love your suggestions for some delicious, filling, and tasty vegetarian meals that non-vegetarians would also love to eat! If you have any suggestions, please leave the link below, I'll add the favorites to my recipes board and start experimenting away! Hopefully, it will inspire me to come up with some new concoctions to share my progress with you all...

Follow Joy Cho / Oh Joy!'s board Recipes on Pinterest.

{Sources, left to right, top to bottom: Sweet potato tahini crostini by Love and Lemons, Linguine with asparagus and egg by Martha Stewart, Cauliflower and broccoli cheese by Jamie Oliver, Super green toast by Det Grona Skaffieriet.}

a travel-ready {giveaway}...now closed

Lo and Sons Catalina Bag

I've been doing an obscene amount of traveling lately and built up my arsenal of travel bags and packing skills for sure. For quick weekend trips, I love easy-to-carry bags that fit a lot yet also allow for some compartmentalizing (so you're not just dumping everything into one giant vat). To celebrate the upcoming holiday travel season, I've partnered with Lo & Sons to give away this Catalina bag to one lucky reader ($120 value).

Lo and Sons Catalina Bag

Lo and Sons Catalina Bag

I love the separate zip compartment at the bottom of the bag for holding shoes or jewelry. To enter this giveaway, simply visit the Lo & Sons website, then leave a comment here telling me which color you'd choose (I love the grey) and where your next weekend travel destination will be! Entries must be posted by this Friday, November 22nd, at 8 a.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random*

P.S. Lo & Sons is offering a special 25% off discount for Oh Joy readers through November 31, 2013. Enter code OHJOY2013 at checkout.

UPDATE: Congrats to Angela R. from Portland, OR for being the winner of our giveaway this time.

*Sorry, limited to readers in the U.S. only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $120 USD total value. Winner will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. 

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

everyday beauty...


I'm pretty low-key when it comes to makeup and beauty products. But I do have some staples that I like to use as part of my everyday routine...

Nails: My favorite peachy shade that I love layering with some glittery gold polish on top.

Hair: A great brush for styling my bangs and some dry shampoo for "those" days you just don't get to the shower.

Lips: I can't live without a moisturizing lip balm, and I love adding a pop of color with a lip stain and lipstick to instantly make me look more awake (even when I'm not).

Body: A pretty body wash and perfume to give each day a little extra sweetness.

Cheeks: A classic cheek stain for that glowing flush of color.

As we approach the holiday season, I love the idea of giving everyday beauty staples likes these to loved ones. Things that are both useful and beautiful make for a gift that people are more likely to actually use. What are some of your everyday beauty staples?

Follow Joy Cho / Oh Joy!'s board Everyday Beauty on Pinterest.

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with ULTA. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Oh Joy.