Oh JoyOh Joy

happy friday + teamwork...

Oh Joy Studio Tour

I was never much of a team player when I was younger. I alway played solo sports (like karate and tennis) because I've always had a hard time trusting and relying on other people to get the job done. It's totally the control freak in me and something I have always wanted to get better at. However, a couple years ago, I knew a lot of big projects were on the horizon, so I stopped working from home and got a new studio space (which we revealed here). I had to hire a real staff for the first time ever because it finally became obvious that I couldn't do it all myself.

What went from one part-time assistant a year ago has grown into three employees who each have their own role, their own talents, and a very special place on the Oh Joy team. Without them, I could not have designed the entire Oh Joy for Target collection, created the new Oh Joy book, or created the many videos and editorial content we create, style, shoot and publish on a daily basis.

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Decor8 recently posted some updated photos of the Oh Joy studio and captured a fun shot of my team below. I wanted to introduce them to you guys cause they are the ones behind-the-scenes, the ones who help make my visions come to life, and the ones (in addition to our amazing nanny) who help make it possible for me to be a working mother—because without their help, I really couldn't do it all!

Oh Joy Team

The funny thing is...they all applied for the same assistant job from this post I put up two years ago. But I ended up hiring each of them for different reasons, and they each blossomed into their roles and took on even more of a creative role than I originally expected. From left to right...

Julia does all the crafting and styling. While I originally hired her to do production for our videos, she showed me what she was capable of and now she not only handles production, but she also crafts our DIY's and styles our editorials on the blog and in our book.

Angie, our graphic and surface pattern designer, helps me design all of our licensed products. She is a whiz at patterns and is so good at knowing exactly what I'm envisioning in my head and bringing it onto paper. She also designed the Oh Joy book and creates the graphics for our videos.

That's me, Joy. Ever since building my team over the course of last year, I have taken a Creative Director role at Oh Joy. Which means I come up with the ideas, concepts, colors, and product direction. I also manage the business (securing new partnerships, clients, and jobs) which takes up more time then the fun, creative parts. I still write every blog post and help design products as well, but I rely on my team to help my vision come to life and execute them with their never-ending talent.

Casey was originally hired to be my adminstrative assistant and handle emails and scheduling. But she was also a budding photographer so I started having her shoot some photos for the blog from time-to-time. She began to get my aesthetic and has since grown into our full-time photographer (she shot the whole Oh Joy book, too!). She's also our office manager and makes sure that I remember to be where I need to be and keeps my meetings and schedule straight.

The last two years for me are when I went from a solo player to a team player and learned to let people help me. It's something I'm constantly working on, but when you have creative, passionate people by your side, it makes it much easier to let go and trust others to do what they do best.

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Also, if I can give one big piece of advice for budding creatives out there looking for a job or trying to grow at your current job, show your boss what you've got! All of the girls on my team had talents beyond what I hired them for, but because they put themselves out there and showed me what else they could offer, they all now get to do lots of different things on a daily basis.

P.S. You can see more photos of our studio space over at Decor8! It's fun to see how it's changed a bit since it was originally designed by Emily and Sam in 2013, like how we decorated that space above our storage cabinets with our paper lanterns!

{Photos by Kelly Brown for Decor8.}

{field trip} zuzii studio...

Zuzii Shoe Studio

Zuzii Shoe Studio

As a designer and small business owner, I have a true love and appreciation of seeing how other small businesses are run. Whenever I have an opportunity to visit the studio of a fellow maker, it’s a serious treat. In partnership with American Express, we recently visited the new Downtown LA studio of Zuzii, a family-owned and operated shoemaker that makes beautiful, handmade shoes. I brought along my little sidekick (and shoe-lover) so she could see the shoe-making process in action.

Zuzii Shoe Studio

Zuzii Shoe Studio

Zuzii Shoe Studio

I first learned about Zuzii last year and have loved following their growth ever since. What started as a kid’s shoe line has now evolved to a brand with items for grown-ups, too. Ruby loved seeing all the shoe samples and all the materials that go into making the shoes.

And because I am always so fascinated by how each business runs differently, I asked Ryan, Alex, Nickie Campbell (a mother and two daughters) a few things about how it all comes together…

Zuzii Shoe Studio

What’s your biggest joy in being a small business?

We love our connection with our customers. All of our management and production is done by the three of us, so we really get to be consumed by the entire process including interacting with our customers. We have so many wonderful customers that show us love on a daily basis. Our favorites are those wonderful customers who take time to send us a photo just to tell us how much they love their new shoes. It truly is a special experience for us to be able to take the order, craft the shoes, pack and ship, and a few days later be able to see them on the customers feet. I know it is said often, but we really couldn’t do it without them. As a small business we also have a unique opportunity to really get to know our customers (especially thanks to social media). We have so many long-term customers who have been around since the early days. Zuzii has basically grown up along with some of them, it makes it such a sweet experience considering our start as an infant shoe brand. 

Zuzii Shoe Studio

What are the pluses and minuses of having a family-run small business?

We are all equal co-owners of Zuzii, which is a great thing but at some points also makes things a little challenging. It was really important to us that we make collective decisions between the three of us. We have many commonalities that can sometimes overlap and make things tricky, but for the most part we all have our own strengths that complement each other and allow us to work together to figure things out and get things done. It took a couple years to get used to working together inside this setting, but it has bonded us in a way I think most families don’t ever get the opportunity to. 

Zuzii Shoe Studio

Are you inspired by customer feedback/requests when creating new designs?

This has been a key part of growing our business. When we began Zuzii we only had intentions of creating infant shoes, it was a lot of thanks to our customers who pushed and drove us to continually expand our size range. It was funny, every time we launched a new size we would immediately have customers coming back and asking us for even more! We launched our Women’s line this past summer, and almost immediately we had requests for a men’s line which is now in the works for this coming summer!

Zuzii Shoe Studio

Thanks so much to the Campbell family for giving us a peek into their wonderful world!

This post is in partnership with American Express – committed to connecting small merchants to more customers through the Shop Small® movement. 

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

a framed adventure {giveaway} with gray malin...(NOW CLOSED)

Gray Malin Print at Oh Joy

I've been a long-time fan of the photography of Gray Malin. His photos make me daydream of vibrant, relaxing, and lush places I'd love to escape to. I recently added a couple prints to our home, and they feel like looking straight into the most beautiful adventures. So today, we've partered with Gray to give away a medium-sized (24"x36") framed Gray Malin print (valued at $1,250) to one lucky reader!

Gray Malin Print at Oh Joy

Gray Malin Print at Oh Joy

These prints work so well in both a grown-up room and a kid's room! You can see the Bondi Beach print in Ruby's room and the Coogee Wave print in my bedroom above. His new series, Sail Away, is so beautiful too! 

Gray Malin Print at Oh Joy

This is an Instagram-based giveaway so here's how to enter:

Find your dream beach print on GrayMalin.com and post it on your Instagram with the hashtag #aframedadventure for a chance to win the exact image you choose framed. Entries close this Friday, January 16th at 11:59pm PST

Please note: If your Instagram account is private, as an alternative entry, you can post your favorite image from GrayMalin.com and one from this blog post to your Pinterest page and leave a comment here with the link to the pins. To comment, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Good luck!

P.S. Sign up for Gray's newsletter and you'll receive a 20% off coupon to use for one week!

*Sorry, limited to U.S. readers only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $1250 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 and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy} 

a sneak peek at the new oh joy book!

Oh Joy Book - coming in April!

You guys! We have a brand new book coming out in April!

My third book, Oh Joy! 60 Ways to Create and Give Joy is a colorful guide to help bring whimsy and joy to your life and into the lives of those you love. It's filled with quick, fun, and stylish (all brand new) projects from home decor to food to fashion as well as tips on how to shop for vintage, pick art for your home, and where I like to find inspiration. Inspired by my Make Someone Happy videos, this book is all about small things that make a big impact. It's about making your world a happier place and giving you the inspiration to make beautiful and joyful things for others as well.

Here's a peek at the cover (the real book cover will have some very fancy gold foil and neon that you can't see in this digital image). This book was a labor of love for sure. Making this book while pregnant last year was no small feat, but thanks to my team, we pulled it together and can't wait for you to see it. The book comes out on April 7th, but you can pre-order it now at these retailers:

In the US: Amazon | Target | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Indiebound | Booksamillion | Google Play | Harper Collins. In Canada: Indigo and Harper Collins.

I'll have a couple book parties in April, too, so I hope we'll get to celebrate together soon!

dressing the babe / just my type...

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

As an evolution from my Dressing the Bump series last year and my Hers & Mine photos of the past, I'm trying out a new photo series called Dressing the Babe! I've had requests from your recent feedback for personal style posts or style videos post-baby. But to be honest, there are so many great fashion bloggers out there already killing the whole "cute-girl-posing-in-front-of-a-camera" thing that I didn't think I could do it justice. And it's not really me. What does get me excited though is life with my kids and how I love to incorporate the way I dress into what I pick out for them. Because really, your personal tastes rubs off on your kids whether you realize it or not. And, you only have so much time before they have strong opinions about what they want to pick out to wear (which may or may not include an animated character or two).

I'm not usually into being totally matchy-matchy (except for this outfit), but I do love it when their outfits reflect a little bit of my style in some way. Sometimes you'll see me with Coco, or me with Ruby, or sometimes me with both of my kids (maybe we'll get Bob in here at some point for some dude style)...

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

I've definitely been in a little bit of a style rut post-baby, so this has been helping me to kick that rut to the curb and get excited about getting dressed for the day again. This week, we were all about a little bit of typography. As a graphic designer, I'll always have a love for type used in bold—yet simple—ways. That GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS sweatshirt should probably be for Bob as the man in a house full of girls. And, by the way, look at those thighs on my little Coco-nut. Nothing makes me happier than a chubby baby...especially a chubby baby that I get to keep.

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Mama outfit1. Sweatshirt by Bow and Drape via Ban.do Pop-Up Shop, 2. & Apparel tulle skirt, 3. Loeffler Randall espadrilles (use code MARAJOY for $35 off through January 19th).

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Babe outfit / 4. Little Hip Squeaks headband, 5. Nununu onesie (past season) - on sale here, 6. Petit Bateau shoes (past season) - these and these are similar.

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Um, and that dotty wall by The Most Famous Artist we found!?! Can I just paint the outside of my house like that?

P.S. I want to make these posts fun and carefree...but I will always try and include a mix of price points (from very reasonable to the special splurge that might inspire a baby gift) as well as a mix of indie brands, chain retailers, and vintage which is the way I dress in real life.

P.P.S. I am totally aware of the fact that newborns grow out of their clothes lightning fast. Most of the time, Coco is wearing the same few onesies we wash over and over again until she outgrows them. The nicer pieces we have for her are usually items we received from friends as gifts or the occasional splurge that was once Ruby's and is getting its second go-around.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, outfit styling by Joy Cho, flat styling by Julia Wester. Coco is 2.5 months in these photos and growing chubbier every day.}

my mantra for 2015...

Bring a little crazy into every day

Every year, we start fresh with what we hope becomes a newer, better version of ourselves. We write resolutions, sign up for gym memberships, eat healthier, and do the things we hope will stick for the rest of the year. Sometimes those things stick, and sometimes they don't. But no matter what the new year brings promise of a better year and being better to ourselves and to others. In the past (like in 2013), I've tried to give myself a pat on the back for things I did a good job at that year while also noting what needs to be worked on for the new year. This year, I've decided to give myself a personal mantra to just enjoy life a little bit more and not take it all so seriously. Here's the line that I will recite to myself when I am being my worst self—my stressed out, anxious, impatient, cranky, and tired self. And hoping that my best self—my happy, optimistic, sing-songs-badly-to-the-top-of-my-lungs self comes out a little more often this year...

Is there something that you're writing on your forehead this year?

what to do with those overgrown bangs...

French Braid Bangs and Bun

I love having bangs and will probably have them for the rest of my life. But sometimes (eh, often) I need a bang trim...badly. Weeks pass and before I know it, I can't see from underneath my fringe, and my hair salon doesn't have an appointment available for another couple weeks (I know I should try and trim them myself but I feel like I would totally mess it up and hate myself for even trying). So what do you do when you're overdue for a bang trim or maybe even growing out your bangs?

Here's a sweet little 'do I tried recently— with Danielle's help—that helps tame those way-too-long bangs. It also makes me look like a totally different person but in a very fun "let's look like a different person" kind of way!

Here's how...

What to do with those overgrown bangs

1. Section your hair from ear to ear, separating the back half of the hair into a ponytail.

2. Using a hair brush or comb, brush your bangs backwards towards you ponytail blending your bangs in with the rest of the front section of your hair. Start french braiding the front section of your hair towards your ponytail. You can braid on whichever side you prefer. My bangs tend to go a little off to my right side, so that was the better side to braid since the hair is going that direction anyway.

3. Once you’ve braided up to your ponytail, gently lift one loop from the elastic that’s holding your ponytail, and pull your braid through, joining the remainder of your braid with your ponytail.

4. Twist your ponytail into a bun, and secure with a second hair elastic or hair pins.

French Braid Bangs and Bun

What do you guys think? Would you do this in-between bang trims or when you're growing out your bangs?

{Photos by Casey Brodley and hair tips by Danielle Walch for Oh Joy}

currently snacking on...

Bond Celebration Bar

I'm not a big fan of making promises I can't keep, so while everyone else is cutting carbs and heading to the gym for the New Year, I'll be over here enjoying this chocolate bar that tastes like a birthday cake and looks like a party perfect for my mouth!

{Photo by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

do something + give love letters...


We created this Pop-Up Heart Valentine's Day card DIY for DoSomething.org and Mentor Up's Love Letters campaign which encourages teens to makes a card of love for senior citizens in their community. Even though Valentine's Day is still a month away, we love the idea of giving love any time of year to anyone who could use an extra smile.

Here's how to make one for a friend, loved one, or senior in your life...

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

1. Download our Heart Pop-Up template right here. You can use the template to trace over any other paper (patterned, solid colors, glittered, etc) or print it on paper of your choice.

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

2. Fold the printed template in half, then cut on the solid lines and fold on the dotted lines so that you're creating a full-sized heart when it's open. The inside piece (page 2 of the template) has the pop-up, and the outside piece (page 1 of the template) is a solid heart.

3. Make sure to pop out the inside's mini heart (see image above), then attach the inside and outside together with glue, double-sided tape, or any smooth adhesive. Then, decorate it however you like!

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

{Project by Oh Joy. Creative direction by Joy Cho, card design by Angie Stalker, card styling by Julia Wester, photos by Casey Brodley.}

the baby gift that made me cry...

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year. I actually took some real time off getting down time with family and doing a lot of eating and hanging out with my kids...it was the closest thing I had to a real maternity leave! Coco (see above) is getting some serious chub on her, and I am in the "thank-goodness-that-first-super-hard-month-is-over" phase of having a newborn.

We received so many thoughtful gifts when Coco was born a couple months ago, but I had to share with you the one gift that made me weep like a baby. My Oh Joy team (Casey, Julia, and Angie), gave me a boxed filled with what looked like some pretty and colorful versions of your usual baby things. At first, I thought, "Oh, they totally know I like patterns, and they picked great colors." And then they went on to tell me that the design on the blanket was actually drawn by Ruby!

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

With the help of Bob, they asked Ruby to draw the things she wished for her new baby sister. Bob had to help Ruby a little bit, but then they turned her drawings into a pattern and had the pattern printed on fabric. Angie's mother-in-law sewed them into a double-sided blanket and a baby night dress for Coco (complete with built-in hand mitts) and into a beautiful yellow scarf for me to wear.

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

The "wishes" that Ruby drew for her sister included a cat, a top, and lots of circles and lines. Tears flowed from my eyes as I held the gift in my hands and thought about the level of thought that was put into it, how truly one-of-a-kind it was, and the number people it took to make it come together. And then they all started crying too. It was a sweet moment I'll never forget and a gift I'll treasure forever.

P.S. If you're inspired to make something like this for a loved one, the girls used Spoonflower to print the custom fabric.

{Photos by Oh Joy}