Oh JoyOh Joy

i wanna be the boss when i grow up...

oh joy for zooey magazine / photo by megan welker

oh joy for zooey magazine / photo by megan welker

oh joy for zooey magazine / photo by megan welker

Remember when you were asked that question as a kid? Looking back, it's sort of a hard thing for a kid to answer when they don't really know what all the options that exist out there really are. The very first thing I said wanted to be "when I grow up" was a cheerleader. Then, I evolved it to being a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a journalist, a botanist, a geneticist, and finally, a graphic designer.

Lately, Ruby has been saying she wants to be a princess or a doctor. But yesterday, she gave me the best answer I've heard yet...

    "When I grow up, I want to be the boss!"

What are some of the best answers to that question you've heard from little ones?

P.S. Check out this Day in the Life series I was a part of for Zooey Magazine. There I go a little more into how my childlike hobbies turned into my job today and why loving your job is one of the most important things ever...

{Photos by Megan Welker}

waist-friendly pieces...

4 Waist-Friendly Pieces

I'm five months in to having my second baby, and let's be honest, my body is not what it used to be. My middle is squishy, and I don't really feel like wearing super-fitting low-waisted jeans and worrying about my muffin top spilling out. I am also coming to the realization that your body is just different after kids—especially after multiple kids and when you're not a young spring chicken anymore (hello mid-30's!). And, I won't even talk about the change in your boobs post-baby!

This doesn't mean I've given up on working out or eating healthy but I've also come to realize that even if you're back at your pre-pregnancy weight or clothing size, things don't always fit the way they used to. So I'd rather start dressing to complement my best assets and make myself feel comfortable in my body the way it is now.

Here are a few of my favorite "waist-friendly" pieces that I find help to complement the waist while also being flattering on the rest of your legs with their cut (ie. not sweatpants or overly baggy unflattering pants). 

1. Pants with some draping and a tapered leg like these J.Crew Reese pants. These are like a mix between a dressy pant and sweatpants and look great with heels or booties.

2. High-waisted jeans like Madewell's high-riser jeans. I've come to the other side and no longer need to (or want to) wear low-waisted jeans. Those were for the days of my youth, and I wear jeans that are a little higher in the waist that to tuck in that post-baby belly a bit more than the jeans I wore pre-baby. These are still super-flattering and don't look like "Mom jeans" at all.

3. Shorts with hidden elastic waistbands like these J.Crew shorts. These shorts may look like any other cute, summer shorts with a fun pattern on them. But the sides have extra elastic at the waistband mixed with the structured front closure that give them structure but also gives extra wiggle room in the waist.

4. Stretchy pants with a tapered leg like Hatch's easy pants. These are like chic sweatpants that you can get away with wearing and not look like you're wearing sweatpants.

easter tins!

Easter Tin DIY

With Easter coming up, we wanted to create an alternate to the typical Easter basket. I never had Easter baskets growing up—it was just not something that culturally my parents did or even knew about. So it's kind of a new thing for me getting to think about these fun things for my kids now! Here's a super easy way to decorate plain tea tins and turn them into decorative containers to fill with fun goodies for those you love (or those you at least like)...

Easter Tin DIY

You'll need:
-tissue paper in various colors (we used mint green, pink, yellow, and gold confetti tissue paper)
-mod podge
-flat paint brush
-tins of any size or shape (we used these)

Easter Tin DIY

Here's how:

1. To create the abstract patterns, we tore up the pieces of tissue paper in different shapes.

2. Use mod podge to paint the surface of the tin where the tissue pieces will go. Place the tissue on the surface and continue adding more pieces of tissue paper to layer and create a pattern of your choice.

3. Once all the paper is glued onto the tin, paint over the paper with another coat of mod podge. Let dry for 20 mins and add another coat to make sure it's totally sealed in.

4. The fill them with treats for little or big kids alike! 

Easter Tin DIY

The best part is the tins can be reused over and over again for so many magical little things! And kids love containers so the tin itself is a fun piece for them to get to keep their treasures.

{Photos by Casey Brodley. Crafts and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

oh joy book parties in new york and la!

Oh Joy Book!

It's been a few years since I've had any public Oh Joy events, so I'm excited to announce our upcoming tour for the new Oh Joy book in collaboration with West Elm! I'll be having book parties in NY and LA in the next few weeks to meet those of you who want to come celebrate with us and have your book signed! You'll be able to purchase a book at the party or you can bring your own copy if you've already pre-ordered.

To RSVP to the New York party on Thursday, April 9th from 6:30-8:30pm at West Elm in Chelsea, click here.

To RSVP to the Los Angeles party on Thursday, April 16th from 6:30-8:30pm at West Elm on Beverly Blvd, click here.

At both parties, we'll be having a custom ice cream sundae bar by Jeni's Ice Cream! You don't need to bring a ticket, the Eventbrite pages are just for tracking RSVP's.

(And please know I wish I could go to more cities and get to meet more of you, but with my newest tiny babe, I'm trying not to travel too much this year. I hope you guys understand!)

Looking forward to seeing you guys in NY and LA that can make it!

{Photo by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy. My top by Whit.}

career day / an ice cream maker...

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

If you’re from the Mid-West (or if you’re a huge ice cream fan like me), then you may have heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Jeni Britton Bauer (aka “Jeni”) is one of those entrepreneurs to appears to have a job that anyone would want—making ice cream, coming up with flavors, and creating joy for people all over the country with her sweet concoctions.

Jeni’s Ice Cream recently opened up a new shop right near me in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, so Ruby and I stopped by to chat with Jeni and get a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to live and breathe ice cream. And (of course), to eat a little ice cream, too!

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Here's a look at our visit to Jeni's for a Career Day field trip. I’ve also asked Jeni to share a bit about her history, growing an ice cream empire, and what she’s hoping it’s all leading to some day...

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

When and why did you start Jeni's? / In the early ‘90s I was messing around with ice cream, collecting scents, and studying art at Ohio State. During a figure drawing class one day, a model I didn’t like to draw walked in. So, I got up, left my portfolio and all my supplies at my desk, and just walked out. I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this any more. I want to make ice cream.’ I quit everything else, too—school, side jobs—just threw myself into making ice cream and figuring out how to create a living doing that.

Within six months I started my first ice cream business, which didn't work. So, I took time off, traveled, lived, learned, and studied customer service. The thing that didn’t work at my first ice cream business was surprising people with new menus all the time. When I opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 in the North Market in Columbus, I made sure to offer signature flavors along with just a few surprises. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

When did you know you had something good? / The day we opened for business in November 2002—the day of the OSU/­Michigan football game. We thought we’d open that day to give ourselves a little warm up, to open softly, you know. OSU/­Michigan game day in Columbus is a holy day. Every man, woman, and child is glued to the TV on that day in Columbus. But much to our surprise there was a giant line all day. We’ve never looked back.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

If there were two of you, what other type of business would the other Jeni have? / I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, in the cradle of the greatest sandwich on earth, the breaded pork tenderloin. Other Jeni would open a joint that served from­ scratch breaded tenderloins on tiny white buns, served with dill pickles, homemade mustard, and potato salad. One pilsner on tap to wash it all down. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Do you take off on the weekends? / I’m never not working. I’m working the same way today as I did when I started making my own ice cream in the mid ‘90s: pretty much every moment I’m awake. I’m not bragging or complaining—whatever I’m reading, watching, listening to, and doing goes into whatever the next ice cream flavor is.

Sometimes I feel like a character in a comic book, like I fell into a vat of magical ice cream a couple decades ago and emerged with ice cream fused to my DNA. I go to work everyday thinking of how to improve the texture or body of my ice cream. Or how to get one flavor just right. I think about it constantly. And when I’m not thinking about it actively, there is a little spot on my brain that is always dedicated to only thinking about ice cream. It’s on no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It’s even on while I sleep. 

With 20 stores currently, what is your dream for your brand? World ice cream domination?  My only dream for this company is for us to make better ice cream tomorrow than we did today. One day at a time, that is what we’re trying to do here. As far as shops go, the goal has never been and never will be to open a chain of cookie-­cutter, look­-a­like shops. We own and operate our shops and I have my hands in every detail of the way each one looks and feels. I can’t imagine just opening a bunch of clone shops and just sitting back. I like the work too much. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Favorite ice cream? / I’ll never get tired of Lemon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt. It’s so creamy, tart, and refreshing. I also LOVE it on pies in the summer!

Worst part about your job? / The existence of deadlines. I always think I can improve whatever ice cream we’re about to release! 

Best part about your job? / Being able to create something out of everything I absorb every day. This job didn’t just fall out of the sky for me. I had to make choices to create the opportunity for myself, but I’m proud and thankful I’m able to earn a living by creating something I dream up.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / Giving speeches. It still floors me that people want to hear me tell my story. I’m always flattered.

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / When I was first messing around with ice cream, I mixed cayenne essential oil into regular store-­bought chocolate ice cream. I let it melt slowly on my tongue. It was cold, tasted like chocolate, and about five seconds later it burst into flames in the back of my throat. It was like the sky tore in two and light enveloped me. Right then I knew that ice cream would be my life. I didn’t know how I would do it, how long it would take, how many people, how much money, but I knew it was my path. For some crazy reason, I always thought there could be a place in the world where art, perfume, and ice cream could get along. I always thought that. And I guess it appears to be true. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Even with a huge, booming business, Jeni remains kind, humble, and deeply grounded and loyal to her Mid-West roots. Thanks so much to Jeni and the team at Jeni's Ice Cream for an inspiring visit! I'm pretty sure Ruby enjoyed this Career Day field trip when she said afterwards that it was "the best day EVER!".

Jeni's Ice Cream | 1954 Hillhurst Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90027 | 323-928-2668

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

oh joy book trailer + a fun {giveaway}...(NOW CLOSED)

Oh Joy Book

In two weeks, the new Oh Joy book launches! To celebrate, we're giving away three signed copies of the new book plus a handful of Oh Joy for Target goodies from last year's now sold out collection to three lucky readers.

To enter, here's a little "Where's Waldo" question for you...

Watch the Oh Joy book trailer above, and leave a comment below telling me one of the fruits or veggies that are in the neon farmer's market bag in the video.

As a bonus, you can also enter via Facebook or Instagram. See my posts there to see how. You can enter up to three times (once on this blog, once on IG, once on FB if you'd like!). 

Comments close on Friday, March 27th at 11:59pm PST and three winners will be chosen at random! Good luck!

UPDATE: Congrats to Shonee S. from Washington, UT, Laura R. from London, England, and Jackie G. from San Bruno, CA for being our winners this time!

*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. $100 USD total approximate value. Winners will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

Find the book at these retailers: Amazon | Target | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Indiebound | Booksamillion | Google Play | Harper Collins

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

dressing the babe / seeing spots...

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe

Oh Joy / Mama and Me Style

Lately, I've been all about dresses that are comfy and easy-to-wear, yet still flattering. With that extra softness around my waist post-baby, I'm still avoiding tight (muffin-top-forming) jeans whenever possible. So I love it when I can throw on an easy piece like this and dress it up or down with flats or my favorite booties.

And, I'll always have a place in my heart (and my closet) for a good polka dot...

Oh Joy / Mama Style

Mama outfit / 1. Dotty dress from Anthropologie, 2. Homako necklace, 3. Dolce Vita booties.

Oh Joy / Baby Style

Since I rarely dress Coco in pink (unless it's hot pink) and find myself annoyed by the expectation from strangers that she should be wearing pink, I like keeping around some little hair clips. They are my small note to the world to tell people "Yes, she's a girl!".

Babe outfit / 4. Homako hair clip, 5. Ultra Violet Kids dotty tee, 6. Gap Baby chambray bloomers, 7. Pons baby sandals.

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe

Oh Joy / Dressing the Babe

She's a girl who has some chunky baby thighs that I can't get enough of.

{Mural outside of Cafe 101. Photos by Casey Brodley, outfit styling by Joy Cho, flat styling by Julia Wester. Coco was 4.5 months old when these photos were taken and my new life goal is figuring out ways to make her laugh.}

happy friday + baby things...

Oh Joy / Coco sleeping

Every day I revel in the fact that I'm able to love another tiny human as much as I love my first. I really didn't think it was possible. And then it just happened. And here we are five months later with a baby who is more than a newborn and slowly growing into who she'll become.

Coco so much more easy going than Ruby. I heard that second babies are more laid back because they have no choice but to be (did you guys find that to be true?). Ruby will be on the ground in meltdown mode while Coco is smiling and cooing away. She started sleeping through the night last week, so I'm thrilled to have my full night of sleep back and feeling a little less loopy these days!

Lately, I've been sharing more of my personal photo and videos on Instagram, but today I had to end the week with this video of my little Coco (who is 5 months old today!) learning how to smile and interact and just figuring out this whole life thing. Don't you just want to raspberry that chubby little belly? Ahhhh!

Have a great weekend guys!

{Top photo by Oh Bob}

fruity lips...

Homemade Tinted Lip Balm Using Natural Ingredients

It's not drugs, it's not alcohol, but there is one thing I've been addicted to for much of my adult life...lip balm! So when our beauty guru, Danielle, mentioned that she makes her own tinted lip balm from all-natural ingredients, I was intrigued. Here's how...

Homemade Tinted Lip Balm Using Natural Ingredients

You'll need these supplies:

-1 double boiler (or) a 12oz pyrex measuring cup and medium sauce pan
- 1 fine mesh strainer (we used a mesh tea ball)
- 0.5 oz lip balm jars (we used these)
- coconut oil
- cosmetic grade beeswax pellets
- beet powder
- freeze dried raspberries
- tangerine oil (for flavor/aroma)

If you want to make a small batch enough to fill 2 -3 containers, you can follow these portions:

- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ tablespoon ground freeze dried raspberries or beet powder (add more if you want a stronger color)
- ½ - 1 teaspoon beeswax (more for a firmer consistency)
- 3 drops of tangerine oil

Homemade Tinted Lip Balm Using Natural Ingredients

Here's how:

1. Grind raspberries/beet powder in coffee grinder until you have a very fine powder.

2. Melt the coconut oil and beeswax over low heat. Once the two are completely melted together, stir in the finely ground raspberries/beet powder. Add more powder for a richer color. Stir the mixture non-stop for about 3 minutes. Add 3 drops tangerine oil. 

3. Using your strainer pour mixture into your containers (this removes any grit from the finished balm).

4. Place lid on the jar and put in freezer to help solidify. They only need about 10 minutes in the freezer until they’re completely solidified.

A few tips:

As the balm cools it will solidify and the powder will start to settle at the bottom. In order to prevent this, I recommend putting your empty containers in the freezer before you’re ready to pour in the mixture. This way, the mixture will solidify faster and there is less time for it to separate. You’ll have to move quickly, so I recommend getting everything laid out in order of the process.

It has a subtle berry color as shown on me above. What do you guys think? Would you make your own lip balm? I think this could be a fun thing to make in large batches and give as gifts for sure!

{Photos by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy. Lip Balm recipe by Danielle Walch}

career day / a kid's clothing designer...

Ultra Violet Kids

I love getting to expose my kids to so many cool jobs that exist out there. Whether it's through my community of entrepreneurial friends that I surround myself with or the people I get to meet through my job, I always enjoying showing how anyone can create a job for themselves from scratch.

Inspired by that notion, I want to start sharing with you some of the people that I'm lucky enough to come across. People that have cool jobs—jobs that aren't typical, and jobs that come from a true love of what they do. It's like career day at school but with a twist! 

Ultra Violet Kids

Ultra Violet Kids

Today, I'm sharing a peek into the world of a kid's fashion designer, Michelle Chaplin of Ultra Violet Kids. I came across Michelle's clothing last month and instantly wished the clothes she made came in my size. They're edgy yet comfortable and combine bite-sized pieces with great prints (I mean, that mini crop top?!? I can't even...). Here's a look at her Los Angeles studio and a few fun facts...

Ultra Violet Kids

What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? I have always known I wanted to be a fashion designer.

Ultra Violet Kids

What’s your background and when/why did you start Ultra Violet? For the past 15 years, I have been working as a women's contemporary designer. I have worked for other companies making their visions come to life as well as having my brand, Smoke & Mirrors, with Emily Harteau of Our Open Road.

When my daughter, Violet, was born I was happily unemployed and started a little Etsy store selling vintage kids clothing. For Violet's birthday, I made her a crop top and harem pants out of African fabric. All of my friends loved it, so that's when the light bulb in my head went on. I secured my domain, started branding, picked up my first account, and that was the beginning of Ultra Violet Kids.

Ultra Violet Kids

When did you know you had something good? I knew I had something special when customers started buying the clothing, giving me positive feedback, and when press and stores started contacting me. Instagram has been so crucial in the growth and awareness of Ultra Violet Kids. I get to see all the pictures of kids wearing their clothing, and it makes me extremely proud. My mom jokes that I always said I wanted to clothe the world but I didn't say what size.

Ultra Violet Kids

Best part about your job? The best part of my job is designing and creating fashion.

Worst part about your job? The hardest part of my job is managing production.

Ultra Violet Kids

Style muse? My daughter Violet is my muse and inspiration.

Ultra Violet Kids

What do you hope the brand will become someday? I dream of being able to grow the company, giving back, and expanding into women's again. But right now I'm happy with growing it organically. I hope that Ultra Violet Kids becomes a recognized brand that you can always count on for fashion forward, quality clothing that's made in the USA. 

Favorite ice cream? I love ice cream! Gold Medal Ribbon and Almond Fig Gelato are my favorites.

Thanks so much Michelle for this look into your world!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy except the two photos of the kids by Lauren Moore for Ultra Violet Kids}