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apple pie adventures...

Apple-picking-2015

It's finally feeling like fall here in LA in the last couple weeks, and I'm just loving it. As a child of immigrant parents, we never did seasonal things like apple picking (my parents just weren't aware of it because it wasn't a part of their culture). So it's been fun starting new traditions like this with my own family. Since we all love apple pie so very much, a few weeks ago, we took the kids apple picking so that we could show them what goes into (eventually) making an apple pie. Click on the video below to see our Apple Pie Adventures and subscribe to the Oh Joy channel for more videos!

And if you want to recreate my favorite apple pie, see more below!

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10 of my favorite blogger books!

My Favorite Blogger Books

2015 is the year of the blogger books! (I'm guilty of that one, too). With so many books out by many of my friends and colleagues in the blogging world, I wanted to share some of my favorites from this year with you...

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a housewarming welcome kit...

A Housewarming Welcome Kit

With so many of my friends, family members, or co-workers buying houses or moving into a new home recently, I wanted to come up something I could give them as a welcome kit for their new home. Yes, I could give them a fancy cooking appliance they'll never use, but instead I like the idea of giving them something that they can use during those first couple weeks when your house doesn't yet feel like home. 

I've partnered with Honest (a brand I love and have used in my home since they started 4 years ago), to make this Housewarming Welcome Kit which includes some functional things to get them through those first couple weeks as well as some celebratory things for them to bask in the glory of a new space!

Here's how to make it...

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on being different...

Teaching Kids About Being Different

A few months ago, Ruby went through a phase where she kept saying, "I just want to be normal." She didn't like it when we said she was funny or cute or entertaining. She would get upset, stop whatever she was doing, shrug her shoulders and proceed to tell us she just wanted to be normal. Of course, that upset me a lot because she doesn't yet realize that not "being normal" is what most people strive to be. The most successful and creative people in the world are those who think outside the box and who defy what's considered "normal".

While my husband and I knew it was a phase and tried not to worry about it too much, I knew that it was my job as her parent to keep telling her in small ways how we are all different and special and how really there is no "normal". Most of Ruby's friends come from mixed families and so we talk to her all the time about how every family is different and special.

To make it easier for her to visualize, we've been using these animals (leftover from Coco's birthday party). I asked her what they look like and what makes them each special. We talked about the different colors they had and also what sounds they make, how strong they are, and things they can do that no other animal can do. Then, when I asked her which one was the "normal" one. She said that none of them were normal and they were all special. Finally, we talked about what made her different and special. Now she's much more okay with not being normal and is more aware of trying to think about what makes her...well, her. 

(Now, let's queue the music that comes on at the end of every episode of Full House right about now...)

I know we'll struggle with this issue throughout her life as she grows and changes and strives to fit in and be accepted by her peers (I spent a good chunk of my tween years wishing I looked like the other girls in my class). But for now, I feel a small bit of relief that we're helping her become more aware of everyone's differences and enjoying the beauty of that.

I'd love to hear what you guys think and any things that have helped you with this type of thing in the past.

{Photo by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

happy friday + thank you!

Oh Joy Studio

Happy Friday! I wanted to end this week and says thanks so much for those of you who took the time to answer my reader survey or leave a comment on that post from two weeks ago. It was nice to hear your constructive feedback and especially the things that echo'ed what I've been feeling or thinking you guys might say. While for the most part, you guys love the mix of content I've always done, I think I could tone down the kid/baby content a little, get a bit deeper into some of the more "personal experience" posts from my life (both the good and the bad), post a little less about LA-specific places, and get back into more home decor and design content that I used to do.

It was also really helpful to hear how you guys follow along with Oh Joy (mostly on Instagram and Pinterest), what Oh Joy products you have and love, and what you want more of (it's exciting to see that some of the products requested are in our plans to launch soon ;). Also, regarding products I wanted to mention that there were a ton of comments that you wish Oh Joy products were available to those outside the U.S. While I certainly would love that, most of that is beyond my control since we don't manufacture our own products and everything we currently design is sold through retailers based in the US. Hopefully someday, we can expand worldwide and get Oh Joy to all of you ;)

I know that I cannot please everyone and I cannot create a site that is everything to everyone. So I have taken all your comments to heart and we have already started to make some changes that feel right to us while also sticking to the heart of what Oh Joy is about—the mix of things in my life that I feel passionate about and want to share with you. Because the day that I get tired of sharing things or I no longer enjoy this little piece of the internet, is the day that I will stop blogging. But for now, I still have a lot more to share and I thank you (so much) for coming along on the journey.

P.S. We randomly picked five readers from the survey to win a special Oh Joy gift. All five people were emailed yesterday!

{Photo by Casey Brodley of the Oh Joy studio}

a really cute way to use bobbi pins...

Bobbi Pin Hairstyle / Color Block Diamond

I have never been one of those people who spends a lot of time getting ready in the morning. I have a very simple morning routine that doesn't take very long at all, and I'm super simple with my hair and makeup on the average day. So I'm always looking for (and thinking about) easy things that I can do that look way fancier than they actually are. This post was supposed to be called, "How to make it look like you spent way more time doing your hair than you actually did." But that title was too long to fit in this post's header, so I had to shorten it. But here is a super simple way to make it look like you spent way more time doing your hair than you actually did. ;) Bobbi Pin Hairstyle / Color Block Diamond

1. Pull the side of your hair up and back as you might usually when putting it half up. Rather than using just one clip, we'll be using four bobbi pins to secure it and create a decorative diamond shape. You can use one color or use two contrasting colors like we did for a color block effect.

2. Place in the first bottom pin to hold the hair back in the spot you want it to stay in.

3. Add another bottom pin to create a "V" shape. Make sure to interlock the two pins at the bottom of the "V" by inserting the second bobbi pin into the bottom curve of the first pin so it helps lock them together and hold the hair even better.

4. Add the top two pins from outside in to create the top of the diamond and complete the shape.

That's it! Easy right? I like having it on just the one side. It feels polished without being too fussy.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, hairstyle by Danielle Walch.}

coco's 1st birthday party!

Oh Joy / Coco's First Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our little Coco's first birthday! I shared some of the materials we used for decorating her party, and here are a few photos from the actual party. Now let me warn you, it was super hot that day—like 100 degrees hot. The weather threw of a bit of a wrench in what I imagined to be a playful and relaxing party at the park. But despite the heat, everyone still had a fun time celebrating my favorite 1 year old.

This is a long post with lots of photos and details described, so click below if you want to see more!

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how to use a flower frog...

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

Have you ever wondered how florists and stylists make their flower arrangements look so good? Sometimes you can buy the prettiest flowers, but once you place them in a vase (especially vases that have a large opening), they just flop to the side and don't look like that glorious arrangement you imagined it would be. The simple answer to making an arrangement look totally legit is to use a flower frog!

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

There are many different kinds of flower frogs, but here are three of the most common and our favorites:

1. Cage - metal or plastic holders formed like a dome or cage to keep stems in place.

2. Glass - a heavy glass piece with holes to hold each stem. They come in a variety of different colors and most commonly found as vintage.

3. Pin - a heavy metal base with spiky pins to hold stems in place. This is the most common type of flower frog and the easiest to find at a very reasonable price. We always have a couple of these on hand at home and at the studio for arrangements.

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

Dropping fresh cut flowers in a vase can be beautiful, but flower frogs are necessary when you need something a little more elaborate or when you have a container with a wide opening. These types of vases (shown above) are the types where a flower frog makes a world of difference. We're showing you a few of these examples with a short, square vase and a tapered wide-mouth vase. So that instead of looking limp and lacking structure...

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

...it looks like this! Here are a few tricks for using a flower frog like a pro:

1. Decide if this will be a centerpiece or if it will sit against a wall so you can decide how to build it. We like to start at the back for an arrangement that will be placed against a wall and start on the inside and work your way out for a centerpiece arrangement. (The example above shows a piece where we started from back to front).

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

2. Fill the vase with the secondary (less expensive florals and filler) first to create the shape and height before you add the “wow” flowers (in our case, the peonies). Then use the more wispy elements to fill holes and add interest. For this square vase we used the cage frog and filled in the back with large secondary blooms including hydrangea and chrysanthemum. We cut the stems slightly larger for the blooms in the back of the arrangement to create an illusion of height and then tapered it down to the front.

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

3. If you're using a clear glass vase, you can use extra greenery and leaves to wrap inside the vase to hide the stems and flower frog. Once the shape of the arrangement is there, we put in the fuchsia cockscomb and the pink peonies. We then camouflaged the flower frog with a fern leaf and several leaves from the hydrangea.

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

For the tapered vase, we used a pin frog that fit right in the bottom of the vessel. We styled it as a centerpiece and created a first ring of chrysanthemums before adding greenery and then finishing with the peonies. Whichever way you go, the idea is simply to start with a base of flowers and add height, texture and points of focus as you build. The flower frog helps keep everything in place and if you change your mind, just remove it and place it somewhere else!

Oh Joy / How to Use a Flower Frog

More than anything, just have fun with it. We're not a professional florists over here, so there are surely other rules that others could tell you about arranging flowers. But these are some general rules that work for us for something quick, easy, and beautiful!

And ps. a quick tip since some flowers come totally closed up when you buy them—if you have a floral bud that has yet to fully open, use warm water in your arrangement and it will open faster.

{Photos by Casey Brodley. Styling and florals by Ariel Fulmer.}

behind the scenes / choosing an oh joy book cover!

Oh Joy Book / Creating a Book Cover

I love sharing more behind the scenes stuff with you guys to show how designs evolve into the final product. So today, I'm sharing a bit about the cover of the Oh Joy book that came out earlier this year. That book was a labor of love between my entire team, and we spent almost year creating it from start to finish. I was also pregnant during most of that time so it felt like even a bigger feat to tackle last year. But we did it!

We probably looked at hundreds of versions but for the sake of not boring you guys with every single tweak and revision, I've narrowed it down to the main sets and groups of what we designed/looked at/reviewed with Harper Collins (my book publisher)... 

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