Oh JoyOh Joy

be curious activity: write letters to friends and your community...

be curious activity: write letters to friends and your community...

This week while home with your kids, we have a new great way we can create a ray of sunshine while inciting curiosity about what our loved ones might also be doing during this time. This is our weekly activity inspired by our BE CURIOUS! book launching soon and ways to bring out creativity and curiosity especially right now. 

Write Letters to Friends, Family and Your Community

Social distancing has left all of us dependent on old and news ways of communication to say hello to friends and family whether across the street or across the country.  We want to stay intentional about being in contact with those we love and keep our relationships even when distance separates us. So at our house, the girls are video-calling their grandparents in Philly and their uncle in San Francisco more then ever. They're also writing letters to their friends at school, and in my new role as "home school teacher", we are emailing our professional teachers quite often to submit homework, ask questions, and stay in touch. Here are some other ways you share your love and friendship with those you miss!

Pop-Up Heart Card

1) Make a pop-up heart card.  Put a DIY spin on your snail-mail and have a special heart card delivered to those you love.  You can find the full tutorial here.

Gift Kit for Neighbors

2) Neighbor Kit. Have extra basic supplies on hand?  Make a cute kit for a neighbor that might be in a vulnerable category right now who needs our help more than ever. You can find some fun ideas here for DIY-ing your own container (and maybe add in a roll of TP!)

Oh Joy for Erin Condren Stationery

3) Write letters to your local nursing home.  Currently, all nursing home and assisted living homes have closed their doors to visitors. Call around your community to see if one in your neighborhood is accepting mail. Then draw a picture, write a poem, make a collage, write a letter, or do anything you can to send someone JOY who is might be lonely right now. (You might even ask some questions and get a return letter back! Be Curious...you might just find your next pen pal!). 

Have any other ideas for sending love across the distance? Share them in the comments here!

(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia WesterProduction Assistance by Jess Hong.)

tips and tricks for working from home...

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

If you're working from home right now, you're like the rest of the world and searching #WFH to find any inspiration you can to make a cluttered desk that was used to be a catch-all for everyone's junk now function as your home office. Or perhaps you're working in a 200 square-foot space and finding it difficult to transition from bedroom to office. Here are some tips and tricks to surviving the WFH life with your sanity in tact ;)

...before we go too much further, can we stop for a minute and thank those who cannot work from home during this time? The heroes of our age who put personal safety at risk to make sure the rest of us have everything we need in lockdown and the medical care we need. We are also so indebted to those who are still working and thankful for them! Let them know how grateful you are.

TIP ONE: Separate areas in your room. Working from a small apartment where one room is every room?  Or the kids are running around the house and you only get your bedroom? Here are ways to create a separate office space (even if it's your bedroom): 

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

A) Use a small desk, even that fold-up table you had stores in the garage for card games. Just having a spot is so helpful for productivity.

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

B) Have a clearly delineated area for you office - use rugs or a chair to mark the boundaries or prints on the wall to show the corner area you are claiming.  Then be intentional about keeping that space "office" and the rest "room".

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

C) Set some rituals or habits to start your work time.  Light a candle and turn on your "office jams" (could be classical or top 40!).  Close the door, line up your pencils, and turn on your desk lamp.  Brew your cup of coffee, put on your headphones and open your laptop.  Whatever your steps are to cue your brain "this is work" and be in a different headspace than when you're in the same room just relaxing.

 

TIP 2: Change your desk position. If you have the space (or can make the space), try to change up your desk position. This will help keeps things interesting at the home office as well as help you keep your clutter down to a minimum! Having to move everything makes you touch everything and decide if you really need it or not. And, if you're anything like me, there's a lot of things on and around my desk I don't need! Try different positions to see what works best for you. Here are a few ideas...

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

A) The Loner. This isn't meant to say you are lonely, but the idea is that this position faces the wall and is great for those who get distracted easily by the view outside or other things going around in your space.

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

B) The Executive. This is the position you'd sit in if you like seeing everything going on around you. I like this view personally because I get inspired by what's around me. It's a little trickier for placement as you'd need to have more space to make this work but it's a great way to freshen up your space if you have the room for it.

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

C) The Social Butterfly. This is a mix of the two above where you're facing out but also partly tucked near the wall to help save on space. This one works well if you need to share your desk with a partner or roomate as well so that people can sit on both sides.

 

TIP 3: Organize, organize, organize! Likely, you had a very limited time in your work office to grab everything you would need at home, stuffed it all in bags and boxes, and dumped it near your desk at home.  Now's the time to go through those bags, and everything else around your space, to make your WFH environment work best for you. Some people need neat, tidy, and sterile. Others need uplifting, colorful and designed chaos. Whatever works for you, get the space organized so that you want to be there.  (Or at the very least, don't hate being there!) Here are some ways to organize...

Box Storage in Home Offices

A) Use boxes to store away things you only need occasionally. They help to hide the clutter and give you spots to keep categories of things contained.

Vase as Pencil Holder for Home Office

B) Repurpose pieces from around your house. Grab that dusty shelf in the garage that works great to hold books and only needs a quick wipe down. Find your favorite mug or a fun vase to use as a pen cup.

TIP 4: Bring Positivity.  More than anything else right now, we all need a little positivity in our day. Sitting at home working while a scary virus is in the world is not anyone's ideal situation. But remind yourself everyday to make the best of it, to keep striving and working hard, and to keep doing the right thing for your friends, neighbors, health care workers, and even strangers on the street. We're all working for a better world. Here are a few simples ways to bring positive vibes into everyday...

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

A) Use your positive coffee mug that you bought because you love the phrase as a pen cup.  Then you'll be using it everyday and seeing it everyday.

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

B) Find a fun print or photograph that brings a smile to your face or one that empowers you or lifts you up.  There's no wrong answer to what that looks like for you. Put it in your sight line and take a second everyday to read it, to feel it, to see it, and be uplifted.

tips and tricks for working from home / Oh Joy!

C) Bring a plant into your home office.  It's amazing what a little bit of greenery will do for your spirit. And it'll be a good reminder to make sure your plant friends are getting watered!

P.S. If you have children at home that you are now trying to homeschool (raising hand over here!), then some of these tips don't matter at all because you're doing your best just to get by everyday! One thing that has helped me is setting certain times of the day that's dedicated work time and dedicated homeschool time. We try and get school done first thing in the morning by lunch (or soon after lunch) and then the kids can have free time after. A couple weeks in, we have gotten into a rhythm but that first week was NOT easy. We all cried a lot!

I know these times are hard, but we will emerge on the other side stronger and better connected for these small sacrifices we're making now. I believe in this amazing Oh Joy! community and urge you to commit to staying home if you can to make us all safer. We're still here, and we want to hear from you.  How are you handling the lockdown and social distancing?  How are you working from home?  Comment here, or message me on social!

(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, Production Assistance by Jess Hong.)

why I love semi-custom cabinets...

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

When I decided to tackle building a house six years ago, I honestly didn't think about all the millions of components that would go into it all at the same time. All of the decisions, all of the colors, all of the choices. I mean, I quickly got caught up on just how many decisions I would have to make, but it honestly felt VERY overwhelming. So, when it came time to designing kitchens and any other areas with storage with my architects and designers at Project M+, we looked at a few different options.

You would think that when you have a house designed from the ground up, it would make sense to build custom cabinets throughout to perfectly fit into the space. But that option (which we did get estimates for) would have cost much more than we had the budget for. I looked high and low for existing cabinets to fit these custom spaces, but that proved almost impossible. They were budget-friendly but nothing would fit correctly or look cohesive. So, low and behold...the magical solution that we turned to for a good amount of our cabinets...semi-custom! I am so excited to have partnered with Reform—a Danish company that specializes in semi-custom kitchens using Ikea box bases and their amazing, designer doors. Take a peek at what we've created together...

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

We were able to choose and create custom colors for various rooms that needed a pop of color. These were in areas like closets, laundry room, and other spaces where we could really play with color to fit with the rest of the space! I'm in LOVE with the color-blocked Basis style that I chose for my girl's closet. They're simple, yet so fun!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

And then in other spaces (like our kitchen shown above), we went with a neutral color but focused on a design (like this one called Degree) that had architectural elements that fit and functioned with the rest of the space.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

We were able to add in our countertop of choice (and used Caesarstone quartz throughout) to mix with the variety of cabinets doors.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

Here are some older photos that show them being installed so the detailing around the cabinets and hardware/knobs had not been installed yet. But you can see how they all fit so well in these spaces.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

Here's a peek at one last set that I simply LOVE—the Chelsea—which is really the perfect mix of fun and glamour all mixed up into one!

Reform products are now available across the United States and the world...which is so exciting. I have always been a huge fan of Danish design, and love the modern and warm details these cabinets are adding to our home. They have two showrooms in the US (Brooklyn and coming soon to LA), which will be available for visits once we're all back open and operating fully. But in the meantime, they have a virtual showroom tour that you can take and see all their beautiful offerings and online design meetings to be able to still help you plan your dream cabinets from home and maintaining your social distancing! I love how they are doing everything they can to fight this virus while still being totally accessible to their customers.

It's exciting to look back at these progress photos because all these spaces (and the house) are done! We're just waiting for some logistics to be able to move in :)

{Photos by Lily Glass. Home construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Project M+. All cabinets linked above. Written by Joy Cho.} 

be curious activity: colorful curiosity!

be curious activity: colorful curiosity!

While home with the kids, we wanted to share a few ways to create sunshine during your day with our weekly activity inspired by our BE CURIOUS! book launching on April 7th! These are simple activities you can do with materials you have at home to inspire colorful curiosity especially for little ones from ages 2-6...

COLOR SCAVENGER HUNTS (above)

Simply make small squares of color and paste on a single page. Then search the house to find small objects that match each color square! Find the full tutorial here.  

be curious activity: colorful curiosity!

LETTER CRAYONS

Here's a great time to make use of all those crayon bits we have laying around to create something new! Kids can help come up with their favorite color combinations or group similar colors (all the greens, for example) together! Find the full instructions right here.

be curious activity: colorful curiosity!

GEM CHALK

If it's warm where you live, get in some outdoor time with chalk art, and these gems are so fun for kids to help make and then get to use. See how right here.

be curious activity: colorful curiosity!-800wi

SMUSHED PAINT ART

Super fun and tactile especially for little ones as small as 1 year old, we love this project that turns into your very own masterpieces! The color options here are endless! See that one right here.

Color is all around us and certainly inspires a ton curiosity and creating! Let us know which projects you create together! Also, check out our Make with Kids Pinterest board for more ideas!

(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, Wilmarose Orlanes, and Ariel Fulmer, Production Assistance by Jess Hong.)

hopeful gifts that support small businesses...

Hopeful-gifts-blog

It's no question that businesses of all sizes are seeing major losses in income right now. Small businesses, especially, need all the help they can get to keep their businesses open and employees working. So, I wanted to gather a few of things I'm loving that might bring a smile to you or a loved one right now that also helps to support a small business...

1. People I've Loved pin from Broome St. General ($12), 2. Optimism Necklace from Ban.do ($38), 3. Me & My Fear book ($18), 4. My Someday is Now print by OK! (from $25), 5. Quarantine Cookie Box by Delight Patisserie ($20), 6. Happy Signet Ring by Ban.do ($98).

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen layout and functional things we considered...

This post brought to you in partnership with KitchenAid.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

After living in an apartment for almost 10 years, I'm excited to have a normal-sized kitchen (with an island!) to be able to cook with more space and have friends over for dinners-a-plenty! Today, I wanted to give you a peek into the process of designing the kitchen when we were in the early stages with Project M+. When you get to design a kitchen layout from scratch, it makes you really think about your needs and how you function on a daily basis.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Here's a look at an older rendering to get a sense of the space. Some details have changed since this was first drawn (like the exact appliances or the floor tile) but it's a good representation of where we started when we were planning out the layout of this kitchen.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Now, here's a current overhead look at the kitchen and where all the appliances are going. As you can see, it's a U-shaped kitchen with the island right in the center. Based on this, we wanted to keep all the cooking appliances near each other with easy access to the dishwasher and sink when clean-up is needed. We incorporated KitchenAid appliances into our Oh Joy! Office Kitchen a couple years ago when we renovated it - and were so pleased, so we're excited to work with them again for our house!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Instead of a traditional oven/stovetop, we opted for the KitchenAid’s® Commercial-Style 6 Burner Gas Rangetop, which comes with dual-flame burners and a simmer/melt burner for both power and versatility. Getting this rangetop allows us to maximize the space underneath, and KitchenAid offers amazing  oven/microwave combos, so we were still covered from that perspective. We're also planning to add brass paneling around the 3-Speed Canopy Hood.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

On the left side of the kitchen, we have the KitchenAid®  Combination Wall Oven with Even-Heat™ True Convection, which was designed to be both beautiful and functional. I love the idea of the oven being more at eye-level, and, we use our microwave a lot, so I wanted it to be in a spot that was easy to get to and not too low. For our fridge, we opted for a Built-In Side by Side Refrigerator, where the larger fridge is next to the smaller freezer. I also love that we're able to panel this piece to blend in nicely with the rest of the cabinets!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

On the right side, we have the beautiful 44bBA Dishwasher right by the sink for easy access when loading. We also added a smaller Undercounter Refrigerator, so it's super convenient and easy to grab drinks from outside and helps to free up space in the fridge for more food! Both the dishwasher and beverage fridge came in paneled options, which I love!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

I can't wait to show you the final reveal! Are there things about your kitchen layout you would change if you could? Or what parts of your layout have you loved?

{Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+. Renderings by Project M+. All other layouts by Joy Cho. My boots are Red Wing Heritage*. Cabinets by Reform, floor by Concrete Collaborative. This post is in partnership with KitchenAid.} 

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

While we're home with our kids for the next several weeks, I've been thinking about ways that we can turn this situation into some ray of sunshine and see the good that will eventually come of this seemingly terrible situation. I'll be sharing activities and ideas here inspired by our BE CURIOUS! book launching soon and ways to bring out creativity and curiosity during this time. First up...

Teach Something You Used to Be Good At!

I was thinking...how can we use this time to revive some of our past beloved hobbies? I went to art school, took dozens of drawing classes, and USED to be able to draw well. But my life drawing skills have gone away with the realities of my current job and schedule. When's the last time I actually sat down to draw away from a computer? So, as part of my daily school with my kids, we're starting the morning off with a Life Drawing class! I'll set out everyday objects or take a walk outside, and we'll all draw the same thing from whatever vantage point we're at. Here's an example of what we did today...

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

I simply placed a few pieces of fruit on a plate and we all drew them based on our own vantage point. I talked about perspective and shadow and overall just getting them to slow dow and look at something and notice the details of it to draw it. Here's where we landed...

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

be curious activity: teach something you used to be good at!

It's so fun to see how we all drew them differently based on our ages, where we sat in relation to the subject, and it was such a fun activity to do with my kids. These will be fun to scan and make into a book, too, at the end of all this self-isolation! You could do this daily drawing exercise, too. Or, if there's something YOU used to be great at that you've neglected, take this as a chance to revive it! Whether that means teaching your kids (like I'm doing) or just giving yourself some of this downtime to practice your long-lost skill.

Let me know what you guys decide to do!

our new normal (for now)...

Oh Joy! Sparkle Series

Who would have guessed just two weeks ago that our world would be in the state that it is today? Things change day by day, hour by hour. So many things are unknown and still being solved. I shared some initial thoughts last week on Instagram. But here's how we're coping and spending our days over here...

Social distancing as much as possible. I saw this chart which was a great visual for me in terms of what we can do while also trying to get outside and get some fresh air.

Teaching my kids for part of the day. Both of my kids' schools are closed for 3-4 weeks, so Bob and I are working out some semblance of a schedule to help guide and teach them during the day and not let them think it's just a free-for-all Spring Break! There's a mix of structure and some flexibility which should hopefully work for all of us.

Working for part of the day. I mean, working...what's that? The world has certainly come to a halt so work has been very non-typical lately (which makes the part-time homeschooling not so impossible). But there's still work to be done in Oh Joy! land so we're navigating changes (previously planned event cancellations) and prepping for upcoming projects day-by-day.

Packing my house/office for part of the day. Who decided to move out of their office and their home in the same month that a National Emergency was declared? ME! That's who! While none of this was intended to coincide, here we are, and I'm just doing my best to stay optimistic and not spend my days crying in the corner. HA!

Supporting local small businesses. While we aren't going out much, I am making a habit to support a small business in some way every single day. Whether that's picking up coffee or bagels to go, getting delivery from a local restaurant, or buying a gift or other item online from a small business, we need to try and support them as much as we can.

Trying to stay calm and positive. The news can be a doozy to watch. It's hard to know what's completely accurate and what's not. But for our kids, we're doing our best to show them that—no matter what—we'll be okay at the end of all of this.

Keep doing and sharing joyful things! Over the last 14+ years, this site (and all the things we do here at Oh Joy!) have been here to provide you JOY in some way. That won't stop now...as you could probably use that joy now more than ever. If there's anything I can do that would help you during this crazy time, please pop a comment here and let me know! I have some ideas up my sleeve but welcome all your requests.

Stay calm and optimistic, my loves...

(Photo from my #OhJoySparkleSeries on Instagram)

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats!

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

If you've been following along to my style posts, you may know that I have been obsessed with vintage dusters over the past year. What exactly is a duster, you ask? According to Wikipedia, a duster is:

A light, loose-fitting long coat. The original dusters were full-length, light-colored canvas or linen coats worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. These dusters were typically slit up the back to hip level for ease of wear on horseback.

The ones I love tend to have a great pattern, texture, or color, and range from more 50's housecoat to 70's wild child style...

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

This 70's style open duster with collar has a great, bold pattern with perfect pops of color. It's light and makes for a great layer in the spring or fall, and I love wearing it with a solid color piece (like this olive jumper). I get compliments from strangers all the time when wearing this...and it's just such a great and fun piece!

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

This one is more like a 50's housecoat with a silky, embroidered fabric with a thicker batting inside. It's cozy, yet so soft and pretty, and I love wearing it over longer maxi dresses.

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

Finally, this is a super lightweight, vintage Hawaiian style duster with short sleeves. This one is great over pretty much anything and even works as a bathing suit coverup!

Since I love vintage so much, but they are one-of-a-kind at this point, I thought I could do some shopping for YOU and find similar duster styles in a range of sizes. Here are some I've found that I love for you...

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

1. Vintage 80's Denim Duster ($80, size 8), 2. 1960's Floral Sweater Duster ($95, M/L), 3. 1960's Floral Linen Duster ($49, size 6-8), 4. Vintage Embroidered Duster ($95, size L), 5. Vintage Floral Duster ($39, one size).

Here are a few that are new and current that have great colors and patterns, too....

let me shop for you: vintage duster coats / oh joy!

6. ASOS Abstract Duster ($56), 7. Urban Outfitters Colorblock Trench Coat ($200), 8. Anthropologie Kimono Duster ($138). 

Let me know if you like these posts and any other pieces you're on the hunt for!

Photos: Lily Glass and Casey Brodley.

adding warmth to a modern home...

Oh Joy! Builds a House / Redwood Exterior

For the last two years, I have been tackling the project of a lifetime! We've been building our family's first and forever dream house here in Los Angeles. While it's been a long time in the making, we're just about finished, and I'm excited to give you a peek right now. I'm so thrilled to be partnering with Humboldt Redwood to share how we brought this amazing, natural material into our modern home. Take a look at this video below for a peek and all the details...

Oh Joy! Builds a House / Redwood Exterior

Thanks for joining me to take a peek at this beautiful, natural material and how we've used it in our home build project! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

*This post is in partnership with Humboldt Redwood. All words are my own.

(Creative Direction: Joy Cho, Production: Julia Wester and Jess Hong, Video: Jenner Brown, Still Photos: Lily Glass, Music: "Milkshake" by Pleasant Pictures Music Club, Graphics: Angie Stalker, Special Thanks: Project M+ and Boswell Construction.)