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how to talk to kids about racism...

A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory

The other night, we found ourselves explaining to our kids what happened to George Floyd and so many other Black Americans recently. It’s a story we didn’t expect to tell because it’s a story that shouldn’t have happened. But it did happened and incidents like these have been happening for centuries.

Maybe you know we are all equal, and you know that these actions are horribly wrong. But have you consciously sought out to be anti-racist? Have you attempted to make sure that you don't allow for it in your communities, in your speech, in your family, or in your future? Maybe now, you are in a place that you are angry and you're really trying to understand. Maybe you have never known how bad things are because you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone looked like you and therefore never experienced it. Maybe you did grow up in a diverse area but because your skin is light, you never experienced racism.

If you haven't started yet, today is the day to implement anti-racism in your home. Although you may have wished you knew more earlier or you did more sooner, it's never too late to start. I don't have all the answers to fix this, and I am not a certified teacher. But what I do know and what I can share with you is how we have been active about introducing anti-racism into our household at an early age and how we actively teach our kids about racism.

Here are eight ways to start...

1. Introduce the topic of racism early. Often with topics that are controversial, uncomfortable, or serious, parents assume that they need to wait until their kids are older to talk about it. I have found that around 5 years old, a real conversation about topics like race can be understood on some level. Every child is different, so if you feel you can have a conversation with a younger child, then do it.

2. Don’t shy away from these conversations. Your kids can understand more than you think. If you've ever been sitting casually at home when one of your kids ask about sex, why two men can get married, how a man can change to become a woman, or why our skin color is different than someone else's, don't put off having those conversations. You and your partner may look at each other awkwardly wondering who will take the lead on answering the questions, but now—in that moment—is the time to do it. Don't brush it off, don't wait until another time. And definitely don't tell them you'll talk about it when they are older. Everyday that is pushed off is a missed day for your child to become a better human with your help. You’re adding to their lack of awareness by not telling them when they ask.

3. It's ok if you are not an expert. It feels easy to deflect conversations about racism when you’re uncomfortable and you aren’t prepared and don’t know what to say. Often parents think they need to have read a plethora of books on a topic to say everything exactly right. Sure, you should read books, read articles, and do as much as you can to educate yourself. But you don't need to be an expert. Speak to your child in a way they can understand and learn best. Does your child do well with visuals or pictures? Get kids books to help them and you. Do they learn well from examples? Tell them stories. Also, you are an expert at your own life. Have you personally experienced racism? If so, tell them what happened. You can also use stories from history to help give examples.

4. Walk in other people's shoes. Ask children how they would feel if someone was racist towards them. Children are naturally empathetic people. Giving them analogies, examples, or asking them to put themselves in someone else's shoes is the easiest and quickest way to start explaining this topic to a child that may have no idea that racism exists. Kids start learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks as early as pre-school and kindergarten. These are stories from history you can have at home, too. While you're at it, remind them that some of these injustices STILL happen today.

5. Don't assume that kids are colorblind when it comes to race. It's not enough to say there is no color or "we don't talk about skin color because we don't want our kids to see the difference". It's true that small children often don't see their friends by their skin color. I remember having a conversation with Ruby when she was 4 or 5 and referenced her being Asian. She said, "I'm Asian?" She didn't know she was any different than her friends until she was told in pre-school by a girl with blond hair that "light hair is better".

6. Surround your kids with diversity. Actively seek communities, schools, play groups, and friends where your kids are surrounded by families and kids that are different than your own. If you already live in a non-diverse neighborhood and cannot easily change this, you can also expose them through food, cultural institutions, museums, books, toys, and more. They need to see more to learn more. This is helpful also for kids under 5 who may not be old enough to have meaningful conversations just yet. Actively seek art for your walls, books for kids to read, and toys that show kids and people of color... not just your kid's color.

7. Kids watch who you are to understand who they should become. This is the time to check in with your own bias, actions, privilege, judgements, and way of being that your kids might pick up on. Having these conversations with them will help you reconnect with yourself. But remember, if you want your kids to become anti-racist, you have to truly be anti-racist yourself. There are so many resources right now that people are sharing on social media, so start with your own education to be better equipped for your children as well.

8. The bottom line is—you have to have uncomfortable conversations. We all have to be better to help support Black Americans and to help create REAL CHANGE. We have to do everything we can which includes educating the future of America so that one day they can live in a country and world where people treat others appropriately, kindly, peacefully, and worthy of all the same things.

If you personally have any other tips or resources you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below. I don't have all the answers, and we can all learn from one another.

PS. Some other book lists and resources shared by readers:
Books for Diversity
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Kojo for Kids
Librarian Annette
Embrace Race

(Photo above A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory)

our last day in the oh joy 2.0 studio...

Oh Joy 2.0 Studio

Today we say farewell to our amazing studio where we've spent the last 3.5 years of Oh Joy's almost 15 year history. This was what I called our Oh Joy 2.0 studio (here and here and here and here) as it was a big upgrade from our first one (which was an upgrade from my original home studio). This is the space where I grew my team to it's peak size, developed so many products and brand collaborations, opened (and closed) our online shop, launched our academy, and so much more.

We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, and engagements. We made amazing projects, designed tons of products, and set beautiful scenes. We laughed and loved and cried and worked hard here. So many talented members of the Oh Joy team (past and present) have created here—Casey, Julia, Angie, Jess, Courtney, Traci, Nicole, Wilmarose, Kim, Lily, and Jenner. It's sort of like when you move from one home to another...even though there are new things to look forward to, it's always bittersweet to say goodbye! Another tenant will be moving in soon...and I am so happy to have passed it onto a good friend with an amazing brand who will love it as much as we did.

We're so excited to share with you our new plans and space for Oh Joy 3.0 (which the global pandemic has put on hold for a little while). Thank you as always for being part of this community, and we look forward continuing to share the new chapters ahead...

everyday dining combos...

Outdoor Dining / Oh Joy!

When we moved into our house a few months ago, I did A LOT of purging. After 10 years in our apartment, I was ready to upgrade many of the things that were ready to go. One of the areas that felt so nice and fresh to pare down and then add back to was our everyday dining pieces. I had mixes of old plates I loved and couldn't let go of and a single newer set that was never really enough to feed everyone because I had never taken the time to invest in enough pieces. 

Now, we have enough pieces of a few different styles that all mix and match well together which feels so great and so grown-up. Keep in mind...getting dinner plates is not the wedding registry expensive stuff from decades ago. Now, it's all about modern pieces that work for everyday. And, they should feel nice enough that you can use when friends are over for casual gatherings, too. Also, since our kids are bigger now, I cleared through a ton of plastic kid plates, and we have the kids use the same plates and glasses that we use most of the time. Sounds crazy but it honestly simplifies things a ton.

Here are a few combinations I love if you're looking to streamline and update your everyday dining, too...

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Meadow. I love this versatile mix of mint with dark blue for a collection that feels fun but not overly feminine. By using pale green as a base and navy as accents, it offers a fun contrast and pops of color. Then add in a couple bright pieces as dessert plates!

(clockwise from top left) Urban Outfitters green speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), West Elm rose gold flatware (from $40), Ikea green glasses ($3 for 4), Year & Day midnight bowls ($44 for set of 4), Year and Day midnight mugs ($48 for set of 4), Articture Picasso plates (from $35), and Clare V for Anthro Oui side plate ($18).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Pretty in Pink. While I love all shades of pink, having JUST pink dinnerware might be too intense for some. So mix and match by having your base dinnerware in pink with accent pieces in white or speckles or vice versa! I currently have pale pink glasses which are the prettiest shade that makes even drinking water feel luxurious.

(clockwise from top left) Year & Day pink serving platter ($50), Tiny Badger ceramic cups ($35), Urban Outfitters white speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), Anthropologie grain bowl ($18), Bormioli Rocco peach glasses (6 for $20), Clare V for Anthro side plate with lips ($18), and West Elm gold flatware (from $40).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Splash. As we head into the outdoor dining season, I love plates that feel durable for outdoors that could be used indoors, too. We use melamine or bamboo plates when dining outside, but they also make great option to use as kid-friendly plates year-round. I love mixing those with regular utensils and glasses so it still feels adult and doesn't require you to buy another full set of exclusively outdoor tabletop.

(clockwise from top left) Xenia Taler bamboo plates ($48 for set of 4), Articture utensils ($139 for set), luster coupe glasses from Anthropologie ($56 for set of 4), West Elm acrylic glasses (from $5.50), and West Elm confetti glasses ($42 for a set of 4).

(Top photo has Articture utensils, Xenia Taler bamboo plates, and Concrete Collaborative countertop)

my favorite local grocery and food delivery/pickup options in los angeles...

ACS_0721-rainbow-bread

As we head into our 4th month of stay-at-home here in Los Angeles, I've found joy in being able to support local restaurants and food businesses who cannot have dine-in services right now. It's not only a great way to get food (safely via pick-up or delivery), but it helps to support small businesses who are trying to keep their employees working and their rent paid. So it feels like a win-win! Here are a few of my local favorites...

For Groceries and Fresh Fruit/Veggies:

Amazebowls—Curated boxes of fruit, veggies, and their well-known Acai Bowls (for pickup or delivery).

Soon MiniMart—A mix of farmers' market goods from fresh bread, fruit, veggies, Korean specialties, wine, cheese, and so much more (for pickup or delivery).

All Time—One of our favorite restaurants offers both a selection of their food and grocery options like coffee, wine, pasta, pantry staples, and readymade food from their restaurant's menu (pickup or delivery).

Broome Street General Store—My go-to coffee and gift shop has a ton of well-curated pantry options like cheese, ice cream, produce, soup kits, fresh herbs, and more.

Jon & Vinny's—From Italian prepared foods to desserts to pantry items (like pre-made cookie dough and pizza kits), bring one of LA's favorite spots to your home.

Girl & Dug Farm—A farm that provided specialty vegetables to some of LA's finest restaurants is now offering their amazing selection of farm to home vegetable boxes!

Sorella Collective—This CSA box is not only full of fruits and veggies, but it's stunning! (local pickup and delivery)

 

For pre-cooked meals:

If you need a break from cooking, catering companies are using their talents and resources to provide cooked meals for families for everyday or for special occasions.

Annie Campbell— Annie offers beautiful, healthy food as well as "Cookies for a Cause" to support Friends of the Children Los Angeles.

Heirloom LA—Heirloom offers a range of foods from their signature catering available to families for pickup or delivery.

Ayara—One of my favorite Thai restaurants in Los Angeles has Thursday Thai Bento boxes each week with a different theme or region.

Sandy Ho—Make beautiful Vietnamese and Southeast Asian-inspired meals, the most gorgeous mini cakes, dumplings, and more for local LA delivery.

Room Forty—has prepared meals for family oven-ready. These would be great for a special occasion and fancy dinnertime option! (local pickup or delivery)

 

Bread/Carbs:

Hanks Bagels—My favorite bagel spot in Los Angeles does weekly deliveries of their amazing bagels and cream cheeses.

Little Market x Homeboy Industries— The Little Market has partnered with Homeboy Industries to deliver their baked goods (including the rainbow bread above) all over Los Angeles.

 

For prepared foods and meal kits to cook at home:

The Yori LA—Almost like a Korean Blue Apron, the food is all prepped and only needs to be cooked at home when you're ready. Local pickup and delivery available.

Black Hogg—Marinated meats that are perfect for cooking at home for an easy and delicious meal.

Lupa Cotta —Neapolitan pizza kits to make incredible pizza at home. Pick-up available on both East and West side locations for Los Angeles.

Brothecary—I always stock my freezer with their dumplings because it's such an easy meal to make within 10 minutes! (Local and nationwide delivery)

 

Treats/Sweets:

Milk and T—A favorite LA Boba spots now offers an at-home boba kit for delivery nationwide!

Valerie Confections—One of my favorite bakeries offers pies, cakes, and sweet treats as well as pantry staples. 

 

I'll keep adding to this list as I find and try new ones!

simple and inexpensive ways to spruce up your home decor...

Oh Joy Styling with Large Branches

Extra time at home means we're craving joy wherever we can add it! Today, we're bringing you three fun and easy projects to add a little pop of color and newness to your already existing decor. These are inexpensive projects that can give your space (and yourself!) a little refresh it needs to bring out the sunshine!

Oh Joy Mirror Decal

1) Try adding a decal to your mirror. A cute and short inspirational thought that makes you happy to look in the mirror and reminds you of your strength and determination. Try "You Got This" or "Find Joy Here" or "Keep Going".  Let us know what phrase you choose to give yourself some positivity every time you look in the mirror.

Oh Joy Wrapping Paper Mat Frames

2) Use wrapping paper to make a mat for your existing wall prints to freshen them up! Or, if you're ready for a new print, so many of our friends are offering amazing and inspirational prints during this time. Check out Everyday is OK, The House that Lars Built, and All She Wrote Notes

Oh Joy Large Branch DIY

3) Add branches to your vases. This option is fun because it involves a trek outside (don't forget to get sunshine and fresh air everyday)! Find some branches that will dry up nicely, then paint some (or ALL) of the leaves for a fun touch of color.

Let me know how you're sprucing up your house or if you need more fun ideas of low-lift things to do to bring a quick smile everyday.

(Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes and Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.) 

let me shop for you: vintage caftans!

let me shop for you: vintage caftans!

If you watched my recent IGTV video, you know that my number one go-to at home piece right now is a vintage caftan. It's colorful, fun, chic...yet comfy, too! Since we can't shop at our favorite local flea markets or vintage shops in person right now, there's so much available through vintage shops on Etsy in a range of sizes and prices.

Here are some tips I keep in mind for buying vintage caftans online:

1. Remember sizing for a caftan is more flexible than other clothing. Here's a case where you can wear sizes that are larger than your size since they are meant to be roomy. If you're getting a piece that isn't your size, you have to make sure that the fabric is flowy enough to still drape your frame properly. OR, you can also get them altered (which is generally not too expensive with a simple caftan shape). 

2. The pricing will reflect the quality. You can find some for $25-45 which will likely be a vintage polyester. Those will be durable and easily washable but may also be a thinner fabric. Anything in the lower $100s is likely much nicer quality and will last longer...those however, may be silk or other more precious materials so keep in mind if you'd prefer wear and wash pieces than anything too nice.

3. Keep specific search terms in mind to find more. I searched for "Vintage Floral Caftan" or "Hawaiian Vintage Caftan" to get these results below!

Here are six of my favorites available right now on Etsy....

let me shop for you: vintage caftans!

1. Hawaiian Caftan from ($65, size XS/S), 2. Caftan from VintagePrepGirl ($125, size 10-12), 3. Silk colorblock caftan from MilkTeeths ($150, size 10), 4. purple floral caftan by IggyAndBo ($68, size XS, S), 5. Multi-color floral caftan from PendulumVintage ($47, size M/L), 6. Abstract caftan from PurnaPalace ($124, size S).

(Top photo by Casey Brodley)

in my last few days of 40...

Oh Joy!

As I count down the last few days of my 40th year, it will be a very different birthday this year for sure. I can't believe I am saying this, but in the last few weeks...I've been happy again.

I spent the first month (or two) of quarantine being sad and angry over the life that was supposed to be happening right now for all of us...the things we were supposed to be doing, the places we were supposed to be going to, and the people we were supposed to be seeing, celebrating, hugging...

And then I realized, had that life that was "supposed to be" actually happened, I would have never spent so much unfiltered time with my family. Never would I have seen my kids' personalities blossom in the ways I have seen in the last 3 months with them home from school. Never would I have reconnected with the joy I once had in the kitchen where I now see cooking as enjoyable instead of something annoying. Never would I have felt SO grateful to have a home to sleep in and our health which I always took for granted.

I would have just gone on with that life that was supposed to be. These feelings are vastly different than those I wrote you a couple months ago. And that's not to say they won't change again...this is an ocean wave we're all riding together after all. But in this moment...right now..I am choosing to enjoy this alternate normal and all the things it has taught me.

Have a great weekend, friends...! What are YOU enjoying right now?

(Photo by Max Wanger for his series "Through the Looking Glass")

my favorite online print shops!

my favorite online print shops / oh joy!

I'm currently working on finishing touches to our home like adding artwork to walls and other fun details! I'm not quite at the point of being able to afford all original art, so we have mostly prints in our home. In my research for print art, I've come across so many great sites (some introduced to me by Cleo from Project M+) and artists where you can buy prints for reasonable prices...some come framed and some don't. Since I typically like getting prints framed before they arrive to me, I'll often order and send them to Simply Framed, otherwise, I tend to have a pile of prints in rolls just sitting there forever. Here are some of my favorites right now...

For adult spaces (above): 1. Coneflower from Juniper Print Club (from $20), 2. Bored print by Marta Fromme for Fine Little Day from The Poster Club (from $63), 3. Sunset Vibes by LouLou Avenue from The Poster Club (from $49), 4. Hazel by Arielle Vey (from $20), 5. Lola Donahue print (from $120), Hayley Mitchell face print (from $30).

my favorite online print shops / oh joy!

For kids' spaces (or any space really): 7. Hotel Magique "Wake Up, No Thank You" print (from $20), 8. Simple Virtues by Erin Jang from House That Lars Built (from $20), 9. Carolyn Gavin hair print ($20), 10. Rainbow print by Samantha Hahn ($65), 11. Maggie Stephenson print from The Jungalow (from $40), 12. Cool Boyz Club by Max Machen from Print Club London (from $140).

you deserve dessert...

Oh Joy Mini Bundt Cakes

You, yes YOU, deserve dessert today! You are surviving an unprecedented time full of worry, stress, angst, anger, annoyance, scary feelings, and everything in between. You are doing it! No matter if that looks like Pinterest-worthy crafts with your kids or your third time watching Tiger King. Maybe you have a living room covered with every toy or craft you own, or the cleanest and most organized house your've ever lived in. Because this is hard on all of us, and and we are all doing our best right now, we all deserve a treat (or two)! If you feel like treating yourself today, here are a few of our favorite recipes just for you!

Oh Joy Neapolitan Cookies

A Neapolitan Cookie dipped in white chocolate and coconut.  Fresh from the oven - just for you!

Oh Joy Funfetti Mille Cake

This Funfetti Crepe Cake may look super fancy and hard to make but it doesn't even require baking! Plus, everything needed is available at the grocery store.

Oh Joy and Molly Yeh Rainbow Icebox Cake

Here's a super fun Rainbow Icebox Cake we made with Molly Yeh 5 years ago! This one also requires no baking, and I love that you could make this in any size you want!

Oh Joy Pastel Mini Bundt Cakes

If you feel like sharing, you can make an entire platter of Mini Bundt Cakes with a delicious pastel icing coating that borders on perfection.

I love and appreciate each one of you and want you to be safe, healthy and happy...and your sweet tooth satiated!

{Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and baking by Jess Hong.}

when is the house tour coming?

Joy Cho Oh Joy Builds A House

I know you have all been patiently waiting for a house tour and final reveals! We're in a completely unknown time with our city half shut down and stay-at-home orders, so while my house is done and we are living in it, we are waiting until it's safe to get a photographer in there to capture the spaces in the way that they deserve to be captured and shown to you. So please know...we are working on it, and we will reveal as soon as we can while we wait for the world to start to return to normal!

However, in the meantime...I'm still sharing peeks here and there. I have two years of posts and process you can check out if you missed any of them! Here are a few places that contain all the house goodness:

Oh Joy Story Highlights

1) Instagram Story Highlights - Saved to my highlights are stories I've done all along the way.  There are four highlights currently (look for "House | 1" "House | 2" etc.)

#ohjoybuildsahouse

2) Instagram Posts - Search the hashtag #OhJoyBuildsAHouse and you'll see all my IG posts relating to the house.

Pinterest Board Oh Joy Builds A House

3) Pinterest - All of the products I am using in my house can be found on my board Oh Joy Builds A House.

Joy's House Oh Joy Blog

4) Oh Joy! Blog - Right here! You can see all the process posts (and someday soon all the final reveal posts) on the blog under the section Joy's House!

If you have any other comments or questions, please ask below!