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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)

to all the homes i've loved before...

Oh Joy! Living Room - Photo by Monica Wang

As we get ready to move into our new home in a few weeks (yay!), I'm getting nostalgic about the home we've spent the last 10 years in. We started our life in Los Angeles here, started a family here, and really grew to love Los Angeles here. So, while I'm looking back..here's a look back at all the place I've lived in my adult life starting with my very first solo apartment in Brooklyn Heights after college...

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

From 2001-2005, I live in this 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights, New York. This was my first solo apartment as an adult after living with roommates for four years prior. I was in my early 20's and working at my first couple design jobs out of college while living here. Brooklyn wasn't yet the cool spot that it is now but it was totally on it's way, and I loved it SO much. This apartment was on the 3rd floor of some giant house that looked like a haunted mansion from the outside, but it had such character and the best creeky, carpeted steps in the hallway that I will never forget.

I found someone on Craig's List to make me these stacking, modular boxes that I used as a bookshelf and divider area for my bed. (By the way, I was an early user of Craig's List and my friends thought I was crazy to find a stranger through a website!). This tiny studio apartment was $1270-1390 per month back in 2001-2005 (which still sounds SO expensive to me for such a tiny space), and I remember being SO broke because it took more than half my pay check each month. But I was young, had no responsibilities, and it was just the place I needed to be at that time in my life.

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

From 2005-2009, we lived in this one bedroom apartment in Philly. I had moved back to Philly (where I'm from) and left New York to live closer to my then-boyfriend, Bob, who had just started a long-term residency in Philly. We had been dating long-distance for 9 years and were ready to live in the same city. This is the apartment we lived in when we got engaged, got married, and had some of our biggest early married couple fights. This is the apartment where I started Oh Joy! back in September 2005. It was about 900 sq. ft. and the perfect size for a newlywed couple and our three cats. This was the apartment where my personal style started to bloom, and I really began to express it more through my slightly expanded use of color! In true Joy form, I found someone on Craig's List to sew these custom curtains for all these windows we had. Ha!

Oh Joy! San Diego

From 2009-2010, we lived temporarily for a year in Coronado (a tiny island off San Diego) while Bob was doing his last year of training in San Diego for the year. I had Oh Joy! but it was just me, so I worked out of a bedroom in a 3-bedroom duplex we rented for the year. I have no photos of it cause it was completely temporary and we used the owners furniture (so it never really felt like home). So here's a photo of me outside of it with the Mini Cooper I had at that time!

Oh Joy! Living Room, Photo by Monica Wang

Oh Joy! Kids' Bedroom / Photo by Sasha Guilish for Land of Nod

Oh Joy! Photo by Katherine Rose

From 2010-present (almost 10 years!), we have lived in this duplex (top floor of a house) in Los Angeles. When we rented this apartment back in 2010, we didn't look at schools or intend to raise our family here. We thought it would be temporary to get our feet wet as new residents of LA. 10 years later, we've started our family here and raised two amazing kids, met and grew some of our forever friendships here, had many Friendsgivings here, and really made Los Angeles our home here. Emily Henderson was a huge part of helping us to design our living room, dining room, and Coco's nursery (before she shared a room with Ruby). This is the home where my personal style really came to life, and it's fun to see how much my adult homes have evolved over the last 20 years!

I can't wait to show you what's next in our very first home that we'll actually own. If you want to catch up on everything I've shared over the past couple years on our progress, you can see it all right here!

(Professional photos above by: Monica Wang, Sasha Gulish, Katherine Rose)

when one chapter closes, another begins...

Oh Joy!

February 2020 will go down as one of the hardest months of my life. This was the month that I took a good, hard look at my business and realized it was going in a direction that I didn’t want it to go. I was burnt out and emotionally drained trying to maintain every single thing that I had built. I was no longer fully, truly happy...and it showed. I knew I had to make some changes, and they were sad, emotional, but also filled with a lot of hope in making space for the things that would allow me to breathe again and feel the joy that this business is all about.

I have already shared more details about the closing of our online shop. I've also decided to move out of our studio and into a smaller space instead. Our space has become a beautiful home to me and my team, and it's definitely bittersweet to see it go. But truly, the hardest decision of all was to scale back on my day-to-day team. I built a dream team of people who have helped me grow over the last several years. I focused so much of my efforts in giving them all the best work/life balance possible, that I forgot about my own life. I am so grateful to have had the best, most loyal team on earth...many of whom are now on their way to exciting and new opportunities (and some of them will still be working with me as freelancers!).

Often, we are taught to believe that growth means MORE of this and MORE of that. I realized that the growth that I really needed was to have less of all these things that I always assumed I needed to be successful. What I really needed was to focus on the parts of this business that made me the happiest and take it to a place that I could manage it all while having a fulfilling life with my family and be present as a mother, wife, and friend.

A few weeks ago, I would have not been able to write this or share this with you because I was deep in the throes (and deep in tears) of making these hard decisions. And, while this next chapter of Oh Joy! is still being written, I feel confident that these difficult decisions were for the best, and I am truly excited for this pivot and what's to come.

The good news is...a lot of the things you know and love (products, content, my house reveal, the academy, new books) will all still be here as there are a TON of new things we have been working on for 2020. You'll see and hear my voice around here more, start to see a slight shift in focus, and...the rest has yet to unfold.

I read this line recently in Dave Hollis' new book that felt so timely for me right now and might be helpful for you as well:

"You and you alone have to feel the call on your heart to grow and pursue the life that's better than the one you already have, even if it means shedding the identity you've become comfortable with." — Dave Hollis

Thanks for your support and for always being there for me and for us throughout the almost 15 years I have been running this business. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you guys back here next week!

P.S. My awesome 4400 sq. ft. studio in the Frog Town area of Los Angeles (see some photos here, here, and here) will be available starting April 1st. If you're interested in more information, email us: [email protected] and we'll send you more info!

{Photo by Lily Glass}

what's one quality you need to succeed as a small business?

what's one quality you need to succeed as a small business? / via oh joy!

Over at the Oh Joy! Academy, everyone who has taken a class, session, or downloaded a product with us has access to a special Facebook group where they can ask me business questions at any time. It's been a fun way to get into specifics with people and also chat with them in our monthly Facebook lives! Today, I wanted to talk here about one very important quality that you need to be able to succeed in running a small business...and that's...the ability to take risks.

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how to come up with a name for your business...

how to come up with a name for your business... / via oh joy!

Over at the Oh Joy! Academy, I've been teaching various topics for small business owners to help them grow and take their business to the next level. BUT, what if you don't already have a business and want to start one? I created this free PDF called, "What Kind of Business (or Side Hustle) Should I Start?" for those interested in the idea of starting something. Since then, I've been wanting to address some of the early business basics that comes after that. So today, we're talking about How to Come Up with a Name for Your Business!

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5 books to start off the year...

5 books to start off the year... / via oh joy!

Last year was the year I started reading books again! I know, you're probably like..."What do you mean, Joy?!" Yes, folks..for several years, I stopped reading books. I mean, I skimmed books from time-to-time, and when I needed help on a topic (like parenting), I would gander through a book about it. But I mostly read articles—and with a rare exception—parenting books. But last year, I dove deeper...I read business books, mental health books, and mémoires. I just starting enjoying picking up a physical book again after a pretty long hiatus. I'm still not into fiction books, but I'll take it one step at a time. So here are five books I have on my list right now to start the year with...

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my clothing spending freeze of 2019 and what i'm doing for 2020...

my clothing spending freeze of 2019 and what i'm doing for 2020... / via oh joy!

Because of our on-going house project, last year, we cut out major travel and vacations from our family budget. And, I cut out about 90% of my clothing purchases. I went on a spending freeze and was on a mission to not buy any new clothes for myself.

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what are you waiting for?

what are you waiting for? / via oh joy!

Do you know what stops us all from achieving our goals, our next big accomplishment, or that thing we’ve been wanting to do forever but haven’t? It’s the feeling that the timing needs to be just right. Or that our website has to be PERFECT. Or that we need to have just the right amount of savings in our bank account to be able to make it happen. 

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remembering...

Nick Slater NYC

It's hard to believe that it's been 18 years. 18 years since life changed forever. I've talked about my experience on September 11, 2001 in past blog posts (here and here)...and no matter how much time passes, that day is still so vivid in my memory.

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