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happy friday + oh joy from 2005 to 2018...

Oh Joy / 13 years!

You guys! Oh Joy is officially a teenager! When I started this business 13 years ago, I never expected to have a business that was so connected to a community of people through the Internet! I never thought I'd make real, live friends through it. I never thought I'd connect with people all over the world and get to share my vision with complete strangers. I never thought that it would give me the opportunity to create something from nothing and create a job I truly love doing every day.

In celebration, I'm looking back at the last 13 years to show how things have changed and evolved and grown (both personally and professionally) in the last decade. This is a long post (but a fun one). So I hope you'll hang out and read along...

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12 things we’ve learned from 12 years of marriage...

Oh Joy / 12 Things I've Learned in 12 Years of Marriage

This weekend, my husband, Bob, and I are celebrating 12 years of marriage and 22 years together in total. So, I thought it would be fun (with input from Bob) to share some things we've learned in our last 12 years with you. These things aren't only important for marriage but serious relationships in general. Here we go...

1. You don’t have to agree about everything, but you need to agree about some important things. Specifically: 1) Number of kids (and what happens if you don’t get the gender mix you are hoping for—do you stop or have more?).  We agreed on two kids, no matter the gender mix. 2) Who handles the money (joint bank accounts vs. separate vs. mostly joint bank accounts with small separate personal ones). We do the latter. 3) What religion will you practice?  What religion will your kids be raised in? 4) How will you handle your respective parents? Will you support them financially? How will holidays be separated and when family visits occur?

2. Don’t expect your partner to change any of those annoying habits. Embrace them or make peace with them as they will likely continue to persist forever. Appreciate the nuances of your partner’s personality and love them for it. But also find a way to poke fun at them from time to time to keep things light! 

3. Have your own life and your own friends outside of marriage. Often, your friends become friends with your partner, but those friendships need to exist outside your marriage to make sure you are personally fulfilled. It's also nice to have those separate friends and have someone to lean on when things aren’t going perfectly in your marriage and you just need friends to talk to through it.  

4. Make the right things matter. For example, we decided a long time ago that gifts for birthdays and anniversaries aren’t important for us—it was the opportunity to spend time together to appreciate the day. So we celebrate these occasions with special dinners or small trips instead of gifts.

5. You can be equals, but not all parts of your marriage have to be equal. Maximize what each person is good at and divide the duties of marriage appropriately. And don't hold a grudge against your partner because they can’t do something as well as you with regards to this. Bob isn't usually home early enough to cook dinner, so I do most of the cooking during the week. But he tries to make breakfast and dinner on the weekends because has has more time then. Bob fixes everything around the house because he's better at it, but I'm much better at keeping things organized. I plan almost all of our date nights, nights out, and vacations because I'm better at managing and coordinating. And then he handles most of our household bills so that I can focus on managing my business' bills.  

6. You don’t have to be around your partner all the time to appreciate them. This especially goes for couples where one person travels for work a lot or even couples in long-distance relationships. We were long-distance for 9 years of our dating relationship and while it was hard at times, it actually helped us in the long run. In fact, I think you appreciate them more when your time is limited because you make the most of every moment you have with them.  

7. Your partner still cannot read your mind. No matter how much you get to know each other year after year and you know their true selves more and more, you will never know exactly what the other person is thinking/feeling/wanting at all points in time. Which is why communication is still (and always will be) key to a good relationship, especially when you're disagreeing about something.

8. Never underestimate the power of a date night. It’s an instant reset button when life and kids and work and responsibilities take over! Don't give the excuse of not having time (make time), it being too expensive (you can go out for pizza) or not having a baby sitter (ask friends who will gladly want to give you a night out). If all else fails, date nights can also involve Netflix and take-out dinner on the couch at home after the kids have gone to bed. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to be dedicated time for you and your partner.

9. Don't go to bed angry. Sleeping before resolving an argument never feels good. While everyone's style of resolving an argument or disagreement is different, do your best to resolve it before the night is over. No one likes the feeling of going to bed angry so just don't do it.

10. If you have (or will have) kids, figure out your general parenting style. Before you have kids or while your kids are entering a new stage of their development, decide how you will jointly parent and how you will resolve conflict with your kids. You have to be on the same team so that kids have consistent responses from both parents and also so when discipline or rule-setting needs to take place immediately, you know where you both stand in quickly responding to the situation. You don't need every detail of your parenting to be exactly the same, but your overall style should be in sync. 

11. Favorite, least favorite, tomorrow. We do this at dinner every night with our kids every night during dinner, and I find it's actually so helpful for my marriage as well. By having everyone in the family go through what their favorite and least favorite things about the day were (and then telling what you're looking forward to tomorrow), it not only gives you a sense of something your partner might not have thought to tell you, but it allows an opportunity to vent about something when they might have forgotten to bring it up later in the evening.

12. Always be your partner's #1 fan. Whether they're interested in changing careers, taking up a new hobby, wanting to dye their hair pink, or just taking some sort of leap of faith or risk, be there to support them. It doesn't mean you have to agree with all decisions or that you can't speak up if you have differing opinions, it just means to support what they are aiming to do and you can give your honest feedback, if needed, at the same time.

If you have any other tips from your own experience, please share in the comments below! Stuff like this is helpful for everyone! Happy weekend!

{Photo by Morgan Pansing}

a gift from us to you for 13 years!

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13 years ago this month, I started a blog and a design company called Oh Joy! What was intended to be a side project while I was looking for a new job turned into my real life job. I went from being a graphic designer and designing for a ton of other people's brands to having a site to share my inspirations and ideas, collaborating with brands to make products, writing books about various topics I was passionate about, being a business consultant for hundreds of other small businesses, growing a team, and doing more things than I ever thought possible. I'll go into a bigger recap of our last 13 years at the end of the month, but for today, I wanted to THANK YOU all for being here and for coming to this site and visiting our site, purchasing our products, reading our books, and for your support in general.

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I can't hug each and every one of you, but I can thank you with some amazing giveaways we have planned over the next 13 days! I have always loved sharing the work and products of other companies I love, so I've partnered with 13 of them to give one of YOU something! So, please follow along on our @ohjoy Instagram account for a new giveaway every morning at 7am PST/10am EST with giveaways with: Sugarfina, Max Wanger, Clare V, Loeffler Randall, DryBar, Hedley & Bennett, Ace & Jig, Artifact Uprising, State Bags, Joybird, Maya Brenner, Jeni's Ice Cream, and, of course, the Oh Joy! shop!

{Top photo by Lily Glass, styling by Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance by Jess Hong, graphics by Angie Stalker.} 

a staycation for mom...

A Staycation for Mom... / via Oh Joy!

Today, we're partnering with Home2 Suites by Hilton to show you how to celebrate the end of summer and the start of school for the person who really deserves a break...MOM! You've been in charge of your whole family's summer and school year and it's always GO GO GO for you. So today, I'm encouraging you to take a night for yourself to get away, leave the kids with your partner, and have a staycation! See our fun video below to get your Mom's Staycation started...

P.S. Home2 Suites is giving away a 2-night stay to one lucky winner! Head to their Instagram page to learn how to enter for a chance to win!

{Photo by Lily Glass, Video by Jenner Brown} 

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Hilton. All opinions are my own.

happy friday + helping YOU achieve your dreams...

Oh Joy!

After my last two posts about working with a Life Coach (Why I Got One and Things I Learned That Could Help You, Too), I received so many great messages from you and how much you enjoyed reading about my experience. But also, there were so many of you asking more about how you could find one for yourself or those of you struggling with what the next step is in your life and career. I didn't go dishing out contact information for my own coach in the way that I would hand out referrals for everything else in my life because 1) I know she is very specific about the people she works with and 2) You have to be in a phase of life where you are ready to do the work that's involved.

However, there were a good number of you who were truly interested. So, my coach, Bonnie, offered a gift from her to me to you a session for THREE of you to have the chance to talk to her about anything you want. No strings attached. Just simply to gift the gift of guidance to a few of you. SO...if you're interested, please read this letter from my coach, Bonnie, below and how you can be selected...

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happy friday + my favorite podcast episodes lately...

Oh Joy!

This photo has nothing to do with podcasts, but I didn't have a good "podcast" photo so here we go! ;) Lately, I've been enjoying car rides alone (which rarely happen in the first place) because I get to catch up on podcasts. Driving is truly the one time that I can really absorb a podcast because I'm forced not to do anything else but drive and listen. So, I wanted to share not just my favorite podcasts, but my favorite podcast episodes, lately...

Jen Gotch is OK Sometimes — Are We Addicted to Social Media?

Rise Together — You Have to Fail to Grow

Asian Americana — Boba/Bubble Tea (not my usual suggestions but fun if you like learning about the history of things)

Out of Line — Jihan Zencirli on Reinvention

And two that I happen to be in recently that I personally really love and hope you'll enjoy, too!

Awesome with Alison — Mastering Growth, Confidence and LIFE with Joy Cho!

Raising the Bar with Alli and Michael — Jump for Joy

Have a great weekend!

my first major meltdown in the home build process...

Oh Joy Builds a House: My First Major Meltdown

I have something to admit. Building a house has given me a LOT of stress and anxiety lately. I have been hesitant to talk about it because I feel so very grateful to be able to even do this project and to be able to share it with all of you. But after cry sessions in front of my husband, kids, and life coach recently, I realized there are things here that I wanted to share. So, here's the deal...

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things i learned through my life coach that might help you, too...

 

Things I Learned Through My Life Coach That Might Help You, Too!

A couple weeks ago, I talked in detail about why I got a Life Coach. Today, I wanted to share some nuggets of information from some of the notes I've taken from conversations we've had or books I've read that could help you, too, in some way. These are pulled from various moments over the last several months. But I love that on their own (without the context of why we discussed them), they still make so much sense....

1. Any type of growth takes time and faith and practice. Growth hurts just like when you're exercising, and you get sore from using new muscles. Sometimes it's uncomfortable to grow and change and become the real you. 

2. Even though growth can hurt, you shouldn't stop it from happening. If you were to try and help a butterfly transform, you might do more damage then good. It needs to transform on its own to become what it can truly be.

3. Sometimes, if you prevent an experience from happening to someone else (because you are worried you'll hurt their feelings or they may react poorly), you’re holding them back from learning a lesson on their own to experience those emotions. They needs those lessons for their own personal growth.

4. Making an agreement with someone is much stronger than an placing an expectation upon them. This holds true for partners in marriage, employees, co-workers, etc. Others love to keep agreements that they can co-author with you. Then if something you're hoping for isn't realistic for the other person, you’ll find out in advance why something won’t occur the way you want it to.

5. The owner mindset is taking whatever life gives me and welcoming it in. Owning it and deciding what I want to learn and create from it.

The victim mindset sees circumstance as all powerful. And often those circumstances look negative and emotionally overwhelming.

The truth is we human beings have an endless, innate capacity for optimism and creativity already built-in that we can choose to tap into anytime we want.

6. We have to remember that the goal of life is not to be busy, it is to be successful. Often, it is when we let go of our busyness that vision returns, inspiration appears, and a new level of true success is possible.

7. Success is about being original and being collaborative. Success is about connecting with others and finding your team. Even the most original thinkers need to have backing and support for their visions and ideas.

{Photo by Lily Glass.}

happy friday + why i got a life coach...

why i have a life coach... / via Oh Joy!

At the end of last year, I started questioning myself and my work and felt lost. Those feeling and events led me to working with a life coach which I wanted to share a bit more about with you today. I've talked a few times on Instagram Stories about working with one and originally planned to post all the things I've learned from working with mine. But I realized that so many of you have questions about it in general...Why did I get one? How do you find one? What's the difference between a life coach and a therapist? So today, I'm focusing first on all your questions about it...

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BIG NEWS! We're building a house!

BIG NEWS: Oh Joy! Builds A House!

I can't believe this is actually happening, but I am excited to FINALLY tell you that...we are building a HOUSE! Are we crazy for doing this? Yes! Is this process going to give me 267 ulcers and a head of grey hair? Probably. Is it going to be the project of a lifetime? Heck, yes! Here's how it all began...

We have been living in the same rental since we moved to Los Angeles 8 years ago (before kids, before my husband started his current job, before Oh Joy grew to being more than just me). We only had a few days to find an apartment when we decided to move to LA in 2010 and rented the top floor of a little duplex (with a great little balcony and view of the city) thinking we would eventually move into a real house with a backyard once we had kids. But Bob and I were both building our careers, and we had a really great deal on our rental so we took the time to save money for a house. We had no real rush to buy anything and no desire take on all the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Our place felt just fine with one child. However, once we got pregnant with Coco in 2014, we felt ready to make the leap and do what grown-ups think they should do...buy a house with more space for their growing family.

Four years ago, I wrote this post how we were looking to buy our first house in Los Angeles and how not easy the process was. Los Angeles isn't a cheap place to live, and the prices of homes here are pretty insane. We spent a good year looking while I was pregnant with Coco as that balcony with a great view didn't seem as amazing anymore when all I wanted was a backyard for my kids to run around and play in. As I had mentioned in that blog post, our first house offer got outbid by someone who had ALL CASH (how do you compete with that?). Then, we decided to up our budget a little bit and found another house we liked even more...thinking, "THIS is why that other house didn't work out. We were meant to get this one!" We put an offer on that 2nd house, only to get outbid WAAAAY over our budget. We started looking at fixer uppers that would be in a comfortable budget, but then we'd still need to spend a ton of money on renovations after the fact to make them livable. Feeling deflated, we kept looking and realized to get the moderate-sized house with a flat yard in the neighborhoods we wanted, we would need to increase our budget more than we could afford. No one wants to be house poor, so we were ready to stop the hunt and keep saving so that we could come back with a bigger down payment in another year or two.

THEN, during one of our drives around the neighborhood looking for open houses, we ran into a friend who had just finished building their house. They invited us in to see it, and we were floored. The value of their house when finished was double what it cost them to build it. The thoughts running through our minds as we talked to them were...

"Yes, of course this house is amazing because it's brand new and custom-designed."

"It's always been my dream to build a house!"

"We could never afford to do that now."

"Wait, what? It costs you HALF the price to build a house in Los Angeles then to buy one?"

Our friends, Cleo and McShane from Project M+, who happened to have also designed their own home, set the path for convincing us that if we had the patience, we should build a house instead of buying one. At the same time, a childhood friend of mine, Melissa, had just moved to Los Angeles. She was an architect as well and told me how she was about to begin designing and building her own family's house, too. And I was like..."Wait, what is happening here? How are these people who are still building their careers, like us, able to do this?" Yes, they were both architects and knew what they were doing. But, it turns out that in Los Angeles (unlike most of the country), the real estate prices here are so ridiculously high that it actually cheaper to build a house from scratch then to buy one. Who knew? Now, that does NOT mean it's quicker to build a house because if that was the case, this post would have been posted a lot sooner than today.

So, that was 2014...how it took until now for me to tell you this story and announce that we are actually doing this is....to be continued. We started construction on the house about six months ago, and it will take another year or so until it's done. I'm excited to share details about this ENTIRE process from start to finish and share snippets with you in real time as we go. I'm also so excited that we will be partnering with Architectural Digest's Clever to tell the story on their channels as well over the next year to completion. We'll be providing additional tips and takeaways over there so you'll get a lot of great information. I have learned so much, and it's really so fascinating (both the fun and not-so-fun parts about it). Here's a little peek!

If there is anything in particular you want me to share, please (please!) leave a comment below. Do you want to see photographed posts or video posts? Do you want to see things in a Pinterest board, Instagram, Instagram Stories...all of it? Do tell! This project has been my second job for the last couple years, and I can't wait to tell you everything I've learned. 

BIG NEWS: Oh Joy! Builds A House!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will talk about how we found land to build on, and how went about buying it!

{Photos by Lily Glass and video by Jenner Brown