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oh joy gift guide: kid's gifts that will last!

oh joy gift guide: kid's gifts that will last!

Our last holiday gift guide is here! When it comes to gifts for kids, we know kids LOVE the junky, plastic toys that they may only be entertained with once or twice. But, if you're looking for gifts that will last beyond that and serve a more functional, educational, or longer-term purpose, here are some of my faves...

1) The Typeset Co. Letters and Boards (from $25); 2) Hazelvillage Dolls (from $44); 3) Oh Honey Child felt garlands (from $15); 4) Clixo building sets (from $30); 5) Oh Joy x Clover pajamas ($34); 6) Rainbow Mug by THISISTISA ($18); 7) Ahimsa plate set ($64); 8) Tiny Deer Studio Knit Blanket ($120); 9) Chelsea and West play tent; 10) SkyHugsShop tee; 11) Still Novel prints (from $60); and 12) The House That Lars Built Class art classes for kids ($99).

tips for an easy photo book...

Oh Joy! for Mixbook Photo Books

The biggest barrier to making photo books is ALL. THE. WORK. Am I right? It often seems impossible if you're already seven years behind or still need to make last year's book! But let's take that pressure off of us, shall we? Times are hard enough and we don't need extra stress—we need extra joy and happiness! And for me, something that makes me happy is looking at old photos! However they're organized (or not) and whatever order they're in, it's always fun. So take the pressure off yourself to create a masterpiece and get something on the page that you and your loved ones will cherish. Here are my favorite tips for making photo books easy just in time for holiday gift-giving...

Oh Joy! for Mixbook Photo Books

1) Copy and paste the same designed page/layout for each month, changing the image and the month only. You then have twelve pages already done and only needed one picture per page. It's especially easy if you can find one big thing you celebrated that month: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, big events, or family getaways. Even if the book is only twelve pages, you'll still have a great book with memories spanning the entire year. And once you break the big hurdle of getting started, you might even want to add an additional page (or two!) per month.

Oh Joy! for Mixbook Photo Books

2) Leave a page or two blank to draw or write on! Whether you let your kids doodle or you write a personal note, it's such a fun way to keep track of time and personalize the book even more.

Oh Joy! for Mixbook Photo Books

3) Try making a book by subject matter instead of by year. If you have a favorite park you've taken your kids to for much of their lives, do a Park Book with images spanning as many years as you have. Or dedicate a book to your favorite people—grandparents, best friends, etc. Most photo clouds can already sort photos by person, so it's easy to upload and slot in to our great templates. And there's no pressure to to have it in any kind of order either. You'll get pleasure in revisiting the memories on each page even if they bounce back and forth between years.


4) Ask for help! If you're putting together a big book for Grandma with all the grandkids or trying to finish that vacation book from three years ago, call for help! The great thing about Mixbook is you can share a project and have multiple contributors. Everyone can add in their own images, their own pages, and you get a perfectly wonderful mix of everyone's experience and memories. (And then everyone that wants one can order it on their own too, so you don't have to worry about that either!)

Or, if you want your own family's input, spend a family night projecting your phone images on your TV for everyone to look at. Mark the favorites from everybody and then upload the favorites and pop them into the pre-made templates! You'll be surprised how quickly everyone has something they want to share AND it's a fun look back on past memories.

5) Finally, reject the idea of perfect! Aim for fun and finished instead! Because I promise you, it's better to have the book than wait until you get enough hours and energy to make everything "just perfect". And I also promise that once you have the book, and others do too, you'll think it's pretty perfect.

Shop the entire Oh Joy! x Mixbook collection here.  And receive 45% off your holiday order: OHJOY45  (expires 12/30/20).

(Lifestyle photos by Lily Glass, styling by Joy Cho)

oh joy gift guide: accessories

2020 Oh Joy! Gift Guide - Accessories

Accessories are always a fun gift to give because they are pieces that can be personal and speak to the style of your recipient. Here are some of my favorites to give in a range of price points. Plus, all of the items for this guide are from businesses owned/run/designed/made by women of color!

1. Oh Joy! x Keds (on sale now from $60-80), 2. A.Battiste earrings ($32),  3. You Go Natural Headwraps ($35), 4. Camp by Julia Wester socks ($12), 5. Amu Cherian scarves ($90), 6. Wanderlust + Co. ring ($35), 7. XOUXOU phone accessories ($69), 8. Julia Vaughn necklace ($85), 9. Coco and Breezy sunglasses ($285).

my favorite power rings!

Oh Joy! Power Rings

My favorite accessory right now is what I like to call a Power Ring. It's typically a bolder or oversized ring (but one that is still comfortable to wear) that feels fun and makes you smile. Here are some of my favorites in a range in price points, both new and vintage—some are novelty and some are investments you'll want to keep forever.

Sources: left to right, top to bottom: Julia Vaughn Edie Ring ($78)*, One Five Six Jewelry Smiley Face and Daisy Rings ($98), Roam Vintage Serafina Ring ($138)*, Wow That's Beautiful Aqua Ring ($44), Ariel Gordon Pave Letter Ring ($2350), Maya Brenner x Sarah Hendler Pearl Ring ($650), Wow That's Beautiful Black and Gold Ring ($79). (*BIPOC-owned)

kids' books that show diversity (part 2)...

kids' books that show diversity (part 2)...

As a follow-up to our first post in 2017 about diverse kids' books, here's an updated version with a few of my family's favorites right now. Ranging in ages from 0-10, these books focus on authors and characters of color, characters who break the traditional molds of what was expected of them, stories of real life people who broke through barriers to accomplish great things, and stories that speak to kids even at a young age.

1. Look Up with Me by Neil deGrasse Tyson is a biography on the beloved astrophysicist and great for ages 4 to 6 and especially for kids who love science and exploring the stars.

2. Queer Heroes by Arabelle Sicardi celebrates the achievements of LGBTQ+ people through history and from around the world with a diverse selection of 53 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their incredible successes. Great for ages 6-10 and especially for those who are starting to do school book reports on notable people in history!

3. Little People, Big Dreams has a whole series (this one is on Rosa Parks) that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This one is great for toddler to little kid ages.

4. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty champions STEM, girl power and women scientists in a rollicking celebration of curiosity, the power of perseverance, and the importance of asking “Why?” I love this one for older toddlers to little kids.

5. Another by Christian Robinson is great picture book from baby to toddler that allows the reader to explore all the possibilities the world brings. He also just came out with You Matter which I've recently added to our library as well.

6. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. This one is great for ages 6-10...my oldest read through this with a few biographies every night until she finished.

7. Work It, Girl: Oprah Winfrey by Caroline Moss helps us discover how Oprah became a billionaire CEO and media mogul in this true story of her life. I love how you can also learn 10 key lessons from her work to apply to your own life. Great for bigger kids to tweens.

8. The Wall: A Timeless Tale by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti is about the benefits of diversity and encouraging kids to see how helpful it can be to work together. This is a very visual book on what can be a serious topic that makes it easy for smalls kids to understand.

I will keep adding to my list, and you can always find more of my favorite kid's books right here.

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)

hopeful gifts that support small businesses...


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).

Valentine's Day Inspo...

Valentine's Day Inspo... / via Oh Joy!

We love celebrating Valentine's Day! From sweet cards to tasty treats and everything in between, here are our ALL-TIME FAVORITE valentine ideas. If you're looking for some inspiration to tell all your family and friends just how much you love them, or if you need a fun idea that your little one can hand out to their classmates, keep reading... 


book review: make your kid a money genius (even if you're not)

Book Review: Make Your Kid a Money Genius by Beth Kobliner

Last week, I mentioned that this book—Make Your Kid a Money Genius by Beth Kobliner—was on my list of reads for 2020. Well, I started and finished last weekend, and I can't recommend it enough! So I thought I'd do a slightly more in detail book review. Now that I've finished it, I can tell you why every parent should read this book...


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...