Oh Joy

confetti cookie bites!25 Nov 2015

Confetti Cookie Bites

With the holiday season about to kick off in full force, we're thinking about edible delights to make for gifts or for guests visiting this holiday. Confetti makes me think of celebrations and merriment. So why not give your loved ones an edible version with these mini cookies that are like edible confetti! You won’t be able to stop them from eating these snack-sized gems. See below for more...


10 wearable gifts...24 Nov 2015

10 Wearable Gifts

Our next gift guide includes a few of my favorite wearables—perfect for your bestie, sister, or to hint at for yourself ;)

1. Eye studs from Leif for a subtle, yet quirky, statement.

2. Emily Green necklaces are my favorite for adding an instant pop of color to the simplest outfit.

3. A wearable planter ring from Adorn Milk for that flora lover that already has everything.

4. This En Soie clutch is one of my favorites that everyone loves.

5. Comfy and chic, a pair Zuzii shoes for someone who loves having fancy feet.

6. Make a true statement with this Ban.do sweatshirt.

7. A pretty J.Crew bracelet that looks like candy wrapped around your wrist.

8. Both cute and casual, this Rifle for Le Sport Sac backpack is a favorite around the Oh Joy office.

9. For this chilly winter, this Anthropologie knit hat is crazy cute.

10. This bangle by Kate Spade is especially perfect for that girl who rocks a pair of glasses like no one else!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home...23 Nov 2015

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Maybe you’ve decided you’d like to take a family holiday photo or some cute photos of your kids as gifts for relatives, but a professional photographer is out of budget. Or you simply waited until the last minute and need to take some photos ASAP. I've partnered with Olympus today to show you how easy it is to set up a simple backdrop within a small space of your home to take these photos yourself!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

1. Make your own seamless backdrop. All you need is a wall in your home or garage that gets good natural light that you can temporarily cover. Depending on how many people will be in the photo, the width you need might vary from 5-9 feet wide depending on how many people will be in the photo. If you plan to do this often, it's worth getting one roll of seamless paper in either 5 ft wide to photograph less than 2 people or 9 ft wide for bigger families with 3 or more people.

If you’re feeling crafty, simply buy a giant roll of white seamless paper and go crazy with paint to create the backdrop of your dreams. Or, you can make it easier on yourself by using fabric that already comes in a great color or pattern. Find a bed sheet in a fun pattern or buy a few yards of fabric at a local fabric store.

To hang the background, simply use thumbtacks or blue painters tape to adhere the top and sides of the paper/fabric to the wall, then let the rest of it drape down to the ground with enough room for the subject to stand on it. You'll need at least 10 feet long in total regardless of whether you use paper or fabric. With either option, it's so easy to roll up the seamless paper or just fold up the fabric and save it for next time.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

2. Lighting is key for taking a good photo easily. You want indirect, natural sunlight especially when taking the photos yourself. A professional photographer might know how to combat harsh lighting with diffusion techniques or with their camera settings, but you want to set yourself up for success. Usually the beginning of day and end of day are the best times to have indirect light, but it will depend on your location and where the sunlight comes through the window.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

3. Sit, stand, dance, jump! Just because you’re in front of a backdrop, doesn’t mean you need to stand still. If you’re using the backdrop for a baby’s monthly photo, you can have them sitting in front of the wall or laying down on the same background. This makes for a great way to have consistent baby update photos throughout the year because you can use the same fabric as a backdrop and they can go from laying down when they are tiny to sitting or standing as they get bigger.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

4. Use a remote shutter release. Often people feel limited because they don’t have anyone available to take a photo of them or of their family. So, if you don’t have a friend you could ask, you can do it on your own with your camera and a tripod. The camera we used to take these portraits, the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, lets you turn your smart phone into a remote shutter. So you can control when it takes the photo without relying on anyone else or having to run in and out of frame like a crazy person with a self-timer.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

5. Add props! While props can get cheesy, it doesn’t have to be a mustache and silly glasses. When you’re taking photos in your home, you have less of an outside environment to work with, so make it fun for yourself and bring in a few quirky items that will allow you to let loose and show off your personality and spirit.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

6. Family photos aren’t just for families with kids. If you’re a couple or a girl with a cute pup, your friends and family still want to see your face! So use this as a chance to make a great holiday card, framed prints for family, or custom thank you cards. 

You can create this at home studio any time of year especially when you always find yourself saying “I wish I just had a few really good photos of my family”.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Let's talk cameras for a second. We are always asked what type of cameras we use for Oh Joy photos. While we will happily share what we use, the quality of cameras we use is a higher end, professional camera that I wouldn't recommend to someone who needs a camera for personal use. So, I was pretty excited to get to try the Olympus E-M10 Mark II which is what was used to shoot all the portraits in this post. It’s a high quality camera at a price point that is more reasonable for personal use (under $600). It allows you to change lenses, you can shoot in manual (if you want), it has a mirrorless lens (which allows you to have a more precise focus), and it's small enough to carry around in your bag. It's a great compromise between a DSLR and a point and shoot and is an entry level camera that has features of a professional one and now I finally have something to recommend to the at-home photographer. Stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow on Instagram where we'll be giving away FIVE of these cameras!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Regardless of what camera you use (you can even use your iPhone if you need to), hopefully this will help inspire you to take more photos of you and your family within the convenience of your own home.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Olympus. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and original content like this for Oh Joy.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, backdrops by Ariel Fulmer. Coco's outfit by Such Great Heights. Special thanks to Olive Brodley and Ariel Fulmer.}

happy friday + my food network debut!20 Nov 2015

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Happy Friday! Earlier this spring, I auditioned to be a guest judge for Food Network and got to be a part of Cake Wars: Christmas which we filmed back in May. If you've seen Cake Wars, it's the same idea but with an extra mega dose of Christmas added in. They combine groups of food artists—bakers, sugar artists, and food sculptors—in teams to come up with these fantastical themed cakes. I am a die hard competition show lover, so I had a blast getting to see how these shows come together by judging on an episode (not to mention I got to eat A LOT of cake, too). I loved my co-judges Sherry Yard and Charles Phoenix and cutie host, Jonathan Bennett (remember him from Mean Girls?).

Stay tuned for my Food Network debut on Monday night for Episode 3 where I'll be guest judging at 9/8c and other times listed here!

Hope you guys have a great weekend! (And how is it almost Thanksgiving already?!?)

{Photos by Casey Brodley}

10 edible gifts...19 Nov 2015

10 Edible Gifts to Give this Holiday

Every year, the holidays approach and I go back and forth on whether I'm going to create gift guides. Usually, I end up doing them but they are so late that I don't get to space them out as much as I want to. So I decided this year, I would start a little before Thanksgiving for those of you who want a little inspiration or nudge to get that gift-giving spirit started. Here are 10 of my favorite edible gifts (in a range of price points)!

1. Quin candy — for that kid who never left the candy store, these are all natural and actually so tasty, too.

2. Quinn popcorn — the best microwaved popcorn you'll ever have (the Vermont maple and sea salt is my favorite).

3. Molly Moon sprinkles — the prettiest, organic sprinkles you'll ever see.

4. A monthly food delivery of any kind from Zingerman's — cheese, bread, bacon, or even vinegar. This gift says, "I know you like (fill in the blank) so I'm gonna give you a lot of it."

5. Salt — for that person who likes salty over sweet, give them the best salts around like this Williams-Sonoma salt pot or a tasting set by Jacobsen Salt

6. Jeni's Ice Cream — because who wouldn't want a few pints of delicious ice cream showing up at their front door?

7. Croissants — Give the breakfast lover something they can never get enough of...buttery croissants from Williams-Sonoma.

8. Gordy's cherry pepper spread — for that person who loves everything spicy, they'll want to put this spread on everything.

9. Tea — small tins of tea from T2 means a tea lover can get their fix on-the-go.

10. Compartes chocolate — beautiful and unique, these make a great gift for co-workers, clients, teachers, and for when you need to buy a bunch of small gifts to give out to multiple people.


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