Oh Joy

career day / a painter...27 May 2015

Kim West

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

In our newest Career Day, I took Ruby to visit the studio of Kim West, a painter living and working in Downtown Los Angeles. We came across one of her amazing murals recently, and after that I had to see and learn more about her. So one afternoon, I picked Ruby up from school and said "We're gonna go paint at an artist's studio! You can paint right on the wall, and it's okay if your clothes get dirty." She was more excited for this then the day that puppies came to our office.

The minute you walk into Kim's studio, the saturated colors, beautiful line work, light, and wit come through in her work and in every inch of her space. She's warm, kind, and as the mother of two kids...she armed Ruby with a paint brush, paints in every color, and gave her an afternoon to remember. Here's a little more about the life and work of this amazing painter...

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

What’s your background and when did you start painting? / I was taught to hold a paintbrush before I learned to walk or talk. Though she's semi-retired now, my mom is an art teacher and art historian, and as such, creative play and art education were a part of my daily childhood for as long as I can recall. And still, though I always found painting and making things to be as natural and necessary as breathing, I never labeled myself as an 'artist'. This changed for me when, at the end of my first year of a pre-law schedule at a Smith College, I decided to transfer to the painting department at Rhode Island School of Design. In every sense of the word, that choice was a relief.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

When/how did you figure out your signature style? / My work is essentially the result of an on-going series of responsive investigations to what is happening around me, and so it’s continually evolving. In all of that, it is fair to say that strong, emotive color is a constant for me, and the use of it is a thread that connects disparate bodies of my work together. 

Kim West

Best part about your job? / My first summer job at age 10 was working on an assembly line in a fertilizer plant. Throughout college and for a while after, my jobs were mainly in restaurants and bars where I waited on lots and lots of tables. Most of these jobs ranged from truly terrible to blah, but the experience of them serves as a reminder to recognize that as a painter, I never feel like I am working a job. Although painting is work, and that work can be hard or stressful or frustrating at times, in general it’s also my sanity and without the ritual of its’ practice I am sad and lost.

Worst part about your job? / On a bad day, feeling like a teeny drop in the gigantic art-world bucket.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Favorite Day of the Week? / A Sunday/Monday crossover. I love Sundays with my husband and children - starting out lazy and then spending time outside with no agenda other than to enjoy the day and see where it takes us, typically for a hike, heading to the beach or a museum, or seeing friends. Mondays in the studio make me happy because even though the week is only 5 short days, on Monday it seems long and possible to fit so much into those hours.

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

If there were two of you, what other type of business or job would the other Kim have? / At this point, I can’t envision being anything other than a painter. But I would definitely consider a clone.

Kim West's Studio

Favorite artist? / Forever and ever...Alice Neel, Cy Twombly, and Helen Frankenthaler. Recently, Mary Weatherford. 

Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / I didn’t set out to paint murals; that was set in motion over a chance encounter regarding bathroom paper products.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / I have always expected and hoped that at the end of each work day, I would feel satisfied with at least some of the day’s progress, and would leave the studio excited to return for more. I am grateful to report that happens almost every day.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

At the end of the afternoon with Kim, we had to take off Ruby's romper since she was covered in wet paint. She walked to the car in just her undies and said, "This was the best day ever!" Thanks so much Kim for sharing your world with us!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy. All art by Kim West.}

a bumpin' summer {giveaway} with hatch...26 May 2015

Hatch

Hatch

Hatch was one of my go-to maternity brands when I was pregnant with both of my kids. I love that the pieces are stylish and comfortable and can be worn both while pregnant and after baby as well. They've recently launched some new intimates and summer pieces, so we've partnered with Hatch to give away these four pieces shown above—the nightgownbracotton brief, and 3/4 body dress—to one lucky reader (a total value of $272)!

To enter, follow Hatch on Instagram, then tag a friend who you also think would also love these pieces on my Instagram post here!

Entries must be posted by this Friday, May 29th, at 8 a.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random*. One winner will get the 4 pieces shown in their choice of colors and sizes.

*This giveaway is open to those in the US only. Entries should be made via Instagram. If you don't have Instagram, you can alternatively leave a comment here to enter. $272 USD total value. Winner will be contacted via Instagram once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

happy friday + long weekend getaways...22 May 2015

Oh Joy Family / Palm Springs

Around this time of year, everyone starts planning their summer vacations, and I keep getting asked, "Where are you guys going on vacation this summer?" And my answer is...no where! It's not that I don't want to take a vacation, but you guys, I am really bad at taking vacations. I wish I could shut my brain off, relax, and just enjoy a two-week long vacation away somewhere. But being away from the routine of my life is really hard for me. I've been to Paris, Mexico, and London in the last few years, but this year I am all about the mini vacation and just taking some long weekends away.

After our weekend getaway to Palm Springs recently, I realized that just a few days away somewhere not too far away gives me just the right amount of time to re-charge, and I can keep my computer at home and just enjoy being somewhere new with my family.

So, I need some suggestions! What are some fun places that we can go this year for a long weekend away that's either within a couple hours driving distance or a couple hours flying distance from LA? Any places you guy have been to and recommend? I'd love any and all of your suggestions!

Have a great (long) holiday weekend guys! If only every weekend, was a three day weekend!

the evolution of a baby's room...21 May 2015

Oh Joy / Kids Room

About a month ago, we put the Ruby and Coco together in the same room! As a newborn, Coco was sleeping in the home office room that we turned into a super fun office/nursery for a little while. But once the kids were in bed by 7:30pm every night, we lost the use of our office during those prime times that Bob and I needed to get work or other errands done after the kids were asleep. The office/nursery was always planned to be temporary, and we knew we'd move them in together once Coco was sleeping through the night.

Since we've lived in the same place for the last 5 years, I wanted to share the evolution of how the same room went from a room for a baby to a room for a toddler, and now to a room for a toddler AND a baby. Here's a look at what parts of changed and what parts have stayed the same...

The Crib and Bed

Oh Joy / Kids Room

In 2011, the room focused on the crib and changing table side-by-side which is my ideal placement for a baby's room when possible. It just makes those post-nap diaper changes even easier. We had a couch in the far end of the room and a glider right by the crib for those middle of the night feedings when Ruby was a tiny babe and when I'd be too tired to go back to sleep in my own bedroom.

Oh Joy / Kids Room

A few years later in 2014, Ruby was ready for big girl bed! We removed the couch at the far window and moved the changing table to that spot. While most people would put the long side of a toddler's bed up against a wall, this room has a couple large windows and very few windowless walls where a bed could go. And because the room gets really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter, we opted to keep her away from the window have her bed frame come out from the wall and sit a bit more central in the room. 

Oh Joy / Kids Room

Now, here we are in 2015! Ruby's bed has stayed in the same place since last year centered underneath one of the windows (we have bumpers underneath her fitted sheet so she doesn't fall out). And Coco's crib is along the same polka dot wall where it was when Ruby was a baby. This allows for some open space in the main part of the room where they can play and get dressed, while giving their beds a bit of separation from each other.

Now, the part of the room that has stayed pretty much the same...

The Bookshelf and Dressers

Oh Joy / Kids Room

Oh Joy / Kids Room

Oh Joy / Kids Room

The dresser and bookshelf area in the girls' room is probably my favorite wall in our house. I bought those colorful dressers off Craig's List when I was pregnant with Ruby, and they've always served as the perfect pop of color for the room. They're also super sturdy and very functional. We've been keeping Ruby's clothes in the left dresser since she was born, and now that Coco is here, we keep her clothes in the one on the right. The mini library book case has held books and toys throughout and simply evolves as the girls grow. I love that this whole wall and the main furniture pieces against the wall will grow with them for years to come.

Next week, I'll go more into the logistics of having a toddler and baby share a room (will they wake each other up, how does the bedtime routine go?) and some tips that helped our kids ease into the transition!

{Photos credits: 2011 photos by Bonnie Tsang, 2014 photos by Sasha Guilish, 2015 photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

oh joy answers / coming up with a business name...20 May 2015

2015_Oh-Joy-Answers_title

Hey guys, here's my newest video in the Oh Joy answers series. Today, I'm talking about coming up with a name for your business. Do you go with your personal name or with a made-up name? Press play below!

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