Oh Joy

happy friday + ruby lately...17 Jan 2014


Oh boy, this whole kid thing keeps getting more and more fun. Two years old has been the best age yet. I love posting little Ruby updates over on Instagram, so I thought I'd share more about some of the things she's doing and saying and thinking as she grows. So, here's a little of Ruby lately...


the coolest pop-up book ever...16 Jan 2014

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

The other day, I took the Oh Joy team on an inspiration field trip to Little Tokyo in downtown L.A. While at the Japanese bookstore, I came across this little pop-up book that I had to get for Ruby. I'm a sucker for pop-ups, and it's seriously one of the best I have ever seen...

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

Ruby loves it so much that she has asked to read it as her bedtime story every night since I found it. I have no idea what it says so we just make up a story about these cute animals and their favorite foods. You know a book is good when you don't need the words to keep a child entertained!

P.S. The book is called: Tabemono (Food) by Kimika Warabe. Thanks for the translation, Joyce and Lindsay!

my favorite lobster rolls in {los angeles}...15 Jan 2014

Son of a Gun lobster roll

Lobster rolls are probably my favorite kind of sandwich. It can be really hard to find a good lobster roll on the West Coast, so once I find a good one, I keep going back for more. Here are a few of my favorite lobster rolls in L.A. right now...

The tiniest lobster roll in all the land is from Son of a Gun. It's bite-sized, buttery perfection and should not be shared.

Son of a Gun | 8370 W. 3rd Street | Los Angeles, CA 90048 | 323.782.9033

Blue Plate Oysterette lobster roll

I tried the lobster roll from Santa Monica's Blue Plate Oysterette at a lobster roll showdown called the Lobster Rumble a couple months ago, and they had my vote for best lobster roll that night. The roll has the perfect mix of butter, salt, and creaminess with just the right touch of herbs and spices.

Blue Plate Oysterette | 1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90402 | 310.576.3474

Salt Air lobster roll

Finally, a great lobster roll to share is this bun of goodness from Salt Air in Venice. It's a pure and simple lobster roll that tastes fresh, light, and just creamy and buttery enough. Get it with the mushroom toast, and you'll have a meal that's seriously legit.

Salt Air | 1616 Abbott Kinney Blvd. | Venice, CA 90291 | 310.396.9333

So, are you guys drooling yet? Do you love lobster rolls as much as I do? And if so, what are your favorites where you live?

{Photos by Oh Joy}

a custom family portrait {giveaway}...NOW CLOSED14 Jan 2014

Sophie and Lili Custom Portrait | Oh Joy

I love finding special ways to create a family portrait, and custom illustrations have been one of my favorites lately. I'm a huge fan of the work of Jennifer Vallez from Sophie and Lili. So just in time for Valentine's Day (or really, any regular day you want to make something special), we've partnered with Jennifer to give away a custom family/friend/self portrait to one lucky reader ($165 retail value). You can see the one she made of Ruby and I above from our trip to Mexico and some others below...

Sophie and Lili Custom Portrait

Sophie and Lili Custom Portrait

To enter this giveaway, simply visit Sophie and Lili, then leave a comment here telling me who would be in your custom portrait. Entries must be posted by this Friday, January 17th, at 8 a.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random*.

UPDATE: Congrats to Tomiko A. from Seal Beach, CA for being our winner this time!

*Sorry, limited to readers in the U.S. only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $165 USD approximate total value. Winner will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. 

feeling like a peach on the beach...13 Jan 2014


After my striped manicure yesterday, I've been into all things peachy lately. Accented with a bit of blue and metallics, it feels like a tropical beachy getaway...

{01. J.Crew iPhone case, 02. pillow from Leif, 03. Anthropologie silver booties, 04. Boden colorblock tee, 05. J.Crew earrings, 06. salt & pepper shakers from Alison Brent, 07. Kate Spade Saturday key chain.}

happy friday + putting our best foot forward...10 Jan 2014

Oh Joy flowers

Happy Friday friends! Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the little examples we set in our daily lives. Because Ruby is at the age where she repeats everything we say and do, we have to be super cautious not to say bad words, be sarcastic, or show behaviors that we don't want her to emulate. She'll cross her arms in front of her chest because she is mimicking how I always cross my arms. I didn't even realize how much I do it myself until I see her acting like "mama".

It's funny to think about the small things you do that you don't even realize that others pick up on. Whether it's thanking someone for a simple task, having a positive outlook even if we don't feel 100% positive that day, or sitting up a little straighter to show that we're confident about what we're doing. It's those little things that count...

Have a great weekend guys!

P.S. If you haven't watched this Ted talk yet, you must...

{Photo by Oh Joy}

{retail inspiration} chalkboards...10 Jan 2014

Astro Coffee Shop

Astro Coffee Shop

Sunshine Park Bakery

Mast Brothers

We've seen chalkboard used in homes...for kid's rooms, offices, kitchens...everything. It's one of those techniques that is popular for a reason—it's so versatile and totally useful, too. I'm constantly finding inspiration from retail stores and love these uses of chalkboard paint in stores that make for great inspiration at home, too...

{Photo sources: Astro Coffee Shop, Sunshine Park bakery via Sunshine to You, Mast Brothers via 70PercentPure}

shop my closet for a good cause... 9 Jan 2014


As we end another holiday season—a time where we give thanks and give gifts to loved ones—I'm often reminded of the people that I don't know and those who I will never meet who are in need of our givings. I feel very lucky to do what I do and have a job I love. So every year, I donate a portion of the profits from this blog to a charity. Since becoming a mother, children's charities have become really important to me, so in 2012, we donated to Operation Smile, and in 2013 we gave to the NY Foundling. I won't preach too much about what these organizations do but let you click over to their sites if you want to know more.  

Every spring, I have a yard sale of things I no longer want or need. I've had a lot of people ask for an online version for those who aren't in LA, so I've listed a bunch of clothing on Ebay for anyone in the US to be able to shop from. Most items are in great condition, all prices include USPS Priority shipping, no returns, and all prices are marked down based on the original cost of the item. Some were only worn once for a photo shoot and are in excellent condition. There is no bidding—just one price, take it or leave it. 100% of the profits will benefit the NY Foundling which I had a chance to visit a couple months ago while I was in New York and got to see first-hand how children in crisis situations are helped and cared for. Click here to see all items available, and thanks in advance for looking! 

P.S. This sale is mostly clothing and shoes in specific sizes. So if you don't happen to be the same size, I'll be having another sale of home decor items and personal accessories next month!

a little pizza party... 8 Jan 2014

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

We're very lucky to have a lot of entrepreneurial friends and see behind-the-scenes of different kinds of businesses. Recently, we were invited to our friend's pizza shop to have a pizza-making lesson with their son and his two besties (Ruby being one of them). Short of toddler Zumba, this may have been the cutest thing I have ever seen...

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

The kids loved the process of making something from scratch and getting to see how it's transformed into something you can actually eat. The grown-ups got in on the fun, too. I can't say my pizza toss is as good as Garrett's (on the left), but it's pretty fun to throw dough in the air, regardless...

Oh Joy | Toddler Pizza Class

After lots of flour in our hair, dough on our fingers, and toddler kisses to be had, we had a fun lunch eating the pizzas we made with the kids. Doing things like this always inspires me to create more moments like this at home where we can have Ruby be a part of our meal-making or baking process. Thanks so much to Garrett, Marisa, and little Cam at Tomato Pie for having us! We love you guys!

P.S. A cute video from the lesson if you'd like to see...

2014, i'm into you... 7 Jan 2014

Oh Joy

While I typically dislike resolutions, last year I started making mine more simple, and focusing on just a few things I want to work on in the new year, as well as some things I've already been doing and want to continue. I feel like improving yourself should be a continual thing—not just something you do at the beginning of the year—but a new year always helps shed light on how we want to make this one even better than the last. 

And while it can be hard to admit the things you don't like about yourself, I think that sharing your dreams/fears/goals with others helps make you more accountable—so I want to share a few things I'm working on for 2014...

1. Kick envy in the face. Jealousy of any kind is not good...and we never want to admit that we feel jealous of others. But we do—at least, I do. Envy doesn't mean that you're not happy for someone else, it means you want what they have. Yes, I want to be able to have enough saved to buy a great house or land that amazing project. But what I'm going to try and work on in 2014 is to turn those jealous feelings into motivation. I want to own a house, too? Well, then I'll work my butt off to save and save and get one of my very own.

2. Ask for help. I was talking to a good friend about this the other day. In Asian culture, we're taught to just do what needs to be done, not to complain, and make things happen ourselves. In some ways, that's taught me to be a go-getter, but in other ways it's caused me to have a hard time asking for help when I really need it. No one can do it all, and we all need help from those that love us. But they don't know if we don't ask.

3. Make phone calls. In these days of texting, email, social media, and instant everything, we communicate more often than ever with people we know, yet rarely actually talk to them on the phone. Every year when my birthday comes around, the wishes that mean the most are the ones where I get to hear my loved ones' voices and make a real connection with them, even if just for a minute or two. So I'm going to try and pick up the phone more often and make a real connection through the sound of our voices instead of the sound of a text message.

4. Have more fun. Oh boy, I can be so serious sometimes that it kills me. It's the conservative part of me that doesn't want to show too much excitement or just let loose a little. Having a toddler has made me get over that real quick, because you'll be as silly as you need to be to make your kid happy. But I want to instill this in my own life, too. I've been taking fun dance classes for exercise that remind me that I don't have to be good at it, I can just dance because it's fun and makes me happy.

Oh Joy

And because I think you should always pat yourself on the back for at least one thing you've been doing well, I want to continue to...

Surround myself with inspiring people. At some point you reach an age where you feel like you have enough friends and don't need any more social obligations to add to your list. But when someone new comes along who gives you joy in some way, they are worth making the time for. I feel I have been lucky to find an amazing group of friends who inspire me and keep pushing me to a better mother/designer/blogger/wife/person through the examples they set in their own lives.

So tell me, friends: What's one thing you're working on improving this year and one thing you can pat yourself on the back for? I'd love to hear! 

{Top photo by Bonnie Tsang, bottom photo by Jennifer Young.}


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