I love how curious Joey always is and how she loves to learn by touching and feeling things in her hands. She definitely doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. Lately however, she’s been picking flowers EVERYWHERE. Anytime she sees a nice vase of flowers, she’ll want to pick at it. At restaurants, she’ll see flower arrangements on the table and she’ll go nuts. At her grandma’s house, she pulled out all of the blooms from my mom’s favorite faux flower arrangement. While it’s “cute” and all to pick flowers, I was starting to think she wasn’t understanding that flowers can also be enjoyed just by looking at them haha. The best way I thought I could teach her was to allow her to pick flowers with me from our garden the proper way so we can enjoy them.
When the flowers outside her room starting blooming, we decided to pick them out and put them into little vases. I told her how important it is to allow flowers to rest in “their flower bed” and let them grow without having any of their petals plucked. We did this once and have started making it a weekly tradition where we identify different flowers (including weeds haha) and place them into little vases. I think it’s been helping but she’s been asking for her own clippers now haha.
I am still in utter shock that Joey is TWO! I remember the day we found out I was pregnant, the day we brought her home, the day she took her first steps…I remember it all like it was yesterday. This year I was entirely too busy to host a big party myself so I reached out to my dear friend Easter (who is actually a fine jewelry designer) from Easter Ahn Design to help plan a party for our very own Mousketeer. We had the amazing photographer, Jeffery Cho take priceless photographs of the day.
This party was inspired from Joey’s love of Disneyland. Growing up I went to Disneyland with my family and absolutely fell in love with the thrill of it all. I knew when I had kids I wanted them to experience the same joy I felt when visiting the park…and Joey absolutely loves visiting! As Walt once said “If you can dream it you can do it”; so we did it! We created our very own Joeyland!
Location: We transformed the new E2Beauty lounge into Joeyland. It was the perfect venue for our party. They just opened their new salon location in Orange County. If you’re ever looking for hair or makeup for an event, go with them! They did my hair and make up for almost every big event in my life including my wedding.
Photobooth: Our friends at Third Eye Photobooth graciously came out and snapped photos for us for the day! If you’ve never been to a party with them you are seriously missing out!
Party Favors: If you remember seeing my Instagram stories from Joey’s birthday I am a realistic gift giver. I wanted to give each child something they would actually use so we got for all the kids custom name shirts from Jean and June. It was so fun seeing how excited each kid was when they got their own shirts to match Joey. Jean and June have the most softest organic tees so go check them out!
Ice cream: I used to live next to a Scoops ice cream in LA and when I moved I was incredibly sad because they had my favorite flavors. When I realized they opened up one in Orange County (Scoops OC), right next door to the party venue, I was absolutely thrilled. It was a no brainer that we had to try them out and I don’t regret it for a minute. Joey may have ate a bit too much gelato that day but who’s really counting? I asked them to create a special flavor for us, inspired by Disneyland’s Pineapple Dole Whip, and they created the most delicious Pineapple Coconut ice cream! Their Brown Bread flavor is one of their signatures. You need to try it if you’re ever in SoCal!
Florist: As usual I cannot throw a party without my friend Hanna at Echo Floral. She helped put so many small, feminine touches on the party. She took the colors Easter used for the party and created the most perfect floral arrangements. I can just imagine these being planted at the Disneyland parks. Aren’t they gorgeous?
Food: If you follow me you know I have a real love for Wholefoods! So naturally, I had to have them make some delicious food and treats for the party. We opted for beautiful simple cakes and pastries for dessert. These cakes were seriously some of the most delicious, mouthwatering cakes I have ever had! One of the great things about all Whole Foods catering is that they never use artificial coloring or ingredients! Joey loved poking her fingers in the cake haha!
Cookies: Joeyland could not have been complete without cookies! Sweetleemade & Sweets by Keeks took my cookie dreams and ran with it! Have you ever seen a cuter cookie? I haven’t! I don’t know anyone else who makes the best custom made desserts like these two. If you’re looking for cakes, cookies, macarons, or whatever desserts for your event, ask them! Thank you ladies!
We also put together a cookie decorating station for each guest to put their Disney imagination to work! Let me tell you we had some amazing decorators in the house that day! I think Joey ate most of the sprinkles though.
Graphic Design: When Easter and I first started brainstorming for this party we wanted to give the guests a true Joeyland experience. We teamed up with Kim Estoesta to create custom signs for each station, menus, props and placemats. When I first walked into the party these signs took my breath away! It was like I was really in a whole new world (see what I did there?).
Balloon art and cotton candy: What is Joeyland without balloons and cotton candy? Well, it’s not Joeyland. Her Balloon Art took Joeyland to the next level with the most amazing balloon art and custom cotton candy! I wish you could all taste her cotton candy because you’d never want anything else!
I wish so badly I could have invited each and every one of you to Joeyland! It truly was the most magical place on Earth. But until Allen let’s me open Joeyland up for good I will just have to share my memories of the day with you.
Custom built booths and backdrops: Easter wanted to have booths like how it would look like at Disneyland so she asked Iron Grace Rentals to custom build these amazing pieces for us. I was absolutely shocked. They came in to install, breakdown, and take everything with them at the end of the party as well. Wow.
All printed goods: Everything including the popcorn containers, signs and posters, menu maps and the incredible photo booth backdrop were all printed by Avant Print Media.
This post has been sponsored by The Container Store and Life In Jeneral. All opinions are my own. Photos of Day 2 are by Sunny Kim Photography.
When Allen and I got married 6 years ago we quickly realized we both had a lot of stuff. Every Spring we told ourselves we were going to go through all of our junk and purge it. Well 6 years later and 1.5 kids later and it still wasn’t done.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I decided this is happening this Spring no matter what! So Allen and I decided this was the perfect time! We opted to give this to each other for Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the guy that’s hard to shop for here’s the answer.
I sat down and browsed the internet for home organizers because I knew I was in over my head doing this on my own. I came across Jen Robin of Life In Jeneral and fell in love with her work instantly! She made this one of the easiest processes I have ever done! Check out her website and her Instagram for instant inspiration.
One of the reasons why I first hesitated to use an organization service was because I wasn’t sure if the investment was worth it, but I’m telling you, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. It’s hard for me and Allen to find time to really tackle our home organization because of work, BECAUSE OF LIFE, so being able to trust a professional team to do it within use days for us was an investment we were willing to make.
We opted to join forces with The Container Store for this project because I knew if we were going to organize our garage we were going to do it right! Jen is also a Contained Home Specialist and was able to design an amazing elfa Shelving system for us. The elfa design is perfect for any budget. There were so many options when it came to designing the space we had. They also offer a full install or if you are looking for a more budget friendly option you can install the system yourself. We opted to have one of The Container Stores professional installers come and install our system.
Here’s where the fun began! When I decided to get this project started. Jen quickly got to work designing our garage….I literally just sent her a few pictures and measurements. From there she was able to send me a few designs that would work for our house and specific needs/goals. And she even took care of ordering everything from The Container Store that we needed for the shelving systems! Get ready for some crazy “before” photos of the garage below!
Crazy right?? Believe it or not, Life in Jeneral’s team (headed by Kamille) were able to go through all of this and organize it in just 2 days!
On day 1, the team showed up bright and early! I was told to go inside and relax. Excuse me?? I get to sit inside my house while these people do all the work I have put off for years?! Who would pass that up?? After a couple hours, I went back to the garage and everything I had been dreading to go through was on my driveway and out of my dumping zone. It honestly was such an amazing feeling being able to see the floor of my garage finally!
While it was slightly embarrassing to see all the junk I had accumulated over the years, but it had to be done!
We spent the remainder of that day with Jen’s team purging what we no longer needed. I quickly realized we were holding onto so much stuff we really didn’t use or need. I mean who really needs that box of receipts from 2007? All I had to do was point at what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to give away and they did everything else. I didn’t have to lift a finger!
The Container Store showed up a couple hours later to install the Elfa system while we were purging. What’s amazing about this Elfa system is that it’s completely easy to remove and can be adjusted to your custom sized wall. It requires very minimal drilling, that means less holes in the walls!
These are the products that were used in the Elfa rack installation:
We realized we had to upgrade to a new storage system because ours were all hand-me-downs since our college days and many had cracked and had missing lids so our items ended up getting spoiled by weather, moisture and dust overtime. The weathertight (air & water-tight bins) totes are all from The Container Store and you can find them here.
Find the links to all The Container Store products we used at the end of this post!
I have a lot of craft materials from various projects and of course from Naptime With Joey costumes but finding a way to organize everything was always a hurdle for me. Many times I wouldn’t be able to find something like glue sticks for my glue gun, and I KNEW that I have like 2 full bags of those laying around somewhere! For the LIJ team to be able to organize everything so I can find everything left me speechless.
At the end of Day 1, everything had been separated into keep & donation piles and then for the most part almost everything was already organized into their separate bins with temporary labels attached to the bins. What was SO IMPRESSIVE to me was that they took the time to separate my mountain stash of family photos into their respective years. As a photographer, this was EVERYTHING to me. They even fit our old dresser in the tiny little nook and designated that spot as Joey’s costume/prop area. It fit perfectly! Don’t ask me why that bottom part of that dresser is off-colored. (We had a small installation mishap when we put that together ha!)
I was amazed that evening when everyone left. I remember walking into my garage that night and just stood there thinking how could this get any better? The shelves were up, our purged items were in their designated containers….LIFE WAS GOOD! Little did I know it was about to get A WHOLE LOT BETTER!
On day 2 it was like an organizing spree in the Choi garage! Kamille and the team went full force with a label machine and file folding! I honestly had never seen anything like it. Her team got right to work making all of my garage dreams come to life. Like I said I didn’t think it could get better but I was sorely mistaken. All my costumes for The Joey World Project and Naptime With Joey were all stored in freezer bags and labeled.
I came back down to the garage at the end of the day when it was time for the big reveal and this is what we saw!
My photography gear and various household items that we need to access frequently like batteries, tools and extension cords, were stored in the corner.
They even hung up my Playdate Project sign!
There’s something about color coordinated books that thrills me.
They even found the perfect display box for Joey’s first shoes!
The costume dresser had been organized into various costumes in alphabetical order as well as different accessories like shoes and headwear. And WOW, do I have A LOT of wigs!
Our shoes were previously thrown together in several large bins where we’d have to fish out our shoes but the team went ahead and separated each pair of shoes into their own separate containers to protect them from dirt and so that they are now easy to find. The bins they used for that were these smaller shoe boxes and these larger ones. Joey’s snacks were kept in the garage because we always grab a few on our way to the car when we go out so the team put them in bins that were easy for us to pull them out from.
Our strollers were hung up on the wall so that it would save on floor space and the shoes we often wore, we put on a separate rack. You can find a similar rack here from The Container Store.
I know most people don’t think of their garage as a place to spend money designing but I am so glad we did! I can actually park a car in there now, I can walk in there and find that picture I was looking for, I can easily get to our suitcases. It seriously is such an amazing feeling!
If you’ve been putting off that dreaded organizing project because you just don’t want to deal with it now is the time! My biggest regret about this project is not starting it sooner. I was so stressed over the mess we had created in the garage I didnt realize just how out of hand it had gotten. Jen’s team and The Container Store made this such an easy and smooth process and I now have the most organized garage in all of Southern California! And the best part? I can now focus on the interior and preparing for a new nursery without worrying about this big project I need to finish!
Dear friends, Joey and I will be doing a local book signing this spring in the Los Angeles area! It’ll be at the Southern California Children’s Museum in Pasadena on Saturday June 2 from 10:30 am to noon.
Tickets are $25 which includes:
– Entry for one adult and up to one child (age 12 and under): Kids may play all day at the museum!
If you follow me on social media you know we have been traveling a lot this year with Joey. It might look like sunshine and rainbows but I promise it’s not. When I first started traveling with Joey it was absolutely terrifying. I was so unprepared. I will never forget my first time changing a diaper on an airplane (I’ll spare you the details). Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced parent these tips are sure to help (I hope).
Make a list-This might sound so obvious but I didn’t think about it the first time we traveled. I usually end up making multiple lists. I always have 2 lists for each of us (one for our carry on and one for our suitcase).
Extra outfit-ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on. Remember that diaper change I mentioned earlier?
Don’t pack so much! – I’ve learned that almost every time we travel we always pack more than we have to. I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily need a different outfit every day for everyone. I was concerned that Joey would need so much but she really didn’t. Because our trips are usually for just a few days, I just pack just a couple outfits for myself and a few for Joey and that’s it. If you don’t mind carrying a larger luggage that’s fine but I’ve learned that packing minimally not only saves time but is easily to manage overall especially traveling alone with a toddler (and a stroller!)
Snacks-Traveling isn’t easy on parents or kids so if you can prevent a hangry toddler then why not? I usually stash a few healthy snacks in a carry on bag for Joey (and maybe a few unhealthy ones for me). I don’t go overboard with the snacks because I can always find some at the airport.
Skip preboard-So I have always wondered why do parents preboard? I usually wait until the last minute to hop on the plane. I let Joey burn as much energy as I can before we get on the plane.
Buy a water bottle at the airport- I used to never buy water at the airport because I always counted on the inflight service giving us water but I realize after traveling a lot with Joey that flights can be delayed unexpectedly, you could board but be taxi’d for over an hour with flight attendants refusing to serve us any water until the plane took off (that happened to us! grrr!) or you could be seated at the very end of the plane where it will take about an hour after the plane takes off until they offer beverages (also happened to us!). Plus it’s good to hydrated when traveling.
Inflight entertainment-This has been the most difficult for us to conquer. While I love the idea of Joey never watching Netflix or playing on my iPad it is unrealistic on a long flight. I do however, try to pack a few activities for her. Our current favorites are sticker books, coloring books, and puzzles. Nowadays about a month before our trip, I hide one of her favorite toys (not her absolutely favorite toy haha but others that she wouldn’t notice is missing) and then bring it to the trip and surprise her on the plane. She usually plays with the toy the entire flight! If you have an iPad, download some educational games so you can always whip it out if you need!
Bring something for them to drink- When we used to travel while I still breastfed, I always nursed while we took off and landed so that Joey’s ears wouldn’t pop. Now I make sure to give her some milk (which she’ll drink all at once) as we’re taking off. I’m not sure if it makes a big difference but I’m sure it won’t hurt!
Pack a backpack and if you dare a fanny pack- I ditch the purse when I’m traveling. I always opt for a backpack and a fanny pack as carry on items. It makes wrangling a kid and all of our stuff so much easier. Plus all the pockets make organizing so much easier.
Bring a toddler pillow and small blanket-Flying is never easy with toddlers especially if it interrupts their nap time. I invested in a small travel pillow and a blanket that goes on every trip with us. It has saved us on so many flights.
Pack an empty duffel bag- You never know if you’ll need extra space in your luggage to bring back souvenirs or gifts. We always bring an extra duffel bag just in case and we’ve used it every time!
HAVE FUN-Remember they are only little once. Every time they fly it is going to be a different experience. People are usually pretty anxious when traveling and then adding a toddler to the mix can be even crazier. Try not to get frustrated easily when your toddler doesn’t behave the way you want them to. Being stuck in a small aisle for hours at a time might not sense for your toddler and will sometimes need to walk about the plane or stand on the seat to get a better look at the entire place. Let them do that so that they’re comfortable and understand what the situation is around them. Make it fun and exciting for them as opposed to looking stressed and worn out (even though you feel like it!). I realize that when Joey senses that I’m happy and excited while traveling, she is too. Kids pick up on everything!
Those are my 12 tips but I’m sure other experienced travelers will have even more. If you have any tips, leave them at the comments below! I’m always looking for new ways to make it easy for me and Joey to travel! xoxo
Our sweet friend Hanna from Echo Floral came to teach Joey and her friend Emma some simple floral arrangements. Hanna launched her own floral design studio in Orange County, CA earlier this year and is incredibly talented. If you’re looking for stunning floral design work for your wedding, social gatherings and any other events, check out her website: echofloral.com
We are going to Vancouver, Canada!! May 5 & 6. Can’t believe how quickly tickets were sold out! We’re so sorry if you couldn’t grab a ticket. Sometimes people cancel last minute and if that’s the case, tickets will be available again on the websites so I would check again a couple days before just to see! Excited to meet everyone who reserved a ticket!
I remember when Pinterest first came out and I would spend hours pinning fun crafts that I swore I would make with my future children. Well, that day came and I feel so overwhelmed when I decide to start a craft with Joey. I always worry I am going to go to the craft store and either leave empty handed in shear overwhelm or I am going to end up with an epic Pinterest fail.
When each holiday comes up I get so pumped about making crafts with Joey and this Easter I finally decided we are doing it! I decided to take the pressure off of me and if it ended up being a fail I could consider it a memory we would just keep between us 🙂
I headed to Joann this time around in search of the PERFECT Easter craft. I was so surprised by all of the amazing Spring craft ideas and options they had. I opted to make an Easter egg we could hang up in our windows. Let me tell you this craft was one I couldn’t mess up so you can certainly make it too.
One of my favorite things about this craft is the possibilities are endless! You can virtually stick any little item on the contact paper. Joey helped me pick out some ladybugs which ended up being her favorite.
Stay tuned because this Pinterest WIN might come back again for every holiday. I am kidding but we will definitely be making this at Christmas this year!
How to make an Easter egg sticky wall
Cut out an over from a large piece of construction paper
Stick a piece of clear contact paper over one side of the construction paper
Stick the construction paper onto a flat surface like a table or window using painter tape
Let your creativity go wild and start sticking items on the sticky side of the contact paper
I’m so excited to finally share with you details from our recent Playdate Project! Thanks to our generous donors and friends, we were able to launch our first ever Playdate Project last year right before the winter holidays.
The idea behind the Playdate Project came from me wanting to host a fun playdate event for families to come and enjoy themselves and relax at the same time giving back to a local organization, in this case we wanted to highlight Olive Crest an non-profit org that is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children, and to preserving the family. I first heard about them from a friend who said they were in process of adopting a child through Olive Crest. As I learned more about them, I found out that they have served our 100,000 at-risk children and families and serves over 1000 in Orange County, CA alone. Because they are run through the support of community donors and volunteers, we decided to dedicate this first Playdate Project to Olive Crest and give 100% of all Playdate Project ticket sales towards them. We held it at FLDWRK in Fullerton, CA on December 17, 2017.
Our friend Kyle from Olive Crest came to receive all the donated toys that our guests generously donated as well and also answer any questions about Olive Crest. If you are interested in learning more about donating towards Olive Crest or even foster/adopt through them, go to their website at olivecrest.org.
Juice Box Media came and documented everything on video. Watch what they put together below!
Happily Ever Etched made beautiful laser-cut signs for us including this amazing Playdate Project sign!
Amy and Hanna set up this awesome nursing and diaper changing room!
Gathre Mats donated these fun AJJ play mats. If you’re ever looking mats that will protect your floors from feeding your baby or doing messy crafts or even for picnicking, check them out. We love their mats! Haba USA also donated to the kids play area some wooden toys.
Our favorite Nugget Comfort donated a couple sets of their foam couches and they were a big hit with the kids!
Wild Child Party came and put together this incredible balloon installation. I will never know how they put all those balloons together like that.
What’s a party without a fun photo booth right? Third Eye Photo booth came and set up a really fun station for all of us.
Miss DJ Bliss was there to set the mood with some awesome beats.
Can you believe this? There’s a nail salon on wheels! It was so fun having the Nail Truck. They generously donated to give any willing kid manicures so of course Joey got one.
Art Camp LA came and set up a really fun arts & crafts table. Because it was near the winter holidays, the craft project was creating holiday wreaths! They have these really fun craft boxes that are filled with art project material so you can make crafts at home without having to go buy everything. Go check them out!
Speaking of wreaths, ReKindle Creative came and set up a wreath making station. They provided all the greens, ribbons, and hardware to make some beautiful wreaths. It was so fun seeing almost everyone walk home with at least one handmade wreath!
Sweetleemade Desserts brought a whole gorgeous cookie making station and that kept most of the kids busy. They also made the cutest unicorn cake pops that went into our VIP bags. If you’re in Southern California and are looking for a custom made cake or any type of desserts really for a party, wedding, whatever, do yourself a favor and book Sweetleemade!
Chasing Linen came and illustrated beautiful custom portraits during the entire event. They were the perfect souvenirs to take home! If you’re ever looking for live art, illustrations or custom stationery, check out Chasing Linen!
Pique Tea kept us hydrated with a tea tasting station and also handed out delicious take-home tea samples to all of our guests.
Juice Plus donated yummy and healthy fruit chewable which were Joey’s favorite!
Whole Foods Market San Francisco donated adorable reusable market bags and also connected us with local brands including Alter Eco who donated chocolates and Back to the Roots who donated cereal and really cool gardening kits as raffle prizes. Peanut also part of the swag bag. If you don’t know who Peanut is, check them out. They’re a really cool app for moms that help you connect with other moms in your area based on common interests! Every mom who came also received an awesome fanny pack filled with hand sanitizers from The Honest Company. Passion Planner, Sweetlee Made, Art Camp LA, and Chasing Linen were also part of the VIP gift bags. Spa lé La, a spa for parents with complimentary on-site child care gave out a gift certificate to a lucky winner. Our favorite dolls, Cuddle + Kind, who is all about giving back donated some adorable dolls for some lucky winners.
Naptime With Joey made an appearance. 😉
As well as Joey + Tot!
Magic Kingdom Mamas came with their adorable kids. They run an awesome blog and Instagram that provides fun tips for families visiting Disneyland Resort in California!
My sweet Guatemalan-Korean friend Sara and her darling Sofia dropped by. Follow Sara on Instagram!
My favorite wedding blogger of all time Jen came with her beautiful family. We go way back when I used to be featured on her blog when I used to work as a wedding photographer. If you’re looking for gorgeous wedding inspiration, GO CHECK OUT HER BLOG.
Beautiful Jen Chae came with her adorable family. She is beauty/makeup guru and is expecting her 2nd baby! Find her on Instagram and YouTube!
I met Lily at a screening for Disney’s Moana a couple years ago and we’ve been friends since. She has the most beautiful family and has the best costume/makeup posts. Follow her on Instagram and on her blog!
My sweet friend Mai and her darling Zooey showed up in style. Go check out Zooey on Instagram for fashion inspiration and Mai on Instagram!
My friend Yolanda came with her insanely adorable Arielle. Check out her Instagram to see the best mommy-daughter matching outfits!
Last but not least, all of these gorgeous photos were taken by my dear friend Sunny. Do yourself a favor and check out her beautiful work at Instagram and her blog. She is one of the most kindest most generous friend I know. Thank you so much Sunny for taking the time to take these lovely photos right after Greyson was born!!
We’re forever grateful for all of the people who donated their time, money, services and goods to making this first Playdate Project happen. Thank to all of our guests who made it that day. We really hope you got to make some fun family memories as well as share in part of “giving back” to Olive Crest. Our family really feels like we did nothing in comparison to everyone’s generosity. We feel very strongly that we were given this platform to share love and also to give back to our community and so we will try our best to do more of these events. We hope The Playdate Project will happen every year for a very long time so we can continue to highlight many more organizations that are positively impacting our local communities. If you are interested in collaborating for our next Playdate Project as a donor/vendor, please email us at hello[at]lauraiz.com! Let’s chat!
About Laura Iz
Hi, I'm Laura Izumikawa. I'm a stay-at-home-working-mama to Joey and wife to the funniest guy I know. My photos of my napping daughter dressed up as pop culture icons became viral one day and now I blog about our lives because it turns out, people want to know more about us which is totally crazy to me! Thanks for visiting!
Sign up for our mailing list to keep
up-to-date on our family.