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.
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
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 have received so many messages lately asking about what books Joey is reading. I decided to share some of our current favorites with you today. It has been so fun watching how interested Joey is in reading and looking at pictures. My favorite thing about reading with Joey is that it gives us 20 minutes a day with zero distractions. Life has gotten so busy lately so this is a time I treasure.
I also get a lot of questions about how I got Joey interested in reading. This has been a challenge we have really just recently conquered. When we sit down to read a book we always go to the same spot in the house in her playroom, turn on some calming music, turn the lights down a bit and read away. It has also helped significantly that we have made this part of our daily routine (I have figured out routine in key to anything with children).
I hope you find this list exciting and helpful when setting up your library in your own home.
I swear since becoming a mom my purse has been taken over by all things Joey! If you ever need an extra sock or a package of fruit snacks I’m your girl! For 2018 I vowed to myself I was going to take my purse back over. I recently came across Cuyana and was thrilled when I saw all of their amazing pieces to help me set this resolution in place.
As many of you know we have been doing a lot of traveling for the launch of my book Naptime With Joey. Well, with traveling so much came more and more of Joey’s stuff in my purse. I wanted to share with you the amazing pieces from Cuyana I got to help conquer the chaos of “the black hole”.
Travel Case Set– This was one of the most exciting pieces I have! When thinking about what was important to me when organizing my purse was all of the items I needed to store. I love the small case for items like my lip gloss, rollerball perfume and compact mirror. This has come in handy so many times (no more hunting for that small item). The larger bag as been vowed Joey’s bag. I have refused to have floating snacks in my bags from here on out. The Crumb Kings have spoken! It is perfect for a couple fruit snacks, an applesauce packet and a small toy to keep her busy.
Mini Jewelry Case– When we travel I don’t like to put my jewelry in my suitcase. In the past, I would throw everything in a Ziploc bag and toss it in my purse. If anyone has ever done this then you know exactly what happens. I would usually spend about 20 minutes untangling the mess I had created. This amazing case has solved this issue. I love the top strap to store all of my rings and earrings!
Oversized Carryall Tote– I have always been the girl that carries 2 purses. When I am out with Joey I toss my smaller bag into a tote. This bag fit the bill and the budget. I am secretly hoping I get the black one for Valentine’s Day (hint hint, Allen). On a serious note though, this bag is made so well. I am not one that is careful with my purses because the reality is I am usually more focused on Joey than I am if my purse is touching the ground. If you are a mom you have to take this bag for a test drive!
All in all, I cannot express my love for my Cuyana items more! The durability is top of the line and the fact that everything coordinates and matches makes me so happy. I cannot wait to add to my collection of their items. Here’s to a happy, healthy and hopefully organized 2018!
Have you guys finished your holiday gift shopping? Since so many of you have been asking what our current favorite things are, I thought I’d post them here to give you some gift ideas! Most of these items are favorite things of Joey who is currently almost 20 months old. I’ve also added a couple things for parents. 🙂
NAPTIME WITH JOEY BOOK:
I mean, c’mon. I have to throw this one in there because it’s kiiinda my book haha! No but actually I’ve been hearing they’ve been great gifts for expecting parents, grandparents, kids (they love the pictures and playing I-spy with them) and also for white elephant gift exchanges. You can buy them at most bookstores worldwide as well as through the links below:
OK, who wouldn’t want this? Joey LOVES music and singing so this was such a great thing to have especially when we went camping recently and she entertained everyone with Bruno Mars songs. Allen and I are big karaoke fans so it’s only natural that Joey inherited the same passion as well.
This toy was incredibly entertaining for Joey especially right after she turned one. We would take it everywhere (we still do!) on long car rides and airplane trips. These days, she been able to actually put the buckles together by color when she wasn’t able to do that. What I do from time to time is hide the toy for about a month and then bring it back so that it’s kinda like “new” to her again. I’ve watched her play with it in the car for about 20 minutes straight once! Trust me, if you’re looking for a “helpful” kid-friendly gift to give, GIVE THIS TOY.
UNCLE PAULS’ PLAYDESK: (for those who live in Southern California only)
I asked our dear friend who can build all kinds of amazing wooden structures to make us a play desk for Joey. This is what we came up with! There’s a magnetic board on it as well as a little cubby hole. The great thing about this is you can add whatever you want to it. Lately Joey loves to color with crayons so we just set up her paper and crayons on this desk so she could mark it up any way she wants. You can read my other blog post about how to order one by clicking here.
Joey loves watching me put on makeup and when she started reaching for my brushes and wanting to play with my makeup, I looked up pretend makeup toys and found this. I got it for our flight to San Francisco and it entertained her for a good 30 minutes! Some of my friends said that they bought it for their toddler for trips as well and that they it was the perfect entertainment for their kids too!
So many of you have asked about these flashcards that we’ve been going thru with Joey every day. We love them! What I love about these are the pictures are very simple and clear to identify. It says that it is from ages 1 and up but we started around 15 months because she was still chewing on everything. Mudpuppy who makes these cards also make other things like puzzles which Joey also loves to play with and also other types of cards.
I can’t say enough how much I love our Nugget Comfort. We have a play room for Joey where she likes to play with her toys, read books and lounge around and we had been looking for something just like this Nugget Comfort. It’s not only super comfortable to sit and lay on, you can move it around as it comes in four pieces. If you go to their website, you can see all the different ways you can set it up.
Joey is so interested in markers, crayons and pens but the bad thing about that is she obviously doesn’t know how to color in between lines and so it goes everywhere! She recently marked up our leather couch with a Sharpie! One of our dear fans gave us this at one of our book signings and Joey has been loving it. Best thing about it is, there is no ink involved. Only water! This was also something we brought with us on air plane rides and also when we go on playdates to someone’s house. The way it works is you fill the pen with water and you start coloring the pages and the drawings magically appear!
We have several of these now because we realized Joey can sit for a pretty long time by herself just putting these puzzles together. I couldn’t believe how quickly she learned how to put it together on her own without my help. It’s pretty amazing how kids absorb so much knowledge so quickly on their own. We love gifting this to our friends who have kids because it’s not messy or hard to clean up. I think it totally beats iPad sorting games!
This gift is obviously for the mamas and the papas. This is my go-to camera for all video related things. If you’ve seen the recent “Banana Talk” video on my Instagram, that was shot with this camera. I love that it auto-focuses and that it has a flip screen so that you can record in selfie-mode. This also has wi-fi tethering so that you can download the images and videos you shot right on your phone! This would make a great gift to someone who loves to take photos and videos all the time but don’t want to carry a big dSLR around all the time.
If you’ve been following my posts Instagram, you’ll know that I LOVE Easter Ahn’s jewelry line. I wear my custom Joey necklace, bracelet and earrings everyday. She also designed our wedding rings. I’m obviously a big fan of her work. Her pieces make the perfect gifts for your loved ones because they’re high quality real gold (comes in White, Yellow and Rose), they’ll last forever and you can personalize them with a name or initial(s)! Easter also does custom designs for all types of jewelry and can create gorgeous engagement/wedding rings.
So many of you have been asking about this custom workbench that I asked my good friend Paul to make for Jo. I’ve always wanted to make her a busy board but wanted something a little different to put in our kitchen/living area without it getting in the way of things. The workbench design was perfect for us to put right under our kitchen countertop that way I can keep an eye on her while in the kitchen! She loves playing with the magnets and also putting them back in the cubby hole. I’m planning on adding some more features including a rotary telephone (if I can find one!) and other things that might peak her interest like buckles and zippers. I didn’t want to add them all at once because her interests change every day. Excited to keep working on this!
Rainbow Wooden Magnets can be found here. I do have you warn you that they are not the strongest magnets so they have a tendency of sliding down on this particular magnet board.
So I have great news! I asked if Paul would take some orders for you guys and he said he would! I know many of you wanted to get one so just read below to see how you can order one from Paul. You would get this same bench but can choose what type of features you’d like. All three designs do not come with the door lock or the light switches in these photographs. The three design options are below.
Just the workbench in the grey stain. (No magnetic board or cubby) – $120 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
Workbench with the magnetic board (No cubby) in the grey stain. – $145 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
Workbench with the magnetic board and cubby and white knob in the grey stain – $165 (+$20 Delivery Fee)
To place an order, please email Paul at CPKDesigns2017@gmail.com. The turnaround will be 1-2 weeks after payment is received. There will be a delivery charge of $20. After the Venmo payment is received, Paul will coordinate a delivery time that will work with you!
Please provide the following when placing an order:
Location (City) *Must be in Los Angeles or Orange County California
Must be able to pay through Venmo. Bench will be made after payment is received.
Please provide which Workbench design you’d like (#1, #2. #3)
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!
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