Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bringing more LIFE into my Jibun Techo

The other day, my girls were painting at the dining table so I joined in with my Jibun Techo.

One of my wish for this year on my analogue adventure is to bring more life into my planner pages. The idea was inspired after reading Trina's recent story, "Planting the Seeds for Rich Relationships". Yes. My Jibun Techo is truly functional and it helps me to stay productive and organized. But that shouldn't mean that my every day on the page should look like a bunch of lists when I reflect. 

So every night when I sit down to write letters to Satchi and Coco, I try to add something from the day on the Jibun page. Maybe a quote that inspired. Maybe a sponteneous dinner outing that wasn't written down as a "plan" but it happened and was fun. 

And so when Satchi and Coco brought out the watercolor set to the table, I dabbed little bit of colors to the space left from previous days and also filled Frido's birthday with a rainbow. 

It's our life. Let's make it beautiful. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Our inventory room. Reinvented.

January 3rd was a big milestone moment for our studio. We had the official furniture moving day for our inventory room! As we slowly have grown our collections we carry at Baum-kuchen, there was a strong need to stay functional, organized, and better oriented in the backroom. It was really a time.

Imagine the entire inventory in the back room being brought out to the shop space so we could move these big shelves into a more strategic configuration... and then all the items to be brought back in. Yep. Our space looked insane for a day!! But we managed to get everything done with the team and were back in fulfillment on the next day.

I love the new space. The items are better sorted and we can see all the shelving space so we are no longer looking for items behind other items on the deep shelves! And I have a small cozy nook for my workstation.

Frido is also constantly updating our shop space. He added a Japanese vintage school map on the wall the other day and armed us with additional display space so we can showcase artifacts more thoughtfully. These are small steps and I know when I look back at these photographs, I will marvel how much change we have gone through.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Letters to your loved ones...

If you are wondering where to start your analogue adventure this year... I would love to share one place where we can all begin our journey from. 

It's simple. Just open a page on a notebook and start writing a letter to someone special whenever you can. 

I started writing letters to our girls back in October, 2014. It was my way of scrapbooking our day and to create more space to reflect on the memories we were creating. Since then, I have written/drawn some form of (almost) daily letters for them. At the beginning, I was writing and documenting and thought they might enjoy looking back to these notebooks when they grow up. Since the beginning of 2017, I shifted the contents a little and started writing directly to them each night so they can wake up every morning to read the letter from the previous night. Sometimes they forget reading. Sometimes it's just one word I write on the page. I tuck letters they receive from their friends and families in there too. In few occasions, they leave me their notes and drawings on the pages and I treasure them. 

In 2017, I used TN refills to savor this tradition and was able to compile all the notebooks I used for each girl in the archive binder on the last day of the year. The TN system worked really well in 2017 since it was our most traveled year and I wanted to take a TN refill notebook for each girl with me in a suitcase so I can keep writing to them while on the road. The monthly tabs from TN Customized Sticker Set came handy to keep the refills in a chronological order. I watched both Satchi and Coco picking up the archived letters address to them and flip through the pages and it was truly priceless.  

This year, I decided to go back to the minimalistic MD Diary (which I used back in 2015). One for Satchi and one for Coco. I am hoping to capture my letters to them as well as the drawings and letters they make for me in this notebook. Also to use the monthly pages as a way to help them orient their days in a context of month and year. 

So I hope this year... if you are wondering where to start..., I hope you start writing to a person who is in your mind. It could be a friend, a family, or a stranger you run into the day. The letter can be read by the addressed person or not. I believe in the act of pouring our hearts out in order for us to connect with the world around us. Just imagine how peaceful our world would be if we choose to spend more of our time writing to someone we love... 

Here are some photos from 2017 letters and first few pages from 2018 letters to our girls. I hope they bring little bit of sparkles and inspiration to your analogue journey. 


2017 Letters to Satchi & Coco with TN

2018 Letters to Satchi & Coco with MD Diary

Jibun Techo // Roterfaden A5 Slim x The Superior Labor Cover

It has been a few months since we fully moved into Jibun Techo Biz 2018. Frido has been using the Jibun with A5 Slim Roterfaden (Light Brown) and I have been loving The Superior Labor Jibun Techo Cover. I feel like we are still figuring out how to make the most of this system but I thought it would be fun to do a side-by-side comparison between Roterfaden cover vs. TSL cover.

Frido currently is loving his Roterfaden A5 Slim cover and is totally maximizing what the cover can hold up to! His Roterfaden front pocket holds a lot of miscellaneous artifacts like Field Notes, BK Dashboards, extra stickers, etc. Also having a sewn-in pen loop makes sure that he always has at least one pen to write with. He is holding Jibun Techo Biz and Idea Notebook with two of the Roterfaden clips! It's so convenient when these clips work as bookmarks so he can get to the page he is looking for right away.

I think the only downfall of the Roterfaden cover is its thickness. Because of the layered materials they use to construct the cover, his setup is almost twice as thick as mine with The Superior Labor cover.

TSL Jibun Techo Cover is more minimalistic in what it does. We designed the cover so it can accommodate one Jibun Techo with 2 additional notebooks. I currently carry Jibun Techo Bizclear zipper case, and additional Idea Notebook. I have a few postcards in the front pocket and a few BK shop card in the back card pocket and just transformed my wallet into the clear zipper case. I wanted to keep my setup as slim as possible so it doesn't become a burden to carry it every day and so far it has been working out. I have a few of my favorite fountain pens in the Pen Holder Clip and I am ready to go.

To continuously design the set up that works for my unique needs of the moment has always been the driving force to change and I am excited to explore different ways to utilize the Jibun Techo in 2018!

Have you set up your 2018 analogue system?? What are you doing differently this year?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

TN Caravan pop-up event at ACE Hotel

Fall has been incredibly full for us! But we did squeeze some fun time as a part of the BK work and spent an awesome November weekend (sunny, warm, and beautiful) on the rooftop of ACE Hotel with the team of Traveler's Company from Tokyo.

It was such a big project for Traveler's Company to visit Los Angeles and New York, especially because the event was much anticipated for many many years by so many TN fans and I was glad to be a small part of the local support in Los Angeles.

Probably the biggest highlight for me was to give big hugs to all the amazing TN fans whom I got to meet through Baum-kuchen to celebrate the day. The analogue community here is incredibly warm, encouraging and passionate and I can't thank all the customers for all the support!

Oh, and of course having Satchi and Coco visit me on the last day of the event. Frido held the homefront for the weekend while I was pretty much away for the entire weekend... and I just missed them so much to be away. It was so sweet to watch them make their own spiral notebook with special papers provided by Traveler's Company and hold their proud notebooks:)

I can't wait to see what's ahead of the Traveler's Company in 2018!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Inspiration for Traveling Balloon Pants: Dola from Castle in the Sky

When we started the conversation with The Superior Labor about the idea of making the Balloon Pants together, I sent them a few thoughts about where the inspiration came from and how I imagine these pants will make the person wearing them feel like. 

The first thing I mentioned to them was Dola, a side female character from the Hayao Miyazaki animation Castle in the Sky. I watched the movie all through my childhood and never ever got tired of it. A funny connection to think about but it totally made sense to me. The dynamic lady captain of air pirate who comes across tough at the beginning but is actually incredibly kind, respectful and warm. She is a mom to her sons (who are also pirates). She is an old friend to the mechanic who works on the ship. And she becomes a friend and mentor to the young main characters, Sheetah and Pazu. 

Anyways. Long story short. She wears the balloon pants all through the film and even lends one to Sheetah. I am so excited that now I can share how it feels to be a little bit like Dola. Free-spirited. Comfortable in her skin. Powerful. Adventurous

Here are some of my favorite functional parts of the pants.
The wide volume around the legs:
I can get closer to my kids' eye-level no matter where we are, library, park or home. It doesn't matter. I can sit with them on the floor, squat down to help them pick up something or bend down to pick their bodies up as needed. I have a hard time doing that comfortably when I wear my skinny-ish jeans. And I barely wear dress or skirts for the reason. 

Also, let's not forget how it doesn't cut circulation of the legs when we are on the airplane. A huge plus!  

Being able to adjust the height of pants' hem:
Because the hem of the pants has elastic, I can pull up the bottom of the pants right below my knee. It comes super handy when I am at the beach and decide to splash some water at the shallow side. I also like having the bottom of the pants up when it's hot! 

Big pockets:
This seems like such a simple thing but these side pockets hold so many things in the day-to-day. My phone usually fits there and I never have to worry about it falling out of the pocket. Often keys, as well as Coco's nature finds like rocks, etc. can be found in my pockets. 

I machine wash my pants regularly. I try to air dry it instead of having it go through the dryer but it has been accidentally machine dried as well. My sample version of the balloon pants is holding up super well!  

I can match the pants with just about anything:
I wear it with T-shirt, a cashmere sweater, a bomber jacket. Just about anything. And literally, I wear it every day. 

I can go on and on about how much I adore this pants... and I can't wait to receive the very first sets of production pants from The Superior Labor soon! We are also making a sample of a petite size! Let me know if you are interested in the size via email so I can get in touch with you when we start taking pre-order for petite:)

Monday, November 20, 2017

How I am making "Jibun Techo" work for me!

We started introducing Jibun Techo for 2018 this season and since it's a relatively new planner system, I get a lot of questions reg. how I am utilizing the notebook. So here it is. My visual guide to Jibun Techo weekly spread.

Here are my favorite features of the Jibun Techo.

1. Thin and smooth Tomoe River paper on the classic Jibun Techo
I adore Tomoe River paper so much for their tactile and writing quality. I use fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and pencils on my Jibun Techo and they all work great on the paper.

**Jibun Techo Biz uses different but also very beautiful ink friendly paper

2. The ability to dedicate the x-axis of the notebook for my needs
The weekly layout has flexible yet consistent structure and it's so easy to dedicate specific elements and needs for the spread. Since I use this planner for everything in my life including appointments, BK, homeschooling, marathon training, etc. etc...  I decided to use different rows of the weekly spread for what is relevant to my every day. So instead of documenting today's mood, weather (which are available to document as pre-set layout if you would like), I use the rows for hours I worked for BK, mileages I run for marathon training, morning gratitude, appointments, homeschool learning records, today's task list, etc.

I love the being able to mix and match pretty much everything I need to document, remember, plan for each week.

3. The week's task list on the left column
Every Sunday, I write down (and migrate) the week's schedule and to do list for the week. It's so handy to have them written on the same page as my weekly spread. Life can be complicated for all of us... and planner system doesn't have to be.

I use my monthly pages as a master planner. All the future appointments go there and only there so there is no scheduling conflict that happen when we have multiple planners going on! I am shifting to use pencils on my master planner since my schedule changes frequently and the page is becoming a big chaos with appointments written and crossed off only to be marked again! (life!!!)

I haven't really used the project tracker pages yet. It's something I might incorporate when I start working on a larger scale BK project (which is in planning phase now!). I have one list page dedicated to blog/story ideas and did use the book list available. I think I will need to convert some of the preset task lists in 2018 planner to my own lists so they are more useful. 

I carry the Jibun Techo Underlay Mat (love the "today" tab) as well as their Sticky Notes which I am so in love with their minimalistic design. And currently, my Jibun Techo is housed in our [TSLxBK] Original Cover. We are taking pre-orders for the upcoming production that is expected to be delivered in early 2018! And yes. We are making a prototype for B6 slim size right now and as soon as we approve the design, we will start taking preorders.

If you have any thoughts/questions/ideas, please shoot us an email. I would love to continue incorporating your question into the stories we share!

Now let's make the end of 2017 amazing, shall we?


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Travel with Less

Good morning from our studio in Los Angeles. It's so nice to be back here. Settling in with our version of Los Angeles autumn weather. 

I hope you are able to enjoy the little bits and pieces of our BK on the Road // Okayama stories.

Because this trip required us to be very mobile (visiting 3 different locations in 5 days), Eunice and I really worked hard to simplify what we brought with us. One of the BK mantra is to "be light" and it was empowering to see how compact we could be on the road! 

Also traveling is one of the best opportunities for our BK team to test out the artifacts we adore. Whatever we decided to bring had to endure some serious wear and tear as we went through the airport, crowded train stations, packing and unpacking at the destination, etc. etc. 

So here is what we tested and loved during this trip.

My check-in luggage on this trip was TSL Backpacker. It did get heavy on the shoulder when I put my clothes, toiletry, umbrella, extra lightweight shoes, and a laptop (laptop was in there when the bag was not checked in for flight), but the convenience of being able to throw my luggage on my back when we transferred from a train to ferry then to a bus was pretty premium. And the Backpacker NEVER got confused with other suitcases when it was time for me to find it at the luggage pickup. As a carry-on, I carried TSL Engineer Shoulder Bag. This bag has been so worn in... with all the trips it has accompanied us. I just love it so much.

I carried my most important items such as passport, cash, credit cards, etc. in my Travel for Life Wallet inside of my Traveler's Notebook (TN Olive) and kept it safe in my Engineer Pouch with Pocket along with our itinerary. Japan is a pretty safe country to travel but it made me feel better to know that my makeshift Traveler's Notebook "wallet" really didn't look like a wallet. I had a "Wander" refill notebook in my Traveler's Notebook cover and used up the entire notebook during the trip. I clipped TSL Pen Holder Clip on the cover of the Traveler's Notebook so I was never short of my favorite writing instruments. Oh and you saw me in the Traveling Balloon Pants pretty much through the entire trip. I was so glad to test this pair of pants before we started taking preorder for our customers. It's one of the most comfortable pants to wear. When it was raining, I pulled it up to my knees so the hems didn't get wet. Then I layered it with leggings when it got chilly at night. (And there is a good chance I am wearing it "again" today as I write this story).

I also enjoyed seeing Eunice try our her ateliers PENELOPE knapsack. (Medium Size in Navy) She used it as her carry-on and the bag's 2 external pockets which faced her back when she carried it came so handy to keep her Traveler's Notebook (as her wallet) safe yet handy. The drawstrings got little easier to pull over time but I think it will require few more adventures before they get softer.

This trip really made me re-think of what we need in life. How easy and light it felt to have less with us... and knowing whatever we decided to carry REALLY belonged to our hearts.

What will you be carrying for your next adventure?


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