Monday, January 30, 2012

01:30:12 [43/365] - mini heart

I really wanted to take my favorite sweater to our adventure... It is a great layer piece!
Turned out... there was a small hole... but nothing that a small heart and a pink thread can not fix. 

I got a "kawaii" approval from our little roo:)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

01:29:12 [42/365]

I am going to miss you... home.

01:28:12 [41/365] - My objective... in Japan

A lot of my friends have asked me about "project/s" I would be working on while I am on the road... and I have been rather vague with my answer. I knew... wherever I travel, I will be sourcing new collection for the shop with an eagle eye... but beyond that... it was undefined.

LUCKILY... the recent change of course on our itinerary has totally crystallized my objective for this 2.5 month adventure in Japan - to learn Japanese gestures that are so subtle for tourists to catch, manners that can only be seen when we live and breathe amongst everyone in Japan and the impeccable customer services that manifest from the way people exchange their business cards to the way products are packaged.

As you might have noticed, the baum-kuchen experience I have been crafting for last year or so has been greatly influenced by our Japanese and German backgrounds and I have always thought that "the small details" that are inspired by those cultures are what differentiate our brand from other online retailers in the world...

So this trip will be an opportunity for full immersion research into my ultimate inspiration. I want to discover and document all the nuances in Japanese cultures... to continue inspiring the way we do things at baum-kuchen... from shipment packaging, email correspondences to pop-up shop presentation.

We are still trying to figure out the wifi situation while we are there. We might or might not have full access to upload blog posts, photos, and ideas to share but I will make sure to document it so I can share it with you here on our blog when opportunity arises. 

Please stay tuned!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

01:27:12 [40/365] - the right thing

"It's never too late to do the right thing."

A quote that stopped me yesterday...

Learning ABC (in Japanese)

I am SO glad to have found a way to use all the pictures I am taking!
I made a set of Japanese alphabet cards for my roo with my photo in the front and a corresponding Japanese letter on the back...  laminated in case of an extreme use and abuse!

Perfectly fitted in a special pouch handmade by my great grandmother with reclaimed kimono fabrics... ready for our long flight!

Roo especially got excited when she saw photos that had familiar objects in... like an artwork in our bedroom.

Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon?

01:26:12 [39/365] - maximizing LA

Since we gained extra few days at home, we are maximizing Los Angeles! Seeing friends, visiting Venice Beach, and running around in a tank top:)

Friday, January 27, 2012

How I am using my Traveler's Notebook

One of my customer Maggie has asked me how I have been using my Traveler's Notebook! So I thought I would share inside of my notebook here!

I have been using this brown Traveler's Notebook for last 3 years and I just can't get enough of it! It goes everywhere as my trusted wallet/sketchbook/agenda all in one!  I carry my Traveler's Notebook by itself to run a quick errand or put it in my bigger bag.

This is a list of what is included in my notebook!
- 2 months diary (this is for organizing my schedule and documenting what I do everyday)
- kraft or blank notebook (for capturing ideas, inspiration)
- card holder (to hold my credit cards, driver's license, etc.)
- zipper case (to carry coins, stamps, etc.)
- large pocket sticker (this holds and secures my 2nd refill)
- Medium pen holder with a brass pen!

So this is how the outside my brown Traveler's Notebook looks like after being worn in for 3 years. I am always surprised how different the leather cover looks when it sits next to the brand new one! I love it:)
When I open my Traveler's Notebook, I have a front side of the zipper case which has a large pocket and use it to keep an inspiring artifact... in this picture - a little note from my mother-in-law.
When I flip the front side of my zipper case folder, I see the front side of my card holder. I usually keep my business cards and label stickers here.
Then I have my first refill, which is 2 month open diary. I use this refill to capture my daily and monthly plan. Here you see the first page of the refill which is a one month calendar. 
I am pretty flexible with the way I use the open page 2 day calendar. I usually give a mini theme to the day and list hours of the day on the left... then fill rest of the page with schedule as well as my to-do list.
Between my two refill notebooks, I have the back side of the card holder and zipper case. This is usually where I keep my "wallet" function. Credit cards, receipts, coins, stamps, etc. etc. all fit here.
 Then I have 2nd refill - kraft notebook.
I glued small Kraft Envelope with String on the front cover of the kraft refill to keep and collect small artifacts.
I am using this 2nd refill for my creative outlets. Sometimes paper samples, sometimes idea sketches, quotes... anything goes.

On the back cover of the leather case, I use a large Pocket Sticker and extra large clip to hold and secure my 2nd refill!

Voila... and this is my Traveler's Notebook as of today!

If you have other creative ways of mixing and matching your Traveler's Notebook, please let me know! I would LOVE to hear it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

01:25:12 [38/365] - stalling... and the beauty of option B

So... we "were" supposed to leave to Bali tomorrow at 3pm... and it was going to be a beautiful and amazing trip...

But sometimes life throws a curve ball and we are tested to make a split-second decision to determine where we are heading... and that's what happened to us 2 days ago.

Unfortunately we got robbed by a serial scam artist in Bali who also turned out to be running adult escort service businesses... and possible illegal adultery businesses involving minors and children... Not only they have stolen our money (which was supposed to be for 1 week of villa rental fee which never materialized...) but also know all of our contact info in Bali.

You could imagine how FB and I both got the chill in our spine...   

I am glad we were able to sniff the wrongfulness in the picture and dag out the critical information that was hidden deeply in the world of internet. When we discovered more than several disturbing reports against this Balinese woman and her expat partner from UK, we knew from our heart that we were not meant to visit Bali at this time of our life.

We scrambled little bit but then quickly decided that we now have an opportunity to create a new path, an option B (for better)! And a HUGE appreciation to my family and friends, we were able to arrange (in 24 hours) a stay in Yakushima in Japan where my grandfather was living until he passed away about a year ago. We were there 3 years ago and it is such a special place for us... especially because I have amazing childhood memory on the island. I am really excited that I can show this special place to our little roo... and spiritually visit Jiij (my grandfather).

So we are unpacking summer clothes and swim diapers from our luggage and repacking with thicker and warmer layers. 

Everything happens for a reason... and I am deeply awed by the chain reaction that lead to where we are right now... at this moment.  Luckily nobody has been hurt and we only lost money... which at the end of the day... is just money.

We are excited about bringing lots of inspiration from the island of Yakushima as well as Kyoto and few other cities in Japan (which was a part of our original itinerary)... Our lovely friends will be moving in our house early next week to house/dog sit for us... and we will be off to our spontaneous adventure!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

01:24:12 [37/365]

Few days ago, my friend Susan sent me this quote. It's a good reminder to lead our lives with explosive passion and drive. Thank you, Susan!
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

- Jack Kerouac
p.s. picture from today's sunset!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

01:22:12 [36/365] - count down!

I apologize if you are already tired of reading my pre-travel madness. If you are..., you could perhaps visit the blog once again in a week or so when we will actually be in Bali?

We are now counting down our departure day in one hand! We started packing this afternoon and it made me feel TONS better. Initially I wanted to take a suitcase full of clothes... but after careful consideration, I shrank my portion of the suitcase into 1/4 of a check-in luggage. That's pretty good, right considering we are gone for 3 months? The rest will be filed with little roo's necessities (like diapers AND swim diapers, dry foods, portable crib, blankies and more diapers).

Because I am sharing my suitcase with roo (and my portion is 1/4...), I am only taking bare minimum which resulted in layers of gray outfits, white linen top/bottom and a few colorful accents. Packing light has become my mission now!

We're going to a warmer place than LA so the fabrics are mainly light, wrinkle free and breathy and that makes me smile:)

Almost... almost...

p.s. I am still taking orders at our shop until this Tuesday. If you are a Traveler's Notebook user (like me:), please make sure to check your refill!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

01:21:12 [35/365] - travel in style

I am pretty excited about the spontaneous purchase I made this afternoon. I did work hard before I run into MediaNoche, a cute boutique shop in Eagle Rock... and the anticipation for the trip... brought the sudden surge to splurge. (blah blah blah... I know this is just an excuse:)

I ended up getting this pair of blue ankle boots, a very comfortable top and this cute dress from Fluxus. Fluxus is made and designed in Los Angeles and I especially love their dress collection.

I am all about outfits that work both on my roo days (as a mama) and my work days for the shop! So their tag line felt like it really fit the way I look at my closet these days.

"There is life,
there is art,
and in between
is fashion."

Don't you think it's true? Sometimes "life" takes over the art part of my closet... but that's totally okay because it is a reality and it's still fashion!

I will be traveling in my kind of fashion:)

Friday, January 20, 2012

01:20:12 [34/365] - present

Pre-travel days are strange... Our time seems to be divided between anticipation and anxiety. I want the next 7 days to go fast so that we will be on the road and I can end the infinite anticipation/anxiety... At the same time I am worried that I might not have enough time to get everything ready.

So I am holding onto a quote from the Empty Mirror... which went something like "future and past does not matter as much as present does because now is infinite but nothing else is".

7 more days before our departure!!

p.s. I am feeling a lot better today:)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

01:19:12 [33/365] - comfort food

I got a little cold something since yesterday. Today I spent 1/2 day in the bed and other half blowing my nose. I did manage to make a small Japanese style risotto on the 4th-market risotto pan.

I wish I could have styled it better... but this was the best I could do on my sick day.

Hope to get better by tomorrow!

01:18:12 [32/365] - new routine + book

We have enjoyed our roo's low-maintenance early bed time for a very long time... Everyday, she went to bed around 6pm and put herself to sleep with a few books in the crib. I especially loved it when she said "bye" to me flipping through her book (eyes on her book, hands waving to me). Those days might be over for now.

New routine goes..., mama or papa must stay in her room until she completely falls in sleep.

If we step out too early, she would jump out of her blanket and cry endlessly. We come back to her room, she drops herself into the blanket. We suspect that she is going through a huge growth sprout (she did grow 1.5" in 1 month), aching from the last round of teething, and possibly feeling the anticipation of our big trip... so she needs extra comfort.

Staying in her room until she falls in sleep (could be 30 min... could be 1 hour) is not as convenient as saying good bye and leaving the room but I don't mind it much. It's really sweet to watch her sleep (I am surprised that she moves a lot... just try to fall in sleep) and I know this is a phase and I will miss it when she grows out of it.

So I enjoy reading my book while I wait her to snooze. I just finished reading The Empty Mirror (recommended by my mother-in-law) and am onto the next one. Who knows... I might be able to hit one of my Inspirational Investment goal "Read 12+ books" much quicker than I anticipated.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

01:17:12 [31/365] - home...

We are glad to be home after a long weekend at my parents' house.

Our departure to Asia is only 1.5 week away and I am feeling a lot of excitement with modest amount of anxiety. I don't think I will ever be perfectly prepared but I want to feel comfortable that I have tried everything to prepare us... especially things for our little roo.

Do I have enough diapers for her? Do I need to take a week worth of dry food for her in case she refuses all foods at our destination? Should I purchase another "blankie" that is the replica of what she has (and carries everywhere)?

Questions are endless... but at the end, I only can do my best and trust that our little roo is a resilient individual who can adopt and get through some changes that is going to happen to her life.

01:16:12 [30/365] - light and reflection

Get fresh air at least once or twice a day - it is what we do... when we have a little one who needs to run around and burn up some energy.

We went back to the nearby harbor yesterday afternoon with our roo. It was cloudy, dark and chilly but light was quite beautiful. There was tiny bit of sun coming through thick cloud and it was reflected on the harbor like the water was painted.

Roo run through the board walk then tried to skip and jump with her grandma Mimi and her auntie Nana. We saw a pelican and she tried to say it but it sounded more like "Pikakaka".  Needless to say, she went to bed really really early last night (again).

Monday, January 16, 2012

01:15:12 [29/365] - sea bleeze

Sea breeze is good for us... proven by the way little roo sleeps afterward.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

01:14:12 [28/365]

We did a family wine tour with my family yesterday. Taking a toddler, her grandparents along with two aunties (plus me+fb) makes it an entourage of 7!

Wine tasting was fun; though, we had to cut it short because we were so sleepy after visiting two winery (red wine can do that to you, right?). The best part? All seven of us fitting in a rental minivan. Roo had the best seat (because her car seat had to fit in the big seat) and 3 adults (including myself) had a very squeezed backseat... There is something about sharing the minivan adventure with everyone:)

Friday, January 13, 2012

01:12:12 [27/365] - love at first sight...

Remember this little guy from 2 years ago?? They finally met yesterday and it was an instant love. She gives best hugs and kisses ever and I love her so much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

01:11:12 [26/365] - inspiration is... everywhere

Today I was glued to my laptop... working on the redesign of a company website. The website is not for baum-kuchen. It's a small gig I am trying to finish before we take off for 3 months.

FB took our roo out so I barely saw them and just worked through the long afternoon. I got out of the couch for the first time when I finally said, "I'm done!!!".

Just when I realized that I had no photos to share from today because I didn't really see anything inspiring... the baby shower invitation from Erin and Courtney made it through the door. It was a ncie mini realization that inspiration can come to our life in all directions... and  I am so thankful that I have very creative friends who make me smile:)

On a totally different note, my recent optometrist visit revealed that I am becoming less nearsighted. My eye doctor asked me if I have changed anything recently since my eyes are little too young to be shifting this way...  and we came to the conclusion that I am with my little roo more and spending less time on my laptop. It's kind of amazing how much body adopts, isn't it?? It inspired me to continue cultivating healthier habits everyday... so I thought I would share:)



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

01:10:12 [25/365] - adventure

"Take an adventure" was also on my Inspirational Investment list.

well... it's not hard to take an adventure when we get to experience the world through our little roo's eyes. It is pretty cool to be parents:)

01:09:12 [24/365] - making it nice

"Making everyday inspiring" is one of my Inspirational Investment for 2012 so I am staying extra conscious to take few seconds here and there to transform something simple to something special.... just for us:)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Flea market finds: {Vintage German backpack + photography light}

I LOVED strolling through the Rose Bowl Flea Market this morning with FB and roo as one of thousands shoppers!

Whenever we find a jewel in the midst of chaos, we looked them super carefully, checked with each other if it would be "right" for us... then made decision to take it home to adore.

Here are two of my favorites from today's findings!

Vintage German Backpack
We originally thought this backpack might be just perfect for carrying FB's 13" mac air... but it turned out to be 1/4" too small when we brought it home... then we realized that it would actually be perfect for carrying a notepad and pencil case as a field back when he does sketching! I really can't believe how well made this backpack is. All the stitching, metal fasteners, leather surface are in the perfect condition and it has few names crossed over (possibly went through multiple owners?)... then the fur surface on the back!! Such a great treasure with a lot of unique characteristics.

A photography light with a vintage wooden tripod
This beautiful industrial light also caught our eyes. The metal light is polished by a designer and mounted on a wooden tripod with intricate collapsible hardware mechanisms. I think we are gravitated to this era of the American Industrial Design. They are sturdy, minimalistic yet very functional. Oh and how much I love the dramatic lighting effect we get at night!


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