Monday, September 30, 2013

things I want to remember as a parent...

We all sometimes have nightmares, right? I had one of those worst kind of nightmare as parents last night... In the dream, we managed to lose one of the girls in crowds and I was desperately looking for her... It was so real... scary real. I woke up terrified, frightened and helpless.

It took me a whole morning to shake off my bad dream... I hoped I never NEVER would have to go through the kind of experience outside of my nightmare... then I wondered why I had the dream.

Over the weekend we were away to spend some time with our friends and their kiddos. Throughout the week, there were so many moments that reminded me that our little ones... are really growing up. I am awed by this process. On one end I look forward to seeing our girls grow up and witnessing whom they would become... and on the other end... I feel bitter sweet.

I wondered if dream meant to tell me not to let our girls get out of sight. Not only in the crowds but also throughout their growing first few years that seems to move a lot quicker when we look back.

In these years we as parents are the gravity to their world... they see us as role models of life and guide rail to experiment with the world. A lot of their gestures (both positive and negative... like tantrum?) are reflections of our own...

Share good lessons with them but also be opened to learn from them.
Be kind... be mindful... always lead by examples and be truly present.
... and most importantly... just love them with a whole heart.

My girls constantly help me to grow as a person... and I am so thankful for them...

p.s. here are two articles that really moved me reg. parenting recently...
"A secret to Dad greatness" on Zen Habits
Daily rhythm via the littlest blog

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last seven days...

Believe it or not..., I only took three non-shop related Instagram pics this past week. It's probably a sign that I am pretty absorbed by our day-to-day happenings... AND my iPhone is broken so I am unconsciously picking my phone camera less and less these days. 

A family of four is really like a production and we are still figuring out our weekly schedule... Who takes what role, who is cooking which meal... and who puts whom to sleep?? 

Now that our studio / shop is in a pretty good condition, I want to make sure that I work hard AND rest even harder... to make sure that I have enough energy to fulfill all my roles and responsibilities I take... most importantly as a mother of two. 

At the end... I feel that it's simply not good enough to succeed in business... if our life is empty.

The first round of snapshots from our Studio/Shop

It has been two weeks since we moved into our studio/shop in Glassell Park and I am starting to feel pretty settled and cozy in the space:) I would love to do a proper introduction of each corner in the near future...; meanwhile, I thought I would share an aggregated collection of Instagram pics from our studio/shop!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Last week...

Last week was a memorable one. We have officially moved into our studio/shop in Glassell Park. Frido did most of the design in the space... and moving big furniture and our inventory... and at the end he gave me a brand new chalkboard shop sign with our name and logo as a special gift. Seriously... he is amazing.

In mid-week, we asked our friend (and a very talented photographer) Courtney of Erin Hearts Court to come over and have a family photo session with us. We are still waiting for a majority of the photos to come back from film development but seeing some sneak peek (4th photo and 5th photo with polaroid pics below taken by Courtney!) was so exciting. She captured so many "moments" that are true to us. I know we will look back to those pictures and be able to see where we are at...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Treasure turned into heirloom... by Liam's Shard Jewelry

Our friends Corey and Liam have been our inspiration for crafting a lifestyle that is authentic and true to ourselves... so when we received a package from them last week, I knew we were in for a special treat! When we opened the package, I realized that we were in for more than just a treat...

Last year when we were staying on Yakushima island for our sabbatical, spending an afternoon on an empty beach looking for drift treasure was one of our favorite activities. We found some amazing artifacts like perfectly round pebbles, old buoy made of beautiful glass wrapped in kelp, and pieces of ceramic and glasses. Just like drift wood, drift ceramic and glass is weathered and soft in hand... losing all the sharp edges. I love the way they feel in hand and their faded colors. Ever since we left Yakushima, the island has become a source of light in my heart. It's a place that immediately comes to my mind when I need to mentally travel to a peaceful place...

Liam creates one of a kind Shard Jewelry using pieces from broken ceramics and they always told us that stories behind these broken dishes Liam uses is what inspires his creation and his customers... We thought that drift ceramic found on the tiny Japanese island would surely spark a great story so we mailed a small package with these found treasure towards their way. I never thought I would see these pieces again...

Fast-forward one and half year... these pieces of drift ceramic was exactly what was in the package... only more special. Liam created a set of four beautiful necklaces using the pieces we mailed from Yakushima. I think my heart jumped when I saw them... I immediately opened one of them and threaded a necklace chain so I can wear it everyday as a reminder of all the amazing life lessons we learned while we were on the island. Afterward Frido, Roo and I had a long chat about how special our time was on the island... Roo was very curious about these jewelry so I told her that the other two are for Coco and her when they grow up... and the forth one is for us keep in a special place. I am so awed that these drift ceramic will be able to continue its journey in our family...

Thank you Liam and Corey for sharing such a beautiful Shard collection with us. I love what you guys do... creating heirloom from all these lost treasures.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

In love with Polaroid...

Lately we've been in love with Polaroid. It helps that some of the vintage Polaroid like Polaroid SX-70 is so beautifully designed...

We got some films from the Impossible Project and took a few photos here and there last month and some more while we were traveling. Considering how many photos we could take on our digital camera for no additional cost involved... it's kind of crazy to spend that much investment for each film (and let's not forget that we don't know what comes out of the photo until the film develops...)

But then... the commitment it takes to capture the very moment with something which simply can not be reproduced over and over is such a unique experience when everything is so instant around us. I remember exactly how it felt when Frido took the photo of me holding sleeping Coco. There was a real connection at the moment as he manually focused the lens... and the anticipation of seeing the film developed...

I think the entire process is beautiful... and it brings so much romance to life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Last 14 days...

Aside from traveling to Ojai/Ventura, we kept ourselves VERY busy during last 14 days. Moving and preparing our Baum-kuchen shop/studio has been in full swing. Mainly Frido did all the making and moving of the shop and I organized inventory and kept up with day-to-day operation (and kept the girls away from all the madness)! Did I mention Frido is amazing??? I can't wait to share everything he created and envisioned in our humble space. It is very special:)

Before and after our Ojai trip, I took our girls to my parents house to spend some quality Japanese time with my family. Roo quickly picked up few Japanese words when we got there and Coco was chatting away with everyone (in her baby voice... of course). Most of time Frido and I are pretty much on our own raising our girls but I am reminded how lovely to have a village to raise our girls even for a short weekend.

I hope everyone in LA stays cool through this crazy heat wave... and make the most of the lasting summer! I am kind of hoping for more pool time with Roo... since she is really starting to pick up on her swimming skill.

Frido goes back teaching this week... which will bring a whole new schedule for the family to adjust to... plus my new commute to the shop... and Roo starting a new school year. Yep... a lot happening!

Let's see what the new week brings!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What a real travel brings to life...

All through this summer, we shared a lot of ideas and thoughts about travel through Baum-kuchen love letter (if you are interested, you can subscribe to our love letter here:) I enjoyed thinking about travel while caring and nurturing nature of welcoming a little baby kept us very close to home throughout the summer.

We knew that 2013 will not be a big traveling year for us... but as our Coco grew little by little, we knew that we could take her for her very first adventure.

Last week we stepped out Los Angeles... to enjoy slower time in Ojai. As a happy luck, we were able to bring Michael, Frido's father from Germany who just came back from Burning Man, to Ojai with us! It was definitely a big production and I was little anxious to see how it would all work out. (I mean... we never took Coco further than 5 miles radius from our home in last three months!!)

Just like Los Angeles, Ojai ended up being VERY hot during our stay. So my dream to play in the pool with Roo while we picnic under the poolside tree quickly became pretty uncomfortable for everyone... so we drove 30 minutes every afternoon to enjoy the cool sea breeze in Ventura. I was little sad about the change of plan... but in a way needing to shift my original ideas I had in my head helped me to be more spontaneous and stay present... and I know I will remember these moments we created together more vividly than the one I scripted in my head ahead of time... That's what "travel" is all about, right?

I am looking forward to sharing some inspiring spots we visited throughout our trip on our next love letter and I am happy to have come home with some amazing takeaways even it was short and sweet!

Now I am ready to begin our brick and mortar adventure here in Glassell Park!



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Travel through appetite!

Certain food evokes the nostalgia of places far in distance. Shabu-shabu is one of these foods that instantly bring us the memory of comfort in Japanese homes... and it happens to be the easiest family style dinner to prepare! The preparation consists of chopping all the ingredients (takes 20 minutes!) and making the initial broth by cooking Katsuo-bushi (bonita flake) and Kombu (thick edible kelp) in Nabe (Japanese ceramic pot) and that's all that need to be done! Set a table with a bowl and a chopstick for each guest along with some condiments and sauce, invite everyone to the table and start cooking different ingredients in front of everyone right on the table using Nabe with a Konro (a portable tabletop gas stove).

Shabu-shabu is a great meal to share with family and friends because cooking process is just as special as an eating process and unplanned conversations that happen while waiting for the food to be cooked on the table is priceless. Also the whole meal is cooked in one Nabe on the table and everyone takes what he or she likes to eat from there... so it is a very intimate shared meal. It also makes it easy to prepare food for guests who have special food needs. 

Oh and let's not forget our favorite part... having a chopstick fight to get the best piece from Nabe!

We shared shabu-shabu with our friends on special occasions and noticed that it has a track record of making new "shabu-ers" along the way! Our friends go to the extent of getting the specialized tools such as Nabe and Konro for their homes so they can have their own shabu night!

First course is usually meat since it gives nice flavor to what will be cooked afterward. We use very thinly sliced pork or beef which is often labeled as "shabu" specialized meat at an Asian market. If you don't have an access to an Asian market, you can ask a local butcher to slice meat as thinly as possible. If you prefer seafood, clam, scallop, and shrimp would also work! The word "shabu" means "swash" in Japanese. The dish is called "shabu shabu" because you cook a thinly sliced meat with a chopstick as if you are washing the meat in the boiling water. The cooked meat goes directly into your bowl..., add condiments like chopped green onion and grated Daikon (white radish) as you like... topped with Aji-pon (Japanese citrus flavored ponzu sauce) or sesame sauce. Make sure to spice it up with Shichimi (Japanese chilli pepper) if you like your dish spicy!

Second course is vegetables. We love including nappa (Japanese cabbage), all sorts of mushrooms, Ito-Konjac and tofu in Nabe and cook till they are ready. The possibilities of what could be a part of the vegetable course is endless.

Depending on everyone's hunger level, we might do another round of meat then vegetable...

The last portion of shabu-shabu is all about carbs! Udon noodle always makes the shabu-shabu to an instant comfort food... then if you still have some space in your appetite, you can cook Mochi (sticky rice) then finish it off by putting few cups of cooked rice in the much flavored stock with little bit of soy sauce and salt! I think Okayu (risotto) soaked in these rich flavor is really the reward for all the hard work that went into making (and eating) this amazing meal!

p.s. and don't forget authentic Japanese drinks to go along:) We love Orion beer from Okinawa, Japan!


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