Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Traveling Oahu with family / few of our favorites:)

A lot of people were wondering about houses we rented via airbnb so I thought I would make a list of our favorites: where we stayed, what we did and what we ate while we were in Oahu with family (Satchi at age 5 & Coco at age 2) for 6 nights. We stayed on north shore most of the time and had few day trips to the east side of the island.

Having a lot of flexibility to adjust to what kids needed (we were up at 4am for first few nights with 3 hours time difference) and ever changing Hawaiian weather was really critical! It felt relaxing not to have too many things on our agenda and approach the trip with "let's see what happens next" kind of attitude.

Hawaii! We miss you already:)

Where we stayed: 
Because we had my sister and her boyfriend join us during the 1/2 of our trip, we got to live in two different houses. First house with 3 bedroom by the water on North Shore and the second house with 2 bedroom (and an office room) in a very local oceanside village also close to North Shore. Both houses offered everything we needed for different activities - water gears, bicycle, washer/dryer (totally amazing!!!) to name a few. We cooked most of our meals at home (or brought home food to eat at home) and enjoyed our downtime at home as much as amazing outdoor activities Hawaii had to offer!

1st house: Oceanfront Beach house nearby Sharks Cove
This house accommodated all 6 adults and our girls very comfortably! It was a relatively new listing on airbnb when we booked in December so we were hoping that it would be everything we hoped for and it was:) We loved spending our time watching crushing waves and moving cloud (and incredible sunset) endlessly and ate all our meals (and amazing drinks Phil and Yuko made) on the deck! When traveling with kids, a gated outdoor space is priceless. I loved that they just run out the house in the morning and were "washing" our cars with water toys! We strolled on north shore beaches, had great takeout meals from nearby food trucks and explored our neighborhood on bike paths. Kids were so giddy to be riding bikes with us. It was truly memorable and the perfect beginning of our adventure.

2nd house: Modern Hawaii Surf House
We were excited to "move" to the new location after spending 3 lovely nights nearby north shore. Because it was just four of us, we wanted something comfortable and really kids friendly. We loved how local this downstair unit felt in the tiny little ocean village. When we were there, it felt really far away from any touristy scenes. Seeing family who live in the neighborhood come and go from their houses and enjoying their time and their life was so refreshing. Girls LOVED their first bunkbed experience and all the toys and books that were available for them to read and use. It felt very "home" to us...

What we did:
- Bike North Shore bike path!
- Watching surfers at Sunset Beach (North Shore). Satchi was totally memorized by the concept of surfing.
- Just swimming... at local beaches... morning and afternoon.... I think some of our favorite beach time and swim came from spending time at small and local beaches on North Shore. Away from big trendy scenes. I tried to make a point to swim with Satchi at least twice a day while we were there and it felt really really good. Coco and Frido mostly stayed on shore... looking for crabs, sea shells and shaded beach time:) We also noticed that it was a good idea to drive towards the east side of Oahu island when weather started to be gloomy to avoid rain!
- For more "tropical" emerald green feel of the beach, we headed out to Lanikai beach and Kailua beach. Water was gorgeous and almost no waves... which made it super fun for Satchi to really experience her first ocean swimming!
- And just have quality downtime to reflect on life...

What we ate:
- Shave ice is a must!!! We absolutely loved Matsumoto shave ice in Haleiwa. Girls still talk about their rainbow shave ice and I dream about the matcha tea/red beans/condensed milk combination. It is a popular spot and gets crowded and a line but I swear... it's worth the wait!
- Poke for dinner! We picked up poke every night from local market, cooked rice at home... and that was dinner for me and Frido every night.
- Early lunch at Kahuku Farms Cafe  am so glad that our BK friend Megan recommended us to stop by this spot. It feels like their pizza and panini were the most healthy meals we had in Hawaii. Healthy and tasty! Kids enjoyed running around the grass field while waiting for the food to come out! We also stopped by "one more time" on our way to airport on the last day.
- Ono Steaks & Seafood Shack for lunch stop before our beach day! This was a perfect local spot to grab lunch between our adventures in Hanauma Bay and Lanikai Beach.

The true souvenir / To be present

As a family we have an opportunity to create the priority list that is unique to us. Travel has always been one of our important family priorities to gain life lessons.

We believe in traveling because every trip we take (whether small or big) brings so much insight into life and everyday. It helps us see the world in fresh perspectives. It gives us opportunities to witness how people live and organize their lives in different parts of the world. 

We never know what we might take away from each trip until we are actually in it... or until we come home. Sometimes we get home with thoughts that will change the course of our family's path... and sometimes we come home looking forward to making small adjustments to our everyday routine to bring more inspiration into our home life in Los Angeles.

On last Thursday we came back from our Hawaii trip. I am surprised to feel the amount of impact which this trip has made to me. Leading up to this trip had particularly emotional days with an incident that brought up the question of the fragility in life. So while we were on our flight from LAX, I jot down a lot of lingering thoughts on my Traveler's Notebook... as well as hopes and dreams for this trip.

One of my personal pledge was to take a positive break from Instagram while we were in Hawaii. Not "check in" Instagram during the day so I can fully be present with my family and with myself. I did dedicate 1-2 hours every night to follow-up on any email correspondence needed as well as share some of the highlights from the day on our Instagram feed. It was such a nice change of pace from our everyday in Los Angeles. I had so much more space in my mind and felt connected with my travel companions - my sister, her boyfriend (they were a part of the first 1/2 of our trip) and of course with Coco, Satchi and Frido.

During our time there, I wondered why can't I do this at home? It inspires me to share bits and pieces of our life everyday but does it really need to be so instant? I left using Facebook last summer and without hesitation it has been the best choice I made in 2015. Today when I think of someone or have questions or thoughts that need to be shared, I just make a plan to see the person, send a personal message or write a letter instead of going through the social media. And I really look forward to what our friends and families want/need to share in person... what flows out as an 2-way conversation and authentically felt at the moment without having so much prewritten noise or bias around particular events or feelings.

Many "marketing people" who specialize in social media for business tell the company that we need to be consistent with posts and their frequencies. Yes. My Instagram feed is closely tied to Baum-kuchen because it speaks volume about what we believe as Baum-kuchen lifestyle as a whole... but those suggestions never really sat well with me.

So why not follow my own gut feeling and philosophy of when, what and where to share and bring home some of the travel rituals that resonated with me? I will miss a part of engagement in real time but in exchange I will gain more space to feel inspired and be creative.

Moving forward you might notice that some days of the week (particularly on my non-BK days)... I will be posting multiple pictures at night instead of posting them individually at the moment of occurrence. Posting images in a batch never felt authentic to me before but it makes sense and it feels the most true to my life and everyday today. I am looking forward to discovering more in life and in Baum-kuchen as it unfolds in front of me.


p.s. more travel tips on Hawaii trips here!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Let's "Mail it Forward"!

As we dig deeper into what "love for analogue" means to us at Baum-kuchen, we are discovering that idea of sending a letter via snail mail really resonates with us. 

I think it's truly magical... that we can drop off letters written with our personal hand writing at any given corner mail box and with amazing amount of trust and faith, they travel near and far... sometimes cross country. Sometimes it travels across sea which then gets passed onto the destination postal system until it is safely delivered.... How many hands the letter needs to be passed on to arrive to the destination. 

I am thrilled that at Baum-kuchen we can share what inspires us at this moment - Mail it ForwardUniquely curated vintage postage stamp collection in Baum-kuchen style. 

Few months ago... as I brainstormed about sharing vintage postage at Baum-kuchen, the idea of "mailing it forward" came to my mind. Not just sending another mail..., but mailing something with hopes and dreams. I also thought of the connection with our kids following our foot steps. For the future generations to continue adoring the process of letter exchange which can be beautifully slow and delayed; thus, mailing it forward. 

We also decided to package individual sets (each collection includes 5 unique sets!) with labels that went through the process of actually being typewritten then turned into digital. (Thank you Eunice!!!) To make sure that every little detail is cohesive and analogue inspired... and adds to the special experience this little collection hopes to bring. We are imagining that these individually wrapped stamp sets might inspire kind gestures between senders and recipients of the letter. Maybe someone will decide to include one of the unused set in the letter she or he might be sending? So the chain of letter writing can continue its journey. 

To celebrate the launch of this very close to the heart artifact at Baum-kuchen, I asked Eunice to share some of the Pen Pal etiquette tips (because letters she send out are gorgeous!). I hope these tips inspire you to pick up a pen and paper and start writing to someone who is in your mind right at this moment. Even it is a little note to say, "hello. i am thinking of you." I am sure the magic of letter will brighten up the person's moment!

Practicing Proper Pen Pal Etiquette – Quick tips
+ Start the letter with a happy greeting
+ If your pen pal has discussed topics with you or asked you questions in the letter they wrote you, address those first.
+ Follow up with any updates or fun events that are going on in your life at the moment.
+ Try to stay away from matters that may be controversial or make your pen pal feel uncomfortable. If you have to question whether a topic is controversial, it may be better not to include it in the letter.
+ Pace yourself with the amount of personal information you share in the beginning of your letter writing. You don’t want to scare away your new friend with “TMI” (too much information).
+ Try to keep the letter length so it could be read in one sitting. As you and your pen pal build a relationship over time you will have a feel for how your pen pal responds and how much information should be shared.
+ If your pen pal shares little handmade goodies or paper goods (i.e. postage stamps, stickers, washi tape samples) try to send them something similar in return. (maybe include "Mail it Forward" vintage postage set?) 
+ Make sure your writing is legible. It wouldn’t be fun for pen pal to receive a letter from you only to find out they have no idea what you wrote them.
+ Try to respond in a timely manner or at the earliest convenience. Heartfelt letters do take time but you don’t want to take so long that your pen pal will forget about you.
+ End your letter with an encouraging thought or word.

​Where you can be connected with a pen pal :

Additional interesting correspondence sources:





Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dome in the Desert in Joshua Tree / airbnb

While we were staying in Joshua Tree, we stayed at Dome in the Desert via airbnb. I think every family looks for different criteria for accommodation during the travel but here are some of our most important aspects when we travel and stay (aside from basic essentials like being clean and safe).

1. It inspires us.
We love it when our accommodation inspires us and our family. The look and feel is definitely important... but also the use of space, details... and overall experiences. I am pretty sure the pictures explain a lot but every little corners at Dome in the Desert was truly magical. I loved all the eclectic details the host created with authentic artifacts. We are collectors and admirer of unique artifacts so we really appreciated it. During day time we used the sun room a lot to relax and hang out... and kids loved loft space (though it did make us feel nervous when Coco was going up and down the ladder). We enjoyed experiencing different light quality in the morning and late afternoon... and watched sunset outside on deck chairs.

2. Plenty of kid's friendly space
For everybody's sanity... we always look for an accommodation with plenty of space for kids to run around and explore. I am sure the girls will grow up and will be okay with space limitation in the future... but for now (2 & 5 years old)... I love it when they can be free to run around and explore without worrying about waking up next door neighbors at 6am! We also had a lot of downtime since we traveled with Coco's pace. So it was nice to be able to come back to the dome house at 3pm after exploring Joshua Tree National Park and enjoy the rest of afternoon at home away home without needing to go anywhere else. Girls drew with chalks (provided by the dome house) on a chalkboard, had a lot of fun "treasure hunting" in a property which was safely gated and fenced. Oh and they were totally fascinated by an indoor swing chair.

3. Cook our meals
To keep things simpler for everyone, we prefer cooking our own meals as much as we can while traveling. We can make sure to offer kids something healthy (and something we know that they would actually eat!). Our mornings started early (but slow...) in Joshua Tree. We ate our breakfast in pajamas and took our time getting ready. Girls played in other rooms while Frido and I finished our dinner conversations... all of that is so much less stressful when we rent a house with a kitchen instead of staying in a hotel room.

4. An oasis for grown-ups
A little lounge area for grown-up is always such a treat! Kids went to bed at 7pm and it was nice for grown-ups to be able to relax for the rest of evenings just like we would do at home. We turned on a fire place, had glass of wine and enjoyed reading through some books that were a part of Dome house library. I was especially intrigued by "modern bohemian" coffee table book and was throughly exhausted and headed to bed every night by 10pm!

I hope you have a moment to enjoy the pictures! We really can't wait to get back:)
Happy traveling!


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