One of the most fulfilling manifestations of leading the Baum-kuchen life for last 8 years must be the connections we have nurtured with the BK community. I feel so fortunate to call so many wonderful people who continue to inspire and motivate us as our friends.
Each month, we get to discuss the idea of "Love for Analogue" with one of these BK friends through Susan's (@theotherkennedycompound) thoughtful guidance. This going back and the fourth process has helped me to deepen the connections with our BK friends even more.
Today, we get to share the conversation we had with our friend Lola (yes!! We featured her husband Stephen last month:) Lola is so beautiful inside and out as Stephen describes her (and we can't agree more with him!!). It's actually my first time to take a peek into her analogue tools even though we frequently get to see her in person at the studio. I love that her sweet and gentle demeanor really reflects how her notebook feels. I hope you enjoy reading her story!
I am a Canadian living in Los Angeles, California. I was born in Vancouver, Canada where I grew up, went to University and first met my amazing husband, Stephen. Actually, we met on a plane somewhere in the skies over Vancouver, but that’s a different story. Together we relocated to Los Angeles three years ago with our poorly behaved and much loved Boston Terrier, Kaiser. Since moving to California, I’ve been enrolled in a Doctoral program studying Clinical Psychology with hopes of becoming a psychologist one day super soon. Right now I’m attending school, interning as a therapist, and doing some writing/research. And I LOVE my work. I feel incredibly honored to hear people’s stories and to work creatively with them to explore and make meaning of their experiences.
I have always preferred pen and paper (or paint!) to computers and phones – maybe because I’m not great at using digital technology (a big thanks to Stephen for constantly helping me troubleshoot). Or maybe because there is something so concrete about creating analogue things. I love to make things I can hold with my hands, whether that’s with clay, woodworking, painting on canvas, or drawing on paper – it’s amazing! Putting things on paper sets my mind at ease.
If I’m writing a to-do list, journaling, or sketching, the analogue process helps me organize my thoughts and understand my world more clearly.
About five or six years ago Stephen bought my first original Midori Traveler’s Notebook passport size journal for my birthday. It had only one blank insert, and it sat in my desk drawer for a couple years unused until we finally walked into Baum-kuchen and discovered what the Traveler’s Notebook really was. It is so much more than a notebook!
Ok, let me rewind. It might seem crazy, but I have both a Roterfaden and a Traveler’s Notebook (Ok, two Traveler’s Notebooks) – and I use them for totally different purposes. My Roterfaden is used primarily for school. It holds several notebooks for different subjects, and I use the plastic inserts to hold my syllabi, loose notes, business cards, and notes from my amazing husband Stephen (who finds 100,000 different ways to write notes or drawings that make me feel loved; I carry some of these with me in my Roterfaden as I go through my day). The design of the Roterfaden is structured enough to keep me organized and allow me a sense of control over what seems like a looming and ever-growing cloud of deadlines and commitments in my life. I love that everything I carry to school has its own place in this notebook.
My passport size TN, in particular, is a space for me to journal in an open-ended way. I use a blank insert and the custom Baum-kuchen x Superior Labor collaboration pocket as a makeshift wallet to carry a few cards in as needed. I am usually pretty private about my TN, and if I do open it to show others, I quickly flip through the pages with brief explanations for curious observers before they have a chance to really glance at anything at all.
In some ways, my TN is an object-representation of who I am and the life I lead.
It is full of contraries. It is both sentimental and practical, creative and structured, grateful and fearful, mindful and thoughtless, beautiful and messy. And it has changed dramatically over time, from more of a collage of stickers and vintage objects in the pursuit of something aesthetically beautiful (aspiring to live up to other analogue users with beautiful calligraphy and designs – I’m looking at you Eunice!), to something that embraces mess or chaos during the weeks where that is most congruent to me, and something very sparse-looking when I’m feeling more distant. I’m less attached to how it looks now, and more invested in how each page is authentic to myself and my experience.
There is perhaps no better feeling than unrolling the Superior Labor leather carrier before an exam to select my favorite pen, and in some ways, this has become a ritual of mine as well.
I also carry a few different pencil cases depending on the purpose, including the Superior Labor x Baum-Kuchen collaboration pen holder, the Superior Labor round pencil case, and the Superior Labor leather carrier.
My other rituals include turning on the diffuser that sits on my desk, pouring a cup of tea, and sitting down to write something – anything – at the end of almost every day. I’m super inspired by my incredible and imaginative husband, Stephen, to continue to be creative and to make time each day to write, to read, and to just sit down together hugging our dog (who makes many noises in protest of being hugged).
Too often we get stuck in either the past or the future and when we do that we make the serious mistake of missing our appointment with life.
Connecting and creating communities…
Stephen and I live miles away from our family, which is now scattered across every end of North America and Europe. So being a part of the analogue community here in LA is a way to connect with other like-minded people and build a sense of community. Our analogue community now extends well beyond the limits of LA too. Analogue things bring people together, and this is at the core of what analogue means to me.
Stephen and I send postcards and letters to our family and friends as often as possible. And I spend twice as long designing my letters, so I feel entitled to call dibs on our nicest stickers, postal stamps, and postcards (I know, that’s terrible). It’s the little details of arranging vintage postage on an envelope that is really fun for me though. I imagine people opening their mail to find a handwritten letter between piles of bills and junk mail. I also imagine that people keep these letters, but as we recently found out from my brother, who used our postcards as kindling in his fireplace, this is not always the case. Stephen and I shop for our postcards and postal stamps and the Paper and Postcard Fair, where most of the paper goods have survived at least 50+ years. So we now joke about which of these poor artifacts will be sent to their death every time we shop for my brother.
Analogue also fuels a sense of adventure and exploration for Stephen and I. We have met many amazing people through our analogue journey at shops, flea markets, and other events. We also traveled to Japan last year where our quest for analogue things took us to out-of-the-way neighborhoods and alleyways that we would never have otherwise seen. Despite the language barrier (neither Stephen nor I speak Japanese), we found immediate connections with people through our love for old letters, papers, stamps, and stickers. Next time we travel, I will be wrapping up stacks of American postal stamps and postcards to give to friends abroad.
I also love wrapping gifts. I think that a beautiful ribbon, twine, stamp, sticker, or handwritten card has the power to let people know they matter. Countless times I’ve heard people talk about the impact of hearing an unexpected “thank you” or “you’ve done a great job” or “I really appreciate you” when in session with clients.
These experiences have taught me the importance of language, of thoughtfulness, of details, and of taking the time to connect with others in a way that lets them know they are important.
If I have another personal belief or philosophy, it would be to practice kindness. One of the few things I know for certain is that the task of living is, at times, challenging. Kindness has the power to make living feel a little easier if only for short moments at a time.
Lola's favorite sites to follow for inspiration:
- Jack Kornfield and listening to his podcasts while working in my TN and
- Sarah Andersen for comics that are so relatable and hilarious.
- RC (@ritacyc) for TN and letter writing inspiration
- PC (@pooi_chin) on IG and also for amazing TN and letter writing inspiration
- hachigahana_photograph_club for photos that make my heart want to transport to Japan
- every other Boston Terrier account on instagram...
BK Products mentioned or shown in Lola's story:
Classiky Desk Tool Box