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TRAVEL / Visiting L.A. with Kids

6.22.2017



For those who follow me on Instagram, you saw the family and I spent all of last week in LA. I just now realized I never made a formal mention of this on the blog, only weeks earlier mentioning it in passing. I had fully intended to do a post before we left with a list of places I wanted to see or a compilation of photos from LA from around the internet, but as you can see it never happened.

My husband and I haven't travelled a whole bunch with the kids. Elin is only 3 after all and when she was an infant it wasn't even on our radar to go somewhere exciting together. Now with my oldest being 7 years old (how did this happen, btw?!) and Elin just a few years behind, it felt like the right time to take them some place farther away.

Embarking on this trip I knew it would be a lot of work. Despite my desire to fly, the husband really thought it might make an interesting road trip so we drove the 12+ hours to southern California in search of culture, food, sun and the ocean. I remember thinking, "I'll document this and use it as a how-to for traveling with kids". Reality is I had no offing clue what it was like to travel with kids and was completely winging it!


P R E P A R A T I O N

Here are some preparative measures I took for the kids:

/bought each child a plastic box with sorting tray and lid (I left the source for this in the comments section below), filling it with crayons, flash cards, books and coloring pages as well as 2-3 small toys
/made snacks and packed a cooler with homemade zucchini muffins, fresh fruit, full fat yogurt cups, protein bars and plenty of water
/had each of the kids bring a backpack with one stuffed animal to sleep with, one small pillow and a jacket
/downloaded two movies onto the iPad

And with this I had only a wish and a prayer that the day-long road trip would somehow be tolerable for all involved!









A C C O M O D A T I O N S

Our trip was split up into several parts, we stayed our first night in Monterey to break up the driving for the kids. This was nice and gave them a chance to play in the ocean that first night. The following three nights were spent at an Airbnb place we found in Topanga Canyon. The house was like a small cottage, set a ways behind the home of the owners with a separate entrance and surrounding trees for privacy. Staying in an actual house is pretty important to me as a mom, eating out for every meal and hanging out in a hotel room is hard on the kids and adversely being able to cook your own food and lounge in a real home is so much more enjoyable to the kids and us.
After these three days we spent two nights downtown at the Ace Hotel, which was more for us adults because we wanted to be in a central location within walking distance of a few places. It wasn't as comfortable or spacious as our Airbnb home was but we got to see a different part of LA and ROOM SERVICE, which is definitely one of the perks of staying at a hotel vs a rented home.













T O S E E W I T H K I D S


I had a rough idea of the places I wanted to see in LA, some for the kids and some for us parents. Creating a strict itinerary would never work so I went into each day with a flexible mindset, knowing that the kids might get tired or get into an argument or not behave in certain environments. We visited the Getty, which meant parking in a large parking structure and taking a tram up to the hill. Once there though the sprawling museum, beautiful trees and scenic views of the city already made it feel like the right choice. We headed straight for the kids museum and then attempted to see some of the French exhibit but soon little tummies were hungry again and we needed to visit the cafe downstairs. By this time Elin was already tired and a bit grouchy and trying to choose a food item initiated a full blown meltdown in the middle of the cafeteria, which was loads of fun! In retrospect I would have had my husband and the kids just sit down right away while I gather food for the clan. While having loads of food choices in a dream for an adult, it's enough for completely overwhelm an already overstimulated child of 3 years old!

After lunch and more meltdowns over wanting a brownie and her brother's food, we set off to view more exhibits. However the kids had something else in mind and only wanted to run around yelling and generally triggering my anxiety. We soon left.

While my husband and I weren't able to view many exhibits or read any placards ourselves, we concluded that just the practice of bringing the kids to a museum is beneficial. If we continue to do so, as they get older and more mature we hope that they will grow an appreciation for history and art so that one day we can peacefully attend together. This seems to be a lot of what parenting is right now, going through the practice so that later on the kids will fully understand.

On the list was also The Broad and The Museum of Ice Cream however I naively thought we could purchase tickets to these at the door but found out that they were both sold out for the entire month of June and into August. Damn.
There's also LACMA but we ran out of time, and quite frankly the energy.

The Griffith Observatory was another place we visited, after one unsuccessful attempt we learned the best way to get to the top was to take the Dash bus by standing at one of the bus stops with $.50 per person. Initially we tried to go up on a Friday morning but was unprepared for the bus and fare (cash only) so had to improvise for that morning instead. The next day the Observatory opened even earlier and since it's summer break for the kids and a weekend, the place was crawling with people. It felt kind of suffocating and it was hard to look at any of the exhibits here because there was such a large volume of people. The view is pretty remarkable and while we could not enter the planetarium with a 3 year old since they have only one showing that allows kids under 5 to attend, it was still great to walk the grounds and see what we could in person. The heat was pretty intense and there's virtually no shade so come prepared with hats and/or a personal misting fan like I did. This was a life saver for both of the kids!!










F O O D

Several food places were on our list too, you can't be in LA and not eat some place new everyday! The options are wonderful. Our first night we ate at vegan Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre, which was recommended by a friend who had been there a few weeks earlier with her kids. We also ate at Botanica, Destroyer, breakfast at Gjusta, Bottega Louie (order the portobello fries), Jeni's Ice Cream for the kids' daily fix and Maru for coffee. Alfred Tea and Moon Juice are good places for Boba tea and raw juices, they also happen to be next door to each other.
I should also mention we made a fair share of trips to Trader Joe's on the days we cooked for ourselves.

On the nights we stayed at hotels, rather than ordering room service we used UberEats to order from places nearby. One night we had some really good burgers from Umami Burger delivered to the lobby.












S H O P P I N G


More photos are on my Instagram under the hashtag #amminLA because bringing my camera around the city while also holding the small hand of a child who might dart off if you let go, well it just became impractical. Suffice to say I didn't get great photos of every place we attended.

A few shopping places I can recommend, though I know there are many I did not get the chance to see, include:

The Apartment by The Line / home goods and beauty products
Bonton / kids clothing and toys
Bassike / clothing for men, women and babies
Reformation / clothing
Gjusta Goods / home goods and vintage clothing
Aesop / skincare (I always stop at Aesop stores because each one is designed uniquely)
Formerly Yes / minimally curated home and personal goods
Huset / Scandinavian goods





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New for Astep Design

6.16.2017



We're still on vacation in LA but you can follow along on Instagram (and Stories) for more. This morning though I saw these photos that I wanted to share quickly before we head out to another day of exploring.

Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and styling by Sofie Brünner for Astep Design.




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An unchanged room

6.14.2017




At home in our dining room, and if you follow me on Instagram you already saw this! This space has more or less consisted of the same furniture and lighting for years, the bespoke cabinets I designed were installed about a year ago and are the most recent addition.

It's so easy as a blogger and someone who works with interiors to want to change your personal space regularly, yet I know there is nothing wrong with the dining room and I truly still enjoy it. Maybe a new dining table or chairs would be nice, or maybe they are perfectly fine as is it's only my perspective that needs the change.
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3 Minimalist Ideas for Lightly Accessorizing Your Space

6.13.2017


Image via Joseph Dirand

There’s no doubt you’re already familiar with the expression, “less is more.” When it comes to 
modern interior design, this little three-word sentence is the foundation of the movement.


Image via Fantastic Frank

Take a look at your interior space. How does it make you feel? Your home should feel light, airy and organized. If it’s disheveled and needing constant reorganization, you might be living in a physically unstable environment. Too many knick knacks can turn your space from a peaceful dwelling to a place that reminds you of all corners you still need to tend to.


Image from the Cereal Abode

To maintain a minimalist lifestyle, here are three ideas to bring into your home and really make it your own.

How Do You Use the Space?
In an interview with Architectural Digest, the principal designer of Lüft Design, Courtney Trump, explains that “our homes and offices are not static environments. They should be unique and fluid, suiting our most basic and demanding physical and emotional needs.”
The way you use and feel in your interiors will tell you all you need to know about how to better design the space. If you have a pile of coffee table books that you haven’t leafed through in months, it’s time to put them away and clear your surfaces.


Image from Vincent Van Duysen

The Stand-Alone Accent Piece
Minimalist design is not boring design. People new to minimalism have the general misunderstanding that minimalism is to do and be without. Without distraction, yes. Without style, no. Houzz tells design enthusiasts that selecting a single, stand-alone accent piece will bring life and vitality to the space. Consider modern accent tables. Retailers like Lumens offer expertly designed and crafted furniture pieces that function as art and fixture. The Swole Table Collection designed by Blu Dot is just such an example of simplicity and art form.

Image via Norm Architects

The Minimalist’s Mantra: Less is More
Lastly, remove all items that you do not regularly use and that do not bring your life joy. Your home should be a welcome reprieve from the bustling world outside, not a collection of distraction and bad taste.
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Ultra stylish residence in South Yarra

6.10.2017



A stunning home in a district of Melbourne is filled with sculptural furniture (including the Clerici chair I love), Asplund Tati coffee table, Carl Hansen &Son's CH88 chair, Gubi's black marble table, and the Mantis BS2 wall lamp.









Photos by Sharyn Cairns.
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Kvadrat's new Ready Made Curtain is here to solve all your window covering woes

6.09.2017



We all have windows and so if you’ve ever needed to cover them then you know well the process that can come with finding the the right fabric in the right size, and the right color. It's not always as simple as you thought. Then there’s finding the right fixtures for hanging the curtains . Chances are you also have different sized windows throughout your space so each one might require a unique solution.




Or maybe you’ve never found this to be a struggle and have no idea what I'm talking about but from my own personal experience I have not come across an arrangement that has particularly streamlined the experience. Even if you’ve found curtains that you love with relative ease then you still need to locate something to hang them with which might be altogether unappealing or difficult to install. To confess, I usually make my husband deal with the installation part because I can’t be bothered with it all. The options available are usually less than thrilling and it becomes one of those obligatory but unattractive components of your home that serves a function but offers little more than that.




Bouroullec and Kvadrat Textiles have joined creative forces to solve some of the issues that can come along with window dressing and created the Ready Made Curtain. When I was initially introduced to this product my enthusiasm did not need any additional persuasion. A minimal and attractive anchor and tethered string that can fit various sized windows that can be customized in multiple colors including the string, the pegs and of course Kvadrat produced fabric?! Count me in!





Once you install the pegs the cord can be fed through the center support and then then tightened to prevent bowing in the middle. Before you attach the other end of the cord however, slide the white pegs on to later hang the fabric with. After that you only need to snap the fabric onto the pegs. One of the visual benefits of using this peg system rather than say, a pocketed top that slides over a metal rod, is that there is a continuous and uninterrupted line of fabric from bottom to top.

If you’re looking for new curtains, want to change the look of your windows, or are even looking for a clever space divider, this Ready Made Curtain is a thoughtfully designed solution that might make the process a whole lot simpler while also making it more attractive!




*This post was sponsored by my wonderful partner Kvadrat, all images and words are my own!
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