Whose idea was it to travel in the hottest time of the year? Yes, it was our joint decision to travel during the hottest heat wave California has ever experienced in 150 years, but to be fair, we did’t know any of that until we were well on our way through the desert & far, far away from home. Ever since my big brother & his wife officially moved to Las Vegas, Nevada 5 months ago, Jian & I were making plans to bring our little bean to visit them. Of course other things kept pushing back our plans, like: going to Los Angeles for my aunt’s 60th birthday party & attending our friends’ wedding celebration party. So, last month, we packed up our bags & baby gear & high-tailed it through the unbearably hot California desert, all the way to the equally unbearably hot Nevada desert.


lunch time!

Along the way, we stopped to eat delicious meat at the restaurant of the local cattle ranch. Jian didn’t want to make too many pit stops because the further away from the Bay Area that we got, the hotter the weather got, & we didn’t want our little bean to overheat & get dehydrated. However, she had other plans in mind & decided to make an explosive poop diaper on the way to our first layover in Bakersfield, California. Luckily I always keep an emergency spare change of clothes in her diaper bag, so I was able to quickly clean her up & go on our merry way. The drive to Bakersfield was the start of the weather getting super hot, but it wasn’t until we actually reached Bakersfield when we finally hit the 10-inch thick cement wall of heat. From that point on, nothing would dip below 100 degrees fahrenheit, not even at night.


We made an overnight layover in Bakersfield, California before arriving at my brother’s new place. Finding his new house was proving to be a bit of a challenge. Jian & my brother kept going back & forth over which GPS app was the most accurate at finding his address since my brother now lives in a brand new neighborhood development that apparently isn’t updated on Google Maps yet. One contractor working on the upgrades to my brother’s house said he could easily find the address on the WAZE app, but none of the others. Meanwhile, Jian couldn’t locate my brother’s newly developed neighborhood on WAZE (or even Google Maps) at all, but he was able to find it on Apple Maps.

After all of the ruckus regarding which GPS app could find my brother’s new house, we reached our destination. Oppressive heat aside, we were super excited to spend time with the side of my family that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with. I am always vacationing with, spending time with, or visiting my mom’s side of my family including my 2nd older half-brother & older half-sister, but I hardly ever get to spend time with my oldest half-brother from my dad’s side of the family…or even my dad’s side of the family that is still based in Japan. This week was one of the most special, meaningful, & memorable week’s that I will always remember & cherish. Our little bean really got to spend quality time with her aunt & uncle as well as her oldest cousin, who was in town at the same time as us, looking at potential wedding venues. Jian & I were so happy that our little bean got to develop a good relationship & bond with that side of my family that I don’t often talk about.

Spending an entire week at my brother’s house really helped our little bean become comfortable in her new environment. She really took to the new house well, & got settled in almost completely on the first day. I was just happy to be able to spend quality time with my oldest brother with whom I’ve always had a close bond with (not just because we share the same now deceased father). It must have been a little weird for my brother to see his baby sister become a mother herself, but it was great to see him take on the uncle role to my little bean, & she just adores her uncle. My sister-in-law was just as equally awesome at being a new aunt. Every time she walked into the room, my bean would ask my sister-in-law to carry her & play with her. Jian & I also had fun just relaxing & hanging out with my brother (who is one of the best brother’s you’ll ever come across, ever).

hanging out with her toys

Towards the end of our trip Jian & I decided to do the cheesy, clichéd touristy thing & bring our little bean to see the infamous Las Vegas Strip. There was not much for us to do in this melt-your-face-off hot weather but to stay inside the shopping malls & get lost in the maze of hotel casinos. So, we only ended up taking our little bean to a few selected places on the Las Vegas strip. Our little bean got to experience her first tour to an aquarium when we visited the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay hotel. She was relatively okay when we were looking at all of the lizards & snakes at the beginning of the tour, but once we descended lower where all of the exotic fishes & sea animals swam around, our little one wasn’t too happy to be in such a dark place. It wasn’t long before she started fussing, which was our cue to high tail it out of there & head to our next spot. It was too hot to do anything outside (even walking between hotels was not a good idea). So we browsed around the Caesar’s Palace Forums shopping mall before heading home to change our little bean’s giant 💩 diaper.


On the next day we ventured back out to the Strip again, to see the famous seasonal flower display at the lobby of the Bellagio hotel. Every season or major holiday, the lobby garden at the Bellagio hotel changes into something dramatic & spectacular. This time the theme was a tropical paradise along with a giant replica of a treehouse (with furniture inside), & a massive feature display depicting Mother Nature as a huge flowering tree. I wish I had photos to show you, but there were just way, way, way too many tourists crowding the whole area, & since we were trying to be very vigilant about possible COVID-19 super-spreader events, we decided to take a quick walkthrough then go to our next spot. Jian had the brilliant idea of taking the 3 of us back to our old stomping grounds for good eats & eat at our favorite Japanese-themed restaurant for some delicious (yet Vegas overpriced) ramen. This was when our little bean decided to showcase her best behavior & let the parents have a leisurely lunch with a few delicious cocktails sprinkled in between.


Overall, we had an extremely memorable & meaningful trip to spend time with my big brother & sister-in-law. We are truly grateful & appreciate the time we spent with our family. I am super happy that my brother & sister-in-law not only got to properly meet my little bean, but they got to build a bond together, & that means more than anything in the world. I cannot stress this enough, but I really do have one of the best brothers in the whole world. It was a little sad to be leaving Las Vegas, & knowing that it’s not going to be so easy to be able to see my brother so easily anymore after he moved out of California. This was a super fun trip, & a real test to see how Jian & I as parents could handle a baby in the middle of the desert during one of the hottest times of the century. We really do have one of the best baby’s in the world. She is a real trooper, even when she soils herself on the road with no nearby rest stops or gas stations. It seemed like our little bean could handle this long road trip better than us parents ever could…& on that note, I shall end this post with one final photo of us at our last layover in Bakersfield before finally heading back home.

Why does our little bean love hotels so much???

Today’s song of the day:

Last week I had one of the most delicious lunches in a very long time: half of a toasted French baguette sandwich, a small mixed greens salad, a small cup of smoked paprika flavored potato chips, & a bottle of lemon sparkling water. That lunch really made me feel so satisfied. It put me in a really good mood that day. Eh, but that’s beside the point. The main point of this blog post is that Jian & I took our little bean on her first vacation-slash-road trip.

Jian took a week off of work during the Memorial Day holiday, & we planned a trip to Los Angeles to visit my extended family down there. Yes, I know the Memorial Day holiday was quite a bit of time ago, but with this little bean taking up so much of my life, & Jian occupying our one & only shared desktop computer, I haven’t had much free time for myself other than to play a quick level of an app game on my tablet whilst sitting on the toilet. (I don’t dare stay in the bathroom for too long, lest my mother scream bloody hell that she can no longer carry or distract her grandchild for another minute. My mother has just as short an attention span as my little bean, & even less stamina to keep up with her.) This is all completely frivolous information & totally beside the point. Let’s get on with the main topic, shall we?

Jian & I had carefully planned a road trip down to Los Angeles to visit extended family whom have never seen our little bean in person up until now. Our little bean has only seen aunts, uncles, cousins & the like through a tiny little screen on mommy’s smartphone. Jian & I of course made sure that the both of us were fully Covid-19 vaccinated before we decided to travel anywhere outside our city bubble. Luckily for our little bean, she got to get her vaccine through me & my delicious breast milk. Yes, you heard me right. My breast milk contains antibodies, which can transfer to the babe through breast feeding, which shares with the babe the benefits of mommy’s vaccine.

Both Jian & I were a little worried (me more so than him) that our little bean would not be too happy being confined in her makes-the-baby-too-hot car seat for several hours. So we made plans to take frequent breaks to let the little bean stretch her legs & get some fresh air outside of the car. It turns out that we didn’t really need to take so many breaks. We only stopped for gas, one extra diaper change, & a quick lunch break at a designated rest area. Otherwise, the little bean slept in the car for most of the drive down the interstate. She did complain a little bit about being too hot in the car, but once we blasted the air conditioning, she went back to her regularly scheduled napping.

This is little bean & me after eating lunch.

Originally, Jian & I had planned on staying at one of the super hipster boutique hotels that we’ve heard so much about through Instagram. There was one hotel in particular that we were excited about staying at, but it was a little bit out of the way from where our family lives, so we ended up taking the practical route & stayed at a hotel close to family. That hotel ended up being the best decision & made our trip so effortless & enjoyable. We were close to craft coffee shops, restaurants, & a huge shopping mall, yet also close by to family. Also, having a mini kitchenette in our hotel room made it so much more convenient to take care of a little babe who is still bottle feeding.

Our little bean instantly acclimated to hotel living & fell in love with our hotel room the moment we stepped through the door. She made herself right at home on the king-sized hotel bed, rolling around & playing with her blanket from home. We just plopped her down in the middle of the bed, & she was making all sorts of happy cooing sounds & playing all by herself while the two of us casually unpacked all of our travel gear. Normally at home, our little bean would’ve been whining as soon as we put her down on the bed. At home she won’t even give us two minutes to change out of our pajamas in the morning before she starts crying to have us pick her up from the bed. At the hotel, she immediately would entertain & amuse herself while Jian & I would do our own things like taking a bathroom break or grabbing a drink from the fridge in the kitchenette.

This is little bean & Jian in our hotel room.

Over all, we had a great time visiting family. The two of us were quite pleasantly surprised that our little bean allowed us to do all of the usual things we do when we visit Los Angeles, like hang out at coffee shops, go shopping at our favorite trendy neighborhoods, & eat at various types of busy/crowded/loud food places. This little girl was super chill the entire duration of our trip, except for when she was feeling hot & restless. We thought the weather in Los Angeles was going to be raging hell fire hot, since it is…well…Los Angeles in early summer after all. I even bought the little bean a portable stroller fan, but it turned out that I didn’t really need to use it on most days. The weather was very warm, but not unbearably hot like we were assuming it would be. It turns out that I’ve been using the stroller fan more at home than I ever did on our travels.

Our little bean had a great time with all of the grown-ups (aunts, uncles, and grandparents). I thought she’d see little kids in our family & immediately warm up to them, since they are small like her, but she was actually nervous around the other little kids in our family, her first cousins. Also, as it turns out, our little bean isn’t really afraid of dogs (as long as they’re not the size of Great Danes or German Shepherds). She’ll tolerate them running around the house or sniffing her, but she won’t put her hands close to them or pet them at all. A few of my cousins each have a dog of their own, & our little bean was just fine around them. I thought she would be a little freaked out by them since she’s never really been around animals before, but she took on the situations like a champ!

Well, we’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, & we just realized that we spent most of our time in Los Angeles hunting down the next craft coffee shop to quench our caffeine addiction. Along the way, we unintentionally hauled a bunch of coffee beans to make drip coffee at home. Jian & I are already extremely familiar with all of the local coffee roasters in our region, so finding a new & interesting bag of beans while traveling outside of our area is always something we enjoy doing. When we first started our journey into frequenting craft coffee spots, there weren’t more than just a small handful of roasters based in Los Angeles; a lot of the beans we tried were all imported from Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, or Santa Cruz, CA. Now there’s a lot of local coffee bean roasters based out of Los Angeles, & we were excited to try these new beans at home.

Our coffee bean haul

Wow, I can’t believe my little bean has been napping for nearly 2 hours, giving me time to sit down & properly write this post. I better wrap this up before she wakes & demands all of my attention. I am currently snacking on French Comté cheese & listening to lo-fi music on Spotify. (Check out my playlists & send me a follow if you’re there.) Now it’s time to cook dinner & send my brother off to the airport. Oh, did I forget to tell you that my brother has been in town this past weekend? Oops! Well, I gotta go now, but until next time… santé!

Today’s song of the day:

I thought I’d tell you a little story about my life. I was once a long-time friend of a person I should not have kept a relationship with for very long. I met this girl in primary/elementary school, & we became fast friends. From that point on, we were practically inseparable. We both lived on the same street, very close to each other, so that was an advantage to our friendship. Back then, I was an incredibly gullible & naïve kid, also a pushover.

Oh man, this friend got me to do so many stupid things that I absolutely regret & cringe at whenever I think about it. No, she didn’t get me to do dangerous or illegal things, but they were just childish stupid things nonetheless. I had no idea that throughout our friendship she was pushing me around, not in a bullying way but more like in a manipulative way. This girl definitely wore the pants during our best friendship.

I got to know this girl’s entire family when we were friends. She lived with her mom & grandmother just up the street from where I grew up. We were so close as kids that she even invited me to go with her every weekend to visit her terminally ill dad in the nursing home. I was so close in friendship with this girl that I even got to know her extended family (ie. aunts & uncles). Little did I know that throughout our lengthy friendship, this girl had a crush on me, & I sort of had a crush on her mom.

Now, when I say “crush”, I mean she was physically attracted to me, & I idolized her mom. I thought this girl’s mom was super cool. She was a self-professed hippie back in the 60s, complete with a fringe-y vest & flower crown headband. This girl’s mom even claimed that back in the 60s she & her husband would smoke pot (as well as other illicit hallucinogenics) & hang out at their local record store. She worked as a librarian at a local public library near our house. As kid, I wanted to be a librarian stacking books at a library. I thought that was a fun & easy job.

This girl’s mom was super laid back & always very friendly. She was soft spoken & very pretty. She always let us listen to her old vinyl records as long as we put them back after. She had all of the original Beatles records as well as a bunch of other cool ones from the 60s & 70s. I guess I kind of wanted to be like this girl’s mom in a way; a young woman-about-town, living a carefree life, with a simple job, & listens to cool music. This girl’s mom taught me all about music from the 60s & 70s. That’s how I developed my interest in music from that era.

Let’s get back to that “crush” thing I was talking about earlier. I had no idea during our friendship that this girl was attracted to me as more than just a friend. Now, I can’t say that she was in love with me or anything like that, but I can definitely say that when I now look back on our friendship, I can see that she was trying to figure out her questionable sexuality & I was her easy target. I remember one time when I had invited her over for one of our many sleepovers, & just like in that one scene in the 1995 The Brady Bunch movie, she tried to feel me up by putting her hand on my thigh, & multiple times that night she tried to get me to touch her fully clothed crotch. There were also a couple of other times sprinkled throughout our friendship where she tried to get me to touch her crotch. I didn’t notice these signs at the time. I only noticed these red flags long after our friendship had ended.

Geez, there were so many incidents throughout our friendship that should have made me seriously question &/or straight up end our relationship, but I always gave her second chances & benefits of the doubt. I never questioned her when she tried to sabotage my reputation amongst our friend group by spreading hurtful gossip. I didn’t even bat an eye when she had me call the police (in a naïve panic) & make a falsified police report regarding a death threat she received against one of my family members. It wasn’t until we both left for college & she found out I had started dating my first boyfriend.

I guess at the time she couldn’t handle that I was dating, or maybe she had mistakenly thought before that I was a closeted lesbian & was surprised to find out I was dating a male. We hadn’t really kept in touch during the summer before each starting college (or whatever she had planned to do after high school). Then, all of a sudden, during my time out of state for college, she contacts me out of the blue & asks all kinds of strange questions about my then boyfriend. She didn’t ask about me, her longtime childhood friend. She only talked about him & asked questions about him.

I ultimately broke off all contact with this girl when she began asking me if it would be okay if she met up with my boyfriend without me being present. The final nail-in-the-coffin moment in our friendship ending was when she asked me very specifically & strangely if I would mind if she met up with my boyfriend & hung out with him in a hot tub. I knew at the time that my boyfriend lived with his parents & they own a hot tub, which I’ve become well acquainted with on a few dates with him. So, my mind immediately spiraled into a black hole of negative thoughts. I made a huge “how could you hurt me like this?” scene to my boyfriend over email & instant messenger. I was playing sad break-up songs all the time. Then, I cut off all contact with this girl…but only after I cussed her out like I’ve never cussed anyone out before, & in very specific words I told her our friendship was as dead as death himself.

As you can clearly see now, I am no longer with that first boyfriend, & I have had no other contact with this girl from my past. I will give her a lot of credit for shaping my hobbies, interests, & tastes in music, but I no longer look back on our friendship in any positive light. That girl did shake up my life & made it more interesting (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing), & she gave me quite a few unique stories to tell. However, if I could redo our friendship all over again, I would have definitely guarded myself a little more from this girl & not let her get so close to me & my family. I remember her from time-to-time, but I don’t ever think about how she’s doing now or where she lives now. I only ever wonder every once in a while if her dad had ultimately passed on, & what’s her mom up to these days. Her…not at all.

That’s pretty much the end of this story time. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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