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The digital ink has barely dried on my last travel blog post, & I am already writing about my next travel plans. It does seem like our little family unit travels a ton, but to be honest, we don’t travel as often as we used to…& by used to I mean in the pre-pandemic days. Leading up to 2019, we traveled a ton, just Jian & I. Sometimes we’d travel overseas twice in one year. Nowadays, we really want to go to a cuss ton of places, especially with our little bean who loves to travel, but we’re so reluctant to travel outside of our California bubble (especially because of all the headlines we see/read in the national news). Even though all three of us are fully immunized, we are still highly cautious about traveling & plan our travels very carefully & thoughtfully.

This year for Jian’s birthday, we have decided to go camping. It was Jian’s idea to travel for his birthday, & we have been itching to go camping again. We were supposed to go camping back in 2020, but our statewide COVID-19 lockdown pretty much cancelled that plan. Plus, I miraculously got pregnant that year, so camping has been out of the picture since then.

Jian has been wanting to go ‘glamping‘ for a long time. He found this great glamping campground semi-near us, & this year we decided would be the perfect time for us to try this glamping experience. Both of us have been talking about when we would introduce our little bean to the whole camping experience, & we thought that glamping would be a good way to test the waters (so to speak), & introduce our little bean to the general idea of camping & also see if she is okay with sleeping outdoors.

In case you’re wondering, ‘glamping‘ is just like the word describes. It’s glamorous camping, where instead of pitching your own tent, cooking food on a self-made fire pit, & peeing behind a tree, you get to sleep in a bespoke camper or a luxury canvas tent kitted out with full-size furniture & take a shower in a locker-room style private bathroom. The campsite is an all-luxury-amenities-included area, that kind of feels like a grown-up, luxurious hotel-esque version of a kids sleep away summer camp.

Jian found an awesome glamping company called Autocamp, with several U.S locations that was just perfect for a first-time glamping experience, especially with a wee little bean in tow. We both have been tinkering with the idea of one day introducing our little bean to actual camping, but right now she’s too young, in our opinion to be roughing it in the woods (or in our case, a state run camping reserve). Glamping at a moderately sized campground with modern amenities will be a good “toe dip” into the waters, so to speak, for our wee little one.

On this glamping trip, we will be celebrating Jian’s birthday in style. Yes, staying in a fully framed-out canvas tent with a comfy bed & sofa lounge area would be fun, but Jian wanted a few more creature comforts, so we initially tried to book a modular tiny cabin, but they were all booked. We ended up booking our next favorite option which was a deluxe Airstream camper, which comes complete with a private bathroom, private bedroom area, & kitchenette/seating area. See photos below for reference.

What makes this experience feel more like camping: cooking your own food over a campfire

We are super excited to try out this Airstream glam-camping experience for Jian’s birthday. We are planning on celebrating in style in the great outdoors. We would love to introduce our wee little bean to full-on camping complete with sleeping bags, a tent & mosquito bites, but for now this will be a good beginner’s introduction to camping to test out if she likes it at all. I don’t know if I will upload any photos here on this blog (I probably will forget to take photos anyway), but I will at least report back here & give my full review of this glamping experience. Until the next adventure cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

So, like, a couple of weeks back Jian & I took our little bean back to Los Angeles to spend time with our ever-expanding extended family. Since Jian doesn’t have much vacation time saved up yet, he took this opportunity to turn our visit into a work-slash-family trip. Also, this gave him a prime chance to snoop around his company department’s newly renovated Los Angeles office. While Jian worked during the day, I would take our little bean out on little excursions around town or go & visit relatives (namely my aunt, who is one of my little bean’s favorite family members).

This recent trip was unlike any other trip we have gone on before. Sure, I have previously tagged along with Jian on a few of his work trips to Vancouver, BC, but I had already been used to spending my free time alone & doing things for myself, like making appointments for specialty manicures at my favorite nail salon, getting impromptu tickets to an art museum, or hopping on the subway to explore a semi-distant neighboring town. On this trip I had to plan my days around my little bean, making sure I had easy access to family style (a.k.a. changing-table accessible) bathrooms & kid-friendly eateries. I also had to take into account my little bean’s napping schedule. After all, I didn’t want to be stuck out at some inconvenient place dealing with a half-asleep, cranky toddler all by myself.

Usually as a family unit, we prefer to book a stay at a Marriott branded hotel. We get lots of perks & an advantageous friends & family discounted rate. However, on this trip we stayed at a different hotel (courtesy of Jian’s company corporate discount) in a completely different area of Los Angeles that we’ve never stayed at or explored much before. On this trip, we decided to stay at the hotel recommended by Jian’s company (mostly for it’s corporate discount & walkability to Jian’s L.A office) in Culver City, which turned out to be a great idea. Jian was able to take an 8 minute walk to & from his office every day, & I was able to have free access to our family car so I could take our little bean on daytime excursions.

For this trip we stayed at The Shay hotel, & though it was extremely close to Jian’s L.A office, it was not so convenient for us if we wanted to take a quick trip to visit our relatives who mostly live in the San Gabriel Valley region. Although, visiting my older brother in his little beach town in the South Bay was much easier for us.This location turned out to be a good fit for our little family’s work/vacation hybrid trip. There were just enough things to do immediately around our hotel to keep my little bean entertained, while allowing Jian easy access to his temporary office on his work days.

I had meant to take first photos of our hotel room, like I had previously mentioned in my last post. However, with such an active little kid in tow who just happens to love hotel rooms, I completely forgot to take any photos until after we had already settled in. Our room was not very spacious, but not small either. It was very adequate in size for just the three of us. Jian & I have experienced the more smaller layout hotel rooms in Asia (mostly in Japan), & our hotel room in London was super compact, so we don’t necessarily mind the size of our rooms as long as they are functional to our family’s needs. I would say this hotel’s room layout was very functional & well designed, & we loved the decor aesthetics.

The front entryway of our hotel room consisted of a semi-long hallway/passageway of wall-to-wall mirrors to the main bedroom area. My immediate impression was that the hallway was a wasted space. They could have taken out one mirror panel & extended the countertop space where the dresser/mini-fridge is to add in a dedicated desk space. That way, there wouldn’t be such a bulky round table in front of the sofa-bench area which seemed a little too big for where it was originally placed & a little unnecessary for the room anyway. However, we were able to make use of the long-ish hallway by parking our stroller near the doorway & lining up all of our thoroughly used shoes to keep organized.


As I have probably said in previous travel posts, when I stay at a hotel, one of the first things I scope out is the bathroom; the size, the layout, all of it. One thing that really bothers me about staying in hotels, is when the entire layout is all out of proportion. For example, when we stayed at the EDITION Hotel in London, our bathroom was cussing huge, as in as big as a walk-in closet huge. Yet, the sleeping area was practically the size of a broom closet. The room’s overall layout was totally out of whack. (Who makes the bathroom bigger than the sleeping area? I mean, the towel rack doesn’t have to be 50 feet away from the shower.) So that one experience is why I get very picky particular about the bathrooms when I stay at hotels. The bathrooms should be functional, yet proportionally sized to the room.

I was very satisfied with this hotel’s bathroom situation. At first, when I saw the extra vanity space I was a little disappointed. I don’t do my makeup or hairstyles requiring more than 3 steps, so I initially felt the vanity was unnecessary, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. We ended up using it to store all of our extra toiletries & kids bath-time gear. It proved to be valuable counter space after all. I don’t think I need to go into further details about the rest of the bathroom. It was all quite standard & very suitable for our little family.


Our hotel room was considered a balcony suite, & it did feel like a suite. It was very spacious & comfortable room. The closet wasn’t very big, but it was deep & had enough space to fit our jumbo sized Away suitcase. There was ample lighting throughout the room, & even the bathroom had a motion sensor night light (a convenient amenity for my frequent nighttime bathroom trips). There was no in-room desk for Jian to work remotely, but there was a rather large round table next to the sofa bench, which I thought was kind of a waste of space. The desk was heavy & hard to move out of the way, but where it was positioned made it a little clumsy to get around to the other side of the very comfortable bed. One thing I really liked about this room was there were more than enough USB ports & plug outlets next to the bed & around the room in general for everyone’s electronics.


This balcony was such a luxury. We probably used it only 3 times during our entire stay, but when we had used it, it was great. I had lost the other photos taken of this balcony, so please bear with me as I try to fumble my way through a proper description using just this one photo. To the left was a single patio chair & side table that we never sat on. To the right was a semi-comfortable patio sofa/bench. We borrowed the throw pillows from the seating inside our room to make the outdoor seating more comfortable.

Surprisingly on this trip to L.A, it wasn’t very hot every day, so we didn’t have much opportunities anyway to enjoy the outdoor patio. Occasionally, while my little bean was napping, I’d make myself a very lackluster Nespresso coffee pod drink & sit out on the balcony whilst playing games on my tablet. I’d like to say that my little bean was on ‘vacation mode‘ & that’s the reason why she was having a hard time taking her daily naps, but she’s been having trouble with her usually consistent napping schedule for quite some time & even more after that. This balcony was great while we used it, but we hardly were able to use it. We never brought our little bean out on to the patio for safety reasons. I had once tried to snoop out the apartments across the way from us, but almost all of those apartments had their shades fully drawn. Shucks.


So that was a phot review of our moderate & cozy hotel room during our work-cation. This particular trip with our little bean was one of the most fun L.A trips we’ve had in a long time. It was a perfect balance of Jian working during the day & meeting up with the two of us in the afternoons, while I spent quality one-on-one bonding time with my little bean. I really tested my limits, improved my skills in taking care of & handling my little bean without any help, & let me tell you that I am a very co-dependent person who relies on Jian for a lot of hand-holding help. On this trip, I had to take care of my little bean & myself…all by myself. I really felt like a mom who matured & built up my self-confidence by at least 5 to 10 percent.

I am so happy that my little bean loves to travel & explore new places. I also love that she doesn’t need any time adjusting to hotel life, compared to other kids who practically have to make the room an exact replica of their home bedroom or else they can’t get sleep. My little bean is an adventurer. I can’t wait for the many adventures we’ll embark on as a little family unit in the future. Which reminds me…in three weeks, we’re going on yet another trip. It’ll be Jian’s birthday, & we made plans to take our little bean on a glamping trip. I will talk more about it in an upcoming post. Until the next trip, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

From this past year until now, my little family & I have been traveling a lot. Whether it’s to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or anywhere else in between, we’ve surely racked up quite a few miles on the road. Jian & I aren’t quite ready to take our little bean on an airplane ride just yet. More than worrying how she’ll react being cooped up in a pressurized cabin with nowhere to run around, we’re still not completely confident regarding airline COVID safety practices. So, we’ve only opted to take our little bean on trips to places we can turn into a drivable trip. On top of all that, Jian & I are too stingy to pay the extra airline baggage fees in case we have to check-in our little bean’s stroller, car seat, &/or any other baby gear too large for the overhead bin.

Since we have been traveling a lot lately, I thought I’d share with you some of the essential items I always pack in my suitcase. There are a few items I absolutely cannot go without, either because of my persnickety-ness or because of my sensitive skin, but I just won’t travel without them. So they may only be essential items to me personally.


01. Like the compulsively organized person that I am, I am a firm believer in using packing cubes when I travel. Packing cubes (& compression bags) are some of the world’s greatest inventions. They keep your fresh clothes clean, your bags organized, & you won’t believe how much you can store in one of those lil’ suckers which means you can bring more junk with you when you travel to soothe your over analytical thoughts on what to pack. I don’t understand how people can just throw things in their bag & go. I don’t care if you know how to Marie Kondo origami-fold everything into your suitcase. Packing cubes make preparing for a trip so much more efficient & easy.

^ This is not the way to travel. ^

02. If I can’t find travel-sized versions of my at-home skincare products, then I will transfer small amounts of each into small reusable TSA-friendly containers. Luckily for me, I have developed a skincare routine that works perfectly for my dry skin, but also doesn’t require me to use more than 3 to 4 products. So it’s easy for me to travel with mini-sized versions of my daily skincare regimen. I don’t wear makeup, like ever, therefore my usual toiletry bag when I travel is about the size of a small men’s dopp bag.

* EXAMPLE *

03. Ever since I was a little child I’ve had severe allergies. I’m practically allergic to most shellfish & fruit known to mankind. Dogs & Cats used to be my arch nemesis (damn you, pet dander!). I mean, when I was in high school I got allergy tested by my family physician & found out I was allergic to over 100 different things (not all food related). I had to get two allergy shots weekly all throughout high school & take prescription allergy medicine. Nowadays, I only take over-the-counter allergy medication as needed, but I always carry a bottle of nasal spray with me whenever I travel. (My preferred brand is Flonase.) It’s a quick & easy way for me to immediately combat my allergies. Plus, Jian uses it now as well whenever he gets that tickle in his pickle…um, sinus…like after he’s walked through the perfume aisle at Sephora or passes by a Bath & Body Works/White Barn/Yankee Candle Co. candle store.

04. Until my little bean was diagnosed by a dermatologist as having keratosis pilaris, I never knew I had it too. I just lived with having those tiny little bumps on my skin my whole life. It never bothered me, never itched, or felt irritated. It just felt like having permanent goose bumps. I’ve used numerous types of lotions to keep my skin feeling less dry & patchy, but the bumps were always there, not noticeable unless you touched the skin. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties when I started using loofah sponges when I bathed. Once I switched from a loofah poof to the long wash cloth style, it was such a game changer. I was finally able to fully scrub & exfoliate my entire back (not just my body). That’s when my keratosis pilaris bumps started to go away. My skin feels immensely smoother in texture, & I can definitely see a difference in a more even skin tone. It has definitely improved the dryness & overall itchiness of my skin, which I’ve battled my entire life. I love using my loofah wash cloth so much that I have an extra one that I bring on all of my travels.

05. As I have said before, I am a compulsive persnickety person. Not really a ‘Type-A’ kind of person, but just very stuck in my habits & personal preferences. I like the way my at-home body wash smells & how it works well with my specific skin conditions. This also applies (no pun intended) to my body lotion. I have a proprietary mixture of various body lotions that I use at home that also works on my sensitive skin. So it’s obvious that I also bring travel-sized versions of these items with me on all of my travels. I have been known to use hotel-provided bath products when necessary, but my preference is to use my own body wash & lotion because it works best on my always dry & itchy skin. I know it is totally extra of me to practically bring my whole bathroom with me when I travel, but I at least try to keep everything to a TSA-approved travel size.

06. I remember the first time one of my former bosses explained to me how she kept a small pill case in her purse at all times. She was often getting migraines & stomach irritability, so she always kept a small packet of over-the-counter medicines in her purse. But of course, me in all of my compulsive glory, decided to upgrade that to a full on first-aid kit. It made sense back in those days when large tote bag purses were the trendy style & I used to use a messenger bag style purse. I put everything in that purse like a crazy bag lady…everything from nail clippers, to folding scissors, to cough drops. Even as I downgraded my purses over the years to be more compact & practical, I’ve always found a way to incorporate some sort of first-aid pouch. This pouch will include over-the-counter headache medicine, folding scissors, bandage plasters, & a few emergency feminine sanitary products. When I travel, especially overseas, I will include a few extra items like cold & anti-diarrhea medicines because who has time to Google Translate every single thing at a foreign pharmacy.


When I travel on long flights, mostly to overseas, the select items listed above are what I like to pack. These items are mostly to be used on the airplane, but they have definitely made those long flights more bearable. Slippers are great to keep your feet clean & reduces swelling. Neck pillows are so much more comfortable & more sanitary than using those thin cotton pads airlines pass off as “pillows”. Even before this pandemic happened, I’ve been an avid user of disposable face masks, especially on airplanes. The recycled, barely circulated cabin air really activates my allergies, so using a disposable face mask really helps to reduce my allergy symptoms. In recent years I’ve tried to not bring my personal tablet with me when I travel. I end up not using it that much when I’m on a trip, & I am more paranoid now than ever regarding property theft targeted at obvious tourists. However, on long flights I will bring my tablet, lest I go crazy over sheer boredom & lack of good in-flight entertainment options.


Now that I’ve got a kid to travel with, she also comes with a lot of her own baggage (yes, pun intended). I try to keep my little bean’s travel gear to a minimum. I don’t want to be one of those people who loads up the hotel luggage cart on a mere 3-night stay.

* EXAMPLE *

Here I’ve compiled a short list of the must-have items in her little kid’s packing list.

01. I will start off by talking about my little bean’s keratosis pilaris skin condition. Though it’s not curable, it is treatable, which means if you have it you just have to work at it most of your life to suppress the symptoms. We as parents treat our little bean’s keratosis pretty much the same way as I treat my symptoms. We have a soft silicone exfoliating brush that we use along with a gentle baby bath wash & delicate skin baby body lotion. This combination of silicone brush, bath wash & baby lotion has improved my little bean’s skin & reduced the keratosis breakouts on her skin. We still have a long, long way to go in fighting this skin condition, but these are our go-to products that we can’t go without during every bath time at home or away.

02. Almost every child has a favorite snuggle toy for naps & bedtime. Our little bean is no exception. She has a butterfly lovey security blanket that is her absolute favorite to sleep & play with. We have to be extremely careful with this item because it has since been discontinued by the brand, & the only place to get a replacement is eBay, apparently. It’s because of this that we never bring this with us when we travel, for fear of losing it. Our little bean has already lost one of her other favorite stuffed toys during one of our hotel stays in Los Angeles, & we were lucky enough to be able to get her a replacement without her knowing the difference, but we are not planning on doing that every time she loses one of her “special friends”. (P.S. We call all of her stuffed toys her ‘friends’.) Fortunately for us, this butterfly security blanket is not the only thing she is able snuggle with when she sleeps. When we travel, we will bring one of her other replaceable stuffed toys for her to use during nap time & bedtime.

03. I have a travel set of kid’s cutlery & snack boxes that I like to use whenever we take our little bean out to eat, at a restaurant or at someone’s house. She has a growing collection of kid’s utensils that she uses at home, like plastic bowls, spoons & forks, but I have a specific set of utensils that she only uses when we go out. Our little bean also has her own insulated lunch bag to carry everything in. That way we don’t have to bring her at-home stuff out with us & replace them every time she loses something. We take her mealtime eating kit with us whenever we know we’ll have to feed her outside of the house. It’s very convenient & easy to clean. Plus, we feel like we are inconveniencing the restaurant if we ask them for kid’s stuff, even if they have it. For me, I like to bring our own kid’s cutlery when we go out because it just calms the germaphobe in me.

04. This goes with the previous item, the sippy cup. Our little bean also has an ever-growing collection of these at home as well. She has one for all of the stages, from baby bottle style all the way up to full on toddler trainer cups. We have a tall sippy cup that we specifically use whenever we go out with our little bean. It can hold a larger volume of water which is good when we’re going on road trips & don’t have opportunities to make sudden pit stops. Right now the sippy cup we are using has a hard silicone tip, but we are very slowly trying to teach our little bean how to slurp from an actual straw. She knows how to sip/gulp from an open cup, but you know me, & you know I don’t like myself or my kid getting messy, especially when we’re away from home (& a fresh change of clothes).

05. When we go on family trips, I like to pack a few simple toys for our little bean to play with when we are in the hotel room, or staying at a relative’s house. I don’t pack an entire toy chest worth of toys, but I will select at most 2 or 3 toys to entertain my little bean, especially when we the parents are trying to get ready in the morning & need to distract her for several minutes. Some toys I will consider bringing are a sandwich-sized Ziplock storage bag of plastic animals, or one of her interactive toys like her toy cell phone. I try to not bring toys that are difficult or expensive to replace, & I like to bring toys that are compact & easily packable into her small duffle bag.

06. My little bean loves to read books. We can read at least 5 or 6 children’s board books in the morning before we get out of bed. So, I like to bring a mini selection books for my little bean & I to read together. My little bean also has a bedtime book that we read together almost every night before she goes to sleep, & I like to bring that book as well. When packing for my little bean I won’t pack more than 3 or 4 books, including her bedtime storybook. I try not to bring too many books in case we happen to buy more books when we travel, which is often.

07. This last one is optional. I read in some other mommy blog that it’s best to try to recreate the child’s sleeping environment as best as possible when traveling, so the baby won’t have a hard time going to sleep, but sometimes that’s just not feasible, or practical for that matter. I used to bring my little bean’s crib blanket when we traveled, so she’d have some comfort reminder of her room back at home, but lately I’ve been going through a ‘less is more’ phase, & I’m trying to scale back a lot of the junk we bring with us on vacation. I don’t bring her crib blanket on our travels anymore, but if we were perhaps to go on a longer vacation or go somewhere overseas, I might be more inclined to pack it along.


This is the end of my list. I must confess that we are taking another trip to Los Angeles, & leaving this coming Sunday. We didn’t go on that last Los Angeles trip I talked about in my previous blog post, the one where my nephew celebrated his high school graduation & birthday. Jian asked me repeatedly, yet casually, if we should go but we ended up saying no. Honestly, we really needed a break from living with my mom, & my little bean needed that time away from smothering grandma as well to develop & mature.

This time we are going to L.A to celebrate our new niece turning one year old, & celebrate another nephew turning four. We thought it would be more meaningful to have our little bean interact with more kids close to her age. Also, Jian wants to snoop around the L.A office of his company’s department. I guess I should mention that this isn’t exactly a “vacation”. Jian still has to work everyday (except on Monday’s Memorial Day observance), but I get to spend quality time exploring the city & the area around our hotel with my little bean. My mom won’t be traveling with us, as she just recently returned from L.A herself, so this will give us even more badly needed time away from my mom, a.k.a. grandma -slash- super crutch for my little one to revert back to acting like a baby & not want to learn how to walk at all. It will be interesting to see how things go. Maybe I’ll write another hotel review post since we are staying at a brand new hotel we’ve never even heard of before. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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