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I am no parenting expert, by any means. I am not an expert in any field whatsoever. I tend to do things by trial-&-error, see what works & keep doing that until it doesn’t work any longer. I was like that (in a way) when I was pregnant. I was buying every single pre-natal & post-natal mommy thing that was recommended to me on the internet. Then I was buying all of the things the baby would need during infancy that bedazzled me through targeted ads on Instagram, keeping only the things I needed, & regretting over-buying the things I didn’t actually need but thought it might come in handy during some freakishly rare parenting emergency.

It turned out that I didn’t need half of the things I bought (like the postpartum crotch-recovery kit from FridaBaby because I had a cesarean birth instead of pushing my little bean down the mommy hatch). I bought so much crap stuff that I didn’t actually use or need when my little bean finally arrived. It all felt like such a waste, especially since I didn’t have any friends or family members I could re-gift those unused items to at the time. Plus, I was extremely surprised to find that most donation sites (i.e. Goodwill, Samaritan House, etc.) do not accept baby items like toys, furniture, strollers…to name a few. Luckily for me, I kept all of those unused items & was able to re-gift them to a family member who was expecting not long after I gave birth.

Ever since my little bean turned 2-years old, I have been jotting down all of the essential items I felt I truly needed when I became a new mom, when my little bean was born, all the way up till now (my bean is 2). I periodically go through an inventory of all my little bean’s things, probably once every 4 to 6 months or so, & put aside all of the things little bean doesn’t use, need, or fit anymore into medium-sized storage bags. Then I donate those bags of pre-loved items to any friends or family that may need or want them. Periodically going through all of my little bean’s things got me thinking about making a list of the truly essential items one might need or want if they are having their own little bean. I’ve tried to make a short, concise list here.


We have a night light in our little bean’s nursery that we used when she used to sleep in her own crib/bed. It’s an absolutely bougie Miffy & Friends Silicone Rechargeable Light. Jian had always imagined getting this Miffy rabbit light for our then-future-now-current nursery. This one is seriously bougie considering it is only a night light & doesn’t come with all the bells & whistles for its price point, but at least it’s cordless, has a dimmable light function, & is USB rechargeable (with a long battery life). This night light comes in 3 different sizes: mini, the one we got, & ginormous. Plus, Jian really insisted we get this one, & I’m a fan of Dick Bruna‘s MIFFY cartoons, so I didn’t argue with him.

There are tons of aesthetics, styles, & price points on the market these days. You do you, & choose whichever one fits your family unit best. Sure, night lights keep the little ones from being afraid of the dark, but we all know those night lights are mostly for the parents to check on their kids, & quite frankly, who wants to creep around in the dark only to stub your toe on the corner of a changing table or nursery chair leg? It doesn’t really matter which exact one you choose, as long as it fits its purpose. But who doesn’t like cute decor in the nursery, too?


Cuddle toys &/or security blankets are great to help soothe the little one & assist in their nap time/nighttime routine. They are also great to bring on long car rides or on trips where the little one will be sleeping in a new environment. Some parents also bring these cuddle items to the doctor to help calm the little one down. Don’t make the stupid mistake we did & get your little one something seasonal or limited edition. Well, we didn’t technically make the mistake ourselves. My mom bought our little one an adorable little lovey blanket with a soft fabric butterfly from Target, not realizing that she bought the very last one. Our little bean immediately fell in love with it & has been sleeping with it every single day from then on.

None of us had ever thought about what would happen if it got ruined or, God forbid, lost. As soon as that thought entered my anxiety-ridden mind, I immediately jumped onto the internet to find a backup. Unfortunately for us, that cute butterfly lovey has been discontinued & out of stock E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. The only place I can find a backup in case something unfortunate happens to ours is either on eBay or Poshmark, reselling for triple the price of the original MSRP, & that’s for a USED one, not new/unopened.

So ever since that whole thing happened in our lives, I’ve since gone by a personal mantra of “Don’t buy your kid anything that can’t be easily replaced” because if she falls in love with something then loses it or breaks it, & you have to replace it, finding something that’s seasonal or limited edition is either going to cost you a small fortune, or you’ll be shit outta luck. Therefore, in my case, I trained my little bean to sleep with a couple of “favorite” cuddle toys plus her security blanket. That way, she can interchange between them & not get upset if we have to leave one at home when we go out.

Our little bean’s first love will always be her butterfly lovey toy, but if we go on vacation or go on long trips, she doesn’t mind leaving it at home & can bring a different cuddle toy with her. Then we don’t run the risk of losing something irreplaceable. For us, we have found that Jellycat brand toys are the best. They’re soft, cute, & super portable. They pretty much come in hundreds of colors, themes, sizes & styles. Plus, you can find them EVERYWHERE, so if your little one loses their cuddle toy, you can easily replace it.


Everybody knows what a portable fan is, right? I mean, they’re not some new fangled invention or anything like that. However, the concept of getting a portable fan for my little bean is an entirely new concept that I had never ever heard of until she came into my life. I’m sure stroller fans have been around for ages & ages, but I’ve never heard of their popularity until the more recent years. Besides, I don’t live in an area that gets hot that much throughout the year, even during summer. So a stroller fan, which popped up on my Amazon recommended list, wasn’t something I thought I needed until I went ahead & bought one anyway.

The portable stroller fan has been a great staple in our family travel pack. The three of us often travel to Los Angeles, especially during the hotter months, to visit family (or in Jian’s case, to attend work events), & our fan has gotten a ton of use because of it. We also used it on our what-were-we-thinking road trip to Las Vegas during that historic, record breaking heatwave. On top of that, last year we had an unusual heat wave during our Indian summer season, & that portable fan saved our asses. Keep in mind that we live in a 1950’s built Eichler home with no central A/C, so having portable fans around the house was how we dealt with that freak heat wave last year. I used the portable stroller fan in our little bedroom while my little bean took a nap, & it was surely a life saver.

The best feature of our portable fan is the flexible tripod legs. The flexibility allows it to be positioned practically anywhere on a standard stroller (we previously used the UPPAbaby Vista v2, now we use the GB Pockit+ All-City), so the air won’t directly be positioned at the little one’s face. We even used our fan in the car, attaching it to our infant car seat, so our little bean could get maximum airflow on those super hot days without us having to blast the car’s air conditioning the whole time. The second best feature is its long-lasting battery life. We don’t have to charge it very often between uses, which is great. So all-in-all, we’ve gotten a lot of use out of our portable stroller fan, even when we’re not using the stroller.


What I am about to say will definitely show my age, & the fact that I am more closely related to the Boomer generation rather than the Millennial/Gen-Z generation. I always thought fidget toys were fashion toys for the Gen-Z type, bored kid with idle hands. Teenagers of my nephew & youngest niece’s age were collecting fidget spinners & doing trendy tricks with them on TikTok or something like that. I didn’t really give fidget toys any serious thought until after I had a kid of my own.

Once my little bean was big enough to sit in her own high chair at the restaurants we would take her to, we realized we needed to give her things to occupy her time & attention. Giving her a straw, or a condiment packet to play around with could only sustain her attention for maybe 20 seconds or so, & she very easily gets bored from drawing all over the kids menu. Therefore, our solution was to get our little bean a couple of different fidget toys to play with when we go out.

She has a few different pop-it toys & one fidget cube with a bunch of different textures, buttons & switches on it. We even carry a small sandwich-sized Ziploc bag with some LEGO Duplo bricks for her to play with while we are outside. Those fidget type toys are great to occupy our little bean’s attention, especially when we are eating at a restaurant. We had tried to convince ourselves when I was pregnant, that we wouldn’t be those kinds of parents who shoved an iPhone in front of their kids to occupy their attention. However, I will admit that we have resorted to using our phones to calm our little bean’s restlessness, more than a few times, while we are trying to enjoy a meal out. We mostly try to mix things up & give our little bean a variety of things to play with when we go out. These fidget toys seem to be doing the trick for now.


I never knew these nifty little things existed until I was shopping for baby essentials on Amazon & it was recommended to me on my homepage. I have seen all sorts of children’s toothbrushes & toothpastes at the store, but I have never really heard of infant toothbrushes, mainly because I always thought of babies not having any teeth, so why would they need a toothbrush. Little did I know that silicone finger brushes are a great tool for parents with teething babies.

I guess I am old fashioned, or just stuck in remembering the way things were done when I was a kid. I thought if a baby was teething, you give them a teething toy or something cold like a wet washcloth you put in the fridge freezer to chew on. When I actually looked into what finger toothbrushes were, & what their benefits are, I bought one straight away. A silicone finger brush, also known as baby’s first “toothbrush”, is great for soothing those sore & achy gums, but it also instills good teeth brushing habits from the start, & helps the baby get used to feeling something toothbrush-like for the first time.

I started using the silicone finger brush as soon as my little bean started teething, & it really helped to soothe the soreness & the dull ache in her gums, which helped her sleep better throughout the night, instead of having to wake up every few hours to rub teething gel medication on the gums. Our little bean was also kind of a strange infant. She didn’t like chewing on the traditional teething toys or icy wet washcloths. She liked gnawing on non-traditional baby items like plastic straws & plastic spoons. Using the finger brush to massage our little bean’s gums really allowed us to cut down on our (non-medicated) teething gel dependency, & it helped soothe our little bean’s sensitive gums before bedtime. This also allowed us to smoothly transition to an actual children’s toothbrush when she got older. The little one did not fuss or refuse when we started teaching her to brush her own teeth.


Let me tell you something serious. Like, for real. How could I have not known about the Febreze Small Spaces Air Freshener? This is an absolute game changer. For all the existing parents out there, you already know where I’m headed…when your little one mic-drops a deuce bomb. I never thought about becoming nose blind to diaper odors, but it happens. Luckily there’s this little air freshener to keep the nursery from smelling like a Coachella Port-A-Potty. I tip my cap to any parent who is able to consistently & effortlessly keep their baby nursery smelling fresh as daisies.

We use a diaper pail with a baking soda disc that’s supposed to minimize diaper odors (it doesn’t). I had originally thought it would be discreet yet on-trend with our room decor if I put a cute aroma diffuser in the nursery; it didn’t work. It only made the room smell like perfume mixed with a hint of ammonia. Next, I tried placing a strong lavender scented drawer deodorizer packets at the bottom of the diaper pail, but that didn’t combat the funk either. Then I discovered this tiny little air freshener, & I tossed all the other things I tried in to the trash.

From the moment I discovered this little air freshener, I have not stopped buying them. These little suckers are so good at stamping out even the most explosive diaper smell. How I use them is to keep one on the diaper changing table, next to all the diapering supplies. If the diaper was particularly gross, then I’ll place the air freshener on top of the diaper pail for a few minutes to really reduce the odor. It really works well to greatly reduce the smell of the deuce. I even keep one in Jian’s home office…because farts happen. *Gross*.


Let me start this section with a little story time blurb. One time when my nephew was a toddler, we all went out for lunch in a large family group setting (including my sister, her then-now-ex-husband, my brother, my parents, my niece, myself, & Jian). My sister wanted to go shopping after lunch to get her kids some new shoes. Lo & behold, my nephew laid a huge crapper in his diaper while we were in the kids shoe store. He bombed his diaper so hard that it got all over his shorts. My sister didn’t have anything else for my nephew to wear, so she had to go to another store to buy him new clothes. She said it wasn’t worth it to bring the shorts home to wash, & ended up throwing them away. After that incident, I swore that I wouldn’t be that underprepared if/when I had my own child.

So, my takeaway from that story is to ALWAYS BE PREPARED, even if it means your diaper bag &/or car trunk looks like you are doomsday prepping for the end of the world. That is why I highly recommend having a spare change of baby clothes on hand at all times. I keep a Ziplock bag of spare clothes in my little bean’s diaper bag at all times. It contains just the essentials: one long-sleeve onesie, one pair of leggings, & one pair of socks. I also keep a spare jacket (one for each of us three) in the trunk of my car, since my car is mainly used as the “people mover” family car.

This spare change of clothes has come in handy on more than one occasion already. On our first group outing with our friends & their infant children to a children’s museum, our little bean had a cry session so intense that she threw up all over herself. She threw up so hard that she made the pie-eating contest scene from the Stand By Me movie look tame. The puke came out so fast & hard that not even my quick mommy reflexes could deflect the splash back. Little bean was covered in puke, & I was covered in puke. It was an experience I never would wish on any parent. Luckily we had a spare change of clothes for our little bean in her bag, but I had to rush back home covered in spoiled milk & baby food from head to toe. Needless to say, after that incident, I put a spare t-shirt in my car for each of us parents as well. Keep this tip in mind future parents~!


  • When getting a portable changing mat/pad, don’t get one that has a ton of pockets/compartments or folds out a hundred & one different ways. When you have to fold it back up & put it away, it’ll end up taking up more than half the precious space in the diaper bag. A simple, thin changing pad that folds up small will do. I have a changing mat from Herschel Supply, & even though it only has 2 pockets (one for extra diapers, & one for the wipes), it’s super bulky & takes up most of the space in my already jumbo diaper bag. You don’t need all those pockets for the little things. You only need enough space for a couple of extra diapers, a tube of rash cream, & a packet of wipes. Your kid won’t notice/care if the padding is plush or as thin as hotel toilet paper.
  • This is totally not necessary, but it is a bonus, if you have a sound machine or a go-to music playlist for nap time. In my experience, having a specific music playlist that I use for my little bean’s naps has really improved the quality of her naps. I put the music on before she enters her room, so I don’t have to waste extra time setting everything up before I put her down for a nap. Also, she’ll already hear the sound before she fully falls asleep, so it won’t be an instant jolt of noise while she’s trying to sleep. The music helps my little bean feel like she’s not alone in her room, & also diffuses any outside noises (i.e. washer/dryer, vacuum, etc.). I will turn off any sound machine/music a couple of minutes before the end of her nap, to help her slowly wake up instead of me barging into her room & banging around to get her up.


Well, that’s all I would say about that. I am in NO WAY pushing any of these items on any parent. This list is merely a suggestion. It’s purely based off of my experiences. Take it or leave it. The only thing that I would say is pretty much set in stone is the spare change of emergency clothes. Having a spare change of clothes (or a spare jacket in the car) is non-negotiable for any & all parents. If you’re an existing parent, then you know all about the “exploding backpack“. That’s why I’m advocating so hard for the spare clothes. *Chuckle*

Anyhow, that’s all I’ve got to say. Sorry I’ve been absent for so many months. Between the little bean, Jian, & myself, we’ve each been sick on & off between January & February. Plus, my mom had a big seventy-something birthday celebration in February, & we had to attend my oldest niece’s wedding in Las Vegas last month (March). My life schedule has been absolutely packed, & I haven’t really had much time to properly sit down & write. Yes, I’ve been on Instagram, but it’s much faster to write a couple of hashtags than it is to write an entire blog post. Until the next one, & I hope it won’t be too long until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

What are three objects you couldn’t live without?

NUMBER ONE & FOREMOST (!): I cannot live without the necklace that I wear every single day. I wear it every day, except for the few occasions I need to dress formally, or if I need to take it off for a doctor’s exam. I even wear my necklace when I swim or shower. My necklace is a slim gold chain with three charms: a good luck red envelope/packet 紅包(given to me as a wedding gift by my brother), a gold key (given to me by my maternal grandmother), & a non-descript jade figure (given to me by my mother). I have had & worn this necklace since my early childhood & will continue to wear it until the end of my days.

SECOND: I cannot live without my handkerchief. It was given to me at a very young age by my late father, & to this day, I feel a strong connection to my father when I use my handkerchief. It’s like a mini version of a security blanket for me, & no matter how worn & frayed it has become, I will still keep it as a fond memory of my awesome dad.

THIRD: I cannot live without my maternal grandmother’s jade bracelet. Well, it’s in part because I have gained weight since I first started wearing it, & therefore cannot take it off unless I physically break my hand. Now, I’m not saying I’m too fat or anything, but my wrist has gotten moderately thicker since I put on the bracelet. My hand was even bruised in several places when I had it put on. So you can imagine what I’d have to go through to have it removed, without cutting the bracelet of course. The main reason I cannot part with this bracelet is because it was kindly given to me by my grandmother, & her family fought hard to get this specific piece of jade & have it carved into a bracelet. The backstory of this bracelet is both unbelievable & incredible at the same time. This bracelet serves as a loving memento of a grandmother whom I cherished.

The Christmas season has come & gone in unceremonious fashion. It’s already the year 2023. Every year we all say the same exact thing: Halloween is a blur, Thanksgiving is pretty much passed over as an eating ‘cheat day’, & [whichever holiday you celebrate in December] whizzes past in a flash before we’re all counting down to the new year. For me, Christmas is a mixed bag of emotions. It’s my most favorite festive holiday, not just for my own personal reasons, but also because it was my dad’s favorite holiday as well.

Christmastime always has me reminiscing about my dad, & these past few years, as well as up till now, I have felt a thin veil of bittersweetness fog over the entire holiday. Ever since my dad passed, I’ve tried to make Christmas extra special to honor him & his loving Christmas traditions. My mom tries to as well, but I have noticed that in recent years her heart isn’t just as into it anymore. My dad’s Christmas traditions aren’t as celebrated by my mother as it is by me, except for the main tradition…or should I call it a rule?…that all children must come home for Christmas, even if it’s only for Christmas Day.

I, however, love to carry on my father’s traditions of decorating the house & putting up a huge Christmas tree stuffed full of brightly colored ornaments. Just like my dad, I love hosting our annual Christmas Eve party full of family & friends, & I especially love the gift giving part. If I had unlimited funds, I’d gift all of my friends & family at least a dozen presents during the Christmas season! We both love being surrounded by our closest family & friends during this time, celebrating, eating, drinking, & just overall being merry.

Recently, in the back of my mind, I was feeling a little more nostalgic & bittersweet. I tend to revert back to one singular thought that always lingers in the back corner of my mind: I wish my dad could be here to be in & share this moment with his granddaughter, my little bean. I think about this A LOT; probably at least 5 times a day. Envy builds up inside of me, thinking about how my sister’s children got to spend at least a couple of Christmases with my dad (who is their step-grandfather, just to clarify) before he passed. I then have to tamp down & squash that mindset because it can become an extremely toxic rabbit hole to fall down in very quickly. I try to make Christmas memorable for everyone, not just for my little bean (who is still quite young to remember much of anything, but still I try).

This Christmas was one for the books, & I wish we could have celebrated longer. My sister for once did not get drunk & start arguments with anyone. For the first time since I’ve met him, my sister’s new husband wasn’t stuck on the same seat the entire time, watching the golf channel or ESPN. He actually participated in family activities & played games. My nephew & niece are both teenagers now; well, my niece is still technically a pre-teen, but I’m considering her a full fledged teen based on her personality & interests. They were really fun to hang out with, even though they were both GLUED to their smartphones, & they really got a good chance to bond with their little cousin, even though they’re 10+ years older than she is.

I was so proud of my little bean when she truly started bonding with her older cousins. In the past she would get nervous & scared interacting with them, especially if one of her parents are not right next to her. My little bean would actually cry whenever she saw her male cousin, but now she likes to play with him, although she does need to see someone she’s more familiar with in close proximity to where they are playing, or else she will feel anxious again. This past Christmastime was a great time for my little bean to open up & blossom. She built stronger connections with a lot of the family members she only sees a few short times a year.

Overall, I was so happy we really got to bond as a family this year. I thought this winter holiday was going to be a real downer after our entire household all got nasty colds in the beginning of December. In fact, I actually got the worst of it, which is typical of me. I actually got the full-on flu, complete with the chills, vomiting, 100 degree fever, not being able to eat, etcetera. It started with my mom getting a cold first, then passing it on to Jian, who then passed it on to myself & our little bean…which I am extremely thankful that the little bean only had minor cold symptoms. Jian only had a fever for one day, then he quickly recovered. I on the other hand, had symptoms so bad, I was pretty much bed-ridden (or shall I say, couch ridden) for 3-days straight. I was worried that I would not recover in time to celebrate with our friends & family, but I pulled through.

This Christmas was quite memorable. I still had thoughts of missing my dad, wishing he could be here with us. He would have loved seeing all of us, three generations, getting along & celebrating together. I also wished that my eldest brother could have come home to be with us, but ever since he semi-retired & moved over to Las Vegas, it’s been a lot harder for him to travel over to see us here in California. Although we missed spending another Christmas with each other, I am extremely happy that I will get to see my brother again soon. His eldest daughter will be getting married in March, & our little trio (plus all the grandparents) will be making the trek out to Las Vegas to celebrate the joyous occasion. It’ll be great to see my eldest niece walk down the aisle in a wedding gown, when I remember seeing her just learning to walk & growing out of her diapers. Time flies incredibly fast. Even my own kid is going to be growing out of her diapers this year & learning how to use the “big girl potty”. I just cannot believe it. At all. Well, while I process this unbelievable fact, I will sign off on this Blogmas recap. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:


June 2023

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