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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:

explosion of things blog banner.png

Well, a lot has happened in the past couple of months that I haven’t had the time to talk about in this blog. It has taken me nearly three months to finally pull myself together & sit down to write. I have quite a few things to tell you all. I don’t even know where to begin, & I don’t want to ramble on & on. So here I go.

I guess I will start at the top of my list of topics, which will be last year’s Christmas holiday. It was a very jam-packed holiday break, most likely the busiest Christmas break I have ever experienced. My grand-uncle (grandmother’s youngest brother) celebrated his 90th birthday with a grand banquet celebration. Nearly every single family member from my mom’s side of my family all descended upon the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time in decades. Being surrounded by all of my relatives, & especially my first cousins whom I’m becoming even closer to, was a blast. It was just a shame that my niece & nephew couldn’t be there & get to know their own cousins from their generation.

Christmas itself was pretty much the same as every other year, with the exception of my niece & nephew (yet again). Things between this side of the family & their side of the family have become extremely tense in the recent months. It’s not something I want to open up about at this time, but I will say that that particular situation is what caused me to make a firm New Year’s resolution about being mindful, patient, & careful of what comes out of my mouth.

Then right after Christmas, Jian & I celebrated the new year together. We got tickets to see Portugal. The Man in concert on New Year’s Eve, & we had the best time celebrating together even though we both were recovering from severe colds. Oh man, it was a real huge bummer when everybody in our household got a cold right before the new year. We were all sniffling, sneezing, & trying to relieve our runny, drippy noses as well as fighting off a nasty coughing spell.

Nevertheless, Jian & I had a great time at the concert. We were super excited to finally be able to watch Portugal. The Man live in concert for the first time, & were even more excited that another one of the bands we liked, Chicano Batman, was going to be the opening act that night. Though we were bummed that Chicano Batman didn’t end up performing our favorite song & their most popular song on the radio “Friendship Is A Small Boat In The Storm“.

When P.TM came on stage to perform, we were already in the dancing mood. We were each wearing our free paper party hats (courtesy of the venue) & getting super pumped up to sing along to our favorite songs. We loved that this band invited a local American First Nations tribe to perform a ceremonial chant before their set performance (as they do before every one of their concerts). However, we did not love the smoke machine they used on stage. That smoke machine was incredibly annoying, & whoever decided to place the smoke machine directly in front of the lead singer(s) wasn’t thinking practically, or even thinking at all! That stupid smoke machine created so much smoke that it completely engulfed the main band members at the front of the stage & you could hardly see anything happening on the stage because of that stupid machine. It was both annoying & distracting. In between songs, when the smoke machine was turned off, that’s about the only time you could actually see the lead singer John Gourley.

It was weird that the smoke machine was only directed towards the front corner of the stage where the main microphones were staged. The smoke did not even reach the rest of the stage, so the smoke was very concentrated to only one side of the stage. The funny thing that happened at the concert though, was when it came time to count down to the new year & the venue was preparing to drop a ton of balloons from the ceiling. Because the band had this crazy laser light show background, the laser lights would pop the balloons as they fell from the ceiling, making an extremely loud popping noise. People were also purposely throwing balloons into the laser lights just to pop the other balloons. By the time the concert was over, the 300+ balloons were whittled down to approximately 10 or so.

There was one couple sitting next to us where the wife slept through the entire concert. As soon as she sat down in her seat, she made herself comfortable & proceeded to take a nap. The husband went out to get drinks, which the woman never touched, & sat in his seat the entire time just bobbing his head once in a while.  Then right before the countdown to the new year, the husband woke the wife up & they both walked out of the venue. Neither of them seemed happy, nor happy to be there. We still had a memorable concert experience that night.

Shortly after ringing in the new year, one of my cousins hosted her 21st birthday party in Las Vegas. All of the aunts, uncles, & cousins gathered to celebrate our cousin’s milestone birthday, & boy was it a memorable weekend celebration! We all had such a blast spending time together as one big happy family, & I was especially happy to spend time with a cousin I consider to be like my little sister. Oh, I think now would be a good time to let you in on a little secret about my extended family. They love going to Las Vegas, & they love to gamble…but mostly they love to eat, drink & be merry.  My relatives go to Las Vegas at least 4 or 5 times a year, & they really know how to show you a good time when you visit there.

Here comes the final part of this post. This is the real reason why I have been M.I.A. from this blog for the past couple of months. I have been seeing a fertility doctor for a majority of the past two months. I’ve been going through a complicated medication routine/schedule, getting blood tests nearly every other day, getting exams from my doctor. It’s been a very busy time for me personally. All of this back-&-forth to & from the doctor’s clinic has been wearing me out, & on top of that, I recently had to be put on another strict medication regimen where I have to get a long needle shot in my butt. Yes, I said butt! But this is all worth it because I just found out some exciting & positive news that I have successfully procreated (with the help of medical science). I don’t want to talk about it too much in this blog post, but let’s just say that I am both elated & scared shitless (which is totally normal), & that’s all I’m going to say on this subject. I do not want to turn this site into another mommy blog.

I hope all of this reading hasn’t worn you out. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Celebrate good times... Come on, let's celebrate!.png

Hey guys, guess what? I’m traveling to Los Angeles yet again this upcoming weekend. It’s my aunt’s 72nd birthday, & her three daughters are throwing her an epic Bingo-themed birthday party. I wasn’t originally planning on going to my aunt’s birthday party; Jian & I are trying to save as much money as we can as our medical bills are piling up rather quickly. However, Jian convinced me that we could turn this weekend into a fun road trip down the California coast.

Jian has maxed out the amount of vacation hours he could accumulate at his office, so he’s taking a couple of days off to make it a long weekend. We’re planning on stopping off in Santa Barbara for one night before ultimately meeting up with friends & family in Los Angeles.

This makes a perfect segue into the next topic in my 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal, which is about my best birthday celebrations. There are a couple of birthday celebrations that come to mind, but I wouldn’t exactly call them “celebrations”. They were more like birthday traditions.

One of my most memorable & favorite birthday traditions was from when I was a young child in primary school. I invited a lot of the girls from my class, & every year for my birthday I would always have a piñata & the same style cake. We’d play silly schoolyard games in the backyard before my older cousin would help us with the piñata. Then we’d all cram into our family’s kitchen to blow out the candles on my favorite Hello Kitty shaped cake.

I will always remember my childhood birthdays filled with piñatas & Hello Kitty birthday cakes. The piñatas were always some fun animal shape & filled with lots of fun candy that I had no interest in eating, so I’d always let my classmates & friends grab all the candy they wanted. (If it wasn’t chocolate or caramel chews, I wouldn’t eat it.) My birthday cake was always the shape of Hello Kitty‘s face, & the flavors would always be either chocolate or strawberry shortcake. Those two flavors are still my favorite to this very day.

The most memorable birthday of that time in my life was when I had invited two girls from my school who happened to be rivals. Both girls hated each other & always tried to one-up each other. At my birthday, they were both fighting over who got to swing from a low-hanging branch on the little peach tree in my backyard. Both girls were fighting for space on that small tree, but the branch ended up snapping, & the entire tree tipped over & fell. They both ended up flat on their asses with all of the other girls in our group looking on in sheer disbelief & a little panicked as to what the grown ups would say. Both of the girls were quick to blame each other for the murdering of the tree, crying the most phony tears for sympathy.

My dad, when he later found out what had happened to that peach tree, was pissed off. Apparently, that tree was still young & growing its roots, & it was one of my dad’s favorite trees in our backyard. He was so upset that these two girls broke the tree that he later forbid me from ever inviting those girls to another birthday party. My mom was equally as mad as my dad was, & she very swiftly declared that no one shall be climbing, swinging, or playing on any trees from that point on. She then quickly passed out all of the party favors, & sent all of the girls home. That was the last time I had a birthday party at home for the next couple of years.

As I grew older, my tastes changed (not my taste in Hello Kitty!). I would still celebrate my birthday with my friends, but one of my most favorite birthday traditions was to go out for a super fancy meal with my family. We would drive to San Francisco to eat at my dad’s favorite seafood restaurant, & my parents would allow me order a full lobster dinner. This became such a memorable family tradition that it became an inside joke amongst my family that I loved to eat lobster. Now, every time when I go out to eat with my family, they will always jokingly point out to me the lobster dish on the menu.

Now, in terms of actual birthday celebrations, nothing so far has topped my birthday vacation to London, England. Oh man, I cannot stress enough how badly I’ve been wanting to visit the UK. Ever since I was a small child, reading the Paddington Bear books, & watching the Mary Poppins movie a thousand times, I’ve had a dream of visiting the city of London.

Then, back in 2016, everything aligned so perfectly, & I had the immense pleasure & rare opportunity to visit the city I’ve always longed to visit, but had always felt was out of my reach. I will never forget that incredible experience, from the people, to the sights, to the food, to the experiences Jian & I shared together. I even saved the handwritten birthday card the hotel staff wrote to me & placed in our hotel room along with a little complimentary chocolate confection. I truly had the time of my life & cannot wait for the next opportunity to visit my new favorite city!

Over these past few years, I haven’t been much of a celebrator of birthdays. I’m not very comfortable with all of the attention being focused on me, & as I am maturing in age, I have become increasingly aware of the modest yet obvious age gap between myself & Jian, as well as myself & a majority of my friends. I don’t like to focus on my age, but as the years go on, I tend to focus on it more & more, which makes me feel self-conscious about it. So, I end up not celebrating my birthday in order to avoid thinking about my age. Also, I feel like a party to celebrate my life is too indulgent & unnecessary. I celebrate my life everyday. I don’t need one day out of the year to feel special. I feel special right now, in fact. Until the next occasion, cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

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