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I feel as though it wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about my family’s quick weekend jaunt to Monterey Bay. At that time, Jian (& probably my little bean too) was itching to travel. It was his idea to go away for an impromptu weekend getaway to temporarily satisfy our wanderlust after a prolonged vacation drought due to that nasty virus going ’round. I know we’ve already been to Los Angeles & Las Vegas multiple times since the pandemic restrictions in our state have eased, but we’ve only gone to visit specific family members & only went out to pre-selected places that were not typically prone to major outbreaks. Since the pandemic crashed down on us, & more importantly since we’ve created our own tiny human, we haven’t really taken a family vacation that was solely for ourselves & not for some family event or celebration holiday.

Shortly after coming back from Monterey, Jian started seriously looking for a new job & very quickly plunged himself into the interviewing pool. He had been thinking about changing jobs for quite some time, but decided that now would be the best opportunity for him to transition to a new environment. Before we knew it, Jian had landed himself a big corporate tech job. It was a very important milestone in his career & a major cause to celebrate. Luckily for us, through a delay in the process of some paperwork Jian’s official start date got pushed back which granted us a few extra days to spend some quality time together, just the 3 of us. It also gave Jian some much needed rest & relaxation time in-between jobs. This gave him the brilliant idea to go on another family road trip again. We had just a little more than one week before he would start his new job. So we decided to take a proper vacation. We waffled back & forth over where we would go, but ended up settling on our trusty go-to vacation spot: Los Angeles. (Again. *Sigh*)

This time on our travels, we ended up booking our stay at a super swanky, elite hotel. I mean, when Jian says he wants to splurge & indulge the family, who are we to turn him down? I haven’t done a hotel room tour in a long time, somewhat because it’s so tedious to edit all my photos; mostly because my little bean won’t let me use the computer for more than 2 minutes before she tries to grab the wireless mouse & keyboard to play with. On this trip, we chose to stay at the West Hollywood EDITION Hotel. The EDITION hotel series is an elite boutique set of hotels owned by the Marriott Hotels parent company & designed by Ian Schrager, the man behind the infamous Studio 54 in New York City.

Back in 2017, we stayed at the London EDITION Hotel in the Soho neighborhood of London for my early birthday celebration. When I first found out about this series of elite boutique hotels, I had figured that it would be an impossible feat to be able to afford staying at any of these hotels, ever. Then, by a sheer stroke of extremely good luck, we were able to grab one of the most incredible deals of a lifetime when we booked our stay in London. I mean, it was nothing short of a miracle we were able to book our stay for a mere fraction of the standard rate (which was triple what we paid). I never thought we’d ever get that lucky again, but this time it was by no means of luck that we were able to book a stay at another EDITION Hotel.

Right before this trip Jian had said to me, “We always drive by that hotel when we are in L.A & keep saying we would love to stay there one day but never actually do it. Why don’t we do it now? Why don’t we once & for all book a stay at that hotel?” So, after some consideration about saving money, we let ourselves splurge & indulge a little bit. We don’t splurge like this very often, & this was definitely a special occasion, so why not?

Also, I should note that on top of being a high-level rewards members through the Marriott BonVoy program, we also got a special employee discount, which grants selected family members of Marriott branded hotel employees special benefits. On top of the very generous BonVoy rewards upgrades, we also got a slightly discounted rate for our stay. We had originally booked a Loft Room with a king-size bed, which is already a very spacious size, but then we got upgraded to a Premier Suite. That 2-room suite was larger than our first apartment! Here is a look inside our posh hotel suite. (Side note, I’ve never stayed in a suite-sized room at a hotel ever in my life.)

As you can see from the photos above how fabulous this room was, you can pretty much guess that we tried to take advantage of this room during our short-but-sweet stay. Our little bean is just learning how to walk right now, so we let her explore around as much as possible. Crawling is our bean’s specialty, but she can side-step (we call it crab walking) around a room as long as she’s holding on to a table ledge, a straight wall, or a chair.

On this trip, we really let ourselves be truly lazy. Aside from our usual early morning wake-ups (because our little bean wakes up at the same time everyday like clockwork), we’d spend our mornings lounging in bed letting our bean crawl around the bed while watching the morning news on TV. Then we’d slowly get ready for the day & head out by mid-morning. At home, we’re usually up & ready for breakfast before starting work, but whenever we’re in Los Angeles we tend to forgo breakfast time so we can take more time to get ready & pack our things for the day’s outing. We will grab a mid-morning coffee at one of our go-to coffee spots (i.e. Alfred, Intelligentsia, Verve, or some other hipster spot nearby). By that time, we’re ready for lunch.

When we go out with our little bean, we try to limit our activities & only explore one or two districts/neighborhoods not too far from our hotel. We will grab an early lunch & try to get our little bean to take a nap. Our little bean is barely over one-year old, & we haven’t yet fully tested her endurance for an entire day’s outing. Therefore, we limit our activities so we can minimize any chance for a fussy freak-out in a public place. On this trip, we decided not to let our relatives know we’d be in town & just keep to ourselves, the three of us. We had considered telling everyone, but since our vacation was planned very on-the-fly, we thought it’d be inconsiderate to call upon our very busy relatives at the last-minute. That helped in making our trip even more relaxing. We didn’t have to rush anywhere to meet people & such.

Overall, we had a truly relaxing vacation. We didn’t have to rush from place to place. We didn’t pack our days with too much driving, & you know how pain-in-the-arse it is to drive anywhere in Los Angeles. We really just took the time to enjoy being with each other & eating good food. Our little bean got to spend quality one-on-one time with her mama & papa. She also got to take a much needed break from her maternal grandmother, who was spoiling her too much to the point of enabling her new bratty behavior.

Since writing this post Jian has already settled in nicely at his new job, & we are already planning our next vacation to Los Angeles again in May. My nephew (a.k.a. my cousin’s son) is graduating high school & heading to military school on a scholarship, lots of May birthdays in our family, & my aunt will have fully recovered from having major surgery done. There’s just so much to celebrate! We haven’t quite worked out all the logistics yet, or whether or not we are actually going back to L.A, but we can definitely say that we are feeling that wanderlust bug again, but this time we are itching to travel out of the country. Maybe we’ll start small & travel outside of our state first, like, Jian wants to go back to New York where he grew up after immigrating to the States. Either way, you know I will write about it when the time comes. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I always promised myself that if I ever have a little bean I would not get overloaded with too much baby/kid stuff, like toys & playthings. It’s so easy to fall into that trap of wanting to get your little bean all the cute things you find. I truly envy those Europeans whose homes don’t look like children live there at all. Also those Euro-parents that can fit everything their baby needs into a super slim backpack. After taking my little bean on multiple trips, I tend to look at what other parents pack so I can take notes & pair down all of my essential items.

I’ve seen moms who bring out backpacks the size of suitcases, filled to the brim with everything (probably the kitchen sink too), & I have always made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be that mom with the ginormous diaper bag (or one that remotely looked like a traditional diaper bag). The bag I use to carry my little bean’s diapering tools is still quite large-&-in-charge, but I think I’ve been able to slim it down as much as possible. Here is my ultimate list of top 3 absolute must-have essential items that I keep in my diaper bag at all times.

01.

A spare change of clothes. I have a small Ziplock bag with a spare long-sleeve onesie, leggings & a pair of socks packed in my bag at all times. It is inevitable that any little bean will “spill their beans” (no pun intended) while out & about. A spare change of clothes is absolutely necessary to have on-hand. Even if you’re only at the grocery store or shopping mall, you don’t want to keep your kid in their poopy clothes until you get home. It’s better to swap out their clothes wherever you can (I’ve done it in the trunk of my car), & it minimizes the chance of a little bean public freak out because they’re stinky, sticky & wet. (I also pack a spare Ziplock bag to throw the dirty/wet clothes in.)


02.

A first aid kit. I keep a small pouch in my bag for first-aid items like: bandages, a Tide stain remover pen, a pair of folding scissors, & a mini pill case filled with emergency adult items (i.e. Tylenol, acid reducers, etc.). I also keep a small tube of gum soothing gel for my little bean since she is currently going through her difficult teething phase. And you know, for mom specifically, I keep a little stash of sanitary napkins for those special times-of-the-month, if you know what I mean. Having a first-aid kit in the bag is super useful & can be customized to suit any family’s needs. It has come in handy many times while we’ve been on the road with no convenience store or pharmacy nearby.


03.

A fidget toy. My little bean is kind of weird & likes to play with things she can easily chew on like: straws, plastic spoons, or coffee drink stoppers. Pretty much anything she can gnaw on is her new favorite “toy”du jour, & no, she’s not into traditional teething toys or those silicone rings you pop in the freezer. However, I have found those pop-it fidget toys made popular by the mini-millennials of TikTok are an easy & affordable toy you can throw into any bag/purse to entertain your little bean while on the go. These toys are great because not only are they fidgets, some of them are made of BPA-free silicones/plastics, which is safe for the little bean to chomp on. I got my little bean the flower press toy by mushie (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09Q55NT9Q/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1), & I’m so glad I thought of keeping it in her diaper bag. We’ve already used it at restaurants when she’s starting to get a little restless, & it’s kept her entertained for at least until we’re ready to pay our tab. I also love these toys because it’s inevitable for the little bean to drop everything on the floor after they get bored, & these toys are super easy to wipe down & throw back into your bag.


Those three items are the absolute top items I must bring with me at all times when I take my little bean out. Even if I don’t pack a traditional diaper bag when I take my bean on a little outing, I will definitely pack these three things in a mini bag. There are a couple of other optional things that I like to keep in my bag when we go out such as:

  • Anti-bacterial wipes: These are for wiping down all those fallen toys that my little bean will shove right back into her mouth to teeth on. Also, because of the you-know-what virus, it’s never a bad idea to have anti-bacterial wipes on hand to clean up sticky hands, or quickly wipe down anything the little bean might touch when you’re at a restaurant or public place. It’s also convenient for the parents to use as well.
  • One (or two) extra bibs in a Ziplock bag: My little bean is drooling a lot during her teething phase, so she often wears bibs to catch all the drool. An extra bib comes in handy when she soaks through the first one. Also, it’s a great barrier for those one-off, rare times the little bean might barf on the road, which my little bean did twice on our last road trip to Los Angeles two weeks ago.
  • An extra pacifier. Ok, so not all beans use pacifiers (& not all parents believe in those little suckers), but for those of us who do, it’s pretty handy to have an extra pacifier stowed away in the bag. I am a little more bougie & always keep at least two on hand. At home we have the mainstay pacifier that our little bean specifically uses for naps & bedtime (or when she gets ultra fussy). Then, on the road, the little bean has a travel pacifier that we don’t mind if it gets lost or dirtied.

Thank goodness my little bean is somewhat smoothly transitioning from the infant stage to toddlerhood. Then I can easily swap out items in her diaper bag that she no longer needs. It is also incredibly lucky for us that a few of our close friends just had little beans of their own. Then we are fortunate to pass down a lot of our bean’s gently loved items to her new friends. I almost can’t wait until my little bean outgrows her need for a diaper bag so I won’t have to lug around even more stuff when we go out together. I say almost ’cause I don’t want my little bean to grow up too fast. I still want to savor these precious younger times when she still has a need for diapers…& a need for me, her mama. Until the next diaper change, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

This year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution, & I am going to try extra hard to stick to it. I only have one thing on my resolution & that is to loosen up my grip & my tight control over the caregiving of my little bean. This mostly means that I must worry less about my external family members meddling offering help in my role as a parent (i.e. pushing unsolicited advice, comparisons to other babies within our family, or any minor criticism). Since having a baby, I have had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the matriarch of my family is trying to push me out of my little bean’s life & take over as the primary caregiver. I really, really, really need to stop hyper focusing on this matriarch & just be the best parent to the little bean as I can be, in my own way.

I am a controlling person in my personal life, but I am actively working on loosening the reins in my life. I put this quote as my smartphone background wallpaper that says, “Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.” I think about this quote often, & sometimes I will abide by this quote, but I have been known to slip up very often & revert back to my OCD behaviors of micromanaging everything, especially in my little bean’s life. I have taken small strides these past couple of months in small ways. I talk to myself, inside my head, but also sometimes under my breath in a mumbled voice. I send myself verbal reminders. Often times I have resorted to immediately turning around & walk out of the room so I as not give myself reason(s) to nit-pick on trivial things. Other times, I will try to just go with the flow & deal with the aftermath later. Or I will force myself to mentally brush off any immediate jerk reactions/feelings. Jian also often pulls me aside to remind me that I am reverting back to my old habits, help me calm my internal discomfort, & help get some logic back into my senses.


Last year (I can’t believe I can say that now), our little trio took a second road trip to Las Vegas again to visit my oldest brother & sister-in-law right after Christmas…like, immediately…on Boxing Day. Our annual family tradition, per my late father’s request, is that no matter what our family would be together at our home (which is still the childhood home where most of us were born & raised) for the Christmas holiday. It didn’t matter what it took, we must all be together, & that was something that my dad adamantly stood by.

This past year was the very first time my brother & his family couldn’t come back to home base, but we were able to turn our holiday event into two separate events, & that ended up being more meaningful to us. Spending exclusive time with my big brother & sister-in-law has always been fun & meaningful, & this past Christmas break was just so memorable. Unfortunately, my little bean wasn’t able to spend the holidays with both of her older cousins (my brother’s two daughters) due to scheduling conflicts, but she did get to spend time with one of her cousins & also her two favorite dogs.

Visiting my brother & his family at their new place in Las Vegas doesn’t really feel like we are “in Vegas”. Even though we can spot random gambling places all over town, we still feel very far removed from the glitzy, touristy Vegas Strip. It’s so much fun discovering new places to eat & explore whenever we head over to my brother’s new place. We can’t wait until the next chance to visit his family again.


Oh my God, I am extremely excited that 2 sets of my closest friends are expecting babies of their own. Well, by the time you are reading this post, one set of my friends have already delivered their baby & are safely nestled at home with their menagerie of furry pets. The other set of friends are still waiting on their labor & delivery due date, so the circle of our friends are all collectively cheering them on from the sidelines. I, myself, am the happiest of them all. Not only does my little bean get to have new friends to play & grow up with, but I won’t feel so isolated in my immediate friend group by being the only mother to a young child.

I do have other friends who are already parents of much older children than my own, but in terms of my immediate circle of friends, Jian & I have been the only parents so far with a child under toddler age. Now Jian’s best friend & his wife (both of whom are extremely close friends of ours) have just welcomed their own little bean, a girl in fact. We just video chatted with our friends last night, & so far they have perfectly settled right in to being new parents.

We both could not be more happy for all of our friends, both of whom supposedly have similar delivery due dates (& are both expecting girls). Our little tight-knit friend group is now expanding into the next generation. It will be so exciting to see how all of our children will grow up together & interact with each other. I am curious to see how my little bean will take the lead as the oldest child in her group. She is bossy, so showing the other kids how to do things will be her specialty.


Since we are on the topic of children, my little bean attended her very first official children’s birthday party two weekends ago. This marked the first actual time she’s been around a large group of children near her age. My little bean has spent time with her first cousins, but none of them are close enough in age that they can interact easily with each other.

One of my friends & his wife hosted a birthday party for their 2-year old daughter at a public park, & there sure were a lot of kids at the party. My little bean was incredibly nervous & shy in the beginning, but then again, so were the other kids. Most of the kids at the party were born during the full-blown pandemic lockdown days (as was my little bean), so this was the most public interaction any of the kids have gotten so far.

A lot of the other kids were happily running around & playing games, but my little bean just wanted to stay close to mama & papa. It was a fun & festive party & a great way for our little bean to experience an event with kids her own age. It also gave Jian & myself a taste of what lies in our foreseeable future… a lot of tired parents huddled around the adult drinks station, while all the kids run around in controlled chaos, hyped up from eating too many sugary snacks. That is one thing I am not looking forward to.


This coming weekend, Jian is taking me & the little bean on a little 2-day road trip to Monterey Bay. We are all really excited to have this little family getaway after my mom’s extravagant birthday week, this past week, where so many people came to visit & celebrate my mom’s 76th birthday. My mom’s sister came to visit for the week. My brother came up for a few days, sans his newly-introduced girlfriend. Then, my sister & her whole brood popped by for a quick weekend jetset, which was great for the rest of us because we can only take being around my sister & her new husband in small doses. My mom had the time of her life being surrounded by the people closest to her & celebrating with her.

This quick weekend road trip will be a great break away from the grand matriarch, & it will also be a good time to get some fresh air & spend some quality family time out of the house with our little bean. Plus, it’ll be a good break for Jian before he starts his new job working for a subsidiary company under the Amazon corporate umbrella. I have been looking forward to this mini vacation all week. Our packing is all done & we are ready to go! Until next time, cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

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