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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:

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been somewhat of a “hoarder”. Not quite the packed-from-floor-to-ceiling, almost-buried-alive kind of hoarder, but more like one of those sentimental fools who can’t bear to get rid of anything…a “clutter bug”. I’m always keeping little things here & there from my childhood, calling them “collections” & whatnot, but what those things really are, are sentimental mementos eventually collecting dust as junk. This new “collection” of mine is slowly building, but at least they serve a function. I can actually use them around the house. They are drink coasters. I’ve got a tiny collection going, & I’m kind of proud of them. They not only serve a purpose, but they also show the places I’ve been to & the things I’ve done. Let’s take a look.

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Brew Dog beer is one of my all-time favorite brands of beer (originating from Scotland). I was very surprised to find one of their taprooms during my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year. I had a great time eating Shepherd’s Pie & drinking pints of their Hardcore IPA. I “borrowed” these 2 coasters as a souvenir to mark my 1st experience at a real Brew Dog Brewery taproom.

coaster1

Belga is an incredibly delicious Belgian-ish style restaurant in San Francisco. Every time I’ve eaten there (which is three times), I’m always blown away by the interior decor. The first time I sat at the bar counter, I fell in love with this drink coaster. First of all, I’d like to note that I am a big fan of typography & graphic fonts. The text on this coaster is so cool & perfectly matches the decor & taste of the restaurant. Secondly, I love the background. It reminds me of antique tiles, yet it’s still able to look simple & clean.

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I can’t, for the life of me, remember where I picked up this drink coaster. It was probably from one of the many bars I’ve frequented in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m not too sure why I had chosen this drink coaster other than the fact that I’m an avid whisk(e)y/bourbon drinker & I like Tullamore Irish whiskey.

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Earlier this year, my family & I took a small weekend trip to San Diego. On our way home, Jian & I stopped by the Stone Brewing Co. taproom at the San Diego International Airport. Jian is a huuuge fan & avid drinker of craft beer, so he was over the moon when he saw that Stone Brewing Co. had their own bar at the airport. Since San Diego is California’s epicenter for amazing craft beers, I grabbed one of these drink coasters as a sunny souvenir.

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This is another one of those drink coasters where I have no clue where I got it from. Yet again, it must be from one of the countless bars Jian & I have visited in or around the San Francisco  Bay Area. This was one of the first drink coasters I’ve ever kept from a bar. Way back in the day, Jian used to like drinking Lagunitas Brewery IPA, so I saved this coaster for him. He doesn’t drink this beer anymore, but I still kept the drink coaster.

coaster5

Coedo Brewery is one of my favorite Japanese craft beer brands. While we were visiting Hong Kong, I happened to stumble upon the Coedo taproom while searching for restaurant listings on Yelp. (Yes, Yelp works just as well as Open Rice in Hong Kong.) After a long day of subway rides & walking in the hot humid weather, we enjoyed a few glasses of ice cold beer & Japanese izakaya snacks. I kept this drink coaster as another souvenir from my trip to Hong Kong. I love how the coaster says “Beer Beautiful”, & I love the font & simplicity of the design. That’s Japanese artistry for ya!

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Mortar & Pestle is one of the few cool, hip bars in my city. The mixologists who work there are always friendly & the cocktails are pretty tasty. I feel like I’m getting a slice of the San Francisco’s craft cocktail experience right in the downtown of my bland & quiet hometown. I saved this drink coaster because it had a recipe to one of the bar’s signature drinks on the back, & was hoping that Jian would be able to spin his mixology magic & recreate that drink.

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Last year, I attended the 150th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games in the Bay Area hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. It was an amazing & overwhelming Scottish (& partly Irish) cultural festival. I had so much fun sampling Minced Meat Pies & Scotch Eggs, & watching bagpipe teams perform. I also got to sample loads of scrumptious whiskies from all over Scotland. Two of my friends that went to the festival with me got to sample some Crabbie’s ginger beer, & they saved me this coaster. I don’t like ginger beer, but I saved this coaster anyway as a memento of the special Scottish & Highland festival.

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Gitane is a very special restaurant that will always hold a special place in the hearts of Jian & myself. This is the first restaurant in San Francisco that we frequented so often that we became “regulars”, & practically everyone knew us there. The Iberian food & the cocktails were so good at this restaurant, it kept us coming back for more. Not only that, but we built solid friendships with a lot of the mixologists & the general manager of the restaurant. Eventually, a lot of the staff that we became friends with moved on to other restaurants or open their own bars, & we followed them as friends & loyal customers. This drink coaster symbolizes our “golden time” spent at this restaurant, making lasting friendships.

One of mine & Jian’s favorite bars in the San Francisco Bay Area is ABV (aptly named after the phrase “Alcohol By Volume”). At one time, this bar had a city theme on their drink coasters. These 4 coasters were the only cities we were able to find &/or collect during the last time we visited the place. I was pretty excited about these coasters because all of the cities represented places I want to visit at least once in my life, & so far I’ve already been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, & New York City. I would seriously love to visit Ireland at least once & do a whiskey crawl. That would be epic. The best part about these drink coasters are the different ways to say “Thank You” in each region’s native language. Although, I don’t understand why they would use the Mandarin language for Hong Kong when their native language is Cantonese (& sometimes we get a little butt-sore over people mixing up our dialects). I find it utterly hilarious that NYC’s saying is “Fuck Off”.

Well, that’s pretty much it. This is the end of my blog post. I am seriously going to try & cut back on my collecting of random things next year. Really. I’m getting sick & tired of myself having to cram little knick knacks & tchotchkes into every drawer & buying more storage boxes. I want to simplify my belongings & really de-clutter my life, but until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

I see this popular trend on YouTube about ladies sharing the contents of their purses.  I even once made a video about that topic once upon a time; that was when I first tried my hand at YouTube a long time ago.  Now, I’ve decided to do another “What’s in my bag?” style post.  No matter how hard I try to keep things simple, I just can’t seem to shrink the size of my bag or minimize the contents within.  Let’s be Nosy Nancy’s and take a look-see, shall we?

DSC2593_Fotor1. Le Sportsac purse organizer, a “free” gift from a Japanese fashion magazine
2. iPad 2 & 3. Bose noise-cancelling headphones
4. Madewell slim glasses case & 5. Prada sunglasses
6. Rootote purse keychain & 7. Kate Spade “Eat Cake For Breakfast” tote purse
8. Porter Yoshida Classic raw denim pouch & 9. Small calendar planner/journal
10. Strawberry flavored mints, 11. Carmex chapstick & 12. Sample-sized lipgloss
13. Comme des Garçon medium leather wallet w/ NEIGHBORHOOD dice keychain
14. Tempo brand jasmine scented tissue pack

Want to see what’s inside that conspicuous denim pouch???

DSC2596_Fotor
1. Wet Ones hand-wipes & 2. Bandages
3. Muji folding brush & 4. Small bottle of Aesop hand lotion
5. Spare set of keys, 6. denim pouch & 7. Spare headphones
8. Emergency pill box (Translation: Very hot, please be careful.)
9. Pilot Frixon Ball Gel Ink Erasable 0.5mm Pens in black & blue
10. Muji scissors pen & 11. Tide stain-remover pen
12. Ladies’ feminine you-know-whats

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