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I’m so excited to learn that Japan has opened up its borders & eased its COVID-19 guidelines (for those who have been completely vaccinated AND boosted). I haven’t properly been back to Japan in over 6 years, & even during my last trip, I didn’t get a chance to spend time with my relatives. A lot has changed since the last time we all got together, especially since a lot of our next generation have gotten married & are having children (myself included). I would love for my cousins (& all) to meet my little bean & get to know her.

One of my biggest fears is that the connection/communication between my immediate family & my extended family based in Japan will end after my generation. My mother has made it crystal clear that she has absolutely no desire whatsoever to stay connected to her in-laws after my father’s passing. It’s been something she has been asserting even before my father had passed, that she has no interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with that side of the family. It’s so sad because everybody on that side of the family genuinely loves my mom, but she claims the language barrier is something she cannot get past. So, it’s now up to my eldest brother & me to keep the family together, language barrier be damned.

Of course the pandemic has given me severe cabin fever, & seeing the accounts I follow on social media freely traveling with their little ones in tow has given me a major case of FOMO. I have also been thinking long & hard about traveling ever since I got pregnant. I have been dreaming about jet setting (economy class, of course) with Jian & our little bean, & showing her the world…or at least what’s outside of our hometown bubble. Also having traveled multiple times already with my little bean on road trips has shown me that it is possible to go on more elaborate vacations with her. I know she would absolutely enjoy traveling with her parents. I mean, she already loves staying in hotels.

Speaking of hotels, we are leaving tomorrow & heading on another road trip to Los Angeles (*YAWN*). We will be staying at the same Culver City hotel that we previously booked on our last trip down south, The Shay. Oh man, considering we are collectively going through major economic downturns & a recession, the inflation spike has really punched hotel prices smack dab in the gut. Even with our super special friends-&-family-of-employees discounted rate, staying at our favorite hotel chain this time around won’t provide any cost-saving benefits for us, so we’re opting to stay at the hotel close to Jian’s office to use his corporate discount. We are trying to save money wherever we can, so we can save up for our big trip to Japan next year (& possibly splurge a little more while we’re there).

As you can probably tell, the three of us are going to Los Angeles to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family who all live down south. Every year we do the same thing, go to the same relative’s house, cook/eat the same food; the older generation play mahjong until all hours of the night, the younger generation get together to play trivia games & get shit-faced drunk.You know, I’m tired of doing the same shite every Thanksgiving holiday. My little 3-person tribe pack up & make the tedious trek down to Los Angeles to spend a few short, whirlwind days eating & watching TV. For my over 75-year old mother, as tiring as it is for her to travel to & from Los Angeles, she actually enjoys it. She loves spending quality time with her younger siblings & being spoiled by them.

If we’re being completely honest, I would rather be spending my Thanksgiving holiday somewhere else; it’s not just me, but Jian feels the same way as well. We really want to do some serious traveling, but Jian hasn’t accumulated much vacation days at the moment, so it’s not really feasible for us to go anywhere more than just a weekend jaunt somewhere close by. We are already feeling the burnout of traveling to & from Los Angeles, & we haven’t even left our house yet. It would be great if we had others driving up to see us every once in a while, but that’s a whole other subject that I will not get into.

Suffice it to say, the three of us (Jian & myself especially) are extremely ready to go on a proper vacation, perhaps somewhere overseas like Japan. We are also aiming to travel to New York City sometime in the near future, but for now, we are projecting our first big travel plans will be to Japan. We are already planning & mapping out all of the details with our best friends (who have an infant baby of their own), with spreadsheets, group chats, & all. I am more excited than you could ever know to be planning such a big trip. I was sort of hoping that Jian & I could take our little bean to London, but logistically, it would be more advantageous if we took our bean to Japan first…you know, because of family & all that jazz. Either way, I am beyond grateful & thankful to be able to travel at all, especially during these harsh economic times. I will forever be grateful for all of the privileges & blessings in my life, no matter what. No matter what or how I feel about Los Angeles & spending yet another Thanksgiving holiday there…

I. AM. THANKFUL.

So on that note, I am going back to ticking off the last little details on my To-Do list, finishing up the last bits of suitcase packing, & making sure all the windows, doors & gates are properly closed & locked. Jian is calling me to dinner for the 10th time, & I’m ready to go to bed. Until the next one, cheers & HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate.

Today’s song of the day:

Ice cream is one of my all-time favorite sweet treats. I absolutely love ice cream, not all ice cream, but yes, ice cream. Ice cream to me is not the same as gelato, sherbe(r)t, or frozen yogurt (ugh, yuck). It’s just a delicious sweet treat that can be eaten at any time of the year, even in the wintertime. Yes, technically gelato is the same as ice cream, just more dense in flavor & texture (with less eggs & cream), but I much prefer ice cream itself over its Italian controparte. If you check my Instagram page, you’ll find numerous photo posts regarding my delicious passion for devouring ice cream.

Ice cream is such a delectable treat. It’s so easy to consume. That’s one of the main reasons why I love it so much. You can pretty much eat it however you want whenever you want. I often tell my friends that eating ice cream can somewhat save the planet, or at least reduce everyone’s carbon footprint. How, you ask? Well, think about it this way. The next time you go to an ice cream parlor, or stand, or shop, whichever…ask for a cone (waffle, sugar, plain, etc.) instead of a cup or bowl.

The cone itself acts as a conveniently portable & most importantly EDIBLE vessel, & voilà! No extra trash, except maybe a napkin or two, but no cup, spoon, or bowl in any form (paper, styrofoam, plastic). Your cone is the container for your ice cream, & once you’ve consumed it all, there’s nothing left to throw in the trash bin. Also, as a bonus, it’s much easier to walk around with an ice cream cone in one hand than having to spoon feed yourself with both hands while on the move.

There’s just something so delectable about ice cream. I just can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s so rich, creamy, flavorful, comforting to one’s soul. I could eat ice cream any time, any where. You could send me to the Arctic Circle, & I’d still enjoy my ice cream. I know most moms would tell you not to consume cold foods &/or beverages when you are sick or have a cold, but I’ve gladly enjoyed a scoop or two of ice cream while nursing a very bad cold. Now, I’m not saying ice cream is my favorite dessert or sweet treat (that’s a whole other topic by itself), but I very much enjoy the delights of ice cream.

Now that I’ve gotten that little rant out of the way, let me get to the topic at hand (no pun intended). No, I am not going to talk about which brand or flavor is best. I don’t want to get into any arguments with anyone over those subjective topics. However, since I am documenting pretty much every little detail about my life on this blog, I might as well tell you which is my favorite. It’s the coffee flavor from the Häagen Dazs brand. Yes, that is my all-time, ride-or-die favorite ice cream.

There are other craft brands & flavors that I also love dearly, but no other brand or flavor has ever ensnared my heart the way this one has. I want to say that this flavor brings back memories of my childhood, but my childhood favorite was the plain chocolate flavor from either Baskin Robins, Double Rainbow, or Dreyer’s. Yeah, I had very bland taste as a child. Luckily I’ve nearly grown out of that phase after way more than 30+ years, which is a good thing because I’ve discovered a few craft ice cream shops in my state that scoop some of my other favorite flavors.

Lately, I’ve taken to eating ice cream almost every single night after dinner. No, I am not serving myself full scoops of ice cream. That would completely devastate my never-bounced-back-after-baby-was-born waistline. I only allow myself no more than 4 or 5 spoonfuls; mostly because I want to make that pint in my freezer last longer, but also because I want to savor the ice cream. It is a special treat after all, & I don’t want to just scarf it down without any care.

Those few precious minutes after dinner, after all the leftovers have been put away & all the dishes have been washed, & I’ve got some peace & quiet alone in the kitchen, is one of my life’s many small enjoyments. I guess you could say that it’s one form of self-care, but I just call it a delightful indulgence. I’ll take my wins wherever I can get them, no matter how small.

Since we’re on the topic of ice cream, shall we also talk about other desserts featuring ice cream? Yes, I do like to eat an ice cream bar every now and again, but it’s not always my go-to choice in terms of ice cream filled treats. Sometimes I will crave an ice cream sandwich, more so the traditional rectangular shaped ice cream sandwiched between two thin-ish layers of chocolate cake-like cookies, rather than ice cream mushed betwixt two actual cookies (i.e. chocolate chip cookies). However, my most favorite of all-time ice cream treats besides a regular ol’ scoop of ice cream on a cone is the Häagen Dazs Crispy Sandwich, which apparently you can only get in Asia.

This crispy sandwich blows all other ice cream sandwiches out of the water…or should I say, freezer. From the beautiful crispy, flaky, buttery wafer cookie all the way to the ice cream itself, my mouth is utterly salivating just thinking about it. It’s a perfect bite of thin, airy, flaky cookie with just the right amount of cold ice cream. The flavors of the ice cream in this crispy sandwich are also such a heavenly delight. I’ve only ever been able to find these treats in Asia, like when I’ve gone back to China, Taiwan, & Japan. My dream is that one day these perfect crispy ice cream sandwiches will be available worldwide. For everyone to experience this delicious dessert would be amazing, but especially if this were available in the U.S, that would be a miracle. One can dream though, right?

Well, anyway, this is the end of my post. I am a little sad that I’ve run out of my favorite ice cream at home. I know I could just pop off to my nearby grocery store & get more, but I don’t want to always have it available in my freezer. That would be too great of a temptation. I would much prefer to occasionally treat myself to my favorite ice cream in order to preserve its specialness, like I am treating myself to an extra special gift. Plus, if I had my favorite ice cream all the time, my waistline would be especially angry with me. Until the next scoop, cheers all!

Today’s song of the day:

I have a love-hate relationship with bubble baths, with taking baths in general. Yes, I love to take long, hot baths; watching an entire movie while sous vide-ing myself in the murky bathwater. However, every time I draw a bath, I feel a sense of guilt for using so much precious water, especially since I live in a state that year-after-year continues to exacerbate our already extreme water shortage. That’s one of the reasons why I stopped taking baths…to conserve water, but also because once I became pregnant, my fertility doctor advised me not to soak in the bath tub as it could potentially cause issues during my pregnancy.

Nowadays, I no longer take baths not only to conserve water, but to also conserve time. I used to love taking long leisurely soaking baths, but now I don’t have the time (or the energy) to take baths. I have also lost any motivation for my once favorite self-care pastime. On top of all that, do you really think my ‘nearly a toddler’ child would even let me have five minutes to myself, let alone take a private bath? The only time I’d ever get any alone time to take a bath would be in the dead of night while everyone else in the house is sleeping, but by then, I’m also passed out asleep myself.

Okay, so I did mention bubble baths at the very start of this post. I have always envied people who were able to take bubble baths. I cannot bear to take them myself, but to those who do, I applaud you & moderately envy you. Bubble baths are good, in theory, but I myself cannot find any reason to partake & indulge in them whatsoever. It’s just not for me & I’ll explain why.

First of all, I can never seem to get it right. I follow the instructions on the bottle exactly how it says. However, I always end up with a lackluster smattering of flat bubbles floating aimlessly around my tub. I would pour nearly the entire bottle of bubble solution into the bath, & the bubbles just fizzle & foam away.

As the photo above accurately depicts my poor attempts to create a bubbly bath; this is the end result every time I try to make up a bubble bath. I follow the instructions on the bottle down to the last letter, but it never quite comes out right. Sure, I get a big mound of bubbles at the start, right as the drawing of the bath begins, but towards the finish of drawing said bath…the bubbles flatten, & all I get is a murky frothy tub of water that smells mildly soapy.

Why can’t I get thick foamy bubbles like this? What am I doing wrong? Am I destined to live out my bathing career with unfulfilled dreams of thick foamy whipped bubbles? Probably, but it’s not a big deal.

For a long time I have had this romanticized fantastical image in my head that bubble baths were sexy, or more importantly, for sexy times. I’ve built up this idea in my mind that I’d draw a hot bath filled with the most foamy frothy bubbles. Then I’d dim the lights (I have dimmable lights in my bathroom), adjust my iPad just so, & put on one of my favorite movies with my favorite steamy scenes in it. Well, then you know what happens next, right? Yep, I wake from my rosy-colored stupor only to find myself sitting in a tepid bath with filmy flat suds floating all around me, the movie only halfway through it’s main plot. My sexy bath time fantasy will never be fulfilled.

Here comes my compulsive anxiety, rearing its ugly head yet again. While I do think bubble baths are fun, if you’re anyone under the age of 10, or a magical wizard able to get the bubbles to stay afloat, I also think that bubble baths are just a whole mess of trouble…& just a plain old mess by itself. I have tried many different brands of bubble bath solution, & they always end up leaving a ring of film around my bath tub basin at the end of my bathing session. Also, the bath tub feels simultaneously sticky & slippery if you can believe it.

On top of all that, I myself, feel like my skin has a layer of film from the bubble solution. So I end up having to rinse myself off with a simple shower afterwards, which I feel is totally redundant. I mean wasn’t the whole point of the bubble bath being to bathe myself & then luxuriate in a basin full of thick rich bubbles? No! I’m all sticky & filmy from the bubble solution, & then having to think about rinsing my bath tub basin afterward… Ugh! Why am I putting more stress on myself? I thought bubble baths were supposed to be relaxing, but just thinking about cleaning up afterwards tires me out, & discourages me from wanting to take these types of baths. I’ll just stick to my regular hot baths & be happy with that.

Well, Halloween is almost upon us. I would love for my little bean to dress up in a costume, preferably a cute, non-baby-ish looking one, but I know my little bean & she will hate anything I put her in. She hates wearing hats, or headbands, or anything covering her head &/or face (i.e. sunglasses, masks). I will have to get creative & choose something relatively simple. I know Jia would much rather prefer that I not spend any money at all, but I feel like now would be a good stage in our little bean’s childhood to start making these special memories. She’s already starting to remember things & making lasting memories. This Halloween season would be a good start to having her dress up in costumes. For now, I’m going to continue prepping the final details to my little bean’s 2nd birthday party. Cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

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