You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘random’ tag.

From this past year until now, my little family & I have been traveling a lot. Whether it’s to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or anywhere else in between, we’ve surely racked up quite a few miles on the road. Jian & I aren’t quite ready to take our little bean on an airplane ride just yet. More than worrying how she’ll react being cooped up in a pressurized cabin with nowhere to run around, we’re still not completely confident regarding airline COVID safety practices. So, we’ve only opted to take our little bean on trips to places we can turn into a drivable trip. On top of all that, Jian & I are too stingy to pay the extra airline baggage fees in case we have to check-in our little bean’s stroller, car seat, &/or any other baby gear too large for the overhead bin.

Since we have been traveling a lot lately, I thought I’d share with you some of the essential items I always pack in my suitcase. There are a few items I absolutely cannot go without, either because of my persnickety-ness or because of my sensitive skin, but I just won’t travel without them. So they may only be essential items to me personally.


01. Like the compulsively organized person that I am, I am a firm believer in using packing cubes when I travel. Packing cubes (& compression bags) are some of the world’s greatest inventions. They keep your fresh clothes clean, your bags organized, & you won’t believe how much you can store in one of those lil’ suckers which means you can bring more junk with you when you travel to soothe your over analytical thoughts on what to pack. I don’t understand how people can just throw things in their bag & go. I don’t care if you know how to Marie Kondo origami-fold everything into your suitcase. Packing cubes make preparing for a trip so much more efficient & easy.

^ This is not the way to travel. ^

02. If I can’t find travel-sized versions of my at-home skincare products, then I will transfer small amounts of each into small reusable TSA-friendly containers. Luckily for me, I have developed a skincare routine that works perfectly for my dry skin, but also doesn’t require me to use more than 3 to 4 products. So it’s easy for me to travel with mini-sized versions of my daily skincare regimen. I don’t wear makeup, like ever, therefore my usual toiletry bag when I travel is about the size of a small men’s dopp bag.

* EXAMPLE *

03. Ever since I was a little child I’ve had severe allergies. I’m practically allergic to most shellfish & fruit known to mankind. Dogs & Cats used to be my arch nemesis (damn you, pet dander!). I mean, when I was in high school I got allergy tested by my family physician & found out I was allergic to over 100 different things (not all food related). I had to get two allergy shots weekly all throughout high school & take prescription allergy medicine. Nowadays, I only take over-the-counter allergy medication as needed, but I always carry a bottle of nasal spray with me whenever I travel. (My preferred brand is Flonase.) It’s a quick & easy way for me to immediately combat my allergies. Plus, Jian uses it now as well whenever he gets that tickle in his pickle…um, sinus…like after he’s walked through the perfume aisle at Sephora or passes by a Bath & Body Works/White Barn/Yankee Candle Co. candle store.

04. Until my little bean was diagnosed by a dermatologist as having keratosis pilaris, I never knew I had it too. I just lived with having those tiny little bumps on my skin my whole life. It never bothered me, never itched, or felt irritated. It just felt like having permanent goose bumps. I’ve used numerous types of lotions to keep my skin feeling less dry & patchy, but the bumps were always there, not noticeable unless you touched the skin. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties when I started using loofah sponges when I bathed. Once I switched from a loofah poof to the long wash cloth style, it was such a game changer. I was finally able to fully scrub & exfoliate my entire back (not just my body). That’s when my keratosis pilaris bumps started to go away. My skin feels immensely smoother in texture, & I can definitely see a difference in a more even skin tone. It has definitely improved the dryness & overall itchiness of my skin, which I’ve battled my entire life. I love using my loofah wash cloth so much that I have an extra one that I bring on all of my travels.

05. As I have said before, I am a compulsive persnickety person. Not really a ‘Type-A’ kind of person, but just very stuck in my habits & personal preferences. I like the way my at-home body wash smells & how it works well with my specific skin conditions. This also applies (no pun intended) to my body lotion. I have a proprietary mixture of various body lotions that I use at home that also works on my sensitive skin. So it’s obvious that I also bring travel-sized versions of these items with me on all of my travels. I have been known to use hotel-provided bath products when necessary, but my preference is to use my own body wash & lotion because it works best on my always dry & itchy skin. I know it is totally extra of me to practically bring my whole bathroom with me when I travel, but I at least try to keep everything to a TSA-approved travel size.

06. I remember the first time one of my former bosses explained to me how she kept a small pill case in her purse at all times. She was often getting migraines & stomach irritability, so she always kept a small packet of over-the-counter medicines in her purse. But of course, me in all of my compulsive glory, decided to upgrade that to a full on first-aid kit. It made sense back in those days when large tote bag purses were the trendy style & I used to use a messenger bag style purse. I put everything in that purse like a crazy bag lady…everything from nail clippers, to folding scissors, to cough drops. Even as I downgraded my purses over the years to be more compact & practical, I’ve always found a way to incorporate some sort of first-aid pouch. This pouch will include over-the-counter headache medicine, folding scissors, bandage plasters, & a few emergency feminine sanitary products. When I travel, especially overseas, I will include a few extra items like cold & anti-diarrhea medicines because who has time to Google Translate every single thing at a foreign pharmacy.


When I travel on long flights, mostly to overseas, the select items listed above are what I like to pack. These items are mostly to be used on the airplane, but they have definitely made those long flights more bearable. Slippers are great to keep your feet clean & reduces swelling. Neck pillows are so much more comfortable & more sanitary than using those thin cotton pads airlines pass off as “pillows”. Even before this pandemic happened, I’ve been an avid user of disposable face masks, especially on airplanes. The recycled, barely circulated cabin air really activates my allergies, so using a disposable face mask really helps to reduce my allergy symptoms. In recent years I’ve tried to not bring my personal tablet with me when I travel. I end up not using it that much when I’m on a trip, & I am more paranoid now than ever regarding property theft targeted at obvious tourists. However, on long flights I will bring my tablet, lest I go crazy over sheer boredom & lack of good in-flight entertainment options.


Now that I’ve got a kid to travel with, she also comes with a lot of her own baggage (yes, pun intended). I try to keep my little bean’s travel gear to a minimum. I don’t want to be one of those people who loads up the hotel luggage cart on a mere 3-night stay.

* EXAMPLE *

Here I’ve compiled a short list of the must-have items in her little kid’s packing list.

01. I will start off by talking about my little bean’s keratosis pilaris skin condition. Though it’s not curable, it is treatable, which means if you have it you just have to work at it most of your life to suppress the symptoms. We as parents treat our little bean’s keratosis pretty much the same way as I treat my symptoms. We have a soft silicone exfoliating brush that we use along with a gentle baby bath wash & delicate skin baby body lotion. This combination of silicone brush, bath wash & baby lotion has improved my little bean’s skin & reduced the keratosis breakouts on her skin. We still have a long, long way to go in fighting this skin condition, but these are our go-to products that we can’t go without during every bath time at home or away.

02. Almost every child has a favorite snuggle toy for naps & bedtime. Our little bean is no exception. She has a butterfly lovey security blanket that is her absolute favorite to sleep & play with. We have to be extremely careful with this item because it has since been discontinued by the brand, & the only place to get a replacement is eBay, apparently. It’s because of this that we never bring this with us when we travel, for fear of losing it. Our little bean has already lost one of her other favorite stuffed toys during one of our hotel stays in Los Angeles, & we were lucky enough to be able to get her a replacement without her knowing the difference, but we are not planning on doing that every time she loses one of her “special friends”. (P.S. We call all of her stuffed toys her ‘friends’.) Fortunately for us, this butterfly security blanket is not the only thing she is able snuggle with when she sleeps. When we travel, we will bring one of her other replaceable stuffed toys for her to use during nap time & bedtime.

03. I have a travel set of kid’s cutlery & snack boxes that I like to use whenever we take our little bean out to eat, at a restaurant or at someone’s house. She has a growing collection of kid’s utensils that she uses at home, like plastic bowls, spoons & forks, but I have a specific set of utensils that she only uses when we go out. Our little bean also has her own insulated lunch bag to carry everything in. That way we don’t have to bring her at-home stuff out with us & replace them every time she loses something. We take her mealtime eating kit with us whenever we know we’ll have to feed her outside of the house. It’s very convenient & easy to clean. Plus, we feel like we are inconveniencing the restaurant if we ask them for kid’s stuff, even if they have it. For me, I like to bring our own kid’s cutlery when we go out because it just calms the germaphobe in me.

04. This goes with the previous item, the sippy cup. Our little bean also has an ever-growing collection of these at home as well. She has one for all of the stages, from baby bottle style all the way up to full on toddler trainer cups. We have a tall sippy cup that we specifically use whenever we go out with our little bean. It can hold a larger volume of water which is good when we’re going on road trips & don’t have opportunities to make sudden pit stops. Right now the sippy cup we are using has a hard silicone tip, but we are very slowly trying to teach our little bean how to slurp from an actual straw. She knows how to sip/gulp from an open cup, but you know me, & you know I don’t like myself or my kid getting messy, especially when we’re away from home (& a fresh change of clothes).

05. When we go on family trips, I like to pack a few simple toys for our little bean to play with when we are in the hotel room, or staying at a relative’s house. I don’t pack an entire toy chest worth of toys, but I will select at most 2 or 3 toys to entertain my little bean, especially when we the parents are trying to get ready in the morning & need to distract her for several minutes. Some toys I will consider bringing are a sandwich-sized Ziplock storage bag of plastic animals, or one of her interactive toys like her toy cell phone. I try to not bring toys that are difficult or expensive to replace, & I like to bring toys that are compact & easily packable into her small duffle bag.

06. My little bean loves to read books. We can read at least 5 or 6 children’s board books in the morning before we get out of bed. So, I like to bring a mini selection books for my little bean & I to read together. My little bean also has a bedtime book that we read together almost every night before she goes to sleep, & I like to bring that book as well. When packing for my little bean I won’t pack more than 3 or 4 books, including her bedtime storybook. I try not to bring too many books in case we happen to buy more books when we travel, which is often.

07. This last one is optional. I read in some other mommy blog that it’s best to try to recreate the child’s sleeping environment as best as possible when traveling, so the baby won’t have a hard time going to sleep, but sometimes that’s just not feasible, or practical for that matter. I used to bring my little bean’s crib blanket when we traveled, so she’d have some comfort reminder of her room back at home, but lately I’ve been going through a ‘less is more’ phase, & I’m trying to scale back a lot of the junk we bring with us on vacation. I don’t bring her crib blanket on our travels anymore, but if we were perhaps to go on a longer vacation or go somewhere overseas, I might be more inclined to pack it along.


This is the end of my list. I must confess that we are taking another trip to Los Angeles, & leaving this coming Sunday. We didn’t go on that last Los Angeles trip I talked about in my previous blog post, the one where my nephew celebrated his high school graduation & birthday. Jian asked me repeatedly, yet casually, if we should go but we ended up saying no. Honestly, we really needed a break from living with my mom, & my little bean needed that time away from smothering grandma as well to develop & mature.

This time we are going to L.A to celebrate our new niece turning one year old, & celebrate another nephew turning four. We thought it would be more meaningful to have our little bean interact with more kids close to her age. Also, Jian wants to snoop around the L.A office of his company’s department. I guess I should mention that this isn’t exactly a “vacation”. Jian still has to work everyday (except on Monday’s Memorial Day observance), but I get to spend quality time exploring the city & the area around our hotel with my little bean. My mom won’t be traveling with us, as she just recently returned from L.A herself, so this will give us even more badly needed time away from my mom, a.k.a. grandma -slash- super crutch for my little one to revert back to acting like a baby & not want to learn how to walk at all. It will be interesting to see how things go. Maybe I’ll write another hotel review post since we are staying at a brand new hotel we’ve never even heard of before. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I have been a sticker collecting hobbyist ever since I was in primary school, around kindergarten age. My best friend at the time had just moved to California from Japan & brought a whole crap ton of super cute Sanrio branded goodies to share with me. Not only that, but I got a couple of unique hand-me-down Sanrio items from my sister who got them for free when her father used to have a toy manufacturing contract in the 70s with Sanrio. I fell in love with stationery goods & stickers at a pretty young age, & have been collecting them ever since.

Stickers have been my particular vice out of the entire stationery category. I don’t think I really need to explain why I love stickers so much. They’re cute, & that’s all I will say about that. I have brushed it off in the past, my sticker hoarding obsession, saying that I don’t have a problem with hoarding stickers. However, I think I have to come to terms now with the fact that I actually do have a problem.

I finally gave in & admitted I have a sticker hoarding problem, when I started looking for places to tuck away my piles of sticker sheets. I have a dedicated arts & crafts caboodle-style box for my main collection of stickers, & it’s pretty substantial in size. I mean, it takes up one entire shelf in my closet all by itself. I also have little stashes here & there all around Jian’s home office. I could get a larger storage bins for all of my stickers, but that would just give me an easy excuse to fill it up even more. Most of my sticker hoarding problem stems from my deep rooted sentimentality. I very easily become sentimental & use that, or running out, as excuses to not use certain stickers which end up being more of my collection problem.

Even though I just admitted that I am having a problem with my ever-growing uncontrollable sticker collection, I still made a sticker haul from my last visit to Los Angeles. I somehow had convinced Jian to let me pop in to one of the many Daiso stores around town, thinking to myself, “I am only going to see if there’s anything I could get for my little bean, like a toy or plastic kids’ utensils.” However, I only ended up getting things for myself, & those things were stickers. Let’s explore.

I saw the sticker shelf at Daiso, & I kind of went nuts. Usually, when buying stickers, I am a bit more picky in my selections. Sticker sheets from Japan these days are getting more expensive than ever, but at Daiso where most items are under $10 bucks, I was able to splurge a little more. I was super excited when I saw these styles from San-X. They are a total throwback to my post-high school, early college days when San-X was still an up-&-coming rival brand to the already established Sanrio. Back then, I was working at the Sanrio Surprises store at my local shopping mall, & I was an absolute ‘weeb‘.

Nowadays everybody knows about Rilakkuma (the brown relax bear). From the popular Netflix show & the massive amounts of products (including bootleg), Rilakkuma is probably the most recognizable character. However, the characters I’d been drawn to the most were AfroKen (the Afro-haired shapeshifting dog) & Nyan Nyan Nyanko (the cats who like to disguise themselves as food). Those were the characters I grew up loving & hadn’t seen in many years. Sumikkogurashi & Corocoro Coronya are both relatively new sets of characters, but they are still cute nonetheless. Those were the sticker sheets I chose along with a few miscellany that I often use to punch up the notes I hand write on my wall calendar.

In the last year, I have really conditioned myself to think less about sentimentality when it comes to my arts & crafts supplies. If I run out of a particular style of sticker, then I will just have to accept it. With more reasons this year to use up my crafting supplies, I have actively been trying to use the things I have before I buy more. If I really want to declutter my life & my home, I can’t keep stashing & storing arts & crafts supplies with the intention of using it sometime in the whatever future. I have to use these items & not let them go to waste. So off I go, to make another celebration card, & until the next time…cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I went on a quick road trip to Monterey Bay this past weekend with Jian & our little bean. We had a really fun time taking a scenic drive & enjoying the good weather. Our main purpose on this trip was to not only introduce our little bean to a new place, but to take her to a proper aquarium (the Shark Reef attraction at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas does not count). All in all, we had a great time eating lots of seafood, hanging out at the Cannery row & the wharf areas, as well as exploring spots that were new to us, like the Lighthouse district & the hipster spots in the downtown area.

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

One thing I reluctantly decided to do while we were in Monterey was to book a spa massage at our hotel. Jian always encourages me to take advantage of the extra amenities (anything other than ordering room service) at the hotels we stay at on our vacations, but I am always stopping myself & making excuses not to do anything extra. I find it to be too extravagant & expensive. Doing things like getting a spa massage makes me feel selfish (in a non self-care kind of way), & I’d rather spend the money on my little bean instead.

This time Jian convinced me to book a spa appointment & treat myself to a massage. I guess he was feeling extra generous that weekend, specially since he got a new job working at a mega brand name tech company. He said he could handle our little bean by himself for an hour or two, having some quality father-daughter time. So, I bit the bullet, pushed aside all of my inner overreactions & excuses & booked an appointment. Well, I’ll just say it outright. I was simultaneously looking forward to getting a tension-relieving massage & looking forward to getting it over with.

I have had a couple of spa massages in my life. This wasn’t my first experience. Most of those past experiences were a waste of time & money, & a few of them stood out as being exceptionally memorable. Well, only one massage experience stands out in my memory as being the best massage I ever had & it was at a family-style ranch resort. My sister had plans for her kids to go swimming in the pool, learn how to feed chickens & ride horses all while my mom & I made plans to get shiatsu massages. That masseuse worked out every kink & knot in my body to the point of hurts-so-good pain. I nearly cried “ouch” out loud. I could feel every single nerve ending & muscle in my body being electrified in the best way imaginable. I was basically having a massage-gasm. It was incredible.

On this trip, however, I did not have the same experience, not even close. Don’t get me wrong. The masseuse I had in this experience was an absolutely delightful woman. She could not have made me feel more comfortable & relaxed. It was through my own stupidity, though, that I did not properly communicate or express my preferences.

Throughout most of the massage, I was feeling so ticklish all over my body. The masseuse noticed me wincing once in reaction to being tickled, & had asked me to tell her if I was feeling ticklish, but I was feeling too embarrassed to say anything after that. The appointment went very well. We had a fun time talking to each other & telling stories about our families. The massage itself was satisfying. It wasn’t a rock-my-world experience like the one I had before, but it was still adequate. I didn’t exactly feel like all my knots & kinks were relieved, but I did feel more relaxed & calm. Over all, it was a soothing massage.

Most often, almost always, when I think about getting a professional massage I stop myself with my own self-insecurities & weird quirks. First off, I’m very insecure about my own body image & shy away from professional massage therapists from seeing my exposed body rolls. Oh, & never mind my apprehension in changing my clothes in the shared dressing room. Next, I am not sure if I am supposed to keep making polite small talk, or if it’s ok to be quiet, like, am I being rude if I don’t engage in a friendly conversation? Also, I am never sure how much I am supposed to give in gratuity, & who am I supposed to give it to (i.e. charge the gratuity to my bill, or directly tip the professional in person?). Then, there are more news stories popping up about spas being fined for having pervy, handsy employees. Lastly, it’s the massage oils that deters me from getting massages; well, it’s more like the smells of massage oils that deter me. I just can’t stand the smell of any massage oil/lotion/product.

This is a big issue for me. Never mind the fact that I feel like an absolute grease ball afterwards, but I just can’t get rid of that unpleasant plastic-y coconut-y smell. I understand that not all massage oils smell bad, but the ones that I have encountered have all evoked an unpleasant feeling for me personally. Immediately after the massage, before I put my clothes back on, I vigorously wiped myself down with a towel. It was useless. In my mind, I still felt greasy & sticky afterwards. The smell, oh the smell!

The massage oil smelled like a cross between plastic & old cooking oil from a sketchy Chinese restaurant. I could not wait to get back to my hotel room for a thorough scrub down in the shower. I even made sure to scrub myself twice with extra body wash & my loofa towel, but the scent still lingered everywhere. Not even dousing myself in cologne could mask the odor smell of the massage oil. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but feel paranoid that all I could smell was the scent of the massage oil all over me. Maybe it was some sort of psychological reaction I was having, & I was so fixated on the smell that I was imagining that I could smell it everywhere. That was the perfect time for my quirky OCD behavior to pop up & drive me crazy.

Just the aroma of any massage oil is enough to turn me away from getting massages in the future, but I believe that with more careful planning, & communication on my part, I would probably get more massages in the future. Oh man, I wish I could go back to that ranch resort again just to book another epic shiatsu massage. Hopefully that resort has survived through the pandemic. Right now though, I don’t think I will be interested in going to a spa for quite a long while. Until the next time, I gotta work on being less ticklish. Cheers, all!

Today’s song of the day:

Calendar

June 2022
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Enter your email address to follow this blog & receive notifications.

Join 224 other followers

Member of The Internet Defense League

%d bloggers like this: