Ya-Lei is a full-time working mom of three who stresses that work/life balance should more appropriately be referred to as work/life BLEND.  She just returned from a family trip on the “Polar Express” in Williams, Arizona, an experience she highly recommends!

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan.  My family and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 2 years old.  We lived in the San Gabriel Valley, where I went to Temple City High School.  My husband Andy and I lived in Pasadena/San Marino for 8 years before moving to Newport Beach.  All three of our children were born at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.

How long have you lived in Newport Beach? How many kids and their ages?

My husband Andy was born and raised in Newport Beach, but we have been here as a family for 5 years.  We love Eastbluff.  Lincoln and Preston are 7, and Emerson is 5.

Favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?

We just returned from a trip to Williams, Arizona to experience the true “Polar Express.”  It was definitely a family bucket list thing to do.  The children LOVED it.  I highly recommend to all, especially while the children still believe in Santa Claus.  We wore matching pajamas, enjoyed the dancing chefs on board, drank hot chocolate, ate cookies, listened to the story, and traveled to the “North Pole” and picked up Santa!  He then came on board, spoke to each and every child, and gave everyone a bell.  It was truly a magical experience for the whole family!  (See Photo)

Locally, we love the Christmas Boat Parade.

What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date?

Our favorite restaurants as a family are El Ranchito (the kids love participating in their coloring contest), Ruby’s (they love building the paper cars and drinking milkshakes), TK Burger for something more casual, and The Spaghetti Bender (best Italian food around)!

What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?

I’m not going to lie, I don’t cook.  I work full-time with out of town travel.  I used to try to do it all.  But, in my old age 🙂 , I have decided that it’s okay that I will never be a great cook.  However, I do make a mean reservation!  

What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes?  Furniture?

I mostly shop online for the children:  Gap, Old Navy, Carter’s, Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Crazy 8 and Nordstrom Rack.  Andy likes to take them to the local surf shops like Jack’s.

For furniture, online shopping there as well.  Joss & Main and One King’s Lane are among my favorites.  

What are your favorite events in Newport Beach?

We mainly participate in events related to the children’s school, or within our Eastbluff Community.

What has been the most difficult age with your children to date?

Every phase with the children has had challenges.  We went from 0 to 2, which was a challenge just on its own.  Then, Emerson came along so we had 3 kids under 2, all in diapers, which was another challenge!  I would say that we are finally beyond the physical exhaustion part of parenting, at least for now.  We have really been enjoying this phase, as they are 5 and 7.  Family vacations are finally enjoyable!  YIPPEE!!

Name a hobby.

I participate in an Investment Club with my sorority sisters.  There are four of us total.  We meet monthly and discuss our stocks, what we will buy and sell and why.  Each of us focuses on particular market sectors based on our expertise, so since I work for a pharmaceutical company, I am our Healthcare lead.  It is an excuse for us to get together and meet monthly, but we are actually having a ton of fun with it and doing quite well too!

What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?

My best piece of Mom advice is to prioritize what’s most important to you.  As women, we are constantly trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that we must know it all, do it all, and at the same time, enjoy it all.  I think it’s okay to take time alone to relax and rejuvenate.  I think it’s okay if you can’t cook or bake.  I think it’s okay to be at 50/50 with your partner taking care of and parenting the children.  I think it’s okay to live guilt free.  

What do you most value in your friends?

Sincerity, kindness, honesty, thoughtfulness, shared history and experiences.

How do you balance a career & motherhood?

Work/Life BLEND is definitely the new Work/Life Balance.  There is no such thing as balance.  One always tips more than the other, and which one that is changes based on the needs and the priorities at that time.  

Well said Ya-Lei!  Thank you!

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