🍂 Sweater Weather on the First Day of Winter ❄️

Happy Winter Solstice! ❄️

Although today is the official “First Day of Winter,” the sweater weather down here in Texas sure doesn’t feel like it! 🍂

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Actually, it feels like Autumn just started a few weeks ago, and for the upcoming holiday weekend, weather’s going to be in the mid-70s. So much for a white Christmas, right? ⛄ I’m not even a fan of the cold, but I do wish it’d be colder than “sweater weather” on Christmas Eve.

On the bright side, I’m surprised the leaves down South had even changed color! 🍁 Living up north during my college years has made me somewhat disdain autumn in Texas. Ever since, I’d think: fall in Texas can’t even compare to the autumn beauty up North, but this year is the first time in many that I stayed in Texas for the change of weather, and I guess I’d completely forgotten that leaves down here actually do change color, too. Of course, the foliage here is nowhere as impressive as a northern autumn, but it’s still very nice.

🍁 Jumping for joy because Fall is finally here!… in December. 🍂 Good job, Texas. 😹 #BetterLateThanNever

Point is, I might as well take this autumn weather in December as a way to enjoy the outdoors, and this comfy-n-chic outfit is perfect for an autumn stroll! It features a chunky knit gray sweater, the comfiest black leggings, and cushioned slip-on walking shoes. Last but not last, I top this outfit off with a vibrant (and also comfortable) silk scarf for extra warmth and a pop of color that makes this outfit instantly chic.

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Speaking of this scarf, it’s my favorite! I adore the pattern, the bright orange color, and how it can easily transform a “blah” outfit to an exciting one that looks even a bit expensive. It is definitely one of my wardrobe staples, and every time I wear it, I get asked by friends and strangers where I bought it. Well, where I bought the scarf is a simply story: in Shanghai, China, but the story on how I bought the scarf is an interesting one.

I was with some high school friends, and we all somehow found one another in Shanghai of all places, and we were shopping at one of those malls in China known for selling contraband and cheap “luxury” goods. It also one of those malls where you’re supposed to haggle for the price. When I saw this silk scarf, I knew that I had to have it because it looks so expensive and luxurious, and I felt like I could get it for a non-expensive price. The shop owner knew I was a foreigner because native Chinese rarely shop at those places, and so she was willing to sell the scarf to me for something around $15-20 USD, which is ridiculous in China, especially at one of those sorts of shop. She was telling me how it was real silk and everything, but you can never really trust those people; I once had a shop owner tell me a belt she was selling was made of real horse hair, and when I told her I don’t wear fur, she said, “OH no, I was joking! It’s actually fake horse hair!” 🙄

Anyways, I was haggling for this scarf so intensely that I got in a heated argument with the store owner. I eventually bluffed and said I didn’t want the scarf, hoping the store owner was of those people who would cave in and sell it to me at the price that I wanted. Nope. She was so stubborn and quite mean! I left that shop, hoping that I’d find the a similar scarf elsewhere in the mall, but I couldn’t find anything like it, so my friends and I went of our way just to find that little shop in the corner again. I told the shop owner, I’ll take the scarf, but before I handed her the cash, I stated in Chinese, “If you want you customers to return, you should be nicer to them. I’m buying this scarf today, but I’m never coming back in the future.” She looked at me stunned, and then we exchanged the goods, and I left. 😂

Not your everyday scarf-buying story, eh? Hahaha. I don’t even remember the exact price I bought this scarf, but it doesn’t matter because I am glad I did! It’s not only my favorite scarf, but it also has quite the back story! Don’t you love having stuff like that?

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I got the rest of the items I’m wearing in the U.S., so no more interesting stories. 😉 I got the gray knit sweater from Banana Republic a couple years ago, but I think it’s no longer in stock. Good news is, I found a few sweaters that are very similar, ranging from $20-60!! So definitely check those out below. ⤵

I’m also wearing my favorite comfiest black leggings again, which is no surprise because I basically live in either pajama pants, pajama shorts, or leggings. 😂 I said in a previous post how annoying it was for me to find a pair of black leggings that is: comfortable, high-quality, and affordable, but I found them! I love these black leggings because of the soft, stretchy material that is not see-through, and because they have a nice thick waist band that sit comfortably below the waist. You can shop the exact leggings I’m wearing in the photos below! I linked a few because they make different waist lines and such, and you can choose what you personally like best.

Last, my go-to walking shoes! I take these shoes wherever I travel because they are so comfortable to walk in. They may not be the prettiest shoe ever made, but I think they are pretty stylish for a walking shoe. If I’m just doing some simple strolling and nothing that requires me to run or jump, I’d rather wear these over my bulky sneakers.

 

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You can also view the stuff here.


Check them out, and I hope you find these links helpful! 🙂

Thanks for reading! And Happy Holidays!

♡, vt

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❤️ Love through Hate

“Hate cannot drive out hate,
Only love can do that.” — MLK Jr

❤️

Love Wins (Heart Yoga Pose)

It does not matter who you voted for. We should all be saddened, disgusted, and terrified by what is going on in our nation right now. This is 2016; how in the world are we back in the days of waking up scared / offended / threatened — based on the color of our skin, our faith, and our love orientation? What is happening to the diverse America that I loved so much and was so proud to call home?

Yesterday I was feeling down, but you know what, life moves on. We will still continue on with our day-to-day activities, fun hobbies, and boring jobs (or not). We will still laugh with friends, family, or alone with a TV show (haha). We will still cuddle, hug, kiss, and love.

Life moves forward, and we as a human race will move forward as well. I believe there is good that comes out of all this hate. The hate brings the right kind of people together. The hate makes our love for one another even stronger. The hate unites the majority of us more than it tears us apart.

It is up to us to not let hate win; to continue moving forward; and to keep on loving.

♡, vt

 

Beyond its petals ✽ Flower like Jasmine

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.” – Beverley Nichols

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Oh, sweet jasmine

Fall is in its early swing, and the jasmines are in their final bloom.

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Flowers for breakfast

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Jasmines are an unassuming type. Unlike most flowers, the true beauty of the jasmine lies not in extravagant shapes or petal patterns but in its smell. Said simply, the jasmine is a small and white flower, but what it lacks in color and guise is made up for in its smell: delicate, sweet, and a hint of the tropics, the aroma of jasmine is intoxicatingly delicious.

It is a challenge for me to transcribe the fragrance of the jasmine into words, but what I can say is: its aroma is as calming as it is enlivening. It is as pure as it is mysterious. Its smell takes me to simpler times, when I’d prance around wearing a pink sundress in the backyard of the house I grew up in, smelling the jasmines blooming all through spring, summer, and early autumn.

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Not only does the smell of jasmine send me back in time, but it also sends me to places — not a particular X, Y dot on the map, but just some place where coconuts grow, and tropical winds blow. A slight whiff of jasmine draws out so many different sensations, further awakening other sensory modes. When I smell jasmine, I find myself pairing the smell not only with others scents but even tastes, such as the sensations of slicing open a fresh, juicy, and perfectly-ripen mango; and sinking my teeth into its flesh: oh-so sticky, tender, and sweet.

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And then a mango 😉
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The JUICIEST SWEETEST RIPEST and most DELICIOUS mango ever 🙂
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The juiciest mango tuned to the smell of the softest jasmine. Oh sweet, sweet nectar.

It’s funny to think how a delicate thing such as the jasmine flower can evoke so many feelings, some contradictory even, of purity, grace, and nostalgia. Its fragrance can even awaken other sensory modes of taste, sight, and perhaps touch. After all, the most attractive trait of the jasmine flower is in its smell, and smell, the sense most correlated with memories and emotions, is not a sensation to be taken for granted.

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jasmine flower asian girl lace bralette

Perhaps the jasmine is an innuendo to how some times in life, the best things aren’t the most beautiful or the most grand. Life’s treasures can be — and often are — found in simple things, and to find these tiny hidden treasures, all it takes is stopping to smell the jasmine flowers. 

Mango Jasmine cake flower turmeric healthy fit asian girl

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Entire outfit from Victoria's Secret
My Mei Mei, my pink pineapple pants, and my never-ending summer.

jasmine flower asian girl lace bralette vivian

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A 2-hour morning workout that feels like Luxury

Plus sharing my free Core & Cardio Circuit that I did on Saturday, and my step-by-step guide to tricking yourself into a workout first thing in the morning even when you do not feel like it! 😆


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Spent two hours at the gym on this beautiful sunny Saturday morning, but I love it. ❤️😊 And this view doesn’t make me feel like I skipped out on a gorgeous day. 😁☀️

This week, I am one day behind my workout schedule due to the monthly lady problems that occurred on last Wednesday *ahem lol*, so that morning, I did what I usually do on Friday’s: a core & cardio circuit! I shared the workout below, which is about an hour long. I also ran intermittently, in between each circuit and post-workout, for a total of 40 minutes. Finally, I followed that with some much needed post-workout stretching, and the beautiful floor-to-ceiling window (which I am obsessed with!) made my cool down feel like luxury. ✨

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Firefly (pose) amongst a summer day backdrop

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Even though I had a really good workout on Saturday, I actually went into the gym with zero motivation. I didn’t want to workout but rather get my workout over with. Note the difference. Whenever I don’t feel like working out, which is very common even for me, the workout fanatic, first thing in the morning, especially on a beautiful weekend day, here is what I do to motivate myself.

Introducing the…

“Things that Motivate Vivian (and You!) to Work Out First Thing in the Morning, Especially on a Weekend” Guide:

  1. While you’re still in bed debating whether or not to go to the gym 😴, tell yourself how amazing you’ll feel after you begin your day with a workout. 🍵*
  2. At the same time, distract yourself from the awful feeling of forcing yourself into physical exercise, preferably with upbeat music in the backdrop as you drive to the gym.
  3. As you are also driving to the gym, further remind yourself how nice it is to get your workout over with and have the rest of the day to yourself. This is especially nice on a weekend.
  4. When you arrive at the gym, you probably won’t have the mental motivation to actually do anything. This is normal. After all, you just woke up like what, 30 minutes ago? Just know that, all it takes is slow, easy, and luxurious warm up, along with some upbeat music in the backdrop, to get things going! 🎶

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Those are pretty much the steps I went through Saturday (and this past Monday for my Arm Workout and this past Thursday for my Leg Workout) to get my butt to the gym. *I had a big & carb-heavy meal the night before on Friday, so I wasn’t feeling hungry that morning, but I did have a cup of hot fresh brewed Chinese green tea might of snuck in somewhere between Steps 1 and 2… 🍵

To be honest, as challenging as my workouts are, the hardest part of working out for me is actually not the workout itself, but warming up and getting started. It’s not hard for me to workout; it’s hard for me to build up that momentum to get things going, but after that, the rest of the workout is, well, not easy but, very easily flies by.

So after a slow and luxurious warm up of 20 minutes walking, I ended up easing into a run, and then my actual core & cardio workout (which I share below!), a total of 40 minutes of running, and some post-workout stretching & yoga fun… Before I knew it, I had worked out for two hours before I’d even realized it.

Anyways, read more to get the free core + cardio circuit workout that I did!

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Post-workout stretch #TIMERCAMQUEEN

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Something about the sky after a rainstorm… Tuesday sunset

Sunset after afternoon rainfall. Views from few days ago during an evening walk.

6/26/16 Sugar Land Texas Sunset

Texas summers are uncomfortably hot, but the July rainstorms are finally bringing in cooler weather, and on Tuesday, it was barely cool enough for an evening walk at sunset.

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Cloud chaser
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Mei Mei at Sunset is Lit
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Orange skies
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Something about a post-rain sunset

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There’s something about a sunset after a rainstorm. 🌅

 

🍓 Cinnamon Coconut Peanut Cake (vegan & paleo) + Spontaneous trip to NYC

Happy Saturday!

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Yesterday evening, I hopped on a train to NYC, walked in the rain to my friend’s apartment, where we cooked and ate a heart-warming tofu curry dinner (all vegan!), and then this morning, we did Soulcycle (my first try!), had brunch at a local cafe, and just meandered around the city.

Now, as I write this, I’m lying in bed completely pooped tired. I cycled/ran/walked over 25,000 steps (10+ miles), which includes this morning’s Soulcycle, walking around the city, sprinting to Penn Station NY fearing I wouldn’t catch the train on time (lol), and then walking more on campus, etc… I’ll write a blog post of today’s Saturday later, but if you want to experience it in “real-time”, check out my Snapchat @vivalatang! You can still see the updates until Sunday morning EST.

Anyways, this blog post is not about today Saturday but April 30th, when, at this time last week, I was in NYC on a boat, or really a yacht haha. And it all started with this Coconut Cinnamon Peanut Cake {grain-free & vegan}!

This is a single-serving cake that is healthy, quick, & easy to make because it is baked in the microwave. It is also grain-free and vegan! For the bulk of the cake, I use coconut flour, flaxseed flour, and peanut flour, and then bind them together simply with unsweetened almond milk. That’s it. Super simple, and better yet, surprisingly filling, full of fiber and protein.

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🍓 Spontaneous weekend trip to NYC

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Happy Saturday!

Yesterday evening, I hopped on a train to NYC, walked in the rain to my friend’s apartment, where we cooked and ate a heart-warming tofu curry dinner (all vegan!), and then this morning, we did Soulcycle (my first try!), had brunch at a local cafe, and just meandered around the city.

Now, as I write this, I’m lying in bed completely pooped tired. I cycled/ran/walked over 25,000 steps (10+ miles), which includes this morning’s Soulcycle, walking around the city, sprinting to Penn Station NY fearing I wouldn’t catch the train on time (lol), and then walking more on campus, etc… I’ll write a blog post of today’s Saturday later, but if you want to experience it in “real-time”, check out my Snapchat @vivalatang! You can still see the updates until Sunday morning EST.

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🌸 Bittersweet spring, Last week of school

Princeton Yoga

🌸  Serendipity.

The word describes the past 9 days of my life, and for someone who is terrible at responding to spontaneity, that is a lot.

Perfect weather, unplanned activities, fun events, great people, challenging workouts, delicious food… Just so many good vibes. ✨  My heart feels whole and happy, yet, at the same time, it feels as if all of this is too good to be true. This is how I felt when I got into Princeton. Like the best things in life, it won’t last forever.

Tomorrow is the beginning to my last week of class, and I’m in total disbelief. 23 years on this planet, and I still haven’t worked out the mechanics of time. It’s as if my years of college life is coming full circle to these last bittersweet moments. As much as I complain about school, about Princeton, about not being with my dog back home in Texas, I’m going to miss this place. A whole fucking lot. On top of that, the past week has been too good to me, making graduation even harder.

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Anyways, without making this post too long and melancholy, I’ll just leave it at that. All I wish for my last week of school is that the good vibes from the past week continue on to the next. Last Monday of college (!), let’s do this. 👊🏼

🌸 Bittersweet spring ❀ Last week of school forever…!?

Magnolia Flower Asian Girl

🌸  Serendipity.

The word describes the past 9 days of my life, and for someone who is terrible at responding to spontaneity, that is a lot.

Perfect weather, unplanned activities, fun events, great people, challenging workouts, delicious food… Just so many good vibes. ✨  My heart feels whole and happy, yet, at the same time, it feels as if all of this is too good to be true. This is how I felt when I got into Princeton. Like the best things in life, it won’t last forever.

Tomorrow is the beginning to my last week of class, and I’m in total disbelief. 23 years on this planet, and I still haven’t worked out the mechanics of time. It’s as if my years of college life is coming full circle to these last bittersweet moments. As much as I complain about school, about Princeton, about not being with my dog back home in Texas, I’m going to miss this place. A whole fucking lot. On top of that, the past week has been too good to me, making graduation even harder.

Anyways, without making this post too long and melancholy, I’ll just leave it at that. All I wish for my last week of school is that the good vibes from the past week continue on to the next. Last Monday of college (!), let’s do this. 👊🏼