Hi, hello! How is it going nearly four months later?
It was quite an arduous feat to grow accustomed to my 5:30 A.M. waking schedule and 9:00 P.M. sleep routine, but the most fantastic news came to light about several months ago: we are BACK to a regular time schedule of 8-4 P.M. or 9-5 P.M. flexible hours! THAT means…MORE ZZZZ’s. Thank the heavens! Unfortunately, the price would have to be colossally heavy traffic. 50-60 minutes back home instead of 27-30 minutes? Disastrous.
Having said that, for a while, I was trapped in what one would consider the most asphyxiating writer’s bloc of all–honestly, taking a break generally works the best way for me possible. Truthfully, I haven’t had time to cook as much nor have I gotten the creative streak with recipe making that I used to since I have to simplify certain aspects of my life to incorporate complexity into other areas. Might as well show you what else I’ve been immersing myself in!
Even though I’m about 87 years-old in TikTok years, I LOVE this app (well, at least the sides I’m on: veganism, racial justice, feminism, Asian appreciation, food, and of course, K-Pop, which is what my platform generally encompasses nowadays with some vegan food and miscellaneous videos sprinkled in!) and have been posting every single day, more so than Instagram! I established my account in late 2020 and sat in the low 100-200s for the longest time…ever since this initial video and this UNBELIEVABLE reaction, my following has grown every day (let’s not jinx anything too much!).
Not to diverge this post into a tremendous flex or anything, BUT here are the videos that kiiiiiind of went viral! Funnily enough, the videos that I expect to garner more traffic don’t do as well as the ones that I refrain from posing any expectations on! Who knew that a wattpad with a Taehyung doppelganger and a video about the beloved Super Junior members would reach that many views? Obviously, none of these are anywhere close to what most people constitute as viral, but for a micro-micro-micro influencer like me, I’m happy about these!
It is still pretty small compared to other followings on TikTok and my Instagram, but it would be interesting to see if this ends up being larger than my Instagram! Should I upload K-Pop videos there? In all seriousness, I will most likely keep my Instagram feed strictly encompassing vegan food and wellness content, but my stories…well, I’ve already infiltrated those with K-Pop and other music-related posts!
If you told me about ten, five, even two years ago that I’d be an avid recreational rock climber, I would have bursted out laughing! Well, clownery’s on me, because thanks to some work colleagues, I now can’t get my hands and feet off any walls! Having said that, I’m still very much in the beginner stages and haven’t gotten my official certification to serve as a belayer. At least for now, I tend to pace more conservatively in gradual, incremental elevations in the difficulty levels I climb since rock climbing is an injury-prone sport–it’s truly astounding to see young kids climb at the same recreational center as me leaping across the wall to different grips with seemingly no problems! Honestly, that type of confidence is inspiring.
While I never filmed myself at a jiu jitsu class (there are already Zoom classes and demo videos that do the job!), it’s a weekly activity of mine! Since high school, my dad badgered me to take jiu jitsu in university…and after graduating university, I have more time on my hands to do so! I wasn’t 100% certain about how much I would enjoy the classes; personally, I wanted to take the courses because self-defense is crucial to me. Low and behold, I adore this martial arts now!
In the future, I’ll consider showcasing some more drills (probably not until the next year though) since my class is only once a week. I have the option to take a Tuesday evening class, but that will depend on the rest of my weekday schedule given that I devote most of my post-work time to helping my family or working out via rock climbing!
Aside from working on numerous projects that mandate me to arrive to work earlier AND stay later (good golly!), the social climate and work climate are all the reasons I keep smiling and enjoying what I do. I’ve found a group of fellow vegans both at the company I interned at last year AND the current one I work for as well as people that I enjoy rock climbing with after work or enjoying a pleasant lunch with during our breaks!
As plentiful as the sources of social interaction have become, my dad was correct: the overall pool of people I can cultivate strong friendships and other relationships with have shrunken immensely after graduating university. With quantification, the actual number of individuals I see regularly is much smaller. Again, it’s why I still love communicating with people on social media and will continue to attend some events for the mere opportunity of seeing familiar AND new faces–ALL while maintaining the proximate friendships I have now. Admittedly, it’s not super easy when you’d rather chill at home and write a short story or dance to new music instead of kicking it back at a bar with drinks on tap. Would this constitute the daily struggle-bus of an introvert? Someone who prefers to be sober? Who knows?
VEGAN ANNIVERSARY WOES
Let me sound a little spoiled for a second here: I didn’t have time to “properly” celebrate my fifth vegan anniversary. On the actual day of my vegan anniversary, I ate a very yummy plant-based sandwich from Urth Caffe with the best vegan patty, caramelized onions, and flavorful, gooey cheese in panini-pressed rustic bread and a fresh salad for lunch with friends! Having said that, I wish I visited a 100% vegan restaurant just because I felt like I had more of an opportunity to do so while living in Los Angeles. Then again, perhaps this was divine intervention prompting me to stop spending money on food for a hot minute, because…look below.
Perhaps my wallet cried of happiness the whole time! My heart and tastebuds were dancing during each meal. Indian food, vegan desserts, exquisitely cooked vegetable dishes, and smoothie bowls–you can’t go wrong!
If I end up not “formally” celebrating my vegan anniversary, I can always look back at how I treated myself to micro-celebrations throughout the week. After all, these meals were TRIUMPHANTLY memorable, which is one of the best impacts any meal should leave: memorability! I still have several destinations I would love to visit–some new, some old, all of them are 100% plant-based. Yes, it’s not workable for me to visit these food stops in one day, but why not celebrate veganism for your entire life? I would not hesitate to enjoy their menus over several weeks!
BONUS RECIPE: CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE
An oldie but a goodie: cauliflower fried rice! Perfectly customizable, takes very little time to prepare, and is hassle-free!
RECIPE (serves 3-4)
- 4 cups of cauliflower rice, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove (or as many as you want!)
- 2 stalks of green onion, sliced
- Vegetables of choice: broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, kale, spinach, mushrooms, etc.
- Cooked protein of choice–I love using tempeh or tofu!
- Oil of choice (i.e. sesame, olive, coconut, etc.)–if oil free, use vegetable broth
- Spices, sauces, and seasonings of choice: soy sauce, curry powder, five spice, ginger, chili, etc.
- Other garnishes of choice: sesame seeds, seaweed flakes, crispy onions, cilantro or parsley, etc.
- Heat a saucepan and line with oil of choice.
- Chop your onions and garlic cloves. Toss into the saucepan and saute until nicely caramelized and translucent.
- While you enjoy the glorious aroma of the alliums, cut your vegetables, protein, and green onions as desired.
- Evenly mix the cauliflower rice into the saucepan.
- Once the rice softens ever so slightly, integrate the vegetables and the protein.
- Lastly, stir in the spices and seasonings.
- Remove from heat when the cauliflower rice, as well as the vegetables and protein, are perfectly soft and/or crispy to your liking.
- Garnish with green onions and other garnishes, such as sesame seeds.
Have a wonderful rest of the near, NEAR end of the summer!