Hey, babes! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, La Vita Vivi. I hope you enjoy this light-hearted post and learn a little about me as you go along!
My English name, Vivian, means “full of life” or “lively”. I was given this name because apparently I was dancing and kicking around so much in-utero (haha)! I was also named after Vivien Leigh, an English film actress who played Scarlett O’Hara in the movie adaptation of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. My Korean name Hana means “one” because I’m my paternal grandfather’s first grandchild with his last name.
My cousin, Soobin, and I when I visited South Korea during my Asia backpacking trip after college graduation (click here for my old travel blog).
My first spoken languages were Korean and Spanish. When I was little, I learned Korean from my family and Spanish from our nanny, Rosa. There’s this picture of me when I was a toddler holding my maternal grandma’s hand on one side and holding Rosa’s hand on the other side and I was apparently switching from Korean to English. I lost almost all of my speaking abilities though once I started school, but I can still understand a bit of both. Extra fun fact: “The Little Mermaid” is one of my favorite childhood movies because that was one of the ways I learned English!
Anyone who knew me when I was little will tell you I was the salad or veggie queen. It seemed like all I wanted to eat were fruits and veggies. I used to love the kids’ menu caesar salad from California Pizza Kitchen because they would put goldfish crackers on it! Did you ever have that growing up? I’ve also been creating more video content lately and posting it to my Instagram and TikTok accounts. I’d love if you follow and tag me if you end up trying any of them out! It’s been so fun sharing the simple but yummy ideas presented in an elegant way. They’re a combination of random dishes I’ve loved – either dishes I’ve grown up with, random dishes I’ve created, or recipe inspiration from some of my favorite restaurants. You can also click here to subscribe to the blog to receive exclusive access to new downloadable recipe cards if you want a written vs video version!
My mom, little sister and I at the Lobster Festival in Redondo Beach in 1998. I was three years old here and clearly living my best life (haha).
FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD
Italy is definitely one of my favorite travel destinations – hence the Italian blog name La Vita Vivi! “La Vita Vivi” is an Italian phrase loosely translated to “The Life [of] Vivian”.
I wanted to emulate the same romantic and timeless feeling that I experienced while traveling to the Italian coast. My love for Italy first began when I was eighteen during a singing tour with my high school choir. The highlight of the trip was definitely singing for a mass in the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City – definitely a cool moment I’ll never forget. My second trip was for a study abroad program during college. Some of my favorite moments were walking by the gorgeous Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore every day since we lived so close-by and weekly grocery shopping at the Mercato Centrale for the most beautiful, fresh and local ingredients. You can click here to see more from my time there plus other travels.
Travel Checklist: Italy, Croatia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, Nevada
Travel Wishlist: Cabo, England, Ireland, Spain, New York, Nashville, Hawaii, Egypt, Morocco, Greece, Tulum, South of France, India, Netherlands + so many more! What are your recommendations?
This is the coastline of Capri, Italy. I took this shot during my study abroad program. We were based in Florence but my friends and I booked a weekend trip to the Amalfi Coast and as you can see – it was beautiful!
After college graduation, I went to Thailand as part of an Asia backpacking trip. I got my first taste of connecting with animals when I visited an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was so moved by their kindness and gentle nature. After this experience, it sparked another dream – swimming with sharks! I think that would be the coolest experience because just like the elephant sanctuary, you’re immersing yourself into their world. Anyone else up for this?
Top Tip: If you’re traveling somewhere that is known to have elephants or any animals, make sure to support sanctuaries and not any tours where you ride them. They torture the animals in order for them to learn all those tricks and commands, whereas the sanctuaries rehabilitate them and leave them to prosper in their natural environment.
I’ve been with Wesley since 2014 and I’m including him in this post because so much of who I am is thanks to him. He’s an amazing person who despite the things he has gone through in life, still chooses to remain positive, kind, polite, generous (I’ll stop – you get it lol). Sometimes I look at us and can’t believe we’re the same kids who grew up together and are now building our lives with each other. When we heard “Grow As We Go” by Ben Platt, we both got emotional because so much of the song describes us.
This is a photo of us from our one of high school days during Halloween…haha. I had no idea he liked me then but I always had a little thing for him, too. Little did I know he would become my best friend later on and ask me out.
This is from our first date at Venice Beach, California. I remember he had this whole LA day planned and paid way too much money for parking but wanted us to have this cute moment on the beach. We ended our night with dinner at the The Grove, where he was so nervous to hold my hand but he finally did for the first time. Both places will always have a special place in my heart.
I love this picture of Wes because he’s so into playing here. He’d never say this about himself but he’s really good at music – especially playing the piano!
If you made it this far – thank you for so much reading! I’d love to learn more about the real people behind the screen too, so let me know on Instagram by following and sending me a DM!