Shanghai & Wuhan Photo Diary

Mian Hua Tian, Shanghai

Mian Hua Tian, Shanghai

Mian Hua Tian (featuring Lucky), Shanghai

Mian Hua Tian (featuring Lucky), Shanghai

Mian Hua Tian, Shanghai

Mian Hua Tian, Shanghai

Egg, Shanghai

Egg, Shanghai

Hubu Alley (featuring re gan mian), Wuhan

Hubu Alley (featuring re gan mian), Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

Hubu Alley, Wuhan

We only had 24 hours in Shanghai but we made the most of it. One thing is for sure: Mian Hua Tian is one of the most gorgeous retail spaces ever. My friend Timothy Parent (who is killing it in the fashion world in China) serves as creative director there, so you can expect their selection of clothes + accessories to be amazing.

As for Wuhan, we had a total of 7 hours (kid you not) -- it was supposed to be a layover where we'd be stuck in the airport (because what else could we do with all our luggage?) but we were resourceful. We hired a cab driver outside of the airport to take us around to all the tourist sites, and we were so pleasantly surprised by how clean and orderly Wuhan seemed to be! Also, the re gan mian (Wuhan's trademark hot dry noodles) were beyond delicious, as were the other street snacks (a beef bing was one of the best I've ever had).

All in all, a very productive day-and-a-half in China.

Beijing Photo Diary

Hutongs around Lama Temple

Hutongs around Lama Temple

46 Fangjia Hutong

46 Fangjia Hutong

Pearl Market

Pearl Market

Drum & Bell Tower

Drum & Bell Tower

Gulou

Gulou

It was emotionally overwhelming to return to Beijing, a city I’d once called called home for four years. Neighborhoods had been transformed by the emergence of new skyscrapers. Old favorite haunts had either gotten major facelifts or gone out of business. Knock-off markets had all been shut down by the local government, and the ban against smoking doors was now actually enforced.

Some of these changes were a good thing (I used to hate coming home smelling like smoke every night), while others less so. There was a different energy about the city – it’s less inviting, and way more tame. The heady freedom we expats had once enjoyed in Beijing was definitely gone (work visas are harder than ever to obtain, and police have done a few drug raids at bars popular amongst foreigners, sending a clear message: no one is immune, and crackdowns on "corruption" are now imminent). Meanwhile, the Great Firewall is as ironclad as ever (when I lived in Beijing from 2009-2013, Facebook and Twitter were blocked; now Gmail and Instagram are as well).

On the one hand, it’s nice to see Beijing growing up (albeit with less freedom -- though the local population seems more informed and cosmopolitan than ever). On the other, I found myself almost missing the chaos, the spontaneity, the feeling that anything could happen. But mostly, the trip was a stark reminder that I’m growing older and further apart from Beijing, and that memories of people and places I’d held so close to my heart can never be relived or replicated.

Nostalgia aside, though, it was a great trip. The food was just as good as I remember (still waiting for the day that Yunnan and Xinjiang cuisine get the shine they deserve in the USA), and it was wonderful seeing old friends. If anything, I left realizing that I need to visit Asia more often. Stay tuned for my photo diaries for Bangkok and Shanghai, coming up next! x

Shorts Weather

ARITZIA knit / GIVENCHY Antigona tote / REFORMATION shorts / TONY BIANCO Nakita ankle boots

ARITZIA knit / GIVENCHY Antigona tote / REFORMATION shorts / TONY BIANCO Nakita ankle boots

How ridiculously bulky is this sweater, I love it. It feels like ages ago that I did this shoot, probably because I just got back from a two-week vacation in China and Thailand. I finally had an excuse to play around with my DLSR, and while I'm still learning, I think this is the start of an amateur photography addiction.

Also, exciting news: I just penned a new article for The Bold Italic on reverse culture shock (ironically on the eve of my first trip back to China!). Take a look and let me know what you think :-)

Going Grunge

ASOS belt / LEVI'S jeans / vintage tee via Painted Bird / ZARA ankle boots / CELINE trio bag

ASOS belt / LEVI'S jeans / vintage tee via Painted Bird / ZARA ankle boots / CELINE trio bag

It’s the age-old dilemma: I’m constantly torn between wanting to look ultra minimalist, or like a ‘90s Nirvana baby. Although clean and sleek lines usually win out, occasionally I break up the monotony with some plaid (my favorite shirt has multiple holes in it, but I continue to wear it), shredded denim and vintage band tees (usually procured from my favorite thrift stores in SF, which include but are not limited to: Painted Bird, Re Love, Afterlife and Wasteland – yes, we're pretty spoiled for options here).

On another note, I'm leaving for my trip to China TOMORROW. Expect a huge recap post on the blog upon my return, but in the meantime, follow along on my Instagram @tiffwang_ and Snapchat @tiff-wang.