Photo by Josiah Kopp
Why did we pick Vivian?
1. She is a trailblazer.
Vivian is the owner of Kota Botanics, the first premium organic CBD store in the state of North Dakota.
Spotlight ran its first story on Vivian in 2020 when her store was called Kota Organics and she was the sole employee. Now, Kota Botanics employs 7 employees, has two storefronts and is home to its own premium CBD line which is aptly named Kota Botanics.
Did you know?
Vivian was featured in Forbes! Check out the article here.
2. She has a different perspective.
As a Chinese immigrant who came to America in 2009, Vivian offers a unique view of the community.
3. She has a big fashion following.
Vivian founded Kota Botanics, a thriving premium CBD store located in South Fargo and Shakopee, MN.
Vivian has been teaching spin classes at the YMCA for 8 years and if you follow Vivian on social media, you’ll get some great workouts and tips!
“She is one of my mom’s favorite instructors. That has to count for something, right?”
-Brady Drake, Editorial Director
5 Health Hacks for Fargo
1. Run Outdoors
“Fargo is flat and has a lot of great routes for running. It’s ideal for runners. Running is a great way to support your cardio health and mental health. I’m a runner and I love running outside whenever I can. It helps me clear my mind and stay focused.”
Looking for a community?
Check out the Lets Go Running-Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo group on Facebook!
2. Hot Yoga
“Hot yoga has a wide variety of benefits for both your mind and body. It can help you burn calories, build bone density, boost your cardiovascular fitness and improve your flexibility. It may also help ease depression and reduce stress. When you live in a city that has a long winter, hot yoga is a great way to stay fit and feel great about yourself.”
“A personal favorite class of mine is Sheila Harris’s Yin class at Haute Yogis. It is slow, but it is challenging and great for physical and mental recovery.”
– Brady Drake, Editorial Director
3. Winter Activities
“As a hockey mom, we (my kids and I) spend a lot of time on the ice during the season. Ice skating is a great exercise for kids. Tubing is also super fun for the entire family to bond and burn some calories.”
4. Indoor Cycling Classes
“Other than running, I also love teaching indoor cycling classes at the YMCA. It’s super fun to ride with the music and sweat it all out. I love helping out members have fun at the fitness center and get inspired to take care of their health.”
“Fargo has a lot of great golf courses and its super affordable to play. Golf can be good for your health and your heart. If you walk 18 holes three to five times a week, you’ll get an optimal amount of endurance exercise for your heart.”
Vivian’s Places to Go
1. Kota Botanics
CBD helps me manage my stress and anxiety. It’s great for pain management and it helps me sleep so much better. It’s truly a lifestyle that I can’t live without. And there’s no better place than Kota Botanics to buy all the CBD that I love to use. And yes, I’m the proud owner.”
2. IMAGE Medi-Spa
“IMAGE Medi-Spa is my favorite place for facials and skincare. Their staff always makes me feel welcomed and relaxed when I needed a little TLC for my skin and mind.”
“The YMCA is my favorite place to workout and exercise. They have tons of group fitness classes that are available for all levels of members. They also have tons of activities for kids. We love the YMCA!”
Vivian isn’t kidding the YMCA Fercho alone offers around a dozen group fitness classes per day during weekdays.
4. CRISP & GREEN
“Crisp & Green is my go-to place when I crave a good bowl of proteins and veggies. Their food is always fresh, delicious and fulfilling.”
5. Haute Yogis
“Haute Yogis has been my go-to place for hot yoga. I love their vinyasa classes. It makes my body more flexible and toned up nicely.”
7 Things to Avoid
1. Processed Meat
“Processed meats are preserved by smoking, salting, curing or adding chemical preservatives. They include deli meats, bacon and hot dogs. Eating processed meats increases your health risks such as cancer and heart disease. Try to eat things that are freshly cooked.”
2. Coffee After 3 p.m.
“Caffeine can disrupt your sleep up to six hours after consuming it, leading to an hour or more lost in rest, one study found. So if you want to start winding down and going to bed at 9 p.m., drinking coffee after 3 p.m. is a bad idea.”
“I found out through sleep therapy at Sanford and monitoring my sleep for 3 months with devices that caffeine stays in my body longer than most and when I cut out caffeine after 10 a.m my sleep totally changed, better REM sleep, and not as many interruptions. Total game changer.
– Mike Dragosavich, Publisher
3. Electronic in Bed
“Using electronic devices tends to delay the time when you actually go to sleep, reducing sleep duration. Technology affects the brain, stimulating your mind and making it harder to fall asleep.”
4. Drink Icy Cold Water in Winter
“According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cold water weakens the stomach and spleen. Drinking very cold water could impair digestion. The spleen aids in the assimilation of nutrients and their delivery to the rest of the body. An impaired spleen in the Chinese medicine tradition leads to faulty digestion, malabsorption of nutrients, increased risk of infections and illness, chronic bleeding and other health problems.”
5. Eating Food Before Going to Bed
“When sleeping, our digestive system naturally slows down as our metabolism enters a resting state. Lying down in bed within an hour after eating can lead to symptoms such as indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn, and weight gain.”
6. Vigorous Exercise During Period
“According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a woman’s menses is a time for rest. Your body is using a lot of energy to cleanse and empty the uterus and too much activity will deplete and exhaust the Qi and blood.”
7. Excessive Sodium
“High sodium consumption can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”
1. Braised Chicken Meatballs (Local Food)
“My favorite dish in town are the Braised chicken Meatballs from Shang Hai. They are super delicious and this is a very authentic dish. It reminds me of the ones I would normally get back home in China.”
2. DREAM CBD Gummies (Local Product)
“Small batch made by a former executive pastry chef from Manhattan, NYC, these gummies are my nighttime essentials to help me fall asleep and sleep through the night. Can’t live without them.”
*Disclaimer: this is one of Vivian’s products.
3. Sparkle Fiber
“These supplement capsules have helped me feel less bloated. I take one in the morning, then one after lunch and dinner. I can feel my digestion has become better.”
4. Nike Vaporfly 2
“The most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever owned. It provides great support to my arches. From a 10K to a marathon, it has the responsive cushioning and secure support to help push me towards my personal best.”
Make sure to register for the Fargo Marathon. Races will be happening the entire week of May 15 and will include a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K, a youth run, a 26.2 mile cyclothon, a 15 mile cyclothon and a ‘Furgo Dog Run.’
*Virtual runs are available as well.
What are health, wellness and beauty to you?
To me, they are all connected. When you eat healthy, exercise and maintain low-stress levels, you feel good about yourself from the inside out.
Many people have seen you exercising around town, what does your fitness routine look like?
My fitness routine consists of running, indoor cycling, weight-lifting and hot yoga. In the summer, I try to run 5k daily. In winter, I’d try running 5k on treadmills at least three times a week. I love running.
Have these things always been important to you? If not, when/ how did you start your wellness journey?
The funny thing is that I never worked out in my life until I met my then-boyfriend and now husband Jeff in my mid-20s. He’s the one who inspired me to work out, stay in shape and take good care of myself. When I first started working out, I could barely do it for 30 minutes. I hired a personal trainer and worked out with her routinely. I now have transformed into teaching indoor cycling classes as a group fitness instructor.
“This was shocking for me to learn as anyone who has worked out around Vivian knows that she can get after it! I would’ve thought fitness had been a lifelong passion.”
-Brady Drake, Editorial Director
What are some health/ beauty options in town that you have utilized that have not already been listed?
• Mojo Fit Studios
• Indigo Bloom Yoga & Wellness – Did you know? Indigo Bloom offers $10 college classes.
• Chapter Aesthetic Studio Fargo – Did you know? Chapter Aesthetic Studio used to be called Rejuv.
With your business in town, your expansion in MN, your family and your wellness routine, how do you manage it all? Do you have any tips for readers?
When I’m not traveling for business, I maintain my routine by going to the gym daily. When I travel, I make sure the hotel I stay at would have a fitness room so that I can go and get my 5k run in. Another tip is that I do intermittent fasting. I don’t eat my first meal until after noon and I maintain my feeding window between noon to 7 p.m. Intermittent fasting has helped me cleanse and be less bloated.
I’ve tried doing the 16:8 intermittent fasting cycle multiple times with great results. I don’t do it all the time, but when I am having digestive issues or feeling inflamed in my joints, it seems to be the perfect remedy to get things calmed down.
– Brady Drake, Editorial Director
“Mel Robbins has been a huge inspiration for me. She’s motivated me to take action instead of sitting and waiting for things to happen. She also shares her vulnerability and her journey of combating anxiety in life.”
Did you know? Mel Robbins was the keynote speaker at the FMWF Chamber of Commerce Women Connect event in 2022.
“The Asian & American Market is my favorite local grocery store to buy ingredients for my Asian cooking. They have a great selection of Asian vegetables, seafood, seasonings, dim-sums, rice and noodles. And, their new space is three times bigger than their previous location.”
“If you are like me and you love hot yoga, you should invest in this Liforme Mindful Garden Yoga Mat. It’s PVC free and biodegradable. Made with non-toxic materials. It provides the ultimate non-slip surface for your Yoga practice. Staying grippy even when ‘sweaty-wet’ for a safe and stable practice.”
“If you ever feel lost about yourself, I highly recommend you read this book. It’s soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live.”
“I highly recommend The Diary of a CEO podcast if you are looking for an unfiltered journey into the remarkable stories of some of the most influential people who have defined culture, achieved greatness and created stories worth studying. Each episode discovers untold truths, unlearned lessons, unheard struggles and important insights.”
MapMyRun – “I’ve been using this app to track my runnings for years. It’s accurate and it has everything to track my running performance.”
Although there isn’t a ton of road space for running, Orchard Glen Park in Fargo has some great trail running. And, if you go at the right time, you might be able to pick your post workout meal from one of the many fruiting trees the park has to offer. Also, the Lindenwood trail is easily one of my favorite paths in the metro to run on. When our office used to be downtown, my lunch could easily turn into a seven miler with all that beauty around me!
– Brady Drake, Editorial Director
Headspace – “A great app to help me meditate and relax. I love the British accent choice.”
Did you know? Headspace has a “Headspace for Work” option to help businesses unlock their full potential.