Goodbye 2016, You Were Delicious!

2016 was a very eventful year. 
Looking back, I cannot believe that it's over. There were so many fond memories, new friends, new experiences and opportunities I never thought I would ever get! 






But of course, 2016 had it's downsides too. Luckily, that didn't outweigh all the happy times I am so grateful to have had. 

It was also the year that I debated within myself for maybe too long about what my real passions are. Do I want to take this blog to the next level? Do I want to pursue linguistics? Should I be more serious about piano teaching and seek out more clients? What career do I want to do that I won't mind slaving the rest of my life for? These matters were stressing me out. I never really knew what I wanted to do. And I also hated the thought of an office job. Or a job that would overtake my life. And become lifeless.

Despite all the stress and worry, I am overall grateful for all the memories captured in 2016.






Here are the TOP 5 things I learned:

1. Not all internet friends are really your friends. Well, this may be obvious to some people but when your online interaction with others is very frequent, you might think that those relationships formed can be something of value translated offline. Wrong. The online world is full of superficial folks that do what they need to get attention and affirmation. The instant social gratification is what some of these people live for, and I'm not about that. I realized that although many people seem super friendly online, once you meet them in real life (if ever) they may just be using you.

2. Don't trust people too fast. Can you tell 2016 caused me to have some trust issues? This particular lesson would have saved me a lot of trouble if I didn't open up my heart too fast. This past year I went on a New York trip. As most of my close friends already know, that trip felt like a horrible thriller / suspense movie which had me as the victim. Can I just wake up to reality? Oh wait, all of the mind games, the waiting, getting kicked out of the hotel, having no more money and lies were reality. I ended up closing my heart a bit after that New York fiasco and became more skeptical of people that I met. You never know when you meet a pathological liar. It can happen.

3. Instagram has become a social space full of advertisements - by people I know. Okay, now social media even got me having trust issues. LOL So this lesson basically only applies to people who follow a lot of "influencers". But nowadays, influencers can be anyone with a moderate following. Yes, I am an "influencer" as well but I like to keep it real because like many of us, we are still consumers and don't wanna be deceived. I definitely follow many many influencers to keep up to date on what's happenin` and poppin` in the food scene. But what I absolutely get annoyed of (sorry friends) is when something unworthy is being hyped up way too much. And especially, when these influencers are being dishonest. Like... if it's not that great then just say it. Or if its downright horrible why even advertise it at all? I can tell ya, I have been disappointed many times from all the hyped up places. But it could also be because I am pickier now. So for all the people that keep it real, y'all the real MVPs.

4. Just be yourself and valuable friendships will form. So I don't think I've ever been..."fake" or anything but just saying that being yourself goes a long way, especially in the online world. I have been able to met so many people from Instagram in real life and formed genuine friendships from that. It is absolutely crazy how you can just "click" with someone just from Instagram! I have met new Taste Buds with similar hobbies and interests with me and we can talk about topics other than food! These are the friends I will cherish and the memories we make will always be remembered.

5. You most definitely can live without social media. I've always been a promoter of putting the phone down when in the company of others. Lately, that somehow has strayed and I found myself using my phone solely for checking up on my social media while hanging out with friends. This is a huge no-no for me.  And when I had to be reminded to not use the phone and social media too much, especially by Kevin, it was disappointing to myself. So definitely, put that phone down!  I've been on the receiving end before and it sucks to feel overlooked or like the attention isn't there. I know personally that it is much more rewarding to be able to have coffee (or boba) with people you care about and to have genuine conversations without distraction from social media.

Hope some of you can relate to these!




Thanks to www.2016BestNine.com I learned that anything CHEESY is super popular on Instagram...





Eat everything, even burgers with red buns.


 Here is Kevin and I enjoying food from GD Bro Burger.



Here are my TOP 5 highlights of 2016:

1. My foodie blog is getting some recognition! Woo! It's awesome to watch the numbers in viewership grow and more people finding my articles more valuable. I also think its oh so cool that people even recognize me in real life! What? I feel like such a celeb or something! It's just... so cool!! You know? And I appreciate it all. I wouldn't be anywhere near this cool without all the hungry people out there looking for some good food deals and yummy restaurants. I remember back when I started the blog like 5 people max (including myself) would view it on any given day. Now, it's in the thousands!

2. I wrote for Groupon! When I opened up my inbox to find an email from Groupon... I was like.. wait is this fake? I totally checked the name and email address thoroughly just to check. Gotta be cautious! But actually, it was completely legit! A Groupon community representative reached out to me to write a sponsored article about their Groupon Coupons. How cool is that? Of course I said yes! Especially since I use Groupon often and can write about my personal experiences! You can read the article here.

3. So so many media events! I guess more restaurants or PR companies know about my blog? This year I have been invited to media events almost on the daily. Whoa! Never thought that would even happen to me! Media events are basically events where I can try some food at various restaurants to feature them on my blog and social media. One time I had 5 media events back to back. I totally gained weight that day...

4. I officially planned and hosted 3 media events myself! Whoa! I never thought I would ever do event planning but I did! I had wonderful opportunities to collaborate with a few restaurants to host influencer events to help make new connections, network and spread awareness for restaurants. 

5. Give me all the free food! Aside from getting "free food" (not really free because of the expectation of featuring it on my blog) from this blog, I entered many giveaways from Instagram and other food blogs and luckily won a lot of them! I also found loopholes in certain things that allowed me to redeem more free food. (Secret) So basically, 2016 was a tasty and eventful year! 



So much fun having new dining experiences with Kevin!





2016 was the year of improving that food photography.



Pic-Ception



I am so happy that I was able to contribute to Milk + T's dream becoming a reality. The founders contacted me a year ago about self-serve boba since I wrote an article about one opening in Orange County. I just gave me 2 cents on what would make this self-serve thing better while the team was still in the baby stage of getting their self-serve boba truck up. Eventually, I got to visit their boba truck in person on my 1 year anniversary with Kevin date in downtown Los Angeles. Milk + T's service and quality drinks are amazing and I feel super cool to have contributed the bit that I did.

Here is a photo of me and co-founder Beyah on their cute photo wall at the Milk + T 1 year anniversary party.




Made a lot of great new friends.


Danny (@mrbiggsmenu) and Kevin


More pic-ception at Rose City Pizza



It's important to not be too much of a fiend, unless it's food.


Me with Kathy (@ocfoodfiend) at 3 Blossoms Tea in Westminster



Don't forget to roll with the homies. They will always be there for you.

At Rollin` Creamery in Fountain Valley



Before you eat it, remember to take a pic.


The Foodie Crew at Swirl Fiesta in Jurupa Valley (Riverside)



Celebrate the holidays with your loved ones.


This is an Andes Mint Cake covered with Coconut flakes made by my dear friend Cristina. Thanks for the cake <3





Always make time for friends.



Here is John making everyone swoon with his guitar playing and singing.



Whatever you do, make sure you're having fun too.


Kevin and I enjoying Mexican Corn covered in our favorite chips.




Hope everyone had a great 2016 too. Let's move onto 2017 with a bang!

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