Welcome to my 2021 recap! Sometimes I post a New Year’s resolution, but this year I feel like changing it up with a recap post instead. 2021 was really a different (wild) year. Sadly, the pandemic has not budged. I found myself at home more often with more time to work on the blog.
My partner and I really stepped up our blogging game in 2021. At first when I started my blog, I mostly just used it to document my little life, but now I can use it to document and uplift much more.
I studied so much about the backend of blogging on topics such as self-hosting, SEO, and monetizing. I think our quality of our writing has improved as well. Blogging is definitely still a hobby, but it feels nice to see the growth happening. We really appreciate everyone who reads our posts in our tiny corner of the internet!
Without further ado, here are some numbers.
Top 3 Most Popular Food Posts
Top 3 Most Popular Fashion Posts
Top 9 Instagram Posts
I did not post to my fashion Instagram much this year, so I’m only summarizing my food Instagram.
People’s Choice Top 9 of 2021
This top 9 is ranked by number of likes received. Some of these are odd choices, but I know a number of factors go in these things including if the algorithm favors the content.
- The Alley opening in Katy, TX. This picture topped by a landslide at 1.6k likes which is almost 8x times the regular traction my posts usually receive. I guess it went somewhat viral and got more traffic that way.
- Mister Donut x Pokemon collaboration donuts only available in Japan. I love how the Chansey donut became a meme!
- Shun Japanese Kitchen‘s annual Japanese fried chicken set. Shun brings the Christmas tradition of KFC Japan to Houston. Of course, it comes with a little Texas flair.
- Popfancy Dessert Bar‘s Sailor Moon themed cafe. People really like Sailor Moon and these kind of pop ups are really fun to attend! I hope I get to go to more in the future.
- Xing Fu Tang opening in Houston. They are only boba shop in Houston that makes the boba pearls in-house as of the date of this post. There’s actually a bit of controversy with this shop. Personally, I never order brown sugar milk drinks nor tapioca pearls myself, but I got to try these through a blogger tasting. The boba was good!
- Shakkar Croissanterie croissants. This home baker I found through other Houston Instagrammers. When I saw that croissant cube, I knew I needed it.
- Sweet Paris crepes. Sweet Paris at Baybrook Mall invited me for a tasting.
- Tobiuo Sushi & Bar‘s “I want it all” sashimi platter. Tobiuo is my favorite sushi restaurant in town. I was feeling extra indulgent that day. The platter contains 10 different types of sashimi!
- Powered by Rice x ShareTea Pearland boba sando. This was created for a one-off pop-up which I covered in this post.
Eating with Stephano’s Choice Top 9 of 2021
My most popular posts was a mixed bag, so I made another top 9 eats based on my flavor preferences. While everything above tasted fine, it didn’t all have the same flavor impact. As they say, food that looks good on Instagram doesn’t always taste the best. This personal top 9 list isn’t in any particular order since it would be incredibly difficult to rank.
- Musaafer mishti doi. Mishti doi is a Bengali yogurt dessert. Musaafer’s version looks like a little forest in a bowl with mushroom shaped meringues and pistachio crumble as grass on top of yogurt. So cute!!! This was the first time I ate at Musaafer and it really impressed me. I keep coming back for their beautiful desserts.
- Clutch City Coffee watermelon matcha. This iced matcha latte was my favorite matcha latte in all of Houston. It was incredibly refreshing. Sadly, it was only a seasonal offering for summer, but I can hope it comes back next summer.
- Neo HTX chirashi bowl. This chirashi bowl was a one-off charity thing, but I was lucky enough to attend their regular omakase dinner once. Neo’s omakase is my favorite Houston omakase so far. I haven’t edited the pictures from when I went yet, but it will be going in its own blog post.
- Powered by Rice wagyu sando. This wagyu sandwich was a collaboration with Proper Rose Garden. Really a unique afternoon tea experience.
- Burger Bodega smashburger. Burger Bodega is a new pop-up by a fellow Houston food lover @houstoneatz. I attended their first pop-up and tried the signature smashburger. I ordered one, but I should have ordered two. These burgers are hype, so you have to line up early because they absolutely will sell out!
- Shun Japanese Kitchen ika (squid) nigiri. My friend actually ordered this one for me and I’m glad he did. Squid is not something I would usually order myself. The way the squid is intricately cut really brings out the textural joy for my mouth. It’s also torched, so you get a smoky flavor as well.
- Craft Pita chicken bowl. Most likely the healthiest option on this list. The bowl has the perfect mix of protein and vegetables. I feel really nice after eating it and if I lived closer, I would order this a lot.
- Antonini’s Subs and Steak Italian sandwich. This is a damn good cold sandwich. Apparently one of the most legitimate Italian sandwiches in Houston.
- Tobiuo Sushi & Bar passion fruit okashi. Pastry chef Jio is my favorite pastry chef in town. I always make the trip to try his desserts and he has never disappointed. This dessert bowl has so many components. As a texture eater, I love it. Currently still available on the fall 2021 menu.
I felt like I tried a lot of new things this year and here are some of my accomplishments:
- The blog 135k views through the course of 2021.
- I finally cosplayed Final Fantasy character finally. Two actually!
- I got paid for selling stock photos.
- Worked a food pop-up.
2021 was the first full year of monetization. My blog generated about $1,100 through ads. It’s nice to have the blog pay for itself and get a little extra money for my camera equipment!
Most of my outfits from 2021 although there are still a few missing that I haven’t edited yet.
2021 End, Now Onto 2022
That’s a huge summary of what I’ve accomplished this year! Sometimes you just don’t realize how much you make until you put it all together.
I truly appreciate those who have stuck around and those who are new here. Blogging has allowed me to meet and interact with so many different people. For 2022, I hope to continue learning and sharing tidbits of life.