I want to thank my friend Shannon, who blogs on parenting and outdoor living at We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So, for nominating Bao Meets Bagel for a Liebster Award!  The award is given to bloggers (that are typically newer or small-scale) by bloggers to recognize and promote each other’s writing. 

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

• Thank the blog that nominated you in a post on your blog.
• Answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you.
• Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers.
• Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
• Notify all nominees via social media.

I must admit, I don’t follow many new or small-scale bloggers, so I'm opting out of the chain, but I will share a blog that I like at the bottom of this post.

Here are my answers to Shannon's questions:

1. What is your favorite topic to write about? (This may or may not be what you write about most often.)

My favorite topic to write about is the main topic of Bao Meets Bagel: dating and relationships.  It’s a universal and timeless topic.  I enjoy writing about each milestone – from the first conversation to the baby shower.  I’ve had quite a journey finding the love of my life, Alena, and growing in our relationship, and I want to share my experience to help others.  

2. What are your highest goals and aspirations as a writer?

My highest goal and aspiration as a writer is to make an impact with my writing.  My hope for Bao Meets Bagel is that it can serve as a tiny ripple of hope in guiding someone to a good relationship.  I also want to show through the blog something that mainstream media and Hollywood doesn’t show often - an Asian American guy in a romantic relationship.  It’s my own small contribution to defying the silly stereotype of Asians being seen as just smart but never in the romance department.  

At this time, I would like to finish putting all that I know and experienced on dating and relationships in Bao Meets Bagel, and spread the word as much as possible about the blog. There will be a day when I’ve done all that I could with it, and when that day comes, if it has helped, inspired, or entertained anyone, then I would have achieved my goal.

3. Do your family members read your writing? If so, what do they think of it?

Yes, my mother-in-law reads it!  She loves it.  Of course, my wife Alena enjoys it since she’s a main part of the story and contributes to the ideation.  My brother Anthony, niece Sara, and others in my family also read it.

4. What is your best travel story?

My best travel story is when I flew to Barcelona, Spain for one night with some friends while I was studying abroad in London to see one of my favorite bands, Queen, perform in concert.  It was an adventure from beginning to end. 

I was 20 years old.  Fate had it that the semester I studied abroad, Queen and Paul Rodgers decided to go on tour together. My friend Jeremy won the tickets off Ebay and we flew to Barcelona from London early in the morning.  Soon after getting out of the plane, things started falling apart.  I was hustled out of most of my Euros from some people in the street.  Feeling terrible, and without much money left except to buy some Sangria, Jeremy and I ended up walking for what seemed like hours to the Olympic stadium, tired and hungry. Queen showed up late, and we waited for 5 long hours, baking in the sun before they opened the doors.  Thankfully there was a random Asian Freddie Mercury impersonator there that warmed up the crowd for hours.  Finally, we got in the stadium, and since we had standing room tickets only, we rushed to the front, standing only a few feet from where guitar god Brian May was playing.  Queen played for almost 3 hours for what was the most amazing concert I’ve ever been to.  I sung along with tears of joy towards the end - the only concert where I teared up.  We ended up making it back to the hostel for about an hour of sleep.  We woke up early and downed a large pitcher of Sangria for breakfast with the only money we had left before leaving for the flight back to London. 

5. What is your favorite piece of writing OR what piece was the hardest to write?

Hmmm…it’s hard for me to pick one favorite piece of writing but one of my favorites is a 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' from Martin Luther King, Jr.  Articulate and persuasive, and still relevant today.
6. What is your favorite movie and do you believe it’s the best movie you’ve ever seen? (It may not be!)

My favorite movie is Rocky, not because it’s the best movie ever made, but because of the impact it had on my life.  Rocky was about an underdog fighter who against the odds goes the distance and finds love and self-respect, and the movie (or one of its sequels) always seemed to motivate and speak to me (like a good song or artist), whenever I find myself in a challenging situation.

7. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever voluntarily done?

Tandem skydiving for the first (and only) time with an instructor who barely spoke English, after eating ice cream and bunch of fries.  I was the last one off the plane, and waiting nervously while the plane was playing the Gotye song "Somebody that I Used to Know."  After the 40 second freefall, the instructor was trying to tell me that we're preparing for landing but I couldn't hear him from his thick accent and the wind.  I then felt my top two straps get loose, and suddenly I dropped like 6 inches from the original harness.  That was scary, especially since we were 1000 feet up still.  :)  But as we got closer to land, I understood that it was part of the landing.

8. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met?

Hillary Clinton.  At Costco.  Alena and I met her at Costco, where she was signing books. We waited for a few hours in line outside, and I spent a good amount of time thinking of what to say to her.  When we finally got to meet her, I was star struck and I don't know why or how I blurted this out, but I said: “Hello, I’m John and I work for the Department of Energy and this is Alena.”  She was very attentive though and a good listener, and said back, “Oh, great to meet you, John and Alena, and thank you for your service.” And then we were ushered on.  It was a blur.

9. What is your favorite children’s book?

I don’t have a favorite, but I like these classics: books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.  Also, my mother in law bought Liam a book called Chu’s Day, which is a cute story that I'm sure I'll be reading a million times.

10. Where is your favorite place to have lived?

I’ll always love where I was born and raised, Brooklyn, NY, but I also love living in DC.  London is a close second if I had to live anywhere overseas.

11. What was the best part of your day yesterday?

The best part of my day was spending time with Alena and Liam at the park – and trying out that running stroller for the first time.  Stroller runs are tough!  Liam was having a blast, and I’m sure he felt like he was in an amusement park ride when going up and down hills.

And my recommended blog is:
Babaganosh by Kate

Many thanks again to Shannon!


05/19/2016 8:31am

You have get wonderful award from blogger and i really happy to see your award. You are given very good answer of all the question and i really appreciated your blog with all my young friends. Get authentic information from our native writer for your assignment work.

05/19/2016 8:22pm

Thanks for reading!

04/09/2017 8:03pm

This is my first time reading some interview in a blogger. This is a very good opportunity that will make me learn more about the blogger that you always looking forward to reading their new post. I like that the questions are unique and you may not usually gonna know to a blogger about this kind of information. I enjoy reading this interview and I hope you will get another interview soon to know more. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to your next post.

05/19/2016 6:58pm

Wow John, your travel story is crazy! Sounds exciting for a 20 year old, but the 30-year old me almost had a panic attack reading about how exhausting that must have been. Still though... seeing Queen, that's awesome!

05/19/2016 8:21pm

Haha- yeah, it was totally exhausting physically and frustrating (since I lost most of my money to even get food) just getting to the concert, but seeing Queen was totally worth it. :-)

12/20/2016 11:58am

You are totally deserve an award. Your blog is really educative. Thanks.

12/27/2016 9:38pm

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

12/27/2016 9:39pm

In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own Blog blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

01/14/2017 6:52am

Congratulations on your nomination for Leibster Award! As a newbie in blogging, it's a huge privilege to be part of this award-giving body, and being proclaimed as the winner is a once in a lifetime experience. Only bloggers can feel how rewarding it is to be part of Leibster award. Your answers in the questions were all good, and I felt the utmost honesty in it. You deserve to win, John! I'll be praying for more success of you!

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12/14/2017 9:39am

Who won Liebster Award this year and 2018 is about to knock at your door, what would you think about next year's winner, suggest here who will win it? Please share urgently.


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