We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Tran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
I ask myself all the time, what makes me happy. It’s a compelling question we should all ask ourselves from time to time, as what makes us happy might change. It’s important to think about happiness in terms of your personal and professional life because you spend so much of your time “working”. At the end of the day, I value time with my family and friends, as well as doing something meaningful in life. Happiness, to me, comes down to what values I find important. No matter what endeavors I take on or what ambitions I have, I’m realizing more and more the value of time and how I should spend it. Whatever success I might have or am working towards, money and success is nothing if I’m not healthy to enjoy it and if I don’t have the time to share that success with my family and friends. This bigger question is something I struggle with all the time. I’m always trying to balance my life and re-calibrate to manage my time so that I can help others, pursue my own ambitions, but also make time for those that I love. If I can balance these notions of philanthropy, personal fulfillment, and my personal relationships, I call that happiness and success. Success is nothing if you aren’t happy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have two “blogs” on social media. My personal account, @inyofacejtcooks is where I share things to do in Los Angeles, restaurants to check out, and shine a spot light on small businesses and important causes. More recently, I’ve also created a separate channel @sharemyroots specifically dedicated towards cooking and sharing my roots through storytelling. I’m most proud about making the most of my relationships along the way. I feel like the people you meet in your life really help open your eyes and hearts to new perspectives and values. I meet so many small business owners and content creators that inspire the entrepreneurship side of me, my creativity, and my aspirations to make a difference. Although I take pride in helping small businesses by sharing information about their company and creating creative content, my biggest accomplishment after starting my blog, is the time I’ve spent with parents learning about their history and my roots. I’ve taken as many opportunities as I can to ask more questions so I can preserve my heritage for future generations. I also take pride that I have been able to incorporate my passion for blogging with the things that matter to me most, spending time with my family. It has been really fun sharing time with my parents and having deep conversations while giving them some new restaurants and experiences, pre-covid. Post-covid, I’ve been making cooking videos with my mom to learn all my favorite dishes and sharing narrations about their refugee experience. Social media can have its negatives, but it also gives you the platform to reach people around the world from all walks of life to create something special. Establishing these relationships and a supportive community is quite enriching and has helped me become a better person. As much as I love to share, I’m also learning so much from others. Pursuing something you love isn’t always easy. It takes time, energy, commitment and sacrifices. My advice to others is to remember what’s most important to you and reflect once in awhile on how you spend your time. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t see results right away – anything good takes time. And, make sure you aren’t sacrificing the other stuff that makes you happy like time with loved ones. That’s something I’ve been trying to balance myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The value of traveling in my eyes is the opportunity to be enriched by the culture and people of another city. That’s why I love traveling is because I leave with a new sense of understanding of the world and food is a huge part of that experience. Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures and there is so much variety of food to choose from with different districts to visit that can impart a flair for one’s culture. Covid times are so different in how we can enjoy time together or visits. So safety is an important factor. Putting that aside, on a normal visit pre-covid, there are different pockets to explore in LA. In the heart of downtown LA, you’ll find the marketplace on the weekends, where people hustle . You can rent bikes by the hour and explore the Arts district where there is beautiful artwork on the walls of restaurants and buildings, breweries and unique eateries. Then, you can return back to downtown LA to enjoy the night scene on the outdoor patios of restaurants or rooftop bars overlooking the city. Chinatown, Japantown, Koreatown all have their own exciting experiences that can take up their own day to explore. You can visit the Grove where you’ll find the farmer’s market, then hit LACMA museum of art and make your way to The Beverly Center and WEHO. West Hollywood has its own fun vibe, with a ton of rooftop bars and restaurants. And, you can’t forget to visit the beaches like Santa Monica or Venice where on most days, you’ll find sunny with a cool ocean breeze where you can just bask in the sunshine and stroll around third street promenade where you’ll find tons of restaurants and street performers in the evenings. To fulfill that tourism bug, on another day, you can take hike up the Hollywood sign or see it from afar while exploring the Chinese Roman Theatre to match your feet with shoe prints of famous movie stars. The options are endless! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to first and foremost, my family and friends. My parents are my number-one supporters and sacrificed so much for us to have a better life. Learning more about their history and keeping their stories and history alive through storytelling and my love for cooking has been so rewarding beyond words. They are my number one supporters. My siblings also mean so much to me and encourage me to put myself out there, always talking me up to build my confidence. I also can’t thank my friends over the years and the new friends I’ve made through blogging. I’ve had the honor of meeting really genuine people who have been supportive, positive and inspiring. And, of course my husband is always by my side 24/7 to listen and be my support crutch if I have tough days for one reason or another.