We had the good fortune of connecting with Patricia Tran and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Patricia, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I’ve always struggled with work life balance my entire life, except it’s a school life balance for me. Throughout college, and especially in my first year of medical school I found it very hard to relax, and almost guilty when I wanted to do something besides studying (especially when I wanted to sleep). During my second year of medical school, I figured that all this time trying to be productive when I wasn’t even mentally present. I started to prioritize sleep over staying up till 3 am, and switched from being a night owl to a semi early bird, which made me more present during my classes. Another thing I think has undeniably made my life more balanced was finding a hobby. Before I started blogging about my food, my pastime was netflix and shopping. It was undeniably fun, but wasn’t something I could be passionate about. As I pursued this, there were many aspects that came with it. I was social networking, photo editing, working on photography, all while being a medical student. I wasn’t just constantly studying and working on things surrounding around my academics or career. Yes, I’ve always prioritized my career and I still do, but now I do think that you can have both a life and career. And like everything else, you have to make time for things you want to do, including the fun things.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Someone once told me that eating was not a hobby, but oh it most definitely is. I’ve always loved trying new foods, and different takes on the same foods. Once I figured out how to make this a even more concrete hobby, it became my creative outlet. In regards to the photography aspect, there is so much rearranging that goes behind the picture to make sure I’m capturing the food exactly how I want my viewers to see it. Like humans, foods have their good sides too! After the picture, comes the editing part. This is once of my favorite parts of the process, just because good editing skills can make your phone pictures look so professional! I love playing around with the color tones because it does affect the type of mood you are trying to portray. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned with this is to not get too caught up with the sponsors and the media events. I have to admit, that it’s very exciting to be invited to try out all these new places, and even old places I’m a fan of. However, I also want to be honest with my reviews, and I think being able to be honest without sounding rude or unappreciative is a challenge I find myself coming across. As a foodie, I do look to other foodie’s reviews on places I’ve yet to try, and I do trust what they say. So with that in mind, I try to be as sincere about the foods I’ve tried and are making a post about. At the end of the day, my brand is: Food isn’t meant just for survival; it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I grew up in the 626 area and I am still in awe of all the food places I’ve discovered and are on my to go to lists, so I would definitely start here. A perfect place for breakfast is dim sum at Lunasia, which has the best quality dim sum I’ve ever had! Their Shumais are enormous, and a must try! Another local place I love would be Mama Lu’s Dumpling House, which offers the best xiao long baos, beef noodle soup, and spicy wontons. This place is definitely a hidden gem in the 626 area and is so underrated compared to Din Tai Fung. Other must tries: Kosuke Ramen, Summer Rolls, Tokyo Friend Chicken, A Ri Rang Tofu House. If you’re in the 626, you must have boba! With a boba place at every block, it’s hard to choose my favorites, but at the top of my list is: 1) Wushiland (great for classic milk teas) 2) The Alley (their brown sugar creme brulee drink is to die for) 3) Factory Tea Bar (great for group hang outs and my favorite place for popcorn chicken) 4) Twinkle Brown Sugar (I grew up with this place and still love their variety of drinks they offer) Some of my favorite places to hang out at: 1) Westfield Santa Anita Mall (I’d definitely take someone who loves shopping here! After their remodeling, they have many popular stores and the cutest new food hall) 2) 626 Night Market in the summer (Such a fun event to try different foods and socialize with your friends) 3) The Huntington Library (It’s a beautiful collection of different gardens and art that you can spend the whole day at!)

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my family and boyfriend who has sponsored my way through this foodie journey. No one needs more financial support than a poor medical student! Besides financially, they’ve been the calm to my storm in all aspects of my life.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/socal.foodist/
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=VkNdsVeZNJPf5Wjyb1bUCg

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