Year in review posts are always a favorite of mine to write because I get to reflect on the last 12 months and realise how far I’ve come.
And truly 2022 was a good year!
So much better than 2021 and definitely 2020.
I had so many moments where I felt so grateful.
At first I wanted to do like a year in highlights where I share one highlight per month, but I’m going to go ahead and make a list of the moments that I’m so grateful for!
Not just one a month, but both fangirl moments and achievements and milestones as a creator.
I asked some of you to help me decide if I would organise these milestones per category meaning all blogging milestones in under one header and all fan girl then life stuff in another.
However, the majority voted that no order was fine, so that’s what we’ll go with.
I landed a number of freelance projects for the year
As a freelancer and full-time blogger, it’s great when you land clients who want to work with you for a few months, and I had a couple of projects this year: from copywriting to virtual assistant projects. This year, I want to land more UGC projects. Check out my UGC portfolio here!
I won free access to ASTRO’s Jinjin and Rocky’s online dance class
On the first day of February, I found out that I won a free pass to Jinjin and Rocky’s online dance class for their title track “Just Breathe”.
I joined the contest but didn’t expect to win, so I was so shocked when I got the email.
I remember being a bundle of nervous but also excited because Jinjin and Rocky was conducting the class via Zoom and would pick fans to dance.
The class was 3 hours long or maybe even more and they had so much energy. I didn’t get picked to dance (THANKFULLY HAHA!) but I had prepared by learning the steps ahead.
Just in case I got picked I didn’t want to look like I was unprepared even if the point of the class was to learn the dance.
I won hand-signed Cha Eunwoo merchandise from Smart
Cha Eunwoo had an online fan meeting through Smart x Viu and were raffling off signed merchandise: a signed album, signed poster, a postcard with a message from Eunwoo and a bunch of Korean snacks.
I remember joining and wanting to win the signed album so badly or even the post card, but what I didn’t expect was that each winner would get all four items!
@izzmatias My #SmartISeeViu prizes arrived and I couldn’t be happier! I feel like I got a gift from Cha Eunwoo 😭💜 #kpop #astro #chaeunwoo #차은우 ♬ Love so Fine – CHA EUN-WOO (ASTRO)
I got approved as an Amazon affiliate
The first time I applied the year before, I wasn’t able to make the minimum purchase and my account was closed. Thankfully the second time around , a fellow blogger Sarah, helped out and purchased through my affiliate links and I got approved!
I experienced a Tiktok video going viral for the first time
I’d seen it happen to lots of creators and it had been a few months since I was posting seriously on Tiktok but didn’t see any results. Until a video I posted about KDrama blew up and got more than a 100K views.
It was the first time I’d seen that going viral did attract new followers and since then every month my account has been growing and a number of videos have gone viral too!
I started the year with less than 100 followers and ended with 2500! It may not be 10k in a year BUT STILL. It’s amazing growth for me especially when I’d been struggling with growing my Instagram account.
I launched my membership The Content Chest
Ever since launching this blog in 2018, I knew that eventually I wanted to set up a membership! And finally in 2022, I did it. I stopped waiting for things to be perfect and just went with it.
The Content Chest is a community for fans to connect, celebrate and learn.
A safe place for fans like you to geek out on the latest KDramas, learn about how you can become a better creator through pop culture and content creation how-to guides.
When we support each other, we grow together.
The Content Chest features exclusive content such as in-depth blogging how-tos like this Affiliate Marketing For Beginners + A Free Platform to Help You Start and insightful guides like the KPop Marketing Strategies to Help You Be a Better Content Creator as well as fun content that covers KDrama reviews and monthly playlists for those who also enjoy lifestyle content.
It’s both informative and fun because growing as a creative and content creator doesn’t have to be boring, overwhelming or lonely.
It’s about finding that balance to learn and grow while having fun and enjoying what you create content about.
Over the next few months, I was also able to collaborate with other bloggers and asked them for their honest review about The Content Chest.
Read some of the reviews here:
Check out The Content Chest here.
One of my favourite KPop artists replied to my tweet
One way KPop artists create hype around their new releases is to have a Twitter mention party where you send them questions using their official hashtags promoting an upcoming album.
Last March, ASTRO’s Moon Bin and Sanha held mention parties to promote their album Refuge. Each member had a specific day they would come on Twitter and answer questions.
They would say the day but not the time, so fans like me were on the lookout for when they’d post.
I remember sending them a flood of messages and for previous mention parties never got a reply.
I sent a mix of English and Korean messages, and just when I was about to give up sending a message, my gut was telling me to try one more time.
And it was that last time that Moon Bin replied to my tweet.
I was so shocked because though of course I wanted a reply I didn’t think I would get one!
The message I sent him was “I’m hungry. What should I eat?” and decided on that because I noticed that Bin likes to talk about food.
And he replied saying, “when you’re hungry you must eat.”
It was such a huge deal for me!
I joined Nylon Manila’s K-Council
In February, Nylon Manila was looking for 15 people to join their first ever K-Council.
But I only learned about it on the last day of application. I almost didn’t apply because I was too tired to film a video from scratch, but found a way to still submit a video entry.
Their selection process also had voting, so I wasn’t confident about that since I didn’t have a big following compared to other creators who joined.
But I received a message saying I’d made it to their first Nylon Manila K-Council. I was so grateful and I had this strong feeling that this was just the beginning of amazing things to come.
I got my first PR package
Even though I’ve been a blogger for a long time, it was only last year I got my first PR package and it was from Monki. I’m so grateful and glad I finally got into a PR list.
I became an official HallyuTalkPH Tiktok Creator
Tiktok Philippines invited me to join their Creator Program after seeing some of the content I was posting thanks to Nylon Manila.
One of the videos that went viral was my 5 KDramas That’ll Make You Laugh and up to now it’s still attracting new followers.
I’m so glad I got into their creator program because I also met fellow creators in the same niche and we even got to go to some events together.
I bought my first KPop light stick
Never would I have thought that I’d be buying a light stick and yet here we are.
The first time I saw a light stick was in the romantic comedy KDrama Her Private Life.
I remember being confused about what fans were holding at a concert. And now, I’ve gone down the blackhole of KPop and am an Aroha.
Honestly, my dream Astro light stick is the mini robong key rey which is their mini light stick because it’s so portable. I can imagine myself bringing the light stick to loads of events.
I’m maybe even planning to bring my Astro nightstick to a rock concert.
I grew my Tiktok account from 87 to 2500 in one!
For others that may not be such a big thing, but to me it is!! I still can’t believe it grew that much in one year. I’m so grateful and honestly seeing this growth makes me want to keep on posting on Tiktok.
I attended Cha Eunwoo’s fan meeting
I have SO much to say about this day. It was so magical. Everything aligned perfectly and fell into place.
Prior to the show, I messaged a few friends about how anxious I was about going. I almost didn’t even go. I went to 2 therapy sessions: one to prepare myself mentally and another after the fanmeet.
Ever since the fan meeting was announced in June, every day I prayed so hard to God to help me make the right decision. I wanted to go, but I was so scared I’d get sick and infect my household. I even quarantined myself for 5 days and took a PCR test just to be extra safe.
A week before the actual fanmeet, every hour I’d change my mind about going. It was mental torture. But a few days before the fan meet, I got a message from one of the publications I’ve been writing for for almost 10 years (I was an avid concert journalist before the pandemic).
They told me I was covering the fan meeting AND the press conference. I’d really been wanting to attend the press con since it was an intimate experience compared to the fan meet.
And if that wasn’t already a sign, the following day, I won a contest on Tiktok also granting me entry to the press conference! So it wasn’t just once, but twice that I’d gotten a very clear sign to go. That put me at peace and I knew I was going for sure.
I booked a hotel for two nights: the day before the show and the same night so that I wouldn’t get so tired since the venue was 2 hours away from my house.
There were many things I was anxious about: getting lost driving to the venue or getting flagged by the traffic enforcers if I made a mistake driving (thankfully I made no mistakes!!), where to park.. The list goes on.
After I’d checked in, and disinfected my room, I could finally breathe..somewhat and it was only then that it sunk in that the next day, I’d be meeting Cha Eunwoo, the guy who got me into KPop and the reason I became an Aroha..
And the person who inspired me to be a better person.
I got front row seats to the press conference and fan meeting
This was another pinch me.. Y/N moment in real life! I never expected this, but I was so lucky that I was able to get a seat at the front row during the press conference so I could see Cha Eunwoo up close and clearly… And he could see me!
I’d mentioned to my friends that when he walked up on stage, I had this moment where I felt like he recognised me because of the way he looked at me. I wasn’t sure because I was wearing a mask, so how could he recognise me from that Penshoppe video which I had submitted almost a year ago?
The press conference itself was only 10 minutes–a nod to the name of his fan meeting. The questions were pre-approved, and I was on professional mode because I was there to cover the event and take photos and videos and write an article.
I didn’t feel starstruck by his presence–just sort of a peaceful feeling.
I was happy that I was able to meet some of the friends I’d been chatting with online for months and had gotten close to. I even bumped into an old colleague back when I was working for a local broadcasting station, and she asked to interview me and I joked that I used to be the one interviewing people behind the camera as a producer and now I was the interviewee.
I loved hanging out with my online friends turned real life friends. It was the highlight next to actually seeing Cha Eunwoo!
During the fanmeeting itself, I also scored front row seats thanks to an angel! She had an extra seat and gave it to me.. And thanks to that, I got to enjoy the fan meeting away from the crowd (we were on the side of the stage) and even got a special souvenir from Cha Eunwoo.. Which you’ll find out in my next point..
Cha Eunwoo gave me a rose
The first time I saw fans getting a rose (or roses) was during Astro’s online concert in Seoul called Stargazer.
Cha Eunwoo and the members gave roses to fans. During Cha Eunwoo’s performance of his solo song, First Love, he gave a bouquet to a fan.
I remember feeling so happy and excited for that person who received the bouquet. Then even during one of the group songs, each member had a rose each to give a fan.
I remember telling my mom “I want that bouquet” or “Imagine what it would be like to receive a rose from Cha Eunwoo”. I’d only hoped I would but then the dream became a reality on August 6!
Before the fan meeting, fellow Arohas (Astro calls their fans Aroha) were planning on what to do for the fan meet.
Some of them got SVIP tickets which came with the hi hello experience—so they’d be walking past Eunwoo after the show to say hi to him. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get an SVIP ticket because it sold out during pre-sale. I was so sad about that, but looking back, it only meant a better thing was coming my way!
I printed a sign that said, “I’m the girl you saw dancing in the Penshoppe video” referring to this video he saw of me and reacted to last year. I had the sign as if I’d gotten a hi-hello moment too because I’d been wishing up to the last moment that I’d somehow score SVIP tickets.. But I got an even better seat!
Since Manila was his third stop for his fan meeting tour, I knew Cha Eunwoo was giving out roses and since I didn’t get a hi-hello ticket, the plan was to hold up my sign during the song with the roses.
And that’s exactly what I did. As soon as he came out with a basket of roses singing to Aloha, I waited for my moment. When he stood up to start throwing roses, I ran to the barricade and held up my sign.. And what happened next is still a dream to me. All I remember from my memory is that he was walking to me smiling. Next thing I knew I had a rose. Thankfully a number of my friends recorded the moment, so I have more vivid memories of what happened.
And he really did smile at me as he gave me the rose. I’d like to believe that when he saw the sign it meant he remembered me–and hopefully he’d gotten a copy of my book too–since I sent him a copy of my book earlier in the year!
Hands down… that’s the best fan moment of 2022. I can’t wait for what’s to come next!!!
I met fellow HallyuTalkPH Official Tiktok Creators
I mentioned this earlier, but it was so, so great to finally meet fellow creators and fellow Arohas in real life.
I really missed fangirling in real life.
We were also the loudest because we were talking before the rest of the fans came into the venue of the fan meet. It’s really different hanging out with people who love the same things you do!
I was interviewed about being an Aroha
The interview I mentioned earlier was about how I became a fan of Eunwoo which led to me talking about becoming an Aroha.
And how Astro and Eunwoo inspired me to finally have the courage to self-publish my book, The Hush Society Presents, which even debuted #1 on Amazon’s Teen and Young Adult Music ebook category in 2021!
My Philippine Concerts article about the fan meeting was a hit
After the glorious and exciting moments of the fan meeting over the weekend, it was time to get to work as soon as I got home and was in quarantine ( I tested negative after my quarantine, another thing I’m so grateful for!). I had a lot of content to put out. I had to submit two videos as an official Tiktok creator as well as write the post-event article for Cha Eunwoo’s fan meet and it did really well!
You can read it here: A Starry Night with Cha Eunwoo
I contributed to the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit 2022
Never would I have imagined that when I first bought the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in 2018 that I would become a contributor in 2022.
I got to contribute my course “How to Build a Money-Making Blog” to the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. What a pinch me moment!
I actually learned I got in the bundle in August but couldn’t announce anything until the bundle promotions were live which was in September.
I also got a copy of this year’s Genius Blogger’s Toolkit and have already started on one of the courses and it’s been very helpful! Since finishing that course, I’ve gotten more offers to do sponsored collaborations!
I did a collaboration with Netflix
Yes, Netflix! And it was to promote their global fan event called TuDum.
I can’t believe that I’m getting more collaborations now from Tiktok than blogging, but I would still really love to book sponsored posts collaborations for my blog since it’s still my main content pillar.
This was the best year in terms of collaborations
While not all of my collaborations this year were paid, I was still grateful for every opportunity because that means I was getting in front of brands. My focus was to build my portfolio and establish a relationship with these brands so hopefully the next collabs with them are paid.
This year though I’ll be focusing on paid collaborations and UGC.
Check out my UGC portfolio here.
I started a new series called KDrama Chat
I launched this new series called KDrama Chat where I share a mini review of each episode of a KDrama I’m watching both on Tiktok and on the blog.
The reason why I did this is because it’s fun to discuss what happens in each episode and speculate what happens next.
The only downside is since I’ve now started doing this, I shouldn’t binge watch so that I can write and process each episode separately and not confuse what happens in which episode, but this is proving to be difficult because I love to binge watch.
Aside from that, I don’t want to start a new KDrama until I know I have the time to process each episode (and not binge!)
I was invited to my first brand event as an influencer (outside of Tiktok) since the pandemic
I’ve been invited to a couple of events in the past as a blogger, but since the pandemic this is the first event I was invited to by a PR agency.
Most of the past events I’ve been going to have been all thanks to Tiktok (which I’m super grateful for btw!!). I hope I can get invited to more events and also get more sponsored collaborations.
I went on my first flight since 2019
Before catching Covid, we’d booked a trip to Bacolod and thankfully recovered just in time for the trip. It was so nice to be at the airport again! My last trip was in 2019 when I went to South Korea.
I’m so glad that 2019 me got to travel three times that year because we didn’t know what was to come in 2020! That reminds me, I still need to write that Japan itinerary guide.
The thing is I can’t find my notes. I normally write notes whenever I go to a new place so I can remember things in detail not just for the blog but also so I can reminisce it clearly!
And those are my top moments of 2022! What about you? What are your favorite moments?
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