So we usually see these type of things at the end of a calendar year, but even though we’re already one and a half months into 2017, I thought I’d share “My Best 9” of 2015 and 2016.

My Best Nine is a small website and tool that brings up your Instagram feed’s 9 most liked pictures of the year. The latest is for 2016, but there’s also one for 2015. It’s a relatively simple tool, and free. Here are the best nine from my last two years.


Jose Cervantes Best Nine 2016

Here are some memories related to some of the pictures for 2016. Pictures are numbered from left to right, from top to bottom.

  1. I was in Gioia del Colle, Italy here in the summer of 2016. I was visiting my sister and her family in Italy, and also meeting my niece Cristina for the first time. Here I was walking in the town with her as she was beginning to learn to walk. Amazing!
  2. This is a picture of Perla and I at the airport as we were getting ready to start that same trip to Italy.
  3. A picture of my bros! Here Christian and Edgar hung out together in Pomona and shared the picture with the family, which I uploaded on Instagram.
  4. The Italy trip again! I am hanging with my sister in a small, beautiful coastal town of Ostuni. It is in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic sea in Puglia. It is a popular summer destination and it is known for many of its white-washed buildings. The picture is from a night we hung out in the city center. We took a nice stroll with the kids and Perla took the picture.
  5. On the same Italian trip in the summer, here I am dressed up for a wedding in Ancona, Italy where friends of the Petrera family married (Giuseppe and Chiara, who eventually also visited us in Long Beach, CA). I am walking around with Cristina, who was looking beautiful in her dress.
  6. At the same wedding, this is Perla and I taking a pose before we sat down for dinner. The wedding was at a beautiful winery in the countryside of Ancona. Visiting Ancona was an unexpected surprise. To get there, we had to rent a car and drive behind my brother-in-law and sister up the Italian coastline, about 6 hours. It was also a jump-off point for us to get the opportunity to visit Venice, which I had not planned for at all but turned out to be an amazing experience.
  7. Guess who? Filippo, but not in Italy — in Los Angeles! Here we are actually having a casual dinner with Martha who came to CA after a couple of years of not visiting. Cristina was able to meet the family, and we were blessed to have them here for 3 weeks. In this picture, we’re hanging out at one of our family’s favorite casual spots in the neighborhood, Chicken Maison. Filippo always likes to carry toy cars to entertain himself, and of course, like a toddler, was bored just sitting because he wanted to be walking and playing around.
  8. Again, Perla and I at the airport during the Italian trip vacation. I guess we take a lot of pictures at the airport?
  9. This picture was of Perla and I at Palm Springs, CA. We stayed at a really nice, small boutique hotel called The Palm Springs Hotel. It was a perfect stay that weekend since it wasn’t too popular in September, and the weather was perfect for a nice fall getaway. Perla and my aunt Durven share the same birthday, so we all went out to celebrate.


Jose Cervantes Best Nine 2015

  1. I didn’t take this picture, but it was a picture of a famous beach in Big Sur, CA — Pfeiffer Beach. I forget exactly where I got this picture so I can’t credit it, but it was a beautiful shot I found that also showed the night sky and the Milky Way.
  2. Mom and I. I don’t know what we were doing, but it must’ve been a local weekend outing somewhere. I am driving her car.
  3. Perla and I at my aunt’s house for what I think was Thanksgiving.
  4. Perla and I dressed up for Halloween. We went to a friend’s building’s party in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t always dress up for Halloween, but when I do, it’s fun! Although I really think I am too old for it now.
  5. I love this picture. It is Perla as we ride a boardwalk ride in Santa Cruz, CA. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a classic California summer experience at the beach. I love it. I believe it is home to the oldest still working roller coaster west of the Mississippi. This was a vacation we took in 2015 in the summer time. I always wanted to show Perla the Santa Cruz area and do it right. For this vacation, we took a 6 day trip to Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. We ended our trip with a 2 day backpacking hike into the Santa Cruz mountains where we hiked in and camped in. Great memories.
  6. This big chair is located in downtown Los Angeles at The Reef building. It is a creative building with a lot of shops. I took this picture after a night of teaching web development and digital marketing courses. I don’t remember the night or the class specifically. I’ve always thought it’d be cool to sit on that giant chair.
  7. Chico. Chico. Chico. I don’t know what the little guy was doing other than standing the things I put him through. Here he’s wearing his cool little sweater and probably wondering, “What the hell?”
  8. At mom’s just taking a selfie. My job had given everyone a selfie stick as a just-because gift and I was trying it out. It came with a nice little controller which I thought was cool, and this was the first picture I took with it via the control.
  9. One of my best friends invited me to a Lakers basketball game and I had the chance to see Kobe up-close during his last basketball season. The Lakers won the game if I remember correctly, and Kobe had a big passing and scoring game.

Everyday, every week, every weekend, every month and every year is a blessing and an opportunity for new memories. We are currently living our 2017 year. Don’t just appreciate the “best nine” memories of the year at the end of the year. Realize that you might be living one of those best nine memories today, or tomorrow. Most of the best memories probably don’t even make it to Instagram. This is just a reminder that it’s good to look back, but also that life is already in front of you.

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