2016: Year in Review

Where did the past 12 months go? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ This question suddenly popped out of my head as I am typing this in my favorite cafe, tucked in at my favorite spot on a quiet Thursday morning.

Every year, I try to put up a little “personal essay” of sorts sharing tidbits of life and overall how things have transpired in a span of a year. (Read: 2014 Highlights / 2015 Highlights)

When I first started blogging at 13 in my (already dead) Multiply account, I had always been fond of keeping records of daily adventures and misadventures, growing pains, and literally anything under the sun I wanted to talk about. That never seemed to change 10 years later, but I think, at this point, it’s more important to write about things that I really want to impart to you, my readers.

NGL, if I were to describe 2016 in one emoji, it would be this: ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Read on to find out more about what made this year a memorable one for me.

Becoming an (artist and) author

“You’re such a celebrity now, with all your bestselling books! Wow!” is just an example of something I’d regularly get from someone who attends my events, or people I haven’t seen in so long. It’s so pretentious — this whole “celebrity” thing. And truth be told, I have never even bothered to think of myself that way. At all.

2016 was a patience-testing year, to be honest. It was so overwhelming to take everything all in; and at the same time, be thrown into unknown circumstances. I am so happy (and was a tad bit scared to begin with) that I was given the opportunity to write my second book, despite telling myself at first that I couldn’t do it (my inner critic is horrible). Also, they’ve both become bestsellers here in the Philippines (??? huhuhu) and it’s been amazing, really. I am also grateful to be able to write my first international book, which is coming out in July of 2017 in the US. ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from that, I got to produce my own journal! I have been dreaming this since I was a teenager, and always failed to do it because it wasn’t right enough yet (at the time). Making the ABC Daily Journal come to life was such a rewarding experience. I also got to collaborate with amazing brands and people, and checked off some dreams from my bucket list (such as: my CNN interview!).

A big chunk of this year trained me to be tough, courageous, and logical into putting my mind (and heart) into my work, because I had to snap into the fact that this is my job now. I am both an artist and an author. And I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes in the coming years. ๐Ÿ™‚

Related Posts:

The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch | The Making of: The ABCs of Journaling


Earlier this year, I got to visit Singapore again to conduct my first two overseas workshops. Little did I know, we had to open another class to accommodate another batch of students! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ It was great that I met up w/ my friends as well. Thanks too to Jo of The Letter J Supply for the warm welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last month, Tippy & I both spent a weekend teaching in Singapore, but this time, bringing our collab workshop overseas: Letters & Colors. ๐Ÿ˜€ It was a fun experience! Definitely worth remembering. (Thanks also to all the lovely people I got to meet in class!)

Related Post: Workshop Weekend in Singapore

Creative Retreats

My ~wanderlust~ self wouldn’t be quite pleased since I didn’t travel a lot this year. But I’m okay with that. Last year I was always out and about and I didn’t prepare for it, and overall it wasn’t cool.

This year I prioritized on having “creative retreats” every time Iย leave home, because it gave me more reason to see what’s out there and be wary of the beauty that this world (still) has. Oh, and I got to experience autumn for the first time (in Korea), so, I’m cryingย contented. ๐Ÿ˜€

But I guess the best trips this year involved my 2-week vacation in Japan last Spring (where I learned more about myself, tbh) and a quick peek of South Korea last Autumn ๐Ÿ˜€

Related Posts:

En Route: Tokyo, Japan

En Route: Singapore 2016 Photo Diary

Singapore Roundup: Art, Books, Crafts, Coffee

Stationery Shopping in Korea

Road to self-discovery

With all the challenges and work-related endeavours coming at me this year, they all paved the way for me to know myself more, among other things — and I think it’s pretty much a good way to discover things I haven’t figured out about myself and my behavior in the past years.

I’ve always been an advocate of being a better version of myself, and I think 2016 showed that to me. So, I just discovered how much I loved working out and how it has been an important part of my weekย (haha, thanks Den & Tippeh!), and staying introverted on a regular basis (does spending a whole day painting alone in the HQ count?)ย especially after people-filled events. I started listening to podcasts (y’all should listen to Girlboss & Creative Pep Talk), surrounding myself with positive energy, finding time to unwind (ahem, watching movies and One Tree Hill), writing, relaxing, and spending more time with friends and family. For the first time in my life, I’ve never felt freer.

I’ve also never been a settler: I moved to a new website this year, aka the platform you are reading this blog post from. It’s been great so far. I’ve been putting off blogging every once in awhile but I realized that I can’t, so next year I’m planning to expand this more and spend more time writing, since I’ll be on “hibernation” from work early next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Related Posts:

Gratefulness | On Settlementsย | 2016 Favorites

Meaningful Friendships

There are people who just breeze past your life and leave without any note. And then there are people who constantly check up on you and ask how you’re doing, how you’d like to spend a day outside work. Or people who’d invite you for a lovely conversation-filled day over shopping, coffee, or maybe, a spontaneous workout session. Or notable people whom you can virtually call your “officemates” because why not. ๐Ÿ˜›

And then there are low-maintenance friendships that have always lasted from the very beginning. Friendships that have been built on fundamental ground. People who don’t necessarily send a “hello” but when you meet up from time to time, it’s like you’re transported to 10 years ago, and nothing seems to have changed.

There are also friends who become family, friends who remind you that at the end of the day, it’s a good life. And that it’s definitely worth living for. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have always felt like I was okay being alone, but it’s also perfectly okay to have people to turn to and talk to. This year taught me that — and I’m grateful for every kind soul I’ve met, exchanged life talks with, people who have become my constants, best friends who have always been there since day one — since that day in 2007 where I stopped walking alone in the halls of my alma mater back then (long story). Things have never been better.

Hey, 2016. You did good. It wasn’t all picture-perfect, but it was a good year overall.

So, how did your year go? ๐Ÿ™‚


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