2016 Favorites: Films + Books + Music

Hello! Okay, so this is my first time to do a roundup of sorts and because I wasn’t able to curate these every month (huuu time where are you), I’m sharing a roundup of my favorites from 2016. Read on to find out more.

Films / Series

I promised to watch 100 films this year (I did…I think?) so every time I had a free day or night, I’d spend hours reading reviews and watching films. If you know me well, my preferred genres are coming-of-age, indie, period films & biopics. Here were some that made an impression for me:


This may be six years old already but movie critics did say it is the “quintessential coming-of-age” film. I really loved Craig Roberts’ character as he tried to decipher his transition to adulthood, finding romance, and discovering himself by being openly curious and a person full of questions (like me).

Okay honestly I feel like I am him sometimes that’s why I really enjoyed the film (lol). Apart from that, Alex Turner’s songs really set the mood for the film. 

Sing Street

Anything that involves making music or pursuing one’s passion always, ALWAYS goes into my favorites list. Throw in a cute lead guy and his journey to win a girl’s heart and I’m sold.

Won’t spoil much about this film but watch it! Same director as Once and Begin Again.

(Listen to the OST, and thank me later.)

Nowhere Boy

I’ve always been a Beatles fan ever since my cousin bought a Rockband set (Beatles edition!) and we started “playing” on a regular basis during my teenage years. I can also remember freaking out upon seeing Abbey Road in London a few years back.

That being said, I’m not a big fan, but I am a fan. I am particularly drawn to films that are bits and pieces of a famous or notable person’s life before they became big, and this was one of them. It’s interesting to see John Lennon pre-Beatles and his adolescence, and how he shaped his future from there.

(Bonus: Aaron Johnson will make you swoon. Also, the color tones are very European so that definitely makes the film worth watching too.)

Steve Jobs

As I mentioned in Nowhere Boy, I like biopics in general. This was a good rendition of Steve Jobs’ life in three parts…but I’m not sure if they’re 100% true (there are lots of arguements in various articles about the genuinity of the facts).

(The last part of the film – which I won’t spoil – played a Maccabees song, “Grew Up After Midnight”. It’s my current fave.)

Pride & Prejudice

Keira Knightley, you slay. I love her strong & independent personality and at the same time, her vulnerability when it comes to love and relationships. Must watch if you’re period film buff like me! 

When Harry Met Sally

After watching this film (a reco by my best friend), I’ll never look at love stories the same way again. This was so honest and real, and it goes to my favorites instantly.



Aside from Hilary Duff being part of the cast, what kept me hooked with this series was the fun characters and the setup – because it’s set in the publishing industry (where I sort of am in…) so it was really eye-opening. That and I’m #TeamCharles for Liza.

(Watch! The Season 3 finale just aired so more time to catch up.)

One Tree Hill


I grew up with One Tree Hill (here is an artwork inspired by it). I remember first discovering Jimmy Eat World & Fall Out Boy thanks to this series, and my life has never been the same. Now that I’ve rewatched it (at a more mature age hehe) I learned to appreciate it more especially on the issues they faced as they transitioned to adulthood.

Fun fact: I always research about the songs used in every episode and I’ve curated my favorite ones in this playlist: OTH Feels

Also, check out the different monologues on every episode. Swear, so many feelings.

(Also, Leyton FOREVER. Relationship/soulmate goals!)


I have a wide range of music preferences. Mostly indie folk, but I have a soft spot for other genres too. I’m warning you, my fave songs are not all in the same music genre 😛


(in no particular order, lelz)

→ Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

→ 29 – Run River North

→ Grew Up After Midnight – The Maccabees

→ Feeling a Moment – Tender

More here on my “Your Top Songs 2016” playlist 😀

Favorite playlists:

(click the links to access to Spotify!)

Folk Pop

KokoJam (since last year! HAHA)

Indie Faves

Discovered Weekly

Michelle Branch Tho


I spent more time reading magazines this year (heee sorry) and it also didn’t help that I wrote 2 books this year. But I did devote some time reading more non-fiction self-help books and one fiction book.

Books have always been my favorite investment — I feel like there are so many worlds I can enter with a turn of a page. And I like peeking into people’s thoughts too, coincidentally. Here are some of my favorites from this year’s batch of books that I was able to read. 🙂

→ Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa

(published by Chronicle Books)

Tippy told me about this (and she gave me my copy! Yay!) and wew, so much tough love. A little reminder on those days when you feel like your art doesn’t matter and you need that reassurance that it’s all just a phase. This always ends up on my bedside as my favorite to-read when I can’t sleep. (Also: I’m a new fan of Danielle Krysa! She is amazing!)

→ Coming of Age anthology

(published by Summit Books)

This collection of stories about turning 18 made me remember how my 18th year became a huge turning point in my life (haha, more on that on a future post, maybe). My favorites are The Bucket List & Andrea.

→ Lessons from Dad by Lance Gokongwei 

(published by Summit Books)

Finished this in one sitting; that’s how good it is. A compilation of life lessons (in categories) by Lance Gokongwei (son of business tycoon John Gokongwei), this little book packs a lot of insightful learnings and snippets into the life of John Gokongwei himself. I loooove 1) reading about successful people’s lives and 2) vintage Chinese photos (yes, specifically Chinese because I am one too) so this was definitely an instant favorite for me.

Disclaimer: This isn’t available in bookstores. (Thanks Summit Books for my copy!)

→ Want More Energy? by Dr. Libby Weaver

(published by Kikki.K Press)

A random find from Kikki.K Singapore (it was on sale!) and a very worthy purchase. If you need a little pep talk on how you’ve been living your life, read this. I was at a very depressed state when I picked this up and I felt better reading it. A super quick read (you can finish in less than an hour) but a reminder on things that you tend to leave out when you become extra busy with your life.

Write Here Write Now by AA Patawaran

(published by National Book Store publishing)

I picked up this book at the Literary Festival in the hopes of getting more insights about writing and improving my non-existent  writing skills. I also love AA Patawaran’s take on teaching readers how to look at grammar, sentence construction, telling stories, and the world of writing through his own eyes. (Eeek, I’m not done reading, but *almost* done)

→ Maximize Your Potential by 99U

(published by 99U)

The second installment of 99U’s trilogy of books, this book highlights the importance of making connections, finding the right tools to make your work matter, and other entrepreneurial things most often disregarded by other design or business books. I love 99U because they value the freelance lifestyle, and always know how to share tips on that particular industry.


I don’t remember stumbling upon Creative Pep Talk but ever since I did a few months back, I’ve been keen on listening to podcasts almost every day. It’s become a good way for me to take in insights from artists & creative entrepreneurs on a regular basis without having to sacrifice time (because usually I’m on a painting marathon while listening to them).

Note: Find these all on iTunes or at the Podcast app on your iPhone.

→ Creative Pep Talk

by Andy Miller

My ultimate favorite. Andy always gives so much insights on creativity, making a living with art, and stripping down the nitty gritty things not many people talk about when it comes to making art and pursuing a creative career.

Faves: Quit Pursuing Other People’s Dreams with Chase Jarvis | Gemma Correll on Anxiety, Humor & Pugs | Timothy Goodman on Vulnerability

→ Chase Jarvis Live

by Chase Jarvis

(If I’m not mistaken) these are recorded live and uploaded on Chase Jarvis’ YouTube. But transforming it into podcast form made it more valuable (for me). Chase shares insights together with fellow creatives and notable entrepreneurs on making things happen.

Faves: Sophia Amoruso | Arianna Huffington | Austin Kleon

Access all the podcast episodes here.

→ Girlboss Radio

by Sophia Amoruso

I’m such a fan of the whole #Girlboss movement but it’s only recently that I found interest into the girl behind it — Sophia Amoruso. I love this podcast which generally taps on the lives of “girlbosses” and talks about the journey behind their road to success.

Faves: Emily Weiss, Founder & CEO of Glossier | Brit Morin, Founder & CEO of Brit+Co

→ Pardon My French

by Garance Doré

Garance is such an amazing woman (#goals) and I really love her episodes interviewing famed people because it usually feels like a conversation and I love eavesdropping on them (lol what). I’ve yet to listen to more episodes but it’s on my list!

Fave: Grace Bonney & Anna Bond (these two are my favorite creative entrepreneurs!) 

→ Art For Your Ear

by Danielle Krysa

Danielle (who is also the author of Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk) gives sound advice on various creative topics from her fellow artists and friends and overall, Art For Your Ear is an avenue into learning more about the process, workflow, tips and other deets concerning a wide range of creative topics.

Faves: Bunnie Reiss | Lisa Congdon | Kate Woodrow

Okay, so that ends my roundup for the year. 😀 Quick shoutout to my friends for inspiring me to consume more this year — it feels overwhelming but at the same time very eye-opening for me, because I found my personal taste to be more refined now that I think about it.

So, what was your favorites this year? Let me know in the comments below 🙂