Farewell, 2016!

December 31, 2016

I have this year-end tradition in my blog wherein I list down four things, the amount of each corresponding to the last two numbers of the year. It’s a way for me to share with others what happened in my 2016 – highlights, lowlights, and some lessons I realized. Since it’s 2016, I’ll be listing 16 items for each list. Here’s my 2016 recap.

Things I Did

Simple things I have accomplished which made 2016 fruitful

  • Fall in love with Istanbul. I went to Istanbul, Turkey last April for work. I stayed there for two weeks and it is now my favorite city in the world (despite all the sad things that are happening there as of late). I still have to work on publishing at least one post about my trip!
  • Launch my The Paper Junkie blog and vlog. I really didn’t expect it to receive the kind of support it has been receiving ever since I started. To be honest, I actually thought no one would bother to read my posts there because only a few people are really into stationery. I have underestimated the local and international planning communities!
  • Appear on national television! The story behind this is really so funny! When I started giving out hints that I’ll be appearing on TV, almost everyone thought it was a joke so they were surprised when I shared this video. I talked about designing planners in less than five minutes and it was really challenging.
  • Watch Les Miserables!!! It was one of the highlights of my 2016, really! If you haven’t yet, you can read about my experience. I’ve linked it here!
  • Work with more brands. I’m really blessed that a few brands have started noticing my blog and have been collaborating with me. I’m praying for more collaborations such as the current ones for next year!
  • We have a new dog! Her name is Kikay and she’s been with us since July and she’ll be 8 months old this January.
  • Vote for the Best President this country never had. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, you are greatly missed.
  • Separate my blog accounts (Instagram and Twitter) and created private ones for people I personally know. I had to push through with this because I converted my main Instagram account into a business account and I felt I wanted to be more private in sharing personal photos with people I don’t really know.
  • Remember Boo? My laptop for four years? I remember mentioning in my 2014 recap that I wasn’t able to have it fixed that year. But guess what? I WAS ABLE TO RETRIEVE MY FILES FROM ITS HARD DRIVE!!! My officemate let me borrow his techie stuff so I was able to see all my files there. I felt really happy and sad and relieved with all the photos and memories I was able to unearth again. Thanks again, Chad!
  • Get into new hobbies: creative planning, bullet journaling, brush calligraphy, and watercolor. Goodness, gracious! Even my parents were surprised I was trying to become artsy. I have no other people to blame but the planning community both local and international for all the enabling!
  • I met really good friends through the Philippine planning community and we call ourselves Planner Girls from the East. Now, no matter the age gap of some of us, single or married, mommies or no mommies, I love that we are able to relate to each other. They’re my support group not only in planning but in other aspects of life as well. I love that we can talk about anything under the sun and how they’re always there even though I don’t always see them. Shout out to my girls. Love you to bits!
  • Realized (for the nth time) that I should stop dwelling on the past and focus on the future instead. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to ever forget the past because of the lessons I’ve learned along the way no matter how hard the experiences were. But sometimes, especially when my hormones go all crazy, I tend to look back and find myself swimming on an endless ocean of thoughts, questions, and what ifs about the past.
  • Dyed my hair blonde. Well, it’s not supposed to be really THAT blonde. The hairdresser at the salon told me the exact color is Light Mat Blonde but I have no idea about it. As with most of my hair and beauty decisions, it was a spontaneous, “huling hirit sa 2016” decision.
  • Become really active in Zomato. The Zomato team have been really, really awesome and trusting to both this blog and my Zomato profile! I owe it all to you guys for me discovering my inner foodie and yearning for more food spots to try!
  • Celebrated my second year with Nichole.
  • Miss Tutty more. And more. And more each day.

Things I Didn't

My 2016 should-have-beens

  • LOSE MORE WEIGHT. I got a bit complacent with all the weight I lost last year that I started to binge eat a lot of unhealthy food again which led to me gaining 10 lbs of the 20 lbs I lost last year. As of writing, I currently weigh 139.4 lbs and I plan to change that come 2017.
  • FINISH MY READING GOAL. YET AGAIN. For the nth time! LOL! I set a goal of 12 books, ideally one for each month but I’ve only read six. And I haven’t even finished all the three books in my “Currently Reading” list on Goodreads.
  • Have a definite bucketlist for 2016. It sounds ironic right? I wasn’t able to actually sit and list down all the things I wanted to accomplish. I’m changing that this coming year.
  • Become consistent and active in blogging as I was last year. Item #1 under Lessons Learned will explain why.
  • Write more personal posts. I noticed that the last few posts for this year have been reviews and sponsored posts. A lot of people have been telling me they miss seeing personal posts from me.
  • Keep up on all my favorite shows. I became really busy with work and so I wasn’t able to really watch each episode on the day they were aired. I just finished a few episodes during my Christmas vacation!
  • Finish editing my Istanbul photos. Hey, don’t judge me!!! They’re almost a thousand, I’m not kidding. I’m too lazy to study Lightroom so I’m editing them on my phone using VSCO or Snapseed whenever I find the time or whenever I’m in the mood. So far, I’ve only edited a hundred or so and I need to finish 600 more. LOL. How fun is that?
  • Get over the trauma of being the victim of a snatcher. I would have to say, that was one of the worst personal experiences ever! My hands started shaking out of nowhere even a few weeks after the incident.
  • Stop calling out people who have grammatically incorrect post. I know, people hate killjoys and grammar nazis like me but hey, I’m just trying to “spread awareness” and correct wrong use of words in sentences, especially words that are non-existent. HA HA.
  • Get over John Lloyd Cruz and Flynn. This is really something constant in my year-ender recaps. Haha.
  • Delete my old Facebook account and create a new one. I’ve been contemplating about this for years already but I always end up not doing it anyway. I want to just create a new one and not confirm or add friends that don’t really know me personally. #VeryTita
  • Celebrate my fifth blogversary. I was just too busy with all my backlogs and getting ready for 2017 that it slipped my mind to prepare or cook up something for celebration. Maybe this January, I’ll host a giveaway as a post celebration!
  • Get my phone fixed. It’s been a year since the back case of my phone obtained a crack. That happened last year during our company outing in Puerto Galera.
  • “Keep quiet”. I don’t know what’s with 2016 but I felt so empowered to voice out my opinion and stand on certain issues even if I unknowingly got people pissed off because of my beliefs and principles. I should probably tone down and be back to the old, quiet me? Or should I not?
  • Tolerate crap and toxic people.
  • Cut my hair again. I’ve been wanting to cut my hair but then the fact that I wanted to grow my hair long outweighed it.

Happy Thoughts

Happy pills throughout the year

  • God and His amazing grace and sovereignty never fails me. I am always in awe at what He has planned out for my life. He gives me so much and loves me so much although I am undeserving. I will always be thankful that I have a relationship with Him. He’s my Source of strength and light.
  • FOXES. I started to like the idea of foxes because of The Little Prince. It’s a famous novel and one that I have read back in high school. This year, because of all the cute stuff I see from the planning groups, I became addicted to foxes. I shamelessly share photos and videos of them on Facebook and Twitter, and I even joined a Facebook group about foxes!
  • Rogue One didn’t receive all the hype that The Force Awakens did but it’s so underrated!!! I mean srsly, it was so awesome. I’m not going to spoil anything as I know that there are a lot of people who haven’t had the chance to watch it yet but I just want to say that it’s so good and I’m more excited for Star Wars VIII!!!
  • Reading God’s Word. It’s the best chill pill I can think of. Whenever I have my devotions, listen to sermons, or listen to Christian songs, my heart becomes so filled and overflowing with grace and peace. God has that effect on me and forever will.
  • Getting to spend more time with my boyfriend’s nephew. If you’re following me on Snapchat, I mostly post snaps of him there and sometimes post photos of him on Facebook. He’s a year old now and such a cutie. I’m still convincing him to say Ninang but he still hasn’t been able to say that word. I just have to wait! LOL.
  • LA LOLA CHURRERIA. I first tried La Lola Churros last year when we were in Rockwell for the Star Wars TFA screening. Since then, when the monthly visitor comes, I always tend to crave for it. I know it’s unhealthy and the calories are awful but it’s my go-to happy food! I wish they would open a branch in Gateway soon!
  • Random people messaging me out of nowhere, telling me that I inspire them. It may be a small thing for other people but it is such a big deal to me. One of the main reasons why I still have a blog is to inspire other people anyway.
  • Books, books, and more books. I’ve recently gotten in touch with my old bookworm self. I’ve had two major book hauls for the year. I bought a lot of books during the Manila International Book Fair and just yesterday, I bought books from Philippine Christian Book Store.
  • My job, no matter how stressful it may be sometimes, have opened great doors of opportunities for me this year. I’m still waiting on what God has in store for me in the company where I am working. But I know He’s keeping me here for the best.
  • I have fully converted Nichole into a Star Wars fan. I should do my part and try to like basketball now. LOL.
  • My planners and journals. It may seem weird for some but these items just never fail to help me destress. I sometimes get sad though that I don’t have all the time in the world to update them because I get home all tired and drained from work.
  • Random ukulele nights.
  • Getting surprise Christmas gifts from two of my closest friends. You both know who you are. Thank you for the bag and the fox stuff toy! My heart is filled with joy.
  • Stumbling on meaningful and well-written Christian Songs on Spotify.
  • Get-togethers and catch ups with friends.
  • My boyfriend taking the time and patience to know basic planning terms. His patience just amazes me every time.

Lessons Learned

2016 pabaon for a stronger and wiser Rej in 2017

  • I realized that it is better to live life as it is and not to live it just to blog about it. I have learned to be more appreciative of actually being in the moment rather than being there just to take good photos for my Instagram or my blog.
  • It’s okay to unfollow people both on the internet and in real life especially if they’re really toxic.
  • As a blogger, I will be a hypocrite if I say I don’t care about the number of people who follow my accounts. They play such a huge role in getting brands to notice you or for others to collaborate with you. But on the last half of 2016, I realized that I should not be afraid of that. Real readers will stick by you no matter what you post.
  • You can be the smartest, prettiest, and best person in the world for something you think you can excel at but that doesn’t matter at all if it’s not really meant for you. You would be the perfect fit in a more perfect situation. You just have to wait (and act while you wait, of course).
  • Stop wondering about what ifs and start taking chances. According to that famous Coldplay song, “If you never try, you’ll never know.”
  • I am very happy that I am busy and I have a social life outside the internet that I don’t need to dedicate an entire day to hate on someone.
  • Bigger things await you outside of your comfort zone. It may take a while before you finally find it but it will come. Sometimes, even when you least expect to stumble upon it.
  • I’m happy and proud about myself because I don’t need anyone’s online or offline validation to make me feel good about myself and my life.
  • Stop waiting around for someone who doesn’t and won’t even care. Be with someone who doesn’t and won’t ever leave you hanging dry.
  • Deleting my Timehop was a good idea.
  • After all these years, this holds true: even the slightest hunch means that something’s REALLY up.
  • I am literally nothing without God. I become weaker when I miss a day of devotion or prayer. I know that without Him, I can do and am nothing.
  • What works for you may not work for another person. Embrace the difference instead of enforcing your own beliefs to others.
  • It’s not wrong to care too much about things and people but it’s also not wrong to not care. For example, I just don’t care how others interpret something I say when I know deep inside what the truth is.
  • Never let your world or your happiness depend on a person or a thing.
  • The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

It feels like 2016 has been the worst year what with all the deaths and the tragedies that the world has faced. Our country also had its share of misfortunes throughout the year. It felt like it was an endless case of sad news. But then again, once you choose to look at the bright side, you’ll realize that no matter how hopeless or tragic the year may have been, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Even the simplest fact that I’m alive and healthy, finishing this post on the last day of 2016 is something to praise God for.

I am excited on what 2017 has in store for me. Well, aren’t we all? But I’ll be bringing all the memories and lessons with me from this year. Well, I wish everyone a happy new year!


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  • Reply Kai January 1, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Happy New Year, Ate Rej! I’ve created a new Facebook account a year ago because I wanted to have my personal space in terms of sharing stuff with the people I know closely or virtually. Also, I love your bullet journals! You’re one of the folks who got me into creating mine but I’m not doing it religiously (am i using the correct word?) as yours ( I wish I do). You can do more, Ate Rej! ☺


  • Reply Trish January 5, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Yes to Zomato! Finally met you because of a foodie meet-up last year. 🙂 Happy new year, Rej! Cheers to more adventures this 2017!

  • Reply Ochi Bernadas January 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Looking forward to your Istanbul posts! I don’t know a lot about the place which makes me all the more curious why it has become your favorite place. 🙂

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

  • Reply Jim Marlon Macaraeg January 11, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Wow! You have a great year. Wishing you a better year this 2017.

    • Reply Rej Relova January 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you, Jim! You too 🙂

  • Reply Mark January 11, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Its been a great 2016. Cheers to a more fruitful year ahead!!!

  • Reply Christian January 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 – AMEN! A very good reminder for 2017.

  • Reply AJ January 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post! Hoping for a better year for you this 2017! God bless! 🙂

  • Reply Nino James G. Haos January 17, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I’m amazed by your honesty and clarity especially on your 2016 “Lesson Learned” list. Your writing x theme x overall blog is so neat, calm and relaxing. May the Lord continue to bless you and use you to inspire others 😉

  • Reply Charmaine Almasen January 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    You are really inspiring Rej! 😀

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