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Showing posts from February, 2017

Rudraksha Mala Beads, Hugs and Love Will Always Find A Way

I me t Amma , the Hugging Saint", five years ago at the Javits Center in New York.   and since then, I've carried or worn my mala beads. People from all over the world came to experience her embrace, which is known to give comfort. Her teachings encourage people to love, serve, conserve and practice -- all about peace and happiness.

Teens, Chores and Childhood Memories

Growing up in the Philippines, my mother raised me and my brothers to help with the household chores. Therefore, when I became a mother, I knew my children would be doing chores, too.  When my children were younger, they took turns vacuuming, mopping, folding the laundry, and dusting furniture. For some reason, dusting tchotchkes wasn't a popular task. They'd rather vacuum and mop than dust. My children weren't looking forward to doing the chores, but they all knew that they were all expected to help out. Getting my children to do their chores was easier when they were younger. Teenagers, I found out, love to negotiate. However, since my children were expected to participate and contribute around the house, getting them to help out wasn't as difficult. Together with my husband, we set some guidelines: Schedule a day when chores get done. Identify expectations. Be specific. Compromise, pick your battles. Express gratitude.  It is my hope th

Happy Hour at Seasons 52: $33 of Fun dining, music, & friendly faces with Flights & Flat Breads & Appetizers

My husband and I rarely go out to eat but when we do, we always want the experience to be worthy of our time and money. Last summer, we discovered Seasons 52 by the Menlo Park Mall. We were greeted with a warm welcome when we walked in. We didn’t have reservations so we sat at one of the booths at the bar. Our waiter was very attentive.  The drinks, food and dessert didn’t disappoint. The tab was less than $100. We were so pleasantly surprised that we left a tip higher than the normal 20%. A few months later, we brought my daughter and son-in-law for her birthday – and the dining experience was another memorable one! A few months ago, we got together with 4 other couples, and again, we were pleased. If we had known ahead of time, we could have booked a  private room for our group, for a minimum tab of $500. However, what got my husband and I excited was the happy hour, also known as “Sunset at Seasons” , which is daily from 4pm to 6:30pm. Last week was

My Daily Game Plan: Venessa Manzano on Motherhood, Academics and Career

How do you describe yourself? What tickles your imagination? I am the proud mother of three beautiful children, the complementary half of my life partner/soulmate, and a nonprofit professional and philanthropist. I love travel, art, languages and people of other cultures.  I also like to keep busy, to continuously learn new things, to connect people, to find solutions, and to help others.  I also like the odd and peculiar, and things that are rare and hard to find. What’s your morning routine?   I am a morning person.  I’m usually awake around 4 AM -5 AM.  I use this time to just lie in bed, and reflect and mediate.  This is when I thank God and the Universe for all that I have and have gone through, and for what the current day will hold for me.  I also plan out my day and figure out which things need to be done, when and in what order. What is your everyday “go-to” outfit? I’m usually simple.  If it’s fall/winter, I wear a nice pair of dress pants and a matching t

A Valentine's Day Story of love letters: How do you know if he's the one?

Today is the feast of Saint Valentine, who, according to Wikipedia , was a martyr who was imprisoned for officiating weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and for ministering for Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Aside from LOVE as a common denominator in those aforementioned events, I don't know how such event morphed into a day of a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates and Hallmark cards. But aren't you glad someone invented the modern version of Valentine's Day? Love, what is it really?


Birthright Israel offers free life-challenging trips to Israel to young Jewish adults (ages of 18 to 26) around the world. Their mission is to give these young adults, especially the unaffiliated, the opportunity to visit Israel. Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world.   [ ] Last December, my 3 rd child, Jonathon, was given the opportunity to be experience and discover Israel in 11 days through the Birthright program. He was the first one in our family to visit Israel.  Together with his grandparents, my husband and I were excited to get his daily updates. We couldn’t wait to see the photographs from his trip, and hear his stories. On the first day, he walked through the streets of Jerusalem.  We asked him to say prayer at the Wailing Wall.  He celebrated Shabbat with friends new and old.


It is a tradition for my Jewish Mom to make Stuffed Cabbage on Passover and Hanukkah. It's a labor of love, patience and practice.  It's a tradition which was passed on to her by her ancestors who came all the way from Russia. This recipe makes approximately 24-30 rolls

Fitness: Benefits of Running and Picking the Right Pair of Shoes at The Westfield Running Company

The past offers no opportunities, only lessons.  The future offers no lessons, only opportunities.  The present offers realization, briefly. - Conversations with my hubby, 2017 Do you run? Most people I talked to started running because of health reasons. That annual visit to the doctor usually triggers an individual to put on his running shoes. The thought of running more than half a mile was foreign to me. 7 years ago, while most of the mothers in my town had already completed back-to-back triathlons, at 46 years old I found myself wanting to run a 5K race. To condition my mind into actually doing the race, in 2010, I signed-up for the Beauty and the Beach 5 Mile Run for Women. I never ran before and having a running buddy was crucial to the success of my new obsession. I told my friend about the 5-mile run and since we were both competitive, we ended registering for 2 races: 1)  5K Run for Mom  and the 5 Mile Run in Long Branch.   We trained 5 days a w

A Guide to a Happy Simple Life: Focus on the Good

Everything in our lives begins with a thought, and the way we think about life shapes how our lives will be. Set a short-term goal. Write it down. Every day we have tasks to accomplish, and it seems like no matter how organized we are, there are tasks that we end up pushing until tomorrow. Every time my husband sees my desk covered with paperwork, and he would ask,          "What's on your list for today?" I usually reply by enumerating the list off top of my head. However, even before I get to task #3, he would advise that I stop until I have it all written down. Writing down my to-do's always works, even when it comes to my daily work-out routine. If I don't have a list of what I have to do for that week, time is wasted trying to figure out whether today's a cardio day, a strength day or a leg day. The beauty of having a list is that I get to focus on the good. I get to cross out tasks I've completed. I get to reflect

Express Cable Knit Cowl Turtleneck Sweater: My Favorite Winter Essential

A s someone who grew up in the Philippines, finding an outfit for the winter has always been a challenge. Luckily, this year, I found my go-to sweater. I'm not a fan of turtle necks. I feel like I'm choking whenever I wear one.


Eating at home has plenty of benefits.  Home-cooked meals are more cost effective. You’re in control of the ingredients you put in your food. Dinner time is usually a time to bond with family members. Last week, we did a lot of cooking:

GottaLoveMom Gets a Makeover

Happy Wednesday! With renewed motivation and enthusiasm, I felt it was time to redesign our home, GottaLoveMom. I am thrilled with GottaLoveMom’s new design and I really hope you like it, too. Here's the logo before: Of the many hats I wear, of the many jobs I do, being a mother is a gift that I am thankful for. Creating GottaLoveMom helped me through some difficult times in my life. GottaLoveMom (GLM) enabled me to focus on the good, and to live a healthy, happy, simple life. GLM gave me a platform to write about the highs and lows of everyday life as a wife, mom to four, sister and daughter. In 2013, with the support of my husband and my sister-in-law, GottaLoveMom became a registered trademark. As my GLM family grew, my fans asked if they could tell their story on GLM. I was humbled by this request. I hold the words written on GottaLoveMom to high standards. Every article is written with respect and dignity.  Publishing other p