La Vie Parisienne… A Little Slice of Paris in Cebu City 

In case you’re already looking for a place to have your perfect Valentine’s Date with your significant other, I thought of sharing here with you this instagrammable food place we’ve already visited twice in the past few months. It’s one of the top restaurants in Cebu City which will give you that Parisian vibe. Aptly called La Vie Parisienne along 371 Gorordo Ave., we indeed felt transported back in time to the famous French city. And since we can’t yet go visit Paris right now, we figured, going somewhere that would make us feel we’re in my dream city is the next best thing to do. 

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Gratitude Shoutout to the Universe

I’ve always been the grateful kind of person. It’s that one consistent attitude I have in life that has helped me a lot in combating my depressive moods, hormonal imbalances, and mood swings growing up. And I’m happy to say that these extremely negative emotions haven’t been cropping up that much in the last few years of my life; and whenever they do pop up, I still do feel the sadness, yes, because I am still human after all, but I think I’ve already mastered the art of not dwelling on the negativity anymore and I immediately get to change the channels I am tuning into, and of course, that one constant channel I go to is gratitude.

Just lately, after Mahal and I did our not-so-secret civil wedding and we’re finally and legally husband and wife, a barrage of grateful emotions have been and are constantly filling my heart. Who would have thought that I will be one of the lucky not-so-many who can get annulled and be married again when so many broken married couples haven’t been granted the same? Who would have thought that I will have another chance at a love like ours? The love, commitment, and loyalty we have for each other cannot even compare to the previous kinds of love I’ve felt in my life! Ours just constantly keeps getting better and better, and with a child like our son who is so good, so smart, so mature for his age, we feel so overwhelmingly blessed beyond words! I really cannot capture the right words for it, I end up just crying for joy! Thank you, God, for blessing us with more than we deserve!

I remember during those dark moments in my life when I kneeled on my bed, and cried my heart out to God with both my arms raised in heaven asking God for help… to help me get through that turbulent time in my life and help me find happiness again. What God has given us now is way beyond my expectations and I am eternally grateful! Thank you! Thank you!

You can read about my other gratitude posts here:

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HELLO 2023! Our New Year Goals

A week has passed since our planet finished another revolution around the sun… HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!! Hello 2023! 

Our celebration last New Year’s Eve was a quieter and more peaceful one. I guess we’ve been so tired from all the holiday preparations, from all the parties that started way back Halloween season, to Tuz’s 7th birthday, our secret Civil Wedding, then the Christmas festivities that followed and the overflowing food we needed to consume the rest of the week going ino New Year’s that come Dec. 31, it was just me, Mahal, and Tuz who were left awake to welcome 2023. Here’s a vlog I made about it. Check it out! 

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Secret Civil Wedding: Becoming Mrs. Villanueva Part 1

It was supposed to be a “secret wedding”… We wanted our partnership to be legal and official even before we lay out all the plans for 2023, one of which is being able to do our dream beach wedding. Blame it to my “segurista” and OC personality, I just want everything ironed out on the legal front before the year ends. And I’m very grateful for the fact that Mahal has always wanted to marry me and supports me all the way, til forever and beyond… ❤

Actually, if we didn’t have the funds to do a beach wedding next year, a simple, “secret”, intimate civil wedding one is what we’ll really do. We are both introverts after all. I was even content to just have a piece of thread tied to my finger as a promise of his love. But thank you, God, for blessing us with a beautiful engagement, complete with an engagement photoshoot and engagement video shoot, and even an engagement honeymoon in Camotes Island which I’ll share here soon. We really feel so grateful plus I feel like such a celebrity (lol!) doing 2 kinds of weddings. Actually, even before J.Lo and Ben Affleck did their two weddings, doing the same had always been my plan… the two stars just beat us to it! Lol!

Didn’t JLo say

“Life is an art… and we are the artists… make it as beautiful as you want and create exactly what you want it to be…”

So that’s what we did!

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Oslob New Village Christmas 2022 Celebration

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

How’s everyone doing? I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season!

It’s been a year since Typhoon Odette hit us and just remembering that makes me feel all the more grateful because this Christmas, the weather has been good to us. Though it’s a bit cloudy and sometimes windy here in Oslob, at least so far, there’s no typhoon in the horizon. Thank you, God!

And so, we decided to celebrate our Christmas here at Oslob New Village. The original plan was actually to check in at a nice resort like what we used to do before in Cagayan de Oro but then we figured it would be more fun to celebrate it here at our own mini resort because we have Jona and Wenie (our staff at Oslob New Village) to celebrate with.

I created a vlog about it. Enjoy!

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BEHIND THE SCENES – The Making of Our Engagement Photoshoot and Teaser Video

This is the making of our engagement teaser video. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can check my previous blog post here: Our Engagement Teaser Video

Or head straight to my vlog. It’s a beautifully done romantic and fun video, and Mahal and I never get tired of watching it.

Before, I used to envy couples who get engaged and share their pre-nup videos and I kept wondering if something like that could ever happen for me. I wondered how they had done it? What preparations, sacrifices, situations did they face to reach that blissful phase in their life? Now that we’re doing it, and we’re doing it just the way we want the whole engagement and marriage done, I couldn’t be any happier! My time has finally come! Hihihi!

Actually, I had no intention of sharing the raw videos of our photo and video shoot but when I watched them, I realized how “bungisngis” we were, meaning, we were really just laughing all the time, enjoying each moment of the shoot, and just appreciating this wonderful time in our relationship.

Anyway, you’ll know what I mean when you see the video. So without further a do, here it is:

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Our Engagement Teaser Video

Mahal and I have been best friends since 2012, have been life partners since 2014, and have been formally engaged since April 24, 2022. Our lives have changed since then and with the hustle and bustle of running our businesses, homeschooling Tuz, and enjoying our lives to the fullest, it’s just now that I’ve had the time to share this beautiful engagement teaser video with you. Between the two of us, I am the more open one… like my life has always been an open book to the public. But because I want to also respect Mahal’s more introverted and private nature, I’ve slowly adopted this demeanor of his. I don’t immediately share now some stuff going on in our lives. But eventually, I do find a way to make them come out to the public… lol!

We’ve already watched this video a gazillion times and now we’re ready to share it with you guys. After all, our beach wedding is in 5 months and we really need to get things going.

By the way, this is just our post engagement video. It is not a pre-nup shoot yet so to speak. We just wanted to have a remembrance of how we got engaged and how lucky we are that two of the best photographers and videographers in Cebu City (in my opinion) were the ones who did this for us. They will also be the ones to do our Pre-Nup shoot this coming summer and we are so excited about it!

For now, enjoy our engagement teaser video.

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How to Communicate Better With Your Significant Other? [Real Talk with My Then Live-In Partner]

The recording of this video happened 13 months ago, Nov. 17, 2021, at Crimson Resort in Mactan as we were celebrating Tuz’s 6th birthday. I’ve always wanted to share this here in the hopes that it may give some helpful insights for other couples, particularly those living together for several years now, who are trying to be better partners and lovers and trying to find certainty about where their relationship is really going.

I mentioned it here on my previous blog post that Mahal and I have had our share of tough times in our relationship prior to getting engaged last April 25, 2022. There have been so many fights and we almost broke up for good. I believe that one of the major reasons why we were able to work things out, stay together, and continue to love one another was because of our willingness to be better communicators. We already know we love each other so, so much. That’s already a given. But if we don’t know how to properly communicate our wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings, we will continue to crumble as a couple.

So I’m very thankful for talks like this because it made loving each other much easier. Plus, looking back, it just makes me all the more proud of how far we’ve come in our relationship, how deeper our understanding of each other is now, and how much more we’ve grown to love each other, more than we ever did before…

So, here it is… bring some popcorn with you because this is quite long… ❤

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Of Weddings and Breakups [a Raw Conversation with a 6 Year Old]

On October 30, 2021, about 14 months ago, even before Mahal and I got formally engaged, we faced a lot of trials in our relationship. We actually fought and broke up a few times and Tuz was there to witness it all.

We didn’t mean for our young son to see our fights at that time because we always did our best to be careful. But he is such a perceptive and sensitive kid that even if Mahal and I are not shouting, Tuz can recognize the differences in our verbal tones and non-verbal expressions.

It’s a good thing that the stormy season in our relationship has passed and we are now in a much, much better place. Because of those fights, Mahal and I learned to communicate better, love each other better, and Tuz witnessed all of that too. Perhaps that is why he is such a happy boy who acts and thinks more maturely for his age.

Anyway, this video that I am sharing with you here is my raw conversation with Tuz at that time. Mahal and I just patched things up and I wanted to document how it affected our 6 year old boy. (Actually, he was just 5 but would be turning 6 in 17 days at that time, so I just rounded it off, hihi!)

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Holiday Musings [and a Recap of Halloween]

Our 2022 is about to end. I’ve been reviewing my previous blog posts here and my life has really been “more of the same” kind of thing. Just like last 2019, when I wasn’t even able to blog about our Halloween celebration because of my jam-packed schedule at work, with motherhood, and family! And it’s happening again this time of the year!

Don’t get me wrong though — I DO LOVE OUR LIFE AND THE LIFESTYLE WE’VE BEEN LIVING — it’s been the best year so far — so many celebrations, so many happenings, so many blessings despite the sleepless nights from my VA work, being a homemaker, and homeschooling our now 7-year old kid! So, I’m gonna give myself a little pat on the back here…

Jen 1: “You’re such a superwoman, Mommy Jennie!”

Jen 2: “I know… I know…” 😉

Anyway, I am not going to let 2022 pass by without documenting here my most favorite holiday. For those who have just started to follow me here, Halloween is my most favorite and Christmas comes second. Though I like Christmas, Halloween is just more fun for me with all the trick or treating, candies, and costumes. Don’t you think? So though it’s already December and we’ve started decorating our little home resort for Christmas (you can check my FB page for updates), sharing my favorite holiday here with you this late is better than never, isn’t it?

But before that, let me just give you a rundown of our Halloween activities since Tuz was born. Re-reading my blog entries here… Oh what a roller coaster ride it has been! So many trials, joys, financial troubles, and tribulations. From being in a long distance relationship with Mahal, to finally living together in my first dream home, to giving that up in exchange for living the hard kind of life at the farm, then back to city life and experiencing tiny home living and finally, living the beach kind of life which has always been my dream. It makes me all the more grateful for the life we have now because we are living our best life so far and we can’t wait for things to keep getting better and better…

(2014, 2015, 2016) Nuvali Night Sky Cinema

(2016) Thoughts This Halloween

(2016) Nuvali Night Sky Cinema 2016 Family Event

(2017) Halloween 2017: How to Let Go of Attachments

(2018) Halloween 2018 – Transformative Lessons and Realizations

(2020) How to Celebrate Major Holidays During a Pandemic: Halloween Feature + a Guide

(2021) The Root of Happiness (And How I Found It Around Halloween)

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Calculators.org Online Games: Perfect for Mental Breaks that Bring Back Good Childhood Memories

Happy Halloween, everyone!!! 

We’ve just celebrated Halloween the last 4 days (Oct. 28-31) and again it was a blast! I’m still in the middle of preparing a vlog and blog post for it so I can share with you all how we celebrated my most favorite season this year. I hope yours was a happy one too! Stay tuned!

On the other hand, I feel like this will be the last time I’m celebrating this way my fave holiday. It’s been 20 years of blissful spooky celebrations, from Malate street and Boracay beach parties in my early 20’s, to Oktoberfest celebrations in my late 20’s, to house and costume parties in my early 30’s, to trick or treating with Tuz and Mahal in my late 30’s to early 40’s. My wish every year was to have more of the same and I was lucky enough to be given that. Thank you, universe! You’ve been good to me all these years, making me happy to have the chance and budget to party. I’m now passing on the torch to our almost 7-year old son, Tuz. I told him about my plan to retire and pass on to him organizing such parties but he said he’s not yet ready! 

Maybe I‘m just feeling a wee bit sad, tired, and drained as of late. Adulthood  is probably taking a toll on me and I will soon need a proper break — break from work, break from taking care of Tuz, break from taking care of our household, from thinking and worrying about it all. We’ve just been  on a one week trip to Cebu City to run some errands and take care of some medical stuff. Though the trip has been very productive and positive, it just left me over-fatigued and wanting of a much-needed mental reprieve. 

But since work has always been hectic (which I am thankful for, don’t get me wrong!), I really can’t afford yet to take a real vacation (give me 8 hours/day of sleep please with nothing to do in between if possible!) But I do need to take mental breaks every now and then to keep my brain fresh and ready to tackle again the next task. So one of the things I actually do especially now that HBO’s House of the Dragons Season 1 has ended is I actually play online games. I’ve mentioned to you on one of my previous posts that Tuz and I love to play online games to keep our brain refreshed and functioning well in between homeschooling and work. One of the sites I go to is https://www.calculators.org/games/board-games.php. They have these games that remind me so much of my childhood. My favorites are: 

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