The Body Remembers

So I’m back to sort of working out on the regular again, I’m on week 2, attempt 5 for 2016 and everything hurts.

My facebook feed creeped on my life so well that I recently clicked on and downloaded an app called Running for Weight Loss (not an affiliate link, just sharing the information). Basically, it’s like Couch to 5K but 8 weeks long and it works in sprint intervals here and there which I found out the hard way this morning. It’s very pushy on getting you to sign up for the premium version so if you’re a cheapskate on a budget, just keep closing out of that and go back to watching The Goodwife like me. I just completed day 3 of that, can you tell?

my body is crying through my pores (1)
My body is crying through my pores


The one thing I can’t stop thinking about lately as I’m easing back into wanting to run [read: walk very briskly] is how much my body remembers and embraces the movement. Back in 2012 when I started Couch to 5K, the first 3 weeks made me feel like I was going to die or at least pass out in the street. I really didn’t enjoy it much, there was no “runner’s high” and if I did the workout on the treadmill, my “running speed” was never faster than a 4.2 max [insert your chortle-snort-giggle here].

But just in the last month or so, not only has the running part been easy to pick back up, my initial speed is higher too. This morning, I was able to break a 5.0 on the treadmill, which again, is not fast but 3 years ago, I would have been this guy if I had even tried it:


It’s insane to me how well the body remembers what I’m capable of. This moment I’m having now that I’m getting back into the gym and into running again reminds me of the vast difference between the labor and birth of my first child compared to my second. With my first, I labored for over 16 hours and had to push for 2 hours mainly because I’d never done this before and I was figuring most of it out. With my son, I barely had time to process that I was in labor, everything went so quickly, my body was so ready that after only 5 hours of labor and 2 pushes and I was holding him in one arm and sharing a sandwich with my husband with the other.

Muscle memory is real. It’s the reason I can get on a bike and balance it after over a decade of riding one. It’s why I can get through these workouts with relative ease even though I’m up 40 pounds since 2014. And it’s why I tell my husband if we were to have a third child, it will likely be a default home or office birth if it goes any faster than our last birth.

It’s an empowering feeling to know that yes, I can do this. I can pick running back up. I can push my body to do the work that fitness demands. Hell, I can even challenge myself to do more than I’ve ever done before if this continues to feel as good and as easy as it does right now. I’m thinking about lifting weights finally! I am that cocky confident right now and this runner’s high has me feeling like I want to be one of those crossfit tire flippers all of a sudden. I know this feeling might not last but for now, I will take this really huge dose of motivation and run with it! Pun Intended.



I Am Not Beyoncé

When it’s been a while since I’ve last written, I usually make up some sob story of why I’m not around but I won’t be doing that today.

Instead, I want to start with a joke:

Knock, knock.

Who’s There?

Not Beyoncé

Uh…not Beyoncé, who?

I’m not Beyoncé so stop trying to motivate me with this “inspirational” meme:

Original Source
Let’s just point out the obvious here: Yes, Beyoncé and I each get 24 hours in a day. Yes, Beyoncé is a woman and a mother. Yes, Beyoncé is gorgeous, charismatic and witty. These are the only things I have in common with Beyoncé (especially that last one, obviously).

What I don’t have in a day that she has is over $350 Million in net worth with an equally rich husband and an entire fleet of human beings on their payroll to do the majority of the small, trivial things that have to get done everyday so she can keep creating, writing, singing, dancing, mothering, producing and inspiring.

I can barely sweep my floors and clean up the toys in my living room. As a proud member of the 99% of people who are not living like Beyoncé, I cannot begin to feel motivated when someone tells me that we have the same daily allotment of time to shatter goals and accomplish so much. I don’t respond to that. I respond to the feeling I get when I can see the color of my hardwood again or moving my body intentionally for 30 sweaty minutes or ordering that frozen margarita at the end of the work week because I kept our family budget from going off a cliff.

Showing me a Beyoncé video will not get me to a gym. Finding me a woman who was able to keep it real when her colleagues want to appoint her to do yet another thing and says no so that her daily walks can still fit into her schedule would blow my mind. Hell, someone make a video of a parent not hitting the snooze but getting up at 5 am to run and I will finally feel like I can do it too, like I used to. Speaking of which, this video also does not inspire me whatsoever but it’s not meant for me, it’s obviously meant for someone that does not have young kids:

The point of all of this is not to say that memes and videos are the only way I seek out the motivation to do things. But I do think that when you spend enough time on social media and on websites, it’s easy to get inundated with so many how-to’s that you end up just sitting there and watching/reading and not actually DOING. When was the last time you watched or read something that immediately had you get up and try it? Did you really do the Kondo method on your home to get rid of 90% of your things and if so, did you really roll your socks instead of ball them up before you put them back in your drawers because you care about them? Did you order that workout program and get to it right away? And if you managed to really truly follow through with getting started, are you still doing it now?

Like, who just up and said, that’s it, I’m doing it and despite children, little to no disposable income and already having a full time job and other commitments, just did that that thing that got you to the next level?! And if it’s you, how do you manage? When do you sleep? Do you know Beyoncé? Can you introduce me? I digress.

Maybe what I should be doing is making response memes that you get printed on a t-shirt! For example:

SALE (3)SALE (2)

I smell an etsy shop cooking….

❤ M.


Twenty Sixteen-ing Like a Boss

It’s been almost 2 months since I declared that I will MOBILIZE this year! And mobilize I have! With the exception of this week (which is super hectic due to work), I have worked out a minimum of 4 days a week and I’m starting to feel awesome!

My eating has not been as on point however but I’m realizing more and more that despite what the general public might believe, I am not a super hero nor do I have 36 hours in a day to conquer everything on my ass-kicking list so 30-40 minutes of exercise a day is a huge accomplishment for me.

By far, the best thing about getting back into the gym has been the way I feel when I’m done. I love getting all sweaty and feeling my muscles pulse after each work out and it feels down right indulgent when I get it in. It is one of the few moments I get to be alone these days and really do something for myself that is for my health and mental well-being. It’s not a secret that exercise releases endorphins and I have to say, the days I come home after a good work out are the days I’m a little less on edge. Sure, my kids will always drive me crazy but if I start my day with a good workout, I don’t feel AS crazy and that’s a vast improvement in the grand scheme of things.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good and I’m ready for warmer weather so I can start jogging a bit outside.

Because Anchorman

I have a lot of lofty goals this year, many of which will take a lot of time and energy to accomplish. The fact that I get to do this: reinstating a regular workout routine to my 2016 list feels so good.

One of the other areas I’m hoping to kick some serious bootay with is upping my blogging game. My fellow Milwaukee Moms Blog team member Alyson M designed my ADORABLE new button!



I’ve been dreaming of a cloud theme for this blog for years but I lack the design skillz of the pros and Alyson made it happen out of the kindness of her heart so show her blog some love! She has a pretty cool weight loss story too that I know you’ll enjoy.  If you’re a button grabber, you’ll find the code in my side bar. Share away just warn your readers that I’m lousy with the frequency of my posts!

Now on to a few more of my goals including getting started with this Data-Driven Marketing & Social Media Course I purchased recently. I am about to get schooled in the art of social media in hopes that I can do more work in this virtual world that I love so much! Plus, it will be fun to get back to learning something new.

So what’s new with you now that we’re 2 months into 2016???

❤ M.

2016: Hello From the Other Side

Mobilize (1)

What a year! Really, despite having slipped back with my weight and fitness, it has been nothing short of an amazing year. To recap (like I did last year) the biggest things that happened this year include:

  1. Relocated to Milwaukee from Chicago to be closer to immediate family (on my husband’s side) and live in a more affordable, less congested yet equally awesome Midwest city also on Lake Michigan
  2. Started a new job in college admissions as an events planner and supervisor to student ambassadors.
  3. Watched my oldest child start school
  4. Joined MKE Moms Blog as a contributor. This has pushed me to write posts on the subject of parenting, something I’ve never done before. It has been an awesome experience, a chance I am so glad I took. I even had the third most read post since we launched the site September.
  5. Embraced my shift in priorities: daily workouts and structured meals became less important for a while, particularly in the first half of 2015 when my husband was still commuting to Chicago 4 days a week. There was no way I was going to stress over working out when I was barely sleeping and managing the kids on my own every morning and early evening.
  6. Turned 30! As much as entering a new decade of life scared me, I had a blast celebrating my birthday with friends and loved ones while shedding a few more insecurities from my 20’s along the way. Example: I have a second chin and I don’t give a flying flip, I’m still posting my selfies.

When I logged into the result of my top 9 pictures for the were as follows:

kids, kids, selfie, kids, selfie, my brother’s new puppy, kids, kids, sorority selfie

This year, I have so many goals, mostly professional and physical. As for professional, I’d like step up my writing and social media game. I find that the things I enjoy doing most is writing, creating content for posts, reading and sharing great content and some very amateur graphic design. I’d love to grow Project Unfluff a bit more as well as potentially get to into other areas of writing like motherhood, feminist parenting, and celebrating the incredible accomplishments of women and girls.

I also want to get back into shape. To be clear, I’m not looking to lose a specific amount of weight, I have actually been given a pretty flexible goal by my new doctor which is really nice. I want to get back into “I’m not exhausted all the time” shape. I want to get back to jumping out of bed in the mornings to get my workout on and get moving for the day. I want to use all 24 hours to there fullest, something I’m capable of doing when I have the energy.

So my focus word for 2016 is: MOBILIZE. My husband has this saying: don’t talk about it, be about it. He’s right, I talk a LOT about the things I want to do but very rarely do I ever put those things in motion. So these last few weeks of 2015 have been full of putting things into place like signing up for Fitbloggin’ 2016 (SQUEAL!), ordering a kettlebell for short 20 min at-home workouts and researching some high-protein and omega 3-rich diets (think Mediterranean diet) to really clobber my bad cholesterol and excess weight. I’m trimming back on all of the things I don’t need and laser focusing on the essentials that will allow me to enjoy all the great things life has to offer.

2015 was a very tragic year for our world, I want to savor the things I have that are most near and dear to me. The world has changed in so many ways, a lot of it good, a lot of it terrible. Although I live in a safe community in a seemingly safe side of town, I’m not so naive to think that nothing could ever happen to me or my family so I’m going to do my best to appreciate every hour I get and to MOBILIZE when new ideas and goals inspire me.

Couldn’t close out this post without my second chin being featured.

What will you do to be great this year?

❤ M.

#UnfluffYourStuff and #Dressember Week 1


There’s been some movement lately again on this part of my life (Project Unfluff) and it’s been so great seeing people mobilizing for self-care! As you might recall from my last post, I put out a call to my followers on Facebook to join me as we dare to self-care.

The results so far seem to be that people are really becoming more aware of what they need to do to ensure they are caring for themselves and their spaces. I for one did the following:

  1. Cleaned out all of our junk mail and threw away/shredded old [paid] bills, coupons, magazines, and other outdated documents
  2. Swept almost all of the floors [didn’t make it to the kitchen :(]
  3. Mopped almost all of the floors [see above]
  4. Put away ALL of the clean clothes (I seriously almost took a picture of our 4 empty laundry baskets I was that excited.)
  5. Washed dishes
  6. Made today’s dinner, cooled it then put it away
  7. Got my 4 year old to help pick up toys and she finally legit did it and did it well
  8. Put away the lingering Halloween decorations (don’t you judge me, internet.)
  9. Bought most of our kids’ Christmas presents online with mancakes
  10. Prepped our weekly calendar on the fridge

Looks like instead of working out I’m just using cleaning and organizing instead. This is ok, if I can get to a point where I can feel less stressed at home amidst all of our STUFF, I will start to feel better overall.


In addition to this self-care project, I’m also doing Dressember! What is Dressember? From the founders of this movement:

“Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.

The Dressember Foundation exists to inspire and empower a global community of like-minded women who are locking arms to face one of the greatest injustices of our time.”

Think “Movember” but with dresses. I’ve just completed my first week of only wearing dresses and I’ve got to say, it’s a little more challenging that I envisioned. I have a lot of dresses and with tights and leggings, I can make it work for the cold Wisconsin winter. But I’ve already learned that it’s a little more than just a wardrobe challenge. It’s a test of my commitment, especially on the weekends when I just want to wear jeans all day long. It’s also forcing me to make a conscious choice while also remembering that I am very privileged to have a closet full of one type of clothing in addition to everything else and that I get to choose what to wear everyday.

Dressember Week 1.jpg

But this is more than a little fashion game, I have committed to a goal of raising $300. This money will be donated from to the International Justice Mission and the A21 Campaign, both organizations committed to ending human trafficking, sexual exploitation and slavery around the world. So while you can catch how I go about meeting the daily challenge of wearing a dress on Instagram, I urge you to consider helping me meet my goal for a bigger cause. You can make a donation on my page here:

My Donation Page

I look forward to another challenging week of getting my 30 minutes in and also coming up with new and fresh combinations with the dresses that I have. What will you be doing for yourself this week?

❤ M.

Unfluff Your Stuff


I’ve been full of words lately. So many words DESCRIBING what I would LIKE to accomplish with very little to no changes being made. Since my last post I’ve basically managed to just barely keep my head above water. Work, kids, blogging (here not HERE.), paid and unpaid side gigs such as Uber and the national board for my sorority have kept me both incredibly busy as well as incredibly lazy.

Lazy? But I do so much! Let me explain. When I get a free moment where my immediate attention is not required, you will likely find me parked on my couch or at my desk at work when really, I should be finding ways to keep it moving. My home is still covered in toys, clothes and random things that need pitching/donating/organizing. My weight is also steadily creeping up because I’m rarely on the couch alone, there’s usually a snack or a beverage other than water in my hand.

So where is this coming from? After almost a week of staying with my brother for Thanksgiving, I watched as he and my sister in law diligently kept their 2 story, 4 bedroom house from becoming the aftermath of a hurricane while they hosted my family of 4, my parents and my aunt. It was astonishing and also a good kick in the gut. They never stop moving, they never stop wiping and putting things away. Things don’t get left out. There’s a place for everything and a handful of minutes after every activity is devoted to keep clutter away. It looks and feels impossible and yet you can tell, that it’s now just a habit. Second nature. Ingrained in their every day. I can’t pretend like I’m capable of such discipline but I know I can at the very least try.

So last night and this morning, despite the rough start today because Monday, I’ve decided to push myself to do more. I put a call out to my peeps that follow my Facebook Page (where I pretty much micro-blog when I’m too busy to write here) and invited them to join in committing to 30 minutes a day of doing WHATEVER will make you feel balanced, whole and accomplished.  Today, a tiny little movement was born that I am calling:

Unfluff Your Stuff

What do I mean by #UnfluffYourStuff? I mean take a moment to just care for yourself and your space. This could mean you do something along the lines of:

  • work out
  • organize a shelf that you’ve been ignoring
  • meditate
  • journal
  • read a chapter in a book
  • prepare a healthful meal
  • clean your fridge
  • check your bank account and credit cards and see if you’re on budget
  • throw out old papers, magazines, junk mail, expired coupons, etc.
  • play with your kids and/or pets

Basically, ignore the really, really tragic and unfortunate things in the world and in your personal life for a moment (easier said than done!) and find a little space for yourself so that you can turn around and be a more balanced and capable person to those who depend on you. You can’t fully give your all to something until you give your all to yourself and your space.

So on a random Monday that is not the “new year!” or “my birthday!” or even the first day of the month, I invite you to just Nike-up and DO IT. #UnfluffYourStuff, whatever your “stuff” happens to be.

Want to join us? I already have a group of 28 people getting in on the this movement. Request to join the closed Facebook group and share what you’re doing, find support, vent and share ideas.

❤ M.

Mustering all the musters

You guys.

I’m a 30 year old do-it-all. I have arrived at the intersection of working full time, raising 2 kids, keeping my marriage awesome, having my own blog and writing twice a month for another, holding a national board position for my sorority and planning next year’s sorority leadership conference.

That’s like…at least 5 google calendars.

Notice how “health and fitness” are not on that list. WHEN WOULD I DO THAT!? Easy there Maria Kang, I don’t need you to chime in, that was a rhetorical question.

When I started writing this blog a few years ago, I thought to myself, I could do this forever! Turns out though, that my subjects have migrated over time and with good reason. I have a very awesome and privileged life these days and I am enjoying it and also surviving it as well as I can. AND I am still unfluffing just maybe not just my weight. The things I cared about 5 years ago (i.e. making lots of money (lol I know right, I work in education, what was I thinking??), being a “cool urban mom” in Chicago, becoming a world-famous blogger with a book deal directly from Tina Fey herself, etc. ) are not my priorities now.

So after shedding all those pounds and, let’s be honest, gaining half of them back due to eating my feelings and inactivity and stress, I can’t adequately discuss healthy/fitness-y anything right now.

But I can tell you how I’ve shed the excess weight and baggage of always doubting myself. And the fear that I’m not doing this whole parenting thing right. And that even though I’m not where I would love to be physically, I still feel pretty awesome and my kids think my belly fat is cool which is all the validation I need.

insert pic of amazing childrenz

But I really-and I will emphasize this- really need to get my sh*t together. Sonia Sotomayor (my Puerto Rican SHE-RO) did not get to the supreme court by writing appointments down on post its that flew away in the wind. I am going through an organization crisis and I’m trying to find the best system for me that works. So far I’ve come up with a combination of Bullet Journaling and color-coded Google calendars. Both are great and super handy…when I remember to LOOK at them…and pay attention and update them and what not.

I’ve never been a list person though. I don’t get excited about color-coded, tabbed, highlighted things. And well…as an event planner full time that’s…well that’s my downfall! I love what I do and I like the process of planning it’s just the extreme details I really need to focus in on a little better.

I will say that this rambling of a post has me thinking about expanding my topics beyond things I eat out of jars and how I like to pack my gym bag. Unfluffing is a verb that can be applied to all things LIFE. Got a corner full of clutter like I do? BAM!


Let’s unfluff it. Kids a little too wrapped up in getting new toys after a streak of getting new school things and being spoiled by family members? UNFLUFF THAT ATTITUDE. Let’s bring it back home to simpler things in life together. Let’s unfluff all the stuff.

Are you dealing with something that you KNOW is getting to be more complicated than it needs to be? It could be your weight. It could be your out of control, overgrown wardrobe. It could be your diet. If could be your calendar situation like mine. Have you recently successfully unfluffed something in your life? Tell me all about it!

❤ M.

Check In: Slow and Steady

It’s been a little over a week since I made a few new commitments. It’s been slow going but I’m happy to report that I have managed to not totally derail myself! I went to the gym 3 times last week and walked my butt off on Sunday at State Fair and doing chores. There were treats but I turned down most that were offered. I was so focused on trying to hit the mark each day that I started making these little post it reminders at work.  


Excuse my silly categories, I know tomatoes are fruits and beans are legumes. Oh and I finally ate that grapefruit on Saturday. Also, I don’t think I ever realized this before but when I want to health up, apparently I eat everything out of jars? Here’s just a few of the things I packed last week:


left: burrito bowl in a jar, top right: salad in a jar, bottom right: yogurt and fruit

But who cares cuz all that ish was delish! On the workout front, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just rolling into the gym at work and getting on whatever machine, beepin’ some random program in and agreeing to move for half an hour. It’s definitely not the attention to detail I had before but it’s a start. A good sweat never hurt anybody…


SnapChat: Intrepidida

But I could use a little more structure to what I’m doing. I discovered this 30-20-10 interval workout yesterday and I’m thinking about trying it on the spinning bike or the elliptical. I’m also contemplating getting back on my body weight game with a little 7 minute workout. Basically, I want to get into high intensity intervals again because I’ve got no time and the quicker the better. 

All that to say, I think I’m back in the game! Only time, consistency and more post-its will tell. 

❤ M. 

A New Chapter Begins Once Again!

As you all know, my crazy family of 4 up and relocated from Chicago to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in December of 2014. Since then, we have been living a crazy and unpredictable life. First I came to MKE with just my kids and a few suitcases of clothes and the three of us shared a bed at my mother in law’s house so I could start my new job while mancakes stayed in our apartment in Chicago. We’d go to Chicago on the weekends, be a family, pack up our place and then the kids and I would return Sunday night and start all over again. Then, we got our own apartment in Milwaukee in December and our big move happened just one week before Christmas. After the holidays mancakes started commuting to Chicago via Amtrak 4 days a week. That meant 4:45 am wake ups so we he could catch the 6 am train and return at almost 7 pm each night. That went on until early July! We finally reached a point as a family where we could not continue this crazy schedule emotionally, physically and financially, so my brave husband resigned from his position and has been driving Uber and making tamales and keeping the kids home to save on daycare and make it all work!

Well the craziness ends today, mancakes starts a new, Milwaukee-based job and we are giddy with excitement! I joked to him that it feels like he’s going into his first day of school and I’m so thrilled that not only will he be working where we live but he’s also making a career change from higher ed to talent acquisition at a great firm. We have been holding on for so long as a family and holding our breaths that these huge leaps of faith we were making would finally work out and it has and I’m not only relieved, I’m ready to get back to work on me!

It hasn’t been easy functioning like we have been and I haven’t felt like I could really start a new fitness routine until now. Between the expensive multi-city commute, the crazy early mornings and just the stress of the unknown, fitness has been very far from my mind. Last week, having come back from vacation with the news that my husband had a job, I managed to get 2 lunch-hour work outs in, joined a new blog as a contributor and finally cleaned the house like I haven’t cleaned it in ages! It was like the weight of worry was lifted from my shoulders and I felt like I could really “get shit done” again.

And thank goodness because this meme pretty much sums up where I’m at these days:


Lord have I been eating my feelings since December! You know how you never really notice how bad things are until they get better again and when you come to, you’re double-fisting tacos and coffee cake? That’s me right now. In the last few weeks, I thought I was just “bloated” lately when my pants were really just getting tight again. I’ve been living outside of myself during this transition, looking down at a tired and stressed woman just trying to cope with lots of coffee, pastries and heavy meals. I haven’t been able to really care like I did before because I was just trying to survive this whole arrangement.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing! I’m so happy we chose to move to Milwaukee. I really love this city. In fact, I did get a little taste of how fun it will be to get back into doing fun runs and races and again when I took up Kelly from No Thanks to Cake’s offer to the Color Run in Milwaukee when she was here for a weekend of fun and pampering from Kohl’s! I got to run around the Milwaukee Brewers stadium with a wonderful group of women and left covered in color powder and smiles. I mean just look at how much fun we had!2015colorrunAdditionally, I’m finally at a place when I’m starting to make new friends and finding ways to connect with new women in the city, particularly with other moms. That is why I jumped at the chance to become a contributor for Milwaukee Moms Blog!


We launch the site on September 21st and I will be contributing 2 posts a month for the next 6 months. So I will have to start getting out there more and with us finally getting back on track as 2 full-time professionals, I feel like I’m the eager kid on the sidelines ready to get back in the game. PUT ME IN COACH!

So here’s what I’m shooting for this week:

  1. A minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit a day.
  2. Refuse one “extra” a day. As in if someone rolls in with donuts tomorrow at work, I won’t be having one of those AND chocolate/latte/candy later in the day. Or perhaps I don’t have chips with my sandwich just because I’m having a sandwich.
  3. Try one new workout routine this week (I’m thinking HIIT)

Considering I did this stuff in my sleep not too long ago, I think I can handle it! Who wants to get in on this with me? Happy week!

❤ M.