Mustering all the musters


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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!

<3 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. 

<3 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!

<3 M.

Don’t Call It A Comeback

No really, don’t!

BUTTTTT….I did get my butt to the gym once this week so there’s that! And tomorrow, I’m doing the Color Run in Milwaukee!!! Why have I agreed to days of post-race rainbow boogers? Because the INCREDIBLE Kelly Guy from No Thanks To Cake won a badass weekend getaway from Kohl’s and she invited me to come along to the race on Kohl’s dime*! THANKS KOHL’S!!!! And thank you for thinking of me Kelly! Them Fitbloggin’ connections go deep and last forever :)

As you may recall, I did the Color Run in Chicago a couple of years ago.


fierce in 2013!

Although it was fun AND I hit my goal of actually RUNNING the entire thing, lemme just tell ya, the aftermath was a tad off putting. I had color powder in every crevice of my being for days and I was blowing out rainbow snot for what felt like a whole week afterwards! Eww. This time around, I plan on wearing a bandana over my face and we are walking because mama is not run ready at.all.

It’s nice to be back here with something to actually write about! I really want to jump back into this blog again full force but my professional life has been so busy, I barely have time to eat much less get back to a work out routine. But like I said above, I did hit the gym once during my lunch hour, and it was awesome and I plan on doing it as much as possible as soon as my crazy week of events wraps up next week. Also, I’m about to hit that point in my wardrobe where I might have to go up a size again and I just donated that stuff during our move in December, I am not going back!

So don’t call it a comeback…yet.

<3 M.

*Kohls is sponsoring my participation in the Color Run however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Today, I choose hunger.

Disclaimer: what I am about to say is in no way, shape or form against the incredible and effective product that is weight watchers. Seriously, I love WW. Like, a lot.

This morning, in an act of desperation, against all evidence pointing to: DOES NOT FIT IN OUR BUDGET, I attempted to reactivate my weight watchers membership. I have arrived at the point that brought me to WW the first time: knowing that without shelling out a lot of cash for it, I’m incapable of helping myself figure this out.

I am known for being successful at weight loss if I’m spending money on it. I was AWESOME at weight watchers ($35 a month), lunch-hour workouts ($26 a month) and the occasional race training ($30-50/race) and DietBet ($10-25/bet). Now? Well, because we are on budget lock down for the next foreseeable ever, every choice I make has to be worthwhile.

Don’t get me wrong, WW is totally worthwhile. But with a million and 1 tools out there for free and with the knowledge that I pretty much already have to know how it works and how to do it, I find myself arriving at a place where, whilst discussing whether or not I should hit the payment button for WW or not with my husband he kindly reminds me that I don’t need WW, I need to Nike-up and JUST DO IT.

It’s true, I’ve been whining for months about something I know how to do because I’ve already done it and I did it well. To the point where I was just living it, no real tracking and counting required.

And the first thing I remembered from my first few weeks on WW was that I was hungry. I got to the end of my first few days having eaten all of my points, borrowed from the extra points and I was still starving. Why? Because when I ate the correct portions of food for a (then) 27 year old woman, I found that my body was used to so much more and it was craving the overeating I had always been doing. I had to learn to just sit with my hunger. I knew I had all of my caloric and nutritional needs met after planning balanced, fresh meals with tons of whole grains, lean meats, proteins and oils. But I was still hungry and I had to learn to fill up on fruits, veggies and water. Once I got the hang of that, not only did the weight start flying off, so did my cravings and my hunger pains.

But I can never forget that feeling of hunger those first 2 weeks. Knowing full well, I didn’t necessarily need more food, especially if I hadn’t worked out. I just thought I needed more because emotionally, I didn’t feel all that satisfied. There was no over-the-top sweetness or fatty flavors. Over time, I found ways to satisfy those feelings with healthier options. I learned how to detach my emotions from my nutritional needs. I found ways to really “save my points” for the meals or celebrations that mattered and I learned how to re-prioritize my diet and be more intentional about my choices.

That’s what was so great about weight watchers, it provided me with the structure I needed to LEARN HOW TO EAT and also plan and find balance. Now, I would argue that I need that structure once again, and if I pay for it I will have it but we all know that that’s now how it works. But I know how to do it, it’s there, the skill to do it, it’s still all on paper and in the books and bookmarked websites and the places I learned to turn to create that structure all on my own.

What I need now is the will to do it. I have to have the desire to do it. I have to, for lack of a better word, be hungry for it.

So today, I choose hunger.

Project GetItTogetherAlready

I got on the scale this morning. What I knew was happening showed up in the numbers: I’m up by over 5lbs from my lowest weight for the first time in over 2 years (not including my pregnancy).

It’s no surprise, I’m finally going out a little more, having some drinks, checking out restaurants. Portion-control is totally out the window and I’ve been hitting the junk food a lot, something that hasn’t effected me all that much until now as I’m cutting back on breastfeeding around the clock. The bonus of burning an extra 500 calories a day is no more!

All of this plus my return to being mostly sedentary has culminated to my finally hitting the panic button this morning. It’s what I need. I need to be scared and worried. I need to be punched in the proverbial gut with a dose of reality. The fear is making me wake up. It’s making me responsive again. Alert. Aware. Already today, I’ve walked to the far away bathroom twice. I’m on already on my second refill of my 32 oz water bottle and it’s not even noon. I’m charging my fitbit and firing up My Fitness Pal. I’ve committed to 2 pacts on Pact. I’m asking people on my facebook page to join me on a small challenge for the week.

I’m not going to keep slipping backwards. Why? Because it’s no fun back there. I just got done donating my old size 20 and 18 clothes when we moved in December.

If I slip back I have to BUY THOSE SIZES AGAIN.

If I slip back, I will start hiding in pictures and avoid looking in the mirror.

If I slip back, I won’t feel as sexy in front of my husband.

If I slip back, I may never get those race medals out of my sock drawer.

If I slip back, I’ll find myself slightly depressed, passive and unwilling to play outside with my kids.

If I slip back, I will feel less like the real me.

I often struggle with weight loss making me feel beautiful. I bounce back and forth between focusing on what I want to look and feel like for me versus what I want everyone else to see. A doctor or personal trainer might use the scale to rate my level of health but I use it to rate how willing or unwilling I am to take care of myself. The thing is, if I’m a size 16 for the rest of my life, I’m pretty ok with that as I have learned in the last year or so. I arrived at this size right before my pregnancy last year and I have been here since then and I’ve been pretty content. What I am scared about is the prospect of going BACK. Back to a time that had nothing to do with taking care of myself. Weight and clothing sizes are nothing but numbers, this I know to be true. But there are certain numbers that alert me to the fact that I am forgetting to nurture myself from the inside out. The number on the scale I saw today and the tight fit of my jeans over the weekend was a wake up call. I’m slipping on my self-care. I’m treating every day like a holiday and I’m quickly forgetting what it’s like to truly “treat myself” or enjoy a special occasion. I’m “eating my feelings” a lot lately, feelings associated with being tired (which is always because kids), stressed (which is always because kids and my job) and stretched a little thin (which is always because I’m a stubborn multitasker that likes attention).

So really, enough is enough already with the use of food as a coping mechanism. That was the old schtick that made me miserable. Although it is true that every day is a gift worth celebrating, I think I’m finally ready to stop partying it up with daily cake and get back to business.

Want to join me? Check out the mini-challenge I have issued for this week on Facebook!

On Why Expulsion Was The Only Option For The SAE Students

Originally posted on eric mata:

As you may have heard, the President of Oklahoma University has used his executive authority to expel some of the students who lead the disgusting, racist chant by the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

I’ve seen it posted on several Student Affairs related Facebook pages and I’m astounded at the number of folks who have talked about their uncomfortableness with the decision, mostly citing their desire to engage these white men in educational opportunities that would help them understand how their behavior was problematic.

I get it. I do. I served as Social Justice Education Coordinator in a previous role and I strongly believe in the role educational experiences can play in the lives of student, staff, faculty and administrators on our campuses.

As Student Affairs professionals, we have long been told by our graduate programs and institutions to challenge and support. It’s an underlying tenet of the work…

View original 282 more words

Half-ing the Ass

Le. Tired. And fabulous, I mean look at that hair.

Le. Tired. And fabulous, I mean look at that hair.

Eh…I have a confession, it’s been a series of false starts and I’ll tell you why: I’m not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a HUGE weight loss shut down, it’s a scientific fact. Right now, this is the daily cycle at home Mondays through Thursdays:

  1. Get up early as mancakes heads out the door to catch a 6 am train to Chicago
  2. Get kids up, eat breakfast, drink coffee, pack a healthy lunch
  3. Get to work, have a second cup of coffee, do the to-donut/pastry-or-not-to-donut/pastry-with-this-coffee dance
  4. Eat healthy lunch, feel tired after lunch so eat some more snacks to stay awake, consume third cup of coffee, potentially reach for other snacks or fruit
  5. Get home, try to cook or reheat food with two little kids who are starving too, eat 2 plates of that food because I’m so tired, I think I’m hungrier than I am
  6. Put kids to bed post-bath or play time, sometime give into eating a sweet or just pass out entirely as the cycle of nursing my teething son every 1-2 hours throughout the night starts back up again.

I knew this would happen. When I lost the weight before babydos, it was because SLEEP WAS HAPPENING! We all were sleeping through the night pretty soundly. My daughter was staying asleep until breakfast time which meant I could get up early after 6-7 consecutive hours of sleep and workout or workout at lunch without feeling deprived. As it stands right now, I would pay money to sleep 4 or 5 hours in a row, uninterrupted. I had some great workouts last week but today, work is starting to pile up with 3 major events I’m planning happening all in the same week coming up among other things here and there. Usually, if this is happening, I try to get my healthful eating locked down so I can at least ingest healthy things but I find myself overeating or caving in to little goodies here and there.

So all this to say, DAMMIT THIS IS HARD. I keep tricking myself into believing that with a 10 minute commute to work and family nearby to help out this will be doable. I keep telling myself I don’t have to wait until my son turns 1 and his sleep regressions slow down like it did with his sister, I’m just going to power through anyway.

I know I sound like a broken record but I come back here and repeat myself to remind myself, and maybe you, that everyday is a fresh 24 hours of making choices. Sometimes you hit your stride and make awesome choices for several days, weeks, months, maybe even years in a row. And sometimes you go to bed defeated for days, weeks, months, maybe even several years in a row.

In other news: IT’S MY BLOGOVERSARY! 2 years ago today, I started this blog with the hope that I could a community of support around me. That has been the case and I thank each and every one of you who visit my little corner of the internet.

In other, other news, I’m hosting a Jamberry Party for one of my mami friends! If you love Jamberry nail wraps or are curious about trying some, you can order some through my party link here: Mariana’s Jamberry Party!

And if I get a healthy amount of orders, mama’s gonna score some nail wraps and I super need some:



<3 M.


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