Are You There Abs? It’s Me, Mariana

Teenagers are the worst. They are moody, selfish, and always hungry. Oh wait, that’s just me on a diet. Correction: teaching teenagers while you’re on a diet is the worst.

When you’re thirty-something, teaching high school is a constant reminder that your metabolism has retired. Everyday, I am surrounded by tiny waif-like sixteen-year-olds who eat a jumbo bag of hot Cheetos for breakfast and who think Big Red is a real juice. My jealousy knows no bounds. Just a quick little sniff of secondhand Cheeto dust,  and I immediately gain five pounds. Damn you, Chester Cheetah. Damn you and your sunglasses.

You and your Cheetos can suck it, Chester

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the work day is knowing that these young, fast metabolism having kiddos will soon feel the wrath of the Freshman 15. Do you remember the Freshman 15? It all begins with a few beers at your first college party, and it ends with you only being able to fit into sweatpants by midterms. Then  your mom calls you fat over Christmas break, so you immediately sign up for that 5k your healthy friend has been bugging you about. It’s the true American college experience!

For me, that 5k turned into years of running 10ks, half marathons, and full marathons as a means of fat prevention, until I discovered Crossfit. Crossfit is great: not only has it saved me a crap load of time (a 1 hour class vs. 3 hours of running is definitely the way to go) but it also gave me muscles. Muscles = more calories burned = more queso allowance. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been steadily surpassing my queso allowance, hence the dieting angst I’m currently experiencing.

Crossfitting like a boss

However, the thing about muscles is that people notice them. All. The. Time. Especially if you’re a female. Not one day passes by where a comment (usually borderline inappropriate) about my buffness isn’t made.

Student: Miss, you look buff

Me: Thank you. I am buff.

Student: No, I’m serious. At first I thought you were fat, but you’re seriously swole.


Student: I wanna get fat. Then I’m going to turn all that fat into muscle at the gym.

Me: I don’t think you understand how science works.

Student: That’s what my cousin did! He was super skinny. Then he started eating a ton of sandwiches and began working out at the gym. He got so swole that now he’s a stripper.

Me: I’m so glad your cousin is a contributing member of society.

I know what you’re thinking: this kid’s future is so bright he should probably steal Chester Cheetah’s shades. But my sweet, albeit scatterbrained, alum and his Magic Mike cousin aren’t the only ones obsessed with getting all the muscles. I’m not sure how alternative this fact is, but I bet the fitness industry is larger and more profitable now than it has ever been in the history of mankind. Heck, I just spent $10 on what was supposed to be a healthy version of meatloaf but I suspect it was really just a piece of cardboard covered in kale. Cue the hangry mood swing.

Anyway, back to the diet. I miss the days of yore when I could eat a cheeseburger and french fries everyday for lunch without the repercussions of mushroom top and cellulite-filled thighs. I recently tried to re-live those days (oh, it was glorious time filled with gluten and starch) and ended up gaining 16 pounds in a matter of months. Bye bye abs. The constant comments from my students about my muscularity has shifted into offerings of desserts. Seriously. My students, who can barely remember to bring a pencil to class, are now feeding me on the regular. When I was at my prime weight, not one child ever brought me any sort of sugary sweet. Not even a Tic Tac. Now it’s like a dang bakery in my classroom. One kid gave me an entire cake! They are probably plotting against me. If I’m too busy stuffing my face, I won’t notice they didn’t turn in their homework.

But alas, I’ve been officially back on a diet for an entire week. Today, a student asked me if I started working out again. “Again? What do you mean again? I never stopped working out!”

“Oh,” the student said. “It’s just that you look like you’re trying to lose weight.”

“I’m trying to go back to consistently eating healthy,” I replied as diplomatically as my inner rage would let me.

“You’re lucky,” the kid said as he opened up a bag of Cheetos. “I’m trying to gain weight and no matter how much I eat, I am still skinny.”

“I bet you see major changes in a few years when you get to college…”

As that little darling munched away and I reveled at thought of the massive beer belly he will soon acquire, a spec of Cheeto dust floated in my direction. Before I could scream for help, it had found its way up my nostril and new fat cells were already forming in my back side. Thanks a lot, Chester. You’re a real jerk.





That One Time I Felt Like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory


zuckerbergDo you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? And that the person watching you is Mark Zuckerberg? And that Mark Zuckerberg is an evil genius planning world domination? And that he is going to use Facebook to control our minds?




Allow me to take you down my rabbit hole:  The other day, I was online shopping for a dress to wear to an upcoming holiday party. I perused several stores in search  of the perfect dress that would make me look taller and skinnier, but didn’t find “the one”.  The next day, before attempting round two of  what is inevitably a needle in a haystack type search, I first check my Facebook (because I always check my Facebook).

Mind blown.

A few of the dresses I looked at yesterday were now pictured on my newsfeed, along with a couple of dresses from different stores but similar in style and price to my searches.  I wasn’t even scrolling on the fb for twenty seconds when I found my “needle” in the form a gorgeous velvet halter dress. Whaaaaat? How is this possible? How did Facebook know I would love this dress? Is it reading my mind? Also, is there a free shipping promo code on here somewhere?

Yeah, yeah, yeah I get how this works… sort of. One of my nerd friends tried to explain it to me but all I remember is there are cookies involved (unfortunately they aren’t the kind you eat with a glass of milk while sitting on your couch in sweatpants because they are the only things that fit you right now… Damn you, Christmas break). Apparently these super cookies allow websites to obtain all kinds of information from your browsing history. So creepy, right?

And sneaky little Facebook is doing it for pure evil, but we don’t even bat an eye because “Oh my gosh! Facebook made me a video? Emily and I have been Facebook friends for five years?! This video is adorable. Look at all those super cute pictures of us together! Thank you, Facebook. You’re the best!”

Well played, Zuckerberg. Well played indeed.

But I am on to him. I bet in a few years’ time, Marky Mark and his sinister bunch will start (if they haven’t already) sending subliminal messages via Facebook that will eventually brainwash us into mindless zombies forced to do his bidding. And we will be none the wiser because we were too distracted watching adorable otter videos and taking online quizzes on what type of breakfast taco we are to see his evil plot unfold.

But Z-dawg isn’t going to jump in feet first into world domination. Noooo, he knows he needs to take his time with this. First he’s going to see just how much stupid crap he can make us  do on the Internet. Basically ensuring we are brainwashable.

Case in point: For the past couple of weeks, every time I logged on to Instagram, a Facebook owned site (calm down, Zuckerberg), I would see this video for a facial mask that’s supposed to magically rid your face of all blackheads. It’s unlike any other mask out there because it’s black <insert oooh ahhhh noise>. The color is a result of the mixture of the mask’s respective ingredients: carbon atoms from the Dead Sea, unicorn horn shavings, and leftover ingredients from Kylie Jenner’s face transplant. Anywho, the stuff cost like $80, so sadly my dreams of achieving pre-pubescent skin faded away into the pink and orange Instagram sunset.

But lo and behold! Not even two days later, I saw another video for the same kind of mask on Facebook. It looked amazing. Women were applying this black gunk on their faces, and then peeling it off to reveal smooth, beautiful blackhead free skin. And guess what? I can order three bottles of this stuff for only $25! But just to make sure I could safely whip out the cc without being scammed, I read most of the comments on the video and performed a light stalking of those who wrote interesting reviews. Everything seemed legit. I even found a promo code in the comments for 20% off! This was meant to be.

Lesson Learned: You get what you pay for.

Besides the moderate burning sensation that I immediately felt when I put the mask on my face, my application process looked just like the video.

Things quickly fell apart when the time came to peel off the mask. If you’re one of the five people who watch my snaps, the following video will be a review:



Holy hell that hurt so bad. To add insult to injury, parts of the mask wouldn’t come off my face. I’m pretty sure I scrubbed off two layers of skin trying to get this crap off.

I don’t know if the $80 version of this stuff is any less painful. But I’m never going to shell out money to rip skin off my face again, so it will forever remain a mystery in my book.

Don’t think I don’t realize that the joke is on me. I know I fell victim to Zuckerberg’s elaborate ploy. He baited me with fancy face stuff I can’t afford on one site then reeled me in with the cheap crap one another. At the end of the day, I can’t even be mad at the guy because clearly I’m an idiot. While taking a quiz on how well I know Steel Magnolias yesterday, I saw an ad for these super cute boots just like the ones I’ve been eyeing at Nordstrom…

Zuckerberg – 1

Mariana – a little brainwashed


Help me, I’m poor


Every three months or so (usually coincided with when I finally muster the courage to look at my bank account), it becomes painstakingly clear that I’m not rich, and the likelihood of me becoming rich any time soon is slim to none.

I knew when I decided to be a teacher that I wouldn’t be able to maintain a lifestyle where I spend my days brunching with socialites and shopping at the expensive end of the Galleria. But a little voice inside my head would ever so often whisper, “marry a rich dude” and so there was always a fleck of hope.

All hope was crushed when I fell for, married, and procreated with a car salesman.
At least the brunch menu at Jack in the Box is delicious…

I admit I am in a constant state of denial about my lack of financial fortitude. I have bouts of shopping binges that ruin any hopes of me ever having a substantial savings account. Stores like Lululemon should never be a place I frequent. What business does a teacher – who also has a child –  have buying  a $120 pair of leggings? But I can’t help my self. Have you seen my ass in those leggings? It’s fantastic.

I can’t wait for this future conversation to go down:

Jackson: Mommy, can I have some money for college?

Me: Sweetie, mommy blew your entire college fund on luxury athletic apparel and mimosas.

A semester’s worth of college tuition in the form of spandex

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