This is why it always feels like I’m doing it wrong.

Life keeps happening & I can’t keep up with it AND with work.

Chingonafest launches as a podcast early next week. I haven’t formatted the new interview for the next feature. I’m nowhere near close to having time to figure out the next topic for the next podcast recording or firming plans with guests.

I haven’t sent out a newsletter in months.

None of that matters because the apples are falling from the trees right now. Dinner must be cooked right now. The vacuuming needs to be done last week, but let’s not get into semantics.

I have friends volunteering their time to help launch this community to the place I think it can reach, but I can’t ask more than they already do. For their efforts, I am already grateful. For the support and enthusiasm of those already supporting #chingonafest, I am grateful.

I’m not giving up. I’m just reminding myself that I am one person & there are only 24 hours in a day. If #chingonafest is meant to go mainstream, it will whether or not I lose my mind trying or not, so I vote Stay Slightly Sane.

A #chingona may dream impossible things & may take on more than she should because saying no is not what we normally do, but she’s going to go down kicking and screaming in an effort to make whatever dream she committed to become the reality she believes in.

Maybe we are hard-headed, but we don’t walk away from that in which we believe. I’m finishing the apples. I’m doing the dinner dishes. I’m getting the kid into bed. And I’m grabbing this project by the cojones and





Because that’s the plan.

Photo credit: Pauline Campos

Photo credit: Pauline Campos

This girl.

She drives me insane.

Pushes every button.

Tries to work every angle.

Won’t take no for an answer.

She’s gonna be one hell of a #chingona one day.

But right now, my job is remind her daily that mama makes the rules and her job is to follow them. She can keep pushing. I don’t want her to ever stop because that’s the signal she’s stopped believing in the power of her voice.

The goal is this — and I tell her this often — you can ask me why, but not until after you’ve done as you have been told. That shows respect and tells me you’re still as smart as you think you are. Ask my why before and you’re telling me that you’re weighing you’re options; trying to decide if not obeying is worth the consequence.

Mama’s not playing that game.

And she gets it.

I know this because tomorrow, we will have this conversation again.

I look forward to it.


Update on the #ChingonaFest Project podcast: We’re now shooting for early next week for the official launch of the first episode. Probably Monday or Tuesday. Until then, stay strong, my friends.


Repeat after me.

I am…Redefined

I am a


A Hell-Raiser.

A Bitch who takes no offense when you call me

the very word hurled at me as an insult.


My smile confuses


My thanks steals

The wind in your sails and cools my



This is where I leave you,

Blinking and reassessing, only because

I don’t feel like wasting my time waiting for you to figure out

I never needed anyone’s approval




But my own.


This is

My Journey.

As I define it

I define myself.


I lay the foundation for

The tomorrow’s during which

My sons and daughters

Will search for their own words;

Their own

Ways.  I am

A Chingona.


I am not

Perfect. I am my own story

Being Written with Words



to use.


Words Redefined.

Turns out…

I never needed

Anyone’s approval but

My Own.


Permission Granted.

The ChingonaFest Project Podcast with Pauline Campos is coming. Hopefully maybe tomorrow. I run on Mexican Time, which means I’m usually behind of and ahead of myself, and usually at the same time. Stay tuned in by connecting with me on the ChingonaFest Project Facebook Fan Page, and on twitter and instagram because you love me. It’s okay, I love you, too, in a totally We’ve Never Met But Would Probably Be Besties kind of way. Oh and all that art? It’s mine. I’m on Etsy with my Mexican in Maine shop, but I’m holding the ChingonFest branded art for a lil’ something special that involves me, you, the podcast, and community exclusives. *winks*


Welcome to WEEK 18 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Myrah Duque and Jesenia the Comedic Actress were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is a saint of a woman I consider myself lucky to call a friend. Her name is Denisse Moltavan and she’s the founder of the Orphaned Earring, an incredible non-profit benefiting Latin American orphanages. The premise is simple — you send in your orphan earring and/or donate any unwanted jewelry pieces and Denisse turns them into new pieces like these to sell for The Orphaned Earring.

To be clear, y’all, this is what Moltavan does in her spare time — on top of the 60 hours per week she puts in at her PR job. (I know, RIGHT?) Connect with Moltavan and The Orphaned Earring on Twitter, Facebook, and instagram.

So let’s get to that interview!


Denisse Moltavan

Denisse Moltavan


Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Denisse Moltavan: Chocolate.

PC: OMG TWINS, right? Favorite book and why?

DM: Amor en Los Tiempos de Cólera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez has the ability to transport us to different ages and eras and make US feel like the main characters in his books. He did just that with Amor En Los Tiempos de Colera, so as a child my first love was the book character.

PC: My high school AP English teacher would have loved you. What’s your favorite quote?

DM: “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ? Thomas A. Edison

PC: Opportunity needs a new stylist. Or maybe a friend brave enough to tell her that the overalls are not doing her any favors. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

DM: No, I consider myself an independent woman

PC: oh SNAP. I think you tie with Vannessa for best answer to this question EVER. Who inspires you?

DM: Many successful “everyday” Latinos who have found their success through hard work such as Richard Montanez of Pepsi Co. and Tommy Thompson of Moroch/iNSPIRE. I’m also inspired by Malala Yousafzai.

PC: I need to up my game. I was gonna say I’m inspired by the BFFs in the world brave enough to tell their overall-wearing BFFs that they aren’t allowed to leave the house until they’ve changed. Who is it you hope to inspire?

DM: I hope to inspire everyone around me to identify the opportunities to do good and take them! We all don’t have to have our own non-profits, we just need to train our hearts and minds to feel more compassion for others in the world and act on that compassion, just not be a spectator.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

DM: Both!

PC: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

DM: BEAST! It’s fun to be a sexy beast, but chingona is the new sexy!

PC: That makes me the new Sandra Cisneros. I’ll take it. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

DM: Not enough Latinas are highlighted for their accomplishments and intelligence. Latinas “make it” in media if they are very sexy and dress sexy as well. I’m not only referring to general market media, our Hispanic media puts so much pressure to being beautiful and sexy on TV that the rest of the world thinks that that’s all we have to offer.

PC: I knew I liked you for a reaon… Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

DM: You must show God’s love and mercy with others by helping and caring for them. People will be able to see God’s love through their actions.

Everything is possible, everything has a solution and the worse others can say to us is NO, and that’s not a big deal.

PM: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

DM: Being at the baseball field watching my daddy play every weekend, he was my childhood hero

PC: I like your dad. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

DM: I think in Spanish at home and with friends and English at work.

PC: That sounds entirely like way too much work. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

DM: Fritanga which includes red beans and rice, carne asada, tajadas verdes, ensalada de repollo, queso frito

PC: Bless you. Why am I suddenly hungry? Also, Do you feel “Latina enough”?

DM: Yes, very very Latina.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

DM: Nope, I take a bite, hold it in my mouth and let it melt.

PM: Patience, young grasshopper. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

DM: That we are nurturers.Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know how to handle a competitive best friend. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.


The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

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I’m friends with Canadian fish who thinks she’s a peach-flavored desert. Despite her incredibly amusing identity crisis, she’s pretty much my favorite imaginary friend with access to wifi and a Facebook account.

Peach Flambee (that’s her name and it’ perfect) keeps me around, I think, because she finds me –  and my penchant for amusing word tangent in response to her Facebook updates — as endearing as I am easily distracted. Personally, I think it’s unfair to bait the woman incapable of one word responses without first checking if:

A) I’m on deadline

B) what were we talking about aga…

C) I’ve got any adderall still working in my system whilst being tagged.

Because what’s happening here is a perfect example of why Peach could probably live quite happily without cable.


Peach got downright philosophical in response to Piccard voicing the very thing most of us are thinking when someone else says something like this after our cats get run over on the very same day we seem to have run out of chocolate. I was just going to paraphrase, but I went with a straight up cut & paste because I’m already losing interest here.

The meaning of what we say is determined by denotation, connotation, and context.

“Everything happens for a reason.” Denotatively, this is self- evident, so why say it?

Consider the context: Something unfortunate has happened to someone you care about, typically involving a loss: life, mobility, job, functionality, home …

Some well meaning folks respond with “Everything happens for a reason.” What is the connotation of this? Somewhere, somehow, a benefit will come from this loss, so really, you don’t need to feel so bad.

Excuse me??

That’s right, you shouldn’t feel so bad.

This is invalidation of normal, healthy grief and anger. And why? Can this person tell us what the elusive benefit is?

Uhhhh … no. Well, sort of. Maybe. It might be guesswork, But no, not really.

Who feels better for this? The person suffering the loss? Let’s see: The loss is still suffered, and in some way that he can’t quite put his finger on, he now gets the sense that the way he feels is somehow wrong, or inappropriate or demanding … but no one told him that, so *that* perception must also be wrong …

How about the well- meaning person? With one platitude, he’s spread a positive thought to a suffering person, and without any real effort on his part. He’s been thoughtful and it was so easy … and now he can stop feeling awkward because he has had something pleasant to say and something helpful to do.

We feel uncomfortable when the people we care about are suffering. This encourages us to say or do the first thing that will alleviate our own discomfort, often without thinking, because this is what we have learned to do by watching other people. We’re not alone in this so it must be the correct thing to do, right?

When you’re on the receiving end of the platitudes, they great, but you’re conditioned to believe that you’re just grumpy because you’re suffering. All the same, you find yourself feeling that you want to push away the people who care about you, and that makes things worse. Around and around it goes.

Sometimes there really is no useful advice you can give to a loved one. So don’t. Just offer to be there and not judge. Accept the sufferer’s feelings. Give him space if he needs it.

I adore how Boggle the Owl presents advice for these situations. I suggest giving Boggle a read

(Tagging Pauline, as the resident expert )


I know what you’re thinking…that’s one smart goldfish. But stick with me here, because one of us need to stay focused and we both know I’m pointing at you when I say that.

My response?

The Reasons that Everything keeps happening include ( but are not limited to):
- life’s a bitch
- karma has probably *always* a bitch
- no, seriously. Have you EVER heard someone say “Wow, that Karma…sweet as pie, that one... No?! -EXACTLY.

* you like pounding your head, repeatedly, on a hard surface.

* don’t lie and try to cover it up. “Namaste” is nowhere nearly as effective a mental picture as *HEADDESK* when trying illustrate frustration over The Everythings & The reasons the Everythings don’t take a fucking coffee break

* your mother called

* his mother called

* you didn’t forward that chain letter meme to 667 people before mercury went into to retrograde, DID you?

* you IDIOT

* You got out of bed this morning

* You cut the tag off of your pillow just to see what would happen

* It seemed like a good idea at the time

* You didn’t bother aiming and crossed the wires, thereby angering Zuel and inspiring over-achieving Pinterest users to make your s’more look like the unoriginal schlopp is really is

* You wore white after Labor Day

* The damned chicken just wanted to get to the other side, okaaaay?

* Well you see, Susie, when a Mommy and a Daddy like each other, they share a special hug…

* You poked the bear. Stop poking the fucking bear, will you?

This list could very probably never become suddenly outdated because there will always be stupid people in the world who say stupid (but well-meaning) things like Everything Happens for a Reason when the best response is usually none at all.

It’s either that, or Ben & Jerry’s better get to mixing new flavor combinations and slap Sorry About You Cat on the label. Because that’s really the only acceptable alternative allowed.

– Signed,

The Resident Expert

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