Heartmade Blog

Oh 2014, We’ve Been Through A Lot This Year, You + I

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As 2014 comes to a wrap, I see a lot of people making BIG plans for 2015. Hold your horses Rocky Balboa. Let’s do a little goodbye ceremony first, shall we? Talk about the lessons we learned in 2014, as opposed to focus on all the stuff we were “supposed to do” + didn’t get done.


I realized, focusing on the negative is easy. I can tell you in a hot flash some of the stuff that didn’t happen this year without blinking:

  • My Life is Messy App never happened.
  • I didn’t get into Anthropologie.
  • Holiday cards to loved ones… yeah those will not get check-marked either.
  • Ellen hasn’t called. Yet.
  • I’m not sure I ever took my multi-vitamins.
  • Killed all our house plants. Not even Valentina, our beach cactus made it.
  • I feel I kinda abandoned my Friday Video Time show.
  • Set out to write the perfect cookbook that would give you a bikini body in 10 days + solve all your problems in one swoop. Yeah Life is Messy Kitchen ended up being the antithesis of that.
  • I didn’t have a baby.
  • I never got around to learning how to make raviolis from scratch.


And that’s just the beginning.


To put it light, everything that could have stood in the way of my 2014 goals, did.


I looked at my scars in the mirror this morning + BOOM it hit me: Yeah, I was run over, but I’m much stronger than everything that tried to beat me. These war marks are here, they exist to remind me that I am a warrior. Proof that I survived an extraordinary adventure.


And that fact that you are here means that you survived an epic voyage too. Know it.


We are modern day Yedi’s you + I. The only time we might have been a little helpless was when our nail polish was drying up. Other than that, WATCH OUT. We’re FIERCE!!! Ka-pow!


Of course, it’s easier to focus on rock bottom – the pain point + the tears + the frustrations + the destructive self-talk + the people that tried to hurt us. That shit is loud. And rude. It pops up uninvited anytime, anywhere. Like cockroaches. What’s hard is allowing the good stuff to step into the mic. Be heard. And kill their karaoke performance.


Today I challenged myself to make a list of all the beautiful things that happen to me this year + the great lessons I learned:

  • I discovered I actually love eating breakfast + that skipping it only leads to me eating the entire fridge later.
  • Wrote our family’s mission statement. What it means to be part of a Larrinaga-Carles. Our core values. Our dreams. Brought David + I even closer + more deeply in love with one another. I learned that the most important business plan of all is the family business plan.
  • I found out that if you love life, life loves me back like ten times more. Try it.
  • If it weren’t for my fantabulous sidekick April Bowles-Olin, I would be locked up in a mental institution. I learned that behind every successful woman there is a best friend turning meltdowns into belly laughs.
  • I discovered The Cronut. And my world has never been the same.
  • Did you know that a good morning kiss can help prevent against stress-related illnesses + it triggers hormones that help a person deal with pressure? Well, David took good care of me, I’ll say that much, which makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the planet.
  • I didn’t realize how much my body loved me. It is always trying to keep me alive. It’s making sure I breathe while I sleep + stop cuts from bleeding + fix broken bones + find ways to beat illnesses. It took a while, but I’ve finally learned to love my body exactly as it is.
  • Learned than sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want. Not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserver MORE.
  • Hagrid came into our lives + we learned to play frisbee, well, by ourselves cuz Hagrid still eats it as opposed to retrieving it. Silly lil’ puppy lab.
  • I got myself a onesie + freedom blogging in pajama to a whole new level.
  • Not so voluntarily ceased my need to control everything + do it all myself +micro-manage. Stopped hiring kids. Hired professional – Marcela Macias as my photographer + Marbel Canseco as my designer/project manager + Lindsay McGuire as my web developer + Sarah Tyler as my videographer + Kris with a K as my copy editor. Best freaking move I have EVER made for my business ever. And I lived happily ever after without ulcers. The End.
  • Substituting the weekend to-do list for a hammock is the solution to everything. Lesson learned.
  • I painting 75 illustrations in a weekend. Batman better watch it. Learned I’m capable of much much more than my mind would let me think possible.
  • I learned that I don’t want to be known as a a creative business coach anymore. I don’t want to be a guru of any sort. I don’t even want to be the super successful expert that tell you the three simple steps to making it on Etsy, or whatever. No. I want to be Mayi, flawed + fabulous, and I want to build a lifestyle brand that doesn’t tolerate quirkiness, it celebrates it. That’s what I want, to build a beautiful messy nation.


There is something wonderfully liberating about choosing to reframe every ordeal into a story of triumph, ya know?


I have never felt more vulnerable + more uncomfortable + more scared, than now. But at the same time, I have never felt happier + more alive + complete.


The day I finally relinquished my attachment to control + perfectionism was the day I discovered that I was already EVERYTHING. Mighty powerful.


In 2015, I vow to take each day at a time. To treat myself kindly. And self-love will be my word. My North Star.


In 2015, I vow to trust the mess. To not let the seeds stop me from enjoying my watermelon.


In 2015, I vow to go on only one diet, the Toxic People Diet. To have the courage to fire every whiny + pessimistic + energy sucking person in my life who is dimming my glittery eyes. They might call me Captain Pajama Pants, but that doesn’t make me a lifeboat for people who don’t want to be rescued.


In 2015, I vow to stop trying to make everyone happy. I’m not Nutella. 


In 2015, I vow to meditate everyday I can’t find my answers in a Google search + jump on the yoga mat when I get angry for being hungry + drink green smoothies when… Hmmm, okay, I think I’ve gone too far. Let’s leave it at Nutella.


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Now I turn the microphone over to you.


I know you’ve been throw a lot this year too. Roller coaster, the upside down kind. So tell me, any lessons big or small that you’d like to share? It’s safe at our cafeteria table. Let it out girlfriend!


Get ready. Things are shifting. Believe 2015 is your year for acceleration + radical happiness.



Mayi Carles


Photo Credit

Sarah Tyler


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Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany

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I submitted my Abuelita Nany’s signature Ron Ponche recipe to Sweet Paul Magazine’s Holiday Contest this year.


For 87 years granny’s kept this famous recipe a secret, until I bribed her with this competition, cuz if there is something granma’ loves more than cooking + seeing your face after savoring what she made, is winning.


Happiness is… ferociously following granma’ around the kitchen with a video camera to document this heirloom recipe. Until the very end she was still trying to sneak up on me, ninja-style so I couldn’t measure her “to taste” additions. “Abu, you told me this recipe called for 8 egg yolks. I just counted TWENTY FOUR!!!”. Sneaky granny. Sneaky sneaky indeed.


Happiness is… faking I didn’t actually learn how to recreate my Abuelita Nany’s Ron Ponche, so she keeps on making it herself for years + years to come. Cuz nothing says “es la Navidad” like the smell of rum coming out of grandma’s kitchen.


Happiness is… hitting submit on Sweet Paul Magazine’s Holiday Contest page + never hearing back + still feeling like a jackpot winner.


Happiness is… sharing everything this recipe means to me + my family + our history with YOU!


Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany


Here’s what you’ll need to make Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany, because you should. Make it, I mean. Because even if you’ve been naughty this year you deserve an indulging extravagance.



  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups evaporated milk (we used Nestle)
  • 24 egg yolks (not 8 as granny will have you fooled) + whisk with 1/8 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons corn flour or corn starch + diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle of rum (Granny likes Bacardi)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


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In a large pot add sugar + milk + evaporated milk. Cook in “Baño María” (in English this is called “Water Bath” or Bain Mary), until it boils. Stir occasionally. It took us approximately 20 minutes.


Bring the fire down to low heat. Dilute corn flour in water before adding to the mix. This step is important. If the corn flour is added when dried it can create ugly clusters of muchiness. Add the wet corn flour mixture to the mix. Stir well.


Add vainilla. Stir, until well combined.


In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add 1/8 cup milk. Add this to the cooled down mix in slow motion, using a mesh strainer. Stir stir stir stir like a crazy person.This is one of granny’s secret steps. Skip it if you want Frittata Ponche instead of Ron Ponche. NOT!!! Most people get this part wrong + end up cooking their eggs. You should notice eggs yolks “strings” coming from the strainer. That’s the idea.


The add 1 bottle of rum. Let cool completely.


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Bottle in beautiful recycled glass bottled + gift for christmas using these Holiday Gift Tags (ahem ahem).


CLICK TO TWEET: Your gifts deserve the cutest Holiday Gift Tags in the land. Check these out http://etsy.me/1BEwfci from @mayicarles


Keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month. Serve in a fancy cup with ice or in a whisky glass. Make it festive!


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When I told my family “I DID IT!!! Eagle Minor One Niner has landed the recipe. I repeat Eagle has Abuelini’s Ron Ponche recipe”, it felt like I had landed on the moon or holding The Ring, as in my preciouzzzz.


Of course I documented the entire experience in film + photos, for myself, for my kids + their kids. But then I saw the footage + I was like, “I can’t keep this too myself”. So here’s an editor’s cut version of the footage. It’s raw + intimate + mostly in Spanish, but I knew that wouldn’t stop you from enjoying all the magical moments. Take a peak!



your turn

Tell me what tastes like Christmas in your family? Any treasured Holiday recipes or funny stories around food? I wanna know EVERYTHING, in the comments below. Especially if it involves a sneaky granny buahahaha.



Mayi Carles


Photo Credit

Marcela Macias


contest winners

And without further delay, the Life is Messy Kitchen Virtual Potluck winners are:

  • Ana from La Guinda del Pastel
  • Sandra García
  • Matt and Olia


Hip hip HOORAY!!! Congratulations to the messies who won + everyone who helped me with my judge duties. This was sooooo hard you guys.


Winners please e-mail me at mayicarles@gmail.com with a quick “I won” + your mailing address. I’ll take care of the rest.


If you have no ideas what the hell I’m talking about, giveaway what the whaaat, go here!

Messy Kitchens Unite!

Life is Messy Kitchen


Your support is the reason I get to do AMAZING things.


All this recipe recreations from Life is Messy Kitchen are making me blush. It’s clashing with my red Holiday-ish lipstick. Ohhhh STOP IT!!! Okay don’t.


I’m beyond humbled. Flattered to the point of nervous giggling. People are REALLY picking up the book + remaking deliciously nourishing dishes you guuuuuys!!!


Don’t wake me up just yet. Let me savor this for a bit longer please.


Today, is a tribute to the messies of the world. Real people with hungry loved ones + a tight kitchen + not every cooking appliance known to mankind. Real people who struggle to make healthy eating a priority because they are too busy changing the world. Pinky, is that you? No way, I spilled pancake syrup on my pajamas too!


You know those cookbooks full of pretty photos + recipes that never come out according to plan? The ones with rainbow cakes that look more like a poo Tower of Pisa in real life? The ones with pancakes that taste like cardboard? The ones where you can never get anything to look like the picture of the page? Yeah… Life is Messy Kitchen is NOT one of those books.


This book is to meant to be eaten. Well maybe you shouldn’t eat the actual book book without consulting your doctor first, but you know what I mean. I didn’t set out to make another cookbook that sits on the shelf + accumulates dust. I wanted to see people playing in the kitchen… were happiness is born. I just never expected this avalanche of support. Not like this.


Take a peek at what some of your messy compatriots have whipping out already:


LIMK Recreation 1



LIMK Recreation 2



LIMK Recreation 3


  • Bei from Tigriteando did the Avo-Pesto, which apparently passed the most important test of them all, the Sneaky Little Hands Test.
  • Despina Spanaki from Sugarbaby Art fell for the Detox Tonic. Simple + so good for you.
  • Carla M. Jones made Avocado Pesto + turned it into a dip. Awesome!


LIMK Recreation 4


  • Romina Guaraz + her Spa Water recreation. Simply perfect!
  • Jewels by Trish made brownies. YUM! You have got to check em’ out. Note to self: Get those measuring spoons for Christmas!
  • Abi struggled to pick a recipe but decided eventually to prepare the Kale and Black-Eyed Peas Stew. She skipped the celery + rather than serving it with brown rice, added quinoa. Perfect for a winter day.


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  • Kathryn Stewart got crakin’ on a mountain of pecans for this show-stopping Maple Pecans recipe. Perfect for the Holidays. “I didn’t even adapt it because her original version worked so beautifully, and as I’m writing this, I’ve eaten all but roughly 10 pecans, which I’m graciously saving for my sister-in-law for when she gets into town tomorrow.”
  • Gaby Noriega conjured my Avo-Pesto sensation with a creative alteration.
  • Ana Lara literally just started blogging, but that didn’t stop her from making + sharing my Tabbouleh and Pita Bread recipe.




  • Sarah O’Toole tweaked a tiny little bit my German Bread by adding a very Fall-ish secret ingredient. Can you guess which one it is?
  • Nuvea Santos Cobb tried the Avo-Pesto too. Is there a pattern here people? I think people went for it first because it’s sooooo easy to make + all you need are a few simple ingredients.
  • Roxy González experimented with my Avo-Pesto recipe. Improvised with what she had in the kitchen + nailed it!
  • Nancy Gaines from Domesticraft made me giggle with her T-Rex inspired recipe photo shot.












A massive THANK YOU!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each + every one of you who has taken the time to recreate a Life is Messy Kitchen recipe.


Psst… if you suspect your recipe recreation was eaten by inbox trolls because you don’t see your dish displayed at the top, quickly send me an e-mail. I’ll fix it Felix in a hot flash.



And because I love to reward caring, I’m going to giveaway signed copies of Life is Messy Kitchen + some of my favorite kitchen party props to THREE messies from today’s tour. But…I need your help.


In the comments below, tell me which recipe twist you are most excited to try from the bloggers above. Based on your hand raises, I will choose the lucky winners next Friday, December 12.


Thank you so much for playing along + helping me make the tough call. Being a judge is HARD! Especially a hungry one.



Mayi Carles

PS: I love featuring your Life is Messy Kitchen recipes. Send me your pictures… your posts… your testimonials. I might be tempted to buy a Super Bowl ad spot to give it some air time.

Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party

Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party


Hoping to hear all the inside secrets behind the making of Life is Messy Kitchen? Like, what it was like to work with a professional photographer? The recipes testing + finding (or not finding) the ingredients? The crazy process of designing the cover? The meltdowns? The stuff that went utterly wrong, like that time we killed a dehydrator… TWICE?


Well, you’re in luck, cuz I’m hosting a Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party together with Marcela Macias + Marbel Canseco, TODAY, November 25 at 3PM ESTClick here to RSVP + save your seat!


And you wanna be there because we will be giving away signed copies of the book + the cutest kitchen props ever. AHHHH!!! It’s true.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

The Mess Behind the Book



Friday Video Time is BACK!


My hair is still in crazy launch mode anymore, but we’re getting there. (Everything that’s not my pajamas is progress.)


This week marked the culmination of a 15-month in the making creative project: Life is Messy Kitchen. On Tuesday, thousands of people visited the site. Crashed it after one hour. We were back shortly. Then Europe woke up + crashed it again. Doubled our bandwidth. Doubled it again last night after receiving an alert that the domain www.lifeismessykitchen.com was about to exceed its bandwidth limit. I have never been prouder of my community hehehe. That’s what I call an avalanche of love. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.


What people get to see is the end, the final product, the editor’s cut, the proofread edition, the gorgeous book behind the mess.  Showing off perfect it easy. Sharing what happened before the story of triumph is what’s hard.


I have so many glossy things in my archives to show you. All those happy testimonials from clients. All the doors that have already opened for me + my team. All the tweets. All the recipe recreations that have started to pour in. It’s always a good time to share those. But today is not that day. Today, I’m here to talk about the messy parts people don’t see.. don’t talk about.


Click play to watch the most vulnerable I’ve given myself permission to get!



CLICK TO TWEET: Rock bottom prepares you for extraordinary adventures – http://bit.ly/1F8PqZj @mayicarles


CLICK TO TWEET: When we are brave enough to show up, we will discovered the infinite power of our light – http://bit.ly/1F8PqZj @mayicarles


CLICK TO TWEET: Mess exists to help you craft the most epic story of triumph EVAH – http://bit.ly/1F8PqZj @mayicarles




join us

Hoping to hear all the inside secrets behind the making of Life is Messy Kitchen? Like, what it was like to work with a professional photographer? The recipes testing + finding (or not finding) the ingredients? The crazy process of designing the cover? The meltdowns? The stuff that went utterly wrong, like that time we killed a dehydrator… TWICE?


Well, you’re in luck, cuz I’m hosting a Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party this next Tuesday, November 25 at 3PM ESTClick here to RSVP + save your seat!


And you wanna be there because we will be giving away signed copies of the book + the cutest kitchen props ever. AHHHH!!! It’s true.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

Come on in! Yes you, in your paint stained pajamas if you wish. This is your space to dream up + spill open your splendidly messy life in progress. You're bound to leave here feeling happier + super empowered + most certainly loved.

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