Heartmade Blog

Behind the Scenes: Life is Messy Kitchen Trailer (And A Call for Help)

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It’s been an amazing year of growing + playing in the kitchen + enjoying ridiculously delicious food + discovering that I’m not Batman. Batman is Batman!


I’ve burned more granola that I’d like to admit.


I can’t stop at just one cookie.


I wanna eat the entire fridge after watching Masterchef.


I’m not exactly sure what an antioxidant is just yet.


I don’t like waiting for my “cheat day” to eat pizza. That sh*t ain’t right.


And the most wonderful part of it all is that I no longer feel ashamed to admit it, since you showed up + since you raised your hand + since you said,  “Me, too!”


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Life is Messy Kitchen officially comes out Tuesday, November 18, 2014. And I’m recruiting. 


I’m recruiting an exclusive team of 25 ambassadors to lead the LAUNCH-O-RAMA festivities.


Funny back story: The other day, I woke David up so he could help me brainstorm ideas for the Life is Messy Kitchen book launch. He’s like, “Baby, do we really have to do this now? It’s 11:51pm.” I was like, “Mmmm. Yeah!”


Pre-lauch Mayi isn’t much fun LOL.


But I will tell you this: I would have never gotten the cojones to ask for your help if it weren’t for him.


David: “Just ask your tribe, the people that love + support you to give you a hand.”


Me: “What? Are you CRAZY. You can’t do that.”


David: “Why not?”


Mayi: “Well… well… because it looks unprofessional. Like I can’t do it by myself. Like I’ve got nothing under control. Like I’m a mess. Like it’s 30 days till launch + I’m still brainstorming.”


David: “Then that’s exactly why you should. Because you are human. And I think your community would feel pretty special if they knew how much you need them right now.”


The truth is: I DO need you. Especially right now.


THANK YOU SO MUCH for being on my team. For having my back. For camping in my tent. I’m so lucky to have you. Seriously.


To get us pumped, I leave you with some behind the scenes from this weekend’s Life is Messy Kitchen video shoot:


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I was so discouraged when the first person I contacted to film the trailer didn’t even return my messages. So rude. The second person, actually came to my studio, then PUFF disappeared. Never even submitted an actual proposal. The third videographer I found felt too corporatey for what I had in mind.


I wanted a video that celebrated my quirks + showed off my overly excitable personality + captured the messy parts in between that everyone hides.


The day I stopped looking, was the day the beautiful + freakishly talented Sarah Tyler appeared in my line of vision.


From our first Skype chat I knew I was in good hands. She got me, she got the process + I knew she was going to make a great little movie.


“Hey Universe, thanks for letting all those other stuff fall apart, so this cookbook trailer could fall together. Amen.”


“Hey virtual fam’, thanks for helping a sister out BIG TIME. If this book gets in the hands of Ellen it will be because of YOU! God bless.”


Today, let’s celebrate the Universe having our back. And for having each other.


Perfect + bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must dare to show up to our own creative process. We must embrace not having our clue what to do next. We must ask for what we need help with. In the words of Gustavo Cerati, “Mereces lo que sueñas” (English translation: “You deserve what you dream”.) So don’t for a second dream anything less than extraordinary.


Trust the mess.



Mayi Carles


P.S.: If you would like to be a part of the Life is Messy Kitchen LAUNCH-O-RAMA for a chance to win cool prices + social media love from me + good karma calorie-free cookie points, shoot me an e-mail at mayicarles@gmail.com!


Photography Credit

Sarah Tyler

Spooky Ginger Cookies with Whipped Coconut Cream

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The countdown to Life is Messy Kitchen has officially started. Thirty days. THIRTY DAYS!!! Save the date. November 18, 2014 is the day.


I can’t believ-able!!! This whole “I’m having a cookbook” thing is getting real. I’m excited, but nervous.


Excited because I can perfectly envision the Pitt-Jolie family cooking from this book. Nervous because I’ve never been on the Ellen show. If she calls, what am I gonna wear?


But all joking aside, so much love has been poured into this project that I can’t help but feel this, almost Nostradamus-like vision, for all the BIGNESS that’s coming ahead.  Can you feel it too? And my heart is expanding in gratitude. And my belly is too, for all the good-for-me sweets I’m having this month. Cuz it’s not only my birthday month, but my favorite of favorites holiday EVAH: Halloween. And I made cookies. Cookies you can dip in deliciousness that the whole family will love to play with.


Psst… these are so yummy, the lil’ one’s (and hubby) won’t even tell they are made with whole food lovin’ ingredients. Sneaky.


Here’s how to make em:


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ginger cookies ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 organic egg
  • ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsulfured Blackstrap molasses
  • 2 ¾ cups spelt flour or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root (adjust depending on how much kick you want)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Wooden sticks (optional)
  • Whipped Coconut Cream(see below)


ginger cookies directions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.


Step 2: In a large bowl beat together coconut oil + sugar until it becomes somewhat fluffy + sugar begins to dissolve. Add egg + molasses.


Step 3: In separate mixing bowl mix flour + ginger + baking soda + salt + cloves + cinnamon.


Step 4: Combine wet + dry ingredients. You may have to use your clean hands when the dough becomes too stiff. When dough is smooth + all ingredients are evenly combined divide into two. Wrap each half in saran wrap + refrigerate for one hour.


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Step 5: Between sheets of wax or parchment paper roll out each half of dough to about 1/3 inch thickness. Remove top sheet of wax or parchment paper. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Add a stick in the bottom + use the scraps to firm the back. Transfer cookies to a cookie sheet lined with Silpat. Freeze the cookies for about 12 minutes. Don’t skip this secret step. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden + firm to the touch. Dip in Whipped Coconut Cream + enjoy!


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whipped coconut cream ingredients

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest from 1 orange


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whipped coconut cream directions

Step 1: Place the coconut milk in the fridge + allow it to sit overnight. Take it out the following day + resume to the second step.


Step 2: Open the can + scoop out the hardened coconut mass that has gathered on the top into a bowl. The coconut water that remains can be used in any recipe that calls for plant-based milk so there is no need to throw this out.


Step 3: Grab either an electric or manual hand mixer + start whisking the coconut mass until you have a smooth cream. Add vanilla + salt + orange zest. Give it one last whisk. Serve immediately.


Any left-overs can be stored in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks. It will firm up a bit yet all you need to do is re-whisk it before serving. It hardly gets any easier than that!


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Enjoy + have a great weekend!


OMG, speaking of weekend, I’ll be filming the Life is Messy Kitchen trailer tomorrow. Be sure to follow me @mayicarles so you don’t miss the behind the scenes action. It’s gonna be sooooo much fun. I painted my nails + everything LOL!



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

Late Friday Night Confession: I’m Standing at the Edge of a Cliff

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I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. At the tip of a very BIG audacious moment. And I’m a lil’ scared.


I’m submitting Abuelita Nany’s signature Ron Ponche recipe to Sweet Paul Magazine’s Holiday Contest. For 87 years granny’s kept this recipe a secret, until I bribed her with this competition. If there is something granny likes more than cooking is winning.


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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 Nany’s Ron Ponche, so she keeps on making it herself. Cuz nothing says “Llegó Navidad” like the smell of rum coming from grandma’s kitchen.


Happiness is… hitting submit + feeling I already won.


Life is Messy App


I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. At the tip of a very BIG audacious moment. And I’m a lil’ scared.


One year ago, I sketched this pencil drawing you see above on the back of a journal page thinking, “Wouldn’t it be sooooo cool if I could create an app to make life a little less messy + a lot more awesome?” It felt downright ku-ra-zy. Everything inside me yelled, “Impossible. You can’t.”


So I did.


Here’s to humble beginnings that start in napkins + Post-It notes + in the back of Moleskin journals. Here’s to crazy ideas that make you wanna jump out of bed in the morning. Here’s to starting before you are ready. Here’s to saying yes + figuring it out afterwards.


Speaking of afterwards…


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No the app ain’t ready. Yet.


I can see the Life is Messy App finish line, it’s right there, but things keeps happening + happening, and the launch keeps on getting postponed + postponed due to a million different little things – glitches + family emergencies + last minute interface rearrangements + technical walls of China + lions + tigers + bears… oh my!


I’m anxiously bitting my nails. I’m breathing into brown bags. I fear that because I’ve been talking about this project for so long, people are gonna think I’m a fraud. After all, I’m still “talking about it” + not “being it”… not “showing it”.


But know what?


Happiness is… remembering why I started + what I came here to do, and heck showing up + trying. Even when it gets hard + less fun. Specially when it gets harder + not as fun times. This is the part where most people pack their bags + quit. But, I can’t. I have no where else to go.


Happiness is… being so certain that this is my path that I can afford to wait.


Happiness is… caring about something so deeply that it inspires me to power though + hang tough.


Happiness is… that feeling of wanting to show the world what I’ve created from the heart. Like waiting to see everyone open their presents Christmas morning. The anticipation. The dreaming about phase. There is magic in the waiting… in the not knowing exactly how everything will unfold.


I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. At the tip of a very BIG audacious moment. And I’m a lil’ scared.


Years back, after watching The Bucket List, I wrote my own. Yes, “Adopt a baby panda” is on there. So is, “Publish s cookbook. It’s happening. And this November, there will be a red Sharpie checkmark to the left of that one. It will be epic. I will french kiss my husband with my “Rouge” Coco Chanel lipstick + disco dance under the moonlight + get happy drunk on limoncello shots + name all my stuffed animals after every single soul that made this come true.


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Happiness is… having 72 illustrations left to go (aka paint + scan + clean up in Photoshop + vectorize + send to Marbel Canseco for book design sorcery), due in 14 days. So close I can almost taste it, yet so much work ahead. But I’ve so got this. Gimme an M. Gimme an A. Gimme a Y. Gimme an I. Ra ra ra. I’m not worried, at all. I’m so not gonna panic. No way Jose. Why am I hyperventilating? Wait, did I put on deodorant? Where’s did I last see my Burnt Umber paint tube? I’m huuuuuungry, borderline hangry. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!


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Happiness is… not knowing how, but feeling with every ounce of my being that it will all get done, somehow. And I will survive. I will finish painting dad + I making pizza together, along with 71 other sketches. Just don’t ask me how. I dunno.


Happiness is… not being a lawyer. Sorry mom. Well, because I wouldn’t trade this hot mess I got myself into… this uncertainty… this not knowing for sure what tomorrow will bring… this moment of absolute lack of control, for any steady paycheck. Not interested in the fancy desk + leather arm chair + Marc Jacobs suit thank you very much. The paint staining pajamas will do. Plus, I’m kinda of a big deal on my blog. What lawyer can say that, right?


. . .


I know the odds are not in my favor. And I’m a lil’ scared. Okay more like, at the verge of a nervous breakdown. I know, because everyday feel like I’m PMSing. A girl knows.


I have never felt more vulnerable + more uncomfortable + more scared, than now. But at the same time, I have never felt happier + more sure that this what I’m meant to be doing + more A-LIVE.


I might not know everything there is about you, but…


I know that what you’re trying to do is crazy pants + it takes courage.


I know that everything that could have stood in the way has.


I know some people think you lost your mind.


I know you’re standing at the verge of your own metaphorical cliff too.


And I know you are scared.


Me too!


I might not know all there is, but I know that those war scars you’ve got are proof that you are way stronger than everything that tried to beat you.


I might not have all the answers, but you are welcome to camp at my tent anytime sister. We’ll figure it out, together. I’ll start the bonfire. Tell me your story. I’ll make the S’mores.



Mayi Carles

Case Study: Kiehl’s Unorthodox Marketing

If you’ve been wondering if the world really needs another blogger + another photographer + another coach + another bakery + another yoga instructor + another designer + another skin care line + another jewelry brand + another (insert what you do here), the answer is, well, yes. You bet!


But you can’t expect to make money + have an avalanche of raving fans coming in stampede to buy your stuff + save the world, if you’re like everyone else.


Of course it’s easier said than done, that’s why today I’m taking you inside a brand that’s been WOWing it’s clientele for shifting the cosmetics industry paradigm since 1851. I’m talking about Kiehl’s, my favorite skin/hair/body care line. Have you tried their lip balm? You must!


In contrast to its perceived market competitors, Kiehl’s is distinguished for its unorthodox marketing approach + old-school apothecary concept + neighborhood charm. And when I heard they don’t even pay for advertising, I knew I had to pay them a visit.


I hope that this case study will inspire you to inject more spunk into your witch cauldron, so no matter how saturated your niche is, you can leave the same old same ol’s miles behind.


Click play to watch!



let’s recap

What are some of the strategies that differentiate Kiehl’s from the herd? Here are some of my favorites:

  • They don’t believe in “one size fits all”, so Kiehl’s lab-coated staff offers free personalized skin consultation to everyone who walks in.
  • For decades, Kiehl’s has relied solely on non-traditional advertising through word of mouth of happy clients + their extremely generous free sampling program.
  • Kiehl’s might be an internationally-renowned brand, but they make you feel like you’re family through their local community boards, like the baby wall or doggie wall (awwwww).


your turn

Tell me ONE thing that makes your brand different from the competition. In other words, what makes you unique + stand out from the rest? Drop it like it’s hot, in the comments below.


If you loved today’s Friday Video Time episode, it would mean so much if you could help me spread the world. Every time you use the cute social media buttons below, you allow this tiny Panamanian artist to keep living the dream + continue putting out great content like this week after week, for which I will be forever + ever grateful.


big thanks

To Gretel Troetsch, for letting me camp at Kiehl’s Panama @kiehlspanama for an entire morning + making me feel at home.


To Uber Shop @ubershopper, for my floral backless maxi. I’m in love + hubby is too (wink).



Mayi Carles


PS: Speaking of popping amongst thousands of sellers, my biz sidekick April Bowles-Olin has a class coming up in November called Make Your Creative Business Uniquely Irresistible. If you’re ready to be your ideal customers excitedly + confidently choose, no matter how many other options they may have, this course is a must. Click here to RSVP for this FREE live workshop!



Tropical Thai Lettuce Wraps



This recipe started where all do, on an empty stomach. I was starving. S-TAR-VING!!! (You might need to know this about me in case we’re ever stranded in an elevator together: I can’t think + reason or speak when angry hungry. I turn into the Hulk.) To makes matters worse, David had just returned from a 3 hour surf session, so he could eat a rhinoceros. DANGER DANGER!!!


This meal was a team effort. We put it together in less than 30 minutes. Tops. I can’t believable!!! God bless. Our marriage depended on it LOL.


These light + fresh Tropical Thai Lettuce Wraps made the most perfect lunch. We loved rolling our own thai “burritos”.  Prep was a snap.  We vacuumed them within seconds, not even a lettuce was left in the crime scene. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel stuffed or lazy afterwards. This one’s a keeper!


I imagine these sweet n’ savory rolls would be great for entertaining too. Easy to make ahead + have em’ waiting in the fridge until he party starts. KAPOW!


Scroll down to steal the recipe!




spiced chicken

  • 2 large chicken breasts, diced in small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water


First clean the chicken. In a tupperware add diced chicken + cumin + curry + coconut oil + salt. Close the lid + shake shake shake. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


When ready to cook, in a large sauce pan, at high heat, add chicken. Cook, until they brown on the outside. Then turn the heat to low-medium + add soy sauce + water. Scrape the edges + stir until the liquid becomes a sauce. Close the lid + cook for about 10-15 minutes




almond sauce

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)


In a small sauce pan, at low heat, stir almond butter + maple syrup until it begins to smell + darken. About 1-2 minutes. Turn off flame. When the mixture is still hot, add almond milk + stir, until it blends + the mixture becomes smooth. Season with paprika + salt.



  • Mango, diced in thin slices
  • Carrot, shredded
  • Red pepper + onion, cut in thin slices + grilled with olive oil


Serve with big lettuce leaves.





table setting

This is a self-serve recipe, plated separately so every person can customize their wrap.




Who’s making Tropical Thai Lettuce Wraps this weekend? Raise your hand!


Would love to feature your recipe remix on my Instagram feed, so be sure to tag @mayicarles + include the hashtag #lifeismessykitchen so I can see it.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

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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