I know it’s July, but in case you’re keeping tabs for your Naughty + Nice lists, I wanted you to know that I’m not competing anymore. I’m on the happiness train now, which includes guilt-free pepperoni pizza. That’s regular pepperoni pizza, minus the feeling bad part, by the way.
PS: S’more cookies will be in the usual spot. That’ll never change!
I hope you’re having a super lazy Friday, with a pinch on naughty + a dash of nice.
I hope you left the office early.
I hope you’re catching this on your phone, on your way to some sort of beach.
I hope you’re wearing bright pink lipstick, if that’s your thing. Or sweatpants, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I hope you’re day dreaming about a weekend feast. I wish for us mojitos + recipes that lick the plate clean. Especially the mojitos part.
Here’s a sloooow + relaxed dish that will go well with that: Chargrilled Veggie Terrine.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- Italian seasonings, to taste
- Olive oil
- 11 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 ounces basil leaves, chiffonaded
- 3 marinated artichokes, drained + sliced in half
- 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, drained + chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms
- Sea salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Step 1: Prepare the eggplant. Layer eggplant + salt in a colander. Set aside for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel.
Step 2: To prepare the rest of the veggies, wash 3 glass jars with lid in hot soapy water. Rinse in hot water. Drain upside-down until completely dry. Heat a chargrill over high heat. Cook eggplant + zucchini + red bell pepper, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes each side, or until browned + tender. Transfer to a bowl. Add italian seasonings. Toss gently to combine. Transfer to prepared jar. Add oil to cover eggplant. Seal jar. Refrigerate. To skip this step, you can buy chargrilled eggplant + red pepper + zucchini at most delicatessens.
Step 3: The next day, line a 9 x 5 x 2 1/5 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving a generous amount hanging over the sides.
Step 4: Place the ricotta + garlic in a bowl + beat until smooth. Season with salt + pepper to taste. Set aside.
Step 5: Drain the chargrilled vegetables.
Step 6: Line the base of the tin with half the eggplant, cutting + fitting to cover the base. Top with a layer of half the red peppers. Then all the zucchini slices. Spread evenly with the ricotta mixture + press down firmly. Place the chiffonaded basil leaves on top of the ricotta. Arrange the artichoke + sun dried tomatoes + mushrooms in three rows lengthwise on top of the ricotta.
Step 7: Top with another layer of chargrilled red peppers + finish with the eggplant. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the terrine.
Step 8: Put a piece of cardboard on top + weight it down with weights or small food cans. Refrigerate the terrine overnight.
Step 9: To serve, peel back the plastic wrap + turn the terrine out onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap + cut into think slices.
Step 11: Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap + store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
I realized the other day that ideas have a life-cycle, like plants + muffins. Somehow, I always thought ideas were timeless, life fairy tales + McDonalds french fries.
As I was franticly going through every item on my grocery list to double check I wasn’t missing any of the ingredients to make this granola recipe, I became aware that ideas have stages, from aha moment to launch + everything in-between.
Sometimes, ideas live inside a forgotten moleskin journal. Other times, they are planted in fertile soil by dreamers.
Ideas get stuck quite frequently too, in decision paralysis + overwhelm + rejection. Some, never make it to the sun. Others, beat the odds.
Today, I set out to attempt to doodle the cycle of an idea. Here goes.
- LIGHTBULB MOMENT: “Look who’s finally decided to show up? Miss Epiphany Fairy! Where were you? I showered. I called. I text messaged you. Gimme a sec to get my notepad, I wanna write everything down!” This is the initial spark.
- DREAM PHASE: The magical place where you suddenly can’t stop thinking about your idea. Once lightning strikes it becomes an addiction. You’re in Disneyland. You’re seduced by the rush. You can’t shut up about it. You daydream about all the possibilities. You tell your mom, “Mom, I’m gonna be a millionaire!!!”. Wait you’ve never called your mom to tell her you’re gonna be a millionaire? Right. Me neither.
- IMPLEMENTATION MODE: The big commitment. “I’m serious you guys!” proclamations. The day you sit down + take a deep breath + look at your idea + tease it apart + open your calendar + map out a plan to make it happen. The plan sucks, most likely. Will probably get rewritten 107397344 times, but who’s counting? The ball is rolling. I love rolling. Rolling feel freaking amazing. And you know what happens when you feel great? Exactly! You do great sh*t. Starting is sublimely revolutionary.
- THE DIP: The rough patch. The low point. The moment when things stop being exciting + fun, and they start being, how can I put it lightly?, a pain in the ass. The place where you find yourself asking, “Is it really worth the hassle?”. According to the bestselling author Seth Godin, what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly while staying focused + motivated when it really counts. This is the tipping point of all ideas, either you quit or you conquer.
- WORLD DOMINATION: Alright, it might not feel like “WORLD DOMINATION” yet Pinky, but if you’ve made it this far you’ve already done something remarkable. You are part of the 1% who didn’t drop off when it hurt. You won because you didn’t give up too soon. The challenge now is to surface new milestones. Maybe it means bundling up a blog series into an e-book. Perhaps it’s turning an digital guide into a hard cover coffee table book. Or it might mean developing your very own app. Whatever it is, you’ll figure it out champ.
Last week, I bumped into a friend, as I was gently pressing all the avocados at the supermarket to see which one was worthy of becoming guacamole. Anyhoo, we started talking.
“I made homemade almond milk, just like you showed me”, she exclaimed. “One cup of soaked almonds + three cups of cold filtered water in the blender…”, she continued.
“My cookbook. It’s happening. Life is Messy Kitchen. This year.” I blurt out.
That was a moment.
Last time we spoke we said we were gonna do something + here we were. We declared. We manifested. We did. BAM!
When our ideas become our obsession, a way of life, who we are + what we do, everything clicks. It’s intoxicating!
Our extraordinary capacity for imagination, to dream better, has given rise to the most far-fetched ideas that have taken us from caves to the moon.
The other day I saw a headline, “I’m just here tinkling the ivories: Eccentric British pianist plays piano to blind elephants at the top of Thai mountain.” I’m serious Don’t you EVER let anyone tell you your ideas is too crazy, that it can’t be done. This guy hauled a piano up a mountain to play music for blind elephants for God’s sake! Sometimes crazy is the only way epic is born.
Blaze on supernovas. Blaze on!
In what stage of the idea cycle are you in? And what is your favorite team in the World Cup? The second question is very important + you will be graded. Tell me in the comments.
If you need help taking your ideas from ground zero to the red carpet, take a peak at 5K Sales in 365 Days, a quirky + practical guide to creating best-sellers in pajamas. This is my personal behind the scenes + my plans + my classified strategies + my reasons + my marketing + my research techniques + my customer service + my odd decision making + my sequences + my thought process + my e-mails + my pitches + my challenges + my solutions + all the messiness in-between. All packaged into 15 never-shared before lessons, totaling 142 pages of classified for-your-eyes-only info.
On August 1, 5K Sales in 365 Days goes off the market. Puff! Gone. Like magic. Grab it before it retires for good!
Welcome to my new column: Design Studio, a backstage pass to my whimsical illustration factory. Please excuse the mess, a tiny Panamanian artist with a T-Rex heart actually works here. Unfortunately, no Umpa Lumpas to tuck away the chaos.
C’mon down. Sure you can wear that. Pull up a chair. I baked cookies. Take a peak at my latest creation: Cascanueces, a handsome little fella’ who’s sure to melt the hearts of millions. If I may say so myself.
How often to you get to be a part of something that’s only a dream until you see it come to life right before your eyes?
When Tefy Bretton first shared with me her vision for Cascanueces, a unique pre-school in the making where kids will imagine better + discover the world through their senses, I knew something magical was about to happen + I wanted to be a part of it.
Why? Well, because in Kindergarden my parents where called to the teacher’s office. “Is Mayi in trouble, A-GAIN?”. My calligraphy had too many curls + swirls. Apparently it was an issue that needed “correcting”. Instead of punishing me or putting me on medication, mom + dad enrolled me in dance class. I wasn’t a problem child. I just needed to be me.
Which got me thinking…
I would have never discovered my gift, the reason why I’m here, through rigidity + discipline. I found it in movement + rhythm + music + self-expression. I said “helz yeah” to Cascanueces, because I refuse to believe in a world where “stay still” + “follow the rules” is what we teach our children.
This project was a HUGE labor of love. Half-way through, I realized my 20/20 vision wasn’t so 20/20 anymore. I started to get these 24-hour long migraines. The back of my eyes hurt so bad, I had to use sunnies inside the house. Thanks to the help of twelve big-ass white light bulbs + seven 000-sized paintbrushes, we got the job well done.
Now I need a frozen margarita!
Stay tuned for the next reveal. More quirky designs to come!
Know my favorite dance? The Happy Indepen-DANCE. Get it?
Alright, maybe that’s only funny after eating an entire batch of these Orange Blossom Cupcakes with Orange Kissed Cashew Cream. I would say it’s the sugar high, but these are sugar-free as well as gluten-free, so I’m not really sure what’s going on.
Anyhoo, I made these cupcakes for my dear “gringuita” friends who are celebrating their birthday today. Yee ha! Potluck-friendly cupcakes, perfect to match the Forth of July festivities. Minus the fire-farts.
You see, I was lucky to call “the States” my home-away-from-home for six years – four of them in Evanston, Illinois (going to Northwestern University) + two of them living downtown Chicago (getting my Masters at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago). Fun times.
I was fortunate to presence many firework shows + drink one too many red/white/blue jello shots + oh em gee savor what a real BBQ should taste like. American’s sure know who to live big + rock their grill. That’s for sure. I only hope they’ve left a little room for dessert this time, cuz I baked cupcakes. And they are divine.
World Cup aficionados, these are for you too!
Here’s how to make em’:
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom
- 2 eggs
- Desiccated orange, for topping (the zest of 1 orange also works)
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours + drained + rinsed
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 freshly-squeezed orange
- Maple syrup, to taste
Preheat the oven to 325° F to make the Orange Blossom Cupcakes first.
Combine flour + salt + baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil + maple syrup + orange juice + eggs.
Mix dry with wet until well incorporated.
Divide batter among cupcake tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
To make the Orange Kissed Cashew Cream, place cashews + dates + coconut oil + vanilla bean + salt in a high speed blender + pulse. Add orange juice little by little until you reach a smooth consistency. Add maple syrup until it’s sweet enough for your tastebuds. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 hour before piping the cupcakes.
To serve, whip cupcakes with the decadent cream + top with orange zest or unsweetened desiccated orange.
Next week, I’m coming back to share some secret projects I’ve been working on. So happy to finally reveal these behind the scenes + get back to Friday Video Time-making. Have you missed me? I’ve sure missed YOU!
To my American friends, I hope you have a magical Forth of July weekend. To my Brazilian + Colombian + German + French, may the best team win!
Okay, I’ll stop rambling now. Just make these cupcakes you guys. You’re gonna LOVE them.
We thought we were only going to give out ONE scholarship, but then we saw all the amazing photos on social media + read your blog posts and knew we had to increase that number to THREE!
First, we want to thank everyone who entered. You set inspiring goals that you want to achieve by specific dates. That’s a huge, vulnerable step + you deserve a pat on the back (and a mojito). If we could all have a party in person, April + I would supply mojitos for you all.
With that said, we had to make some hard choices. The scholarship winners for From Busy to Happy: A 21-Day Productivity Mission are…
Imagine trumpets blaring…
Superhero capes blowing in the wind…
Kris Windley, Caylee Greyvenstein, and Kimberly Sienkiewicz. Congratulations!!!
You’ll receive an e-mail from us tomorrow (Friday) letting you know exactly how to set up your memberships, so be on the lookout.
We’re beyond excited to have you join us for From Busy to Happy: A 21-Day Productivity Mission.
And, if you weren’t selected for a scholarship, we really appreciate your thoughtful entry and would love to have you join us if you can.
If you still have questions about From Busy to Happy: A 21-Day Productivity Mission, check out the replay of the Happy Hour we hosted yesterday (fast forward to 6 minutes + 30 seconds cause we were working on getting the audio right until then). It should help you make a clear decision. And, if you still have questions after watching, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org + we’ll answer you as soon as possible.
Mayi Carles + April Bowles