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Tips For Using Your Planner (Messy Tabs Inside)

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All our lives we’ve been told the things we should + shouldn’t do:

  • Paint inside the lines.
  • Eat your veggies.
  • Memorize poems.
  • Put your opt-in box at the right hand side of your website
  • Follow the recipe.
  • Read the instructions before assembling.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Call your mom.
  • Comb your hair.
  • No rollerblading inside the house.
  • Elbows off the table.
  • Stop crying.


So when my Life is Messy Bootcamp alumn, Karen Lema asked for assistance on how to best use her Life is Messy Planners, I really debated whether or not I should hand out a manual.


I decided to put together this blog post instead. Hopefully I’ll provide enough guidance to kickstart your best year ever + leave enough wiggle room for your big juicy creative imagination.


Keep on reading if you care to steal my black belt planning moves. Ka-POW!


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Getting Started

First things first. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a robust system you can trust – a calendar where you can collect all your “I wills” + turn them into “I dids”.  This is not only the place where you jot down your action items, but also track your big picture landscape. Be sure to pick a calendar system that you like + goes well with your style and personality.


Today, I’m gonna talk specifically about how to use my Life is Messy Planners, but you’re welcome to use these guideposts + adapt them for your own management workflow. No judgement.


To tell you the truth, from the very beginning (my gosh, has it really been 5 years since I first conceptualized these planners?) there hasn’t been an official rule book to operate my Life is Messy Planners, and I did that up purpose.


Traditional planning has always felt quite artificial to me + irrelevant to real work, which is why I’m guessing most people drop their New Years resolutions by the time February shows up. Sad. I didn’t want to create another calendar solution people feel chained to. No way Jose!


I envisioned more like a roadmap, a lighthouse that provides just enough direction for your journey to the top of your metaphorical Mount Everest:

  • Enough structure to take your brilliant ideas from light bulb to done without becoming a correctional facility.
  • Enough wiggle room to unleash your unique gifts + honor your most valued forms of currency freedom + happiness.


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That being said, here are some humble tips to get started that don’t make you feel like a military sargent is shouting in your ear that your lack willpower:

  • Go to www.lifeismessyplanners.com to purchase your planners, if you want to (wink).
  • You’ll get an instant e-mail with your link to download your planners.
  • Set your printer to fit the entire page.
  • For your visual delights, use a color printer.
  • Preferably, print on 8.5 x 11 inch paper or cardstock.
  • Fill in directly on your computer, or
  • Fill in with your fave writing + coloring instruments.
  • To keep your sheets tidy, use a ring binder.
  • Hole punch your sheets.
  • Divide your sections with cool tab dividers.
  • Get your hands on fun washi tape + stickers.
  • Pin your urgent sheets to a corkboard for easy reminding.


Now let’s jazz it up!


Getting The Tools You Need

Over the years, I’ve gathered a short but might powerful list of my favorite supplies + tools + equipments to use alongside my planners. And here they are. Mayi’s favorite thing (that are not expensive at all):




I mean, you don’t really need any of these, but then again you don’t need a superhero cape + yet you kinda want one, don’t you? With your initial n’ all. I know!


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Organizing Your Planner

This is how I intuitively categorize + organize the sections in my Life is Messy Planners, in case you’re curious:




Yearly Calendar


Big Picture:

  • Goal Generator
  • Goal Getter
  • Habit Tracker
  • Resolution Tracker



  • Daily To Do Planner (2)
  • Weekly To Do Planner
  • Monthly To Do Planner (12)
  • Month At A Glance
  • Yearly To Do Planner
  • Mental Detox



  • All Out Of
  • Chore Chart
  • Don’t Forget Contacts
  • Happy Birthdays
  • Home Improvement
  • In Case of Emergency
  • Oh Happy Day
  • Party Planner
  • Password Keeper
  • Personal Avatar
  • Recipe Cheat Sheet
  • Shopping List
  • Trip Planner
  • Weekly Fitness Planner
  • Weekly Meal Planner



  • Blog Planner
  • Customer Avatar
  • Idea Picker
  • One Page Business Plan
  • One Page Project Planner
  • One Page to Newsletter
  • Super Power Finder
  • Sweet Spot Finder



  • Yearly Money Tracker


Creative Brainstorming:

  • Brainstorm
  • Creative Brainstorming Pages (5)
  • Journal
  • Quotes



  • Decision Maker
  • The Stop List
  • Things To Do
  • This is a Checklist


If you dig my method, you can totally borrow my Messy Tabs to help keep things tidy. You’re very welcome!


Messy Tabs

Download Banner


Tips To Rock Your Planners

You may wonder how I maintain my system up n’ running. How I keep at it, in spite of the day-to-day resistance. Well, it’s not always as pretty as I would like, (please ignore the tower of dirty plates in my kitchen sink) but here are some tips I’ve found trigger all sorts of success fairies:

  • Buy a planner that you absolutely LOVE – the style + the size + the shape + the format + the colors, so that you take pleasure each time you use it. Your planner should make you smile, not cringe into a fetal position.
  • Put EVERYTHING into your planners – names + dates + notes + appointments. Consider it information central. Your brain isn’t stupid, if it knows you don’t keep everything there, it will not take your planner seriously.
  • Have a place where you open your planner + work on your planner – a workstation with the appropriate furniture + tools to serve as a central cockpit of control.
  • It doesn’t hurt to designate a special pen to be your companion during this mission. Every time I get out my Hello Kitty pen, I know it’s time to conquer the world.
  • Maintain ONE, and only ONE planner.
  • Recite the mantra, “If it’s not schedule, it doesn’t exist.”
  • In your planner, keep schedule of appointments, including appointments with yourself.
  • Block out time each day to work on your planner + plan the next days Daily To Do Planner sheet.
  • Take your Daily To Do Planner (or your Oh Happy Day sheet) with you EVERYWHERE you go.
  • Use tabs to organize your sections + stickies to mark important items that need your attention.


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Now, that’s what works for me.


What is working for you? Do you have a magical marker to scribble your tasks? Do you spill pancake syrup on your sheets for good luck? What is it? Tell me how you set yourself up for epicness, in the comments below.


See you in the chat!



Mayi Carles


Life is Messy Bootcamp 2015 Ad

Happy 2015 Life is Messy Calendar!!!

Life is Messy Calendar 1


Mapping out my 2015 plan to RULE the world. Save, I mean SAVE the world.


Dear 2014,

Thanks for all the lessons.


Dear 2015,

I’m ready!


Life is Messy Calendar 4

Life is Messy Calendar 3

Life is Messy Calendar 2


Psst… the 2015 Life is Messy Calendar is now available for purchase here!


This cute calendar features a collection of my original hand-painted illustrations. The colors print BEA-u-tifully. Pin to your bulletin board or use as a bookmark. You can later frame it as a whimsical art print. Artsy fartsy.


Huge THANKS for supporting my teeny tiny empire, turning 5 soon, oh my! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. We’ve grown so much + learned tons + put in an unhealthy amount hours to be able to create this company that we love so much. I’m extremely excited about all the new things to come. There are a lot.


In the meantime, the best way to keep up with happenings is via my Instagram + Facebook.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

A Little BIG Announcement



We’re having a Little Miss Heartmade baby you guys!!! Who’s gonna be an auntie? You are!!!


I’m thrilled to finally be able to share the news with you. We surprised our family + very close friends this Christmas. I remembered that time Santa left a big Fisher Price house by the tree. Well, this Christmas was a million times better.


I’m 14 weeks along + due June 27, my granny’s birthday. I think someone has been praying hehehe.


I may or may not have already impulsively purchased a pair of gold baby shoes with little bunny ears. Followed by a visit to GoDaddy.com to claim www.lifeismessybaby.com all to myself. For you too.


I can’t tell you I have a World Domination Plan for 2015. I guess I’m still working on figuring out how my business will transition more into a lifestyle brand focused on creating happiness every day through celebrating what makes us gorgeously human, including the ups + the downs + the in-betweens of being a working artist (ahem ahem with little pee growing inside my pod). 


I hope to use this time off for the holidays to play with my Life is Messy Planners + explore a full range of possibilities:

  • Maybe there will be more family-friendly recipes with sneaky ways to add super ingredients to meals without the kids (or hubby) asking questions.
  • Perhaps I’ll test-drive productivity tools + get-things-gone-without-having-a-nervious-breakdown hacks for people too busy to read about productivity + get-things-gone-without-having-a-nervious-breakdown hacks. Be my own guinea pig if you will, tell you all about it later.
  • I’m already dreaming about nesting, so don’t be surprised to see the appearance of crafty do-it-yourself tutorials + before and after projects, without leaving behind the occasional everything-went-utterly-wrong mission.
  • What about illustrated posters with inspirational quotes you can instantly download + print + enjoy? I know, I’m giddy about it too.
  • I’m tempted to start a Mayi’s Favorite Things column to share the tried + tasted + tested, like Oprah, but for artists + makers + creatives entrepreneurs. Favorite books + websites I’m hooked on + products, services and online platforms I love + teas brewed + stuffy sleepers that passed the dancing test + comfy pajamas + oh so heavenly candles + everything in-between.
  • I could always pick up Friday Video Time where I left off too. Bloopers not sold separately.
  • Been thinking about legacy building a lot lately. Why am I here? Why does it matter? I feel it’s time to start making giving back part of my life model. It would be neat to ideate the brand identity for an organic cacao farm somewhere, or create a free “Playgrounds are Messy” playbook series to teach our lil’ ones self-love + confidence + compassion + tips to survive the playground from those smelly bullies. Something like that.


Rest assure I will continue to make “a little bit of planning + a little bit of winging it” part of my creative process to keep things around here entertaining as can been, while still injecting quality content + massive value. And please know, I’m always open to your feedback on what you’d want to see more of on Heartmade in the year ahead, or something I used to share that you’ve missed. Tell me everything, in the comments below.


Thank you from the bottom of my tiny T-Rex heart for reading this blog for however long or short you’ve been stopping. To be able to create things + write things + paint things + talk about things with you has been an absolute dream job I never knew existed but feel very blessed to have. Thank you, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.


Get ready. 2015 is gonna be a magical carpet ride.



Mayi Carles


PS: Thank you SO much for your sweet notes + comments + e-mails. I’m reading every single one + we’re beyond grateful for your kindness + support.

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. Sounds good?


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. Life is Messy Kitchen ended up being the antithesis of that concept.
  • 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 lightly, 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 by lions + tigers + trains, oh my!, 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 the fact that you are here now, reading this, 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 before. 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 that 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 + took 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 professionals – 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 painted 75 illustrations in ONE 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 creative business coach anymore. I don’t want to be the expert that tells you the three simple steps to making it on Etsy, or whatever. I don’t want to be a guru of any kind. No. I want to be Mayi, flawed + fabulous, and I want to build a lifestyle brand that doesn’t tolerate quirkiness, it celebrates it, it conquers the world with it. That’s what I want, to build a beautiful messy nation. Leave our mark by being gorgeously human. Not robots. Amen!


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 threw 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. 


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



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Sarah Tyler


Ad 4

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