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Too excited about tomorrow. What happens tomorrow? Well, tomorrow is the day I finally receive the boxes filled with Life is Messy Kitchen books.


Tomorrow I officially become a book author, like Dr. Zeus, except I don’t think I can pull off the Dr. Mayi thing. Mayi Carles will do for now.


Tomorrow I will dance on top of carton boxes + sing all the victory anthems I know, at least well enough to say some of the lyrics. The rest I can always make up as I go. I’m a master at inventing lyrics + fooling everyone buahahaha.


Tomorrow I will recall all those times I thought about quitting when it got too hard, but I didn’t.


Tomorrow I will take a bookie. That’s a selfie but holding my book. And I will send it to my granny + say, “Look look look granma’. I did it!!! You were right all along.”


Tomorrow, since I can’t have champagne, I will probably pop open a carrot cake. All to MYSELF. And Olivia, of course!


Tomorrow I will think of you. You did this. I just helped.


You can pre-order your copy at www.lifeismessykitchen.com or purchase the book at full price after March 27, 2015.


And just in case you’re a tiny bit curious, today feels like Christmas multiplied by my birthday, but BETTAH!!!


CLICK TO TWEET: Can’t wait to get my Life is Messy Kitchen copy – http://bit.ly/1sYOukm @mayicarles


CLICK TO TWEET: Life is Messy Kitchen is coming!!! Have you pre-ordered your copy? http://bit.ly/1sYOukm @mayicarles



Mayi Carles


Video Credit

Video Direction: @shootsarahtyler @joeyloreto

Art Direction: @kipf

Hair and Make-Up: @dorinaszabokelly

Jingle: @faridehceaser

The Evolution of the Life is Messy Kitchen Cover

I’ve been making + talking about Life is Messy Kitchen for quite some time now. It truly feels like forever. Thanks for been with me through the ups + the downs + the in betweens. I could have never pulled this off without your encouragement. I mean it!


Today, I wanted to share with you a little sneak peek behind the making of the cover – front + back + bind + flaps + inside jacket. It was messy. And it was beautiful.


I’ll walk you through the evolution of the cover with images, cuz it’s the best way I know to show this collaborative project’s progression.


Life is Messy Kitchen Cover test_4

Photo for the cover

LIMK copy

LIMK Cover copy 2

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And that was just the cover for the digital launch. Then came ze REAL BOOK!!!



Back Cover copy

Back Cover-mockupv1.jpeg

Flap Back

Cover 1

Pattern copy

Cover 2

Cover 3


A standing ovation to Marbel Canseco, my mad hatter designer for bringing this baby to life. And a special thanks to my super talented photographer Marcela Macias, for making me drool each time I look at my cover. It’s everything I dreamed + more!


Fun facts:

  • This was truly a team effort – we’ve got Marcela’s photos + Marbel’s wicked design moved + my illustrations and hand-writing. Talk about a triple threat!
  • The original photo that was shot for the cover, didn’t make it.
  • One of the first things I told Marcela upon hiring her as the official photographer for this mission was: “I want NO HANDS in the pictures. I repeat, NO HANDS.”
  • The only picture Marcela sent with hands was the photo that made the cover.
  • When Marcela found out I had picked that picture for the cover she laughed.
  • Then she nearly killed me because she worried her nails weren’t cover ready.
  • Marbel came to the rescue with a pink French manicure. Marcela loved it. I nearly had a hard attack. I hate French manicure.
  • Marbel had to find a compromise between natural nails + fancy nails to make us both happy. Reason #483 why we love her.
  • One of the first things I told Marbel upon hiring her as the official designer for this mission was: “I want FEW TYPES + ONE PANTONE GRAY. I repeat, FEW TYPES + ONE PANTONE GRAY.”
  • I have never been happier with disobedience.
  • I learned that when you hire freaking PROs + learn to let go of perfectionism (ahem ahem which is often camouflaged as “micro-managing”), you don’t always get what you want. You get something BETTER. Much BETTAH!!!
  • All the illustrations for the cover (and book) where sketched by hand with a 0.5 mechanical pencil + painted with Americana acrylic paints + scanned with a CanonScan LiDE210 + retouched in Photoshop + vectorized in Illustrator.
  • The internal jacket is the very first time I’ve taken a stab at pattern-making. I think I did pretty good.
  • It was Marbel’s idea to incorporate some “uncolored illustrations” elements within the jacket pattern. She’s a genius, isn’t she?
  • The pattern background was originally gonna be white. We went with an vintage wedding white instead. Made everything pop!
  • I posted a lil’ glimpse of the internal jacket pattern on Instagram (you can follow me @mayicarles) a couple of weeks back. As a result, a cool company contacted me + I’m now working on a secret project I can’t wait to tell you about. (Hint: It involves kids + mess, a lot of mess).


Update: We are a little backed up with the shipment of the book, but I just got a confirmation from the printers that the boxes filled with Life is Messy Kitchen books will be in my studio Tuesday, March 17. And of course I start shipping them out the next day. Pre-order your copy today, unless you like paying full price for things.



Mayi Carles

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.