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!
I’m getting giddy about wearing my new Christmas lights necklace (which of course lights up) + giving/opening presents + baking Flourless Black Forest Cake topped with outrageously overpriced (but who cares cuz it’s Christmas) cherries + heating granny’s left overs + sighting free firework shows + roasting S’mores + dreaming of 2014 + cuddling over not so scary movies + testing new superfood smoothies + checking no e-mails + Tabata training in the sand + leaving my cellphone in a basket + swapping my Olive Oyl jammies for my Tommy Bahama bikini + giving thanks for having everything I could possible wish for.
I might be in the middle of overhauling my flagship program Life is Messy Bootcamp, which sounds like the worst time for a mini sabbatical + that’s precisely why I’m taking off my shoes + forgetting my chargers anyways. Revolutionary revelation disguised as counter-productive action, something one could have only learned from years of reaching for peanut butter when sleep deprived + mentally constipated + about to turn into Hulk.
Gravity might be working against me every year, but hell am I getting smarter by the second.
Wanna join the unplug-a-thon? There’s no pre-requisite or house rules, just a conscious disposition to disconnect from busy work to connect with happy land. You in?
talk to me
In the comments I want to know which unplugging activities you are most looking forward to during this end of the year pause. Any books + recipes + documentaries you wanna get to, but have been too crazy person to prioritize this season? Any traditions or tricks for surviving the festivities you care to spill?
winner winner chicken dinner
I’m so excited to see your replies (for sneaky borrowing potential mostly) that I’ll be giving away to everyone who raises their hand before December 31, 2013 at midnight, a FREE copy of my hand-illustrated Life is Messy Calendar. No way! Yes way, because thanks to your generosity + kindness I have all I’ve ever dreamed of under my invisible tree.
Psst… your gift will be sent manually via e-mail (so make sure you type your correct address in the comment box) as soon as my fingers get back to the keyboards.
From my little warm corner of the Universe, I wish you the most magical Holiday bonanza the world has ever seen. I will see you back in 2014 with more of what you love + an avalanche of wild (I can’t believe they’re really happening type) projects coming to fruition.
Dear Santa: Thanks for giving me the best virtual family E-V-E-R!!! I’ll take that as a sign that I’m on your “Nice” list in spite of refusing to share any of my desserts. What’s wrong with people? Seriously. Sharing dessert. Ridiculous. End of conversation.
Exactly three years ago, on this very date, Heartmade was born. Little did I know that what started as a pajama passion project would one day grow up to crawl + sprint + burp + poo + sing “It’s my Blogaversary + I cry if I want to.” But I don’t want to cuz I pick dancing in adult tutus instead.
Yes, there are posts in here with horrid typos + jokes that only make sense in my head.
Yes, many times I’ve hit publish, I’ve had the assistance of a tank of peanut butter to numb the panic attack.
Yes, sometimes I sob myself to sleep when mean people say mean things about my videos.
Yes, I often seek confirmation to double check that what I’m doing isn’t totally bananas.
Yes, the “I’m an impostor, it’s just a matter a time before everyone finds out” script still comes knocking.
Yes, most Mondays I pretend I’m not cranky.
But if there’s something this little blog has taught me after three years of roller coasting is this:
We don’t like to be uncomfortable. Duh!
We like + seek the “sexy quick tips + “five simple steps” to happiness, the “for busy people” edition.
We already know “how to” be happy. We have access to more information + more books + more videos than ever before. Yet, we’re still struggling. Why? Well, I’m not Albus Dumbledore but it’s finally clicked: Happiness is not to-do list material. It’s not check off-able either. It’s
hard heart work. It’s life work. It’s soul work.
If we want to live, for realz, we need to buckle up + embrace the messiness in between. The holy crap stuff that’s not on your Instagram feed. The e-mail with the passive aggressive refund request. The rejected again + again book proposal. The site crash during launch meltdown. The client who’s missing in action with your paycheck.
When sh*t hits the fan we can either play the “let’s pretend it ain’t there” game or we can deal with it on the spot before it snowballs into the Apocalypse. A-ha! A space to marinate the pickles sandwiched between your online business + offline world. The cracks. Exactly.
Epiphany, 1.5 years in the making. And today, finally cuz I was getting really impatient here, my partner in crime April Bowles-Olin + I present to you (cue the Mission Impossible theme song): Connecting the Gaps: A lifestyle revolution for online superstars. That’s you in case you were wondering.
CTG, that’s our acronym (said with Edna Mode from The Incredible’s voice) is a treasure trove of resources. I’m talking:
- Hand-painted calendar that you’ll actually enjoy using.
- Healthy, downloadable recipes.
- A superstar workout you can do anywhere, along with a workout jam list.
- A hall of fame filled with online superheroes you must get to know.
- Videos that’ll make you giggle + spit out your green juice.
- A secret mission that will help you make a seriously awesome change in your life.
And, I bet you’re wondering how much? Right? Well, ahem, it’s FREE. Catch? None. No having to name your next born Mayi or April. No puppy or bunny rabbit in exchange. Consider it my Happy Blogaversary gift to you + April’s advanced Holiday present.
Your first mission, if you choose to accept it, awaits in the private headquarters. Opt in to receive the classified handshake within minutes. If you have already signed up, check you e-mail. Your passcode is inside.
I hope to see you on the other side.
Bring cake. I’ll blow the candles.
When I was little, my grandma used to tell us that if we went out swimming on Good Friday we would turn into mermaids. Just in case, I’ve always taken it easy these days leading to Easter. Wouldn’t want to accidentally turn into, I dunno, a video camera maybe.
But all silliness aside, this seasonal pause has me feeling a bit sentimental. And then mix that up with a pinch of PMS + you have yourself a recipe for La Vita è Bella-type sobbing. Hubby is a saint.
This may or may not make coherent sense.
In June of 2010 (holy smokes!) I began this online roller coaster ride as a way to spill open my hopes + fears + passions + epiphanies + worries + questions + all the beautiful mess in-between. I confess I’ve never really followed any treasure maps, instead I’ve relied on the purest life force I know, my inner compass, to propel me forward + pave the way.
With my gut as captain, I’ve sailed this ship away from the safe harbor, still amazed it’s managed to stay wreck-free. Bruised, yes, but never wrecked. Knock on wood.
Sounds epic? Should I write an auto-biography? Want my autograph? Should I change my name to Magic Carles? Nah! The truth is, I’ve spared myself + everyone who’s come along for the adventure an Armageddon only because I have granny as lighthouse + mom as life vest + hubby as fuel + the whole fam’ providing free claps, plus hors d’ouvres.
Bring it on turbulent waters, I don’t even need the infamous vomit bag. I have my peeps. Pow!
If Oprah calls though, I will need a lot of seats.
It’s one thing to dream, “Oh, wouldn’t it be so cool if…”. It’s another to see God + the Universe + Lucky Charms, heck call it whatever you want, manifest your wildest wishes right before your eyes. Faith is all you need.
I’ve never shared my spiritual beliefs out in the open before for too many reasons. I’ve purposely edited details like that:
- I went to an all girls Catholic school.
- I have big issues with institutionalized religion.
- I love our new Pope Francisco because he makes me smile + gives me hope.
- I believe human design is influenced by the stars.
- I mostly pray on airplanes, specially when I think it’s going to crash.
- I will love my husband for every lifetime.
- I sense there are hairy hands underneath my bed that only come out at night.
- I think we reincarnate as lizards + barracudas or rocks when we are mean to each others.
I told ya’, I’ve got reasons. Talk about a spiritual jambalaya.
But for the sake of today’s hiatus + passing reflection, here’s what I must share:
Have a little faith in you. In me. Open your arms wide to catch. Look up with big shiny eyes. Expect an avalanche of miracles. Boom! Turn off everything with an “On” button. Flip the faith switch instead. Activate it. Magic is always waiting to happen, if you only let it freaking be. Can you feel it?
I believe in you. But that’s not enough, you must learn to trust your deep breaths. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. What do you hear when the noise is gone? When the party glasses are removed? When no one’s looking? When the world’s cynicism is washed out? When being cool is no longer important?
Use your new Easter Bookmark Notes to open up. Share your incoherently beautiful story.
Stop! See what happens when you do.
April + I are hosting a Live Happy Hour to answer questions about our own B-School experience (cuz we know it’s a BIG investment!) + the programs that you’ll get for FREE if you use our affiliate link.
If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, get the full scoop here.
We’re even including a rapid fire round at the end where you can ask us anything about our businesses. Wanna know if April scripts her Wednesday Wisdom episodes or if I really work in my pajamas? Now’s your time to ask.
Join us + we promise it’ll be more fun than a shopping spree at Anthropologie. Expect lots of laughter + brutally honest answers + behind the scenes stories we only share with our husbands + each other.
If you can’t attend, because it’s your cousin’s birthday (can you send us some cake?) or your boss is a stickler about you actually showing up for work, we’ll attempt to record the call. We can’t pinky promise the Internet gremlins won’t eat our recording (even though we’ve asked them very nicely not to!) but we’ll sure try.
RSVP for the party right here. And, don’t forget to bring your favorite beverage whether it be a chilled glass of Chardonnay + a dirty martini or a chai tea latte with extra foam.
Update: We had a blast talking to our peeps. Our hearts are still BOOM BOOM BOOM beating in excitement from chatting with ya’ll. If you couldn’t make it, click here to check out the recording!