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empowering tips

12 Tips to Win Big on Instagram






I was about to call it a day, but then… oh wait! What’s that on Instagram?


That pancake tower looks divine. Like.


Is that Maaji’s new swimsuit collection. Holy crap! Where’s my wallet?


Oh Joy can I kidnap your baby for a day? (That sounded waaaay creeper than the way I pictured it in my head.)


Oh Mighty Instagram. I would be lost without you. Wait, no. I would sleep way more without you. But one things for sure, sleep deprived aside, my business has BOOM exploded since I began using the platform intentionally. And by exploded, I really mean escalated to that next level we all dream about one day reaching even if it feels impossible. There. I thank Instagram for taking me there, quicker than expected + with no casualties.


So what is it about Instagram? Well, Instagram is yet another visually-centric social network, but unlike it’s counterparts, you can only share your own photos + there are no hyperlinks to direct people to your product or service page. Many see this as a limitation, but for us creatives, this opens up an opportunity to think outside the box + challenge the system with creative solutions.


In today’s episode of Friday Video Time I share my tried + dummy-proof tricks to kill it on Instagram:



let’s recap

These are my 12 tips to win big on Instagram:

  1. Make it “Instagram”. Use your camera phone to express yourself authentically, not commercially. It’s the nature of the platform.
  2. Use hashtags to help people find you. Faster.
  3. If you don’t want hashtags to clutter your posts, no worries. Add them in a comment. Problem solved.
  4. There’s something really special about real time pictures. Cease the opportunity to broadcast LIVE.
  5. Artsy + indie far outweighs polished + glossy on Instagram.
  6. Make your photos tag-a-friend friendly.
  7. Toughen your selection process. Your social media platforms are an extension of your brand. It’s important for any visitor to look at your feed + understand at a glance what you’re all about. Everything you post adds or subtracts. It’s important for any visitor to look at your feed + understand at a glance what you’re all about.
  8. Stop the master blaster mode. Don’t automatically pull your Twitter stream into Instragram. Don’t automatically post your Instagram photos to Facebook. You are not only potentially drowning out your message + diluting your value, but you’re misusing the platforms by treating them as one. As Gary Vaynerchuk would suggest, understand how + why people use Instagram or whatever + respect those purposes.
  9. Tell stories throughout shots of your work + the process + your workspace + behind the scenes. People love it when you pull back the curtains.
  10. Start a regular series. Posting on a particular theme on a regular schedule is a great way to start a fan base + have people engaged + on the edge of their sits.
  11. There’s no shame in making your photos more like-worthy. I use Afterlight + A Beautiful Mess App to make small edits.
  12. Promote amazing talent. Even if Karma is asleep, it feels so good. Try it!


your turn

How to you use Instagram to connect with your peeps? Share you ideas in the comments below! 



Mayi Carles (aka @mayicarles)


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Priorities Truthbomb





Picked up these Martha-Stewart-would-be-crazy-jealous bamboo salad bowls at a local culinary shop. So divine, I even started petting the wood surface, just as I would a baby Siberian Husky.


As I was pulling out my card to pay the bill, the owner, chatty lady that one was, asked, “Oh, so you cook?”. I would think I’m one of those people with an invisible “I’ve Just Been Released From a Mental Institution, Get Lost” sign on my forehead. Apparently not, cuz before I knew it I was promising signed copies of my up n’ coming cookbook Life is Messy Kitchen + apologizing for not launching a Spanish Edition. Gosh, chatty girl I am. I guess.


“…but you should release a Spanish version too. A lot of people who love to cook speak Spanish, you know?”, the shop owner felt the need to burst out.


The whole spiel left me drained, as my need to please battled with my bitchy ego. A part of me sought approval. The rest, snapped (in silence thank God), “…but you should have another storefront at the mall + another one in New York City + a big one on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile + oh! la la a Paris location too. A lot of people who love to cook + shop go there, you know?”.


In the end, I faked smiled. A lot. And before waiving goodbye I dropped my Priorities Truthbomb like it’s hot. Here’s the Friday Video Time adaptation:



your turn

What are your priorities? Wait, but most importantly, what are your non priorities. The not-so-important-right-now stuff you can afford to let go off? Tell me. In the comments.


You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to live more. More can start T-O-D-A-Y.



Mayi Carles


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Confessions from a Severly Distracted Post-Carnaval Girl with 3 Practical Steps to Jump Back on The Wagon

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After two weeks of wearing nothing but bikinis + sipping cocktails out of mason jars + interval training in the sand + preparing savory meals with the fresh catch of the day, saying I’m experiencing some post-Carnaval withdrawal symptoms is an understatement.




No worries thou, I won’t talk about how many unanswered e-mails I have in my inbox, cuz that’s narcissistic + totally annoying + no ones really cares. I won’t nagging about how distracted + overwhelmed I feel either, cuz that will only increase my unsubscribe rate. Instead, I decided to make myself a bit useful by sharing what I do when I find myself day dreaming about being on vacation or zombied out in front of the computer screen.


These practical action tips can help anyone who’s wondering:

  • Where was I again?
  • What are my priorities + current projects?
  • What am I supposed to be doing / writing / creating / talking about / teaching?


We all have these moments of fogginess. The million dollar question is: What do you do when you go on an endless downward spiral of procrastination + begin delaying your projects + neglect to do the work you’ve set out to achieve? I’ll tell you. Just kit play.



let’s recap

These are my 3 simple tips to refocus + reclaim your empire:

  1. Remember why you started.
  2. Edit, ruthlessly.
  3. Create a list of topics your excited about, right now.


That’s three ways to re-focus + reclaim your empire.


your turn

What do you do when your battery low? When you must get back on track? Tell me. In the comments below! You know the drill.



Mayi Carles


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How to Get Out of Any Screw Up

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I mess up. A lot. Feels like crap every time.


Today I want to showcase a personal case study of how I wiggled my way out of my last screw up. I’d rather not, but I will do it anyways, because I feel we spend too much time perfecting + controlling + polishing + giving advice, when all along it’s through the cracks that the real light comes out.


I hope that through exposing some of my imperfections, I can inspire you to expand your tolerance for the light!



let’s recap

This is the exact e-mail I sent out after my screw up:




What can we learn from this?

  • Lesson #1: Don’t make excuses. There’s probably an excellent + valid reason for your mistake. Now’s not the time to explain it. Take full responsibility without caveats. It’s the only way to begin to build back trust.
  • Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid to add a little humor here + there. How many times have you heard apologies that feel like you’re at a funeral. You don’t want a pity fest. You’re in the business of making people feel sorry for you, are you?
  • Lesson #3: Highlight who helped you. Tanya saved my butt + she deserves all the credit + recognition. Sometimes all it takes to make someone feel heard + appreciated is a little shot out full of love. Right?
  • Lesson #4: Be explicit about a solution. I fixed the file + e-mailed my entire family in a heart beat. Once you’ve admitted culpability and taken responsibility, it’s time to do what you can to fix it. Come up with a swift + actionable solution that you can undertake now.
  • Lesson #5: When something unexpectedly disastrous happens, it’s okay to have a nervous meltdown. Just don’t unpack + live there. Cry it out. Call a friend who deserves to listen. Sure, have a shot of limoncello. Then, remember why you started + make an epic come back.


your turn

I want you to recall your last screw up. Big or small. Think. Got it? Alright. How did you deal with the whole situation? Did you go on a Hulk rampage or did you boogie your way out of it? Any lessons learned. Tell me. In the comments below.



Mayi Carles



Today is the last day to join Life is Messy Bootcamp at $397.  At midnight EST, the price is going up to $497 forever. Register before the cutoff if you wanna save $100.


A word about payment options. Several people have asked me to split the 1-pay into 2-installment or even 3-installments. I’m happy to do that for you if you’re interested. Of course! Just click reply + my minions will take care of you. If you request a custom payment plan late tonight, you’ll still get in with the $397 price tag, even if we can’t set your membership up until tomorrow. It’s not your fault our minions are out dancing. It’s Friday!


I hope you’ll join the messy family. Gremlins be like, “Sh*t, we’re outnumbered!”


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I Think of You, A Lot (Free Love Stationery Inside)

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Mayi Carles 2

Mayi Carles


On Monday I woke up with heartburn + a WhatsApp message from my cousin Eric that read, “Look who’s on the cover of Vida Culinaria?”. That cover girl did look awfully familiar. She had my same shade of red Chanel lipstick + my Anthropology dress… holy guacamole, but it’s me! That split second I thought of you.




Then I saw your photos on social media. The ones where you’re cruising through the Life is Messy Bootcamp adventures in spite of heavy winds + vicious sea creatures. “I made that”, I thought. And then, seeing your use it. Wow! My gratitude burst into start dust, which I saved in a little teeny jar so I never forget how you made me feel.


A lady reached out to invite me to be a guest on her podcast. I had promised myself not to raise my hand until Life is Messy App + Life is Messy Kitchen come out. But this women came armed. She said, “I know you don’t do these things very often, so I’ve come with bribes! You love the ukelele. And I play the ukelele. If you come on my podcast I will give you a ukelele lesson.” Sayyyyy what? She had me at ukelele. And I remembered it was you who thought me how to say “helz yeah” from a place of eternal appreciation.




Marie Forleo launched her 3-Part Free B-School Training yesterday + of course I’m doing it for a third consecutive year. I’m a nerd, what else is new? In the middle of deep focus + note taking, there was little ol’ 5.1 foot tall me wearing my handmade felt cotton candy bow striking a pose on the B-School’s Success Stories section, well, cuz you put me there silly. You’re the one who gave me a shot when so many called me kuh-raz-eee. It’s because of you that my phone makes that epic sound that makes my heart go BOOM BOOM BOOM. You know which one I’m talking about, the infamous, “Cha chiiiiiiiing”. My favorite melody after, “Honey I’m home”. You did that.


For that + so much more, I think about you, a lot.


I think about all the little ways that you show me kindness. I think about how I could ever repay you.


I think about you, a lot. I think about what you might really need from me. Maybe some tips on vlogging? Then I remember how scary the first few times felt + how much I would like to hold your hand till it doesn’t feel like vomiting anymore. Or maybe it’s a very special occasion + you need something crunchy + easy to pack into favors for your guests, preferably something with cinnamon + cranberries. Then I remember a dream I had where I made granola + you made granola + we made granola together. Fun times.


I think a lot about you because there are 7 billion people on planet Earth + 3.5 million of those living in Panama, but you found me. Do you know how crazy pajama pants that is? The Universe conspired to bring us together. I will never E-V-E-R take that for granted.


I’m obviously under the influence of… (no not rose champagne, yet) Heartmade’s favorite holiday, Valentines Day (duh!). Which means license to be cheesy + own it, which is exactly why, without further ado, I have a full set of Love Stationery I want to give you… absolutely FREE!


I think you will love it, a lot + if I’m lucky, when you use them you will think of me too!


Valentines Day Printable




Mayi Carles

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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