Confession time. I can’t hide it any longer. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I’ve been operating at Basic Mayi mode (eat carrot cupcakes + sleep till noon + do the bare minimum I absolutely “need” to do) for about a month now. I hear it happens to people when something Apocalyptic happens. I just never thought “this rough” could happen to me. Not with a dry cleaned super hero cape hanging in my closet, I mean.
Of course, when my bestie April Bowles e-mailed me saying that she had told the folks at CreativeLIVE about me + they thought I should make an appearance interview during her Building a Successful Creative Blog workshop, I… I showered. Hadn’t done that in a while. Felt really good. Then I wrote back, “Where do I sign?”, included lots of words like “HAPPY” + “OMG” + “WOW” in ALL CAPS, followed by an army of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!
So on May 1st, I fixed up Basic Mayi with a little marcara + a side braid + a cute Anthropology outfit that perfectly hid the extra carb-oversode inches around my everywhere, to share my story in April’s Distinguishing Yourself with Style and Voice segment. I talked about how I translate “Mayi” into my brand + shared my top tip to anyone struggling to make their posts more them + dissected the “science” behind my most popular posts.
When I got done, I started dancing. Hadn’t done that in a whole. Felt really good. Then super hubby, who was running out of movies to rent me + desserts to bring home, smiled. We hugged each other sooooo tight. And in that moment we knew I was gonna make it. Amen!
Just when I most needed a miracle, there was Fairy God April, pulling me out of my rabbit hole, reminding me that (a) sharing my story is the equivalent of ten RedBulls; (b) there is nothing mascara can’t fix; and (c) I need to film a Friday Video Time episode about my thoughts on “finding your voice”, which brings me to point B: Ditch “find your voice”. Do this instead:
Please download + print your playsheet below:
Okay, you ready? On the left hand side of your printable (isn’t it adorbs?), I want you to write down the things you remember LOVING as a kid. On the right hand side, I want you to jot down how you will bring more of that into your business.
Let me give you an example. On the left hand side, I could write: I loved going to the bank with my parents + borrowing the deposit slips to play office. On the right hand side, I could say: I’m going to whip out lots of fun worksheets + forms to help my peeps make the boring stuff seem like play.
Your turn. Share your left + right columns in the comments below. This will be fun!
If you’re on an Indiana Jones quest to infuse more off YOU into your brand + up your blogging game, you gotta check out April Bowles CreativeLIVE workshop on Building a Successful Creative Blog. It’s soooo good, even David watched it + he doesn’t even have a blog LOL. By the way, I’m not an affiliate or get Scooby Snacks for saying this. I’m telling you because, well, because it rocks. Duh! And I know that if you get it you will f-ing LOVE IT!
This post is about happiness. Well, and about personal freedom too. The kind I discovered from jumping into this vortex called blogging. The kind I hope everybody will eventually discover for themselves. The kind I believe will permanently + irrevocably change this world for the better.
Having a blog, a voice, having my own stage where I can just “be Mayi” changed my life.
You see, I crave a different type of buzz. I want to paint because I feel like it, not because I have something to prove. I want to lay in the sand + read a book I’ll never be tested on. I want to build pillow forts + tell stories when the moon is high. I want to wake up slowly without a clock or inbox to rush to. I want to fly to Mars or the laundry room, but with my husband. Screw Cadillacs, I want to ride a unicorn. I want to be happy + free. I want to give the world everything.
Now, I can. And I don’t even have to wait for Martha Stewart’s entourage to pick me + deem me worthy if media coverage. Exactly.
Suddenly my career as a tiny Panamanian artist with a T-Rex heart isn’t dependent on the Illuminati or the Gatekeepers of the world – the publishers + the Hollywood exes + the editors + the celebrities + the curators. Suddenly I’m in direct contact with my audience + they are in direct contact with me too. No Wizard of Oz curtains or waiting for anyone else to give me the green lights.
I blog because it keeps me honest. If I say I’m gonna write a cookbook, I better do it. If I promise delivery by Christmas, the parcel better be there before Santa Claus arrives. Pressure. Blogging keeps us accountable.
I blog because it gets lonely sometimes, know what I mean? And when it does, I love talking to people who read my blog + watch my videos + share my obsession with Pinky and The Brain, not only because they are “fans” + boost my self-confidence when I most need it, but cuz they bring new light to what life might be. With blogging, a monologue quickly turns into a virtual happy hour. Yee ha!
I blog because no one likes to be sold to, but everyone loves to go shopping. When I’m asleep, people buy my stuff – my Life is Messy Bootcamp + my whimsical designs + my book. And I think that’s pretty cool. When your content moves people + builds goodwill, your folks feel like you’ve given them so much already that they’re happy to swipe their credit cards for you. Blogging is karma.
I blog because it makes the easy stuff easier + the hard stuff, well, just as hard. Let’s see, I create + I post + I make myself a drink with an umbrella. Easy. Well easier than sitting in my touchie waiting for Oprah’s producers to call. Blogging removes many obstacles. But no matter how easy it gets, the actual work is still a pain in the ass. Creativity is time consuming + labor intensive + appears whenever it wants to. We artists live for this sh*t. Except now, thanks to blogging, we can hustle in our Buzz Lightyear pajamas. Not bad.
I blog because blogging allows me to be quirky + unique + ferociously independent + small while still able to afford expensive strawberries + a trip to Curaçao. Thanks to the Internet + blogs, we finally live in a world where indie bands + nerds + girls with video cameras can survive. And thrive.
I blog because that’s how I’ve met most of my besties, including my business partner in crime April Bowles. We stumbled upon each other’s work online one day. Somehow we stated talking + leaving comments + trading e-mails. Somehow we raised enough money to lift our dream project Connecting the Gaps off the ground, while wearing tutus + superhero capes. And this process never stops. Magical friendships keep on happening again + again.
I blog because it lets me show off my ninja moves without looking like an arrogant narcissist. Let’s say you happen to bake the world’s chewiest S’Mores cookies. I understand if you want to keep your granny’s recipe a secret, but you can tell me how to impress hubby with a double crust pie, don’t you? Generosity, there’s no faster path to winning loyal followers that will last a lifetime.
I blog because through blogging my work has reached millions of people. I’ve shipped orders to Sir Lanka + Hawaii + South Africa + Argentina + Japan + places I don;t know how to spell + even had to look up on the map because they didn’t exist when I was in High School. Damn! (Psst… if you’ve been lucky enough to receive one of my packages, granny’s responsible for the hand-sewn envelopes. Aren’t they cute?)
I blog because it helps me document + immortalize my schizophrenically creative journey. I love (and secretly hate too) looking at my archives to see where my mind + heart have been. “Holy Batman! What was I thinking?” Or, “I nailed it!” It’s like having your own little personal time capsule or virtual diary to navigate through the memories + learn from them + grow.
I blog because blogging gives me VIP seating to Google’s premieres. Blogs are built for search engines. Period. They are indexed faster + more frequently than any other website. They also have this cool optimization feature that reads your keywords (like “handmade” + “business tips” + “blogging”) + connects potential readers to your site via those tags. This means targeted traffic from people who want what you have 24/7. Pretty neat right?
I blog because it remind me that what I have to say is important. We tend to forget that on the other side of the computer there are people, real people, being impacted by us. By YOU! If we slack off or hoard our gifts, everyone loses. Specially that one person who truly needed to hear your story, because sometimes an aha moment is all it takes to change everything. Blogging matters.
I blog because owning my media platform means owning my career. And owning my career means owning my life.
Telling people how great blogging is is easy. Everybody knows that already. The hard part is admitting that the ball is on your court. That it’s up to you to cut the crap excuses + use this amazing tool to make really awesome stuff happen. Right now.
Frankly blogging is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. And that in itself is what generates the great dilemma of our time: It’s no longer a question of whether or not you can do it. You know you can. Now the pressure is on you to mute the negative brain chatter + snap out of people-pleasing + let go of perfectionism. Now the pressure is on you to spill open + embrace imperfection + give the world what you’ve got.
It’s hard + scary as hell + that’s why most people never do it. Never even try. Thank goodness you aren’t most people, right?
Only when you are brave (read crazy) enough to look under the bed to fight hairy monsters will you discover that the only trolls that exist are the ones inside your head. Suddenly you stop running away because you realize no one is really chasing you with a bazooka. Suddenly you stop reaching for banana bread because you realize there is no edge to take off. Suddenly you stop gossiping to feel better about yourself because you realize that deep down you really wish we all make it. That’s when you become boundless + infinite + fierce enough to hit the “Publish” button + change the world without ever stepping out of your jammies.
The moral of the story: Go blog. Like a BOSS! Once you see the results, it becomes an obsession.
Before you exit, grab your Happiness is Freedom Blogging Notecard… it’s FREE + so is leaving a comment. Talk to me. I wanna know why you blog, or not. I bite, but only if you’re a cupcake.
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!
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.
I am soooo celebrating Christmas this year. Not with a tree, unfortunately. No tree for us this year, but what we lack in pine aromatherapy + lights + over-the-top ornaments we compensate for in spirit.
The house smells like Holiday magic thanks to the eight batches of Banana + Dark Chocolate Granola I made to gift the people who have put up with us all year. It’s one of our most cherished family traditions, making our own homemade granola + giving it away as favors for “muy importante” occasions. It taste absolutely divine + it’s vegan + gluten/refined sugar/junk product free.
At least my man’s pack is ready for dispatch.
Let’s interrupt today’s Christmas special so you can steal this must-make recipe, shall we?
- 3 cups certified gluten free oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- pinch of pink salt or sea salt
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pure raw honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl combine oats + almonds + pecans + cashews + pumpkin seeds + salt.
In a separate bowl add honey + coconut oil + vanilla + bananas. Use your hands to mic the ingredients completely smooth.
Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture + combine well, using your hands until everything is well coated.
Place the granola in a long baking tray + lay out flat.
Place in the middle of the oven + bake for 25 minutes, checking 3 times to turn the granola over with a wooden spoon.
Allow to cool completely before adding the chocolate pieces + storing in a container.
Serve with organic yogurt or almond milk.
Moving on Granola Monster.
As promised, I’m playing Santa + giving away presents each week of December. If you missed my Holiday Gift Tags last week you can snatch em’ right here.
This week I made you another sweet printable to help you tap into your deepest wants + heart fueled desires. Disguised as a cute download, this All I Want for Christmas List will help you celebrate + acknowledge what makes you twinkle. without feeling guilty or ungrateful for what you do have + what you’ve already accomplished.
So, if I may ask, What do you want for Christmas?
- I want to let go of my need to control + perfect to have the courage to enjoy what is now.
- I want a Hello Kitty toaster.
- I want to increase my tolerance for mess.
- I want to give up sugar, oh Santa please!
- I want learn calligraphy to up my illustrated quote game.
- I want to a pink medicine ball as desk chair. Six pack 2014 is the year.
- I want to learn to crush bad days with red lipstick + fake eye lashes. Pow!
- I want to get my notepads into Anthropologie. There I said it.
- I want to make beautiful babies with hubby. Bonus if they look like him.
- I want to give give give the world E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Your turn. Share your All I Want for Christmas List in the comments below + on social media using the hashtag #heartmadechristmas + tagging me @mayicarles.
This little challenge will come in handy in a couple of weeks when we discover how to match soul with to-do declarations + explore our goals for the new year together, so don’t skip it thinking it’s silly to dream big.