General FAQs

For FAQs about Camp, Fear Experiment, and Minglers, head here.

Mac & Cheese sounds cool. But what do you actually do?

Whatever we enjoy doing and people will pay us for (and sometimes not pay us for 😄; but usually, payment is required). The ol’ “find something that makes you happy and use it to make others happy” cliché. For a less vague answer check out the Offerings Page to see concrete examples and noodle around in this post: How do YOU think I make money?

Can you share my event/job opening/thing I’m trying to sell/______ with your network?

Probably! As long as it fits Cheese-Its interests and/or has a Life of Yes℠ vibe. This is a service offered through Mac & Cheese Productions℠. Head here to find out how to get exposure to Cheese-Its.

Can we meet for coffee/a drink so I can pick your brain*, hear your story, run an idea by you, get some advice, ________?

So flattered! Really, truly. But, no. Unless you want to hire Saya.

It’s not you, it’s her. Really. YOU are amazing. So many requests, only so much time to make a living, get to her own too long To Do List, roll in the grass. Sometimes living a Life of Yes℠ means saying no. Read this post for more insight into this angst’y area.

That said…

Saya loves to connect face-to-face at events, whether her own events or other people’s events. Bonus, you get to meet a plethora of amazing folks and be entertained/learn something. Check out the calendar for upcoming Mac & Cheese events and come on out.

If you want to hear the M&C story and philosophy, and apply it to your own life, the Life of Yes℠ Workshop is your best bet. Or read the About Page. Or check out the myriad of press on Mac & Cheese. Or come to any of the public speaking engagements which are listed on the calendar.

If you’re looking for a life coach or other folks who specialize in one-on-one’ness beyond what Saya offers, check out the Service Provider Referral list below. There are tons of other referral and recommendation lists in the Referrals Section as well (travel, activities, venues, etc).

*On the topic of the “pick your brain” phrase:

Do you accept Guest Posts?

Mac & Cheese does not accept any unsolicited Guest Posts. Guest Posts are from people who either are approved partners or from people whom Saya asks directly.

How do you pronounce Saya’s name?


Like Maya Angelou. But with an “S”. And with fewer Pulitzer Prizes.

Fun fact: did you know Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson?!

Why “Mac & Cheese Productions”?

It’s universally-loved, it’s comfort-food, it’s memorable…

A Cheese-It said it best: “The name ‘Mac & Cheese’ embodies all that Saya has created: warmth, goodness and fulfillment. Overall good food for the soul (without the calories!).”

Where can I find your headshot, logo, other marketing materials?

On the Press Kit page.

What’s the difference between a Life of Yes℠ (LOY) Workshop and Camp?

The LOY workshop is a class, with Saya sharing lecture-style and then participants sharing their subsequent thoughts in small groups or in the whole group.

LOY Camp is an intense yet relaxing weekend getaway that is a mix of individual, small group, and whole group activities and a mix of passive-participation and active-participation. Solo attendance is required. 

Can I run Mac & Cheese events in my city?

If you’re interested in running a Fear Experiment℠ in your corner of the world, head here. For all other offerings, head here.

Can I buy a gift certificate for a Mingler, Camp, a cleaning, your other offerings to give to a loved one?

Absolutely! Shoot Saya a note and we’ll make it happen.

Are you hiring? Do you need an intern? A partner? 

You can see job openings here. If you live outside of Chicago and are interested in helping expand M&C into your city, head here. If you’re in Chicago and interested in partnering, head here and for volunteering, head here.

Do you offer Mac & Cheese in places outside of Chicago?

Most offerings are Chicago’esque. But occasionally, we do cross state-lines on our own volition. Want to be notified if/when that happens? Head here. Online offerings like webinars and consulting are location-independent options; additionally there may be a Fear Experiment℠ in your area, which you can find out here. If there isn’t, bring one to you!

Life of Yes Sleepaway Camp is great for anyone, wherever you live — we’ve had campers from Maine, NYC, Seattle, LA, Philly…

And of course, Mac & Cheese travels wherever people bring us.

I Hear You Have a List For Everything. True?

Pretty true. Housing Criteria List, Job Criteria List, College Criteria List, Pet Peeve List, Boyfriend Criteria List, lots of other lists. But you’re not here for inane ramblings probably. Looking for the referral lists? You’re in the right place.

A note before you jump in: some of the below links may be referral links. When you sign up, you may get goodness, M&C may get goodness, both may get goodness. Goodness being a credit, discount, compensation, a high-five. If M&C refers someone or something, know that the referral is rooted in genuine reverence for his/her/its quality and usefulness.

If you use an M&C referral, let Saya know about your experience so she ensures she continues only to thumbs up the best of the best.

Service Provider Referral List

Head here for referrals of realtors, web designers, coaches, personal trainers, architects, mechanics, dentists, handyfolks, contractors, plumbers, and on and on and on…

Due to the amount of asks and Saya attempting some amount of selectivity, no, you can’t be added to the list (even though what you offer is FABULOUS). She adds people at her discretion. Don’t ask. Really. If you’d like exposure to the Cheese-It network, head here.

Venue Referral List

Head here for a list of places to get married, teach a class, run an offsite event for work, throw a birthday party, and on and on and on…

Chicago Referral List

Head here for suggestions of Chicago activities, lodging, restaurants, and on and on and on…

Activities to do When Traveling List

Check out Saya’s San Francisco List here and her Worldwide List here. There are also posts from various places she’s traveled on the blog, search ‘travel’.

Coffeehouse Referral List

Head here for the Chicago list, and to Saya’s YELP list for non Chicago.

Life of Yes℠ Resources List

Head here for resources that fit the Life of Yes℠ mentality: books, videos, articles, professional organizations, conferences, activities to do (classes, entertainment, dating, volunteering, spirituality, physicality), and on and on…

Make Life Easy(ier) Tools List

If productivity is a topic of interest, check out the Calendar page to see if there’s an upcoming class or webinar, where we go over much of below more in depth.

  • Event Planner’s Dream Calendar is a Google Calendar Mac & Cheese made to help figure out when to have events (and not have events) due to competition, unavailability, traffic, street closures, etc. We often forget about things like the Superbowl, the Olympics, Lollapalooza, Rosh Hashanah, etc. If you’re not sure how to add a calendar to your calendar, check this out.
  • Private Internet Access is a horribly boring name but it’s one of the simplest ways to keep yourself digitally safe
  • Mighty Text allows you to text from your computer, sync’d with your Android phone & number
  • Strikingly is for easy yet look good website creation
  • Grove Collaborative is a digital-first consumer products brand with a mission to help families across the country make the switch to natural, non-toxic household products.  
  • WebinarNinja allows you to easily host webinars
  • aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define
  • Dropbox is Saya’s go-to for online storage, online sharing, and giving the public access to documents, video, and photos
  • Evernote is a digital filing cabinet that Saya couldn’t live without (Evernote Essentials is a book that helped her learn it)
  • ParkWhiz allows you to compare price, location, and amenities for parking all across the US to find the right parking spot for you
  • SpotHero is another great parking app
  • MailChimp makes designing and sending email to groups easy-peasey
  • Freshbooks is online invoicing, expense management and time tracking
  • Gusto Payroll allows you to easily pay yourself, employees, and contractors, as well as automate tax filings. Sign forms online, handle vacations and bonuses, onboard employees. Use this link and if you become a paid user, get a $100 gift card.
  • Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox: photos of them, their titles, where they work, and links to their social-media accounts, so you can link to them without having to leave Gmail.
  • Boomerang, a simple system that sends emails at a specified date and time, also tracks emails to remind you to follow up with someone, and reminds you if someone doesn’t get back to you.
  • Buffer gives you a consistent social media presence all day long by helping you schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer once a day and it automatically posts for you to social-media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • LastPass relieves the stress of trying to remember a slew of passwords by securely storing and giving you access to any of your account credentials
  • HelloSign digitizes your signature and lets you sign documents directly in Gmail—no more printing out a document, signing it, scanning it, and sending
  • ToDoist, an online to-do list, means you always have access to your list: no more “oops! I left it at home.” (Saya and Pete used WeDoist to plan their wedding)
  • Doodle gives you an easy way to find a convenient time to meet with several people. No more 23 emails back and forth trying to find a time that works for all.
  • Canned Responses helps if you’re sick of typing out the same reply every time someone emails you with a common question. Compose your reply once and save the message text with the “Canned Responses” button.
  • Airbnb is for you if you’d rather stay in a home than in a hotel. Use this link and get a credit if you host or if you lodge.
  • Prezi gets you off the PowerPoint treadmill and makes you look like a creative genius. Just don’t go overboard on the zooming.
  • Lifehacker is a go-to resource for all things random yet useful, from technology reviews to DIY projects to moneysaving tips.
  • Uber lets you request a cab ride, anytime, anywhere. No cash is exchanged (even the tip); it all goes on the credit card linked to your account. Use code UBERCHEESEIT and get a credit for first time users.
  • Lyft is similar to Uber. Use code SAYA20 for a discounted first ride.
  • Dabble makes it easy to try something new: learn a skill, dust off a rusty one, or find a new pastime. You can even teach your own classes and earn some extra income doing what you love.
  • GoogleDocs is a must-have for any collaborative work. Create and edit documents online while working with other users in real time—and always have access to your material, no matter where you are!
  • Ifttt, shorthand for “if this, then that,” is a simple Web app that  automates actions when certain conditions are met. For example, if it  checks the forecast and it looks like rain, you can set it to send you a text message to grab your umbrella.
  • PadMapper makes apartment-hunting less awful and almost fun by plotting the apartments on a big map and letting you filter for exactly what you want.
  • Slack, all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. Real time messaging, file sharing, supporting one-to-one and group conversations.
  • Square Cash, a ridiculously easy way to send/receive money. No signing up for anything!
  • Tripit organizes travel details into one master online itinerary, even if you book through multiple travel sites.