Consulting Virtual & In-Person Worldwide

Inquire About Mac & Cheese Consulting

Though she doesn’t have an MBA, had $300 in her savings when fired, and has been just “figuring it out” as she goes along, Saya has run a successful “wouldn’t change a thing” business since 2004, and even with the challenges that surface personally and professionally, lives a blissful life. Her partner in crime, marriage, and Mac & Cheese, Pete, shares her love of spreading the Life of Yes℠ philosophy, perfect for people eager to transform their lives.

Their goal is to equip you with the tools to make changes in your life, leaving you happier, healthier, and more in control of your own fulfillment.

Through personal anecdotes and the philosophies that have shaped their paths, you’ll have “Aha!” moments and start to think proactively about how you can get the most out of life, personally and professionally. You’ll gain big-picture philosophies and small-actionable steps you can apply immediately.

Pete and Saya are the perfect blend of knowledge and action + empathy and kindness; there’s no better cheerleaders to have in your corner.

Areas of Focus

For more on a specific area, see below

Nitty Gritty

 Pete & Saya are knowledgeable, easy to chat with, non judgmental, transparent, and caring. And silly. But professional silly.

Mac & Cheese Consulting is —

One on one with Pete or Saya (Pete for Personal Finance, Saya for everything else).

$185 an hour

  • Minimum of 60 minutes, either in person* or via phone/Zoom; whichever you prefer
  • If you’d like more than 60 minutes, you can book a longer session or multiple sessions up front
  • One session up to three hours or up to three individual sessions are the $185/hour rate
  • Sessions scheduled four at a time (either two two-hour or four one-hour sessions) are $125 an hour
  • Payment is due to book Mac & Cheese; booking information will be sent if Mac & Cheese is the right fit and has availability

Based in Chicago but travels everywhere and works virtually

  • *If you’re local and would like to meet in-person, the meeting location is Mac & Cheese in Wicker Park
  • If you’re outside of Chicago, M&C is happy to travel to you; this option incurs travel fees, to be paid upon booking

Refund, Cancellation, and “I’m running late!” Policy

There are no refunds. You’ll get a full credit for future sessions if you cancel before 48 hours from our meeting. If you cancel within the 48 hour time frame, there is no credit. The clock starts at the agreed upon time; if you’re late, that eats into your time and the session will still end at the agreed upon end time.

Ready to work with Mac & Cheese? Fill out the form below. If you’d like more info, noodle around Additional Info below.

Inquire About Mac & Cheese Consulting

  • Please make sure you type this correctly
  • Why now? Have you gotten support in this area before? How did it go? Why Mac & Cheese? The more specific, the better. E.g. if you choose "productivity" and want to learn Evernote or how to tame the inbox specifically, share that.
  • This helps with thinking about time zones, scheduling, all that jazz.
  • Mac & Cheese is based in Chicago but travels everywhere. Travel expenses will be added to the consultancy fee. If you're local and choose in person, we'll meet at Mac & Cheese in Wicker Park unless you're looking for cleaning support in which case it's suggested we meet at your home.
  • Sessions scheduled four at a time have a price break ($125/hour instead of $185/hour). You can always add more later.

Additional Info

Business, Career, & Entrepreneurism

  • Considering entering the self-employment, work from home, side hustle, entrepreneur game and looking for “getting started” guidance?
  • Are you in the self-employment, work from home, side hustle, entrepreneur game and looking for growth/”now what?” guidance?
  • Tired of envying others? Tired of feeling like a hamster in the hamster wheel? Tired of throwing spaghetti on the ceiling to see what sticks?
  • Interested in challenging yourself more? Professional growth and development? Learning?
  • Seeking a change in what you do? Not sure what that change is?
  • Do you want to know yourself better?
  • Do you loathe answering questions like “What do you?” or career small-talk?
  • Are you trapped in a Golden Handcuffs job? Good pay, benefits, title, location, perks, growth potential. But. There’s something missing.
  • Wondering how to network in a way that’s not the worst?
  • Are you interested in a new career path yet scared to leave the one you’re on?
  • Which side of the perk-fence is more appealing? If it’s the one you’re not on, it may be time to make a change.

Whether you have yet to start or you’ve been on your own for awhile, Saya can help you navigate the rollercoaster that is figuring out what you want to “do” in life. Our time on earth is too short to spend the majority of a week’s hours doing something you don’t want to be doing. Let’s find out what you want to do and do that.

Dig Deep

  • finding the courage to take the leap
  • setting yourself up for success
  • when to DIY vs when to delegate
  • defining your definition of success
  • sales, marketing, and self-promotion
  • productivity: time management, efficiency, systems and tools, timelines
  • networking that doesn’t feel like networking
  • finding community when you’re a solopreneur
  • money: pricing, when to work for free/a discount, when to save money vs when to spend money, how to succeed if you don’t have a lot of capital

Personal Finance

  • Do you wish you had confidence when it comes to your finances?
  • Do you wish you knew the best app/spreadsheet/method for keeping track of your financial life?
  • Do you wish you had a better understanding of where your money goes each month?
  • Do you ever feel embarrassed that you don’t know as much about personal financial health as you think you should?
  • Do you wish you could make a realistic, achievable plan to
    •         Pay off your debt?
    •         Take the vacation you’ve always dreamed of?
    •         Buy a home?
    •         Be able to weather the unexpected surprises that keep popping up?
    •         Start saving (or save more) for retirement?
    •         Change from the regularity of a 9-to-5 job to the world of self-employment and the accompanying irregular income?

If you answered yes, Pete can help. He’s spent 20 years coaching and counseling people on their personal financial situations and how they can make better decisions when it comes to money.

Specifically, Pete can help you:

  • Organize, optimize, and automate your financial life so that you can make your finances a high priority without having to commit all your time to managing them
  • Understand your psychological and emotional relationship to money
  • Uncover your values so that you gain clarity around the right financial goals and the best plan to achieve those goals
  • Reduce the shame, fear, and uncertainty that often accompanies financial struggles
  • Start achieving your financial goals, building a virtuous cycle of positive achievements, as opposed to a self-defeating cycle of financial missteps than then lead to further missteps

Disclaimer — Pete…

  • Is not a financial advisor
  • Will never try to sell you any products or investments
  • Will never make commissions based on anything you do or purchase
  • Will never have any control of your money. You’ll pay only for our time and conversations together
  • Will solely offer you education and coaching. When you get to a place where you no longer need consulting, you should move on and stop contracting Pete’s services. If you need the services of a financial advisor, Pete can recommend options.

Cleaning

For those interested in the space between cleaning your home yourself and hiring a professional. If that’s you, you can contact Saya to check availability and see if she’s the right person. If she’s not, she’ll probably have a resource or rockstar to refer to you.

Could your home use sparkle & shine? Would you like to tackle it yourself but aren’t sure where to start or where to focus resources (time, energy, money)? Are you ready and willing to clean but also overwhelmed? Is hiring a cleaning service not the route for you? When you clean do you think, “There must be a better way”?

Saya loves to clean and loves to teach others how to clean better. Where better means in a way that’s easier and more full of joy; or at least less horrible. If you’d like someone to assess your situation, in a warm, supportive, no judgment way, and give you a customized step by step blueprint that includes a list of recommended supplies, a task checklist to ensure thoroughness, and a priority list in the suggested order of attack — “Based on XYZ, start here…” — this is for you. She’ll lovingly tell you don’t do that, do this. She’ll take into consideration your likes and dislikes, your pain points, your hurdles, your resources, and your vision for your ideal home.

Events

Planning, curating, and hosting events has been Saya’s bread & butter since the beginning. From dinner parties to adult recitals, a group of six to an audience of 700, from her own space to rented space. She’s a master at playing to her strengths and creating comfortable, welcoming, and impactful experiences for people of all backgrounds. She is not for hire as an Event Planner, someone who does all the nitty gritty for you; she’s for hire to empower you to efficiently and confidently produce your own events.

Dig Deep

  • processes and systems
  • tools
  • registration
  • agenda and structure
  • facilitation
  • attendees
  • collaborators
  • partners and sponsors
  • sales and marketing
  • talent
  • communication — with attendees, with talent
  • venue
  • ambiance — music, decor, AV
  • materials — food & drink, giveaways, activity supplies

Productivity

You know “productivity” is a thing but where to start? Where to spend time? Where to spend money? How to best use XYZ to fit your needs? Saya narrows the overwhelming field of options. A Huffington Post article called her “Chicago’s productivity-guru” and she was included in the Gmail Genius series.

Whether you want someone to listen to your specific productivity issues and suggest big-picture solutions and tools to fix what’s broken or whether you want to deep-dive into a specific area or tool, Mac & Cheese can help. Saya has numerous resources, mostly tech-based, that she uses on regular basis to maintain organization, frugality, and efficiency. She has a full personal life, filled with Travel! Activities! Dates!, and has run a successful business since 2004, filled with event curation, keeping track of and adhering to deadlines, wrangling thousands of people, being laid-back yet professional, traveling the frugal path, and wearing many hats, which she has managed to do while keeping her head above water and with a smile on her face. It can be done.

Dig Deep

  • email
  • to do lists
  • calendars
  • automation – e.g. when rain is in the forecast, get a reminder to take your umbrella; save all your Instagram posts to Dropbox
  • digital security
  • digital organization
  • personal life – travel, shopping, household tasks…
  • managing projects
  • managing others
  • social media – platform use and scheduling
  • event planning

Tools

  • Evernote
  • Asana
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • Dropbox
  • Lastpass
  • Todoist

Lifestyle

  • Seeking a change in life? Not sure what that change is?
  • Do you want to default yes more instead of no?
  • Would you like more connection in your life? With others? With yourself?
  • Do you want to know yourself better?
  • Are you searching for community? A sense of belonging? Somewhere to belong?
  • Would you like more joy in your life? Laughter? Fulfillment?
  • Interested in challenging yourself more? Personal growth and development? Learning?
  • Feel like you’re a magnet for the wrong things, wrong scenarios, wrong people?
  • Do you want to spend more time doing what you want to be doing?
  • Do you feel you’re on the sidelines of life watching it pass by?
  • Do you need to put yourself first at times, instead of others?
  • Are there icks in your life you’re having trouble moving past but want to?
  • Do you want more confidence?
  • Who’s driving your bus: you or someone else? Is that how you want it?

The segments that make up our lives should be rooted in and filled with joy and ease. Saya creates that lifestyle for herself and for others.

Public Speaking

  • Do you have stories or thoughts you want to share publicly?
  • Do you feel like you don’t have stories or thoughts others would want to hear but you’d like to explore?
  • Do you want to improve your content, from what you say to what you show (e.g. slides)?
  • Do you want to feel more comfortable and confident in the spotlight?
  • Does public speaking or calling yourself a ‘speaker’ freak you out yet also intrigue you?
  • Are you already a speaker who wants to be more of a speaker? More gigs? More well rounded?
  • Does the idea of getting paid to share your interests sound neat?
  • Does the idea of getting paid to speak sound neat?
  • Does the idea of getting to travel to speak sound neat?
  • Do you want to be more comfortable creating and asking for speaking fees?
  • Do you want to know what else you should be asking for outside of fees?
  • Do you want to learn how to better promote yourself as a speaker?
  • Do you want to create a Speaker Webpage but aren’t sure where to start?
  • Are you curious what other tools besides a webpage you should have as a Speaker?
  • Do you have stories or thoughts you want to share publicly?
  • Do you feel like you don’t have stories or thoughts others would want to hear but you’d like to explore?
  • Are you interested in learning speaker best practices outside of your actual presentation, like interacting with event organizers and engaging with the audience?
  • Can you come up with a gazillion excuses why you’re not and never will be a Speaker?

Do you fear the moment when

  • Someone asks you how much you charge?
  • You submit a quote, immediately wishing you had charged less?
  • You see a quote response in your inbox, afraid to open it because you know they won’t pay you what you want?
  • Someone asks you what your qualifications are?
  • Someone asks you what you speak about?
  • You make your thoughts public?
  • People realize you’re a fraud, that you don’t know what you’re doing, and/or you’re not worth the price you’re asking?
Are you ready to stop being intrigued and to take action? Are you ready to next-level it when it comes to being a speaker?

Dig Deep

  • How to choose, create, and share content
  • How to best communicate your thoughts and stories in ways that are engaging, memorable, comfortable, impactful, and inspiring
  • How to best complement your speaking (slides, handouts, etc.)
  • How to be less fearful of the stage and the spotlight
  • How to make public speaking work with you instead of against you
  • How to feel comfortable calling yourself “a Speaker”
  • How to figure out what to speak about
  • How to get speaking gigs
  • What tools you need to be a Speaker
  • Creation/updating of your Speaker Page
  • How to feel comfortable talking Speaker money — asking to get paid, what to charge, when to give a discount/speak for free

Saya teaches avenues to being a speaker that work with what you already possess. No having to get certified in this or having to attend that. No e-book or fifteen-step program to buy or coach to hire. No waiting or analyzing or running things by others.

Storytelling

  • Do you have no stories?
  • Do you feel you’ve lead an uninteresting life?
  • Do you have nothing to say?
  • Do you have tons to say but don’t know where to start or how to say it?
  • Do you want to be a better writer? A better speaker?
  • Have you always wanted to write but _____ forever gets in the way?
  • Do you have a “thing” you want to work through, get over, learn from?
  • Do you have a “thing” you want to transform from negative to positive?
  • Do you want to (re)discover your voice?
  • Do you want to challenge yourself?
  • Does public speaking terrify you? Excite you?
  • Does sharing personal stories terrify you? Excite you?
  • Do you want your thoughts and your experience to help others?
  • Can you come up with a gazillion excuses why you’re not and never will be a Storyteller?

When Saya used to try to fit in — which as an amazonian biracial Black Jew with a single mom, homemade clothes, and bike for a car was difficult — she was miserable. Since learning the power of voice and vulnerability, she is a master at getting others to push themselves and “Me too!”, and now embraces her literal and figurative stretch marks. Often through the spoken and written word.

Saya loves to combine her superpowers of storytelling and an ability to get people to see the goodness within and the importance of sharing said goodness. She’s keynoted conferences, shared a TEDx talk, and participated in various performances from the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival to Listen To Your Mother to Fear Experiment℠. For years, she’s guided people in personal journeys to increased self-confidence and personal fulfillment.

Writing & Copy Editing

Do you have a text you’d like someone to proofread? Give a new perspective? Suggest content and revisions? A speech? A story? A blog post? A love letter? A proud Boston College English and Sociology major, a public speaker, a teacher of storytelling, and a writer, Saya loves to support others with her editing superpowers. Her niche is the personal narrative, where you talk about yourself.