Author and stylist Jennifer L. Scott's suggestions really do work.
Jennifer L. Scott conquered my heart. After reading her book At Home With Madame Chic, my life has become less stressful and more relaxed. Her practical advice gave me wings to deal with everyday tasks and household management. How? She gives specific tips on how we can stop living our lives running around in a hurry, and start enjoying the present moment. Here are six of her tips that have been particularly helpful for me:
A cooking marathon
“I choose one day a week in which I prepare a few meals for the coming week. As long as I have all the stuff out and I’m going to mess up the kitchen, I can do a lot more than prepare just one meal,” says Jennifer. “I can cook some meats, cook pasta, or make a double portion of soup and freeze half,” adds the author. I liked that idea when I read it, and I’m slowly starting to implement it.
Like journaling, but … with recipes!
Jennifer suggests cutting recipes you like from newspapers, printing them from the internet, copying them from your favorite cookbooks, etc., and collecting all in a small binder, thus creating your personal cookbook.
You have no idea how long I spent trying to find a small binder that doesn’t look like it belongs in school. In the end, I opted for a binder with a picture of Winnie the Pooh and a lovely title on the front that says, “Pooh loves U.” That works for me — after all, I cook for those I love!
Cleanup: Divide and conquer
I am a big supporter of the dishwasher, because if someone or something can help me clean up my house, my heart is filled with gratitude. I don’t like to spend an entire Saturday cleaning, but it can be hard to dedicate time to housecleaning during the week. Here comes the ingenious Jennifer to the rescue! “Set a timer for 15 minutes every day and promise yourself that you will only clean for that amount of time.” Indeed, you can do quite a lot during a quarter of an hour. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself — but remember, 15 minutes, no more.
Simplify your closet
Do you have difficulty figuring out what to wear to work in the morning, such that in the end you put on just anything that’s at hand? Jennifer suggests having only 10 things for every season in the closet. For autumn and winter, we find only three blouses, three sweaters, two pairs of trousers, and two dresses in her closet.
In addition to that, T-shirts, cardigans, scarves, gloves, a warm coat, a jacket, boots, pantyhose, ballet flats, high heels, jewelry, sunglasses, and — if needed — additional sweaters and a pair of pants.
Ten things are not quite enough for me, but I admit that after reading the book I got rid of everything that was at the end of its useful life. The author encourages us to be chic in every situation, so since my favorite dress — one the color of the sea — had seen better days, it went out of the closet with all the other things I hadn’t worn for over a year.
Have a quick-fix signature dessert recipe
I like to invent new flavor combinations and surprise my loved ones. I must admit, I have many successes, and a few failures too. Jennifer recommends that every home cook have a simple, signature cake recipe, which you can whip up in a jiffy but that tastes fantastic. I was trying to settle on a recipe to use on those occasions, when I read her instructions for a flourless chocolate cake. Delicious, moist, and very chocolatey! It’s my favorite cake, and I know it will always come out perfectly.
Wind down at the end of the day
Don’t spend time staring at an electronic screen right before bed. You’ll end up reading work emails, or scrolling through social media. Before you know it, you will be angry, frustrated, and/or stressed by the things you read.
Instead, Jennifer suggests that you “relax, doing something that makes you happy. Cut yourself off from the hustle and bustle of the world. Think about the exciting dreams that await you. You deserve to rest so that you can get up tomorrow and continue the fantastic journey called life.”
Her advice is worth heeding; this book has made my daily life easier and less stressful. We all have to face many of the same daily tasks; why not take a positive perspective, like Jennifer? I highly recommend this book!
Jennifer L. Scott is a wife and mother, and the author of the popular blog The Daily Connoisseur. She writes for Huffington Post Style, and works with CNN, BBC, CBS News, and others. She lives in Santa Monica, California.