There’s a phrase I tend to hear a lot from women, and it goes like this:
“I just want to look pulled together.”
What women are describing here is what a lot people call having effortless style. Although I don’t believe style can ever be effortless, I do believe that a bit of preparation can certainly help make having an artfully curated look much easier.
So, when I landed an advance copy of the forthcoming At Home with Madame Chic, I was excited to learn more about author Jennifer Scott’s take on adopting this pulled together feeling at home. Before I read it, I thought, “maybe I’ll learn how to host a chic dinner party.”
What I didn’t realize was how this book was going to change my life.
Hidden behind the familiar watercolor cover – featuring “Madame Chic” herself, peering out from behind a tasseled curtain – was something I’ve needed for quite some time and didn’t expect: a manual to running my house.
I thought this book would be about creating great spreads for entertaining – and it is.
But, what so many other books about entertaining lack are the instructions for how to achieve an entertaining-worthy life to begin with.
Think about it: when you entertain, you’re inviting friends and family over to a slice of your (so-called) life. So, entertaining should really be you, at your most authentic. Not: you, after a harried day of cleaning, prepping and giving yourself, your home and your life a last-minute makeover.
See, that’s the thing about being effortless. It shouldn’t be a major pain in the derriere.
So, like I said, Jennifer’s book isn’t just about entertaining.
The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 – Chez Vous, which is about getting your house in order, and Part 2 – Les Routines de la Journee, which is about scheduling your day around (you guessed it!) routines.
And this is where I found something that I’ve been missing pretty much my entire life: order and routine, and the joy of having both.
It occurred to me that I’ve been letting my life run me, instead of me running my life.
Tell me if you’ve also been suffering from the following:
- A perpetually-messy house
- Deer-in-the-headlights syndrome when asked, “what’s for dinner?”
- No recollection of where the day went
All these problems are a result of coping without routine, and they cause heaps of stress. Not chic.
That’s not to say that my life is a total mess, though. I’ve certainly achieved some success – I have a husband I love dearly and a thriving business – but I know there’s something that’s been holding me back. And that something is the very bad habit of fielding life as it happens, as opposed to creating order and routines to help preserve my sanity.
In fact, I’m always exhausted – and I don’t even have children yet.
But, what I read in Jennifer’s book didn’t just inspire me to host a few dinner parties, or organize my linen closet – it inspired me to take control of my damn life, already. And, as a goal-oriented person, I feel like I’ve hit the motherlode of life-accelerating wisdom that just wasn’t passed down to me as a woman.
Jennifer’s book taught me there can be a level of elegance in the day-to-day of running a house that I never imagined.
So, how that this affected me?
Well, for one, I now have both a weekly schedule and a daily schedule – but I’m learning to keep things flexible. I’m planning my household meals, vacuuming on a regular basis, and perfecting a morning routine to start my day off on the right foot. I’m paying attention to my own grooming (hello, pedicures!), and creating a sanctuary for my little family – even though we’re intensely focused on saving up to buy a place of our own.
For once, in my life, I actually feel like I do have a bit of control over how my day goes. I’m finally master of my home, and it feels real good. For the first time in my life, I feel like a grown up.
And, it only just occurred to me, that this feeling of mastery and maturity, is something I’ve longed for for quite some time. That, ladies, is what effortlessly chic and pulled together feels like.
Routine is a comforting salve for a lifetime of haphazardry.
So, there you have it! If you’re ready to adopt some discipline that will bring style and simplicity to your life – not to mention, peace of mind – grab your very own copy of At Home with Madame Chic.