Monday Mélange: Staying Sane

With a new year under way and a bunch of new commitments lined up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’m back at school after an incredible escape from reality at home. As the new semester rolls around, I thought I’d share some of the things that help keep me sane.

1) A great planner – No matter how high-tech our society becomes, I’ll always need a planner. My sister jokes that my life mottos is, “Every planner has a December.” I can’t fight her on that one.

My favorite planner brand
2) Clean up – In my space, everything has its place. Taking the extra step to make your bed, reorganize the clutter on your desk, and spritz a little cleaner makes a world of difference. Not only have you accomplished something, but you’re in the mood to take on more.

Having its place
3) Make lists – From menus to to-do lists, writing things down helps me when I am juggling what feels like a million things. Seeing it all on paper makes it easier to tackle.

Making lists
4) Detox with Downton – Or any of your favorite shows, for that matter. It’s okay to take some time out of your day to turn off your mind and close your mouth and indulge in some British banter.

Lady Mary from Downton
5) Breathe – Taking deep breaths and following my steps is my remedy for stressing out.

Breathe

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Crawley Cornbread

Even from across an ocean, some things never change. I still crave American classics like peanut butter. I still check the American iTunes Top 10 hits. And up until this Sunday, I still followed the American schedule of Downton Abbey.
cornbread

My mom planned the most amazing vacations for us when we were little; visiting Jane Austen’s house in Bath, staying in castle-converted hotels across Ireland, and living for 3 weeks in a small house in the Cotswolds were some of our adventures. Needless to say, I inherited her obsession for the European countryside. After watching every film adaptation of Austen’s books, including owning all 5 episodes of the Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth series of Pride and Prejudice on VHS and then on iTunes, I thought nothing could get better. Then came Downton.

Downton instantly became a classic in my house. Its beautiful and factual elegance, Maggie Smith’s quick remarks, and the gripping story lines make it a consented hour of silence in my house. My sister and her boyfriend are more Doctor Who-fans than of watching the Crawleys’ lives unfold, but I was still able to steal an hour and a half away from my Parisian life to watch the season finale of my British-indulgence. This show is the epitome of “expect the unexpected,” because every episode throws you something new and exciting. (P.S. I’m DISTRAUGHT. No new episodes of Downton Abbey until January 2014?! Is Masterpiece slowly but surely trying to kill me?!)

Cornbread became a staple in my life ever since I could crack eggs and pour milk into a powdery mountain of Jiffy. By the time I turned 10, I stopped using a measuring cup, for I had made it maybe 100 times and was trusted to get it right. But making it homemade makes it a different comfort food. The trick is to purée the milk with the can of corn that are called for in this recipe; the cornbread will be almost melt-in-your-mouth moist (for lack of a less annoying word) every time. As I substitute cornbread and coffee for a more Downton-style scone and tea, I will certainly eagerly await the return of the best television show of all time. That’s a fact, not a statement of opinion.

Recipe via Tomato Kumato

cornbread          cornbread