1. Wear sunscreen
3. Turn on music whenever you have a chance. It’s an instant mood improver. On that note, here are four songs I like lately: Thunder by Imagine Dragons (for driving in a cab with the windows down at sunset through Central Park wearing something pretty on the way to a night out) and Another Way by Ten Fe (for slow-dancing around the living room) and Nice by Rye (for listening just after you've poured your first glass of wine in the evening) and Good and Ready by Anthony D'Amato (for singing along, loudly, and probably ideally alone given my personal vocal abilities).
4. Fill your house with good scents. I just got a favorite lotion (Molton Brown) in a new scent (lime and patchouli), and it makes me swoon a bit.
5. Meditate. (Every day if you can.) Lately this is a mere 3 minutes a day, which seems like such a paltry amount that I’m often tempted to scrap it. I remind myself that having done it at all today makes it easier and more of a habit to do tomorrow. And also, that I will never regret having done it. Three minutes!
6. Exercise. See above note on regret.
7. Call your mom.
8. Keep a stash of homemade waffles in the freezer. In a pinch, you can toast them and drizzle them with maple syrup and dot them with butter and tell your significant other that yes, yes we do in fact have some dessert. (Because it’s that or some very stale cereal which frankly, isn’t dessert at all, or a chip off the block of bittersweet chocolate currently residing in your freezer. Neither wildly exciting or worthy of an Ina Garten-episode.) See below for the recipe I've been using this week (sour cream + cornmeal + malted milk powder).
1. Add salt before tasting a dish. You can add, but it’s harder to subtract.
2. Second-guess your ability to wear bright lipstick. Those women who look excellent in it do so because of confidence rather than some inherent trait specific to their lips.
3. Spend too much time in your own head. You know what’s in there. What about what else is out there? Go outside, talk a walk, call a friend, and see.
4. Skip a recipe because you don’t have all the ingredients. Some of the best cooking skills or lessons arise from necessity: Try and think about what purpose that ingredient serves and see if you have something else that plays the same role. Examples: cookie butter instead of peanut butter in a cake recipe. Pistachio flour instead of almond flour in cookies. Milk chocolate chunks + bittersweet chocolate chunks in place of semisweet chips. Missing sherry for a soup recipe? Use a bit of miso paste for a similarly savory depth of flavor.
5. Be any harder on yourself than you would on someone you love.
6. Wait to buy flowers. Today is a good day for fresh peonies! Lots of them!
Sour Cream Cornmeal Waffles
For anyone wondering, I use a very basic old Cuisinart waffle maker with absolutely no bells and whistles. The one real tip is not to be shy about greasing it: Spray it liberally with non-stick spray! Now is not the time for frugality in the butter/oil realm.
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (not coarse, unless you dig the texture. You do you.)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Whisk together the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until frothy (use a large bowl for this).
Add the sour cream and whisk vigorously until smooth.
Add the flour, cornmeal, salt, malted milk powder (or sub an additional tablespoon of sugar), baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk until just combined.
Add the milk and whisk until the batter is just combined but don't overmix--it's okay if it's a bit lumpy.
Heat your waffle iron: Cook your waffles according to the instructions on your waffle maker.