TODAY

TODAY   |  June 05, 2013

Author lives like Martha Stewart for a year

When she realized she needed to organize her life, Jen Lancaster devoted a full year to living like the queen of all things domestic: Martha Stewart. The author talks about what she learned and her new book, “The Tao of Martha.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> have you ever felt like life is so chaotic you don't know how to get a handle on things? one woman decided the solution was to devote an entire year living according to the advice of martha stewart . jen lancaster writes about that experience in the new book "the tao of martha ." we'll talk to her in a moment. first a look at how hard this was. the flowers are set.

>> our goal should be making these look as festive as possible.

>> reporter: the drinks mixed.

>> random margaritas is ready.

>> jen lancaster is greeting her guests like a party pro. her inspiration?

>> we're getting ready for cinco de mayo , pretty daisies in the conch shell .

>> i love her so much.

>> she vowed to follow martha stewart 's way of living for a full year which wasn't always easy for her.

>> one of my most cherished holiday traditions an easter egg hunt .

>> i did a big easter egg hunt for all of my friend's kids. we only had two children that went to the er that day. that was not my intention.

>> i like to put beautiful glittered pumpkins on my table.

>> i glittered things for three hours to the point there was nothing in this house that wasn't covered in glitter, including the dog. that never comes off.

>> being neat and orderly is an important part of everyday life .

>> everything labeled perfectly, this is straight out of martha 's playbook, i've got my different flours, all purpose, cake, bisquick, self-rising, there's fish, chicken, pork, boxed burgers, beef, ice, ice baby, breakfast, sausage and stew meat. i always had the idea homemade gifts were cheap. no. i started knitting this year and the scarves that i was making between time and the material, they're worth about $8,000 each. the dogs did well every holiday. i did poses with them in whatever holiday costumes they had.

>> as happy as the dogs were. did "the tao of martha " rub off on their owner? jen lancaster joins us. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> i'm so impressed by your refrigerato refrigerator.

>> thank you.

>> does it still look like that?

>> yes. i had roasts eight pounds that would fall and hit our feet and that was a big source of conflict between my husband and i that i kept hobbling him every time he wanted to get an ice cream .

>> the larger question why did you decide to take on martha stewart 's way of living for a year?

>> i had a bad 2011 not for any big reason just a thousand little things that went wrong and i wanted to go into 2012 with a plan, and i thought about doing a happiness project, something very oprah, but oprah is more about all your thoughts and your feels and i thought this isn't going to help me. i need somebody like a drill sergeant and who better than martha stewart .

>> martha is a tough customer and her projects every time she's here i have no idea what to do.

>> i started looking at her projects and all seem complicated. everything is broken down into steps that people can follow, and i never knew until i actually tried, so i was surprised at what i could accomplish.

>> how did your family react, what did your husband think when he saw you excessively glittering and labeling things.

>> my husband said this is the greatest thing that happened in the 18 years of our relationship that i could finally find things because he's ex-military man so he's very organized but too organized. we would organize our spice cabinet by countries of origin. i didn't know if oregano was mexican or italian so i did it alphabetically. it works really well.

>> it is a great idea. did you find this to be difficult in terms of, i guess keeping it going, because i could imagine doing one or two projects but to do this for a whole year.

>> i kept doing different projects and once i would accomplish something i would try something scary. the scariest thing for me is halloween. i've been terrified of halloween my entire adult life to the point we used to put garbage bags over the windows. this year i had to to. the house was decorated, i was in a costume, the puch kin pumpkins were glittered. we stat there with full sized candy bars and not one kid showed up at my house.

>> martha you love her so much. what do you think is her philosophy of life, you read every book and article. what is the takeaway?

>> the big takeaway is you have to try. you can't fail if you don't try and there were some things that went horribly awry but the things that didn't were shocking. it was shocking there are dishes that i can took now, so much more inexpensively at home than what i used to buy. it was shocking that i could create a scarf for somebody for christmas and have them actually like it and not say, wow, this looks immature. there were a lot of great aspects of the project.

>> final quick question, are you going to sustain it? are you going to live like martha forever?

>> i'm going to try. i spent the last five months writing two different books so a lot of things went by the wayside so when today came to film me, i still had to shove crap in to drawers.

>> so you remain human.

>> i remain human.

>> jen lancaster , "the tao of martha ." martha will be here tomorrow, she'll fill us in