Beth Harbison's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Beth Harbison Why we love her: We love her plots, her characters, her book covers... We just love on her, K?

Her latest: When In Doubt, Add Butter (July 17)

The scoop on it: As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

Our thoughts: We are suckers for a great story about the search for true love.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 22 after 3PM PST.

Fun Fact: Beth's daughter, Paige Harbison is also an author!

Where you can read more about Beth: Facebook, Twitter and her website.


1. Invent the iPod.  Not the first click wheel one, skip straight to the iPod Touch and reap the rewards of essentially having invented the iPhone at the same time.  Or think of another way to earn money, because financial independence will buy you a lot of peace of mind in your life.  You never, ever want to be dependent on anyone else for anything...and you especially don’t want to be dependent on anyone else for everything.

2. Don’t do things you know are wrong. Even from a young age, lingering regret is possible.  Your parents can’t save you from bad decisions.  No one can.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And don’t drink and drive.  Had I done the former more often I’d be happier today and had several people I know done the latter, they’d still be alive.

3. Don’t Imagine You Can Save/Tame/Rescue Someone Else.  That’s not you being altruistic, that’s you being a control monkey.  If you find yourself spending a lot of emotional cash trying to fix someone else, ask yourself if you’re doing it for them or if you’re doing it for some sense of accomplishment for yourself.  Then, no matter what your answer, tell yourself to shut up and live the best life you can and let others take care of themselves!

4. Remember What Makes You Happy.  It’s not always possible to “follow your passion” or “do what you love” for a living, especially right off the bat when you’re starting your adult life.  If you’ve always love ventriloquism or - shudder - clowning, that alone is not a guarantee that you’ll make your fortune at it.  But there is no greater treasure than having private hobbies that reliably give you pleasure even when the rest of the world lets you down.  For me this was always reading.  Or writing.  Or painting a room (which I invariably do badly but enjoy nevertheless), or completing some other crafty project (ditto on the sloppiness).  If your Friday Night Date(less) Frenzy can be quelled by a few hours with a good book, you are far less likely to make foolish mistakes in the name of desperation.

5. Do What Makes You Happy.  It isn’t enough to know or remember what makes you happy, you have to do the thing.  Too often, especially as we get older, we hold off pleasure as a “prize” for after we achieve drudgery.  Well, a life of drudgery doesn’t have a lot of room or motivation for pleasure.  Balance your “musts” with your “wants” and if you run out of “wants” don’t feel guilty about finding more!  A truly great life is made of many small happy moments, snapshots along the way, not just big, rare masterpiece moments and prizes.

Thanks, Beth! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa