Stacey Ballis's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Stacey Ballis Why we love her: Her books are warm and witty-just like her!

Her latest: Off The Menu

The scoop on it: As the executive culinary assistant to celebrity Chicago chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes—and that’s just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick’s cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling.

Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana’s priorities shift, and Patrick—and Dumpling—find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table—one delicious dish at a time…

Our thoughts: We think it's a yummy treat that's perfect for the holiday!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday July 8th after Noon PST.

Fun Fact: Stacey lived in Kenya for three months and taught at a local secondary school.  So cool, right?

Read more about Stacey: her website, Facebook or Twitter


1. The buzz cut is not a good idea and if you do it you will spend all if high school in "growing out" phase.

2. Don't be afraid to like the people you like publicly, even if they aren't the coolest.  Especially if they aren't the coolest.  Doesn't matter if it is a crush on the odd duckling in the back of the room who always has the best insight during English class, or being friends with the kid who wears the piano key scarf every day but has a quiet wickedly dry sense of humor.  If you are drawn to someone who falls outside your usual sphere, trust your gut.  They will be the ones who most enrich your life, and stay with you for the long haul.  If your other friends give you crap, just remember that the most interesting and successful people in the world were rarely in the popular crowd in high school.  This lesson brought to you by me, and I learned it from John Hughes.  Never served me wrong.

3. People are who they are.  Don't jump into a romantic relationship with someone who has great potential and try to change them into what you want and need in a partner.  Be okay alone, and the right one will find you.  There will always be friends to fill the gap, hobbies to fill time.  You are the most important person you will ever be in a relationship with, and the more you love you and like being with you, the more you will attract people who are the right people.

4. Listen more than you speak.  Be the person who really hears the people they talk to, not the person who just waits for their turn to talk.  And make eye contact.

5. Tie dye.  Just, no.

Thanks Stacey!  xoxo, L&L