Tuesday, January 20, 2015



Today is a very exciting day, full of happy news on the book front.  First and foremost, I want to let you know that for the first time EVER, one of my books has been made available digitally at a significant price reduction.  For one week only, beginning today, OUT TO LUNCH is available for only $2.99!  It tells the story of a woman who loses her best friend, and gains custody of her best friend's annoying husband.  There are fabulous recipes.  There are adorable dogs.  There is hilarity.

You can get it for your Kindle HERE

You can get it for your Nook HERE

I know that this book came out in December over a year ago, when your minds and budgets were all swirly full of holiday madness and expenses, so I'm really thrilled that my publisher is doing this special pricing for a week so that everyone can catch up.  If you didn't get a chance to get it yet, now you can!  If you read it and loved it?  I hope you will consider sending it as a gift to some of your besties...after all, for $2.99 it is cheaper than buying and mailing a card! And if you really love me?  Please help me spread the word on your social media sites, because this pricing will go back to normal levels on 1/27, and I want everyone who wants to read it to have a chance at this low price.

And to sweeten the deal, if you post about it on Facebook or Twitter, along with my Facebook author page LINK  or my Twitter handle @staceyballis   and you can win a copy of Big Delicious Life!  If your peeps retweet or share your post, they will be entered to win as well!  I'm giving away 5 copies, so you have many chances to win, and yes, if you do both Facebook and Twitter, that gives you two chances, so let's get the word out, you are eligible to win as long as your post goes live by 10:00 AM CST on 1/27/15, winners will be announced on 1/29.

This is really important. I need you to help me make this week a huge blowout...because the only way my publisher will ever make any of my books available to you at this price point again is if this promotion is a massive success!  And I want all of you to be able to read ALL of my books, and if this price makes that possible, that makes me enormously happy.  So I hope you will join me this week in getting the word out, so that hopefully there will be more special deals like this coming down the pike! Thank you, in advance, so very much for all of your support.

In other news, RECIPE FOR DISASTER is almost here!  It is available for pre-order, so if you happen to be over at Amazon or Barnes and Noble getting your copy of Out to Lunch, you might just want to pop over and check it out as well!  RECIPE FOR DISASTER is the story of a house flipper who loses her job, her fiance, and her home in one horrible day, and must rebuild her life while living in the half-finished ruin of her latest project, with her dead grandmother's schnauzer who hates her.  With fabulous recipes, of course.  I have to say, this one is really special to me, and I'm terribly proud of it, and I really think you are going to love it!

Stay tuned for some really fabulous house updates along with the winner announcement on 1/29, in the meantime, go forth and shout to the rooftops for me, and be sure to tag me or include my handle so that I can enter you to win!

Yours in Good Taste and Deep Gratitude,
The Polymath

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Tub!

Well, Chickens, it is 2015.  And despite what Back to the Future might have promised us, we are still missing our hovercars and rocket shoes and other key technological advancements.

Here at the Castle things are moving right along, mostly in ways that don't really make for sexy pictorials.  Vapor barrier installed in the wine cellar?  Check.  Ducting in for the Vinotemp wine cellar cooling system? Check. Massive new water heater installed and working?  You betcha.  Plumbing and electrical all roughed in?  Yep.  But mostly, it looks much the same down there as it did at the end of 2014.  Tomorrow the radiant heat floor gets officially connected in the basement, so that will be toasty, but not really visual.  And the electrician will do one final pass to put in the boxes for the bathroom sconces and ceiling fixture and then we wait for inspection.

Once inspection happens, then things can really start rolling along...closed cell spray foam insulation will go in, and then SHEET ROCK!  I never in a million years thought that the very idea of drywall would make me all tingly in my bits, but it totally does.  Because once there is drywall, there can be paint, and once there is paint there can be furnishings!  And really?  Aren't you tired of seeing pictures of construction and not of finished rooms that look warm and inviting and pretty?  Because I can tell you that I certainly am!  HGTV seems to think that overhauling a whole house can happen in about twelve minutes, but I am here to tell you that is very much not the case.  Now some of this is because when HGTV is PAYING for said construction, they can afford to have eleventy million workers stumbling over each other 17 hours a day seven days a week, but here in the real world, one has to pay as they go, and we are not in the "time and a half" business over here.

But the one thing that has changed in a way that I can actually show you might seem small, but is huge for me.

I might have mentioned before that I am a hot bath kind of girl.  Not for washing, that requires a shower with great water pressure.  For soaking.  For relaxing.  For reading a good book and sipping a hot cup of ginger honey tea (more on this later) or wine, for nibbling on a tangerine and luxuriating in steaming water.

Or I would be.  If my current tub did not look like this:

And lest you have a problem with judging scale, and imagine that this is actually one of those huge oval two-person soakers, let me be precise.  This is a 1978 corner tub.  The interior dimensions are 46 x 28 x 12.  This is the perfect tub in which to soak a child under the age of 3.  But I?  Am 63 inches long, and wide enough that I don't even want to tell you what happens when I try and take a bath in this hateful thing, but let's just say that there is suction involved.  And 12 inches deep does not qualify as soaking anything except a skillet, particularly when the stupid overflow valve has been installed as a mere EIGHT INCHES.  It's not a bathtub, its barely a puddle, and its very existence makes my brain want to explode in frustration.  Plus?  It is almond bisque.  Sort of a flesh colored taupe.  Shudder.

Wanna know what a tub should look like?


This?  Right here?  Is 72 inches long and 36 inches wide and 22 inches deep and it is IN MY BASEMENT RIGHT NOW.  Note that my contractors have put all kinds of signs on it saying not to step into it, because they know me and know that I would absolutely be curled up in there taking an imaginary bubble bath if they didn't warn me off. It doesn't have faucets yet, or proper support, and we are a good eight weeks from being able to take a bath in it, but it is there and beautiful and it makes me inordinately happy just to look at it.  Go on.  Scroll back up and look at it again.  I'll wait.


Some other fun bathroom fixtures have also arrived...

This is the sconce we will be using both over the vanity and in the tub nook.  All of our finishes in this bathroom will be in antique brass, because the hardware on the antique vanity we are repurposing for the vanity is brass, so we are going off of that.  There will also be a ceiling fixture over the tub:

Just a very simple brass drum.

Over the vanity, where we are doing one long trough sink with two sets of faucets for a his and hers look, we are hanging his and hers mirrors:

Also in antique brass, these are reproductions of a 1920s French design that has a 5 inch deep shelf with protective bar at the bottom, and since we will have limited counter space and didn't want to do medicine cabinets, this will provide much needed (and attractive) storage.

I'm really excited about how the bathroom is coming together, and very ready to see it all actually in place!

Finally, because it is winter and horrible cold and flu season, I want to share with you one of our new favorite items in the Arctic survival kit.  Ginger Honey Tea.  A recent trip to a local Asian market unearthed a jar of magic.  It looks like a cross between marmalade and ginger jam.  But one heaping teaspoon in a cup of hot water or blended into tea gives you the perfect hit of spicy ginger, soothing honey, and just enough sweetness without being cloying.  It has about 1/3 the sugar and calories per teaspoon versus straight honey, and the ginger is real julienned ginger root, which makes for a crunchy little chewy surprise at the bottom of your cup.  We are addicted, and strongly suggest you hit your nearest Asian market and pick some up.  They carry it on Amazon, but it is insanely expensive, more than three times what we paid for it at the store.

Here's to a new year and all the happy (and healthy) I hope it brings to us all!  More updates soon!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath