Stress Relief

by Susan Boyer
My mission for today was to introduce myself to y’all, tell you a little about me and so forth. You’ve probably figured out at least one salient point–I’m a Southern girl. The “y’all” likely gave that away.

Also, clearly I’m a book lover. You have to be to write them, right? If I’m not being transported to someone else’s world via novel, I’m playing with my imaginary friends and creating my own. Beyond those two things, I struggled with what to share—how to tell y’all all about me without telling you my life story, which might alternately sedate and dismay you. I settled on telling you how I handle stress. You can tell plenty about a person by her coping mechanisms.

Here’s a great way to relax when you’re in that moment just before running through the streets of your hometown wearing nothing but your mamma’s pearls, a wide-brimmed hat, and argyle socks, with a bullhorn, ranting about the senseless slaughter of artichokes for party dip, announcing the arrival of the Mother Ship, or howling that the Christmas trees won’t fit in the bathroom. I am so there—or I was, yesterday. This helped. It will help you, too, when you’re on the brink, I promise.

Go into the bathroom. Turn off all the lights and light a few candles. Okay, maybe light the candles first. Start your bath, running the water a little warmer than you normally might. Pour in half a bottle of your favorite bubble bath–lavender scented is great for this. Some Lancôme Aroma Calm bath oil is also nice. Throw in a fizz ball. The more products you put in the tub, the better. Get the champagne bucket and start a bottle chilling by the side of the tub. Now, I have a reputation with certain parties—read The Husband—of ALWAYS preferring the most expensive of everything. He swears I can spot the highest priced anything at fifty paces. This is blatant mischaracterization, naturally. But I am particular and can spot quality. I digress.

My reputation notwithstanding, while I’ve had pricey French champagne which I enjoyed, Korbel Brut from California (yes, I know technically it’s not Champagne) is my personal favorite. This is an anomaly, as it usually goes for around nine bucks a bottle at Costco.

If you’ve already had more than two glasses of wine, use Pellegrino instead of Korbel. Crank up iTunes and make yourself a playlist of twenty songs that appeal. Resist the urge to fret over which songs to pick. Don’t sit there and try to make the perfect Bathtub Playlist, and don’t choose more than twenty. Remember, your bath water is running. Transfer the new playlist to your iPod shuffle. The shuffle is best for bathtub use, as it’s easily clipped to your bath pillow. If you don’t have a bath pillow, roll up a towel and clip the shuffle to it. Lock the bathroom door and climb into the water. Pour yourself a glass of bubbly, pop the earphones in, and turn on the iPod and the jets. Your bath additives, activated by the jets, will soon make mountains of bubbles, beyond which you cannot see. Close your eyes and sip the icy bubbly. When you start to feel too warm, hold your champagne flute over your face and turn it upside down, dousing your face, neck, and chest. Pour another glass.
Periodically peek at the mountain of bubbles. Just before they spill out into the floor, pull the plug on the tub. When the water level drops enough, turn on the cold water. This will keep the bubbles at a safe level. Continue alternately sipping the champagne and pouring it on yourself until you feel human again. After you get out of the tub, blow out the candles and go straight to bed. Sleep until you feel like getting up.

Disclaimer: Please do not try this at home if you cannot do it without drowning, scalding yourself, or experiencing an irreversible past-life regression.

LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD frontLowcountry Boneyard
3rd in Series





Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes. But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk. Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

About This Author

Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives.  You’ll find all of the above in her novels. Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

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