A Weekend of a Certain Age


Conversations I had this week:

Whether YouTube videos are ruining our children’s ability to carry on a normal conversation. (With Tara.)

Whether we owe a person in authority respect if we respect the office, but not the person. (With my parents and sister.)

Whether the Watergate/Vietnam years felt like this. (With Joe’s parents.)

Whether bungee jumping and shark cage diving are appropriate responses to existential angst. (With Tara. The answer is a hard NO. Tara disagrees with me, so I’ll be waving at her from the sidelines. Then, I assume, I’ll be driving her to the hospital.)

Whether saying no to a job is a good move if it means getting rest. (With my husband. He was right, but it killed me.)

What is a normal level of exhaustion, and what is psycho level, possibly going to be incarcerated level of exhaustion. (With myself. All the time.)

The indignity of getting older. (Every day, with every single one of my girlfriends.)

The badassery of no longer giving a fuck that we are getting older. (Every day, with every single one of my girlfriends.)

A whole lot of my conversations this week seemed to skirt around how to be a grown-up person in a scary world that is moving very quickly. Maybe it the general feeling of chaos surrounding us that is making me think about growing older, and who I want to be now, and in 10, 20, and 50 years. I’m quite in love with all of the women in this New York Times article about artists in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Just a nice reminder that there does not have to be an end to our creativity.

Lucky for us, reading extends your life. You and I already knew that, of course, but science is now starting to believe it. Which is awesome. Longer life = More time to read books.

It’s not here yet, but the day is coming when I stop caring about fashionable clothes and start wearing caftans. (My mom and her friends used to call them muu-muus.) They don’t have to be frumpy old lady caftans. Check out what Oh Joy does with thrifted caftans. Dare I say – they actually look cool.

Did you watch the reboot of Will and Grace? I am sooooo happy it’s back on, and I thought the first episode was great. This coffee scene will always be my favorite moment in the original series. Needless to say, I watch it mostly for Karen Walker quotes. Of course. But I can’t help but marvel at how not shocking it is today. What a world.

I hope you have a most excellent weekend with good books, comfy clothes, a good laugh, and maybe a little splash of vodka in your La Croix.


PS – Your weekend laugh:



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We Got the Beat


Hey now, Homeslice, what are you up to this weekend? It looks like I am going to have Sunday off – as in a whole entire DAY. Remember when I used to take Sundays off? No, neither do I. I’m determined to do it this weekend. It’s been ages since I’ve made the Rosemary Gimlet in that post; it’s time to break out the gin and enjoy the first weekend of fall.

Fun fact: my oldest son, the Vegan Hipster, got a record player for his birthday a few years ago. But he almost never uses it. It’s become our favorite way to entertain – have friends over, drink some cocktails, and pull out our old records. We are having our favorite neighbors over on Saturday, and we will probably spend the evening debating the best albums and one hit wonders and comparing favorite concerts and horrible concerts. My concert picks? Favorite: Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Coliseum, The Jacksons at Dodger Stadium, and Elvis Costello by himself with a guitar in a tiny old theater in San Diego. Least Favorite: when I was in high school I saw Joe Jackson and  I left in the middle of the concert because he called a woman in the audience the C-word. At 17 years old it was the most appalling thing I’d ever heard. My ears are much more jaded nowadays, but I still hate that word. Not to mention that if you call someone who paid cash money to see you a word like that, you are a douche. My other worst concert was when I took my daughter to see One Direction at the Rose Bowl a few years ago and nearly had a nervous breakdown because of the screaming. OH. My. Lord.

Do you have a favorite album cover? I’ve always loved Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” cover, and also The Police “Synchronicty.” What do you think of this roundup of the best album covers? Maybe I don’t understand the art form too well, because I don’t think I’d choose any of them. Where is Bruce Springsteen? If you’re in the mood for the opposite, this collection of horrible album covers is a fun scroll. Hey, nobody gets it right every time.

What do you think of Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Albums of All Time? Agree/Disagree? I guess #1 was inevitable, but to be honest I like #3 better. As for our listening pleasure this weekend, I will throw down some predictions right now: Husband will make us sit through a lesser Queen album. Denise and Pete just went to Ohana Fest, so I bet you anything she’s going to force some Eddie Vedder on us. And Pete will go melancholy with some Ray LaMontagne. Then I’ll have to lighten the mood, so I will spin some Go-Go’s or Wham. Which they will all pretend to hate and accuse me of being shallow, but if I peek over at them, for sure they will be bobbing their heads along. I’m sneaky. You shouldn’t forget that about me.

You can have my credit card baby, but keep your red fingers off of my heart, Lady.

Have a great weekend, lovelies,



PS – For giggles. The jazz one, especially!

anatomy of a song


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Reading People

Have you ever looked at Awesome People Reading? Do yourself a favor and go check it out. Why is it so fascinating to look at people reading? Because we read to know we are not alone.

I like to think this is not even a costume John Cleese is wearing. Just maybe how he reads the paper every morning.



Tom Waits reads. And you can piss off.



Before she was a Dame, her formal title was Badass Judi Dench.



I can’t really explain why I think this photo of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Lange reading is so damn sexy. But man, it is So. Damn. Sexy.



Speaking of sexy, Pam Grier reads. And fuck you for interrupting her.

Pam Grier


Lenny Kravitz.

I’m sorry but what were we talking about? I just blacked out for a second.



Coco Chanel. I can’t even stand the levels of cool here. The pearls…



This is my all time favorite picture of a celebrity reading. If I had ever seen David Bowie reading in an airport, I would have sat perfectly still, the way you act when you see a deer in the wild. I would have studied his face, and tried to figure out what book he was reading, and paid attention to how fast he turned the pages. I’m sure he was the type of person who stopped to think about the good parts, and then he stared out the window to roll the words around in his head for a minute before he looked back down to continue.



This is me in 2007, reading the last Harry Potter book. I had taken my oldest son to the bookstore for the midnight release party, then stayed up half the night reading it. The next day we left for a family vacation to San Diego, and I kept sneaking away to read when I should have been taking care of my children. Which sounds like terrible parenting, except that every time I was taking care of the kids, my husband snuck away to read the book.

 This is the only known photo of me in my natural habitat.

San Clemente 009



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Secrets of In & Out

In N Out

Ugh I’ve been eating healthy for like a month now and it’s ANNOYING. I want to go out for burgers – who’s with me?

In case you don’t have an In N Out Burger near you, or you don’t know what they are, I am here to educate you. In N Out makes the only decent fast food in America. They have a famously simple, unchanging menu. (Burgers, fries, shake. The end. Go away, chicken nuggets.) They put Bible verses on their wrappers. Each location has a pair of crossed palm trees out front, in case you don’t recognize the iconic red and white branding.

Fun fact: I put a reference to In & Out Burger in my first book, and my editor put the following comment in his notes: Five Guys is better.

I fired him immediately.

Kidding – he’s a really good editor. I would never fire him because he’s smarter than me, even though he has crap taste in burgers. The rest of America evidently agrees with my editor, but the rest of America is wrong, too. Julia Child was a fan, and kept a list of locations on her at all times, in case of emergency. Why would anyone argue with Julia?

There are a lot of copycat recipes for In N Out food on the interwebs, but that defeats the purpose, don’t you think? The point of going out for burgers is going out. The only one I think looks sorta good is this copycat sauce recipe. Which is essentially Thousand Island dressing, right?

They used to have a secret menu, but it’s really not a secret anymore. Basically, it’s just a way to customize their very limited items, but you will be amazed how many variations there are.

This is a fun list of what some famous chefs like to order there. Not one of them orders their burger the way I like mine: mustard grilled cheeseburger, protein style, with grilled onion and no sauce. I know, I’m the absolute worst. I’m like that idiot at Starbucks who orders a coffee with 47 modifications. But my order is fairly low-carb/low guilt and still tastes good. Then I usually just sneak a few of my kids’ fries. If you do order fries, they are best ordered well-done, and you have to add salt. Even my vegan son still eats at In N Out. He gets a vegetarian burger (which is just lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions on a bun) and fries with tomatoes, peppers, and grilled onions. See? They make everyone happy.

Are you hungry for a burger now? What’s your go-to order? Wherever you are getting your junk food this weekend, I hope you have a good one!






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Books With The F Word

F Word

Recently, my husband asked me why I have so many books with the F word in the title. I didn’t really have an answer. Because they are funny? Because they are good books? Because I love a good curse word?

Fair warning: if you don’t like cursing, just stop reading right now. This post is not for you. I love cursing, and do it a lot. But even I get that this post is excessive. I’ll catch you back here on Saturday for some fun links, and you have yourself a nice day.

For the rest of you filthy animals: Today I have a roundup of books with curse words in the title. Because let’s face it. Sometimes you just need a good F Bomb.

Title: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck

Author: Sarah Knight 

Synopsis: Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? It’s time to stop giving a fuck.

This brilliant, hilarious, and practical parody of Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt–and give your fucks instead to people and things that make you happy. The easy-to-use, two-step NotSorry Method for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a fuck about: 

  • Family drama
  • Having a “bikini body”
  • Iceland
  • Co-workers’ opinions, pets, and children
  • And other bullshit!
  • And it will free you to spend your time, energy, and money on the things that really matter. So what are you waiting for? Stop giving a fuck and start living your best life today!


This book is meant to be a parody of that other Life Changing Magic book. I have to be honest, I think the tidying up book is 90% lunacy. Yes, I started folding my shirts differently, and yes, I like her point about doing all of one thing rather than room by room. Also, I do like the notion of only keeping things that ‘spark joy,’ but I am not going to thank my shoes for carrying me around every day. (That’s the 90% loony part of the book.) And if you want a good book about only surrounding yourself with the things you love, I recommend any of Nate Berkus’ home design books. He says the same thing, except with beautiful pictures.

Anyway, “Not Giving a Fuck” is based on the premise that wasting your time on unimportant things (like, for example, how your t-shirts are folded) will free up your time so you can care very, very deeply about important things. Like, for example, why your neighbor can’t paint her house a normal shade of beige like everyone else. (That was a joke. Calm down. I don’t give a fuck about my neighbor’s house paint. I do give a fuck if my neighbor is a Nazi. See? The book is already working.) Knight breaks it down when you should and should not give a fuck, including at work, with your family, friends and acquaintances, and possessions. Giving a fuck translates into giving your time, energy or money. Once you have decided you don’t want to give those things anymore, you just … don’t. It’s magical.

This is advice we all should know, but often don’t, especially in the era of social media when people are screaming at us all the time to care deeply about stupid things like Unicorn Frappacinos and celebrity Twitter feuds. If we all decided what not to care about – and then really, genuinely stop caring – we’d be a lot better off.

 Favorite quote: Knight’s list of the top ten things about which she, personally, does not give a fuck about include: having a bikini body, basketball, calculus, and Google Plus. I also don’t give a fuck about those things. Also, this line: “I cannot overstate the value, to me, of never having another conversation about or eating yogurt ever again.”

 Other Books by this Author: Get Your Shit Together, You Do You, How to Not Give a Fuck at Christmas


Title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Author: Mark Manson

 Synopsis: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “Fuck positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is fucked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

 Review: I underlined something on almost every page of this book, and I’ve given copies to several friends. With chapter titles like ‘Don’t Try,’ ‘Happiness is a Problem,’ and ‘You Are Not Special,’ you might think this is aggressive, alpha-male bullying behavior. But there is a real depth to this book. Manson gives considerate thought to life, death, and what it all means, and encourages thinking about what really grounds your life. “The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself,” he writes, “to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you.” I particularly liked the chapter called ‘The Value of Suffering,’ because he covers ‘Defining Good and Bad Values.’ (“Good, healthy values are achieved internally … Bad values are generally reliant on external events — flying in a private jet, being told you’re right all the time, owning a house in the Bahamas, eating a cannoli while getting blown by three strippers.”) Like Knight’s book, this one encourages us to stop caring so much about what doesn’t matter and make what does matter a priority of our life.

Favorite Quote: “Because when you give too many fucks — when you give a fuck about everyone and everything — you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the fucking way you want it to be. This is a sickness. And it will eat you alive … You will be confined to your own petty, skull-sized hell, burning with entitlement and bluster, … in constant motion yet arriving nowhere.”

Other Books by this Author: Models: Attract Women Through Honesty


Title: Unfuck Yourself

Author: Gary John Bishop

Synopsis: Are you tired of feeling fucked up? If you are, Gary John Bishop has the answer. In this straightforward handbook, he gives you the tools and advice you need to demolish the slag weighing you down and become the truly unfucked version of yourself. ”Wake up to the miracle you are,” he directs. ”Here’s what you’ve forgotten: You’re a fucking miracle of being.” It isn’t other people that are standing in your way, it isn’t even your circumstances that are blocking your ability to thrive, it’s you and the negative self-talk you keep telling yourself.

Bishop leads you through a series of seven assertions:
I am willing.
I am wired to win.
I got this.
I embrace the uncertainty.
I am not my thoughts; I am what I do.
I am relentless.
I expect nothing and accept everything.

Review: This is a much more head-based book, a little bit more woo-woo than the others. By that I mean Bishop is very clear that we all have the life we have accepted. Change is about mindset. Once we stop saying “Someday I’m going to…” and we start saying, “I am…,” everything is different. How we see the world and how we see ourselves in the world changes the second we reframe our thoughts. I like this book because it is no-nonsense and puts the responsibility right where it belongs – on me. I especially like the chapter called ‘Relentless’ about sticking with the things we want. Progress – in business, health, job, family – is happening, even if we don’t see it. “You don’t have to feel like today is your day,” he writes, “You just have to act like it is.”

 Favorite Quote: “When you stop searching for certainty, when you quit trying to make sense of everything, a lot of your stress will simply melt away. There really is nothing to figure out. If you took the time to be with what I’m saying, you’d realize that what causes most of your worry is trying to predict the future and then refusing to accept things when they don’t are aren’t going to go your way.”

Title: Fuck Off, I’m Coloring

Author: Dare You Stamp, Co.

Synopsis: With daily stresses like annoying coworkers, red-faced bosses, endless traffic, and whatever shit you have going on at home, sometimes all you need to tell everyone to “fuck off.” Now you can say it in color! Relieve some stress with easy and beautiful art—that also happens to feature your favorite profanities. Feel the “zen” wash over you as you color in or outside the lines however you damn well please. Take your defiance up a notch with more complex patterns, or take the easy route when you unwind. Do whatever the fuck you want. 

Review: In general, I think coloring books are dumb. But there is something enormously satisfying about coloring a pretty picture with the words “I don’t give a shit” emblazoned across the flowers. I’ve managed to smile through several phone conferences while coloring in rude words in this book.

Favorite Quote: “I deserve better.”

Other Books by this Author: Bite Me, I’m Coloring


And, just for kicks, here are some other books with cussin’ in the titles:

Fuck Love by Tarryn Fisher

FU Cancer by Hilaria Alexander – I have read this one and it is awesome, like all of Hilaria’s romances.

Wonder Fuck: A Bad Boy Romantic Comedy by Maggie Marr (Bonus: I know Maggie personally, and she is crazy smart and so, so funny. Her books are AWESOME)

Fuck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems, by Sarah Bennet

Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes (I have given this book away to several pregnant moms. Bonus: the audio version is recorded by Samuel L. Jackson, which is just perfection.) Since this book was such a hit, there are a whole lot of children’s books with curse words in the title, including Fuck You Sun, You Have to Fucking Eat, If You Give Mommy a Glass of Wine, and Nobody Likes a Cockblock. Hey, I’m not saying you should cuss in front of your kids. I’m just acknowledging that sometimes you might want to.

What the Fuck Should I Make For Dinner? The Answer to Life’s Every Day Question in 50 Fucking Recipes by Zach Golden Related: What the Fuck Should I Drink? By Zack Golden

Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a Fuck (My sister has this cookbook and looooves it.) Related: Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as Fuck and Thug Kitchen Party Grub for Social Motherfuckers

Have I missed any? What are your favorite books with curse words in the title?

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Harry Potter Days



Welcome to the scariest fall in the history of forever. And by scariest I mean I barely got used to summer and now school started and I need a nap. I don’t have too much to show for summer, except my kids are alive and happy and I grew a lot of tomatoes. We had a big Summer Bucket List (Beach bonfire! Make a pie!) and almost none of it happened, yet we were busy every single minute of the summer. Sometimes the bucket list is just a way to get to other ideas.

We do like to have a Harry Potter Marathon in the summer. The goal is to watch a movie every night and cook some Harry Potter food for dinner. We started in late July, and we are still not finished because — well, I don’t know why. We went to the beach? Invited the neighbors over to drink rosé? We are still working through the movies, even though school’s back in session. I never get tired of Harry Potter.

I read the series to each of my kids when they were young, but my youngest is reading the series on his own now, and it’s cool to watch him lose his mind every time he comes across a clue or a foreshadowing of the end of the books. Ohhh my gosh, Mom, Hagrid brought Harry to the Dursley’s on Sirius’ motorcycle!  Fun Fact: My eldest daughter read the entire series seven times in a row when she was in 2nd grade. She would literally close book seven, reach for book one, and start over again. It was looney but also like looking in a time machine mirror.

We have the set of the HP books in hardcover, but they are all trashed and shredded after years of re-reading. I had to replace book 4, because all the pages fell out. (Is Goblet of Fire the most popular one? Half Blood Prince is my favorite.) Do you get crazy when books are abused? I don’t mind at all – worn out books are a thing of beauty. But I’ve been collecting this illustrated series, and I’m much more precious with them, because they are so special.

OK so you’ve probably already guessed that I’m in a Harry Potter mood, and I’m going to hit you up with a bunch of related links. My kids have taken the Hogwart’s Express back to school and I’m busy stirring up potions in my cauldron. (None of that is true, I was just trying to be cute and continue on the theme of witchcraft.)

The darling and wonderful Emma Watson is a big reader, and this is a fun list of books she has recommended. My girls think she is the ultimate example of womanhood, and I have to say, based on her reading choices I sort of agree.

The Strauss Haus divides up pretty evenly: two Gryffindors, two Ravenclaws, and two Hufflepuffs. Why are people so rude about Hufflepuffs? My Hufflepuffs are by far the nicest people in our family. No Slytherins, but sometimes I catch my oldest kid giving me the side eye and I’m pretty sure he talks to snakes. I’m keeping an eye on him. Anyway, this is a great list of books to read based on your Hogwarts House. I put all of these books on my library list even though I’m a Ravenclaw (I mean. Duh.)

For the kiddos, this is a great list of books for younger readers who loved HP but are looking for something new. My kids have worked their way through several of the books mentioned here, and it’s nice to have this list when they are looking for something new.

And for the YA fans, here is a list of books released in 2017 that the HP fan might like. Harry Potter books are the gateway drug to hard literature.

The best cure for overworked exhaustion is always to invent travel itineraries. I am totally obsessed with this Harry Potter travel guide. Most of the sights on this list are in England, and I would not mind a trip right about now. I could visit the Royal Family! I’ve been to the Wizarding World at Universal Studios (hate the park. So. Many. People. But, love the Harry Potter stuff.) And I’m sorry to tell you that the delightful shop called Whimsic Alley in Los Angeles is now closed, which is a real shame, because that was where we brought all of our visiting nerd friends.

Do you have any Harry Potter links? Share them if you do! Enjoy the magic and I’ll catch ya soon,



PS – Your weekend giggle:



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Mojito Summer

Mojito Rum

The kids are off school, the weather is warm, and I’ve lost my will to live. That means it’s summer time in California. I’m going to do a summer movie roundup for you soon but for now, let’s talk about the cocktails of summer. What cocktails do you like to drink in the hot months? The classic G&T is the One True Cocktail to Rule Them All, as I’ve said before. (Hendrick’s gin, Feverfew tonic, a sprig of rosemary. Trust. Me.) 

That gauntlet thrown down, I realize not everyone loves a cocktail that is as bitter as my soul. I’m generally not a fan of rum drinks because they are usually so damn sweet, but I have collected a whole lot of Mojito recipes over the years, and I think it’s time to branch out and try a few of them this summer. 2017, the year of the Mojito. Why not? Do you know how to make a classic mojito? The basic recipe is pretty easy: Mint, lime, white rum, sugar, and club soda. (I leave the sugar out of mine.) Of course, it’s endlessly mess-withable. Here is a roundup of some of the best looking mojitos I found on the interwebs.

Grapefruit Mint Mojito I have a grapefruit tree AND a mint plant in my backyard. Coincidence? I think not.

Ginger Peach Mojito This recipe is for a mocktail. But add rum to mine, thankyouverymuch.

Orange Basil Mojito For sure I would cut back the amount of simple syrup in this, because I think it would be sweet enough with the orange juice. Also: orange tree and tons of basil in my back yard. Just sayin’.

This Cranberry Mojito is listed as a holiday drink, which is dumb because holidays are for red wine. Nonetheless I realize it might be tough to find cranberries in the summer. Too bad, as this looks quite refreshing. You could always use the bottled cranberry juice if you want this now.

Strawberry Basil Mojito Easy peasy. If you aren’t down with the basil, use mint instead. Strawberry AND basil AND mint in my yard. Are we seeing a theme here? The theme is Gardening Is Good For You.

Watermelon Mojito I’m sure it’s delicious. Looks boring though, right? Get some fancy straws or something.

Lavender Blueberry Mojito Yes, this is just sophisticated Kool-Aid but I don’t care. I want a purple drank.

The thought of coconut rum kind of freaks me out a little bit (does it taste like Coppertone? More importantly, why do I know what Coppertone tastes like?) but I prolly wouldn’t turn down these Frosty Coconut Mojitos.

This Kiwi Blueberry Mojito looks more like a fruit salad than a cocktail. So, you know. It’s health food. But I’m not down with that blue stuff around the edge of the glass. I’m a grown ass lady. Please do not put Pop Rocks on my cocktail kthanksbye.

I love the looks of this Inside Out Mojito but I am never going to make mint infused ice cubes. You all know that about me. Never. Ever.

If you want your Mojito in dessert form, like for example if you are pregnant or you don’t homeschool four children and therefore you don’t need alcohol in your life, I offer you the following mojito themed desserts:

I’ve cooked a few different recipes from the Broma Bakery website and they are always delicious. I’m sure these Mojito Cupcakes will not disappoint.

Not gonna turn down this Mojito Pie (even though it is not a pie, come on.) Bonus: this is a no bake recipe.

No Churn Mojito Ice Cream Drizzle some rum over that scoop of ice cream and I think we have a winner.

Citrus Basil Mojito Popsicles look fun. Not sure if they’d freeze if you add the optional rum though.

Your turn friends – what is your favorite iteration of a mojito?

Happy almost summer! Don’t drink and drive. Also don’t drink and text, drink and shop, or drink and get a haircut. It’s all dangerous.



PS – Your weekend giggle:



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