A Cool Mona Recipe: Rosemary Lemonade (With Tequila!)

don't forget the tequila

don’t forget the tequila

Helloooo Spring. This drink contains a favorite spring herb in a more unusual way. It’s a tall glass of lemonade gently (or not) spiked with tequila. The rosemary flavoring comes from ice cubes with leaves of the herb frozen inside. Great idea to keep these cubes made up and stored in zip-locks in the freezer. They’re perfect for many of the springtime drinks.


  • Yield: 1 Cocktail
  1. Place rosemary ice in highball glass.
  2. Add tequila and top with lemonade.
  3. Stir.
  4. Garnish with rosemary sprig and lemon wheel.

Rosemary – Infused Ice Cubes

  • 3 cups water
  • 6 organic rosemary sprigs
  1. Pinch 12 to 15 tips from rosemary sprigs. Set aside.
  2. Bring water to simmer.
  3. Add rosemary sprigs to heated water.
  4. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Strain into heatproof container. Allow to cool.
  6. After rosemary water has cooled, pour rosemary water into ice tray.
  7. Add rosemary tips to individual ice cubicles. Place in freezer.
  8. Call me. I can bring my own glass.

Cool Mona Note: Great idea to keep these cubes made up and stored in zip-locks in the freezer. They’re perfect for many of the springtime drinks.

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Wall Street Journal Luminary, Miranda July, Defines Courage

miranda july

miranda july

For the month of February, The Wall Street Journal asks 6 luminaries to weigh in on the topic of courage. Miranda July is an artist who recently released her debut novel, The First Bad Man. Read my review down at the bottom.

“You read in the newspaper about something unendurable that’s happened and you think, I don’t know how people are surviving that. But the truth is—and you know this if you’ve been in a really hard situation—you don’t have a choice. Those people are just like you. They just don’t have a choice. You don’t just suddenly become a saint, filled with courage because fate has dealt this hand to you. It’s more like, what are you going to do? You have to be strong; you have no options. In my relationship with my husband, I’m pretty good in emergencies. I think the reason for that is in my household growing up we were kind of in a state of emergency all the time. So when something’s actually happening, I almost relax. I admire my husband because he has a kind of daily courage, an ability not to get bogged down in all the anxieties and depressions that can come up in a day. To me, that seems so brave.”

Cool Mona Note:  Read my review here.   http://www.coolmona.com/?p=9001

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A Cool Mona Book Review: The First Bad Man

Marg_4 icon

The First Bad Man, Miranda July’s debut novel, published 2015. Sexual and quirky. Intimate and lonely. Street art with words.

You won’t meet another like Cheryl Glickman. She continues to look for a baby she spiritually connected with when she was 9. She stares into babies’ eyes to ask if it is him. She believes in her own personal romances that carry over from other centuries. Her work is with a production company for self-defense DVDs. (Think repurposed dojo.) A colleague waits for her permission before having under- age sex. 100 mail-delivered snails crawl all over Cheryl’s house. She has low expectations.

Character development is ripe. Clee is the troublesome 20 year-old daughter of Cheryl’s bosses, complete with foot fungus (which hits 2 seconds after passing by) and a perverse sexual appetite. She has “a blond, tan largeness of scale” and terrible manners.

The homeless and unpaid gardener appears punctually each Tuesday. She inherited him from the previous owners. Her therapist is an admin to her doctor 3 days a year, part of their role-playing game.

Despite the intense quirkiness and raging sexual fantasies, this is a great American love story for our time. And because the author describes it in deliberately grotesque, even repellent terms, you have to either overlook it or accept it as an artist’s attempt to create a confused picture.

July’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s and The Paris Review. She created “Learning To Love You More”, a web-based pop culture project that offers a refreshing take on how people think, act and love. Also, she wrote, directed and starred in The Future and Me and You and Everyone We Know – winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a special jury prize at Sundance.

In the Cool Mona rating system, I give it 4 margaritas.

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Cool Mona Q & A – When Is Enough Enough?

Cool Mona Q&A

Question: Dear Mona, My spouse and I attended an anniversary party recently where one of the guests was really obnoxious. My mother was with us and I was embarrassed at his language. The hosts heard every word of it and said/did nothing. My spouse just sat there as well. I don't want to seem rude at someone's party, but just exactly when is enough enough? I am seething over this. My friends told me to write to you. Thanks, Disturbed in Michigan


Dear Michigan,

Enough is enough when YOU say it’s enough. Your barometer is your own and if you feel that your dear, sweet mother finds present company unpleasant, you could do one/some of the following:

Invite her to step outside and get fresh air.

Ask her to join you in the kitchen (or another room) away from the maddening crowd.

Tell your host that your mother is feeling ill and you’ll have to take her home. (Clue your spouse in as well, he may need a ride later.)

Meet your host’s eyes and raise your eyebrows. (She may actually saunter over to Bad Boy and tell him this is a PG crowd.)

And so the next time you’re invited to your friend’s party, ask her if BB will also be in attendance, as it wasn’t a good mix for you. Life is too short to feel overly angry, resentful or embarrassed over someone else’s behavior. It’s your life and you have the reins but try not to throw a stink bomb as you ride in to save the women and children. There are many ways to sidestep poop.





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Stop Playing Small And Manifest Your True Self

the homeless meter in miami beach

the homeless meter in miami beach

For all you naysayers on the topic of politicians, this was written by NJ Senator Cory Booker and posted to his FB page yesterday. Thanks to my friend, Judy, for pointing it out to me.

You were not born to be average, normal or typical

You were not born a carbon copy.

You were born unique, born to excel, born to manifest the glory of the universe with your authentic spirit.

You are not weak.

You are stronger than you imagine, wiser than you know, and have vast powers that you have yet to actualize.

Stop playing small.

Be YOU. Tell your truth – now, today, this very moment.

Manifest your true self – not a poor reflection of your circumstance.

Don’t walk through this world unconscious of your greatness, sleep walking, surrendering your light to the bland grey around you.

You were born to be brilliant,

To be light,

To be fire.

To illuminate.

Infuse your best self into this moment, into your choices, into your deeds, into the habits you create.

Always choose greatness, honor, love, kindness.

Be conscious about all your choices.

Choose your body through conscious consumption,

Choose your attitude, through conscious thought

Choose your destiny by being present right now – for remember: Mindful moments multiplied, totally transform tomorrows

Today choose integrity, choose discipline, choose joy, choose joy, choose joy.

Rejoice in your blessings AND, importantly, know that EVERYTHING is a blessing.

And your blessings are rich soil.

So choose to grow into the boldest, proudest, most glorious version of YOU.

You were born for this.


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A Cool Mona Masterpiece: Stunning Photos Of Atypical Models In Honey

man in honeyModern art is all about exploring and that’s exactly what photographer Blake Little did when he dumped gallons of honey over the heads of models.

He was literally photographing a bear when he decided to try out a few tongue-in-cheek ideas. Little began by  covering a friend with honey and then moved to Craigslist and modeling agencies for others. The subjects are typical and atypical models: some beautiful, some shocking, some just plain artistic.

The Los Angeles-based artist began in 2012, finishing in mid – 2014 and calling the project “Preservation”. He describes the outcome as a simple celebration of form. “When I normally take portraits, the person’s connection and their eyes are the most important part of the photograph, how they connect to the camera,” Little said. “So with the honey their eyes are shut so the physicality of being covered in honey and the physical experience replaces the emotion of the eyes. People react differently to the experience and that creates the emotion of the picture.”

Check out these incredible pieces here.  http://bit.ly/1AlbAFC


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8 Reasons Never To Give Up On Your Dreams

be still and you'll hear life calling to you

be still and you’ll hear life calling to you

Such beautiful words from Sue Monk Kidd. They touched me and I bet they’ll touch you.

Never underestimate the power of a dismissed dream. I think there must be a place inside of us where dreams go and wait their turn.

Just to be is holy. Just to live is a gift. I know that for sure.

We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough. This place is enough. I am enough.

Sometimes these moments of awakening or knowing can come to us when we least expect it.

We can be a seeker and a finder at the same time.

There is no place so awake and alive as the edge of becoming.

When I write, I pray. Prayer is the attention of the heart.

The soul often speaks through longing.

Cool Mona Note: Are you familiar with Cool Mona’s 3 Daily Actions? http://bit.ly/1FRWET1  On the days that I write, thanks to Ms. Kidd, I now know that I’ve completed my Spiritual Task.


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A Cool Mona Recipe: Tequila Thyme Lemonade

sip slowly while reading cool mona

sip slowly while reading cool mona

Here’s one that’s a little different from Martha Stewart Living, March 2011. All kinds of cocktails perk up when herbs are added to the mix. The key to extracting the herbs’ flavors and fragrant oils is muddling — done with a traditional bar tool (that’s similar to a mortar and pestle but gentler on delicate leaves) or the end of a wooden spoon. A pretty and light offering at a spring party.


  •           3 thyme sprigs
  •           1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  •           2 lemon wedges
  •           3 ounces silver tequila  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H6amDbAwlY
  •           1 ounce cold water
  •           Ice



  1. Muddle thyme sprigs with superfine sugar and lemon wedges in a glass. Add silver tequila, cold water, and ice. Stir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RCenpcN3EM


Cool Mona Note: Have you tried a Tequila Sangriahttp://www.coolmona.com/?p=8005

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3 Ways To Recharge When You’re Burned Out

me in a previous life

me in a previous life

Dr. Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly and all – around just great inspirational writer and speaker,  shares what her own burn-out looks like. Which is helpful, because then I know what it may look like on me.

Normally, I’m a hopeful person, but my schedule soon left me feeling exhausted and put out. I also resented anyone who wasn’t as busy as I was. How dare she use an out-of-office reply during her vacation? There’s work to be done! Once, when a neighbor marveled at how many balls I kept in the air, I snapped, “If you spent half as much time helping people as you do on that damn elliptical, I could slow down.”

Folks, this is what burnout looks like—for me, at least. It’s not pretty. (But don’t worry, my friends staged an intervention not long after this incident. They told me I was treating my neighbor as I was treating myself, and that I needed to practice self-compassion if I wanted to truly care for others.)

Here’s a quote I once heard from a priest: “If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire.” In today’s world, we are surrounded by a culture of scarcity that tells us we’re not doing enough, that we don’t have enough and that we’re not enough, whether we’re a stay-at-home parent or a CEO. Though I’m no longer trying to single-handedly save the world, I am knee-deep in research for a new book and working, as always, to be present for my family and friends. And I’ve learned that I always have to be on the watch for burnout. Because when it creeps up on me, I don’t like the person I become. That person does not reflect my values, and she’s not who I want to be as a researcher or a parent.

Unfortunately, beating burnout is not as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. Once you’re operating at that frenetic pace, it starts to become how you define yourself and your worth. You might think, “If I’m not busy, it must mean I’m not productive or relevant.” That sense of vulnerability is a big reason why people stay on the hamster wheel. To really recover from burnout, we must change not just our schedules but also our thinking. We must accept that what we produce and contribute is not our value—and get clear on what is. The people who matter most to me don’t love me for what I do or for what I’m doing for them; they love me for who I am.

When you stop living on stress and adrenaline, you may feel emotional, spiritual and physical discomfort (it’s not unlike putting out a fire—the smoke makes it hard to breathe for a while). But that discomfort is worth it if you can finally get calm and comfortable in your own skin.

The Dares

Dare to be honest about what burnout looks like for you. For me, resentment is a huge warning flag. So is judgment. I start to think, “Why is everyone always disappointing me?” My friends say that even my sense of humor changes—it has more bite. These are all signs that it’s time to recalibrate.

Dare to set boundaries. I’ve finally learned that just because I can do something does not mean I should. Sure, I could take on another car pool. But that doesn’t make it a good idea. The next time someone asks you to do something, consider whether you’re doing it out of obligation or to prove your worth. And set boundaries that reflect what’s really important: I’ll miss an e-mail (or 20) before I miss one of my kids’ games.

Dare to create a clearing for yourself. Nothing calms me down like swimming. That’s why, when I need to come back to myself, I grab my goggles and head for the pool. Maybe your clearing involves long walks at dusk, or maybe it’s writing. Find an activity that centers you and then make time for it—no matter what. If it feels uncomfortable at first, that’s okay. Cooling down takes practice.

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A Cool Mona Book Review: The News From Spain

Marg_5 iconThe News From Spain, 7 Variations On A Love Story by Joan Wickersham, published 2012. These are individual short stories and yet they speak to each other. The variation on the love theme flows through characters and situations that are equally understood and yet unfixable.

The author’s beautiful language pulls us through different centuries, like 18th century Vienna where Mozart and Da Ponte collaborate on their operas to a 1940’s love triangle between a doctor, a journalist and a president’s wife. Each story is rich with details and you feel the tension, the shame, the loss of the individual character and the supporting players – a paralyzed ballerina married to a celebrity, a race car driver’s widow, a daughter and her mother who resides in a nursing-care home. Don’t let the descriptions fool you – it’s far from a depressing read and the writing is so incredibly beautiful, it’s actually uplifting.

Wickersham also authored the acclaimed memoir, The Suicide Index, a National Book Award finalist. In the Cool Mona rating system, I give The News From Spain 5 full margaritas.

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