Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 8 Refreshing Summer Drinks

    Quick and easy martinis, margaritas, smoothies, and more beverages to cool you off on a hot day.

    Fritz's Sonoran SunsetFritz's Sonoran Sunset
    Fritz's Sonoran Sunset
    Prickly pear syrup adds a sweet note to this cocktail's grapefruit and tequila mixture. If your local store doesn't carry prickly pear syrup, you can order it online or substitute grenadine.

    Yield: Makes 1 serving


    1/2 cup grapefruit juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
    1 tablespoon prickly pear syrup (available at

    Fill an 8- to 12-ounce glass with ice cubes. Add grapefruit juice and tequila and stir. Drizzle with prickly pear syrup or substitute grenadine.

    Note: Fritz Jandrey of Portal, AZ developed this cocktail to serve to guests in his garden sanctuary on summer evenings.

    7 Margarita recipes

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 136
    Calories from fat: 0.7%
    Protein: 0.6g
    Fat: 0.1g
    Saturated fat: 0.0g
    Carbohydrate: 19g
    Fiber: 0.0g
    Sodium: 1.2mg

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  • Top 10 Lake Vacations

    Grab your swimsuit! Here are the most irresistibly enjoyable, summer-fun-filled lakes in the West.

    Christina LakeChristina Lake
    Best for a private hideaway

    All your life, you've longed for your own personal lakeside retreat. But you haven't inherited money, you haven't issued an IPO. What to do? You rent your lakeside paradise for a week or two. Christina Lake, British Columbia, is seemingly created for people who want to rent their own lakeside cottage/cabin/luxury home. Resorts are nonexistent (although there is a scattering of nice, small B&Bs). But what Christina has is a broad range of properties for rent, from quirky but comfortable cabins to a few seven-figure estates.

    Christina's charms extend beyond real estate, though. The lake is serenely lovely, set in the Monashee Mountains, near the Canadian Rockies. August lake and weather temps belie the north-of-the-border location: 71° (or, as they have it up here, 22° C); daytime averages around 82°. If you're looking for a lake with sweeping, sandy beaches

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  • 14 Refreshing Outdoor Showers

    Creative design ideas from simple kits to elegant personal waterfalls.

    DIY outdoor showerDIY outdoor shower
    DIY outdoor shower
    This weekend project has three basic parts: two wing walls and a center pole with the plumbing attached. All materials are available at the Home Depot.

    Time: One weekend (4 hours of labor, plus drying time for sealer)

    Difficulty: 3 (on a scale of 1-10; requires modest woodworking skills)

    Cost: About $170

    Full article with tools and materials list

    Soothing poolside showerSoothing poolside shower
    Soothing poolside shower

    A soothing spray, backed by yuccas, cycads, and other lush plants, is within easy reach of the pool in this backyard garden. Teak boards mask plumbing, and slotted boards on the floor drain into a hidden shower pan.

    5 dream vacations in your own backyard

    Slate cornerSlate corner
    Slate corner
    After a day of surfing, Dawn Griffith and Phil Morgan like to wash off the salt outside their new San Diego beach house. The shower is tucked into an alcove next to the rear stairs; the slate backsplash and side wall of rounded faux river stone (Eldorado

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  • 6 Tasty Ways with Ribs

    Throw a backyard ribfest! For your next outdoor party, think ribs 6 ways.

    Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Sticky Brown Sugar GlazeGrilled Baby Back Ribs with Sticky Brown Sugar Glaze

    Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Sticky Brown Sugar Glaze

    These grilled baby back ribs are basted in an addictive brown sugar glaze with a just a hint of heat from red chile powder. You'll need a sturdy drip pan to go under the cooking grate.

    Time: 2 Hours, 30 Minutes
    Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 4 ribs with glaze)

    5 pounds pork baby back ribs, cut into half-racks if needed to fit on grill
    4 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon cayenne
    Sticky Brown Sugar Glaze (see step1)

    1. To make the glaze, whisk together:

    1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
    3 tablespoons cider vinegar
    3 tablespoons beer or water
    1 1/2 teaspoons red chile flakes (1/2 tsp. for a mild version)
    1 teaspoon dry mustard

    2. Remove the membrane from underside of ribs: Slide a screwdriver tip along each bone and under one end of membrane to

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  • Top 10 National Park Lodges

    A visit to one of these lodges can change your vacation from good to unforgettable.

    Kenai Fjords Glacier LodgeKenai Fjords Glacier Lodge
    Best new wilderness escape: Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge
    Why we love it: Think of Kenai Fjords as the best of Alaska compressed into 1,046 square miles (roughly a quarter of the size of L.A. County). Icy blue fjords? Check. Glaciers? Check. Whales, bears, sea otters? Check, check, and check.

    Three years ago, Alaska Wildland Adventures added the only thing Kenai was missing: a nice place to stay. The lodge's woodsy main building and 16 boardwalk-linked cabins sit on the shore of Pedersen Lagoon, off Aialik Bay. Getting there requires a four-hour boat trip from Seward, which doubles as a whale-watching trip. Once there, options include guided hikes, canoeing, or simply relaxing on the porch, waiting for dinner-menu standouts that include olive oil-poached halibut and caribou medallions--and admiring how Alaska has made itself so comfortable for you.

    Don't miss: Spotting otters, seals, and calving

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  • 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Yard for Entertaining

    Having people over this weekend? Spruce up your space fast with these easy ideas.

    Upgrade your yardUpgrade your yard
    Upgrade your yard for entertaining
    Style expert Caitlin Atkinson says, "The garden is your canvas--paint a warm, inviting picture on it." Here are some easy ways to do just that, and get your outdoor space in shape for weekend entertaining.

    Dress the floorDress the floor
    Dress the floor
    A sunny polypropylene outdoor rug adds instant warmth and defines the party space. 6- by 9-ft. Dash & Albert Diamond rug in canary and white, $298;

    Want to really make your outdoor space feel like a living room? Read our Ultimate Outdoor Livingroom Guide.

    Mix the seatingMix the seating
    Mix the seating
    Folding chairs in fun colors provide flexible extra seating indoors or out. Fermob bistro metal chair, $99;

    Looking for more ideas? Here are some Santa Fe-inspired patio designs.

    Cover the fenceCover the fence
    Cover the fence

    Botanical and marine silhouettes--made with painted steel, strategically rusted and then sealed--add a pop of color to a

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  • Top 10 Plants for Summer Color

    Add heat-tolerant flowers and features to your yard and enjoy their beauty all summer | Sharon Cohoon

    Jerusalem sage Jerusalem sage
    Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa)
    Tall stems of these Mediterranean natives are set with widely-spaced, hooded yellow flowers.

    Moisture-conserving thick, typically furry or hairy leaves are lance-shaped. Pretty planted with lavender and red hot poker (Kniphofia Bressingham Comet).

    Moonshine yarrowMoonshine yarrow
    Moonshine yarrow
    The sunny hues of this Mediterranean perennial complement the violet-blue spikes of catmint (Nepeta). Here are more of our favorite perennials.

    Sally Holmes' roseSally Holmes' rose
    Sally Holmes' rose
    A vigorous white rose, it blooms in huge clusters. If you're thinking of adding some to your garden, click here for our rose-growing guide.

    Feather reed grassFeather reed grass
    Feather reed grass

    Calamagrostis x acutiflora has a vertical growth habit and showy seed heads.

    Rose GlowRose Glow
    Rose Glow (Berberis thunbergii)
    The bronzy red Japanese barberry colors up best in full sun.

    Cabernet Sauvignon grapesCabernet Sauvignon grapes
    Cabernet Sauvignon grapes
    A cluster from a vineyard shows the seeded, pearl-size grapes in various

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  • Top 15 Hikes

    Hit the trail on these iconic and under-the-radar hikes through unforgettable desert, mountain, and coastal terrain.

    Williams LakeWilliams Lake
    Williams Lake, Taos, NM
    Get an alpine start to your day on the gradual 2-mile hike to Williams Lake, at 11,300 feet in the high country above Taos Ski Valley. The trail parallels the Rio Hondo upstream to the lake. From there you can look up at New Mexico's highest point, Wheeler Peak; if you're feeling ambitious, follow the faint goat path that scrambles up the scree field on the north side of the tarn to the summit above, with views 60 miles north to Colorado.

    Half DomeHalf Dome
    Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, CA
    It's on a lot of people's life list of adventures--the demanding hike/climb up 8,800-foot Half Dome. Allow at least 10 hours, and know that the last 900 feet of trail is a steep climb up the dome, with you clinging to cables for the final 400-foot ascent.

    More on Yosemite hiking

    Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI
    Ranger-led morning hikes often travel through volcanic

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  • 15 Kids' Bedroom Designs

    Get design and decorating ideas for children's rooms, from fun color palettes to clever storage solutions.

    Kids' clubhouseKids' clubhouse
    Craft a clubhouse

    Adhesive cork squares allow for changeable wall displays, while the round table and chairs are easy to move for games or other activities.

    Not sure how to start?
    Here are some decorating strategies to think about.

    kid-friendly work space

    Create a kid-friendly work space

    Adjustable Plexiglas shelves keep everything in this workspace handy but out of the way.

    A well-placed heirloomA well-placed heirloom

    Use your own heirlooms
    To decorate with your own heirlooms, be inventive. Here, a homeowner updated the dresser she used as a kid for her own children's room by updating the handles with yellow spray paint.

    The eye moves upwardThe eye moves upward
    Raise your gaze
    Draw the eye up (and save your walls from holes) by using the tops of window- and doorframes to showcase small artworks. Color is key: See how the yellow pieces here pop against the robin's-egg blue.

    Don't fear colorDon't fear color
    Be bold with color
    This girl's bedroom is a cheerful orange--a happy hue on rainy days.

    More on how to incorporate paint
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  • Top 15 Summer Trips on the Water

    Hit the water! From beachcombing to rafting, here's where to make a splash on your next vacation.

    Rafting: Kremmling, CORafting: Kremmling, CO
    Rafting: Kremmling, CO
    Though most people journey to the Grand Canyon to raft class II and III rapids, you can get on the legendary Colorado River in this town 100 miles northwest of Denver. With outfitter Liquid Descent, rafting is paired with dips in riverside hot springs. $50;

    Best time to go: For beginners, June.

    Stay: Sitting at the base of the cliffs, the 10 Muddy Creek Cabins have mountain views. From $109;

    Beachcombing: Whidbey Island, WABeachcombing: Whidbey Island, WA
    Beachcombing: Whidbey Island, WA
    Moody beauty can be found year-round here, where practically every road leads to quintessential Northwest coastline. A top-notch trek lies on the west shore at Ebey's Landing. The 3.2-mile Bluff Trail descends to the rugged beach below, with Olympic Mountain vistas.

    Best time to go: Try winter, for storm-watching.

    Stay: Captain Whidbey Inn in Coupeville is 100+ years old, with throwback

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