Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 20 Campgrounds to Suit Your Personality

    We play matchmaker, pairing your camping personality with places you're sure to love.

    Sunset's camping guide by region:
    California & Hawaii
    Northwest
    Rocky Mountains
    Southwest

    Perfect campgrounds for first-timers
    Mt. Hood National Forest, ORMt. Hood National Forest, OR
    Lake Powell, UT and AZ
    Wahweap Campground Glen Park National Recreation Area: What better payoff for taking the camping plunge than the finger canyons of Lake Powell? A waterfront campground comes with basic creature comforts (hot showers, shaded picnic tables). After breakfast, the main event: Rent a boat or kayak at the marina to explore what looks for all the world like Zion National Park filled halfway with water. From $23. Book it: 888/486-4665.

    Near Santa Cruz, CA
    New Brighton State Beach: Sit on a pine-shaded bluff above an endless white beach, New Brighton's 100+ sites get snapped up by those itching for a beach weekend-without the triple-digit nightly tab. The beach is the real draw, and the hot showers don't hurt, but another bonus is that if you forget your

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  • 8 Tasty Cinco De Mayo Cocktails

    Kick off your Cinco de Mayo weekend with a frosty mojito, margarita, or smoky mezcal cocktail

    Cinco de Mayo menu:
    42 easy Mexican dinners
    14 great Mexican side dishes
    11 delicious Mexican desserts

    Grapefruit MargaritaGrapefruit Margarita
    Grapefruit Margarita
    Ruby grapefruit juice gives an extra tangy bite to the standard marg, while a sugar-rimmed glass helps to sweeten things up.
    Ingredients
    3 cups ruby grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed or purchased)
    2 cups of tequila
    1 cup triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
    1/4 cup sugar
    Preparation
    In a pitcher (at least 2-qt. capacity), combine 3 cups ruby grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed or purchased), 2 cups tequila, and 1 cup triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day. Pour about 1/4 cup sugar on a rimmed plate. Cut a ruby grapefruit in half and rub rims of double old-fashioned glasses (8 oz.) with cut side of one half to moisten, then dip glass rims in sugar to coat. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour grapefruit

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  • 15 Amazing Outdoor Makeovers

    Gain curb appeal and transform your outdoor living space with fresh ideas for your porch, patio, and yard

    1. Aging garage turned guesthouse
    BeforeBefore
    This crumbling garage seemed to hold little promise for stylish live/work space.

    AfterAfter
    The remodel enlarged the building to include a bathroom, loft, and a small roof deck, so it can double as guest quarters.
    It can also still function as a garage thanks to a set of glass-paneled Dutch doors opening on the plywood-paneled office side.

    2. Creating colorful curb appeal
    BeforeBefore
    The front yard of this Bremerton, Washington home used to be all lawn―and not very happy lawn at that.
    There was another problem. Because the street sloped sharply downhill, there was a dangerous drop-off between the front walk and the deeply recessed driveway.

    Cheery new entry (after)Cheery new entry (after)
    Enclosing the yard solved the drop-off problem
    the fence runs along the driveway as well as along the sidewalk.
    Thanks to its interesting stepped back sectional design and lively color the lattice fence adds plenty of

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  • 8 Dishes Featuring Edible Flowers

    Create dishes that look as beautiful as they taste with these salads, desserts, teas, and more

    Sunset PalmerSunset Palmer
    Sunset Palmer
    In this version of the classic Arnold Palmer, we used our lemon-scented blooms in place of the lemonade.
    Ingredients
    2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed, chopped
    1/2 cup each fresh lemon verbena* and lemon balm leaves*, plus lemon verbena for garnish
    Zest of 1 lemon
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 cup brewed black tea, such as English breakfast, cooled
    Preparation
    1. Put lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, and zest in a heatproof container. Pour 2 cups boiling water over herbs and steep 20 minutes. Strain, then stir in sugar.
    2. Divide liquid between 2 ice-filled glasses. Top each with about 1/2 cup black tea. Garnish with lemon verbena leaves.
    *Grow your own lemon verbena and lemon balm, or look for them at a farmers' market.

    Eat-your-garden SaladEat-your-garden Salad
    Eat-your-garden Salad
    We used a mixture of spring blossoms from our garden to create this spectacular salad. Feel free to experiment with the

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  • Top 15 Art & Nature Playgrounds

    Take a weekend to scope out the most unique art and artful nature in the urban wild

    More places to go this weekend:
    Top 12 desert escapes
    Top 15 foodie weekends

    Portland, ORPortland, OR
    Nature's palette: Portland, OR
    The hilly Japanese Garden has views of downtown. In fall, the Japanese maples are vibrant cinnamons and yellows. japanesegarden.com

    Fort Bragg, CAFort Bragg, CA
    Floral fantasia: Fort Bragg, CA
    Canyons, wetlands, a pine forest, and more make up the 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens overlooking the Pacific. See native species in their natural plant communities, and formal gardens filled with heaths and heathers. Stroll the trails along coastal bluffs for breathtaking ocean views, at their best on clearer autumn days. Don't miss dahlias in full bloom in the Dahlia Garden in summer and fall. gardenbythesea.org

    Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
    Indoor & Outdoor masterpieces: Los Angeles, CA
    This sprawling art museum is a destination unto itself, but you'd be remiss not to wander its refreshed Central Garden. The maze of clipped azaleas, blooming

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  • 15 DIY Outdoor Projects

    Dig into the DIY craze with these easy and fun projects for your backyard, patio, and garden!

    Small backyard beachSmall backyard beach
    Small backyard beach (click on photo above for instructions)
    If you love the beach but can't find the time for regular visits, why not turn an unused corner of your backyard into a sandy retreat? This miniature beach can be put together over a weekend for less than $200. Decomposed granite, sand, driftwood, and grassy plants complete the seaside look.

    Outdoor chandelierOutdoor chandelier
    Outdoor chandelier (click on photo above for instructions)
    Romantic outdoor lighting: With a wire basket, a few jars, and some tea lights and adornment, add a little handmade glow to your garden.

    Romantic backyard cabanaRomantic backyard cabana
    Romantic backyard cabana (click on photo above for instructions)
    This backyard lounge serves as both a casual spot for year-round entertaining and a private refuge with resort style.

    Perfect compost binPerfect compost bin
    Perfect compost bin (click on photo above for instructions)
    Designed by horticulturists at the University of California Cooperative Extension, this compost bin is inexpensive, easy

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  • How to Choose & Cook with Sustainable Meat

    Cooking with sustainably raised beef, lamb, and eggs gives you remarkable flavor and health benefits. Try our tips for choosing and cooking the right product to maximize flavor and health potential.

    27 mouth-watering burger recipes

    How to cook grass-fed beefHow to cook grass-fed beef
    Grass-fed beef

    Beef that's conscientiously raised, good for you, and incredibly tasty―now that's something to sink your teeth into. Grass-fed operations are easier on the environment than grain feedlots are, and easier on the animals too (grass is, after all, a cow's natural diet). Grass-feeding also gives the meat a truer beef flavor that's not masked by the marbling of fat typical in grain-fed beef. Plus grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fats and higher in omega-3s and other essential nutrients.
    How to successfully cook grass-fed beef:
    1. Lower the heat. Grass-fed beef cooks fast. Instead of searing burgers and steaks, put them over a medium flame.
    2. Add moisture. With a larger cut (like a roast) that needs a longer cooking time,

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  • 5 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Yard

    Start your garden:
    Your get-started guide
    No-fail spring planting
    Garden border ideas

    Thomas J. StoryThomas J. Story
    Put the right plant in the right place
    Add low-water-use plants. Group plants with similar water needs, so nothing gets over- or under-watered. For what works in your region, use the Sunset Western Garden Book, the Sunset Plant Finder, and our plant list.

    E. Spencer ToyE. Spencer Toy
    Water efficiently
    Irrigate deeply and infrequently, then allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. Water early in the morning, when the air is calm and temperatures are cool. If you have sloping ground or clay soil, water more often but for less time to minimize runoff.

    Norm PlateNorm Plate
    Shrink the lawn
    Across the West, lawns are the number-one consumer of residential water outdoors. Reducing their size, restricting them to spaces where you actually need them (like kids' play areas), or eliminating them altogether are the most effective ways to reduce your own outdoor water use.

    E. Spencer ToyE. Spencer Toy
    Mulch, mulch, mulch
    Organic mulches (ground bark, wood chips, compost)

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  • 10 Natural Decorating Ideas

    Touches of nature reign supreme in this unique Mother Earth-inspired décor fit for every season
    More from Sunset:
    30 living room style tips
    14 key decorating strategies
    54 home decorating projects

    Andrea M. GómezAndrea M. Gómez
    Coastal chic
    Vintage glass bottles are like treasures that washed ashore. Paired with seashells, they help create a coastal organic look inspired by Southern California's natural and simple beach lifestyle.

    Thomas J. StoryThomas J. Story
    Fancy florals
    Violet anemone and hyacinth blooms, seeded eucalyptus, and green berries are displayed like rare specimens in bell jars and catch the light streaming in from a window.

    Thomas J. StoryThomas J. Story
    Fresh centerpiece
    When cut to the length of your dining table, a piece of weathered barn wood can function as a runner (no ironing required). Use the plank as a stage for seasonal produce, such as plums, pears, apples, figs, and pattypan squash. Weave crabapple branches throughout for added texture, and stagger candles nestled in pebble-filled votive holders for ambience.

    Thomas J. StoryThomas J. Story
    Nature-inspired bar
    A bar is

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  • 8 Delectable Cupcake Recipes

    Who doesn't love a good cupcake? From classic to creative varieties, these treats will be the hit of any party.

    More from Sunset:
    12 best morning bun & coffee cake recipes
    25 decadent brownies & bars
    Amazing chocolate treats

    Vanilla Buttermilk CupcakesVanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
    Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

    The same basic ingredients that make the cupcake recipe simple also ensure that it is over-the-top delicious. Dress this cupcake recipe up or down for showers, parties, or friendly neighborhood gatherings.
    Ingredients
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking bowder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup buttermilk
    Preparation
    1. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and all the sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on high speed until well blended.
    2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into another bowl.
    3. With mixer

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