Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita


jalapeno cucumber margarita


Serves 1.

2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. triple sec
2 lemon wedges
2 lime wedges (plus one for garnish)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 slices of cucumber
3 slices jalapeño
coarse sea salt


1. Muddle ice, lemon, lime, sugar, jalapeño and cucumber in a pint glass.

2. Add tequila and triple sec, shake with a Boston shaker and pour into a salt rimmed glass.

Spicy Pineapple Margarita


spicy pineapple margarita

Steve’s favorite!!!

Serves 1.

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. triple sec
4-5 chunks of fresh pineapple
2 slices jalapeño (red or green)
2/3 of one lime, cut into wedges


1. Muddle pineapple, jalapeño, and lime wedges with ice in a pint glass. Add tequila, triple sec, and simple syrup. Shake briskly and garnish with a chunk of pineapple, jalapeño or lime.

How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

Since Steve and I are leaving in just over a week I figured that now would be a good time to share how I prepare for a long-haul flight.

We hate the long-haul flight, but unfortunately it’s necessary when traveling to to the other side of the globe. It’s got to be my least favorite part of traveling…maybe even worse than dealing with visas. Anyway, I’ve done tons of them and I’ve gotten quite systematic in my planning for them. Here are a few tips for surviving your next long-haul flight and staying sane in coach, so hopefully you won’t arrive to your destination a hot mess.

1. Comfy, breathable clothes that you can layer. I like to wear leggings layered with a tunic or dress…so I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed, left the gym, etc. and a cardigan. Don’t wear anything too tight…it will constrict circulation, increasing your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and could possibly cause digestion issues and abdominal pain.


2. A scarf or Pashmina…it can keep you warm when the AC is cranked up or double as a pillow. Need some scarf inspiration, check out fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen’s video. So many great ideas to revamp the same old boring scarf. She really has some great ideas.

3. Comfy Slip-on shoes. You’ll be able to breeze through security without dealing with laces. Plus, they pack flat…and if you get the right ones they’ll be super comfy too.

4. Water bottle. Whether you take an empty one through security and fill up on the other side or buy one once you’re past security you’ll be happy you have a water bottle. The hydration will save your skin and your ‘tude.

5. Catch some sleep….and I’m not talking about the melatonin or Ambien induced type or drinking until you pass out…the last method will only lead to being brutally hungover for the final hours of your flight. Pack a pair or two of earplugs, an eye mask and an inflatable neck pillow to make your sleep as comfortable as possible.

6. Entertainment…Keep your waking hours as pleasant as your sleeping hours and pack multiple forms of entertainment: Kindle, Ipad/Ipod, book, and/or a magazine or two. My husband likes to pack an extra set of ear buds…so he can give them to the obnoxious kid playing video games at full blast while the rest of the plane is trying to sleep. I love this idea.

7. A Carry On “Personal” Bag. Make sure it has enough pockets to keep you organized, if it has a zipper that’s an extra bonus. I’m taking my Courier camera bag as my carry on personal item on our upcoming trip…it doesn’t look like a camera bad, it’s really sturdy and has enough pockets to stow important documents, sunglasses, snacks, etc and it fits nicely under the seat.

8. Snacks. With all the in-flight cuts this is even more true now than it was 10 years ago. Pack a snack…you, your travel buddy and your neighbors will thank you.

9. Mini personal hygiene kit. I always pack a mini toothbrush/paste (like the Colgate Wisps), some face wipes, tissue, chapstick, hand sanitizer and moisturizer. A couple of minutes freshening up in the bathroom will help you feel less grimy, and if you’re like me probably less irritable too.

10. Get up and move around…we’re not meant to sit in cramped spaces for 10, 15, 20 hours.. Walk the aisles and do some stretching, it will make you feel human and reduce your chances of deep vein thrombosis. Compression socks may also be a good idea, although I’ve never tried them, so I cannot vouch for how good they are. CNN Travel has some good ideas for gentle in-flight yoga, although people might think you’re crazy if you’re doing Warrior III in the middle of the aisle.

11. A pen/ journal. Entertainment (hangman anyone?), exchanging info, and filling out those annoying immigration/customs forms.

Did I forget anything? Leave some advice for other fellow travellers.

Bon voyage!!!

Oregano Infused Paloma

Hello Tequila!!! Steve and I are emptying our liquor cabinet…we don’t want any booze to go to waste….that would just be alcohol abuse. We’re currently working on making a bottle of Quervo 1800 and a GIANT bottle of Sauza disappear….and it’s been slow going. Our herb garden is still going strong….even though it’s January, so I figured why not pretend it’s summer and whip up a boozy summer cocktail.


oregano paloma

Not your traditional Paloma

(serves 1-2 depending on the size of your glass)

2 oz. tequila
4 oz. grapefruit juice
1 oz. oregano simple syrup
club soda
coarse sea salt


1. Salt rim of a glass.

2. Add ice, tequila, grapefruit, simple syrup and club soda. Stir gently.

Note: this cocktail can be shaken and strained and served up (add club soda AFTER you shake it) or built over ice in a glass…it’s your call.

Oregano Simple Syrup

Oregano Infused Paloma on the rocks

Served on the rocks

1-2 sprigs oregano (more if you want it to really stand out)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar

1. In a small saucepan bring water to boil, add oregano and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool before adding to cocktail.

Jefferson Park Wilderness

Quick Stats

Distance: 13 miles

Time: 2+ days

Difficulty: moderate to difficult (approx. 3000 ft. gain)

Season: July to October

Permit: Northwest Forest Pass required

Dog Friendly: Yes, the trail doesn’t have much for steep drop offs, there is regular water access, and plenty of shade (aside from a couple sections that seem unrelenting) Note: some sections are kinda rocky…so know your pooches limits…especially if they have sensitive paws. Our dogs were plenty excited for a post hike swim…and it was hard to keep them out of the water.

Pros: Wildflower filled meadows, multiple stream crossings for yourself and your furry friends, views of Mt. Jefferson, alpine lakes

Cons: Busy…tons of people…and what they leave behind. We ended up burning a bunch of TP…it seems many of Jefferson Park’s backpackers have forgotten the principle of leave no trace; there is also a fire ban usually util September or October. We hardly passed anyone on the South Breitenbush trail, but Jefferson Park was quite busy.

View of Mt. Jefferson

One of the many great views of the mountain.

Jefferson Park is one of those fabled gems that my parents still speak fondly of…many, many years after their first visit. And it’s true, the scenery is absolutely stunning and so worth every ounce of sweat to get there. Following the South Breitenbush trail you’re graced with a rushing river, a damp forest, open vistas, meadows bursting with wildflowers, views of Mt. Jefferson, and crystal clear alpine lakes….what more can a backpacker ask for? Well, I guess some solitude would be nice too.

mt. jefferson and jefferson park

Even Sal stopped to admire the view.

Most people take the Whitewater trail or the Park Ridge trail into the park, but we wanted a more challenging hike with fewer people, and that’s exactly what we got. There was only one other car in the parking lot and when we hiked out the next day there were only two other cars. I would definitely hike this trail again, but I am interested in checking out the other two as well.

Over the first 1 1/2 miles the trail passes multiple little creeks and begins gaining elevation pretty quickly. The trail continues on a generally uphill path for the next few miles. If you’re feeling inclined to punish yourself further at about two miles in there is a junction with the Bear Point trail…I’m sure there are great views, but we simply weren’t interested.

After the Bear Point junction the trail gets steeper, rockier and more exposed. If you’re game to leave the trail by a couple of dozen feet you might find a partial view of Mt. Jefferson.

Jefferson wildflowers

Tons of wildflowers carpeted the meadow just before reaching Jefferson Park.

Once you’re about 3 1/2 miles in you’ll stumble into a gorgeous meadow and you’ll forget all about the trudge up the hill. The  trail meanders through the meadow, running along the streams and around little ponds.

jefferson flowers2

Still more flowers!!! and a view of one of the neighboring buttes.


After about three miles more you will finally enter Jefferson Park with it’s postcard perfect views of the mountain and it’s jewel toned lakes. There are three main lakes here: Russell, Scout and Bays. It’s important to note that camping is ONLY allowed at the spots marked by a post. The area has been loved to death by it’s biggest fans, so please tread lightly, leave no trace, and respect the wilderness. Park rangers are more than happy to fine those who build a fire (during the ban) and/or camp outside the designated spots.

jefferson view from camp

Our view from camp overlooking Russell Lake.

To complete the hike, you simply return the way you came.

jefferson park lakes

Peek-a-boo views of the lakes entice you to wander.

Mt. Jefferson with Russell Lake

Mt. Jefferson with Russell Lake in the foreground.

There are many options for daytrips from Jefferson Park and I think it would be worth it to stay an extra day or two. You could hike up to Park Ridge for the view of Mt. Jefferson, explore the many lakes, amble along a section of the PCT…you get the picture.