Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to share with you my family’s homemade lemonade recipe. It’s the best lemonade recipe in existence. I’m not kidding. Don’t mess with pre-squeezed lemon juice, and don’t worry about making complicated syrups. I’ve got the best lemonade recipe ever right here.

Lemons

Start by squeezing and straining several fresh lemons.

Here’s the recipe in its entirety:

Ingredients
1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
1.5 parts sugar
8 parts water

Mix lemon juice and water together. Dissolve sugar into mixture. Serve chilled.

That’s it. Seriously, that’s the entire recipe. One of the great things about it is that it translate well into any amount you want. Just want one glass? The “parts” can be tablespoons. Need to serve an entire Girl Scout troop or soccer team? Use gallons. Inundated by the metric system? Liters and milliliters are just fine.

Lemonade Stand

If you’re lemonade is that good (and my family’s is), sell it!

Of course, you can add sugar to taste, but I’ve found that those ratios (above) work really well. For added cool factor, add lemon slices to your clear pitcher or glass. For added color, add fresh mint leaves or fresh lavender. For added taste, add strawberries or diced watermelon!

Lemonade

Feel free to garnish the final product… or not! Whatever you like.

My family’s recipe is simple and allows for customization. But even left completely alone, it makes for a great, refreshing glass of classic lemonade! If you experiment, you may find your own favorite brew. Do you have a perfect variation? Leave the recipe and any notes in the comments so that I can try it, too!

Summer’s not over yet! (In Southern California, where I live, I suppose it’s almost never over, but that’s not the point!) There are plenty of “Top 10 Beaches” lists, and some have 12 or 25 or 100. But have no fear: I’ve gone through them all and picked the tip top five just for you. If you’re the traveling type, these will no doubt hit the spot.

Fifth Place: Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach in Queensland, Australia, gets its name from the surrounding colorful sand dunes, which are a mixture of browns, blacks, reds, oranges, and yellows. The dunes are said to have been formed by a rainbow-colored spirit plunging into the cliffs following a battle with a wicked tribesman.

Fourth Place: Langkawi

Langkawi, Malaysia, has become a modern hideaway for travelers seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The name Langkawi translates as “the land of one’s wishes”, a welcoming concept that hints at the island’s historic origins as a reputed refuge for pirates.

Third Place: Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is located in Cape Town, South Africa. I chose it because there are penguins living there… 3000 of them! Jackass penguins (yes, they’re really called that) can often be spotted wading in and out of the sea. The best place to see them is from a viewing boardwalk constructed on nearby Foxy Beach.

Second Place: Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach is exactly what it says it is: hidden! Nestled within The Marieta Islands nearby Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, it’s literally a giant hole with a beach inside it that’s rumored to have been formed by the Mexican military detonating test bombs in the early 1900s. Plus, there’s a water tunnel you have to pass through to get there.

First Place: the beach nearest to you!

Honestly, beaches are amazing and beautiful… and often too far away to feasibly reach. Sometimes, the best beach is the one you can get to and enjoy over a long holiday or weekend. Where is your favorite beach? Is it close by where you live? Would you travel further for a beach you’d prefer over another that’s nearer? I need beach tips! Tell me your best kept secret beaches.

Epic Sand Castles

August 2, 2014

Expectation versus reality

No lie: this is how my sand castles turn out, if I’m lucky.

I never was much for the beach when I was a kid. That is, until I discovered the magic that was building my very own sand castle. Unfortunately, because my family lived so far away from the coast, a day at the beach was a Big Deal, and I never really got the opportunity to really hone my sand-castle-building skills.

I’m dating myself here, but back then I just had to build by trial and error, but these days anyone can look up online how to build a sand castle and sand castle tips.

Darth Sand

Not exactly a castle, I realize, but honestly… it’s still epic!

Sand castle building (can we please call it “sand castling”?) can be as fun or as professional as you want to make it. Take the kids for an afternoon and let them let their imaginations run wild, or visit Sand Castle Central to find out when and where the next competition is near you! Plus, if you’re near by one of the 10 Beaches Meant for Building Epic Sand Castles, you may just have to try sculpting sand yourself!

Modern Sand

Modern art, anyone? Seriously, though; how?

If you’re planning on having your sand castle(s) look anything like “the real thing”, keep in mind that you’re going to need a virtual arsenal of equipment. A plastic bucket and a colorful kiddie shovel just aren’t going to cut it. What do you use to do art? Paintbrush(es), rulers and measuring tape, and a sense of scale and aesthetic. What do you use to garden? Trowel and shovel, rake, bucket(s), hand shovel, and a ton of patience.

King Triton

King Triton, the ruler of the oceans, handles his chariot hyper-realistically. Unbelievable.

If you’d rather just watch someone else make magic with sand and water (even if it’s just your kids!), you can always head out on a bright summer day and applaud the craftsmanship, effort, and patience that someone else put into a sculpture that won’t even last 24 hours. But it’s okay! The sand will still be there tomorrow, and so will the people who can tame it under their hands!

tri-Sand Castle

Amazing. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to believe unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes.

Are you going beach bumming this summer? Where? Where’s the best spot you’ve ever been?

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