Friday Cocktails! The Hot-As-Heck Margarita

Friday Cocktails

If you live in the U.S. chances are you’ve endured one of the hottest weeks in a very long time.  Here in the north, we’ve had 115 degree heat indexes with dew points that make it nearly unbearable. I grew up in Phoenix, when 115 degrees was par for the course. But when you add oppressive humidity it becomes an entirely different ball of (melted) wax.

On days like today I feel like we all deserve a fun drink recipe to help usher in the weekend.  Today I’m featuring Hot-As-Heck Margarita recipe to accompany our equally hot weather. It is said that spicy foods actually cool you down internally by stimulating the heat receptors in your mouth, which enhance circulation and in turn causes you to sweat. So, you know, drink up.

*Disclaimer: you actually need to drink a lot of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks to stay hydrated when it’s hot.  Be smart!





  1. Pour enough salt onto a small, shallow plate to cover the surface. Use a wedge of lime to wet the rim of two margarita glasses.
  2. Fill glasses with ice.
  3. Pour the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar or maple syrup, and jalapeno into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into the prepared glasses, and garnish with lime wedges to serve.

Happy Weekend!

You might also like:

Friday Cocktails: The French Pear

Friday Cocktails: The Great Gatsby

Weekend Cocktails! Brandy Old Fashioned


Midweek Mashup


AHHH, Summer.  Those endless, lazy days when you have all the time in the world to cook and bake and harvest the vegetables you’ve lovingly grown in your backyard….


HAHAHAHAHA.  Why do I always think this is what summer will be?  When it’s January and 20 below and I need something to help get me through those frigid dark days of winter, this is the image that sustains me. But, let’s be honest. It’s TOTAL BULLCRAP!

Summer is busy and frenetic and essentially consists of me shuttling my 11 year old to and fro. In Minnesota the weather is warm for only a short time, so we also cram as much outdoor activity as we can. Which means the house is messy and the chores don’t get done and there’s constantly flip flops and sunscreen scattered everywhere. And now for some inexplicable reason we have a problem with flies. Also, my tomatoes aren’t growing well and the dill never even came up and I can’t even get my geraniums to stay alive. But, you know, SUMMER. So anyway…families still need to eat.

That’s why I like these strategies for putting dinner on the table in a shorter amount of time.  Because everyone’s busy!

You now what else falls off during the summer?  My workouts. Sure, I golf a ton (I always walk and carry my bag, so there’s that). I’ve been getting to barre about once a week as well. But there’s no routine and it can’t be counted on. I’ve done this 7 Minute Workout by the New York Times in the past and love it. It’s challenging and works my whole body. It’s perfect for anywhere, including when you travel. Knock it out once a day and you’ll feel stronger in no time.

And finally, here is my all time favorite summer recipe for Caprese Pasta. I make it once a week and it’s so easy. When tomatoes and basil are in season, it is so fresh and delicious. Everyone likes it and it’s easy to throw together at the last minute.

Enjoy the rest of your week! As always, please leave a comment and share this post if you like what you read!


Friday Cocktails: The French Pear

Friday Cocktails


It’s nearly the weekend!  Woohoo!  And if you live in the United States, it also most likely means a nice long holiday weekend for you.  You’ll need some cocktail recipes up your sleeve for the long weekend, don’t you think?  Sure, cold beer is nice, but nothing is better than an well crafted cocktail, in my opinion.

Last night we went out for drinks to celebrate birthdays with our neighbors.  We call each other “Framily” because we are family in many ways.  We have kids around the same age, we help each other out, and we love to spend time together.  Three of us have birthdays around this time, so typically we celebrate together.  I like to say I am halfway to 84.  Makes me laugh every time. I’m so funny melancholy.

Last night we walked to one of our favorite restaurants that features great cocktails.  My friend Catherine and I both ordered a French Pear. This one had a bit of a twist in that it also featured ginger. Catherine thought the drink tasted like “a Jolly Rancher in a glass”.  I love a sweet martini and had the urge to gulp it down, but now that I’m halfway to 84 I decided to behave like a grown up and sipped it instead.

I do agree with Catherine that it could have been a bit less sweet, and in doing that it would probably taste a bit brighter.  The ginger could have been more prominent, too.  A bit of a spicy bite from  more ginger would have offset the sweetness.

Overall I give it a 7/10.  We followed the French Pear with a good, solid dirty gin martini.

If you want to try the French Pear yourself, here’s how.



  • 2 ounces pear flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  1. Place all ingredients except the twist into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously to mix.
  2. Strain into martini glass and add a lemon twist garnish.


Have a great weekend!  Keep it safe!

You might also like:

Friday Cocktails: The Great Gatsby

Cocktails! Prickly Pear Margaritas

Weekend Cocktails!

Midweek Mashup






Midweek Mashup


Happy Thursday!  I hope you are having a fantastic week.  And, if you aren’t, I hope you find a little bit of happiness here at Cultivate Wellness.

I plan on writing a longer, more thorough blog post about my recent experience being interviewed on our local NPR station, but in the meantime I wanted to post the link so you can listen for yourself.  Remember that post I wrote about the horrible swimsuit spread in Discovery Girls magazine?   It created quite a bit of discussion, including with the host of our morning news show on Minnesota Public Radio.   She decided to dedicate an entire show to the topic of body shaming in young girls, and asked to interview me.  You can listen to the entire show here.  I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on it and keep the discussion going, so please share and comment!

Speaking of people struggling with body image issues, I read this piece, entitled Fat Dad: The Coffee and Cigarette Diet recently in Well section of The New York Times and it touched my heart.  I thought it was lovingly written.  So often we talk about women and body image, but it’s a good reminder that men struggle with this issue too.

Do you love potato salad as much as I do?  I love it in all forms: with celery, with egg, with mayo, with vinegar.  Dill, parsley, scallions, mint.  It’s *all* good in my book.  Here’s a healthy, delicious looking red, white and blue potato salad just in time for Independence Day.

Have a great rest of your week, whatever you have planned!

As always, I’d be so grateful if you shared my blog with people you think would like it, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, via email, or word of mouth (or all!).

You might also like:

Last week’s Midweek Mashup

Bikini Body

Potato, Carrot and Leek Soup





Cruel Summer


Summer has officially started in our house.  My 11 year old daughter just finished her last day of school on Thursday.  I realized that I’ve noticed a pattern started to emerge these last several years: I tend to overschedule the first couple weeks of summer.  I get so excited about all the options available to us that I say YES! YES! OF COURSE! to just about everything.  I enter this weird mindset which leads me to believe that summer days have infinite hours in them. Last night I looked at next week’s calendar and almost cried.  Golf tournament (hers). Sleepover (hers). Concert (mine). Float-in movie at the pool (ours). Golf match (mine). Golf match (hers). Professional networking night (mine). Not to mention the regular everyday life activities like meetings, swimming, tennis and golf practice, getting my daughter packed for camp and my part time job.  Are you crying along with me yet?

I love my enthusiasm.  I love how active we are as a family. And everything we have planned sounds like so much fun.  And to be fair, summer here in the north is short.  We work hard here to enjoy all those sun soaked days because we know they are numbered. But as soon as I publish this post I am going to write a reminder on my calendar for May 1st of next year that says “Hey there!  Just a gentle reminder that you tend to get a little too excited for all those fun things people will invite you to, and maybe don’t say yes to every single one.”  (What can I say, it sometimes takes me many years to figure stuff out.)

Because when I think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is long unstructured days of reading, sipping iced tea, naps.  Sure, it’s unrealistic to expect every day to be that way.  Plus I’m pretty sure I’d be bored within a few days minutes. But I’m going to prioritize setting aside plenty of time that isn’t planned.  In fact, studies show kids and families are happier when they have ample time to just “be”.

How do you manage your summer calendar?  What tips do you have to share?  And also, I’d love to hear what summer activities are a “must” for you and your family?  Please comment and share!

As always, if you like reading my blog, I’d be ever so grateful if you’d pass it along or share it on social media. HAPPY SUMMER!

Summer’s End

I always get melancholy at the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.  I remember when my kiddo was 5 and starting kindergarten and how exciting it all was to have a little bit of time to myself finally!  And I blinked, and now she’s 10 and going into fifth grade.  And I realize how fleeting the years are.  Someone once said to me about raising kids: “The days are long, but the years are short”. I think that’s the most accurate depiction of the passage of time I’ve heard.

Reese first day of kindergarten
So excited for kindergarten!

The summer for me is a welcome break from the grind.  It’s full of lazy mornings and late nights and sitting on the couch watching High School Musical 3 snuggled with my girl.  It’s for pool days and zoo days and trips to the farmer’s market.  It’s for road trips to see cousins and playing driveway basketball.

reese and raquel
A long hug to say goodbye to a friend.
reese diving 2
An old-fashioned diving board can’t be beat.
reese, coco and grant in HS
Cousin time is the best in summer.
reese with bear at the zoo
Long days at the zoo.

The school year holds a lot of promise, too.  I will certainly get more done around the house.  The laundry maybe won’t pile up as high, and the tumbleweeds of dog fur that blow across my wood floors might get swept up in a more timely fashion. I’ll be able to focus more on my cooking endeavors.  And my regular trips to the gym after school drop off will resume.  I plan to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I am excited to tackle the closets and drawers.

But it also means tight schedules and rigid waking times.  Carpool and school activities. And homework.  Lord, the homework. And so many forms to be filled out.

But most of all, the start of another school year means another year has passed without my permission, and in another blink I’ll be helping her with college applications. Slow down, time.  Just slow down for a bit.

reese riding bike
There she goes…