Quick & Easy Summer Cocktails

Happy weekend, everyone! It has been one HOT summer, and I've been trying everything imaginable to stay cool. Spending time with friends has certainly helped get my mind off the heat. And this summer more than any other, I've discovered a plethora of delicious cocktails. Many of them are very easy to make, and are so refreshing on a hot day. Here are a few that will help you forget about the weather... at least temporarily.

{Click on any of the photos below to be taken to the drink recipes}

Mango Margaritas
Mango Margaritas from foodiecrush

Raspberry Lemoncello Prosecco
Raspberry Lemoncello Prosecco from Damn Delicious

Maple Whiskey Sour
Maple Whiskey Sour from Gimme Some Oven

Blue Lagoon Shots
Blue Lagoon Shots from Hairspray & Highheels

Pineapple Coolers
Pineapple Coolers from Pizzazzerie

Peach Sangria
Peach Sangria from MyRecipes.com

You can also find more of my favorites on my Pinterest board HERE.

What about you? How have you been staying cool this summer? Do you have any favorite cocktails to share? :)

Maintaining Balance

Today I'm going to share some ideas for maintaining balance during the school year. I'm trying not to think ahead TOO much, but once the school year begins, it feels like such a race to keep up. So it's good to plan for some balance before those days in August!

Leave Work By 4pm Every Day. 
This might be the most difficult one, but also the most important. We can always find more to do... more to organize, more to plan, more to prep, more to assess. It's important for me to do as much as I can from 3:15 (when students leave) to 4:00. Whatever isn't done will have to wait. I have promised myself not to take work home, with the exception of report cards during those times of year. 

Exercise At Least 3 Times Per Week.
Especially when I'm exhausted, I force myself to go to the gym. Because I know the less I exercise, the more tired I feel. I found a gym that offers a variety of classes, from spinning to TRX to yoga, so the variety really helps. The classes really encourage me make the most of my membership. Left to my own devices, I would probably get on the stairmaster for about 20 minutes, consider it good enough, and go home for a glass of wine. But you can't cheat like that with an instructor in front of you and a class full of people toughing it out.

Limit After-Work Communication.
This one is also very difficult, especially since we are potentially connected to work email 24/7. However, I feel that it's very important not to answer emails after work, and so I don't check work email after I leave. I also make sure not to receive notifications of new emails (otherwise that's not disconnecting completely, right?). I do, however, check my email as I get ready for work in the morning so I can address anything pertinent before the school day begins. 

Plan Meals for the Week.
Since I work in San Francisco, I have tons of lunch options just outside the doors of my school. It's very tempting to eat out often, if not every day. It's convenient, but SO expensive. Last year was the first year I started planning my meals on Sundays, then shopping for the products I would need for the week. Thanks to Pinterest (you can find my boards here), I even created my own little menu listing ingredients needed and the link to the recipe. That way I can just click on it each night when I'm ready to prepare dinner. I always make enough for leftovers the following school day. Meal planning has drastically decreased the stress revolving around what I'm going to eat every day. 

Enjoy Weekend Life.
Sometimes it's tempting to stay in and catch up on Netflix. But I always plan at least one outing (dinner, brunch, whatever) with friends every weekend. It's also nice to plan something by myself...as long as it means I have to get out of the house!

What about you? What do you do to maintain balance during the school year?

Sunday Letters

I thought it would be fun to write some Sunday letters and link up with Big Time Literacy today!

Dear Madrid,
It feels like only yesterday that I left you, even though it's been almost two years. Although summer isn't the best time for us to reunite (you're SO hot!), I love that I can relax and enjoy being here in ways I couldn't when I lived & worked here.
Thanks for your sunshine and laid-back attitude,
A Former Expat

Dear Madrid Friends,
It has been so much fun catching up with you these past few days! I wish we didn't live so far away from each other so we could do this more often. I don't want our visits to end!
Your Long Distance Friend

Dear Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream,
We've been spending a lot of time together this summer, and you've really helped me stay cool in this heat. Thank you for being the perfect flavor combination. I look forward to seeing you again very soon. Especially since calories don't count during the summer.
Ice Cream Lover

Dear Summer,
You have been so good to me this year. You've shared your sunshine, warm days, and have given many opportunities for long naps, reading, netflix binging, and catching up with friends and family. And I haven't felt the least bit guilty about tossing my planner aside. I love keeping these days as unscheduled as possible. 
With gratitude,
A Relaxed Teacher