Five Highlights

There is no way around it, so I am going to name the elephant in the room right off the bat—

I definitely overestimated how ambitious I would be over the summer in consistently posting while vacationing in Europe. One oversight on my part was how often we would be traveling from place to place with only a few days at each location and trying to maximize the time we spent outside and away from technology. Another oversight was the amount of time it took for me to load the pictures onto my computer from my camera, select the ones I liked, reflect on what was done each day, and then write about it. Hopefully, I will be able to play “catch-up” at an efficient speed and be back on track in no time! ūüôā

Moving on to this week’s fiveeeee highlights!

1. “Hunt, Don’t Fish”


Photo: Lifehack

I initially heard quote¬†from a professional development session last week, and it just stuck with me. I believe¬†this motto applies not only for the classroom, but also in our personal lives. I think there is a certain mindset that we all sometimes adopt where we think that because so many aspects of our lives are out of our locus of control (and also unknown!), we do not really take the time or assertiveness to go after the things we really want.… READ FULL POST

Lisbon, Portugal (Europe Tour 2015)

Lisbon was the unexpected bonus from our European adventure. Admittedly, we did not know much about this understated yet charming city when we initially booked the first leg of our trip. I decided on a whim to stop through this city on our way to Spain since one of my friends, Erica, raved about her visit from a few years back.

We really enjoyed our brief stay. The people were incredibly nice, the sights were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the streets were not overcrowded with tourists. It was also the perfect first stop to ease us into our three week whirlwind of a vacation.

We landed in Lisbon on Sunday (7/12) and left late Tuesday (7/14)  for the overnight train ride to Madrid. Below are some of our highlights:

Note: all of the photos below were taken by me and were not retouched in any way. I am using my Nikon D3200 (purchased from my college days) to document this trip. 

View from our hop-on/hop-off bus tour (My advice? Skip the ride– not necessary. Save your Euros for a bigger city bus tour like Barcelona!)



Bel√©m–¬†Mosteiro dos Jer√≥nimos



Past√©is de Bel√©m— arguably serve the best egg custard in the world.… READ FULL POST

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks & Travel Updates

I am still very much in the process of downloading all of my Lisbon and Madrid pictures from my camera to my computer, so please bear with me on my overdue travel adventure post that will be coming up shortly!

John and I will be leaving the beautiful city of Madrid tomorrow for the equally stunning Barcelona. I have been asking a lot of Spanish locals about the distinct difference between these two cities– one compared Madrid as the “quirky cousin” to the “hippy and cool” Barcelona. Interesting. I¬†will make my own judgements soon and cannot wait to share them with y’all!

Today, however, I really wanted to write a post about some of my favorite items from this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I know Grace wrote about¬†some of her favorites just last week so I wanted to make sure that I do the same. I will divide my selections into three sections; my own purchases (some of which are already waiting for me in my apartment for my return!!), my wishlist for when I am rolling in dough, and the items I bought from the early access sale that are no longer available.… READ FULL POST

Lisa and John’s Europe Tour 2015


Madrid At Twilight HD Desktop Background

Photo: PATCH

John and I have officially begun our three-week adventure through Europe! We landed in Lisbon today and will be making our way to Madrid, next, followed by Barcelona, Nice, Copenhagen, Santorini, and Athens! It will be such a thrilling, magical, and (most likely!) tiring rideРand we are on the edge of our seats with excitement.

Whenever we end¬†our journey¬†in one city, I will compile a photo blog post that will highlight all of the attractions¬†from our itinerary. When we return home in August, I will be sure to finally finish my “Europe Planning 101” post so that if you¬†are thinking about your next European excursion, I can provide some helpful suggestions ahead of time!

Until we meet again, have a wonderful beginning of your week wherever you might be! ūüôā… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week


Photo: Mashable

Hellooooo, summer break! I have missed you and have been secretly (okay, maybe not-so-secretly) pining for you for what seems like eternity.

I have been officially “off” teacher-mode since this past Tuesday and let me tell you, summer vacation for educators surely lives up to the hype. Honestly, the last few days have been about nothing but relaxing, working out, and getting my groove back! It has been glorious and I cannot wait to keep up this lifestyle until early August, when I am due back at work. Of course, the next month or so is not only about fun and games. I have a huge load of pre-work for the next academic year that is due the minute I step back inside our school building. John and I are also also still slowly chipping away at fixing and cleaning up our brand-new apartment. Nevertheless, I am grateful for this time off and the rejuvenation¬†that is coming my way!

With that said, here are some of my “top hits” from this week:


1. I get haircuts about three to four times a year. When I go, it is usually not to get a trim, but to make some pretty significant changes since I do not really want to pay $70-80 just to cut a few inches, ya know?… READ FULL POST

How to Plan Your Workout Routine

I think it would¬†be hard to find another gal who likes structure and routine more so than me. I love consistency. I love knowing what to expect in my future, both in twenty minutes and a year from now. Of course, this does not mean that I do not leave room for the unknown. In fact, because I am so use to routines in my daily life, I am often delighted by an unexpected surprise and would seek out a spontaneous adventure every now and then. Part of the reason why I rely so heavily on my routines (and am also a stickler at making ’em!) is because I know myself very well–if I do not make a plan and follow¬†it, I¬†would be too lazy to have the discipline needed to set something up along the way.


Photo: Title Boxing Club

Fitness¬†falls directly into this category.¬†Working out is not something that comes naturally for me. It is something that I know I should be doing in order to stay fit, both mentally and physically. Therefore, I knew I had to come up with a few different ways to motivate myself so that I stay on track and go to my classes at least five times a week, if not more!… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week

I just got back tonight from a four days, three nights camping adventure with my oh-so-energetic kiddos to Virginia. What a trip! I can honestly say that I have a newfound appreciation toward parentsРespecially ones who have more than one child! Taking care of forty scholars (and their ever-changing needs) twenty-four hours a day was no easy feat. On top of that, our anticipated four hour bus ride back today turned into an eight hour adventure because our bus driver got lost and traffic was a nightmare (oh, by the way, did I forget to mention that the air conditioning on the bus broke toward the beginning of the ride?!) Needless to say, I am mentally and physically spent, and will definitely be taking this entire weekend to fully recuperate!

With that said, this week was also one full of crazy “highs” for me and I know I will be focusing more on remembering these moments (rather than the exhaustion) in the long run!


1. I officially moved out of my studio apartment this past Monday! It was such a bittersweet moment. As you guys know, I loved every moment of living there. Unfortunately, the space was just too limited for both John and I.… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week

Oh boy, if a week could physically knock me down to my knees, this one¬†would have probably done the trick. Work has been immensely stressful as of late, and combined with packing and the general stress of moving, I have been¬†a big ol’ mess! MAJOR kudos to my other (most often, more patient) half for putting up with an overly emotional me ūüôā


In the spirit of moving towards positivity, and only worrying about things within my own locus of control, here are my five highlights of what I am especially looking forward to doing. Fingers crossed that I will make it there in one piece!


Photo: Tumblr

1. Summer break is officially 7 more work days away. As a teacher, this is a big, big deal! It has also been a rollercoaster of an academic year. While it is not an experience I will trade for anything in the world, I am also beyond myself with excitement that in about a week, I will be tasting the deliciousness of freedom!


2. Boss marathon! While aimlessly searching for new discoveries¬†on Netflix the other night, John and I came across this show. After just one episode, we are instantly hooked.… READ FULL POST

8 Things I Learned About Life After College


Ah, it is the season! (No, I am NOT referring to the holidays, silly!) My Facebook newsfeed is bursting with college/medical school/law school (you name it, one of my FB “friends” is probably doing it!) graduation pictures and updates. It makes me feel both old and nostalgic. In fact, Facebook kindly reminded me just last week¬†that my very own college graduation was three years ago. “Would you like to share this post again with your friends?”¬†No, thank you!

I would, however, relish the opportunity¬†to pass down some conclusions I have gathered from post college life experiences. I dare not call it “advice.”¬†I feel like unless I have solved ..say, world hunger or cured cancer, I do not have the capacity to offer words of wisdom. I do, however, feel it is necessary to share what I have learned from the oh-so-thrilling years I have spent in the “real world.”


Photo: Andrus & Morgan

1. Work hard. Be nice. — I actually took this motto from the charter network, KIPP¬†(which stands for Knowledge Is Power Program). Some of the¬†most influential teachers I have met through Teach For America are affiliated with KIPP.¬†… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week: Netflix (Part II)

First, I would like to apologize for the lateness of this post! I had it written and almost ready to go, but an intense neck spasm episode has kept me away from social media for the last couple of days. They, as you can probably imagine, are not fun. Yesterday at work, I finally could not stand it any longer. The pain was causing me to break down in tears (definitely not ideal in front of my kiddos!), so I promptly went to my doctor who prescribed me some anti-inflammation and muscle relaxation pills. Then, I went to see a physical therapist. Needless to say, I am now in much, much better shape. I will not be at 100% for at least a few more weeks, but I am at least on the path to recovery. More so than ever, I am grateful for my health and the health of my loved ones!

I will be talking about five of my favorite shows on Netflix today (this is part II! Missed part I? Check it out here!). Taking in the silver lining, this post is perfectly timed since I will be taking it easy this weekend; relaxing in bed with these wonderful shows on my iPad propped up on my lap.… READ FULL POST