By Cassie Johnston
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I like hard work. I like a job well done. I like achieving my goals. I love kicking ass and taking names. But you know what? I also love being able to read the same book 10 times in a row to my kid (okay, maybe I don’t love the same book part). I love sitting on the beach and sipping fruity cocktails. I love going to the farmer’s market. I love cruising the dollar bins at Target. I love sipping on cold brew at a coffee shop. I love sleeping in. I love making pancakes on a Tuesday morning. I am a proud un-workaholic.
It hasn’t always been this way. No way. During my last semester of college, I literally had five jobs at the same time (I worked at a candy store, a children’s museum, the university’s marketing department, as a computer lab supervisor, and as a marketing intern for the anthropology department). All while doing my thesis. And you know what that got me? An awesome resume and a trip to the emergency room for exhaustion.
I’d like to say that the transition to a balanced life was a swift one, but it took me years, a patient husband, a move to the middle-of-nowhere, and a crazy awesome kid to finally figure it all out. One of the concepts I try to remember everyday is that everyone you meet you has something to teach you—even if it’s something as simple as learning what you don’t want to be.
And throughout my professional career, I met a number of people who had the exact life I didn’t want. They worked late into the night. They came in on the weekends. Work was their life. They checked their email while at the dinner table. And it became real obvious to me real quick that that wasn’t the life I wanted for myself or my family. It didn’t mean what they were doing was wrong—it may have been perfect for them—it just wasn’t what I wanted. Like Amy Poehler says, “Good for you, not for me.”
Even though I had (have) workaholic tendencies, I realized that the workaholic life wasn’t what I wanted. So I changed it.
I quit my job. I started my own business so I could be at home. I created margins in my life. Now, I don’t work weekends (ever). I usually only work 5-6 hours per day. It takes me two to three (or four) days to answer an email. I make dinner for my family every night (even if it’s frozen pizza). I read my kid the same book ten times when she asks. I have an office space that gets closed off during non-work hours. And I take an entire month off from work in the summer.
I have to tell you, as a red-blooded, middle-class American, my first instinct is to apologize for how fortunate I am to be in a position where I’m able to live this life. I know the freedom to set my own schedule and be home to cook supper and read my kid a book and take a month off is a luxury that not many folks have. Would I be able to get further in my career if I worked a Saturday every now and again? Maybe. But that’s not what’s important to me. That’s not my priority. That’s not what’s good for me.
So I’m not going to apologize. Because, honestly, I’m not sorry. Do I wish everyone could have this charmed life? Absolutely. Am I sorry that I have it? Nope. Not even a little. I’m proud of my balance.
Anyway, all this rambling is laying the foundation to tell you that this is my last post for the next month. Last summer, I decided while standing on the shores of Lake Superior that I was going to take a yearly sabbatical to reconnect with all the things I love about life—and today starts this year’s. I’m so going to miss you guys, but I’m ready to take a few weeks to reconnect with me.
Last year was my first time taking a month off from my business, and it was terrifying (would I even have a business to come back to?), but it was the BEST thing I ever did for my business, my family, and myself. I came back inspired, recharged, and read to tackle the “busy” season that is the food holidays in the last few months of the year. I think I did some of my very best work after my time off last year. I’m a better, more creative, more inspired person with some margin in my life.
What am I going to do for the next month? Well, I’m going to finally get around to weeding my garden. And I’m going to go to the children’s museum with my kid. And I’m going to cook food without worrying about how good it looks for a photograph. And I’m going to turn off my computer. And I’m going to spend a glorious 10 days on the beach with my family. Where I’m sure we’re going to drink a least a dozen or so of these margaritas.
These are not your traditional margaritas—which is little more than lime juice, good tequila, and triple sec. I love tequila (it’s my booze of choice), but even I like a little bit of sweetness in my margaritas. I’ve been working on a perfect margarita mix recipe for a while now, and I think I finally landed on it just in time to serve it up to my fam during our vacation.
These margaritas are tart and tangy and a tiny bit sweet—not even close to how sweet the margarita mixes or the margaritas you get from a restaurant are. To really make these margaritas off-the-charts amazing, the simple syrup that is used is infused with orange zest and salt. You are free to salt the rims of your glasses, but you don’t have to because the mixture is just a touch salty—it’s really perfect.
This mix is great because you can stash it in your fridge and serve up one margarita, two, or even make up a whole pitcher. Because the margarita mix is infused with orange, you don’t need to add triple sec to the final cocktail. All you need to make an awesome margarita are two ounces of mix and two ounces of good tequila. Beach chair optional.
I hope you have an amazing month, and I’ll see you again in mid-August (and you can always check-in with me during the month on Snapchat—I can’t quit you). Love you guys! Enjoy.
Make one cocktail at a time or a whole pitcher full with this Homemade Margarita Mix. Keep it in the fridge for quick summer cocktails!
To make frozen, blended margaritas, freeze the mix in ice cube trays, the blend cubes with equal parts tequila until smooth and frosty.
This mix comes out tinted orange/yellow due to the orange juice. Many margarita mixes are dyed green unnaturally using artificial colors. If the color bugs you, a sprinkle of matcha powder whisked in will do the trick.
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Rate this recipe
Can’t wait to make this and have some yummy drinks. Have a great vacation. You will be missed!
Good for you Cassie! You will be missed but this is a wonderful idea – we all need a balanced life but sometimes you gotta force it and trust that it’s for the best..
I hope to share with you my “Cassie Hair” when you return (appointment is booked for August 6th – my first haircut in 6 months!).
I love you quoted Yes, please. That book has inspired me in so many ways.. I hope you have a great month off!
Have a great vacation! You will be missed, but looking forward to your recipes next month.
Just reading this has made me feel so summery! I can’t wait to make.
Enjoy your well-deserved time off!
Enjoy your time off! I can’t wait for you to get back and be recharged… you always have great things to share when you are feeling well (always really, but really good when you are fresh… you know what I’m saying).
I was hoping to make a big batch of this as a Christmas gift. Is it possible to make the mix and then add the tequila prior to storing in the refrigerator? I would like it to be ready to serve with the alcohol already in the mix. Have you tried this or know if it would work? Thanks, can’t wait to try it!
I haven’t tried it, but if you do, let me know how it works out!
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