Camping is great. You get to wake up to the sunrise every day, immerse yourself in nature, and forget about your responsibilities for a bit. You can breathe in the fresh air, detach yourself from technology for some time, wake up to a spider staring you in the face, not shower for 3 days, and constantly be paranoid about ticks latching to your body. It’s the best.

I’m (obviously) not that big of a camper. I really do like hanging out among the trees and under the sky, but after a while, I need air conditioning, a warm shower, and a comfortable mattress. Having now been camping a few times myself, I’ve learned what to bring and what not to bring each time I’ve returned home after the experience is over. To all the fellow newbie campers out there that think it’s awesome at first and then get into their tent at night and feel like crying because they miss their bed so much, this is for you. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over time to help you feel like you’re “glamping,” when you’re really, actually, not at all.

1) Multiuse makeup wipes. Whether or not you wear a full face of makeup on your camping trip or go the natural route, makeup remover wipes should get packed in your bag. Besides doing the obvious, they can also be helpful in various other situations. I’ve found them especially useful when I take my shoes off and am about to climb into my tent at night to get some sleep. If you don’t wear closed-toe shoes, your feet are going to be nasty from walking around in the dirt. Easy fix? Wipe them down with some makeup wipes. They’re mess-free and you don’t have to walk to the nearest water source to wash your feet and then dry them. They won’t give you the deepest clean (depending on how dirty your feet actually are), but they’ll make you feel better about climbing into your sleeping bag at night.

2) Bathroom talk. Going camping with my boyfriend and other guys makes me jealous. It makes me jealous because they can just run off into the darkness and pee into a bush with ease while us women have to pull our pants down, pop a squat, and make sure we don’t get any pee on our own feet. I’ve been to camping music festivals where at least there were porta-potties, but those can be even worse when drunk people are entering in and out of them, and in that case I’d rather get my own bodily fluids on me than someone else’s. *shudder* So, I bought a little silicone funnel, basically, called the GoGirl, which is made specifically for women when they’ve gotta go and there’s nowhere near to do it. NO. SHAME. It makes things so much easier. It’s still a little gross and invasive but, hey, I can stand and pee without worrying about acquiring multiple diseases from a dirty porta-potty or smelling like a cat’s litter box, so that’s a plus.

3) Pack light. While it may be tempting to dress like a stylish hippie chick a-la Stevie Nicks, make sure you actually pack clothes that are going to be appropriate for the weather and the environment you’ll be in. You really don’t need 5 outfit changes. You’ll probably end up falling asleep in your outfit from the day, anyway. Rompers are a bad idea (see #2), maxi skirts/dresses will be ruined by the time you leave, and open-toed heels will kill your feet. Keep it simple, comfortable, and light and airy—especially if the weather will be warm. And wear things that you wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty (aka nothing you spent a decent amount of your paycheck on).

4) Bug spray. Lots of it. After a weekend camping, returning with only 4 bug bites is a success. For reasons unknown, mosquitos love me. (I have a burning hatred for them.) This goes for everyone—not just the ladies—but bring bug spray. This should be priority on your packing list. Bugs carry disease and nobody has time for that.

5) Tweezers. Another creature of the woods that has potential for harm: the tick. Places like the CDC recommend wearing long sleeves and pants if you’re going to be walking through grassy areas (and if you’re in an area where ticks are aplenty). But if it’s 80 degrees out, I’m doubtful that you’d want to be wearing a sweater. Hopefully the bug spray that you pack will prevent ticks from clinging onto your skin, but if the inevitable happens, make sure you have some (clean) tweezers on hand to pluck ’em off. (You shouldn’t use your hands, as pieces of the nasty bug can get stuck in your skin.) And even if you don’t end up using the tweezers for tick-plucking, at least your eyebrows will look great.

6) Some type of inflatable mattress. Anyone who actually enjoys sleeping on the cold, hard ground is insane. (I’m sorry, but I like cushioning.) If I could sleep in a pile of warm laundry every night, I would. The thin layer of fabric in a tent that separates you from the earth does not provide enough of a barrier from the rocky, bumpy surface. This is why I feel that it is absolutely pertinent that you bring some type of air mattress, cushion, or blow-up pool raft (hey, it’s better than nothing) to sleep on.

7) Dry shampoo. My hair is thick and wavy, which means I can get away without washing it for probably 3 or 4 days before it turns into an oil zone. But even still—after dancing, sweating, or just being outside—it can get pretty gross within a day. And when there are no real showers around, that could be an issue. Dry shampoo, though, is the answer to all of your problems.

8) Handheld mirror. Because taking out your contacts using selfie mode on your iPhone is not fun. (Trust me, I’ve tried it.) Even better would be a battery-powered mirror that lights up so you can also see in the dark—if not, a traditional flashlight will do. You don’t realize how often you check yourself out in a mirror on a daily basis until you don’t have one to do so.

9) Portable phone charger. Okay, so I know I mentioned the whole ‘unplug yourself from reality’ thing before. But the thing is, having a charged phone is nice. Not only is it useful if you somehow wander away from your friends and find yourself lost in a sea of tents, but how else are you going to document the fun adventures you’ll have? That Instagram photo isn’t going to upload itself, you know.

Another month has come and gone. It’s officially back-to-school season (for those still in school), and I *sniff* sort of miss it. Of course, after Labor Day, everyone automatically starts mourning the end of summer and preparing for fall. But I’m not going to do that. We still have until September 22nd, and I’m going to enjoy every last bit left of summer that I can—especially since it’s still 80+ degrees outside.

With the end of August, however, comes a new set of favorite things from the month.

tv

I’m going to begin with a TV show because even after the last episode of the season, I still can’t stop thinking/talking about it. That show? Stranger Things, obviously. (It is the most popular original series on Netflix.) I had read about it after it exploded all over social media and decided to begin watching it one weekend—but I had to stop myself before I sat there for 8 hours and finished every episode. Everything about it was awesome: the cinematography, the actors/actresses, the storyline, the soundtrack. I’m hooked.

My favorite character is probably a tie between Eleven (duh) or Hopper? IDK, man. They are all so interesting. I just can’t even put into words how much I love the show. Also, #JusticeForBarb.

listen

This whole post is just going to be Stranger Things related favorites. (Just kidding.) But this one is.

After seeing so many unfamiliar faces on the show, I decided to look up each of the actors/actresses to find out more about them. And I found that Steve Harrington (aka Joe Keery in real life, aka someone I’d probably have a crush on if I was in the show and I support Nancy’s decision in the end but I’m also sad because, Jonathan) is in a BAND. And the band is actually really good. They sound like Tame Impala (who I love) and I completely dig their sound. They’re called Post Animal, they’re from Chicago, and Joe plays drums. Here’s a completely trippy music video to one of their more popular songs:

 

hair

My hair is somewhere between wavy and curly, and always frizzy (especially if I don’t put any products in it). I used to be into those curl-enhancing creams, sprays, and gels, but sometimes they just didn’t work, or dried out my hair, or made the texture too crunchy and gross. screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-42-35-pmThat’s why lately I’ve been into forgetting about those and, instead, simply using hair oils (such as Moroccan oil) and that’s about it. I know there are a bunch of other different types of oils out there that have different benefits for your hair, but this one is what I’ve been using. There’s a fine line between using too little (and ending up with dull, poofy hair) and using too much (and ending up with greasy, stringy hair), but I find that this works best with my hair type and texture. And for the final product, after I’ve let my hair air dry, it feels softer, looks shinier, and isn’t quite as frizzy as normal.

 

 

shop

Go to Lulus.com right now and try not to buy everything. If I could, I would buy everything on there. I would be broke, but at least I’d be fashionable (JK). Seriously, though, I have ordered way too many things from them in the past month. They have a lot of “bohemian”-looking clothes, many work-appropriate items, and an abundance of cute dresses. I also really love the fact that they have a separate vegan section for shoes. Even though I’m not vegan, if given the choice, I would choose fake leather over something that used to be animal skin any day. Rooting for this brand to someday open up a storefront in the NYC area.

places

During the last weekend of August, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a mini vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. Being from New Jersey, we are pretty familiar with the Jersey shore and have been to plenty of our state’s own beautiful beaches. We decided to get out of NJ temporarily, though, and take a 4 hour road trip down to MD. To be honest, not much was different: the beaches looked the same (maybe a little cleaner), the boardwalk had plenty of similar stores filled with shirts with funny/inappropriate sayings on them, and the streets were lined with motels and swimming pools that looked quite similar in appearance.

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-40-58-pmEven though our trip was short, one place we visited stood out in particular. We traveled 20 minutes south of OCMD to Assateague Island National Seashore. Here, the beaches were natural and littered with seashells, you could walk for a mile along the shore and only run into a couple of people, and oh, did I mention there are wild horses that roam the island???

When we were there, the horses were unfortunately staying far away from people on the beach and we couldn’t find them at first. But we soon discovered a bunch of them hanging out near the campgrounds! This was probably my favorite part of the trip and I would 100% go back here and would love to camp and hang out with horses all day (lol). Would definitely recommend this place over Ocean City itself.

Next month, I’ll probably be getting into some more fall-themed favorites. I can promise you, however, that a pumpkin-spiced latte will not be on the list. (Of course I like them, but then again, who doesn’t?)

Somehow, we have already reached August. I swear it feels like the summer just started and now the countdown to pumpkin-related treats and cozy sweaters has begun. Can we slow down time just a little bit so I can actually get more than one beach trip in this season?

Anyway, I’ve decided to create a new monthly post on this blog where I discuss some of my favorite things from the month that just ended. (I’ve seen this on a lot of other blogs and YouTube channels, so it’s by no means original, but I want to share my favorite things with others and maybe even inspire some to check them out!) I’ll cover literally anything and everything I can think of—including beauty/hair products, TV shows, songs, movies, apps, stores, websites, and more.

Let’s get started with July.

beauty

To be honest, I’m not that much of a makeup person. Yes, my dresser is covered in samples of random products and my 2 makeup drawers are pretty much filled to the brim, but a lot of the time, I just don’t have the time to do a full face of makeup. I keep it simple on a daily basis—BB cream, concealer, quick eyeshadow, a quick brow fill in, tiny bit of highlighter, eyeliner, mascara, and I’m done. I don’t even use makeup brushes (even though I have plenty). And I use the same products over anIMG_2684d over until they are dried up and done. Because I don’t use half of the products I buy enough, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on these things.

So, after I realized that ColourPop‘s products were actually super cheap, I had to hop on that bandwagon as well. (I know in beauty world I’m definitely super behind on the trend, but whatever, still going to talk about it!)

I spent $32 and got 7 products. SEVEN! Some lip products go for that much money for one! Obviously, it was very exciting for me. Here’s what I got:

-An eyeshadow in the color Cricket, which is a purple/brown color that is also super shimmery.
-A gel liner in Swerve (I’ve never owned gel liner before, so I went with plain black to start!)
-Two eyeliners: Fast Lane (a deep teal) and Best O (burgundy)
-A lippie stix in Lumière and its respective lip pencil. I’m wearing it in the photo above! I love it because it’s a nice pop of colour (see what I did there?) but still looks natural, especially for someone like me who rarely wears lipstick.
-An ultra matte lip gloss in Privacy Please, which is very(!) bright for me, but it’s gorgeous. Even if I barely wear it out, it was cheap, so I don’t feel too bad.

I would definitely purchase from them again. The products are great quality, there’s an awesome selection of colors, and once again, the prices are phenomenal. 10/10 would recommend.

hair

Man, my hair is hard to take care of sometimes. It’s super thick, can get super frizzy, and lately, it has felt super dry. After reading some articles about how many shampoos actually strip out the natural oils from your hair and subsequently cause it to be more dry, I decided to switch to a new brand: Shea Moisture.

I got their Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine shampoo and conditioner, and they are amazing. They smell great, are sulfate-free and cruelty-free, and make my hair feel 10x softer. The ingredients are simple, including coconut oil, neem oil, and silk protein. I think I’ve finally found my go-to shampoo and conditioner.

app

I am actually the worst when it comes to exercising. Even though I do yoga a couple times a week, I do not get my heart racing enough. I think I would pass out if I jumped right into high-intensity exercise (especially in this summer heat), so I found a way to ease into things. And that’s with the app Couch to 5K. (This is actually a version that’s $1.99. I found a free version by searching the App Store on my iPhone. I’m sure both are great and the concept is the same!)

I’m literally only on Week 1 still (I may or may not have skipped a few days… #truecouchpotato), but I still think it’s great for someone who needs to get motivated and eased into exercise. The first couple of days start you off slow: 5 minute warm-up walk, followed by 20 minutes of alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking, and then a 5 minute cool-down walk at the end. As you keep doing it and your endurance builds up, it gets more intense. Stay tuned to see if I actually finish it and am able to complete a 5K in the end…

listen

It’s been around forever, but honestly, Spotify is the best. I recently downloaded the premium version (so I can play whatever I want without shuffling + no ads!) and my commute to work has never been better. The “Discover Weekly” playlists that it creates for you based off your music taste are also on point. I’ve found such great music from that playlist! My music taste is rock/indie/alternative type stuff (in fact, Spotify even recommended I listen to the playlist “Indie Songs for Slackers.” Um, thanks Spotify?) Here are my favorite 3 songs that I’ve recently been listening to on repeat from July:

  1. “Stay” by Plants and Animals
  2. “The Closest Thing to Heaven” by Memory Maze
  3. “Girl!” by Terror Pigeon

shop

Amazon Prime, you have taken control of my life. Prime Day was July 12th, and I went absolutely crazy. I bought a zoodle spiralizer (healthy food, yes!), a blender/food processor contraption, a Kindle Fire, and probably something else but I can’t even remember. Two-day shipping is a beautiful thing. (Why do I feel like the last few favorites I’ve mentioned are just emphasizing my laziness?)

Jokes aside, I love Amazon because it has literally everything and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realize that. Btw, the zoodles were great, my smoothies have never been so smooth, and hopefully I will be mentioning a favorite book that I’ve read on my Kindle in my August favorites (that’s still a work in progress). Until next month…

coconut-696541_1920

I recently went to a new salon to get a haircut and some balayage highlights. My hair looks great (not going to lie), but it’s still pretty damaged. After chopping about 5 inches off last summer, I neglected it just a tad and didn’t get it trimmed as often as I should have. Combine that with products that dry it out and heated styling tools that leave it crispier than it should be, and you’ve got my present day split end-ridden hair.

The hair stylist who worked on me told me I should seriously consider getting a keratin treatment. But once I looked up the price (over $300…), I had to reconsider that. Plus, when I told a friend about possibly getting the treatment done, she told me that she heard people have to wear face masks when it’s applied because of the toxic chemicals. Obviously, that made me question it even more.

Whether that’s true or not, when I looked up the safety of keratin treatments, I discovered some information that was pretty shocking. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a whole page explaining how some keratin treatments are hazardous. Formaldehyde, aka the stuff that the rat you dissected in 10th grade hung out in to preserve its body, is actually used in some treatments. And even if the product says “formaldehyde-free,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. According to the OSHA, formaldehyde might be listed as methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. There are also other chemicals that can release formaldehyde during the smoothing process, especially when heat is applied.

After reading all of that, I wasn’t really about to run back to the salon to get this treatment. I started looking up ways that I could repair my damaged hair more naturally, and that’s when I came across coconut oil.

I’m sure we’ve all heard dozens of people rave about the many benefits of coconut oil. But what’s the science behind it, and does it actually work?

Let’s start with what it’s made of. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, coconut oil is basically all fat and nothing else—13.6 grams of it to be exact. But it’s not the same kind of fat that you’d find in a burger. Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids or triglycerides. These are harder for our bodies to convert into stored fat and easier to burn off.

But we’re not ingesting the oil, we’re actually applying it to our hair. So, how does it help? A study that compared the effects of sunflower oil, mineral oil, and coconut oil on hair found that coconut oil was the only one out of the 3 that was found to reduce protein loss (for both damaged and undamaged hair)—and it all stems back to the composition of the oil. In other words, because of the fat stuff we talked about before (triglycerides), coconut oil is better able to penetrate the hair shaft.

This all goes back to keratin, which is the protein that hair is primarily comprised of. While keratin treatments do actually work as a restorative treatment that strengthens hair with, duh, keratin, who wants all the additional chemicals that come with it? Since hair is mostly made of protein, and coconut oil can reduce the loss of protein, I think it sounds like a much better, and healthier, choice.

I’ve tried it myself a few times, and while I haven’t used it enough to really see a huge difference, it does make my hair initially feel softer and shinier. Before I go to bed (when I know I’ll have enough time to wash it out in the morning), I coat my hair thoroughly with the oil—no section is left untouched. It may take some time to get used to, since your hair will look and feel like you haven’t washed it in 2 months (except that it’ll smell great), but that’s not a big deal, and you can always wrap your hair up in a t-shirt or towel before hitting the pillow. In the morning, your regular shampoo and conditioner will wash it out, even if it takes a second go-around.

Compared to keratin treatments, coconut oil is a cheaper alternative, healthier, more natural, and you can do it all yourself. You may not see results right away, but in the end, your hair will thank you. And even if you find it doesn’t work for your hair, don’t throw it away—coconut oil can also be used as a makeup remover, as a moisturizer, to clear up bad breath, different ways around the house, as a way to clear up bad breath, in your cooking … The list goes on forever.


Let me know what you think! Has coconut oil worked for you and your hair?
(Just throwing a little disclaimer in here: I’m not a scientist + there are limited studies out there on this subject.)

yoga-544970_1920

I’m not necessarily unathletic, but I lack the motivation to do athletic things. I got by with gym class in school and softball up until 8th grade, and then ceased pretty much any and all activity that required me to get out of breath once all that ended.

I took a yoga class my senior year of college, and was surprised by how difficult it was. Even though I was a little bit discouraged by the fact that a lot of the other members of the class could do some of the positions and I couldn’t, I knew yoga was something I had to keep pursuing.

But yoga classes can be expensive, especially right after college. So, one day, while browsing the Internet (like I’d usually be doing rather than exercising), I came across a yoga instructor who posted free videos on her YouTube channel. They weren’t an hour long like most classes you’d attend are, but they were short and sweet and to the point.

And I became addicted.

My favorite YouTube yogis: Bad Yogi (Erin Motz) and Yoga With Adriene

I came across Bad Yogi first and immediately felt like she was my spirit animal. Bad Yogi, as proclaimed on the website, is “yoga’s anti-clique.” It’s a community of people who might not fit into the stereotype of someone who does yoga. And trust me, when I first started, I definitely did not feel like I fit in. I was the person who never exercised. I was the person who’d drink (too much?) wine in one sitting. I didn’t know what bakasana or pranayama was. (I still don’t. I Googled those just now.)

Bad Yogi is all about doing what makes you happy. So what if you do 30 minutes of yoga and follow it up with a bowl of buttery popcorn? If kale chips are your thing, that’s fine, too. Anything goes.

I did Erin’s 30-day yoga challenge when I first started out, and even though I missed a couple days here and there and fell behind, I eventually did them all. And that feeling can’t be beat. Not only are the videos 100% FREE, but they’re the perfect motivation to keep going in your practice.

I came across Yoga With Adriene sometime after the 30-day challenge with Bad Yogi ended. (Adriene also did a 30-day challenge, as well another one called Yoga Camp.) Once again, I challenged myself to complete these videos day after day for a month. And even though I was a little bit of a slacker on some days, I still finished and felt great afterwards.

Adriene’s slogan is “Find What Feels Good” and she’s all about modifying poses to find what works best for you. She’s got a super fun personality in all her videos, and after 30 (or more) days of watching her videos, you basically feel like you have a friend. (Awww.)

Her latest challenge, Yoga Camp, also incorporated mantras into the practice. Now before you’re like, whaaaa? Trust me, it’s awesome. I do love my Bad Yogi who tells it like it is, but it’s also awesome to get into the nitty-gritty of yoga and learn how it can really alter your wellbeing. Adriene gets a little into that without going overboard.

Both of these ladies are awesome. And 1) the videos are free, 2) you can do them at home, meaning in your pajamas, when you first roll out of the bed or right before you go to bed— and you don’t even have to leave your house, and 3) they’re catered to different areas of your body and various emotions (Yoga for your shoulders and arms? It’s there. Yoga for when you’re sore? That’s there, too.)

I think everyone should take up yoga, and if you’re a beginner, YouTube videos are a great way to start. Do them when you want, do them how you want, and find what feels good with your bad self.

Summer, you had a good run. July was the hottest month on record (please, turn it down a notch next time), and you provided us with great weather for beach trips, vacations, and backyard BBQs. But the time has come for you to tone down the heat, move on, and let the next season in. Autumn is approaching, and there are a bunch of things to look forward to.

1. Cooler temperatures, first of all

It was nice at first to feel the sunshine on my skin, but I’m sick of sweating in humid 90-degree weather. Autumn temperatures tend to fall in that perfect range where it’s not too hot, and not too cold. So you can walk around without wanting to rip your clothes off and jump into a pool of ice water, or cover every inch of your body is multiple layers of fleece.

2. It’s just so pretty

Nature is awesome. And sure, summer sunsets, spring blooms, and the first 20 minutes or so of a winter snowfall are beautiful, but nothing can really compare to the leaves on a tree in autumn. I mean, just think about all of the colors—and all of the Instagram-worthy posts to come.

3. The clothes

There is nothing in this world like a cozy sweater. It’s like a constant hug wrapped around your body. And a good pair of boots is the second best thing. Plus, it’ll be easier to dress for things like work in the fall, rather than going from the hot outdoors to an overly air conditioned office building in the summer and having to bring extra layers with you. If you needed a reason to go shopping, here it is. Do it.

4. Halloween

Halloween is one of those holidays that has just turned into plain, stupid fun. Come up with a costume more ridiculous than everyone else, show it off at a party, eat a lot of candy, and then it’s over.

5. Haunted hayrides and more

The entire month of October is like a pre-Halloween celebration. There are tons of creepy movies to watch (while cuddled up in your comfy sweater, of course), haunted houses to visit and get scared at (if you don’t mind that), and other terrifying attractions to give you an adrenaline rush.

6. Thanksgiving

Family, friends, and food: the three great F’s of life. Is there anything better than getting together with your loved ones, eating turkey (or Tofurky if that’s your thing), and just enjoying each other’s company?

7. Exercising outside

Raise your hand if you’ve refrained from going for a run because it’s just too hot outside. (Not me, because I don’t really run.) But there have still been plenty of times where I’ve decided to choose central air over scorching temps. Autumn is the perfect season for outdoor runs, walks, hikes, and bike rides—without feeling like you’re going to pass out and die of heat stroke.

 8. Beer beer beer

October brings none other than Oktoberfest, accompanied with giant mugs the size of your head and all the beer you could ever need. And, of course, all of the seasonal ales that aren’t available any other time of the year.

 9. An apple a day

On a healthier note, let’s talk about apples. Apple picking brings up fun memories from my childhood. It’s a great activity for both the young and old, and makes eating this healthy snack 10x more fun. As long as you pick the ripe ones…

10. Pumpkin everything

I know saying this makes me sound super #basic, but come on. Is autumn really autumn if you go through it without drinking at least one pumpkin spice latte? Or without eating a pumpkin pie? Or without just going out to a pumpkin patch, picking the biggest one, and bringing it home to carve out its insides and give it a face? The answer is no.

So, see you next year, summer. Autumn doesn’t sound bad at all. But don’t worry, we’ll be wishing you were back once the brutal cold of winter is here.

After college, the word summer just doesn’t have the same meaning to it anymore. It isn’t a 3-month long break for vacations, sleeping in, days spent by the pool, 2 am nights out with friends, and maybe an internship or part-time job with an end date in sight. Once you enter the working world, summer is just another season.

I graduated from college a little over a year ago and have been working full-time since October, so this is my first real post-college summer without any long breaks or transitions, and summer just seemed to pop up out of nowhere. There are no “last days” anymore to signify the start of the season; one hot, sunny day you head to work, and you just realize it’s here.

One thing you know for sure is that summer is winding down when you start hearing and seeing advertisements for back-to-school season. So before you let the summer pass you by completely, find ways to enjoy it to the fullest (even if you are sealed into a 9-to-5 schedule), and get back the feeling you used to have when summer meant something greater.

Don’t Forget To Use Your Vacation Days

Just because you don’t have plans to go on a tropical vacation this summer doesn’t mean you can’t use your vacation days. Plan a “staycation” and take a couple days off to relax at home. Relive your summers as a carefree teenager, sleep in, and stay in your pajamas till the afternoon. Of course being a hard worker is important, but so is giving yourself a break to unwind. It doesn’t matter if you use your time off to binge watch a TV show on Netflix while stuffing popcorn in your face, or if you spend it hanging by a pool with a drink in your hand. Do what makes you happy, and it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Go On Mini Weekend Trips

Weekends become so much more valuable in the post-grad realm. Too much free time on Saturdays and Sundays now makes me antsy. While it’s nice to sit around during the day sometimes, I’d rather fill my weekends up with fun or productive activities. A weeklong vacation may not be in the cards, but why not a quick weekend trip away? Head to the nearest beach, go on a camping trip if that’s your thing, hit up a music festival, take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been, or travel to see friends or relatives that don’t live in your vicinity. Do something out of your comfort zone. Years from now, you probably won’t remember the details of your daily work routine, but the memories from a spontaneous weekend trip will stay.

Take Advantage Of Your Lunch Break

Obviously there’s no time for road trips during a short lunch break, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit indoors and eat at your desk. Why not get up and go outside for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood? Explore the different stores and restaurants nearby, find a park and eat your lunch there, or just sit on a bench outside and enjoy the fresh air. Take a moment and think back to the winter. Maybe you like walking on icy sidewalks in 15-degree weather, but I’m pretty sure I’d rather spend my time outdoors under the sun. Plus, it’s good for you, so take advantage of this season’s weather before its time is up.

Go Out On A Weeknight, Even If You’re Tired 

Remember in college when you’d go out on a Tuesday night even if you had class early the next morning? Now, even thinking about going out on a weeknight makes me tired. Even the hardest partier can turn into a “grandma” after college ends. It can be so much more satisfying sometimes to just get home and be in bed by 11 pm with your cat snuggled up next to you rather than go out for happy hour or meet up with some old friends for dinner. But it’s summer. The days are longer, and you’re not a grandma yet. Stray from your routine every once in a while and be a little rebellious. Sleep is important, but so is having fun.

Things may be different now, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire summer a certain way. Don’t let the seasons blur together into one giant mass of work, work, and more work. Make this summer stand out.