Thankful For…

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Thanksgiving has become such a strange time of the year for me. As one of my favorite holidays, I have always looked forward to the cozy day that truly marks the start of the Christmas season. Everyone is always in such an amazing mood, and not to mention it’s the best meal of the year. (Seriously, why can’t we normalize eating green bean casserole and stuffing all year round?) Something about Thanksgiving and our traditions at home just always felt right to me, and I just can’t seem to explain it.

Since starting college, I have spent the past three Thanksgivings at school, just because the timing with our breaks is super strange, and flights this time of year can be pretty expensive. Yet I never let that stop me from enjoying my favorite traditions. Growing up, my family would start the day off in our PJs watching the parade, while eating our gourmet breakfast of McDonald’s. Nothing special, but it was something my sister and I looked forward too all year. I’m here to tell you that the tradition still stands, and no matter where I spend my Thanksgiving, I vow to myself to start it off the same way.

I’ve also been able to start my own traditions too. Every year, my Her Campus ladies and I have been able to host a “friendsgiving” potluck filled with smiles and amazing memories. The past three years, Josh and I have been able to spend the holiday weekend together, and although he hasn’t quite picked up on how amazing the parade is to watch, he happily drives me to McDonald’s to make sure I can enjoy my annual bacon, egg, & cheese McGriddle. Last year we even cooked our own Thanksgiving meal, and it was so much fun (and extremely hard) to figure out how to downsize a feast for just two people.

I’m so thankful for my life in Florida, and how everything has been falling into place for me the past few years. I’ve had amazing job opportunities, I fell in love with my school, and the most amazing people have entered my life since moving here. I miss celebrating Thanksgiving at home, but I am so grateful to have found a second place to call home and create these new memories. in.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter how you’re celebrating this year!

xoxo,

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

BLOG, orlando

I know, I know, Thanksgiving is still a day away, but who are we really kidding? The Christmas spirit has been out in full force here in Orlando since before the Halloween season was even over. Overkill? For sure, but that’s just how it’s done here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year is an incredibly exciting year for me to be in the holiday spirit early, because I finally get to go home for Christmas after a brutal year alone. So for about 24 hours I’ll be enjoying the crisp weather and the fresh snow, and for the other 15 days I’m there, you’ll most likely find me complaining about how my body isn’t used to the wind chill.

Nonetheless, I’m trying my hardest to celebrate the holiday season in both of my homes, and take in as many sights as possible to get in the spirit! This past week, I had the opportunity to check out a few of Orlando’s most festive sights that had me decked out in red & green earlier than planned.

Festival of Trees

Orlando Museum of Art

A first for both me and Josh, we headed downtown for the Festival of Trees. Unsure what to expect, I was amazed by the countless number of pines decked out for the holiday season. Festival of Trees is an event put on by Orlando Museum of Art’s Council of 101 to transform the museum into a winter wonderland. Each room was full of trees, wreaths, and table-settings up for purchase to benefit the museum.

Different businesses from all over the community each donated products for the auction or decorated trees to showcase. There was even a room filled with gingerbread houses that really reminded me of home.

It was such a special day that was perfect for kicking of the holiday season here in Orlando!

Christmas Tree Trail

Disney Springs

Of course every year I have to make it out to the other side of town to see how Mickey Mouse decorated for the holidays. One of my favorite things to do (because it’s free) is to go to Disney Springs for lunch. Tis the season for the Holiday Turkey sandwich from Earl of Sandwich, so I made that a priority of my small little day trip. Listen, this sandwich actually scared the heck out of me a year ago. Who would put turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce all on one sandwich? (Well other than Ross Geller.) Well, last year I ordered it expecting it to be the worst thing I ever ate, but my knockoff “moist-maker” turned out to be my new favorite sandwich. The best part about it is ordering it in June, when you’re really craving Thanksgiving food.

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The Christmas Tree Trail is conveniently located right next to Earl of Sandwich, so now you have no excuse not to try the Holiday Turkey. We headed to the entrance and were greeted with the familiar tunes of Micheal Bublé and snoap (Floridian snow made of soap suds) falling from the sky.

I swear the events team at Disney sets a goal to outdo themselves every year, and you can really see it in the trail. As always, each tree is designed to match a certain Disney movie or attraction, and this year there were more than ever. They also included cute little posters with easter eggs from some of their animations. This year they even got smart and added a shop and concessions right in the middle of the trail.

And I fell victim to it as soon as I saw the most adorable souvenir cup they were offering this year. After finding out it came with a frozen eggnog milkshake, I was sold, and am now a proud owner of another piece of plastic that I have no clue what to do with.

We all got our amazing photos with our favorite trees and wow was the lighting ever in our favor. Bless. Then headed to a few of our favorite stores to start some early Christmas shopping before calling it a day.

Grinchmas

Universal Orlando

The final holiday adventure (for this week at least) brought me to Universal Orlando to see something brand new to me. I recently joined the dark side and became an annual passholder at Universal, which is super exciting because up until now, I have only been there in the summer. So when I found out they were offering a special first look at the holiday festivities just for passholders one day after the parks closed, I signed up so dang fast. At the time I didn’t have anyone to go with, but I wasn’t going to miss out on such an exciting event, so I planned on going solo.

I headed straight to the parks after I got off work on Friday, because they were closing at 7pm, so I had to get at least one roller coaster ride in, right? Universal Studios was dressed up in it’s holiday best, and I’m already counting down the days until I can see all the decorations in daylight.

After the park closed I headed to city walk to meet up with my friend Natalie, and we headed over to the passholder preview. This event was held at Islands of Adventure, so we got to see all new decorations. We started by waiting in a long line to buy passholder exclusive Christmas ornaments, but it was definitely worth it because they are so cute. Ornaments are one of my favorite souvenirs because you get to relive the memories from the adventure while decorating your tree each year.

We then joined the masses and headed to Suess Landing for the first stage show of “The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”. Long story short, it was my favorite show ever, and I will be attempting to go back as many times as possible to watch it before flying home.

That was all we were able to check out in one trip, but i’m planning on going back soon to see Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s (yes, including the balloons), and Mannheim Steamroller does performances free with admission every Saturday and Sunday night.

I’m so excited to continue celebrating the holiday season here in Orlando, at home in Pittsburgh, and even for a few days in Washington DC. It truly is the most wonderful time of year, and the happiness and good vibes are so infectious. This Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me.

Overwhelmed Beyond Belief

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“Hey how’s it going?”, “What have you been up to?”, “How have you been?” Hi, My name is Lena Daniels, I’m 20 years old, and my answer to all of those questions is “I’m overwhelmed. Always.”

As you may or may not have been able to tell by my lack of blog posts, I have been the busiest girl in the world, and I honestly love it. This semester has been kicking my booty in the best way possible, and I have no complaints— so far. The infamous “they” told me that junior year of high school was the year to fear. With SATs, college tours, and the most important GPA year, I thought I rode the struggle bus and was able to get off circa 2015. Yet junior year of college has proven to give my just as much of a challenge so far.

While this semester I am taking the least amount of credits thus far in my college career, I am focusing on my minor, mass communications, so all the coursework is completely new information. I am loving all of my classes so far, but I had to manually switch my brain off hospitality mode for a little bit in order to process all the new knowledge I’m filtering in.

Luckily for me, my new current internship came at the perfect time. I am working on the Public Relations team at a local agency, Six. I’m able to use everything I’ve learned in class so far and translate it into my job. I’ve been creating social media posts, pitching to the media, and planning events for our clients in the area. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before, but it combines all my interests, so it was definitely the perfect fit for me.

And of course, you know all about how Her Campus is taking over my life. Let me tell you, managing a team of 80+ girls is the most insane thing I’ve done, and it brings me so much joy. We’ve accomplished so much as a chapter in such a short period of time, and I’m so excited for the future of this organization.

Oh yeah, and a social life? She’s still going strong. I’m now a Universal Orlando annual passholder, which means my theme parks days are back in action. I never thought I’d cheat on Disney like this, but I’ve been having so much fun exploring these new parks with Josh, who finally gave in and committed to the AP life as well. I’ve also finally been able to attend the UCF football games again, which I am beyond excited about. Having to miss every game of last year’s undefeated was really disappointing, but with they way things are looking this year, we might have another amazing season (knock on wood!)

It’s been crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being bored is my least favorite thing ever, so I think I’m safe from boredom at least for a little while! Also, if you didn’t catch the exciting news, I am now the proud owner of my very own domain! Out with the old .wordpress domain, in with the fresh new website that’s 100% mine. I’m so excited to finally own my own little corner of the world wide web.

Time to got back into blog hibernation for a little while, while I continue to be the busiest person in the world. If I survive this semester without a gray hair, I’ll call it a success.

Until next time,

xoxo,

 

Hello, Junior Year

BLOG, college, Lil Life Updates

So my junior year of college starts tomorrow, and thinking about it makes me want to hurl. Like I know everyone says college flies by, but seriously how did this happen so fast? I haven’t experienced a fall semester since freshman year since I spent last year running around Disney, so I feel like my time has gone by even faster than I thought. It’s crazy to be sitting here getting organized for the first day of classes, knowing that at this time next year, it will be my last time. I love growing up, but now I’m just wishing time would stop.

Looking forward to this year, I have a lot of amazing opportunities coming my way. I am finally *finally* back to only taking 15 credit hours per semester, which will be a huge sigh of relief after spending the past few overloaded with 18-20. This semester specifically, I’ll be focusing on my minor, mass communications, which I recently declared. With this extra time on my hands, I’ll be able to focus on leading the best dang Her Campus chapter the world has ever seen (hopefully).

I also have an exciting new internship in store. I will be starting work with an agency in Ivanhoe Village, called Six, and I’ll be doing all sorts of fun things with them. From social media to PR writing to event planning- you name it! I’ll be gaining experience in both of my fields and combining all of my interests.

As much as I wish I could press the pause button on this semester, I already know it’s going to fly by. I’m really excited for all that’s happening in the next few months, and I can’t wait to share all the adventures along the way.

Until next time,

xoxo,

 

What Really Happened During My Summer Internship

BLOG, college, orlando

“How would you describe your LEAD Internship to a friend?” I was asked by my coworker who sat behind a large camera. As I leaned back in the large chair that overlooked our resort’s 75,000 square foot pool from the presidential suite, I finally took it all in. How do I even begin to describe one of the most eclectic experiences of my life so far? For starters, I’m being interviewed by a film crew for a promotional video, in addition to jumpstarting my acting career by poorly recreating some of my favorite memories of the summer. Who else can say they spent their last week at work doubling as a movie-star-in-training? But it’s just one of the many, many, many hats I was fortunate enough to wear this summer during my program. My time at The Fountains was short, but the memories I made will last a long time.

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Ever since I began my path in the hospitality industry, I knew I wanted to focus onthe tourism industry. I wanted to harbor that excitement one feels when embarking on a vacation and keep that momentum going forever. Specifically, I knew I wanted to work at a resort. Yet I was always posed the question “What part of the lodging industry do you want to work in? What do you want to do at a resort?” and that’s where I always drew a blank. I knew I wanted to work in such an uplifting and exciting environment, but I never knew what specifically I wanted to do there.

When it came time to start searching for summer internships early last winter, I stumbled across the Bluegreen Vacation LEAD Internship. It was a company I never heard of, so I decided to read further about what it was. “Through hands-on training and mentorship with resort staff, interns will participate in comprehensive rotations focusing on operational procedures, advanced systems, and customer service across a range of disciplines including guest services, food & beverage, resort maintenance, housekeep, resort activities, and more”. So basically I had the opportunity to spend the summer trying out anything and everything involved in making the resort run, in order to find what I really enjoyed the most. It was the perfect program for me to finally have an answer to the question of what I wanted to do at resorts.

LEAD

After rounds and rounds of interviews, I was accepted to be one of the two interns at The Fountains resort in Orlando, and I was beyond excited. As summer came around, I was expecting to begin my rotations, and just spend a week doing work in each department. To my surprise, this internship was so much more than just doing work.

On Day 1 we were given a binder with all of the departments we would be shadowing during the program. What I didn’t expect to see in the binder were all the learning elements that we were able to participate in. After coming from an internship where I basically did manual labor for minimum wage, I wasn’t really expecting anything crazy, but just seeing that we had the opportunity to learn while we were here made me so excited.

Each week, we would take on the role of a different department, doing a mix of hands-on work, shadowing managers, and learning the behind the scenes of what makes each operation successful. In addition, we had weekly meetings with our mentor, the resort’s assistant general manager, to talk about both our experiences in the program, as well as the department’s strengths and weaknesses that could be adjusted. I like to call this part of the internship my experience as an Undercover Boss, because we were able to see each department with fresh eyes, and help the resort leadership team fix any errors that they might not have even noticed.

We also were able to participate in weekly video conference calls with the 10 other interns located at Bluegreen properties all over the country to compare and contrast our experiences. During these calls, we were able to network with each other, take classes on Timeshare 101 and Financial Acumen, as well as have inciteful Q&A sessions with the company’s executive members, creating amazing opportunities across the board.

Additionally, we were tasked with creating a capstone project highlighting three ways the resort could enhance the guest’s experience. Over the course of the summer, we were able to pinpoint problem areas and figure out ways to find a solution, in order to better the company as well as better ourselves. At the end of the program, we presented to all of the resorts leaders, as well as the regional manager, and the company’s learning and development team. It was an incredible experience to have my ideas heard and praised, and I look forward to seeing if they’ll be implemented in the near future.

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This internship program was more than just a job where I went to work, did my tasks, and went home. The LEAD Program quickly became the biggest surprise of my young 20-year-old life, as I was able to grow so much in 11 weeks, and open so many doors to my future. I was constantly asked by friends and family what I was doing and how I was enjoying it, and it was just so hard to put my joy into words, so I hope this does the trick.

I was amazed by how welcome I felt every time I stepped on the property. As I rotated through the 9 different departments, I was able to meet almost every employee that worked there, and they always made sure to say hi and talk to me after I moved on to the next rotation. The maintenance department was the best, as they would always greet me with “Good Morning Boss!”, and it went straight to my head. The goal of Bluegreen Vacations is to “share happiness”, and after a shaky few months of not knowing whether or not hospitality was the right field for me, I can confidently say that I am more than happy in this industry, and I thank everyone at the Fountains for helping me feel confident in this role.

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Don’t worry, this isn’t the end of my Bluegreen journey! Next summer I will be going back to The Fountains for a second internship, but this one will focus on one department the whole program. I will learn a more in-depth view of the department I select, and have the opportunity to work as a supervisor in that role. I already know which role I’ll be taking on, but I’ll keep it a secret from you for a little while longer so you have the excuse to visit my blog again in the future.

I am so beyond grateful for all the experiences I’ve been able to have so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until next time,

xoxo,

Hello, New York

BLOG, TRAVEL

So should I start this post with “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, “the greatest city in the world”, or “I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep”? All cliche, but you all know exactly where I’m referring to without even mentioning the name of the city. The big, the bright, the beautiful, New York City! *cue the kickline perfectly synced to big band jazz*

Now, I didn’t come to New York expecting to be a star, but instead, I was here to be wowed by the stars. Just not the ones in the sky, because the light pollution there is astronomical. I made my way to The Big Apple for my first time ever, for a weekend of girl power that shined brighter than anything in the sky. And at #HerConference 2018, I definitely needed to wear shades, because these killer ladies showed us that our future was just as bright, if not brighter, than Time Square at 2 am.

Our trip started off early, as we touched town in LGA just in time to make it to Central Park for lunch with a view. We rented paddle boats and enjoyed the sunshine, before eating authentic New York dogs from an award-winning (probably) cart on the street. After watching our fair share of jumping men that scammed Nicole out of a crisp five dollar bill, we were able to head to our hotel, that was dressed head to toe in all things Marilyn Monroe. Rumor has it she stayed there like, once, so naturally, the whole building was an ode to her. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

After a quick rest to sleep off our non-existent jetlag, we got into the real nitty gritty touristy stuff: Time Square. Starting off the night in the cheesiest, touristy attraction ever, we dined in style at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and were serenaded by the best of off-Broadway’s talent. Karaoke rendition after karaoke rendition of songs I’ve never heard of before was the perfect backdrop to a milkshake and a night on the town. After combating our way through crowds busier than Main Street USA after the fireworks finish, we took the classic Time Square picture and called it a night.

The next morning we started off cultured, by heading over to the Museum of Modern Art. Seeing so many famous paintings in real life was so surreal, and my elementary art teacher would have been proud. We continued our day by hitting up every basic New York attraction out there. Rockefeller Center? Check. Washington Square Park? Check. Macy’s? Check. What else was left to do but see a Broadway show of course! So to continue our day of being cultured, we chose the best of the best, Spongebob The Musical. And honestly, it was one of the greatest shows I had ever seen.

The next two days were spent at Her Conference, becoming inspired by the greatest women to grace this earth. We heard from speakers of all different backgrounds talking about how to really succeed in life. Over the course of two days, we were able to network with influencers and Her Campus members from all over the country, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Already counting down the days until next year!

Following the second night of the conference, we decided to head downtown to SoHo and Little Italy for dinner, which was an incredible surprise. Eating cannoli from the “Cannoli King” himself while musicians played on the street created such an incredible environment that I can only imagine Italy is nothing like.

On our final day, we made it to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from across the river. I’ve only seen Lady Liberty twice, and both times it was cloudy, so it looks like I’ll definitely have to go back to see her in all her glory. We were also able to see the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, and the church where Hamilton is buried.

To finish up the trip, we headed over to the High Line, a park created on old trolley tracks, and Chelsea Market. I made sure to buy handfuls of New York candy to take home before heading back to the airport.

We were able to squeeze so much into such a small amount of time, and I was so happy we made it work. Until next time, “let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”.

How to Survive at UCF Without a Car

Her Campus

Originally published on April 18th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

So you got into your dream college, and you can’t wait to escape your hometown and curfew. Moving away from home, making new friends, and learning how to live independently are all exciting adventures that await your future, and you can’t wait to learn! You’ve packed up your clothes and your favorite photos of your besties, but one thing missing from your college survival kit: the freedom of transportation. If you’re moving away from home and realizing you’ll no longer have access to borrowing your parent’s car 24/7, don’t sweat it, I promise you will survive!

I’ve spent the past two years at UCF without a car, and I’ve compiled my best tips to help you get around without that fresh set of wheels that are missing from your dream.

Live On Campus

You might have your heart set on the luxurious, yet bank-breaking, apartments a few miles down the road from campus, but living at school had its perks. Other than being able to walk everywhere you need to go, you’ll be able to make friends with the residents in your building, and be able to sleep in extra 30 minutes before class. I spent my freshman year living in Lake Claire, and it was one of the best places for me to walk to class every day. UCF has a huge campus that acts as a mini-city, and I was able to do and see so much without ever having to leave. But when we can’t stay here forever, there are other options available.

Take the Shuttles

The shuttles are a gem that don’t get the recognition they deserve. UCF shuttles are free and run to all different parts of Orlando. Need to get groceries? Head on the grocery shuttle that comes every Tuesday to stock up on your favorite snacks. Want to go to Disney? Take the shuttle that runs to the Rosen campus, and your Über from there will only be around $10. Want to grab a bite to eat off campus? Take the different apartment route shuttles that drop off near restaurants, such as Plaza and Colligate Village Inn. Plus if you DO live off campus without a car (currently me), you’ll already be a pro at knowing how they operate.

Be Nice to Your Roommates

If you build up a strong bond with your roommates, I guarantee they will offer to drive you places in times of need. But make sure to hit them with some gas money as a thank you for their favor.

When All Else Fails, Über

What a great age it is that we are now encouraged to go against our parent’s wishes of getting in a car with a stranger. Yet Über and Lyft are powerful tools that will get you where you need to be, without the hassle. UCF even offers 50% off rides Friday and Saturday (k)nights to make sure we stay safe!

Being car-less might seem to be the biggest inconvenience out there, but it has humbled me to think outside the box when it comes to getting around. Remember that when the glorious moment comes that you do get a car of your own, be sure to pay back all your friends in the form of rides to thank them for putting up with you the past couple of semesters.

xoxo,

Two Years are Better Than One

BLOG, Reflections

A year ago, I woke up and had a beautifully typed out blog post ready to be published, celebrating the ups and downs of creating my first blog. June 10th, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of stepping out of my shell and trying something new, and that something just so happened to change the entire way I view life. This morning, I woke up and went through my daily routine, and noticed on my Timehop, that today, in fact, was June 10th, and the day I get to celebrate my blog turning two. Just goes to show you, no matter how hard you plan your life, somethings just sneak up on you. Unprepared, and with my eyes still adjusting to the light of day, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on “Lena Dani” and all that has happened these past two years.

When I created this blog after high school graduation, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I just wanted to keep busy for a day and try something new. In my first year publicly writing to a small audience of family and friends, I was able to discover the power of a post, and how many people actually do care about my small adventures in life. Rounding into this second year, I embarked on some serious journies (i.e. my Disney College Program), and my posting fell near the wayside (i.e. non-existent). No worries there, because I brought her back to life in January to fill in all the blanks.

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During this time I was able to perfect my leadership skills and eventually be offered the role of incoming President for Her Campus UCF. I also was given the opportunity to write for the employee section of our Bluegreen website for the internship I am currently on, all because my managers discovered this blog. I truly believe I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without the creation of this blog.

I recently have also been given the opportunity to work with several different promotional campaigns over social media as well as here at “Lena Dani”, that you can look forward to seeing soon! I accepted invitations to join Influencer Collectives, and go to meetups with fellow Orlando bloggers. I’m even heading to New York City this summer to attend a conference dedicated to girl bosses in the media.

So yeah, you could say that this blog has done a lot for me. I know sometimes that I get too caught up in life to document everything that I experience, but having the opportunity to just highlight on a few different aspects is the reason why this is such an amazing outlet for me.

Cheers to two successful years of “Lena Dani”, and here’s to many, many more!

xoxo,

Songs to Get You in the Summer Mood

Her Campus

Originally published on April 17th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

The sun is shining, your windows are down, and some of the best songs ever made are blasting out of your speakers. Summer is the perfect time to create playlists that radiate pop and positivity! Whether you are gearing up for a long road trip with your friends, or a chill day by the pool, everyone needs an epic soundtrack to back up the life-changing memories made during one of the most adventurous seasons of the year. Here are 13 tunes that you’ll want to max out the volume for all summer long.

1. “Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People

If you loved jamming out to “Pumped Up Kicks” in 2010, you’ll be obsessed with Foster the People’s newest single “Sit Next to Me” that radiates good vibes.

2. “American Dreamer” by Kyd the Band

You’re probably unfamiliar with Kyd the Band, but there’s no way you’re unfamiliar with the American dream. Add this to your 4th of July playlist to keep your party fresh.

3. “Heart Starts Beating” by Coasts

If you’re looking for the perfect song to put your positive emotions into words, look no further with “Heart Starts Beating”, plus who could go wrong with a band named Coasts

4. “Jungle” by Tash Sultana

If you’re more of a fan of progressive rock, Tash will blow you away with her guitar riffs and vocal skills.

5. “Rollin” by Calvin Harris ft Khalid

“Location” singer, Khalid, takes the vocals by storm on the perfect song to accompany your long drives ahead. The uplifting beat and techno beat from Calvin Harris will put a huge smile on your face.

6. “Kamikaze” by Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon is known for their nonstop bops, and Kamikaze is no exceptions. Turn this one all the way up for positive stares from drivers around you.

7. “Weather is Warm” by Manwolves

It’s summers, so chances are that the weather is warm. The chill beats mixed with melodically rapped versus makes this song a crowd pleaser for listeners of all genres.

8. “Always Been U” by Phangs

Techno indie-pop artist Phangs is new to the music scene, but if you’re a dedicated fan you might know front-runner Jake Germany is also a member of Reliant K. “Always Been U” will have you dancing all night long!

9. “Feels Like Summer” by Panama Wedding

Of course, it feels like summer when this song is on repeat. Panama Wedding’s upbeat vibes and feel-good soul will create the perfect soundtrack for your day at the beach.

10. “Made In Hollywood” by LANY

If you can’t make it to California this summer to live out your west coast dreams, LANY will bring you there in just under 4 minutes.

11. “California” by Wilder

Another mental road trip will take place while jamming out to this bop. The intro guitar riffs will have you dreaming of days in the sun.

12. “Beach Boys” by Weezer

A modern classic by the band that brought us past summer hits, such as “Island in the Sun” and “Beverly Hills”

13. “Permanent Vacation” by The Academic

Of course, we all wish we could live in a permanent vacation, and fortunately living in Florida is the perfect excuse to scream this song at the top of your lungs.

Whether you’re road-tripping it to the beach, or stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on your daily commute to work, this playlist will have you rolling your window down and dancing in your car so obnoxiously that others around you will stare. Nothing but infectious good vibes as we enter the carefree days of summer.

xoxo,

I Didn’t Spend Any Money for a Week and This is What Happened

Her Campus

Originally published on March 17th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

Money. It’s the thing everyone wants, but no one has. Especially in college, where it flies out the window faster than anything else. If you’re like me and have a real spending problem, it might seem next to impossible to cut out spending from your day-to-day lifestyle, especially for seven days straight. So naturally, I challenged the “impossible” and decided to not spend a single cent the week prior to spring break.

The rules of my challenge were simple: don’t spend a dime. This meant no cash, credit, or gift card transactions at all; no purchases, whatsoever. In theory, this was a great idea for a broke, unemployed college student like myself, but I soon learned that something I believed was a bad habit, is such a daily essential.

Day 1, Sunday:

The first day started out super easy, mostly in part by the fact that I didn’t even leave my apartment. I started off the day with making a super delicious brunch using items I already had. Not only did it feel amazing to have a great breakfast for free, but it made me feel put together that I could create a meal from scratch, that tastes just like the ones I buy at a diner. Following that, I made sure to eat some leftovers for dinner that I needed to get rid of anyway. Reduce, reuse, recycle…right?

Day 2, Monday:

Day two and I already came close to dropping $30 online shopping. After being rudely awoken by the sun, I was so close to smashing that “order” button on the black-out curtains that have been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for the past couple months. But in that very moment, I got a message from above, in the form of a balance notification text from my bank account, and I immediately closed out of the tab. Instead, I draped a large gray blanket over my curtain rod and rolled back over to catch a few more hours of sleep. By the time I had to go to class, I made sure to pack lots of yummy snacks to bring to campus so that I wouldn’t need to have a stare down with a vending machine. I finished up the day with a homemade dinner, and I can basically call myself a chef now, right?

Day 3, Tuesday:

Tuesday’s are great days to be broke because I attend my weekly cooking class. In this weeks class, we grilled steak, roasted a rack of lamb, and ate like champions. For free. God bless my hospitality major for allowing me to eat well, while still rocking it at my no spend challenge. And because we practically cooked a feast, I was able to have both my lunch and dinner taken care of. Thank you FSS 2221.

Day 4, Wednesday:

Ah, halfway through. Wednesdays are my date nights with my boyfriend, so I was trying to come up with a creative way to not spend money, while still having a great time. Typically when we are broke, we just cook for each other, but this week he surprised me with buying me a sushi dinner that I have been craving for ages. What a good boyfriend. In following suit with not spending money, I cashed in my “Free Boba Tea” in his name as a thank you.

Day 5, Thursday:

Thursday was my last day of classes before spring break, and of course, I wanted to celebrate. But instead of going out or spending money on something pointless, I found a free event on campus that I was able to attend. It was Painting with a Twist style, minus the twist, where a fellow Her Campus writer and I were able to create free art with the instruction of how to complete it. I was able to walk out of there with a 10×12 canvas, a gift for my boyfriend, and great new memories. And I didn’t have to pay a cent. Thanks, UCF!

Day 6, Friday:

Fridays are my lazy days, so luckily I put off spending money by spending my day in bed instead. I caught up on some homework and TV and snacked on food around the house. When dinner time finally came around, I was able to cook up some steaks from the freezer (I really love steak) and make some side dishes from ingredients I had in my pantry. Six days without spending any money has been a success.

Day 7, Saturday:

Because all good things have to come to an end, Saturday I caved. Some may call it a cheat day, but I call it “a well-earned treat”. On the final day of this challenge, my friends and I headed to the beach, and instead of being smart and bringing snacks from home, we stopped at a diner to grab lunch. I admitted defeat, and it tasted like loaded French fries. Not the worst flavor in the book.

It was crazy to me how simple it is to avoid spending money, but you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. After this challenge, I can definitely see myself cutting down on my spending habits because it really made me ask myself “do I really need this?” with each purchase. Yet unfortunately, spending money is required for surviving, so if we must do it, at least we can be frugal about it. If you’re looking to cut out spending from your daily habits, my tips are to start small and think about necessities versus splurges, and you’ll be well on your way to being fiscally savvy.

Me, on the other hand? I’m just excited that I can make a run through the Starbucks drive-thru without feeling guilty this week.

xoxo,