Summer Nights are:

1. Country Music. My taste in music is wide and subject to change at any moment. Sometimes I am feeling EDM (Electronic Dance Music) while I am getting ready for the day, and other times I want nothing more than soothing Indie pop to get me through the day. But summer nights are perfect for country music. Now, when I say country music, don’t mistake me for the depressing, I lost my job, girl, dog, and any sense of happiness in one song kind of music. I mean the more mainstream Luke Bryan “Play It Again” kind of country. It is best played in the car, around the fire, or with your best friend’s vocals in the background.

2. 1/2 Priced pie with your best friend. Q: What can beat a fresh slice of pie? A: A 1/2 priced fresh slice of pie. 9PM to 6AM Perkins offers a variety of specials including 1/2 priced pie and $5.99 All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes. I craved the pancakes, but after a spaghetti dinner only a few hours before, I opted for a slice of Peanutbutter Silk Pie. And boy was that a good choice. I had to decided between that and a slice of Apple–with a scoop of vanilla, of course. Since I got Apple last time, I decided to switch it up. Later the waitress asked me which I preferred and I told her Apple is a classic so I would have to go with that (It’s also my favorite–just in case you, I don’t know, ever want to get on my good side), but I still enjoyed the Peanutbutter.

3. Long walks. Summer nights are perfect for long walks, especially around lakes. Whether you go by yourself or to chat with a friend they are never a bad choice. Think about it: it’s free, and you are getting exercise, outdoors, and serenity all in one. Now, that’s a good deal. Who needs a gym membership with the “great outdoors” just across the other side of your front door? A word of caution, though, wear the right shoes if you plan on walking farther than to the end of the driveway. Last night, I made the mistake of wearing converse–without socks, nonetheless–while walking probably 3.5 or 4 miles. Big mistake.

4. Beaches and bare feet. Can you ever go wrong with either of these things? (Well, probably, but most of the time they are a good pair.) If you can pair these things with a bon fire, as well, you are golden. But just sitting on the beach with friends can be a good time. I won’t mention anything cliche–like what it feels like to feel the sand between your toes, or the way it feels when your feet are sinking into the sand as the water runs over the tops of your feet–but there is something very calming about watching the ripples in the water while watching the sun dip beneath the horizon. (Also, Check out the playlist “Barefoot Beach Chill” on Songza–visit songza.com, now, or download their app* You’ll thank me later.)

5. Car-singing. Have you ever asked yourself the question “to car sing or to not car sing?” No, of course not, because the answer is undoubtedly, car sing. (And yes, I am making “car sing” a verb–I’m a writer, and I reserve my right to create verbs, adjectives, nouns, etc. as I see fit). It doesn’t matter if you’re Mariah Carey or the guy who Simon Cowell once scowled at in an American Idol audition. Believe in yourself and your abilities to car sing–even if when you pull up to a stoplight those around you roll up their windows while plugging their ears and cranking their stereos. When it’s late at night and you’re with your friends, it’s time to turn it up and sing along. It will not only strengthen your bonds but show off your talent of creating new verses or accidentally belting out the chorus when the song comes to the bridge.

6. Late-night swims. Sure, it’s fun to take a dip in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is beating down on your over-tanned face and “bikini-ready body” (in a world where everyone has those–or if you’re a guy, you have been hitting the gym and getting “gains”, whatever that means.) But late night swims seem more exhilarating. There is something adventurous in doing a “daytime activity” after the sun goes down. It’s more about being fun and playful, rather than trying to cool off from the summer heat.

7. Bon Fires. These are a summer-must. The smell can haunt you for days, but the fun you have by the bon fire just might be worth the lingering scent. You might not know this: but your body requires at least one s’mores per summer. If you’re like me, you can’t resist the temptation of a second s’mores. Ok, so maybe, your body doesn’t require one, but once you get that in your mind, how can you turn down a gooey-golden brown marshmallow? 

*This is completely unsolicited advice.