Why Bonfires Are Awesome

Why Bonfires Are Awesome

"Sunset skies, bonfire nights, I love the simple things"
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'Tis the season of warm weather, high energy, and late nights spent with good friends. The best way to combine the three is, obviously, with a bonfire. However, having recently run into a few skeptics who find it not so obvious, I decided it would be helpful for them if I compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why bonfiring (yes, that is a word) is always a good idea. Whether it’s fear of bugs, fear of dirt, fear of smelling like smoke for a night, or fear of actually having a good time that’s holding them back, I aim to crush their doubts and explain what makes this classic summer activity so perfect. Here’s the top ten (and a half) reasons why bonfires are awesome:

  • You get to be outside. Whether you’re in the comfort of your backyard with a calm, crackling flame, or in the boondocks next to a raging inferno with several couches and stacks of pallets to be consumed nearby, there is something about being outside that is just more fun. You get fresh air, sounds of Mother Nature, and the kind of peace that only being next to an ablaze pile of wood can bring.
  • It’s super easy to meet new people. Bonfire people are, quite honestly, the best people. Everyone is there to have a good time, and it brings out the best in people. Tailgates arranged in a circle is like a constant game of musical chairs, and everyone ends up knowing everyone by the end of the night. Share a beer, share a blanket, or just share a story; bonfire people are pretty easy to please, and friends are easy to make. It’s safe to say that you’re in good company and most people are actually worth getting to know.
  • You actually have meaningful conversations. Unlike a house party where a ton of people are crammed into small rooms with loud music and hearing is out of the question, bonfires allow for people to talk. Not small, hi-what’s-your-name-and-major talk, but the kind of talks that comes from the soul. Real talk that creates a foundation for deep friendships like where you actually want to go in life, what you want to accomplish, and the things you’ve been through; it’s much different than the kind of ‘best friends’ you make in five seconds over a bathroom mirror selfie that you’ll never speak to again.
  • You get to see the night sky lit. Like, really lit. When you go to a true bonfire in the middle of nowhere, the stars are absolutely incredible. Given that the clouds cooperate, of course. Seeing the sky in all its glory gives you a little perspective sometimes, and is breathtaking no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. The moon is an impeccable mood light, and creates an atmosphere impossible to achieve indoors. There is also usually someone around that knows some constellations or old stories about various stars, which is pretty cool too (in this case, add ‘learning experience’ to why bonfires are great as well).
  • The food is awesome. Whether you like your marshmallows blackened or perfectly golden brown, or you indulge in Reese's or classic chocolate squares as your mode of melty goodness, s’mores are hands down one of the most delicious highlights of summer. Although some claim you can melt a marshmallow in a microwave and slap it on some grahams anywhere, you just can’t mimic the infused smokey flavor of the bonfire-cooked s’more. I would elaborate more on various foods that can be cooked over flames, but let’s be honest, s’mores are the most important and all that really matters.
  • You get to let out your inner pyromaniac. Fires seems to bring out the inner arsonist in everyone, and in this case, it’s okay. The bigger, the better, right? Have a couch or bed frame you no longer need? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Have old chemistry tests and accounting notes that need to die? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Make s’mores and don’t want to take up landfill space with the graham cracker box? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Find a fallen tree in the middle of the woods that needs to be dragged out and put out of its misery? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Pretty much anything is fair game, and nobody judges you because the flame it brings is just as mesmerizing to them.
  • Hakuna matata is reality. There are no worries, about anything. Spill a drink? No cleanup necessary, you’re outside. Blast your music a little too loud? Nobody cares, and they’ll probably join in and sing their hearts out. Break something and need a trashcan? Just THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Unless it’s your phone or something. Don’t go too crazy. But you get the point. You’re not inside, there are no rules, and you get to let go and be a little carefree.
  • You don’t have to dress up. Bonfire people are great because they don’t judge. Sweatshirts, jeans, and whatever kind of shoes you don’t mind getting dirty are usual attire, and requires minimum effort. If you’re coming straight from work and haven’t seen a shower or a mirror all day, nobody cares, and if you’ve been a couch potato in sweats all day, you don’t have to get all dolled up for a fun night out. As stated earlier, everyone is just there for a good time.
  • It won’t break the bank. Having a bonfire is something anyone, no matter how tight the budget, can do. If you can spare a little change for gas to get out there, nothing should stop you from going. Finding free wood to burn is never a problem, and when you get there, there’s no cover charge!
  • Bonfires are the best end to any night. Bonfires make everything better. Need a memorable ending to date night? Can’t go wrong with a bonfire for two, it’s adorable. Want to de-stress with a few friends after a rough week? Load up some trucks and caravan out to the sticks for a bonfire and night away from the rest of the world. Looking for a way to bring together a bunch of cool people who want to have a hell of a night in a carefree place? Bonfire. It can be whatever you want it to be, whether it be a rager or just a chill spot to meet a ton of new people. Basically, bonfires can make any night better, period.

P.S. even though you shouldn’t need another reason to go bonfire right this second, here’s another reason to go bonfire right this second: dogs are always welcome, and you’ll be the favorite person in attendance if you bring one. Bonus points for a puppy (just keep it away from the smoke and girls obsessed with baby animals who might try and steal it)! While it’s frowned upon to take a dog to a house or to the bar, bonfires are outside and welcome furry friends with open arms. If you were on the fence before, that’s all you should need to convince you to go right now. Happy bonfiring!

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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