July 3, 2012

Happy 4th Of July!

Fourth of July is one of those holidays that just sneaks up on you.  One minute it's Guinness and shamrocks, the next...Budweiser and red, white and blue.  It's a fun-filled, sunny occasion that's brought me many fond memories throughout my life:  a family reunion in Illinois, childhood pool parties in Denver, road trips to Lake Tahoe and fireworks on my apartment rooftop in Los Angeles.

There's something so nostalgic and wholesome about celebrating the greatest of great nations with delicious BBQ, sparklers, American flags and cooling off in sprinklers, the pool, beach or lake. 

In celebration of this most patriotic event, I pulled together a few items that are must-haves for both hosting and attending this year's soirees.

For The Host/Hostesses

1. Cute Patriotic Decor.  I love these pillows from Cost Plus because they're festive but could be used year round too. 

2. Colorful Beverage Buckets. Throw in some ice, beers, waters and sodas and voila!

3. Sunscreen.  I'm literally obsessed with sunscreen and have been known to bring an inordinate variety to any given outing.  I like Neutrogena's Wet Skin spray because it's formulated to go on skin that's sweaty or wet from swimming.

4. Plenty Of Towels.  Land's End has the cutest navy and white anchor towel that's perfect for the preppy kid or adult.

5. Firecraker Popsicle.  Seriously, who doesn't love these iconic red, white and blue treats? 

6. Meat Markers. These Crate & Barrel BBQ helpers are absolutely genius.  Label your steaks or burgers with a Medium Rare, Medium or Well skewer so guests can choose the dish of their liking.

7. Portable Mini Grill.  I love the idea of bringing the BBQ wherever you go: camping, the beach or a friend's backyard.  Plus the $60 price tag won't break the bank.

8. Watermelon.  It's in season, easy to eat, keeps you hydrated and can be soaked in a little bit of citrus or berry flavored vodka for an adult treat.

9. An All American Playlist.  Load up your iPod or iPhone with an essential mix of classics (Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA and Ray Charles' America The Beautiful) and current pop hits (Katy Perry's Firework, Miley Cyrus' Party In The USA and Estelle/Kanye West's American Boy)

10. Radio Flyer Wagon.  Whether using it to transport kiddos to watch the fireworks or store food/drinks, I love the idea of having one of these childhood favorites at your 4th of July festivities.

For The Party Goer
  1. Boardwalk Striped Tote.  Be sure to toss in your sunscreen, magazines, bottled water and other warm weather necessities! PS: It's on sale at JCrew for only $50! 
2. Wide Brimmed Hat.  I have the straw hat below from Target and love that it blocks out bright light and damaging sun while still looking stylish.

3. Polka Dot Bikini.  There's something so sweet and timeless about polka dots and somehow it works for little girls and grown women alike.

4. Festive Nail Polish.  Essie has some great shades of red/coral but my all-time favorite is Clambake because it has an orange hue to it that isn't too orange.  The muted navy color is Bobbing For Baubles.

5. Colorful Espadrilles.  Banana Republic has the most amazing braided espadrille wedges in navy AND red.  I wouldn't even know which one to pick!

6.  Rosebud Salve.  It's totally coincidental that Rosebud's colors fit with the 4th of July color palette.  This miracle working balm soothes dry lips, cuticles or elbows in a flash!