Fourth of July 2015

I’ve known for a very long time that as soon as I had my own place, every year I wanted to throw an epic Fourth of July party. As epic as one can get in a 700-square foot apartment, that is. (Although the size of our apartment is going to change next month when we move.)

But, I digress.

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. I think it really comes down to my love of summer, history, my country, and the fact that as divided as we are as a nation, we still have one day where we can come together and unite under one flag. Not to mention, I have a dream of getting to watch the fireworks from National Mall in D.C. on the Fourth of July. On Independence Day, I get to relive both my times spent in our nation’s capitol, one of my favorite places in the world.

Plus, the food rocks.

Since I *did* have my own place this year, I set out to plan a cool party, thanks to my good friend Pinterest. I’m a procrastinator at heart, so I forced myself to start the planning process early – like end of May early – so everything would turn out decently.

The invitations were really easy. I copied borrowed a design from Pinterest, designed the invites on PicMonkey, printed them, cut them and glued red and blue stock paper to their backs.

IMG_0108 IMG_0106I also made a bunch of patriotic mason jar candle holder thingys that I saw in a picture while going through Michael’s decorations.

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Required materials:

1. Patriotic ribbon of some kind

2. Spray glue (thanks to my friend Emmery for introducing me to that stuff while we were putting programs together for her wedding!)

3. Scissors

4. Mason jars

5. Sand or soil (I chose soil from my failed garden that had been sitting on my patio for the past three months)

6. That rustic looking string stuff

7. Patience

8. A willingness to have sticky hands for a week

Optional materials:

1. Beer

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Spray glue on the ribbon, slap onto Mason jar, fill jar with sand/dead soil, insert candle, tie string stuff into a pretty bow, and voila.

A few other things I had going for the party were a cool little flag on my door + a banner for my kitchen, courtesy of Michael’s:

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A favors table with red vines, mini marshmallows, red, white, and blue M&Ms, flags, and sparklers:

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Red, white, and blue drinks (plus beer, although my mom and brother insisted Budweiser was gross and brought Corona instead):

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And THIS:

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I blame my mom. When I was little, she threw absolutely epic birthday parties for my siblings and I, with themes and favors and killer decorations and matching food. She actually sewed a Madeline costume for me when I wanted a Madeline themed party one year. She planned a mall scavenger hunt for my fourteenth birthday. And on my tenth, when she and my dad were writing and recording music and had all kinds of equipment in their office, she hooked me and my friends up to microphones and had us record our own album for my party. Not kidding. She burned CDs for my friends to take home, complete with album covers and a track list of the songs we sang.

So yeah. I’m not quite on that level of awesome, but she gave me the party planning bug.

That “land that i love” printable came from Pinterest and the frame from Dollar Tree. My boyfriend had bought me white roses four or five days before the party, and they had held up so well by the fourth that I just stuck two flags in the vase and called it a centerpiece.

As for that fruit flag, that was my favorite. Some blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, a few bananas, and a bigass platter, and bam. I had a flag. I’d seen a fruit flag on Pinterest where the fruit was on kabobs, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

The rest of the food consisted of chips, salsa, brownies, homemade M&M cookies with red, white, and blue M&Ms, pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and red, white, and blue sprinkles (really annoying fun to make!) and hot dogs and burgers (of course). My amazing boyfriend willingly took those down to our apartment complex’s grills and sat under the burning sun for twenty minutes while they cooked and the rest of us stood eating and chatting in the air conditioning. He also ran to get ice just before the party and was upset he’d gotten blocked ice instead of crushed because he knew how much my party meant to me and wanted it to be perfect. God, do I love him.

And the party WAS perfect. Just the right amount of people came so that our apartment didn’t feel overloaded, we ate and laughed and caught up and sat around playing Apples to Apples and Settlers of Catan. Eventually everyone headed out to either watch fireworks or go home (some of us had to be up early the next day). My boyfriend and I opted out of the fireworks, mainly because we were tired and more importantly, I wanted to watch a Capitol Fourth (my yearly tradition) so I could see the fireworks in D.C.

There were a few sparklers left, too, so we lit those up at nightfall.

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All in all, it was the best Fourth of July I’ve ever had. And in the end, it wasn’t because of the decorations or the food – it was because of the friends and family that came and shared the day with us.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July, too! Next year I hope we have a bigger place so I can have even more guests over. Let the planning and prepping begin….

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