Fourth of July 2015

July 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

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.


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


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:


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


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




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.


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….



The Fourth of July

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” ~ The Declaration of Independence


The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Every year I look forward to it more than Christmas and New Years and Halloween and Thanksgiving combined. There is nothing, nothing like this day in the entire world.

Nearly everyone I know enjoys Independence Day as well, for who doesn’t like fireworks and barbeques? Who doesn’t appreciate the overabundance of coleslaw, the flags waving solemnly in the breeze, the music that is sung to honor our country? Who doesn’t love the parades and the parties and the gathering of family and friends?

But there is a deeper, richer reason why the Fourth of July is so meaningful to me, and that is obviously the story behind the traditions, the whole motive behind our celebrations. I am talking, of course, about the incredible, indescribable history of the day that marked the first day of the signing of the most beautiful document I have ever seen and will ever see.

The Declaration of Independence as I saw it in 2008

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence over the course of several months starting in July of 1776, declaring the colonies to be free of British rule. Their actions were looked upon as uncalled for by some and unnecessarily arrogant by many more… but the men (and women!) that helped to found the United States pressed onward despite the fact that their goals were nearly impossible to bring to reality. And every time this holiday rolls around, I think of how incredible it would be if every citizen of this nation embodied the same courage and defiance that the United States’ forefathers had during the American Revolution. I think of what an amazing impact people would have on the many crooks and corrupt politicians that help to run our country. After all, as the Declaration puts it, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The Fourth of July marks one of many days where Americans have the chance to look past their differences and come together as one nation, indivisible, with true liberty and justice for all. It is a day we can lay down our figurative weapons and perhaps overlook our political barriers and maybe even put aside the racism and sexism and prejudice that still exists and unite.

On the Fourth of July, I think to some extent we each remember what America was meant to be when it was declared a free country. We remember what our forefathers had in store the day they started to draft the Declaration of Independence. I don’t believe we have reached that goal just yet, because people still suffer from sea to shining sea. Millions of Americans live in poverty, many because of our current recession. Many are treated like second-class citizens because of their race or financial status or even their gender. We are luckier than most other countries by far; however, we are still a ways away from being the country our forefathers dreamed it would be, the country we could still be.

But that is what is so amazing about this day. On this day, we remember.

And maybe – just maybe – we have hope.


O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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