Fourth of July

Fourth of July is a national holiday that celebrates the day Americans gained independence from the British. This holiday means barbecue and red, white, and blue everything! Here are my Fourth of July must-haves for 2016.

Starting with the nails, I am a huge girly girl when it comes to having mani and pedi's done, and there is no better excuse than holidays. Starting with clean nails before each manicure is important not only for appearances but also to keep your nails healthy. My Fourth of July set started with a top coat of clear polish, then a classic cobalt blue color. I then used a nail art pen to make the lines and stars on my other nails. The pen is essentially a sharpie with nail polish in it, so makes it much easier for doing fun designs than using a brush. It's also water soluble so if you make a mistake (which I did many times) just wipe off with water.  Then when you have the design you're happy with, let it dry and then set with clear nail polish.  Buy the pen here.   For more nail inspo, check out my Pinterest board dedicated to nails here.

The white ruffle top from Tibi is subtle yet shows your festive side. I like having pieces like this in my wardrobe because I could wear this top to any fête this summer and depending on whether I dress it up or dress it down it can go with anything. This top paired with the Frame Denim distressed cutoffs will show your casual yet flirty side. Off the shoulder tops are big this summer, and that along with some stretch in the shorts will keep you coolon such a hot day of the year.

A holiday would not be complete without your Janna Conner jewels! To keep up the patriotic theme, my Tilda ring features a beautiful clover shaped lapis lazuli stone. I love lapis because of all the natural inclusions within the stone and how nice it looks against the gold. Sporting this will give you a subtle hint of beauty and sparkle for your hand. This ring will pair nicely with the blue hues in your outfit without being overpowering.

Now for the red! July's birthstone is Ruby so we have to have something to celebrate both July babies and America's birthday!. These ruby quartz earrings are lightweight yet have a big impact. They're easy to throw on and won't over power your look. The faceting of the stones add a subtle sparkle and will be on heavy rotation from your jewelry box. Find more jewels on my website.

  The Montauk  Roundie designed by The Beach People

The Montauk Roundie designed by The Beach People

If you're hitting the beach this Fourth of July, a beach towel is a must. Instead of bringing along your old ratty towel like you'd usually do, step up your game this summer and shop at The Beach People. The company started just in 2013 by a pair of sisters in Australia and are creators of luxury beach essentials, in particular their signature Roundie towels. The Montauk Roundie is one of my favorite patterns produced by them! This Roundie is made from super soft cotton and features a velour top for comfortable lounging and a terry reverse side that quickly absorbs water. This pattern reminds me of the stripes found on the American flag, so this will definitely up your Fourth of July game in a big way! Find more patterns and products here.

 

 

  Star Cookie Cutter  from Sur La Table

Star Cookie Cutter from Sur La Table

Last year I attended a friend's party and was in charge of bringing dessert. Instead of making cupcakes or brownies which are very heavy on a hot summer day, I decided to go a healthier route with fresh fruit. Not only is this super refreshing, but also keeps with the same patriotic vibe that embodies the Fourth of July. Plus, this is ridiculously easy to do and is a big hit with kids! All you need is a cookie cutter (I got mine from Sur La Table) and some watermelon and blueberries from your grocery store or local farmer's market. Cut the watermelon into slabs that aren't too thick, probably about an inch or two for the best results. I look forward to making this again this year!

  Green-Chile Chicken  Burgers from Martha Stewart

Green-Chile Chicken Burgers from Martha Stewart

This chicken burger recipe from Martha Stewart is a lean alternative to a beef patty and really packs in a punch of flavor from the cilantro and juiciness from the chiles. If you plan on making this for the holiday, a fun idea is to make a variety of sauces for people to top their burgers with, I like to add in a chipotle sauce to make mine a little spicier for example! Find more delicious ideas here.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles, drained 
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for serving 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • Neutral oil, such as safflower, for brushing 
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices (each about 1/2 inch thick) 
  • 4 sesame buns, split 
  • Sour cream, green-leaf lettuce, and Dijon mustard (optional), for serving

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Combine chicken, cumin, chiles, chopped cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Divide mixture into 4 patties. Brush grates with oil and grill burgers, flipping once, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest parts registers 165 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Lightly brush tomato slices with oil; grill, flipping once, until charred, 2 minutes. Season with salt. Grill buns, cut-sides down, just until toasted, about 1 minute. Serve burgers on grilled buns with tomato slices, cilantro sprigs, sour cream, lettuce, and mustard.

  Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito  by Watch What U Eat

Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito by Watch What U Eat

This non-alcoholic pineapple mojito is a great recipe if you want something refreshing but without the heavy calories that come with alcohol. If you like the recipe but want alcohol included, I suggest adding in white rum! If you have kids at your barbecue, make sure to have labels for a non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions if you will be making both Find more great recipes from Watch What U Eat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 pieces of 1-2" pineapple pieces
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup chilled grape juice (if possible, freshly prepared at home)
  • ½ chilled sparkling water or soda
  • 1 tsp agave (optional to adjust sweetness)
  • ice cubes to serve
  • few lime slices to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a small mixing bowl, add pineapple pieces and muddle them using the back of a wooden spatula for couple of min or until all pineapple pieces have broken into small pieces. Then, add mint leaves and again muddle for a few seconds to just bruise the leaves and release the essential flavors.
  • Transfer the muddled mixture into a serving glass. Add ice cubes followed by grape juice, lime juice, sparkling water or soda.
  • Adjust sweetener if necessary. Give it a gentle mix, add couple of lime slices and enjoy a glass of pineapple mojito this summer