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4th of July Beach Picnic

I absolutely love summer, and 4th of July is one of the most fun holidays to celebrate with good food, great friends, and beautiful views. Oh, and don't forget about the sparklers and fireworks!! A couple of my girlfriends and I decided to get together for a beach picnic to celebrate America the beautiful! It was so much fun and so simple to put together. Planning a get-together for the Fourth? Here's few hints for your own patriotic celebrations. 
Food: When I think summer celebrations, I automatically think about a good burger and fries. Grilling your own is a great option if you're able to find an open beach grill or plan to host a backyard bash, but if you're packing a picnic, it may be easier to bring along your serving supplies, and pick up your food on the way. (Make sure to bring along a pair of small scissors and a bag for trash cleanup.) We chose to pick up our favorite gourmet burgers from a local restaurant, and packed our own serving trays. I found cute red, white, and blue ones and purchased a few striped paper liners at Target! Fresh fruit is always a great picnic option, so we snacked on seasonal berries and juicy watermelon wedges. Yum!  

Sips & Sweets: What is a party without cupcakes? We celebrated our country's birthday with mini cupcakes topped with patriotic sprinkles, and sipped on lemonade from these adorable and festive tumblers. Tumblers are easy to transport, prevent most spills, keep your drinks cold, and are a fun favor for guests to keep and use after the party is over! This brand comes in multiple colors and is under $8! 

Celebrate: The 4th of July is a perfect excuse to bring out all your patriotic things, and encourage your guests to dress accordingly!! I packed some sparklers and a few small flags to play with after everyone finished eating. If you have kids, flags are a great way for the little ones to join in on the fun while the older ones play with sparklers. I also love a good fireworks show and always enjoy seeing the brilliant display that illuminates the beach each year! It's the perfect way to end a fabulous and fun celebration.  

Here's to a very happy and sparkling 4th of July celebration! 

Love it? Click Here to see more of this party on Niki's blog!

Summer Is Here!

Hooray! It's officially the start of summer! I absolutely love this time of year and look forward to sun-filled days spent at the beach or by the pool, watching sunsets and stars, sun-kissed skin and salty beach hair, and exploring new places with friends and family. To kick off my favorite season, I thought it would be fun to create a fun summer to-do list! Now before you write this off as another thing you have to check off your list (pun intented), I like to create this kind of list as an idea source for those days when you're looking for something fun or new to do! In between my summer travels, I'll be working on adding a few of these to my schedule! Here's my list; what's on yours? Happy First Day of Summer!

Vacation Style: Printed Crop Set

On my recent vacation, I made a visit to one of my favorite places on Maui. Tucked into the corner of a fabulous and famous surf break, Ho'okipa, is Mama's Fish House. Aside from being one of the best restaurants on the island, it is also stunningly beautiful. A grove of coconut palms sway in the gentle breezes while turquoise waves crash on the inky black rocks along the shoreline. The surfers and windsurfers glide by every so often, and the sunlight peeks through the canopy of palm fronds overhead. Enjoying an afternoon there is pure paradise, and I always love to dress for the occasion. Crop top sets have been everywhere this season, and I love this pretty and playful version. The print reminds me of the colorful flowers found on the island, and the beautiful hues that illuminate the skies after the sun sets at night. There's something about wearing vibrant colors on tropical vacations that's a lot like this set, the perfect pair.   

Q&A with C&J: Part 2

My good friend, and co-author, Jenni and I are back with another installment of our Q&A with C&J! We're answering more of your questions about everything from dream vacations to our favorite pieces of advice that we've received. Have something you'd like us to answer? Tweet to me here, or drop a note in my contact form

Click Here to read Part 1 of our Q&A series!

White on White

Shop my Look: Top, Shorts, Sunglasses

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! It's the unofficial start to summer, and, more importantly, a time to honor our brave men and women who have and still do place their lives on the line for our freedom. Here's to you! 

We recently got away for a vacation to kick off summer. Island vacations are my very favorite. I love the ease of living, the way the palms sway when the breezes blow, eating fish tacos, lounging in the sun with a good book, and sipping on fresh-squeezed lemonade whenever possible. When it comes to packing for this kind of trip, I'm always drawn toward the easy, breezy separates that can be mixed and matched to create multiple looks. One of my go-to looks is classic white on white. To me, it's very resort chic and keeps me cool when temperatures rise. The sun was just beginning to set as we took these photos, and the late afternoon light cast a beautiful golden glow across the warm sandy beach; simply lovely! Do you ever rock the all white look? 

Effortless Entertaining: Summertime Sips

When I'm hosting a party or get-together with friends, the first thing I like to create is a fun drink for guests to enjoy. Summer always makes me think of fresh fruits, flowers, and a cool glass of lemonade or fruit juice after a day in the sun. For a special brunch on the patio, this swift and simple sip is as delicious as it is easy! To create, I combined:

2 cups of chilled orange juice
2 cups of sparkling water
3 cups of chilled pineapple juice

I'll double or triple the recipe depending on the size of the party, and even add a splash or two of guava nectar if desired. Garnish each glass with a few ice cubes, a fresh strawberry or citrus wedge, and enjoy! Serve alongside coconut waffles or a spring-mix salad. Enjoy!

Summer Brunch

I love brunch. It's a fun reason to get friends or family together to share some quality time and good food. Is it breakfast? Lunch? Whatever you're in the mood for is the right choice. Now that the weather is warm, I'm dreaming of all things tropical-inspired, and this is my how-to for a colorful, fun get-together. For something that's not too formal, I often turn to Paperless Post for their whimsical and pretty designs. This one is my favorite brunch invite!

Next, I always create an inspiration board or pin a few things to my Party Inspiration board on Pinterest. You can always tell when I've got a particular theme I'm working on, as the pins all seem to go together. This helps me to get some cohesion and organization when it comes to putting colors, recipes, and decor together to create a particular experience. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the content on Pinterest, so limit your search to specific items, and have a few ideas in mind before you begin scrolling. 

It is so important to have a set of go-to entertaining pieces in your home. To avoid purchasing a completely new dining set each time I host a party, I always begin every tablescape with white dinner plates, and I often use gold chargers and gold flatware. Most prints, colors, and decorative pieces can be added to this to create just about any kind of look. For a themed event, it can be fun to pick up a specialty dish like this one, pretty napkins, or a fun set of glassware

Next, you'll want to choose your recipes and make a list of things you'll need to pick up at the store. One of my personal favorites for brunch is a flavorful and colorful acai bowl. Kids and adults alike enjoy crafting their own combinations to create something sweet and healthy! I would suggest setting up a bar station with all kinds of toppings like coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola, fresh fruit, berries, and honey. Here's an easy recipe for creating your bowls! In addition to acai bowls, I'd serve fresh fruit juices, a mixed kale and strawberry salad (for those who are feeling more inclined toward lunch food), and have a loaf of banana bread sliced on a wooden serving board. Yum! 

When I'm hosting a brunch or party of any kind, my go-to hostess look is a pretty dress, jumpsuit/romper, or pair of printed pants. I'm all about being comfortable! The last thing you want to be thinking about is fussing with some sort of tricky outfit or piece that won't stay put as you entertain. I love this dress and the print is so on trend and perfect for a tropical brunch! This jumpsuit would also be pretty, playful, and ultra comfortable!  

Remember, whatever happens, make sure you are able to enjoy the moments celebrating with friends and family. Instead of being stuck in the kitchen, fussing over the tiniest of details, or worrying if your guests are having fun, decide to relax and enjoy the conversations, laughter, and time together. The best parties and get-togethers aren't the most perfect, they are always the ones that are filled with fun and celebration! Cheers!

Post done in Collaboration with Paperless Post
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