4th of July Inspiration

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The 4th of July rivals Christmas in terms of excitement and anticipation for me, and it’s one of my two favorite holidays! There’s so much nostalgia and memorable traditions in this festive day, and I look forward to it each and every year. For me, the 4th of July typically means an annual trek to the town in Ohio where both of my parents were raised and where my grandparents are from (my parents are high school sweethearts!). For 30 of my 33 4ths of July, I have spent this holiday in Ohio, and it’s one I look forward to with so much eagerness, as it typically means a family reunion – and on both sides of the family! Clearly this year will be a bit different, as we’re not traveling nor hosting a party, but Rob and I still plan on enjoying the day in our own simple way.

The 4th of July, to me, is typically filled with so many of my favorite things and beloved traditions: donning my favorite red, white, and blue outfit (much more likely to be blue and white, for me!), gathering with a plethora of family members for the annual neighborhood parade (which is far superior to the parade that Washington, DC does, I promise – this town takes great pride in their 4th of July celebrations, truly!), catching up with family and friends that we haven’t seen in far too long, hopping from one family cookout to the next (we eat so many burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and red, white, and blue desserts in one day!), running around in the yard and playing games outside, catching fireflies with my cousins, and capping off the day with the town’s fireworks. I am exceedingly grateful for these family traditions and happy memories, and I love reminiscing on years past while looking forward to the upcoming 4th of July celebrations. It’s safe to say I will miss all of this in 2020 (we were actually supposed to be celebrating my cousin’s wedding that day!), and I dearly hope 2021 is filled with all of this again.

As you may have guessed by now, blue and white are the most prominent colors in our home, in my wardrobe, in the weddings I plan, and on and on. My alma mater is even UNC Chapel Hill, home of Caroline blue and white! I have always gravitated towards these colors, usually with a pop of coral thrown in, so the 4th of July, in terms of design and aesthetics, comes very naturally to me. I try to be sure to add in enough red to make our decor, table settings, and desserts patriotic enough, and my standby blue and white is always prevalent! Here is a roundup of some patriotic 4th of July inspiration: in the form of table setting inspiration, festive desserts to bake and enjoy, and exterior decor, mainly the American flag and my favorite bunting.

So look through your tablecloths and napkins, find some red, white, and blue accents, add in fresh flowers in white (these are from our yard!), incorporate colorful berries, bake festive desserts that can easily incorporate the flavors of summer and colors of this holiday, and decorate your house in whatever way you wish as you celebrate this special holiday!

table setting inspiration

festive desserts

strawberry-blueberry crumble/cobbler

Smitten Kitchen’s strawberry cake

Elisabeth & Butter’s fresh strawberry layer cake with strawberry cream cheese icing

patriotic fruit pizza

patriotic exteriors

How are you spending the 4th of July this year?! Do you have any nostalgic memories of the 4th from years past? I’d love to hear!

Summer 2020 To-Do List

Summer is unofficially here, though it’s felt like summer for weeks now in North Carolina! Summer typically signals the arrival of endless pool time, jaunts to the beach, cookouts and grilling with friends, nostalgia for childhood summers, ice cream date nights, hanging our American flag and celebrating the 4th of July, catching fireflies, lots of watermelon, hosting friends, family vacations, and enjoying all that our city has to offer this time of year.  I have to admit, it makes me a little sad to think that summertime will be a bit different than we usually know it. I don’t see too many grand adventures or romps around the city or trips being taken, at least for us. I love summertime so much, and we plan to savor this season and make the best of it, despite the changes that 2020 has brought. I adore making seasonal to-do lists (as evidenced in 2019, 20182017201620152014, and 2013), and Rob and I have been brainstorming what we want to check off this summer’s annual bucket list of fun together!

Without further ado, here is this year’s Summer Bucket List:

  • celebrate the 4th of July, one of my all-time favorite holidays! (We would have been with my family at my cousin’s wedding, and I’m not exactly sure what our 4th will entail, but we will certainly be celebrating this favorite holiday!)
  • enjoy a day trip or two to the beach (I have been craving the beach so very much, especially since our annual family beach week was canceled.)
  • hang patriotic bunting on our front porch
  • read lots and lots of books in the sunshine
  • enjoy the little kiddie pool on our deck (in lieu of our neighborhood pool this year)
  • cook lots of seasonal meals and desserts, as well as enjoy round three of our cooking challenge! We executed round two last night with a pistachio cooking challenge, and it was just as amazing as our first strawberry challenge!
  • go for lots of walks around the neighborhood and nearby parks
  • enjoy several picnics in our yard and date nights on our deck under the string lights
  • make plenty of homemade ice cream and experiment with new flavors (we’ve made so much homemade vanilla ice cream, chocolate-peanut butter stracciatella, and pistachio gelato)
  • make popsicles, banana pudding, and a summery pie
  • watch a movie outside on our deck with the string lights overhead and stovetop popcorn
  • host some close friends on our deck for a socially distant gathering or two (we haven’t seen any friends since early March, and goodness do I miss seeing our people!)

It’s a little hard to see so many of our favorite summer adventures, activities, and trips removed from our usual summer to-do list, but we still plan on embracing this season, finding ways to be creative, finding joy, and having as much fun as we can while making new memories!

What are you most looking forward to this summer? I’d love to hear what you’re excited about!