4th of July

Fireworks | Hello Darlings

Oh, land of the free and home of the brave. My home. My country.

I mean, yes, 27% of Americans think the moon walk was fake,we're the only developed country not to offer paid maternity leave, we watch shows hosted by people who think vaccines cause autism and soccer fandom leads to moral decay, and we elect politicians who think breast implants improve your health and supporting a women's right to choose is tantamount to satanism.

And there are great parts to this country. We have burgers and hot dogs and Luke Bryan shaking it for you girl. We really are America the Beautiful And if we loose all that, no worries. There will always be redemption for the country that brought Old Bay into this world.

So let's celebrate this great land the only way I know how, a barbecue filled with people drunkenly chanting USA! USA! USA!

I wanted to be able to throw a party that I could enjoy with my guests, so I thought to create four "bars" so that my guests could make their own plates and drinks as they wanted them. It also meant less work for me since I only needed to break down the ingredients and not prepare a meal.

I decided on a corn on the cob bar, and slider station, and a salad bar. There was obviously a table for drinks as well.

A Low Stress 4th of July Menu | Hello Darlings

Sadly, I was not able to take pictures of this spread.

But I got plenty of pictures of the drinks!

Host a great 4th of July with Hello Darlings

And what kind of party would it be if I wasn't prepared with more drinks?

4th of July | Hello Darlings

I had a ton of fun throwing this party, and it was the first real party I threw by myself as a post-grad. I'm still in that awkward phase where I don't quite feel like an adult, but I'm definitely not in college anymore. It can be especially hard when it comes to parties. It's nothing like frat parties, but it's not quite the dinner parties my parents used to throw. During this strange time, I've found it helpful to follow these tips for respecting your host as much as you respect the good ole U. S. of A.

1. Show up when you say you will and stay long enough to mingle.

I get it. There's a lot happening on the 4th (and in life in general). Between parades, street fairs, and firework cruises, it can be hard to make time for the barbecues thrown by your friends. If you are going to be late, make sure you tell your host ahead of time (Seriously, Shannon. Heather was breaking ground n her new MegaMansion that makes my apartment look like a center for ants and you have the audacity to be late?!? Get your shit together Shannon) and plan to stay long enough to have a drink or two and engage in actual conversations. What you absolutely should not do is not tell your host that you will be late, show up as food is being served, and leave as soon as you are done eating without speaking to your host. It's a party, try not to treat it as a drive by between other commitments.

Speaking of food... 2. Do not eat until the food is served.

Some food takes longer to cook, and unless you are a Real Housewife with a catering kitchen (still looking at you, Shannon), you likely have limited grill/oven space. Therefore, some things may be removed from the oven or be set aside before everything is ready. This doesn't mean that you can start eating what's sitting on the side of the grill or inside on the counter. Appreciate that your host planned a meal for you and wait to enjoy the entire thing. Example: Corn takes a while to grill and can take up a lot of space. If you grill it with the husks on, like me, you also have to wait for it to cool down a bit before you can shuck and serve it. The corn being off the grill and sitting in a box on the side of the grill does not mean you should go ahead and shuck and devour every last ear of corn before your host has finished cooking your meal or had a chance to put anything on the table.

Actually, a better rule is: 3. Don't take anything unless the host offers or says it is okay. Especially when it comes to left over food and drink.

Your host likely spent a fair amount of time and effort cleaning his or her home, setting everything up, and preparing food and beverages for the shin dig. I'm a big fan of never walking into a party empty handed, and I usually go with a bottle a wine, a few cheeses and crackers, or a nice citronella candle for an outdoor party. If you bring a candle and it doesn't burn out by the time you leave, you wouldn't take it back, would you? So don't take what's left of the food or drink you brought. Even if it wasn't opened. Think of it as your way of thanking your host for welcoming you into their home and something he or she can enjoy after he or she finishes cleaning up. Then you can think about how thankful you are that you don't have to clean up.

I hope everybody has a good 4th and the potential hurricane doesn't literally rain on your parade!

Happy 4th From Hello Darlings