Recipes: 4th of July cocktails and appetizers

I first met Lauren when I moved to South Carolina to go to the USC. The first time I met her she was with her sister, Kelly, and I was taken aback by their wit, sarcasm, and bluntness. I instantly knew I wanted to be friends with these two, and sure enough, Lauren and I moved in together less than a year later.  We lived together for two years but you can imagine how much bonding took place during those years full of change, confusion, and excitement. I have so many great memories with Lauren, but funny enough, most revolve around food or drinks (many with alcohol). In fact, my first ever sip of alcohol actually occurred in the her presence (thanks, lady!). Reflecting on all of that, it made the most sense to ask Lauren to share some of her favorite drinks and appetizer perfect for a day full of 4th of July celebrating.

Lauren: One of my new favorite cocktails that’s great for the summer is something that a friend came up with while at a dinner party. 2oz. Skinny girl Coconut Vodka, 4-5 oz of pineapple juice and one squirt of lime juice (The plastic, squeezy bottle that’s shaped like a lime works great).  I’m not typically a big fan of coconut, but in this drink, you taste more of the pineapple juice with a bit of a twist. It’s delicious and would be perfect for sipping on your 4th of July pool day!

Photo Credit to Every Day Maven. She also has a similar drink if you want to check it out.

My next drink to independence would be the Greyhound cocktail: 1 1/2 oz. vodka, 4 oz grapefruit juice (My favorite is to use freshly squeezed pink grapefruit- strained of all the pulp, of course), and a lime wedge to garnish. This tasty drinks fits perfectly into a 12oz highball glass and is perfect for an evening watching fireworks on your deck.

photo and recipe credit to the drink chef

With all this alcohol, a great all american snack is chicken lettuce wraps–the best part is that they are low-fat!

photo credit to fabulous foods


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast
2 tablespoons all natural or low-fat peanut butter
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium teriyaki sauce
1 small can drained water chestnuts
1/2 chopped onion
Handful of cashew nuts
4-6 leaves romaine lettuce


1. In a pan, heat olive oil. Add ground chicken and brown; stir occasionally to separate the meat.

2. Add peanut butter, soy sauce; and teriyaki sauce to the chicken until well mixed.

3. Add water chestnuts, onion; and cashews.

4. After chicken is completely brown, let simmer for about five minutes; stirring every couple of minutes. Uncover and cook until a thick consistency.

5. Cool and serve on large lettuce leaves.

(Serves 4-6)

recipe credit to delish

What will you be drinking or eating this 4th of July?

Fashion Inspiration: Modern Americana

Today’s guest blog post is from my best friend, Sarah. She and I met the first day of kindergarten, and it was friendship at first sight. Despite changing a great deal since that day (I was painfully shy and she was almost as painfully bossy) our friendship has seem to grow stronger and stronger each and every year that passes. I am so thankful to be able to call her my sister and best friend. When thinking about what I would ask her to post about, it was a no-brainer: Fashion. Not only does she have impeccable taste, but she also manages to never have a hair out-of-place or the slightest wrinkle in her clothing. She is always beautifully put-together, and I think her 4th of July fashion inspiration reflects that perfectly. Sarah, Thanks for sharing! 

Sarah: Let your colors fly! This fourth of July, it’s not just about coordinating with the Independence Day fireworks. It’s about honoring all the little details that make our nation great. Presenting, Modern Americana:

red white and fabulous

One/   Two/   Three/   Four/  Five/   Six/   Seven/
1. Whether skinny, straight or in this case, the clean front short by Banana Republic, nothing speaks to our nation’s pioneering spirit like Levi Strauss’s original creation, denim.

 2. Just as the Fourth wouldn’t be complete without fireworks, no outfit is complete without the perfect accessories: Serenity small stone drop earrings by Stella & Dot.

3.  The Perfect Shirt by J. Crew in anchors and horseshoes. It’s celebrates America’s majesty from sea to shining sea, across all those amber waves of grain. Inspired by sailors and cowboys, it’s the perfect nod to our history and a comfy topper to your favorite denim shorts.

4. My favorite bag this season is the navy Willis with its nostalgic American style. A resurrection of one of Coach’s original Bonnie Cashin designs, this beautiful cross body bag is easy to carry to every event and helps me rock a quirky, vintage vibe.


5. For a chic leg-elongating look, pair your tailored shorts with the Tristen Heel by Coach. A fun mix of modern color-blocking, paired with Coach’s timeless legacy of design.


6. Fossil’s Stella multifunction gold-tone watch pairs perfectly for just the right mix of natural charm and mechanical grace. To add even more oomph to your outfit, check out the fedora from J. Crew!


7. Topping it off and dressing it up, the navy schoolboy jacket by J. Crew  is both classic and practical. (It still gets chilly on the waterfront when the sun goes down.

Blending stand-out elements like the perfect shirt with your favorite staples like a denim short ensures you look stylish and individual, but still classic. Kind of like how our modern United States blends different backgrounds and ideas into an ever-evolving culture–always moving but always loyal to the great independent spirit that inspires this holiday.

 You can find this look and others pined here. Do you have your 4th of July outfit picked out yet?


Count down to the 4th of July

This time last year I was frantically preparing my house for guests, putting the finishing touches on decor, and finalizing tons of plans. That’s right; I was getting ready for our wedding. It’s hard to believe that it will be one year on Sunday. That old saying is true. Time really does fly when you are having fun. And in celebration of our first memorable year together, Jon and I are going to Cancun for all the fruity drinks and beautiful beaches we can stand.

I am so excited for some rest and relaxation, but I have also been stressing about what I should do with my blog since I will be away for six straight day!  So, one night I had the brilliant idea of asking the amazing ladies that made up my wedding party to do a guest post for me. These six women mean the world to me, and I’m so thrilled that the are, once again, helping me out!

Photo credit to Katie Snyder

You will have to stay tuned for our countdown to the Fourth of July. Each post will be related to America but in a way that reflects the passion and personality of each of my dear friends below. Hope you enjoy!