Confession: 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Honestly, it has all the ingredients of a perfect day. It’s largely food and leisure oriented, there is no pressure to buy gifts, you can spend it with friends or family without anyone’s feelings getting hurt, and (BONUS) fireworks are involved. What more can you ask?

When I was little, we lived in a fairly small town in Pennsylvania, and my father enrolled us in the local 4th of July bike parade competition. I imagine the event organizers thought it would be kids and crepe paper with tassels, but my parents, never one to miss an opportunity for design, insisted that we go above and beyond. Our bikes were transformed into handpainted carousel ponies, complete with flowing manes and draped cut floral garlands. It was like something out of the Macy’s Day parade. I was trés proud, riding my over-the-top bike down main street behind the fire truck, and ringing my bike bell in time with the National Anthem. It clearly created a monster.

Later that evening, we watched fireworks at the local high school. I don’t know if fireworks are another victim of inflation (RIP gas powered cars), but back in my day, they did a lot with the budget they had. It seemingly went on forever and with massive scale. I remember laying the grass directly beneath them, predictably bitten by mosquitos, but happily dazzled, my whole small body reverberating with the percussive sound. 

Reader, it set the bar high. Now the 4th has been a time of pageantry and joy for me.

This year is deeply bittersweet. As a female founded and fiercely progressive brand, the last few weeks have been a reminder that America is a work in progress, capable of disappointment and disenfranchisement. We are asked again to be both critical and celebratory that we’re able to criticize, be activists in the middle of these nationalistic activations.

I refuse to cede the conversation or the country to authoritarianism and extremism. I will still fight and advocate for our better angels. Even as deeply skeptical of the myth of American Supremacy as I am, I cannot watch fireworks timed to patriotic music without crying. They move me. Flags? Bunting? Love’em. Disappointment in our domestic policy adds a fever tinge to my devotion.

Entertaining this 4th of July weekend? Protesting? Hibernating alone because your autonomy has been taken from you? We’ve got you.


Picnic Goals

Picnics are a great way to bring everyone together and have full autonomy over the setup of the space. Find a lush spot and bring in food and decor to make the space reflect you and your taste. Plus, free location! My favorite way to do a picnicis simply pulling your car right onto a field, opening up the trunk and creating an entire party from there - no chairs or tables needed. Just great conversation and elements that enhance the natural environment. Think of it as chic tailgating.

Start with a classic picnic basket and stuff it with fun touches like vintage serving trays and funky cocktail napkins. And to really set the mood? I bring colored tea lights or tapers. Tuck them into a few easy hurricanes or lanterns for double duty bug maintenance and ambiance. Something that makes a big impact? Fill the back of your car with easy biodegradable balloons, tied tightly to the inside of your hatch. The color makes a big, cheerful impact.

Looking for more picnic tips? Check out our article in Martha Stewart

We’re on a boat.

Live close to the water? Embrace international law and escape to the sea. No better way to spend the day than sunshine, salt, and freedom from tyranny. Pack up towels, a cute cooler (may we suggest this one) and some easy snacks. I love to bring easy prepared foods that you can eat with your hands or without a lot of utensils are key. Think easy, luxe sandwiches like a lobster roll or chicken salad. I’m also a sucker for great cold fried chicken. I love pairing highbrow ingredients with lowbrow for lunch on the go, so caviar on ruffles or champagne and fried chicken. Everyone feels like a king drinking champagne on the boat.

Didn’t invest in a boat? Yea, me neither. I love a service like Sailo for easy local boat rentals. Like uber for sailing. New to the seas? Looking to get boozy? They’ll let you sort by captained boats only.

Beachside BBQ

Red, white, and blue—embrace your freedom of speech by choosing to not be a part of that narrative. We love the chic brights of Sunnylife, from poolside tumblers to a towel and chess game in one to a cooler that doubles as a speaker. Bring out the stars with these fun sparklers and the stripes with these disposable napkins. Serve it all up on eco-friendly plates with a scalloped design that perfectly fits into the beachside theme.

Garden Soiree

Best thing about summer entertaining? All of the blooming flowers do a lot of the heavy décor lift for you. One of my favorite meals is a garden dinner party, surrounded by blooms displayed in a vintage vase, eating paella that we’ve cooked over the bonfire. Serve in a beautiful blush bowl, whip up a garden spritz in a seeded glass carafe and pour into pink Hawkins glasses. The table setting will be almost as stunning as the setting.

Looking for a ready-to-party kit for the 4th? Check out this article to learn about our essentials.

 Serve our favorite punch recipes, featured in this article.

June 29, 2022 — Brenna Gilbert