How To Throw A 4th Of July BBQ

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Happy Monday! Do you have to work today, or are you on vacation? Luckily I am on vacation until Thursday! Much needed time off. What are your plans for 4th of July? Still undecided? That’s where I’m at right now. 4th of July is tomorrow, and we still don’t have plans set in stone. I have a few family members that are having BBQ’s, but my boyfriend and I are unsure if we just want to spend the day at home (we went camping all weekend long and celebrated 4th of July with my parents), or head to a family member’s house. Or do I just throw a little BBQ with a few close friends? Since I have one day to get this all together, I’m going to show you what I did to host a last minute BBQ!

I love hosting parties outside. We have such a small place, but I have the prettiest backyard (which is where I shot these photos!). I have to say, I felt like The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, setting up for tea. I had rabbits running all around me! We have so much wildlife in our backyard, it’s crazy! We even have chickens running around (yes, I said chickens!). My landlord lives a few houses down from us and she lets them roam around when she’s outside (our backyards are all connected). They love to be pet just like dogs!

Anyways, onto the BBQ! All of the items in the photos above are from Dollar Tree, except the mason jar cups (they were a Christmas gift) and fresh flowers. Heading to your local Dollar Tree to get items for 4th of July will really help you save a lot of money! I went there and bought all of these items, a makeup organizer, fireworks (just sparklers and pop its), and a bunch of candy for my boyfriend (haha!). My total was $24!

One thing I hate about hosting, is that I’m always cooking and don’t get a chance to spend time with my guests. It’s always a good idea to have your grill set up near your guests, and buy simple sides that don’t take long to make. You can even buy pre-made items from the deli like potato or pasta salad. One of my favorite appetizers are fruit kabobs! You can make them in the design of the American flag to stay festive.

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It’s super easy to make. All I used was blueberries, mini marshmallows, and cut up strawberries. To make the items slide on easily (especially the marshmallows) I just dipped my thumb and 1st finger in olive oil, and rubbed it on the kabob stick. Worked perfectly!

One of my favorite BBQ alcoholic drinks has to be cola and whisky. I was invited to an event in STL to celebrate the launch of Alive Magazine’s 3rd issue, and to try the new Jim Beam Vanilla. The event was focused around art and entrepreneurs. I left the event so inspired after listening to all of the artists and entrepreneurs talk about how they got started. Make sure you pick up the new issue and read all of their interviews! As soon as I walked in, I was invited to try the new Jim Beam Vanilla. You guys, it was SO GOOD. It was smooth and had a great vanilla aftertaste.

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Jim Beam Vanilla and Cola (from Jim Beam’s website)

1 part Jim Beam Vanilla
2 parts Cola (any brand)
Cherry Garnish

Fill mason jar with ice. Pour Jim Beam Vanilla into ice filled mason jar, then top with cola. Garnish with cherry (optional).

The new Jim Beam Vanilla is so smooth, and when mixed with cola, it tastes like you are drinking vanilla cola. So yummy! To make it a little patriotic, I added a 4th of July paper straw.

Head to the Jim Beam website HERE (you have to be 21!) to see where you can find the new Jim Beam Vanilla near you, and to see all the cocktails you can make with it! Make sure you let me know how you like it in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy 4th of July!

Valerie

This post was sponsored by Jim Beam Vanilla and HEX. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Styled Muse possible! 

St. Louis Style Collective Meetup

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Above photos taken by Taylor Mobley of blondeandambitiousblog.com

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Above photo taken by Carmen Ramirez of frontrowstl.com

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Pictured above from left to right: Myself, April, Anna, Taylor, and Carmen. (click the names to see their blogs!)

On May 21st, the St. Louis ladies of Style Collective had our first meetup! But it wasn’t your ordinary meetup. We were celebrating the launch of Style Collective’s new podcast! Just search “Becoming Fearless” to give it a listen. I love meeting bloggers that are located in the STL area. It gives me comfort knowing that we are all doing this blogging thing together, and trying to figure it all out as we go, considering it’s kind of a new industry.

The meetup was held at Blo Blow Dry Bar in Chesterfield, MO. About 30 minutes from STL. Blo was nothing but amazing, and gave us complimentary blow outs. I decided on the style “Pillow Talk”. You can see in the photos above :). It was my first blow out, and the experience was SO relaxing. I cannot wait to go back! They were so accommodating and let us setup our snacks on a table in the back of the salon. We had cheese, crackers, grapes, cookies, and of course champagne!

We also had the opportunity to collaborate with some great local shops! They were kind enough to donate items from their shops for goodies bags for each of the girls. You can see in the photos below what they gave each of us. Thank you to all the shops who donated! I linked all of their websites and put their Instagram handles so you can check them out!

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Paperdolls Boutique @pdshopgirl: They have the cutest clothes! I’m in love with the scent of the candle they gave us. I also cannot wait to wear those bracelets!

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Christopher’s @christopherskirkwood127: This shop has the perfect gift items! Christopher’s was kind enough to give us Pink Pig Soap, and a tape measure (are you surprised I didn’t own one of these!? haha)

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CR Jewels @crjewels: Our very own Carmen Ramirez made these gorgeous jewels and was nice enough to donate a few to us!

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The Spotted Pig @thespottedpigstl: Another one of my favorite local shops for gift items! This would be a great place to go for Father’s Day gifts! They were super kind, and sent us this Lucky Penny key chain.

I had such a blast at our meetup, and I cannot wait for our next one! If you would like to join Style Collective to experience local meetups, and to pump up your blogging game, you can join HERE!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Valerie

P.S.: I have an exciting Instagram collaboration coming up with a huge clothing company, so make sure you are following me on Instagram to see it! I can’t wait to show you!

 

Holiday Drinks

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Happy Monday! Is anyone else having issues with how dark it’s getting at like 5:00 now? Today I shot a few outfit photos for blog posts, and we had to rush because we were running out of sunlight! But that does mean one thing, Christmas is coming! With it being so warm lately, it’s kinda hard to get in the holiday spirit. One of my favorite ways to get in the spirit is by drinking my favorite holiday drinks! Sometimes I have a hard time finding the perfect one that everyone will like, so I’m rounding up a few of my favorites that I found on Pinterest! All of these are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! The first half will be non-alcoholic and the second half will be alcoholic:

Non-Alcoholic: 

Hot Cocoa: This one is super simple, but always a favorite. I start out by adding hot water (you can always use milk heated up on the stove or microwave) from my Keurig to my favorite mug, then stir in a packet of Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa. I top it off with Jet-Puffed Mini Peppermint Marshmallows. You can even put crunched up candy canes on top. SO good!

Christmas Morning Punch: This is a mixture of orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and ginger ale! This is perfect to drink Christmas morning while opening presents. You can even add a little champagne to make it a mimosa!

Sparkling Cranberry Pineapple Punch: This one is similar to the one above, but more for parties! I will for sure be making this at my next Christmas party!

Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cider: Pretty self explanatory, but sounds so delicious!

Salted Caramel Egg Nog: I’m not a huge egg nog fan, but this sounds so good!

Alcoholic: 

Cranberry Moscow Mule: A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, but with cranberries!

Apple Cider Moscato Sangria:  Sangria isn’t only for summer! This one is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.

Apple Cider Mimosa: This one is only two ingredients! A win in my book.

Rudolph’s Cranberry Fizz: Not only does this sound delicious, the Rudolph marshmallows are so adorable!

Jingle Juice Holiday Punch: I think I might make this one for New Years!

Which one do you plan to try? Let me know in the comments!

Valerie

This post was sponsored by Kraft and Swiss Miss. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Styled Muse possible!