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! 

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!

Girls Night Ideas + GIVEAWAY!

Sometimes you just really need a girls night. Am I right? But, what is there to do? Coffee? Drinks? Girl, I gotchu. I’m giving you a few ideas that are perfect for girls nights, plus a giveaway to have your very own girls night!

  1. Movies in: I know it may sound lame, but this is the time you can watch all those chick flicks you haven’t been able to see because your boyfriend just isn’t about that life. Grab a few of your favorite snacks, bubbly (it can’t be a girls night without that), and your PJs.
  2. Paint night: Whether you are painting at home or at a painting party, it’s a fun way to catch up, drink wine, and get a little crafty. My local coffee shop hosts these every few months, and I have it on my to do list to sign up!
  3. Spa night: Manis, Pedis, Facials, you name it. Take this time to pamper yourselves and have a glass of wine… or 5 ;).
  4. Shopping: This is an obvious one, right? But be adventurous and try on something you normally wouldn’t!
  5. Comedy club: What’s better than having a few drinks with your girls, while laughing until your stomach hurts?
  6. Coffee: Some of my best girls nights are sitting on the couch at a coffee shop, drinking a latte, while catching up.
  7. Out for drinks: One of my favorite places to go and have drinks and appetizers is Elephant Bar. They invited me to try some of their new signature cocktails and appetizers and they are SO good! My favorite cocktail was the Jungle Colada, it literally tastes like ice cream! For appetizers you have to try their Parmesan Crusted Green Beans!
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    I partnered with Elephant Bar to give TWO Styled Muse readers the chance to each win a $25 gift card to have your own girls night! Head on over to Instagram to enter!

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    What are some of your favorite things to do at your girls nights? Let me know in the comments!

    Valerie
                  In partnership with Elephant Bar. All opinions are my own.

Fall Cocktail

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I love trying new cocktails. Especially if it’s for a good cause! West Elm and Whole foods asked for me to try one of their cocktails from their blog to share with you all! If you post your own photo of a cocktail or appetizer on Instagram and use the tag #westelmxwfm they will donate $1 to the Whole Planet Foundation that helps alleviate poverty worldwide.

Now onto the cocktail! This one is called Apple Pomegranate Fizz. The original recipe is found on the West Elm and Whole Foods blog here.

Apple Pomegranate Fizz
Serves 6

This festive drink is easy to prepare for a crowd. Consider making one batch with nonalcoholic sparkling cider and the other with hard cider to satisfy everyone.

      ¼ cup sugar
      1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
      2 cups chilled unsweetened pomegranate or açai juice
               1 quart chilled sparkling cider or hard apple cider

Combine 1/2 cup water, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out ginger; you should have about 1/3 cup syrup.

Have 6 cocktail glasses ready. Pour about 2 teaspoons ginger syrup and 1/3 cup pomegranate juice into each glass and top with sparkling cider. Reserve remaining syrup for another use (or more cocktails!).

I absolutely love this cocktail, and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving! If you are in a rush (like I was the other day) you can create this cocktail with 1 part Ocean Spray Cranberry Pomegranate Juice and 1 part Johnny Appleseed hard cider. Just add a few apple slices to top it off. SO good and super simple!

Do you have a favorite cocktail for fall? Let me know in the comments!

Valerie