Tags: july 4th

Happy 4th of July! (and a recipe)

Happy 4th of July!  I’m so glad to live in this free nation.  I hope all of you are having a great day!  We’re having the first real day off that we’ve had in a long time!


It’s super hot here.  We live in sunny Phoenix and it has been up to 117 degrees this week!    It’s the first place I have lived where when it gets up to a certain point, they actually have heat warnings go across the screen like a Tornado Warning or something.   You know, with the counties outlined and times given.  It will tell you that they advise that you stay indoors.  Crazy, huh?

So, we’ll try to go outside and enjoy the pool some today I’m sure.  It’s the only way to be outside this time of year.   Summer in Phoenix is not too different than the winters we had in Utah (lived there for three years).  Only, you don’t have to shovel sunshine.

The pool pics below are from last year, after getting our yard in decent shape.  It was a nightmare when we moved in.  I’ll do a post on that with before and after pics sometime.

IMG_3231 (640x395)


It’s good to have a break!  We decided this past week to start doing all of our small business taxes ourselves.  Payroll and all.  So, not knowing much about accounting at all other than how to read and keep a checkbook register, we had to learn and learn and learn.

We’ve spent a great deal of time learning to use Quickbooks and taxes over the past week.  And, we’ve yet to start on the payroll aspect.  I think my brain may explode from new information soon, between this and Photoshop and InDesign.

Funny thing is, at the start of college, my husband was going the accounting route at the business school at UT Austin.  After one semester and one accounting class, he changed his mind.  He switched over to MIS (management information systems).  Cracks me up now because he would have HATED it.  Neither of us are cut out to do this for a full-time job.  It’s far from a passion of ours.  But, I’m glad we are learning!  It’s good stuff to know how to do and will save us money in the end.  Rather than paying a CPA monthly, we can just take our information in to the CPA at the end of the year for taxes.


Today, besides the pool, we’ll also enjoy brisket, baked potatoes, chocolate molten cake with ice cream and a movie!   And, maybe even virgin pina coladas later.

Tell me more about that cake you say?   It’s the kind that is soft in the middle and fully baked on the edges.   Sort of like the brownie and brownie dough together.

I’m one of those gluten free girls (and corn and soy free) so this is a safe recipe for me.  I wanted to share it with you.  I’ve been making it often since seeing it around 5 years ago on a local morning show in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Trust me, it’s sinfully delicious!

Chocolate Molten Cake (served with ice cream and a strawberry)

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces butter
4 whole eggs
1/4 cup sugar

Combine chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl and melt over a double boiler.  Combine eggs and sugar in a separate mixing bowl and warm over double boiler until warm to the touch.  Transfer egg mixture to mixer and whip until fluffy.   Fold whipped eggs into melted chocolate.   Divide evenly into 4 bake proof dishes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.

Consider putting whipped cream and a strawberry on top to make it more patriotic and well, even more tasty! It’s also great with ice cream!

Tip – Don’t fear the double broiler.  A double broiler can be as simple as a larger pot with water in it boiling and then ingredients in a smaller pot sitting inside of it.  That’s how I do it.  I don’t actually own a double broiler.

Stay cool today!   Happy 4th of July!


Red, White and Blue Series – Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling

May I introduce Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling.  She is an interior designer located in NM.  Her blog is fantastic.  I’m especially loving her design boards lately.  I asked her to share with us 5 things she’d do to prepare for a July 4th party.  Take it away, Elizabeth.

Hi, Hyphen Interior readers!  Thank you for having me today Kristy, I am excited to be here to share a few of my tips for decorating for a 4th of July Party.

5. Start with Simple Centerpieces


Combine votive candles in mason jars and fresh flowers for a simple and elegant centerpiece.

4. Add Ambiance


Make festive paper lanterns by wrapping white lanterns with red and blue ribbon.
Hang them from your trees to add ambiance.

3. and Festive Details to your Table


Use patterned napkins wrapped with grosgrain ribbon in red, white and blue
to add a festive touch to your table.

2. Don’t Forget the Dessert


1. …or the Sparklers


Happy 4th of July!


Thanks so much, Elizabeth!   I appreciate you participating in our series today.  Be sure to check out her blog.


Red, White and Blue–Kim From Keller Creative

Readers, please welcome Kim from Keller Creative.  She graduated from NC State, but has gone back to school to study graphic design.  She is definitely talented in this area and all things design.   Let’s find out what she would do to decorate for her 4th of July party.  Take it away, Kim.

Thank you Kristy for having me today. I love the 4th of July because it’s all about family, fun and food! This year, my brother is coming in from California so we are planning on a grilling out with family and friends. When it comes to backyard entertaining, I like to keep things simple. I use a mix of paper and plastic plates so that clean up is easy. I also like to tie up silverware in bandannas, at only $1 a pop they are an easy, inexpensive way to add some sophistication to your table.

Mason jars with ribbon and funky straws are the perfect way to serve a favorite drink.

To keep things fun, I like a bite sized dessert, like my s’mores pops, on a small cake stand in the center of the table. That way dessert is always near :)


Speaking of desserts, (aka my favorite part of the meal) I think one of these treats may be gracing my table this 4th. Fruit desserts are just my style…

Source: bettycrocker.com via Kim on Pinterest

Source: skinnytaste.com via Kim on Pinterest

This cake is so festive, but I’m not 100% sure I could pull it off…


Oh, and this, well, it’s just amazing (and totally out of my baking comfort zone)…


Who’s ready for dessert?


Thank you so much for sharing your ideas, Kim!  Be sure to stop by her blog.



Red, White and Blue Series – Michaela from Michaela Noelle Designs

Readers, please welcome Michaela from Michaela Noelle Designs.  She is studying interior design and has an awesome blog where she talks about design, cooking, gift ideas and fashion.  I asked her to share her family traditions and personal ways she celebrates the 4th of July.  Take it away, Michaela.

Hello to all of Kristy’s readers! Isn’t she awesome?! She had me at her pretty painted chair.

I’m Michaela and blog over at Michaela Noelle Designs. I’m an interior design major and I’m enamored with all things design, beautiful, chic, and thoughtful. Little details of parties and interiors always take the cake, in my opinion.

Today I’m here sharing a few easy little party ideas for your 4th of July weekend!  My family and I always indulge in a cake that looks like the American Flag. It’s easy and a fun way to carry out the red white and blue theme. Oh- and it’s delicious, too!

Here are some inspiration cakes.


Here’s our cake from last year.

Looking back, I think it could have used a few more strawberries! Ha (: They’re the best part, anyways!

Another thing I think is fun is making your own flower centerpiece. Here’s one version:


I tried it the other day and it was super easy. To be honest, I totally felt like a florist. It was fun (:

Here’s what you do:

Buy a few bouquets of flowers and a few blocks of floral foam. Cut your floral foam into any shape you want.


Soak it in water for about 30 seconds, or for however long it takes to fully emerge in water.


Start by clipping your flowers very short stems.


Then start filling in the sides.


I decided to do a little of each: red, white & blue. I thought it’d turn out more in the shape of a star, but it didn’t. I happen to love the shape it came out in, though…almost a better rounded shape than the floral foam I cut in a circle. Go figure! Here’s my finished centerpiece.


A fun little craft for your 4th of July table!

Here’s to wishing everyone a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating our country with family, friends & fireworks!

Thanks for having me, Kristy! Xoxo Michaela

Thank you for sharing with us, Michaela!  Great project ideas.  I hope this is getting everyone in the mood and prepared.


Red, White and Blue Series–Stephanie from Cre8tive Designs Inc

Readers, please welcome Stephanie from Creative Designs Inc.  She has a degree in Interior Design, but started on her own home as many do.  In fact, she has an incredible story of how her first home that she worked hard designing burned to the ground. She had to start completely over.  I discovered her blog fairly recently, but loved it from the start.  It was so obvious that she he has beautiful attention to detail and a fantastic talent for photos.  Let’s find out what she thinks are staples for entertaining this time of year.  Take it away, Stephanie.

Thank you Kristy for including me in your Red, White and Blue series.  I love this idea and am so thrilled to be a guest here on your blog.

I love to decorate for parties, almost as much as I love to do interior design.  To me it is like decorating a room, but for just one day.  So when Kristy asked me if I would like to share my decorating tips I jumped on it!

What I love about the 4th of July, besides being all about USA and our independence, are the colors red and white {sorry blue}.   These two colors are a staple for me when I  decorate for holidays.  I invested in red dishes, simple white dishes, table cloths, platters, bowls, and accessories all in these two colors.   Just to clarify the “invested” part, we are talking Target, PierOne and World Market, nothing fancy.  I use them for Christmas, Valentines Day, Memorial day, and the 4th of July.  The white comes in handy for Easter as well.  When these holidays come around,  it so easy and quick for me to pull a party together having my stash at hand.

Using some of my staple items, here is how I set up my table for the 4th of July.  To get the red white and blue place setting, I used my red plates I got from Target 3 years ago, and added small salad white plates that I have also had for years.

The other staple I like to use are wicker chargers.  These are great for any holiday or even every day settings.  White, red or clear glassware is another love of mine that I keep in my stash.  I got these old fashion goblets at World Market, I love the pattern on them.

I fan folded the blue napkins and tied a piece of twine in the middle to give it a “bunting” look.

The blue tablecloth is a 60″ round polyester table cloth I got from HomeGoods for $9.99   I cut a hole in the middle for the umbrella.  I used fabric fray for the edges, no sewing required, yahoo!  Just throw it in the washer when the party is over and it is ready for reuse next year.

Everyday silverware purchased again, at World Market wrapped with some ribbon and set inside the little milk type jugs.

It is hard to decorate around an umbrella pole, I find it is best to use a grouping of 3 vases.   I inserted the fun festive tooth pick toppers from PierOne for more color and pizazz.

Last year for the 4th, I used fresh red roses from Costco, and added some flags I got from the dollar store.

I also have used clear Walmart mason jars that I added blue food coloring to the water and fresh carnations.

To dress up the outside of the umbrella, I cheated and used already made flag pennant banner from World Market.  They were only $6.99 each for a 5 foot length.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to make my own {which are so easy to make by the way}  so I caved and bought them.  To me it was worth it, and I can use them year after year.

I felt a little guilty that they weren’t handmade, so I added red dot and blue ribbon strips in between the flag pennants to dress it up.

I am fortune to have a spectacular view as a backdrop and large entertaining area in my backyard , so I keep my table settings low for the guest to enjoy the view.

I am having about 15 guests for the 4th of July, so I will be setting more place settings on other tables.  By having a good stock of the red and white dishes, and other decor items, I don’t have to worry about not having enough if more guests should arrive.  And the great thing is, they won’t sit in my cupboard until the next 4th of July, because I will be using them again before I know it, Christmas! Thanks for having me Kristy!

Thank you so much for sharing with us.  Your home is gorgeous.  I love that view!  This definitely helped with where to start and what to have on hand.  Well done!


Red, White and Blue Series – Brittany from Swirls of Happy

To start this series, which will run daily for a few days, I introduce to you Brittany from Swirls of Happy.  She has an adorable blog that you must check out.  She is beautiful, has amazing fashion sense and great design ability.  I noticed long ago that she had a knack for planning parties.  I asked her to share ideas for 4th of July parties.  Take it away, Brittany.

Hello Hyphen Interior readers!  Brittany from Swirls of Happy here today guest posting for Kristy.  I am so excited to be a guest blogger on Hyphen Interiors, because it is one of my favorite blogs.  Kristy has so much talent and is beyond sweet….basically, she totally rocks!

Anyhoo, lets get this party started (literally, I am posting about 4th of July party ideas) with some Red, White, Blue…and a Bang! There are few Holiday’s that get me amped up like the 4th of July does.  What is better than a Summer holiday filled with good eats, family and friends, a love of our country, and some killer fireworks to top it off?!  What makes this holiday even better…celebrating our Independence and great nation in superb style! Here is some inspiration to get your “hostess with the mostess” and “Mrs. Independence” mojo going… for a seriously chic, fabulous, and patriotic celebration.  Happy Independence Day everyone!

* I love this tie-dye Patriotic bunting project, fun for the whole family to make!


* Make these festive bike streamers with your kids or for yourself (I know I would love to ride around with these on my beach cruiser)!


* How delicious do these pretzels look?!  Yum!

Just dip pretzel sticks in melted chocolate, cover with desired sprinkles and then let them set.  Easy and adorable!

* Perfect for the little kiddos at the party!  Love this simple {and sweet} party favor. Simply buy Ring Pop candy, and attach little handmade tags with this patriotic message.  Adorn tags with tiny stars, glitter, etc.  Voila! P.S  These would also make cute name settings for a table.


* How about little bags of DIY smore kits for your guest…Yes please! Put a mini Hershey bar, two jumbo Marshmallows, and two graham crackers in a snack sized Ziploc bag.  Cover the seal of the bag with a handmade label off your computer or with scrapbook supplies.
* I love these fabulous paper straws!  I think these would look just lovely on a table next to some classic root beer bottles!  Find these here.
* So easy to make, and a sure hit at the party. These Cupcake ice cream comes are as cute as they are delicious!  Make cupcakes as you normally would, then put the baked cupcake in an ice cream cone.  Add frosting and adorn with star sprinkles (or whatever other sprinkles) you want.  The trick is making sure you make the frosting look like ice cream (i.e. the picture)!  Yum.

* Find tea light lanterns like these at Ikea for cheap!  Hang with pretty ribbon for an easy, chic display over your treat table!  A White table cloth and patriotic bunting finish the table off! Make your own bunting with scrapbook paper and coordinating ribbon, or find adorable ones already made here.

* I love these little stars adorned on the paper straws! A simple detail that makes a big statement. Use Die-cute Stars (found at Michaels Craft store), or cut your own, and then punch a circle in the middle and place over straw.

* Make pinwheels for the kids and place them in a large galvanized tub as decoration at the party (and to make it easy for the kids to grab one).  Or let the kids make their own at a craft table at the party (just be sure to supervise)!

* Ice Cream Sandwiches are a must at any 4th of July BBQ!  Take them up a notch by placing sprinkles on the ice cream part and putting them in cute muffin liners.  Presentation at it’s finest.
* What says All-American better than a Hot Dog Bar?!  Hello cute!
* Make personalized labels for your “All American BBQ” on your computer and secure to water bottles, glass soda bottles, Root beer, etc with hot glue. It’s little details like this that get you the “Mrs. Independence” party planner of the year award!
* For a fabulous party favor, make your own firework display by handing out sparklers wrapped in cute handmade packaging.  Make coordinating labels for mini box matches that say “Light it Up” (see right of photo).  LOVE THIS!
Thank you so much for all of the awesome ideas!  I know I am not the best at planning for things that only last a few hours and need a little extra motivation!  I appreciate you sharing one of your personal interests with all of us.