Ring in a Fantastic Fourth

July 04, 2016

With the Fourth of July coming up, you can declare your independence from the stress and toil of party planning and still have a stylish cookout or barbecue. You don’t want to be tread on when planning backyard cookouts or fireworks-viewing forays, so we’ve got some sweet tips to celebrate the land of liberty. To really avoid work on a three-day weekend, try these party, barbecue and picnic hacks that let freedom ring in a fantastic Fourth. Ready-to-Serve Cocktails

Yes, they sell prepared cocktails where you just add ice! The ingenious concoctions from Austin Cocktails are naturally low calorie, made from five-times distilled premium vodka or tequila and serve six cocktails per bottle. These light and refreshing mixed drinks come in five different varieties of mojitos, margaritas and other cocktails, and best of all require no effort aside from open and pour.

If you don’t know where to find Austin Cocktails, check this handy store locator to find the crazy-convenient cocktails in time for your Fourth of July.

Keep Drinks Cold Without Watering Them Down

That pitcher of mojitos or margaritas is the hit of the party—until the ice melts. One way to avoid the inevitable ice-melting effect of the July sun is to place ice cubes in a resealable, Ziploc-style plastic bag and drop the bag in the pitcher, so your cocktails stay cool while retaining their high-octane goodness.

Make the American Flag Cake

Maybe you’ve seen an impressive (and outrageously simple to prepare) American flag sheet cake in the past; you just forgot about it because the Fourth of July comes but once a year. To refresh your memory, start by preparing a simple vanilla sheet cake and coat it with vanilla frosting. Arrange a small square of blueberries in the upper left corner to represent the stars and blue background, then arrange seven rows of strawberries to represent the red stripes. Then, boom!—you’ve got an American flag cake.

Serve Watermelon Sticks

Watermelon is such a perfect summertime snack, except for the mess, the stickiness and the giant, unfinished portions of watermelon slices. You can solve all three problems by cutting the watermelon into watermelon sticks instead of slices, using a method so simple that it’s pretty much impossible to screw up.

Pack Your Coolers Efficiently

Coolers are great, but the fewer heavy coolers you have to haul around the better. You can lighten your load if you pack them efficiently. Unpack store-bought items into Tupperware or resealable plastic bags to save space. Don’t bother cooler-izing items that can be served at room temperature. And there’s a great hack for avoiding the storage inefficiencies of store-bought ice bags...

Make Your Own Ice in Drinkable Containers

Ice is not only expensive, it is often out of stock on a summertime holiday weekend. Make your own ice packs in advance, using water bottles or milk cartons that you freeze overnight. When they cool the cooler and eventually melt at the picnic, you have servings of water to drink right from the bottle or carton.

Make Your Own Slip ’N Slide

This is totes possible, but requires a premises with a running hose. Take one 8-foot roll of heavy-duty plastic (or as many as you want for a longer slide), velcro some foam pool noodles lengthwise along the edges to provide weight, plow in some yard stakes and sic a hose on that baby. Then you’re turning new generations on to your favorite childhood summer hobby, but please do run your hose sparingly. Don’t run it all day with the state of the planet right now.

Make a Portable ‘Speaker’ Without the Speaker

Believe it or not, you can almost double the sound output on your smartphone by simply sticking it into a pint glass or large cup. Just pull up your playlist or favorite streaming radio station on your phone, stick the phone into the cup, and enjoy volumes of musical fun.

Fourth of July Fingernail Designs

You can totally nail it this Independence Day with these do-it-yourself, custom Fourth of July nail manicures like American flag nails, patriotic stars and other awesome red, white and blue designs.