July 4th American-Themed Founding Fathers Costume Party!

Happy Independence Day! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve spent the first weeks of summer looking forward to July 4th, when I would have a classic American cookout, eat some kind of a dessert that uses strawberries and blueberries to replicate the American flag, enjoy the fireworks and play some good old-fashioned picnic games watch Revolutionary War documentaries on the History Channel. Although complaining about America is a tradition as old as the Declaration of Independence – and of course the U.S. of A. does have its problems – take a moment today to compare our country to some places across the globe: we have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free, compulsory public education, and public parks and libraries open to anybody who wants to explore and learn. If that doesn’t make you want to chant U-S-A, U-S-A, nothing will.

But you don’t have to be from the United States to celebrate on the 4th of July – face it, no matter where you live, you’ve been exposed to American culture. So if you’re celebrating from overseas, here are some tips to throw a great American-Themed party (psst – Americans can do it, too!). My favorite parts: the name tags with names of American icons like Betsy Ross and Alexander Hamilton, the map where you try to fill in the names of the 50 states (no peeking!), and the mad libs approach to classic American speeches and songs like the Gettysburg Address and Oh, Susannah.

There’s always the issue of what to wear, though, and on July 4th I think the rule of the day is to be as cheesy and red, white and blue as possible. Think: whatever the summery, patriotic version of a Christmas sweater, you should wear that. We do have a few guidelines – the dos and don’ts of patriotic wear – if you don’t want to cross the line all the way into star-spangled Speedos.

However, if you’ve been inspired by Hamilton or by your once-a-year viewing of The Patriot, maybe you’ll want to get your all-American fashion inspiration from the founding fathers. Don’t worry, we’ve written a guide to founding father fashion too! Get out the tricorn caps, Yankee Doodle boys and girls. They probably won’t be the weirdest thing you’ll see somebody wear today.

One of our favorite pictures from the American-themed party post was a party in Poland where the hosts played the movie Pocahontas on the TV. We have some film recommendations in the party guide – American genres like baseball movies, war stuff, and Tom Cruise – but if you need a few more, here are some movies that make me love America.

Another age-old American tradition is losing to European and Latin American teams in soccer(/football). With the Olympics coming up, I should mention that our U.S. national teams are very good and I have high hopes! But during the last World Cup, we wrote a list of American things to do to get over the World Cup loss. The activities work just as well as a way to celebrate America!

Whether you’re an American celebrating the land of your birth, residence or citizenship, or a non-American trying your best to put up with us, we hope you have a spectacular July 4th! May all your hats be three-cornered, your parties American-themed, and your Solo Cups red.

 

 

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#FlashbackFriday: Modern Day Fourth of July Songs

You’re almost there, folks! Fourth of July is tomorrow, and that means not only freedom for America, but freedom from work and nearly all our responsibilities! I hope you guys have a great weekend, but to make it even better, how about a soundtrack worthy of the amount of hot dogs and hamburgs and fireworks you’ll be taking in this weekend.

In 2013, we compiled a list of our fave America-inspired and summertime-centric songs, so we’re bringing it back again for your enjoyment in 2015. Have a safe and fun July 4th, y’all!

Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks:

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

You’re probably expecting Born in the USA. But I thought I’d throw a curveball, and also I like this song better.

Jack and Diane – John Mellencamp

This may be a little ditty about Jack and Diane (two American kids growing up in the Heartland), but apparently it’s also about the loss of innocence amongst teens. So yeah, kids in the USA go through life changing experiences, and that’s a part of American culture.

All-American Girl – Carrie Underwood

A touching tale of a boy who grows up, falls in love, gets married, and hopes for a son to carry on his football legacy, his dreams changed when he has a baby girl. An ‘All-American’ baby girl. But hey, it’s 2013, girls can play football too. Theoretically.

Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts

Fourth of July obviously means summertime, and this is a great song to play if you’re chillin in the back of your friend’s pickup truck drinking an ice cold Budwiser in the middle of a corn field. Note: I’ve never done this, I just imagine that’s what kids in the country too.

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

I think my thing with Fourth of July songs is that I picked songs that everyone knows. Independence day is celebrating America- One Nation, Under God, etc. etc. What better way to come together as a whole than by singing a song together that everyone knows? In saying that, Sweet Caroline personally reminds me of the Red Sox and Fenway Park – baseball, Americana, etc. And the ‘Ba Ba Ba’? Who doesn’t love a good ‘Ba Ba Ba’?

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

Because, America.

Molly’s picks:

America, Fuck Yeah – Team America: World Police

On the 4th of July, you will be hearing a lot of soaring, majestic numbers about amber waves of grain and there being ain’t no doubt you love this land. Fine. But I like an America that can laugh at itself. LOL jingoism.

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Independence day barbecues are all about the cheerful oldies. You need to play a selection of the summery ones – whether it’s this song, Summer In The City, Surfin’ USA, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini … whatever it takes to make you feel like Megan Draper without all the, you know, troubles.

Electric Feel – MGMT

    If I picture outdoor summer parties from the past 6 years or so, this song is always playing. I don’t know who made the rule that every 20-something’s summer party in the 2010s has to play MGMT, but the rule exists and you may as well follow it.

Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

    Right?! Right.

At The Beach – The Avett Brothers

    If it’s 4th of July, I need some kind of country or folksy music. It’s no wonder that the best 4th of July celebration I’ve been to was in Nashville. Something about the modern version of country/bluegrass/folk just makes me really happy to be from the good ol’ U.S. of A. So put on Devil Makes Three, or the Avett Brothers, or Father John Misty, or Old Crow Medicine Show, or whatever, and thank God that you live in America.

American Pie – Don MacLean

    Everybody knows this song, everybody loves this song, and it’s one of the best singalong tunes I know. Plus the word “American” is in it so… you know.

American Things To Do To Make You Get Over The World Cup Loss

So, we lost. I’m no soccer connoisseur, but I’m pretty sure it’s still a shock that we made it so far into the World Cup. It was exhilarating for the like, two weeks we were in the thick of it, as people who usually don’t care about professional soccer were suddenly into it for the spirit of AMURRICA.

And now that we’re out, we have to deal with the depression that comes once the reality of losing settles in (and what exactly we’re going to do with that Tim Howard Shrine). And to pour salt in the wounds, the loss came just days before the most patriotic day of the year. So to help you deal with one of the most bittersweet Independence Days you’ll ever celebrate, here are a few things to do today to help you get over the World Cup loss.

Watch and recite the speech from Independence Day

It doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat or Republican, one thing we can all agree on is that Bill Pullman as fake President of the USA is one leader we can stand behind, especially after this rousing speech before they fight all the aliens. You know, it sounds ridiculous once I type it out like that. But if you don’t stand up and clap in the name of America after this, you should probably check your citizenship at the door.

Drink beer from a red solo cup

In one of those Buzzfeed articles, it showed people from around the world holding ‘American parties’ and in almost all of them, they are drinking out of red solo cups. I didn’t realize it until reading the listicle, but why DO we use these cups at every college/drinking party, both portrayed on screen and IRL too? Either way, the rest of the world is right, we use these brightly colored cups to excess and drink your soccer cares away today/this weekend – preferably with a cheap American beer.

Register to vote!

Democracy – we got it! Also we have these awesome ‘I Voted’ stickers that you get after said voting, and these are the exact ones I got in LA that have different languages around the perimeter, including one in Filipino!! What up diversity!

Wear all the American flag things

As I found out last year, apparently any article of clothing with the flag printed on it is actually a flag. Like it should be treated the same as a real flag, according to the U.S. flag code. Basically, we’ve all broken the code. Oops. Maybe you shouldn’t go all out like Katy Perry (but I mean, good on ya if you do), but prove to the enemy that we stand strong in the face of adversity and don’t let those colors run (lawdd).

Eat your weight in hot dogs

Every 4th of July, iconic hot dog company Nathan’s Famous holds the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, in which contestants shove the meat into their mouths at rapid pace and whoever eats the most gets fame and fortune (a bejeweled mustard belt), because, America. 30-year-old Joey Chestnut (pictured in the center) has won every year since 2007, and last year he even beat his own personal record of 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Needless to say, you don’t want to hang around the 10:01 mark unless you want to lose your appetite.

Just eat all the foods

Our friend Renee relocated to the Netherlands a couple years ago, and she held her own American Thanksgiving at her house for her Dutch friends, and made all the fixins, from mashed potatoes to sweet potatoes to vegetables to the obvious large turkey – and he Dutch pals kept questioning why she made so much food for such a small group of people. Because, you do. But WHY they asked. Just make less of it. NO. That’s not Thanksgiving, that’s not America. We’re known for our entirely too large portions and nothing helps you beat stress better than with just piles of food. And alcohol. But mainly food.

Spend too much money at Wal-Mart

Ah, Wal-Mart. Where the items are dirt cheap and so is the employees’ salary (allegedly). If you want to see America at its finest (and also a good reminder that your lives could be worse), all you need to do is go to the People of WalMart site and feel better about yourself, while at the same time disgusted for our society as a whole.

Play baseball

Ever since the 18th century, baseball has been “America’s Game”. There’s nothing more patriotic than going to a ball game, eating some peanuts and cracker jacks (and possibly a hot dog – too soon?), and hearing the National Anthem sung by a local singer who never made it big. Plus, you’re probably already into baseball anyways, so just focus your attention from soccer back to baseball.

Play (American) football

In addition to baseball, Americans love a good game of football. I mean the Super Bowl is like the biggest non-official U.S. holiday. It’s the second largest day for food consumption in the country and also the most watched television event every year. While the last game of the U.S. match in the World Cup did get huge ratings for ESPN – it’s nothing compared to the over 111 million viewers of the Super Bowl.

Basically play any other sport except soccer

I’m not saying you should NEVER play soccer – but maybe in the interim of your depression, just try a new sport that hasn’t taken off the ground in America yet. Like table tennis, perhaps. This sport is huge in Asia! It even is an official sport at the summer Olympics, so that’s gotta count for something!

Playlist of the Month: Modern Day Fourth of July Songs

Happy 4th of July! This is one of my favorite holidays. Not because I’m so into America (though I mean land of the free and all of that), but because it’s such a laid-back, no-expectations day that it can almost never disappoint you. As long as you have friends, fireworks, and food, you’re all set. The only thing missing is a good playlist — just call it our love letter to America.

Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks:

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

You’re probably expecting Born in the USA. But I thought I’d throw a curveball, and also I like this song better.

Jack and Diane – John Mellencamp

This may be a little ditty about Jack and Diane (two American kids growing up in the Heartland), but apparently it’s also about the loss of innocence amongst teens. So yeah, kids in the USA go through life changing experiences, and that’s a part of American culture.

All-American Girl – Carrie Underwood

A touching tale of a boy who grows up, falls in love, gets married, and hopes for a son to carry on his football legacy, his dreams changed when he has a baby girl. An ‘All-American’ baby girl. But hey, it’s 2013, girls can play football too. Theoretically.

Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts

Fourth of July obviously means summertime, and this is a great song to play if you’re chillin in the back of your friend’s pickup truck drinking an ice cold Budwiser in the middle of a corn field. Note: I’ve never done this, I just imagine that’s what kids in the country too.

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

I think my thing with Fourth of July songs is that I picked songs that everyone knows. Independence day is celebrating America- One Nation, Under God, etc. etc. What better way to come together as a whole than by singing a song together that everyone knows? In saying that, Sweet Caroline personally reminds me of the Red Sox and Fenway Park – baseball, Americana, etc. And the ‘Ba Ba Ba’? Who doesn’t love a good ‘Ba Ba Ba’?

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

Because, America.

Molly’s picks:

America, Fuck Yeah – Team America: World Police

On the 4th of July, you will be hearing a lot of soaring, majestic numbers about amber waves of grain and there being ain’t no doubt you love this land. Fine. But I like an America that can laugh at itself. LOL jingoism.

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Independence day barbecues are all about the cheerful oldies. You need to play a selection of the summery ones – whether it’s this song, Summer In The City, Surfin’ USA, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini … whatever it takes to make you feel like Megan Draper without all the, you know, troubles.

Electric Feel – MGMT

    If I picture outdoor summer parties from the past 6 years or so, this song is always playing. I don’t know who made the rule that every 20-something’s summer party in the 2010s has to play MGMT, but the rule exists and you may as well follow it.

Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

    Right?! Right.

At The Beach – The Avett Brothers

    If it’s 4th of July, I need some kind of country or folksy music. It’s no wonder that the best 4th of July celebration I’ve been to was in Nashville. Something about the modern version of country/bluegrass/folk just makes me really happy to be from the good ol’ U.S. of A. So put on Devil Makes Three, or the Avett Brothers, or Father John Misty, or Old Crow Medicine Show, or whatever, and thank God that you live in America.

American Pie – Don MacLean

    Everybody knows this song, everybody loves this song, and it’s one of the best singalong tunes I know. Plus the word “American” is in it so… you know.