Easy 4th of July Recipes Your Family Will Devour

This Independence Day, cook up a spread of star-spangled 4th of July recipes worthy of America’s birthday. From traditional 4th of July foods (we’re talking about you, coleslaw and potato salad) to modern, creative finger foods, we’ve rounded up mouthwatering recipes to help you celebrate the summer holiday in the most delicious way possible. Fire up the grill and make some of the best all-American entrees, keeping it classic with fried chicken, smoky meats, and burgers of all kinds — or even trying some zesty seafood recipes that taste like you’re eating beachside. You’ll of course have to pair it with some delicious 4th of July apps, refreshing summer salads, or the best desserts to cap off a backyard barbecue. And don’t forget the drink recipes to pair with all your cookout fare — it is the American way, after all.

beef and mushroom burgers recipe

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

These half-veggie, half-beefy burgers get an extra dose of flavor from mushrooms. With cheese and all the fixin’s, they might just be the new ultimate burger.

Get the recipe for Beef and Mushroom Burgers »

grilled chicken wings

Grilled Chicken Wings

Once you toss this game-day classic on the grill, you’ll never go back to boring fried wings again.

Get the recipe for Grilled Chicken Wings »

chilled tortellini romesco

Chilled Tortellini Romesco

You’ll never go back to plain old pasta once you’ve had a cheesy side salad. Bonus: the Romesco sauce can also be tossed with potatoes, or used as a dip or a killer sandwich spread.

Get the recipe for Chilled Tortellini Romesco »

chicago style chicken dogs

Chicago-Style Chicken Dogs

Sweet and spicy pickles and peppers make these grilled dogs a real winner.

Get the recipe for Chicago-Style Chicken Dogs »

More recipe’s can be found here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/g2069/4th-of-july-recipes/?slide=1

Article by By Samantha Macavoy and Kate Merker

Photo’s by Mike Garten & Danielle Daly

8 Best Mosquito Repellent Plants to Keep Pests Away

By Christopher Michel  For Good Housekeeping

a vase filled with purple flowers: These mosquito repellent plants, from lavender and citronella to catnip and basil, will make your garden look stunning and keep pests at bay.© undefined undefined – Getty Images  These mosquito repellent plants, from lavender and citronella to catnip and basil, will make your garden look stunning and keep pests at bay.

Look, mosquitos are awful. They buzz in your ear, leave itchy red bites, and can even spread disease. No, thank you. The insects may be great food for birds and bats, but you definitely don’t want them hanging around your backyard (trust us, mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika aren’t health issues you want to explore personally). Fortunately, there are a few ways to repel mosquitos naturally, without the use of sprays.

First, you’ll want to make your outdoor living areas less friendly to mosquito eggs by getting rid of any standing water (including the water in clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, and flower pots). You should also cut back any high grass or brush that creates cool, shady, or damp spots that mosquitos favor.

Alternately, you can use the power of scent to help you out. Certain strong smells can both hide the scent of people (something that attracts mosquitos) and prevent the bugs from wanting to get close enough to bite you. This is why DEET bug sprays and citronella candles sell like hotcakes in the summer. There are also several mosquito-repellent plants with strong scents that humans find pleasant and mosquitos hate. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, but ideally on your skin.

To get the maximum effect of these natural mosquito repellent plants, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their perfume and essential oils, and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin.

NOTE: Some of these plants may cause skin irritation. If you have dry or sensitive, you should avoid using them. You should not use if you are allergic to any of these plants, and you should always do a patch test on a small section of your skin before using.

Lemon Balm

a close up of a garden: Lemon Balm Plant© Nicholas Kostin – Getty Images Lemon Balm Plant

This member of the mint family has white flowers and a gentle lemony scent, as well as some healing properties. Lemon balm is particularly good at keeping mosquitos away, but it’s also a fast grower, so be careful when planting it in your garden. It does well if you plant it in a pot on your patio, or other outdoor areas.


a close up of a tree surrounded by green leaves: Catmint - Catnip Plant- Catswort - Nepeta Cataria© Zen Rial – Getty Images Catmint – Catnip Plant- Catswort – Nepeta Cataria

This fragrant mint cousin contains a natural chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellent. Though if you’re not interested in a bunch of cats moving into the area, skip this one and move onto a different plant.


a close up of a green plant: USA, California, San Benito County, Basil plant, close up detail of leaves© WIN-Initiative – Getty Images USA, California, San Benito County, Basil plant, close up detail of leaves

A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this delicious staple from your indoor herb garden is toxic to mosquito larvae. Grow this amazing plant around any natural water sources, such as a pond, and it may control the rate of eggs being laid.


a group of purple flowers: France, Provence, lavender fields© Westend61 – Getty Images France, Provence, lavender fields

Lavender can repel flying insects like mosquitos, moths, and flies. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, the most effective way to use it for pest control is to rub the plant on your skin to release its oils.


a close up of a green plant: bunch of fresh mint leaves on dark slate background© Oleksii Polishchuk – Getty Images bunch of fresh mint leaves on dark slate background

In its concentrated form, peppermint is sometimes used as an insect repellent, and its oil has been shown to repel the adults and kill the larvae and eggs of several species.

Citrosum (a.k.a. Mosquito Plant)

a close up of a flower: macro closeup of hot pink purple white flowers of Pelargonium graveolens citrosum cintronella mosquito repellent sweet scented old fashion rose geranium plant against green leaves background© LegART – Getty Images macro closeup of hot pink purple white flowers of Pelargonium graveolens citrosum cintronella mosquito repellent sweet scented old fashion rose geranium plant against green leaves background

This perennial is actually marketed as a “mosquito plant,” and sometimes referred to as the citronella plant primarily due to its strong citronella scent. Unfortunately, though it’s the most heavily marketed, there’s some research that suggests it’s also the least effective garden plant at mosquito control. Still, there are some benefits to be had from rubbing the crushed leaves on your skin, and if there’s nothing else around, it will provide some protection.

Sage and Rosemary

a close up of a green plant: Close-up of sage growing in garden© Norma Murace Melia / EyeEm – Getty Images Close-up of sage growing in garden

If you’re planning to gather around a fire, try burning a little sage or rosemary. The incense these plants give off when they burn not only smells good but is unpleasant enough to most species of insects that it’ll repel them — as long as you’re near the smoke.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/8-best-mosquito-repellent-plants-to-keep-pests-away-from-your-garden/ar-BB16dQb3?ocid=msedgntp

How to Plan and Save for Your Wedding During the Pandemic

a man wearing a costume: "I'm telling couples to get engaged now — and wait," says celebrity wedding expert Colin Cowie

© Getty “I’m telling couples to get engaged now — and wait,” says celebrity wedding expert Colin Cowie

Almost every big wedding this year has been rescheduled for 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on the world, celebrity wedding expert Colin Cowie tells PEOPLE.

“I’m telling couples to get engaged now — and wait,” says the party planner, whose A-list clientele includes Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Seacrest. “The idea of a socially distanced wedding with people standing 10-feet apart, I don’t find anything exciting or glamorous about that.”

Couples were “extremely and bitterly disappointed” at the idea of postponing their weddings, Cowie says. But after he explained what would have to be done to follow CDC guidelines and ensure everyone’s safety, all of Cowie’s clients elected to wait.

“A wedding is a very emotionally charged event — people have spent years dreaming of what it’s going to be like,” Cowie says. “You want to make those dreams come true, and we can’t do that in 2020. We have to wait until 2021.”

That doesn’t mean you can’t spend your extra time and cash prepping for the big day. Below, Cowie and finance expert Kelly Lannan share their best tips for planning a wedding during a pandemic.

Nail Down Your Venue

Cowie forecasts that 2021 will have twice as many weddings as usual if the situation in the U.S. improves, so he advises booking weddings set for May to December 2021 now.

“All the venues are very, very busy,” says Cowie, who is based in New York and has offices in L.A., New York and Miami. “Settle on a date immediately.”

Lock in your band and photographer too, he says: “Everything else can wait.”

Add a Cancellation Clause to Your Contracts

Cowie has added a cancellation clause to every one of his client’s contracts, stating that if the date needs to be moved again, “there will be no penalty, and any deposits we have will be respected and move forward.” With outcomes far from predictable, “it’s the smart thing to do,” he says.

Don’t Book a Destination Wedding Outside the U.S.

Cowie, 58, got married to commodities trader Danny Peuscovich on Feb. 22 in Cape Town, South Africa.

“The week after we got back, the whole world went into lockdown,” he recalls. “It was the last big, great wedding before everything came to a bitter end.”

He doesn’t think he would have been able to get almost 200 guests to travel to a wedding in South Africa for several years given the pandemic.

“I was so lucky,” he says.

Cowie thinks guests will be far more likely to travel inside the U.S. before they will travel internationally. And given potential travel restrictions, they might not be able to.

Take Over a Hotel

Buying out boutique hotels will be “very, very, very popular” when large gatherings are safe, Cowie says. Consider taking over a 50 to 100-room resort or a more modest yet charming inn.

“That way you can have more control,” Cowie says. “Think about it: you go into a restaurant, you don’t know who is on your left or your right, but you know who is on your guest list.”

Livestream Your Wedding

Even if a vaccine is available by the time you say “I do,” not everyone on your guest list will feel comfortable attending in person, so Cowie advises pre-planning a virtual option over Zoom just in case.

“There will be a hybrid wedding,” Cowie says, predicting that weddings might have a mix of Zoom viewers and guests who are physically present.

And depending on rapidly changing local guidelines, in-person guests might have to be completely ruled out.

Have a Virtual Bridal Shower and Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Kelly Lannan, the 34-year-old Boston-based Vice President of Young Investors at Fidelity, was invited to 10 weddings this year — and all of them were postponed because of the pandemic. (She has officiated four weddings, and actually offered to marry her friends whose weddings were delayed. To date, no one has taken her up on the offer.)

But online bridal showers and virtual bachelorette parties can — and should — still happen, Lannan says, because they’re fun and make guests feel included.

Take a Hard Look at Your Guest List

When Lannan got married two years ago, her mother and her future in-laws handed her guest lists.

“The guest list completely dictates a significant portion of your wedding budget,” she says. “There were people on my original list I realized I hadn’t talked to in eight years since I graduated college. The relationship wasn’t there. While it may hurt to cross someone off the list, it could definitely be a healthy decision for your budget, especially now when venues are really looking at the size of your wedding party. There’s a lot of capacity limitations given the coronavirus pandemic.”

But these B-list guests don’t have to be entirely excluded from your big day — you can send them the virtual link.

Get Crafty

You may not have pictured yourself as a DIY bride, but given the pandemic, you might have more time to spend with your glue gun working on a complex centerpiece.

“Get creative with those little things,” Lannan says. “That’s a good opportunity in the coronavirus.”

Put Your Gym Membership Money in Your Wedding Account

Is your gym membership still on hold? Not going to pilates or boot camp classes? Haven’t had a hair cut in months? You can funnel all that money plus what you’d normally spend on subscriptions and nights out into your wedding fund.

“You could even make automatic payments,” Lannan says. “That’s an easy way to save without thinking about it.”

Plus, if you have a virtual bachelor or bachelorette party, the money you would have spent in Las Vegas or Mexico can cover a splurge item on your wishlist.

Set Up An Emergency Wedding Fund

Lannan tells all her investing clients to have an emergency fund. It’s important to create one for a wedding, too, she says.

“Weddings always cost more than you think,” she says. “It’s important to anticipate over charges. Then you’ll be the one bride in the history of weddings who comes in underneath your budget.”

Lannan kept a couple thousand in her own wedding emergency fund two years ago.

“That definitely helped me feel comfortable,” she says. “And I dipped into it a little.” (She paid for hair and make-up for her 13 bridesmaids on the big day.)

Consider Wedding Insurance

Many of Lannan’s friends are buying wedding insurance for their rescheduled dates.

“From my understanding, it really does protect a couple’s investment from things beyond their control,” she says. “What if your limo driver doesn’t show up – they contract coronavirus, and you need to find someone else, and they are charging three times the price? The insurance will cover.”

Look at the Bright Side

“It’s okay to be sad postponing your wedding,” Lannan says.

But try to find an upside.

“My friend hated her original save-the-date cards. Guess what? She gets to send a new one,” Lannan says.

Don’t let the pandemic stop you from planning the wedding of your dreams, Cowie advises. Just be patient.

“There’s no crystal ball for this future,” Cowie says.

Article by Wendy Grossman Kantor  for People©

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/weddings/how-to-plan-and-save-for-your-wedding-during-the-pandemic-according-to-experts/ar-BB16d0En?ocid=msedgntp

People Are Asking for More Princess Anne in Season 4 of The Crown

One of the biggest criticisms of the third season of The Crown is simply that there wasn’t enough Princess Anne. Writer and showrunner Peter Morgan notably skipped over a few Anne-focused moments in history, which range from her wedding to the time she was almost kidnapped at gunpoint and fended off the assailant, in favor of episodes that centered the emotions of the men in the royal family.

a person standing in front of a crowd: Some think he sidelined the character in season three.
© Courtesy of Netflix Some think he sidelined the character in season three.

Add in Erin Doherty’s sparkling performance as the Queen’s quick-witted daughter, and it’s not hard to understand why people were frustrated by her lack of screen time.

That criticism has reached Morgan’s ears. During a virtual roundtable with Deadline ahead of Emmy nomination voting, Morgan shared that “So many people came afterwards and said ‘You will be putting more Erin in season 4 won’t you?'”

“It was because I think because Anne is [an] often overlooked member of the family and a neglected, an unknown member of the family, and the minute Erin’s interpretation of her—which goes far beyond what was written down in terms of what she brings to it—everybody has fallen in love with her,” he explained, noting that the show has also boosted the popularity of the real life Princess Anne.

“I read somewhere that Princess Anne’s personal popularity, the searches for her on Wikipedia, has sort of gone through the roof. She’s now by some margin the most popular royal, and I would say that something about Erin’s extraordinary talent has a lot to do with that.”

Morgan certainly praised Doherty’s performance, calling it a “standout piece of acting,” but he stopped short of confirming that fans would see more of her in season four. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Filming on The Crown‘s next chapter wrapped right as the COVID-19 outbreak hit Europe. New episodes are expected to premiere later this year.

My wife just discovered The Crown on Netflix© and is binging on season one. I wonder if any of you are Crown watchers and are disappointed with Princess Anne’s snub?

Story by Caroline Hallemann for Town&Country©

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/news/people-are-asking-peter-morgan-for-more-princess-anne-in-season-4-of-the-crown/ar-BB16cRyQ?ocid=msedgntp

Happy Canada Day

On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.

Is Canada Day a Public Holiday?

Canada Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Canadians of all ages can be proud of their heritage on Canada Day, an event widely celebrated throughout the country. Illustration based on artwork from ©iStockphoto.com/Carrie Bottomley

What Do People Do?

In many towns and cities, municipal governments organize a range of events, often outdoors. These include pancake breakfasts, parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals, firework displays and citizenship ceremonies for new Canadian citizens. The celebrations often have a patriotic mood. Canada’s national flag is widely displayed and a lot of people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada’s national colors. The celebrations in Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital city, are particularly exuberant.

In the province of Quebec, many home leases start on July 1 and last for exactly one year. Hence, many people in Quebec spend Canada Day moving their possessions from one house to another. In this province, Canada Day is also known as Moving Day.

In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is also Memorial Day. This commemorates the heavy loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the morning of July 1 is usually somber. Flags are flown at half-mast and memorial services are held at cenotaphs (war memorials). In the afternoon, Canada Day celebrations in the province are similar to those in the rest of the country.

Public Life

July 1 is a holiday in Canada. If it falls on a Sunday, it is moved to July 2, except in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador. All provincial governments observe this day. Many organizations, businesses and stores are closed, although some book stores, pharmacies and gas stations may be open. Post offices are closed. As Canada Day falls in the Canadian summer holiday period, all schools are closed.

Public transport services may operate to their usual or a reduced timetable. In some areas, extra services are provided for large scale events. Street closures due to concerts, parades and festivals may cause some local disruption to traffic.


On July 1, 1867, the British North Americas Act created the Dominion of Canada as a federation of four provinces. This event is known as the confederation of Canada. The four original provinces were created from the former British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada, which was divided into the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Canada’s boundaries have been extended since 1867. The country now consists of 10 provinces and three territories.

On June 20, 1868, the Canada’s Governor General proclaimed that Canadians should celebrate the anniversary of the confederation. July 1 became a holiday, known as Dominion Day, in 1879. However, no official celebrations were held until the 50th anniversary in 1917 and the 60th anniversary in 1927. After World War II, Dominion Day was celebrated more frequently and more events were organized by the national government. After the centenary of the confederation in 1967, Dominion Day events became more widespread. July 1 became popularly known as Canada Day. The date was also officially known as Canada Day from 1983 onwards.

Since 2006 Canada Day celebrations were also held at London’s Trafalgar Square in the United Kingdom. It is expected that these celebrations will be held annually. Depending on the availability of Trafalgar Square, these events may be held just before, on or just after July 1.


Canada’s national flag is seen on Canada Day. This consists of two vertical red rectangles separated by a white square. The white square contains a red image of a maple leaf. Canada’s national colors are red and white and are used in many ways on Canada Day. Some people wear red and white clothing and others paint their faces in these colors.

Source https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/canada-day

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