It’s that time of year again! Chances are, you will attend more than one cookout with friends and family this summer. And 4th of July is usually the big kick-off. (It is America’s 241st birthday, after all!) There’s an energy about summer I love. So it’s my mission to make sure you stand out at your next BBQ with some of my favorite tips. Because you never know who you may find there!

#1 Think Outside The Box

Instead of bringing a bottle of wine or beer to your next Saturday summer get together – bring a signature cocktail instead! If you are meeting your significant other’s friends or family for the first time, it can be the perfect way to create a great first impression. You showed up with something delicious that everyone will love. (Go you!)

The best part is you don’t have to be New York City’s premiere mixologist to create something spectacular. Try your favorite sangria. Sangria can really bring out the flavors of summer and can be a fun and creative thing to make!

Find some of our favorite Sangria recipes here.

Another one of our favorites is a Moscow Mule. Go ahead and play bartender for a bit and bring along the individual ingredients and whip up a few for anyone interested. (Bonus points if you want to bring along a few copper mugs to really elevate the afternoon.)

Check out a perfect, easy Moscow Mule recipe here.

Remember that thinking outside the box isn’t limited to alcohol. Bring a fruit infused water to keep everyone hydrated while adding a little kick. What was your favorite summer dessert as a kid? Bring that along. Everyone still loves ice cream sandwiches. That’s just fact. Or even bring a fun, unique game like Codenames or Exploding Kittens that will get everyone involved and facilitate great conversation!

#2 Stay Colorful and Cool

Summer is one of the best times to show-off your personality. Bump up your wardrobe with a vibrant, patterned sundress. If you opt for classic white (which is always a great choice), choose fun jewelry with different shapes in bold colors which can be a great icebreaker and make it easy for someone to approach you. For guys, try your favorite summer shirt paired with a bold colored pair of pants or shorts. Embrace the confidence and happiness that long days and warm nights bring.

And when it comes to shoes – challenge yourself to go beyond the plastic flip-flop. If you do this one thing for me this summer, I will be so happy. Honestly. A great canvas sneaker in khaki, grey or blue or a leather sandal. Loafers can be great, too if it’s an evening party. Ladies, try a funky sneaker, wedge sandal with cool hardware, or espadrilles. Find your shoe style and have fun with it!

#3 Drink Up

Water, that is. This is a must. No one likes the drunk guy or girl at a party. So be sure to hydrate this 4th of July! Alternate with a seltzer or iced tea. And if you choose not to drink alcohol –  you can still rock this party. Don’t make a big deal about being the “sober” one because there’s no reason to explain yourself or your choices to anyone. Drink a lemonade, a caffeinated beverage, or that citrus infused water you brought to the party.

If you follow these tips, I guarantee you’ll be the person everyone wants to meet and you’ll make a lasting, positive impression. (You’re welcome.)

Have any other favorite tips, must haves, or recipes? Sound off in the comments below.