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Fourth of July essentials from NYC to the Hamptons

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Fourth of July weekend is almost here and people are planning the ultimate summer parties. A few essentials will ensure you are well-prepared for anything from a rooftop soiree in NYC to a day at the beach in the Hamptons. Discover the best cocktails, how to ward off bugs and what to do after the party is over.

Before heading out for a day of fun, make sure to include breakfast in your routine. Choose something with calcium, protein and other essential nutrients to help fuel the good times. Pick up a package of pre-made hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. They are quick and easy on-the-go. Try a bowl of Cheerios Protein with skim milk in yummy flavors such as Cinnamon Almond.

For a barbecue or day at the beach, bring along sunscreen, bug repellent and a hat or hair accessories. The Urban Halo is a soft and stylish way to keep wayward strands off your face with no sweat and no headaches. Local pharmacies such as CVS have a seasonal aisle with floppy straw hats to keep the sun out of your eyes as well as an an array of sunscreens and bug repellents. If you prefer to go natural, Daddy's Skin Care offers a user-friendly bug spray and sunscreen that is also safe to use on kids.

The right foods are part of making a memorable Fourth of July barbecue or party. Spice up basic burgers with a slice of Castello Burger Blue Cheese. It offers the sharp, rich flavor of blue cheese without all the mess. Other favorites include Nathan's hot dogs for a NYC feel wherever you go and Hillshire Farms American Craft Handcrafted Sausages in summery flavors such as Smoky Bourbon.

With bourbon in mind, no Fourth of July gathering is complete without cocktails. Try a sweet glass of Great American Red Wine with subtle hints of black raspberry, dark cherry and vanilla. If you are a true beer connoisseur, the winner of the 2014 TAP Governor's Cup for the Best Craft Beer in New York State was The Witte from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. Get festive with a bottle of Smirnoff No. 21 Limited Summer Edition with a label that reflects the holiday. Consider this recipe for Smirnoff's Summertime Party Punch to refresh your Fourth of July guests.

Berries & Basil Summer Punch
Serves 10

3 cups of pineapple juice
2 cups of lemon-lime soda of your choice (Sprite is a classic)
1 can of frozen limeade
1 ½ ounces of Smirnoff No. 21 Limited American Summer Edition
Limes, strawberries and basil

Simply stir all the ingredients together in a big pitcher then add some crushed ice before you serve it to your Fourth of July party companions.

If you're feeling less than fabulous in your swimsuit but don't have time to hit the gym, Fitness Flower has a few common-sense solutions. The Bathroom Begonia and Office Orchid offer 10 minutes of exercises you can do while brushing your teeth or working at your desk. Keep track of your progress for free at My Fitness Pal online where you can connect with your friends who are also trying to get fit and look fantastic.

When the party is over, you don't want to handle the clean-up on your own. Even if you're going away for Fourth of July weekend, it feels good to return to a clean home and office. Hire a NYC cleaning service to keep your world tidy as you enjoy the fruits of summer after a sensational Fourth of July kick-off. Two hot spots to check out in the Hamptons this summer are BLT Steak at Capri Southhampton and Atlantic Terrace in Montauk. Summer goes by quickly so grab the good times while you can.

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