Abbi McCollum

"Every hour is happy hour to me."

Abbi is Programming Director of HGTV.com and a contributor to Design Happens. She shares her home with her chef husband - who loves to cook a meal using every pan in the kitchen - and two big black labs. When she's not posting to the HGTV Instagram account or writing happy hour blog posts, she's pinning decorating ideas that she aspires to one day actually accomplish.

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POSTS BY Abbi McCollum

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Update: Congratulations to our random winners of Design Camp tickets – Kristina R, Shelly and AJ R.

Are you obsessed with interior design? Do you dream about growing your brand? Then pack your bags, because it’s time for camp — Design Camp, that is. Design Camp is a two-day-long meeting of the minds for interior designers, architects, bloggers, artists, trendsetters and more. The brainchild of celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis, this event in Orange County, Calif. is for designers at every level.

Kicking off with a meet-and-greet cocktail party, Design Camp provides you with the opportunity to learn and network with some of the most respected professionals (aka your Camp Counselors) in the interior design business. With seminars on design and networking events galore, Design Camp is THE place for beginners and design veterans to mingle. Kathryn M. Ireland, Nathan Turner, and Timothy Corrigan are just a few of the counselors that will lead courses on creating global design, navigating social media and building a personal brand.

We’re giving three lucky Design Happens readers a chance to win a free ticket* to the Orange County Design Camp on October 9-11. To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. This contest’s question: What event are you looking forward to at Design Camp? We’ll choose three random winners next Friday, August 2.

*The winner will only receive a ticket to Design Camp; travel and accommodations are the responsibility of the individual.

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 5:00 p.m. ET on July 26, 2013 and 5:00 p.m. ET on August 2, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $1297. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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We have a winner! Congratulations to Emily for winning the HGTV Elf and a $100 American Express Gift card! Thanks to everyone for entering!

The HGTV Elf has been getting into shenanigans all over the HGTV office building. From hanging out with the Property Brothers to digging into some pumpkin pie in the cafeteria, she has made her presence known. We hope you have enjoyed following her adventures!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

To enter for a chance to win a $100 American Express gift card and the actual HGTV Elf (yes, she’s coming to live with one lucky winner), simply visit @HGTV on Instagram and find out what holiday objects were on the front of HGTV Magazine on Day 5. By correctly answering what’s on the cover in the Comments of this blog post, you’re entered in the sweepstakes.

Don’t have access to Instagram? You can check out the Elf’s adventures here:

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 3:00 p.m. ET on December 12, 2012 and 3:00 p.m. ET on December 14, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $135. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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The weather outside is getting chilly; the stockings are getting hung by the chimney with care; and sparkling lights are showing up all over town. The holidays are here! It’s time to celebrate with a winter favorite: Hot Buttered Rum. To make this classic cocktail heat brown sugar, hot milk and rich, dark rum, then float butter on top for a decadent cocktail. Garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Take a sip and officially ring in the holidays!

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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As the resident happy hour blogger around here, I get emails from my fellow Design Happens bloggers all the time with great new recipes for drinks that they have made and loved. Briana recently sent a recipe for an eggnog martini that is now on my list of go-to holiday drinks. A martini? With eggnog? Does it get any better than that? Decide for yourself:

Polar Eggnog Skinny 'Nog-Tini

Eggnog Skinny ‘Nog-Tini

Skinny ‘Nog-Tini
1 part high quality bourbon
1 part spiced rum *we used what we had on hand, blackstrap rum
1 part maple syrup
2 parts almond milk (or whole milk) *we used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 parts Polar® Eggnog Seltzer
Fresh grated nutmeg (garnish)
Combine all ingredients, except the seltzer, until foamy and aerated (you can always froth with a mini blender). Add ice, and swirl to chill. Strain into large festive glass; top generously with Polar® Eggnog Seltzer. Top with grated spice.

A note from Briana: I was skeptical at first, but it ended up tasting pretty decent! That said, this is coming from someone allergic to real eggnog who drinks SilkNog every year. The fiancé liked it, too, though, so I think it passes the test.

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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It’s that time of year again. Families are welcoming one of Santa’s very own elves, known collectively as The Elf on the Shelf, into their home to help keep an eye on who is being naughty and nice. These elves have special Christmas magic that helps them keep an eye on the house by day and then fly back to the North Pole to report to Santa every night. The elves are adopted into each family and given a unique name – from Fufu and Scout to Bones, Juliet, Sam and Mr. Peepers.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

While these elves are cute as can be, they also have a mischievous side. They have been known to turn milk green, draw mustaches on pictures, and even swing from the ceiling fan. But, come Christmas Eve, the elves head back to the North Pole, their job for the year done.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas - Elf in the Bath Elf on the Shelf Ideas - Elf on a Fan

HGTV decided to join in on the fun and adopt our own Elf on the Shelf. Follow HGTV on Instagram @HGTV to see the adventures that our elf gets into during the first 12 Days of Christmas. Keep track of the elf and on the final day, Wednesday December 12, we’ll ask a question about our elf here on the blog (ex: Where was the elf on Day 6?). Answer the question on the blog and one random winner will win the HGTV Elf and a $100 American Express Gift Card.

HGTV Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf watching over your house? Share their adventures with us on Instagram using #HGTVelf

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AHHHHHHHH! My life is complete. One of the funniest actresses ever, Casey Wilson (Penny) from (my favorite show) ABC’s Happy Endings, just said in an interview with HelloGiggles.com that she is loving HGTV right now. When asked what her favorite TV shows are, she said: “I love Homeland and am on an HGTV kick. Love It or List It is my entire universe.”

Happy Endings' Casey Wilson

Image Courtesy of ABC.com

Honestly, I feel like Penny, er, I mean Casey, and I are one step closer to being best friends. Granted, I work for HGTV.com and have nothing to do with the actual production of Love It or List It, but a super-fan can dream, right?

So, Casey, thanks for watching and loving HGTV. We think you are pretty amahzing, too.

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Thanksgiving is a time when families come together. Inevitably, at some point during the big day, one of your relatives might bring up a debate point that could cause some contention – pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Don’t worry, the entertaining experts at HGTV.com are here to help. You can have the best of both worlds by cutting a big slice of pecan pie and pouring a Pumpkin Pie Martini. Recreate the classic pie in a martini glass with vanilla vodka, pumpkin spice liqueur, Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps and half-and-half.

Holiday Cocktails: Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Want more festive cocktails? From Sake Sangria to a Warm Apple Pie Cocktail, keep your guests entertained with spirited holiday cocktails and party drinks.

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The air is getting cooler and the clocks are turning back an hour; fall is here and with that comes nights spent in front of the fire with a cold-weather cocktail. The recipe to try this week? A Classic Hot Toddy.

This soothing, warm drink was once believed to help with a cold or the flu. While modern-day doctors aren’t handing out prescriptions for this delicious drink, we recommend it to ease your transition into winter. The mixture of whiskey, lemon and honey is perfect to help you fall into cold weather.

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

Classic Hot Toddy

Is a hot toddy not your drink of choice? We’ve got 11 more warm-and-toasty cocktails.

In a festive, holiday mood? Make sure to check out our giant holiday package for our best decorating ideas, party planning tips and gift suggestions.

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As Halloween approaches, spooky spirits, ghosts and goblins abound. Capture the spirit of Casper the Friendly Ghost with this Halloween cocktail that’s sure to impress your guests. Give the liquefied ghost cocktail, which tastes like a grown-up version of a milkshake, a sweet twist by serving it in a fancy martini glass. It’s sure to be the hit of your Halloween party.

Halloween Cocktail: Liquefied Ghost Cocktail

Liquefied Ghost Cocktail

Want more spooky cocktails? From a zombie gut cocktail to a bloody brain shooter, keep your guests entertained with spirited Halloween cocktails and party drinks.

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