ALL POSTS IN Entertaining

  • Tell Your Friends

Floral Party Favors

This spring I am hosting a little ladies get-together, which sounds an awful lot like an activity at a resting home. It’s actually going to be a fun and fresh party, and I want the guests to take home a little treat that can keep the spirit of spring going long after the party ends. I am always racking my brain for creative party favors (aren’t we all?) and for the theme of spring I was completely stumped. I kept running through spring-y words like “flowers”, “fresh”, “fun”, when it hit me. Duh — why don’t I just send some fresh flowers home with them?! What says “spring” more than flowers? I just wanted to add a few handmade and heartfelt details to my floral party favors, and I’ll quickly teach you how to make some flower favors of your own.

Let’s Get Started

  • Tell Your Friends

I just returned from a quick trip to Key West, so I have beachy style (and warmer days!) on the brain. So when Target asked Design Happens bloggers to dream up an ideal spring bar cart with a coastal twist, I thought of one word: Simplicity.

As spring days heat up, I love to host small gatherings with just a few friends. Full-size bar carts are gorgeous, but you don’t need to stock a full bar for a casual affair. That’s why I decided to transform one of my favorite side tables into an easy-to-create, affordable bar cart stocked with repurposed items. You may even have most of the materials on hand! Here’s the finished product:

Orange Color Block Pillow

Ready to style your own faux bar cart? Here’s how to do it.

Find the right table. A small table with two or more open levels is ideal for a pint-sized faux bar cart. (This one serves as my bedside table in the cooler months.) Once you’ve shopped your home for the perfect table, move it to your sunroom, deck or patio to give guests easy access to beverages. You can even add casters on the bottom to move it from place to place with even more ease.

Pick a theme. A loose theme ties your bar cart together and helps you choose the cocktail and the decor.  I was inspired by both the hue and the flavor of in-season Meyer lemons. Since I have a lot of red-orange and turquoise pieces in my home, I decided to accent the cart with accessories in those hues.

Tart Pan

Gather the essentials. With your theme in mind, shop your home for essentials. Here are the basics you’ll need to stock your cart:

  • Signature cocktail ingredients
  • 1-2 non-alcoholic beverages
  • Bottled beer (optional)
  • Shot glass or shooter glass for measuring ingredients
  • Container to chill cold beverages
  • Drinking glasses for the group
  • A serving tray
  • A hand towel to clean up spills or drips
  • A piece of art or fabric to display behind the cart

Use what you have. Take a walk around your home and make a mental list of what you already have on hand. Don’t limit yourself to traditional barware: I repurposed a colorful tart pan as a serving tray, and hung a springy scarf as an impromptu curtain. Large terracotta flower pots make fantastic drink chillers. (Choose one without a drain on the bottom.)

More Spring Bar Cart Ideas

  • Tell Your Friends

Last night I noticed something after dinner: it wasn’t quite dark yet. Spring is coming! I have a huge deck and an even bigger group of close neighbors and family, so welcoming spring means welcoming guests. First order of business? Creating the perfect bar cart for outdoor entertaining. Here’s my plan:

When you are entertaining a big crowd a full bar can blow your budget. Keep things in check by offering a signature cocktail in addition to beer and wine. I made refreshing Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin & Tonics (recipe below), and kept a dish of limes on the cart for the purists that prefer a classic G&T.

Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin & Tonics

Muddle a slice of seedless cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail glass and pour 1 oz. of gin over. Add ice, top with tonic water and a splash of pomegranate juice. Garnish with a cucumber spear.

Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

Not everyone is a liquor (or alcohol!) drinker, so I always fill a tub with ice, beer, and a couple of non-alcoholic options for my guests. Don’t forget the bottle opener!

My #1 tip when setting up a bar cart for outdoor entertaining this spring? Put a tray on it. Or rather, put a tray under it. Having drinks on a tray makes it easy to move the party outside, and filling a second tray with your cocktail essentials means a refill is never far away.

I don’t know about you, but this has me in the mood for spring, and a cocktail! With my bar cart stocked and at the ready, you can be sure I’ll be entertaining soon. Wanna come over? Drinks are on me.

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target‘s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

  • Tell Your Friends

St. Patrick's Day Crafts

There are always a few holidays that get discarded around my house when it comes to decorations. It’s not that I don’t adore the firework magic of the Fourth of July or the festive hearts around Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I wouldn’t even know how to decorate for Groundhogs Day if I had the time and energy. Some years I feel like the one holiday that doesn’t get enough appreciation is St. Patrick’s Day. A celebratory toast and a green shirt seem to be the limit to our festivities in years past. But not this year! Nope, this year I am going to celebrate with a little St. Paddy’s Day dinner with my husband and toddler (so it’s going to be a real party up in here). To make the evening really fun, I wanted to create special place setting tags for my lucky guys and I am going to teach you how to make some of your own, too.

Get Started

  • Tell Your Friends

If you’ve read my Design Happens bio, you know that I’m slightly obsessed with pie. So, it’s no surprise that I couldn’t let the annual day devoted to pie pass by without a mention. Okay, March 14 is actually devoted to Pi (3.14159, the mathematical constant). But, the best way to pay tribute to the ratio of a circle to its diameter? A slice of pie, of course. (Learn more about the math side of this holiday here.) Here are 3.14 ways to enjoy a slice today.

Celebrate Pie Day With Pie

1. Pi-Shaped Pie: This impressive tribute in the shape of the Greek letter for Pi is stuffed with cherry compote and topped with a lattice crust. Math has never looked so delicious!

Blueberry Pie Recipe

2. Blueberry Pie: If you can’t commit to a custom-shaped pie, how about a classic blueberry model? Use fresh blueberries, and don’t skimp on the lemon zest!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Pie

3: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie: Chocolate lovers, take note: This candy bar-inspired pie is studded with caramel, peanuts, peanut butter and pretzels.Yes, PRETZELS.

Mini Apple Pies

And what’s the .14, you ask? An itsy, bitsy mini pie. Try these petite apple pies, complete with a tiny lattice crust. Or, you know, just snag another sliver of your full-sized version.

Happy Pi Day!

  • Tell Your Friends

We’ve got you covered on what cocktails to make for St. Patrick’s Day, so now it’s time to figure out other details of your party. Most of you probably don’t throw a party for this popular drinking holiday, but you may change your mind after looking through our Irish-inspired recipes. Plus, it’s fun to think of an excuse to throw a shindig!

Naked Rainbow Layer Cake

Naked Rainbow Layer Cake

Impress guests by making this easy naked layer cake — the rainbow layers double as something sweet and as an eye-catching centerpiece (Sorry, there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow).

Get the Recipe>>

More St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

  • Tell Your Friends

Okay, so I obviously didn’t take these photos at a beachside cabana, but I imagine this cart fitting in perfectly on an exotic beach. I stocked the bar with the essentials — libations, glasses, stirrers and lemon and limes. A nifty carafe keeps white wine chilled and frees up the ice bucket for other drinks.

 

Beachside Cabana Bar Cart

To give it a beachy feel, I made a CHEERS banner using wrapping paper, glittery miniature clothespins and scrapbook paper in coastal-inspired colors. I kept the bottom level simple, filling the ice bucket with sparkling water and the acacia wood wine holder with a few bottles of choice.

Outdoor Bar Cart Banner

A few simple additions include a square jar filled with seaglass and books on — you guessed it — cocktails and beer.

Outdoor Bar Cart Sea Glass

However, I think the bright polka-dot straws in a gold pencil holder steal the show because of the bright contrast. I filled a gold candle holder with disposable stirrers, while a simple tray holds the lemons and limes. I filled a small wood serving tray with sand and topped it with crisp white bowls filled with one of my favorite snacks, Goldfish Crackers. To finish the look, I placed fresh flowers on one end of the cart and artwork on the other end. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Beachside Cabana Bar Cart

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target’s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

  • Tell Your Friends

A few months ago, Target asked Design Happens to host a Blogger Challenge in which five bloggers — four regular D-Happ contributors and one from our sister blog, Made + Remade — would shop, style, photograph and then pitch their design ideas for the outdoor entertaining setup at HGTV Spring House. The HGTV Spring House team shared their ideal color palette and style inspiration with each blogger, and they created true or faux bar carts using products from Target, among other items.

We’re all friends here at Design Happens, but things can get a little competitive when it comes to design. (I mean, you’ve seen our Color of the Month series, right?) It was fun to see how a spring color palette and “casual,” “coastal,” and/or “nautical” inspired a slew of different design styles.

HGTV Spring House Exterior BeforeHGTV Spring House: Here’s the Atlanta bungalow’s back deck before its makeover, waiting for some spring entertaining action.

Each week, from now until April 1, we’re going to share the five bloggers’ spring-inspired bar cart designs with you. Check out a teaser of each one below:

HGTV Spring House Bar Cart

Unfortunately, we have to keep a secret from you for a few weeks. You’ll have to wait until April 1 to find out whose winning design inspired the outdoor bar cart design at HGTV Spring House. Womp, womp.

Until then, keep checking back each Tuesday and Thursday for a bar cart project reveal from your fave bloggers.

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target’s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

  • Tell Your Friends

I was that girl with the Barbie™ mansion, pizza shop, post office, supermarket, boutique, classroom — I mean, should I really continue? I was the mayor of Barbieville™. So, when I found out that party stylist and HGTV contributor Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio partnered with Barbie™ in celebration of the iconic doll’s upcoming birthday, I immediately took a turn down Memory Lane.

To kick off Barbie’s™ month-long birthday celebration (starting March 9!), Kim styled this glamorous girls’ birthday party. Read on for Kim’s ideas and party inspiration.

Barbie Birthday Party

Following Barbie’s™ classic style, Kim chose a black, white and pink color palette.

Barbie Birthday Party

Oversized balloons, ribbons, striped table runners and cupcake stands keep the table chic and stylish but simple to re-create.

More Glam Party Ideas

  • Tell Your Friends

St. Patrick’s Day — a holiday where I can add stout to, well, everything (even pancakes!) and wear an excessive amount of my favorite color. But most importantly, a day where I can say no to green beer and yes to Irish-inspired or just true green cocktails that are in the spirit of the holiday. Plus, let’s be honest, they just taste better.

Bloody Rosemary

Bloody Mary Recipe

It’s not green, but just LOOK at it.

Get the recipe >>

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Kiss Me I'm Irish Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/2 ounces VOGA Sparkling
1 ounce Midori melon liqueur
1 ounce vodka
1 1/2 ounce lemonade
lemon slice, for garnish

Instructions

In a shaker, combine ice, vodka, Midori and lemonade. Stir gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with VOGA Sparkling. Garnish with lemon slice.

Green Cocktail Recipes to Try

  • Tell Your Friends

Award season concludes Sunday with the most glamorous of them all, The Oscars. I’m eager to tune in, not only for the red carpet fashion, but also because I actually made a serious effort to see the Oscar-nominated films this year. When it comes to Oscar night, I have three words: glitter, champagne and girlfriends.

How to Host an Oscar Night Party

Oscar Night Party

Oscar Night Party

Create a “Golden Age of Hollywood” theme in your home by using all white linens and incorporating bright pops of gold. Metallic gold confetti and white blooms create an elegant and sophisticated tablescape. Get More Oscar Party Ideas >>

Oscar Night Party Recipes

Whip up these glam recipes for awards night:

Blood Orange Dates Almond Salad
Duck a L’Orange
Chocolate Panna Cotta

Oscar Night Party

You’ll already be pointing out his tux choice and her OMG-worthy dress, so why not turn the night’s most memorable moments into a game? Download Our Free Printable Bingo Cards >>

Happy viewing!

RELATED:

  • Tell Your Friends

If you’re as obsessed with peanut butter as I am, then I’m sure you already know that tomorrow is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. I don’t need an excuse to eat one of my favorite foods, but it’s nice to have a day designated to eat as much peanut butter as I want. My favorite peanut butter treat is simply spreading it on a salted cracker and drizzling chocolate syrup on top — it’s the perfect salty and sweet bite!

To celebrate, try this easy, no-bake peanut butter pie or one of our other favorite peanut butter recipes below (We even have a recipe for your pooch!):

Coca-Cola Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

Coca-Cola Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

Get the Full Recipe Here>>

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Get the Full Recipe Here>>

Peanut Butter Pie With Pretzels and Caramel

Peanut Butter Pie

Get the Full Recipe Here>>

What is your favorite peanut butter treat? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Tell Your Friends

So, Saturday is National Margarita Day. According to the official website, “We pay tribute and honor the margarita on this special day of celebration. We so deeply respect and value its place in our history that we have set aside February 22 of every year as National Margarita Day.” Well said.

So, whether you prefer a classic ‘rita, one with a little spice, one with absolutely NO tequila or ideas for adding a fun kick to entrees, give these margarita or margarita-inspired recipes a try. You know, for the sake of celebrating … of course.

First, Your Classic Margarita

Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Classic Margarita >>

Then, Onto the Margarita Twists

Melon Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Tom’s Mellow Melon Margarita >>

Jalapeno Margarita Recipe

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Margarita >>

More Margarita-Inspired Recipes to Try

  • Tell Your Friends

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! Top off the evening with this fruity concoction from mixologist John deBary of New York speakeasy PDT (Please Don’t Tell).

Valentine's Day Cocktails

BLVSH Cocktail

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounce SKYY Infusions Vanilla Bean
1/2 ounce SKYY Infusions Moscato Grape
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 cup organic raspberries

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a coupe glass.

  • Tell Your Friends

We’re all looking for ways to live a healthier lifestyle, especially when a new year rolls around and we start to assess the changes we want to make moving forward. Like many, my weakness is carbohydrates but not the good ones like beans and whole grains; I’m talking about the bad boys: refined grains, baked goods and the occasional soda. It’s a tough battle. When Yahoo! web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse shared that users were searching for healthy carb substitutes, like zucchini, I thought this was the perfect time to start bookmarking some smart recipes for myself to try at home. Here are a few favorites I’m adding to my recipe book, STAT.

Grilled Zucchini

Recipe: Grilled Zucchini With Fresh Herbs and Goat Cheese >>

Zucchini Crisps

Recipe: Zucchini Parmesan Crisps >>

Zucchini Pizza

Recipe: Whole Wheat Cherry Tomato + Zucchini Pan Pizza >>

More Healthy Recipes to Try

  • Tell Your Friends

On Friday, I wrote a cocktail post called “Love Stinks, So Let’s Drink.” While at least once every few weeks I do believe that quite passionately, Valentine’s Day is so much fun to celebrate. Pink, red, hearts, Cupid, chocolate … choc-o-late — love is truly in the air right now, along with my appetite. Whether you’re a V-Day cynic or counting down the days until February 14th, we have all the crafts, recipes and design ideas you need to get ready for the sexiest holiday of the year.

Valentine's Day Phrase Pillow

Craft up something special for your sweetheart or yourself. Let’s be honest, this pillow would look fab on your sofa. Try out this easy project or one of the other 20+ ideas we have.

EASY, HANDMADE VALENTINE’S DAY CRAFTS >>

Handmade Valentine's Day Cards

We’ve all been there: that awkward moment when you like/love someone but you don’t know how to tell them. The. Worst. That’s what handmade cards are for, and card-making parties filled with friends to talk you through it.

10 HANDMADE VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS >>

Valentine's Day Recipes

Going back and forth on the perfect gift? Homemade treats are always the answer. You can’t go wrong. Try one of these delectable and from-scratch recipes.

VALENTINE’S DAY SWEETS FOR YOUR SWEETIE >>

More Valentine’s Day Ideas

  • Tell Your Friends

For some, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, but for others it’s a time to binge-eat chocolate and trash your ex. If you’re in the latter group of V-Day celebrators, mend that broken heart with a few delicious cocktails from celebrity caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs.

This February 14th, grab your pals and toast to being single — or single and looking — with Andrea’s fruity Bloody Valentine cocktail coupled with blood orange infusions and her Devil’s Spiked Tea, which will put any of your sweet tea concoctions to shame (the secret is in the tequila).

Valentine's Day Cocktails

Devil’s Spiked Tea

Ingredients

4 ounces Lipton Tea and Honey Strawberry Acai Tea
1 ounce Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila
Prosecco
mint
strawberries

Instructions

Muddle mint and strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Add iced tea, tequila and ice in a shaker. Strain into a glass. Top with Prosecco and serve.

Bloody Valentine Cocktail Recipe

The Bloody Valentine

Ingredients

3 ounces orange juice
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce blood orange syrup
blood orange slice, for garnish

Instructions

Pour tequila, orange juice and blood orange syrup into a rocks glass with ice. Stir. Slowly pour grenadine around the inside of the glass. (It will sink and slowly rise to mix with other ingredients naturally.) Spear a blood orange slice with a toothpick and lay across the top of the glass.

  • Tell Your Friends

Who are you rooting for in this year’s Super Bowl game? I think it’s safe to say that most people at HGTV headquarters are rooting for the Broncos since our beloved Peyton was a former UT quarterback here in Knoxville. We don’t know who’s going to win Sunday’s big game, but we can help you win over your party guests with these easy and filling recipes.

 

Dip Trio

Dip Trio

Serve a dip for everyone on your guest list. You can’t go wrong with guacamole, black bean salsa, and drunken pico de gallo (that’s infused with tequila!).

Get the Full Recipes Here>>

Try 6 More Recipes

  • Tell Your Friends

Just in case your calendar’s not up to speed, Sunday is National Popcorn Day. Either head to a movie and give in to the aroma, or make your own popcorn snack at home. We have nine sweet and salty recipes you can make in a snap — or a pop!

SWEET

Caramel Popcorn Balls

Recipe: Caramel Popcorn Balls from FoodNetwork.com

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Recipe: Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Maple Nut Popcorn

Recipe: Maple-Nut Popcorn

More Gourmet Recipe Ideas

  • Tell Your Friends

Tonight’s the big game! This year’s BCS National Championship game will pit the Florida State Seminoles against the Auburn Tigers at California’s Rose Bowl Stadium. Throwing a watch party? Ditch the store-bought chips and salsa and give one of these handmade recipes a try. [Prepare for nervous eating by making more than you need.]

Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese Recipes

Get the Recipe: Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese >>

Pizza Hand Pies Recipe

Get the Recipe: Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies >>

Eggplant Chips Recipe

Get the Recipe: Eggplant Chips With Cilantro Pesto >>

Get More Party-Perfect Recipes

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->