ALL POSTS IN Holidays

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, party people! I couldn’t pass up this holiday without sharing some downright mouthwatering cocktails that just happen to be — you guessed it — green. (Or, topped with green sprinkles at least!)

SOMETHING DECADENT

Irish Root Beer Float Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Elegant Affairs

  • 1 ounce Root Beer Schnapps
  • 1 bottle root beer soda
  • 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • ice
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • green sugar crystals, for garnish

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender, except for the soda.

2. Pour into a frosted beer mug or an Irish coffee mug, then pour in the soda.

3. Top with whipped cream and green sugar crystals for a sweet and festive touch.

SOMETHING REFRESHING

Lucky Leprechaun Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of SVEDKA Vodka

  • 2 ounces SVEDKA Vodka
  • 3/4 part fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 part simple syrup
  • 4 mint sprigs
  • green sugar crystals, for garnish

1. Create a simple syrup by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then remove pan from heat.

2. Muddle mint at the bottom of a Pilsner glass and build your drink on top over crushed ice (except for bitters, mint and sugar crystals).

3. Agitate with a spoon (or swizzle), making sure not to disturb the mint at the bottom.

4. Top with ice, rim with green sugar crystals and garnish with mint.

SOMETHING HEALTHY

Green Leprechaun Kale Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Sakara Life

  • 4 ounces tequila (or any spirit you prefer)
  • 1 ounce ginger juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup kale juice
  • 1/2 lime
  • ice, for shaking
  • frozen pomegranate seeds, for garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine ice, liquor, ginger juice, pineapple juice, kale juice and lime.

2. Shake until all ingredients are mixed together and drink is chilled from the ice.

3. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass.

4. Top with frozen pomegranate seeds and an extra squeeze of lime.

What festive recipes are you whipping up today? Let us kn0w (aka share your yummy secrets!).

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So, I’m with Marianne. I don’t love St. Patrick’s Day. I do, however, adore the color green and love a good party, so cheers! With only a few days until the BIG day, you’re probably looking for ways to celebrate. Luckily, everything we have is green and filled with Irish charm.

St. Patrick's Day Party Ideas

1. Wear This: Felt Shamrocks. As I’ve gotten older, my fear of being pinched on March 17 has dissolved. However, I love sporting at least a little bit of green for the sake of tradition. These felt shamrocks are simple to make and you can rock them in your hair, on your shirt or any other way you can think of. Seriously, once you make one, you won’t be able to stop.

2. Listen to This: The Irish Rovers. I don’t reserve Irish and Celtic folk music just for St. Patrick’s Day. These traditional Irish songs will have you on your feet and clinking mugs in no time.

3. Sip This: The “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” Cocktail. I said it last year and I’ll say it again: no green beer. It just doesn’t look right. But green cocktails? Now that’s something I’ll always nod to.

4. Decorate With This: Cute Dessert Toppers. Everything looks better with a little embellishment, even double-chocolate cupcakes (I know, right?). Download these (free!) printable toppers and add that extra touch to your dessert setup.

5. Eat This: Naked Rainbow Cake. I’m not sure what to say other than: make and devour this NOW. I mean, there are six (SIX!) layers of vanilla cake with six layers of vanilla buttercream frosting in rainbow hues. Glorious.

6. Make This: Lucky Party Banner. In reality, your party guests care about two things: booze and bites. If you want to add some festive flair to your digs, this banner is perfect. Download our (free!) printable banner template, cut out, add some twine and you’re all set.

More St. Patrick’s Day Inspo:

What are your St. Paddy’s Day party plans? Do you take part in any Irish traditions? Let us know in the comments below.

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I’m not a huge fan of stout beer, but I’ll tell you what I do love — food infused with stout. Up until recently, I didn’t know it tasted so delicious as a food ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. This St. Patrick’s Day, go beyond the bottle and incorporate stout in everything you’re serving at your party.

Salted Stout Caramel Popcorn

Salted Stout Caramel Popcorn

Stout enhances the crunchy, salty taste of this homemade caramel popcorn. Serve it alongside beer or Irish whiskey to bring a true pub feel to the party.

Get the Full Recipe>>

Get 4 More Stout Recipes

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Can you believe we’re already two full months into 2015? The year is flying by and we’re diving into spring whether Mother Nature is playing along or not.

If you’re using Pinterest (and you’re following us, right?), allow us to kick-start your March inspiration with some of our most popular pins for this time of year.

St. Patrick’s Day

No surprise here. March is full of the luck of the Irish. From cocktails to crafts, there are lots of ways to get festive for St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s make sure you don’t get pinched.


1. DIY Felt Shamrock Craft 
2. Create a Leprechaun Garden
3. ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ Cocktail Recipe
4. Shamrock Garden Stones Craft

Garden Goodness

Snow days are fun and all, but boy are we ready to start digging in the dirt. The days of freshly picked tomatoes and strawberry shortcakes can’t come soon enough and these popular pins prove it.


1. 20 New Plant Varieties For Spring Gardens
2. How to Start an Edible Spring Garden
3. Create and Care for a Lavender Hedge
4. How to use Evergreens for Privacy

Spring Organizing

Along with spring cleaning comes spring organizing, especially in the rooms where we spend the most time. Neat and tidy kitchens, laundry rooms and mudrooms are getting lots of re-pin love this month.


1. 22 Mudroom and Storage Decorating Ideas
2. Genevieve Gorder at Home with HGTV Magazine
3. Inside Vern’s Dog-Friendly Home
4. Laundry Room of Smart Home 2013

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Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Today marks the last day of the Carnival season, but the party is just getting started. Parades have been flowing through the streets of New Orleans since early this month, and floats are still making their way through with trinkets and treats in tow. Today’s final night of celebrations will surely be filled with lots of beads, booze and King Cake. (Jealous!)

If you’re stuck, well, not in the Big Easy, then we have eight delicious ways to bring the taste of N’awlins to wherever you may be. Just grab some beads, mix up a hurricane and (mentally) head down South.

Cajun-Style Gumbalaya

Take a trip to New Orleans with this Cajun-inspired dish. It’s a cross between gumbo and spicy jambalaya that’s perfect for those who just can’t decide which Louisiana entree they want. Get the recipe >> 

Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

This spicy Cajun gumbo gets most of its flavor from the dark roux and its thickness from the herb file. Onions, celery and green peppers, major ingredients in both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the shrimp and sausage stew. Get the recipe from FoodNetwork.com >>

More Big Easy Bites

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Guys sometimes get a bad wrap for buying Valentine’s Day gifts at the last-minute, but hey, ladies are procrastinators, too. (Read: me.) If you’re scrambling for the perfect gift, we’ve got you covered! Here are 5 thoughtful gifts you can make or buy just in time.

Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gifts for Guys

01. Whiskey Stones. Perfect for the scotch or bourbon enthusiast in your life, these rocks let him chill his drink without watering it down. Bonus points if you throw in rocks glasses or a bottle of his favorite brand.

02. “Attracted to You” Printable Card. Maybe your dude is lovably nerdy. Appeal to his punny nature with this scientific explanation for your magnetic attraction. Buy the design online, then print the template on cardstock.

03. Framed Album Covers. For the audiophile, look no further than these framed vinyl album covers. Search vintage store shelves for quirky or classic album covers, then frame in a basic black craft-store frame. Or, scan one of his favorites and print on cardstock.

04. Top Hat & Mustache Cufflinks. Does your guy love wearing vintage three piece suits? Is there a monocle on his dresser? These vintage-inspired cuff links are for him.

05. Breakfast Pizza. Okay, really, what guy wouldn’t love pizza for breakfast? Use store-bought or homemade pizza dough, then top with sauce and his favorite toppings and a sunny-side up egg. Done and done. See how Marianne makes her own.

Have a go-to last minute gift? Tell us in the comments below.

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No matter how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day (or with whom), it’s probably fair to assume there will be chocolate involved. Make it dark chocolate for a healthier sweet treat you’ll L-O-V-E.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants, a powerful agent against free radicals, which have been linked to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. So indulge in these dark chocolate recipes with your beau or a friend, and they could help protect your heart, even if it gets broken.

Smoldering Heart Dark Chocolate Cookies

heart shaped chocolate cookies

Image courtesy of The View From Great Island

These heart-shaped cookies stand out among the rest. Ditch the pink icing or red sprinkles, and opt for a more “smoldering” dark chocolate look. Cayenne powder in the shortbread cookie adds just the right amount of heat, and smoked paprika on the icing spices things up even more.

Get the full recipe at The View From Great Island

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal chocolate bars

Image courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This treat may be having an identity crisis: Is it a bar? A cookie? A brownie? But, who cares! They are healthy thanks to filling fiber in the oats, those antioxidants in the dark chocolate, and the recipe calls for coconut oil (jury still out on the potential benefits, there). Plus, they’re done in just 30 minutes flat!

Get the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate cake

Image courtesy of Heather Christo

Looking at this decadent dark chocolate cake with chocolate-espresso icing you’d NEVER be able to guess its secret ingredient. Zucchini helps keep the cake super moist, and it’s a sneaky way to meet your veggie quota.

Get the full recipe from Heather Christo

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

chocolate dipped fruit

Image Courtesy of Marla Meridith

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a chocolate covered strawberry or five, but don’t discriminate against other fruit that taste equally delish dipped in the good stuff. Create a different kind of bouquet by dipping various berries in melted dark chocolate—blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries were all used here. Stick them on the end of a skewer, and place in a vase for easy access to healthy snacking.

Get the full recipe at Family Fresh Cooking

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

chocolate covered banana and peanut butter

Image Courtesy of Smile Sandwich

I personally love a recipe that calls for items you likely have in the cupboard already. Enter these bite-sized treats that have just four ingredients. Potassium from the bananas, protein from the nut butter, and antioxidants from the dark chocolate come together for a unique homemade sweet to share with whomever you choose.

Get the full recipe at Smile Sandwich

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Valentine's Day Gifts for Guys

For every dude that loves design, there’s one that considers a plastic basketball hoop designer decor. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to get your space into tip-top shape if you really want love to be swirling around like an air freshener. Follow these quick design tips to help make sure your date wants to seal the whole shebang with a kiss.

1. Threshold Woven Napkins. Snazz up your dinner table with some napkins that aren’t paper towels or leftovers from your last takeout order. These machine-washable numbers will up your class factor immediately.

2. Faux Fur Throw. Whether you drop this sucker over the back of your couch or put it at the end of your bed, there’s nothing that says “I’m design-savvy, now let’s snuggle” better than a fab faux fur throw.

3. Turkish Bath Towels. Yes, you can shut the door of your bathroom and hope no one goes in there, but you should probably just face the facts: someone will. To soften the blow, make sure they have some pretty towels to dry their hands.

4. Sonos Speakers. Play songs from your iTunes library, Pandora, Spotify or anywhere else you house your music. You can control it all with your iPhone or iPad, and the sound quality is ah-mazing.

5. Acrylic Frame. Sure, you could simply put a photo of you and your sweetheart in there … but you could also get creative. Write down an inside joke between the two of you, or include a picture of some place that the two of you have talked about going on vacation. Casually leave the frame out and wait for the magic to happen.

Make us proud, guys!

Still looking for that perfect gift?

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People celebrate Valentine’s Day many different ways. You may be throwing a big bash, planning a romantic dinner for two or possibly even throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party. Either way, these all have one thing in common: cocktails. No matter how you feel about this holiday, we can all agree that cocktails are inevitable this Saturday. We’ve listed our favorites that work for any Valentine’s Day celebration.

Sumac Me Smile

Boodles Gin Sumac Surprise

  • 2 ounces Boodles Gin
  • 3/4 ounce pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce sumac syrup*
  • dash grapefruit bitters
  • splash of club soda
  • lemon peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and add a splash of club soda. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

*To make one quart sumac syrup, bring 16 ounces water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add six tablespoons ground sumac. Steep 10 minutes. Add 16 ounces white granulated sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let steep overnight, then strain through fine mesh.

4 More Cocktails You’ll Love

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I may be gaga over my guy but I’ll be quick to mention that I need QT with my ladies. Whether you’re single, married or otherwise taken, we can all agree that there’s nothing like a best friend or lots of best friends. So, set aside some time before February 14 to celebrate those special gals in your life who have been there through it all — break ups, make ups, moves, graduations and job promotions. Then, take a cue from our favorite TV bestie, Leslie Knope, with these Galentine’s Day party ideas and our own ways to cook up a yummy breakfast for your favorites.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Friends

1. ban.do 2. Kate Spade 3. ModCloth 4. Moorea Seal 5. Shopbop

1. Sweet Talk Pens. Your BFF has a high-stress job with stacked meetings every day. These pens offer an instant ego boost, all over good vibes and a rock-star mentality. (My fave: You’re better than unicorns.)

2. “Happy Hour” Flask. Is your friend the gal who likes to be ready to mix her favorite drink at a moment’s notice? This flask is perfect for her. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in a wristlet.

3. Cat Mugs. Keep one for yourself and gift the other to a friend. When side by side, they make the perfect set. (This is ideal for cat lovers, tea drinkers and coffee addicts.)

4. Floral iPhone Case. This isn’t your typical iPhone case, people. This is a gorgeous metallic cover with an arrangement of real, dried roses and daises, symbolizing innocent beauty and love. (Only your BFF would appreciate this!)

5. Best Friend Bracelet. Who didn’t have best friend jewelry? I thought so. If it wasn’t a broken heart necklace, it was handmade beaded bracelets. As adults, we can proudly showcase our friendship with these bangle bracelets. Love.

Feeling crafty? Test your DIY skills with these handmade Valentine’s Day gifts.

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In case you’ve somehow missed the near-constant barrage of jewelry, chocolate and flower commercials: Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! And, if you’re like me, any excuse to indulge my sweet tooth is a good one so I say Bring. It. On.

While store-bought treats are certainly delicious, nothing shows the depth of your affection quite like homemade goodies. Unleash your inner foodie and whip up one of these five decadent delights that are sure to make this Valentine’s Day your sweetest yet:

These artful cookies look time-consuming but decorating them couldn’t be easier. Get Marianne’s easy-to-follow video tips for icing like a pro plus her cookie recipe.

How to Make Beautiful Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Mmmmm…..chocolate! Truly, is there any flavor more craveable, more decadent? Well, not to me at least. Topped with homemade vanilla and strawberry frosting, these Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes are *almost* too pretty to eat.

Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe

If a hot-from-the-oven pie is the surest way to your sweetie’s stomach, give the crust a creative treatment with one of these 8 pro pastry ideas:

9 One-of-a-Kind Pie Crust Ideas

And, although, I personally can’t relate: Some folks don’t like chocolate (I know, the horror!) so this sweet-meets-tart mouthful may be just the ticket.

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes

When whipping up homemade goodies, don’t forget your furry best friend! These crunchy biscuits topped with cream cheese frosting are sure to get tails waggin’!

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

MORE VALENTINE’S DAY INSPIRATION:

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Buying the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the lady in your life comes with insurmountable pressure. You don’t want to settle for the usual flowers and chocolate (Although, I would never turn those down!), but you still want to give something from the heart. I’ve rounded up our top five creative yet practical gifts she’ll love and will be surprised to get.

 

HGTV Valentine's Day Gift Guide

 1. Society6 / 2. west elm / 3. / Silhouette Boutique / 4. minted. / 5. CitySlips

1. “I LIKE YOU.” Tote Bag. This is the perfect gift if your sweetheart is a dog lover. Bonus: She’ll always think of you anytime she carries it around.

2. Faceted Gold Terrarium. Put a little twist on the traditional bouquet of flowers with a terrarium filled with succulents that she will keep alive for much longer.

3. Cupcake Socks. Who wouldn’t love a pair of these? I may or may not have bought a pair for myself.

4. Custom Stationery. Help her keep in touch with her friends who live all over the world. Add a personal touch by customizing stationery with her name, favorite color and print.

5. Audio Earmuffs. She can plug these fuzzy headphones into her smart phone or MP3 player, so she can listen to her favorite tunes while staying warm.

What’s on your Valentine’s Day gift wish list? Tell us in the comments below.

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What are you flowers saying? Last year, my sweet, unassuming boyfriend came home with a vase of wilted alstroemeria and, although I still loved them as if they had been fresh garden roses, I later gave him a short lesson on what his flowers inadvertently told me: he had procrastinated.

In the Victorian Era, flowers had secret meanings that expressed sentiments of love, lust, adoration, and even rejection. This secret language still exists today, if somewhat subconsciously. So this Valentine’s Day, don’t let your flowers send the wrong message! Learn the past and present meanings of 8 of today’s most popular flowers below.

Behind the Bouquet

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happy new year!
We’re bidding farewell to 2014 and welcoming a bright, hopeful 2015 with open arms. Happy to New Year to all of you, our Design Happens friends and family. Tell us what it is you’re hoping this brand new year will bring for your home or what you’re resolving to do in the comments!

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New Year’s Eve is the last of the winter holidays, so it may take the back burner to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. The holiday season may have sucked your wallet dry, but you can still throw a dazzling New Year’s Eve party. I have one word for you: upcycling. Save all your glittery Christmas decor to spruce up your NYE party with our easy tips below. It’s all in the details!

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Skip the fancy tablecloth this year, and use leftover Christmas wrapping paper instead. If you don’t have any wrapping paper left, stores have big discounts on Christmas items this time of year.

Learn More Ways to Upcycle

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As you prep for New Year’s Eve festivities, don’t forget a fizzy signature cocktail for midnight toasting. Here are a few of our favorites that are more exciting than just wine or champagne but can still be made in minutes.

Pomegranate Sparkler

Pom Sparkler Cocktail

Photo + recipe courtesy of VOGA Italia Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 3 ounces VOGA Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

Scoop 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds into a champagne glass. Pour in pomegranate juice, then top with VOGA Prosecco.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Sparking Grapefruit Cocktail

Get the recipe for this sparkling grapefruit cocktail >>

More Bubbly Recipes for New Year’s Eve

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hgtv hosts at the holidays

We all love watching these guys do their magic on TV, but do you ever wonder what they’re like in “real” life? I don’t know about you, but I love getting to know more about our hosts’ lives off-camera. (Stars! They’re just like us.) You’ve got to watch this adorable video where everyone from the Property Brothers to Hilary and David tell us about their favorite part of the holidays. And most importantly, where they fall on the hot chocolate vs. eggnog divide.

>>>>WATCH THE VIDEO NOW>>>>

See Who’s an Eggnog Lover

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