ALL POSTS IN Holidays

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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

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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

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Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, March 4, so now’s the time to make your way to the Big Easy to catch the most popular parades before Fat Tuesday. And if you can’t make it down to New Orleans this year, then I can almost guarantee your city will have a sampling of Bourbon Street in celebration. Joyeux Mardi Gras!

Mood Board Monday: Mardi Gras 2014From left: Costume | Masks | Beads in Tree | King Cake | Entrance | Print | Balcony | Float | Shots | Dog

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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We celebrate the third Monday of February each year, known as President’s Day, to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States. (February 22 is George’s actual birthday, though.) Across the country we use this day to celebrate and remember all of our nation’s presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday also falls in the month of February. Happy birthday, Abe and George!

(I’ll happily take all of the below to add to my vintage presidential collection.)

Mood Board Monday: President's DayGeorge Sculpture | Print | Terrarium | Office | Bookends | Figurines | Blocks | Pillow

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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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.

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Nerd Valentines Printable

NoBiggie.net

I wouldn’t really call myself a nerd, but I have spent many a Friday night with my nose in a book and I may or may not have dressed up as a Hogwarts student for the Harry Potter midnight movie premieres… But who hasn’t done that, right? So whether you’re an old-school Trekkie or a new Big Bang Theory fan, you’re sure to love these free Valentine’s Day printables that are simply “adorkable!”

Star Wars and Star Trek Valentine Printables
Star Wars and Star Trek Printables From The Dating Divas

More Nerdy Valentines

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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

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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.

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A month ago, I spent New Year’s Eve in downtown Nashville, trying to keep my nose defrosted long enough to watch the giant guitar drop at midnight. This weekend, I’m prepping for a more comfortable New Year’s celebration – the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is all about taking time away from school and work to focus on family and cleansing your home before another year.

There’s also some really delicious food involved. Dumplings, spring rolls and long noodles are all good luck symbols for wealth and long life. Nian gao, a sticky rice cake, is the traditional dessert served on the Chinese New Year, but I couldn’t pass up sharing these adorable cookies from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle made with sugar cookie dough, a few Christmas cookie cutters and icing. They might not be traditional, but they’re a perfectly festive way to bring in the Chinese year of 4712.

Are you making anything special for the Chinese New Year?

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Happy New Year’s Eve Eve, friends! I hope you have your most sparkly attire and champagne flutes ready to ring in 2014. Me? I’ll be surrounded by my closest friends when the clock strikes midnight and decked out in sequins. What are your plans for the big night and day?

Mood Board Monday: SequinsDress | Champagne | Flowers | Bow | Sequins | Skirt | Table | New Year

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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Well folks, we made it through Christmas but the entertaining train hasn’t stopped yet. After all, we need to kick 2014 off in style. If you’re throwing a dinner party to welcome in the new year, why not customize some inexpensive flatware to match your table setting? Watch my video and see how a little paint goes a long way.

This isn’t the first time I’ve used Plasti-Dip, and I’m still totally carried away with it. It’s just so fun! What would you like to dunk in this magical stuff?

Paint Dipped Silverware

Missed an episode of Weekday Crafternoon? Catch them all right here.

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Name that movie: “Well, I see it still smells like pine needles around here.” Hint: It’s a classic holiday movie released on Christmas Day in 1946.

Mood Board Monday: Pine NeedlesTree | Cocktail | Necklace | Tassels | Print | It’s a Wonderful Life | Tea | Napkin Ring | Embroidery

It’s a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite holiday movie. Every year, I watch it on the big screen at our local historic theater. That’s definitely one of my favorite traditions of the season. Share yours!

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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BRIANA: Over-the-top holiday light displays aren’t exactly a new fad, but this 2013 trend list suggests that social media and Pinterest are inspiring people to get more creative. Themes like “winter wonderlands, candy canes, Santa’s workshop and character themes” are apparently in-demand and hey, looks like someone found a way to tip a hat to that fox trend, too. Some homeowners have even gone high-tech with smartphone apps so they can orchestrate the whole setup with just a tap or flick of the finger. So, what do you think? Are souped-up holiday light displays merry or scary?

Are over-the-top holiday lights merry or scary? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

MARIANNE: Do I love to take my kids out in their Christmas jammies for a holiday light tour? Definitely. Do I put lights on my house? Nope.

KAYLA: I’m with you, Marianne. They’re great to look at it but I’ll never, ever, ever put lights on my house like that. I’d rather sit on my sofa and sip a hot toddy. I do appreciate those that go the extra mile, though.

MORE HOLLERIN’ ABOUT HOLIDAY LIGHTS

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With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

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If you’re planning a sweet treat for your upcoming holiday festivities, cotton candy may not be the first dessert that comes to mind, but why not? When you infuse white sugar with spices inspired by chai tea and dust with edible glitter (yes, edible glitter!), your guests will be charmed by these nostalgic-turned-chic puffy white clouds of spun sugar. Wouldn’t this be amazing alongside a glass of champagne on New Years Eve? I’m on a bit of a cotton candy kick, it seems.

Not a fan of chai? Feel free to customize your spice combinations. I might have to try grapefruit zest + vanilla + rosemary next time I bust out the cotton candy maker, or perhaps bring a little heat with smoked paprika and lime zest? Who knew cotton candy could be so creative?

Chai Spice Cotton Candy

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Just like pumpkin in the fall, I flavor everything with gingerbread during the holiday season. Traditional gingerbread cookies are great, but why not spice up cocoa, pies and cakes with this classic flavor? Try out some of our favorite ideas just in time for Christmas guests.

Mood Board Monday: GingerbreadMini Houses | Sweater | Cookies | Skirt | House | Cocoa | Cheesecakes | Cake Pops | Ornament

Our favorite ways to use gingerbread:

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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Home for the HolidaysWhen it comes to hosting, I’m all about making the party look like a million bucks without putting a significant amount of effort into it. Your company is likely coming because of you and those around you, so the food and drinks are just a bonus. Hence, today’s post: dressing up a store-bought bottle of champagne with tasty garnishes … in seconds. I’m serious. I prepped most of these the night before, then popped them in the glass right before our holiday party shoot. Voila! You’ll basically have five fun drink options for your guests right from one bottle.

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Our Five Garnishes:

Star Fruit
Gold Sugar Sprinkles
Candied Cranberries, Raspberries + Blueberries on Skewers
Rosemary Sprigs + Pomegranate Seeds
Rock Candy

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Keri sips on champagne garnished with rosemary and pomegranate, while Kristen drinks the party’s signature cocktail.

For the Star Fruit Garnish: Slice the star fruit while on its side into 1/2-inch thick slices, and then cut a slit halfway down the middle so the star can sit on the rim of the champagne glass.

For the Gold Sugar Sprinkles: Sprinkle gold sugar onto a plate. Wet the rim of each champagne glass, then dip into the sprinkles so the rim is entirely covered.

For the Candied Fruit Skewers: Skewer assorted fresh fruits (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries) on a small wooden stick. Rinse with water, then generously sprinkle with sugar. Freeze until ready to use.

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Marianne drinks champagne flavored with orange rock candy.

For the Rosemary and Pomegranate: Sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds into the champagne, then top with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

For the Rock Candy: Put a rock candy stick or rock candy crystals (any flavor you desire) into a champagne glass. Pour champagne over the rock candy in the glass. Watch the drink fizzle and the color change. Soon, the drink will take on a sweet, candy-like taste.

Get more ideas from our holiday bar:

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Homemade gingerbread houses can be a bit intimidating, but you don’t have to be a professional baker or create a three-story Victorian house to get in on the fun. I make a gingerbread house almost every year — from scratch — but I don’t aim for perfection. Here’s a mini house I made this year:

Make Your Own Gingerbread House

Sure, the mortar is a little bit oozy and the roofline isn’t quite straight. Do I like it any less? Of course not! It’s about the process more than the result. (And its flaws give it character.) No matter what your baking skill level, all gingerbread houses start with a great gingerbread recipe, lots of royal icing and a pattern. Here are 5 houses to try out this weekend.

Five DIY Gingerbread Houses

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