ALL POSTS IN Holidays

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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.

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • The line between the indoors and outdoors blurs when

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  • "This was a dream client," says designer Bonnie Pressley.

  • The weathered plank wood wall and simple lighting design