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Welcome to Spring Essentials, a Design Happens mini-series where we’ll highlight our favorite products to help you get your home ready for spring. The sixth installment: Functional outdoor furniture and fun accessories for outdoor entertaining. See our product picks, then enter for a chance to win some colorful accents for your backyard.

Hosting a backyard bash in the spring can be a blast, but if you’re constantly running inside for drink refills or stressing about your meager outdoor seating, that can take some of the fun out of it. Before you invite your friends and family over for an alfresco get-together, give your outdoor spaces a party-inspired makeover. The right furniture and accessories will keep your guests happy and your soiree running smoothly, so you can thoroughly enjoy the festivities, too. Check out our favorite products for a party-perfect backyard.

Products for a Party-Ready Outdoor Space

1. Six-Seat Sectional and Stool. Anchor your outdoor space with comfortable, versatile furniture – if you have enough room, a sectional will offer maximum seating and flexibility. This six-seater features a movable footstool for guests who want to prop their feet up, and a neutral fabric that can easily be dressed up with colorful accessories. ($840)

2. Cantilever Umbrella. Your fairer-skinned friends will appreciate this backyard addition. A substantial nine feet in diameter, this cantilever umbrella in soothing spa green tilts and turns 360 degrees to provide shade anywhere you need it. ($369.99)

3. Outdoor Wood Cooler. Ditch your standard plastic cooler and upgrade to this sophisticated wood version. It’ll look great on your deck or patio, and it’ll keep your beverages and snacks cool so you don’t have to keep running inside to fetch refreshments for your guests. ($149.99)

4. Elephant Garden Stool. Don’t forget a spot for party-goers to set their drinks. Add a small side table or – better yet – this adorable elephant garden stool, which can also serve as extra seating in a pinch. ($90.89)

5. Pizza Fire Pit. This is genius: This multifunctional fire pit comes with two pizza stones and a removable grill for whipping up homemade pizza, steak or veggies. Once you’re finished cooking, you can remove the accessories and keep the fire blazing for warmth and ambiance. ($78.99)

6. Medallion Outdoor Pillows. Jazz up solid-color furniture and add comfort with vibrant outdoor pillows. These stunners make a statement with a bold medallion design, and their ample size will encourage hours of outdoor lounging. (Warning: your guests may never leave.) ($49.50 each)

Ready to spice up your outdoor space? One lucky Design Happens reader will win two Pottery Barn Outdoor Malibu Medallion Pillows.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. This giveaway’s question: What’s your secret to an amazing outdoor soiree?

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 10:00 a.m. ET on April 10, 2015 and 12:00 p.m. ET on April 13, 2015. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prizes: $99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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This year will mark my sixth year at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tenn. for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. At this point, packing for ‘Roo is second nature. I know I need sunscreen, baby wipes, bug spray — the obvious “essentials.” But I like to head onto the farm looking a little more chic than I would on a typical camping adventure. I mean, I’ll be front row watching my favorite artist — I have to look good, right?

For those heading to sunny Southern California this weekend for Coachella, here are few things you’ll definitely see around the festival grounds. Is anyone else festival bound this summer? Check out our list of must haves.

Summer Music Festival Essentials1. Urban Outfitters | 2. Sunpocket | 3. Nordstrom | 4. Aldo | 5. Incase | 6. Backcountry | 7. Sephora

1. Rain Booties. There’s nothing worse than rain at a music festival with 80,000+ people. (If it rains on the first day/night, you’re done.) BUT, you can make the most of a messy situation with Jeffrey Campbell’s sleek and chic rain booties. ($70.00)

2. Sunnies. You’re like, “Duh — sunglasses.” But these are the best. They’re 70s-style Sunpockets that features an aviator model with a sporty appearance. And as all Sunpockets do — they fold up! It’s perfect for when your daytime music set turns into night. ($73.50)

3. Chic Sun Hat. SUN PROTECTION. We hear it over and over again, but it’s so crucial. I can’t live without my sun hat when I’m out there in the hot Tennessee sun for five days. I love this maroon beauty because it doesn’t feel like I’m about to pull weeds from the yard, but it doesn’t feel terribly sophisticated either. ($52.00)

4. Multi-Pocket Backpack. I still have my college backpack and I love it, but I really just want something that’s a cross between a purse and a backpack when I’m going from show to show. This faux leather multi-pocket backpack is super practical with a number of compartments for keeping essentials organized. Plus, it doesn’t look like you’re headed on a hike. ($50.00)

5. Portable Phone Charger. OMG. Nothing makes me more enraged than trying to Insta-brag at a festival when my phone dies. You’re going to lose battery power quick — that’s a fact. But instead of spending all your time chitchatting at charging stations, keep this baby in your bag and you’ll be snapping pics all night long. ($79.95)

6. Soft Water Bottle. Staying hydrated is key to making your festival experience a positive one. But toting around a gallon of water all day? Not. Fun. I love these soft bottles that roll up or flatten until I’m ready for my next refill. ($7.95-$15.95)

7. Dry Shampoo. Uh, yeah. So about the shower situation. You’ll want to definitely bring some dry shampoo for your mane. I love Alterna’s sugar-lemon spray because of its scent and translucent appearance. It does the job well. ($22.00)

Fellow festivalgoers — what’s on your essentials list? What beauty, tech or fashion products make your festival experience better? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Use Instagram to Research Your Next Design Project

With all the options for design inspiration online, you may not have ever considered Instagram as a resource before. But, newsflash — it is! Before embarking on your next design project, you might want to consider an Instagram dive in order to come up with some serious designer inspo.

Here are some ideas for getting the most out of this visual social platform:

1. Hashtag Searches. Much like Twitter, Instagram is built on a foundation of hashtags. Anyone can make up a hashtag or use an existing hashtag, so there’s no exact method to the madness when you’re doing a hashtag search. Your best bet is to just go to the search screen (the magnifying glass), put your cursor in the search box to pull up the “hashtag” tab, then start typing in a bunch of different hashtags. Some of my favorites include:

  • #interiordesign
  • #designinspiration
  • #fleamarketfinds
  • #homedecor
  • #interior123
  • #livingroom
  • #kitchen
  • #bedroom
  • #estatesale
  • #DIY
  • #DIYProject
  • #patio

You’ll find loads of design ideas this way.

2. Follow interior designers. If there’s an interior designer that you admire, go to their website and see if they have a link to their Insta account; chances are they do. Designers often share pics from ongoing projects, inspiration boards and recent furniture finds. Here are 10 must-follow interior designers on Instagram to get you started.

3. Follow stores and brands. Most brands and stores have discovered the importance of having an Instagram account, and you can find loads of design, product and color inspiration on their feeds. Some of my favorites to follow are: @TargetStyle, @HomeGoods, @WestElm, @PBTeen, @IkeaUSA, @BenjaminMoore, @HomeDepot and @LowesHomeImprovement.

4. Use the explore feature. It used to be that the “explore” page on Instagram was a collection of the most popular photos on the platform. As you can imagine, this mostly included pics of scantily-clad women in bikinis and some cute cat photos. But the “explore” tab has become really good. Now, if you click on the magnifying glass, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can choose either “photos” or “people.” The “Photos” tab will include pics that Instagram thinks you might like, and the “People” tab includes other users they think you might like to follow. As someone who looks at, likes and follows many designer-y photos, I often find similar suggestions in my explore section. Look around yours and see if Instagram has any killer picks that can inspire you.

For a dose of design inspiration from HGTV talent and editors every single day, follow @hgtv on Instagram.

Do you have any Instagram tricks that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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One of my favorite things about blogging for HGTV is reading our fans’ design tips and preferences. Since we love hearing from our fans (you!), we’re starting a new series called Room Vs. Room. Twice a month, we’ll feature a poll where you can choose which design you love best. Then, we’ll give tips and tricks on recreating the winning design’s look in your own home.

We’re kicking the series off with sunrooms. Do you prefer a more traditional route with comfortable furnishings and classic colors, or would you rather take a more vibrant approach with a global design like Mediterranean? Vote in our poll, then tell us in the comments which design you chose and why.

Room vs. Room: Sunrooms

Come back next week to see the final tally!

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Five years ago this month, my husband and I bought our dream house: an architect-designed seventies modern home nestled into a hillside in the middle of four acres of woods. We knew it would need some updating, but nothing was pressing and the lines of the house were swoon-worthy. We have made a few small changes, but other than the nursery, nothing on the interior has been completely updated. Until now! This week, we started a kitchen renovation.

Marianne Canada Kitchen Inspiration Collage

Of course, I have lots of Pinterest-board inspiration. Watch the video below to see the kitchen “before” and hear what I have planned.

YouTube Preview Image

What is it about spring that makes us want to redo everything in the house? Am I the only one poring over Pinterest? What projects do you have on deck this year?

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If you’re like me, then the bedroom is the one room in the house that’s in need of some TLC.  No matter how hard I try, it seems that creating a bedroom design that is both stylish and functional is nearly impossible. Luckily, High Fashion Home designer, Dolley Frearson, understands this struggle and has graciously shared 6 of her priceless design tips with us. So if you’re tired of your blah bedroom or simply need a little design inspiration, check out Dolley’s gorgeous bedroom transformation below and read on to learn her tricks of the trade.

The bedroom BEFORE was drab and unsightly…

Image Courtesy of High Fashion Home

The bedroom AFTER is chic and inviting.

Image Courtesy of High Fashion Home

Learn How Dolley Achieved This Look

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Welcome to Spring Essentials, a Design Happens mini-series where we’ll highlight our favorite products to help you get your home ready for spring. The fifth installment: Spring-inspired bedding that will make your bedroom look bright and refreshed all season — and all summer! — long.

I’m one of those people with cold-weather bedding and warm-weather bedding. During the winter, there’s nothing better than wrapping up in my cozy flannel sheets. But from April to September, I like to keep it light and breezy in the bedding department. Right now, my bed is dressed in a classic navy prep strip duvet, mint polka-dot sheets, and mint and lime throw pillows. My bedding palette is cool and refreshing like the season.

Have you swapped out your winter bedding yet? Take a look at our seasonal bedroom picks in especially lively hues.

Spring Bedding 20151. Pottery Barn 2. Serena & Lily 3. Target 4. Macy’s 5. H&M 6. Serena & Lily

1. Spring-y Duvet Cover. Imagine walking into your bedroom and seeing an array of blooming florals and rich leafy foliage every single day. That’s the power of this gorgeous organic duvet cover. ($79-$103)

2. Embroidered Sheets. The folks at Serena & Lily said it best: “Our not-so-basic white sheets make a great foundation for layering color and pattern throughout the room — think of them as classics with a twist.” The colorful motif (available in eight bright hues) is both sophisticated and playful. ($148-$268)

3. Soft Throw. IMO, the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collab is one of the most exciting things to happen this season. Go ahead and bookmark this pink tasseled throw from the lookbook while we anxiously await the April 19th debut. (It’s technically called an “outdoor blanket” but I think it would look so adorable casually draped over the foot of a bed.) ($30)

4. Patterned Shams. Mixing patterns is the name of the game when it comes to putting together a beautifully-styled bed. This large-scale contemporary pattern is a nice match for the botanical duvet cover, while the navy and white pull out the bedding’s navy background. ($89.97 for the bed set)

5. & 6. Bold Throw Pillows. Here comes the fun part — throw pillows! This is where you can play with texture, pattern and color by pulling in accent colors from the duvet in fun ways. I say, you can never have too many throw pillows. Choose solids, neutrals and unexpected colors, like this green quilted pillow and this white canvas beauty with suede corner caps. ($12.95; $38.99)

Now tell us — how are you giving your bedroom a taste of spring? Swapping out your winter bedding? Tossing in some new throw pillows? Let us know!

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HGTV Magazine is pet friendly. Sadly, that doesn’t mean we can bring our dogs to work (OK, so maybe they’ve stopped by once or twice), but we love our furry friends like family. Our adorable dog model, Daniel Patrick the West Highland terrier, even graced the cover back in Jan/Feb 2014!

Don’t you just love Daniel Patrick’s sweater?

This time, we’re busy putting together a special pet feature for an upcoming issue, and we need your help. Take a second to answer the four questions below, and we’ll use the results to help create a story you and Fido will both love.




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Last year for Mother’s Day I made this wall shelf from reclaimed pallet wood and transformed it into a succulent planter. My mom loved it! So now that the warm weather is back in full swing here in Tennessee, it’s time to dig out that shelf from winter hibernation and give it some life again. Succulent arrangements make the best gifts because they’re beautiful, easy to maintain and they flourish indoors and out. So if you’re looking for a great gift idea or just want to bring some plant life to your home, follow the 5 easy steps below to make your own gorgeous pallet wood succulent planter.

Pallet Wood Succulent Planter

What You’ll Need

  • wood pallet shelf
  • small bag of potting soil
  • variety of 3.5″ succulents (amount depends on the size of your planter, I used 9)
  • plastic bag or other plastic liner (as needed)
  • pebbles or other small rocks (as needed)

Follow 5 Easy Steps to Make This Gorgeous Planter

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The conundrum: We all want to spend less time glued to our smartphones, and yet there they are on our bedside tables, beckoning us to Pinterest in the middle of the night, or to check email the moment we open our eyes. How can we avoid the temptation when we need them to wake us up in the morning?

Answer: It’s time to go old school and plunk an alarm clock by your head. Wait! Before you arrest me for design crimes, I’ve rounded up some gorgeous models that meet all the requirements: They’re as easy to program as my phone and don’t take away from my bedroom’s design story. Here are a few of my faves:

Bird Alarm Clock

Bird Alarm ClockPut a bird on it! This alarm can be set to a ho-hum beep, or to birds that chirp you awake! It’s got a calendar function as well as telling time, but the screen is on the back so you can turn it around and just see a cute bird before you nod off (I’m a big fan of NOT seeing the time at all hours of the night… it messes with my head).

MORE STYLISH WAYS TO WAKE UP

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As soon as we said “Hello!” to spring, Easter came and went in a flash. Hopefully you’ve had a chance by now to step outside your door without an extra jacket or scarf. Maybe if you’ve been *really* lucky, you’ve started some early garden planting. That is, if you haven’t been dealing with spring allergies like we have here in Atlanta. Can you say insane pollen counts?

We can tell by what’s trending on Pinterest that spring fever is a real thing and we’ve all caught a bit of it. Here’s what we’re loving from Pinterest in April.

Outdoor Living

If you’re like me, April means finding any excuse to spend time outside. Reading a book? Outside. Taking a nap? Outside. Preparing a meal? I may not have a full outdoor kitchen but I finally learned how to start our charcoal grill by myself so I had another reason to be outside. So why not put a little effort into creating outdoor spaces that inspire, invite and delight? We’ll even let you cheat and copy this gorgeous outdoor room.

1. Sprucing up an Outdoor Living Space for Spring
2. Backyard Transformations From Landscape Designer Chris Lambton
3. Hot Backyard Design Ideas to Try Right Now
4. Outdoor Party Essentials

 

Mother’s Day

Your mom will be so happy that you were thinking of her a whole month before Mother’s Day this year (mark your calendars for May 10th). If mom is the type of person who loves a homemade gift, give these DIYs a try.

Mother's Day DIY Projects - HGTV on Pinterest

1. Easy Sew Tote Bag
2. Make a Ruffled Lamp Shade
3. Recycled Can Lanterns
4. 28 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts Mom Will Love

 

HGTV Smart Home

This time last year we kicked off HGTV Smart Home 2014 and shared all the stylish and tech-friendly details of the home, located in Nashville, TN. Those pins are still popular with our followers, so let’s go back in time, shall we? (P.S. If you haven’t already scoped out this year’s modern Texas farmhouse, what the heck are you waiting for?)

1. Master Bedroom Pictures from HGTV Smart Home 2014
2. Great Room Pictures from HGTV Smart Home 2014
3. Bedroom Pictures form HGTV Smart Home 2014
4. Kitchen Pictures from HGTV Smart Home 2014

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Outdoor spaces: We love them during the spring and summer, but it’s easy to overlook them the rest of the year. If your patio or backyard looks like an afterthought or feels disjointed from the rest of your home, never fear. By incorporating stylish furniture and cozy accents, you can create an outdoor space that’s just as appealing as your home’s interior. We collected some tips from designer Emily Henderson, who transformed this formerly plain patio into a cozy outdoor room with a collected, bohemian vibe. Get the look with these seven ideas and products:

Copy the Look of This Bohemian Outdoor Living Room

1. World Market / 2. Overstock / 3. Etsy: farjer / 4. Pier 1 Imports
5. Dot & Bo / 6. Wayfair / 7. Target

7 Tips for a Cozy Outdoor Living Room

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The newest issue of HGTV Magazine marks an important milestone for the brand — we’re turning the big 3-0! The May issue (out tomorrow!) is our 30th since we began publishing in fall 2011.

May 2015 cover

HGTV Magazine May 2015 Cover

The magazine (and staff!) has grown exponentially, with each issue getting bigger, better and brighter than the last.

“I truly believe the magazine just gets better and better. I’m very proud of the fact that the staff is constantly creating fresh, new, never-been-done-before stories and layouts. We launched our premiere issue with that kind of thinking, and we still operate that way three years later.” — Sara Peterson, editor in chief

“Thank you to all of our advertisers for making our 2nd annual paint issue a tremendous success, and thank you to our readers for making HGTV Magazine one of the most successful magazine launches in recent history.”  Dan Fuchs, publisher and chief revenue officer 

We’ve made a lot of creative strides in our short lifespan. We’ve created a kids-only mini-mag, shared a cover with Food Network, took you inside one incredible home after another, and now, for the second time, we’ve expanded our DIY content for a giant all-paint-everything section.

Inside, you’ll find 13 pages of hue-drenched rooms, color-rich DIYs and pro-picked shades (including a poster-size, fold-out paint index). So get your paintbrush ready, because we’re showing you nearly a dozen different ways you can paint almost anything.

paint how tos

Paint the floor. Paint a lampshade. Paint a dresser.

BONUS: As you’re clicking through the story, don’t miss the links to exclusive online-only how-tos for many of the fun elements you see in each bold room. (There are 11 in all.) Happy painting!

Get More HGTV Magazine:
Subscribe to get each new issue straight to your door or tablet.
Follow us on Twitter @HGTVMag.
Keep up with us on Pinterest, too.

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Editors’ note: Today, we’re welcoming wedding designer and HGTV.com contributor Michelle Edgemont to share her wedding-planning savvy in a new series we’re calling Wedding Survival Guide. Recently engaged? Read on for advice from Michelle, and from couples who have planned a wedding — and lived to tell the tale.

You’re engaged…now what? You’ve shared the news with friends and family, so now it’s time to start some serious wedding planning. It can be very overwhelming to plan what is probably the biggest party of your lives. Learn from those who’ve done it before by consulting with newlyweds. A few of my past wedding design clients have kindly shared their tips for what to do first after the proposal.

DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT

brooklyn bride and groom at liberty warehouse

Hart and Sol Photo

Liz and Tim were married in an open loft venue, Liberty Warehouse, in Brooklyn. Liz says, “Our decisions were based on what had been important to us throughout our ten year relationship. Brooklyn was where we fell in love and lived together in our first apartment.” Use her advice and make a list of anything and everything that is important to you both or had a huge impact in your relationship. This brainstorming session can help you decide what city to be married in.

CHOOSE YOUR EVENT SIZE

modern indian wedding ceremony

Our Labor of Love

In a multicultural event, Nisha and Brendan were married in a modern, Hindu ceremony. “We both really wanted an outdoor ceremony. Afterwards, we moved the party to a beautiful indoor reception space. The space perfectly accommodated our number of guests,” Nisha says.  Nisha makes a great point here about guest count. The number of loved ones you invite is going to make a huge impact on your ceremony and reception venue choices. Some spaces can’t hold over 200 people, while others might have minimum guest counts on weekends that wouldn’t allow for small weddings. Knowing a rough guest count before you start your venue search is key in finding the right event space for you.

DON’T OD ON INSPIRATION

colorful modern indian wedding reception

Our Labor of Love

Nisha, an Indian bride planning a colorful, whimsical wedding, loved looking at inspiration online right after she was engaged. A few months into the design process, she realized it was better to stay true to what they wanted as a couple instead of constantly looking at all of the wonderful wedding images online. I love this advice! After you get engaged, spend some time getting familiar with classic wedding decor by browsing blogs and magazines. Then, discuss what types of decor are important with your fiance. Make a list, stick to it, and cut your wedding blog browsing down to once a week in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with inspiration.

REAL TALK: TIME TO BUDGET

pink escort cards

brklyn view photography

Ah, the budget. This step is the most uncomfortable and the most important. How much money do you have to spend? Whether you are eloping or having a 300-guest black tie affair, your wedding is going to cost at least the amount of your marriage license. Decisions cannot be made in the planning process unless you know how much money you have. Talk with your fiance and both sets of parents about the amount of cash everyone is able and willing to contribute. No one likes to talk about money. It might be awkward. Someone might get upset/angry/disappointed. But, when the conversations are over, you’ll have an amount to work with. It could be $5,000 or $50,000. Either way, you’ll know where you stand, and what you can afford.

You’ll be glad you spent the time thinking about what you really want and can afford when the process gets rolling.

So tell me: Which of these steps have you taken? What wedding questions are stumping you? I’m here to help.

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Let the kiddos get in on the food prep this Easter with these fun, easy and super adorable recipe ideas that require minimal ingredients and no baking. Plus, each recipe contains either fruits, dairy or protein presented in a fun way for little ones with picky palates.

BUNNY PARFAIT

Bunny Parfait

Photo and recipe courtesy of Yoplait

Hop into spring with a tasty parfait made with layers of just three simple ingredients.

Yield: 1 parfait

  • 1 Yoplait Original French Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 small can sliced peaches or fresh sliced peaches
  • 1 handful Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams

1. Layer yogurt and peaches in a bowl.

2. Top with a handful of bunny grahams.

HATCHING CHICK EGG

Hatching Chick Egg for Easter

Eggs — hard-boiled, deviled, dyed and plastic — are an Easter staple. But you can take a simple hard-boiled egg to the next level with a few simple materials and ingredients. Seriously, this is adorable.

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

More Fun Bites for Kids

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You’re never too old to decorate Easter eggs! So, while the kids are having their fun, you can have yours — cocktail in hand.

CHERRY PEEPS COCKTAIL

Cherry Peeps Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe by Michelle Edgemont

An unexpected take on a dessert cocktail, this creamy beverage is garnished with your favorite Easter treat — Peeps!

Get the recipe >>

DEW DROP COCKTAIL

Easter Dew Drop Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Jung Lee and Clos du Bois

Serves One

  • 4 ounces Clos du Bois California Chardonnay
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 1-2 ounces simple syrup
  • grapefruit slice, 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. Shake all ingredients with ice, and serve in champagne coupes or vintage tea cups. Finish with a grapefruit slice.

4 More Spring Concoctions to Try

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In the latest High/Low Challenge we asked you to spot the price difference between these two fun outdoor seats. The correct answer was Left: high, Right: low. Were you right? The winner of our HGTV Magazine prize package for May will be chosen and notified by email.

high low may answer

Were you correct?

An outdoor-safe seat cushion makes this curvy chair on the left more comfy. The back of the chair on the right was inspired by the shape of a traditional Amish barn. Both great choices, both great buys. For shopping information on these powder-coated steel and iron chairs, check out the newest picks on our High/Low List in the May issue of HGTV Magazine — out Tuesday!

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I love celebrating Easter with a delicious brunch that celebrates sunshine, flowers and all things spring, but I’m terrible when it comes to planning ahead! I’ve been thinking about throwing an Easter brunch for my friends this year, and was looking for some tablescape inspiration (because like any true Southern gal who entertains, I take my table settings seriously), when I remembered a beautiful yet casual brunch setting by ladies at Caitlin & Caitlin from the sophisticated Los Angeles loft that was the winning entry in our Fresh Faces of Design contest.

Caitlin McCarthy and Caitlin Murray aren’t just a talented design duo; they also know how to entertain in style! The best part of this setup is that it’s elegant while managing to be casual and easy to pull together at the last minute, so it’s just the kind of inspiration I need to get my act together.

Loft Kitchen and Dining Room

Design by Caitlin & Caitlin

The dining area is located in a pass-through between the kitchen and bedroom of Caitlin McCarthy’s 725-square-foot loft located in a 100-year-old former office building. This spot was once a bathroom, and the tile floor below the table is original to the space.

Dining Table Made From Garden Trellis

Design by Caitlin & Caitlin

The table is made from a garden trellis set on a table base and topped with glass cut to fit the frame. Rather than opting for perfectly matched chairs, Caitlin McCarthy collected a variety of chairs she loved in various styles and colors. This look can work whether the mismatched look is intentional or not, which means it’s easy to accommodate as many friends at brunch as you can given your space and number of chairs.

Brunch Table Setting

Design by Caitlin & Caitlin

I absolutely love this table setting. It’s another example of how items don’t have to match one another, as long as they complement each other. And see that flatware? Looks like hints of last month’s Color of the Month!

Brunch Decor and Grapefruit Cocktail

Design by Caitlin & Caitlin

Host the Perfect Easter Brunch

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Yes, I am an adult with no children who still decorates eggs every year. Why? It’s a blank canvas with endless possibilities, and there are always new techniques to try.

So hard-boil up a dozen or use an egg blower and a dremel to drain the eggshells without cracking them, allowing you to keep these decorated eggs for years to come. Then, try one of these fun new ways to dress up your eggs.

GET PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS EVERY TIME >>

GOLD-DIPPED EGGS

These industrial-inspired eggs are perfect for industrial-modern design lovers! Abby Larson, Founder/Editor of Style Me Pretty Living, used grape juice and vinegar to create the cool, concrete-inspired effect. Stop there for a version you can turn into egg salad — or add a gold accent for a decorative-only egg with lots of sparkle.

Gold Dipped Marbled Eggs

Image courtesy Abby Larson/Style Me Pretty Living

MATERIALS

  • grape juice
  • white vinegar
  • white eggs
  • glass or metal bowl
  • gold paint

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Hard boil or blow out your eggs. (If hard boiled, keep in mind these eggs will not be edible later. If blown out, you will need to place something on top of the bowl to keep the eggs covered in the dye).

Step 2: Mix equal parts grape juice & vinegar in a bowl, enough to submerge your eggs. Place eggs in the bowl and leave overnight.

Step 3: The next day, remove eggs from the bowl and rinse off. Use a paper towel to rub away the foamy layer, revealing the marbled surface.

Step 4: Dip egg partially into a cup of gold paint. Place upside-down in egg carton to dry.

Step 5: Place in a bowl on your Easter table to enjoy!

Gold-Dipped Marbled Easter Eggs From HGTV.com

Image courtesy Abby Larson/Style Me Pretty Living

4 MORE EASTER EGG DIYS

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Congratulations to the giveaway winner, Ashley!

Welcome to Spring Essentials, a Design Happens mini-series where we’ll highlight our favorite products to help you get your home ready for spring. The fourth installment: Kitchen tools that will help you turn spring produce into a delicious feast. See our product picks, then enter for a chance to win one of these tools for your home.

Felicia has you digging in the garden in style, so you’re going to need to do something with all the fresh greens, asparagus, peas and other fresh spring produce that sprouts from your soil. Using the right kitchen tools makes a world of difference in making cooking with fruits and veggies easy and enjoyable. Grab these tools and get cooking so that you can take advantage of the beautiful spring bounty!

Spring Kitchen Tools 2015

1. Chef’n SpinCycle Salad Spinner: Give your greens and herbs a good wash to get them fully clean, and then rid them of excess water to keep them crisp with this handy salad spinner. The Chef’n SpinCycle comes in a cute spring green color and lays flat for handy storage. ($25)

2. KAI for Williams-Sonoma Chef’s Knife, 8-inch: Every good chef has a quality knife, and a chef’s knife is the perfect workhorse for slicing, chopping and dicing just about anything — especially spring produce. The 8-inch KAI for Williams-Sonoma Chef’s Knife comes in a bright, bold red that is perfect for spring. ($19.95)

3. Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Triple-Ply Stainless Universal Steamer With Lid: Steaming is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to cook fresh produce, and it’s a great way to make veggies easier to eat without losing their bright flavors. This universal steamer from Cuisinart fits inside 2-, 3- and 4-quart saucepans so that you can choose the cooking vessel that works best at any given time. ($34.99)

4. Full Circle Fresh Air Compost Collector: If you’re cooking with veggies and fruits, you’ll end up with scraps which you’ll want to compost and use to add nutrients back to your garden (circle of life!). The Full Circle Fresh Air Compost Collector allows oxygen to easily flow through your organic waste, reducing odor and preventing fruit flies. A win for everyone! ($29.95)

5. Kate Spade New York Melamine Collection: When you’re done preparing your meal, how about serve your delicious culinary creation to friends and family on the back patio? The cute dishes in the Kate Spade New York Melamine Collection come in fun colors with festive sayings and won’t shatter if dropped. ($14-$40)

Are you ready to start cooking? One lucky Design Happens reader will win a Full Circle Fresh Air Compost Collector, just in time for Earth Day. 

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. This giveaway’s question: What spring vegetable or fruit have you been looking forward to eating the most?

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 4:00 p.m. ET on April 2, 2015 and 6:00 p.m. ET on April 3, 2015. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prizes: $30. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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