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The unofficial end of summer is (sadly) here (sad face). It feels like we were just talking about ways to start up the grill for summer cookouts. As another season approaches, it seems only right we close out the most carefree time of year with a few refreshing concoctions. Whip up these cool and colorful drinks by Cooking Channel’s Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark as you soak up the long weekend.

Izze Cocktail Recipe

Photo + Recipe: IZZE Sparkling Juice

Vanilla Clementini

Throw it back to childhood snow cone days with this adult version that’s also a martini. (!!!)

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1/2 triple sec or orange liqueur
3 ounces IZZE Sparkling Clementine
2 cups finely-crushed or shaved ice
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

In a glass, combine vodka, triple sec and IZZE Sparkling Clementine and stir lightly. Pour over shaved ice and top with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Serve with a spoon (and be prepared to make seconds).

Yield: 1 serving

Izze Cocktail Recipe

Photo + Recipe: IZZE Sparkling Juice

Grapefruit Lavenderita

Put a spin on the Paloma with a dash of lavender.

Ingredients

2 ounces lavender-infused tequila
1/2 Campari
3/4 fresh-squeezed lime juice
6 ounces IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit

Instructions

Add first three ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice and stir. Pour IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit over and stir. Garnish with a fresh lavender blossom and tell someone that you got them flowers.

To infuse tequila, add one tablespoon of dried lavender flowers to 8 ounces of tequila and let sit for 1 hour. Strain and store tequila in a sealed jar or bottle.

Yield: 1 serving

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Steak Frites

Steak frites may be the perfect meal. Think about it; rich beefy goodness paired with salty crunchy potatoes and topped with a delectable sauce. What is there not to love about that? In my opinion, this combo is great any way it’s prepared, but this version is currently my favorite way to cook up the classic. I took advantage of a super sale on primo beef from my local butcher and picked up center cut filets rather than my beloved strip. The filets are pepper crusted on one side and drizzled with a savory red wine sauce to complement the cut. I upgraded from sticks to circles and fried up a crispy potato chip that easily swabs the plate picking up every last drop of precious sauce. The meal is completed by adding a quick green salad of peppery baby arugula and sliced green onions that are lightly dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt (no recipe needed, just make it to personal taste). This is really a dinner (or lunch) for two, so it’s okay to spend a little extra on your steak and be a little indulgent as you take on this culinary classic.

Get the Recipe

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Gallery walls are all the rage right now, and for good reason:  you can have completely unmatched pieces of art but make them work together with a common theme. Choosing a color, texture or pattern to be the inspiration for your wall lets you loosen the “rules.” The tough part about those galleries, though, is actually figuring out what works — and what doesn’t. To help you out, we’ve come up with our top tips for creating a gallery wall. Once you’re ready to test out your ideas, upload your pieces to Shutterfly’s Design-a-Wall virtual tool to see what they look like together before you poke a million holes in your wall.

Tip #1: Choose Any Wall

A gallery wall doesn’t have to be limited to a foyer or living room. Choose walls that are normally bare, such as a staircase wall. HGTV’s John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino hung knicknacks on a bold red wall for an instant upgrade.

Staircase Gallery Wall

Tip #2: Add Personal Touches

Create a custom look by arranging your favorite photographs or souvenirs from your travel experiences in shadow boxes . Bonus: This idea serves double duty as a storage solution.

Vintage Shadow Box Gallery Wall

Tip #3: Pick Unexpected Items

A gallery wall doesn’t just have to be framed pieces of art. This wall of hollowed out, cloth-covered books was hung with upholstery nails in each book’s four corners.

Book Gallery Wall

Tip #4: Placement, Placement, Placement

Once you’ve chosen all your pieces, it’s time to think of placement. This is especially important when you’re creating a gallery wall above furniture. Be sure not to hang pieces too low or high — a good rule of thumb is eight inches between the base of the frame and top of the furniture piece, according to Jen Bekman, founder of the popular online art shop, 20×200.

Gallery Wall

Tip #5: Be Fearless

A gallery wall is your opportunity to express your passions. So, have fun and don’t worry about going a little crazy. Mixing up your gallery wall with your personal treasures will make your house feel like home.

Electic Gallery Wall

What are some of your tips for creating the perfect gallery wall?

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Congratulations to this week’s winner, Victoria!

Can you guess which fire pit belongs in this outdoor room?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win two TIKI Brand king torches — perfect for your outdoor space.

Choose A, B or C

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 August 27, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on August 28, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $39.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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I can’t lie — the only thing that gets me through going back to school (and the approaching chilly weather) is having an excuse to buy new clothes, because you know, “I’ll be going to class every day and I can’t wear the same things over and over,” or my personal favorite, “There are so many sales going on right now, it would be stupid not to buy a few things for school.” My excuses are limitless. Feel free to use them to justify your own shopping spree.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “invested” (another one of those words I like to use) in a new season wardrobe that doesn’t go along with the popular trends. Our interview with Brad Goreski showed us what to look forward to for spring, but now we need to see what trends and styles will be big this fall and winter.

So before you make that all-important pilgrimage to the mall, brush up on the season’s biggest fashion trends so you’re not left with a backseat full of outdated duds.

Sweater Weather

Photos L to R: Mango, Zara, Madewell, Style.com Prada, H&M

Last winter’s dramatic over-sized sweater trend has been scaled back and refined for 2014. Designers showcased quite a few variations of knitwear for fall and winter, ranging from flowing merino wool and cashmere, to barely-too-big fisherman’s sweaters. Sculptural silhouettes were also heavy on the runways, but t-shirts and pants also received a knitty-gritty makeover. Knit t-shirts will also prove useful next spring where merino and cashmere sweaters have an unlimited shelf life.

More Fashion Trends

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Can you believe it’s already time for kids to head back to school? I feel like summer just started! Whether your family is already in the swing of early mornings and after-school homework or you’re preparing for the first day, this cute, inexpensive teacher gift is worth a look. Check it out:

Stuff the mugs with anything you think your child’s teacher might like: think candy, art supplies or a coffee shop gift card.

Decorated Teacher's Mug Gifts

Even if you don’t have kids in school, these porcelain pens are really fun to use and a great way to dress up plain mugs and plates for gift items or your own kitchen. Tell us: Have you played around with porcelain pens?

Missed an episode of HGTV Crafternoon? Catch them all, and more from Marianne, right here.

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Alix Adams

This summer we found ourselves outside under the moon and stars quite a bit. The warm summer nights were just too irresistible to pass up, especially with a cool fall just around the corner. So we hung out with the moon all summer and she is kind of a show-off, but in the best way. I love how the moon is always changing and each night sky is a bit of a surprise. Feeling very moved by our glowing friend, I wanted to create a craft that was inspired by the moon and her lunar calendar. That’s how I came up with this lunar-inspired necklace! It’s a simple nod to the moon’s cycles without screaming “I’m wearing a moon on my neck!” Making one of your own is easy peasy!

Let’s Get Started

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Did you know it’s the perfect time to start thinking about birdhouses? Many birds won’t use a house until it has a weathered look, so some experts suggest getting birdhouses up by late summer or early fall in preparation for the spring. Even if you’re not an avian enthusiast, the charming little boxes can be used in so many other contexts. Take a look at these birdhouse decor ideas and get inspired to feather your nest with some of these structures.

5 Birdhouse Decor Ideas That Aren't for the Birds: Fence Flair

Credit: Janell Beals

Birdhouses –> Fence Flair
Give an old, drab fence some pizzazz by adding a collection of decorative birdhouses. This idea from Janell Beals works well with a mix of different colors, shapes and sizes. Check out her tutorial to see how you can copy the look.

MORE BEAUTIFUL IDEAS FOR BIRDHOUSES

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Interior designer Erica Reitman has a definite design point of view — how can you tell? The tagline of her website (VintageDesign.Me) says it all: “I Will Kick Your House’s Ass.” And that, she does very well. Erica strives to help homeowners make their homes look “bangin’” and when she’s not working her magic in homes across the country, she’s offering up helpful design tips and advice online. As we’ve done in the past, Design Happens dares to go beyond the interior design photos we’re accustomed to seeing and talks to the designers who actually created some of these stunning rooms. This week, we’re chatting with Erica Reitman.

Erica Reitman

Erica Reitman of VintageDesign.Me

D-Happ: Tell us about your website.
ER: I created VintageDesign.Me to be a spot online where people can go to get great advice, learn an easy tip, or read about my favorite resources. I really try to stay focused on tangible, real-world value and results, so I don’t do inspiration posts or random mood boards that don’t relate to anything (though I love looking at those things on other people’s sites!). I get how valuable everyone’s time is, so I always want people to come away feeling like: “I’m SO ready to go do this random decorating thing that I’ve never thought about before” after reading one of my posts. I also try to stress that while, of course I’d love for you to hire me to come decorate your home, you really don’t have to because e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e has it in them to put together a great space that makes them smile when they walk through their front door. And yep, I do mean everyone.

Erica Reitman

Design by Erica, Photo by William Brinson

D-Happ: How would you describe your aesthetic?
ER: My overall aesthetic is kind of like a mosh pit at a Pearl Jam concert in 1992. I love, love, love the graphic, colorful design of the 60′s and 70′s, and really dig mixing pieces from that era with newer modern pieces. Big, bold pieces of art make me smile, and vintage anything always gets me revved up — especially if it comes from a flea market or a thrift store. I do tend to lean more toward more masculine interiors, and so I especially love working with guys on “dude designing” their spaces. So I guess my aesthetic is eclectic/vintage/arty/masculine/70′s/chic?

D-Happ: Where do you source inspiration?
ER: My favorite source of inspiration is vintage interior design magazines and books. I recently moved to Los Angeles, and the flea markets here are pretty amazing. So I often find great old issues of Architectural Digest, Town & Country and House and Garden magazines that I buy for a buck apiece and then pore over at home.

More of Our Talk

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