Someone’s at the door! Be prepared for surprise guests.

Before I got married, I lived with my parents. Yes, I’m one of those people. I know to some it might sound really strange, but the way I was raised that was the proper thing to do. There is even a saying that goes something like “From your parents home to your husband’s home” which is basically the tradition that I was raised to follow.

Anyway, now that I have my own place (with my hubbie) I LOVE when friends and family stop by and I am able to play hostess. Those skills are new to me and are still being refined and perfected. I thought I’d share with you a few tricks and tips I’ve learned along the way.

Anyone care for a refreshment?

Recently my husband’s best friend and his girlfriend were in town for the weekend. I had fresh sheets on the bed, towels laid out for them in the bathroom, extra toothpaste and brushes just in case, but I made one critical mistake…I forgot to restock our wine! As we prepared for a night out I offered some wine to our house guests, but only had some left over from a few weeks prior. I poured the wine into glasses and watched as everyone puckered their lips in disgust after tasting some old, sour wine. I was NOT a happy hostess!

Since then I’ve made sure to always have at least one unopened bottle of red and one unopened bottle of white wine to offer my guests. I’m not a wine snob so I always pick up a bottle of wine either on sale or that I have a coupon for – usually it’s a bottle of Yellow Tail, Barefoot, or Robert Mondavi Private Selection.

Another delicious and refreshing option is lemonade. Keep a pack of Crystal Light in your pantry, mix it with some water, and serve out of a beautiful pitcher. Garnish it with some sliced lemons, strawberries, or mint leaves. It cannot get easier than that.

Sweet, refreshing lemonade

Sweet, refreshing lemonade

Who’s hungry?

I’ve learned that the key to be a fun hostess is to not stress out. I know that sounds silly but so often I get consumed with making sure everything is perfect – refilling drinks, making sure I have enough munchies out, checking in on food I may have cooking or baking, etc. After my guests are gone I often times feel like I spent more time running around than chatting with my guests – and that definitely doesn’t make me a good hostess.

To avoid this running around, and stressing about what I’m going to serve my guests. I try to have items in my pantry that are ready to serve. Here are a few ideas from my pantry to yours…

Who doesn’t love some creamy hummus and soft pita bread to munch on as you chat with friends? My favorite hummus to keep in the fridge is made by Sabra. They have various flavors – my favorites are Original and Garlic. Turn on the oven to warm up your pita so it’s nice and soft…or serve it straight out of the bag to save on some time and start enjoying your company.

Creamy Hummus and Pita Bread

Creamy Hummus and Pita Bread

You can’t go wrong with a fruit and veggie platter. Grab whatever you have in the fridge – grapes, strawberries, celery, or carrots –  and style it really nicely on a serving dish or bowl. Your guests will appreciate this healthy, fresh snack.

If you’re craving something warm try grabbing something that’s freezer friendly. Buy it, freeze it, and pull it out whenever you’re ready. How about trying healthy, yummy edamame or a satisfying bowl of meatballs? Both are great to store and easy to heat up and serve.

Popcorn! This one is a bit unconventional as a snack to serve your guests at home, but I’m sure you’ve seen that this snack, done right, can be super healthy! Try Jolly Time’s Healthy Pop or Smart Balance’s Smart ‘n Healthy both are healthy options.You’ll see that your guests won’t be able to keep their hands out of the bowl and leave feeling full and satisfied.

Light, airy popcorn

Light, airy popcorn

Do YOU have any suggestions of snacks that work in your home? What do YOU serve surprise guests?

Favorite Posts of the Week – 2/3 Edition

Happy Friday to all!

It’s finally Friday and I couldn’t be more relieved. I’ve enjoyed reading the blogs this week to help me escape the hectic work week (even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time).

Here are my favorites from the week of January 31st:

I’ve been working on creating a romantic, serene master bedroom at Casa Martinez for the past year or so. We’ve come a long way from ugly brown carpets to beautiful hardwood floors and dated vertical blinds to romantic, sheer curtains. However, one trouble spot the hubbie and I cannot conquer is keeping our nightstands clutter-free. This week Houzz.com inspires us to maintain beautiful nightstands free of mess with a few helpful tips.

Suite Dreams modern bedroom
I love DIY projects! Well I love pinning them, but one day I’ll actually start creating more of what I’m pinning. This week Home Stories A to Z featured a pallet DIY project that’s absolutely adorable. I’ve noticed pallet projects are really trendy now (probably perpetuated through Pinterest), but this one really caught my eye.  My sister-in-law (aka Fit Chick on the Fly) loves pallet DIYs and has created a few new nice pieces for her house. Are YOU obsessed with pallet projects?
I L-O-V-E this pallet DIY project!

In Miami, it’s basically springtime; and it’s my favorite time of the year! The days are warm (not horribly humid) and the nights have a cool(ish) breeze. It’s a perfect time of the year to start bringing out your pastels. When I think spring, I think pastels. On Wednesday, Pepper Design Blog posted their Pastel Style Board highlighting some trends for spring 2012. Warning they use terms like “sorbet”, “cantaloupe”, and “honeydew” to describe some of the hot spring colors which left me craving something sweet. This is my favorite look out of the bunch – which is perfect for a Sunday brunch or even some drinks with friends on a Friday night.

Spring Pastels

Just two weeks ago my bff Suzell launched her own blog – Susy Home Maker. The blog will chronicle her life as she tackles home remodeling, marathon training, and – her passion – traveling. She’s tons of fun and some of the things that happen to her are pretty hysterical so I’m certain you’ll thoroughly enjoy catching up with her through her blog. This week, she got me thinking about my “Travel Bucket List” and where I want my travels to take me. What do you think about her travel plans? Check her out and leave her a comment welcoming her to the world of blogging. 🙂

Where would you rather be right now?

Check out other “gems” I discovered on my favorite blogs by browsing through my latest pins on Pinterest.

Favorite posts of the Week – 1/14 Edition

Wow, this week flew by! My workload is starting to pick  back up so I’ve had a few late nights, but staying dedicated to blogging! 2012 is the year of the BLOG! lol

Anyway, here is a round up of my favorite posts for the week. Enjoy!

This Dallas home tour featured on Houzz.com is amazing. The Martini Room pictured is fabulous (I can’t imagine a martini room NOT being fabulous) — that chandelier makes the room! That funky mirror in the dining room is to die for and goes perfectly with the lamps on the buffet. And to make you even more jealous top it off who wouldn’t want that spacious closet?!?! There are definitely many pin-worthy pictures in this post!

I’m really into inspiration boards. I’ve used them a few times for events I have had the pleasure of helping friends and family plan, but haven’t had an opportunity to create one for a home decorating project. In this post Beth from Home Stories A to Z created a lovely inspiration board for her new half bath. I can’t wait to see how the tile wall turns out and if she can find a mirror as gorgeous as the one on her board.

The folks at Storkie.com have selected Tangerine as the Color of the Year for 2012, and I’m actually loving the combinations they’re suggesting, especially Tangerine and Pink.  I think the color scheme is beautiful for showers, birthday parties for adults or children, and even a spring/summer wedding. Someone on Polyvore is even getting in on the action and created a fashion board inspired by this bright color. Would YOU wear tangerine?

Tangerine | Color of the Year 2012

Tangerine | Color of the Year 2012

I don’t have kids, but follow several event blogs that feature kids parties. This week I saw an adorable tween spa party full of pedicures, mud masks, and sugar scrubs. According to the post, the stationery package is available to purchase on Etsy making this party easy to reproduce! A few months back I also pinned this adorable spa party for little girls – it was the cutest! Btw, isn’t that hombre pink cake in the tween post adorable? I’ve been obsessed with those types of cakes for a few weeks now. You can check out a few other hombre cake ideas on my Adventures in Baking Pinterest board.

Pink Ombre Swirl Cake

New Year! A look back at 2011.

Hey People!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated all of you on the goings-on at Casa Martinez. 2011 was a great year full of personal and professional success, jet-setting around the USA, welcoming new babies into the world (not our own), and celebrating new proclamations of love (attended 6 weddings). Busy, busy…

From CasaMartinez

Wow, I almost forgot how much fun we had this past year. And double wow – we racked up a TON of miles this year!! Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah, New York, California, Jersey, and Philly. How did we manage to get any work done? LOL

I have high hopes for 2012 – looking forward to what’s in store at Casa Martinez!

Happy New Year!!!

29 years

Today is my 29th birthday. And truthfully I couldn’t be more excited. A few years ago when I turned 25 I felt like I hadn’t accomplished some of the things I thought I would have by that age. But today at 29 I feel good about my accomplishments and where I am in my life.

In 29 years I have:

  1. Educated myself
  2. Created amazing bonds with my family
  3. Found someone to love and live my life with
  4. Built lifelong friendships with my two best friends
  5. Became an animal lover (even if all the love is currently directed at one dog)
  6. Traveled extensively within two continents

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead and what milestones I’ll celebrate – professional success, building a home with my hubbie, starting a family, traveling to other continents, etc

Happy Birthday to me! And thanks to all who have made me so grateful for these 29 years.

Balloons I received from a thoughtful coworker

Balloons I received from a thoughtful coworker