Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

Along with Autumn comes football and along with football comes food, games and fun!  This week, I am partnering up with my friends at Wayfair, to bring you the best of tailgating at home, otherwise known as Couchgating!

couchgating-02

 

As a family, we have gone all out for football parties and sometimes we only go so far as to open up a bag of chips.  When you do want to go all out, it’s important to have the right tools at hand, to make your day as fun as it is easy.

This was our set up last year.

Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

As you know I am usually not for buying entertaining items that are specific to an event, that way you can use them year-round.  When you look at the picture above, the only thing overtly “football” about the food table, was my sons toy football.  Somehow it still looks like a game day spread because of the colors I chose and one small accent.

Below are some of my favorite picks from Wayfair for a successful couchgating party!  All of these items are versatile for all kids of entertaining.

  1.  Frozen drink machine – Granted, I don’t actually own one, but I want one.  If you have more than a few people over, I’m sure it would avoid making individual drinks with the blender.
  2. Serving platter set – I found a couple of cute football shaped platters but in the end, I always choose the ever-versatile white platter.
  3. The couch – I know this is pretty obvious, but it’s crucial for being able to sit around for hours, and if you are like us, we all end up lying around the couch.  That’s one of the perks of having a huge couch.  On another note, although my couch is big, we are not super happy with how comfortable it is, so we end up using a bunch of pillows to add support.  Don’t be afraid to buy a couch from a trusted website, where you can also read reviews.  I purchased mine at a store and I’m sure that had I seen reviews, I would’ve chosen differently.
  4. The grill –  This simple round grill is still my favorite.
  5. Serving cart – Another one that I don’t own but have wanted for years.  Geez, I wish my husband read my blog!  So many gift ideas!  Actually, maybe that’s why he doesn’t. :-) )  A serving cart can bring the party to you.  It’s great if you are moving the party outside, or if you want to bring a few of the items from the big table, closer to you.
  6. Grilling tools and utensils –  I know that there are some awesome grilling sets available, but there is no tool that I prefer over a good ol’ pair of tongs.  That goes for indoor cooking as well, just a shorter length.

 

frozen-drink-machine                       serving-platter-set

Frozen Drink Machine                       platter-set

 

awesome-couch        awesome-grill

couch-wayfair    Grill

 

Serving Cart         grill-utensils-tools

Bar cart           Grilling tongs

 

One more thing!  I wanted to share with you my roasted salsa recipe which is perfect for your couchgating party.  Perfect for anything, really.  It’s my favorite and I have tried so many salsa recipes!

Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

Roasted Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:

20 tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)

7 jalapeños

2 onions

7 garlic cloves

1 large bunch of cilantro

1-2 tablespoons of salt (depending on the size of tomatoes)

 

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Cut up the tomatoes and onions into large chunks and spread onto a baking sheet pan.  Remove the caps off the jalapeños, then cut the jalapeños lengthwise, and remove the stem and some of the seeds (read tip below).  Add the 7 whole cloves of garlic.  Toss everything onto 2 sheet pans.

Heat tip: In order to keep the heat off your hands, you may want to wear gloves when cutting up the jalapeños.  For really hot salsa, do not remove the seeds of the jalapeños.  For medium-hot salsa remove the seeds from half of the jalapeños.  For medium salsa, remove all the seeds from the jalapeños.  For mild salsa, hold the jalapeños under running water and remove the seeds and inside membrane of the jalapeño.   

Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

 

Place the trays in the oven and roast for about an hour.  Check the trays after 45 minutes, so that the roasted tomato mixture does not burn.  You should see a bit of char on the edges of the onions or tomatoes, but nothing should look like it’s burning.

Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  When you can handle the contents, place them in a bowl and take them over to your food processor.  I suggest you do the following in 2 or 3 batches to avoid over filling the processor.

Place a good amount of the roasted tomato, onion, jalapeno and garlic mix into the processor, I then add a small bunch of cilantro and a bit of the salt.  Process until desired consistency and then add to a large bowl or container.  Continue to do this in batches until you have used all the roasted mixture and the cilantro bunch (and the salt to taste).

Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

This makes about 4-5 large jars depending on the size of the tomatoes you use and the jars, of course.  I like to use a canning funnel for this because it makes pouring easier.  The salsa will still be somewhat hot at this point so be careful.

Nothing left to do but, enjoy!

Couchgating and the Best Roasted Salsa Recipe

I hope your team wins!  Either way, enjoy your couchgating day!

Living Room from Scratch with Wayfair

Living Room from Scratch with Wayfair

Hello Sweet Friends!  Besides the Tastemaker Awards post from yesterday, I have been a little MIA these past few weeks because everyone in my home came down with the flu…one-by-one.  We are all better now and I can’t wait to share with you some of the things that I have been working on.  To make it up to you I am sharing with you some real eye candy.

Move over George Clooney and enter beige tufted chesterfield style sofa!

Living Room from Scratch with Wayfair

So what’s with the sofa?  Well recently Wayfair reached out to me and asked if I would style a room from scratch and what pieces would I use.  I welcomed the challenge and below are my pics of the picks :-).  But before we dive in, I wanted to share with you the reason and perspective behind the pieces that I chose.

My favorite rooms are those that curate over time.  Those rooms have the most character, depth, interest and even practicality.  So when I chose the pieces from the Wayfair site, I didn’t want them to match perfectly – on the contrary.  Also, keep in mind that I am styling this room as a space that isn’t necessarily the one that gets the most use.  I say that because the couch is…well…probably not one that is the best choice for the kiddies.  My home has a family room that houses practical leather couches and a really small formal living room – that’s the one I thought of as inspiration when curating this space.

So like I said, the gorgeous couch above is already a linen color, and in my home I have 2 chairs facing the couch.  In this case, I would pair the couch with 2 of the chairs below (that are also available in linen) but I would choose a dark gray so they stand out a bit, but not too much.  We want our couch to be the star.  So how about this beauty?

Living Room from Scratch with Wayfair

I kept imagining a small living room (like mine) so I didn’t want too many colors in the room.  Not super match-ey but definitely not busy.  The rest of the pieces as you can see are fairly neutral and the “drama” piece, besides the couch, is the art piece.  It was available in multiple sizes but I would definitely go with the largest size that your wall can take.  One or two statement pieces in a room create the “designer” feel that we are after.  Everything else was the supporting cast.

Living Room from Scratch with Wayfair

If you are interested in “shopping the look” and getting more specifics on each item, you can click on the pictures below and you will be taken straight to items.  One of the things that I love about Wayfair is that you will immediately see a ton of options that fit within the same style of the item that you clicked on.

 

sofas
Carthusia Tufted Button Sofa – Beige
I love the low back, the rounded corners and the beautiful tufting throughout. I recommend pairing this couch with simple side chairs so that it can remain center stage.
Accent Chairs
Colette Chair – Charcoal Gray
I love how understated this chair is! It can complement almost any couch without competing with it.
”decorative
Eye-Catching Zebra Patterned Throw Pillow – Grey Beige
Adding a few gray and beige pillows to the couch will really bring together the two neutral colors that we are incorporating in our room design.
area rugs
Gray & Off White Shag Area Rug
It’s no secret that nothing anchors a room like a good rug. I love a good shag rug and this one incorporates both off-white and gray. The diamond design and neutral background makes the rug interesting without being busy.
”coffee
Mallory Coffee Table
This mirrored top table has a beautiful satin nickel sweeping base and it’s the perfect addition to this room. I love how versatile this coffee table is – all that’s missing is a beautiful faux arrangement of peonies, a stack of books and pretty candle.
wall art
Gold Diamonds Faded Graphic Art on Canvas
A blank wall is an opportunity for a dramatic piece like this beautiful canvas of a gold chandelier! There are so many sizes available, but I would definitely go over-sized for this piece. It is absolutely gorgeous!

As you know, my living room sofa is a really light color like this one.  Admittedly, we usually hang out in the family room, so it gets very little use.  I’m glad I did it though.  It’s the first thing that you see walking into our home and I love it!  Would you ever place a linen color sofa in your home or does the light color scare you a bit?  What are your favorite pieces from the ones pictured above?

Let me know your thoughts on the room.  Next on the blog will be some ideas for Easter.  Yup, it’s around the corner.

 

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Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

Remember last year when I shared about going on the Sailing with the Scotts HGTV cruise?  It was a blast and I hope they do it again this year.  Well aside from that, I don’t attend many events that I get invited to as a blogger, because they usually require travel and time away from the boys.  However, when there is a local event, I am there like a bear (not sure what that even means).  So this past weekend I attended the Wayfair Tastemaker Awards here in Miami and I had a great time!  It took place in a beautiful, historic South Beach hotel called the SLS Hotel.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

We all gathered in the outdoor terrace part of the hotel which was beautiful, as you can see.  The picture does not do it justice.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

We sat around, enjoyed drinks and delicious appetizers.  Seriously, the apps were so yummy that they are worth mentioning and even photographing but I forgot to.  There were dates wrapped in bacon, ceviche, gazpacho (I actually don’t like gazpacho but it looked good) and other little morsels of goodness.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

I made a lot of new contacts for the blog.  Not really.  I just kept eating the appetizers.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

This was the cool bar area.  These bartenders were like out of the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail.  They would throw the shakers and mix multiple drinks at once.  Kind of impressive.  Of course, they were still not as popular as the guy frying the bacon-wrapped-dates.  That guy won.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

They (Wayfair) also had a photo booth set up and a bunch of props for the pictures.  I always do really well in the first picture but then I don’t know what to do for the other 3 shots.  Do I just keep smiling?  I can totally make a funny face as the second shot, but I only have one funny face that I know how to make so that still leaves another 2 pictures.  I inevitably come out with one of the shots talking as I ask the person next to me “what do we do now?”.  Does this happen to you?

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

You may recognize the picture below from my Instagram.  Here I am with my friend, Diriet Diaz, who is not only a great friend and a sharp dresser, but also happens to be a luxury real estate agent in the Miami area.  Not the best quality photo but it was a good hair day so it made the cut!  😉  It’s always a good hair day for Diriet.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

Here are some of the Wayfair peeps, the winning designers and presenters.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

Here I am with the super talented designer, Barclay Butera.  He was so sweet and was nice enough to take this picture with me.  Although his choices were limited because my friend already had the camera phone pointed and waiting.  Say cheese!  Seriously, all the designers were incredibly approachable and happy to be celebrating with all of us.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

The evening came to a close after finally presenting the winners.  Before giving the awards we were all shown slides from the rooms that were submitted as entries.  They were all so original and with such fresh perspectives.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

So we hung out a little longer (that’s me beside the lady in the blue blouse) and then called it a night.  My boys were all home waiting for me and greeted me at the door like I had been gone for 24 hours.

Wayfair 2016 Trade Tastemaker Awards

One of the bonuses about blogging has been being a part of these cool communities and being able to go to events that are both fun and inspiring.  The other bonus was not having to make dinner because the husband was holding down the fort.  So thank you Wayfair and thank you husband.  And thank you pizza delivery man.  And thank you bacon wrapped dates.

Feeling grateful –

Maria

 

 

 

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Pop of Color in the Terrace

This post is brought to you by Wayfair.com but all the opinions are my own.  I only recommend brands/stores that I love and use!

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

Let’s talk rocking chairs, shall we?  I love rocking chairs.  Like for real.  I grew up in a home that always had a rocking chair and we would fight over who got to sit on it.  I find them so relaxing and inviting.  When we purchased our home 11 years ago, I told my husband that for Christmas I wanted rocking chairs (the following year I asked for a good quality frying pan – I’m weird).  My wonderful husband bought me 2 rocking chairs and somehow managed to hide them and surprise me Christmas day.  I love him so much!  Almost as much as rocking chairs…but let’s not get carried away here.

After a few months, it was clear that we needed another 2 rockers because visitors could never sit with us in the terrace.  So my amazing hubby obliged and bought me two more.  I had wanted to add some color to the space for a while, but I had not found the right pillows or matching tables.  We also have so many aspirations for the backyard (pool, deck) that I was ignoring the space that we were using.  You know that “all or nothing” mentality that says that you can’t fix up a space until you can make it perfect?

I decided that it was totally worth it to add a little life to this space by injecting small pops of color.

 

Pop of Color in the Terrace

So where did I go to find the perfect pieces for our terrace?  I went to Wayfair.com.  Have you shopped with them before?  They are basically an online destination for a million things “home”.  I found these pillows on Wayfair and they were perfect!  I wanted pillows in this shape but I did not want the enormous ones that are actually uncomfortable behind your back.  These are super comfortable and I love the green stripe.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

I also found this table on Wayfair and there were so many options to choose from.  We settled on this one because we liked that it also had a bottom shelf.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

Every morning we sit outside to have our coffee and it is one of my favorite times of the day.  We sit on the rockers and chat about our day while the wind chyme sings from afar.  I could totally write a haiku right now but I won’t because I love ya.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

I chose teak for the rockers and table because it is so strong and durable, and extremely low maintenance.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

Of course, a little candle sets the mood for this relaxing space, but mostly it keeps those mosquitos at bay!

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

A sweet little pot and plant adorn the table but I still have room for a book or a coffee cup.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

I placed this container on the existing wooden shelf and added some colorful little flowers.

 

Pop of Color in the Terrace

I kept the existing table between the other two rockers because we sometimes use it to eat a quick bite in the morning.  I would like to replace it in the future with another teak table that serves the same purpose.   I would then move this one elsewhere.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

For now, I am enjoying relaxing in this little space that feels “new” with so few changes!

Pop of Color in the Terrace

I encourage you to pick a little relaxing spot and make it pretty by adding new pillows, plants, or a colorful pot.  Invest in the things that you will enjoy for years to come, like I did in these teak rockers and table.  Buying some new pillows can “wake-up” a space for very little money.

Pop of Color in the Terrace

 

Time to enjoy this space and relax…

Pop of Color in the Terrace

Do you love rocking chairs as much as I do?  What space in your home could use a little injection of color?

 

 

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