Getting together with friends is always fun, but adding a fresh twist and some unexpected entertaining flair turns a typical night into an unforgettable celebration. So break out that sombrero and create your own exotic holiday escape in the comfort of your own backyard. Here are 10 easy-to-follow tips for creating a fiesta to remember:

1. Show off your creative knack by sending handwritten invitations in bright-colored stationery and envelopes.

2. Arrange a variety of chilies and cacti plants neatly around your main table for a south-of-the-border-inspired centerpiece.

3. Transform your pad into a festive getaway by stringing red and green chili pepper lights, using papier-mâché lanterns and placing colorful candles in every corner.

4. Customize playlists with salsa and merengue beats to create an authentic Latin vibe. Preparing music beforehand means less time at the stereo and more quality time with your guests.

5. Impress your friends with a colorful fruit salsa inspired by the tropics, such as Mango & Pineapple Salsa. To prepare: Peel and dice 6 fresh mangos and 1 pineapple. Toss with 1 chopped onion, 2-4 minced garlic cloves, a few chopped peppers of your choice and a handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro. Add salt to taste and serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

6. Save time and minimize cleanup by serving finger foods that don’t require utensils or plates, such as chips & guacamole, miniquesadillas and crispy flautas (corn tortilla rolled tightly around a filling).

7. Pair the fun finger foods with chilled Frutézia™ Tropical Blend and Passion Blend™, two new, fruit-flavored wine beverages that are also great low-alcohol options.

8. Add a grown-up spin to the piñata by stuffing it with gift certificates to local nail salons or a nearby shopping mall.

9. Indulge guests with arroz con leche (Mexican rice pudding), an authentic dessert that adds the perfect amount of sweetness to any festivity.

10. Send your guests off with a set of maracas (handheld musical shakers) so they can re-create their own fiesta.

A fiesta theme is a fantastic way to add zest to your ordinary gathering. So even if you can’t get to the Mexican Riviera this year, these 10 tips, mixed with a great imagination and a close group of friends, will ensure an amazing time for you and your guests.

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