It’s official – it’s May – five months into the year people! – and that means the heart of outdoor entertaining season is upon us. But between work, family, chasing a 12 month old – trying to find some me time perhaps – it can feel overwhelming to even figure out how to feed yourself, let alone invite a bevy of friends to join you. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a hermit. You can in fact enjoy entertaining in your outdoor space with almost no work at all. Don’t believe me? Well, here’s proof.

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It starts with breakfast. Everyone eats it. In fact, on a Saturday or Sunday morning they’re willing to wait hours for it. So why not skip the brunch lines and instead invite everyone over to enjoy some breakfast treats in their bare feet? It’s the easiest meal to bring together. But I will get back to the food in a second.

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While you do want to set a scene for your gathering, you don’t need to worry if you haven’t decked out your backyard with a complete outdoor patio set yet (although this one rather nice). Having just moved into our house a couple of weeks ago, we definitely haven’t gotten our outdoor space together. But you can easily repurpose a few of favorite indoor pieces to create a cool, casual seating area! Side tables, ottomans or poufs do the trick rather nicely. I used two Nate Berkus for Target side tables to create a “table” in our new backyard(!). A killer carved wood tray created my serving area. All I needed was a couple cushions and throw pillows (loving this one and this one) for seating. I even flipped over a large seagrass basket to be a chair! You don’t even have to think about florals when there’s no fancy table to set. I brought my new favorite plant, the cactus, out to add a pop but when you’re outside extra foliage often isn’t necessary.


I do find it helpful to have an indoor/outdoor rug (or two – I’m a sucker for the layered look). If you don’t have tons of seating it offers people more places to lounge and is nicer on your feet. It’s kind of like throwing a picnic in your own backyard.

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As previously mentioned, breakfast is the perfect meal for entertaining because there is no need to stress about the food. Ain’t no shame in some store bought pastry – albeit hold out and grab the good stuff! Almond croissants & scones from B.Patisserie come to mama. Add in some granola and yogurt for DIY parfaits, maybe a bit of fruit or even avocado toast if you really feel like you must “cook” something. That’s really all you need for a nice morning hangout sesh – without ever having to run to and fro.

apt34 outdoor breakfast

To make your tasty treats feel “fancy,” serve everything up in nontraditional vessels. TraysDecorative wood bowls, metallic platters, porcelain plates and details like cloth napkins and cool flatware elevate everything. I’m obsessed with this flatware set with wood handles – they added a nice rustic chic touch to my breakfast set up ( these are fab and these are hot too).

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One easy place to throw in some extra effort is with your beverages. I created an almond iced coffee recipe (that I’ll be sharing later this week!) to offer a delicious extra special touch. And I’m sorry, but use your real glassware outside. Everyone freaks out about it being breakable, but you’re not throwing a rager at 10AM and I just find drinking out of plastic to be such a downer. If you lose one high ball it’s not the end of the world. This set is crazy affordable.

And that’s really all there is to it. You can take advantage of the season and quickly pull together an al fresco hang out sesh with friends without having to slave away. I feel a backyard brunch club coming on!

original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.


Phew – we made it to Friday! With a babe who insists on waking up at 5:30am right now, my brain has slowly but surely been turning into mush as the week wore on. I’m shocked I can type coherent sentences right now. I apologize in advance for any forth-coming gibberish.

We’re still digging out from under piles and piles of boxes in our house, but I’m excited to turn my sights on actually designing each room. Sneak peeks will continue to pop up on Instagram (and now on Snapchat too @apartment34!).

But I’m excited to bring my Friday Five back – and this week I’m focused on new discoveries. Designers, destinations and  treats. Because we all deserve a little something special now and again! (sorry I didn’t do pics this week – sometimes you just gotta cut your losses).

Smelling chic. I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco’s brand new Jo Malone boutique on Union Street to test out their new Rare Teas perfume line. Infused with actual rare tea the scents are earthy, complex and sophisticated. Aka right up my alley. The glamorous fragrances come in their own specially designed bottle with a matte black magnetic top! No detail was spared in the design of this debut. I was truly impressed. And obsessed with the Oolong Tea fragrance that I took home. It has smokey tobacco notes that are delicious. 

Sophisticated Shopping. I’m dying to check out this new Mission boutique

Dining al Fresco. Even though I love being in our house I’ve been dying to get outside. This post is inspiring me – and it’s a good thing because I’m shooting a little outdoor inspiration for you tomorrow – it’ll debut on Monday!

Wanderlusting. I haven’t traveled further than wine country in ages and I’ve got the travel bug something fierce. This post isn’t helping.

Simply Lusting. I’m getting really anxious to get our house “done.” I know I have to desperately resist the urge, but this home tour as well as this one have me so inspired. You can check out all of my design inspiration right here.


Happy weekend friends!

Apartment 34 on Instagram

This installment of Designer Files is just creamy goodness. If you’re looking for an example of a style-focused kitchen that is as functional as it stunning – cuz I know you just googled exactly that – well look no further. You’re going to want to move into this space immediately. I know I did.

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This modern eat-in kitchen / family room is picture perfect (obviously!). I love every single choice – from the color palette to the hardware, the fixtures to the furniture. It’s comfortable cozy, functional and overflowing with style. The layers, luscious textures and use of mixed materials dotted throughout the space make you want to sink right into the creamy-white goodness.

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The kitchen’s island is a true thing of beauty. You would have easily had me with the waterfall countertops but those those simple pendants by Workstead are simply chic.

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I’m also in love with that custom hood. It’s a refreshing alternative to the typical stainless steel. (I have a thing for eye-catching hoods).

modern white kitchen

I’ve been obsessed with koushi pendants since our trip to Australia a couple of years back. Their rustic texture has a bit of beachy vibe and feels perfect over the casual kitchen table. Digging the built-in bench too.

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But the family room’s seating area is a real thing of beauty. It mixes periods and styles seamlessly. I thought I was over the weaving trend until I saw that massive piece over the couch. Everything in here feels comfortable but selected with such a discerning eye for design. #lifegoals

This kitchen is actually part of the amazingness that is Decorist founder Gretchen Hansen’s San Francisco home and was digitally designed by LA based firm 30 Collins. I was lucky enough to get to walk through this space in person and can attest, these gorgeous photos don’t even do it justice. And I’ve been day-dreaming about those vintage easy chairs ever since. They’d look so lovely in our house. I wonder if Gretchen might ever want to let them go…

For more stunning home tours click here!

project by 30 Collins for decorist

My biggest fear about becoming a mom has come true. I think I have lost my fashion mojo. I swore I wouldn’t give up my style to the demands of chasing an infant, but after being in the baby bubble, I’m officially a touch behind. Last I checked the ugly shoe trend was the birkenstock, but it appears everyone has moved on to something new – the flat mule.

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Like the birkenstock, I think this look might be an acquired taste, but I’m still intrigued. They’re so ugly you kind of can’t look away. At first glance I’m certainly skeptical. Could I actually like these shoes? I’m pretty sure I rocked a flat mule sneaker circa 7th or 8th grade, but the more I look at them, the more I think this could be a fashion version of a mom-friendly shoe! Flat, comfortable and geek-girl chic. I know I’d feel more dressed up in this shoe than I do in my current go-to sneakers. The flat mule might just be enough to make me feel back in the style game.

Obviously I have some more catching up to do. Are there other fashion discoveries I’ve missed that you’re loving??

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Some weeks begin with a jolt, the Monday mad dash ripping you out of bedding and hurtling you out into the world before you’ve even really woken up. But what if it didn’t have to be like that. What if you didn’t feel the relentless urge to answer every email, solve every problem and respond to every thumbs up, heart, comment or request. If you gave yourself the time to sit. To think. To just breath would the rest of your week feel different?


I don’t know, but I’m going to try. The frantic feeling just doesn’t serve. It doesn’t serve creativity, it doesn’t serve thoughtful work and it doesn’t serve my soul. So I’m going to try to take my Mondays nice and slow.

Sorry inbox.

Care to join me? If you’re looking for something to browse you can catch up on my favorite home tours here, my favorite spring fashion here, what I’m cooking this week here and what I’m drinking here!

image via here


Well, all the paint is dry, the floors are finished and our boxes are stacked ceiling high in our new house! Even as I walk from room to room it still feels a bit like we’re squatting in some elegant yet unfurnished Airbnb. But I can’t wait to turn this house into our home. After living in what I knew would be temporary spaces for the last five years, it’s almost hard to know where to begin. This is the home I might live in for the next – well, suffice to say too many years to truly fathom.


Whenever crave making a space feel homey I head straight to the bedrooms. A bedroom should be your sanctuary – your respite from the day’s stresses. It’s your opportunity to create the physical manifestation of your distinct style – this is the place to get really personal with your design. Your design should also be centered around a good night’s sleep since we do spend one third of our lives in bed!

Now that we’re living in an actual house, we’re spoiled with a guest bedroom – and I’m actually more excited to create the ultimate respite for my future guests than I am for myself. I’ve only stayed in a couple of guest bedrooms over the years that have stuck with me – but when a room is decorated just so, has eye-catching touches and attention to detail – like the ultimate hotel-like bed, well, you remember.

So I’m setting my sights very high for our guest room. All will be revealed in due time (you’re going to have to be a touch patient for the before & afters), but I’m starting with the bed. It’s been quite some time since I got a new mattress so when Sealy offered to send me their new Cocoon by Sealy mattress I was thrilled to finally get to try the whole bed in a box idea. No spending hours testing mattresses at some showroom – it just shows up at your doorstep ready to be unpacked. Count me in.

I snapped a few pics of my unboxing experience for you – it’s seriously nuts how a mattress can fit into such a small box! – and be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post… two lucky readers will win their own Cocoon by Sealy! 

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The box was delivered right to my doorstep. 


Our queen-sized mattress was easy to open up.

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I see a future playhouse for Carter coming on!

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The mattress comes vacuum sealed. You simply remove the plastic and 30 minutes later et voila – your mattress is good to go!

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how badly does it look like a need a good night’s sleep in that pic!
Cocoon by Sealy includes all classic mattress sizes, from a Twin to a California King and two distinct feels: Softer – a cozy, more enveloping feel; the right choice if you like sleeping in your bed and Firmer – a sturdy, more substantial feel; the right choice if you like sleeping on your bed. Since this is our guest room I went for softer because I always love a cushy mattress when I’m on vacation!

The coolest part? Cocoon by Sealy offers 100% Satisfaction guaranteed, 100 Night Trial, Free Shipping and a 10 year warranty. If you don’t like the mattress for any reason you can return it – no questions asked. You don’t even have to repack it. Sealy will arrange to pick up the mattress and donate it to a local agency.

I’m so excited to partner with Cocoon by Sealy to giveaway two mattresses to two lucky Apt34 readers. To enter, simply tell me what makes your bedroom your happy place in the comments section below.

Two (2) winners will be selected at random on Monday, April 25 at 8:00am PST. Entrants limited to the continental U.S. only. No purchase necessary to enter.

I’ve got rather grand plans up my sleeve for our guest room, but I’m glad I know I’ll have a comfy bed for our visitors to enjoy no matter where the design takes me. And we’re actually hosting our first guests this weekend so I’ll be getting a full review of the mattress. Stay tuned for updates!

image via amber interiors 

This post is sponsored by Cocoon By Sealy. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting partnerships I’m excited about and have kept apartment 34’s doors open.

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