Politics. I don’t talk about it on this site much. Sure, I’ve mentioned it here a time or two, but I’m very aware that is not why people come to Apt34. But politics is also impossible to escape. You can’t escape the headlines. You can’t escape the commentary on Facebook (unless you delete the app I guess), but most importantly, you cannot escape how it affects your daily life. Because it does. So today we’re going to talk about it. Our Real Moms group decided together that those who wanted to, should tackle this topic as part of of or Real Moms / Real Talk series. After what the Presidential Election put our nation through, I think we could all benefit from a group therapy sesh! So today we’re each sharing our personal stories and takeaways as it relates to the election. Because if politics is anything, it’s personal. But I want to be clear. My goal today is not to preach. Nor to proselytize. Nor cast blame. That’s not what this post is about.

While I’ve never attempted to hide my own political views (if you follow me on Twitter you should be well aware of my leanings!), my hope is that this post is helpful to anyone, regardless of your political allegiance. I don’t know if I’ll achieve that. I’ve received criticism from some readers for expressing my political views – saying this site is a place for inspiration. On the flip side, I’ve also been accused of being shallow and out of touch by not tackling this topic head on. I realize you cannot make everyone happy, nor should you try, but the current state of nation makes it impossible for me to stay quiet. So here we go.

apt34_brighter_future

I’ve yet to fully process my thoughts and feelings since Nov 8. It will probably take me a lot longer. As a white woman with means, I benefit from privilege. This is not the case for millions of others. I do have to go on record to say that I consider the misogynist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic rhetoric used by the Donald Trump campaign incredibly sad. It is divisive, manipulative and corrosive. Even dangerous. It is a stain on our national political history. But I also understand why people voted the way they did. Our government is broken. It’s done little to serve the interests of regular people for decades. You can lay blame in all kinds of directions for this dysfunction. But no matter the root of the problem, it is one of the major reasons Donald Trump’s messaging appealed.

But the reasons behind the election’s outcome are not what post is about either.

Few people know this, but I spent the first 10 years of my career working in politics, from the national to the local level. So rather than get into ideological debates, I want to write about what you can actually do to make a difference. It can often feel like one person doesn’t have much power. It can feel like our voice is small and doesn’t carry much weight. It is easy to feel lost, despondent and ineffective. But that is far from the truth. No matter your political leanings there are a lot of things you, as a single individual can do to make a very real impact on the world around you. This post is about a brighter future and how we might attain it. I’ve created the following list – I’m considering it my own daily checklist – because we’ve seen the repercussions of complacency.apt34_brighterfuture

Teach your children the importance of right and wrong. Tolerance. Acceptance. Equality. A rejection of violence against women. That black lives matter. That love is love. And explain why. It starts with our kids. We can teach them to be better citizens of this world than we are.

Be informed. Perhaps the most depressing thing about the 2016 Presidential election was its reality show-like quality. The dialogue felt more like a he-said, she-said episode of the Bachelorette than a discussion of substantive policies that would help our country. It’s not always fun to do the work of being informed, but taking things at face value means you often miss the larger picture. There is nothing simple about politics. If the answer feels easy, you should probably question it. How do you do that? Read multiple news sources. Reject fake news (this list from a Communications & Media professor of questionable news outlets is a great source). Really listen to the other side’s perspective. When you share your opinion back it up with substantive facts. I think if we all do the work of returning to civil political debate and educated political discourse, our society at large will benefit. If you want to really dive into our post-truth nation, this piece is really interesting.

Broaden your horizons. Human nature dictates that we surround ourselves with the familiar. People, who look, think and act like we do. But that’s been a direct contributor to the current state of affairs. It’s too easy to deny someone else’s reality when you know nothing about it. So make a point to walk in someone else’s shoes. Travel. Even if it’s just to the playground in the neighborhood across town. Read about different perspective (I like this book and this book). It’s also been proven that social media and technology addiction decrease empathy in children. And likely in all of us. But empathy is exactly what we need right now so try harder to connect in real life.

Make your voice heard. Tweets, Facebook posts and kvetching with your friends is all well and good but to impact real change, you have to make the people in power hear you. The most effective way to do this is to actually show up at their doorstep. Visit their offices, be it in the nation’s capitol or the local office in your home town. When you’re face to face it’s pretty hard to be ignored. The next best thing is to pick up the phone and call. Our national representatives actually do have real live people answering their phones (I used to be one of them) and they take note of the issues their constituents are calling about. Call about political appointments. Call about specific issues (like marriage equality, health care, eduction). Call about specific legislation  You can also write letters or emails but those do get more lost in the shuffle. Email and mail backlogs are massive. If you need your representatives phone numbers click here.

Get involved. As I said earlier politics is personal. And it’s not a spectator sport. You have to get in on the ground level to really make an impact. This can happen in a myriad of ways. When it comes to impacting what your elected officials do and think, show up at their Town Hall meetings. Talk about the issues that matter to you most. If you really care about the environment, attend hearings about local land use issues. If you care about education, sit in on the next School Board Meeting. Or look for ways to impact your local communities. Volunteer for a nonprofit that supports an issue you care about passionately. Better yet join their board. Or organize a fundraiser, a demonstration or march.

Put your $ where your mouth is. If you cannot give your time, but you care deeply, consider giving some of your dollars. Nonprofits in particular always struggle for resources and there are a lot of nonprofits who are going to be putting in overtime hours of the next few years. You can also donate in the name of someone else – an excellent holiday gift! This is a great list of nonprofits to consider.

Impact 2018. You don’t have to wait for the next presidential election to affect national politics. The 2018 mid-terms is where we reelect our Representatives and members of the Senate. Right now Republicans control both houses. Most of our Representatives and Senators are incumbents. It will be interesting to see how they react to the new political realities. Will they stand by issues we care about? You can do a lot to impact the 2018 elections. You can volunteer in local campaign offices. You can doorbell. Phone bank. Put a sign in your yard. Talk to neighbors. Donate money if you don’t have time. And don’t for get to VOTE.

Don’t fall silent. Regardless of your beliefs, it’s impossible to deny that 2016 instigated vitriol I’ve certainly never seen in my lifetime. It feels familiar to our parents’ generation and the revolutionary 1960’s they lived though. We cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot go backwards. Human decency does not belong to one side of the isle or the other. So speak out when you see injustice. Speak out when you see someone’s rights being violated. Speak out when you see discrimination, mistreatment or bigotry. We owe it to our children to fight for that pie-in-the-sky ideal – that we are all indeed equal and have equal opportunity for success. I have a feeling that if we stopped watching as much reality tv and instead paid a little more attention to real life we might not have gotten to this place.

So that’s my checklist. These are the things I’m commiting to do in a proactive, intentional, shout it from the rooftops kind of way. I hope one or two ideas might have inspired you. To check out everyone else’s take on where we go from here, head to their posts. I certainly can’t wait to read them.

Ave StylesDesign for Mankind The Effortless Chic / The Life Styled

 

For our Real Talk/ Real Moms archive CLICK HERE.

We will now go back to regularly scheduled programming.

image via here

If you’re looking for inspiration for a timeless holiday table, look no further. I am completely inspired by snowy white tablescapes at the moment – it’s the perfect way to create a modern, clean Christmas look.

fall-tablescape-2img_9779-m-konfirmasjon_edited-1

This ditch the kitsch idea has me ready to say buh-bye to all of my superfluous tableware. The stacks of random decorative dishes are getting a little out of control after all. There is no need for a collection of antique china, or a massive set of holiday-specific stuff to set a celebratory scene. You can in fact, festive up the essentials – white dishes, classic flatware and timeless linens. All you need to add is a touch of greenery, white tapers and some personal touches to make them all feel seasonal.

Replicating this look is easy thanks to the new home brand SNOWE. They can be your one stop shop for the quality pieces you know you should have invested in by now. Everything is designed with a minimalist sensibility and eliminates the paralysis of too much choice when it comes to stocking essentials. SNOWE’s founders,  Rachel Cohen and Andres Modak totally get it. Upon graduating from business school and moving back to NYC to set up their apartment, they realized that the world of home decor was overwhelming and cluttered. In response they got the idea to design and create the must-haves. As they explain:

“One night we’re throwing a dinner party. The next, we’re eating cereal on the couch. And through it all, we want to be surrounded by quality and thoughtful design that’s also attainable. And that’s why we created SNOWE: to bring people everywhere home essentials made from the best materials in the world, thoughtfully designed to be used over and over, for every moment and milestone.”

SNOWE’s dinnerware comes in timeless white (white dishes are known to make food look more appetizing) and made of the highest quality Limoges porcelain – it’s known to be super durable. Glassware is all made in Italy. I’m obsessed with the Essential Glass. There’s something about drinking wine out of a more utilitarian, stemless glass that makes it feel modern. Kind of European. I’m into it. Also, this dine and serve starter set is particularly tailor-made for a house-warming or wedding present. It’s kind of making me want to ditch all of my current stuff and restock my kitchen. SNOWE also offers bath goods and bedding that are all simple and streamlined by design — and available in sets — but a serious step up in quality then you get in places like giant blue box stores that shall not be named.

But back to your holiday table. If you need to build out your set of stemware to host a party of more than four, or make sure you have proper linens in your arsenal (because everyone should), there is no better time to ensure you – or your friends – are ready to play host. I’ve got my eye on this set of grey carafes and essential, use-for-anything-you’re-drinking, glasses. They’d add a bit of texture to a holiday table without being overwhelming. Whether you are looking for a hostess gift or need to up your own tabletop game, you will definitely find what you need with SNOWE. As they say themselves, SNOWE is meant to offer “everything you need and nothing you don’t.” I’ve selected my favorite picks from SNOWE for all the dinner-party throwers out there. These would be the perfect pieces to give to others or grab to get you through the entertaining season looking like you have your s*** together.

apt34_giftguide_snowe5

 

GET THE LOOK: 1 serving bowls / 2 linen cocktail napkins / 3 rinse & repeat and staycation candles / 4 wine glasses / 5 carafe and glassware set / 6 4-piece table setting / 7 hostess set / 8 champagne bucket 

 

And to help whet your dinner party-throwing appetite, SNOWE is also offering Apartment 34 readers 15% OFF all orders with code Apt34xSnowe. This offer is valid until December 11 @ 11:59 PM EST. To start your shopping CLICK HERE.

 

image 1 photography & tabletop design by homey oh my / image 2 unknown

 

This post is in partnership with SNOWE. all thoughts are 100% my own. thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that keep apartment 34’s doors open. 

Apartment 34 on Instagram

In years past, I’ve gone very big when decorating for the holidays (my most epic tree lives on and on and on thanks to Pinterest). But now that we’re in our house, I’m trying to settle in on a more streamlined style. It’s funny. Even though we have a lot more space, I want to have a lot less. And that includes holiday decor. I don’t need to store boxes and boxes of crap stuff that I only look at for 30 days a year. I’m vibing on minimal holiday decor this season.

apt34_minimalchristmas

I stumbled upon this stunning Scandinavian home that totally epitomizes my vision. It’s not surprising. It’s owned by the founder of Norm Architects, one of my major design muses. I’m immediately envious of this home’s gorgeous sanded concrete floors. That’s what I desperately wanted to do in our house, but I didn’t win that design fight. Le sigh. But I digress. I’m really loving the subtle, chic nods to the holiday season sprinkled throughout the space.

apt34_minimalchristmas3apt34minimalchristmas5apt34minimalchristmas4

As you look around this house, little holiday touches adorn each room. A tree that looks as if it was plucked from the Danish forrest surrounding the property. Branches on a mantel dotted with chic, modern ornaments. Packages wrapped up in brown packing paper and tied with red string lay against the wall. Candlelight is everywhere. The owner explains that he relies on elements of nature to imbue his rooms with the holiday vibe. He wants the festive touches to feel like part of the room’s natural decor. A perfect example is the tray of moss and thick pillar candles on the dining room table. It adds a cozy adornment without any of the holiday cheese factor.

apt34minimalchristmas2apt34minimalchristmas7apt34minimalchristmas6

Simple bits of greenery – in one case laid across a vase rather than in it in the pic above – or a potted tree atop the kitchen table give a nod & a wink to the season. I realize this shunning of glitter and gobs of red and green might seem a little harsh, but I love the striking, cozy mood it creates. Every element of a room has meaning to the family who inhabits it. Your holiday stuff doesn’t have to be in your face. And the post-holiday clean up would be a breeze! I know this is the antithesis of the HGTV crowd (how many Pier One ads did I see during last night’s Fixer Upper premier?!), but I am diggin’ this look big time.

While our house is far from ready for prime time at the moment, I’ll share some sneak peeks on Instagram (you can follow me here) once I get to decking these halls. It isn’t December 1st quite yet so I feel a little less guilty.

 

GET THE LOOK

 

For more holiday decorating inspiration CLICK HERE and HERE.

photography by andreas mikkel hansen for bo bedre 

 

Holiday shopping is always fun, but shopping for little people takes it to a whole new level. Whether it’s for my own kiddo or for those of friends – so many expectant ladies at the moment – there’s something irresistible about things in miniature form. As a lover of neutrals, I’m here to prove that you can find things your children will love without resorting to crayola colors.

apt34_baby_gift_guideapt34_baby_gift_guide

1. All little guys love airplanes. It’s a thing. I love this all natural wood version.

2. Who can resist little tiny baby feet? And you have to keep them warm you know. These little booties are sweetest way to do it.

3. A cute and cuddly sweatshirt will make your little that much cuter.

4. Every tot needs a buddy to cuddle with. This penguin is perfect for the winter season.

5. Our little guy will take a screw driver to just about anything. This workbench is sure to keep any mr-fix-it busy for hours.

6. A pom pom hat. Need I say more?

7. Every little person loves to drum. This one makes a noise that might not drive you crazy

8. For those expectant friends or new moms, this baby rocker is functional and chic.

 

For more of my favorite finds for kiddos CLICK HERE and HERE.

For the rest of our Gift Guides, CLICK HERE.

 

original photo for apartment 34 by emily scott

I know it’s time to buy things for other people, but admit it. You use Cyber Monday to add a few little things to your cart for yourself. Am I right, or am I right? Well I’ve been stalking the interwebs all day for the best steals, whittling it down to what I’ll be putting in my cart tonight once the babe is in bed and wine is in my hand!

apt34cybermondaypic2

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8

1. You can never have too much lotion in the winter. This balm is the perfect elixir for dry hands.

2. I add to my sunglasses collection anytime I can. This cute pair by Loewe would add a nice light look on cold sunny days.

3. I’ve been eying this leather moto jacket for months. At 40% off, it’s officially time to pull the trigger.

4. You always get the most wear and tear out of a good utility bag. A classic crossbody in black is a must-have for our hands free way of life – especially when its 50% off! Grab one while you can.

5. I’ve resisted the mom clog successfully thus far, but this chic pair by Loeffler Randall has me seriously reconsidering. Those tassels are everything – as is getting them at 30% off.

6. Forever the hostess, I can never have too many beautiful bowls. These gorgeous bowls, hand carved of American beeach wood are 20% off today. I’m getting one in every size!

7. A cozy throw is a must this time of year and camel never goes out of style. I’m definitely scooping up this super soft St. Frank cashmere throw since it’s 25% off today,

8. Every year I like to retire one worn out sweater and replenish my collection with a fresh one. Rag & Bone at 40% off? Don’t mind if I do!

 

For more Gift Guides, CLICK HERE

Everyone always wants their house to be pulled together for the holidays. I’m no different. But since I can’t make couches or rugs magically ship faster, I’m making progress wherever I can. Case in point: Our laundry room! I’d neglected to actually design the space before we moved into the house. Now I can actually smile while doing my chores!

apt34-laundry-638

You may have caught the before pic of the space in this post. But in case you missed here it is again.

apt34_laundry-room

I had three goals when it came to actually designing this space.

Make it Functional: In the rush of the move, I didn’t put thought into the laundry room. I knew I wanted a front loading washer dryer for their easy loadability and capacity. But I got mine and just plopped them in there. I didn’t spend anytime thinking about how to optimize space, storage or really make the room work.

Add Storage: Now that I’m mom, I’m dealing with every kind of laundry dilemma under the sun. So the amount of stain boosters, whiteners and laundry pre-treaters have exploded. I needed to create space in our laundry room so there would be room for it all.

Make it Really Really Good Looking: Utility spaces can look just as good as any other room in the house. A few design tricks can make even highly functional spaces chic.

And I must admit, I managed to achieve all three of my goals – though I’ll let you be the final judge.

apt34-laundry-629

Let’s talk form and function first. The LG SideKick is a pretty big washer and dryer. They both sit on pedestals making them nice and tall. They are also rather deep, but we nestled them into the wall as much as possible. To get the storage I need, I had a custom shelf built that just fits over the two units. That shelf allows me to have everything I use daily – detergent and boosters like Clorox Control Bleach Packs at arms reach. I like that I don’t have to open any cupboards or move things in and out. Everything is right there.

apt34-laundry-637apt34-laundry-635

I was also able to capitalize on storage built into the LG Twinwash washer/dryer system itself. The washer pedestal actually conceals an additional washer! That lets me do a quick small load, wash delicates or soak stained items in my favorite pre-treaters without needing an additional tub or bucket. The dryer pedestal is actually a storage drawer. That’s where I house all my laundry secret weapons like Clorox 2 Stain Remover, Clorox 2 Darks and Denim, Oxi Max Radiant White and the like.

apt34_laundryroom_revealapt34-laundry-632

The design elements of the room are where the form and function really come together. I started by installing beautiful Erica Tanov wallpaper to create a dramatic statement wall. I’m in love with the gold foil. It’s the perfect backdrop for my storage system. I worked with local organizing guru Bliss Haus to design a beautiful laundry storage system. Everything is decanted into glass jars for a clean, uniform look. There are even jars to collect dryer lint and lost socks! The custom print labels are so cool. It really took the room to the next level. A modern white and wood metal Japanese basket holds spray bottles and room spray.

apt34laundry_reaveal2apt34-laundry-627apt34-laundry-630

I used jars with wooden lids from the Jenni Kayne to mix in a modern touch. To add even more texture I added a vintage Moroccan dhurrie from St Frank to the floor. The golden tones warm up the room and tie in with the Erica Tanov wallpaper’s golden hue. My favorite design idea in the space might have to be the Meghan Shimek weaving I found at local San Francisco boutique The Podolls. I needed something to conceal our electric panel. The wall hanging does the job perfectly. A fiddle leaf fig and white textured planter from Flora Grubb adds life and a pop of rich color.

All these elements come together to create my dream laundry room. I can do loads and loads while loving my surroundings. One more room down. Many more to go!

Check out more house updates HERE.

 

original photography for Apartment 34 by aubrie pick 

This content was created is in partnership with Clorox

Older posts
Gimme More