Love Series {1}: Dating + Irrational Deal Breakers

We aren’t going to lie, we’re a little sad that our Wedding Week is coming to a close. From dreaming up fantasy fashion editorials to making our floral wishes a reality, we’ve had a blast diving into all things bridal! But to end all of this wedding talk, we thought it’d be nice to shake things up a bit and launch a brand new column: on love, sex, dating, marriage and relationships!

That’s right, we want to start talking about the “untalked about” {not a word, we know!} in an honest and exciting way. Thankfully, the talented Megan McCarty {you may have spotted her piece in the new Rue Magazine!}  is on a quest to discuss everything gushy, mushy, terrifying and hillariously real about this thing called “love”, and she’s willing to help us dive into topics never before talked about on Apartment 34. We hope you’ll find something that you’ve been dying to talk about with your bestie or recognize the silver lining in your current situation that’ll make you laugh, whether you’re newly single, happily married or proudly “bed surfing.” So let’s chat dating and those annoying, totally irrational, deal breakers! Megan, take it away…

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Dating these days is rough. Think Tinder, think noncommittals {wait, maybe that’s me}, think your ex’s Instagram account just waiting for you to stalk it. So let’s laugh our way through this rough landscape that is dating and that “L” word I sometimes stutter over – and the often blurry line between the two – in this new, exciting series, shall we?

Though yes, I’m writing a love column, I’m admittedly no expert on the topic. For as much as I do know about dating, there’s just as much I don’t – hence why I’m writing this alone, in my yoga pants, unwashed hair piled atop my head, obsessively wondering if the new guy I’m dating {or are we? we haven’t discussed it yet!} has lost interest. Here’s what I do know: reveal empathy early; be straightforward about your wants and needs; and show kindness to yourself, as sometimes there’s a lag time between what your head knows and heart feels. Here’s what I don’t know: nearly everything else.

There’s one thing I’m newly adamant about though, and that’s when to listen to those magical, mystical feelings in my belly that tell me whether or not a relationship is right for me. Deal breakers. How petty, I tell myself, in regards to most of them. So he doesn’t know how to pick out a bottle of wine for dinner; who cares? But with each passing year and each passing date, I realize deal breakers stem from missing a more substantial quality I crave in a partner. Take the case of picking a wine. It shows confidence and ability to roll-with-the-tipsy-punches when the Sancerre is a little too acidic for our tastes. My deal breakers aren’t because I’m in any sort of Darwinian rush to weed out the duds who won’t father my future children {although, that’s a perfectly rational reason}, but because I’m a grown woman, dammit!

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Let’s rewind a few months, when I found myself in the company of a genuinely nice guy. He checked all the Mom-approved boxes: kind, educated, employed, easily amused by my jokes. We’d occasionally go out to dinner or see an art exhibit, but it never went much further than that. There were no sleepovers, no meeting of friends, no talks about the future – because those aforementioned magical, mystical feelings were telling me something was off. And suddenly, one otherwise forgettable weeknight that we decided to go dancing, I uncovered every irrational deal breaker so I could to tell myself: no more.

The way he futzed with the heat settings in my car. Irrational deal breaker #1. The way he continued to do so after I asked him to stop. Irrational deal breaker #2. The way he used childish words in the place of swear words. The way he couldn’t make up his mind about where to park. The way he carelessly elbowed people on the dance floor. These were all the straws that broke the dating camel’s back.

Ultimately it wasn’t about his grabby hands blasting my heat too high. {Though really, don’t do that.} My absurdly strong reactions to every little thing he did was simply my subconscious poking at me, saying this relationship wasn’t right and that I needed to be the grown up I keep telling myself I am and end it. Breakups, at least in my heart-on-sleeve experience, aren’t graceful or gratifying, but they are easier when you listen to your instincts early on, before feelings and Thanksgiving dinners and weekends away together just complicate things further.

Irrational deal breakers are just the beginning in this love series. There’s how to keep your chin up through a bad breakup, for instance. Or the ins and outs of dating in a world where we can check up on our ex’s – pick a social site, any social site – at any vulnerable moment.

And, like Salt-N-Pepa said, let’s talk about sex, ba-by! So follow along. We have a lot to talk about. xo – Megan

We’d love for this series to be a conversation. Spill. What things drive you NUTS about your current fling. We’re also dying to know what girl talk you want to dive into with this series…

original photography + art for apartment 34 by athena pelton // quote by bianca sotelo

Holy Matrimony! The Most Epic Wedding Floral DIY

As we’re sure you’ve noticed, photobooths are totally a thing at weddings these days. They’re a chance for people to act silly and enjoy themselves while providing you endless laughter and entertainment while sifting through photos months later. Sure the fake mustaches, silly hats and drunken group snaps may be starting to feel a little….tired, but the perfect place for a photo-opp is not just a trend, it’s a necessity! Your photographer is never going to get to snap candid pics of all your guests and besides – offering up an activity is furn for everyone. But we’ve been feeling ready for a fresh spin on the idea and thought you might be too. So if all those neon boas and oversized plastic sunnies are not really your pinky-in-the-air cup of tea, we’ve got the most epicly chic alternative for you!

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Instead of hiring a company to create a photobooth backdrop for your wedding, or renting a clunky actual booth, we urge you to give this simple DIY a try! A fresh floral garland balloon backdrop is not only gorgeous and sophisticated, it’s SO versatile. Dot these babies throughout the dance floor, position them behind the bride and groom’s reception table, use them to create a stunning alter, the list is endless!  You only need a few things to recreate this look – the most important being some gorge blooms – and thankfully florist Natasha Kolenko is here to walk us through mastering the fresh floral garland!

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How To Master The Floral Garland

You’ll Need:
> Thin gauge wire
> Pliers + floral sheers
> Fresh flowers + greens
> 36 inch round balloons

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STEP 1: decide how long you’d like your garland to be. Cut a thin gauge wire to your desired length.

STEP 2: Choose your greens for the base of the garland. We used Ruskus and yummy smelling Jasmine vine as our base for a full, lush look. Trim excess stems from the greens and begin wrapping the stems around the wire until secure.

STEP 3: To add blooms to your garland, make bunches of 2-3 and wrap their stems together with wire, leaving approximately two inches of wire at each end. Use the ends of the wire to attach floral bunches to the garland. We used Anemones, white garden roses and white Tulips for a clean, crisp look.

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STEP 4: When you are happy with your floral garland, wrap the wire on one end around the knot of the balloon. We used 36 inch round balloons and you can see in the pictures how the varying lengths and weights of the garlands affect the way they float. We love the idea of having some longer garlands draped on the floor with some shorter ones looking like they’re suspended in the air and, quite literally, floating around the room!

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These balloons are simple and elegant and we love the way they just float effortlessly and dreamily around the space. Experiment and have fun with these massive balloons. They’re not only great for weddings. We think they’d be perfect for birthday parties, baby showers or any event you’re looking to make a giant statement.

And now that you’ve mastered the floral garland, use your skills to drape a garland across a table or around benches during the ceremony. All that’s left for you to do is to let your creativity soar!

original photography for apartment 34 by emily scott // art direction by bianca sotelo // florals + styling by natasha kolenko // florals c/o torchio nursery - visit them in the San Francisco flower mart! 

How to Find Fresh Ideas for Your Blog

In the constant battle against sameness, we’re the first to admit that finding fresh ideas can often feel impossible. Coming up with new angles on a story, or better yet, creating an entirely new story all together requires an “aha” moment and careful execution. But when we all fail to step away from the desk, everything starts to feel more than a little repetitive. There’s definitely still a ton of creative inspiration out there on the web – you just have to dig a little further {aka beyond Pinterest} to find it!

So we decided to do a little hunting on your behalf. Looking for something that presents a completely different perspective is just what we need to get out of our rut. If you’re in need of something to get your gears going {in a good way!}, take a moment to dissect the choices in these awesome examples of styling genius, or simply enjoy them for what they are – pure eye candy!

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Sully Sullivan’s has funky top-down styling down to a fun perfection. Sully’s work for Haus Interior’s candles - hot dogs? drinks in coconuts? – puts a big, sunny smile on our faces!

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Tina Hellburg does eclectic and does it right! She sources the strangest and coolest objects that are complete showstoppers on their own, and manages to find a balance between them all. Her mix of texture, color, size and shape invites you into a world of her own making. We’d gladly hang out in it for quite some time!

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Janne Peters styles monochromatic sets like a champ. Her understanding of tones and placement is undeniable. We love Janne’s use of depth and lines and her signature pop of the unexpected – that citron!

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Lotta Agaton is our styling hero. We’re certain she’s from a different planet all together. The way she looks at everyday objects beyond their purpose and is able to recreate an entirely new shape with them is the definition of a great stylist.

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Oh and her interior work? Also BA-NA-NAS…

We love how these pros stretch our ideas about how to tell a visual story. It’s nice to take a break from the all gold, all acrylic, all chevron world that seems to dominate blog-land these days. Who are some stylists you look up to or turn to for inspiration?

Do you have any tips for getting out of a creative rut??

Looking for even more inspiration? We’re quite sure you’ll enjoy this and this and this!

image 1-2 via Haus Interiors // 3-4 via Tina Hellberg // 5-6 via Gentl and Hyers // 7-8 via Janne Peters // 9-12 via Lotta Agaton