A Memorable Soundtrack for the Holidays

What’s a beautiful holiday lunch party without an epic playlist? No party at all! It’s simple: music connects people. A good song is like a good meal, it affects the way you feel! When you hear a song you absolutely love or maybe one you’d completely forgotten about, aren’t you put in a good mood immediately? For me, holiday music has the special power to conjur up sweet memories from season’s past and I just love that moment when everyone exchanges a sly smile around the table and says, “love this song, turn it up!” and then things get a little groovy!

But just like finding time to throw the ultimate holiday party is a challenge, it’s just as difficult to sit down and come up with good tunes off the top of your head. I mean, who really has time to go through tons of tracks to make a playlist? Luckily, there’s this simple beauty to help us out: the Aether Cone!

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With all of the insanely complicated gadgets around the house {who knew a remote could be so confusing…in fact, which remote IS THIS that I’m holding?!} the Aether Cone by far is the simplest. With just three buttons, this voice command music player makes technology so much easier. Basically, you tell the player what you want to hear and boom it plays it. Want to listen to Beyonce while getting ready? Easy. Sinatra while guests arrive? Done. Modern spins on Christmas classics while eating ? No problem {ps: I’m obsessed with the Sufjan Stevens Christmas album!} Synced with Rdio and 30 million songs {!} the player can take it away and play songs based off what you like! Who are your some of your favorites anyway? Mariah Carey Christmas, anyone?! Come on…you know you love it! I just love that I don’t have to rely on a computer or my phone to play music anymore.

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But can you guess what we love about the Aether Cone the most? How pretty it is of course! We made no fuss about finding a place for the cone at our lunch. In fact, we wanted to show it off! It fit right into our holiday tabletop decor, obvi! We LOVE the black and copper version {it also comes in a white & silver version} – it’s so chic and beautiful and the size of it is just right. It’s small enough to fit seamlessly on a side table, leaving us plenty of room to further pretty it up with a festive little floral arrangement and some yummy chocolate truffles, of course! We firmly believe there should be little treat in every corner of the house this time of year.

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So while we’re wining and dining, putting on our makeup or cooking {and dancing!} away before guests arrive, now we have way to listen to our jams wherever we are in the house! Having a soundtrack for these moments allows you to create wonderful new memories and that’s really what the most festive time of the year is all about.

And with that, we’re off to enjoy the heart of the holiday season. We’re taking an entire week to jam out to Christmas tunes, create new memories with loved ones and be as merry as absolutely freakin’ possible {I think I’m going to bake this fo’ sho’}!

We will see you back here in all our post-Christmas bliss. Cheers and Happy Holidays, everyone!

original photography for apartment 34 by Ashley Batz // styling by Erin Hiemstra // florals by Tulipina 

This post is in partnership with Aether. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open. 

How to Find Time for Special Moments

As the countdown to Christmas continues, I really wanted to carve time out of the mad dash to reconnect with friends. Sure there are tons of holiday cocktail parties to attend, but they’re always so crowded, conversations so limited and truthfully, being pregnant over the holidays is a bit of buzz kill! I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’ve been feeling rather bummed about missing out on my annual eggnog {yes, I actually like eggnog – no judgements!}. But how do you carve out time to recconect when nearly every evening is already booked? I thought it’d be nice to change things up with an intimate holiday lunch!

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Even between family obligations, frantic Christmas shopping and work {oh yeah, work!!} your friends should be able to squeeze in a hour to enjoy a civilized meal together. It’s the perfect opportunity to press pause and really catch up with the people you care about.

When it came to our lunch table, we were inspired by our Christmas gift wrap color palette; modern black & white with subtle pops of metallic and just the right amount of red. I was really feeling the festive but not overtly obvious Christmas vibe. We achieved the look by layering our plates, a favorite technique, mixing matte black & neutral dishes from Heath Ceramics with playful print plates from Target. Linen napkins were simply rolled and secured with black satin ribbon and sprigs of rosemary.

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I did want to keep things in the holiday spirit though and thankfully San Pellegrino came to my rescue. While I’ve really been missing champagne, San Pellegrino served up in chic gold-rimmed glassware and topped with sweet cocktail picks felt totally celebratory! Plus I love the little mini-bottles for individual servings, with their cute red stars on the top. Totally fit right in with our color palette!

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To add life to our table, we dotted the center with mini flower arrangements that included chic white blooms, simple greens and golden winter berries to tie it all together. Here’s a great little flower arranging trick – use some of your own glassware as vessels! It’s a super easy way to create varying heights that still don’t block conversation and add interesting dimension on your table without needing a huge stock of vases.

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When it came to the lunch menu I kept it simple – and very pregnancy craving friendly – aka all carbs! A pot of fresh linguine tossed with olive oil, Parmesan and parsley, a lightly dressed green salad with satsuma wedges & sliced almonds and a nice crusty piece of bread is as satisfying as it is delicious! The best part – the entire menu can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less! Now that is a holiday hostess’s dream.

holiday-tabletop-apt-34-6 favorite holiday tabletop decor: Gold Salad Serving Set // Fair Isle Cheese Board // Gold Trimmed Cupcake Stand // Gold Rimmed Glassware // ‘Blah Blah’ & Dot Ceramic Ornaments // Grey Linen Napkins (similar) // Black Flatware (similar)

I certainly have a ton to celebrate this holiday season. From the wee one on the way to designing our new house to all the amazing experiences I’ve enjoyed throughout the year – but all I really want to do is celebrate the people that matter most. And really what better way is there to do that then to share a cozy meal and some much needed quality time.

If that’s all I got for Christmas this year, I’d be thrilled.

 

original photography for Apartment 34 by Ashley Batz // styling by team Apartment 34 // Florals by Tulipina

This post is sponsored by San Pellegrino. Practice the Art of Fine Food, every time you can. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting partnerships we’re excited about and help us create original posts for you!

3 Simple Last Minute Thanksgiving Tabletop Ideas

If Thanksgiving snuck up on you this year like it did us, then you were probably scrambling all over this weekend- scouring Pinterest for side dish recipes and making grocery lists, driving to West Elm to hunt down new glasses and wondering how in the world are you going to rearrange the furniture to accommodate your guests?! Between the craze of cleaning the house and prepping the meal, we really are firm believers that the tabletop is clearly the most fun part of the whole holiday- that, and breaking bread with your loved ones, of course!

But if you haven’t had the time to dream up an elaborate scape {hello, it’s Tuesday afternoon- yikes!}, we have a couple of super last second Thanksgiving tabletops chock full of easy ideas to reinvent in your own dining room. Just remember, there’s nothing that a day-before-trip to your local flower mart can’t solve!

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A really clean set up like the one above is all you need to make guests feel at ease in your home. We love the idea of sticking to a neutral color palette, adding a pop of print with a napkin and topping off a table setting with a mini white pumpkin. Elegant champagne flutes and magnolia leaves add sophisticated style to the table. Super simple, yet beautiful!

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Stray away from a traditional color palette and add pops of purple and pink- or use whatever fun dinnerware and linens you may have. Mix in vintage coupes and funky goblets or really any glassware you have lying around. With this type of tabletop, the more variety the better. Thanksgiving is a smorgasbord after all, there are no rules! {see more of this option right here!}

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If you’re going for a pretty fool proof “wow” factor this year, a leafy tree branch hanging over the table will definitely do the trick. With some hooks and fishing line you’ll make friends and family “oooh” and “ahh.” But just as impactful are tiered floral arrangements in different sized vases, cute garlands around pies and cakes and festive metallic silverware! We love this bronze set – a richly hued alternative to gold.

Take one idea or take them alI. And if you have a moment on Wednesday night, set up the tabletop- it’ll help you get through a full day of cooking knowing that the pretty part is all taken care of! If you need uniqe recipe ideas, note them down from here. Dessert recipes? We’ve got you covered, here. And with all the prep in the kitchen, you’ll definitely want to check out these cocktail recipes!

image 1/2 via Sacramento Street // image 3 photography by Aubrie Pick // image 4/5 via DesignLoveFest