Idea to Steal {25}: Instagram Place Cards

One of our favorite details from our Andiamo SF dinner party was a very special part of the place settings! You see, the entire dinner was very secretive- guests really had no idea what to expect walking up the dimly lit, unfinished stairwell into a newly opened event space. They hadn’t even fully grasped what the event was all about, let alone know who’d be sitting next to them at the table.

In order to continue the elusive {and fun!} experience going {which we were enjoying WAY too much btw!}, we wanted to stay away from the expected. We searched and searched for interesting ideas for every event detail. After rounds of brainstorming, we had a particularly fab ah-ha moment {an Idea to Steal, if you will!}. What if we could print out Instagrams and use them as incognito place cards?? Thankfully, with companies like Origrami, now you can!! So keeping with the travel theme, we raided our guests Instagram feeds to find images from their recent travels and Origrami printed them beautifully.

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To turn them into place cards, we simply tied each stack together with leather cord {from the fabric store – hello DIY!} and instructed each guest to look for something “familiar” around the table! It was such a simple and elegant way to assign seats. It looked great, the leather made it sexy and it was so much fun watching guests “find” their spot! The best part was that the guests got to take their “place card” home as a memento. We even hung our own on our wall in the office!

Having these Instagrams was not only highly personal, but they were also a great way to conjure up funny travel stories. We had our guests write their most embarrassing travel memory, throw it in a basket and we shared them with the group anonymously – then we had to guess whose story it was!  We made sure to do this after the drink had been flowing and it was hi-larious!!

So for your next party, skip obvious name cards and have fun choosing multiple sizes and themes {our favorite? the retro print!} to print your Instagrams on from Origrami.  They’re great quality, affordable and Origrami offers free shipping worldwide. Rest assured that the prints will spark up your festivities – plus it’s just so cool to see your Instagrams in “real life” rather than on your phone. Now, there’s an Idea to Steal!

original photography for apartment 34 by Katie Newburn // Instagram prints c/o Origram. All thoughts and opinions are our own. We only talk about products we truly support! 

How to Throw the Ultimate Dinner Party

If you didn’t get a chance to sit down with Rue Magazine’s new issue yesterday, you definitely should because…we’re in it!! You may remember spotting some action a few months back on Instagram under the hashtag #AndiamoSF. After a much anticipated wait, we’re finally getting to do a full reveal and show you all what the heck was going on! For those who don’t know, “andiamo” means “come on” in Italian, so let’s get going!

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There’s really nothing I love more than throwing a dang good party. Something about gathering others for a wonderful time has been one of my greatest joys since junior high – maybe even earlier, so it’s a little nuts to think it took nearly eight years to find a way to do that with the blog!

The idea to throw an intimate gathering {for no reason at all other than we were dying to do it!} came to us after chatting with Katie Newburn, a crazy talented food photographer in the Bay Area. We had been dying to get the chance to work with her and after some creative brainstorming, there it was: we were going to throw an epic party and she was on board to capture the festivities! Yessss. Now, let’s take it back to that evening in May…{just before our Instagram feeds began to fill with #travelgrams!}.

Given all the jet setting Team Apartment 34 has done lately, combined with travel season’s impending arrival it seemed only natural that travel should be our event theme. We wanted something that everyone would get excited about and with our guest list full of chic world travelers, we thought, who doesn’t get excited about travel?!

We do think it’s super helpful to have a party with a theme. It gives you focus. A storyline, if you will. But that doesn’t mean there has to be costumes or super cheesy knick-knacks everywhere. Au contraire. We set out to give a nod to our theme SO subtle, {save for a couple of big moments}, that it would take a hot second for guests to catch on. It worked like a charm. But more on that shortly.

Even with our theme, a cool new event space, The Upstairs, and some creative ideas in our heads, we knew we couldn’t execute this dinner party alone – hell, we can barely cook dinner for ourselves! So we called on event planning beast, Erin Taylor of Bustle Events. The girl gets shit done. Period.

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With Bustle Events on our side, things came together that much easier {hey, we know when to call in the experts… and we needed a lot of them!}. It’s all about having a dream team around you to pull something like this off.

One of the great things about throwing an event, just for funsies, on a random Monday night {note: when trying to get 16 very busy ladies together, do it on a Monday night- they’re lying if they say they’re already booked!} is that you get the opportunity to work with talents that you might not work with on a regular basis. In this case that included two of our favorites: Little Miss Press, a local calligrapher, and My Trick Pony, a SF-based printer. The two combined forces to create our event’s show piece. Little Miss Press wrote out our favorite travel quote {it had caught our attention at our earliest stages of planning and we knew we just had to use it for something} in original calligraphy. That art then served as the room’s focal point because My Trick Pony printed it on an 8 foot long run of linen which we hung from the rafters!

For the table settings, we wanted to stay with our signature Apartment 34 clean and modern aesthetic. Frances Lane, a great rental company here in the Bay Area, provided the sand colored dinnerware {which we chose to layer monochrome!}, wooden flatware {so cool!} and a mix of vintage glassware {remember when we used them here?}. A couple of extra design details made the place settings super special, but details on that are coming tomorrow!

We also wanted to ensure our dinner didn’t resemble any familiar settings – read baby showers and bridal showers. We wanted something interesting and modern, masculine and organic and that’s what we got. Twigss Floral killed it with the urban jungle inspired tablescape. Cha-ching!

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No party would be complete without the booze and food! Anchor Distilling Co. provided the rum for our signature drink which we chugged consumed responsibly during the cocktail hour- a fun and delicious recipe designed by Trick Dog {more on that next week!}. Central Kitchen’s Ryan Pollnow also created a custom menu just for the festivities and we have no words to describe how delicious every bite was! {stay tuned: we’ll be sharing one of Chef’s culinary masterpieces next Tuesday!}.

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Treasury Wine Estates also provided the wine. We enjoyed pour after pour of Etude Winery’s sweet and crisp chardonnay that paired perfectly with the incredible spectacle pictured above: a parmigiano custard & english pea salad prepared by Chef Ryan, properly devoured by us! Ok, maybe not properly – I think some of us may have licked the plates clean. Yes, we said our guests were chic, but clearly some don’t get out much. ;)

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Throughout the evening we wined and dined, shared embarrassing travel stories, laughed {we may have taken a round of tequila shots!} and laughed some more. At the end of the night, we didn’t want the fun to end and we hoped our guests felt the same way. And as we recommend to all hostesses with the mostest: be sure to leave your guests something to remember you by. We gathered a gift bag, provided by Collectively Inc., that included lovely travel-friendly treats from Tatcha Skincare, Anchor Distilling Co. and Vrai and Oro. And that’s not all!

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The next morning, after a long and let’s be honest, alcohol-filled {Monday!} night, we had a recovery pack of Purity juice hand-delivered to each guest’s home with a very special piece from the dinner; a framed, one of a kind hand calligraphied travel quote from Little Miss Press- the same ones that decorated the stairwell the night before! We have to admit, the dinner was ah-mazing, but the gift the next day was one of our favorite memories!

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Andiamo SF was truly one of the most epic moments of 2014. We couldn’t have done it without all of the collaborators on board. Thank you, everyone! There are tons more reveals coming your way including an idea for you to steal, a breakdown of what the collaboration process looks like, a behind the scenes into the invitation designs and more! Stay tuned!! — Erin & Bianca

If you can’t wait, check out even more BTS of the Andiamo SF dinner here.

original photography for apartment 34 by Katie Newburn

Tasty Tuesday: {Punch Drunk Love}

Well, it’s July 22nd, people. We hate to break it to ya, the month is basically…over. August is just a stone’s throw away and you know that means. The dog days of summer are here! The hottest heat, sultry nights and the laziest weekend {or weekday!} afternoons. Thankfully, we have a few more chances to hit the beach, host a BBQ…or have good friends over and well, get drunk. Punch drunk, that is!

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Punch isn’t a drink that we often turn to and we’re trying to figure out why?! Sure, it still reminds us of bad college parties, but punch really gets an undeserved bad rap. It’s actually THE ideal drink to serve at a summer event. It looks gorgeous with just a few garnishes and it’s the least high maintenance option ever! No funny balancing acts with martini glasses or mixing fancy-schmancy signature cocktails one by one. But punches also shouldn’t resemble the bright pink options of our past. We decided there had to be a better option! So the team sat down and concocted the perfect recipe which includes two of our bar staples: St. Germain + Champs!

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The French Tropics Summer Punch

Ingredients:
- 1 cup vodka
- ¾ cup st germain
- 2 cups champagne
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ simple syrup

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a punch bowl except for the champagne. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Pour champagne into punch bowl. Add ice cubes to glasses and ladle punch in.

Ice cubes:

Zest 1 grapefruit and 1 lemon. Place water in ice cube tray {we used 1″x1″} and sprinkle citrus zest evenly among the tray.

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The most brilliant part of punch; you simply put a huge chunk of ice in it right before the party and fahgetaboudit! If you want to get fancy, make pretty ice cubes with citrus zest or even flower petals for guests to put in their glasses. We threw a dahlia from the garden into our punch bowl for garnish too! Soooo easy and pretty, right?

We also stuck with the theme of simple when it came to our appetizer idea: a classic charcuterie plate provides a beautiful variety of things to munch on. We went with a top notch prosciutto, salami and crackers, then mixed things up with crisp veggie chips, spicy dried peas and some salty {and deliciously green!} castelvetrano olives. Save cooking up a crazy gourmet spread for cooler times. In the thick of summer heat there’s really not much more you need.

With this punch and a great mix of light bites, you’re set to invite a few, or five, girlfriends over for a bit of summer fun! But please remember, always drink responsibly!!

 

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // art direction by Bianca Sotelo // styling by Apartment 34