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

Everything You Need to Host A Summer Getaway

The heart of summer is upon us and all we can think about is how to get ourselves outside as much as possible!! In search for a break from the popular day trip to wine country and in an attempt to completely unplug for the long holiday weekend, why not host the 4th at a cabin with fram-ily?

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First you need a great rental. Something like Sarah Sherman Samuel’s would do, but since no cabin comes close to her modern beaut, let’s just imagine you find something with a vast deck, equipped with a fram-ily style table and a killer view. I mean, that’s easy, right??

The truly hard part is figuring out what to wear! Summer in the woods is usually hot and often crazy humid, but can also be chilly in the evening {especially when Karl the Fog is on duty}. So it’s all about light layers. And since this is likely a trip with some of your chicest friends, no hiking boots or cargo shorts will be allowed!

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get the look: Dolman T-Shirt in Stone // Asos Straw Hat // Bamboo Blend Parka // Desert Clouds Scarf // Hello Sunshine iPhone Case // Taupe Peep-Toe Bootie

Hopefully, you’ll see a lot of the sun {so don’t be shy and say hello with this selfie-ready phone case!}. This pocket-enhanced bamboo-blend jacket, layered over a relaxed tee, will protect you against the strong rays as well as keep you warm as the sun sets. We love that it gives you “cargo” without giving you CARGO. And let’s talk about how perfectly these low-heeled booties match the jacket- talk about layering staples!

No need to worry about the humidity effecting your locks. Top off your look with a laid-back straw Havana hat that’ll tame that frizz and still give you the “I just got out of bed” look. Matched with a picturesque and adventurous scarf, you’ll be taking a break from everything but style!

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Besides enjoying the outdoors and lookin’ good doing it, there isn’t much more to worry about…than what to eat and drink of course! These Lamb Burgers served on Pita with Mint Feta Pesto are sure to feed hungry guests who have been on the lake all day. Talk about an upgrade on that plain ole’ hamburger!

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get your shop on: Ornamental Paddle // Bamboo Picnic Tublers // Compostable Bamboo Plates // Enamel Servers // West Elm Bowl // Bamboo Basket-Tray // Petrified Wood Coasters // Rebecca Atwood Pillow // Hand-Sculpted Resin Champagne Bucket 

In our dream cabin, the party is only as good as its details. So deck out that gorgeous farm table with inky tones to play off the deep blue of the high mountain lake water. Use organic shapes as your homage to nature and of course, cabin-inspired tableware will be your final touch. It’s important to keep the bubbly ice cold {especially when you’re under the sun!}, and this simple yet stylish champagne bucket does the trick!

Remember: the most important part of any getaway is to enjoy the time with your loved ones. Even when you’re back to your regular routine, you’ll be talking about all of those fun moments you shared over a glass {or three!} of wine. We can’t wait for fun under the memories to begin!

Where would you go for the perfect getaway this summer? Let us know! — Bianca

image 1 via Smitten Studio // 2 via Taste Williams Sonoma