It’s All About Famaligia

Instead of sharing a bevy of links with you this week, I want you to click on just one. I’ve got something very important that I’m hoping you can do today…But before we get to that, here’s a little background.

You might not know that Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley fame and I go way, way back. We’ve been close friends since the 6th grade! And while life has taken us to different cities and buried us in busy lives, there are still many things that keep us connected, one of which is Cassandra’s father’s restaurant in Seattle.

I grew up spending many evenings over piping hot bowls of pasta and the best red sauce I’ve ever had – all based on Cassandra’s father’s Southern Italian heritage. A night at “the restaurant” as we called it, was like going over to a friend’s house for dinner except the food was way better! The restaurant was one of the first places I took Chris when we started dating. It’s where all of our friends celebrated birthdays, new years and major milestones. And while it went through a few iterations over the last 20(!) years, even closing for awhile, when I heard Rudy {Cassandra’s dad} was reopening, this time in a lovely bistro-style spot {which Cassandra designed!} I couldn’t have been more excited.

Called Tinello {which means dining room in Italian} and located in the fast-growing historic Pinoeer Square neighborhood that is currently revitalizing the heart of downtown Seattle,  I made a sojourn to get my fix the very weekend the restaurant opened.


The space is just lovely. Filled with natural light, anchored by a gorgeous bar made of reclaimed wood and simply accented with jumbo white subway tile and retro light fixtures, I immediately felt right at home again – especially when the plate of meatballs was set down in front of me!

But as anyone in the restaurant business {or really any small business owner knows}, unexpected challenges can be make or break. Tinello has faced more than their fair share, the latest being a restaurant in New York City called il Tinello threatening to sue if the restaurant doesn’t change its name!

The costs of having to rebrand at only six months old would cause many businesses to just give up, but the heart and soul of Tinello is Rudy, Cassandra’s father, who just loves to bring people together – the great glass of wine and delicious dishes are simply an added bonus.

So Rudy is doing the bravest thing possible – asking for us to join him in building something we can all enjoy! Rudy is running a Kickstarter Campaign to take his lovely family restaurant to the next level and I couldn’t be more thrilled. What could feel better than being a part of something incredibly special? But don’t take my word for it – hear from Rudy himself! Check out this video:

If, like me, you’re passionate about food, passionate about building great neighborhoods and passionate about small, family-owned businesses succeeding then CLICK HERE and make a pledge. You could have a cocktail named after you when the restaurant gets its liquor license, or a jar of Rudy’s famous Red Sauce for you to take home. You could even have a night at the restaurant all to yourself! But better than all the freebies – what you’ll really get is knowing that you’re also part of a very special family. Tinello is SO close to meeting their goal, it would mean the world if we can all come together to not only meet it, but surpass it! Even a $10 pledge can make a difference.

I can’t imagine spending a weekend in Seattle and not having “the restaurant” be the first place I eat, but more importantly, the first place we gather our friends for a good ole fashioned catch up sesh. With your help, it’ll be there when you visit Seattle too – bigger and better than ever! Even if you don’t live in Seattle I know you can appreciate having that one place you can always rely on for a soul-warming meal. Once Rudy completes his campaign, maybe I’ll just have to head up and we’ll have a big ole party. If there’s one thing I know both Cassandra and I love, it’s bringing people together for a good time! The drinks will be on me!!


photography by Belathee and Blair Masri

Tasty Tuesday: {A Sparkly Christmas Cocktail}

There’s no denying, even for a scared-of-sequins girl like myself, that the holidays just aren’t the same without some serious sparkle. Glittery ornaments glisten, trees twinkle and party dresses shimmer under candlelight, so it’s a must that your cocktails do the same!

Obviously – that’s why champagne is the star of the holiday cocktail season. Champagne bubbles shimmer and its golden hue shines like no other. And while a glass of bubbly is always a classy and well received option, why not offer your guests something just as fizzy and fabulous, but a little gussied up? Our Sparkling Raspberry Cocktail is just the ticket – and we swear, it is as delicious as it looks!


Sparkling Raspberry Cocktail Recipe

1 bottle Champagne
1 cup raspberries
Dash of St. Germain
Sugared Raspberries

Blend raspberries in a blender. Once blended, pour the raspberries into a fine strainer, encouraging them through. This is your raspberry puree. Add two tablespoons of puree to each glass. Then, add a splash of St. Germain and top off each glass with Champagne. Garnish the rim of each glass with a sugared raspberry.

Sugared Raspberries Recipe

1 egg white
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sanding sugar

Whip the egg white and then brush a thin layer on each raspberry. Pour the sanding sugar in a bowl. Roll the raspberry in the sugar, coating evenly. Place the berries on a plate and allow them to dry for 1-2 hours.

After a restful weekend, just thinking about throwing a little shindig featuring this cocktail is making it difficult to get through the work day. I don’t know about you guys, but I have serious holiday fever. You know, when you want to skip out of work for the entire month of December? Hopefully a few more fabulous holiday parties, complete with Raspberry Champagne Cocktails, will get me through!

Cheers to that!!

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // glassware c/o Frances Lane // styling and art direction by erin hiemstra 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m usually a get my Christmas decor up December 23 type of girl. I don’t know why the holidays always seem to sneak up on me. But this year is entirely different! Not only is the Loft fully decked out {on December 1st no less}, but this year I did my very best to create the ultimate yuletide feeling. Though I did have a bit of an incentive!

As promised, today we’re revealing the entire holiday setting we styled for Martha Stewart Living! I’m so excited to share all the details and how you can achieve this lush look at home.

Apt34-MSLTable-01FINALThere are just a few key pieces that we kept in mind to create the cozy-chic look I was going for. Here’s all you really need to mimic this festive feeling: a tree, garland, wreath and table {a cuddly lab like Bailey is a bonus!}. Let’s break each component of the decor down, starting with the tree…

christmastreedetailI wanted to create a neutral and monochromatic color palette to let the tree itself really shine {yes, it is faux and pre-lit but you wouldn’t know. I’m officially a convert!}. To do so, we chose metallic ornaments in the bronze, gold and copper family that added just the right amount of sparkle while not taking away from the 9-footer!

To avoid dragging endless boxes of faux garlands and Christmas baubles out of storage right before leaving for Australia, I used {mostly!} fresh trimmings, including a pine garland and even live flowers in the tree! Succulents and seasonal greens were dotted in the gaps of the tree to really amp up the unique factor. I must say, I now want to add succulents to every single one of my Christmas trees- I love their graphic shape and how their dusty color added such an interesting modern touch.

Martha-Picnic-DetailAs for the fresh garland, I called on a friend {and professional!} to string us a beautiful 6-foot garland that we draped asymmetrically on the fireplace {using 3M hooks and wire for easy removal once the season is over!}. However, if you’re the DIY kind of gal, there are great tutorials out there to guide you through making your own. A fresh garland is worth its beauty in gold. It dries beautifully and will last you straight into the New Year! I love highlighting the fireplace with such a dramatic touch- it really is the statement maker. That meant that the rest of the mantle decor could be kept simple. Some mismatched brass candle holders for the must-have candlelight and a simple golden-hued wreath that I snagged a few years back watches over it all {I really like this wreath too!}.

Apt34-MSLTable-21With the tree up and the mantle set, you can’t forget about the rest of the room. I love the idea of throwing a romantic indoor holiday picnic for two. It’s the perfect way to make Christmas Eve feel a bit more special, especially if it’s just two of you home for the holiday {or as a special private moment once everyone else has gone to bed!}. I’m often missing family around this time of year and spending quality alone time with your other half really makes up for it.

Apartment-34-Martha-Stewart-TabletopI set the scene by spreading a linen over our coffee table {I used a metallic linen for a hint of sparkle!}, laid out some chunky blankets and brought the pillows that are usually on the couch down to the floor. No fancy dinner is necessary – I would serve up a champagne-infused cocktail {our next cocktail recipe is coming soon!} with your favorite desserts {any of these delectable treats would do nicely}.

As I shared with my holiday tabletop, I always condone mixing and matching your plates to make the setting feel special! A few simple pieces of greenery {plus an errant succulent} and a few of ornaments scattered around on the table are all you need and you’re set to go. Oh, don’t forget to have some classic Christmas tunes on in the background!

Martha-Stewart-+-Apartment-34-2martha-stewart-holiday-tableSo there you have it: an uncomplicated way to style your home for Christmas that even Madame Martha herself would surely be proud of.

It actually feels quite nice to have the Loft all decked out. If how quickly this year has flown by is any indication, I’m afraid we’re going to blink and the holiday season will be over. How do you slow things down to fully enjoy this time of year? I’ve been making a point to sit with all the twinkle lights aglow for 10 minutes each night which seems to be helping. I forget how fun it is to revel in holiday spirit. I’d love to know your tips to making this season last!

PS: Be sure to check back later today for the first debut of our Gift Guides! Don’t think I was going to leave you hanging on Cyber Monday! If you can’t wait – here’s what’s on the tippy top of my wishlist.

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // garland & tree florals by Natalie Bowen Designs // plates and glassware c/o Frances Lane // styling and art direction by erin hiemstra