A Delicious Welcome to Fall with Aperol!

Well friends, it’s official. The first day of Fall is here! But it has me feeling a little torn. Now I luv summer as much as the next girl. Long days, warm temps, dreamy afternoons spent on a beach {or at least dreaming of one}. But I also love when the seasons change. It always feels like a breath of fresh air. A new beginning if you will. And just because summer is saying see ya, doesn’t mean entertaining season is ending. Oh contraire! We’ve actually been enjoying a seriously gorgeous Indian Summer in San Francisco right now. So I say set aside a little time to gather friends and enjoy that waning evening light while we still can! In fact, we did exactly that last weekend and the results were equal parts yummy and lovely – if I do say so myself!


Our mission was simple. Gather some of our favorite ladies for an impromptu happy hour. The ingredients for a successful happy hour aren’t complicated either. Copious amounts of easy to snack on food, a killer outdoor patio and a fabulous drink of course. But remember, just because something’s impromptu doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty! Today we’re revealing our tricks to creating a stunning little feté in no time flat {seriously!}.


Step 1: Set the scene. An outdoor patio decked with a farm table and bench seating is easy and relaxed. We were lucky enough that our table happened to be marble-topped but any wood table would be just as pretty. A string or two of cafe lights are extra nice touch. You can leave them up pretty much all year ’round. A few simple flower arrangements plucked straight from the garden are also a thoughtful detail. 

Step 2: Don’t skimp on your place settings. When you want to up the ante for your gathering, paper and plastic just won’t do. But again, you don’t need to slave away. We relied on the services of Mrs. Peasy Party Box Rentals who provides gorgeous plates, flatware and glasses for rent! She’s got pre-designed boxes featuring gorgeous items like Heath Ceramics dishware and vintage cutlery. Or you can do what we did and simply mix and match your own set up. The best part? You can drop it all off dirty so your end of party clean up is pretty much done before you even start. It’s genius.

Step 3: Create a humble feast. For our happy hour we decided to create the charcuterie board of champions. But again the task required little else than a power shopping trip at Trader Joe’s and an epic 3-foot long wood board. Cured meats, crackers, cheese, olives, pickles, fresh berries & figs, dried fruit, nuts and our little trade secret – fresh flowers created a truly stunning display. Piling everything high makes your board so pretty you almost don’t want to dig in and mess it all up. Almost.


Step 4: Serve a signature drink! The true star of our party was our cocktail – the Aperol Spritz! Now this drink is near and dear to my heart. A traditional Italian apertif, Chris and I enjoyed a Spritz (or 5 or 6!) in Venice – the drink’s actual birthplace – during our honeymoon and I’ve loved them ever since. They’re totally refreshing – a true before dinner sipper. And the best part? They’re super easy to make. No professional mixologist skills needed here. You’re not concocting homemade syrups or adding tinkshers with eye droppers. The recipe is so simple every party guest can whip up one for themselves – yet another way to take some pressure off of you! Don’t worry – we’ve got the recipe for you at the bottom of this post!

But first we have to give you the final step in our happy hour master plan.

Step 5: Sit back, relax and have a grand old time!! There’s nothing better than some quality catch up time with girl friends. Even with today’s overly packed schedules, offering a chance to enjoy a refreshing drink, a bite to eat and some great conversation is pretty irresistible. We’re quite confident your girls will show up for a gathering like this #squadgoals.



Recipe: The Aperol Spritz

3 parts prosecco
2 parts aperol
1 splash of seltzer

Add a few ice cubes to a wine glass. We actually used oversized square cubes in our drinks. Pour in your prosecco. Then add your Aperol. Top with a generous splash of seltzer. Give your drink a swirl, garnish with orange slices & an orange peel twist if you like! Betcha can’t enjoy just one!!


original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz // florals by natalie bowen designs // dishware by mrs. peasy // styling by erin hiemstra + bianca sotelo // produced by bianca sotelo

This post is in partnership with Aperol. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting partnerships that help keep Apartment 34’s doors open!

Party Guest This Weekend? 8 Unique Summer Hostess Gifts

Whether you’re going to a birthday party, barbecue bash or partaking in a “let’s get together for no reason” gathering, proper manners say you should always come to someone else’s home bearing a gift. After all of the hours cleaning, prepping and cooking, nothing makes a host or hostess feel more appreciated. Sure, a bottle of wine is nice, but it’s also soooo boring. This summer, think beyond the rosé. Instead, here are some unique gift ideas guaranteed to make your host say, “haaaaay!!”.


Get Your Gifting On:

1.> Apron
2.> Napkins
3.> Serving Set
4.> Trivet
5.> Succulent Pot
6.> Bowl
7.> Candle
8.> Eat Drink Nap Book

To all friends invited to our Labor Day weekend shindig, mental note – any of these hostess gifts for yours truly are greatly appreciated! Just sayin’, I’d really like that apron.

Santé to Summer: A Must-Do Beach Celebration

When we looked at the calendar last week, we were shocked that it’s already the middle of the summer. Holy****, how did that happen?! But what’s worse than realizing over half the year has gone by? Realizing you’re smack dab in the heart of your favorite season and have YET to actually spend a day at the beach. And you can’t quite call it summer without some sand between your toes, right? So in celebration of San Francisco finally hitting temps that actually feel summer-like {hello, 80 degrees this weekend!}, we wanted to set the scene for the perfect ode to the season – a chic gathering on the sand, perfect for toasting to a summer well spent or, in our case, a summer that is just unfolding!


Sure, you don’t need to over think a day under the sun, but there are definitely some things you can pack to make an escape to the beach feel pretty special. For our set up, we started with a home base – a place to cool off and protect ourselves from the sun. We love this Sombrilla cover – think super cool umbrella tent. It provides a lot of shade – you can easily fit a group of friends under its chic roof, and once it’s pitched you’ve got a place that feels secluded from the crowds!


Once the Sombrilla was up, it was all about creating the ultimate place to lay back and relax. Rather than eat off our laps, we set up a “table” that we made out of a couple of planks of wood. It’s a nice way to elevate things {literally, ha!} and bring them out of the sand! A piece of plywood would even work. We threw down woven blankets, Turkish towels and beach rugs and made things extra comfy with soft floor pillows. Things were quickly starting to look like the perfect setup for a glass of wine and a good book! We could have easily lay there for hours!!


To get ready for our beach buddies, we set out beautiful ceramic plates, antique silverware and vintage glasses to dress up the eating area {all from a local company called Mrs. Peasy, where you can rent out everything you need for a beautiful party!}. We could have opted for paper items, but oysters and rosé are way more enjoyable with the real deal on hand – don’t ya think?! And with drift wood straight from our surroundings, some non-traditional beach themed decor like these ceramic bells, lanterns and some candles, things were pretty much perfect! With the ambiance just right, the fun was sure to go way past sunset.


It is such a treat to be able to gather friends and enjoy amazing weather and beautiful views. With just a little bit of effort, you can put together a day everyone is sure to remember for a long time. Thankfully, we all have a few more weeks of sun to enjoy and we certainly can’t wait to get our toes in the sand again and again. Honestly, we plan to just keep our Sombrilla and beach towels in the trunk of the car, so we’re ready for any spur of the moment beach day!

Looking for more summer entertaining inspiration? CLICK HERE

original photography for apartment 34 by emily scott

This post is in partnership with Hollie & Harrie. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open.