How to Put Your Touch on Tailgating

It’s football season. Yay! We love us a competitive friendly sport and a good excuse to get friends together on a Sunday afternoon. But what happens when you don’t have tickets to the big game nor a backyard to BBQ {or you’re averse to freezing temperatures like me}?? You put together an amazing tailgate-inspired spread, indoors, of course! But this is no ordinary tailgate. We partnered with Smirnoff ICE to create our dream football watching party. So we’re ditching nachos for kale chips, upping the ante with some delicious cocktails {sorry, I just don’t do beer!}, and we’ve said so long to the same ole football paraphernalia for super chic modern party accessories. While hanging out in the parking lot with hot dogs sizzling is great fun, we promise hanging at home- a quieter approach to the ol’ tailgate madness- is just as entertaining- especially when it looks like this!

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To live out our ultimate football party, we teamed up with Jesi Haack Design who brought in party essentials that one might not immediately think of when talkin’ football. Just as impactful as a wedding or New Year’s Eve shindig, adding a backdrop to your party decor can have the same impact for game day. So don’t forget it! Ours is made out of different ribbons and paper streamers for fun texture and depth that we swear isn’t difficult to make on your own -even if it does look fancy! Best part is, make one in a neutral color palette and use it over and over again! We also added subtle hints at “pig skin” to our party buffet tablescape with leather accents and “football” shaped himmels in a glam bronze. Oh and don’t forget the flowers for a nice feminine factor! We’re taking football back from the boys with this party.

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Putting touchdown pieces in your place doesn’t require you to Go. All. The. Waayyyyy. You can totally score in the hostess department without bringing in 100 yards of astro turf. In fact, we’re all about the simple nods to the game that create a sophisticated yet fun atmosphere. For instance, ditch paper napkins and instead write up tricky football trivia on linen squares. Take turns quizzing friends in what we like to call, Cocktail Napkin Trivia! Not only is it a light hearted way to get excited about the game, they’re also act as a cute place to set your drink! On your serving platters, draft up “plays” in simple “x” and “o” form – we made ours on a slate platter with a chalk pen!

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Another easy DIY? Take blue masking tape and a marker and channel your ol’ varsity jacket. Jazz up paper bags with numbers and stripes then serve kale chips, popcorn, trail mix- whatever your snacking heart desires. Speaking of snacks, we have three foul-proof munchies that are healthy and delicious!

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Foul Proof Snacks:
– Kale chips {in cute paper bags, of course!}
– Roasted Beets Crostini with Burrata and mint
– Delicata Squash Rings with Ricotta, olive oil, thyme

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But it wouldn’t be a party without some tasty cocktails, would it?! You know we always have you covered. We love the idea of switching up the typical game-day booze selection with a fancier, feel good cocktail. So we put a grown-up twist on a tailgate staple: Smirnoff Ice! We created original cocktail recipes your guests can easily mix up themselves. We served ours in vintage crystal goblets {in opposing team colors, duh!} to really up the ante. Here are two recipes – one sweet and one tart – that’ll get the good times rollin’!

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Lemon Tart Touchdown 

1oz fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz orange vanilla liquor
8oz Smirnoff ICE Original

Add fresh Meyer lemon juice and all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a glass with ice. Use Meyer lemon peel for garnish.

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Pass The Peach Bellini

6 oz Smirnoff ICE Peach Bellini
4oz champagne
2 dashes bitters

Pour Smirnoff ICE Peach Bellini into a glass. Top with champagne. Add 2 dashes of bitters. Garnish with thyme sprig.

So next time you want to have a mellow football party at home, sans chewed up gum on your seats and sticky arena floors {we all need a break from the madness sometimes!}, keep these simple plays in mind. They are a sure win- touchdown!!

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // styling + food by Jesi Haack Design // glassware c/o Frances Lane // shot on location at LUX-SF 

This is a sponsored post by Smirnoff ICE.  All reviews/opinions expressed in this post are unbiased & based on my personal view. Drink responsibly.

Thanksgiving Tips from a Major Pro

Somehow Thanksgiving is already next week, and if like me, you’re hosting, you might be approaching panic mode. Well it’s not time to totally freak out – yet! Instead of sharing a tabletop idea with you this year {because last year’s table still might be our favorite post of all time!} we decided to tap one of our favorite experts for her ultimate Save Thanksgiving Day tips: Camille Styles!

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Camille’s debut book, Camille Styles Entertaining is all about inspiring readers through the seasons with ideas for life’s big celebrations, as well as showing them how to infuse beauty into their daily lives through the food they make, the rooms they design and the outfits they wear. It’s packed with simple details and creative shortcuts that make everyday moments feel special (with 75 simple + seasonal recipes woven throughout.) As soon as my copy landed in the mailbox, I was immediately taking notes. I love her little creative ideas and DIYS {like keepsake what I’m thankful for cards!} that take Thanksgiving to a beautifully personal level.

I asked Camille if she’d share a few of her top tips with us. I’m thankful she didn’t disappoint!

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My husband and I have been hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of our family since the first year we got married. Though we’ve had our share of hiccups (from faulty plumbing to a fried turkey that burnt to a crisp), each year gets a little more seamless, and yes, delicious. If you’ll be taking on hosting duties this year, never fear: I’ve made all the mistakes first, so that you don’t have to. Here are my favorite ways to honor tradition, put a fresh twist on the big meal, and avoid any disasters in the process.

1. Rethink your furniture arrangement to create more space. So your 4-person kitchen table won’t fit all the friends and family you’d like to seat for the feast? Consider moving the dining table into the living room, and extending it with folding tables that you can line up end-to-end and cover with a pretty autumnal tablecloth. It’ll make the dining table the unexpected focal point of the room, plus open up all kinds of space you didn’t know you had.

2. Try out a new color palette. For this year’s table design, I’m using a palette of indigo, earthy wood, organic greens and white, in lieu of the more expected autumnal oranges and browns. Then, to create a unified design, I’ll use table linens, dishes, serving pieces and flowers that fit into those color families. Sticking within a limited palette is the quickest way to make a major visual impact while keeping the details simple!

3. Think beyond the floral centerpiece. In the fall, I love to forage for beautiful leaves and interesting berries or acorns to incorporate into a centerpiece. Pomegranates, winter squash and pears also make unexpected additions to the table and are a modern spin on the iconic image of an abundant cornucopia.

4. Include a couple of menu items that can be served at room temperature. That way, you’re not scrambling to get every single item out on the buffet at once. I’ll make an appetizer like a cheese and meat board that can sit out unattended for a couple of hours during cocktails. Sides like a brussels sprouts salad and cranberry sauce are delicious at room temperature, so you can set those out first while you slice the turkey and keep the sweet potatoes warm in the oven.

5. Don’t strive for perfection. Hosting Thanksgiving does not require Martha-like perfectionism. This is a holiday that’s about counting our blessings, so ditch the pressure, stress, and unrealistic expectations and instead embrace an attitude that puts the focus back on having fun and creating great memories with the people you care about. Remember, your guests don’t want to be impressed – they want to be welcomed into a warm and inviting atmosphere to eat delicious food and savor great conversation!

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We have so much to be thankful for, and a Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by family, friends and a bountiful feast will be the perfect way to count our blessings from the past year as we savor the present, deliciously.

And thankfully, Camille also gave us a super easy, but totally delicious appetizer idea for when that turkey inevitably needs another hour!

FIGS BLUE CHEESE AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS ON ENDIVE LEAVES

FIGS, BLUE CHEESE AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS ON ENDIVE LEAVES

From Camille: When I worked in catering, one of our most popular hors d’oeuvres was a luscious port wine–soaked cherry and blue cheese combo tucked into an endive leaf like a little boat. This is my autumnal version featuring figs and pomegranate for the most gorgeous color and a touch of exotic flavor. So many of my friends eat gluten-free diets these days, so this is a nice way to serve them a great blue cheese that doesn’t require crackers or bread. You can make these up to an hour before the party, and the hearty leaves will hold up as they sit.

INGREDIENTS
5 fresh figs, each cut into 4 wedges
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated (smallest leaves reserved for another
use)
2 ounces blue cheese (Stilton, Cambozola, or any creamy blue cheese), at room
temperature and crumbled
¼ cup Candied Pecans (see sidebar), finely chopped
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup honey

SERVES 8
Put the fig wedges in a small bowl and cover with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside
and let macerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to overnight, in the fridge).
To assemble, lay out the endive leaves on a platter. Use a small spoon to scoop
about ½ teaspoon of blue cheese into each leaf. Top each with a fig wedge, sprinkle
with pecans and a couple pomegranate seeds, drizzle with honey, and serve.

CANDIED PECANS
½ cup pecan halves
½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a small saucepan, combine the pecans, sugar, and
1 cup water; bring to a boil, and stir continuously until the sugar dissolves. Cook over
medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the
pecans to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and kosher salt, then bake for 8
minutes, or until the nuts are lightly caramelized. Let cool, then serve or store in an
airtight container for up to 1 week.

PS: I’ll be co-hosting Camille’s San Francisco book signing party with Caitlin Flemming on Thursday – we do hope you’ll drop by! Details HERE.

images by buff strickland courtesy of camille styles

Tasty Tuesday: The Ultimate Brooding Brunch

Halloween is one of those holidays that you either love or you hate. For the costume obsessed crowd, the night is jam packed with festivities, but if you’re like us and prefer to spend the spook-filled night at home, sans face paint and spandex, we’ve put a ghoulish spin on a Halloween weekend brunch with friends. No resorting to rocking the bunny suit at this party- although we wouldn’t judge you if you did!

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Brunch is one of our favorite past times and any excuse to have a themed one is as good as they come! Starting with a black tablecloth {or craft paper!} and a bountiful seasonal harvest you really don’t need much else to divise a dramatic brooding brunch!

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For this spread, we really wanted to focus on a tablescape that anyone could recreate at home! We started with a major floral statement- that literally anyone can replicate – zero expertise required. Simply snap a dramatic apple branch from your backyard or snag a dry fallen branch from the park for an easy floral “arrangement” with a huge impact. Next, grab a plethora of produce from the farmers market {in a deep eggplant and moody green color palette, of course!} – think baby artichokes, a variety of squash, deep purple grapes and figs {while they last!}! From there, all you need are subtle hints of the haunting holiday incorporated in- no candy corn required. These x-ray snake plates are our current fave! Brass candlesticks and hints of gold pop against staple kitchen tools like slate and olive wood cheese boards. Throw up a black curtain to really set the mood and just like that, you have a beautifully haunting brunch!

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If you like what you see, you’ll want to stay tuned: all the way up until Halloween we’re going to serve up seasonal brunch recipes that are so easy to make, it’s scary!

GET YOUR SHOP ON:

> Black Clara Chandelier
> Silver Stag Candlesticks
> X-Ray Tray
> Gold Cheese Knives Set
> Spider Web Skull
> X-Ray Plate Set
> Onyx Flatware
> Black and White Striped Napkin
> Spider Martini Shaker

 

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // styling by Apartment 34