Urban Glamping with HowAboutWe!

As we know, tomorrow is the most popular date night of the year.  But when you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, it’s a little sad to think that you need a holiday to make an evening feel special! Even though Chris and I really try to work in a date night every week, it seems they fall off the priority list more often than not. With our crazy busy schedules even just getting out of the house can feel like an epic chore {and we don’t even have kids yet!}.

That’s why I was excited to learn HowAboutWe {remember that date service I told you about here} offers all kinds of cool dates that don’t require leaving our living room!  We loved our first HowAboutWe date where we learned to pickle {you can check it out here}. Taking a foodie tour of San Francisco’s Ferry Building and a wine tasting cruise in the Bay {hello awesome!} are also still on my must-try list, but sometimes it’s just too hard to commit to a class, tour, or all-day adventure.

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So when I spied HowAboutWe’s At-Home Camping Experience I was all over it. I’ve been wanting to tap into my previous life as a big camper {I’m embarrassed to admit we haven’t even made it to Yosemite yet}. Plus a super cute, romantic date idea that involves chocolate and cozying up in my wool socks?? YES! When I found out I could also order in a 4-course Lobster Dinner shipped straight from the coasts of Maine through HowAboutWe’s Couples Rewards section, it was the perfect doubly whammy. And we loved the whole experience! We whipped up a delicious dinner – all nicely pre-packaged with easy to follow instructions.

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And I adored our camping kit – it paid attention to all the details you and I’d appreciate {though Chris was more excited about the filet mignon}. Good packaging always makes such a difference! The kit not only came with the fixin’s for gourment s’mores, but with sweet little “survival” games to play before we enjoyed our chocolatey treat. It was a perfectly relaxing, really fun evening and those s’mores, with all-natural marshmellows and stellar dark chocolate, were dang good!

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And lucky for you, you’ve still got time to snag the perfect last second Valentine’s Day gift! HowAboutWe for Couples is free to join and browse dates. You can click here to get $50 off your first one … just remember to check off “Make it a surprise” when you book your date! I’m already planning to try the at-home Brunch Making Date and the at-home Oscars Watching kit looks super cute too.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to thank me!

P.S. The $50 off link also will work after Valentine’s Day — until 5/31/14. So, plenty of time to book and plan a “just because” date with your special guy or girl.

Original photography for Apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // styling and art direction by erin hiemstra

 

This post is in parternship with HowAboutWe. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open!

Retail Therapy: {Marla Bakery’s Sidewalk Cafe}

With incredibly busy schedules there’s only one thing that makes our world go ‘round: coffeeeee. Honestly, we’ve tried to cut back on our intake, but it just tastes so good! It’s our little happy morning treat. Not to mention, when the most adorable coffee shop opens up right around the corner, it’s particularly difficult to quit the habit, and truthfully, we don’t want to!

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After enjoying delicious smells wafting from the doorway on our regular dog-walking route, suddenly a sign went up on the window and Marla Bakery opened its doors. Well, window actually! The co-op space is actually home to multiple baking companies who take turns using the kitchen space – and now the public gets to enjoy the spoils! Too many mornings than I care to admit I enjoy a cappuccino, a perfectly crumbly scone, or even better, a gooey almond hazelnut croissant just by crossing the street!

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When you walk up, you’re immediately greeted by a sweetly tempting display of pastries- think exotic flavors and reimagined goodies like one of our faves, candied orange pain au chocolat- making it extremely hard to choose just one {diet, what diet?!}. There is no seating, no walk-in shop, just a window front- that offers a unique small town feeling to your morning coffee break, in what is otherwise a big city.

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Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters is the house-coffee and is some of the most velvety smooth coffee you’ll ever taste. We’d go out on a limb to say that even the most reluctant of coffee lovers will like the flavor of these beans. And we dare you to try it without sugar! It’s safe to say, we’re addicted.

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We’re suckers for hidden neighborhood gems and we hope that if you’re ever in the area you choose to experience what we like to think of as “our” cute bakery- full of yummy pastries, good coffee and friends! The whole experience is a novelty, completely different than your everyday overcrowded coffee house. If you peek behind the counter, you can even watch breads and pastries being made right before your eyes. It’s just a few short blocks away from Heath Ceramics, so skip Blue Bottle, and head to Marla instead!

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick 

Best of 2013: {A Perfect Sunday in San Francisco}

Sometimes the creative process can be a stifling one. We often find ourselves asking, how can we make this post different, interesting, exciting and compelling? And while It usually takes a serious brainstorm to come up with the answer, this project was an exception. In one of the greatest cities in the world, it should have been difficult to narrow down the choices, but answers came out like spitfire when we were asked, what would our perfect Sunday in San Francisco look like? 

We’re constantly discovering new gems in the Bay Area and we’re passionate about sharing them with you, but time and time again we find ourselves falling back on our favorites- the regular must-stop coffee shop, the frequented lunch spot and the always swoon-worthy boutiques. And for that reason this post and the local spots featured remains one of our favorites of 2013! In fact, it sounds like a great itinerary to follow for a lazy day off this holiday week!

 

Not only am I truly blessed to be living in a beautiful city that I’m kinda obsessed with, I am also lucky to have great friends who love to visit! And the first question they usually ask is, “Hey, what should I do {besides walk across the Golden Gate Bridge}?”

Instead of throwing together the usual laundry list of places to explore, I thought it’d be much easier to whip up an itinerary for them that recreates how I would spend a perfect Sunday in the city! This way, instead of hitting the usual tourist traps, they can experience San Francisco as if they were living here. I put the list together using the new app Mosey, that way my friends can access it anytime and check out what other SF natives recommend.

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My perfect Sunday starts with a trip over to the recently opened coffe mecca, The Mill, for my cappuccino and the most amazing gourmet version of toast you’ve ever had.

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Wander a couple doors down on Divisadero for some design eye candy at The Perish Trust {for amazing vintage pieces!} or Rare Device for wonderful handmade finds.

Next, I make a beeline to Hayes Valley and do some serious window shopping. From my favorite hard to find lines at the boutique Nida, to picking up my favorite international mags at Birch, I can do some serious damage in only one block!

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So much walking must be rewarded with a delicious late lunch back in our neighborhood, at the lovely Central Kitchen.

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Drooling, right??

San Francisco is such a diverse city of so many micro neighborhoods, I’m dying to find out {from those of you living here!} what your version of the perfect Sunday in SF is! Head over to Mosey to see my complete list and create your own itinerary. And since I’m always wanderlusting {New Orleans, Charleston and Chicago are topping my list!} I hope those living there will share their secret spots too!

original photography by emily scott for apartment 34.