State of the State

Have you noticed there appears to be a collective gut check going on in blog-land right now? This post, this postthis post and this post are just a few examples of the stock bloggers seem to be taking of our current landscape.

Blogs have gone in SO many directions and changed so much since they were the random ramblings of casual decor-enthusiasts, fashion-obsessives, home cooks, DIY-lovers or style-savvy moms. Now girls aspire for this “career!” It’s still a bit odd to wrap my head around. But one thing I continue to treasure about blogs {vs say magazines or random news sites} is that the wall between reader and writer is very thin, if not nonexistent! You do feel like you “know” the person {or people!!} cranking out blog posts and that’s a pretty cool connection. Shoot it’s probably why many of us blogger senior citizens have stuck around so long. We have entire friend groups that have sprung from this phenomenon.  It’s certainly why I still spend a couple hours blog hoppin’ every weekend – to catch up on people I care about and admire!

It’s in that vein that I wanted to give you a full account of what’s up with all things Apartment 34, because since I wrote this post only a year and a half ago, we’ve been on a (crazy awesome) roller coater ride.

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It’s a well known rule that you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I figured out really quickly that if I wanted to try my hand at creating full editorial shoots for you guys, it was gonna take a village! Thankfully, I found a major power player in Bianca of A Fab Challenge, my amazing Editorial Director who is the driving force behind so many of our fun stories and helps bring some of my crazier ideas to life. Our Production Assistant Ashley {who you’ve spied here, here and here} is the source of all those cocktail recipes you’ve been enjoying. These ladies are crucial to making Apartment 34 happen. While blogging started as an individual outlet of self-expression and idea-sharing, I’m super proud of the fact that Apartment 34 is now a team effort. And I only want it to grow from here.

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We got the summer off to a great start by bringing on three powerhouse interns whose names you may have already spied here and there. Victor, Amanda and June have helped us give you more great entertaining ideas, awesome summer outfit inspiration and are always scouring the web to be the first to discover new style standouts. It was a personal challenge to raise our bar and rock original content for you and with the help of these crazy talents {along with Aubrie, our photographer extraordinaire}, I hope you’ve been loving what you see as much as the team enjoys creating it. But we’ve only just begun.

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While there’s been talk of slow-blogging, getting rid of contributors or killing advertisers, I love that Apartment 34 has grown beyond my singular view of the world. Instead, I like to think of it this way: we try to bring you an “Apartment 34 approach” to a well-lived life everyday, but that approach can come from a variety of voices! That’s why you’re going to start seeing bylines on our posts and maybe even more new faces stopping by. While the word authenticity is used so much it barely means a damn thing anymore, I will say we have an authentic drive to find unique and creative ways to add sophisticated, thoughtful style to your daily life. In a world of fast fashion, fast design – really fast everything, I hope we can be a respite where you can slow down and enjoy a reminder to notice the details in your days. Sometimes that means working with companies we think are cool. As someone who worked in branding for 10 years I see that side of blogging as a personal challenge; to tell an interesting story in partnership with a brand we think rocks.

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Of course, I still love to update you on my actual day-to-today life. As I mentioned in this post, I do want to be sure to strip away the BS, raise the curtain on all the pretty and have some regular heart to hearts with you. I’ve known some of you readers for so long I see you as friends. That said, I also find it exciting to serve as a resource that’s bigger than a singular personal story. Collective experience is a very valuable thing. It helps us get through the trials that we too often think we’re suffering through alone.

After seven years in this “biz,” and nearly 2,500 posts {we’re at 2,439!}, there’s still one thing still gets me super excited to be a “blogger” – finding amazing things/places/people share those inspirational stories with you. As I’ve grown through and out of my 20s and now into my mid-30s {gulp!}, I also find myself seeking deeper conversations, fresh perspectives and awareness that goes far beyond my day-to day-world. I hope this can be a place that fulfills those needs too – for everyone who interacts here {or on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook!}.

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What was once a little one woman show has morphed into a mini-world that’s part my life, but something also much bigger than me. I really like that and I hope you do too. I’m quite confident the best is yet to come. I do hope you’ll keep stopping by to see what we’re up to! — Erin

team photos by aubrie pick // image 1// image 2 // image 3 // image 4

Instagrammers Delight

Since we’re already talking about Instagram today, we figured why not keep the party goin’?! We aren’t even going to try to deny that we aren’t a little bit {or completely!} obsessed with checking our IG feeds. All. Day. Long. Really, there’s probably nothing we do more frequently {you too?! Phew!}. That’s why we figured you can always use someone new to follow, so here are three of our favorite accounts to further fuel your addiction!

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As much as we love San Francisco, Nana makes us want to jump onto the first flight to Copenhagen. The city seems to be filled with the most drool-worthy moments and Nana manages to make them look even more beautiful than they are- if that’s possible. Not only that, Nana fills our feed with delicate ceramic still lifes, tranquil table scenes, and GORGEOUS floral arrangements. Nana’s photography is quiet and enchanting- making it impossible to scroll past!

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Trotter Magazine’s founder, Eva Tsang, has a talent of making any person walking out of an all-you-can-eat buffet hungry again. Documenting her travels around the world, Tsang never forgets to stop and enjoy the things around her {with a cup of coffee in her hand, of course!}. If you’re planning a foodie-based vacation anytime soon, Eva is a necessary follow!
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Have you heard of  the #makemoreportraits movement? We are still trying to figure out how to break into the intimidating hashtag task, but Yuvali Theis has mastered it. Edited in a Polaroid-like effect, the photographer from London grabs our attention with every portrait. With a very minimal approach, gorgeous shadow play and intriguing angles, Theis’ instagram account looks like it came straight out of one of our favorite magazine editorials!

We know we aren’t the only ones that have an Insta-obsession. Remember, we’re in this together! Who are some people you love to follow? Please let us know – we need to feed our feeds! — Victor

for even more delightful instagrammers, CLICK HERE

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!