This was one of our first shoots as a team EVER. A big production shoot like this is the ultimate test to see how well you work together and we’d say we aced it. We were thrilled with the way everything turned out and overall it was an awesome kick off to the summer of 2013. Everyone brought their skills to the table with Ashley on the drink recipe, Bianca on the DIY and Jessica always keeping us laughing {something about Oprah’s spit?}. We actually sat and had a party on the rooftop afterwards {usually we’re cleaning up and on to the next task!}, cheersed to the future, sipped {one too many!} margaritas and scarfed down those tacos, even though they were cold by the time we wrapped {don’t judge, shooting all day works up a big appetite and San Francisco’s Tacolicious can never go to waste!}. 


It’s party time people, are you ready? A few weeks ago, Team Apartment 34 gathered on the loft’s rooftop deck as part of a fun little campaign to kick off the summer season – the Grand Marnier “My City, My Margarita Style” Guide to Summer. I’m so excited to get to share our rockin’ good time, and my top summer entertaining tips with you today!

lucky-summergrandmarfinal1 Apt34_LuckyMag_Final_01mymargstyle8

I’m the first to admit that throwing parties can be stressful and sometimes seem like they’re more work than they’re worth. But you can put together a great day without a ton of hassle. When you’re pulling together a party there are a few key elements that will ensure your guests feel special, but won’t have you running in circles. These are some of my top secrets:

My first tip is to select a lovely, but simple setting. You don’t need to rearrange your house or have to worry about shoving things into closets! I’m lucky enough that we can simply climb a few flights of stairs for a stellar view of the San Francisco hills from our roof. But any deck, patio or backyard can feel festive. The key is to skip crappy patio furniture and instead get a few great pieces that will make your outdoors feel as inviting as your home. {I’m obsessing about the Bend Collection at West Elm}. Sprinkling a few big blooms – peonies are my fave – or perhaps some pots with succulents will add a beautiful detail to your tables, no fancy flower arranging required.

mymargstyle14margfinal4Apt34_LuckyMag 62Secondly, don’t sweat the food. I’m sorry, but I’m a huge champion of asking for help when you need it {after learning from experience!}. You can make your life a lot easier by getting prepared foods! For our fiesta I called in the big guns – San Francisco’s famed Tacolicious, ensuring there’d be zero leftovers to clean up!

And finally create a signature cocktail! Everyone feels special when they have a fabulous looking and tasting libation in their hand and you can cut down on the hassle of having to offer a million options {not to mention save $$!}.


Nothing says summer to me more than a good margarita. But here’s the thing, so many people get them so wrong! Early on in my tequila drinking years I was schooled in proper margarita making and so I consider it my duty to pass that knowledge on to you.

There are three key things to remember:

1. Only use fresh ingredients. This means no bottled mixers allowed. Your lime juice should come straight from limes. You want to sweeten with agave, not packaged mixers.

2. Serve in a single old fashioned glass. They’re classic and chic!

3. ALWAYS include Grand Marnier. A float of Grand Marnier is the key ingredient for making your margarita extraordinary; it’s what I’ve always called the Cadillac. Your margarita will be elevated to a whole new level and you’ll never go back!

Here’s the recipe that I will be serving all summer long.

The Grand Margarita {aka The Cadillac!} 


3/4 oz Grand Marnier

1 ½ oz premium tequila

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup*

Garnish: Fresh lime wheel


In a mixing glass combine premium tequila, simple syrup* and squeeze ½ oz of fresh lime juice. Fill with ice; shake well and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass or a margarita glass. Pour in your float of Grand Marnier and stir. Garnish with a fresh lime wheel. *Can substitute a 1/4 oz of agave for simple syrup! {we also salted the rims of glasses with pink rock salt for a fun pop of color}

Feeling festive yet?? Well, check back a bit later today because we’re going to be sharing the entire team’s favorite summer style trends just in time for your Memorial Day weekend!


original photography for apartment 34 by emily scott

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