If you didn’t get a chance to sit down with Rue Magazine’s new issue yesterday, you definitely should because…we’re in it!! You may remember spotting some action a few months back on Instagram under the hashtag #AndiamoSF. After a much anticipated wait, we’re finally getting to do a full reveal and show you all what the heck was going on! For those who don’t know, “andiamo” means “come on” in Italian, so let’s get going!

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There’s really nothing I love more than throwing a dang good party. Something about gathering others for a wonderful time has been one of my greatest joys since junior high – maybe even earlier, so it’s a little nuts to think it took nearly eight years to find a way to do that with the blog!

The idea to throw an intimate gathering {for no reason at all other than we were dying to do it!} came to us after chatting with Katie Newburn, a crazy talented food photographer in the Bay Area. We had been dying to get the chance to work with her and after some creative brainstorming, there it was: we were going to throw an epic party and she was on board to capture the festivities! Yessss. Now, let’s take it back to that evening in May…{just before our Instagram feeds began to fill with #travelgrams!}.

Given all the jet setting Team Apartment 34 has done lately, combined with travel season’s impending arrival it seemed only natural that travel should be our event theme. We wanted something that everyone would get excited about and with our guest list full of chic world travelers, we thought, who doesn’t get excited about travel?!

We do think it’s super helpful to have a party with a theme. It gives you focus. A storyline, if you will. But that doesn’t mean there has to be costumes or super cheesy knick-knacks everywhere. Au contraire. We set out to give a nod to our theme SO subtle, {save for a couple of big moments}, that it would take a hot second for guests to catch on. It worked like a charm. But more on that shortly.

Even with our theme, a cool new event space, The Upstairs, and some creative ideas in our heads, we knew we couldn’t execute this dinner party alone – hell, we can barely cook dinner for ourselves! So we called on event planning beast, Erin Taylor of Bustle Events. The girl gets shit done. Period.

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With Bustle Events on our side, things came together that much easier {hey, we know when to call in the experts… and we needed a lot of them!}. It’s all about having a dream team around you to pull something like this off.

One of the great things about throwing an event, just for funsies, on a random Monday night {note: when trying to get 16 very busy ladies together, do it on a Monday night- they’re lying if they say they’re already booked!} is that you get the opportunity to work with talents that you might not work with on a regular basis. In this case that included two of our favorites: Little Miss Press, a local calligrapher, and My Trick Pony, a SF-based printer. The two combined forces to create our event’s show piece. Little Miss Press wrote out our favorite travel quote {it had caught our attention at our earliest stages of planning and we knew we just had to use it for something} in original calligraphy. That art then served as the room’s focal point because My Trick Pony printed it on an 8 foot long run of linen which we hung from the rafters!

For the table settings, we wanted to stay with our signature Apartment 34 clean and modern aesthetic. Frances Lane, a great rental company here in the Bay Area, provided the sand colored dinnerware {which we chose to layer monochrome!}, wooden flatware {so cool!} and a mix of vintage glassware {remember when we used them here?}. A couple of extra design details made the place settings super special, but details on that are coming tomorrow!

We also wanted to ensure our dinner didn’t resemble any familiar settings – read baby showers and bridal showers. We wanted something interesting and modern, masculine and organic and that’s what we got. Twigss Floral killed it with the urban jungle inspired tablescape. Cha-ching!

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No party would be complete without the booze and food! Anchor Distilling Co. provided the booze – a smooth H by Hine VSOP cognac – for our signature drink which we chugged consumed responsibly during the cocktail hour- a fun and delicious recipe designed by Trick Dog {more on that next week!}. Central Kitchen’s Ryan Pollnow also created a custom menu just for the festivities and we have no words to describe how delicious every bite was! {stay tuned: we’ll be sharing one of Chef’s culinary masterpieces next Tuesday!}.

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Treasury Wine Estates also provided the wine. We enjoyed pour after pour of Etude Winery’s sweet and crisp chardonnay that paired perfectly with the incredible spectacle pictured above: a parmigiano custard & english pea salad prepared by Chef Ryan, properly devoured by us! Ok, maybe not properly – I think some of us may have licked the plates clean. Yes, we said our guests were chic, but clearly some don’t get out much. 😉

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Throughout the evening we wined and dined, shared embarrassing travel stories, laughed {we may have taken a round of tequila shots!} and laughed some more. At the end of the night, we didn’t want the fun to end and we hoped our guests felt the same way. And as we recommend to all hostesses with the mostest: be sure to leave your guests something to remember you by. We gathered a gift bag, provided by Collectively Inc., that included lovely travel-friendly treats from Tatcha Skincare, Anchor Distilling Co. and Vrai and Oro. And that’s not all!

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The next morning, after a long and let’s be honest, alcohol-filled {Monday!} night, we had a recovery pack of Purity juice hand-delivered to each guest’s home with a very special piece from the dinner; a framed, one of a kind hand calligraphied travel quote from Little Miss Press– the same ones that decorated the stairwell the night before! We have to admit, the dinner was ah-mazing, but the gift the next day was one of our favorite memories!

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Andiamo SF was truly one of the most epic moments of 2014. We couldn’t have done it without all of the collaborators on board. Thank you, everyone! There are tons more reveals coming your way including an idea for you to steal, a breakdown of what the collaboration process looks like, a behind the scenes into the invitation designs and more! Stay tuned!! — Erin & Bianca

If you can’t wait, check out even more BTS of the Andiamo SF dinner here.

original photography for apartment 34 by Katie Newburn

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6 Comments

  1. Lovely post. I love having guests for dinner, and preparing food for them, but I never thought about so many details that could made the meeting so special.

  2. Beautiful photos and tons of great inspiration! Great post! We have quite a few dinner parties in our small NY apartment and have even produced an entire thanksgiving in our tiny kitchen! Can’t wait until I have a larger space (someday!) and can use all these beautiful ideas in full scale!

    http://www.youmademelikeyou.com