Hello November. Hello friends. Long time, no chat.

I looked up recently to realize we’ve arrived at the month that means a lot to me and not only because it’s the month of my birth. November is always when we turn inward, gather friends and loved ones, take stock and pay homage to everything for which we are grateful.

If I’m being honest with you, I’ve struggled to feel grateful these past months. Ghosting you here was never my intention. While the reasons I disappeared are complicated and some too personal to share at the moment, ultimately, I became a victim of the pandemic – one of those 5.1 million American mothers who had to stop working for pay (a very critical use of language there, as the work certainly did not stop) in the midst of school closures, childcare shortages, and lockdowns. With paid work completely dried up, I could no longer call this space a job. I think when we do something consistently, but without pay, it’s called a hobby, am I right? And the pandemic certainly left me zero space for hobbies. The pandemic put me in a position that I’d never planned for – to serve as the primary caregiver in the family – and to be candid, it really sucked the life and the joy out of me (if you need background on my struggles with motherhood, head here.)

Of course I should preface by stating the obvious – I am incredibly lucky. I am beyond grateful that we have a roof over our heads, food on our table and are always able to provide for our son throughout these crazy times. Dear friends and family rallied around us when dealing with really challenging circumstances. And I realize SO many families have experienced so much more loss and deeply harrowing challenges during this whole insane experience.

Yet, my unplanned hiatus from this blog – really the unplanned hiatus from my self-determined existence – has been a palpable loss and a perpetual struggle. It zapped all my energy and narrowed my universe, leaving me adrift on a tiny island of domesticity.

Just as quickly as the sadness, frustration and loss can sweep through, I can also can easily cycle back to space of gratitude though. Turning to my insular family brought great gifts. Deeper relationships, better knowing and seeing and understanding. A closeness. Also mountains of dishes and laundry. So. many. dishes.

Now we’re hitting the official season of gratitude and I’m holding on to those brighter thoughts about what these past months have brought me, but I’m also really feeling the urge to break free. With actual gatherings possible again, could it happen?! I feel a bit like I might get to emerge from my cocoon.

But having been away from here for so long, I wasn’t sure I still had anything to share. For me, blogging has always been about uncovering beauty, craft, art, design and soulful intentional living and sharing that inspiration with you. What happens when you’re not sure you can still be inspiring?

Thankfully, I was able to partner with Wente Vineyards, a family owned winery –  the oldest continuously family run winery in all of USA – and one that is female led to talk about their holiday theme, #MakeTime. I worked with Wente Vineyards to create a Thanksgiving tablescape in This Old Victorian, not only as inspiration for you, but also for myself. Because what I really want to #MakeTime for this year is rediscovering that spark of inspiration. That joy. And I still haven’t even hosted an actual Thanksgiving at my dining table yet!

I am feeling eager to come back to the reasons I began Apartment 34 nearly 13 years ago now, and determine where I want to take this space in the future. I gotta admit, to flex some creative muscle again, to collaborate again, to be in the company of amazing women creating things I admire again – I felt back in my own skin.

For this Thanksgiving table, I wanted a very simple and easy layered feel, focused on natural materials and muted earthy tones. The look was achieved by stacking ceramic dishware (from Heath Ceramics and Anthropologie) layered in two complementary colorways, with beautiful linen napkins with an embroidered edge from The House by Tracy Simmons Design. A simple linen runner, rustic wood bowls & serving boards and vintage brass candlesticks create a warm, welcoming feel down the center of the table. Rose gold flatware and stemless wine glasses feel fun and laidback.

Rather than a traditional “centerpiece,” instead a footed bowl by Leanne Ford for Crate and Barrel filled with autumnal gourds and a simple floral arrangement inspired by the wilds of nature are the only table decor.  If you wanted to up the fancy factor you could create placecards or write little quotes about gratitude to set at each seat, but I’m just so thankful to be able to gather this year – I don’t think the extra bells and whistles are really necessary. A sprig of olive branches at each place setting is more than enough.

I just want to eat delicious food and drink some fantastic wine – with other people again finally! Wente Vineyards is actually going to help us do that. They’re offering two beautiful wine bundles at 25% off the usual retail price and a flat $10 shipping. They aren’t officially launching until November 5, so my dear Apartment 34 readers, you get first crack at the Thanksgiving Dinner Pairing Set and the Nth Degree Gift Set right now.

But really, what is the point of this ramble, other than to say hi and how are you and oh yeah, I am still alive? I just felt compelled to show up here to let you know that I’ve been struggling. And I see all of you who have too. But I remain hopeful that we can come out of this collective trauma with a greater sense of not only purpose, but also appreciation for our own passions, gifts and desires. Of course, we all have to makes sacrifices in challenging circumstances, but I’ve learned you don’t want to lay yourself down on the altar of sacrifice. There is joy to be unearthed, even in the darkest times. You just have to #MakeTime to find it. Setting a beautiful Thanksgiving table definitely brings me great joy and I hope it does for you too.

I will always be grateful to you, dear readers, some – if you’re still out there – I know have been around since those early early days. Even when I was as far from this space as I could both physically and mentally get, I was always thinking about you. I do so hope you have weathered the COVID storm as well as you can.

And I do plan to be popping in here more frequently again. I can’t make any promises on when that will be, but there is so much amazing design out there and shining a light on people doing awe-inspiring work has always been the greatest gift of Apartment 34. I wonder if I can make professional treasure hunter a thing? Well, I guess I kinda am. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the Hood Canal Cottage. You can see the latest behind the scenes of that project on Instagram. And major SPOILER ALERT – I will be launching design services in early 2022. If you have a project you might want to collaborate on or just want updates on the services I’ll be offering, you can sign up for my newsletter right here.

In the meantime, I’m sending you love and gratitude this November.


photography by stephanie russo, prop and food styling by kelly allen studios

This post is in partnership with Wente Vineyards. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting collaborations that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open for more than a decade.

With only four sleeps till Christmas, it’s quite likely your holiday traditions are looking a little different this year. We’re not all gathering at grandma’s house or having a gaggle of cousins over for a raucous Christmas morning. And if you’re like me, this means we can’t rely on our family members to deliver the traditional Christmas morning treats. Thankfully, I was recently introduced to Ali Stafford and her new cookbook, Bread, Toast, Crumbs. You might know Ali from her blog, Alexandra’s Kitchen – she’s got a list of 25 Christmas Cookies I’m currently drooling over.

But for now I’m focused on creating a special memory for Christmas morning – preferably one that doesn’t take days of advanced preparation or a mountain of baking skills as I do not have them.

Thankfully, that is what Ali is best known for – creating recipes real people can actually replicate! I immediately honed in on her Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread. My son loves all things cinnamon so I know this recipe be a winner, but it is a little less of a sugar bomb than cinnamon rolls, which I appreciate. I’ll have enough mega-five-year-old energy as it is. No additional assistance is necessary.

While so many of our traditions are flipped on their heads, I’m actually excited to take the opportunity to create new memories that could turn into new traditions for years to come.

RECIPE: Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread (serves 4)

The key to making monkey bread, sweet or savory, is to handle the dough as minimally as possible. Don’t get hung up on forming perfect balls- irregularity is part of the charm of this communal breakfast or dessert. As the portions of the dough rise, their imperfections dissolve into a cobble of cinnamon-sugar encrusted puffs. The glaze is optional, though a drizzle just before the mass is pulled to pieces makes for a pretty presentation.


2 cups (255 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus ¼ cup (32 g) for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon plus ¼ cup (55 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk, plus more as needed


In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375F. Grease an 8-or 9-inch cast-iron skillet or circular or square baking pan with the softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the mixture over the bottom of the prepared skillet.

Spread ¼ cup flour over a clean surface. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Use the forks to lift the dough onto the prepared clean surface. Using as much flour as necessary from the surface, dust your hands and the exterior of the dough, then shape the mass as best you can into the ball. Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the mass into twelve to fourteen equal-size pieces, each 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Using as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, shape each piece into a rough ball and immediately transfer them into the greased pan, evenly spaced. Let rise for 20 to 25 minutes. The balls may not rise to fill the skillet entirely, but they will puff when they bake.

Brush each ball with some melted butter, then pour over the remainder. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until it reaches a pourable consistency, adding more milk as needed. Remove the monkey bread from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan before inverting the pan onto a plate, then invert it again onto a serving platter. Drizzle with glaze. Serve immediately.


For more of my favorite holiday recipes CLICK HERE.


Monkey Bread Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bread Toast Crumbs. Copyright © 2017 by Alexandra Stafford. Photographs by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Friend, I’m the first to admit it can be hard to feel thankful right now. As the holidays bear down and the pandemic rages, it’s very tempting to just throw in the towel. That was my first inclination – to just say f*** it and skip it all. Why go to all the trouble and effort for a little family of three?

But there is something to be said for marking special occasions, say nothing of lighting up a child’s eyes with joy – no matter how nontraditionally you’re celebrating a holiday. When my five-year-old saw me break out candles to prepare a Thanksgiving table he said “ooooh, something special must be happening.” It was the perfect reminder that even in dire circumstances, a magical moment can still be found.

It is with this sentiment that I offer an intimate Thanksgiving table inspiration for you today. I pulled this table for four together in 20 minutes which means you can too. Jumping in and creating this table made me remember how much I love doing them and how much I’d miss skipping this ritual.

When thinking about creating a mini Thanksgiving scene this year, I had three goals in mind; keep it simple, make it easy and try to have a little fun.

Now, I can’t take all the credit for this look. I was given a head start by some of my favorite San Francisco-based flower fairies, Marigold SF, who are currently offering pre-packaged floral centerpieces and as well as The Gathered Table, a collection of gourds, floral flotsam and even candles to give you a ready-made Thanksgiving table to-go. (FYI, today is the last day to put in a Thanksgiving order!!)

I used some of the foundational pieces of The Gathered Table to create my table’s centerpiece. I plucked the oversized white pumpkin from the mix to become the centerpiece’s anchor as well as the inspiration for the muted color palette. I set the pumpkin off-center in order to give the centerpiece a more organic, asymmetrical feel – I was going for a modern update on the cornucopia concept.

From there, I simply started filling in gaps both with bits from The Gathered Table and with items I foraged from my own pantry, adding everything from champagne grapes and pears to purple kale, acorn squash and heads of garlic!

Little blue glass votive holders by Hawkins New York kept the table profile low. When you’re feeding a small group, I like keeping the vibe intimate. There’s no need to have to peek around big floral bouquets or try to navigate between a sea of pillar candles. Simple votives feel low key, yet still elegant.

My subdued palate and desire for laid back elegance also informed my table setting choices. I loved the subtle sheen of this two-toned flatware from CB2. Ceramic plates with an organic edge offer a casual feel, but the modern ombre tumblers kept the look from going too rustic. While I’d originally planned on using cream linen napkins, the soft gray blue picked up the color of the votives so nicely, i just couldn’t resist.

While I’ve yet to set my Thanksgiving Day menu, I do know what I’ll be pouring. Diora Wines from Monterey. If you’ve followed Apartment 34 for any length of time, you know my long love affair with and true passion for wine. It started when I lived in Italy as a university student and then studied wine while in Santa Barbara. A typical fall season would include multiple weekends in California wine country, looking to discover a new vintner or two, but this year has been very different.

I’m so grateful Diora reached out to introduce their wines to me. Grown on the hillsides of the Santa Lucia mountain range, they specialize in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rosé of Pinot Noir. After tasting their wines I was immediately smitten. While the Pinot Noir is silky and luscious, the Rosé is bright with a vibrant acidity. Both would work wonderfully for a Thanksgiving meal.

My husband and I have created a little quarantine routine of enjoying a glass of rosé at the start of a meal and ending the evening with a yummy red and Diora wines are perfect for this.

Here’s a fun little distanced Thanksgiving activity. Everyone can bring their favorite under $30 bottle to their table and share tasting notes with the group – aka why they like it. Doing a remote cheers might not feel quite the same, but you’ll be a lot happier when your friends and family are still around to cheers with you in person next year.

I also love to send wine as a gift. You can get some Diora wines here or find a Diora retailer near you by clicking RIGHT HERE.

Thanksgiving might look and feel quite different this go ’round, but right now it’s important to celebrate anything we can be grateful for. I hope you find ways to make the day feel special for you.


photography by etincelle studio

this post is in collaboration with Diora Wines. all thoughts and opinions are my own. thanks for supporting collaborations that have kept apartment 34’s doors open.

After six months of cooking nearly every meal at home, I’m the first to admit that my rotation of go-to recipes have gotten a little….tired to say the least. I can’t actually tell if my family is more tired of eating them or I’m more tired of making them. But with Covid showing no signs of taking leave and a new season upon us, it’s the ideal time to kick your home cooking repertoire up a notch. I think trying to make even the smallest moments a bit more special is going to help us ride this out.

To assist you in doing that, I have an incredible giveaway all about entertaining. The Weston Table $7.5K Social Grilling Giveaway features the incredible wood-fired OFYR Grill, a bevy of cooking tools and six months of insane goodies – like lobster and wagyu beef – delivered right to your front door. You’re going to want to enter, I promise.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

When experiencing a real life version of Groundhog’s Day, it can be a little challenging to differentiate one moment from another. But I’ve realized if you take a little time to make the effort, you can create joyous memories even in the darkest of times.

Case in point, I don’t know why I waited so long to enjoy oysters during Stay At Home. I won’t be making the same mistake again. So go now, get whatever special treat food you love and enjoy it this instant. There’s a Youtube video on how to do virtually anything (although I won’t sugar coat it – it took more than a hot second to get the hang of shucking oysters). But all good things are truly worth the effort.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

But let’s have a convo about the OFYR Grill. Cooking on the OFYR Grill is entirely new experience – but oh so fun. Since it is wood fired, the OFYR is the perfect addition to your outdoor space as we move into colder weather. It’s a fire pit and grill all rolled into one. And with a grill plate that measures a full 39″ in diameter, it has social distancing built right in! So go ahead, invite members of your pandemic pod over and enjoy an evening outside (with masks of course!).

Inspired by the historically communal nature of cooking, the grill itself has this amazing, deep flat rim that allows for cooking at different temperatures all at once – so you really can whip up a feast. I got really ambitious and made a pot of clams, grilled both oysters and lobster, steak, smashed potatoes, corn on the cob and at the last second threw on other veggies just for fun. I even cooked an eggplant in the open flame! Pro-tip: watch the newest season of Chef’s Table that just came out. It is all about BBQ and fire-based cooking – it’s the ultimate motivator.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Weston Table has been kind enough to offer Apartment34 readers an exclusive $100 OFF the OFYR Grill with the code WTAPT34 at checkout. CLICK HERE to shop.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

Enjoying a meal in your outside space is one of the easiest ways to shake up a monotonous routine. And it doesn’t matter if you have an expansive backyard or a teeny tiny balcony. You can throw down blankets and enjoy a intimate picnic or set a beautiful table. Whatever feels special to you. I like to bring out some nice dishware – something different from what we use everyday – light a few candles and open a bottle of wine to make everything feel a little more fun. Serving butter-soaked lobster tail also helps!

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

While I’ll have to wait to throw my dream backyard BBQ with my OFYR Grill until we can kick this pandemic to the curb, I can already envision the massive party we’re going to have when this is all over. For now, I’m planning on grilling up tasty treats for a few epic at-home date nights. Now for deets on the giveaway!


• OFYR Classic 100 Grill. The winner may choose which color they prefer (Corten or Black)
• OFYR Spatula PRO
• Staub Cast Iron Cookware Package curated for the OFYR Grill including an Oval Fish Pan, 7.5” Round Gratin, Rectangular Tray, 4 Quart Round Cocotte, and 13” Double Handled Fry Pan
• Tournant eCookbook Farm to Fire Cooking with the Seasons
• 6-month subscriptions to Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Subscription Box, the Lobster Shop 6-Month Lobster & Assorted Seafood Subscription Box and Hama Hama 6-Month Oysters Subscription Box (delivered every other month for one year)

ENTER TO WIN: Follow @weston_table on Instagram HERE and sign up HERE to be qualified to win!


And don’t forget, if you can’t wait to find out if you’re the big Weston Table Social Grilling Giveaway winner, I have an exclusive code for $100 off an OFYR Grill and 10% off at WestonTable.com for you. CLICK HERE to shop and be sure to use the code WTAPT34 when you check out.

original photography for apartment34 by andrea posasdas creative

Even though summer months are beginning to wane, most of the tale-tell signs of a shift in seasons – namely schoolgoing back in session – doesn’t look to be happening any time soon. I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided to keep my summer cocktail game strong.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

Thankfully I snagged a Skagerak Trolley to serve as our outdoor bar cart during our yard makeover and I’m definitely putting this pretty little baby to good use. I love the bar cart’s classic modern design, the use of warm (and durable!) teak mixed with powder-coated steel. This version is in this dark forest green but it also comes in white.

But my current go-to summer drink is crazy easy, refreshing, not overly strong. Most importantly it comes together in the few seconds you have before you have to chase a child around your house. If, like me, you need some fresh shelter in place inspiration I hope this helps. I’ll be diving into recipes in the next couple of weeks as well because no matter how much I love crispy rice and carmelized shallot pasta, it’s time to have some new tricks in the bag.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

RECIPE: Simple Summer G&T

85ml tonic
35 ml gin
lemon slices

Directions: Fill a double old fashioned or coupe glass with ice. Pour in the tonic. Top with gin, stir in 3-5 raspberries, and squeeze in a lemon slice to two. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my other go-to summer cocktails. Do you have a summer drink you’d add to the list? Share recipes in comments, please!

The Aperol Spritz

Cucumber Gin Fizz

Apartment 34 Fizz

Grapefruit Margarita 

Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca (virgin)


photography by seth smoot / styling kendra smoot

I have never been much of a baker – sorry no sourdough or banana bread is happening around here right now – and I wouldn’t even say I have much of a sweet tooth, but quartine starts to get to you after a while.

When I saw this cake by my friend and wonderful chef Amanda Frederickson, I knew I had to give it a go. She’s just come out with a fantastic cookbook called Simple Beautiful Food filled with gorgeous but most importantly easy-to-make dishes that you can whip up quickly.

This beauty of a cake’s primary ingredient is olive oil, but the addition of orange adds a lovely subtle flavor. This is the kind of cake you can eat for breakfast. Trust me, I tried it and I think you should too. Continue to scroll for the complete recipe.

orange cake recipe on apartment 34

Orange Olive Oil Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream
adapted from Food 52 recipe 

For the cake:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1 1/2 Tbs. orange zest
• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

For the topping:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 2 Tbs. sugar
• 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, cold

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
In another bowl, combine the olive oil and egg yolks. Whisk well until creamy and emulsified, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg whites, milk, orange zest, orange juice and Grand Marnier and whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. (Cover the top of the cake if it starts to become too brown).
Let the cake cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve the cake, make the mascarpone whipped cream by whipping the cream and sugar (either by hand or using a mixer) until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone cheese and whip until just combined. Place a couple of large dollops of the whipped cream on the center of the cake and garnish with orange zest.
Serve immediately.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

For our entire recipe archive, CLICK HERE. You can see everything I’ve been cooking in quarantine right here.

cake image and recipe courtesy of amanda frederickson, cake slice by moi

If, like me, you’re feeling a little behind the Easter eight ball, (yeah it’s coming up this weekend – I forgot too), you still have time to whip up a fun bunny-fest.

While I wasn’t really planning on doing much for Easter, my girl Cassandra’s Easter tabletop has me inspired to get my act together. This lovely little roasted carrot recipe also looks like it could be a real crowd pleaser.

A Tasty Easter Carrot Dish for Your Little Bunnies on apartment 34

(recipe from Simple Fare by Karen Mordechai)

2.5T olive oil
2.5T maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
6 bunches of baby carrots (about 30 small), scrubbed
25g parsley leaves
Pistachio dukkah

Preheat the oven to 260C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, maple syrup and salt. 
Add the carrots and toss to coat. Spread the carrots in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, top with half of the parsley and bake for 10-12 minutes, watching to ensure that the carrots char but do not burn too much.

Spread the labneh on a platter using the back of a spoon. Rest the carrots atop the labneh and top with dukkah and remaining parsley. Sprinkle with pinch of black salt.

2 ts fine salt
900ml full fat plain goats milk yogurt

Set super fine strainer over a bowl and line with double layer of cheesecloth. Stir the salt into the yogurt and scrap it to prepared strainer. Cover and refrigerate for 24h or until the labneh has reached the desired consistency.

Add a good spring cocktail,a classic deviled egg and maybe our most popular dessert of all time and I’ll call that a good party!

imagery and recipe adaptation by sanda vuckovic

Has the thought of hosting a holiday party ever left you stressing? Same. It can be hard to figure out a good menu, a theme or have something to entertain guests.

Enter fondue! While it might feel like a 70’s throwback, fondue is actually a really fun party activity – and bonus for being ridiculously delicious. But the best part about fondue is its ease. All you need is that tasty cheese, accompanying nibbles, a glass (or two!) of wine and all your friends.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

But let’s start at the beginning. The makings of a stunning holiday fondue party are in fact, incredibly simple.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

It all begins with ready-made fondue from Emmi USA. I used their classic original fondue. Everything to make the perfect fondue is in the box – traditional Swiss cheeses, white wine and Kirsch brandy. Just open the pouch inside, heat and serve!

You can even save and reheat any leftover fondue, but if your party is anything like mine, there won’t be a drop to spare. In fact, ours went so quickly we didn’t even have to use our fondue burner, but if you plan to linger, you definitely want to keep the cheese warmed.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

Next let’s talk about your dippers. Creating dipping boards was almost more fun than my usual cheese and charcuterie boards.

You can get really creative with what dippers you offer. From classic fruits like apples and pears to all kinds of veggies; carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, radishes (with the greens left on for natural dipping handle!), even some frisée. It all tastes great coated in gooey cheese.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

I also like to offer a variety of breads. A good country rustic loaf, pretzel rolls and breadsticks are all fun and offer different textures. To up the protein factor, I also mixed in prosciutto and salami – they both go great with cheese so why not just dip it in some!

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

Some fresh citrus, grapes and herbed nuts are good additional nibbles. Their light and bright notes counter the richness of the cheese. Similarly, a good white wine (I love a vermentino or a dry riesling) but any light white or even a rosé’s acids, will help cut through the yummy cheese.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

There are a few pieces of key fondue etiquette. Your dipper of choice should go into the pot and then actually onto your plate before eating. Your skewer is not your fork. Double dipping is a big no no. And apparently if you lose something in the fondue pot you’ve got to kiss your neighbor!

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

But really, the best part about a fondue party is how interactive and joyful it can be. The holiday season brings enough stress. It’s good to have a night for pure, delicious fun. Emmi Fondu can be found in the deli cheese area at your local grocer or specialty cheese shop. Find it near you at emmiusa.com/locator.

For more holiday recipes & party ideas, CLICK HERE.


original photography for apartment 34 by leslie santarina

This post is in partnership with Emmi USA. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept apartment 34’s doors open.

I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (which I won’t lie, is a bit of a relief), but just because you’re not in charge of the turkey doesn’t mean you’re entirely off the hook. You certainly don’t want to show up to your friends’ or family’s home empty-handed.

Perhaps you’ll bring a side dish to contribute to the meal. And you certainly want to come with a hostess gift. But let’s talk about hostess gifts. Being hostess on the regular, I’ve received a lot of them – some quite better than others! Let’s start with a couple very clear don’ts. No one needs another scented candle. Ever. Same goes for themed tea towels or really any towel for that matter.

While a bottle of wine is always appreciated, it’s not really a gift. It usually just gets thrown into the mix during the holiday meal. I’m rounded up a few hostess gifts below that are meant for your hosts to truly enjoy long after their duties are complete. Some are things they might actually look back at and think of you year after year. Bonus!

So let’s take a look shall we? I hope this might give you a new idea that your hosts will truly appreciate.

If you have a cocktail loving host, a set of really chic whiskey rocks will come in handy – and certainly look cool.

Every host deserves some things to treat themselves – the foodie box from Simone LeBlanc features gourmet olive oil, chocolate, spices and some gorgeous serving utensils – something every good host covets.

Why not bring something for your hosts to enjoy long after guests leave. This chai lovers set will be a tasty treat to enjoy while setting up their tree.

I know I know, I said don’t gift wine, but Franciacorta is different. This special bottle of bubbles is little known & will be highly appreciated.

Even though you can overload on treats this time of year, Daily Harvest’s new plant-based gluten free ready to bake cookie dough is a sweet idea. I’m loving the coconut lemon option!

Flowers are often a typical gift, but trust me, a hostess already has her floral plan in place well before you arrive. Instead, why not show up with a beautiful bud vase with a bloom or two that could be added to an unexpected location like the bathroom?

While I shun a scented candle, stunning candlesticks are always a good idea.

Serve in style with beautifully crafted salad tongs.

Bring something truly unique and unexpected like a set of glass tumblers in a lovely autumnal color. I particularly love the olive or smoke options.



image via here

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