I’ve talked before about how motherhood kinda stole my fashion mojo, but as I planned my month long sojourn in Italy, I was determined to inject a little style into my stay. I deemed it my vacay persona – aka not how I dress in day-to-day life, but rather the best vacation version of myself. Being very intentional about what I what I wanted to wear also meant I put a ton of time and planning into packing – so much so that I was able to carry on over three week’s worth of wardrobe. Now that is a travel miracle.

But don’t you worry, I’m going to share exactly how I did it!

How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34

While I usually only wear jeans, I decided Italian summer heat required dresses. Given that they’re a complete outfit all in one, a dress is actually very practical for travel. The last thing you want to do is waste time worrying about putting an outfit together. A dress does all the work for you. This classic button down tank dress was the perfect piece to dress up with a statement earring and heels or dress down with simple sandals. It’s also crazy affordable and I wore it constantly.

How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34

One of my favorite finds for this trip was this two piece look from Apiece Apart. Made from super lightweight poplin, this outfit became my go-to look for wandering the smoldering streets of Rome. I could also swap in a simple white tank top or tee to create three different looks while hardly taking up any precious cargo space.

How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34

I think I would officially live in a linen shift dress. This one is by Rachel Craven. The midi-length and sleeves were ideal for visiting Italian churches where modesty is often required. The sandals are Zara from last year and the bag a good amazon steal! II used zip pouches for essentials like sunglasses, sunscreen and my wallet.

How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 

I scored this sweet linen shirt dress from my friend Em’s new enterprise Encourage Vintage. It reminded of what someone might have worn while shopping the local Italian village’s Sunday market in decades past. I modernized the look with a woven belt bag – my new go-to travel accessory. I have sworn off carrying a bulky bag ever again!

How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34 How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-on on apartment 34

This lace and cotton dress was the perfect mix of drama and complete comfort in the crazy Italian heat. Pairing it with a pair of wrapped sandals (this pair is similar to what I’m wearing) and a cute woven bag offered just the right amount of dressiness I was looking for on this trip.

But now, how did I fit all of this (and more!) into a carry-on?? Becoming a pro packer is actually pretty simple.

Step 1, meticulously plan your outfits. This way you will be sure to not overpack. For 27 days of travel, I created the following packing plan:

  • 8 dresses
  • 2 jumpsuits
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 3 tops
  • 1 set of PJs
  • 1 robe
  • 3 pairs of sandals
  • underwear
  • 3 swimsuits

Combined that created 16 outfits. I simply did laundry throughout the trip or washed my underwear in the sink! I planned to shop if I got really sick of my choices, but I never had to.

Step 2, get yourself some packing cubes stat. Packing cubes are a gift from the travel gods. These little cubes allow you to compress your clothes into the smallest cubic inches possible. This is your primary goal – maximize all the space you have. Additional pro tip – roll your clothes and put them in the cube, rather than fold and stack them. You’re able to fit a lot more in each cube that way.

Step 3, take the time to get all your favorite beauty products in travel size. It made sure I had minis of all my necessities – toothpaste, haircare, skincare, all the things. You can still have all your favorites at the ready SpaceNK was my go-to for hair and makeup. Additional pro tip: there is so much amazing skincare in Europe (and the EU bans 1,328 chemicals from beauty products while the US bans just 30) so instead of weighing your suitcase down, scoop up as many goodies as you can while there.

Step 4, wear all your warmest, bulkiest clothes on the plane. Sneakers, jeans if need be, jacket, sweater, etc. You know it’s going to be freezing anyway.

Step 5, wear your sun hat on the plane too. You can usually find room for it in the overhead bins on international flights as so many people still check their bags.

A few other little tips – look for wrinkle resistant fabrics if you can. Wrinkled dresses drove me a bit crazy, but luckily I could get an iron almost everywhere we stayed (details on that coming next week!). Also avoid synthetic fabrics. I had one poly-blend dress and it made me sweat like crazy! I also packed my belt bags in a large, but light purse that served was my “personal item.” Things like my camera, computer, makeup pouch (I only used make-up items, are you interested in what they were??) and my travel wallet.

If I, a consummate over packer, can be reformed, so can you. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite summer travel essentials below. If you have any failsafe travel or packing tips, please share them in comments. I just booked my next international adventure and I want to do even better on the next trip!

photography for apartment 34 by andrea posadas creative

Happy Monday friends! I hope everyone has been enjoying these first few days of spring. If you don’t mind, I wanted to share something a bit personal with you today. It’s been a bit since I pulled back the curtain on my life. In just a couple short weeks, my son will be turning four. While I feel like I’ve finally gotten a handle on many aspects of motherhood and mom boss life, I’ve continued to struggle with the simple prospect of…getting dressed.

There are a litany of reasons for this. Obviously, I had that tiny human (and also kinda birthed This Old Victorian at the same time). I work from home, often going days without seeing anyone during the day. It also doesn’t help that it took me more than three years to feel like my body has returned to (almost) normal. That definitely makes loving your clothes a lot more difficult.

But prior to pregnancy I loved fashion. Style was kinda my thang (have you ever checked out my old personal style posts, or our old Monday Workwear series?? I still kinda miss that one). But for the past year or two, I’ve looked at my (admittedly fully stocked) closet and have had no idea how to put a decent outfit together! It’s turned into quite a problem.

A Spring Wardrobe Refresh on apartment 34

Let’s face it, we all get in a rut with our closets from time to time.  But I’ve been feeling more stuck than that. My closet was actually becoming an overwhelming source of stress in my life so I just avoided it entirely. My yoga pants were just the easier option. But the easy way out isn’t much fun.

But getting in a style rut doesn’t mean we need to toss out our entire closet and start from scratch. Sometimes we just need a fresh eye to remind ourselves why we bought certain pieces in the first place.Thankfully, my girlfriend and fellow OG  blogger Christine is a professional personal stylist and she recently paid me visit to help me shop my very own wardrobe – and we captured the whole experience on video for you!

A Spring Wardrobe Refresh on apartment 34 A Spring Wardrobe Refresh on apartment 34

Christine takes a very intentional approach to her client work. She helps you reevaluate your current closet and purge what no longer brings you joy. That’s a key step – we rarely evaluate all the clothes we own. It’s truly an eye opening (read terrifying) experience – and is much easier tackled with a buddy to help you through it! Once the clutter is cleared, you finally have enough space to rediscover pieces you love and remember why you bought them in the first place.

Since I no longer have the luxury of taking a lot of time to get ready in the morning, Christine helped me identify my version of a cool mom uniform (sorry silk shirts, I no longer really have any use for you). She then helped me see how to layer back in pieces from my pre-mom life, amping up my style for things like business meetings, date nights and special occasions. Prime takeaway; never underestimate the power of a good pair of heels! Even though I so rarely wear any of my fancy shoes now, I’m glad I’ve held onto all my pretty ponies.

When I took my trip to Scandinavia a couple weeks back I really made a point to diligently wardrobe plan, picking through my closet and selecting the pieces that I felt both stylish but also comfortable in (I have a whole story saved on Instagram about that btw!). As we move into the new season, I’m making a point to plan out my spring wardrobe, selecting all of my go-to looks in advance and adding in a few fun accessories to take things up a notch.

You can check out an example of my spring wardrobe plan below.

A Spring Wardrobe Refresh on apartment 34

SHOP: sneakers / tee / jeans / blazer / necklace / sunnies / sandals / tote / heels 

It’s amazing how much better you feel about yourself when you take that little extra effort to put together a good outfit. Now I feel like I can do that quickly and easily – and I didn’t even have to buy anything new.

To see how Christine helped me shop my own wardrobe – and how you can do it too – watch our video below! Eager to hear if any of you struggle with similar challenges.

To check out Christine’s styling services, CLICK HERE.

To check out how I designed my closet, CLICK HERE. 

photography & video by andrea posadas creative

So I have a little secret. I’ve been carrying it around with me for more than 20 years now. But it’s time I think I finally come clean with you. I have terrible vision. Not just a little bad. Not kinda bad. Like I can’t see six inches in front of my face bad. But after the trauma of getting eyeglasses as a child in the 80’s – they weren’t cute my friends – I swore I’d never wear glasses again. And here I am, decades later still hiding my terrible eyesight with contacts.

But in the intervening years, it turns out eyeglasses have gotten way cuter, way less expensive and much less of a pain to get. Case in point, Zenni. Since discovering this amazing site, you can consider me a glasses convert!

Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34

Cute right?! I’ve always been convinced I just can’t look good in glasses, but Zenni has the largest collection of affordable glasses online. And their website has the coolest technology – you can upload a picture of yourself and actually preview what a pair of glasses will look like on your own face! So genius. After taking Zenni’s quiz to determine the ideal frames for my face shape, I flipped through a million styles, from ultra modern to uber hipster before settling on these cute round tortoiseshell frames in a chestnut hue. And I love them! I consider it an eyeglasses miracle.

Ordering my glasses through Zenni was so super easy too. It’s key that any glasses I wear fit and are well made cuz I really really need them to see. To order from Zenni, I simply inputed the prescription numbers my eye doctor emailed me, selected my picture perfect frames, and then I got to add a variety of the bells and whistles Zenni offers – every pair of their glasses come with a UV protection and an anti-scratch coating, but I nearly decided to get lenses that convert into sunglasses! Maybe on the next pair. The frames arrived at my door with their own case and cleaning cloth and I’m really impressed with the fit. These frames are super light and super comfortable. Nothing reminiscent of my childhood glasses nightmare.

What do you think? So good right?? I’m so feeling this new glasses look that I decided I needed to do a little shopping for a fresh fall outfit to highlight them.

Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34

Thankfully, just down the block from my favorite co-working space, the Assembly, (you caught my tour of it right??) sits one of another San Francisco gem – the concept boutique called Le Point. They carry super unique pieces, hard to find brands and local Bay Area designers. Plus the store is just real purdy. Added bonus.

Le Point boutique in San Francisco on apartment 34Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34

While I usually associate wearing glasses with hiding at home in my pjs, there’s something about these frames that make me want to dress a little smarter. A chic sweater. Maybe a midi-dress. Or a really really good coat. Ready to do some serious business.

Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34 Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34

I was loving how the warm caramel of the sweater played up my tortoiseshell frames and the balloon sleeve offered an interesting detail. I think I’d pair them with my favorite high waisted black culottes and a patent leather slide.

Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34 Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34Le Point boutique in San Francsico on apartment 34Why My Eyeglasses are My New Favorite Fall Accessory on apartment 34

I had so much fun day-dreaming about new looks in which to strut my new glasses-wearing style. Are you thinking I should add that yummy brown sweater to my options? Zenni’s eyewear selection if so affordable and they offer so many varying styles, I’m actually considering picking up another pair or two to create a whole slew of new fall looks! Do I hear a second?

For more fall style inspiration, CLICK HERE.

 

original photography for apartment 34 by andrea posadas

This post is a paid collaboration with Zenni. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations that we’re excited about and that keep Apt34’s doors open.

While my personal style posts have been much fewer and farther between (thanks, motherhood and late 30s) this post from a few years back is a look I’d still gladly rock today (though I admit, the heels would probably be traded out for flats). But even years later, I’m loving this look and thinking I need to recreate this fall style when I’m back from Kauai!

As fall officially creeps up on us,  it’s time to break out your favorite cool-weather pieces. But as I sifted through my sea of dark jeans, black coats, and cream sweaters, things were looking a little too…shall I say predictable? Truth is, I’ve been dying to push my boundaries and try the new hot hue in town: oxblood.

Oxblood, maroon, wine, whatever you like to call it, it is technically not a neutral, but I’m here to convince you that it’s an incredibly wearable color that you’re going to want to get your hands on this season. I can attest, you’ll want to wear it with everything.

Old-Navy-October-1fall style on apartment 34

When looking to make my first wine-colored purchase, I was thrilled when I came across oxblood waxed skinny jeans. Talk about an upgrade from your basic denim. These have just the right amount of sheen and their extra stretch makes sure they hug in all of the right places, making a super chic foundation for a sophisticated fall look.

fall style on apartment 34

I liked the idea of pairing the oxblood with another great neutral: navy. The two dark colors together make a killer team. They have a similar depth of tone and a richness that really compliment each other well. There’s no harsh break for the eye, just one smooth color-blocked palette. And you know me, I love a good turtleneck.

fall style on apartment 34fall style on apartment 34

And of course, you have to top off the quintessential fall ensemble with a great coat. A classic peacoat shape, lush plaid pat, ern and fabric like tweed or harringbone will bring in texture and add a shot of sophistication to your style. Try the streetstyle du jour – draping it on your shoulders (no longer du jour, but I still do it all the time!) The architectural lines of a draped coat compliment the skinnies and make your stems appear to go on for days.

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get the look: oxblood skinny jeans // tweed coat // satchel // pointed toe d’orsay pump // navy turtleneck // sunglasses 

It’s official, oxblood is my new “neutral” this season. It’s totally breaking me out of my comfort zone and dare I say, I really like it! Who knew I would be turning my back on basic black and opting for a little punch of color this fall.

Now the question is, will you?

 

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original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick 

So it’s taken two years since becoming a mom, but I think I’ve finally got my style mojo back! I actually want to wear real outfits again (aka just say no to anything with stretch). We’re also finally enjoying some real summer weather in San Francisco this week, so I thought it high time I share a style post. It has only been six months since my last one

diaper bag essentials on apartment 34

I am all about the wide-leg cropped jean at the moment. Yes, I hated them when the style first broke through, but I’ve come around and now have multiple pairs! It’s such a relief to say ta-ta to skinny jeans. The wide leg is much more flattering, not to mention more comfortable to wear. When cropped at the ankle, they pair perfectly with a fun summer heel. I’m obsessed with my pair of cream Rachel Comey jeans. I have a feeling I’m going to live in them this summer.

diaper bag essentials on apartment 34

I’ve also succumbed to the other summer trend I’m seeing everywhere  – the round woven bag. It is a really fun, graphic shape. It also kinda makes you feel like you’re on vacation on a random Tuesday in the city. The biggest coup though? I didn’t spend hundreds on mine. I found an authentic French bag on Etsy for $40! But just because I’m doing my best to not dress “like a mom,” that doesn’t mean I’m not prepared at all times. I’ve made it my mission to ditch the diaper bag, even while I carry all my mama-essentials. My secret is pouches. They’re the perfect way to keep everything  tightly organized and easy to grab, no matter what bag I’m carrying.

diaper bag essentials on apartment 34

After a couple of years at this mama game now, I’ve realized I don’t need to be over prepared all the time. So I’ve ditched the diapers for days, extra outfits and random toys. I’ve whittled things down to the supplies absolutely necessary for daily survival. This includes a couple diapers, a travel pack of wipes and diaper rash cream to take care of changing needs. An emergency pacifier helps ward off meltdowns. I carry travel packs of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to wipe down those questionable tables, shopping carts and communal toys at the park because I swear my kid always gets a cold after too many days in a row at the playground! My other secret weapon is the Clorox Bleach Pen. I love cream and white too much to avoid it anymore – especially in summer – so this is my solution for tiny fingerprints on my pants.

diaper bag essentials on apartment 34diaper bag essentials on apartment 34diaper bag essentials on apartment 34diaper bag essentials on apartment 34

shop the look: the podolls hammok top / rachel comey wide leg jeans / cage sandals (similar) / woven round bag / clare vivier zip pouch / clorox disinfecting wipes / clorox bleach pen / lip gloss / diaper cream / hand sanitizer 

It’s amazing to travel a little lighter and certainly look a bit spiffier (does anyone say that anymore?? No? It’s just me?) these days. I think I’m going to try this real outfit thing more often.

 

For my personal style archive, CLICK HERE.

For more of my favorite mama essentials, CLICK HERE

 

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original photography by andrea posadas

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

After nearly 10 years of blogging, one of the biggest challenges is coming up with ideas! It can start to feel like you’ve talked about everything there is to talk about. And you keep seeing the same images on Pinterest. And everyone has already written everything there is to say about the Pantone Color of the Year. What’s left?!

When creative roadblocks strike, I like head out – as far away from the depths of the internet as I can get. One of my favorite places to go for new ideas are the streets of San Francisco. Sure, I could run to the new MOMA, head to the design district or wander past the architectural wonders of Pacific Heights, but there are in fact, hidden pockets of inspiration everywhere you look. You just have to be able to find them. So I thought I’d take you along on one my inspiration hunts – and have a little fun while out and about.

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San Francisco is full of inspiration; colors, textures, art, architecture. But when you’re stuck behind the wheel of your car, it can be hard to keep your eyes open for hidden gems.

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It was while wandering around the Mission that I spied this pretty little corner. The sherbet hues and that rich luscious greenery caught my eye and got my brain whirring with fresh color palette ideas. It also inspired me to get up close and personal with plants – that I can’t explain quite as easily. But I digress.

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Then there’s Balmy Alley – one you’re almost certain to miss unless you have the luxury of keeping an eye out. The block long alley is the best place to see the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco. Each building along this carless gem is filled with community art. The murals began in the mid-80’s. Some murals offer political messages, some depict moments in history, others are just simple bursts of beauty. But a stroll down this tiny street reminds you to search for the unexpected and appreciate self-expression. The alley reminded me to look at things from new perspectives. Simply examining a problem from an unexpected angle can reveal solutions you’ve never considered.

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A new favorite inspiration destination is the Minnesota Street Project. Recently opened in San Francisco’s historic Dogpatch district, Minnesota Street Project offers affordable and economically sustainable spaces for art galleries, artists and related nonprofits. But you don’t even have to step foot into one of the spaces’s 10 galleries (which are open to the public and totally free) to be inspired. 1275 Minnesota Street features a massive open plan atrium that includes exposed steel beams, polished concrete floors and oak bleacher seating. And crazy good light. Did I mention that? I love simply taking a stroll through the vast open space. It’s like the opposite of Balmy Alley. Devoid of color. Minimal, striped down to the essentials. A visit often reminds me to not over complicate things.

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A day spent soaking up fresh inspiration requires sufficient caffeination. It’s helpful that my favorite little coffee shop offers design inspiration unto itself. Tucked a short jaunt away from Minnesota Street Project, in an even lesser-known part of San Francisco sits The Den. The corner cafe is in fact attached to famed San Francisco bakery Craftsmen & Wolves’ commercial baking space. But I love that CAW has chosen to make its tiniest space into a precious jewel. Artist (and friend!) Heather Day took her art large scale with a stunning mural that stretches from wall to wall and up onto the ceiling. It’s the perfect place to grab a jolt of inspiration, a damn fine cappuccino and a Rebel Within (if you don’t what that is, you need to find out immediately).

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When I spend an afternoon away from my computer and out in the city, the limited world view served up on places like Pinterest and Instagram become the furthest things from my mind. Instead, I find myself clearer headed, more energized and excited to sit back down to my keyboard, determined to share something new with you.

I’m curious, what do you like to do to break out of a rut?

 

For more of my favorite finds in San Francisco, CLICK HERE

 

original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is how this city celebrates the holidays. This town goes all out. Nearly every street glows with twinkle lights. Christmas trees shine in row house windows. And when you get downtown it’s like a holiday wonderland. Skyscrapers are all outlined in red and green. There are giant Christmas trees on nearly every corner and shop windows are decorated to the nines. You can’t help but get in the holiday spirit.

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But the getting downtown part can be a real problem. A couple of years ago, we actually tried to do a day of Christmas shopping, but after sitting in gridlock motionless for 45 solid minutes, we simply turned around and headed home. This year however, I was determined to soak in the holiday atmosphere. Online shopping just doesn’t quite do it. Thankfully, I could turn to Uber to make the experience much less painful!

Rather than worry about traffic, circle endlessly for parking, I simply hopped in an Uber. I love UberX – it’s super affordable and there’s usually one available with very little wait. The busy holiday roads were no big deal since I could blissfully do email while someone else worried about the road ahead.

I headed to Ghiradelli Square first. What was once a total tourist trap has been revitalized with locals in mind. There’s some great food including a spot by celeb chef Jonathan Waxman and wine tasting rooms including one of my favorites, Bluxome Street Wines. And of course you can still pick up tons of Ghiradelli chocolate for all your stocking stuffer needs.

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what I’m wearing: isabel marant jacket / levis redone jeans / freda salvador boots / jumbo scarf / celine box bag 

When I was done I just used my Uber app to grab a car to my next destination – Maiden Lane off of Union Square in the heart of downtown San Francisco. I love that I didn’t have to hunt for parking or worry about leaving gifts in my car.

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Maiden Lane is a hidden gem right off Union Square. A pedestrian-only, tree lined lane allows you to escape the crowds of downtown San Francisco’s main shopping arterials. Filled mall boutiques and specialty shops and cute cafe seating it’s the perfect place to find something special.

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An afternoon of soaking up the festive sights and sounds of city makes it impossible to deny the magic of the holidays. I’m so excited to impart that feeling to my little kiddo this season. He’s just old enough to really begin to understand it all. And there’s really nothing better than the holidays then through the eyes of a child. I’m just thankful I could experience it stress free thanks to Uber.

photography by ashley batz

this post is in partnership with uber. all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and have kept apartment 34’s doors open.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve talked about fashion around here. It’s probably because I’ve been running around so much lately I haven’t had time to get out of my yoga pants. I’ve become that mom. It’s sad, I know. But no more. We’ve hit December and I’m ready to get out. Window shop. Shop shop. Look at Christmas lights. Drink pumpkin spice things.

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This look is officially my December uniform. It’s the easiest outfit to have on repeat. It all starts with that killer coat. A funnel neck. A wrapped silhouette. It’s not just something  you use to stay warm. The coat is the key of the entire ensemble. Everyone should have a such a coat in their arsenal.

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Ankle length jeans, with relaxed fit are my new obsession. You’ll never need to wear to skinnies again. Ankle boots – in black, with teeny tiny heel. My winter staple. Then throw on a button-up shirt with sleeves long enough to peek out of your coat’s cuff. That’s the little style detail that takes the look to the next level.

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The topper? A baseball hat! It’s a genius move. A baseball hat protects from winter winds and eliminates the need for regular shampoos. Score.

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This outfit is equal parts bad ass and pulled together. Exactly what a frazzled mama needs during the holiday season. So go out there and conquer the most wonderful time of year in style.

GET THE LOOK

‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year! No, not that holiday with all the presents. Sure that one is fun and all. But Thanksgiving has long been my favorite annual gathering because it’s a food lovers holiday. Thanksgiving offers the chance to indulge in all my favorite things; time with the people I love and care about, amazing food, delicious drinks and gorgeous tables. I don’t know about you, but I feel particularly ready to pause and take stock of what I’m thankful for this year. I recently had the chance to celebrate Friendsgiving (because when you can do Thanksgiving more than once you should!) and am so thrilled to get to share it with you today.

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This Friendsgiving gathered some of my favorite San Francisco bloggers including Caitlin, Jeanne, Erica, Todd, Amanda, Nichole and Therese. We all came together in this beautiful setting, everyone contributing something to the scene. With this many talented people in one room, I was confident every detail was going to be on point. The day certainly lived up to expectations.

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Caitlin was in charge of setting the table. I love how her rustic chic tablescape came together. Vintage brass, simple florals and touches of green in apothecary bottles made the table feel light and airy, but still festive. Mismatched antique silver and a collection of vintage glassware kept things from feeling stuffy. The layers, the textures, the colors. Everything was spot on. Erica added a personal touch with lovely placecards. She created a little bouquet wrapped with twine and a personalized tag written in calligraphy to sit atop each napkin –  such an elegant touch is perfect for a holiday. When the food was added, the wine poured and the candles lit, the table came alive with color and warmth.

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Of course it wouldn’t be a proper holiday without a celebratory outfit. We all partnered with Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy to find the perfect looks. The best part of a Friendsgiving is the come-as-you-are vibe. There’s no pretense with friends. No one you need impress. You can simply be you. My look – a classic pair of dark jeans, a cashmere sweater, a brocade jacket and a statement making heel – made me feel like a million bucks. Exactly what this mama needed! You can create a similar look right now because you can save 40% off everything at Banana Republic and Gap and Old Navy (well through TODAY so shop fast!). Just be sure to use the code FRIENDS at checkout. You can get all the details about my outfit here and everything I’m wearing (along with a few extra faves) are at the bottom of the post.

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I was asked to contribute the cheese plates for the day’s festivities. I have a bit of a proclivity for them (as this post and this post attest!) There is no real secret to creating a good cheese plate. I love to offer a lot of variety, a lot of color, texture and something unexpected. For these cheese plates I found fresh Moroccan dates – those bright yellow things – that were indeed edible and certainly unique. A mix of crusty bread and herbed crackers allow guests to mix and match flavors to their hearts’ content. Some beautiful concord grapes, figs and olives offer a nice mix of salty and sweet.

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Of course it is fun to set a beautiful scene and feel ready to celebrate, but I really love the sentiment of the Cesar Chavez quote that Caitlin had made into a wall hanging:

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart

Rather than get caught up in the rush this season, I want to make a point to sit down and break bread with my friends, my family – any and everyone I care about. Because ultimately it is those connections, that friendship and that love between people that matter most – no matter the time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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For more Thanksgiving table inspiration CLICK HERE

For my favorite Thanksgiving recipes CLICK HERE

For seasonal cocktail ideas CLICK HERE

set design by caitlin flemming / photography by delbarr moradi / food by jessica robertson / props from elsie green

this post is in partnership with Old Navy. 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.

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