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Holiday Tips

With Rose Apodaca from A+R


Holiday hosting is *officially* in full swing. Luckily, we were able to sit down with Rose Apodaca from A+R to discuss recipes, hosting gifts and all the things you need for a successful dinner party. Not only were we able to get to know her heritage better and how that has impacted her design style, but we also got to hear her expert tips on setting a memorable holiday tablescape that will be equal parts chic and festive. 

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Where are you from? Where is your families’ origins / roots? 

I was born in Madrid, but became a California girl at 6 months old. My mother is from a suburb of the Spanish capitol, and my father hails from New Mexico—Land of the Apodacas! The last name reaches back some 14 generations or more there. I grew up deep in both cultures, and the substance of any party depended on whose side of the family invaded our home. We’d host multiple parties through the Christmas season! My parents loved to entertain, so parties were a central part of my upbringing—from prep to hosting to clean up.

How do your roots lend themselves to your hosting style?

Our credo could be “mi casa es su casa.” We always welcomed guests with a hug, ensured they were quickly served a drink, and fed them delicious food. Our parties were lively with music and dancing and conversation and laughs. The Spanish are a gregarious bunch. We had a piano, and my sister also plays guitar and sings. Family and friends played flamenco guitar. So continuing the warm welcome, the drinks and food and the music and fun come naturally to me now. I don’t stress the details because I embrace the details as part of the good times. Growing up, it was fun readying for these ocassions. And that remains central to me now, too. Hopefully, my daughter’s catching on!

Is there a recipe that best represents your culture / tradition?  

I wish I could say there is! I suppose a go-to is tortilla de patata, a thick pie-like tapa made from eggs, potatoes, onions and olive oil and sliced like a pie. It takes some practice to perfect it and, suffice it to say, I make a pretty, gorgeous golden one, if I do say so.

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What's your #1 rule when having guests in your home?  

I don’t know if this is so much a rule as a mission: that they feel welcome. That means, they are comfortable, quenched and fed, and—hopefully—glad they bothered to leave home to be in my home.

What details do you like to add to make a dinner party truly memorable? 

For a dinner party, it does come down to the details: flattering candlelight and dim electrics; cloth napkins (and inexpensive cotton ones are out there); spotless glasses; appropriate music (both in terms of rhythm and sound level), making an effort in dress. I love a theme, so I may add unexpected items from around the house on the table. At this time of the year, it might be the sand timers to mark the passing of the year, or a holly leaf and twine around the napkin. A designated cocktail/mocktail to serve upon arrival is also a must. None of this requires much of an investment. Even if it’s a mish mash of crystal goblets and high balls and vintage napkins from a flea market, that is still more thoughtfully interesting than plastic cups.

When it comes to a host / hostess gift- what do you suggest?

A bottle of bubbly is always welcome at my place! But I also love to arrive with a favorite book, be it used or an old release, simply wrapped in brown paper and twine. I keep a drawer of post cards I pick up on my travels, and I’ll scribble my reasons for gifting the particular book. Of course, also topping the list? A thank-you, post event, is required. It doesn’t take long to knock one out with pen and postcard or via Paperless Post. And it means so much.

01. Kinto Plates 02. A+R Barcart 03. Bel Kazan Serving Trays 04. A+R Wine Goblets 05. A+R Candle Holders 06. A+R Marble Table

Regardless of your tablescape, we hope you enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. If you do take Rose’s advice, then just know that your table will simply never look better. Happy holidays!