The Fortress, Great Press, and More: It’s the Top 4

I know that keeping up with your favorite blogs can be hard. Everyone is busy, and we all are constantly going here and there. Sitting down for some “me” time to catch-up on blogs can be challenging. That’s why this month, I’m starting something new: the top four.

I’ve taken a look at my favorite posts for the month (and yours!) and have rounded them up into one post. You’ll be able to see the best of what March had to offer without having to search through posts on your own. Fun, right?

Top 4 for March:

Hot off the Press: AJS Workshops are Making Headlines

Mood Board for La Fortrezza Decor

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

My Go-To Boots: Spring Wardrobe Update

Let me know if there are any other posts you loved. I always like hearing from you!

xx Annette

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My go to boots :: Spring wardrobe update

 Nothing makes me more excited than handmade shoes, and Poppy Barley's Chelsea Boots had me at hello.

Hey, you all know I am always looking for great travel wear. When I was in LA teaching my Style Photo workshop, one of our attendees had some amazing boots on her feet. She went on to tell us that they were the most comfortable travel boots ever. Truth is that they were beautiful handmade boots from Poppy Barley; you had me at handmade. Poppy Barley is designed in Canada, founded by two sisters, Kendall and Justine Barber.

Nothing makes me more excited than handmade shoes. I was intrigued because my travel wardrobe is crucial since I spend most of my time running through airports. I got lost on their website as they have the most beautifully crafted footwear, but I immediately chose the the Poppy Barley Chelsea Boots. However, I know I will be back to choose some summer kicks, too.

Couple of important facts about Poppy Barley shoes and accessories they are made ethically in León, Mexico, which is often referred to as the “Shoe Capital of the World”. I don’t know about you but it is important to know that products are being produced ethically. Plus their motto speaks to all boss ladies, like me! “We design for kick-ass women who don’t have time for sore feet.”Yes, please.

Nothing makes me more excited than handmade shoes, and Poppy Barley's Chelsea Boots had me at hello.

Add these boots to your spring wardrobe update, you will not regret it. I can’t wait to wear them with a spring dress. Full disclosure: I have not taken them off. They will be on my feet tomorrow as I travel to Italy to check on our renovations.

Follow me and my new boots on IG stories. xx pssst… my boots don’t know it yet, but we will be trekking through Parma Sunday.

*Quick note this leather color will be launching next week.

This is a sponsored post.

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Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy

Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy.

Ciao everyone! As you might know, I am busy outfitting our new home and big renovation project in Tuscany. Last week we were busy flea-marketing, antiquing, and browsing junk stores for goodies for the Fortress. Frank and I were gobsmacked at the progress that has been made on the house thus far.

Phase one should be completed on schedule. Phase one includes: our residence, the photo studio, and wrap-around terrace, and all walkways, a hand cobbled driveway, and parking lot. This will also include refinishing all the stone facing and replacing all the mortar, 3 new roofs, new windows, HVAC, and plumbing for the entire compound.

Phase two will start May 1st and will include all guest rooms including the outbuilding. The rooms will be newly appointed and the commercial kitchen and lounge area will also be built out. We will be enlarging the vineyard, and fingers crossed, putting up our first vintage of Rose this fall. So as you can see, it’s a very all encompassing project.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy. I particularly am in love with cement tiles. We are going to try to use and reuse as much material as we can. It’s the Italian way and honestly, it makes the most sense. All the furniture, with the exception of our bed and the sofa in our living room, are all vintage, antiques, and upcycled. I feel it’s an important mission and something that we believe in strongly.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

I selected a red and white cement tile to surround our new Lacanche French blue range.

Up-Cycled Tiles

These super cool tailored stripes will surround the upcycled trough in the studio.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

So many beautiful tile combinations! I can hardly wait to use these as photo backdrops for our workshops this summer. It’s going to be a beautiful location to create and enjoy. If you’re interested in seeing the Fortress, in person make sure to sign up to join us. Sign up here.

Keep watching our progress on instagram.

xx, Annette

 

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Noah’s Park Joshua Tree

I had an opportunity to visit one of my good friends Mikel at his Joshua Tree weekend retreat while I was in Palm Springs, so I skipped out on Atl Summit and headed to the desert. Joshua Tree has always been on my bucket list, so I got in my rental car and drove an hour out into the middle of nowhere. A dirt road and lots of Joshua trees later, I arrived at Mikel’s amazing home.

After a tour of his house, we headed into town for lunch, but first Mikel wanted to show me Noah’s Park. It’s an outdoor museum: an installation completely constructed of up-cycled materials. Noah Purifoy was truly a visionary man; Noah poured his entire soul into this art installation. I was blown away, and we walked for an hour among each piece of art, exploring interactive displays. Many works fuse architecture and art as the structures are towering.

Noah's Park

The theater is full scale and has a working stage. Many sculptures have messages. It’s an epic experience, full scale and moving, which was the artist’s intention. It’s obvious that Noah had a point of view, and it’s why the experience of walking the installation is so moving. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. In fact, I highly recommend a visit to Joshua Tree. It’s a national treasure, and there is nothing like it. I was not disappointed with the landscape and was happy I opted to skip out on the conference. After all, there’s nothing more fun than playing hooky, especially to enjoy a fantasy afternoon in Noah’s Park with a good friend. Plus I found my new hero, Noah Purifoy!

Noah's Park npportrait

I do not wish to be an artist, I only wish that art enables me to be.

– Noah Purifoy, 1963

Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his 40th birthday, Purifoy earned a BFA degree from Chouinard, now CalArts.

His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi. For the 20 years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change.

In the late 1980s, after 11 years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions, which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.

 

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Homesteading in Joshua Tree

I recently visited a quirky, well-appointed metal house. The Joshua Tree home belongs to my friend Mikel, and needless to say, it's awesome.

The view from the living room is spectacular!

The view from the living room is spectacular!

As most of you know, I recently visited Joshua Tree. Mostly because my dear friend Mikel invited me to tour his home there. He bought a ramshackled metal house in the middle of the dessert. The view sold the house along with the promise of peace and quiet which is something Mikel treasures as a TV producer/developer in Los Angeles; Mikel and I met when I was filming a pilot for HGTV.

The pilot never made it, but our friendship blossomed. We shot my own Bravo pilot a couple of years after meeting, and a creative bond was formed. I wanted to give you a tour of his house. Here’s the cool thing: you can rent this gorgeous location through Airbnb You can also follow the home on instagram.

The gallery wall in the garage, I think I need this in my life.

The gallery wall in the garage, I think I need this in my life.

Mikel has a quirky design sensibility. It’s whimsical and retro and my favorite, irreverently kitsch.

Thanks again Mikel for inviting me to your little piece of heaven, fair warning…I’ll be back! xx

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