Sarzana Antique Fair

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Every year in August I wait for it…in Sarzana there’s the most wonderful event, the Sarzana Antiques Fair. Sarzana is about a 40 minute drive from our house in the Lunigiana. Sarazana is a quaint medieval town 20 minutes inland from the sea, right before you get to Cararra where the marble is from. Complete with a citadel and duomo, it’s our region’s fun little secret hipster haven. It’s also virtually unknown by tourists. In fact I cringe a little bit letting you all in on my secret happy place. It’s chocked-full of artisan clothing boutiques and antique stores, yummy hip restaurants, and the most charming little bakery/tearoom, Melissa’s (Ill be writing about it in the next blog post, so you will want to come back, and read about it this Thursday). There’s even a hipster barber shop.

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This year I went twice. Once to scout it out. I found a charming hand painted terracotta urn that I have proudly displayed in our front entry. I headed back to find some pieces for the guest quarters and kitchen, and a trunk for the master bedroom.

The stalls under the brightly lit passageways always make me smile. Striped umbrellas and trillions of trinkets catch your eye. It always makes me a little dizzy with anticipation. Oh, and it’s held at night which is a stroke of genius since the August heat can bring upwards of 100 degrees in the shade. It’s the perfect time to have an aperitivo and people watching at the fair is an added plus.

All summer long there are wonderful antiques markets all around the region, but this once-a-year fair is the one I wait for. Now that I have let you in on my little secret, you should think about visiting our region inland from the Riviera. Thirty minutes from the very popular and incredibly over-crowed over-marketed Cinqueterra, there is a treasure trove of quaint towns and beautiful views, amazing hikes and unexpected local cuisine. Adventure awaits you off the beaten path. Start with Sarzana; you won’t be disappointed. You’re welcome. xx

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Italian House Update

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Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update.

We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, “in process.”

Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process."

In the meantime, I am getting used to country life. Our renovation is slowing down in the dog days of summer, and the truth is, I a need a break from the constant banging, drilling and sawing, not to mention the bulldozer which Italian men love to work with. These guys love a bulldozer; they use it for digging, lifting and moving earth. But mostly they like the macho-ness of it all.

I am starting to see the fruits of the garden grow; we enjoyed eggplant and basil on our pizza the other night. It’s so satisfying to be eating out of the garden.

Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process." Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process." Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process."

The main house is comfortable, and the kitchen works like a dream. I have been cooking like crazy. So the country life, the house and the studio are all working like a charm.

We feel like we have breathed life into this ancient fortress; the thick walls are welcoming and protective. When there are not a million construction workers on site, like on the weekends, it’s really quiet and still.

Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process." Well I have lived in our place for 2 months. Time for a house update! We are still waiting for our residency cards, they are, as they say, "in process."

In Italy they say the house finds you, and I truly believe it. I feel quite at home. A sense of calm has washed over me.

We still have a ways to go, but just having this space in the countryside makes me enormously happy. Oh and Vivi likes it too.

I hope you will join us for a retreat someday, so we can show you around the Fortress in person.

xx Annette

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IKEA’s Jassa Collection: A Colorful Bazaar

Ikea's latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It's colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar. Ikea's latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It's colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar.

As you all know, Ikea is one of my stylist’s secrets. It’s a great place to find funky, affordable, and chic items for your home and beyond. I’ve even been known to use Ikea items for photoshoots from time to time.

Ikea’s latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It’s colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar. It just screams outdoor entertaining and summer style.

Ikea's latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It's colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar. Ikea's latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It's colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar. Ikea's latest collection, the Jassa collection, is fantastic. It's colorful, earthy, and bohemian. With all of its punch, it reminds me of a bazaar.

The textiles are bold, and the furniture is so fun. It’s just a little bit vintage, but full of modernity. I just love it all.

Toss the oversized pillows on the floor for additional cozy seating, grab a large basket or two to hold blankets or beach towels around the pool, or plan an dinner party around the royal blue splattered serving wear. Most of all, plan some springtime fun!

xx Annette

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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 Life in Photos, March

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you. This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

As you know, photography is a huge part of my life professionally.

I love teaching workshops about how to style and shoot images.

You can find some of my favorite images popping up a few times a day on my Instagram.

Did you know I have two accounts? You can follow me here and my workshops here.

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my life through my photos.

This month is full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number 2. I hope you log on an follow along as I am a massive over-sharer. LOL

xx Annette

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

In my element. I’m so grateful for the harvest in my kitchen garden.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Our tub arrived from Marrakech and is the talk of the village!

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Antique pavers being laid in the kitchen at the Fortress.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

An extra large charcuterie platter and some cocktails with friends one weekend.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Most March days were spent writing about drinks all day long. Cheers to book 2!

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