Meet the La Fortezza Wedding Team:: Kim Cheney

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Today I’m introducing you to our talented stateside wedding liaison, Kim Cheney of August Floral and Event Design.

As we launch weddings at La Fortezza, I thought it was important for you to meet the amazing team that will be carrying out all of the details. Here’s a little bit more about Kim:

I can’t remember exactly where Kim and I met; I think I approached her at a restaurant many years ago in Atlanta. She had a great fashion flair, and I knew she owned a very stylish vintage home store at the time. I felt compelled to know her. I was working with the Michael C. Carlos Museum on an event and needed artisans to design table-scapes for an event. I think I said something like, “You’re an artist.” Kim has always been very humble, and I think she was a little surprised by my straight forwardness, or maybe she thought I was crazy. Whatever the case, she looked up at me and said, “NO”, I said “YES! You need to design a table for us.”

She agreed maybe because she was a little scared of me. I would like to think she was just up for a challenge. The important part is that she agreed, and she did an amazing job. I hired Kim to design and install another huge event for me, and the rest is as they say is history. It was a new friendship and a new passion that would turn into an incredible business. I like to think I had a little something to do with her path. But mostly, Kim is one of the most visionary and talented hard working boss ladies I know. I am honored to call her a friend, and thrilled she’s agreed to help us with our weddings at La Fortezza. She is the best of the best. That’s the truth. I trust her implicitly. I am beyond thrilled to have her working with us. Get to know her below. x

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Q: What is your wedding expertise? How long have you been a part of the wedding industry?

A:  I have been part of the industry for 11 years. I started in Atlanta as the floral director for 2 large design companies. In the spring of 2015, I moved to Savannah and opened August. I am a member of Chapel Designers. I have built a studio on my property where I live with my husband Dale and my giant Goldendoodle, Grits.

Q: What is your role when it comes to weddings at La Fortezza?

A: We are primarily a floral design company, but I hope to lend support to the wedding planner with design aspects of the event. Whether that be linens, place settings, paper products or ensuring the entire party is cohesive is crucial to a successful design.

Q: Why does La Fortezza make an exquisite wedding venue?

A:  The fortress is stunning! It has several fantastic spots to have the vow exchange…including an on-property vineyard!  Being in the mountainous region provides breathtaking views and awe inspiring sunsets. The effortless elegance of the property lends itself to boho, adventurous couples. The layout of the property allows for guests to stay and eat and drink and celebrate in one spot. It has a charming little “downtown” area and is close to the west shore of Italy where attendees can venture out for day trips.

Q: Why should someone consider planning an Italian destination wedding?

A: If the couple enjoys adventure and travel and the size of their wedding guest list is on the smaller side, Italy is perfect. Italy is wildly romantic! The food is AMAZING! And lastly I believe that travel is important in this day and age. I think it opens the mind to new people, experiences and culture diversity that is transformative.

Q: What is your favorite part of a wedding day?

A: I love when the couple first lays eyes on the designed space. I always make sure I am there to help walk them into the reception. They are at their happiest because they have just been married and now it is time to have fun!

Q: How do flowers set the tone for a wedding?

A: Flowers can be very emotional for people. They are the living element of the design. They can elevate anything! They soften hard surfaces; they provide a focal point, and their beauty adds to the importance of the day.

Q: What is your number one piece of advice for brides?

A: Trust the professionals you have hired! They are there to relieve all the stress of the day, so you can focus on the  most important part…sharing the love of your life partner with those closest to you.

If your dream is to have your wedding in Italy, I’d love to hear from you. Email me directly at annette@annettejosephstyle.com for more information!

xx Annette

Photos by Pictory Productions

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My Pesto Recipe:: Spread it on anything!

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fullsizeoutput_6184 For a quick weeknight dinner last week, I made my first pesto batch of the season. I often say pesto is my version of peanut butter because I can spread it on anything.

If you follow along on Instagram, you probably saw me post a few stories about this easy pesto recipe. It’s a family favorite that I found in the New York Times while living in NYC. It’s originally a Silver Palate recipe, and it’s been one of my go-to meals ever since. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been cooking it for years.

Pesto is a pantry staple in my house, and I almost always make my own because it’s so easy. If you do want to buy a prepared version, I like the Cibo brand from While Foods.

When I made dinner last week, I was reminded of this awesome recipe and knew I had to share it with all of you again, along with this video of my pesto recipe process. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Pesto Recipe
serves 6-8

You will need:
– 4 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 3 large bunches)
– ¾ cup olive oil
– ½ cup pine nuts
– 4 garlic cloves
– ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + 4 tablespoons for the garnish
– 1-teaspoon coarse kosher salt

To prepare:
Combine basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil leaves.

After blending, pour oil into the mixture and blend until smooth.

This can be made 1 day ahead. Stored in a sealed jar, it can last 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

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Squash and Pesto Tortellini 
serves 8

You will need:
– 3 yellow squash cut into cubes
– 3 cloves garlic minced
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 16 oz. box tortellini pasta , either dried or fresh work great
– 1 cup toasted pine nuts
– 1 cup pesto
– 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper

To prepare:
In a large skillet add minced garlic, olive oil and cubed squash. Saute until the squash is golden brown. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta water then drain. In a large serving bowl add the cooked squash, the pesto and toasted nuts, 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, the pasta, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix throughly and serve with extra grated cheese.

 

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Why you should bring your Mom to a La Fortezza Workshop

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Mother Daughter Truffle hunting excursion

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These sisters brought their Mom to paint with Steve. It was on the bucket list, and they ticked it off the list last year.

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Enjoying the sunshine with a picnic in the olive groves

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Hiking and photography with Emily in the hills above.

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Pasta making lessons in our commercial kitchen.

It’s been brought to my attention that we have a lot of mothers and daughters that join us on our workshops and retreats. I had never thought about it before, but I was chatting with someone about bringing her Mom to our Steve Mckenzie’s Artist in Residence Program in July. I realized how many Moms and daughters had joined us in Italy over the years. There are lots of benefits to traveling with your Mom according to Psychology Today:

“Travel, in and of itself, offers a chance to get outside of our normal, everyday self. When two women who’ve known each other as long or as intimately as a mother and daughter have head out together, they are able to shake off the cobwebs from home as they stir up the dust of adventure down a new path.” 

La Fortezza seems like the perfect place to enjoy some down time with your Mom or your daughter all while learning how to cook Italian foods, visiting our secret places like flea markets and beautiful open air markets in chic destinations and painting lessons in the Italian countryside.

Mother daughter vacations seem to be our thing, and I could not be more thrilled. Book an adventure today and make some amazing memories with your beloved Mom or daughter and bring your sister along as well. You won’t regret it. I am hoping this is a something La Fortezza Workshops and Retreats become known for during the coming years. Encouraging generations of women to explore together is a mission I am focused on. We would love to welcome you and your Mom daughter or sister, head to the site and grab your spots. NOTE* If your Mom is not participating in the workshop you will get special pricing, email me for details before you check out to save.

xx Annette

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January 2019 AmericasMart Recap

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Design Legacy

If you follow along with my Instagram feed, you know that I participated in the Shop the Show program for the first time during the January Atlanta Market at AmericasMart. I also taught my 5th styling workshop, Styling like a Pro. It’s my absolute favorite place to shop. As a prop stylist, it’s my happy place.

A little about the workshop: It always sells out within the 1 day of it becoming available, so for future events, I suggested that they add another. Perhaps a masterclass for those that have taken my first workshop in the past. If you think it’s good idea, please leave a message for me below, so I can share it with the team.

A bit about the AmericasMart team: I work with lots of folks and have over the years, but I think I can easily say this is one of the best teams I have ever worked with. They truly rival the team at the Today Show. They run the team like a military operation. They are all incredibly precise, great communicators, and fun. It’s safe to say I love working with each and every one of them. Of course, in addition to being wonderful peers, I now consider them all friends. So not only is the mart my happy place because of all the gorgeous wares, but the people I work with there are a delight. The Shop the Show team was also wonderful to work with (and mainly socialize with). What a wonderful experience – maybe my favorite AmericasMart to date!

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Shop the Show Team

Here are some of the products that caught my eye this time around:

Bobo Intriguing Objects

Mackenzie Childs

Thanks to all the made my experience amazing: to the Accent Decor showroom that made my Cocktail Italiano book signing event incredible, and to Vietri for making the Aperitivo event so special.  What fun! xx

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Guest Post from Yaniv Cohen:: Let’s talk about spices

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You are going to love our guest contributor today…Yaniv aka The Spice Detective. Yaniv and I met through mutual friends in Mykonos about 10 years ago. He was working as partner in a big Miami/NY catering company, and obviously we had tons in common, food events, you get the picture. We hit it off like a house on fire. Over the years, he has continued to build his company. We have kept in touch, and a few years ago Yaniv starting sharing his healthy recipes and his healing spice philosophies. I was hooked. I loved the idea and the shift in focus he had. I was impressed. So that is why I wanted to have him share his knowledge with you in a post for Juice January, and lucky for me, he agreed. Thank you Yaniv! xx I have a feeling this will not be your last time on my blog sharing amazing, healing and delicious recipes.

Take it away Yaniv…

Let’s talk about spices…and health. Many of you might not be aware of the incredible power of spices…

So what are spices? A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.

Have you ever wondered why steamy, humid hot climate regions typically have the spiciest cuisines? And why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates? Think about India, north Africa and Thailand  for instance. The answer is simple: spices have powerful antimicrobial properties which helps preserve food and meats in regions around of the globe that have more infectious diseases due to the climate conditions.

But spices are more than just antimicrobial powders. Spices contain anti-inflammatory agents. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, too. So for your next meal, sprinkle more spices on your vegetables, meats, fish, desserts and drinks.

If you need ideas, information, and recipes I invite you to get inspired by following me, The Spice Detective, on Instagram and join me on the spice trail.

Since there is so much to say about spices, and not nearly enough time to do so, I selected one of my favorites, turmeric, to share with you today.

Turmeric is a spice that’s no longer an enigma. From its amber color and its earthy aroma to its unique medicinal properties, it’s easy to see why this golden yellow powder rightly earned the title of the spice that heals. Known as the anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric is one of the most scientifically researched spices to date—with a history that goes back as far as thousands of years. Not only does it bring color and flavor to a bowl of white rice, but it actually acts as a one stop shop for your entire medicine cabinet.

Here is an easy yet delicious recipe  to combine my beloved cauliflower with my favorite spice, turmeric. Cauliflower is finally becoming more popular in American cuisine. It is healthy, delicious, versatile and beautiful. This recipe produces a gorgeous side dish that deserves to be a star on any dinner table. In addition, this is what I’d like to call easy, breezy, lemon squeezy! Simple to make, delicious to taste and healthy to no end!

 Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
 serves 2-4

 You will need:
– 6 qt (6 l) water
– 2 tbsp (30 g) turmeric
– 3 tbsp (45 g) salt, plus extra, to taste
– 1 whole cauliflower
– 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
– Pepper, to taste
– Few thyme springs
– Tahini for serving (optional)
– Cilantro chutney (optional)

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

In a large pot, bring the water, turmeric and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and carefully add the whole cauliflower. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not falling apart.

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over it, sprinkle the thyme and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cauliflower is lightly charred. Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate. Serve drizzle tahini and cilantro chutney and serve.

For the Cilantro Chutney

You will need:
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 2 bunches cilantro
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 jalapeno
– cumin, salt, and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix two bunches of cilantro, 4 garlic cloves and one jalapeno in a food proceed and work until finely chopped.

Place in a mixing bowl, add half a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of cumin and mix well.

For Tahini

You will need:
– 1 cup tahini
– 1 cup water
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix one cup of raw tahini with one cup of water , 2 tablespoons of lemon juice salt and pepper to taste and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a mixing bowl. Whip thoroughly for 10 minutes until smooth tahini forms. If too thick, add little more water and whip again.

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