My Life in Photos, September

It’s hard to believe that earlier this week, I wrapped-up an incredible summer in Italy. My first at La Fortezza, it was unforgettable in so many ways.

September was nearly as busy as the rest of the summer, but I found a little more time for relaxing with friends and visitors while exploring the region on my own or with Frank. I arrived back in the States on Monday and have been recovering from jet lag which is a very very real thing.

In the spirit of reminiscing, I wanted to look back at my photos throughout September. For those of you who follow along, this will be a trip through September’s memory lane. For those of you who don’t, enjoy these photos from my last summer month in Italy.

We’ve got some exciting things up our sleeves for October…including opening next summer’s workshops. Join my mailing list to get first dibs. In the meantime, a few inspirational photos to get you in the mood to come along.

Just another magic Monday.

Just another magic Monday.

Gorgeous birthday bouquet thanks to my rose garden and Forrest Spears for the sunflowers.

Gorgeous birthday bouquet thanks to my rose garden and Forrest Spears for the sunflowers.

Today was a good day! This is the first harvest since we've owned the house. I'm so excited!

Today was a good day! This is the first harvest since we’ve owned the house. I’m so excited!

Next to last weekend here. Fall is definitely making an appearance, too. What an incredible indescribable summer it has been!

Next to last weekend here. Fall is definitely making an appearance, too. What an incredible indescribable summer it has been!

Did I mention that I'm having a love affair with bistecca? Full disclosure: we always have it for our farewell dinner for our workshops...well because I love it, and it's Tuscany after all...and of course it goes great with our red wine!

Did I mention that I’m having a love affair with bistecca? Full disclosure: we always have it for our farewell dinner for our workshops…well because I love it, and it’s Tuscany after all…and of course it goes great with our red wine!

Parma is pretty! I've spent so much time in Parma this year! It's my new city in our new location. As I count down to summer's end, I will be reminiscing about the summer here...

Parma is pretty! I’ve spent so much time in Parma this year! It’s my new city in our new location. As I count down to summer’s end, I will be reminiscing about the summer here…

Afternoon light...I'm really going to miss this place.

Afternoon light…I’m really going to miss this place.

 

All behind the scenes dream home Entertaining Events Instagram italy my picks Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro renovation in italy The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cooking Local, the Paper Plane and More: It’s the top 4

4 for August

It’s the top 4 for August, and what a busy month it has been. I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my favorite Italian secrets with you this month. I recapped our final summer workshop with Sif, we discussed the best kept antiques fair secret in Italy, and I may or may not have spilled the beans on one of my guilty pleasures.

I cannot believe it’s almost September and that in just a few short weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane back to the U.S. In the meantime, I’m going to soak up every moment I have left of my first summer at the Fortress. Stay tuned in September for some exciting content. You won’t want to miss it.

Here’s my top 4 August:

Cooking Healthy and Local Workshop

The Testament of Testaroli

The Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

Melissa’s Tearoom and Cakes

xx Annette

All behind the scenes Cocktail of the Week Cocktails Crushing On Events Food styling how to be a stylist Instagram italy mixology my picks Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro Recipes style lessons Styling The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My secret mega obsession in Italy

IMG_9621

Hi I’m Annette Joseph, and I am a professional shopper…and I have a problem. Well not a problem exactly. More like a secret obsession. As you all know, I live in Italy about 1/2 the year, with Donald Trump in office, it will probably be more like 12 months out of the year…(not kidding).

I live here, therefore I live a normal life, and I need normal stuff like wrapping paper, light bulbs, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, glass jars, paper plates, and a mop and pail. When I first summered in Italy about 25 years ago, one had to shop at many specialty stores for those items. There were not giant conglomerate hardware stores like Home Depot, or SUPER markets like Whole Foods or even stores that cover it all like Target. We would go from place to place picking up mops here and laundry detergent there, meat at the butcher (which I still do) and wrapping paper…well there was no wrapping paper…none. I used to have to be super creative with birthday wrapping, or I would bring it with me from the states.

My point is like with all things, things change. It’s still hard to find everything in one place like Target, but the world is becoming more homogenized as the internet has made the world smaller and smaller. Something terribly clever is going on here in Italy. The inception of the catch all store. Mostly owned and operated by Chinese families, these mega stores have everything, and I mean everything. I am totally obsessed with them. Need cute cocktail straws or cute ribbon? Doggie poo bags or votive candles? Pots and pans, hardware or sunscreen? Here’s your place. They even have clothing, hats, cosmetics and perfume. The skus go on and on. Need a grill? Charcoal? A chocolate bar? Gum? Motor oil? You get the picture.

IMG_9593 IMG_9592

I AM OBSESSED. It is something that has made living here nearly perfect. I know you’re saying what is she talking about? But these stores are literally life changing. It used to take hours to find wrapping paper, gift bags and even cocktail straws, and now with the Happy Megastore, I can get everything in one spot. The thing I like most is that the store is so unpolished, so utilitarian and almost kitsch. No sparkling photography of pretty people trying perfume or walking their perfect pooch. Just down and dirty racks with all sorts of useful items stocked up in obscene quantities.

IMG_9599 IMG_9596 IMG_9623 IMG_9619

The biggest secret is when I am in a bad mood (yes one can be in a bad mood in Italy :-)), I go there for an instant pick me up. I buy a few items, a scented candle or a bag of charcoal for our grill, and I feel 100% better. Let’s face it: it’s cheaper than therapy, and one can pick up some useful hard-to-find items to boot. Next time you’re in Italy in a town, find the Happy Megastore or something like it. (Hint: they look like a Chinese container threw up on the sidewalk) Go in; you will be amazed. If you forgot to bring something from home, I swear they will have what you need. I know this is not the most Italian-ish romantic post I’ve ever done, but it’s a very important post because it documents the changes that have taken place as the world becomes a smaller place. It’s relevant and important and mainly, it’s my happy mega place.

xx Annette

All behind the scenes Crushing On italy my picks Notes from Italy Personal Travel Tuscany Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , ,

Ice Cream 5 Ways: The Perfect Summer Treat

Over the years, I have made my fair share of ice cream recipes, and they're all pretty fabulous. Here are my favorite ice cream recipes (and one sorbet)! I must be honest: all of these #nationalwhatever days are hard to keep up with. However, if there was one that I was going to get excited about, it would be National Ice Cream Day. Of course, as you’ll see by Instagram, National Ice Cream Day was yesterday, but I happen to think you can celebrate ice cream any day you want.

Over the years, I have made my fair share of ice cream recipes, and they’re all pretty fabulous. There are few things as sweet as ending a hot summer day with a big scoop of homemade ice cream. I scoured through my archives and found a few of my favorite ice cream recipes (and one sorbet) for you today. These are all perfect for a summer cookout or patio dinner party. Let me know if you give any a try.

Campari Orange Sorbet

Cinnamon Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce

Licorice Ice Cream

Mascarpone Ice Cream

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato

xx Annette

All celebration cooking dinner party Entertaining my picks Recipes spring desserts Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The cheese ladies, our first workshop, and more: it’s the top 4

This month's blogposts have been so much fun. In June, I've enjoyed giving you a glimpse into our life here at The Fortress as well as a peek at other towns.

This month’s blogposts have been so much fun. In June, I’ve enjoyed giving you a glimpse into our life here at The Fortress as well as a peek around other towns in the area. We’ve truly had a wonderful first few weeks here, and I know this is only the beginning.

As we roll into July, be on the lookout for an announcement about our fall workshop. Sign-up for my mailing list to get first dibs on spots. You won’t want to miss it!

Top 4 from June

The Chestnut Flour of Lunigiana

The Cheese Ladies

Ciao from Pisa

Our First Style+Photo Workshop at The Fortress

xx Annette

 

 

All behind the scenes Entertaining Instagram italy my picks Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro renovation in italy The Fortress Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,