La Fortezza Artist in Residence Art Opening Party

fullsizeoutput_68c3 5F5E9E38-7815-4E97-9152-AB9596ABB1D8

As all of you know by now, in July we welcomed our first Artist in Residence at La Fortezza. Steve Mckenzie arrived on the first of July and diligently worked on his Lunigiana inspired exhibition, abstract mixed medium works called, Recollecting the Past, “Ricordando il Passato.” Steve was inspired by his time here in Italy. You can read all about where we traveled, and what we saw and collected, here.

All of this work and passion led to the opening night end of July. We had visitors from all over the world join us: the US, France, Greece, and England to name a few. We planned to celebrate on the expansive terrace with a quirky food truck, gelato cart, and an open bar. Steve meticulously hung his show with the assistance of our intern Adri; she helped him catalog and photograph his collection. He also painted special table runners. All plans for the opening party were planned with the utmost attention to detail. And all would be outside, especially with 65 rsvps, so we could enjoy the company of so many, and Steve could share his beautiful collection. The perfect plan….that was until all hell broke loose. What do they say about best laid plans?

SteveMacKenzie-081-72 fullsizeoutput_68cd

As a hostess, I know that perfection is only an idea, not a reality especially when it comes to throwing a party. So when the heavens opened up, and I mean an earthshaking lighting cracking thunderstorm that dumped tons of rain on us, at the exact hour that the opening was supposed to start. All I could do was laugh.

08EDADEC-7366-4732-BF97-E73D1B8742A8 5FF91A12-52F1-4868-9161-DB91D60E1E72 E38A67BE-9E43-4271-8A8D-802659E14681 oYtGyPPOTV2GEEDJAbmN9w QHiErGrCR7q0SzN%%gbDwg AC526767-37F6-4EA2-8DF6-E60BBF72FE26 95D25CDC-C538-4FD5-9A7F-DB7F4B2D09E1

We pulled everything into the studio. So many braved the weather to be with us, for which I was most grateful. We had a wonderful turn out and a wonderful party, including an after hours dance party. Sometimes what you imagined, turns out better than you hoped. We really had a wonderful time, and Steve and I were so happy with the opening party. It was also a great lesson in letting go for both Steve and I, and I am always amazed at the idea of a party can mean anything at anytime, even in the worst weather. All you need are great friends. We gathered with everyone as it pelted down rain, and we drank and ate and enjoyed gelato well into the night, surrounded by Steve’s beautiful artwork. What fun!

fullsizeoutput_68cc

Thank you to Steve who is as my husband says, a prince. And he’s right Steve is a stellar human, a great friend and such a talent. It was a pleasure to have him here every single day. He’s going to be a tough act to follow! x

If you’d like to purchase pieces from the show link here

Food Truck Photo Credit: Thomas England

All behind the scenes celebration dinner party Entertaining Events Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Parties Party Accessories party tips Personal the art of a party The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Recipe:: Hotdogs with Quick Pickled Veggies

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.20.15 PM Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.21.17 PM Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.20.04 PM

Happy 4th of July, everyone! It’s Nicole here, reporting live stateside while Annette is in Italy welcoming guests to the Artist in Residence program with Steve McKenzie.

Today is the 4th of July which if you’re new here, happens to be one of my favorite holidays. In the past, I’ve turned to Pinterest for cookout inspiration, but why turn to strangers when I have Annette’s expertise in my back pocket?!

As you’ve seen on the blog, Annette recently worked with King of Pops for an amazing summer cookout. One of the recipes featured in the spread sounded like the perfect meal for July 4th. After all, what’s more American than hot dogs?!

What intrigues me most about this recipe is the pickled vegetables. Pickles are one of my favorite foods, and topping a freshly grilled hot dog with them sounds divine.

We’re celebrating with friends and family and will definitely be having hotdogs on today’s menu. What’s on your grilling menu for today? I’d love to hear! Happy 4th of July!

Hot dogs with quick pickled veggies
Makes 5 pint jars

For pickling brine, you will need:
– 1 1⁄2 cups vinegar
– 1⁄2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt

For veggies, you will need: 
– 2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 2 bunches)
– 1 jalapeño cut in half lengthwise
– 2 cups thickly sliced jalapeños, about 8 to 12 peppers
– 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
– 1 teaspoon whole dry cloves
– 1 teaspoon dry juniper berries
– 2 cups red onion (about 1 large onion), sliced into rings about 1/8-inch thick
– 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
– 1 whole star anise
– 2 cups thickly sliced sweet peppers, about 8 small peppers
– 1 teaspoon whole dry coriander

To prepare:
Pack vegetable combinations into wide-mouth pint jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch of space at the top. Stir ingredients for brine into saucepan, and cook over high heat until boiling. Pour over prepared vegetables until covered. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Use tongs to apply liberally to grilled hot dogs—or just munch them on their own. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

xo Nicole

Styling by Annette Joseph

Photography by Raftermen

 

4th of July All Atlanta Magazine Home behind the scenes celebration cooking dinner party Entertaining Food styling grilling Holiday party tips photostyling producing Recipes style lessons Styling Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recipe:: Summer Lemonade

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 10.18.50 AM

No summer soiree is complete without summer lemonade, but why not make it even more festive by adding a King of Pops popsicle? Perhaps the recipe from last week?

This no fail lemonade is perfect for kids and adults alike. The key is to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and create your own simple syrup. No concentrate around here!

King of Pops Summer Lemonade
Serves 8

For the lemonade, you will need:
– 4 cups cold water
– 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 2 cups simple syrup

For simple syrup, you will need:
– 2 cups water
– 2 cups sugar

To prepare:
First, make the simple syrup by warming the water and sugar in a small saucepan until boiling. Turn off the heat, and let cool until ready to use, or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Combine with cold water and lemon juice, and stir. Serve in a mason jar, and garnish with a pop.

For more perfect summertime recipes perfect for the forth of july check out the summer issue of Atlanta Magazine’s Home

Image: Raftermen

All behind the scenes celebration cooking Entertaining Food styling Instagram Parties Party Accessories party tips photography photostyling Recipes spring desserts : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spilling Secrets:: King of Pops Popsicles

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 3.23.40 PM

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. While Annette is busy in Italy, I’m enjoying the dog days of summer in Atlanta and turning to Annette’s entertaining secrets for summer parties.

As you all know, Annette is the entertaining editor for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME. I always look forward to her stories in the magazine because they’re always filled with the best party ideas with the most fun people. This latest edition included the cool dudes behind King of Pops.

Throughout the colorful pages, the popsicle kings spill their secrets on their beloved treats including sharing a few recipes. Over the next few posts, we’ll be sharing those recipes here!

Up first? Farm Ginger Lemonade and Blackberry Honey Pops. YUM!

Farm Ginger Lemonade and Blackberry Honey Pops
serves 10

For the Farm Ginger Lemonade, you will need: 
– 2 3⁄4 cups water
– 5 1⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons ginger juice
– 2/3 cup, plus 2 teaspoons organic cane sugar
– Sea salt to taste

For the blackberry honey, you will need: 
– 1 cup water
– 1 pound (or a bit more) blackberries
– 1⁄4 cup honey
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

To prepare:
Combine ingredients for Farm Ginger Lemonade pops and Blackberry Honey pops in separate pitchers; transfer each to ice pop molds. Freeze overnight. Enjoy two flavors from the King of Pops!

Image: King of Pops

All Atlanta Magazine Home behind the scenes celebration cooking Entertaining Events Parties Party Accessories party tips photography photostyling producing Recipes Styling the art of a party Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Easy Summer Cocktail: The Campari Spritz

img_3040

As you all know, I am a girl that loves a cocktail, especially a Campari Spritz. It’s the easiest cocktail recipe and is perfect for summer happy hours.

Blood orange soda gave this cocktail the perfect balance. You can pick yours up from local markets including Trader Joe’s. While I love the bitterness of Campari, most people don’t love it as much as I do. Add a little sweetness with the soda and boom! The perfect combination is born.

Annette’s Campari Spritz

You will need:
– 2 oz. Campari
– 1 oz  San Pellegrino Blood Orange Soda 
– 1 oz. Prosecco
– Garnish with an orange wedge

To prepare:
In a stemmed glass, add ice cubes. Next, add Campari, then orange soda, and top with Prosecco.

Serve with an orange wedge.

Cin cin!

4th of July All campari celebration Cocktail Italiano Cocktail of the Week Cocktails dinner party Entertaining italian cooking italy mixology my picks Parties party tips Personal Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,