William Abranowicz 2019 Photography Workshop recap

A3BEB398-148E-460B-9262-F1532E29030D

There are some people that just impress you. Bill Abranowicz is one of those people. He and I worked on a Rolex photoshoot together, at Augusta National Golf Course. It was a bit stressful as the masters location is much like visiting the Whitehouse. Think credentials, and lots of checks and cross checks. It’s like performing a military operation. But Bill was cool as a cucumber and sailed through the assignment. I liked his vibe from the start: super chill, sort of funny and very professional without being intimidating.

I knew I had to have him join us at La Fortezza.

fullsizeoutput_73e0

Bill arrived at Pisa airport with his striking wife Andrea in tow. Andrea, a location scout by trade, is chic, funny and endearing. To say she and I hit it off would be an understatement. The group of attendees was small but completely delightful. It was all men, and they were happy with everything; easy and amusing. I worked styling for all the attendees as they worked on their still life assignments.

fullsizeoutput_73e5

Bill’s powerpoint presentation was amazing. I must say one of the best I have seen. Bill told us about his influences and his early days as a printer (he printed for Horst). When he revealed that, I almost fell off my chair. He’s a humble guy who is completely focused on the work. He has so much knowledge that 5 days with him did not seem like enough time. Luckily for us, he returns in 2020 to do it again.

I can hardly wait for his return. He is truly a prince of a guy, and his wife ain’t so bad herself. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the master, at the ultimate masterclass at La Fortezza.

xx Annette

All behind the scenes Crushing On Events how to be a stylist Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy photography photostyling photostyling like a pro style lessons Styling The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Her Dark Materials Workshop, 2019 recap

E150B5C2-8CC2-499E-8C92-D4AD15E5AEA4 DD475D6D-C8A2-4BC7-8FDC-06C353C2EB0C

Sometimes, one just has a girl crush, and with Instagram out there, it’s more likely that these crushes occur. That sentiment pretty much sums up my feelings towards Ros Atkinson, the woman behind the gorgeous Carravaggio still life styled images “Her Dark Materials” on Instagram.

The Dutch masters had nothing on Ros; in my opinion, she is the master. Although her work is very much in these styles, she very much has her own take with her images. They are simply spectacular. Having said all of this I said to myself, “Why not ask Ros (whom I’d never met in person) to come to La Fortezza for a weekend? Maybe she would agree to conduct a workshop.”

We hit it off immediately as she has a smart sense of humor, she’s cute, and we both wear Jo Malone perfume. A match made in heaven! I talked her into showing me how she constructs one of her very complicated layered still life sets. I was mesmerized.

IMG_0121

This October, she arrived a day early, and we immediately headed out to buy all the fruits, vegetables and things she would need to style with her students. We had a lovely meal with lots of wine and headed to bed. Wednesday, we prepped the studio and all the guest rooms for our group. Everyone arrived excited and elated to work with Ros for the next 4 days.

We had folks from all over the world including our first ever guest from India. Our days were spent with Ros in the lead. The weather even cooperated; we had several very dramatic days of fog and mist covering the fields around La Fortezza, and the vineyard was bright yellow against a gray sky. We tromped around the property all afternoon, and although it was damp and cool, we did not mind. We photographed food with Ros in the kitchen with Philip.

fullsizeoutput_7457 fullsizeoutput_7469 CD6A2037

We visited Parma and got lost in a maze near the city center. We toured Parma and dined the most amazing stuffed pasta, and fried dough with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese.

2db2067e-2e1d-4b73-9df7-05fdbae63280 CC599F75-9494-4953-B406-70AD850F36DB

It was a magical workshop, and Ros is the most divine inspiration and teacher. She shared all of her secrets, and everyone went away feeling creatively revived. The good news is that she will be back next year in September. Check the site and grab your spot we have limited spaces, and they usually go fast. Thank you Ros for a perfect workshop experience. My Instagram crush has turned into a beautiful real-life friendship with the most amazing and talented woman, love you Ros.

xx Annette

All behind the scenes Crushing On dream home Entertaining Events Food styling how to be a stylist Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro secrets on how to become a stylist style lessons Styling stylist tips The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Announcing 2020 Workshops and Retreats: run don’t walk to sign up!

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.29.00 AM

Run don’t walk to sign up for 2020 La Fortezza Workshops and Retreats. I feel like this year we have hit the sweet spot with our selections. Photography and styling are, as always, center stage, but we also have a great selection of workshops that highlight the unique part of Italy we call home. You’re going to love it.

Check the selection. I am sure there is something for you with us in Italy.

Click here to see the full descriptions. Keep in mind we have limited spaces, and private rooms are first-come, first-serve. I am so excited to head back to La Fortezza in May to prepare for these amazing experiences.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, in the meantime, have a look below and grab a spot! See you in Italy x

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.54.53 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.55.58 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.56.13 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.57.43 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.57.53 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.58.22 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.59.35 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 1.59.55 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.00.10 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.02.05 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.02.19 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.02.28 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.03.40 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.03.57 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.04.09 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.05.22 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.05.34 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 2.05.45 PM

 

All before and after behind the scenes Entertaining Events how to be a stylist Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling photostyling like a pro secrets on how to become a stylist style lessons Styling stylist tips The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Arrivederci Italia 2019

Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.48.05 AM

It’s always hard to say arrivederci, but his year, in particular, was bittersweet because it was such a wonderful season. Our La Fortezza Workshops started off with a bang: 2 styling workshops in June kicked off the season. We had 3 talented instructors and 4 lovely attendees. Joanna and Maren and Sarah, had a lively group and did some really fun projects with their guests. The second styling session was with moi, the Strictly Styling Workshop. I had my BFF Barbara, a stylist from Modena, join me to teach styling. She brought all sorts of foodstuffs from Modena. It was epic.

This workshop also marked the yearly return of PR maven Liz Lapidus she brought her mega bloggerlious friend, Alexandra Darling in the City (although unfortunately she never wrote about her experience at La Fortezza on her blog? 🙁  But she did write about neighboring towns lol) NOTE* bloggers do not bother to contact me about a free workshop and that you’ll post about it. No comping anymore…live and learn…). I digress…

During that workshop I met one of my favorite guests (there’s always an upside to all negative experiences) of the season, the super talented photographer and stylist Alicia, The Chic Shot. You can see some of her amazing shots of La Fortezza on this post. Thank you, Alicia, for sharing your amazing talent. I LOVED working with you, and thank you for all the beautiful photos of your experience here. We hosted the fantastic podcast host Heidi Rew, her podcast featured me and Philip and Barbara, and the ladies from our first workshop in June. Listen to it here. It’s a great look into what we do.

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.23.10 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.22.06 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.22.27 AM fullsizeoutput_65f7

We also had our first ever intern in June and July from Wellesley College, Adri. She was a wonder and delight. She speaks perfect Italian and was energetic and eager to learn. We loved having her help us with guests and chores around the fortress. We loved her so much that we are bringing another intern from the same Wellesley Italian Studies program back next spring. Let’s just say whoever she is, she has big shoes to fill.  Plus Adri learned to drive a stick shift during her 8 week stay – pretty impressive!

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.21.49 AM

In July we hosted our first-ever Artist in Residence with abstract painter, Steven McKenzie for the month. It was a stroke of genius on my part, if I do say so myself. Steve was a delightful addition to the La Fortezza Workshop roster, and he brought the sunshine everyday in the studio. Because of Steve’s curiosity, I visited places and experienced things I never would have. Like visiting the antique book archives at our local library in Fivizzano and caving in Equi Terme. Some I loved more than others. (Caving not my thing, go figure) He made jam from our plum trees and filled the studio with his beautiful art inspired by the region. Even during his opening party when we had a torrential downpour, he never lost his bright smile and positive attitude. The Opening Party was amazing, sometimes when the best-laid plans are dashed, and the skies open up, it turns out to be just as great. At his opening, we had visitors from London, Paris, Greece, and the US and of course all of our friends from all over Italy. It was a great July. We had a fun visit with Rue Magazine Editor and Chief Kelli Lamb, and her lovely artist hubby Timmy, Kelli made an amazing video series about La Fortezza.

iPQriTRIyCTMHdtxDe5Q AC526767-37F6-4EA2-8DF6-E60BBF72FE26 oYtGyPPOTV2GEEDJAbmN9w-e1564666633873-624x832 fullsizeoutput_68cc QHiErGrCR7q0SzNgbDwg-e1564666769335-624x832

In August our son visited with 3 friends; we cooked and toured and ate plenty. Then I visited Pulglia, a place the had been on my list for a while. I experienced the Messors Workshop, which was interesting. read about it here.

fullsizeoutput_6b09

September was filled with great cooking by Chef Philip. There were cooking lessons and artisan food visits with our Slow Food Experience group. We had the lovely photographer Kate Blohm visit again, she was part of a workshop with Angie Mosier in 2018. This year she was our BTS photographer; she’s amazing and will be joining us every year in the fall to document the Slow Food Workshops, something that is close to my heart.

September is the time of year we do our grape harvest, although this year the harvest was a month late, we still had an amazing time with our incredible group. One of our guests were a married couple, PR team Valerie and Garrett, a powerhouse PR team in Atlanta specializing in Chefs and Food, from Via Failla PR and Events  They will be part of the La Fortezza PR team helping to promote La Fortezza Workshops in 2020. I can’t wait to see what they have in store. We also hosted a shopping workshop with Lisa Burnett a whirlwind tour with shop til you drop attendees that left me breathless.

E8F40B1B-D2FC-4E35-B8E9-294D4DD1F73E fullsizeoutput_6d3d IMG_1828 fullsizeoutput_7102 fullsizeoutput_72f3

October was the month of photography with 2 of my favorite photographers joining us. Bill Abranowicz and Ros Atkinson of Her Dark Materials on Instagram. I am honored to call them friends and I am excited to announce they will be back with us in fall 2020. The workshops were not only informative but really fun. We got so many beautiful shots!

fullsizeoutput_7469 ABA1D38D-53DB-4C72-A68D-2C9974166437 Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 8.06.36 AM

These incredible workshops have proved to be even more wonderful than I had imagined. People gathered around the table, like-minded with so much passion to add to the discussion. Being surrounded by creativity from all creators, from what Philip creates and places on the table, to the interesting creatives from all over the world, (this year we had our first attendee from India) they have so much to offer. It is my idea of heaven.

Although our surroundings are gorgeous, I must say without the people that come to visit, it would be much less beautiful. Thank you to all the support people in our village that take great care of me, and to Chef Philip who is gracious and talented and helpful always with a smile on his face he goes above and beyond. Thanks Philip for all the amazing Pizza Parties!

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.26.06 AM Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 7.50.47 AM

To the guests that grace our doors, grazie mille. I look forward to welcoming new faces in 2020. Please check the website November 9th for our new workshops to post. We have limited spots, first come first serve with private rooms. So grab your spot in 2020 La Fortezza Workshops and Retreats.

x

Photo Credit: The Chic Shot, Kate Blohm, Nandi Shaw, Ros Atkinson, William Abranowicz

All behind the scenes cooking Crushing On dinner party dream home Entertaining Events Fall Food Food styling Instagram italian cooking italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy photography photostyling photostyling like a pro secrets on how to become a stylist Shopping style lessons Styling stylist tips The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our First Ever La Fortezza Antiques and Merchants of Italy Shopping Retreat

fullsizeoutput_6ea9

Ciao Tutti! We had amazing whirlwind of a week with our first ever La Fortezza Antiques and Merchants of Italy Shopping Retreat. My co-leader Lisa Burnett of Inner Pieces Inc. could not have been a better partner in crime. We hosted 7 lovely ladies and toured them all over the Italian countryside, to shop and meet local artisans and vendors that I love. It was an insiders shopping tour that was both exciting and informative.

Every day there were new destinations and some surprises. We could not have asked for a more fun group of ladies. Even though they did not know each other before, I think some solid bonds were formed. We danced, drank, made pasta and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather on the terrace.

Of course, there was a pizza party where a few of our attendees tried their hand at making pizza in the pizza oven. We loved sharing information about how and why we choose certain props, discussed searching for antiques and loved shopping at my super secret locations. Lisa spent a couple of extra days, so we checked out some of her Italian vendors and hope to expand the shopping experience next year.

We will be conducting this retreat again in 2020 because it had such an overwhelming response when we posted it. Since we still have 50 people on the waitlist from last year, we have decided to do this retreat for 2 consecutive weeks in 2020. If you are interested in joining us and want first dibs sign up for the newsletter. We will be sending a private mailing to our list before the workshop goes public.

fullsizeoutput_6d98

grazie Lisa you’re simply the best! x

fullsizeoutput_6e38 IMG_3475 caeb579a-85cf-4117-8687-1285e4c02820 0F1B3842-D8ED-492E-8248-3C5CE1B12519 c1540bd7-8e53-4367-8053-b46f2bd1ec2b

We only have 6 spots available in each retreat, so this shopping retreat very limited. We have decided to vary the schedule in case some of you want to join us for both weeks. We have so much to show you. I cannot express how wonderful it is to meet like-minded shoppers, who share the love of beautiful things. As a prop stylist, I have to say sharing my resources with our groups gives me great joy. Thank you again to my most talented and lovely friend, Lisa. x Let’s shop ’til we drop in 2020.

All behind the scenes Crushing On Decor Design Inspiration Events how to be a stylist interior design italian riviera italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal photography photostyling shelter Shopping style lessons The Fortress tips from a stylist Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,