Moving in Day :: Italy

I never thought this day would come....moving in day in Italy! I am grateful to be able to fulfill our dream and share it with students, family and friends.

Well I never thought this day would come….

Moving in day in Italy. From my 3 1/2 year search to phase one of our renovation of the main house, it’s truly been a sweet journey. I could not have done any of this, not one lick of it, without my best friend, and designer/project manager, Forrest Spears. He is truly an angel, and will continue to be as we move into phase two, the guest quarters, commercial kitchen and student lounge. I am hugely overwhelmed with the feelings that the Fortress is finally ours. We are restoring it to its full potential and will welcome our first workshop attendees in June.

I am grateful to be able to fulfill our dream and to share it with our students, family and friends over the next years to come.

Send me good vibes as all of you know moving day is a challenge.

I will be dealing with boxes eaten by what our workers called “field mice”… I think they were trying to be nice. I think the “mice”¬† are more like rats. We stored all of our belongings in our cantina (which is like a wine cellar), but obviously it’s been home to several rat families and creatures of the field over the past years. I think I will be adopting a few cats this summer. ūüôā

So the glamorous life of living in the Italian countryside begins this weekend for me. Rubber gloves and endless buckets of soapy water and giant garbage bags will be there too, as they ate anything made of straw, wicker or paper. I won’t go into detail but a lot of stuff is pretty disgusting.

However, once I move it, the main house will be glorious. All I have to think of is my shiny new Lacanche, and it puts a smile on my face.

lacanche Our new Lacanche range fresh out of the box.

Thank you to all of you that have followed along to this point, cheered me on and were nothing but supportive and excited for us. We love that you continue to send good wishes and thoughts. I hope you all come visit us and share a glass of our wine from the vineyard. Continue to follow as we start phase 2 in the next couple weeks. It’s going to be an action packed summer. In the meantime love to you all, and grazie mille xx

The vineyard view from the guest room.

 

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June Workshops registration is about to close

I am very excited about welcoming our June 2017 Style + Photo Workshop students, after all they will be the first to experience our new Tuscan location. We will have an action packed 4 days touring, learning, eating, and styling and photographing. Even better, we have 2 amazing photography instructors joining us in June.

April 30th is the deadline for signing-up for June workshops. Don't miss your chance to be among the first to experience La Fortezza in person! Christina Wedge¬† is teaching our very first workshop this summer, Christina is a wealth of information. She’s funny, smart, and is originally from Berlin, so she feels right at home in the EU. Her workshop filled-up quickly, too. I think everyone wanted to be the first to say they were at La Fortezza for the first workshop; the first ones to experience our dream come true. Christina and I have taught Style + Photo workshops together for years.

Helen Norman, who is an amazing photographer and instructor, has worked in the business for many years. She is one of America’s well-respected photographers. She’s full of great tips and tricks. She and I conducted a workshop in Maryland last September at Helen’s gorgeous farm Starbright Farm. I can hardly wait to work with her again. Her workshop still has spaces left. If you quickly grab them before we shut down registration, you will not be disappointed. April 30th is the deadline for signing-up for JUNE¬†workshops. Don’t miss your chance to be among the first to experience La Fortezza in person!

Sarah_Dorio_Annette_Joseph_BTS_iPhone_Marrakech_Project_Soar_IMG_4611_0154

QMUN75rc We still have spaces available in¬† Sarah Dorio’s July 5th workshop and Sif Orellana’s workshop July 19th. Head to the workshop page and sign up. My strictly styling workshop July 12th is full. I will be scheduling that one again next spring in 2018 for those of you who missed out this year.

The DEADLINE TO SIGN UP for remaining workshops in JULY is May 30th, so head over and grab your space. Italy is waiting for you.

We could not be more excited about opening our new creative retreat location. The renovation is spectacular, and our vineyard will be in full swing. I am living for our first picnic in the vineyard.

Needless to say, this is our dream come true, and we are so incredibly excited to share it all with of our attendees.  xx

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Book two is full speed ahead….Join me for Aperitivo on the Italian Riviera

My next book, Cocktail Italiano, will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, "Aperitivo," here's the first glimpse!

As most of you know I have 2 big projects going on at the same time: our Italian house renovation and my second book, Cocktail Italiano, a book about Aperitivo, the cocktail culture of the Italian Riviera.

My next book will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, “Aperitivo”. The book will be a perfect Apero primer to toss into your suitcase and accompany you on your cocktail infused travels along the coastline of Italy. The book will be chock-full of beautiful destinations along the Ligurian coastline. Cocktail Italiano¬†includes all my favorite little bars, seaside joints, and swanky hotels to pass the night away sipping spirits and partaking in scrumptious nibbles. The book will also be filled with the most popular Italian cocktails and nibbles recipes for you to enjoy Aperitivo in your own home Italian style. It’s the ultimate insiders’ guide to some of the authentic Italian Aperitivo destinations.

A little about the title “Cocktail Italiano”:¬†it is a riff on my all time favorite Italian song “Mambo Italiano.”¬† I am super jazzed to share my book with you as it captures the Italian Riviera Lifestyle and showcases the cocktail culture of my favorite Italian region, Liguria, where we have lived for the past 13 years every summer.

You will be transported to this gorgeous vital region of Italy. I have spent the last 2 years photographing the book myself with a little help for my friends. It’s been a passion project and tons of fun. So look for little snippets on my instagram feed, along with the release next Spring 2018.

Let the cocktails begin, cin cin xx

 

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Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy

Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy.

Ciao everyone! As you might know, I am busy outfitting our new home and big renovation project in Tuscany. Last week we were busy flea-marketing, antiquing, and browsing junk stores for goodies for the Fortress. Frank and I were gobsmacked at the progress that has been made on the house thus far.

Phase one should be completed on schedule. Phase one includes: our residence, the photo studio, and wrap-around terrace, and all walkways, a hand cobbled driveway, and parking lot. This will also include refinishing all the stone facing and replacing all the mortar, 3 new roofs, new windows, HVAC, and plumbing for the entire compound.

Phase two will start May 1st and will include all guest rooms including the outbuilding. The rooms will be newly appointed and the commercial kitchen and lounge area will also be built out. We will be enlarging the vineyard, and fingers crossed, putting up our first vintage of Rose this fall. So as you can see, it’s a very all encompassing project.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy. I particularly am in love with cement tiles. We are going to try to use and reuse as much material as we can. It’s the Italian way and honestly, it makes the most sense. All the furniture, with the exception of our bed and the sofa in our living room, are all vintage, antiques, and upcycled. I feel it’s an important mission and something that we believe in strongly.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

I selected a red and white cement tile to surround our new Lacanche French blue range.

Up-Cycled Tiles

These super cool tailored stripes will surround the upcycled trough in the studio.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

So many beautiful tile combinations! I can hardly wait to use these as photo backdrops for our workshops this summer. It’s going to be a beautiful location to create and enjoy. If you’re interested in seeing the Fortress, in person make sure to sign up to join us. Sign up here.

Keep watching our progress on instagram.

xx, Annette

 

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Noah’s Park Joshua Tree

I had an opportunity to visit one of my good friends Mikel at his Joshua Tree weekend retreat while I was in Palm Springs, so I skipped out on Atl Summit and headed to the desert. Joshua Tree has always been on my bucket list, so I got in my rental car and drove an hour out into the middle of nowhere. A dirt road and lots of Joshua trees later, I arrived at Mikel’s amazing home.

After a tour of his house, we headed into town for lunch, but first Mikel wanted to show me Noah’s Park. It’s an outdoor museum: an installation completely constructed of up-cycled materials. Noah Purifoy was truly a visionary man; Noah poured his entire soul into this art installation. I was blown away, and we walked for an hour among each piece of art, exploring¬†interactive displays. Many works fuse architecture and art as the structures are towering.

Noah's Park

The theater is full scale and has a working stage. Many sculptures have messages. It’s an epic experience, full scale and moving, which was the artist’s intention. It’s obvious that Noah had a point of view, and it’s why the experience of walking the installation is so moving. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. In fact, I highly recommend a visit to Joshua Tree. It’s a national treasure, and there is nothing like it. I was not disappointed with the landscape and was happy I opted to skip out on the conference. After all, there’s nothing more fun than playing hooky, especially to enjoy a fantasy afternoon in Noah’s Park with a good friend. Plus I found my new hero,¬†Noah Purifoy!

Noah's Park npportrait

I do not wish to be an artist, I only wish that art enables me to be.

‚Äď Noah Purifoy, 1963

Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his 40th birthday, Purifoy earned a BFA degree from Chouinard, now CalArts.

His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi. For the 20 years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change.

In the late 1980s, after 11 years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions, which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.

 

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