A Visit to the Enchanted Valley through the Palette of Steve McKenzie

Today I have a special treat for you. One of our guest instructors and one of my dear friends, Steve McKenzie, is sharing a bit about his experience in May at La Fortezza. Steve is a brilliant interior designer, artist, and textile designer in Atlanta. His workshop here in Italy with us is in September, and I cannot wait to welcome him and his students. Enjoy today’s post from Steve, and be sure to sign-up for one of the very few remaining spots for his workshop. Take it away Steve:

My wife, Jill, and I recently had the chance to visit Annette at her magical Fortress in a verdant valley in Northern Tuscany. I wanted to see everything as I prepare for the abstract painting class I will be leading there in September. Inspiration is everywhere, and I cannot wait to return.

The magic begins as you approach her home, and up on the mountain sits her Fortress. They have created beautifully appointed living and working spaces as well as incredibly comfortable guest quarters for the students that are unparalleled. It feels a little like a visit to a monastery where the furnishings and the views take you to a place of contemplation and inspiration.

These cozy places, coupled with a superb cocktail, encourage congregation and conversation.

We were greeted in typical Annette fashion with a delicious, as well as beautiful, Aperitivo of Negroni and nibbles, taken straight out of her new book, Cocktail Italiano. A delicious dinner of pasta and salad followed, reminding me of what a talented cook Annette is.  I am excited that a cooking lesson in the commercial kitchen will be part of our fall workshop.

Day two we had a chance to visit the charming local village, Fivizzano, on market day. It is charming and again, inspiration is around every corner. Following our visit to the market, we visited some of Annette’s favorite vintage and antique dealers. These are a must during the workshop on our free day.

I also strolled over to the La Fortezza vineyards with Annette and Jill. The beauty of this location really spoke to me and inspired me to paint en plein air.  During the workshop, we will take a picnic lunch out here and paint, eat and drink. The colors and vistas are one of the most inspirational places I have visited.

On the journey back to the house, I filled a market basket with wild flowers from the property as well as colorful roses from her rose garden. The most beautiful arrangement quickly came together in a beautiful pitcher from Annette’s copper collection. We will incorporate a quick floral arranging lesson during my workshop as well.

I can’t wait to return and share all the fabulous experiences with my students during the workshop September 19-24, 2018.

There are only a few spaces left, so register now

Thank you for guest posting today, Steve! As always, if you have questions about our workshop, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below.

xx Annette

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A Patriotic Tablescape for July 4th

While we won’t be celebrating the fourth of July in the traditional sense in Italy, I know many of you are gearing-up for a few days of festive fun at home. Whether you’re planning a cook-out at your house or headed to a friend’s home, I wanted to give you a bit of July 4th inspiration.

A few years ago, I created a patriotic tablescape for guests. I used red, white, and blue of course, but I also added a few pops of silver. The silver streamers add the cutest fourth of July flare and mimic sparklers.

The video above covers a few of my other favorite ideas for setting a great table as well as some tips for keeping drinks in order and some ideas for nibbles and treats too. Take a look and let me know what your 4th of July plans are in the comments!

xx Annette

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Meet the AJS Workshop Team:: Megan Bowers

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Now that you’ve gotten to learn more about me and Sarah Dorio, I thought you’d like to meet our newest member, Megan Bowers of Pictory Productions. Megan is our videographer, and I cannot wait to see all of the ways she helps make our workshops even better.

I met Megan at Alt Summit, and we instantly hit it off. I knew she would be a great addition to our team. She’s spunky, too, and I love that. You can see some of her videos in the Marrakech post as well as on my Instagram, and be sure to visit her website for more.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A:Your full name? Megan Bowers
Where are you from? Pittsburgh, PA
What do you do for a living? I make brand films for creative businesses.
What is your role on the AJS Workshop Team? I’m the videographer!

Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I have been creating video content for over 10 years. I’ve filmed everything from broadcast news to brides to businesses.

Q: Describe your expertise for the workshops.
A: My job is to capture the awesomeness of Annette’s workshops. My initial objective was to market other workshops, but the attendees love it because it also serves as a keepsake for them and their experience.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a part of the AJS Workshop Team?
A: I love being surrounded by so many talented professionals (both the teachers and students). I always leave the workshop with lots of lessons and inspiration.

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Q: What is one app (business related or not) you absolutely cannot live without?
A: Google Translate. In Marrakech, I was able to have full conversations from English to Arabic with the locals. It was such a surreal experience!

Q: Where is your favorite place to travel?
A: Italy…do I really need to go into detail?!

Q: What is one travel destination you hope to cross off your bucket list?
A: Thailand

Q: What is your favorite part of exploring a new destination?
A: Getting out of your comfort zone and pushing past any pre-conceived nerves or fears.

Q: What is one travel essential you’re sure to pack on every trip?
A: Lots of outlet converters! When it comes to shooting video, I’m constantly charging laptops and batteries.

Q: Just for fun (and in true Annette style), what is your go-to cocktail?
A: An Aperol Spritz (I’d drink it for breakfast if I could.)

Meet Megan Bowers, our AJS workshop videographer | http://annettejosephstyle.com

Photo credit: Sarah Dorio and Megan Bowers

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Girl Crush :: Iris Apfel

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Last night I watched the Iris Apfel documentary. As a stylist, I am always interested in how other stylists see things. Iris is all about shopping and all about style. Personal style is the definition of Iris.

She’s super chic but in a very unique way. It’s cool to see someone that’s lived a full life.  At 93 her wisdom, which she doles out through out the 80 minutes, is inspiring to say the least. She says that every time she gets dressed it’s like JAZZ. She literally riffs with accessories.

The documentary is lovingly shot by Albert Maysles who shot Grey Gardens and GIve Me Shelter. Every frame, just like her, is gorgeous.

Iris’ jewelry collection is vast, varied, and simply the most beautiful collection I have ever seen. Her New York apartment is filled to the brim with her clothing, along with her Palm Beach apartment that could be an episode of Hoarders…one of the most chic episodes that is. Her husband, the love of her life Carl, is a patient and supportive partner in her mad shopping expeditions. You will fall in love with him.

I rarely write about movies on my blog, but this was is so filled with style that it is the ultimate lesson on how to be a stylist and how to be true to yourself. Let’s face it: in a society that reveres the young, it’s wonderful to see an older person given the respect of a life well-lived. We can all learn from her, and we can all benefit, and that’s the truth.

She’s funny, she’s clever, and mostly she’s a really smart cookie; someone I would love to have coffee with…

I will stop going on and on…. this is a must see.

iris

 

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