Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend here again bringing you your last minute Mother’s Day gift guide for any last minute shopping. Just in case you’ve forgotten, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, but with quick shipping, there’s still time to get her something special.

When it comes to shopping this week, think about places you can either pick-up a gift (I love the “pick-up in store” options so many places have now), or have shipped to you (or mom!) quickly. And of course, you can’t go wrong with flowers!


1. This/That & Bits/Bobs pouches: Anthropologie always has such a great selection of little gifts and things. These pouches would be perfect for traveling abroad to collect loose change and foreign currency.

2. Photography Workshop: What mom wouldn’t love a trip of a lifetime to learn how to use her camera and explore Italy at the same time? Go in with your siblings (and maybe your dad, too) to gift mom one of Annette’s style+photo workshops!

3. Copper Tea Kettle: There’s something about sipping hot tea in the spring and summer that’s so refreshing. This copper tea kettle is gorgeous and can be kept out on the stove for extra kitchen pizzazz.

4. Pool House Candle: Candles are fun to gift because they’re something people rarely buy for themselves. These Lafco candles are large, so they make a great piece for a coffee table, but their size also means they burn for 90 hours!

5. Polish Set + Mani/Pedi Date: Give mom a mani/pedi with you along with a stunning collection of summer polishes to keep her toes beach ready all season.

6. Straw hat: A wide brim straw hat is perfect for the mom who loves to be outdoors. She can use it in her garden, at the beach, or anywhere else she’d like!


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and moms-to-be out there!

xo, Nicole

celebration Crushing On Gift Guide gifts mothers day my picks Shopping Uncategorized wishlist : Tags: , , , , , ,

Project Italy :: first things first

zaza by design tumbler

As you know, one of the most exciting renovation projects of my life is on the books this year: our country compound/workshop location in Italy. Eventually this location will be ideal for my style + photography workshops along with varied retreats that will include artistic, spiritual, and life-changing programs with amazing speakers, teachers, and trail blazers from all over the world.

Since buying the Medieval fortress in Italy, I have been compiling all the inspiration that I have been collecting over the years for this epic design project. But first things first…as with all projects like this, the nuts and bolts (aka. the un-sexy projects) must be completed first. I will be posting renovation updates as we go along. To date, here’s what we’ve scheduled for the fall and winter.

  1. New roof on the Studio Barn
  2. New walkways all around the house.
  3. New paver stones on the parking pad – I found the most amazing antique stones.
  4. New roof on the out building and the addition of a car port off the outbuilding.
  5. New Kitchen, guest bath, and Master Bedroom and Master Bathroom, in our living quarters.

In Italy, one must hire a “Geometra.” This is an engineer that acts as a project manager, and the liaison to the city permitting board. Our man on the ground is Marco, and you will be hearing all about him as we move along on this project.

Forrest Spears, my BFF, or as I like to call him my “Gubby” (gay husband), will be working with me designing all the spaces and overseeing the entire project. He and I worked on our flat on the Italian Riviera 12 years ago, and we are thrilled to be working together again on this amazing project. He’s super talented and experienced as he has renovated 3 historical houses in the Italian countryside, in an ancient village, called a borgo. A borgo is a village at the base of a castle, in medieval times, all the people that worked around and in the castle lived in a borgo. It’s a stacked village with endless steps and clustered stone homes. You can see his home here.

Forrest is part of the workshop team and arranges all the excursions and travel for our attendees. He’s a man that wears many hats and wears them well. He’s my man on the ground in Italy, and I am lucky to have him.

Follow along; I will try to post here every month as we progress. Note: I will be posting the new Style + Photo Workshops for 2017 in Italy end of September; we will have many to choose from.

Ci vediamo…Until next time xx



before and after behind the scenes Design Inspiration dream home interior design italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal renovation in italy The Fortress Uncategorized wishlist : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,