Tag Archives: personal

Back to Italy:: Air Travel during a Pandemic

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Some of you might be curious to know how my trip back to Italy was with the pandemic.

First off, let me tell you all how I could enter the EU. So many people commented on social media asking me how. Is there a trick? How can I enter Italy? No trick! The simple answer is that only EU residents and citizens may enter. Everyone must self-quarantine for 14 days. I am an Italian resident, so I was able to enter without any issues.

The tale of traveling here was pretty straight forward. I booked a late flight at 11:00 pm with KLM. I purchased a first-class seat, thinking that it would be a safer way to fly. The scariest part of the entire trip was the Atlanta Airport TSA line. I checked in at the international terminal around 9:00 pm. Not a soul at the counter. I wore an N95 mask through the entire airport. When I entered the TSA, there was only one line with no priority line. Everyone was masked, although I did see a lot of bandanas and buffs (you all know those are dangerous right?).

There were clearly demarcated spots on the floor for distancing and everyone stood on their spot. Well except one guy in a wheelchair with his daughter who was pushing me, so I let them ahead. But once we hit the TSA conveyor belt, it was a free for all. No distancing, grabbing, pushing. It was a nightmare! I did everything I could to step away and wait for a moment where there was no one attacking the belt as belongings piled out. I grabbed my stuff and headed for a corner with no one around to get my stuff together. It shook me up. Once I got to my gate, I seated myself all alone in the corner, mask on at all times and waited to board. Now the boarding process that was marvelous. It was so good, in fact, I hope they never bring back to the old way of boarding.

Here’s how it went: one section at a time, you entered the plane individually, and everyone had to remain seated while they called your name. I boarded alone, walked up to my seat, and no one was seated near me. We had 77 people on giant jumbo jet, so there was plenty of distancing. I quickly changed into a more comfortable cloth mask and waited to depart. I slept the entire way and woke up in Amsterdam.

In Amsterdam, everyone in the airport was wearing a mask. I headed to Passport Control to enter the EU. Everyone kept a good distance, and everyone was calm and focused. Security in Amsterdam was well monitored, and everyone was at a distance, filing in one at a time. It was very safe and organized.

I headed to my gate, on the departures board it had a B0 which was different. Usually, the Pisa flight leaves from the C concourse. When I arrived at B0, I realized it was a screening gate. Everyone had temperatures taken. We filled out a tracing form and then headed to our Gate in the C concourse. I sat quietly waiting for my seat and section to be called for the Pisa flight. Everything was very smooth with loading the plane. We all had several seats between us and were not allowed to remove our masks.

When I landed, I was picked up by our car service, Tuscan Drivers, and they whisked me away. The driver wearing an N95 mask I sat in the back. 1 hour and 15 minutes later I was at La Fortezza.  Where I will be quarantining for 14 days.

Lucky for me, the crew finished the new pool just in time, so I have had some relaxing days swimming. Flying and travel will never be the same (well at least for a few years). But here are the things I hope remain when all of this has passed:

  1. Boarding by section and seat (would be extra nice, but I doubt that will remain). Everyone remaining seated until your zone is called. It was wonderful not standing in the giant crowd.
  2. Spotless planes. The KLM plane was brand new and spotless; they cleaned the bathroom every time it was used. YES PLEASE, (sorry but instead of sitting in the back of the plane gossiping, maybe cleaning the bathrooms might be a nice thing for flight attendants to do for the passengers, just saying)
  3. Distancing. All about it.
  4. Mindful lines at TSA. TSA USA could perhaps take lessons from the TSA EU

I am happy to be here prepping for our photo-shoot for La Fortezza Cookbook.

I will let you all know how that went, masking, washing and distancing all while shooting a cookbook in Italy.

xx Annette

 

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Atlanta Magazine’s HOME Summer Entertaining Feature:: An Epic Engagement Party

As most of you know, I am the Entertaining Editor for Atlanta Magazine’s Home. It’s a position I truly relish. I get to attend the most interesting parties on Atlanta’s social calendar and rub elbows with the who’s who in the design and creative world of the city. I am a lucky lady.

Most recently, I got to attend a party that I have been wanting to attend for a long time. Our own daughter’s engagement party. All the juicy details are reveled in the Summer 2017 issue.

You can imagine what a thrill it was to plan and execute our daughter’s stellar celebration.

Read all about it in Atlanta Magazine’s HOME on newsstands right now!

Here are a couple sneak peeks of the festivities.

Most recently, I got to attend a party that I have been wanting to attend for a long time. Our own daughter's engagement party. Most recently, I got to attend a party that I have been wanting to attend for a long time. Our own daughter's engagement party.

Photography by: The Raftermen

xx Annette

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our dream house by the sea is up for sale

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For 10 years, we have owned our dream house by the sea. We live on the Italian Riviera in a small beach town named Alassio. It’s smack in the middle of the most northern coastline about an hour west of Genova. For years we have enjoyed the sun and the sandy beach (very unusual in Italy), and the Riviera lifestyle. It’s a heavenly place filled with family fun, great shopping, and a terrific array of great bars to enjoy aperitivo and wonderful and varied restaurants. It’s a place where families gather, and young people party in the clubs. Beach clubs line the seaside, and people just are generally in the vacation state of mind. I love it.

Recently, I decided that I would arrange styling workshops here. My first one was this month. Read about it here. With this in mind, my husband and I decided that we needed a house with a garden. Although we love our chic flat with a sea view, it’s time to make the move and buy a house. Once we have a house, we can conduct workshops, cooking courses, creative retreats, and of course spend more time here in our adopted country. We have put our flat on the market with a twinge of nostalgia because it’s been so amazing here.

But life is an adventure, and if you know me, I am always up for the challenge.

Villa Fiske

Check out or flat here, and email me if you have any questions about it here in our little piece of heaven. It’s my fantasy that an American, someone I know would buy our flat. That way we would keep it in the family, and they would have an instant introduction to the Italian lifestyle. What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?

Get the full tour of the house here.

Photo Credit : me and Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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#marrakechworkshop 2015 part 4 – Project Soar

IMG_8662 As many of you followed along on my #marrakechworkshop IG feed, you probably saw us spending our first day in Marrakech with some very cute girls at Peacock Pavilions. Some of you may or may not know that the owners Maryam and Chris spend tons of time to helping young girls ages 8-14 in their neighboring village. Project Soar, their amazing non-profit, is an inspiring project that nurtures and educates girls to aspire to be accomplished, educated women who can affect a difference in the their village and change in the world. Maryam and Chris open their home at Peacock Pavilions every Sunday, and the girls play sports and take part in various programs throughout the year. It’s the perfect environment to learn about opportunities, career paths, and to just have fun. Throughout the year Maryam and Chris work to raise money and awareness for the girls. When Maryam asked Deborah and I to take part in a photography-centric craft project with them, we jumped at the chance.

We all met at 10:30 on the basketball court at Peacock Pavilion; 43 adorable girls were in attendance that day. They were all enthusiastic about spending the morning playing basketball and learning about how a camera works. Deborah put together a really cute video, and I took care of the sun paper craft project. It could not have been more fun!  Our Project Soar translator Faysal ( who works with Project Soar) was terrific, plus he is a photographer/film-maker, so he was jazzed about the program for the girls.

Peacock Pavilions

Project Soar has become near and dear to our heart, and Frank and I are excited to continue to support Maryam and Chris’s efforts. It has become our pet project this year.

Speaking of projects here’s how you can help immediately!!!

Project Soar needs 15 bikes and helmets pronto!!!
The older girls will be moving to high school next year and it is at least a 45 minute walk to school each way.  This is when girls often drop out of school, leading them to become child brides and their childhood as well as higher education end there and then. A bike can make the difference!

We think a basic bike, rigged up with basket for books, a helmet, and a bike lock will cost about $400 in Marrakech. (bikes are more expensive because they must pay a big take since they are imported)

15 bikes = $6000.00 Check out their website, and please find it in your heart to help these amazing girls. please donate now.

Just think a few dollars can make a BIG difference.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Please watch for more on how you can help coming on my blog…

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nothing like a still life

One of the coolest things about pinterest is that I can collect still life photographs to my heart’s content.

I had a very artistic childhood, my Dad Laszlo, was an artist, an oil painter. When I was little I lived in his art studio. He taught me the art of styling a still life. He taught me composition, light and balance when I was around 5. That’s when we started our lessons. We shopped every weekend and pointed out all the finer things as we trolled art galleries and flea markets for props to use in his paintings. So I started early in my love of beautiful objects thanks to him. He was a man of elegance and amazing taste. My teacher and mentor of all things style.

My Dad Laszlo: img723 img730 I am pretty sure that his love for still life is why I am so passionate about them to this day and probably why I became a photo stylist. My early lessons from my Dad made me hone my eye for composition. Painterly still life photography makes me swoon. Here are a couple of picks from my still life pinterest collection. Enjoy xx 3f32e7d6ab350f444188ee422339fefa 742fe603459731f7ad7701d37e6538ad 803534c4cf498ca32ebe5195ba73bbd9 bae585f9ccdc12bdf485a6a4ac4179e5 e3da277a188835625053cd137d33afb6 f8f58d9a9eaf633512eeeea87fe1f147 Since I wrote about composition in our last styling lesson, I wanted to point out that it would be a great idea to study still lives and then set up some still lives to photograph. Still lives are my favorite type of photography to style and buy props for. Have fun with it and with your new found knowledge of composition. This should be a great way to practice styling and photography!

Let me know how you do, take lots of photos and have fun!

If you’re in or near Seattle make sure to check out this fabulous workshop i’m teaching that will be hosted by the lovely Cassandra Lavelle of coco + kelley!

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