Photos
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the work continues....
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Rebecca and Andrew arrived back in April to the Chianti Life Retreat. They came from their amazing home in Australia which I have promised them I will visit one day☺ They had relatives here in Topanga and brought them over to the Chianti Life as well. Here is gorgeous Rebecca in all her loveliness in one of our bathrobes….and there is Andrew with his new amazing Canon shooting some amazing shots of their time here…. and one incredible video of the arrival of ‘mother hummingbird!’ Andrew borrowed one of my tripods and we set up on the bridge right near the tiny branch that this little bird was nesting on her freshly laid eggs. Check it out! So amazing. The nest is the size of a walnut☺
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While continuing my work on my film and book here in Florence, I was invited to quite an unusual and amazing show at Teatro Del Sale where the food was prepared in front of an enormous set of glass panes allowing the guests to watch the preparation. A table had been reserved specifically for my guest and me so that I could watch and try to film a bit of the spectacular theatrics of this enormous kitchen. Soon I hope to post a day of cooking here with this famous Florentine chef and will post more later on in January about both his work and his wife’s work in Florence. The shows put on here at this Florentine theater are very special, very unique, demonstrating both this man’s talent as the genius chef that he is, as well as his wife’s talents as both a singer and comedienne. Their guests are hand selected to be each particular show so it is apparently never open to the public. The theater is both one of culinary theatrics as well as the truly hilarious show by his wife, singer/comedienne extraordinaire. Entering, I joined a line of nobles, lawyers, architects, and other important people of Florence all waiting with great anticipation to take of the many tables, long tables, short tables, square tables and plenty of chairs. There was special table with a white linen over the placemats reserved for my guest and me. I soon learned that the idea was to grab one’s own carafes of wine and water. Then, every 20-30 minutes an ‘announcer’ would suddenly appear from a window inside the kitchen, leaning his body half way out the sliding glass, (steam and indescribably delicious scents following, emanating out into the main room from the interior of the magnificent kitchen) to call out (or should I say ‘yell out’) the upcoming next course of truly phenomenal food we were all about to experience. At that point one was to line up along with all of the other hungry guests, grab a plate and watch with mouth watering, as the food was carefully placed on the plate in your outstretched hand. This show went on for 2-3 hours and somewhere along about the 5th course, my stomach could not fit in another bite, sadly, as everything this man created was miraculous! Every time the man from the kitchen pulled open that glass and started to yell out the next dish we were about to experience, it gave me a spasm of delight. Here is a very short slip of one of those moments.
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Wishing every one of our amazing guests that have shared in the magic of this retreat from all over the world, a most extraordinary holiday season and best wishes for a spectacular New Year - 2018! "What we need now is silence so that we might hear a Child cry, and go to find him!"
With my love to all of you...

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The Chianti Life B&B added 21 new photos — at The Chianti Life Retreat.

..."lets fall asleep with the moon and I'll greet you with the sun...."
...and our magical 'dream dome' opens..........

Have I forgotten to mention Karim? Oh my gosh…..a most wonderful and special guest who arrived here in December from Germany for the last two days of a weeklong business trip in Los Angeles. What a very special man and new friend….and soon-to-return guest to the Chianti Life. This was his first visit with us and he's already planning his trip back from Germany, this time with his girlfriend and mother! It was raining…a mystical, magical weekend here in the woods. It remi...nded me of the Chiantishire when the rain hangs on the bark of the trees that stand trembling in the wind…and the wildness of the undergrowth lies soft in the spongy floor, hiding rich mushrooms swelling their earthly shapes into a treat waiting to be harvested for a dinner of ‘pasta all funghi’. For Karim is was the same sort of sensory overload….only for his woodlands of Germany…and the curtains of rain dripping from naked vines in his memories. Thank you Karim for a brief trip back to Europe…The Chianti Life memories wait for your return with your love.

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A most extraordinary Christmas gift arrived to me & the Chianti Life Retreat, from Florence, handmade by the incomparable artisans of 'profumo squisito' of the Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. Incredibly beautiful ...I hope this photo I took can do it justice. But it will never capture the indescribable scent!

-Grazie carissimo Andrea per la più squisitamente bella candela in tutto il mondo. E straordinario regalo di Natale per me .... per grazia la vita Chianti ..... grazie mille ..Io adoro questo ... io adoro e ti amo

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Peggy & James arrived here just before New Years’ to celebrate a little stress-free romantic time away from their work….both in the medical field, and Peggy an emergency room doctor. They rested and relaxed for a beautiful and peaceful night here among the trees and stars, waking to birds singing overhead and a blissful multi course breakfast. Another lovely blessing to this Retreat.

Josh and Jesse- a mid-December romance & birthday celebration at The Chianti Life…

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Although the late December morning was mild, there was a morning chill at breakfast, a time for sweaters and scarves, steaming cups of French Press coffee, and hot fresh baked scones to warm the tummies of our darling guests from San Francisco, Rasmus and his love, Melissa. They made a two-day stop here at the Chianti Life along their weeklong trip along the California coast, leaving here for Joshua Tree to cap off a wonderful Christmas week adventure. Their energy was amazing and a great gift to the Retreat. I’m looking very much forward to their promised return trip back to the Chianti Life!

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The Super Moon of December! Shot by our guest Ramy Frahman

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During a month of wonderful December guests and celebrations, Ramy and his fiancé, Kristin came to the retreat for two heavenly days to celebrate their engagement to be married. Ramy proposed to Kristin at the Getty Villa, followed by a glorious evening here at the Retreat for a multi-course Italian dinner for two. It was cold with rain on the way, so they dined on fresh sea bass, crostata of wild mushrooms, cheeses, sorbet palate cleansers, and a delectable mousse… indoors... in an exquisitely romantic setting for two, with Italian music and aromatic Italian wines; beautiful Kristin stunning in her dress and Ramy equally stunning in his suit. What a dazzling couple on a perfectly brilliant evening. The next morning they awoke to their multi-course breakfast and took the trail ride up in old Canyon at my friend Carmen’s La Horse Back Riding…whisking off on their mounts into the mountains for a truly private riding experience. Ramy took some of these spectacular photos while here at the retreat and one of my favorites is the picture of the full bloom moon. Check it out!

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The sunsets here have been magnificent….breathtaking…otherworldly looking…as a huge explosion of rose essence all over the skies in back of our historic trees….last week…..before the change to rain.

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Another year has passed us so quickly and so many things around the world have left most of us stunned…so much….so much. There were countless exquisite memories that could have been stored, as I have in a magic box here at the retreat…but I think most of us permeated by the world news, would likely remember so many of the negative issues that impacted our world. At times these heart stopping moments left me wondering if I had actually stepped back in time; Ebola, racial inequ...

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an amazing night...a balmy late fall dinner for four around the fire...wild mushroom crostata, fresh quail with wild boar sausage and vineyard grapes, handmade pear sorbet with grappa, and oh....lest I forget....tap off the evening with a Vin Santo straight from the Chianti .....ahhhhhh. Heaven.....

gratification, ecstasy, humor, wonder, hilarity, joy, bliss, elation.....GREAT HAPPINESS AND PLEASURE!....here are just a few of the beautiful, amazing guests we've had over the last several weeks......what a blessing to the Chianti Life....our handmade guest book from the Chianti is already filling up with all their breathtaking comments of love and appreciation of their time here at the Retreat......grazie mille....grazie tutti...

The last day of November we hosted an exquisite intimate wedding celebration dinner, blessing this retreat with new friends, more love, more peace, more food, more joy…camaraderie and memories...and these gifts of life go on…..

…thank you Erkin and Yanna…a beautiful memory for the Chianti Life….