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CONTENTS | DECEMBER 2017

63 FEATURES

IN THIS ISSUE

16 GRAND FACES

12

Editor’s Letter

14

The Colors Page

Meet the Rockette responsible for improving working conditions for hundreds of women at Radio City Music Hall, Eileen Collins, and get to know one of America’s most influencial philanthropy leaders, Cape Coral Community Foundation President and CEO Michael Chatman.

47

22 DINING Amid great anticipation, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster opened over the summer in downtown Fort Myers. And it does not disappoint. With its laid-back Nantucket vibe, Izzy’s serves up all manner of New England seafood and local fare under the expert guidance of Executive Chef Joe Bonavita.

33 COVER STORY Finding that perfect gift is a little easier with our annual holiday gift guide. From that someone special to the people who make your life easier every day, we have the perfect finds for everyone on your list.

63 OPEN DOOR

18

22

Step inside the Sanibel dream home of Tia and Anthony Farhat, PGI Homes’ powerhouse couple. He’s the president. She’s the design director. And the house is exquisite.

20 Grand Pets 27 Model Behavior 47 Getaway 50 Fashion 52 Wine 55 Grand Ride 59 Arts 69 Make it a Double 72 Grand Times 80 Behind the Benefit

14 GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 7


grand | CONTRIBUTORS

CELEBRATING THE GOOD LIFE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA VOLUME 16, NUMBER 3 | PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

Publisher

Editor | General Manager

Art Director

Associate Editor

William R. Barker Kathryn Robinson Kinsey, kkinsey@gannett.com Lindi Daywalt-Feazel, ldaywalt@gannett.com Pamela Hayford, phayford@gannett.com

Contributing writers

Gina Birch, Stephanie Borden, Patricia Carlson, Cathy Chestnut, Sara Coggin, Jennifer Thomas, Andrea Stetson

Contributing photographers

Amanda Inscore, Katie Klann, Logan Newell, Brian Tietz, Andrew West, Dennis Wright

Vice President Advertising Sales

Nancy M. Solliday

Niche Team Coordinator Editorial Imager Coordinator

Advertising Account Executive

Director Circulation Distribution

Circulation Support and Logistics Manager

Dennis Wright, drwright@gannett.com Nicole Holey, nholey@gannett.com Jim Keeble Cheryl Cushman

Holiday Cheer!

From Our Family to Yours!

1250 Third Street South, Olde Naples, Fl 34102 239-262-4791 8 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

ON THE COVER A 2018 Bentley Bentayga is photographed at Naples Luxury Imports.

Photo by Brian Tietz

Grandeur is published 8 times a year by The News-Press, a Gannett company. Complimentary copies are home delivered to News-Press subscribers in select neighborhoods throughout Lee and Collier counties. Copies are also inserted into Sunday editions of The News-Press in Collier county – in newsstands only. Subscriptions to the magazine are $24.95, and single copies are available at The News-Press offices and at various locations throughout Lee and Collier counties. To read the free e-edition visit grandeurmagazine.com. To advertise: 239-335-0457 To subscribe: 239-335-0211 To reach the editor: editor@grandeurmagazine.com


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grand | EXTRAS

Grandeur online, on your phone, in your hand Get the good life in the palm of your hand all month long. Tour Southwest Florida homes. Discover luxurious finds. Meet the people who shape our community. Get all that Grandeur Magazine has to offer and more at grandeurmagazine.com. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Follow us on Instagram at grandeurmagazine Like us on Facebook at Grandeur Magazine – Southwest Florida

Thursday & Friday December 14th & 15th

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The board is a group designed to help ensure that our coverage of the good life in Southwest Florida reaches the high expectations we always strive to meet.

Susan Bennett

President, Susan Bennett Marketing & Media

Gail Markham

SEALIFE FASHION DIAMONDS ESTATE

Periwinkle Place Shops • Sanibel Island 239-472-4177 • CongressJewelers.com 10 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company, P.A.

Dwayne Bergmann Principal/ Designer Dwayne Bergmann, LLC

Larry Norris

Founder, Norris Furniture & Interiors

Karen Johnson– Crowther

Principal, Director of Retail Services, Colliers International

Robbie Roepstorff President, Edison National Bank

Tracey Galloway

CEO of Community Cooperative

Jennifer Williams

Owner, Jennifer’s Inc.

CORRECTION: “Irma 2017” by Kim Hambor was incorrectly identified in the October issue.


grand | EDITOR’S LETTER

Holiday traditions

T

hese things I know are true, because they are some of my favorite holiday traditions. By the time you’re reading this … • My living room will have been temporarily rearranged to accommodate a Christmas tree that takes center stage with the rest of my home. • The scent of Christmas candles, cranberry, evergreen, pine and sugar cookie to name a few, will fill the nostrils of everyone who walks through my doorway. • Every room, including the lanai, will be decorated with sparkly lights or glitter-covered holiday decorations. • I will have bought a set of festive Christmas cards, fully intending to address and mail them, but not one will be completed and likely will never be sent. • Most of my shopping, but none of the wrapping, will be done. Many like me can’t wait for the holidays to get here. For some they start planning their party list months ago, or they’ve been keeping an eye out for the perfect gift for their favorite people throughout the year. And that’s the tricky part — finding those ideal gifts. What do you buy the longtime family friend who’s also a coffee connoisseur? What about the adventurous relative who seems to have done it all? Well we’re here to help. Check out our gift guides for some of the people in your life who love fashion, or sports, food and wine or just plain having fun, pages 33-41. Missing snow? Spend Christmas in Austria. From the splendor of Vienna to quaint villages, wintertime is magical throughout this country steeped in tradition, pages 47-49. As you study your calendar to find time for shopping, decorating, entertaining, writing cards and more, pencil in one of the magical holiday performances we share in Grand Arts, page 59. From holiday classics like “Miracle on 34th Street” to “Cirque Dreams: Holidaze,” there’s something for every taste. This season, and always, I’m grateful to all of those past, present and future traditions that carry me through my life, and I’m also grateful for the individuals who stand beside me each and every day. Whether it’s my beloved family and friends or my dedicated magazine staff, I sincerely hope you get what you want this holiday season. I already have. I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful New Year, too.

Location provided by: Strauss Lighting, Miromar Design Center, Estero.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TIETZ

12 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

KATHRYN ROBINSON KINSEY EDITOR & GENERAL MANAGER


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GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 13


grand | COLORS

Pretty polished

• Dainty, delicate and demure, this darling necklace is sweetly sophisticated. Featuring 14-karat white gold and 3.90 carat total weight, it begs to be paired with a sweetheart neckline and 1950s silhouetted gown that Grace Kelly would’ve been proud to wear. $5,999 at Dunkin’s Diamonds, Fort Myers.

WINTER Tick, tock • If ever a watch

combined equal parts class and sex appeal, this is it. Maybe it’s the timeless Louis Vuitton monogram on the interchangeable strap. Or the decadent face with a dozen curved, polished cabochons and the golden Star Monogram flower nestled just above 6 o’clock. It could be the unique inward curve that gives the watch a crescent-shaped profile. Whatever it is, the Tambour Moon Star 35 watch ($4,350) is worth every penny. Available at Louis Vuitton, Waterside Shops, North Naples.

WHITE

W

hile some people might still argue about the virtues of wearing white in winter, we say it’s entirely appropriate to bend the rules — especially

if your shade of white is just left of center. From oyster to pearl and cream to ivory, this hue offers you a clean, monochromatic playground from which to construct an outfit, style a room or design a car. — PATRICIA CARLSON

Warm cuddle • When Florida’s winter gets the hint of a chill, it’s time to pull out this lush throw made of extra-soft Mongolian lambskins ($499). Offering warmth and comfort, each throw is also wholly original, as each lamb fur has variations in curl lengths and coloring. Backed with Velboa faux fur for a seamless look and feel, this throw is perfect to drape over your legs morning or night. West Elm, Coconut Point, Estero.

14 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Turn heads

• It’s what you can’t see that makes this stunning holiday party dress such a showstopper. Forget the beaded and crystal floral lattices that scale this slip dress and focus on the barely there back. With daring crisscrossed rouleau straps, you will leave dropped jaws in your wake as you mix and mingle. From perennial London trend-setting favorite Topshop, $330 at nordstrom.com.


Adventure awaits

• From the practical design minds of the Swedes comes a surprisingly luxurious take on adventure road travel. The V90 Cross Country T5 AWD looks like a typical crossover/wagon from the outside, but the interior showcases fine features like black walnut inlays, smooth leather upholstery and cutting-edge technology like adaptive cruise control with semiautonomous pilot assist. Starting at $52,300, the rugged yet elegant V90 Cross Country is the perfect car for your adventures.

Lunar love • Your outfit will look out of this

Comfort zone

• The perfect temperature is just a swipe away with the Nest Thermostat E ($169 at nest.com). Controlled from anywhere with an integrated app, you can adjust your home’s climate, check your energy history and be alerted if there’s a problem with your air conditioner, furnace, filters, and more. And its frosted display is beautifully designed to blend in with most home decor.

world when you accessorize with this John Hardy bamboo white diamond, gray moonstone and sterling silver ring. This imported charmer is centered with a glamorous moonstone and framed with diamonds totaling 0.16 carat weight. The ring also comes in gray moonstone and peach moonstone. $2,300 at saksfifth avenue. com.

Ice, ice baby

• The year-round cooler that everyone needs, in a color that matches everything. The Yeti Tundra 45-quart in white offers unmatched ice retention with Yeti’s Fatwall design. Excellent construction that yields it virtually indestructible makes the Yeti Tundra 45-quart your go-to cooler for boat trips, camping trips and even backyard barbecues. $349.99 at all Sunshine Ace Hardware locations.

Cat’s meow

• From the Italian luxury fashion powerhouse Gucci, comes the purr-fect pair of frames. The embellished cat-eye sunglasses are grounded by delicate metal frames and topped with polished pearls and golden polka dots. These spectacular spectacles will surely make you the cat’s meow around town. $830 at nordstrom.com.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 15


Eileen Collins poses for a portrait amidst her Radio City Music Hall memorabilia in her home in Naples. Eileen was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall for 25 years and traveled with them around the world. She also spent years fighting for better and safer working conditions for them.

After making waves as a Rockette, a Naples resident became more legendary for reforming working conditions on the stage. STORY BY ANDREA STETSON | PHOTO BY KATIE KLANN 16 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | FACES

ileen Collins performed for some of the world’s most prominent stars and leaders. She danced for Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev. She danced for Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, Ann Margaret, Liberace, Muhammad Ali, Gregory Peck, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Wayne Newton. The spotlight beamed on her vivacious grace, but it was her quest to make working conditions better for other performers that set her apart from the hundreds of women who performed at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette. Eileen began dancing before she was 3, but didn’t choose it as a career. She studied business law at Burdett College in Boston. After graduating, she decided to dance, delving into lessons. When she finally made the cut for a Rockette audition, 320 girls were vying for two spots. “They said ‘When can you start?’ I was so excited, I didn’t realize until I got to Sixth Avenue that I never took my tap shoes off,” she recalls. “I was so blown away I wore my tap shoes home.” Eileen became a Rockette in 1971. It was a job she adored but the conditions were grueling. “I would do six shows a day, seven days a week,” she says. “If you were injured or you were ill, you just went out and did the show. You had no recourse.” There were no staff doctors or physical therapists. There was little time to rest between shows. “I had a knee injury one time. I had a friend of mine put me on the table and stretch my leg out before every show.” In 1980, Eileen became head of the union and used her legal and business background to help fight for the performers. It would take a while to see change. “We did six, 90-minute shows with seven costume changes,” she remembers. “One costume change was 52 seconds. It was physically difficult.” Despite the workload, Eileen loved her job. She performed in the Christmas, spring and summer shows in New York, and traveled with the Rockettes to London, Paris, Germany, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada and Australia. She thrilled at meeting famous people in the audience. “Audrey Hepburn was one of my favorite people,” Eileen says. “She was so sweet. Lucille Ball was so funny. We had so many wonderful opportunities to travel and do fun stuff and meet some amazing people.” Eileen was a Rockette for 25 years, retiring in 1996 to become director of operations, and was promoted a year later to vice president of operations. “I love performing on stage,” Eileen says. “That was just a kick. You come out of the ground and you hear the 60-piece orchestra playing and you see the 6,000 people in the audience. But I also fell in love with the business aspect.” In her new roles, Eileen started making big changes. It was a challenge becoming her colleagues’ boss. “I was like the Benedict Arnold,” she notes. “They didn’t know I was going to be helping them. They saw I left and went to management.”

Then they saw the benefits of Eileen’s changes. She hired physical therapists and doctors and established a physical therapy room. Work schedules were reduced. The Rockettes were divided into teams that each did three shows a day. “Those programs are still there today,” she says with pride. Former dancer and Rockette administrator Christopher Anderson says, “She started a whole legacy. I totally experienced what she put into place—all the protections. I knew a lot of her legacy and seeing the vast changes she created. She is definitely a legend at Radio City.” Because Eileen was a Rockette, she had insight into helping the performers after she switched to management, Christopher says. “She was there during the formative years. Once she moved into administration, that is where she made her mark. There are a lot of rules and protections that were not in place before Eileen came there.” Christopher remembers that dressers didn’t want to wash the costumes of the male actors during the height of the AIDS crisis and Eileen would not let that happen. “She stepped forward and said, ‘You are not going to treat people in an inhumane way,’” he recalls. “She came forward for people and spoke up for them.” The metal stage was tough on the performer’s knees, hips and ankles. Eileen “opened up so many doors to maintain health and keep your longevity. You were valued more long term and you were less disposable. She took those experiences with injury to heart and she applied it,” Christopher says. “She is a consummate professional and really cares about people and the company, and wanted to see it thrive.” To this day, when performers are following a rule, such as stretching before a performance, they call it doing “an Eileen” because she was instrumental in establishing safety and health protocols, Christopher explains, and “that is why she is considered a legend.” Eileen retired in 2005. But her work has not been forgotten. During a Rockette show at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall five years ago, she was surprised when some Rockettes left the stage to give her flowers. “I knew that my work didn’t go unnoticed,” she says with content. Eileen also keeps those memories alive in her North Naples home. Two red velvet chairs with gum still stuck to the back sit prominently in the Rockette room she created. The chairs are originals from Radio City Music Hall. There is carpeting from Radio City Music Hall and dozens of photos of Eileen kicking her legs high with the famous dance team and posing with famous dignitaries and celebrities. The more current photos in her home are the center of her universe today: the ones of her 10-year-old son, Jack; her wife, Sophie; and their dog Mickey. “I have had one heck of a ride,” Eileen reflects. “I have had such a great time and I am still just loving life. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to be able to say?” GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 17


grand | FACES

AN

STORY BY CATHY CHESTNUT | PHOTO BY LOGAN NEWELL

INFLUENTIAL IN PHILANTHROPY Michael Chatman brings national background to Cape Coral Community Foundation s president and CEO of the Cape Coral Community Foundation, Michael Chatman has an impressive title. But make no mistake about it, he’s boots on the ground, working with innovation and passion to expand the breadth of the small organization. By all accounts, the soft-spoken man, who has been touted as “one of the most influential philanthropy leaders in America,” has the background and knowledge to take it to new heights. In August 2016, Michael left his role as senior vice president of philanthropy at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri, which boasts $268 million in assets and a robust network of 49 affiliated foundations. He agreed to take on the task of redefining and rebuilding the Cape

Coral foundation, which had been leaderless for a year and a half. It manages $10.2 million in assets and has only two full-time employees (he is one) and a part-time staffer. “I took this for the challenge — seeing the enormous growth of Cape Coral — to position it to stand alone and sustain itself,” he says. “They said, ‘It’s a turn-around business you are inheriting.’ There were lots of things missing, to be honest.” Other foundation executives have teams of development, marketing and program directors helping to lead the charge, but not Michael. And it doesn’t bother him in the slightest. “We’re small, but we’re nimble. I identify more as a social entrepreneur and less as an executive director,” says Michael, 50, who earned an executive education certificate in social entrepreneurship from the Harvard Business School and another master’s in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He also worked nationally on the staff of the Anheuser-

Busch Foundation. With his board of directors, Michael has established The Global Center for Generosity at the foundation to link local needs to donors throughout the state, nation and world. “We invite donors, no matter where they live, to participate in our vision, our mission. Generosity is central to our mission. We have to state our value in a different way,” explains Michael, who has 294,000 followers on Twitter and contributes to Forbes’ account, in addition to hosting “The Giving Show” podcast. “We have the ability to bring in those relationships, because I have a background in global philanthropy.” Board chair and long-time Cape resident Dennis Gingerich says the global center is the effect of Michael’s ability to “think about the big picture. No longer are geographical locations for the community foundation the main thing anymore — it’s much broader than that. We can all be better if we work together.”

No longer are geographical locations for the community foundation the main thing anymore — it’s much broader than that. We can all be better if we work together. — DENNIS GINGERICH 18 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | FACES

Michael is happy to serve as the conduit between corporate and private family foundations and local nonprofits. One of his mentors, Dr. Emmett Carson, is president of the wealthiest foundation in the nation — the Silicon Valley Community Foundation — and Michael established a partnership that allows him to tap into their expertise, such as legal resources. “We have access to a much broader knowledge base,” says Dennis, who calls Michael, despite his impressive connections, “a very humble guy” not prone to bragging.

Michael spearheaded the foundation’s new academic-style training center, offering capacity-building seminars for local nonprofits and churches to become more successful in fundraising, planned giving and board development, and for businesses on topics such as corporate social responsibility and employee engagement. He also headed up the regional Excellence in Nonprofit Performance Yearly Awards, with the inaugural event held in October in Fort Myers. There were 80 nominees in nine categories. “He’s extended a hand across the bridge in a

whole new, fresh way. Our board loves it,” Dennis says, describing the energy at the awards ceremony as “electric.” Michael relocated to Cape Coral with his family: wife, Sandy, who homeschools the youngest of their two children, son Zion, a high school sophomore focused on game development. Their daughter, Chloie, finished her senior year at Cape Coral High School and is now enrolled at Florida SouthWestern State College. “They love it,” he says, “Local residents have been welcoming and supportive.”

Michael was born and raised in Miami, so can easily visit many relatives, and is a University of Miami basketball and football fan. Given all the work on his plate, he notes he hasn’t had ample time to get into dockside fishing or decompress for hours on the shore. He’s too busy thinking of ways to bring in revenues and connect with the wider philanthropic audience. But he has time to contemplate one of his favorite quotes that comes from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, “You have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 19


Larisa Byerhof holds her rabbit, Sweetums, at her home in the Aqua condominiums in North Naples.

20 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | PETS

STORY BY CATHY CHESTNUT PHOTOS BY KATIE KLANN

TRAVELING COMPANION

S

This Naples rabbit may be quiet and gentle, but he runs the show at home.

weetums is a jet-setting rabbit. The American black bunny was a wandering orphan when Larisa Byerhof spied him spying her through bushes in her backyard in Virginia. Larisa had been calling for her cats to come when the long ears stood out. Larisa, a part-time Naples resident, already had two cats and a Staffordshire terrier, but there was something about that quiet bunny. She coaxed it closer into the yard with cilantro, dill and apples. It was December 2015 and getting cold. “A week later, it was about to snow. It was cold and foggy,” she recalls. On that day, Sweetums succumbed to Italian parsnips and was transported to his own room inside. “I was happy to have him in my house and out of the elements and away from predators,” such as coyotes, she says. Larisa’s plan was to adopt him out to a forever home, but he quickly worked his way into her heart and came down that winter to the Naples condo. When Sweetums finally mingled with the other household denizens, they became fast friends, she says. “Everyone gets along really well. He lives in a house with three predators and he’s the one who runs the show,” says Larisa, who has worked in

an animal shelter and as a veterinary technician. Her list of animal companions has run the gamut from snakes and iguanas to a donkey and goat. Spot, 4, the Staffordshire terrier, can hunt down groundhogs. The cats stalk all manner of prey. But Larisa runs a tight ship. “I’m a very alpha mamma. Everyone knows their place,” she says, adding that they all eat in the same room at the same time, with their backs to each other “so everyone on the same playing field.” The worst Sweetums has done “is chase the girl kitty around the house, and now they play tag.” And he will sometimes hide in places that are now well-known to Larisa. Now about 2 years old, Sweetums is 6 pounds and has his own “one-bedroom efficiency”—a pet kennel with litter box where he retreats in the evening. He has flown with Larisa to Sedona, Arizona, for a yoga immersion workshop, and enjoys car rides. “He’s a well-traveled guy,” she says. He eats a steady diet of hay, romaine lettuce, fennel tops and dill, with a slight sprinkling of cereal or “pellets.” Sweetums indulges on edible flowers, blueberries, apples and cilantro for treats. Larisa and Sweetums have developed a close bond. He’s quiet and doesn’t require extensive vet visits. Unlike many rabbits, Sweetums hasn’t been a big chewer, though he’s recently discovered cellphone chargers. He’s tidy and calm. “I’ve often called him a being, not just a bunny. We have a really unique bond. He’s sweet and gentle. I cannot imagine life without him.” GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 21


SOMETHING

“FISHY”

Clams, calamari, mussels and more sate seafood lovers.

22 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

STORY & PHOTOS BY GINA BIRCH


grand | DINING

FILE PHOTO

hen Izzy’s Fish & Oyster opened in Fort Myers this summer, there was much anticipation—a Miami restaurant spin-off and finally a seafood restaurant downtown. With an inviting entrance on the corner of First and Jackson streets, a 7-foot display case in the window beckons passersby with fresh whole fish, destined to be the nightly feature. With a Nantucket vibe, cool colors and a relaxed atmosphere, the restaurant is a combination of New England and local fare. The brick is white-washed; there are vintage shutters and a magnificent mural of a blue squid on the wall. Light and bright, it feels good when you walk in. The 12-foot raw bar is a good sign that oysters are

taken seriously here. You’ll always find blue points, with at least three more daily features from the East Coast. Executive Chef Joe Bonavita says about the oysters, “They come out of the water and in 24 hours are in a box and on an airplane, so we have the freshest product.” He boasts, “People come in who say ‘I hate oysters,’ they try ours, and think they’re amazing.” Since Izzy’s has opened, the chef has seen some pretty impressive oyster eating. On National Oyster Day, one couple ate 150. They are two bucks ($2) a shuck during happy hour but Joe remembers, “When it was a buck a shuck, the first ticket we had was a guy who ate 72 oysters.” I had to try them but, tempted by so many seafood specialties, opted for the seafood tower. It was so impressive that throughout the meal, fellow diners

would stop to inquire what it was, how it worked and to take photos. The bottom tier was lined with oysters and mussels presented bruschetta-style. In the middle was Izzy’s famous fish dip. Made from wahoo and mullet, it’s neither too thick, nor too fishy; it’s light and fresh. There were also littleneck clams with lemon salsa and local shrimp that had the perfect snap to the skin. The top tier was tuna tartar that had a kick, lobster salad with full big chucks of meat and jumbo stone crab claws. Nothing was overdone as far as seasonings so you could really taste the fish. Joe is passionate about his product. He can tell you not only where the fish came from but who caught it. He attributes this near obsession to working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York and Chicago.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Eye-catching murals of giant sea creatures are a highlight of Izzy’s decor. • Executive Chef Joe Bonavita and his catch of the day, a 40–pound tile fish. • Made with tequila, the Sharpie cocktail goes down smooth. • Tender clam strips and crisp waffle fries are the newest hit appetizer at Izzy’s.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 23


grand | DINING The inventor of an arsenic water filter, Joe had a scholarship to Stanford University’s Engineering School but didn’t take it. Instead, he eventually enrolled in the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. Going into the holidays, he and his team have made a few changes to the menu. “We are figuring out what the locals want, tweaking it,” he says. “They want a few more approachable items and even more fish, like grouper, snapper and cobia—all local. Oh, and stone crabs. We’ve noticed this town loves them.” Izzy’s has four sizes of stone crabs. The “more approachable” additions are fried clam strips with waffle fries. For a twist, the cocktail sauce is made with chili sauce and horseradish instead of ketchup.

If you’re not a fan of calamari, you should try it here; it melts in your mouth, almost creamy in texture. Clam fry flour and buttermilk is used to make the light batter. Also new, black gold mussels steamed in a simple ginger beer sauce; it’s so sweet and delicious, you may want to drink it. The staff raved about the seared scallops so I tried them. Cooked perfectly, they came over fresh fava beans and fingerling potatoes, with pearl onions and butter. Simple and delicious The daily fish special was wahoo, seared rare. It was a substantial piece of fish with wilted spinach, fingerling potatoes and a salty olive tapenade. Dessert is a creative experience of comfort food. whoopie pies are signature but try the seasonal pies served in miniature skillets or the homemade cookies

and spiced milk, perfect for the holidays. The cookies were just gooey enough that you didn’t dare put one down for fear someone else would take it. Speaking of milk and cookies, Izzy’s has a kid– friendly loft with space for larger parties. The bar gets busy at happy hour, when $5 cocktails include the refreshing Sharpie: tequila, green chartreuse, chamomile honey, cucumber and lime. The Pontoon is Izzy’s take on a Moscow Mule, this one with sage and lime to brighten it up. Fresh seafood, well-prepared cocktails and a welcoming atmosphere make Izzy’s an inviting place to dine in downtown Fort Myers. — Izzy’s Fish & Oyster is located at 2282 First St. in Fort Myers. For more information and to make reservations: 239-337-4999.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Izzy’s famous Seafood Tower, upgraded with stone crab claws. • The fish specials change daily at Izzy’s. This one is seared wahoo. • Located on a prime corner in downtown Fort Myers, Izzy’s is inviting to all who pass by. • The seasonal apple pie is served hot, in a bright yellow skillet, with a scoop of rich ice-cream. . 24 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


In town. On the water. Beyond the ordinary.

THE ISLES HAVE IT!

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LUXURY VILLAS, COACH HOMES & SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES FROM THE MID $300s TO OVER $1 MILLION From poolside parties and beach picnics to kayaking and pickleball, The Isles of Collier Preserve is a place where nature, neighbors and free-spirited fun come together like nowhere else. A place where award-winning homes overlook miles of scenic waterways and preserves. Come see why, “The Isles have it” over any other community in Naples!

Available membership at adjoining Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club with deepwater access to the Gulf of Mexico • Classic Old Florida Clubhouse • Resort-Style Pool • Event Lawn • Lap Pool • Cabanas • Fitness Center • Pickleball & Tennis Courts • Kayak & Paddleboard Launches • Overlook Bar & Grill Coming Soon

(888) 347-0540 • MintoUSA.com • 5445 Caribe Avenue, Naples, FL 34113 Located on US 41/Tamiami Trail East, just south of Thomasson Drive For location, hours of operation and further details about our award-winning communities, visit MintoUSA.com. © Minto Communities, LLC 2017. Not an offer where prohibited by state statutes. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced, copied, altered, distributed, stored or transferred in any form or by any means without express written permission. Artist’s renderings, dimensions, specifications, prices and features are approximate and subject to change without notice. Minto, the Minto logo, The Isles of Collier Preserve and The Isles of Collier Preserve logo are trademarks of Minto Communities, LLC and/or its affiliates. CGC 1519880. 12/2017


The two story Highland’s model blends transitional with Andalusian. There are modern touches such as a fan that looks like a propeller and there are cozy nooks along with spacious places to socialize.

grand | MODEL BEHAVIOR

AT

HOME AT VILLA D’ESTE New Highlands model is understated elegance in golfer’s paradise GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 27


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The open floor plan has the great room separated from the kitchen by the large island. Tiles form the backsplash throughout the kitchen. • The Highlands is one of 12 planned homes in the gated section of Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. Randall Mitchell Custom Homes is building the villas in the Villa d’ Este neighborhood. • The upstairs master bedroom is as luxurious as the one downstairs. Many people who visit the home prefer the upstairs master. • The den is more of a cozy nook for socializing and watching television. The interior decorator said today people are not anchored to a desk for work so she wanted the den to be less of a study and more of another comfortable room.

28 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | MODEL BEHAVIOR

STORY BY ANDREA STETSON PHOTOS BY ANDREW WEST

estled along a lake and the 18th hole of the Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club golf course is a new enclave of 12 planned homes in a gated section of the community. Randall Mitchell Custom Homes is building the villas in the Villa d’ Este neighborhood, and are all walking distance to the clubhouse and golf course. The company has already sold its first home and is now touting its latest model called the Highlands.

Holiday S avings

for Everyone on Your List

C O M P A N Y

S T O R E

GIFT CARDS MAKE THE PERFECT

The two-story model painted in a Sherwin Williams “Silvermist” looks like a light modern version of a Mediterranean house with a bell tower type of structure out front and a second-story balcony hidden behind that tower. “This really blended the transitional with Andalusian,” says Mitch Melheim, president of Randall Mitchell Custom Homes. “It is Old World European style, but not heavily Mediterranean. This will stand out and age well.” Chrissie Porter Forbes, president of Accessories Etc. Design Group, says she had a different philosophy when creating the interior style. Unlike homes that focus on entertaining, the Highlands focuses on the homeowner’s comforts. “The villas are a little bit more relaxed,” she explains. “They want to be comfortable at home. They will do less entertaining at home and spend more time at the club.”

That’s why she created a wet bar area and designed the home for someone who may have friends over for drinks before heading to the clubhouse for dinner. The Highlands boasts four suites, two of them master suites. The downstairs master bedroom features 10-foothigh sliding glass doors under 12-foot ceilings that lead out to the lanai. The room faces west so the homeowner can watch the sunset over the lake from the master bed. Remote sensor lights turn on when someone enters the his-and-her master closets. The master bathroom is modernized with a stand-alone tub and lots of stone and tiles. “I like the detail of the master bath,” Chrissie says. “I like the wall with all the detail with the stone. The shower is on the left and tub on the right—and the stone wall connects them all into one.”

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grand | MODEL BEHAVIOR

The downstairs bedroom and den—more of a cozy sitting area than a traditional den—both have sliding glass doors that lead to a small patio. “We embraced the fact that we don’t all sit down at desks,” Chrissie says. “The study is more of a place to sit down and watch television. I can see them having games and books in there, but not anchored to a desk. You can use your laptop or tablet anywhere because that is the world we are living in.” It’s the upstairs VIP suite that Mitch loves. During Hurricane Irma, that’s where he set up an air mattress to keep safe from the storm. It’s from that room that he watched the storm blast over the lake and golf course, while feeling safe inside the sturdy building. The VIP suite has sliding glass doors that lead to a large terrace that overlooks the lake and golf course. That patio has 30 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

a concrete bench running along one side with pillows. The room’s 10-foot ceilings slant along the edges, giving the room a cottage feel. “What I love about this house is it has two master bedrooms, so everybody is comfortable under one roof,” says George Mato, Miromar’s vice president of sales. “This is understated luxury elegance.” Chrissie says many people prefer the upstairs master suite to the one below. It is actually the largest bedroom in the home. The balcony has rails that don’t block the views. “I wanted to take advantage of the water view and the golf course beyond it,” she says. The other second-story bedroom leads to a small patio. In between is a wet bar with refrigerated drawers. The balcony at the top of stairs leads to a small terrace behind the bell tower area. “It is kind of a Juliet balcony,” Chris-

sie says. “If you were upstairs, you could open up the door and say ‘I’ll be right down.’ And when the weather is nice, you can open that door for great ventilation.” “You could live up here,” Mitch added. You can also live well downstairs. The open floor plan has the great room separated from the kitchen by the large island. A round glass table sits in a nook off the kitchen, featuring glass doors on two sides leading to the lanai. The designer added some fun details to the home. An eight-blade fan in the great room looks like an airplane propeller and the coffered ceiling looks like inlaid rectangles. The iron front door is rounded on top. “I wanted to have clean look, but also good scale for the space,” Chrissie explained. Outside, the lanai features a firepit be-

side the pool with an integrated waterfall into the pool. There is also an outdoor kitchen. “We always want to focus on outdoor living,” Chrissie explains. “You get a beautiful sunset view. The lake has lights and fountains. It is like living at a resort.” Mitch says there are lots of hidden extras in the house. The moldings on the lanai are lifted a bit to hide the drains. Air-conditioning ducts are hidden in the home’s ceilings. Insulation spray foam is used over all parts of the house, including the lanai and garage. Concrete block walls are recessed into the slab to prevent potential water intrusion from condensation. “There are a lot of little things in our homes that we like to integrate,” Mitch says. The home features oversized baseboards and custom window sills. The French oak flooring in the home matches


HERE’S WISHING YOU A

H O L I DAY S E A S O N

The gift we hope you give yourself is a skin care regimen that’s preventive, protective and corrective. At Florida Skin Center, we focus on prevention. That’s why we encourage annual skin exams by a board-certified Dermatology Center. Protect yourself by minimizing sun exposure and applying broad-spectrum SPF daily. And see us for corrective therapies the minute you notice even a minor symptom or change in your skin. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The Highlands is so close to the golf club that the designer considers the home a place where friends come for a drink before heading out to the club, rather than entertaining with full meals. That’s why she created a luxury wet bar area. • The lanai with its pool, outdoor kitchen and multiple sitting areas is adjacent to the lake and golf course. • The Highlands has four suites, two upstairs and two more downstairs. This bedroom leads to a small patio.

the color of the cypress wood ceiling on the lanai and covered entry. There is a dog shower in the laundry room. The stairs were engineered not to creak. The Highlands also features an audio system and programmable lighting along with a security system with internet-accessible camera systems. There is also a three-car garage plus extra space for a golf cart. Every home sold in the Villa d’Este section comes with a golf cart. While the Highlands is spacious, it is not humongous. The air-conditioned living area spans 3,665 square feet and the total living space is 5,267 square

feet. “Bigger is not better,” Mitch says. Villa d’Este will have four basic plans for the 12 sites, but each has variations so they won’t be the same. Both one- and two-story homes will be available. “Randall Mitchell is not a tract builder,” Mitch stresses. “We are a custom builder. This is a stretch for us. We don’t usually go in and build models. We have been just a custom builder.” Adds Mitch: “It should be a really intimate enclave. We envision this being a golfer’s paradise.” The fully furnished Highlands is priced at $1.895 million.

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grand | COVER STORY

Great gifts for everyone on your list “When, what to my wondering eyes should appear?” A special gift to which “secret elves” had given heartfelt meaning? We all like that feeling: when the face of the recipient of our gift lights up like a brightly festooned tree or dancing menorah after opening that singular present you knew would make memories bright. If you are the secret elf, and you are still pondering a few items on your list, we have some suggestions for that special someone, from sweetly simple to over-the-top. Isn’t that why they’re called wish lists? STORY BY CATHY CHESTNUT

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 33


Do a little dance • What better way to get even

closer to your partner than by dancing the night away? The Argentine tango, salsa and merengue, East Coast swing, freestyle or traditional International Standard ballroom styles of dance — you can learn them in group classes ($10 per person) on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Enchanted Ballroom in the Promenade at Bonita Bay in Bonita Springs. The couples’ introductory package ($40 per couple) includes two private lessons and a group class — an excellent way to dip into this trending pastime to see if it’s right for you. (theenchantedballroom.com)

A true bouquet • Surprise the oenophile in your life with a set of Schott Zwiesel Pure Cabernet glasses ($84) made in Germany from Williams Sonoma at Waterside Shops. Go the extra mile and have them monogrammed. Your resident wine-lover will be especially thrilled to find tucked inside a membership to The Williams Sonoma’s Wine Club. The Explorer Wine Club ($90 per six-bottle shipment) takes imbibers on a tour through “the world’s most storied vineyards and boutique wineries.” The Entertainer Wine Club ($180 per six-bottle shipment) features premium ageworth wines averaging $30 each for special occasions. Membership includes a discount at the Wine Store, wine-tasting notes and paired recipes. Say bon jour to intimate wine evenings on the lanai.

The extraordinary person in your life who deserves a distinctive, if not exceptional, token of your love and appreciation

Couple’s weekend

Fiery ring • Some people wear their

heart on their sleeve, but she can wear your heart’s fire on her finger. This platinum ring is centered with an 18-carat Australian black opal, flanked by sapphires, emeralds, and white and fancy colored diamonds. The ring’s name, “Earth Fall,” and colors are inspired by astronomical photos of the earth’s surface; and it was designed by third-generation jeweler William Boyajian at Port Royal Jewelers in Naples (price available upon request).

34 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

• Escape and unwind from the holiday bustle with your special someone. Seven miles of white-sand beach, beachside pools, tennis, watersports, waterfront dining and a world-class spa beckon at the four-diamond Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. You don’t have to travel far to secret your partner away in paradise. The Golf & Spa Combo package includes greens fees, cart rental, bag storage, range balls and golf gratuities, and a 50-minute massage for the non-golfer (from $898 per night for a Gulf-view room with two-night minimum).


grand | COVER STORY

Bentley sleigh • What’s red and stylish and luxurious all over?

The 2018 Bentley Bentayga W12 ($244,960) at Naples Luxury Imports. All the comforts of a Bentley in an all-wheel drive SUV: heated front and rear seats, dual-zone air conditioning, moon roof, remote keyless entry, three LCD monitors, real-time traffic display, streaming wireless and leather trim — and a fold-down picnic table for tailgating or sunset forays.

Cozy up

• Curl up with your lovey in the softness of this luxe, faux-fur blanket ($149). Fluff up the intimacy, and your décor, with the matching pillow ($59). From Chico’s.

Time travel

• If your man is a globetrotter, or conducts international business, the Voyager GMT 41.5 by Louis Vuitton travels around the world with him every 24 hours. This contemporary travel timepiece ($5,350) features a polished and brushed stainless steel case, gray bull calf leather strap, blue and black GMT day and night indicator, and anthracite luminescent hands. The Swiss-made watch is water resistant to 164 feet. Louis Vuitton, Waterside Shops, Naples. GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 35


Yum yum

• Culinary pleasures are a special way to say thanks, and they can be found in a gift basket brimming with their favorite delectable — tea, barbecue and tailgate musthaves, or the Gourmet Italian Cook’s Basket ($65 to $120) — from DeRomo’s Gourmet Market & Restaurant (deromos.com) in the Promenade at Bonita Bay. Gluten-free baskets available.

Cup o’ the day

Bright expressions •

Brighten up a board or fridge with this set of 24 colorful and conversational magnets by Kate Spade New York. They offer inspiration, amusement and a thought for the day — at home or in the office ($29.95). Available at Papyrus online or in Waterside Shops in Naples.

36 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

• For those who make your life easier — and can’t get started without a sacramental cup of coffee in the morning — a year-long gift subscription to the Atlas Coffee Club will diversify the morning ritual. Each month, they will receive fresh, roasted coffee from a different country, along with brewing tips and a picturesque postcard relating each country’s unique growing methods and history. These globally curated coffees ensure 100 percent freshness and “a new adventure in every cup.” Twelve-month gift subscriptions for 12-ounce ($199) or 6-ounce ($149) monthly deliveries allow recipients to tailor to their liking. Details: atlascoffeeclub.com

Inspire • “The difference between who

you are and what you want to be is what you do” is the leading mantra for this inspirational, hardcover journal simply titled “Habits” ($34.95). If someone who plays a leading role in your life is working to defeat bad habits or get out of a rut, this tabbed, monthly journal includes fun exercises, tips, prompts, planners and trigger cards to chart their transformational journey. (shop.nordstrom.com)


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Sweet scents • A gift that keeps on giving is the pleasing aroma of a Lafco handblown glass diffuser filled with natural essential oil-based fragrances ($115) wicked into the air by reeds. Find them at Lulu’s paper, gifts and home emporium in Fort Myers.

The nanny, housekeeper, caretaker, lawn groomer, office assistant and others who offer loyalty and hard work, day in and day out

Chocolate heaven • If you

appreciate how someone plays a pivotal role in caring for your family, send them along with a package of handcrafted Noela Chocolate & Confections (noelachocolate.com) to share with their own families. The Cape Coral chocolatier emphasizes local sourcing, natural and organic ingredients, and fair-trade certified suppliers, along with high standards in creativity and style. Try the 25-piece holiday assortment ($45) or holiday sampler ($79), which includes 15 artisan chocolates, 15 salted caramels, a half-pound of bark and a half-pound of brownies. The local artisanal chocolatier recently expanded to Sarasota.

Bottled up • For wine

lovers, wrap up a Vessel Premium Double Wine Bag ($35). This elegantly designed, with faux leather and neoprene, bag is equipped for insulation and protection of their favorite wine. Visit vesselbags.com.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 37


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Bubbly fun •

For pampered divas, strolling into a Naples Soap Company boutique is akin to a 7-year-old offered free range in a candy shop. What’s not to love about the colorful bath bombs, enticing salt scrubs and luscious body butters with names like Sunkissed, Boyfriend and Florida Fresh? The company (naplessoap.com) got its start at Tin City in Naples in 2009 and has grown to 11 retail locations in Florida — popularity fueled by the beauty products’ natural and organic ingredients. There is a wide range of products for men and women, and ones without fragrance for sensitive noses. Picking an item or two is a challenge, so have fun creating a diverse gift basket that will please your friend from head to toe (price based on products selected).

The person who has seen you through thick and thin, your bestie, your confidant

Hang time

In a snap

• For your picture perfect friend, the Polaroid Snap camera ($99) is a blend of nostalgic Polaroid instant photography and modern, digital convivence. Available at Macy’s.

• They work hard, so consider the gift of ultimate relaxation. Handmade Yellow Leaf hammocks ($199) are renowned for not only their style and comfort, but for the company’s socially conscious model of giving artisan weavers in Thailand a healthy, stable income to escape debt slavery or poverty. Yellow Leaf’s double hammocks ($199), made of meticulously woven, color-safe, comfy yarn that take up to seven days to create, are applauded by Oprah. They are available at Whole Foods or at yellowleafhammocks.com.

Wear love • Monica Vinader’s linear bead bracelet from the Friendship Collection is a simple way to say you love your friend like a sister. The slider-clasp rainbow 9.23-inch bracelet with 18-karat yellow gold vermeil ($195) is a colorful array of positivity. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Waterside Shops, Naples.

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Full circle

• Grab your three besties for a memorable glassblowing experience — making your own striking conversation piece. Book an exclusive workshop for four at the private Naples studio of Conrad Williams to create your own ornament ($400 per group) or bowl ($800 per group) and learn about the ancient history of glassblowing from the ever-charming artist who studied under world-famous Dale Chihuly. Choose your colors for the piece you shape, cut and blow, and create an indelible memory. (239-285-1101 or conradwilliamsglass.com) If you’re short on time, but fancy artisanal objet d’art, pick up ornaments made by Williams for your neighbors and friends ($30).

Get Wicked •

Another memorable way to share a day and a treat with a close friend is to take a free tour of the Wicked Dolphin Distillery and Barrel Room in Cape Coral, before surprising your buddy with a bottle of the award-winning rum (of their choice) at the end of the tour. Learn how Wicked Dolphin (wickeddolphinrum. com) sources ingredients and cooks, ferments, distills and barrels its liquid sunshine, before tasting samples, including some under development. The Gold Reserve ($32.99), aged for three years in pre-used bourbon barrels for extra flavor, is sure to please a traditional rum fan. The RumShine ($21.99) line featuring apple pie, blueberry and strawberry flavors in mason jars pays homage to Prohibitionera ‘Gladesmen bootleggers, a nod to local heritage.

Jazzed up

• Treat your best friend (and yourself) to Sunday Jazz Brunch at Slate’s, a New Orleansthemed jazz venue featuring Cajun-Creole appetizers and entrees such as gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée. Slate’s (slatescapecoral.com) is celebrating its fourth year, yet it’s one of Cape Coral’s hidden gems for those on the other side of the bridge. Sure, the Sidedoor offers live jazz, dinner and a wine bar throughout the week, but Sunday brunch ($30+) is a leisurely way to catch up and unwind with your BFF. Choose your eggs Benedict with fried oysters, boudin sausage or crab cakes, or fresh beignets (the official doughnut of New Orleans) as jazz on the patio wafts through conservation. All menu items are made from scratch; chef/owners Allan and Nancy Cotter presided over the award-winning Blue Moon Restaurant and Jazz Club in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, for 16 years before relocating to Southwest Florida. Brunch is 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; reservations are highly recommended.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 39


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Picnic in paradise

• There’s nothing like a picnic table to bring the family outside for informal dining or rooting on a game of badminton or croquet. This modern take ($2,998) on the classic tradition has a teak top, called Pic Nic Table, offered by Scan Design. It can be delivered or shipped to the store in Fort Myers or Naples for pickup.

Magical frontiers

• Members of the Disney Vacation Club can choose from 14 resort properties in Florida, California, South Carolina and Hawaii, which means they can tailor their vacation to their family’s interests and fantasies. In July, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge in Lake Buena Vista became the newest addition to the portfolio (memberships from $17,600). Inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest, amenities include watercraft and bicycle rentals, campfire site, a 67-foot pool waterslide and the Lodge’s 82-foot layered stone fireplace. It’s a water-taxi ride away from the Magic Kingdom. The Wilderness Lodge property offers the widest ranges of accommodations, from nature-inspired deluxe studios to 26 luxurious waterfront cabins. Details: disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com

Speed dial • Whether

your daughter is out for a run or son is at the pool, the Apple Watch Series 3 allows wearers to stay connected, make calls, receive texts and more. This third-generation Apple watch is a health and fitness companion with intelligent coaching features, water resistance to 164 feet and a barometric altimeter that measures relative elevation. Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two models, one with GPS and cellular (starting at $399), and one with GPS (starting at $329), both featuring a fast dual-core processor and wireless chip. Available in two case sizes: 38mm and 42mm at Apple Stores in Coconut Point in Estero and Waterside Shops in Naples.

40 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Family outings • For

year-round family bonding — and days when the kids hang with the grands — consider an annual membership to a local attraction that lets you bypass daily admission. The Naples Botanical Garden is a good option; there’s a little something for everyone. Through the end of January is the outdoor exhibit, “A Blessing of Animals,” of monumental animal sculptures. And there are regular events, including tai chi and yoga on the grounds, educational lectures and Dogs in the Garden days so Fido doesn’t have to be left behind. Naples Botanical Garden (naplesgarden.org) boasts 170 acres of gardens highlighting the plants found between the latitudes of 26 degrees north and south of the equator. Family memberships for two adults and their children or grandchildren younger than 18 are $110.


Heartfelt reminder

• Mother, grandmother, sister, niece, aunt: Pandora’s “Tree of Hearts” charm is an elegant way to stay connected with a dear relative, whether it’s on a necklace or bracelet. This stylized, sterling silver charm ($75) that shimmers with silver enamel and 14-karat represents “the branches of your family and the hearts that keep it together.” Check the Pandora boutique at Coconut Point in Estero or at pandora.net.

The branches of your family tree, from the oldest and strongest to the delicate little buds

Zoom, zoom • They are a familiar sight along McGregor Boulevard and Sanibel Island side streets. If you decide on a golf cart for the whole family, why not opt for the street legal 2018 GEM e4 by Polaris? With four high-back, forward-facing adjustable seats, this electric vehicle offers spacious legroom for all, and quiet, lowmaintenance operation. Recharge with a standard 110-volt outlet and unplug for a zero-emission ride. $16,000 to $17,000 at Gator Golf Cars in Fort Myers (gatorgolfcars. com)

Best friend • A quick snap probably isn’t

enough to capture the essence of your four-legged family member. Cape Coral artist Gretchen Kish Serrano can execute a pet portrait in any style, though she offers three specific lines inspired by artistic influences. Brush echoes the thick brush strokes and bold color palettes of Vincent van Gogh. Drip is characterized by the expressionistic drips and splatters with the bold, overlapping colors of Jackson Pollock. Gild is inspired by the gilded works of Gustav Klimt (gilded with 23-karat gold). Prices typically range from $2,000 to $7,000. (Add a second pet for 10 to 20 percent more.) Details: kishoriginal.com

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 41


Giuseppe PINO (Ital. 1939-2010)

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40” x 60” 42 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Mother and Child

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grand | HOLIDAY

Photo provided by THE RITZ-CARLTON NAPLES

The gingerbread house at The Ritz–Carlton, Naples.

A REAL

GINGERBREAD HOUSE M

Residents love to visit The Ritz-Carlton, Naples to get a look at this annual holiday delight. STORY BY ANDREA STETSON ore than 100,000 pieces of colorful candy and 2,000 pounds of carved gingerbread cover every inch of the enormous gingerbread house that towers over guests in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. It’s been an annual tradition for more than 25 years, and each year new elements are added to the Swiss chalet-like edifice. “We have a big change,” says Executive Pastry

Chef Sebastien Thieffine. “We are going to have a porch. The porch will have a step and then the patio and a fence and the columns to hold the piece of the roof.” The roof will have more angles than in years past and will have a lot more snow on top. The entire structure is more than 12 feet long, 9 feet wide and 13 feet high. It takes 600 hours of work to make the gingerbread and decorate and another 200 hours to construct the framework.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 43


grand | HOLIDAY

This is Sebastien’s 10th year overseeing the masterpiece. “I love it,” he exclaims. “This year we are all very excited. We are excited every year. It’s great to see the kids’ faces when they see it.” Also new this year are holiday jelly beans that are like candy corn. Sebastien also added gold, silver, black and red chocolate stars wrapped in foil. That’s in addition to all the other candy and treats: gumdrops, licorice wheels, black and red raspberry candies, giant lollipops, chocolate stones, pretzels dipped in white, green and red, candy canes, red and white mints, sugar sticks, French macaroons, gumballs, sour candies and giant Hershey’s Kisses. There is also 300 pounds of icing on the chalet. The treats also adorn a mailbox where children can leave letters for Santa. Candies cover

a rocking chair inside the house. There will be a cobblestone chimney made of gingerbread and frosting. Lollipops in a rainbow swirl of colors stick up from the ground around the house like flowers in a kaleidoscope of color. Kylie Eaton, 10, remembers going to see the gingerbread house with her family last Christmas. “It was really, really big,” she says. “They made it look like a real house. It was pretty cool that they made it out of candy.” Her younger sister, Madi, 7, remembers what she liked best. “The sled with chocolate,” she says. “That was my favorite.” Their mother, Cassy Eaton, enjoyed it just as much as the girls. “I thought it was beautiful,” Cassy says. “I think it is really amazing how many different

types of candy they put on there.” Sebastien starts planning the gingerbread house as soon as the one from the previous year comes down. He brainstorms with the staff for new ideas. Candy is ordered in September. That’s also when he and his staff begin rolling out and cutting the gingerbread. “Little by little, when we have free time, we roll some bricks and shingles,” he says. Gabrielle O’Boyle, a spokesperson for The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, says it’s not just children who enjoy seeing the gingerbread house — adults love it, too. “It is a great welcoming feature for all our guests and for everyone,” she says. “The gingerbread house is for both Ritz-Carlton guests and the public to enjoy. We welcome locals. We have some local guests that just come by to the see mastery of the house itself.”

GINGERBREAD HOUSE • When: Always open through New Year’s Day

• Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples • Cost: Free • For details: 239-598-3300

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46 DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | GETAWAY

CHRISTMAS IN From the splendor of Vienna to quaint villages, wintertime is magical throughout this country steeped in centuries-old traditions.

Photos courtesy AUSTRAIAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE

STORY BY JENNIFER THOMAS

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 47


avoring richrooted holiday traditions is a joy when traveling to Austria in December and winter months. From Christmas markets, which the country is known for, to skiing and snowboarding in the Alps, travelers have many cultural activities to partake in during their visit. “Villages and cities throughout Austria dress to impress in full holiday splendor. Christmas markets begin to appear in late November, a week before the first of four Advent Sundays, and stay open until Christmas Eve,” according to Marie Theres Polt, spokesperson for the Austrian Tourist Office. Christmas markets are a long-standing and typically Austrian tradition. “In Vienna, for instance, the market is held in the large square in front of city hall. This market can be traced back to the year 1298,” Marie explains. “Innsbruck opens its romantic Christmas market in the narrow medieval square at the foot of the Golden Roof. In Salzburg, the Christmas market takes over the square in front of the cathedral with its picturesque stalls, while the tree vendors occupy Residenzplatz on the side of the huge cathedral.” However, almost every small town hosts its own Christmas market. “As early as November 12 to January 6, sparkling Christmas lights and decorations adorn the streets of Austria’s cities and villages. The Christmas markets offer handmade toys, numerous delightful Christmas displays, pastries, cookies and other local delicacies,” Marie says. She recommends travelers sample the country’s bake vanillekipferl—traditional country Christmas cookies. Fort Myers resident Danielle Reisinger 48 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Photos courtesy AUSTRAIAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE

grand | GETAWAY

is an Austrian native and returns annually to visit her family who still reside in the country. “The Christmas markets in Austria are truly age-old traditions. It’s just a nice place to go with all of the lights and smells of fresh-baked Christmas cookies and a traditional gluehwein (hot mulled wine),” shares Danielle. “Everybody looks forward to this event and I never missed one when I still lived in Austria. My favorite is the one in Salzburg but the largest one is in Vienna. The best one is the one that can offer snowflakes, not just the coldness.” No matter where you are in Austria, Marie advises to go to a village and take an evening stroll under the festive decorations and Christmas lights. Naples resident Mimy von Schreiner’s family is from Austria. “My father is an aristocrat whose family lineage we can trace back to the mid-1500s,” she says. “My father and his family are from the Graz area, which is the second largest city in Austria, located about two hours south of Vienna.” Christmas in Austria is wonderful regardless of what town you visit, says Mimy. “There are always open-air Christmas markets and sleigh rides and literally chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Chocolate is plentiful, as are Christmas ornaments, and special baked goods are abundant. Salzburg has a particularly

wonderful Christmas market right in the center of town that I love: all kinds of homemade treats and handicrafts, as well as traditional wood-carved nativity pieces, ornaments and hollowed-out eggs decorated for all seasons.” Another Christmas tradition from Austria that has traveled to all parts of the world is the famous carol, “Silent Night,” which was written in this country. ‘Silent Night’ is the most popular Christmas carol worldwide and it is a little-known fact that this song originated in Austria. This carol was written and performed for the first time on December 24, 1818, by Josef Mohr and Franz Gruber in the Austrian village of Oberndorf, which lies in rural Austria, just a few miles outside of Salzburg,” Marie says. “In 2018, this song will celebrate its 200th anniversary.” The actual Christmas holiday is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Austria. “The Christmas tree plays a very important role and every family sets up its own Christmas tree. A traditional tree is decorated with gold and silver ornaments, stars made out of straw, sweets and candy wrapped in tinfoil, gilded nuts, decorated gingerbread cookies and more,” Marie describes. “On Christmas Eve, shops close at around 4 p.m. and there are no movie or theater performances and no concerts. Most bars, restaurants and

night clubs are closed and traffic is almost nonexistent. It is a very quiet time and people spend the evening at home with their loved ones.” As soon as darkness arrives, candles on the tree are lit for the first time and the family gathers to sing Christmas carols. After gifts, the family celebrates with a festive dinner. “Presents are placed under the tree and young children believe that they were brought to them—as a reward for good behavior—by the Christ Child. Austrian Christmas tradition recounts that it is the Christ Child (or rather, an eponymous cherubic figure known as the Christkind) who decorates the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and brings the children their Christmas presents, and it is to him that their letters and wish lists are addressed in the weeks before Christmas.”

To the slopes and schihuettes and, of course, Vienna Once travelers have explored the Christmas markets and celebrate the holiday, Mimy recommends skiing as another must-do activity in Austria. “Skiing is fabulous all around the western part of Austria in Tirol. The Zillertal is more family-oriented and less expensive while Lech is, of course, very special. It’s a trip in itself to get there, but once


Christmas markets in Vienna and skiing are must-do activities in Austria.

you get there, it is magical,” Mimy says. “The hotel we have stayed at is the Hotel Gasthof Post, a cozy feel and typical Austrian décor. It’s a great place to ski but also fabulous in the spring and summer for hiking.” Mimy says the crème de la crème for skiing is on the Schmittenhöhe Mountain in Zell am See, located on Lake Zell south of Salzburg. “It used to be full of the European aristocracy, and it is still very beautiful,” she says. “Kitzbuehel and Innsbruck are the most well-known skiing areas with loads of shopping and skiing opportunities. Most of the skiing is glacier skiing, so you are high above the clouds. It is almost always sunny and the best part is the schnapps, which is a must on your way down the mountain.” Mimy says that most mountains have a schihuette—a little ski hut. “It is actually like a warming hut with a little stove and homemade schnapps that you can buy to warm up,” she says. “This is a lovely tradition.” Geographically, politically, artistically and culinary-wise, all roads have led to Vienna for centuries. “The imperial grandeur, stunning natural beauty, contemporary living, and mouthwatering treats speak for themselves. Austria doesn’t just embody these great European traditions—it’s the essence of Europe itself,” Marie says. Vienna is also celebrated as

one of the country’s wine destinations. Mimy’s favorite is also Vienna. “If you only have time to see one city in Austria, Vienna needs to be on your list,” she advises. “One of my favorite things to do in Vienna is to walk the Kaerntner Strasse. It is just loaded with the luxury brands we all know and also a lot of little boutiques. One of my favorites is Wolford hosiery where you can get the most gorgeous stockings and tights with many styles and patterns that they do not have online and which cannot be found here.” She also enjoys visiting the fabulous glass and china shops and a particular porcelain boutique called Lobmayer. “It’s been there for absolute ages and when you walk in, it is like stepping back in time,” she describes. “The façade is everything you would hope a Viennese shop to look like. They also have a floor which is a museum of their designs and gives you a lovely glimpse into Austrian history.” There is also a chocolate shop Mimy recommends called Altmann & Kuehne for its “most glorious handmade miniature chocolates,” she says. “They create fabulous petit fours and truffles, you can choose your assortment, and then they are sold in teeny tiny papier-mâché dressers with little brass drawer pulls. I always get several boxes and bring them back to friends and family.” When she gets tired from shopping and needs to refuel, Mimy stops at the Skybar

Café, overlooking the iconic tile roof of the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral. “We love to ride the glass elevator up to the top floor.” She also says many travelers will make a trip to Figlmueller for the biggest schnitzel you have ever seen and Gerstner, the famous Viennese coffeehouse. “Coffee and cake are a huge part of Viennese culture. There are entire tours devoted to this pastime,” Mimy says. When in Vienna, Mimy recommends staying at the Hotel Sacher, located around the corner from the opera house and the Kaertnerstrasse. “The rooms are old world, elegant and spacious. The lobby bar is intimate and fabulous for people watching and the café (home to the famous Sachertorte) is a bit touristy, but always worth it,” she says. If you are a hotel guest, the concierge will reserve your table “so you don’t have to wait with the masses. It is well worth it.” One of the best things in Vienna, according to Mimy, is the Stadtpark, a large park at the center of the city. “It is just beautiful and always full of live music or performance art,” she says. “In fact, Vienna is a city of music. You can attend a Mozart concert any month of the year. One thing we did on a recent trip was an evening of Mozart that included dinner in the music hall that was so good. Even our kids enjoyed it. You can be busy all the time with music. The Vienna Boys’ Choir is another wonderful musical

experience, but you must obtain tickets in advance.” Southwest Florida native Meghan Collins traveled to Austria last summer and agrees that music is a large cultural attraction worth experiencing. She also recommends exploring Mirabell Palace and Gardens and tasting homemade apple strudel. During Meghan’s trip to Austria in August 2016, she visited Salzburg, Sankt Gilgen and Mondsee. “My favorite part of the experience was traveling to Sankt Gilgen. It’s a very small town, with the best view of the mountains overlooking the water,” she recalls. “The town itself appears to be out of a childhood fairytale.” Meghan and her college friends also climbed Hohensalzburg Fortress and were rewarded with stunning views of mountain landscapes. “We also enjoyed the Sound of Music tour by bus, taking in all the sights from the movie (which is my childhood favorite).” On the outskirts of Salzburg, there is also a romantic hotel on Lake Wolfgang called the White Horse Inn. Mimy enthralls: “It sits on the lake and offers a spa experience. There is a pool that is literally sitting in the lake and, in the winter, there is ice skating, sleigh rides, wine dinners, hot cider wine and so much more.” GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 49


grand | FASHION

Romantic brillance

• Dazzle in this 18-karat white gold Princess Flower diamond necklace by Italian jewelry designer Roberto Coin. This piece draws focus to the feminine with its elegantly sharp diamond design and conjures up images of Gatsby-inspired attire of a bygone era. This signature piece is priced at $22,500 and is available at Congress Jewelers, Sanibel.

BLACK TIE Parties, galas, fundraisers — with the holiday season comes an array of special events. What better time to pull out that formal attire and freshen up our fashion leading into the New Year? — SARA COGGIN

Delicate darling •

Wow the evening away with crystal-studded metallic leather pumps by Christian Louboutin. The Twistissima stiletto is made in Italy and features a slender crisscross leather strap detailed by textured silver, bejeweled sheer point toe and iconic red sole. $1,245 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Fort Myers.

50 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

Belle of the ball • Step into

the limelight with this beautifully curated floor-length ball gown. This gorgeous and slimming Alberto Makali gown features an off-the-shoulder neckline with a velvet two-toned ruffle that is sure to impress. Dress is priced at $499 and can be ordered in sizes 4-14 at Petunias of Naples.

1. Tory Burch Addison pump. $398. Available at Tory Burch, Waterside Shops, Naples. • 2. White House Black Market Ella ombre embellished heels in grenadine. $140 at White House Black Market. • 3. Christian Louboutin Tsarou 100 suede d’Orsay ankle-strap pumps with signature red leather sole. $895 at Saks Fifth Avenue or saksfifthavenue. com. • 4. Givenchy lace over leather pump by Italian designer Riccardo Tisci. $895 at Marissa Collections or marissacollections.com.


The gift of you

• Showcasing timeless beauty and appeal, this elegant Gianvito Rossi satin shoe ties around the ankle in a bow — making it perfect for the holidays. The Gala pump has leather lining and sole, a point toe and is made in Italy. This gorgeous shoe is available for $795 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Fort Myers and saksfifthavenue. com.

Eye-catching

• For that extra sparkle, slide on a statement piece of jewelry like this brilliant 14-karat white gold diamond fashion ring, clustered to design 2.75 carats worth of diamond beauty. $4,999 at Dunkin’s Diamonds, Fort Myers.

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Mused artistry •

A treasure to adorn, this white gold tanzanite and opal butterfly cuff bracelet is inspired by the magic of wildlife. Designer Wendy Yue creates works of art to be worn every day — evoking curiosity and connection to nature, and expedition. This gorgeous bracelet also details tsavorite, Champagne diamonds, white diamonds and white sapphire and is available in 18-karat black gold. $44,550 at Marissa Collections, Naples.

All in the details

• The luxe crocodile skin and smooth calf Louis Vuitton City Steamer MM handbag is stylish, refined and easily transports those things valuable to you. It features a front flat pocket with turn lock and loop for padlock, inside hook to secure belongings and removable leather strap to turn city outing to evening dining. $20,500 at Louis Vuitton, Naples.

Let your nails shine • Precious Rocks nail liner by

DIOR is designed to emulate gemstones. So glimmer this season by decorating your hands with a sparkling gold that reflects the festive air of the holidays. Diorific Vernis nail liner, $28 at Nordstrom.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 51


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Holiday haut W

hen considering the depth and width of entertaining right now, it’s almost hard to go wrong when putting together a case of wine for December. However, I want it to be oh so right, so I asked Bert Stewart for his expert opinion; he’s the sommelier at Paradise

Wine in Naples. He puts a lot of thought into what he likes to eat and serve, from meats in various preparations, to a range of side dishes, while also considering the warming spices used this time of year. Together we came up with this last case of the year.

All you need to do is show up and enjoy it.

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Membership truly has something for everyone, but isn’t for everyone…and that’s a very good thing. Contact Diana for complete details.

Justification, 2015 ($50) » Justin Vineyards is one of the wine-making pioneers in Paso Robles, and the new vintages are out. With the 2015 release, this is the 25th anniversary of Justification, a right bank Bordeaux-inspired blend of cabernet franc and merlot. It smells a bit sexy, ripe and round. The cab franc is not in your face. Instead it’s a mouthful of both black and red fruits, along with some savory notes and camphor. The tannins are moderate and the finish is pleasing. It captures the warmth of the season as it sits in your glass.

Champagne Bruno Paillard Extra Brut Premiere Cuvee ($50) » I always liked this wine but fell in love with the brand when I visited the Champagne house in France several years ago. It’s more modern than old school or traditional. While any kind of bubbles is always welcomed, there is nothing quite like a bottle of real Champagne to celebrate the holidays and this is an impressive one. It’s lively, it has finesse, it has thousands of tiny bubbles and it both smells and taste like citrus. It doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find flavors of stone fruits and toasted nuts — more please.

239-463-8665 ditaliano@pinkshell.com PINKSHELL.COM/BEACHCLUB

NP-0000945332

52 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

GINA BIRCH

Gina Birch is the wine columnist for The NewsPress in Fort Myers. Follow her social media here: Twitter: @ginabirch Facebook: GinaBirch

Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel ($25) » Because turkey, especially the white meat, is comparatively delicate in taste and subtle in flavor, I recommend avoiding many full-bodied dinner wines, such as cabernet sauvignon. My wine of choice for “The Bird” is a zinfandel from the legendary Seghesio Family Vineyards, now five generations in Sonoma County. The rich flavors of raspberry, blackberry, sage, white pepper and licorice will complement your turkey much as the spiced cranberry sauce or other dishes do.

Castello di Volpaia, Vin Santo Del Chianti, 2011 ($40 range) » The holidays are a perfect time to break out the dessert wine. An Italian tradition, Vin Santo is chilled and served at the end of a meal with biscotti, almond or pine nut cookies, or something similar — nothing too sweet as the wine has enough on its own. This one is 60 percent trebbiano, 40 percent Malvasia del Chianti, and the grapes are dried to get the right amount of sugar. It’s a beautiful amber color with flavors of almond, apricot, even some orange zest. While it’s sweet, it’s not cloying and provides a nice finish to a big meal.

BERT STEWART Guest columnist and sommelier at Paradise Wine in Naples.


Tenshen White Blend ($22) » Because holiday fare can be spice box on review, the savvy host will search the white department for wines that can handle the heat. This is a California Rhone, an alluring blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and chardonnay; it’s guaranteed to win you head nods and accolades at the table. This critically acclaimed wine delivers flavors of tangerine and ripe melon that lead peach, apricot and vanilla. That’s quite an amazing array of flavors.

Bodegas Muga, 2016 Rosado ($15) » Many classic white wines don’t pair well with roasted foods, whereas a rose is about as all-embracing as a wine can be. A personal favorite is this great little Spanish rose; you simply cannot beat it for freshness and its attractive strawberry, peach and floral bouquet. It will not shy from, nor compete with your roasted, spicy side dishes, and it adores cheese. Moreover it is always a good match for ham, a meat with slight sweetness that may clash with dryer wines such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.

Domaine Leflaive AuxeyDuresses 2015 ($70) » From Burgundy, this is not your Grandma’s chardonnay. Auxey-Duresses is the appellation, and chardonnay is the grape. In fact, it’s the only grape Domaine Leflaive grows. They take it seriously, so you better believe it’s going to be good. The wine smells like apples and almonds, and you’ll find those flavors floating over your tongue as well, along with vanilla. The fruit is light and fresh, and on the finish there’s some cedar and spice. It’s worth the splurge.

Anna Codorniu Brut Rose ($15) » What would a holiday be without bubbles? For over a century, the Champagne region has been marketing its wines as the ultimate celebratory beverage. Apart from Champagne there are a number of high quality sparkling wines made in the classic style that bare a more modest price tag. My favorites are the sparkling wines of Spain known as Cava. Among these, Anna Codorniu is my favorite; sparkling roses of this quality are rare. In the glass you’ll enjoy fine and persistent bubbles along with the classic aromas of strawberries, cherries and hints of green apple — elegant and light on the palate.

Au Contraire Pinot Noir ($29.99) » I can hardly fathom a case of wine for the holidays without a pinot noir in it; it’s such a versatile food wine. This one is made from a blend of pinot grapes grown along the Sonoma Coast, from Sebastopol to Fort Ross Seaview. The vineyard sites have a cool climate, as they sit above the infamous fog line. The result is concentrated fruit flavors of cherry and raspberry with a long and spicy finish. Buy more than one bottle, because you’ll want more. You can also have fun with this label if considering it for a hostess gift.

Don Melchor 2014 ($125) » I can hear the thoughts in your head, “A $125 cabernet … from Chile?” Countries known for affordability in wine also have rock stars as residents, and this is one of them. This would also make an impressive gift for someone special on your list, with the new vintage arriving just in time. This has both power and elegance and would be a good candidate for aging. It smells like dark fruit, tobacco and mint. It tastes like dark cherries, currants, cocoa, and it just keeps getting better the longer it sits in the glass. Take your time with this one. *Prices listed can vary. Some of these wines can be found in local wine shops, others are limited production and may require shipment from the producers themselves.

Fuedo Maccari Saia Nero d’Avola ($33) » Beef and stews are popular year-round, especially when the temperature dips and during the holidays. Because of the richer flavors of beef dishes, and because they are often served grilled, bigger wines such as cabernet sauvignon, cabernetbased blends, sangiovese or Malbec are sure to punch the ticket. As an intriguing alternative to the aforementioned classics is this Sicilian selection with critically acclaimed Old World beauty. It’s drinking so well now, showing black cherry, sweet tannins, dark chocolate, crème de cassis, dark cooking spices and a super long finish.

Boodegas Breca Old Vine Grenache ($18) » When baked, ham presents its challenges with its slightly sweet flavor profile. At my house we prefer a Southerncured country ham during the holidays. In addition to its spicy cured flavors, it’s somewhat salty from the brining. Ham can also be barbecued, in which case, depending on where you are from, the flavorings vary depending on the sauce. That being said, I chose this old-vine grenache from a producer in the eastern Spanish province of Aragon. I have always been a fan (and the critics like it, too) of the ripe red fruits and spicy aromas, supported by a cradle of creamy, toasty oak vanillins … long finish, too. GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 53


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grand | RIDE

1948 Buick Super convertible owned by Tristan Leslie of Cape Coral

CHARIOT SEDUCTION The Hot Chili Rods heats up Southwest Florida roads and car shows

f you motor along the 1600 block of Cape Coral’s Country Club Boulevard any Friday during lunch hour, you might be tempted to check your vehicle guidance system to see if you’ve driven into a time warp. Parked outside the home of John Cassetta, you will see a smorgasbord of parked antique and classic cars and trucks. They are convening for the weekly luncheon of the Hot Chili Rods, the club he founded in 2001, several years after retir-

ing to Florida after a career in the Boston auto body business. John personally owns a 1953 Chevy Belair and a 1963 Corvette Stingray, both white, and a blazing-red 1996 Mustang GT. During these Friday meetings, his home is surrounded by cars from the 1920s through the 1990s, including Hudsons, Packards and Studebakers. Ford, Lincolns and Mercury model. Buicks, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs,

STORY BY STEPHANIE BORDEN | PHOTOS BY LOGAN NEWELL GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 55


grand | RIDE

Chevrolets, Dodges, Chryslers and foreign classics, such as the Alfa Romeo, Porsche, MG and Morris Minor. There is even a Willys still pressed into action for vintage auto racing club. Hot Chili Rods members also drive their cars to shows and cruises throughout the season, including one every Wednesday at Foster’s Grill in Cape Coral. Some of these antiques and classics are in their original condition, but most of these hot-rodders have modified their

vehicles with transplanted engines that roar lower and louder than the original motors, along with added comfort and safety equipment. Many Hot Chili Rods collectors, including Tristan Leslie, 77, add power steering, power windows and cruise control to outfit the hot rod for comfortable road trips without compromising the cool of his Harley Earl-designed 1948 Buick Super convertible. The word “car” falls short. Tristan owns a chariot—a 4,000-pound seductive sculpture of

1948 Buick Super convertible owned by Tristan Leslie of Cape Coral

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curves and chrome. After retiring from a lifetime in home construction, the Minnesotan spent five years restoring the car, which was “in pieces” when he bought it from an owner who had intended to restore it and took it apart before deciding it would require too much time and money to finish the job. Many car collectors will chuckle hearing that familiar regret. Yet, those

like Tristan—and hundreds of other members of Southwest Florida car clubs—keep going until the car is properly completed. Through five winters, Tristan worked in the heated garage of the Ham Lake, Minnesota, home he shared with his wife, Diane. Their grandson, Tucker, was 13 when the project began, and the Buick became the first car he ever drove, coached by grandpa. “He started by sweeping up the garage,” Tristan recalls, “then he began learning things a little at a time.” Tucker eventually helped install the updated 1996 Buick Roadmaster engine, automatic transmission and seatbelts. After moving to Cape Coral a year ago, “everywhere we stop, people come up to say what a beautiful car we have,” Diane says. “Sometimes they say their dad or their grandpa had one just like ours. It’s a wonderful feeling to help people remember some of their happiest times.” You will have your own chance to reignite your best automotive memories on February 18, when Hot Chili Rods holds its annual Classic Car Show in downtown Fort Myers during the Edison Festival of Light. Dozens and dozens of memorials to the days when driving was a dream will line Edwards Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be food and more along the route. Find out more about the Hot Chili Rods: hotchilirods.com.

GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 57


grand | ARTS

“Cirque Dreams: Holidaze”

A spotlight on the season’s delights in the performing arts.

he season is upon us, and local venues offer glittering imaginings in the month ahead. From the magic of cirque to the poignancy of Dickens, here is a selection of live holiday performances sure to unwrap a lasting experience. STORY BY CATHY CHESTNUT

“Miracle on 34th Street” Based on the enduring 1947 movie exploring the true nature of Kris Kringle, this musical production features a book and score by Meredith Willson. Now through December 23. Blackburn Hall, Sugden Community Theatre, Naples. (naplesplayers.org) “A Tuna Christmas” It’s the holiday season in Tuna, Texas, the third-smallest town in the Lone Star State, and just two actors bring more than 20 zany

characters to life in this hilarious, heartwarming play. The annual Christmas Yard Display Contest is in jeopardy, while one resident is working overtime to produce “A Christmas Carol.” Now through December 25. The Off Broadway Palm at the Broadway Palm dinner theater, Fort Myers. (broadwaypalm.com) “A Christmas Story” This is the musical version of the iconic movie — complete

with the infamous leg lamp, the Red Ryder rifle, pink bunny pajamas, an irritable department-store Santa and Ralphie. Now through December 25. Broadway Palm, Fort Myers. (broadwaypalm.com) Masterworks: Boreyko Conducts Brahms Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko, music director of the Naples Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Belgique in Belgium, conducts Brahms’ “Symphony No.

3” and more, starring guest violinist Clara-Jumi Kang with the Naples Philharmonic. December 8 and 9. Artis– Naples, Hayes Hall, Naples. (artisnaples.org) “Home for the Holidays” An original musical starring some of TheatreZone’s bestloved actors and musicians includes holiday standards and dancing from different eras and original costumes. December 8-10. TheatreZone, Naples. (theatrezone-florida. com)

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“A Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens’ classic is adapted by Christopher Schario with traditional English folk tunes and fiddle. A child’s reading of the novel becomes a magical transformation when he is ushered as Tiny Tim into the real world of Dickens’ much-loved characters. Brought to Southwest Florida by the professional Public Theatre in Lewiston, Maine, the Portland Journal calls it “a marvelous metaphor for the way literature grabs and transforms us, as well as an original way of illuminating this inspiring tale of human redemption.” December 8-29. BIG Arts, Strauss Theater, Sanibel. (bigarts.org) “Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular” Featuring 20 of the world’s most skilled Irish dancers and musicians, this original, inspiring story of love and salvation transports the

audience to a mystical time and place of heroes and redemption. It is led by former “Lord of the Dance” lead dancer Justin Boros, founder of Two Step Productions. December 12. Southwest Florida Event Center, Bonita Springs. (swfleventcenter.com) Holiday Pops: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” There are four opportunities to see this annual holiday concert celebrating the music from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” featuring Steinway Artist Jim Martinez and his jazz quartet. The Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida under the direction of Dr. Trent Brown will perform in three of the events. December 12-16. The Village Church at Shell Point in south Fort Myers, St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Bonita Springs, BIG Arts on Sanibel Island and the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in south Fort Myers. (swflso.org)

“Holiday Brass” Naples Chamber Brass presents Naples Philharmonic principal tuba Aaron McCalla, principal trumpet Matthew Sonneborn and assistant principal horn Tracy Leonard, trumpet Liam (William) Day, formerly of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. December 13. Wang Opera Center, Naples. (capacenter.org) “Spectacular Christmas Revue” This Christmas show features holiday and pop songs, Santa and more. December 13-17. Cultural Park Theater, Cape Coral. (culturalparktheater.com) “Holiday Pops” An all-new program of holiday classics features the Naples Philharmonic Chorus and Youth Chorus conducted by Stuart Chafetz and chorus director James Cochran — and led by vocal powerhouse Carpathia Jenkins. December

14-17. Artis–Naples, Hayes Hall, Naples. (artisnaples.org) “A One-Man Christmas Carol” Back by popular demand, actor Timur Kocak performs all 24 roles in the Dickens holiday classic in this dynamic, one-man show. December 15-16. Theatre Conspiracy, Foulds Theatre, Alliance for the Arts, Fort Myers. (artinlee.org) “Deck the Halls” The Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers join the Gulf Coast Symphony and Kellyn Irish Dancers for a night of holiday music and the lighting of the menorah. December 17. Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, south Fort Myers. (gulfcoastsymphony.org) “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of The Magi’s Gold” In this mystery extravaganza, from the author of “Late Nite Catechism,” Sister

takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages — whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? Retelling the story of the nativity, as only Sister can, this comical holiday production is assisted by a local choir and audience participation. December 19. Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, south Fort Myers. (bbmannpah.com) “Cirque Dreams: Holidaze” Snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men and ornaments come alive in “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” for three performances. Filled with 300 imaginative costumes, 20 soaring acts, original music and seasonal favorites, this multimillion-dollar spectacle has been called a “full-on sensory immersion” by the Boston Globe. December 22-23. Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, south Fort Myers. (bbmannpah.com)

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grand | OPEN DOOR

Anthony Farhat is president of PGI Homes and his wife, Tia, is the company’s design director so they used their expertise to create their dream home on Sanibel Island.

DREAM HOME Anthony and Tia Farhat’s blueprint for their custom island home was a natural fit. STORY BY ANDREA STETSON | PHOTOS BY AMANDA INSCORE GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 63


ia Farhat loves bling, while husband Anthony veers toward politics. Preston, 10, is a Star Wars fan and Pierce, 8, is a young artist. The Farhats designed their two-story home on Sanibel Island with their passions and love of the island as the beacons for their blueprint. Anthony is president of PGI Homes. Tia is the company’s design director. When they created their Sanibel dream house, they knew exactly what they wanted. Tia’s fancy for bling is evident in the dining room chandelier, which has 184 large prisms and hundreds of tinier prisms that look like they are floating above. “Lighting is the jewelry of the house,” she says. There are sparkly lights in the entrance hall, more glittering lights by the bed in the master bedroom and glittery, silver pillows on the master bed. The couple created matching his and her dens—both hosting spacious desks. “This is my favorite spot,” Anthony says. The desks are “so big because we work on blueprints all the time.” While the furniture in both dens is the same, the style is quite different. Anthony has letters from Vice President Michael Pence and Gov. Rick Scott on his, while Tia’s display family photos. Both have acrylic cabinets from Italy. Anthony’s displays the Aurora Awards his company has won, while Tia styles hers with a miniature sandcastle and coral. “I love everything Sanibel,” Tia says. “I tried to make it with things that remind me of being on such a cool island.” On the other side of the main floor are the family room, dining room and kitchen. Those rooms all overlook a terrace that has a white spiral staircase that leads to the lanai and pool. The family room features a large television, comfy sofas and chairs. The formal dining table keeps the Sanibel theme with a decorative piece of driftwood in the center and napkin holders with a shell design. The spotless white kitchen has an island bar where the children usually eat. “We eat at the table and then there is always the couch. We eat there about 50 percent of the time,” Anthony says.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Tia and Anthony Farhat’s bedroom is one of the only rooms without a television, but it has a great view of the outdoors though the sliding glass doors. • Tia Farhat loves bling and says the dining room with its bling chandelier with sparkling prisms is her favorite place in the home. • Pierce’s bedroom has an artsy look to match his love of art. The round chair and colorful décor contribute to the art theme. • Tia Farhat’s closet looks like a fancy department store display. There’s more bling in the lighting fixture and a comfy pink chair in the middle of the spacious closet. • Anthony and Tia Farhat and their sons, Preston and Pierce, love their Sanibel Island home. • The boys say they often eat at the wide white island in the kitchen while their parents admit to enjoying meals sitting on the couch in the family room.

64 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


grand | OPEN DOOR

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grand | OPEN DOOR

The terrace continues the white color with its white couches, chairs and table. Automatic roll-up screens keep out insects and allow breezes when it’s not buggy. Upstairs is the boys’ favorite place in the house. “I like my room because I am a Star Wars geek and everything in there is Star Wars,” Preston says happily. A large Death Star print hangs over his bed and adds a twinkle to the room with the little lights that are imbedded in the picture. There are models on the shelves and Star Wars books on the desk and bookshelf. There is even a white Darth Vader sculpture made from pieces that crumbled from the National Cathedral in Maryland. Preston’s dark-gray desk looks like a metal locker or something you might see on a spaceship. His fan has six oval-shaped blades that circle a round orb center. The tongue-and-grove ceiling is gray. “It keeps the theme of space,” Tia explains. Pierce’s room is white with bright splashes of color that match his passion for art. There are paintings he did of palm trees and the beach, along with a painting that features swirls of turquoise and teal colors. His rug looks like a colorful artist’s palette. His white comforter is accented with pillows that have colorful paintbrushes and paint as a design. On 66 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

his shelf is the book “The Day the Crayons Quit.” On his desk is a book about contemporary art. Pierce’s desk is a sleek, modern white, as is the tongue-andgrove ceiling. It is a stark difference to his brother’s bedroom. “I like black; he likes white,” Preston explains. The master suite is a vision of white, glass and bling. While there are flat-screen televisions in almost every room, including the boy’s bedrooms, dens, family room and lanai, there is no television in the master suite. “No TV, I lost that argument,” Anthony says. “I don’t get one. Everybody else gets one. I watch TV on my iPad in bed.” He can also watch the scenery through the sliding glass doors leading to the terrace. More glass creates the wall and entry to the master bathroom. The entire bathroom is bright and light with white tiles and cabinets. There is no drywall in the bathroom, only tile. Tia’s closet has a bling light and a pink chair in the middle. Shoes are meticulously aligned in cubbies. Clothes are all hung as neatly as a luxury department store. Anthony doesn’t care to show his closet. “Everyone has to have one junk room,” he divulges. While Pierce said his bedroom is his favorite place


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: White is the prevalent color in the Farhat kitchen and family room and even with two children, the white is spotless. • There is a doggie wash in the laundry room. • Tia’s den is a mirror image of her husbands. While they have the same desk and bookcases, they are decorated differently. Tia’s den features family photos and beach and shell items on the shelves. • A spiral staircase leads from the terrace by the main floor down to the swimming pool and lanai area. • Preston loves his Star Wars themed room. The Death Star print over the bed has tiny lights, the desk looks like something from space and he even has a Darth Vader sculpture made from pieces that crumbled from the National Cathedral in Maryland.

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in the house, he wanted to add a second favorite—the downstairs video room. The game room, on the lowest level, has an Xbox and a Wii U. There is a super-sized, flat-screen monitor, gray leather couch and two giant Fat Boy bean bag chairs. This is where the boys play and hang out with friends. Just beyond that room is a guest suite with a king-sized bed, a painting done by Tia and Pierce and views of the lanai and pool. The lanai also features a ping pong table and sitting area. The Farhat house has other unique features. Butcher block steps were used on the staircase. A wall of white quartz is featured on the staircase, family room and lanai. Rock-climbing sculptured men decorate the wall by the stairs. The laundry room has a dog

wash area. Anthony points out one more space: a closet for the electronics that run the smart home. Everything from the lights and blinds to the music and televisions can be remotely controlled. The bedroom shades are on an automatic schedule. So are some of the lights. “At 6 a.m., the lights come on in the kids’ rooms. They can’t sleep in,” Tia explains. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home with two dens spans 4,100 square feet under air and 6,400 square feet of total living space. It also has a three-car garage plus extra garage space for a golf cart. The Farhats moved into their dream home in August 2016. “We love Sanibel,” Tia says. “It’s the school and the sense of community. We just love being here. It is like an old-fashioned sense of community.”

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15301 McGregor Blvd #2, Fort Myers, FL 239-565-2766 | GulfHarbourProperties.com RealEstate@GulfHarbourProperties.com GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 67


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grand | FASHION

grand | MAKE IT A DOUBLE

STORY BY GINA BIRCH | PHOTOS BY DENNIS WRIGHT

COCKTAILS Cru blends culinary libations sure to please discerning taste buds. Some like it hot, after all.

ru has been a favorite stop for the well-heeled, the discerning diner and the party crowd in Southwest Florida since its debut at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers in 2004. Whether stopping before a movie, after a special event, or for a happy hour affair, it’s a scene that can

stand the test of time in the fickle bar and restaurant scene. “People come because of the people who are here. It is the experience,” says chef and owner Bob Boye, who got his start at Cru behind the bar. “Our commitment and philosophy is like the Golden Rule—treat others the way you want to be treated.”

LEFT: The French 17 tastes as good as it looks with prosecco, botanical gin and house–made simple syrup that includes lavender and basil. • ABOVE: The bar at Cru is often standing room only, but the skilled staff keep things moving and fun.

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grand | MAKE IT A DOUBLE

One key ingredient: craft cocktails. These days, his culinary team is involved in the cocktail program. They collaborate on sweet and savory syrups, as well as infused spirits. “It’s fun because it adds another element,” he says. Take, for instance, the Hot and Skinny Martini. Think: margarita without all of the mixers but a little heat instead. Bob fills a canister with roasted jalapenos and reposado tequila, charges it with nitrogen and leaves it to infuse for two days. The intensity of the hot pepper is lowered, resulting in a smooth cocktail with a little kick. Mixed with lime juice and agave, pieces of the pepper are used for a garnish along with a few drops Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Bitters. All peppers have different heat sensations and that’s part of the fun. The bitters create a tingle on the tongue and lips, the jalapeno warms your throat and chest, and sandwiched in the middle is the sweetness from the agave. The French 17 is festive with the bubbles from Prosecco, and concoction of a botanical gin and delightful simple syrup made with lavender, basil, chives and parsley. Add a spiraled lemon as a garnish and voilà. Perfect for the season is a new cocktail with a smoky mescal for the base. Fresh citrus, orgeat syrup and an egg white are shaken with vigor, poured over an ice block then topped with freshly grated nutmeg. It looks like a frothy lemonade but is warm, inviting and one you could sip all night. Well-prepared drinks, quality food and a welcoming vibe create a winning combo for Cru.

70 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


FREE DECEMBER SEMINAR Volumizing Facelift: Fat vs Fillers Join us for light refreshments and a presentation, followed by a valuable Q&A session with SW FL’s Facial Expert, Dr. Prendiville. He will explain the benefits of the volumizing fillers and other aesthetic procedures. Also, find out the latest information on minimal incision surgeries, injectable facelifts, wrinkle reduction, skin smoothing techniques, and our newest fat dissolving treatment, SculpSure ®.

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Assuage Spa & Stroke Recovery Foundation Present:

Holiday Survivor Fundraiser Wednesday December 13, 2017 in our Ft. Myers location. Help us support tHe stroke recovery Foundation in raising awareness For stroke survivors. giveaways, raFFle prizes, Free cHair Massage, and More. adMission: $15 in advance or $20 at door. all proceeds will go to tHe stroke recovery Foundation. Clockwise from top left: Perfect for the holidays is a smoky mescal cocktail that’s warming and fresh at the same time. • Wether on date, in a big group or by yourself, you’ll feel comfortable sipping spirits at Cru. The culinary and cocktail programs meet in the middle when roasting and aging jalapenos for this Hot and Skinny Martini. • Even though it’s a place to see and be seen, Cru is not pretentious • The outdoor bar at Cru has a casual cool vibe and is pet–friendly.

Space is limited. RSVP Today

239.599.5307 or AssuageCenters.com 9407 Cypress Lake Dr., Ste C Fort Myers, FL GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 71


grand | TIMES

PARADISE COAST FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE The Paradise Coast Food & Wine Experience was held November 11 on a section of Fifth Avenue South in Naples. The event featured samples from local restaurants, wineries and breweries. Martha Stewart experts also performed live cooking demonstrations.

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5 1. Maris Segal and Jett Segal 2. Mike and Shari Abell with Silvia and Tal Land 3. Nola Gastineau and Melissa Wagner 4. Rafael Feliciano and Guy Clarke 5. Toni Fortina and Christine Lentine 6. Deborah Brusher and Kathleen Peck 7. Jerry Baer and Kathryn Robinson Kinsey 8. Natalee Burns, Ryann Heinmeyer and Al Dinicola (front)

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UNCOMMON EVENING The Uncommon Friends Foundation held its annual Uncommon Evening event November 2 at the Burroughs Home in Fort Myers. Pushing the Envelope, Inc. was awarded the 2017 Business Ethics Award at the event. Yvonne Caldwell was named the 2017 Character Education Champion Teacher. 1. Yvonne Caldwell and Matt Caldwell 2. Dr. Eric Dent, Brian Rist, Samantha Scott and Jennifer Nelson 3. Linda Doggett and Don Doggett 4. Sarah Owen and David Owen 5. Sue Benkert and John Benkert 6. Julie Griffin, Gary Griffin and Chris Patricia

Photos special to GRANDEUR

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R.S. Walsh Landscaping Premier Landscape Architecture & Design Firm • Design • Installation • Custom Maintenance • www.rswalsh.com (239) 768.5655 GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 73


PURPLE PARTY The Shelter for Abused Women & Children hosted the Purple Party on October 19 at Cavo Lounge in Naples. The Shelter operates an emergency shelter in Collier County and seeks to prevent, protect and prevail over domestic violence.

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1. Tom Donahue and Alina Perez 2. Bartek Lipkowski and Leeza Arkhangelskaya 3. Carmen Fortner and Melissa Ringer 4. Nick Christiano and Lauren Blackburn 5. Members of The Shelter for Abused Women & Children NextGen committee 6. Hannah Pratt, Candice Kucharzak, Katrina Doty, Katherine Jones, Maureen Camacho and Nick Pair 7. Kathleen Fleming and Meggie Counts 8. Scott Blackburn, Joe Charles and Dave Anderson

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grand | TIMES

ARTS ON TAP The Alliance for the Arts hosted Arts On Tap Fundraiser, an indoor pub crawl featuring the craft of local brewers and distillers on October 20 at Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. Event proceeds provide support for the Alliance’s robust arts education program for children, adults and families and continue to enlighten, enrich and entertain Southwest Florida.

Photos special to GRANDEUR

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1. Katie Haas and Stephanie Davis 2. Mariapia Malerba and Cesar Aguilera 3. Jeff Ocasio and Dale Davis Ocasio 4. Carolann Swanson and Barbara Hill 5. David Acevedo and Jamie Burnette 6. Sara Fitzpatrick Comito, Karen Goldberg, Thomas Marsh, Jessica Clark Wisdom, Lydia Black and Sally Frizzell Coleman

PINK PARTY The sixth annual Pink Party to benefit the Cancer Alliance of Naples was held at Physicians Regional on October 19. Guests enjoyed food, drinks, giveaways and entertainment.

Photos by SARAH CRAIN

1. Dawna Holowell, Debra Orringer and Tricia Decambra 2. Allie Parker and Stephanie Lyons 3. Bobby Sarazen, Adele Gallo, Ricky Gallo, Rick Gallo, and Joe Wise

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Savor the season. The next issue of Grandeur will be available starting January 6, 2018.

76 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


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SCENE TO BE SEEN: A RUNWAY ART SHOW

Photos by LOUIS VENNE PHOTOGRAPHY INC | Special to GRANDEUR

The Naples Art Association held its first wearable art show at Volvo Cars of Naples on November 2. Local, national and international artists exhibited their works on the runway for guests to enjoy.

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1. Artist Leeann Kroetsch and model Carissa Day 2. Artist is Loki Designz and model Cristina Morales 3. Artist Mariapia Malerba and model Anya Pietruszko 4. Artist Biya Ramar and model Sandra Annoye 5. Artist Jackie Morelisse and model Angela Hicks

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TOAST TO LIFE GALA The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Toast to Life Gala was held zNovember 2 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. The event and association is dedicated to saving and improving lives.

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PHotos special to GRANDEUR

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5 1. Katie Bobin, Laura Warren, Megan Smith, Cindy Nichols, Erin Randall and Emily Clark 2. Jason Alpert and Chris Cartee 3. J Van Hart Provisions of Cape Coral 4. Tom and Nina Burt 5. Tara, Carter and Dan Rhodes

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grand | TIMES

OVER THE EDGE Local celebrities and participants who raised $1,200 or more had the opportunity to rappel 19 stories from The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. The event raised $80,000 for The Heights Center’s School Success program for at–risk children in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.

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1. Dede D’Arcy and Joanne Heroy-Giller 2. Celebrity rappeller Gina Birch 3. Melissa Barlow and Renata Ribiero 4. Celebrity rappeller Jason Gunter 5. Fabrice Deletrain and Benjamin Voisin

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THRIVE AT BEACHWALK A ribbon–cutting and grand opening was held for Thrive at Beachwalk in Fort Myers on November 17. DeAngelis Diamond completed this 97,740-squarefoot assisted living and memory care establishment in June. It has 125 units and offers a variety of amenities to its residents, including a gym, entertainment room and beauty and barber salon.

1 78 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

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MAKING

waves with wishes Wishmaker’s Ball helps realize the dreams of children with critical illness.

T

he Wishmaker’s Ball, a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, brings attention to the lives of children in the community who struggle with critical illnesses and offers hope and joy. Guests to this year’s event dive into “An Ocean of Wishes” with an evening of cocktails, silent auction, inspiring stories and dancing. Volunteers, such as Lisa Milligan, Dylan Sanders and Mara Labell, dedicate their time to ensure the event is unforgettable and successful. The ball is “an opportunity to share with new guests our mission through the families who have been directly affected by a wish,” Lisa says. A longtime volunteer and board member, Dylan says last year’s sponsors, donors and guests forever changed the lives of 30 children in Southwest Florida at an average wish cost of $6,000, and “this year’s goal is to change even more lives.” STORY BY SARA COGGIN

80 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com

New this year Lisa: Each year has a new, exciting theme, auction items and dinner. This is an event that you definitely want to come out and experience. Mara: The theme this year is

“An Ocean of Wishes,” and many of the auction items and experiences revolve around that. We will be giving each attendee a beautiful beach bag provided by Gulf Coast International Realty. Dylan: New this year will be an increased presence of our Wish kids. We’ll feature children who have wished to swim with dolphins, go on cruises, visit the beautiful beaches of Hawaii and even wishes to go fishing.

Personal connections Lisa: My son received a wish in 2010, and our family has been paying it forward ever since. We were so impressed with how incredible the wish experience was we wanted to do whatever we could to help make sure other children had the same opportunity. Mara: I have been attending, and donating my handmade luxury jewelry from Mara Labell Designs and “bling out” all of the Make-a-Wish staff. I am also on the Ball Committee to bring in sponsors, ticket sales and auction items. Dylan: I have had the oppor-

tunity to help support our kids

by serving as a wish grantor, wish sponsor, corporate sponsor, Presidents Counsel chair and currently a three-year board member. I have learned what strength truly is.

Why I volunteer Lisa: After our son received his

wish, he was invited to speak at the ball and share his wish experience. It was at that event I knew that I wanted to get more involved with being a wish granter and part of this special evening each year.

Mara: My good friend invited me as her guest four years ago, and I have been involved with this amazing and important charity ever since.


grand | BEHIND THE BENEFIT

Dylan: I want to bring awareness

to the important work that MakeA-Wish does for the children right here in our community. I have been blessed to see the impact a wish has on a child. The child and family members are able to forget about doctors’ appointments and illnesses and just focus on their wish: to be, to go, to have, to meet. The experience is magic.

Event goals Lisa: The event goal is to help

Lisa Milliganl

grant the wish of every eligible child in Southwest Florida. My personal goal is always to provide a beautifully decorated area for the guests to enjoy. I want them to feel the theme come to life, enjoy browsing the auction items and have a wow moment when they arrive. Mara: To make the ball bigger, better and a larger money earner for Make-A-Wish. As the granting of wishes becomes ever more expensive, we need to raise more money

Mara Labell

to increase our wishes granted. Dylan: We hope to connect our guests to the Make-A-Wish mission: Together, we create lifechanging wishes for children with critical illnesses. When a wish comes true, it creates strength, hope and transformation. The impact of a wish goes far beyond the wish child and their family. Wishes have the power to transform the lives of all who play a part in it — volunteers, medical professionals, donors and the community.

Dylan Sanders

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Wishmaker’s Ball: An Ocean of Wishes

• When: 6-11 p.m., January 13 • Where: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, 2600 Tiburon Drive, Naples • Attire: Cocktail • Tickets: $350 • Details: 239-992-9474 or wishmakersball.net

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GRANDEUR | DECEMBER 2017 | 81


grand | JANUARY

Next

month Looking for inspiration? The New Year can open us up to new possibilities, whether it’s a renewed interest in reinventing ourselves, conquering fear, accepting change or just pulling ourselves out of a rut. In our January issue, we feature a group of inspirational residents who did just that.

82 | DECEMBER 2017 | grandeurmagazine.com


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Grandeur Magazine - December 2017  

Grandeur Magazine showcases the best that Southwest Florida has to offer

Grandeur Magazine - December 2017  

Grandeur Magazine showcases the best that Southwest Florida has to offer