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The Talent Maker

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Selling luxury real estate in tough economic times…

…takes more than a little luck and being in the right place at the right time… Deborah Beacham, P.A. REALTOR®, CRS, GRI, TRC Your Luxury Waterfront Specialist A solid performer – year after year Ranks 8th YTD Sales Volume out of 3,200 Sarasota Realtors 941.376.2688

rom t he e publisher f r o fm th publisher REALFLECTIONS


ell here we are at the end of our second year publishing; print and online. What a better way to celebrate than through a very striking cover. Thanks to Susan and Alexa for the models, Giovanni, Ines and Chris for the photography and Sally and Saks Fifth Avenue for the wardrobe. Looking back what a year. Introducing new technologies so you may leverage them in your business. Meeting people and developing new friendships. Overcoming unforeseen challenges. Providing unwavering support of community foundations and charities. Reaching out and helping individuals in need.

Fostering fun and social activities. Keeping a positive attitude about the things happening around us. And last staying true to our mission statement: Fostering a community of individuals and firms working together for a common objective, furthering each other’s business That’s the real REAL. A sincere THANK YOU to everyone that helped us get to this point. I also would like to thank Heidi Webber for sharing our vision and becoming part of the REAL team. Her enthusiasm and energy are contagious. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather have on the team. Welcome Heidi!

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

In closing REAL has ambitious plans for the year and so should you. Keep a positive focus and good things will happen. To a REAL prosperous 2011!

Ed Bertha

Ed Bertha 2nd Anniversary Issue 4


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Debra Pitell Broker/REALTOR , CRS, GRI, e-PRO R



1801 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236



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“Highest Benchmark Sale Award” recipient with sales of $13 million and $13.2 million 2005 1st place Agent Website in Florida as named by Florida Association of REALTORS 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 FIVE-STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Real Estate Award Exclusive Sarasota and Longboat Key affiliate for 27 years of experience selling Sarasota real estate SM




It was important to Betsy that when she retired, she would still be active and near a vibrant arts and cultural center. Plymouth Harbor’s proximity to downtown Sarasota makes it easy for her to pursue her passions of supporting the youth Opera and attending performances whenever she wishes. And with so many neighbors who actively volunteer with other organizations, charities and civic organizations, she always feels right at home. Plymouth Harbor may be located at the center of Sarasota, but our residents are the heart of the community. When quality of life, smart planning and freedom to pursue passions and new interests are top priorities, Plymouth Harbor is the wise choice. Call us today for a tour of our award-winning campus, luxury accommodations and amenities.

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When you never compromise, people notice.

Come and see for yourself! CGCA 18551 CGCA 18551

t a b lt aeb l o ff ccoo e o n tn e ntt se n t s On the Cover 26

Susan Schwabinger The Talent Maker

by Ed Bertha


RSVP Required 14

CornerStone Title: Creating Partnerships in Title and Beyond

by Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa

Invitation Only 48

United Way: An Enduring Resource for Health and Human Resources

by Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa

In the News 24

John Cannon Homes Event, Ovation 2011 Anne Chakos and Tracy Eisnaugle


Maduro Cigar & Bar, Cardel Homes TonyH2O Gallery

Events 35

REAL, Ritz and Ringling Year III


John Cannon Homes





Design Lines, Modern Design

by Pamela Hughes


Habitat For Humanity, Myths and Facts

by Renee Snyder


Manasota Kay, A Natural Choice

by Catherine Seress


Don’t Let Them Practice On Your Home

by Robby Brown


Tips for International Buyers of Real Estate

by Patricia Tan


It’s Alignment, Not Your Swing

by Nick Arthur


REAL Magazine




Pamela Hughes Specializing in luxury residential interiors

HUGHES DESIGN ASSOCIATES Washington 703 442 3200 Sarasota 941 922 4767

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

Executive Publisher

Creative Director

Ed Bertha (941) 921.2117

Christian Lunardi

Design & Layout Karen Krier


Cover Photography Giovanni Lunardi

Contributing Writers


Tracy Eisnaugle Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa Kacey C. Krznaric

Chad Spencer Giovanni Lunardi SRQ360

Subscriptions & Circulation

Sales Director

Innovative Agent Services; Tina Darling

Heidi Webber

Executive Producer Video ViaVio; Leslie Brown

Printing Manatee Printers, Inc.

Production Enterprise Connections

REAL Magazine is produced monthly by Enterprise Connections, Inc. Principal office: 6743 Ashley Court, Sarasota, FL 34241. COPYRIGHT Š 2010 REAL MAGAZINE. All content copyrighted. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published materials, REAL Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. All listing information published in REAL Magazine is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Contact agent directly to verify listing information which is subject to change. WEBSITE: offers RSS feeds, current and past issues, links to sponsors, an event calendar, unique editorial, a blog and additional information on the community at large. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Please call 941.921.5027, write 2945 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34239 or visit, $24.95/year. ADVERTISING: Please call 941.921.2117, write 6743 Ashley Court, Sarasota, FL 34241 or visit POSTMASTER: Please send notices on Form 3579 to 2945 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34239. Standard mail paid in Sarasota, Florida.

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per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es Design Lines | Modern Design By Pamela Hughes

There is lots of talk and awareness of “Modern Design” today, so for this month’s column I thought it might be interesting to explore the history of how this design style evolved. Sarasota is a place known for its Modern Design heritage, and in fact, has numerous wonderful examples of this design dialect, which we will delve into in a future column. So, let’s look at a bit of history first. Design is all around us, whether we are aware of it or not. Any time a human being has applied paint to a pot, adorned a garment, or manipulated a surface to make something utilitarian more pleasing, design has happened. As societies and civilizations have developed and changed, the definition of what is beautiful changes too. The rich and ornate baroque of the 16th century led to the lighter, more refined and neo-classically influenced style of the 17th century. What once was thickly carved and often gilded became a painted surface, with less elaborately



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carved details, still highlighted in gold leaf perhaps, but not so extravagantly. In the last part of the 19th century, the heavy and pervasive ornamentation of the Victorian era led to a reactionary series of design movements that stripped away the layers of color, pattern and texture of that time and asked the world to look at things with new, more informed eyes. The Arts and Crafts movement, which had a strong beginning in England during that time, fostered sympathetic colonies of artists, craftsmen, architects and designers in America and Europe. As a reaction to the mass-produced products of the Victorian age, these groups encouraged the hand-wrought object and venerated the individual artist, who often found inspiration in motifs of the natural world. But things took a major shift at a remarkable school in Weimar, Germany. Called the Bauhaus, it was a place where all the old means of learning were thrown out and the students were taught to look at the world from the most basic elements of color, shape and form, as well as the nature of materials - wood vs. steel vs. glass, etc. In addition, they studied the function of an object or building, before applying any form or style to it. It was a remarkable time and place, with the most

energetic and passionate individuals coming together. Within those plain walls a rich design stew was concocted. For instance, furniture was formed out of bent chromed steel tubes with wicker seats. These chairs remain in the designer’s lexicon and are still looking crisp and new. Pottery and china, silver serving pieces, woven and printed fabrics, typography and ultimately architecture were the curricula of this remarkable place. Artists that taught in the school are names that are familiar: Klee, Albers and Kandinsky. Architects Gropius and van der Rohe headed the school at different times. Many of the faculty ultimately came to this country as Europe and Germany became less hospitable to artists and other free-thinkers. They settled in design and architecture schools, and had a profound influence on the development of cities, buildings, interiors and what we have come to call Modern Design. One of the things that Modern Design has done is open up the box that is the room, both literally and

figuratively. A great example of this is the use of glass. Glass is now able to be made in large sheets, and in contemporary homes and buildings sometimes the entire wall surface is glass. Other materials such as steel and concrete are used in similarly innovative ways. When we think of Modern Design we think of bright, open spaces, often lightly colored, and embellished with furnishings that are simple but bold of line, and art that is colorful and strong. In Modern Design, fewer pieces are used but each piece has its own interesting character and uniqueness. Sometimes, whole rooms are created with all new and custom furnishings, with each piece being designed for that particular client or project. These rooms have a consistency and cohesiveness that is special and powerful, as do period rooms from other ages. One can think of great rooms in museums or mansions, where all the furnishings are from the same period, and they have a richness and strength. New rooms can have this same strength where all the furniture, rugs, lighting and art are created and assembled to make an environment that is greater than the sum of its parts.

to the experience. The ceiling is simple and plain, and provides lighting, ventilation, sprinklers, speakers and security, and yet is detailed in such a masterful fashion that one is unaware of all those necessities unless you look for them. These sorts of experiences inspire designers to continue improving and refining what we do as well. Other times and situations will require a blend of old and new. At Hughes Design, we sometimes create big spare rooms, where there is nothing more striking than a fabulous antique console or commode against a stark and daring wall. We love to mix the old and the new. One rule we have, however, is that quality always blends with quality. You want to buy the best that you can, even if that means buying fewer pieces. So, feel comfortable creating those clean-lined, spare and dramatic rooms that Modern Design has inspired, whether with furnishings all from that period or with a well-vetted mix from other times as well. Somehow, good design always goes beautifully with good design.

If you are ever in Chicago, try having lunch in the restaurant in the modern art wing of The Art Institute and you will see how fabulous a tightly designed room can be. This recent addition is by the internationally acclaimed Renzo Piano and the restaurant is named for him. The room is one of those places where every surface and fixture is just right. All glass and white with a pale wide plank oak floor, the expansive space is subdivided by graceful banquettes, the tables are topped with pale white resin slabs, the china and silver are all simple, unique and contribute

Pamela Hughes, the founder and owner of Hughes Design Associates, is well known nationally and internationally. Hughes Design Associates is one of the premier interior design firms known throughout North America for specializing in prestigious custom interiors. In Sarasota, Pamela has completed many exceptional projects including The Ritz-Carlton, The Members’ Beach Club, The Tower Residences, and Plaza at Five Points. Pamela may be reached at (941) 922.4767 or visit


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r s vr spv prre e qq u iu r ei dr e d CornerStone Title: Creating Partnerships in Title and Beyond By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa | Photography by Jennifer Soos

Tom and Mary Howard at their residence, a newly remodeled farm home, located just minutes from their Lakewood Ranch office

When founders Tom and Mary Howard opened CornerStone Title in 2006, they did so with a well-defined vision for their company and its purpose. During a transitioning real estate market, the couple went into the industry understanding the challenges that awaited. “But we moved forward anyway,” recalls Mary. “We knew what would work, and we really had a desire to build a company that would be both successful and significant.” 14


REAL Magazine


Less than five years after launching CornerStone Title, the Howards are proof positive that opportunities do exist, despite an inundation of negative market projections. Mary states that the company has grown to become the second leading independently-owned title company in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, gaining market share through a highly personalized and attentive approach. Tom explains, “Anyone can create an efficient title agency. What we add is an exceptional experience, for both consumers and real estate professionals, with every closing. We partner with agents, brokers, lenders and builders to become an extension of their teams, and we focus on how we can contribute to their success in every aspect of the relationship.

At the foundation of CornerStone’s business is a commitment to providing clear communication, attention to detail and a sense of urgency. Building upon these principles, the company has developed its “Perfect 10”, a plan for the ideal business entity that lays out, in specific and accomplishable details, how the Howards envision CornerStone Title at its finest. Among the issues addressed are creating and sustaining a welcoming office environment, utilizing systemization and technology in order to facilitate a more efficient and productive transaction, and maintaining an organization built upon a solid foundation of values and professionalism. Putting their vision into action, Tom and Mary have built a purpose-driven business that consistently takes ideas from paper to real life. Their office offers a friendly atmosphere, a place where business is conducted professionally and with a personal touch. Every transaction is facilitated by a dedicated closer, a licensed and richly experienced individual who offers support from the start of business to beyond the closing. And all transactions are handled with an empathetic approach. Explains Mary, “Each member of our team shares in our values and treats every closing as if it were the closing of their own home.” This is more than a process; we are providing a solid product and a positive experience for all parties involved.” Tom adds, “As partners with real estate professionals, we are an integral component to a satisfied client. A chef who prepares a great meal still depends on the efforts of an excellent wait staff to deliver the last impresssion in order to ensure a truly satisfied customer. We provide exceptional customer care in order to maximize the experience and assist our partners in growing their business through repeat and referral clientele.” CornerStone maintains a leading edge approach to business by staying connected to the needs of consumers and real estate professionals. An entrepreneur with a background in B2B sales and experience in the software industry, Tom recognizes the opportunity – and need – to incorporate technology into the title process. “For at least a decade, the traditional title agency has fallen behind in technological and business practices,” he observes. “Our goal is to bridge the gap, to provide a level of service that is extraordinary within our arena.”

clients. “We’re always available to answer questions and address concerns, connect people with underwriting counsel when necessary, and to provide our clients with insight on market trends and changes,” says Mary. “Education is a vital component to long-term success, and we are here to help as agents continue to build and develop their business.” Through seminars and training CornerStone Title has reached out to its professional partners, assisting them in putting best practices to work in their business endeavors. As a boutique local business, CornerStone Title understands and believes in the value of community service and involvement. “We are earning the trust and confidence of our customers at every closing, and with every action we take,” says Tom. “That’s a substantial responsibility.” Beyond the daily efforts of facilitating smooth transactions, the company is vested in the interests of its community, supporting organizations including the Payton Wright Foundation and Bayside Community Church. In 2011 CornerStone Title has committed to donating a portion of its proceeds from every closing to Habitat for Humanity, which offers area residents an opportunity to create better lives for themselves through home ownership. Tom and Mary agree CornerStone has been blessed to assemble such a fine group of professionals on its team and be invited to do business with many of the best and most successful real estate professionals in the industry. If past performance is any indicator, 2011 proves a promising year for CornerStone Title and its clientele. “We are excited about the opportunity to continue to grow, and seek to fulfill our vision of becoming the leading independent title company in the area,” reveals Tom. “With offices in Lakewood Ranch and West Bradenton, plus plans for a satellite location in Sarasota, we look forward to building relationships with real estate professionals and consumers throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties.”

CornerStone Title

11061 Gatewood Drive, Suite 101 | Bradenton, FL 34211 908 Riverside Drive, Suite 250 | Palmetto, FL 34221 Telephone: (941) 708.0300 |

Staying connected with the changing facets of the real estate industry as a whole, each of the professionals at CornerStone Title appreciates the opportunity to serve as trusted resources for their


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per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es Habitat For Humanity: Myths And Facts By Renee Snyder

Take a moment and learn the true facts about Habitat for Humanity. You’ll be surprised at the misconceptions you may have.




Habitat gives away homes to welfare recipients and poor people.

FACT: Applicants must have sufficient income to pay mortgage payments of approximately $650 monthly, not to exceed 30% of their take-home pay, and have an acceptable credit record and payment history. They also have to make a down payment of $2,000 and contribute 300-500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home or another Habitat home. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.


Only minority families get Habitat for Humanity homes.

FACT: Habitat builds houses in partnership with those in need regardless of race, religion or any other difference. Prospective homeowners must meet three criteria: need; ability to repay the mortgage; and a willingness to partner with Habitat. Statistically, 33 percent of Habitat homeowners are Anglo and 67 percent are people of ethnic minorities. Habitat for Humanity Sarasota is an equal housing provider.


Habitat Homeowners really don’t own their homes.

FACT: The homes are sold and belong to the homeowner as long as they pay their 30-year, zero interest mortgage loan.

Habitat houses reduce a neighborhood’s property values.

FACT: Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and the local property tax base. You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.

FACT: Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat’s abiding belief that God’s love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world. Habitat for Humanity Sarasota is an equal housing provider.


Habitat for Humanity is an arm of the government.

FACT: Habitat for Humanity is not an arm of the government. Habitat is an independent, nonprofit organization that accepts some government funds and other resources to help provide houses for those in need. Local affiliates, such as Habitat Sarasota embrace a philosophy to avoid becoming dependent on or controlled by government funds.


Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

FACT: Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, GA, by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, GA), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national attention to the organization. Each year, they lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing.

Renee Synder is the Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity Sarasota. She attended the University of Kentucky and is a certified U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant writer. Renee received certification in Laws and Practices of Real Estate and Real Estate Contract Law from Manatee Community College, and holds credentials or has had specialized training in the areas of finance, accounting, management, diversity and professional fundraising. Renee may be reached at (941) 365-0700 or 18


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Live. Work. Play. At the very least come play.

Lakewood Ranch Main Street is always a hub of activity.

Don’t Worry...

our to-do list is all fun and games:

Get a FREE 2-day VIP pass to the Golf & Country Club.

941-907-6000 / 800-307-2624

Models & Information Centers Open Daily:

Take a stroll through more than 150 miles of nature trails.

Catch a world-class Polo or Cricket match during season.

Go to for a complete listing of current events.

Mon. - Sat. 10 am - 5:30 pm Sunday 12 - 5 pm Homes with home site from the mid $100s to over $5 million EXIT 220




Don’t miss the highly anticipated day of the arts! SAT. FEB. 5 TH AT 10AM ON MAIN STREET! Go to for details.



EXIT 213


Tour more than 30 model homes in Lakewood Ranch.


Dine, shop, catch a movie or enjoy a FREE concert on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.






TO MAIN STREET : Take I-75 to exit 213, head east on University Parkway; take left onto Lakewood Ranch Blvd. then take right onto Main Street.

For a directory of Main Street use this TAG. Find out more about TAGs at BROKERS WELCOME. All prices are subject to change without notice. *While supplies last. Offer subject to change without notice.

Don’t miss one of the new year’s best events

Finest Courses

Play One of the Area’s

APRIL 4, 2011 REAL Magazine 3rd Annual Golf Charity Event THE RITZ-CARLTON MEMBERS CLUB Benefiting the United Way’s Realtor’s for Kids Fund/Success By 6 Contact Ed Bertha for more information 941.921.2117

Stay tuned for more information on our Gala Event that evening Registration Fee $150 ($175 after Feb. 1)

Sponsors & Volunteers Needed

get REAL

REAL faces

REAL places

REAL spaces



m a g a z i n e


Vance Askins

The Secrets of Ca’ d’Zan with Ron McCarty

C.J. Coury

Swinging for


Jack Dowd Artistic Crossroads

America, the Land of Opportunity

Beyond The Doctor A True Floridian internationalstone.kk.indd 1

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REAL Magazine | 2011 Editorial Schedule Editorial

Exceptional Properties & Businesses

February: Architects

February: Siesta Key

March: Design/Decorating

March: Lido Key/Longboat Key

April: Green Special Sarasota Film Festival Issue

April: Founders Club Special Sarasota Film Festival Issue

May: Equestrian

May: Estate Homes

June: Builder

June: Casey Key

July: Golf

July: Golf Course Homes

August: Mortgage/Lending/Title/Attorney

August: Oaks To Venice

September: Outdoor Spaces

September: Holmes Beach/Anna Maria

October: International

October: International Properties

November: Fashion, Toys$$$

November: Mainland Bay Front

December: Arts

December: Lakewood Ranch/Manatee East

To get REAL contact Heidi Webber at (941) 356-6077 or


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i n it esw s n h t he e nn ew John Cannon Homes REAL Tauri Event

Left to Right Debbie Gonzalez, John Cannon and Ed Bertha

Guests gathered at John Cannon Homes’ latest model, the Tauri, in Camargo Place at Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch for an entertaining evening event. The home combines a California Mediterranean exterior juxtaposed by a light and airy interior. Participants were treated to delicacies from Sarasota Catering Company and an assortment of wines from Katy Rose Oilery.

At the event attendees were introduced to REAL Magazine’s sms text-based marketing platform, 90210. Leslie Brown, REAL’s 90210 specialist, asked the group to text realevent to 90210. After everyone sent their text messages a real time drawing was done through the 90210 platform, selecting winners who went home with a bottle of wine. It was a fun and educational time for all. The Tauri is offered at $799,900, furnished, with a 2 year leaseback. The event was sponsored by CMS Photography, Innovative Agent Services and Katy Rose Oilery. Ovation 2011, A Lakewood Ranch Celebration Ovation, a popular street festival celebrating the arts, returns to Lakewood Ranch Main Street February 5, 2011 as a fun way for people of all ages to experience the arts in a casual, outdoor setting. Entering its 4th year, the local art scene comes to life as guests enjoy live performances from the Ovation Main Stage, participate in interactive booths and browse displays from talented artisans. Area cultural institutions will be on hand with season ticket packages and other special offers. And of course, the many shops, boutiques and restaurants of Main Street will be open for guests’ shopping and dining pleasure. Ovation has proved to be a popular event in years past, with appreciative crowds turning out to enjoy performances from the likes of The Sarasota Opera, local high school drama clubs, local live theater, a free movie screening and much more. Because this day is intended to celebrate the arts, humanities and non-profit groups, it is brought to you by Lakewood Ranch at no cost to the organizations participating. This year’s festival is hosted by LWR Communities. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, visit or call Rachel Gray at (941) 757.1548 or Linda Gross at (941) 907.9507. Anne Chakos and Tracy Eisnaugle To Represent Lee Wetherington In The Founders Club

Left to Right Anne Chakos Tracy Eisnaugle

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate announced that sales professionals Anne Chakos and Tracy Eisnaugle were selected by custom home builder Lee Wetherington Homes to market and sell the builder’s final 12 home sites in The Founders Club.

Home packages start at $745,000 and include the lot, house and pool. One and two story plans range from 3,200 square feet to over 4,000 square feet and will take approximately nine months to complete from close of contract. For more information or to schedule a personal showing, contact Chakos at (941) 302.9100, anne.chakos@floridamoves. com, or Eisnaugle at (941) 232.3358,


| REAL Magazine |

i n it esw s n h t he e nn ew Maduro Cigar & Bar Opens 2nd Location Maduro Cigar & Bar announced the opening of their 2nd location in the Kohl’s Plaza at University Park. The phone number for the new location is (941) 358.2222. Maduro combines contemporary elegance, an intimate ambience and unparalleled service. Beyond over 400 premium cigars on display, imported beers, fine wines and exceptional coffee are available. Private lockers are also offered. The original location is at 7386 South Tamiami Trail (opposite Wilde Honda) in Sarasota. The phone number there is (941) 925.4747. Visit for more information. Cardel Homes To Build In Central Park Neal Communities announced Cardel Homes as a new builder in Central Park at Lakewood Ranch. Cardel will bring some of its most popular designs from Tampa Bay to Lakewood Ranch. Two Cardel Homes’ models will be introduced in Central Park’s newest neighborhood, Gramercy Park, in early 2011. Since Central Park’s opening only four months ago, sales have been brisk, with sales of over 50 homes. Gramercy Park will offer larger home sites and floor plans ranging from about 1,800 to 3,000 square feet. The day to day operations are run by the Cardel family who started the company. “Some of the things that set us apart are the skilled trades people in our organization. We only employ the best trades and that is how we ensure consistency in quality,” says Rob Revoy, vice president of sales & marketing for Cardel Homes, “Never has there been a better time to build a new home.”


Cardel, which has been building homes in North America for 37 years, is new to Manatee/Sarasota. Currently they are well-established in the greater Tampa Bay area, Denver and the Canadian regions near Calgary and Ottawa. For more information about Cardel, visit TonyH2O Gallery And World Headquarters Opens In Sarasota Tony Ludovico, a world renowned free diving, underwater photographer, announced Sarasota, Florida as the location for his new gallery and world headquarters. In waters as deep as 10,000 feet, yet just a dozen feet below the ocean’s surface, Ludovico holds his breath for up to four minutes to capture that one moment in time when natural light and aquatic life sync into a striking image. At the new 3,600 square foot exhibition space, more than 100 of Ludovico’s archival pigment prints on canvas and watercolor papers are on display for sale, as well as Pelagic Gear clothing featuring Tony’s popular images on board shorts and t-shirts. The gallery also features three dimensional prints on metal – an innovative new line of customizable, fully UV protected outdoor furniture, showcasing selections of his images protected with an eye-catching and weatherproof high gloss finish. From his favorite Atlantic sailfish to Mahi Mahi and giant sea turtles, Tony’s portraits of sea life offer not only stunning detail and brilliant color, but often tell unusual stories about the unique existence of these increasingly rare creatures in the wild. While Tony has traveled to locations in over 30 countries, many of his favorite photos have been taken while free diving in the Galapagos Islands, Panama, Bahamas, Isla Mujeres, as well as the east and west coasts of Florida. TonyH2O Gallery and offices are located at 50 North Tamiami Trail. On the corner of 1st Street and US 41, it is one block east of Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Admission is free and open to the public Wednesday - Sunday, 11 am to 8 pm, Monday - Tuesday, by appointment only. Sarasota is the fourth TonyH2O Gallery. The other galleries are in Tampa, Ocean Springs, MS and Cabo San Lucas. For more information visit

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7045 Kingsmill Court

Gorgeous golf course and lake views from this popular Wetherington Paloma open floor plan.

13203 Palmers Creek Elegant Mediterranean Estate Finest in details with sweeping lake & golf course views.

Susan Schwabinger

The Talent Maker By Ed Bertha | Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

Pretty Faces Going Places Meet Susan Schwabinger, aka model Susan Chase. Since the age of 19 she has immersed herself in the modeling industry, from traveling the globe to now owning Alexa Model and Talent Management Agency. After attending the Art Institute of Atlanta, she started out as buyer for an upscale retailer. Shortly thereafter Susan decided to go it alone as a model on New York’s Seventh Avenue, the heart of the fashion industry, and never looked back.

I even did a shoot in Giorgio Armani’s apartment Socializing with all the right people in New York City, she met Yama Yamamoto, an influential individual associated with Max Factor and Nikon. He liked her, “So I was in.” That connection opened the door to Wilhelmina Models, a top modeling firm. Susan’s first booking was Harper’s Bazaar. Soon thereafter she was booked everywhere and off to Europe.

“We were racing back to the La Mamounia hotel from a photo shoot in the middle of the Moroccan desert and our van kicked up a rock. It broke the client’s windshield. A few minutes later the windshield caved in, but the client kept on driving. Next thing you know it started to really rain and the client is getting soaked. I know, rain in the desert? Finally he pulled over and got in the van with the models. He just dumped the rental car on the side of the road in the middle of the desert. It was really kind of funny.” 26


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Landing in Milan, Susan ended up spending a significant amount of time there, and worked almost every day. “I worked for all the major magazines. I did the collections in Rome, and they only use the supermodels for those. I even did a shoot in Giorgio Armani’s apartment. Not many people can say they have done that.” Her Milan base led to a shoot in Israel. “I liked Israel a lot. The desert is gorgeous. The sunsets are an orange rosy glow. Beautiful.” She echos the same about her Moroccan desert experience “Spectacular views. The people too. The scarves they sold were brilliant colors. The little kids would surround us. They were fascinated to see a Polaroid. We were an anomaly to them.” Next, London came calling. Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and a host of others filled her calendar. While she was there, a photo of Susan was put on the AP wire and released internationally. The Huntsville (AL) Daily News picked it up and ran a story comparing Susan to Ava Gardner. Her Aunt

“One of the things that makes me the most excited is to take someone who hasn’t worked before and develop them through photography and comp cards leading to bookings and a career.”

“I loved being able to live among the different cultures, not as a tourist but as one of them. It was an incredible experience. It helped me learn how to work with people in difficult situations.”

in Alabama saw the article and immediately called Susan’s mother. All had a good chuckle.

catapulted me home. I worked almost 24 hours a day for 2 weeks; shows during the day and shoots at night. You’d get up for a 6am booking and work till 6pm then you’d have a 7pm booking that would run till 2am. 3 hours sleep. It almost became like I was hallucinating. That was it.”

While in London her mother came to visit. At the time Susan’s apartment was in the West End. During her mother’s stay there was a huge street fair that got out of control leading to the infamous West End riots. Needless From Paris she headed back to New York City and Wilhelmina. to say it was a scary time for the two women but keeping “At one point, I had my picture all over Fifth Avenue in their wits about them, they emerged unscathed. New York.” Informed that CHANEL was looking to replace Catherine Deneuve, Susan was game. Thus began an From London Susan jetted off to book for Paris Planning intense 1 ½ year affair leading to her selection. Then the and Francois Lano. Marie Claire, Elle, and Vogue all came calling. It was during her extended stay in Paris that Susan unforeseen happened: Wilhelmina was diagnosed with met John Casablancas whom she would cross paths with cancer. Two months later she died, dealing a debilitating later on in life. “In Paris I worked every day; designers, blow to the agency. “Wilhelmina was the rock. She was collections, shows, magazines. It was the collections that the only one in charge. Nobody could step in and run the



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office. I had a $5 million contract. It was signed, executed. It went away. I was angry, quit modeling, decided to get married and have a child.” After five years of marriage Susan divorced and moved back to Florida, where she grew up. With no plan other than to care of herself and her young daughter, she landed at Kelly Services. There she quickly went from temporary work to a managerial position within the firm. While at Kelly Services she started teaching classes at John Casablancas Model and Career Center. Once again Susan was back in the world of modeling and high fashion. Her abilities made a strong impression; Susan was asked to be the director of the school, which ultimately leading to her running the facility. Under Susan’s guidance the Tampa center went from being the worst performing center to the best performing center in the country for three consecutive years. All of the beautiful faces attending classes began to catch Susan’s attention. Always one with an eye Continued on page 34

Husband Keith, Tim Miles and Susan reviewing photos.

“Clothes, styling, hair and makeup, combined with an excellent photographer, make the image pop.” Blouse by Ralph Lauren Skirt by BCBG Maxazria Jacket by St John

“I’m a people person. It’s a people business.”

Katie Holliday: I entered the world of modeling at the age of 13. Dani Davis scouted me, who at the time was managing the Barbizon of Tampa. Dani soon introduced me to Susan and her agency, Alexa. With clients like Bealls, Dillards and HSN locally, we started my modeling career. Around the same time I became a contestant in the Elite model look of the year for 1995/96. I won the state of Florida and went onto New York City for the nationals. 10 girls won for the United States, including me, so we set off to Nice, France to compete against 59 other countries. I didn’t come home with the win that time but signed a contract with Elite anyway and started working out of Miami, New York, and LA. A lot of German catalogs, Target, JCPenney, Teen Magazine, Sketchers shoes, etc. It’s been a long trip so far, but I’m happily along for the ride. Dress by Craig Signer

Kim Ulmer: Kim began a more than 25 year career in the fashion industry at the very young age of 10. Her career took off at the age of 13 after meeting Susan of Alexa. Susan placed Kim with Elite in New York City, and she went on to win Elite’s Look of the Year. That set off a 13-year span of foreign travel. From New York to Tokyo, then off to Paris and Hong Kong, Kim has worked in at least 9 countries. She held lingerie and beauty contracts in 3 different countries at the same time. Modeling has more than shown her the world which if you ask Kim, was the best part! “Good friends and fabulous cultures, these experiences have made me who I am. I am grateful to Susan for beginning such a rewarding and interesting career for me. That is the purpose of a great mother agent.” Dress by Parker



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Victoria Warren: Victoria was born in Ukraine and grew up mostly in New York City. At the age of 13 she asked her father to take her on a model search that LA Looks was hosting at the Empire State Building. After winning first place, she signed with an agency and shot for major magazines and commercials. It wasn’t until she was attending New York University that she decided to stop modeling and focus on her degree. Victoria married James and lived in England for five years, in which time she had two children, Alyssa and William. They moved to Florida over a year ago and Victoria decided to give modeling another chance. She met with Susan at Alexa and hasn’t looked back. Shorts by Easy Money Bra by Wacoal Vest by Adrienne Landau

Leigh Songer:

I was born and raised in southeast Virginia. All through high school I was very athletic, playing soccer, volleyball, basketball, and running track. I have always had the desire to be a model although I was taught to get an education first. I graduated from Windsor High School and continued to get a higher education at Shenandoah University. I graduated from Shenandoah University in 2007 with my Masters in Science of Occupational Therapy. I started my career in Southeast Virginia for a year and moved to Florida to continue my job and began my journey into modeling. I am currently residing in Tampa, Florida where I am ecstatic to work with Alexa Modeling. Dress by La Femme

Keren Ericksen Macklin:

As a young girl I would pour through magazines and catalogs with hopes of one day becoming a model. At age 21 a college professor and friend encouraged me to pursue modeling. His daughter, Jennie Pickens was a supermodel and he would tell me how I looked a lot like her. He suggested I visit Alexa, where Jennie started. I went and met Susan who connected me with a photographer and I began working shortly thereafter. Today I live in Sarasota with my husband and son and enjoy shooting photography and modeling. Dress by Craig Signer

Jessica Myslikowski: Originally from Greece Jessica immigrated to the United States as a child. She is 23 years old and currently lives in Florida. She began modeling when she decided to send in her application to the Miss Polish-American beauty pageant. To her surprise she won the title Miss Polish-American 2008. One of Jessica’s winning prizes was a trip to Poland to represent the United States in the national 2008 Miss Poland contest. While competing in Poland, Jessica was still enrolled as a full time student at the University of Florida. She recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Jessica is currently pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant and models through Alexa. Jacket, Shirt & Pants by St John

Irina Vishneva:

I always dreamed of becoming a model when I was a little girl back in Russia. My dream really came true when I moved to the U.S. I was approached by a stranger who asked if I had an interest in modeling. That’s how everything started. I attended Fox Models International showcase in December 2009 and was offered contracts by Factor, Chicago and Wilhelmina, Miami. The only thing lacking was a warm personal approach and caring that models could only get from smaller boutique agencies. So I was very lucky to become a part of the Alexa Models family. Now I always feel included and taken care of. Susan and Tim have always been very helpful. No issue is too small. Susan is a great source of valuable knowledge and inspiration for me. To sum it up, I’d like to say that I believe everyone should pursue his or her dream and never give up even if it gets very hard. The reward is priceless; you meet great people along the way, become a stronger person and gain a lot of confidence about yourself and your future. Shirt by Vince | Skirt by Theory

Continued from page 29

for talent, she began to submit model candidates to Elite in New York City. Soon Elite was making trips to Tampa to meet with Susan. “I thought that was pretty cool.” Discussions with the Casablancas center’s owner about establishing an agency were not well received, so Susan bought the school and launched her own agency. As the agency began to take off, running it and the school became too much. So two years after buying the school she sold it and focused on Alexa Model and Talent Management Agency, named after her daughter. Twenty three years later Alexa is still one of the most respected names in the business. “I have always had a

there’s Bailey. She’s also working with APM and recently did a large Clairol campaign. Scarlett Benchley. I love her. I knew her mother when she was pregnant with her. She’s a little booker doing all the mags and Nintendo. I could go on for quite some time.” Pausing and reflecting for a moment she brings up the name Brandy Quinones. “We found Brandy living on the street in Tampa. She was only 14 years old. We made her into a model and introduced her to Jean Luc Brunelle. Next thing you know she takes off in Miami and immediately ends up in Paris. Everyone wanted her; Vogue, Elle, CHANEL, Karl Lagerfeld. She was

Maxwell’s before and after photos. “Look at these. The most beautiful person in the world will not make it with the wrong photography. Clearly photography makes all the difference in the world whether you get a job or not. Not all photographers are fashion photographers. You need to seek one out like Giovanni Lunardi. He knows how to get the best out of people and has the track record to prove it.” In the fashion world there are three types of modeling; commercial, editorial and runway. “Commercial is where the money is. It’s harder these days to land big campaigns as clients are using actresses and actors instead of models. Editorial is

I had a $5 million contract. It was signed, executed. It went away. good eye for talent. We do a lot of placement in New York. Over the course of the years we’ve developed many new faces.” Inquiring about some of her faces Susan picks out some comp cards and begins. “Jennie Pickens is now with MC2, she was third runner up in Eileen Ford’s Super Model World in 1993. Kim Ulmer was huge for us, working Asia in Tokyo and Thailand. Becky Bosworth went with her and did very well too. Nivia also was a big star in Asia. Katie Holliday (this issue), she was 13 when we started with her. She’s worked a lot, Greece and many other locations, lives in New York. She’s the face of Clairol on many of their boxes. Jennifer Long began at age 17. She’s done Germany and South Africa, lives in New York too. Maxwell, he’s doing well. The IZOD cologne campaign, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch. Kimberly’s now with APM in New York working the Söfft campaign and Jockey. Then

in the money. Upon returning to New York she became someone who had every model disease known. Brandy was her own worst enemy. At that point she had no respect for the client and her reputation went downhill. Nobody could control her. I don’t know what happened to her. She could have had it all.” Asking what makes a good model Susan doesn’t hesitate “I look for bone structure. You need cheek bones. Eyes, they need to be wide apart. They photograph better than eyes that are close together. Nice hair. Nice skin. You need to have a thinner body type. Long legs are an asset. Even a shorter girl with long legs works.” What gets the agency’s attention and lands jobs? Good photography. Walking to her desk Susan returns with a file of before and after photos. “You need to have great pictures to get noticed. Pictures are a must.” Taking a moment she finds Wardrobe courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue



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a bigger market but you don’t make any money. You get your picture in a magazine mainly for the exposure. Runway, that’s very different. The girls are not typically super gorgeous. The designers don’t want the model taking away from the garment, so they tend to be nondescript.” Working in an industry where faces are everything and beauty only skin deep, Susan is a breath of fresh air. “I love to hang out with the models. We’ve been friends for so long it’s like family. Even with some of our clients too. I’ve known them a long time. You need to treat people the way you want to be treated.” “I’m a people person. It’s a people business.”

Alexa Model & Talent Management Agency

4100 W Kennedy Blvd, Suite 228 Tampa, FL 33609 (813) 289.8020

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REAL, Ritz & Ringling Year III The Ritz-Carlton Members Club hosted the third annual REAL, Ritz and Ringling event December 10th. A much anticipated, and at capacity, gathering Ed Bertha welcomed the crowd and thanked Leslie Cornell Anders, Membership Director, for the club. Leslie then greeted the attendees in Ritz-Carlton style. Ron McCarty, Curator of Ca’ d’Zan of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, then took the stage. McCarty took the crowd back to 1920’s, narrating and sharing historic black & white photography of the Ringlings and Ca’ d’Zan. McCarty then elaborated on the restoration of the Aeolian Duo-Art Pipe Organ and its importance to Ca’ d’Zan. Next up was Dr. Larry Thompson, President of The Ringling College of Art + Design. Dr. Thompson led the group through the restoration of Sarasota High School and its future use as a Visual Arts Education Center and Sarasota Museum of Art. Then he discussed the decision of the county to fund a grant of $1.75 million to develop a postproduction film facility on the campus and what it means to Sarasota. The meeting then adjourned and the guests were invited to view Judy Kepecz-Hayes and Beth Afflebach/Joan Dickinson’s Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences listings. The event was sponsored by CMS Photography and Innovative Agent Services. Host: The Ritz-Carlton Members Club

Photography: Chad Spencer

Sponsors: Innovative Agent Services, CMS Photography


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per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es Manasota Key, A Natural Choice By Catherine Seress


awn on a misty May morning and I cannot sleep. I roll out of bed, determined to go walk the beach in the early morning light and look for shark’s teeth. Instead of choosing Manasota Beach, closest to my house, I choose Blind Pass, halfway down the Key and the middle of the 3 Manasota Key public beaches. I had heard recently that Blind Pass was the best for shark’s teeth. I don’t find shark’s teeth; instead I find Fred from Maine, a member of the Mangrove Coast fly fishing group, out there casting into the surf. We chat and I watch him pull in 2 ladyfish and a grunt on his barbless hook. Manasota Key, Sarasota’s most southern key, is shared by Charlotte and Sarasota counties, the line being roughly 2/3 the way south from the northern end. On the most northern tip, you have an exclusive enclave behind gates, a wonderful mixed batch of architecture, age, and beachto-bay or one or the other. Then comes Manasota Beach and the community boat ramp that sits just west of the intracoastal drawbridge, where everyone puts their boat in. It is a wonderful place, especially if you want to get out to the Gulf which is quick and easy through the southern end Stump Pass. It’s also a place where my son and I did see not only courting manatees, but on another occasion, a mother manatee and her calf. There is also a regularly visiting dolphin who will do tricks for you while you stand upon the bridge. South of Manasota Beach, underneath the canopied roads, you find many extraordinary residences, most tucked neatly behind established groves of trees. Cruise along at the appropriate 25 mph on this residential Key, and you will come across the residents of the Key, cycling, jogging, and briskly walking. Homes on the Key date from the 1950s and if you are a fan of classic beach architecture, you can find some

impeccable older properties nestled in the dunes and sea oats. You can also find many more recently built, modern style properties with expansive balconies to make the most of barrier island life. Just about every age and taste is catered for in terms of a unique beach or bay home. Residential and exclusive without being reclusive, Manasota Key offers quiet enjoyment of island living in Sarasota County. It has 15 miles of beaches along the Gulf, a lower millage rate than other barrier islands in the county and a historical reputation for nudity. June. My son is out of school and I have cabin fever. I go down to the Manasota Beach Club, a once naturist resort, and talk with Sydney Crampton, 2nd generation owner / manager. Nestled within a grove of old oaks and Spanish moss, the Manasota Beach Club is a classic treasure – croquet, tennis, swimming, and incredibly wonderful historic guest cottages, all on the beautiful sands of the Key. You can also take art classes, T’ai chi and yoga here. Aware of the hotel’s reputation as a “naturist” resort, when Mr. Crampton came to purchase the hotel in 1961 he was greatly relieved to see that it was already entirely fitted out with wicker furniture. Another day, I promise myself to get down and investigate the Hermitage Artist Retreat, another collection of classic Florida beach cottages that have been renovated and restored to create a residential retreat space for artists from all callings. It has taken many years and many people’s passion, interest, courage and fortitude to make the reality of the Hermitage Artist Retreat complete. And … of course .. once upon a time, this resort, too, was advertised for the “naturist.” December. Midnight and I cannot sleep. I walk down the beach under the full moonlight. Just me, the surf and the long shadows I cast in the blue glow. For people looking for a less urbanized feel to their coastal living style, Manasota Key is a natural choice.

Catherine Seress is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Manasota Key is one of the many locations she represents. Catherine may be contacted at (941) 928.1187 or



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Beach, Bay or Back Nine.... Live the Dream

Luxury Real Estate On Florida’s West Coast THE



To search for your perfect property from Tampa to Naples, visit our websites at and

8150 MANASOTA KEY ROAD – $2,995,000 Wonderful Gulf to Bay property offers the best of waterfront living and the perfect newly turnkey furnished family compound. Built in 1993, the main house offers Gulf front panoramic views, private Gulf front sundeck and family room. Marvelous vaulted wood ceilings, marble floors in the living and dining rooms, fireplace, French doors, heated and tropically landscaped pool/spa, 20 x 28 bonus room off the pool, plus a large pool bath. Built in 1950, the beach guest house offers a lovely courtyard; the other guest studio built in 2004 is toward the front of the property above its own garage. Beach walkover and ramp, bayside boat dock with lift, two davits and great views across the IntraCoastal Waterway. Plenty of storage in the oversized four-car garage with work area and loft. MLS #A3916721

8140 MANASOTA KEY ROAD – $2,595,000 The perfect beach house on a large Gulf to Bay property. Over 170 feet of Gulf frontage and a large u-shaped dock on the Bay. 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, light and bright throughout with a great open plan with skylights and vaulted ceiling. Landscaped walkways with a large beach deck on a deep wide beach. Newer 3-car garage with air-conditioned office, half bath and outdoor shower. Garage has extra washer/dryer, extra detached storage shed and gazebo for enjoying the grounds. Circular driveway with lots of extra parking, RV or boat parking. Enclosed lanai with spa/hot tub and large open pool. MLS #A3929921

NICK HERRON, REALTOR®, TRC, CLHMS KATHLEEN HERRON, REALTOR®, NAR GREEN DESIGNATION Nick 941.350.5035 Follow us on Twitter: RE/MAX ALLIANCE GROUP 2000 Webber Street, Sarasota, FL 34239 Each office is independently owned and operated.

7 93 0 M A N A S O T A K EY ROA D Sublime perfection on over 1-acre perfectly positioned on the Gulf of Mexico. The casually elegant island-style architecture enhances blissful beach front living. Offering 5 bedrooms and baths, separate guest suite, pool and cabana...escape to the ideal island lifestyle on Manasota Key. Virtual Tour and Photo Gallery at

Rob Fergusson & Catherine Seress your source of experience Rob Fergusson

Catherine Seress 941-350-0031




Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate



5145 Ocean Boulevard

Sarasota FL 34242

ARC’s mission is to end the killing of adoptable dogs and cats in Sarasota and Manatee Counties by means of a proactive spay/neuter program, comprehensive adoption effort, and various other initiatives designed to recognize the profound benefits to people of animal companionship. The ARC Mobile Clinic has spayed/neutered nearly 26,000 dogs and cats, significantly reducing pet overpopulation in our community.

Photo courtesy of Chef Paul Mattison



Presented BY

Event Chairs: Tommy & Tiffany Taylor and Mike & Linda Sloan

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011 • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Ticket Price $50 • Tickets are limited • First 200 guests receive a reusable gift bag

Whole Foods Market • 1451 1st Street • Downtown Sarasota Indulge! A vast array of food, wine and drinks will be provided including mouth watering fare from dozens of local restaurants.

Enjoy! The Whole Foods Market will be abuzz with excitement, Chinese auction, exotic Chillounge furniture, live entertainment and more.

KICK OFF 2011!

You’ll be in good company and in good spirit!

Tickets available for purchase by contacting All Faiths Food Bank at 941-379-6333 •

Help Others! All proceeds of the

event go directly to support All Faiths Food Bank. This nonprofit organization began in 1989 and now serves 160 agencies that provide 7, 100 people weekly and touch the lives of more than 40,000 people that are our friends and neighbors.

per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es “Don’t Let Them Practice On Your Home” By Robby Brown How true? I believe all of us, at one time or another, has experienced paying a so called professional for work that we are far from being satisfied with. Some have even fallen victim to home scams! Over the years as a consultant/ builder/roofer, I spend more and more time trying to teach people “How not to get ripped off in Florida”. So what steps can a home owner or business owner take to assure his or her selection of a contractor is the right selection? Here are some steps in the “right” direction. 1) Make sure your contractor is licensed. Check your local building departments, as well as the area office of the Department of Business Regulation. Ask to see the license. It should also be displayed on their truck and business card. 2) Get recommendations from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Ask for referrals, and check them out. Don’t be pressured into a hasty decision.

***MOST IMPORTANT: TAKE ACTION. As a fourth generation Builder/Consultant/Roofer I’ve seen it all. I’ve fallen through a roof and off the roof. I’ve seen men not get up!! I have burnt my arm on the kettle as a teen and my grandpa said quit crying and keep working. I have also seen a man’s arm completely burned off due to poor supervision and negligence. Safety First!!! Make sure your contractor has supervision on site. If you have a complaint call me at (727) 768.3067. You can write to: COMPLAINT ANALYST, Department of Business & Professional Regulation, 3725 West Grace Street, Suite 500, Tampa, Florida 33607-4800. Also you can contact the Consumer Affairs office, local building officials, licensing boards, and the Better Business Bureau. To report suspected price gouging call the Florida Attorney General Hot Line at (800) 329.6969. Please take action. It solves problems and stops the cancer of scams.

3) Do not pull your own permit, unless you do your own work. You are liable for code violations,and imperfections in the work. You may never get the results your after in this case. 4) Check for Workers Comp and Liability Insurances. Homeowner’s Insurance does not protect you from damages from poor workmanship, nor being sued if a worker is hurt. You can lose it all!!! 5) Find out their history. How long in business? Do they operate in other names? Check with local suppliers. Ask if they pay their bills and do they use quality products? 6) REMEMBER: CHEAPER IS NOT BETTER!!! LONG AFTER THE SWEETNESS OF LOW PRICE IS GONE, THE BITTERNESS OF POOR QUALITY REMAINS!!! Low bids indicate short cuts, cheap products, no permitting, no insurances, no good!! 7) Get detailed scope of work, with detailed product use. How long job will take? When will the job start and finish. Get iron-clad Warranties (Including Manufacturer Warranties). Get payment terms and contractor affidavits for release of lien. Compare apples to apples not apples to crab-apples. 8) Never sign a blank form or contract. Don’t even sign with blank spaces. Make sure permit is pulled. 9) Never give large deposits. A confident contractor will ask for zero with a draw schedule. Do not pay in full until you get your contractor’s release and you are fully pleased with the job. All labor and materials paid or you pay twice. It happens all the time!! Don’t let it happen to you. 40


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If your dreams had an address: One of a kind location - Near Bayfront - Walking distance to Downtown...329 So. Osprey Avenue - Laurel Park It’s no surprise that more people are discovering the value of living in historic Laurel Park. Six, classic unique income units situated on two buildable lots with special defined neighborhood design criteria. A convenient downtown location with Sarasota’s exclusive zoning that boast truly one of the finest locations in the area. Follow the brick road to the two story carriage house in the rear that houses three 1 BRS over a garage, large storage, common laundry area and includes a fenced yard with hot tub. There are 2 studio apartments in a separate building. A poised cottage style 2 BR home offers a fireplace, hardwood floors, screened porch and an open rear deck. There is ample parking for 9 vehicles. A true ace of location; being near the bayfront and downtown wins every time! Offered at $715,000.00. Contact: Mirta Matheu Klauber, GRI - 941.704.6749 Michael Saunders & Company Licensed Real Estate Broker

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John Cannon Tauri Event

Text realevent to 90210 for more information. 42


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Host: John Cannon Homes Photography: Chad Spencer

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per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es Tips For International Buyers Of Real Estate By Patricia Tan In recent weeks I have worked with people from several countries who purchased homes here. Their motivations to purchase a property were different, the kind of homes they preferred were diverse, and their budgets varied widely. The buyers also came from different parts of the world, so there were cultural and language considerations when dealing with them too. However, it did strike me that there were many similarities in the questions they asked and the amount of information they required before they felt comfortable making a decision to purchase property here. We recently made several trips to Canada, where we partnered with one of their leading banks, and made a series of presentations to more than 2,500 bank customers in Quebec and Ontario. While the bank talked about options for Canadians to finance their Florida property purchase, we taught the audience how the real estate market in Florida worked, what they could expect when working to locate the right property, and some of the pitfalls they may encounter along the way. We did a similar series of seminars in England in October, and found many similarities in the questions asked and misconceptions held by members of the audience. International buyers, just like Americans, invest in property for a variety of reasons. They may be relocating here and buy a primary residence. They may look to purchase a holiday/second home to enjoy for part of the year, escaping winter weather for instance. Some of these purchasers also choose to rent out their properties for short periods when they are not using the homes themselves. The third and growing group of buyers is made up of those simply looking for a return on investment from long term rental properties. Bargain basement prices on real estate, coupled with a healthy demand for rental properties make this kind of investment very attractive to someone who has cash sitting in the bank earning interest at a very low rate. The first question many foreigners ask is “If I purchase a property in U.S.A., how long may I stay here and enjoy the use of my American home?” It is important for realtors to understand, and convey to their clients, that purchase of property here does not entitle the purchaser to reside here indefinitely, or indeed at

all! Questions of this nature are best referred to an experienced immigration attorney as the answer will depend on the individual’s circumstances. Despite popular opinion, and as much as our real estate market may like it if it were true, purchasing a group of rental properties does NOT qualify the purchaser for a green card! Unlike several Central American countries, the U.S.A. does not have a retirement visa, so those looking to spend long periods of time here have to pursue a different immigration strategy, and for that, they need expert advice. Many international investors ask questions about the tax implications of owning property here. Well, they are many and varied! There are income tax implications if the property is to be rented. Capital gains tax considerations when the home is sold, and possible estate tax issues. It is important to consider these BEFORE a purchase is made, and take appropriate professional advice on how the property should be titled – the buyer’s personal name, a limited company, cross border trust etc. The approach will vary depending upon citizenship, existing tax treaties and the buyer’s personal circumstances. Once again, timely expert advice is needed. Florida property taxes are also a source of confusion and consternation to overseas buyers. They often think they are penalized and pay more in property taxes than an American citizen. While it may be true that they pay more property tax than a full time resident of Florida, a foreign owner will pay the same property tax as an owner from New York or New Mexico. Many international buyers come from countries where real estate agents do not have to be licensed and the way in which a consumer searches for property is very different. In their home country, they may be accustomed to working with several real estate agents to be sure that they see all properties that are available in the market. They do not have the benefit of a computerized Multiple Listing System (MLS), and agents can present and show only properties that are listed directly with them. Buyers will often think they have to work directly with the agent who has listed a particular property, and forego the many benefits of working with a single agent who represents them as a buyer. Working with buyers from a different country can present some challenges to a real estate professional, but international buyers represent a growing segment of our market so it is important that we give them best possible advice and guidance.

Patricia Tan was born in England, and moved to Sarasota in 1997. Her career afforded her the opportunity to live and work in many countries around the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. She spent five years as a Director of an American real estate franchise in England in 1990s. Patricia has served as Chairperson of Sarasota Association of REALTORS®’ International Council, and serves on Florida Association of REALTORS®’ International Operations Committee. She currently works as International Sales Director for Prudential Palms Realty. Patricia may be reached at 941-504-9232 or pat@ 44


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i n v iintva i tt a tii o o nno no l yn ly United Way: An Enduring Resource for Health and Human Resources By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa For over 60 years, United Way has made a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of area residents. With a focus on providing support and education to help individuals better their lives, the organization offers a wealth of resources through an extended network of partnerships with corporations, governments, organizations and community individuals. While United Way has long been recognized as a leading resource for assisting people in crisis, many are unfamiliar with the organization’s structure and approach. “People are often surprised to learn that we support a broad range of organizations that are changing lives,” reveals Katie Knight, Senior Vice President at United Way of Sarasota County. “Examining the root cause of a problem or situation, United Way builds community based partnerships designed to create long-term solutions.” Around the country, upwards of 1,300 United Ways work in their local communities focusing on education, income and health, the building blocks for a better life. While local



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agencies service their unique populations, United Way’s network enables it to maximize donations and capitalize on relationships with mega partners including the National Football League, hundreds of corporations and charitable foundations. “Because of our comprehensive relationships with corporations, foundations and the community at large, our funds are leveraged to maximize results across a broad reach within our region. Additionally, we hold ourselves and our partners accountable for measured outcomes; we want to support the programs that are truly making a positive difference in the lives of others, and we do the research and follow-up to ensure that every dollar counts.” states Bill Merrill, United Way Board Chair and Shareholder, Icard, Merrill, Bill Merrill Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg. P.A.. United Way of Sarasota County supports a myriad of programs offering key services such as free income tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance™ program, 2-1-1 information and referral assistance, discounted medical prescription cards, and financial stability education. The group also partners with organizations like CareerEdge, which provides education

and opportunities to individuals looking to move into health care positions. United Way has a long history of helping children and youth and builds partnerships through the Success By 6™ initiative. Over 15 years of compiled scientific research has shown the importance of insuring a supportive, caring and socially positive environment for children from prenatal stages through preschool years. “When children in their very youngest years receive the right support and care, they have a better opportunity to succeed in school and throughout their lives,” notes Lori White, United Way Board Member and Superintendent of the School Lori White Board of Sarasota County. Through targeted preschool programs aimed at supporting children, initiatives for screening and assisting children with disabilities, and educational outreach efforts designed to empower and inform parents on best practices in building literacy, social and emotional skills in their children, United Way has developed a comprehensive network of support designed to serve as a foundation for the success of today’s youth. The organization has also created a crisis scholarship fund, a short-term plan that allows children to remain in quality child care while parents or caregivers focus on their family’s needs. Long known as a leader in corporate fundraising, United Way is dependent upon the financial donations and volunteer efforts of its national and local partners, including individuals who donate their time and money. “We recruit people and organizations from all across the community who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done,” shares Pete Norden, 2010 Campaign Chair and V.P./General Manager of Clear Channel Radio. Pete Nordon

Changing lives for the better, United Way of Sarasota County looks forward to future opportunities to impact communities and individuals in need, providing hope, education and resources for success.

Katie Knight thanks the area’s real estate community for joining United Way, being a part of the change and helping countless residents in need. Recognizing this outstanding partnership Katie Knight explains, “Through the Realtors® for Kids, you reach out a hand to one and benefit the community as a whole. We sincerely appreciate your commitment and dedication to our children.”

United Way of Sarasota County 1445 2nd Street | Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 366-2686 |


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per p esr p s pee c c tt i viev s es It’s Alignment, Not Your Swing By Nick Arthur

Have you ever hit a golf shot that you thought should be perfect, however it ends up going in a different direction from what you intended? This could be an alignment issue rather than a swing issue. Proper alignment is one of the most important fundamentals in golf, yet it is one of the most overlooked. To correct an alignment issue you must first understand the proper alignment points.

To practice your alignment you can use two fiberglass alignment rods as illustrated in the picture. If you do not have fiberglass rods, simply use two golf clubs. Set one rod on the intended target line, set another rod parallel left. This will be your body line. By setting up this practice tool you will be able to tell if your alignment is the issue or if there is a problem with your golf swing.

The first point is your target line. The target line is the direction in which the golf ball is intended to travel. The second point is your body line. Your body line consists of your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders. The body line should travel parallel to the left of your target line. The best way to see the proper alignment is to visualize a set of railroad tracks. The right track would head to your target, and the left track would run parallel left of your target.

Unusual for a Florida course, The Ritz~Carlton Members Golf Club has been strategically sculpted by moving nearly 1.9 million cubic yards of earth. This massive undertaking has created elevation, relief, contouring and framing for each hole. The layout gracefully rolls among 12 picturesque lakes and extensive landscaping, forming a fair and memorable test of golf. There are six sets tees ranging from 5,175 to 7,417 yards, all designed to provide

maximum playability without sacrificing strategy or beauty. Pines, palms, maples, ficus, mature oaks, colorful flowering shrubs, marshes with aquatic plants, beautiful native areas and white sand bunkers all provide significant visual appeal. Our distinguished Caddie Concierge Program and extensive practice range facility ensure a most unique on-course experience.

Nick Arthur is an Assistant Golf Professional at The Ritz Carlton Members Golf Club. He has been with The Members Club for 5 years. Nick holds a degree in Golf Complex Operations Management from The Golf Academy of the Carolinas, Nick’s technical experience began with the position of Golf Club Technician at Tour Tradition Golf in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nick is also a certified instructor from The Faldo Golf Institute by Marriott in Orlando, Florida and has spent time teaching at The Faldo Golf Institute in Seaview, New Jersey. Nick can be reached at


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REAL Magazine 2nd Anniversary Issue  
REAL Magazine 2nd Anniversary Issue  

REAL Magazine 2nd Anniversary Issue Featuring Susan Schwabinger of Alexa Model and Talent Management Agency, United Way, Lakewood Ranch, Pam...