Sophisticated Living St. Louis July/August 2021 Issue

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{St. Louis' Finest}

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{St. Louis' Finest}

July/August 2021

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22 Super Model Readies to Be Super Mom 2

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July/August 2021

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on the cover: Supermodel Devon Windsor, St. Louis native, working and living the good life in Miami.

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Great Bones

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Super Model Readies to Be Super Mom

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Former Businessman Now Focuses on Night Skies

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Be Our Guest

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Turning Point

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Sophisticated Scene

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Making a Splash

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Saddling Up in the Sunshine State

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The Ultimate (Man) Cave Comes to Auction

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Summer Time

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Tsavorite Favorites

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Here Comes the Sun

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Summer Sips

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From Seventy to 70 Million

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Of Note... Beachy Keen

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Tip-top with the top-down

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Viva Villa

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Joy of the Feast

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St. Louis’ Budding Ag Industry



July/August 2021

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Aston Martin V12 Speedster. Just 88 examples of this open cockpit celebration of the British luxury sports car brand’s proud past and exciting future are available to buyers worldwide. The drool-worthy lines of the Speedster are based on the DBR1, the most successful racing machine constructed by Aston Martin, as well as the CC100 which was unveiled in 2013 as a stunning celebration of Aston Martin’s century of sports car excellence ($815,000; astonmartin.com)

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Sophisticated Society

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Sophisticated Weddings

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Steps for Hope

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A Birthday Bash

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COCAcabana: Taking It To The Streets

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A Ballet Is Born

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St. Louis Teen Talent Competition

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What I Love Right Now


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From the Publisher

Photo by Joe Martinez

I’ll never forget the night my father caught me smoking marijuana in the late 1970s. The feeling of guilt, shame, and defiance all still ring true, but my parents were resolute that I would never again get an allowance for fear that I would spend it on what they were so against. That didn’t necessarily dissuade me from doing what high school kids do, but I got a part-time job after school and remember not liking how disappointed my parents were with me. Despite being a good kid, my parents felt betrayed and I felt misunderstood. After all, they did take Valium, Xanax, and other sedatives to manage their daily life stressors, but that discussion was never on the table. As my kids aged into adulthood, they asked what I thought of marijuana, did I ever try it, and how would I look upon them if they did? I thought about it for a month before answering, but when I did, I told them exactly how I feel, then and now. I told them that I preferred that they don’t drink alcohol, smoke anything or use drugs. But, if they were going to, they should know that I believe more personal and family crises were caused by alcohol and drug use, so that in my mind, marijuana was the least awful. Not sure that advice would win me parent of the year but it was honest and given only after careful consideration. Fast forward to 2021. Cannabis is legal in 36 states for medicinal use, 15 states for adult recreational use, and in all 50 states for non-altering strains of CBD. Despite more than 2.4 million people having been incarcerated for possession of cannabis from 1970 through 2020 -- not to mention my grounding and lost allowance -- it appears that maijuana use is now broadly accepted as a plant-based remedy with thousands of studies over the same period demonstrating its many uses and efficacy. I understand that my story in this issue may surprise some, but I hope it shows what is happening in Missouri and Illinois as well as documents the fully capable business people behind this budding (pun intended) industry. While growing, manufacturing, or dispensing cannabis is still against federal law, Missouri and Illinois have granted licenses to reputable and well-funded businesses systematically making what was once illegal and shameful into a new, respected, and responsible industry. Because I don’t have a card for medical marijuana in Missouri, my first visit was to Ascend in Illinois, where it is legal to dispense medical and recreational cannabis products. The storefront is beautiful, thoughtfully designed, and there is a team of very knowledgeable and helpful sales staff. The experience, in fact, was better than any I had in Aspen, Colorado. While I smoked more marijuana in high school and college than I have since, I quickly realized the “industry” has matured significantly since my friends and I purchased poor quality, uncontrolled substances smuggled from Mexico. Today’s cannabis is stronger, more aromatic, comes in many shapes and sizes, and is engineered for patients treating chronic illnesses, seniors seeking pain relief from arthritis, and a long list of other legitimate uses. There are often lines to get into these dispensaries and the mix of people is fascinating. You can bump into your grandparents, parents, adult children and their friends, and neighbors who you wouldn’t think ever used it. My second scouting visit was to the BeLeaf’s operations in Earth City, west of St. Louis. As a Missouri holder of 10 licenses, BeLeaf grows, manufactures, and dispenses medical cannabis. Its impressive operations include three facilities consisting of approximately 180,000 total sq. ft. in the three BeLeaf cultivation facilities and labs which synthesize THC from plants into oils, waxes, chewables, salves, and patches. One of its founders, Mitch Meyers, is an old marketing friend from her days at Anheuser-Busch, where she created and managed the award-winning campaign of Spuds MacKenzie, and I was a young exec at FleishmanHillard. The BeLeaf operation is world class, professional, and employs highly paid botanists, engineers, and food scientists. This is a far cry from the days when I traveled to the South Bronx to buy a nickel bag from someone who was sketchy at best. We’re planning to explore the category of medical and recreational cannabis products this year to educate our readers, showcase this growing industry, demystify the uses and benefits, and reveal the luxury purveyors in our area. We plan to approach this much the way we do fine wines, with experts and business execs discussing the nuances of what’s new, and of course, commentary from our readers. The revelation to include this in our editorial mix came when my mother, an 85-year-old widow living in New Jersey, asked if I could buy her some cannabis to see if it would help with chronic pain in her knees and shoulders, insomnia, and hopefully reduce her use of opioids to combat the aches of older age. I laughed when she asked, considering I never really got over my harsh punishment for trying pot, but I realized times have changed and seniors are a growing segment of this expanding industry. I have asked for my back allowance with interest, but that’s a subject for another day. In addition to our feature on cannabis, we have interviewed supermodel Devon Windsor on the imminent birth of her first child, her swimsuit business, and growing up in St. Louis. Also, we have a great profile of jaw dropping, night time photography by J. David Levy, a stunning feature on convertible sports cars, and some great points of view. We hope you will find this issue visually compelling, mind expanding (or altering), and a reflection of what makes St. Louis great. The fact that mask restrictions have been retracted and people are attending events, concerts, parties, weddings, and celebrations is much to cheer about. Enjoy.

Craig M. Kaminer, Publisher craig@slmag.net 6

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Alise O’Brien Photography

ARCHITECTURE + INTERIOR DESIGN www.studiolark.us | @studiolark


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ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Cortney Vaughn EDITOR Lou Ann Wilcox EDITORIAL INTERN Lizzy Reisinger ______________________________________________ CONTRIBUTORS Writers Jessen O’Brien Bridget Williams Photographers Suzy Gorman Joe Martinez Alise O’Brien Advertising Design Donna Shelton SophisticatedStLouis.com Carrie Edelstein ________________________________________________ SOPHISTICATED LIVING MEDIA Eric Williams - CEO Bridget Williams - President Greg Butrum - General Counsel Jason Yann - Art Director

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Alise O’Brien Photography

As part of the master suite, this sitting room was designed to be a tranquil retreat that was comfortable and also energizing. A calming, neutral backdrop was established with champagne silk wall covering, drapery, and rug. Vibrant fuchsia chairs add an element of surprise and complement the dramatic artistic climax of the space: a bespoke art glass display, bathed in ambient lighting, that floats overhead. A lounging chaise encourages relaxation with a good book and a great view to the adjacent lanai. –Kelly Johnson, Interior Designer

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bringing their visions to your life.


Temples-Steinbecker and Hentz sourced a vintage marble and brass credenza by Ello to tie their design together for a timeless foyer into the home’s original green marble inlay thresholds.

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GREAT BONES Written by Jessen O’Brien / Photography by Alise O’Brien

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Adding a dual-sided eat-in area to the island allowed Temples-Steinbecker and Hentz to create distinct zones within the kitchen.

When Robby and Norma McGehee first laid eyes on what would become their family home, they knew immediately that it was perfect -- on the outside. “We looked at it from the street and said, ‘That’s exactly what we want,’” recalls Robby, a former racing driver and the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “Then we looked at it on the inside and said, ‘Well, this isn’t exactly what we want. But it has the perfect bones.’” The 1917 Georgian Revival had been a designer show house at one point, and as a result the interior was a mishmash of different aesthetics, materials, and finishes which had little to do with each other, much less the home’s original design. Still, with its red-brick exterior, slate roof, and custom iron banister -- built on-site by German metalworkers more than a century ago -- the home had the craftsmanship and history the McGehees were seeking. It was also in the perfect location, on “a beautiful street” in Clayton that “feels really alive with runners, bikers, walkers, and kids going to and from school.” So the McGehees decided to buy the house that was almost perfect and renovate the interior after they had lived in it for a few years. When the time came, they enlisted architect Paul Fendler of Fendler & Associates; Zak Baisch and Scott Pozzo, the co-owners of Chouteau Building Group LLC and interior design duo Temple and Hentz to make the home just right for 16 slmag.net

them. “It’s hard for people who haven’t physically lived in a house yet to know how their everyday paths are going to work. But the McGehees had a really good sense of what they needed because they had lived in it,” says designer Wendy Temples-Steinbecker. What they needed turned out to be a way to infuse modern family life into a property designed for the routines of the last century. That meant a larger kitchen and living space; an attached garage; a mudroom; home theater; generous master suite; and a better bedroom and bathroom setup for their growing triplets. Fendler came up with a plan to create two additions on either end of the house, in keeping with the symmetry of the original design. “The home we were starting with was a significant historic structure with amazing detailing both inside and out,” says Fendler. “It’s always a challenge to honor the integrity of a historic home while modernizing it to today’s living standards and wants, and then to find the skilled workers who can bring the design to fruition. When completed, I think the overall project was very successful in that regard.” Chouteau Building Group, LLC then worked to ensure that every piece of new construction felt like an extension of the original home. “I really trusted that they knew what they were doing and that they were going to make this home what we wanted it to be,” says McGehee.


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Temples-Steinbecker and Hentz gracefully balance a mix of styles of periods in the delightful master bedroom.

“A thousand little details go into the final fit and finish to make the renovated spaces feel as if they have always been there,” says Baisch. “We took great lengths to match many of the home’s architectural details, finishes, and original building materials. Custom millwork profiles for things like baseboards, window and door casing, and multiple-piece crown mouldings were matched to perfection. The species of hardwood flooring is custom mixed to match the charm of the existing floors.” Besides the additions, one of the biggest changes to the floor plan was the decision to flip the original dining and living rooms, then open up the wall between the kitchen and new living area. This created an open-concept family space better suited to life with three kids -- and three dogs -- than the galley kitchen and large, formal dining room that had previously stood there. The new living area is furnished comfortably and serves as a gathering spot for the whole family. It flows directly into the kitchen, which is defined by a striking island with a marble countertop that runs the full length of the room. But the biggest eye-catcher is the wall of custom pantries made from burled walnut and brass inlay by Classic Woodworking. Norma had the idea of creating a wall that looked like a piece of art, which inspired this striking built-in. “We wanted to create a distinctive piece that became the focus of this classic white kitchen,” says 18 slmag.net

designer Sara Hentz. “So we created a focal point with this pantry, which nods to Norma’s love of Art Deco.” “We had a great working relationship with Wendy and Sara,” says McGehee. “This is a very old, conservative house, but we wanted the inside to look modern and like a young family lives here. There are some rooms that they just went crazy on, and they turned out really cool.” The couple brought along several Louis XVI style pieces which were carefully married with new acquisitions. Geometric patterns, metallic accents, and other Art Deco flourishes are embedded in the decor and soft furnishings throughout the home. This approach allowed Temples-Steinbecker and Hentz to create a vibrant and modern interior without fighting the home’s more traditional elements. Take the kitchen’s Roman shades, made from an Hermès fabric, or the streamlined barstools. These items add to the room’s Art Deco appeal without detracting from its period details. “Norma and Robby both have amazing taste and the fact that they are open to unique ideas made for a successful collaboration,” says Temples-Steinbecker. “They were also willing to take some risks with color and fabrics.” One prime example is the butler’s pantry, which connects to the living area. While the floor is a classic black-and-white harlequin pattern made from reclaimed marble, the lacquered cabinets are painted a shade of teal that was custom mixed for this project.


A colorful wallpaper panel by Timorous Beasties and a pair of bold curved chairs draw you into the master bedroom.

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A custom, floating marble sink, graphic wallpaper extended through the ceiling, and vintage mirror and sconces make a big impact in this under-thestairs powder room on the main floor.

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A chandelier with feather detailing by Gaetano Sciolari and dreamy vintage painting add softness and depth to the master bath.

That boldness continues in the formal dining room, where a deep, mink-colored paint is carried up to the ceiling to set off a custom chandelier made from Murano glass. Herringbone floors, judges paneling, and blue velvet drapes add to the drama. “Now when you walk in the front door your eye goes directly to the dining room -- which looks regal and elegant,” says Hentz. Upstairs, the additions allowed for the children to have their own space, freeing up two small bedrooms next to the master suite. These were transformed into his-and-her walk-in closets and a sizable master bath in black, white, and gold. The bathtub, a glam number by Catchpole and Rye, and the vanities -- another commission by Classic Woodworking -- formed the foundation for the design. “Successful projects always start with homeowners who have confidence in their design team, which Robby and Norma certainly did,” says Fendler. “Wendy and Sara are highly creative and were great to work with. They were attentive to details and very organized which is a great combination of skills to have. And they have an excellent flair for blending the old with the new.” That flair is especially evident in the bedroom, where two framed panels by Timorous Beasties -- a Glasgow-based wallpaper company known for its surreal and irreverent designs that Norma

fell in love with -- set the tone for a playful collage of vintage pieces, including a pair of Regency mirrors, lucite lamps, and claret velvet-covered Nautilus chairs by mid-century designer Vladimir Kagan. It’s a room that reflects Norma’s love for finding unique treasures; she’s often on the hunt for pieces to cherish at estate sales or vintage shops around town. The result is a mix that’s just right for the McGehees, which is part of the joy that comes from investing in a house that’s almost perfect: You get the opportunity to turn it into your dream home. Especially if you work closely with the team you’ve assembled. “We love it when homeowners stay involved in the construction project,” says Pozzo. “When clients not only get to see how the sausage is made, but also help adjust the ingredients along the way, the end result becomes all the more rewarding and enjoyable for the family. In addition to being wonderful custodians of an historic property, they have put their own touch on it.” “There are a ton of houses. What matters to us is that we could make a home for the most important thing in our lives, our children,” says McGehee. “Their rooms are designed specifically for them. And while our master bedroom would be pretty perfect for any couple, we built it how we wanted it -- and not for anyone else.” sl

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SUPER MODEL READIES TO BE SUPER MOM Written by Lizzy Reisinger / Photos by Jonathan Barbara

Devon Windsor grew up in St. Louis and signed with local modeling agency West Model & Talent Management when she was 14 years old. After graduating from Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) in 2012, she moved to Milan to pursue modeling full time. Windsor’s career took off and she walked in several top fashion shows for brands including Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, and Moroccan Oil. She launched her own swimwear line, Devon Windsor, in the summer of 2019. Since then, the line has expanded into sunglasses, activewear, cover-ups, menswear and children’s clothing. Windsor currently lives in Miami with her husband Johnny Barbara, the co-founder and owner of the contemporary women’s clothing line Alexis, which was established by his mother and sister in 2008. The couple met through mutual friends in New York City about eight years ago and got married in November 2019. Their three-day island wedding in St. Barths featured design, fashion, and celebrity guests. Windsor is expecting her first child (a girl!) 22 slmag.net

in September. Sophisticated Living caught up with the St. Louis supermodel to discuss her childhood, career goals, and pregnancy. SL: Describe your childhood in St. Louis and how it has influenced you as an adult. I absolutely loved growing up in St. Louis. As a kid, to have that space to grow and run around, was very important. We also had a house on the Gasconade River that we would go to on the weekends and holidays. It was amazing to have that connection to nature. I feel like I will never lose those homegrown roots and love for nature because of it! SL: How often do you come to St. Louis, see your family here, and speak to your childhood friends? I wish I had the chance to come home more often, as it is so close to Miami and New York City. My parents both live in St. Louis full time and I was able to go home last August as well as during the holidays. I was so lucky to be able to do that. I speak to my St. Louis friends weekly as well. We are still very close.


plays a major role in this business. I also think working with my sister has been a great balance because we do have different strengths and things that we focus on. Of course my husband also has been a huge helping hand and a guide throughout the whole process. SL: Johnny and his family speak Spanish. Do you want your children to be bilingual? Of course! What an amazing trait to be bilingual, I wish I were raised like that. I will be speaking English and Johnny and his family will speak Spanish to her. SL: What do you miss most about St. Louis? Honestly you can’t beat a Carl’s cheeseburger and root beer float or a Ted Drewes on a hot summer day. SL: What advice do you have for aspiring St. Louis models? Find a local agency that believes in you and start there. They can guide you in next steps and help build your book and experience. SL: What’s most exciting to you about becoming a parent and how do you want to raise your child? For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom. Aside from modeling, my life goal is to have a family. I can’t wait to show her the world and to teach her to be strong, creative, and confident in herself and her abilities! We will be raising her in Miami as of right now, but I am sure she will be our travel companion on our many journeys. I would love to show her New York, as that was such a huge part of my life, as well as Paris, Milan, and the other countries where I’ve lived. It is very important to me though that she has a base with a place that is connected to nature and has the space to grow outside of a city environment. That is something from my childhood that I would like to carry over for my family.

SL: Describe your business, how it’s doing, some of your goals, and what you want everyone in St. Louis to know about it? The business is doing well. COVID-19 had a negative effect on many retail businesses, but for us as a swim brand I think people were living in bikinis last summer. COVID also gave me the chance to be in Miami more and really put all of my focus on my brand. My goal is to continue to build up the brand and test out different categories. I feel like I want people to know that this isn’t just a licensing deal for me, this is like my baby! I live, breathe, eat, and sleep thinking and working on Devon Windsor (the brand). I am working on everything from design, creative, social media, sales, and everything in between. SL: What is it like to work with your older sister and business partner Alex? What are your different strengths? Who has the last word? I love working with my sister. I honestly cannot imagine starting my own line without her. It is great because we really have an open and honest relationship and she is such a hard worker and

SL: Have you asked your parents for advice? What’s the best parenting advice you’ve received? I speak to my mom almost every day. I have so much to learn as a new mom, so advice is always welcome! That being said, I feel like the best advice I have gotten is to trust your gut and do what is right for you and your baby. Everyone has so many opinions on how you should do things or raise your kids; I feel like listening to what is right for you is key. SL: Is there anything else you want the people back home to know about you, your life now, and career? I feel like I try to be super open and honest about my life on social media. I hope that people know I am always coming from a genuine place and that I am a human like everyone else! Life isn’t always what it may seem on social media, but I hope I can paint a realistic picture by sharing even the difficult times or my struggles. For more on Windsor, follow her on social media @devwindsor.

sl

Lizzy Reisinger is a summer editorial intern who graduated from MICDS in 2018 and is currently studying journalism and Spanish at the University of Southern California.

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a place for everything


free estimates | 314.781.9000 | stlouisclosetco.com


FORMER BUSINESSMAN NOW FOCUSES ON NIGHT SKIES J. David Levy first became interested in astro landscape photography about five years ago. These photos are from Utah, New Mexico and, most recently, Joshua Tree National Park in California. David is a retired business executive who worked for Angelica Corp. in St. Louis for more than 30 years. When he retired in 1999, he was vice president of strategic planning. David has been very active in the Jewish community, particularly The American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council as well as the Churchill School and Center and is on the Board of Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Since 2005, David has split time between St. Louis and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since retirement, he has concentrated on his photography, focusing mainly on landscape, nature, and theater. He was the photographer for The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis from 2000-2018 and has been the production archive photographer for Opera Theatre of St. Louis since 2000. sl

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BE

OUR GUEST Written by Jessen O’Brien / Photography by Alise O’Brien

This guest house, which blurs the line between interior and exterior, was the next step of a master plan for a Ladue property calling for a main house (which was completed in the late 2000s), a guest/pool house, a pool deck and eventually, a pool. In 2018, the new owners of the house selected Jessica and Aaron Senne of Studio Lark to serve as architect and interior designer for the two-bedroom and two-anda-half bath guest house with living area and a large deck overlooking their property. General contractor was Barron Construction LLC. The primary goal of the new owners was to have the guest house match the contemporary aesthetics of the main house. Studio Lark studied several design options and decided on a simple, linear structure. The interior is efficiently organized and features high ceilings and lots of natural light. Thus, the property’s 28 slmag.net

landscape feels like an extension of the interior space. “The clients, who moved to St. Louis from Florida, were very pleased with the end result,” says Jessica. The interior design concepts and selection of materials were cued from the main house. White kitchen cabinets and the Vermont Danby marble countertops result in a lively, fresh look. The homeowner loves live-edge wood furniture. The live-edge slab table in the kitchen, built by WunderWoods in St. Charles, echoes a custom bed in the main house. Color is introduced through furniture and accessories such as the orange Eames chairs and blue backsplash tile. The porcelain floor tile has tonal deviations, which will carry out to the eventual pool deck flooring but likely in a different material. sl


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TURNING POINT Providing Equitable Healthcare Services

Written by Yamelsie Rodriguez, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri When I reflect on the past 12 to 16 months, what is evident are the compounding traumas that people of color, people with low incomes, and women have and continue to endure. From senseless police brutality that has taken the lives of far too many Black and Brown people to COVID-19, which has disproportionately killed people of color and burdened the lives of frontline workers, our country is going through a long overdue reckoning with the impact of racism, class, and privilege. This is the reality I confront every day at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSWMO). Before patients walk through the doors of our eight health centers in Missouri and Illinois, they are first people with layered identities that too often threaten their existence in a white-dominant world. What is basic health care to privileged communities -- birth control, cancer screenings, the choice of a safe and legal abortion, or just the ability to stay home in a pandemic -- becomes complicated if you’re a person of color with income insecurity and no insurance. Racist and discriminatory policies have built a system in which people of color, women, and people with low incomes disproportionately depend on publicly funded programs like Medicaid for health care. Meanwhile, rooted in racism, those same programs are targeted and attacked by politicians, pushing the same people into a never-ending cycle of poor health outcomes. In Missouri, this means Black women are three times more likely to die from childbirth than their white counterparts. Thirty-eight percent of Missourians who have died from COVID-19 are Black while Black people make up just 12% of the state’s population. With the recent decision by the Supreme Court to hear a case involving a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi -- a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade -- Black, Indigenous, people of color once again stand to lose the most. If Roe is overturned, the reality is the “haves” will be able to exercise their right to an abortion while the “have-nots” will not. This critical inflection point in our history also comes at a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans -- including Republicans, Independents, and Democrats -- support safe, legal abortion. But the threats to patients don’t stop at abortion access. The right to choose the full suite of basic health care like access to birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive care are also under attack. Missouri politicians recklessly disregarded the state’s constitution when it refused to fund votermandated Medicaid expansion, which would’ve expanded access to these basic health care services to those who need them the most.

These compounding crises mean PPSLRSWMO’s responsibility isn’t just to provide essential health care. They demand we consider the many facets of trauma and inequity that impact our patients. It also requires our community to join in our advocacy with a shared understanding that our mission doesn’t exist in a silo. We can’t advocate for reproductive freedom without also pushing for a living wage, police reform, immigration reform, and economic justice. If you believe Black Lives Matter; if you reject the transphobia pervasive in our state legislature; if you denounce xenophobia and misogyny; then I challenge you to see the intersecting impact each of these issues have on a person’s ability to achieve equity in a changing world. As a Latina born and raised in Puerto Rico, a mother to a Brown girl, and a wife of a man who lived in this country as an undocumented immigrant, I am intimately aware of the countless life circumstances that stand in the way of a person’s ability to live free and thrive. I celebrate my layered identity while knowing so many do not. And it is that lived experience that has called me to lead an organization that centers the needs of marginalized people in our community. Whether you’re a mom considering an abortion or adoption so you can care for the children you already have, or you’re a transgender person who needs gender-affirming care to live authentically, PPSLRSWMO is fighting for a world where every person can experience health equity and true liberation. I look forward to seeing how the conversations and lessons over the past year push us to be better allies, to think expansively about what it means to support reproductive freedom, and more importantly, what it means when we don’t. Our community is at a turning point. The time is now to use our privilege to influence the change we need to transform the course of history. People’s lives depend on it. Let’s get to it. sl

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SOPHISTICATED SCENE Written by Carrie Edelstein / Photos Provided By The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

The idea of an intimate setting has become a more popular choice for gatherings after more than a year of events being condensed due to the pandemic. The new garden terrace event space called ‘The Solarium’ at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis in Clayton is the newest, most sophisticated venue to become available for private parties. An abundance of greenery is a permanent feature, and the extravagant vegetation is the main focal point of the space. The Solarium is about 3,000 square feet, and was created with the intention to host a multitude of events through a partnership with Atlanta-based architecture and interior design firm The Johnson Studio. The soft color palette blends with subtle pops of pastels, allowing the greenery to shine through and fill the space. In addition to the abundant foliage, guests will notice the latticed ceiling laced with ivy that permits natural light to peek through during the daytime. This cascading sunlight bounces off the leaves, playing on the name ‘solarium’ as a sunroom. The terrace then transitions to mood lighting at night, setting the tone for the lush backdrop. Perfect for smaller weddings, holiday parties or corporate events, the banquet layout allows guests to join around tables adorned with floral settings. For a more casual approach, the lounge layout includes high-top seating along the perimeter walls, 32 slmag.net

allowing guests to enjoy the scenic view, or choose to gather at a long, communal table. Partitions can also be used to divide the terrace into multiple spaces. Mobile fire tables are available for buffet-style service, in addition to two mobile bars. Finally, multiple heaters will allow the space to be open year-round for guests to enjoy during every season. Now there’s a reason to make Christmas plans in July! sl Head to sophisticatedstlouis.com for a link to booking information.


MAKING A SPLASH For Emily Vaca, a St. Louis native and entrepreneur, kiddie pools are more than just child’s play. Written by Claire Williams

Emily Vaca says that the idea for Minnidip, her inflatable pool company, can be traced back to her childhood in St. Louis, where she’d look to escape the heat and humidity by splashing around in a large galvanized tub in her backyard. Those memories sparked an a-ha moment years later while staring at her rooftop deck on a steamy summer day as an adult living in Chicago. At that time, mini inflatable pools were kiddie-sized and sported graphics appealing to the younger set. Looking for something more suited to sipping bubbly than blowing bubbles, Vaca realized she couldn’t be the only city dweller with the same thought. Drawing on years of experiences as an accomplished professional in design and branding, including working with clients such as Anheuser Busch, Kraft Foods, and Nike, Vaca self-funded the fiveyear effort it took to bring her first adult-oriented inflatable pool to market. Already a budding entrepreneur before taking the plunge into mini pools, Vaca rolled Minnidip’s pattern design, manufacturing, packaging, branding, content creation, and styling into La Vaca, a company she founded several years earlier as a side hustle focused on wedding invitations, event design, and home décor DIYs.

During Minnidip’s first year, more than 500 pools sold online and in a Chicago boutique. After catching the eye of Target, who signed on as a retailer in 2018, by 2019, Minnidip experienced a 3000-percent growth spurt, selling 100,000 pools and grossing $2.8 million in sales. When Vaca appeared on QVC in 2019, Minnidip’s most popular design, “That’s Banana(s) Leaves,” sold out in nine minutes. The brand made it to New York Fashion Week that same year via a collaboration with playful fashion brand Alice + Olivia. Continually innovating, Vaca continues to add to her line, including pools with a first-ofits-kind tufted shape and creating vibrant new on-trend prints appealing to adult sensibilities. While Vaca’s big idea started as the antithesis of the traditional kiddie pool, she has expanded her lineup of products to include whimsically-shaped splash pad sprinklers, DIPP!T ball pits, PUP DIP dog pools, floats, Minni-Coolers, and even chic Minni-Minni pools to for posh pint-sized pool-goers. The pools’ popularity persists, evidenced by the fact that orders placed on Minnidip.com are limited to one Minnidip per person. sl

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SADDLING UP INWestgate THE SUNSHINE STATE River Ranch Resort and Rodeo provides a plethora of outdoor activities without compromising on comfort Written by Patti Bailey / Photography by Tony Bailey

A Dude Ranch? Why would I want to go to a Dude Ranch, especially one located in Florida? That was my first thought when the trip was suggested to me. I mean, doesn't that involve sleeping in tents on the hard ground and cooking over an open fire? The reason you go to Florida is to relax on the beach. A Dude Ranch sounds more like work and not relaxation. As much as I tried to resist, I eventually gave in and decided to try it. As we drove through the gates of the Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, I quickly came to realize that there was a possibility I jumped to my conclusion about this Dude Ranch much too soon. The minute we arrived, a "ranch hand" escorted us to check-in, where we were given the keys to our golf cart and greeted by our personal concierge, who showed us to our accommodations. I was delighted to see that we would be staying in a Luxe Conestoga Wagon rather than roughing it in a tent. I have had my share of tent camping in my younger days and prefer sleeping in a real bed. As we walked up the steps to the deck of the wagon, I turned and looked at the magnificent view of open fields, with horses and buffalo grazing beyond the lagoon. I could feel my body going into relax mode already. Walking into the wagon, I breathed a sigh 34 slmag.net

of relief once I saw the king-sized bed with well-appointed linens and a full bathroom. Among the amenities in the mini kitchen were stemware for drinking a glass of wine on the deck and a s'mores kit to complement the nightly campfire lit by our concierge. We had a little time before our scheduled dinner, so we hopped into our golf cart for a tour of the resort, and I was astonished by the variety of available accommodations. To say there is something for everyone is an understatement. Typical tent camping and lodge rooms are available, but if you prefer a one-of-a-kind experience, book the 651 squarefoot Luxe Teepee, which sleeps four guests and contains a living room, dining area, and a fireplace that separates the living room from the bedroom. In addition to the same amenities as the Luxe Conestoga Wagon, the full bath In the Teepee boasts a porcelain cast iron clawfoot tub. When you stay in a Luxe Conestoga Wagon or a Luxe Teepee, your rate includes Adventure Park passes, airboat and swamp buggy rides, horseback riding, trap and skeet shooting, archery, and tickets to the famous Saturday night rodeo. We stopped for a quick break at the private airstrip to watch a collection of small private planes and helicopters take flight.


Interior of a Luxe Conestoga Wagon

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The 651-square-foot Luxe Teepees sleep up to four guests

Expert riders guide guests on a 45-minute trail ride.

A cutting-edge trap and skeet range is one of more than a dozen on-site activities.

Westgate River Ranch is the largest dude ranch East of the Mississippi.

Opening ceremony of the weekly Westgate Rodeo.

During the Florida airboat ride guests learn about the fascinating history while scanning the horizon for native wildlife, including alligators.

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Athletes of the Westgate Rodeo, held on Saturday nights.

Our dinner the first night was at the Westgate Smokehouse Grill. It was a magnificent Southern buffet consisting of barbecue, fall-off-the-bone ribs, brisket, and a plethora of sides. I do not know how we could save room for dessert, but we did manage, and the bread pudding was amazing. After dinner, we retreated to our wagon and found the roaring campfire too inviting to resist. We joined some of the other wagon guests and had a relaxing night of conversation, wine, and, of course, toasted marshmallows for s'mores. In the morning, a breakfast basket built to our specifications awaited us in a covered barrel on our deck, along with a big pot of coffee, another perk of Luxe Conestoga Wagon lodging. It was a perfect way to jump-start the day. Fully fueled, we were ready to start the dude ranch experience. An abundance of activities awaited us each day. Gentle horseback rides take guests on a scenic trail through the backwoods of the resort, passing cattle, buffalo, and grazing horses. It almost felt like we were in the Old West as we passed the covered wagons, teepees, and tents. With credit to an attentive instructor, I was pleased with the number of targets I managed to hit on my first attempt at trap shooting. By the time dinner at Saddleback Pavilion rolled around, we had worked up quite an appetite. We were thrilled to see that the impressive event space was serving up a traditional Louisiana crawfish boil. Once again, the Chefs did an outstanding job. After dinner, we stopped at The Saloon for drinks and line dancing, which was a fun way to work off those dinner calories.

Our last day was full of activity, starting with a swamp buggy ride. Our host was quite the entertainer as we drove through the wooded, scenic trails hoping to spot alligators. Next, it was on to an airboat ride, where we toured the picturesque Kissimmee River, snapping photos of more alligators, along with hawks, and rare birds. After a short break, we climbed aboard a hay-covered wagon for a ride through the resort while serenaded by a guitar-playing cowboy. The wagon dropped us off at the East Corral, another event space, for our final dinner, which was steak and lobster prepared by a visiting chef from one of Westgate's other resorts. Grilled to perfection, the delectable dinner was fit for a king and culminated with Bananas Foster for dessert. Capping off our stay, we watched in amazement as experienced riders showed off their skills at the Saturday night rodeo. Not quite ready for the weekend to end, we strolled over to the Adventure Park, which was abuzz with activity, including bungee jumping, rock climbing, zip lining, mini golf, mechanical bull riding and a petting zoo. How could you not have a great time? The idea of having our next family reunion at the Resort was forefront in my mind. If I have not convinced you that a Dude Ranch is your next vacation, you will be delighted to know that Westgate has 29 locations across the United States offering vacation experiences ranging from sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean to snow covered Utah mountains. sl Luxury glamping experiences at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo begin at $326/night. For more information visit westgateresorts.com.

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THE ULTIMATE (MAN) CAVE COMES TO AUCTION Written by Amelia Jeffers / Photos Courtesy Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers

In a remote area of eastern Missouri, roughly 50 miles outside of the bustling urban center of Saint Louis, prairies meet the Ozark plateau, and a mystical plat of land richly packed with natural resources conceals a well-known subterranean masterpiece that has come to be known as Picture Cave. Housing what some scholars believe to be the greatest assemblage of indigenous American polychrome paintings ever discovered in the ancient cultural area known as Meso-America, the two-cave system was once an important ritual site for early Mississippian culture. Today it functions as a vital ecosystem for one of the densest populations of the endangered Indiana gray bat. Over a millennia ago, native tribes, especially the Osage, roamed and controlled vast swaths of land from what is now known as the Ohio River Valley to Kansas, including the property where Picture Cave is situated. These early settlers utilized caves for various reasons, the most obvious being the opportunity for shelter and protection. Caves were also mined for powerful organic resources, including gypsum crystals and epsomite, used in trade and for medicinal purposes. What sets Picture Cave apart from almost any other is the extraordinarily well-preserved and comprehensive collection of pictographs and iconography. The images' significance is comparable to that of major ancient cities like Cahokia and Chaco Canyon, which once existed directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis and in northwest New Mexico, respectively. Since the research began in 1990, several selfless individuals, institutional grants, foundational funding, Osage members, and the landowners have made it possible to link documented facts with artistic interpretation. For archeologists, Picture Cave represents a vast spiritual convention in the recesses of the Earth that early regional civilizations 38 slmag.net

used for sacred rituals, rites of passage, vision quests, and burials. Scholarly research dates the images to approximately 900-1100 CE. They are extensively documented in the 20-chapter fully-illustrated book, Picture Cave: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mississippian Cosmos, published in 2015 by the University of Texas Press. Several field experts, archeologists, Native American tribe members, and artists comprise the Picture Cave Interdisciplinary Project to accomplish this wonderful resource guide to understanding Picture Cave and its preservation. These experts include such renowned names as Patty Jo Watson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and Dr. Jan Simek from the University of Tennessee. As part of ongoing research in Picture Cave, Dr. Simek has compiled and compared geochemical analyses of prehistoric pigment, employed AMS radiocarbon dating and spatial order of iconography. The findings have been published several times in American Antiquity, the professional journal published by Cambridge University Press for the Society for American Archaeology. On an August or September date to be announced, Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers of St. Louis will offer this invaluable piece of history at auction to the highest bidder on behalf of its current owners, the Busch Family of Missouri. The cave's breathtaking iconography rests at the pinnacle of land teeming with natural springs, rolling hills, and wonderful views that only accentuate the magnitude of one of America's greatest archaeological finds. All 43 encompassing acres of real estate are included in the property auction, which is estimated to sell for $1,000,000-3,000,000 USD. For more information, visit selkirkauctions.com. sl Amelia Jeffers is an internationally recognized art and antiques auctioneer, appraiser, and adviser to top collectors, dealers, and institutions around the country. Amelia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Sophisticated Living Columbus and can be reached at ameliajeffers.com.


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SUMMER TIME Stylish ways to keep track of those lazy-hazy-crazy days Complied by Elliott Greene

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Spread clockwise from top left: One of the first ever wristwatches, the Santos De Cartier was originally created in 1904 by Louis Cartier at the request of Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont who wanted to be able to tell time while flying. Steel case and 18k gold bezel ($10,800). Available at Reis-Nichols Jewelers in Indianapolis, The Diamond Cellar in Columbus and Nashville, Simons Jewelers in St. Louis, and cartier.com. The 42mm Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Orange is limited to an edition of 250 pieces ($4,000). Available through the Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis, King Jewelers in Nashville, and bellross.com. Ultra-light and ultra-sporty, the new limited-edition Angelus U30 timepiece unites a variety of prestigious complications into a single timepiece. The 47mm black DLC titanium case houses one of the most complex automatic skeletonized movements in the world ($73,400; angelus-watches.com). 42mm Polaris Date from Jaeger-LeCoultre in steel with a calendar and a rubber strap ($9,000). Available through Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, King Jewelers in Nashville, and jaeger-lecoultre.com. The design of Breitling’s 44mm Super Chronomat is based on the original 1980s Chronomat that Breitling created for the hotshots of the Italian Air Force’s aerobatic fleet. Shown with a rubber Rouleaux-inspired strap ($8,500). Available from Richter & Phillips in Cincinnati, Reis-Nichols and Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis, Genesis Diamonds in Nashville, Simons Jewelers in St. Louis, and breitling.com. For its 2021 model, TAG Heuer revamped and upgraded the popular Golf Edition of its Connected watch with improved mapping and an innovative club recommendation tool ($2,550). Available at the Diamond Cellar in Columbus and Nashville, Moyer Fine Jewelers and Reis Nichols in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, Kings Jewelers in Nashville, and tagheuer.com. RAYMOND WEIL Freelancer Caliber RW1212 Green Edition with 42 mm stainless steel dial framed by a green satin chapter ring with silver indices, Clous de Paris in the center and a a green canvas strap ($2,050). Available from The Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Reis-Nichols Jewelers in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, King Jewelers in Nashville, and raymond-weil.us. Ideal for women and those with smaller wrists, Garmin’s Descent Mk2S is a watch-style dive computer designed for everyday wear. The full-featured dive computer supports multiple dive modes and has the ability to store and review dive data for up to 200 dives ($999; garmin.com). The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 with a palm motif dial is one of four versions of the model with new ‘palm’ and ‘fluted’ dial motifs ($7,050). Available at Richter & Phillips in Cincinnati, the Diamond Cellar in Columbus and Nashville, Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, Simons Jewelers in St. Louis, and rolex.com. The Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is water-resistant up to 1,000 ft. and comes with a gray vintage leather strap, dial and bezel with PVD coated case ($1,395). Available from Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis, King Jewelers in Nashville, and at us.alpinawatches.com. A 2021 Red Dot Design Awards winner, the titanium solar-powered max bill MEGA Solar from Junghans boasts a state-of-the-art radio-controlled movement ($1,190; junghans.de/en)

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TSAVORITE FAVORITES Compiled by Bridget Williams

A member of the garnet mineral group, British geologist Campbell R. Bridges first encountered Tsavorite in Tanzania in 1961. A charging water buffalo prompted him to seek safety in a gully, where he discovered a rock outcropping with bright green crystals. Bridges made a second discovery of the stone six years later that also involved an animal encounter: a formidable rhinoceros who had a penchant for patrolling the pit Bridges and his team had excavated. A 35-carat example was unearthed before the mine was nationalized, forcing Bridges to turn his attention to Kenya. In late 1973, the mineral was finally named by Harry Platt, then the President of Tiffany & Company, after the Tsava Game Reserve, where some of the most prized and purest green hues are found. At the time, Platt, who also named Tanzanite, which was discovered near Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in the 1960s, remarked “Tsavorite is everything that a fine gemstone should be, and then some.”

Clockwise from top left: Orchid pendant necklace from Ritique ($2,260; ritique.com). Sig Ward Jewelry opal, Tsavorite and diamond ring ($5,092; sigwardjewelry.com). Picchiotti Rose Tsavorites necklace. Available through Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis and at picchiotti.com. Assael Tahitian pearl, jade and Tsavorite earrings (assael.com). Lola triple ring from Melissa Kaye ($11,050; melissakayejewelry.com). Vendome Lace earrings from Nouvel Heritage ($4,300; nouvelheritage.com). Kwiat slim bangle ($3,750). Available through The Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, King Jewelers in Nashville, and kwiat.com..

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Clockwise from top left: Geo Art earrings from Kavant & Sharart (kavantandsharart.com). Lunatic ring from Samantha Tea ($1,950; samanthatea.com). Carved abalone & tsavorite earrings from Goshwara ($7,000; shopgoshwara.com). Diaboli Kill Iris Goddness Tahitian black pearl ring with pavé Tsavorite ($7,000; diabolikill.com). Anita Ko Safety Pin earring ($950; anitako.com). Multi-strand emerald necklace with Tsavorite cube pendant from Rush Jewelry Design ($15,000; rushjewelrydesign.com).

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HERE COMES THE SUN Capture summer’s sojourn with these soleil-inspired pieces Compiled by Bridget Williams

Clockwise from top left: Sunface pendent with diamond eyes from Anthony Lent ($3,910; anthonylent.com). Azaurite Sunburst necklace from Karma El Khalil (karmaelkhalil.com). Solar pendant from Jennifer DeMoro ($2,800; jenniferdemoro.com). Hammered 19K gold and diamond earrings from Elizabeth Locke. Available from King Jewelers in Nashville and at elizabethlocke.com. Clio ring from Bondeye Jewelry ($1,550; bondeyejewelry.com). Jude Frances Provence Open Sunburst diamond earring charms ($2,710). Available through Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis, and judefrances.com. Fire ring from Ana Katarina ($4,765; anakatarina.com). Earrings from Lydia’s Courteille’s Marie Antoinette Dark Side collection (lydiacourteille.com/en/).

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Clockwise from top left: Il Sole Tarot Card necklace from Sorellina ($17,500; sorellinanyc.com). Luce bracelet from Pasquale Bruni ($5,800; us.pasqualebruni.com). Tamara Comolli GYPSY ‘Candy’ Sun pendant ($4,190). Available through Moyer Fine Jewelers in Indianapolis and at us.tamaracomolli.com. David Yuman Solari Bracelet ($675). Available through the Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Moyer Fine Jewelers and Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, and davidyurman.com. 18K gold diamond Sun ring from Roberto Coin ($1,980). Available through the Diamond Cellar in Columbus, Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, King Jewelers in Nashville, Simons Jewelers in St. Louis and at robertocoin.com. Irissa Sun stud earring from Pamela Love ($350; pamelalove.com). You Are My Sunshine diamond stud earring from EF Collection ($575; efcollection.com). Jewelry designer Temple St. Claire worked with astrophysicist at the University of Bologna to create this 18K gold bracelet with a working sundial. Crafted by the atelier’s most masterful Italian artisan, tt can be custom ordered with the constellation of your birth sign ($85,000; templestclair.com).

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SUMMER SIPS Picnic-perfect bottles from wineries around the world Compiled by Chloe Gellar

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CAVA FOR SPRITZ SEASON

Masseria Surani Primitivo di Manduria Doc 2017 (SRP $19)

Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva 2017 (SRP $23)

Full-bodied and harmonious, Primitivo di Manduria represents one

A winegrowing family for over 200 years, Juvé first started producing

of the points of excellence of Puglian wine production. The Manduria

sparkling wines under their name in 1921. This family-owned, 100%

D.O.C. area of southwest Puglia is rich in history and culture and

estate-based producer is revered in Spain for its meticulous focus on

famous for producing excellent wines and Primitivo grapes in particular.

quality and sustainability.

A beautifully designed new label complements the deep ruby red color

"Reserva de la Familia" (translating to 'Reserve of the Family') is

of this Primitivo. Floral aromas of violets to rich, fruity ones of cherries

the leading Gran Reserva in the world, always vintage-dated, and all

and strawberries come forward against a background of balsamic notes,

the more notable because of the quality needed to produce it without

licorice, and aromatic herbs. On the palate, it is full-bodied, broad,

dosage ('Brut Nature' designation). Deep, intense, and elegant, it

and fruity and wins you over with its refined tannins and lively finish,

initially evokes ripe white fruits followed by hints of fennel, toast,

underpinned by an appealing sensation of freshness.

and citrus to complete its distinguished aroma. Its creamy mousse is perfectly integrated in the palate, making its texture in the mouth

A SAUVIGNON BLANC FOR THE SEASON

simultaneously fresh, rounded, and evocative.

Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (SRP $25) Dog Point wines are hand-crafted (and handpicked) from estate

Juvé & Camps Brut Rosé Pinot Noir NV (SRP $23)

fruit grown on some of Marlborough's oldest vines and best sites,

Juvé & Camps' flagship rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir.

with some plantings dating back to the 1970s. Dog Point's focus on

Following the "Méthode Traditionnelle," it is aged for 15 months in

pruning, soil health through organic farming, use of native yeasts, and

the bottle. Categorized as 'Brut' with only 5g/l of dosage, it is intense,

a non-interventionist style of winemaking all point to a quality and

fresh, and exuberant. The inviting aromas of cherries and strawberries,

detail-obsessed producer intimately familiar with its region.

hints of honey, toast, and floral notes contribute to the freshness of

This wine is the ultimate vision of vibrant and perfumed New

this cava. The mouthfeel is creamy and delicate, with a fine, energetic

Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. A pure, citrus-driven Sauvignon with

mousse that caresses dry very gently, releasing all of its fresh aromas

subtle tones of pear and white peach, the palate bursts with fresh

of red berries.

grapefruit and Meyer lemons for juicy flavor and refreshing acidity. The wine would sit comfortably alongside a dozen oysters shared

ADD A CERTAIN JE NE SAIS QUOIS TO YOUR NEXT PICNIC

with or without social distancing. It drinks beautifully now or can

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2018 (SRP $18)

comfortably cellar for five years or more.

Guigal's Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets

CHILEAN CHOICES FOR SUMMER SIPPING

of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône

Errázuriz MAX Chardonnay 2019 (SRP $20)

varieties. While only eight percent of the Rhône's production is white,

Founded more than 150 years ago by Don Maximiano Errazuriz in

a full twenty-five percent of Guigal's production is white, and they are

the foothills of Mount Aconcagua, Errazuriz has become recognized

today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley. A fresh

as one of the top quality producers of Chilean wines and has played

note marked by distinctive Viognier aromas of white flowers, apricot,

an instrumental role in raising the reputation of the region on a global

acacia, and white peach. The fruits come through on the palate, with

scale. The exceptional soils and cool ocean breeze provide optimal

plenty of richness and body. It's a well-rounded wine with elegance,

conditions for Chardonnay in Errazuriz's coastal vineyards, located

power, and balance.

just eight miles from the Pacific. The diverse soils control plant vigor, producing balanced yet intensely concentrated fruit with a beautiful

LIVING LA DOLCE VITA

fresh citrus and mineral profile. On the palate, it first shows its citric

Masseria Surani Fiano 2018 (SRP $18)

character, accompanied by tropical fruits and notes of marzipan and

Owned by the Tommasi family since 2014, Masseria Surani covers 309

dried fruits. The wine has medium structure and well-balanced acidity.

acres in the heart of the Salento Peninsula near the picturesque Ionian coast. In keeping with Masseria Surani's tribute to the local land, the

Errázuriz MAX Pinot Noir 2019 (SRP $20)

process that goes into making Fiano is noninvasive and allows the

Hailing from a daring planting nearly 15 years ago of vineyards fewer

characteristics of the local terroir to shine through. The wine, adorned

than ten miles from the Pacific Ocean, MAX Pinot Noir is a stunning

with a beautiful new label for 2021, is aromatic, marked by notes of

expression of Pinot Noir that arguably makes it one of the highest quality,

white flowers, tangerine, and lime. The premium fruit required for

most interesting, and most original Pinot Noirs available at its price from

making a small about of this high-quality wine is obtained via strict

anywhere in the world. The fruit gives way to balsamic and spicy notes on

clonal selection, modern vine training systems, and severe pruning, all

the palate, plus a lightly toasted note that hints of its time in the French

carried out with respect for terroir and tradition.

oak barrels. It is a wine with a good structure, soft and elegant tannins.

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FROM SEVENTY TO 70 MILLION

Marking a milestone birthday with a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon Written by Bridget Williams / Photography by Tony Bailey

“Don’t think, just do,” river guide Mackay said to me in a Yodalike fashion as I peered over the edge of a crag above the Colorado River in the belly of the Grand Canyon. It wasn’t so much the height that prompted my hesitation, rather a genuine fear that the shock of hitting the 50-ish-degree water and the subsequent swim to shore would induce a heart attack. Among the fellow travelers who’d gathered on an adjacent rock to watch the spectacle was my father, camera at the ready to capture his eldest daughter in action. I’d planned a trip to the 70 million-year-old natural wonder to mark his seventieth birthday, and not wanting ever to deny dear old Dad a photo opportunity, I swallowed deep and launched myself into the air. Seconds later, emerging from the depths of the blue-green water, I felt a rush of relief and fully alive from the invigorating polar plunge. The jump was part of my second Grand Canyon rafting trip with Western River Adventures, this time a three-day float encompassing the lower 100 miles of the Canyon. While celebrating a milestone birthday was the impetus, I was also enticed by the fact that at the trip’s end, I could say I had rafted the entirety of the Grand Canyon, from Mile 0 at Lee’s Ferry to mile 277 at Pearce Ferry. Western River Expeditions is a leader in top-notch rafting vacations, having pioneered the concept more than five decades 48 slmag.net

ago. Based on my last experience, I didn’t even consider another rafting outfitter when planning this trip. While short in duration, the three-day holiday offered a packed itinerary and the Western River version of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” namely planes, helicopters, and rafts. Following a crack-of-dawn charter bus ride from our hotel in Las Vegas to the airport, a scenic small craft flight over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam took us to a remote dirt landing strip at Bar 10 Ranch, located on the North Rim of the Canyon. From there, we boarded a helicopter for a dramatic flight into the Canyon, landing at Mile 188, just below the infamous Lava Falls rapid and the spot where my trip five years earlier had ended. A pair of J-Rig boats dubbed the “Cadillacs of the Colorado,” were “parked” at the river’s edge. Weighing 10,000 pounds without passengers, Western River Expedition’s patented boats are capable of supporting 66,000 pounds. Four long tubes in the front provide a bucking-bronco-type ride through the rapids for up to 12 guests. Just behind, elevated seating atop the food coolers offers a less wild ride, with the area near the boat captain and drybag storage that keeps passengers’ gear secure and dry at the rear of the craft is the place to be for kicking back and just soaking in the scenery.


Campsite along the river’s edge

The three-day rafting trip begins with a helicopter ride from Bar 10 Ranch into the Grand Canyon.

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Exploring Travertine Grotto, a series of hidden waterfalls and pools.

Having paddled my way through Class V rapids on more than one occasion in West Virginia, I can say that I much prefer letting the quiet 4-cycle outboard engine do the heavy lifting and expert maneuvering as we powered through the rapids, which are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 due to the technical challenges provided by the unique environment. As a passenger, it’s best not to get hung up on ratings, as several of the most fun rapids fall lower on the scale but provide the biggest bounce! Unless you are a hard-core outdoorsman or woman, the bottom of the Grand Canyon is likely one of the most remote places you’ll ever find yourself. With no cell service or dedicated bathrooms (except for the private “port-a-potty” set up at camp each evening), the experience is not quite glamping, but not exactly roughing it either, making it ideal for those with little-to-no camping expertise. The majority of daylight hours are spent floating downriver on the boat, with bits of whitewater interspersed with stretches that are smooth-as-glass. With temperatures at the bottom of the Canyon sometimes as much as twenty degrees warmer than at the rim, the quick chill prompted by punching a rapid is soon a distant memory. By the end of the first day, you might find that your neck is sore from craning in all directions to appreciate the vastness 50 slmag.net

of the landscape, which ranges in width from rim-to-rim from 600 feet at Marble Canyon, near mile zero, all the way up to 18 miles. Though indiscernible while rafting, there’s a 1,000foot drop in elevation as you travel from the North to the South Rim. Rocks rule as the star attraction, although the Canyon is home to 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles, five species of amphibians, and, surprisingly, just eight fish species, six of which are only found in the Colorado River. Guests on spring trips have the added bonus of potentially peeping the fleeting blooms of wildflowers. After a full day of rapid-running, making stops for scenic hikes, and “nature breaks,” a riverbank campsite is chosen for the evening. Guests work together to create a “fireline” and offload everything stowed on the boat that’s needed for the evening, an exercise that’s the embodiment of the idiom many hands make light work. Western River provides cots, tents, sleeping bags, chairs, and a drybag for your personal duffel bag. Our travel mates ranged from a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren to newlyweds who pivoted to a stateside honeymoon after the pandemic canceled a planned


Guide Mackay taking it easy atop the dry bags.

The biggest rapids are run on the second day of the three-day trip.

Perfecting the art of the “smize” during dinner service in camp.

European adventure. Nearly a third of campers went all-in on the dark sky experience by skipping the tent set-up and opting to snooze under the stars. You will definitely not go hungry with hearty buffet-style meals that leave you wondering how the guides pull off their culinary wizardry in such a primitive setting. With advance notice, guests with dietary restrictions can be amply accommodated. As dinner wraps up and the sun dips behind the canyon walls, conversations continue in the darkness, with brief pauses to admire a sky splatter-painted with billions of stars. On the flip side, the “call to coffee” coincides with the emergence of dawn’s first light. Breakfast is served, the camp is dissembled without leaving a trace, and the boats repacked before many of us would be finishing our first coffee of the day at home. The heart and soul of Western River Expedition trips are its guides, who work tirelessly to ensure that every guest has the best experience possible. Becoming a professional guide is a distinct lifestyle choice. Western River has several guides who’ve transitioned into “grown-up” lives but can’t resist heeding the river’s call and continue to return to lead a few trips each summer. Shortly after disembarking the helicopter I was delighted to see

a familiar face in guide Mackay, who was in his first season as a guide during my seven-day trip in 2015. During long stretches on the water, guides provide levity, share interesting tidbits about Canyon lore and geology and provide essential safety reminders. They occasionally spring into action to throw themselves on top of a passenger to prevent them from falling off the raft, which happened as we punched through a rapid on day two. Knowing what to expect, I admittedly wasn’t as gobsmacked by the scenery as I was on my inaugural journey, and that’s often the case for any place you return to more than once. Still, there’s much to be said for experiencing something familiar through the eyes of someone who is seeing it for the first time. An enduring expression of awe on my dad’s face, combined with a slew of superlatives rolling off his tongue from the trip’s start to finish, erased any hint of been there done that nonchalance I would have otherwise exhibited. The National Park Service regulates the number of permits it issues for rafting trips, meaning that it’s wise to plan well in advance, although I have COVID to thank for a relatively last-minute opening for our early spring trip. Rates for a three-day Grand Canyon rafting trip with Western River Expeditions start at $1,600 per person. For more information and reservations, visit westernriver.com. sl

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Of Note... Beachy Keen

Compiled by Colin Dennis

This page, clockwise from top left: Madam Stoltz paper rope hat ($40; trouva.com). Octo drawer hardware from PullCast (pullcast.eu). Yves Delorme Calypso bath mat (from $95; usa. yvesdelorme.com). Life’s a Beach takes readers into remarkable coastal dwellings around the world. Life’s A Beach, gestalten 2021 (gestalten.com). Lazy Daze beach towel from Tesalate ($59; tesalate.com). NEST New York x Gray Malin Ocean Mist & Sea Salt Reed Diffuser ($54; nestnewyork.com). BOLA Sofa from Gansk ($1,800; gansk.pt/en/).

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This page, clockwise from top left: Cioccolato gelato from Amorino (amorino.com/en-us). Arid'Eté dessert plates from Jardin D’Ulysse (jardindulysse.com). Carl Hansen & Søn’s BM5565 Deck Chair with Footrest ($1,060; carlhansen.com). Nikki hammock from Hommés Studio (https://hommes.studio/). The Design Collection: 'Harbour' dog drying coat from Ruff And Tumble (from $70; ruffandtumbledogcoats.com). Johanna belted swimsuit from Hermoza ($164; thehermoza.com). John Hardy unisex Kami Classic chain ring ($795). Available through Moyer Fine Jewelers and Reis-Nichols in Indianapolis, Davis Jewelers in Louisville, and johnhardy.com. Briar dress from PQ Swim ($150; pqswim.com).

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Audi R8 Spyder

TIP-TOP WITH THE TOP-DOWN

A few of our favorite summer rides that let you doff the roof for pure driving pleasure. Compiled by Andre James / Photography courtesy of the manufacturers

AUDI R8 SPYDER From a limited series to a permanent addition, the character of the R8 models carry forth sharpened design enhancements for the 2021 model year. The V10 performance variant takes the sporty stature up a notch, with the lower trim finished in matte Titanium color and the sideblades, mirror housings, and rear spoiler finished in carbon. At the rear of the vehicle, the dominant diffuser frames the sport exhaust with black oval tailpipes. The V10 performance models come standard with 20-inch 5-double-spoke-dynamic design milled cut wheels in titanium finish, with an option to change the color to anthracite finish. The ceramic brake calipers are available in red or blue, along with the standard gray finish. Weighing just 97 pounds, the soft-top in both R8 Spyder models features an electrohydraulic drive system to raise and lower the roof in about 20 seconds, at speeds of up to 31 mph. When opened, the soft top folds into a flat storage compartment over the engine. With the top up, the rear power window blocks the wind or can open to allow the rich sound of the naturally aspirated V10 engine (the same naturally aspirated engine found in the R8 LMS racecar) to flow into the vehicle cockpit. The R8 V10 performance generates 602 horsepower and catapults from 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, with a top track speed of 204 mph for the Spyder. The seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch transmission can shift gears in as little as 120 milliseconds. The R8 RWD features a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine that produces 532 horsepower and sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a top track speed of 200 mph. MSRP for the 2021 Audi R8 V10 Spyder RWD is $154,900; and $208,900 for the 2021 Audi R8 V10 performance Spyder Quattro (audi.com). 54 slmag.net

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT SPEED CONVERTIBLE Boasting enhanced chassis technology, including All-Wheel Steering, an electronic rear differential and the option of carbon-ceramic brakes, the third-generation Continental GT Speed Convertible is the most powerful, driver-focused interpretation of the benchmark convertible Grand Tourer, designed, handcrafted and engineered in Bentley's carbon-neutral luxury automotive factory. The powerplant is either a 4.0-liter V8 engine or an enhanced version of Bentley's renowned 6.0-liter W12 TSI engine, delivering 650 hp, 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 208 mph. Superior handling comes via Active All-Wheel Drive and Bentley Dynamic Ride, an anti-roll control system. Available in seven colors, the unique Z-fold convertible roof system can be deployed or stowed in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30mph. While the engine's purr is a sweet symphony to many, improvements in sealing and acoustic treatments have brought about a three-decibel reduction in overall noise level compared to its predecessor. Befitting a Bentley, the luxuriously appointed cabin sports Speed badging on the passenger fascia, an Alcantara steering wheel, and a unique color split trim in hide and Alcantara. Special to the Convertible range, the neckwarmer is seamlessly integrated into the heated and vented Comfort Seats, optimizing efficiency and airflow around the electrically adjustable headrests. Combined with a heated steering wheel and heated armrests, these sophisticated comfort features create an indulgent driving experience in all environments. MSRP for the 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible starts at $302,000 (bentleymotors.com)


Audi R8 Spyder

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible

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BMW 4 Series Convertible. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer.

BMW 4 Series Convertible The four-seater continues the tradition of exhilarating open-air motoring, rightfully deserving "The Ultimate Driving Machine" moniker with its modern styling, low-slung shoulder line, cutting-edge technology, and performance. The most noticeable change from the previous generation is switching from a hardtop to a newly designed insulated soft-top, which is approximately 40 percent lighter and increases cargo space, provides additional headroom, and creates a lower center of gravity for improved handling. Opening and closing the soft-top takes 18 seconds and can be performed at speeds up to 31 mph. Convertiblespecific noise reduction measures in the areas of the intake system, engine cover, and underbody dampen engine noise and thereby increase acoustic comfort when driving with the top down. A premium driver-centric cockpit boasts newly designed front power Sport seats and a leather Sport steering wheel as standard. The M Sport Package and M440i Convertible models offer additional soft knee padding on the sides of the center console and an M Sport steering wheel and door sill plates with the M logo. The start/stop button is located in the center console along with the newly designed gear selector lever, the iDrive Controller, and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control 56 slmag.net

switch. Rear seating for two includes integral head restraints and features a center armrest with storage and cupholders and a passthrough section to the cargo area. At the top of the power pyramid are the M440i and M440i xDrive Convertibles, with the B58 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder BMW TwinPower turbocharged engine producing 382 hp @ 5,800 – 6,500 rpm, and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. All variants of the 4 series can reach an electronically limited top speed up to 155 mph depending on the selected wheel and tire combination. Drivers can opt for either traditional rearwheel drive, or BMW's latest intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system, offering additional traction during both performance driving and in varied weather conditions. MSRP is $53,100 for the 430i Convertible, $55,100 for the 430i xDrive Convertible, $64,00 for the M440i Convertible and $66,000 for the M440i xDrive Convertible (bmwusa.com). LEXUS LC 500 CONVERTIBLE The LC 500 Convertible may be based in part on the LC 500 coupe, but it is more than just a crop-topped replica, as careful attention was given to the LC Convertible's suspension, which is tuned specifically to complement the subtle changes in weight


2021 Lexus LC Convertible

between coupe and convertible. Even the sound system is finetuned with an EQ that adjusts based on the driving environment, whether the top is open or closed. Able to be operated at speeds up to 31 mph, the roof takes just 15 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close. An innovative folding mechanism includes a tonneau cover for when the top is stored. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive LC Convertible shares the same direct-injected V8 powerplant as the LC Coupe. The 471 hp engine posts an impressive 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, and its maximum track speed is electronically limited to 168 mph. The engine is paired with a Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. A focal point of the cabin is a 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display to provide immediate access to audio or climate controls and various systems, including the voice-activated navigation system. Lexus Enform Remote service, included with the first year of ownership, lets you lock and unlock doors, start the engine and climate control, check the fuel level, and more all through your smartphone, smartwatch, or devices enabled with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. MSRP for the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible starts at $101,100 (lexus.com).

Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SVJ ROADSTER With its razor-sharp lines, the open-air version of the Aventador coupé is head-turning even before the V12 engine is fired up. Prepare to hold onto your hat when the roof is removed, as the roadster's V-12 engine is the most potent production series produced to date by the Italian supercar manufacturer. With an output of 770 hp at maximum 8,500 rpm, the convertible accelerates from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and boasts a top speed of 217 mph. On the flip side, a braking distance of 60-0 mph takes 101-feet. Dynamic aerodynamics are courtesy of Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva, Lamborghini's patented active aerodynamics system, which actively varies aero load to achieve high downforce or low drag, depending on dynamic conditions using electronicallyactuated motors positioned in the front splitter and the rear wing. Adding a little more than 110 pounds to the car's total weight, individual sections of the roadster's roof, comprised of high-pressure RTM carbon fiber, weigh just over 13 pounds each. The roof, removed via quick-release levers in the cabin, stows securely under the front hood. Just 800 units of the Aventador SVJ Roadster will be produced with an MSRP of $573,966 (Lamborghini.com).

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Porsche Boxster 25 Years

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2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster “Stealth Edition”

MERCEDES-AMG GT ROADSTER Among the 2021 model year enhancements is 54 more horsepower, bringing the total to 523 hp, capable of accelerating the roadster from 0-60 in just 3.7 seconds. The list of standard equipment has also grown to encompass AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive damping adjustment, electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle, AMG highperformance composite braking system, and red-painted brake calipers. Additional enhancements include the new lithium-ion starter battery and the "RACE" drive program setting. A sleek "Stealth Edition" variant is distinguished by the AMG Exterior Night Package, black brake calipers, the AMG radiator grille in dark chrome, headlamps with black elements, a black soft top, and mixed-size tires with 19-inch matte black Y-spoke wheels on the front, and 20-inch wheels on the rear. Equipment found in the interior of the "Stealth Edition" includes AMG Performance seats, an AMG Interior Night Package, AMG steering wheel in DINAMICA microfiber with black steering wheel spokes and shift paddles, upholstery in exclusive Napa-style leather in black with diamond quilting, black topstitching and trim elements in black piano lacquer (optionally in carbon fiber/black piano lacquer). A unique badge in the center console also denotes this special model. MSRP for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster from $130,700 (mbusa.com). PORSCHE BOXSTER 25 YEARS This year, Porsche Cars North America Inc. celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Boxster family with a special anniversary model: the 2021 Boxster 25 years. Based on the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 model, the particular production model is limited to 1,250 units worldwide. Now in its fourth generation, more than 357,000 of the

mid-engine sportscar have been produced since the original Boxster concept car was first shown at the 1993 Detroit Auto Show. Neodyme, a copper-like color, which provided a unique contrast to the GT Silver Metallic color on the 1993 concept, appears on the front and side air intakes as well as for the lettering and the specially designed two-tone, five-spoke, 20-inch alloy wheels and in the special "Boxster 25" badge on the rear. Porsche is offering the Boxster 25 years in GT Silver Metallic, although Jet Black Metallic and Carrara White Metallic are also available. Another striking element can be found on the fuel filler cap, enhanced by Porsche script from the Exclusive Design range. The cap is painted in an aluminum look, as are the high-gloss tailpipes of the Sport Exhaust system, while the windshield frame is finished in black. Staying true to the style of the historic original, the unique model combines a Bordeaux red leather interior with a red roadster top made of fabric. Both interior and top are also available in black. An interior package in Brushed Aluminum, 14-way electrically adjustable sport seats, door sill trims with "Boxster 25" lettering and the heated GT multifunction sport leather steering wheel are included as standard equipment on the special edition model. The 4.0-liter flat-six engine, which is shared with the 2021 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, offers exceptional throttle response, power delivery, and a rich exhaust note. The high-revving 394 hp naturally aspirated powerplant, which is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK), creates an emotional driving experience. The special-edition model reaches a top track speed of 182 mph with the manual transmission and, in combination with the PDK gearbox and standard Sport Chrono package, sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. The Boxster 25 years starting MSRP is $98,600 (Porsche.com). sl

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The Zabuco Honeymoon Villa is built atop a cliff in Dominica’s Secret Bay promontory.

VIVA VILLA

A newly-launched portfolio of 500 Relais & Châteaux villas aims to raise the bar for fully customizable getaways. Written by Leo Dessaux

As the world slowly begins to crack open its door to travelers, some are willing to jump right in, while others take a more cautious approach, eschewing hotels for more private experiences. Reflecting changing customer attitudes due to the pandemic, Villas by Relais & Châteaux amplifies the group's defining ethos of family spirit, local anchorage, and excellent cuisine with a collection of more than 500 villas in 30 countries. Villa vacations are nothing new, but the affiliation with Relais & Châteaux gives guests peace of mind that they can expect the same elevated service found at one of the 580-strong, largely family-run network of R&C hotels and restaurants. Each villa in the portfolio is carefully evaluated and included based on guaranteeing a genuine sense of space, being available to rent exclusively, boasting private access, and having no adjoining properties, except for properties located in city centers. "Guests of Villas by Relais & Châteaux can expect the same level of refined service as if they were staying in one of our hotels – how much they want and when is entirely up to them," said Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux. "Now, more than ever, our guests value personal space, and our collection of incredible villas can give them confidence and peace of mind – without compromising on hospitality. Villas by Relais & Châteaux is an essential component of our ability to evolve and thrive as we begin to think beyond the pandemic." While it's hard to choose favorites among the many notable properties, we've highlighted a few of our favorites below. You 60 slmag.net

can view all of the available villas and make reservations at relaischateaux.com/us/villas/destinations. VILLA IL BORRO, ITALY Nestled in the heart of a 270-acre estate in Tuscany, the 19th-century Tuscan villa overlooks the medieval village of Il Borro. The private palazzo sleeps up to 20 people in 10 quaint en-suite bedrooms with double beds. The property boasts a heated indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a fully equipped gym, a Turkish bath, and a large billiards room. Guests can spend the day strolling through a pair of private gardens, admiring the exquisite artwork painted on the estate ceilings, or sitting by the fire enjoying fine Italian wines and charcuterie. CASA DEL ARBOL, MEXICO Just five minutes from the main hotel, Casa del Arbol is a private treetop retreat perched above the tropical rainforest with incredible views overlooking the Pacific Ocean (book during the winter months for exceptional whale-spotting) and a private beach. Crafted from crafted pine and local stone, the villa is crowned with an enclosed main bedroom surrounded by a large private terrace. A wall-free second bedroom with an outdoor shower on the floor below makes guests feel truly at one with nature. Continuing down to the lower levels, a beautiful waterfall cascades down the hillside to fill three ponds that serve as guests' very own private pools. The culinary experience is one to remember, prepared by a chef who champions local Mexican ingredients.


The Villa des Orangers in located in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech in Morocco.

Villa Il Borro in Tuscany by Francesca Pagliai.

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Aerial view of the Nautilus estate in the Maldives

Casa del Arbol in Mexico

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Queen Victoria is among the storied guests who’ve enjoyed tea at Spring Cottage at Cliveden House, which sits on the banks of the River Thames.

CHALET COTTAGE AT TWIN FARMS, VERMONT The crown jewel of Vermont's only five-star resort is the Chalet, one of the property's ten uniquely designed standalone cottages. The two-floor, 3,000-square-foot cottage nestles at the edge of one of the property's six private ski slopes. Guests can admire the view of Mount Ascutney as they lounge in the expansive living area with floor-to-ceiling windows or soak in the tub on the enclosed private patio. Uniquely appointed, the cottage boasts two fireplaces, beautifully crafted furnishings, 18th-century Burgundian limestone flooring, and hand-thrown glazed tiles. Executive Chef Nathan Rich and his expert team invite guests to go on a unique menu-less journey throughout their stay by entrusting the kitchen to guide them through an exceptional culinary program celebrating local New England terroir. THE NAUTILUS, MALDIVES Located within the Maldives' stunning Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the three-bedroom Nautilus estate was designed as the ultimate private beach home with panoramic sea views from every light-filled room. Capped by an incredible thatched roof, the living spaces and decor convey the bohemian spirit of the island. Guests can indulge in fine cuisines and a curated wine selection via personalized catering service or select from various dining destinations throughout the estate. SPRING COTTAGE AT CLIVEDEN HOUSE, UK On the outskirts of London, this standalone cottage sits on the banks of the River Thames. Beloved by royalty, Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Sutherland are among the esteemed guests to have enjoyed afternoon tea at the cottage. The charming design of this

three-bedroom residence is the perfect spot for travelers looking for an ultra-private, elegant home-away-from-home. A rear garden right on the banks of the Thames makes this accommodation incredibly unique. Throughout their stay, guests will benefit from exceptional amenities, including personalized catering. VILLA DES ORANGERS, MOROCCO An oasis of calm and serenity in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, the centerpiece of this private riad is the courtyard, finished in ornate ceramic tiles and featuring a private pool that shaded by lush banana trees. The private roof terrace overlooks the old town and the Koutoubia Mosque and has an unobstructed view of the Atlas Mountains. Guests will feel swaddled by nature as the property is complete with exceptional landscaping, flowers, tropical plants, and verdant planters. The two-suite riad, accommodating up to five guests, features intricately carved wooden furniture with soft fabrics, two luxuriously appointed bathrooms finished in cooling marble, and an outdoor living area. ZABUCO HONEYMOON VILLA, DOMINICA Perched atop a majestic cliff offering 180-degree views over the mountain peaks of Dominica and the sparkling Caribbean Sea, the Zabuco Honeymoon Villa lies at the furthest point of the Secret Bay promontory. The property is ideal for couples looking for a remote escape with all the luxuries of a beachfront home, including a stateof-the-art open-plan kitchen, private plunge pool, and expansive outdoor deck area. The beautiful master bedroom features furniture made from Dominican Red Cedar by local craftsmen. Guests enjoy dedicated villa hosts on call to provide discreet service, creating the perfect balance of romance, privacy, and pampering. sl

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JOY OF THE FEAST Chef Lisa Brooks takes her women-led

Lowcountry soul dining experience on a multi-city tour Written by Leo Desseaux

Chef, mentor, and entrepreneur Lisa Brooks, Executive Chef and CEO of Heart & Soul personal chef services, has announced her first culinary tour: Joy of the Feast. As part of this multi-city event, Brooks and a talented team of nationally known and rising Black women chefs will share signature Lowcountry coastal cuisine as part of a unique and intimate fine dining experience. Adding to the intrigue, the location of each venue will remain a surprise to registered attendees until 24 hours in advance of the event. While no two Joy of the Feast tour stops will be the same, guests in each city will be treated to a seven-course meal of impeccable dishes and drinks, complemented by Chef Lisa’s warm and welcoming dining style. Each dinner will feature a local female chef or mixologist who will create a signature dish or drink that reflects the tour city. “I am thrilled to share my Carolina-based cuisine and dining experience with those who have followed my career from a distance and those who are new to my work,” said Brooks. “It is near and dear to my heart to curate unforgettable dining experiences that are inviting, delicious, fun, and fabulous. I’ve been able to share this gift in the Charlotte region and look forward to spreading the magic in major cities across the country.” 64 slmag.net

Each event will implement social distancing and adhere to local and federal health guidelines for dining. The Joy of the Feast tour will visit the following cities: July 13, Atlanta, GA July 18, Houston, TX July 20, Dallas, TX July 24, Los Angeles, CA July 30, San Francisco CA August 5, Nashville, TN August 7, Chicago, IL August 11, Columbus, OH August 14, New York, NY August 18, Washington, DC August 20, Durham, NC August 26 & 27, Charlotte, NC Said Chef Brooks, “I am determined to keep my family’s legacy alive by pairing my Southern culture and family recipes with my classic French culinary training to create dishes that stem from my roots and expand beyond your imagination!” sl For more information and reservations, visit cheflisabrooks.com/joy-of-the-feast-tour.


Estate Event Buy Sell Trade ReStyle Saturday, July 17th through Saturday, July 24th 9711 Clayton Rd in Ladue albarrejewelry@gmail.com 314.997.1707


ST. LOUIS’ BUDDING AG INDUSTRY Written by Craig Kaminer

Photo by Suzy Gorman

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On most days, you shouldn’t have to wait at this brand-new Fairview Heights location. Photo by Suzy Gorman

The story which you are about to read focuses on the cannabis industry on both sides of the Mississippi River, and whether you know it or not, there is either a medical or recreational dispensary within a five-minute drive wherever you live in the greater St. Louis area. Forget everything you remember about cannabis (formerly known as marijuana) from your teenage or college years -- be it what you heard from a friend who preferred to smoke weed more than drink or what those movies and TV shows depicted which terrified our parents about marijuana being a gateway drug. The changing landscape around cannabis means that those who never tried it or those who used it regularly back in the day now have new reasons for using cannabis products as they age. And, the course of buying, smoking, eating, or applying it is not only legal but also a satisfying luxury experience. Take it from me. For years, most people who smoked cannabis were convinced it had many medicinal benefits without much peer-reviewed proof while those who were opposed (including parents, law endorcement agencies, and nosey neighbors) were convinced it was bad for you, led to other drug habits, diminished your aptitude, and was imbibed only by potheads, burnouts, and law breakers. It’s shocking to read studies now citing the compelling benefits of cannabis and how massive regulated industries, including alcohol and big pharma, amassed misinformation campaigns to scare people mainly because it threatened their businesses, profits, and monopolies. As we stare down the opioid epidemic, struggle to manage the world’s mental health issues, seek new means to provide pain relief to our

aging population, and reflect on the millions of incarcerations because of marijuana possession, the legal use of cannabis has become mainstream, widely accepted, and regularly used by the very people who read Sophisticated Living. Just ask some of your friends if they have a gummy, a mint or brownie, a vape pen, flower, or salve, and you’ll quickly realize that this is not fringe activity. It is happening in our best neighborhoods and with our families, friends, and neighbors. All indications are that this is here to stay... despite it not being legal (yet) on a national or federal level. Illinois has both medical and recreational cannabis in every shape, size, flavor, and strength available legally since 2019. While many people think there is a difference between medical and recreational products, the truth is they are exactly the same -- the products come from the same plants harvested by the same growers. But medical cannabis requires a prescription from a board-certified doctor. If you have a card, you can buy more cannabis during each visit and the tax is 1% versus 30% for recreational products. Depending on your malady, doctor, health plan, or employer, it may be easy and beneficial to get a medical card that allows you to buy it. Because of HIPPA laws, there is no way for anyone to know if you have a medical cannabis card, unless of course you tell them, take a drug test, or do something stupid. If you want to bypass the traditional path and avoid the discussion with your longtime doctor, there are many other doctors who now specialize in providing cards virtually. The cards can be obtained by doctors listed on websites like Veriheal.com.

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You can’t miss the exterior of the Ascend Fairview Heights location... and there is plenty of parking. Photo by Suzy Gorman

“Legalized cannabis is poised to be a $150 billion industry by 2025,” said Mitch Meyers, CMO for BeLeaf Medical. “In addition to Missouri, thousands of jobs are being created across the country resulting in an emerging need for educated employees to support and sustain this rapidly growing industry. We have 12 years of experience in medical cannabis in states like Colorado, California, Michigan and Illinois and our team has spent years working with patients advising on the benefits of medical cannabis usage.” According to Peter Grinspoon, M.D. of the Harvard Medical School, “The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is clearly safer than opiates (it is almost impossible to overdose and far less addictive) and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve for people who can’t take them due to problems with their kidneys, ulcers, or GERD. In particular, cannabis appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis and nerve pain in general. This is an area where few other options exist and those that do, such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates are highly sedating. Patients claim that cannabis allows them to resume their previous activities without feeling completely out of it and disengaged. Along these lines, cannabis’ reputation is that of a fantastic muscle relaxant and people swear by its ability to lessen tremors 68 slmag.net

in Parkinson’s disease. I also have heard of its use quite successfully for fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and most other conditions where the final common pathway is chronic pain. Cannabis is also used to manage nausea and weight loss and can be used to treat glaucoma. A highly promising area of research is its use for treating PTSD in veterans who are returning from combat zones. Many veterans and their therapists report drastic improvement and clamor for a loosening of governmental restrictions on its study for this purpose. Medical cannabis is also reported to help patients suffering from pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. This is not intended to be an inclusive list, but rather to give a brief survey of the types of conditions for which medical cannabis can provide relief. As with all remedies, claims of effectiveness should be critically evaluated and treated with caution. Purchasing cannabis products legally proved to be an eyeopener for my wife and me. Friends and our adult children were the first to encourage us to check out some of the newer dispensaries during our last visit to Colorado. Recently, we visited the Ascend dispensaries in Collinsville and Fairview Heights, Illinois. Before entering, you must show an ID and clear a database that tracks how much you have purchased over the past few weeks. After a short dialogue with the security guard at the door -- video cameras recording our every move -- we were welcomed in and greeted by someone who knew more about cannabis than all of my high school friends combined. Known as “budtenders,”


Cannabis plants at BeLeaf ’s cultivation facility in Earth City. Photo by Joe Martinez

these store associates serve as your personal salesperson in the dispensary. One thing is sure, they are extremely passionate about what they do and love talking about cannabis. If you are nervous about visiting a dispensary or intimidated to ask a silly question -don’t be. They are happy to start at the very beginning and walk you through it all at your preferred pace. Our budtender at Ascend Fairview Heights, Marco, was friendly, professional, and extremely articulate. A cross between a sommelier and a waiter at a foodie restaurant, he was knowledgeable on all things cannabis and enthusiastic to answer our questions. It took only a few minutes to understand that the quality, consistency, and range of the products available on the market have evolved exponentially since the 70s and 80s. After learning all about sativa, indica and sativa-indica hybrid strains, on top of the many forms in which they can be purchased, my head was spinning. I hadn’t even tried anything yet. What to buy? I was staring at walls covered in flower, candy, cookies, pens, oil, wax, patches, creams, bath balms, and more. But I’m a quick learner. Ten minutes and $150 later, I had enough to keep me pleasantly elevated for a while. I quickly found out that friends want to try everything -- a taste of the gummies, a hit of the vape pen, and even a sample of the THC/CBD cream to rub on their aching muscles, so this didn’t last quite as long as I thought it might. Your friends will be no different. The General Manager of Ascend Fairview Heights, Brandon Dicus, spent 18 years at Walmart in retail management before pursuing a career in the emerging cannabis industry. We chatted for

more than an hour about everything from his personal experiences with cannabis to the day-to-day realities of managing a store with a very large number of daily transactions. With more than 1,000 visitors per day, Brandon and his team must remain hyper-focused on inventory to ensure all products are stocked day in and day out. He explained that Illinois dispensaries can only grow or buy cannabis from Illinois companies and the tax revenue generated from cannabis sales is redirected to support Illinois’ general fund, R3 Program, and other state initiatives. Brandon shared that customers range from 21 to 80+ years of age, come from all walks of life, spend well over $100 per visit, and often return more than once a month. At one point in the conversation, Brandon said, “It’s great to see how cannabis brings people together. There aren’t many nonaddictive substances that can be used for both medical and recreational purposes that can also make people happy.” When I asked Brandon what advice he has for our readers, he said, “Until you know what to expect and understand how you respond personally to cannabis, I always recommend starting with lower dosages of THC and going slow as you learn your limits.” I loved the experience and suggest a first-hand visit when you have the time to talk with a budtender (in Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries they are referred to as patient care specialists). For those who know what they want or don’t want to risk bumping into anyone they know, there’s also on-line ordering for in-store pick up. You’ll be in and out in under five minutes. Weekend visitors will likely encounter a line but it moves quickly -- and who doesn’t enjoy some great people watching?

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Edible products like these gummies are beautifully displayed. Photo by Suzy Gorman

After explaining the location of my aches and pains to Marco as well as how I plan to use the products for sleep, mental acuity, relaxation, and cocktail replacements, he identified a few products fit to my preferences. I grabbed them, joined the loyalty club, and was called to the register by name to review the order and pay. It was simple, professional, and fun. As we got into our car with our sealed bags of goodies, we said to each other, “That sure beats a trip to Aspen.” The two biggest issues associated with recreational cannabis sales are the hefty state and/or local taxes and the fact that banks have not yet been able to work out the approval of the federal banking system. This requires all purchases to be made with cash or a debit card. An ATM machine is always a solution, but it would be easier to complete the transaction with a credit card. I am certain that day will come soon. We are, after all, the witnesses of a budding industry. In full disclosure, while it is legal to buy medical or recreational cannabis in Illinois, it is not legal to bring it to Missouri. Signs in Ascend remind you of this and it is not likely 70 slmag.net

to change even if Missouri legalizes recreational sales. Suffice it to say, you are breaking the law by transporting cannabis purchased in one state into another state. I bought marijuana from hoodlums in the Bronx in the 70s and could have been tossed in jail for simple possession of a joint. So while I didn’t open the bag or sealed package until I was in my home, you should know of this risk. My sense is that law enforcement has much bigger fish to fry, but caveat emptor -- buyer beware. After my experience in Illinois, I started to research dispensaries in Missouri. I had walked into CBD stores in the Central West End and in the Loop, but I really was interested in the THC products. The THC compound is the one known most famously for the high sensation you get from it. CBD, alternatively, is considered a “non-psychoactive” compound, meaning that you do not get the high that we associate with THC. Although CBD legally may have trace amounts of THC up to .3%, it is not enough to result in a psychoactive response. CBD is known to have many of the promising health benefits, minus the psychoactive side effects.


Signage throughout the store is educational and crystal clear. Photo by Suzy Gorman

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Tom Muzzey, CEO, and Mitch Meyers, CMO deep in the weeds at BeLeaf in Maryland Heights, MO. Photo by Joe Martinez

I quickly realized that there are a number of great medical cannabis dispensaries opening in Missouri, but without a stateissued card, I couldn’t even get past the door. So I contacted Mitch Meyers, the founder of BeLeaf, which has 10 licenses in Missouri: five dispensary, three cultivation, and two manufacturing. Mitch and I have known each other for years, first when she was a marketing genius for Anheuser-Busch -- credited with the Spuds Mackenzie campaign for Bud Light in the 80s -- and as a principal of Zipatoni, which was responsible for some of the most creative advertising work for years for clients around the country. Mitch accepted my invitation to be part of this story, and along with Joe Martinez behind the camera, we met the BeLeaf team in an unmarked warehouse in Maryland Heights, Missouri. As soon as I got out of my car, I knew I was steps away from a large indoor growing facility (approximately 180,000 total sq. ft. in the three BeLeaf cultivation facilities) as the smell of cannabis was obvious (to me). After checking in at the heavily guarded front double door, we did a quick review of the morning tour, photo shoot, and interview schedule. Next I was led through a number of security checkpoints into a football field-sized jungle of mature budding cannabis plants grouped by their particular strain. We spent an hour or so here, taking photos of the plants, the blossoming buds, and the management team proudly showing off their crops. While I am sure there are other indoor growing facilities like this for food crops, I had never seen such a high tech 72 slmag.net

operation of grow lights, irrigation, ventilation/circulation, and monitoring in person, in pictures, or in my dreams. This is serious business, run by serious business people, and tended by serious botanists, chemists and food scientists. If you think this industry is managed by pot smoking hippies, guess again. No doubt some day places like this will offer tours and agritourism. It’s coming. After my jaw-dropping experience amidst the fields, Mitch showed me the various cultivation areas where the plants are grown from seeds and cuttings, carefully numbered and tagged for compliance and safety, and moved into different rooms depending on their growth and development. Each room represented a different stage in the plants’ development which was overseen carefully by a person or team of cannabis experts. Many of these experts have advanced degrees from leading plant science institutions and fetch impressive six-figure salaries. After touring each phase of the crop cultivation, we then viewed a series of labs where scientists process the THC and CBD from the mature plants and buds into oil, wax, tinctures, and food products, much the same as at a major food processing plant. Expensive extractors, heaters, distillers, and other specialized manufacturing devices fill a row of glass enclosed labs each specializing in a specific process or product. Workers wear goggles, masks, hair nets, PPP, and special clothing they don when they arrive for their shift. Did I mention there are security cameras everywhere?


BeLeaf ’s distilling of concentrated THC. Photo by Joe Martinez

Seen here is Amber Heuermann, lead cultivator, as she tends to the extensive BeLeaf crop. Photo by Joe Martinez

Meet the SWADE team including Stephanie Cernicek, Aaron Abrantes, Mitch Meyers, Tom Muzzey, and Jamila Todd-Owens. Photo by Joe Martinez

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Facade of SWADE’s dispensary looking West on Manchester Avenue Photo by Aaron Bunse

There’s plenty of space to relax, meet with an expert, or just hang out, but you’ll have to wait until you get home to use the cannabis. Photo by Aaron Bunse

Finally, we huddled in a conference room where we talked about the business -- why they got into it, how it’s going, where it’s headed and all of the ins and outs of this growing industry. While St. Louis is not the obvious choice for starting and growing a business like cannabis, the proximity to our outstanding universities, agricultural companies such as Monsanto (now Bayer), the Danforth Plant Science Center, and access to large warehouses which make for the perfect indoor growing facilities, make St. Louis one of the better locations in the United States. For anyone who has a religious or moral objection to the emerging cannabis business, it may be surprising that some of the leading studies come from Saint Louis University and Washington University. Additionally, Saint Louis University now offers a degree in cannabis science and operations. In addition to the growing operations, BeLeaf also has dispensaries, branded SWADE, for medical cannabis in The Grove, on Delmar and Cherokee St., and in St. Peters and Ellisville. From the exterior signage and painted facade to the stunning modern interiors which have been featured in Architectural Digest, BeLeaf is a vertically integrated cannabis business which is growing quickly and supported by an undisclosed number of Missouri investors who are fueling its growth with the hopes it will be the premier cannabis supplier in Missouri. Their flagship brand, Sinse, is 74 slmag.net

Interior of one of SWADE’s new, oh-so luxurious dispensaries Photo by Aaron Bunse

clearly the brainchild of the nationally acclaimed brand manager Mitch Meyers and a team of world class marketers. While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the cannabis industry, “Education is so important - we understand that there are many questions and much confusion around medical cannabis and we are focused on delivering an exceptional experience and will provide patients with the highest quality of medical marijuana in the state,” said Tom Muzzey, CEO of Beleaf Medical. “Patients deserve easy, convenient access to the lifechanging medicines that improve their lives and we are honored to be able to provide this with medical cannabis AND education.” If you are looking for recreational or medical cannabis, or are just cannabis-curious, you no longer need to visit California or Colorado. For Missouri and Illinois residents, we now have some of the best growers, manufacturers, and dispensaries anywhere in the country and another reason to celebrate. sl I thought long and hard before deciding to write this story. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I know this is new and not everyone has tried or condones it. But that’s exactly the point. I wasn’t alive during Prohibition, but I am fascinated how despite the laws against alcohol consumption, people found a way to drink, frequented speakeasies and now despite its many challenges, the beer, wine and spirits businesses are bigger than ever. I think this will happen with cannabis too. As more research about its benefits are reported, more people will try it and use it. As long as there is interest, we will continue to follow this emerging industry from the luxury perspective much like we do fine wine. Please share your thoughts with me, your stories and what you want to see next. And if you are trying cannabis for the first time, go low and slow, refrain from driving under the influence, and enjoy this new plant-based medicine and recreational product responsibly. - craig@slmag.net


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The warmer weather and relaxed gathering guidelines have been welcomed with summer celebrations and fundraising events popping up more and more throughout the area. The word “virtual” has been replaced with “hybrid,” opening up new doors for organizations to reach even more supporters by offering both in-person and at-home options for attending events. Concerts, shows, and sporting events are becoming more regular again as are larger weddings and celebrations. Share your special moments with us by tagging your pictures with @sophisticatedlivingmag. And let us know which charity you want to see featured among our society pages. The calendar of events is once again beginning to fill up, so grab a pen and save these dates! – SL

July

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Summer Digital Concerts July and August, slso.org Golf the Galleries, thesheldon.org Peace in the Prairie, storystitchers.org Virtual Notes from Home: Karen Choi, thesheldon.org American Ballet Theatre, abt.org 21st Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, cinemastlouis.org Morton’s the Steakhouse & Casamigos Tequila, mortons.com Flame 2021, cocastl.org Tiny Beautiful Things, maxandlouie.com Billy Elliot, cocastl.org

August 6 6-9/5 13 19-29 20

A World Without Cancer Day, pedalthecause.org Always…Patsy Cline, stagesstlouis.org Paula Poundstone, thesheldon.org Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis Presents “The Glass Menagerie,” twstl.org CareSTL Health Foundation Golf Tournament, carestlhealth.org

September 9-12 13 25-26

Ascension Charity Golf Classic, ascensioncharityclassic.com St. Louis County Library Foundation fundraiser with Leonard Slatkin; foundation.slcl.org Pedal the Cause, pedalthecause.org

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Photos and stories compiled by Carrie Edelstein. To submit your event for consideration, please email carrie@slmag.net.

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Sophisticated Couple: It was the perfect start to the new year for bride Elizabeth Aston and groom Cody Reinberg when they exchanged vows on New Year’s Eve of 2020. Sophisticated Venue: The wedding celebration took place at Palladium Saint Louis in Lafayette Square. Sophisticated Details: Butler’s Pantry created visually stunning and delicious food stations like a sushi wheel during the dinner service and a selection of warm cookies and milk shooters for a little something extra to enjoy after the wedding cake. The newlyweds said goodbye to guests and left the ballroom with a dramatic balloon drop and sparkler exit. Sophisticated Team: Photographer Shannon Duggan captured the magical evening from every angle. The bride’s looks were by hair stylist Deby Sansone and makeup artist Acie Smothers of Acie Artistry.

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STEPS FOR HOPE

A new record was set in fundraising for the Cancer Support Community of Greater St. Louis’ Steps for Hope event. Countless donors, 44 sponsors, and more than 650 supporters joined the event in-person or virtually to celebrate those in our community impacted by cancer. More than $160,000 was raised for Cancer Support Community of Greater St. Louis and the individuals and families who come here in search of hope and support. Funds raised help maintain offerings of more than 10,000 hours of support groups, educational workshops, stress management classes, and more to the estimated 1,800 individuals who walk through the doors of Cancer Support Community each year.

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A BIRTHDAY BASH

The backyard of a Huntleigh home was turned into a preschooler’s best dream to celebrate Sloane’s fourth birthday. Mom Amanda Perkins pulled out all the stops for tiny guests and parents too to feel somewhat back to normal after nearly a year of smaller birthday celebrations. Kids enjoyed playing in a bounce house, popping bubbles, water games, and balloon art by Silly Jilly the Clown. Later, they headed inside for pizza and delicious cake made by Cake House Design. On the way out, all the littles grabbed goodie bags and got to choose more fun prizes from a table full of toys and treats.

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1) Ron Kruszewski, Kelly Schlafly 2) Max Boone and daughters Aurora and Athena 3) Ari Berkovich and son Gadi 4) Katie Shankman and daughters 5) Stephen Mudd and Carrie Kruszewski-Bomar 6) Ron Kruszewski, Amanda Perkins and her daughter, Sloane

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COCACABANA’S TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

Despite a last-minute decision to postpone the main event by a few weeks, COCAcabana’s “Taking it to the Streets” was a huge success. The hybrid event featured a variety of entertainment and a live auction at the University City venue while also offering a virtual/live stream option for guests who preferred to celebrate at home.

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Photos by Ryan Archer and Ann K. Photography

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Ballet photos by Kelly Pratt, courtesy of Saint Louis Ballet

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A BALLET IS BORN

A virtual gala benefiting the Saint Louis Ballet featured a peek behind the curtain in A Ballet is Born, a mini-documentary about the process of creating a ballet. From the flicker of an idea to the final bow, the creation of a ballet is a uniquely beautiful process. A Ballet is Born featured Gen Horiuchi and Nilas Martins, composer TOYA and Saint Louis Ballet dancers. Proceeds from the event support Saint Louis Ballet’s performance season and outreach programs, which include Tickets for Teachers and Kids, Hospital Visit Program, and Pointe to Succeed, in-school programs that bring the joy of ballet to underserved children in our community. The creative team for the gala was Brooke and Brian Meek and Tedd and Justin Trabert. A Ballet is Born is available for viewing on the Saint Louis Ballet website and on Youtube.

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1) Laura Al-Shathir, Laurie Katz, Angela Adams 2) Alexandra Kalwerisky, Tracy Elzemeyer 3) Toni Murphy, Laurie Lock 4) Sarah Glasser, Annette Markarian, Dr. Mimi Vo 5) David Glasser, Dr. Randall Markarian and Nghia Cao

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ST. LOUIS TEEN TALENT COMPETITION

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1) Ultralight Beam 2) Lucy Schene 3) Aubory Bugg 4) Aubory Bugg

McCluer High School’s Troy Staten won the first place prize of $8,000 in this year’s St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. Staten sang, “Not My Father’s Son” from the musical Kinky Boots. The show was prerecorded and aired on Nine PBS. Other winners included second place finalist Aubory Bugg of Granite City High School. The Ultralight Beam contemporary dancers won third place and the Audience Choice award went to singer Lucy Schene from Kirkwood High School. The panel of judges are performing arts professionals with careers spanning film, the recording industry, television, and Broadway. Each of the finalists’ acts were filmed on stage at the Fabulous Fox and supported by the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation.

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Hayley Rosenblum Dudney had intended to follow her father, well-known St. Louis criminal attorney Scott Rosenblum, into the legal profession. That’s just what she did until 2019 when opportunity came knocking. The Saint Louis University law school graduate resigned from her father’s firm to head Archimedes Medical Holdings, LLC. Per Hayley, “Our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable medicinal cannabis for the patients of Missouri.” The female-owned-and-led company was awarded two cultivation licenses, which will soon be combined into 100,000 sq. ft. of premium cultivation space. Sophisticated Living caught up with the very busy Hayley to hear about some of her favorite things. MEDICAL MARIJUANA Being a founder and executive for a start-up business in the exploding cannabis industry has been both exciting and challenging. The opportunities that medical marijuana can provide to treat an array of illnesses motivates me to get up each day and work hard for the patients in our state. ON MY HEAD I love big-brimmed hats because not everyone will rock one… they add a pop of uniqueness and they’re the perfect accessory in my opinion. I have a fairly large collection and am not shy about wearing them. Some of my favorite milliners include Aspen Hatter and Travis Austin, but I’m always looking for something new. Bonus points if it has a feather accent! DINNER AT HOME Every Thursday night you will find 10 or more people at my mom’s house eating, laughing, talking, sometimes crying, but always sharing life with each other. Thursday nights are a chance for me to decompress, to slow the rhythm of my life and connect with those closest to me. It certainly helps that my mom is a wonderful cook! I’m thrilled to be able to share this tradition with my newborn twins, Duke and Harlow!

CARDINAL BASEBALL As a little girl, my dad would always take me to the ballpark. Just the two of us. It was such a treat to escape from my three brothers and get that one-on-one time with my father watching baseball. I’ve loved the game ever since. Plus, the Cardinals are an easy team to love…most of the time at least! I plan to pass this on to my children as well.

FOR MY PALATE I always end the day with a glass of red wine or two. California cabs and Oregon zinfandels are my go-to wines but I’m always open to something more interesting like a French Bordeaux.

ST. BARTH’S I love this little island in the Caribbean. The stunning beaches along with the French culture make this one of my favorite places to visit during the holidays. And I always take a hat or two! sl

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