St. Pete Life July/August 2021

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JULY/AUGUST 2021 l Volume 5 No. 1


Wine Column: How to Taste Wine Like a Pro ...... 26 Swimwear Fashion: Making Waves ................... 28


People to Watch: Ken LaRoe ............................ 38

Summertime Bites

Home and Garden: Hurricane Preparedness ...... 42 Special Section: Best of St. Pete ...................... 44 Arts & Culture: Stephanie Gularte .................... 56 SPL Living: BOGDANOV Legend Ink Tattoo ...... 61 Nature: Rewilding Your Yard ............................ 66 Hot Wheels: BMW M550i ................................. 70


Ernest Hooper: What Makes St. Pete “The Best” 72

BOGDANOV Legend Ink Tattoo

16 It's No Illusion




Attract More Birds To Your Backyard

Stephanie Gularte

July/August 2021

WELCOME TO SPL It’s hard to believe that four years ago we launched the first issue of St. Pete Life Magazine. We love what we do and appreciate the support of our readers, our community, and our advertisers that make it all possible. With this anniversary issue we celebrate all that our fair city has to offer with the first annual “Best of St. Pete” feature. From dog-friendly bars to galleries and restaurants, we highlight the businesses and venues that make our city the best place to live, work and play. Don’t miss the colorful swimwear spread Making Waves, featuring KalaXpress fashions. These stunning styles will keep you cool and looking your best either poolside or at the beach. And the interview with the woman behind these designs, Sumita Bhojwani, is a must read. In this issue you can also meet the Bogdanov family, who chose St. Pete over Hawaii and California to relocate their business and their home. Their eclectic offerings bring a new brand to the local art scene in the form of a tattoo studio, Legend Ink. With summer in full swing, we hope you enjoy this issue with a cold drink in a shady spot. Whether you are poolside or at the beach, take us with you! Happy reading,

PUBLISHER/CEO Beth Ann Drake EDITOR Marcia Biggs ART DIRECTOR Alicia Brown ADVERTISING Ed Barry Ad Director Betsy Phillips Senior Account Executive Debbie Radsick Account Executive CONTRIBUTORS Megan Simons Women’s Fashion Will Howard The Wine Cellar

Flourish Photography

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Ernest Hooper/ Cindy Stovall/ Nitish S. Rele Contributors CO-FOUNDER/BUSINESS MANAGER Ralph Zuckerman Want SPL delivered directly to your home or office? Go to www.stpetelifemag/subscribe.

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July/August 2021

Cover Photo by: Visit St. Pete Clearwater



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Get Ready To Look and Feel Your Best The Medical Team at Divine Dermatology, PLLC is led by Carol Sims-Robertson, M.D., a skincare expert with over 38 years of skill and an excellent bedside manner. Dr. Sims-Robertson is a graduate of the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. She graduated from High School in France but returned to the U.S. for college. Dr. Sims-Robertson’s knowledge base, surgical skills, and endearing passion for people and skin care continue to promote Kind Medical Care, while Saving Lives and Refreshing Natural Beauty. Alexandra Coad, DNP, FNP-C received her Doctorate of Nursing Degree as a family Nurse Practioner from the University of Florida, Gainesville in 2019. She is referred to as Dr. Alex. She prides herself for being a double Gator, as she also received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Florida in 2016. With 3+ year’s plastic surgery experience, Dr. Alex has since become specialized in the field of Dermatology. Dr. Alex has trained with Dr. Carol Sims-Robertson and is practicing both in medical and aesthetic dermatology procedures. As a Saint Petersburg native, she is thrilled to be back in her favorite city, providing expert medical and cosmetic skincare to all genders, ethnicities, LGBTQ, and all ages. Julie Gilbert, MCMSc, PA-C is a Certified Physician Assistant with

additional Dermatology training through the Florida Society of Dermatology PA’s Diplomate Fellowship. A Florida native , she graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and then completed her PA Master’s Degree at Barry University in Miami, FL. After starting her Dermatology Career in Tampa, she joined the very diverse, innovative and highly skilled team at Divine Dermatology, PLLC to practice Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology. Julie excels in the diagnosis of skin cancers including melanoma as well as many diseases of the Hair, Skin, and Nails. Her injectable skills are second to none and display cosmetic talent. Julie Gilbert, PA-C enjoys volunteering with the Junior League of Tampa Bay and the American Red Cross. Call Divine Dermatology, PLLC at 727.528.0321 to schedule your appointment. We offer same day appointments, Monthly Specials and skilled, compassionate skin care in a clean, safe, fun environment. Follow us on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and www. Divine Dermatology is located at 2191 9th Ave N, Ste 100 St Petersburg, FL 33713

Left to right is Julie Gilbert,PA-C , Carol Sims-Robertson,MD , and Alexandria Coad,DNP


July/August 2021



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Sun Escapes Finding your favorite beach bar can be a tough job — but somebody’s got to do it.

BY MARCIA BIGGS How lucky are we to live next to the best beaches in the nation? Lest we forget, our sugar-sand shores attract thousands of visitors each year, earning accolades from around the globe. This year, St. Pete Beach was dubbed No. 1 Beach in the United States in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. If you’re thinking it’s time for a visit, we suggest settling in at a beach bar for a bit of shade and an ice-cold beer or craft cocktail. Here’s a rundown of our favorites from Passe-a-Grille to Treasure Island. This is by no means a complete listing, but any of these are worthy of a visit. Head to the Sirata where the popular Harry’s Beach Bar often sports a lively crowd at the spacious bar. There’s plenty of tables and chairs for outdoor dining with beautiful Gulf vistas, too. Tropical cocktails like Harry’s Hurricane and The Harry Navel are not to be missed. Rum Runners Bar & Grille is a beachside favorite, too, where the signature frozen Rum Runners will melt all your stress away. At the Tradewinds Rumfish Beach Resort on St. Pete Beach we love to hang ten next to the sea oats in comfy sofa seating and enjoy craft cocktails or a frosty craft beer at The SandBar at the Sandbox Beach Lounge. Later, everyone ultimately heads to Jimmy B’s Beach Bar at the Beachcomber Resort, which has made countless best beach bar listings over the years. This is the spot for weekend nightlife for those who like to dance to live classic rock covers in their flipflops. If you want to kick it up a notch, find stunning views and a swanky lounge-style atmosphere at the 360° Rooftop Lounge at Mediterranean-style Hotel Zamora. This is the place to kick back with a date (or find one at the bar) as you savor a sunset with a


July/August 2021

fine craft cocktail. For an elegant dinner, visit the hotel’s Castile Restaurant for contemporary cuisine influenced by the traditions of Spain, Mexico and the Mediterranean. Relatively new to the Passe-a-Grille restaurant scene and a fine choice for epicureans is Dewey’s at the Berkeley Beach Club. While not exactly on the beach, the surrounding Gulf and intracoastal views from the rooftop bar provide balmy breezes all the same, with a curated cocktail and wine list and an all-seafood menu including a raw bar, ceviche and charcuterie. The legendary Pink Palace, The Don Cesar, has a new Beacon Pool Bar & Lookout perfect for people-watching and catching the amazing sunsets on the beach. In addition, The Rowe Bar provides some outdoor shade beneath the canvas sails where you can grab a nosh and a few cocktails. Come at night and settle into a cozy sofa with its own firepit. The last few times we were there, the atmosphere has gone decidedly beach casual. We would be remiss not to mention a few grand-daddys on the beach bar scene, favorite stalwarts that keep the locals happy and tourists coming back. The Hurricane on Passe-a-Grille Beach still attracts romantics to its rooftop deck in search of margaritas and the famous though questionable “green flash” at sunset. (Personally, we feel the green flash appears only after a certain amount of margaritas have been consumed.) The original Caddy’s and Ka’Tiki on Sunset Beach Treasure Island are indisputable icons representing classic Florida beach bars. Both are magnets for the party hearty crowd who like dancing to live classic rock and blues. Caddy’s serves food and has a happy hour from 8 pm to close with, yes it’s true, $3 and $4 drinks. The catch: finding a parking space.





235 4th Avenue N, Downtown St. Pete Last offered at $1,450,000 Caryn Rightmyer & Judy Holland

2420 Andalusia Way NE, Granada Terrace Last offered at $2,150,000 Caryn Rightmyer & Judy Holland

148 Ricardo Way NE, Snell Isle Last offered at $1,695,000 Caryn Rightmyer




12935 Gulf Lane #203, Madeira Beach Last offered at $849,900 Caryn Rightmyer

2200 14th Street N, Woodlawn Last offered at $535,000 Caryn Rightmyer & Dawn Hulett

1153 40th Avenue NE, Northeast Park Shores Last offered at $485,000 Caryn Rightmyer

THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO SELL YOUR HOME! CONTACT US FOR A PRIVATE CONSULTATION #1 Team for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Tampa Bay in 2020 Over $140 MILLION SOLD Top 1% of REALTORS® in Pinellas County REAL Trends America’s Best List, top 1.5% of real estate professionals in the United States

Caryn Rightmyer, CNE, CLHMS, REALTOR® 727.409.9696 Dawn Hulett, ABR®, REALTOR® 727.612.8558 Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate. *Buyer’s agent


It’s No Illusion — Magic Theatre Comes to the EDGE District Award-winning illusionists Chris and Ryan Zubrick will amuse and amaze spectators of all ages as the Zubrick Magic Theatre, an immersive theatrical magic experience beginning July 29 in the EDGE District. The familyfriendly 70-minute show will be performed Thursday through Saturday evenings at 7 pm in a newly designed and constructed performance venue, featuring classic favorites like levitating assistants and disappearing doves, along with grand-scale illusions, heart-stopping music and a bit of comedy thrown in. The Zubricks chose St. Pete as their new home base after living for 13 years as entertainers in Guam and Saipan, where they performed illusion and magic at the SandCastle Dinner Theater, an elegant $40 million 500-seat theatre. They were ready to move back to the states when COVID closed down their show, said Chris Zubrick. “We had visited here in 2019 during

a nationwide search for a location,” he explained. “St. Pete checked all the boxes. It had the beautiful beaches we were used to and a thriving arts community. We have a 3-year-old son, so wanted a good place to raise him, too.” The couple moved here a year ago. Originally from Michigan, where they performed growing up, Chris and Ryan met while pursuing their magic careers and decided to take their show overseas. After performing more than 7,500 shows for more than 2 million people, they decided to bring their magic and grand illusion to St. Petersburg. They are proud to be the 2018 winners of the Merlin Award for Best Family Magic Show by the International Magicians Society, the highest distinction for magicians. Previous recipients include Criss Angel, Siegfried & Roy, Penn & Teller and David Copperfield. The current 2,600-square-foot staged venue is intimate with

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July/August 2021

ARTS & CULTURE seating for 90, and Zubrick is tossing around ideas for the “dark nights” Monday through Wednesday. “We’re thinking of opening it up to comedy nights and hypnotist shows and the like,” he said. Zubrick Magic Theatre is located at 1211 1st Ave. N. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts promptly at 7 p.m. Beverages including beer and wine and snacks are available for purchase in the lobby prior to the show. Tickets are available at a discount for groups of 20 or more. Private magic performances, holiday parties, and matinees can also be scheduled for groups in the 90-seat theater. Tickets are $40 person, plus taxes and fees, for ages 4 and older. A limited number of VIP packages offer premium front-row seating for two people, two beverages, popcorn and a special gift for $117 plus taxes and fees. To purchase tickets, go to

Dali Exhibits Pioneering Female Photographer The Dalí Museum’s lastest exhibit features the work of groundbreaking female photographer Lee Miller (19071977), a trusted confidante of many influential artists and an eyewitness to some of the most extraordinary moments of the 20th century. The Woman Who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller surveys her fascinating personal life, portraiture and photojournalism. The exhibition concentrates on Miller’s portraits of important writers and artists, the majority associated with the Surrealist movement in Paris. The photographs are on loan from the Lee Miller Archives in Sussex, England. The exhibit continues through January 2, 2022.

Lee Miller/Self portrait (1930)

Salvador Dali and Gala (1930) by Lee Miller

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James Museum, Woodson Collaborate in ‘Reverberations’ The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art is hosting two new exhibits, one presented by The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum. In a salute to Juneteenth, Reverberations presents artwork from emerging and established Black artists who live and work in Tampa Bay and across the Southeastern United States. Themes draw deeply from structural racism and oppression to hope and resilience. “The rich history passed down for generations displayed in the images in this exhibition do not just echo; they reverberate,” explains curator Desmond Clark. The exhibit runs through August 29. In another exhibit, The James presents Ergo Sum: A Crow A Day, featuring 365 original works of

art by Canadian-born artist Karen Bondarchuk. In 2014, Bondarchuk set out to mark the passing time that her mother – diagnosed with dementia in 2010 – no longer could. For 365 days, she produced a crow a day on a small hand-cut panel, remembering her mother as she once was and grieving her loss. The resulting body of work explores communication and an artist’s relationship to the world. Set against splashes and swipes of color, the birds’ gestures range from bold to inquisitive to quirky. “The series is simultaneously a marker of my mother’s lost time and a constant reminder of my own days, my life, and an attempt to signal visually the preciousness and individuality of each day,” she said. The exhibit runs through September 6. 400 Years/Aaron F. Henderson

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July/August 2021

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128 Sands Point Drive, Tierra Verde • $3,325,000 “Liz Heinkel was a superior agent and went beyond to help us sell our property. She is professional, thoughtful and very knowledgeable about the St. Pete area. She works well with everyone. I highly recommend her.” -C. Goldman

“Liz Heinkel is a consummate professional; she knows the market intimately, she skillfully navigates between the seller and the buyer to get the best results for her client and she is always available for advice and strategy sessions. I have bought and sold 8 houses over the years and Liz is the best agent with whom I’ve worked.” -T Killion

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Delicious Summertime Bites Grilled Portobello Gyros with Yogurt Dill Sauce

4 portobello mushrooms 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 2 yellow bell peppers, sliced Yogurt Dill Sauce 1 English cucumber, grated 1 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt 1/2 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 small lemon, juice only 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill 4 pita breads or naan 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 head green lettuce Crumbled feta cheese (optional)


July/August 2021

Remove stems from mushrooms and brush caps with wet towel. Using spoon, carefully scrape out gills. Slice mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces and place in medium bowl with olive oil, oregano and smoked paprika. Preheat indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and peppers; grill, tossing occasionally, until tender, 5-7 minutes. To make yogurt dill sauce: Squeeze grated cucumber in clean towel to remove excess liquid. Add to large bowl with yogurt, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and dill. Stir to combine. To serve, place mushrooms and peppers in middle of pita bread. Top with tomatoes, onion, lettuce, feta, if desired, and big dollop of yogurt dill sauce. Servings: 4 Recipe from the Mushroom Council (, courtesy of Emily Weeks of “Zen and Spice”


Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter, melted 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk 3 eggs 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 orange, peeled and separated 8 raspberries 3 mint leaves, for garnish Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into 9-inch springform pan. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until combined. Pour into pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until center springs back when lightly pressed. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. Arrange orange slices around border of cake and place raspberries in middle. Top with mint leaves. Serves 6-8. Recipe from

Below, frozen sliced strawberries combine with frozen pink lemonade concentrate and lemon-lime soda to create a quick, easy and thirst-quenching spritzer.

Strawberry Spritzer 1 package (10 oz.) frozen sliced strawberries, sweetened and thawed 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled 1 can (12 oz) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed In blender, process strawberries until blended thoroughly. Pour strawberries into large pitcher; stir in soda and pink lemonade. Serve immediately. Substitution: Ginger ale may be used in place of soda. Recipe from Adapted from Taste of Home July/August 2021



Brick Street Grows

And the winner is …

The Brick Street Farms success story continues. The locally owned hydroponic farm has announced a significant investment by Lykes Bros, one of the largest agribusinesses in Florida. Lykes will take a 20 percent ownership stake in the urban farm operation with a multi-million dollar investment. Brick Street Farms has been featured in St. Pete Life for its greens grown in environmentally sustainable air controlled shipping containers. Look for them on the

It’s old news now but in case you’ve been living in a cave, Il Ritorno owner and executive chef David Benstock did indeed “Beat Bobby Flay” in a nationally aired episode of the Food Network cable program on May 20. Which dish did the trick, you ask? His signature dish Short Rib Mezzaluna. Sorry, it’s not a regular item on the menu, but you can always dream.

menu at numerous restaurants (Social Roost, Urban Stillhouse, Oak & Ola, Sauvignon) and on the shelves of Publix across Tampa Bay. We’re betting it won’t be long before they appear at groceries across Florida.

Pasta To Go

Fresh to-go pasta made right before your eyes is causing lines to que at DalMoros Fresh Pasta To Go, a small storefront that opened in late May at 653 Central Avenue. Founded in Venice, Italy, in 2012, this is the first shop in the Sunshine State and seems to be a big hit with the Edge District’s carryout crowd. (There are a few tables on the sidewalk if you can’t wait to get home.) For now, only two pasta styles are available (fusilli and fettuccine) and six homemade sauces that are cooked-to-order while you wait, then packaged in lightweight carryout boxes. Add-ons include chicken, mushrooms, olives and the like. Eventually, up to five pasta types will be available.

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July/August 2021

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Restaurant News

400 Beach Seafood & Tap House has new owners. Jacob Linzey and Ashley Castillo of Volet Hospitality have taken over from previous owner Steve Westphal (don’t worry, he’s still at the helm of Parkshore Grill, The Hangar and Café Gala at the Dali Museum). Volet also owns Annata and Alto Mare right next door on Beach Drive. So far, no major changes have been apparent. Why mess with success? Biggest buzz around the ‘Burg is the opening of Lingr by Chef Jeffery Jew, Bravo’s Top Chef alum and former executive chef at Bella Brava and Stillwaters. Jew is taking the dining scene to a whole new level by creating a menu blending both Nordic and Asian cuisine, inspired by his own heritage. The menu promises to be seafood forward with farm fresh, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, and an extensive selection of craft cocktails and fine wines. Head to 400 6th Street S. to check it out.

Now that Saturday Morning Market is closed, fans of the amazing handmade croissants, brioche and croque monsieurs found at the Le Clementine Bakeshop stall are reveling in the news that proprietor Paulina Gervasi will be establishing a presence in the Grand Central District soon. Le Clementine plans to join the soonto-open St. Pete’s Bagels at 2361 First Ave. S. where, oh joyful day, seven varieties of soft, chewy made-on-premises bagels will be available every morning along with coffee by our local roasters at Made Coffee. The new shop is an expansion of the wildly popular Pete’s General on Round Lake. A menu of bagel sandwiches will make this a must-visit for foodies. We can’t wait!

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How to Taste Wine Like a Pro BY WILL HOWARD Anyone can taste wine like a pro. It is a learnable skill that just requires a little practice and know-how. Tasting wine blind (without knowing the wine in the glass) takes some detective work to search for clues that lead to a conclusion about the grapes used in the wine, the terroir the wine comes from, or the technique used to make the wine. In order to reach the conclusion it is important to use all of your senses when tasting a wine.

different aspects of the wine.

Let’s begin with SIGHT: Start by looking at the wine in the glass. What is the color? What is the concentration of the color? The color and concentration of the color are hints as to what varietal you’re drinking and how the wine was made. Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are thin-skinned grapes, so less color is typically imparted to the wine than with Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. Certain winemaking techniques, such as cold soaking, skin contact, and maceration can increase the concentration of color. While holding your wine glass at an angle, does the color of the wine change as it gets closer to the edge of the glass? Variation in color of a wine towards the rim of the glass can be a clue to the wine’s age. Swirl the wine in the glass. When you swirl the wine, the drops that run down the side of the glass are called “tears” or “legs.” The tears can be light sheeting or thick drops. The tears on the side of the glass show the wine’s viscosity. More tears are an indication of either higher alcohol or sugar. Less tears or sheeting indicates lower alcohol. Now move on to SMELL: Move the glass of wine like a trombone when you smell it. Smell the wine from outside the glass, the rim of the glass, and inside the glass. Smell the wine both by breathing through your nose only and also breathing through your nose and mouth. This will let you smell


July/August 2021

Try to identify familiar smells. Start with fruit: apple, pear, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry, etc. There is no wrong thing to smell. Start with everything you’re smelling and narrow in on the strongest or most identifiable aromas. If you smell strawberry you can even get much more specific. Is the strawberry white, red, over-ripe, or strawberry jam? You can play around and really be as specific as the wine demands. After fruit, try to identify other non-fruit organic smells like herbs, mushroom, tobacco, and baking spices. I usually can identify the smell of cinnamon in a wine when I feel that little pinch in the front of my nose. Look for characteristics of oak in the wine. This is a clue to how the wine was made. Smells like chocolate, coffee, or baking spices often hint at French oak barrels. Smells like dill, vanilla, and coconut are more common in American oak barrels. Next look for earthy smells. These are smells like granite, wet stone, chalk, soil, and clay. These smells are the wines connection to place. Where did the wine come from and how is the smell of that place imparted on the wine? Smell is key to determining clues about where the wine is made, how the wine is made, and what varietals might be in a blend. Finally we TASTE: Taste is really more than one sense here. Taste will also include touch or the texture and feel of the wine. Taste includes everything from smell, but with the addition of sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Look to confirm the smells you found, while seeing how the aromas change on the palate. A strawberry jam smell can be confirmed on the palate, but will include yet another level of complexity when finding if the smell connects most with the sweet or umami

DINING OUT aspect of taste. A smell of under-ripe strawberry may transform on the palate when tasting the sour aspect.

Recommendations: Hone those tasting skills with some of these amazing summer wines:

Tartness is the acid in the wine. Low pH, or high acidity, in the flavor of a wine makes your mouth water. This is yet another clue when blind tasting a wine as to the place the wine is from, how it is made, or what varietal the wine is made from. Think of the taste of tomato in a Tuscan Sangiovese. The acidity makes your mouth water and leaves the palate begging for food.

Leroy, Bourgogne Blanc, Chardonnay, 2019 — Expressive nose of orchard fruits, pear, fresh cut apple and grapefruit. The palate is pure and vibrant with ripe acidity and exuberant flavors of green apple, citrus oils, crushed stones and an inner core of soft caramel Philippe Jouan, Morey-Saint-Denis, Pinot Noir, 2016 — Silky texture, complex aromas and a palate of cassis and plum, cinnamon, mocha, roasted meat and coffee bean. Littorai, Pinot Noir, Wendling Block E, Anderson Valley, 2018 — Aromatically expressive with candied notes, blackberry and cherry, violets, licorice, a field of flowers. Subtle and silky with nice acidity.

The other aspect of taste is touch. Wine has a texture that is imparted from any combination of alcohol, sugar, tannin, oak, and yeast. Is the wine silky, chalky, velvety, or chewy? These descriptions are all mentioned in taste but are really the sensation of touch. You can feel the wine sometimes as much as you taste or smell the wine.

Will Howard is Sommelier at Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg.

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July/August 2021


Making Waves

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“In my world of imagination, if the colors of the ocean could turn into a dress, this is what it would look like.” Sumita Bhojwani - KalaXpress Model: Kika Frangarcia (Miss Congeniality twice) Photographer: Julie Scarpellino Nichols (Photos by Jules) Location: Bahamas Event: Ms. International World Bahamas Cruise Fashion Show


July/August 2021


Bald Eagle inspiration swimsuit from the Survivor Collection Photographer: Julie Scarpellino Nichols (Photos by Jules). Model: Gabrielle Timothy. Location: Ocala National Forest.

July/August 2021



Tiger inspiration swimsuit from the Survivor Collection Photographer: Joe Vadder (@vadderphotography.) Fashion Model: Julie Marie. Location: Epperson Lagoon - Wesley Chapel


July/August 2021


I’iwi (Hawaiian Scarlet honeycreeper) inspiration swimsuit from the Survivor Collection Photographer: Joe Vadder (@vadderphotography). Model: Julie Marie. Location: Epperson Lagoon - Wesley Chapel

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July/August 2021


Sumita Bhojwani Fashion Designer

Tampa Bay fashion designer Sumita Bhojwani has hit her stride. Her feminine, flirty and unique fashions have been showcased on runways across Florida — Tampa, St. Pete, Orlando, Sarasota and Miami — on Caribbean cruises, and across the globe in prestigious fashion shows, trade shows and magazines. Bhojwani’s label, KalaXpress, seems a perfect match for Florida’s sultry summers, focusing on lightweight fabrics in jewel tones of blues and greens, reds, yellows and oranges, that flow lightly on a breeze. Her trademark style melds influences from the East and the West with exotic florals, animal prints and wraparound styles. Bhojwani grew up in New Delhi where she graduated with a degree in fashion design. She moved to the states in the 1990s, working in technology until she jumped back into fashion after moving to Florida in 2011. “The passion was still there,” she said. “I started doing runway shows and decided to start a company.” She launched KalaXpress in 2013. KalaXpress derives from the world “kala” a Hindi word which means “art – the expression of human creative skills and imagination” — self-expression, she says. “I believe fashion should give the

wearer a sense of confidence and power, one should always dress to express. Simply then – from the combination of these two thoughts comes the word KalaXpress.” Bhojwani’s many travels and cultural background inspire her. Each year she designs one new collection – the latest one is called Survivor and focuses on endangered species. “I named it the Survivor Collection as survivor relates to strong women, we are survivors of 2020 and the pandemic.” Bhojwani espouses sustainability in her collections: she uses sustainable material whenever possible, ensures all artisans in her employ are treated with respect, and uses no fur or animal skin. Her company also believes in helping others. She supports “One Life to Love” a global non-profit organization which helps abandoned and neglected children receive shelter, safety and education. To see more of her designs or to contact Sumita Bhojwani, go to or email info You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook @kalaxpressdesigns.



People To Watch

Personal Service - Global Reach

Kent Rodahaver, Broker NextHome South Pointe If you want to catch up to Kent Rodahaver, you’d better move fast. Most know him as the Broker/Owner of NextHome South Pointe, with offices in St. Petersburg and Gainesville. What you may not know is that he is an avid runner and endurance athlete. That competitive drive is just one of the forces that enable him to excel in his industry. As he puts it, “The most amazing thing about endurance sports is the character that it creates and, more importantly, the character it reveals. No one successfully races an Ironman event without an entire year of preparation. This requires a huge goal, a very specific plan, and intentional execution. When one applies these same principles to their life, their relationships, and their career, the rate of success is enormous.” #HumansOverHouses More than just a hashtag used by Kent and his team, “Humans Over Houses” is a mantra. In an age of technology, emails, texts and the internet, Kent never loses focus on the person he is dealing with. Whether his client is an international investor or local buyer, first time homebuyer or repeat client, his attention to that personal relationship puts the needs and wants of the client first. “I’m a people person, and the human aspect in what we do each day is huge with me,” says Rodahaver. “Technology is obviously all around us. We have robo-dialing, text messaging,

auto-responders and internet sites such as Zillow in our industry. These things take the human element out of what we do, and that critical personal element can get lost.” Giving Back As National Chair for NextHome’s Corporate Charity Committee, Kent gives his time and energy to many local causes. He is a member of Preserve the Burg, Friends of Boyd Hill, and Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Skyway Marina District. One of his favorite causes is Canine Companions, a 501c3 with one of their regional training facilities right here in Orlando. This charity provides service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities at no cost to the recipient. “That’s really been a large focus for us.” he adds, “Last year NextHome’s Charity Committee was able to raise $35,000 for Canine Companions for Independence, and I am confident that we will exceed that in 2021.” Kent graduated from Yale University’s Advanced Negotiations Executive Program, is a published author, motivational speaker, and highly accomplished athlete. His work ethic, determination and focus, however, are the key ingredients that help him attain goals for his clients, as well as his team.

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Something Old, Something New

Refresh your wardrobe and your attitude with the rules of closet cleanout I wish I would have a penny for every time I hear certain remarks. Right now, on the top of the list is our unfortunate added COVID weight. If you gained a few pounds in the last year and a half, you’re in great company, nearly everyone I’m talking to has the same story to tell. The second one is a trilogy, it starts with – I don’t need anything, followed by – I don’t have any space in my closet, finished by – I have nothing to wear…(big grin). So, here I come to the rescue of all the beautiful ladies out there without enough closet space, without precise needs, but with a whole bunch of desires, expectations, visions and wishes! I don’t think it will be a great revelation if I say that there is a power in clothes, new clothes give us wings. Retail therapy earned its name, and it earned it for a reason, new wardrobe improves our mood and confidence, it affects our emotions and attitude. The bond between our feelings and the way we dress is undeniably essential to the way we behave and to our identity. And it is not the particular clothes that we wear that define our emotions and mindsets but the relationships we have with them. You may have heard of the Lab Coat Study by the Kellogg School of Medicine. Two groups of people were each given a white lab coat to wear — the first group was told it was a doctor’s coat, the second that it was a painter’s. The first group performed their tasks more sharply and with greater attention levels, as they instinctively adopted the attributes typical of a doctor, such as a focused attitude. The more you like the way


July/August 2021

you look, the more content and confident you can be. At the same time, we all have outfits that no longer fit, are outdated or overused, or we simply don’t wear them. Many times, we can’t bear to throw it away because of the emotional attachment, such as saving the dress from our special date, trip or event, but how do we gain new space in an old closet? In conversing with women from all over the world, I have come up with a 3-step plan that truly works, isn’t incredibly time consuming and doesn’t hurt your feelings. Rule 1. Turn all the hangers in your closet the other way around, then when you wear a garment place it back on the hanger the right way. It will take a few months but eventually you can clearly see which items you do wear, and which are just a closet decoration. Rule 2. Get three boxes, nothing clear, you are not supposed to see what’s inside. From items that you don’t wear keep the ones that are emotionally valuable and divide the rest into three groups: 1 – consignment, 2- charity, 3- trash. There are plenty of people out there who will enjoy all that you don’t anymore. Rule 3. Wait another few months just to make sure you’re not missing any of your removed items, but then, without looking inside the boxes, kiss them goodbye swiftly and forever. Now you have new space and freedom to refresh your wardrobe, and maybe your life. Megan Simons is owner of Pippa Pelure, a fine fashion boutique in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. Contact her at pippapelure@

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The blue The blue horizon horizon of Tampa of Tampa Bay stretching Bay stretching across across banks banks of glass of glass is theisview the view you’llyou’ll relishrelish everyevery time time you return you return homehome to this totruly this truly beautiful beautiful condominium condominium in in downtown downtown St. Petersburg’s St. Petersburg’s prestigious prestigious VinoyVinoy Place.Place. As lovely As lovely as the asviews the views are, so are, are soall are 3000 all 3000 sqft of sqft designer of designer livingliving space space withinwithin the home the home itself.itself. EveryEvery detaildetail of this ofastoundingly this astoundingly well-appointed well-appointed condominium condominium is exceptional, is exceptional, from from the chef’s the chef’s kitchen kitchen to thetoalmost the almost unbelievably unbelievably sumptuous sumptuous master master suite.suite.

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Ken LaRoe



People To Watch

Founder, Climate First Bank BY MARCIA BIGGS Growing up in Eustis in Central Florida, Ken LaRoe never really considered himself all that different from his peers. He grew up with a natural respect for all living things and a desire to keep the land, the water, and the air clean and healthy for future generations. “I’ve always been an environmentalist from when I was a teenager,” says the new founder and CEO of Climate First Bank. “They just didn’t have a name for it then.”

Grand Opening Week Climate First Bank celebrates their grand opening with an “Endless Solar Week” July 12-17. Stop by and get to know Climate First Bank and its unique mission to fight the climate crisis. Tuesday, July 13 — Business Professionals Starlight Mingle from 5 to 8 pm. Meet Ken LaRoe and sample wine and cheese selections locally sourced and prepared. Thursday, July 15 — Craft Beer Tasting and Market from 4-7 pm. Free giveaways; local vendors and artisans. Saturday, July 17 — Hello St. Pete! from 9 am – 1 pm. Family--friendly indoor/outdoor summer gathering featuring food trucks, ice cream, vendors, and giveaways.


July/August 2021

Climate First Bank’s mission focuses on supporting environmental sustainability by providing residents and businesses with affordable green loan options for everything ranging from residential and commercial solar panel loans to LEED-certified retrofitting to auto loans for EV and hybrid vehicles and charging stations. What they won’t do is support funding for industries that are not environmentally friendly. “We have an exclusionary policy that we won’t loan to certain businesses, like anything that’s extractive like water bottling, mining, dirty energy, drilling like fracking,” he explains. “My specialty has been small businesses, the backbone of America. Nothing is more fulfilling than helping a small business thrive. And if they want to reduce their carbon footprint, we can help with that, too.” The bank will place a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses committed to sustainability, he added. But back to Ken LaRoe. After college and degrees in business and law, LaRoe found

himself in the banking industry building two community banks from the ground up in Florida. The first, Florida Choice Bank, grew to more than $400 million in total assets before he sold it in 2006. Not knowing precisely where his career path was headed, that’s when he read the book “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” by Yvon Chouinard, the outdoorsman and environmentalist who in 1973 founded Patagonia, a clothing and equipment company based in Ventura, CA. Patagonia is considered a global role-model for its environmentally and socially responsible business practices. It was one of the early members of the global B Corp movement, which advocates for businesses to become a force for good, not just profit. “I read that and thought, ‘that’s what I want to do,’” LaRoe said. “I want to do something more than just make a bunch of people money. I want to do something that gives back.” More motivated than ever, he opened First Green Bank in 2009, the first community bank in the Eastern United States with a mission to promote positive environmental and social responsibility. The bank provided low-interest commercial loans to support green initiatives such as solar and wind energy projects. LaRoe sold the bank to Stuartbased Seacoast Bank in 2018. After a two-year hiatus, LaRoe decided to continue his banking career by opening a “valuesbased” community bank founded on fighting the climate crisis. His search for a flagship location ended up focusing on Tampa Bay and

SPL LIVING when La Roe was invited by Mayor Rick Kriseman and a group of business leaders to come take a look at St. Pete, he liked what he saw. “It was a compelling pitch,” he said. “It’s a good market, a good community fit. St. Pete had all the right boxes checked.” You could almost say St. Pete and Climate First Bank are a match made in heaven. In 2008, the city was recognized by the Florida Green Building Coalition as the first Green City in Florida. An Office of Sustainability & Resiliency with a city sustainability director was created in 2015, and now a forwardthinking city council has created a Health, Energy, Resiliency and Sustainability Committee to support the development of innovative environmental solutions across all neighborhoods. As a coastal community facing ongoing challenges in the fight against sea level rise, St. Petersburg is clearly a city that needs to take climate change seriously. LaRoe opened Climate First Bank in early June in an environmentally friendly ocean blue home on Central Avenue. He’s

renting the space now, but created strict measures to be carbon neutral (practices that offset the production of carbon emissions), incorporating eco-friendly practices from low VOC paint to recycling. He hired a staff of senior executives and local professionals who share his collective mission to do the right thing. While he still makes Central Florida his home, La Roe and wife Cindy are looking for a residence in St. Pete. “The last 9 years of my life has been a journey to do better and better and see what a difference I can make,” he says. And, of course, he walks the walk. He drives a Prius, is a committed recycler, and his house is covered in solar panels. Plans are to expand Climate First with branches across Central Florida, including Tampa and Winter Park, he adds. Climate First Bank is located at 5301 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. To learn more, go to or call (727) 335-0500.

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Q & A with Best of Tampa Bay Dentist – Dr. David Sherberg, DMD Q: What was your inspiration for founding Bayway Dental? I’ve been a resident of St. Pete for almost a decade now and love it here. The first thing I noticed upon moving here was the need for a patient-first practice that could cater to the specific needs of those who wanted the best and wanted it delivered with the utmost attention to both comfort and quality. So I decided to build a practice that provides just that. Q: You’ve been voted “Best Dentist of Tampa Bay” for several years running among multiple different platforms. What has contributed to your success? People don’t like coming to the dentist. Instead of running from that fact, we built a practice to make solving dental problems as easy, efficient, and comfortable as possible from the moment you walk through the door to the moment your treatment has been completed. Q: How have you helped people who have neglected their dental care overcome their fears? We cater to those who fear the dentist by providing a patient experience as transparent and efficient as possible. We run on time, which means if your appointment is at 10:00 AM that’s when you’ll be called back. We offer amazing sedation options. Our sedation menu includes simple nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral and IV sedation with a medical anesthesiologist. We find the right sedation level for every patient who needs it and, of course, we never judge anyone for their dental anxiety.

Q: What is your typical patient like? Most have major dental needs that would typically require multiple dental specialists to treat. They have been avoiding the dentist for years, things are getting worse, and they want a healthy mouth after years of struggle. Our patients want an advocate. They want to push that “Easy Button” we all search for sometimes when things seem overwhelming. They want someone to say, “Here’s what’s wrong, here are your options, let’s figure out what works best for you and let’s rock this.” Q. How is your practice philosophy different than other dental offices? Our goal is to get your smile healthy as comfortably and efficiently as possible. I admire the courage my patients have and sympathize with their anxiety. I ensure they feel cared for and confident. Such a relationship is paramount to overcoming dental anxiety. If someone needs complex work under sedation, I often block an entire day so that I can perform most of the dentistry in a single visit (a visit that patients often sleep through). As a result, treatment that would often require ten or more appointments is completed far sooner. Q: What does it mean to be a One-Stop-Shop? Specialization in medicine is a wonderful thing, however, needing five different dentists to fix all your dental issues can be overwhelming. I have dedicated my career to learning the most common procedures in all specializations of dentistry, allowing me to perform most, if not all, treatments in my office. This allows me to address complex dental needs in my office instead

About Dr. Sherberg, DMD After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Sherberg opted to continue his education with an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has received extensive dental implant continuing education, including the Full Arch Guided Surgery and Immediate Teeth certification from The

Pikos Institute, and membership in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Often in the spotlight, he has been featured on ABC News, CBS and has received numerous “Best Dentist” awards throughout his career. He was recently voted Best Dentist of Tampa Bay out of a competitive group of over 1,000 dentists.

of sending patients out for multiple consultations before even beginning treatment. Of course, no one person can master all facets of dentistry, so when necessary I do refer to carefully vetted specialists. I will attend the procedure with the specialist to ensure the work fits into the overall plan. It goes back to that idea of being a patient’s advocate for their health and well-being. Q: Why do you love being a business owner in St. Pete? It’s been incredible to live here and witness its growth over the

years. I feel truly blessed to be able to treat my friends, family, and neighbors in such a paradise of a city. The community has embraced my practice and the vibrance of this city has made us feel like we are part of something special. Q: What is your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment was convincing my amazing wife to marry me and then having two wonderful children with her. Nothing will ever trump that.

Discover Your Smile

Your One-Stop-Shop Dentist in St. Pete 5008 34th St S, St Petersburg FL 33711

727-914-2707 •

Meridith worked with Dr. Sherberg on a customized solution for her to regain her beautiful smile and ability to chew. She was thrilled with her natural looking smile!

Thank you St. Pete for voting us Best Dentist!


By DOUG KING Nothing is worse than trying to deal with all of life’s issues and then throwing in a visit by a hurricane. Get ahead of the game and start preparing your home now. If you wait until a storm is imminent, you will not be able to get everything done before you need to leave and/or before the storm hits.

Here are actions you should take to secure your property and prepare for summer storms. Home Exterior • Start at one corner of your lot and walk the perimeter, working your way in toward your house. Look for dead trees and limbs. Have these cut down or trimmed as soon as possible. They become deadly missiles during high winds. • Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure none are loose. Tighten if they are. • Check your roof to make sure you do not have any loose shingles or tiles or that you might have a problem area that might be the cause of a leak during heavy, prolonged rain. Loose items, especially tiles, cause a lot of damage. (Call a licensed roofing company if you don’t like climbing ladders.) • Check fencing; make sure there are no loose panels and that the gates are properly secured to the post structure. • Check around all windows and doors to see if there any gaps where wind-driven rain might penetrate. Caulk as needed. Replace any broken or damaged ones; consider getting Impact Resistant (IR) replacements or replacing all in your house with IR’s. • Check awnings and shutters, make sure they are not loose or rusted where they could easily become dislodged during high winds. Repair as needed. • If you have a garage door and it is not reinforced for high winds, call a reputable garage door company and have them reinforce your door or install a new one to meet the wind codes for your area. This is one of the weakest parts of your home’s envelope.


July/August 2021

• If you have rolldown shutters that protect your windows and doors, test them to make sure they are in full operational mode. Fully close and open every one of them. Home Interior • Walk from room to room with a video camera or camera, recording all personal items in each room, including closets and garage. Make a copy, keeping one in your getaway bag. I suggest sending one to a relative that lives in an area not prone to hurricanes. • Identify a water-proof container that you can easily locate in a hurry. Put all valuable documents in the container such as insurance papers, wills, financials and, of course, family photos. • Identify a large bag/suitcase that you can easily locate when in a hurry. This becomes your Getaway Bag. It would be wise to go ahead and stock it with batteries, flashlights and several waterproof zip-lock bags. You can pack your other items when a storm is predicted to hit your area within one week. If a Storm is Approaching Once you have determined that you need to leave your house and/ or that a storm is heading your way, there are several things you should do to help reduce damage to your own property and to your neighbors. Start at one corner of your lot and walk the perimeter, working your way in toward your house. Look for dead trees and limbs once again. You may need to remove those yourself at this point since most tree companies are either booked solid or making their own preparations to evacuate. As you walk your property, keep working your way in towards your

HOME & GARDEN house. Decorative landscaping items such as small rocks, pebbles, lighting, gnomes and bird feeders/baths can also become missiles. Gather all of these and put in garage, closet or storage. For rocks, pebbles or other landscaping materials you cannot remove, stake down a landscape cloth (readily available at big box hardware) over these areas. Be sure to make the material taunt and that all stake connections are secure. This will keep those materials from disappearing in high winds and keep them from becoming missiles.

Grab your waterproof container with aforementioned important docs, adding other documents that you deem not replaceable (stock certificates, etc.)

Also remove any signs, such as real estate or contractor signs and all lawn furniture. If you do not have room for lawn furniture inside, tightly secure them with rope or chains to a sturdy tree in your yard. If you do not have a tree but do have a pool, sink your furniture in the pool, assuming it is indeed waterproof! Check gutters one last time. It’s probably too late to worry about the roof unless you can make repairs quickly yourself. Check fencing and gates one last time.

If you are in an area prone to flooding, put your furniture on blocks a couple of feet off the floor. Remove all items from the floor, stacking in closets as high as possible. This in case the water rises enough to enter your home. (This will not do much good if a direct hit of a Cat 3 or higher occurs.)

If you plan to leave Fill your vehicle(s) fuel tanks and pack two weeks of light-weight

Doug King, CR, MBA, CGC is NARI National Chairman of The Board 2021/2022.

clothing (per person). Grab your Getaway Bag; check for batteries, flashlights and waterproof baggies. Add a lot of bottled water, a battery operated portable radio, toiletries, feminine products and games for children (with plenty of batteries). Assume you may be somewhere without power for two weeks.

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July/August 2021


It’s summer, the pandemic is winding down, and we can finally breathe a sigh of relief as we venture out with regained confidence. So what better time to introduce our Best of St. Pete list, which hopefully will inspire you to get out and enjoy all our vibrant city has to offer. Conde

Nast Traveler magazine’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Award ranked St. Pete in the “Top 10 Best Big Cities in the US.” Here we offer some of the many reasons why we agree, compiled by our St. Pete Life staff. Marcia Biggs, Editor

Dining Out



best SEAFOOD 1 Sea Salt 2 Alto Mare 3 400 Beach 4 BoneFish 5 Trophy Fishy



1 Annata Wine Bar 2 Bacchus 3 Must Wine Loft 4 Lolita’s Wine Shop 5 Try Wine

July/August 2021

best STEAKHOUSE 1 Rococo 2 Beau & Mo’s 3 Ruth Chris 4 1200 Chophouse 5 Renzo’s


1 Social Roost 2 Berkeley Beach Club 3 The Library 4 Red Mesa Cantina 5 The Mill

BEST OF ST. PETE best ASIAN 1 Hawkers 2 Buya 3 La V 4 Alesia 5 Pacific Counter

best AMERICAN 1 Parkshore Grille 2 Rococo Steak 3 Urban Stillhouse 4 Birch & Vine 5 Brick & Mortar

best MEXICAN 1 Red Mesa Cantina 2 Nueva Cantina 3 Bodega 4 Grand Hacienda 5 Sea Dog Cantina

best COFFEE SHOP 1 Kahwa 2 Beans & Barlour 3 Intermezzo 4 Bandit 5 Sumitra

best PASTRY/DESSERTS 1 Cassis Bakery 2 Craft Kafe 3 Café Mozart 4 Valhalla 5 Swah-Rey



1 Urban Stillhouse 2 Teak 3 Sauvignon Wine Locker and American Trattoria 4 Social Roost 5 The Dewey at Berkeley Beach Club

Urban Stillhouse

July/August 2021


BEST OF ST. PETE best ITALIAN 1 Il Ritorno 2 Gratzzi 3 Pia’s Trattoria 4 BellaBrava 5 Noble Crust

best FRENCH 1 Cassis 2 The Left Bank 3 Bacchus 4 Alsace 5 Café Soleil

Il Ritorno


best CASUAL 1 Dr. BBQ 2 Datz 3 Doc Ford’s 4 Ford’s Garage 5 400 Beach



July/August 2021


Drinking Out best SOCIAL SCENE 1 The Canopy 2 Flute & Dram 3 Pier Teaki 4 Intermezzo 5 Ruby’s Elixir

best LGBTQ

1 Enigma 2 Cocktail 3 Punky’s Bar and Grill 4 The Garage on Central 5 Lucky Star Lounge

best LIVE MUSIC 1 The Floridian 2 Grand Central Brewing 3 The Ale and the Witch 4 Ruby’s Elixir 5 Jannus Landing

best DOG-FRIENDLY BAR 1 Dog Bar 2 Green Bench Brewing 3 Pinellas Ale Works 4 Ferg’s Sports Bar 5 3 Daughters

Dog Bar



Grand Central Brewing

1 Grand Central Brewing 2 3 Daughters 3 Green Bench 4 Pinellas Ale Works 5 Flying Boat July/August 2021



Arts & Culture best EVENT

1 St. Pete Grand Prix 2 Saturday Morning Market 3 Second Saturday Art Walk 4 St. Anthony’s Triathlon 5 Savor St. Pete Festival


1 Shine Mural Festival 2 Pride 3 First Night 4 Shopapalooza 5 Mainsail Arts Festival

best INDEPENDENT ART GALLERY 1 Duncan McClellan Galleries 2 Florida CraftArt 3 Brenda McMahon Gallery 4 ArtsxChange 5 Luis Sottil Studios Shine Mural


1 James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art 2 The Dali 3 Imagine Museum 4 Museum of Fine Arts 5 Morean Arts Center

James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art


July/August 2021


First Flight


1 Shine Murals 2 Bending Arc at The Pier 3 First Flight at The Pier 4 Gladiolus at St. Pete Police Headquarters 5 Sundial Dolphins

Bending Arc at The Pier


1 Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater 2 The Palladium 3 Williams Park Bandshell 4 Studio@620 5 Jannus Landing

best PERFORMING ARTS 1 American Stage 2 Freefall Theatre 3 St. Pete Opera 4 Florida Orchestra

American Stage, Hairspray

July/August 2021




Health & Wellness best HOSPITALS




1 Bayfront Health 2 Johns Hopkins All Children’s 3 St. Anthony’s Hospital 4 St. Petersburg General

1 Bayway Dental 2 Kristine Marshall, DDS 3 Rosemarie Marquez, DMD, PA 4 Klement Family Dental 5 St. Pete Smiles

1 Woodhouse Day Spa 2 Tranquility Wellness Spa 3 Spa Oceana at Don Cesar 4 Harmony Eco Spa 5 Coco Med Spa

1 Body Electric 2 Anytime Fitness 3 Crossfit9 4 YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg 5 Orangetheory

Woodhouse Day Spa

Working best CO-WORKING SPACE 1 Rising Tide Innovation Center 2 Station House 3 Thrive 4 Clear Labs 5 Sunshine Kitty Catfe


Rising Tide Innovation Center


July/August 2021

1 The Greenhouse 2 Tampa Bay Innovation Center 3 Entrepreneurial Academy (St. Pete Chamber) 4 Synapse Summit/USF 5 Dali Innovative Labs


Fun Stuff

Cross Bay Ferry

best PLACE TO TAKE VISITORS 1 The Pier 2 St. Pete Beach 3 St. Pete Waterfront Park Trail 4 The Dali 5 Cross Bay Ferry


1 Vinoy Gulf Course 2 Mangrove Bay 3 Cypress Links at Mangrove Bay 4 Pasadena Yacht and Country Club 5 Twin Brooks Golf Course

best DATE

1 American Stage in the Park 2 Cross Bay Ferry 3 Rowdies and Rays Games 4 The Pier 5 Movies and Dinner at Sundial

best BOAT CHARTER 1 Sailing Florida Charters 2 Tampa Bay Yacht Charter 3 St. Pete Beach Charters 4 Tierre Verde Boat Rentals 5 Bada Bing Watersports


1 Saturday Morning Market 2 Fort de Soto Park 3 Mural Bike Tour 4 Preserve the Burg Walk 5 Weedon Island Kayaking PHOTO /VISIT ST. PETE CLEARWATER

best THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS 1 Boyd Hill Nature Preserve 2 Explorations Children’s Museum 3 Splashpad at The Pier 4 Tampa Bay Discovery Center 5 Fort de Soto Park

Splash Pad at The Pier

July/August 2021



Shopping best WOMENS BOUTIQUE 1 Pippa Pelure 2 Jackie Z 3 Misred 4 Coastal Soul 5 Tipsy Mermaid

best MENS BOUTIQUE 1 Sartorial 2 Tommy Bahama 3 Adventures in Paradise 4 Atlas Body + Home

best WINE SHOPS 1 Mazzaro Italian Market 2 Lolitas Wine Market 3 4th and Vine 4 Try Wine 5 Must Wine

best OPTICAL/EYEWEAR 1 VIP Eyecare and Eyewear 2 Optik! 3 Dr. Paul Fisher and Associates 4 The Optic Shop 5 Pasadena Eye Center

best VINTAGE/CONSIGNMENT 1 (Re)treat 2 Designers’ Consigner 3 Designer Exchange 4 Vintage Modern 5 Vintage Marche

best UNIQUE HOME FURNISHINGS 1 The Bungaleaux 2 Doma Home Furnishings 3 Zazoo’d 4 Treehouse Gallery 5 Coastal Cottage



July/August 2021


Lifestyle best PRIVATE SCHOOL 1 Canterbury School of Florida 2 The French American School 3 Shorecrest Preparatory School 4 St. Petersburg Christian School 5 St. Petersburg Catholic High School



1 Big Man’s Moving 2 Phil Graham Landscape Architecture 3 Arbor Source Tree Care 4 One Neighbor 5 Two Maids and a Mop


COMMUNITY SERVICE 1 PARC 2 St. Petersburg Rotary 3 Casa St. Petersburg 4 St. Pete Free Clinic 5 Metro Inclusive Health


1 22 South Food Hall 2 St. Pete Innovation District 3 Tropicana Field Re-Do 4 Sunrunner Downtown to Beach Rapid Transit 5 St. Pete Opera Popera

best PLACE TO GET MARRIED 1 The Don Cesar 2 The Renaissance Vinoy 3 Sunken Gardens 4 The Dali Avant Garden 5 Sunset on St. Pete Beach

The Don Cesar

best PLACE TO GET ENGAGED 1 The Dali Avant Garden 2 Under the Bending Arc at The Pier 3 Sunset on St. Pete Beach 4 Charter a Yacht 5 On the Big Screen at a Rays Game

best PET SERVICES/CARE 1 Bay Paws Pet Resort 2 Love My Dog 3 Pawsitively Posh Pooch 4 Petworks 5 Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming

Bay Paws Pet Resort

July/August 2021



What makes us different from the others? • Our trucks - 5 of our 7 trucks are brand new and we clean them OFTEN! This offers reliability. (When I was younger I used the cheapest mover I could find and my furniture got cockroaches from the moving truck!)

Standing tall at 6’8, Josh Anderson is local giant and entrepreneur of Big Man’s Moving Company. He jokes, “Actually, my wife is the owner, I’m just the mascot!” Brooke Anderson adds, “He calls me the brains, and I call him the brawn.” • Our Employees - All of our employees are full time, professional movers covered by workers comp. We joke that they’re “womanapproved” because Brooke hires all of the guys. “If I wouldn’t have them in my home, I wouldn’t send them to yours.” All of our employees have been background checked and drug screened. We do not hire day laborers or random people from Craigslist who can be bartending one day, landscaping the next, and moving your home the next.

• Agreements - We send the customer an agreement to sign upon booking giving them peace of mind we will be there on moving day! Summer is the busy season for movers and we get calls daily from people who have been no-showed on moving day. • Owners - We started this business because we had a poor experience with a local mover in 2016. The customer experience is most important to us, and we strive to make a stressful day smooth and easy for our customers. If a local, statewide, or out-of-state move is in your future, please complete the form on Open 7 days/week for estimates, packing, and moving. 727-772-3458 •

I highly recommend Big Man’s Moving Company! They are priced competitively and reasonably for all of the services offered. From the first call to their office to the moving day, they have been professional, responsive, and friendly. The day of the move was smooth and efficient. Brandon, Tobias, and Dave were great! They came in ready to work and took great care of every item moved. They exceeded my expectations and I am very happy with my overall experience with Big Man’s Moving Company!


July/August 2021

“Best realtor in St. Pete! Denise found us an amazing home, for the right price and on our schedule before it even hit the market. Denise and her team are tapped in to the St. Pete community--if you want to find a great home in Pinellas County, she’s your realtor. Denise was responsive, easy to work with, and always on time. You won’t go wrong using Denise. I highly recommend her.” - Steve

We have worked with Denise and her team in the sale of 2 houses. She has been spot on in recommending what we needed to prep for the sale to facilitate interest and sale. They were there for us through the entire process. I trusted their input. Selling is stressful but the made it easier. Highly recommend! - Will

The Results Are In...

and there really is a difference in The Denise Antonewitz Home Team! I would hire her again and again. If you want someone who will quickly sell your property, get the best price and always answer the phone, then she is for you. Go A-Team!! - Deb

Denise and her team hit it out the park again!! She and the team exceed expectations and are there all the way through and after the transaction. We have recommended her to our friends and family with all have 5 star experiences!! - Mike

I have nothing but high praise for the consistent level of professionalism, caring and real estate expertise provided to me by Denise and her Extraordinary A Team! They provided a stress-free experience and it was delivered to me 100% of the time! ...I truly enjoyed working with my fabulous agent Erin who was extremely responsive to my questions and requests and never wavered from sharing her high level of knowledge and passion in the mortgage arena. I would not hesitate to recommend Denise and her team to my friends and family...” - Tom

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Moving Forward with Eyes Wide Open As Stephanie Gularte leaves the helm at American Stage, she confronts uncertainty about her eyesight and contemplates a reimagined future. BY CINDY STOVALL This is not a story about theater. It’s a story about grace. Confession: This article is personal. Personal because of the openness and candor of Stephanie Gularte – who, by the date of publication, will be the former CEO/Producing Artistic Director at American Stage Theatre Company. Personal because she is a friend that I care very much about who is facing a difficult health challenge, to wit: It can be difficult to separate the journalist, not only from the friend, but from the nurse – which I was for so many years. It’s important to me that I honor our conversation and relay it in a way that not only informs, moves and inspires, but, above all, respects her and reflects exactly what she told me. That’s why, for the most part, Stephanie Gularte is narrating this piece. Over the past six years Gularte has been the guiding light at the helm of St. Petersburg’s top professional equity theater overseeing a half dozen annual productions, including the popular American Stage in the Park outdoor summer series, and a full schedule of summer workshops, apprenticeship programs and community outreach. This interview took place in June, literally on the eve of Raise the Curtain, the 2021-22 season announcement gala – and the last official function of Stephanie Gularte at American Stage. ***



July/August 2021

“I’ve long noticed the little changes,” begins Gularte, referring

to her eyesight. “I have a difficult time adjusting from bright light to darker areas. In theater, that’s a pretty frequent occurrence,” she smiles, “so it became a bit of an inside joke that I often needed help off stage.” “I had experienced some increase in night blindness and at times, just general eyestrain in reading or computer work. But everyone experiences that, right? It didn’t occur to me, as I made an appointment with an optometrist in February 2020, that it could be anything serious. I was noticing changes in my peripheral vision as well. Still, I could never have anticipated what came next.” A Very Bad Day “Friday, March 13, 2020, was not a good day,” explains Gularte. “As the seriousness of COVID-19 became an unavoidable reality for American Stage, it was the day we decided to ‘turn the lights out’ on live performances – hoping, of course, that it would only last a few weeks or maybe a month or so at most. “For me personally, it was the day I received the official result, almost a month after my initial exam, of genetic testing that had been done to confirm a diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa. I had no idea, at that time, what the ramifications were or what it really meant.” Retinitis Pigmentosa, or RP, is a genetic disease of the eyes effecting about one in 4,000 people. It usually appears in childhood, often unnoticed, but can occur at any age. The genetic component of RP is a difficult to isolate gene(s) mutation that causes damage to the light



receptor cells of the retina. Symptoms, like night blindness and peripheral vision loss, are progressive and degenerative - worsening over a period of time, and ultimately resulting in partial or even complete blindness. The spectrum of symptoms, progression and outcome is wide and varies greatly from individual to individual. In Gularte’s case, the disease most likely had a childhood onset and to date, the effected gene in her case has not been identified or isolated, making specific treatment unavailable … for now. “The two realities were happening simultaneously with so much uncertainty around both things – both my diagnosis and the pandemic and its impact. These were two very different, yet very intense scenarios – both professional and personal that I had to get a handle on.”

“The last year and a half has been so incredibly intense, part of me questions my own ability to be a reliable witness to it.”

“Good People” (2016) was the first show I selected for American Stage, and I directed it. That’s when I really felt the connection to the local audience and to the community. And I still think it’s an important play about class in America.

“At the time, as I saw it, I had to focus on American Stage because ultimately, it was MY responsibility to figure things out and come up with a plan. We just had no idea of what kind of timeline we were dealing with or how long a shut-down would be necessary. During that same time, I also knew that I needed to learn more – as much as I could - about my diagnosis.” After discussions with the team and the board members over the following months, by August, she made the decision to share her diagnosis and announce that she would be stepping down.

I was so proud to be the PAD as American Stage completed August Wilson’s American Century Cycle with “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” (2017). We were only the 11th theater in the country to have done so and it meant so much to me.

“Finding an experienced producing artistic director takes time. And it was about what was best for my health. Sharing such personal information and having it be so public was difficult for me – I was concerned that some might think I was trying to garner sympathy. But I had to let that go. For decades, my job had centered around anticipating the way people were going to think and react to something I was responsible for creating – how would it be received by the audience - the critics? Would they like it? I had to find a way to let that go, too. But how do you do that?”


“Theater had been my center for so long and St. Petersburg had become my home. It wasn’t about whether or not I could do the job – though, personally, I had a fear that my overall process might already be impacted by my eyesight,” she recalls. “It was about what was best for American Stage.

I experienced the most pure joy with “Mama Mia” (American Stage in the Park, 2019) – which surprised me because musical theater has never been my specialty, but it was just so much fun and such an incredibly joyful cast!

Continued on next page July/August 2021


ARTS & CULTURE “Over time, I see things much more objectively and I’ve become less panicked. I realize my symptom progression is continuing slowly and I continue to adapt and to focus on the vision that I still have. I diligently keep up with the research. And now, over time I have even become quite optimistic.” Acceptance Though there is currently no treatment for RP in terms of medication or surgery, there are things that can help delay symptom progression. Avoiding stress is a big part of this, says Gularte, which is part of the reason she needed to step back from the theater. A supplement regimen of things like vitamin A and Lutein are important for eye health. Of course, avoiding eye strain as in reading and computer work is important, and it is best to avoid sudden changes from light to dark – another theater constant. “There is promising and active research producing new information all the time,” says Gularte. “Even other research, like stem cell and genetic editing can be potentially relevant to RP.” She continues to go through rounds of genetic testing to try and identify the affected gene specific to her case. That knowledge can lead to making treatment more of a possibility. “No one in my family appears to be affected,” she says, “but my parents are undergoing genetic testing as well to garner as much information as possible. The Foundation for Fighting Blindness has been a true resource and they are doing incredible work.” The Next Act “Theater is a part of me and always will be. It just won’t be my livelihood anymore.” “It is important to me to be prepared for a new reality. That said, I have actually put a lot of time and work into preparations for my ‘next act,’” said Gularte. Over the years she has studied and received certifications in health coaching, personal training, energy management and leadership.

Adaptation Stephanie’s thinking has evolved over time since last August when the announcements were made. “I was not ready to let go of it. Now I am,” she says. “As far as my health, right after diagnosis, I became hyper aware of every perceived change. I was in ‘Oh my God’ mode. Were symptoms progressing rapidly? I couldn’t tell. Looking back at the course of my symptoms over a lifetime has been an almost surreal journey. Symptoms occurred in such small increments over such a long period of time, that I realized I had actually been making adjustments throughout my entire adult life.”


July/August 2021

“I have started an LLC called The Energy Advantage, which integrates creative practices with health and vitality practices through consulting, training, and coaching programs to inspire leaders and businesses to thrive. I am already doing some consulting, but will be officially launching my website on June 30. I am excited to bring together my background in the performing arts, and my leadership and business experience together with my passion for health and fitness to help others.” She plans to head to California this summer to spend time with her family and grown daughter and divide her time between here and there. “I was lucky enough to meet someone very special right before all the uncertainty of COVID and my diagnosis. Amazingly, neither of those things mattered. He has been an amazing source of love and support and I think the best thing I can say is that, despite all the uncertainty, I’ve laughed an awful lot over the past year. I feel very lucky.”

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Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate. *Represented buyer.


The Fine Art of Tattoo

Peter Bogdanov brings his artistic mastery to the ‘Burg with Legend Ink BY MARCIA BIGGS The past year has been a labor of love for the Bogdanov family. How clan head Peter, wife Donna and two grown children landed in St. Pete after nearly three decades of running tattoo shops in California, Hawaii and Oregon, seems to be kismet anchored by a good dose of determination, optimism and sweat. It’s a steamy day in mid-June and we are meeting at the nearly complete BOGDANOV Legend Ink tattoo studio in the heart of downtown. Atop the small storefront, a large bold sign says BOGDANOV – Orchestrating Wonder with a mysterious logo of a winged eyeball topped by a royal crown. Wonder is apropos, as I wonder what it all means. I was about to find out. BOGDANOV is Peter Bogdanov, something of a renaissance man in his jeans, tatts and black BOGDANOV t-shirt, part artistic juggernaut and part businessman. He is an entrepreneur, a family man and a chaser of the American Dream. He is a fine artist who

can tattoo stunning masterpieces on a back or arm or leg, or paint a mural with themes that range from dark fantasy to sunflowers. In 2013, he created Bad Petrovich, a brand of handmade surfboards featuring his custom designs. While they are made for surfing, collectors use them as fine art for offices and home interiors. As creative director of Bogdanov graphic design, he offers brand management, website development and marketing services, all of which he does pretty much single handedly. “ I have the Da Vinci syndrome, I don’t do just one thing,” he jokes. “But I do so many things that from day one I knew I had to be prolific.” The Bogdanovs moved here from the West Coast just a year ago, part of the great exodus. “We had run successful shops in three states, but just before COVID we decided we wanted to be a small family business again,” Bogdanov explains. “It’s hard to beat Hawaii, where do you go

Peter Bogdanov, wife Donna, daughter Natalia and son Isaiah, are at the helm of BOGDANOV Legend Ink in downtown St. Pete.


July/August 2021


Legend Ink is where the Bogdanov planet will be spinning now. (The winged logo belongs to the Bad Petrovich surfboard brand, I later learn, and the eyeball is a Bogdanov signature). Starting with a completely gutted storefront interior, nearly everything in the space has been designed, built and installed by the family over the past 10 months. The gleaming white marble epoxy floor, track and LED lighting, counters, signage and even bathroom were all a team effort. Computers and big LED screens are up and running. Paint bottles are neatly arranged on their shelves. Sleek black leather furnishings, including two brand new tattoo beds, await customers. One can’t help feeling as though they have entered a fine art gallery, not a tattoo studio. Walls are adorned with eyepopping paintings — Peter Bogdanov’s, of course. They are colorful, complex,

almost Dali-esqe in imagery. Mounted along the hallway, a row of glossy colorful surfboards dazzles the eyes, each unique in theme with intricate designs. Facing them on the opposite wall, a collection of hand-painted skateboards made by son Isaiah competes for attention.


after living there? We wanted the warm weather and the water, so we traveled all over Florida scouting a location that would be a good fit not only for the business but as a home. We fell in love with St. Pete. “I liked the idea that St. Petersburg was founded by a Russian railroad magnate and we are Russian (he smiles). And I like the arts scene here. The Dali Museum. The arts districts. It’s really inspiring. We wanted to be downtown and it was high risk deciding to build during COVID, but we believed in what we were doing. “

Some may call this a high-end tattoo parlor, but Peter Bogdanov begs to differ. “We are more of a gallery than a parlor,” Bogdanov explains. “I like to think of it as an operating room rather than a mechanics shop, like some are.” And rightly so. His complex, illustrative body art is the kind that drops jaws and mesmerizes children. Thirty years of experience has led him to specialize in paramedical tattooing. The practice of concealing scars, stretch marks, birthmarks, discolorations or using ink to create anatomic impressions on the body requires a high degree of skill and knowledge in color and anatomy. Bogdanov is an expert in the process, which can take many sessions and run up to $20,000 or more depending on the complexity. He has worked with clients across the country, turning scars into flying dragons or cascading waterfalls. “It takes a lot of knowledge about the human anatomy and how the colors react to various skin surfaces,” he explains. “For example, burn tissue has a very rough texture, the pigment will react different Continued on next page

“My tattoos are paintings. Sculpted layer by layer like pigment to canvas. An evolution from pure thought into precise execution.” – Peter Bogdanov


Meet Peter Bogdanov at the grand opening of BOGDANOV set for 6pm Friday, July 9 at 140 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg FL. To learn more, go to or call (727) 317-8308.

July/August 2021



than on a smooth surface. It takes a lot of experience to know the technique, and how the skin will age, and how a tattoo outline will change form in 10 or 20 years. “I studied anatomy which helped me understand not just skin, but what’s underneath, the bones and muscles, and these are very important things to know when you are working on paramedical tattoos.” Who will be the BOGDANOV client? Walk-ins are welcome, of course, and no job is too small. Surfers and board collectors may want to stop by to check out his collection, too. But Bogdanov figures “Most people who want a custom tattoo are 35 and older and successful in their career,” he says. “Successful because the tattoos can run from $1,200 to $10,000.” The Bogdanovs finally announced a July 9 grand opening. It’s about three months later than they had targeted, but the family is excited. With Donna as office manager and assistant, and Isaiah painting skateboards and focusing on the smaller tatts, BOGDANOV is ready to take tattoo art in St. Pete to a new level.

Top left, Bad Petrovich surfboards designed by Peter Bogdanov. Below right, paramedical tattooing transformed extensive burn tissue scarring into a tropical work of art.


July/August 2021


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How to Attract More Birds to Your Backyard With all the constraints people lived through in 2020, many turned to their own backyards – nature, in particular – for hope, solace, wonder and even entertainment. Despite the worldwide crisis, nature’s normalcy remained intact; flowers continued to bloom, bees continued to pollinate and birds continued to fly and forage food. Feeding birds can be enjoyable for anyone and provide stress relief. A University of Exeter study, focused on nature’s impact on humans in suburban and urban areas, found lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people saw during afternoons at home. The benefits of birdwatching come from seeing lots of birds – quantity not “quality” – the study found. People “felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their gardens,” researchers said. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard. For millions working and schooling from home, this stress reduction was an unintended bonus. Data from 2020 shows sales of bird feed, feeders, nesting boxes and bird houses spiked as interest in backyard birds soared while people spent more time at home. Interest in birding isn’t slowing down. If you haven’t tried attracting birds to your backyard, now is a perfect opportunity to start. The experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products Co. offer these bird feed and feeder basics to attract more birds to your backyard. Feeders A variety of bird feeder types placed at different heights attract more birds than one feeder featuring one seed type. Start with two feeder types that accommodate most feed options. Bowl feeders serve not only seeds but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet. An option like Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder comes with an adjustable dome cover you can raise or lower to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to food and protect it from rain. Traditional tube feeders are all-purpose options for bird feeding,


July/August 2021

especially for small birds that cling. For example, the Terrific Tube Feeder is made with state-of-the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration and includes a quick-clean, removable base to make cleaning fast and easy. Just push a button and the bottom of the feeder pops off for easy access to the inside. Rinse the feeder with soapy water, dunk it into a water-bleach solution at a concentration of 9-to-1, rinse, dry and reattach the bottom. Regular cleaning of feeders is essential for preventing mold, germs and disease. Popular Foods Birdseed: Not all birdseed is created equal. Look for quality blends without cheap filler like red millet and oats. All-natural seed containing no chemicals or mineral oil is safe and more appealing to birds. Top seed picks include all-natural black oil sunflower and Cole’s “Hot Meats” (sunflower meats infused with habanero chili peppers that birds love and squirrels dislike). Or an option like Special Feeder blend, packed with favorites including black oil sunflower, sunflower meats and pecans, attracts the greatest number of wild birds. Insects and Worms: Birds love insects and worms. You can supplement birds’ diets by serving dried mealworms in a packaged variety that’s easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms. Mealworms are packed with energy and contain essential nutrients, fat and protein. Fresh Fruit: Apples, orange halves and bananas are favored fruits. Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, suet is a high-fat food that provides abundant calories, rich nutrition and is a high-energy treat. Using the right feeders and high-quality feed can enhance your backyard and entice more birds, bringing stress relief and enjoyment. For more information on attracting birds to your backyard, visit

HOME & GARDEN HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS Alert St. Pete Stay ahead of the storm with Alert St. Pete. Sign up for notifications during emergency situations affecting St. Petersburg, including mandatory evacuations, hurricane information, flooding events, local emergencies and optional National Weather Service bulletins. Alert St. Pete is similar to Alert Pinellas, used by Pinellas County to communicate emergency information, but covers the city of St. Petersburg. Learn more about Alert St. Pete at stpete. org/news/alerts_stpete. php. Each member of your household can receive emergency notifications.

Evacuation Assistance If you or someone you know requires assistance in an evacuation, now is the time to pre-register. Through the Evacuation Assistance Program, citizens who cannot transport themselves to a shelter will be taken to a general evacuation shelter, a special needs shelter (John Hopkins Middle School, 701 16th St. S., St. Petersburg) or the appropriate facility, such as a hospital or nursing home. Don’t wait. Register for evacuation assistance today at 727-551-3822. Sheltering with Pets These Pinellas County shelters are dog and cat friendly: Oak Grove Middle School 1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater

John Hopkins Middle School 701 16th Street S., St. Petersburg Dunedin Middle School 70 Patricia Avenue, Dunedin Pre-registration for pets is required, so contact Pinellas County Animal Services at 727-582-2600 or register online at Emergency Preparedness Alert Pinellas Emergency Notification Service Find Your Evacuation Level (727) 453-3150 (use home phone) Pinellas County Emergency Management (727) 464-3800

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation presents

Christmas In July July 1–31

Half Page Ad

Your donation can give hope to the extraordinary kids at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital by providing ways for them to cope during their hospital stay.

Find out how you can help: 21-1553721-0621

July/August 2021



Unruly Nature

A wildflower patch of Spanish needles in front of a Pinellas home blooms every spring. Right, attract birds to your yard with a bird bath.

Rewilding your yard can lead to lots of good things for Mother Earth BY MARCIA BIGGS Spring is an ideal time to garden and work on your landscape before the heavy rains and heat of summer. Did the last windstorm leave a few dead branches, leaves and brush in the corner of the backyard? Leave it for the bees. Did a tree die, leaving uncovered snags and holes in the trunk? Hawks and owls need it for shelter. Don’t fill that puddle – it’s perfect for a birdbath. If this all sounds quite untidy, it’s time to learn that a little bit of unruly landscaping can have a big payout when it comes to helping our ecosystem survive in its natural and systematic way. By “rewilding” your yard, you’ll be providing friendly habitat for birds, bugs and critters that provide checks and balances in our natural world. Why should you care? Recent studies reveal that insect numbers are remarkably low – monarch and rusty-patched bumblebee populations are both down nearly 90% in the last 20 years. Plummeting insect populations affect everything: birds and fish can’t eat; portions of our food supply go unpollinated; entire ecosystems are at risk. “There are some things we need to start doing,” says Theresa Badurek, an urban horticultural agent for UF/IFAS Extension,


July/August 2021

Pinellas County. “One is not trying to be so neat everywhere in the landscape. That doesn’t mean just walk away and never maintain the landscape, because you’ll get a letter from code enforcement. But heavily manicured landscapes front to back and side to side are not helping the insects and wildlife. We’re over-doing it. So you do little things like find an area of the yard where you can let it kind of go a little bit. This could be in a side yard or even a corner somewhere.” Brush piles and leaves, for examples, are habitat for numerous insects which provide food for the birds. No yard? Re-wild a large planter or container. Put micromanagement aside and allow natural processes to take over. By encouraging wild plants and insects, we are assisting Mother Nature to do her thing. Living in neighborhoods with HOA restrictions on lawn and flower beds may present challenges. Badurek suggests speaking with management so you can understand what can and cannot be planted or allowed. Can you plant wildflowers which attract bees? Can you have a birdbath or birdhouse? An important consideration if you wish to attract native wildlife is the application of pesticides and fungicides. Many homeowner associations and even individual homeowners contract with

HOME & GARDEN lawn companies that use chemicals to kill insects. Find out what rules are in place with your neighborhood association before considering re-wilding your yard. “For example if you are trying to attract butterflies, they may have recently applied an insecticide or fungicide that would harm those butterflies, so it’s really important to know what’s being applied,” Badurek said. “Find out what they are spraying.” (The IFAS ag program recommends spot treating over broad application, and only when there is no other way to control it.) “Another thing to do is at the nursery,” she adds. “When purchasing plants make sure they have not been treated, they should be labeled as such. Chat groups are filled with warnings to avoid big box store milkweed, claiming it’s often raised with

What is Rewilding? Rewilding is a deliberate shift from human-centered, intensively managed landscapes to humans sharing their lands with the rest of nature. It is an intentional practice of restoring native plants in urban, suburban, and rural landscapes to reverse habitat loss, support ecosystems services, and bring nature back into our daily lives.

pesticides which are toxic to monarchs.” Rewilding can be adjusted to just about any landscape and often takes no work at all. While European honeybees gather in hives, some 4,000 species native to North America are hole and ground nesters, making their homes underground or in hollow stems or holes in trees. Creating backyard habitat for these vital pollinators is as easy as keeping patches of sandy bare yard or the trunk of a dead tree. Leave bushy plants bushy that provide berries for birds such as beautyberry and coffee plants. Stop raking leaves. Plant some wildflower seeds. Got a fence? Grow passion flowers or Dutchman’s pipe which attract bees and butterflies. In other words, cut back on yard work and go wild! Restoring your yard with native plants is not just about planting, but also preserving existing native vegetation. Sometimes mowing less or removing invasive plants is all that is needed to encourage native plants to make a comeback and return these landscapes to the vibrant species-rich places they once were. -


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NEWS BRIEFS From the Heart

Ten non-profits are benefitting from the kindness and generosity of a St. Pete couple in an expression of support as they celebrate their 25th anniversary. Trevor Burgess and Gary Hess announced in June that they are distributing $250,000 to 10 charitable and support organizations and institutions which work to promote culture, education, or serve at-risk communities. “We’ve built, together, two successful businesses in St. Petersburg and we decided we wanted to give back to our community,” Burgess explained during an interview with Spectrum Bay News 9. “ So we picked 10 organizations, many that we have worked with before and some that are in special need right now, and decided that we would make 10 $25,000 gifts.” The recipients include: • St. Petersburg Free Clinic to help with food insecurity as our community recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19 • Metro Inclusive Health to help improve health outcomes in the LGBTQ+ community • Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum to their

new building capital campaign so that the story of St. Petersburg’s Black community can be further celebrated • Shorecrest Preparatory School towards diversity focused materials for the new Hess Library and Media Center, named in memory of Gary’s father, Gerald Hess, himself a former school librarian • ACT St Pete and their afterschool programs focused on under-served at-risk communities in Pinellas County • Florida Holocaust Museum for building improvements to educate future generations about the dangers of antisemitism and hatred • The Dalí Museum • Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg, FL in support of their mission to educate high achieving middle school children in St. Petersburg • Equality Florida towards their passionate fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ citizens of Florida • thestudio@620, St. Petersburg’s home for the arts, social justice, and community issues “These ten gifts totaling $250,000 are our way of saying thank you, and to celebrate our love with St. Pete,” the couple said in a contribution letter.

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NEWS BRIEFS Twirlers, Marchers and Musicians

The Greater St. Petersburg Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Adult Marching Band is gearing up for its 40th season and will celebrate by marching in the famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2022. The group has announced a call for new members with rehearsals to begin this summer. Membership information is available at The more than 400-member strong all-adult marching band gives former high school, college and military band members a chance to perform a second time around in parades and field show exhibitions. Members include not just musicians, but a color guard (flags and rifles), twirlers, dancers, and an honor guard. The organization draws members aged 18-80 from all over Tampa Bay, Sarasota, and other parts of Central Florida. In 2019, The Second Time Arounders performed for a worldwide television audience at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Bayfront Announces Expansion

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg plans to build a new emergency room and medical pavilion at 1800 66th St. N. The hospital bought the four-acre property in March for $6.55 million. On the site, Bayfront will build a three-story, 42,000-square-foot building. It will have a 14,000-square-foot emergency room on the ground floor and space for future medical offices on the second and third floors. Construction will begin this fall and projected opening in January 2023.

St. Anthony’s Triathlon is Back After being postponed, cancelled and rescheduled due to COVID concerns, the popular St. Anthony’s Triathlon will hit the streets of St. Pete October 1-3. As in previous years, weekend events will feature the main Triathlon, Sprint Triathlon, and the Meek & Mighty Triathlon. St. Anthony’s Triathlon has been named “Race of the Year” by USA Triathlon and has served as a qualifier for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. Athletes from 44 states, six U.S. territories and 17 countries have participated in recent years. Entry is limited; go to for more information.

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July/August 2021



Sleek BMW M550i is a Cool Cat and a Hidden Tiger BMW M550i Wheelbase: 117.1 inches Length: 195.8 inches Width: 73.5 inches Height: 58.4 inches Fuel capacity: 18 gallons Mileage: city 17, highway 25 Weight: 4,275 pounds Base price: $76,800 Price as tested: $93,735 Web site:

BY NITISH S. RELE More lush and plush than sport. That’s been the recent buzz around the BMW 5 Series. The 2021 M550i, though, should put that notion to rest. Introduced in 1972, the current midsize luxury sport sedan masks its crouching tiger potential under a formal luxury countenance. However, start the car and its fierce side leaps to the call. Zero to 60 has been pared to 3.6 seconds as the car dashes to its 155 mph top speed. Powered by a 4.4-liter twinpower turbocharged V-8 gasoline engine, the BMW cranks out 523 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque @ 4600 rpm. Mated to a standard and flawless 8-speed auto gearbox, it’s even more fun with the steering wheel paddle shifters. A double wishbone front end and a 5-link rear system provide a comfortable and competent suspension. However, the standard adaptive M suspension is specially tuned to enhance nimbleness and poise when pushing pedal to the metal. And the electric power rack-and-pinion steering has a solid, in-tune feel, making the car easy to place in the arc when taking a sharp turn. For 2021, BMW designers have restyled the front sheet metal with a taller and wider kidney grille with more pronounced vertical slats and re-sculpted adaptive LED headlights. M Sport brakes with blue calipers make for a bit of flash as the car whips past. Walk to the rear where black edges around the fresh L-shaped tail lamps


July/August 2021

and trapezoidal tail pipe finishers meld into the lower bumper area. As soon as we stepped into the airy well-appointed cabin, we observed that the digital instrument display and the infotainment touch screen are now an enormous 12.3 inches each (up from previous 10.2 inches). The cognac Dakota leather seats are not only eye-catching but snug. Trunk volume (with a hidden bin) is a cool 14 cubic feet. Other niceties include auto a/c, power moon roof and tail gate, Anthracite headliner, 20-way power front seats, 40/20/40 fold rear seat, and more. Standard features for the street racer? Dual front and side airbags and side curtain airbags with dynamic stability and traction control; four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic brake distribution and brake assist; rearview camera; front/rear park distance control; active braking assist (lane departure warning, blind spot monitor/detect, rear-cross traffic alert, city collision mitigation); daytime running lights; and tire pressure monitoring. As we said at the outset, the M550i is not just about indulgences. The forceful engine with more than 500 horses, the M label and all the tricks it designates, the pricey ride brings the intensity of a leaping tiger to the table, and justifies its nearly $100K price. Nitish S. Rele, editor/publisher of Motoring Tampa Bay ( and Khaas Baat (, is a former automotive editor/columnist for The Tampa Tribune. He can be reached at

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When I learned this issue would focus on “The Best of St. Petersburg,” one of my favorite endeavors during my stint at the Tampa Bay Times came to mind. Every year, I would write an ode to Tampa Bay, listing some of my favorite pastimes, dining experiences and timely observations by completing a simple sentence with multiple answers. Now, St. Pete Life has granted me the opportunity to renew the practice with a specific focus on St. Petersburg. Without further ado, and with the help of a few friends, I offer up this irreverent look at all that makes St. Pete “the best.” PHOTO/CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG

You haven’t lived in St. Petersburg until you have… … gone to the beach and stayed there through an afternoon rain storm. … seen Abraham Lincoln at the Dali Museum. … fretted over not bringing cash for the cheeseburgers at the Chattaway. … admitted that after all the hue and outcry and gnashing of teeth, the new St. Pete Pier turned out pretty good. … laid under the Pier’s Bending Arc sculpture at night. … had the lunch lasagna at CD Roma. … worn pajamas to get extra deals at the annual Sunrise Sale in downtown St. Petersburg. … bought barbecue from the man in the tux at the Saturday Morning Market. … sat by the pool at the Hollander Hotel. … snuck away from work and had lunch at The Big Catch at Salt Creek. … watched volunteers at the United


July/August 2021

Way Suncoast’s Campbell Park Resource Center bounce to the sounds of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly while distributing food. (Note: The editor will allow one self-serving reference to this columnist’s fulltime employer.) … escaped to The Getaway on Gandy Boulevard. … savored the gumbo at Chef’s Creole Cafe. … gotten lost trying to navigate the 66th Street/Tyrone Boulevard/22nd Avenue intersection. … come to the realization this mayoral race is totally unpredictable. … rooted for the “new” Manhattan Casino and 22 South Food Hall to succeed. … found your way to the Meatball Smash at Noble Crust. … asked, “Can Congressman Charlie Crist shock the political world and be elected Florida’s governor, again?”

SPL LIVING … witnessed an art exhibit, theatre or dance performance or attended a poetry reading or art market at thestudio@620, a cultural institution founded by the great Bob Devin Jones. … vibed on a Rod Wave song because the St. Petersburg native is one of hip-hop’s top artists. … gone on a quest for the area’s holy grail: a parking spot in downtown St. Petersburg on a weekend night. … rode the Central Avenue trolley from downtown to the beach. … envisioned how a new Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American History Museum would add even more luster to the city’s collection of museums. … nabbed an open table at the St. Pete Grand Prix floating bar and had strangers come up to talk just because they wanted to sit down. … paddled a kayak in the mangrove tunnels around Weedon Island. … voted for the athlete of the week on the PrimeTime Preps web site.

… visited Sacred Lands, the West St. Petersburg site of an ancient Tocobaga village dating from the 900’s to 1500’s. … experienced the Collard Green Festival in the Historic Deuces Live District. … snuck into the Don Cesar pool without being a guest. (Note: this magazine does not condone or encourage non-guests to use the Don Cesar pool.) … had a drink at historic Jungle Prada Tavern and sat on the dock afterwards. … designated a local brewery as your favorite. … gone to an improv comedy show at Spitfire Comedy House.

… listened to Alex Harris sing “Millionaire” and wondered why the talented local artist isn’t a millionaire.

Ernest Hooper is the vice president of communications for the United Way Suncoast, and a former Tampa Bay Times columnist. His public affairs program, That’s All I’m Saying, airs on WEDU-PBS.

There you have some of the reasons St. Pete is “the best.”

… made friends with the dog sitting next to your table at one of the city’s outdoor restaurants.

… watched “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” just to see St. Petersburg’s Eugenie Bondurant.

… taken portraits in front of any of St. Petersburg’s downtown murals.

July/August 2021



MFA Collaboration Brings a Regional Focus Mommy always Painter Ezra Johnson’s taught us sharing mesmerizing “River is a good thing. A Table” is a looping new exhibit, Skyway video of watching trash 20-21: Contemporary flow serenely atop the Collaboration, takes Hillsborough River. this lesson to heart The objects from foam by sharing the work cups and straws to of 49 artists and art plastic water bottles collectives working in are animated but gain Hillsborough, Manatee, significance knowing Pinellas and Sarasota they were all collected counties. Four regional by the artist along the museums — the banks of his riverside Museum of Fine Arts, studio or while kayaking. St. Petersburg; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota; the Tampa In a larger gallery, the 15-foot-long “In Big Pharma We Trust” by Museum of Art and the University of South Florida Contemporary Savannah Magnolia is painted on seven panels in bright cartoon Art Museum — came together to select and show work from a colors. At first it appears whimsical, with clouds of neon pink and diversity of local artists who address, in various media, the natural blue, and flying birds amid upward swirling curls. Closer inspection environment. discovers the birds are actually prescription capsules with wings and Come join the Rotary Club of St Petersburg tothe help us make a difference. clouds are emissions from factory smokestacks. Skyway 20-21: Visit to see the causes we are working for in our community. The 15 curated artists on display at MFA are as different as can be Contemporary Collaboration is food for thought. from photography to painting to sculpture, telling stories of the Contact usdegradation through theofwebsite call Sherri Crouse find outAugust how 22. beauty of nature and the Florida’s or sensitive ecology. The304-416-2097 exhibit continuestothrough YOU can meet with us Fridays at noon at the SPYC.

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ARTS BRIEFS The St. Petersburg Museum of History has announced it will remain open until 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays through July 31. The “Historic Summer Nights” promotion will feature $9 admission after 5 pm both nights. Regular admission prices are in effect from 10 am to 5 pm. (Hint: This makes a great “date night” if you include a stroll along The Pier afterwards). Be sure to catch Building the Sunshine City exhibit and the World’s Largest Collection of autographed baseballs (Little Cooperstown). Head to the entrance of The Pier at 335 2nd Avenue NE. Leave it to those creatives at freeFall Theatre to come up with another unique show (we’re talking about you Eric Davis). After a successful drive-in musical series, freeFall moves back inside with an interactive production that allows guests to walk through Francesca Lia Block’s bestselling novel The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold. Through visual storytelling, set design, original music and

augmented reality, audience members will walk (or roll if you have a wheelchair) through a series of nine spaces with each space devoted to the retelling of nine classic fairy tales. (Note: This experience relies on the Zappar app and your fully charged cell phone. Those without will be able to loan one.) Must book a date and time slot in advance at freefalltheatre. com. Tickets $39/$49 per person, runs through August 8. No hankies needed for American Stage’s summer production of “Romeo and Juliet in America (The One With the Happy Ending)” being performed July 21-August 1 at Williams Park bandshell in the heart of downtown St. Pete. L. Peter Callender directs a bold and modern retelling of Shakespeare’s most romantic tragedy in which we imagine how two young lovers, caught in the middle of their feuding families, might meet a different fate. Through party crashing, street fights and clandestine encounters, the plot twists and turns toward a stunning new

conclusion where love may just conquer all. Seating is general admission on the lawn, bring a blanket to sit near the stage, or a chair to sit behind the blanket area. Tickets $30-$50; go to Looking for something fun to learn during the long, hot summer? Tickle your creative itch and take on the potter’s wheel or design your own piece of metal jewelry at Morean Arts Center’s summer classes and workshops. Final summer session for classes begins July 19 and dabbles in lots of fun stuff from painting to jewelry making, glass blowing, photography, clay and print making. Most classes are 3 to 6 weeks. Or pick up some stage chops with an Artsy Improv workshop with actor John Huls Hot Date in the Hot Shop teaches couples handson glass art every Friday from 6 to 9 pm (advance registration required). To register, go to or call 727.822.7872. By the way, the annual Morean Members Exhibit runs July 10 through August 26.






Raise the Curtain for American Stage Outgoing artistic director Stephanie Gularte was presented with an original Duncan McClellan glass vase at the American Stage’s Raise the Curtain Gala on June 11.


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July/August 2021

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Rotary Donates to Free Clinic Bob Carter and Liz Williams of the Downtown Rotary Club of St. Petersburg celebrated the organization’s 100th anniversary with the presentation of a $133,000 donation to the St. Pete Free Clinic. The check was presented in front of the refurbished William Straub monument that the club sponsored earlier this year. Straub was the first President of the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg and led the effort to save the waterfront for all to enjoy.

Grand Opening Articles/D-gallerie On June 18 Articles Art Gallery & Custom Framing and D-gallery celebrated the opening of their new location in Historic Uptown. Articles gallery owner Leslie Curran welcomed Tampa gallery owner Michael Murphy, while D-gallerie owner Alejandro Quintero welcomed local artist iBOMS for his solo exhibition launch.



THIS SUMMER, it is time to rediscover everything we have missed this past year. At the Y, we are committed to not only being your home for health and wellness, but also a place of community and belonging. At the Y, we’re more than just a gym, we’re a community. Develop relationships, achieve your goals, and belong to something bigger than yourself. Learn more at | YMCA OF GREATER ST. PETERSBURG

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