VERTICAL Tampa Bay Winter 2009

Page 1


Create. Motivate.


The PerfecT family club.

Everyday’s a vacation when you’re a member at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club...especially now that we’ve recently completed a $26-million renovation and expansion. Rejuvenate yourself at the sparkling new Indaba Spa and fitness center. Enjoy the game of a lifetime on four renowned golf courses, including Copperhead, home of the PGA TOUR’s Transitions Championship.

Whether for business or pleasure, an Innisbrook membership stands as one of the greatest values in the nation. Clubs with similar amenities typically demand initiation fees of $100,000 or more. Not at Innisbrook. With Social memberships, Tennis memberships plus a variety of lifetime family Golf memberships, with a one-time initiation fee of only $7,500, Innisbrook has everything your family is looking for in a club and more.

You and the kids can cool off in six pools, including Loch Ness with its waterslides and sandy beaches. Explore Florida’s natural side on 900 wooded acres. Fish scenic Lake Innisbrook. Or play on one of 11 clay tennis courts.

We invite you to contact Doug Schmidt, Director of Membership, for your private tour. 727.942.5207


$109 Annual Fee $109 Monthly Dues T e n n iS

$139 Annual Fee $139 Monthly Dues R e S o RT G o l f

$219 Monthly Dues e x e c uT i v e G o l f

$219 Monthly Dues 36750 US HWY 19 N. • Innisbrook, FL 34684

Magical Voyages By Adventure Pro Travel

Exclusive travel services to take you to the edge of the Earth and home again. From Alaska to Zimbabwe, Adventure Pro Travel is your expert source for every exciting escape under the sun! Contact Linda Blum for a personal consultation and exceptional service. Grand Asia & Australia Voyage – Cruise with your personal hosts, Linda & Burt Blum across the Pacific on Holland America Line’s Amsterdam. Depart September 24th from Seattle, visiting Russia, Japan, China,Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore for 34 days. Or, sail October 29th from Singapore visiting Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Hawaii, to San Diego for 35 days. Combine both sailings for 69 days of total bliss at sea. From $4699

Book by December 31st and your Grand Voyage will include up to $1000 in shipboard credits, complimentary prepaid gratuities, complimentary luggage delivery, welcome champagne and an exclusive Bon Voyage gathering. Parties, shore-side events and more await you on this Grand Voyage. Ask about complimentary airfare and transfers.


VERTICAL highlights the treasures that define our community. Focusing on fashion, flavor, travel, culture and beauty (inside and out), it is a primer for carpe diem. If each day is a gift, let’s make the most of as many as we can. As you flip through VERTICAL and find places that appeal to you, don’t allow geography to stand in your way. Go the distance to discover new places and new experiences to cherish. PRO features legendary astronaut and moonwalker Buzz Aldrin—a man who knows a little something about getting vertical in pursuit of adventure (and a change of scenery). Tampa Bay is a destination packed with places perfect for putting a little space between us and the day to day. We can achieve miniholidays simply by getting out of our own neck of the woods to explore different neighborhoods. This issue exposes our colorful cultural scene. Pile the family into the car and skip town in search of stimulation at local museums and galleries. The Tampa Artist Emporium houses an eclectic concentration of artwork to admire and to take home, while museum memberships are gifts that give all year long and provide an evolution of entertainment at area attractions. Our sampling of local signature spa treatments should provide every ounce of motivation you’ll need to grab the girls and steal away in favor of some TLC. Make a day of it with lunch at a fab café and time for shopping. Top that with “Taste’s” tour of delectable desserts and you’ve got all the ingredients for a sweet new year. The power to affect positive change in our community lies within each of us. Imagine the possibilities and make them your reality. Embrace what moves you. Support the worthy causes and frequent the places featured throughout VERTICAL, and it truly will be a celebration. Makeup: Pamela Bloomgren

Leslie Joy Ickowitz, Publisher

813.242.2400 •

813.242.4400 •

STYLISH Photographer:

BEAUTY FULL Model: Germaine Gibbs Photograph by Roger Gibbs

EXPOSURE “Tempest” by Lee Arden Oken Photograph by

HABITAT “Bird Tree” by Alicia Campos Photograph by

TASTE WANDERLUST Copyright © Sheri Griffith Expeditions, courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent USA, LLC



ON THE COVER: Photographer: Stylist: Pamela Bloomgren, MOD Productions Hair: Bill Baker Makeup: Lindsey Matacchiero Model: Felicia Postell, Benz Model & Talent Agency Clothing & Accessories: La France “Murple Percury” hot rod provided by Mark Crittenden

ON THIS PAGE: “Wild Horses” by Dawn Hunt Photograph by

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Nancy Howe Publisher, Maddux Business Report

[VERTICAL is] CHIC and well done and should find a ready audience among upmarket women’s magazine readers. Maxine Schnall (Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author)

HOLY COW! That was FABULOUS! I can't believe something so brilliant came out y. I think we just of Tampa Bay. joined the 21st century. I literally inhaled every page. Warren "Curt" Leimbach

What a BEAUTIFUL a BEAUTIFUL - no, FABULOUS - publication! Your photos pop; everything looks “JUICY.” Emily Stehle, The Pier Aquarium

An absolutely PHEN OMENAL job. Brianna was espe cially impressed with the Manga artic le. Success is a foregone conclusion. Bernard Braginsk y

ve I absolutely lo ur the look of yo so ’s magazine. It very CLEAN and but REFINED— and not cold. Warm yes. easy on the e y

Jen Hollowa

Wow! TRULY AM AZING! Congratulations for creating such an enjoyable, im pressive and ORGANIC co mponent of our community!

Jeff Kremer Direct or of Donor Appreciation, Big Cat Rescue

inute to tell I wanted to take a m SIVE your you how IMPRES through it magazine is! I looked it is really yesterday online and LATIONS! great! CONGRATU

al President / Gener Patty Masin, Vice Marcus Manager, Neiman

The pictures and colors are OUT OF THIS WORLD! A feast to the eye! BRAVO! Keep up the good work! Eleni

Photography by Hair and Makeup by Lindsey Matacchiero

Publisher & Editor in Chief Leslie Joy Ickowitz

Creative Director Leslie Joy Ickowitz

Art Director James Burgos,

Contributing Writers Bill Baker ✵ Marcia Biggs ✵ Linda Blum ✵ Carol Cortright Arcadia Jimenez ✵ Casey Brook McPhee ✵ Rachel Oertel Eleni Papanicolaou ✵ Janan Talafer

Contributing Photographers ✵ ✵

Proofreading Swathi Reddy ✵ Ian Wark

Intern Emilie Lorden, Assistant to the Publisher VERTICAL is a community magazine and we welcome your participation. Letters to the Editor, inquiries and nominations for Social Butterfly and Pro may be sent to: info@ For advertising and other inquiries, please call 813.382.4387 or email: enjoy a complimentary subscription to VERTICAL delivered via email, Copyright 2009 VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay. All rights reserved. Reproduction, either in whole or in part, is forbidden without written permission from the publisher. Articles and advertisements published in VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay assumes no liability for the content and shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters and press releases sent to VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay may be unconditionally assigned for publication and are subject to VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay’s editorial comment.VERTICAL™ Tampa Bay is not to be held liable for the quality or performance of goods or services rendered by the advertisers in this publication.



Night Out Photography by

“The feedback was more than we could have hoped for as again and again, our customers and clients thanked us for providing such a delightful experience and for bringing the happiness back to fashion.” ~ Patty Masin, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Tampa Bay

On September 10th, 2009 Neiman Marcus Tampa Bay participated in the fashion industries’ global celebration of style and invited VERTICAL to debut its premier issue. With over 500 of the Bay area’s most fashion-forward guests in attendance, “Fashion’s Night Out” was a stellar evening of mingling, sipping, sampling and shopping with live entertainment, catered cuisine, champagne flowing and gorgeous models striking poses and strutting throughout the scene. The brainchild of Vogue’s Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, Fashion’s Night Out was designed to spark renewed interest and support for the fashion industry. The call to action was heard around the world, where from New York City to Italy, France, India and beyond, fashion enthusiasts, designers, models and celebrities gathered to celebrate fashion’s present and stimulate its future.

Fashion Week The 2nd Annual Fashion Week Tampa Bay (FWTB) epitomized the Bay area’s fashion scene with a four-day extravaganza that brought local and regional designers, buyers, models, boutiques and the style-wsavvy together. It provided a platform to showcase the area’s established and emerging fashion designers while turning attention to the two event beneficiaries, Best Buddies Tampa and the YWCA of Tampa Bay. “We look forward to growing this event and are grateful to our partners and sponsors who help make this community event a success,” says Nancy Vaughn, executive producer and senior event publicist for FWTB. The energy at Fashion Week Tampa Bay 2009 was contagious with great anticipation for the runway shows on Thursday and Friday nights. Once the spotlight hit the catwalk, designers presented their Spring 2010 collections proving to fashion fans that Tampa Bay’s got style.

Tampa Bay Photography by

A Billie


Location: Morrisound Recording Photography: Wardrobe: Pamela Bloomgren, MOD Productions Hair: Bill Baker Makeup: Lindsey Matacchiero Model: Felicia Postell, Benz Model & Talent Agency Clothing: La France Jewelry: Pearls on opening page and jewelry on this page from Zoey Bloom Hot Rod: "Murple Percury" provided by Mark Crittenden Musicians: Kevin Wilder & Don Capone



PRODUCTIONS 727.458.4143



A Sampling of Inspired Spa Treatments

Story by Janan Talafer  ❧  Photos courtesy of Indaba Spa at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club


ndulge. Rejuvenate. Savor. Luxuriate.Whether you consider them magical mini retreats or heaven on earth, spa escapes are about stepping back from the usual day-to-day stress of thinking, working, organizing and planning. We rarely take time to relax and release the toxins that build up in our bodies and in our minds. So go ahead, treat yourself. This selection of some of the Tampa Bay area’s most inspired spa treatments should spark a sensation.

AQUASTONE WELL SPA ST. PETERSBURG If you’re looking for a complete spa experience with a comprehensive wellness package, this is it. You can participate in yoga, tai chi, Pilates and healthy cooking classes, take a complimentary antiaging shower, relax in the Zen lounge, step into a hydrosoak with “Moor Mud” or enjoy a thermal stone massage. Signature treatment: the Green Coffee Body Wrap designed to reduce cellulite and eliminate a build-up of toxins in the body to help you look and feel slimmer and firmer, especially if you’ve been overindulging lately.You can also detox with the exotic-sounding Purifying Moroccan Cocoon with Rassoul, which treats your skin with a mineral-rich mud solution. Some of the spa’s seasonal winter selections include a peppermint patty pedicure, white truffle body wrap or hot cocoa massage.

AWA SPA & WELLNESS SANCTUARY SOUTH TAMPA A South Tampa home has been transformed into a unique spa and healing center, the vision of Germaine Gibbs, who is originally from Curaçao. A Reiki master, esthetician and model, Gibbs is an expert in custom-blending herbs, both for hot teas and body treatments. Signature treatment: the AWA Wellness Massage which incorporates chakra balancing, a scalp massage, foot reflexology, breath work and a full-body massage. Known for its “ancient healing techniques” that release energy blockages and bring you back into balance with a sense of inner calm and peace, the AWA Spa is perfect for those times when you’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of a little extra TLC.

BOTANICA DAY SPA CLEARWATER Downtown Clearwater’s first spa, Botanica features all-natural treatments—think sea salts, honey butter, peppermint, cranberries and mint. Signature treatment: Mountain Glow Honey Butter Treatment, the ideal option if your skin feels a little dry during the winter, or if you want to make up for the sun’s assault over summer. During this blissful, one hour treatment, your body is gently exfoliated with aromatic sea salts and honey butter and then wrapped in a warm blanket to help you relax and de-stress.

After a quick nap and shower, moisturizing lotion is massaged into your skin for a smooth, all-over softness.The spa also offers many seasonal specials, such as the peppermint pedicure and cranberry salt scrub, so be sure to inquire when you schedule an appointment.

ENERGY WELLNESS MOBILE DAY SPA COMES TO YOU This mobile spa service allows you to enjoy treatments in the privacy of your own home or another location of your choice. Best of all, you don’t have to get back in the car and fight traffic after your bodywork is completed. Signature treatment: A green tea mint salt glow with an infusion of green tea extract, mint, Dead Sea salts and essential oils to remove dead skin cells and invigorate the skin, while leaving it soft.Your face gets pampered, too, with a mini-facial using a four-step organic skin care system—cleansing with apple extract and witch hazel; exfoliating with a walnut polish and aloe vera; a detoxing masque; and a day hydrator with antioxidants and SPF 15 sun protection. All of this is followed with a one-hour therapeutic massage. 727.204.5461.

GRAND BEAUTY SPA SOUTH TAMPA Slip away and enjoy the “grand” treatment inside a cozy South Tampa spa, salon and alternative medical center. Signature treatment: the Grand Ritual—a custom facial, followed by a full-body exfoliating citrus honey scrub. Once the outer body is polished and relaxed, Kita Sound Therapy takes care of inner healing.This unique treatment uses sound and vibration synchronized with music to restore balance, harmony and peace of mind. If you’d like to bring your significant other, try the Grand Essential Couples Spa Experience. Soak together in a luxurious milk and rose petal bath and then enjoy side-by-side massages incorporating Swedish,Thai and Shiatsu techniques, plus a warm mud compress to release toxins. Finish with a facial customized for your skin to achieve a beautiful glow.

INDABA SPA AT INNISBROOK PALM HARBOR In the midst of the 900-acre Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, surround yourself with luxury at

Indaba Spa, where you can also enjoy a private outdoor terrace, or walk the meditation labyrinth. Signature treatment: The Indaba Signature Facial and the Coco Luscious Body Treatment—both use the spa’s European-style Eminence Organic Skin Care. Deep exfoliation with fruit enzymes and paprika increases blood circulation and firms the face.Then a gentle raspberry exfoliation and mask hydrates and reduces fine lines around the eyes. Lips are treated too, with a mask, exfoliation and moisturizing. Top it off with a full-body coconut sugar scrub followed by a mango enzyme wrap, and then a gentle cocooning in warm towels. Finish with watermelon papaya body butter for sleek and smooth skin all over.

SPA MORITZ SALON & SPA NEW TAMPA You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked off to Paris or Prague at this beautiful spa with gold vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and stately columns. Signature treatment: A caviar hand and foot treatment while you recline in a vibrating, heated chair—you may never want to go home! A blend of caviar, retinol, marine collagen, vitamins and Jojoba beads exfoliate, brighten and smooth the skin on your hands and feet. Or for pure decadence, while you sip a chocolate martini, your feet are dipped in a chocolate scrub and your face is treated to a chocolate mask. Chocolate is said to be healthy for the body, both inside and out, so this might be the perfect indulgence. The spa also offers a pumpkin smoothie facial peel—smells just like pumpkin pie. Janan Talafer is a seasoned Tampa Bay freelance writer who enjoys delivering compelling writing to suite her clients’ needs. She is passionate about gardening, books, swing dancing and dark chocolate. Janan can be reached at 727.895.3659 or

Beauty full View

Tips from Tampa Bay’s Celebrity Hair Stylist On the Loose Story by Bill Baker ❧ Photography by RED LIPS When the economy goes south, women go for red lipstick. It’s called the “lipstick principle”, a term coined by Estee Lauder after 9/11. As we have learned from the depression era till now, with every economic downturn, lipstick sales have soared— especially red. This time, skip the lip liner and keep the edges soft along with the rest of the face. Lip drama goes a long way. And if drama is what you want, then say “to heck with soft,” and do bold, exotic eyes with heavy eyeliner and extend the tips as long as you dare. It may be over-the-top but if it lifts your spirits, who cares? For those of you who just like the look of red without stopping traffic, picking the right shade makes all the difference. Usually blue-reds look best if your skin is fair with pink undertones, while yellow undertones or olive skin look better with orange-reds. If you have trouble deciding, enlist the sales staff at the cosmetic counter to assist. In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed for Wall Street and hope for pinker days ahead.

CURLING IRON REVIVAL Still trying to get that loose wavy look in long hair? Here’s the secret: Use the curling iron without opening the clamp.Yep, it’s that easy.Wrap your hair around the outside of the curling iron while holding on to the last little wisp of hair on the end (you can use a cotton glove to protect your fingertips). The smaller the iron you use, the closer the waves. Brush the hair gently and turn the ends under for a retro look.

BUMP IT UP If you haven’t noticed yet, hair is getting higher. Designers have a way of creating extremes to get their point across and extreme takes on a whole new meaning this year. Let’s brush up on what it takes to create the latest look yourself.

If your talent for teasing is totally lacking, there is the ready made Bump-it available at your nearest drugstore. It is a hideous piece of plastic that pins to your head and is covered with a badly teased section of your own hair. But save yourself the $10, we can do better than that. Instead, we have the Bill Baker School of Backcombing. Starting about two inches back from your hairline, lift the first section of hair straight up from your head. Using a fine toothcomb (meaning the teeth of the comb that are close together), comb the hair back toward the scalp starting about half way up the hair shaft. Be sure to push the hair very close to the scalp. Repeat the process again until the strand of hair stands on its own. Use hairspray lightly at the base if necessary.Take the next section of hair behind the first section and repeat. Use as many sections of hair as needed to create the “bump” that looks right to you.This is a personal choice, but remember that the teasing does have a tendency to collapse so you might want to start a little higher initially. Smooth the outside of the first section of hair using the teeth of the comb very lightly to give it a finished look. Don’t worry about making it too perfect, it actually looks better if it is a little messy. If it is too high, pat it lightly into the shape and height you want. If it’s not high enough, use a pick (or even a fork will do) to lift it up. Use hairspray to hold it in place. Remember, practice makes perfect! While attending art school, Bill Baker saw the movie “Shampoo” starring Warren Beatty. It was then that he decided, like Warren, to surround himself with beautiful women. He feels lucky to have accomplished his goal in the beauty industry and hopes some of his observations and opinions prove to be helpful. Contact Bill with questions or comments at: or

Start the New Year like a

Bright Star

Treating You to a Beautiful You Story by Eleni Papanicolaou

Another year has flown by and 2010 is nearly upon us. As we reflect on the past and look forward to new beginnings, let us energize ourselves for the upcoming year with a healthier body and glowing skin.


e all know the importance of oxygen. Oxygen is one of the elements that helps keep our body and skin in prime condition to defend against aging. When combined with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino-acids, it boosts metabolism and restores vitality to aging tissues. To look your best during the holidays and throughout the new year, incorporate these good habits into your daily routine: 1. Depending on your schedule and age group, start an aerobic program. The increased activity will accelerate your heart rate and oxygenate your blood. 2. Follow a diet balanced in proteins and carbohydrates, acidic and alkaline foods. Avoid excessive salt and sugar to prevent water retention. 3. Start a daily regimen of cleansing, toning, hydrating, protecting and nourishing your skin. In the morning, use a creamy or foamy cleanser all over your face, neck and chest, and rinse with luke-warm water. Pat dry. Apply the appropriate toner and let dry. Apply moisturizer with your fingertips all over your face, neck and chest.Wait a few minutes for the moisturizer to be absorbed and apply a sunscreen (minimum of SPF 25). Now you are ready to apply your makeup. (See sidebar) 4. At night, repeat the cleansing and toning process and apply your night cream. Remember that the

regeneration process takes place while you sleep. 5. Depending on your skin type, exfoliate once or twice per week. PRE PARTY AND PORTRAIT PLANNING 1. Avoid aggressive treatments right before holiday parties or family portraits. Drink a lot of water and green tea to flush out toxins and keep your body and skin well hydrated. 2. Before getting ready to go to a party, take a relaxing bath and incorporate green tea bags into the hot water. Green tea has slimming, bactericidal and anti-oxidant properties. Remember to apply your favorite body lotion all over as soon as you step out of the bath. Take time to relax and enjoy your family and friends. Dream big and set your goals for the New Year. Remember that every journey starts with taking the first step. Eleni Papanicolaou is a Board Certified Skin Care Specialist with 26 years experience in anti-aging and derma-corrective skin care.

MAKEUP APPLICATION TIPS ✵ Apply foundation with a brush so you can feather over flawless areas while concealing blemishes and dilated capillaries.

✵ This season brows are fuller and well defined. Using a thin pencil, make hair-like strokes to enhance the natural shape of your brows.

✵ Apply blush to the apple of the cheek. ✵ To create a smoky eye, apply a dark color on the upper eyelid and a lighter color from the crease to the brow arch.

✵ Use a soft pencil or kohl on the root of the lashes and across your upper and lower lash line. Soften the effect with a thin brush.

✵ If a lip liner is needed, choose a color that coordinates with your lipstick. Otherwise use a lip brush to create an even and precise shimmering lip.



IMPRESSION Yearlong Sightseeing with Museum Memberships Story by Carol Cortright

You can’t go wrong with a great gift like this: a museum membership tailored to your recipient’s particular interests. Museum memberships give your special someone the opportunity to experience new things and make new memories all year long with the added bonus of supporting Tampa Bay’s splendid variety of cultural institutions. Although each museum may offer its own unique perks, memberships generally include free admission; subscriptions to newsletters and e-mail updates; invitations to members-only events and advance ticket purchase for special events; discounts on gift shop and café purchases and program fees (where applicable); and in some cases, access to museum archives and reciprocal benefits at other participating museums. Membership fees vary and can range from $20 for students to $35 and up for individuals and families. Visit museum web sites for complete information and details about current and upcoming exhibits and events. Here are just a few suggestions:

TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART  TMA’s exciting new facility is slated to open in early 2010, complete with its inaugural show, A Celebration of Henri Matisse, featuring prints, paintings and sculpture by one of the 20th century’s greatest artists. ST PETERSBURG FINE ARTS MUSEUM This graceful Palladian edifice features collections ranging from antiquity to the French impressionists, plus decorative arts, contemporary works, a sculpture garden and more. Special exhibitions include Legends in Photography, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, Whistler, Hassam and the Etching Revival. RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART One can easily spend a glorious day exploring the Ringling, between its fine art and circus museums, beautiful gardens and the historic waterfront Ca’ d’Zan mansion and Asolo Theater. Special exhibitions include Venice in the Age of Canaletto and Gothic Art in Gilded Age. LEEPA-RATTNER MUSEUM OF ART This ship-shape piece of postmodern architecture houses works by Abraham Rattner and his family, and by Rattner’s friends and contemporaries Picasso and Chagall, among others. Special exhibitions include “Rocky and Friends” with works by nationally recognized Rocky Bridges and nine other award-winning artists.

TAMPA THEATRE The web site sums it up: “Tampa Theatre is the most elegant place in which you will ever order Goobers.” Supporters of this architectural and cultural treasure are rewarded with fantastic films that just aren’t available at your run-ofthe-mill megaplexes, along with classic movie events, concerts and behind-the-scenes tours. RUTH ECKERD HALL There’s not a bad seat in the house at this intimate Clearwater performing arts venue. 2010 shows include The Color Purple, A Chorus Line, Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Chicago. TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER This new state-of-the-art museum in Tampa’s Channelside district tells the story of 12,000 years of bay area history through interactive exhibits, fascinating displays and captivating programs. HENRY B. PLANT MUSEUM Located beneath the Tampa skyline’s signature silver minarets, this corner of the former Tampa Bay Hotel showcases unique local history from times-gone-by with events and exhibits including the Victorian Christmas Stroll, Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition and a Victorian Valentine-Making class.

FLORIDA MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS This Tampa institution celebrates the importance of photography in capturing contemporary life and culture through exhibits by widely-known artists, participates in community outreach projects and presents photography classes.

MOSI A visit to MOSI is an electrifying experience, introducing children and adults alike to the wonders of science and technology. In addition to hands-on exhibits, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry is home to the domed IMAX auditorium and one amazing venue for birthday parties.

THE STUDIO@620 This dynamic St. Petersburg gallery provides a kaleidoscope of innovative cross-cultural exhibits and diverse events that delight the senses and expand our consciousness of what makes the world go around.

Carol Cortright is a freelance feature writer and copywriter. She contributes travel, art/culture, food and business articles to a variety of publications and she helps companies, nonprofits, and professionals find and finesse the right words for any occasion or project. Carol can be reached at
727. 793.8826 or

Opening photo: Florida Museum of Photographic Arts’ member show First Place winner, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by www. Vase on this page: Duncan McClellen, St. Sebastian, 2008 On loan from the artist to Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art


Children a

Chance, Parents a


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add zest to your nest

A premier education and communication center dedicated to the academic & multi-cultural development of children of ALL abilities.

Preparing children ages 2½ through 15 for a lifetime of success in the community Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf Pendant lighting by Union Street Glass Pitcher by Orbix

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Enrolling! McKay, Florida P.R.I.D.E., VPK, C.C.C. accepted

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727.204.5461 Mention VERTICAL To Receive $15 OFF Lic. MA34706



From one platform, a horse gallops gracefully towards an imaginary destination. From another, a papier-mâché shoe makes a fashion statement. Throughout the eclectic space, clothing and jewelry hang out among an array of mixed media. Mysterious masks peer off into the distance from some walls while magnificent mosaics adorn others.


himsical themed ping-pong paddles, pottery, paintings, photography and more set the scene at Tampa Artist Emporium, a fine art and craft gallery showcasing original artwork by over 100 local emerging and established artists. “The art market here is underground,” explains Shelby Boggs, gallery director. “We have brilliant artists in Tampa and some venues are doing shows once a month but the exposure is limited. This is an opportunity for the artists to meet the ‘right’ people and showcase their work.” In the past two years the Tampa Artist Emporium has helped open doors for over 300 local artists, enabling them to pursue their passions. As a result, some have presented their artwork in other cities such as Miami, Manhattan and even Milan. Artists apply for a coveted spot to display their creations at

WALL T INSPIR Shining Light on

Story by Leslie Joy Ickowitz & Arcadia Jim


RATION Tampa Bay’s Talent

menez  ❧  Photography by

the Emporium.The duration of each artist’s showcase depends on the agreed-upon rental period but rotating artwork every three months ensures a fresh perspective and an exciting evolution of eye candy to appreciate. A destination unto itself, the Tampa Artist Emporium is a wondrous place to enjoy a relaxed afternoon stroll but it’s also a great spot to pop in and purchase a unique gift for yourself or someone else. From Joyce Koerner’s comic-book-themed art with personalized sayings to Wendy Boucher’s short novels and paper art, there is always an abundance of innovation to behold. In response to how the Tampa Artist Emporium came to fruition Shelby shares,“It was just an idea!” A month after this “idea” surfaced, she and her husband opened the gallery with just $1000, postcards as promotional material and two e-mail blasts. Today, Shelby continues to run the show but Sandra Jarret, one of the original artists showcased at the Emporium, has stepped up as owner. “Thanks to Sandra this will continue to work,” Shelby asserts. “She’s behind-the-scenes but she’s been here for me even before she took over. She’s been great!” The Tampa Artist Emporium’s community participation extends beyond the art realm by contributing to local charities such as The Spring of Tampa Bay,The Humane Society and Tampa Firefighters Museum. Monthly Art Mixers spotlight deserving causes while guests mingle with artists, participate in raffles, purchase one-of-a-kind gifts and play an essential role in celebrating and supporting Tampa’s art scene. At Tampa Artist Emporium, creativity abounds from corner to corner and everywhere in between, carving its rightful place as one of the Bay area’s brightest treasures. Tampa Artist Emporium is located in Palma Ceia’s Business and Design District in Tampa at 3415 Bay to Bay Boulevard.

"Wild Horses" by Dawn Hunt

Artist Linda Roberts


Inviting Scenes

Table Décor for Home Entertaining Story by Linda Blum ❧ Photography by Photographed on location at Cazou

“Cloudy with a chance of snow flurries tonight and a sparkling winter wonderland by morning. Time to get out the snow shovels and mittens.” Oh! That was in your former life, not this one here in Florida, the land of eternal sunshine.


ow we pine for those wintry days, snowballs and hot chocolate, as we plow through the preparations for this holiday season in Tampa Bay, sweltering in the unseasonable heat. But, we can eat, drink and be merry with traditions passed down through the ages, and create the desired vision of sugarplums and cozy winter delights with a little planning and preparation. It’s so much fun to entertain at home. Changing our reality with just a few inspired table decorations and themes everyone can enjoy is easier than it seems. Plus, your guests will always have something special to anticipate upon receiving an invitation

to your dinner parties and festive gatherings. According to Laura Whitley, co-owner of Cazou (www., an interior accessories and lifestyle store in South Tampa,“Bright, bold, vivid jewel tones are being snapped up this season by customers who want to create a table fit for royalty. By adding a few tassels, some velvet, pearls and gold pieces, a table will look fresh, exciting and new.” Beginning with some basics, perhaps white dishes, candles and clear wine glasses, it’s easy to change your table every time you set it by adding splashes of color and texture. Various colored linen napkins tucked into wine glasses or

goblets can provide instant drama to a table. Add to that some cherished trinkets from around the house, colored candles of different shapes and sizes, greenery from the garden or even fresh herbs in small bud vases. Computer-generated place cards printed on colored paper to coordinate with the napkins can be tied to stemmed glasses with golden cord or crimson ribbon. You can even cut a notch into bright red or green apples and insert place cards there for a functional and edible bit of style. Don’t forget how attractive vegetables can be when piled high and arranged with a few flowers inserted around and about. Artichokes, green and red cabbages, yellow zucchini and

a bunch of celery add abundance and beauty to your table. Create some height with an inverted bowl underneath and place as a centerpiece with some greenery and candles nearby. Take advantage of Florida’s flora by designing a centerpiece with sea grapes and leaves. Of course, a monochromatic table can be extremely elegant, during the holidays and beyond. Using those same white plates, candles and clear glasses, select an accent color like silver. Tie napkins with silver ribbon, add silver candles in clear holders and sprinkle silver sparkles around the table. Craft stores feature miniature silvery leaves with little gift-wrapped boxes that can

be used in your centerpiece. Or, you can spray paint pine cones, fresh leaves, palm fronds and even flowers with silver paint and scatter them about the table. Miniature mirrors reflect light and add a glow to your arrangement. The possibilities are endless for exploring creativity with table dĂŠcor. Just let your imagination run free as you picture those delicate snowflakes falling far, far away from you, while enjoying this winter with family and friends and not a snow shovel in sight!

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Satisfaction Topping off Decadent Dining Story by Janan Talafer


hink of the words we use to describe dessert: tempting, rich, luscious, scrumptious and sinful. Something about

a blend of sugar, cream, eggs, flour and chocolate causes us to give in to our cravings for just one, two or more-than-a-few sweet bites. Chocolate especially has captured our imagination, beginning with its origin as an ancient ceremonial drink of the Mayans and the Aztecs. Casanova is said to have considered chocolate a love potion and to have consumed vast quantities to maintain his amorous energy. And who can blame him? Just one glimpse of a chef ’s artistic concoctions on the dessert cart or one tantalizing description on a menu has me hooked. So for those who share an adoration for sweets, we present a sampling of delicious temptations too tasty to resist.

Photography by Scott Kelby, courtesy of Flamestone Grill

Photo courtesy of The Sun House Restaurant

CAFÉ PONTE, ICOT CENTER, CLEARWATER  —  In this elegant restaurant with white linen tablecloths and attentive service, you’ll find amazing desserts that throw all caution to the wind. For pure chocolate indulgence, try the Flourless Chocolate Cake, a rich, thick, dense cake that could best be described as in between fudge and a brownie. Add crème anglaise, a lovely, smooth textured custard sauce, and burnt caramel ice cream for a fabulous pairing of flavors. It’s a rich and satisfying end to a perfect meal. But in case you just haven’t had enough, sample the Warm Chocolate Soufflé, an upside down soufflé topped with Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream and chocolate.Take one bite and the chocolate oozes out, similar to a lava cake. CITY STREET SWEETS, HYDE PARK VILLAGE, TAMPA  –  If you are a candyaholic, watch out. This to-die-for candy shop is overflowing with mouth-watering confections. There are over 50 kinds of chocolate bark alone, plus 18 flavors of fudge, a dozen or more different chocolate truffles and classic favorites like Gummi Bears, Atomic Fireballs, licorice and taffy. Hang out at the “Chocolate Lava Lounge” and enjoy the Cran-Gran-Blue chocolate bark, a customer favorite. It’s made with dried cranberries, blueberries and granola mixed with 72 percent cocoa dark chocolate. Other equally out-of-the-ordinary flavors include Chipotle Chilean Pepper, Spicy Peanut and Mudslide. For something different, experience handmade specialties on “Caramel Revolution Row” and indulge in a Caramel Chocolate Cookie Swirl CraZapple. CONCH REPUBLIC GRILL, NORTH REDINGTON BEACH  –  Dress casually for this laid-back, beach-style restaurant located right across from the water. The restaurant’s name is taken from Key West’s amusing, but short-lived announcement in 1982 that they were “seceding from the Union” and reinventing themselves as the new “Conch Republic.”Try the Bananas Foster served tableside, a showy presentation that starts with the waiter cooking up butter and brown sugar to create a sweet syrup, followed with a little cream and then fresh sliced bananas, all doused with several liqueurs, including a banana-flavored one and Triple Sec, with its distinctive citrus flavor. The whole concoction is set aflame and after the fire dies out, it’s poured over two crepes filled with vanilla ice cream. Wow. FLAMESTONE GRILL, OLDSMAR  –  Campfire S’mores are the perfect finishing touch to a meal at this sizzling American restaurant featuring fire-grilled steaks and seafood.When you order this creative twist on an outdoor campfire favorite, the waiter brings a tiny hibachi grill to the table, along with plenty of marshmallows and a supply of graham crackers coated in thick Godiva chocolate. Toast the marshmallows to your liking, golden brown to blackened, and then smash the gooey mess inside the cracker sandwich—pure decadence. For a more upscale, equally innovative dessert, try the Crème Brulee Flight, a foursome of vanilla bean, Godiva chocolate, espresso and key lime flavored creamy custards, all arranged in individual pots on a decorative wrought iron frame. PACIUGO GELATO, DOWNTOWN ST. PETERSBURG  –  Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream, smoother and less filling than the American style with 75 percent less butterfat. It’s also served at a warmer temperature to bring out the flavors.At Paciugo Gelato, you’ll find a creamy “Tuscany” version made with milk, eggs and sugar, and a “Sicilian” style comprising water, fresh fruit and sugar, similar to a sorbet. No preservatives or corn syrup are used, only natural ingredients. Choose from a dazzling array of flavors, from Fondente, an extra dark Belgian chocolate that is pure heaven for chocolate lovers, to the unusual Vanilla Black Pepper Olive Oil, a surprisingly fantastic flavor of creamy vanilla blended with a pinch of black pepper for a subtle bite.

THE SUN HOUSE RESTAURANT & BAR, ANNA MARIA ISLAND  –  Beautiful sunsets are cause for celebration at this beachfront restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico. Each night one customer is selected to ring the gong, while the sun slowly dips below the horizon and the crowd sings, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” Sit outside on the balcony and enjoy the unique Roasted Almond Berry Basket, an edible basket formed from a baked mixture of pastry dough, sugar and almonds and filled with a creamy egg custard. The custard is drizzled with the distinctive orange flavor of Grand Marnier and then crowned with whipped cream. An abundance of fresh seasonal raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are sprinkled on top. TOMMY BAHAMA’S RESTAURANT & BAR, ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE, SARASOTA  –  Eclectic with a tropical twist,Tommy Bahama's Restaurant & Bar offers a relaxed, elegant island ambience along with truly inspired cuisine.Their "Life is One Long Weekend" mindset turns the island experience from wishful thinking to a tasty reality with a cosmopolitan collection of dishes inspired by diverse getaways to Jamaica, Barbados and beyond.You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to the islands as you enjoy the rich Piña Colada Cake, a unique twist to the Caribbean rum cakes. Picture a moist vanilla four-layer cake soaked in Myers Dark Rum. In between each layer, you’ll find a thick, delicious coating of white chocolate mousse frosting and tidbits of juicy pineapple. The finished cake is covered with more white chocolate mousse and then coated with flakes of toasted coconut, which adds a distinctive nutty flavor. Instead of toasting paradise, you’ll taste it. WRIGHT’S GOURMET HOUSE, SOUTH TAMPA  –  At this landmark Tampa deli and bakery, you’ll find an incredible variety of made-from-scratch cakes, pies, cookies, brownies and…you get the point. It’s tough to choose from a selection that includes coconut cream pie, lemon squares, cream cheese brownies, pecan pie, or one of the famous cakes (on the whole or by the gargantuan slice). Rich, banana-layered Hummingbird Cake will make your spirit soar. Also taking your taste buds to new heights is the Alpine Yellow Cake with chocolate frosting and white chocolate shavings or the Hawaiian Princess, a coconut cake layered with a pineapple-coconut filling and cream cheese frosting, topped with coconut and pineapples sprinkled on top. Wright’s signature Carrot Cake is a richer, spicier version than the average with flavorings of cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, pecans and hand-grated carrots.

Piña Colada Cake at Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar






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Chef André Halston pictured in Packard’s Steakhouse

You’re invited to dine with us... Millions have witnessed Innisbrook Executive Chef André Halston on NBC’s TODAY and now you can enjoy his classic steak and seafood dishes served at our legendary Packard’s Steakhouse overlooking the famous Copperhead golf course. Or, consider the Seasonal American cuisine created with the freshest, hand-selected ingredients and served at the sparkling new Market Salamander Grillé. At last, after a $26 million transformation, you too can enjoy cuisine once reserved for a fortunate few for four decades. Reservations required, please call 727.942.2000.

...And Indulge Your Senses. Innisbrook Resort’s newest luxury amenity has opened and is available, by reservation only, to you. An experienced staff will pamper you with your choice from an extensive selection of massage, skincare treatments, nail, hair and personalized make up services. So, bring a friend for an hour or for a day and renew your body and Indaba Spa. Spa reservations: 727.942.5258 or visit

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Vintage Vinoy The Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg has created a new “Classic Dining” menu offered in the award-winning Marchand’s Dining Room. This three-course meal is currently offered for a special price of $19.25 per person (plus tax and gratuity) in honor of the year the original Vinoy Park Hotel opened in 1925.

*New Classic Dining Menu $19.25

Starter Lobster Bisque Or Wedge Salad

Egg, Tomato, Smoked Bacon, Bleu Cheese Cream

Choice of Entrée Beef Short Rib Bourguignon,

Pappardelle Pasta, Roasted Cipollini & Carrots

Grilled Atlantic Salmon

Creamed Leeks, Beurre Rouge Sauce, Frites

Roast Chicken Breast

Wild mushroom & Vegetable Fricassee, Scalloped Potatoes

Dessert Raspberry Napoleon Or Chocolate Marquise Pistachio Anglaise

The Vinoy’s “Classic Dining” menu is offered only in Marchand’s Bar and Grill and available seven days a week from 5:30 pm to 7 pm for the next year. Reservations are recommended by calling 727.894.1000. *The “Classic Dining Menu” is not offered Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, Easter Sunday, or Valentine’s Day.

Cooking Character Pairing Your Style with Celebrity Chefs By Casey Brook McPhee—Director, Largo Public Library


ne morning I sat at my son’s karate class reading a favorite cookbook.The instructor walked by and looked at me curiously.“Are you reading a cookbook?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied. He claimed to not even know how to boil water, so I felt it necessary to fill him in on what he had been missing. I explained to him that cookbooks are much more than a primer on cooking or a compendium of recipes—they are travelogues, biographies, style manuals and entertaining bibles. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away, unconvinced that cookbooks could be useful, much less a source of entertainment. A recent trip to the bookstore proved to me that I am not alone in my love of cookbooks. It was right after the release of the film adaptation of Julie and Julia and the question on every customer’s lips was, “Do you have Mastering the Art of French Cookery by Julia Child?” Having experimented with many chefs’ works over the years, I started ponder ing Ms. Child’s influence on modern cooking. Then I perused the shelves to see if I could categorize the chefs

represented there in a way that would be helpful for someone new to cooking. Obviously, I would want to steer a novice, such as my son’s karate teacher, in a direction that would produce a successful outcome—a delicious meal. I thought many people would embrace Julia Childs’s teaching style, but would spend a lot of time reading instead of cooking. It seemed like the wordy recipes and lack of pictures would be daunting for a novice cook. This brought to mind a disastrous luau that I tried to pull off back in the early 1990’s. I pored over the pages of Martha Stewart’s Entertaining, but due to my lack of cooking experience, the recipes I cooked from it tasted lousy. Entertaining wasn’t for beginners. Even though Martha Stewart is a perfectionist and Julia Child never could be, they share a love of detail and explicit instructions. I dubbed their brand of cooking the “Classics.” Going through the roster of Food Network stars seemed the next logical step in breaking down the cookbook genre. For those folks who want their meals “fast and tasty,” look no further than Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray. Some people may not see the similarities between these two instantly, but look closely and you’ll understand what I mean. Rachael Ray once hawked food products in grocery stores, which led to mastering her trademark 30 Minute Meals. Sandra Lee’s semi-homemade ingredient list is largely made up of store-bought items. It’s all about ease in preparation and getting a hot, tasty meal to the table fast. Hey, isn’t that what we all want on a week night? The next category I pondered was “Southern Exposure,” starring none other than The Neelys and Paula Deen. If you are looking for succulent meat that falls off the bone and delicious entrees to bring to potlucks, these are the cooks for you. I’ve tried a few of Paula Deen’s recipes with success, mostly for special occasion foods.The Neelys’ easy-going personalities and family style kitchen make it all seem doable and low stress. A chef in this category probably learned to cook at their grandmother’s knee. Finally, I came up with a category called, “Gourmet Gurus” which includes two of my favorite chefs,Tyler Florence and Ina Garten. I have recommended Ina Garten’s cookbooks to many friends because of the simplicity of the recipes and the extraordinary results that come from a short list of easy-to-find ingredients.Tyler Florence and his “Ultimate” series take classic dishes and raise

them up a notch with modern flair. The chefs in the previous two categories stress casual entertaining with friends and family. Casey Brook McPhee is an avid reader who has worked in libraries for twenty years. She is torn between her love for the scent and tactile pleasure of books and the instant gratification the Amazon Kindle provides.

Having thought this through in some detail, I wondered if it was possible to characterize our own cooking styles and find our inner celebrity chef. So, I formulated a test for novices and experienced cooks alike that assesses cooking styles and helps align people with the cookbooks that suit their cooking personality. Choose the first answer that comes to mind. 1. M y dream vacation would take place in: a. New York City b. a spa c. Savannah d. Paris

6. At my house, guests eat their meals on: a. matching porcelain or the latest designer dishes b. paper plates c. mix and match flea market finds

2. A dish I would rely on as a crowd pleaser: a. crown roast with stuffing
 b. meatball subs c. BBQ ribs d. beef bourguignon 4. When faced with a new project my tendency is to: a. do some research and make a detailed plan b. jump in and do it c. kick back and think about it d. take an idea and put my stamp on it 5. For me, shopping trips are: a. geared toward accomplishing my to do list b. about large discount warehouses c. a time to stroll with a friend d. about finding the best quality

Here’s how you measure up:

Mostly a: Classic (Julia and Martha)

Mostly b: Fast and Tasty (Rachael and Sandra) Mostly c: Southern Exposure (Paula and the Neelys) Mostly d: Gourmet Gurus (Ina and Tyler)

Mixed: You’re eclectic, try them all!


Give Your Family

The WORLD Celebrating Togetherness

Story by Linda Blum ❧ Photography © Suzanne Teng, courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent USA, LLC


s we prepare to enter a new year and leave 2009 behind, many of us reflect on where we have come from and where our future will lead us in our careers, our health and especially our family lives. As time marches on we begin to realize how vital it is to create unforgettable memories with our family now, before the opportunity is lost forever. With this in mind, many are opting to share the holidays and important occasions with loved ones by taking or giving a special family trip. Whether the kids are 14 or 40 isn’t important, as long as parents, their children and their children’s children get to share experiences that will last a lifetime. Multigenerational trips for all age groups are cropping up, providing fantastic, fun-filled family getaways. Picture sharing the pyramids, mummies and temples of Egypt with Abercrombie & Kent’s cultural exploration tour. In 9 days your family will span thousands of years of history, crawl inside a pyramid and ride a camel. Children have as enriching an experience as adults with convenient departures during school holidays and vacation times. If that’s not your cup of tea, how about a Family Safari in Kenya? In addition to seeing elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras and lions, families can visit with Masai warriors in their village, and kids get to spend time with Masai children who have such a different life experience. Ecologically and intellectually, this trip helps children and adults appreciate the richness of our world and how essential it is to preserve resources for future generations. Another option is Majestic Canyons River Rafting in Utah, including four nights camping riverside, fabulous meals cooked over a campfire and the exhilaration of running rapids by day. There’s

no extra charge for the billions of stars you’ll see in the night sky. Flavors & Flair of Spain includes a horse and carriage ride, a treasure hunt in a museum and a cooking class the whole family can participate in. Abercrombie & Kent’s programs promote togetherness, allowing families to enjoy each other amidst spectacular surroundings, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals and sightseeing designed to engage all age groups. Cruising is another family favorite. The options are limitless; from educational cruises in Alaska and Mexico to cultural voyages in the Mediterranean and beyond. Exposing children to the world around them at an early age helps them to appreciate the differences among people and encourages acceptance and tolerance. Plus, cruising provides activities and entertainment for every member of the family. At the end of the day, dinner brings everyone together to eat, drink and truly be merry. Planning a family trip is an exciting part of the process so gather together, create a wish list and get ready to go. A gift given at Christmas but not taken until July is one everybody can enjoy looking forward to and reflecting on long after the trip is over. The gift of travel truly keeps on giving for a lifetime. Linda Blum is a travel writer and the President of Adventure Pro Travel. A professional travel agent with more than 40 years experience, she has traveled the world, visiting over 75 countries and all 7 continents. Contact Linda at 888-455-9997 or email info@

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NOLA’s Still Got It, Baby! A Toast to an American Favorite

Story By Carol Cortright ❧ Pirate’s Alley by Clarence Millet circa 1930 Courtesy of Ogden Museum of Southern Art I like to get lost in the past. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to New Orleans time and again. Shacked up for a long weekend in the French Quarter, I can leave the 21st century behind. Its architecture—ramshackle plaster, ancient bricks, mysterious courtyards—works as well as any time machine. Many of the hotels, although modern inside, are built around old bones that have existed for over a century. A favorite haunt is the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, a former 18th century townhouse and its adjoining bar, May Baily’s Place (once a well-known Storyville bordello). Dining in the past is easy too—no shortage of joints doing what they’ve done best for decades: • Café du Monde: frying perfect beignets and perking chicory coffee since 1862 (don’t wear the chic black turtleneck—it’s not so chic with a snowdrift of powdered sugar across your chest.) • Central Grocery, est. 1906:This Italian market’s prized invention is the muffaletta—a whopping sandwich smothered in olive salad, ham, salami and cheeses. • Fiorella’s: It’s been around since 1937 and I’d love to sample some of their Italian specialties but I can’t get past the spicy fried chicken. Drink up—the Quarter abounds with bars and cocktails that go way back: • Napoleon House, ca. 1914: Sipping a Pimm’s Cup in a dark corner booth is a great antidote to the hot Southern sun. • The Roosevelt Hotel Bar’s Ramos Gin Fizz (trademarked in 1935). • The Swizzle Stick Bar inside Loew’s Hotel

where, if you ask nicely, their top-notch bartender will mix an Aviation—a lavender-hued marvel that first landed around 1916. Some fab new attractions steeped in history that couldn’t have a more appropriate home base than New Orleans: • The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) fosters a newfound appreciation for that oyster po’boy. • The Museum of the American Cocktail (part of SoFAB) highlights the evolution of mixology with well-preserved artifacts. • Bustout Burlesque at the House of Blues: Glittery, bawdy fun in the best tradition of Bourbon Street’s famous 1950s nightclubs before they went to seed. New Orleans’ trademark joie de vivre took a big hit in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.We can help with its continuing recovery by visiting and supporting the culture that gives us so much—music, art, cuisine, history—and teaches us how to let the good times roll, even when the times get tough. Note: During December, hotels offer special “Papa Noel” rates and restaurants host traditional Creole “Reveillon” dinners. The already-lovely lace-balconied buildings are festooned with seasonal finery and free concerts are performed at St. Louis Cathedral. Go to www. and for information.




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Get Up.

Get Into It.

Get Involved. Great Places to Get Dressed, Get Out and Make a Difference Compiled by Marcia Biggs


Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a different kind of bubbly at Aqua-Eve at the Florida Aquarium. Party with the fishes, dance to live music, enjoy food, wine and beer and the best seat in town for a fireworks display over the channel at midnight. For something special, take a Fireworks Cruise on Bay Spirit II. The two-hour excursion aboard a double-decker powered catamaran will include beer, wine, dessert, hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight. Boat departs at 10:30 pm.Tickets for Aqua-Eve are $90 Dec 7- 20 and $100 thereafter; fireworks cruise is additional $70. For more information and reservations, call 813.273.4030; adults 21 and over only.


Go back in time at the Tampa Bay History Center’s First Anniversary Gala, a black-tie celebration, from 6:30 to 10pm on the beautiful waterfront location in downtown Tampa. Everything old is new again at the 60,000 square foot facility which will be decked out for the occasion with live music, heavy hors d’ oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets are $250. While there, be sure to check out the exhibits and collections including Cigar City which tells the story of Tampa’s cigar industry and immigrant communities, and the amazing 400 Years of Florida Maps Collection. And special acknowledgement goes to the Center planners for giving us Hillsborough County government’s first green building. (The construction and exhibits adhere to the U. S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria). For tickets and more information, call 813.228.0097 or visit

FEBRUARY 20 EINSTEIN ON WINE Enjoy a brilliant evening at Einstein on Wine, the Museum of Science and Industry’s 15th annual epicurean bash featuring a silent auction, live music and tastings from more than 100 restaurants, caterers and vintners. A great opportunity to mingle, sip, taste and bid on an array of auction items including sports memorabilia, golf outings, fine dining and gift certificates.VIP entry at 6pm, $125; general admission at 7pm, $70 in advance, $80 at the door. For tickets and more information, call 813.987.6000 or visit Proceeds benefit MOSI education programs.

MARCH 4 BOWLING BALL Be the lead pinhead and get a team together for the annual Bowling Ball in support of prostate cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center.The fun begins at 5:30pm at Splitsville in Channelside. Sponsored by Moffitt’s Corporate Partners Program, the event pits 24 teams in a casual night that includes food,

drinks, music and an awards presentation. Tickets start at $75 for individual “pinheads”; teams $TBA. For more information or to register, call Sue Bliss at 813.745.4860.

MARCH 6 ABILITIES WINE TASTING AND SILENT AUCTION Step up to the plate and bid on a spectacular array of nearly 400 auction items at the Abilities Wine Tasting and Silent Auction. Considered one of Tampa Bay’s premier annual fundraisers, this social event offers some of the best people watching of the year and features hundreds of wines and tastings from 40 area restaurants. Bring a designated driver or book a room downtown and make a weekend of it. The indulgence starts at 6pm at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. VIP $150; grand tasting $75; designated driver $40. For more information, call 727.538.7370 ext. 319.

MARCH 7 OSCAR NIGHT AMERICATAMPA BAY Grab your feather boa and sparkly duds; it’s time to strut the Red Carpet at Oscar Night America— Tampa Bay, the annual Academy Awards party at Tampa Theatre. An evening of Hollywood glitz and glamour is in store, including limo rides, screaming fans and paparazzi.Watch the ceremony telecast live on Tampa Theatre’s big screen. Officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Oscar Night America—Tampa Bay is Tampa’s only benefit supported by the Academy and one of 52 such events nationwide. Beginning at 6pm, the festivities include heavy hors d’oeuvres, a swag bag of goodies, and coffee and doughnuts for those who stay until the final award is announced.All proceeds benefit Tampa Theatre’s film and educational programs. Admission from $25. Call 813. 274.8286 and visit for more information. Event details and ticket prices subject to change. Contact organizations directly for the most up-to-date information.


Over the Moon A Close Encounter with Buzz Aldrin Story by Leslie Joy Ickowitz ❧ Photograph courtesy of NASA

Protected by a ziplock bag and tucked inside a beautifully embroidered box filled with photographs is one of my most treasured possessions. It measures 2” x 3.5” imprinted with the words “Rocket Hero” and features a gold foil logo illustrating the concept. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.

The item is merely a business card but it belongs to one of my personal heroes, legendary astronaut and moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. Seven distinguished designations including Astronaut, Explorer, Lunar Ambassador, Rocket Scientist and Space Advocate are listed on the card. Dr.Aldrin handed it to me during a chance encounter at Kennedy Space Center, where I remember thinking “This man has walked on the surface of the moon and now he’s sitting here talking to me.” I walked away feeling so lofty I thought my feet would never touch the ground. Usually, I’m not the star-struck type but there’s something about hanging out with someone who has hung out among the stars that blows me away. You could say I’m a bit of a space groupie—I’ve watched Apollo 13 at least a hundred times (even though I’m well aware of how it ends) and recently, I combined references from both Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence. Although he is cool enough to have Disney and Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear named for him and MTV’s Moonman modeled after him, there’s nothing sci-fi about Buzz. Dr. Aldrin is the real deal and he has his eye fixed on a future that involves sending space tourists rocketing into the sky to experience a sliver of

the moon for themselves. “A-W-E,” he says, is the emotion that most closely resembles the feeling he experienced on the moon’s surface. “One of the purposes of my ShareSpace Foundation is to share space with as many people as possible,” Dr. Aldrin asserts. In his estimation, the first lunar resort should feature, “activities that boost visitors’ common experience,” rather than competitive games. Alliances with Omega Watches, Louis Vuitton and Snoop Dogg, with whom he recorded a rap song, position Aldrin fashionably front and center, enabling him to share his passion with the public. To inspire the next generation of space explorers, he has authored two children’s books, Look to the Stars and Reaching for the Moon. Never one to shy away from the glory of technology, he also tweets on Twitter and blogs for The Huffington Post. One simple observation Dr. Aldrin shared truly applied perspective to the sheer exclusivity of his lunar excursion. “Dust behaved differently on the surface of the moon,” he said. Now honestly, how many people can say that and actually know what they are talking about? Better

offered to sponsor a diving trip to the Galapagos Islands. “There’s an infinite number of locations under the ocean to explore.” “My life has been driven by certain pursuits,” Aldrin says.“Aviation was one, the military another, human space activity the next.Then I’ve chosen to share those as my ongoing purpose for the benefit of our country and the world.” Visiting with Dr. Aldrin reminded me to dream dreams, have hope and believe that anything is possible. Not long after that day, VERTICAL launched. Since then, I try to live by what I have come to believe as a direct result of my Buzz encounter:The sky is not the limit. In fact, we can reach for the stars.

Alan and Leslie with Buzz Aldrin at Kennedy Space Center.




yet, how many people have a first-hand account of how anything behaves on the surface of the moon? The same man who planted and saluted the American flag up there, and who demonstrated mobility by “prancing around and bouncing up and down” in front of the video camera. “We didn’t do it for the fun,” he says seriously. “It was a learning experience.” Aldrin’s dramatic life, including his battles with depression and alcoholism, is an open book. His memoir, Magnificent Desolation:The Long Journey Home from the Moon, provides a fascinating view of his experience both out of this world and back again. His existence after the Apollo 11 mission was a very lonely time. His mother, Marion Moon, tragically committed suicide the year before his lunar landing. And after a hero’s welcome home here on earth, Aldrin eventually felt used up and spit out. So what frightens the man who strapped himself to a Saturn V rocket to forge the footsteps of history? “Loneliness, discouragement and disappointment,” Aldrin says.“Things that could lead me back to the very dim parts of my life of depression and alcoholism.” Sharing is at the core of Aldrin’s life-long dedication to educating, inspiring and broadening the horizons that lead to future exploration and further discoveries. His captivating stories shed light on both the triumphs and the frailties of the human experience. Despite frustrations, what impresses him most about humanity is, “the individual freedoms to have differing points of view on our experiences but then the challenge to come together for the common benefit of each of us.” These days, his journey centers around,“seeking out and sharing new experiences that cause you to think,” Aldrin says.“I marvel at the coincidental nature of chance, and of statistics. How that tempts many people to think that something was somehow destined to be.There are sudden changes of good fortune and not-so-good fortune that we have to experience that cause us to learn and to educate following generations.” After traveling 250,000 miles into outer space and 2.5 miles beneath the ocean’s surface to Titanic’s resting place on the Atlantic floor, Aldrin’s radar is locked on future adventures. The avid explorer, who admittedly, “got rather distracted by things like the moon,” plans to visit Antarctica in 2010 and his son, a successful businessman, has

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SHINING STARS SUPPORT THE SPRING OF TAMPA BAY Photography by While rubbing elbows with beautiful people in Celebrity Gifting Suites at the Emmy Awards Show, Kids’ Choice Awards and MTV Movie Awards this year, Tampa’s Dr. Adam Scheiner took action to make a difference.The cosmetic surgeon sacrificed two crisp, clean white lab coats in favor of having them emblazoned with celebrity autographs. All the way from Hollywood, he brought hope home for The Spring of Tampa Bay, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Dazzling stars rose to the occasion, including Hector Elizondo, Erik Estrada, Warren Sapp, William Shatner and Fred Willard among others, by signing the coats which are to be auctioned off on eBay to benefit The Spring. Inspired by his conversation with Dr. Scheiner, one young celebrity became compelled to do more. Jareb Dauplaise, a television and film star who appeared in Transformers and Epic Movie, traveled to

the Bay area to speak at The Spring’s annual Gift of Peace Breakfast. Sixteen empty seats situated on the stage (representing the 16 lives lost to domestic violence in Hillsborough County over the past year) instantly rocked the actor emotionally, who, as a victim of abuse himself, told his story in front of an audience for the very first time. “Much of the violence we experience in this world at the hands of individuals happens in part because those individuals grew up in homes with violence. They were abused as children,” Dr. Scheiner explains. “By intervening with shelter and counseling for the abused, we can break the chain of violence and change to a cycle of peace.” To learn more about The Spring of Tampa Bay, visit 24 Hour Crisis Hotline can be reached by dialing: 813.247.7233.

The sunflower is our new symbol. Why? Because sunflowers are strong hearty flowers that grow in every neighborhood. Sunflowers always seek the light — The Spring provides support and emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence who seek strength. They come from every neighborhood. The Spring is the light they seek— help us continue to be there!

The Spring is Hillsborough County’s only certified Domestic Violence Prevention and Emergency Shelter Agency.

In Hillsborough County, our hotline phone number, 24-7-SAFE (813-247-7233) tells our story. It’s why we’re here. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. Twenty four hours each day, seven days each week, we work to keep individuals and families safe. Advocates are standing by to take a call from someone needing help, or seeking safety in our emergency shelter 24/7. Remember our number by remembering our cause. Keeping victims of domestic violence SAFE, 24/7. The Spring relies on the community to help us keep families safe.Your tax-deductible gift will make sure there is someone there to take the call, offer help and open the door to a safe haven—24/7.

To donate, go to

Outside Hillsborough County call 1-800-500-1119

Model Behavior

A Model Citizen Leaves a Lasting Impression Photography by


ermaine Gibbs is as warm and gentle as an island breeze.The Curaçao native has a heart of gold and in her presence, it’s instantly clear you are in good company. An accomplished model, spa owner, Reiki master, corporate finance consultant and community volunteer, Germaine puts her best foot forward to make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to being an active member of the Junior League of Tampa (, for the recent five-year anniversary celebration of Awa Spa, she combined her passions for wellness and fashion, treating her guests to an unforgettable event while raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation ( Why is it important to you to give back? “I like giving back because it feels good. The world and our community give us so much on a daily basis that it’s hard to be selfish. I also believe in good karma. I feel that I have been very blessed with the opportunities I have been given and with the people I’ve met along the way. The least I can do is to give back somehow, whether it involves volunteering or raising funds for a good cause.” What’s your greatest source of inspiration? “I get inspired by my husband Mike and by my travels. Mike is the most artistic, adventurous, honest and positive person I’ve ever met.The glass is always half full with him. He inspires me to be a better person and to continue seeing the good and positive in people.” “I also get inspired when I travel, whether this means a day at the beach in Anna Maria, sunset in Curaçao or the hustle and bustle of New York City—anything that allows me to step out of the routine, to take a deep breath and broaden my horizon.There is always something to be learned.” Who is your hero and why? “My mom. She raised four girls to be independent thinkers, hard workers and ambitious. She

has always pushed me to be a better person and to stand on my own feet.” What’s the most valuable life lesson you have learned to this point? “I’ve learned to always stay positive, look up and look ahead. As clichéd as it may sound, things really do happen for a reason. It is for us to figure out what that reason is, what the lesson learned is and to move forward from there. Life is too short and the future too bright to focus on the past.” What has been the best experience of your life to date? “It is difficult to pinpoint one single best experience in my life. Several people and places have been instrumental in helping me choose the path I am on today and where I am going tomorrow, but one incredibly enjoyable experience is repeated each year. It is when I go home to Curaçao for the holidays to see my family and friends, the other ‘Children of Curaçao’—this is what we call ourselves in Curaçao. I start counting the days to December in October. I have a big extended family and while we may not all have the same opinions (and some are more vocal than others) we certainly have a whole lot of love for each other. I know I can always count on my family.” What advice do you have for others on pursuing their dreams? “Dream on and dream BIG. Know that you will encounter stumbling blocks along the way but do not allow these to stop you. If you are truly passionate about what you want to achieve, use these blocks as stepping stones and enjoy the entire journey, not just the destination.”

A Peaceful Approach to the Year Ahead Reality Check with Rachel By Rachel Oertel, Personal Growth Advocate

Rachel Oertel is a personal growth advocate and the owner of AquaStone Well Spa in St. Petersburg:


his season is a wonderful whirlwind of gift giving, holiday cheer, family gatherings and parties galore. Yet we still seem to get all hot and bothered during this time of year. Even “good stress” can be too much and have a negative impact on our health, both mental and physical. Too much eating, drinking and spending equals weight gain, debt and perhaps memories of embarrassing behavior that lingers way beyond the holiday season and into the new year. So, how do we stay in tune with our spirit in the midst of all this? Here are just a few tips to help you stick to tidings of peace, love and goodwill: 1. After you get your shopping done early, so not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, make it a point to connect with others. Speak from the heart. Actively, compassionately listen. Let people you love KNOW that you care about them.

2. Get back to the basics. Nurture yourself.What a concept. Take time out just for you. Breathe. Holidays tend to create incredible stress for some— from too much family togetherness to traveling and trying to find that perfect gift—and in the process, we neglect ourselves. Exercise, read, draw, dance, do some yoga.Whatever it takes to make you feel a little more like you during stressful times. And then, make a commitment to yourself to set aside time to practice some form of stress relief on a more consistent basis throughout the year. 3. Feed your heart, instead of just your belly. Nothing says “feel good” like doing a good deed. Volunteer, donate something, do something to make someone else’s day. In essence, it will make your day too. Making a difference for someone in need can add so much to your life and the lives of others. 4. Practice gratitude. Stop and take notice of the small moments that actually mean a lot. Being grateful for what you already have in your life can really put things in perspective and carry that well into the future. 5. Forgive someone.This is a biggie, for sure. Remember forgiving is one of the greatest gestures of generosity you can give to yourself and someone else. 6. Make a promise to yourself to practice the above each month throughout the year and see how it impacts your life and the lives of others. Just think, if each of us made just a few small goodwill-type changes, our world would be an even more peaceful, loving place. Imagine that!

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SPECIAL THANKS TO FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS OF VERTICAL Germaine Gibbs, Awa Spa and Wellness Sanctuary ✵ Debbie Ploor, Orange Home Accessories ✵ Alexis Muellner, Tampa Bay Business Journal ✵ Dr. Adam Scheiner, The Aesthetic Center at Tampa Eye Clinic ✵ Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care ✵ Bill Cason, Cason Marketing ✵ Ester Venouziou, LocalShops1 ✵ Arcadia Jimenez ✵ Kimberly Macaluso, Neiman Marcus ✵ Ryan Seay, BJ Ramone,Tom and Jim Morris at Morrisound Recording ✵ Mark Crittenden ✵ Lindsey Matacchiero ✵ Don Capone ✵ Kevin Wilder ✵ Felicia Postell ✵ Ryan Marshall, Benz Model & Talent Agency ✵ Lenny Cruz, Lenny’s Latin Cafe ✵ Jill Wax, Kate Thomsen and Stephanie Strech of La France ✵ Kristin See, Make A Wish Central & Northern Florida Chapter Suncoast Region ✵ Shelby Hudspith ✵ Sheila Awad, The Spring of Tampa Bay ✵ St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission Manager Guy Balson ✵ Carrie Wildes ✵ Cathryn Branch ✵ Vicky Westra ✵ Nancy Howe and Jennifer Lugo of Maddux Business Report ✵ Special thanks to VERTICAL’s contributors ✵ Much love to my husband Alan and our families and friends ✵ HAPPY



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