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LWR LIFE LAKEWOOD RANCH AREA’S COMMUNITY, NATURE, STYLE WINTER 2016

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CONTENTS

WINTER 2016-17

FEATURES

58 12

LWR LIFE

BEAUTY IN BLOOM The people behind the posies are what make this nursery thrive.

62

SEA OF BOUNTY Get the dish on the best seafood east of the beach.

68

FAMILY TIDINGS Take a peek at family traditions that make the holidays shine.


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DEPARTMENTS

34 40

18 FROM THE EDITOR 23 BUZZ Dig into relics of Lakewood Ranch’s prehistoric past, preview $4.2 million worth of renovations to the country club and see why golf is no sweat for this 10-year-old. 39 PULSE Drive a day on the route of a Meals on Wheels volunteer. 40 CALENDAR What to see, hear and do around the Ranch in the coming months. 48 STYLE Fashionistas rejoice: a handbag for every budget.

56 75

56 CHARITY SNAPSHOT Learn about a sanctuary that gives abandoned horses a new life. 75 HAVEN Tips for staging a beautiful home can help you de-clutter even if you’re not looking to sell. 82 GARDENING How to avoid palm butt rot and myriad other problems with your fronded friends. 86 RANCH SCENE Shopping lends a helping hand at the annual Key to the Cure. 90 PARTING GLANCE

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LWRLIFE

CLEARANCE SALE

LAKEWOOD RANCH AREA’S COMMUNITY, NATURE, STYLE Publisher and CEO — Matt Walsh

ENTIRE SHOWROOM THRU 12/31/16

EDITORIAL

UP TO

64% OF F

Executive Editor — Kat Hughes Managing Editor — Heidi Kurpiela Design — Nicole Thompson Contributors  Pam Eubanks, Jay Heater, Dex Honea, Niki Kottmann and Eric Snider

ADVERTISING Director of Advertising — Jill Raleigh Associate Publisher — Lori Ruth Advertising Managers — Kathleen O’Hara and Penny DiGregorio Advertising Executives — JP Clayton, Diane de Spirlet, Robyn Didelot, Beth Jacobson, Allison Kummery, Bob Lewis, Richeal Parisi, Toni Perren and Laura Ritter

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We have everything you need to make your living space look sleek, modern and feel amazingly comfortable.

Graphic Designers — Thom Gravelle, Shawna Polana, Luis Trujillo and Allison Wampole

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CONTACT LWR LIFE

www.LeatherGallerySarasota.com

To submit story ideas, calendar listings or have your event considered for coverage, contact Kat Hughes at khughes@yourobserver.com. For advertising inquiries, call 366-3468.

BEDDING CENTER 5251 South Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34231

LWR Life is a quarterly publication of the Observer Media Group published in May, August, November and February in partnership with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

941-993-1057 Mon.-Fri. 10-7 • Sat. 10-6 • Sun. Noon-5 16

LWR LIFE

219993

(1.5 miles South of Bee Ridge Road)

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REHABILITATION PAVILION


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

New traditions

Mae Ann and Lowrey Cusano dress in matching pajamas on Christmas Eve.

W

inter is the best time of the year. I know I’m not alone among my fellow Floridians in this proclamation. The temperatures drop, the skies clear, the water in the Gulf of Mexico is never bluer and we can finally go outside again. Aside from the weather, with winter comes the holiday spirit and wonderful times made for gathering with friends and family. Every family has its traditions that mark these times as special. Whether it’s mimosas while you’re putting the turkey in the oven or buying your new Christmas ornament for the tree, these little things get handed down to help us get in the

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holiday mood. The other special thing about the holidays in Florida, is it can be a time to form new traditions. So what if you don’t get to wear sweaters and drink hot cocoa? Since we moved to Florida from up north, we decided to embrace the unique aspects of our new home. Instead of having a Christmas menu with the traditional fixings, we enjoy stone crab claws and scallops before digging into presents. (Our tree also has more flamingos than turtle doves at this point.) To get a glimpse into what others in the area do, we asked four Lakewood Ranch families to share their holiday traditions (see Page 68). From armadillo ornaments to recipes for strawberry pretzels, you might just

Main Street Trattoria serves up Chesapeake Bay scallops in a buerre blanc sauce.

pick up a new tradition of your own. And speaking of stone crab and scallops, winter is a bountiful time for seafood. Stone crab season runs through the winter, oysters have finished spawning and taste better, and it’s a great time to feast on gifts from the ocean. To help you sample some of the most delicious seafood in the area, we’ve put together a guide of beautiful dishes from area restaurants (see Page 62). Some are more adventurous than others, as you might have noticed from the octopus dish on the cover. But don’t let those suckers scare you. Try it! You might be surprised. We also have some tamer — but just as delicious — options for you to enjoy.

Lastly, with cooler temperatures comes a new growing season. Those flowers that just can’t hang in the summer heat and humidity thrive in the sunny days of winter. When it comes to learning about and finding your next botanical delight, Mariposa Nursery has rows upon rows of plants from which to choose — and helpers to assist you in picking the right plant for the right place (see Page 58). Plus, the nursery hosts Social Saturdays, with wine and cheese so you can sip and shop, or just stroll the nursery’s gardens. Now that’s a new tradition I could embrace. Kat Hughes Executive Editor


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219723


A S P E CTAC U L A R V I E W

of Living

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219913


BUZZ

NEWS, HAPPENINGS AND PEOPLE

Dig into the depths of Lakewood Ranch’s prehistoric past. PAGE 24


Mine Craft

Think shells only wash up at the beach? SMR has been excavating them for four decades in East County. BY PAM EUBANKS | CONTRIBUTOR

G

ene Henshaw climbs a ladder and reaches across a glass shelf for a fossilized shell at the headquarters for SMR Aggregates. It is white and its ridges are deep. He turns it over, feeling the shell’s rough edges with his thumb. “This is probably my favorite,” says Henshaw, president of SMR Aggregates, a shell-mining subsidiary of Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. “It’s called lion’s paw. I like the look of it. Look at the detail in there.” Henshaw’s lion’s paw is just one of dozens of mined shells on display at SMR Aggregates. This unexceptional little relic offers a snapshot of a 40-year history of excavating the earth

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in East County. The land management giant has had a mining operation on its property since the mid-1970s. The excavating process is simple: mining equipment removes surface sand, fill dirt and shell base. Each aggregate has its unique uses, but generally it’s used in construction or construction-related industries. Shells, for example, are commonly used to build a road base. The holes in the earth created from mining — often called borrow pits — eventually fill up with water to form lakes. The seven large lakes surrounding Lakewood Ranch’s future Waterside development were once all shellmining pits. The largest is about a mile long. Lake Uhlein — the backdrop to the Edgewater and Watercrest communities, as well as Lakewood Ranch Main Street — was once a mining pit.

Although SMR has wrapped up most of its mining operation, it still keeps a stockpile of materials for future projects, including the extensions of Lorraine Road, Deer Drive and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. The closure of these mines brings an end to visits from paleontologist Roger Portell, director of Invertebrate Paleontology and Micro-Paleontology Collections for the Florida Museum of Natural History. Gone too are the students and crews Portell ferried to and from the site during the past 20 years. The ground in Lakewood Ranch is home to unique Pinecrest beds, said to have the highest diversity of any shell deposit in the United States. Hordes of fossil fanatics have collected hundreds of thousands of fossils from these treasured beds.


Here’s a sampling of the shells paleontologists and SMR Aggregates have plucked from the depths of East County mining pits.

Four vertebra of an ancient alligator, which lived much like modern alligators in the same type of habitats.

This ancient shallow-water oyster inhabited lagoons and estuaries. It’s called a Southern foam oyster because its shell, when broken, appears to be filled with small bubbles.

Fragment of a molar of Rhynchotherium, an ancient relative of modern elephants.  This browser-grazer died out nearly 2 million years ago.

One of the few snails found in Florida fossil deposits that can be either solitary or colonial. This species is known to have formed huge reef-like structures during the Plio-Pleistocene period (nearly 3 million years ago).

Sections of both lower jaws (compressed) with seven teeth of an extinct horse that roamed what is now Sarasota County.

Photos by Pam Eubanks

Referred to as an auger because of its drill bitlike shape, this extinct shallow-water marine gastropod most likely preyed on other mollusks with a venomous barb to immobilize its victims.

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25


TALENT SWAP Coaching girls or boys basketball at Lakewood Ranch adds up the same way — a victory.

HADLEY ON COACHING THE MUSTANG BOYS: I’VE GOT THIS, COACH “With girls, you constantly have to build up their self-esteem. The boys play with more confidence, regardless of their skill set.”

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER “If I was coaching the boys, I would give them more water breaks. Jeremy doesn’t give them that many. They would appreciate it.”

UNDER PRESSURE “I would do more pressing with them. The boys play extremely hard. I wish I could get the girls to play that hard.”

YOU’RE ALL OUT, AND IN “He can sub five on five every two minutes. I would like to try that.”

JAY HEATER | CONTRIBUTOR

L

akewood Ranch boys basketball coach Jeremy Schiller says he is jealous of the loving bond Mustangs girls coach Tina Hadley has with her players. Hadley respects how hard Schiller’s boys compete every minute. Both coaches have a legitimate shot at a state championship this season with their respective teams.  But what if the boys coaching staff was stranded after a fishing expedition to Lake Okeechobee? What if the girls staff ended up stranded in Gainesville when their bus broke down on a scouting trip? Could Schiller get positive results coaching the girls or could Hadley register the win with the boys? Both say, absolutely yes. “We played pretty different style last year, but this season we should be more similar,” Schiller said. “I steal ideas from her and she steals from me.” So, we had each coach explains how he or she would mange the other’s team.

SCHILLER ON COACHING THE MUSTANG GIRLS: STAR POWER “Having (all-state post player) LaDazhia Williams is a real advantage. I would do a lot more picking and rolling because I would have her to take care of the post. On the boys, my leading scorer is different every game. She averages 16 points.”

FULL-SPEED AHEAD “I’d love working with the girls because the best thing about Coach Hadley is how consistently hard her players work. You see the product in the game, but you don’t see them working at 6 a.m. on June 7 running ladders.”

NEED A HUG? “My boys don’t talk to us all that much, so it would be awesome to have that connection with the players. You can see the love the girls have for each other both on the court and outside it. They are so much more connected to her.”

ALL SMILES “And the girls just seem to really have a lot of fun.”

Continued on Page 28

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194152


STATE BOUND?

Continued from Page 26

TEAMS TO BEAT Lakewood Ranch High School doesn’t have the Harlem Globetrotters, but it might have the best basketball show in the state for the 2016-17 season, which began this month. The Mustangs boys and girls varsity basketball teams had a combined record of 49-13 last season with the girls finishing second in Class 7A while the boys missed the Final Four by a victory. Among the Mustang boys five returning starters is junior guard Damien Gordon, who was the District 16 Player of the Year in 2015-16. Lakewood Ranch’s girls return three of five starters, but one is senior LaDazhia Williams, a 6-foot-3 forward/ center who has verbally committed to South Carolina and is ranked by recruiting services as one of the top 50 players in the nation. Both teams have a legitimate shot at a state championship. To the right, we show what makes them worthy of being favorites.

CASE FOR THE BOYS

CASE FOR THE GIRLS

Jeremy Schiller’s career record at Lakewood Ranch is 71-67 over five seasons.

Tina Hadley’s career record at Lakewood Ranch is 160-117 over 10 seasons.

The Lakewood Ranch High School boys basketball team returns 11 of 13 players and all five starters from a team that last season ...  ...set a school record with 23 wins ...won the district championship with a 23-6 overall record and finished 10-0 in district play ...won the first two regional playoff games in school history ...reached the state tournament Elite Eight

The Lakewood Ranch girls basketball team returns eight of 11 players and four starters off a team that last season ... ... set a school record with 26 wins ... won the first regional title in school history ... won its first Final Four game in school history .... played in its first state title game in school history

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Kitchen Aid

The revamped country club is cooking on its

$4.2 million renovation. BY JAY HEATER | CONTRIBUTOR

I

t was July when Wayne Piazza, general manager of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, stood in the middle of his club’s kitchen. He was standing in dirt. And he was looking at nothing. Absolutely nothing. “There were not even floors,” Piazza says. “It was just an empty space with no walls. They took out a saw and had cut out all the concrete, which they had a tractor taking out in 500-pound blocks.” It was a little unnerving for Piazza, who had told members they would be eating Thanksgiving dinner in the club. “A number of our members have been here for Thanksgiving for years,” Piazza says. “We are committed to our membership. Telling 700-plus people they needed to go somewhere else for Thanksgiving was not an option.” By late October, the $1 million kitchen renovation, part of a $4.2 million country club project, was almost complete. Piazza stood among the new appliances, soaking up the 3,000 square feet of space — up from 1,000 square feet — visualizing its potential. The expansion was essential, given the club’s burgeoning membership. At 2,800 members, it had outgrown its facilities, and the number of activities being offered was increasing. “It put us in a bind because we were Jay Heater

Continued on Page 32

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General Manager Wayne Piazza opens the cooler in the country club’s kitchen, which received a $1 million renovation.


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The country club’s new dining room has been expanded to add 60 seats and accommodate the kitchen’s expansion.

Continued from Page 30 at maximum capacity,” Piazza says. “Plus, Lakewood Ranch still is expanding. We had to address it.” Fishman and Associates of Venice designed and stocked the new kitchen. Marisa Mangani, Fishman and Associates project manager, says the firm’s biggest challenge was working with an old clubhouse, which was built during a quieter era in Lakewood Ranch’s history. “The club was built for what was going on in 2001, which wasn’t a lot,” Mangani says. “Their kitchen was busting at the seams.” Schroeder-Manatee Ranch executives, including Piazza, toured Flying Fish Café, a high-volume restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Piazza and his staff wanted to tack on another 2,000 square feet to the kitchen, but adding that much space meant taking away from something else. “It made sense to push into the dining room, which needed to be expanded anyway,” Mangani says. “So they pushed out the dining room wall, too.” The back wall of the Grill Room, which serves as the club’s main dining room, was knocked out and moved back to accommodate an additional 60 seats. A small fire pit off the back of the Grill Room was made bigger and a patio was added to the Wine Room. LED lights were placed behind the club

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to give members a better nighttime view of the wetlands and the kitchen installed combi ovens — convection cookers that double as steamers, fryers, smokers and dehydrators. “SMR has a knowledge and sense of how important the back of the house is,” Mangani says. “Often businesses treat kitchens as redheaded stepchildren. SMR didn’t do that. They trust experts like us.” Her team had to complete everything on a tight schedule. “It was pretty aggressive,” she says of the timeline. Piazza says SMR executives held a “Knights of the Roundtable” meeting to discuss whether it was feasible to forge ahead with the renovation while construction was occurring on the – MARISA MANGANI, FISHMAN AND Lodge and fitness center. Once the ASSOCIATES PROJECT MANAGER decision was made, though, the race was on. “We started in March and it was like the Marines showed up,” Piazza says. Although the country club was closed, not one of the 50 to 60 employees was laid off. Most were shifted over to the Lodge, which opened April 19.  “We were overstaffed there, but it gave our new employees a chance to know our members and learn the culture,” Piazza says. “This was a big deal for us, and the members have been very patient. SMR has an investment in the membership and it is very protective of Lakewood Ranch.”

Often businesses treat kitchens as redheaded stepchildren. SMR didn’t do that. They trust experts like us.”


Renée Dedio Preininger 941.400.4235 reneeworks4u@gmail.com www.ReneePreininger.com

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IRON MAIDEN Ten-year-old golfing phenom Alana Kutt is swinging for the stars — and reaching them. BY ERIC SNIDER | CONTRIBUTOR

A

lana Kutt — 10 years old, 4-foot-8, 75 pounds — has a grip like a linebacker. Shaking her hand makes quite a first impression. The startling strength in Alana’s small right hand comes from countless hours practicing and playing golf, something she is very, very good at. Four years into her junior career, she boasts a long list of tournament

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achievements. She played 30 events this year and capped it off by winning the Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association Tour Players Championship. In September, she was named the North Florida PGA Champion Junior Tour Player of the Year. That handshake, though, is about more than physical strength. “Sometimes golf kids will give you a soft grip,” Alana says. “My dad taught me to Continued on Page 36


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Continued from Page 34 always shake hands with a firm grip and look people in the eye.” Dad, nearby, looks on approvingly. Matt Kutt, 52, describes himself as Alana’s “caddy, manager, agent, limo driver and strength coach.” Until recently, he was her golf coach too, but he handed over that role to Matt Hill, the head pro at Waterlefe Golf & River Club in Bradenton. “I wanted to be dad again,” Matt Kutt says. Alana’s golf career has become something of a cottage industry. She regularly consults with a sports psychologist and visits a physical therapist. She lives with her father at Palm Aire Country Club, where she has an honorary golf membership and can see the 16th tee box from her bedroom window. During the week, she practices two hours a day and logs an hour of strength training. She has tournaments nearly every weekend. Matt homeschools his only daughter. A national sales rep for Total Gym, a commercial fitness gym equipment firm, the former baseball coach routinely travels around the country with Alana in tow. They try to time his business trips to coincide with Alana’s junior golf tournaments. A math lesson might take place on a long plane trip, a writing assignment in a hotel room. The Kutt home does double duty as a training center. “We don’t keep clothes in the bureaus,” Matt says with a smile. “We keep them on the couch to make more room for training areas — and so we can pack and go.” If this lifestyle strikes some people as unorthodox, as if Matt is relentlessly driving his daughter to play, Alana seems the least bit pressured. “I like being homeschooled and living with a sporty dad,” she says with a shy grin. “And I love playing golf. I’m doing it ‘cause I want to.” For a single dad and his daughter — Alana’s mother has been out of the picture for three years — golf is “a refuge,” Matt says. “A source of strength during this life adjustment.” For six weeks in October and November, the father-daughter duo stows away the clubs so Alana can stay home

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Matt Kutt was his daughter’s coach, but Alana now works with a golf pro at a club in Bradenton.

and be a kid. Her autumn hiatus is filled with play dates, horseback riding, sleepovers, birthday parties and other girlie stuff. She’s gets mani-pedis, and is starting to apply her own makeup. “Not a lot,” she says bashfully. The soft-spoken fifth-grader has a feisty side. She tells a story about playing in a tournament on a gusty day at the Reunion Resort Nicklaus Course in Kissimmee: “My dad first gave me an 8 iron. Then the wind stopped and he gave me a 9 iron. Then the wind picked up again and he gave me an 8 iron. Then the wind stopped again. I said, ‘Dad, pick a club already.’” Matt handed her the 9. The resulting shot turned out pretty well. It was on the 16th hole, a Par 3 from 89 yards. With the wind behind her back, “It was the best 9 iron I ever hit,” Alana says. “It hit the green, rolled and disappeared.” That’s golf-speak for a hole-in-one.

Alana was 8. Not surprisingly, Matt and Alana have a clear game plan. As a homeschooled student she can play on a high school team, which Matt hopes will land her a college scholarship. (Alana is already eyeing North Carolina or the University of Florida). After that, the ultimate dream is life as a professional. “I want to play in the LPGA when I get older,” Alana states. She says this with the matter-of-fact assertion of a young Michelle Wie, not a starry-eyed kid with a part-time golf hobby. She understands only a select few get the opportunity to be a tour pro, and without having to say it, suggests she has the skill and perseverance to achieve her ambition. “She’s mature beyond her years,” Matt says. “She’s been given a gift, and she understands that.”


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Sanctuary gives abandoned horses a home — and a second chance. PAGE 56 LWR LIFE

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calendar winter 2016-17 DECEMBER DEC. 1, 8, 15 MAIN STREET CELEBRATES THE CHRISTMAS SEASON The holidays will take over Lakewood Ranch Main Street with carriage rides, carolers and Santa strolls from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.  DEC. 1 ART CLUB RECEPTION The Lakewood Ranch Art Club will host a wine and cheese reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to showcase work by its members at the CommCenter, 9040 Town Center Parkway. The exhibition will run through May 1. n For more information, contact Darlene Steward by email at darlenestewart@me.com or by phone at 907-2992.  DEC. 2  EMPTY BOWLS Enjoy soup and bread from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. The event supports Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee and other programs. n For more information, visit mealsonwheelsplus.org. File photos

MUSIC ON MAIN Come to Lakewood Ranch Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. for a free concert benefiting Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com. DEC. 3 JINGLE AND JOG 5K AND 1-MILE RUN/WALK Participants have the option of participating in the 5K or 1-mile run/walk, benefiting The Haven, formerly Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m.,

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and the walk starts at 8:45 a.m. at Community Haven. n For more information, visit communityhaven.org.  DEC. 4  BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT MACALLISTERS Join MacAllisters for breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 11 a.m. It’s a great opportunity for pictures, food and family fun. n For more information, call 359-2424. 

DEC. 7 CHRISTMAS PHOTOS WITH SANTA Come to Lakewood Ranch Cinemas for a photo with Santa from 6 to 9 p.m. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com. CLASSIC CAR SHOW AND FARMERS MARKET Enjoy classic cars, food, music and prizes from 5 to 8 p.m., at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.

Continued on Page 42

The Jingle and Jog 5K and 1-Mile Run/Walk takes place Dec. 3.


Reduce your pain. Restore your lifestyle.

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Our goal is getting you there!

If you’ve been suffering with orthopedic problems, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center offers a range of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, including total joint replacement. Our hospital’s comprehensive approach to treatment brings together a team of surgeons who specialize in orthopedic injuries and sports medicine, along with orthopedictrained nurses, therapists and technicians.

A rehabilitation program centered on your special needs The Orthopaedic Spine and Joint Center is more than a surgery and rehabilitation program – it’s a culture of care that empowers patients with motivation and education. We are committed to getting you back to the activities you love as quickly as possible, with a high-quality program that’s tailored to your needs, including pre-op classes and presentations that will help prepare you for your surgery and rehabilitation.

For more information, call 941.782.2663.

Physicians are on the medical staff of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.160058 10/16 192995


Continued from Page 40 LWRBA / YLA HOLIDAY SOCIAL Enjoy the annual holiday social hosted by Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and LWR Young Leaders Alliance. This event makes sure you kick off the holiday season in style. It takes place 5 to 7 p.m., at Michael Saunders & Co., 8325 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. n For more information, call 757-1664.  DEC. 9 HOLIDAYS AROUND THE RANCH Enjoy “ice” skating, sugar cookie decorating, caroling, the lighting of a Christmas tree, Santa parade and other holiday festivities from 6 to 9 p.m at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. n For more information, visit lwrcac.com. DEC. 11  BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT ED’S TAVERN Join Ed’s Tavern for breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s a great opportunity for pictures, food and family fun. n For more information, call 907-0400. SHOEBOX PARTY Drop in to donate or create decorated shoeboxes filled with items for needy seniors supported by Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee from 4 to 6 p.m. at Daybreak Adult Day Center. n For more information, visit mealsonwheelsplus.org. DEC. 16 MAIN STREET CELEBRATES THE CHRISTMAS SEASON The holidays will take over Lakewood Ranch Main Street with carolers and Santa strolls from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.  DEC. 17  BREAKFAST WITH SANTA Visit with Santa from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Fete Ballroom at Polo Grill. n For more information, call 782-0899.  DEC. 18   LUNCH WITH SANTA Enjoy lunch with Santa from noon to 2

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p.m., at Main Street Trattoria. n For more information, call 907-1518. DEC. 22  JINGLE 5K Join in on this festive jingle bell run through Lakewood Ranch starting at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Children’s dashes start at 6 p.m. and the 5K starts at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Auxiliary and JoshProvides, a foundation supporting individuals impacted by epilepsy or other seizure disorders. n For more information, visit lakewoodranchmedicalcenter.org. DEC. 27 CHANUKAH CELEBRATION Chabad of Bradenton will celebrate Chanukah from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Admission is free. A menorah will be lighted at Main Street. n For more information, call 9523030. DEC. 30 SARASOTA POLO The Sarasota Polo Club kicks off its season with an afternoon of tailgating and polo. Gates open at 10 a.m. and matches start at 1 p.m. Admission $12 for adults, children 12 and under are free. n For more information and dates this season, see box, right.

Continued on Page 44

SARASOTA POLO The 2017 Sarasota Polo season begins Dec. 30. Below are dates for public matches, which are held every Sunday through April 9. Gates open at 10 a.m. and matches start at 1 p.m. New this season, the club will host matches on the last Friday of the month at 3 p.m. Gates for these games open at 2 p.m. Admission is $12 per person. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased at the gate. For more information, visit sarasotapolo.com. n Jan. 8

n March 5

n Jan. 15

n March 11 (Ponies for Pups benefit game) n March 12 n March 19 n March 26 n March 31 n April 2 n April 9

n Jan. 22 n Jan. 27 n Jan. 29 n Feb. 5 n Feb. 12 n Feb. 19 n Feb. 24 (SMR Cup) n Feb. 26

Below: Chanukah Celebration will take place Dec. 27.


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Continued from Page 42

JANUARY JAN. 4 CLASSIC CAR SHOW AND FARMERS MARKET Enjoy classic cars, along with food, music and prizes from 5 to 8 p.m., at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com. JAN. 6 MUSIC ON MAIN Come to Lakewood Ranch Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. for a free concert benefiting the Police Athletic League of Manatee County. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com. JAN. 15  SUNCOAST HALF MARATHON Start and finish the Suncoast Half Marathon at Lakewood Ranch Main Street with a scenic 13.1-mile course through Lakewood Ranch’s Country Club West communities. n For more information, call 312-4955. JAN. 27 MOVIES ON THE GREEN Premier Sports Campus hosts this monthly film series. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the film starts at 7:30 p.m. n For information, visit premiersportscampus.com.

FEBRUARY

FEB. 4 GRAND OVATION Come to Lakewood Ranch Main Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. for live entertainment and performances by local school, dance, chorus and drama groups, professional musicians and more. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com. FEB. 11 CAR SHOW Lakewood Ranch Main Street welcomes “the classics” for this annual car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manatee. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.

FEB. 1 CLASSIC CAR SHOW AND FARMERS MARKET Enjoy classic cars, along with food, music and prizes from 5 to 8 p.m., at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.

FEB. 24 MOVIES ON THE GREEN Premier Sports Campus hosts this monthly film series. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the film starts at 7:30 p.m. n For information, visit premiersportscampus.com.

FEB. 3 MUSIC ON MAIN Come to Lakewood Ranch Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. for a free concert benefiting Easton Elite Baseball. n For more information, visit lakewoodranch.com.

FEB. 25 WALK MS Come support the National MS Society at this walk fundraiser starting at 9 a.m. at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. n For information, visit main.nationalmssociety.org.

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THUNDER BY THE BAY For the first time, Lakewood Ranch welcomes Thunder by the Bay out east. Benefiting Suncoast Charities for Children, the four-day motorcycle festival will bring a variety of events to the area. See below for a sampling of events. For a complete schedule and more information, visit thunderbythebay.org. JAN. 5 SPORTING CLAY TOURNAMENT 8:30 a.m. registration; 9:30 a.m. start at Ancient Oak Gun Club. Teams $500 or $125 per person. JAN. 6 ‘BORN TO BE WILD’ KICKOFF PARTY 6 to 10 p.m. at Polo Grill and Bar, tickets $100. JAN. 7-8 ‘ROCKIN’ & RIDIN’ AT THE RANCH’ FESTIVAL 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at The Premier Sports Campus. Free parking and free admission.

Thunder by the Bay comes to Lakewood Ranch Jan. 5-8.


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47


Style

Handbag Heaven Four local stores offer the perfect bag — regardless of your price point. NIKI KOTTMANN | CONTRIBUTOR

A

woman’s purse says a lot about her. If she’s a beading or sparkles kind of gal, she’s likely the outgoing, life-of-the-party type. If solid

colors or tame patterns are more her style, she’s probably the cool, calm and collected type. Everyone has a unique personality and taste, just like everyone has a unique budget — and that shouldn’t stop you from rocking your dream bag. These four Lakewood Ranch stores offer a bag for every budget, so you can let your

WISH ON MAIN STREET FLIRTY FLORAL: Small crossbody bags are super stylish and incredibly practical for a night on the town. This Canadian brand makes 100% vegan, crueltyfree accessories that are both sensible and cute, and they won’t break the bank. Pixie Mood, $56

true personality shine — regardless of how much you have in your wallet. BEADED BEAUTY: There’s something timeless about a beaded handbag, yet with this one you can’t help but feel ready for a Gatsby-era soiree. If you’re looking to splurge on a handbag that doubles as a true statement piece, look no further. Mary Frances, $256

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AMERICAN SHORES BOLD AND BEACHY: Floridian style is all about bright colors, and the beach is the perfect place to let those colors fly. But a day in the sand is also a sure-fire way to ruin your favorite bag, so a vibrant, heavy-duty beach tote like this is always the way to go. Sun ’N’ Sand, $39

Continued on Page 50

CROWDER’S (clockwise from top-left): FABULOUS FLORAL: Flower power is in style no matter what season it is, and this large patterned tote will help you brighten any room you walk into. It’s not the most affordable on the list, but it’s the perfect price for the spacious, gorgeous bag that it is. Spartina, $144 LEATHER LOVE: This sidesaddle cross body will fool anyone who only thinks of paisley and floral prints when they hear the words Vera Bradley. The beautiful black piece exudes classic elegance when closed but has a hidden wild side that’s revealed under the flap. Vera Bradley, $168 FESTIVE FUN: For many, the holidays are marked by radiant reds and forest greens. If you want to gift yourself with a handbag that will help you stand out this holiday season, then this leather shoulder bag with its eye-catching jeweled design is the perfect fit. Brighton, $430 Photos by Niki Kottmann

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SHOP THE LOOKS

Continued from Page 49

WISH ON MAIN STREET

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AMERICAN SHORES

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CROWDER’S

Address: 2401 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Phone: 941-744-2442 Website: crowdersgifts.com

DILLARD’S

Address: The Mall at University Town Center Phone: 941-527-4878 Website: dillards.com/stores/ university-town-center-sarasotaflorida/0213

DILLARD’S SOPHISTICATED SOLID: Sometimes solidcolored bags are a bore, but this bowler bag combines black and lilac to form the ideal winter look. Take chic to a new level with this splurge that you won’t regret later. Kate Spade, $298

PLAID PERFECTION: Don’t deny it: plaid will always be in style. Whether it’s on your favorite flannel, your PJ pants or this tasteful shoulder bag, you might as well indulge because it’ll always look good. Kate Spade, $298

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LWR LIFE

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BY JAY HEATER | CONTRIBUTOR

T

he meal is lunch, but the work begins before breakfast. Cooks file through the door at Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee before 6 a.m., to prepare hot meals for mostly seniors in Manatee County who are confined to their homes by age or illness. Some of these routes run through Lakewood Ranch. It’s an important mission, one that would be impossible if not for the tireless efforts of Joe Stoddard, vice president of operations, and Lina Bracht, volunteer engagement manager. Stoddard and Bracht are hustling to recruit more delivery drivers. They’re blunt when it comes to articulating the need for more drivers. The Meal on Wheels delivery force is about 25 drivers short. The organization’s diligent meal prep goes to waste if it can’t get the meals where they’re needed. More than 250 volunteers are signed up to deliver meals, which might seem like a lot of drivers until you learn that Meals on Wheels distributes 750 meals a day. Most volunteers pitch in once a week or twice a month. The really dedicated ones deliver as often as three times a week. Other than passing a background check and possessing a driver’s license, the requirements for driving are straightforward. Says Bracht, “You need to have a good smile because you might be the only face these people see all day.” The organization’s volunteer fleet must cover 53 routes; most are a twohour commitment. Although Bracht is an administrator, she often fills in on deliveries when the warehouse is short on drivers. “It’s humbling to see the way some people make it through the day,” Bracht says. “You hear great stories. You grow to know your clients more and you build relationships.” To better understand these relationships, LWR Life rode shotgun with 17-year-old Meals on Wheels Plus volunteer Fay Baldwin, a student at the University of South Florida SarasotaManatee. The adventure brought new meaning to the term joy ride. Continued on Page 54

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Free Wheelin’ LWR Life hitches a ride through East County with Meals on Wheels Plus volunteer Fay Baldwin.

Photos by Jay Heater

Wylhelmina and Arne Ellermets greet Fay Baldwin like a family member when she comes to deliver their meals.

HOW YOU CAN ADOPT A ROUTE

Thanks to the convenience of Meals on Wheels’ Adopt-a-Route program, people who are pressed for time are able to share volunteer routes with coworkers. Adopt-a-Route works by allocating routes to participating companies and organizations. If your company or club is interested in adopting a route, contact Lina Bracht, Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee’s volunteer engagement manager, at 941-747-4655, Ext. 1230, or lbracht@mealsonwheelsplus.org. For more information, visit mealsonwheelsplus.org.


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Continued from Page 52

DELIVERY DAY 10:30 a.m. No one notices Fay Baldwin isn’t old enough to vote as she loads up her car with Meals on Wheels deliveries. She’s old enough to make a difference, and that’s all that matters. She closes the trunk and is on her way. 10:40 a.m. As Baldwin heads to Rosedale, she talks about how she arrived at Meals on Wheels Plus. “I was interested in food and culture,” she says. “I needed four units for food (at USFSM), so I had to deliver Meals on Wheels twice to get them. I liked it so much I decided to deliver once a week. ... I look forward to it because it’s like having eight grandparents.” 10:45 a.m. The car reaches the gate

at Rosedale and the guard smiles and lets Baldwin through after she explains she’s delivering food. “The first time I did this, I was nervous,” Baldwin says. “But Lina (Bracht) went with me, and by the time I did it by myself, I knew everyone.” 10:51 a.m. Baldwin arrives at the first

stop, pulls two food containers out of her car and disappears around a corner of the house. She goes to the door by herself because the client gets anxious around strangers. A few minutes later, Baldwin returns carrying the food. She says it’s too early and suggests coming back later. 10:57 a.m. She heads toward another

home in the same neighborhood. Her clients get excited when they see her. “I know it makes their day. If I didn’t do this, I probably would be sitting home watching TV,” she says. 11:02 a.m. At the second stop, a

man comes to the door, takes his meal and responds curtly when asked to comment. “They are on the ball today,” he says with a huff. “There are times we don’t see them until after 1 p.m.” Baldwin doesn’t stop smiling, and bids him goodbye. 11:07 a.m. Baldwin returns to her first

stop, where the client still doesn’t answer. Baldwin calls the Meals on

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Wheels Plus office and reports the no-show. The office phones the client’s home to ask if he didn’t hear the doorbell or needs assistance. Baldwin puts the food back in the car and attaches a note to the door saying she’s been there. The office will follow up. 11:20 a.m. When a light fails to

change at an intersection, she gets out of her vehicle and walks up to a car at the front of the line and tells the driver she has to inch closer to the intersection to activate the signal. Irritated, the driver obeys and the light changes to green. 11:27 a.m. Pulling up to yet another guarded gate, Baldwin falls further behind schedule as the guard begins to study her drivers license. Baldwin says her friends don’t understand why she has to deliver food to people who live in nice homes and appear to have money. “Even if they have all the money in the world, if they can’t cook or can’t get out of the house, they are as much in need as anyone else,” she says. 

slumped over in a chair, not moving. She thought the worst and then realized the woman was just sleeping. 12:08 p.m. Lakewood Ranch resi-

dent Surendra Patel greets Baldwin at the next stop. She says her husband is very ill and expresses her utmost gratitude at this difficult time.

11:33 a.m. She drops off meals to a

husband and wife, then hurries along. 12:18 p.m. Baldwin pulls into Arne and Wylhelmina Ellermets’ driveway. 11:38 a.m. Approaching another The couple is waiting outside. Arne, stop, Baldwin looks at her schedule. who is recovering from a hip replace“This one doesn’t make sense,” ment, shuffles off with their meals, she says, and then proceeds to go and Wylhelmina pulls Baldwin in for her own way. Sometimes drivers a hug. “It’s been a real plus not to know their routes by heart. have to go out for food,” Arne says. 11:43 a.m. Baldwin arrives at her

12:36 p.m. At the next stop, Baldwin

next stop, where she suggests she go to the door alone. This client is a bit of a curmudgeon. She walks up to the door, surveys the “do not knock” sign and taps lightly. She returns to the car, pleased that the client was sweeter than usual.

explains the homeowner suffers from chronic pain and struggles to get out of her chair. The most considerate way to handle this client is to set her meal on the table, retrieve a fork and napkin from the kitchen and place it on top of the meal.

11:48 a.m. The next stop is home

12:46 p.m. Baldwin pulls up to her

to Betty Baggett, who isn’t feeling well. “I am at a time in my life where this serves a need,” Baggett says. “These people who deliver are the best. I always see that smile.”

last delivery 30 minutes behind schedule. Despite setbacks, the run went smoothly, Baldwin says. “The people who we serve understand I’m taking time out of my busy life. Really, it’s benefiting me more than them. I’ll have the worst day, and then I’ll come do this and by the end of the ride, I’m happy.”

Noon Baldwin says most deliveries go smoothly. Only once was she scared by something she saw on the other side of the door — a woman

Food is plated in assembly-line fashion in preparation to be picked up by the drivers.


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Charity snapshot

Horse Heaven Former Sarasota

zookeeper Robin Cain’s rescued horses have got it made in the hay. BY ERIC SNIDER | CONTRIBUTOR

T

Photos by Dex Honea

Sixteen Hands owner Robin Cain, with her rehabilitated quarter horse Ivy. When Ivy was rescued she was malnourished and tied to a tree in Zolfo Springs.

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hirty-one horses call Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary home. They roam in small herds over 23 idyllic acres on a ranch about 30 miles east of Lakewood Ranch. They are fed, watered, groomed, dewormed and tended to by vets and equine dentists. They are treated like noble steeds, even if their lives didn’t start out so grand. Rescued by owner-operator Robin Cain, many of these animals were abused, neglected and near death before they arrived at Sixteen Hands. Cain was working as a zookeeper at Sarasota Jungle Gardens when she bought the Hardee County ranch in 2001 with her now late husband. She had five horses of her own at the time and hadn’t given much thought to launching a nonprofit, until she took in her first rescue, Patriota, which she acquired from another sanctuary. There was a big demand for her services. “The economy tanked and everyone was looking to dump their horses,” Cain says. By 2008, Sixteen Hands was a fullfledged sanctuary for woebegone horses and Cain’s full-time job. Some horses immediately thrived on the ranch. Others took longer to be rehabilitated


due to abuse and neglect. The really critical cases didn’t make it — a sad reality for all animal rescuers. Primo was one such horse. Rescued from a man in Myakka City, Primo arrived at Sixteen Hands malnourished and too weak to walk. When Cain showed up to collect him, she had to use a tractor to hoist the animal upright onto a trailer. The staff and volunteers at Sixteen Hands worked arduously to save the horse, feeding him to regain weight and fixing his teeth so he could chew. The horse’s health, however, continued to decline. His balance became so poor he could no longer stand. “He would almost go into seizures trying to get up,” Cain says. “It eventu- Sixteen Hands is located east of Myakka City in the tiny town of Ona. A staff of five to seven volunteers helps manage the ally stressed him out so much that we ranch during the winter months. had to put him down. He was such a cool horse, so good with people, but his not “a retirement facility for people body didn’t work anymore.” who don’t want to take care of their Fortunately, most of Cain’s rescue animals.” stories have happier endings. When Through the years, she has had to the Hardee County Sheriff’s Departmake tough decisions about whether ment told Sixteen Hands about some to accept horses. She can’t afford to neglected horses in Zolfo Springs, take them all. The sanctuary runs on Cain sprung into action. She discovabout $100,000 a year in donations, ered Ivy, a skeletal horse, tied to a tree which Cain hopes to increase soon, so on a dirt patch surrounded by barbed it can offer horse therapy programs for wire. “There was no water, no hay, no children and military veterans. This access to anything,” Cain recalls. “Evwill require a boost in fundraising, but ery bone in her body was visible. She Cain says she has volunteers who are did have a little shade from the tree.” better apt at raising money. After about eight months of three Her No. 1 priority right now is simmeals a day, medical care and rehab, ple: Be there for the horses. For six Ivy made a comeback. She’s now up years she commuted to the ranch from to a healthy weight and has blossomed Longboat Key, until she realized that into the ranch’s resident alpha mare. spending two-and-a-half hours a day in “People get this romantic notion of the car was counterproductive. A few getting a horse, but the horse has a years ago, she moved into a small home mind of its own and often doesn’t do on the property, which rejuvenated her what you want them to do,” Cain says. passion for the job. “Then people lose that romantic feel“Actually, I can see it from a fresh ing and start thinking about the fun perspective, like when I started out,” they’re not having and money they Cain says. “I feel better about it behave to put out, and it goes downhill cause I can keep an eye on the horses from there.” and interact with them all the time.” Despite her soft spot for Black Beauty, Cain insists her sanctuary is

People get this romantic notion of getting a horse, but the horse has a mind of its own and often doesn’t do what you want them to do.”

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roots True to their

Mariposa Nursery owners Francois and Rondell Brun-

Wibaux prove you can bloom wherever you’re planted. BY HEIDI KURPIELA | MANAGING EDITOR

I

n an industry dominated by big box garden centers and run-of-the-mill tree farms, Mariposa Nursery is a botanical outlier. Home to over 20 greenhouses, an expensive pottery center, an

eclectic gift shop and free gardening programs, the 20-acre nursery feels more like a horticultural theme park than a plant store. If you’ve got a green thumb and live in Lakewood Ranch, chances are you’ve spent hours wandering the seemingly enchanted foliage at Mariposa. Poinciana, palm, and maple trees greet you upon arrival. Lilies, daisies, bromeliads, desert rose and brilliant mandevilla pack the operation’s greenhouses and outdoor aisles. Sweet smelling jasmine, honeysuckle and verbena fill the air. Continued on Page 60

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Photos by Heidi Kurpiela

Top: Anthurium is indigenous to the tropics and has a long vase life. Center: The nursery got its name from the Spanish word for butterfly. Bottom: A bee pollinates a tray of Sunset Flash, a hardy perennial with long-lasting flowers. Left: I’ve always felt a connection with plants,” Francois says. “There’s something amazing about making things take root and watching them germinate.”

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Continued from Page 58 Since it opened 12 years ago in an old cow pasture off Lorraine Road, Mariposa has grown into a kind of Garden of Eden east of the interstate, a vegetation destination for hobby gardeners and commercial landscapers alike. People from as far away as Tampa and Naples routinely flock to the nursery, which began as a labor of love for married couple Francois and Rondell Brun-Wibaux. “We simply wanted to work for ourselves,” Francois says. “We never dreamed it would grow so big, so fast.” Ever the gardeners, the Brun-Wibauxes nurtured their business from a seed. Armed with three employees and a used skid steer, they spent an entire year turning acres of rugged cow patch into a fully functional nursery. They trucked in 600 loads of dirt, road base and crushed shell; dug a two-acre pond and installed 15 miles of irrigation pipe. They dismantled, moved and reerected two-dozen greenhouses, purchased from a defunct fish farm. They built pump houses and laid enough ground cloth to cover the length of four football fields. It was such an all-consuming job they decided to build a house on the property, so they could devote themselves to the nursery 24 hours a day. “The days were long, but satisfying,” Rondell says. “Every waking minute of our life was spent growing the business. Our kids learned at a very early age how to fix themselves a bowl of cereal.” An unlikely couple, Rondell, 47, is a soft-spoken southern tomboy who grew up in a family of farmers; Francois, 53, is a jovial free-spirited Frenchman who grew up all over Europe. They met while working together at a nursery in Brooksville, where Francois fell in love with Rondell’s banana bread and she fell in love with his accent. In 1990, they had their oldest daughter, Ashleigh, now 26. In 1997, they got married. When they broke ground on Mariposa, their youngest daughters — 17-year-old twins Sasha and Chloe — were in kindergarten. Francois can still picture the girls running around greenhouses well past their bedtime, their little frames illuminated by the glow of tractor-trailer lights as they helped unload plants. The couple looks back at that time with a mix of relief and nostalgia. Their daughters want nothing to do with unloading nursery flats these days. “Even now, it’s not a business you can walk away from,” Rondell says. “It’s a 24/7 commitment, but luckily we love it. Sometimes after we’ve closed down for the day, we’ll wander through the paths and soak it all in. A really peaceful feeling sets in. It’s like a mental detox.”

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SIP-TOE THROUGH THE TULIPS Mariposa Nursery’s laid back “garden parties” are as popular as its plant selection. What better way to stop and smell the roses than with a glass of vino in hand? The nursery serves complimentary wine and snacks every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and mimosas every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to owners, Francois and Rondell Brun-Wibaux, the refreshments are designed to make guests feel like they’re at home, relaxing in their garden. “Some people come here just to walk around the plants and drink mimosas,” says owner Francois Brun-Wibaux. “It doesn’t bother us. If they’re happy, we’re happy.” Mariposa Nursery is located at 5020 Lorraine Road, Bradenton. For more information, call 747-0499 or visit mariposanursery.com.

Clockwise from top-right: Mona Tackett is in charge of the nursery’s visual merchandise and horticulture classes; Low-maintenance Vinca thrives in full sun and is often used in flowerbeds and borders; Nursery plant wagons; Mariposa’s gift shop is filled with unique décor and keepsakes; The nursery’s front entrance is lined with colorful pots. “It’s important to set the right atmosphere,” says Rondell.

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Photos by Heidi Kurpiela

Chilean Seabass, Lucky Pelican Bistro

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By the Sea Why drive to the beach for seafood when you can get fresh fish in East County? BY SHELLIE TERRY BENSON | CONTRIBUTOR

W

ith the Gulf of Mexico so close by, you’d think our restaurants would only sling grouper caught off the coast of Anna Maria Island. It’s not that simple. The

proprietors of local seafood eateries cast their nets far and wide when they create their menus. They pull fish (and culinary inspiration) from seaside cities scattered across the globe. In the quest to find sumptuous and surprising seafood dishes, LWR Life discovered entrees and appetizers indigenous to Cape Cod, Greece, Italy, Asia and New Orleans. To our delight, when we finished reporting this piece, our palates had jet lag.

CHILEAN SEABASS LUCKY PELICAN BISTRO In a strip mall not far from the gridlock of University Parkway and dozens of nondescript office buildings, is the charming Lucky Pelican Bistro. This seafood eatery, raw bar and fish market is the type of haunt you’d expect to find off the brisk New England coast. Head chef Greg Bowman brings his French culinary training and Cape Cod residency experience to the more than 100 pounds of fish he serves every day. His signature dish — a half-pound cut of Chilean seabass covered in a caramelized miso glaze — is a big, rustic dish served over yellow squash and zucchini pancakes, and paired with stir-fried snow peas and mushrooms. Bowman’s finishing touch is subtle and buttery: a miso beurre blanc sauce that complements, not overpowers the dish. “I don’t like to add a million ingredients to anything,” Bowman says. “That’s true of every special that I do. You want to be able to taste the fish.” Lucky Pelican Bistro, 6239 Lake Osprey Drive, LuckyPelicanBistro.com, Market Price Continued on Page 64 LWR LIFE

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SEARED AHI TUNA KONA GRILL When upscale Pan-Pacific chain Kona Grill took its seared ahi tuna off the menu last summer, such uproar ensued that the University Town Center restaurant decided to bring it back for the fall. “It’s such a beautiful cut of ahi, and with the colors of the bok choy and chili sauce ‌ it’s a fabulous dish,â€? says Kona sous chef Miguel Cedeno. “I’m excited to get it back on the menu.â€? Straight from Hawaii, this 7-ounce cut of ahi tuna is seasoned, seared and placed on a mound of white rice and bok choy cooked in garlic and white wine. A healthy drizzle of Kona’s signature sweet chili sauce and toasted sesame seeds give the dish a crunchy kick. Seafood aficionados would be wise to pair it with a glass of earthy cabernet or a bottle of Kirin. Kona’s menu changes quarterly, but the demand for this fish dish is so great it’s likely to stick around for awhile. Kona Grill, The Mall at University Town Center, KonaGrill.com, $25


If you were meandering through a Greek market, you might see octopuses hanging from string, drying in the hot sun. In Greece, this process is vital to preparing the Mediterranean classic. Apollonia might not have the space to hang its mollusks, but that doesn’t mean owner/chef Eddie Yzeiri can’t find an alternative method of preparing the dish. Yzeiri begins by braising the octopus and hitting it with a marinade of lemon juice and olive oil. “It gives it a good flavor and tenderizes it a bit,” he says. He chargrills it to order and drizzles it with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano. Tasty, tender chunks of tentacle are served, small plate-style, over hummus and finished with olives, roasted peppers, capers and fresh herbs. “People associate octopus with calamari, like it’s rubbery and chewy, but it’s not like that,” Yzeiri says. “You can make it like that if you don’t know how to cook it.” Fortunately for Apollonia’s guests, Yzeiri earned his chops preparing Greek delicacies at his uncle’s downtown Sarasota cafe, El Greco. His octopus is perfectly tender, not rubbery. Apollonia Mediterranean Grill, 8235 Cooper Creek Blvd., ApolloniaGrill.com, $13.99 Continued on Page 66

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CHARGRILLED OYSTERS AND OYSTERS ORLEANS HALF SHELL SEAFOOD HOUSE The flavorful oyster plates at Half Shell Seafood House hit a little closer to home thanks to their New Orleans/ Florida flavor profile. The restaurant’s menu appeals to both adventurous and squeamish eaters, for the chefs at Half Shell have managed to achieve the impossible: taking the fear out of eating oysters. While you can still get your oysters raw at this University Parkway restaurant, the cooked variety is wildly popular. “For people who say, ‘I’ll never eat an oyster,’ we get them to try it and it changes their life,” says Jerry Stennett, managing partner of the small chain’s only Florida location. Each oyster is shucked and grilled in its own little skillet of a shell. The chargrilled version is topped with a sauce of butter, white wine, garlic, Parmesan cheese and spices. The Orleans option

is topped with a Cajun barbecue sauce. “People are weird about the raw oyster texture – they think they’re going to be slimy,” Stennett says. “The texture changes when you cook the oysters.

It takes a lot of the moisture out and tightens the oysters up.” Half Shell Seafood House, 5231 University Parkway, Suite 109, HalfShellOysterHouse.com, Half: $10.50; Dozen: $19

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PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS MAIN STREET TRATTORIA If Lakewood Ranch Main Street was designed for breezy pedestrian strolling, Main Street Trattoria was designed to make you sit still and stay awhile. The restaurant’s open-air bar, outdoor dining and live music give it an “Italian Cheers-type of atmosphere,” according to owner Gary Fennessy, who opened the restaurant seven years ago. “It’s a place where people can have a fine meal and the kids can have pizza and a nice family night.” Fennessy’s one-size-fits-all approach is working. His restaurant’s pan-seared Chesapeake Bay scallops are a simple, fresh Italian dish without a lot of fuss. Seared to perfection in a beurre blanc sauce and served with wild mushroom risotto and asparagus spears, the dish is distinctive without being too elaborate. “It’s a very simple presentation that lets the ingredients speak for themselves,” Fennessy says. “Sometimes chefs try to over-compensate

with food, and we try not to do that. We want to let the scallops, risotto and asparagus shine.” Main Street Trattoria, 8131 Lakewood Main St., MSTrattoria.com, $28

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Matching PJs, fruitcakes, regifting and Santa suits. LWR Life asked four East County families for their favorite reasons for the season.

BY HEIDI KURPIELA | MANAGING EDITOR

Family Tidings

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The Allens

Kevin and Janet Allen’s Christmas wishes were granted early this year when their daughter, Summer, was born in August. The Illinois natives, who moved to Lakewood Ranch’s Greenbrook Village in October, are looking forward to celebrating their first holiday as a family of three. The Allens, who have been married for four years, have a rich vault of Christmas tales and traditions — both poignant and eccentric. Natural storytellers, (Janet is an English teacher at Venice High School and Kevin is a digital content producer at IBM) their favorite Yuletide memories include bloody marys on Christmas morning, burlap bags in lieu of stockings, ugly armadillo ornaments, lasagna on Christmas Day and grandmothers who used to dress as Santa and administer corporeal punishment in the off-season. “My father’s mother had to figure out some way to keep six boys and two girls in line,” Janet says. “We grew up with this understanding that Santa doles out punishments as well as gifts. I assure you this is a tradition we won’t keep going.”

Photos by Heidi Kurpiela

Clockwise, from top left: Kevin and Janet Allen welcomed their daughter, Summer, on Aug. 25; Surain, Nav, Simi and Sarisa Ranajee embrace a wide variety of holiday traditions; Lowrey and Mae Ann Cusano in matching pajamas from Smocked Auctions; and 3-year-old Lucas Forristall with mom, Jessica

KEVIN ALLEN’S BREAKFAST BAKE n One 30-ounce package of shredded hash brown potatoes n 1 pound of your favorite breakfast sausage n One 10.75-ounce can of condensed mushroom soup or 3/4 cup of sour cream n 8 ounce shredded cheddar cheese  n 1 bunch of scallions, chopped (optional) n Preheat oven to 375 F n Brown the sausage in a skillet and break it apart into chunks n As the sausage is cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside a handful of cheese and scallions for the top of the bake n Once the sausage is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, including sausage pan drippings to enhance flavor n Add salt and pepper to taste n Place the contents of the bowl into a greased 9x13 pan, distributing the contents evenly n Bake for 20 minutes, and then add the rest of the cheese to the top of the bake. n Put the pan back in the oven, raise the temperature to 400 F and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top of the bake is brown and crispy n Garnish with uncooked scallions

Favorite family recipe: Christmas Morning Breakfast Bake (see box, left). “It’s something my mom made growing up. It takes awhile to make, so you put everything in a baking dish the night before. Then you start up the oven Christmas morning so you get the smell of hash browns and sausage filling the air as you open presents.” — Kevin Favorite childlike indulgence: Stockings. “I still have the same stocking my grandma knitted for me when I was a baby. It’s too small to fit everything though. My family puts so much stuff in stockings that we use burlap bags instead.” — Janet Favorite Christmas conversation piece: Their armadillo ornament collection. “Every year we’ve been together we’ve added an armadillo ornament to our tree. The first two years it happened by accident, and then we started adding them on purpose. I travel to Texas about once or twice a year for work, and each time I’ll bring home an armadillo. This year will be our seventh armadillo.” — Kevin Favorite Grinch moment: Learning the truth about Santa. “I was the youngest of 30 cousins. One day my cousin sat me down on her lap and said, ‘You know Janet, there is no such thing as a Santa Claus.’ I remember my dad racing down the stairs yelling, ‘Jackie, what did you do?’ That’s how I knew she was telling the truth.” — Janet Favorite worst gift: A talking Knight Rider car. “My mom inadvertently got me the Spanish-speaking version. She offered to take it back to Toys R Us, but I couldn’t be without it for a day. For the next two years, I played with a Spanishspeaking Knight Rider.” — Kevin

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The Chaddhas

When Aroon and Lilly Chaddha settled in Chicago in the 1970s, they set out to instill in their daughters, Simi and Shilpa, the cultural beliefs of their native India and Hindu faith. In teaching the tenants of Hinduism, which recognizes the validity of all beliefs, they embraced the significance (and frivolity) of Santa Claus, among other customs. Growing up, Simi Chaddha’s home was a melting pot of ideologies, a grab bag of holiday traditions plucked from Christianity, Judaism and old-fashioned American cinema (“A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” top the family’s holiday movie list.) They celebrate Diwali, a five-day festival of lights that coincides with the Hindu New Year, decorate a Christmas tree and make a list for Santa. Three decades later, Simi and her husband, Nav Ranajee, have taken a similar universal approach to the holidays. Their two children, Surain, 12, and Sarisa, 9, deck the halls with boughs of holly, light a menorah and hang up Diwali lights. “When my son was about 4 years old, a neighbor came over and saw all our holiday decorations and became very confused,” says Simi, who lives near her parents and in-laws in the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. “He asked my son, ‘What are you?’ And my son said, ‘I’m a child of the universe.’ I laughed because this was kind of how I felt as a kid.”

LILLY CHADDHA’S FLAN n 1 can evaporated milk n 1 can condensed milk n 4 eggs n 2 teaspoons vanilla extract n 1/2 cup sugar n Preheat oven to 350 F n In medium saucepan, heat the sugar to caramelize n Pour the caramelized sugar in a 9-inch glass bowl and swirl it to coat the bottom n Beat other ingredients for two minutes or until well mixed n Pour over caramelized sugar in prepared pan n Add water to a larger pan to create a “water bath” and place on the middle rack of your oven n Carefully place custard pan in the water bath pan and cook for one hour n Remove and cool n Invert onto platter and arrange with fruit if desired

Surain and Nav Ranajee, Lilly and Aroon Chaddha and Simi and Sarisa Ranajee embrace a wide variety of holiday traditions.

Favorite holiday custom: All of them. “Our religion encompasses every religion. When my children were little, I wanted them to feel like they were one with everyone, so we did it all: the menorah, the Christmas tree, midnight Mass … It was an education for them.” — Lilly Favorite dinner ritual: Potluck dinners with family and friends. “When we lived in Chicago, we used to get together with the same group of friends for Christmas for a big potluck dinner. It was a cultural melting pot of people and food.” — Simi Favorite cure for morning-afterChristmas blues: Hash brown and egg bake. “It’s potatoes, baked eggs and whatever vegetables you’ve got lying around in your fridge. Simi’s friends used to love when I made this. It’s an attractive dish as long as you don’t break the egg. You serve it with bread and a smile.” — Lilly Favorite holiday getaway: Cruises. “My husband’s birthday is on the 19th of December, so we’ve taken a lot of cruises around that time. For his 50th birthday, we went on a Caribbean cruise. Our daughters were just girls then, so they were still footloose and fancy-free.” — Lilly Favorite Christmas flick: “My kids love ‘Home Alone.’ We grew up watching ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ but those are almost too slow for them.” — Simi Favorite place to spend money: Wish on Main in Lakewood Ranch. “It’s a nice place to buy unique gifts for my friends back in Chicago. I’m either there or at Steinmart.” — Lilly Favorite thing to receive: A handwritten letter. “I don’t need anything. I tell the kids to write something down on a piece of paper — a couple lines about what we can do to improve our relationship, and then I ask them to make time to go out to lunch with me. That’s the best present.” — Aroon

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Favorite bargain-basement kid gifts: Wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. “Last year was the first year we really experienced Mae Ann’s excitement over Christmas. The toys were still not a big deal. Both kids are happy to play with paper and boxes at this point.” — Kim Favorite family recipe: Fried calamari. “My grandfather and I used to sit outside with all the fryers going while my mom, sister and Kim would be in the kitchen dipping the squid in batter. Now that my grandfather and mother are gone, I’m out there alone frying, and it’s just Kim and my sister in the kitchen. We’re keeping it going, though. It’s my thing.” — Mark Favorite all-American Christmas habit: Black Friday shopping. “Me, his sister and my mom do the Black Friday craziness. We got the kids a Power Wheels last year. Four years ago, we waited in line for an hour to get into Best Buy. We would take shifts going to Starbucks to get coffee.” — Kim Favorite local event: Breakfast with Santa at Polo Grill. “It’s usually the week before Christmas. There’s a craft station, face painting and gingerbread cookie decorating. It’s a fabulous family event.” — Kim Favorite holiday flick: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” “I’m always saying I’m going to dress up like cousin Eddie one of these years. It’s always so hot though. It’s hard to get in the mood.” – Mark Favorite piece of holiday nostalgia: Santa and Mrs. Claus rabbit knickknacks. “They were my mom’s and they’re god-awful chintzy rabbits that I put out every year. It’s a sentimental thing.” — Kim Favorite D-I-Y decoration: Steel bar Christmas trees. “My dad made them out of rebar 15 years ago. They’ve held up better than most of the outdoor decorations you buy at a store.” — Mark

KIM CUSANO’S STRAWBERRY PRETZELS n 2 cups crushed pretzels n 3/4 cup butter, melted n 3 tablespoons white sugar n 8 ounces cream cheese, softened n 1 cup white sugar n 8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed n 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin n 2 cups boiling water n Two 10-ounce bags of frozen strawberries n Preheat oven to 400 F n Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of white sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish n Bake 8-10 minutes, until set, remove from oven and set aside to cool n In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and white sugar n Fold in whipped topping n Spread mixture onto cooled crust n Dissolve gelatin in boiling water n Stir in frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly n When mixture is the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set

Kim and Marc Cusano with their two favorite elves, 3-yearold Mae Ann and 2-year-old Lowrey.

The Cusanos

Marc and Kim Cusano are unabashed Disney World devotees who every December rent a villa at the Most Magical Place on Earth for themselves and their two children. When they’re not basking in Mickey’s glow, the young family is tackling a laundry list of new (and old) Christmas traditions around Lakewood Ranch, including nabbing one-on-one time with Santa at Polo Grill and the Mall at University Town Center. Santa reigns supreme in the Cusano’s Country Creek home. Three-yearold Mae Ann Cusano and 2-year-old Lowrey Cusano do their best to stay on St. Nick’s nice list by writing him letters, baking him cookies and behaving favorably in the presence of the ubiquitous Elf on the Shelf. On Christmas Eve, the Cusano tots, dressed in matching candy cane pajamas, leave out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. Despite their distaste for milk, Marc and Kim refuse to dump it down the drain. “We take turns drinking it,” Kim says.

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The Forristalls

As the founder and president of Bradenton-based demolition firm Forristall Enterprises, Bambi Forristall is not afraid of heavy lifting on the job site or in the kitchen. Each Christmas Eve, Bambi and her husband, Stephen, host a dinner party for two dozen of their closest friends and family, including their three grown children, Michael, Anthony and Tina and two grandchildren, Stephen and Lucas. To accommodate this banquet, the Forristalls, who live along the Upper Manatee River, rearrange their living room so everyone can sit at one long Last Supper-style table. Bambi spends all day prepping her famous Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian-American smorgasbord that revolves around heaping portions of seafood and linguini. Unlike other Italian cooks, Bambi serves her fish spread at once with a big bowl of linguini. She starts with an anchovy base then adds shrimp, scallops, mussels,

The tight-knit Forristall clan: Michael, Jessica, Bambi, Stephen and Tina Forristall and host student Braden Diggins (right) with 3-year-old Lucas and 5-year-old Stephen.

clams, calamari, grouper and one whopping 9-ounce lobster tail per person. When dinner is over and the guests have turned in for the evening, the Forristall children report for dish duty, a tedious task that requires hand wash-

ing and polishing all the silverware. “There are a million plates — four plates each, plus a dessert plate and a charger,” says Tina Forristall. “It feels like hours upon hours of cleanup. It’s worth it, though. It’s everyone’s favorite meal of the year.”

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LBKC_LWRLife-1/2 page_WINTER_2016.indd 1

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BAMBI FORRISTALL’S RICOTTA COOKIES n 1 cup of butter softened n 15 ounces of ricotta cheese n 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract n 2 eggs n 4 cups of all-purpose flour n 2 tablespoons of baking powder n 1 teaspoon of salt n 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar n 3 tablespoons of milk n Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper n In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter on a low speed until combined, then increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes) n Beat in the ricotta, vanilla and eggs at medium speed, then reduce speed to low n Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until dough forms n Drop dough by level tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets n Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden brown but still soft n With spatula, remove cookies to wire rack to cool n When cookies are cooling, prepare icing in a small bowl by stirring confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. With small spreader, frost icing on cookies and top with a candied cherry, sprinkles or colored sugar

Favorite present fail: Socks and underwear. “Two years ago, Bambi and Stephen decided they weren’t going to exchange presents. On Christmas Eve, Stephen saw a few boxes from Bambi under the tree, so he ran out at the last minute with Tina to the Mall at UTC to buy all these beautiful blouses and pants from Bambi’s favorite store. On Christmas Day he opened his presents and all she had gotten him were socks and underwear.” — Jessica

LIVING & LOVING LAKEWOOD RANCH Lifestyle Specialist Barbara Najmy has been representing the finest properties in Lakewood Ranch for over 15 years. With an affinity for exceptional service, attention to detail and ar tful negotiation skills, she has established a tradition of excellence that is endlessly beneficial to her customers.

Favorite you-shouldn’t-have moment: “When the kids were little and we were broke and living in Venice, Stephen got me a string of pearls. You know how you hang garland on the tree? He surprised me and hung these beautiful pearls.” — Bambi Favorite way to spend a lazy Christmas evening: Playing rummy and eating leftovers. “Tina always cheats at rummy.” — Stephen

15410 Anchorage Place | The Lake Club Transport yourself to the Tuscan hillside at Villa Lago Eterno, a 13,000 square foot masterpiece nestled behind two sets of gates in the exclusive community of The Lake Club. Price upon request.

Favorite display of childlike wonder: Guessing the contents of a present. “To this day Tina still holds Christmas gifts to her head, shakes the package and tries to guess what’s inside. She has to know.” — Bambi Favorite locally made dish to pass: Pies from Miller’s Dutch Kitch’n in Bradenton. “They make the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had.” — Stephen Favorite guilty pleasure: William Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark. “It’s ridiculous and delicious. I eat way too much of it at Christmastime.” — Bambi Favorite in-your-face decoration: A 6-foot-tall nutcracker. “He stands by our front door. My brother used to do retail liquidations. It was probably a decoration at Burdines before Burdines went out of business.” — Bambi

16107 Clearlake Avenue | The Lake Club Charmed with lush landscaping and nestled behind the gates of the exclusive community of The Lake Club, discover this perfect five-bedroom Italian residence. $1,850,000 Contact Barbara today to find out more about these exceptional properties, or to discuss your personal real estate goals.

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Balanchine Ashton & Tudor 18 – 20 November 2016 | Sarasota Opera House Performed with Live Music by the Sarasota Orchestra

George Balanchine’s Apollo Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sinfonietta Antony Tudor’s Gala Performance

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George Balanchine’s

Jewels 16 - 17 December 2016 | Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Performed with Live Music by the Sarasota Orchestra

Emeralds

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HAVEN

SPOTLIGHTING LIFE ON THE RANCH

Staging a home for sale provides tips for clutter-free living. PAGE 76

LWR LW LIFER LIFE 75

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Donna Wrobel in her Country Club East home.

MADE FOR THE

STAGE Donna Wrobel proves you can stage your

home so it wows, even when it’s not listed. BY HEIDI KURPIELA | MANAGING EDITOR

S

ome homes always look like a showroom. Décor is strategically placed. Clutter is kept to a minimum. Coffee table books are handpicked to match the curtains. Walls are appropriately neutral. Art is tasteful and nonoffensive. Some people live this way all the time. Other people live this way only when their house is on the market. Donna Wrobel lives somewhere in the middle. A real estate professional for 20 years, Wrobel is a master at staging

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homes, including her own in Country Club East. Her friends joke that her place looks like the builder’s model. She tells them she can’t help it. She’s a decorator by trade. “My mind is trained to keep the flow and balance,” Wrobel says. “Sometimes when my friends buy a piece of furniture they’ll ask me to come over and find the best place for it. I think people walk into my home and think, ‘Oh, it’s so beautiful,’ but it’s all by design.” Continued on Page 78


Keep accent pieces spare and simple, Wrobel used a simple chrome tray to draw attention to the chandelier in her master bedroom.

Photos by Detlev von Kessel

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Continued from Page 76 Her sellers’ homes are the real stage, and a test of Wrobel’s decorating prowess and attention to detail. Sellers often hire her because of her expertly staged listings. The New Hampshire native isn’t afraid to tell sellers what does and doesn’t work in their space, even when the piece in question has sentimental value. “One woman had five or six urns with her pets’ ashes inside,” Wrobel says. “The way I approached it was by explaining they could get knocked over or damaged during showings.” An elegantly staged home can make or break your MLS photos. When Wrobel got her start in real estate in the mid-1990s, buyers scoped out homes by walking into them, not by surfing online listings. “Nowadays, your first impression is the internet,” Wrobel says. “You get 25 photo slots on the MLS. Those photos are 3 ½ by 5 inches. Staging is not only about making you feel a certain way when you walk into a home. It’s about the photos. You don’t want people to go ‘Oh, this looks nothing like the photos,’ or ‘This looks better than the photos.’ It’s a fine line.” Her first advice to sellers is to stow away unnecessary knickknacks and décor. Don’t empty your home — it’s OK if it still looks lived in — just make it palatable to buyers of all ages and from all walks of life. Clear off countertops and bureaus. Your house will look bigger with less stuff in it. Take down personal pictures and loud pieces of art. You’ll be glad you decluttered when you sell your home; packing for the move will be a breeze. Make your bedroom lighter and brighter. Wrobel routinely buys new bedding for her clients in neutral cream tones. To keep the look cheerful, she accents it with pillows in bright colors or pretty patterns. “Once you start decorating people’s homes, they go ‘Oh my gosh, you made my sofa so pretty,’” Wrobel says. “I’ve had sellers tell me they were going to get rid of something and decided to keep it after I spruced it up.” Continued on Page 80

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“The first photo on MLS is of the front of your home,” Wrobel says. “Your door is your first impression.”

Wrobel uses small floral arrangements to add warmth to rooms.


Wrobel loves using bright pillows to break up neutral walls. Here she does it in her living room with matching pillows and drapes.

CLEAN SWEEP DO’S & DON’TS OF STAGING YOUR SPACE DO get a storage shed: Sellers notice when you move everything into your garage. DON’T gut your house: You want it to still feel warm and inviting. DO sweat the small stuff: Recaulk your bathtub or shower, replace missing tiles and fix broken knobs, drawers and other neglected household stuff. DON’T forget about curb appeal: Keep your exterior clean and colorful. Paint your front door and plant flowers in pots. DO roll up area rugs: You’re selling your hardwood floors, not your Berber carpet. DON’T block a nice view: Your furniture should face your lake, not obscure it. “Not every wall should have a print,” Wrobel says. The art in her guest room exemplifies that.

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Continued from Page 78 Minimizing and redecorating isn’t the only secret to staging. Small, more permanent changes can go a long way. Wrobel has a knack for replacing lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, faucets and cabinet hardware on a dime. When one of her clients listed their Sarasota home for $2 million, Wrobel politely suggested they update their lighting, which was generic and unimpressive. For $80, she scored a new fixture that changed the entire look of one room. “There are a lot of very easy, inexpensive ways you can stage your home,” Wrobel says. “Update your kitchen faucet. Paint your walls. Put a palm outside your window. These are small changes. You’ll get your money back and your home will sell fast.” Right: “Clear off your kitchen counter,” Wrobel says. “I saw a photo once of a computer on a countertop. People see these things when they’re looking at real estate photos. A lot of pretty homes are overlooked on the internet because of stuff like that.”

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• NEW LOCATION 4429 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota | (941) 924 - 3200

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Now, that’s a 10 EXQUISITE MODELS. 3 PREMIER VILLAGES. ONE LEADING BUILDER. You can tell just by looking it’s a Stock Signature Home. For 15 years, we have created exceptional award-winning residences that make masterful statements and are irresistibly inviting to live in. Now building in the villages of Country Club East, Lake Club and Esplanade Golf & Country Club at Lakewood Ranch. Come experience our luxurious furnished models.

COUNTRY CLUB EAST from the $600s | LAKE CLUB from the $620s ESPLANADE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB AT LAKEWOOD RANCH from the $700s DIRECTIONS TO SALES CENTER: Exit-I-75 at University Parkway East. Left on Lorraine. Follow the signs to Country Club East to 16703 BERWICK TERRACE | LAKEWOOD RANCH, FLORIDA 34202

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Gardening

Palm Reading Prevention is key when it comes to warding off these common palm tree diseases.

J

ust because the palm is Florida’s state tree doesn’t mean it’s immune from disease in the Sunshine State. Palms succumb to disease every day, most of which are preventable. A disease needs three components to thrive: a susceptible host, a virulent pathogen and a conducive environment. It’s a perfect storm that happens in yards all over Florida. The worst-case scenarios are enough to make you wish you planted a good old-fashioned bulletproof oak tree.

LORI WALKER CERTIFIED MASTER GARDENER, VICE PRESIDENT OF LAKEWOOD RANCH GARDEN CLUB

FUSARIUM WILT

Common in Queen, Mexican and Mule Palms, this disease starts at the bottom of the tree canopy and moves its way up. The good news is you can prevent it. Fusarium wilt is transmitted via infected pruning tools. Safeguard your tools against infection by concocting this homemade disinfectant solution: 25% bleach, 25% PineSol, 50% rubbing alcohol, 5% quaternary ammonium salt solution and 10% trisodium phosphate. Soak your tools for least five minutes then rinse with clean water before using. Make a fresh solution every two hours while you’re gardening. Fusarium wilt is highly contagious. Once it’s been diagnosed, immediately remove the diseased palm from your property. You don’t want other palms to catch it.

GANODERMA BUTT ROT

No palm is resistant to this disease, and no gardener with a good sense of humor is resistant to laughing at its name. This infection is usually limited to the lower 5 feet of the trunk. Although roots are usually not affected, there is no cure for the disease. If you’re faced with a case of butt rot (tee-hee-hee), yank the palm and do not Continued on Page 84

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Snooty the manatee Museum Diplomat

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bacteria transmitted by planthopper insects — are hypersensitive to tetracycline antibiotics. If you’re up to playing doctor you can inject your palm every three months with the drug. This unorthodox solution is the best way to thwart lethal yellowing. For more information, visit palmtreesaver.com.

Continued from Page 82 replant it with another palm. Butt rot symptoms range from mild to severe wilting of the spear leaf, as well as a decline in leaf growth and color. Watch out for basidiocarps, otherwise known as conks, on the trunk base. These telltale fungi resemble giant mushrooms and their locations are an indication of where the fungus is emerging from the trunk, not where it entered.

TEXAS PHOENIX PALM DECLINE

Texas Phoenix palm decline often masquerades as lethal yellowing. The disease starts with a spread in necrotic older leaves and results in death of the spear leaf, much like lethal yellowing. What makes the Texas variety worse is that it also results in root decay. (Everything is always bigger in Texas.) You manage Texas Phoenix palm decline the same way you manage lethal yellowing — by removing the palm if more than 25% of the leaves are discolored or the spear leaf is dead. And remember, do not replant with another palm. Planthoppers love to spread phytoplasma, so why not throw them off course by planting a hardwood tree? Diversify your landscape! Your palms will understand.

LETHAL YELLOWING

Like heart disease, lethal yellowing cannot be cured, but it can be prevented. A systemic disease caused by phytoplasma, lethal yellowing used to only occur in the southern third of Florida. However, in 2007 the disease was observed in Sarasota and Manatee counties, so don’t think it can’t happen to your palms. Early symptoms include premature fruit falling, flower death and discoloration of older fronds. Phytoplasmas — infectious

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Caring for the Hearts

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A proud Lakewood Ranch resident, Dr. Calderon provides state-of-the-art cardiology care with a minimally invasive approach

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We believe that women of our community deserve the finest medical care from adolescence through pregnancy and beyond menopause and that all medical care should start with caring.

Call: (941) 907-3008 • Visit: www.obgynwc.com

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Erick E. Calderon M.D., FACC, FSCAI

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KEY TO THE CURE THURSDAY, OCT. 27, AT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, MALL AT UTC

Rosemary Angeleri, Lathrop Ford and Sandy Cohen laugh after getting their photos taken at the photobooth.

Lisa Jayne Wallace and Lucy Wallace

Jennifer Rominiecki and Margaret Wise with Jill and Monet Ramsey

Photos by Niki Kottmann

Todd and Katelynn Sak

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Katerina McAndrew with Jan McGlaughlin, who dressed up in her best gentleman attire because her friend didn’t have a date, so she decided to act the part. Left: Jessica Bringas, Ashley Gruters and Sydney Gruters


BLU MANGROVE

BLU MANGROVE

A slice of upscale tropical heaven! Located in Riviera Dunes Marina along the beautiful Manatee River. Visualize yourself sipping on a fabulously crafted cocktail while your eyes are mesmerized by the panoramic marina views of yachts, swaying palm trees and beautiful sunsets.You have arrived in PARADISE! Feast on the FRESHEST seafood, chef-prepared entrées, super-fresh raw bar, hand-rolled sushi and so much more. From lite bite snacks to a full course meal, BLU MANGROVE has something to satisfy everyone’s craving! Excellent to host your next social or family celebration, cocktail party, fundraiser or business meeting. Daily Specials, Live Nightly Music, Indoor & Outdoor Dining, Bars & Lounge Areas.

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CULVER’S

5750 Ranch Lake Blvd, Lakewood Ranch 941.756.4000 culvers.com/restaurants/bradenton-fl-ranch-lake-blvd

ED’S TAVERN

10719 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch 941.907.0400 | facebook.com/edstavernlwr

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A Jersey Joint in Lakewood Ranch, Ed’s Tavern is the perfect blend of local neighborhood sports bar and family friendly restaurant right in the heart of Main Street (next to the movie theater). The only lakefront dining in Lakewood Ranch! The menu has something for everyone! From Southern favorites like pulled pork and fried pickles to our authentic New Jersey classics like open-faced sandwiches and disco fries. Our newly remodeled full-service bar now includes 20 ice cold draft selections plus over 20 flat screen TVs. Daily Specials, Trivia every Wednesday and Thursday. Live Music every Friday & Saturday night. Mon - Thur 11am - 12am, Fri - Sat 11am - 2am, Sun 11am - 11pm. LWR LIFE

DINING OUT

220475

Culver’s ButterBurgers are made fresh, never frozen, 100% Midwest beef, seared to perfection and served on a lightly buttered toasted bun for that extra touch of goodness. Sure, it takes a bit longer doing it that way, but boy is it worth the wait. What is Culver’s Fresh Frozen Custard? Think of it as the most premium ice cream you’ve ever tasted. A ButterBurger and Fresh Frozen Custard taste even better when they’re served with a smile, a “please” and a “thank you.” Hospitality, after all, is something we at Culver’s hold near and dear to our hearts. Sun - Thurs 10:30am - 10pm, Fri - Sat 10:30am - 11pm

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OPEN DAILY AT 11AM • Lunch • Dinner • Happy Hour • Special Events Complimentary Valet after 4pm: Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun

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RAW BAR • SUSHI BAR • FRESH EXOTIC SEAFOOD • HAND SELECT STEAKS

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FULL BELLY STUFFED BURGERS

GIVE EM' A FULL BELLY!

Award-winning gourmet STUFFED hamburgers. Delicious side dishes. Unique appetizers. Great assortment of local craft beer. FULL BELLY is a can’t miss. Feeling adventurous? Dive in to the acclaimed peanut butter and maple bacon stuffed burger. Bringin’ Fun back to the Bun! Mon - Thurs 11am - 9pm, Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm, Sun 12pm - 8pm. Happy Hour, Mon - Fri 4pm - 7pm. Food truck available for catering and events!

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8742 SR 70 East, Lakewood Ranch 941.727.7111 | fullbellystuffedburgers.com

HANA SUSHI LOUNGE Combining art with traditional Asian cuisine and service to create a unique culinary experience in Lakewood Ranch is what we at Hana Sushi Lounge strive for each day. With a fusion of artful sushi, inspired kitchen items and handcrafted cocktails, there is always something for everyone to enjoy. No matter the occasion, our friendly and knowledgeable staff look forward to making your visit special every time.

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8126 Lakewood Main Street, Lakewood Ranch 941.907.1290 | facebook.com/HanaSushiLounge

LAKEWOOD RANCH LOBSTER POUND & FRESH SEAFOOD MARKET

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We focus on excellent quality items for hearty feasts at home. Family owned and passionate about our Fresh Daily Seafood and Live Maine Lobsters. We offer Grab & Go meals like Lobster Ravioli, Crab Stuffed Lobster Tails and Portabellas. Top it off with Grass-Fed Beef and Bison, Never Ever Chicken, Dakin Dairy products and Fresh Veggies! Stop in for a visit and have some “Soon to be Famous” N. E. Clam Chowder and Lobster Rolls! ENJOY FRESH! Mon - Sat 10:30am - 6pm, Sun 11am - 6pm LV13383

DINING OUT

Happy Hour Every Sun - Thurs, 4pm - 7pm.

8740 E SR 70, Lakewood Ranch 941.755.FISH (3474) | lwrlobsterpound.com


LINGER LODGE RESTAURANT

7205 85th Street Court E., Bradenton 941.755.2757 | lingerlodgeresort.com

MACALLISTERS Owners Greg and Tina Bliss invite you to experience their newly renovated Tavern. With over 26 years of experience, they are committed to fresh ingredients and quality service. Their new menu features local favorites: Fish n’ Chips and Shepherd’s Pie, plus new dishes sure to please everyone! From the bar, enjoy a large selection of Scotch and local craft brews on draft. Daily happy hour.

8110 Lakewood Main Street, Lakewood Ranch 941.359.2424 | macallisters.com

MAIN STREET TRATTORIA

8131 Lakewood Main Street, #101, Lakewood Ranch 941.907.1518 | mstrattoria.com

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Opened in 2010 by owner Gary Fennessy, Main Street Trattoria in Lakewood Ranch features fresh Italian cuisine including their signature bruschetta focaccia, chicken Milanese and hand-tossed thin crust pizza, just to name a few. Mr. Fennessy wanted to create a place where friends and family alike can gather for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Make sure to save room for their homemade tiramisu and a cappuccino for dessert. One of the best features is their inside/outside bar that opens up to a great outdoor dining area where you’ll find live music Wed - Sat from 6 - 10pm and Sun 4 - 8pm. Offering happy hour daily 3 - 7pm. Kids menu and takeout menu also available.

DINING OUT

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MacAllisters is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. 11:30am - 10pm Sun - Thurs and 11:30am - 11pm Fri & Sat. We also offer patio dining. Kids welcome!

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Restaurant

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Nestled along the lazy Braden River, Linger Lodge Restaurant is quintessentially “Olde Florida” at its best. Established in 1945 as a fishing and hunting camp, the Lodge has evolved into a great place to dine, listen to live music and enjoy the great views. Two outside covered and screened decks provide picturesque water views. A full liquor bar and an inside air-conditioned dining room complete the setting. Dishes range from the ever popular Catfish to the elegant Linger Ettoufee’. Also serving Florida Grouper sandwiches, Burgers, Ruebens, Alligator Bites, Gator Chowder and our award-winning Gumbo.


Lynn Flood captured this shot of a blue heron staring at a fish in the water in Heritage Harbour.

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LWR LIFE

PARTING GLANCE


Home w Ne Holidays for the

Four designer furnished models now open daily in Country Club East. Single-family and Carriage Homes from the mid-$300,000s. Walk or cart from home to the new golf clubhouse or amenity center.

Incomparable Lakewood Ranch lifestyle.

Single-family model home center | 16605 Berwick Terrace | 941.441.2600 Carriage Home model center | 7561 Divot Loop | 941.441.2626 wcicommunities.com

WCI Communities is not the master developer of Country Club East at Lakewood Ranch or Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch and Country Club East are registered service marks of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc. Certain communities are in the formative stages only and details, plans and initial pricing have not been set. Amenities mentioned may require country club membership and not just residency in Country Club East. All references to clubs and membership opportunities and other amenities are subject to fees, dues and availability. All amenities are subject to change without notice. This advertisement does not constitute an offer to sell real estate in any jurisdiction where prior registration or other qualification is required and further information cannot be provided (unless we have already complied with such requirements). Void where prohibited. ©2016 WCI Communities, Inc. All rights reserved. CGC 031523.

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ORAL REPRESENTATIONS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON AS CORRECTLY STATING REPRESENTATIONS OF THE DEVELOPER. FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS, MAKE REFERENCE TO THIS BROCHURE AND TO THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY SECTION 718.503, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO BE FURNISHED BY A DEVELOPER TO A BUYER OR LESSEE.


R E L A X , P L AY & E N J OY E V E RY DAY

AT I N D I G O !

CALL TODAY FOR

MORE INFORMATION

941.200.0019

Club Indigo Pool

The Estate Homes at Indigo by Neal Communities offer enticing design features inside and out, with generously proportioned floor plans and highly appealing Tuscan and Spanish elevations.

To learn more about the Wind Star, visit NealCommunities.com

One- and two-story designs Floor plans from 2,395 to 2,980 under roof sq. ft. 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3.5 baths Open concept island gourmet kitchens Design Gallery options to personalize your home Wind Star Model now open!

AT L A K E W O O D R A N C H 64

N

LORRAINE RD

LAKEWOOD RANCH BLVD

• • • • • •

AT L A K E W O O D R A N C H

44TH AVE

12916 Deep Blue Place Lakewood Ranch | FL 34211

70

I-75, exit 217A. Route 70 East. Left on Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Right on 44th Avenue.

Now Open! WIND STAR MODEL • 2 elevation style options • Spacious 3-car garage • 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths • Living area 2,878 sq. ft. • Beautiful open floor plan • Total area 3,725 sq. ft.

.COM SOUTHWEST FLORIDA’S MOST EXPERIENCED HOME BUILDER FOR OVER 40 YEARS Prices and availability subject to change without notice. CBC1256375 219556


LWR Life Winter issue 2016