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For Scott McDowell, building birdhouses was always a hobby. It wasn't until his friends and neighbors started taking notice that he ever thought he could make a living out of it. “People would see them and tell me how much they liked them, and then they'd say, 'Boy, you should try selling these.'” And, ultimately, it was these little interactions that planted the seeds that would one day grow into his own small business. That flower bloomed in 1991 when McDowell founded Nature Creations.

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With establishments such as Elaia, Parigi, Tree House and The Copper Pig on his resume, Element Restaurant and Lounge Executive Chef Tudor Seserman has pulled the essence from each of those experiences just as surely as he coaxes flavor from ingredients in his kitchen.

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Like artists with extensive color palettes, talented globally inspired chefs continue to combine ancient and modern ingredients in highly original ways to delight sophisticated food lovers.

No matter what food is served or where the ingredients or recipes originate, the right wine pairing can reveal added dimensions of flavors.  A particularly fun food and wine challenge is to find and pair wines with an eclectic menu that covers many countries’ cuisines.   

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Kris Keller entered the design industry 33 years ago and founded her own firm, The Design Source, eight years later. She readily admits, “At first it was a job, then a career and now it’s my avocation. I feel we’re giving back to the world, supporting the well-being of the people whose lives we’ve touched.” And this 1980s-vintage reverse ranch in Creve Coeur is a prime example of how she interprets that philosophy.  

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For plant lovers, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve is a 2,441-acre gem of breathtaking, ethereal beauty. But, it is by hard numbers that this ecological masterpiece, just off historic Route 66 in Gray Summit, 38 miles from the garden itself, can truly blow visitors away. 

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For continuous color and interest in your garden, consider these favorite plantings from local landscapers. 

“One of our favorite multiple-blooming perennials is 'Summer Storm' Hardy Hibiscus. This large perennial is a prolific bloomer from summer into the fall and grows to 5’. The blooms themselves are wonderful; pink petals contrast with rose veins and deep magenta centers.” Daniel Mee, Frisella Nursery.

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