YPOW Honors Wellington Regional CEO Robbin Lee

YPOW Honors Wellington Regional CEO Robbin Lee

While Wellington is known around the world for its equestrian community, it is also home to a huge working class and professional population that get up each day, take their kids to school and continue on to their jobs as doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and more.

This simple daily ritual quietly weaves the fabric of our community and burnishes Wellington’s reputation as a hard-working, family-oriented place to live.

No one knows that better than the Young Professionals of Wellington (YPOW). Five years ago, this group of working adults, most of them under the age of 45, banded together to spread the word to others in their age group that Wellington is a great place to work and a great place to raise a family.

“Our main goal, our vision, is to keep the Village of Wellington as the premier location to live and work in Palm Beach County,” YPOW President Pam Tahan said. “Our sole purpose is to attract young professionals to the area and for them to have their families here. We also work to encourage the community to offer amenities for our age group.”

YPOW participates in several initiatives each year, including its annual Community Impact Leader Award, which was presented this year to Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Robbin Lee.

The group has few expenses and operates through member volunteers. “We have very little overhead — no paid employees, no office,” Tahan said.

Yet the group manages to hold several special events, raise money for charity and reward those who help advance the YPOW vision.

The group’s biggest fundraiser is its Halloween-themed Wicked gala, which attracts 250 to 300 costume-clad revelers to the Wanderers Club.

“It’s the biggest Halloween party in Wellington,” Tahan said. “In addition to dinner and dancing, there’s a casino for prizes, raffle tickets and a silent auction. This year, we had additional entertainment in the form of fire dancers, a magician and an acrobat performing during cocktail hour. It’s meant to be a fun night in Wellington. Our goal is to show the community that we can throw a big party and have a good time without leaving our community.”

The money raised goes to various programs supported by YPOW. “This year, we are part of starting a community garden at the Boys & Girls Club of Wellington, together with the Wellington Garden Club,” Tahan said. “The Wellington Garden Club needed funds for plants, tools and equipment. They are also hoping to buy a shed. The goal is to teach kids about healthy food choices and where food comes from.”

Another annual event produced by YPOW is Xcelerate Wellington, based on TV’s Shark Tank. Young entrepreneurs tout their products to local judges, such as Lee and equestrian show promoter Mark Bellissimo.

It was Lee’s support for programs such as Xcelerate Wellington that earned her this year’s Community Impact Leader Award.

“Each year, the group nominates a number of individuals and chooses the person who has most impacted our mission, who has had a large impact on the people who live here in a positive way,” Tahan said. “We want to say thank you for making a difference in our community. Robbin Lee is nothing short of what we as a group are looking for — someone who brings a lot to this community and a lot of support to our group. She really believes in YPOW and also gives back to the community. She expanded our hospital to include services our community previously did not have, she’s the incoming president of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, she’s the past chair of the American Heart Association Heart Walk, she’s a board member of the Wellington Community Foundation, and she actively participates and fundraises for our community.”

Receiving the award earlier this year was an event in itself. Lee was conducting a meeting of department managers in WRMC’s administrative board room when she heard music in the hallway — it was a mariachi band hired to serenade the unsuspecting winner as YPOW members served breakfast, cupcakes and treats. The hoopla concluded with the trophy presentation.

“I am not sure which was more surprising, the mariachi band marching through the hospital early on a Monday morning or the nomination,” Lee said. “I am thankful for being recognized, however, I am just the face of the amazing WRMC leadership and staff. I am truly honored to lead this team of intelligent, dedicated, passionate people. There are so many people in this community who are focused on giving back and continuing to improve the lives of those who live here. I am honored to be selected and hope that others are inspired to impact our community in a positive manner as well.”

Lee respects both the members and the mission of the Young Professionals of Wellington.

“The group consists of individuals who are leaders in their professions and leverage their positions to make an impact in the community,” Lee said. “They collectively work toward providing advocacy for community issues and engaging the next generation in preserving Wellington’s status as a premier community to live and work. They also serve as role models and encourage entrepreneurship through Xcelerate Wellington.”

She likes the group for its forward-looking attitude.

“As a hospital that strives to stay in tune with the community, we look to organizations such as YPOW for feedback on how to meet the needs of our residents while continuing to contribute to positive economic growth,” Lee said. “Also, these individuals are the future for business in Wellington. Therefore, their awareness of the healthcare sector is critical.”

She enjoys her work with Xcelerate Wellington. “This is a fantastic competition that encourages innovation in our community,” Lee said. “I enjoy hearing the ideas presented and meeting the brilliant minds behind the concepts. Proposals such as Oceana Coffee and HNM Menswear are opportunities for us to support projects that help our community grow.”

In addition, Wellington Regional Medical Center supports YPOW at its annual Jump Off WEF event and its annual Wicked celebration.

“I admire YPOW. They are our future,” Lee said. “I want to thank them for recognizing the advances and accomplishments of Wellington Regional Medical Center and for allowing me to be a part of the leaders they view as a critical part of our community.”

Visit www.ypwellington.com for more information about the Young Professionals of Wellington.


A Passion For Winemaking Led Brandon West To Create Wellington Wines

A Passion For Winemaking Led Brandon West To Create Wellington Wines

A curiosity about winemaking has grown into a local start-up company for Brandon West, CEO of Rich Oak Vineyards, Wines of Wellington.

The small-business owner and longtime Wellington resident started like many others with a curiosity that has grown into a passion, which grew into a business idea, and now it’s a finished product.

Originally, West thought he might want to learn about the process of brewing beer, but that faded. Instead, he found himself interested in a process not too far off his original path.

“I started Googling and YouTubing about how to actually make wine,” West said. “And then, that day, I took action and bought a wine-making kit.”

The rest is recent history, and West has made a mark for himself by introducing his Red Blend to the local community and beyond. His Red Blend is 70 percent cabernet, 20 percent zinfandel and 10 percent Syrah.

Where does a winemaker in Florida get his grapes and start the process for something like this?

“I work with Royal Caribbean, so I was able to travel to many areas of Europe and actually visited a lot of vineyards over there,” West said. “Also, I took some trips over to California. I found that I wanted to keep it in the United States as the first go-around. After a lot of research, I found an excellent vineyard in Lodi, Calif.”

West created a partnership with a vineyard there, and he picked the grapes he would use to create the Red Blend.

“I worked with them to get a blend, to get it all packaged, all labeled and shipped to a warehouse in Miami,” West said. “I got all the licenses and regulations, started up the business, and then started selling with retailers around Wellington.”

All of the grapes used in his blend come from Lodi, which West said rivals the vineyards from close neighbor Napa, Calif.

“I think Napa is a little overvalued,” West said. “It’s great wine, but there is also some great wine next door that doesn’t have that name to it. It’s still excellent wine. I think it’s probably number two in the California region… so it has a lot of quality, and the price is not as expensive as Napa, so it gets a lot of value in that aspect.”

Wines of Wellington is the foundation for West and the company. Rich Oak’s Red Blend, beyond the different grapes, offers a wine low in added sulfites, which are found to varying degrees in all wine. West noted that enjoying a glass of wine high in added sulfites may give the drinker an annoying headache.

“When you have these mainstream, mass-produced, cheaper wines, many

times those sulfites are 200 to 300 parts per million, which is really

high,” West said. “So, people who make homemade wine have very, very low parts per million, so you can drink wine without getting a headache. It’s down to about 20 to 30 parts per million, which is very low.”

When it’s all mixed together, West’s Red Blend offers something that he loves and finds to be unique. It can be served with red meat, chicken, pasta and sauce — even pizza. It also pairs well with Thai and other spicy foods.

The cabernet, zinfandel and Syrah work together to offer many different flavors, particularly the addition of the Syrah.

“It gives it a pretty well-rounded flavor, a hint of pepper, chocolate, cherry and a few other flavors,” West said. “For me, it’s something that I love. And so far, tasting it and sampling it with many other people, I’ve found that even many [non-wine] drinkers love this wine… They really liked this type of blend because it wasn’t too over powerful, and it wasn’t that watery. It’s a very neutral, well-rounded wine.”

West has received positive feedback from the community, and he continues to look for a way to spread his Wines of Wellington concept.

“I’ve been able to meet a lot of different business owners, which has been awesome. I’ve been able to communicate and find best practices and be able to grow as an individual, grow the business, and help other businesses grow,” West said. “Being able to know the business owners has been very valuable, to see how people are using different strategies in their businesses.”

West is not new to developing a product. He is a full-time information technology business analyst and product owner with Royal Caribbean.

“I help work on the new products, IT-related technical products on the ship, primarily in the guest services area, guest port services and housekeeping,” West said. “Really, the driving factor is problem-solving, and for me, problem-solving [is] basically making a situation better and enhancing the experience.”

As someone searching for solutions daily, West is still working on the logistics and hopes to establish his winery locally, solving the want and need for a space to bring people together.

“Having something like a winery or similar to that vibe or atmosphere, working on building a really nice facility that people could come together at, to bond and create events, and to share those experiences over a glass of wine [is something I hope for],” West said.

Wines of Wellington’s Red Blend can be found at Star Liquors’ locations in Wellington, as well as the Publix location in the Town Square and Courtyard Shops plazas, and it’s beginning to pop up in local restaurants as well.

“My goals right now are to get into 20 retail locations, launch two new varietals and to continue to grow, turn a profit and to give back more to the community,” West said. “We wanted to deliver a very rich wine for Wellington. It took us a long time to find, but we did find it.”

Visit www.richoakvineyards.com to learn more about Rich Oak Vineyards, Wines of Wellington.


Rider To Teacher: Victoria Colvin Bases New Enterprise In The Wellington Area

Rider To Teacher: Victoria Colvin Bases New Enterprise In The Wellington Area

Born and raised in Wellington, Victoria Colvin knows the community like she knows the back of a horse. Now 20 years old, the young phenom is taking the next step in the equestrian industry by graduating from student to teacher.

Following a highly successful junior career as one of the winningest young riders in history, Colvin is striking out on her own and launching her own enterprise.

In only her first year as a professional, she recently opened the doors to her own business bearing her name, Victoria Colvin LLC, and has already achieved considerable success.

Based locally, Victoria Colvin LLC offers clients the elite opportunity to train with an acclaimed show rider and trainer. Colvin’s students will further have the opportunity to compete at horse shows across North America during the spring and fall, as well as in Wellington at the world-famous Winter Equestrian Festival during the winter season.

The new venture also inclu–des a strong focus on finding, developing and selling quality young show horses with the hope that they will each bring success to their future owners.

“It was never a question that when I started my own training business that it would be located in Wellington,” Colvin said. “Growing up in horse country around equestrians from around the world definitely fostered my riding, and I want the same to be true for my students. Wellington is home to a quality of training and competition that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Uniquely qualified to develop successful riders, Colvin is known for her prowess in all three riding rings — hunter, jumper and equitation — and boasts an impressive list of victories accumulated throughout her career. A natural horsewoman from a young age, Colvin first caught the attention of the competitive equestrian community with her domination in the pony ring as a child, and grew to be a renowned talent.

She made her Grand Prix debut at the ripe age of 13 in 2011, ultimately winning the $25,000 Spring VI Grand Prix in front of a hometown crowd in Wellington aboard Monsieur du Reverdy, beating out 30 seasoned competitors in her first effort.

Colvin spent the majority of 2014 and 2015 leading victory gallops as the top junior rider in the country, earning nearly all of the major junior equitation championships in unprecedented fashion. A proven Grand Prix contender, she has since accrued a number of wins to her name, most recently the 2016 $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show in Kentucky.

In the hunter ring, Colvin added her name to the history books as the 2017 winner of the $268,550 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, topping a field of more than 80 horses and riders aboard John and Stephanie Ingram’s Cuba.

With high-profile owners seeking her out to ride their horses in every ring, the potential to add more accolades to her name is constantly growing, but Colvin has not forgotten her beginnings in South Florida.

“Some of the highlights of my competitive riding career have come from the Winter Equestrian Festival and other horse shows at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center,” Colvin said. “I’ve done everything from the pony ring to the Grand Prix. I know those show grounds well, and having them practically in my backyard is really special. Though I’ve traveled all over the country to ride, Wellington will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Colvin’s many accomplishments have propelled her to widespread recognition in the equestrian sphere, and her uncanny talent has led her to train with a multitude of elite trainers, most recently the legendary George H. Morris, who has described her as the most naturally gifted rider he has ever met and envisions her as a future Olympic medalist.

If all goes well, and Colvin continues to work her way into the show jumping limelight, Wellington just may have another hometown rider to cheer for at a future Olympic Games. For now, only time will tell. “There is a lot going on in my life right now between riding, instructing, traveling and competing. Though I’m very proud of everything I, as well as the horses, owners and trainers that have helped me along the way, have accomplished, I’m always looking for the next step,” Colvin said. “I’m currently bringing along two horses of my own, and I’m eager to find a few more high-performance horses with the hopes of competing internationally.”

Though she has her eye set on global stardom in the future, Colvin has not forgotten her roots. While competition may take her from her hometown, the Wellington native always knows that she will be back, now with a new business to manage.

“Not only is Wellington my home and the base of Victoria Colvin LLC, but I’ll be returning to the Winter Equestrian Festival year after year. It’s the place to be for all things equestrian,” Colvin said. “Wellington will always be where I was raised and where I had my introduction to riding. I’ll always be grateful for that, and this town will always be my home.” Visit www.victoriacolvin.com to learn more about Victoria Colvin LLC.


Classic Italian Cuisine On The Menu At Centanni Café

Classic Italian Cuisine On The Menu At Centanni Café

‘Centanni’ means 100 years in Italian, and Centanni Café owner Fidel Alvarez hopes to reach that many years at his new location in Wellington’s Village Walk community.

The restaurant has been at the location just off Lyons Road approximately one year after holding its grand opening in December 2016. Alvarez has been overjoyed with the response he has received from the community he is now immediately serving.

Centanni Café is new to the residential community, but it has been in the western communities for more than a decade, originally located on State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach. While the restaurant is particularly convenient for Village Walk residents, it is open to the greater Wellington community as well.

Centanni offers classic Italian cuisine. For a restaurant that calls itself a café, it boasts a sizable menu with many options to choose from. If you were to ask Alvarez what he would recommend for your first time at the café, he’d probably suggest the salmon piccata served with quinoa. “This dish is a sauté with white wine and lemon, a touch of butter and capers,” Alvarez said. “In my picatta, I like to put a little roasted pepper, just because of the color. With food, you’ve got to catch the eye, too. It’s not just flavor, but also the colors.”

Alvarez only recently began using quinoa as a main side option.

“I wasn’t even familiar with it, but my chef, he is from Peru, and this comes from Peru, so he was knowledgeable of it,” Alvarez said. “So, I told him, ‘Let’s see how the customers react,’ and it was very good. It’s different, and it tastes good. Quinoa is something that you can put on salads and as a side dish. You can do a lot with it.”

One amazing homemade item found at Centanni is Alvarez’s fresh mozzarella, which is served on the Centanni salad and more.

“My fresh mozzarella, I put some salt in the water when I’m making it, so that adds flavor, not really salty, but you just add a little flavor,” Alvarez said. “It’s a unique flavor. You don’t need any added salt, and you don’t need any dressing to have that mozzarella, because it already has flavor in it.”

The menu offers many Italian favorites, including pizza, pasta dishes, entrees such as chicken marsala, sub sandwiches and more. Centanni also offers catering services.

“The advantage that I have is that the menu is already established. People already know me,” Alvarez said. “So, when they found out I was coming here, there was a lot of excitement in the community.”

Alvarez said some people have been enthusiastic about the café in the gated community, to the point that he said his business has driven in new homeowners to Village Walk.

“The atmosphere, it feels like you are on vacation,” Alvarez said. “The neighbors feel like they are on vacation. They come home. They come here. They eat. They go to the pool. It feels like a vacation resort.”

Alvarez began his career in the restaurant business in high school. He had a decade of experience by the time he was out of college, and he found himself managing a network of restaurants in New Jersey, where he was raised.

Born in El Salvador, Alvarez grew into the industry. It wasn’t something he knew would be his life’s work at a young age.

“I worked for the guy for 10 years. I went through high school, through college, working in this mom-and-pop pizzeria, so I learned a lot from them,” Alvarez said.

That experience at the pizzeria is what propelled Alvarez into his role in restaurant management, impressing his future business partner. Alvarez helped manage five different restaurants in New Jersey. But, at the height of it all, he was at a different restaurant every day.

“I got tired of that, so I left and came to Florida, because every time we came here on vacation, it was nice. My wife loved it, and I started to like it,” Alvarez said.  “So, we moved here.”

Centanni Café is open for lunch and dinner, but you can still find some breakfast items at the café during lunch hours.

“This [is a place] you can come for lunch, or dinner, or just a little snack,” he said.

Nowadays, Alvarez enjoys his life managing the café for his customers.

“I want to thank the community here at Village Walk for giving me the opportunity to serve them, and also giving me the opportunity to serve the people outside the community who already know me,” Alvarez said. “So far, I think, that has been the key, because a lot of other cafés have been here, but none of them have made it. I think the combination is knowing people’s names and bringing in people from outside. I think that helps a lot.”

Centanni Café is located in the Village Walk community at 2540 Village Walk Circle. For more information, call (561) 642-8700 or visit www.centannicafe.com.


Martha Jolicoeur Helps Make Wellington Home For Horses And Humans Alike

Martha Jolicoeur Helps Make Wellington Home For Horses And Humans Alike

It is no secret that Wellington is a winter haven for horses and humans alike. For many seasonal residents, Wellington has become much more than simply an escape from the cold. Offering non-stop horse shows in the sun, Wellington has become home for many equestrian athletes and their four-legged partners.

The annual equestrian pilgrimage south has spurred a high demand for farms and homes in Wellington, a demand that real estate broker Martha W. Jolicoeur is uniquely qualified to fulfill.

As the level of horse sport competition in South Florida has climbed higher and higher, so too has the need for bigger and more luxurious properties. The result is a flourishing market filled with “to-die-for” homes and farms.

Jolicoeur first made a name for herself among the equestrian community as a top amateur rider who then competed internationally. Stepping into her role in the elite Douglas Elliman Real Estate sports and entertainment division, Jolicoeur exhibits the same passion she had for competing when matching her real estate clients with the homes and farms of their dreams.

“I truly found my calling when I combined my zeal for horse sport with a talent for real estate,” said Jolicoeur, who has been a licensed agent since 1991. “I have watched Wellington explode onto the international show jumping, dressage and polo scenes, and become a hotspot for the best athletes and horses in the world. The real estate market has grown immensely alongside that, and it is an honor to be able to help members of the equestrian community find, or sell, their ideal farms and homes.”

Looking for the perfect equestrian home? Take a stroll with Jolicoeur through several amazing equestrian real estate properties.

Convenience and privacy are realized in a seven-stall center-aisle barn and estate at 1761 Clydesdale Avenue. Gated within Paddock Park 2, the property is within hacking distance to all the action at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, yet is tucked away on a slice of equine-inspired paradise.

“This move-in ready property is perfect for any training operation,” said Jolicoeur of the custom-built barn, which features a tack room, indoor and outdoor wash stalls, as well as a feed and laundry room. “Just steps away from the barn itself is an expansive sand ring and large paddocks providing ample turn-out space.”

Turning off Clydesdale Avenue, the lavish main house with impact glass includes four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, fireplaces throughout, and a superb gourmet kitchen with custom granite countertops and a chef’s prep island.

“A divine outdoor heated pool and spa with marble pool deck and full summer kitchen make the most of a sprawling backyard,” said Jolicoeur of the $3.36 million property. “And it doesn’t stop there. The estate also includes a detached one bedroom, one bathroom guest cottage with a full modern kitchen and living area. This Clydesdale Avenue estate is perfect for anyone looking to show horses during the winter or to find a new place to call home in Wellington.”

Just a short distance from Paddock Park, 15491 Palma Lane can be found inside the gates of Palm Beach Point. Step out from an immaculately appointed home onto a covered Carrera marble patio and catch a glimpse of the eight-stall center-aisle barn.

“Custom wood paneling in an open-air setting make this barn a vacation in itself,” said Jolicoeur of the $5.4 million farm that includes a 135-foot-by-230-foot riding arena with all-weather sand textile mix footing and a surround sound system. “Adjacent to the barn are seven paddocks on 5.4 acres, creating a beautiful sight from the custom outdoor kitchen and saltwater pool.”

Inside the home, an ideal blend of rustic and Mediterranean styles grace the completely updated residence. It features a split bedroom floor plan with sloped ceilings and decorative ledges that add personality to every room. The space boasts a formal dining area and eat-in kitchen, with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. In the master bedroom, a Roman tub, separate shower, dual sinks and a sitting area are stand-out attributes. “Whether hacking to a horse show or relaxing at home, this property is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the competition season,” Jolicoeur said.

Venturing into Palm Beach Point East, 4770 Stables Way provides another property option only a short hack from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

“This incredible ten-acre farm is fit for the professional horse person,” said Jolicoeur of the 12-stall center-aisle stable. “It recently underwent a full renovation and is ready for the new season featuring the finest amenities.”

The $6.7 million property features a new tack room with granite countertops and unbeatable storage capacity, as well as a spacious owner’s lounge with a full kitchen and two-and-a-half bathrooms. “Ample space for riding is available, courtesy of a large Grand Prix field and a new ring with top-grade fiber footing and an underground drainage and water system,” Jolicoeur said. “The on-property tent pad holds 15 12-foot-by-12-foot stalls, and there are nine paddocks, a large lunging ring, and covered treadmill and blacksmith areas. This pristine farm is one any horse would be happy to come home to.”

Jolicoeur understands the importance of customer excellence and prides herself on dealing honestly and fairly while creating relationships with her customers that continue far beyond a transaction.

For more information about Jolicoeur, or to find out more about one for the properties featured here, visit www.marthasproperties.com.


Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Richard Cosola has been a resident of Wellington for 20 years, and in that time, he has made a name for himself in the world of yoga, both here in the western communities and across South Florida.

Cosola first become involved in yoga for emotional, rather than physical, wellness. It has been 11 years since his son, Michael, passed away suddenly at the age of 22. His wife and daughter were both devastated, and Cosola struggled to deal with his own grief.

“My system was shocked, and I experienced major anxiety, which we now call PTSD,” Cosola said.

Facing a regimen of prescription drugs, he sought out an alternative. Cosola feels he was emotionally healed by his practice of yoga.

“I started the bereavement group at St. Rita Catholic Church, and I learned how many people out there are very sad,” he explained. “They’re carrying around a lot of burdens and excess baggage.”

Cosola wanted to share his experiences and practices with people, and see if what helped him could help them. So, he started Yogachi USA.

“I tell my clients, ‘I want you to be flexible until you’re 95.’ I want people to get out of their chair, go do something and be flexible,” he said.

What Cosola offers is more than just yoga instruction. He also focuses his attention on nutrition. The vegetables and herbs from his home-grown garden are a significant portion of the Mediterranean diet he practices himself, and encourages others to emulate. “It’s the best for lifelong wellness,” he said.

Cosola feels that yoga and a healthy diet are the major reasons why his wife of nearly 40 years is thriving, even though Randi suffers from multiple sclerosis. They enjoy spending time with their daughter Debra, son-in-law Jason and granddaughter Evie.

The Cosolas have lived in Wellington’s Coventry Green neighborhood for 20 years in a newly remodeled and redecorated 2,300-square-foot townhome. “My wife is a fantastic decorator,” Cosola said.

Upon reflection, Cosola said he is busy with teaching yoga six days a week.

“Sundays are for cooking, eating and spending time with your family and friends,” he explained.

He is an instructor at LA Fitness three days a week, he is at the Wellington’s Edge clubhouse two days a week and typically sees private clients one day a week. “My favorite place to teach is Wellington’s Edge,” he said.

The LA Fitness classes have about 40 students, but he prefers smaller groups or one-on-one sessions. “In those large classes, it’s impossible for teachers to focus on the individual,” he said.

Cosola likes to get to know his clients and understand what their life is all about, so he can offer them the best instruction possible.

He helps people with all kinds of disabilities and illnesses, including neurological diseases, people with chronic pain, patients suffering from fibromyalgia, and those with back injuries and sciatica.

Cosola can also work with someone who is wheelchair bound, and he has done some teaching in a pool. Aqua yoga will be an aspect of the practice that he expects will soon become popular.

He also does work with athletes, and in Wellington that means equestrians looking to become more flexible. Cosola was once a professional baseball player and did some boxing in his younger days, so he understands what athletes are looking for. “Athletes want three things: power, speed and flexibility. When they have all three, they become a very effective person,” he explained, noting that flexibility is the most important thing to have and that he is in better shape now than he was in his 20s.

He also has clients from the corporate world who are looking for a place to de-stress. Apart from the physical benefits, Cosola helps clients improve their mental ability to focus, which benefits them in their career.

“I have them get in the ‘quiet’ position at the end of a session, have them focus on all of the good things in their life and encourage them to let go of fear and anxiety,” Cosola said.

What is most important for him is to have mutual communication with a client, and especially to connect with their sense of humor.

For more information, call (561) 282-7450, e-mail yoga@yogachiusa.com or visit www.yogachiusa.com.


Nina Williams Offers A Unique International Perspective

Nina Williams Offers A Unique International Perspective

Nina Williams of Nina Williams Interiors brings clients a unique international view to her work as an interior decorator. Part of it comes from a youth spent on the move.

On several occasions, Williams found herself packing up and moving to a new country — a country where she didn’t know the language, the customs, the food or the style of dress.

“My father was an engineer who helped build power stations,” Williams recalled. “Our family lived in Hungary, Germany and South Africa. When I got married, I moved to the United States. Traveling around seems like a glamorous life, but when you’re being dragged around by your parents, it really isn’t fun. I had to learn to assimilate.”

However, living on three different continents gave Williams a real insight into the citizens and styles of the world, a rare background that she uses every day in her work as an interior decorator.

“I am very sensitive to people’s different needs,” Williams said. “I love to find out where they’re from. I think it’s interesting what people find beautiful in different countries. German décor is completely different than South African décor. There are so many different ways to do things. So, even though these experiences were somewhat traumatic, really, I use all the skills I gained to give my clients what they want.”

To do this, Williams first does a walk-through, having the client show her the house or area of the house that they want her to design. She asks lifestyle questions — how many people are in the family; how many children or pets; how each space will be used. Whether the home is used seasonally or full-time is also important.

“They usually have lots of pictures of the style they like,” Williams said. “And the budget is very important, because not only do I want to stay on budget, I want to get them the best possible bang for their buck.”

Once a client has decided to proceed, there’s a contract and a deposit. Then, Williams’ work begins.

“I put together a design and e-mail it to them. If it’s a bathroom or kitchen, I send a CAD drawing; if it’s a living room or bedroom, they get a collage of everything that would be in the space,” Williams said. “Then they get back to me, saying, ‘I like this’ or ‘I’d prefer that,’ or maybe they’d like a different color. Hopefully, I’ve looked and listened and put together something they like. We’re not going to buy anything until they’re happy.”

With her decades of international experience, Williams has a lot to offer, but is not focused on any particular style.

“Beach, equestrian, industrial, contemporary — my job is to figure out what my client wants to do and make it a reality,” Williams said. “It’s like cooking — if you tell me what flavor you like, I know which ingredients to put in. Once I’ve seen your pictures, I can put in the right ingredients to catch that.”

Williams does a lot of second homes for equestrians who are in Wellington only part of the year. “Many designers don’t like to do second homes because the owners don’t want to spend as much as they do on their primary residences. As for me, I don’t care,” said Williams, who herself rides every morning on a Grand Prix Olympic-level dressage horse a bit past its prime. “I definitely speak their language. And my travel hasn’t made me hoity-toity as much as it has toughened me up and made me down-to-earth.”

While some may consider it a challenge, getting on the same page as a client is Williams’ favorite part of the job.

“If I walk into an empty space and they just say, ‘Do something,’ it’s very hard,” she said. “Once they start telling me what they want, I am able to get into their brain and become like a personal shopper. I’m always interested to hear what they’ve come up with.”

Sometimes, her clients will bring a unique perspective.

“One lady bought a very formal house in Breakers West and wanted to do it all in bright blues and greens. I never would have thought of that, but it looks absolutely great,” Williams recalled. “Together, we got inspired. Another lady wanted all neutrals, only textiles and a little bit of silver and gold to break it up. It turned out so pretty! Again, I needed the client to inspire that. I love seeing the final project and recording it in photographs.”

If a client simply can’t make up his or her mind, Williams’ go-to look is a laid-back, comfortable-yet-elegant “Hamptons shore” style with a bit of the “worn and distressed” thrown in.

“And yet my store is all Moroccan,” she laughed.

See the store for yourself at 3614 S. Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach. Look for “Tree of Life Home.”

However, Nina Williams Interiors’ design studio and offices have always been in Wellington.

“I started riding dressage in Germany and fell in love with it, so when I came to the States, I was like a magnet drawn to horses,” she said. “I have to be in Wellington. I would never live anywhere else.”

Visit www.ninawilliamsinteriors.com to view dramatic before-and-after photos of finished projects. Call (561) 315-0523 to contact Williams.


‘Baseball Lifer’ Chris Duprey Has His Focus Set On A Career In The Majors

‘Baseball Lifer’ Chris Duprey Has His Focus Set On A Career In The Majors

Even at 14 years old, Chris Duprey is a baseball lifer. He has been playing competitive baseball since he was 7, forsaking all other sports for his passion.

“My dad started me playing T-ball when I was four,” said Duprey, an eighth-grader who plays center field and pitches for Wellington Landings Middle School. “I played other sports, but baseball really stuck with me. I play basketball and football with my friends, but not in a league.”

Duprey said he got his enthusiasm for baseball from his father.

“My dad was athletic. He always pushed me to be an athlete, to work hard,” said the 5-foot-8, 140-pound Duprey, who has been on the middle school team all three years.

Wellington Landings ended the regular season with an 8-2 record and reached the playoffs. Duprey finished with a .444 batting average and 16 stolen bases. And as a reliever, he struck out 10 in 10 1/3 innings.

“With middle school baseball, you depend on your eighth-graders to carry your team,” Wellington Landings manager Jason Hugus said. “Chris isn’t normally a pitcher, but he stepped up big this year. He throws really hard, and he wants to compete, so he took on the role of closer this year, and he has done an excellent job on the mound.”

In a late-season game against Crestwood, Duprey started in center field but was called in to pitch in the third inning with his team trailing 1-0. He promptly hit a batter on his first pitch, but battled over the next three innings to earn the win, as Wellington Landings rallied for a walk-off victory. He didn’t allow a run, while striking out two and walking two — and picking off a runner at second to end a scoring threat in the fifth inning.

“You’ve got to use him where he helps the team win, and he’s all about helping the team win,” Hugus said. “He’s a team player, a great student, a great teammate. He can hit, he can run, he can field. His strength is definitely playing the outfield. Fantastic speed, premier speed, gets great reads, great jumps, knows the game.”

Duprey, who wears the number 21, admitted he enjoys pitching more than playing the outfield.

“When I have the ball, I feel like I control the game, that I can set the tempo for the game,” Duprey said. “It’s a lot more thrilling. Most of the time it’s a lot more thrilling than center field. I like that I can set the pace.”

But his favorite part of baseball is hitting. And he emphasized that point by hitting a monstrous home run in a 2-1 victory over Polo Park in mid-October.

“That was amazing,” recalled Duprey, whose favorite player is perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout of the Angels, who also wears number 21. “I felt it off the bat, and I took off running. I didn’t know where it was, I just took off running. Definitely, my best hit ever.”

Hugus was equally impressed with the blast.

“It was all of about 360 [feet]. It was an inside-the-parker, no play at home,” Hugus said. “It was impressive. All the kids from last year’s team are jealous because Chris hit the farthest ball ever hit on this field. They’re all mad because a couple of them hit some bombs last year.”

Duprey has the multitude of skills needed to continue to play in high school and perhaps beyond, but Hugus believes his best attribute is something that can’t be quantified.

“Everybody who watches him play would say it’s his speed,” Hugus said, “because he is ridiculously fast. But I think it’s his competitiveness. He wants the ball on the mound even though he’s not a pitcher. He wants the bat in his hands; he wants to be the guy on the bases scoring the run. He’s probably the toughest competitor on this team.”

Duprey agreed that he is competitive in everything he does.

“I wouldn’t call myself a sore loser, but I get aggravated,” Duprey said.

Duprey also has a unique nickname, “Coquido,” given to him at birth by his mother. It’s a combination of his heritage; his father is Puerto Rican, and his mother is Italian. A coqui is a small frog native to Puerto Rico, and guido is a common Italian slang term.

“I like it; it’s different,” Duprey said.

Like many athletes, he has his pre-game rituals. He doesn’t have a specific pre-game meal, but rather likes all kinds of food.

“I love food,” Duprey said. “Steak, chicken, all the meats. And I like rice and beans and pasta.”

Before a game, he usually listens to music, mostly rap, and prays.

“I give thanks for me, my family, all the players, to make sure no one gets hurt and everyone has a good game,” said Duprey, who usually prays near the Wellington Landings gym.

Other games, Duprey and teammates will go to the outfield and say a prayer.

Religion plays an important role in Duprey’s life. He regularly attends Christ Fellowship Church in Royal Palm Beach. He also wears a chain with three baseballs in the shape of a cross.

“I never take it off. I love wearing that,” said Duprey, although the rules in middle school baseball forbid anyone from wearing jewelry for safety purposes, so he removes it for games.

Duprey plans on playing high school baseball in Wellington and hopes to continue in college, followed by a successful career in the majors.

“He’s already playing on the next level, against older kids [during the travel season],” said Hugus, who coaches Duprey during the summer travel baseball season.

It takes a major commitment, especially during the fall season, as Duprey usually finishes practice at Wellington Landings and then joins his travel team for another practice.  That’s life for a baseball lifer.


2018 Great Charity Challenge, Presented By Fidelity Investments, Celebrates The Stars Of The Community

2018 Great Charity Challenge, Presented By Fidelity Investments, Celebrates The Stars Of The Community

Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to showcase what it truly means to be a star this coming February when the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, returns to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

For the past eight years, equestrians and their mounts have been captivating the local community at this event. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to shine and win up to $150,000.

Through an open application process, the Great Charity Challenge invited all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the ninth edition of the pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.

Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will meet their “lucky star” on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, to receive a share of the $1.5 million purse.

The Great Charity Challenge, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions, and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $10.8 million from the equestrian community to 220 nonprofits in Palm Beach County. All of the money raised gets distributed to local nonprofits every year, with first place receiving $150,000 and all participating charities being guaranteed a minimum amount of $15,000. Staying true to its roots, a minimum of seven charities, out of the 34 participating nonprofits, are guaranteed to be Wellington based.

Over the last three years, the event has brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses decked out to match them, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center welcomed “Superheroes,” “Fairy Tales Characters” and “Animated Characters.” This year’s theme will be “Hollywood Feature Film: A Night When Everyone’s A Star.”

“This ninth year honors the local stars of our community,” Mark Bellissimo said. “We hope to give them an opportunity to shine and let them redefine what ‘stars’ are truly made of. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Paige Bellissimo, who is actively involved in the community, agreed.

“The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community,” she said. “We hope that this year’s edition will help future generations see what stars are truly made of! We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors and partners who support the effort.”

The drawing to select the 34 charities that will participate in the 2018 event will be held Dec. 2 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

For the latest event information and application guidelines, visit www.greatcharity challenge.com or www.facebook.com/great charitychallenge.


Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s 2018 Season Expected To Be Largest Yet

Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s 2018 Season Expected To Be Largest Yet

Since launching in 2012, the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) has matured into one of the largest dressage circuits in the world. The festival will rise to the occasion once again in 2018, setting the stage for top horse and rider combinations, and laying the stepping stones leading up to the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C., next September.

The 2018 AGDF will once again take place at the Stadium at Equestrian Village in Wellington, from Jan. 4 through March 31, 2018. The winter circuit will provide indispensable opportunities for riders seeking scores for the World Equestrian Games (WEG). The festival will host four qualifying events throughout the circuit.

“We are incredibly excited for this upcoming dressage season,” AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur said. “This year, we will see riders from all over the world coming to Wellington to prepare for the World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. We are presenting a new structure of classes at the Grand Prix level as well as Small Tour levels, and will welcome top judges that will also be featured at the WEG.”

The 2018 AGDF season features four CDI-Ws, a CDI 4* and CDI 5*, as well as a CDIO3* and two CPEDI competitions. Local spectators are welcome to come out and enjoy world-renowned competition. The show is always open to the public with free general admission. The weekly Friday Night Stars events take place every Friday evening during CDI events and present the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class, where combinations ride to choreographed musical routines. The nights also bring musical acts and various forms of outside entertainment.

The season will begin on Thursday, Jan. 4 with the first Para-Equestrian Dressage CPEDI 3* competition. Week 2 will also play host to a CPEDI 3*, beginning on Thursday, Jan. 18. Para-equestrian sports allow athletes with physical and visual disabilities to excel in equestrian events and competitions designed for the able-bodied, and do so by creating a structured and highly competitive environment. Para-dressage is conducted under the same basic rules as able-bodied dressage, but with riders divided into different competition grades based on their physical abilities. There is no greater evidence of the incredible bond, trust and communication between horse and rider than in para-dressage. This Paralympic sport is a humbling reminder of the strength and determination of the human spirit.

The AGDF will welcome the first CDI-W competition of the season on Thursday, Jan. 11, as well as a national show for competitors looking to fine-tune their skills outside of the FEI arena. AGDF 3 commences on Wednesday, Jan. 24 and will bring the second CDI-W and national competitions.

The circuit takes a break on Friday, Feb. 2, when some of the top event riders in the world are welcomed to Equestrian Village to go head-to-head in the fourth annual Wellington Eventing Showcase. The showcase hosts a two-day format of the sport of eventing, including dressage, show jumping and a condensed cross-country course, designed by renowned course designer Capt. Mark Phillips.

International dressage competition reconvenes on Thursday, Feb. 8 with the season’s only CDI 5*, featuring the very best riders in the world, and producing some of the most thrilling test execution of the season. Week 6 will begin on Friday, Feb. 16 and host three days of national competition. Week 9 also promotes national competition from March 9-11. The third CDI-W will commence during Week 7, on Thursday, Feb. 22.

AGDF Week 8 begins on March 1 and welcomes the final CDI-W and the historic Palm Beach Derby, an exciting event that features riders competing at Small Tour level with unfamiliar horses to see who can ride to the best score.

Week 10 is set to showcase the only CDI 4* of the 2018 season, while the final week of the season plays host to the FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3*, as well as the final Friday Night Stars competition of the circuit. The FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3* is the only non-championships CDIO 3* in the northern hemisphere and is a staple of the season for competitors from around the world.

“We are very excited about the upcoming Adequan Global Dressage Festival,” said Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions. “With the FEI World Equestrian Games coming to Tryon, N.C., in September 2018, there will be many talented riders from all over the world attending, with the main focus being qualification for the biggest equestrian event in the world. This year will truly be a chance for everyone in Wellington to see the world’s best, and we are looking forward to seeing these equestrian athletes preform on our global stage.”

With the 2018 WEG looming on the horizon, the 2018 AGDF is sure to be the most exceptional one to date.

For more information about the AGDF, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.




AGDF 0 – January 4-7



AGDF 1 – January 11-14

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 2 – January 18-21

CPEDI 3* and National Show


AGDF 3 – January 24-28

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 4 – February 2-3

Wellington Eventing Showcase
and National Show


AGDF 5 – February 8-11

CDI 5*/3*/1* and National Show

AGDF 6 – February 16-17

National Show


AGDF 7 – February 22-25

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 8 – March 1-4

Palm Beach Derby CDI-W/1*
and National Show


AGDF 9 – March 9-11

National Show


AGDF 10 – March 15-18

CDI 4*/3*/1* and National Show


AGDF 12 – March 27-3
CDIO 3*/3*/1* and National Show

Tentative schedule, subject to change. Sponsors listed at time of print. Friday Night Stars freestyles are held on Friday nights of CDI competition with the exception of AGDF 8.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Stadium is located at 13500 South Shore
Blvd. in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 793-5867 or visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.


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