Big news! In a first for St. Louis, the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL ST. LOUIS has been recognized as a AAA Five Diamond property. This prestigious award is given to less than one percent of the more than 58,000 rated lodgings and restaurants around the country. To earn the recognition, the hotel underwent multiple blind evaluations that rated the property on 25 different benchmarks and 228 staff evaluations! This award puts our Four Seasons in good company, other AAA Five Diamond properties include the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, the Peninsula in Chicago and the Breakers in Palm Beach.

    Congrats to local designer EMILY CASTLE, ASID, of Castle Design, who was recently appointed to the ethics committee for the National Board of the American Society of Interior Designers. She will collaborate with two other interior designers from around the country to make sure the organization’s 40,000 members uphold the code of ethics and bylaws of the Society.

    Editor by day, on-line retailer by night…congrats to LN managing editor MEREDITH BOGGESS, her husband JOSH, and friends RYAN and MAGGIE EISENBEIS, now proud owners of, an on-line boutique offering upscale personalized apparel and gifts for babies and toddlers.

    Kudos to MONSANTO FUND, which presented a $25,000 grant to OPERA THEATRE ST. LOUIS to fund the organization’s OPERA ON THE GO! program, which introduces students in grades three through 12 to opera.

    Congratulations to the following individuals, recently named honorees for the ARTS AND EDUCATION COUNCIL’S  2009 St. Louis Arts Awards: jazz vocalist JEANNE TREVOR, Lifetime Achieve ment in the Arts; philanthropists LAURANCE and VIRGINIA BROWNING JR., Excellence in Philanthropy; CINEMA ST. LOUIS, Excellence in the Arts; artist and educator ROBERT POWELL, Excellence in the Arts; educator SR. PATRICIA GILJUM, CSJ, Art Educator of the Year; and circus performer JESSICA HENTOFF, Arts Innovator. The honorees will be celebrated Jan. 26 at the Chase Park Plaza.

    Happy birthday, Nelly! The St. Louis native and hip-hop mega star was feted recently at a birthday bash hosted by Ford Motors at Lavo nightclub in Las Vegas. The automaker surprised Nelly with a new, customized Ford Flex. The car buff has had his eye on the crossover car since it was unveiled earlier this year, and his gift from Ford did not disappoint. The car has custom rims and interior, as well as wireless Internet capabilities that will allow passengers to enjoy Web surfing, email, movies, music and live TV. Look for it cruising a neighborhood near you.

    Books, books and more books…BARNES & NOBLE has opened a new bookstore in WEST COUNTY CENTER in Des Peres. It will feature more than 200,000 titles in stock, a large-scale children’s book department, Wi-Fi, and a community room for readings, discussions, book clubs and other events.

    A warm welcome…COCA will welcome alumnus ANTONIO DOUTHIT and some of his fellow ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN THEATER dancers, along with jazz vocalist DENISE THIMES, for the fund-raising performance ‘Celebrate Me Home’ Nov. 22 and 23. Proceeds from the performance will help support COCA’s Urban Arts and Scholarship programs. For more information, visit

    Kudos to CITY ACADEMY, which received a unanimous recommendation for accreditation to INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS ASSOCATION OF THE CENTRAL STATES (ISACS). The school’s visiting team was led by LISA LYLE, head of school at MICDS, who was amazed that the urban school, just 10 years old, was able to obtain such a prestigious accreditation.

    Congratulations to MISSY FISH, two-time breast cancer survivor and local philanthropist, whose efforts have raised more than $700,000 for breast cancer research. She will receive the 2008 Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity Award, given by the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS