Access October 2020

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AS DRIVEN AS YOU ARE THE LEXUS ES The Lexus ES is refined luxury crafted with ceaseless ambition. Equipped with Amazon Alexa1 compatibility to keep you connected. Lexus Safety System+ 2.0² with Lane Tracing Assist and Road Sign Assist, designed to bring out the best in its driver. Android Auto™3 to help you stay focused, connected and entertained. And Apple CarPlay ®4 to give you a smarter, safer and more convenient way to use your iPhone®5 in the car. The ES, ES F SPORT and ES Hybrid are masterfully crafted with hand-stitched leather trim and class-leading rear legroom6 to complement your style and provide comfort, truly living up to their elevated reputation. This is substance ambitiously designed to serve you. Experience confidence, crafted by Lexus. lexus.com/ES | #LexusES

LEXUS OF MOBILE 3024 Government Blvd. (251) 478-3300 Options shown. 1. Amazon, Alexa, and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Not all Amazon Alexa functionality is available for in-vehicle use. To learn more, go to https://www.lexus.com/enform. 2. Drivers are always responsible for their own safe driving. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details. 3. Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statement apply. Requires compatible smartphone and data plan rates apply. Android and Android Auto are trademarks of Google LLC. 4. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. 5. iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. All rights reserved. 6. 2020 ES vs. 2019/2020 competitors. Information from manufacturers’ websites as of 6/1/19. ©2019 Lexus


60 SRINGDALE BLVD. STE A. 251.219.4955

FALL IN LOVE WITH GREAT HAIR

THESE ARE PRODUCTS OF THE HAIR-OBSESSED MOBILE’S CHICEST SALON FOUNDED BY AWARD-WINNING HAIR STYLIST PHRANKEY LOWERY.


from the EDITOR...

the

OCTOBER 2020 / Volume 66 Number 58 Photo by Devin Ford Photography

It’s pretty safe to say that 2020 is not the year most of us had in mind. From Covid-19 to a hostile political climate topped off with Hurricane Sally and more, our heads are literally spinning. Having lost two weeks of production time due to the damage and lack of power left in Sally’s wake (as many ACCESSers live on the Eastern Shore), we pivoted to compile an issue about thriving and surviving on the Bay in spite of 2020 as a whole. And while some of us are thriving more than others, most are surviving pretty darn well. In this issue, we celebrate new friend Donna Ward for her hard-won bravery as she shares a personal journey that epitomizes both concepts. Not wanting to forget those who came to our rescue or those dedicated to rebuilding, we carved out space for stories to remind us how spectacular the Bay community really is. Recalling the citizens of Fairhope lining the streets in an impromptu parade to thank the thousands of linemen that came from across the country to aid our cities to local mayors taking time to share information and hope, we should all be proud. I’ve lived on the Bay for several years now, but this was actually my first hurricane. Perhaps I’m a bit more vehement than most, but seeing a power pole snap in half 10 feet away and losing electricity for eight days would affect even the numbest of locals. And yes, I bailed on Day 2 and headed out of town. That’s how I survive! Wishing you all the best. Enjoy!

CONTENTS

6 10

PINK CARPET & PARTY PICS Take a look into LA-LA Land Boutique’s grand opening party for their newest location in Spring Hill, and peek inside a VIP shopping event with the ACCESS girls at one of our favorite newest boutiques: RISE.

16

UNEXPECTED HOPE Breast cancer survivor Donna Ward has been through her fair share of challenges. With the support from friends, family, and her husband, Turner Ward, she has become a successful author with one amazing story to tell.

42

HURRICANE SALLY COVERAGE On September 15, Hurricane Sally devastated Gulf Shores and the Bay Area as an intense Category 2 storm. Many communities were left with costly damages and weeks of recovery, but under the guidance of local leaders, each area is coming back stronger than ever.

28

BEST OF LOCAL LIVING We enlisted six local beauty bombshells and influencers to share some of their favorite places, people, and activities to help you live your best life on the Bay!

24

LOCAL CULTURE Meet local State Farm Insurance Agent Laurel Flowers and get a lesson in all things insurance.

60

COLUMNS Pink Table Talk and The Accidental Sommelier

STAFF...

FOUNDER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/ PUBLISHER Hayley Hill CREATIVE DIRECTOR/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Stevye Murray

MARKET EDITOR Kristi Welford Hicks DIRECTOR OF SALES Jennifer Parker AccessJenParker@gmail.com

ART DIRECTOR Mallory Godwin

ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE Lindsey Crain AccessLindseyCrain@gmail.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Rebecca Foose

FINANCIAL COORDINATOR Mary Frances DeLong

EDITOR Caroline Edmondson

INTERN Bria Scott

CONTRIBUTING WRITER / COPY EDITOR Jessica Goolsby

COLUMNISTS Kenny Dumas Charlotte Kilborn Carey

SUB SCRIBE TODAY! A C C E S S T H E B AY. C O M

Manuscripts, photos and art material will be considered, but will be recieved only with the understanding that the magazine or its employees shall not be responsible for loss or damage, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. All contents @Hayley Hill Style Access, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. ACCESS mobile.baldwin is published 10 times per year. Subscription rate is $21.95 per year. All subscription inquiries should be mailed to P.O. Box 8586, Mobile, AL 36689-8586 or visit AccessTheBay.com. If the post office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within two years.

4 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

THE LOOK New York meets Mobile, Ala., in one gorgeous clothing store: THE MIX. Catering to a “mix” of different styles and price ranges, you’re sure to find something you love and leave feeling like a million bucks.

C O V E R C RE D I T S Photos Stevye Photography, 228.547.1191 Makeup Courtney Matthews Makeup Artistry, youneedblush2020@gmail.com Hair Jason Chambers, Headdress Salon, 251.689.7427 Donna Top, $69; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551. Pants, $325, Earrings, $220; Debra’s, 251.343.7463. Heel, $229; Daphne’s Shoe Boutique, 251.585.8755. Turner Shirt, $125, Pants, $69.50; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551.



By Caroline Edmondson / Photos Stevye Photography Makeup Courtney Mathews, youneedblush2020@gmail.com Hair Jason Chambers, Headdress Salon, 251.689.7427

T H E M I X O wner Carol i ne Ward


Callie S peigh t s

Coming up on its one-year anniversary in November, THE MIX in Legacy Village has become a go-to shop for all things fashion, fun accessories, and unique gifts. Owner Caroline Ward first opened the store after moving back home to Mobile after some time living in New York City. In awe of the fashion and shopping The Big Apple has to offer, she wanted to bring a little bit of that experience to “mix� in with the South.


Emma l i e Cottrel l

8 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


A n is h a You n g bl o o d

Just like the name suggests, THE MIX’s main goal is to cater to a variety of different clients and tastes. “The goal was for people to be able to come in and feel comfortable, shop in a fun environment, and find whatever they need,” Caroline shares, adding that they offer a plethora of looks in a number of styles, sizes, and price ranges. “It’s possible to find anything from a $40 top to a $400 top,” she says. In order to achieve this, Caroline travels to different markets across the United States in search of the perfect additions to her store, but cites Coterie in New York as her absolute favorite place to shop for inventory.


Wanting every young girl or woman who comes into her store to feel like she’s part of THE MIX’s sisterhood, Caroline works hard to create a shopping environment that’s both fun and inviting, often hosting fun shopping events featuring festive treats (and even frosé)! When it comes to fall 2020 fashion trends, Caroline shares that she expects to see lots of metallic colors and metals incorporated into the designs. “Faux fur is also going to be around again this year, and shoulder pads are also making a comeback,” she says. THE MIX has new fall arrivals coming in every day, including some really cool pieces from favorite brands like LoveShackFancy, Ramy Brook, Good American, and Caroline’s personal preference: Neubyrne. For her own personal style, Caroline says it often takes after celebrity streetwear inspired by celebs such as Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid. “My style is pretty simple with statement pieces,” she shares. “I’m all for pairing solid colors with a statement piece that has a touch of color. It could be a jacket, shoes, or jewelry to help make an outfit pop.”

J i l l i an Lieber 10 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Audi Mobile 2020 Audi Lease for

Q5 2.0T Premium Quattro

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www.audimobileal.com Sales: (251) 261-0705 Service: (251) 459-8994 *2020 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium Quattro - $3,957 due at signing. 7,500 miles / 36 months. Offer expires 10/31/2020. WAC inc all rebates, excludes taxes and fees. See dealer for details.


Shop THE MIX on social media! Instagram: @shopatthemix

THE MIX 9 Du Rhu Drive Suite #345 Mobile, AL ShopAtTheMix.com R ya n n Lee

12 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Neurological Care for You and Your Family

Neil Billeaud, M.D. Board-Certified in Neurology and Sleep Medicine

Tiffany Long, M.D.

Hayden Long, M.D.

Board-Certified in Neurology

Board-Certified in Neurology

Alabama Medical Group is excited to announce that its neurology team is expanding services to better serve the healthcare needs of our community. With more than 47 years of combined experience and two convenient clinic locations, Drs. Neil Billeaud, Tiffany Long and Hayden Long work in tandem bringing a higher level of expertise across a widerange of neurological conditions, including: sleep disorders, headaches (Botox injections for chronic migraines), movement disorders, epilepsy (Ages 13+), neuromuscular disorders and Multiple Sclerosis. Call 251-414-5900 or visit alabamamedicalgroup.com to schedule an appointment today.

A Multi-Specialty Practice

101 Memorial Hospital Drive, Building 3 Mobile, Alabama 36608 6701 Airport Blvd., Suite B-127 Mobile, AL 36608

alabamamedicalgroup.com 251.414.5900


la-la Land's

GRAND OPENING

After seeing much success with its flagship location in Fairhope, LA-LA Land Boutique has made its way to the other side of the Bay, having opened a gorgeous new storefront in Spring Hill. They hosted their grand opening on October 2, and guests were swept away to “LA-LA Land” while sipping cocktails, enjoying delicious small bites, and viewing the beautiful décor and furniture pieces on display. ACCESS wishes LA-LA Land Boutique much success in both ventures! By Caroline Edmondson Photos Jeff Nelson

Owner Jeff Butler & family

14 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Shop Rise's

FALL PREVIEW PARTY! We were honored to be invited for a preview of RISE’S causal and contemporary fall looks! Available now!

Bay Area Physicians for Women, the largest women’s health clinic in the area, with physicians for all your gyn and obstetrical needs.

ShopRiseOnline.com 4354 Old Shell Rd. Mobile, AL

3715 D a u p h i n S t s u i t e 3 - b , M o b i l e , A L BayaAreaobgyn.com 2 51. 3 4 4 . 5 9 0 0


U N E X P EC TED

HOPE Meet Donna Ward. To look at her, one would think she has it all. And she did, until she didn’t. Married to Turner Ward, a major league baseball player turned coach, these high school sweethearts from Saraland have been thrown a curve ball. With a new book and in her own words, Donna opens up about surviving breast cancer and thriving in its wake. By Donna Ward Photos Stevye Photography, 228.547.1191 Makeup Courtney Matthews Makeup Artistry, youneedblush2020@gmail.com Hair Jason Chambers, Headdress Salon, 251.689.7427

L

et me start with what I’m not: I’m not a doctor or an expert. What I’m trying to be is a breast cancer survivor. Also, I’m not here to tell you what you already know. From medical industry pitfalls to overcoming hopelessness, I’m sharing my story so other women and their friends and families can avoid the unfortunate circumstances that led to my difficult journey. You see, prior to my diagnosis, life was good. I married the love of my life, we had three beautiful children, and we all enjoyed my husband’s wonderful career in major league baseball. Life was filled with joy and laughter. I was blessed until that deafening moment on that fateful day I was told, “It’s cancer.” Lost in a fog of shock and unable to think, I blindly followed the path set before me by professionals I unquestionably trusted. Unfortunately, I have learned the very hard, painful, and expensive way, a lot of women do this. Today, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And while we’ve got the pink ribbon, the walks, and the celebrity support, most people have become numb to the topic. But my journey made me realize there are important lifesaving components missing from the conversation. There’s a protocol in breast cancer of which I was unaware. I didn’t get referred to an oncologist until after my double mastectomy. I thought this was so odd. I’ve since learned the normal protocol after diagnosis is to have a surgical oncologist excavate the cancer and then refer you to an oncologist. Normally, you would have your oncologist at the start of your surgery so you can immediately begin treatment after your surgical wounds heal. It’s not like this for any other disease — only for breast cancer. Shirt, $570; Debra’s, 251.343.7463. Earrings, $48; The Holiday, 251.432.4911.

16 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Donna: Top, $69; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551. Pants, $325, Earrings, $220; Debra’s, 251.343.7463. Heel, $229; Daphne’s Shoe Boutique, 251.585.8755. Turner: Shirt, $125, Pants, $69.50; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551.


Since 2012 I‘ve had 12 surgeries, but 10 of them could have been prevented if I had known all of the available options in breast reconstruction. That’s 12 times under anesthesia, 12 times to recover and heal, 12 times my family had to worry and stop their lives… you get the picture. Like most, I relied on my doctor. Cancer alone was so overwhelming and scary. My heart was broken and my world shattered. Life just stopped. I was paralyzed with fear; it never occurred to me to research options. I trusted I had been given them all when my surgeon said, “You have two options in breast reconstruction and you’re not a candidate for one of them.” The takeaway? Many doctors only give you their options, not your options. Also, hear me when I say, reconstructive breast surgery is not the same as a “boob job.” It’s not the same as a breast augmentation. Breast reconstructive surgery after a double mastectomy requires a degree of highly sophisticated and specially trained surgeons. Many plastic surgeons are happy to perform your surgery, though they may not be trained in the most up-to-date and successful techniques. Then, like me, you risk the chance of being in the 40 percent statistic of failed breast reconstructions. In 2013, like countless others, I was so disappointed and devastated by my outcome. After a long and painful nine-month process of breast reconstruction using tissue expanders, I’ll never forget looking excitedly in the mirror expecting to be whole again only to see a nightmare looking back at me. It was gut-wrenching. I wondered, “Was all the pain I endured for nothing?” The implants continued to cause issues. They were hard, cold, and unattractive. They continued to shift and became displaced, causing my already paperthin skin to feel as if it were on fire and ripping open. I was absolutely miserable. And, as my doctor said, this was my “new normal.” But there was nothing normal about it. I’ll never stop asking why I wasn’t given all of my options in breast reconstruction. Was my doctor not aware of the latest advancements? And why was I made to feel guilty for wanting breasts that looked and felt like real breasts? Cancer, surgery, and recovery shouldn’t be like this. A woman should not hate herself or see herself as a beast like I did. A woman should not be left feeling scared and scarred physically and emotionally. She shouldn’t feel hopeless, yet I was all of these and I kept it all to myself. And then there’s your family and friends. Completely lost on how to help, their looks of confusion and pity were tangible. My husband Turner desperately wanted to take the cancer for himself. Like most men, he wanted to fix it. But he couldn’t fix it… or me. I found myself in a place of hopelessness. There were many days I didn’t think I would make it, and some days, I honestly didn’t want to. Cancer consumes your mind and the thoughts become simply too much to bear. Then, at times, God was nowhere to be found — or so I thought. Now through my darkest days, I can offer a far better direction than the one I took. I’ve learned it’s not good to hide your emotions from your children. Pain and suffering are part of life. Let them see the tears and hurt — as well as your faith — so they will know how to handle adversity when it comes their way. Let them learn compassion and how to comfort others who are hurting. Tell your husband he cannot fix it and it’s okay. Tell him to agree with you that cancer sucks and it’s unfair. Ask him to let 18 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

Dress, $158; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551. Heels, $398; Daphne’s Shoe Boutique, 251.585.8755. Earrings, $55; The Holiday, 251.432.4911.


MEET DONNA: October 29, 2020 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Daphne Shoe Boutique 818 Manci Avenue Daphne, AL

Top, $69; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551. Pants, $325, Earrings, $220; Debra’s, 251.343.7463. Heel, $229; Daphne’s Shoe Boutique, 251.585.8755.


Dress, $149; Dillard’s, 251.471.1551. Heels, $139; Daphne’s Shoe Boutique, 251.585.8755. Earrings, $135; The Holiday, 251.432.4911.


you have a bad day and not feel guilty about it and to let you mourn the woman you were before cancer before bringing you back in. It’s okay to go there; you just can’t stay there. If I had known about the emotional rollercoaster, I could have prepared them for it. I could have told them these are normal feelings and it wasn’t their job to stop them from coming out. I would not have built a wall around myself. I could have been honest with my friends about my journey. But again, there’s not an app or a “Hey Siri” response that can tell you what lies ahead after a breast cancer diagnosis. There is not a recovery plan for your emotions. And, yes, I questioned God and my faith. My book, “Unexpected Hope,” is literally comprised of my daily journal entries. The entries are as real and raw as they are vulnerable. Surprisingly, through these very pages my true calling was formed and I was to gain an understanding to see the silver lining. I knew God. I’ve loved Him since I was 8 years old. I knew the Bible and I believed it. This journey has taught me you can’t really know Jesus or know that He is all you need until He is all you have. It was in the depths of despair where God taught me how to trust Him in all things. It was in the dark, lonely place of suffering, feeling all alone where I experienced the immensity of God’s power. There have been so many unanswered prayers along this journey. God left me in the storm no matter how hard I pleaded for Him to take me out. I know now He truly did have a plan for me. As my faith grew, page after page, my journal reveals how I became so much stronger and my mission clearer. Simply put, through God’s grace, I found my voice… one I never knew I had. For so long I would say I wanted August 7, 2012 back. That was the day before I received my diagnosis and became a cancer patient. I wanted me back — the girl I was before everything changed. I mourned the energetic, loving mother, wife, and friend I was before cancer. But that girl is gone. And now, I want to talk. Strange, considering Turner and I have always been in the spotlight due to his career. From red carpets to posh events, I never lost my shyness and tendency to avoid attention. That’s Turner’s gift; he just shines in front of people. But on the road to recovery I met so many other women standing where I once stood. Like a moth to a flame, I had to conquer my shyness and help them heal and avoid medical missteps. Three years PTSD. Initially I was offended… after all, I was ago, I felt God calling me to write a book using my a strong woman and I had this all under control. journal pages. This was a place I was not willing to Clearly, I did not. He went on to tell me of the FOR MORE INFORMATION: go; the thought of it terrified me. Slowly, my heart emotional scars a failed breast reconstruction can began to change as God helped me realize my story leave. He assured me I was not wrong and it was was not just for me. It was for others and it needed not vanity for wanting to feel whole and complete Visit Hope4110.com, to be heard, as I knew it would give hope to others. as a woman. It was okay to want your breasts back the foundation Donna and Turner Ward purchased & used same day in October) I truly believe hope is the one thing none(must of us canbe and to feel feminine again. Every woman deserves founded to help women facing afford to lose. a medical team dedicated to educating women and From an educational standpoint, I am here to say, giving us the tools to advocate for ourselves and breast cancer, or BreastCenter.com “Be ready.” As a woman, don’t you plan your our bodies. I never knew this was possible. I also for more insight. (while supplies last) vacation, retirement, children’s education, and the learned from this incredible team I could have had like? Likewise, we must plan for our health. Don’t my mastectomy and reconstruction at the same be caught off guard. Make this common practice. time. One surgery. This must become an accessible We can’t afford not to make our health a priority. norm. Cancer conversations are not taboo. If I never Again, I’ve never wanted to be in the spotlight, but reached out and just accepted my “new normal” I can’t allow women facing breast cancer to be hurt social Facebook andGet not found Thewith Centerusforon Restorative Breast& Instagram. and broken the way I was. There are so many of @EasternShoreCosmeticSurgery Surgery in New Orleans, I hate to think where I’d us. With no time to be hurt or sad, it’s not about be today. With the right team, I’m now a partner in me anymore. It’s about the women I can help. It’s time to own best my Schedule healing. This a alone is helping me your more than I look! about hope. Oddly, I’m thankful for my journey. ever(251) could have imagined. | EasternShoreCosmeticSurgery.com 929-7850 After all, I am what hope looks like. I am an unexMy doctor in New Orleans felt I had every sign of pected hope.

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you have a bad day and not feel guilty about it and to let you mourn the woman you were before cancer before bringing you back in. It’s okay to go there; you just can’t stay there. If I had known about the emotional rollercoaster, I could have prepared them for it. I could have told them these are normal feelings and it wasn’t their job to stop them from coming out. I would not have built a wall around myself. I could have been honest with my friends about my journey. But again, there’s not an app or a “Hey Siri” response that can tell you what lies ahead after a breast cancer diagnosis. There is not a recovery plan for your emotions. And, yes, I questioned God and my faith. My book, “Unexpected Hope,” is literally comprised of my daily journal entries. The entries are as real and raw as they are vulnerable. Surprisingly, through these very pages my true calling was formed and I was to gain an understanding to see the silver lining. I knew God. I’ve loved Him since I was 8 years old. I knew the Bible and I believed it. This journey has taught me you can’t really know Jesus or know that He is all you need until He is all you have. It was in the depths of despair where God taught me how to trust Him in all things. It was in the dark, lonely place of suffering, feeling all alone where I experienced the immensity of God’s power. There have been so many unanswered prayers along this journey. God left me in the storm no matter how hard I pleaded for Him to take me out. I know now He truly did have a plan for me. As my faith grew, page after page, my journal reveals how I became so much stronger and my mission clearer. Simply put, through God’s grace, I found my voice… one I never knew I had. For so long I would say I wanted August 7, 2012 back. That was the day before I received my diagnosis and became a cancer patient. I wanted me back — the girl I was before everything changed. I mourned the energetic, loving mother, wife, and friend I was before cancer. But that girl is gone. And now, I want to talk. Strange, considering Turner and I have always been in the spotlight due to his career. From red carpets to posh events, I never lost my shyness and tendency to avoid attention. That’s Turner’s gift; he just shines in front of people. But on the road to recovery I met so many other women standing where I once stood. Like a moth to a flame, I had to conquer my shyness and help them heal and avoid medical missteps. Three years ago, I felt God calling me to write a book using my journal pages. This was a place I was not willing to go; the thought of it terrified me. Slowly, my heart began to change as God helped me realize my story was not just for me. It was for others and it needed to be heard, as I knew it would give hope to others. I truly believe hope is the one thing none of us can afford to lose. From an educational standpoint, I am here to say, “Be ready.” As a woman, don’t you plan your vacation, retirement, children’s education, and the like? Likewise, we must plan for our health. Don’t be caught off guard. Make this common practice. We can’t afford not to make our health a priority. Cancer conversations are not taboo. If I never reached out and just accepted my “new normal” and not found The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans, I hate to think where I’d be today. With the right team, I’m now a partner in my healing. This alone is helping me more than I ever could have imagined. My doctor in New Orleans felt I had every sign of 22 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

PTSD. Initially I was offended… after all, I was a strong woman and I had this all under control. Clearly, I did not. He went on to tell me of the emotional scars a failed breast reconstruction can leave. He assured me I was not wrong and it was not vanity for wanting to feel whole and complete as a woman. It was okay to want your breasts back and to feel feminine again. Every woman deserves a medical team dedicated to educating women and giving us the tools to advocate for ourselves and our bodies. I never knew this was possible. I also learned from this incredible team I could have had my mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. One surgery. This must become an accessible norm. Again, I’ve never wanted to be in the spotlight, but I can’t allow women facing breast cancer to be hurt and broken the way I was. There are so many of us. With no time to be hurt or sad, it’s not about me anymore. It’s about the women I can help. It’s about hope. Oddly, I’m thankful for my journey. After all, I am what hope looks like. I am an unexpected hope.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Hope4110.com, the foundation Donna and Turner Ward founded to help women facing breast cancer, or BreastCenter.com for more insight.


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REST I N SU R E D

Insurance is an important part of life. It’s there to lend a helping hand when we get sick and need to go to the hospital or if our car or home undergoes extensive damage. But with seemingly hundreds of different agencies, plans, and policies, how do we know which one is right for us? State Farm Insurance Agent Laurel Flowers gives us a 101 course to all things insurance. By Caroline Edmondson Photos Stevye Photography, 228.547.1191 Makeup Courtney Mathews, youneedblush2020@gmail.com Hair Jason Chambers, Headdress Salon,251.689.7427

S

araland native Laurel Flowers jokes that selling insurance fell into her lap. After working in an entry-level sales position at an insurance office as a senior in high school, Laurel quickly fell in love with the industry and the customers she got to help daily. “My approach to insurance was to educate and care for the customers,” she shares. “My customers were so used to being sold all of these things by other agents that they might not need, so it was a breath of fresh air to them to hear insurance put in simple terms. They began to refer their friends, and local lenders began to count on me as they realized how quickly I could help them with their clients,” she recalls. She fell in love with the business, and realized she eventually wanted to open her own agency. After graduating from The University of Mobile with a degree in business finance and mathematics and earning a master’s in business administration, Laurel started her career in 2008 before opening her own State Farm Agency in 2017. At State Farm, Laurel specializes in Comprehensive Insurance and Financial Services Reviews, selling auto, home, recreational, business, life, disability, and accident insurance plans. Client relationships have been key to her agency’s growth, and Laurel has worked hard to make each customer feel like family the minute they come through the door. “I wanted the customers that walked in to be known by name and greeted with a friendly face,” she says. “There’s nothing worse that when you walk into a business and the person you have to speak with is treating you like an interruption to his or her day. Our customers are given a drink and offered a seat and honest advice. That may not always be what they want to hear, but I would rather give hard truths than pretty lies, especially if we can have those conversations before something happens,” Laurel shares, adding that she lives by two important words: authenticity and empathy. “It is so important to just shoot it straight with people,” she says. “I hate telling 24 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

The Holiday, 251.342.4911. Rise, 251.341.7096. Hemline, 251.287.6875. The Gallery Shoe Boutique, 251.344.4257.


“I wanted the customers that walked in to be known by name and greeted with a friendly face.� - Laurel Flowers


people things they don’t want to hear just as much as the next guy, but I’m not going to be so afraid to give bad news that I omit or lie about something important. It is also extremely important to empathize with people. You never know what they are going through and what impact your kindness can have on them.” So where do you start? Well, Laurel reminds us, insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all, so start by finding someone you trust to share your situation with so they can make an educated recommendation — and do so as soon as possible. Many people find themselves shopping for insurance after they suffer an accident. “I’ve got stories for days of clients that found major flaws in their policies when it came time to pay out,” Laurel shares. “The best way to avoid this is to sit down and have a conversation with a professional to review your needs and identify potential gaps in those needs. Sometimes it may cost more to have a local agent versus a 1-800 or online company, but you’re paying for their professional services in addition to the policy when you get a local agent that is willing to review your accounts and customize a plan that meets your needs,” she says. It’s not just the impeccable customer care that makes Laurel stand out from the rest, but her willingness to go above and beyond to help someone in need and provide that much needed calm in the middle of a tragedy. “Hurricane Sally left our office without power that entire business week after the storm,” Laurel says. “It left us without the ability to open the office in what felt like the most necessary time to be open. While I drove around, I found enough Wi-Fi to get a list of my customers that had already filed claims and a list of some of my elderly and widowed customers that may need checking on. My team (that signed up for desk jobs, I might add) took to the road with me and we began going out to as many of those clients’ homes as possible during the week, sometimes helping to drag trees and sandbags from homes. It’s during these times we are reminded why we do this.” When she isn’t watching over others’ families, Laurel’s taking care of her own. Married to husband (and fellow insurance agent) Bradley and stepmother to Kleighton (7), Laurel and her family love squeezing in as many days off to travel as possible. Laurel also dedicates time to serving on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Alabama as their Wish Granter. “I serve as a liaison between the child and the company to help meet each child and develop a wish,” Laurel explains. “The situations the children and families go through can drain them of all the energy they have, and a wish transports them to a place where everything else can fade to the background, even if it’s just for a short time,” she says. To help raise necessary funds to grant wishes, Laurel hosts a holiday gala each December featuring live music and deliciously paired food and wines, all while simultaneously making a positive impact on our area. “If you would like to help this year you can reach out to me or go to the eventbrite page for more details,” encourages Laurel, “and if you are interested in becoming a Wish Granter, please reach out to me. The children and their families need these wishes more than you can imagine.” It’s extremely apparent that Laurel cares deeply about our community and the people within it. Putting a heavy emphasis on customer care, Laurel is sure to help you find the perfect insurance based on your needs while making you feel like family in the process. All you have to do is call.

Laurel Flowers State Farm Insurance Agent 400 Saraland Blvd. N. Suite B Saraland, AL 251.675.4736

alabama.wish.org

Shot on location at Nova Espresso in Downtown Mobile.


Our world really does revolve around you. What better way to show what it means to join the Truland family than to treat you like our only customer. This is our ultimate goal at Truland Homes. With caring sales agents guiding you through the home buying process, project managers focusing on the important details of each home, and an attentive warranty team providing continuous support even after you close on your home, you will see that at Truland, YOU are our whole world!

TRULANDHOMES.COM


INFLUENCERS

M E L I S SA R EY NOL D S Originally from Mobile, I spent close to 10 years living in both Texas and Florida before making my way back to the Bay Area to be with my family and friends. I am in love with all things fashion and have the absolute privilege of helping the women of Mobile feel fabulous every day as owner of RISE, a contemporary women’s clothing boutique. I’ve been married to my husband, Tony, for almost six years and we have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel fur baby, Vivie, who we are beyond obsessed with. Tony is originally from Dallas, but loves life on the Bay just as much as I do! We especially love spending weekends with our friends on the river boating and barbecuing.

Mystic Midi Dress ShopRiseOnline.com

FAVORITE HOME DÉCOR STORE:

Five Gold Monkeys and MA Simons are go-to’s. They both have so many unique and beautiful gift items within a wide range of prices and styles! Photo Above: Zebra Hide Coaster Set, Stag Head Double Old Fashioned FiveGoldMonkeys.com

FAVORITE PLACE FOR A DRINK:

I love to have an afternoon vino in the store with some guiltfree clean wine from Scout and Cellar. There are so many wonderful consultants in the area, and one of my besties, Alan Murphy, is my personal hookup to the good stuff.

BEST PLACE TO FIND A NEW OUTFIT:

RISE, of course! Building a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle is the name of the game, and we provide pieces that are functional for your day-to-day life in the Bay Area. You can find a cool streetwear look for running errands or lounging with the fam, and you can also find that perfect head-to-toe date night or “brunch with the girls” outfit! ShopRiseOnline.com

ScoutAndCellar.com / ScoutAndCellar.com/AlanMurphy

FAVORITE SALONS & SERVICES:

There are so many fabulous salons and services in town that keep me looking and feeling my best! Lately I've been obsessed with the permanent lip blush at Outliner Studio, which is located inside one of my favorite places for a cut, color, and blowout: Identity Salon. Mary Emily Davidson is the best and ONLY permanent makeup artist I would use. I like a soft, natural look with my makeup and she fully gets that. I had the "Lip Blush” procedure performed a couple of weeks ago and now I don't have to worry about reapplying lipstick EVER! It's amazing and hands-down one of the coolest services around. OutlinerStudio.net

LOCAL PLACE WORTH THE HYPE:

Cycle Circuit lives up to its reputation of being a place for an energetic environment and a killer workout. The owners are Cindy Taylor and Sheree Legg. Morgan (Cindy's daughter), is my favorite instructor. And speaking of hype, their playlists completely crank that hype UP! CycleCircuitMobile.com


Volvo Mobile 2020 Volvo

537/mo

$

Lease for

XC90 T6 Momentum for 36 months, 7.5k miles a year

Zero due at signing

www.volvocarsmobile.com Sales: (251) 273-2388 Service: (251) 459-8997 *All Offers - Zero due at signing. 7,500 miles / 36 months. Offer expires 10/31/2020. WAC inc all rebates excludes taxes and fees. See dealer for details


INFLUENCERS

C A R L I SH A H A RT Z O G Originally from Woodbridge, Va., I've spent the last 10 years living in the Bay Area prior to living in Atlanta. I’ve lived everywhere from Brooklyn to Frankfurt, Germany, but there’s nowhere like the Gulf Coast. I’m a full-time mom to my 12-year-old daughter, Gianni Amore, and an entrepreneur. I’m the owner and managing member of Hartzog Consulting, a project management and communications firm, and just recently launched Concierge by Hartzog Consulting, which is an elevated custom gift service.

VictoriaAustinDesigns.com

LOCAL BUSINESS WORTH THE HYPE:

Victoria Austin Designs. Victoria is one of my favorite floral designers. I’ve used her for personal décor as well as for client events and she gives me a sense of awe every time. No matter what I ask for — color palettes that I love, infusing black, white, and gold — she makes it happen. VictoriaAustinDesigns.com

BEST PLACE TO SHOP:

Blessed Beautiful Mess! The first time that I got my hands on a pair of their earrings, I immediately reached out to Sequayah to see if she would do some custom work, and I’ve been a fan ever since. @blessed.beautiful.mess

FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT: TheNobleSouthRestaurant.com

FAVORITE HOLIDAY TRADITION:

Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do with family during Christmas is to tour the residential light display in the Colonnades subdivision. I’ve been driving through with family for years — the detail and preparation that goes into the visual presentation is a work of art. Colonnades Subdivision, Mobile, AL

Facebook @ Yo Jonesy

Noble South. The ability to have a crabmeat omelet and sweet potato fries on the same plate is the remedy to any day going a little off track.

FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM: Anywhere that Yo Jonesy or Joelle Rosen may be performing, particularly if Jonesy decides to sing a rendition of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.


The hisTory MuseuM of Mobile upcoMing exhibiTs

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE NEW VIEWS FROM THE UNIVERSE

OCTOBER 20, 2020 - JANUARY 24, 2021

Monday - Saturday 9 a.M. - 5 p.M. Sunday 1 p.M. - 5 p.M. 111 S. royal Street • (251) 208-7569 www.HiStoryMuSeuMofMobile.coM


INFLUENCERS

Stevye Photography

JJ VA NC H E When I first moved to the Bay Area in the early 2000s I just fell in love with Fairhope and knew I had to make it my home. I opened up JJ Eyes (an optical boutique that carries a large selection of designer eyewear collections from around the world) and have built a strong foundation of knowledgeable staff and wonderful clients. I’m married to my wonderful husband, Chip, and have two kids: Zoe Jane (20), and Joe Dixon (15). We truly love life on the Bay and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else!

FAVORITE BAY AREA TRADITION:

Fireworks on the Bay for the Fourth of July. There’s just nothing quite as wonderful as loading up and driving down to the Fairhope Pier and seeing the fireworks rain down onto the water. FairhopeAl.gov

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED FROM A LOCAL STORE:

I would have to say my red wine glasses from Red or White. They make me feel glamorous even in cutoffs and a bathing suit by the pool. RedOrWhiteWine.com

FAVORITE LOW-KEY LUNCH SPOT:

I think it would have to be JJ Eyes’ neighbor: Dragonfly Foodbar. Being next door, it is the perfect place to pop in and grab a delicious, quick lunch or drinks after work. They have a vast menu to choose from, but you can never go wrong with one of their mouthwatering tacos! Dragonfly Food Bar, Fairhope, AL 251.990.5722

32 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

BEST PLACE FOR A NEW OUTFIT:

CK Collection and East Bay Clothiers! They both have the best selections, making them the perfect place to find an outfit, no matter the occasion. Both of their staffs are super friendly and helpful! CkCollection.com / EastBayClothiers.com

BEST PLACE FOR A "ME DAY":

My go-to would be driving down to The Wharf in Orange Beach, treating myself to a fabulous new outfit from LUCCA, and then enjoying a fantastic meal at Fisher’s. ShopLucca.com / FishersoOBM.com


Hear from special guest Donna Ward, speaker and author of “Unexpected Hope” at 6 p.m. as she shares her journey from a breast cancer diagnosis to multiple reconstructive surgeries over a period of eight years. Light bites & drinks provided. 20% of all proceeds benefit Hope4110 The foundation was set up by Donna and Turner Ward to support women in need of breast reconstruction surgery. Meet Claire Flowers, designer of the Hot Pink Heel Cap shoe collection benefitting Donna’s Foundation.

Daphne’s Shoe Boutique | 818 Manci Avenue, Daphne, AL | 251.525.8755 | @daphneshoeboutique


Stevye Photography

INFLUENCERS

M A L L ORY RU SH I’m thankful to have called Fairhope my home since I was 4 years old, and I’m even more blessed to be a part of such a wonderful business as JJ Eyes serving as manager. My entire family calls the Bay Area home, so it’s so nice to be constantly surrounded by the people you love in a place you love just as much.

FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT: Dragonfly! I love being able to walk right next door and eat some delicious food. Seriously one of the best restaurants in Fairhope for sure.

BEAUTY SQUAD: Dr. Heather Haley (a dermatologist in Fairhope), and Mckenzie at Aloft. HaleyDerm.com / Aloft, Fairhope, AL

Dragonfly Food Bar, Fairhope, AL 251.990.5722

FAVORITE ROUTINE:

I love meeting friends at McSharry’s Irish Pub on a Sunday afternoon to listen to the Irish music on the patio. McSharry's Irish Pub, Fairhope, AL 251.990.5100

BEST LOCAL DISH:

I have a weakness for fries and The Hope Farm has the best I’ve ever had, hands-down. Their Hope Farm Pomme Frites are hand-cut fries topped with local herbs, garlic, parmesan, mushrooms, and served with a trio of sauces. I mean, parmesan and mushrooms — what more could you ask for? It's amazing and hands-down one of the coolest services around. TheHopeFarm.com

REPEAT PURCHASES:

You can never go wrong with a t-shirt or tumbler from The Fairhope Store. Their items are branded with Fairhope’s logo and name, making it the perfect way to show your pride for our little town. TheFairhopeStore.com

34 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020



INFLUENCERS

JOY ROBE RT S I grew up in Mobile and moved to Nashville after college to pursue a career in music, but I always felt the pull of the tide calling me back to the coast. I eventually returned and am proud to call Point Clear my home. I help manage Stephanie’s Downtown, a ladies boutique in Fairhope, and have been with them since their first day. I love the creative outlet that buying and merchandising brings me! I’m also a certified lighting consultant and work with some of the best interior designers. Bringing beautiful things into people’s lives is what gives me my greatest happiness!

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED:

FAVORITE HOME DÉCOR STORE:

My best friend gave me a necklace for Christmas last year made from a vintage Chanel button from her boutique, Stephanie’s Downtown. She told me that it was as unique as our friendship. I get so many compliments every time I wear it.

Villa Décor has the most beautiful interior design options, from furniture and lighting to small accents. VillaDecor.com

Stephanie's Downtown, Fairhope, AL 251.270.7001

FAVORITE RESTAURANT FOR A CELEBRATION:

My family and friends are unanimous on this one. The Washhouse in Point Clear has the best of everything: atmosphere, a great wine list, and, of course, world-class food. WashHouseRestaurant.com

GO-TO GIFTS:

You can never go wrong with a beautiful orchid from Wildflowers in Fairhope. WildflowersFairhope.com

VillaDecor.com

BEST PLACE FOR A “ "ME DAY": The spa at The Grand Hotel never disappoints. I recommend a massage and then Champagne in the quiet room. Grand1847.com/spa


You Deserve

Everything Beautiful

WE ARE HERE TO PROVIDE QUALITY COSMETIC CARE Your wellness, our priority. We are committed to helping our clients reach optimal health, and to look and feel great. From weight loss and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to aesthetics procedures such as body contouring, skin treatments, hair restoration, and dermal fillers, we offer services to help everyone achieve and maintain their personal best.

251.621.4950 30941 Mill Lane, Suite A Daphne, AL LABELLARX.COM


INFLUENCERS

L OR I E WA R D I am originally from San Diego but fell in love with the area after visiting here during a convention. After many years of traveling to the Bay Area, I decided to make the move and just knew this was where I was meant to be. It feels more like home than anywhere I have ever lived before. Now, I own my own local business, Fairhope Juice Company, which I started as a way to share the healing powers of fruits and vegetables in a bottle! I love being an active partner in the health of the Bay Area’s residents and families.

FAVORITE LOW-KEY RESTAURANT:

Los Tacos is where I go for a little taste of my childhood growing up in San Diego. They have a good Southern Cal flavor to their Mexican food! Los Tacos, Fairhope, AL 251.270.5014

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OFTOWN GUESTS: Sunset Pointe is always on the agenda when guests are in town. It is the best location for a delicious menu enhanced by outdoor seating, a view of the sparkling Bay, and a toast to sunset!

REPEAT PURCHASE:

The Black Truffle and Garlic seasoning from Fairhope Spice and Tea Exchange. Makes amazing baked French fries! SpiceAndTea.com/Fairhope

HEALTHY ROUTINE:

Prior to becoming a full-time “juicepreneur” and opening Fairhope Juice Company, I enjoyed taking a weekend yoga class at Soulshine Yoga, and three days a week I trained with Omar Mulla of OM Personal Training. This has been on hold this first year of business (with the exception of some online classes), but I hope to get back to it, especially since they have joined forces and are in the same location at the Soulshine Yoga Studio on Bancroft. FairhopeJuiceCompany.com / OmarMulla.com / TheSoulShineLife.com

38 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

SunsetPointeFairhope.com

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED: Ken Buck had a custom candle made at Bay Candle that was made using one of my Fairhope Juice Bottles. He was a suitor at the time and the thoughtful, custom gift moved him up 10 notches to date-worthy (and now sweetheart)! The Bay Candle, Fairhope, AL 251.928.5882


Being boo-tiful doesn’t have to be scary! Overcome those Halloween scaries with our aesthetics specials on Botox Cosmetic®, JUVÉDERM® Filler and PRP "Blood" Facial: • Botox Cosmetic®: $10 per unit, regular price $12 per unit. •JUVÉDERM® Filler: Buy one syringe and receive a second syringe half off, a $262 savings. • PRP "Blood" Facial: $650, a savings of $150.

These prices are so low, it’s scary. Offer valid until October 1-30. So, don’t wait, call 251-414-5900 or visit alabamamedicalgroup.com and schedule your appointment today. 101 Memorial Hospital Dr. (Building 3) Mobile, AL 36608 A Multi-Specialty Practice

251.414.5900 alabamamedicalgroup.com


TA ST E S OF I think it’s safe to say fall is one of our favorite seasons. From the return of football and the crisp coolness of the air, to the beginning of the KROLGD\ VHDVRQ DQG WKH DUULYDO RI VHDVRQDO ÀDYRUV VXFK DV WKH EHORYHG pumpkin, chai, and spiced apple, there’s just something truly magical about this time of year. In search of more, ACCESS Graphic Designer Rebecca Foose and I embarked on a scavenger hunt across the Bay Area to track down some of the best tastes of fall our local establishments have to offer. By Caroline Edmondson / Photos Rebecca Foose

Yellowhammer Coffee We were surprised to see how packed Yellowhammer was at 4 p.m., but after trying their drinks we can understand the hype. This coffee shop is entirely drive-thru, which is a lifesaver when you don’t want to change out of those pajamas or need to grab a quick cup of joe on the way to work. Yellowhammer had the most seasonal offerings by far, with 22 different drinks to choose from. Our barista informed us that their bestselling drink was the Iced Butterbeer Latte, which tasted exactly like what you would think (we imagine Harry Potter himself would sip this after flying school any day). And because pancakes are one of our main food groups, the Pecan Pancake Latte was also on our list, which somehow perfectly encapsulated the taste of a fluffy stack of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup. Perfection! Yellowhammer Coffee, Mobile, AL 251.402.0717.

Soul Caffeine

Soul Caffeine’s signature fall drink is their Fall Breeze Cold Brew made in-house and served over ice. The drink is topped with a “cold cap” comprised of a thick layer of fluffy sweet cream infused with flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel. The Fall Breeze is finished with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a drizzle of caramel on top — essentially fall in a cup. Need we say more? Run, don’t walk. Soul Caffeine, Daphne, AL 251.345.4156. 40 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Coffee Monster

The next stop on our fall libations list was Coffee Monster’s newest location in Midtown. They, too, had a sprawling seasonal menu, making it hard to choose which ones to try. Our barista pointed us in the direction of the Fallin’ In Love Latte (a flavor medley of caramel and maple with a sprinkling of sea salt, served hot) and it truly was one of the best drinks we ever tasted. Though you might not think it, the sea salt really made this drink. We also tried the White Chocolate Pumpkin Frappe. Topped with a generous serving of whipped cream and drizzled with caramel, it was delicious, obviously. Coffee Monster, Mobile, AL.

Page and Palette & Warehouse Bakery

Move over Pumpkin Spice — Chai Tea is the new fall favorite (but don’t actually go anywhere; we love you, too). Though I am a true coffee drinker, Rebecca loves tea, so I left these tastings up to her. She started with a hot Chai Tea Latte from Page and Palette topped with whipped cream and festive sprinkles, which she described as the perfect “walking around the pumpkin patch drink.” It had just the right amount of warmth and spice for a cool fall day. For a different take on the Chai Tea Latte, we drove over to Warehouse Bakery and scored one of their Iced Pumpkin Chai Tea Lattes. Rebecca said it has a great balance of pumpkin to give you those fall flavors without being overwhelming. And because it’s iced, it makes an ideal drink for those not-so-cool Southern fall days. Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL 251.928.5295. Warehouse Bakery, Fairhope, AL 251.928.7223.

Cammie's Old Dutch Ice Cream

Because we can never say no to ice cream, we popped into Old Dutch to see if Cammie had released any of her highly anticipated seasonal flavors, and we were not disappointed! Her seasonal offerings include carrot cake, pumpkin (of course!), spiced apple, and a delectable concoction called the “Apple Cider Caramel Float.” Cammie makes each of her flavors from scratch (and with lots of love), so you know no matter which flavor you choose, you truly can’t go wrong. Cammie's Old Dutch Ice Cream, Mobile, AL 251.471.1710.


HURR S A L LY: With wind speeds reaching 105 mph, catastrophic storm surges, and a slow-moving track of only 3 mph, Hurricane Sally left mass devastation across the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle. Amassing upward of $2 billon in damages and leaving more than 550,000 homes and business without power, Sally left her mark on our beloved Gulf Coast and Bayside towns. But like after hurricanes past, the people of coastal Alabama and Florida united their forces, lent their support, and continue to work tirelessly to restore our towns and cities to the beautiful slices of paradise we call home. But we weren’t alone. Coming from across the nation, countless helpers from linemen and cleanup crews to volunteer groups and relief organizations rallied to prove just how united we can be.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Ross


ICANE HOPE THROUGH D E VA S TAT I O N


THE PRICE OF

PARADI S E

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon is one busy man and as real as they come. As head of one of the hardest hit communities on the coast, he and his team are all about getting the Sally cleanup job done. With a goal of getting back to normal in just 30 days, time is precious. So, how is he managing?

S

tepping outside his home after Orange Beach sat under the slow and steady 24-hour pounding of Hurricane Sally on September 16, Mayor Tony Kennon’s world and job description completely changed. As a man so many are relying on, we were thrilled to secure an interview. Having grown up in the Chickasaw area of Mobile County, Mayor Kennon shares that his family enjoyed Orange Beach like most all of us do. With fond memories, he claims dual citizenship in both locations. Having endured countless hurricanes over the years, even he was shocked by the damage brought to our shores. “Hurricane Sally was simply a freaky storm,” he says bluntly. “It did everything it wasn’t supposed to do. When looking at the cone of the storm prior to landing, we had about a 5 percent chance of it doing what it did. That’s why it was such a freaky incident.” Most of us consider the Alabama Gulf Coast as our own backyard, with many owning second homes in the area. Watching the damage unfold was just as shocking as the strength of the storm. Not a single pier was left intact in the area, and more than 650 boats were strewn about like toys along beaches and roadways. That said, the cleanup is major. “While I’m not sure anything good came out of the oil spill, I did learn from it,” Mayor Kennon says. “I learned the importance of relationships. Fortunately, due to our close associations with both big and small companies 44 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

By Hayley Hill // Photos Cindy Ross


and organizations, we are reaching our goal of recovering in just 30 days. As a public servant, I have found that making day-to-day decisions and ducking my head to get things done is what works over political procedure. Simply put, I’m really good at raising Cain and moving tasks up and down the chain,” he jokes. It is this straightforward approach that has garnered Mayor Kennon high praise. If you’re looking for easy-to-understand information, be sure to check him out on social media, where he’s quick to share resources for help for residents, how to avoid scams, what the City needs in order to restore the beloved beachside community, and more. “I’m all about plain talk,” Mayor Kennon shares. “I know it’s appreciated, and this transparent approach to quickly spread vital information actually helps us get our work done faster,” he says. As for some of those relationships, he admits there are too many to thank here. However, he is quick to acknowledge many of the faith-based organizations such as Orange Beach United Methodist Church, Island Church, Christian Service Center, Inspiritus, and more. “Realize that just after the storm hit, people couldn’t even get in their cars to help others, as most all were flooded due to the 9 feet of water we took on in addition to historic flooding from 30 inches of rainfall,” Mayor Kennon says. “But these charity groups have spent their own funds ensuring people’s immediate needs were met. With the help of Cosmo’s and Villagio Grille, these groups gave out over 40,000 meals to people in the first eight days, helped out our elderly citizens, tarped roofs, stripped drywall in homes and businesses to avoid mold, and so much more. I can’t overstate how vital a role they have played in helping us meet the most urgent needs of our community.” Overwhelmingly grateful, Mayor Kennon acknowledges that despite all the help thus far, more is needed. “Together we heard the

TO DONATE: WeInSpirit.org theislandchurch.tv cscgs.com


heart-wrenching firsthand stories of loss and experienced the absolute gratitude of serving our people,” he shares. “However, their funds are running out, so if anyone wants to help in the recovery efforts and ensure our citizens receive the urgent care still needed, they are desperate for donations,” he says. Clear about being a servant and not a politician, Mayor Kennon is also proud of his relationship with CrowderGulf, a national debris removal and coastal restoration service company headquartered in Mobile County. The CrowderGulf partnership has proven invaluable to Mayor Kennon and the Orange Beach community. With a history tracing back to 1969 when Hurricane Camille devastated the coast, they have moved more than 100,000 cubic yards of debris fast, with their trucks amassing three times the size of an average garbage truck. And while many of us (okay, me) are wondering what takes so long to clean up, the amount of debris is staggering. Consider the boats alone. Where do these heaps of wreckage even go? “As a city we are working with the many insurance agencies and legal professionals to create a site where displaced boats can be stored,” Mayor Kennon explains. “They have to have somewhere to go for adjusters, salvage, auction, and disposal purposes, and the loss has to be in the tens of millions of dollars. This involves a lot of logistics, but we are definitely making progress,” he adds. And then there’s the issue of power. Mayor Kennon couldn’t be prouder of the job Baldwin EMC did to quickly restore power to his citizens. Responsible for providing electricity to the communities throughout Baldwin and Southern Monroe Counties (in addition to the territories between Mobile and Pensacola, including Gulf Shores and Orange Beach), this was no easy feat. As the fastest-growing electric cooperative in the nation, EMC (along with other line workers from across the county) were able to get the power restored to 100 percent of the community in just eight days. For Mayor Kennon, having the decision made to move power sources underground has been a good one, and while not complete, this investment seems to have eased Sally’s burden to a degree. 46 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


Estimating the overall damage to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, every day is a long one for the mayor. When asked about his personal experience, he shared: “I was personally fortunate to have just a bit of roof damage and a few trees down, so I can’t complain,” noting he rode the storm out at his home. “However, since Day 1, each day gets better. Today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today. Crises are my specialty, so it’s not the work and hours that are tough; it’s the emotional drain of experiencing every heartbroken and scared person we encounter.” On the other hand, he says, it drives his team to provide nonstop efficiency. “Their heartache is the reason I give out my cell phone number so people can tell me what they need directly,” Mayor Kennon shares. “As public servants, my staff and I find changing lives so incredibly gratifying. For me, this is the price you pay to live in paradise. If I have to deal with a hurricane every 20 years, I’ll take it.”

For more information, call Orange Beach City Hall at 251.968.6979

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey visited the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally to witness the devastation and address the local media.


MANY TEAMS FOR ON E MOBI L E Oh, to be a public servant in 2020. With highly debated “on-the-low-side” salaries, it’s the job of our public officials to prepare for and clean up the messes, all while waving and smiling at our babies. Having dodged a bullet named “Sally,” Mobile’s own Mayor Sandy Stimpson shares his thanks.

A

By Hayley Hill

s it became clear that Mobile Bay was the city limits in the days after the storm,” Mayor directly in the path of Hurricane Sally, Stimpson shares. “Working 24 hours a day, these Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson got to crews were able to restore power to most of the work. Communicating with everyone city by the weekend. In all, linemen from 14 states from the police, sheriff, and fire departments to helped restore power along the Gulf Coast,” he the National Guard, Coast Guard, Emergency adds. Management Agencies, and others whose job it is But his gratitude doesn’t stop there. “Our first to protect the people of the Bay, the prep work was responders were indispensable during the storm and completed well in advance of the storm. “Everyone in the days that followed,” Mayor Stimpson says. was on the highest alert to respond to the needs of “The Mobile Police Department responded to more our citizens, and we were as prepared as you can than 2,500 calls for service throughout the city and possibly be for this situation,” Mayor Stimpson the Mobile Fire Rescue Department answered more shares. Thanks to a lucky than 400 storm related calls.” These last-minute shift, Mobile was “Our first responders weren’t just storm reports, either. spared much of the damage were indispensable “As Hurricane Sally was making its encountered by neighboring way inland, firefighters responded to during the storm and in multiple structure fires and rescue situareas. Working together, Mayor Stimpson assures, the days that followed.” ations,” Mayor Stimpson says. “There “While local officials may were also multiple instances where not get everything exactly - Mayor Sandy Stimpson first responders had to use chainsaws right, it won’t be because we to cut residents out of homes struck aren’t working with one another and trying to make by trees. We even had multiple overturned vehicles sure that we do everything necessary to help us all and people stranded on the Bayway that Mobile recover.” Police had to lead on to the Causeway. Fire rescue Power outages being the main concern for Mobile action included at least 10 technical rescues,” he citizens, Mayor Stimpson is beyond grateful shares. With so many using chainsaws to get people for Alabama Power and all the linemen who work out of homes hit by trees, it’s fortunate no first for them, as well as those who came from outside responders were hurt (and no citizens were killed). of the area. “Around 3,000 linemen from across Even the City of Mobile Animal Shelter successfulthe country and other utility workers helped restore ly evacuated all 100 pets at the time the storm was power to more than 165,000 Mobilians living in projected to hit. A city with massive infrastructure, Mobile has unique challenges. When the power went out, the traffic lights followed suit. “The officers of the Mobile Police Department were called on to help direct traffic after Sally left 79 intersections in the city without power for traffic lights,” Mayor Stimpson says. “Officers of all ranks responded as needed to help manage the flow of traffic in busy areas,” — a tough job considering how long the storm hung over our area. Beyond the loss of power, everyone’s next most pressing concern post-hurricane is often, “When will this mess be picked up?” No easy feat, the City of Mobile was quick to organize.

48 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

“Our Public Works employees were instrumental in helping to clear roadways in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and they have continued to work on removing the estimated 381,360 cubic yards of trash and debris that was scattered throughout the city by Sally,” Mayor Stimpson says. “Our team went out at daylight Wednesday morning to start removing fallen trees from the roadways and assess damage.” At last count, city teams had collected more than 60 percent of the estimated trash and debris left by Hurricane Sally. For perspective, that's roughly nearly 5,000 truckloads of vegetation debris and more than 11,000 hanging limbs. Crews are still working seven days a week to complete this job. With more than 300 fallen trees mostly out of the roadways, neighborhoods are now being addressed. Many trees are entangled in power lines, so the City has to coordinate with Alabama Power for the removal of those trees. Citizens are urged to keep in mind that debris removal is in progress and all debris in all our counties must be separated. Despite all the moving parts, Mobile’s overall cleanup is working like a well-oiled machine. With his goal to unite the city known as “One Mobile,” we think it’s safe to say Mobilians are indeed united in their gratitude for the swift actions of Mayor Stimpson and his many teams.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile, Alabama


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B I E N V I L L E S QUA R E :

A F T E R T H E S TO R M

A quick assessment after Hurricane Sally finally moved out of Mobile showed a devastating impact on downtown Mobile, specifically in the Bienville Square district. Substantial damage to neighboring businesses, homes, and the beautiful oak trees that marked the Square will leave city officials working hard for months to come. But thanks to a group called The Downtown Mobile Alliance, restoration is already underway. By Caroline Edmondson

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ormed in 2006, The Downtown Mobile Alliance is an alliance of business, property, nonprofit, and governmental interests working to promote, develop, enliven, and beautify downtown Mobile. “Within downtown, the property owners in the eastern third of downtown fund services through a Business Improvement District (BID) assessment," explains President and CEO of the Alliance, Elizabeth Stevens. "The ‘Clean & Safe’ employees working in this area are known as the BID Services team. They work seven days per week cleaning, planting flowers, and providing hospitality to residents and visitors." Having previously worked through hurricanes, the BID team has an extensive list of pre-storm preparations to minimize the devastation following a hurricane. When Sally was predicted to make landfall on our shores, the BID team began its work. During the week leading up to the storm, the BID team began by cleaning any debris buildup at storm drains. “Many of the storm drains downtown have a small-hole mesh covering to keep small items like beads from flowing into the Bay, but also lead to constant leaf buildup causing diminished draining," Elizabeth shares. "In a high rain event, flood risks can be mitigated by a high functioning storm drain system.” They also scour the district to remove any small items that could become wind50 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


blown projectiles and trim any necessary overgrown limbs to avoid breakage of the historic-replica light fixtures. Thankfully, many buildings downtown escaped the wrath of Sally, though the Bienville Square area experienced severe winds leaving many of those buildings with roof or shop front damage. One building on Warren Street completely collapsed, and sadly, the beautiful trees of Bienville lost their fight with the winds and were completely uprooted. “Bienville Square has played an ever-changing role in the lives of Mobilians, from grazing grounds for “As for the longterm livestock and stages for future, plans for presidential speeches, to the center of Mobile’s Bienville Square’s Mardi Gras celebraregeneration call for tions," Elizabeth says. thoughtful, colorful "It became an iconic image of our city. The landscaping; more stunning damage we seating; better lighting; see today from Hurriand of course, the cane Sally is the most severe since Hurricane replanting of trees.” Frederic in 1979.” Despite it all, the park with which we - Elizabeth Stevens are so familiar recovered quickly. As those knowledgeable about healthy live oaks know, the remaining tree canopy will begin to fill out in a matter of months. “As for the longterm future,

plans for Bienville Square’s regeneration call for thoughtful, colorful landscaping; more seating; better lighting; and of course, the replanting of trees,” Elizabeth shares. Bienville Square is set to begin yet another chapter in the life of Mobile, and will continue to serve as a place where residents from across the city can gather together for generations to come. By Friday, September 18, (a mere three days after the storm) just about everyone was back in operation and downtown was presentable. “It was a beautiful thing to see the large ecosystem of government, utility, private sector, and nonprofit workers all doing their part to get our city up and running in service to the residents and visitors,” Elizabeth concludes.

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FA I T H

I N FA I R H O P E

A Bay Area native, Mayor Karin Wilson of Fairhope, Ala., says she’s no stranger to hurricanes and the cleanup that comes with them, but no one was quite prepared for the devastation Hurricane Sally wreaked in our beloved community. Despite the aftermath, Mayor Wilson says she’s proud of the true Southern camaraderie and hard work put in to restore Fairhope to the beautiful little Bay town it’s always been. By Caroline Edmondson

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urricanes are to the Bay Area as snow is to the North; they’re seemingly inevitable and part of our life down here in bayside paradise. Therefore, there comes a level of comfort with approaching hurricanes, often making us downplay the potential severity of these storms. Talking with many natives, we’ve found many of them admit they didn’t prepare as well as they could because they didn’t expect this much damage from a Category 2. Having lived in the Bay Area for more than 50 years, Mayor Wilson has been through all of the major storms, including Hurricane Hurricane Frederic in 1979, which cost the Gulf Coast an estimated $2.3 billion in damage and left parts of Mobile County without power for five weeks. “I was only a kid when Hurricane Frederic hit, but I do remember losing all the trees,” she recalls. “With our population and development growth, Sally was much more devastating. The City of Fairhope, however, is more experienced, has a greater amount of resources, and is more efficient in recovery.” Having used every hurricane threat in the last four years to prepare, the Fairhope Directors were prepared for Hurricane Sally as a very slow-moving Category 1 storm with a large threat of flooding. “No one was expecting it to peak as it hit landfall as a strong Category 2 with extremely dangerous winds,” Mayor Wilson says. With howling winds, the greatest risk ended up being large fallen trees and downed power lines. “The devastation looked more like a tornado than a hurricane,” she admits. “After the storm died down, essential employees worked collaboratively with the utmost urgency to get our city back together. It has been remarkable to witness.”

52 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020


On the day Sally made landfall, the City of Fairhope enacted the preplaced Debris Removal and Disposal contract (Crowder Gulf) and Debris Monitoring contract (True North). “This contractor has been hiring local people to help with this work so in a terrible time, they are giving back to our community when some of our people need it most,” Mayor Wilson shares. Pickup began Monday, September 21 after the fastest mobilization Howard Turner from Crowder Gulf has ever seen. “Fairhope tied for first place with Daphne in getting to the debris cleanup phase of this storm,” adds Special Projects Manager Lynn Maser. With their quick action, the City was able to prevent 500,000 gallons of sewage from entering the Bay and have accumulated 15,000 yards of debris — 31 times the amount of normal trash runs. With so many power lines down, the City saw a widespread outage in electricity, but remarkably 100 percent of power was restored within a week. “Inter-department cooperation was tremendous,” says Operations Director Michael Allison. “Everyone helped out, regardless of his or her assigned department or task.” Behind the scenes, Fairhope locals were helping in smaller but very impactful ways. Often spending money out of their own pockets, many residents opened their businesses to serve warm meals or coffee to essential workers and those without power, extended a helping hand to neighbors during cleanup, or simply offered words of encouragement to those most affected. Though Hurricane Sally was strong, Fairhope’s faith and sense of community is even stronger — a fact many won’t forget for years to come.

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H I T T I NG

HOME

Given the real estate boom in Baldwin County, Sally was a first for many of its new residents. And for Lisa White, owner of Fairhope’s fashion empire CK Collection, it hit home — literally. From this experience, Lisa has found the big “P”: perspective. Here, in her own words, she shares her harrowing story and how Southern hospitality and neighborly love are the true backbone behind the boom.

9 - 1 5 -2 0 t o 9 - 1 6 -2 0 On that fateful Tuesday, we were at work along with our team whenSally closed in on our area. In normal times, I always tell our staff, “CK Collection is first to open and last to close,” especially this year, when we have continually fought the battle of trying to keep our doors open and everyone safe. Having grown up on the Gulf Coast, hurricanes scare me only if they are above a Category 1. I went through Celia, the worst, at age 6 and Sally was at least my seventh hurricane. I wasn’t worried a bit. That night, my family and I played cards with friends at their home until the power went out. As the night wore on, the wind started howling louder than I have ever heard. I began to worry. I had a bad feeling. Once home, we went to sleep, but around 1 a.m. I shot out of bed and instinctively knew I had to move my daughter Kathryn out of her upstairs bedroom to safety downstairs. I know it was God’s guidance. Not an hour later, a huge tree came crashing through the roof and landed exactly where she had just been soundly sleeping. In shock, we decided to go over to our neighbors' house (the Shaws). In the intense winds and nonstop rain, we went up the driveway to safety next door. Still in disbelief and unable to sleep, my husband Tom, a former Coast Guard Serviceman, stayed up the entire night acting as our watchman while we tried (but failed) to rest. As the storm intensified, it was terrifying. We were not at all prepared for the pounding of the relentless storm that was upon us. I was haunted with thoughts of our house and the horrible damage we’d already seen. I was just praying for the morning light and for it to be over.


9 - 1 7-2 0 t o 9 -2 1 -2 0 The following nights, our neighbors, family, and friends shared big meals and lots of much needed laughter. We pulled all our food together to cook and share so it didn’t go to waste. Our neighbors, Dr. Charles and Dana Johnson, invited us to stay in their home since they had a full generator. With eight people in the house, I named it “The Commune.” Each morning, we quickly drank our coffee together and got out to clean. We shared meals around the big table discussing our day with laughter, which brought us back to simpler times. Fresh towels and cool beds for four nights were luxuries we cherished. Finally, the roads were clear enough to drive to the store to inspect the damage. Flashlights in hand, we went through the dark building and saw everything was okay. I was relieved beyond words. On the way we saw Tamara Wintzell, owner of Tamara’s Downtown, serving free hot meals on the street and the Point Clear Rotary Club passing out water. It was an astounding sight. Thankful for our strong relationships, we had the tradesmen that built our homes and stores coming to our aid. Jeff Clemons of Whitney Caldwell Electric showed up many times to isolate the destroyed rooms to keep mold from getting to the salvageable parts. He told me a story of going home last Sunday and as he was watching football, telling his wife how he felt guilty and should be out helping someone. Just then, my “Commune” friend, Robin, called him and he jumped up to go help her get her power going. From these individuals to the large groups, people from everywhere showed up to help us get our lives back. For me, the linemen are the true heroes. Fairhope was so thankful and held an impromptu parade lining the streets to cheer for the linemen as they came through downtown from all over the country. This is community. I’m so proud! Now I’m getting back to business but, wow, the struggle of 2020. Just when I thought we made it over the mountain, we had another to climb. I felt overwhelmed. It would have been Fashion Week in NYC and I would have been there buying for the next season like I have for the last 24 years. But this year I was sitting in my office Zooming 150 vendor lines. The task was daunting. I like to see, touch, and feel the fabrics. Not this year! To top it off, we have to move out of our house for six months to complete the repairs. While searching for a place to stay, we had lots of offers from my many wonderful friends. I was also rushing to secure the last two nearby storage facilities. It was almost comical. A camper by nature, I knew this would be an adventure.

9 -2 5 -2 0 As I sat in the morning light, I realized this year is one for the history books. From the work endured to keep CK Collection alive, protect jobs for our employees, and keeping our customers safe during a pandemic, to now a hurricane… just wow! Not to mention, CK Collection was in the midst of a very exciting expansion that Tom and I have dreamed of after 25 years in business. However, our community has shown up for us. We will need them now more than ever with two weeks lost and many more months of getting back to normal. I made up my mind that I’m going to live and not fear the future. Recalling the table laughter, card games, and working hand-in-hand with people I cherish is what life is about. A calm has come over me, and I know it will all work out. I have a renewed faith and try to practice the pause. God says don’t worry and love thy neighbor, and these are the phrases I live by. Being asked to write about these events has given me the blessing of reflection on all the good deeds, good people, and this great community, but most importantly, a moment to pause amid the chaos.


F E E DI NG

T H E B AY

Seasoned hurricane vets across the Gulf Coast scoffed when schools planned to shut down for two days and businesses shuttered their doors for what most everyone thought would be a Category 1 storm — no more than “a little wind and rain.” But as Sally made landfall as a strong Category 2 hurricane and dug her heels into Mobile Bay, pummeling the coast round after round the night of Tuesday, Sept. 15 and into Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that Mother Nature had been vastly underestimated. Despite the devastation, Bay Area residents were swift to trudge their way through the debris left in Sally’s wake, with everyday heroes rising to meet the needs of many. These are just a few of their stories. By Jessica Goolsby

Volunteers ar e critical to Prodisee Pan try. If you ha ve time to shar e or wish to donate supp lies or funds, call 251.626 .1720 or visi t prodiseepant ry.org.

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P ROD ISEE PA NTRY

e watched the storm as it developed, and on Monday we discussed what our response would look like,” says Deann Servos, executive director and co-founder of Prodisee Pantry. When Hurricane Sally made landfall as a strong Category 2, creeping its way directly up Mobile Bay, Deann says she knew the community would need the pantry more than ever. “Our worst case was realized,” Deann says. Come Wednesday morning, the staff checked in with one another and started planning. “We understand hunger,” Deann says. “That Saturday was chosen for our first mass emergency food distribution, as we knew when the power goes out many families lose all of the food in their refrigerators and freezers. What a blessing that despite the downed trees, storm damage, and power outages, volunteers rallied and showed up, putting their own troubles aside to help neighbors in need,” Deann says. Having been in emergency operation mode since March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Sally put Prodisee Pantry in a unique predicament: handling two disasters simultaneously. “In just 26 weeks of COVID-19 response we provided 14,792 families with 940 tons of food,” Deann shares. “As of Sept. 30 (just 12 DAYS since starting our hurricane relief efforts), we distributed 435,000 pounds of food (or about 20 tons daily) to 5,850 families. Hunger is not something families

56 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

should be dealing with during these dual disasters,” she says. The pantry’s prepackaged family food bags contained peanut butter, jelly, tuna, dried fruits and nuts, applesauce, canned fruits, canned chicken, crackers, cereal bars, and other items that do not need to be cooked or refrigerated. Additional items like cases of water, Gatorade, bread, snacks, apples, and more were offered to families as well. “If you combine Hurricane Sally with COVID-19, our volunteers have performed the herculean task of unloading, packing, and distributing 1,158 tons (or well over 2 million pounds) of food to 20,342 families in six months,” Deann shares. For perspective, in all of 2019, Prodisee Pantry distributed 452 tons of food to 13,507 families. “We partner with Baldwin County Emergency Management, Baldwin County Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (VOAD), local fire departments, churches, and communities across Baldwin County to make sure families can access food,” Deann says. “We will continue under our large emergency disaster relief operations as long as needed.” Prodisee Pantry 9315 Spanish Fort Blvd., Spanish Fort, AL 251.626.1720 ProdiseePantry.org


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LU LU ' S GU L F SHORE S lines, and everyone was just so grateful,” shares LuLu’s Marketing and Communications Manager Gabrielle Barnett. “Everybody really came together, and it was such a good feeling, the community of it all.” Lucy notes the restaurant also served as a Red Cross distribution site during that time, offering hurricane relief supplies like water, tarps, trash bags, shovels, blankets, and personal hygiene items. The restaurant’s power was restored on Sept. 22 and they wasted no time in reopening the next day (Sept. 23) with a limited menu. LuLu’s resumed normal business hours with a full menu on Sept. 25.

uLu’s in Gulf Shores is wellknown for its fun indoor/outdoor ambiance and phenomenal seafood, though it’s the burgers they provided to more than 2,000 members of the surrounding community the weekend following Hurricane Sally that folks will forever remember. “It’s what we do,” says Owner Lucy Buffett, recalling memories of Hurricane Ivan 16 years ago and the “Gumbo Love Spirit” LuLu’s poured out to the community in its wake. “Somehow, our better selves always emerge in times of crisis,” she shares. And a crisis it was, as when the Gulf Coast awoke on Wednesday, Sept. 16, Sally’s overall devastation was far greater than anyone could have anticipated. It was decided that day that LuLu’s would step up and step in for those in need once again, with Lucy and her team firing up the grills and feeding the masses the weekend following Hurricane Sally serving burgers, chips, and soft drinks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. “There were no complaints in the

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LuLu’s Gulf Shores 200 E 25th Avenue Gulf Shores, AL 251.967.5858 LuluBuffett.com

WESLEY WRIGHT

aphne resident and longtime restaurant manager Wesley Wright is a giant among men in terms of character and finesse — attributes equally utilized in the wake of Hurricane Sally, during which time he and a team of local homeowners orchestrated one of the most ambitious free food distribution plans for the state’s largest subdivision (and Daphne’s hardest-hit community): Lake Forest. Having hunkered down in his home like so many for the storm, finding an escape route amid the devastation within the sprawling community was paramount for Wesley more so than most, as he was due to travel to Indiana for his daughter’s wedding that Friday. But his daughter’s wedding wasn’t the only thing on his mind. “My wife had stayed back home with our younger kids and laughed at me because she could see all the stuff on social media where I was coordinating and planning with folks back home for a dinner service Sunday,” he shares. “She called and told me, ‘Get off social media and be with your daughter — you’re there for her wedding,’ and I just laughed and said, ‘Yep, I am, but I’m doing both. I’ve got this.’” Wesley says it all started with a Facebook post from a Lake Forest resident named Edna Steele. “She made the suggestion in our neighborhood group on social media Saturday about getting together as a community to do a picnic to provide for our residents, and since I had set up 10 public food services over the course of the Coronavirus shutdown, I offered to help,” Wesley shares, who also serves on the Recreation Committee for the Lake Forest Homeowners Association. The first service Sunday night was put together with area residents Alishia Rivers, Melissa Kennair, Edna Steele, Billy Riddle, and Robin Lejeune. Market By the Bay also stepped up to help out, Wesley shares. “None of it could have happened without all of them working together,” he says. Chicken and dumplings, hashbrown casserole, and green beans served as the offering

58 ACCESS Magazine / October 2020

for Monday night’s dinner service — all paid for and cooked by Wesley in his own kitchen. When that ran out, Billy stepped in with his grill to save the day. “We served 450 people that night,” Wesley shares. On Tuesday, Wesley, Billy, and their team again grilled out to provide for the community, with the Red Cross providing an additional 1,000 MREs to be distributed to some of the neighborhood’s residents still trapped in their homes due to downed trees and powerlines on their properties. That same day Mayor Dane Haygood called to ask how he could help. “The mayor wound up going each morning for five days straight to Dunkin Donuts himself and getting seven dozen donuts and two giant things of coffee to offer a breakfast service each day once he came on board,” Wesley says, adding the mayor also provided 100 gallons of gas to Wesley and a team of volunteers who traversed Lake Forest’s 50+ miles of paved roads to help gas up elderly residents’ generators who couldn’t do so themselves. “We did an Italian Night Wednesday and served more than 500 people — the second meal cooked out of my house,” Wesley shares. That night, Chef Pete Blohme of Panini Pete’s showed up and asked how he, too, could help his neighbors. “I asked him if he could take the next day, so he wound up providing meals Thursday,” Wesley says. “Ed’s Seafood also came out to provide a gumbo lunch Thursday, and then Pete turned around and got Taco Mama lined up for Thursday night.” Wesley adds that Eastern Shore Street Eats and That’s My Dogg also came out on different days to offer free meals from their food trucks, providing added relief to Lake Forest residents amid the cleanup. “All in all, we fed more than 3,300 people over the course of a week, all free to the public,” Wesley shares. “It was amazing how many of these businesses just reached out and showed up. They heard what we were doing, and it was just all about neighbors helping neighbors. It was beautiful, and I was just glad to be a part of it.”


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oday, most yearn for living spaces that provide an elevated sense of comfort from the sometimeschaotic outside world. Sherwin Williams Director of Color Marketing Sue Wadden shares, “Color can help shape our day-to-day environment and impact our mood. So when selecting colors, people should think about how they want the space to make them feel and let their emotions guide their decisions.” Let’s start at the very beginning of the color wheel, shall we? While white may not seem like a color, some designers consider it the most soothing paint choice. It symbolizes solitude, purity, and cleanliness. The highly popular White Dove from Benjamin Moore is very versatile and can be used in any space. One of my personal favorites is Greek Villa by Sherwin Williams. I painted my daughter Camille’s entire Nashville townhouse in it and it’s perfect in every room! Farrow and Ball’s All White is also great, as it’s pure with no tinting.

Southern tastemaker Charlotte Kilborn Carey is all about peaceful, calming spaces that provide positivity and serenity. For her, a fresh coat of paint is THE most inexpensive and instant way to create an effortlessly serene and soothing sanctuary in the space where you already live.

If you’re feeling blue, this hue offers an instant lift. Interestingly, it’s the most popular paint color in the world. Research suggests the short wavelengths of cooler colors are the most relaxing to the human eye and can even lower blood pressure. I’m obsessed with Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams for bedroom ceilings and bathrooms. My son and daughter-in-law used it in their nursery and it’s the perfect color to lull baby Webb to sleep. Online paint company Clare has a bestseller called Headspace and their paints are zero VOC (volatile organic compound), durable, and grime resistant. For a tropical vibe, try Bird’s Egg by Benjamin Moore, a lovely pale aqua that evokes the feel of the Caribbean. Since we’ve all been spending time outside, going green inside is easy. Soft Fern by Benjamin Moore exudes the tranquil sense of nature and is a great choice to make any space more chill. Sherwin Williams has a similar offering in Softened Green which has a bit of a gray tint. Behr Paint’s 2020 color of the year, Back to Nature, is inspired by the green of a sun-kissed meadow and is restorative and revitalizing. While wanting to chase our grays away, neutral shades are both classic and calming. Grays can be so versatile, picking up green, blue, and brown tints. Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare Paint, likes to point out that soft grays instantly put you at ease. Lamp Room Gray by Farrow and Ball changes during the day depending on the light and pairs well with darker greens. Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore reads gray on the swatch but has a hint of blue when on the wall. The barely blue feel makes it ideal to use with white marble. Sherwin Williams’ Agreeable Gray is a fantastic neutral but not so bland that you lose the quality of a great color. Saving the best for last, I am all about pink! A blush pink is that perfect neutral in which absolutely everyone looks fabulous. I prefer muted shades, as brighter palettes can leave you feeling overstimulated. Soft and rosy, First Light (the 2020 Benjamin Moore Color of the Year) is an excellent choice for those wanting to dip their toes in the pink paint bucket for the first time. A close second is their Tissue Pink, which is a designer fave. Blushing Pink by Sherwin Williams is very neutral and wonderful for bedrooms and offices. Famous Nashville house flipper and Southern royal Holly Williams (yes, those Williams) painted her dressing room top to bottom in Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground. It’s simply gorgeous and I’m pretty sure Holly is my spirit animal. We all can use some calm and serenity (and pink) in our lives to ensure we stay well and ready for tomorrow’s challenges. I can’t wait to see what the holiday season brings, with hopefully a glimpse of our favorite ladies on the Pink Carpet. XO


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General Admission: $10 in advance | $12 at door

Socially Distanced One Stop Shopping

Almand J. Westbrook, Jr., M.D. 2651 Old Shell Road | Mobile, AL 36607 P (251) 243-7058 | F (251) 243-7059 Dr. Kimberly A. Westbrook, MD 101 Lottie Ln Unit 6, Fairhope, AL 36532 P (251) 990-1980

Since 1964

The best Chicken Salad in the South!

choose either Up to $1500 in instant rebates or up to 72 months 0% financing on new systems

Locally Owned & Operated By Misty Hudson Whitehead

Allie Hughes, Area Manager

with

Carrier Cool Cash

251-405-3101 • KEITHAIR.COM


The Accidental SOMMELIER

I

t’s been a wild year to say the least — one filled with complicated events, leaving many feeling like they’re living in an altered dimension. Financial markets have seen their highs, but some killer drops have also occurred. But if we can all hold on, keep the faith, and drink more wine, hopefully we won’t end up in the nuthouse come 2021.

1. WILD THING │ Rendezvous Rosé Mendocino County, California

A dry rosé from multiple Winemaker of the Year winner Carol Shelton, this light cranberry colored wine with juicy strawberry-watermelon fruit aromas is crisp and dry — mouthwatering, actually. $20 à la cork

2. COMPLICATED │ Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, California In a year full of unsettling events and everchanging routines, we can count on one thing to remain a constant: wine. Here at Pour Baby we like to live by the motto:

“Life happens; wine helps.” – Kenny Dumas

Boasting aromas of green apple and grapefruit with a hint of limestone, this Chardonnay is full-bodied on the palate and has a refreshing, clean finish. $19 à la cork

3. ALTERED DIMENSION │ Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington

A complete sensory experience, intense aromas of dark red fruits like marionberry and cherry will draw you in and then give way to eucalyptus and herbal notes. Cocoa and graphite flavors join for a multi-dimensional experience. $19.50 à la cork

4. KILLER DROP │ Red Blend Napa, California

Exuberant aromas of chocolate-covered cherries, blueberry, and wild berries with nuances of spice and licorice abound in this plushly textured wine packed with black fruit and earthy layers. It’s full-bodied, rich, and juicy and blended with Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Zinfandel. $32.50 à la cork

5. NUTHOUSE ARGYLE │ Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon The Nuthouse Cuvée is sourced entirely from the estate’s Lone Star Vineyard. A spicy wine with scents of pine needles wrapped into a fruit mix of rhubarb, cranberry, and strawberry, this vino is an award-winning gem! $52 à la cork


P ROFE S S I ONA L. LO C A L. EF F I C I EN T.

M Y M o v in g Ser v ic es Locally owned and operated private moving and delivery service in Mobile, AL. Specializing in the delivery of high-priced and valuable items while also servicing small residential and commercial moves. MY Moving Services | 251.421.4624


MOBILE

Local Family Owned & Operaad

For reservations, please call (251) 476-0516


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