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The Crest 2210 W Co Hwy 30A Royce Mitchell Cell: (850) 737-0567 Office: (850) 267-0013

Offered at $2,125,000 New Construction! THE CREST is the newest, luxury, gated community on Hwy 30A! The Crest provides homeowners with stunning, contemporary architecture and views of the Gulf from Destin to Panama City! Conveniently located in Blue Mountain Beach on one of the highest points on the Hwy 30A, the view from the rooftop terrace is simply stunning! This 3,500 sq ft home boasts 5 bedrooms, 5 and a half baths plus two spacious living areas. The Crest affords its owner quality construction along with extra space to enjoy those family days at the beach without paying the price of gulf-front! Amenities include a community pool, poolside cabanas, separate storage for each unit, a golf cart for each owner, and a completely gated community! Home to be completed January 2021.

Luke Andrews Cell: (850) 978-0545 Office: (850) 267-0013

Gulfview Heights 207 Betty Street

Kelly Klein Cell: (850) 420-2480 Office: (850) 267-0013

Offered at $2,000,000 Looking for a home with quality construction and 'green features'? Look no further than this four bedroom, four and a half bath home in Santa Rosa Beach. This sophisticated property was built with high quality ICF concrete construction and high impact windows, solar panels, and designer finishes. Complete with an outdoor kitchen around the pool area, mature landscaping, and a gas fire pit, you'll be able to entertain all of your friends and family with ease. Additional features include a home elevator, hot tub off of the master bedroom, electric fireplace, wood beams, sunning decks, lap pool, and two car garage with golf cart bay. The top floor is a large open concept with access to the tower which provides spectacular views of Draper Lake and the Gulf of Mexico.

Now with FIVE locations serving the Emerald Coast MIRAMAR BEACH 9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 18 | (850) 267-0050 SANTA ROSA BEACH 7684 W. County Highway 30A | (850) 267-0013 NICEVILLE 1073 E. John Sims Parkway Suite | (850) 729-0176 PENSACOLA GULF BREEZE

Commercial and Residential Real Estate Group

17 W. Cedar St. | (850) 434-2244 836 Gulf Breeze Parkway | (850) 932-6278

Real Estate Team

Š2020 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicesand the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicessymbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.Ž Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Volume XVI • Issue XI

events 12 MKAF Concerts in the Village 16 Subaru FWB Grand Opening 20 Power of Business Luncheon 22 The Say It Southern Getaway 34 Destin Chamber Destin After Hours 40 Harborfest 44 Coastal Distancing 46 Destiny Radio Ribbon Cutting 50 Destin is Grateful 56 CBM Mortgage Grand Opening 60 Sunset Social 62 Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Lunch 65 Destin Chamber Business Before Hours 68 Building a Brand in a Pandemic



28 38 42 48 54 58 70 74

18 Best in Destin Voting 25 Dining Guide

Adventure Out Give Care Share May We Suggest Save the Date Locale Destin Style Swizzle I Am Destin

Voting begins!

VIP Destin Magazine Staff

on the cover Whitney Lee & John Lee

Photography by Zhalman Harris at Destin is Grateful

Publisher Greg Alexander

Graphic Designer Kayla Burleson

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Greg Alexander Courtney Goolsby Zhalman Harris Brenna Kneiss Shanna Magnuson Verla Price Elizabeth Spies Anna Stockton Jeff Watson Maggie Yelverton

Editor Jeff Watson Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Verla Price Jeff Waton Publisher’s Assistant Anna Stockton Senior Designer Priscilla Atkins

VIP Founder Jeff Watson November 2020 | 9

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letter from the Associate Publisher Over the past few weeks, while dodging hurricanes and heatwaves, I eagerly awaited the arrival of fall. The waning of summer has always brought a peaceful feeling of contentment to me. Perhaps gatherings on patios, around fire pits, or thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner sparks this aura. Whatever the reason, I am happy to welcome autumn with open arms. Hopefully, this finds you enjoying the cooler temperatures as much as I do, and maybe you have gone outside to “sit a spell” with your neighbors to reconnect. We have some unique stories for you as we take you out and about the Destin area in this issue. This month, we focus on cuisine, which leaves you reading of eateries fi lled with tasty bites and spots to sip your favorite drink, all the while absorbing the local vibes and views of the coast. As you think of a place to meet friends, you will find Adventure Out a quick guide to local dining with deck seating. Choices range from harbor views and courtyards to listening to the waves on the beach. We tease your wine senses in Swizzle as we spotlight a new business to the Emerald Coast, Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars. If you have one of these installed, you will want to give a tour of your unique, custom built wine cellar before you pop the cork on a bottle of your favorite red. Give Care Share on page 38 shines a light on Food For Thought, an organization fighting child hunger in gradesK-12. Tiffanie Nelson explains how COVID 19 forced the organization to a full curbside service to help children who on depend on the organization. May We Suggest on page 42 gives choices from a modern bar set for your kitchen to a classic teak selection for your patio and Destin Style shines on trending new ideas to wear. Our photography team covered more outdoor events and attended some inside socially distanced gatherings as well. October brought an amazing evening on the Captain’s Deck of the Emerald Grande as Rob O’ Neill, the US Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden, recounted his experiences to a sold-out crowd. The harbor also kicked off a weekend of shopping and entertainment at HarborFest in Harbor Walk Village. I enjoyed a fun upbeat evening as I attended the Grand Opening of Subaru Fort Walton, Step One Automotive’s newest dealership addition. We finish this issue with Wally Wehbe as I Am Destin. A modest man who spends his days and evenings at Marina Café as manager and steward while his weekends are fi lled with growing his own company Mano’s Authentic Healthy Food Products. Some of us will start Christmas shopping soon, and as I always say, support our small businesses and shop local. As we move into November, I look forward to seeing you out and about helping our friends and business associates.

Associate Publisher 10


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VIP Destin at MKAF Dugas Stage

The Shakedown photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


oncerts in the Village was named one of the “Top Ten Things to Do” in Northwest Florida by the Florida Travel Guide. That is no surprise as proven on October 3 when The Shakedown performed on The Dugas Stage overlooking the 7 acres of land tucked right into the center of Destin. Hosted by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, this music series showcases 15 annual concerts with a diverse genre of music with family friendly entertainment. It is always a perfect family gathering, date night, or outing with friends to enjoy your favorite drinks and snacks, whether you bring your own food or indulge at the food trucks available on the lawns. Also, with the opportunity to purchase VIP tables or pull up your favorite lawn chair, it makes for a cozy and snuggly evening between all the dancing to the fabulous music. Making this particular night even more special was the perfect bright orange sunset sky. Marcia Hull, Chief Executive Officer of The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF), said, “We are grateful for this 7-acre open air venue to bring quality of life to our community and by bringing music that’s so therapeutic, and of course the artists.” She went on to talk about how some artists have been having a tough time finding gigs, so supporting local musicians is another way of helping the community. MKAF exists to enhance and inspire every life it touches through arts and culture. This music series has certainly done that and still in a safe way to enjoy some time out on the town.

Ann, Chris & Greg Schilling

Frank, Tamara, Courtlyn & Mary Evelyn Purvis

Katie Grace, Maxine Orange Bern & Amanda Hurley

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Gary & Barbara Maxwell, Alisa & Scott Black

Dan & Kara Schwind

Jenifer Tomasello & Gweyn Wendt

Ed & Denise Kendust

Stacey Billera, Dave Jack & Caron Barryhill

Bob & Edna Hoke, Pam & Ron Whitehead

Jim & Ronda Parson

The Shakedown November 2020 | 13

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VIP Destin at MKAF The Shakedown

David & Marilyn Dauzat

Dan Mattioda & Jamie Hall

Deb Nissley, Marcia Hull & Melanie Moore

Laura Syracuse & Rand Fernandez

Joe & Karen Schreibeis

Ritz Fox & Sally Harris

Deb & Chuck VanGronigen

Susan & Chuck Goforth

Bill & Sheryl Pawelczyk

Kevin Boyer & Todd Wilkinson

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VIP Destin at Subaru Fort Walton Beach

Subaru Fort Walton Beach Grand Opening photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he grand opening of the all new, Eco-Friendly Certified Subaru Dealership of Step One Automotive was held on October 22. Ribbon cuttings were held by multiple chambers of commerce, including Destin Area, Greater Fort Walton, Navarre Beach, Walton Area, and the Gulf Coast Minority. It was another great celebratory event put on by Step One Automotive Group. Invocation was given by Councilman Mel Ponder. Representatives from Subaru head office were also on hand to be a part of the ceremony and present Mr. Fernando Arellano, Managing Director of Step One Automotive, with a couple of awards. Guests attending the event enjoyed an array of activities including dancing to an awesome selection of music, some delicious food provided by Spork and Chef Dan’s food trucks, champagne, and refreshments. Ms. Tiffany Booker of Fort Walton got the keys to her new Subaru Outback as the first customer of the new dealership. Fernando Arellano welcomed his guests to the event, and recognized his team members and those who drive Step One forward. “I hope this new dealership helps this community and inspires it to do more and better,” said Fernando. He assured the guests, the presence of Step One Automotive in the area was to create a long-lasting relationship with the community and create more jobs.


Shawn & Christine Petley

Brian & Harriette Wyer

Tiffany Booker

Gus Gusoff & Fernando Arellano

Marcus Chambers & Brooke Barron

Kathy McKenny & Paul Singleton

Verla Price & Jessica Bracken

Megan Harrison & Ted Corcoran


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Maureen Bierman & Beth Mangum

Tori Jones, Raffaella Fant & Carley Linder

Brian & Trisha Marks

Robin Donlon, Ivana Coteat & Seth Luttrell

Janey & Dick Rynearson

Gelin Shelly & Tiffany Kingrey

Rebecca Scott, Madison Smith & Jared Johnston

Cindy Watt & Carol Rogers

Bernitta Everett & Dayna Stinebiser

Alisha Hasty, Mary Tinsley & Kari Painter November 2020 | 17

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CATEGORIES COCKTAILS & CUISINE Appetizer Asian Bar/Tavern Bartender BBQ Beer Selection Bloody Mary Breakfast Brunch Buffalo Wings Burger Casual Dining Catering

Locally Owned Restaurant

Locally Owned Retailer

Medical Practice


Men’s Clothing

Medical Spa

Mexican/Latin American Restaurant

Outdoor Furniture


Outdoor Bar

Place to Spoil Her

Pain Management

Outdoor Dining

Place to Spoil Him



Seafood Market

Place for a Massage


Shoe Store

Plastic Surgery

Place for Cocktails

Shopping/Lifestyle Center


Place for Coffee

Wine Shop/Liquor Store

Senior Living Community

Seafood Restaurant

Women’s Accessories

Urgent Care

Special Occasion Restaurant

Women’s Clothing

Vision Care

Steakhouse Sushi Wine List



Crab Cakes

Children’s Clothing



Fine Dining



Home Décor/ Accessories

Happy Hour

Gift Shop

Italian Restaurant


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HEALTH & WELLNESS Aesthetician Alternative/Natural Medicine Anti Aging Service Chiropractic Clinic Cosmetic Dentist Dental Practice Dermatology Practice Doctor Medical Center

Vein/Vascular Care Weight Loss Women’s Wellness Provider

SERVICES A/V Provider Accounting Firm Alarm/Security Company Architect Automobile Dealership - New Automobile Dealership - Pre Owned

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Automobile Repair/Service

Heating & Air Service

Real Estate - Residential

Place to Be Seen

Luxury Automobile Sales

Insurance Firm

Real Estate Professional - Female

Place to Go Dancing

Bank/Financial Institution

Interior Design Firm

Real Estate Professional - Male

Place to People Watch


Interior Designer/Decorator

Real Estate Team

Place to Take the Kids

Boat Sales & Service

IT Firm/Web Design

Real Estate Company

Place to Watch a Sunset


Landscaping/Lawn Service

Sign Company


General Contractor

Law Firm

Title Company

Water Sports Experience

Specialty Contractor

Limo/Transportation Service

Vacation Rental

Charity/Non Profit

Mortgage Lender


New Business


Place for Rehearsal Dinner

Customer Service Event Planner

Payroll Firm/Human Resources

Event Rentals

Pet Care & Accessories

Event Venue


Financial Advisor

Place for Eyelashes, Nails, or Makeup


Pool Building/Service


Property Management

Golf Cart/ATV

Public Relations Firm

Hair Salon

Real Estate - Commercial Agent

Charter Fishing Experience Golf Course Hotel

Place for Stationery/Invites Place to Buy Engagement Ring Place to Buy Wedding Dress Place to Get a Tuxedo

Local Annual Event Party Boat Experience

Place to Pop The Question

Place for “Girl’s Night Out” Place for a Date Place for a Weekend Getaway

Reception Venue Wedding Planner Wedding Venue




for voting! Remember to vote daily on the official Best IN Destin voting ballot! VIPDESTINMAGAZINE.COM

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VIP Destin at FOOW

Jimmy Dallas & Jimmy Thorpe

Power of Business LUNCHEON

Antonia Poate & Alyssa Jesmain

photos & story by Jeff Watson

T Hannah Green & Chelsea Fox

Laura Andrews & Mary Ann Ireland

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he Walton Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its popular Power of Business Luncheon on October 7. Megan Harrison, president and CEO of the Chamber, welcomed the crowd as she introduced the key speaker, Todd Jackson. Mr. Jackson is the COO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center which was the sponsor for this month’s event. After a presentation and overview on the expansion of the hospital, everyone adjourned to enjoy a wonderful lunch provided by FOOW at WaterColor, the host of the event. The chamber added a little excitement as usual with some great door prizes given away to those holding the winning tickets. The Power of Business Luncheon provides an excellent opportunity for attendees to showcase their business, promote products, and let others know how you can serve their business needs, all while enjoying a three-course lunch and a spectacular speaker.

Kevin & Kelley Kennoy

Jeramie Bates & Melissa Anderson

Rev. Amy Persons & Gabriela Kilgore


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VIP Destin at Grayton Beach


Say It Southern GETAWAY

photos by Brenna Kneiss | story by Courtney Goolsby


he girls from The Say it Southern Podcast hosted their first weekend retreat called “The Getaway” on the beaches of 30A September 24-26. The 3-day getaway drew 30 women from across the South to come together for engaging speaker sessions, beautiful dinners, and private shopping experiences. The welcome party at the Black Bear Bar room in Grayton Beach included charcuterie boards, wine parings, and covetable swag bags. On Friday the crew met at the Grayt Room for coffee, mimosas, and biscuits while Birmingham’s favorite organizer, Clara Schoen of The Home Organized, gave tips and tricks about home organization. Elisabeth Farris of Elisabeth and Butter then conducted a cookie decorating class with the group where everyone loved decorating and tasting their delicious treats. That evening, Caroline Boone of @CCBooneStyled created a beautiful charcuterie, craft cocktails, and a rosè tasting with custom score cards for wine comparisons! Lindsay Thomas of Garland Bags showcased her couture designer handbags as a table for 30 dressed in gorgeous linens, candlelight, and floral arrangements from local florist Boukates, and a festive balloon backdrop from Mingle 30A set the vibe for the perfect ambient summer supper hosted by Nashville socialite, Mary Huddleston from @mrssouthernsocial. Mary shared her philosophy of delegating the details- how to have Southern charm without lifting an arm. The evening concluded with cheers, laughter, and dessert by Jennifer Dollander of Alumni Cookie Dough. Saturday began with a private shopping opportunity with the superbly chic Megan Larussa Chenoweth of Style Yourself Chic from Birmingham with her top 10 fall must haves and dressing for your body type. Guests moved to the rooftop terrace of Corcoran Reverie for some Chicken Salad Chick, Debutante Farmer Bloody Marys, and Southern Baked Pie whose proprieter, Amanda Wilbanks, provided an inspirational chat about how she went from 2 ovens in the garage to 3 brick and mortar stores, a cookbook, and being on Oprah’s favorite things. list. For the final dinner on the beach, CEO of Choice Publicity, Heather Adams, shared the importance of friendship, mentoring, and welcoming women of all walks and stages into our lives. It was the perfect end cap on this inspirational three-day weekend. For more information on The Say it Southern Podcast, please visit nor visit them on Instagram @thesayitsouthern.

Front: Sarah Smith, Courtney Goolsby, Amanda Wilbanks & Clara Schoen Middle: Margaret Mewborn, Heather Adams & Kendall Singleton Back: Erin Phillips, Laura Lee Jones, Jennifer Dollander, Ginger Warmath, Jana Newland, Molly Spencer, Sarah Lee & Lindsay Thomas 22


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Amanda Wilbanks

Lindsay Thomas & Jana Newland

Kendall Singleton, Margaret Mewborn, Sarah Lee, Jennifer Dollander, Molly Carpenter & Sarah Smith

Allyson Fite, Sarah Shankle, Sarah Smith, Laura Trammell, Carrie Brown Campbell, Courtney Goolsby, Anna English, Cecelia Hammond & Brittney Tucker

Sarah Smith, Elisabeth Farris & Courtney Goolsby

Sarah Smith, Caroline Boone & Courtney Goolsby November 2020 | 23

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Brotula’s, East Pass, and Jackacudas

Head Chef - Brotula’s, East Pass, and Jackacudas

Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood

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Dining on the Deck story by Anna Stockton

While this time of year tends to drive the rest of the country indoors, here in Florida, this is prime weather for getting out and enjoying our cities. One of the best ways to do that is to dine outside at one of our local restaurants. Whether you want a view of a marina, the beach, the harbor, a courtyard, or just some good people-watching, there’s a place for everyone.

Brotula’s ~ Destin Harbor Locally owned and operated, Brotula’s is a staple in the Destin community and a go-to for fine outdoor dining. Named after the Bearded Brotula found in our local waters, Brotula’s offers locally sourced seafood from Destin, Apalachicola, and Bon Secour, Alabama. They also offer “Hook and Cook,” where they will expertly cook your catch from your days fishing trip. The large outdoor dining area welcomes friends and family to enjoy the beautiful view of the harbor while enjoying a cocktail or two from their extensive drink menu. Brotula’s food menu gives you a variety of steamers and boils to choose from, including King Crab and Royal Reds, as well as Country Meatloaf and Burgers for the non-seafood eaters.

Vue on 30a ~ Santa Rosa Beach Known for their beautiful panoramic view of the Emerald Coast beaches, Vue on 30a offers an outdoor dining experience with an upscale vibe. While the Vue is part of the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club, they are open to the general public as well as for members. Watch the sunset from your table on their beach-front deck while you choose from one of Vue’s unique meals such as pineapple salmon and Jamaican Red Stripe Beer Batter Fish and Chips. The bar menu is top notch as well with an impressive martini selection like the Gulf Cucumber and Tonic and the Sunset on the Peach.

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Beach House ~ Sandestin

You can “Relax, Drink, Eat” at The Beach House in Sandestin. Nestled right next to Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, The Beach House is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, however, they do offer a “locals” discount. The beach-front outdoor dining areas are the perfect place to sip on a Beach-a-Rita or Beach House Rum Punch. Shrimp and Grits, Burgers, and Crab Cake Sandwiches are just part of the food menu offered at The Beach House. The casual atmosphere and cool vibe encourage you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view of the white sandy beach and emerald waters.

Cantina Laredo ~ Grand Boulevard Not every restaurant has to have a water view to have great outdoor dining. Cantina Laredo in Sandestin is a prime example of this. Located in the Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, this high-end Mexican restaurant’s outdoor patio is a great place to sit back, enjoy the atmosphere, and do some people watching. The menu takes your average Mexican food to the next level with a wide variety of tapas, tacos, and even Mexican Apple Pie for dessert. The margarita menu is equally as remarkable with, among others, a Tajin Watermelon margarita and Smoky Blueberry margarita that will top off your Cantina Laredo experience.

Boathouse Oyster Bar and Grill ~ Destin Harbor Although Boathouse Oyster Bar and Grill is most famous for their oysters, it’s the atmosphere that makes it a top pick for your outdoor dining experience. Decorated with dollar bills and enough bras to make Victoria’s Secret green with envy, this Destin staple is perfect for an afternoon out with friends. Boathouse’s motto is, “Where every hour is happy hour,” and this stands true with their drink specials and beachy vibe. The food menu has something for everyone, especially those seafood lovers, including the Jumbo Bucket which has an amazing eight snow crab clusters, four pounds of shrimp, four pounds of crab claws, four pounds of mussels, 4 dozen oysters, and eight beers or two bottles of champagne. November 2020 | 29

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Sip the finest margarita Savor fresh seafood, enchiladas and more with sauces from scratch Join us for drinks, dinner, lunch or Sunday brunch

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GRAND BOULEVARD Sandestin 850.654.5649

10/29/20 2:16 PM

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VIP Destin at Aegean Restaurant

Business AfterHours DESTIN CHAMBER


photos & story by Jeff Watson

Josh Foster & Carmen Ionascu

embers and staff of the Destin Chamber of Commerce gathered on October 22 to resume their traditional Business After Hours event. These monthly gatherings are a chance for local business owners, non-profit leaders, and guests to get a chance to socialize, network, and most of all have a little fun after work. This month’s event was sponsored by the Aegean Restaurant where owner, Chris Rakas and his staff did a wonderful job of providing tasty food and drinks. Located in Miramar Beach, this Greek restaurant is great for groups and kids, offers catering and takeout, and has outdoor seating. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether a current or potential chamber member, make sure and add the upcoming Business After Hours to your calendar.

Matt & Ami Cavinder

Peggy Moravec, Melissa Read, Rachel Borgie & Rachel Nichols

Jenna Miller & Julie Porterfield 34

Chris Rakus

Dr. Kate Price, Rich Lamperti & Melissa Fertita


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story by Greg Alexander

| photos provided by 20/30 North


n 2010, Tiffanie Nelson’s oldest child started kindergarten. This was her family’s introduction to the public school system and also her first moment of awareness that there was a wellhidden hunger issue in our community. Immediately, Tiffanie felt a strong desire to help. As she considered options and ways to help the children facing food insecurity, she first looked to her church who quickly provided $300 as a starting point. Tiffanie and her kids went food shopping. In partnership with her son’s school, they enrolled the first six students in what was about to become an incredibly successful endeavor at taking a strike at local food insecurity. That was the beginning of Food For Thought and with Tiffanie’s direction, it has continued to grow to meet the demands of our community. During the 2019-20 school year, Food For Thought had over 3,500 food insecure children enrolled in their services. It is run by a small staff and charged by an army of volunteers and donors who help ensure the programs are provided every week to the children who need us the most. Food For Thought works to fight child hunger through five, year-round programs designed to fight the negative impacts of child hunger in the lives of food insecure children in grades K-12.

Their goal is to support a child’s development and educational experience by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends, summer and holiday breaks, as well as offering learning and life-skill resources through the Emeril Lagasse Full-Circle Kitchen and their Full-Circle Gardens. Food For Thought currently serves 35 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, reaching over 3,300 food insecure children every week of the year. You, too, can help these children by volunteering or donating. For more information or to donate, visit: or to volunteer, email: 38


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Interview with Tiffanie Nelson, Founder & Executive Director Food For Thought Food For Thought works to fight child hunger through five, year-round programs designed to fight the negative impacts of child hunger in the lives of food insecure children in grades K-12. What is the mission of Food for Thought?

Destin Charity Wine Auction and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation found ways to come through for their beneficiaries and we are grateful. The generosity of our community is amazing. While funding from some partners has been reduced, we have found new resources to ensure our services remain strong. Food insecurity is on the rise as a result of the restrictions and employment issues related to COVID-19. Services like ours are needed more than ever.

Our mission is to remove the negative impacts of hunger and empower a child to get the most out of their education and development by providing weekly access to healthy, easy to prepare meals. Food For Thought is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in Florida, serving Walton and Okaloosa Counties. How have you overcome challenges of COVID 19?

Schools closed in March as it was clear that our community was being impacted COVID 19. We knew then we needed to prepare as an organization. We made a swift transition to curbside services and have not missed a week of service. Using our Summer Service format, we were able to create an impactful model so the children who depend on us could continue to benefit. We have expanded our curbside locations and increased our food assortment within each service. Understanding the transportation constraints of the families we serve, FFT is committed to providing at least 50 full size food items to every family at each pick up, now offering more fresh food items. After 10 years, it has been a challenge to stop our most impactful program, our weekly backpack program. The health and safety of our 35 schools, staff, and volunteers was at risk and it has been difficult for teachers and students but we remain committed to finding safe ways to serve food insecure children. We will continue to work with the school districts to determine how we can best help given the current COVID-19 restrictions. Our volunteer base has grown connected to their part of the organization’s programs over the years and I recognize that they miss the way things “used to be.” However, volunteers are still at the core of what we do and how we do it in this community.

How do you impact the community during the holidays?

For years we have provided special services for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are making preparations as we anticipate record numbers of families requesting support. Our holiday programs continue to be one of my greatest passions as the founder of Food For Thought Outreach. This year we will expand our pick-up locations and our food offerings. As always, we will provide the food the children will miss while they are removed from their school breakfast and lunch programs. In addition, we will offer everything needed to prepare a traditional holiday meal. All in, we will provide food to over 600 families to cover 10 days of food during Thanksgiving break and 20 days during Christmas break. The gratitude we receive during these services stay with me all year long. How is Food For Thought funded?

As a privately funded organization, Food For Thought does not take state or federal funding. Rather, we raise our own funds through individual donors, business partnerships, grants, and events. Event fundraising has accounted for 30% of our budget and with fundraising events cancelled, a deep and immediate impact has been felt. Partners such as

Currently the future of our in-person events is unknown so we are finding success with virtual events and online fundraising. We held our first virtual event in August and had a recordbreaking turnout, which has created hope for the future. Tell us about the future of the organization.

With 2020 being our 10-year anniversary, we were positioned to focus on the future but like everyone else, we had to stop and address the pandemic emergency at hand. There is much uncertainty, but for sure - Food For Thought is committed to fighting food insecurity in the lives of children. We are ready to adjust as needed and I am fortunate to lead an organization supported by dedicated employees, board members, volunteers, and donors. We can help. How can our readers help?

We do NOT always have what we need such as enough food, enough money, or enough volunteers. We find ways to make it work but I often hear that people do not donate or volunteer because they think we have everything we need. We work hard every week to ensure we have the resources but if the community does not show up for us, we cannot show up for the children. We are not affiliated with another chapter or division. This is a local organization and our services depend on our community partnerships. November 2020 | 39

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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village

Jade Schilhab

Jessica Valek

Grace Eugenides

HarborFest photos & story by Jeff



he Harbor was buzzing with activities the first weekend in October as tourists and locals alike gathered to celebrate Destin’s heritage. Vendors from a wide variety of categories were present to show off their products and services. There were chefs preparing fresh seafood, artists showcasing their works, and a pet company with all types of treats for our furry friends. Also present was a display of incredible macrame work along with one of a kind jewelry pieces from another local vendor. Live music on the stage at HarborWalk Village was the perfect backdrop to a weekend full of entertainment and shopping along the Destin Harbor. Chloe Lallo

The Frankamp’s from Idaho 40

Billy Bull


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Candice Janes

Shay Barnett, Jess Hopkins & Emma Hopkins


Judy Garrison, Anna Hayes & Laura Martin



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111 N ORTH HIGH WAY 393, S ANTA R O S A B EAC H Scarlett, Joe, Braden, Kate & Jenna Jannazo

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Roll Tide Sterling Silver, Pave Diamonds & Enamel - $100.00 Lily Chartier Pearls

The Swing Bar with 360-degree turn - $3599.00 Barstool - $589.00 Both with multiple finishes/colors and variations. isidro dunbar Modern Interiors

Density Coastline in Oak Alabaster $5.00/sq foot Lunada Bay- 1x4 Agate Pearl Glass Tile Backsplash - $66/sq foot Destin Flooring America

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Very Thankful Platter - $29.99 Frill Seekers Gift Summer Classics Coast Teak Collection $766.35 - $5492.30 Bay Breeze Patio

Debutante Farmer Bloody Mary Mix - $13.99 Debutante Farmer

Pint Glass Gift Set - $34.00 National Naval Aviation Museum

10/29/20 2:19 PM

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VIP Destin at The Gulf on Okaloosa Island

Coastal Distancing photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he October version of the Coastal Distancing series was held at the Gulf on Okaloosa Island on October 17. It was a land and sea event, with live music by The Shakedown Band, Ghostbusters movie on the big screen and three football games. The hugely successful event was hosted by Legendary Marine and was free and open to the public where guests attended by boats and were encouraged to enjoy the event from a safe distance. The Coastal Distancing series of events provided entertainment within the Choctawhatchee Bay area including local live music, a featured movie, plus football games. The event, which started on August 15, provided an opportunity for all boaters to enjoy live entertainment aboard their vessel, alongside fellow boating friends and family. Partnering with Legendary Marine on this community event was Amazing Lash Studio, Splashboards Media, Proffitt PR, Emerald Grande, and music sponsor Step One Automotive Group. Even though this event was put together for the community members to have fun, funds were also raised to benefit two local charities: Food for Thought Outreach and Emerald Coast Honor Games.


Aaron Willey & Olga Boistean

Scott Melvin & Shirley Cochran

Todd Royall & Jackie Syverson

Mary-Francis Mullins & Jeff Watson

Tori Majors & Keisha Jones

Candace Fertitta & Julie Thomas


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Francia T. Squatrito, DPM, FACFAS, CWSP Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Eileen & Patrick Reilly

Smiling toes and happy feet are our specialty. Kelly Rachel & Robin Kedrick

We would appreciate your nominations for Best Podiatrist Call Today to Make an Appointment 850-855-4048

Accepting New Patients

Open Monday - Thursday 8AM - 5PM, Friday 7AM - 3PM Dustin Freeman, Lacey & Chad Pyles

Treatment and Specialty Include: • Bunion and Hammertoe Surgery • Arthritis • Ankle Sprains • Fractures • Tendon and Ligament Reconstruction • Plantar Fasciitis • Heel Spur Syndrome

Tristan Tiegen, Sarah Fenush & Jessica Midrenga

• Achilles Tendinitis • Adult and Pediatric flatfoot • Lateral Ankle Instability • Diabetic Foot Care • Ingrown Toenails • Warts • Wound care • Sports Injuries

1775 Lewis Turner Blvd. • Fort Walton Beach (close to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center) November 2020 | 45

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VIP Destin at Destiny Radio

VIP Destin at Destiny Radio Station

Ribbon Cutting


estiny Worship Center held a ribbon cutting on October 7 for the launch of Destiny Radio 91.1 FM. When Steve Vaggalis, founder of Destiny Worship Center,purchased the former KFC/Taco Bell building, the direction was uncertain but prayer brought clarity as the opportunity with WPMS Radio Station surfaced. The station, formerly in HarborWalk Village, has a new state-of-the-art home built under the guidance of Phil Grimm, general contractor. Walker Beach is now the general manager of the only local Christian full power FM radio station in Destin. The mission of Destiny Radio is to encourage con-nection with God and the community. Destiny Radio will play a variety of inspirational praise and worship songs and will be commercial free, covering the three counties of Bay, Walton and Okaloosa. Exclusive live performances and interviews from the on-site studios will also be a part of the new format, all available on 91.1 FM, DestinyRadio.Live, mobile app, Alexa, and YouTube live.

Jackie & Steve Vaggalis, Phil Grimm & Walker Beech

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Drew Powell

photos & story by Jeff Watson

Sheila Guagliardo & Barbara-Ann Green

Jessica Preskitt & Jess Foy

Destiny Radio Ribbon Cutting


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NOVEMBER 5-8 Harvest Wine Festival Various restaurants and venues in South Walton An epicurean celebration fi lled with an exciting lineup of events with smaller capacities than the traditional Grand Tasting all benefiting Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation. DCWAF, one of the nation’s premier fundraising organizations, is presenting a newly structured Harvest Wine & Food Festival in light of COVID-19 and holding six upscale, limitedcapacity events happening in various locations throughout South Walton. With multi-course dinners featuring world-class wineries, a rum dinner featuring Birmingham’s Campesino Rum, and a cocktail-inspired interactive brunch prepared by Birmingham celebrity chef Kristen Hall of The Essential and Bandit Patisserie, the fourth installment of Harvest Wine & Food Festival remains in full form during a time when gatherings have never been more challenging, yet meaningful. Please visit for venue locations and times.



8th Annual Ruth’s Chris Wine Walkabout

8th Annual Bourbon on the Bay

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse 15000 Emerald Coast Parkway 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Legendary Marine 4601 Legendary Marina Drive 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Silver Shells Resort in Destin will host its 8th Annual Fall Wine Walkabout to benefit Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s community outreach programs. Chef Ruston Johnson will create a special menu featuring multiple culinary stations of heavy hors d’oeuvres paired with select fine wines courtesy of a variety of distributors. Patrons can enter a charity raffle with opportunities to win travel excursions and experiences. The MKAF Wine Pull has become a popular tradition at this event and includes a collection of fine wines donated from wine enthusiasts, private wine cellars, distributors and restaurants.

Enjoy bourbon, scotch, and champagne tastings and a silent auction at the 8th Annual Bourbon at the Bay Presented by Hand Arendall Harrison Sale. The annual event is moving to a larger space at Legendary Marine this year to allow a safe and fun experience. Bourbon on the Bay benefits the Destin Chamber and the many opportunities they provide to the business community.

Visit for more information.

Visit for more information.



Legally Blonde, Jr

Moonlight Serenade Classi-Palooza

Emerald Coast Theatre Company 560 Grande Boulevard | Sandestin Thursday & Friday 7:00pm Saturday 2:00pm, 4:30pm & 7:00pm Sunday 2:00pm & 4:30pm

Bijoux 9375 US Hwy 98 West, Suite 22 | Miramar Beach 4:00pm

Performed by ECTC thespian teens Legally Blonde Jr. follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Elle takes matters into her own hands by crafting a showy song-and-dance personal essay and charming her way into law school. As Elle begins outsmarting her peers, she realizes that law may be her natural calling after all. Legally Blonde Jr. features talented teens in this energetic musical that’s fun for the entire family. Visit for ticket information

{ Palooza: an exaggerated event } The greatest hits of the 18th - 21st centuries hosted al fresco by Sinfonia assistant conductor Aaron King Vaughn. Ten musicians from Sinfonia’s orchestra will perform snippets of the most famous and popular “classi” music of our time. This light, humorous, and educational program is sure to have surprises around every corner (or page turn). The program will include a curated musical timeline including everything from Baroque to Broadway....Each ticket includes a savory & sweet bites bento box from Bijoux. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

Visit for more events!

Event information may be out of date due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please confirm details with event organizers. 48 |

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Destin is Grateful photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Special Operators Transition Foundation SOTF, returned to the Emerald Coast with an incredible event “Destin is Grateful” at the Emerald Grande on October 16. The event, which was made possible by host committee: Rob Kirila, Jack Wilson, Dom Damiano, Ed Espinoza, Brandon Graves, and James Taylor, had Rob O’Neill, the US Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden on that fateful night in Pakistan, as the guest speaker for the evening. Two special guests, 101 years old WWII Vets Sam Lombardo and John Beard, were also present to grace the occasion. The event offered an exclusive opportunity for the great patriots of Northwest Florida to support our Special Operators, as they transition out of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines into our communities and workforce. The stunning backdrop of the Captain’s Deck of the Emerald Grande – one of the top resorts in Destin provided an opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the Florida panhandle while learning of the limits of human performance as Rob recounted his experiences leading up to and since the event that has made him one of our nation’s most decorated servicemen. The Special Operators Transition Foundation, formerly operating as Your Grateful Nation, exists to cultivate employment opportunities for SOTF veterans, by guiding them from the world they know (the military) through the world that is unknown to them (the private sector). SOTF provides mentors and an individualized step-by-step action plan to ensure the highest level of opportunity and success for the candidates so they land the positions that best align with their interests, strengths, and preferences.

Nathan Nelson & Robert J. O’Neill

Sam Lombardo, Tim Krueger & John Beard

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VIP Destin at Emerald Grande

Joe & Megan Barnard

Drew Durward, Charles Edwards, Chris McGinney & Aaron Pat

Shawn & Michelle Adkins

Michelle Buckingham & Sherri Wagner

Paige Young & Dan Hendrix

Tim & Jennifer Creehan

Whitney Lee & John Lee

Raffaella Fant, Fernando Arellano, Tiffany & Shon Kingrey. Maureen Bierman November 2020 | 51

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VIP Destin at Destin is Grateful

Chad & Jackson Hamilton, Bernard Johnson


John & Terri Joubert, Jennie & Stonie O’Briant

Jill & Tim Krueger

Aerika Wardrip & Samantha Gusoff

Brian & Kathy Haugen

Katt & Chris Pappas

Barbara Tatge & Hilary Hines-Butler

Chuck & Glenda Palmore

Nate & Ashley Beard

Carla Nodjomian, Caroline Espinoza, Lydia Mott & Ed Espinoza


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LOCALE O Children’s Volunteer Health Network Welcomes New Executive Director, Kelley Mossburg Local non-profit, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, has announced that Kelley Mossburg has officially joined the team as executive director. Mossburg comes from 35 years of senior-level corporate experience. Throughout his career, Mossburg has owned his own business and has served in a number of non-profits as a board member, board chairman, and president. Mossburg’s career includes impressive experience in senior-level leadership of major national companies. Additionally, he has proven his passion for giving back to his community. In 2015, Mossburg was elected to be the President of the South Walton Community Council. Mossburg helped build the Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama, a non-profit for special needs adults in Auburn, Alabama. He was also board chairman for both the Orlando Chamber of Commerce and the Junior Achievement of Central Florida. When asked about his new position, Mossburg said, “I am blessed to be able to live and work in a place that has been my dream for most of my adult life. After spending over 35 years in corporate America in various executive roles, I am applying my talent and experience in order to positively impact the lives of children in need across the region with quality healthcare options.” Mossburg grew up in Atlanta and attended Auburn University where he met his wife of 41 years, Debbie. They have two sons, Kel and Landon. Kelley and Debbie currently live in South Walton with their pomeranian, Rascal, and are enthusiasts for fitness and helping plant and grow a new local church, Fellowship 30A. For more information about Children’s Volunteer Health Network, visit their website at


Green Earth Southeast Claims Top Spot at Destin Chamber’s Golf Tournament Twenty-seven golf teams teed off in the Destin Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Golf Tournament sponsored by Renasant Bank on October 1, at Emerald Bay Golf Course. Green Earth Southeast took home top prize, followed by CPC Office Technologies and Warren Averett. Drew Armacost of Affordable Home Insurance and Matthew Howard of 360 Blue won the Longest Drive prizes. Kevin Bowyer of Warren Averett, Jeremy Sprenkle of 360 Blue, and Erik Thompson of Five Channels won the Closest to the Pin prizes. The tournament scoreboard was sponsored by Somerby Santa Rosa Beach. Golfers enjoyed a cookout with lunch sponsor Cavinder Elevator Company, and some time on the practice tee and green with sponsors 360 Blue and Ben & Jerry’s. Beverage carts made the rounds, thanks to sponsors SimpleHR and Talcon Group, and golfers enjoyed beer from 3rd Planet Brewing. Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican and The Henderson kept the grill fired up throughout the event. Though no one claimed the prize, The Blake at Miramar Beach sponsored a $10K hole-in-one prize.

Teams with hole sponsors included CECO of Destin, Inc.; Centennial Bank; Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican; CertaPro Painters of Northwest Florida; Destin Commons; Five Channels; Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Inc.; Fort Walton Beach Medical Center; Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC; Trustmark National Bank and Warren Averett. Team sponsors included Affordable Home Insurance; Air Force Enlisted Village; All In One Cleaning; CPC Office Technologies; Dr. Michael Carr; ENGEL & VöLKERS 30A Beaches/The Bobby J Team; Green Earth Southeast; Les Porterfield; Newman- Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.; and PrimeLending. Hole sponsors included BayArea Awards & Engraving; The Blake at Miramar Beach;

CBM Mortgage; Dennen IP Law, LLC; Dermatology Specialists of Florida; Eglin Federal Credit Union; Emerald Coast Title Services, LLC; Enco Electronic Systems, LLC; Gulf Coast Shutter; Gulf Power; New York Life; and Progress Bank. Healing Paws For Warriors Retires (Lead) Service Dog, “Orion” and Graduates Veteran / K9 Teams

Lead service dog, “Orion” is recognized as he retires after 10 years of service along with graduating teams. The Florida Panhandle’s nonprofit group Healing Paws for Warriors (HP4Ws) graduates fifteen (x15) more veteran/service dog teams after three months of intensive training. The teams were recognized in a HP4Ws ceremony with one of the nonprofits community partners, Northwest Florida State College - Niceville on Friday, November 6. Individually, each team either suffered from a physical injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) during deployments while serving our country. While the physical injuries were diagnosed and treated by medical teams, the psychological trauma takes more time. Trained service dogs like the ones trained by Healing Paws for Warriors have shown to be effective in aiding in medical crises and alleviating the physical and emotional symptoms our veterans continue struggling with long after returning from the battlefield. The veterans were matched with their K9 partners after being rescued from local shelters. Healing Paws for Warriors is a local veteran found/veteran led 501(c)(3) that provides rescue to trained service dogs to veterans faced with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/ or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) at “no cost” to the veteran with continued support; reducing the statistic of veteran suicide, increasing self and family health and wellness.


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You bring out the best in us! Please vote for Proffitt PR as the best Public Relations Firm and Event Planner in Destin!

Best Public Relations Firm 2013-2020 Best Event Planner 2018-2020 Best New Business 2012

9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 24 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550

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Best Public Relations / Advertising Firm 2015-2018, 2020 Best Event Planning Firm 2015-2018, 2020

| (850) 460-7777 |

10/29/20 2:28 PM

VIP Destin at CBM Mortgage

CBM Mortgage GRAND OPENING & RIBBON CUTTING photo & story submitted


BM Mortgage celebrated their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting held at their new facility at 165 Brooks Street, Suite A, Fort Walton Beach. The event was held outside of the business complete with hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a DJ. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the office and enter to win different door prizes that were located throughout the office. CBM Mortgage’s vision is to be recognized as the premier hometown lender by meeting the highest expectations of their clients through quality customer service. CBM has all departments in house. Having the ability to have everything in house allows their home loan advisors to work as your advocate throughout the process and keep the loan on time to the closing table. As your Hometown Lender, CBM Mortgage recognizes that the free-will support of local non-profits helps create brighter futures for those in need. CBM prides themselves in giving to the organizations within the community to support one another. The signature drink at the event, the Cool Blue Mule raised money for the local Winkler’s Wish Foundation. Annemarie McClain is a Senior Home Loan Advisor with CBM Mortgage. Annemarie has a true passion for real estate, she has traveled and lived all over the world with the numerous opportunities that being a military spouse has offered. Passing from state to state and overseas has given her firsthand experience in the VA Mortgage Loan process. A strong work ethic and sense of urgency sets her apart from others as a dedicated, hardworking employee who goes above and beyond to exceed expectations every time. CBM Mortgage is excited to be your hometown lender!

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Annemarie McClain Sr. Home Loan Advisor

Cell: (850) 461-1474 Office: (850) 533-8414 NMLS ID # 1600155 Apply Online

165 Brooks Street, Suite A Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 NMLS ID #2004055 CBM Mortgage is an Equal Housing Lender CBM Mortgage, Inc.– Company NMLS #282839 ( )








2021 CHRISTMAS CLUB *Annual Percentage Yields (APY) effective as of 10/19/20. Rate may change after the account is opened. No minimum balance to earn or save. APY of 0.05% will be paid on that portion of the balance over $5,000. Requires Community Bank checking account with draft to Christmas Club Account. Limit two accounts per customer. Fees may reduce earnings. All funds are paid out at the end of the account’s term in October of the calendar year in which contributions end. Ask a customer service representative for details. Penalty for early withdrawal.

November 2020 | 57

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Trends To Try story by Maggie Yelverton

Try: A nod to the 70’s & 80’s - Whether that means plaid pants, geometric prints, bell bottoms, puffy sleeves, a power suit, or even shoulder pads.

for her

Try: PJ’s but make it fashion Lounge wear doesn’t have to be only on the sofa. Mix your track suit pants with a classic top, your joggers with a silk tank and a cardigan, even a silk night gown with a belt and leather jacket. The key to pulling off a fashionable loungewear look is heals, booties, mules, pumps, just don’t wear your house shoes.

Try: Monochromatic looks - That doesn’t mean all black! Change it up. When in doubt think in the nudes. Browns, grays, beiges, even winter whites. Don’t let this look fall flat when going monochromatic, opt for matching nails, make up and even a handbag to complete the look. 58


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Try: Accessorizing - Yes! You should wear a watch and a bracelet, or opt for an understated classic chain necklace. Also throw on a scarf while you’re at it. Want to really impress us? Try a pocket square, think James Bond.

Try: A nod to the 70’s &

for him

80’s - Load up on plaid pants and sport coats. Pull out those leather jackets (think Grease). Don’t be afraid of bringing back the “high-water pants”, it’s fitting for a beach town. Just don’t do pleated pants, that’s a trend that can stay in the 80’s.

Try: One bold piece - Whether that’s a bright sock, a velvet loafer, a bright colored driving moccasin, white pants in winter or a bold sport coat. Try to incorporate one item that takes you out of your comfort zone. After all, “fashion knows not of comfort.”

November 2020 | 59

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VIP Destin at the Palms Bistro

Sunset ...Social photos & story by Jeff Watson


heYoung Professionals of Destin met on October 7 for a Sunset Social sponsored and hosted by the Palms Bistro, along with the Destin Chamber. The Bistro, located inside the Palms of Destin, has a beautifully remodeled indoor and outdoor patio and bar area, which provided great ambiance as the sun set and everyone enjoyed cocktails and appetizers. This was a free event to attend as guests brought food items and board games, all to be donated to the Big Brother Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. Destin Young Professionals offers the opportunity for leadership development, networking, and community service. It is designed to give the area’s young business professionals a comfortable environment to network and improve their business interaction skills. The Destin Young Professionals group is designed to provide career minded individuals under 40 an opportunity to grow their business through professional development, networking, and volunteering.


Nicole Guidry & Eliana Kinneman

Kathryn Thompson & Lindsay Polk

Cali Hlavac & Lionel James

Rachel Velasques, Bradley Harris & Cody Harris

Whitney Lee & Cassy DeJulio

Sophia Lombardi & Monica Iglesias

Dana Bridges & Josh Woeckener


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(850) 503-1060

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VIP Destin at Faith Assembly Christian Church

Veterans and First Responder

Appreciation Lunch photos & story by Zhalman Harris

Jackie Syverson & Jimy Thorpe


he quarterly Veteran and First Responder Appreciation Lunch hosted by A Superior Air Conditioning Company took place at The Rock and Roll Church in Santa Rosa Beach on October 13. The community came together again to give recognition and thanks to our first responders and veterans. The event included a delicious hot lunch provided by Paul and Helen Schreiner, Owner/ Operators of Texas Roadhouse. Door prizes were also won by attendees. The event was generously sponsored by Jerry Sullivan at Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican Real Estate. Marta-Rose Thorpe of A-Superior Air Conditioning Company stated, “I am hopeful more Walton and Okaloosa County businesses would become sponsors of this quarterly event. It’s just another way to show we appreciate their service.” A first responder or veteran will be chosen to win an HVAC Giveaway that is provided by A Superior Air Conditioning Company each quarter. The giveaway is open to all who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and all first responders including EMT/medics, police, sheriffs department, and fire fighters.

Kristy Barton & Loresa Smith

Ed & Kim Bowen

Mark Wendel, Dustin Cossen & Alli Lytle

Ginny Richerson & Jimmy Dallas 62

Philip Block, Travis Spencer & Andrew Miller


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Pat Carraway, Ariela Edwards & Tara Allen

Jeremy McVay & Jerry Sullivan

Thomas Tucker & Matt Standish

David Butler, Ginny Richerson & Allison Smith November 2020 | 63

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VIP Destin at Emerald Grande


Business Before Hours photos by Zhalman Harris | story by Elizabeth Spies


n October 9, Destin Chamber members gathered for coffee and breakfast at the Emerald Grande during the Chamber’s Business Before Hours Candidates Forum sponsored by Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican. Destin City Council candidates Dewey Destin, John Green, and Kevin Schmidt shared their platforms. Candidates Teresa Hebert and Johnny King were unable to attend. Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, the event’s featured non-profit, shared details about its 20th Anniversary Celebration called A Night with The Stars, which will be held October 27, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. Eglin Federal Credit Union, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, and The Taylor Haugen Foundation donated door prizes.

Christy Matthews & Courtney Geiger

Denise Kendust & Teresa Halverson

Jerry Sullivan, Stefanie Greenwood, Jeremy McVay & Noel Lodato

Brittany Byrd & Emily Buckley

Bernard Johnson & Bernita Everett November 2020 | 65

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VIP Destin at Business Before Hours

Julie Porterfield, Chelsea Fox & Megan Byer

Debbie Eggers, Elizabeth Spies & Cassy DeJulio

Fred Fenn, Bill Head & Skip Overdier

Monica Autrey, Chad Rewis & Lockwood Wernet

Jason Belcher & Kevin Gilbert

Dion Moniz, Shane Moody & Wayne Paul 66

Trish Sams & Rachel Green

Susan Arnold & Myla Martinez

Ken Whidden, Les Porterfield & Tim Krueger


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VIP Destin at Fudpuckers - Destin

Building a Brand in a Pandemic photos & story by Zhalman Harris

Keely McNeal & Cali Hlavac


n October 20, Northwest Florida Coast chapter of FPRA held their first in person luncheon at Fudpuckers in Destin. After 6 months of virtual meetings and luncheons attendees were excited to attend their monthly meeting in person. “We were more than excited to meet in person at our October luncheon! And we welcomed everyone back with a SOLD OUT event,” said Corey Dobridnia. Lauren Stokes, Founder and CEO of Hey Mama Wines, was the guest speaker at the luncheon. The event, dubbed “Building a brand during a pandemic,” shed light on how difficult it is to build a brand in the best of conditions, let alone trying to do the same feat during a global pandemic. Lauren gave her audience a peek into her personal life and talked about the challenges that helped her “pivot” and grow as a mom and an entrepreneur. She also stressed that, with the right mindset and a few clever moves, you can easily reach your audience and thrive!


Lori Krueger & Ta’Ki Brown

Angie Resiak & April Sarver

Mary Aho & Steve Barber

Melissa Feritta & Peggy Moravec

Hillaree Durso & Tracy Louthain

Danika Phillips, M.Shaye Smith, Teresa Allen & Nogah Winfield


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Teresa Halverson & Aly Gray

Lauren Stokes, Jenni Brunson & Chelsea Fox

Kelly Curry, Elizabeth Chestnut & Morgan Meszaros

Cali Hlavac, Corey Dobridnia & M.Shaye Smith November 2020 | 69

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Big or Small, Wine Cellars for All


story by Anna Stockton photos provided by Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars

hen Lance Hunter of Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars launched his new business in early 2020, he had no idea how good his timing would be. With the pandemic upon us and more people staying home, home improvement projects became big business. Home remodels, backyard hardscapes, and even wine cellars were being installed, all with the end goal of enjoying our living spaces more. There are some of us whose wine never sits idle long enough to need a special way to store it (guilty!). However, for those “others”, a wine cellar may be a dream. But you’re thinking you don’t have the space, or the traditional look of a wine cellar doesn’t suit your style or the style of your home. This is where Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars comes in. “There is no job too big or too small and we’re not scared to take on any project,” according to owner Lance Hunter. They pride themselves on being a “turn-key” company, meaning


they’re with you from design to building to the end product. One of the interesting things about this company is no space it too small for them to design and build a wine cellar. Under the stairs? In a spare closet? In a pantry?


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Yep, yep and you bet your pinot they can! As long as they can build a moisture barrier, any place will do. You can spend as little or as much as you want to make your wine storage area perfect. The tear out and demo are the hard parts; after that it’s smooth sailing. Once you’ve decided you’d like to make the move and install a wine cellar in your home, Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars has some questions for you. How many bottles will you be storing? Where would you like this to be located? Will you want a cigar humidor as well? Would you like a more classic style? Maybe something modern? What materials would you like to use? All of these questions will help the designers come up with the perfect design for your home. You will then be shown a computer-generated CAD drawing for your approval. In no time you’ll be the envy of your neighborhood as you show off your new wine cellar. So what happens now that your cellar is built? Well it’s time to fi ll it on up with a variety of top-notch wines. Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars is working with local and nation-wide wine shops to offer discounts to their clients and help them stock their racks. With most of their cellars holding an average of 1500 bottles, this may take a while but buying wine by the case will fi ll your cellar up fast. Of course, you’ll want to keep all that nice wine safe, so Hunter also offers LeakSmart, a WiFi based system that alerts you if water is in contact with any of the sensors. The best part is that it’s run on the company’s WiFi, so it will still work if we have one of our pesky summer and fall visitors that like to knock out power for a few days (I’m looking at you, Sally). Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars don’t just do residential wine cellars, they also do commercial as well. In fact, when Ruth’s Chris Steak House needed a new wine cellar, guess who they called on. They

also do cellars for wine shops and vineyards. Along with residential and commercial cellars, Hunter also does consulting for those who’d like to try their hand at installing their own cellar. Taking advantage of the fact that the ideal temperature to store wine just happens also to be the ideal temperature to store bourbon, Hunter Wine Racks and Cellars is looking into expanding into the bourbon cellar business as well. So next time you’re sitting in your house, relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine, look around and try to find where you can fit a wine cellar in your house. Whether it holds 25 or 2500 bottles, it’s a fun addition to your home.

Hunter Wine Racks & Cellars 850.704.0788 November 2020 | 71

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Bracken Law, PA serves the areas of Destin, 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Panama City Beach, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.


(850) 792-2677 | | 30A | 2930 W. County Highway 30A, Suite 210 | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Holiday Plaza | 12273 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 107 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550


2014 - 2019

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2016, 2018 - 2020

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Wally Wehbe

What is your hometown, what brought you here to the Emerald Coast, and how log have you lived here? I was born in a small village overlooking the Mediterranean, south of Beirut, Lebanon. I was a young man when the civil war broke out and my family sent me to complete my education in Lafayette, Louisiana. I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Business Administration. In 1988 I was granted the opportunity to relocate to the panhandle of Florida. My goal was to help establish an upscale fine dining scene in Destin; the result was Marina Café. What is your profession, and what led you to choose it? Fine dining has always been my passion. In the mid eighties Destin was booming and desperately craving a more gourmet dining experience. Then, four years ago my wife, Mano and I established Mano’s Authentic Healthy Food Products with the support of Wagne Anderson (Cabana Cafe) and Diane Kolopanas (30 A Farmers Market owner). The concept was created and we have always prided ourselves on providing a locally sourced and upscale environment for shoppers at one of our area’s numerous farmers markets from Niceville, Grand Boulevard, to Rosemary Beach. After Marina Café recently sold to Danny Bilger, a successful local entrepreneur, I was honored to continue working as manager and steward. I spend my weekends procuring and distributing fresh healthy and flavorsome products for foodies, and the rest of my time at Marina Café. What do you like best about Destin? What makes it unique? The brilliant tangerine sunsets and the crystal clear water remind me of my Mediterranean birthplace. From the harbor lights reflecting on the waters to the dolphins dancing in the waves, Destin has always been my home. What are three words that best describe you? Creative. Caring. Neighborly. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? Destin is home to an amazing community of kind and compassionate people. The sugar white beaches and the October night skies are a sight to behold! Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because… In addition to multiple successful businesses I have also built a lifetime of memories. Destin is the beating pulse of my heart and the holy chapter of my life. photo by Verla Price

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State College


(850) 5022895 | WWW.NWFSC.EDU Northwest Florida State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Northwest Florida State College. Northwest Florida State College is committed to equal access/equal opportunity in its programs, activities, and employment. For additional information, visit Materiales de la Universidad son disponibles en Española llamando a la Oficina de Admisiones de Northwest Florida State College al 850-678-5111.

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