VIP Destin February 2021 - revised

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GET ED ER V O C ith w ance r s in uzone




(850) 424-6979

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    USA

Available in Destin, exclusively at Emerald Lady Jewelry  E C P • S  • D, FL  -- • ELJ.

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34940 Emerald Coast Parkway • Best Buy Plaza • Across from Ulta

PANAMA CITY BEACH | 850-391-0764 15600 Panama City Beach Parkway • Suite 800 In PPN • Next to Bed Bath & Beyond

*$10 OFF valid for any one-hour Massage or Facial guest-priced gift card excluding waxing and cash denomination purchases. Not valid toward Introductory Offers. SAVE $20 with guest-priced Spa Gift Package purchase excluding series packages. Rates and services may vary by location. Offers may not be combined. Offer Expires: 2/15/2021. Sessions include time for consultation and dressing. Independently Owned & Operated. ©2021 Hand & Stone Corp. MM39215/CE10017484, MM37985/CE10013588

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Volume XVIII • Issue II

And the winners are...

events 15 21 24 36 39 43 57 61 69 77 80 87

Destin Chamber Awards Party Cafe Thirty-A Charity Ball FPRA January Luncheon ONE.1 Run Vin’tij Wine Dinner Honoring Marcia Hull Destin Chamber Business Before Hours EW, 2020. Hello, 2021! Winter Wonderland Walton Chamber First Friday Breakfast Mentor Appreciation Power of Business Luncheon Gulf Coast nWorking Ribbon Cutting Dual Chamber Business After Hours

departments 27 47 50 53 65 73 84 90

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

features 31 Best In Destin Winners 34 Business Profile Eloquent Signs

VIP Destin Magazine Staff

on the cover Carmen Wilkinson & Josh Foster

Photography by Shanna Magnuson at Distillery 98

Publisher Greg Alexander

Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Graphic Design Patti Hall

Editor Jeff Watson

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Patti Hall Zhalman Harris Clare Lee Shanna Magnuson Anna Stockton

Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Moffett Kevin O’Rourke Verla Price Jeff Watson Publisher’s Assistant Anna Stockton

VIP Founder Jeff Watson

February 2021 | 11

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letter from the Associate Publisher

The wait is finally over, our 2021 Best In Destin Winners Issue is here! All business owners in the Destin market are winners in my book, especially with the things we went through to get to February. I congratulate everyone, with special kudos to the Best In Destin! Our readers cast votes for their favorite businesses in 148 categories. See who you chose as winners on page 31 in this special VIP edition. A Black Tie Ball will be held celebrating our winners with awards, dinner, and entertainment! This esteemed event usually occurs in March, VIP Destin Magazine will monitor COVID and decide on the event date soon. VIP Destin Magazine photographers and writers covered local charities and businesses who were able to work through COVID guidelines to host events featured in this issue. At the Destin Chamber Awards Party, I was glad to see the distance between tables and the lowered seating arrangements. It was a new experience as I may never have been so far from a stage and other people for networking. Our table jovially discussed this, and I decided to bring my distance glasses to the next event I attend. I wish I had been in attendance at Vin’tij the evening Marcia Hull was honored for her dedication to the Destin Area. Read about this astute lady and her years of service to local non-profits on page 39. Give Care Share offers the story of A Bed 4 Me Foundation, a heart jerking reminder that we need to donate and support all our local charities when we can afford to do so. Coastal Cuisine shares a Feast Fit for A King with Hurricane drinks, Muffuletta, King Cake, and Jambalaya to bring a little bit of Mardi Gras to our February. Flipping through the rest of the magazine, Love is in the air on page 73 as we feature Romantic Getaways across the Emerald Coast. You will find a fun quiz in Destin Style, which will help you determine if you are an interior decorator at heart, finally, meet Jerry Sullivan featured in I am Destin. In closing, I am excited to welcome Kristin Moffitt and Kevin O’Rourke to our VIP team. In a short two weeks, these two people have proven to be very valuable to the magazine, and I am sure you will be hearing more about them in 2021. I believe February will be what we hope and desire for it to be if we stay the course. Please shop local, be patient and kind. Thank you for reading VIP Destin Magazine.

Associate Publisher 12


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BERKSHIRE is the BEST! Thank you for voting us the BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY

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

17 W. Cedar St. | (850) 434-2244

836 Gulf Breeze Parkway | (850) 932-6278 ©2021 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.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

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VIP Destin at Embassy Suites by Hilton

Destin Chamber Awards Party photos & story by Zhalman Harris


estin Chamber of Commerce celebrated outstanding individuals and businesses during its Awards Party on January 28 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton. The awards party was presented by Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital. Other sponsors included Okaloosa Gas, The Blake at Miramar Beach, and Community Bank. An opening reception to celebrate Embassy Suites’ 20th anniversary, was also commemorated with a champagne toast before attendees gathered in the ballroom for dinner and the awards presentation. 2020 Chairman of the Board, Dion Moniz presented almost all of the awards. Before he could take the stage, past Chairman Kevin Bowyer of Warren Averett and 2021 Chairman Jerry Sullivan interrupted the show to present Moniz as the Business Person of the Year. Citing his service on several area non-profit boards,

Alan Gieseman, Shane Moody & Bill Head

Dion Moniz & Jerry Sullivan

success as managing partner of a law firm, President of a successful title company, and sponsor of many area events. For going above and beyond in service to the Destin Chamber and the community, Jason Belcher of FNBT Bank, received the James D. Neilson, Sr., Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service. The Ann Gibson Community Service Award was presented to Marcia Hull, who recently retired after 22 years leading the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. The entire 2020 Chamber Ambassador Club received this year’s Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year. “Always there, always working, always eager. The Ambassadors really are the heart of our volunteer system within the chamber,” explained Moniz. Moniz also recognized the Chamber’s outgoing board members, including Magda Cooper, Julie Cotton, Bill Lindsley, Mitch Mongell, Bryan Osborn of Anderson Engineering, Bob Perry, Ken Wampler, and Lockwood Wernet.

Stefanie Greenwood, Cassie DeJulio & Lindsey Polk

Tera & Brian Keister, Annie Wainman, Desiree & Jason Hall February 2021 | 15

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VIP Destin at Destin Chamber Awards Party

Kelsey Backes, Rebecca Picnic & Linnette Kellar


Kristie King, Cathy Staton & Julie Staton

Stephanie Dobkins, Susan Connor, Tori Hughes, Heidi Steeves & Keith Freudenberger

Jessica & Dan Austin

Peter Sarelas & Enrique Rivera

David & Renee Butler

Steven Craft & Neko Stubblefield

Dustin Terry & Matt Metcalf

Tatiana Kakliauskas, Johna Jaquith, Alexis Evans, Shannon Roberts & Alyssa Tidwell


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John & Kathy Townsend

Elisabeth Spies & Debbie Eggers

Julia & Branden Cosby

Lockwood & Delores Wernet

Bernita Everett & Susan Arnold

Emily Friedlander & Robbie Harold

Young Kim & Verla Price

Michelle Terry & Michelle Perry

Mona & Mel Ponder

Brenda & Skip Overdier

Laura Robidoux, Rachel Borgie & Stacey Young February 2021 | 17

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VIP Destin at Destin Chamber Awards Party

Missy & Eric Flinchum

Leslie Moland & Jenni Brunson

Amy & Ken Wampler

Mindy & Dion Moniz

Tina & Todd Jackson

Jose Marengo & Laura Thompson

Bill & Langley Lindsley

Peggy Moravec & CJ Lydon

Tanya Rauch & Scott King

Jerry & Leslie Sullivan 18

Jeanne Dailey & Hayes Hayden


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i t w h y O a u l rP P e




Family Owned and Operated 6235 N. Davis Hwy Pensacola, FL 32504 (850) 637.1123 Mission Statement PetlandPensacola

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415 Mary Esther Cut Off NW Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 (850) 796-2424 PetlandFortWaltonBeach

1/31/21 5:04 PM

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VIP Destin at Café Thirty-A

Cafe Thirty-A

Charity Ball photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he annual Café Thirty-A Ball with Caring and Sharing of South Walton took place on January 9. Greeted with a glass of champagne and delicious hors d’oeuvres, the restaurant was fi lled with fabulous items to bid on from Justin Gaffrey Gallery, Anthropologie, Yellow Fly Trading Company, Henderson Park Inn, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, McCaskill & Company Fine Jewelry, Pescado, Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club, Bradley Copeland, and so many more. With a large display of silent auction items and raffles, all proceeds benefited Caring and Sharing of South Walton’s efforts to provide food and financial assistance to local area families and individuals in need. Last year, the Charity Ball raised over $22,000 through ticket sales, donations, raffle tickets, and auction sales. There was also a dinner buffet, cash bar, music by DJ 30A, and photo booth provided by Epic Photo Booth Co. Attendees were encouraged to dress in evening attire. Coming into the new year with this rescheduled event was the perfect time to get dressed up again and go out on the town. “We are lucky to be hosting this event yet again for such an amazing and deserving organization in our community,” said Café Thirty-A owner, Harriet Crommelin.

Polli Younbeck & Ken Golden

Leigh & Adam Yellin

Virginia & Joe Lopresti

Perry & Kim Mangers

Jane Soloman & William Overton

Jennifer Cooper & Amanda Jowers February 2021 | 21

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VIP Destin at CafĂŠ Thirty-A Charity Ball

Barbara Gravitte & Cindy Bowers

Jim Williams & Carnilia Baker

Aaron & Capucine Bridges


Justyna & Mateusz Kozbial

Miriam Dudenhefer & Danell Head

Mimmo Lainusa & Asa Knef

Steven Paul & Abbie Craft

Melanie Kimsey & Joe Myers

Bradley Copeland & Hannah Shumate

Ron & Michelle Womack

Ashley Turner & Amanda Hurd


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Bay Foot & Ankle Center Francia T. Squatrito, DPM, FACFAS, CWSP Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Tammy Pruett & Melissa Ward

BE DE Smiling toes and happy feet are our specialty. John Edley & Debbie Campbell

Thank you for voting us Best Podiatrist Call Today to Make an Appointment 850-855-4048

Accepting New Patients

Valerie Harrington & Peter Mohylsky

Open Monday - Thursday 8AM - 5PM, Friday 7AM - 3PM

Treatment and Specialty Include: • Bunion and Hammertoe

• Achilles Tendinitis


• Adult and Pediatric

• Arthritis


• Ankle Sprains

• Lateral Ankle Instability

• Fractures

• Diabetic Foot Care

• Tendon and Ligament Reconstruction

Rodney & Gayle Smith

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• Ingrown Toenails • Warts

• Plantar Fasciitis

• Wound care

• Heel Spur Syndrome

• Sports Injuries

1775 Lewis Turner Blvd. • Fort Walton Beach (close to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center) www.Ba February 2021

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VIP Destin at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

FP RA January Luncheon photos & story by Zhalman Harris


orthwest Florida Coast chapter of FPRA held their first “Professional Development Luncheon” meeting for 2021 at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa on January 19. In a room with plenty of room to spread out due to Covid, guests were able to enjoy the event dubbed “Building Unstoppable Momentum for Your Ideas, Career, and Business.” The guest Speaker, Mark W. Schaefer, chief operating officer at B Squared Media, delivered a fast-paced and entertaining keynote presentation. The author discussed the big ideas from his new book “Cumulative Advantage.” Mark explained how we can use decades of proven, research-based ideas to create unstoppable momentum for our own passions, lives, careers, and businesses. “Anybody can have an idea. But momentum is what separates an idea that changes your life from a dream that sputters and goes nowhere,” said Mark. The NWFL Chapter of FPRA boasts a small but mighty membership spanning the geographic areas of Okaloosa County, Walton County, and Bay County with members representing multiple local industries including government, hospitality/tourism, economic development, associations, non-profit, education, healthcare, retail, agencies, and small business. FPRA brings public relations professionals together for support and education through programs, professional development seminars, and special events.


Corey Dobridnia & Chelsea Fox

Haley Blaise, Krissy Dermody, M. Shaye Smith & Rachel Prescott

Frank Berte & Misty Rae Ruthrauff

Rebecca & Mark Schaefer

Tracy Louthain & Lori Leath Smith

Cali Hlavac & Hillaree Durso


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Rebecca Schaefer & Sharon Vaughn

Teresa Halverson & Emily Friedlander



1280 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite 113B, Miramar Beach, FL


Melanie Moore, Ta’Ki Brown & Hillaree Durso

Denise Kendust, Misty Rae Ruthrauff & Rosalyn Wik


2254 South Ferdon Boulevard Crestview, FL February 2021 | 25

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We would like to thank everyone that voted us Best Home Decor & Accessories Store.

2017 Artist of the Year

Marisol Gullo / 850-419-3976 9755 Highway 98 West / Miramar Beach FL 32550 12805 US Hwy 98 East, Unit P101 / Inlet Beach, FL 32461

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Love that style … but what is it! story by Clare Lee


ver wondered about your interior design style? Unless you went to design school, you probably never had a lesson on specific styles of furnishings. However, many may have a natural flair for furnishings and were schooled by Pinterest posts and practice. Or, you may have such a design talent that you are the one creating those posts. Whether that is you or not, we are breaking down a few flavors of design here. Many of us like to marry a “throuple” of styles. Of course, everyone’s style may not fit into a box but likely draws from one or a few of these most popular design themes. For some of us, thumbing through Pinterest may confuse us more than inform us of our design preferences. If you are not one with that innate interior design taste, then you may want to work with a pro. When working with a professional interior designer, they often quiz you about types of furnishings you like, your color choices (or lack of color), and how you will use a space to determine your design direction. Or once you realize your style(s), you may even choose a designer who specializes in your genre of choice. When it’s your home, everything hinges on what you like and whether you’ll be happy living in that space. It’s often easy to tell whether or not you like something, but it can be difficult to say for sure why. Ultimately, it is about creating a space that you love. A designer once told me – only keep things in your space that you love. Professional designers emphasize an understanding of different styles to get a starting point to identifying one or two that gives you the feels, then they can help fill in the rest of your look. Included are just some of the popular styles. Others are contemporary, minimalist, Scandinavian, transitional, French country, shabby chic, eclectic, or any combination of styles. Also trending for this year is a new movement called Japandi – a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian influences. Whatever style(s) you choose, love the space you are in. If you are overwhelmed with the many design choices, reach out to a local design professional or just browse their showroom for some inspiration.

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Match the furniture to it’s style!


.. A

Similar to Hollywood Regency, Glam is a design style that tends to be luxurious, over-thetop and opulent. It’s a dramatic design style, perfect for a homeowner who enjoys making a statement. his style is filled with luxe textiles incorporating features of Victoian design such as plush, velvet, or antique furnishing and jewel-toned colors and mixed with some hints of modern and contemporary. Overall, it is a high end and posh look.



Mod Farmhouse This style has become very mainstream in the last few years – thanks in part to HGTV. The style uses a lot of found and salvaged objects but pulled together in a more modern and refined way. With some rustic and outdoor elements, it is more farmhouse-esque. You’ll see plaids, blues, greens and lots of white and black used in this style. It is very inviting and comfortable and has a hint of traditional but less formal. hink rustic yet refined as Joanna aines may say.


.. C

Industrial style as the name implies,

draws inspiration from a warehouse or an urban loft. There’s a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements including exposed brick, ductwork, rustic wood, and leathers. An iconic home with an industrial design theme would be a renovated loft from a former industrial building. Think high ceilings, old timber, and dangling metal light fixtures with sparse, functional furniture with some abstract art or photography adding a dash of color to an otherwise neutral color scheme.

4 28

Hollywood Glam


Coastal Not much explanation needed on this one! The name inherently gives you a sense of what the style holds. It’s all about the casual beachy atmosphere that we see here on the Gulf Coast, and is prevalent all along the East Coast, as well. The style is all about bringing the natural elements of the coast inside your home. There are a lot of whitewashed woods, blue tones, unique colored pearl-like glass tiles, and plenty of white to help all that beachy sunshine bounce around the room. The intention is to create a relaxed and comfortable environment that is inspired by the beach and ocean.


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Mid-Century Modern With cues coming heavily from the the 1950s and 60s, there’s a retro nostalgia present in Mid-Century Modern Design. Functionality or “fussy-free” was the main theme for Mid-century design, which also nods to minimalism. The lines on many pieces are simple and clean and are made out of warm woods with purposeful details and styling. It easily complements any interior and also helps with seamless transitions from interior to exterior.



Traditional design style offers classic details, sumptuous furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. It is rooted in European sensibilities. raditional homes often feature dark, finished wood, rich color palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics, like velvet, silk, and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures. There’s depth, layering and dimensionality within most traditional designs and it is one of the oldest, and most common design styles


.. G

Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines, a simple color palette, and the use of materials that can include metal, glass and steel. Modern design employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that’s commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style. Modern is a timeless style that will always look fresh, and modern furnishings can be very comfortable.

H ..

Bohemian oho reflects a carefree lifestyle with little rules, except to follow your heart’s desire. Bohemian homes may include vintage furnishings, globally inspired textiles, displays of collections, and items found during travels. There may be some caning or bamboo mixed with saturated colors. Within the Bohemian style, there’s a laissezfaire attitude where anything goes as long as you love it. Boho style is all about pulling together natural and organic elements into an exotic, playful, layered, and collected look.


Answers: 1-H, 2-D, 3-B, 4-A, 5-C, 6-E, 7-G, 8-F

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CELEBRATING 28 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS OF MODERN. Visit our modern interior design center: 12170 Emerald Coast Parkway | Miramar Beach

850.269.1699 |

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Best in Destin story by Greg Alexander


or many years the readers of VIP Destin Magazine have been proudly heralding their favorite businesses, providers, and restaurateurs through the Best In Destin awards. The fanfare for this award has grown mightily over the last decade and each of the hundreds of winners has been grateful and proud to display their acknowledgement. Many even continue to win year over year, proving they are doing something right. The competition has gotten stiffer over the years as more businesses have opened and as more are vying for the title. Chefs chop, sautée and grill their way towards achieving the “Best Restaurant”, “Best Gumbo”, or “Best Seafood” awards. Makeup artists, hair stylists, and photographers brush up on their skills hoping to double dip awards in their individual categories as well as the Wedding/Bridal Services. With over 140 categories, the competition is fierce. With the number of participants and volume of voting growing each year, VIP Destin Magazine feels confident that the community puts stock into this awards program. The Destin area is so fortunate to have so many great local businesses whose passion for pleasing their patrons is obvious. Every business that was nominated has made a positive impression on someone and they should be proud. The top 10 businesses that moved forward to the voting phase all proved to have a large fan following and are each deserving of attention from all of our readers. We hope you will take note of all those businesses and find time to utilize their services and share your experience with others. Both locals and visitors recognize the talents of those behind the storefronts bearing the coveted Best in Destin logo emblazed on their windows, printed on their advertisements, and splashed across their social media channels. It’s time to shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know of their accomplishments during this most difficult year to be in business! Owners of all winning businesses will also receive invitations to the highly anticipated VIP Destin Magazine annual Black Tie Ball. We look forward to further recognizing these winners and celebrating their accomplishments with first class treatment. VIP Destin Magazine is proud to present the 2021 Best in Destin Award Winners chosen by our readers!

And the Winners Are...

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Shopping & Retail Place to Spoil Her Allyson Salon and Spa Gift Shop Bay Breeze Patio

Outdoor Furniture Bay Breeze Patio

Wine Shop/Liquor Store Beach Liquors Seafood Market Blalock Seafood & Specialty Market

Locally Owned Retailer Cheetah Chix Boutique

Shopping/Lifestyle Center Destin Commons Place to Spoil Him Electric Cart Company Jewelry Emerald Lady Jewelry

Furniture isidro dunbar MODERN INTERIORS

Home Decor/ Accessories Not Too Shabby by Marisol Gullo Eyeglasses/Sunglasses O’Donnell Eye Institute Children’s Clothing Pink -n- Blue Avenue

Women’s Accessories Sea & Sand Jewelry

Shoe Store Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles Women’s Clothing Today’s Boutique

Men’s Clothing Tommy Bahama Retail

Entertainment Place for “Girl’s Night Out” AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar Place for a Date Beach Walk Cafe

Place to Go Dancing Bric à Brac Restaurant & Bar Water Sports Experience Cruisin Tikis Destin Local Annual Event Destin Fishing Rodeo

Place to People Watch HarborWalk Village

Place to Watch a Sunset HarborWalk Village Hotel The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa Resort Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Party Boat Experience Destin Princess/ Destiny Party Boat Fishing

Golf Course Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club

Charter Fishing Experience Gulf-Angler Fishing Charters

Place to Be Seen The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Place to Take the Kids Emerald Coast Science Center

Place for a Weekend Getaway The Island Ft. Walton Destin by Hotel RL

Health & Wellness

Anti Aging Service Aqua Medical Spa

Podiatrist Bay Foot & Ankle Center Dermatology Practice Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology Urgent Care Destin ER

Plastic Surgery Destin Plastic Surgery Weight Loss Dr. Cheri DunnDunn Diabetes & Wellness Center

Pediatrician Dr. Richard Reno White-Wilson Medical Center

Alternative/Natural Medicine Kyle Chavers, MD, IFMCP Foundations Medical Center Place for a Massage Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa Aesthetician Janice CraigheadThe Aesthetic Clinique

Doctor Michael Stickler, MDDermatology Specialists of FL Women’s Wellness Provider Renew Aesthetics & Anti-Aging Clinic Dental Practice Smileology

Pain Management Dynamic Pain & Wellness

Medical Spa Stephen F. Weiner, MD The Aesthetic Clinique

Vision Care Eye Center South

Cosmetic Dentist The Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Chiropractic Clinic Emerald Coast Chiropractic Miramar Beach

Medical Center Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

Orthodontist Stubbs Orthodontics

Senior Living Community The Manor at Blue Water Bay Vein/Vascular Care The Vein Center of Florida

Medical Practice White-Wilson Medical Center

Wedding & Bridal Wedding Venue Destin Bay House

Wedding Planner Fancy Events Place for Stationery/Invites Frill Seekers Gifts Reception Venue Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Place to Buy Wedding Dress Simply Elegant Bridal Place to Get a Tuxedo Simply Elegant Bridal

Place for Rehearsal Dinner Vue on 30a Place to Pop the Question Vue on 30a

Place to Buy Engagement Ring McCaskill & Company

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Services Limo/Transportation Service 654LIMO, Inc. Event Rentals 850 Event Rentals

Charity/Non-Profit Alaqua Animal Refuge Hair Salon Allyson Salon and Spa

Specialty Contractor Destin Discount Granite & Cabinets

Flooring Destin Flooring America Florist Destin Floral Designs Golf Cart/ATV Dixielectricar

Place for Eyelashes, Nails, or Makeup Amazing Lash Studio

Bank/Financial Institution Eglin Federal Credit Union

Real Estate Company Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - PenFed Reatly

Landscaping/Lawn Service Emerald Coast Outdoor Services

Vacation Rental Beachwalk Vacation Properties

New Business Bitterroot

Photographer Bobby Wagner

Real Estate Team Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican

Alarm/Security Company Coastal Protection, Inc. IT Firm/Web Design CRC Data Technologies Accounting Firm Debra Henry, CPA

Place for Coffee 2 Bird’s Coffee & Cafe BBQ 98 Bar-B-Que

Catering Big Red Truck

Special Occasion Restaurant Bijoux Outdoor Dining Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer Buffalo Wings Buffalo Jack’s Legendary Wings & Pizza Margarita Cantina Laredo

Italian Restaurant Clemenza’s at Uptown Breakfast Crackings

31-33 Best In Destin winners 2021.indd 3

Sign Company Eloquent Signs

Property Management Emerald Coast Rental Management

Boat Sales & Service Gulf Coast Boating Centers Heating & Air Service Gulfshore Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. Title Company Hall & Runnels, P.A. Customer Service Insurance Zone Insurance Firm Insurance Zone

Interior Design Firm isidro dunbar MODERN INTERIORS

Real Estate Professional- Female Jacqui Luberto Realty ONE Group Architect JDF Architecture

Real Estate - Residential Jodi Ketchersid RealJoy Properties Banker Lane ReddingProgress Bank

Real Estate - Commercial Mary Anne Windes, CCIMReal Estate Professionals of Destin Inc. Law Firm McNeese Title, LLC

General Contractor Michael SpicerSpicer Design Build, Inc. A/V Provider Palm Audio Video Inc

Pet Care & Accessories Petland Fort Walton Beach Luxury Automobile Sales Porsche Destin

Cocktails & Cuisine

Gumbo Dewey Destin’s Harborside Restaurant

˜Bartender Maggie White - Slick Lips Seafood and Oyster House

Pizza Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Locally Owned Restaurant Mimmo’s

Dessert Emeril’s Coastal

Casual Dining Harbor Docks

Sushi Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi Chef Jay AmmonsSlick Lips Seafood and Oyster House Crab Cakes Louis Louis

Burger LuLu’s Destin

Event Planner Proffitt PR

Public Relations Firm Proffitt PR

Mortgage Lender Progress Bank - Brandi Ealy Homebuilder Randy Wise Homes

Real Estate Professional- Male Royce W. Mitchell Event Venue Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Payroll Firm/Human Resources SimpleHR Automobile Dealership- New Step One Automotive Group Automobile Repair/Service Step One Automotive Group Pool Building/Service Sunset Blues Pool Service

Interior Designer/Decorator Todd D. Reeves Automobile DealershipPre Owned Volkswagen Subaru Fort Walton Beach

Financial Advisor William Edward Blanken, Jr. Blanken Management

Steakhouse Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood

Fine Dining Marina Cafe

Bar/Tavern Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar

Place for Cocktails Ocean Club Restaurant

Seafood Restaurant Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House

Asian Osaka

Appetizer Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar

Mexican/Latin American Restaurant Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant Happy Hour Pepper’s Mexican Grill & Cantina

Oysters Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar

Brunch Sunset Bay Cafe

Outdoor Bar The Beach House Restaurant Bloody Mary The Red Bar

Wine List Vin’tij Food & Wine Beer Selection World of Beer

1/31/21 5:40 PM

Business Profile We have all heard the expression, “here’s your sign” or maybe the song lyrics “signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs”..... Well, we here at Eloquent Signs are partly responsible for all those signs.


loquent Signs, as the name implies, focuses on upscale signage with emphasis on multimedia, multidimensional signage that include design concepts with purpose, functionality, and flair. Nothing gets us more excited than when a client utters the words, “I would like something different.” We love to create those one-of-a-kind signs or signs that take old concepts and add a twist. The best way to describe our design approach is -- we seek to create a functional art piece. In a saturated landscape of signs, it is important to have a sign that stands out in the crowd. A sign is the first impression to your customers, your opportunity to convey your brand, and it needs to count.

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Best Sign Company

Eloquent Signs is a relatively young company, established in 2016 by Daniel and Chelsea Lee. With great marketing and creative sign production, the company quickly built a reputation for quality, high end signage. Signs Galore, Inc. and its owners Michael and Erica Rutledge picked up on the success of the young upstart company. Through divine intervention the two groups of owners were introduced and a mutually beneficial business relationship developed. Signs Galore, Inc brought two decades of experience as a state certified electrical design / build firm with full scale production capabilities. Eloquent Signs brought fresh marketing, creative design and an exclusive client list. Michael recalls thinking the young upstart company with its young ambitious owners would be perfect candidates to one day purchase Signs Galore, Inc. He also recounts, “despite my retirement planning,” God had another plan and in January 2020, Michael and Erica completed the purchase of Eloquent Signs. While 2020 presented many challenges, Eloquent Signs continued to press forward leading the industry and we thank everyone who was a part of making it great. We are proud to continue to build on the early successes of Eloquent Signs with expanded capabilities. Our success continues to be driven by a commitment to quality, creative sign design and production along with extraordinary employees. We continue to be blessed by talented men and women that share a common vision. Employees like James “Jim” Decker, a 40-year veteran of the sign industry who gets very little recognition, but has been a huge part of the growth of several sign companies. His knowledge, talent, and dedication are second to none. We have been fortunate to have had and continue to have highly talented, skilled staff that care about what they produce. As our area continues to prosper we plan to continue to grow and to help other companies to continue to succeed by providing excellent, eloquent signage. If you have the need, we would love the opportunity to help brand your company.

850-460-2425 80 S Geronimo Street Unit 2, Miramar Beach, Florida February 2021 | 35

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VIP Destin at Realty One Group

ONE.1 Run


photos & story by Zhalman Harris

ver dream of running a marathon but wonder where to begin? Jacqui Luberto of Realty One Group informed, “We started 202ONE with a ONE.1 mile run because big dreams sometimes start small. We do things a little differently here at Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast. We like to stand out from the crowd and make a difference.” Jacqui welcomed her walk/run participants on January 8 at ROGEC Main Office in Destin. The group started their walk at their main office and made their way to Destin Brewery on Mountain Drive where they gathered to support this local business. Jacqui noted ,“We are the UNbrokerage. We focus on the power of ONE and what it means to be a family, working to achieve greater success faster. The participants “ran” to ONE of their favorite neighbors, Destin Brewery, to show them some love. Destin Brewery has wonderful wine, beer, and seltzers as well as a warm, family atmosphere.” Jacqui’s passion and mission is to support small businesses and help the community. The agency’s focus is value founded on embracing change, doing things differently, and creating a positive impact in the community.

Lisa & Marty Buckman

Matt & Jacqui Luberto

Mikey Solano & Katie Anderson

Team Realty One Group 36


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Fransisco Montesdeoca, Tarrah & Chris Sexton

food and spirits Cora Rasmussen, Jordan Pehowic & Chris Bent

Established in 2020, Bitterroot Food and Spirits is Destin’s premiere establishment for high-end cuisine and cocktails. Thoughtfully crafted and always fresh, we aim to lead the industry by example. No exceptions, no compromises.

Alana Melendez, Mandy Reigart, Brandy Parker & Lauren McMullen

Hours of Operation: Dine In or Take Away Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Brunch: Saturday-Sunday, 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner: Monday-Sunday, 4 p.m. Small Bites: Daily from 2:30-4 p.m. Happy Hour: Daily 3-6 p.m.; $5 Old Fashioned Mondays Ladies’ Night Every Thursday

850-460-8881 4463 Commons Dr West STE A | Destin, FL 32541

THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST NEW BUSINESS! Jacqui Luberto, Jordan Pehowic & Chris Wallace February 2021 | 37

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Thank ha n y ffooorr your y vvoootote T ttees! Th an nkk you yoou for yoour votes!

Now Nooww come ccooom m woorrrkk with wwitiitith tth h the tth hhee best bbeeessstt mee work

Jacqui Luberto, Owner/Broker 321 Harbor Boulevard, Destin, FL 32541 850.830.5955 38 realty one - jacqui.indd 1

1/31/21 5:42 PM

VIP Destin at Vin’tij Food & Wine

Peggy & Jim Adams

Stacey May & Mike Brady

Jack & Candis Wilson

Vin’tij Wine Dinner Honoring Marcia Hull photos & story by Zhalman Harris


attie Kelly Arts Foundation honored retiring CEO Marcia Hull after 22 years of service, with a special wine dinner hosted by Vin’tij Food & Wine on January 21. The milestone was marked with the collaboration of Todd Newman, Dakota Shy Wines, and Todd Reber - Vin’tij Food & Wine, resulting in an epic four-course menu and wine pairing not soon forgotten. Hull, who has served as the Foundation’s CEO for the past 22 years, received an evening of stories and praise from colleagues and friends led by new CEO Demetrius Fuller, Tracy Louthain, and incoming Chairman of the Board, Teresa Halverson. As a legacy gift, the Mattie Kelly Foundation established the Marcia Hull Scholarship for the Arts providing a monetary scholarship to high school seniors going to college who have embraced the arts, no matter what discipline, as they begin their college careers. The scholarship fund begins with founding donors contributing over $10,000 combined. “Like the final note of a brilliant orchestral masterwork, Marcia Hull’s legacy will reverberate for many years to come,” stated Demetrius Fuller, new CEO, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.

Michelle & Dustin Terry

Beth Clavier & Mary Aho

Greg & Shantelle Dedicke

Marcia Hull & Demetrius Fuller February 2021 | 39

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VIP Destin at Vin’tij Wine Dinner Honoring Marcia Hull

Dale & Marsha Peterson

Bryan Beauchamp & Dion Moniz

Julia Hall & Lynn Wesson

Myra Williams & Mark Pollaski 40

Jessi Beauchamp & Mindy Moniz

Jennifer & Jeff Dannelly

Jason Lindblad, Shawn, Jennifer & Rich Tomasello

Ed & Denise Kendust

Kevin & Tracy Louthain

Gail & Jim Fogleman


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Heather & Dennis Ruiz

Langley Lindsley & Tammie Bowyer

Lynn Wesson, Myra Williams, Mark Pollaski & Julia Hall

Cathy & Don Hay

Robert & Shelly Hinojosa

Trevor & Lane Redding

Lamar Conerly, Todd Newman & Jim Adams

Deb Nissley & Melanie Moore

Glenda & Chuck Palmore

John & Margaret Sheehan February 2021 | 41

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VIP Destin at The Henderson




Muri & Tim Kersanac

photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Destin Chamber kicked off the New Year with the installation of its 2021 Board of Directors and officers during its January 8 Business Before Hours at the Henderson Resort. The Event was sponsored by Warren Averett. Taking the helm as Chairman of the Board is Jerry Sullivan of Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican. During the breakfast styled event, Sullivan promised productivity and fun for the New Year as the Chamber continues its mission of advocating for businesses and strengthening the community. With the mission ‘Advocating for Businesses, Strengthening our Community,’ the Destin Chamber of Commerce is a catalyst for successful businesses and a vibrant economy. The Chamber provides products and services to its member businesses helping them grow and prosper. The Chamber acts as the voice of business in government affairs. Governed by a volunteer board of directors and operated by a professional staff, the Chamber works daily to ensure that businesses have what they need to flourish.

Lockwood Wernet & Jerry Sullivan

Ryan Roberts & Hanna Putynkowski

Alyssa Tidwell & Nicole Noblitt

Bill Head, Fred Fenn & Skip Overdier

Gerard & Tracy Perillo

Angela Passehl & Jamie Sears

February 2021 | 43

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VIP Destin at Business Before Hours

Michael Carraway & Jason Belcher

Eric Navarre & Melony Howell

Chad Hamilton & Brian Liesveld

Elizabeth Spies & Debbie Eggers

Wayne Paul & Denise Kendust

Mel Ponder & David Butler

Steven Craft & Neko Stubblefield

Teresa Allen & Toby Ann Williams

Rachel Nicols & Rachel Borgie

Jeff George & Jim Wood

44 |

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A Feast Fit For A (Mardi Gras) King I

story by Anna Stockton

f you’re like me, you live for Mardi Gras season! My traditional Christmas tree ornaments are replaced with sparkly crawfish and fleur-de-lis ornaments, the tinsel comes down and the beads go up, bright purple, green and gold lights are strung where the twinkling white lights used to hang. I’m here for it all! The parades, the parties, the cocktails, the debauchery and especially the food! While some Mardi Gras celebrations are postponed this year, you can still celebrate with close friends and family with a traditional Mardi Gras feast!

There’s a Hurricane A Comin’ Ahh, hurricanes, synonymous with bad decisions and LOTS of fun. Founded at Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans during WW II, when rum flowed freely on barges on the Mississippi and whiskey and scotch were in short supply. During that time, in order to get your hands on one case of whiskey, multiple cases of rum had to be purchased as well. This left Pat O’Brien’s bar loaded down with rum, so they became inventive and created the sweet, rum based drink. The name Hurricane came from the use of the drink glasses modeled after hurricane lanterns. The glasses quickly became souvenirs for the happy customers. These days, you don’t have to go to New Orleans to get the real deal Hurricanes for your celebration. Pat O’Brien’s mixes are available online to give your guests the ultimate Mardi Gras experience, just add rum.

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“Y’all…It’s Majestic The next course for our Mardi Gras feast is my personal favorite, the muffuletta. Originating in a Sicilian deli in the French Quarter in the early 1900’s, this sandwich is named after the bread it’s built on. The farmers that sold their produce in the farmer’s market nearby were the inspiration for the sandwich that has slowly crept across the Unites States since then. Although, the meat, cheese, and olive salad sandwich has Italian roots, it’s a staple at Mardi Gras celebrations. Cut the sandwich in small portions for an appetizer or serve as an entrée for your feast. Either way, your guests will love the flavors this Sicilian creation brings to the table. Make sure you tuck a sandwich away for the next day. Muffulettas have an amazing, magical ability to cure what ails you after a night of Mardi Gras partying…..or so I’ve heard.

“Jambalaya and a crawfish pie, filet gumbo” Following up the muffaletta in our Mardi Gras feast is jambalaya, a dish so engrained in the Louisiana and Mardi Gras culture, Hank Williams even sang a song about it. This multi-cultural one-pot dish has West African, French, German, and Spanish influences. The Spanish are credited with inventing creole jambalaya during their 38-year reign of the Louisiana Territory when they tried to make paella but had to substitute tomatoes for saffron. When the French regained control of the territory, they brought spices from the Caribbean, combined them with the already established jambalaya and the flavor of modern jambalaya began to take shape. The final piece came from those industrious Germans and their mad sausage making skills. As they immigrated to Louisiana they added sausage to the jambalaya that was already packed with chicken, shrimp and tons of flavor, this is how the jambalaya we know and love today was born! So, as your guests are sipping on their hurricanes, share this vast knowledge of the history of jambalaya as you serve your own recipe at your feast and “son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the Bayou.”

“There’s a WHAT in the cake?” In a conversation with my father recently (who’s from the “other” side of Florida), he asked me what a King Cake is. My answer; “It’s a cake with a baby Jesus in it” -oh, he had some questions after that. Although, I simplified my answer, the King cake has a long and deep history in religion. This cake, a mixture of coffee cake and French pastry, was brought to New Orleans from France in the 1870’s. The cake symbolizes the three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus and is first served on King’s Day, also known as the Epiphany. The traditional colors of the cake icing, gold, purple and green, have their own significance. The gold represents power, purple represents justice and green signifies faith and the circular shape symbolizes the unity of all faiths. It is widely believed the baby inside the cake represents baby Jesus, and whoever finds it is King for a day, and also must either bring the cake or host the party the next year. If you don’t want to try your hand at making your own, there are plenty of bakeries on the Gulf Coast that can ensure the guests at your feast have an amazing, traditional Mardi Gras dessert to top off your feast fit for a King!

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story by Greg Alexander

| photos provided by A Bed 4 Me Foundation


ost of us have complained about not being able to get quite comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep; but each of us who have made those acknowledgements did, in fact, have a bed to sleep in. So many people are not aware that there are children in our community that have no proper bed to sleep in. Fortunately, there is an organization that is making strides to ensure that no child goes without a comfortable bed. A Bed 4 Me Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that provides beds to children and teens that would otherwise be sleeping on the floor or other inadequate spaces. The foundation qualifies each child and at no cost to the families, provides a bed kit that includes a twin size frame, mattress, bedding, and a pillow. A bed seems like such a simple thing to have, therefore, most people are shocked to hear there are kids right in our community who do not have one. Upon learning these facts, Diane Freeman and a a small group set out to make sure that no child in Okaloosa County was without a bed. Sleep plays a critical role in a child’s development, health, academic performance, and self-esteem. A Bed 4 Me addresses this essential need as every child deserves a bed.

The organization receives referrals from local social service agencies, schools, and places of faith with additional referrals coming from word of mouth or social media. Most of the families served are the working poor, often headed by a single working parent struggling to provide for their family. When people think of poverty, they think of housing, food, and clothing. Once those expenses are paid, a bed is financially out of reach. However, a comfortable, safe sleeping space is critical for so many reasons and having a personal space is important for everyone. This program is considered to be a one-time assistance that doesn’t foster dependence. By providing a well- made, sturdy bed that the child can grow with, it should stay with them into adulthood. A Bed 4 Me models its process to build a platform for the families and a bed is so much more than a piece of furniture. It can be a transformational moment. One child purchased a lamp to go beside her new bed so she could “finally read before falling asleep.” One girl said she could finally have a sleep over. Two teens agreed that their room was finally “looking like a home.” One mom, in tears, immediately moved a chair between her sons’ two new beds so she could read to them at bedtime. A bed is a place to dream. February 2021 | 53

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Interview with Diane Freeman, Executive Director A Bed 4 Me Foundation Spread the word, share our story, and dream with us: Facebook – abed4mefoundation Instagram – abed4me Twitter – abed4me How long has AB4M been around? Prior to 2018, we were serving beds under another organization that was not based in this area. The distance and logistics of the other organization was holding us back from providing more beds. We incorporated our new nonprofit, but have always held the same mission and purpose. I am lucky to have been with the organization since the beginning. When I read about children not having a bed of their own, I started asking around about the need in our area. Surprisingly, I found out that there are many children who were sleeping on the floor, on air mattresses, recliners, couches or paired up in one bed with siblings. How is the organization funded? A Bed 4 Me is funded solely on donations and fundraising. Community partners like The Okaloosa County School District provides us free warehouse space for mattresses, risers and pillows. We won an Impact 100 of Northwest Florida grant in 2019, which provided us a cargo style van to make our deliveries plus mattresses and risers for the grant period. There have been many individuals, businesses, church groups, youth groups, and civic groups that have supported us. Our two fundraising events each year are Putt Putt 4 Beds in March and our 5th annual Dinner of Dreams will be held in October. How has AB4M impacted the local community? Providing beds to children has been an under-served need in our area. We keep a 54

continuous waiting list with applications received daily. Families who are low income, graduating from homeless transition programs, or leaving domestic violence shelters are all in need on a regular basis. A bed is a simple thing most of us take for granted but it’s a luxury to these children and can you imagine bedtime without a bed? By providing this one need, families can use their own funds for other essentials. Remember as a child getting angry with a sibling, or upset with your parents. You ran to your bed. It’s a safety spot and comfort zone when things are not going well. A bed also gives a child responsibility, hope, and a place to dream of a different future. We hope to eventually expand into neighboring counties where the need is just as great. While our community has been very supportive and generous towards our mission, the need still exists and our neighbors need help as well. What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with the organization? The honest and genuine responses from the kids when we arrive with a bed. The children are so excited and happy to get a new bed. For many of our children, it’s the first time they have received something new and it can be life changing. A Bed 4 Me has served over 1,400 children in Okaloosa County and not one has not been excited about a new bed. Their reactions and the gratefulness from the parents make the work all worth it. How has your changed during COVID-19?

Our program develops a close and personal relationship with our families. Normally, our staff would visit the home first to meet the family to assess the space and determine the child’s favorite colors, characters, or sports teams. This gave the children input on how they want their bed space to look, some ownership. Currently, our introductory visits are held over the phone. While this still allows us to continue to ask the kids preferences, it’s not as beneficial as the home visit. When we would deliver the beds (pre-COVID) the family would unload the bed and we would help them set it up. Again, it was the family taking ownership in the process. Everyone would get involved and we called it a bed celebration! As a result of COVID, we are doing “drop and go” bed deliveries, taking everything to the homes and the families still unload, but our volunteers and staff are not entering any homes. We miss the bed assembly and celebrations, but many parents will send us pictures. Despite COVID, we still provided beds for over 400 children in 2020. It wasn’t our standard process, but over 400 children are now off the floor. How can folks support AB4M? Donate through our website and see our wish and registry lists there too. A complete bed sponsorship is $250. Our annual Putt Putt 4 Beds event is in March and we would love your organization, business, or club to join us. Find details on our website. We are always seeking groups to help with bedding collections and ask those donations follow our wish and registry list.


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1/31/21 7:30 PM

VIP Destin at Distillery 98

Ew, 2020.

Stephen Vallette & Amie Schiess

Brittney Dawson & Cali Hlavac

Hello, 2021! T

Tyler King & Nicole Bienvenue

photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

he Young Professionals of Walton County hosted the Ew, 2020. Hello 2021 Networking Social, their first networking social of the year on January 14 at Distillery 98. From 5:30-7:30 PM, this free event had the Distillery fi lled with people excited to network again. The gathering included some new faces in business and offering an exciting deal to become a part of the Young Professionals family for the year. Music from DJ 30A, a Photo Booth from Epic Photo Co, delicious food from TaCo.30A, a bonfire to keep warm outside in the chilly air, raffles to win some fabulous prizes, and more all contributed to making the evening a great first networking social for 2021. Other sponsors of the event were Mingle, Proffitt PR, Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, Rent Gear Here, and Step One Automotive Group. The Young Professionals of Walton County’s mission is to create a vibrant young professional community in the area. With tons of new faces at this event, it made for a great kickoff for the year and a fun environment to support the local businesses. With many more events lined up for the year in fun new locations, there will be opportunities to get out, meet, and network.

Matt & Courtney Weed

Carmen Wilkinson & Josh Foster

Keely McNeal & Micha Everett

Angie Roberts, Lauren Athalia, Diane Lane & Yazmeen Wilson February 2021 | 57

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VIP Destin at Ew, 2020. Hello 2021!

Elizabeth Blackwell & Emily Dismukes

Megan Harrison, Lance Youngblood & Justin Phelps

Katie & Joe Huckaby

Alex Curry & Nathan Curdle

Sarah Davidson, Kenzie Burley & Chad Kittrell

Amanda Doyle & Doug Taylor

Dash Arizmenbez, Jessica Lancaster, Oliwia Alvarez, Arlene Alvarez & Princess Jamilia 58

Will & Madison Andre

Robert & Lindsey Tidwell

Alex & Kseniia Buehrig


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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Winter Wonderland photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he Village of Baytowne Wharf brings another fun family event with kids gathering and enjoying the chillier days with Winter Wonderland. On January 9 from 9am-1:00pm, this 4-hour free event was non-stop with activities for children and adults alike as the lawn was turned into a true winter wonderland with snow being brought out every hour or so to keep up with all the snowman building, frolicking, and snowball fights that created a perfect, colder day activity. Right next to it, ice skating with Baytowne On Ice was still going strong to add to the fun atmosphere of a family day or date spot that has been present since October 26 and lasted through January. With the drop in temperatures, it was the perfect time to enjoy winter activities in the usually warm, sunny village. All around The Village of Bayowne Wharf kids also enjoyed the merry go round and warmed up with the fabulous restaurants and shops. Events are always going on so check out Baytowne activities and shops for the whole family.

Tasha, Jonny & Mason Gentry

Melissa Britt & Myra Watson with Teddy

Kay Gustafson, Brando & Charlie Valorie

Gerry Olverton, Barett Randes, Amber Fontaine, Adan, Gemma & Stacy Randes February 2021 | 61

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VIP Destin at Winter Event Location Wonderland

Heather & Erik Gerace

Rich, Kim & John Cocorane

Jan & Rich Morehouse

Merlin & Chelsea Smith

Ryan Black, Shellie Stinson & Amelia Black

Tom, Addie, Amelia & Audrey Aaron

Mandy & Jason Reigart

Mike & Shannon Luzansky & kids 62

Darlene Nieves & Karen Dellert

Rachel, Ellie & Colby Anderson


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Brad, Gabby, Kylie & Kallie Harris





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1/31/21 7:33 PM

LOCALE O Destin High School Opening Slated

The much-anticipated Destin High School (DHS) is slated to open for 9th and 10th graders in August of 2021. The tuitionfree public charter school is under contract to purchase the Grace Lutheran property located at 4325 Commons Drive West. DHS will be a model for innovation providing unique educational opportunities for both college-bound and vocationally-minded students living in Destin and Florida’s Emerald Coast. The DHS Governing Board, comprised of members Prebble Ramswell, Denise Fountain, Myra Williams, Sarah Stone, Heidi LoCicero, Jim Luttrell, Dr. Mitch Silver, Al Gardner, and Drew Palmer has been diligently working to bring the community its own high school, starting with entering into a $4.6 million purchase contract with Grace Lutheran for the land and buildings. DHS’s Board president Prebble Ramswell, commented, “The vision of opening Destin High School is about to be a reality due in large part to our donors, parents, community leaders, and our Governing Board. We are thrilled to have the assistance of RoundTable Funding whose financial advisors are highly experienced in guiding visionaries like the DHS Governing Board through the processes of securing charter school financing, retrofitting, project oversight and building additional school facilities. This community asset will make a positive economic impact while greatly enhancing the quality of life in Destin, Florida.” DAG Architects, who has designed schools across the state, is preparing site plans to retrofit and set forth a strategic plan to accomplish the renovation in record time.

Welcome to Progress Bank Progress Bank Okaloosa & Walton County Market President Dewayne Youngblood announced recently that Lane Redding has joined the Bank as Senior Lender, Business Banking.“We are thrilled to have Lane join our team in the Panhandle. She brings a great amount of local experience and expertise, along with a long history of success in our area that will serve her well in this new role,” said Youngblood.

Redding graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and then went on to graduate from Eastern New Mexico University with her Master of Business Administration. She has 10 years of banking experience from major institutions, where her roles primarily involved the areas of credit analysis and commercial banking. Active in the local Destin community, Redding serves on the boards for the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Destin Charity Wine Auction. She is also a member of the Destin Rotary Club. Redding, a military spouse, currently resides in Destin with her husband, Trevor, and their two sons. NWFSC Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Northwest Florida State College Foundation announced winners of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The four recipients for 2020 are: Distinguished Alumni Jennifer Frances – She established Bess the Book Bus (BBB), nonprofit program in Tampa that provides literacy access to children in under-served neighborhoods by providing free books. BBB has provided 800,000 books to children in Florida. She is currently working with school districts, head start programs, and others to increase the reach of BBB and provide books to even more children. Against the Odds Wendy Jones - The single mom of three plus a nephew wanted a better life for her family. Working at a convenience store by day, caring for her kids and studying at night by flashlight when the power was cut off, her dedication and persistence paid off when she obtained her Medical Coder/Biller certificate and landed her dream job at White Wilson Medical Center. Rising Star Eric Brown - While attending FSU Law School, Eric decided to change directions and go to medical school. After graduating from FSU College of Medicine, Eric was promoted to Lieutenant and began his surgical internship in the US Navy. Once he is eligible per Navy protocol, Eric will compete for a surgical residency. Hometown Hero Valerie Bogar was one of the 6 original teens when Youth Village started in 1999. Now she serves as the program director and is leading the incoming preschool and voluntary pre-K programs that will soon be offered as she continues to build the local nonprofit that has served over 2,700 children in grades K-8. The NWFSC Foundation is taking nominations for 2021 Alumni Awards through March 15, open to any alumnus of NWF State College and its affi liates. Award recipients will be recognized at the Foundation’s Annual Scholars and Donors Luncheon in fall of 2021. February 2021 | 65

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LOCALE O Impact 100 New Member Recruiting The Impact100 NWF President will virtually conduct membership events from Grant Recipient locations throughout the community. During these events prospects will learn more about what Impact100 NWF does in the community, meet some of their members virtually, and understand how the grants help local organizations. Women 18 years or older are welcome to attend a virtual membership event and learn how they can become a positive force for good in their local community.

Upcoming virtual membership events are listed below. To join the virtual event, visit: February 4, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance February 20, at 3:00 -Grant recipient guest: AMIKids Emerald Coast February 23, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: Chautauqua Healthcare March 4, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: ARC of Emerald Coast March 23, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: Safe Connections April 15, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: Oasis April 20, at 5:30 -Grant recipient guest: A Bed 4 Me Impact100 NWF also offers a NextGen Program, giving woman under 40 an opportunity to become members and engage with the community while learning the lessons of philanthropy aiming to empower these women to be ambassadors for a generation that is dedicated to giving and serving in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Visit website at: nextgen-program/. With almost 10 years of grant giving, IMPACT100 NWF’s successful community outreach has granted over $3.2 Million within Okaloosa and Walton counties. 66

New Director of CVHN Welcomed Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) welcomed former board member Jim Rice as its new Director of Development. Rice joins the CVHN team with more than 25 years of nonprofit experience, including fund development, campaign management, consulting, and more.

Locally, Rice was the Executive Director of Asbury Foundation of West Florida where his overall achievement was creating the first fully comprehensive development plan with the use of marketing and fundraising efforts. He has also served as Director of Development for his Alma Mater, Roger Bacon High School, and VP for Advancement for The Athenaeum of Ohio: Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. Rice is an active volunteer in various philanthropic organizations, including Little Brother’s Friends of the Elderly and Walton County Community Arts Association. He is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He and his wife Judy returned to the Emerald Coast in June of 2020 and call Santa Rosa Beach their permanent home. They have six children and 15 grandchildren. “We feel confident and excited that Jim’s extensive experience in the nonprofit sector will be a big part of some of the new things we are implementing in 2021,” said CVHN’s Executive Director Kelley Mossburg.

FWBMC in top 10% Fort Walton Beach Medical Center was recently named Top 10% in the Nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures, Overall Orthopedic Services, and Joint Replacement (3 years in a row) and is 5-star rated in multiple specialties for patient outcomes according to new research released by Healthgrades, the leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems. The recipients of the Healthgrades Top 10% in the Nation Awards™ represent the top 10% percent of hospitals in the nation who demonstrate superior performance for the most common procedures and conditions year-after-year. “Our community has diverse healthcare needs and our dedicated physicians and care teams strive for excellence in these service areas to improve, and in some cases save, the lives of our area residents,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. “To be named one of the Top 10% in the Nation for these specialty areas is a testament to our colleagues’ expertise and commitment to high-quality patient care.” The 5-Star Specialty Ratings were announced for the following specialties: Coronary, Orthopedics, Vascular, Gastrointestinal, and Critical Care.

“Consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of researching where they receive care before they visit a hospital for a specific procedure or condition,” said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Healthgrades. “When selecting a hospital, consumers can feel confident in the America’s 50/100 Best Hospitals for their commitment to quality care and exceptional outcomes.”


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February 2021 | 67

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THANK YOU for voting EFCU Best In Destin for

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1/31/21 7:35 PM

VIP Destin at E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center

First Friday

Breakfast photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


alton Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their January First Friday Breakfast on January 8 at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center in Freeport with sponsor, Gulf Power. Jennifer Conoley of Florida’s Great Northwest spoke while attendees enjoyed the delicious breakfast and warmth from the chilly morning air outside. Florida’s Great Northwest is 20 years into their goals and helping Northwest Florida’s businesses and regions with their “one-stop shop” for company representatives, location consultants, and real estate brokers researching the region as a potential business location. Paul Arthur, president of the board and director for 7 years for E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, who has been working for the non-profit organization for over 10 years said, “What a place to start the new 2021 year, we’re excited to start with you here and the more people that get out here, the better.” Greeted by two owls as attendees walked into the center, this environmental education center educates on average, 100 students a day in fourth and seventh grades FREE of charge with both two and four-day programs. Along with schools, they also offer programs for all groups including night hikes, star gazing, sleepovers, meetings, and so much more, along with their new Camp Longleaf area with arena, 6 cabins with 58 beds, and dining hall to tentatively open soon.

Dalton Allen & Ashlyn Stanford

Jennifer Conoley & Juliet Milam

Jimmy Dallas & Mark Wendel

Kristta Ponek, Jillinan Southerland, Jennifer Asucion & Paul Arthur (back) February 2021 | 69

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VIP Destin at First Friday Breakfast

Laura Andrews & Gabrielle Kilgore

Katie Price & Laura Bommarito

Sarah Ambriz & Anne Shaffield

Jennifer Cooper, Brittnee Orr & Heather Currey 70

Deb Cluff & Hannah Wilburn

Kay Cox & Lorraine Odom

Laura Sell & Paul Arthur

Michael Ekblad & Carly Barnes

Laura Sell & Megan Harrison

Kathryn Anderson & Mike Storey


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The one and only boutique for children in Destin with over 240 hand-picked brands.

Wood Fired Pizza And Classic Italian Cuisine

Thank you for voting us 75 Eglin Parkway, Suite126 | Fort Walton Beach, FL (850) 243-0707 | 2021

Best Children’s Clothing (850) 424-5707 4339 Legendary Drive D112, Destin, FL 32541 72

Thank You For Voting Us Best Italian Restaurant!


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Romantic Getaways F

story by Clare Lee

amily vacations, honeymoons, retreats, and meetings are all reasons that many folks travel from all over the world to the Gulf Coast beach neighborhoods we call home. As locals, we get caught up in the daily grind and sometimes forget to carpè diem for all that we have at our reach. One thing for sure is that now is the perfect season to enjoy the many places that we have quick access to. With travel having been difficult over the last year and with the fervor of the holidays in our rearview mirror, now is the perfect season and reason to get away, if only for a single day, night, or weekend to one of these nearby romantic landmarks. With spectacular sunsets, unbeatable beaches, luxurious accommodations, and world class dining (both casual and fancy) the Emerald Coast is the perfect place for couples to reconnect and rejuvenate. There are romantic retreats to pamper and provide the ultimate romantic experience, or go day tripping just to soak in some of the wonder that exists nearby yet makes you feel so far from home, when you might just be down the street. If you do choose to stay the night away, here are some places where you may find romance in the air.

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Dazzle Your Darling in Destin The Henderson Park Inn in Destin was named #1 Most Romantic Hotel in North America and #2 Most Romantic Hotel in the World by Reader’s Choice contest. Enough said, but … this adults-only New England-style boutique hotel, overlooking a mile plus of pristine sandy beach, is an exceptional blend of charm and grace. A stay in one of 36 lavish rooms and suites with recent renovations offers a gourmet breakfast, picnic boxed lunch, sunset cocktails and more. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary bottle of wine, fresh grapes and chocolates, setting quite a tone for romance! This oceanfront jewel also stakes claim to BeachWalk Café, possessing

romantic charm to indulge in a divine dining experience. Entering Destin from the west, you immediately notice the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village overlooking the emerald waters with showstopping sunsets, providing a stellar setting for romance. Enhancing your stay, the spacious units include private balconies, large plush beds, and a full-service concierge. Amenities include a European spa, and all the pools and beach access one could need. Add a private in-room chef and you have the recipe for a truly romantic experience. This Destin resort is surrounded by picturesque HarborWalk Village that brings daytime events

and exciting nightlife alive on the Harbor. Romantic getaways mean something different to everyone, The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa is a perfect solution. To some, romance is a walk along a pristine beach with waves lapping at bare feet. Others prefer luxurious spa treatments for two followed by an exquisite meal by candlelight. And some couples expect all three. These are the types of couples who choose Hilton Sandestin— and they come back, time and time again to partake in the culmination of experiences at Seagar’s Prime Steaks, Serenity by the Sea Spa, and all nature and beach beauty one can behold.

Relish the Romance Along 30a A bit further east on Highway 30A appears the WaterColor Inn & Resort. Reminiscent of its name, beachy whites, blues, and light greens dominate the color scheme throughout. The inn offers an airy and relaxing atmosphere and sits right on a beautiful private beach. Since it’s part of a larger resort community there are amenities galore, including acclaimed dining spot FOOW. But the updated rooms here may be the highlight, particularly for those on a romantic trip with their luxe yet comfortable feel and patios and balconies with ocean views. For an unforgettable weekend getaway in South Walton, The Pearl Hotel is a standout. Although seemingly you are in a European village, this stunning boutique hotel resides in Rosemary Beach. While the hotel features incredible dining options and an elegant spa, it’s also positioned next to top restaurants and shops, all only a few steps away from the stunning Gulf of Mexico. The rooms mix classically elegant decor with modern luxuries. The balcony views are the star of the show with blue sky, ocean waves, and the cool Gulf breeze. While the hotel’s interior is amazing, the pool area is a true showstopper. The graphic black-and-white awnings and bright yellow umbrellas provide a perfect environment enveloping you in romance. Whether you stay in the 30A area or are just out for a romantic night, lots of elevated date night dinner options avail. Café Tango is a special favorite with its quaint, cozy, exclusive vibe and is popular for great service, stupendous food, and intimate atmosphere. Pescado has a beautiful, modern coastal indoor dining room and a rooftop bar that will make you want to take a selfie. Casual fine dining, Pescado offers delicious food, handcrafted cocktails, and a panoramic view. Few things are more romantic than a cozy night in by the fireplace or enjoying coffee on the porch overlooking the Gulf. There are hundreds of home rental options along the charming villages along 30A. Sure, some are for a family of a dozen, but there are many made for two that are just footsteps from the beach for a moonlit stroll or a daytime bike ride. You can even enjoy a romantic dinner at home by booking one of several private chefs for an extra special night in.

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Amazing Apalachicola If time allows to get just a bit further away, St. George Island promises to impress, where you can rekindle the flame that brought you together. Adventurers kayak through hidden coves, cruise along the island’s bike paths and end their days by stargazing with their sweetie on the beach. Try Guided Beach Yoga Lesson

where all you need to participate is a beach towel and a bright outlook. After the sunset, climb to the top of St. George Light House with your darling right beside you using the soft light of the moon as your guide when the Lighthouse hosts their full moon tour of the historic building. No other vantage point on the island is quite like this one.

With no high rises in sight and a Southern beach calmness to cleanse the soul, this escape in Apalachicola, just 70 miles below Panama City is ideal for honeymoons and romantic weekend getaways. Enjoy miles of undisturbed beaches, panoramic views, private balconies, and a spacious beach rental for you and your sweetheart.

Partner’s Paradise in Pensacola On the western tip of Florida’s panhandle, many wondrous and romantic places await in Pensacola. The first hotel to open under the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel offers a relaxed, tropical atmosphere right on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline on Pensacola Beach. The hotel’s white and blue color palette with wicker furnishings adds to the beachy atmosphere, as does the seasonal live entertainment and poolside Tiki bar. Rooms are sophisticated, romantic, and airy with bulging balconies. The unique Pensacola Grand Hotel has a 1912 passenger train depot as its lobby, offering an historic and romantic vibe located in the center of downtown, and undergoing renovation for a spring re-opening. Their Romance Package includes a king room, sparkling wine, and chocolate-covered strawberries, as well as in-room breakfast for two. Be sure to stroll around the downtown Pensacola area to take in the history and architecture. Intimacy is the name of the game at the soon to open Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel. Formerly The Lee House and located in Historic District of downtown Pensacola, new iteration will have a fresh atmosphere with innovative landscaping architected to astound. Inside you’ll find natural design elements with a comfortable, relaxed style and elegant presence. The 8 luxury rooms will be outfitted in curated tranquil décor and the hotel will boast 3 outdoor venue spaces, all with a March 2021 opening. Crossing the Alabama state line, you know you’ll always be treated with regal Southern charm at the Grand Hotel Marriott Fairhope. Treat yourself to a romantic getaway in this picturesque beach hamlet in Fairhope Alabama, where all the luxuries of a resort are at your disposal. Relax with your partner in the Grand Spa, bask in the sun, or cool off in the stunning outdoor pool and enjoy the white sand beaches. If your partner is also your tennis partner, you will lust over their whopping total of ten tennis courts. When you visit the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, you may never want to go home.

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Holi Indian Kitchen Indian Food Colored With Spice Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 am - 2:30 pm 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Sunday 11:00 am - 3:00 pm 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm 850-353-2630 10859 Emerald Coast Pkwy Miramar Beach, FL

Fresh and made to order Burgers & Wings, The Fatboy Philly, Cocktails, and Beer Fatboys – Juicy Beef Tasty Bird

Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3- 6pm

Sunday - Thursday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Friday - Saturday 10:00am to 10:00pm 76

850-842-3190 104 Harbor Blvd Destin, FL


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VIP Destin at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

MENTOR APPRECIATION Mary Fletcher & Janet Parker

Power of Business Luncheon photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Walton Area Chamber of Commerce loves to honor its mentors. One way they do that is by hosting a Mentor Appreciation Power of Business Luncheon sponsored by Mentoring Emerald Coast. They hosted their first lunch of the year at the beautiful Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, on

January 13. Attendees were offered a sneak peek of the new Hotel Effie. During lunch, attendees heard from guest speaker, Amie Schiess a Personal Development Trainer and Coach with RED Inc., and Chef Jim Shirley Enterprises. During the program, one of the best quotes reminded us, “Say yes! Tell the world. Then, figure it out.” – Sir Richard Branson.

Teresa Horton & Joy Robins

Jeremy Radney & Kellie Jo Kilberg

Jim Bagby & Stephanie Hill

Cory Fosdyck & Heather Cleveland

Allison Smith & Lisa Foster

Gabrielle Kilgore-Woods & Kevin Henderson

Meloney Howell & Kim McKintosh February 2021 | 77

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VIP Destin at Mentor Appreciation

David Butler & Mike Storey

11-8 Mon-Thurs ~ 11-9 Fri-Sat Closed on Sundays LUNCH/DINNER/CATERING

THANK YOU to all

our loyal customers! Best BBQ 2017-2021 850.622.0 679 Charlene Matthews, Megan Brown & Sierra Peterson

5008 HWY 98 West, Suite 1 ~ Santa Rosa Beach

Sharon Vaughn, Zoey Zeurcher & Carol Holland



Jimy Thorp, Ginny Richerson, Bill Blanken & Jimmy Dallas 78














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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VIP Destin at Ideal Balance

Mike De la Rosa & Ellen Damaso

Gulf Coast nWorking Ribbon Cutting


RIBBON CUTTING photos & story by Patti Hall


n January 26, The Greater Navarre Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Gulf Coast nWorking. Businessmen and women came out for the event to be in on the first meeting of an exciting new networking group. After the ribbon cutting, Jill Andrusko, the founder of Gulf Coast nWorking, thanked everyone for coming out and explained the format of the networking group. The format is designed to build relationships, support professional development, and develop introduction generating affiliations. The networking group provides an excellent opportunity for attendees to promote their business and showcase products. Some lucky winners went home with door prizes. Gulf Coast nWorking will have weekly meetings held on Tuesday evenings at Ideal Balance located at 8418 East Bay Boulevard in Navarre.

Laurie & Jake Cavender

Kristen Deese & Natasia Champion

Loreen Skobel & Caitlin Love

Jill Andrusko & Tracy Bragg

Shana Roberson & Vanessa Porten


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Dr. Paul Britt & Courtney Bryant

Airell Mazer & Josh Champion

Amber Carr, Eileen Harrell & Melissa Furlong

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VIP Destin Magazine is growing! I was born and raised in Gulf Breeze, Florida. I have over 20 years of experience in the sales and service industries and look forward to promoting local businesses that improve our community and lifestyle. • Kristin works with area businesses assisting in the promotion, marketing, and communication of their products and services.

• Kristin’s broad experience, professionalism, and attitude will be an asset to all whom she assists.

• Kristin is the proud mom of 3 charming young boys. • Kristin and her family live, work, and play right here in the beautiful city of Destin. They love all sports, our local beaches, and being a part of this tight knit community.

Kristin Moffitt


Being a part of VIP Destin Magazine and a part of this amazing community, makes me feel complete. • Kevin has worked in the hospitality industry 25+ years in amazing locations such as Boca Raton, Florida, Vail, Colorado, and now back in beautiful Destin. He loves meeting new people and assisting them succeed in business. • Kevin believes that VIP Destin Magazine provides the community with a fun social and informative point of view. • Kevin loves being back at the beach after many years away. Like all of us, he loves the beaches and the scenic beauty of the Emerald Coast. • Kevin looks forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the many events he attends. Most of all he wants to help your business stay relevant.

Kevin O’Rourke


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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 2018-2021 Best Event Planner 2018-2021 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


1/31/21 7:44 PM

FEBRUARY 6 5th Annual Palate & Palette Five Dining Venues from Fort Walton to Alys Beach 6pm This event will feature five local unique artists and will be hosted as five different intimate dinners across Okaloosa and Walton Counties. Each artist will create unique pieces to be auctioned off in an exciting and competitive virtual auction! Each wine dinner will be its own unique experience, showcasing the talents of a different chef and artist. Attendees will indulge in a four-course seated dinner paired with fine wines from around the world. For specific restaurants and additional details, visit

FEBRUARY 16 FEBRUARY 13 Mardi Gras Celebration & Parade HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Boulevard | Destin 2:30 Live Music, 4:00 Parade Celebrate Mardi Gras on the Harbor with LIVE music by Fais Do-Do, followed by beads, dazzling floats, and street performers when the parade rolls through HarborWalk Village. A portion of the proceeds from float entries will benefit Fresh Start for Children and Families. For float applications or for more details visit:

FEBRUARY 20 32nd Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival Village of Baytowne Wharf 300 Baytowne Wharf Blvd | Miramar Beach 12:00pm – 4:00pm Sample a variety of gumbo and vote your favorite. Dark or light roux? Chicken, sausage or seafood? Celebrity judges will name the “Area’s Best.” Gulf Coast restaurants will be featured along with live music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe and children’s activities. The Best Bloody Mary’s at The Beach competition is BACK! Taste some of the finest Bloody Marys on the coast AND you’re the judge! Find out more at

BizTech – 2nd Destin Business Technology Summit The Palms of Destin Resort 4201 Indian Bayou Trail | Destin 9:00am-6:00pm This daylong conference and expo connecting Destin area small businesses with the technology-related information and companies needed to improve business operations and protect their electronic assets. This year’s keynote speaker is Michael Levin, the current CEO and Founder of the Center for Information Security Awareness (CFISA), a former Secret Service Agent, and the former Deputy Director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security. Topics include Cybersecurity, Leveraging Technology in Remote Work Setting, Home Network Security, Google My Business, Vendor Management, Post-COVID Payment Solutions, and more. Registration and agenda can be found at

FEBRUARY 21 Hops for Hounds Destin Commons 4100 Legendary Drive | Destin 11:30am – 1:00pm Take a dog walk to each of the murals at Destin Commons and snap a photo with you and your FURever friend. You’ll have the opportunity to stop at each of the 9 murals at the Destin Commons with your furry family members. Each mural will feature different beer and spirits sponsored by local companies. To buy tickets or for more details visit

FEBRUARY 27 Shrimp & Grits Festival Destin Harbor 210 Harbor Blvd | Destin 12:00pm - 4:00pm The Destin Harbor’s newest event is back for year 2 to showcase one of the South’s most beloved dishes. Enjoy delicious food, great drinks, and live music on the Destin Harbor, as local restaurants compete for the best Shrimp & Grits dish on the Harbor. Find tickets and more details at

Visit for more events!

Event information may be out of date due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please confirm details with event organizers. 84 |

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VIP Destin at Distillery 98


Pete & Debbie Pearson

Business After Hours photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

D Logan Boesch & Wesley Hayes

istillery 98 in Santa Rosa Beach hosted a Dual Chamber Business After Hours event on January 28 with Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce. From 5-7pm, attendees gathered to network, catch up with chamber members, and meet new people, all while enjoying food by Sports to Geaux and dessert by Sweet Henrietta’s. Sponsors of the event were Idyll Hounds Brewing Company and 30A TV, along with Distillery 98. With beautiful weather and a large space, people enjoyed being able to network in the new year. Co-founder of Distillery 98, Micah Lawson said, “We are excited for this community focused business and what a blessing it’s been to have both counties co-mingle with their mission being a thriving Florida Panhandle.” A few attendees expressed how wonderful it was to go to a chamber event with new faces, along with people they were excited to see after the holiday season. The evening ended with door prizes and Emerald Coast Luxury Transportation providing rides back to the vehicles.

Jennifer & Matt Cooper

Kristopher McLane & Ryan Davis

Bekah Kozlowsky & Rachel Davis

Kevin O’Rourke & Micah Lawson

Carla Brandt & Lyndsie Sisk

Danny Elis & Clinton Salveson February 2021 | 87

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VIP Destin at Dual Chamber Business After Hours

Kyle Phelps & John Hodges

Lewis King Jr. & Kareem Saunders

Allison Smith & Hannah Bowyer

Ilene Shaw, Missy Sparks & Robyn Evans 88

Misty McCranie & Chuck Sowers

Gary White & Beth Fulton

Rebecca Smith, Robin Mullane & Pamela George

Paul Vizard & Geraldine Sangsland

Angie Reseal & Jimmy Dallas

Shannon Richmond, David Ladin & Talent Grawburg


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VIP Destin Magazine proudly supports:

At VIP Destin Magazine we are strong supporters of the non- rofit that ho a th n ro ity o o r ar a Part of our inherent mission is to spread good will. We have contributed over $250,000 of valuable t o t o to f fi t of t o rofit o r o t Thank you for supporting us so that we may pay it forward.

Alaqua Aletha’s Legacy Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation Autism Center E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center BLM

Sinfonia Breast Cancer Children in Crisis

Children’s Volunteer Health Network Costa Enterprises

Cultural Arts Alliance Destin Chamber of Commerce

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

Destin Rotary Club Destin Woman’s Club Dog-Harmony Earth Day Network Emerald Coast Out of the Darkness Emerald Coast Theatre Company Impact 100

Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center

Festival of the Arts Fisher House Food for Thought Fore Her Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Emerald Coast Foundation La Lumière HCA Community Foundation Habitat for Humanity Healing Paws for Warriors K9’s for Warriors Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation ReStore Military Appreciation Council Montessori Learning Center Northwest Florida Ballet Panhandle Animal Welfare Sacred Heart Foundation Save The Kids Shelter House South Walton-Covid Relief Special Olympics Florida Special Ops Transition Youth Village The Secret Place United Way Walton Area Chamber of Commerce

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Jerry Sullivan

What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast? I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. My wife and I started investing in residential and commercial property in Atlanta and in 2003 purchased an investment property in Destin. After a great career as a rock’n’roll musician, serving my community as a DeKalb county police officer and owning and operating a commercial renovation and restoration company, in 2007 we became full time residents of Destin. What is your profession? My love for Real Estate was growing fonder and in 1988 I earned my real estate license. I started my Real Estate career in Georgia and moved it to Florida when Blue Marlin Realty group was formed, which has grown to CENTURY 21 Blue Marlin Pelican. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? My favorite things about Destin are the people, the beach, the water, and the weather! Three words that best describe you. Competitive. Supportive. FUN! Favorite place for entertainment and for outdoor activities?

photo by Zhalman Harris

My favorite place to be is at my ranch on my downtime or on my boat. I have always loved the emerald waters and the beautiful beaches. What is one thing that you do not go a day without? Working, praying, and loving my family and community. Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because… Every time my wife and I leave for a trip or vacation, when we get home my wife and I both say.... “Man I love this place.”

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