VIP Destin Magazine - January 2022

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Volume XIX • Issue I

events 11 Sequins & Suits Silent Auction 15 Step One Employee and Community Christmas Party 21 VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal Party 24 Sip N’ Stroll 26 Beachworx Member’s Happy Hour 49 Rude Off, Party On 52 Pearl Harbor Day Lunch 56 Ladies Who Launch Perseverance: A Pathway to Success 58 The Next Big Thing 66 Billy Claus and the Lulubelles Brighten the Holidays 71 Destin Chamber Annual Holiday & Awards Party

on the cover Peyton & Beau Trist (See more on page 41)

Photography by Pure 7 Studios

features departments 18 54 61 68 74

Give Care Share May We Suggest Destin Style Locale I Am Destin

29 Weddings Splash 31 Mother Knows Best 34 Ann Elizabeth + Andrew LoCicero 36 Megan + Wil Lutz 38 Taylor + Erik Petrick 41 Peyton + Beau Trist 44 Kelly & Chris Wall 46 Lauren + Phillip Zeffiro

VIP Destin Magazine Staff Publisher Greg Alexander

Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Greg Alexander Alina Joukova-Seamon Heidi LoCicero Alicia Noble Kay Phelan Anna Stockton Savannah Vasquez Kristina Wright

Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Moffitt Verla Price Content Creator Anna Stockton Graphic Design Brian Goins Patti Hall

VIP Founder Jeff Watson

January 2022 | 7

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letter from the Associate Publisher Learn, Live & Love I was going to insert exploding confetti and the sounds of horns blaring as you opened this issue, but I was fearful it would scare you, so I will just say it! Happy 2022! A new year is upon us—ideally, a time for new thoughts, ideas, friends, and adventures. Each new year, we are conditioned to make a list, set new goals, lose weight, exercise more, stop complaining, start a new hobby, get organized ... I say forget all of that. I am putting a halt to New Year’s resolutions and seizing the moment to think back on all the fantastic things that happened in 2021. Personally, I bought my first RV and learned to tow, then traveled from state to state, stopping at wineries, setting up in remote areas to ride motorcycles, and working many days from the road. A new personal high was reached when I rode a dual-sport motorcycle along the Continental Divide from New Mexico to Canada, camping in a tent most of the way. VIP Destin Magazine also had a fantastic year. Last February, we celebrated the Best In Destin Winners. In March, VIP Destin’s Black Tie Ball rocked the Hilton. Our Cover Reveal Parties came back, and smiling faces fi lled our pages as many long-standing events came back around. VIP Ambassadors and new employees joined our family, new clients came on board to share the pages with our supporting businesses, and the number of new friends we made was astounding. VIP Destin Magazine shone brightly in 2021, deserving of a minute to remember accolades before we launch into 2022 like a tidal wave! Our first issue for 2022 is a tribute to love and happiness. As you fl ip through our featured weddings and matrimonial features, your heartstrings will be tickled. We had such fun hearing from these brides as they were ever so eager to share about their big day. We even have an extended wedding profi le on our cover couple that you will not want to miss. The winners of Best In Destin 2022 will be announced in our February issue. Also exciting is that we will present a plaque to each winner to display in their business designating them as our Readers Choice Winner. Until then - thank YOU for supporting VIP Destin Magazine; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.

Associate Publisher 850-502-7970

VIP Ambassadors

Joe & Lea Capers 8


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VIP Destin at Mattie Kelly Performing Arts Center

Gerald & Jill Campbell

Kymberlyn Murphy & James Wright

Aerial Blanton & Clair Norden

Sequins & Suits Silent Auction


photos & story by Savannah Vasquez

t was easy to spot partygoers heading to Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce’s annual event Sequins and Suits as they twinkled in the moonlight. Ladies were decked out in sequin-covered dresses and tops, while men sported their best suits. This was the 22nd annual fundraising event for the chamber, held this year in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville. Chamber members and their guests were treated to drinks and tapas from local restaurants and had the chance to enter a silent auction of donated items from more than 66 local businesses. “Our focus was on reminding everyone to buy from local businesses for their Christmas gifts,” said Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce President, Tricia Brunson. “Now more than ever, we need to support the local businesses that are so generous to the community throughout the year.” Brunson noted that local influencer boxes were given to those who sponsored the event. The boxes included gifts from local chamber member businesses. “Sequins & Suits was an amazing success this year,” Brunson said. “We are thankful to everyone for the success of this event and for their continued support of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber and our local businesses.”

Heather Jourdon, Cristie & Art Kedroski

Bernard & Lisa Johnson

Nikki Martin & Shea Boykin

Ashleigh Voisin, Aaron Peck, Mercy Feris & Jarret Johnson January 2022 | 11

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VIP Destin at Sequins and Suits Silent Auction

Emily Clarrey & Kellie Brock

Michael & Dee Clark

Michael Pelletier & Brittany Adams

Bob & Teresa Halverson 12

Vanessa Sheppard & Austin Smith

Aly Wrann & Bobby Parker

Amy Sweeney & Natalie Ely

Tanice Pantry & Ashley Ferpes

Eric & Dana Topel

Gary Schmitz & Christina Mauf


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Linda Dwyer, Mandy & Ferrin Campbell, Tricia Brunson

Jenni Brunson, Leslie Moland, Debbie Elliott & Michelle Williams

Warren Schott, Amy Slaman, Tim & Sue McCool

Jeanette Shires, Mary Grace Rahm & Brian Gatewood January 2022 | 13

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VIP Destin at Step One Automotive

Matt & Ginger Gaetz

Step One Employee and Community Christmas Party

Bill & Michelle Sauls

photos & story by Savannah Vasquez


Monet Carpenter & Aerika Wardrip

in’t no party like a Step One party! Ain’t no party like a Step One party!” chanted Fernando Geddes, Principal Owner of Step One Automotive. Geddes had just finished addressing the crowd at the Subaru dealership in Fort Walton Beach and was ushering in a night of celebration for a good year of business and community. Step One Automotive Group employees and select community members were greeted by a red carpet, gently falling snow, and carolers before they Madison & Jared Johnston entered the building. Once inside, the excitement did not wane as attendees were treated to tapas, wine, an espresso coffee cart, and cookie desserts while joyful holiday tunes from the DJ booth fi lled the air. Additionally, there were photo ops with Santa, crafts for the children, and the magic of snow bubbles. Principal investor, Juan Carlos Mantilla Correa, Sr. also addressed the crowd, highlighting the importance of community and celebrating both personal and company accomplishments together. “I often hear, ‘You are so successful,’ but I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for all of you,” said Correa. “Everyone here is part of the family. We are the Step One family.” Verla Price & Maureen Bierman

DJ & Geri Hutton

Fernando Geddes, Juan Carlos Mantilla Correa Sr. & Juan Carlos Correa Jr.

Bernita Everett, Dara Flanagan, Myla Martinez & Courtney Dollson

January 2022 | 15

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VIP Destin at Step One Employee and Community Christmas Party

Tiffany Kingrey & Sonja Garcia

Wendy Bishop, Angela Class & Amber Laliberte

Viola, Raffaella, Fernando & Luna Geddes

Nathan Weil & and Alyssa Mallory Ricky Davonna Green

Aaron Borgosz, Taylor Salser, Brandee & Junior Johnson

Stacy Bernal & DeSean Coker

Julene Haymon, James Hayman, J.S. Brown, Marcus Gulley & Ralph McBride 16

Nicole Browning, Amanda & Jason Negron

Mac & Debbie McDougall

Baby Liam, Chase & Lauren Rice, Beth Campbell & Lee Brannon


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GI V E | C A R E | S H A R E

Interview with Kathy Blue, Director Destin History and Fishing Museum Tell us about the Museum. The Museum features the history of the early families of Destin from the 1830s, the history of the fishing industry, and how it began with net boats and evolved into what is in the Destin Harbor today. We have over 100 mounts of locally caught fish. Our Rodeo Gallery features “all things Destin Fishing Rodeo,” which is one of the longest running fishing tournaments in the USA. How did the Museum come to be? In 1985, the original Destin Fishing Museum, Inc., was established where the old Jitney Jungle grocery store was -- currently the McGuire’s complex. The property was sold in 1996 and the museum lost its home. The museum’s collections were distributed between Destin City Hall, the Destin Community Center, and local families associated with the artifacts. In 2003, a group of local 18

residents and community leaders formed an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the area. The Destin Fishing Museum Foundation, Inc., AKA Destin History and Fishing Museum was born. The new museum took over the operation of the Old Post Office Museum, Inc., which had been operating in the original Destin Post Office since 1980. The “Primrose” seine boat was relocated to sit beside the Old Post Office. The Old Post Office Museum, Inc., was merged into the new corporation. In March of 2005, the City of Destin leased the original Destin Library building to the Destin History and Fishing Museum. The City of Destin continues to support the Museum with a yearly lease of $1. Artifacts from the original Destin Fishing Museum and original Old Destin Post Office Museum were collected and included in the new exhibits. The Old Post Office’s interior was restored to its original condition

of 1929. The City of Destin owns the “Primrose” and the Old Post Office building. The Destin History and Fishing Museum maintains the exhibits inside the Old Post Office. The Museum facility continued to grow with the addition of the Destin Rodeo Gallery, which opened to the public October 1, 2015. The Gallery is an exhibit hall for the Destin Fishing Rodeo and presentation facility. The Gallery can seat up to 50 people and provides AV presentation facilities. What impact has the Museum had on the community? The Destin History and Fishing Museum is the key historical repository for the City of Destin. As the only entity within the City of Destin as the caretaker of the local culture and heritage, the museum staff are the guardians of a priceless commodity. The museum is a non-profit organization open to the


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understand how the past helped direct Destin to the thriving city it is today. public, offering education and entertainment for visitors of all ages. The mission of the museum is to preserve Destin’s history by stimulating interest in and understanding of the Village of Destin, its history, and fishing and tourism industries through experiences that educate, inspire, and encourage visitors to return to Destin and its roots. What are the future goals of the Museum? Over the last several years we have focused on curb appeal, upgrading our facility, renovating existing exhibits, and adding interactive and hands-on exhibits for all ages. We want to offer our visitors and community encouraging reasons to come to the museum. Beyond that, a future goal would be to add an additional wing for our growing needs as we are “busting at the seams!” What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with the Museum? Every person, regardless of age, walks through the doors of the DHFM as a learner. Staff and volunteers provide a multimedia guided tour bringing visitors more appreciation of the heritage of the early people and evolution of the fishing industry of Destin. This tapestry of Destin’s past helps locals and visitors alike

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Are there any special events? Historically, our main fundraisers include our Annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction, our AJ’s Parking Concession held during the Destin Seafood Festival, and our Holiday on the Harbor Boat Parade. The pandemic paused the gumbo contest, silent auction, and parking concession but they are scheduled again for 2022. We just brought back our Fish Fry in December and plans are to have two fish fry events annually. We will be hosting several new special events in 2022, so everyone needs to watch for information coming soon. What is the most unique item in your Museum’s collection? We have a slat bonnet worn by Sarah Rotencia Lancaster Marler who was born in 1845. She was the wife of William Elisha Marler who came to this area at the end of the Civil War. Their children are tied to many of the early families. We also have a billfish rod and reel owned by the author Ernest Hemingway. What is your favorite display in the Museum? The two “fish walls” are very impressive and were the first exhibits built when the

museum opened in 2005. Together, these two walls hold 34 mounts of locally caught fish. Destin’s two oldest “artifacts” are in our Museum Heritage Park -- which is where the museum is located. Those “artifacts” include Destin’s last seine boat, the Primrose built in 1926, and Destin’s first Post Office Building from 1936. Our newest exhibit, “Dive Destin,” features the history of diving in Destin with a four minute video on a 53” curved monitor. This video was produced by Shane Reynolds of Color Earth and really gives a beautiful view of being on, in, or under the water. How can someone support the Museum? We have Museum Memberships, Business Corporate Sponsors, financial donors, and volunteers that work our front desk and share information with visitors as well as volunteers that support our fundraising events. Our Memorial Pathway in our Museum Heritage Park has engraved pavers which can be ordered. We accept donations as memorials and have a Memorial Tree plaque in the museum with leaves engraved with names. We also appreciate our “friends of the museum” who support us by attending our various fundraisers throughout the year.

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VIP Destin at Bitterroot Food and Spirits

VIP Destin Magazine




Cover Reveal Party

photos & story by Kristina Wright


IP Destin Magazine hosted their Cover Reveal party on December 6, at the elegant Bitterroot Food and Spirits restaurant in Destin. As treasured clients and guests entered the party, each person was given a drink ticket, and a chance to win one of several door prizes contributed by local area businesses. Light hors d’oeuvres were served, and clients were treated to a sneak peek of the December issue of the magazine before it hit the local racks and online. This was also an opportunity for new clients and supporters to interact and network within the ever-expanding Destin business community.

Leighann Elliott & Alan Meyers

Alex Orman & Shawnee Anderson

Donnavon Lalputan & Brenden McMahon

Verla Price & Steven Franco

Bobby Parker & Jared O’ Neal

Kristin Moffitt & Nicole Partridge January 2022 | 21

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VIP Destin at VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal Party

Sam Yozviak & Ken Whidden

Ryan & Heather Holloway

Todd Royall & Heather Hintz

Larry Cowsert & Joshua Cowsert

Josh Foster & Steven Franco

Alisha Hasty & Gerard Parillo

Zoe Ramirez, Dani Aylsworth, John Schmidt & Amy Milligan 22

Lorraine Whetstone & Nancy Bown

Lynn Wesson & Kay Phelan

Ed Howard & Donnavon Lalputan


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Available for rehearsal dinners, and bachelorette or bachelor parties. Either on-site or off-site!

Elizabeth Spies & Debbie Eggers

food and spirits Gerard Parillo & Chandler Robbins

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.

Steve Daniel & Sean Palmer

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

Gift Cards Available

THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST NEW BUSINESS! Joe Capers, Mary Chris Murry & Lea Capers, Back: Todd Reeves January 2022 | 23

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VIP Destin at J. Leon Gallery + Studio

photos & story by Alicia Noble

Rick & Terry Parker

Roseann Fiorita & Jason Lindblad

Dorothea Berhart & Paul Breitman

Janae Erickson, Shantelle Dedicke & Nicole Mallen 24


he J. Leon Gallery + Studio, the Emerald Coast’s newest fine art gallery, hosted their 4th Sip N’ Stroll event on December 3rd. This event featured 11 local artists with a variety of talents from sculpture, jewelry making, and different painting styles. There was something for everyone to enjoy as guests strolled through the gallery, sipping on champagne and snacking on sweets. Greeted by classical music playing outside and holiday decorations, guests than walked around the studio watching some of the featured artists create their latest masterpiece, like Estelle Grengs, who was working on a painting of a nutcracker and chatting with guests who admired her work. The event was also taking place next door at McCaskill and Company. Guests walked over to the store for more hors d’oeuvres and beverages as well as an exclusive look at some of the jeweler’s finest pieces. This was the final Sip N’ Stroll event of the year, but the J.Leon Gallery + Studio is open from Tuesday to Saturday. For more information on upcoming events, classes, and workshops, visit

Rebecca Baker & Cindy Braaten

Jenna Varney & Andrea Chipser

Carole Martin & Tiffany Gray

Linda Wetzel, Ica Lacy & Nancy Miller


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(850) 424-6979




January 2022 | 25

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VIP Destin at Beachworx

Beachworx Member’s Happy Hour photos & story by Alina Joukova-Seamon


Gary & Kim White

eachworx held a happy hour on December 9 where members came together and shared drinks, hors d’oeurves, and conversation to celebrate the season and get to know more about each other’s businesses. Charcuterie platters, sandwiches, cookies, and cocktails were served as Steven Franco, the owner of Beachworx, gave a warm holiday welcome to his guests. Attendees enjoyed a festive environment to mingle and network with their office mates. Beachworx is a unique “co-working space in paradise” as it offers its tenants a place where they can have their own office space and work in a comfortable environment, surrounded by fellow professionals. Space is even available for business meetings with clients. Beachworx provides all the amenities for an efficient office such as printers, scanners, and even a full kitchen. As an additional benefit, Steven Franco enjoys getting to know each of his members and helps connect them with other members so all can achieve the greatest success. Melissa Fertitta & Kevin Henderson


Jason Hall, Tera Keister, Annie Wainman & Brian Keister

Anastasia Shellhouse, Tyler Silver & Candy Robichaud

Judith Nadera & Brenda Smith

Josh Foster, Ryan Keeslar, Clayton Hicks & Dion Moniz

Robin Wright, Steven Franco & Kimber Collins


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Celebrate with Newlyweds of Destin as they share their big day. 29 Wedding Splash.indd 1

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Mother Knows Best:

Mother of the Bride and (Gasp!) Mother of the Groom


wo weddings within four months, in two different states during one heck of a global pandemic… piece of cake! Admittedly, never in my wildest dreams did I envision both of my children getting married in the same year, much less within 120 days of each other. My wedding dreams were filled with leisurely planning, exciting preparations, festive celebrations, and plenty of time to rest in between. Even with my extensive experience planning romantic weddings in the Bahamas and Miami and overseeing celebrity marriage celebrations from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, in the end, there was still a re-learning curve and hurdles to jump, as I readied myself for a brand-new wedding role---that of Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom. With the weddings now behind me, the I-Do’s dotted, and Bridal Teas crossed off the list, I’ve compiled a list of tips and ideas for those who will take on these very special roles in the lives of their children.

TIPS: by Heidi LoCicero


Be A Good Listener and A Team Player

Planning a wedding is not as easy as Hollywood makes it look. There are budgets to compile, locations to scout, guest lists to nip and tuck, and new roles to navigate. Each of these assignments can cause stress and send emotions to the surface. Always think before you speak and listen way more than you talk. I always say, “Words are so powerful, they should ONLY be used to bless, to heal, or to prosper!” Share suggestions or requests with the couple, not demands. Recruit family members to serve as your support system. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so make it enjoyable and memorable from planning the details, to celebrating the wedding day.


Include the New In-Laws

Many brides think it’s “her big day,” when it’s actually “their big day!” The bride and the groom’s traditions, tastes, and thoughts should be considered. Make the new inlaws feel special by including them in decision making… don’t make them feel like “outlaws!” Check in with your future inlaws before parties, showers and the wedding to communicate details, timelines, attire, expectations, and most importantly, make them feel loved and appreciated. You love their child, so showing respect and including them is the greatest wedding gift, for all. Find ways to share the joy of wedding planning with them, such as inviting them to food tastings, a dress fitting, gown shopping, or final location selection. January 2022 | 31

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Plan for the Marriage, NOT just the wedding

As a wedding planner, I could often spot “trouble in paradise” long before the rings were exchanged. It typically involved couples that were so focused on the wedding and party, that they forgot to work and plan for the marriage. Couples need to be reminded that the wedding is one night, the marriage is a lifetime, so they’ll want to make a detailed plan for long term success. This truly is the most important part of the planning phase. Read that again.


Take Friends Up on Offers to Help

Many of us would rather get a job done ourselves, than rel on others. ews ash hen it comes to weddings, you’ll have to relinquish control and allow friends and family to help you. You will absolutely need them as a sounding board, shoulder to cry on, impartial style advisors, set up assistants or tear down helpers, errand runners, or to serve as your “wing woman.” Identify 4-6 friends that you can count on and who will show up for and with you, and then assign them jobs to help. These “helpers” will be lifesavers on the day of the wedding and will be on standby to help troubleshoot should an issue arise.



Assemble your Dream Team of Vendors

The vendors you hire for your child’s wedding are the folks you will be working most closely with, for the duration of the wedding planning, all the way to the wedding day. Interview several wedding professionals for each role, regardless of who refers you to them. Make sure your personalities mesh and that they are willing to listen to the bride and your family’s vision for the wedding. Notice if the prospective vendor is a good listener, a team player, and of a positive mindset. These 3 attributes will set the tone for the entire wedding weekend.

Have a Rain Plan

No matter what the forecasters predict, have an inclement weather plan. You can thank me later.

Ask each vendor you hire, if they work well with others or prefer to only work with their own wedding vendor contacts. If you’re planning a medium to large wedding, schedule a vendor team meeting to make introductions, if vendors haven’t worked together before. If you have a wedding planner, they will handle this, and the bride and her parents should attend, to lay out their wedding vision, firsthand to all. As invoices come in, check the details and approve the invoice prior to billing. Read and re-read every contract to make sure you won’t incur additional charges, after the wedding.



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Wedding Day Walk Through

On your wedding day timeline, include an early walkthrough time for you to view the ceremony location set up and reception la out, lighting, and orals prior to the guests arrival to confirm that the plans ou ve paid for and made are in place. Good notes, a solid contract, and follow up emails are imperative to ensure that you and your wedding dream team are on the same page. If for some reason you cannot do a walk through before you arrive, ask a friend to go by both locations and video the set up for you. Experienced wedding planners routinely offer this service to brides as part of their standard operating procedures and day of preparations. This tip will keep the bride happy, calm and excited as she walks in and sees how her vision has come to life.


Smile and Wave

Photographs and the video of this special day will be gifts to treasure forever. Splurge on this portion of the wedding budget if possible. Schedule an in-person meeting with the photographer as soon as the date is finali ed. Review examples of their current work and ask questions about what their wedding weekend coverage entails. The week before the wedding, schedule a meeting with the photographer and their team to review e pectations and details that ou d li e documented. Most importantly, ask how quickly they will provide the proofs of the photos to you after the wedding wee end. ith toda s technolog and editing software, 2-3 weeks is the longest you should e pect to wait for the proofs. lus, ou ll want to post pics to your social media channels, so the quicker the photographer turns the photos around the better. Spell out expected timelines when the contract is signed, and the vendor is working to get your business.


Take a Deep Breath, Pray Often, and Enjoy!

This is one of the most special days your family will ever have with your nearest and dearest friends and family surrounding you. Remember that no matter what happens, your child is marrying the love of their life and they are happy. Planning a wedding is many things -- exciting, emotional, sweet, expensive, fun, at times overwhelming, and yet unforgettable! Enjoy every single moment with your child, efore the sa , o nd don t forget to hire a fun and, that s the one splurge for m daughter s wedding, that ll never regret, although m dancing feet ma disagree

pea ing of photos ou ll want tons, and ou ll want to re-live the moment the very next day. Enlist a few of your friends, to take snapshots for you throughout the wedding weekend.


Style File

Oh, my goodness! After you help the bride or your new daughter-in-law say, “Yes to the ress, ou ll have to sa , es to a other of ride or room ress, too his is difficult. have to say this was one of the hardest things for me to undertake. This role puts you front and center with the newl weds and in so man photos, ou ll want to look and feel your best. When trying on a gown, ring along a friend who s st le ou admire. s for their honest opinion and have them take photos of you from every angle in the gown to make sure ou ll li e the loo in photographs. ften, gowns will have shadows or shine in un attering places in photographs, so ou ll want to review our loo head to toe in photographs. Start eating healthy and working out…now! Ha!

Heidi LoCicero is a serial entrepreneur with a keen eye for all things Southern and personalized, who loves entertaining and hosting celebrations. She co-owns Frill Seekers Gifts in Destin, Florida, with daughter, Peyton. “If you find something that you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This quote has long epitomized how LoCicero lives her life and approaches her work and her civic endeavors. Where others see challenges, Heidi spots opportunities. That intrinsic ability has served her quite well both personally and professionally. In addition to planning two weddings, Heidi served as a founding board member of Destin High School, which also opened this year. January 2022 | 33

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Ann Elizabeth Walker + Andrew LoCicero


his couple met during their time at Ole Miss, each awaiting an appointment with their real estate professor. Ann Elizabeth arrived, spotting the cutest boy sitting outside the office. The boy, Andrew, struck up a conversation and mentioned that he thought they had a class together. They talked non-stop until the professor was ready for her. Afterwards, he was gone, so Ann Elizabeth texted a friend and said, “I just met the cutest boy from Destin, Florida, who is in my real estate class. I can’t pronounce his last name but am excited to see him in class.” They saw each other out on the Oxford Square that night and soon went on an official date. Having so much in common, Andrew knew soon that Ann Elizabeth was the girl he wanted to marry. Both are rooted in faith and love for their families. She loves hunting and fishing, almost as much as he does, and enjoys spending time with her family and with his. They’re both very close to their siblings, enjoy the beach, traveling, and Ole Miss football. Ann Elizabeth is the planner in the relationship, so surprising her with a proposal was challenging. During a 2020 ski trip in Deer Valley, Utah, he told her he was going out to walk his Labrador retriever, Red, before dinner. Next, he called to ask her to come out to help look for Red, as he was on the side of the mountain. When she turned the corner, Red and Andrew were down on a knee, ring in hand and ready to propose. Red was decked out with a flower collar and Andrew had a table set up with candles and special photographs. As a light snow fell, Ann Elizabeth quickly said, “yes!” and turned around to see both his and her families there to surprise her for the proposal. They all celebrated the big news, with a dinner at the St. Regis Hotel. When choosing a location for the wedding, they knew that Ann Elizabeth’s family farm, Cameron Plantation would be the perfect place to start their lives together. They decided to be married, under the oak trees, on the banks of the lake at Cameron, just as the sun set. During the romantic and meaningful ceremony, they wanted things to be about celebrating true love with family and friends with an elegant Southern celebration. With siblings and dear friends standing with them, the crowd loved Andrew’s dog, Red, serving as an honorary best man coming down the aisle, taking his place near Andrew’s father. After the “I do’s” the celebration moved to a large, tented reception area complete with The LoCicero Tequila Bar, a wild beast feast carving station, an About Shucking Time station featuring oysters, seafood and lobster, and a 7 foot charcuterie table. The groom’s cake was the talk of the reception. His first-time visiting Cameron Plantation was on a date to go turkey hunting, so it seemed fitting to make his groom’s cake a hunting scene -- a turkey fashioned out of triangles of chocolate shards. A decoy duck made entirely of cake was part of the tablescape, including edible shot gun shells and greenery. They left the reception with a bang -- a 15-minute fireworks show illuminated the sky as they boarded an old fashioned farm Jeep, to make their getaway. The couple honeymooned in Las Vantanas, Cabo. The LoCiceros are now at home and splitting their time between Jackson, Missisippi and Destin/30A where Andrew is overseeing a new real estate development in Santa Rosa Beach.

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October 16, 2021 Ceremony & Reception:

Cameron Planation in Canton, Mississippi Photography by: John Cain Photography

12/29/21 9:09 PM


Garden District Memphis

Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations & Swag Items:

Frill Seekers Gifts - Destin Gown: Monique Lhuillier - Elle James Bridal in Jackson, MS Tuxedo: Tuxes, Too Rentals: White Door Events Catering: Elizabeth Heiskell Entertainment: Party on the Moon Rehearsal Dinner: Reunion Country Club Videographer: Johnny Apple Films Wedding & Groom’s Cake:

Cakes by Mom and Me - Memphis

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12/29/21 9:10 PM

Megan Fox + Wil Lutz March 27, 2021

Ceremony & Reception:

Covington, LA on the Tchefuncte River Photography by: Candra George


fter meeting through mutual friends, Megan knew Wil was the one for her when he wanted to get serious quickly. He locked it down quick and Megan was all in. Their engagement happened when Wil surprised Megan on the same rooftop bar where they met in front of both of their families and the New Orleans skyline as a backdrop. As a Covid couple, they were legally married in their back yard among 4 friends. One year later they celebrated their first anniversary with a wedding in Covington, LA, on the Tchefuncte River. Selecting this location was easy since options were few with New Orleans still under occupancy mandates. An outdoor wedding was appropriate so they could invite all their friends. Since the couple met in Louisiana, they wanted to embrace every New Orleans tradition. Megan’s vision was Classic New Orleans with a touch of Southern elegance and a neutral palette with pops of blush. The minister, Eric Partin from Destin, FL, is a very funny guy and he had everyone laughing the whole time. Since it was more of a vow renewal it was a light but heartfelt ceremony. The reception was held on the same location where the ceremony took place under a huge clear tent with twinkly lights, which Megan noted, “It was dreamy at night!” The groom’s cake was a nod to Wil’s job as a placekicker for the New Orleans Saints, their dogs, and golf. After the first song, Wish I Knew You by The Revivalists - an ode to one of their first dates, the band kept everyone dancing all night. The couple left the reception in a vintage Rolls-Royce with goodie bags of food to eat on their way to the hotel. They honeymooned in Cabo and now reside in New Orleans and Santa Rosa Beach.

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Kim Starr Wise Gown: Town & Country Bridals Tuxedo: Iron Horse Rentals: Distressed Rentals & Revival Catering: Chef John Folse Events Entertainment: Blue Rhythm Band Rehearsal Dinner: Oxlot 9 at the Southern Hotel Videographer: Bride Film Lighting: Zevent Company Wedding Invitations & Swag Items: Frill Seekers Gifts Makeup: Melissa Vaccaro Hair: Brandi Clement Cake: Bittersweet Confections Flowers:

Taylor Sheekley + Erik Petrick


nterestingly, this pair met in kindergarten at Plew Elementary in Niceville. Even then, they had a crush on one another but were too shy to say anything. After a couple of years exchanging glances at the playground, Erik moved to Tallahassee. Fast forward to their junior year of college -- Erik transferred to the University of Florida where Taylor was already enrolled. Taylor shared, “He added me on Facebook and then messaged me through Instagram. We grabbed a coffee and spent three hours on our first date -- the rest is history.” After college, the pair endured years of longdistance dating. Taylor knew he was the one when he kept pursuing her even when he was on the other side of the country.

November 13, 2021

The Henderson Beach Resort Photography by: Paul Johnson Photography

Ceremony & Reception:

The Navy had Erik stationed in San Diego and Taylor moved there in February 2020. To celebrate her move, they went to Catalina Island for a weekend. They took a golf cart ride around the island to explore, stopped at an overlook and asked a couple walking by to take their picture. As Taylor paused to fix her hair, Erik got down on one knee. She replied, “What are you doing?!” and he popped the question. A white arbor with greenery and pillars of flowers framed the aisle and ceremony space. It was understated, but also elegant and picture-perfect. The bridesmaids wore champagne satin dresses, the flowers were white with pops of greenery, the linens were ivory and bone, and the groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos. Regarding her dress, Taylor explained, “I wanted something timeless that I could look back on in 30 years and still love. It was elegant and had just enough drama to make it special.” Having the wedding at The Henderson was convenient for guests, it made planning easy. Taylor had worked closely with their team for events through her job at Proffitt PR so she knew they would make the day perfect, and they did. “It was so special to have my big day at a place I cherish so much,” Taylor noted. They left the reception through a tunnel of rose petals thrown by guests and headed to the After Party in the Horizons Bar at The Henderson. They will honeymoon by traveling through Europe this spring.

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Florals by the Sea Gown: Margaret Ellen Bridal Tuxedo: Men’s Wearhouse Rentals: Showtime Events and H&M Event Rentals Catering: The Henderson Entertainment: DJ 30A Rehearsal Dinner: Bitterroot Videographer: Josh Kidd Films Makeup and Hair: Gallant Glam Cake: Bake My Day Flowers:

Invitations, Stationery, and Branded Items:

Frill Seekers Gifts Officiant: James Ross Wedding Planner: Savoir Faire Weddings Newlyweds of Destin | 39

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Amanda Hurd

Team Leader-Realtor 850-375-3570

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Ashley Turner

Buyer’s Specialist 850-226-2102

12/29/21 9:11 PM

Peyton LoCicero + Beau Trist June 5, 2021

Old Saint Patrick’s Church Photography by: Pure 7 Studios


BIG NEWS: DESTINed To Be A Trist Newscaster and her “Beau” Tie the Knot!


ubbed one of the “best weddings of 2021,” the first hint was the stunning, save the date, featuring the couple and the world renowned Kinfolk Brass Band, to wedding weekend events at the groom’s family’s legendary restaurants, including Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse and Commander’s Palace, to the transformation of an old bank lobby into an exquisite reception venue, with bespoke old New Orleans Southern Charm and elegance, complete with three bands, the unveiling of a surprise tailgating area, incredible floral installations, an interactive photo and TikTok booth, a giant themed balloon creation, indoor fireworks, a 6 tier, 5 ½ foot tall wedding cake, a larger than life tiger, SEC team rivalry, and too many thoughtful details to count. With the ring in hand, her father, Brian’s blessing, and the girl of his dreams waiting, Beau set his sights on a WaterColor, Florida, proposal. He enlisted the help of his future mother-in-law, Heidi LoCicero, to pull off a surprise on Peyton’s hometown beach, during the busy July 4th

weekend. A romantic stroll on the beach at sunset ended with Beau on one knee and Peyton tearfully whispering, “yes!” Both families and a few dear friends celebrated the couple at a private dinner and a July 4th Engagement Celebration aboard Peyton’s parent’s boat at Crab Island, under a sky filled with fireworks. Despite the pandemic lockdown, Peyton and her mother, Heidi, a retired event planner extraordinaire, began making wedding plans. Heidi was often heard saying, “Pandemic wedding planning is not for the faint of heart, but don’t worry, honey, God has a plan!” Peyton had recently moved to Louisiana, to accept a job as a news anchor/ reporter with ABC’s WGNO-TV, so a New Orleans venue was tugging at her heartstrings. Beau, a lifelong Louisiana resident and private wealth manager, felt that their mutual love of the city and desire to make the wedding weekend a family affair was confirmation that the city of New Orleans was the only location to consider. On an afternoon stroll with her puppy, Mikey Mike, Peyton walked Newlyweds of Destin | 41

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by her neighborhood church, Old St. Patrick’s, when the church bells rang out. As fate would have it, the only availability the church had was June 5, 2021, the very day the couple wanted to marry, proving her mother right…that God always does have a plan. The Higgins Hotel served as “home base” for the wedding weekend. The LoCiceros hosted a welcome reception with signature drinks and a jazz band giving out of towners a glimpse of the sights and sounds of Louisiana. Welcome boxes filled with Southern savory treats, a hangover kit, dear friend, Emeril Lagasse’s famous red beans and rice recipe with ingredients, along with Louisiana themed gifts, were given to hotel guests. Family friends hosted a Bridesmaids Luncheon at Commander’s Palace in Peyton’s honor. The groom’s late aunt, and the restaurant’s original grand dame, Ella Brennan, was known for saying, “I don’t want a restaurant where a jazz band can’t come marching through!” So, it was fitting that the hosts invited Kinfolk Brass Band to march through the celebration. At the luncheon, Peyton wore her grandmother, Elizabeth Betty Jane Rudiger’s wedding gown from 1963, re-designed into a modernday sheath dress with a flowing detachable train. The reaction on her grandmother’s face at seeing the gown’s new life, was priceless. Brad Pitt said, “There’s no place like New Orleans. It’s got the best people, best music, and the best food,” all of which were on display as legendary restaurateurs Dickie Brennan, the groom’s Godfather, and Lauren Brower, his Godmother, welcomed the wedding party to the Rehearsal Dinner at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse in the heart of the French Quarter. The groom’s parents, Nickie and Cindy Trist of Mandeville hosted the evening. Staying true to the New Orleans theme, The Trists invited Kinfolk to join the celebration and set the tone for “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Toasts and sentimental tributes by family and friends brought tears, while a special video Peyton’s news team put together to honor the couple brought hearty laughter. An old wives’ tale says, “it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day,” so the couple considers themselves “lucky in love!” As the midmorning dark, grey sky cleared and the warm summer sun peeked out, the New Orleans Police Department escorted the bridal party, with great fanfare, to a private family residence for the bride and groom’s first look. As Peyton descended the home’s 17 steps, into Beau’s arms, the reaction on his face said it all! “Today, I truly feel like the luckiest man in the world. Asking you to marry me, has been the best decision, that I’ve made in my life. I’m marrying my best friend and the girl of my dreams,” he said. Old Saint Patrick’s Church bells rang out at 6:45pm and guests arrived rubbing elbows with friends from near and far, including Peyton’s ABC WGNO news team, famous chefs including Emeril Lagasse, and Tamica Lee of Bravo’s Southern Charm, who also happens to be one of Peyton’s co-hosts on Good Morning New Orleans. Saint Patrick’s entrance welcomed guests with a stunning arch of 2,000 white David Austin roses, Ranunculus, Bowl of Cream peonies, and hydrangeas. The church’s doors were embellished with hand-cut wooden monogram icons featuring the couple’s initials intertwined. This icon was also featured in the pew markers leading to Wedding Dress: Designed by Valery Zelenyuk of Vagabond Bridal Cape Town, South Africa Wedding Dress Shop: Unbridaled New Orleans Mother of the Bride Gown: Designed by Fouad Sarkis of Los Angeles, California Bridesmaids Gowns: Portia and Scarlett of Sydney, Australia Church Wedding Coordinator: Paige Saleun Post Church Street Bar: Movers and Shakers NOLA Mardi Gras Beads & Wedding Favor Swag: Reception Venue: The Capital on Baronne Wedding Invitations/Save the Dates:


the altar and at the top of the exquisite wedding invitations, designed by Peyton and her mother at the shop they co-own, Frill Seekers Gifts in Destin. The monogram was topped with a Kensington crown as a nod to Louisiana and Peyton’s time served as Miss Destin. A trumpeter heralded Peyton and her father’s arrival, with Beau waiting at the altar for his sweetheart. Father Tom Bouderie facilitated ways to recognize faith-filled, family relationships that had stood the test of time during the sacrament of marriage, most notably by Beau presenting the wedding band Peyton’s paternal grandmother had worn during her 50 years of marriage and Peyton presenting Beau with the wedding ring that his grandfather and namesake, Brigadier General James Boëhringer Cobb wore during his 50 years of marriage. Peyton’s wedding gown was designed for her by Valery Zelenyuk of Vagabond Bridal in Cape Town, South Africa. For her church gown look, Zelenyuk and the stylist at Unbridaled New Orleans, designed a detachable full tulle overskirt and a hand beaded belt. For the reception the shoulder panel and detachable train would be removed to reveal a formal evening gown look. The bride wore a cathedral length veil adorned with her wedding monogram and encrusted with shimmering Swarovski Crystals, designed to capture the candlelight in the church. Following the ceremony, the church doors swung open and Peyton’s father exclaimed, “It’s Time to Strike Up The Band!” A street parade, led by The Kinfolk Brass Band, headed to the Capital on Baronne -- a former bank lobby transformed into a grand ballroom for the wedding reception. Mardi Gras beads featuring the couple, along with Second Line handkerchiefs imprinted with “Everything in New Orleans is a Good Idea,” were handed to each guest. Throughout the evening two additional bands kept the dance floor packed and party going into the early hours of the next morning. The reception featured signature drinks with nods to the couple’s professions, “News with a Trist” and “The Money Maker.” A hand carved ice sculpture with the couple’s monogram dispensed icecold shrimp, lobster tails, Cajun Caviar, and crab claws to the delight of the crowd. The most popular area was the tailgate section, which had both LSU and Ole Miss tents, traditions, food, favors, and décor, complete with a larger than life 7-foot Bengal Tiger guarding the groom’s cake and the Ole Miss Walk of Champions arch. Guests enjoyed having their photos taken in two interactive photo booths, one a “Strike Up the Band” theme and the other a balloon sculpture using the groom’s last name: TRIST & Shout! A spirited departure was celebrated with confetti and college team pom poms. White poms were provided for those who couldn’t bring themselves to cheer for the Rebels or the Tigers! Following a honeymoon trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, the couple are back in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the couple are trying to convince the bride’s father to make this type of party an annual anniversary celebration. He hasn’t said “yes” just yet -- but he also hasn’t said “no.” Kinfolk and The Mixed Nuts said they’re in to Strike Up The Band, again, with this krewe! So, as they say in the news world, “stay tuned!”

Titus Childers Photography Wedding Coordinator: ZEvents Hair and Make-up: Rachel Barbin Hair + Makeup Wedding Ceremony Florals: Beth’s Flowers Reception Florals and Bridesmaid Luncheon: MOSS New Orleans Bandstand Monogram: Frill Seekers Gifts Entertainment: Second Line Band: Kin Folk Brass Band Dance Bands: The Mixed Nuts, The Soul Sisters Ice Sculpture: Ice Dragon Ice Photo Booth: Boogie Booth Nola Photographer 2:


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n October 2020, Kelly Waltemath was joining her family on the top deck of their yacht in Sandestin for what she thought was the family Christmas card photo. Her boyfriend, Chris Wall, was there to take the photo -- but, instead, he got down on one knee and proposed while a professional photographer appeared. Kelly added, “It was the most beautiful, special, and surprising moment of my life!” Following that was a further surprise -- an engagement party at Vin’tij, her favorite restaurant. Under an extraordinary sky, guests were welcomed to the 5:00pm outdoor ceremony with stunning flower garlands along a flowing welcome sign, columns of all white flowers, and a heavy carpet of white rose petals along the aisle. A large cross covered in white flowers was the centerpiece while family priests from New Orleans, Dr. Father Joseph Krafft and Father Terry Hayden officiated the ceremony.

Kelly Waltemath + Christopher Wall October 23, 2021

Cerulean Park and WaterColor LakeHouse Photography by: Dear Wesleyann Photography, Ceremony & Reception:

Kelly’s wedding vision was pink, bubbly, happy, and fun. She wanted everything to embody her personality and for guests to think, “WOW that is so Kelly!” A fondness of pink champagne inspired the Veuve Clicquot Rosé feature wall where guests entered Champagne Wonderland with a wall of greenery and flowers surrounding a neon sign claiming, “I Veuve,” and Veuve Clicquot Rosé acrylic trays, pillows, candles, balloons, and hundreds of glasses of Veuve Rosé. Bridesmaids sparkled in gold floor length sequined gowns. White and pink florals were everywhere. Kelly’s dress was a Martina Liana Luxe gown and to make her feel more like a princess, she wore a diamond headpiece. The reception included balloons floating throughout the pool with café lights strung above the outdoor area highlighting a balloon display with a lit-up “W.” Chic lounge furniture and bars, white twinkle lights among sheer fabric adorning the ceilings, and hanging installations of greenery and florals added to the dreaminess of the interior. The couple’s grand exit was equally as fantastic as the entry. Guests walked past a “treat hallway” and exited by a wall of flowers that said, “The Walls.” Guests received a custom branded candle with monogrammed matches, a chocolate sand dollar, and a KC chocolate bar from Paris. Late night bites of chicken and waffles were served and shakers were dispersed to wave goodbye as they exited on a golfcart full of balloons with sparklers shining and family and friends waving goodbye. When not working remotely and relaxing in Sandestin, the couple resides in New Orleans.

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Sally LaCourse - Florals by the Sea Gown: Town & Country Bridal - New Orleans Tuxedo: John’s Tuxedo - Metairie, Louisiana Rentals: H&M Event Rentals Catering: WaterColor Inn & Resort Entertainment: Az IzZ Band through Music Garden Bands Rehearsal Dinner: Café Thirty-A Videographer: Sixpence Studios Makeup: Brittany Sigler & Allison Viviano - Destin Mobile Makeup Box Hair: Destin Mobile Makeup Box + Maritza Valle - Hair Loft Studio New Orleans Cake: Heidi McAnulla - Bake My Day Custom and Branded Gifts: Heidi LoCicero - Frill Seekers Gifts Custom Balloon Install: Mingle 30A Floral Design and Lighting:

Newlyweds of Destin | 45

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Lauren Lesniakowski + Phillip Zeffiro May 22 , 2021

Captain’s Deck at Emerald Grande Reception: Grande Ballroom at Emerald Grande Photography by: Gwyne Gray Photography Ceremony:


auren and Phil were high school sweethearts who got married after 10 years of dating. While being together through college at Penn State, the couple had become integral parts of each other’s lives. Lauren noted, “I knew by the time we left for college that I never wanted to spend time without him. He knew I was the one when, in college, my dad would say, ‘take care of her,’ every time we left to go back.” Phillip wanted the proposal to be special, so he planned a trip to visit friends for a weekend in St. Michaels and Annapolis, Maryland, which Lauren notes as one of the cutest towns in the country. They visited Hollis Park with its marina filled with sailboats, speed boats, and yachts paired with historic buildings at Navy Point. Also in the background was Honeymoon Bridge where Lauren and her friend were taking photos -when she stood up in front of the bridge, Phil got down on a knee and proposed. The May 22 wedding on the Captain’s Deck at Emerald Grande in Destin was a dream for the couple. The weather was perfect with a beautiful view overlooking the Destin Harbor and Gulf of Mexico. The aisle was adorned with rustic lanterns and candles with a large floral and linen arbor. The cocktail hour, also on the Captain’s Deck surrounded the ceremony space. Lauren’s vision was a nod to nautical with hints of muted gray blues, navy, and gold. The wedding designer took every Pinterest idea that Lauren sent and made her dream come true - especially the fairytale atmosphere over the dance floor. The twinkling lights, lush seating, and furry rugs made it all come together. During the ceremony, Lauren was so mesmerized that she quietly whispered “I do.” It was so quiet that the minister jokingly asked her if she was sure, so she moved to the mic and blasted it loudly. Lauren’s something old was her Matron’s veil, her something new was her dress, her something borrowed was her best friends garter, and her something blue was her late grandmother’s sapphire pin. After a honeymoon in Jamaica, the couple are at home in Pittsburgh, PA, with their two Hollond lops.

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Florals By the Sea Gown: Essense of Australia Tuxedo: Joseph Abboud Rentals: Men’s Wearhouse Catering: Emerald Grande Entertainment: EEE Destin Videographer: Duncan Lindsey Multimedia Lighting: Florals By the Sea Makeup: Bride Guide Pros Hair: Bride Guide Pros Cake: Publix Welcome Reception: 30A Blaze Flowers:

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3 Locally Owned Restaurants 3 Different Experiences ALL BY THE SAME CULINARY PROFESSIONALS

Seafood & Sushi for the whole family

Fresh from the Gulf Local Ingredients Southern Hospitality

210 HARBOR BLVD. | DESTIN, FL | 850.460.8900 | BROTULAS.COM 56 HARBOR BLVD. | DESTIN, FL | 850.424.3507 | EASTPASSSEAFOOD.COM 36120 EMERALD COAST PKWY. | DESTIN, FL | 850.460.2909 | JACKACUDAS.COM 48 brotulas.indd 1

12/29/21 9:13 PM

VIP Destin at Emerald Coast Title Services

Jennifer Porter, Tammie Bowyer, Melba Cooper, Nicole Browning, Jessi Beauchamp & Carrie Plasier

Tracie Martin & Whitney Fuller

Rude Off,


Party On photos & story by Savannah Vasquez

fter canceling the Christmas party twice last year, Ashely Bowen of Emerald Coast Title Services and Dion Moniz of Hand Arendall Sale Harrison Law Firm in Destin were determined to make up for it this year. So they decided to have a “Rude Off, Party On” Christmas party for their clients, company, and friends held on December 7. “Every year it’s a different theme, last year we didn’t get to have one because of Covid, so the theme came from that,” said Ashley Bowen, manager of Emerald Coast Title Services. “It was Rude Off, Merry On, but this year it’s Rude Off, Party On!” The holiday party was held in the parking lot of the company’s building with catered tapas, an open bar, a pianist playing holiday tunes, and of course glowing red noses to complete the party’s theme. Destin businesses were represented at the party, as well as employees and neighboring businesspeople. “We like to take this time of the year to express our gratitude to all of our clients and our friends for having such a great year, and also just to have a good time with everybody,” said Dion Moniz, primary partner for the Hand Arendall Harrison Sale Law Firm. “We are just glad to be a part of the community.”

Leslie & John Sheekley, Franklin Harrison

Brian Beauchamp & Andy Weddle

Cameron & Stephanie Rowe

Ashley Bowen, Steve Akers, Lane Redding, Jeff Dannelly, Demetrius Fuller & Wade Cotton January 2021 | 49

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VIP Destin at Rude Off, Party On

Travis & Annie Sweeney & Paige Tashik

Ken Wampler & Ken Bowyer

Carrie Campbell, Richard Freda, Wayne & Tess Schofield

Joy Todd & Melba Cooper


Tony Harkleroad, Jorden Stone, Nathan Cordle, Alison Hand & MaryGrace Stubbs

Danielle, Nathaniel & Brett McKinney

Kim Marmon, Sherry & Robert Ward, Michelle Boswell & Jane Kerrigan

Josh Foster, Dion Moniz & Carmen Ionascu

Gwyn Wendt & Tara Snook

Molly Lazor, Brandy Parker, Mandy Reigart & Desiree Cube


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January 2022 | 51

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12/30/21 8:57 AM

VIP Destin at Emerald Grande

Pearl Harbor Day Lunch photos & story by Alina Joukova-Seamon


he Destin Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunch in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village on December 7. Pastor David Butler started the lunch with a prayer, recognizing the sacrifices made by so many on that day. The guest speaker was Colonel (Ret.) Patricia S. Blassie. Col Blassie was the Deputy Director of Manpower, Personnel and Services of Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base before retiring in 2018. Col. Blassie shared her experiences as the principal adviser to her family as they advocated for the identification of the remains of her brother, First Lieutenant Michael Blassie, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1972. His remains went unidentified and were buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery until his family had the remains exhumed and using DNA, were able to determine the remains to be that of 1LT Blassie. They were then able to bring him home to his final resting place, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. Col. Blassie encouraged the attendees to recognize the sacrifices made by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the families they leave behind.


Dr. Joe Agostinelli & Elizabeth Spies

Heather Julseth, Christine Martinez & Brenda Gray

Maxwell Imm, Jenny Larson & Bryan Hendricks

Kim Wintner, Patricia S. Blassie & Bill Head

Shane Moody & Pastor David Butler

Cyndi & Terry Hyatt

Scott King & Tanya Rauch


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Luxury Yacht


Celebrate Your Special Day with Panache! Enjoy an Elegantly Catered Brunch or Happy Hour Cruise Delight Your Guests with Dolphins at Play Explore the Grandeur of the Emerald Coast


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“Explore. Enjoy. Experience Yacht Life!”

12/29/21 9:18 PM

Wedding Cake Trends 2022 Wedding cakes are often the focal point and “icing on the cake” of any wedding celebration. With endless options available, we want to show you what’s cookin’ in wedding cake trends for 2022.

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VIP Destin at The Blake at Miramar Beach


Perseverance: A Pathway to Success photos & story by Kay Phelan


or the third year, the Destin Chamber of Commerce continued its popular Ladies Who Launch Powerhouse Women Series. The program highlights impactful women in the community and is a ladies platform for strategic networking and relationship building, while training, motivating, and inspiring those members. The featured Powerhouse Woman speaker last month was Neko Stubblefield. She is vice president of membership and community development with Eglin Federal Credit Union and the current chairman of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce. She gave a charismatic talk to the Chamber’s attending female membership and guests that was focused on Perseverance: A Pathway to Success. “We thank our hosts and sponsor for Ladies Who Launch, The Blake at Miramar Beach, who also provided lunch,” commented Destin Chamber Vice President Elizabeth Spies. “We also thank our speaker, Neko Stubblefield. Our guests enjoyed listening to Neko and will benefit in many ways from her energizing talk.”


Elizabeth Spies & Tori Hughes

Savannah McQuaig & Kayla O’Leary

Dr. Gail Shorter & Neko Stubblefield

Brenda Gray & Christine Martinez

Karlyn Wilson & Stephanie Holcomb

Allison LeMire & Catherine Card


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12/29/21 9:19 PM

Progress Looks Like Building Your Resources For Business


NMLS# 401921

Brock Rice VP | Branch Manager 850.837.1084 NMLS #676093

January 2022 | 57

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VIP Destin at Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House

The Next BIG Thing Shanelle Lucas & Teresa Imdieke

photos & story by Kay Phelan

Steven Gallagher & Emily Kelly

T Tina Odom & Angela Turner

Stephanie Holcomb, Angie Resiak & Judith Watkins

Mary-Frances Mullins & Charles Musgrove 58

he Walton Area Chamber of Commerce recently put on its annual business and personal development program, The Next Big Thing, sponsored by Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. The informative, all-day event at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort featured 14 dynamic speakers, including two national keynote speakers, TED Talk-style breakout sessions, and an exhibitor showcase. The Next BIG Thing showcased networking, professional development, and inspiration -- all designed to enrich, motivate, and inspire attendees in their personal and professional lives. The symposium was followed by the Walton Area Chamber’s December Business After Hours and a networking cocktail reception for The Next Big Thing at Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House. The event was well attended with Slick Lips providing a sumptuous array of appetizers and cocktails for the guests. A variety of prizes were given away to attendees as well.

Haley Poveda & Leighann Elliott

Julie Belcher & Lynn Wesson

Bryce Jarvis, Maggie White & Jay Ammons


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Something Old...


story by Anna Stockton

o, you’ve found “the one,” the one who gives you butterflies, the one who you’re sure you want to spend the rest of your life with. In the words of Beyonce, the next step is to “put a ring on it.” There are so many choices, brands, shops, styles, etc. to choose from -- where do you even start to find the perfect ring for your perfect person? Consider that the perfect ring is already out there and is just waiting to be given life again. Vintage and antique rings have exploded in popularity, and rightly so, as their unique qualities make them timeless. So first let’s clear up the difference between vintage and antique as people tend to us these terms interchangeably. Vintage is anything older than 20 years old, in other words, and this might make some people cry, something from the year 2000 -- is vintage. Antique is anything over 100 years old, so technically speaking anything antique is also vintage. You may also hear the term “estate” during your ring hunt. This term merely means the item is used, no matter how far it dates back. There are many positive reasons to buy a vintage or antique ring for your beloved other than the sheer beauty of them. January 2022 | 61

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Things to consider in your decision and search for the perfect engagement ring: Environment i Craftsmanship i Originality Rarity i Styles i History


Mining diamonds has a great impact on the environment. Marine mining, open pit mining, and alluvial mining are all techniques to mine diamonds that negatively affect the environment. Buying a vintage diamond gives life to an already mined diamond and reduces the need for more diamond mining.


Long before lasers and machines cut diamonds, master diamond cutters did the job. These expert diamond cutters shaped the perfect diamond by hand, a method that brings a personal touch and unique quality to each diamond. Antique cut diamonds have a more muted look than the sparkly modernday diamonds as they were cut to be viewed in the candlelight versus the lighting we have today, this quality gives them a more romantic feel.


You can be assured no one will have a ring like yours if you buy a vintage or antique ring. Most rings were handcrafted so no two pieces look identical, even those of the same style. And speaking of styles, vintage styles are unique and unlike anything we see today due to the tools used to make them and because any pieces were custo ade for a specific taste of the buyer. Additionally, the use of gemstones alongside diamonds was common. This made for stunning co binations that you won’t find in odern pieces

There are six different styles you’ll hear about in the vintage and antique jewelry market. The Georgian era (1714-1840) is the most rare and oldest. Diamonds were not common and gemstones were heavily used, as were nature otifs such as butterflies and doves The next era is the Victorian era (1837-1901), which also used more gemstones and the use of gemstones in engagement rings became popular. The Edwardian era (1901-1910) was short and sweet and brought a light, airy, flowery design to ewelry earls and dia onds were used as well as the first ever all platinu ring he Art Nouveau era (1890-1915) was ruled by the pearl, as diamonds were rejected due to the mining practices. The moonstone, ruby, and opal were also popular. In the short-lived Art Deco era (1940-1950), eclectic jewelry with intricate metalwork was a staple. The Retro era was around the same time as the Art Deco era. The geometric designs carried through but were blended with chunkier, larger shapes.


i This factor is important when it comes to cost. The rarer an item is, the more expensive it is. This is no different with each piece of unique, vintage, and antique ewelry, and you’ll find your ewelry will not only hold its value but will increase over time. Especially as the demand for sustainable diamonds and special craftsmanship increases.




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One of my favorite things about anything vintage or antique is that it has a story behind it. Even something as simple as an old radio/record player -knowing it was in someone else’s home, with their family gathered around listening to a war report or putting on their favorite record. Jewelry has the same appeal, especially when it’s an heirloom, as you know the piece was part of someone’s life. While you may not know what the story is behind a non-heirloom piece, you know there’s a history attached to it and making it your own will give the piece new life and a new chapter to its story.

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special events

Spot Lighting Audio Video Productions,Inc. EVENT SPECIALIST

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VIP Destin at LuLu’s Destin

Shannon, Savannah & Dr. Warren Amos

Allison Taylor & Kayla Johnson

Justin & Gentry Jacyshyn, Bodie Bishop & Brilynn Mendez

Billy Claus And The Lulubelles Brighten The Holidays photos & story by Kay Phelan


amilies enjoyed a memorable 6th Annual Billy Claus and The LuLuBelles experience at LuLu’s. Billy Claus is Santa’s warm weather-loving brother who lives in the Caribbean, but comes this way to help Santa during the holiday season. True to his island tradition, Billy arrived via sea plane in the Choctawhatchee Bay right behind LuLu’s. The LuLuBelles are Billy’s version of Santa’s elves. The free event featured kid’s Christmas arts and crafts activities; the LuLuBelles reading of the children’s book authored by LuLu’s owner Lucy Buffett, Billy Claus and the Spirit of Christmas; then kids got to have a personal visit with Billy Claus to relay their wish list to Billy Claus and have their photo taken. “It was a fun day,” commented LuLu’s GM, Vanessa Owens. “Not only did the kids have a good time, but this year we had a number of adults and their friends come up for a special visit and photo with Billy Claus, too!”

Heather & Jeff Jourdan

Parker Evans & Sean Chaloupka

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Virginia & Sean McBride, Shannon & David Nelson


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Be on the lookout for the Best In Destin winners in our February 2022 issue! January 2022 | 67

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LOCALE O Sinfonia Gulf Coast Announced the Full Line Up for its Annual Fundraiser -Crescendo!

Festivities begin on Thursday, January 27 with a Crescendo! Kick Off Lunch at Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits. Enjoy an incredible lunch prepared by award-winning chef/coowner Jack McGuckin, sip elegant wines, indulge in delectable desserts, shop some of the must-have accessories of the season, door prizes, and raffle items, plus much more. Tickets are $125 per person and include lunch, wine, and gratuities. On Friday, Feb. 25 Crescendo! weekend will begin with a series of carefully curated vintner dinners hosted in elegant homes and venues throughout the Emerald Coast, which pair the talents of local and regional “celebrity” chefs with some of the country’s most acclaimed vineyards for a delicious evening of food and wine. Participating wineries include Darioush, Fleury Estate, Oakville Ranch, Bouchaine, plus more. Chefs include Jude Tauzin, Executive Chef of Tony Chachere’s, and Jack McGuckin of Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits, and more. Vintner Dinner tickets are $350 per person and include all food, wine, and gratuities. This year’s main event is themed, “Carnivale” and is set for Sunday, February 27 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. This energy-infused event experience will celebrate the cultural and culinary arts by showcasing world-class vintners, expert spirit purveyors, amazing auction items, and a musical performance. Enjoy reserved table seating, hors d’oeuvres, a full, seated lunch, live and silent auctions, and an allinclusive afternoon of incredible fun. Tickets to Crescendo! 2022 are $175 per person and include all food, wine, reserved table seating, performance, and valet parking. Proceeds from Crescendo! will benefit Sinfonia and its music education programs. To volunteer, contact Beth Clavier at (850) 460-8800 and bclavier@sinfoniagulfcoast. org. For tickets or more information, visit or call (850) 4608800.

Corcoran Reverie Donates $40,000 Corcoran Reverie, a high-end real estate brokerage and an affi liate of Corcoran Group LLC, has donated $40,000 as part of its sponsorship of the annual 30A 10K Thanksgiving Day Race held in Rosemary Beach, Florida. The contribution will directly impact the Walton Education Foundation, the Seaside School Foundation, the Point Washington Medical Clinic, and the Northwest Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation.

“I am no stranger to the 30A 10K Thanksgiving Day Race,” said Hilary Farnum-Fasth, owner and broker of Corcoran Reverie. “I have been a race sponsor and competitor since its inception and this year was truly special as together with my Corcoran Reverie family, we solidified our company’s ongoing commitment to the community through a monumental sponsorship.” Jacob Watkins, co-owner of Corcoran Reverie added, “Every year we look forward to supporting this unique event that has become such an important part of the 30A community and lifestyle.” The 30A 10K is an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition along Scenic Highway 30A. The purpose of the event is to serve the local community by producing a world-class 10K and related events that not only raise money for local charities but also promote health and fitness. To date, the 30A 10K has given more than $430,000 to local charities along the Emerald Coast. To celebrate this 10th year of the race, instead of finisher medals, the organization provided custom MiiR Insulated 23-ounce water bottles adorned with the Corcoran Reverie logo as a special keepsake to all 10K and 5K runners. The benefiting charities of the 30A 10K will receive 100% of the proceeds raised through this event that will directly impact our local communities in Northwest Florida. To learn more about the 30A 10K and its benefactors, visit

Grayt Lights Raises Money for Kindness Kollective at Alaqua Animal Refuge Co-founder of Tribe Kelley, Brittney Kelley launched Grayt Lights in December to bring awareness to mental health during the holidays by brightening up the community to spread hope, light, and peace. She hopes to share the joy the charming community brings her, as well as carry on a family tradition. Many people deal with private mental health struggles all year long, but especially around the holidays. Although joy-fi lled, holidays can be challenging for those struggling with stress, depression, loss, grief, or anxiety and Grayt Lights is a small way to share holiday magic and happiness regardless of whatever one may be going through, mentally. Grayt Lights benefits Alaqua Animal Refuge and their Kindness Kollective programs that help people realize the powerful effects that interactions with animals have on the human spirit and body. This unique model addresses mental health challenges by creating a program that utilizes the healing power of animals in healing the human heart. Alaqua Founder Laurie Hood discovered that people were drawn to what she had created at the Refuge -- the common thread was the animals, but their stories were similar. Many had experienced trauma in their lives. It was with the animals that people found the courage to begin their own journey of recovery, improving their own emotional and physical well-being. Alaqua’s Kindness Kollective aligns perfectly with the Refuge’s vision of creating a kinder, more empathetic, and healthier society for animals and people. Kelley hopes the lights and decorations of Grayt Lights represent that there is hope and light for us all, even if we are experiencing darkness in our lives.

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Destin’s premier luxury yachting experience. Enjoy the beautiful scenery Destin, Florida has to offer with a group or in a romantic setting. We have a variety of charter types so you can be sure to choose the one that’s right for you!


• Private ½ Day & Full Day Charters • Private Sunset and Dolphin Cruises • Thursday Night Fireworks Cruise


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New pickup location at Heron Harbor! 850-80-YACHT • January 2022 | 69

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VIP Destin at Emerald Grande

Tina & Todd Jackson

Destin Chamber Annual Holiday & Awards Party photos & story by Alicia Noble

O Christine Martinez & Jenny Larson

n the evening of December 14, Destin Chamber members gathered in the grand ballroom of the Emerald Grande to honor award winners, celebrate the holiday season and toast to the coming year during their Annual Holiday & Awards Party. This yearly event was presented by Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital. Everyone wore holiday attire, enjoyed festive drinks and delicious food, and posed for photos in front of the gorgeous Christmas decorations at the Emerald Grande. After members mingled and ate, the ceremony began. Destin Chamber President and CEO Shane Moody welcomed guests, followed by a few words by Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis. Todd Jackson, Market COO of HCA Healthcare, discussed the accomplishments of the past year before introducing Fort Walton Beach Medical Center’s new CEO Zach McCluskey. The presentation of awards was led by Moody and current Destin Chamber Chairman Jerry Sullivan of Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican. Award winners include Jenni Brunson of Okaloosa Gas for the James D. Neilson, Sr. Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service; and Christine Martinez for the Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year Award. According to the Destin Chamber, this was the first year that two of the annual awards were sponsored by Destin Chamber Trustee members. Trustmark chose to sponsor the Businessperson of the Year Award. However, due to a confl ict, the actual presentation of the award is delayed until the Chamber’s January 14 Business Before Hours event. At the end of the ceremony, Sullivan recognized the Chamber’s outgoing board members, including Kevin Bowyer of Warren Averett, Shannon Howell of Henderson Park Inn, and Bobby Wagner of Trees on the Coast.

Annie Wainman & Nadya Greiner

Savannah McQuaig & Kayla O’Leary

Danielle Thomas, Chelsea Conley, Melissa Reid, Heather Lightsey, Amanda Peavy & Amanda Reeves January 2022 | 71

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VIP Destin at Destin Chamber Annual Holiday & Awards Party

Christine & Joey Martinez

Isabelle Saliba, Heather & Ryan Holloway

Sally Mevers, David Butler, Terésa Hebert & Jerry Sullivan

Diana Jernigan & Rick Martin


Julie Staton, Cathie Staton & Neko Stubblefield

Greg Featherston & Kevin O’Rourke

Brenda Gray, Shane Moody, Delores & Lockwood Wernet

Chuck Comella & Jennifer Gutai-Comella

Rick Gibbs & Tricia Brunson

Branden & Julia Crosby, Tammie & Kevin Bowyer


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Heather Cleveland What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast? I was born and raised in Ithaca, New York, but traded in my snow shoes when I pursued my hospitality management degree at Auburn University (War Eagle!). I was recruited by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort following graduation and have been a proud Emerald Coast – and fl ip-flop wearing – resident for 18 years now. What is your profession? I am a National Sales Manager for Sandestin and Hotel Effie – with a primary focus on introducing new groups and conferences to the resort, and to our area as a whole. Being a detail-oriented person, I have always enjoyed planning and coordinating events. I focused on event management in my studies, while also working in banquets to learn the operations. Most of my tenure at Sandestin has been in Meetings & Events, which has provided me with a huge playbook for now confidently selling groups on our destination and services. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? It sounds so cliché – but there truly is something for everyone here. Our area has so many opportunities to be outside and enjoy numerous activities. Beyond that, I think we have such a creative culinary footprint, so I love trying new restaurants and attending our many food festivals. We are also incredibly fortunate to have such a diverse cultural arts presence where hand-crafted artwork, dance, and music can be enjoyed all year long. Three words that best describe you. Persuasive. Ambitious. Sincere Favorite place to go out? I love to dine anywhere with fresh Gulf seafood, live music, and outdoor seating – so my family and I like to visit places that offer all three. When I have the time, I will sneak in a round of golf, an afternoon on a boat, or some paddleboarding on the Bay – but more often than not, you can find my family on the beach with friends. What is the one thing you would say you do not go a day without? I strive to pay someone a compliment every day – whether it be a friend, co-worker, or complete stranger. I think we get so caught up in our busy day-to-day lives that we forget to appreciate other people sometimes. A few nice words can completely change the trajectory of someone’s day. Finish this statement. I AM Destin because… After being welcomed and mentored by this incredible community early in my career, I now am uniquely positioned to give back by encouraging others to come visit and support our local businesses and services. And what an easy sell it is! photo by Ashley Kohls

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