Gulf Coast Woman January 2023

Page 24

COMPLIMENTARY Make 2023 YOUR Year JANUARY 2023 PAULA ROADMAP TO IMPROVE YOUR WELLNESS, GOAL-SETTING, FINANCES & MORE wants you to CLAIM YOUR ROYALTY Chapel Hart's winning streak continues Unsung heroes of Mardi Gras FARVE
January 2023 2 OCEAN SPRINGS (228) 818-0025 2113 Government St., Suite I-4 Scan this QR Code to be taken straight to our Facebook Page AESTHETIC SERVICES AVAILABLE OCEAN SPRINGS (228) 818-0025 2113 Government St., Suite I-4 Scan this QR Code to be taken straight to our Facebook Page Happy New Year OCEAN SPRINGS (228) 818-0025 2113 Government St., Suite I-4 Scan this QR Code to be taken straight to our Facebook Page Dr. Michael J. Christie and Dr. Aimee R. Watts Happy New Year AESTHETIC SERVICES AVAILABLE “Women Are Very Savvy Health Care Consumers.” from all of us at The Center for OB/GYN
3-583-0123 SML_GCW Cover.indd 1 12/1/22 12:23 PM 228-863-3699 • Where the Coast Gets Engaged Start the New Year off right! R057RADU_238497

Susie Siemiontkowski

January 2023 4 GULF COAST OMAN FOUNDER Dr. Angela Bruni PUBLISHER & EDITOR Dorothy P. Wilson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brandi Stage Portraiture CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Crystal Scretching MARKETNG DIRECTOR Jennifer Gentile ASSOCIATE EDITOR © 2023 Gulf Coast Woman is published 12 times per year and is available free of charge. We encourage your comments, suggestions and submissions, however, we unsolicited documents or manuscripts. All material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher. 38 Pass Road, Suite A, Gulfport, MS 39507 (228) 539-2422 SALES CONTACT US Farrah Underwood Kristan Brewer Lisa Gum GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ON THE COVER Photographer: Brandi Stage Portraiture Hair and makeup: Sharinda Taylor, Couture Cutz COMPLIMENTARY Make 2023 YOUR Year PAULA ROADMAP TO IMPROVE YOUR WELLNESS, GOAL-SETTING, FINANCES & MORE wants you to CLAIM YOUR ROYALTY Chapel Hart's winning streak continues Unsung heroes of Mardi Gras FARVE COVER SUBJECT Paula Farve Sherry Moxley Seaman DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Jasmine Ball
Carla Biasi Karol Brandt Tracy Daniel-Hardy Kelsie Dove Chris Dearman Anne Gillam LaShaundra McCarty Jennifer
Joy Monnerjahn
Melissa New
NaTonya Parish Kathy Rogers
Angelyn Treutel Zeringue Dr. April Ulmer
Darlene Underwood Kathy Brown van Zutphen 5 DR. OLIVIA HIGHTOWER DR. STEPHANIE FUSSELL DR. ALLISON WALL CARE COMPASSIONATE RIGHT HERE AT ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS AT ALL FIVE LOCATIONS GULFPORT 1340 Broad Avenue | Suite 330 BILOXI 920 Tommy Munro Drive | BILOXI 147 Reynoir Street | Suite 204 BAY ST. LOUIS 835 Thames Avenue | WIGGINS 1440 E. Central Avenue 228-575-1234 HOME Hematology Oncology Partners provide care to cancer patients and also those with blood disorders. We are dedicated to helping you and your loved ones focus on your health, while we focus on offering the latest treatments available.
January 2023 6 THIS EDITION HEALTH / 27 HOME & FAMILY / 57 STYLE / 78 WEDDINGS / 91 SUCCESS / 95 FOOD & FUN / 104 FILL YOUR CUP / 113 con tents 50 24 22 78 Unsung heroes of Mardi Gras 3-step plan to reach your 2023 fitness goals 'Glory Days' just beginning for Chapel Hart Low maintenance, high impact beauty trends Walk-On's takes game-day experience to the next level 104 7 Don’t drop the ball on your health Ring in the New Year with a visit to a Primary Care Provider. Make your health a priority in 2023. Scan to find a location near you Singing River Medical Clinics across the coast

Women’s cancer is not always PINK

Caring. Healing. Guiding.Every step of the way.

Caring. Healing. Guiding.Every step of the way.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month.



Resolve to get your cervical cancer screening up to date in the New Year.

Resolve to get your cervical cancer screening up to date in the New Year.

The Medical Oncology Group has been serving the community for over 30 years. We feel a strong connection to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the people we serve. Our team offers the latest in cutting-edge treatments close to home, in multiple convenient locations, so there is no need to travel far.

The Medical Oncology Group has been serving the community for over 30 years. We feel a strong connection to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the people we serve. Our team offers the latest in cutting-edge treatments close to home, in multiple convenient locations, so there is no need to travel far.

In addition to expert, all-encompassing treatment, we consider it our personal responsibility to stay by our patients’ sides every step of the way. We oversee every aspect of a patient’s care. Above all, we serve as a guiding light so our patients always know they are never alone.

In addition to expert, all-encompassing treatment, we consider it our personal responsibility to stay by our patients’ sides every step of the way. We oversee every aspect of a patient’s care. Above all, we serve as a guiding light so our patients always know they are never alone.



Accepting new patients at all locations: Diamondhead, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs

Accepting new patients at all locations: Diamondhead, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs

January 2023 8
Sidra Khalid, M.D. Hamza Minhas, M.D. Sidra Khalid, M.D. Hamza Minhas, M.D.

It’s Cold & F lu Season


Feeling lousy? Get connected with a Memorial provider any time you need it. For common conditions like allergies, nausea, diarrhea and other mild illnesses, a virtual visit is the simplest way to get the care you need—when you need it.

Call (228) 867-5000 to schedule a video appointment or visit for more information.

Stay home & connect with your provider.

SAVE THE date!

Here’s what’s happening on the Coast this month

Art Vibes & Culture

Jan. 12

5-8 p.m.

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art Sponsored by The Legacy Business League, this Chamber After 5 networking event will feature food and drinks, the museum’s Black Art in America exhibit, special guest and award-winning photographer D’Artagnan Winford, music by cellist Garfield Moore and more.

Second Saturday Art Walk

Jan. 14

Old Town Bay St. Louis

Over the past 28 years, the monthly art walk has become one of the region’s most popular events. During the Second Saturday Art Walk each month in, visitors will find deals, food and lots of art and live music. Old Town stays lively all day, with many merchants and restaurants offering specials. The pace picks up from 4–7 p.m., when gallery openings and live music keep the streets humming with activity.

Casino Bridge Run

Jan. 28

7:30 a.m., 10K start; 9 a.m.; 5K run start; 9:05 a.m., 5K walk start

Race day registration and packet pick-up is inside the Golden Nugget Casino; all races start in front of Margaritaville

All runners and walkers will receive a custom finishers medal; the top three male and female finishers in age groups in all events will receive custom awards. After the race, there will be free beer and refreshments, and DJ blaze will provide entertainment. The Golden Nugget pool and jacuzzi will be heated and available to runners/walkers. Register or learn more at

Community Resource Expo

Jan. 14

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Orange Grove Community Center, Gulfport

The Legacy Business League and its partners present this event, which is free to attend and open to the public. Attendees can connect with resource experts in the following areas: careers, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, mental health, financial empowerment, housing assistance, senior services, veterans’ assistance, youth development and legal services. To learn more, visit

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Jan. 16

Parade, 11 a.m., battle of the bands, featuring Alcorn State University, noon Biloxi (Battle of the Bands at MGM Stadium)

Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at this annual celebration. Admission to battle of the bands is $5. To learn more, visit

A Night in Her Shoes

Jan. 28

4 – 6:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center, Biloxi Jubilee Havens invites you to this dinner theater event to raise awareness of the human trafficking crisis on the Gulf Coast. Tickets start at $60, and sponsorships also are available. Visit www.eventbrite. com/e/464819015187 to purchase.

CYP Launch - 2023 Annual Meeting

Jan. 25

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Biloxi Visitor Center

Join Coast Young Professionals for its annual meeting, CYP Launch, to kick off 2023. There will be live music, MVP and Hall of Fame Awards, food, drinks and a short presentation about CYP goals for 2023. Tickets are $40 pre-sale and $50 at the door. Contact CYP Director Kelly Devine at or call (228) 604-0014 for more information.

January 2023 10

Be one of the first to experience the beautiful new surroundings and amazing flavors we have to offer!

Dine under our relaxing oak tree with a wonderful menu selection for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Enjoy comfort food classics, traditional Southern entrées, and items for every taste! 11 Must be 21 or older. Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort reserves all rights. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. 9380 Central Avenue • D’Iberville, MS 39540 • 888–752–9772 • •

MGCCC students offer tips to enjoy and enhance the Mardi Gras experience

With the 2023 Mardi Gras season beginning in mid-February, it’s time to start planning for parades, whether on the Mississippi Coast or in Louisiana or Mobile.

Before you head out to parades, here are a few tips from students in the Travel and Tourism Management Technology and Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology programs at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

“Mardi Gras is always a fun time of the year for my husband and I because we are not originally from here,” said Amy Johnson of Biloxi. “We enjoy going to parades along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and even New Orleans on occasion, but we have learned (the hard way) a few tips to follow. One thing I recommend is bringing a bag or a wagon to store your throws. It is impossible to hold onto them all. One year, I had only a hoodie, and we were throwing all the beads in there. It got very heavy around my neck.”

Other tips include bringing hand warmers if it’s cold. “For some reason, it always seems to be warm at Christmas and freezing at Mardi Gras in South Mississippi, so remember your jacket and hand warmers. Your hands are your tools for parades, so keeping them warm and useable is crucial. It makes a huge difference,” said Christopher Bryan of D’Iberville.

Jessica McDermott of Gulfport recommends parking further away and walking to the parade. “If you park close to the parade, you won’t be able to get out. If you prefer to park close by, just remember to be patient. Watch the parade goers and relax. Parking further out allows you to leave quicker, but it is not as convenient if you’re hauling a cooler and wagon with you. It’s a tradeoff, and you must be patient, either way.”

Taryn Pratt Flynt, instructor for both MGCCC programs, also offered a few tips, including to definitely bring a chair. Although you won’t be sitting during the parade, there may be a long wait time before the parade begins. “I also recommend you bring snacks or money for the street vendors and food trucks,” she said. “There’s a lot of time to wait, and you’ll get hungry and thirsty. Also realize there is a very big chance you’ll get pelted in the face with beads. If it’s cold, that will sting severely, but it’s just part of the Mardi Gras experience. Not the most fun part, but it’s part of the parade initiation.”

Flynt also encouraged pre-parade preparation and strategy. “Get the schedule of parades from the newspaper or online at one of the TV station websites. You need to know the route the parade will take and plan your best standing and parking locations. Being ahead of the game will help you immensely once you arrive. And always get there early so you have a good viewing spot where you can catch the most and best beads. Think corners or ends of streets where the parade must pause. You will get more beads thrown your way in those areas.”

The main tip Flynt and her students offer is to have fun. “Remember to enjoy the experience. Be a part of the crowd and the revelry. Mardi Gras is part of our local culture that dates back centuries and can be traced back even further. It’s like you’re being given the opportunity to step back in time and participate in something unique to the lifestyle of early Coast residents.”

The Travel and Tourism Management Technology and Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology programs at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are twoyear programs offered almost completely online. For more information about the programs, scan the QR codes, or contact Taryn Pratt Flynt at

January 2023 12
Amy Johnson Christopher Bryan Jessica McDermott Taryn Pratt Flynt Travel & Tourism Hotel & Restaurant 13 SPRING CLASSES AT mississippi gulf coast community college MGCCC ANSWER CENTER: 228.896.2536 • Go Big. Go Gulf Coast. SCAN THE QR CODE TO ENROLL TODAY, or visit Flexible short-term and full-term courses are offered during the day, evening, night, and weekend, or online!
January 2023 14 228-385-9196 WWW.NURSINGMGT.COM PLEASE CONTACT NMI FOR IMMEDIATE HEALTH CARE OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS THE GULF COAST! • Private Duty Nursing • Pediatric Nursing • Skilled Nursing Care • Assisted Daily Living Care • Homemakers • Companion Care • Post-Operative Care • ID/DD Waiver Provider • Elderly and Disabled Waiver Provider • EPSDT Provider • In-Facility Care • Worker’s Comp • Insurance Cases • Supplemental Staffing Years! Celebrating 15 NURSING MANAGEMENT, INC. Nothing is more important than meeting the needs of our clients. • 24-Hour Personnel Availability • Free Client Assessment • RN, LPN, CNA, Personal Care Assistant


Grab your beads and prep the floats — the good times are about to roll!

*SEASON KICKOFF: Twelfth Night Celebration

Jan. 5,

Starts at 5 p.m. with reception at Biloxi Visitors Center; Christmas lights will go out at 6 p.m.; City Hall festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. This annual celebration is presented by the City of Biloxi, The Mississippi Coastal Mardi Gras Museum and the Gulf Coast Carnival Association. The fun begins with a reception at the Biloxi Visitors Center, then the party continues at Biloxi City Hall, signaling the start of Carnival season.

Krewe of Athena 45th Annual Ball

Jan. 27, doors open at 6 p.m.

Dr. Frank Gruich Sr. Community Center, Biloxi

Southernettes — Dreaming in Neon

Jan. 28, 7 p.m.

Biloxi Civic Center

$60 per person

For more info:

Order of Glaucus 2023 Carnival Ball — Welcome to the Cabaret

Jan. 28, 6 – 11 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Ocean Springs Civic Center

Individual seated tickets are $75; guests must be 21 and over. Attire is formal, floor-length gowns and black tie. To purchase tickets, Venmo @Order-of-Glaucus. Please indicate in the notes what the transaction is for and the name for your tickets/ reservation.

Order of Billikins Mardi Gras Ball 2023

Feb. 3, 8 p.m.

Biloxi Community Center

2023 Neptune Coronation Ball

Mystic Krewe of Niord — Viva Las Vegas

Jan. 7, 7 p.m.

Jackson County Civic Center, Pascagoula

By invitation only

Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse — Mutiny in The Bay Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m.

Location: Bay St. Louis Community Hall

For more info:

Le Belle Femme 10th annual Carnival Ball

Jan. 21

7:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Biloxi Civic Center

Come celebrate a milestone as Le Belle Femme presents its 10th annual Carnival Ball. Admission is $75 per ticket, and attendees must be 21 or over. Attire is semi-formal; entertainment provided by KARMA. Email for tickets or to learn more.

6 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Mississippi Coast Coliseum King Neptune XXXVIII and Queen Venus XXXVIII will be crowned. Tickets provide access to open bar, and food platters will be available for purchase. Entertainment by Pop Fiction and Get Sideways. Email or contact any krewe member for ticket information

North Bay Area Mardi Gras Association — Let's Get Wild

Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m.

Joppa Shrine Temple $25 per person

For more info:

Ocean Springs Carnival Association’s Eighth Annual Masquerade Ball — Casino Royale 007

Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Ocean Springs Civic Center $75 per person

For more info:

January 2023 16

54th Annual Krewe of Gemini Carnival Ball — Gifts of the Gods

Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Biloxi Civic Center $50 per person

For more info:

Krewe of Vesta -- Vesta in Wonderland

Feb. 4, Royal Court presentation begins at 7:30 p.m.

BF “Mac” McGinty Civic Center, Pascagoula

By invitation only

Formal or semi-formal attire required. Must be 21 or older to attend.

Krewe of Nereids 54th Annual Ball and After Party (Black Tie)

Feb. 5, 8 p.m.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum No cost to attend ball, $100 for after party

For more info:

Les Masquees Celebrates 100 Years

Feb. 10, 8 p.m. tableau

Dr. Frank Gruich Sr. Civic Center

By invitation only

The Krewe of Diamondhead Celebrates 007

Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m.

The Club at Diamondhead

For more info: Renee Kirschenbaum, (251) 751-1528

Les Cavaliers Ball

Feb. 11, doors open at 7 p.m., tableau begins at 8 p.m. IP Casino Resort Spa, Biloxi

14th Annual Ocean Springs Night Parade

Feb. 17, 7 p.m.

Downtown Ocean Springs

St. Paul's Carnival Association Royal Ball

Feb. 17, 7 p.m. 4321 Espy Avenue, Long Beach $60 per person

For more info: (228) 493-2728

Revelers Ball

Feb. 18, doors open at 7 p.m. Biloxi Civic Center

Members only

Les Belle Fleurs Ball

Feb. 18, 7 p.m.-midnight

Location: Frank Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

For more info: email to or visit Les Belle Fleurs Facebook page

Krewe of Neptune Night Parade

Feb. 18, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Downtown Biloxi

GCCA Coronation Ball

Feb. 20, 8 p.m.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center

The Sovereign Rulers of Mississippi Mardi Gras will be crowned, King d'Iberville and Queen Ixolib CXV. Following the tableau, dance into Fat Tuesday with live entertainment. Free public viewing tickets are available. For more info, visit www.msgcca. org.

GCCA Biloxi Mardi Gras Parade

Feb. 21, 1 p.m.

Downtown Biloxi 17
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UNDER THE OAK CAFÉ serves up magic

Although located mere steps from Scarlet Pearl’s casino floor, Under the Oak Café is a world of its own.

Bright, cheerful and imaginative, the eatery reopened Dec. 14 following a long-awaited $4 million renovation. The result, according to Scarlet Pearl CEO LuAnn Pappas, is an entirely new restaurant — boasting 50 additional seats for total of 180 and a kitchen twice the previous size.

“I love the décor’,” Pappas raves about the playful patterns and warm yellow-and-black motif, inspired by New York-based brand MacKenzie-Childs. “It was intended to be whimsical, and what we’ve done has hit that mark.”

Under the Oak C afe' creates excitement as soon as guests walk into the Scarlet Pearl, says Dennis Pearse, vice president of hotel, food and beverage. The restaurant’s centerpiece tree, adorned with twinkling lights, lends the café a unique ambiance.

“I feel like I’m in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Pearse says. “It

looks magical, like something you’d see in Disney Word.”

Attention to detail extends from the custom sunflower handles on the server station drawers to the stainedglass panels that beautify the bar. The same care and consideration apply to the menu — an eclectic mix of Southern, French and Italian fare, not to mention burgers and specialty cocktails. Chef Tremayne Davis recommends the chicken francaise, featuring pan-seared chicken cutlets sautéed in lemon butter white wine sauce, and notes that sauces are made from scratch.

Breakfast will be served all day, including classics like country biscuits and gravy, French toast and buttermilk pancakes. Guests can dine at cozy tables or enjoy their meal under the oak in an oversized, plush booth.

The whole intent of the renovation, explains Ryan Hayes, director of food and beverage, was to expand the culinary experience and create an upscale atmosphere.

“There were no shortcuts in setting up the environment,” Hayes says. “Paired with the food, it’s a win-win.”

January 2023 20
Renovated restaurant offers eclectic menu in whimsical surroundings 21 IF YOU GO Under the Oak Café at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort 9380 Central Ave., D’Iberville (228) 271-3498 Sunday-Thursday, 7a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. restaurant/under-the-oak-cafe

Glory Days’ just beginning for Chapel Hart


Judge Simon Cowell predicted big things for Chapel Hart after their star-making turn on “America’s Got Talent.”

Since their top-five finish on AGT, the Mississippi singing sensation has made his prophecy come true. Composed of sisters Danica Hart and Devynn Hart and their cousin, Trea Swindle, Chapel Hart has captured the hearts of audiences across America and beyond.

But as they made clear at their November show at Biloxi’s Ground Zero Blues Club, no matter where life and superstardom may take them, there is no place like home. All three hail from the South Mississippi town of Poplarville — more specifically, a little community called Hart’s Chapel.

“We’ve been singing together most of our lives, but we got our start together as Chapel Hart in 2018,” Devynn explains. “When we transitioned from being a cover band, we wanted a name that really meant something to us, so we wound up inverting the name of the place that cultivated us into the women we are today.”


Before AGT introduced Chapel Hart to a global audience, Trea says the group had been growing its fan base “the old-school way” by going town to town.

“Now we’re getting requests to play all across the country and abroad as well,” she adds. “Never would we have imagined getting emails from San Antonio to Switzerland, Kentucky to Kenya, from newfound fans who say they were moved by our music.”

The Congregation, as Chapel Hart affectionately calls their fans, relate to their music and respond to its authenticity. Their songs tell stories of life’s defining moments, from breakups and loss to love and triumph.

“(Our fans) are some of the most genuine people from every imaginable background who are unrelenting in their

support, and that’s really all an artist can ask for,” Danica says. “Truly, they all eventually become much more than fans; they become a part of our family.”

The congregation came out in force to Ground Zero, where Chapel Hart electrified the audience with performances of their original hits, including “You Can

of all that, we kept on going and pushing through, and I think that has made all the difference in the world.”


There’s no arguing with the results, as Chapel Hart has racked up success after success. Aside from winning the golden

Have Him Jolene,” “Glory Days” and “The Girls Are Back in Town.” They also teared up while paying tribute to their grandmother, Beatrice Hart, who died on Nov. 16.

In a Facebook statement, the group wrote, “Our worlds will never be the same. One thing we know for sure the hospitality section in heaven is about to be through the roooof! Gran, rest well. You deserve it. 86 years as a gift to the world … we are truly blessed to carry on your name.”

One of the values the matriarch instilled in her granddaughters was a sense of community —as well as pride in who they are and where they come from. Despite not looking or sounding like the prototypical country act, the trio pressed on through hard times — believing in the value of their voices.

“It has taken a lot of hard work, late nights, tears and a whole lot of ‘nos’ to get us to this point,” Devynn says. “In spite

buzzer on AGT, they’ve been inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country, played the Grand Ole’ Opry, received the keys to three cities, been nominated in multiple categories by the British CMAs and earned accolades from no less than Dolly Parton herself.

And although Chapel Hart faced an obstacle earlier this year when Danica underwent vocal cord surgery, it’s clear that there’s no stopping their meteoric rise. They’ve released a new single with one of their idols, country star Darius Rucker, and are gearing up for their “Glory Days” Tour in 2023, which will take them to more than 60 cities from coast to coast.

“We want to take this ride all the way to the top!” Danica says. “In doing so, we hope to continue to be a beacon of hope for all of the dreamers around the world, reaching as many people as possible with our music and spreading love every step of the way.”

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Meet some unsung heroes of Mardi Gras

From costumes and balls to king cakes and parades, there’s a lot that goes into a successful Carnival season. The floats and royalty may be front and center, but plenty of hard work occurs before the pageantry. Meet a few of the crucial experts who make Mardi Gras happen behind the scenes.

Throughout the year, Paul's Pastry Shop is a full-service café and wholesale bakery. During Mardi Gras, the Picayune store provides all the essential Carnival sweets, including cookies, assorted desserts and its signature king cakes.

“We also wholesale our king cakes to approximately 40 other retail businesses in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana during the Mardi Gras Season,” says owner Sherri Paul Thigpen.

She notes that Paul’s is known as the "home of the original fruit-and-creamcheese-filled king cakes," as it was the first bakery to produce this treat. During Mardi Gras season each year, which starts Jan. 6 and continues to the day before Ash Wednesday, the shop produces 70,000 - 75,000 king cakes.

“We employ two work crews: one night crew that bakes the king cakes and one day crew that finishes and packages,” Thigpen says. “We also ship about 3,500 king cakes to all 50 states.”

Thigpen was 13 years old in 1970 when her parents, Shirley and Harry Paul, founded the business in an 800 square-foot building, and they began making their signature king cakes with a twist two years later. After buying the business from them in 1988, Thigpen

expanded into a 5,000 square-foot building, and in 2006, Paul’s expanded again into a 10,000 square-foot space in Top of the Hill shopping center.

Thigpen’s daughter, Laci Brunson, is now a co-owner, and Laci’s husband and sons now work with the business, too — starting the fourth generation of Paul's Pastry Shop. With its staff of 25 dedicated employees, the shop is set to provide

Carnival goodies for years to come.

“Paul's Pastry Shop looks forward to Mardi Gras season every year,” Thigpen says. “It is challenging, and at the same time very exciting for all of us. … We are very proud to offer one of the largest varieties of king cake flavors in the nation.”

January 2023 24
Robert and Sherri (Paul) Thigpen and Laci and Clay Brunson

When she began volunteering with the GCCA in 2006, Charlene Montague Deaton’s first job was double-checking invitations for errors.

Since then, she’s taken on significantly more responsibility.

“I prepare all the invitations for the royalty’s guests, and I record RSVPs for those invitations,” Deaton says. “I assist guests with inquiries and forgotten tickets at the door of the royal reception and coronation ball.”

With the help of her daughter, Claire, she also designs and builds four scrapbooks annually for the king, queen, captain and GCCA office and helps the executive director, Jennifer Schmidt,

however she can.

When October rolls around, Deaton already is working on the first batch of invites, which are summoned to the coronation ball for guests of the royalty. After completing the summons, Deaton then prepares invites for the royal reception.

In the runup to the events, she stays busy keeping up with RSVPs and an ever-changing invitation list. All year long, she collects items for the scrapbooks, which she begins building right after Christmas and presents during Mardi Gras weekend.

“I enjoy the traditions associated with Mardi Gras, and I love being a small part of carrying on those traditions,” Deaton says. “But most of all, it’s the people who make Mardi Gras so very special. The friendships I’ve made through the years mean the world to me!”




For over four decades, Sheila Gray has created some of Carnival’s most jaw-dropping ensembles.

The Biloxi native has been honing her sewing skills as far back as high school.

“I was approached by a cousin, who was captain of a women’s organization, who could not find a seamstress to make her duke’s costumes,” Gray recalls. “So, I agreed and never looked back.”

Gray is now widely known as the talent behind the seams of Mardi Gras, making ornate costumes for several krewes each year. In addition to sewing, Gray helps her daughter, Angela, with designing. The process entails several meetings with the captains to discuss themes and vision, then Gray gets to work.

One of her favorite parts of the process is shopping for the unique fabrics the ensembles require. Her husband, Jerry, assists with the wire work needed for mantles and headpieces.

“After all the fittings are complete, the big night arrives for the costumes to be presented,” Gray says. “The satisfaction of seeing the final creations sparkling under the lights and the smiles on everyone’s faces is worth the time I had to devote to them.”

The many meetings and fittings are only part of the job. Gray spends countless hours at her machine sewing and adjusting. Once that part is finished, the task of adorning the garments with themed appliques, sequins, feathers, rhinestones and beads begins.

“This is a very time-consuming task, and I am grateful I can enlist my daughter and husband to help,” Gray says. “The most challenging part is trying to meet the client’s expectations. I am responsible for making them happy and feel beautiful.”

Once Fat Tuesday arrives, Gray can take a month off before starting the process over again. Her role comes with a lot of pressure, but after 44 years, she has proved she’s more than up to the task.

“The fact that I get to share the job I love doing with my family is a blessing, and some people that I have met through the years are now lifelong friends,” Gray says. “Not many people get to have a job they love and receive the gift of friendship along the way.”

January 2023 26
2022 Queen Ixolib Madison Warren; Sheila Gray was the royal seamstress

Make 2023 YOUR year!

What do you wish for most? Better health? Stronger relationships? Financial stability? Your own business?

Whatever you aspire to, you need a road map to get there — and that’s where we come in. This issue contains a wealth of expert advice on improving your overall wellness, goal-setting and making healthier lifestyle choices.

As you do the difficult work of pursuing your dreams, consider us your biggest cheerleader. We can’t wait to see all the ways you will amaze yourself in 2023!



Despite surviving childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, divorce and other traumas, Paula Favre has not succumbed to self-pity.

Instead, the U.S. Army veteran, business owner, mother and grandmother has mastered turning turmoil into triumph.

“I have recovered from so much adversity and so many downfalls,” says Farve, known to many as “The Shea Queen.” “I understand that I was blessed to go through all these lessons to make me the strong woman I am today.”

As founder of The Real Shea Queen LLC, which offers soothing, all-natural products for hair and skin, Farve has leveraged life’s challenges into entrepreneurial success. Doing so, she explains, has required a good amount of forgiveness and letting go.

“Remember that you cannot erase the past, but you can improve your life from this day forward — knowing that your past problems are not mistakes; they are lessons,” she says. “My call to action is to ‘claim your royalty’ at any stage in life.”

Paula Farve wants you to claim your royalty


Born number 13 of 14 children to a Choctaw father and a mother of Creole and African descent, Farve was raised in poverty, always dreaming of and searching for better.

“Growing up in humble beginnings made me resourceful and resilient, and therefore, I was groomed to have a great work ethic,” she says. “It also humbled me to never forget where I came from.”

Farve suffered significant abuse in her childhood,


Life dealt Farve further blows when she lost her human resources job after 13 years, and about a year later, her 15-year marriage also ended. Within that relationship and another, she was subjected to a range of physical and mental abuse.

These events pushed Farve to revert to “survival mode.” Seeking to become financially stable, she relocated to Seattle at the end of 2019.

“I literally moved 3,000 miles across the country to get back on my feet without influence or help; I received counseling and faced the person in the mirror,” Farve says. “I understand the role I played in my own life and know that as long as I played victim, I would remain complacent and not progress.”

Last year, with her mom in declining health and her daughter about to give birth to her fourth grandchild, Farve knew it was time to come back to the Coast. Upon her return, she started working part time while also focusing on the business she had started in 2016 to help make ends meet post-divorce.

Her son suffered from eczema, and Farve, who had been dabbling in shea butter for years, developed a cream to help with his condition.


As an entrepreneur, Farve dreams of becoming a household name and seeing major chains carry her brand.

“I envision myself to be the next African-American millionaire!” Farve says. “My goal is to educate people on natural alternatives to all natural products and the benefits.”

Most of Farve’s clients suffer from hair and skin ailments, and what motivates her is knowing that she is helping them regain their self-esteem. Having gone from sleeping in her storefront or car to homeownership, she can relate to those who are on a journey from victimhood to victory

Reflecting on how far she’s come, and what it took to achieve peace and happiness, Farve considers every day that she wakes up another chance to be great.

“I had to turn my scars into badges of honor; therefore, no one can shame me,” she says.

“I can tell my story with my head held high so others can get unstuck and realize they are not alone.”

having been molested by her father and placed into foster care at age 15. She endured further trauma in the military, which she joined a year after graduating from high school. While stationed in Panama during Operation Just Cause, she witnessed a fellow service member take his own life — an event that caused her to develop posttraumatic stress disorder.

“I completed the PTSD training and continued counseling through the Biloxi VA,” she says. “I also realized that I had to deal with my past in order to advance in life.”

“I was working at an assisted-living facility, and one of my coworkers said, ‘Girl, if you start a business, people will buy this stuff; it is amazing,” she recalls. “I was using it on my patients, and everyone wanted to know what I was using.”

Farve’s operation remains a one-woman show, and besides making her own labels, filling her own jars and managing her own social media and advertising, she grows the herbs used in her organic, natural products in her own garden. Employed part time as a medical receptionist, Farve also has two books in the works and offers a life-coaching program and vision board workshops. If all that, plus spending time with her grandchildren, isn’t enough to keep her busy, she is in the process of revamping her business plan.

January 2023 28
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My promises to myself for 2023

We’ve all heard (and likely used) the phrase “new year, new me,” but is there a better way to express the changes we hope to make starting Jan. 1? After all, the idea is to alter habits — not change who we are.

And while we’re at it, rather than resolutions, how about making promises to yourself — commitments you will hold yourself accountable for keeping? If you don’t know where to start, or which areas to work on, take inspiration and advice from some trusted experts.

Need help keeping your promises to yourself?

Download our handy goal-setting worksheet to ensure you stay on track.

Mental health and self- care

Many of us start the year with high expectations and make promises we don’t intend to keep. Instead of committing to something drastic, why not take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle and mindset? Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful:

1. Remember that the only thing we can control is our own emotions. No matter what is happening around us, we have control of ourselves, and we can change how we react to circumstances.

2. Do something for your physical health, which has the side benefit of improving mental health. This could be better nutrition or fun exercise like dancing. Some other relaxing activities that can be beneficial include crafting, journaling and cooking.

3. Step outside your comfort zone and take a chance. Use a vision board, or simply write down what you think the steps would be to reach your goal. They say seeing it helps to make it happen. If you aren’t sure how to pursue your goal, do some research. For

example, if you are considering starting a business, reach out to the Small Business Administration.

4. Create personal boundaries. It is ok to say “no,” and you aren’t under any obligation to explain why. Think about the things in your life that stress you out and decide which you can eliminate. For example, if someone is talking about a topic that makes you uncomfortable, change the subject to something more general and positive.

5. Surround yourself with healthy, positive people. Find others who are interested in the things you want to try. Support is filled with hope.

If you are experiencing mental health challenges, you’re not alone; help is available. For more information on healthy lifestyles and resources for those who are struggling, visit to www.

January 2023 30
Kay Daneault, executive director, Mental Health Association of South Mississippi 31

Health and nutrition

It’s that time of year again — new year, new possibilities! We all have that area in our life that we promise to change in the new year. If moving toward a healthier version of yourself is the promise you’re making, here’s where to start:

1. Make the perfect plate. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, your goal is to eat 2 cups of fruits, 2-and-a-half cups of vegetables, 6 ounces of whole grains, 5-and-a-half ounces of lean protein (chicken, lean ground beef; seafood twice a week), and 3 cups of dairy or dairy substitute if you are lactose intolerant.

2. Listen to your hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies naturally are equipped to tell us when we are hungry or full; we just have to listen! However, it’s hard to listen to your body when you’re distracted. Put down the cell phone when you pick up the fork, and remember to chew your food slowly and savor the flavors.

3. Rethink your drinks. We know food can contain many additives like sugar and bad fats that can lead to weight gain. But what about your drinks? Your morning coffee with extra cream and sugar? The large soda? The evening glass or two of wine or girls-night margaritas? Even seemingly healthy options, like vitamin waters, often are loaded with sugar — which is very sneaky source of weight gain. Use sugar free or zero-calorie substitutes to help limit sneaky sugar.

One sure fix: water. Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. Feel free to add fresh fruit, Crystal Light or other flavor enhancers if desired.

4. Work hard, play hard. Cardio and strength training are essential to losing fat and building muscle. The weekly recommendation is at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity (like taking a brisk walk but still being able to carry a conversation) or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (breathing hard and difficulty having a conversation). A step class or a 40-minute jog are a couple of ways to get this activity in. Add muscle strength training on two or more days.

5. Celebrate non-scale victories. Step away from the scale, and stop beating yourself up if your number isn’t trending the way you’d like. As you limit portion sizes, add physical activity and hydrate with water, you may notice your weight goes up (because muscle weighs more than fat). Focus instead on how you feel. Can you get into your smaller-sized clothing more easily? Do you feel energized? Do you have a new sense of confidence? All these things are worth celebrating.

With the new year comes new promises and fresh starts. Let this be the year that you focus on creating a healthier you!

January 2023 32
Laurin Lambert, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with Singing River, Gulfport.

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The new year is here. It’s hard to believe 2022 has come and gone. As you set your goals and intentions for the new year, here are some commitments to make to yourself to help you and your family be more content in 2023.

1. Give yourself grace. The quest for perfection can be exhausting, and it’s important to cut yourself some slack. What matters the most is that you’re doing your best, and that’s all.

2. Take time for yourself. One of the best things you can do for your own well-being and your family’s is to set aside some time for yourself. This allows you to relax and recharge. Take a walk, a solo trip to Target or a 15-minute nap — whatever works for you.

3. Ask for help if you need it, whether personally or professionally. You can save yourself from being overwhelmed.

4. Say “no.” As much as we want to attend every party, play date or event, we sometimes can’t. We can’t do it all, and that’s OK. It’s not worth sacrificing your wellbeing to try and do it all.

5. Be present. In today’s technology-obsessed society, we sometimes can be so focused on what’s happening on our phones that we miss what’s happening in the moment. Make a conscious effort to put your phone away and be present with your loved ones.

By making these parenting promises to yourself, you are taking the necessary steps to have a happier, healthier, and more peaceful home and family in the new year. Claim it now -- 2023 is your year!


As one year ends and another begins, many of us reflect on what we have accomplished throughout the year, and we set new goals for the year ahead. Earning a degree or credential is a wonderful goal, but it may be overwhelming at times. Here are a few tips to consider when making educational goals in 2023:

1. Determine what you are interested in and what field of study you may want to pursue. Career assessments and college counselors can assist you with this if you are unsure.

2. Do your research. Which colleges/universities offer the program or degree you want to pursue? Is there funding available through scholarships or grants to offset your costs? (Always consider scholarships and grants before taking out a loan. It can save you a world of worry in the future!)

3. Meet with an enrollment specialist to help you establish a degree plan that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Are you planning to go to school full time or part time? Are you looking for a traditional classroom experience or online?

4. Review your finances. How can you get the best return on your investment? Does your field offer apprenticeship opportunities? Does your field require an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree? There are often no-cost programs or special scholarships and grants available to help you reach your goals.

5. Seek out support services to assist you in your educational pursuits. Many colleges offer tutoring services, childcare, food pantries, counseling services and clothing closets to support their students and staff in ensuring they have what they need to be successful.

Whether you pursue only one or two classes to improve career opportunities in your current job or you begin a new career path altogether, the greatest promise you can make to yourself is to invest in your education.

January 2023 34
Dr. Mary S. Graham, president, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College


Growing Up for Girls is an educational seminar led by Dr. Alisha Ware, OB-GYN, FACOG, that centers on puberty and developmental changes, menstrual cycles, and how every person’s body is different.

Dr. Ware shares, “The hope is that by discussing this in a forum with other girls and parents, girls become comfortable asking questions. Exposing moms or caregivers and girls to the same information gives them a common vocabulary to discuss these changes.”


Girls ages 9-12 and their caregivers, or the person who will be guiding them through the changes of puberty. The education provided is age appropriate and delivered in understandable terms for this age group.


Future session dates will be shared on Blue Marlin at Centennial Plaza (200 E Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, MS 39501)


Registration is required for this free event. Visit or take a photo of the QR code to register.


Investing in yourself

The start of a new year always gives rise to thoughts of a new vision and new goals. Goal setting is more than just a to do-list that we revise daily. Goals and vision are futile without developing a plan and putting in the work to accomplish them.


1. List the ways you want to improve personally and professionally. Create two separate plans for those areas in your life; execute that to the best of your ability. Chose an accountability partner — not a friend, but someone who will hold your feet to the fire.

2. Practice self-care, not just maintenance. Selfcare can cost nothing, as it’s not just spa treatments. It’s sitting alone reading a book, going to therapy, cooking your favorite meals or simply saying “no” to things that aren’t good for you.

3. Prioritize your mental health. I am a firm believer that therapy should be as much a part of your medical regimen as visiting your primary care physician.

You will be surprised how comforting it is to let someone help you live your best life mentally and emotionally. Check in with yourself regularly to determine your need for support.

4. We have something to be thankful for every day, so adopt an attitude of gratitude. When things are not going well, reframe your thoughts to find something good in the situation. I promise there is always a silver lining.

5. Set boundaries. This is a big one. The power of honest and loving boundaries is priceless. This process helps us to avoid feelings of resentment, disappointment and anger and helps us take control of our lives. Boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships with others.

I have been hosting vision board and goal-setting events for years, and my conversation always is directed toward what happens after the event. Making your dreams come true takes faith, manifestation and, most importantly, effort. Success comes with a commitment to making things work despite the circumstances.

January 2023 36
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Starting your own business or side hustle

Wishing you could get ahead financially or be your own boss? Have a great idea for a service or product that could benefit others? Starting a business or side hustle may be the thing to do. Here are some tips to make your wishes a reality in 2023:

1. Start. Stop wishing, and start planning. Eleanor Roosevelt nailed it when she said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

2. Research. Learning about what you are trying to accomplish is time well spent.

3. Set a goal, and make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). If you want to earn more, be precise. How much more, and by when?

4. Write down what you want, and keep it in view. People who vividly describe their goals are one-and-ahalf times more likely to accomplish them, or at least make significant progress towards them.

5. Devise a plan that includes mini milestones. Having a big entrepreneurial goal is fun and exciting, but achieving your aim can take time. Stay motivated by breaking one large goal into a series of steps that form a plan. When you achieve a step, celebrate! You are closer to your goal than you were before.


If you are like me, you have made plenty of promises to yourself that you haven’t kept. Here are five tips to help make it easier for you to keep your financial promises to yourself:

1. Ask yourself what matters most to you, then make a list of the top 10 things. It’s your list, and no one else has to see it. No matter what it is, write it down.

2. Get a copy of your bank or credit card statements, and review where your money went.

3. Be real with yourself. What impact did the expenditures you just reviewed have on those 10 things you said matter most to you? Was it positive or negative?

4. Examine your attitude toward or relationship with money. How do you view money? What life events have helped

As you work toward starting your business or side hustle, make sure to give yourself some grace. Things won’t always go according to plan. But, if you have a plan, and if you are working it, setbacks won’t be as hard to overcome. Remember, too, to not be overly rigid. If things aren’t going according to plan, be willing to adapt and change course. Just because it doesn’t go how you thought it would doesn’t mean it won’t work at all.

Also make sure to tell someone, a close friend or mentor, what you are trying to do. Their interest in your progress will create some accountability.

Perhaps most importantly, have fun! If you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, reconsider your choice. It’s never too late to change course.

shape your view? Do you think money is the answer to all your problems or a tool you use?

5. Before you make a new purchase or click checkout to purchase those items in your shopping chart, ask yourself what impact this expenditure will have on the 10 things that matter most to you.

If your life experiences and attitude toward money are negative, perhaps you have been unintentionally sabotaging yourself financially. With help, and by changing how you view and spend money, you can turn things around. If you have a positive financial attitude and are in a good financial situation, perhaps it is time to consider how you can have an even greater positive impact on the 10 things that matter most to you.

January 2023 38 PROMISES TO MYSELF
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Beach aficionado? Romance seeker? Napa Valley girl? Always dreamed of seeing Italy, Iceland, Bora Bora or New Zealand? Make your travel dreams a reality in 2023! Here are five tips for success:

1. Put your bucket list in writing, and number the destinations by priority. Jot down the “whys” for each location, such as natural beauty, relaxation, adventure, historical significance, childhood memories, etc. Once you complete this task, you have taken a giant step toward making these trips happen.

2. Savvy travelers research their destinations, and you should start a travel journal or file right now. Do you know the best time of year weatherwise and the off-season prices where you want to go? Snap a picture with your phone when you see images of a beautiful locale while thumbing through a magazine. You can explore the destination online and in books, too.

3. Cost may seem to be your biggest obstacle, but booking your trip early can greatly affect price. Set up a “travel dreams” account; this may be as simple as putting coins in a bottle labeled “My Journey.” Rather than ordering pizza this weekend, put the money in your travel account. Let the kids save up for the family vacation, too. Don’t let the trip money turn into your rainy-day fund; stay true to the dream.

4. How about a mini vacation as you work toward your dream trip? While you’re waiting on that Caribbean package, visit a beach nearby. Sample your girls’ getaway with a short stay and spa treatment in a nice hotel. In advance of a family trip, pack a picnic and visit a local park to hike and canoe. This helps maintain your enthusiasm for that trip of your dreams.

5. Use a travel agent. Professional travel consultants will have knowledge of, and oftentimes personal experience with, your destination — as well as requirements for passports, visas and vaccinations. Plus, they have access to multiple travel companies to get you the best price.

This year, give yourself the gift of travel and enjoy a lifetime of happy memories.

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There’s no wrong way to give back, whether it’s in the form of monetary donations or volunteering your time. Here are five tips on how to focus on you and your community in 2023:

1. What are you passionate about? Let’s face it, you could support many amazing organizations, but which ones speak to your heart? Sometimes it feels like everyone is asking for your time, money or both. Do your research and support the organizations that are most in line with your values and passions.

2. Many charitable organizations rely on social media to tell their stories because it’s inexpensive and relatively easy to navigate. The easiest way to support your local nonprofits is to like and share their posts. In doing so, you are increasing their reach and exposing their brand to a wider audience. Use the time you already spend scrolling through social media to help nonprofits get the word out.

3. Do you want to make an even bigger impact on a cause you believe in? What if you and your friends teamed up to support the same organization? Instead of buying each other birthday or Christmas presents, put that money towards a local nonprofit. You can donate as a group and make a bigger impact. You and your friends also may want to consider starting a donor advised-fund with your local

community foundation.

4. Nonprofits usually are short-staffed and lack the funding needed to fill some positions. If you’re skilled in a certain area, you could offer free or discounted services. Giving back doesn’t always mean writing a check or serving on boards; you can support these organizations with your skills and talents.

5. It’s OK to say “no.” In 2023, I want you to thrive, not just survive, and you can’t do that if you’re trying to be all things to all people. Pick one or two organizations to support, maybe three if you’re feeling sporty, and focus your time, energy and money there. Sure, you could give 20 different organizations $50, but you would have a bigger impact giving two organizations $500. As for volunteering, there are not enough hours in the day to support everyone. You also must support yourself, and if you keep pouring into other people’s cups, what’s left for you?

What are you waiting for? Set aside some time this week to consider which organizations you’d like to support and how you plan to help them. Whatever you do, no matter how big or small, will be appreciated.

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Setting Goals FOR 2023

Follow these golden rules of goal setting

To accomplish your goals, you must know how to set them. You can’t just say, “I want (fill in the blank),” and expect it to happen. Goal setting starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and, with a lot of hard work, ends in success and satisfaction. Here are some well-defined steps to take in between to help you create healthy habits that transcend the specifics of each goal.


When you set goals for this year, make sure they move you in the direction you want to go. In other words, your goals should motivate you, mean something to you and add value to your life.

Achieving your goals requires time and commitment. Write down why the goal is worth this investment. Is it to improve your health? If so, now is the ideal time. Addressing your health today can help you prevent problems in the future.

It also can be helpful to associate your goals with upcoming life events, such as a wedding, family function, birthday, anniversary, etc., to keep you motivated.


This process has many variations, but in essence, your goals should be:

• S-specific: Goals must be well defined. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining exactly where you want to end up.

• M-measurable: Include exact amounts, dates, benchmarks, etc. so you can track your progress. Without a way to measure success, you miss the celebration of reaching milestones along the way.

• A-attainable: Be realistic and make sure that your goal is possible. If you set a goal you can’t achieve, that will only deflate your motivation and erode your confidence. Setting realistic, yet challenging, goals will provide the balance you need.

• R-relevant: Your goals should be applicable to the direction you want your life to take, from fitness and health to career and family. By aligning your goals with your direction, you will develop the focus you need to get ahead.

• T-time bound (most important): Your goals must have a deadline — not a vague timeframe (for example, “I will fit in my bathing suit by spring), but an actual, specific date. I attach my short-term goals to upcoming events, like a big concert, and reward myself for achieving them with a treat, like a new pair

of jeans. Setting a deadline increases your commitment, and reaching your goals can happen more quickly.


The act of writing down a goal, seeing it in black and white, gives it meaning and makes it tangible and real.

• As you write, use the word “will.” Goal statements have inherent power. Visualize yourself doing the actions needed to achieve your goals. Whatever you see and say to yourself, believe. I print my goals and tape them up at home and work. I read them often and continuously chart them. It is a commitment that must be acknowledged daily.

• Frame your goal statement positively. This is how you will motivate yourself.

• Make an action plan. Always stay focused on the outcome, and write the steps you must take daily, weekly and monthly to be successful.

• Here’s a helpful hint: By writing out your steps, then crossing out each one as you complete it, you will see that you are making progress.

I wish you a very happy, healthy and goal-oriented holiday season. Let’s go after our dreams in 2023!

Karol Brandt is an executive host with Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, as well as co-author of the Amazon best-seller “The Struggle is Real: Finally Break the Dieting Cycle, Transform Your Mind and Body, and Evolve into The Person You Have Always Wanted to Be” and the “30-Day Evolve Challenge Journal.” Contact Brandt by email at, Facebook/ The Struggle Is Real or Instagram at karolbrandtnola.

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It’s a new year – time to unleash your potential

With the holiday season now over, many of us are indulging in retrospection and rethinking some of our life choices. The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to start making the changes we said we would next week, next month or perhaps when winter first started.

Now’s your chance to prepare a list of important lifestyle changes you want to make. Since most people fail to stick to their resolutions, here are some tips to hopefully help you focus in on what you’d like to accomplish in 2023:


The habit of always thinking of “what you need to do” instead of “what you’ve done” dramatically increases your chances of giving up. If you instead focus a little more on what you’ve achieved thus far, the things you’ve learned, the money you’ve made, etc., you won’t feel as powerless looking ahead.


Remember that what you focus on the most will grow. What you focus on less tends to shrink in your consciousness. That’s why if you want to manifest more good things in your life, focus more on the positive and less on the negative.


You don’t have to fix everything right now. Sometimes, we feel that if we can’t be “all-in,” then it’s not worth trying or doing at all. For example, you may feel that if you can’t do the full 30 minutes of

exercise per day, it’s not worth doing 15. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Give yourself some time and grace to reach your goal. Besides, if you could do everything today, what’s left to work on tomorrow?


I think we’ve all fallen into this trap before. If you’re driven enough to set goals and resolutions, it usually means you’re at least somewhat competitive. Pursuing your personal goals with the mindset that you’re being watched adds a layer of stress and anxiety that is counterproductive. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone but you.


Just because someone else may have more money, accomplishments, etc. doesn’t automatically mean that they’re happy. Many people don’t have much and are tremendously happy. Focus on what matters to you and what it might take for you to be happy. Happiness is internal, not external. Next time you tell yourself that you need something first to be happy, think again.


It sometimes can feel so easy to settle for “good,” but if “great” is what you’re after, don’t be afraid to go for it. Most people have heard the saying, “Good is the enemy of great,” so get inspired to leave “good” behind to achieve your “great.”


Make gratitude a habit. The first thing I do each morning, as soon as my eyes open, is say, “Thank you.” I say this for my family, for our health, for having a place to live and food to eat. If you make gratitude a habit, rebounding from setbacks and letdowns becomes easier. It allows you to always keep the things you are thankful for in the forefront of your mind, even in the face of disappointment.


Sometimes, we don’t do the things we know we should, like exercise. As a result, we feel guilty. Guilt only deprives you of happiness, so stop feeling guilty and take better care of yourself. Work to find an effective process or ask for the help you need to make your goals reality. Guilt is counterproductive and can make achieving a happier, more fulfilling life more difficult. You’re amazing and you’ve got this — just remember that!

Dr. April Ulmer, a.k.a. “The Tummy Dr.,” is a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist who practices at Kids and Tummies in Gulfport. Reach her at

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New Year, new legs

Vein health is an area of medicine that tends to be ignored and oftentimes is considered a cosmetic issue. While those plagued with unsightly spider veins are thankful for the cosmetic treatments, many are unaware that leg pain, swelling and skin discoloration can be symptoms of venous inefficiencies. So as a new year begins, let’s explore treatments for venous disease that can restore a youthful look and feel to the legs.

The foundation for treatment is endovenous ablation. This is the procedure that replaced the oldfashioned “vein-stripping” surgeries of the past. This is the process of closing a non-functioning, diseased vein. The body doesn’t need these bad veins, so by closing them off, blood will reroute to healthier veins and back to the heart more efficiently.

There are several methods we can use to close off diseased veins. Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is one of the most effective. A laser fiber is guided into the vein, and laser energy is applied to heat up the vein, causing the refluxing vein to close. Patients love the ease of the procedure and the impressive results.

Another method is radiofrequency ablation. This treatment is performed

essentially the same way as EVLT; however, radiofrequency energy, similar to microwave energy, is dispersed through the vein, causing it to heat up and close down, which stops the blood from flowing backward through the vein.

A third vein ablation method is VenaSeal. Patients love it because it is pain free. An ultrasound-guided catheter is used to deposit a safe, sterile medical-grade adhesive to seal down the faulty vein.

Varithena, another option for treating insufficient veins, is an FDA-approved foam that is injected into the vein using ultrasound-guided imaging. Patients appreciate this method because several abnormal veins can be treated in one sitting. This method often is used to treat longer, deeper leg veins of various sizes.

A final method is the Clarivein treatment option. Clarivein’s uniqueness is its non-thermal, non-chemical nature that instead uses a machinal energy to close off the affected vein. The device accesses the vein via an ultrasound-guided catheter and actually rotates inside. A medication typically is deployed into the vein to ensure its closure, but the main mechanism is its circular, mechanical rotation.

While there are several endovenous ablation methods, some patients with large, ropey, painful veins, may no longer be a candidate because the veins have become too large. For them, another minimally invasive treatment known as microphlebectomy could be an option.

Microphlebectomy is performed using a local anesthetic that numbs up the affected vein. Tiny nicks are made along the skin’s surface through which the diseased vein is removed. No stitches are needed, and the affected area heals nicely without scaring.

With so many options available, why wait? Start off this new year with vein health in mind, and give your legs the care they need.

Dr. Keith Thompson at the Vein Institute in Hattiesburg is a board-certified, fulltime vein specialist. Reach him at (601) 336-8368.

January 2023 48 49

Your three-step plan to reaching your 2023 fitness goals

New year, new ... sigh. I don’t know about you, but the start of a new year can be a lot of things for me: exciting, fresh, intimidating or sometimes just scary. I have felt all the emotions when Jan. 1 arrives. We put so much pressure on ourselves to change something on that date instead of a random Tuesday next month.

I’m here to tell you that no matter where you find yourself, whatever date it happens to be, today can be a new start in your health and fitness journey. All feelings are valid when approaching a time of change, which can start with the New Year or any day you choose.

Here are a few tips to help you start, change or maintain your health and fitness journey.


Do you have a specific goal, fitness or otherwise? You should! Want to eat a wider variety of whole foods? Get stronger in the gym? Feel better in your clothes? Run faster for that next race? Pick one, write it down and be specific.

We make these goals in our minds, but we often fail to put them on paper and keep them in front of us. When you write down what you want to achieve, put it somewhere where it stays visible, or take it with you; don’t hide it! If you do, you may as well never start. Think of how it will feel, smell, and even taste when your ambitions are realized.

I like to start my day by saying affirmations with my goal in mind. Most times, I say them out loud in the car while I’m driving with my favorite song jamming in the background. I have a few go-to podcasts that keep me motivated to achieve my goals, too, and I end most days with 15 minutes in a good book.


Bear in mind that somewhere to begin can be a physical location or a specific date. Since we are at the beginning of a new year, let’s focus on a physical location. If you’re reading this on a random Tuesday, pick a date you have in mind. The gyms, fitness studios, and boot camps are packed at the start of the new year, but don’t let that get in your way.

A few of my favorite places to kick off or refine my fitness goals include my home, a gym and a 24/7 fitness studio. I love

having a workout space in my garage for days when I don’t feel like driving to a gym or my littles are home. It’s harder for me to get motivated to workout at home versus going elsewhere, but it’s a great way to keep me accountable. Going to the gym or a fitness studio is fun because someone

there likely will help keep you accountable.


How fast do you want to achieve your goals? Be realistic! Saying I want to lose 20 pounds by next Tuesday is neither realistic nor sustainable. Bigger goals like that require a steady pace over a longer period. When you achieve things at a pace that’s realistic, you are more likely to maintain your gains once you’ve achieved them. For weight loss, I consider a pound a week a realistic pace. If you want to make better food choices, adding one healthy veggie or fruit a week makes the change sustainable versus adding a lot at once.

The good news is you can pick any time of year to create new fitness goals. Write it down, pick a place and choose your pace. Start with one goal at a time. It’s either one day or day one, and I hope today becomes your day one.

January 2023 50 BY MARIA BARR
Maria S. Barr is a fitness instructor, educator and entrepreneur who serves as brand manager and a master trainer with Barre Intensity. Reach her at 51 JOHN C. JAMES, Executive Director 706 Highway 90, Waveland MS | 228-466-6395 HOPE HAVEN Children’s Advocacy Center Supporting Children Strengthening Families Restoring Hope Contact us to learn how you can help us better serve more families: Hope Haven Children’s Advocacy Center is
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Dealing with Diabetes

Afew months ago, I noticed I was urinating more than usual and starting to lose weight. Although otherwise healthy, trim and a regular exerciser, I’d come down with diabetes. It’s a scary diagnosis, as diabetes is the number-one cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult blindness. Although I didn’t have other signs, for many people, other common symptoms are excessive thirst, belly pain, blurred vision and persistent hunger.

Diabetes affects 37 million Americans. Of these, one in five don’t know they have it. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.

Our bodies carefully regulate the level of sugar in our bloodstream through a small protein called insulin. When we eat and our sugar goes up, our pancreas pushes insulin into our arteries, allowing our cells to absorb the sugar — either into places it’s needed, like brain or muscle, or into fat storage. Diabetes occurs when our body fails to make enough insulin, or the insulin we produce doesn’t work well enough.

I suppose I should have known I’d develop diabetes; my father had it, and both of my brothers are diabetic. Like 96 million Americans, I had been told for years that I was prediabetic, based on my blood sugar being higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify for the disease.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type one is when there’s not enough insulin being made. This is most common in young people, but it can occur at any age. In type one, the only effective treatment is insulin shots.

Like 90 percent of diabetics, I have type two. Here, the body makes insulin, but the cells aren’t responding to it well. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream.

Many effective medicines can make the body more responsive to insulin, some taken daily by mouth, and some given as weekly injections. Besides taking medications, type-two diabetes can be treated through healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating healthy food and physical activity.

When I developed diabetes, my doctor put me on Metformin, a medicine that helps my body use insulin. I obtained an insulin-


• More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes, and one in five of them don’t know they have it.

• 96 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and more than eight in 10 of them don’t know they have it.

• Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).

• Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10 percent.

testing kit and check my sugar twice daily. The biggest change I made was cutting sweets from my diet, so no more soft drinks, candy or, my favorite, chocolate milk.

Now my weight has stabilized at 10 pounds down, and my sugar is consistently in the 110 range. I feel good and look forward to a normal life expectancy. Other diabetics, if they manage their condition well and receive proper treatment, can look forward to the same.

Dr. Philip L. Levin is a retired emergency medicine specialist in Gulfport. Learn more or contact him at

• In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

• Medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes total $327 billion yearly.

*From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Scan to watch Dr. Levin speak about diabetes and his personal experience with the disease:


Make your health resolutions a reality in

Fresh start. Resolutions. Healthier living. This month, these terms are heard everywhere. January brings with it an overwhelming number of self-imposed expectations, many of which are focused on health and wellness.

The truth is that most people won’t keep their resolutions for long. In fact, a recent study found that only 9-12 percent of people fulfill their New Year’s commitments. However, better health is within reach, and help is available to achieve it. One example is Stone County resident Donda, who took steps to reach her goals and improve her quality of life.

Regardless of what diet or exercise regimen she tried, Donda was struggling to control her weight. She was prediabetic, and her blood pressure was high most of the time.

“I needed to do something to get my life back, as I have children and I want to live long enough to see them grow and succeed,” she says.

She heard about gastric sleeve surgery

and learned she was a candidate. In this procedure, surgeons create a small stomach “sleeve,” or pocket, that is shaped like and reduced to the size of a banana — usually holding about 3 ounces. After the “sleeve” is created, the part of the stomach that is left over is removed. A smaller stomach produces much less of the hormone that causes the sensation of hunger, so patients feel less hungry, eat smaller portions, stay full longer and experience improvement in their overall health.

“Before the procedure, I was tired all the time, and I didn't have any motivation to get up and do anything at all,” Donda says. “I was depressed and just didn't have any quality of life.

“After the procedure, I gained so much confidence, and when the weight started falling off, I could tell I was feeling much better and could do things without being out of breath. I could go run and play with my kids.”

Donda describes her recovery as

“absolutely amazing,” and she fortunately didn’t experience any issues following the procedure.

“I highly recommend anybody struggling with weight and health issues have this procedure done,” she says. “If I could do it over again, I would. I wish I had known about it sooner!”

Donda knows that it takes dedication to make sure she has lifetime success.

“There is nothing easy about having weight loss surgery; hard work is still the name of the game, and if you don't stay focused, things can get out of hand,” she explains. “I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with others. This really has been life-changing, and I am so glad I did it when I did.”

Memorial offers both primary care services and virtual visits. Learn more by visiting or by calling (228) 867-5000.

January 2023 54
Struggling with weight loss? Surgery may be an option

impact on

A new year offers a fresh start and an opportunity to develop positive life strategies.

But even if you have the best of intentions, almost all New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. It can be difficult to find the motivation to maintain these personal commitments, especially for those already managing mental health challenges.

Mental hhealth concerns are on the rise following the pandemic, increased economic pressures and social issues. Women are particularly impacted. Many mental health conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder, affect more women or affect women in different ways, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration. However, there is hope. Small steps can support positive mental well-being and ensure a happier and healthier 2023.

1. Set realistic expectations. Many resolutions fail early because people expect changes overnight. Mental health challenges take time and commitment to treat, just like any physical ailment. Start by focusing on one or two achievable steps, like journaling twice a week or taking regular walks. Mastering these small steps can motivate you to do more.

2. Make exercise part of your routine. Research shows exercise can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. For individuals who are struggling with low energy and motivation, consider starting slow with a five-minute daily walk. This is a good way to get your body moving, and it’s easy to slowly increase the activity level as confidence builds.

3. Use meditation to reduce stress. Studies suggest meditation can help with stress and anxiety. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels across the country are alarmingly high, according to the American Institute of Stress. For example, with the increase of remote work, many people are going without a dedicated workspace and struggle to unplug. Mindfulness meditation can be an easy strategy to add to your routine to reduce stress. Not sure where to start? Several meditation apps are available for smart phones.

4. Take social media breaks. More than 70 percent of Americans use social media, which has been linked to conditions like depression and anxiety, according to the Pew Research Center. From comparison culture leading to lower self-esteem to the constant stream of negative news, social media may have a bigger effect on your daily mental health than you realize. Try taking regular breaks, even if it’s just for a couple of days at a time.

5. Ask for help. Mental health challenges increase the urge to isolate, but this will only worsen these feelings in the long -term. Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty about asking for help. Talking about your feelings can be a great way to understand and address the root cause.

These small changes could lead to healthier coping mechanisms and long-term mental wellness in the new year.

Sarah Hornby is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Oceans Behavioral Hospital, Biloxi. Oceans Biloxi provides inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment for adults and inpatient programs for adolescents 12-17. For more information, visit 55 315 US 90 | Waveland | 228-357-4023 EbonySageApothecary | COAST OMAN Best Small Business READER APPROVED 2022 TONI MAURICE-MILBURN Reiki Master Teacher Master Herbalist Aromatherapist Herbalism Aromatherapy Massage Therapy Crystal Healing Reiki PHOENIX BEHAVIORAL HEALTH 2122 Bienville Blvd., Ste K Ocean Springs, MS 39564 228-819-2171 Be sure to like us on An IV Hydration Health & Wellness Spa Mobile Services Available TREATMENTS: IV Infusions | Botox | B12 & Fat Burner Injections LISA STEPHENS, NP-C Family Nurse Practitioner 309 Reese St. | Bay St. Louis | 228-231-1561 |
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Honesty is difficult, but it’s worth it

"Come to us with any questions you have, and we will always tell you the truth.”

My husband and I have made this pledge to our sons, but within the last year, I’ve realized what an important, yet difficult-to-keep, promise this is.

At age 8, my eldest son is moving from the blackor-white, right-or-wrong and easy-to-navigate part of childhood into the gray, murky areas of young adulthood — where answers often are complex, and finding them requires considering things from multiple perspectives. And the influences around him have increased, from friends, teachers and coaches to media and popular culture, our parental voices have been joined by many others eager to weigh in on important issues.

My youngest, at age 4, faces some of these influences at an even earlier age than our eldest did. This is simply because he has an older brother — the ultimate influence on a younger sibling.

Obviously, this progression is a normal and proper rite of passage. My husband and I can’t hope to be the only influences in our sons’ lives, nor should lament that fact. Human beings grow and develop by taking in new information and experiences, and good parents want that for their children.

However, parents ultimately are responsible for shaping our children into successful adults, and I don’t want to outsource that responsibility. I want us to be the main influence in the development of our sons’ worldviews.

That level of influence requires a commitment to honesty and a willingness to engage with all topics, from silly to difficult and everything in between. The fact is, if we as parents won’t be available to and honest with our children, someone else will.

Make no mistake — being honest with our children is difficult. I’ve always known that hard and uncomfortable conversations were inevitable. Yet somehow, it always seemed like those conversations would happen later. I never anticipated having them so soon, and I certainly didn’t expect to have them spur of the moment with little

to no warning. However, that is how they have happened because that is how life goes.

At the dinner table, we got, “How do babies get into a mommy’s tummy?” One day while heading home from school, our eldest son asked, “What does the word 'racist’ mean?” This year after visiting Santa at the Harbor Lights Festival, he asked quietly, “Is Santa Claus really real?” Earlier this year, as we were preparing for my grandmother’s funeral, my youngest son tearfully asked, “Where do we go when we die?”

Each time they asked one of these questions, I fought the urge to blow it off, belittle it or sidestep it. My heart rate accelerated, and I began to sweat on the spot. Then, I took a deep breath and decided to do the hard thing because it also happened to be the right thing. I chose to answer the question.

Sometimes I had to say, “That’s a great question. Let me think about it for a few minutes, and I’ll get back to you.” This gave my husband and me a chance to confer and an opportunity for us to craft an age-appropriate response. Sometimes I had to say, “I don’t really know because that is a hard question. But here is what I think.” And sometimes, I had to swallow the lump in my throat and tell my sons truths about the world that I wish they never had to learn.

But every time, no matter how hard the conversation was, I have never regretted having it. Truthfully, I am grateful for each question my sons have asked me because it means they trust me to tell them the truth. They trust me to teach them about the world. They trust me to be their parent. So, I hope they’ll keep asking me the tough questions, and as long as they do, I’ll keep answering them.

Kelsie Dove is an English teacher at Gulfport High School and a founding contributor for Gulf Coast Mom. She can be reached at

home & family

As interest rates rise to reduce inflation, a national affordability crisis has evolved, creating a tremendous opportunity for all Coast businesses. Leaders anticipate an influx of out-of-state buyers, and Elliott Homes will have a steady stream of move-inready homes.

Due to demographic shifts and affordability, we will see a large migration to the Southeast. (According to Harvard Business Review, 19 million are looking to relocate today!)

We will see significant demand for Build-to-Rent homes. Think resort-style living with no maintenance, not houses.

In the top five metro markets in the US, mortgages have jumped from an average of $3,200 to $5,300 a month. Due to the affordability on the MS Coast, mortgages have gone from an average of only $961 to $1,530.

As the nation learns about the incredible amenities and lifestyle the MS Coast offers, analysts believe the Secret Coast is a viable solution for millions of people who face today's affordability crisis.

We will see the beginning of generational growth for the Coast as more than 110 million people are looking for affordable housing solutions.

We need outreach and are looking to collaborate with Coast residents, local REALTORS® and business leaders. It will also require looking away from the past as we will have a new demographic that never existed, those who choose to rent vs. own.

Let's put our best foot forward as people "try out" the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Imagine experiencing life on the Coast in a brand-new home with a monthly mortgage or rental payment lower than the national average. Add the benefit of low-maintenance living - they now have the time to fall in love with all the Coast offers.

This is our chance to make a lasting impression on new residents, encouraging them to relocate permanently while growing our local economy!

Those who work from home (34 million strong today)

Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000/ a day and, due to AI, are expected to live 15 years longer. A significant impact on retirement funds as they will need to last longer than anticipated years ago. Many are looking for areas that offer affordability, safety and a sense of belonging.

Millennials (the largest demographic in the world) are getting into the housing market as they have children.

To help home buyers realize their vision of homeownership, the Elliott Homes team has worked diligently to reinvent our most popular floor plans and create new ones. These newly created plans are ready to roll out in 2023 with prepandemic pricing.

Visit our website to see the complete lineup of affordable luxury homes.

"When you combine our incredible home prices with the low cost of living, the Coast offers an affordable option for an incredible lifestyle. It's a win/win!"

This year, we are bidding adieu to the minimalist style and saying hello to the "maximalist." Everything from colors to patterns to textures, and even appliances, will make a dramatic statement.

How can you incorporate this concept into your home? Here are some pointers to get you started:

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• Let's start with the latest color trends. Benjamin Moore has announced that its color of the year for 2023 will be Raspberry Blush, a fiery red-orange that is widely considered to be the most beautiful hue of a good sunset. Andrea Magno, color marketing and development, director of Benjamin Moore says, “It’s a really charismatic color and doesn’t sit quietly on the wall. It’s about awakening our senses and getting people to engage with a vivacious color.”

You can provide a bold pop of color with an entire wall or a single piece of furniture, and it will bring a great deal of energy to any space. In the same way, a bold marble piece can make a statement and add a bit of drama to a kitchen.

• Amber represents energy, promotes positivity and inspires boldness, so expect it to be popular this year. It is also thought to symbolize vitality, confidence and safety. To create a cozy look, pair it with green linen bedding and a wooden bedframe — or you can paint a bedroom wall in the hue to emphasize wellness.

• Being bold also entails being authentic, so fill your living spaces with meaningful objects that represent your truest self.

• Mixing colors and patterns can complete and enhance a look. Create a layered space by combining bold wallpaper, a creative backsplash canvas and two-toned cabinets.

• Larger kitchen islands and cabinets made of dark-stained wood will also be popular. Designers anticipate the revival of the old style, with larger or even double kitchen islands. As a result, the area will be practical and suitable for large gatherings, meal preparation and workfrom-home setup.

• In addition, we want our kitchen appliances to blend in with the rest of our décor; this is where stylish, modern kitchen appliances come in. They are also anticipated to be the next big thing for enhancing your kitchen’s functionality and safety.

This year, the refrigerator drawer, an additional beverage drawer that can free up room in your main refrigerator, is expected to be popular.

• 2023 is the year to create a sanctuary in your home. To encourage wellness and self-care, transform your bathroom into a tranquil home spa. According to designer Jeff Andrews, “Adding a pair of undercounter refrigerators to a home spa to store beauty products and chilled towels is something our clients are loving.”

Jennifer Miller is a certified interior designer, professional home stager and the president of Jennuwine Design, Sophisticated Staging. Reach her at or (601) 213-8729

January 2023 62
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Make a BIG statement with a small investment. Change the color of your front door or house trim. In the kitchen, painting the cabinets is the biggest way to make an impact.


Changing the fabric framing your windows brings high-impact alteration to a room’s look. It is one of the best ways to get a noticeable change. 65
Change out artwork of any type – paintings, pottery, photos - to instantly create a whole new look. UPDATE LIGHTING FIXTURES Change lampshades to modernize your rooms. Update ceiling fixtures. UPDATE THE SOFA This piece of furniture gets a lot of real estate in a room. Invest in new upholstery or a slip cover and new pillows. Nobody doesn’t see the sofa!
VISIONS AND GOALS FOR 2023? Refresh your living space with these easy fixes: 1001 HOWARD AVENUE | BILOXI 228-385-2657 WWW.DBATIAINTERIORS.COM NEW LOCATION MEET SOME OF OUR AGENTS AND FIND THE PERFECT PROPERTY ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST 118-A North Beach Blvd - Bay St. Louis | 228.466.6643 | THE PREMIER REAL ESTATE AGENCY ON THE GULF COAST | Licensed in Mississippi KATHERINE SUTTON Assoc. Broker 228.234.4649 HOLLY LEMOINE-RAYMOND Broker/Owner 601.569.6099 ALESIA FOUASNON Agent 228.305.0282 MITCH R. TINSLEY Assoc. Broker 228.324.9093 Be the Life of the Mardi! 400 East Pass Road | Gulfport | 228-896-5656 frenchdrugcompany


The Mississippi Gulf Coast has some of the most affordable real estate in the country. With that in mind, it may be the year of change for you, whether that means buying a new home, selling your current home or both. Inventory is still low here, making a new construction home more attractive. If moving is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are a few tips to help make it a reality.


• Determine if it is the right time to sell. Timing is essential when selling your home, and a real estate professional can help provide valuable information to help with your decision. An agent can offer a current market analysis of homes selling near you. These competitive properties will have a direct influence on the selling price of your home. t

• Determine what will happen once your home sells. Whether your goal is to downsize, upsize or change locations, knowing what you will get from your home sale will help you decide on the next move. Use your current mortgage balance and the real estate agent’s evaluation to learn how much equity you have in the home.

• Prepare your home to hit the market. Take the time to prep before it goes on the market. Simple fixes and fresh paint go a long way in getting top dollar. Don’t forget to clean and declutter. My professional advice: Wash the windows and remove heavy drapery to let as much light into each room as possible. Also, clean your closets, and store what you don’t need to showcase the amount of space provided.


• Identify if it is the right time to buy. Just like selling, take the time to review your financial position and lifestyle changes to determine whether it is the right time to invest in a new home.

• Speak with a lender. To help you stay within the best price range for your home, get preapproved for a mortgage before your house hunt starts. Based on your monthly income and expenses, the lender can help you determine how much you can afford to spend.

• List your must-haves and wants. Now that you have been preapproved, this is the next step before you start looking at listings. Include important criteria like your desired number of bedrooms and baths and preferred location to narrow down your search. Skip the hard work

and provide a Realtor with your list to schedule property showings that fit your criteria.


• The most common way to tackle this is by selling your current home, and then using the proceeds as a down payment on the next one. When this is your choice, a Realtor and lender can advise you on the next steps. For example, do you qualify for another home loan while yours is on the market? If you are uncomfortable with two mortgages, a Realtor can help you find a seller willing to accept an offer contingent on selling your current home.

Make 2023 a year to remember as you and your family make this important decision together. Whether you stay or go, analyzing the possibilities together is the perfect opportunity for more family time. Happy New Year!

Susan Siemiontkowski is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty. Reach her at (228) 239-2621 or

January 2023 66 67 SOLD WE BELIEVE THAT ENTHUSIASTIC PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE A licensed Realtor for 15 years, Emily McDougall is a 5th generation native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She has extensive knowledge of the Coast including school districts, neighborhood trends, and an understanding of all the local nuances. Emily has closed hundreds of real estate transactions, and rehabbed homes for resale. She works with her husband, Nathan, who has built and sold multiple spec homes. Whether buying or selling residential or commercial, investment properties or vacant land, the Mississippi South Realty Team is ready to help you through all stages of your real estate transactions. We love working with first time homeowners, and also offer consulting services for military relocations, and out of state real estate transactions. MISSISSIPPI SOUTH REALTY, LLC 228-234-3550 | ©2022 Huntington Mark, LLC. Independently Owned and Operated. SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) are registered trademarks of the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. ACT is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc. None of these entities were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this program. *Not valid with any other offers. **Grade level results are based on cumulative average grade level increases in reading and math for 17,445 students from 2010-2014 using the full set of available student data. ***Results are based on surveys of 3,289 Huntington students graduating in 2019, using their initial Huntington Academic Evaluation and final SAT/ACT test score. HLC4443.1 • K-12 TUTORING • TEST PREP • HOMEWORK HELP • STUDY HALL • ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE COACH AVERAGE INCREASES 2+ GRADE LEVELS in math and reading** on SAT score*** on ACT score*** in scholarship offers*** NOT SURE WHERE YOUR CHILD STANDS ACADEMICALLY? HUNTINGTON CAN HELP! SAVE ON AN ACADEMIC EVALUATION $100* (VALUED AT $195) 228-832-1226 8950 Lorraine Rd., Ste. E, Gulfport 229 POINT INCREASE 5.4 POINT INCREASE $71,149.00 PER STUDENT TUTORING & TEST PREP IN-CENTER OR ONLINE
January 2023 68 ow-ceramic-vase/ Manufacturer: Lightology Price: $1295.00 Link: module=prod_detail&prod_id=1138015&link=i mage On TREND ADVERTORIAL “Hei Hei” Metal Sculpture $85 YARD STUFF Birchwood Salad Server Set $24 THE THREADED CORK Gift Craft Bicycle Sculpture $42.99 ROBIN’S NEST Small Space Therapy $53.95 Lightology $1,295 MLR INTERIOR DESIGN Manufacturer: Small Space Therapy module=prod_detail&prod_id=1138015&link=i mage Painted Spoon Rest $30 ROBIN’S NEST IN THE PASS Pass Christian Painted Oyster Shells $22.95 ROBIN’S NEST IN THE PASS “Fred” Metal Sculpture $45 YARD STUFF Polish Pottery Flower Bowl $42 THE THREADED CORK Mardi Gras Gifts and Partyware Table Runner $28.95 THE RADISH LOFT 69 Paul and April Parker 146 Main St., Bay St. Louis, MS 39520 228-588-8008 | Licensed and Insured in Louisiana and Mississippi Parker Contracting has been working with families for decades to bring their construction dreams to life. Trust us to be your choice for all of your residential and commercial contracting needs. Whether mending after a disaster, building new construction, or remodeling an existing home or business, Parker Contracting will work with you to make your dream a reality! module=prod_detail&prod_id=1138015&link=i

5 study skills middle-schoolers need to acquire and refine

In middle school, it becomes more important than ever for students to know how to study. The foundation for this is laid in elementary school, but in middle school, expectations are higher, and teachers want students to be independent learners.

What are some of the study skills students should be cultivating as they move toward high school? Here are five of the most essential:

1. Time management/creating a study schedule – Time management is a skill that new middle school students have not always mastered. Encourage your child to use a planner or homework app to keep track of work and assignments.

When it comes to upcoming quizzes and tests, students always should prepare. That means developing a study plan well in advance. Remind your child that spaced-out study sessions have proven to be much more effective than fewer, longer study sessions. Encourage your child during middle school to develop a consistent study schedule.


• Work backward from tests/quizzes when creating a schedule.

• Prioritize hardest and soonest tests/quizzes.

• Incorporate study time every day leading up to tests/quizzes around other responsibilities and school hours.

2. Visual aids – Even students who learn effectively by reading and listening can benefit from visual aids like charts, flashcards, lists, visual memory devices and diagrams. When opportunities arise for your child to incorporate visual study tools, do so.

3. Practice tests – Not all teachers will use practice tests to prepare students for the real thing. However, if your student has access to mock exams or can request them, these are useful.

Another idea: have your child create his or her own practice tests, using notes and textbooks to create questions. Some texts even include summary questions at the end of chapters.

4. Taking quality notes – Note-taking is new for most middleschool students. However, writing down what a teacher says isn’t enough. Your child must learn how to take useful notes that will help him or her prepare well for quizzes and tests. Help your child develop this skill. Talk with your child’s teachers about effective methods and any tips they may have.

Your child’s notes should:

• Summarize important concepts.

• Call out key terms and information that jogs the memory for more details.

• Record essential concepts he or she should study more deeply.

5. Organization – For many new middle school students, organization is a big challenge. These students have never had to manage so many materials for separate classes before. Help your middle schooler devise an organizational system that keeps track of all physical items like handouts and syllabi, as well as any electronic files.

While organization is not exactly a study skill, being organized helps students minimize wasted time and stress so when they do sit down to study, they easily can access what they need and get focused.

Lastly, it is wise to get your child help in middle school when he or she struggles with studying or homework. If your child seems to lack discipline or tools to study effectively, you must address these issues sooner than later. Middle school is a big transition period for students and a time to help them become more independent. Honing study skills is an important part of that.

The Huntington Learning Center Gulfport is located at 8950 Lorraine Road, Unit E, Gulfport. Contact the center at (228) 206-2353.

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January 2023 72 Call Today! MOVING SOON? DON’T SWEAT IT! James D. Wilson, owner/operator 228.297.5675 Since 2004 LICENSED BONDED INSURED D.O.T. No. 3292042 WWW.MIGHTYMENMOVERSMS.COM LOCAL AND NATIONWIDE SERVICE EXPERIENCED CREWS | PERSONALIZED SERVICE FURNITURE PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE These guys are fast and efficient. - David B., Gulfport They were kind and helpful; moved all of my furniture quickly without breaking anything. I would hire them again. - Carla S., Ocean Springs They were a very hard working respectful group of guys! I highly recommend them!! Awesome job they did for me!! - Linda L., Gulfport Everyone, has been professional, kind, helpful and very personable. Thank you very much. - Ruby C., Biloxi 73 House of Carpet Jack Beattie’s CARPET | AREA RUGS | VINYL PLANK EUROPEAN RECLAIMED WOOD GLASS TILE | CUSTOM BUILT SHOWERS HEATED FLOORS ALL FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS NEEDS SHOWER YOUR HOME IN BEAUTY 3206 B Ave., Gulfport, MS 39507 Call JEFF at 228-864-6856 Taking care of the Gulf Coast Since 1970 Custom Shower Remodels & New Construction COAST GULF COAST OMAN Best Small Business READER APPROVED 2022 • STUCCO • STONE • INSULATION • GARAGE DOORS • FIREPLACES SUPPLYING YOUR BUILDING NEEDS Exterior Solutions 14410 CREOSOTE ROAD | SUITE A & B | GULFPORT, MS 39503 Superior Insulation SAVE ENERGY, SAVE MONEY INVEST IN SPRAY FOAM AND FIBERGLASS INSULATION CALL NOW TO START SAVING SCHEDULE A FREE QUOTE AND CONSULTATION Call (228) 214 – 2303 (228) 863-1221 DENISE HOPKINS FINE ART 125 Davis Ave. | Pass Christian, MS 39571 228-222-4126 | @denisehopkinsfineart BLESSING A FUTURE GRACED WITH LOVE BE STILL AND KNOW
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A dysphagia diagnosis can be hard to swallow

For some reason, my mother always wanted to be “thick,” to have a little weight on her. I could not relate because I’ve always been “round” (as she calls me). Food and a kiss solved everything, or at least that’s what momma led us to believe. When we slammed our hand in the door or stomped our toe, she gave us a big, quick and animated kiss on the injured area. Sometimes she kissed her finger to “boop” the injured spot.

This affection distracted us until she gave us something to eat, which further distracted us and often made it all better. What’s better in life than good food and kisses?

My mother enjoys eating very much. She grazes much of the day and usually affirms she is ready to eat when asked. Although she eats well, she was losing weight consistently — dropping down to 93 pounds. When she was at her most pleasing weight (to her), she was wearing a plus-size 16 and weighed close to 165 pounds or more. She’d intentionally eaten herself to plus-size status.

Now that I think back to the doctor’s appointments and emergency room visits where I always was asked about momma’s eating habits, I think the medical professionals were a little concerned about her weight. I shrugged it off because I recognized that weight loss and the desire to eat wane for many elderly people like her due to dementia and other ailments. Additionally, momma was less than a hundred pounds when she and daddy married and was barely 95 pounds during her first pregnancy (with me).

After her stroke, momma’s eating issue became more pronounced and was

unsuccessfully addressed by several speech therapists. Since her stroke six years ago, she’d developed the habit of chewing her food and spitting out the undesirable textures. It seemed to get progressively worse. These were no longer just rice, peanuts and hard objects, but her beloved cornbread. The therapists found no physical cause but told us the behavior is common in those with dementia.

Therapists consistently have asked her to slow down to swallow and to avoid foods with textures like rice, corn and cornbread. A few times, she tried to comply and became very frustrated by their (and my) insistence on chewing or swallowing in a particular way. So, we decided not to adjust and not frustrate her.

After years of this, and the additional concern about her weight, the medical practitioners diagnosed her with dysphagia. This should not be confused with dysphasia, which is a language disorder — although both can be caused by brain or neurological damage.

Symptoms of dysphagia, like dementia, can vary. They may include the inability to swallow, feeling like food gets stuck during the swallowing process, regurgitation, frequent heartburn, coughing during swallowing, etc. According to The Cleveland Clinic, stroke survivors like my mother who have dysphagia are affected in the oral and pharyngeal phase of swallowing instead of the esophageal phase. Strokes and other nervous system and brain disorders can cause tongue weakness, chewing problems and neuromuscular problems that can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.

My mother’s primary physician and a hospital therapist suggested we start pureeing her food, so we dusted off a blender we’d purchased several years ago. Although the food didn’t look aesthetically pleasing, she enjoyed it. She ate more, discharged less and left very little for us to

clean up. By her two-week post-hospital appointment, she’d gained six pounds.

Her cheeks and legs began filling out, and I noticed weight gain in her fingers, which had become transparent and hard to prick for glucose testing. She has since gained 13 pounds and still enjoys her pureed food.

If you suspect you or a loved one is showing signs of dysphagia, please contact your physician for a proper diagnosis. Bear in mind that some symptoms of dysphagia can be signs of other ailments.

Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy is the author of “The Adventures of Butch and Ruby: Chronicles of a Caregiver” and director of technology for Gulfport School District. She may be contacted at

January 2023 76
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It’s a new year; let’s start fresh!

• Speaking of fresh, one of the looks we will be seeing all over in 2023 is minimal. Trends come and go, but a clear, clean-looking complexion is always in style. You can shower, throw your hair up, and apply products like serums, Vitamin c, moisturizer, etc. to make your face feel soft and youthful. Pinch your cheeks, groom your brows and use only the products you need to achieve a natural glow. You will come out looking fantastic with minimal effort.

I recommend Huda Beauty’s Thirst Trap Juice HA3 Peptide Serum , ($47,, which deeply hydrates and leaves your skin feeling plump, bouncy and healthy.

Another great buy is Glossier Boy Brow Grooming Pomade ($17,, which thickens, shapes and grooms brows into place.

• I love blush, and it’s sure to be the star of 2023. Bright, pink, red or peachy — the more color, the better. Flush those cheeks! When applying, start at the apple and bring all the way to your temple. Add a bit of mascara and a thin layer of liner. Flesh out with a pink lipstick, and you’ve got a complete look.

A product to try is Gucci Luminous Matte Beauty Blush ($49,, which contains moisturizing shea butter and soothing black rose oil.

• One thing I can’t wait to use abundantly this year is sparkle and glitter, and I’m not alone; multidimensional eyes will trend this year. A bit of glitz is essential for prom, Mardi Gras, homecoming or even just a night out on the town. Placing some sparkle above my cheeks as though I were applying a highlight always ensures I have a great night. You could even apply it over the bridge of your nose or use in your hair.

However you use a fun glitter product, it elevates any look instantly. I like Lemonhead LA’s Spacecase Pro Palette ($198 and up,, the holy grail of glitter.

One thing is for sure: This is a great time to really start fresh and clean out all your old makeup that isn’t bringing you joy. If you haven’t used it in a few months, toss it. Clean your brushes if you have not recently. Shampoo them, then sanitize with alcohol. Do not keep old sponges around, as they breed bacteria, and make sure to store your applicators properly. Throw your makeup bag in the wash or wipe it down.

Also remember to stock up on makeup remover, wipes and face wash. Keep your skin clean, and let’s start this new year off right!

Brittney M. Johnson is an independent makeup artist based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reach her at

January 2023 78
style 79 MEMORIAL WOMAN’S CLINIC GYNECOLOGY & OBSTETRICS FOR WOMEN ON THE COAST Now Accepting Introducing Our NEW Women’s Health Aesthetician CARRI DODGE LICENSED ESTHETICIAN Carri is originally from Memphis, TN, but has been living on the Coast for 3 years and loves it. Carri has been in the beauty industry for 15+ years and has been a licensed esthetician since 2015. Specializing in Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Laser Tightening | Laser Hair Removal Veins | Scars | Skin Resurfacing Hydra Facials | Micro Needling Now seeing patients at the GULFPORT LOCATION. Please call 228-341-7879 to schedule an appointment today! WWW.WOMANSCLINICPA.NET OB/GYN CLINIC, 4577 13th Street, GULFPORT: 228-864-2752 OB/GYN CLINIC, 2781 C.T. Switzer Drive, Suite # 306, BILOXI: 228-822-6368 THOMAS W. LEHMAN, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. • JOHN F. PAPPAS, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. JOANNA M. TRUS, M.D. F.A.C.O.G. • ALISHA H. WARE, M.D. F.A.C.O.G. AMANDA STERLING, MSN, WHNP-BC - By: Dr. Zein Obagi License # 545993

THE FASHION FACTORY churns out style

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and during the pandemic, Jacqueline Smith found it on TikTok.

“I saw so many women starting their own businesses, and I thought, ‘If they can do it, why can't I?’” she recalls. “I started Googling and watching YouTube to learn what type of paperwork I needed to have, etc., and how to do ordering and getting my wholesale license.”

With that, the Coast native, wife and mother of four launched Fashion Factory in 2020 out of her living room. Smith started selling on social media, and her venture kicked off with just two racks of clothes.

“To reach more people, I started doing pop-ups in people’s homes, and Fashion Factory ‘sip and shops’ were born,” Smith says. “I also went into local schools, and teachers were allowed to shop with me on their off periods.”

One of six sisters, Smith was always the go-to sibling for fashion advice. For as long as she can remember, she’s had an eye for sparkle and “anything girly.”

Now as a boutique owner with a store in

the heart of downtown Gulfport, Smith is on a mission to make women feel confident and beautiful at any age and size.

“My biggest reward is seeing someone who's not sure how to dress their body type find something they love and feel good in,” she says. “I love putting looks together for customers when they are heading to an event or just looking for something casual.”

Fashion Factory aims to be inclusive, which is reflected in its size range of extra small through 3X. From bodysuits and flirty party dresses to work-appropriate pieces, the store strives to satisfy its diverse clientele.

“I feel like the majority of boutiques don't cater to curvy women, and that's something that was important for me to offer,” Smith says. “Something else that makes us unique is that we have clothing and accessories

for the more mature look while also catering to the teenage crowd. We pride ourselves in having options for every age.”

While Fashion Factory carries trendy items, featuring color block, sequins and more, it also reliably stocks pieces that never go out of style, like classic denim, dresses and blouses. Inventory is consistently replenished, Smith says, with new shipments arriving daily to keep the store fresh and ensure there’s always something new to see. She makes a point of supporting other local businesses, so the store also carries handmade gifting options and pottery.

“We are told pretty often by new customers that we have so many things that you don't see everywhere else,” Smith says, “which, of course, we love to hear.”

January 2023 80
IF YOU GO The Fashion Factory 1311 25th Ave., Gulfport (228) 284-4150 Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. FB: Fashion Factory MS VIP IG: Thefashionfactoryms GULFPORT BOUTIQUE CATERS TO CLIENTS OF ALL AGES, SIZES JACQUELINE SMITH’S TOP FIVE STYLE TIPS: 1. While we love new and trendy items, a classic never grows old. 2. Dress for your body type. 3. Always wear something that you love and makes you happy. 4. The best thing you can put on is confidence. 5. “People will stare; make it worth their while.”Harry Winston 81 Featuring Fun & Trendy Outfits For Women Old Town Bay St. Louis • 125 Main Street (228) 344-3043 • BayTique Gifts, Jewelry & More FREE CONSULTATION 228-546-0666 THE BEAUTY BAR 2628 EXECUTIVE PLACE | SUITE B | BILOXI 1019 GOVERNMENT | SUITE G | OCEAN SPRINGS Be sure to check us out on CALL US TODAY! beautymardibargras Let the get you ready
StyleALERT What's new in Coastal MS boutiques ADVERTORIAL Cashmere Hat $165 Mardi Gras Earrings $15 SIMPLY JANE La Couronne Mardi Gras 10” Platter $24 Pearl Crest Bracelet $58 Rosary Pearl Necklace $68 Assorted Print Sizes Available starting at $17 DENISE HOPKINS FINE ART Mardi Gras Earrings $36.95 THE RADISH LOFT Pink Slippers $18 SIMPLY JANE 83 STORE HOURS: MON - FRI 10 - 5 | SAT 10 - 4 255 DAVIS AVENUE | PASS CHRISTIAN, MS 39571 228.222.4863 233 Davis Ave. Pass Christian, MS 228.222.4031 Roberts Place SHOP ONLINE 14 14FLAWLESS FACE *Over-the-counter drug product LOOK FLAWLESS EVERY TIME. With Mary Kay, you can build a foundation collection that’s suited for all of life’s occasions. We offer a beautiful range of formulas, coverage levels, shades and benefits, so you’ll find a perfect fit for all your foundation needs. PREP & SET Take your foundation to the next level by starting with Mary Kay® Foundation Primer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15,* applying your foundation, then finishing with Mary Kay® Silky Setting Powder. Mary Kay® Foundation Primer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15,* $20 Mary Kay® Silky Setting Powder, $20 Endless Performance® Crème-to-Powder Foundation, $20 Mary Kay® CC Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15,* $22 TimeWise® Luminous 3D Foundation, $25 TimeWise® Matte 3D Foundation, $25 Mary Kay® Liquid Foundation Brush, $14 Latisha Lewis Price Independent Sales Director or 228-617-0188

Spilling her secret


is an international best-selling author, consultant, and commercial lines executive producer at Southgroup Insurance Gulf Coast, as well as an active leader in her faith-based community

— championing many causes close to her heart. She also has a reputation for looking fabulous, which is where these favorite, go-to products come in:


Most makeup is made of oily substances, so when it stays on overnight, your complexion will appear dull. Your skin will look older, feel dry and become irritated. Plus, clogged pores cause more acne and blackhead breakouts.

I use Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover to take off my makeup before I wash my face.


I use Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask morning and night as a daily cleanser. It gently removes makeup and other impurities without drying. It also unclogs pores and leaves skin healthy and fresh.


Why do we need to exfoliate? It helps stimulate collagen production to improve skin’s texture. It also unclogs pores, evens tone and keeps our skin looking plump, tight and young. I use Young Living Satin Facial Scrub Mint. This product polishes and gently lifts while removing dry, dead skin cells.


Dark undereye circles and puffy eyes typically result from being tired and are a normal part of aging. I use Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex , an eye cream that brightens all around the eyes and targets lines and signs of aging.


I use VC Anti-Aging Serum religiously on my face and neck. It’s 77 percent organic and 98 percent natural. It’s weightless and not greasy. It repairs sun damage, reduces fine lines and gives me firmer, healthier skin. This serum contains highly concentrated levels of anti-aging ingredients that are not usually found in moisturizers.


I use Estee Lauder Resilience Multi Effect Moisturizer in the morning and evening. It nourishes my skin and reduces my fine lines. It protects my skin from dryness and makes my makeup look flawless. With an SPF 15, it also helps protect against sun damage.


I use sunscreen daily to help me prevent skin cancer and premature aging. I use PCA Skin SPF 45 and love this product because it’s lightweight and not oily.


As we age, our hair tends to thin. I use Biotin Hair Growth Serum B7 to prevent thinning. It facilitates faster hair growth and strong, thick hair.


I color my hair often and use a lot of chemicals, and Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner help rebuild and repair damage. It reinforces my hair’s strength and structure.

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Many of us have looked in the mirror at some point and wondered about funnylooking skin bumps, tiny red spots or little bits of skin that seem to grow out of nowhere on the face, neck or chest. What are they? They’re not pimples. They’re not moles. And no, they are not some kind of cootie. They are minor skin irregularities, such as sebaceous hyperplasia, cherry angiomas and skin tags, and all can be easily treated with the non-invasive Skin Classic procedure

This procedure uses high-frequency technology that dehydrates the top layer of the particular skin irregularity, allowing new, healthy skin to appear and glow. It is an affordable, non-laser option for minor skin irregularities, and the treatments are quick, precise and effective. Besides skin imperfections like sebaceous hyperplasia, cherry angiomas

and skin tags, the procedure also can address broken capillaries, fibromas, milia, seborrheic keratosis and flat hyperpigmentation.

Especially for treating hyperpigmentation, it's a game changer. It brings the hyperpigmentation up to the surface, then after about five to seven days, the dark spots will peel, revealing even-toned skin.

The treatment is virtually pain free except for a slight “stingle,” which is not really a sting, but slightly more than a tingle. There is no piercing or penetration of the skin, as it only treats irregularities on the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. The cost of the treatments varies depending on the amount of work and lesions that need addressed. This will be determined during the consultation prior to treatment.

Downtime is minimal. After treatment, you will be slightly red and inflamed,

depending on the extent of the treated area. Between 24 and 48 hours afterward, a scab-like crust will form over the area. This will fall off on its own in a matter of days. In some cases, you may need more than one treatment on certain irregularities to be completely rid of them.

If you are interested in the Skin Classic procedure, make an appointment for a consultation with a licensed medical aesthetician who offers this type of service. He or she can look at your skin irregularities, tell you whether they can be treated and how much it will cost, as well as answer any other questions you may have.

Melissa New is an independent, licensed esthetician and owner of New Skin Care, based in Gulfport at Doctors Care. Reach her at (501) 328-7984.

Before and After Results

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With the holidays in our rearview mirror, how do we adjust our fashion choices to reflect the new year?

After glamming it up in red and green for a while, transitioning can be tough. Like many people do this time of year, I decided to make a change by focusing on health and wellness in 2023. I love the shift in fashion where comfort is not shamed, but rather welcomed and executed with style.

Of course, I have to always be gym ready lately — but in the most fashionable way possible. One main attribute I look for is versatility. Can I go from a workout to maybe a brunch in what I’m wearing? Above all, I always want pieces that make me feel good; that’s what everyone wants in their activewear.

Don’t get me wrong — baggy shorts and tees are cool, but let’s upgrade and elevate. Here are some of my picks to get you started in this new year of growth.


We all want items in our wardrobe that enhance our figure, and bodysuits do it every time — especially activewear bodysuits. They are perfect for working out, as well as making you feel confident and free.

Alo Yoga is one of those brands that make me want to buy everything on their website. That includes the sleek back bodysuit ($94,, which is very supportive with a scoop neckline and amazing back.

January 2023 88
Jasmine Ball is a Mississippi fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. Connect with her via Instagram (Miss_Ball23), her blog site ( or by email at


Oversized, comfy jackets are in. Like the cardigan, they are a closet staple during the winter months. If you don’t like oversized pieces, many brands offer cropped, cozy pieces, like this Target crewneck sweatshirt with fleece inside. ($24,


One-pieces and jumpers are my go-to workout gear. They are slimming and come in great color combinations. Best of all, you don’t need to think much about your outfit; just throw it on, and you’re out the door. If you’re someone who doesn’t like long-legged, tight-fitting clothes, bike unitards are an option. One of my favorite places to shop for one-pieces is Free People, and the transcend limits onesie is a great addition to your 2023 wardrobe. ($128,

I love Free People’s designs and how you can wear their onepieces to do yoga, run on the beach, hit the gym or virtually anything you have planned.


Who’s ready for a fun throwback to our schoolgirl days? In my humble opinion, skorts are one of the cutest fashion items ever invented. They are fun, flirty and come in a multitude of styles. If you’re afraid your skort might run on the short side, some brands, including Nike, offer longer shorts underneath as an option, as well as extended sizes.

If you want to add a skort to your collection, try the NikeCourt Dri-FIT Victory ($49.97, 89

Carla Biasi is a shopping and styling professional. Find her and learn more at and https://

Baby, it’s cold outside — so grab your winter knits

Knitwear is trending, and I can see why. We love that it keeps us toasty, but don’t let the comfort factor leave your style out in the cold. Look for pieces in high-quality fabrics like cashmere that have shape and texture, as well as warmth. Mix your knits with other materials like denim, leather and suede for a look that’s as chic as it is cozy.

Get a jogger set for busy days that end on the couch.

Cotton cashmere dolman sweater, $109; cotton cashmere blend jogger pants, $99,

Top off your jogger set with a colorblock wrap to stay warm on those chilly days.

Stevie wrap by Parrish LA, $148,

Slide on some bracelets to add a little bling to your outfit.

Roll-on bracelets, Christina’s Unique

Let your footwear be just as trendy as your clothing. Mixed media is a great way to add a little interest to your sneakers!

OTBT hybrid sneaker boots, $159, Lee Tracy Boutique


Photos provided by W.P. Shelton Jewelers. Visit wpsheltonjewelers. com for these styles and more. 91 weddings Forever has a nice
When it comes to wedding bands, couples are opting for unique and distinctive styles. One trend still gaining ground has been purchasing stackable bands to adorn their engagement ring. RING TO IT 14ky marquise and diamond stackable band 14kw diamond scalloped stackable band 14ky
set diamond stackable
14ky round diamond stackable band GULFPORT 228.864.5361 OCEAN SPRINGS 228.872.5577 BAY ST. LOUIS 228.467.1081 EST. 1968
round bezel

Emily Samuel+

Emily Denson Edwards & Samuel Thomas Whittaker

Wedding date: June 18, 2022 Ocean Springs, Mississippi

January 2023 92


Photographer: Robinson Photography and Film

Ceremony venue: Walter Anderson

Museum of Art

Parents of the Bride: Mr. and Mrs. John Berlyn Edwards II

Parents of the Groom: Mr. Matthew

Whittaker and the late Deirdre Viann Whittaker

Caterer: Naomi's Catering

Wedding Gown and Veil: The Bridal Path

Wedding Cake: LaceyCakes

Rehearsal Dinner: Patio 44 Biloxi 93
January 2023 94


Starting my own business has been a lifestyle decision for me. Magnolia Diner’s successful momentum is a result of long-term consistency — simply showing up, putting in the work and trusting every part of the process.

My path to entrepreneurship began before I’d even graduated from high school. My aspirations came with different labels, but all were service based. Growing up, all I ever knew is that I wanted to be a hairstylist, and that’s exactly what I did from 2002-2015. This part of my process taught me the importance of networking. It taught me to believe in myself and to take pride in everything I do because each person I served was a walking billboard for me and my work.

In 2013, I started Edible Glitz Custom Treats. This began with just custom candy apples and grew into one of the top home-based sweets companies on the Coast. This experience also opened me up to catering on state and federal levels.

One thing I learned during this time was the importance of having a social media presence. Marketing on social media is the best form of free publicity and provides such a wide reach. Anyone who has a business should take advantage of it.

I also realized that no matter what I did, I never wanted to be anything less than a successful entrepreneur. Businesses fail every day, but you must persevere. Just because one business might not work out as you’d like, don’t give up on

your dreams altogether; reset as many times as you need to. Perseverance will get you places that giving up never could.

In 2021, I was blessed to open The Magnolia Diner, the hometown diner of the Gulf Coast. This has been the most challenging, yet rewarding, process thus far. It’s challenging because I have never even worked in a restaurant, so to own one and have to figure everything out from scratch is mind blowing. The fact that it’s all working out is the most rewarding part.

As I said before, entrepreneurship is a lifestyle for me. We all know that life changes daily, and in my world, you must go with the flow while maintaining control at the same time.

I’m a proud mother of two, so between growing a business, being a mother, running a household and striving to be a positive role model in the community, I had to learn the art of balance. Let’s just say that is an ongoing process.

To anyone looking to start her own business, the best advice I can give is to never forget your “why.” Situations will arise on your journey, but trust the process and believe in yourself. This journey was made just for you, and no one can do it better. Whatever happens, maintain a value system that can’t be bought or compromised. Stay focused, and keep winning.

NaTonya Parish is owner of The Magnolia Diner. Reach her at


EMBRACE THE NEW, but stay true to yourself

Happy New Year! The word “new” is rejuvenating, hopeful and, for some, daunting.

It brings with it the duty of change, but is change always necessary?

I certainly am not a proponent of holding so tightly to tradition. or the mentality of “that’s how we’ve always done it,” that evolution and transformation aren’t even considered. However, I am an advocate of purposeful shifts.

The management of a personal brand can be held hostage among the landscape of algorithm shifts and technological developments that control how we engage with one another. That is when “happy new” rings in the ear as the highest of oxymorons.


Being in front of the lens can be fun. It also can be an exercise in creating faux perfection as you remove clutter from your camera view, check your teeth for lipstick and scroll through your files to ensure you didn’t wear that shirt in a recent video.

Between the preparation to press that red “record” button and the anticipated

criticisms from keyboard warriors that often never materialize, it is easy to craft a less-than-personal brand. If the intention is to show up as bold and brilliant as you are, there must be a goal to remain true to you amid all the newness.


Here are a few questions to consider:

• Do you love the brand you are creating?

• Does it feel true to you?

• Does it allow you full expression of yourself with laughter, creativity and vulnerability?

Mine didn't, although that wasn’t intentional. That realization was hidden until I scrolled through my content library and took note of what I didn’t post. What I chose to withhold from the newsfeed was revealing. It was funny, quirky and silly, which are not words I would use to describe any of my social profiles. I had created a version of me that was “corporate ready” and partly reflective, but not fully expressive, of my personality.

Honestly, those lighter moments trapped in Google Docs and the photo gallery felt “off-brand,” although they are a part of me. As I debated how to change course, I had a thought very vital to my next steps: “There is no need for consent or approval. The phone is in your hand.”

It also is in yours. Remember, the best is yet to come. Happy New Year!

LaShaundra McCarty is chief communication officer, LMc Communications. Learn more and connect with her via or

January 2023 96
MARKETING MOMENT 97 #HancockStrong We make saving easy. Meet our team! Local professional agents! Biloxi 2505 Pass Road 228-385-1177 Bay St. Louis 412 Hwy 90 228-466-4498 Fax 888-415-8922 WWW.MRG.LIFE Office: (228) 206-5902 | Fax: (228) 206-0150 15431 O’Neal Rd. Ste B | Gulfport, MS 39503 UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS: Business Exit Strategy | College planning Retirement Planning | Life Insurance | Business Protection Let’s talk about PLANNING FOR THE UNEXPECTED. You may not be able to change many of life’s problems… but you can change How You Face Them KATHY P. ROGERS, Life Planner | cell: 228.697.0786

Top 5 things to know about your business insurance


It helps protect your profits by shielding you from sudden, catastrophic expenses, such as a natural disaster or a major lawsuit.

Here are the top five things you should know about business insurance:


A business owner’s policy, or “BOP,” is insurance coverage designed specifically for small or medium-sized businesses. A BOP combines several types of insurance coverage in a packaged format and can be customized to suit a particular business.


Business insurance is a contract between an insurance company and a business. The insurance company agrees to share the risk with the business entity in exchange for premium payments.

In the event of a covered loss, the insurance company pays for financial losses the business incurs up to the policy limit after the business pays the deductible amount. At the time of a loss, the business will file a claim, and an adjuster will assess the

damage and process the claim settlement based on the terms of the policy contract.


Business insurance will cover legal expenses from a lawsuit up to your liability insurance policy limit. To be sure that enough liability coverage is in place for extreme circumstances (over $1 million in damages), many businesses buy a commercial umbrella liability policy. Certain liability exclusions also may apply, such as if an injury or damage was expected or caused intentionally.

Most policies also have something called a “workmanship” exclusion, and some exclude coverage of punitive damages. So, you may need errors and omissions coverage, which protects you and your business from claims if a client sues for negligent acts, errors or omissions committed during business activities.


Each business is different, and depending on your operations, you may be legally obligated to carry certain coverages. Additionally, the following types of business insurance should be considered essential:

• General liability: Coverage against accidents, injuries and negligence

• Product liability: Coverage against product defects

• Professional liability: Covers professionals against malpractice, negligence or errors

• Commercial property: Covers damage to your business property from events such as fire or a severe storm

• Business interruption: Protects your business if you can no longer conduct operations because of a loss

• Home-based business: Covers general and/or professional liability


Business insurance is tax deductible if the coverage is for the purpose of operating a business, profession or a trade.

Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is President of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA, and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach Angelyn at www.southgroupgulfcoast. com, (228) 385-1177, or

There are many reasons to celebrate a new year, and one thing to be thankful for are a few tax changes that may benefit you in 2023.

The IRS will raise the “brackets,” the top amounts in all seven federal income tax brackets, in 2023, which means workers will see more of their earnings taxed at a lower rate. This should, in essence, have the effect of increasing your take-home pay.

You should review your paycheck and remember that participating in an individual retirement program, or increasing the amount you stash into a retirement program, may benefit you by keeping your pay level below a certain tax bracket. This strategy can help you pay less in taxes and save more for retirement.

There is also good news for retirees. If you are retired and receiving Social Security payments, due to the 2023 Cost of Living Adjustment increases, your checks will increase by 8.7 percent in 2023. Also, the Medicare part B premium will decrease from $170.10 to $164.90, which leaves more money in the SSA recipient’s check to spend. The maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age (which is 67 if born after 1960) also will increase to $3,627. Therefore, you should consider whether it is beneficial to delay your date of retirement until at least age 67.

As always, to start a new year, you not only should make your resolutions, but also ensure you have all the legal documents you need in place. If you had any changes in your family in 2022, such as the birth of a child, a marriage, a death or a divorce, you should review and make changes to your beneficiaries on all accounts, your last will and testament and other financial plans. Likewise, relocation or employment changes in 2022 may necessitate updating your legal documents. This should be a helpful start to 2023, and getting your legal documents in order is another step to a great future.

Kathy Brown van Zutphen of Coastwide Law LLC is an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama and Mississippi. She focuses on the “elder law” areas of trusts, estates and conservatorships. Additionally, she litigates lawsuits and represents small business owners as part of her legal practice. Visit https://coastwidelaw. com/ to learn more or reach her at her office: (228) 357-5227. 99
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resolutions. If you’re looking to improve your financial situation, here are five money smart ideas for 2023:


If you’ve struggled with setting money aside, automating is a simple way to create a savings plan that sticks. Some ways you can put savings into autopilot include setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, directly depositing a portion of your paycheck into a savings account and participating in your employer’s 401k plan.


Making a budget is important to staying on top of your spending. But simply making one isn’t enough; you must live it every day. Set up alerts to track your debit card transactions, account balances and bill due dates. Be sure to budget for some fun, too! You’ll be more likely to stick with the plan if it includes some funds for entertainment.


If you have debt, make a plan to pay it off. For large debts like mortgages and car loans, consider making an extra payment per year or paying more than the minimum each month. If you have balances on high-interest department store or bank credit cards, consider transferring the balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. Work on paying off highest-interest debt first for the biggest impact on your household finances.

Five smart financial resolutions


If you don’t have an emergency fund or want to add to it, make it a priority this year. Comb through your budget for how much you must save for emergencies. Then, commit to transferring that amount to a dedicated account monthly. A common rule of thumb is to save three to six months’ worth of expenses for emergencies. If that seems unreachable, remember the adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”


If your credit score is less than stellar, vowing to improve it could be a great financial resolution. Some of the most effective ways to raise your score include paying bills on time, keeping credit card balances low and fixing any discrepancies on your report. You can get a free credit report at

As you make your financial resolutions, remember the year may not go exactly as you planned, and it may be necessary to adjust your goals from time to time. It’s important not to abandon your plan when that happens; smart money resolutions are good ideas any time of year.

Navigator Credit Union has 12 branches along the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coasts. Learn more at or call 800-344-3281.

January 2023 100
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Your 4-part plan for financial health in 2023

If you are looking to set or attain financial goals this year, these four areas are where I recommend you start and the metric that I recommend to adjust your current plans and aims.


It is important to protect what you have, as well as those you love. The experiences of the past few years — COVID-19 and lockdowns, stock market losses and rising interest rates — have taught us many things, but primarily that the future is uncertain; we must keep the people and things we value safe.

What steps have you taken to protect what you value? Here are a few I recommend.

• Review or establish a budget. I talk about this often. You can’t manage something you are clueless about. No one, not your spouse, financial professional or CPA, has the ultimate responsibility for your money — you do.

• If you have investments or a retirement plan, review them annually at a minimum. Are you a financial risk taker, or are you risk averse? Have you ever done a risk-tolerance assessment to help you know? Many people don’t know how their 401k is invested and are shocked to learn their strategies don’t align with their personal risk tolerance.

• Review your life insurance program. It always baffles me that people are more than willing to purchase insurance to protect their automobile or homes, but they don’t see the need to protect the ones they love through life insurance. Do you care what their financial future would be if your income was suddenly gone? In addition to the death benefit, today’s policies offer living benefits that can be accessed in the case of chronic, critical or terminal illness. These benefits can help avoid financial devastation should you experience a life-altering medical event. One aspect of life insurance that is overlooked is that it can protect those you love by allowing them to grieve free of financial stress.


Do you have one, two or three months’ worth of expenses in savings? Do you have an emergency fund? If you don’t, you should. However, I don’t encourage anyone to start an investment plan until they have money in savings. It’s great to have money in a retirement plan, but if you need new tires on your car, what will you do?


Debt can be your friend or your foe, as there is good and bad debt. If debt is preventing you from saving, it is time to seek help. Don’t ask for assistance from someone you know doesn’t manage his or her own money well. People often are embarrassed to admit they need financial help, don’t allow yourself to be trapped by your pride. Seek out a financial professional.


Once you have a good handle on the other three areas, you can begin to look at investing. It should be considered a long-term strategy. Be wary of the “get-rich-quick” types of investments. Think about the children’s story of the tortoise and the hare.

Before you begin any investment, I recommend not only reviewing the investment, but yourself as well. What type of investment knowledge do you have? What are your personal abilities and desires, your short- and long-term goals? For example, many people believe rental properties are a great retirementincome option, and for some, they are.

What about you? How much do you know about homes, construction and repairs? Would you be able to do the repairs yourself, or would you need to hire someone? Consider the cost of taxes and insurance. The cost of rental property is much higher than the cost of the property itself. Take the time to thoroughly review all the options before you invest.

When your time comes, will they find you prepared — or will those you love suffer the consequences of your mismanagement or procrastination? Your opportunity to seek professional help is now. Don’t let it pass you by.

Kathy Rogers is the vice president of Marston Rogers Group, a life planner and financial consultant. Reach her at (228) 206-5902 or 101



JAN. 13

The Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Award grant cycle will remain open through Jan. 13.

Up to 10 $2,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding educators who submit projects with an innovative approach to helping children learn.

Educators teaching in either public or private schools in Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Madison and Pearl River counties are eligible to apply. Projects will be evaluated based on creativity, innovation, feasibility and potential impact.

Both Leo W. Seal and Leo W. Seal, Jr., were deeply committed to the South Mississippi community and demonstrated this through their leadership and dedication to the progressive development of this region. In November 1993, Hancock Whitney established a permanent endowment at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to support efforts of educators in South Mississippi.

To learn more and apply for this award, visit leo-w-seal-grants-guidelines


Brittney Reese may be one of the world’s greatest long jumpers, but it was her giving spirit rather than her athletic ability that won her accolades recently from her alma mater.

The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy honored Reese with the Emerging Young Philanthropist Award.

Reese has supported her hometown of Gulfport in numerous ways, such as assisting various charitable and religious organizations. She also donated and delivered 100 turkeys to area families for the holidays.

“I have always prided myself on giving back,” she said at the awards ceremony in Oxford, “and I have been blessed to be able to do so.”

Women’s Council Chair Suzan Thames calls Reese “the quintessential example of a genuine servant leader.”

“She is precisely the type of person that we aspire for our scholars to witness as the teaching example of an exceptional life that is in balance with a priority of servicing others,” she says.


Members of the Krewe of Nereids Mermaids collected teenager gift items and donated them to CASA of Hancock County for Christmas presents.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are trained volunteers who advocate for the needs of abused and neglected children in Youth Court. Nereids is the original Mardi Gras Krewe in Hancock County and started in the 1960s as an all-women organization devoted to giving back to the community.


Memorial Health System has named its board of trustees officers for 2023.

Gary Fredericks will serve as chairman. Carlos Bell has been named vice chairman and Robert “Bob” Sawyer has been named secretary. Dr. Thaddeus C. Carter, Carrolyn R. Hamilton, Cara Pucheu and David H. White (past chairman) also serve on the board.

The Memorial Health System Board of Trustees is charged with making strategic decisions that are based on four core strategies: population-based services; safety, quality and customer satisfaction; work environment; and finance.

January 2023 102
Brittney Reese, University of Mississippi alumna and celebrated Olympian, center, is presented with the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy’s Emerging Young Philanthropist Award by Elizabeth Randall, left, immediate past OMWC chair, and Suzan Thames, current OMWC chair.


Now serving as Miss Harrison County USA 2023, Daisha Hall is excited to continue her journey and represent her community on the Miss Mississippi USA stage this spring in Choctaw. The 20-year-old Gulfport High and MGCCC graduate attends Mississippi State University as a business management/marketing student. In the future, she wants to work in fashion merchandising and own her own business.

“My goals with pageantry include growing my confidence, being a role model, having a platform to serve others and representing my community well,” she says. “I want to show other young women around me that if I can achieve something, so can you. You just have to believe!"


1. Going to the gym is one of my favorite parts of my day.

2. I was on the Hall of Fame list for Gulfport High School and the Harrison County Campus of MGCCC in the same year.

3. I completed 10 community service projects on the Gulf Coast last summer; these included beach cleanup and reading at the Gulfport Public Library.

4. I started my own fashion accessories boutique at 17 years old.

5. I learned how to play two musical instruments: violin and cello.

Hall will compete for the Miss Mississippi USA title March 30-April 1 at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw. To learn more, visit www.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

January 5

January 5

January 5

Ribbon Cutting @ Core Strong Living

Ribbon Cutting @ Core Strong Living

Ribbon Cutting @ Core Strong Living

January 17 Ready. Set. Connect!

January 17 Ready. Set. Connect!

January 17 Ready. Set. Connect!

February 10 State of the City Luncheon

February 10 State of the City Luncheon

February 10 State of the City Luncheon

February 12

February 12 Krewe of Barkloxi PAWrade

February 12 Krewe of Barkloxi PAWrade Photo

Krewe of Barkloxi PAWrade



Come by and see us!

Biloxi Visitors Center

Biloxi Visitors Center

Biloxi Visitors Center

2nd Floor/East Hall (228) 435-6149

2nd Floor/East Hall (228) 435-6149

2nd Floor/East Hall (228) 435-6149 103
80 48th St. • Gulfport, MS 39507 Hours of Business: Mon. thru Fri. 6:30 AM to 5:45 PM • Chapel each morning • Christian environment • Low child/ teacher ratio • Child care from 6 weeks to completion of Pre K Good Shepherd Christian Academy provides quality education partnered with a Christian environment to students in the Gulfport, MS area. We use the “Beginnings” curriculum and computer programs to enhance preparation for kindergarten. Enroll your child today in the safe, healthy, cheerful environment of our school. Our loving and professional staff works with every child in a caring, positive, and encouraging manner. GOOD SHEPHERD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY provides quality education partnered with a Christian environment to students in the Gulfport, MS area. We use the “Beginnings” curriculum and computer programs to enhance preparation for kindergarten. Enroll your child today in the safe, healthy, cheerful environment of our school. Our loving and professional staff works with every child in a caring, positive, and encouraging manner. Chapel Each Morning Christian Environment Low Child/Teacher Ratio Child Care for 6 Weeks to Completion of
Pre K 80 48th Street • Gulfport, MS 39507 Hours of business: Mon. thru Fri. 6:30 AM to 5:45 PM Join the FUN Chamber!
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takes game-day experience to the next level

Bistreaux serves New Orleans flavors in elevated sports bar atmosphere

Looking for the perfect place to catch your favorite sporting events on big-screen TVs while enjoying tasty, scratch-made food prepared with fresh ingredients? Your search ends at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux in D’Iberville.

fifty locations in nine states. They even brought a famous sports figure on board.

Walk-On’s opened in September and quickly has gained notoriety as a great place to have family dinners, date nights and cocktails with friends while watching the game of your choice on one of 54 big-screen TVs.

“If you’ve never been to a Walk-On’s Bistreaux before, you will be amazed at the atmosphere, comradery and energy that is in the air,” says General Manager Eric Reynolds. “We take the traditional sports bar mindset and amplify it to a level that exceeds any gameday experience you’ve ever had.”

Walk On’s first location was opened in Baton Rouge in 2003 in the shadow of LSU’s Tiger Stadium and has grown to over

“Former New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees joined the Walk-On’s team as a co-owner in 2015 and has been able to help boost the notoriety of our brand tenfold,” Reynolds says. “There’s always a chance for Drew to show up at any of our 71 Walk-On’s locations. You never really know when the big man will walk in!”

Walk-On’s has a diverse menu featuring classic American dishes, as well as Louisiana-inspired fare. With starters, salads, wraps, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, specialties and regional classics, there is something for everyone.

“It really is some homemade, scratch cooking back there,” says Service Manager Robert Alford. “I was trained in Baton Rouge in culinary school, spent a lot of time over there. This is the real-deal Cajun food; it really is. It’s straight out of New Orleans.”

On my visit, we started with the alligator bites, which are

January 2023 104
food & fun

made from farm-raised, white-tail meat. Each morsel is hand battered and fried to golden perfection. The tender meat has a mild flavor that pairs well with the Cajunseasoned batter and is served with a Dijon horseradish for dipping.

For our entrees, we had the Zydeco salad of mixed greens, cabbage, candied pecans, jalapeños, red onions, bell peppers and pepperjack cheese, topped with sweet chiliglazed fried shrimp and a vinaigrette with Tabasco pepper jelly. We also had the bayou pasta, featuring linguine topped with fried shrimp and a crawfish cream sauce. Both entrees showcase the quintessential flavors of New Orleans, with just enough kick to keep you coming back for another bite.

We ended our meal with a southern dessert staple: bread pudding, but not just any bread pudding — Krispy Kreme donut bread pudding. To say it was decadent would be an understatement. It was the perfect ending to our meal.

“Walk-On’s is more than a restaurant, it is an experience,” Reynolds says. “The energy, atmosphere and food are truly unique to our gameday culture. Everything that we do is sports related, from the design of our basketball-court benches to our décor that is locally inspired by our sponsorships of local leagues and student athletics.

“Our ‘staff’ are not employees, but rather teammates. We are all playing for the same team, a team that inspires us to be something great and deliver the most amazing experience for our guests.”

Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux is open seven days a week 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with later hours on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant has an extensive beer and drink list and is the perfect place for family and friend groups of all sizes. A loyalty program allows patrons to earn rewards and get access to exclusive perks and events.

Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux 11181 Mandal Parkway, D'Iberville (228) 207-0237 105
134 BLAIZE AVE. BAY ST. LOUIS, MS Uncle’s Joe’s is expanding! We are proud
announce the opening of a second location in the Depot District in Old Town Bay St. Louis!
Drive new traffic to your restaurant & stay top of mind year-round. Best places to eat 12 print ads + Facebook promo + online directory + article 2023 GULF COAST OMAN Contact us for more info. 228.539.2422

Delectable chicken & dumplings

Give this chicken and dumplings recipe a try, and make memories with your own family:


What you’ll need:

• 2.5-3-pound whole chicken (remove innards)

• 1 large onion, cut into quarters

• 3 stalks of celery

• 1 head of garlic

• 1/2 tablespoon salt

• 1/2 tablespoon pepper


• Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.

• Fill pot with water, enough to cover the chicken and keep it covered throughout the boil.

• Bring to a boil.

• Allow it to boil until chicken is fully cooked.


What you’ll need:

• 3 cups flour

• 2 tablespoons parsley

• 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

• 1 teaspoon pepper

as the top of your dough.

• Add more flour to the dough as you roll it out so it won't stick to everything.

* Options for easier dumplings: Use canned biscuit dough, roll them out and drop into boiling pot. You also can make dumplings using Bisquick mix.


What you’ll need:

• 1 stick of butter

• 1.5 cup onions, diced

• 1/2-3/4 cup celery diced

• 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon pepper

• 2 cups heavy cream

• peas and carrots if desired

• 3-4 boxes of 32-ounce chicken broth, plus chicken broth made

• water as needed (1-2 quarts)


• After stock is made, remove onions, garlic, celery and chicken. Remove stock from the pot into a bowl to set to the side.

• Melt butter in the pot; add onions and celery, and cook down until softened.

Joy Monnerjahn is the owner of The Bayou Belle, where you will find many Louisiana recipes. She grew up in Southern Louisiana and enjoys bringing the flavors of her home to her dishes. Learn more at https://www., and reach her at

Chicken and dumplings brings back many fond memories, mainly of my great grandma, Florence. She lived with us for a little while, but I really can't say I remember much from that period.

One time, her sister came over; they were such a pair! My grandma always laughed so much with her, and that's because my great aunt was a joker and loved making people laugh. They were both very beautiful, and even more beautiful together.

The most specific memory I have is of them sitting in my parents' kitchen at a small part of the counter, rolling out dumplings. They were using glasses to roll the dough, and there was flour everywhere. When I tell you they were cursing, they were cursing — but all in good fun. It was the most I ever saw my grandma laugh.

This memory makes me wish I had a sister, but it also makes me feel lucky to have children I can create memories with in the future.

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons shortening

• 1 cup heavy cream (Use more as needed; you want it to be a semi-wet dough, not dry.)


• Place flour in a large bowl; add seasonings.

• Cut shortening into the flour.

• Add heavy cream and mix. If the mixture is crumbly, add more heavy cream until it is all combined.

• In batches, roll out the dough. Don't forget to flour your surface, as well

• Add broth back; if it isn't a lot (say it fills up less than half of an 8-10-quart pot), add more broth from the box.

• Add seasonings.

• Add heavy cream.

• Add picked, shredded chicken back into the pot (no bones!).

• Add the dumplings in batches; do not overcrowd.

• Allow it to simmer down until the dumplings are cooked.

• Adjust seasonings to taste.

• Enjoy!

January 2023 106 WHAT’S FOR DINNER? 107 TBT BUTCHER SHOP & Seafood market 102 E Beach Blvd. | Pass Christian, MS 30571 | (228) 493-6050 | In addition to some of your favorite dishes from The Blind Tiger Restaurants, TBT Butcher Shop offers a wide variety of fresh seafood and quality meats. 10027 C EN TRAL AVE , D' IBERV ILLE , M S ( 228 ) 396-004 4 Owners, Pepe Perez & Lilian Perez-Gollot

Don’t suffer from ‘vacation envy’ in 2023


When little things feel extra hard and big things feel impossible, it’s often a sign that you need a vacation,” suggests psychotherapist and author Charlotte Fox Weber. This winter, you probably could stand to get out of town, whether that’s for a personal vacation or a family visit.

If you’re planning a getaway, let’s specify that it must have a slower pace, offer simple choices and fit your budget. You can consider several options at moderate prices, which is especially helpful given the impact of inflation this year.

• To get started, consider driving rather than flying for a big money saver. Yes, that’s even the case when you factor in higher-priced gasoline nationwide. Our U.S. carriers, Delta, American, United, and Southwest, have not reinstated all the air routes they dropped during the pandemic. There are fewer seats for sale across the country during this busy period, and as a result, airfare is very

expensive. If money is tight, a road trip may be your best bet.

If that’s the case, let’s drive east and take our time. Of course, you can go west if you prefer, but I think traveling east is best because the fun starts sooner. If you’re headed to Florida, for instance, there will be lots of places to stop, eat, shop and sightsee. Prepare a list of a few lodging options along the route with indoor swimming pools and morning breakfast. As you travel at a relaxed pace, you’ll be able to call it a day when you please.

• Have you ever considered a family train trip? There are short excursions that may be just right for an afterChristmas getaway. For instance, you can drive to the Hattiesburg station to board a train to Birmingham, Alabama, which offers Vulcan Park and Museum, malls and many family-friendly accommodations. You can rent a car for a couple days to sightsee. When you take a train, which is a fun and often more affordable mode of travel, you can

bring snacks or pack a picnic with your families’ favorites to eat on board — or you can purchase snacks and meals during the ride.

Whatever type of getaway you choose, do your homework and plan as far in advance as possible; that’s how you will get the best price and greatest availability. You may be able to put down a deposit and make payments over several months before your final payment comes due.

Encourage children to save money for the vacation as well. Those gift shops always have something they need to bring home.

Most importantly, resolve not to suffer from “vacation envy” in 2023! You have plenty of options that won’t break the bank.

Paige Ryan Heitzmann, ACC, CTA, is vice president/groups director of Travel Affiliates. Reach her at

January 2023 108
“Play and fun should be serious priorities throughout life. 109 1301 26th Avenue | Gulfport, MS 39501 | (228) 206-2744 Filet Tartare Receive a $20 gift card when you buy $100 in gift cards. Offer valid Nov. 1 - Dec. 31. All gift cards purchased are activated the next business day. $20 promotional cards are valid Jan. 1-Feb.10, 2023. Featuring Fresh Hand Crafted Items to support a Wellness Lifestyle WE SERVE UP JOB TRAINING AND HEALTHY FOOD WITH WIDE SMILES AND OPEN HEARTS. COME HAVE A TASTE OF WHAT WE’RE DOING IN THE BAY COMMUNITY! Starfish Cafe is an outreach program of PNEUMA Winds of Hope, Inc., a non-profit incorporated in 1998. 10408 Highway 603 – Bay St. Louis – Exit 13 on I-10 HOURS Thurs 5-8pm Fri 11-8:30pm Sat & Sun Brunch 10-2pm Sat Dinner 5-8:30pm Dining with a view! Open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch. • 1-866-SLIPPER • 1-866-754-7737 5000 South Beach Blvd. • Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
January 2023 110 Susan’s Sassy Sweets The One Stop Treat Shop 315 Hwy 90 Waveland waveland’s 2022 business of the year winner If it’s trending, we have it! Always creating new ideas! 228-265-4343 custom cakes • Gourmet cupcakes Gourmet Candy • Cookies • Macarons Brownies • Best king cakes charcuterie boards We accept EBT The Best Authentic Mexican Cuisine and Margarita’s! Juan Tequilas PLEASE VISIT US AT OUR 4 LOCATIONS LONG BEACH - 306 Beach Blvd. | SAUCIER - 18369 Highway 49 WAVELAND - 485 Highway 90 | BILOXI - 1737 Pass Rd. LIKE US ON USING #GULFCOASTWOMAN TO BE ENTERED INTO OUR GIFT CERTIFICATE GIVEAWAY. 324 Hwy 90, Waveland, MS 39576 (228) 467-9099 STARR CHAPMAN PARTNER, RUM KITCHEN CHAPPY CHAPMAN PARTNER, RUM KITCHEN Specials 3 COURSE DINNER FOR 2 WITH A FREE BOTTLE OF WINE BRUNCH SATURDAY & SUNDAY ALL 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY $18 (REG. $31) SUBSCRIBE TO


And, THANK YOU, as we celebrate 10 years in business. This shop had always been a dream of ours, and today, it wouldn’t exist without your loyal support and dear friendships.

Our sincere gratitude to all of you for making our small business such a fun, unimaginable success. It’s been our privilege styling you and we look forward to many more years to come!

With love, Sharon & Shelby

The Shoppes at Mary Mahoney’s 110 Rue Magnolia, Biloxi 228.818.3233
January 2023 112 115 S. BEACH BLVD – BAY ST. LOUIS The best burgers and po-boys I’ve had in a long time…this just may be my new go-to Bay St. Louis hangout. ~ Julian Brunt, Food Critic/Sun Herald Chef Joe Castoro and Michelle Beauregard, at their new location on the beach in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Call 228-344-3114 for more information O f f er ing Private ChefServi c e Scratch Kitchen on the Beach Enjoy your favorite Daiquiri while the kids pile on the FroYo! Meghan Bailey, Carolyn and Chauncey Philan, Owners 125 Davis | Ste B | Pass Christian, MS 39571 228-222-4628 The Pass Daq & FroYo - It’s All About Family! ENJOY FABULOUS CUISINE AND COCKTAILS WITH STUNNING SUNSET VIEWS! 217 E. Beach Blvd. • Long Beach 228-265-7086 • parrishslbms HOURS (Reservations Encouraged) TUESDAY - THURSDAY 4:00 - 9:00 | FRIDAY & SATURDAY 4:00 - 10:00 SUNDAY BRUNCH 10:00 - 3:00 Our Executive Chef, Jean-Paul Lavalee, has been a chef for 33 years. Like many chefs, he got his inspiration from his mother, by helping in the kitchen to prepare family meals. His love of creativity in the culinary arts is what drives his passion. “One fresh ingredient and my mind goes crazy with all the possibilities,” he said. When he is not in the kitchen, he loves to mentor young chefs and those interested in the profession.


In observance of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we speak with Sharon Robbins is a survivor, public speaker, public educator, spiritual life coach and founder of Jubilee Havens, an organization that provides a safe haven for human trafficking victims while bringing a holistic approach to healing.


Jubilee Havens provides a safe haven for the victim-survivors of sex trafficking. We do this through events, fundraising, speaking engagements and awareness of this crime against humanity. This is happening right in our own neighborhoods and communities.

Alongside our partnerships inside and outside of the state of Mississippi, we provide a wellness approach to victims’ healing and restoration. We are not alone in this, and we work together with law enforcement and other service providers to attain a greater success rate in what we do.


Jubilee Havens’ establishment as a nonprofit was set in motion in 2016. For the prior five years, I was advocating, educating and bringing awareness to the Mississippi Gulf Coast while investigating what Mississippi did and did not have. What I learned is that Mississippi had nowhere to place victim survivors, and then I understood my vision.

Past and present board members are pictured at the Stop the Traffick Color Walk, held at the D’Iberville Town Green on Sept. 17.

opened our own emergency safe haven in May 2022.

I am a survivor of human trafficking and was sold right here on the Gulf Coast when I was 19. I had no idea that 40 years later, this would come into fruition with me telling my story to others as a survivor. I let them know how crucial their support is, how much they needed to be educated and how much they needed to educate their children to ensure they wouldn’t become the next victim survivors we are trying to help.


We can assist and provide services to victim-survivors through our 24-hour local crisis line and decal /business cards, along with the National Human Trafficking hotline. Five teams deliver our crisis line decals to businesses along the Gulf Coast around the 1-10 corridors, Highway 90 and from the state lines of Alabama to Louisiana. In addition, we

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST THING YOU’VE LEARNED OR GAINED BY BEING PART OF JUBILEE HAVENS? We have learned to be flexible while shifting gears as unexpected situations occur. Most importantly, we’ve learned to be humbler and more aware of the need for trauma-informed care to help these women as unique individuals with their past and present perceptions of wellness and trust.


We are excited and thankful for all our wonderful volunteers and supporters who sacrifice their time, effort and money to help make a difference for our cause. Also, we’re excited to announce our newest fundraiser coming up this month — a “dinner theater” to engage legacy and monthly donors to help keep our mission going. 113 fill your cup

Fit for the king

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

So, we know from our scripture reference that our body is a temple and does not belong to us; it belongs to Him, and it is to be used for His purpose and glory. Not taking care of ourselves can hinder our service to him.

Being fit for the king is not just about maintaining a specific weight or size. It is not just about nutrition, nor exercising daily and giving up the foods we love. Rather, it is continuously putting first things first, seeking God first and giving him control over our entire being — mind, body, and soul.

Trust in and dependence on God frees us from compulsive eating, as well as excessive planning. When

we walk with Him in a position of surrender, this is when we come into true discipline and balance. Then, we can enjoy an abundant life. It is about giving God control of all and letting go of things that he says to relinquish.

Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it’s the Lords purpose that prevails.” What do we get when we lose control? We gain ‘God confidence.’

I worked hard for years to achieve and maintain that perfect weight and size that I had set for myself in my 20s all the way through my 50s. As I mature in Christ, I find the need to constantly surrender my old mindsets and unrealistic goals. I am now in my early 60s; I am enjoying life immensely, and I am not willing to starve myself like I did in my younger years. I have

found true freedom in Him.

My goal now is to the best I can be and allow Him to show me what he considers the optimum weight that will extend my life. I want to be fit for the king and run this race He has chosen for me, finishing strong.

We are all made uniquely in his image, a masterpiece, and there is a perfect and healthy physical state he has designated for each of us. It is time to give God the control and live intentionally, fully engaged. By losing control, we gain so much spiritual clarity and cultivate healthy bodies.

January 2023 114
He died to set us free, as John 8:36 reminds us.
And if the son sets us free, we are free indeed.
BRANDI STAGE PORTRAITURE High Quality Dynamic Photography The Brandi Stage Portraiture Team creates an extraordinary experience and stunning images for our clients. Individual & Family Portraits Headshots Personal Branding & Content Creation Editorial & Advertising 228-344-3230
January 2023 116 L. Randy Buntyn, DMD L. “RANDY” BUNTYN, DMD IMPLANT • COSMETIC • GENERAL DENTISTRY 1423 Magnolia Street Suite J | Gulfport Call: (228) 875-3343 Email: Visit: SERVICES PROVIDED Sedation Dentistry Cosmetic Dentistry Restorations Implants Dentures WE’VE MOVED! Visit Our New Location in Gulfport 1423 Magnolia Street Suite J Gulfport COAST GULF COAST OMAN TOP DOCTOR READER APPROVED 2022

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