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Meet some

Likeminded Ladies Bounce past

family scheduling chaos money & careers guide

Don’t wait to get a plan for holiday spending

Mary S.

GRAHAM Living her passion

Michael J. Christie M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

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FOUNDER Angela Bruni PUBLISHER & EDITOR Dorothy P. Wilson DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Crystal Scretching CONTRIBUTING EDITOR/WRITER Jennifer Gentile CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ellis Anderson Deborah Meza Dr. Jonathan Brown Rea Lenz Sofia Cooper Tina Perkins Chris Dearman Jennifer Ratcliffe Adrienne Elliott Jordan Reed Ryan Giles Kathy Rogers Raymond Huntington Jerika Vincent Holly Lemoine-Raymond Angelyn Treutel Zeringue Re’ Sheka Johnson Kathy Brown van Zutphen Julie Krohn CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Brian Pearse


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(228) 539-2422 or Angela Bruni, (228) 760-8887 Veronica Ratcliff, (228) 861-6503 Sherry Moxley Seaman, (706) 833-0123

CONTACT US 3451 Washington Ave., Suite B, Gulfport, MS 39507 (228) 539-2422 © 2019 Gulf Coast Woman is published 8 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.


September 2019

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Dropping Pounds, Gaining Confidence GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY RENEWED MELYNDA RICO’S LOVE OF LIFE By the time she reached adulthood, Melynda Rico had gotten used to being fatigued, frazzled and sometimes irritable for no reason.

To continue her progress, Rico has overhauled her eating habits, sticking mainly with whole grains and lean meats and avoiding sugar.

As a “stress eater” most of her life, Rico says she turned to food in times of trouble. Although she dieted, she always gained back the weight and then some.

“It’s definitely not an easy way out like a lot of people (who) judge you (will) say,” she explains. “It’s a difficult journey no matter which way you go, but this path gives you a great push to be able to do it better and stick to it. It’s not just a diet, it’s a new lifestyle.”

“I tried several different methods — vitamins, shakes, diets, some exercise, pills, teas, starving, etc.,” she says, “and sometimes I did lose for a little while, but nothing ever lasted…I was terribly disgusted with myself when I realized I weighed almost 300 pounds.” The mother of four, who works as a hemodialysis technician with DaVita HealthCare Partners, admits her low self-esteem led her into unhealthy relationships and that she disliked herself most days. Her life changed drastically in July of 2018 when she underwent gastric sleeve surgery, performed by Dr. William Avara of South Mississippi Surgical Weight Loss Center. Rico has lost 105 pounds since starting her weight-loss journey — 75 of them since her surgery. “I love life itself so much more,” she says. “I have so much more self-confidence and keep my head held high and respect myself where before, I don’ t think I did — even though I didn’t realize it.”


Rico also has found she’s happier to be around family and friends — and to pick out clothes. Once a size 22 in pants and a 2 or 3X in tops, she now loves wearing dresses and sometimes forgets she doesn’t have to look for plus sizes.

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September 2019

As for South Mississippi Surgical, Rico says, “I would highly recommend them — and have recommended them — to anyone (who is) looking for a true change in life and willing to make that first step that is the hardest.” When she steps on the scale and sees a number in the 100s, Rico says she feels accomplished, grateful and proud of herself. She also no longer feels self-conscious around smaller women. “When I walk into a room, I’m not ashamed of the way I look anymore, but feel beautiful,” she says. “And the confidence I have in myself to do anything I put my mind to — that is a feeling that compares to no other.” South Mississippi Surgical Weight Loss has earned a reputation for excellence with more than 4,000 successful bariatric procedures performed since 2000. Those ready to begin their weight-loss journey with award-winning surgeons and staff, or those just wanting to learn more, can visit or call (228) 872-7277. Website visitors can register to receive a free information session.

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Bay St. Louis • Diamondhead • Gulfport • Biloxi • Ocean Springs


in this issue Adrienne Elliott, newest Gulf Coast Woman blogger and affiliate

Money & Careers / 35 Shopping & Beauty / 53 Home & Family / 68 Success / 87 Health / 91 Food/Entertainment / 110




Meet some

Likeminded Ladies Bounce past

family scheduling chaos money & careers guide

Don’t wait to get a plan for holiday spending

Mary S.

GRAHAM Living her passion


September 2019

Photographer: Brandi Stage Make Up: Ashley Mills of Salon Rouge Hair: Amber Bosarge-Lord of Salon Rouge Wardrobe: Grants for Her Location: Brandi Stage Portraiture Studio Cover subject Mary S. Graham

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September 2019

Setting Sail Sail in in aa New New Direction Setting

Shipfittingprogram programgives giveswomen womenopportunities opportunitiesto to build build ships and a career Shipfitting Imaginewatching watching Imagine giant,gray grayNavy Navy aagiant, shippull pullout outofofport port ship crew members members asascrew scramble toto their their scramble jobs on deck, and jobs on deck, and watchingthat thatship ship watching untilititeventually eventually until disappears over over disappears thehorizon. horizon. Now Now the imagine playing imagine playing roleininthe theship’s ship’s aarole construction. construction. That’swhat what That’s TamaraJordan Jordanand and Tamara TamaraJordan Jordan Tamara MayraAlexandria Alexandria Mayra CollazoCollazoRodriguez feel.They, They,along alongwith withdozens dozensofofother otherwomen women Rodriguez feel. who completedthe theWomen’s Women’sShipfitting ShipfittingBootcamp Bootcampatat who completed Mississippi GulfCoast CoastCommunity CommunityCollege, College,were werehired hiredatat Mississippi Gulf Ingalls ShipbuildingininPascagoula Pascagoulaininthe thepast pastfew fewmonths. months. Ingalls Shipbuilding “It’s incrediblefeeling feelingtotoknow knowthat thatyou youare arepart partofof “It’s anan incredible something massiveand andsosoimportant, important, Jordansaid. said. “If “If something sosomassive ” ”Jordan you’ d have askedme mea ayear yearago agoififI’dI’dbebehere, here,doing doingthis, this,II you’ d have asked would have saidyou youwere werecrazy. crazy. would have said ”” Collazo-Rodriguezsaid saidshe shefeels feelsthe thesame. same.“I“Ilove lovethis thisjob. job. Collazo-Rodriguez exciting. It’sIt’s exciting. ”” The two womensigned signedupupfor forthe theprogram programthrough throughthe the The two women Moore CommunityHouse HouseWomen WomenininConstruction Construction Moore Community program.That Thatprogram programisisa apre-apprenticeship pre-apprenticeshipjob job program. training programdesigned designedtototrain trainwomen womenfor forcareers careersinin training program nontraditionalcareer careerpathways. pathways. nontraditional Mississippi,women womenmake makeupup5050percent percentofofthe the InIn Mississippi, workforce, butaccount accountfor for7575percent percentofofminimum minimumwage wage workforce, but workers. Even if they work full time, minimum wage workers. Even if they work full time, minimum wage isis below povertylevel leveltotosupport supporta afamily’s family’sbasic basicneeds. needs. below thethe poverty Brock Clark,dean deanofofWorkforce WorkforceDevelopment DevelopmentatatMGCCC, MGCCC, Brock Clark, said that trade said that tradejobs, jobs,like likeshipfitting, shipfitting,welding, welding,and and construction, construction,provide providea apathway pathwaytotohigher higherwages. wages. “We collaborate “We collaboratewith withWomen WomenininConstruction Constructionon onaaregular regular basis to provide additional skill training for some their basis to provide additional skill training for some their programs completers” programs completers”hehesaid. said.“They “Theyhave haveprovided providedus us exceptional individuals exceptional individualsfor forthe thetraining. training.We Weare arethrilled thrilled with thethe bootcamp’s with bootcamp’ssuccess successand andthe thecareer careerpossibilities possibilitiesititisis providing forforthese ”” providing theseparticipants. participants. Photos courtesy Photos courtesyofofIngalls IngallsShipbuilding Shipbuilding

“I’veworked worked in in all kinds of places, from “I’ve from housekeeping housekeeping toretail, retail,”” Jordan Jordan said. “It’s hard to support to support just justme meon on minimum wage. wage. Receiving training and minimum and certifications certificationswill will allowme me to to be be much much more financially allow financially successful. successful.”” Collazo-Rodriguez said the training and Collazo-Rodriguez and new new career careerhelps helps herentire entire family. family. “I needed to make better her better money moneyfor formy my family,”” she she said. said. “Receiving training in family, in aa field field that thatisisso soin in demand isisawesome. awesome. Getting this great job demand jobisiseven evenbetter. better.”” MGCCC’s 400-hour 400-hour Shipfitter Bootcamp MGCCC’s Bootcamp provides providesNCCER NCCER Coreand and four four AWS AWS Structural Welding Core Welding certifications. certifications. Ofthe thetwo two recent recent shipfitting bootcamps Of bootcamps for for women, women, 35 women have completed programs, with two 35 women have programs, with twoof ofthe the completers qualifying qualifying for welding positions completers positions because becauseof of theiradvancement advancement in the bootcamp. their Clarksaid said the the college college and its partners Clark partners plan plan to to hold holdmore more programs such such as as this one. “We continue programs continue to to work workwith with industry partners partners to plan short-term training industry training programs, programs,”” hesaid. said. “If “If there’s there’s an industry need, we he we can can work workout outaa program designed designed specifically to meet program meet their their requirements. requirements. helps our our local local economy by providing ItIthelps providing well-trained well-trained employees for for industry industry and great job opportunities employees opportunitiesfor for program completers. completers.” program For For the therecent recent classes, classes,MGCCC MGCCC partnered partneredwith with the the Southern Southern Mississippi Mississippi Planning Planningand and Development Development District, District,WIN WINJob Job Center, Center,Ingalls Ingalls Shipbuilding, Shipbuilding, Women Womenin in Construction Constructionand and the the Mississippi Mississippi Community Community Mayra Alexandria Alexandria Collazo-Rodriguez Collazo-Rodriguez College Mayra CollegeBoard. Board. To Bootcamp program, program, Toparticipate participate in in the Shipfitter Bootcamp individuals WIN Job JobCenter. Center. individuals must must qualify through the WIN

For MGCCC’s Women’s Women’s For more more information information about MGCCC’s Shipfitter workforce training training Shipfitter Bootcamp Bootcamp or other workforce programs, or questions@ questions@ programs, contact contact 228.896.2536 228.896.2536 or





Story by Jennifer Gentile | Photography by Brian Pearse After a $100 million makeover, the former VA complex dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. Hotel guests can enjoy sein Gulfport is dilapidated no more. lect menu items poolside at the water playground — where Now reborn as Centennial Plaza, the long-empty propthey also can race down two giant water slides, float down erty on Beach Boulevard ushered in a new era with a a 950-foot lazy river, have a drink at the swim-up bar or soft opening Aug. 1 and a grand opening on Aug. 4. The cool off in a zero-entry pool. Even more family fun will be celebration marked the property’s transformation into a available next summer with the opening of Adventures — premier destination resort, featuring two hotels, a water offering games, pizza, burgers and more. playground (reserved for hotel guests), two restaurants, a The centerpiece of the property is a 25,000-gallon, colchapel and more amenities to come. or-changing fountain, which “dances” along with nearly 30 “We call it the jewel of the Gulf Coast,” says Tessy Lamsongs. Paying homage to the former military installation’s bert, public relations director with Lodging & Leisure 100-year history, the developer restored the complex’s origInvestments LLC. “I would describe it as a place you can inal chapel, which is poised to be a popular wedding venue. come relax and enjoy, whether you’re a business traveler or Fans of festivals and live music will want to mark their a family.” calendars for a number of events coming to Centennial Ten historical buildings were restored on the 43-acre Plaza — including Chillin’ on the Gulf Coast, set for Sept. complex. Visitors can choose between the 152-room Oasis 20-22. A full roster of performances is lined up for the Resort, where they can stay in a traditional room or a fami- three-day celebration of music, food and the arts. The plaza ly-friendly kid suite, and the 63-room Grand Centennial, a also will welcome visitors for Cruisin’ the Coast in October, chic, 63-room hotel featuring high ceilings, hand-selected which draws thousands of classic car aficionados from 40 décor and a tapas and wine bar. states and beyond to the region each year. Guests don’t have to leave the premises for a good meal, “We want to bring as many events as possible,” Lambert Lambert says. The Blue Marlin specializes in fresh, consays. temporary seafood dishes served in elegant surroundings. Sharing her goals for Centennial Plaza, she adds, “the A second-floor space, overlooking the Gulf and equipped first thing that comes to mind is to be a place to make with a marble bar, is available for special events. memories.” For casual fare, the Oasis Grill offers breakfast, lunch and September 2019 16

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Waveland student follows in grandmother’s footsteps as a drummer By Jennifer Gentile Coming of age in the ‘60s, Gladys Dedeaux wanted to play the clarinet — but finances dictated otherwise. “Playing a drum was free, and the school supplied the drums,” says Dedeaux, whose grandparents raised her in Bay St. Louis. “I was the only female to play a drum during that time, but I had no problem with anybody by being the only female.” Dedeaux loved to dance and listen to music, so she was able to follow a beat — which helped when playing her instrument. She says she learned how to read musical notes in the school band, and she remained a drummer for four years until she graduated. After stints at Swegmann’s grocery store and TG&Y variety store, Dedeaux worked for a chemical plant for 20 years. Fast-forward to 2019, and her granddaughter, Gabbie Barabino — a senior at Bay High — is a percussionist, too. She recalls deciding to join the band after a presentation from Bay High in fifth grade, and although she originally wanted to play the saxophone, she changed direction. “I thought (percussion) seemed more interesting than the other sections because it involved non-wind instruments,” Barabino says. “I learned by practicing with my band director, Mr. (Zeke) Hibler, and my fellow bandmates.” For her grandmother, who remains a fan of rock ‘n’ roll and certain types of jazz, Barabino’s decision was music to her ears. “I was overjoyed when she told me she was going to play the drums,” Dedeaux says. “We started talking about drumming, the beats (and) how to hold your drumsticks.” Barabino now plays mostly keyboard instruments, like the marimba, vibraphone and xylophone. However, she occasionally plays the bass drum and also has


September 2019

played the timpani. “When I first started out on the snare drum, (my grandmother) encouraged me to not give up and always do my best,” Barabino says. “We are close and are alike in our sense of humor.” Dedeaux agrees that she and her granddaughter share a bond and have traits in common. When Hoop Fest comes to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, or other festivals and events are happening locally, Dedeaux adds, Barabino often asks her grandmother to take her. “She also expects to see me at all her band concerts, or parades and of course, I’m there,” she says. “We are alike in some ways, as we both love music, going to events (and) family get-togethers, and we like talking to each other and just laughing.” With graduation on the horizon in 2020, Barabino has started touring colleges. She says she plans to continue her studies and pursue a career as a software engineer. “I feel that my dedication, persistence and dedication to my studies will help me achieve these goals for future success,” she adds. Besides Barabino’s musical skill, the proud grandmother notes that she has been on the honor roll consistently and was inducted into the National Honor Society. She also is a volunteer at Hancock County Boys and Girls Club, a student ambassador and a member of the Bay High Lady Tigers track team, going to South State championships two years back to back. “These are just a few of the things she has been selected for,” Dedeaux says, “So you can see why I think she will fulfill her dream.”

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LIKEMINDED LADIES have each other’s back By Jennifer Gentile

With nearly 50 members in just four months, LikeMinded Ladies of the Gulf Coast is off to a roaring start. President Katherine Sutton expects those numbers to grow as the group designs events around supporting each of its members. “We hope to be an additional resource for women on the Gulf Coast who are in need of friendship, personal and professional development, mentoring, benchmarking and growth,” Sutton says. “We want to help women feel empowered (and) give resources for nurturing ourselves, supporting each other and feeling accepted.” The organization is a subchapter of a group that originated in New Orleans, with a mission of helping women achieve career success and a healthy worklife balance in a supportive environment. At monthly meetings, held at different locations along the Coast, members network, learn about various subjects through a speaker series and find a safe place to share their thoughts and concerns. Previously a part of the New Orleans Chapter, Sutton says she wanted to create an opportunity for Gulf

Coast women to grow and get out of their comfort zone. A turnout of nearly 75 for a May kickoff event at Southern Bound Book Shop and Jacked Up Coffee Bar in Biloxi, she adds, reflects a desire and demand for this group locally. “We know to be successful in business and life, we have to make sure that we are also taking care of ourselves — so one way we do that is through our speaker series,” Sutton says. “It appeals to all women, and we welcome women from all walks of life, including women who may be in between jobs, like stay-at-home moms.” The chapter’s secretary, Courtney Jacobs, says LikeMinded Ladies has given her “a new network of supportive women.” Members are focused on how they can elevate each other rather than themselves, she adds — a pleasant contrast to the pressure and competition many women face professionally. “To be part of an organization that lifts women up and encourages friendships and camaraderie has changed my life over the past couple months,” Jacobs says. “It feels great and refreshing.”

WANT TO JOIN? LikeMinded Ladies Gulf Coast meets on the second Friday of each month from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at different locations along the Coast. To learn more, visit, email MembershipGC@likemindedladies. com or follow the group on Facebook (LikeMindedLadiesGulfCoast) and Instagram (@LMLGC).


September 2019

Here at HL Raymond Properties,

WE’VE BEEN BUSY! We Love Our Community! Our HL Raymond Properties' team is actively involved in various organizations including

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We’ve paired with local animal shelters to help find amazing homes for amazing pets! Watch on our Facebook Page and/or our website! We Have Our Very Own TV Series: INSIDE OUT W/ HL RAYMOND PROPERTIES Watch Season 1 on our YouTube Channel


529 Ulman Avenue | Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520 228.466.6643 | |


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September 2019

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Bond for a Lifetime Miss Congress Pageant

A rising senior at Gulfport High School is now the reigning Miss Congress 2019. Victoria Hudson, who is entering her second year in the dual-enrollment program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, won the title at The Gulf Coast Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress Pageant. The event was held on June 1 at the Good Deeds Community Center, and churches from across the Coast joined to support the young representative who would be crowned Miss Congress. Hudson, who represented First Missionary Baptist Church ofw Gulfport, is the daughter of Theressia Lyons and Gary Hudson; Romello Johnson escorted her during the pageant. The event also featured Ja’Lexcia Clark, who represented New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church; Jakara Hardy, who represented Mount Bethel Ja’Lexcia Clark, Missionary Jakara Hardy (standBaptist Church; and Kennedy Pace, who represented ing), Kennedy Pace, and Victoria Hudson Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. Clark, a rising senior at Gulfport High, was named first runner-up. She is the daughter of Tammie Dillon and was escorted by Michael Dillon Jr. Hardy is a rising junior at Gulfport High and the daughter of Kimyata Young. She was escorted by Javon Kylor Hardy. Pace, a rising senior at Harrison Central High School, is the daughter of Jonathan and Anissa Pace. She was escorted by Travail Scott. The participants presented in talent and church


attire. This year’s pageant theme was “Sister to Sister: A Bond for a Lifetime.” The theme scripture was John 15:12-13: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This theme arose out of discussions with the participants about sisterhood, as pageant facilitators emphasized the importance of loving one another, uplifting one another and supporting one another. ABOUT THE CONGRESS The Gulf Coast Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress is a unified effort of several local Missionary Baptist churches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Congress’s goal is to promote the spiritual growth and enhance the life skills of young people within the Congress. The Miss Congress Pageant has been an annual event since 1962, with the aim of helping young women develop and enhance life skills that will allow them to grow spiritually and mentally, as well as help them relate better to others. Over a four-month period, participants attend approximately eight sessions with instruction on the teaching and practice of Christian values, social graces, individual and group communication, public interaction, healthy self-image, community involvement and moral excellence. Additionally, they receive inspirational and informative instruction through a mother-daughter gathering. Core values are: Sisterhood, Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Education and Respect. The participants seek sponsorships, and funds raised go toward scholarships for graduating seniors who are congress members. While the pageant is a competition, participants learn that the ultimate goal is not winning, but rather fostering a closer relationship with Christ, working together as a team, developing relationships with one another and leading others to Christ. Pageant committee members are Sonya Bowser Ashley, Mary Bowser, Theressia Lyons, Esquire, Kay Redmond, and Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy.

<Hudson crowned Miss Congress

September 2019

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Living her

PASSION MGCCC President Mary Graham loves helping others succeed By Jennifer Gentile


raduation night is always meaningful for Mary S. Graham, but her first as president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College was among the most memorable. After she hugged the first student to walk across the stage, embracing the rest came naturally. “I hugged over 1,000 people that night,” Graham recalls. “You get excited, and you get caught up in the moment.” Graham says she loves engaging with all kinds of people — and nothing motivates her more than helping others succeed and find their purpose. A Biloxi native who grew up in Perkinston, Mississippi, she’s always been passionate about education and how it can create a framework for achievement. “I like to ‘hold the ladder’ for other people — to ensure they have the opportunity to climb as far up as they would like…,” she says. “I have seen so many people waste opportunities because they were afraid to let go of what they have always known in order to experience what could possibly be.” Growing up the youngest of eight children gave Graham a sense of determination, a strong work ethic and a competitive spirit that propelled her to the top of MGCCC, where she’s worked for 32 years and been president since 2011. While she takes a considered, common-sense approach to most situations, Graham tries to “work on the ‘yes’ side” — even when it’s chancy. “I am not afraid to take risks and enjoy proving the nay-

Photography by Brandi Stage Portraiture

sayers wrong,” she says. “I don’t expect anyone to do more than I am willing to do.” That enthusiasm has earned Graham recognition as a South Mississippi Outstanding Community Leader, Educator of the Year, Ellician Ellumination Executive award winner, Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year and a Woman of Achievement. Under its first female president, MGCCC has expanded its footprint to include new campuses, new programs and new opportunities for students. Before Graham served as chair of the American Association of Community Colleges, which represents over 1,200 institutions nationwide, someone from Mississippi hadn’t held the position since the 1950s; the MGCCC president now is state chair of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges. Firmly in the minority of college presidents — only 30 percent are female nationwide, according to a 2018 Forbes report — Graham doesn’t mind being a pioneer. “I feel fortunate to serve in this role and hope that by doing so, I can inspire hope and opportunity for others to do the same,” she says. “This means I have to do my best in order to make sure that women are well represented and respected as higher education leaders.” WORDS OF ADVICE Men and women alike, she says, should recognize that they are always interviewing for their next position. To-

I like to ‘hold the ladder’ for other people


day’s actions and behaviors, she adds, can have implications for their future. “I would suggest that they prepare themselves with as many tools as possible, whether it’s an advanced degree or simply learning to communicate well,” Graham says. “You never know when that opportunity will present itself, so you need to prepare in every way possible.” To those changing or starting careers, Graham suggests focusing on passion rather than profit. If someone sticks to what she’s interested in and good at, the president adds, rewards will come — “and they won’t just be monetary.” No matter where someone is headed in life, Graham wants to give them the tools they need to get there. “For some, it may be as simple as getting a GED, and for (others), it’s becoming a college president,” she says. “I am also passionate about providing opportunities through scholarships, fundraising and networking.” Jason Pugh, MGCCC executive vice president of administration and finance, describes Graham as “aggressively determined to excel at all that she does….” Having worked with Graham since 1994, and having served on her executive council since 2011, Pugh has had a front-row seat to her presidency. “Dr. Graham brings to her role … the all-encompassing skillset of ‘leadership,’” Pugh says, “(which) with her is more than just a skill — but truly a talent.” FAMILY FIRST Graham says that decades of support, encouragement and loyalty from her husband, Wayne, made her professional success possible. Together, the couple has raised three children: Sarah, 23; Michael, 21; and Anna, 18. “I am very proud of my children; they are well balanced, caring and thoughtful individuals,” she says. “I am proud to have had a successful marriage for the past 28 years.”  Graham views community as 36

Septermber 2019

an extension of family and feels a responsibility to provide opportunity where there’s a need. “Leadership is about others; everyone should take the time to participate in community organizations where they can share their gifts, talents and resources,” she says. “I have been involved in everything from Rotary to our church youth programs. We support scholarships and mission trips for students.” In all facets of life, Graham is “an ambitious leader” who is never satisfied with mediocrity or the status quo, says Ladd Taylor, MGCCC vice president, Perkinston Campus and George County Center. “She possesses the unique ability to see the potential for innovation where others do not,” Taylor adds. “Dr. Graham thoroughly grasps and balances the need for MGCCC to be a leader in our local district-wide communities and in the nation.” MGCCC is recognized as a trendsetter among community colleges nationally, according to Taylor — which he attributes to Graham’s vision and her ability to sell it to the college’s board and employees. “Complete and total support from all stakeholders is needed to positively move the needle of an institution even a little,” Taylor adds. “Through an impeccable record of unwavering support throughout her career, Dr. Graham has been able to catapult MGCCC’s needle to extraordinary heights.” Whatever someone’s background, Graham wants MGCCC to offer “the most progressive learning environment possible” — one that readies students for tomorrow’s jobs. “My goals in my current position are to create a learning environment at MGCCC that invites every type of student, traditional college age, retirees, military, adult students, etc.,” she says. “I want them to view MGCCC as a place they can build on their success.”

Women in education In the fall 2018 term, 5,398 females enrolled at MGCCC, accounting for 60.31 percent of the entire student body. Female graduates accounted for 58.43 percent of the graduating class of 2018-2019. In academic year 2018-2019, 61.94 percent of associate degrees earned were by females. In academic year 2018-2019, 45.39 percent of diplomas earned were by females. In academic year 2018-2019, 41.48 percent of certificates earned were by females. In the 2015-2016 academic year cohort, 653 of 1331 (49.06 percent) of female graduates enrolled at a fouryear university within three years.

highest-demanded jobs by 2026 Jobs with the largest projected increase (starting with highest rise by share of women): Personal care aides, food prep and service, registered nurses, home health aides, software developers, janitors and cleaners, freight, stock and material movers, medical assistants, waitresses, construction laborers, cooks, accountants, market research analysts and marketing specialists, customer service representatives, landscapers, medical secretaries, management analysts, maintenance and repair workers, teacher assistants, financial managers, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, elementary school teachers, stock clerks, sales representatives, business operations specialists and licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses. Did you make the list? Research: Department of Labor

Top jobs: Fields with the brightest future By Jennifer Gentile

Whether you’re employed, between jobs or about to enter the workforce, it’s clear the field is changing. Occupations that once provided a stable living are contracting, while emerging technologies are creating opportunities that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. So if you’re a student, or a professional considering a career

REGISTERED NURSE, NURSING ASSISTANT, NURSE PRACTITIONER If the forecasts have one thing in common, they agree that the health care industry will dominate job demand for the foreseeable future. One major reason: Older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which notes that one in five Americans will be retirement age by 2030. As the aging population expands, so will their need for health care — along with the demand for nurses and other medical professionals. For instance, salary. com reports that the number of registered nurses is expected to increase by 439,300 by 2024. Demand also is expected to grow for dentists, pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, oral surgeons, pharmacists, physical therapists and others.

change, which jobs should you pursue? That answer will be different for everyone, but it’s wise to consider which fields are growing, have the best earning potential and provide the best quality of life. Here are some of the career areas with the best outlook, according to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and other sources:

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYST The world is growing more digital by the day, making those with computer skills increasingly employable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30.7 percent employment growth for software developers between 2016 and 2026, with over 255,000 jobs becoming available. These fields call for a unique blend of creativity and technical skill, which fuel the creation of our most indispensable technological tools. ACCOUNTANT/FINANCIAL MANAGER/ FINANCIAL ANALYST As long as people make money, they’ll need someone to manage it for them. That provides great job security for these numbers experts, who must have solid organizational and people skills, exceptional attention to detail and a high level of

integrity. Accountants maintain and review financial records while financial managers oversee the finances of companies, organizations and other entities. Financial analysis is among the best-paying fields for women as of 2018, with estimated annual earnings of $71,000. STATISTICIAN/MARKET RESEARCH ANALYST Data is an increasingly valuable commodity, driving the decisions of businesses large and small. Those with a background and education in statistics have great earning potential, with median salaries exceeding $60,000. Plus, the number of market research analyst positions is set to grow 32 percent by 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects. Beyond the corporate realm, statistical skills are prized in virtually any industry, from science and medicine to sports and journalism.


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Managing your college student’s money expectations

With a child in college, the expenses can seem endless — tuition, books, room and board and an infinite number of incidentals. How do parents keep their heads above water financially, establish boundaries and make sure their kids’ expectations are rooted in reality? Here’s some practical wisdom from parents who are trying to instill good spending habits in their college students. ANGELA BRUNI Children in college: Catie Lee Bruni (23), attended the University of Alabama, currently at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry; Jeff Bruni (21), Millsaps College, senior biochemistry major; Christopher Bruni (19), Millsaps College, sophomore biochemistry major What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs? The best financial assistance you will get is scholarship money. Encourage your child to do well in high school, score high on the ACT and try hard for that one-shot PSAT score to become a National Merit Scholar. But in general, first research what opportunities and activities will be available to your child at his/her chosen school and decide what you are or are not willing to pay for. Secondly, do some research and find out ahead of time the cost of extracurricular activities (opportunities that cost money beyond tuition/dorm/ meals) and decide if you want to totally fund that expense or if you expect your child to fund some or all of it, then make a plan to make it happen. How have you managed your college student’s expectations in terms of finances/money to live on while they are in school? Has it required any difficult conversations? I’m fortunate that my children understand and are good with finances. My advice would be to discuss with your child what he or she (not YOU) expects to spend in a two-week period beyond dues/fees/required items (so gas, meals out with friends, spring break trip, etc.) and together set a budget. This money is to be deposited every two weeks into their account. Hold them to the “when 38

Septermber 2019

it’s gone, it’s gone” philosophy, and they will be able to learn how to budget.

(From left to right) Jeff, Catie Lee and Christopher Bruni

JACKIE CASTRO-COOPER Children in college: Sofia Flora Cooper (20), University of Mississippi, junior studying integrated marketing and communications Share your process of planning for college expenses (costs of daily living and incidentals while child is in school): We are a unique family. My husband and I sat our three children down while they were in high school for a college talk. We told our children that they will be responsible for their own college tuition. This was a choice my husband and I made because we saw the severe debt that our friends with college students had incurred. What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs? We told them that they would be able to pay for their college by getting excellent grades in high school, preparing to take the ACT exam and applying for scholarships in our community, national scholarships and the scholarships the college offers. Full-time summer jobs

and weekend jobs during their junior and senior years of high school allowed them to put money into their savings account. MERCEDES AND SARAH CARRANZA Children in college: Elizabeth Carranza (22), Mississippi State University, senior biomedical engineering major; Eva Carranza (20), Mississippi State University, senior nutrition major. (Edward Carranza graduated from Mississippi State University in December 2018 with a mechanical engineering degree). What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs? Selecting an appropriate meal plan is a good starting point when budgeting for your student’s daily needs. Talk with your student and agree on the plan that best suits their needs and is economical for you. In addition, unless your child is proficient in cooking nightly, they will spend a lot of time and energy attempting to cook that could properly be used on studying. How have you managed your college students’ expectations in terms of finances/money to live on while they are in school? Has it required any difficult conversations? (Managing expectations requires) communicating with your student(s) frequently to help them understand their needs versus wants (and) setting boundaries on the things you will financially support (versus) the things the they will be responsible for and fund independently. For example, you agree to purchase the football season tickets but will not fund them on a new outfit for every game. In addition, you may agree to pay for their gas and groceries, but their entertainment and eating out is on them.

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The tax impact of hiring family Are you one of the lucky business owners who can fill a need by hiring a family member? This is a great achievement — and with it comes payroll tax savings if done under the right conditions.

By Tina Perkins

PAYROLL TAXES Basic payroll involves calculating the proper amount of taxes to withhold and depositing the correct amount of taxes on the employee’s behalf. Federal payroll taxes include income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA taxes) and the federal unemployment tax (FUTA tax). These taxes are paid by either the employee, the employer or a combination of the two. Each state imposes its own state and local payroll taxes, which is not addressed here but certainly impacts the total taxes paid. CHILD EMPLOYED BY PARENT The most common family employment arrangement is a parent hiring a child. Generally, the child’s abilities are limited and low level because the child has not had the time to develop the skills or obtain the training for intermediate or advanced-level tasks; but this is not always the case. The child may have technological and social media skills that meet the business’s marketing needs. The wages of a child employed by the parent’s trade or business are not subject to the FICA and FUTA taxes. How great is that?! This tax savings applies to both the business and the child. The caveat lies with the child’s age 40

Septermber 2019

and the business type. The child must be under 18, and the parent’s trade or business must be a sole proprietorship or a partnership wherein the only partners are the child’s parents. The child’s income tax, on the other hand, is not necessarily exempt, so the child may have income tax withholding. However, the income tax can be mitigated by other means, like contributing to a retirement account (another topic for another time). When the child is between the ages of 18 to 21 and employed in the parent’s trade or business, the child is subject to the FICA tax, but not the FUTA tax. At age 21, the child is subject to all payroll taxes, and there is no payroll tax savings for hiring the child. PARENT EMPLOYED BY CHILD If your trade or business needs intermediate or advanced skills your parent may possess, you could hire your parent to fill this need and save on payroll taxes. However, hiring your parent in your trade or business is not as tax efficient as hiring your child. Unlike hiring your child, the wages you pay your parent are subject to the FICA and income taxes, but never subject to the FUTA tax. If you hire your parent for domestic services and all of the following apply, your parent is likewise subject to FICA and income taxes: • You employ your parent; • You have a child or stepchild living in the home; • You are a widow or widower, divorced or living with a

spouse who, because of a mental or physical condition, can’t care for the child or stepchild for at least four continuous weeks in a calendar quarter; and • The child or stepchild is either under age 18 or requires the personal care of an adult for at least four continuous weeks in a calendar quarter due to a mental or physical condition. ONE SPOUSE EMPLOYED BY ANOTHER If you find hiring your spouse is a viable option, good luck — and know the wages paid to your spouse have the same tax consequences as hiring your parent. The FICA and income taxes still are applicable, but the FUTA tax is not. BUSINESS ENTITY TYPES The business entity type must be a sole proprietorship or a partnership with the right partners. Other types of entities are ineligible for the payroll tax savings. So the wages for services of the child or spouse are subject to income tax, as well as FICA and FUTA taxes, if the child or spouse work for: • A corporation, even if it is controlled by the child’s parent or the individual’s spouse; • A partnership, even if the child’s parent is a partner, unless each partner is a parent of the child; • A partnership, even if the individual’s spouse is a partner; or • An estate, even if it is the estate of a deceased parent. • Regardless of which family member you hire, the work should be legitimate and the pay reasonable for the service provided. Although not required, the hired family member should maintain a time sheet. They are to be paid overtime and holiday pay when applicable and be treated like other employees, with wages to be reported on form W-2. Follow the rules to avoid raising red flags for the IRS. Last but not least, don’t overlook the Department of Labor laws on hiring minors. For more information, call Tina Perkins at (228) 392-2991 at Tina Perkins, CPA, P.A., 4048 Popps Ferry Road, D’Iberville. Consultation is by appointment only.

Automation impact • notes that some estimate women are more likely than men to lose their jobs due to automation. • Over half (58 percent) of workers in the most at-risk occupations are women. • Latinas are the most likely to be affected, with one in three working in a high-risk field. • Others predict that automating routine tasks creates new, more complex jobs, which may present better opportunities for women.





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Septermber 2019

By Ryan Giles

“Ryan, with all of this new work, I feel like I have two jobs!” I hear this statement all too often when working with new leadership teams. I hear this when leaders don’t realize they SHOULD have two jobs, and often, they’ve only mastered one. “What are these two jobs?” you may ask ….

WORKING IN THE BUSINESS This is the first job of any leader and usually the job they do best. Working “in” the business means you’re managing its day-today operation. This includes delivering the goods or services that get you paid, creating and refining your processes and procedures for delivering these goods and services, tracking daily progress and putting out any fires that pop up along the way. Think of this as tactical work. WORKING ON THE BUSINESS This is the second job of any leader and the role most frequently overlooked. Working “on” the business means you’re leading your team into tomorrow. This includes long-term and short-term planning, budgeting and predicting, working on internal projects with long-term payoffs and creating a compelling vision for the rest of the team to follow. Think of this as strategic work. Most leaders are stuck in a perpetual cycle of reactivity — fighting fires for eight hours a day. Have you ever reached 5 p.m. and thought to yourself, “What did I do today?” If so, congratulations! You’re like the majority of leaders in the United States. Most people in this camp spend all of their time in job number one (working in the business). While this is necessary, we must balance our time between both jobs. You’ll never reach, or even set, your longterm goals if you aren’t spending time on the business. If you haven’t spent much time working on the business, it may feel overwhelming at first. Think of your “on-the-business” time as an investment in your future. Time spent today will pay off with less time needed in the business down the road. So how do we begin to work on the business? Start small. Block an hour on your calendar next week to think strategically. Ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years, three years and one year, then start making a plan to get there. After you’ve done this for a few weeks, add an extra hour per week. Want to turbo-charge your results? Block time for your entire leadership team to meet and think strategically. For a list of my favorite strategic planning questions, to get you working on your business, reach out today. Need help with your marketing strategy? Give Ryan Giles a call. Giles is a CEO, professional EOS implementer, coach and author. He can be reached at Ryan@TractionStrong. com or (504) 500-1640.

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What do I want to be

when I grow up? By Angie Juzang

When you’re young, one of the first things that adults ask you is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Parents, aunties, uncles, teachers and even strangers want you to define what job you will pick, what career path you will choose, at age 10! When the child has the courage to reply, “I don’t know,” or answer “Wonder Woman” rather than predictable responses like “policeman,” “doctor” or “president of the United States,” people walk away a little confused — wondering why he or she doesn’t have it all figured out. I had chosen one of the golden careers that made adults take notice when I, a seemingly ambitious little girl, would proclaim, “I want to be a lawyer.” I thought I had it figured out when I headed off to Mississippi State University in 1989, but I quickly learned I didn’t. I majored in English in the hope my studies would enhance my readin’ and writin’ skills to aid my pre-law aspirations. However, the following year, I transferred to Georgia State University in Atlanta and started all over again, majoring in interdisciplinary studies (a fancy way of saying a little bit of everything) with a minor in women’s studies. From there, life happened. I started working at a national retail chain to help pay for college expenses. Although I graduated and had my bachelor’s degree, I was distracted by the numerous promotions I received and found myself, 10 years later, running a store in Hattiesburg. It was only when I wanted to move home, to Gulfport, that I started a brand-new career at a local television broadcast station. It was my exchange with the local sales manager during the interview that would forever change my perspective on career transitions and helped eliminate some of the fear that comes with change. I didn’t really even understand the position for which I was applying. After reviewing my resume, my prospective new boss said he saw transferable skills that met the minimal qualifications and to have faith in those skills because everything else about the business, I could learn … and did. I’d never sold television advertising, but I knew how to build relationships with customers and work with all my might to exceed sales goals. Plus, I’d developed strong communication and organizational skills, all of which were key reasons I was successful in the sales industry. That leap 44

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of faith made it easier when another opportunity presented itself. One of my clients had an opening for a marketing director position. It was in health care, something that I, again, knew nothing about. However, after moving past the fear, I remembered everything I’d learned creating solutions for small to large businesses, both utilizing traditional and digital marketing tactics, called upon those transferrable skills and realized, “I can do this.” I applied and have been working in the health care industry for almost eight years. How many people do you meet who actually work in the career field they went to college for, or even have a degree? Ask individuals to tell you their story, and you will see, more often than not, the commonality that exists among career folk. Most are just looking for a place to land that will pay what they are worth and wake up every day feeling their work has meaning. The struggle is real — and not knowing what’s next is OK. Sometimes, it may mean creating your own gig. In today’s culture, starting as early as middle school, kids get supervision and training so they are prepared to enter the workforce. I wish I’d had the kind of guidance I see many young people receiving today so that when I said I wanted to be a lawyer, I’d Angie Juzang have known what that entailed and truly meant it. I don’t regret the career paths I have chosen, or those that have chosen me. I have met some incredible people and had wonderful experiences. In a way, I guess being a woman who has learned to face many of her fears, who can transition easily to new beginnings and contribute with a sense of purpose, is what I really wanted to be when I grew up. Gulfport native Angie Juzang has worked in retail sales for a national company, in advertising sales for a television broadcast affiliate and as marketing director at a facility that is part of the largest hospital corporation network in the U.S. She has received multiple community awards and accolades, serving organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Gulf Coast, Goodwill and many more.










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WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION Workforce training program is breaking barriers

By Jennifer Gentile Many participants are single mothers working minimum-wage jobs and wanting more for their families. Once they’ve finished the Women in Construction Program, they are trained, ready and on a path to a brighter future. “The purpose of the program is to provide women with the skills they need to find work in non-traditional occupations that offer higher wages, better benefits and a pathway to a career that will provide economic security for their families,” says Carol Burnett, executive director of Moore Community House, which started Women in Construction in 2007. After Hurricane Katrina, Burnett says, the rebuilding effort spawned plenty of good jobs, but many women who needed the work were unqualified, unprepared or hesitant to pursue them. Since Women in Construction launched, she adds, “We have provided training in general construction to more than 750 women on the Gulf Coast.” Since 2016, with aid from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the program has offered participants help with childcare. “We have had students move to the Gulf Coast to take advantage of this opportunity because this combination (of workforce training and childcare) is so unusual and impactful,” Burnett says. “Our program has also become a national model, which we hope will help increase access to non-traditional careers and affordable childcare for women around the country.” As one of 14 programs awarded a Strengthening Working Families grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2016, Women in Construction received a four-year, $3.5 million stipend that has funded expansion of its programs and services. The general industry course is an eight-week program at a training facility in Biloxi, says Julie Kuklinski, Women in Construction program director — noting that an evening course is offered once a year and advanced leadership and additional training programs are held throughout the year. Besides childcare, according to Kuklinski, other assistance is available — including a transportation stipend and 46

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instruction in skills like interviewing, resume writing and financial literacy. Training, coupled with support, she says, is the key to graduates’ success in an industry where women represent only 2 percent of the workforce statewide and 3 percent nationwide. “Trade jobs are great jobs for everyone, including women, of any age,” Kuklinski adds. “All it takes to be successful is the commitment, determination and openness to attend the classes and learn.” Through a mix of classroom and hands-on training, students can earn credentials leading to careers in construction, the skilled trades and advanced manufacturing, Kuklinski says. While the training is free, she adds, candidates undergo an extensive enrollment process that includes an in-depth information session, an evaluation work day and a meeting with staff for a case assessment. “We work hard to ensure that all of our students have the best chance possible to succeed during the program and afterward,” Kuklinski says, adding that many graduates go on to additional training in specialty areas, like the welding program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, or apply to apprenticeship programs with companies like Ingalls Shipbuilding. Besides benefitting the graduates, Burnett says, Women in Construction also boosts the economy by creating a “strong and diverse workforce” that meets local employers’ needs. Statewide, there are more skilled jobs requiring technical training or post-high school education than there are people to fill them, she explains — and the program is helping close the gap. “Many in the industry were hesitant at first about hiring women in what are seen as traditionally male-dominated fields,” Burnett says. “But as we have more and more graduates entering the industry, and even taking on leadership roles, we are helping to change this perception one job site at a time.” WANT TO KNOW MORE? For further details about The Women in Construction program, or to sign up for an upcoming information session, visit

Emerging degree programs prep students for tomorrow’s jobs By Jennifer Gentile

Despite declining enrollment, colleges and universities across the country have added over 41,000 new degrees or certificate programs since 2012, according to The Washington Post —an increase of 21 percent. As institutions try to match their offerings to employer demand and emerging trends, both national and global, students have a host of new majors and certificates to choose from. TECHNOLOGY The world is becoming ever more connected and data driven, and science fiction is quickly becoming reality. The technology field is creating new careers and courses of study in every area imaginable, from computer science to aeronautics. Programs: data science, cybersecurity, robotics, game design/development, nanotechnology, unmanned aircraft system operations MEDIA As an increasing number of bloggers, social media managers, multimedia specialists and others make their living online, schools are rapidly adding programs to prepare students for these careers. Graduates can pursue work in more traditional areas, too — such as public relations and writing for film and television. Programs: Social media, pop culture studies, entertainment management, digital communication/media, media studies, electronic business marketing, new media studies, online journalism

ENVIRONMENT According to a recent poll, nearly four in 10 young Americans view environmental issues as the most important international concern for the United States to address. It’s no surprise, then, that many Millennials and members of Generation Z want to study the planet’s health and find solutions to pressing climate problems. Programs: Sustainability studies, environmental studies, environmental engineering, climate studies, renewable energy MEDICAL Medical advances are happening at lightning speed, and the industry needs professionals with a distinct set of skills in biology, engineering and computer science. Students in the newest medical degree programs will be at the forefront of innovation — creating new ways of delivering health care and developing systems, products and services that improve patients’ quality of life. Programs: Biomedical engineering, bioinformatics, biotechnology


In 40 percent of households with children under age 18, mothers are the primary or sole earners. Source: Department of Labor


According to McKinsey and LeanIn’s Women in The Workplace 2018 report, women negotiate for raises just as much as men. In fact, in the last two years, women reported having negotiated for raises more than men. While 29 percent of men had negotiated for raises, 31 percent of women did the same.


After serving in the military, women veterans are more likely to continue to serving their country as government workers. Three out of 10 women will continue their work for the government after service.


Women are more likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree by age 29. While 34 percent of women have earned a bachelor’s degree by age 29, only 26 percent of men have done the same. Also, the proportion of women in the labor force who had earned college degrees has nearly quadrupled since 1970.


By Jennifer Gentile

CAREER ASSESSMENT Internet tools can point you toward the right job

Not sure what career is right for you? The internet is loaded with tools for helping you get to know yourself better — and discover what type of work you’ll find most fulfilling. Here, we’ve compiled some of the best places online to assess your job aptitude: MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR A popular tool for determining personality type, the Myers-Briggs test identifies your preferred way of doing things in four key areas: directing and receiving energy, taking in information, making decisions and approaching the outside world. These traits can affect how people communicate, how they develop in their careers, how they function in relationships and how they make decisions. (costs $49.95 plus tax) MAPP CAREER ASSESSMENT Whether you’re a recent college graduate or an adult who’s feeling burned out by your job, the MAPP (Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential) tool may help you find your true calling. A career test will reveal where your motivations lie, plus match you against a database of more than 1,000 potential careers. O*NET INTEREST PROFILER You can determine which types of careers you want to explore using this tool, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. The profiler has 60 questions about work activities, and respondents answer using a scale ranging from strongly dislike to strongly like. Once you’ve finished the assessment, the tool directs you toward career paths that match your interests.

Atta girl! 48

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KEIRSEY TEMPERAMENT SORTER After completing a brief questionnaire, users of the Keirsey tool will learn which of four temperament types they fall into: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist or Rational. Used by more than 100 million people from 170 countries, the assessment is meant to provide a better understanding of who you are, why you do what you do and how to build effective relationships — as well as how your temperament affects your personal and professional life. MYPLAN.COM With a wealth of resources for career changers and college students alike, aims to help users make well-informed decisions about their employment and education. The site features nearly 3,000 forums, where posters share experiences and opinions about colleges, majors, careers and much more. Numerous tools, including a free career values assessment, provide insight into your skills, your strengths, your values and your personality type. 16PERSONALITIES Are you a defender or protagonist — or perhaps an advocate or adventurer? The 16Personalities tool will reveal which of 16 personality types is your match, assessing whether you are introverted or extroverted, how your direct your mental energy, how you cope with emotions, how confident you are in your abilities and decisions and more. A free description will explain how your personality type functions at home, in relationships and in the workplace.

• More than half of management occupations are held by women. • In 2018, women held 51.5 percent of all management, professional and related occupations. • In 2019, women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. Source:

• Asian women have the hardest time of all women when it comes to climbing the career ladder; 72 percent of Asian women remain individual contributors. Source:

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LOCAL RESOURCES The Innovation Center

The Innovation Center is a small business incubator, and its goal since October 1990 has been to encourage the development of small, start-up businesses by providing an atmosphere in which they can survive and prosper. In addition to a tenant program, the center also provides support through walk-in consultations, seminars and courses, a virtual tenant program and other outreach initiatives. • 1636 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi (228) 392-9741 The Mississippi Coast Alliance for Economic Development The Mississippi Coast Alliance for Economic Development is a regional organization of economic development professionals engaged in marketing and promoting the region in an effort to recruit new jobs and capital investment to the three coastal counties in South Mississippi.

Other local resources: • Biloxi Bay Area Chamber of Commerce 1050 Beach Blvd., Biloxi (228) 435-6149 • Jackson County Chamber of Commerce 720 Krebs Ave., Pascagoula (228) 762-3391 Septermber 2019 50

• Hancock County Chamber of Commerce 100 South Beach Blvd., Suite A, Bay St. Louis (228) 467-9048

• Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce 11975 Seaway Road, Suite B120, Gulfport (228) 604.0014 • Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce 1000 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs (228) 875-4424

STATE RESOURCES Mississippi Small Business Development Center Mission: To provide services and support that will enable Mississippi to become the leading environment for small business success in the nation. Events and workshops are free to attend, and a monthly newsletter and downloadable forms are available. Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District connects individuals, businesses and industries to agencies that provide help and funding for programs for seniors and the disabled, job seeker resources, business loan programs, economic development and community development tools, technical assistance and planning assistance.


Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) The goal of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is to help Mississippians get jobs. Through its network of WIN Job Centers, MDES matches qualified, prospective employees with employers. Also at the WIN centers, Mississippians can get job training to sharpen their work skills and make themselves more competitive. The Workforce Investment Network (WIN) in Mississippi is designed to provide convenient, one-stop employment and training services to employers and job seekers. On the Gulf Coast, jobseekers and others can find a local WIN Job Center at the following locations:

Harrison County: Gulfport WIN Job Center 10162 Southpark Drive, Gulfport (228) 897-6900 Hancock County: Hancock County WIN Job Center 856 Highway 90, Suite D, Bay St Louis (228) 466-5425 Jackson County: Pascagoula WIN Job Center 1604 Denny Avenue, Pascagoula (228) 762-4713

Mississippi Economic Development Council The Mississippi Economic Development Council is a professional association of economic development, chambers and associated stakeholders who work together to advance economic development efforts in Mississippi through advocacy, collaboration, education and by providing resources to its members. MEDC is the voice of the economic development profession in the state. The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) The Mississippi Development Authority is Mississippi’s lead economic and community development agency. The agency works to recruit new business to the state and retain and expand existing Mississippi industry and business. MDA also provides technical assistance to entrepreneurs and oversees programs that support Mississippi’s minority and women-owned businesses.

Other state resources: • Y’all Business • Mississippi Association of Planning & Development Districts (MAPDD) • Mississippi Department of Revenue

5 ways retirement will look different Most people regard estate plans as something needed to distribute assets after death. In reality, however, a good estate plan maps out how you want By Kathy Brown to live in retirement, long before your death. Everyone envisions enjoying van Zutphen retirement, perhaps traveling or relaxing on a beach with a book. However, careful planning is necessary to make this a reality — especially for women, as shown by the following U.S. Census Bureau statistics: • The annual gender wage gap shows women make 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. So to have the same contributions paid into a retirement account, a woman may have to remain in the workplace longer. • Approximately 55 percent of women age 65 and older are married. • The average age that Americans retire is 62, but to receive full Social Security benefits, someone must wait until age 66 or 67 (if born in 1960 or later) to retire. Accordingly, 63.1 percent of workers retire by age 66. • The AARP Public Policy Institute estimates that over 26 million women provided unpaid care for others during the prior year. Therefore, many women may be leaving the workforce earlier than age 66 to provide unpaid care for family members. • Women have an average life expectancy of approximately four years longer than men. About 9.5 percent of retirement-age women who are widowed remarry. • Two-thirds more women develop Alzheimer’s disease than men. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a 65-year-old women has a one-in-six chance of developing Alzheimer’s, which means that women of retirement age are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer. • More than 70 percent of nursing home residents are women, with 80 being the average age of admission. So, what do these statistics say about women in their retirement years? First, because of the wage gap, it’s likely that a woman will not have as much in her retirement account as her husband (assuming she is part of the 55 percent that is married) and therefore, rather than just considering the timing and the husband’s needs in retirement, the couple should plan to provide for both individuals. For the widow or the woman who is not married, she may not have as much in disposable financial resources and should

develop a plan to stretch her assets longer, as she may be living on her own for a longer period in her later years. Also, these statistics point out what every woman already knows — the woman in a relationship is likely to end up being the caregiver. She is the one who will likely leave the workforce before age 66 and spend significant amounts of time caring for her family. Furthermore, more females will have control of the family’s assets as they outlive men, so women must be financially savvy and have a plan to ease financial burdens when caregiving is needed. Third, if the woman decides to remarry, specific estate planning may be necessary to ensure the wishes of both individuals will be followed concerning children from his first marriage, her first marriage and children they share. Even in families where everyone “gets along,” you need a good plan to keep the peace after one spouse becomes sick or dies. Fourth, more and more people are opting to live together outside of marriage, including owning assets together. Not only do they need a plan for assets, but they need to execute documents giving each other access to health care information and the authority to make decisions for each other if they can not speak for themselves. Fifth, women need to plan for themselves if they should develop Alzheimer’s disease or any debilitating illness. Most Americans want to remain at home, but what if mom contracts Alzheimer’s? Since women comprise seventy percent 70 percent of nursing home residents, it is important, while the woman still has the mental capacity, to determine where she will live and who will provide the necessary care. Women need to protect themselves by considering all of these retirement issues, and having an honest discussion with their attorney, to develop a good estate plan that encompasses not just directives regarding assets, but also healthcare. Women need to start caring for themselves as much as they do for the others in their lives in order to have an enjoyable retirement. Kathy Brown van Zutphen 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 her website to learn more: www. You can also reach her at her office: (228) 357-5227.


By Kathy Rogers

Don't fall for the comparison trap

I began thinking lately about the comparisons we women make with other women. We compare our social media posts, homes, cars, children, husbands, careers, body types — the list goes on. Why do these comparisons often bring us to one of two negative places: pride, or a feeling of failure? Comparison can lead us in many directions, and I want to talk about three of them. First, pride. Pride can come as we view others through the lens of our own lives — when we hold others to our own standards, judge them based on our circumstances and, having never “walked a mile in their shoes,” decide we never would have made the same decisions. Therefore, they are deficient in some way. Ugly isn’t it? Second, failure. We look at our lives and others’ lives through the lens of “social media,” and again, we don’t know the rest of the story. However, because they appear to have it all together, we condemn ourselves in every area imaginable. We tell ourselves if we were just like “her,” our children would be better behaved, we’d have a nicer home and our career would be more exciting and fulfilling. The lies we tell ourselves go on and on, causing us to believe we are a failure. The twin lies of pride and failure bring out the worst in us and in those around us. We must overcome this deception! 52

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To provide more context, I’ll give you the “social media” version of my story. I have a nice home, a nice car and a husband and children who love me. I’ve been a successful small business owner for over 40 years and have co-authored two books. I’m involved in nonprofit work and active in my church. However, the real story includes the fact that I do not have a college degree, married straight out of high school and went through a divorce; my story includes pain, anger, self-doubt, family crisis, rejection and endless hours of work plus self-denigration for the things I’ve done and have failed to do. What about the fact that I will be 62 this year? There is so much more to my story than just the headlines. The story behind the story is what makes me who I am. It’s what makes you who you are. That brings me to my third point: Comparison should bring encouragement. If we are going to compare, and you know we’re all guilty, why not make it positive? Aside from my family and faith, one of my greatest pleasures in life is encouraging others and helping young women see they are good enough and can do and endure difficult things. I believe how we handle life, careers, family and even aging has a lot to do with our attitude or outlook on life. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged me with a family slogan of “can’t never

could,” which means don’t believe the whispered lies that try to stop you by telling you you’re unable to do something — anything. For many of you, encouragement is a foreign concept. You did not grow up with encouragement and may never or seldom have received it. I ask you to join me in making a change in the lives of the women around us. When they fall down, let’s tell them they are worth more than their failure costs, encourage them and help them get back up, regardless of why they fell. When their accomplishments far surpass ours, let’s cheer them on and aspire to be the best version of ourselves possible. When we as women encourage and empower other women to reach their potential, it does something good in us. Encouraging others helps us become the best version of ourselves as we make a difference in the lives of others. Let’s choose to be thankful for the women who have paved our way while we encourage, cheer on, and leave a clear path for those after us to follow. Kathy Rogers is the vice president of Marston Rogers Group, a life planner and financial consultant. Reach her at (228) 206-5902 or at kathy@marstonrogers. com.


Weigh pros, cons before getting By Jennifer Gentile

faux locs

Faux locs are firmly in the limelight, thanks to stars like Rihanna. According to Nadine Hancock of Gulfport-based Dorcas Couture’s Natural Hairstyles and More, the process ranks among the hottest local hair trends. “It is a great protective style and can be done on any texture hair,” Hancock says. “The hair used for this style is chosen based on the client’s desired look; some examples are Marley braiding hair, any kinky hair, yarn, human Afro kinky hair (and) 84-inch braiding hair.” As with any trend, faux locs won’t suit everyone — and Hancock urges those who are interested in the style to weigh the pros and cons. “Consider your budget — how much do you want to spend on the style?” Hancock says. “How long are you prepared to wear them, and what is the health of your hair?” Someone with weak or thin hair, she advises, is likely to sustain some damage. To create faux locs, stylists will make a foundation with a braid or twist, then use a wrapping technique to cover the natural hair. For sealing, the ends can be burnt or dipped in water. Faux locs may look similar to dreadlocks but don’t require as much commitment — typically lasting about three months. While the style is low-maintenance, trendy and “looks great on most people,” Hancock says, it has drawbacks. Expect to make a significant investment of money and time, she adds, as faux locs can cost $200 to $300, based on size and length, and complete installation takes about six to eight hours. Plus, Hancock notes, “(They) can be very heavy and uncomfortable to sleep with.” For those who have them, she recommends sleeping in an extra-large satin cap, applying light oil to the scalp and avoiding tight ponytails. If faux locs aren’t right for you, don’t be discouraged. Crochet braids and permanent loc extensions, according to Hancock, are some other low-maintenance options that are gaining popularity. FAUX LOCS PROS AND CONS PROS • Low-maintenance • Protective of natural hair • Suitable for any hair texture

CONS • Cost — up to hundreds of dollars • Installation time — typically six to eight hours • Heavy



dip or to gel?

Sometimes heading to a nail salon and indulging in a lasting manicure is the ideal way to relax. Dip powder and gel polish are popular methods of prolonged wear, each lasting about two weeks. Both processes form layers of protection, prevent nail biting and are more natural alternatives to acrylic nails that use glue and other chemicals. Preferences differ when it comes to choosing between dip and gel, so it may be best to experience both for yourself. DIP POWDER Dip powder has gained traction as a trend within the last year. The nail tech applies clear polish and dips each nail into colored powder that sticks to the polish. This process is repeated multiple times to build layers of secureness. The layers of powder are topped with a glossy finish to tie everything together. The layers of dip powder form a solid, beautiful final product that doesn’t chip as easily as gel.

By Sofia Cooper

Dip • Forms a solid, firm feel • Lasts slightly longer than gel • No UV rays • Usually $5 to $10 more than gel

GEL POLISH The gel polish process has been around for a while and is a more traditional manicure. The nail tech applies gel polish, then places the nails under a UV lamp to activate. This process is repeated multiple times for multiple layers of polish. Gel is much stronger than regular polish, but it still can chip with prolonged wear. REMOVAL Everyone wants a beautiful manicure, but no one wants to cause harm in the process of removing it. Chipping off your gel or dip powder at home can damage your nail beds, so it’s important that your nail tech soaks off your manicure and doesn’t rush the removal. If you leave your gel or dip powder on for more than two weeks, soaking off should take at least 20 to 30 minutes.


September 2019

Gel • Forms a more flexible, durable feel • More prone to chipping • UV rays used to set polish


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Jordan Reed is a recently graduated nurse working at Singing River Hospital System. She is also the proud “momma” of a 10-month-old, full-bred, bundle-of-energy Pomeranian named LouisVaPom. After work, she shops at the many stores along the sandy shores of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here are some of her favorite products.

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Create your own Hollywood star

Next time you’re wondering how you can get your music heard, become social media famous, get a book published, become the next by Jerika Vincent comedian, TV or movie star, or start your own business, know this: You can! Here are some secrets and tips for how to do it:

WHAT NOT TO DO Don’t betray those who brought you to the top or gave you a shot at success; it will backfire. Appreciate everyone who has put effort or time into your goals, and don’t mistake generosity for weakness. BE NICE TO EVERYONE You never know who you could run into, or who might be your next boss. That person who you were ugly to in school could be your manager one day. The person who you were nice to could get you that record deal, or even make you their next business partner. The way you treat others says much about your character and can affect your career path. OTHER TIPS 1. Spend money to make money 2. Practice or study to get better at your craft 3. Create a business plan or a goal 4. Network 5. Find the right industry for you MY STORY As a D’Iberville native who loves the Gulf Coast, my goal is to help others achieve their dreams. Everyone has to grind to make their dreams reality because things are rarely just handed to us. I advise you to take charge and be proactive. After graduating from MGCCC with my associate’s degree, I visited my sister in Los Angeles, where she had signed with a talent agency. My two-week vacation turned into six years. I fell in love with the film industry and spontaneously moved there with no money or job. I took a risk while thinking, “What am I going to do to survive, because the cost of living 64

September 2019

in LA is not cheap?!” First, I researched online how I could be on movies because that’s always been a passion of mine. I stood in line with lots of people trying to do the same and got the job at central casting, working as a featured talent/background artist for three years while also working as a waitress and a membership sales representative. I made a lot of friends though the multiple jobs, which turned into more side gigs that lead to more gigs. I was meeting so many people in the industry that I wanted to be in that it made things easier. Networking is the key to reaching the top and getting your name, product or company out there. While in LA, I would sign up for castings and go on auditions when I didn’t even have an audition. I would show up to a job interview that wasn’t even lined up. I would ask to help with events or intern so I could learn and gain experience. Multiple friends told me I needed to figure out what I was going to with my career, so I decided to move back to Mississippi and regroup to figure it out. I felt like I was all over the place in LA and that I couldn’t breathe because of the constant hustle and living paycheck to paycheck. Online, it looked like I was living my best life. I did meet numerous celebrities, became friends with people on my favorite TV shows and had fun with my girlfriends, but it was not the path for my future. I pulled into the parking lot at the University of Southern Mississippi and wondered whether I should even get out of the car to sign up for classes, knowing it would be a huge commitment. After four years of studying and working a full-time job, I found an internship program at The TV show “The Doctors,” so I moved back to California for four months to take this opportunity. The networking I did in LA gave me a great resume to help gain this opportunity. I had a fun as a talent coordinator and thought I’d found my dream job. Afterward, I came home to finish my graduation and re-connected with my

now-husband, Cory Vincent. The TV show called me back and offered me a position at Paramount Pictures. Although I have always wanted a permanent position at Paramount, I chose to see where this new relationship would go and finish my degree. I made a sacrifice to work hard and get my bachelor’s, then applied my talents and passion to an idea that not only would help the Coast, but also keep me in the film industry. I devised a concept for a fun reality show to help local businesses, going door to door asking people to participate. Some people told me they didn’t know how this would work out, but instead of becoming discouraged, I kept moving, worked hard and finally had people sign up. During the past two years of “Jerika’s Showcase,” I have created multiple companies. I own “Jerika’s Showcase” (a TV show), JVShowcaseTalent (a talent agency), Blu T-Rex (a digital marketing company) Jerika’s Fashion Showcase LLC (A production company) and something new and exciting coming in a month or so. I am constantly working and growing my life here on the Gulf Coast, and you should, too. Stay positive and motivated! I always encourage others’ success and feel as women, we should help each other. My main message is to go get it. People will tell you no a million times, but eventually, you will get a yes. Don’t let those who are negative get you down, and surround yourself with people who will help lift your career. Again, network constantly — at the right places that will help get you closer to your goals. Also, be realistic and find what you are best at. Take your talent and passion and turn it into something that fits you. Spend the money. Go on that trip. Sign up for the classes. Take the internship. Be spontaneous. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help or put yourself out there. I promise you can create your own Hollywood star if you actually work hard and put in the effort.

TUNE IN TO JERIKA’S Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on WLOX CBS SHOWCASE

FASHION FORWARD Keep up with the hottest fashions and fashionable people on my television show “Jerika’s Showcase!”

“I enjoy being around people who inspire me. I love the camera and I truly connect with people on and off camera…I do compete with myself in every way. That’s what keeps me moving. But I believe in others succeeding, and I look for ways to help them succeed.” Watch “Jerika’s Showcase” WLOX ABC - SATURDAYS at 6:30 P.M. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube Follow Jerika:


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IT IS BACK TO SCHOOL FOR THE KIDS and time to relax and do something for you. We at SAS by Design Studio have a lot of new and different classes like: Julie will be teaching KEUM BOO an ancient jewelry making technique using fine silver and gold, Shannon will teach LEATHER BRACELETS and one of my favorites GUITAR STRINGS PEARLS (love this class) and Chris will be teaching one of our most popular classes TRINITY BRACELET and last but not least I will be teaching FUSING STERLING TO STERLING, SEA GLASS EARRINGS AND/OR PENDANT and of course some of the favorites. Go to and register for fun class!!! PRIVATE PARTY/CLASS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THAT SPECIAL OCCASION (mother/daughter outings, birthdays, promotions, girls/guys night out, etc.) with friends, family or co-workers call 228-864-9138 to setup a private class/party to make beautiful jewelry. At SAS by Design Studio we teach the ART of Jewelry Making so check us out at and register for one of our many classes.


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By Jennifer Gentile At 4,400 square feet, with five bedrooms and bathrooms, the home at 465 Jordan Drive in Biloxi is grand in both scale and appearance. Located in the Magnolia Bay subdivision, the home’s stately brick façade, which the owners have painted white from its original red, lends the property instant curb appeal. Craig and Terri Brown, parents to 16-year-old Craig Alan and owners to Australian shepherd Braxton, bought the house in April with the intent of updating and selling it. “We painted the entire interior of the home and installed new tile and carpet,” says Terri, owner of Simple Organiza68

September 2019

tion Solutions. “The majority of the floors are antique heart pine, which we love.” Crown molding throughout is one of the high-end touches that make the home special. The couple also updated most all of the light fixtures, added some new landscaping and converted the under-stairs closet into a pantry. After several additional DIY projects, she adds, “The house has come together, and we now feel like it is ‘ours.’" The property features a large kitchen with Viking appliances, living room, dining room and separate office. One bedroom was converted to a TV/media room, and another

to a workout/exercise room. Outside, a pool and outdoor kitchen make the home the perfect place to entertain. According to Terri, this is the 14th property that the couple has flipped. Her husband’s firm, Gant & Brown Premier Homes, built the house, she says, and it had two previous owners before the couple bought it. “Craig builds them; we move in, and then we sell them,” Terri adds. “Designing, building, moving and streamlining has become part of our routine. “We plan to sell this one and build again; (it’s) just a matter of timing and when we are ready for the next process.”

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By Adrienne Elliott Do you love trendy design but hesitate to commit or invest? As we all know, design changes all the time — which is truly the best part, isn’t it? Trends come that we may fall head over heels in love with, but we wonder how long that love will last. If I buy that bohemian pillow at Target, will I love it in six months? That farmhouse-inspired bench from Hobby Lobby — is it worth it? I am a constant re-arranger in my own home, yet I stick with timeless pieces that I invest in and add the trends I love here and there. To many people, this could be overwhelming: Where do I start? What trends should I include? Where should I spend my money? I’m here to offer some suggestions about incorporating the latest design trends in your home. First, start with one room. Your home should be an expression of who you are, and maybe you like more than one design style. Everything does not have to match; in fact, I encourage you not to have everything match. By choosing one room where you will add design trends, you will spend less money while testing how much you love the look. Also, let’s be honest, this way you can change it again when the next design trend you love comes out. So if it doesn’t have to match, what does it have to be? 70

September 2019

The simple answer is cohesive. Neutral palettes as a base work perfectly for this. For those of us who like to change our decor more often, or, just want a sprinkle of the hottest trends, here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate the latest looks for less. • Accessories • Plants/Flowers • Throw pillows • Throw blankets • Wall Art

• Smaller area rugs • Ottomans • Vase fillers • Coffee table books • Coffee table tray

Adrienne Elliott is an interior designer, fashion enthusiast, wife and mom to three girls. Learn more about her at



No-sew fleece blanket

Nothing gets me more excited for fall than dreaming about the cooler weather to come. If you’re also craving coziness, these “no-sew” fleece blankets are awesome, and what’s even better? Everyone in the family can help! First things first, you’ll need to purchase a few necessiBy Julie Krohn ties from your local craft store and search for your perfect pattern duo. This was my girls’ favorite part! We chose to make one featuring our school colors (Go Admirals!) and one that was “girly girl” (with a fall feel, of course) and consisted of mermaid scales and plaid. Sure, why not? Seriously, there are so many to choose from.

DOUBLE-TIE METHOD STEPS Make sure to ask your store associate which fleece works best for “no-sew,” raw-edge projects. Once you’ve made your selections, you’ll need 2.5 yards of each. While you’re at the craft store, pick up some sharp scissors (I learned the hard way, trust me!). Next, lay your first piece of fabric (good side down) on a large flat area, then your next piece of fabric will lay directly on top with your good side up so that the not-so-pretty sides are sandwiched together and pretty sides face out. This project is great because you don’t have to be precise to get a great result. However, I do like making a guide for cutting the corners. Find a piece of cardboard around the house, measure a 5-inch-by 5-inch square and cut it out to use as a guide to cut out your corners. Cut a 5-inch square from each of the four corners. Now you are ready to start cutting your fringe. Use your

squares as a guide for your length to cut. I did not measure the cuts for my fringe and just cut about every 1.5 inches or so. Once all of the fringe is cut, you can finish with double ties or this new slit method shown. I love the slit method because the fringe lays flat with the coordinating fabric from the other side of the blanket, and it was very easy for my daughters to do, too.

SLIT METHOD STEPS Step 1: Make a small cut so that both pieces of fringe have a resulting small slit. Step 2: Push the bottom fringe into the slit of the upper fringe Step 3: While you have the bottom fringe pulled through the upper fringe, find the small slit in that bottom fringe and pull the upper fringe through. Repeat that one more time, and you should see the alternating fabric as the fringe. These blankets are great for travel, ball games and family movie night, and they will make a perfect,

thoughtful gift for teachers and grandparents! Happy fall, y’all!

Julie Krohn is a mother of three who serves as community engagement and events director for Gulf Coast Moms Blog. Formerly a school nurse at Anniston Elementary, Krohn enjoys playing tourist on her YouTube channel and Facebook page, TheJuJu Review, where she highlights all things local on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


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an independent school for innovative learning ONLY HOPE ACADEMY provides a top-tier, college-prep learning environment thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s truly independent, led by the most esteemed educators on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. ONLY HOPE ACADEMY has a new campus in a 450+ acre master-planned community, giving students access to natural and man-made amenities that bring classroom concepts to life. ONLY HOPE ACADEMY gives students the opportunity to spend the night in a cavern, and travel both the Mississippi Blues trail and the Boston Freedom Trail as part of their Elementary learning experience. ONLY HOPE ACADEMY fully integrates high-impact community services projects across multiple grades and academic disciplines. ONLY HOPE ACADEMY nurtures confident public speakers and performers through participation in monthly Student Showcases and an unmatched performing arts program.

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Make a fall wreath By Sofia Cooper

Fall is the perfect time to get creative with some fun home décor projects. We consulted the experts at Sadie Jane’s Famous Wreaths and Gifts in Gulfport, where co-owners Jeanne Brackin and Ashley Seymer demonstrated how to make a fall wreath you’ll be proud to hang on your front door. 1. Start with a grapevine wreath in a size and shape of your choice.

2. Using a 20-inch roll of deco mesh, attach onto wreath base. You can use floral wire or pipe cleaners to attach the mesh to the grapevines. For the secret ingredient to simplify this step, call Sadie Jane’s to book a wreath-making class. They will teach you all of their wreath-making secrets!

3. Add your choice of ribbon on top of the mesh loops using the same wires or pipe cleaners used to attach the mesh. Sadie Jane's usually uses at least three different colors or patterns of ribbon to add lots of color and texture to their designs. Ribbon is usually the beginning inspiration for each design. Once the ribbon is chosen, creativity takes over.

4. Now it's time to accessorize by adding picks, florals, artwork pieces, signs, balls, shells, etc. using mainly hot glue. However, it is great to have floral and aluminum wire on hand for adding signs and other large pieces. You can add a lot or a little when it comes to the accessories, depending on taste and budget. Sadie Jane's owners always say the bigger, the better, but a more classic and sophisticated design is always a great choice, too. For more hands-on instruction or other fun tips, contact Sadie Jane’s to book a wreath-making party or a one-on-one class. IF YOU GO

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Tiffany Bell leads with empathy, compassion By Jennifer Gentile

Three months after the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, a South Carolina woman named Barbara was raped and became pregnant. She favored abortion, an option now legally available to her, but a compassionate advisor changed her mind. “Someone sat down with her and encouraged her to choose adoption,” says Tiffany Bell, Barbara’s daughter and executive director of the Gulfport-based Women’s Resource Center. “If she hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here.” Today, numerous children owe their lives to Bell and her team at the WRC — which serves women, typically ages 16-24, who are grappling with an unplanned pregnancy. Formerly an X-ray technologist and member of the Air National Guard, Bell has empathy for those she helps due to her own life experiences. “I can identify with the child, and I can identify with a woman who has found herself in crisis and just needs to talk things through,” says the executive director, who has led the WRC since 2014. A native of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Bell and her husband, Kenneth, settled on the Gulf Coast after his retirement from the U.S. Air Force. The couple had three children together — Brieyon, 24, Brandon, 16, and Bishop, who was a month old when he died in June of 2006. Seven months later, Bell lost Kenneth in a work-related accident. “I just had a great community of people, mainly through my church, who surrounded me and helped us through the grieving process…,” she says. “They became my family, and with that, they helped coach and mentor my kids.” The outpouring of love and support inspired Bell to show the same compassion to others facing difficult situations. A month after Kenneth’s accident, for76

September 2019

mer Women’s Resource Center director Carrie Tabor spoke at Bell’s church, and Bell was struck by the similarities in their life stories. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, if I have any free time, I’d like to go over there and volunteer,’” she recalls. “At the end of that same year, the hospital I was working at shut down. That was a perfect exit for me to leave the hospital, to leave that part of my career….” After becoming a single parent, Bell transitioned into small business consulting, which allowed her more flexibility in her schedule to accommodate her family. As she learned about networking and how to run events, she found that she enjoyed management and connecting with people. Bell put those skills, along with her knowledge of ultrasound technology, to work as a WRC volunteer, and three years later, she was invited to come on staff. Now as executive director, Bell delights in helping change — and save — lives. “I feel like we all fall into a pit at some point,” she says. “No matter how you land in the pit, as humans, we are created to get up; we are created for each other, so my goal in life is to get into the pit with you and help pull you out.” To that end, the WRC offers counseling, referral to resources and much more — all designed to uphold the sanctity of life while safeguarding each woman’s spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well-being. “First, we’re going to provide a free, confidential pregnancy test,” Bell says. “(Then), we’re going to go over all the options. We don’t refer for abortions, but we educate on what to expect and the possible long-term effects.” The WRC also offers post-abortive support classes, she adds, to help women who made that decision find hope and healing. Women who choose adoption are connected with an adoption agency that will walk them through the process.

Tiffany D. Bell, executive director, Women's Resource Center

Those who enroll in WRC’s Earn While You Learn program participate in weekly classes, earning “mommy money” they can spend on diapers, wipes, clothing and other essentials at an onsite baby boutique. Pregnant students start with a prenatal class and transition into parenting classes after the baby is born. “We’re able to form a long-term relationship with (each woman),” Bell says, “and in forming that relationship, we’re able to mentor her on a level that we hope would encourage her so she’s able to make better, more positive life decisions.” For others affected by an unplanned pregnancy, the center offers services for parents and partners to help them cope and coach them as they support the mother-to-be. Of those who come to the WRC contemplating abortion, Bell estimates that seven out of 10 ultimately choose life. Regardless of a woman’s decisions before or after pregnancy, Bell says she can find unconditional love at the center. “However I can aid an individual within my means, I want to do that,” Bell says. “I want to leave this earth knowing I made a difference.”


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Make your own headboard

Some reclaimed wood, a few simple tools and a little sweat equity equals a clever, one-of-a-kind project By Holly Lemoine-Raymond |

Several years ago, I bought a tiny house. Our master bedroom was actually a loft with very little room for a traditional bedroom set. Knowing that a headboard would not fit in this space, I gave it some thought and knew I had two choices: I could go without a headboard, or I could make one. (I bet you already know which option I chose!) Let’s get started on building a headboard out of recycled wood. WHAT YOU'LL NEED: • Tape measure • Skill saw • Wood pencil • Drill or nail gun • Speed square • Safety glasses • Wood (enough to cut and fill the wall space behind the bed) The type of wood you use is up to you. Any hardware store will have various sizes, colors, textures, etc., but I chose old fence boards. I like the unique “weathered” appearance the boards provide. Use your imagination to create the style you like best.

STEP 3: Using either a drill or a nail gun, apply the boards to the wall. I used three fence boards based on the amount of space available.

STEP 1: Measure the bed and wall space you will be covering. Consider whether you want your headboard to be wider than your bed or the same width. I left about an inch on each side beyond the width of my bed. STEP 2: Measure and cut your wood. Remember to measure twice and cut once! I usually like to stagger my pieces, but this time, I left the fence boards all the same length (about 4 feet long). Each board had its own imperfections, which I love because we, too, have our imperfections. 78

September 2019

There you have it! It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3! The most difficult part for me was getting the measurements correct. Now that you’ve followed along, you’ll have a unique focal point for your room.





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Managing your family’s schedule After a summer of late nights, lax routines and counting By Jennifer Ratcliffe swimming as a bath, making a plan to manage the chaos that comes with the school year can be more than a bit overwhelming. How do you balance it all when you want to spend more time with your family but have kids and parents going in all directions? After coming to terms with the fact that Super Woman is indeed dead (tip: You really can’t do it all) here are some ways I’ve found to rock my role as our family’s chaos coordinator. SETTING PRIORITIES Setting priorities for activities and schedules is one of the most fundamental ways to strike a balance within a family unit. Think about the main goals for your family as a whole, as well as goals for each individual child. In our family, we sit down at the end of each school year and evaluate what went well and what didn’t (and boy, have we had some things that have bombed!). We talk about how the past year’s activities have added to, or taken away from, personal goals and our overall goals as a family. In doing this, we’ve discovered that a certain child does much better when her activities are clustered and she has more free time during the week. Another child does better in having smaller blocks of time scheduled for activities daily. Yet another child does better, and is much happier, with fewer activities overall. 80

September 2019

THE FAMILY CALENDAR In our family, we have landed on a whiteboard calendar system in a central location and an individual paper planner (with pockets in the back for all those forms that come home) for me. The whiteboard calendar gives each family member a broad, at-aglance overview of the current month, while my individual calendar provides more details and has color coding for each family member. A calendar with an overview can be a vital tool for planning as you begin to fill in what a weekly schedule looks like in the prioritization phase. This resource becomes key for us as we begin to piece together how things like a daily practice for one child looks like layered with the demands and expectations of working parents and activities of other siblings. CHORES AND EXPECTATIONS The bane of almost every mother’s existence is the dreaded chore chart. They are notoriously hard to maintain and enforce, not to mention just plain hard to deal with. In our home, daily expectations are assumptions that the items listed are the child’s responsibility for that particular day. If the expectations aren’t completed at the end of the day, consequences will happen. If the child blames their schedule, practices, homework or daily load as the reason the expectations were not met, and this happens on a consistent basis, we go back to individual and family priorities and make adjustments as necessary.

This has been the most effective system of enforcing chores and their prioritization in the midst of busy after-school activities and schedules we’ve implemented. PROTECTING FREE TIME Set aside time for kids to have the opportunity to be unscheduled, explore their world and have the space to discover their own passions and talents. It’s okay for our children to be bored sometimes, and heavy scheduling of their free time can cause many missed opportunities for exercise of their imagination and internal problem solving. When reviewing your children’s schedule for the upcoming year, make sure there is space on that whiteboard or calendar for them to be able to have simple free time. This is vitally important, even into the teen years, to decrease their stress levels and help them develop crucial social skills. Managing the mayhem in your home may seem more than daunting, but with these tips in your toolbox, you can say goodbye to disorganization and over-scheduling this school year. You have permission to revel in your new role as a chaos coordinator and enjoy the ride with your beautiful, unique family. Jennifer Ratcliffe is an eighth-generation Mississippian, mother of three, wife to a military pilot and a local blogger who contributes to Gulf Coast Moms Blog.

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5 benefits of giving your kids chores By Raymond J. Huntington Most children have a lot to fit into each day: school, homework, sports, other activities and dinner. If you’ve resisted giving your child additional work around the house, you might reconsider. Chores are proven to help children build skills that are valuable in school. Need more convincing? Here are five benefits of giving your child chores: THEY HELP TEACH RESPONSIBILITY Chores give children a job outside of school and homework — and yes, that’s important. Children who complete chores are being held accountable for their contributions to maintaining the household. This helps them develop self-sufficiency and a sense of accountability, which leads to greater confidence. CHILDREN BECOME BETTER AT TIME MANAGEMENT As they grow older, it’s expected that children will be able to manage an increasing level of responsibility in school. Not only must they keep track of multiple classes with different expectations, they need to become independent outside of school as well to mature into capable young adults. Chores help by teaching children to get their “havetos” finished before they enjoy free time. THEY FOSTER A GOOD WORK ETHIC As the saying goes, nothing good in life comes easy. As teachers do in school, parents should stress the relationship between their children’s hard work—household chores—and positive results—a clean, orderly home and minimized stress for the family. Encouraging children to pitch in at home increases their feelings of self-worth and satisfaction that come with completing tasks. ROUTINES PROMOTE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR Without question, children who embrace routines are more organized, efficient and successful. Chores serve as a model for structure, and structure teaches students to take September 2019 82

pride in their work, be more responsible and set and work toward goals. THEY PROMOTE ORGANIZATION What child couldn’t use a little help with organization? It’s helpful to busy parents to have their children lighten the burden of household duties, and an added benefit is that certain chores emphasize the importance of good organization. Learning how to maintain a tidy household easily can translate into the building of essential skills like keeping track of assignments, having a place for everything and managing multi-step assignments. The next time you think it’s easier to do something yourself, or that your child shouldn’t be bothered with tasks like laundry and cleaning dishes, remember that chores are good for your child. Research corroborates this fact; a 20-year study by the University of Minnesota found that doing chores at an early age is the best predictor for growing up into a young adult with a completed education, a career with a clear direction and healthy personal relationships. On top of this, chores teach indispensable life skills. So, invest in your child’s well-being and give your child the chance to develop his or her self-efficacy, prioritization skills and diligence. Huntington is co-founder and chairman of Huntington Learning Center. Reach the Gulfport Huntington location at 8950 Lorraine Road, Unit E. Call (228) 832-1226 or center/gulfport to learn more.

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Don’t postpone budgeting for By Jennifer Gentile

the holidays

The holiday season is filled with happiness and cheer — but also financial stress. It happens to many of us each year; we fail to prepare and get caught in a spending storm. The cost of presents, parties, decorations and travel adds up — so you need a plan. If you don’t have a strategy to get through the festive period in the black, it’s not too late. Here’s some ways to control the chaos:

MAKE A LIST — AND CHECK IT TWICE Even if you have to adjust as you go along, budgeting for holiday expenses is crucial. You may have a rough idea what you spend on certain line items, but listing them in black and white will give you the full picture. Write out your expenses on paper, or track them with a digital spreadsheet. Organize your costs by type, and after you’ve determined how much you can comfortably afford, decide a limit for all spending — leaving room for incidentals and unforeseen costs. SET A CAP FOR EVERY CATEGORY Now that you have a budget bottom line, assign amounts to different categories: gifts, charitable giving, etc. Commit to working within your limits, which probably means some purchases don’t make the cut. A cash-only system can be helpful to avoid overspending.

DECIDE WHO GETS WHAT When it comes to presents, it’s wise to make a separate list of who you’re buying for and how much you plan to spend on each person. Don’t be influenced by others who have a different financial picture, and resist the urge to give everyone you know a costly gift. Many people in your life will prefer a thoughtful gesture or something homemade. In fact, one survey found that 69 percent of Americans would skip exchanging gifts if their family and friends agreed to it. HUNT FOR BARGAINS If you find yourself struggling to stay below your caps, it’s time to get creative — and take advantage of sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are popular days to score discounts, but savvy shoppers are always looking for deals. Keep an eye out for coupons, free shipping and other perks — and embrace the challenge of finding the perfect gifts below a certain price point. DON’T DELAY The more you spread out your holiday spending, the easier it will be to absorb the blow — and the less you’ll have to contend with crowds and other hassles. If you start shopping early, like a reported 40 percent of consumers who begin before Halloween, you’ll be rewarded with peace of mind. Plus, with less pressure to make quick purchases, you’ll probably end up with more money in your pocket. DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY Remember, it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Make sure you’re focusing on what’s really important — making memories with the people you love.


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Laura Bunner: Flexibility is restaurateur’s greatest asset

When I moved from Atlanta to Belize in 1994 with my two daughters, I thought we would give our new adventure two years. However, in that time, I started a restaurant called The Wet Lizard. Locals and cruise ship passengers received us so well that time flew by, and before I knew it, we were there 20 wonderful years. I met my second husband, who serves in the U.S. Army special forces, in Belize, and we wanted to expand our business. We moved to Nassau in the Bahamas, and after 25 years in the Caribbean, we decided it was time to return to the U.S. My husband being familiar with the Gulf Coast, we chose to call this area home. In the Caribbean, most of our customers were cruise ship passengers and long-stay tourists. This dynamic made it easier to open the Lazy Gator in Diamondhead this summer, where we have wonderful local clientele and tourists enjoying their time on the Coast. We have liked the market research process and discovering new bands and local cuisine. Not being from the area, we always try to keep up with the local trends and popular food styles. In doing so, we have enjoyed a variety of new places and met some amazing people. We are having fun changing up some traditional items and seeing our customers embrace the change. A businesswoman’s greatest asset is being flexible. In the Caribbean, I had to be flexible and creative because everything was not readily available. Plus, there was the difficulty of adapting to new cultures and learning new

ways of doing business. I am not one to shy away from a challenge, and I always tell myself that I never want to grow up and say, “what if?” Many people have dreams but ask, “What if I do it, and it doesn’t work?” Believe in yourself and your ideas, have a good, strong work ethic, and you can make it work. Being flexible helps you change around your ideas and concepts. If something doesn’t seem to be working, step back, re-evaluate and change it. Don’t be set in stone with your initial ideas. I also have learned as an entrepreneur, you should surround yourself with a great support system and include staff in your success. Delegate to them, make them feel like part of the team and insist that you treat each other with respect. It is wonderful being on the Gulf Coast and having the opportunity to bring Caribbean flavors to Diamondhead. This is our third restaurant, and I hope soon we’ll be working on our second in the local area. Laura Bunner is co-owner of the Lazy Gator Sports Bar and Steamer, located at 3410 Yacht Club Circle, Diamondhead. Contact her at (228) 222-4645.

The Lazy Gator team




Artist Regina Nedas shares secrets of healthy living By Jennifer Gentile Life has taught Regina Nedas that big risks yield big rewards — and if you want to make a name for yourself, don’t take shortcuts. “You have to work many hours, even when everyone is sleeping,” says the Lithuania native, who now lives in Ocean Springs. “For best results in the long run, you should do everything right; always try to be in the first place.” Nedas has gained a wealth of wisdom through experience: Finish what you start. Be punctual. Keep your word. Take care of yourself. And perhaps most importantly — “It is never too late to create a new start.” A creative from a young age, Nedas became attached to various artist groups in middle school and participated in numerous exhibits. She graduated from a Lithuanian university in 1985, where she studied agricultural science, and went on to receive a master’s from Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Russia. While teaching at September 2019 88

an agricultural college, she continued to express herself through art. “During this time, I participated in regional and national exhibits,” Nedas says. “In 1990, my flower arrangenment received the highest award. In 1992, I was invited to attend a Russian Achievement Exhibition in Moscow, where I also received an award for my painting.” Nedas’ creative bent has flourished since her arrival in the United States, where she decided to refine her techniques. Today, she is an established artist and author who has participated in exhibits in Chicago; Paducah, Kentucky; and Ocean Springs, where she’s lived for 15 years. At Paducah’s Yeiser Art Center, she won first place for a painting called “Glorious” among more than 60 entries. Her work is mainly in mixed media on canvas, but Nedas also has made décor and ceiling lamps and done paintings on furniture. Nine months before Hurricane Katrina, she bought a Japanese-style house in Ocean Springs, and after the storm destroyed it, Nedas says rebuilding took four years. “(The) new house is a modern house with (a) European accent,” she says, noting that she is behind the design. In March, her home was chosen to be featured in the annual Spring Pilgrimage, a tour of coastal homes and gardens. Also this spring, Nedas released her first book, "The Therapy of Natural Living," which was edited by Gulfport-based Dr. Philip Levin and available on Amazon. “Over the years, I have studied folk medicine literature, collecting recommendations from around the world about healthy lifestyles, ethnic medicine and natural curative techniques …,” she says. “From each area, I interviewed natives and studied old texts to acquire information about medicinal herbal treatments, much of (it) unique and ancient.” The book, she adds, details how to improve health and increase vitality naturally. It contains sections devoted to honey, spices, berries, vegetables, trees, nuts, dairy, natural

oils and folk medicine — along with advice about longevity, beauty tips and information about safe alternatives to dangerous chemicals in the home. The main reason for writing the book, says the married mother of three sons, was to help kids and adults understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. “Obesity increases (the) risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, decreased immune system and (high) cholesterol levels,” Nedas says. “Good nutrition, combined with physical activity, can help (you) reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic diseases and promote your health.” Although "The Therapy of Natural Living" was published mere months ago, Nedas already has plans for her next project. This time, she intends to write about herself, her experiences living in her old country and her life in Mississippi. “I am always looking to achieve new goals; I constantly look to learn new things,” she says. “I set my standards high for myself and always strive to live up to them.”

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The Hancock Chamber Business Women’s Leadership Roundtable was founded in 2006 to offer professional women in Hancock County opportunities for networking and professional development. Under the direction of the Hancock Chamber, the group hosts quarterly meetings providing both personal enrichment and ideas for business development. All women in business are welcome, including newcomers.

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Members of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce named Nikki Moon Citizen of the Year during the 42nd annual Salute to Business & Industry Awards Gala, held Aug. 8 at Hollywood Casino - Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis. Moon owns the Bay Town Inn, a 12-room inn in Old Town Bay St. Louis. She serves as Hancock Chamber board president and president of the Coastal Mississippi Board of Commissioners. “I am beyond thrilled,” Moon said. “I was so surprised and humbled that my fellow chamber members chose me for this award. It truly means the world to me.” Others recognized during the ceremony included the businesses of the year and outstanding citizens, which were as follows: Businesses of the Year: Bay St. Louis, The Creole Creamery On the Bay/PJ’s Coffee On the Bay; Diamondhead, Tiki Delivery; Waveland, Pearl River Community College Hancock Center; Kiln/Hancock County, The Broke Spoke Outstanding Citizens: Chris Cochran, Jason Edwards, Da-

vid Hilbert, Alan Hodges, Ann Madden, Nikki Moon, Tami Munsch, Sarge Washington and Karen West.


The director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Hancock County, a local program that works with children who have experienced abuse or neglect, has been named the program director of the year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Cynthia Chauvin is one of nearly 900 local program directors nationwide. The award was created to recognize the exceptional work program directors do every day and honors those who have taken significant actions to establish or expand a CASA/ GAL program. Chauvin, who joined CASA of Hancock County five years ago, has expanded program revenue by over 400 percent and achieved the goal of serving all children in foster care in the county. “Cynthia is a model for other program directors,” says Amy Wilson, state director, CASA Mississippi. “As she has achieved remarkable programmatic growth, she has maintained focus on ensuring that the services her program provides are high-quality and will measurably improve the lives of vulnerable children.”

Youth leadership programs soon to accept nominations HANCOCK YOUTH LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

The Hancock Leadership Academy will begin accepting applications on Oct. 1, and an application workshop is set for Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Hancock Resource Center. The academy, which the HRC launched in 2012, features a high school and junior high school program. The program, which is open to eighth-graders, will help participants recognize their abilities and stress the importance of being successful and independent. Four workshops are planned throughout the spring semester, with a retreat and graduation in May. The cost is $100 per student, and scholarships may be available for eligible applicants. The high school program emphasizes college readiness, appreciation of community assets and developing leadership potential, the website states, and it targets 11th-graders from from all Hancock County schools and their home-schooled peers. The program includes 10 leadership training sessions, focused on topics like civic engagement; career planning and budgeting; economic development and entrepreneurship and college planning. The cost is $250, and applicants can request scholarships through their schools. Application packets will be available online, but they must be submitted directly to the HYLA. The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, and members of the business community are 90

September 2019

invited to help with interviews on Nov. 12 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Contact Paige Lundgren at to participate, and visit to learn more.


Ninth-graders who live or attend school in the city of Biloxi are eligible to participate in the Junior Leadership Biloxi Program, which starts in January and lasts for a month. “The purpose of the Junior Leadership Biloxi program is to produce students of outstanding character who are more sensitive to the needs of the community and are better able to contribute to society,” explains Biloxi Chamber of Commerce Director Rachael Seymour. She adds that the participants will attend afterschool sessions on manners and etiquette, military awareness, medical, business in Biloxi, cultural diversity, preparing for success and city government. Applications will be released by the beginning of November, according to Seymour, and an anonymous selection committee will choose the participants. A copy of the student’s first-term report card must be included with the application, and participants must commit to attending all sessions. Visit http://biloxi. org/education to learn more.


By Rea Lenz

10 THINGS TO KNOW coming to the hospital


Hospital stays typically are difficult times for patients and their families. Here are some ways to prevent problems and ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible: KNOW YOUR MEDICATIONS Sometimes your trip to the hospital may be an unplanned, emergency situation. For that reason, keep your medication list on you at all times. You can download a health app to most cellphones that allows you to list your medications, including dosage and frequency. KNOW YOUR HEALTH HISTORY This is important for providers to know how to care for patients. Keep a list of your current health problems and previous surgeries on hand, including the approximate dates and locations. This will allow us to get records from other doctors or facilities to assist with your current needs. MAKE A FAMILY/ FRIENDS CONTACT LIST When you’re in the hospital, especially in an emergency, we need to know how to reach your family. One easy thing to do is to save contacts in your phone according to their relationship with you rather than their name. In other words, save your spouse’s number under “wife” or “husband,” or your relatives as “father” or “mother, “etc. Health care professionals can use this information to contact your loved ones if you are unresponsive.

BRING A COPY OF YOUR LEGAL DOCUMENTS While many people don’t like to discuss end-of-life decisions, it’s vital that your loved ones and health care providers understand your wishes if you are critically ill. Bring the hospital a copy of your power of attorney and advance directive or “living will.” If you don’t have these, we can provide you with forms to fill out, but these documents require witnesses and/or notaries to become valid, so they can’t be done in the hospital. Complete them beforehand. ASK YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS QUESTIONS UNTIL YOU COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND YOUR CONDITION Make lists of questions, and make sure your doctors and nurses answer them all. Some health care providers are better than others at turning medical jargon into information ordinary people can understand. Be patient if they tell you they are waiting on tests, but never leave the hospital without answers to all of your questions. FOLLOW PRE-OP INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCHEDULED PROCEDURES When you’re coming in for a scheduled procedure, your doctor and a

pre-op nurse will provide instructions you should follow explicitly in order to have a successful surgery. These instructions are essential to helping prevent complications. Pay attention to the items you should refrain from, such as hair products and makeups, because they can reduce the efficacy of surgical soaps and leave you more likely to develop an infection. ASK FOR HELP IN THE HOSPITAL When you are in the hospital, ask for help often. While normally, you can get up to use the bathroom without assistance, you typically are weak, sick or recovering in the hospital. Also, you will have IV lines, pumps and other obstructions that make a slip or trip more likely. Don’t fall and make yourself worse. We are counting on you to ask us for help. We also will make frequent rounds to ask if you need anything; use those opportunities. ASK FOR HELP BEFORE YOU LEAVE If you will need help once you get home, tell us that early, too. We often can assist getting home health set up, scheduling follow-up appointments or arranging for someone to step in when you are discharged. Discharge planning is important to your recovery and healing. Be sure to follow up with your provider as directed. Rea Lenz, RN, JD, CPPS, is the patient safety director at Garden Park Medical Center. She served as an emergency room nurse for 11 years and also is a member of The Mississippi Bar.


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MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. “I found my breast cancer through selfexam. I pursued medical guidance and eventually had a biopsy at Garden Park which confirmed my greatest fear. Then, I had two major surgeries— a double mastectomy and then reconstruction. The medical staff and the providers were used to comforting patients through their transition. They were with me in good times and bad. Garden Park is a smaller facility, which was an advantage because I felt like I was on top of their list, received personalized care, and the team made me feel like I was a high priority.”

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Re'Sheka Johnson's STORY

an unhealthy state to doubting if I would needed to. I signed up with Fitlife Studio BEFORE MY TRANSFORMATION Co-Owner Rebeca Barker for personal I was 330 pounds. I’ve never been some- make it to the end. I wanted to burst into tears because I was unable to perform on training and a new level of accountone who indulged in large amounts of the level of those around me. I began to get ability. I met with her twice a week for food. The problem was I limited my body’s discouraged and subconsciously tell myself personal training and attended two fuel to snacks, especially Little Debbie I couldn’t do it. Joe Barker, owner of Fitlife bootcamp classes twice a week. One of cakes. I would eat a box of zebra cakes Studio, noticed I was struggling, the personal training requirements was in one day. You can imagine so he kneeled down and got in a to report all meals and water intake. the amount of weight I gained position to not only encourage In the beginning, I was not mentally over the years by eating poorly me, but to do the exercises with prepared for the time commitment and having little to no exercise me. I was very appreciative of his meal prepping would add to my already regimen. Still, I was satisfied kindness because my mind kept chaotic schedule. with devouring on-the-go, fatty failing me over and over. To make life easier, I ordered healthy meals and snacks as I went full Before I knew it, I had comand flavorful meals from Rall’s Fitness and speed ahead each day managing Wellness. The meals simplified my motherhood, a career and the life and provided the nutritious many hats I wear. balance I needed. I decided if this A couple of years ago, I fitness journey was going to be noticed that I shied away from a lifestyle change, I would need taking pictures of myself or to make provisions and take full with my children. I’ve always BEFORE ownership to effect the change I been pretty confident and wanted to see. possessed high self-esteem One night, I tossed and turned regardless of my weight, but desperately, asking God to quiet somewhere along the road, I my mind so I could get some developed some underlying sleep. That didn’t work. Frusinsecurities about myself and trated, I sat at the foot of my my appearance. I realized I bed, looked up and told God he not only was missing out on had my full attention. Minutes some of the most memorable went by, and still no instruction, moments with my children, AFTER Photo by Elite Images direction or explanation as to why but also punishing myself over I was up. something I had full control pleted the one-hour workout. I remember I grabbed a notebook intending to over. sitting in my car outside of the gym minIn March, I started school and rememutes later thinking about the reason I start- doodle, something I’ve done since grade school. Then I noticed I’d written the ber writing in my prayer journal that when ed, the vow I made and the work required I finished, I would start my fitness journey. to stay on course. Before I left, my goal was word “vegan” over 20 times. I began to write a grocery list, which did not include Abruptly, I tore the page out and started to show up the next day no matter how I items my household was used to. The list a new prayer. I asked God for strength as felt. A month went by, and I crushed my contained a variety of fruits and vegetables I started school and my fitness journey. daily goal — losing 7 pounds. I set a new and three cases of water. Let’s just say God The next day, I registered at Fitlife Studio, goal to get out of the 300-pound club. As has a funny way of revealing things to you. and God has not failed me yet. I’ve started you can see, I crushed that goal too. I’ve been vegan ever since. I also joined a taking pictures again, and I’m loving the My overall goal is to remain consistent transformation challenge. I’m surrounded start of a beautiful transformation. with daily exercise and clean eating and by daily motivation and inspiration to be MY GOAL inspire others to do the same. I also would fit and fierce. My aim is to transform the On the first day of Fitlife Studio Beauties love to run 5K in under 45 minutes, along and Beasts Fitness Camp, we huddled in with looking and feeling fabulous in every- mind, and the body will follow.  prayer and made a commitment to not thing I wear.  HOW IT WORKED quit. The workout hadn’t begun, so I had Becoming vegan has been inexpensive no idea of the high-intensity training I was WHAT I DID and greatly rewarding. I lost 14 pounds about to endure. During the workout, I After two months of boot camp, I hadn’t in the first two weeks. Thank you, Lord! I was overwhelmed with so many emotions, adjusted my eating habits as much as I meal prepped each week. I bought grocerfrom beating myself up for being in such September 2019 98

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ies for both work and home. I had no excuse why I couldn’t eat healthy. I ate a nutritious breakfast. I started blending my own smoothies to control sugar intake. I would consume two smoothies a day containing kale, spinach, ginger, carrots, celery, lemon juice and ViShape protein powder. Throughout the day, I would eat mixed vegetables like peppers, squash and zucchini. I was eating to live, no longer for taste, but I came to like the taste and adjust to the new normal. The weight continued to fall off, and my mind grew stronger. A combination of clean eating, personal training and an awesome support system has ensured the success of my weight-loss journey. I lost 36 pounds in four months. MOST DIFFICULT PART? The most difficult part was not letting life deter me from my goals. The workouts are hard, but with time, you become stronger. Life itself has been the toughest challenge for me because being a single mother of two small children, I have to arrange for someone to care for

them while I’m working out. Sometimes I feel that in trying to reach my goals, I’m being a burden to others by asking for their help with my children. I always try to express my gratitude as much as possible. I’m very thankful for my family and friends. If you’re reading this, please know I love you. Thank you for being supportive and not allowing me to give up. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It takes a village. HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF TODAY Today, I feel lighter. The weight of my body feels lighter. The weight of worry feels lighter. The weight of insecurity, lack of forgiveness and depression feels lighter. Throughout this process, I’ve realized I don’t have to carry it all. I feel rich in spirit. I’m happier within and very proud of myself. It’s hard to lose weight, but even harder to keep it off. I’m pleased with the results, new relationships and new opportunities resulting from this lifestyle. I feel unapologetically empowered to inspire anyone dealing with self-doubt, brokenness or

whatever is holding them back from starting today. I feel amazingly amazing; so can you! MY ADVICE TO OTHERS Start your weight-loss journey in your own time, but don’t continue waiting on Monday, the first of the month or the first of the year. I followed many success stories for years before I decided to go for it. You’ve got this, so get up and start moving. In the words of my amazing personal trainer: “If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.” Those words were the start of some of my greatest workout sessions. I have no desire whatsoever to be ordinary. It just does not work for me. Surround yourself with people on the same journey as you and/or those who respect and encourage you to remain steadfast in yours. My dearest friend lives in another state, and we exchange photos of our meals and workouts daily to keep each other motivated. Find your accountability partner. Whatever you do, do not give up on you. Health is wealth.

Dr. Crews and her team are dedicated to providing you the best dental care.




September 2019

Karen Crews, D.M.D., General Dentist Professor Emeritus University of Mississippi with over 25 years experience

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By Dr. Jonathan D. Brown

and Saturdays down South

Soon cries of “hotty toddy” and clangs of cowbells will fill the air — football season is upon us. High school athletes across the state will aim for perfection on Friday nights, and fathers will join their young sons in the backyard for flag football games on Sundays after church. Inevitably, orthopaedic injuries will occur. Strains and sprains are the most common, affecting professional, collegiate and recreational athletes alike. I’m commonly asked to explain the difference between strains and sprains when I’m treating patients. Strain is a term that describes sudden, activity-related muscle injury. The term also is used to describe damage to tendons — the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Muscles and tendons may sustain injury when stretched or get torn while generating force. Imagine losing a tug-of-war match in which your arms are stretched while you’re trying to hold your ground. Tissues are injured in a matter of milliseconds during athletic activity; the shoulders, hamstrings, neck and lower back are the usual sites. Sprains, however, refer to stretching or tearing a ligament. Ligaments are connective tissues that hold our bones together. Most people are familiar with the anterior cruciate ligament, or “ACL.” In fact, there are hundreds of ligaments throughout our bodies, and each may be stretched, wrenched or torn during activity. Common sites of ligament injury include the ankle and knee. Symptoms of strains and sprains include immediate pain, swelling, soreness and possibly the inability to move the injured limb. Severe bruising, stiffness and spasm may 102

September 2019

occur. Many factors, including poor flexibility, fatigue and not warming up prior to activity, can increase your risk for a muscular or tendinous strain or ligament sprain. Treatment can start as soon as the injury occurs. Elevate the traumatized body part above the level of the heart if possible. Apply ice after protecting the skin and administer over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, Aleve, or Aspirin according to the manufacturer’s directions. In rare cases, professional or collegiate athletes may be treated provisionally and return to the game. I recommend ending athletic activity for recreational athletes when the injury happens to prevent further damage and allow the healing process to begin. Most strains and sprains can be treated without surgery. Elevated pain, inability to put weight on the extremity and hearing a “pop” suggest a significant injury, and you should seek professional medical advice. During my career, I have treated professional and collegiate athletes, and the initial treatment is the same. Rest, ice, elevation and anti-inflammatories are standard. Remember this treatment strategy the next time your athlete is injured. Of course, if you have any concern about the degree of trauma, consult your orthopaedic doctor. Brown, a Mississippi native, joined Bienville Orthopaedics in August of 2017. A member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, his clinical interests include arthroscopic rotator cuff and labral repair, shoulder replacement, elbow arthroscopy, ACL reconstruction and cartilage preservation of the knee. For more information about the practice and Dr. Brown, visit

Changing the way health care is delivered on the Coast • X-rays • Labs • IV Fluids/Medications • Fracture Care • Laceration Repair • Urinary/Feeding Catheter Problems

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Walk in or save your spot by scheduling online at 921 Cedar Lake Road, Suite E., Biloxi, MS 39532


Open 7 days a week, 8am - 8pm


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September 2019


By Deborah Meza

Mastering skin care basics

Remember that your skin is unique; what works for your friends and family may not work for you. Be open to new products for every season of the year and every season of your life. Skin enhancement and repair takes time and consistency, so be patient. Basic skin care is so important and, if its done regularly and properly, beautiful, healthy skin will result. How do you begin?

Finding a skin care regimen that can become a daily routine may seem like an ongoing journey

overall skin health. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) products are preferred for sun-damaged, dry and aging skin. BHA (beta hydroxy acid) products are oil-loving and preferred for acne-prone skin. BHAs are anti-inflammatory and have antibacterial properties. On days you exfoliate, follow these steps: cleanse, exfoliate, tone.

STEP 1: CLEANSE THE SKIN Cleansing removes sweat, oil, dirt and pollutants that collect on the surface. You should be cleansing every morning and before you retire for bed. Steer clear of harsh, body bar soaps on facial skin. Facial cleansers are available and should be chosen based on skin type. STEP 2: TONE I can not stress enough how important toner is for your skin. It adjusts the pH level and prepares the skin to absorb moisturizers, serums and other products properly. Avoid harsh alcohol or citrus-based toner, as they can irritate your skin. Consultation with an experienced skin care expert can guide you on all products, including toner. STEP 3: EXFOLIATE Your skin is shedding millions of cells every day. Exfoliating removes dead cells that have accumulated. Most dermatologists agree you should exfoliate one to three times each week. Both chemical and granule exfoliators can be effective, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHAs and BHAs often are more effective in getting deep into the pores to remove buildup. Exfoliation will help skin look younger, promote blood flow and collagen production and improve 106

September 2019

STEP 4: SERUMS, EYE CREAMS AND MOISTURIZERS Traditional skincare products focus on the visible signs of unhealthy skin without addressing the underlying causes at a cellular level. Medical lines, however go deeper to obtain the collagen stimulation your skin needs to rejuvenate. Topical vitamin C is good to protect, brighten and stimulate collagen. Eye creams depend on your need to brighten, firm or address puffiness. Many have a mild retinol to address fine lines without irritation. Moisturizers should be based on skin type so they properly hydrate without

causing the skin to overproduce oil. I highly recommend consulting with a skin professional to help with the choice of proper products needed to meet your goals. STEP 5: PROPER SPF SUN PROTECTION Sunscreen with a minimum protection factor of SPF 30 is recommended in most skin care lines. I have seen skin of all types maintain clarity and reduce sun damage after SPF 50 was incorporated into a daily routine. Formulas are available to match all skin types and tones. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen for the best protection. Sunscreen costs pennies per day and is the number-one anti-aging product that can benefit everyone. Remember to apply SPF protection to your lips, eyelids, ears, neck and décolletage prior to applying foundation makeup. Apply full-body sunscreen 20 minutes (or as directed) prior to spending time outside. On the days you wear makeup and are not able to reapply as directed, mineral powder sunscreens are available — just brush and go! Also invest in a great broad-brim hat and sunglasses for you and the children. A daily a.m. and p.m. skin routine is so important and easily followed with the right products tailored to YOU. A skin care professional, aesthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon will be happy to consult with you and help you reach your skin care goals. Above all, consistency is the key to progressing toward naturally beautiful skin. Meza is a licensed aesthetician, as well as a massage therapist, medical skin care and laser technician and Ideal Protein coach with the Woman’s Clinic P.A. in Gulfport. Reach her at (228) 341-7879.


Encompass Health Getting the right level of rehabilitative care is important for a successful recovery. Our advanced technologies and specialized clinical experts provide better care for superior results. Most importantly, Encompass Health accepts most forms of insurance when you qualify for care. Know the difference between your options and choose Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital, a partner of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. Learn more at

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Jess H. Mullens, md Jess H. Mullens, md FOOT & ANKLE SPECIALIST FOOT & ANKLE SPECIALIST • Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle • • • • •

Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Arthritis • Forefoot Disorders Arthritis • Forefoot •Disorders Ankle Arthroscopy Sports Medicine Ankle • Sports SportsArthroscopy Ligament and TendonMedicine Repair Sports Ligament and Tendon Repair Ankle Reconstruction and Replacement Ankle Reconstruction and Replacement

To schedule your appointment, call 228-230-BONE (2663) To visit schedule your appointment, call to 228-230-BONE or learn about all our (2663) services. or visit to learn about all our services.

CELEBRATING A MEMORY — LIVING A DREAM Founding Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry was a dream and goal for Kinyatta Bennett and her husband. They both worked tirelessly to achieve it. With the untimely passing of Dr. Christopher Bennett in November 2014, Dr. Kinyatta Bennett continued to devote many hours toward achieving the dream that she and her husband shared. Through labors of love and hard work, Dr. Bennett opened Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry, dedicated to the memory of Dr. Christopher Bennett, DMD, in Gulfport, an area where Dr. Bennett has been practicing for 7 years. Dr. Bennett is a member of the National Dental Association, American Dental Association, Mississippi Dental Society and Mississippi Dental Association and is known for tending to her patients in a caring and compassionate manner and with a gentle touch.


Kinyatta Bennett, D.M.D. General Dentist

Most Insurances Accepted • New Patients Welcome

Please call to schedule your appointment today: (228) 832-1000 13179 Three Rivers Road | Gulfport, MS 39503 Services offered include: Tooth Color Bonded Restorations, Crowns, Bridges, Amalgam Restorations, Dentures, Partials, Teeth Whitening, Extractions and more


September 2019

Michael J. Christie, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Therapeutic Massage Center of D’Iberville Presents BOARD CERTIFIED OB/GYN Now Offers New Revolutionary


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of this practice to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity to bond with your baby before it is born. (You continue to see your regular OB/GYN after your 4-D Ultrasound).

Michael J. Christie, M.D.

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Ocean Springs: 228-818-0025

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Michael J. Christie, M.D. Board Certified, OB/GYN

Biloxi Office: 228-374-3749

147 Reynoir St., Suite 307 (across from Biloxi Regional Medical Center)

228-539-5858 15190 Community Road, Suite 350 • Gulfport



Field’s Steak & Oyster Bar impresses from start to finish

By Chris Dearman With outstanding cuisine and terrific ambiance, Field’s Steak & Oyster Bar is the ideal venue to enjoy steaks, seafood and one-of-a-kind specialties — whether you’re spending an intimate evening with someone special or celebrating with a group of friends. Opening in April in a historic building in Bay St. Louis, Field’s is owner and executive chef Field Nicaud’s first restaurant. Having spent the last two years in New York studying at the Institute of Culinary Education and working in multiple award-winning restaurants, Chef Nicaud brought his culinary skills back to the Coast, and his upscale, yet casual, restaurant is quickly becoming one of the area’s premier dining spots. “Guests should come to Field’s for the experience, to be honest,” says Gavin Lossett, assistant manager. “It’s a wonderful dining experience. Everyone is just raving over how beautiful the dishes come out, and the presentation is a lot different than anywhere else that I’ve seen on the Gulf Coast. “You feel like you’re stepping outside Bay St. Louis when you walk in. The design and everything came together so perfectly.” Field’s menu and ever-changing chalkboard is filled with delightful soups, salads, appetizers and entries. You’ll want to start with an appetizer or two, and with choices like Waygu beef or tuna tartare, seafood nachos, French onion 110

September 2019

soup dumplings and dynamite shrimp, you can’t go wrong. On my visit, I had the street corn oysters. The unique combination of corn, jalapeño butter and chorizo provided big bursts of flavor with every bite. After engaging your palate with a starter, choose from fresh fish specials, pasta, flatbreads or one of the chef ’s hand-picked steaks. Diners have a choice of large or small ribeyes and filets, all 28-day-aged, hand-butchered USDA Prime beef, which are served on butcher boards. Sharable sides like creamed spinach, lobster fries, broccoli au gratin, or crawfish mac and cheese make the perfect complement to the meal. “I cook my meat differently than just throwing it on a grill,” Chef Nicaud says. “I cook it in a skillet with a Wagyu butter that is made in-house. We render off some Wagyu, make a rue, mix it with butter and then pan sear with garlic and thyme — finishing it in the oven at 500 degrees.” I had the perfectly cooked, tender, juicy and mouth-watering ribeye. Topped with the flavorful butter, the high quality was evident. To end my meal, I experienced the joy of sous chef and pastry expert Lauren Joffrion’s mocha panna cotta. Made from scratch, with a smooth, almost cheesecake-like consistency, the dessert made my taste buds dance with delight from the chocolate and coffee flavors. Made with whipped cream cheese infused with amaretto and topped with al-

mond, and served with a homemade pecan baccate dipped in chocolate, the dish was fantastic. Fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Steak & Oyster Bar is open Wednesday through Sunday, and happy hour is every day from 3-6 p.m., featuring $3 house wine and well drinks. Be sure to order an expertly mixed cocktail made by bartender Taylor Davalos to accompany your meal or for a perfect after-dinner drink. Her lady in waiting is a wonderful lavender-and-butterfly-pea-flower-infused lemon drop, and her smoked old fashioned, made with Bulleit bourbon and Bing cherries, served in a glass smoked from a cedar plank, is absolutely delightful.

IF YOU GO Fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Steak & Oyster Bar 111 Main St., Bay Saint Louis (228) 231-1972

Looking for a venue with breathtaking views for your special event?

Your event deserves to be everything you dream of. The Dock has the largest seating capacity on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, breathtaking views, comfortable atmosphere and an elegant setting. From an important corporate function, to a beautiful sunset wedding, The Dock can provide an exceptional experience. We are here to help you plan your event. Tucked away on Gulfport Lake, located just minutes from I-10 and the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, ensuring your guests will make it to your event on time. Host your wedding ceremony or reception against the beautiful backdrop of Gulfport Lake.


Wedding ceremonies, rehearsals, and receptions at The Dock are classic and unforgettable, with customizable options that are sure to fit your style and personality.

13247 Seaway Rd Gulfport, MS 39503

(228) 276-1500

Corporate and Special Events

From fundraisers to anniversaries, birthdays, or reunions, The Dock provides a perfectly spacious venue, with the largest seating capacity on the Gulf Coast.

Recreational Activities

Head on over to Wut Sup Paddleboard Shop in Seaway Marine Center and rent a jet ski or paddleboard. Host your event at The Dock and also have some fun on Gulfport Lake!

Waterfront Views of Gulfport Lake

Join us on the weekends or plan your event at The Dock and enjoy the beautiful view of Gulfport Lake. Launch your boat, rent a jet ski from Wut Sup Paddleboard Shop in Seaway Marine Center, or relax on the deck with a refreshing beverage.


Take a

one-tank trip Need to get away? The Mississippi Gulf Coast is within easy driving distance of these daytrip worthy destinations, so load up the car and hit the road. By Jennifer Gentile BATON ROUGE Combine history and culture with a heaping amount of college spirit, and you get Louisiana’s capital city. “If you’re looking for an authentic Louisiana experience, you don’t want to miss a stop in Baton Rouge,” says Meredith Conger, communications specialist for Visit Baton Rouge. Numerous events and festivals attract visitors year round, including Blues Fest, Oyster Festival and college football tailgating, Conger says. “You certainly don’t want to miss the unforgettable downtown and riverfront views from the top floor of our state capital (the tallest in the United States), a po’boy from Poor Boy Lloyd’s or a tour of our Old State Capitol,” she adds. “Baton Rouge is home to walking tours and great stops along the way, with delicious eats and music venues.” ORANGE BEACH Orange Beach may not be far for Gulf Coast vacationers, but when they arrive, they find a true escape. Marc D. Anderson, the city’s special projects coordinator, says Orange Beach’s main attraction is eight miles of sugar-white sand, which is groomed daily. A family-friendly atmosphere means there’s plenty of activities kids will enjoy, including a dolphin cruise on the back bay, putt-putt courses, arcades, fishing and a walk or bike ride on the Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park. Late-summer visitors may even see baby sea turtles hatching. After a relaxing day, Anderson says, “the selection of dinner options is second to none, with award-winning and locally owned restaurants located throughout the city.” Those looking for off-beach fun also can enjoy boutique shopping, a spa treatment at The Wharf and much more. While they’re in town, he adds, visitors should not miss The Orange Beach Coastal Arts Center, with its new main building that opened in late 2017. The center features an 10,000-square-foot fine art gallery, hot shop glass-blowing facility and clay studio. 112

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A drive of 90 minutes or less puts Gulf Coast residents in a city like no other. “The world-renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, stunning architecture and rich history are only a few of the reasons the New Orleans experience is unrivaled,” according to Tara Letort, director of group PR and communications for New Orleans & Company. “As the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans offers a complete sensory experience as the sounds of our street musicians fill the city.” Even with all it has to offer already, Letort says, the city “is in the middle of an explosion of new restaurants, hotels and attraction developments.” For instance, the Louisiana Children’s Museum is slated to move to City Park this summer, and the revitalization of the park’s Storyland, a project bringing four new exhibits and enhancing the 18 current exhibits, is under way. FAIRHOPE From its flower-lined streets to its vibrant art scene, Fairhope has charm to spare. “It is a small town with a large appeal to all,” says Liz R. Thomson, director of tourism and special events for the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. Filled with artists and ample galleries, Fairhope is any creative’s dream destination. For those in the mood to shop, Thomson says, “local boutiques offer pieces one wouldn’t find in malls or large stores.” When visitors get hungry, she adds, “Seafood is always in abundance, but progressive and inventive restaurants offer unique fare as well.” For those who haven't visited lately, The Eastern Shore Art Center’s exterior recently was renovated, and it offers rotating exhibits every month. The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa also has undergone a makeover, according to Thomson — so “the queen of Southern Resorts “is now even more impressive.”



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Robertson recommends visits to the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, which is free and located on Camp Shelby Joint Forces training base; The Lucky Rabbit vintage store, which is open on the first Thursday through Sunday of each month; and the Hattiesburg Zoo, where a new giraffe exhibit is set to open in 2020.


MOBILE The question is not why should Gulf Coast residents visit Mobile, according to Tara Zieman, director of marketing and communications for Visit Mobile. The city was born to celebrate, she says, so why not? “Mobile is a city rich with jubilance where food and fun reign supreme,” Zieman adds. “We love history, outdoors and arts.” In Mobile’s vibrant downtown, visitors will find over 50 For families and friends looking for the ideal weekend get- restaurants, state-of-the-art museums and a host of attractions — all within walking distance from one another. away, there’s plenty of reasons to consider “Hub City.” History buffs can explore the USS Alabama battleship and “Hattiesburg’s signature live music and culinary scenes, the Fort of Colonial Mobile. As the birthplace of Mardi combined with one-of-a-kind shopping experiences and Gras, the city gives tourists a behind-the-scenes look at its award-winning attractions, means there’s something for everyone,” says Paige Crane Robertson, director of commu- history and pageantry with the Mobile Carnival Museum. For visitors wanting something different, Zieman notes nications and digital strategies for VisitHATTIESBURG. that the Gulf Coast Ducks are splashing again — offering Locally owned eateries abound (there are about 200 the only land and water tour on the Gulf Coast. citywide), and a continuous live music scene ranges from jazz and rock to orchestra and cover bands for every genre and decade.

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Call: 228.875.3343 Email: September 2019 Visit:

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