Heartland LIVING Feb-Mar 2022 Issue

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LIVING February & March 2022

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“A family member purchased a Hustler mower from Gilbert and it was amazing so I purchased one too. The service I received was excellent! They are always there to help if I have questions. They are all so friendly regardless of what I need.”

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Local Law Enforcement & Gilbert Customer

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February & March 2022


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www.evergladespedodent.com February & March 2022



The Quail Whisperer

Tomás Manuel Demaria Kayser of Lightsey Family Ranch By Katy Fassler


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


February & March 2022 Volume 11  Issue 1


The Sebring Fire Department 10 Years Later By Christy Swift


How to do Vegas in a Day By Charissa Greubel

40 February & March 2022




February & March 2022 Volume 11  Issue 1


Flower Meanings:

The Language of Flowers By Christy Swift


Gardening with Kids

Playing in Dirt isn't Just Fun – It's Healthy, Too! By Kimberly Blaker


Adopt These 7 Heart-Healthy Habits By Lisa Beach


Designing Your Best You by Putting Yourself First By Lisa Beach


Taste of the South

Quail Dinner Recipes By Chef Mike Styler


10 Letter from the Publisher 14 Behind the Scenes 18 From Our Readers LIVING February & March 2022

COVER The Quail Whisperer Cover Dog: Chip

100 8

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Photography by Traci Newlin

It's time to get the Smile you always wanted. Cosmetic & General Dental Services Laser Treatment and Digital Imaging Orthodontics Invisalign ® Full-mouth Rehabilitation Same-day Crowns, Root Canals, Bridges & More Zoom! ® Whitening Sedation



February & March 2022



etter fromTHE PUBLISHER Moving into our eleventh year is taking me back to my roots where it all started. If you love what you do, you know how I feel. The opportunity to be creative with Heartland LIVING has been a huge part of my life and brings me such joy year after year. Continuing to enter into this new year, my intention is to deepen my relationship with you, our readers, and your businesses, to continue to bring you an award-winning regional magazine, and to further deliver content that is inspiring and of value to you. I hear from so many of our readers that you keep the magazines on your coffee tables. Some of you have even told me you have saved every issue from the beginning. Thank you! We will do our best to keep bringing you the area’s most interesting editorial content. I’m always thrilled to hear from you on what you loved in each issue and what you’d like to see more of.

Going back in time, we are reminiscing 10 years back to our very first issue of Heartland Living Magazine. I was so proud to feature the Historic Sebring Fire Department. Our writer, Christy Swift, interviewed and wrote the story back then and has now circled back with these heroes at the station. We wanted to see what has happened in the last ten years with our retired firefighters and what ‘s happening with our new generation of firefighters. I wish I could add the video of us asking Captain Austin Maddox how long it would take the firefighters to get suited up, down the pole and in the fire truck so we could capture it. He said, “90 seconds! Let us show you!” Look for the video taken by Hannah Tucker on our Facebook page. I hope you enjoy the story and the beautiful photography Caroline Maxcy Fox has captured. I also had the privilege of going on another photo shoot with photographer Traci Newlin. We met quail guide Tomás also known as the “Quail Whisperer” out at Lightsey Family Ranch in Venus. Tomás is from Argentina but spends his time here for quail season guiding hunters at the ranch. We had a very interesting day at the ranch and learned a lot about hunting quail with Tomás and their dogs. That is why we chose beautiful Chip to grace our cover. We then were invited to the lodge to join the guest that Chef Michael had prepared a delicious lunch. Of course, his famous fried quail was the main dish. If you’re looking for a quick getaway, Charissa takes you on a whirlwind trip, sharing her adventure of how she did Vegas in a day. Wow, Vegas in 24 hours with gorgeous photos of amazing scenery and the Vegas City lights! Now time to start turning the pages to read all the stories I have mentioned, along with everything else you will find packed in this issue. God Bless,

Cindy Sebring Adams 10

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

February & March 2022 11



LIVING February & March 2022

February & March 2022 Volume 11  Issue 1

CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams

Creative Director Bridgette Waldau

Editor Christy Swift

Photography Director Rafael Pacheco

Feature Writers Lisa Beach Kimberly Blaker Katy Fassler Charissa Greubel Christy Swift

Cover Photographer Traci Newlin

Published by

Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc.

Feature Photographers Caroline Maxcy Fox Charissa Greubel Traci Newlin

Proud Recipient of 18 Contact: 412 Rest Haven Road, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344

In the Following Categories:


Best Overall Design

Cindy@Heartland-Living.com Become a fan on facebook


Charlie Awards

2014 - 2021

Best Department Design (2) Best Feature Design (4) Cover Photo Illustration Best Traditional Illustration Best Self-Promotional Ad Best Table of Contents Best Department Design Best Photography Image (3) Best Overall Writing Best Custom Publication (2)

Florida Magazine Association

Heartland Living Magazine is published bi-monthly by Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. Copyright 2022, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by expressed written permission of the publisher.

All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Heartland Living Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Heartland Living Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. Heartland Living Magazine is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

February & March 2022 13

Behind the BEHIND THEScenes SCENES Creative Director


a graphic and fine artist for over 30 years. She received her A.A. from the Ft. Lauderdale Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Stetson University. She moved to Okeechobee in 1994 where she opened her art studio. Bridgette has been creative director for several publications, working with Heartland Publications & Marketing as art director since 2011, winning eleven Florida Magazine Charlie Awards (2015- 2021). She is Arts & Culture Alliance Director (17 years) for Okeechobee Main Street. Bridgette is married to James Waldau, a retired firefighter from the City of Hialeah.

Photography Director RAFAEL PACHECO I am a Pisces

and was born on the island of Puerto Rico. My dog thinks I am crazy for locking the door so many times in 10 seconds and my cats think I am made of catnip. Everything I wear is black, gray or blue. If I put on something colorful I must have been in a hurry. Photography is how I have let my artistic visions come to life since the early 90’s. Patience, kindness, sharing, sacrifice, love and not to judge- I saw my mother practice these and they stayed within me. We are collective energy and all from the same Source. I don’t see the world through my eyes. I see it through my soul.


Editor | Writer

CHRISTY SWIFT has been a

freelance writer for over 13 years, working as an award-winning newspaper correspondent, magazine article writer, and web and social media content provider. She is also a soon-to-be published author of Young Adult and Adult fiction. You can find her at www.christyswift.com.

Writer KIMBERLY BLAKER is a freelance lifestyle and licensed real estate agent. She's also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an Internet marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital.com.

Writer REBECCA MAGLISCHO is a wife and mother of two boys. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Human Movement with an emphasis on Corrective Modalities. She has completed a two year study in Full Body Systems through the Holistic Nutrition Lab and a certification in Functional Range Condition through the Functional Anatomy Systems.

KATY FASSLER has been telling

stories since she was able to scribble her name in crayon on the wall. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, she moved to Sebring in 2006 to attend the Great Commission Bible Institute. Katy, an avid reader and book collector, lives by Dr. Seuss’ advice, “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” Katy lives in Sebring with her husband, Sean and their two daughters, Adia and Emery.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


LISA BEACH is a freelance journalist

and copywriter. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, USA Today Back to School, Parents, Edible Orlando, and more. Check out her writer’s website at: www. LisaBeachWrites.com.

February & March 2022





Owner of Photos by Rissa. I’m just a small town hippie hearted girl, that loves to travel, empower and motivate others to be their best self, and be a mama to my 3 little cuties. I’m passionate about my work, in love with my family & dedicated to spreading light. It’s contagious.-

and raised in Central FL. She decided to be an artist at the age of five. After achieving her BSA from Florida State University, she practiced in the field of design for six years and then received a Masters in Graphic Design from NC State University. She honed her artistic craft and developed a "way of seeing" that fuels her work. Caroline is a full time photographer and lives with her husband in the heart of Sebring, FL. Together they run the day-to-day life at The Great Commission Bible Institute as the Site Coordinators and Dorm Parents. Naturally, adventure abounds.

Photographer TRACI NEWLIN is an award-

winning member of the Professional Photographers of America Association and holds a Master of Photography degree. She is also a member of the American Society of Photographers. She specializes in fine art portrait photography and editorial photography.

"Every GREAT design begins with an even BETTER story."

- Lorinda Mamo, designer

Advertising Helps You Get to Where You Want to Go. You can advertise in the most widely distributed and read magazine in the Heartland! Your ad will not only be seen in print but also on our website.

Call or email us if you want to become a part of this fast growing publication

863-781-0344 Cindy@Heartland-Living.com

Heartland LIVING www.HeartlandLivingMagazine.com February & March 2022 15

Messieh Orthopedic Clinic Leader in Hip & Knee Replacement Surgery in Central Florida since 1991

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VINTAGE  ELEGANT  WEDDINGS Southern Grace is designated by the state of Florida as a century pioneer family farm and has been a homestead to the Gill family for well over 100+ years. A premier all-inclusive historic wedding venue, where every detail on our estate grounds, includes event planning design+styling for an exquisite wedding celebration. Love is in the details, and it’s the little things and extra touches, flawlessly executed, that are sure to exceed your wedding day dreams!

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www.SouthernGraceWedding.com February & March 2022

from our


Heartland LIVING December 2021 & January 2022

Heartland LIVING December 2021 | January 2022

Congratulations on your 10 Years. You are my sole advertising agent! Thank you so much! Celebrating 10 Years 2012 - 2021

- David Ailstock Eighteen East

Cindy- We are so delighted in your growth. It’s amazing what you have -Tiffany Naumann-Bender achieved! AdventHealth Lake Placid |Sebring | Wauchula

It was a great article and we really appreciate making us look so good.

Pickleball Revolution!

-Jay Bowers

By Christy Swift Photography by Jay Bowers Photos of Bartow Courtesy of Teresa Wilson

It’s a sport that’s grown 650% in the last handful of years. Anyone can play it, from children to seniors. It’s affordable, accessible, and easy to learn. It’s pickleball!

I LOVE the Pickleball article! Thank You. -Teresa Pittman Wilson

Pickleball is best described as a mix between tennis, racquetball, and ping pong. Players volley a wiffle ball back and forth with a special paddle using nets and courts that are smaller than those used for tennis. It’s commonly played in doubles, and games are short— lasting about 15 minutes each. And because its popularity has skyrocketed, courts are popping up all over, in both public and private parks.


10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 73

Cindy, I have always enjoyed your magazine. It is a beautiful publication with great articles and beautiful layout and design. Jane L. Hink, Ligon Marketing


I just had a friend text me how cool the article is and how pretty the photos are. Were honored to be in the magazine. -Miranda Harris

Don’t Take This Sweet Treat For Granted By Christy Swift Photography by Caroline Maxcy Fox

You head to your local grocery store and there they are... big, round, sweet watermelons. You give a few of them a thunk, and they all sound perfect! Today’s watermelons don’t even have any pesky seeds to deal with. It’s truly a sweet deal! According to Trey Miller, President of the Florida Watermelon Association, Florida is currently the main supplier of watermelon grown in the United States, producing approximately 25% of the domestic supply. Our state produces about 907 million pounds per year of sweet, fresh watermelon that adheres to strict food safety guidelines and incorporates supportive environmental practices. That watermelon you picked up at the grocery store or the fruit stand might have been grown and packed right around the corner in Zolfo Springs.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 27

If you would like to share your thoughts, please leave a post on our Facebook page or email us at Cindy@Heartland-Living.com 18

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

SGD has proudly served Highlands & Polk County since 1977 •Bahama Shutters •Hurricane Protection •Awnings •Garage Doors •Motorized Screens •Solar Power by Lunex This year we honor Richard Henry and his 30 years of dedication and loyalty to the SGD family and name. Rick is Highlands County "Master Garage Door Technician" Thank you Rick from everyone at SGD and from the THOUSANDS of customers you have serviced over the years!

Visit our showroom at

3922 Kenilworth Blvd. Sebring, Florida


GarageDoorsandScreens.com February & March 2022 19

Island View Restaurant is the perfect place to host an event!

Book Your 2021 Events Now! Banquet Facility | Private Banquet Rooms Lakeside Event Lawn | Seating 30 - 300 Full Service Bar | Weddings | Birthdays | Anniversaries Balls & Galas | Class Reunions & More

2021 dates are filling up fast! Call 863.385.4830 ext. 5 for more information

Call Our Banquet Specialist 863.385.4830 x5

www.sunlakegolfclub.com www.islandviewrestaurant.com

February & March Events Feb. 1

Trivia Night 5pm Feb. 14 Valentine’s Dinner 5pm Feb. 28 Live Music with SNL Drive 6pm – 9pm Mar. 1

Trivia Night 5pm Mar. 25 Live Music with Randy Sullens 5:30-8:30pm

Call 863.382.1191 for Reservations!

5223 Tee Time Circle Sebring, FL 33872




Live Bluegrass and Country Entertainment Bear Hill Bluegrass  Bill D. Williams Prime CountryDave O’Brien John Summerall  Richard & Denise Kiser Mariachi Juvenil Azteca

Pioneer Village Entertainment

John T. Wayne, Author & Grandson of Actor John Wayne P. T. Mortimer Magician and Medicine Show Cowboy Story Teller & Whip Cracker Swamp Cabbage Cooking Demonstration Working Blacksmith Shop  Hart Cabin Tours


2828 Pioneer Boulevard For Additional Information: PioneerParkDays@gmail.com and 863-473-5070

Daily - $5. 4 Day Pass $15 4 & Under Free

February & March 2022 21

Highlands Ridge Nestled among the orange groves and the

beautiful natural Florida nature preserves are the rolling Hills that are covered with lush green fairways of Highlands Ridge golf community. Highlands Ridge is truly an “uncommon community” -a perfect balance of privacy and accessibility, city convenience and rural charm, and a membership lifestyle set amidst relaxed, convivial surroundings. With not one but two championship golf courses, an immaculatelymaintained campus and a course-side “gallery” of affordable dream homes overlooking the expansive fairways and greens. Highlands Ridge is refined, active living at its best.


36 Holes of Championship Golf | Golf Driving Range Two Club Houses | Community Center North Tavern Restaurant | 3 Gens Grill Two Heated Swimming Pools and Hot Tub Walking Trails Lighted Tennis Courts | Shuffleboard, Pickle ball, Horseshoe Pits, & Table Tennis 260-Acre Lake with Boat Launch Ramp Dock with Slips | RV Boat Storage Area Gated Community with two entrances Active 55+ Community Escape to the tranquil greens of Highlands Ridge,now with two distinct championship courses. You’ll love the Native Florida North Course and the northern feel of our Legendary South Course.

The Augusta Model For More Information

(863) 784-3313 22

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

New homes in Highlands Ridge Avon Park, Florida by M.E. Gose, Inc.

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February & March 2022 23



Whisperer Tomás Manuel Demaria Kayser of Lightsey Family Ranch By Katy Fassler Photography by Traci Newlin

Life is just too short to go quail hunting with the wrong people. President Jimmy Carter


uail hunting is an art. Across America and in many other places in the world, hunting the small, delicate bird is a very popular pastime. Not only is the hunt exciting and fun, the bird is also delicious. Here in the Heartland, one man stands above the rest in the hunt for quail: Tomás Manuel Demaria Kayser. Tomás is known to many as the “Quail Whisperer.”


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

February & March 2022 25


omás, from Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, spends the Florida quail season on Lightsey Family Ranch in Venus guiding hunters in their quest for quail. “That’s what they call me,” Tomás says, responding to the nickname. Tomás has been hunting for years but has only recently been traveling to Florida to lead guided hunts. “After two seasons with Quail Creek Plantation, a good friend of Lee Lightsey told him about me and here we are. Long story short.” The Lightsey Family Ranch is a fully outfitted destination ready for your best hunting experience, wedding venue, or company retreat. Nestled in the pines, palmettos, and oaks of Venus, Florida is a 2,000acre plus ranch, a hidden paradise, ready for you to experience nature at its finest. With a ten-bedroom, luxury lodge, an onsite chef, incredible vistas, and beautifully maintained grounds, this ranch turns Florida's natural beauty into a completely immersive adventure.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

February & March 2022 27


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


unting with Tomás is part of that adventure. “I am a quail guide. I want to make the client feel comfortable; have a good experience. I want to help the client feel comfortable safety-wise, maybe coaching them a little bit, and help with the dogs. I think it is the whole combination that makes a good experience. It's so much more than just finding the quail.” “I remember the first boss I had, like 17 years ago. Before I was a hunting guide I was a horseback riding guide, and he used to tell us, ‘Make sure the client feels at home.’ I always keep that in my mind when I am taking a client out. I just treat people the way I like to be treated when we go out.” “I grew up hunting. As I always say, I was on horseback before I could walk, and I was shooting a gun before I could read and write. My dad had a bunch of property back home and we were always hunting with dogs, tracking deer, or fishing.” Quail hunting is set apart for Tomás. “Running two dogs at a time–I love it. I trained my dogs in Argentina and want to hunt them right.” Dogs used in quail hunting make the experience all the more exciting. Dogs are trained to find the birds, flush them out of hiding, and retrieve them after they are shot. Many different kinds of dogs are used. The most popular dogs are English Pointers, Weimaraners, Brittany or English Springer Spaniels, and even Standard Poodles. The Lightsey Ranch has a total of 33 dogs.

Quail Guide, Austin Armstrong

Safety is the priority for Tomás. “When hunting, a lot of things can go wrong. I make sure my client is familiar with gun safety and swinging the gun to aim at the bird. We will practice several times to make sure your muscle memory is ready. When there are dogs on the ground and guys behind you, you have to feel ready and safe. Safety first and then everything after.”

February & March 2022 29


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


omás has a favorite recipe to prepare quail. “In Argentina, we don’t have quail but have something similar and we use this same recipe. To start, I make an appetizer. You will make it cold, not hot. It is like La Confit. You take one part vinegar, two parts oil, and cook the bird super low for two hours. Add onion, cracked pepper, red pepper flake, bay leaf, garlic, and cook for another two to three hours until the bone comes off the meat. Then you let it sit and cool down. Then put it in the refrigerator and let it sit there for a couple of weeks. Then eat it cold. It's called ‘Escabeche’. It’s really good.” Yes, he really did say a couple of weeks. Tomás also adds, “I love the quail they cook here at the Ranch. They fry it. They brine it so it will be cooked but not dry, and that’s hard to do.” “I have a great time out there and get to be paid for doing it. I always tell the client, ‘This is my office – being out here with you and the dogs. I try to have as much fun as I can. This is what I know how to do the best.”

Eighteen East

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863.453.1818 18 East Main Street Avon Park, FL Open Tuesday - Saturday 4 pm - 8 pm

Facebook/ Eighteen East … a restaurant and bar February & March 2022 31

I am a quail guide. I want to make the client feel comfortable; have a good experience. -Tomás Manuel Demaria Kayser


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


he main attraction at the Lightsey Family Ranch is hunting. With nature-rich grounds, the Ranch is the perfect location to make a “once in a lifetime” score. Guided hunts of hogs, alligator, whitetail deer, quail, and turkey are offered year-round. You can stay overnight in the lodge, eat well, and experience an all-inclusive hunting adventure. “We currently hatch, on an average year, 22,000 alligators from eggs,” says Lee Lightsey. “ This is possibly one of the highlights of our facility during August and September as people are so intrigued by a hatchling popping out of an egg and immediately trying to bite you! After the hatchlings fade away, we go right into deer season which runs from September until March first. We stay steady with deer until Christmas. After Christmas, our quail hunting really picks up and it runs until March 6th. We hunt hogs and alligators year-round except May and June. In July we start collecting the alligator eggs off private ranches and fill the incubator, to start the process all over again.” For an example of how a guided hunt works, an overnight quail hunt begins with an evening of shooting skeet, a fully catered dinner, a tour of the grounds and chatting around a fire. Rest in one of the ten guest rooms of the lodge and wake up to breakfast. Gather your gear, find your quail, and when you return with your prized birds, enjoy a fantastic lunch. Each hunt is catered to your desire. The Lightsey family prides themselves on making your hunting dream a reality.

Thank you Central Florida for a successful first year of serving each of you.

We wish you

health, peace & happiness in 2022

You Are At The Center Of Our Many Client Focused Concierge Services Concierge Care Management Advocacy & Assisted Living Consultations At-home laboratory collections Guardianship Cases Clinical Visits & Observations. Individualized Care Plans & Referrals Provider Services Also Offered. Chaplain Visits. James 5:13-15 KJV.

Chad M. Berry

AHCA Cert. Assisted Living Admin (Florida), CMA, ASPT, CDP & BCPA

27 Years Experience in Medicine

863.273.1499 Fax 863.884.1727 Serving Central Florida

www.InTouchMedicalSolutions.com February & March 2022 33


f hunting isn’t your cup of tea, but you desire to experience time in Florida’s natural country, guests are invited for tours. Visit the ranch to see the flora and fauna of beautiful Venus. See the deer and other wildlife and explore the stunning grounds of the ranch. The lodge is the perfect venue for your wedding, reception, or retreat. “Come stay overnight. Take advantage of getting away from work,” says Lee Lightsey. “Our passion is with sharing God’s love through what he has blessed our family with! Our dreams for the future include being able to take kids on a three- to four-day summer camp where we can mentor less fortunate kids and encourage kids that may need encouragement through the outdoors.” There is still time left in the quail season if you would like to book a hunt. For more information on Lightsey Family Ranch or to participate in a guided hunt, contact www. FloridaHuntingOutfitter.com.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Okeechobee’s Premier Residential Specialist Call the Mixon Team of Professionals!


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The Pavilion on Little Lake Jackson is more than just a scenic venue. It's a versatile indoor-outdoor gathering space, unparalleled in the region, and the ideal location for those looking to host a memorable business or personal event.

With bright and airy indoor space, canopy covered lake side deck, and a courtyard shaded by stately live oaks, our event spaces are available individually or together -- the possibilities are endless. The Pavilion is also conveniently located between the Residence Inn by Marriott and the Tru by Hilton

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February & March 2022 35

Running two dogs at a time – I love it. I trained my dogs in Argentina and want to hunt them right. -Tomás Manuel Demaria Kayser


February & March 2022 37

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

We’re Back!

Okeechobee Community Theatre, Celebrating our 42nd Season!

Spring 2022

Arsenic & Old Lace A play by Joseph Kesselring

Performance Dates:

March 4, 5, 11, 12 & 18 We hope you will join us for this production. The play is a classic dark comedy revolving around Mortimer Brewster and his slightly crazy family. Tickets will be available online soon. Follow us on Facebook or go to our Website for tickets and information.

Bringing quality live Theatre to the Heartland Area. All performances are presented in the historic Okeechobee Auditorium in downtown Okeechobee. This intimate 220-seat facility keeps you close to the action on stage.

Theatre location: 610 SW 2 Ave., Okeechobee, Florida

For more information about our upcoming shows & auditions call us or visit our website. Phones: (863) 532-1107 or (863) 332-2053

www.OkeechobeeCommunityTheatre.com 39


Fire Department TEN YEARS LATER By Christy Swift Photography by Caroline Maxcy Fox


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Sebring Professional Firefighters Local 3210


ur very first issue of Heartland Living Magazine featured the historic Sebring Fire Department’s Station 14 and the changes it had undergone since its inception in 1927. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we thought we’d circle back with our local heroes at the station and see what’s new!

Premier Issue Cover Photo by Rafael Pacheco 41


Lieutenant Rachel Smit Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

First Female Lieutenant

Somehow the Sebring Fire Department has figured out how to turn back the clock, because it’s getting younger. With a large crop of twenty-somethings on the force, 26-year-old Lieutenant Rachel Smit said that sometimes she’s the oldest one in the room. Smit is the second female firefighter the City of Sebring has had, the first female lieutenant, and the only woman currently on the team. Smit has been with the department for six years, and was the first female firefighter with the City of Sebring to be promoted when she received the rank of senior engineer in September of 2019. She was promoted to lieutenant on December 20th, 2021. Smit said being the only woman on a roster of male firefighters hasn’t been a problem. “Everybody respects. I come to work, I do my job, I try to do the best I can. I want to be an asset, not a liability.” “I’ve never been the ‘girl power’ type or ‘I’m a woman, hear me roar’. I like to be the first one up to do something and the last one to stop. If there’s something that needs to be done, I’ll be the one to get it. You’re equal here and you’ve got to put that mindset in and everyone else will, too.” (Below) Sr. Engineer Keegan Allbritton and Lieutenant Rachel Smit


Ready for Anything

Smit has been focused on furthering her education, recently completing an associate degree in fire science at SFSC as well as the Florida Urban Search and Rescue (FLUSAR) certification program. Her colleague and boyfriend, fellow firefighter 24-year-old Keegan Allbritton, also completed his FLUSAR certification as well as received a promotion to Sr. Engineer. The two helped push each other to complete the rigorous educational programs and achieve what it takes to move up through the ranks. The FLUSAR program has prepared Smit and Allbritton to perform search and rescue missions in a variety of urban disaster situations, including structural collapse (like what happened to the Surfside condominium in Miami last summer), trench rescue, confined space rescue, and rope rescue. For example, if you fall into a deep hole, get trapped in a culvert, or need to be hauled from the third to the seventh story of a building using ropes, these two are qualified to do it.

Fire Chief Bobby Border

“You learn how to go in and shift and break concrete. How to shore it up so you can get in there and work and cut through different parts of rebar and what tools you need,” Allbritton said. He was finishing up the structural collapse part of the training when the Surfside disaster happened. Most of his instructors left to take part in the rescue mission. “I have a great team and am very excited about the future of the fire department. They come with unique skill sets and a great desire to learn the business and be the best of the best,” current Fire Chief Bobby Border said of the current group of firefighters.


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Young Blood

Part of the reason there are so many young people at the department is because of the success of their internship program. Smit and Allbritton both got their start through the program, which started in 2016. Smit was one of the very first two interns to be accepted into the program at the beginning of 2016. Allbritton was accepted later that summer. “The internship program has brought back something our department lost from about 2006-2016,” Border explained. “This department was almost always staffed by men and women from this area. This ‘from here’ employee ceased to exist, and the internship program has brought this back. We currently have 13 employees working in the department that are or were interns.” Interns start earning towards their retirement right away, and the City pays for their schooling. They are put on a two-year contract and get to ride along with firefighters in real life situations so they can see if this career is a good fit for them. For example, firefighters need to be suited up and ready to go within 90 seconds after a call comes in. The group could be seated at the table eating, and if a firefighter calls a drill, the interns have to leave their plates, suit up in 90 seconds and go wait in the firetruck. Station 14 currently has three interns. Shift captain Austin Maddox trains those interns. “We have a very good retention rate on the internship program,” he said, adding that if interns don’t end up staying with the City of Sebring, they often become firefighters for the county.


February & March 2022 45


Three generations (L-R ) Lt. Harold Allbritton, Sr. Engineer Keegan Allbritton and Assistant Chief Eldridge Pollard Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

As far as Smit and Allbritton are concerned, Maddox has been impressed with their achievements. “Getting to those ranks isn’t something that comes to you. You have to go and get it. It’s awesome to watch.” It wasn’t easy for either of these accomplished firefighters. Smit broke her leg several months into her first year. It took her a while to recover and to decide between continuing with firefighting or becoming a paramedic. She focused hard on her training, earning over 2,400 hours of education. But when it came time to test for the Sr. Engineer position, she placed second instead of the first she needed to earn the position. A couple of months later, another senior engineer quit and she was given that slot, but it didn’t sit right with her. “As much as I enjoyed being a senior engineer, I didn’t feel like I earned it on my own because I didn’t place first in my test,” she said. She continued pursuing her education, and fast-forward to December 2021 . . . “I tested (for lieutenant) against the same guy that beat me before and I got it over him. It’s a weight off my shoulders.”

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Allbritton struggled as well, for different reasons. A fourth generation firefighter, Allbritton was following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather who served 20 years, retiring as an Assistant Chief; his grandfather who served 25 years, retiring as a Lieutenant; and his father who was also a firefighter.“I got hired as an intern and went to Ridge Fire Academy. I was almost finished, but I’m a horrible test taker. I failed my second test. I got kicked out of fire school. I cried all the way home,” Allbritton recalled. But the fire chief at the time, Chief Brad Batz, recognized his work ethic and gave him another chance. He passed on the third try. His fellow firefighters appreciate him as well, naming him for the Firefighter of the Year Award in 2019. “It feels good because they could have voted for anyone. I just try to help all the guys at work, help anyone who needs a hand.” Many people might have stopped there, but not Allbritton. He faced his academic demons head on, taking the FLUSAR training and, most recently, the training for Sr. Engineer. “I just kept reading each and every book. I put everything to the side and just studied.” On November 12th, 2021, he was promoted to Sr. Engineer.

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February & March 2022 49

The “Old timers”

As part of our ten year follow up, Maddox invited a group of retired firefighters to come by the station to reminisce. They laughed and talked about how things had changed over the years, including their uniforms. “When that house blew up with me in it, I had on a pair of coveralls,” said Chief V. Legare Smoak, who became a firefighter in 1951 and served as fire chief from 1969 to 1979. Chief Ken Haines, who was fire chief from 1994-2006, recalled wearing a mask with a heavy canister when he first started in 1972. When he took it to fire college in Ocala, they laughed at him. His classmate and lifelong friend, Deputy Commander Martin Mackay, said they wore bumper coats that weren’t much more than heavy-duty raincoats. When they came back after training, they spoke to Chief Smoak, who got their equipment upgraded. By the time Deputy Chief Mike Roberts started in 1978, the firefighters had more modern air packs. The most impactful memories, however, have to do with the camaraderie they shared and the hours they spent together at the station. Smoak and Assistant Chief Eldridge Pollard still hang out together, with Pollard serving as Smoak’s “taxi” since he no longer drives. Haines and Mackay both retired on the exact same day. “A lot of lifelong friends were made here,” Roberts said. “And there were a lot of practical jokes. A lot of practical jokes.” “We used to have a lot of fish fries here, and that was lots of fun,” Pollard recalled. “And they had a pool table,” Smoak said. He chuckled. “I made some good money.”


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I have a great team and am very excited about the future of the fire department. They come with unique skill sets and a great desire to learn the business and be the best of the best. -Fire Chief Bobby Border


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How to do

in a Day! By Charissa Greubel

In a whirlwind of city lights and people and dreams soaring left and right in Vegas, you can do and be anything you want to be. Today was going to be a day of seeing what the Vegas area had to offer. Knowing we only had 24 hours there, what all could we possibly get in, in one day in this city? Busy schedules allowed for a flight into Las Vegas Airport (LAS) on Sunday, a day to explore on Monday and a flight home from LAS Tuesday. But when I tell you the ecstasy of an experience you can have in just one day there, you’ll be mind blown!

February & March 2022 59


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Let's start with accommodations. Pick an Airbnb or a hotel with some height (at least four stories high) The view you will get from your staircase outside your door is unbelievable in and of itself. Have you been needing a new headshot for your Linkedin Profile (haha)? Step outside your hotel door, put that phone on portrait mode and BAH-BOOM! Epic shot with a skyline that will blow your mind. Ok, but don’t stay at your hotel too long, we have one day to explore Vegas! What all can we do?


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February & March 2022 63

Third Stop,

back into the City! The main Metropolitan area and the Vegas Strip are incredible, but you can't go to Las Vegas and miss the Van Gogh portrait of a landscape so nearby first. Ok, we’re hungry! After tons of research, Tik-Tok videos, and friend referrals of trying to narrow down one fabulous eatery experience, we chose to go to Nacho Daddy on the Strip. OH. MY. WORD. Wow. The coolest vibe and aesthetics, fast service, and mouth watering, divine cuisine! After you eat, you have to hit up the MGM Grand slot machines—you can't go to Vegas and not bring like $20 to play with at MGM, haha! The City never sleeps, and you can sleep on the plane ride home. Soak up the Mile Strip, see millions of colors and shows and people of all kinds. Sit on your balcony and soak up the skyline and the colors and the gentle sounds of the music and ambiance of the city. If you haven’t been to Nevada, and you don’t have a whole lot of time, but you want to take some self care time with a best friend or two or with your spouse, Vegas is it. Half serenity and half serenades.

Happy Travels!

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February & March 2022 65

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February & March 2022 67

The Secret Language Of

By Christy Swift

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you want to mix things up this year, consider giving someone a secret message in the language of flowers, Victorian-style! Back in the 1800s, symbolism of flowers, or floriography, was a “thing.” Clandestine messages were passed through petals, and most households kept a book on hand to help decipher them. It was a way for people to express that which could not be spoken aloud. Even the way the flowers were handled provided a message (handing flowers to someone upside down meant your message was the opposite of what was traditionally intended).


February & March 2022 69

societal pressures are not nearly as strict these days, you can raise the romance factor by giving your valentine (or someone else) a secret message along with the bouquet. Here are some ideas.

♥ Too shy to ask her out? Tell her you’ve been pining for her with a bouquet of pink camellia. ♥ Married for a long time? Show your faithfulness with bird of paradise or violets. ♥ In the doghouse? Purple hyacinth means you’re asking for forgiveness. ♥ Red roses are still the quintessential symbol of love, but you can add chives to show usefulness (and maybe finish that home improvement project she’s been wanting you to tackle). Fern offers fascination and magic (yes, please!). The calla lily tells her she’s a “magnificent beauty.” Primrose says “I can’t live without you.”

♥ Want to add a little heat? Balsam, also known as impatiens, represents “ardent love.” Dill stands for lust (who knew?). Yellow iris exudes passion and Spanish jasmine symbolizes sensuality (¡ay caramba!)


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♥ Have a frenemy at work? The begonia means “beware” as does oleander. Anything from the genus Asphodeline says “my regrets follow you to the grave” which is both confusing and ominous! (Your best option in Florida is the yellow colicroot). ♥ Is an ex making unwelcome advances? Butterfly weed means “let me go” and burdock means “touch me not.” An easier option is a striped carnation which is a flat-out no. Striped carnation means striped carnation, good sir! ♥ For friends, some options are heather (white means you hope their wishes will come true), freesia (trust and friendship), and caladium (great joy and delight). ♥ Giving flowers to a child? White camellia means “you’re adorable” while baby’s breath tells them they are “pure of heart” and red or pink hyacinth shows playfulness. Gerbera daisies and white lilac represent innocence.

February & March 2022 71

Check out the handy

information below for Meaning and Suggested Usage. And don’t forget to have fun!

A red rose means “I love you.” White is for fresh starts. Orange shows desire. Lavender is love at first sight. Coral is for friendship. Watch out! A yellow rose symbolizes jealousy or infidelity. Dark crimson is for mourning.

Red is a declaration of love and passion. White means “I am worthy of you.” Variegated tells the recipient they have beautiful eyes. Yellow means “there is sunshine in your smile.” My expert opinion: You can’t go wrong with tulips.

Unrequited love or respect. If you don’t like the person, but want to let them down easy, daffodils are the way to go.

White is for sweet love. Red represents admiration. Yellow is jealousy. Pink means “I’ll never forget you.” Remember, in carnation conversation, solid blooms mean yes and striped blooms mean no.

Innocence, purity, eternal love or marriage. They smell so nice, too!

Pride or false riches. For that person who thinks very highly of themselves.


Love of nature or nobility. For the “queen” in your life.

Grief or despair. A flower for someone who has lost someone recently.

Your love is reciprocated. The opposite of the daffodil.

Courage, daring or noble purity. For the “knight” in your life.

True love, faithfulness or remembrance. Just like its name suggest!.

Purity, sweet love or you’re lovely. Easy to grow in Florida, too.

Thoughts of an absent friend. If you are missing someone in your life, this is a nice flower to remember them by.

Hope Who doesn’t need some?

Fruitfulness; white means “female ambition.” The “girl power” flower!

White means purity, yellow means happiness, orange is for hatred, and the tiger lily represents wealth and pride. Don’t let an orange one get in there by accident!

There are many more hidden meanings in different types of flowers, but this should give you a good start. Until we meet again, I wish you mums, ferns, heather, and lots of caladiums!

February & March 2022 73

Heritage Festival 2022

March 12 & 13, 2022

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Come with your Family for a FUN Day!

Gates open 10am–4pm Admission $10 per car

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Gardening With Kids

Playing in Dirt isn't Just Fun – It's Healthy, Too! By Kimberly Blaker


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


here's no question, playing in the dirt tops the list of fun for kids, particularly young children, despite the protests of many well-intended parents. If you happen to be one of those worried parents, you can put your fears aside. As it turns out, dirt is actually beneficial to the long-term health of kids. According to a Northwestern University article by Clare Milliken, "Germs at four, less inflammation at forty." Studies have found that early exposure to certain germs, like those found in dirt, actually helps kids' immune systems learn to regulate inflammation better. In turn, this exposure reduces kids' risk for many diseases throughout their lives. For that reason, a family garden is a perfect opportunity to build your kids' immune systems. Better still, gardening offers lots of other benefits to kids and families. Through gardening, kids learn to be responsible by caring for their own plants. It's also a great way to help kids learn about and develop an appreciation for science. Another health benefit is that gardening encourages healthier eating. Not to mention, it's an excellent activity for family bonding. So gather up your kids and gardening supplies, head outdoors, and get ready for some dirt-filled fun.

February & March 2022 77

Getting Started

First, decide where to plant your garden. Then allow a small space for your child to have his or her own garden, too. This will help build your child's enthusiasm for the garden and encourage him or her to take ownership and responsibility for it. Having their own garden can be exciting and rewarding for kids because they know that they alone (or with minimal help), grew those little seeds into a marvelous plant. Next, decide what to plant. For young children, consider fast-growing plants they are familiar with. Little kids also love plants that are colorful or have strong scents. If your kids are older, let them choose what they want to grow. But keep in mind your child's personality. If he tends to be impatient, suggest plants that are easy to care for and grow quickly. As you proceed in planning and preparation, include your child in it as much as possible. Remember, this stage is as much fun for kids as it is for parents and helps build kids' enthusiasm. Also, let your kids help you draw up the garden plan. If they're old enough, they can also create their own shopping list. When you go shopping for the supplies, take your kids along and let them pick out their own seeds and gardening tools. For the safety of young children, look for kids' gardening tools made of durable plastic. 78

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Planting Your Garden

When you begin planting, show your child how to plant the seeds and how to space them apart correctly. Then have your child water the seeds as directed. To help your child take responsibility for his or her own garden, put a daily gardening task list on the refrigerator. Also, to help your child maintain enthusiasm, suggest keeping a garden log. Kids can have fun recording the date of plantings, each day's gardening activities, when each plant sprouts, the amount of growth of the plants, and the harvesting. Finally, after harvesting, have your child help you prepare the vegetables. Try different ways of preparing or cooking them to help your kid develop a life-long love for fresh, healthy veggies.


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HABITS By Lisa Beach

Show your heart some love! Celebrated annually in February, American Heart Health month provides the perfect opportunity to take a look at how you can protect your heart through a healthy lifestyle.

As a major cause of disability, heart disease can also restrict the activity and diminish the quality of life of people living with this condition. But a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that, no matter what your age, it’s never too late to improve your health.

That’s great news because there are plenty of things you can do to prevent heart disease.


But before jumping into some solid, heart-healthy habits, get a quick refresher on what a heart attack or stroke looks like.

First, it helps to know how to spot the signs of heart disease. In the early stages, heart disease symptoms are either nonexistent or barely noticeable. This makes annual exams a must, allowing your doctor to ask questions and run tests, as needed. But when heart disease progresses to the point of a heart attack or stroke, knowing the signs could help save your life. According to the American Heart Association, call 911 if any of these signs are present: Heart Attack: ♥ Chest discomfort or pain (usually in the center, lasting more than a few minutes) ♥ Upper body discomfort (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach) ♥ Shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort) ♥ Other signs (such as a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness) Stroke (remember F.A.S.T.): ♥ Face drooping or numb on one side ♥ Speech difficulty ♥ Time to call 911 if person shows any of these symptoms


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February & March 2022 85

Now that you’re savvy about symptoms, you can take preventive steps to reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke occurring. Follow these healthy lifestyle guidelines from the American Heart Association.

Get active. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of strenuous aerobic exercise. One of the simplest ways to do this? Walk more. Other aerobic activities include gardening, swimming, and tennis. If you can work in activity to increase flexibility, improve balance, and strengthen muscles twice a week, even better. Stuck for ideas? Try yard work (think raking leaves or pushing a lawnmower), bike riding, or yoga. Tip: Schedule exercise on your calendar, making it easier to stick to a routine. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, or 20-25 minutes of activity every day.

Eat better. Focus on eating mostly a plantbased diet, with whole fruits and veggies making up the bulk of the food you eat every day. When eating grains, choose a variety of whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, and whole wheat. For dairy (i.e., cheese, milk, yogurt), opt for low-fat and fat-free. Consume heart-healthy proteins such as fish, skinless poultry, lean meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. When adding fats, choose polyunsaturated oils (such as sunflower and safflower oils) and monounsaturated oils (such as olive, peanut, and canola oils). Avoid saturated and trans fats such as those found in whole milk, butter, tropical oils, and processed foods such as cookies, cakes, and crackers. Tip: Limit salty foods, sugary drinks, sweets, and highly processed foods; drink plenty of water; and watch portion sizes. 86

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Lose weight. Extra pounds can lead to a variety of health issues. Learning to move more and eat healthier helps you shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Keeping a food journal can help you see what you’re eating and how much. Tracking your exercise gives you a glimpse into the frequency and level of activity. Tip: Use tools to help you track your activity, such as a Fitbit, a fitness app on your cell phone (many are free!), or simply marking exercise on a calendar.

Control cholesterol. A fat-like substance, cholesterol comes from two sources---food from animal sources and your body. The “good” cholesterol is HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and the “bad” cholesterol is LDL (low-density lipoprotein). The HDL is good because it helps reduce plaque buildup in arteries, partially caused by LDL sticking to artery walls. Plaque buildup blocks blood flow, which can lead to heart disease. Ask your doctor about getting a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. Tip: Healthy lifestyle choices to control cholesterol include eating healthier, exercising, choosing healthy fats, and quitting smoking.

Manage blood pressure. Know your numbers and what they mean. Blood pressure records two values: systolic (the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) and diastolic (the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between heart beats). It’s written similar to a fraction with the systolic number on top and the diastolic on the bottom. Normal blood pressure is 120 (or less) over 80 (or less) and elevated blood pressure is 120-129 over 80 (or less). High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) starts at 130 over 80 (or higher). Tip: Healthy lifestyle choices to manage blood pressure include eating healthier, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing the amount of sodium you eat. February & March 2022 87

Reduce blood sugar. Your body turns much of the food you eat into glucose (or blood sugar) to use for energy, so it’s important to make smart food choices. But if your blood sugar level is too high, it can damage your heart (and other parts of your body) and cause diabetes. Tip: Healthy lifestyle choices to reduce blood sugar include eating healthier, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking.

Stop smoking. If you smoke, you increase your chances of developing heart disease (and lung cancer). Quitting smoking should top your list of heart-healthy choices. The longer you smoke, the more damage you do to your body. The good news? Your body begins to heal itself as soon as you stop smoking. In just one year of quitting, you’ve cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent! Tip: Make a plan to quit, whether that means going cold-turkey, cutting back gradually, using a nicotine replacement, or seeking help from a health provider. Visit https:// smokefree.gov/ for free resources to help you quit smoking.

Use American Heart Health Month as the perfect opportunity to start showing your heart more love. Take steps today toward a healthier lifestyle with these seven heart-healthy habits. Originally published on AmeriDisability.com. Adapted and reprinted here with their permission.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

There are SEVEN

Good reasons to Advertise in Heartland LIVING DeSoto County Glades County Hardee County Hendry County Highlands County Let us help you get more Okeechobee County for your advertising cost. Polk County Advertise in the most widely distributed and read magazine in the Heartland! Your new clients are only a short drive away.

Heartland LIVING Call or email us if you want to join us & share your business with all 7 Counties in the Heartland for one low price! Cindy@Heartland-Living.com



February & March 2022

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Bare Wood Market Presents

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Designing Your Best You by Putting

Yourself FIRST By Lisa Beach


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Need a new self-care mantra? Try “put your own oxygen mask on first.” This means purposely putting yourself first on your mile-long “to do” list---even if you’re busy and especially if you’ve got kids. Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or beyond, you can feel healthy, look great, and live your best life right now. But it all starts with making intentional choices that bolster your physical, social, and emotional well-being.

February & March 2022 93

Jump Start the process with the following ideas:

Connect with family and friends. If you’re too busy to spend time with family and friends, that’s a sign your life is out of balance. Make time to meet friends for drinks. Invite neighbors over for a potluck dinner or a wine and cheese party. Skip the texts and call a long-distance friend. If it helps, schedule social engagements on your calendar just like regular appointments. Make every Friday “date night” for you and your spouse, schedule coffee dates with your mom, or put a weekly game night on your family calendar.

Pamper yourself. No need to hope someone gives you a spa gift card for your birthday. Pamper yourself all year long. Buy some new nail color. Indulge in a DIY facial. Schedule an appointment for a hot stone massage. Sprinkle essential oils into a warm bath for a mood-booster. Treat yourself to some sexy lingerie. Take time for relaxing, creative hobbies, such as reading, painting, or gardening. Nourish your body with high-quality food. Skip the processed, prepackaged convenience foods and feed And try to get eight hours of sleep every night. your body with healthier choices, like fruits, vegetables, Refresh your exercise routine. You might already exercise nuts, seeds, and beans. Stay hydrated with lots of water sporadically, but you need to do it more consistently. Or instead of sugary juices and soda. Try making (from maybe you’ve got a regular routine, but you need to shake scratch!) meatless meals a few times a week. Splurge it up a bit because you’ve fallen into an exercise rut. The and hire a nutritionist to fine-tune your eating habits. Hit solution? Sign up for a Color Run or fundraising walk- local farmer’s markets for fresh, local, seasonal fruits and a-thon. Swap fitness DVDs or online recommendations veggies. Ditch the “white starches” and eat whole grain with a friend and try a new type of exercise like Pilates bread, rice, and pasta. or hip hop dance. If you normally exercise inside, take it outside by trying a fitness boot camp or morning Tai Freshen your look. You can look and feel good at every Chi class at your local park. Find an exercise buddy to age by tapping into your personal style, knowing what flatters you best and adapting to current trends. Get stylekeep you accountable. inspired by flipping through current fashion magazines. Try a trendy new lip color. Hire a stylist or image consultant for expert advice. Watch a make-up tutorial on YouTube to master a new technique. Test out a different hairstyle or new color for a fresh look. 94

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Feeling good at any age starts with the right mindset. By making positive, intentional choices that nourish body, mind and soul, you can design a life that brings out your best you. And, most importantly, you need to make yourself a priority.

February & March 2022 95


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

2022 marks our 50th Anniversary serving families across Central Florida. We look forward to seeing you at our newest health center. Medical

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FINE ART & GRAPHIC DESIGN Designing and Supporting the Arts in Okeechobee since 1994 Creative Director of Hear tland LIVING Magazine


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www.bridgette-art.com February & March 2022 99


Chef Michael Styer and Chef Antonio Scotti.

Quail Dinner By Chef Michael Styer

Smoked Fried Quail Brine Ingredients

12 Bobwhite Quail 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup kosher salt 1 Tablespoon mustard seed 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 1 Tablespoon peppercorns 2 Bay leaves 2 Smashed Garlic cloves 1 gallon of water


With a knife, split the quail from the breast plate so it resembles a spatchcock chicken. Mix brine ingredients in a medium sized pot on low heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Place in fridge. Once brine is cool, add the quail. Let them soak overnight. Remove from brine and soak in ice water for five minutes before laying them on smoking rack. Smoke at 160 wth an ice bath for forty five minutes before cooling.

Breading and Frying Ingredients

4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup fine cornmeal 1/4 cup blackening seasoning 1 quart buttermilk


Preheat your fryer to 350. You will need two sheet trays or casserole dishes. In one, mix the flour, cornmeal, and seasoning. Pour the buttermilk in the other. We will be going in the sequence of dry, wet, dry— but before we bread, pour a little buttermilk in the breading and mix with a fork to create some crunchy textures. After breading each bird, it's time to fry. Make sure you have your platter ready. Fry for two to three minutes. I like garnishing with honey, pickles, and a little more seasoning. 101


Loaded Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon golds, peeled & quartered 1 pound Applewood smoked bacon, diced & rendered 1 cup sour cream 1 pound sharp cheddar 1/2 cup green onions, sliced 1 cup butter, melted 1 cup heavy cream Salt and Pepper

Pan Gravy Ingredients

1 pound Applewood smoked bacon, medium diced 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 1 Tablespoon minced shallot 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 2 Tablespoons butter Hot sauce Salt and Pepper


In a skillet or pot, render bacon until semi-crispy. Add in your flour, garlic, and shallots. Let that cook for a few minutes before adding the milk. Keep stirring until flour is cooked out. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with butter and a few dashes of hot sauce.


Place potatoes in a pot. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Once they are fork-tender, strain and place into your mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until potatoes are broken up. Add bacon, cheese, green onions, sour cream, butter, and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you reserved some bacon and green onions, you could garnish with them and a nicesized dollop of sour cream.



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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

2020 Annual Report Heart & Vascular Center AdventHealth Sebring

Okeechobee Main Street Cattle Drive Sculpture Project


Don’t miss being part of preserving the legacy of Florida Cattle Ranching Heritage through Okeechobee Main Street’s Cattle Drive Sculpture Project. The 10-piece bronze Cattle Drive Sculpture promises to bring beautification and an economic boost to downtown Okeechobee. Everyone can put their name on this project and preserve a part of Okeechobee History for generations to come.

Okeechobee Main Street

Arts Culture Alliance OF OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Okeechobee Main Street, Inc. 863-357-6246

111 NE 2nd Street, Okeechobee, Fl 34972 Bridgette Waldau, Arts & Culture Alliance Director art@okeechobeemainstreet.org Project by Okeechobee Main Street’s Arts & Culture Alliance in Partnership with the City of Okeechobee, Okeechobee County, Okeechobee Tourist Development & Frank Altobella Foundation

Okeechobee Main Street Arts & Culture Alliance is in the final phase of the Cattle Drive Sculpture planning and fundraising. We invite you to joins us and become valuable part of this project. You still have time to donate before Fundraising Campaign ends. Okeechobee Main Street, Inc. is a 501(C) 3 not for profit organization

Please call us or visit our websites for more info and to donate online:

www.OkeechobeeArts.org Thanks to Heartland Publications & Marketing for Media February Support & March 2022 105

Established Hunting Ranch in Lake Placid Specializing in white tail deer, wild boar, and alligator hunting year around. We also offer Florida quail hunts!

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Lightsey Family Ranch

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