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NORTHWEST FLORIDA – COLA 2 COLA®

SPRING 2011

BehIND The LeNs The eye of the Beholder

Photographer Lee Crum Revealed

sinfonia’s Artstrings exhibit Colleen Duffley’s Interpretation

The WrITTeN WorD From GQ to Jesus

Journeys with the Messiah

With Love, Not Fear

Laurie Beck’s Poignant Story of Hope and Cancer

VoyAGer Peru’s holy Grail of hiking

A Spiritual Journey to Machu Picchu

A sense of Place

La Maison de Lucy – A Boutique Bed-and-Breakfast

For the Love of Food

V Makes Its Debut in Seagrove

The WeDDING Issue Kevin Kramer Weds deanna dyer


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In this issue:

104

86

20

52

92

118

128 The Written Word From GQ to Jesus 20 With Love, Not Fear 30 For the Love of Food Kitchenique 39 “V” Restaurant Debut 48 Feature The Princess Bride and Groom 52 New Beginnings Stefanie & Jake Meyer 64 Brandie & Thomas Oliver 66 Dana & Robert Hahn 68 Briane & Shane O’Dell 71 Sandestin—Destination Wedding 72 Will You Be Mine? 74 Bridal Must-Haves 79

140 Voyager Peru’s Holy Grail of Hiking 86 Behind the Lens The Eye of the Beholder 92 The Shape of Art 104 Get Healthy The Health Nut: Girth Control 115 Sense of Place Alaqua 118 La Maison de Lucy 128 The Sound and Motion of Spirit 136 Perspectives A Fusion of Love and Life 140 The Silver Tsunami 150

The Art of Life Good Design Begins with Great Style 82

VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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COLA COLA

®

Primary Targeted Audiences

O

ur stories and distribution cover COLA 2 COLA®—Pensacola to Apalachicola. We explore the people and places of our region in the

pages of VIE - People + Places. The magazine is found in all the Tourist Development Council Centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, boutiques, restaurants, bed-and-breakfast locations, special events and much more! We are thrilled you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy exploring the people and places of our coveted area. We have a passion for VIE, our area, and the people and businesses found within and hope you will share in the

TasTe The GourmeT side of mexican cuisine

excitement and know that we live in a great place and that "life is good." VIE is excited to announce that its distribution has now branched out to the airports of Baltimore/Washington International, Houston Hobby, Memphis International, Nashville International, Orlando International, and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International. In addition to these high-profile locations, VIE is also being added to the shelves of some of the country’s top-selling bookstores, newsstands and supermarkets, giving our advertisers potential access to millions of people.

Sip the finest margarita Taste guacamole made fresh at your table

VIE: People + Places is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2011 Cornerstone Marketing

Savor fresh seafood and steaks with authentic sauces

without written permission from The Publisher. VIE: People + Places is a lifestyle magazine of Northwest Florida

& Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced (COLA 2 COLA®) and is published quarterly. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of The Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork submitted by freelance or outside contributors. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed

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to the editor or The Publisher. VIE: People + Places is a paid publication. Subscription rate: One year $19.95 (U.S. only).


On the Cover:

VIE Creative Team:

Gracing the cover is Deanna, the newly wedded bride of Kevin Kramer. Deanna and Kevin were the winners of the VIE 2010 Legendary Wedding Giveaway. Their fabulous wedding celebration was held at Destin’s glorious Emerald Grande on November 13, 2010.

Pure 7 Studios:

Pure 7 Studios is a wedding and portrait studio based in Destin, Florida. Owner and lead photographer Ryan Manthey specializes in unique, artistic wedding and portrait photography. He and his wife, Erica, have three children and reside in Destin.

Lisa Burwell Publisher lisa@viezine.com

Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief gerald@viezine.com

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services bob@viezine.com

Lisa Comeau VP of Account Services lisa.comeau@viezine.com

Tracey Thomas Graphic Designer tracey@viezine.com

Jim Ryan Account Executive jim@viezine.com

Troy Ruprecht Graphic Designer troy@viezine.com

Mary Jane Kirby Account Executive maryjane@viezine.com

Tim Dutrow Video Producer tim@viezine.com

Lisa Ferrick Social Correspondent lisa.ferrick@viezine.com

Amanda Crowley Public Relations Intern

Kaleigh Warwick Graphic Design Intern

VIE Contributors: Freelance Staff: Margaret Stevenson Copy Editor

Romona Robbins Photography

Laura Granberry Ad Design

Michelle Smith Ad Design

Contributing Writers:

Published by:

Sallie W. Boyles Steve Cann Kim Duke-Layden Lori Eckert Jamie Gummere Brian Haugen

Clark Peters Tori Phelps Kim Turner Dave Vardaman David Waddle Rosalyn Wik

Contributing Photographers:

(850) 231-3087

114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 | Grayton Beach, FL 32459 www.theideaboutique.com

Contact us at info@theideaboutique.com

Kaymleh Azan Brandan Babineaux Meg Baisden Michael Belk Lee Crum Colleen Duffley Kim Duke-Layden E Photography Sheila Goode Paul Johnson Photography

Cody Jordan Ryan Manthey Jake Meyer Dustin Mowrey Dia Sather Dave Shelikoff Jessie Shepard Kim Turner PhotographyByGalina.com

VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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FrOm The ediTOr’s desk

O

photography by romona robbins on location at andrews bros printing - fort walton beach

ne of the biggest challenges of working in the creative field is to stand out from the crowd on a regular basis—to constantly do something different that catches attention. Now, that may sound like an absurd statement, but that’s all right as long as we have captured yours. Isn’t that really what it’s all about? To catch attention? It’s not easy with the overabundance of sensory stimuli that our society experiences daily. The genesis of creativity begins with an idea and vision. To keep things alive and growing, creativity must be in constant motion, requiring an intuitive understanding of what people thirst for. It can be a daunting challenge to live up to a name like VIE—a word which means “life” in French. And, as the magazine continues to morph and expand its storytelling through the written word and visual imagery, our hope is that each new issue of VIE is welcomed by all as if it were being discovered for the first time.

within the sea of magazines available on newsstands. To that end, starting with this, the SPRING 2011 issue, we have enlarged the size of VIE to make a statement: we will continue to provide a platform for representing the exquisite people and places of this area of the world that we call home—Northwest Florida’s COLA 2 COLA®. The change also allows our advertisers to be showcased more prominently—and the storytelling to delve even deeper.

With a new distribution strategy that includes placement in airports and bookstores across the country, it is imperative that VIE maintain a competitive edge

–Lisa and Gerald Burwell

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SPRING 2011 VIEZINE.COM

We thank our loyal readers again and again for continuing to choose VIE. We hope that you enjoy the new VIE and we welcome your comments about its new look. To a blessed 2011! To Life!

and the VIE Creative Team


© d. yurman 2011

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By Tori Phelps

Successful fashion photographer Michael Belk traded in a glamorous globe-trotting lifestyle for a mission to bring Jesus Christ to life through the lens of his camera. The result is Journeys with the Messiah, a powerful collection of images that juxtaposes a firstcentury Jesus with twenty-first-century costars to illustrate His timeless messages.

VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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Money, fame, and power: By his early forties, photographer Michael Belk was living the very definition of success—until a “crash-and-burn” experience left him with a new definition. After a wake-up call he believes came straight from God, Belk conceived of a way to use what he knew—photography—to explore his faith and hopefully bring others along for the ride. Lucrative? No. Life-changing? Oh, yes. His first project, Journeys with the Messiah, is a stunning set of photos that features the Jesus we know with, at turns, a Wall Street executive, a designergown-clad bride, a couple in an expensive sports car, and a Monopoly board. Each image in the roughly 100-page book is accompanied by a biblically inspired message written by Belk. So what’s the point? For starters, that while tunics may have given way to suits over the last two millennia, some things are eternal.

A Picture-Perfect StArt He didn’t set out to become a famous photographer, but he couldn’t have planned it better if he’d tried. Born in Orlando and raised in Ocala, he worked his way through college at men’s clothing stores. During his senior year at the University of West Florida, Belk learned that prestigious clothier Gant Shirtmakers had a sales opening. Within weeks the boy who had never been farther north than Atlanta was at a meeting in New York. Belk, who had recently developed an interest in photography and sensed he may have an eye for it, began bringing his camera on sales trips and even built a darkroom in his attic. That investment paid off after an ad agency failed to grasp the Gant image. Unasked, Belk dressed a friend in Gant clothing and snapped some photos; the resulting photos blew away company execs and formed the foundation for a long-running campaign called “The Gant Attitude.” He used a similar approach—photographing friends in Gant clothing—to produce a personal portfolio for use during sales meetings. This innovative “look book” led to markedly higher sales than his peers 22

SPRING 2011 VIEZINE.COM


He experienced first-class travel and exotic shoots with supermodels like Vendela. But none of it was enough to stave off a looming personal crisis.

experienced, prompting Belk to take a chance on himself. He resigned from Gant and went to New York to sell the idea to other companies. He got plenty of positive response but little follow-through. Broke and desperate, Belk returned to the Big Apple one final time and landed a huge client. That success led to other successes, and his expertise expanded from photography to include design, copywriting, and printing. When a client asked to run one of Belk’s images in GQ magazine, he unexpectedly became an ad agency and found his career soaring to new heights. He produced a catalog for a little start-up company called J. Crew (which still uses the logo Belk’s team created); developed the signature ad style for a young Nautica; and worked with companies like Chaps by Ralph Lauren, British Khaki, Talbots, Brooks Brothers, and Christian Dior. He experienced first-class travel and exotic shoots with supermodels like Vendela. But none of it was enough to stave off a looming personal crisis.

A New fire After A flAMeout Belk didn’t see it coming, but he sure felt it when he went down in flames. By his early forties, he had a failed marriage, an oversized ego, and an addiction to his high-octane lifestyle. He hit a brick wall of pain. “I felt like I was in a dark abyss, full of fear and panic,” he explains. “I couldn’t sleep and went AWOL from my business. The more I tried to get out of the abyss, the deeper the panic went as I realized that, by myself, I wasn’t going to make it out.” And then God came calling one night, as casually as a friend dropping by for coffee. “He asked, ‘What now, Michael? Do you want to continue living your way, or do you want to try My way?’” Belk recalls. “I really didn’t even know what ‘My way’ would be; I wanted to try His.” VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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faith; it would also become a very real test. “From the start of the project to the time we began photography, our budget jumped by 300 percent,” he says. “At the same time, the stock market crashed and continued downward after we returned to the U.S. Then the housing market crashed, and the equity we felt we could always fall back on disappeared as well.”

Life didn’t change overnight, but as he spent time deepening his previously surface-level faith and studying the messages of Jesus, good things started to happen. The first was reuniting with his college sweetheart, Cheryl, to whom he has now been married for seventeen years. The second was the spark of an idea: to depict the biblical messages he had been studying using his camera.

Luckily, his wife was also Journeys’ greatest advocate— even when the budget tripled. “I called her from Italy, and she said, ‘You can’t stop now. What are you going to do, tell God it got too expensive?’” Belk recalls. “Without her by my side, working our way through this would have been much less meaningful.”

He couldn’t quite pull the trigger, however, until Providence dealt him a financial blow. “When my largest client laid us off in 2007, I panicked because it represented about 60 percent of my income. But then a sense of peace came over me. My wife and I talked it over and agreed that I would begin the Journeys project in 2008. Once that decision was made, it didn’t take long before I felt like God was closing the door on my past career and opening the door to a new one.”

ShAriNg the JourNey That door led to Journeys with the Messiah, which is everything one might expect of a book created by a high-fashion photographer: lush, intricately detailed, and achingly realistic. The images, which are full color but appear to be sepia, nearly jump off the page. Though the compositions vary widely, there are two constants: the backdrop of Matera, Italy, and the man who so fully embodies Jesus in each photo. Belk’s concept called for both a setting and a Jesus character who looked first century. Finding the ancient Italian city of Matera turned out to be easier than finding the perfect “Jesus.” He initially selected a well-known Italian actor to bring Jesus to life, but upon meeting him, Belk immediately had misgivings. “He had a massive ego and, though he looked like the Jesus I wanted, nothing in his behavior was Christlike.” Eventually he and his team found Sergio, a Spaniard by birth, who had been a fashion model in Milan before becoming a successful actor. “That combination of talents was appealing because of the ‘movie’ style in which I planned to shoot the images,” Belk says. “In addition, although he was extremely handsome, once Sergio was bearded, the focus became his eyes, which, to me, conveyed great strength and kindness.” 24

SPRING 2011 VIEZINE.COM

Given the passion from which Belk came at the project, he predictably found it difficult to decide on just a few dozen messages. “Over fifty ideas were narrowed down to thirty-seven as we approached our shoot date. We ended up shooting thirty-five ideas, which I wanted to reduce to thirty-three—Jesus’ age at the time of His death. However, I could only part with one, so we ended up with thirty-four parable, or story, images. Furthermore, as I worked, I began shooting images of our Christ figure while we waited for sets to be prepared. There were so many excellent images that I decided to create the Messiah Collection with ten of these portraits plus the Last Supper.” These images are no ordinary photographs. They are all highly conceptual, which required Belk to call upon his experience in the fashion industry. He knew that a lighting director, hair and makeup artists, and meticulous scouting for the perfect location and time of day were all essential to his vision. And for the particularly tricky shots—like the one with Jesus walking on water—there was always postproduction manipulation. Unbeknownst to Belk, the Journeys project would end up being more than an abstract testament to his

And work it has been. Belk finds the financial upheaval he has experienced to be oddly reminiscent of when he staked everything on becoming a fashion photographer in New York. “Back then I knew I had a great idea, and I knew it was going to work. Yet I was down to my last dollar before it caught on. The progress of Journeys has been similar, though of course it’s more important. This was God’s idea from the beginning, and I have to believe He knows exactly what He wants to do with it.”

the Next chAPter Now that the first volume of Journeys with the Messiah is completed (he hopes to do a second collection), Belk is faced with the question of what he is—professionally, that is. After three decades in the business, he acknowledges that he will always be a fashion photographer, although he has not accepted any jobs since he began the Journeys project. Instead, Belk is happily devoted to sharing the messages of Jesus Christ through the images he has captured. “Every time I speak to a group, I get more inspired,” he says. “The images and messages seem to have the same effect on me that I want them to have on others. They make me want to know and understand more about this incredible Messiah and to become more like Him.” Along with continued speaking engagements, Belk is considering the feasibility of producing a six- to eight-part documentary containing material similar


“Every time I speak to a group, I get more inspired,” he says. “The images and messages seem to have the same effect on me that I want them to have on others.”


to what he presents to audiences. The documentary would allow him to include discussions of each image, the message it represents, and the message’s relevance to modern life. But to generate revenue for that project, Belk must focus on the sale of the fine art images that correlate with the book’s photos—many of which, fortunately, have been sold already. Another short-term goal is to find the right publisher for Journeys with the Messiah. Given the spectacular quality of its current incarnation, it’s hard to imagine that it is, indeed, self-published. “From the beginning, I’ve demanded that everything we create is ‘worthy of the King’,” says Belk, who has already turned down one of the largest publishers in the industry. “There’s a lot of tasteless religious merchandise on the market that was created more with profit in mind than promoting His Kingdom. So until we find a publishing partner who will give this project the respect it deserves, we will remain self-published.” As he focuses on moving forward, Belk also reflects on the process so far. He lists plenty of high points, but he says the best part of producing Journeys with the Messiah has been the way it has changed him. “Creating a collection of images that will touch peoples’ lives meant surrendering to what God wanted to create. Surrender is always a struggle—a constant battle of trying to do it my way instead of waiting for Him to show me His way.” This self-vs.-God struggle is one he knows is never ending. Take, for example, the desired effect of Journeys with the Messiah. If it were up to him, Belk would like it to introduce nonbelievers to Jesus and to reignite the passion of current Christians. In the same breath, he admits that the results shouldn’t be his focus. “My job is to tell others what I know,” he says. “I want people to see Jesus in a nonreligious context so they can understand the relevance today of what He said over two thousand years ago.”

Journeys with the Messiah can be purchased at www.TheJourneysProject.com.


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with Love, Photo by Sheila Goode


By R o S A Ly n WI k If ever there was a person that could light up a room with her smile, that person would be Laurie Beck. As the beautiful and vibrant owner of Pilates by the Sea, Laurie is a picture of good health and leads what could only be described as a “picture perfect” life. But, as the saying goes, things aren’t always what they seem. At the age of forty-two, Laurie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors repeatedly told her that it was incurable and that the treatments available would have little to no effect. Little did she know that the very news that had seemingly condemned her to death would instead grant her inner peace and a quality of life she never thought possible. Ignoring the Signs Just six years ago, Laurie Beck and her family moved from Atlanta to the beautiful town of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where they owned a second home and regularly vacationed at every opportunity. Seeking relief from an anxiety-ridden past, she longed for stability and peace of mind. Laurie opened up her own Pilates studio on Highway 30A and spent her days motivating and inspiring her students to lead healthy lives. Things finally seemed to be falling into place. It was about a year after opening her studio that Laurie discovered a rash under her right arm. A self-proclaimed “hypochondriac” who ironically avoided doctors at all cost, Laurie dismissed the rash as skin irritation from exercise. After three months of seeking advice from clients, self-diagnosis and making excuses, she finally broke down and went to a dermatologist. Two doctors and several skin creams later, the rash had not subsided. Suddenly getting the urge to examine her body for other abnormalities, Laurie discovered two lumps—one deep in each armpit—but was again dismissive because of the common rule-of-thumb for breast self-examinations; that is, if a lump exists on both sides there is no reason for concern. Even after finding three additional lumps on the back of her neck and suffering from soreness and discomfort in her left rib cage, she continued to ignore the warning signs and went on with her daily routine as usual. That all changed when she couldn’t make it through a full day without a nap or walk up a flight of stairs without panting for air. Her constant exhaustion was taking its toll on Laurie, and her husband, Bob, had taken notice. By the time he persuaded her to see a physician, six months had passed since she first discovered the rash. VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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A Third Opinion

It wasn’t until he said the words “cancer” and “leukemia” that the news resonated. Her life was forever changed. The One Percenter Laurie describes the moment she got the results as a blur. Like most people, Laurie had no idea what it meant when the doctor told her that she had a white blood cell count of 80,000 or what type of specialist the oncologist was that he had referred her to. It wasn’t until he said the words “cancer” and “leukemia” that the news resonated. Her life was forever changed. Laurie reluctantly gave the news to her husband first. Bob had, just hours prior, been given devastating news about his mother, a long-suffering survivor of lung cancer who had just been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. When Laurie told him that she, too, had an incurable disease, he could not hide his disbelief. Laurie’s mother, on the other hand, had a different reaction to the news. Laurie had barely spoken to her mom in three years. As a famous humorist, author, and motivational speaker, Loretta LaRoche was often traveling and difficult to reach. When Laurie contacted her mom and told her of the prognosis, Loretta barely said a word. She ended their short conversation by instructing Laurie to go for a massage and acupuncture. Wondering if her mother had even heard a word she had said, Laurie wrote off her mother’s advice and started doing research on her own. Staying awake until the early hours of the morning, reading anything and everything about her disease, Laurie now jokes that Bob had to take away her computer so she would stop tormenting herself with endless research. She eventually found inspiration in Lance Armstrong’s autobiography and decided that if he could fight cancer at such a young age, so could she. In her memoir, Living to Tell, Laurie describes her first visit to the oncologist as stepping into another world. Accustomed to the healthy clients she saw daily in her studio, she felt out of place in a setting where everyone was so seriously ill. When she received her official diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the doctor advised immediate chemotherapy. He recommended that she be administered the strongest and most powerful form the following week and inferred that she had merely weeks to live. 32

SPRING 2011 VIEZINE.COM

After their initial conversation, Laurie and her mother had begun to talk several times a day. Their relationship was on the mend, as if their rocky past had been long forgotten. Loretta begged her to fly up to Boston for a second opinion at the esteemed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Laurie was reluctant, partially because of her fear of flying. “I was scared to death to get on a plane because I was afraid it might crash!” She also did not want to upset her husband, who was worried about Laurie and wanted her to stay home to seek treatment locally. Laurie understood his concern and decided to go to a doctor an hour away in Pensacola. Confirming the diagnosis of the first doctor, the second doctor also recommended immediate chemo. Faced with a decision—stay in Pensacola and begin treatment or go to Boston—Laurie asked to see the facility where the chemo was administered. Almost immediately her decision was made. “Something told me, ‘Go to Boston,’” she recounted. The third doctor confirmed what she had been told before, but he had a much different approach to treatment. “We are going to save your ‘magic bullets,’” he told her, using his own terminology to describe the shots of treatment known as chemo. Instead, he suggested “watchful waiting.” He told her to watch for a few specific symptoms and, so long as her condition did not worsen, he would see her again in three months. Her mom again insisted she try acupuncture.

“Weird Stuff” Laurie was skeptical but went to the acupuncturist anyway with her new “what do I have to lose” mantra in tow. Bob’s mother had passed away two weeks after her return from Boston, and Laurie was determined more than ever to live each day to the fullest and do everything she could to beat the odds her doctors and research had stacked against her. She compares her first experience with acupuncture to feeling like a voodoo doll. Claustrophobic and wondering if her mom was just getting back at her for those awful teenage years, she was happy when her twenty-minute session was over. Her brief moment of happiness vanished when she was handed a bag of what she describes as tree bark, sticks, stones, and dirt. Laurie


Photo by Lisa Ferrick VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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To this day, she has not undergone any form of chemotherapy. Though her cancer is currently in spontaneous remission, or “in the closet,” as she calls it, she continues each day with her own daily rituals. was told that the acupuncture and herbal treatments went hand in hand. Though she struggled to drink them at first, Laurie again felt that something inside her was telling her to go for it. “I brewed that stuff up and drank it for two years,” she recalls. It was an acquaintance who opened Laurie up to the mind-body-spirit connection. She had already committed to acupuncture and herbs, but her soul also needed mending. Despite the overwhelming support and concern she received from the community, including numerous letters and get-well cards, Laurie admits to feeling pessimistic in the beginning. Her outlook began to change when she received a simple letter from a neighbor and former client that read: “I think I can help.” Again skeptical, but feeling as if she had nothing to lose, Laurie called and set up an appointment with a woman who would change her life forever.

Healing the Past It was energy healing that began to heal Laurie from the inside out. “I had to heal my spirit before I could heal my body,” she writes in her memoir. To do so, Laurie had to take a trip back to her painful past and let go of the anger and resentment she had kept bottled up for most of her life. Growing up in the Hamptons in new york, Laurie had a seemingly perfect childhood until her parents divorced when she was thirteen years of age. Feeling

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ashamed about the separation of her parents, Laurie rebelled against her mother and was in turn sent away to boarding school. She resented her busy mom for constantly choosing her career over her family and struggled with a deep feeling of abandonment. over the next five years, she put on fifty pounds and began an unhealthy cycle of overeating with excessive exercise. That all changed when she was swept off her feet at age nineteen by a man who made her feel loved and nurtured. The weight fell off and the charming man soon became her husband. However, the more she found out about him, the more fearful she became that this man was not who he appeared to be, and they divorced after the birth of their second son. The end of their marriage was not in any way the end of the anger she felt towards him, and Laurie blamed herself for allowing such a dysfunctional relationship into her life and the lives of her children. She discovered that she had carried these feelings into her future relationships, but through practice of energy healing and the support of her family and her “knight in shining armor,” Bob, Laurie was able to let go of the baggage that was holding her back.

Living to Tell While her energy healer worked to heal Laurie from the inside out, each new visit to her doctor in Boston brought good news about physical improvements in her condition. To this day, she has not undergone any form of chemotherapy. Though her cancer is currently in spontaneous remission, or “in the closet,” as she calls it, she continues each day with her own daily rituals. She finds peace in daily walks and teaching Pilates and has written a memoir called Living to Tell: Eight Little Lessons of Hope and Healing in which she recounts the steps in her unconventional journey to healing, both inside and out. Laurie has also created the jewelry line Chi Bella—a phrase she coined to mean “beautiful energy”—that includes a handmade intention piece to correspond with each of the different chapters in her story: Awaken, Energy, Healing, Hope, Positivity, Serenity, Passion, Courage and Humor. Made with organic leather and natural gemstones from all over the


Photo by Kaymleh Azan


Photo by Sheila Goode world, each piece is handmade by Laurie herself and can be worn in a variety of ways. Laurie’s jewelry line is just one way she is sharing her story and inspiring others to follow their own path, living each moment for the gift that it is. Just as a water lily can grow in the mud—a metaphor she has used to represent her journey—Laurie Beck has transformed her life and blossomed against all odds. “The way I see it, I have two options: I can face this with fear, or I can face it with love. And I choose to face it with love.”

Photo by Lisa Ferrick

The Chi Bella jewelry line is currently on display at Michael Stars in Destin Commons, Destin, Florida, and is available for purchase at Pilates by the Sea on Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and at www.chibellajewelry.com. 36

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Kitchenique A cooKing School & gourmet PAntry

When Too Many in the

Chefs

KiTChen

is a Good ThinG by Kim Turner

PhoTograPhy by Dia SaTher

L

ike so many of the real treasures on the Emerald Coast, you might need to know someone to find out about it. The locals are friendly, but who can blame them for keeping some of their best cards to their chests? Like the speakeasies of bygone days, where a password or secret knock gained you access to a place where you could get away from it all and let loose for a time, this unobtrusive shop sits quietly alongside the highway. Some of the area’s finest chefs move in and out of its doors, but it is not a restaurant. From its heart, these chefs find a stage to create some of the most innovative cuisine in the region, but it is not a theater. Kitchenique cooking school and gourmet pantry has been a cornerstone in the culinary community for over twenty years and has helped to give rise to some of the finest chefs and restaurants in Northwest Florida.

Kitchenique lies in the heart of Destin, in the City Market at Destiny just east of the Destin Commons Mall. Its proprietor, Vicki McCain, originally hails from New Orleans but has called Santa Rosa Beach home for nearly thirty years. As a child, McCain learned at the knee of a family friend in New Orleans whose property adjoined hers. “Miss Bouttée,” as McCain refers to her mentor, was of French/ Italian descent and embraced the New Orleans style and philosophy of cooking. This influence is reflected in everything at the shop—from the menus to the effortless way McCain prepares rice without measuring, to the warm, easy atmosphere guests find when they take a seat in McCain’s kitchen. Kitchenique offers over one hundred fifty different cooking classes each year—many of them taught by McCain herself. Classes range from the technical, such as knife skills, to the exotic, as with an upcoming Pacific Rim cuisine class. The store is home not only to a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, but also to superior cookware, kitchen implements, a variety of coffees and teas, hard-to-find spices and quality pantry items like real Georgia stone-ground grits and Camellia red beans. In 1985, long before the advent of the Food Network, McCain gave talented local chefs a platform to engage area residents with dishes, techniques and flavors, challenging themselves and thrilling eager audiences. Indeed, these chefs found a powerful, intimate way to connect with food enthusiasts and to inspire those people to become loyal fans who then followed those chefs from restaurant to restaurant—ultimately providing those chefs with a solid foundation for their own fine dining establishments. VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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www.sandestinwinefestival.com

Chef Dan Pettis first met McCain in 1995. Barely out of his teens, he was an assistant to area restaurateur Tim Creehan. At the time, Pettis helped to prep food at the Marina Café, then at Creehan’s Market in the outlet mall and finally at Beach Walk. “The classes were great for me. I got to help out in the beginning and then it evolved into the chef letting me do one or two recipes in a class. After 2003, we taught the classes as a duo.” Pettis opened One 20 – A Modern Bistro in Niceville in the fall of 2009. One 20’s menu reflects Pettis’s own developed style of traditional fare with a Southeast Asian or Japanese influence. Pettis acknowledges that, over the years, he has created hundreds of different recipes for classes at Kitchenique. “I’d get to preview something. I’d experiment and try something new and if it worked, I’d bring it back to the restaurant. Guests at my classes were able to try everything that I finally incorporated into the menu at One 20.” Pettis recalls one of his simpler concoctions being the most enthusiastically received. “I created a citrus-coconut sauce for my cucumber sushi rolls just for a class at Kitchenique that everyone was wild about. It is the one people ask me for the most. Kitchenique really helped me find myself as a chef. It helped young chefs get their names out as well as the kind of cuisine they could do. It helped me to become a showman and brought me out of my shell. It made me the boisterous, fun-loving chef I am today!” Pettis laughs.

CHEF DAN’S SAUCE FOR FISH OR SUSHI 1 can coco lopez 1 can coconuT milk 1 can pineapple chunks in juice 3 Tbsp. curry powder 1 Tbsp. Turmeric powder 1 jalapeno, spliT and seeded 1/2 bunch cilanTro, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 Tbsp. lime juice

Combine all the ingredients except pineapple and reduce until thick. Add the pineapple and serve.


FAT CLEMENZA’S ALFONSO’S MUSSELS & BEANS 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 can (15 oz.) of cannellini beans, undrained 1 Tsp. minced garlic 1 dozen mussels 6 cherry TomaToes, cuT in half crushed red pepper (To TasTe) black pepper (To TasTe) 4 oz. clam juice 2 oz. whiTe wine 6 small slices of iTalian whiTe bread for ToasT poinTs 1 Tbsp. chopped flaT leaf parsley

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden brown. Add all spices, white wine, cherry tomatoes and mussels. Cook two minutes, then add beans with their juices. Add clam juice, cover partially and reduce for five minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve in a bowl with toast points inserted at the sides.

Consistently ranked as “Best on the Emerald Coast” since its opening in 2007, Fat Clemenza’s brings some of the finest Italian cuisine to the area. Fat’s is modeled in the great tradition of Chicago’s Italian eateries and sports a simple chalkboard where chef/ proprietor Dom Damiano and his talented kitchen staff “play” and, like the great jazz artists of times gone by, they “riff ” off each other to spin extraordinary, high-quality classic Italian cuisine. Damiano recalls meeting McCain in the late 1990s when he attended classes at the school as a student. “I came in as an observer and I did that for about three months. My friends Buzz Woodham and Bill Davis came with me. We had a blast. Then I said to them, ‘We can do this. It’s not so hard.’ And I approached Vicki about doing a class. She was all for it and really hammed it up the first time, putting signs up all over the shop that said Danger: Men Cooking.” Damiano is describing the nascent Three Amigos classes that are now the stuff of legend at Kitchenique. Damiano, Woodham and Davis continued to teach to sold-out crowds at the school and when they gather today, they are greeted much like the Rolling Stones coming out to tour. “Kitchenique was the proving ground for Fat’s blackboard. We tried out ricotta gnocchi, lasagna, lentil soup, and panna cotta, and even improved on our tiramisu.” Hard-pressed to choose one dish that was a signature success from the Kitchenique kitchen, Damiano finally offers up his Tuscan mussels and beans. “I have held classes there for over eleven years and done literally hundreds of recipes just for class. To me, everyone who has done classes at Kitchenique and then opened a restaurant has found success. It provides a great service, bringing a wide variety of chefs and different foods into the light. It’s a great social study and a fantastic first date!” says Damiano.

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SOUTHERN BOUILLABAISSE 6 florida shrimp wiTh heads on 1/4 lb. sea scallops 4 oz. cobia 6 liTTleneck clams 2 oz. fresh crabmeaT 5 vine-ripe TomaToes, diced 1 orange, zesTed and juiced 1 lemon, zesTed and juiced 1 fennel bulb, shaved – reserve sTems for sTock

Resident chef and co-owner of the award-winning Vin’tij Wine Boutique & Bistro, John Jacobs recalls his early days at Kitchenique with a wry smile. “We didn’t have the swanky demonstration kitchen back in ’94. We had to haul around buckets of water to do our dishes in! We’d stand in front of a full house of people gathered around her counter, cooking on hotplates. It was real grassroots stuff. It was long before the Food Network when she started doing this and it really was brilliant—inspiring camaraderie and a sense of friendly competition between some of the best chefs in the area. That kind of thing was only happening in big cities. It really is a neat, special thing.” Since those early days, Jacobs recalls having hosted dozens of classes. When preparing to teach a class, Chef Jacobs takes into account all levels of interest and skill in the kitchen. “I like to do things to cross-train people and to show them the techniques they will need to make a great dish at home. That’s what I look forward to.” Vin’tij restaurant opened in the summer of 1998 to wild enthusiasm and critical acclaim. This acclaim includes Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, and Florida Trend awarded them a Golden Spoon as one of Florida’s top restaurants. “The things we did at Kitchenique helped us get our name out there as a new restaurant. People knew me from the classes I’d taught for years and that made them come in and try what we were doing in a new restaurant. The classes were an instrumental part of our advertising. There were no big corporate restaurants in the area back in the day. Go-getters in the restaurant community did classes at Kitchenique to market themselves and we all really enjoyed doing it. Love what you do and share it.” 42

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1 leek, washed and diced 3 small carroTs, peeled and diced 2 celery sTalks, washed and diced 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic 2 Tbsp. chopped shalloT 1 bay leaf 1 Tsp. fresh Thyme 2 Tbsp. chopped basil 1 bunch parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp. buTTer 4 Tbsp. exTra virgin olive oil 1 Tsp. saffron 2 cups clam juice 2 pieces of bread for grilling

Peel the shrimp, leaving the heads on (save the shells); foot the scallops (save the feet). In a sauce pot, combine the shrimp shells, scallop feet, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1 vine-ripe tomato, fennel stems, bay leaf, basil and the 2 cups clam juice. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes; strain and hold in refrigerator. In a large stock pot, sauté the garlic and shallots; add the fennel shavings, carrots, celery, leek, thyme, saffron, zest and juice of the orange and lemon, and add the clams, tomatoes and shellfish stock. Let the clams simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve.


CRAWFISH, MAYTAG & CHIPOTLE CHEESECAKE 1 lb. crawfish Tails 1 Tbsp. chipoTle puree 1/2 lb. mayTag blue cheese 1 lb. cream cheese 4 eggs 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs 3 Tbsp. buTTer, melTed 1/2 cup chives, chopped zesT of one lime pea Tendrils

Set oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse butter and bread crumbs with lime zest until the crust comes together somewhat. Remove and press into a greased springform pan, packing the bottom and sides firmly. Let crust set while preparing the filling. In a mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese, chipotle, crawfish, and chives; add eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next. Pour filling on top of the crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake 45 minutes to one hour—until cake is brown and set. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Let cool a half hour before serving. Serve with pea tendrils and red wine.

A relative newcomer to the area, Chef Carl Schaubhut of Restaurant Fire in Grayton Beach, Florida, recalled meeting McCain shortly after the restaurant opened in July of 2006. “Vicki and I shared that New Orleans connection. She came into the restaurant a few times and then asked me if I might like to teach a class. I’d never done anything like that before, but she made it so easy. Maybe it’s the way she and I grew up – where everything was a celebration of food, wine and friends.” Chef Schaubhut originally opened Fire in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina and was one of the first to reopen after the storm. Shortly thereafter, an opportunity presented itself in Grayton Beach and Fire has been thrilling diners there since. Chef Schaubhut has taught over fifteen classes at Kitchenique and tries to schedule at least one class every season so that he can take advantage of the variety of foods that are at their best at different times throughout the year. Incorporating elements and inspirations from his own culinary background, Chef Schaubhut brings Italian, French and classic New Orleans influences into his menu. “The Gulf Coast has an appreciation for great food, so I can pull from all different cultures and cuisines when I teach a class. Vicki appreciates and embraces that. This whole area is ripe with possibilities. The way people celebrate art, music and food here—we want to be pioneers and on the forefront of that movement and expose people to good handmade food.”

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Looking to the future, Kitchenique has ever-greater aspirations, not the least of which is to continue to be the proving ground for our area’s most creative chefs, and also to provide opportunities and audiences for the next great chefs. In a complicated time when celebrity and cuisine are often confused, what can get overlooked is the simple art of cooking well. This is not lost at Kitchenique—where there is always an extra plate of delicious food, a full glass of exceptional wine, and people who share your love of these simple things.

Kitchenique’s class schedule can be found at www.Kitchenique.com, or stop by their store at 36150 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, Florida. One 20 – A Modern Bistro can be found at 120 Partin Drive North, Niceville, Florida. Fat Clemenza’s is located at 12273 Emerald Coast Parkway, #101, Miramar Beach, Florida.

owner of Kitchenique, Vicki mcCain, with Joe Skelly, and Shad Weathersby Photo by Kim Turner

SE ARCH

Vin’tij Wine Boutique & Bistro is located at 10859 Emerald Coast Parkway, #103, Miramar Beach, Florida. Restaurant Fire can be found at 55 Clayton Lane, Grayton Beach, Florida.

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FiVe YeArs in the MAkinG: “V” restAurAnt At hOtel ViridiAn tO deBut On hiGhWAY 30-A A teaser branding campaign is launched – What’s Blue and Green and V All Over?

The much-anticipated Hotel Viridian, located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 30-A and 395 in Seagrove Beach, Florida, is currently under construction and nearing the completion of phase one of the two-phase project. The hotel’s name, “Viridian,” draws its inspiration from and pays homage to the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico—hence the teaser campaign: “What’s Blue and Green and V All Over?” The single-story 6,700-squarefoot restaurant “V,” with plans to open doors to patrons in March 2011, will be the first phase completed with the hotel portion coming soon.

“This project has been in the making for over five years. My partners and I consider it a beacon of hope for the community—and a true blessing that we’re able to see our vision realized,” said co-owner and seasoned restaurateur George Hartley. “V” will offer a relaxed, eclectic atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor dining for up to 120 patrons, and a menu focused on fresh seafood and produce that is locally sourced. “We’re at the beach in Seagrove—a place that has its own unique personality—and we’re going to cater to our clientele,” added Hartley. “It was a collective decision to open the restaurant first, enabling us to showcase the spirit and ambience that will be reflected in the boutique-style hotel when it’s completed. We’ve assembled a team of culinary professionals that is unparalleled in the area, and we believe the spirit of excellence found here will raise the bar of upscale dining along 30-A.” 48

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serVinG

as testament to Hartley’s statement were the recent Preview Hard Hat Dinner and Party events held on property in early November. Restaurant veteran and “V” general manager Sean Goss, executive chef David Cunningham, former chef of the recently closed Commander’s Palace at the Emerald Grande, and executive chef David Carrier, formerly of the famed Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry and most recently chef and owner of Avenue Sea in Apalachicola, Florida, created an unrivaled culinary experience. Together they created a menu hybrid that takes influences from each and promises to deliver quality fare at an affordable price. “As a central gathering and dining venue, ‘V’ will be the heartbeat of Hotel Viridian and will act as a showpiece for our master plan of what life will be like there,” added co-owner and partner Chip Haring. Hotel Viridian promises to be the jewel at the center of the new downtown Seagrove project with each of the thirty boutique hotel rooms and ten villas available for purchase as a fractional ownership. Beach Properties of Florida are the exclusive brokers for Hotel Viridian and will be opening a satellite office on-site. The qualified real estate experts plan to use “V” as a glimpse into the future of the project—“a slice of life” model will unfold on a daily basis to reveal the stylish personality of the restaurant and hotel.


From left to right: Hunter Harman, George Hartley, Chip Haring, Sean Goss and Roger Godwin

“It’s rare to be able to showcase real estate in this manner and we believe it is going to be a great sales tool to sell this new concept to the community,” added Beach Properties of Florida broker and co-owner Hunter Harman.

The hotel’s luxury king-size units will vary from 600-square-foot studios to 1,200-square-foot corner suites and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows to private terraces offering expansive views overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, custom-designed furnishings, oversized closets, and opulent bathrooms with freestanding sauna tubs and spas. Hotel Viridian’s ultrachic campus-style setting will include a lobby bar, the restaurant “V,” a world-class spa and wellness center, retail shops, and ample parking on the north side of the property. A rooftop garden will boast an infinity-edge pool and five permanent cabanas. The modern-inspired design is the brainchild of architect Roger Godwin, principal of Destinbased DAG Architects, in collaboration with McWhorter Architects of Seagrove Beach. The developers of Hotel Viridian recently acquired the

Gulf-front property directly across Highway 30-A to ensure that future development of that property is done in such a way as to protect the integrity of the hotel’s visual corridors of the Gulf—thereby protecting the investment of future Viridian owners. “A Miami-style influence to the architectural vernacular with clean lines is melded with an old-Florida Art Deco to create a unique statement for 30A’s unique neighborhood of Seagrove Beach,” said Roger Godwin.

To learn more about real estate opportunities, visit www.beachpropertiesofflorida.com or www.hotelviridian.com. To learn about daily updates on restaurant “V,” please visit their Facebook on www.hotelviridian.com.

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photography by pure 7 studios

O

nce upon a time in a land not so far away

a young couple had dreams of a storybook wedding; but, alas, that pesky little nuisance, “money,” stood obstinately in their way. A few years ago, the lovely Deanna Dyer— with a megawatt smile and a sweet countenance—had fallen in love with her Prince Charming after meeting him in Niceville, Florida. Kevin Kramer—an affable, charming, and endearing man— passionately loved his intended princess, Deanna. Together, they had a baby girl and named her Ava—she had just celebrated her second birthday. The women in Kevin’s life are truly the fairest in the land. On the glorious and sunny day of November 13, 2010, The Legendary Wedding Giveaway – Love Is in the Air sprinkled fairy dust and sunshine on Kevin and Deanna when they said their “I dos” at the Emerald Grande. Fairy tales can and do come true—and not just in books. Maybe you’ll believe after reading the real-life story of how Deanna and Kevin’s dream wedding came together…

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H

ere’s how it all began.

In a lackluster economy, it was going to take an imaginative and unique approach to convince merchants that if they advertised in VIE – People + Places, they were likely to see a return on their investment. About a year ago, while brainstorming for creative ways to collaborate with one of our advertisers, the Destin-based company Legendary, Inc., an idea was birthed: to give away a wedding that dreams were made of. The thing about a good idea is that you need people to first believe in the idea and then have a real desire to carry it out. Success is usually found in the details of execution, and that might be why so many don’t pursue them; many ideas fall by the wayside because too many obstacles get in the way. But in this case, the right people aligned and, in a recessed economy, the unimaginable happened. Magic. VIE and Legendary’s Emerald Grande, overlooking the beautiful Destin Harbor and Destin Pass, united to give away a dream wedding to one lucky couple. In November 2009, VIE met with Legendary’s chief operating officer and acting general manager of Emerald Grande, Bruce Craul, and their marketing director, Jamie Hall, in the Emerald Grande boardroom to hammer out the details. With a mere three months to Valentine’s Day—the day the event would take place at Commander’s Palace—there wasn’t much time to coordinate and market the giveaway. It was a lofty undertaking but all were committed to canvassing the community to find sponsors that would help build the dream wedding. “We have forged a wonderful relationship with VIE magazine,” said Craul. “They have been a great partner in this event.” As the signature sponsor, Emerald Grande was the first to donate: the wedding venue and catering services for up to one hundred guests. The giveaway could not have happened without their support. “The wedding market contributes to 80 percent of our revenue. To be able to showcase Emerald Grande as the perfect wedding venue, this was a no-brainer,” said Craul.

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M

eanwhile back in paradise In the search for the remaining sponsors, talks began with community merchants to join in, and within a week all the necessary sponsors were secured: Interval International, Destin Jewelers, Simply Elegant Bridal, American DJ Company, Confections on the Coast, Salon Twist, Spa 98, Pure 7 Studios, Florals By The Sea, Bright Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Ya Ya’s Salon, and Linens by the Sea—all desiring to make a lucky couple’s dreams come true. Aggressive marketing was launched, and over the course of three months, a flood of contestants entered for their chance to win the wedding giveaway.

The Big Announcement Three couples were randomly selected as finalists from the group of entries to the Legendary Wedding Giveaway, and on February 14, 2010, along with an excited crowd at Commander’s Palace, they awaited the announcement of the winning names. “It was an exciting night and remarkable to think that over 1600 people had entered the giveaway,” said Jamie Hall. “We actually pulled it off !” Just before the winning names were proclaimed, Bruce Craul put the icing on the cake with an unexpected announcement—that in addition to the already amazing wedding package, the winners of the giveaway would also receive a weeklong honeymoon at their choice of one of Interval International’s resort properties, which are located in forty-two countries around the world. Jocelyn Langton and William Cope were initially announced as the winners with two other couples as first- and second-place runners-up. “To realize that

“Meeting each of the sponsors was a delight. It felt like a fantasy each and every step of the way,” said Deanna. “Being filmed for a reality show while picking out jewelry at Destin Jewelers was surreal and somewhat intimidating. But everyone was so nice and friendly to me and Kevin, it really made it easy to enjoy the incredible process.”

Photo by Jessie Shepard

Photo by Jessie Shepard

this couple had just won a magnificent wedding was pretty significant considering the current state of the economy and the simple fact that they did not have to worry about financing it,” added VIE account executive Jim Ryan. As part of the Legendary Wedding Giveaway promotion, VIE was to produce a web-based reality video series called Love Is In the Air to capture the bride and groom’s blissful planning leading up to the momentous day of saying “I do!” A few weeks following the winning announcement, filming of the second episode, “The Wedding Planner,” took place as Jocelyn and William met Jackie Gibson, event planner for Legendary, Inc. Just as preparations for the third episode were being made, something happened—Jocelyn and William decided to put their wedding plans on hold and withdrew from the promotion. Although the news came as some shock, we wished Jocelyn and William well. After all, that kind of decision is not one to be made lightly. But, because we had planned for the unexpected, we had the great pleasure of being able to award the prize to the next runners-up in the giveaway, Deanna Dyer and Kevin Kramer. The young couple was informed that, due to some inexplicable fate, they were the winners by default. To properly celebrate the fact that they had won, an official celebratory event was arranged at Emerald Grande. The day was indeed exciting. And, the planning began ... again! Destiny certainly has a way of working things out as intended.

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The webisode “The Dress” is one of my favorites as we get to see all of the beautiful gowns that Deanna tried on that day … except the one she actually wore on her wedding day. The best was saved for last. The Love Is in the Air series can be viewed on www.viezine.com

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A

nd they lived happily ever after.

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To happiness and love...To Kevin and Deanna Kramer.


Happiness.

When your dream wedding includes sand between your toes and your vows perfectly timed with the sunset, nothing could be better than the sugar-white sands of our beaches. Panama City Beach is the ideal place to say, “I do.� Available for hosting an intimate gathering or a sit-down reception for 1,000, The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach can create a variety of settings for you to choose from for a memorable experience. To start making plans for your special wedding, please contact Kerri Maney at 850.235.4977 or email kerri.maney@resortspcbeach.com.

www. resorts pc beac h. co m/vi e


VIEtv CHAPTER S

During the days that followed, Deanna and Kevin’s reactions changed from disbelief to confident exhilaration as they met with the various sponsors of the giveaway to plan their big day. The joy that surrounded the planning of their wedding was encouraging, and despite both the economy and the oil spill, their dream was still in tact and under way. “Meeting each of the sponsors was a delight. It felt like a fantasy each and every step of the way,” said Deanna. “Being filmed for a reality show while picking out jewelry at Destin Jewelers was surreal and somewhat intimidating. But everyone was so nice and friendly to me and Kevin, it really made it easy to enjoy the incredible process.” Pure 7 Studios’ photographer Ryan Manthey and wife Erica recounted, “Deanna and Kevin’s wedding may have been one of the most fun weddings that we’ve ever attended. We’re so happy to be part of their special day.” The amazing photos are a testament to Pure 7 Studios’ photographic abilities and that this was an extra special day for them as well. The Love Is in the Air webisode series can be viewed on www.VIEZINE.com. Created by VIEtv, each episode catalogs Deanna and Kevin’s meetings with the various sponsors of the Legendary Wedding Giveaway. The webisode “The Dress” is one of my favorites as we get to see all of the beautiful gowns that Deanna tried on the day they visited Simply Elegant Bridal in Fort Walton Beach ... except for the one she actually wore down the aisle. Obviously, that one was saved for the groom! I love believing in dreams, and, yes, I’m a sucker for fairy tales! And ... they lived happily ever after. To happiness and love. To Kevin and Deanna Kramer! The End. 62

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Love Is in the Air – Chapter 1: “The Announcement” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 2: “The Wedding Planner” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 3: “Life Happens” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 4: “The Dress” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 5: “The Ring” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 6: “The Cake” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 7: “The Flowers” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 8: “The Photographer and the DJ” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 9: “The Dentist and the Spa” Love Is in the Air – Chapter 10: “The Wedding Day” Watch all ten chapters of "Love Is in the Air" at www.VIEZINE.com/VIEtv VENDORS Emerald Grande: Wedding venue valued at $10,000 – www.EmeraldGrande.com VIE: Promotional advertising valued at $15,000 – www.VIEZINE.com Interval International: Romantic getaway valued at $10,000 – Courtesy of Bruce Craul – www.IntervalWorld.com Destin Jewelers: Engagement ring valued at $5,000 – www.DestinJewelers.com Simply Elegant Bridal: Wedding gown valued at $1,500 – www.SEBridals.com American DJ Company: Music for the big day valued at $950 – www.CelebrationsByTheSea.com Confections on the Coast: Wedding and groom’s cakes valued at $700 – www.ConfectionsOnTheCoast.com Spa 98: Spa treatments valued at $500 – www.Spa98.com Pure 7 Studios: Wedding photography valued at $3,500 – www.Pure7Studios.com Linens by the Sea: Wedding celebration table linens valued at $1,100 – www.LinensByTheSea.com Bright Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry: The perfect smile valued at $5,500 – www.BrightSmilesDentist.com Ya Ya’s Salon: Wedding party hair styling valued at $1,000 Florals By The Sea: Floral arrangements valued at $8,100 – www.FloralsByTheSea.com


HARBOR RESTAURANT GROUP

W EDDINGS

The Perfect Emerald Coast Location For Every Bride

RECEPTIONS

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BRIDAL SHOWERS

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Seacrest Beach (Formerly Chops 30A)

Shelby Ladner, Wedding Event Planner • 850.502.3347 • weddings@harborrestaurantgroup.com


NEW BEGINNINGS Splendor on the Gulf Coast

Photography by Meg Baisden www.megphoto.com

Stefanie & Jake Graduates of Florida State University, Stefanie and Jake Meyer often crossed paths during the past nine years—as friends, work colleagues, and even neighbors. They were happily married on October 2, 2010, at Eden Gardens State Park in Point Washington, Florida, followed by a reception at the WaterSound Beach Club on the Gulf of Mexico. Events by Nouveau Flowers designed the elegant setting, while the club’s general manager, Shay Bell, coordinated the evening. Hors d’oeuvres and dinner were provided by the club’s chef, Mikel Anderson, the cake was a creation of Cakes by Tanis, the photography by Meg Baisden Photography, and music by Heritage Band. The bride and groom currently reside in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where they work in their marketing company, I Will Design For Food. Father of the Bride – Bob Carpenter

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Maid of Honor – Amy Bonezzi

Best Man – Doug Wilkins


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Photography by Paul Johnson Photography www.pauljohnsonphoto.com

Brandie & Thomas Brandie Dodson and Thomas Oliver met in Atlanta, Georgia, following college graduation, Brandie from Florida State University and Thomas from Auburn University. The wedding ceremony was held at the Caliza Pool at Alys Beach on October 9. David Pretlow of the Beach Mice played violin for the ceremony. The bridesmaids wore J. Crew’s Bow Monde dress in Caspian blue silk taffeta. The wedding reception was held at Café Thirty-A, where David Kessler coordinated the evening’s events. Nouveau Flowers transformed Café Thirty-A with a South Beach vibe and the Beach Mice played for the guests. Yascha Becker created the wedding cake, and Yvette Nation was the makeup artist and wedding coordinator. The couple will reside in Atlanta, Georgia, where Brandie is a territory manager with OneCoast, LLC, and Thomas is a project manager with CB Richard Ellis. 66

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Dana & Robert Dana Dietrich and Robert Hahn married on October 17, 2009, at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Florida. Mrs. Mary Anderson created a gorgeous bouquet of white trumpet lilies for Dana. Bridesmaids wore classic black satin cocktail dresses and carried white tulips. The reception immediately followed at the Lee House bed-and-breakfast in historic downtown Pensacola where the Motown-style band 2nd Coming of Montgomery, Alabama, provided music and Nancy’s Haute Affairs served great Southern favorites. Both the wedding cake and the groom’s cake were done to perfection by local favorite Betty Weber. Dana is a real estate broker with the Howard Group in Destin, Fla., and Robert is an assistant vice-president with Fisher Brown Insurance in Pensacola. The bride and groom now live in Pensacola. 68

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Simply Elegant The Bridal Shop

Voted “Best Wedding shop” Six Years in a Row 850.862.3334 | Sebridals.com 14 Racetrack Road NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547


Take Time For Yourself... Visit us to enjoy the calming moment of stress relief before every experience Present this ad to receive a FREE glossing treatment with your next scheduled hair service* Call to schedule your appointment

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Photo by Cody Jordan

Photo by E Photography

Photo by Cody Jordan

Photo by E Photography

Photo by Cody Jordan

Photo by Cody Jordan

Briane & Shane Briane Workman and Shane O’Dell were married at Ventosa Vineyards in Upstate New York on June 25, 2010. There were fifteen groomsmen, fourteen bridesmaids, and two “mini-maids.” Instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, the wedding party delighted in a six-hour wine tour. Briane planned and designed the wedding with her business partner, Hillary Fosdyck of Monark Events. Bridesmaid Amy Pozzi baked the red velvet cupcakes and bridesmaid Nicole Skinner was the hair stylist. From the Emerald Coast were DJ B-Boy Productions, singer-songwriter Joey Peters, and photographers Cody Jordan and E Photography. The evening was finished off by sending up Chinese wish lanterns.

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Sandestin Introduces a Destination WeDDing With Big-City style

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

teams with leading vendors to showcase high-fashion weddings on the resort. Love can be chic, love can be sophisticated, and love can be glamorous—if love can be all of these things, so can your wedding. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has teamed with the crème de la crème of local and national vendors to introduce a new kind of wedding to the Gulf Coast, giving a high-fashion twist to the traditional destination wedding. Envision a canopy of lights, an illuminated dance floor, pink martinis, a cool bay breeze, and of course, the beautiful Florida sunset. The vendors selected for this piece, locally and nationally, have teamed with us to introduce a vision for a trendy, city-style wedding. We are thrilled to have partnered with the following vendors: Monark Events, Cody Jordan Photography, Priscilla of Boston, Showtime Events, Black Tie Formalwear, Avantgarde-Aveda Salon, Chef Yascha Becker, and Sandestin Catering Staff.

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will you be mine?

Q&A with Jamie Gummere

To put the icing on the cake of our wedding issue, VIE – People + Places had a one-on-one discussion about nuptials with wedding connoisseur Jamie Gummere. Jamie, also known as the Wedding Girl, is the owner of www.MarryMeAtTheBeach.com, a website providing wedding information for couples who are getting or want to get married along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast.

VIE: How did you become involved in weddings? Jamie: I love weddings! Formerly an editor of a local wedding magazine, I realized there was not much information online for brides looking to get married along the Emerald Coast, so I started www.MarryMeAtTheBeach.com to fill that need. I’m not a wedding planner (God bless ’em, they are some of the hardest working people I know!), but simply a gal that wanted to help couples find wedding information. And it just so happens that I’m one of those people whose eyes light up at the sight of lace, gowns, lights, flowers, and, of course, diamonds! After all, I am a woman! It just seemed like such a natural fit. The greatest gift that has come out of this adventure is the friendships I’ve made with these couples, many of whom I stay in contact with to this day.

We certainly host couples that have never vacationed here, too. In fact, I met a couple that had booked their wedding at our beach solely from seeing photographs of another Gulf Coast wedding in a magazine!

VIE: Where do most couples want to say their vows? Jamie: There are so many unique venues in our area that host beautiful weddings and receptions. From resorts to botanical gardens, churches, venues on the bay, state parks, and art galleries, there is certainly a venue for everyone. The most popular venue is, by far, the beach. The wide variety of options is certainly a plus in “recruiting” couples to marry along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast.

VIE: Why do couples choose the Emerald Coast for their weddings?

VIE: In terms of style, what’s most popular with beach weddings?

Jamie: I always ask this question to couples and I love to hear their responses! Most brides and/or grooms have emotional ties to the beach. They grew up vacationing at the beach and have fond memories from those vacations. Saying their vows at the beach is a great way to keep memories alive while continuing to create new memories. It’s beautiful to see and hear the stories of so many generations bringing their families back to the same beaches they visited as children.

Jamie: I love seeing the incorporation of natural elements into a wedding and/or reception. Many couples request that the style of the event mimic the feel of the beach—relaxed and casual. I can’t think of a nicer compliment to our coastal towns. I also love seeing receptions with a blend of natural elements and glamour: warm candlelight on the tables, chandeliers hanging from trees, and cozy lounge areas at a reception—just a touch of glitz nestled into nature.

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Photography by Paul Johnson Photography

“I’m one of those people whose eyes light up at the sight of lace, gowns, lights, flowers, and, of course, diamonds! After all, I am a woman!” Jamie Gummere, the Wedding Girl VIE: From a business perspective, how is the wedding business faring in relation to tourism? Jamie: In speaking with vendors, the wedding industry has remained strong the last few years despite a dip in tourism. In my conversations with destination brides, they have admitted to cutting back their normal lifestyle activities (e.g., dining out, shopping, vacations) to allocate more for the wedding. As a trend, I think we will continue to see an increase in the revenue that weddings bring to our area, more venues opening up to weddings and receptions, and a continued positive response from locals. Have a wedding question for Jamie Gummere? E-mail her at Jamie@MarryMeAtTheBeach.com

131 Racetrack Rd NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 850.243.3333 www.vandegriff.com


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Photography by Cody Jordan

PURE&Co uture Salon Boutique

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Wendy Griffin 256.225.3373 • Adrianne Brackett 850.218.9987 Susan Shirley 850.240.0180 • Ashley Carter 850.585.6255

We Specialize in Weddings • Located in City Market

36150 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Ste 104, Destin, FL 32541 • www.pureandcouture.com

Escape to Affordable Luxury

The Marriot Hotels Sandestin at Grand Boulevard are the perfect locations to host your rehearsal dinner or accommodate your out-of-town guests. Enjoy all the amenities of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort as part of your destination dream wedding.

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A F I N E APO THE CARY BO U T IQ UE

patchoulis.com 850.231.2005

ROSEMARY BEACH


BRIDAL MUST-HAVES By Pish Posh Patchouli’s

Photo provided by Pish Posh Patchouli’s

1. Branché Silk Pillow Case: Get a good night’s sleep and wake up looking fabulous! A decadent gift for your bridesmaids they’|| enjoy for years to come. $53–$98

5. Custom-Scented Stardust Lotion: Just the right shimmer for your shoulders, arms, and legs. Customize your own scent! $9–$29

2. Locally Made: Hand-crafted soaps, lotions, and more for customized wedding favors. Wedding favors start at $1.75

6. Baudelaire Horsehair Wash Mitt: Welcome to the world of extreme exfoliation. With regular use, this horsehair mitt makes your skin softer, more toned, improves circulation and reduces cellulite! $27

3. Blinc Kiss Me Mascara: No runny mascara here! Perfect for the emotional bridesmaid. $26

7. Lippman Nail Color in Baby Love: The quintessential wedding day color for you and your bridesmaids. $17

4. Astara Skin Care Green Papaya Mask: This has been dubbed “the hot date mask”—gives your face a fantastic glow! $42

These products and more can be found at Pish Posh Patchou|i’s located in Rosemary Beach or online at www.patchoulis.com.

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Pictured (left to right): Steve Riggs, CRI PartnerIn-Charge Destin/South Walton office; Dana Hahn, Leasing Administrator Howard Group; Tracy Conerly and Tim Fulmer, CRI Partners; Merlin Allan Vice President of Real Estate Howard Group.

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• Vibrant and creative work environment with inspiring views • Flexible Class “A” office work space with state-of-the-art business amenities, including conference rooms, teleconferencing and wi fi • Close proximity to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport opening in 2010 • Numerous casual and fine dining options for associates and clients; first-class shopping • Two Marriott hotels offering 300 combined rooms for out-of-town clients • Adjacent to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Medical Campus

“Grand Boulevard offers our firm an easily accessible, high profile location with a multitude of convenient on-site amenities, including two Marriott hotels and a variety of restaurants that can serve as alternative meeting spaces,” stated Steve Riggs, partner of CRI. “When we meet clients, we can walk to a number of great restaurants while continuing the business discussion and not lose momentum.”

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S

haped by her South Florida upbringing, Tamara Bickley has a sharp eye for artistic creation and the reinvention of space. Whether it’s new construction or renovation, her instinct and experience have led to many successful outcomes.

Since 1991, Bickley has been transforming ideas into realities for her clients. All of these successes started with a thought, a small idea that was discussed, refined and expanded into a plan of action that she could design, manage, and turn into reality. Bickley’s work can be seen in and around Atlanta and in South Florida. She was awarded First Place by ACI in the 2007 Residential Awards category for her vision and use of concrete brick on the Wieuca Road Modern House project. Additionally, Bickley has renovated and profitably flipped properties repeatedly with tremendous accolades from her peers and clients. Bickley is an unexpected combination of talents: part designer and part builder. This makes her uniquely suited to help clients create settings that speak to their souls and define their own personal style. Her fashion background has brought high style from the runway to the hallway. Bickley’s involvement in real estate in Atlanta brings an extra asset to the table. She has an in-depth understanding of how to help clients avoid overbuilding their space for resale. So everything looks fabulous—but what about function? Bickley possesses the passion not


only to make a room look aesthetically pleasing, but also to serve many functions. If your project seems like an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle, Bickley has an approach for dealing with the most challenging issues and finding the missing pieces of that puzzle. Moving into the future, Bickley is constantly looking for new revelations and functional designs that relate to our economic times and environmental awareness. Want to know more? Examples of Bickley’s unmatched commitment to design and the limitless possibilities of her work can be found on the Projects page of her website at www.tamarabickleydesign.com.

“YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT... WE KNOW HOW TO FIND IT.” 30 Y EAR S LIVING, M AR KE T I N G AND S ELLING T H E EM ER ALD CO AS T L I F E S T YL E .

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Peru’s Holy Grail of HikinG a spiritual Journey to Machu Picchu Story and Photography by Kim Duke-Layden

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e

very December, I start compiling my list of upcoming New Year’s resolutions. My roster typically consists of several self-improvement goals, a few financial and physically challenging aspirations, and a couple of bucket-list trips to satisfy my insatiable wanderlust. Topping my 2010 list of personal achievements was traveling to Peru last April for two weeks of action-packed adventure from the Andes to the Amazon. The highlight was a four-day trek along the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which was my most ambitious physical challenge ever. Read on for part one of my incredible journey. The work weeks leading up to my trip felt like an endless spin on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The day before my departure, I was laid off from my corporate job of sixteen years—something I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t start to unwind until the movie began on my flight to Lima. As evidence that God has a sense of humor, Up in the Air was the in-flight film. I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized George Clooney’s character was a professional “hatchet man” hired by big corporations to downsize their work force.

Machu Picchu, Day 4

After landing at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport, my cab drove along the scenic Pacific Coast en route to Hotel Britania (www.hbritaniamiraflores. com) in Miraflores, one of Lima’s nicest seaside suburbs. I loved Miraflores’s old-world charm, beautiful Parque Central and friendly locals. On the second night, I met my trip leader, Maruja, from Gap Adventures, (www.gapadventures.com), the economical adventure outfitter I used for my trip to Guatemala last year; and my travel

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companions, newlyweds Jane and Dave from Toronto. The rest of our group cancelled after Iceland’s volcanic eruptions disrupted their flights from Europe. Since our trip had a guaranteed departure date, the three of us received a private tour. During dinner, the three of us got acquainted and discovered we shared backgrounds in marketing. Dave worked for Visa and Jane specialized in web-based marketing. By dessert, we felt like old friends. Our tour of the famed Sacred Valley began in Cusco. Situated southeast of Lima, high in the Andes Mountains, Cusco is considered the birthplace and capital of the mighty Inca empire. Our shuttle jostled over cobblestones as we passed Cusco’s beautiful main square, the Plaza de Armas. Colonial-style buildings with clay-tiled roofs surrounded the gardenlike setting. The grandest structure was the Catedral, whose version of the painting The Last Supper is unique in that it shows Christ and his disciples eating guinea pig. Nearby, we checked into Hotel Cusco Plaza II (www.cuscoplazahotels.com), which has an inviting hacienda-style courtyard enclosed under a glass atrium. After sightseeing, I met Federico (Freddy) Rupa, a thirty-year-old indigenous Andean of Quechua, Peru—my trail-guide-to-be for the momentous hike that was to take place in two days. Freddy said that during his six and one-half years as a guide, he had hiked the thirtyfive-mile trek to Machu Picchu two hundred eighty times! Luckily, I applied early enough (minimum 3–4 months in advance) to secure one of only two hundred coveted daily visitor permits for the extremely popular classic Inca Trail. Jane and Dave applied too late and were booked on the alternate Lares Trek. The next day, Maruja, Jane, Dave, and I departed Cusco for a guided tour of the lush Sacred Valley. Throughout our drive, we intertwined with the Urubamba River, where we saw sobering reminders of last January’s devastating floods and mudslides that claimed twenty lives, left thousands homeless, and disrupted train service for months. In support of Gap Adventure’s sustainable tourism efforts, we visited a floodravaged village and bought hand-woven goods of llama and alpaca wool from its women’s cooperative. 88

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Our tour ended in charming Ollantaytambo, where we explored ancient master-planned streets and marveled at its Sun Temple fortress. The next morning—the day of the big hike—the air was abuzz with excitement. Within hours, many of us were beginning Peru’s “holy grail of hiking.” After breakfast, I joined Freddy and met my fellow trekkers for the day: Sofie and Josefine, best friends from Denmark taking a break from college and traveling around the world; gazellelike Claire, a recent college graduate now working as an occupational therapist in Melbourne, Australia; newlyweds Kate and Justin, who, coincidentally, were also from Melbourne—Kate was a dietician and Justin worked in transportation sales; and, thirty-twoyear-old ophthalmologist Brian from Ireland. And then there was yours truly, the eldest of our group. It was a bumpy bus ride to the start of the trail at Piscacucho. We parked in a grassy field where hundreds

of uniformed porters, hired by various adventure companies, packed gear and provisions for the trail. Our feet crunched along the gravel path leading towards the starting checkpoint. I felt grateful the trail had reopened after several months of repairs; and although it was “rainy season,” the sun shone brightly. After checking in and posing for photos, we followed the bridge over the Urubamba and up the dusty path. Freddy gathered us for his trail ritual. He passed around a bag of coca leaves and instructed us to each take three. We then fanned the leaves out in our hands so they resembled the sacred glacier peaks of Wakay Willka that towered behind him. With each leaf, we made a wish and blew on it. Freddy also taught us about chewing coca leaves, which is a deep-rooted Quechua custom that has thrived for centuries and serves as a cure-all for altitude sickness,


mold transform into colorful pigments for dyeing wool; and Freddy explained how porters drank chicha, a potent, fermented corn brew for numbing pain. Seated in our dining tent, we lunched on fresh trout that our guide, and chef, expertly prepared from his canvas kitchen. When we resumed the hike, our porters remained to pack up everything, and still they beat us to camp by several hours. Before dinner we participated in another trail tradition—introducing the crew. Freddy introduced and translated as each of the fourteen Quechua cooks and porters spoke. Ranging in age from twenty to fifty-one, several made poignant, heartfelt speeches. Afterwards, we introduced ourselves and took group photos.

Except for two killer hills, the first day’s trek was easy; however, I grew nervous about the next day’s hike up Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass. Warmiwañusca, whose name is derived from the silhouette created by its mountain ridges, is notoriously known as the trail’s highest pass. On Day 2, my alarm clock sounded at 5:05 a.m. Outside, in the dark, I heard the crew stirring. I strapped on my headlamp and packed, while porters brought us warm water for washing our faces and cups of tea brewed from coca leaves. For breakfast we ate quinoa porridge and omelets, washed down with more tea. By 7:00 a.m., we were hiking. As we reported to the second checkpoint, each

Cathedral, Cusco

fatigue, hunger, thirst, headaches, and stomach ailments. For many cultures, the coca leaf remains controversial because one of its fifteen alkaloids contains cocaine. Freddy demonstrated the correct technique for folding ten leaves into a tight bundle and tucking them between the cheek and gums, like chewing tobacco. Strictly for research purposes, I placed the bittertasting leaves in my mouth and proceeded down the trail. I spat them out after fifteen minutes as Freddy suggested. Nothing happened. After Kate and Justin voiced similar results, I grew skeptical of the coca leaf ’s alleged powers. The landscape transitioned from flat, desertlike terrain to hilly cloud forest. During frequent stops, Freddy educated us about indigenous plants and fruits; we ate “tuna” (cactus fruit), whose juicy flesh tasted like watermelon; we witnessed grayish cactus

Scenery of ruins, Day 1

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porter’s pack was individually weighed to insure none exceeded the strictly enforced fifty-pound limit. The undulating dirt trail through the cloud forest was easier than I expected. The lush trees and streams reminded me of Costa Rica. When we started gaining altitude, I gave coca leaves another try; however, this time I chewed them for longer intervals, like Freddy. The trekkers farther ahead of us resembled ants zigzagging up an endless anthill. As the incline grew increasingly difficult, I wished for approaching porters so I could yell out, “Porters up! Porters up!” signaling a halt until they passed. However, Josefine’s tenacity inspired me. Although very sick, she pushed on. Four hours and fourteen thousand feet later, we proudly stood on Warmiwañusca’s windy summit. I basked in the moment. Gravity (and muffled obscenities) dragged me down the two-hour, knee-jarring descent to the Pacaymayo campground. I immediately noticed our campsite was number five—my lucky number—further affirmation that divine intervention helped propel me over the pass. Upon entering camp, the crew applauded me, as they customarily did each time we gringos completed a hike. This time I felt deserving.

The sweeping vistas from the thirteen-thousand-foot peak were stunning and the gradual descent along scenic ridges continuously held surprises. other wild orchids. We “refueled” in the rainforest and hiked in the warm rain. We laughed when Sofie and Josefine looked like costumed condors in their colorful rain ponchos with pointy hoods. And we cringed while crossing a treacherous section of rocks called the “Gringo Killer.” By the time we reached Wiñay Wayna (Forever Youthful), it was sunny and the view of San Miguel’s majestic snowcapped peak was breathtaking. Equally wonderful, this campground, unlike the others, had showers. Our chef prepared a special dinner and baked us a coca cake. Afterwards, we participated in our last trail tradition, presenting the crew with their well-earned tips. Despite my rusty Spanglish,

While we played cards, Freddy said that, although the next day’s distance was longer, the toughest hiking was behind us. I felt relieved. Ignorance is bliss. On Day 3, we awoke to chilly, overcast skies. After eating, we started our eight-hour trek. I forgot it started with a two-hour ascent up the secondhighest pass. As we climbed huge stone steps, my aching legs felt like lead and I couldn’t catch my breath. Thankfully, I remembered Brian had given me his bag of coca leaves. I quickly began chewing a generous number of leaves and gulped down an energy drink. Shortly thereafter, my breathing miraculously improved and the soreness in my legs dissipated. In fact, I felt like sprinting the rest of the way up. That’s when I became a true believer in the coca leaf. The sweeping vistas from the thirteen-thousandfoot peak were stunning and the gradual descent along scenic ridges continuously held surprises. We hiked through horizontal and vertical tunnels. We saw colorful “baby shoes,” “dancing ladies,” and

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Machu Picchu, Day 4

everyone cheered after I expressed our immense gratitude to our wonderful crew. Day 4 began very early. By daylight we had traversed well beyond the final checkpoint and were within minutes of catching our first glimpse of Machu Picchu or “Old Mountain.” After crawling up the Moon Gate’s vertical steps and scaling the final ridge to the Sun Gate, we scrambled to the edge and gazed down at the mesmerizing “Lost City of the Incas.” The moment felt surreal. At the main entrance below, Jane and Dave joined us as we toured this mysterious, mind-boggling site, which no words can aptly describe. Under postcard-perfect skies, we followed Freddy along cascading, verdant terraces to


countless stone temples and ceremonial baths and hillocks with stunning vistas at every turn. I whispered “Muchas gracias” to whatever entity granted my three wishes for nice weather, great hiking companions, and having an amazing trip without getting sick or injured. Machu Picchu is shrouded in legends and theories and was hidden from the world until 1911, when Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III shared his discovery. Many believe Machu Picchu was a sacred, religious site for Incan elites. Others think it is situated on the vortex of energy lines, like Sedona, Arizona, and has spiritual and physical healing powers. As I walked among the centuries-old ruins, a sense of self-assurance swept over me; my career would soon soar to new heights. After all, life is as much about the journey as the destination.

Kim Duke-Layden lives at Sandestin with her husband, John, and owns KDL Marketing, a commercial real estate leasing and consulting company, kimdukelayden@yahoo.com.

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Beauty, creativity, emotion—these are in the eye of the beholder. With his camera, photographer Lee Crum illustrates what his eye beholds. Emeril Lagasse, Justin Timberlake, and Eli and Peyton Manning are just a few of the people he has photographed, but his portfolio does not stop there. Crum doesn’t just photograph people; he portrays them as they truly are. Whether photographing Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, or for a Starbucks ad campaign, he captures the essence of his subject. Mark Twain once said, “You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.” It is evident Crum’s imagination is not out of focus. As a photographer and an artist, Crum’s vast career brings to light what is truly in the eye of the beholder. By Sallie W. Boyles | Photography by Jake Meyer

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Lee Crum inside his studio in Santa Rosa Beach


L

ee Crum’s studio and the headquarters of VIE – People + Places are practically neighbors, but publisher Lisa Burwell learned about the accomplished photographer in a roundabout way. Jake Meyer, a local photographer who works on assignment for the magazine, had posted a sample of Crum’s work on his Facebook page. The heartshaped collage of photography mixed with graphics and handwriting created for a Starbucks ad caught Burwell’s attention, so, when Meyer, along with another colleague and friend, suggested spotlighting Crum in VIE, Burwell was ready for her readers to meet the gifted man behind the camera. “Our area attracts creative artists from around the globe,” says Burwell. “And people like Lee are testament to the talent found in sleepy Grayton Beach.” In turn, Crum appreciates the nod, if only to confirm that people are connecting to his work.

portraying situations as they unfolded through the eyes of a camera lens naturally followed. “I realized I could take pictures of the news,” says Crum. Since UA did not offer a degree in photojournalism at the time, the budding photographer’s self-taught skill evolved as he applied what he learned through his own research and refined his techniques along the way. At twenty-three, Crum took a giant leap of faith in himself when a New Orleans paper, the Times-Picayune, hired him as a staff photographer. Captivated by individuals’ stories as reflected in their expressions, Crum is most widely known for his portrait work. “I’m after something more than physical beauty,” he says, as shown in a richly varied portfolio that evokes a bounty of emotions. Some images convey joy, others depict thought. Each is poignant and, as seen through the eyes of the photographer, beautiful. “Spiritual beauty transcends this idea of looking good,” says Crum, who adds that he can find redeeming qualities in almost anyone he photographs.

“THIS PREMISE OF PERFECTION CAN BE THE ACHILLES’ HEEL OF PHOTOGRAPHY. I LIKE A PORTRAIT THAT PRONOUNCES THE TRUTH, THE SPIRIT.” Even though he has established an impressive client list—including celebrities, products, and corporations such as American Express, Apple, Cymbalta, Hershey’s, Mercedes-Benz, Wrangler, and Nike—while attracting a following of serious collectors, the down-to-earth artist is humble and grateful regarding the success he has achieved so far while pursuing his passion. As with most passions, Crum came upon his love of photography by instinct. A big music fan, he started out taking pictures during the live concerts he attended. Also interested in news events, Crum studied journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA). When a friend who worked at the Arkansas Democrat helped Crum, then twenty-one, land a part-time job as a photojournalist, everything suddenly clicked. From learning to write good stories,

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His commercial assignments, therefore, attract advertisers who want natural portrayals more than glamour shots. “Airbrushed images sell products,” acknowledges Crum, who appreciates the need for retouching, especially in the fashion industry, but that area of work does not interest him. “This premise of perfection can be the Achilles’ heel of photography. I like a portrait that pronounces the truth, the spirit.” In that vein, Crum delves beneath the surface to connect with his subjects. “I ask a lot of personal questions,” he says, considering it a gift that he relates easily to people. Beyond the pleasure of learning their stories, the photographer gains insights that enable him to expose who they are from the inside out. “The face exemplifies a person’s story and depth of emotions,” says Crum.


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Not surprisingly, when it comes to photographing celebrities, Crum appeals to those who are well seasoned, such as Sean Connery, Willem Dafoe, and Sir Anthony Hopkins, because their aim does not involve producing faultless portraits of themselves. “The older guys are comfortable in their skins,” he says. “In comparison to the young stars, who are often worried about their image, the ones who have been around are more relaxed and more likely to treat people who are working on their behalf with kindness.” Treating others with deference and working without ego is also fundamental to the collaborative environment of a commercial project, which can demand cooperation from a sizable team—ad agency personnel, stylists, makeup artists, and others. “In some ways, I have to be a field general,

“IN COMPARISON TO THE YOUNG STARS, WHO ARE OFTEN WORRIED ABOUT THEIR IMAGE, THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND ARE MORE RELAXED AND MORE LIKELY TO TREAT PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING ON THEIR BEHALF WITH KINDNESS.” respecting people’s skill sets and endearing them to me so that we work well together,” says Crum, who values his responsibility to deliver results that fulfill each client’s vision on time and within budget. Even though he contends with a number of constraints, Crum welcomes the challenges of commissioned assignments. “For an advertisement,” he says, “I work off predetermined layouts, but I’ve been hired for the job because the client wants what I offer from a stylistic perspective—the way I use lighting or how I will capture a persona on film.”


Even when much of the design is determined before he is hired, those projects ignite his creativity. “You can count on the unknown,” Crum explains. “There will always be unexpected variables—such as the weather, props, or a background—which I’ll use to my advantage. Adding and extracting various elements, I’ll build upon the idea. That’s my strength: using what is there and then, perhaps seeing a certain angle that reads better or flaring the lens with sunlight.” Knowing that the results always show his best effort, Crum relishes the rewarding pay and perks—such as traveling all over the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Europe, and Indonesia with great accommodations—that now come with the territory.

W

hen devising his own projects, Crum is drawn to photograph the people of relatively primitive cultures. Referring to his studies of Mexican Indians, he says, “They don’t know how to pose, and they don’t spend time trying to look good.” Crum further recognizes a sense of freedom in the faces of those who live simpler lives unencumbered by materialism. “I see enlightenment,” he says. One of his favorite portraits is of a group of five beekeepers from Mexico. “The women were shot in the late afternoon when there was barely enough light to make a photograph,” says Crum. “Wearing their masks, covered in dried honey, they look almost alien.” Among all of his images, Crum describes an Argentinean herdswoman as the one that most touches his soul. “She is walking up a hill with her cattle, and you see her traveling from behind,” he says. “The ethereal quality of it is moving to me.” In general, however, Crum is not emotionally connected to his portfolio. “I feel totally detached from most of my photographs,” he says. “I’ll look at my early work, and it makes me queasy,” he says. “I can’t believe I got paid to do that!” Apparently, Crum is his toughest critic. Primarily, he is always looking ahead to the next project and striving to move forward as an artist.


Series of still life 8”x10” collodion process tintype plates using a 1860’s large format camera.

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Crum photographs one his Dayak Tribe carved boar skulls with his vintage 1860 large format camera at his studio in Santa Rosa Beach.

I

n that effort, Crum’s fascination with osteology, the study of bones, becomes apparent. Describing himself as a cultural anthropologist and admirer of Charles Darwin, the photographer is a natural history enthusiast. As evidence, his studio houses an assortment of taxidermy, including skulls, as well as skull carvings by the Dayak tribe, a people who are indigenous to Borneo. “I have a mini natural history museum in here,” Crum admits as he admires his “dead friends,” who are displayed about his studio and in boxes. As part of his interest in the structure of living things, he is planning a collection that pairs pieces of taxidermy with portraits. Likewise, Crum will embark upon an ambitious project of creating collage works with skulls. Crum is also interested in the history of photography. “When I entered the field of photography, we processed our film and printed it daily,” he says. “That now seems archaic. We no longer need darkrooms.” Nevertheless, for the hands-on creativity of the process and the final effect, he produces his own photographic

a photograph was like magic.” While he optimizes digital technology, investing heavily in the latest equipment, Crum admires the artistry of photographs produced by the old techniques. “The interesting thing about making plates is that it’s an inexact science,” he explains. “Unlike digital files, photo plates are not clean. They might be scratched or uneven in thickness, so anything can happen when you enter the darkroom.” Those so-called mistakes, Crum says, add texture and markings to the image. “The result is art.” From an artistic perspective, he also maintains that a certain feeling is lost when making digital pictures. “Today’s cameras are amazing with what they can capture, and you can shoot so much,” says Crum. “It’s a machine-gun effect, however, and no particular frame feels quite so special in the taking.” Still, no matter what kind of camera he’s using, Crum easily gets lost in what he describes as an “alter world” of looking through a lens. “The camera lens shows

“I LOVE THE FEELING OF POURING SILVER ON A SURFACE. IT TAKES ME BACK TO THE CRAFT AND TO A DIFFERENT TIME WHEN MAKING A PHOTOGRAPH WAS LIKE MAGIC.” plates—tintypes (on metal) and ambrotypes (on glass). A collection of flower tintypes is available for viewing on Crum’s website. “Making plates is an organic process,” he continues. “I love the feeling of pouring silver on a surface. It takes me back to the craft and to a different time when making 100

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me everything in reverse,” he says, “but I’ve become sensitive to shape, form, and motion through intuition. I’ve learned to build upon what I feel.” At certain points in time, then, his artistic instinct reveals that what he’s seeing is powerful. “That experience is transcendental to me,” says Crum, who lives for those “white light” moments.


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Striving for ultimate satisfaction in his work, Crum believes he still has a long way to go in his journey. He is inspired by Robert Rauschenberg, the twentieth-century American abstract artist who defied convention by incorporating nontraditional materials, including bits of trash, to create combinations of painting and sculpture that portrayed everyday people and objects. “I aspire to be something of that ilk,” says Crum. “Just thinking about people who work at such a level of greatness is inspirational to me.”

T

o some, such as photographer Jake Meyer, who took the portrait of the artist featured here, Crum is a great inspiration. A mentor to Meyer, Crum is also happy to share what he has learned as he continues his journey. He says that he would like to travel to India. “I have a huge fascination with elephants,” says Crum. Most likely, his beloved wife and their two children, a seven-year-old daughter and two-year-old son, will accompany him on that trip. “My life has been great, but I didn’t really have anything until I had the love of my wife and children.” At the time of the interview, Crum was almost giddy, enjoying the beauty of his studio, with music playing in the background, as he prepared to photograph his children later in the day. “I’m still like a kid,” he admits. Contemplating his good fortune, he said, “This is all I can ask for: to be busy in my studio, producing my own work that I can sell and exhibit to create a legacy. I’ll always want to find a rhythm that allows me to produce something every day, working to my last breath.”

To learn more about Lee Crum and his photography, please visit his website at www.LeeCrum.com Lee Crum is represented by Cynthia Held & Associates. Los Angles, California. cynthia@cythiaheld.com | 323-655-2979

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Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach Digital Graffiti is a celebration of digital artistry from all over the world. Join Alys Beach as we open our town to showcase the fusion of design, technology and architecture. Saturday, June 11, 2011 · 8:30–Midnight Purchase tickets online at www.digitalgraffiti.com www.alysbeach.com | 866.481.8390 ALYS BEACH is a trademark of EBSCO Industries, Inc. © 2011


Colleen Duffley y b phy a r og t o h

By Am anda C ro w ley •

P

T he Shape

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Close

you r e y e s

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imagine

the soft s o u n d of

the

bow

being drawn slowly

across a violin, the

notes cascading over one

another, blending to create a mellow, somber sound. Then, the bow is forced back and forth rapidly, jumping from one string to another, confident and abrasive in its sound. The vast melodies of a violin parallel its shape from the smooth curves of the bout to the sturdy rigidness of the neck.

Colleen Duffley’s photographic interpretations of ArtStrings emulate the ever-changing sound of a violin—only she uses a camera instead of a bow. With the integral use of lighting, she captures the shape of a violin, highlighting not only the uniqueness of the artist, but that of the violin as well. Duffley’s professional portfolio is copious to say the least— her versatility is displayed through the wide range of pictures she has taken throughout her career for well-known companies such as Neiman Marcus and Carnival Cruise Lines, and a cover image for Better Homes and Gardens. She is the founder of Studio b. (www.studiobthebeach.com), a creative venue bringing together the best of the best and upand-comers in the fields of art, photography, food, wine, words and music, which recently hosted a concert on Wednesday, February 9 featuring Dixie


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Chick Emily Robinson. Duffley is able to capture what others seem to overlook: the simplistic yet elegantly fluid shape that is a violin, each angle different from the next. When thinking of a violin, you are often able to imagine the sound, yet it is not often you think of its shape. With her artistic eye, Duffley expresses her love for photography by capturing the natural beauty of the violin. Sinfonia’s Maestro Demetrius Fuller enlisted the support of local, regional, national, and international visual artists who were each given a violin and the challenge to create a work of art on a musical canvas. These violins were then auctioned off on February 4, 2011, during Sinfonia’s gala event, Celebrating Sinfonia’s Fifth, benefiting the James A. Fuller Memorial Fund for Music Education. VIE, in turn, gave Duffley a challenge of her own: photograph these works of art to showcase the prolific exhibit. Just as Edgar Degas captured the sinuous elegance of a dancer’s body and Pablo Picasso used color and shapes to personify the subjects of his paintings, Duffley captured the sinuous shape and character of each violin. By using light to direct the emphasis and mood, the viewer experiences the photograph in a raw, simplistic manner, forcing the focus to be not only on the art of the violin, but also the shapes that encompass the painting. Just as each violin is rendered in a unique way by the individual artists, with these photographs, Duffley brings a uniqueness all her own. No two angles are the same. Each picture has a different vantage point, just as each note played on the violin gives a different sound. The combination of shapes and light give personality to each violin. Duffley’s use of light creates a symphony of colors, both warm and cool. More than just canvases, the violins exude deep reds and warm golds, cold whites and light blues, rich browns and somber blacks. ArtStrings: A Painted Violin Exhibit is a celebration of the instruments, each artist capturing the different sounds of a violin, with a photographer who captured the violins’ personalities.


ArtStrings:

A Painted Violin Exhibit will run until April 29, 2011, from 12 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays; the exhibit is free and open to the public. All the finished pieces are on display at Grand Boulevard Town Center opposite Mitchell’s Fish Market. All proceeds will benefit the James A. Fuller Memorial Fund for Music Education, an extension of Sinfonia’s music education initiatives throughout the Northwest Florida community. For more information, please visit www.sinfoniagulfcoast.org.


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GIRTH Control

Simple Tactics for Waist Management By Clark Peters

M

y prior Health Nut articles for VIE – People + Places have touched on America’s issues with obesity. Two-thirds of the country is over-weight and one-third of those (approximately sixty million people) are severely obese. Obesity is closely correlated with type 2 diabetes—formerly called adult-onset diabetes until a significant percentage of our youth started to show signs of the disease. Diabetes is no trivial matter! Some forty million Americans currently have this disease, and these numbers are expected to triple over the next two decades! It is hard to imagine the stress and expense it will cause whatever health system and insurance coverage we have in place then. Diabetes, in its latter phases, leads to: – Vision loss – Amputation of extremities – Increased susceptibility to the major killers, e.g., heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, etc. – Ultimately, left unchecked, the disease itself is fatal But, the underlying premise of the prior VIE articles is that changing lifestyle as suggested will help prevent this disease and, if rigidly adhered to, can reverse it. We have discussed the glucose spikes and crashes that lead to weight gain and to insulin resistance, which in turn, leads to diabetes. Clearly, eating properly and maintaining a healthy weight is key! The basics are straightforward. Eating to keep stable blood sugar levels is very important, but eating too much of even good nutrition will offset the improvement in food. Over time, if calories in (food) equal calories out (metabolism), no weight change will occur. To lose weight, a net expenditure of calories in excess of those taken in must occur. An analogy might be to consider your body as a house and your metabolism (movement/heart rate) as the furnace. All our modern conveniences are targeted at making life easier, i.e., using fewer calories. Any time you are sitting at a computer, watching TV, driving, or otherwise “vegging out,” your furnace is basically only using the pilot light. Some calories are burned even when asleep, but we are interested in changing the equation so that you are burning up more, hopefully significantly more, calories than usual. That means, quite simply, more activity—movement! Hopefully, you have made aerobic exercise an integral part of each week. Any repetitive motion that raises your heart rate is great. A prior article (VIE’s Spring 2010 issue) suggested walking with heavy hands as particularly effective, but jogging, cycling, or swimming, and spin, step, yoga, or Zumba classes, and so on, are all good for the basis of your calorie expenditure. Three to five sessions per week is optimal.

If you are exercising regularly and the weight is stubbornly hanging around, clearly the equation must be changed—either eat fewer calories or increase calories burned. Happily, small changes in either will, over time (be patient), pay handsome dividends. Let’s discuss a few simple ways to burn more calories each day. These suggestions are not huge in themselves but cumulatively, again, over time, become part of your normal behavior and add up to surprising increases in calories expended each week.

If you are exercising regularly and the weight is stubbornly hanging around, clearly the equation must be changed… – Distance to objective—in getting from point A to point B, try making the task harder (read: burning more calories) rather than easier. Example: when driving to the grocery store, bank, airport, retail shop, etc., park as far from the entrance as possible and walk. – For flights of stairs less than five floors (more as you get in shape), walk or jog up/down the stairs instead of using the elevator. – If you have a moderate lawn, buy a push mower (remember them; they still can be found—and they are cheap!) and mow your lawn rather than sitting on a power mower. – Convince your spouse to increase the frequency of sex—while this activity does not burn up huge numbers of calories (depending on creativity), it clearly is one of the more enjoyable calorie-burning exercises. – At the airport, explore the terminal(s). Avoid escalators or moving passenger walkways. If you are pressed for time and must use these, at least proceed briskly. Avoid the usual practice of going to your gate, getting a cinnamon bun, and sitting while waiting for your flight. – Or, dance!—another fun activity you can do with your significant other. With the right attitude, learning to ballroom dance can be fun for the relationship, but any dancing that gets you moving is a bonus. Well, you get the idea. The above list is far from comprehensive, and I encourage you to add your ideas to these. Let me know (hlthnut@earthlink. net) if you come up with ideas you’d be willing to share—perhaps we can build a huge list to choose from for all readers.

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WEIGHT/WAIST MANAGEMENT I emphasize the scale less because muscle weighs more than fat and it is possible, by eating and exercising properly, to put on enough lean body mass (muscle, bone, ligament, organ enhancement—in other words, the good stuff!) to offset fat loss. Rather than obsessing about what your bathroom scale shows, notice how loose your clothes start to feel and especially how your belt size goes down. These two indicators are much better measures of health and body composition than a few pounds on the scale.

BELLY FAT I mention waist size for a good reason. Research statistics show that when your waist exceeds a certain size—forty inches for men and thirty-five inches for women—serious health issues ensue. This is because the excess fat around your waist is active fat! Called visceral fat, it constantly sheds toxins and impurities. So, the more you have, the greater the capacity for toxins and the greater the amount expressed. This process is very wearing on your immune system, which has to deal with the onslaught. Chronic inflammation—the primary cause of most of the major diseases—ensues and will continue to threaten your health until you reduce or eliminate this visceral weight. But, fat is a systemic problem, i.e., you can’t spot reduce. Losing fat will occur in reverse order of appearance. So, again, it all boils down to losing weight overall.

TACTICS TO REDUCE INTAKE If you are exercising regularly and add the calorie burners suggested above, you are doing about all that is possible for the expenditure side of the equation, short of increasing the amount of exercise done weekly. There are, however, a few simple hints to reduce the intake side. Hydration: You must stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration often presents as hunger since the body knows there is at least a little moisture in food. Indeed, a glass of water prior to any meal ensures that your stomach is partially full, and the rehydration may lessen your hunger and food intake. Elimination: Regularity is another good way to ensure that food wastes and toxins aren’t hanging around. At least one good bowel movement daily is required for health and weight control. Since the last thing the body does before a bowel movement is recapture the water in your colon (thus firming your stool), again, staying hydrated will prevent the problems of “rabbit pellets” or “concrete” (constipation). Modern food offerings are also typically refined to the point where they have very little or no fiber content. Fiber is key to regularity. A simple solution is to find a canister of psyllium husk granules and add a tablespoon to one or more of your daily meals. This is the key ingredient in Metamucil, but without all the additives, coloring, flavors, and our old friend, sugar. I add it to smoothies or my breakfast pudding, but adding it to cereal or even a glass of water gets the job done. Most supermarkets carry an acceptable source. The product is also available in pill form, but this requires visiting a health food store or going online to acquire. Snacks: Even mild hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can sabotage a successful weight management program. Your body wants a quick glucose bump. The secret is not to indulge in the high-glycemic junk offerings.


Rather, a packet of water-packed tuna, or a hardboiled egg or two, or a handful of raw nuts and raisins, gets the job done and holds your blood sugar level until the next meal.

Morgan Keegan JAMES A. PARRISH, JR.

SUMMARY The messages here are, you would hopefully agree, fairly straightforward.

· Experience

– Move! Find ways to move more (even a little more) every day. – Drink more water: whatever more is for you. More water—especially if it replaces sodas, coffee or alcohol—is a vast improvement and a large reduction in calories. – Eat less: again whatever less is for you. I am not suggesting draconian changes here; little changes add up! If you make the changes suggested herein, you may burn only fifty calories more per day. It doesn’t sound like much but adds up to five-plus pounds per year. Of course, the more serious you get, the higher the calorie burn and potential weight loss/waist reduction. But, there is the danger of burning out—take it slow and make a few of these suggestions habitual. Then, add more over time. You will, I promise, be astonished at how simple it is and how effective it can be.

The Health Nut Clark Peters has spent much of his time since his retirement in 1997 researching health and longevity. His purpose in writing these columns is to share his findings with readers in plain English and assist them in making accurate and informed lifestyle choices. The columns are based on the premise that we all want to live a long, vigorous life and are striving to make healthy choices. While Mr. Peters believes these recommendations will result in better health and longevity for almost everyone, the reader is advised to consult with his or her physician before making any major lifestyle changes. You may e-mail Mr. Peters at: hlthnut@earthlink.net.

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hope for all cr eatur e s g r eat & small


By

Lori Eckert | Photography by Romona Robbins

It’s a crisp, clear morning, and Alaqua Bayou in Freeport, Florida, glistens as the sun slips above the tree-studded horizon. The serene silence that blanketed the night on a nearby farm is broken as a rooster rears back his flame-red head and proudly crows. But this is no ordinary rooster, and this is no ordinary farm.

starts at a pace that would physically and emotionally wear down nearly any Wall Street executive.

Bobby is a rescued rooster—yes, roosters can be rescued. Along with more than two hundred fifty animals, which were once homeless, abused or neglected, Bobby, who is in his senior years, lives at Alaqua Animal Refuge, the Emerald Coast’s premier no-kill animal shelter and adoption center.

7 a.m.

The refuge was founded in January 2007, when Freeport resident Laurie Hood learned that, at that time, thousands of animals were euthanized every year because of the lack of an animal shelter in Walton County. A graceful, soft-spoken blonde, Hood’s petite size and gentle nature belie the power of her ambition. In just four years, Hood’s vision to provide a unique no-kill facility has resulted in finding homes for more than six thousand animals. Hood lives across the street from the ten-acre refuge with her two young boys and husband, Taylor. And once Bobby announces the arrival of dawn, her day

“Many days begin, before I have even had my first cup of coffee, with finding an animal tied to our gates,” says Hood. “When we can, we take surrenders— animals that owners can no longer care for—but when animals are abandoned at our gates, which is illegal, we must turn them over to the county. The animals are often frightened, hungry and sometimes cold and wet. It is a heart-wrenching way to start a day.”

8 a.m.

The large iron double gates swing open and six fulltime and four part-time staff members report to work, followed by more than a dozen volunteers. The first task at hand is feeding the dogs, cats, horses, pigs, ducks, chickens, pheasants, emus, rabbits, and other unique boarders, such as sugar gliders, monitor lizards and deer. There are also special diets and medications for animals that are young, old, nursing or have special needs, so the process requires extreme coordination and organization among staff and volunteers. VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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VIE graphic design intern Kaleigh Warwick puts her best foot forward in Alaqua’s agility course.

Surgery also starts at 8 a.m. for Dr. Amy Williams, the staff veterinarian, and Jerry Moore, the veterinary assistant. Williams and Moore operate three days a week, performing up to twelve procedures per day, from standard spay and neuter operations to lifesaving amputations. And on this particular winter day, eight just-born squeaking, squealing piglets are found by staffers during the feeding rounds. “We had no idea Maybelline was pregnant when we rescued her. Our population just went up by eight, literally overnight, and the babies need to be cared for immediately. This shows we never 120

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know what to expect during a day at the refuge,” says Hood, shaking her head, but with a smile.

8:30 a.m.

After the feeding cycle begins, volunteers start dog walking—a task that rarely happens at a traditional shelter—to ensure that the dogs get ample exercise, socialization and on-leash training, while greatly reducing any possible aggression tendencies. The dogs are taken down the farm’s winding gravel roads and are allowed to sniff and explore to their hearts’ content. By this time, the office staff has settled in, gathering details from phone messages left overnight, preparing for visiting groups, such as school children, and checking referrals for potential adopters.


“We had no idea Maybelline was pregnant when we rescued her. Our population just went up by eight, literally overnight, and the babies need to be cared for immediately. This shows we never know what to expect during a day at the refuge,” says Hood, shaking her head, but with a smile.

Kim Helder has been a volunteer for five months, assisting in the office. Like all the volunteers and staff members, the Santa Rosa Beach resident also helps whenever and wherever needed. “I never sit down. As soon as I get back in the office, I am out the door again, giving a tour,” she says.

9:30 a.m.

As feeding comes to an end and the walking team is out in full force, the cleaning process must begin. Staff and volunteers clean pens, stalls, litter boxes and pastures as well as the two infirmary wards, two quarantine wards, a livestock barn, a horse barn, multiple dog runs, and six puppy, six dog, and two cat cottages.

That’ll do, pig! Babe has nothing on these little fellas.

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10 a.m.

Today, the staff quickly gathers in a back office, trying to catch a few minutes to discuss administrative functions. Hood’s first order of business is the course of care for the refuge’s special-needs animals, including those with physical challenges and emotional issues due to abuse and neglect. April Madr, the events coordinator, gives a rundown of the many community activities in which the refuge is involved for the upcoming weeks. And goals, such as adoption and donation numbers, are discussed among the group. Maintenance work, such as mending pasture fences and upkeep in the barns, which is ongoing at the refuge, has begun by this time.

Noon

The refuge is officially opened, and the parking lot is full as the clock strikes twelve. This is the most intense part of the day, as the adoption process—key to the refuge’s mission—begins. Every prospective owner is given a tour through the sprawling refuge. Samantha Graves is the refuge’s adoption coordinator. She knows every animal by name and its story, and

“I hate seeing the results of animal abuse. It’s difficult just knowing that someone could do the things we see,” she says quietly.

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she takes pride in creating the perfect match. She says she finds the greatest joy in her work when she places an animal and the new owners keep in touch. “I love hearing those success stories,” she says. But Graves, a Freeport native, also says it is often overwhelming knowing that they alone can’t meet the need and take in the hundreds of surrenders about which they are contacted. Surrenders have dramatically increased with the economy’s downturn and cases of abuse and neglect are also on the rise. “I hate seeing the results of animal abuse. It’s difficult just knowing that someone could do the things we see,” she says quietly. Graves, Hood, other staff members and volunteers grab lunch when and where they can, because for the next four hours, they are in constant motion, with their main focus on the adoption process. Shari Roberts of Santa Rosa Beach is one of the many local residents who have turned to the refuge to find a pet. Roberts, who is the manager of the South Walton Senior Center, was searching for the perfect pet for her sister, Shirley Marshall, when she found Evie. Roberts had previously called the refuge, asking them to keep her in mind for a specific kind of dog. Graves sent several pictures of Evie and Roberts immediately knew “this perfect little female Shih Tzu” was the one for Marshall, age seventy-two, who is dealing with the loss of a loved one. “My sister just loves her. She has called several times and said, ‘Evie is the best gift I have ever gotten in my whole life,’” says Roberts. “There are so many great dogs out there, just the sweetest most wonderful dogs—many of them could have been physically abused, but they still love and are able to forgive. There’s a lesson we all could learn,” she adds. Kaleigh Warwick shares with her new friend who is more than willing to accept.

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2 p.m.

Christina Flynn and Paul Goans, canine agility trainers, are running some very happy dogs through the challenging but fun course at the refuge. The couple, owners of Easytrain, teaches several agility and obedience courses to the public throughout the year. In a nearby pasture, volunteers are washing four large dogs in a patch of warm afternoon sun, while another volunteer works to socialize a litter of six energetic and mischievous beagle puppies. Meanwhile, the office continues to hum with activity— and the constant ring of the more than a hundred calls received that day. Hood is at her desk, deeply focused on grant writing, searching for money in a down economy to cover

Richard Liles shows off Piper, his newly-adopted four-year-old greyhound.

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operations costs. Today, she is applying for funds for S.N.A.P., a refuge program that offers low- to no-cost spay and neuter procedures to dog and cat owners in Walton County. S.N.A.P., which costs $100,000 annually, does not cover Alaqua Animal Refuge’s rescues, but Hood says it is an important community service that helps alleviate the pet overpopulation problem in the area. Fund-raising efforts, such as grant writing, are seemingly unending for Hood, who says it cost $38,000 per month to operate the refuge. She relies on her board of directors to identify sources, as well as help steer the refuge toward its mission. Richard Liles joined the board nearly a year ago. A resident of Walton County since 1983, Liles understands what Alaqua Animal Refuge’s mission means to the community. “I just like the principle of it being a no-kill shelter, and they are the only group around that is able to help animals other than cats and dogs,” he says. Liles, owner of Richard Liles & Associates interior design firm in Santa Rosa Beach, is not just a board member; he is a recent adopter, too. Piper, a four-year-old greyhound, was one of two former racetrack dogs saved by Alaqua Animal Refuge.


Alaqua’s founder and champion, Laurie Hood.

Once malnourished and raced beyond the point that her young body could handle, Piper found safety and care at the refuge last fall and now has a loving home with Liles and his wife, Laurie.

4 p.m.

Another shift of volunteers has reported to work and a complete repeat of the early-morning routine begins. For the next three hours, dogs are walked, horses are returned to the stables, all the animals are fed, medication is dispensed, and most importantly, final pats on the heads, scratches behind the ears, and hugs are given.

6:30 p.m.

All the animals are secured for the night. But some evenings it takes longer to close the refuge: If rain is coming, wall-like flaps must be secured, and if a cold snap is expected, portable heaters must be set up. And, if there is an animal in serious need—which was the case with Champ, a malnourished miniature horse that was rescued last August—Hood, a woman who gives each animal her all, can be found settling in for the night to sleep by its side in the barn.

7 p.m.

The sun has long since set and the gates are finally shut and secured. Bobby, the very vocal rooster, has nestled down into his warm pen. He is resting so he can herald a new day tomorrow—a day that is sure to be an extraordinary one at an extraordinary farm where second chances are granted, hope is fostered, and love, even for old roosters, grows.


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La Maison de Lucy • Michael Setboun • b y S a l l i e W. B o y l e s

photography by Brandan Babineaux 128

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M

any fantasize about living in Paris. Michael Setboun, who grew up in the romanticized “City of Light,” dreamed of living in the U.S. While attending college and earning his doctorate in pharmacology, he lived for breaks between semesters, during which times he traveled to different cities across America and fell in love with this country. When presented with the opportunity to transfer to Miami for a pharmaceutical position, he seized it. Basking in the warmth of the Sunshine State, he persuaded his parents to buy an apartment there as well. To Setboun’s misfortune, or so he thought, his employer sold the company. The job ended and he was back in France. “After six months and one winter, I decided I couldn’t take it,” he says. From previously exploring the Gulf Coast, Setboun was aware of Panama City’s new airport, then under construction, and he wondered about the commercial opportunities it would generate. He was determined to move back. Without a specific business plan, Setboun had earlier placed a bid on an old schoolhouse building sitting on three acres in Alford, Florida, a small town near Marianna in Jackson County. The find was unexpected. Setboun and his parents were traveling the area, browsing the antique shops, when they happened upon the real estate for sale. Along with lacking a plan of action, he held no real hope that his offer would be accepted. To his surprise, once back in Paris, he received a call. A year had passed since he’d submitted the bid, but if Setboun still wanted to buy the property, it was his.

By that time, he had a vision. In his excursions through the small towns of Northwest Florida, Setboun noted an untapped niche in the hospitality market. “There were plenty of microhotels, but nothing upscale,” he says. He wanted to appeal to a high-end clientele by opening an inn with a distinct point of difference.

When it came to establishing a theme for the bed-and-breakfast, Setboun’s father had the idea to design each of the twelve suites in the style of a different country— China, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico Morocco, and the U.S.A.—namely, Hollywood and New York. Setboun, by the way, has been to all the places but China. As a tribute to her, Setboun named the inn La Maison de Lucy after his mother. He readily credits both of his parents for assisting him with the inn’s purchase, as well as with the design and physical completion of each themed room. All suites display authentic furnishings and decorative art. “The unique atmosphere of each gives guests a sense that they have traveled somewhere far away,” he says. To enhance the total experience, every room has cultural music and DVDs that are representative of the particular location. All in all, Setboun wants his guests to unwind and feel pampered. Each morning, he uses fresh organic ingredients in preparing eggs, crepes and homemade bread, which are served with organic preserves. As the resident chef, Setboun has found a love of cooking, a skill he acquired from observing his mother. “When I’m at the inn, the kitchen is my safe place, my escape,” he adds. Besides breakfast, he also treats guests to afternoon wine and cheese, or tea with pastries. Recently obtaining a catering license, Setboun further accommodates meals for private functions in the inn’s event center, formerly the school’s auditorium, which can host two hundred people. Beyond the suites and restful yet elegant common rooms, La Maison de Lucy’s guests can relax with a massage or sauna, work out in the gym, take a dip in the pool, or walk the grounds. “Whether you’re here for pleasure or work, the point is to do as you like and to go at your own pace,” says Setboun, who finds that many are choosing the inn for romantic getaways and honeymoons, but others simply desire its peace and comfort while conducting business.

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“I enjoy receiving people at my house, cooking for them, and discovering where they are from,” he says. “Meeting people of many different backgrounds and sharing our experiences is the most interesting and pleasurable aspect of this business,” Either way, Setboun welcomes interaction with his guests. “I enjoy receiving people at my house, cooking for them, and discovering where they are from,” he says. “Meeting people of many different backgrounds and sharing our experiences is the most interesting and pleasurable aspect of this business,” he says, extending an open invitation to visitors who would like to drop by for a personal tour of the place. In terms of meeting new people, he greatly values the numerous friendships he has made in his adopted hometown, where he loves the fact that everyone says hello, whether they know the other person or not. Enamored by individuals who are down-to-earth and openhearted, Setboun takes pride in the community and participates in local events as much as possible. “I’m very friendly with the mayor,” he says, “and I’m active in the Chamber of Commerce.” As the only Frenchman in town, he admittedly enjoys the distinction and doesn’t mind one bit that the newspaper has featured him more than once on the front page. “My mother visited two months ago,” he says. “When I took her to the local town of Marianna, Florida, many people stopped to greet us. She exclaimed with amazement, ‘Everyone knows you!’”

For the time being, however, working to make La Maison de Lucy successful can be a 24/7 effort, though usually a labor of love. He thinks about opening other locations in the future, but it’s been just one year since launching the one-of-akind bed-and-breakfast, and only recently have all the amenities been completed. Time will tell if the endeavor can be viable long term, but the prognosis is good. Having launched a luxury inn during a tough economy and in the midst of last year’s oil spill, Setboun feels well positioned to take on any future challenges.

Because relationships are so important in small towns, Setboun believes in supporting locally owned businesses. “I always try to buy produce from our farmers, and if I need plumbing supplies, I go to the local hardware store,” he says.

No matter how long it takes to breathe that ultimate sigh of relief, Setboun cannot imagine a better job or a more ideal place to live. “We know when life starts, but not when it ends, so we might as well pursue what we love,” he says.

When not conducting business, Setboun enjoys an occasional mini getaway to “civilization”—namely, to Panama City—with his girlfriend, Mary Alice. He looks forward to continuing his travels throughout the country, yet he has barely explored the must-see spots nearby. “We have many beautiful natural springs, so I would love to learn to dive,” he says. Kayaking is also on Setboun’s bucket list.

Grateful that his family has lovingly supported his decision to file away his Ph.D., move from Paris to the Panhandle, and indulge his entrepreneurial craving, he advises others to listen to their hearts, even if friends and colleagues think they are crazy. “Then,” he says, “work twice as hard as you ever imagined. Work, work and work. There’s no secret. Just believe in what you want to do.”

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By Dave Vardaman H Photography by Dave Shelikoff

IntermIssIon Is over. the shIne of brass moves away, the glitz of uniforms slows, and the swoosh of the flags and batons moving in unison has been replaced by a still calm as the nearly three hundred marchers usher themselves en masse from the playing field that serves as the center of attention. In their place, athletes prepare to reengage in sport. In this changing of the guard, one would expect a reduction in energy and a crowd that bides its time until the restart of the athletic competition, but not the Niceville High student section. There is an explosive crescendo building ... the drumline is on the way. From their staging area behind the goalpost, the percussionists begin to assemble. With the initial strike of cadence on a snare drum—signaling the “army” to march forward—the six-hundred-plus revelers in the student section begin to shudder like a pot of water on the stove about to reach its boiling point. With the arrival of the drumline in front of the student section, the link between spectator and performer is complete. The drumline begins with a

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Students sway in unison to the beat of the drums


HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH the effort Is run almost solely by the students as they make all the movIng parts come together. from the fIght song cheers to dance movements to musIcal selectIons and even crowd control, they create a performance unlIke any seen at a hIgh school sportIng event.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH The NHS student section erupts with Silly String as the drumline receives a “shower” of applause

steady beat that makes the audience bounce with excitement. As the beat accelerates, the audience plays its part as each spectator wraps arms across classmates’ shoulders, swaying forward and back while yelling a rhythmic “hooo-hooo.” First, you hear it from the student section, then you hear the rest of the marching band from its station roughly fifty yards away. If you didn’t know better, you would think you were in a persistent echo chamber. Finally, at the jam session’s crowning moment, a simultaneous eruption of Silly String from hundreds of students climaxes the event. It is a sight to behold. While this ritual seems as if it might have been passed down from generation to generation, it is actually fairly new. So new, in fact, this year’s graduating class didn’t have this performance when they began high school. It started as an idea in 2008 between an energetic leadership teacher and an enthusiastic band director to help increase school spirit and involvement of the full student body. In a short period of time, it has evolved into an event that literally binds the whole school. When six hundred fans in the student section combine with nearly

The drumline enjoys the frenzy they create

three hundred members of the marching band and they are simultaneously roaring their school spirit toward roughly one hundred classmates on the field, you’re witnessing a thousand energetic youth sharing the common goal of supporting one another. Impressive as this display is, how the school makes it work is just as interesting. The effort is run almost solely by the students as they make all the moving parts come together. From the fight song cheers to dance movements to musical selections and even crowd control, they create a performance unlike any seen at a high school sporting event. Lastly, the performance is a superb lesson in how the effort of a small group of dedicated people, including students and teachers, can create a greater good for the entire community. Four years ago on a football Friday night in Niceville, you would have seen a normal high school game not unlike hundreds of others played across the country. Today, however, you are part of an experience that words and pictures can only attempt to capture—the sound and motion of SPIRIT.

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A Fusion of

By Sallie W. BoyleS | Photography by Cody Jordan

Over the past ten years, Christian and Tandy Hinrichs have attained what most recognize as phenomenal achievements in the spa and salon industries as owners of The BackRub Store and founders of Fusion Spa Salon. With plans under way to launch their eighth location in 2011, many want to know the secret of this couple’s success in the face of huge challenges, including a devastating hurricane, a life-threatening illness, and a rough economy that last year’s oil spill made even worse.

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The answer to that question begins with another—the one Christian asked Tandy when they were first married: “If you could own any business, what would it be?” Instead of pursuing separate professional paths that would send them in different directions, forcing the couple to spend most of their time apart, Christian envisioned the two of them working together to build a livelihood. As she pondered a world of options, Tandy knew that her drive to help others would play a significant role in any venture. “While in banking,” says Tandy, “I became conscious of the fact that people didn’t have much time, so I focused on fulfilling all of their needs in one sitting. It wasn’t enough to help someone open a checking account; I made sure the customer had an ATM card and overdraft protection to go with it.” They both approached business ownership with knowledge about running successful commercial enterprises. Besides banking, Tandy also had experience in the retail and legal sectors, while Christian, an entrepreneur since high school, had been in advertising and owned automotive businesses. Pooling their business insights, the two also drew from a shared religious faith. “Our business goals might not be typical,” says Christian. “We believe our work must be pleasing to God, which gives us the responsibility to approach our endeavors with a pure intent and a servicing heart. From our staff to our guests, all should feel that we genuinely care about their well-being.” Equally important, they determined early on to measure their success by whether or not they had time to be together. To answer Christian’s question regarding the type of business would she own, Tandy yearned for a soothing, nurturing environment. Though gratifying, banking had been stressful. The peaceful atmosphere of a spa, she decided, would be ideal. It didn’t matter that neither she nor Christian knew much about the industry; they believed that their objectives would be in sync with the business model they had in mind. 142

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In November 2000, the couple bought The BackRub Store. Located in Pensacola’s Cordova Mall, the establishment was not flourishing, but Christian and Tandy recognized its potential. As one of the first commercialized massage therapy businesses in the Pensacola area, the operation, situated among other highend retail stores, was ideally located. The experienced staff was another asset. “We kept them on board by making our employees happy,” says Tandy. Tandy also wanted to incorporate a reputable product line that would draw customers into the store. In 2002, they were approached by Aveda, now owned by Estée Lauder. The idea of selling high quality, naturally derived products was appealing, but Aveda’s commitment to environmental stewardship, along with its history of supporting small growers and women in emerging countries, sealed the deal. “It is an amazing product line to represent,” Tandy says. Upon partnering with Aveda in 2003, the Hinrichses launched their first Fusion Spa Salon in Pensacola Beach. “We’re co-branded with Aveda, but we also have our distinct Fusion identity,” explains Tandy, who has worked to build a reputation for honoring customers. “We welcome them as soon as they walk in the door,” she says, “and then we encourage them to communicate exactly what they want from their experience.” “You can get a great massage or facial from plenty of places,” Christian injects. “It really is about the experience.” To ensure exceptional service, the Hinrichses invest heavily in their staff, attracting and grooming individuals who demonstrate initiative and work well as a team. Their unique team approach to retail management, a design of Tandy’s, further promotes continuity of quality. Rather than placing one store manager at each location, five individuals with different functional viewpoints circulate among the facilities. “No one excels in everything,” says Christian, “so we’ve found that it’s best to allow each high-level manager to focus on his or her best attributes. By exposing all of our staff members to each top manager, we ensure that all of our


“We believe our work must be pleasing to God, which gives us the responsibility to approach our endeavors with a pure intent and a servicing heart. From our staff to our guests, all should feel that we genuinely care about their well-being.”

employees and customers benefit from the best of what Fusion offers.” To reward their employees’ contributions, Fusion also delivers corporate-style benefits including vacation pay. “In addition, we provide internal education to build our people’s skills and talent. The more talented people we have focused on Fusion’s success, the better.” On top of supplying in-house Aveda training, the Hinrichses strive to recruit employees from the Aveda Institute—a two-year program that comes with a significant financial commitment—to fortify overall quality. “We also hire local cosmetology school graduates,” says Tandy. “A hiring decision really boils down to attitude. You must have a service heart to fit into our world.” Christian concurs. “Walt Disney said, ‘Hire the smile, train the skill.’ You can teach the skill all day long,” he says. “People can learn to do great color or give a fabulous massage, but it’s really hard to teach them to be happy.” Such philosophies have produced a company culture that is enticing to those who desire long-term careers. “Tandy and I are not at the top of a hierarchy,” says Christian. “We feel that we’re in the middle of a process that is changing and growing.” The growth is remarkable. While many other Florida salons and day spas have floundered (approximately 30 percent have closed since the VIEZINE.COM SPRING 2011

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recession began), Fusion has flourished. After their 2003 launch of Fusion Spa Salon in Pensacola, the Hinrichses opened their second location in 2006 at the Wharf in Orange Beach, followed by Sandestin’s Grand Boulevard in 2007 and Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort, Alabama, in 2009. In 2010, their expansion continued with Pier Park in Panama City and Legacy Village in Mobile. In 2011, the Hinrichses will launch a Fusion partnership with the Hilton at Pensacola Beach. For those who wonder about that kind of development during a downturn, Christian quotes a friend: “‘Never let a good recession pass you by.’ What we have seen through this economy,” he explains, “is a shaking out. Many businesses were living off the lowhanging fruit, but without a strong point of difference or solid customer service platform, they lost patrons who changed their purchasing decisions when times got tough.” In turn, he explains, businesses that have focused on doing the right things continue to shine because their products and services are still valued. “You have to find your deep why, or point of difference, to continue going forward,” says Christian. “Tandy and I continually revisit the question: Why are we doing this?” At this stage of the game, they say, Fusion’s employees and customers are at the top of the list. “Watching people grow gives me such fulfillment,” says Tandy. “Realizing that we’ve created an organization that can empower a single female to buy her own home is a big deal for me.” Likewise, the Hinrichses have attracted loyal employees who continually strive to build upon the success of Fusion. Along the way, change is critical. “Our company has evolved,” Christian says. “We could not conduct business today the same way we did two or three years ago and expect to overcome our challenges.” Since the words change and challenge tend to go hand in hand, change management has real meaning with Fusion’s management team. “As soon as you 144

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think you can breathe a little, the next challenge comes,” says Christian, speaking from the heart. One year after launching Fusion, Hurricane Ivan hit. A couple of years after that, the economy came crashing down. Last year’s oil spill further tested this luxury service’s resourcefulness. Nevertheless, those hardships are minor compared to the nearly fatal condition Christian faced in 2007. Returning home from a family camping trip with Tandy and their two children, he felt a sharp pain in the right side of his head. The intense headache quickly progressed, and in the few minutes Tandy left him alone to retrieve a painkiller, Christian experienced loss of vision and partial paralysis. “It was surreal,” says


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Christian. “I wondered if I had a pinched nerve.” In his midthirties and healthy, he couldn’t imagine the problem being serious. His downward spiral, however, continued as he lost consciousness. Panicked, Tandy called an ambulance. The diagnosis was AVM (arteriovenous malformation), an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. Most likely congenital, such blood vessels can form anywhere in the body. Christian’s were in his brain. Over time, the weaker vessels had broken down, causing a brain bleed. A craniotomy, which would entail opening a large section of the right skull, was required to remove the blood clot. Even if the surgery wasn’t fatal, the diagnosis remained daunting. Highly recommended for his talent but not for his bedside manner, the neurosurgeon bluntly stated that Christian would probably end up paralyzed to some degree. “Once I understood that the prognosis was not good,” says Tandy, “I told myself that I could depend on God if I lost my husband, but I didn’t want to lose him!”

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“Yes, I was going through the physical pain,” says Christian, “but that was easier compared to the fear and other emotions Tandy was feeling.” Miraculously, Christian recovered fully with no aftereffects. Still, the recovery process, including two months of his being totally out of commission and requiring most of Tandy’s attention, was rough. Apart from the business, their young son and daughter needed her time. A saving grace for the business was Fusion’s solid management structure, which enabled operations to continue running smoothly. “Thank goodness for texting!” adds Tandy. “The experience left me with a vivid perspective of how fragile life is,” says Christian. “Life can be extremely short and seemingly unfair, so it’s important to live in the moment and appreciate everything, even the challenges. I’m not a naturally balanced person. As someone who will readily work eighty-

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hour weeks, I rely on Tandy to remind me about moderation. However, when I had a good reason to wonder what people might say about me at my funeral, I gained a more profound understanding of my deep why.” For the Hinrichses, knowing why and being committed to that fundamental purpose go hand in hand. “If your dream is to own a successful business, understand that it will be a lifestyle,” advises Christian. “It never goes away; it’s 24/7.” “Are you ready to fight for your deep why?” asks Tandy. “You have to nurture a new enterprise. First, starting out, don’t think you’re going to live off the income.” She adds that once a business grows to the point that others, too, are depending on the company for their livelihoods, fighting to stay in the game becomes all the more crucial. “You can’t just say, ‘This isn’t working for me.’” Today, eighty employees depend on the future of Fusion. “When much is given, much is required,” says Christian, who backs up his words with action. Besides supporting World Vision, a charitable organization that aids underprivileged children, the Hinrichses contribute to an impressive list of nonprofit groups, charities and organizations.

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In closing, Tandy humbly says, “God has opened doors, and we’ve walked through them.”


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o you’ve worked hard all of your life building your nest egg and now it’s time to enjoy your golden years. It’s time to smell the roses, hang your hammock and celebrate retirement on the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever your retirement dreams entail, your quest for financial independence in an economy that is striving to recover from a recession could prove to be quite challenging. But don’t feel as if you are alone … you are part of the largest wave of retirement in modern history. January 2011 marks the dawning of the “silver tsunami” age: Each day for the next twenty years, approximately ten thousand baby boomers will reach their retirement age of sixty-five (as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, that totals seventy-nine million U.S. citizens). These “boomers” are the largest, wealthiest, and most intellectually sophisticated and technologically advanced generation in the history of modern man. The demographic offspring of our post–World War II global dominance, the baby boomers’ massive population bulge created historical phenomena as each decade passed by. When the boomers went to grade school, there weren’t enough teachers or schools in existence, causing massive strains on state and local economies. When they went to college and started to buy their first homes, it caused a generational spike in interest rates, not to mention a major housing boom. When they entered the golden age of investing from 1982 through 2000, the U.S. equity market compounded at an annual rate of 18 percent, punctuated by the dawning of the Internet, the PC explosion and the ensuing smart phone evolution that is the leading technological trend even today. From the 150

SPRING 2011 VIEZINE.COM

by David Waddle, Brian Haugen, and Steve Cann

summer of 1982 through the summer of 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average multiplied itself an amazing eighteenfold! Now that you are retiring, where will you go with your hard-earned savings? The terrible saga of the greatest recession since 1930 has severely jostled the retirement landscape. On the one hand, a decline in real estate values, rising unemployment, and the stock market crash paint a gloomy picture of financial despair. On the other hand, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has launched QE1 (quantitative easing) and now QE2. A student of the Great Depression, Bernanke has warned us many times of the dangers should we encounter Great Depression No. 2. In essence, he has told the world that he will do everything in his considerable power to keep interest rates low, stimulate growth, and ensure the recovery of the economy. Can you trust that the Federal Reserve chairman will get it right? Is your nest egg large enough that it will support you at today’s record low interest rates? Traditional retirement income vehicles like CDs, U.S. Treasury securities, tax-free municipal bonds and others all have their own unique risk parameters. Their current cash flows may not be sufficient for you, and they entail considerable risk to capital if and when interest rates eventually rise from historic lows. How about Social Security? Can exploding U.S. debt levels continue to support rapidly growing entitlement deficits in Social Security, Medicare, and now President Obama’s new health care plan? Can we trust our politicians to reign in the rampant spending spree of the past several


years? If not, this might have important consequences for “traditional” retirement income planning. It’s a tough challenge confronting all retirees. There are no simple, formulaic answers—and traditional strategies might not provide an adequate solution for lifetime income. But all hope is not lost. Many boomers will steer a successful course to a financially sound retirement, especially those who can clearly identify the real risks in traditional planning and in turn consider some alternatives. The U.S. continues to be a dominant player in the global economy, and our capital markets will likely provide ample opportunities for growth and prosperity. You’ll just need to be more flexible in your retirement strategy. If you’re not comfortable going it alone, seek help. A seasoned advisor carries the insight and experience of his or her clients, who have been through this before. The seasoned advisor brings valuable knowledge of what has worked for his or her clientele and what hasn’t, and how individuals’ retirement plans were affected by events of the past several decades. Find someone who makes you feel comfortable and puts your needs first, and get to work now. And while you are at it, get back to enjoying the life that you have created. You deserve it! Prepared by David Waddle, Brian Haugen, and Steve Cann of Emerald Coast Wealth Advisors of Raymond James and Associates, which specializes in designing personalized, diversified financial portfolios for high-net-worth investors along the Emerald Coast. Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is no assurance these trends will continue. Investing involves risk, and you may incur a profit or a loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index of thirty widely held securities. While interest on municipal bonds is generally exempt from federal income tax, it may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax, state or local taxes. In addition, certain municipal bonds (such as Build America Bonds) are issued without a federal tax exemption, which subjects the related interest income to federal income tax.


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Profile for The Idea Boutique

VIE - People + Places / Spring 2011  

VIE is a French word meaning “life” or “way of living.” VIE sets itself apart as a Northwest Florida regional, high-gloss publication focusi...

VIE - People + Places / Spring 2011  

VIE is a French word meaning “life” or “way of living.” VIE sets itself apart as a Northwest Florida regional, high-gloss publication focusi...