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COUTURE SPLASH! Old Hollywood Glam

Anna Hawke’s 2012 Couture Swimsuits

Mercedes-Benz Fall Fashion Week

2012 Fall Fashions and More!


Wedding Ideas and Inspirations

VOYAGER A Hawaiian Adventure Wedding

A Celebration of Love

Wendy Lyn’s Paris Kitchen

Savoring Paris One Bite at a Time

The Health Nut

Your Brain: Mind over Matter

VIE ’s Favorite Things Bridal Party Gift Ideas

July/August 2012

THE LOVE ISSUE From Here to eternit y

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In this issue:




76 Perspectives Breaking Flavor Barriers: Cathead Vodka 97 A Blue-Ribbon Chiropractic 136 Restoring Meaning of the Titanic 149 Get Out Exploring “The Unforgettable Coast” 104 Voyager A Hawaiian Wedding Adventure 76 Savoring Paris 140 Couture Old Hollywood Glam Debuts Again 20 Inspiration Takes Flight 122 Inside the Fashion Week Star Lounge 130 Get Healthy Inside Your Brain 116 A Sense of Place Hotel LeCiel 27 Sinfonia Hits the Right Notes 30 A World Traveler’s Passion for the Gulf 109

10 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012



46 Wedding Feature The Look of Love 36 VIE ’s Favorite Things 70 VIE’s Featured Weddings: Kristie and Cameron Conner 46 Kelli and Jason Siler 48 Carol and Carter Zorn 50 Rebeccah and Mike Moriarty 54 Jamie and Matt Ullum 55 Chrissy and Jason Mitchell 56 Whitney and Scott Smith 57 Laura and John Holmberg 58 Jessica and Brett Ruprecht 59 Danielle and Paul Stearly 62 Carrie and Jonathan Abdo 63 Chelsea and Daniel Lee 64 Kim and Blake Bowers 65 Paige and Matt Weinstein 66



Primary Targeted Audiences


e are thrilled you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy reading about the people and places of our coveted region,

COLA 2 COLA®—Pensacola to Apalachicola. We live in a great place where life is good! We have a passion for our area and the people and businesses found here, and we hope that you will share in our excitement. VIE can be found locally at Tourist Development Council centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, boutiques, restaurants,

Sip the FineSt Margarita... Experience the gourmet side of Mexican cuisine

bed-and-breakfasts, and special events. We are excited to announce that VIE‘s distribution has recently branched out to the following airports: 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.

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VIE is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008–2012 Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from The Publisher. VIE is a lifestyle magazine and is published at least five times annually on a bimonthly schedule. 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 to the editor or The Publisher. VIE is a paid publication. Subscription rates: Digital magazine (iPad only) – One-year $11.99; Two-year $17.99 / Printed magazine – One-year $23.95; Two-year $34.95 (U.S. Only – price includes free access to digital magazine versions for iPad). Subscriptions can be purchased online at

On the Cover:

VIE Creative Team: Lisa Burwell Publisher

Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services

Jordan Staggs Public Relations Assistant

Tracey Thomas Graphic Designer

Mary Jane Kirby Account Executive

Troy Ruprecht Graphic Designer

James Ryan Account Executive

Phil Cowart Graphic Designer

Margaret Stevenson Copy Editor

Bill Weckel Web/Project Manager

Meredith Snow looked like a Polynesian princess bride in an intimate wedding at Waimea Plantation Cottages in Kauai, Hawaii, on Saturday, June 9. During the celebration of love, she said “I do” to the love of her life, Bob Brown, vice president of creative services for VIE’s publisher, Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Inc. Photographer extraordinaire Romona Robbins not only captured the cover image but was also the matron of honor. Read more about VIE’s exclusive coverage of this amazing weeklong Hawaiian adventure destination wedding on page 76. Aloha!

Benjamin Rosenau Video Producer Tim Dutrow Videographer Ainsley Rogers Public Relations Director

Shannon Quinlan Distribution Coordinator Skye Bailey Intern Amanda Crowley Intern Emmett S. Hightower Intern Meghan Ryan Intern

VIE Contributors: Contributing Writers: Susan Benton Sallie W. Boyles Haley Chouinard Amanda Crowley

Published by:

Camille Santrach Susan Vallée Whitney Williams Pure 7 Studios

Wendy O. Dixon Clark Peters Tori Phelps Shannon Reeves

Contributing Photographers:

(850) 231-3087

114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 | Grayton Beach, FL 32459

Contact us at

Susan Benton Michael Bruckner Mike Coppola Jack Gardner Sheila Goode Frazer Harrison Lesley Isacks Paul Johnson Guy Kitchens Alecia Lauren Dan Lecca Romona Robbins

Don Smith Ransom Snellings Ron Snow Jacqueline Ward Whitney Wolfe Jay Photography Pure 7 Studios Shannon Reeves: Ashley Daniell Photography Special Touch Photography Sublime Studios The Little White Wedding Chapel V IE ZINE.COM | 13

Publisher’s Note:

he loves me When I was a child, I played the age-old game He Loves Me … He Loves Me Not with my sisters, saying the phrases over and over while picking petals off a daisy. The phrase spoken the moment the last petal is picked sets the outcome. Outcome? A fictitious boy loved me or he didn’t. Silliness. Of course, we were too young to even have boyfriends or to know what love was, but we played it fervently nonetheless. From the fairy tales and the endless games of dress-up and pretending to be a bride, a little girl begins dreaming early in life of being a princess and someday, in the distant future, marrying Prince Charming. In preparation of VIE’s “The Love Issue,” dozens of submittals were considered. Sorting through the hundreds of photos made me think about the wedding celebration in general. Not only is it a monumental occasion for the couple to share with friends and family, it’s the bride’s big day to shine. It’s also a significant turning point in a couple’s life, marking the beginning of a new journey—where love is both tested and strengthened. My own wedding was exhilarating and memorable like most probably are. The ceremony took place in the charming and intimate chapel-like meetinghouse of Carillon Beach, the quaint New Urbanist village in Panama City Beach, Florida. The reception was held at one of my favorite places, Eden Gardens State Park in historic Point Washington. The weather that day would never have been found in a child’s fairy-tale dream. It rained—a deluge like I’d never seen before. I had heard many times that rain on a wedding day was good luck, but a downpour like that was overdoing it a bit!

Photo by Ro

n Snow

Fr om left to right : Geral d B ur well, B ob Brown, M eredit h Snow, and Lisa B ur well at Wai mea C ottages P lantat ion in Kauai, Hawaii, on Sat urda y, June 9, 2012.

Since that gloriously wet event, we have been through our share of ups and downs, as any married couple does, but I would not trade even one day. I found my soul mate—my intended. We celebrate our sixteenth anniversary this coming September. I am thankful to have been given a partner for this journey called “life.” One who loves me for better or worse, till death do us part! In this issue, we are honored to present intimate glimpses into the weddings of many couples—couples who wanted to share their stories and beautiful, personal photos with all of us. We are especially proud to feature the wedding of one exceptional couple—Bob Brown and Meredith Snow, who said “I do” in Kauai, Hawaii, on Saturday, June 9, 2012. For the past five years, Bob has served as the vice president of creative services for Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Inc. – The Idea Boutique (publisher of VIE). He is a man of tremendous talent and fortitude, and he possesses character and decency not commonly found today. A native of Kauai, Meredith and her loving family played gracious hosts 14 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

in the tropical Hawaiian island paradise. We think the world of this lovely couple, and we consider it one of the great honors of our lives to have shared their special day with them. Together, the Brown and Snow families make a vibrant, loving, and fun-spirited group; they shared tremendous love and happiness during the celebration of the union between Bob and Meredith—an occasion that would make anyone believe in true love! To a long and happy life, Bob and Meredith! To Life! —Lisa

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Splash! Old Hollywood Glam Debuts Again By Ainsley Rogers • Photography by Romona Robbins


uit s im w S k c la B e tl it L e Th It has been said, “Everything old is new again.” Decade-defining pop culture fads characterized by movies, celebrities, music, and television are duplicated and celebrated anew every few years. From Katharine McPhee’s interpretation of Marilyn Monroe in the new series Smash to the fashion industry’s celebration of the retro look (thanks to cable network AMC’s Mad Men), as well as a new breath of life for big-band, swing, and jazz music due to musicians Bruno Mars and Michael Buble, clearly old Hollywood glamour has “debuted” again. In a celebration of this Tinseltown glam, we sought to re-create Hollywood glamour at its finest by featuring a feminine yet sexy shoot channeling the epitome of the bombshells of yesteryear. Destin-based designer Anna Hawke’s new vintage-inspired swim line for Hawke Couture Summer 2012 was just the ticket. After graduating from Auburn University in fashion design, Hawke Couture designer Anna Hawke attended Parsons in New York City, where she developed a passion for her craft. Having had influential teachers and experiences in the fashion industry, the designer then packed her bags and moved to Destin, Florida, to pursue her first swimwear line. “I’ve grown up around the water and feel like it becomes a part of who you are,” says Anna of her endeavors. Anna began designing Hawke Couture in the spring of 2011. “It has been a challenge and therefore a very rewarding experience to see my ideas brought to life,” she explains.

22 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

“It has been a challenge and therefore a very rewarding experience to see my ideas brought to life.�

Ooh La La! “I design swimwear because I love the challenge of creating a couture piece of clothing in which you can run around on the beach, dive into the water, and come out looking glamorous.” Thus, her first collection, Hawke Couture Summer 2012, is born. Inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s iconic seaside photo shoot, Anna sought to design a line of suits that celebrates a woman’s natural appeal. “Marilyn’s effortless glamour has gotten lost in today’s society,” she says. “I wanted to create an overwhelming nostalgic feel to Hawke Couture and to celebrate being a lady. I want a woman to feel beautiful in her suit, not just sexy.” From the “little black dress” one-piece that highlights a woman’s curves to the bikinis that frame her shape, each piece screams femininity and creates a unique silhouette that channels the pinup era—which is sure to make a splash. Anna, who is also the manager and buyer for Luxe Apothetique, a women’s boutique located in the Destin Commons, has begun to design a dress line for the shop as well. 24 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

For the photo shoot, model Brooke Miller channels a chic Hollywood glam effortlessly. Photography by Romona Robbins. Makeup by Natasha Vaughan. Creative direction by Lisa Burwell, Tracey Thomas, and Ainsley Rogers.

Hawke Couture is available at: » » » »

Luxe Apothetique—Destin, FL Luxe Apothetique—Austin, TX Blue Elephant—Austin, TX A Town—Austin, TX

The Sky i S

e n d l e S S


l e C i e l

By lisa Bur well

i S

h e R e

Photography by Jack Gardner


LeCiel, a contemporary boutique hotel experience at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, opened to rave reviews this past Memorial Day weekend. Bound by nothing but the horizon it meets, the sky has been an emblem of unlimited possibilities, of a never-ending, uninterrupted view of peace and opportunity—not unlike the characteristics many vacationers look for in a destination so they can truly escape the daily grind. That’s why the Destin area’s only contemporary boutique hotel experience is aptly named LeCiel, which is French for “The Sky.” LeCiel hails as the newest hotel for the discerning vacationer. Robert Schamber, head of operations for LeCiel and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, believes the vision of transforming one of the original properties on the resort into a chic South Beach–inspired hotel has been realized. “We’re confident that guests will appreciate this beautiful setting, as well as the contemporary look and feel,” Schamber says. The new branding tagline, “Where the sky ends, LeCiel begins,” is exceedingly appropriate. LeCiel enjoys a prime location along Choctawhatchee Bay and is just a short distance from the sugar-white sand beaches and alluring emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico that bring guests back time and time again. Travelers from the world over will experience a memorable stay at the hotel, soaking in the inspiration and aesthetics of the tranquil colors and lush landscape, while the elements of water, beach, bay, sun, and sand soothe the body and soul. Formerly the Bayside Inn, one of Sandestin’s first multistory resort hotel buildings, LeCiel underwent a $2-million transformation; interiors now boast rich mixtures of chrome, wood, copper, leather, and fabrics. The theme of water abounds inside the boutique hotel: water walls (yes, walls of water) flow indoors, and cool blue and green hues set the tone of the experience before guests even get their first glimpse of the open bay. The boutique environment provides the perfect getaway for the astute traveler. Accommodation choices include one-bedroom suites and king and double-double guest rooms with handpicked, sophisticated decors. Each

Vincent van G o gh was onto s om et hing w hen he famousl y p ro cl aim e d, “i never g et tire d of t he b lu e sk y.”

one-bedroom suite features a full kitchen and dining room, and the studio room option includes a refrigerator, a microwave oven, and an in-room Keurig coffeemaker. All guest rooms have upgraded linens, terry robes, gourmet coffee, iPhone docking stations, flat screen televisions, spa-quality toiletries, access to wireless Internet, and other luxurious comforts. It’s just a quick trip down to the enchanting entrance and lobby where guests can, as a bonus, ask the front desk for the use of binoculars for dolphin or bird watching. Guests may also take in views of the bay from the lounge or the patio while enjoying a cocktail, listening to the sounds of water, and relaxing with that special someone as the sun says good night over the bay.


Other amenities at LeCiel include an elegant pool with food and beverage service, which includes a wide array of tempting cocktails. In addition, LeCiel is just steps away from the Sandestin Day Spa, featuring a full menu of award-winning spa and salon services. Guests are also given complimentary access to the nearby Sandestin Fitness Center, where guests have the use of the sauna and exercise equipment. In addition to being the perfect destination for travelers, LeCiel is also a lovely new waterfront location for hosting large events. The pool deck and the LeCiel ballroom are beautiful settings for weddings and large group meetings. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, nestled on 2,400 spectacular acres of prime Northwest Florida real estate, was rated the No.1 Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast.  With seven miles of pristine beach and bay front, the resort features the best in Destin accommodations with 1,300 condominiums, townhomes, villas, and hotel-style accommodations within thirty charming neighborhoods.  Sandestin also features four championship golf courses, fifteen world-class tennis courts, nineteen swimming pools, a ninety-eight-slip marina, a fitness center and spa, 65,000 square feet of meeting space, and The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a twenty-nine-acre village featuring boutique shops, casual and fine dining restaurants, and nightlife. LeCiel adds a luxurious tropical atmosphere to the already charming Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Guests are assured to get the pampering they deserve while visiting the Emerald Coast.


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hitting all the

Right Notes By Tori Phelps | Photography By Gerald Burwell Community investment and solid performances have earned Sinfonia unprecedented leeway to showcase everything from Tchaikovsky to tequila dinners.

Not every symphony hosts an event called “Beethoven and Botox.” Or decides a music-themed road race would be a grand addition to its schedule. But while other communities might clutch their pearls in dismay at these outside-the-box offerings, the people who call Northwest Florida home have learned to trust Sinfonia and its trailblazing music director. As a result, the arts organization has become bullet proof, riding out disasters ranging from an atrocious economy to environmental catastrophy with relative immunity. What’s their secret? A track record of sound decisions backed up by flawless deliveries doesn’t hurt. But it’s the mutual investment Sinfonia and the surrounding communities have made in each other that has built a foundation of trust. Even when Botox is involved.

The Power of Pink Guests of Sinfonia’s recent, highly acclaimed gala featuring Pink Martini might be surprised to learn that even this übersuccessful emsemble required a leap of faith. “When I first suggested them three years ago, my board thought I had lost my mind,” music director Demetrius Fuller recalls. “‘Pink what? And they cost how much?’” But the board trusted Fuller’s gut and the audience did, too, making the big band’s second appearance with Sinfonia an even bigger hit. More than four hundred sponsors and donors enjoyed a silent auction and preconcert reception, while a sold-out crowd of nearly nine hundred people boogied with Pink Martini later in the evening. The conga line, perhaps, was the best indicator that attendees were in for a much different night than most symphonies offer.

“The interaction between Pink Martini, the orchestra and the audience was magical.”

Some of the credit for the impromptu dance party goes to Pink Martini, of course. Bandleader Thomas Lauderdale nails a description of the group when he suggests that if the United Nations had a house band, Pink Martini would be it. Part George Gershwin, part Duke Elligton, part Ricky Ricardo, the band specializes in fusing world music with jazz and pop to create an experience unlike anything else out there. The fact that all sixteen members, including lead singer China Forbes, are stellar musicians in their own right makes their collaboration something audience members won’t soon forget.

To take advantage of the musical feast, Sinfonia put together a gala that, according to Fuller, may have been the best one yet. And that’s not an easy benchmark to claim. Every detail was carefully planned, from the elegant, vintage-inspired decor to the lounge seating. But what impressed Fuller most had less to do with decoration and more to do with communication. “The interaction between Pink Martini, the orchestra, and the audience was magical,” he says. V IE ZINE.COM | 31

Up Close and Personal Removing traditional barriers between artist and audience is a constant, and conscious, task for Fuller. That’s a big reason Sinfonia coordinates things like the bravo! beat 5k race in Sandestin, which celebrated its second year this June. “Tying music to seemingly nonmusical events helps introduce the organization to new people, who then develop into patrons,” Fuller explains. “It’s a win-win for everyone.” Fashion shows, charity gift wraps, wine dinners and, yes, Beethoven and Botox are just a few of the ways Fuller and Sinfonia meet audience members where they are. This “of the people, by the people, for the people” mentality explains why Sinfonia has continued to thrive when many other arts organizations are closing their doors. Sinfonia’s doors, meanwhile, are wide open—literally. Fuller encourages interactive communication with fans, and he insists this back-and-forth is the only way to learn what people are enjoying and what they’re not. Take, for example, the late George Einstein— yes, of that Einstein family—who approached him after a concert and declared that Sinfonia should include more Beethoven. Fuller’s response? “OK, George, you got it,” he smiles. “The next season I programmed the Fourth Symphony because I realized he was right: we needed to play some Beethoven. So, thank you, George, for saying something.”

“What sets Sinfonia apart is the fact that our community has allowed me to introduce new things.”

While he knows there will always be requests for perpetual favorites, Fuller is committed to offering unexpected surprises as well. And he recognizes how lucky he is that the audience permits him to do so. “Sinfonia’s symphony component is really no different than any other fine regional orchestra,” he says. “What sets Sinfonia apart is the fact that our community has allowed me to introduce new things.” Among those new things: a Grammy Award–winning harmonicist; Bernadette Peters; Roberta Flack; Dave and Chris Brubeck’s Ansel Adams: America (an event that integrated sweeping melodies with Adams’s images); and 14-year-old violinist Caroline Goulding, who, in between her first and second appearances with Sinfonia, released a Grammynominated CD. 32 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

A Community Presence Sinfonia enters its seventh season with a similarly eclectic, yet always top-quality, programming mix. But the organization isn’t resting on its laurels. Rather, Fuller wants to bring even more people into the Sinfonia family through intimate, grassroots-style functions. The goal of these events—some of which may emulate board member Gale Culling’s private, home-based soiree featuring Mike Huckabee—is to raise both funds and awareness. “It’s a great way to reach out to a demographic that may not be aware of what Sinfonia does in the community,” Fuller comments. “Hopefully, that translates into a patron or a donation for a specific program.”

Sinfonia is after much more than just sponsorship for new seats or shinier music stands. Its mission involves collaboration with other community entities and nonprofits, including a recent partnership with Sacred Heart Hospital. “‘Arts in Medicine’ is a program wherein Sinfonia will provide live music and music classes throughout the Walton campus of Sacred Heart,” Fuller says. “Helping others through music is truly exciting, and we join a handful of orchestras nationwide that are implementing these types of initiatives.” Arts in Medicine is the latest in a long list of projects that makes Sinfonia more than just a venue in which people can experience live symphonic productions. Its music director is rightfully proud that Sinfonia touches nearly every aspect of the community— from its more than eighty-five contracted musicians and the thirty thousand-plus children impacted by Music in the Schools to the ticket holders and the local businesses and restaurants they patronize before and after performances. “Sinfonia is embedded in the community and, in turn, the community has enabled it to become the organization it is today.”







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Lookof The


Ideas. Inspiration. Intentions. by ainsley rogers

A woman’s wedding day is a not an everyday occasion; it is probably the most anticipated celebration of her life. Now, more than ever, planning a wedding is no cookie-cutter task. The bride-to-be strives to create a celebration filled with unique moments and personal touches that show her individual style. Wedding sites such as and have popped up to offer fashion advice, event planning tips, and, of course, wedding dress consultations so that a bride can have many options at hand to make her wedding day glitter with her own personality. After all, that’s what a wedding is all about: the one-of-a-kind moments that make up the big day should be a reflection of the bride and her groom. For this reason, we have worked to compile ideas and inspiration for all you brides-to-be out there. You will find tips on how to plan various aspects of your wedding so that your personality really shines through. And we are celebrating some of those couples who have recited their vows, cut the cake, and gone straight into matrimonial bliss in the past year, because nothing is more inspiring than the real thing. The many details that we include in “The Look of Love” are almost as multidimensional as the bride who stands beside her groom. Here are some unique ideas to help you find the look and feel you want for your own special day.

Hello Miss lovely What better way to capture the real look of love than with the perfect wedding photography? Starting July 1, 2012, Santa Rosa Beach photography studio Hello Miss Lovely will be giving away six hours of wedding day photography with VIE. The package is valued at $3000 and includes two photographers for full wedding day coverage. “Our style is new and a bit nontraditional,” says co-owner Amy Smith, “and we are thrilled to offer this package to one lucky VIE reader!” To enTer The giveaway, simply visiT for your chance To win. The contest will close August 9, 2012,

and a winner will be chosen August 10, 2012. For more information on Hello Miss Lovely, visit

scan to enter for a chance to win. standard message and data rates may apply


Uniquely Yours Creating Pretty Celebrations Sprinkled with Personality By Shannon Reeves of Shannon Reeves Events

38 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

“A wedding is a great opportunity to let your personalities shine through.” Create a vision, starting with something that inspires you. This first step may be the most important step of your whole planning experience! Try to sit back and think about that one thing that really fires you up. It could be a paint-chipped lantern you found in an antique shop. Or your mother’s lace veil. Or you could just know that when you say “I do,” you will be standing under giant oaks dripping with moss. Begin with one piece, idea, or dream and build in other details to complement it. Build a fabulous team. You’ll want to feel comfortable sharing your vision with each one of your wedding vendors, so it’s very important to build a team compatible with you and your fiancé. There should be something about them personally—their work or ideas—that gives you confidence in building your day. If you pick pros with whom you “click,” because you love their portfolios or you just have a good gut feeling, they’re more likely to understand your vision and bring it to life. Bring in local flavor. It’s always fun to give a nod to the wedding location; this is an easy way to personalize your big day. It might be how you set your menu, choose your favors, or set the song list. Even if it’s just one thing, the guests are sure to notice.

THE PERFECT BANDSTAND SET LIST After the bride and groom take the stage and the mothers have a spin, be sure to select the perfect tunes to have your guests dancing the night away. Here’s a list of songs that would get any crowd up and moving.

“September” – Earth, Wind and Fire “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder “Shout” – The Isley Brothers “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder “Get Down Tonight” – K.C. and the Sunshine Band

Tying the knot in New Orleans? A jazz trio to play the ceremony music would

“Single Ladies” – Beyoncé

set the perfect tone. Saying “I do” in Apalachicola? Treat your guests to an oyster

“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison

station at the buffet. Not sure what makes your location so special? Pop into the

“Proud Mary” – Ike and Tina Turner

city’s welcome center or log onto its website to see what you can find out! Show off your favorites. Just as your home should reflect the two of you as a couple, a wedding is a great opportunity to let your personalities shine through. Share bits of

“I Want You Back” – The Jackson 5 “Hey Ya!” – OutKast “Giving It Up for Your Love” – Delbert McClinton

what makes you tick—it could be a macaroni and cheese station in honor

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” – The Temptations

of a comfort food–loving groom, or it could be as simple as displaying old

“Brick House” – The Commodores

photographs of your family on their wedding days at your reception. It’s the little details that will set your soiree apart and have guests remembering your wedding long after the last dance.

“Twist and Shout” – The Beatles “Celebration” – Kool and the Gang V IE ZINE.COM | 39


Portraits Flawless Photography on Your Wedding Day From Pur e 7 Stu D ioS

40 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

“This is the happiest day of your life, so let that radiant emotion shine through.”

have a f ir sT lo o k . Whether you consider yourself a traditional bride or not, choosing to see your handsome groom before the wedding ceremony will allow for a much more easygoing wedding day. Then you are able to have formal photos with the bridal party and families done before the ceremony, allowing you and your honey to join your guests at cocktail hour. If you desire the warm light at sunset, you can opt to sneak

+ Wedding day 9-1-1 Items to have on hand for fixing last-minute mishaps or mess-ups

away during the reception for a quick session to capture this perfect lighting. kee p The fo r ma l i Ti es l i m i Ted. If you insist on not having your groom lay eyes on you until your walk down the aisle, the best way to maximize your time at the reception is to keep the posed

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photos with family to a minimum. These are images that can be captured either


candidly or coordinated at the reception, allowing for more time to mingle with


guests and enjoy your well-deserved party.


use a p la nne r .

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Having a wedding planner present on your big day is a fantastic idea for many rea-

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sons, but the help they provide for photography may be the most important. Your

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planner will coordinate with your photographer to ensure everything is running


on time, orchestrate the bridal party lineup, and coordinate the introduction of the new couple into the reception, allowing the photographer to focus on what he or she does best—capture your special moments throughout the night. rem e m be r To h av e fu n. This is the happiest day of your life, so let that radiant emotion shine through in your photos. Try not to be too nervous or overthink what you should be doing in the photos. There is no right or wrong way, so feel free to move often and modify any poses that may feel awkward or unnatural to you. Be yourself and soak up

Aspirin Sewing kit Safety pins Scissors Lint roller White chalk (to cover smudges)

every minute of the entire day—it will go by in a flash! V IE ZINE.COM | 41

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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, Florida, is the ideal place to say “I do.� Available for hosting an intimate gathering or a sit-down dinner for hundreds, 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 at 877.624.1715 or e-mail



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Kristie & Cameron Kristie Arnold met Cameron Conner where many good stories start—the University of Mississippi, more fondly known as Ole Miss. The unsuspecting Georgia peach and the outgoing Mississippi gentleman embarked on a classic college sweetheart love story—a whirlwind of sorority formals, shared vacations, and dates in the Grove. Upon graduating in 2010, both moved to the greater Atlanta area where careers took front seat until one beautiful July day when Cameron got down on one knee atop a catamaran at her family’s Mountain Top Golf and Lake Club vacation home in Cashiers, NC, and asked for her hand in marriage. Cameron, affectionately known as Cam to his bride, is as stoic as his wife is graceful; the details of their wedding were defined by that grace. The two decided to marry on Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A, a place near and dear to both their hearts. They invited guests from all over the Southeast to attend a long weekend filled with festivities to celebrate the occasion. May 19, 2012, was the perfect Florida day—a cloudless sky, cool temperatures, and a slight breeze favored the couple’s intimate wedding ceremony, which was set on the beautiful first fairway of Camp Creek Golf Club. Kristie walked the aisle in a lace Anna Maier ~ Ulla-Maija couture gown on the arm of her father toward groomsmen clad in linen suits and bridesmaids wearing blush pink chiffon.

by ains le y roge rs

46 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

My Favo r i t e MoMe n t:

“I can’t deny that walking down that aisle toward Cam, surrounded by the people we love most, was by far the most special moment of the wedding. No matter how unoriginal that is, I have experienced no greater moment than this in my life,” Kristie says.

After the ceremony, the new Mr. and Mrs. Cameron Conner and their guests left the golf club for a reception resplendent with crystal chandeliers and peonies at WaterSound Beach Club. Guests were treated to cocktails and a buffet before hitting the dance floor to the Jackson, Miss., Motown-sound group, Compozitionz. Kristie is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Keith Arnold and Cameron is the son of Ms. Sheryl Williams Conner and Mr. Sherman Jackson Conner. The couple now permanently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. VeNdOrS:

Events by Nouveau Flowers Paul Johnson Photography Diva Productions Compozitionz Wedding coordinator Shay Bell Camp Creek Golf Club


Kelli & Jason University of Alabama alumni Kelli Arnold and Jason Siler met on the beach through a mutual friend after they each had graduated and relocated to Florida’s Panhandle. For the two fun-loving aficionados of the Gulf Coast, choosing Alys Beach for their wedding was easy, especially with Kelli working for the resort town of Alys Beach, currently as its senior event manager. ( Jason is now the director of recreation at Alys Beach.) Her job had also exposed the bride-to-be to numerous weddings, so Kelli was ready with ideas. even so, with only five months to plan her February 5, 2012, wedding, she was grateful for her Alys Beach colleagues and other vendors, who filled in the details to create a happy, carefree event. Making the most of an idyllic spot on Kelly Green, an Alys Beach site that overlooks the Gulf, the Silers dined under a cleartop tent and danced outdoors beneath the stars. A color scheme of blue, yellow, and green mirrored the natural surroundings, and playful floral arrangements in whiskey bottles (a nod to Jason’s

My Favo ri te MoMent:

“I loved the photo booth!” Kelli says. “I had everyone in there at one time, even adults who typically wouldn’t partake in such antics!” 48 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

by sallie w. boyle s

beverage of choice) sat atop mixed and matched wooden tables and chairs. “We didn’t want anything stuffy,” says Kelli, who opted for open seating and casual Southern fare. Not one to let formality get in the way, the bride also ordered donuts, catered by Charlie’s donut Truck—a legendary vendor in Alys Beach—in lieu of a traditional cake. “I told Charlie, the owner, to pick five or six different flavors, but the selection had to include my two favorites, blueberry and sour cream.” Another notable twist on tradition was having her brother, Chris Arnold, serve as the man of honor and her only attendant. And when pressed to pick a favorite wedding element, Kelli points to a photo booth, stocked with masks and accessories that compelled all ages to dress up and pose for the camera. VeNdOrS:

Wedding Planner Meghan Kelly, Event Coordinator at Alys Beach Bella Flora Caliza Restaurant at Alys Beach Photographers Jacqueline Ward and Sheila Goode Charlie’s Donut Truck Dread Clampitt


Carol & Carter Carol and Carter attended Auburn University at the same time— she as an undergraduate, he as a veterinary student. Coincidentally, Carol’s roommate, Lindsay, was also dating Carter’s best friend, Chase, but their paths didn’t cross. eventually, thanks to Lindsay and Chase, the couple-to-be met on a Fourth of July ride on Carter’s boat, and they immediately hit it off. After two years living in Charlotte, Carol had a renewed appreciation for coastal Florida, so her destination wedding would not be far from home. “The day after Carter and I were engaged, we drove over to Apalachicola, a place we had often traveled to by boat, with my parents to celebrate,” says Carol. Once there, they were certain that the friendly village best suited their personalities. The Owl Cafe would host their reception for two hundred guests on June 18, 2011. Valuing its spiritual significance and ambience, they chose Trinity episcopal Church, the second oldest church in Florida that still has service, for the ceremony.

by sallie w. boyle s

50 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

Other elements that fell into place were the breezy, budget-friendly Lilly Pulitzer dresses that Carol, who personally loves wearing the label, spotted online for her bridesmaids. Using additional material in the same bicycle pattern, her mom made table runners and a clutch purse for Carol. A graphic artist, Carol also incorporated the bicycle, a signature of their event, in their wedding logo. Her Steven Birnbaum wedding gown in eyelet lace, coordinating with the trim on the bridesmaids’ dresses, was an unexpected find and well worth the search. Another personal touch was Carol’s engagement ring, passed down through Carter’s maternal grandmother.

My Favo r i t e MoMe n t:

“The character of the historic church made a large audience feel like an intimate gathering. Love and support from our family and friends created an uplifting atmosphere which set the tone for rest of the evening,” says Carol.


Rachelle Youd Events Toms Flowers The Owl Cafe Pure 7 Studios Dread Clampitt


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by sallie w. b oyle s

Rebeccah & Mike rebeccah and Mike met twice before the timing was right for a relationship. They were first introduced at a Halloween party by rebeccah’s girlfriends who attended Florida State University with Mike. A few months later, the two landed on the same bowling team for a charity fund-raiser. However, rebeccah soon faced a pivotal moment in her career: She could change jobs within her company or travel the world. She opted to travel and jetted off on a yearlong trip to see the world. Three years passed before they reconnected, but the wait was well worthwhile. “When we met again, everything just clicked—it was so natural and balanced,” says rebeccah. Numerous escapes to Panama City Beach convinced the Atlanta couple to host a weeklong wedding celebration there. They planned an array of activities during the week including a beautiful rehearsal dinner during sunset, and on Friday, August 12, 2011, the couple exchanged vows at Grande Pointe Pavilion. On Saturday, the week of festivities concluded with a Low-Country boil for family and friends. Their guests were treated to an assortment of personalized welcome gifts throughout the week including beach bags and koozies, adding a very intimate touch to the celebration. Though fun loving, the couple, sharing a sentimental side, wrote their own ceremony vows. Also, rebeccah carried her great-grandmother’s wedding ring tied to her bridal bouquet and, after changing dresses for the party, she wore her paternal grandmother’s jewelry in her memory. VeNdOrS:

Wedding Planners Victoria and Avis of Carillon Weddings; Nouveau Flowers; Townsend Catering Company; Pure 7 Studios; Confections on the Coast; Gulf Talent Services; Wedding Music Plus

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My Favorite MoM ent:

“The anticipation right before my father walked me down the aisle, surrounded by family and friends, then seeing Mike waiting for me was perfect,” Rebeccah says.

Jamie & Matt When Jamie spotted a For rent sign in the yard of a nearby house that she thought belonged to a friend in her Louisville, Kentucky, neighborhood, she called the number, expecting to reach her girlfriend. Instead, Matt answered. He owned the home, which he intended to rent while spending the next two years working in Cambodia, where he would help a physician friend establish the financial structure for a new children’s hospital. The accountant, however, had not counted on meeting his future wife in November of 2009, and in February of 2010, he cancelled his plans to leave. Although Jamie told Matt not to forgo the opportunity overseas, he was convinced that he was never intended to go anywhere: the For rent sign was simply a means for them to meet. In May of 2011, he took Jamie to destin and made a romantic proposal on a boat at sunset. “When I told him that it didn’t matter if we got married in six months or six years, he jumped on six months,” says Jamie. Their wedding date would be November 11, 2011. A small beach wedding in Seaside, Florida, would be the wedding venue because of family ties to the area and the fact that Seaside’s quaint cottages and village shops also reminded the couple of their Louisville neighborhood. Most of all, they envisioned a ceremony in the sand, and Jamie even chose her dress with a vision of how it would flow in the breezes by the water. “We originally intended to get married on the beach at Seaside,” says Jamie, “but with the temperature drop, our wedding planners quickly made arrangements with WaterSound Beach Club so that we could move everything indoors.” When their wedding day dawned, however, Mother Nature presented a special gift: the sun shined and the temperatures climbed to the upper 60s. Jamie and Matt treasure every moment of their wedding, but they most cherish their ceremony by the shore. VeNdOrS:

by sallie w. boyle s

My Favorite MoMent:

“Our favorite wedding moment was having our first dance to “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts. It was truly a magical moment of looking into each other’s eyes and knowing our life together had started.”

It’s a Shore Thing; Celestine’s Special Occasions; WaterSound Beach Club; Pure 7 Studios; Cake by Yascha Becker; Beachside DJ (Brent LeMaster)


Chrissy & Jason Tired of the “dating game,” Chrissy Oakes let a friend set her up with mutual friend Jason Mitchell and wasted no time deciding if there would be a second date. “I had pretty much convinced myself that I was going to be single forever,” she says. “So I just let it all out and broke all of the dating rules. I asked about kids, marriage, crazy exes—everything a girl shouldn’t bring up on a first date. I went into it with a nothing-to-lose attitude.” It seems her directness worked. About a year later they were engaged. Preferring an intimate celebration, the Kentucky couple opted for a destination beach wedding with their fifty guests. “We didn’t have our special day, we had our special week,” she says, “because we got to celebrate with our closest family and friends for five days.” As Jason saw his bride for the first time, he teared up and apologized sweetly to their friends. “He was so handsome and emotional, which, let’s admit it, every girl wants on her wedding day.” Planning a destination wedding takes organization, and a lot of faith, Chrissy explains. “The hardest part about a destination wedding for us was knowing whether or not our vendors would show,” Chrissy says. “You talk to all these people and pay them lots of money without really knowing them.” But Chrissy and Jason count themselves fortunate. “Our vendors far exceeded any and every expectation that we had,” she adds. VeNdOrS:

Florida Dream Weddings; Frangista Beach, Destin; RSVP Weddings; The Cake Destination; GG Bloom; RythmTrail; LesGo Personal Chef; Lewis Cinema; Special Touch Photography

by wendy o. dixon

56 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

My Favorite MoMent:

“When we said our vows, it felt like it was just the two of us and it was so sentimental to me. The fact that he was so emotional when he said them just showed me how much the promises we were making meant to him as well,” says Chrissy.

Whitney & Scott Whitney White Hipsh and Scott Smith had talked about eloping for a while and looked into different venues in the Caribbean, locally on the beach, and in Las Vegas. “We also talked about whether we should include our family and friends or just keep it the two of us,” Whitney says. The couple finally decided they wanted to keep it a secret and that Las Vegas was the perfect spot for them to elope. “Since we were going to Vegas, we decided to have a true Vegas elopement,” Whitney explains, “complete with the famous Little White Wedding Chapel, the Tunnel of Love, a pink Cadillac, and elvis—no stress and lots of fun!” Whitney and Scott had no need for a wedding planner. “Tammy Mcdaniel of Tammy’s Journeys booked our Vegas trip,” Whitney adds, “but she didn’t even know why we were going there!”

by wendy o. dixon

My Favo r i t e MoMe n t:

“Having our wedding be just the two of us and telling everyone where we were and what we were doing after we had arrived in Las Vegas was the best moment of the wedding by far!” Whitney says.

After work, they flew to Vegas and had the chapel pick them up in a limo at the airport. After heading straight to the courthouse to get the marriage license, Whitney and Scott went directly to the Tunnel of Love chapel to get married. “Only our immediate family knew about our elopement before we left,” Whitney says, “which was a very hard secret to keep from everyone.” But they did want to announce their big news with friends, so they “checked in” to the wedding chapel on Facebook and sent text messages to let everyone know what they were doing. “After we were Mr. and Mrs., we checked into our hotel and then had the rest of our time to enjoy the sights of Las Vegas,” Whitney recalls fondly. “It was the perfect way for us to get married.” VeNdOrS:

Tammy’s Journeys; The Tunnel of Love at The Little White Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas; Photography by The Little White Wedding Chapel, edited by Jay Photography; Elvis impersonator


Laura & John As fate would have it, Laura ran into John at a Washington, d.C., bar while making a mad dash for the door to escape a “terrible” blind date. The attraction was mutual, so she took a chance, giving him her phone number when he asked. everything fell into place from there. In fact, just as the couple seemed to meet at the right moment in time, Laura, who works for the U.S. Travel Association in d.C., found the perfect wedding location when she landed on a website for Carillon Beach in Panama City Beach, Florida. Orchestrating an event for a hundred out-of-town guests can be stressful when the bride has no personal connections to her wedding destination, but for Laura, the setup was ideal. “Working with Carillon Weddings and their preselected list of the highest quality vendors was one of the nice things about being out of town,” she says, indicating that she had a clear vision for her wedding but appreciated the experts’ guidance. “Also, my husband, bless his heart, let me do whatever I wanted.” In keeping with a theme of stylish yet simple elegance, she chose grey for the bridesmaids’ dresses and soft yellow accents, as in the handmade necklaces she gave them. Laura’s mother added her personal touches, too. “She worked with Confections on the Coast to create a wedding cake design that resembled my romona Keveza gown,” says Laura. John quickly caught on to his bride’s aesthetic and gave her the lovely bracelet she wore as a wedding day gift. “It was the perfect accessory,” she says. Considering every detail, from a delicious seated dinner featuring a trio of entrées to a band that kept them dancing all night, Laura and John agree that their most precious memory of May 14, 2011, is the ceremony. VeNdOrS: Wedding Planners Victoria and Avis of Carillon Weddings; Nouveau Flowers; Townsend Catering Company; Pure 7 Studios; Confections on the Coast; Jones & Company of Gulf Talent Services

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by sallie w. boyle s

My Favorite MoMent:

“We exchanged our vows on the beach. With the waves in the background, there was the perfect amount of breeze and sunshine,” Laura says. “That picture is forever etched in our minds.”

Jessica & Brett My brother Brett first met his bride-to-be, Jessica, in her native Oregon. After many campouts on the southern Oregon coastline, it soon became obvious that a love for nature was not the only thing developing between the two. As the two decided a wedding was in store, and with both families being from rural America, it made sense to have a destination wedding. What better place could there be for such an occasion than the tropical paradise of Maui? It was on a Saturday, a couple of hours before the sun was to set, when my plane landed on the Kahului Airport runway in Maui. during the drive to the western shore, I looked out the rental car windows to Maui’s lush trees blanketing the jagged landscape that rose from the majestic ocean. The sun was slowly hiding beneath the waves and casting its radiance off the clouds. This was the most beautiful sunset I’d seen in my life and, as it so happened, it would not be the last instance of such beauty that I would witness in this getaway wedding location. We stayed in a condo that afforded not only a fabulous view of the ocean but a close proximity to it as well: the bedrooms were just steps away from the water. From this vantage point, I was able to see the green sea turtles that hung out a few feet from shore (later in the week I was able to swim with the sea turtles). Another island, Lanai, provided the not-so-distant background to the seascape; we ended up going scuba diving there with the bride and groom. The wedding itself went perfectly. The couple married on a small bluff overlooking the ocean, right outside the condo. It was the perfect setting for an intimate gathering of family and friends to celebrate such a beautiful occasion. The powerful, natural elements on Maui cultivated and enhanced what Brett and Jessica already share—a love for nature and, more important, each other.

story and photography by t r oy ru p r ech t

My Favorite MoMent:

“While standing on a grassy outcropping with my husband, holding hands and draped with fragrant Hawaiian flowers, each family member and friend came up to hug us while sea turtles, more than one hundred years old, spotted the horizon. I felt loved and blessed.”


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Danielle & Paul Having lived their lives in Northwest Florida (she is from Shalimar; he, from Milton), danielle Quinlan and Paul Stearly knew they must have their wedding here, even if that meant planning it from hundreds of miles away. “It was so hard to plan the wedding because I was working in Ottumwa, Iowa,” danielle explains. “My husband (then fiancé) was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, and my family was in Florida.” Initially doing the planning herself, danielle had help from friends and family during the weeks leading up to the wedding. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” she says. The bride carried a cheerful orange bouquet during her fall wedding at Pensacola Beach Community Church and celebrated the day she’d planned from afar with those she loved the most. “It was a celebration, and I am so happy that everyone was there to enjoy it with us!”

My Favo r i t e MoM e n t:

“Walking out to the beach with my new husband to take sunset pictures with the photographer,” she says. “It was a very sweet, romantic time with just the two of us. It gave me some time to really let sink it in—that feeling of Wow, we are really married.” 62 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012


Pensacola Beach Community Church; Tan and Broke Beach House, Pensacola Beach; Alecia Lauren Photography; Invitations and programs handmade by the bride and bridesmaid Nicki Wyldes; Flowers by Audy Roper and James Harris; Soirée Catering, Pensacola; and Jon and Amy Thacker

Carrie & Jonathan Carrie Hooten and Jonathan Abdo’s story started with a little bit of resistance. After months of Jonathan’s sister begging Carrie to meet her brother, the couple-to-be finally met at a Christmas family gathering. When Jonathan pulled out a guitar and began to serenade the crowd, Carrie quickly realized why his sister had insisted they meet—and it was love at first strum. Their first date was the next night, and they kept in touch as Jonathan went back to his duty in the service. After weeks of text messages and phone calls, the two quickly realized they valued the same things in life: faith in God and their love for family and friends. The rest is history. The two were engaged the following September in Sandestin and decided to the make the town where they met and were engaged their wedding destination the following February. The wedding was held aboard SunQuest Cruises’ Solaris on February 6, 2011, and the wedding party sailed at sunset for the celebratory reception. The bride’s dress was by Venus Bridal from the 2009 Pallas Athena collection: a strapless gown adorned with a beautiful contemporary row of beads and jewels on the top bodice with a matching appliqué on the hip of the mermaid silhouette.

by m e ghan ryan

My Favo r i t e MoMe n t:

“I remember walking up the aisle and seeing my fiancé’s face,” Carrie said. “He had the biggest smile and I knew at that moment that we were perfect for each other, just like his sister thought, long before we ever met.”

When the bride recalls the moment she first saw her groom at the end of the aisle, tears well up in her eyes. And Jonathan describes how he felt as he stood waiting, eager for her to make her grand entrance: “All I kept thinking, with butterflies in my stomach, was, ‘I can’t believe she is about to be my wife.’ My excitement was beyond description,” he says. “There she was, absolutely breathtaking.” VeNdOrS:

SunQuest Cruises – Solaris; Violinist Michelle Adams of Sand and Strings; Kim’s Cakes; Coast to Coast Video Productions; DJ Dave of ApplauseMedia, the exclusive media source for SunQuest Cruises; Guy Kitchens Photography


Chelsea & Daniel Chelsea Weeks and daniel Lee enjoyed a spring garden wedding at eden Gardens State Park, where they were surrounded by a tree-canopied lawn decorated with flowers in shades of soft yellow, white and pink. Part of the fun for the bride usually involves the preceremony ritual of sharing hairspray, waterproof mascara, and prewedding jitters with the special women in her life. “Getting ready with my favorite girls in the house is one of my favorite moments,” Chelsea recalls. “everything felt so magical that day. I felt like I was a little kid again waking up on Christmas morning. I loved being pampered, having photos taken, and just being a girl.” enhancing the romance of the day, Chelsea entered the garden in a horse-drawn carriage to meet her future husband. “I can still hear the horse’s feet tapping on the ground as I sat there with my dad,” she says. “I cried like a baby that day, but my dad was such wonderful comfort and kept me from tearing up before I walked down the aisle.” After the ceremony, the newlyweds took an intimate carriage ride, during which Chelsea got an unexpected memento. “I went to pet the horse and he bit me,” she says. “And it wasn’t just a simple bite either; he held on to my finger for what seemed like forever. Now I have a scar there that reminds me of that day. Who would have thought a scar would bring back such great memories!” VeNdOrS:

The Eventful Planner, Destin; Eden Gardens State Park; Sublime Studios; Nouveau Flowers; Fatty Patty’s Cakes; The Blue Ribbon Healers; DJ Vaughn VanAmburg

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by w e ndy o. dixon

My Favorit e MoMen t:

“The year-and-a-half engagement was great, but I also loved the moment I walked down the aisle with my Dad towards the man I love, knowing that we were about to become one,” Chelsea says.

Kim & Blake Kim dobbin and Blake Bowers, both from Atlanta, Georgia, celebrated their nuptials with a destination wedding at WaterColor resort, along with their one hundred guests. As in life, the wedding planning wasn’t without its mishaps. About six months before the wedding, Kim’s mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had surgery to remove a tumor from her spine. The day after her surgery, the couple heard the shocking news that their initial wedding reception venue, the BoatHouse restaurant in the WaterColor development, was severely damaged by a kitchen fire. “Needless to say, the fire was not our biggest concern at the time,” Kim says, more concerned for her mother’s health. “WaterColor was very generous and accommodating in assisting with our reception changes, and it ended up absolutely perfect and possibly better than the originally planned venue.” The couple gave their guests cancer awareness bracelets as favors, and Kim’s mother has been in remission since completing chemotherapy and radiation.

My Favorite MoMent:

“Our ‘first look’ photo session was two hours before the ceremony, and seeing Blake calmed my nerves and reminded me what the day was about,” Kim says.

A long-standing tradition for the couple’s friends is to have a grand finale during the reception in which everyone links together in a big circle and belts out “Piano Man.” “It was a very special moment I had been looking forward to for many years,” Kim says. After the reception, Kim and Blake invited their guests to a bonfire on the beach for “s’more” fun. “It was great to change into some comfy clothes and relax with the crowd for the after party on the beach,” Kim remembers, “It was a perfect day!” VeNdOrS:

Wedding Planner Cheryl Walton of WaterColor Resort; WaterColor Inn & Resort; Lesley Isacks Photography; Fisher’s Flowers; Bake My Day; Gulf Talent Services

by w e ndy o. dixon


Paige & Matt Although Paige and Matt met while students at Louisiana State University, they didn’t start dating until they both had relocated to Washington, d.C., for their careers; Paige works for a lobbying firm and Matt, who is from Mobile, works for an Alabama congressman. The two were engaged in April of 2011 while on a trip to Hawaii, and they absolutely knew that Paige’s family home on Joe’s Bayou in destin was the place for their wedding. Like many brides, Paige said yes to her dress at Kleinfeld’s in New York with an extra positive feeling about her choice. She loved the first gown she tried on by elizabeth Fillmore and then had the unexpected pleasure of meeting the designer, who was in the store for a trunk show.

My Favorite MoMent:

“We left on a boat, so we had a wonderful view from the water. We’ll never forget seeing everything illuminated by fireworks while our friends and family held huge sparklers and waved good-bye,” says Paige.

“My cousin lived in New Orleans, and her wedding was supposed to take place right after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005,” Paige explains. “She needed a new dress: hers had been in a Saks Fifth Avenue store that had caught on fire, so the dress had smoke and water damage. When my cousin contacted elizabeth Fillmore with her predicament, she rushed to make a brand-new dress from scratch in time for the wedding.” Paige, in turn, feels she was meant to have a Fillmore gown. Paige and her mother planned the 275-guest wedding without the help of a wedding coordinator, deciding to brave the coastal setting and erratic weather patterns. The May 5, 2012, wedding seemed to fall perfectly into place—from tiny attendants who obediently walked down the aisle to pleasing temperatures and soft breezes that enabled all of the festivities to proceed outdoors. “I was so relieved it didn’t rain I could have cried!” Paige says. “Living so far away from friends and family, it was amazing to have a big wedding with so many gathered together,” says Paige. VeNdOrS:

Bella Flora; Classic City Catering of Pensacola; Pure 7 Studios; Cakes by Tanis; Sarah Jane Francis; Papa Sol

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by sallie w. boyle s

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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, Florida, is the ideal place to say “I do.� Available for hosting an intimate gathering or a sit-down reception for hundreds, Shores of Panama 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 us at 888.906.3277 or e-mail

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a celebration of l ve An Adventure Destination Wedding

Story by Lisa Burwell Photography compilation by Bob Brown, Gerald Burwell, and Romona Robbins

The kiss. Gustav Klimt’s oil painting The Kiss, considered a masterpiece of the early modern period, and the famous embrace between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on a Hawaiian beach in the 1953 blockbuster film From Here to Eternity, are iconic examples that capture the emotion and passion behind the kiss. It is accepted as the universal expression of human love, and it is the first act by newlyweds to signify their new social union.

The Anticipation

It seems appropriate to begin this story of a couple’s nuptials with “the kiss.” In early June 2012, family and friends of Bob Brown and Meredith Snow converged onto the tropical island of Kauai, Hawaii, to celebrate their union. Because Bob and Meredith had been working toward this momentous day for sixteen years and because they are both avid outdoor enthusiasts, only a weeklong adventure destination wedding would suffice. For several months leading up to this destination wedding, Meredith would send DVDs and notes about places we’d be visiting and thoughtful reminders about such things as bringing sunscreen and placing our mail on hold. Who would plan this well? Only the music director for Emerald Coast Middle School in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida—a music aficionado. Bob and Meredith outdid themselves in their preparation for this adventure.

The Setting

Home base for the adventure was the rustic yet beautiful resort of Waimea Plantation Cottages, located in the quaint village of Waimea on the island of Kauai (also known as the “Garden Isle”), which is the northernmost of the Hawaiian islands. Located on the southwestern shore of the island and with thirty acres of luscious grounds, Waimea Plantation is home to forty-eight cottages (these represent the architecture of westside sugar plantations dating from 1884 to 1938) and to an abundant collection of birds, plants, and flowers. The sights, sounds, and scents of this tropical wonderland could easily lull any guest into a state of spiritual bliss. Upon arriving to the resort on the evening of Tuesday, June 5, after a long day of travel, our exhaustion was immediately banished by bride-to-be Meredith bearing

Table lamps warmly lit the cozy bungalow as we perused welcome packages with notes lovingly placed by the Brown and Snow families. fresh leis and hugs. Her native Hawaiian joy and excitement was contagious as she bestowed the traditional Hawaiian greeting. In our cozy one-bedroom bungalow, table lamps warmly lit the space as we perused welcome packages with notes lovingly placed by Meredith and her mother. There was no airconditioning, but spinning ceiling fans and brisk breezes from a Pacific trade wind that flowed through screened doors and windows kept the interior comfortable. A gray and white tabby cat lovingly watched through the porch screen door as we settled in, almost as if she had been waiting for us. The convenience of the fully equipped kitchen wasn’t enticing enough to overpower our travel weariness, so we grabbed a good dinner at the resort restaurant just a short walk away. After, we unpacked, fed the cat some scraps, and hit the bed. No, our Waimea Plantation cottage was no Marriott but, in many ways, was so much better. It felt like we had always lived and belonged there. We had a glorious sleep!

Waimea P lantation Cottages registration, restaurant, and meeting center – P hoto by Don Smith V IE ZINE.COM | 77

Looking like a real Pol ynesian princess, she wore a del icate haku (f loral head band) and white strapless gown wit h green sash wrapped around her waist.

We awoke early to morning rooster calls. We quickly recognized that these calls were not isolated to daybreak—they go on all day! We grew fond of these beautiful birds as we watched roosters and hens corral their broods using a language we were fluent in by week’s end. “Cat” seemed relatively content, especially after we gave her some Fancy Feast. Reading entries from our cottage log, we realized that past guests all did the same. In daylight, with lovely Hawaiian coffee in hand, we surveyed our surroundings from our private covered porch. Our cottage was one of several alongside a large common lawn. At one end of the perfectly manicured grass, the main resort building; at the other, an incredibly huge banyan tree with the beach and Pacific Ocean beyond. Our cottage (like the others) was expertly positioned to maximize views and breezes from the Pacific. Mindful building placement, lush landscaping, and well-placed windows give each cottage the necessary privacy within close proximity of other guests. The pleasant scents from the surrounding vegetation seemed incredibly unreal. Ah, what the Garden of Eden must have been like! While most other wedding guests stayed in other one- and two-bedroom cottages, the bride- and groom-to-be, along with their parents and other honored family members, occupied the Manager’s House, a two-story, 4000-square-foot, five-bedroom oceanfront estate. Also on the resort property are a refreshing beachfront pool, oversized hammocks large enough for two, and a beach volleyball court. For those who absolutely have to remain connected, all of the units have TVs and high-speed Internet with Wi-Fi.

The Big Moment

With three full days of adventure under our belt, the afternoon of Saturday, June 9, 2012, was upon us before we knew it. The families were up late the night before managing last-minute details, including handmade leis for guests and the wedding party. The lei custom was introduced to Hawaii by early Polynesian conquerors from Tahiti. Meredith, her mother, Gerry, her aunt Steph, and auntie Mel taught Meredith’s matron of honor, Romona Robbins Reynolds, her bridesmaid, Amy Brown, and Meredith’s new sister-in-law, Young, how to make tea leaf leis for the men. The craftsmanship and care that went into this tribal and sacred act was just one of the gestures that made the wedding so authentic.

Every detail of the magical wedding ceremony seemed to be pulled from the pages of a fanciful tropical island fairy tale. A magnificent banyan tree served as the place of honor for the ceremony—and it was no less impressive than a majestic cathedral. Instead of finely detailed stone columns supporting an elaborate system of vaulted ceilings, here we had the banyan’s sinewy, mammoth trunk supporting an intricate awning of huge limbs and large leaves that soared high above and with a reach more than enough to roof the guests, who were seated in white wooden chairs delicately placed on a carpet of lush, green grass. And, in place of a stained-glass clerestory window, the sun sparkled in through the tree canopy that quietly rustled from gentle Pacific breezes. A breathtaking and elegant aisle was simply defined by plumeria flowers scattered only moments before the wedding party strolled to the banyan tree trunk, which also served as the altar. It was the only cathedral that could possibly be worthy of the occasion. Enter Meredith, walking arm in arm down the aisle with her father, Ron. Looking like a real Polynesian princess, she wore a delicate haku (floral headband) and a white strapless gown with a green sash that wrapped around her waist, tied in a bow at the back, and cascaded to the floor. Meredith’s stunning bouquet of tropical flowers by Flowers Forever was echoed by those carried by the bridesmaids. The intimate ceremony was officiated by Meredith’s auntie Mel Tejada, a native of Kauai with a beautiful spirit, who gave the couple a heartfelt blessing in her native Hawaiian tongue. A deep and abiding love could be felt when Bob and Meredith kissed for the first time as husband and wife. That kiss rivaled those in famous paintings and movies because it was authentic, magical, and real.

Every detail of the magical wedding ceremony seemed to be pulled from the pages of a fanciful tropical island fairy tale. V IE ZINE.COM | 79

The lovely bride is f lanked by her sister-in-law, Amy Brown (left) and her matron of honor, Romona Robbins (right) 80 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

Of course, you can’t forget the celebration! Contemporary Flavors Catering had magically transformed the expansive sprawling lawn behind the Manager’s House into an elegant outdoor dining room with only the beautiful sky for a ceiling. Guests enjoyed appetizers passed by waitstaff and soothing music and vocals performed by a traditional Hawaiian trio. Eight-top tables were dressed with crisp, white linens, and paper lanterns twinkled and swayed in the breeze. Just through the French doors of the great room was an incredible gourmet dinner buffet of Hawaiian delights. Later, after all the plates had been cleared away, the covered lanai became the center of attention as the newlyweds danced for the first time as husband and wife to “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” From then on, the lanai was the place to be! The week of Bob and Meredith’s Hawaiian adventure wedding was an amazing experience. It is one that will never be forgotten—which is the whole point! Oh, yeah … when we arrived back home, with our week’s worth of mail was a CD of Hawaiian songs with a sweet note that simply said: “Aloha!”


“A hui hou kakou!” (Until we meet again!)

Waitstaff-Passed Appetizers Crab-stuffed mushrooms, Parmesan glaze Brie cheese on crostini, pineapple–macadamia nut chutney Shichimi-seared ahi on wonton crisps, tomato-ginger relish and wasabi aioli

Dinner Buffet Stations sa l a d stat ion Kailani Farms organic greens, sunrise papaya seed dressing Chilled grilled asparagus, lemon-Parmesan vinaigrette Fresh island fruit salad, Kauai honey-yogurt-mint dressing Assorted sushi platter P l att er Stat ion Ko choo jung braised beef, kim chee, roasted fingerling and sweet potatoes Crispy Kauai shrimp, Uenten Farms wasabi, sesame namasu Lemongrass-caramel barbecue pork ribs over green papaya salad, Thai lemongrass vinaigrette D essert Stat ion Carrot-walnut cake bites, pineapple cream cheese icing Chocolate-dipped strawberries Fresh fruits and berries, prosecco sabayon

ar lice rown, his step-mot her, M B e oki Co er, th mo ’s oom (L-R) The gr ther, Gerr y Snow the lovely br ide and her mo


Chai panna cotta

The vast major ity of Kauai is inaccessible by road.

of the most beautiful in Hawaii. Hanakapi‘ai Trail at its longest is eleven miles (twenty-two miles roundtrip). However, it is commonly broken down as two smaller hikes: the first, as a four-mile hike that ends at a beautiful and secluded beach; and, the second, an eight-mile hike that ends at a spectacular waterfall. Each of the two smaller hikes can easily be done in one day, but the eleven-mile mack daddy is recommended for those who intend to camp overnight. Our intentions for the day were to do the four-mile (eight, roundtrip). In the first mile, the trail climbs steadily to an elevation of four hundred feet. At the two-mile mark is Hanakapi‘ai Beach, where a bubbling brook flows into the ocean. Reaching the beach felt like reaching an oasis in a desert, and the caves there seemed to set the scene for intrigue and romance. During the well-deserved rest, our group realized that we were more than an hour behind schedule. To make it back in time for dinner, we had to give up on making it to the waterfall and headed back. It was a good thing, too—some people really lost steam about a mile before we reached the cars. (But, I refuse to mention names—like mine!)

THE ADVENTURES The Mother of All Hikes by gerald burwell

Our first day on the scene was jam-packed—on the agenda: a group breakfast; a multistage hike on the north side of the island along the superscenic Nā Pali Coast; and a group dinner to close out the day. The vast majority of Kauai is inaccessible by road, which makes it a pristine paradise for hikers and adventurers. Geologically, Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian isles, and its dramatic and prehistoric appearance led Steven Spielberg to shoot major portions of Jurassic Park on the island, including scenes of the Nā Pali Coast—another reason the island is so appealing to the adventurous!

That night everyone was invited to the Manager’s House for a family potluck dinner to get better acquainted. Due to some strange time rift on the island, the group reconvened more than two hours later than expected, despite altering our hike schedule. (Perhaps I had stumbled upon the reason the producers of Lost chose Hawaii for a film location. It was weird!) Appetizers included various poke (raw fish), Somen (buckwheat noodle) salad, and lomi salmon. Furikake salmon and kalua pork with white rice were served as entrees, and butter mochi for dessert. The relaxed setting and general overall happy vibe of the group perfectly complemented the dinner. The Brown and Snow families really clicked together; it seemed the union of the two families was meant to be.

We stopped halfway to our principal destination for a group breakfast at Ono Family Restaurant in Kapa‘a. Though you can find franchise eateries on Kauai, most of the restaurants are of the colorful mom-and-pop variety. Ono’s, no exception to this rule, is a rustic “funky dive” that has a charming hometown atmosphere. The coffee is authentic Hawaiian and the pancakes are very popular; order extra syrup, though, because they are insanely fluffy and absorbent. Another forty-five-minute drive along the coast and we were at our destination, Ke‘e Beach in Hā‘ena State Park, which marks the beginning of the Hanakapi‘ai Trail, one

Matr on of honor Romona Robbins, with her husband, best man

Shane Reynolds V IE ZINE.COM | 83

Reaching the beach seemed like reaching an oasis. Kipu Ranch Adventures by bob brown

An authentic working cattle ranch, Kipu Ranch occupies three thousand acres on the island’s southeastern side; Hawaiian royalty actually once owned the ranch land. Because of this special heritage, hundredfoot Norfolk Island pines line the drive of the property entrance. Our group was warmly greeted by our friendly shepherds for the adventure du jour—an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tour through Kipu Ranch. Most in our group had never ridden an ATV before, so there was some anticipation as we geared up with helmets and handkerchiefs for what would turn out to be an unforgettable ride. As expected, Kipu Ranch puts a high priority on safety, but their biggest priority is fun! This isn’t a five-mile-per-hour sightseeing tour. This is a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping adventure through a rugged and extremely beautiful landscape. The trail took us through lush valleys, down steep inclines, and over rivers and mud holes; periodically, we stopped for breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Our guides (and animated storytellers),

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Justin and Lumbo, entertained us at each stop with tales of Hawaiian myths and legends and the history of the ranch, and they pointed out places where Hollywood movies had been filmed. Though the stories were interesting and the countryside beautiful, I found myself eager to just ride. These ATVs offer a thrilling alternative to your typical sightseeing tour. The nimble machines are so simple to operate that our previous fear was quickly quelled and replaced with excitement as we sped through the narrow trails in single file. Our adventure trail ended at a nearby waterfall. Several of us took a refreshing swim in the cool, spring-fed waters in an attempt to remove the layer of dirt that had accumulated during the ride. Surrounded by a rock wall and majestic hundred-foot-tall bamboo, the waterfall was picturesque, to say the least. After the four-hour tour, we were sad to disembark our machines and part ways with our new friends, Justin and Lumbo. There is something about experiencing an action-packed adventure with close friends and family: a bond forms that can be shared and reminisced about for years to come. We are now in a club of sorts that no one else can really understand—that is, until they try it for themselves. I believe the entire group would agree that this adventure was a real highlight of our trip to the Garden Island.

This isn’t a five-mile-per-hour sightseeing tour. This is a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping adventure through a rugged and extremely beautiful landscape.


Kauai Sea Tours’ Catamaran Sunset Cruise

by gerald burwell

Bob with his father, Herb Brown

The last of our three big island adventures was suddenly upon us—a five-hour tour of the Nā Pali Coast by boat. Moving like clockwork by now, the entire group of about twenty arrived in unison at Kauai Sea Tours in Port Allen, just ten minutes from Waimea Plantation. Two young and energetic crewmates from the tour company politely corralled the group of almost fifty passengers together in preparation for a 3:00 p.m. departure. Everyone assessed provisions of cameras, clothing, liquids, sunglasses, and sun protection before the point of no return. At the pier, Captain Brian and his four crewmen, Jay, Paul, Evan, and Rick welcomed us aboard the 60-foot Lucky Lady, a power sailing catamaran that was custom built especially for servicing sea tours along the Nā Pali Coast. Once aboard, passengers were proficiently instructed about boat safety, and the mooring lines were cast. Within minutes, we were cruising at about twenty knots, enjoying complimentary mai tais, soft drinks, and light snacks in nearly ideal boating weather. The four-hour trip is divided into two parts of almost equal length. The outbound portion maintains a distance from shore conducive for informative sightseeing. Rounding the northwest corner of the island, the breathtaking Nā Pali Coast came into view. Words cannot describe the awe-inspiring sheer cliffs that seem to ascend straight up from the sea. Experiencing it by water is a must-do. Nearing our halfway point, we came upon a cave at the base of a waterfall. Our captain invited any newlyweds or couples to the bow of the boat for a shower under the “lucky” waterfall. With Bob and Meredith at the bow, the captain skillfully maneuvered the boat for their wet reward. Afterward, he slyly admitted that the act was legendary for promoting fertility! For the inbound leg back to port, the charted course is a little further from shore—perfect for a scenic backdrop to the complete onboard buffet dinner. It also allowed the passengers to relax, put the cameras down, and to enjoy each other’s company.


The conditions on the return trip were a little rougher but not too bad. It was clear to see that if the waves wanted to kick it up a notch or two, we would have been in for a more adrenaline-filled outing. Safety tips from the captain actually came in handy, so it was a good thing I had been listening. Before heading into port, the captain positioned the boat to view the setting sun. The boat’s crew gladly assisted passengers who wanted photos of themselves with the sunset in the background. It was about that time it occurred to me: I had almost forgotten that I was on an island boat tour. Thanks to the captain and the crew’s disarming method of service, it did not feel like we were on a tour at all but rather an excursion planned among fifty friends. It was obvious that they enjoy what they do—they were having just as much fun as we were!

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A special “mahalo” (thanks) to all who helped make Bob and Meredith’s wedding an event to remember forever! Waimea Plantation Cottages 808.338.1625 Contemporary Flavors Catering (a.k.a. Mark’s Place) 808.245.2522 Flowers Forever 808.245.4717 or toll-free 800.646.7579 Kipu Ranch Adventures 808.246.9288 Kauai Sea Tours 800.733.7997 Andrews Bros. Printing, Inc. of Fort Walton Beach, Florida for the beautiful invitations 850.244.2400

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CBathead V odka N F B reaks




By Tori Phelps Photography courtesy of Cathead Vodka

The two-year-old company, which made history as Mississippi’s first legal distillery, debuts the world’s only honeysuckle vodka


If you’re wondering where that name came from, you were probably born north of the Mason-Dixon Line. As any good Southerner knows, “cat head” is a time-honored reference to a blues musician from the Mississippi Delta. And for music lovers Richard Patrick and Austin Evans, no other name would do for their start-up vodka company. Cathead Vodka is the brainchild of these business school buddies who shared an interest in the entrepreneurial life as well as the blues. Their stellar education, combined with a family background of small business ownership on both sides, seems like a surefire recipe for success. However, Patrick and Evans deliberately chose the path of most resistance by attempting to locate their fledgling company in Mississippi, a state that had never granted a legal distillery license. Ever. In its entire history. Of the decision to intentionally sign on for years of timely compliance and interpretive law, Patrick simply says, “We noticed that Mississippi was one of the last states in the country that didn’t have a distillery, and being a part of history was attractive to us.” Mississippi, the final holdout in the repeal of Prohibition, has a rich heritage of bootlegging. And its complex liquor laws make it nearly impossible to operate a distillery within its borders. “No one thought it could be done here,” Patrick says with a hint of well-deserved pride. The trick, as it turned out, was good old-fashioned persistence in the face of obstacles—like stacks of state regulations as thick as three phonebooks. Paperwork aside, they also had to come up with $10,000 for a manufacturing license, a hefty sum for a start-up—much higher than the $500 to $2,000 fees imposed by other states. Yet another impediment calculated to discourage would-be distillery owners. But their patience and refusal to just go away already eventually earned Patrick and Evans the right to call Gluckstadt, Mississippi, home to Cathead Vodka. In the five years it took them to break through, both continued to work other jobs—Patrick in the winery and distillery industry and Evans in the food and beverage industry. They also used the forced downtime to begin building an audience for a product they couldn’t even sell yet. “Lots of start-up distilleries are really well funded, but after they’ve invested a couple million dollars, they realize they don’t have any buyers,” Patrick says. “We did it backward, by building a supply chain and distribution network before investing in assets.” 98 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

This backward approach worked, and when their six-times distilled vodka came to market, it was an immediate hit. No doubt the craftsmanship had something to do with it, too. Patrick explains there’s no magic behind their distillation number other than it provides the very best flavor profile. “We remove a lot of the impurities that a lower distillation run wouldn’t,” he adds. “It’s a very clean, smooth-tasting vodka.” With Cathead Vodka’s latest creation, honeysuckle vodka, the company earns another historical footnote, this time as the first to produce a honeysuckle variety. “We’re not trying to do the same flavor that every other company does,” Patrick says. “It’s more about what’s relevant to our heritage and upbringing—what grows indigenously in the South.” And for the native Georgian and his Mississippi-born partner, honeysuckle’s iconic fragrance and flavor was the perfect choice. Coming up with the idea was a breeze, but it took two years of research and development before they crafted an all-natural honeysuckle product worthy of the Cathead name. “It’s not an easy flavor profile to achieve,” Patrick admits. “But we’re not going to put out products we’re not proud of.”

It makes for a good sound bite, but their commitment is clearly more than PR. Music is a way of life for Patrick and Evans. Even their Cathead Vodka labels are emblazoned with a directive to “support live music.” Sure, being the first legal distillery in Mississippi gives them a good story to tell the grandkids, but it was music that truly compelled them to put down roots in the state. “The fact that blues originated here—that it began along the Mississippi Delta—that was very big for us,” Patrick says almost reverently. “We wanted to incorporate that legacy into our practices as a company.” So far, so groovy. v

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A r c h i t e c t u r e d e s i g n e d a r o u n d Y o u a n d t h e t h i n g s Y o u l o v e ...

MMRF seems to be even closer to their hearts. “With Music Makers, we wanted to pay homage to our heroes in the blues community,” he says. “It assists older musicians with basics like health care and housing and even helps out when they can no longer do their own bookings.”

w w w . a B O H E M E d e s i g n . c o m

When their whiskey comes to market in late summer, it will be with a label bearing the name Bottle Tree Beverage Company rather than Cathead, but it will still have plenty of “cat head” in it. Like all their products, it will support charities—like the Music Maker Relief Foundation (MMRF) and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council—that are important to the cofounders. “Yoknapatawpha is an arts council for Oxford and Lafayette County, and they really embody the preservation of Mississippi’s heritage,” Patrick comments.


Naturally, the duo wanted their whiskey to be the best, so Patrick and Evans attended training in California where they met a teacher so good, they stole him away. Industry veteran Phillip Ladner is now the organization’s master distiller, and Patrick says there’s no one better in the business. “It’s a craft and a true art, and I don’t know anyone who makes a better whiskey.”


So what could possibly follow an innovation like honeysuckle vodka? Whiskey, of course. If that seems a bit random, you aren’t paying attention to what motivates the Cathead boys. “There’s a kind of romance to whiskey aging,” Patrick explains. “Plus, it seems like a Southern thing to do.”


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Mexico Beach “The Unforgettable Coast” of the Florida Panhandle is a Place to Remember By Wendy O. Dixon

104 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

t’s summer in this sleepy, small town, as locals and tourists bask in the sun and bury their feet in the sugar-white sands of Mexico Beach, Florida. Children laugh in delight as they splash into gentle waves that wash ashore, trying to catch tiny fish by clasping their hands together. Sand castles, rainbow-colored umbrellas, and seashells are scattered along the beach. Families are enjoying fishing, sailing, swimming, and other fun beach activities. Fishing enthusiasts show off their catches of the day, bringing kingfish, mahi-mahi, and red snapper into the Mexico Beach marina. Here, families have the unique opportunity to experience a pace that is leisurely, relaxed, and easy. Mexico Beach, now branded as “The Unforgettable Coast,” evokes memories of classic beach vacations of yesteryear. Having been spared the rapid development and commercialization that much of the Florida Panhandle experienced, Mexico Beach offers a chance to experience Florida life as it once was—before chain restaurants and resorts existed—making each day spent here unforgettable. “Mexico Beach is a unique town,” says Cathey Parker Hobbs, owner and broker of Parker Realty who has lived here most of her life. She’s the daughter of Charlie Parker, founder and first mayor of Mexico Beach, and she says the word that describes her town best is “paradise.” Mexico Beach revels in its everyone-knows-your-name reputation. Jack Kerigan, owner of Kerigan Marketing Associates, explains. “I think the local population can’t be more than a thousand,” he says. “And if you walk into the Ace Hardware or Mango Marley’s, they’ll call out, ‘Hey, Jack. Good to see you,’ and genuinely mean it. In the summer, the town probably swells to ten thousand with tourists. They won’t all know your name, but they’ll still wave like they do.” You’ll find nary a streetlight, nor a Starbucks, Panera, or Applebee’s along this three-and-a-half-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 98, just a wide expanse of pristine white-sand beach, unobstructed by Gulf-side development. And that’s just the way the locals like it. “We like to keep it as it is,” Parker Hobbs explains. “We certainly want people to come and enjoy it. But we don’t want it to become commercialized. Everyone who comes here and lives here has the same mind-set or else they’d live somewhere else. It’s uncrowded, beautiful, and unique.”

Where to Stay

What to Eat

For a hospitable retreat with plenty of personality, check into the Driftwood Inn. Originally a typical beachfront motor lodge built in 1950, the inn got a major makeover in 1975, when Tom and Peggy Wood bought it. “I started building on to it,” Peggy Wood says of the inn, which started out with just seven units. “This was my little project and Tom helped me in every way with it.” With lodging reminiscent of a more genteel era, each room features unique “beachy Victorian” style furnishings and antiques.

Sharon’s Café serves up breakfast basics in a friendly little place where your coffee cup is never empty. Try the Belgian waffles, cooked perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with fresh blueberries and whipped cream, or a Western omelet with grits and toast. Make sure to bring cash, as Sharon’s doesn’t take credit cards.

While walking along a lush plant-enveloped path toward the beach, peek into the tiny chapel, which has a sentimental story. “We used to go to North Georgia a lot, and we noticed a little chapel,” Peggy Wood recalls. “I thought it was so cute, and for years my husband said that he would build one for me.” That day finally came, and the couple asked Charlie Parker, who was also a Methodist minister, to bless the chapel and christen their granddaughter in it.

For some extraordinary seafood, head to Killer Seafood. The blue-canopied facade welcomes you into the unpretentious and casual eatery. Rated one of America’s 50 Best Seafood Dives by Coastal Living magazine, the restaurant serves fresh seafood dishes, baskets, and sandwiches.

Just beyond the Driftwood Inn sits the El Governor Motel, the largest motel in town. “Mexico Beach was almost named Rainbow Beach because our coastline is shaped like a rainbow,” Parker Hobbs explains, “and the El Governor used to be called the Rainbow Hotel.” All 120 rooms face the pristine white beach and each has a private balcony. The motel has decks overlooking the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, St. Joseph Bay, and the Mexico Beach Pier, as well as a beachside pool, a tiki bar, and a gift shop that includes a liquor store. Wave runners are available for rental on the beach at the motel.

Michael Scoggins and his girlfriend, Kim Halverson, who own the restaurant with Kim’s brother, Kevin Crouse, were living quite a different life a decade ago. He was an actor; she, a music marketing executive in Los Angeles. Now, instead of shopping on Rodeo Drive, Halverson wears T-shirts and sneakers while running the place. “We live a mile away from the restaurant and love biking to work every day,” she says. Halverson recommends the Original Killer Fish Tacos, made with fresh grilled tuna and topped with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and Killer Simmerin’ Sauce inside corn or flour tortillas. Or try the Killer shrimp, oysters, or scallops served in the Killer Simmerin’ Sauce over rice or pasta. “The sauce has a little heat to it, as well as rosemary, thyme, and other spices, for a perfect complement to the seafood,” she says. And save room for Kim’s Key Lime Pie, voted dessert of the year by Be sure to take home a jar of Killer Seafood Simmerin’ Sauce, which can be used as a sauce for fish, chicken, and pasta. The jar comes with recipes, including Killer Stuffed Peppers, Killer Meatloaf, and the Killer Bloody Mary. For a view of the Gulf of Mexico while dining, head over to Toucan’s. Open since 1965, the iconic restaurant serves fresh seafood, steaks, and other dishes. Manager Stuart Summers recommends the Grouper Imperial—sautéed fresh Gulf grouper topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and a sherry cream sauce. Or try Toucan’s Peppadew Chicken, a pan-fried chicken breast topped with freshly made Peppadew and pineapple salsa and served on a bed of rice and black beans. For shopping, check out Beachwalk Clothing and Gifts, the Grove, Frost Pottery Garden and Gift Shop, Emerald Coast Jewelry, and Gulf Foods Grocery and Gift Shop. Probably the best perk in Mexico Beach is the accessibility to the sugar-like sand beach. While some beach towns have few paths for those not staying in condominiums or hotels, getting to the beach here is easy, Kerigan says. “You just pull up, get out of your car, and walk down to the beach.” Perhaps its distinctive originality is what makes Mexico Beach “The Unforgettable Coast.”

Mexico Beach Accommodations and Restaurants

Driftwood Inn

2105 U.S. Highway 98 (850) 648-5126

El Governor Motel 1701 U.S. Highway 98 (850) 648-5757

Killer Seafood

820 U.S. Highway 98 (850) 648-6565

Sharon’s Café

1100 U.S. Highway 98 (850) 648-8634


719 U.S. Highway 98 (850) 648-8207 Visit for more. V IE ZINE.COM | 107

Be Adventurous in Style A World Traveler’s Passion for the Gulf Coast Inspires a Men’s Clothing Line _ By H aley C Houinard


“Gulfstyle is striving to bring modern On a strip of narrow dock, I stand before a sailboat that, to my untrained eye, looks rather small. “Have you ever been sailing before?” Matt McGee asks me with a slight grin as he prepares the boat—a grin that tells me I must look as nervous as I feel. I don’t have much time to wallow in anxiety because the regatta is about to begin. My goal in all of this is to gain an understanding of how experiences such as this one led Matt, a 27-year-old adventurer and entrepreneur, to create Gulfstyle, his new men’s clothing line consisting of quality athletic polo shirts and T-shirts fit for the active sportsman. Upon first impression, Matt radiates a spirit not unlike that of the classic American adventurer—he is an intelligent, refined traveler with a dedication to living the good life. Matt, who grew up in Fort Walton Beach and started sailing at the

110 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

performance into fine men’s clothing.” tender age of seven, spent the majority of his childhood at the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club where he learned to sail, wakeboard, water-ski, surf, and dive—all experiences and skills that helped shape the foundation of Gulfstyle. “You don’t realize how different it is growing up here along the Gulf of Mexico until you go away and discover other people didn’t get these experiences,” he says. To call the entrepreneur an avid traveler would be an understatement, and dubbing him a young Indiana Jones wouldn’t be overshooting the truth. A lover of travel from an early age, Matt interned in the slums of Brazil while in college at Vanderbilt University before traveling to the Amazon with a friend. There they spent weeks with a shaman as a guide, eating tree bark and piranhas, and hunting crocodiles. After graduation, he spent a year abroad exploring

nineteen countries and testing the limits of conventional exploration. Matt has dived with great white sharks in South Africa, slept in a frozen crater on Mount Kilimanjaro, watched the great migration on the plains of the Serengeti—and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. “It was through my travels that I became aware of different clothing materials and how clothing was closely linked with the culture for each place around the world,” he says. “I saw that a big part of our culture for men’s clothing was displayed in polos and T-shirts, but I felt that they were not made properly for the climate here on the coast and wanted to change it for us.” “Gulfstyle is striving to bring modern performance into fine men’s clothing,” Matt explains. “So, we have a material for our T-shirts that is softer than

cotton and does not have the sheen of most polyester athletic shirts. Our Regatta Crews and Polos have the moisture wicking sewn into the interior of the shirt for function, but they still retain the classic piqué cotton look on the exterior.” Matt originally started Gulfstyle in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that deeply affected the Gulf Coast in 2010. He decided a clothing line that emphasized the culture of the Gulf Coast would be an effective way to bring tourism back to the area. Matt’s goal was to create a brand built for the men of the coast, and after bringing on the team at Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising – The Idea Boutique of Grayton Beach, Florida, it was clear that there was just one way to effectively communicate the quintessential Gulf Coast man.


“Matt himself is Gulfstyle,” says Lisa Burwell, president and founder of The Idea Boutique. “From his world travels and taste for adventure to his gentlemanly demeanor and appreciation for different cultures—and his firmly rooted appreciation for home—it’s as if Hemingway has resurfaced right here in 2012. Matt is the Gulf Coast adventurer, gentleman, and sportsman—everything Gulfstyle is meant to embody.” These three characteristics prompted the Gulfstyle tagline, Livin’ Right. The tagline, an expression used in the South to describe someone who is lucky or has good fortune from living an admirable lifestyle, describes the desire of Gulfstyle men. “People, after talking with me about my world travels, sailing regattas, or whatever else I had recently explored, would say to me, ‘Man, you must be livin’ right,’” Matt says. “It means going beyond the norm and living your dreams to the fullest. My dreams are usually some sort of adventure and my line of clothing is designed to have classic looks but outdoor adventures in mind.” On board a sailboat while watching the sun set over the beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay, I begin to fully understand what Matt means by livin’ right. As dozens of people come together to race their boats on a gorgeous Wednesday evening, it is clear to me the spirit of adventure that Matt is embodying with Gulfstyle. “I would like to see Gulfstyle eventually be known as the brand of the Gulf Coast—to have a known presence from Key West to South Padre Island covering the entire Gulf Coast of the United States,” he says. “However, I want to grow with select local stores in each town and build the brand based on the ideals of the adventurous men from the coast: our style is classic, our manner is of the gentleman, and our passion is the great outdoors.” Spoken like a true modern-day Hemingway.

Contact us for advertising opportunities -, 850-231-0102

112 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

Gulfstyle is committed to giving 5 percent of their revenue back to the Gulf Coast Wildlife Refuge and water quality organizations to help preserve the coast for future generations. For more information on Gulfstyle, visit

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Your Brain: Mind over Matter By Clark Peters


he three pounds (plus or minus an ounce or two) of pinkish-gray tissue sealed in liquid and encased in a tough white membrane within your skull may not look very prepossessing. But, this unassuming blob is the master of all you do and think and are; it makes you uniquely you. While not large (approximately 2.5 to 3.5 percent of lean body mass), it communicates constantly with each of the trillions of cells that make up the body. It comprises a hundred billion nerve cells called neurons, which are connected by specialized junctions called synapses. The neurons send out electrochemical signals continually to the cells that drive our daily and nightly activities. As well, these neurons are in constant communication with each other via the synapses to formulate our thoughts and words. We know neurons can be lost over time through trauma or aging, but the brain can also generate new cells, neurons, and synaptic connections, thus changing the structure of the network and thereby our capabilities. Synapses are the key to this organ’s amazing abilities. Up to five hundred trillion connections (that is not a typo) allow memory, logic and reasoning, and communications as well as drive all the other functions—heartbeat, breathing, movement, digestion, hormone balance, and even sleep. Quite simply, your brain is the most powerful machine in the world. It changes every day, making new synaptic connections to reflect the new experiences and learning of the day. It is important to note you can take advantage of this phenomenon to continually enhance the brain’s already awe-inspiring capabilities. Continuing to “push” the brain becomes ever

more important as we age—more about that later. For now, just remember that the brain is a work in progress and responds to challenges the same way your body reacts to exercise and stress—that is, it gets stronger and healthier. There is a persistent myth that says we use only a small fraction (10 to 20 percent) of the brain’s potential. We now know that, given the fact it works continually to control each cell and every activity, it is engaged 100 percent of the time, even during sleep. The myth about partial use, which may simply have been a case of wishful thinking, probably arose because we are conscious of only a small portion of the brain’s activities—especially when we do things like what you are doing right now, i.e., reading and (hopefully) thinking about these words. The routine processes (breathing, etc.) go largely unnoticed. Walking might provide a good example of a function that we take for granted. If you have ever seen a baby starting to walk, you can see the learning process (the ordering of synaptic connections) in action. Baby wants to get from where he is, say holding a chair leg, to Mom and Dad who are urging “Come over here!” Baby leans in their direction, starts out, and promptly falls down. Baby’s brain immediately recognizes that what he just tried didn’t work and so tries another tactic on the next effort. Certain motions get him closer to his goal and with each effort, the brain refines these “good” stabs into an integrated effort which, though a bit ragged at first, quickly becomes smoother as he becomes more confident. When you watch him with fresh eyes, it becomes obvious that he is learning to prevent a fall! And so it is for all of us, every time we walk from point A to point B. We never think consciously about the act of walking across the room. But it is the same thing! We are successively preventing a face-plant with each step! Now consider the sheer number of synaptic connections and electrochemical signals (happening at light speed) required to contact nerve cells and muscles throughout our body to accomplish this simple task. And, of course, more complicated activities (e.g., running, dancing, hitting a golf ball) require even more of the brain’s remarkable capabilities.

Clearly, we should take exquisite care of this organ. This becomes even more critical as we get older. Like all our organs and tissues, the brain ages and atrophies without ongoing attention. So, if we want to avoid, or at least delay, deterioration or dementias ranging from “senior moments” to the deadly Alzheimer’s, we need to follow some “rules of the road” for brain health. Fortunately, if you are a regular reader of this column, you already know and practice many of these suggestions. As it happens, pretty much everything that is good for your cardiovascular system is also beneficial for the brain. This makes sense, since your brain demands and commands all it needs of available: ■ Good nutrition ■ Oxygenated blood from physical exercise ■ Water from your hydration program (the brain is 80 percent water)

... and so on; all of these things I have discussed in my prior VIE health articles. As we get older, we start worrying, or we should worry, about cognitive loss. The most devastating brain anomaly is, of course, Alzheimer’s. Brains with this condition are characterized by many amyloid plaques at the synaptic connections. These plaques impede and interrupt the electric flow between neurons, thus disrupting cognition. Plaques in your bloodstream act the same way, interrupting the blood flow to the heart or brain, resulting in strokes or cardiac events. While medical science cannot definitively point to specific causes for plaques as yet, they are strongly associated with some other items covered in prior articles, namely: ■ Obesity ■ Sleep disorders ■ Smoking (of course)

Well, given its importance in all our life functions, the brain rightly commands whatever resources it requires to perform. It demands and gets first call on oxygen, glucose, nutrition, and so on. It is the organ favored over all others, even in dire emergencies. The simple reason for this: if it stops functioning (or directing things), you die.

■ Alcohol abuse ■ Elevated blood sugar levels ■ Sedentary lifestyles

Now, I am going to assume that you have adopted prior recommendations, so you are:

■ Eating better food in smaller quantities ■ Drinking more (hopefully, much more) water ■ Exercising aerobically for at least thirty minutes three times per week

If followed, this regimen will promote good brain health along with significant benefits for the rest of your body. BUT, there are some other exercises you can do which are thought to prevent or at least delay the onset of dementias, including Alzheimer’s. Mental Workouts/Brain Push-ups These exercises require no gym or special equipment— just an appetite for learning new things. Studies have consistently found that people with an active life— mentally, physically, and socially—tend to maintain a healthier brain and enjoy a lower risk of mental decline and dementia as they age. Experts believe that simply doing activities that challenge your cognitive abilities helps keep you sharp. Things like puzzles (crosswords, sudoku, etc.), games (bridge, chess, etc.), taking on a whole new discipline such as learning to dance, speak a new language, or play a musical instrument, and so on are all excellent forms of mental stimulation and exercise. Even some video games seem to provide some benefits. The keys are variety, newness, and increasing challenge. Getting very good at one thing—say crossword puzzles—is helpful, but does not, after you reach a competent level, “stretch” your existing mental capacity enough to require building new neurons or synapses. So, while repetition may keep your existing ability on form, it doesn’t cause your brain to “break a sweat,” thereby adding new volume and capability. V IE ZINE.COM | 117


That’s why some of the computer “brain training” programs have been found wanting. Yes, you will get better at whatever challenge they present, but this new skill does not cross over. In other words, getting to the expert level on one of these programs (or doing crossword puzzles, for that matter) doesn’t help with remembering names or balancing the checkbook. But, all of these brain exercises do serve to keep you mentally active and delay dementia’s onset and/or slow its progress. Side benefits include: ■ Enriching your life ■ Lessening boredom


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■ Preventing or lessening depression, and ■ Potentially making new friends who, in turn, may further enrich your life and stimulate your brain.

I have dwelt on ways to keep our brains healthy and functioning because through my peers, older family members, social acquaintances, and volunteer work at a nursing home I have recently become much more aware of the various stages of many dementias, specifically Alzheimer’s. The early stages of this condition would be merely annoying to the afflicted and mildly amusing to loved ones if they weren’t such harbingers of what’s to come. Basically, progression of the disease robs you, little by little, of you! A little bit of you and your capabilities slip away with the passing of time until simple tasks—driving would be one example—become dangerous, and family and friends become strangers. The intermediate stage progresses to the point where the person requires assistance with even the simplest of daily tasks. The final stage (sorry, this isn’t pretty) is basically life as a living organism without consciousness. The brain is down to basic tasks required to sustain life (heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and elimination), but the person within is “no longer home.” Finally, the amyloid tangles cause cessation of even these primal activities and death results. At that point, death is, in my opinion, merciful. Well, that was a bit of a dark side road! The point is to do everything we can to avoid this eventuality. So far, medical science is still baffled by the root cause of the plaques and has yet to find a “cure.” It seems to me, then, that doing what we can now to delay the disease or its onset is not just prudent, it’s imperative for a longer, more meaningful life. Eat and drink intelligently, and exercise both your body and your mind. No one you know and love wants you to “drift away.”

118 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012



Bats and contemporary art play muse at new York Fashion Week By Amanda Crowley and Camille Santrach It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it—endure glamorous, starstudded new York Fashion Week, that is. But for you, our devoted readers, we were willing to attend three days’ worth of jaw-dropping shows, rub elbows with celebrities, and uncover trends for this fall,

even while last winter’s snow was still falling. What we discovered (besides a to-die-for wardrobe worth having to eat ramen noodles in order to pay for them) is that inspiration can come from anywhere and that passion is always worth pursuing.

Son Jung Wan: Cold Weather Cool

ChrIStIan SIrIano: Retro Chic

Even without the black Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week insignia, the hordes of fashion enthusiasts—women in sky-high Jeffrey Campbell Lita platforms and men in dark, cuffed jeans and Clarks Desert Boots—told us we were in the right place. Fashion Week had provided a lesson in imagination before the models even hit the runway.

Next up: exploring the new Fashion Week phenomenon of off-site shows. While Lincoln Center remains the epicenter of established, big-name designers, many young designers are putting their own spin on Fashion Week by scheduling offsite shows. Christian Siriano, winner of the fourth season of Project Runway, was one of them.

The first show we attended featured the creations of Son Jung Wan—relatively new to the American market but one of the most famous Korean designers in the world. Staged on one of the smaller runways, this intimate gathering provided an up-close-and-personal look at her designs for fall 2012, beginning with furadorned jackets and mid-thigh-length dresses in creams, winter whites, khakis, and subtle grays—perfect hues for cold winter days. Inspired by contemporary artist Marc Quinn’s Winter Garden series, Wan also presented floral-patterned dresses with a touch of fur and tops in a deep red-orange paired with loose, ankletapered pants, a trend that will be popping up all over this fall.

The Siriano show, while stunningly new, felt a little like old home week. As longtime VIE readers know, the designer—fresh off his Project Runway win at the time—was featured in our inaugural issue. Not only do we adore his haute inventions, but we can’t help rooting for Siriano, whose dreams were taking off at the same time as our own.

© Christian V. Siriano, Ltd. 2012

Opposing page photo credits from left to right: Custo Barcelona – Photo by Frazer Harrison; Christian Siriano – Photo by Dan Lecca; Tibi – Photo by Frazer Harrison; Son Jung Wan – Photo by Mike Coppola

© Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz 2012

The entire line was woven together by a feeling of feminine sophistication, exemplified by sumptuous materials ranging from fur shrugs and trimmings to knit and crochet detailing. Wan’s collection is ideal for women who crave a modern, sophisticated, sexy look all winter, whether they’re running a meeting or mingling at a cocktail party. From the show’s celebrity turnout—including Gossip Girl stars Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle, as well as model Carol Alt—to the well-deserved standing ovation at its end, Wan seems to have hit all the right notes.

Son Jung Wan Photo by Mike Coppola

Christian Siriano Photo by Dan Lecca

Christian Siriano


Š Christian V. Siriano, Ltd. 2012

Christian Siriano Photo by Dan Lecca

Camille Santrach and amanda Crowley in front of Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012 in new York City. Photo provided by Camille Santrach

The functional architectural surroundings of Eyebeam Studios played host for Siriano’s show. The refurbished NYC warehouse was the perfect backdrop to the huge crush of fashionistas, journalists, photographers, and Siriano fans waiting impatiently to catch their first glimpse of his fall collection. As it turned out, the warehouse’s interior was as extraordinary as the exterior was unremarkable. Risers lined the brick walls, and dark-red lights shone down from the low ceiling, playing up the cave-like atmosphere while failing to obscure the front row attendees: Siriano’s muse, actress Mena Suvari; actresses Nina Dobrev, Gabourey Sidibe, and Isabelle Fuhrman; and stylist Brad Goreski. Siriano’s inspiration was the 1933 film The Vampire Bat, which became apparent when the lights dimmed and a narration about bats—along with electrifying music—filled the room. About the movie’s titular creatures, Siriano said, “Bats intrigue me with their creepy, dark, and dramatic presence … I find beauty in the wings of the bat, which can be seen in the details of the clothing—leather appliqués; ethereal, flowing silk crepe dresses; and tops and capes taking flight.”

not only do we adore his haute inventions, but we can’t help rooting for Siriano, whose dreams were taking off at the same time as our own. It seems no detail of the film, or of the bat, was overlooked. Siriano also drew inspiration from the film’s lead actress, Fay Wray, who wore blouses tucked into long black and white evening skirts. Meanwhile, the film’s grainy appearance motivated the patterns, textures, and color palettes. Many of Siriano’s graceful designs, encompassing both day and evening looks, could be worn straight off the runway. The “secretary chic” line included knit turtlenecks, wool palazzo pants, chiffon scarves, and faux croc A-line skirts. Naturally, models glided down the catwalk in signature Christian Siriano for Payless Gold Collection shoes in a variety of designs. One of our favorite looks from the collection was a faux pony moto jacket paired with a static print circle dress—a classic-edgy combination that transitions well from day to evening. Returning to his bat inspiration to close the show, Siriano created a long crepe gown with shirred tulle at the shoulders, which captured the grace and beauty of the creature in flight.

tIBI: Preppy Meets Sixties Sophisticate Though the Siriano show left us with a healthy respect for the off-site experience, it was time to head back to Lincoln Center for the Tibi show. Creative director Amy Smilovic’s collection, which she described as 1990s meets 1960s, featured menswear-inspired, minimalistic designs and clean silhouettes. We spotted Tibi fan and fashionista Olivia Palermo sitting in the front row wearing a Tibi nautical-striped peplum jacket. Also in the front row were fashion journalists Hanneli Mustaparta and Louise Roe surveying the comfy-chic look from the pages of Smilovic’s fall playbook—models sporting oversized outerwear, menswear-style blouses, and boxy double-breasted jackets. The Tibi line also included A-line dresses, flowing chiffon tops and skirts, and sleeveless peplum blouses. Geometric shapes and patterns took on a color palette that included winter whites, light grays, inky blacks, burgundies, greens, and cobalt hues. The overall effect was both straitlaced and flirty, sophisticated yet modern. Everyone from professional women to college prepsters appear to be the target audience for this collection, which, in truth, is perfect for any woman who refuses to sacrifice form for function.

CuSto BarCeLona: Bold, Playful Patterns tibi


Photo by Frazer Harrison

Photo by Frazer Harrison © Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz 2012

Our final peek into the future of fashion was the Custo Barcelona show—a flood of dramatic designs that electrified the dimly lit tent at Lincoln Center. Spanish designer Custo Dalmau’s desire to “pay homage to visionaries and the pioneers of creativity” soon became evident, as his collection challenged the conventional use of textures, colors, and patterns. Dalmau’s signature embellishments dominated his designs but never overreached their purpose. Biker shorts with zipper details were paired with patterned sweaters in red and black, creating a balanced punk-rock look. Dalmau put a twist on classic black houndstooth dresses and pants by opting for tan and maroon backgrounds, rather than traditional white. Oversized tops and fur vests complemented lace and fringe miniskirts, which created a rugged yet feminine look for the bold fashionista. The Custo Barcelona men’s collection presented fitted, patterned pants paired with knit tops and tailored suit coats, showcasing an effortless, layered look for fall 2012. Dalmau certainly took risks, but his runway gamble paid off with a unique collection of contemporary styles, demonstrating that classic pieces can be daring if infused with the right amount of flair. As the last models left the runway, our whirlwind trip officially came to a close. The experience was not only an introduction to the clothes that will hit stores this fall, but also a reaffirmation that fashion is truly art. We gained a whole new appreciation for the creative process that compels designers to continually raise the bar, and we also realized these innovative men and women should be examples to everyone with a dream—fashion related or not. Who knew that a trip to Fashion Week would be filled with so many “aha” moments—like the realization that passion + inspiration = life-changing ideas? And whether it’s a bat, an old movie, or a painting, inspiration comes from unexpected places. So, take it where you can find it, and do your best to be a source of unexpected inspiration to your fellow dreamers.

126 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

Custo Barcelona Photo by Frazer Harrison

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Behind the scenes oF

the Mercedes-Benz Fa shion Week

Star Lounge By Whitney Williams

photo by wesley cadle

Last winter, I relocated from Dallas to New York City to embark

known as Taryn Multack, pulled the Tumblr site

on my exciting new career with Goodworks Public Relations.

up on her iPhone and showed me how she matches

In the midst of the pre–Fashion Week hustle, Wesley Cadle, a Georgia-based interior designer and wedding planner, hired our PR firm to handle the publicity surrounding the MercedesBenz Star Lounge that he was to design for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The Southern designer is known for his innate ability to see beyond a space and create an environment, which has prompted fashion designers like Tommy Hilfiger, multinational corporations like Mercedes-Benz, and discerning brides-to-be to call on Cadle for his impeccable design sense.

her nail patterns to couture runway pieces like a Peter Som jacket or a Balmain dress. For someone who has difficulty in painting her own nails in a simple shade of pink like Essie’s Ballet Slippers, I was completely in awe. (Apparently, so was Teen Vogue: they have been collaborating with Miss Ladyfinger on a monthly do-it-yourself nail art column.) I finished my not-so-cute pink and black leather bracelet, which looked more punk rock than I had intended, but before leaving the table, Taryn and I exchanged numbers. We planned to meet up later in the week at the tents, where Taryn had a backstage invite to the show for Gwen Stefani’s fashion house, L.A.M.B.

With only a few weeks until the big event, there was no time to waste in getting

Walking through the event lobby to the Star

the PR buzz going. Aside from having to create press kits, dozens of hours were

Lounge, I recalled from my pre–Star Lounge pitch

spent sending e-mails and placing phone calls to pitch meetings between Cadle

experience that Cadle had drawn inspiration for his

and the top-tier New York–based bridal and interior design magazines. By the time a

lounge design from Pucci’s geometric patterns and

cab whisked us over to the Fashion’s Night In event at Lincoln Center on February 9,

Chanel’s silk scarves. When I finally got the chance

Cadle had enough appointments set up to keep him busy for the next seven days.

to enter the lounge, I felt like I had been wrapped inside a silk cocoon. Working with the talented

At Lincoln Center, there was a large table where P.S.- I Made This blogger Erica

design duo behind Porter Teleo, he designed fabrics

Domesek was demonstrating how to make necklaces and cuffs. Under Erica’s

in watercolor-like landscapes of geometric shapes.

direction, event attendees were gathered around the craft table braiding, wrapping, and hammering strips of Mercedes-Benz leather, rolls of gold chain, neon cords, and gold studs. As I joined in to craft a bracelet of my own using scraps of black leather, a pink neon cord, and a gold chain, the girl standing next to me was already braiding orange and grey ribbon into a necklace and attaching gold chain for a chandelier effect. I couldn’t help but notice how her nails, painted in a really unique abstract pattern, matched her necklace. We started chatting about the difficulty of braiding chain and leather together (if you’ve never tried this, it’s not easy), and I learned that she was invited to the event because she has a popular blog called Miss Ladyfinger. Miss Ladyfinger, also

photo by whitney wolfe


The FabRICS WeRe TheN uSeD FoR DeCoRaTIve CeILING PaNeLS and drapes to divide the room into cozy seating areas perfect for a post-fashion show respite. Stephanie Hirsch had stitched the famous slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” in gold on a black canvas that was hanging above a faux fireplace at one end of the room. Hirsch’s “I Heart MBFW” pillows (intended to be photographed with the celebs at the lounge) accessorized the couches and chairs that Cadle had handpicked from Baker Furniture. Looking from the sisal rugs to the Porter Teleo drapes, I was excited to see the space had been transformed into the oasis of serenity that Cadle had envisioned. My next seven days at Fashion Week were packed as I acted as liaison at over a dozen PR meetings between Cadle and various media representatives. Whether he was meeting with a magazine editor or a television producer, he graciously afforded each his undivided attention. During every personal tour he gave of the Star Lounge, Cadle’s love of design and event creation beamed as he described his inspiration for the space, explaining how he had envisioned it to be the

photo by wesley cadle

“inside of a silk scarf.” While in the Star Lounge, I could not help but notice how celebs, Mercedes-Benz executives, and members of the media enjoyed the refreshingly calm environment while trays of canapés circulated. Even Ramses Barden, the celebrated wide receiver for the New York Giants, ducked inside the lounge following the Lacoste show. “I don’t think I’ve been able to move more than fifteen feet out there for the past hour!” said Barden regarding the pack of adoring fans waiting outside the lounge. Needless to say, he was in no hurry to leave the comfort and safety of his newfound haven.

Cadle’s love of design and event creation beamed as he described his inspiration for the space, explaining how he had envisioned it to be the “inside of a silk scarf.”

132 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

photo by whitney wolfe

As exciting as it was inside the pavilions of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, I would sometimes step outside for a change of scene. I couldn’t get over the fashion show pageantry taking place within the Lincoln Center fountain plaza just outside the door. It’s as if Fashion Week has become a call for a multitude of Fashion Week groupies to dress in fashion faux pas, ironically setting trends among their own “supersubset” of the fashion world. The goings-on—Tim Gunn giving an interview, Olivia Palermo stepping out after a show, and celebrity status fashion bloggers (like Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller) walking in—were being captured by hundreds of photographers and written about by dozens of bloggers throughout the world. After witnessing both sides of the action, I could really appreciate the concept behind the Star Lounge as a place of refuge. Wesley Cadle’s beautiful design took that idea even further— the serenity inside his silken dream was practically tangible. For anyone entering, the lounge was a welcome shelter to escape the frenzy of prying eyes and cameras!

photo by wesley cadle


By Sallie W. Boyles Thinking back to taking home a first-place blue ribbon from her fourth grade science fair, Dr. Shawna Hogan vividly recalls every detail of the day, especially the excitement and pride she felt in exhibiting the one and only project that explained the benefits of a healthy spine. “While my cohorts were experimenting with their volcanoes, I was already seeing my future in chiropractic medicine,” she says. Her mother, Pam Speed, was the office manager for a chiropractor in their New York town, and as a close friend of the family, the doctor welcomed Hogan to spend countless hours at his practice and even attend seminars. Besides absorbing information, the bright, impressionable child observed the happy, healthy chiropractors in attendance and realized that she, too, could put her love of science to work in a profession that promoted a lifestyle of wellbeing. “My mom would tell me, ‘Someday, you will be a chiropractor and I will manage your office.’ And she was right!” says Hogan.

reputation for caring and for achieving results, Hogan continually communicated the value of chiropractic care, using a range of noninvasive techniques—like spinal manipulation, laser therapies, and nutritional counseling—to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints and to promote a healthy spine. “The brain and delicate nerve tissue of the spinal cord are all connected,” explains Hogan. “When a segment of the spinal column moves aberrantly, excess pressure is placed on the central nervous system. By keeping the spine properly aligned, we help the nerve networks, including those that affect organs, to reach optimal function.” Hogan believes that the time she spends listening to individuals and answering their questions has enabled her to attract a broad base of patients, who appreciate being seen and heard. “Patients are so often rushed in and out of doctors’ offices today without ever feeling that they are being listened to. Pampering is often missing in health care today,” she says. “My objective is to go the distance so that each patient feels that he or she is a priority. I additionally feel that if I’m doing my job correctly, I’m educating my patients while treating them.” As a result, Hogan receives a healthy share of medical referrals, and prescribed treatments, even massage, are widely covered by insurance plans. She also reveals that a good number of her patients are physicians.

“While my cohorts were experimenting with their volcanoes, I was already seeing my future in chiropractic medicine.”

In 2000, Hogan graduated Life University in Atlanta and spent the next five years broadening her experience as an associate doctor of chiropractic in two different Florida Panhandle practices. In 2005, she bought East Hill Chiropractic in Pensacola. The practice prospered. With a

136 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

As a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Hogan is particularly interested in caring for children of all ages and pregnant women. Many women, in fact, first experience the benefits of chiropractic treatments when seeking relief of back pain from pregnancy. “While lessening pressure in the lower back, chiropractic reduces tension on the ligaments affecting the uterus as well, allowing for a more comfortable pregnancy and less difficulty during labor,” says Hogan. Parents who benefit from seeing a chiropractor often recognize the value of exposing their children to a chiropractic regime early on. “Since alignment issues can occur during the birth process,” explains Hogan, “new moms are wise to bring in their infants for spinal checkups.” While some take advantage of well visits, most children first see Dr. Hogan when they suffer an injury—typically from a sport-related event. Young athletes aiming to prevent problems are also turning to her for treatments and guidance. The majority of Dr. Hogan’s adult patients have complaints associated with pain in the lower back, neck, or upper back. Headaches are also common. “Upper back, neck, and headaches have become increasingly problematic with all the time we spend at the computer,” Hogan says. “Individuals who carry extra weight in the tummy are the ones who tend to suffer from lower back pain.” Since weight loss can be critical to eradicating physical stress and pain, Dr. Hogan has always encouraged patients to adhere to healthier diets and exercise regimes. Searching for ways to get patients excited about losing some of the extra inches around the belly, she investigated various noninvasive alternatives as a means to jump-start success. Without a doubt, she determined that the Zerona laser belonged in her practice.

“I introduced it over two years ago,” she says. “We were among the first in the Pensacola area to provide this noninvasive, painless, body-slimming procedure. It’s an amazing device that uses a laser to emulsify some of the fat content within the fat cell and then release it into the interstitial space [the fluid-filled area surrounding cells]. The excess fat simply passes through the system through the normal course of detoxification.” Featured on shows like The Dr. Oz Show, Rachael Ray, The Doctors and Nightline, as well as in publications from The Wall Street Journal to Harper’s BAZAAR, the laser, approved by the FDA for efficacy and safety, helps patients eliminate three to nine inches or more of fat in as little as two weeks. “How else could you lose a handful of inches in weeks with no downtime and no pain?” says Hogan, adding that treatments are affordable and consultations through her practice are complimentary. “We have also expanded Zerona to the broader community so that individuals do not have to be chiropractic patients to take advantage of it.”

“When individuals enter our tranquil office, I want them to leave the rest of the world behind and let us take care of them.”

Fulfilling her professional ambition to help others achieve optimal health and well-being, Dr. Hogan and her husband, Christopher, faced a decision that would determine whether or not they would attain a shared personal dream. “Having grown up in the Northeast, we were drawn to the Destin area of the Panhandle,” says Hogan. “It had the same neighborhood feeling of our childhoods, which is a large part of what called us here. We loved that when we came to vacation, we never got back in our car until it was time to go home; we could walk or bike anywhere we wanted to go. I loved my years in Pensacola, but the Destin area has always beckoned me.” Nevertheless, the idea of walking away from her flourishing practice and starting over in Destin seemed absurd. “I could imagine people saying, ‘ You just don’t do that!’” Despite what people would or would not say, however, the Hogans at last made their move. With her July 2012 grand opening of Regatta Chiropractic and Laser Center in Destin, Dr. Shawna Hogan would not only relocate to the place she longed to call home, but she would also launch the concierge-style practice that she always wanted to own. “At the risk of turning my story into a cliché about someone who risked everything to live a dream, that’s what I did,” she says. Meanwhile, her Pensacola patients remain in good hands: brother-in-law Dr. Kevin Hogan took over the East Hill practice. As the Hogans settle into Destin, Dr. Shawna Hogan recalls her fourth grade science fair project with a renewed excitement over creating something exceptional for the community. “By continuing to enhance my chiropractic practice with the Zerona laser and other beneficial services, I look forward to providing a unique level of health care,” she says. “When individuals enter our tranquil office, I want them to leave the rest of the world behind and let us take care of them.” Regatta Chiropractic and Laser Center 4481 Legendary Dr., Suite 150, Destin, FL 32541 850.424.7856 |


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Story and Photography By Susan Benton or the culinary connoisseur, foodie, or anyone who loves to try new things, tasting exotic foods from other parts of the world is an adventure. For those, like me, who also love to travel, Paris is the ultimate gastronomic destination.

Recently, I was introduced to Wendy Lyn of The Paris Kitchen at a dinner party in her honor, which was hosted by my dear friends, Dr. Phillip and Brenda Nunnery. The gathering was held at their beautiful home on the picturesque St. Andrews Bay in Panama City. Wendy had grown up in Panama City; in fact, she was back in town to visit her parents. She spoke with fondness to me about her grandfather, “Papa,” who also lived on the bay, and how she had spent countless weekends with him as a young girl, helping him fish and cook. “My love of good food came from fishing, shrimping, scalloping, and oystering along the bay with my grandfather,” Wendy said. By the end of the evening, the makings of an adventure to Paris and beyond had started to come together. Brenda, Phillip, Wendy, my husband, and I invited two other local foodie friends of ours, Susan and Sparky Lovelace (who also have a passion for travel), to join in, and we set our plans in motion.

Wendy has lived in Paris for the past twenty-three years, is a former restaurant consultant to such top chefs as Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy, and Charlie Trotter, and has become well known for her food tours, her personal connections with the hottest “it” chefs in town, and her food blog, The Paris Kitchen. While most have to wait months for a reservation, Wendy makes it happen by calling in special favors from the chefs she refers to as her “little brothers.” My husband and I arrived at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and were soon situated in our lovely boutique hotel, the Hotel Chambiges Elysées, located a short walk from the Champs-Elysées in the heart of the famous Triangle d’Or. (We were thoroughly pleased with the Chambiges Elysées: the staff was warm, knowledgeable, and accommodating; our suite was elegant yet modern, and we received a scrumptious complimentary breakfast each day.) Though excited to hit the streets, we were also jet-lagged, so we opted to dine nearby, as per Wendy’s suggestion, at Marius et Janette.



2 1. From left to right: Wendy Lyn and Susan and Sparky Lovelace share a magnificent view of the Grand Canal in Venice over the top of a vintage speedboat. 2. Activity on the river Seine at sunset. 3. Eric, the manager of L’Avant Comptoir, was a gracious host. Located in the 8th arrondissement (district), Marius et Janette exudes the feeling of an elegant yacht. We felt fortunate to be seated side by side in a banquette that faced the large front window of the restaurant. Apparently, our timing had been perfect: not a seat was left and many would-be patrons were turned away on this busy night. Inside, we watched extravagant tiered trays of seafood being presented to fellow diners. The menu was filled with the finest of seafood choices, including an extensive and rare oyster selection. Chef Bruno Brangea is called “the magician of all things seafood”—an apt nickname, as we discovered. My sautéed skate wing in browned butter was cooked to perfection, as was my husband’s grilled turbot fillet, which paired deliciously with the crisp Bandol Rosé from Domaine Tempier. The dishes were accompanied by fresh local vegetables, and I was impressed to learn that Marius et Janette only serves wild fish caught from small boats, except for the salmon, which comes from the Scottish organic sector.

On Friday, Wendy surprised us by taking us to her favorite bistro in Paris, Bistrot Paul Bert. This classic, hearty eatery often wins awards for being among the best bistros in Paris. Upon arrival to this charming and eclectic restaurant nestled in the 11th arrondissement, we were treated like family: owner Bertrand Auboyneau welcomed us with open arms. My husband commented on the excellent wine list, which is filled with hard-to-find selections, and talked with Bertrand about the interesting antique mosaic floors that bear the restaurant’s name. We noshed on perfectly seared steak, a dish of luscious, roasted chicken with crispy skin, and an incredible order of thoughtfully prepared veal piccata, and we finished with the sweet, creamy pastry Bistrot Paul Bert is known for. I could not leave without a signed copy of Bertrand’s recently released cookbook, French Bistro (a favorite of Wendy’s and now mine), which he coauthored with well-known restaurant critic François Simon. That evening, we met up with our friends, as Wendy had arranged reservations at Restaurant Spring. Just before dinner, we visited nearby Spring Boutique and were then guided past Spring Buvette to the four-hundred-year-old wine cave located beneath the lower level of the main restaurant, where we gathered around a communal table. Josh Adler, V IE ZINE.COM | 141

4 sommelier and wine curator for Spring, shared a dizzying array of spectacular bottles with us as decadent plates of plump, juicy crabs, fresh breads, and sausages that melted like foie gras on the tongue arrived from the kitchen. We moved upstairs to dinner, where we met Chef Daniel Rose, a Chicago native who opened Spring in the 9th arrondissement before relocating it to the 1st arrondissement two years ago. Spring is located in a sixteenth-century space, and the restaurant is stunning after its exhaustive renovation. Architectural details were unearthed and left in place, yet the design is contemporary with a relaxed, casual vibe. Boasting only twenty-eight seats, the dining room surrounds the open kitchen so that all can see Chef Rose and his staff creating their masterpieces. Spring is booked months in advance, and the reason was apparent to everyone in our party. The next morning, we all gathered at L’Avant Comptoir, located next door to the famed La Comptoir. Wendy had arranged space for us in this small wine and hors d’oeuvres bar—it’s standing room only for about twelve at the zinc bar and a second counter located on the back wall. They don’t take reservations. While noshing on the selection of cornichons, freshly baked baguettes, creamy Bordier butter, and Breton artichokes that were lined up along the bar for sampling, we sipped small-production wines and learned the menu with help from Eric, the manager. Hanging from the ceiling were hams and dried sausages, on which were the names of their producers, like charcutier Philippe Camdeborde, brother of owner Yves Camdeborde, who popped back and forth between his two restaurants to say hello. We indulged in waffles topped with artichoke puree and 142 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

5 4. L’ Avant Comptoir waffles made to order, topped with Breton artichoke puree and jambon. 5. A moeca, a soft-shell lagoon crab, is served at Venissa. The rare crabs molt only twice a year, in spring and fall. 6. The well-oiled machine, otherwise known as the Spring kitchen of Chef Daniel Rose, Paris. 7. Philip Benton and Sparky Lovelace look over sommelier Josh Adler’s wine selection, in Spring’s 16th-century wine cave.

jambon, as well as a ham and mushroom crepe that delivered delicate flavors as expected. Located in the 6th arrondissement, this is a place where time is well spent. Next, a few of us struck out for Willi’s Wine Bar, a landmark near the Palais Royal, where owner Mark Williamson, a dry-humored British expat, happily shared his wine secrets with us as we sampled a glass or two of his offerings. This small local haunt, inspired by the 1930s, displays a collection of bottle art posters against a white-wall backdrop; Mark commissions a contemporary artist to create a new image each year. We headed to Stéphane Jego’s gastropub, Chez L’Ami Jean, well known for long late-night dinners and hard-to-come-by reservations. Wendy brought along a friend to join us: Pierre Rovani, one of the world’s experts on the wines of Burgundy and a former member of Robert Parker’s team. Having Pierre with us was a real treat, and we enjoyed swapping stories of favorite wines and SEC football

6 by Breton langoustine and wood pigeon, including its legs and meticulously severed head with brain. (Jego’s rustic country cuisine is inspired by his Basque upbringing and is not for the faint of heart.) Pierre selected our wine pairings, we finished with the famed rice pudding, and life could not have been sweeter.

7 outside of the restaurant while we awaited our table, savored trays of charcuterie, and sipped champagne. Though the decor may be fun and charismatic, the food is taken seriously; Jego obsesses over each detail, searching for the most seasonal products possible. We ordered carte blanche, which meant that it would be whatever Jego wanted to prepare and served until the diner said, “No more!” We started with the most incredible bowl of creamy Parmesan soup, which cradled seasonal vegetables and crispy bacon and was sprinkled with tiny croutons. It was followed

Four-thirty in the morning comes early no matter what the language is, especially after the amazing night we had shared. It was Sunday, Mother’s Day, and while our new friend Pierre was off to the states to visit his mother, Wendy arranged for us to fly to Venice, Italy, for lunch. We met at Orly Airport, boarded a short flight that took us over the Alps, and arrived in the water city, where Alessandro, Wendy’s driver, picked us up in his vintage teak speedboat. We motored through the Grand Canal viewing ancient buildings whose facades ranged from those influenced by Byzantine and Moorish styles to the more Italianate—it was amazing that one short boat ride could take us past over a thousand years of history. Our destination was Venissa, a small restaurant and hotel located on the sparsely populated island of Mazzorbo. Mazzorbo is just a wooden bridge away from the neighboring island, Burano, known for its lacework and brightly painted houses. Entering its second year, Venissa sits on a vineyard in a walled private estate owned by the Bisols, a centuriesold wine-making family. After an arduous, decade-long restoration led by Gianluca Bisol, the estate was designated as an Italian National Environment Park. Bisol greeted us on arrival and we were quickly shown to the state-of-the-art kitchen for a tour with Paola Budel, who is at the helm of the restaurant.

The restaurant is small but pristine and boasts touches by Bisol’s friend, designer Philippe Starck, who has a home on the island. The glass walls of the building allow for natural light to pour through, and diners have a clear view of the twelfth-century tower that sits alongside the vineyard. A panoramic patio, used also for dining, affords guests a view of Budel’s abundant garden of fresh vegetables and herbs. Bisol passionately described the local purveyors from which they source all other ingredients, such as honey, fish, oysters, birds, and the lagoon delicacy, the soft-shell crabs or moeche. Bisol said, “We live from the waters or what we shoot from the sky.” We dined on the prized and succulent soft-shell crabs and were honored to do so, as they are only harvested in spring and fall, with females only available in the spring. There is a small five-hour window to locate the lemon-sized crabs when they Doctors Nunnery (left) and Benton (middle), along are molting (shedding their hard shells). Budel fried with Brenda Nunnery ( front) at L’ Avant Comptoir, them to crispy perfection along with small shrimp the famed restaurant owned by Yves Camdeborde. and calamari. Her goal, like Bisol’s, is to choose the restaurant’s sources carefully from local waters, farmers, and on-site agriculture. One of our great delights was opening a bottle of one of the estate’s first vintages in two hundred years. The wine, made from the Dorona grape, was sealed in a Murano glass bottle with a label of 24-karat gold. Until Bisol reclaimed and restored the Dorona, this Venetian varietal grape had not been cultivated for more than six hundred years. We ended our visit with a tour of the vineyards and gardens that have been flooded with seawater off and on over the centuries but now bloom with a sensational display of colorful edibles and roses. We walked to where our boat transport awaited and, with prosecco (Italy’s version of champagne) in hand, departed the tiny isle. We were then sped through the waters of the Venetian Lagoon to the airport for our evening flight back to Paris. Before leaving Paris the next day, we thanked Wendy for all of her unbelievable hospitality and then wandered the streets near our hotel one last time, taking in again the lunching Parisians at the tiny bistros and the picture-perfect charcuteries such as Bellota-Bellota, where one sits to have fine jamón ibérico or caviar and champagne. We made our way back to the hotel, passing windows full of the high fashion so common on the Rive Droite. Then, it was into the taxi and a big “Au Revoir” to Paris. In a relatively few hours, we were back to our home shores.

Susan Benton is the founder of where she shares her passion and twenty years of experience in the food industry as a freelance food and travel journalist, photographer, cook, and speaker. As a nationally recognized recipe developer, Susan also judges food-related competitions and reviews cookbooks and products for famed chefs and corporations. The Gulf Coast native calls the beautiful beaches of Northwest Florida home and has a commitment to promoting local farmers, chefs, artisans, and businesses along the Gulf Coast.

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A Testimonial Dear Alan, Dear Alan, We just wanted to thank you so very much for building our home at the beach. We just love it! You did such a magnificent job with the original construction in 1994. When we decided to renovate and add on to the original structure, we new you were the person we would want to complete it. We needed someone with your experience and expertise, and once again, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome. The complete job looks like it was part of the original house plan. Your work exceeded our expectations! Before Addition

We realize how complex it is to build a custom home on the sand so close to the ocean, but your confidence and reassurance continuously put us at ease. The subcontractors you hired were professional and delivered high quality work. The experience of you and your superintendent, Kenny, is so evident in every area of the construction. We appreciated the directness and honesty of both you and Kenny. We felt so confident in leaving every detail to you and the people that work for you. You were so accessible to us with any questions we had and would always work around our schedule. It truly was a pleasure to work with you and we enjoy our “new” home so very much. Sincerely, George and Diane Bradford

228 Market St. | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 | 850.267.2898 |

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RestoRing Meaning Ke e p s a ke J e w e l r y o f t h e Ti t a n i c B y S u s a n Va l l é e

P h o t o g r a p h y b y Tr o y R u p r e c h t


Melissa RovneR, co-owneR of nastRo Bello JewelRy, looks Back at the last two and a half yeaRs and shakes heR head in disBelief. the Busy hoMeowneR, who has Been a full-tiMe Resident of south walton, floRida’s 30a aRea foR the past nine yeaRs, has always Been passionate aBout heR JewelRy designs, But it was heR Most Recent client, RMs titanic, inc., that helped to foReveR change heR opinion of what JewelRy is all aBout.

ship was able to sail,” she explained. “Think about that. That’s why there were so many wealthy and important passengers on that one ship. And now you can actually own a piece of that.” Knowing the history involved with the diminutive lumps of coal made her job as designer all the harder. In a box in her studio was the fuel that was tied to the loss of 1,514 lives. As she thought of ways to best incorporate the coal into elegant designs, she researched the wreck and read accounts by survivors. She became enthralled with the history and the work RMS Titanic is still doing, a hundred years later, to recover wreckage and map the site.

RMS Titanic, Inc. serves as the salvor-in-possession of the Titanic and its entire wreck site. The company displays artifacts recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic in exhibitions worldwide. For the hundredth anniversary of the tragic shipwreck, the company wanted to do something a little different, so they worked with Nastro Bello Jewelry to create a limited edition line of Titanic coal jewelry. Only 250 pieces were created by Nastro Bello, and each comes with a certificate of authenticity and a hand-stamped tag that reads Nastro Bello Jewelry on one side and RMS Titanic on the other.

Since the coal had been exposed for so many years, it was soft and would crumble with applied pressure. So first on her list was to create a resin for the coal that would make it hard enough for daily wear and able to withstand moisture or the heat of being worn next to the body. She worked on the formula for a year, frequently consulting with engineers at Georgia Tech on the process (which she will not divulge).

Melissa explained that because the coal is the only item actually owned by RMS Titanic, Inc., it is the only item from the actual shipwreck that may be sold. And she was given only enough pieces of coal to create a collection of 250 jewelry pieces (and they are quickly selling out). “There were supposed to be other luxury liners that were sailing that year, but the shortage of coal was the reason only one

Once a safe resin was developed, she meticulously hand drilled each piece and then combined it with a series of semiprecious stones, each standing for a piece of the Titanic story. “We meticulously used diverse metals and semiprecious stones to symbolically represent the ocean, the ice, and the countries from where Titanic’s passengers had originated.”

“There were supposed To be oTher luxury liners ThaT were sailing ThaT year, buT The shorTage of coal was The reason only one ship was able To sail.”

Melissa also recently launched the Blessings In Disguise line of antique and religious jewelry. “I take old things— prayer beads, relics—and use them to create a beautiful piece of jewelry that has a richness of meaning to it. I think people are looking for something to believe in. Working with the Titanic coal and the religious relics has totally changed my view on jewelry. I only want to craft something that is meaningful now.”

150 | J U LY/AU GUST 2012

The RMS Titanic 100th Anniversary Jewelry Collection is being showcased at each of the six Titanic exhibits traveling throughout the world. Melissa and her sister, Allison, together own Nastro Bello Jewelry, which is sold at exclusive boutiques nationwide. To find a list of retailers selling Nastro Bello Jewelry, visit Blessings In Disguise jewelry is available locally at Kiki Risa in Destin, Florida, and Mercantile in Seaside, Florida. For more information, visit

D e sign Studio & Shop R osem ary B each (850) 231-6755 Moun tain B ro ok (205) 414-6026 www.trac er yinteriors .c om

Smith’S AntiqueS & InterIors Market ~ decorating nirvana ~ 850.654.1484 | Located on Highway 98 at Holiday Road midway between Destin Commons and Sandestin Monday—Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday 12–5 p.m.

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VIE - People + Places / July August 2012  

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