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VOL. 14 NO. 6



Life is Just a Song

Hundreds of music makers from near and far sing their hearts out at the 5th Annual 30A Songwriter’s Festival


10 SKINNY COCKTAILS How to head out on the town without breaking your calorie bank


THE CANDYMAN CAN Tom Ehlke mixes it with love and makes the EC taste good MADE ON THE EC Two talented artisans reinvent your furniture into custom creations $3.95

DEC 2013-JAN 2014

Kristian Bush, one half of international super-duo Sugarland

A product of Rowland Publishing, Inc.


on the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay. He leaves the dock at 4 AM, HAULS the traps, EMPTIES them, SEPARATES the males from the females, RE-BAITS the traps, STEAMS the crabs, and PICKS the meat. Regardless of the weather.

THINK AGAIN. HARBOR DOCKS _ GULF TO TABLE SINCE 1979 Check our website to find out which restaurants sell certified Gulf-to-Table fish from Harbor Docks Seafood Market. S E A F O O D & C O C K TA I L S

DES TIN , FL | 850. 837. 2506 | H A R B O R D O C K S .CO M

© D. YURMAN 2013

13390 HWY 98 W. • DESTIN, FLORIDA 850.650.2262 December 2013–January 2014


4 December 2013–January 2014

The Emerald Coast Magazine December 2013 + January 2014

contents What is Christian Williams’ dream job? “Anything within theater. I would love to be a working professional actor in a major city.”

Photo by Scott Holstein



Our salary survey reveals who pockets what for a job well done

YOURSELF IN HOLIDAY FASHIONS 68 WRAP Look as pretty as a picture this season December 2013–January 2014



in the e.c. 17 Snapshot We get some “facetime” with Jeff Provinse. 19 Chat Edwin Watts leads a hole-in-one for Shalimar Pointe Golf Club. 20 Made in the EC Meet two EC artisans who are carving out their niches. 24 What’s Haute Wrap your gift like a pro in just a snap. 27 Giving Back 10 tips to help parents plant the philanthropy seed. 30 Historicity Come with us to Pensacola … in the 1800s. 34 Personality Find out why we are sweet on Tom Ehlke. 38 Scene Have you heard the latest about the Emerald Coast?

Happenings 43 Spotlight Christmas Reflections will make your holidays sparkle. 44 Vibe 30A Songwriter’s Festival is a big hit! 48 Calendar We’ll help you wile away your winter with festive events.

the good life


73 Eudaimonia Victoria and Skip Moore earn their angel wings. 74 Habitat See your home in a whole new light. 79 In Motion Make way for the amazing manatees. 86 Gardening Time for picture perfect poinsettias. 88 Flavor Hungry for a skinny night on the town? 92 Dining Let us guide you to savor the flavors of the Emerald Coast. 94 A Taste For … some savory soup! 96 On the Menu Heat up your dinner plans with some hibachi.

A WORD WITH YOU 10 From the Publisher 12 Editor’s Note 14 Spelling Out the Best 98 The Last Word

88 6 December 2013–January 2014


Special Sections 40 Holiday Gift Guide 80 Deal Estate

Follow us @emeraldcoastmag

Like us at

Photos by Scott Holstein (17) and Courtesy Bonefish Grill (88) and Eric Marcus studios/design avenue (74)

51 Social Studies Look who’s out and about on the EC scene.

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Vol. 14, No. 6 DecembeR 2013–January 2014 The Emerald Coast Magazine


Brian E. Rowland


Director of Editorial Services Linda Kleindienst Editor Zandra Wolfgram Staff Writer Jason Dehart Editorial Coordinator Chay D. Baxley Contributing Writers Chay D. Baxley, Shannon Colavecchio, Dottie DeHart, Jennifer Howard, Lis King, Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite, Thomas J. Monigan, Audrey Post, L. Jordan Swanson, Zandra Wolfgram Editorial Interns Domonique Davis, Taylor Centers, Darius Thomas, Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder Prepress Specialist Melinda Lanigan


Creative Director Lawrence Davidson Assistant Creative Director Saige Roberts Senior Graphic Designer Jennifer Ekrut Graphic Designers Lizzie Moore, Shruti Shah Advertising Designers Jillian Fry, Monica Perez Production Manager/Network Administrator Daniel Vitter Staff Photographer Scott Holstein Contributing Photographers Robert Barton, Eric Marcus Studios, Frank Ockenfels, Kay Phelan, Jami Ray, Shelly Swanger, Carlin Trammel, Steve Wells, Zandra Wolfgram, Allison Yii


Marketing and Sales Manager McKenzie Burleigh Director of New Business Daniel Parisi Traffic Coordinator Lisa Sostre Sales Executives Rhonda Lynn Murray, Darla Harrison, Tim Hughes, Tracy Mulligan, Chris St. John, Paula Sconiers, Drew Gregg Westling Marketing and Sales assistant Nicole Liang


Administrative Services Manager Melissa Tease Special Projects And Events Coordinator Lynda Belcher Accounting Specialists Josh Faulds, Tabby Hamilton Receptionists Tristin Kroening, Jazmeen Sule


Social Media/Systems Management Specialist Carlin Trammel Emerald Coast Magazine Rowland Publishing


One Year (6 issues) is $30 Call (850) 878-0554 or go online to Single copies are $3.95 Purchase at Barnes and Noble in Destin and Books-A-Million in Destin and at Sun Plaza in Mary Esther.

Editorial Office 1932 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32308 Customer Service & Submissions EC Magazine and Rowland Publishing, Inc. are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. Editorial contributions are welcomed and encouraged but will not be returned. EC Magazine reserves the right to publish any letters to the editor. Copyright December 2013 Emerald Coast Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

8 December 2013–January 2014





SUN JAN 5 8PM #DowntonPBS December 2013–January 2014


from the publisher Evolve With the Times … or Become Extinct

In an average month I’m asked several times if I feel printed magazines are fading away … or are dead and don’t have the sense to lay down. Based on very firsthand experience, print magazine publishing in Northwest Florida is doing just fine. I know there is a good flow of blood coursing through our veins — I also know that five to seven years ago we consciously made the decision to evolve and broaden the base of services to complement the emergence of new technology available to every business in today’s rapidly changing world. And we have consciously developed a relationship with a younger professional demographic through events we host. Let me share some facts about a global company that didn’t see or recognize the writing on the wall and chose not to evolve and make some fundamental changes in its business — and today is scrambling to stay alive. BlackBerry — the gold standard at one time for mobile email combined with cellular communications — recently slashed its workforce by 40 percent, stopped selling its products to the consumer market and has begun a search for an investor who will purchase its assets. The bottom line: Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics have assumed their market share alive, leaving BlackBerry in a very desperate situation. I know many BlackBerry diehard disciples who have resisted moving to smartphones, remaining loyal to the hard keyboard. Today, they’re left seeking legacy models in hopes of delaying the inevitable switch to the touch-screen smartphone. At one time BlackBerry owned 50 percent of the phone market that handled email, and currently its market share has fallen below 3 percent. At its peak, 12,700 people were part of the $80 billion organization. Today, company executives are looking to just get their assets sold. There is a very strong message and lessons to learn from seeing this business fall from top to bottom: Never be complacent with where you are today. Always look forward and be aware of the trends in an ever-changing marketplace. Be committed to constantly adjusting your business plan to meet your customers’ needs and demands. Continue to learn more about the industry you are in through B-to-B trade publications and industry conventions where “what’s on the horizon” is being addressed all the time. So many factors contribute to the demise of a business — and not being willing to make change should not be at the top of that list. On another note, a Day of Dialogue For Women–About Women–By Women will be presented by Tallahassee Community College (TCC) Workforce Development Leadership Institute in February. This initial gathering of 80 to 100 women from a cross section of the region will: ¡ Explore the characteristics, qualities and values that allow women to reach their highest

potential in their personal and professional lives.

¡ Include a keynote address by Nancy M. Carter, PhD., Catalyst Inc.; a review of women

and organizations that have demonstrated resilience in difficult times; break-out groups to examine individual stories and priorities. An initial compilation of this information will help to develop a new vision for women’s programs and services at TCC.

on the cover

The 5th annual 30A Songwriter Festival welcomes Kristian Bush, one half of international super-duo Sugarland. For two decades Bush has made his mark on music as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. To date, the 43-year old artist has won six BMI Awards for his songwriting abilities, and in 2011 he founded the music publishing company and songwriting collective Songs of the Architect to help foster the work of emerging songwriters. Photography by Dana Tynan

— Brian Rowland

10 December 2013–January 2014

Photo by Scott Holstein

Please contact the TCC Center for Workforce Development office for more information, (850) 201-6200. There are a limited number of seats available for this full-day interactive process with lunch included. December 2013–January 2014


editor’s note

The holidays always make me feel a little nostalgic. Who can resist twinkling lights, heartwarming choral music and the smell of baked cookies everywhere you turn? If my husband had his way, every toy under the tree would be something handmade. Thanks to aunts and uncles in Austria, there is usually a spirited Gschnitzer handpainted, wooden puppet of some sort jumping under our Frazier fir. But each year we find that tradition becomes harder and harder to keep. There seem to be precious few things on the shelves that aren’t made of plastic, blare sounds and require batteries. I urge everyone to pass by the tablets, pads and plastic gifts, and consider something novel for those on your holiday list — something handmade. Better yet, something handmade right here on the Emerald Coast. In researching our new column Made on the EC, we discovered many interesting and talented artisans and entrepreneurs who have put their hearts into their wares. In this issue we feature Brett Henry and Brett Martin — two carpenter-turned-furniture designers, who are building exciting, one-of-a-kind tables, benches, swings and more from reclaimed wood and repurposed castoffs such as armoires. Not only do you get to take home an original, custom piece of furniture, lovingly handcrafted, but I’m convinced that engrained in the knots, nicks and dents is the living history of those pine, mahogany and cedar planks. Each blemish is just an indication of its previous years of service — maybe as a sturdy dining room table where family and friends gathered to enjoy hearty meals and heady conversation, or maybe a bookshelf full of the classics. Who knows? Speaking of living history, it can be found right here in our own “backyard.” The Colonial and Victorian days of Pensacola come alive at Pensacola Historic Village through dedicated staff — many of them history majors from the University of West Florida — serving as interpreters of Pensacola’s history. They should be called caretakers, because all of those we spoke with were meticulously careful in relating facts from the period all the way down to their Fugawee shoes and authentic period garb. There’s more than a good chance you can find an interesting wooden toy, handmade metal amusement, paper airplane, hand-sewn bonnet, not to mention a stick of penny candy for the stocking, at the gift shop in the Tivoli High House on Zaragoza Street. The day we visited we got to watch volunteer/history buff Gray Bass carefully carving an early 19th-century flint rifle under a live oak tree shading a common area between several historic cottages on the guided tour. To be able to use your hands to customize furniture, carve a toy, create jewelry, shape a tool; to be able to bore a musket or put a bend in a bow to hunt down dinner is truly something I admire. When it is made by a local and comes tagged not with a price but with a history lesson and a bit of the creator’s soul poured into it, it becomes a shared experience, a treasure … which is not only timeless — it’s priceless.

—Z  andra Wolfgram

12 December 2013–January 2014

editor’s picks Yule-kulele If this isn’t on your holiday wish list it should be. Strummin’ and hummin’ holiday ditties on a ukulele is surely to get even Ebenezer Scrooge to do a little jig. The Diamond Head Ukulele (DU-102) features a maple body and neck, painted fingerboard and bridge, and nickel-plated guitar-style geared tuners with white plastic buttons. The soprano size is 346 mm, and it even comes with a matching bag. Get this “red hot” gift for $37.98 at Central Records in Seaside. Makala makes this mini music maker in a variety of colors starting from $49.95 at Playground Music Center in Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach. Whichever brand you choose it will surely put a dance in your step this season. Get Carded this Christmas Earlier this year, launched The 30A Card, a new membership program that offers cardholders exclusive discounts at more than 80 local restaurants, shops and businesses in South Walton communities from Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to Rosemary Beach. We love the idea of giving a little bit of 30A to friends and family for the holidays. You can purchase the card for $24.95 at and in many local businesses.  Wishful Thinking I have a January birthday. In honor of it, I invite you loyal EC Magazine readers to consider something different when your big day arrives. Instead of gifts, have your friends and family support your favorite charity by making a donation in your name. You can always choose a local charity and simply make a donation. But if you need help, there are dedicated websites such as, or Here’s to many happy returns!

Photos by Allison Yii (Wolfgram) and Scott Holstein (Ukulele)

Soul Searching ... Handmade Treasures, Living History Are Timeless Gifts December 2013–January 2014




spelling out the best

Home of the Eagles

Class of 2013 earned over $9,623,000 in scholarships Advanced Studies students earn up to 60 college credits Leading-edge Information Technology Institute Award-winning Performing Arts Programs Winning Athletic Programs recognized statewide Zoning waivers currently available at

We put together the October/November cover of EC Magazine setting Scott Holstein, our staff Photographer, loose to snap some of our “Best of the Emerald Coast” winners’ signs. We then chose 21 letters and carefully pieced them together to create a unique representation of the winning businesses. If you were stymied by one, two or even all of them, then wonder no more. Listed on this page are the 21 signs we sourced for our cover. How many did you guess correctly?

1. B from Bistro Bijoux 2. E from Eye Gallery 3. S from Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood 4. T from Today’s Boutique 5. O from Harbor Docks 6. F from The French Laundry 7. T from Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort 8. H from Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast 9. E from D’Luxe Limos 10. E from Legendary Marine 11. M from Marlin Grill 12. E from Sunset Shoes 13. R from The Red Bar 14. A from Avantgarde Salon and Spa 15. L from Beautiful Lights 16. D from Design Avenue 17. C from Fat Clemenza’s 18. O from Osaka 19. A from AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar 20. S from Sporty Lady 21. T from Harry T’s








800 East John Sims Parkway Niceville, FL 32578 850.833.4114 Rodney Nobles, Principal

14 December 2013–January 2014

Photos by Scott Holstein

Best of the Emerald Coast Cover Answers Revealed!

give generously 8.









With Cantina Laredo gift cards you can treat friends & family to modern Mexican cuisine. Right now,

get a $10 GUEST CARD* for you when you purchase $50 in gift cards. 16.


Let us make the holiday gathering perfect. Reserve our new and larger

PRIVATE DINING ROOM or let us CATER the celebración. 18.



Sandestin 850.654.5649 *While supplies last. Guest card valid Jan. 1, 2014 - Feb. 28, 2014. No cash value. Limit 2 guest cards per person, per day. Not available with on-line purchase.


21. December 2013–January 2014


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Real Property Transactions, Litigation and Development Commercial and Business Transactions and Litigation Family Law Estate Planning and Probate Criminal Law Bankruptcy Construction and Lien Law Personal Injury Guardianship

Anchors | Smith | Grimsley, plc 909 Mar Walt Drive, Suite 1014 | Fort Walton Beach, Fla. 850.863.4064 | 16 April–May 2013

in the e.c.

Peopl e + St y le + H y p e


Get Your Party Started in a ‘Snap’ Imagine being able to capture someone’s happiest moments on film, or enliven an otherwise drab corporate event by your mere presence. For Jeff Provinse, the improvisationally witty owner of FaceTime Photo Booth, that’s just another day at the office. Since the summer of 2010, Provinse and his crew have been traveling to events around the Gulf coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, distributing bits of good cheer and high-resolution photos all along the way. Based out of Daphne, Ala., FaceTime Photo Booth does the majority of its business on the Emerald Coast. But for the right shindig, they’ve been known to travel as far east as Tallahassee.

Photo by Scott Holstein

Over the past few years, Provinse has made quite a name for himself in the world of photo booths. And, so far, it’s been a pretty rewarding career move, characterized by the funny glasses, oversized mustaches and innumerous smiles of his patrons. “People just go crazy with it,” said the refreshing entrepreneur of the overall photo booth experience. “It’s really fulfilling, because I get so much positive feedback from every event. People will say ‘This is the coolest thing,’ or ‘that was so much fun.’ It’s just constant, and it makes my job so rewarding.” — Chay D. Baxley December 2013–January 2014


18 December 2013–January 2014

chat (L-R) Board Members Paul Hsu, Major General Tom West (Ret), Brian Pennington, Mark Kunz, Edwin Watts and General Manager Jim Szabo at the newly rescued and refurbished Shalimar Pointe Golf Club.

EC: Were you ever concerned that you wouldn’t succeed? Were you surprised at the response? EW: Yes, we knew we had to raise a lot of money, but we knew we could do it. We saw it when we went to our first meeting (at Shalimar United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center). The whole gymnasium was full of people, and they were all in favor of not letting it happen. We knew good and well then we could make it work. JS: At that first meeting, 99 percent of the people there wanted something done, rather than to have the golf course be gone. There’s enthusiasm for a lot of things in life, and then somebody has to run with the ball. The beauty of this was, once the company got put together, enthusiasm didn’t wane. EC: Why did you become involved, Edwin?

A Phoenix Rising Residential Community Bands Together to Rescue the Shalimar Pointe Golf Club By Thomas J. Monigan


im Szabo calls the recent saga of Shalimar Pointe Golf Club “the Flight of the Phoenix.” And to be sure, there has been a remarkable rebirth at the picturesque course that has been located just off the edge of Choctawhatchee Bay since 1968. Szabo is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who currently serves as the club’s general manager. His linkage involves Brian Pennigton, Paul Hsu, Mark Kunz, Edwin Watts and Tom West, the board members of Preserve Shalimar Pointe LLC. It was this group of more than 100 investors that raised more than $1 million last summer to purchase the course from Meadowbrook Golf in an all-cash deal. Among them was Watts, a local golfing maven with national credentials as the founder of Edwin Watts Golf. Meadowbrook had been negotiating with a private developer that wanted to build nearly 200 homes — a project that would have turned the scenic sporting layout into a memory. In just the first few months, the new ownership and management was able to accomplish about $500,000 worth of improvements. Topping that list was a complete renovation of the clubhouse. This included a new roof, ceiling, lighting, carpet, bathrooms, storage rooms, appliances and paint — inside and out. The course itself now has a new irrigation pump system, new carts and enhanced maintenance practices that have brought back the turf quality on the tees, fairways and greens. Last summer, the club hosted a day-long event that attracted nearly 500 locals from all along the Emerald Coast to celebrate the “rescued” course. The festivities included a demonstration of long drives and trick shots by visiting pro Kevin “The Bull” Bullard and a nine-hole scramble tournament. Watts and his band, “The Mulligans,” provided the evening entertainment. EC Magazine met with Edwin Watts, Mark Kunz and Jim Szabo in the clubhouse to hear the story of how Shalimar Pointe residents quickly banded together to save their neighborhood course from being bulldozed.

Photo by Scott Holstein

EW: I was one of the first residents out here. We built a house in 1987, and I’ve always loved the golf course. I couldn’t sleep, because I know a lot of people out here are retired military. To me they’re heroes, and I didn’t want something like that to happen to them. EC: What would you say is unique about the course? EW: The layout is very challenging but fair. Anybody of any skill level can play out here and enjoy it. JS: I think this golf course challenges every aspect of your game. It’s very strategic from tee to the green. It tests the whole package: driving, short game and putting. EC: What will be done to ensure the new club succeeds? JS: The idea is to develop the club into a member-driven venue. If you’re just offering golf, you’re just like anyplace else. But if you’ve got a place go on Friday and Saturday nights, then you have more than just a golf club. ec December 2013–January 2014


made in the ec Brett Martin in his workshop on County Road 393 in South Walton where the "less perfect" his Made on 30A furniture designs are, the more people seem to love them.

20 December 2013–January 2014

Photos by Scott Holstein

Brothers of Re-invention Local artisans renew, redesign and repurpose furniture By Jennifer Howard


ome of the trendiest furniture and fixtures in Emerald Coast homes began their useful life as something completely different. In the hands of skilled local artisans, broken furniture and old pieces of wood are given a second life as pieces as diverse as porch swing beds and formal dining tables. These beautiful yet functional furnishings are in demand by people who prefer one-of-a-kind pieces with plenty of character, or interior designers seeking custom pieces to add an eye-catching flair. Brett Martin, owner of Made on 30A custom coastal furniture, believes that his redesigned and repurposed pieces are a perfect fit with the laid-back lifestyle here on the coast. “My pieces are not precise and not perfect,” he says, tucking his unruly brown curls back behind his ear. “I think people here kind of have that same mindset. They want one-of-a-kind, made locally. People drawn here really buy into that. I think you come here to get away from that ‘production line’ way of living.”

Like most of the furniture he creates, Martin, 45, began his working life with a different purpose. The Georgia native had a screenprinting business in Athens and Columbus, Ga., prior to making his vacation home at the beach a full-time home in 2007. He started working in construction and creating furnishings out of his home but soon moved to the high-ceilinged warehouse his business now occupies on County Road 393 in South Walton. The metal building typifies the organized chaos of creativity, with a light layer of sawdust sprinkled on top. Martin’s keen eye sees a day bed in a section of old fence found at a construction site; a cypress coffee table from pieces of an old pergola; a porch swing in leftover material that builders have given him. Dressed in a surfer T-shirt and shorts, the artisan fondly touches each piece of wood as he recounts its history. Martin says the inspiration for his work often comes from raw materials like construction scraps, items others throw away or old pieces his father finds near his home in Georgia. Recently, however,

Martin repurposed old fencing salvaged from a construction site into this "shabby chic" coastalinspired daybed. December 2013–January 2014


made in the ec

interior designers and shoppers who spot his work in 30A boutiques have contacted him requesting custom pieces. “They like a certain piece that they see but want it in another size or another color,” Martin says. “I like when someone tells me what they want and I get to do it.” A bright pistachio-colored marlin that presides over his workshop from above a doorway is a good example of Martin’s resourcefulness and creative approach. He was driving out of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort behind a contractor’s pick up truck and noticed the large fish. “It was all beat to heck,” he says. “I stopped him and asked if he was going to throw it away. He said I could have it. I cleaned it up and painted it that color to match some furniture in my brother’s condo.” The marlin found its current home in Martin’s workshop after his sister-in-law vetoed its addition to the condo. Martin is delighted that his day-to-day work is what others consider a hobby. “All my life — even growing up — I always liked to do hands-on work,” he says, patting a dining table made of reclaimed wood with the top covered in scrap metal roofing. “Every weekend as a kid, we went to a cabin my folks had on the Chattahoochee. I would build things with my dad for our cabin.” Martin also became interested in fishing, a hobby he still enjoys in area coastal waters. Brett Henry, 27, left construction work to begin recreating furniture, starting work from his garage about 18 months ago repairing broken furniture from Ava’s Attic, the furniture consignment and resale business owned by his mother and sister. His business grew to the point that Henry leased space in the same shopping center as Ava’s Attic on Highway 98 in Miramar Beach. “I never thought I would be doing this full time,” he says, gesturing at the several rooms chock full of furniture that are either works-in-progress or waiting for his attention. “I like this much better than construction. No 24-foot ladders.” Pointing out a sinker cypress wall mostly hidden behind a couple of headboards and a chest, Henry explains that he had a vision of a showroom 22 December 2013–January 2014

Brett Henry eases back in one of his custom creations fashioned from an old exterior door and legs from a table; A cast-off armoire has found new life as an elegant bench swing white washed using a "romantic painting technique" with custom chalk paint carried by Ava's Attic Consignment Boutique.

with a round table near the front and a display of benches to one side. Instead, the intended showroom has become a waiting area for a wall-to-wall line of projects and a pile of sea-sculpted driftwood pieces that hints the artisan’s golden tan may owe as much to beachcombing as to once working construction. The larger back room of the strip center space is mostly devoted to the work area and material storage. Henry and his Ava’s Attic Furniture Company have both a source of new materials and a way to market its wares in the nearby Ava’s Attic. In fact, a specific piece of frequently discarded furniture is among his earliest success stories. “Almost every house or condo around here had a TV armoire,” Henry says. “When flat-screens came in, people began getting rid of the old armoires to upgrade. We had so many of them that I came up with different ways to re-do them.” He re-purposes the obsolete armoires into benches, porch swings, chests of drawers, hall trees — whatever he sees in the aging pieces. Many armoires mix particle board with authentic pieces of wood, so Henry replaces the weaker board with “real” wood. Many broken or out-of-fashion furnishings make the trip across the shopping center from Ava’s Attic to receive a new life from Henry. When an assistant carries in a chair with a broken leg, Henry interrupts a conversation to examine it with keen blue eyes and his artisan’s hands, eager to start his triage and make it better-than-new. Custom work was a natural outgrowth of the family enterprises, with customers seeing his work in the Ava’s Attic showroom and requesting a different size or color. “We probably get two or three people a week,” he says. Customers began to bring him heirloom pieces that they didn’t necessarily want to use in their present form, but that meant too much to give or throw away. “People don’t want to get rid of Grandmother’s headboard but they don’t want to use it, particularly full-size headboards that nobody uses anymore,” Henry says. “We make a lot of them into porch swings.” The swings are beautifully carved and a perfect size for a porch. Henry has branched out into using many types of wood, from the most popular sinker cypress (cypress logs that have sunk underwater and stayed there many years) to old doors, shutters and other scrap wood. “I just made a hall tree from a 250-year-old door from Mississippi,” he says. “I just got cypress from a hundred-year-old house in Point Washington. We make bird houses and frames from driftwood.” The artisan works six days a week trying to keep pace with inspiration and demand. “You can bring old stuff that won’t sell, and we can fix it up so it will sell around here,” he says. Sometimes, updating can be as simple as changing the finish or color. Working with wood and repairing not-so-new items led Henry to develop his own line of wax and chalk paint that is particularly suited for his work. Called Romantique, it will adhere to any type of surface without sanding it first. Customers can purchase the paint out of his showroom/workshop. Not everyone is a hands-on person, so Henry soon found customers asked him to come to their homes and work on things like cabinets and walls. “We just faux-finished cabinets to look like driftwood and added new hardware,” he said. “We also do things like board-and-batten walls.” If you are looking to add a one-of-a-kind piece, or an inspired way to update some aging furniture, these furniture artists can help create or recreate the coastal look of your home or office. ec

Love Your Style

Thanks for the Best, 13 years in a Row!

Shop Today’s Boutique

850.837.5565 Located across from Destin Commons, next to Publix. December 2013–January 2014


what’s haute Now Presenting …

Three On-trend Ideas for Gorgeous Gift Giving By Chay D. Baxley // Styled by Jennifer Ekrut and Saige Roberts

Some wrap to create anticipation. Some, to enhance the festivities. Others wrap for the esthetics alone. But for most, who knows why — it’s simply tradition. This time of year as presents mount, wrapping may be a ritual you’re willing to let go — but don’t skimp. A gift from the heart should look like one. First impressions are everything, even in the world of gift giving. And when you take the time, people notice. “Everyone enjoys receiving gifts,” insisted Janey Rynearson, owner of PS Gifts, a Fort Walton gift shop known for its beautifully coordinated wrapping techniques and unique treasures. “I think receiving a beautifully wrapped gift adds to the excitement.” We couldn’t agree more. So prepare to be inspired.

24 December 2013–January 2014

Photos by Scott Holstein

Basic and Beautiful Purchasing a roll of classic brown butcher’s paper is a great investment. Perfect for all occasions, this low-key, low-budget wonder remains completely customizable while embracing a certain earthy, back-to-nature feel. For the holidays, try wrapping a shirt box and adorning it with twine and a touch of greenery, or paste two paper doilies to it and use one as a nametag. The essence of this particular look is simple yet charming and will have your loved ones singing something to the tune of, “Brown paper packages tied up with string … ”

Fabric Wrapped Fabric wrapping is a great way to give your packages a completely individualized look. Use the bits and pieces of material you’ve collected over the years from your various artistic endeavors to conceal small parcels — such as ring boxes or tea light candles. It’s a textured concept that lends a very fresh and inviting demeanor to an otherwise ordinary container. If you don’t have fabric lying around, many art supply stores have discounted scraps of material. You’ll find a whole array of options in their clearance section.

White Hot If elegance is what you’re after, nothing says “holidays” like brilliant winter white. Dress your gifts in all white wrappings, layering different shades of creams and ivories to gain depth. This monochromatic scheme works with every color family but is particularly dramatic when centered on white. For a sophisticated, wintery look, incorporate frosted silver into the mix by adding bonus gifts of small ornaments to the outside of your presents.

Wrapping It Up If you still doubt your “present presenting skills,” you can always call in the experts. Many boutique shops, such as Today’s Boutique in Destin and Ivey in Fort Walton Beach, pride themselves on how well they package your purchase year-round. During the holidays, most major department stores offer complimentary giftwrapping for purchases made in the store. And several local non-profit groups benefit from doing this good deed, including Sinfonia Gulf Coast and Shelter House, whose volunteers hold court at Silver Sands Premium Outlets each year wrapping gifts in exchange for a small donation. December 2013–January 2014


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giving back

The Season for Giving

10 Tips to Help Parents Plant the Philanthropy Seed
 By Dottie DeHart


uring the holidays, many Americans are preoccupied with turkeys, parades and last minute stocking stuffer sales. It seems that over time the holidays have become more about getting things — whether that’s food, entertainment or bargains — than about giving thanks for what we already have. If you’re like most parents, you don’t want your kids to grow up focused solely on themselves, concerned only with the latest video game or how they can get their way. You want them to feel genuine gratitude for the blessings they have and to demonstrate thought and concern for others. According to “self-help” author Todd Patkin, there’s no better time than the holidays to help your kids become less mefocused and more thoughtful. “In general, I don’t believe that kids act selfishly because they genuinely don’t care about others — it’s more that they aren’t really sure how to help others and give back, because they aren’t being taught,” asserts Patkin, author of “Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and Finally Let the Sunshine In.” “Ultimately, raising children who understand the value of giving back — and whose lives reflect that knowledge — is one of the most philanthropically minded things parents can do, and this holiday provides the perfect opportunity,” Patkin says. Ready to help your child take the first steps from selfishness to selflessness? Then read on for 10 ways that parents can get their children geared up for giving back:


Explain philanthropy to your kids. Before you and your kids get into the proverbial trenches, it’s important to first help them realize that giving back doesn’t just mean donating money, and that generosity is not limited to giving away things you no longer want. Explain the charity work you do to your child. Tell her why you do it and who it helps, and help her understand what’s going on. The more questions your child has (and you answer), the better grasp she’ll have on the concept.


It’s never too early to start (don’t wait until your kids are “old enough”). Empathy is a concept that children can learn at a very early age, so look for and take advantage of teachable moments. Start with something as basic as encouraging small children to share with one another. Once your kids get a little older, they can donate a portion of their holiday or birthday money to a charity, or they can choose a toy or round up school supplies to donate to children in need. This year, you might even volunteer to work at a soup kitchen before or after your own holiday meal.


Make it a part of everyday life. You don’t need to possess unlimited time or money to get involved — you can find smaller, simpler ways to make helping others a part of your everyday routine. The next time you’re grocery shopping with your children, for example, buy some extra canned goods and drop them off at a food bank on the way home. Then encourage your kids to be giving during their own everyday tasks, whether that means sharing art supplies or helping to clean up. December 2013–January 2014


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giving back


Get kids involved in the process. The more you let your children become involved in the philanthropy process, the more they’ll be invested in what you’re doing. Bring your kids in from the beginning by allowing them to help choose which organizations the family volunteers for or donates to. They’ll feel more connected to the cause, and the youngest members can be involved, even if it just means tagging along.



Reinforce the value of a random act of kindness. Giving back is not always about a charity organization, a monetary donation or volunteering — in other words, things you schedule. Show your kids that helping someone else and not expecting anything in return can happen anytime, anywhere.


Understand (and explain) that philanthropy is not one-size-fits-all. It’s important to tailor philanthropic work to a child’s personality and interests. For example, you wouldn’t take your daughter to the animal shelter if she were afraid of dogs. Talk with her about how different people and situations have different needs. Some might want a hot meal, for example, while others may want someone to listen to their problems. Some places need clothes while others benefit more from monetary donations, and so on. Help her to understand why it’s important for her to match her talents, passions and beliefs to these needs.


There’s no substitute for real-world experience. Encouraging your kids to earmark a percentage of their allowances or to donate some of their lesser-used toys to charity is a good start, but don’t stop there. If your children can see where their donations are going and how they’re actually helping others, the giving experience will be much more real. Consider taking a family trip to visit recipient organizations so that your children can see where the money goes.


Make it a family affair. When you give back as a family, your kids will see mom and dad as role models. Bonus: You’ll all grow closer to each other because of this shared experience. Commit as a family to spend two days per month working with a charity or doing something to help others — even if that just means helping out elderly neighbors or volunteering at the church yard sale. You might also work together to raise money for a walk, fundraiser or other project, then walk together on race day, or go together as a family to present the money you’ve raised.


Help your kids to focus on how good it feels to give back. Everyone likes to feel good, and kids are certainly no exception! When they feel good about something, they will want to do it again. In fact, that good feeling will be the impetus that keeps your kids motivated to continue helping others even after you’ve relinquished oversight of their daily schedules. Help them to focus on how fulfilled they are when they are doing something to help others.


Make sure that your expectations are realistic. At the end of the day, kids are still kids. You can’t expect them to always want to donate their toys or to be able to sit still and pay attention through every single event or presentation. Be conscious of your children’s ages and capabilities, and (without being too quick to exclude them from an activity or event that might not be “fun” from start to finish) keep in mind that your budding philanthropists are still kids. ec

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(Clockwise from top) The T.T. Wentworth Museum, Jr. Florida State Museum on South Jefferson Street is an elaborate Renaissance Revival building that was at the height of architectural fashion when it was built as Pensacola's City Hall in 1907; An authentic portrayal of a member of the American Militia during the War of 1812; Ashley Goethe and Miriam Hoover, two of 10 local graduate students who work as living history interpreters in Pensacola Historic Village, prepare a 18thcentury rabbit stew recipe in a replica of an outdoor "kitchen house."

30 December 2013–January 2014

Bringing History Alive

Historic Pensacola Village Brings Visitors Back to 19th-Century Colonial Days By Zandra Wolfgram

Photos By Zandra Wolfgram, Courtesy Visit Pensacola and the West Florida Historic Preservation Inc.


ver fantasized about leaving the trappings of modern day life and slipping back in time to the “olden days and old ways”? Dozens do it every day at Historic Pensacola Village — a quaint collection of historic homes, sites, churches and museums clustered in the town’s historic district. The Village unabashedly celebrates the 450-year history and culture of the “City of Five Flags” with exhibits, demonstrations, tours and an interpretive living history experience brought to life by costumed characters re-enacting early 19th-century Colonial life. Ryan Arvay, 35, eagerly traded the empty wasteland of California’s Silicon Valley for the “charm and character” of small town Pensacola. After getting involved in advocacy work for non-profits and the preservation community here in Northwest Florida, Arvay was thrilled to plumb the depths of the local history “he fell in love with” as part of his current job role, overseeing the Living History aspect of the Historic Pensacola Village. A background in media and arts coupled with a passion for history make Avray a natural for this unique West Florida Historic Preservation Inc. position, which he confesses is “a lot like theater.” When Arvay — a slim, blue-eyed, old soul — comes to work each day, he is typically dressed as a French Colonist laborer, a Victorian gentleman or an 18th-century Spanish soldier. Instead of going to a desk, he heads to a family garden situated next to the 1890 Lear-Rocheblave House that is filled with corn, sweet potatoes, leeks, collards, okra and other crops likely harvested here during the 1800s. Most days you will find him out of doors under the Florida sun alongside 10 enthusiastic University of West Florida students — also clothed in period garb — cooking, cleaning, weaving or working in the garden to prepare an authentic meal of the times. The day we visited, a black iron pot placed over a roaring fire in the “kitchen house” waited to be filled with fresh ingredients for a hearty rabbit stew made with vegetables plucked that morning from the garden, which Arvay says “would be essential to a family like the produce aisle in the grocery store is today.” This history buff relishes a center-stage part that allows him to journey into the pages of the past. “When you have a tangible connection to the past it comes alive a lot more and is more present in your mind and in your life,” he

Living History Coordinator says. For this lifelong learner, Ryan Arvay dressed in a good history lesson is one Colonial "day clothes" that is hands-on. inspects the craftsmanship of Bass Gray, a history “There is no better way to buff and volunteer, who experience history than with challenged himself with your five senses — to feel the carving a flint rifle in front of the Lavalle House (1805). heat, smell the food, see the steam rising off the boiling water as they do the dishes and get a real sense of what it was like to live back then,” he insists. “You can’t get that from television or even the best history books.” A guided history tour from Avray or one of his student staffers is an ideal way to immerse yourself in 19th-century life in America’s “first city.” Or simply enjoy a self-guided December 2013–January 2014


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There is no better way to experience history than with your five senses — to feel the heat, smell the food, see the steam rising off the boiling water as they do the dishes and get a real sense of what it was like to live back then. You can’t get that from television or even the best history books.” — Ryan Arvay

Sample a Little Local History Take Victorian Tea (2 p.m. on Tuesdays) A costumed guide interprets customs and traditions pertaining to tea and entertaining during the Victorian era. Learn how to properly present your calling card and find out what it was like to socialize at the Barkley House. Learn about proper social customs of the time. Victorian Leisure (Fall) A new program that focuses on the emergence of the middle class and how its expansion influenced recreational games of the period and how one spent leisure time. Croquet anyone? Victorian Holiday (November-December) Gather at the hollydecked Lear House circa the 1890s to hear about the tradition of the Christmas tree, how it was decorated during the Victorian era and how the current perception of Santa Claus was formed by this period.

One of the oldest surviving stroll by 21 historic houses, buildings and sites all located within churches in Florida, Old about four blocks. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and miliChrist Church on South tary and $3 for ages 4 to 16. Adams Street continues to serve Pensacola as a special Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. you event facility and meeting can stroll through four historic buildings, beginning with an 1805 hall; Handmade toys, games Creole cottage called the LaValle House and ending with the Lear/ and treats fascinate history buffs of all ages inside the Rocheblave House — a Victorian home built in 1890. Each of the Tivoli House gift shop on historic spaces is filled with artifacts original to the home and the East Zaragosa Street. time period. Or you can explore the Village on your own anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you visit the Village on Friday or Saturday you are most likely to come upon a 19th-century woman knitting, weaving, shelling beans or perhaps a working craftsman carefully carving a flint rifle. Other must-see stops in the Village are the TT Wentworth Museum, the Museum of Industry, the Museum of Commerce and the recently renovated Pensacola Children’s Museum, which includes a fort, trading post and sailing ship circa 1882 to engage curious young minds. The best history book or lesson cannot fully convey or cover 450 years of history in quite the same way as a day spent in Historic Pensacola Village. As Avray says, “It’s a window to the past.” ec

Death and Mourning (October) The 1871 Dorr House is the perfect place for a fascinating discussion of the traditions and superstitions surrounding death and mourning during the Victorian period. Find out how Queen Victoria started many of these customs. For a complete list of programs, tours and times, call (850) 595-5985, ext. 100, or visit December 2013–January 2014



The Candy Man Tom Ehlke Shows Affection for Confections By Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite


he Candymaker Candy Store in Destin is full of sweets. The entrance display case is overflowing with some of the biggest sellers: giant peanut butter cups, toasted coconut clusters and critters — pecans layered with caramel and topped with either white, milk or dark chocolate. The pretzels are dipped in homemade caramel and submerged in yummy chocolate. Not surprised? What will amaze is the genuine affection the Candymaker, Tom Ehlke, has for making his homemade confections delicious. The lyrics from the 1972 hit song, “The Candy Man,” sung by Sammy Davis Jr., describe what’s best about this proprietor: Who can take the sunrise? Sprinkle it with dew Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two The Candy Man, oh The Candy Man can The Candy Man can’ cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good. Follow the trail of chocolate-covered creations into the old-fashioned store, and discover bags of chocolate-colored seashells, double dipped malt balls and trays of Southern pralines and fudge. “I’ve made a million batches of fudge,” said Ehlke. “All homemade, good ingredients.” Looking over his fudge station counter, he eyed two young boys popping Jelly Belly’s into their mouths from a bountiful display of every flavor the company makes. “You’re supposed to weigh ’em and pay for them before you eat them,” he said crossly to the boys. “And not spill them in these troughs.” His cranky disposition awarded him the nickname of “grouchy ol’ candy maker” years ago, when he worked long hours in his Miramar Beach store located in The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin. “I would just unmercifully pick on the customers when they came in. I was kind of like the Soup Nazi of candy,” he said. “‘No candy for you.’” When someone would say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing in here, I’m diabetic.’ I’d say, ‘Then go stand on the porch.’” When kids slammed the plastic bins he’d yell from behind the display, “Quit slamming the bins! You’re driving the Candy Man crazy!”

34 December 2013–January 2014

Photos by Scott Holstein

Tom Ehlke, affectionately known as The “grouchy ’ol Candymaker,” with a customer favorite — caramel apples rolled in peanuts. December 2013–January 2014


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Near the wall of jellybeans, a self-serve Watching taffy on this frozen yogurt station takes center stage "pulled" turn-of-theoffering creamy, smooth flavors. “This is century machine Florida’s largest candy store,” said Ehlke, (above) is almost as fun as tasting who advertises his opinion on billboards all 16 flavors. hoping to spin up controversy and draw attention to his business. He converted the first floor — 7,000 square feet of a former Destin restaurant space across from The Back Porch — into the store, gift shop and breakfast nook open seven days a week. He refurbished the front doors for display covers and refinished the wooden floors. Mermaids, seashells, toys and nautical gifts are offered along with a touch of nostalgia. “All of the fixtures are genuine antiques from Savannah, Ga.,” said Ehlke, turning to introduce his wife, Joyce, who runs the gift store. How long have you two been married? “She’ll say too long,” he joked of their 19 years together. His favorite fixture, besides his wife, is the jukebox. “You know what the most popular song on any jukebox in America is?” Ehlke asked, adding that when a man over the age of 40 steps up to select a song, he knows it’s going to be number 809 — Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” What his stores became famous for is prominently staged in wooden bins next to the jukebox’s bright neon flashing lights — fresh, salt-water taffy. An in-house mixer combines corn syrup and sugar, vegetable oil and a little bit of sea salt to make the base. This 50-pound batch is rolled into sixfoot candy striped logs, which are then cut and wrapped by a 1911 machine. Each store cuts and wraps its taffy — all 16 flavors — from the batch he makes in the main location in Destin. There’s key lime, tangerine, watermelon, butter rum, cinnamon and much more to enjoy. The Candymaker’s favorite sugary treat is one he makes — the pecan log. “If Stuckey ever ate one of these he’d wear a


This is all homemade. It has a white divinity type center so it’s not too sweet. It’s just perfect. A perfect piece of candy.” — Tom Ehlke

paper sack over his head out of shame for what he’s been selling all these years,” said Ehlke of the Stuckey Corporation, which makes a pecan log roll and sells confections in many travel plazas across the Midwest and Eastern states. “This is all homemade. It has a white divinity type center, so it’s not too sweet. It’s just perfect. A perfect piece of candy.” The caramel apples, dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts are customer favorites as are chocolate covered frozen bananas. A popular after-dinner item is the turtle or an oversized critter. “Years ago when we started out we made a regular-sized turtle. People would come over from The Back Porch and all they were looking for was something for desert,” said Ehlke. “All they would buy was one little turtle. So we supersized the turtle.” For the holidays the stores make Ting-a-ling or white chocolate bars with crushed peppermint. “We box a lot of this and package it differently for Christmas,” he said. “We ship anywhere in the world.” From the breakfast nook, the 73-year old sits to rest, pointing out the view diners have of the breaking waves of the Gulf of Mexico across the street. Born and raised in northern Wisconsin, Elhke’s early career centered around working at small and medium radio stations as the sales and marketing manager. He moved around the country. While on vacation from his work in Nashville, he often stayed in Panama City Beach. During one of his visits he learned from a hotel owner that she could no longer afford the mortgage. He assumed the loan and ownership. Over the next few years he bought a couple more hotels before getting into real estate developing. In the late ’80s, the self-proclaimed born salesman noticed tourists were coming into the local supply store looking for salt-water taffy. The taffy was awful. He thought he could do better. After researching how to make the chewy candy, he launched his own recipe and full-line candy business and moved to Destin in 1992. Of his locations in Destin Commons, The Village of Baytowne Wharf and Pier Park, breakfast is served seasonally only in the Destin location, across from The Back Porch. Everything the Candymaker stores make are from the best ingredients. Fresh. The old fashioned way. “You don’t have to order candy online,” said Ehlke. “This is the best American chocolate.”

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Who can make some taffy Wrap it in a bow, Place it on the counter and make a bunch of kids crow The Candy Man, oh The Candy Man can Talk about your wedding wishes? Who can add some sweetness to your dream? Coordinate the chocolate, gathering pecans with cream The Candy Man, The Candy Man, The Candy Man can ’cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good. ec December 2013–January 2014


▪ The Walton County Tax Collector’s Office was awarded the Sterling Explorer Management Assessment by the Florida Sterling Council, a public/ private not-for-profit corporation supported by the Executive Office of the Governor. In its announcement about the performance excellence award, Sterling wrote about the Tax Collector’s Office: “Delivering exceptional customer service consistently requires team members who believe in the mission and vision of the organization and who are always looking for opportunities to improve.”

This is just a little of what we’ve seen and heard on the EC scene … NEW NEWS … ▪ Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse returned to South Walton to begin filming the second season of “Emeril’s Florida.” Lagasse visited several restaurants, including The Pearl’s Havana Beach, V Seagrove, 723 Whiskey Bravo, Fire, Crust Artisan Bakery, Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, Marlin Grill, Chan’s Wine Bar and even Seaside’s airstream eateries, which will be featured in three different episodes.

Emeril Lagasse receives a gift from the owners of 723 Whiskey Bravo.

▪ A partnership between the Pensacola Jazz Society and the West Florida Public Library has produced The Jazz Room, which houses the Main Library’s collection of approximately 800 books, CDs and movies covering the history, performance and culture of jazz. Other special features of the room include a listening station where patrons can sample a variety of jazz styles before deciding which albums to check out and jazz-related artwork donated by loyal library users.

▪ Adrienne Gathy’s photo of 5-year-old Everett from Ohio seeing the Gulf of Mexico for the first time (above) is the overall winner of the Destin Area Summer Photo Contest. ▪ The Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women has named 14 women as its 2013 honorees for the Wall of Honor. These women were selected because they have contributed to the wellbeing of children, families and the citizens of our community. The honorees’ names are placed on a plaque located in the library at the Emerald Coast campus of the University of West Florida with a nearby book containing a biographical page for each woman. Congratulations to Michelle Anchors, Mary Burnette, Mary Florence,
Martha Gorecki, Mary Hahn,
Valene Harris,
Deborah Hewitt,
Ginger Maddox,
Tammy McDaniel, Louise Meyers,
Rachel Morrison,
LuAnn Pulliam,
Gwendolyn Slife and Gail Waller.

▪ The Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce announced that Mary Ellen O’Hare, information specialist, has received the Better Business Bureau Foundation of Northwest Florida’s 2013 Customer Service Excellence Award for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Norman Wright (President & CEO, Better Business Bureau Serving Northwest Florida), Mary Ellen O’Hare (Information Specialist, Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce) and Tina Morrison (Director, Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce)

▪ Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet approved the purchase of nearly 21,000 acres of conservation land as part of a partnership between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Trust for Public Land and landowner M.C. Davis after Florida was awarded $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Defense as part of the 2013 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program Challenge. KUDOS AND CONGRATULATIONS … ▪ Gov. Rick Scott named Courtney Coppola of Destin and Courtney McCowen of Shalimar, along with eight other students, to the ninth class of the Gubernatorial Fellows Program. Students participating in the program will gain firsthand experience in state government.

38 December 2013–January 2014

Discarded oyster shells will help rejuvenate a natural shoreline in Eden Gardens State Park in Walton County. A Gulf Power-supported Five Star Restoration grant of $23,500 will help fuel the project, aimed at restoring a 3,600-square-foot section of native marsh habitat to provide educational opportunities to schoolchildren.

Photos By Colleen Duffley (Eden Gardent) And courtesy of South Walton TDC (Emeril Lagasse), Destin Chamber of Commerce (Photo Contest), Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce (O'Hare) Photo by Allison Yii courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and courtesy of Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Blueprint Health Studio


Ruth’s Chris Steak House of Destin earned a first-time Wine Spectator Award and also received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. The restaurant introduced its East Bar with an exclusive cocktail party. In just two hours, the event hosted more than 250 guests and raised $5,000 for the Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s efforts to purchase a PET/CT scanner.

▪ MANNA, a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to alleviating hunger in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, celebrates 30 years of service this year. MANNA, which is based in Pensacola, provided food to 44,209 people last year. ▪ The Pensacola Bay Area’s Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival was selected as an American Bus Association’s Top 100 Event for 2014. ▪ Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has received the prestigious Pinnacle Award as one of the 2012 Best Hotels and Resorts from Successful Meetings magazine. Cause for Celebration … ▪ The Sandestin Wine Festival donated more than $50,000 to local charities and philanthropic causes. The Village of Baytowne Wharf Special Event Manager Lanier Motes presented a $33,000 check to Kim Henderson, executive director of Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, and a $21,000 check to Sara Becnel, board member of the Sandestin Foundation for Kids.

Sara Becnel, board member of the Sandestin Foundation for Kids; Alan Meyers, executive director of the Baytowne Wharf Neighborhood Association; Lanier Motes, special events manager for The Village of Baytowne Wharf, and Kim Henderson, executive director of the Fisher House.

▪ Altar’d State, a women’s apparel boutique in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, donated $38,000 to Autism Awareness through its Mission Monday program. Through the program, the company donates 10 percent of net proceeds to various local charities every Monday. In Miramar Beach, Mission Monday funds were donated to the Emerald Coast Autism Center. Along with monetary support, each store is encouraged to reach out to the community with time. For Autism awareness, Altar’d State employees have participated in races, volunteered at local schools and supported fundraisers to make a personal impact. ▪ Matt Staver, owner of Blueprint Health Studio of Destin, launched a new program to host fit camps that benefit four local children’s charities: Children in Crisis, EMERGE with the Emerald Coast Autism Society, Shelter House and Sacred Heart Foundation. Charities will receive 25 percent of the studio’s fit camp membership fee. Staver’s goal is to raise $5,000 for each charity. ec December 2013–January 2014



Holiday Gift Guide

Whether you want to deck yourself out for date night, thank a friend with something special, or find a unique gift for a someone on your holiday list, with our handy Holiday Gift Guide, you are sure to enjoy your shopping spree on the EC. With fabulous finds ranging from upscale designer duds to silly keepsake souvenirs, sensational seasonal shopping is simply in the bag! Now, that's the spirit!



Fabulous Finds Counterclockwise from top left:

1. Beautiful Lights — The ShopPes of Destiny (between Avantgarde and Kiki Risa) Beautiful Lights, voted Best Lighting Store in 2013, offers lighting options from decorative to task lighting, including custom lighting design services. This holiday season bring some cheer and decorate with the “A Christmas Story” Leg Lamp in your window! $247. 36236 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, (850) 650-9417 40 December 2013–January 2014




2. DESIGN AVENUE Guitar String Jewelry. Your holidays will be humming with this line of unique, handmade jewelry made from recycled guitar strings by Robin & Leigh. The line includes leather bracelets, bangles, necklaces and earrings. $18–$38. 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite 114, Destin, (850) 424-5155,

4. Wells vision & laser eye center Sunglasses. Our optical

3. Massage envy Therapeutic massage & healthy skin facials. The benefits of regular massage therapy extend far beyond relaxation and stress relief. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that it provides several important health benefits. 34904 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 132, Destin, (850) 650-8500

and sunglass shop offers the season’s latest styles from top designers such as Oliver Peoples, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Dior, Tom Ford, Oakley, Maui Jim and more. 4012 Commons Drive, Suite 110, Destin, (850) 424-6677, 10343 Hwy 30A, Seacrest

5. Bay Breeze Patio The Big Green

Egg is the ultimate in outdoor cooking. It’s a grill, a smoker, oven and ... the best holiday gift you will ever give! Available in five sizes from $379 to $1,099. Voted Best Outdoor Furniture Retailer. 32 Forest Shore Drive, Destin, (850) 269-4666,


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When John Scanlon wanted to reach customers looking for the type of quality pet products and services he offers, he looked to EC Magazine. After partnering with us, Bow Wow Meow Pet Company gained clients who were unaware the shop existed — and being voted Best Pet Shop two years in a row by EC Magazine readers really boosted business as well. See what advertising in EC Magazine can do for you.

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happenings Events + Culture + Causes


Christmas Reflections

It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit with a sparkling, homespun event like DeFuniak Spring’s Christmas Reflections. Imagine dozens of handsome, lakefront Victorian homes and mansions decked in their holiday finest. Now picture millions of twinkling holiday lights — from Santa and his reindeer to the Holy Trinity and every heartwarming scene in between — and you have a moving Emerald Coast holiday tradition. A visit on a chilly winter’s night is made warmer by volunteers stepping up to your car window to offer up complimentary hot cocoa. How very Norman Rockwell. You can either drive around the sparkling display as many times as you like or stroll around the lake and see the spectacular lights up close. Kids love to do this and romp among the lights. The event is a wonderful experience for the entire family and all ages. The cost is just $3 per person. Kids under 6 are free. With a $35 season pass you can come as often as you like (good for up to six people in a vehicle). You can even experience the display atop a horse-drawn carriage for a separate fee. Christmas Reflections is open from 5 to 9 p.m., runs from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31 and is surely one local holiday tradition that will brighten your spirits. — Zandra Wolfgram

Photo by Scott Holstein December 2013–January 2014



44 December 2013–January 2014

It’s a


The 30A Songwriters Festival Showcases the Deep Talent on the Emerald Coast Music Scene By L. Jordan Swanson

Photos by Frank Ockenfels and Steve Wells


ith the serene Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop, get ready to tap your feet to the beat of inspirational music performed by talented local and national musicians at what has become one of the most anticipated events on the eastern end of the Emerald Coast — the 30A Songwriters Festival. Singers and songwriters from around the country will gather for the 5th annual 30A Songwriters Festival Jan. 17–19. Hosted by the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County, the three-day festival will feature about 160 musicians and more than 300 performances in venues along 30A, ranging from intimate listening rooms to spacious outdoor amphitheaters. Proceeds will support the CAA. Russell Carter, head producer and artist manager for the event, said the festival was inspired by this area’s exceptional number of local artists as well as the many residents and tourists who enjoy music, the incredible resorts and beautiful beaches. “One of the first efforts I make is to book headliners that have not performed at the festival in the past,” Carter said. “We always pick around 25 new artists to offer them the opportunity to perform on stage with more established artists.” The event hosted about a dozen venues in its inaugural year in 2010 and will host around 30 in 2014. The number of spectators has also grown over the years, from approximately 1,200 in 2010 to 4,000 in 2013. Though the festival is growing in popularity, the intimate feel of many of the venues gives it a special feel. “Everything is within restaurants and coffee shops, so the community and participants get to sit in this really intimate setting and hear the stories behind the songs of the talented musicians,” explained Tracy Louthain, who helped to promote the event in 2013. Performers such as Kyle LaMonica, Kelsey Anna, Geoff McBride, The Owsley Brothers and Reed Waddle are familiar faces on the Emerald Coast’s music scene. The festival offers these local musicians not only a stage for their music but a platform for connections, too.

Georgia-born singer/songwriters Amy Ray and Emily Saliers (opposite) formed the American folk rock duo, The Indigo Girls, in 1985. Of the inaugural festival five years ago Saliers said, “The venues were packed with musichungry listeners, and all of the artists participating were excited to be there.” (Above) Grammy award-nominee Shawn Mullins, best known for his lilting number one hit single “Lullaby,” returned to bring his lyrical folk rock tunes to life for music lovers at Bentley’s & Maddog’s on 30A in 2013. December 2013–January 2014



46 December 2013–January 2014

“So many amazing, creative moments come out of the weekend and a lot of wonderful friendships are born as well .” — Tracy Louthain, 2013 event promoter

“We have a little more intimate audience,” Jenny King said. “It’s more of a casual atmosphere. People can even stand on the porch upstairs and listen to music.” Another perk of the store’s musical influence is that it sells CDs of some of the musicians that stop in during their stay. Experiencing the festival through a camera lens is something Shelly Swanger has had a blast doing since year one. Swanger is one of the official photographers, having captured thousands of festival moments. Though the festival has been blessed with sunshine for nearly every performance, the inaugural year stormed onto the scene. “I think the first year was probably the most memorable because we had no idea what to expect,” she said. “The Indigo Girls were the feature act — they played on Alys Beach. It was cold and windy, but they just got up there and blazed the weather.” Some of her favorite photographs taken are of Sam Bush. She recalled a beautiful day at Gulf Place on 30A with Bush having a great time performing with Rodney Crowell. They say music crosses all boundaries, and apparently so does the appeal of the 30A Songwriters Festival. In other words … it’s a big hit! ec

Suzanne Vega

Photos by Shelly Swanger

“So many amazing, creative moments come out of the weekend, and a lot of wonderful friendships are born as well,” Louthain said. Destin singer/songwriter and acoustic guitar player, Kyle LaMonica, has been a musician for about 12 years and has performed at Harry T’s, The Gathering Spot at WaterColor Resort and Vue on 30A during the last three festivals. One of LaMonica’s most memorable festival experiences was when Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum made a surprise appearance. “It’s definitely by far the most fun you can have every year,” he said. “It’s like Christmas for us local musicians, because you get to be a part of a special event and be involved with so many amazing artists around the country.” Los Angeles alternative rock/power pop musician, Matthew Sweet, has been in the music business for 30 years. He performed at the festival in its first and third years. Sweet not only sings but also plays the guitar, bass guitar and keyboard. He enjoys being in town for the festival, but hanging out around town is also a plus. “There is lots of great food, and we really have a great time being on the beach,” Sweet said. “Everybody there that’s a songwriter is also getting kind of a vacation.” Of course, the event wouldn’t be the same without the great venues that host these artists. Jennifer Williams, director of sales and marketing for WaterColor Inn & Resort, helps with the planning of Fish Out of Water as a festival venue. “It’s amazing,” she said of setting up for the event. “The room looks like a nightclub.” The entertainment is held inside the restaurant where a stage is fashioned in the corner for 200-250 people to gather round in seats, and even more to stand and move to the music. Williams said the festival is a learning session for the artists during their performances and workshops, but it’s also time for the audience to show their respect for the musicians. During workshops, artists display a “personal glance” of themselves through the discussion of the inspiration behind their songs. Another venue, Central Square Records in Seaside, owned by Tom and Jenny King, has been involved all five years. Last year was the first year the record store incorporated a stage within its venue, hosting performances by The Owsley Brothers, The Shadowboxers and Jeff Black. The best part about choosing to enjoy a performance at this venue is that it’s open to both ticket and non-ticket holders.

Provides 24-hour care and supervision for all pet guests

Gulf Place Amphitheater

Destin’s First Premium Dog Resort!

Tips on How Best to Enjoy the Fest Mapping out your festival schedule

Whether you want to see 50 artists perform over the three-day weekend or just a handful, visit and map out your “must see” acts ahead of time. The 30A Songwriters Festival app for Android or iPhone is a great source for the event, and it’s free. In the months before the event, the app announces artists and venues involved, and during the event someone constantly updates it with the current capacities of the venues.

Best arrival time to ensure great seating

With performances beginning around 4 p.m. on Friday, and around 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, arrive about an hour prior for morning and afternoon acts and even earlier for evening acts.

The Hotel

★★★★★ • Plush beds • Flat screen TV • First-class service and amenities • Friendly/caring staff available 24/7 • 2 times a day room service • 3 times a day potty break • Mid day snack • Filtered water

*Day Care • Indoor cage-free service • Group nature walk every 3 hours • Mid day snack • Constant supervision and a lot of love and new friendships!

The Spa

Parking There is no specific parking area for

the event being held outdoors and in January, warm clothes, a poncho and a lawn chair are great essentials. Cameras are not allowed at the event, but you can always capture moments on your cell phone.

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Food and drink The 30A Songwriters Festival phone app, the printed program and the website all lay out which venues offer food and drinks and what their tailored menu for the event entails. The venues include Bentley’s, Bud & Alley’s and Fish Out of Water.

*Currently only available for Spa and Hotel guests.

• Full Grooming Service • Bath/Brush and Maintenance • De-Shedding Treatment • Hair Repair and more!

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the event. However, as of last year there is a new transportation addition — a shuttle system. Every 15 minutes a shuttle will drop off and pick up patrons at each venue along 30A.

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4601 Opa-Locka Lane Destin, FL 32541 (behind Back Yard Burgers)

(850) 460-7460

LOBBY HOURS Monday-Friday 8am-6pm Saturday 9am-5pm Closed Sundays & Holidays December 2013–January 2014


thecalendar december + january


6th Annual Countdown Seaside: A New Year’s Eve Celebration

Orchestral Holiday

Dec. 31 Ring in 2014 at a big

Dec. 20 Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s annual holiday concert at Destiny Worship Center will feature orchestral arrangements of the most popular holiday classics, including excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” performed by dancers from the Northwest Florida Ballet.

family-friendly party in Seaside’s Central Square featuring live entertainment, kid’s art projects, street performers and more fun.

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and last through midnight.

Tickets are from $29.50 to $42.50. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets, call (850) 269-7229 or visit

Daily through January

Baytowne on Ice Get into the winter spirit at this seasonal ice skating rink. The first hour of each day is a reserved “kids skate” for youths 12 and under. $13 includes skate rental. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. All day. (850) 267-8184, 

Daily through Dec. 17

Angel Tree Help a child have a brighter day by visiting the Families First Angel Tree located at Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th at Silver Sands Premium Outlets. A description of each child and gift suggestions will be available. Wrapped gifts must be returned to the Information Center, between Michael Kors and DKNY, at Silver Sands Premium Outlets, no later than Dec. 17. 10562 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin. (850) 654-9771,

Wednesdays through December

Wednesday Night Concert Series Enjoy a special holiday edition of the Wednesday Night Concert Series through the month of 48 December 2013–January 2014

December. The Village will be tantalizing your musical taste buds with musicians to entertain all guests. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. 6–8 p.m. (850) 267-8117,

Wednesday, Friday & Saturday Nights through December

12 Nights of Lights Enjoy a festive light show in the Events Plaza set to your favorite holiday music every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. 6 and 7 p.m. (850) 267-8117,

Saturdays & Sundays in December Visit With Santa at HarborWalk Village It’s time for the children to bring their wish lists and visit with Santa Claus. All of Santa’s guests receive a special treat! FREE. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. Noon–4 p.m. (850) 424-0600,

Dec. 1–20

Arts and Design Society Christmas Art Market Sale of art by ADSO members, suitable for unique gifts, featuring an assortment of special creations, including jewelry, paintings, clay works, photographs, note cards and even plants and food specialties. FREE. Art gifts all under $200. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. Gallery hours: Tue­–Fri noon–4 p.m., Sat 1–4 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

staging of every holiday story ever told. $30, Seaside Rep Theatre, 216 Quincy Circle, Seaside, Wed–Sat 7:30 p.m., Sat 2 p.m. Visit website for show dates and times. (850) 231-0733,

Compiled by Zandra Wolfgram For more events in the EC, visit

Dec. 5

Coastal Christmas Celebration Come to Fort Walton Beach to see the boat parade, the official tree lighting ceremony, music, lights and … Santa! FREE. The Landing. 5:30 p.m. (850) 244-8191,

Dec. 6

Lighted Boat Parade This nautical parade (from the Pensacola Beach Marina to the Boardwalk) officially delivers Santa Claus to Santa Rosa Island (Pensacola Beach). FREE. 6 p.m. (850) 932-1500,

   Dec. 6

Arts and Design Society Annual Holiday Party Celebrate the holidays at an arty party. Refreshments, art auction for holiday ornaments and gift items made by artists, and other activities. FREE. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. 6–8 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Dec. 6

Sounds of the Season Christmas Concert This spectacular holiday concert is a collaboration of local churches and features a special guest artist. FREE with the donation of a child’s toy. Village Baptist Church, 101 Matthew Blvd., Destin. 7 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

Dec. 6–8

Kyle LaMonica, an acoustic rock singer/ songwriter from Niceville, performs at the Seaside Amphitheater.

Photo BY Shelly Swanger (New Year’s Eve Celebration) and Robert Barton (Orchestral Holiday)

Dec. 1–31

Arts and Design Society Window Art Display Come see Anne Johnston’s bold still lifes and landscapes. FREE. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

Dec. 1–31

Dave Sullivan Art Exhibit Walton County Coastal Branch Library Artist of the Month series features the photography of Dave Sullivan. FREE. 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Mon 9 a.m.–8 p.m.; Tues–Fri 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (850) 267-2809,

Dec. 2

City of Fort Walton Beach Christmas Parade Kick off your holidays by taking in this festive

parade up Eglin Parkway. FREE. Eglin Parkway between First Street and Hughes Street in uptown Fort Walton Beach. 6:30 p.m. (850) 833-9500,

Dec. 4–7

46th Annual Snowball Derby Week Auto racing fans will delight in the action at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway. The annual Snowball Derby is one of the oldest established short-track races still in existence today. Ticket prices vary by seating preference. Free admission on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
(850) 944-8400,

December 4–21

‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ Seaside Rep presents a hilarious family-friendly

Christmas Miracles The Fort Walton Beach Community Chorus will perform four shows this holiday season. $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for students. Fort Walton Beach Municipal Auditorium, 107 Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach. Fri and Sat 7:30 p.m. Sat and Sun 3 p.m. (850) 543-5298,

Dec. 7

Santa’s Arrival & Holiday Performance Join us at Silver Sands Premium Outlets in the courtyard in front of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th to greet Santa as he arrives on a fire truck. Children can enjoy face painting, a holiday craft project and a performance of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)” by the Seaside Repertory Theatre. Be sure to bring your camera for photos with Santa. FREE, 10562 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin. 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (850) 654-9771, premiumoutletscom/silversands

Dec. 7

3rd Annual Luminaria Run to End Domestic & Sexual Violence
 A family-friendly twilight 5K/9K to raise awareness and funds for Shelter House, the domestic and sexual violence center serving Okaloosa and Walton counties. Runners will start at Destin City Hall Annex, run a course through the Indian Bayou neighborhood lined with more than 2,000 luminary bags and end with a “sweet finish” that includes s’mores, hot cocoa and more.
5K: $30 adults, $10 kids; December 2013–January 2014


thecalendar 9K: $45 adults, $15
kids. Destin City Hall Annex, 4100 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin. 4:30 p.m.
(850) 243-1201,

Dec. 7–8

Lifestyle Management

Home Management

Pet Services


Home Watch - Moving | Relocation Grocery Stocking - Personal Chef Services

Call Today for a Free Consultation 850-837-1290

Tee Off for Toys Donate new, unwrapped toys or gift cards with a value of $15 or more and in exchange guests can play any of Sandestin’s public golf courses for just $20. All toys and donations will be given to Harvest House’s Hope for Holidays and Children in Crisis programs. $20. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. Tee times are available all day and can be made by calling (850) 267-8155.

Dec. 7, 14–16

Winterfest Trolley Tours Trolleys act as theaters taking passengers to a series of interactive performances along a two-mile route in Historic Downtown Pensacola, 400 S. Palafox Place. $19 for adults, $13 for kids ages 2–10. 6 p.m. (850) 435-0914,

Dec. 8

Wine World Champagne Walkabout If you like wines of the bubbly sort, you’ll love this annual tasting event. Sip Champagne and sparkling wines from all over the world and savor artisan cheeses and gourmet treats from Chan’s pantry. $20 advance, $25 day of. Ticket prices include a $5 rebate on in-store wines. Chan’s Wine World, 4424 Commons Drive, Destin. 1–4 p.m. (850) 269-2909,

Dec. 8

Surfing Santa Parade Holiday floats wind their way down Santa Rosa Island’s main street. Santa rides atop his red fire engine and visits with children along Pensacola Beach. FREE. 2 p.m. (850) 932-1500,

Dec. 13

Holiday Pops Concert A Northwest Florida State Orchestra tradition, this holiday concert promises to be an inspired and entertaining evening. $22.50 for adults and $16 for active duty military or youth ages 18 and younger. Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000,

Dec. 14

Baytowne Holiday Lantern Parade Celebrate the season at the Holiday Paper Lantern Parade. This community event features commissioned paper lanterns in the shapes of iconic symbols of the holiday season. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. 6–8 p.m. (850) 267-8117,

Dec. 31

Pelican Drop Families can enjoy a street-party atmosphere downtown with live music, a children’s area and fireworks, along with a 10-foot, half-ton illuminated pelican that will be dropped 100 feet at midnight. FREE. The celebration begins at 5 p.m. (850) 435-1603,

Dec. 31

Pier Park’s 6th Annual Beach Ball Drop More than 10,000 beach balls will be released to ring in the New Year as part of Pier Park’s 6th Annual Beach Ball Drop in Panama City Beach. FREE. Entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m. Ball drop at 8 p.m. Lighted ball drop and fireworks at midnight. (850) 236-9979,

Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve on the Harbor Dine, drink and dance into the New Year throughout HarborWalk Village with the Annual HarborWalk Village Street Party featuring The Andy Velo Band on the HarborWalk Village main stage. Fireworks shows are at 8 p.m. and midnight, plus the 6th Annual Ball Drop over the Destin Harbor. FREE. 10 Harbor Blvd. Destin. 6 p.m.–’til. (850) 424-0600, 50 December 2013–January 2014


The Art of Giving Sept. 26, 2013 Artist Justin Gaffrey donated more than 100 original works of art that were auctioned and raffled at an art party at his Santa Rosa Beach studio raising more than $100,000 for Food For Thought Outreach, which provides food to local children in need. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

Wendy Mignot and Bridgette Mitchell

Mary Kay Samouce

Christy Milliken, Tiffanie Shelton and Madra Medina McDonald

Girls’ Night Out Nights Sept. 26, 2013 Proffitt PR’s 7th Girls’ Night Out transformed the Elephant Walk pool deck into a sexy Arabian-themed extravaganza and raised $12,501 for Shelter House. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

FaceTime Photo Fun

Sherri Jarvis and Heathir Laszlo Geiger

Whitney Lee Ladwig and Michelle Sperzel

Jessica Davenport, Becca Ostum and Ashley Martin December 2013–January 2014


thecalendar Dec. 31

Baytowne Countdown Come dance the night away, and enjoy live bands and breathtaking fireworks as they light up the sky over the lagoon at midnight. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is the place to ring in the New Year! FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., Miramar Beach. 7 p.m.–midnight. (866) 912-3224,

We’ll get you to your 9am meeting.

Jan. 1

Polar Bear Plunge Stop by the Paradise Bar & Grill on Pensacola Beach to wade, swim and scurry in the Santa Rosa Sound. Be sure to stick around to enjoy a traditional dish of black-eyed peas. FREE. 2 p.m. (850) 932-1500,

Jan. 1–31

If it’s business or pleasure, VPS is your answer. The convenience you expect. Low fares you deserve! · (850) 651-7160 Charlotte (CLT) Houston (IAH) Atlanta (ATL) Washington DC (DCA) Dallas (DFW)

Arts and Design Society Window Display Works of Pat Z. Roberts, multi-talented and prize-winning artist in various media, will be on display in the studio windows of the Art Center, fronting First Street in downtown Fort Walton Beach. FREE. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

Jan. 6–17

Pyramid Art Show Arts and Design Society hosts art show by Pyramid artists. Pyramid Inc. serves those with developmental disabilities, enabling them, among other things, to express themselves through art. FREE. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. Reception: Friday, Jan. 10, 6–8 p.m. Gallery hours: Tue–Fri noon–4 p.m., Sat 1–4 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Jan. 10

Winter Guest Fest A trade show of businesses that cater to winter guests who are fondly known as Snowbirds. Enjoy special offers, discounts, samples and giveaways from the area’s finest businesses. $1. Emerald Coast Convention Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach. 8 a.m.–noon. (850) 244-8191,

Jan. 10–12

Joye Moon Watercolor Workshop Nationally known watercolorist Joye Moon will share techniques and offer critiques during an art workshop. Check website for cost and times. Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

Jan. 16

Sole Sister Luncheon & Fashion Preview A charity preview event in conjunction with Wine Women & Shoes (Feb. 7–9) to benefit Sinfonia Gulf Coast. $45. Flemings Prime Steaks and Seafood in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. 11:30 a.m. (850) 269-7229,


Jan. 17

INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS Mix & Match Separates Tops AA - G | Bottoms 4 - 20 | Juniors | Plus Sizes 16W - 32W One Piece Missy 4 - 20 | Plus Sizes to 32W | Long Torso & Bra-sized Mastectomy | Girls & Pre-Teen Shoppes at Paradise Key (West of Destin Commons/Next to Publix)

(850) 837-6763 |

52 December 2013–January 2014

Destin Desserts The Girl Scouts Council of the Florida Panhandle presents a local chef cookie cook bake off competition fundraiser. In addition to creative cookie desserts concocted by the local talents of Chef Brian Cartenuto, Tucker Dukes Lunchbox; Chef Trey Griffin, The Wine Bar; Pastry Chef Heidi McAnulla, Bake My Day; Chef Jack McGuckin, Bistro Bijoux; Chef Dawnelle Northcutt, Catering To You-Personal Chef Service; Pastry Chef Vanessa Poch, A Cupcakery by the Sea; and Chef Frank Webster, Ocean Club. The evening includes a social hour with heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert tasting and voting, a silent auction with entertainment by Shades of Blue. $25. Linkside Center at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. 6 p.m. (850) 873-3999

Jan 17 & 19

‘Carmen’ A red hot theatrical event, Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naive soldier who is seduced by a fiery gypsy. Directed by Dean Anthony conducted by Jerome Shannon and featuring the Pensacola Opera Chorus, Pensacola Children’s Chorus and Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. $20-$110. Saenger Theatre, 118 South Palafox Place, Pensacola. Friday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. (850) 433-6737,

socialstudies Savor the Season Nov. 6, 2013 Friends, family and fans of Brian and Kathy Haugen gathered poolside at Alys Beach’s Caliza Restaurant under a harvest moon to mix, mingle and raise funds for the Taylor Haugen Foundation. Guests enjoyed silent and live auctions, sipped wine and sampled the culinary talents of more than a dozen local celebrity chefs including Caliza’s own Chef Korman. Named in honor of 15-year-old Taylor Haugen, who died in the pursuit of his passion — football — the Taylor Haugen Foundation provides education and funding to athletic teams, schools and districts through its Youth Equipment for Sports Safety (YESS) Program. The Foundation also recognizes and supports outstanding scholarly athletes with scholarships and awards. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

Brian and Kathy Haugen

Stan Payne

Ed and Shirley Drury, Ann and Larry Flanagan

Steve and Sonia Bruno

On behalf of Emerald Coast Magazine and the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, Thank you Emerald Coast Magazine readers, sponsors and our award winning business for making this event the “BEST” yet! presenting sponsor



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socialstudies Best of the Emerald Coast 2013 Oct. 19, 2013 Nearly 3,000 locals gathered under the twinkling white lights of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin to meet and greet and sample the best of everything the area has to offer from 132 Best of winners. The 13th Best of the Emerald Coast awards event, which benefits the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, was made possible by our presenting sponsor, CenturyLink, with support from Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, ResortQuest by Wyndham, Cumulus Media, Regions Bank, Fudpucker’s, Proffitt PR,, Clemenza’s, and the Florida Lottery. Photos by Carlin Trammel, Kay Phelan and James Robert

D’Luxe Limousines

Jim ‘n Nicks

Today’s Boutique 54 December 2013–January 2014




27th Annual Holiday on the Harbor Destin Boat Parade Dec. 15 Sail into the holiday spirit with a lighted boat parade! Enjoy live music, children’s arts and crafts and hot chocolate in the afternoon all along the Harbor, a visit from Santa from noon to 4 p.m. followed by the Lighted Boat Parade contest beginning at 6 p.m. and a fireworks finale that will light up the Harbor sky. View the parade from docks and restaurants west of Grand Harbor Condominiums on Destin Harbor. FREE. Entry fees benefit the Destin History and Fishing Museum. Destin Harbor, 6 p.m. Rain date is Dec. 22. (850) 837-6611

Jan. 22

Arts Design Society Speaker Luncheon Multi-faceted artist Thalia Newton, with a background in interior design and with current art explorations of crushed glass mosaic, watercolor, as well as other media, will speak on making her mosaics. $12 ($15 for reservations made after Jan. 20.) Art Center, 17 First St., S.E., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

Jan. 25

Annual Gumbo Contest & Silent Auction Area restaurants and individuals compete for the title of the best gumbo in the Panhandle. Enjoy live music and a silent auction and all the area’s best gumbo. Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award. $10 per person. $12 the day of the event. Proceeds benefit the Destin History and Fishing Museum. Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave., Destin. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (850) 837-6611

Jan. 25

Mardi Gras Parade on Okaloosa Island Promenade your party spirit at the Gulf Coast’s first Mardi Gras parade presented by the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce. FREE. Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island. 11 a.m. (850) 244-8191,


Photo BY Kay Phelan

Save the Date! March 1–3

Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K Run Kick up your heels this spring with a fun run and help support the Seaside Neighborhood School. The fun begins Friday evening with a silent auction and concert by Rhett Miller at the Caliza Pool in Alys Beach from 7 to 10 p.m. Pick up your registration packet on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Seaside’s Lyceum Hall. The half-marathon race begins at the Seaside Post Office on Sunday at 7 a.m. The 5K follows at 7:20 a.m. Awards will be given at a post-race party catered by Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and Gratyon Beer Company in the Seaside Amphitheater beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration for the half marathon is $125. The 5K is $95. Children are $50. All racers receive a Vera Bradley tote bag, a moisture-wicking shirt and other goodies. Tickets to the charity concert are $30. Register for the race and purchase concert tickets online at ec

Healing Through Comprehensive Spine Care Chiropractic Care | Therapeutic Massage Interventional Pain Procedures Minimally Invasive Surgery Complex Surgical Revisions

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155 Crystal Beach Dr. Destin December 2013–January 2014



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56 December 2013–January 2014



South Walton Fashion Week Oct. 10–13, 2013 South Walton Fashion Week showcased local emerging designers and premier clothing boutiques through a series of trunk shows and competitions judged by national fashion industry icons. The event, which benefits the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, culminated on the catwalk with a celebrity–hosted fashion show at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

The Seaside Style

Mary Kay Samouce and Nicole Paloma

Jennifer Steele and Mychael Knight

Kristen Dial Mitchell and Tori Pickren Von Hoene

Emerald Coast Cattle Barons’ Branding Party Oct. 16, 2013 Generous locals stepped up to give cancer the boot by raising funds for the Emerald Coast chapter of the American Cancer Society at a “branding” party at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

Kay Phelan and Zandra Wolfgram

Ron Green, Lisa Morris and Wanda Duke

Erma Stephens and Monika Lewis

Tim Krueger, Joshua and Jill Cadenhead December 2013–January 2014


Casey Tindell, 23, Santa Rosa Beach Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator, Amavida Coffee

58 December 2013–January 2014

Pay scale tipping the

Have you ever played hooky from the office? What was your last paycheck splurge? What is your dream job? How much should minimum wage be? From figuring stay-at-home pay to calculating the riches of the world’s wealthiest, our salary survey reveals surprising answers and tells who pockets what for a job well done. By zandra Wolfgram December 2013–January 2014


What does that job pay? Admit it. You’d love to sneak a peek at certain

payroll stubs. According to a July 2013 poll in CNN Money, the average U.S. annual salary is $54,450. The only country that came close was Japan, where workers toil for 1,765 hours a year for an average pay of $35,143.

Americans work hard to earn their paychecks. In fact, we are one of the hardest working nations (ranked right behind Poland, which is listed at No. 7). But we earn more than five times the average wage paid in Mexico —ranked as the No. 1 hardest working nation — for more than 500 less hours of work per year. But where Americans are winning the war on income, we are losing the battle on some benefits. CNN cites the U.S. as the only developed country not to guarantee workers vacation time each year, and one of the few where there is no mandate to provide workers with paid sick or maternity leave. And what do we get for “working 9 to 5”? Apparently, top dollar. Americans get paid more — much more — than every single other hard-working country on the CNN list. Here in Northwest Florida many live the mantra “work to live,” while some “live to work.” We met with several Emerald Coasters who are proud and passionate about what they do for a living. No matter what title they have on their business card, they all have one thing in common — they love their jobs.

60 December 2013–January 2014

Emerald Coast Salary Survey Says …

Custodian — $8,484 Bus driver — $7.79/hour ($16,203) Day care worker — $7.79/hour ($16,203) School nurse — $10.50/hour ($21,840) Park ranger — $23,645 Music teacher — $24,000 Substitute teacher — $11.89/hour ($24,731) Florida Lottery Computer Operator — $28,647 Juvenile Probation Officer — $29,344 Forensic Technologist — $29,344 Non-profit manager — $30,000 Non-profit executive director — $40,000 Correctional officer — $32,527 Law Enforcement Officer — $33,977 Historic preservationist — $40,938 Tax Auditor — $41,462 Kindergarten teacher — $42,939 Piano teacher — $45,000 Law clerk — $45,556 Pharmacist — $55,000 Math Tutor — $49,000 Freelance writer — $50,100 College campus librarian — $51,347 College professor — $53,125 Firefighter Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) — $48,000 Public Defender — $64,000 Advertising Agency Account Manager — $60,000 Cardiac Lab Nurse — $62,000 Resort marketing and public relations director — $65,000 Veterinarian — $69,000 University campus librarian — $71,412 Emergency Registered Nurse — $74,000 Systems Programmer — $77,000 Inspector General for military affairs — $84,813 Actuary — $97,494 Trial Attorney — $99,000 Civil service senior engineer — $110,580 University professor — $102,695 School superintendent — $121,451 Tax Attorney — $125,000 Circuit court judge — $145,080 Dentist — $151,000 Oral Surgeon — Is your $224,000 Sources:,,, Okaloosa County Board of Education, Walton County Board of Education

job on the list?

The Richest Person in Florida Florida is officially home to 31 billionaires, according to the latest Forbes list (and that doesn’t even count the ones who have second, third or fourth homes here). Miami Heat owner and Carnival Cruise’s chief executive officer Micky Arison is the richest of them all. Forbes estimates the 63-year-old has a net worth of $5.7 billion, making him the richest guy in Florida and 211th richest person in the world.

Richest Woman in America Christy Walton’s net worth — $28.2 billion — reached new highs as Walmart stock jumped in 2012. She remains the richest woman in the United States. Christy inherited her wealth when husband John Walton, a former Green Beret and Vietnam War medic, died in an airplane crash in 2005.

The Richest Person in the World

Brittany A. Spain, 25, Pensacola

Photos By sCott Holstein

Closing Coordinator, Allure Title | Average workweek: 45 hours Salary: $10.30 per hour with the opportunity to earn bonuses Job overview: I assist in residential and escrow closings for surrounding areas, manage client accounts, ensure the closing process is handled accurately and network with local business members. Most important on the job tool. Without a doubt a computer and/or printer, of course. A smile always helps as well! What do you love about your job? The fact that I have the opportunity to assist someone through a major decision that affects their life is very important to me. What was your first job? My first job was at Pretzel Time in University Mall. I was 15 and thought it was the best thing in the world to receive a paycheck. What is the most thankless job? Anything in the food industry. I’ve seen a lot of people have zero appreciation for the assistance they receive. What do you think minimum wage should be? $8 per hour What benefit or perk do you wish you had? Unlimited chiropractor and massage therapy visits. How much vacation time do you have saved? I have 30 hours left to use. What is the first thing and last thing you do each workday? The first things I always do are check my email and balance the escrow account. The last thing I do is make a to-do list for the following day. What was your last paycheck splurge? Dinner and wine at Jackson’s in downtown Pensacola. Do you have a professional mentor? I prefer to learn something from every professional I come in contact with. There is something great to learn from each person you work with in this industry. Put these in order of importance to you: Title, benefits, salary At what age would you like to retire and what will you be doing then? Unfortunately, 25 is not feasible, so I will say 60. I would like to travel as much as possible. Are you a Spendthrift Sally? Tightwad Ted? Moderate Milly? Just call me Moderate Milly! Most likely “water cooler” topic. It would depend, but the local news or weather is always a safe bet, especially in Florida!

Forbes’ Billionaire list boasts 1,426 names this year. The U.S. leads the list with 442 billionaires, but topping the list is Carlos Slim Helu, a telecom mogul from Mexico worth $73 billion. Microsoft’s Bill Gates is the top American with a net worth of $67 billion. Sources: and The Miami Times

Wages of the World Luxembourg Ireland Australia Canada Florida United States Japan Estonia Mexico

$11.36 $10.81 $9.54 $8.04 $7.79 $7.25 $6.98 $2.50 $.80

Minimum wage per hour. Source: OECD and Money Market December 2013–January 2014


Tara Russo, 32, Destin Make-up Artist/AEsthetician Owner, Powder & Paint Average workweek: 80 hours Salary: $35,000

I consult with and educate clients on how to take care of their skin on a daily basis. I perform custom facials, chemical peels, body wraps and body scrubs, and I also do airbrush and mineral makeup for weddings and special occasions. What do you love about your job? I love everything about my job. I love seeing my clients happy when their skin looks amazing. I love seeing brides’ photos of my makeup and how happy and gorgeous they are. What was your first job? I started working at 15. I waited tables at a pizzeria in Lafayette, La., then went on to work for my father’s construction company throughout high school. What is your dream job? I worked in an accounting firm for six years and decided that I did not want to do that for the rest of my life. I wanted to work in aesthetics and do makeup, my dream job! If money were no object, I would spend my day … at Crab Island on a gorgeous boat! What do you think minimum wage should be? It should be enough so families can actually live on the hourly wage they make. Many people I know work so hard and can never get ahead, especially in our seasonal town. It should be at least $9 per hour. What benefit or perk do you wish you had? I wish I still had health insurance along with a 401(k). How much vacation time do you have saved? In my career there are no vacation times given. You just have to schedule around wedding season and summertime. It is very hard to get away for more than a couple of days. Do you get a bonus? My bonus is that I get to do what I love! Do you have a professional mentor? Jackie Ely, owner of JEly Business Services. She is a bold, very strongwilled woman. She has taught me so much. I am forever grateful for everything she has shown me. If your job were a movie, what would the movie soundtrack song be? It would be “Roman Holiday”! It’s so charming and stylish and the romance of being in Rome ... it’s what dreams are made of. Put these in order of importance to you: Salary, benefits, title At what age would you like to retire, and what will you be doing then? I would love to be retired by 55. I will start traveling the world! Are you a Spendthrift Sally? Tightwad Ted? Moderate Milly? I would say a Spendthrift Sally. I love to shop, but bargain shopping all the way! Life quotes: “Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it!” What do you do in your current job?

62 December 2013–January 2014

Many would not argue that the hardest job is that of household CEO, namely mother-in-chief. Moms can calculate how much their efforts are worth with the Mom Salary Wizard tool on Enter how many hours you spend in a category of 20 household tasks that range from housekeeping and cooking to psychologist and staff nurse; plug in your zip code, and your value is computed into dollars. You can even print a check personalized with your name on it. Stay-at-home dads, don’t worry, you can give a whole new meaning to “father figure,” too.

Photos By sCott Holstein

If I had a Nickel for ...

Jeff Danick,

38, Computer Repair, Niceville President/Owner, JWD Tech Salary: Daily rates — $250 for home users, $350 for home-offices/home businesses, $500 for businesses/offices

In-home/on-site tech support, training, computer upgrades, pre-purchase consulting, facilitator, preacher of the gospel of “Backup, backup, backup!” Most important on-thejob tool. My iPhone. What do you love about your job? Showing someone something new, teaching them something new and seeing that “Ah ha!” moment. How old were you when you had your first job, and what did you do? When I was 15 years old I worked at a yacht club marina, doing everything from washing and bottom painting boats to cleaning bathrooms and answering phones. What is your dream job? Hard to choose between race car driver, Maxim photographer or seaplane pilot. If money were no object, I would spend my day … in Italy. Have you ever played hooky from the office? Every year I make a point of going to 5 Flags Speedway to enjoy the Snowball Derby. I try to sneak in a Job overview:

It Pays to Stay in School

By educational attainment, fulltime workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $477, compared with $647 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,193 for those holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master’s degree and above), the highest earning 10 percent of male workers made $3,510 or more per week, compared with $2,339 or more for their female counterparts.

Gender and Ethnicity

The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 81.1 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black (91.6 percent), Asian (77.1 percent) and Hispanic women (94.2 percent). Source: U.S. Department of Labor, July 2013

trip to Southern Raceway, in Milton, from time to time as well. What do you think minimum wage should be? Should be more directly tied to the average cost of living wherever you live, more fluid, more responsive to real-life conditions. Do you get a bonus?  The best bonus I can get is a good review from a satisfied customer, or a satisfied customer recommending me to friends, family or co-workers. If your job were a movie, what would the movie soundtrack song be? Just one song? I can think of 15! Opening credits/montage of past jobs that convinced me to start my own business rolling to “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton … a typical workweek would include “Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin. End credits would have to be Jimmy Buffett’s “You’ll Never Work In Dis Bidness Again.” Put these in order of importance to you: title, salary or benefits. None of the above. “Job satisfaction” matters more than the others combined. At what age would you like to retire, and what will you be doing then? 101. Realistically, still working with technology, and doing my best to see as many of those “Ah ha!” moments as possible. But, I can see anything from owning/running a rum distillery, owning a competitive auto-racing team or a trattoria in Italy, to being a photographer, as being nothing more than a twist and a turn away. Do you live to work or work to live? Work for sanity. December 2013–January 2014


Christian Williams, 21, Mary Esther Actor/Pirate/Deck Hand Average work week: 68 hours Salary: $60 per performance + tips Job overview: Perform children’s theater shows at HarborWalk Village and The Village of Baytowne Wharf and work in character as a pirate on the Buccaneer Pirate Ship at the Destin Harbor. Most important onthe-job tool. Sense of humor What do you love about your job? Everything! The smile on the kids’ faces makes it worth it. What was your first job? At 16 I was a busser at a small restaurant at the Holiday Inn on Okaloosa Island. What is the most thankless job? In my experience, food service. It can be a very tough environment. Have you ever played hooky from the office? If so, what did you do? SLEPT! What do you think minimum wage should be? $10 per hour What benefit or perk do you wish you had? Insurance. How much vacation time do you have saved? What’s this word “vacation”? I’m unfamiliar with it. What is the first thing and last thing you do each workday? First, grab coffee. The last

thing is to make sure I smile and know I put in a hard day’s work.

What was your last paycheck splurge?

Can’t splurge, saving for college. Do you have a professional mentor?

Nathanael Fisher, the director of Emerald Coast Theatre Company. If your job were a movie, what would the movie soundtrack song be? Right

now, the soundtrack to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” obviously. Put these in order of importance to you: Benefits, salary, title At what age would like to

retire, and what will you be doing then?

Probably never. I want to always be performing or teaching somehow.

Mike Anderson, mayor of Fort Walton Beach $5,500 David Cadle, mayor of Crestview $15,000 C. Harold Carpenter, mayor of DeFuniak Springs $9,000 Sarah Seevers, mayor of Destin $0 Randall Wise, mayor of Niceville $0

Matt Gaetz, Florida House of Representatives $29,697 Marco Rubio, U.S. senator $174,000 Rick Scott, governor of Florida $0.01 Joe Biden, vice president of the United States $223,500 Barack Obama, president of the United States $400,000

Source: City of Fort Walton Beach, City of Crestview, City of Niceville, City of Destin, City of DeFuniak Springs,,, Okaloosa Country Board of Education

64 December 2013–January 2014

Photos By sCott Holstein

What Some of Those in Office Make

Casey Tindell,

23, Santa Rosa Beach Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator, Amavida Coffee Average workweek: 35-40 hours that are accounted for | Salary: $14/hour

Job overview: My responsibilities include graphic design,

media planning, social media management, creating and editing email newsletters, brand management and internal communication. I also focus on educating our customers on what it means to be an organic, free trade coffee company. Most important on the job tool. Adobe Illustrator What do you love about your job? Besides the constant stream of great coffee, I love that if I attract customers to Amavida they are directly supporting hardworking coffee farmers all over the world. How old were you when you had your first job, and what did you do?

My first job was at 16 years old as a dance instructor in Navarre. I was fortunate to have grown up studying an art that literally paid off. If money were no object, I would spend my day …working to help women support themselves in Central America. If money were no object whatsoever I would have more kids, go on long trips on our dreamt-up and entirely no-cost sailboat, and work for theater companies whenever I make it back to dry land. What is the most thankless job? The most thankless job would be one without gratification or creativity, like

Hardest Working Countries In this case it doesn’t really pay to be No. 1 Mexico (No. 1) Average annual hours:


Average annual wages:


United States (No. 8) Average annual hours:


Average annual wages:


Slovak Republic (No. 10) Average annual hours:


Average annual wages:


Source: CNN Money

a knick-knack salesman or something of the sort. What benefit or perk do you wish you had? It would be nice to have paid sick leave. How much vacation time do you have saved? I don’t have that perk, yet. Maybe this article will help my case. What is the first thing and last thing you do each workday? To begin my day I make a fresh, pour-over coffee and check our Facebook page, and the last thing I do is take a few minutes to brainstorm on possible new strategies. Do you get a bonus? Not a traditional monetary bonus, no, but I have traveled with Dan Bailey, the owner of Amavida, to the Dominican Republic to meet our coffee producers first-hand. That, to me, was better than any bonus. If your job were a movie, what would the movie soundtrack song be? I’m imagining it as a fun, quirky film, so I would think somewhere in it would play Cantata No. 211, from J.S. Bach’s “Coffee Cantata,” where basically a man asks his daughter to stop drinking coffee, and she tells him off by singing a love song to coffee. It’s great. Do you live to work or work to live? At Amavida, I live to work, though I wouldn’t feel the same way at other jobs. If I am doing a job that creates environmentally and socially responsible ripples past what I put into it, I live to do it. Are you a Spendthrift Sally? Tightwad Ted? Moderate Milly? Moderate Milly, for sure. I don’t want to spend my life hoarding all the money I possibly can and forget to live a little. Most likely “water cooler” topic. Well, at Amavida the water cooler is a hot pot of coffee, and the conversation usually flows to a cool, new brewing method we just have to try out or a grapevine tale of a customer who ordered “what?!” December 2013–January 2014


34, Crestview

F-35 Dedicated Crew Chief 33rd Fighter Air Wing Average workweek: 50-60 hours Salary: $2,400/month What do you do in your current job? I’m in charge of the F-35 jets. Your name is on the side of it, so you need to know everything that is involved that needs to be done to maintain it. Most important on the job tool. We have a specially made tech book laptop computer for the aircraft. It allows us to tell

66 December 2013–January 2014

I haven’t myself, but I’ve thought about it. There are so many ways it wouldn’t pan out. I’d want to go to the track (but) then there’d be a chance of getting hurt, and how would I explain that?

hooky from the office?

What do you think minimum wage should be?

I want people to make enough to get by and do what they want to do, but on the other hand the higher you make it, the higher it will drive up prices of everything else. It’s a loselose situation I guess. What benefit or perk do you wish you had? Some sort of discount through airline companies would really be nice. Everyone is so spread out it’s hard to visit families. What is the first thing and last thing you do each workday. I get up about three hours before I have to be at work, go to the gym and try to stay in shape. We have Roll Call and get our job assignments

Photo By shelly Swanger (Deck) and Allison Yii (Santa Claus)

Staff Sergeant Jeremy Deck,

the aircraft what we want it to do. What do As far as being in the Air Force, I love what I am doing and serving my country. The F-35 is a great jet and well worth the time and effort we’re putting into it. We have a responsibility no one else can say they have — building an airplane for the next 30, 40 years. What was your first job? After high school I worked in a factory in Greenville, Ind., making bolts for automobiles for 10 years. I started on the ground level as a machine operator and worked into management. What is your dream job? My dream job wouldn’t be a job. What I like to do on my off time is race motor cross bikes. Being able to do that would be unreal to me. If money were no object, I would spend my day … doing a family sport my kids enjoy, so we can be together. Have you ever played you love about your job?

Santa Claus,

Young at Heart, North Pole Toy Maker Average workweek: When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life. Salary: Cookies and milk and smiles, if I do things right.

Basically, I say “yeah” and “nay” while overseeing all toy production. And I ensure there is peace and harmony on the job. A happy elf is a productive elf. Most important on-the-job tool. I cannot do my job without love. Rudolph is important, too, but he only comes out on those real foggy nights. What was your first job? I was a carver as a young man. I’d whittle little toys for village children who didn’t have any. If money were no object, I’d spend the day … money is never the object. I do everything pro bono. I would fill in my day traveling in the off-season to get a pulse on how things are going with kids. What benefit or perk do you wish you had? I don’t know if I can add another perk. I’m almost perked out. How much vacation time have you saved? Vacation is a state of mind. What is the first and last thing you do each day? The first and last thing I do is kiss Mrs. Claus. In the morning I give a pep talk to the elves, and at the end of the day we do a recap. If your job were a movie, what would the soundtrack song be? Goodness there are so many possibilities. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Let it Snow,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and, of course, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Are you a Spendthrift Sally? A Moderate Milly or a Tightwad Ted? I guess you could call me a Cookie Monster. At what age would you like to retire, and what will you be doing then? The day I retire is the day children stop believing in me. I hope that day never comes. ec Job overview:

for the day. At the end of the day, I take accountability for tools, document, do a last minute check out and get an OK. What was your last paycheck splurge? Beds for my kids; they each picked out one they wanted. Do you have a professional mentor? I really don’t have a mentor at work. As far as the lifestyle I try to lead, the mentor I have is my grandfather, who was also in the military, worked on a farm and in a factory. Put these in order of importance to you: Benefits, salary, title At what age would you like to retire, and what will you be doing then? As of right now, it will be my 50s. I’m

looking to go into criminal justice, perhaps the law enforcement side. What is the most thankless job? I’m living it. Being a part of the military. Without the people who get it done I don’t know what would happen. I think it’s something everyone should actually do.

Closing the Gender Gap 1970


Men’s Labor Force



Women’s Labor Force



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2013–January 2014


Ring in a

Red Hot New Year Comfort vs. Couture? Here’s How to Say Yes to Both


ife is better played outside of your comfort zone, with one exception: fashion. No matter the season, when building your wardrobe collection the most important fundamental rule you should follow is to “find your comfort.” When you are comfortable in your own skin — swathed in fab fashions, of course — the real you will shine on all year long. During the holiday season with a little due diligence, you can have your couture and wear it well, too. “Confidence equals beauty,” explained Cole Couture owner Carrie McNeill. “We focus on providing the latest in holiday trends while paying precise attention to what makes each woman feel most comfortable — so she will be confident in her look.” The first ever South Walton Fashion Week staged in the fall at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin showed

everyone that the Emerald Coast is simply bursting at the seams with dozens of established and emerging designer boutiques. At this time of year, they are chock full of fabulous frocks and fashion finds just in time for the season. Take time to carefully shop their stock to ensure you find just what you’re looking for and don’t fall victim to the aftermath of an impulse buy. Keep an eye out for rich jewel tones, which align themselves perfectly to the Christmas season. Look for playful patterned and textured prints in your favorite shade of red, white, gold and black in shapely silhouettes that are sure to flatter your unique figure. To complement holiday gatherings of all persuasions, try to establish a go-to piece that will work for any occasion, and reinvent it by accessorizing with bold statement pieces true to your personal style. — Chay D. Baxley and Zandra Wolfgram

Styled by Calynne Hill and Terra Palmer, // Photographed by Marcus Duval Hair: Jessica Roque, Haute Headz; Make-up: Beautifully Brushed Airbrushed Makeup, LLC. Fashions and Accessories: Silver Sands Premium Outlets 68 December 2013–January 2014

Universal Truth #1 Too much isn't always a good thing. This rule applies equally to anything That is too snug, too loose, too short or too dated.

Dixie Leigh Folsom looks fierce in this red Nicole Miller dress, ($420, Narcissus, Tallahassee). Decked out in Swarovski jewelry — including the Prime Time Necklace ($450), Siam Earrings, ($150) and the Swain Ring ($185, all from the Swarvoski Store at Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Miramar Beach) — Dixie is ready for even the most formal black tie events. December 2013–January 2014


Universal Truth #2 Pretty is as pretty does. If you're grimacing over your steadily swelling feet in those fiveinch stilettos, you're not Presenting the best you.

Dixie shows just how to shine as the toast of the cocktail party scene in Silver Sand’s BCBG’s Lillie Strapless Dress ($338). Its coastal-inspired coral hue is elegant and a little unexpected while the textured fabric brings dimension to a classic silhouette. Pair with statement jewelry, such as Silver Sand’s Swarovski’s Chic Ring Multi Red ($270) and Sensation Earrings ($160), for an ensemble worth celebrating. 70 December 2013–January 2014

Terra Palmer is ready to race into the New Year like a little red corvette in this cranberry BCBG dress from Silver Sands that hugs all the right curves. As the quintessential holiday wardrobe centerpiece, this little number is as versatile as that lovely Swarovski Shelia Ring ($170) she’s wearing. Pair with a black fitted blazer for chilly winter nights on the town or sparkling pumps for your annual New Year’s Eve party.

Universal Truth #3 A Lovely LBD is always a good choice, but … not the only option. Ditch the safe bet and dare to pump up your fun factor. December 2013–January 2014


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72 December 2013–January 2014

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Flying With Purpose

For Skip and Victoria Moore of Seagrove Beach, “723 Whiskey Bravo” is more than just a catchy name for their top of the line restaurant off of 30A — it’s a way of life. 723, or July 23, is the Moore’s wedding anniversary. The sentimental digits also grace the back of the Moore’s Cirrus SR22 single engine composite aircraft. Shortly after retiring from their native Atlanta, the duo became avid aviators and partnered with an organization known as Angel Flight ( — a charitable group that arranges free air transportation for people who have a medical need that can’t be filled in their local area. Five years and over a dozen flights in, the pair just can’t get enough. “Having an aircraft is one thing,” admitted Victoria, “but Angel Flight allows us to fly with purpose.” Successful entrepreneurs even in retirement, Victoria and Skip have known their fair share of charitable organizations. But nothing has resonated with this compassionate couple like Angel Flight. “The results are absolute and immediate,” said Skip. “It’s such a tangible charity. It’s touched us deeply.” — Chay D. Baxley

Photo By Jami Ray

*happiness is ... December 2013–January 2014



In a

New Light

Lighting makes all the difference in the way a home functions and looks By Lis King

74 December 2013–January 2014


he chandelier dims gradually and spotlights zero in on a table, dramatizing a floral centerpiece and casting dazzling reflections from silver candlesticks, cut crystal and elegant china. Then, a hidden spot lights up an indoor tree, washing an end wall with leafy patterns. No, this is not curtain time at the Seaside Repertory Theatre. Rather, it’s party time at a home planned by an expert lighting designer. But it’s definitely a show and very representative of home lighting today. “Take your pick: crisp highlights, moody shadows, bold strokes and soft washes,” says Cara McBroom of Lovelace Interiors in Miramar Beach. “Or mix them together. The fact is that lighting makes all the difference in the way a space is perceived. It can make a small room look open and airy and a large room comfortable and inviting. It can create a stimulating atmosphere for a night of entertaining or relaxing comfort after a long, tiring day. Yet lighting is one of the least expensive remodeling and decorating options, and it’s a shame that more people don’t grasp its importance.”

Photos By Eric Marcus studios-design avenue

A Complicated Discipline

Katie Powell, president of Beautiful Lights in Destin, agrees that the role of lighting is vastly underestimated. “Of all the design disciplines, lighting is the least understood,” she says. “The gloom in a badly lit room will probably be interpreted as a vague depression rather than the design problem that it really is. You could sit on a $12,000 down-filled sofa and never be comfortable if the lighting isn’t good. And when people talk about a ‘cozy’ room, it has nothing to do with rosesprigged fabric. It has everything to do with wonderful lighting.” However, both Powell and McBroom admit that it’s easier said than done to properly light a home. In the average room you need four to five different light sources. The decision process plus the enormous variety of products can make anybody’s head swim, and the many new competitors to the familiar incandescent bulb add to the confusion.

emphasized and multi-purpose areas that’ll require more than one type of lighting. As to be expected, architects, designers and lighting consultants advocate meticulous whole-house lighting plans, and the bigger and more complex the systems the more they recommend seeking the help of a professional. McBroom says this is true both in new construction and remodeling projects. “Too often, people will tell an electrical contractor to just put in some high hats and connections here and there,” she says. “That’s too bad. Lighting is a basic, not an afterthought.”

Planning Lighting

The Tech Factor

The American Lighting Association, a national trade organization, reminds us that since lifestyles differ, there’s no such thing as a lighting-fits-all scheme. Identifying the activities that occur in each room, such as reading, food preparation and homework is the first step. Then you have to identify the mood you want to create, decorative elements to be

“That’s especially true today when so much new technology is coming on stream,” adds Scott Allen of Innovative Sights & Sounds in Santa Rosa Beach. “The ‘smart house’ is definitely here. In new construction, three out of every five homes feature ‘smart systems’ that’ll let homeowners pre-program such scenes as ‘welcome home,’ ’party time’

This pair (at top) of Old World gold chandeliers featuring tapered candles dripping with oversized crystals play off of the matching wall sconces to add nostalgia, elegance and romance to this dining room; Aged gold wrapped in multi-colored crystal tile with a chain embellishment is a welcome conversation starter for any foyer. December 2013–January 2014



or ‘homework’ and control all the lights from their computer or a central panel.” Thanks to new technology, daring homeowners can also bring the chromatic span of sunlight into play, making the walls the canvas of such effects as a day on the beach. With a tap on the remote, the changing light is captured, from the incandescence of morning to the magenta glow of sunset. Engineers claim that millions of “environments” are possible. LEDs are already making the transition to decorative lighting and OLEDs, thin sheets that produce lighting in commercial applications, could soon make their debut in the home. The possibilities are dazzling. Examples include windows that make their own light after sundown, luminescent backsplashes and walls, and structural columns that become cylindrical lights.

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(Left to right) If you keep in mind the overall design of a space, you do not have to be afraid of color. This rustic empire-style chandelier in beaded turquoise adds a splash of coastalinspired color to this open concept living area; Lighting is not just relegated to the dining room. For this game room, careful consideration was given to the placement, shape and materials of this mixed metal and silk shade chandelier; This contemporary drum design flowing with crystal pendants adds glamour and sparkle to this posh powder room.

Photos By Eric Marcus studios-design avenue And Courtesy of Beautiful Lights, LLC

According to Powell, there are four types of lighting, and you’ll want to use all of them to create balance in a room. The first is task lighting, which creates bright illumination on a small area. It may be provided by recessed or track lighting, pendants and portable desk and floor lamps.




At the push of a button our members enjoy a relaxing and soothing spa experience at a fraction of the cost and in far less time than a day spa.


Menu of Services The second is ambient lighting, which radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and lets you see and walk about safely. There are many ways to provide ambient lighting: chandeliers, recessed or track lights and wall or ceiling-mounted fixtures. Accent lighting is used to focus interest on paintings, sculptures and other treasures. It can also be used to highlight the texture of a stone or brick wall and window treatments. It can be provided by picture lights, track lighting and recessed or wall-mounted fixtures. Finally, there’s decorative lighting, a category consisting of fixtures that draw attention to themselves as objects. Examples are chandeliers, strip lights, pendants, fiber optics and candles, both the conventional kind and electric ones. Fine examples of fixtures that are pure eye candy can be seen at Fusion Art Glass, which has galleries in Seaside and in Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach. They are luminous sculpture in lovely colors, sure to become focal points in any room.

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Bye-Bye, Mr. Edison

Government has long since tried to sentence Thomas Edison’s incandescent bulb to oblivion, advocating the transition to fluorescent lighting and the much-ballyhooed Compact Fluorescent bulb (CFLs.) Both alternatives are causing considerable angst among homeowners. Kitchen designers report that clients’ faces fall at the thought of fluorescent lighting. Though designers say that the color of fluorescents has improved a lot, homeowners still worry about looking like descendants of the Jolly Green Giant when they cook the pasta. As for the CFLs, their mercury content classifies them as toxic waste, making them ineligible for ordinary disposal. Fortunately LEDs and halogen lighting have made giant strides and are proving excellent alternatives to the old-fashioned bulb. The American Lighting Association calls a 72-watt halogen incandescent the best replacement for a 100-watt conventional bulb, and what’s not to love about LED light bulbs? Using solid-state technology, they allow dimming, are cool to the touch, shock-resistant and extremely durable. Well, there’s the admittedly high price. However, while the standard incandescent bulb lasts 1,000 hours and the CFLs about 8,000 hours, the LED bulb comes in at 25,000 hours or more, which makes it cost-effective in the long run. And then there are the OLEDs to look forward to. That’s truly technology that’s, well, light years ahead of Mr. Edison’s invention. ec

Women and Children First

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in motion Manatees Need Love Too

Making Manatee Memories


Crystal River offers visitors rare manatee encounters

By Chay D. Baxley

it’s the perfect combination. he cool, crisp waters windBut remember, just because ing through Crystal River’s Nature Coast the word “manatee” is used in lush terrain are streaming Outfitters the title of your excursion, it may with … manatees. Florida Manatee Tours not necessarily translate into an Five hours south of Destin, 2380 N. Suncoast Blvd. actual encounter. According to Crystal River is the world’s preCrystal River experts (not to mention state mier manatee “hot spot.” Amaz(877) 463-4846 and federal laws) manatees are ingly, the winter residency count Paddling Adventures most properly interacted with in for Florida’s official state marine at Weeki Wachee a very passive, non-assertive way mammal — an endangered speState Park and from a distance. cies — reaches upwards of 600 6131 Commercial Way “Some people come here with over the course of a single season. Weeki Wachee (352) 597-8484 false expectations, thinking it’s a For locals and visitors, the level petting zoo, but it is definitely not of congestion can be startling. Plantation on Crystal “From an aerial view, it looks a petting zoo,” cautioned Cross. River Adventure Center like someone dropped a sack of “The manatees are here for sur9301 W. Fort Island Trail Crystal River potatoes there,” joked Paul Cross, vival. We have to make sure we (352) 795-5797 manager at the Plantation on keep that proper balance.” Crystal River’s Adventure Center. In other words, it’s best to let Thanks to Cross and others the manatee come to you. like him, visitors can do much more than simply Having a manatee initiate contact is an entirely admire the manatees from above. The Adventure likely possibility, particularly when it comes to juCenter is just one of many outfitters in Crystal venile manatees who, in general, are known to be River providing opportunities for kayaking, swimextremely curious. Operating under a sophisticated ming and learning alongside these gentle giants. tactile sensory system — or one based on touch — Tours start at $35 per person and can include sunthe average manatee has over 2,000 tactile hairs on rise and sunset kayaking as well as manatee snorits face alone. Akin to whiskers, these hairs allow the kel tours, which often consist of quite a vigorous manatee to investigate an unknown object by rubswim. For nature lovers and exercise enthusiasts, bing or nestling up against it. ec

In recent years the Emerald Coast has seen a slight increase in its summertime manatee population. Unfortunately, our warmest waters are still far too cold for manatees to find suitable shelter during cooler weather. During the chillier months, your best bet for manatee spotting (no touching, please!) is to travel east to Wakulla Springs, or south to Crystal River or even Weeki Wachee Springs. But you don’t have to see a manatee to love one. “Adopting” a manatee is a quick and easy process and makes for the perfect charitable gift. It’s just $25 and a few keyboard clicks away. According to Katie Tripp, Ph.D., director of Science and Conservation at Save the Manatee Club (, people of all ages love the opportunity to “have” their very own manatee. “These are actual manatees that live in Florida and have a history,” said Tripp. “You get a biography of your manatee and, depending where it is, you may actually have a good chance of going to see it.” For your donation you’ll receive a membership handbook, an adoption certificate with full-color photo and biography of a real endangered Florida manatee. You’ll also be complimentarily subscribed to “The Manatee Zone,” the Club’s official newsletter. “We find that it really helps people get excited about the cause,” continued Tripp. “It helps them get attached to their particular manatee and its story. It helps make them more aware of the different issues that face manatees and their habitat. It’s really just a good platform for building concern among citizens and members.” December 2013–January 2014


DEAL Estate

in the neighborhood

Go to for REAL ESTATE listings

Facts and Stats All statistics listed below pertain to sales in September 2013 and are provided by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, Florida Realtor and the National Association of Realtors.

A String of Pearls

The beauty and charm of 30A continues to attract buyers By Zandra Wolfgram


Okaloosa County closed 228 single family home sales — 31 of which were paid in cash. 171 were traditional sales, 37 were foreclosures and 20 were short sales. On average, Walton County’s closed single family home sales received 93.1% of their original list price.


ou could say there are 13 beautiful reasons to invest in real estate in the area simply known as “30A.” That’s how many distinctly different beach communities are peppered along this official Scenic Highway in Santa Rosa Beach. With more than 700 active listings (at press time), a 15 percent increase in 30A home sales, a $31 dollar per square foot price increase and a big dip in the average number of days a 30A home sits on the market, it appears there are more than a few reasons to nab property in this patch of paradise on the Emerald Coast. So what is the mystique of an area named after a 16-mile stretch of a two-lane road? Beachy Beach realtor/broker Gary Gibson says 30A delivers more than just an address with cache. “Our beaches are among the most beautiful on the planet; yet we have lower population density than surrounding areas. That coupled with world-class properties, dining, shopping, hiking/biking trails through Point Washington State Forest and around rare coastal dune lakes and higher elevations affording stunning views, and you have a desirable beach community that anyone would want to be a part of,” he says. Gibson would know. His in-laws have lived in Seagrove for generations, and his family of four lives just off 30A in Santa Rosa Beach. “We really enjoy being able to be near family and living close

80 December 2013–January 2014

enough to the beach to smell the salty air and hear the waves at night,” he says. A look at real estate trends provided by the Emerald Coast Realtor Association, confirms that the rebound of Northwest Florida most definitely includes 30A. The data reflects that all property types are selling on 30A, including single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and vacant home sites (lots). But Gibson says second-home investment remains the dominant use for 30A buyers. Drive down the Scenic Highway and it’s no surprise that 30A is the location of choice for those who desire the coastal lifestyle. To put it another way, it’s hard to beat a town like Seaside, which nearly upstaged Jim Carey in the “The Truman Show,” a film about a picturesque, idyllic quintessential beach town. Seaside may be one of the most famous communities to emerge from 30A over the past 30 years, but there are a dozen others with a distinctive sense of place, too. If you follow a map west to east you’ll find what the South Walton Tourist Development Council calls a “string of pearls.” Nearly all of these communities offer condominiums, townhomes and single-family beach homes, ranging from $50,500 to $8.5 million, but each “town” has its own distinctive personality and charm: Just minutes from Highway 98, nestled on Stallworth and Oyster Lake, is Dune Allen Beach,

The median sale price for single family homes in Florida was $170,000 — a 17.2% increase over last September. Florida closed 8,279 townhouse and condo sales — 5,582 of which were paid in cash. 6,099 were traditional sales, 1,370 were foreclosures and 810 were short sales.


The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $199,200 in September, up 11.7% from September 2012. The national median time on the market for all homes was 50 days.

Photo Courtesy of Robert and Daryl Davis (seaside)



a residential community with biking paths and walking trails. Gulf Place is a popular vacation spot that has become a hip hub filled with quaint shops, lively eateries and vacation rentals. Blue Mountain Beach is named for the blue lupine flowers, which still cover much of the sand dunes. At an elevation of 345 feet, the tall sand dunes and many coastal lakes offer up stunning pristine views. Founded in 1885, Grayton Beach is the first beach town on 30A. Known for its funky flair found in the laid back Red Bar, eclectic Zoo Gallery shop and art galleries, Grayton Beach is a haven for artists and art lovers. Centered around a stunning 500-acre resort designed by famed architect David Rockwell, WaterColor seamlessly marries modern conveniences with the nostalgia of an unassuming beach town from days gone by. Founded in 1981, Seaside gave birth to New Urbanism and has become synonymous with the ideal beach town. There are nine streets in the town of Seaside and no two picket fences on a street are the same. The nostalgia of beach-town living is still alive in Seagrove, where modest beach homes are intermixed with upscale, one-ofa-kind Gulf-front vacation homes. WaterSound Beach is a gated Gulf-front

WaterSound BeacH resort community with condos, townhomes and single-family homes situated among pristine sand dunes, peaceful coastal lakes and natural wetlands. The whitewashed stucco walls of Alys Beach are reminiscent of the coastal homes in Antiqua and Bermuda. A commitment to sustainable building has garnered international awards and accolades for this stunning planned community. Seacrest is home to beautiful Camp Creek Lake. Nature lovers come here to kayak, canoe and paddle board amid a variety of wildlife, including many unusual wading birds in the marshlands.

Founded in 1995, Rosemary Beach has the unique charm of a European village with a beach that rivals the Caribbean. The town center is filled with boutique shops and continental cuisine easily accessed by peaceful boardwalks and footpaths. Perched at the eastern edge of South Walton, Inlet Beach has a laid-back, residential feel, with an eclectic mix of classic Florida beach cottages and new multi-story homes. Carillon Beach is an exclusive modern family resort located on the eastern end of 30A, featuring a vibrant village and large, languid lake for which the town was named. ec December 2013–January 2014


DEAL Estate

just listed

Go to for REAL ESTATE listings

Custom Cottage Living

Life could be a vacation in this perfectly located listing By Chay D. Baxley 137 St. Francis North For would-be buyers looking for a move in-ready primary residence, this home’s spacious floor plan and upgrades make it an attractive contender. Travertine and hardwood flooring throughout adds flow to an already clean layout. Granite kitchen counters, classic cabinets, tumble marble backsplash and stainless steel appliances make the kitchen a creative and functional space, while the second level front porch encourages relaxation. “It has a real open floor plan,” noted Holahan of the cottage’s interior. “It has a master on the first as well as on the second floor, which is a really nice feature.” ec

Dedicated to Luxury y Real Estate Kelly Plantation K John Cook

82 December 2013–January 2014


Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

4458 Legendary Drive

Suite 100

Destin, FL 32541

Photos by Scott holstein


for countless vacation goers, ituated near Destin’s many of whom have vowed to world famous premium Quick Look make their trip an annual reoutlet mall, Silver Sands, List Price: $525,000 ($206.36/square foot) treat, via online forums. and just a quick stroll Square Feet: 2,544 One guest wrote on vrbo. away from the beach, this charmBedrooms: 4 com that, “This property was ing Florida cottage certainly has Bathrooms: 3 absolutely perfect for our fall location on its side. As one of the Contact: John break. The house was imlargest homes within the gated Holahan, Eimers Real Estate and Land Group, maculate, filled with modern community of Emerald Waters (850) 582-2893 conveniences and appliances, Village, this listing holds the and more than large enough potential to be utilized as either for four adults and six children. We enjoyed a permanent residence or as a prominent the very short walk to the private beach and vacation rental property. the location in the heart of Destin. We hope In fact, the home’s current owners opted to return next year.” for the latter. Since their purchase in 2008 According to listing agent John Jay Hola(the property was constructed as a builder’s han of Eimers Group, the property’s shortcustom model in 2005) the family has estabterm rental income has the potential to exlished the cottage at 137 St. Francis North ceed over $40,000 a year. as a much loved home-away-from-home

DEAL Estate

just sold

Views for Days Just another example of why location sells By Chay D. Baxley


aterfront property never sits for long, especially when it’s priced to sell. This house, with its pristine views of the Choctawhatchee Bay, only stayed on the market for 90 days after being listed at a competitive $557,000. Built in 1973, this four bedroom, threeand-a-half bath home is located just 200 feet from the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club. Translation: prime real estate investment. Despite its ideal location and being well maintained, after four decades of traffic, the house itself was in need of some serious interior updating. But according to listing agent Matt Williams of Re/Max Southern Realty, that’s okay. What attracted the property’s current owners to this listing were the views as well as the location — two items on every

Go to for REAL ESTATE listings

buyer’s list that are nearly imposroom, a large screened-in sible to change. Florida room perfect for enQuick Look: “People can make changes to tertaining, three patio areas, List Price: $557,000 the house as they so choose,” ada shade providing trellis and Sold For: $510,000 Square Feet: 3,854 vised Williams, “but they can’t a master bedroom with views Bedrooms: 4 change the views. It was clearly of Choctawhatchee Bay, this Bathrooms: 3.5 the location and wide open views property was rich in strucof the Choctawhatchee Bay that tural integrity from the very sold this house.” beginning. Now, the current Proximity to shopping and restaurants homeowners have the opportunity to put was another selling point and the exceltheir own mark on the inside while enjoylent bones of the home itself were a huge ing all the natural beauty of the outside. plus. Equipped with a beautiful dining Win-win. ec

358 Sudduth Circle December 2013–January 2014


DEAL Estate

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show me the money

The Truth Behind PMIs A stepping-stone to getting in the real estate game, not a cash-saving technique By Chay D. Baxley


rivate mortgage insurance, or PMI, is designed to protect lenders from losing their investment in case a mortgage holder is unable to repay their loan. Utilized as an alternative to a complete down payment of 20 percent, PMIs are generally reserved for first-time homebuyers or those with little equity in their current home. Monthly rates typically range between $30 to $70 for every $100,000 borrowed. According to Pat Gaver, residential division lending manager at Capital City Bank, PMIs in their most useful form are gateways to letting the next generation of real estate investors get their feet wet in what can be a very pricey pond. “In your first house, you’re trying to get in there to at least get in the game of not putting your money down the rat hole, because there is certainly no return on your rent,” stated Gaver. “Overall, as an investment, there’s a 3 to 5 percent return on real estate. Regardless, one day you’re going to pay that loan off. But by having that initial opportunity, even though you’re paying to privately insure the mortgage, or you’re accepting the government form of PMI, your second home doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.” Occasionally, some buyers have opted to keep cash in their pocket by taking the PMI route, allowing other obligations with higher interest rates take precedence for their money. But experts say this can be a dangerous juggling act and is generally ill advised. It’s also important to note that PMIs can behave very differently, depending on the type of loan they are insuring. Once you owe less than 78 percent on your mortgage with a conventional loan, and 24 months have passed since your purchase, you can cancel your PMI policy. For government-backed loans, however, this is never the case, and your PMI is destined to stay with you until the balance of the loan is paid in full. ec

According to Pat Gaver, residential division lending manager at Capital City Bank, PMIs in their most useful form are gateways to letting the next generation of real estate investors get their feet wet in what can be a very pricey pond.

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online at 850-837-5507 · Clary Cobb Building · 1241 Airport Road, Suite H · Destin, FL 32541 Admitted to practice in all Florida courts and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Member of Attorneys Title Fund Services LLC. Authorized Agent Old Republic National Title Insurance Company. December 2013–January 2014



Poinsettia Pointers Invest in New Holiday Plants Every Year, or Prepare to Invest Plenty of Time Ms. Grow-It-All By Audrey Post

Q: Is there any way to save a poinsettia from one Christmas to the next and have it look as good the following year? I’ve had some luck with keeping the plant alive, but it never looks as good the following year. A: First of all, let’s set some reasonable expectations. Even if you do nurture a poinsettia from one Christmas season to the next, it will never look quite as good as it did when it first arrived at your home. Those lush, full leaves and colorful bracts are the result of months of tending in carefully controlled conditions that most of us lack the facilities, time and inclination to replicate. But you can keep your poinsettia alive and have it look respectable the next year. Poinsettias are one of the heralds of the holidays. They come with bracts in shades of red, pink, mauve, white, burgundy and yellow, with tiny flower clusters in the center of each group of colorful bracts. They are not poisonous, despite well-traveled myths to the contrary, but many people are sensitive to the sticky, milky sap, which contains latex and is common to members of the spurge or

86 December 2013–January 2014

Euphorbiaceae family. Euphorbia pulcherrima gets its common name from Joel Poinsett, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico who admired it so much he introduced it in this country around 1825. The first thing you need to do when you get that gorgeous poinsettia home is remove the foil paper wrapping. It dresses up the plain plastic pot, but it also prevents air from circulating around the stems near the soil, which can lead to fungus and rot. Find a slightly larger decorative pot to set the plastic pot in if you’re concerned about appearance. Set the plant in a location free of drafts and extremes of heat and cold; you don’t want it near a heating vent, the door or the fireplace. Bright, indirect light is best, because a sunny window could burn it up. Water it when the soil surface is dry, but make sure you empty the drainage saucer immediately after the water has run through the pot. Poinsettias come from the tropical desert, not the tropical jungle, and they don’t like wet feet. Water left in the saucer can wick back up into the pot. More people

kill poinsettias — indeed, most houseplants — by overwatering than by under-watering. Most houses lack humidity in the winter, so providing a little extra moisture in the air around your poinsettia will prolong the color in the bracts. You can either mist the plant every day or two, or set the pot on a tray filled with about an inch of gravel. Add water to the tray so that it comes to just below the top of the gravel. It will evaporate up and around the plant. Be sure to check the water level in the tray daily. Don’t fertilize it yet. After the holidays, you have two options. You can keep it in a pot, or plant it in the ground. Either way, you’ll need to keep it in the house until all danger of frost has passed. Keep the plant fairly dry — a light watering once every week or two should be sufficient — and move it to a cool, out-ofthe way location, because it’s going to look a bit bedraggled. Once the weather warms, cut it back to about 4 to 6 inches on each branch. If you’re planning to keep it as a potted plant, move it outside to a somewhat shady spot, and fertilize with a balanced

fertilizer. Gradually increase the amount of sunlight your poinsettia receives, remembering that everything in our area appreciates shade in the late afternoon. If you move it out when the weather first warms, as it tends to do in February, be aware that you might have to move it back inside if a freeze is forecast. If you want to plant it in the ground, wait until after all danger of frost has passed. Select a site with full sun and fertile, slightly acidic soil, which ideally is about 6.0 pH, but anything between 5.0 and 7.0 should be fine. Considering the amount of work you’re going to have to do to get this plant to behave as you want it to, you might want to get the soil tested first. Kits and instructions are available at no charge at the It is essential Leon County Extension Service; that your plant the lab in Gainesville charges a fee to analyze your soil be in complete nominal sample. darkness — Set it at the same level it was in the pot and water thoroughly to no streetlights, remove air pockets. Feed it with no security an all-purpose (15-0-15) fertilizer monthly from May through lights, no September. Keep the soil evenly glow from the moist but not wet. Pinch back window — new growth throughout the summer to promote a bushy shape, but for 14 hours stop pinching around Labor Day, a night for to give the last flush of growth time to initiate flower buds. six to eight Now here’s where the work weeks before comes in, whether your plant is flowering. in a pot or in the ground. It is essential that your plant be in complete darkness — no streetlights, no security lights, no glow from the window — for 14 hours a night for six to eight weeks before flowering. If your plant is in the ground, cover it in the evening with a cardboard box and then throw an old quilt or bedspread over it, making sure it is completely covered. Take it off the next morning, 14 hours later. Do this every single day for six to eight weeks. Every day you miss is a day’s delay in blooming. If your plant is in a pot, do the same thing, either on the porch or in the house. You’ll have to protect a poinsettia in the ground from freezing, just as you would any tender perennial. This is definitely a high-maintenance plant. Given the great variety of colors and the reasonable prices, I usually don’t bother trying to save mine from year to year. However, most gardeners have a plant or two they treasure and are willing to devote a lot of effort to maintaining, and if a poinsettia is yours, give it a try. You can always buy another one if you don’t like how it looks next year. ©2013 PostScript Publishing, all rights reserved. Audrey Post is a certified Advanced Master Gardener volunteer with the University of Florida/IFAS Extension in Leon County. Email her at Questions@ or visit her website at Ms. Grow-It-All® is a registered trademark of PostScript Publishing. ec

t h e

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phone 850.424.5155

Give the gift of gardening 4808 East Scenic Hwy 30A, Seagrove Beach, FL, 32459 w w w. C l a y 3 0 A . c o m December 2013–January 2014




Here’s to a

Have a Happy Hour with Resolutions Safe and Sound By Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite and Shannon Colavecchio


t’s a couple of weeks after New Year’s and you’ve been maintaining your healthy 2013 habits. You’ve been to the gym or walked around the block after dinner with resolve. Careful eating at home, no problem. Support from family and friends, check. The first invitation hits your mobile. Come to a birthday night out celebration with the girls! Guys, its time for football playoffs, where to go to take in the game? How does accepting alter your resolutions for a healthy-weightmanaged year? Fortunately, sticking to healthier eating and drinking habits does not relegate you to an anti-social existence. Evenings can be spent away from home with friends or that special someone while preserving your goals for a skinny night out. If you might be tempted with delicious apps and entrees, one way to hold onto a weight plan is to substitute a meal with a fortified smoothie. There’s a smoothie for everyone at Skinny’s Nutrition. Pick from thick and smooth flavors like Apple Pie, Blueberry Poundcake, Chocolate Chunky Monkey, Peanut Butter Cup, Original Vanilla or Raspberry Lemonade. Chantel Gil-

88 December 2013–January 2014

lilan, 23, opened her store just over a year ago in the Winn Dixie Palm Plaza in Destin. Customers selecting from the 46 varieties are equally diverse — from high school students to 80 year olds. Skinny’s drinks are from Herbalife, a global nutrition company producing nutrition, weight-management and personal care products available through distributors like Gillilan. Each shake or meal substitute has between 210 to 250 calories, 24 grams of protein and comes with an energy tea and aloe shot. “The aloe helps absorb the vitamins and minerals into your body,” said Gillilan. “For $6.50 you get all three and stay very, very full. People can’t finish them sometimes.” She offers a free body analysis, tracks measurements and “coaches through what you want to do.” Allysun Rust, 26, stops in Skinny’s regularly. “I would drink it for lunch before I went out,” she said, affording her the saved calories to enjoy later. Rust said she chooses low-calorie cocktails like Skinnygirl’s Margarita as an alternative, too. There are a few tricks personal trainer and sports nutrition consultant Brittany Stiles shares with her clients about eating out: Always drink water before your meal, tell the wait staff not to bring the free bread or chips to the table and select a healthy option, which at most restaurants is easy and available. “The pitfall is usually the dressing,” said Stiles. “You may be adding up to 800 calories with just dressing. I ask them to bring me oil and vinegar. Watch out for the heavy sauces like alfredo. I tell people to stay away from them – eat it plain.”

Stiles, a fit, 28-year-old mother of four and group exercise director at Bluewater Fitness in Niceville, cautions clients against pairing junk food with alcohol. “You can gain twice as much weight if you do,” she said. “Alcohol is pretty much pure sugar. When your body metabolizes what you eat, your body will first burn off alcohol before it will burn off the food. So the next day when you’re working out whatever calories you’re burning will be your alcohol. You won’t even get close to the cheeseburger.” Stiles permits a cheat day a week but insists that clients separate which cheat. Alcohol can be the cheat one week and junk food the next week’s indulgence. Helping his patients reach their goals, Dr. Nitin Bawa, board certified in internal medicine, encourages having fun and going out with friends. But, he says, eat before you leave. “Have a protein shake so that when you eat out you are not hungry, you’re satiated, happy and do not feel the need to eat. You can choose to have something. When you choose, pick vegetables or salad,” said Bawa. “Most places will make a salad and put fish on it — which is best in terms of meat — and ask for less dressing or get it on the side. Obviously, do not get anything fried.” Consuming alcoholic drinks while trying to loose weight will defeat the goal he said. “To drink even twice a week, you are not going to loose weight — even a few drops of alcohol will stop ketosis or the starvation phase when the body realizes not enough calories are coming in and tells the body to burn fat.” Full of sugar, alcohol is also loaded with calories. The typical 12 ounce beer has be-

Photo By Scott Holstein

Night Out December 2013–January 2014


flavor tween 150 to 200 calories while a red or white 5 ounce wine hits 120. A wine spritzer or Skinnygirl wine serving can knock the count down to 100. Depending on size, a vodka and tonic or mulled wine can reach 200; a Margarita or coffee liqueur can launch your intake upwards of 280 and the king of all, the Long Island iced tea, hails at 780. Choose soda water with lime or for favorites like mojitos or martinis, ask the bartender to go light on sweeteners. Increasingly, bars offer cocktails made with agave nectar instead of sugar syrup. Flemming’s is one. “There are many ways to reduce calories in a cocktail, and the choice of the way a drink is sweetened is one of them,” said Maeve Pesquera, director of Wine for Flemming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Sandestin. “Use of agave nectar and syrups made with sugar substitutes are good options to reduce the calorie count in cocktails. Using low or no calorie mixers like club soda, tea or coconut water are other great methods to keep the calorie count in cocktails low.” The key to walking away without regret is to make the best choices in what you sip and what you nosh. That means learning to decode appetizer menus to avoid red flags (“breaded,” “coated,” “fried,” “creamy,” etc.) and keeping libations simple or virgin to minimize high-calorie, high-sugar mixers. At Bonefish Grill, maybe you choose the edamame appetizer instead of the Bang Bang Shrimp dipped in a spicy mayonnaise sauce. “If you’re really looking to go light, get the ceviche with a side of warm tortilla chips,” said Will Eberlin, the culinary manager for the Bonefish in Destin. His personal favorite is the Chilean sea bass entree, wood grilled over an open flame, topped with a mango salsa — fresh mango, purple onion, red bell pepper. “Extremely healthy and low in calories.” Brittany Stiles supports enjoying what you love — just in smaller quantities than what restaurants serve. “Portion control,” she said. “Eat half or three-quarters of the meal and take the rest home.” The same can be said of drinks. “There’s no such thing as a healthy alcoholic beverage. Sugar is still sugar. The best option is to stick with water.” Dr. Bawa agrees. “You can have just as much fun, if not more so, with a virgin drink because alcohol makes you feel depressed. Have a cranberry spritzer with a lemon twist … and have more fun.” ec


90 December 2013–January 2014

Farmer’s Skinny Daughter,

Energy Tea, 5 calories

Metabolism booting green and black tea mix, flavored with your choice of raspberry, peach or lemon. Skinny Nutrition, Destin

99 calories Ketel One Vodka over ice with fresh strawberries and basil. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Miramar Beach

The Chaste Fizz, 100 calories

850, a new rum-soaked beverage with notes of citrus, pineapple and coconut, created right here on the Emerald Coast. Splash in club soda over ice and fresh berries and you have a light, refreshing cocktail. BeachClub Grille at WaterColor Inn & Resort

Ginger beer, 100 calories Photos By Scott Holstein (Energy Tea, White Wine Spritzer, Champagne Cocktail) and Shelly Swanger (Cucumber Ginger Jasmine-tini, Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier, Wheatgrass) and Courtesy Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (Farmer’s Skinny Daughter), Flashbox Productions/ Ben Cornford (The Chaste Fizz), P.F. Chang’s (Ginger beer) and Bloomin Brands (Fresh Watermelon Martini)

of our Favorite Skinny Concoctions and Mocktails

Belly up to the bar for this fat-free, non-alcoholic carbonated soft drink. P.F. Chang’s, Miramar Beach

Cucumber Ginger Jasmine-tini,

less than 100 calories Muddled cucumber, ginger jasmine syrup over lemon-lime soda water. Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Miramar Beach

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier, 118 calories Aromatics plays up honeysuckle, melon and plenty of peach in this crisp, clean white California wine. Crush, Seaside

White Wine Spritzer, 100 calories Any white wine will work perfectly but Riesling and Pinot Grigio are especially good spritzed with a little club soda and garnished with a wedge of lime. Clemenza’s Uptown, Fort Walton Beach

Champagne Cocktail, 78 calories Four ounces of pure, fizzy fun! Harry Ts, Destin

Fresh Watermelon Martini, 125 calories

Hand-muddled watermelon, fresh sour mix, house-made cucumber vodka infusion. Bonefish Grill, Destin

Wheatgrass, 10 calories

Touted as “one of the most potently healthy substances on earth,” so go ahead and give it a shot. Raw & Juicy, Seaside December 2013–January 2014


dining The Key

The restaurants that appear in this guide are included as a service to readers and not as recommendations of the EC Magazine editorial department, except where noted. ★ B l d

Best of the Emerald Coast 2013 Winner Breakfast Lunch Dinner Outdoor Dining Live Music

$ Inexpensive $$ Moderately Expensive $$$ Expensive

Alys Beach George’s at Alys Beach American. Seafood, burgers and sandwiches at the perfect beachy-casual spot. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. 30 Castle Harbour Dr., 850-641-0017. $$ l d

Blue Mountain Beach Grecian Gardens Restaurant Mediterranean. Traditional Greek cuisine served in an open-air atmosphere perfect for special occasions or parties. Open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 3375 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3011. $$ l d Marie's Bistro & Bar Mediterranean. Enjoy made-to-order seafood, steak, pasta as well as sushi in a casual atmosphere. Dine in, carry out, drive through and catering. Full bar. Serving lunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Tues–Fri and dinner at 5 p.m. Tues–Sun. 2260 W. County Highway 30A. 850-278-6856. $$ l d Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub Irish. A true neighborhood Irish Pub serving authentic Irish fare and the best pizza anywhere. Happy Hour Mon–Fri 4:30–6:30 p.m. Open daily 11 a.m.–2 a.m. 2298 W. County Highway 30A. 850-267-0101. $ B l d Blue Mountain Beach Creamery Ice Cream. Homemade ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt treats. Open daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Cash only. 2129 S. County Highway 83. 850-278-6849. $$


790 on the Gulf ★ Cajun. All-day specials are as delicious as the Gulf-front view. The menu includes seafood, pasta, salads, wraps and burgers. Sip bottomless champagne or mimosas between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Join us at our full bar for our daily Happy Hour specials. Open daily for brunch, lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 2996 Scenic Highway 98, Destin. 850-650-4853. $$ B l d AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar ★ Seafood. Choose from fresh local seafood, sandwiches, pasta, chicken or specialty dishes like the oysters Eugene or Rockefeller. Open daily 11 a.m. 116 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1913. $$ l d Another Broken Egg café ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, 92 December 2013–January 2014

patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 979 E. Hwy. 98, Suite F, 850-650-0499. $ B Boathouse Oyster Bar ★ Seafood. Discover Destin’s best-kept secret. Come here for ice cold beer, raw oysters, award-winning gumbo and a great view of the Destin Harbor, and leave with a signature T-shirt from the gift shop. Open daily 11 a.m.–2 a.m. 288 B Harbor Blvd. 850-837-3645. l d Bonefish Grill ★ Seafood. Daily seafood specials cooked on an oak-burning wood grill. Bang-Bang Shrimp is a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 4–11:30 p.m., Daily happy hour 4–7 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., 850-650-3161. $$ d Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House ★ Seafood. Located on the beautiful Destin Harbor, this seafood spot will spoil you with spectacular sunsets, sensational Gulf-to-table Southern cuisine (including award-winning oysters!) and family-friendly service all in a fun, relaxed, casual atmosphere. Open daily at 11 a.m. 414 Harbor Blvd., Destin. 850-424-7406. $$ l d

Donut Hole Bakery Cafe American. Head to the Donut Hole for an outof-this-world breakfast or savory lunch — don’t forget the cinnamon raisin bread. Open 24 hours. 635 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-8824. $ B l Emerald Grande Resort Grande Vista bar and grill Seafood. Fresh seafood, steak, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Full bar. Open daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Located in HarborWalk Village. 10 Harbor Blvd., next to the Marler Bridge, 850-337-8100. $$$ B l d Fudpucker’s American. Burgers, sandwiches and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-654-4200. $$ d Graffiti Italian. Traditional Italian favorites and house specialties like seafood pizza. Sun–Thu 5–9 p.m., Fri– Sat 5–10 p.m. 707 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2764. $$ d Harbor Docks ★ American. This surf-and-turf restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open daily 5 a.m.– 11 p.m. 538 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-2506. $$ B l d

Callahan’s Restaurant & Deli ★ American. Voted Best Locally Owned Restaurant 2008–2013, Callahan’s serves up great sandwiches, seafood specials and prime rib. Mon–Sat 10 a.m.– 10 p.m. 791 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-6328. $ l d

Hard Rock Café American. Rock ’n’ roll, great drinks and mouthwatering menu. Open daily 11 a.m. 4260 Legendary Dr., Destin Commons, 850-654-3310. $ld

Capt. Dave’s on the Gulf Seafood. Enjoy delicious fresh seafood dishes. Open daily 4:30 p.m. 3796 Hwy. 98, 850-837-2627. $ d

HARRY T’S ★ Seafood. Lounge on the beautiful patio and watch the passing boats as you enjoy an endless variety of delicious dishes. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 46 Harbor Blvd., 850-654-4800. $$ B l d

Ciao Bella Pizza Da Guglielmo Italian. Authentic Italian pizza, pasta, salads and more. Open daily 11 a.m. 29 E. Hwy. 98, Silver Sands, 850-654-3040. $$ l d CRAB ISLAND CANTINA Mexican. Latin-inspired Mexican cuisine in a casual waterfront dining atmosphere offering the best views of Destin Harbor. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 2 Harbor Blvd. 850-424-7417. $$ l d The Crab Trap Seafood. Offering fresh seafood, steaks, salads and soups beachside. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 3500 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2722. $$ l d Crust Pizzeria Italian. New York-style brick oven pizza. Ask about our specials. Mon–Thu 7a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 7 a.m.–2 p.m. 104 Harbor Blvd., 850-460-2288. $ B l d Destin Ice Seafood Market & Deli ★ Gourmet Takeout. Everything you need for a fresh and delicious meal. Choose from fresh fish and seafood items, pastas, salads and side dishes, Buckhead meats, decadent deserts and an assortment of wines, cheeses, spices and more. Open daily 8 a.m.–7 p.m. 663 Emerald Coast Pkwy. 850-837-8333. $$ l d Dewey Destin’s HarborSide ★ Seafood. One of Destin’s most popular restaurants serves up charm and award-winning seafood in a quaint house overlooking the scenic Destin Harbor. Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. 202 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-7525. $$$ l d Dewey Destin Seafood Restaurant & Market ★ Seafood. True local charm in an outdoor setting and some of the freshest seafood around. Open 11 a.m.– 8 p.m. 9 Calhoun Ave., 850-837-7575. $$ B l d

ISLAND WING COMPANY American. Get baked at this fryer free sports pub. Wings, gourmet burgers, fish taco’s, salads, sandwiches and the like. Try any of the 50 beers on tap while watching your fav sports teams on 28 TVs, all in a fun, relaxing atmosphere. Open daily 11 a.m.–midnight. 98 Palm Center, 981 Highway 98 East, Unit 13. 850-837-2999. $ l d Jasmine Thai ★ Thai. Authentic Thai cuisine that is a combination of traditional and modern. Enjoy a variety of Thai dishes with different levels of spiciness made to your liking. Reservations are recommended. Tues–Sun lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner 5–9 p.m. 4424 Commons Drive East. 850-269-0185. $$ l d Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q ★ Barbecue. Southern smokehouse barbecue. Beer and wine. Open daily 11 a.m. 14073 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-351-1991. $ l d Johnny O’Quigley’s ★ American. Award-winning steak, seafood and barbecue in one of Destin’s favorite sports bars. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–1 a.m, Double Happy Hour Mon–Fri 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–close. 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-837-1015. $ l d Louisiana Lagniappe Cajun and Seafood. View the Old Pass Lagoon while dining on steaks and a wide variety of fresh seafood. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 775 Gulf Shores Dr., 850-837-0881. $$ d Marina Café American. Gourmet pizzas, Creole and American cuisine. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 404 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-7960. $$ d

Miller’s Ale House ★ American. Quality food at a great value in a casual neighborhood tavern atmosphere. Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sun 11 a.m.–12 a.m. 34906 Emerald Coast Pkwy. 850-837-0694. $ l d


McGuire’s Irish Pub ★ Irish American. Drinks, steaks, burgers and fries and Irish fare. Open daily 11 a.m. 33 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-0567. $$ l d


NOT JUST BAGELS ★ American. Bagels, breads, pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches. Mon–Fri 6 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat–Sun 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., Suite 112, 850-650-0465. $ B l Osaka ★ Japanese. Known for its sushi but serves a variety of dishes, including chicken, steak and seafood. Lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Dinner 5–10:30 p.m. 34845 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-4688 or 850-650-4689. $$ l d Pepito’s ★ Mexican. Voted Best Mexican on the Emerald Coast, locals love Pepito’s for its authentic Mexican cuisine and mouthwatering margaritas. Happy Hour specials all day Mondays, including small rocks margaritas and all beer and well drinks for $1.99. Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 757 E. Hwy. 98, 850-650-7734. $$ l d

PRINTING PUBLICATION SPECIALIST WEB AND OFFSET PRINTING FOR 80 YEARS Boyd Brothers Printing of Panama City has been my preferred magazine printer for the past five years. Their work quality and customer service is excellent ... they stand behind their work and their pricing is very fair and reasonable.

Poppy’s Crazy Lobster Seafood. Relax with us on the beautiful Destin Harbor, and enjoy the best seafood in town. Toast the setting sun with a Crazy Lobster Cooler or any number of fun cocktails. Open daily at 11 a.m. HarborWalk Village, 850-424-6744. $$ l d

Brian Rowland, President, Rowland Publishing

Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club American. Located inside Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club. Open to the public 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Variety of salads and sandwiches. Full bar. Specializing in  on- and off-site catering, including weddings, receptions and special events. 465 Regatta Bay Blvd., 850-337-8888. $ B l d 425 East 15th Street | Post Office Box 18 Panama City, FL 32402-0018 | 1-800-677-BOYD (2693) 850-763-1741 | Fax: 850-769-6526 |

Ruth’s Chris Steak House ★ Steak and Seafood. New Orleans-inspired appetizers, desserts and awardwinning wines. Mon–Sat 5:30–10 p.m., Sun 5:30–9 p.m. Silver Shells Resort. 1500 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-337-5108. $$$ d Sarah k’s gourmet ★ Gourmet Takeout. Chef-crafted, ready-to-heat cuisine. Jumbo lump crab cakes and fresh chicken salad are the house specialties. Open at 11 a.m. 34940 Hwy. 98, 850-269-0044. $ l d Tuscany Italian Bistro Italian. Chef and owner Guglielmo Ianni prepares authentic Northern Italian cuisine using the freshest of ingredients, choice meats, fresh seafood and garden vegetables. Hours TBD. 36178 Emerald Coast Pkwy. 850-650-2451. $$ d

Fort Walton Beach

Aegean Restaurant ★ Greek. Savor the flavors of the Mediterranean at this authentic Greek restaurant. Mon–Sat 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. 1259 Eglin Pkwy., Shalimar, 850-613-6120. $$ l d

Benjarong Thai Cuisine & BBQ Thai and Barbecue. Barbecue, chicken, ribs, steak and spicy Thai food. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 251 Mary Esther Blvd., 850-362-0290. $$ l Ali's Bistro American. Seafood, steak, pasta, chicken, veal, sandwiches and salads in a casually cool modern space. Tue–Sun 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 171 Brooks St., 850-226-4708. $$ l d



The Black Pearl Steak and Seafood. Dig into some coconut shrimp and a juicy steak while enjoying a lovely view of the Gulf. Located in The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. Open daily 4 p.m. 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-833-3016. $$ d Buffalo’s Reef Famous Wings ★ American. This restaurant is famous for hot wings and cold beer. Ask about the daily specials. Tue–Sat open at 10:30 a.m., Sun open at noon. 116 Eglin Pkwy., 850-243-9463. $ l d Clemenza’s Uptown ★ Italian. This family owned restaurant features authentic Italian cuisine, a full bar and Mama Clemenza’s famous European Breakfast. Breakfast: Sat 8 a.m.–noon, Sun 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Lunch: Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner: Mon–Fri 5­–9 p.m., Sat 5–9:30 p.m. Closed Sun. 75 Eglin Pkwy. 850-243-0707. $$ B l d

111 Cannery Lane, Sandestin (In Baytowne Wharf)

Hours 11am–10pm Lunch • Dinner • Late Night Happy Hour Daily 3:45-7pm

850.424.5177 December 2013–January 2014


a taste for ...

dining Helen Back Pizza. The world’s finest hand-tossed pizza and cold beer in a sports bar atmosphere. Locations in Pensacola, Navarre, Crestview and Valparaiso. Open daily 11 a.m.–4 a.m. 114 Amberjack Dr. 850-796-1451. $ l d High Tide Seafood. Delicious seafood dishes, award-winning gumbo and fresh Apalachicola oysters served for lunch and dinner. Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. 1203 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-244-2624. $ Magnolia Grill Steak, Seafood and Italian. Steak, seafood, pasta, soups, salads and desserts. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Sat, open at 5 p.m. Closed Sun. 157 SE Brooks St., 850-302-0266. $$ l d Old Bay Steamer Seafood. Fresh, steamed and grilled seafood served in a lively atmosphere. Dinner served daily from 4 p.m. No reservations. 102 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-664-2795. $$$ d Pandora’s Steak and Seafood. Early evening specials weekdays 5–6 p.m. Happy Hour weekdays 5–7 p.m. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 1226 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-244-8669. $$$ d Pranzo Italian Ristorante Italian. The Montalto family has been serving classic and contemporary Italian cuisine in Fort Walton Beach for nearly 30 years. Dinner Mon–Sat, 5 p.m. 1222 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-244-9955. $ d Sealand Steak and Seafood. Serving American cuisine as well as Thai offerings in a homey atmosphere. Lunch Sun 11 a.m. until. Dinner Tues–Sat from 4:30 p.m. 47 SE Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-244-0044. $$$ B d Staff’s Steak, Seafood and Pasta. In operation for more than 100 years, Staff’s is the oldest family-operated Florida restaurant and a local favorite serving homemade American cuisine in a casual, rustic atmosphere. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m. 24 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-243-3482. $$ d

Grayton Beach The Scoop on Soup! Soup. It’s a simple meal and a warm gesture with a past almost as rich as its flavor. From Ancient Greece to the New World to your childhood home, soup is a savory part of our collective history. Nutrition historians believe that ever since the first pot boiled over an open fire somewhere around 6,000 B.C., soup has been a major staple in the human diet. In medieval kitchens, the caldron was rarely emptied. Instead, refusing to discard any salvageable bits of food, “homemakers” would add scraps on a continuous basis to an already brewing pot. By the mid-1700s, soup had transformed from the meal of peasants to delightful appetizers or entrées for a slowly but surely expanding middle class. In 1882, the first cookbook dedicated solely to soup, entitled “Soups and Soup Making,” was published by Emma Ewing. For soup, making the transition from goopy filler to elegant entree hasn’t been an easy journey. Today, recipes proliferate, ranging wildly in content — hot and cold, savory and sweet, stew and chili. As with most soup recipe variations, the list of possibilities is nearly endless. So this January, celebrate National Soup Month in true foodie fashion by dipping your spoon into a big bowl of deliciousness. — Chay D. Baxley 94 December 2013–January 2014

Another Broken Egg café ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 51 Grayton Uptown Cir., 850-231-7835. $ B Pandora’s Steak and Seafood. Warm, traditional steakhouse with early evening specials. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 63 DeFuniak St., 850-231-4102. $$ d Picolo’s restaurant Seafood. Dine on delicious fresh seafood while listening to live music. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ l d Red Bar ★ American. A favorite among locals, visitors and celebrities and a must-visit when in Grayton Beach. Kick back on the funky furniture and listen to live music while enjoying great food and cocktails — especially the award-winning Bloody Mary. Breakfast 7–10:30 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Dinner 5–10 p.m. Bar open 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight. Cash or check only, no credit cards. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ B l d Trattoria Borago Italian. Enjoy a balsamic-laced pork tenderloin or pan-seared grouper from the open kitchen. Open 6 p.m. daily. 80 E. Hwy. 30A, Grayton Beach, 850-231-9167. $$ d

Miramar Beach

Aegean Restaurant ★ Greek. Sip an ouzo at the beautiful stone bar before savoring the flavors of the Mediterranean at this authentic Greek restaurant. Breakfast 8–11 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m.– 4 p.m., Dinner 4–9 p.m. 11225 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-460-2728. $$ B l d Agave Azul Mexican Cuisine Mexican. We are bringing the real taste of Mexico to The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. Come join us for Happy Hour from 3:45–7 p.m. and enjoy the sunset on the back deck. Let us show you what Mexico is all about. Open daily 11 a.m.–2 a.m. 111 Cannery Lane, The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, 850-424-5177. $$ l d

Another Broken Egg café – On the Bay ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-2050. $ B Bistro Bijoux ★ Steak and Seafood. Coastal cuisine with a New Orleans flair. Fresh seafood daily. Featuring our signature dish — “Black Skillet” filet mignon topped with a tempura-fried lobster tail. Open daily 5–10 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-0760. $$$ d Cabana Café American. A casual poolside restaurant serving made-to-order salads, savory soups and chowders, deli-style sandwiches (with homemade bread!), savory build-your-own burgers and quesadillas, stone-fired pizza, pasta and more. Sunday brunch. Full bar. Open 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon–Sat and Sundays from 9 a.m.–2 a.m. Happy Hour 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Karaoke and live entertainment. Located on the ground floor of Ariel Dunes in Seascape Resort, 112 Seascape Drive. Come see us in our new location inside Hurricane Lanes in Destin. Ask about the locals discount. 850-424-3574. $$ l d BEST WINGS

Cantina Laredo ★ Mexican. Boasting a contemporary décor and fiery flavor, the new addition to Grand Boulevard offers gourmet twists on Mexican favorites. Save room for dessert, and check out the Sunday brunch. Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 585 Grand Blvd., 850-654-5649. $$ B l d Carrabba’s italian grill Italian. Flavorful dishes, including calamari, chicken Marsala, fresh fish, seafood and grilled steaks. Open Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 4–11:30 p.m. 10562 W. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1140. $$ d Fat Clemenza’s ★ Italian. Feel like part of the family as you enjoy homemade classical Italian cuisine. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Wed 5–9:30 p.m., Thu–Sat 5–10 p.m. Holiday Plaza/Hwy. 98, 850-650-5980. $$ l d Elephant Walk American. Rediscover the signature dish, Grouper Elizabeth, and relive the nostalgia and charm that is the incomparable Elephant Walk. Enjoy attentive service, excellent continental cuisine, a dynamic wine list and panoramic views of the Gulf. Serving lunch seasonally and dinner daily 5–10 p.m. Beachside at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. West, 850-267-4800. $$$ l d Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar ★ Steak and More. This award-winning restaurant offers prime steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, fresh salads and a variety of unique sides and desserts served in a comfortable but elegant atmosphere. Featuring 100 wines by the glass. Open Mon–Thu 5–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m., Sun 4–9 p.m. 600 Grand Blvd., 850-269-0830. $$ d John Wehner’s Village Door Bayfront Restaurant & Nightclub ★ American. Rock your dinner with appetizers such as smoked tuna dip, peeled Gulf shrimp and fried pickles. Follow that with any number of fresh salads, seafood platters or barbecue dinner with your choice of award-winning sauce and pair with wine, beer or a signature cocktail. And hopefully the night will lead you to the best dance floor on the Emerald Coast. Open daily for dinner 5-9 p.m. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 126 Fisherman’s Cove. 850-502-4590. $ d Lin’s Asian Cuisine Asian. Chef Qun Lin whips up steaming portions of your favorite Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. Open Mon–Thu 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 10:30 a.m.– 9:30 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m. 130 Scenic Gulf Dr., Suite 5B, 850-424-5888. $ l d Marina Bar and Grill American. Seafood, po-boys, burgers, salads overlooking the Baytowne Marina and Choctawhatchee Bay. You catch ’em we cook ’em service. Open daily 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Breakfast Sat–Sun 8–11 a.m. Kitchen closed Mon–Tue. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. West., 850-267-7778. $ B l d Marlin Grill ★ Steak and Seafood. Fresh seafood, steaks, salads and appetizers served inside or outside. Open nightly at 5 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1990. $$$ l d

2008-Best Italian 2009-Best Pizza 2010-Best Pizza, Best Chef 2011-Best Pizza, Best Italian & Best Chef 2012-Best Italian

The Melting Pot Fondue. Dip into something different and enjoy an interactive, hands-on, four-course dining experience with a cheese fondue, salad, entrée and chocolate fondue dessert. Open Sun–Thu 5–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m. 11394 Hwy. 98., 850-269-2227. $$$ d Mitchell’s Fish Market Seafood. Chef-driven dishes such as Cedar Roasted Atlantic Salmon or HoisinGlazed Yellow Fin Tuna. Lunch Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Dinner December 2013–January 2014


on the menu

dining Mon–Thu 4–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 4–11 p.m., Sun 3–9 p.m. Grand Boulevard Sandestin, 850-650-2484. $$ l d P.F. Chang’s China Bistro ★ Asian. Sample crunchy lettuce wraps or Chinese favorites like Kung Pao Chicken in a chic atmosphere. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.– 11 p.m. 10640 Grand Blvd., 850-269-1806. $$ l d Pepito’s ★ Mexican. Voted Best Mexican on the Emerald Coast. Authentic Mexican cuisine, delicious margaritas and weekly specials. Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 11225 Hwy 98, 850-269-7788. $$ l d Poppy’s Seafood Factory Seafood. Enjoy fresh seafood, steak and poultry dishes with a view of the bay. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1996. $$$ l d Royal Orchid Thai. Escape to Thailand at this authentic Thai restaurant. Sink into a traditional sunken table surrounded by pillows or dine American style at a table or booth. Thu– Tue 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Closed Wed. 11275 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-2555. $$ l d Rum Runners American. Caribbean/coastal/Mediterranean menu with sandwiches, seafood, steaks, chicken and pasta. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-267-8117. $$ l d Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood ★ Steak and Seafood. Premium steak, fresh seafood and caviar. Open 6 p.m. daily. Hilton Sandestin. 4000 S. Sandestin Blvd., 850-622-1500. $$$ d Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar ★ Caribbean. Get a taste of the islands with jerk spices, fresh fish and the best desserts on the coast as voted by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine. Open Sun– Thu 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight. 525 Grand Blvd., 850-654-1743. $$ l d Osaka Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar



Compass Rose Restaurant and Bar, Valparaiso

Want to escape to the Caribbean? This tropical-themed establishment has the vibe, thanks to the Smoked Tuna Dip served with fresh lemon and flatbread crackers. With just the right hint of spice, this dip takes the curb off hunger. $8


Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House, Destin

The name of this harbor-front restaurant is derived from the owner’s name, Allen Miller Phillips, and his three Labrador retrievers: Bobo, Otis, Shug, A-M-Ps — Boshamps. Don’t leave it to the dogs to enjoy. Come by boat, car or paddleboard. From your perch, dive into the Boshamps “Honest” Gulf Fish Sandwich — grilled, fried or blackened fresh catch with the most delicious hand-cut and salted fries around. Served with Southern slaw for $17.95.


Osaka Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar, Destin

Ever want to watch a chef prepare your meal? Be a part of the action when entertaining chefs serve up grilled hibachi dinners and create smokin’ volcanoes out of onions before your eyes. The filet mignon meal is savory and tender with just a hint of butter. Includes soup and fresh salad served with a delicious homemade ginger dressing, ample Japanese noodles and vegetables, and fried rice — all seasoned and grilled, $29.95.

Compass Rose Restaurant and Bar Caribbean. Waterfront dining overlooking Tom’s Bayou. The cuisine is coastal with a Caribbean-West Indies flair. Enjoy Happy Hour, daily specials and Sunday brunch. Tue–Thur 11 a.m.–9 p.m.,Fri 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sat 4–10 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.– 3 p.m. 303 Glen Ave., 850-389-2125. $$ l d One 20 A Modern Bistro ★ American. Modern American cuisine specializing in seafood, steaks and local fresh produce. Lunch Tue–Fri 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner Tue–Sat 5–9 p.m., Brunch Sun 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. Closed Monday. 120 Partin Drive North, Niceville, 850-729-2120. $$ B l d Pepitos ★ Mexican. Locals love the authentic Mexican cuisine, margaritas and all-day Monday Happy Hour special. Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 4585 E Hwy 20, Suite 100, Niceville, 850-279-4949. $$ l d TradeWinds Italian. A cozy favorite among locals serving heaping portions from old family recipes. Enjoy a number of pasta variations as well as seafood, chicken, veal, steak and thin crust pizza. Expansive wine and beer list. Reservations required. Open Tue–Sat 5 p.m. 205 Government St., 850-678-8299. $$ d

Santa Rosa Beach

98 Bar-B-Que Barbecue. Four generations have perfected Southern barbecue served with your favorite sides. Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon–Sat. 5008 W. Hwy. 98., 850-622-0679. $ l d Basmati’s Asian Cuisine & Sushi Asian. Asian dishes and full sushi bar. Open 4 p.m. daily. 3295 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3028. $$ d Café Tango American. Seafood, poultry and pasta served with specialty sauces. Homemade desserts. Open Tue–Sun 5–10 p.m. 14 Vicki St., 850-267-0054. $$$ d

Photo By Scott Holstein


et course for 2014 with a visit to these successful, satisfying eateries — offering full-flavor food, warm hospitality, charm and entertainment you can drop in and enjoy. After all, ’tis the season.

96 December 2013–January 2014

Vin’Tij Wine Boutique & Bistro American. Traditional favorites and unique house dishes. Open daily 11 a.m.– midnight. 10859 W. Emerald Coast Pkwy., Suite 103, 850-650-9820. $ l d

Fire American. With New Orleans natives in the kitchen, it’s no surprise that this casual fine-dining restaurant is hot. Lunch Thu–Fri 11:30 a.m.– 2:30 p.m., Dinner Mon–Thu 6–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 6–10 p.m., Brunch Sun 11 a.m. 7 Town Canter Loop, 850-267-9020. $$ l d Fish Out of Water Restaurant Continental. Southern coastal cuisine with an Asian flair: tuna, crab cakes, shrimp and scallops. 5:30–10 p.m. daily. Located in the WaterColor Inn, 850-534-5050. $$$ d Louis Louis American. The only thing that isn’t over the top at Louis Louis is the menu pricing. The Moulin Rouge-inspired interior décor is outrageously wonderful. Dine outside or in. The menu has six tasty items, including crab cakes, panned chicken, blackened fish and a few pastas. Mon–Sun 5–10 p.m. 35 Mussett Bayou Rd., 850-267-1500. $ d VKI Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar Asian. Using the freshest ingredients this Japanese gem serves up tasty Hibachi-style stir-fry meals of steak, seafood and chicken prepared at your table as well as artfully prepared sashimi and sushi rolls. Open daily. Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Dinner 4:30–9:30 p.m. 4552 Highway 98, Santa Rosa Beach, 850-267-2555. $$ l d Vue on 30a American. Seafood, beef, poultry, lamb, veal, pastas, soups and bisques. Open Tues– Fri 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Wed–Sat 5–9 p.m. 4801 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-2305. $$ l d

Seaside & Seagrove Beach

723 Whiskey Bravo American. Steak, seafood and casual “beachy” bites. Relax on the rooftop bar with Gulf view. Open daily from 11 a.m. Brunch on Sundays. 3031 Scenic Highway 30A, 850-213-0015. $$ l d Angelina’s Pizza & Pasta Italian. Authentic homemade pizza pie and Italian dishes in a casual atmosphere. Lunch and dinner daily: 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. 4005 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-2500. $ l d

keep in touch!

Bud & Alley’s Restaurant American. Serving fresh seafood, steak and vegetarian options. Open 11:30 a.m. Mon–Fri. Roof bar open 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m. in summer. 2236 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-5900. $$$ l d Café Thirty-A Seafood. Seafood, lamb, duck, filet mignon and pizza. Open daily 5 p.m. 3899 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-2166. $$ d Crush American. Crush features an extensive wine menu, sushi and small plates. Open daily for lunch and dinner, noon–10 p.m. 25 Central Sq., 850-468-0703. $$ l d Great SOuthern Café Southern. Jim Shirley serves up Southern comfort food with a twist. Open daily for breakfast 8–11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m., dinner 4–11:30 p.m. 83 Central Sq., 850-231-7327. $$ B l d La Botana Tapas. Small plates of  Latin-inspired cuisine served in a casual but elegant atmosphere. Wine bar. Lunch and dinner Mon–Fri 4–11 p.m., Sat–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 4281 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-0716. $$ l d La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar Mexican. Traditional Tex-Mex with a coastal twist. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Bar open until 10 p.m. 10343 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-4021. $$ l d Old Florida Fish House and Bar Seafood. Rustic seafood restaurant featuring a new take on old seafood favorites. Full bar. Dinner daily 5 p.m. 5235 Hwy. 30A, 850-534-3045. $$ d V Seagrove Restaurant Seafood. Chef David Cunningham serves up fresh seafood and produce that is locally sourced in a resort casual atmosphere. Open Tue–Sat at 6 p.m. Closed Sundays. 2743 E. County Highway 30A, Seagrove, 850-468-0973. $$$ d Seagrove Village Market Café Steak and Seafood. Enjoy surf-and-turf and a glass of wine, then shop for gifts and souvenirs in the adjacent gift shop. Open 10:30 a.m.– 8:30 p.m. daily. 3004 S. County Rd. 395, 850-231-5736. $$ l d ec December 2013–January 2014


the last word

Suicide Understanding the Aftermath is Prevention By Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite

Suicide affects everyone and is the third leading cause of death among 15–24-year-olds, the second among those between ages 25 and 34, the fourth among people aged 35–54 years and the eighth among those between 55 and 64 years old. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2010 — an average of 105 each day. The holidays are particularly difficult for many, but suicide is preventable.

98 December–January December 2013–January 2014 2014

Know These Key Warning Signs Feeling trapped or a burden on others; hopelessness. Expressing feelings of guilt, failure, shame or desire to die. Substance abuse. Changes in mood, withdrawal, anger or acting recklessly, violent behavior. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, ask for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273TALK (8255). Visit for a crisis center locator.

Illustration by Shruti Shah


eople are complicated individuals. What seems like a happy, well-adjusted person may well be a suicidal man, woman or young adult. How do you know? You don’t. Not really. Many times we may not even see or hear the warning shot until it’s too late. In fact, many people are walking around right now feeling suicidal. I realized this from my interview with an U.S. Army psychologist at Madigan Army Medical Center for a suicide prevention-training documentary I co-produced and directed for the U.S. Coast Guard in the mid-1990s. He also said suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I’ve never forgotten this. For those contemplating suicide, don’t walk away from that thought, that flash of an idea of removing yourself from this world. Run. Suicide is preventable. Your solution exists. If that’s not reason enough, consider this. Think about the aftermath of what you leave behind. The pain. The anguish. The blame game of who contributed to your decision. The decades of healing required by anyone close to you to try and just go a moment, a day without tears welling up, wishing you were near. Figure out what you can do to resolve what’s causing you to choose death as the way out. What’s eating you up can be crushed. Instead of giving up — ask for help. Find a way. Now is temporary. Only you make it permanent by creating an aftermath of grief beyond understanding, beyond the pale of humanity. I am one of those scared by the loss of a loved one who committed suicide. Thirty years later, as I write this, I yearn for him back — to hear his voice again, to tell him I love him, to grow old together, to take his hand and find, back then, that permanent solution for living. After he died, I joined the Coast Guard, in part, to save lives. I also wanted personally to prevent anyone else in my circle from taking his or her own life. My first assignment was on a cutter sailing the Pacific. A senior enlisted member of the crew took his life at home one day. A few years later a senior officer and one of my mentors took his life. Each was a remote connection but an important individual. I felt I had failed to notice the signs. While head of the Pacific Northwest Public Affairs Office in Seattle, I was surprised by a knock on my door from a chaplain. He asked if I could help create a suicide prevention documentary — he had no idea I had first-hand experience with the matter. Within the year, I interviewed specialists. I spoke with spouses and co-workers who lost someone to suicide and interviewed a young survivor. Their touching stories of living with the destroyed, puzzling world each unwilling survivor was trying to put back together piece by piece, saved lives. Brave souls approached me saying now that they could see what was left behind they would never consider suicide. They would ask for help. They would run away from death’s darkness and find a shimmer of light. ec


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Emerald Coast Magazine, December/January 2013-14  
Emerald Coast Magazine, December/January 2013-14  

Capturing the essence of Florida’s thriving Emerald Coast with award-winning writing, bold layouts and stunning photography, Emerald Coast M...