The Thirty-A Review March 2020

INSIDE: Delicious Dining on 30-A 30-A’s Special Communities Hot Real Estate Health & Wellness Art, Business, Culture & More… Spring Break ISSUE

l e t t e r f r o m t h e p u b l i s h e r

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Miles K. Neiman


Managing Editor Jennifer Thompson

Spring break at the beach. I’ve been writing about it for 15 years now. Wow. Time is a funny thing. It sure does fly. And I know I’m not the only business owner on 30-A who has this feeling. In fact, one of the things that makes 30-A so incredible is that most of the businesses and locals have been here for decades. They’ve seen 30-A grow, for better or worse. And they’ve got so much heart invested here that they fight to keep our community solid and beautiful. So, remember this fact when you’re enjoying your family and friends on 30-A this season. Treat our beach like your home, with love and care. And treat our roads like your own cul-de-

sacs. Drive slowly and move carefully. Keep our kids and families safe. We hope you enjoy all the beautiful, delicious, and exciting things that 30-A has to offer. We invite you to make memories and peruse the pages of this magazine for ideas and recommenda- tions. As always, we profile 30-A’s finest people, places, and things. We are proud of our community and we hope you leave proud of it too. Sincerely,

Graphic Design Brenda J. Oliver - Cover Design & Magazine Layout Sharon Jollay - Ads

Photography Jacqueline Ward

Contributing Writers Jessica Badour Susan Benton Andy Butcher Susan Cannizzaro Julie Herron Carson Tess Farmer Tom Fitzpatrick Tracey M. Hawkins Ellen Howle Anne Hunter Alden Mahler Levine Ryan Loftis Courtney Murray Erin Oden Bart Precourt Liesel Schmidt Kimberly Watson Sewell Ridgeley Standard Mary Welch Mary Kathryn Woods

Miles K. Neiman

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The Thirty-A Review is published every other month by Thirty-A Review, LLC. Reproductions in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of the publisher, are strictly prohibited. The Thirty-A Review is not responsible for the content or claims of any advertising or editorial in this publication. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted. Copyright 2006-2020. Send inquiries to 227 Sandy Springs Place, Suite D-288, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. Send press releases and e-mails to

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15 local theatre, dance, music, etc. Theatre and Events in March and April

16 dining Plate to Plate 723 Whiskey Bravo


20 chef profile Kyle Swift

22 local artist Merry Beth Myrick 24 local culture The Language Studio Artist Joan Vienot


30 local style Maison30A: Coastal Chic 32 wellness Anti-Aging: 3 Gs to Avoid

34 local business Nikki Nickerson Discovers New Frontiers 36 real estate Engle & Völkers 30A Beaches The Pointe is the Starting Point to 30-A 40 legal eagles What Happens When A Loved One Dies?

42 turf talk A Teacher’s Lesson Notes




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Theatre and Events in March and April


snack at the end of the workout for an energy boost. Open to the public for ages 9 and up. $50 ++ per person. Wine Down Wednesdays FOOW, 34 GOLDENROD CIRCLE, SANTA ROSA BEACH Every Wednesday (March - May), 5:00pm - close

popcorn and the best hot dogs on the beach from DogManDu! March 10 ���� Cinderella March 17 ���� Hotel Transylvania 2 March 24 ���� Maleficent March 31 ���� Minions April 7��������� Inside Out April 14������� Aladdin FRIDAYS March 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10 Tie Dye, Wacky Hair Join us for some crafty fun on the green! Create your very own tie-dye t-shirt, get your hair done by one of our talented artists and sing your favorite karaoke song! SEASIDE 28th Annual Seaside Prize Weekend (Seaside Institute) LYCEUM & DOWNTOWN SEASIDE March 6 - March 8 Seaside Farmers Market AMPHITHEATER Saturdays: March 7, 14, 21 & 28 and April 4, 11, 18, & 25, 9:00am - 1:00pm Stories by the Sea AMPHITHEATER Mondays-Fridays, March 9 - March and April 1 - April 17, 3:30pm Kids Improv Boot Camp THE REP Tuesdays & Thursdays, March 10-31, 1:00 - 3:00pm Central Square Cinema, 7:30pm AMPHITHEATER Fridays March 13 ���� Frozen II March 20 ���� Abominable March 27 ���� Toy Story 4 April 3��������� Secret Life of Pets 2 Children’s Theatre Perfor- mance “Go, Dog. Go!” – Seaside Repertory Theatre AMPHITHEATER Mondays, March 9, 16, 23, & 30 and April 6 & 13, 6:00pm & Kids’ Karaoke WESTERN GREEN 9:00am - 12:00pm, April 10������� Missing Link April 17������� Wonder Park

Huck & Lilly Kids Music Performance AMPHITHEATER Tuesdays, March 10, 17, 24, 31 and April 7 & 14, 6:00pm Improv Boot Camp THE REP/MEETING HALL Tuesdays & Thursdays, April 2 - April 9, 1:00 - 3:00pm Seaside’s Easter Celebration AMPHITHEATER Sunday, April 12, 11:00 - 2:00pm WATERCOLOR INN St. Patrick’s Day Rooftop Celebration HAVANA BEACH ROOFTOP LOUNGE Sunday, March 17, 11:00am to close (weather-permitting) Today, we’re all Irish! Wear your best green accessory and join Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge for a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration and menu—complete with themed cocktails and Havana Beach’s twist on classic Irish food. Open to the public (must be 21+). In order to seat our guests more efficiently, reservations are not accepted; walk-ins always welcomed. Easter Brunch at Havana Beach Bar & Grill HAVANA BEACH BAR & GRILL Sunday, April 12, 9:00am - 1:00pm Join Havana Beach Bar & Grill for a delectable Easter Sunday Brunch with the whole family. The restaurant will be offering a specially curated brunch buffet, featuring items for both children and adults. Open to the public; $75 + per adult, $40 + per child (12 and under). Reservations preferred (call (850) 588-2882). + A service charge of twenty percent will be added to all guest checks. Fitness Field Day MARINA PARK, 238 WATERCOLOR BLVD. W., SANTA ROSA BEACH First Wednesday of each month (March - May), 8:00am Get a workout for mind and body at WaterColor Inn’s Fitness Field Day, led by certified trainers and coaches. This two-hour program offers a High Intensity Training (HIIT) workout, followed by a cooldown with Yoga. Each camper will receive a healthy

MONDAYS March 9, 16, 23, 30 April 6 Spring It On! Concert Series EAST LONG GREEN 6:30pm - 8:30pm Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy an evening of entertaining musical performances. Each week is a different show…be sure to catch one or all! March 9������� Fais Do-Do (Cajun & Zydeco) March 16 ���� Like Totally Awesome 80s! March 23 ���� “Flying High” (Byrds to the Eagles) March 30 ���� British Invastion April 6��������� Oceans 9 (Boat Pop) TUESDAYS March 10, 17, 24, 31, April 7 Magic in the Air NORTH BARRETT SQUARE 6:00pm - 7:00pm Take a breath of fresh air and let your dreams take flight at “Magic in the Air!” The show is sure to bring joy to your heart, wonder to your mind, and a smile to your face, no matter your age. Come join the magic and excitement with Pittman Productions, as they present an evening of stunning stage magic and mesmerizing grand illusions based on an “in the air” theme, and leave with your spirits feeling lighter than air! WEDNESDAYS March 7, 14, 21, 28 & April Children’s Theatre: NORTH BARRETT SQUARE 6:00pm The Princess and the Pea Enjoy a performance from our friends at The REP Theatre! Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. THURSDAYS March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9 Moonlight Movies WESTERN GREEN Face painting starts at 5:00pm, movie at 7:30pm Bring the family for a wholesome and fun movie night under the stars! Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome! Come early and get your face painted by one of our talented artists! Enjoy

Enjoy 30% off all wines by the bottle from 5pm until close every Wednesday. Cocktails & Canvases THE GATHERING SPOT (LOCATED WITHIN WATERCOLOR INN) Friday, March 27, 7:00 - 9:00pm Grab your apron, invite your friends and join The Gathering Spot for a fun night of painting and sipping. Hone your artistic skills with an instructor- led class and your very own master- piece on canvas. Open to the public. $65 ++ per person; includes art instruction and supplies, one complimentary welcome champagne and one additional alcoholic beverage, plus light fare. Reservations required; call (850) 534-5028. Brewmaste FOOW Sunday, April 5 & April 19, 10:30am - 11:30am Start your Sunday Funday off right with a little detox! Grab your yoga mat and join us for yoga on the Inn Green, immediately following class head to the FOOW patio for a little retox! Open to the public, reservations are preferred as space is limited. Please call (850) 534-5000 to reserve your spot. $25 ++ per person. A glass of wine or a cocktail may be substituted in place of beer at an upcharge with the full menu available for purchase. Admission includes yoga instruction and one (1) beer per person at FOOW. Must be 21+ with valid identification to consume alcohol. Easter Brunch at WaterColor LakeHouse WATERCOLOR LAKEHOUSE Sunday, April 12, 9:00am - 1:30pm Celebrate Easter Sunday with a special family-friendly brunch—complete

Huck & Lilly at Seaside

with delicious house-made delights, beautifully set tables and even pictures with the Easter Bunny! Open to the public. $65 ++ per adult, $30 ++ per child (12 and under). Reservations required; call (850) 534-5050. Earth Day/Craft the Book: “One Plastic Bag” by Miranda Paul THE GATHERING SPOT (LOCATED WITHIN WATERCOLOR INN) Wednesday, April 22, 11:00am Gather the kids for a literary inspired crafting event in partnership with 30A’s own Sundog Books! Guests will get to hear a live reading of One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul, as they craft an artistic creation inspired by the book and made of recycled options (an earth painting made of old newspapers and brown paper bags). Open to the public. $15 ++ per person (all ages welcomed). Books will be available for purchase. Reservations preferred; call (850) 534-5028; walk-ins welcomed. Proof Brewing Co. Beer Dinner FOOW Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 - 8:30pm The Proof is in the cans! In partner- ship with Tallahassee’s Proof Brewing Co., please join us for FOOW’s first-ever beer dinner hosted in our private dining room. Guests will enjoy a four-course tasting menu with beer pairings. $75 ++ per person. Reservations are required as space is limited, please call (850) 534-5050. Must be 21+ with valid identification to consume alcohol.

++ Service charge and sales tax not included.

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Kitchen Takeover Private Chef Service Plate to Plate Brings Fine Dining to You b y Te s s F a r m e r


Plate to Plate not only curates an incredibly impressive custom menu for you, but they also give you more time for conversation and laughter with your friends, which is really what this is all about.

Using locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal produce, Plate to Plate prides itself on the freshness of ingredients to bring a high quality product to the table. Whether their clients are planning a seafood boil in Santa Rosa Beach or stone crab dinner in Miami, Plate to Plate chefs take the local environment into consideration, in addition to any special dietary restrictions or tastes to prepare a delicious meal and memorable experience. “We love hosting dinner parties, but it’s too easy to get stuck in the kitchen, when we’d much rather spend time with our guests,” says Mike Ragsdale of The 30A Company. “Plate to Plate not only curates an incredibly impressive custom menu for you, but they also give you more time for conversation and laughter with your friends, which is really what this is all about.” “We consider ourselves a partner with our clients to accommodate their needs—whether it’s creating a Keto-friendly menu, prepping and cooking the red snapper you caught on a fishing charter that morning, or baking mom’s favorite chocolate cake for a surprise birthday celebration, we’ve done it all,” adds Davis. “We thrive on that person to person experience.” “Meals for my family are sacred, it’s a time for people to come together, to reconnect, to laugh and to love,” says Richard Olivarez, chief marketing officer for Ocean Reef Rentals. “Chef Kali treated us like family and curated a beautiful experience and exquisite meal. Facilitating remarkable experiences through food is not only her business, clearly it’s her passion.” Plate to Plate offers a catalog of services including: private dinners, seafood boils, cooking demonstrations, tea and coffee tastings, table design, hor d’oeuvres for cocktail parties, brunch menus, wine tastings and pairings, cookie baking for kids (or grown- ups), as well as grocery stocking.

W e’ve all been there. Overcrowded restau- rant. Kids melting down. Grandpa’s still circling the block for a parking spot… Rather than going out to dinner after a long day at the beach, a service called Plate to Plate invites you to enlist one of their private chefs to prepare a per- sonalized meal right in the comfort of your home (or home away from home). Whether it’s a twilight dinner for two or a gathering of friends, special oc- casion, family meal or grand party, Plate to Plate steps in to take care of it all. “You do the relaxing while we create a memorable experience for you and your family,” says Kali Davis, Plate to Plate executive chef and CEO. “The 30-A area, all the way to Destin, is the perfect place to offer our in-home personal chef experiences and we are here to help make our clients’ stays at the beach even more enjoyable.” Even as a young girl, Destin native Kali Davis would create elaborate dinner parties for her friends and family, using her mom’s credit card to buy the best cuts of meat and planning multiple courses. Davis worked as a personal chef after attending Johnson and Wales University’s culinary program in Miami. Then, after earning her culinary arts degree and working for One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa in Miami (now the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour), and Bloom in Wynwood, Florida, she returned to the Panhandle to create Plate to Plate and is now expanding the services to other Florida cities.

Executive Chef and CEO Kali Davis

“My experience cooking for a wide variety of cultures and cuisines led me to want to discover what other local communities have to offer,” says Davis. From culinary student to culinary expert, she has truly immersed herself in perfecting her craft and is training a group of up-and-coming chefs to bring her unique personal dining experience to more and more people across the state. Davis and her team have prepared in-home meals for celebrity clientele as well as professional athletes and coaches who visit the beaches along the Emerald Coast. “The best part of my job is connecting with our clients and having the opportunity to play a small yet memorable role during their vacation.”

For more details please visit, call (850) 974-2665 or follow @chefkali on Instagram.

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Fly the Friendly Skies at 723 Whiskey Bravo b y Te s s F a r m e r

A staple on 30-A for over eight years now, 723 Whiskey Bravo has been serving up perfect sunset views along with classic coastal cuisine to visitors and locals alike. Atlanta natives and entrepreneurs Skip and Victoria Moore opened Whiskey Bravo in the spring of 2012 after deciding they would venture into the restaurant business in the beach community that had become such a big part of their lives. “Our vision for Whiskey Bravo was to be a tribute to neighborhood gathering places everywhere and we couldn’t be more excited about the direction it’s taken,” says Victoria Moore. “Friends and memories have been made here. Our community has rallied for important causes, gathered for celebrations, and have made a difference in the success of numerous local charities, which has made the experience so wonderful for us.” The hot spot offers comfortable lounge seating on a rooftop deck as well as a diverse, new menu featuring such items as the whole roasted yellowtail snapper, seafood nachos, and classics like shrimp and grits and specialty burgers. It’s the type of unique restaurant

Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper

Good food feeds the soul, and it was important to us to pour our hearts and souls into the restaurant.

and Rosemary Beach resident Hilda McDonald. It’s these personal gestures that make Whiskey Bravo feel familiar to first-time guests while also adding a newness for those returning for the hundredth time. Cool drinks and ocean breezes, casual attire and friendly conversation, and a classic coastal menu make Whiskey Bravo a favorite for everyone, with many out- of-towners returning year after year to claim their favorite seat on the roof, (one of the few rooftop decks on 30-A), that offers spectacular sunset views from the bar and comfortable lounge seating. Whiskey Bravo is also a popular spot to watch sporting events, with two separate bars and seventeen televisions throughout so guests never miss a moment. Customer favorite menu items include the fresh local grouper (with truffled corn, spinach, and quinoa), the popular fried mac and cheese bites, a twist on the traditional hamburger, and the classic “Victoria” salad: fresh greens with Fuji apples, cranberry, goat cheese, spiced almonds, and champagne vinaigrette topped with a sirloin beef patty. The menu also includes several gluten-free and vegetarian options, and sources only the freshest local seafood and produce. “It’s important to us to offer a full experience for our guests: great atmosphere, great service, and great food,” adds Victoria. “We look forward to bringing that to our friends on 30-A for many years to come.” 723 Whiskey Bravo is located at 3031 East County Highway 30A and is open seven days a week from 5 to 10 p.m. Same day reservations can be made by calling (850) 213-0015. The restaurant also offers a complimentary ride service via the Bravo Bus, which can be reached by calling or texting (850) 687-7560.

experience that offers something for everyone: from memory-making family gatherings to cozy romantic evenings spent by the warm glow of fire pit tables. Whiskey Bravo’s thoughtful beginnings have grown to become a locals’ favorite and a must-dine for visiting tourists. It has lived up to that ideal as the traditional neighborhood gathering place, welcoming all their guests to relax, enjoy, and live by the restaurant’s motto of ‘Cool. Casual. Coastal.’ “Good food feeds the soul, and it was important to us to pour our hearts and souls into the restaurant, even with the name holding a special meaning for our family,”

Victoria and Skip Moore with Hilda McDonald

Photos courtesy of 723 Whiskey Bravo

says Moore. 723 Whiskey Bravo is a nod to their wedding anniversary, July 23, and the tail number on the couple’s Cirrus SR22 airplane, with Whiskey Bravo being their favorite letters from the aviation alphabet. Skip has his pilot license and they travel between Atlanta and 30-A on their plane, making the trip in just over an hour which keeps them closely connected. There are also several touches throughout the restaurant that represent their love of aviation, like the vibrant plane on a wall on the rooftop painted by local artist Andy Saczynski. It’s these gestures in and around Whiskey Bravo that lend the idea that, for the Moores, it’s not just business, it’s personal.

Skip and Victoria also recognize the importance of evolution and variety in the guest experience. “You’re either growing or you’re crashing, and you have to keep it fresh, vibrant, and creative to keep climbing,” says Skip Moore. The couple have listened to what guests value in their experience, as well as customer favorites, like the return of the popular ‘5 for 15,’ which offers five favorite menu items for $15 each from 5 to 6 p.m. each day. In fact, the restaurant has gained such a following and is so well-loved by its patrons, it even has earned lifelong fans who have their own dish on the menu. “The Hilda,” a mouth-watering chicken pot pie with golden pastry puff, is a new addition and honors long-time guest

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Chef Kyle Swift b y C o u r t n e y M u r r a y

S ome people like their job. Some people are passionate about what they do. For Chef Kyle Swift, cooking runs deep within his veins. “If I had to pin-point my single greatest passion for cooking it would be feeding people. The whole process and journey that food and culinary products take to reach the end consumer is amazing,” describes Swift. “Being the last person to assemble those items for someone to consume is fulfilling. Having a person or group of people there to enjoy something I’ve created brings me joy.” His love of the culinary arts goes all the way back to childhood. They didn’t have any chefs in the family, but his mother cooked delicious healthy meals for them every day. It wasn’t anything elaborate, but it was comforting and taught him the foundations for basic cooking techniques that would set him up for life. By 6-7 years old he was scrambling eggs and fully immersing himself into learning the process of cooking. While most 8-12 years old boys are watching Ninja Turtles and Spiderman , Swift was watching Emeril and other cooking shows. His first few restaurant jobs were washing dishes at a buffet restaurant and working in fast food; learning every position in the kitchen. After moving back to Florida, Swift continued to expand his knowledge by gaining experience working in numerous restaurants from Destin to Rosemary Beach. He made the switch to food sales and worked at many beloved establishments along the Emerald Coast, including Christiano’s and Summer Kitchen. After multiple requests from friends, family, and prior customers to come cook for their events or prepare a meal in their home he began making meals in December 2014. By spring 2015 Swiftly Catered was born. The focus was primarily on Four Course Casual Fine Dining: a delightful combination of French, Gulf Coast, Central American, Asian, Creole, and the flavors that people travel to 30-A to enjoy. “We strived to make everything as ‘swift’ as possible. From booking to our cooking process in their homes. We basically set up a casual fine dining restaurant for a few hours in our guest’s home or rental property,” he says. Swiftly Catered has doubled their sales each year since 2015 and now offers private chef services and all culinary needs stretching from Panama City Beach to Destin. Swift and Dallin Harris crossed paths in 2015 when Dallin and his wife Jessie moved here from Utah to begin spreading the Barbacoa Mexican Grill franchise in Inlet Beach, FL. Swift became Harris’s primary vendor as his US Foods Sales Rep and the pair quickly became great friends. Harris began helping with catering events and when he got an offer from a buyer to purchase his

Emerald Coast Grouper

Chef Kyle Swift

Photo courtesy of Snapshot 30A Photography

Chocolate Key Lime Pie

restaurant Harris took it, and then decided to buy into Swiftly Catered. The duo planned to build a catering kitchen in the unique Blue Mountain Beach area. In the process of designing and discussing kitchen ideas, the sale of La Lobas Bakery fell into their laps. The history of the bakery goes back 25 years, and with 13 years in this location came great products, employees, and an established customer base. Swift and Harris are now in the process of rebranding to Blue Mountain Bakery. By keeping the La Lobas brand on their granola and featuring the stories of the three owners the bakery has had, they will pay homage to its roots. Plans include a kitchen/dining room/patio expansion, as well as a dinner and dessert menu, opening on Sundays in season, and delivery options. We basically set up a casual fine dining restaurant for a few hours in our guest’s home or rental property.

One of the most exciting plans is to become one of the first 100% organic bakeries and cafes on the Panhandle. Swift is an avid fisherman and is able to catch and prepare fresh seafood right from our local bays and the Gulf of Mexico. Swift’s advice to a novice chef would be practice. Practice. Practice. “Cooking is all about repetition, once you get an item or dish figured out, set yourself up the same way each time to prepare it again,” says Swift. Repetition has certainly paid off for him. Swiftly Catered & Blue Mountain Bakery look forward to continuing to feed our community and those that come here to enjoy our beautiful beaches. For additional information visit www.swiftlycatered. com or call (850) 972-0850. Go check out Blue Mountain Bakery Monday-Saturday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. at 2217 W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. For more information call (850) 267-0400 or visit

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Merry Beth Myrick b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t

T here’s an old saying about idle hands and for Merry Beth Myrick, that saying might hold some truth. It wasn’t until she put her “idle” hands to use making clothes and jewelry from old pieces she found lying around when she was sent to her room for punishment after bad behavior that she learned how to stay out of trouble. Little did that mischievous little girl know that her penchant for making things—jewelry especially— would eventually lead her to creating her very own jewelry lines. A former wardrobe stylist and boutique owner in Nashville, Myrick worked with a great deal of celebrities, dressing them for commercials, photo shoots, and album covers. And while her talents for putting together great looks kept her at the fore of her field, it was the added little extras that really made her stand out—and eventually gave her the inspiration she needed to find what she really wanted to do with her talent. “When I was styling celebrities in Nashville, I had access to all of the clothes I could ever want or need to create the perfect look; but finding the right jewelry was difficult, so I started making the ideas that were in my head,” Myrick recalls. “I would make pieces for myself and my clients started buying it right off of me. I loved the way their joy made me feel, and that’s when I realized I had a passion and a gift from God for designing jewelry. I haven’t looked back since.” Not looking back and going all in has proven to be the right move, as Myrick now runs a successful jewelry company comprised of two lines: Hardwear Merry and Merry Beth Myrick Designs. “Merry Beth Myrick Designs is my metal work. Each piece starts as wire, metal sheet, or metal clay; and is hand-forged using a torch, many different hammers, files, and an array of other tools. I get an idea in my head and run with it,” she says. “Hardwear Merry is a timeless collection of fun- loving, bohemian pieces made of mixed metals and repurposed materials. I put things together that I find unique, beautiful, and expressive.” Unique is the keyword in all of the things she creates, the very thing that makes her pieces so loved by her customers and the clients for whom she makes custom designs. “Each design tells a story of strength, life, growth, love, and self-reflection. I put my heart, sweat, and soul into every piece; and each line, fold, solder joint, hammer mark, scratch, and imperfection is created by my hands,” she says.

Each design tells a story of strength, life, growth, love, and self-reflection. I put my heart, sweat, and soul into every piece.

Artist Merry Beth Myrick

was the perfect place for both. An artist’s role is to inspire, connect, and collaborate. I love this community as a whole and especially love how much the artists support and collaborate with one another as well as with local businesses and non-profits,” she says. Clearly, living in a place that brings out even more of her creativity is taking her business to greater success; and the beauty, strength, and positivity she feels is taking shape in her designs. Every fold and solder line, every imperfection, is a perfect representation of Merry Beth— and that’s a magical thing.

There’s a beauty in this that people respond to, something that is lost in the mass-produced pieces that flood the market. “Because my pieces are handmade, they’re personal. They tell a story and are a conversational piece because they’re so unique. My clients appreciate the distinctiveness of the pieces, the quality of my craftsmanship, and the aesthetic of my work,” Myrick explains. “They tell me they feel empowered, sexy, and secure when they wear it, and I believe that is because each piece is infused with strength and positive intention.” Finding positivity is inspiring to Myrick. That’s something she’s experienced a great deal of in 30-A, where she now finds connection in the community that so embraces artists. “After vacationing on 30-A for about nine years, I felt drawn to this community and the thriving artist scene. I moved down here to expand my business and relax at the same time without knowing it

For more information and to purchase Merry Beth’s designs, visit

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The Language Studio: Teaching Kids to Celebrate Diversity b y A n d y B u t c h e r

T he young students will face no big end-of- semester test, but Val Wallace will consider her new language program for kids a success if they offer these four words at the end of their time: “Me gusta el español!” (“I like Spanish!”). She is not just looking to encourage a new generation of Hispanic speakers but foster an appreciation for other voices. “We need to teach our children there are different countries, different languages, different looks; and they are okay, and we accept and celebrate them,” says the Bolivian-born founder of The Language Studio, opening its Emerald Coast doors in the first quarter of 2020. Children aged three through six are being introduced to Spanish and Latino culture through a new, play-based after-school program in Santa Rosa Beach. The 45-minute sessions are deliberately technology-free, relying on hands-on activities and music to stimulate interest. Practically speaking—no pun intended—there’s good reason for starting Spanish classes young. The Hispanic-speaking population of the United States, currently around 18 percent, continues to grow, making fluency an advantage in personal and business life. And then there are the other benefits of learning another language while still young. It has been found to improve academic results in other areas, in addition to encouraging individual openness and curiosity. That inquisitiveness is what brought Wallace to the United States in the first place. She arrived as a 17-year-old exchange student, only to discover that the classroom English she had learned back in Bolivia was a far cry from that of her host community in Central Florida. Undeterred, she pressed on, learning to speak like a local, and graduated high school here, going on to earn a degree in marketing from the University of West Florida in Pensacola. From there she went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., for a master’s in international education. Since then she has worked as a college counselor, helping hundreds of Bolivian students pursue further education in the United States as she did.

“After Alex was born, I felt the need to really connect to my world, my culture, to immerse her in who I am as a person, so we had a couple of years in Bolivia,” Val says. Anna was born while they were there, in Val’s home city of La Paz. Now back in the United States, Val and her daughters speak Spanish at home, switching to English when needed. While Florida has the fourth-largest Hispanic population in the country—around a quarter of its people, behind California, Texas, and New York—the Emerald Coast doesn’t reflect that statewide mix. The Latino or Hispanic populations of Bay, Gulf, and Walton counties are each around just 5-6 percent, while Okaloosa hits 8 percent. Still, Wallace has found an interest among parents wanting their children to explore Spanish language and culture that is encouraging to her. “I love living here, it’s a wonderful community,” she says, “but I think we are missing a little of that cultural diversity piece we all need; that’s part of what I want the studio to provide.” As The Language Studio grows, she is considering adding sessions for older students and even adults. For now, the emphasis is on kids and fun. “It needs to be organic,” says Wallace, who has given her bi-lingual skills as a volunteer translator at the Point Washington Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa Beach, which offers free primary care. “They need to take it in in a very natural way, like my girls have done.” Hence the hands-on, no- tech emphasis—games, songs, activities, art, repetition. Classes are small, just a handful of students, to ensure plenty of one-on-one attention. “I don’t expect them to come out speaking a lot of Spanish, but I feel I will have accomplished something if we have created this multicultural awareness and appreciation,” Wallace says. Something as simple as, “Me gusta el español!” The Language Studio is located at 827 E. Mack Bayou Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Call (850) 428-0206 or go to to find out more. Open: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 3-4 years, 3:30-4:15 p.m.; 5-6 years, 4:30-5:15 p.m.

Val Wallace

The Language Studio is born out of her personal and family experience. She and husband Trent—they met when Val was in Pensacola—have focused on providing a bilingual and multicultural environment for their two daughters, Alex (5) and Anna (3).

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Artist Joan Vienot Returns to Seaside From Card Table to Gallery Exhibition b y A n n e H u n t e r A fter growing up in a farming community north of Denver, earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree Joan Vienot

As 80-acres of scrub oak and sand transformed into the world’s first new urbanist town, founders Robert and Daryl Davis opened doors for the arts community. “Daryl invited artists to sell their creations. I would set up a table in the beach-shrub clearing where Perspicasity was planned to be built.” From her card table, Vienot sold ink drawings of beach scenes for $5 each. Now, forty years later, the artist returns to Seaside, this time with a series of large oil paintings from her collection Sea and Sky that will hang inside the gallery at 25 Central Square this spring. In the 40 years that would pass between Vienot’s Seaside exhibitions, her large oil painting of a Caribbean scene hung behind the bar at Criolla’s Restaurant in Grayton Beach. Susan Foster opened one of the first art galleries in Walton County at Van Ness Butler’s old office in Grayton, where Vienot first encountered Robert Davis and where the name “Joan Vienot” was inscribed on the gallery sign as the featured watercolorist. The big boom of development was yet to come. Having met with only moderate artistic success in the then-sparsely populated secret of the south, Vienot started a pool service business called Pool Pal, which grew exponentially with Scenic Highway 30A. She sold the business in late 2015 to focus solely on supporting the arts while resuming the life of a full-time artist, the career path she intended from her studies at the University of Northern Colorado. An avid stand-up paddle boarder and nature enthusiast, the artist often returns with a palette in hand to the magnificent local scenes or landmarks that she scouts on her adventures. “My paintings and drawings reflect my love of the natural world as I strive for effective expression of the truth and beauty I experience. My goal is to express my truth and to share with others in a way that helps them to see beauty and to think about my imagery in relation to themselves. By sharing my perceptions filtered through my worldview, I try to convey my understanding that we are one with each other and with nature.”

in Fine Art from the University of Northern Colorado, and teaching art in the Denver area public school system, a young woman named Joan Vienot charted a new adventure and set out for the Forgotten Coast on the panhandle of Florida to become an artist. The year was 1980, and Walton County was not yet established as one of North America’s burgeoning last frontiers. In the silence that once filled our now bustling towns, the pioneering painter would dedicate her creative passion to transforming blank canvas into the chic and effortless style for which she is now known. “I met Joan at a figure drawing class in Alys Beach in 2010 and wondered who she was because she was clearly one of the most talented artists I had seen in the area. She has stellar use of light and dedication to improving her craft,” artist Allison Wickey says, when she learned that Vienot would be presenting a collection of her works in Seaside at Anne Hunter Galleries this March and April. Vienot’s two-month solo exhibition introduces a collection of works inspired by the artist’s interpretation of the iconic waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The collection brings her full circle with the community of Seaside that was still a young man’s dream when Vienot set foot on the shores of Walton County. Soon after her arrival, the aspiring artist was visiting the real estate office of the late Van Ness Butler in Grayton Beach. “A young man came in for a short conversation with Van Ness,” she recalls. “When he left, Van Ness said to me, ‘Keep an eye on that young man. He just inherited 80-acres from his grandfather, and he has an idea to develop a whole community.’ Of course, ‘that young man’ was Robert Davis and he would go on to do just that!”

My goal is to express my truth and to share with others in a way that helps them to see beauty and to think about my imagery in relation to themselves.

For more information: Anne Hunter Galleries, 25 Central Square, Seaside, FL, info@annehuntergalleries. com; www.annehuntergalleries/joanvienot

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Coastal Chic, Custom Made b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t

unique collection of modern concrete and teak wood furniture that can be used both indoors and outdoors,” he goes on. “We specialize in unique coastal chic furniture and art, but our clients also love our custom industrial farmhouse furniture and custom reclaimed wood furniture.” “Custom” seems to be the underlying theme, the very thing that makes Maison30A such a destination for clients in search of the perfect piece to finish off a space or an entire collection to create their dream home. Building relationships with their customers to assess their needs and truly capture their vision, Bailey and his team offer something that can’t be found at just any furniture store and a level of expertise that has taken years to cultivate. As anyone meeting with Bailey can easily sense, the man knows design and understands how to layer a look, how to use colors to complement a space and make a focal point stand out even more, how and where to use different textures. Bailey is a wealth of knowledge, a fact which his clients clearly appreciate and rely on. And while he could easily have stayed in one of the larger markets to set up shop, it was following his heart and moving to the beach that made him truly

Photos courtesy of Maison30A

love where he lives. “My parents owned one of the first homes built in Seaside, and after many years of living in California and Atlanta, I decided it was time to move to the beach and be closer to my parents, who currently live in Dune Allen Beach on 30-A,” Bailey says of his decision for the move. “My career has been a whirlwind journey that has taken me

I ndustrial and mid-century modern have long been en vogue in interior design, showing up in everything from light fixtures to couches and end tables, so when Birmingham AL native Christopher Bailey opened his first store in 1996, he couldn’t have chosen a better focus for his San Francisco- based boutique. From there, he went on to create Industrial Chic Loft, selling his designs at antique shows in chic design hotspots, including Atlanta; Round Top, Texas; Manhattan; and Brimfield, Massachusetts; as well as showrooms in Atlanta and High Point, North Carolina. It was moving to the Emerald Coast, however, that truly opened up even greater possibilities for Bailey’s talents for designing and making custom furniture pieces and his skill for interior design. The decision to relocate the production of Industrial Chic Loft to Panama City Beach proved to be a wise move that would eventually lead him down a familiar road. “We use raw materials such as steel, cast iron, reclaimed aged wood, concrete, rivets, and mechanical elements to create our custom furniture pieces and handcraft each piece into functional and stunning furniture that suits coastal design for the home, loft space, or office,” Bailey says of his popular Industrial Chic Loft line. Meeting success at the market

in which he now found himself as a resident of the beach community, Bailey was soon inspired to set up shop along the beaches of 30-A; and in July 2019, he opened Maison30A. “Maison30A is a home and garden store unlike any other store in the area,” Bailey contends. “We have a large selection of pots and planters in all shapes and sizes, with a focus on neutral, natural colors and materials. We also offer custom designed furniture built to our clients’ specifications, which is an ability that certainly sets us apart; and I work with designers to supply them with unique pieces and custom-built designs for both residential and commercial projects. We also have a

all over the world to finally land at the world’s most beautiful beaches, and I am excited to bring all of my experience from the past two decades in the design industry to Maison30A.” Maison30A is located at 16810 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, Florida 32413. Open Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, visit www. or call (850) 775-1227. For more information on Industrial Chic Loft, visit www.

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Anti-Aging: 3 Gs to Avoid! b y D r . B a r t P r e c o u r t

W ant to look great? Think clearly? Feel good?… of course you do! And this is why the idea of incorporating strategies to “anti-age” have become more and more popular. Is it vain to want to feel great, look great, and think clearly? If it is... I’m guilty and will encourage you to be also. Instead of thinking about just procedures that we have done to us, let’s

Dr. Bart M. Precourt

The goal is to truly slow down and even reverse the actual causes of aging.

switch our mindset to the actions we can take. The goal is to truly slow down and even reverse the actual causes of aging. First, let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with aging, it’s a part of life. This bio-hack of avoiding the 3 Gs is simply way to develop a solid strategy so you can slow down the process and avoid the “unnecessary” and detrimental effects of aging too fast. Understanding and avoiding the 3 Gs will be your greatest weapon in the war against the aging process. AKA and better known as SUGAR or anything that converts into sugar. A good question is why? What’s wrong with sugar? It tastes good, gives us energy, changes our mood. So, what’s so bad about it? It comes down to a simple formula. Sugar causes an increase in oxidation. This oxidation is at the root cause of our bodies breaking down and aging. When you see wrinkling skin, think a lack of oxygen to the tissue. This is the effect of oxidation. Sugar causes oxidation and an increase in free radicals. This is why we hear the importance of eating foods that are high in antioxidants like vegetables and plants or using supplements like Co-Q10 or the full complex vitamin C. These antioxidants help rid our bodies of these cell-destroying free radicals. Gluten: I’m going to make a bold statement: We would ALL be better off without gluten. You don’t have to have a gluten allergy to be adversely affected by it. Gluten is found in foods like bread, cereals, pizza, muffins, crackers etc. It’s not that humans can’t handle a little gluten here and there. It’s that we have consumed too much gluten over time. The side effects from gluten THE 3 GS TO AVOID! Glucose:

are numerous: weight gain, bloating, brain fog, acne, auto-immune issues, hormone imbalances, and thyroid dysfunction, to name a few. Maybe the biggest concern with gluten is the impact it has on our digestive system leading to conditions such as leaky gut and SIBO. What all this leads to is INFLAMMATION on a cellular level. (Actually, all 3 of these Gs increase inflammation.) This is what speeds up the aging process. Inflammation has long been considered the root of all evil. Inflammation on a cellular level inhibits the ability for our cells to get nutrients

in and toxins out. This causes premature aging and death of our cells. A.k.a.: look and feel older than we should.

These toxins are not only destructive to our cells, they cause increased inflammation, both of which lead to speeding up cellular death and the aging process. MORE ANTI-AGING BIO-HACKS Avoiding the bad stuff is part of the strategy. The other part is to add the good! Here are some time-tested easy strategies for some true anti-aging. Top of the list: SLEEP! Get and stay well rested. Increase your essential fatty acids: fish oils! These help brain function and reduce inflammation. And one more… eat less often. Give your motor a chance to rest and recover. Be healthy, act healthy! Dr. Bart M. Precourt, D.C., is a Holistic Doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist and nutritional consultant. For nearly 20 years he has helped people get healthy, lose weight and create healthy sustainable lifestyles. He currently practices in Seagrove Beach, FL at Balance Health Studio, For a consultation, contact Balance Health Studio at (850) 231-9288.

Glyphosate (what is this??) There is a chance you have never heard about this. Yet my guess is that you may unknowingly eat it daily. You may also be using it to kill weeds in your lawn with a product called Roundup TM . Glyphosate is used as a chemical compound to kill weeds. It is also in GMO seeds that are considered Roundup ready. These are shockingly common in everyday foods we consume. These seeds are used to grow the majority of crops in our country. The most common are corn, soy, canola oil, and potatoes. So yes, all that talk about eating organic and non-GMO foods is right on! When you eat foods born by seeds that are Roundup ready, you are consuming glyphosate. What’s the problem with that you ask? Only that it directly shortens your telomeres and down regulates your DNA function. Ultimately it is one of the worst toxins that we can put into our bodies.

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Nikki Nickerson Discovers New Frontiers b y Te s s F a r m e r

B orn in Texas and raised in the South, Nickerson’s enterprising spirit led her away from corporate America that she conquered in the ‘90s toward new, sun-drenched opportunities at the beach. Founder and owner of Cowgirl Kitchen in Rosemary Beach and Cowgirl Kitchen Market in Seagrove, she and her team have recently opened their newest venture, Blue Mabel Restaurant and Bar in Blue Mountain Beach, on the west end of 30-A. What was your original idea for opening a restaurant on 30-A? “I started thinking about the restaurant business in 2004/2005, mostly stemming from my passion for collecting wine. I always enjoyed cooking and entertaining and felt it would provide a good synergy with my real estate clients to have a place to wine and dine while they looked for property. I love the hospitality world, bringing people together to break bread and enjoy each other’s time together. Eating and drinking together is one of the greatest joys we can experience in our day- to-day rituals.” “The first ten years were pretty nose to the grindstone. I was working at our flagship location 80-90 hours a week for the first seven years, then my time started to split into the new locations as they were getting off the ground. My focus now is on training my senior leaders to lead with a good amount of autonomy to make smart decisions. I am focused now on culture and innovation— how can we improve everything we do always, for both staff and our customer dining experiences. Can you describe your vision for the future of your businesses? “I strongly believe in putting money back into the businesses to make improvements. I recently was awarded a James Beard Foundation Fellowship, which is a truly rewarding experience to be surrounded by other female culinary chefs and owners with the opportunity to collaborate on our work worlds. The experience has provided great feedback and support for continuing to cultivate my businesses and train new young leaders in my company and in the community.” How has doing business changed and evolved since then?

What is your vision for building a successful team? “Having a great team working along with me has everything to do with our success and growth. A great team for me is not only managers, it is everyone from servers to assistants to dishwashers. How we treat each other and how everyone feels about the company and working together is essential. I have always made it a point to hire based on mindset first. I feel people can learn skills and become more competent with training and development. It’s most important to have a mindset of thinking positively, taking responsibility, and having a good work ethic to become an integral part of our team. When you love what you are doing, you can have challenging days and look forward to easier days again. There will always be a mix of both. “Growing more locations has enabled us to offer more upward mobility with the company long term, as well as better benefits for everyone. Our goal is to continue to provide opportunities for ownership and equity roles for all staff. I really love my team, they have big hearts and make life really fun.” Now let’s get to the food! What’s your favorite dish at each restaurant? Cowgirl Kitchen Restaurant and Bar: “Hoo Ha Pizza and our house salad. One of our most popular pizzas is the Drunken Cowgirl, we’ve had it on the menu since 2007. It sounds strange but it has a special red vodka cream sauce, garlic, tomato, sliced green olives, bacon, mozzarella and fresh parmesan... the Hoo Ha version was created by Rosemary Beach resident Bret Azzarelli and we add jalapeños to it. (Inside tip: It’s not on the menu, but the staff know what it is when ordered!)” Cowgirl Kitchen Market: “Veggie Tacos. We take black bean patties and top them with roasted corn salsa, hatch green chile crema, queso fresco, and avocado. It’s a terrific combo and makes for the perfect lunch on a beach day.” Blue Mabel Restaurant and Bar: “Peel and Eat Shrimp Bowl. Executive Chef Steven Sandy makes a smoked kimchi butter which has a nice spice level to it, and adds

Peel & Eat Shrimp

Lump Crab Cake

Brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, house sausage, and gulf shrimp. Then we serve it with sage biscuits to mop up the sauce... it’s pretty delicious and unique, just right for the patio and paired with margaritas.” Do you have the only drive thru on 30-A? What other conveniences do you offer vacationers? “We are the only drive thru on 30-A but it’s not yet open at Blue Mabel. What we do provide on the convenience end that most people don’t know about is catering drop- off service through our catering company, Southern Belle Catering. We do casual offerings that are perfect for visitors staying for the week and also have a full-scale catering department with a great director overseeing the production of all of our dips, spreads, casseroles, which are for sale at each location.”

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