art & design

Home is Where the Heart is

By Melanie Pagan

Perhaps the most beloved place in the world is where you hang your hat, and we want to ensure your house looks and feels just as you want it to. In our Home & Garden issue, we bring you the area’s most prominent professionals in design and landscape, and a plethora of tips and trends to inspire.

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Robb & Stucky International

In Times of the Islands, we eliminate any ideas you may have of composting being too difficult, and explain just how beneficial thinking green when it comes to fertilizing can be. And while we’re in the garden, we explore one of the most obsessed about blooms in the world – the orchid. There are many passionate collectors of this epiphyte in Southwest Florida, and professionals explain just what makes it so special.

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RSW Living features the majestic river creatures known as koi, and shows what it takes to create a beautiful and sustainable home for them right in your backyard. Read on for a story on our cover stars, Robb & Stucky International, detailing how they’ve managed to recreate the brand while still staying close to their Southwest Florida roots.

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Pick up a copy of Gulf & Main for our exclusive Q&A with Berne Davis – Fort Myers’ benefactor of the arts, and a woman who has witnessed decades worth of change in the town she grew up in. Look no further for wonderful suggestions of aromatic plants to add to your garden, because also inside is a feature on fragrant flowers that are perfect for our sunny climate.

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More interested in pleasing your taste buds via homegrown items? Bonita & Estero has you covered with a piece on edible and drinkable landscaping. Moving indoors, we tell you why your home is in exceptional hands with Collins & DuPont Design Group.

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Collins & DuPont

So curl up on the couch with your favorite magazine of ours in hand, flip through the pages, and let the contents of our issue inspire you. Because no matter where you live, we know it’s important to feel great in the comfort of your own living space.

Melanie Pagan is the assignment editor and social media coordinator for TOTI Media, Inc.

The Big Picture

By Melanie Pagan

It may be a late New Year’s resolution, but I’m seriously considering carrying a camera with me whenever I go out. Southwest Florida is blessed with so much natural beauty that it can be difficult to breathe in every gorgeous moment. Every morning driving over the Sanibel Causeway is like a guessing game of anticipation. Will I see a pelican diving in the water today? Or perhaps an osprey will be perched on the railing, eyeing its next prey.

But wildlife sightings don’t just happen on the islands. Brightly colored butterflies and honey bees can often be found dancing around blooming flowers in Bonita, and powerful birds like hawks, or even eagles, are at times visible in the sky.

When photographers come to Southwest Florida, they know they have some major shooting opportunities, and we thought our January/February Outdoors & Sports issues would be a great place to showcase some of their works. In Times of the Islands, we’ve dedicated an entire spread to breathtaking snapshots of Blind Pass and Roseate Spoonbills, all taken by Sanibel-based photographer Jonathan Tongyai.

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Reflections by Jonathan Tongyai

Even more Southwest Florida photographs are celebrated in the pages of Bonita & Estero Magazine, where we profiled five artists—Garth Francis, Mark Renz, Peggy Farren, David Meardon, and Gordon Campbell—and their shots of lush landscapes and exotic animals.

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Great Egret Display by David Meardon

I know I can only hope to mimic the talent of these individuals through pictures of my own (although I can certainly admire them in our magazines!), but we are constantly surrounded by precious moments here in Southwest Florida, and they are just begging to be captured in time.

Melanie Pagan is the Assignment Editor and Social Media Coordinator for TOTI Media, Inc.

Mermaids, Dolphins, Elves, Oh My!

By Melanie Pagan

This month on the island is truly a special one for residents and guests alike. Captiva Holiday Village holds a series of events that combine the essence of a winter wonderland with a laid-back, tropical twist (think Palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights).

This past weekend, I enjoyed watching the Fourth Annual Golf Cart Parade while it traveled from Chadwick’s Square at South Seas Island Resort to Andy Rosse Lane, looping around Chapin and Wiles Drive and back past the Green Flash restaurant before returning to South Seas. I even managed to snap a few shots of the creative carts amid the excitement!

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This year’s winners included:
Best in Show- American Realty of Captiva’s “Snow Renourishment”
Commercial Category- Kingfisher Vacation’s” Rudolphin”
Non-commercial Category- Mixed Nuts, featuring Betsy Hanna, Terry McClure, Cannella Mullins, Kim and Kathleen Nealon, and Deb Wendall.

Click here to see which events have yet to take place during the Captiva Holiday Village weekends!

A portion of the $20 entrance fee benefitted the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Melanie Pagan is the editorial assistant/social media representative for TOTI Media, Inc. and she encourages you to participate in our Sanibel Stoop picture contest. LIke our Facebook page for details.

Run, Run, Rudolph

By Melanie Pagan

Recently on our Facebook, we shared the image below of TopNotch® Records singer, songwriter, and pianist Whitney Wolanin  hanging out with musician Gavin DeGraw. She ran into him while filming her short parody film for Run, Run Rudolph–a song that will play in over 100,000 retail stores this holiday season!

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photo courtesy of iTopNotch.net

The film has already played in Berlin, Paris and IDAR Oberstein, but you can une into it here:

To hear more music by Whitney Wolanin, download her holiday mini-album Run, Run, Rudolph available on iTunes now! Learn more about the singer in our January/February issues, on stands soon.

 Melanie pagan is the editorial assistant for TOTI Media, Inc.

Hot Updates in the City

by Melanie Pagan

It was Friday afternoon. It was downtown. It was alive.

It was a far cry from how I remembered it.

I have lived in Fort Myers for most of my life, growing along with changes in the area. I can recall downtown gems from way back when (Ichiban in 2003, Liquid Café in 2004), but aside from hole-in-the-wall venues and eateries, the cityscape hardly left room for recreation. The only regulars strolling down First Street were business workers or bill payers.

But something changed in the years that I have neglected the River District. It has developed into a sort of urban playground, packed with boutiques, art galleries, live music, restaurants, bakeries, and plenty of event venues and tourist attractions.

I must say, when my colleague and I visited the local businesses to share our latest issues of Gulf & Main, I was pleasantly surprised with all the life that has since sprouted in the area. Each block had something unique to our eyes—Linen Cottage featured vintage cottage-style décor, Arts for ACT Gallery & Studio sold eclectic paintings and women’s wear, and Naples Soap Company showcased organic skincare products almost too attractive to use.

After a few hours, we had passed enough people dining outdoors to work up an appetite of our own. We stopped at Bennett’s Fresh Roast—a coffee and donut shop cozy enough that workers must know regulars on a personal basis.

As I devoured my cinnamon sugar donut (and wondered how they managed to pack so much flavor into such a delicate snack), my colleague and I talked about how refreshing it was to re-familiarize ourselves with an area we both previously knew so well. The amount of art, culture, fashion and fun we witnessed that day was palpable. It almost felt like being in a bigger city, only more rewarding because we knew the developments stemmed from creative Fort Myers individuals who believed in our urban core’s potential.

With that said: hats off to all the business owners and frequenters of downtown Fort Myers. You have succeeded in making our city a touch more vibrant.

Is there a specific downtown “gem” you feel could use some recognition? Or, maybe you want to share appreciation for past stories we’ve run to shed light on the city. To the long time locals: do you remember a downtown shop from back in the day? Share it with us! Supporting homegrown endeavors brings a sense of unity to the town we call home.

Be sure to watch for downtown Fort Myers’ latest developments, as well as features on prominent figures in the area by exploring future issues of Gulf & Main magazine.

Melanie Pagan is the editorial assistant for TOTI Media, Inc.