in the community

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.

Save the Dates

By Melanie Pagan

Boy, has it been a busy week at the office! As we try to include all of the great news and local happenings that surround us into our publications, Southwest Florida continues to bustle with so much excitement that we simply cannot fit everything into one issue! Here are a few January/February events that we’d still like to acknowledge:

Pedaling for Safe Pathways
Sunday, January 26, 6:30am
More than 700 people will attend the Naples Pathways Coalition (NPC) Bike Brunch, which will start in Lowdermilk Park at 6:30am. NPC is a non-profit advocacy group working for a fully integrated transportation network of sidewalks, bike lanes, and multi-use pathways to be used by cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized users throughout Naples and Collier County. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Cancer Alliance of Naples.
naplespathways.org
239-777-7718

Gale Bennett w the Art Student Painting
Gale Bennett 75: Retrospective Art Exhibit
Friday, February. 7-Saturday, March 1
Alliance for the Arts
Gale Bennett can justifiably be called Southwest Florida’s most renowned native artist and art teacher. During the years from 1996 to 2007, he welcomed nearly 1,000 artists to his workshops in Monet’s famous village of Giverny, where they enjoyed the rare privilege of painting in Monet’s Gardens seven days a week.
ArtInLee.org
239-939-2787

Mrs. Edison at the piano
Mrs. Edison’s Hymn Sing

Tuesday, February 11, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm
The First Presbyterian Church
Celebrate the Edison Festival of Light and help feed the hungry by attending the 25th Anniversary Mrs. Edison’s Hymn Sing at The First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fort Myers at the corner of Second Street and Lee Street. Food and cash donations to benefit The Soup Kitchen of CCMI are encouraged.
fpcfortmyers.org.
239-334-2261

music
A Musical Evening with Cello & Friends

Wednesday, February 19, 7:30pm
Foulds Theatre, Alliance of the Arts
Enjoy a casual concert exclusive enough to feel like it’s performed just for you. Cello Bennett plays in the company of musicians such as Jenny Hayden Densen, Irwin “Sandy” Densen, Judy Richey, Carlene Thissen, and Rachel Cox.
theatreconspiracy.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=620053
239-936-3239

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The Screaming Orphans Concert

Saturday, February 22, 8pm
Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center
Four hilarious, musically obsessed, Irish sisters who call themselves the Screaming Orphans return to Fort Myers for their fifth annual concert at the SBDAC. Enter the theater early to listen to the band Kilt the Messenger, who will be performing out front starting at 6pm. All proceeds benefit the Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation and the Rotary Trust Fund.
sbdac.com
239-333-1933

Be sure to check out events highlighted in our January/February issues, including the Women’s Pro Classic at South Seas, Taste of the Islands, Noah’s Concert for the Kids, the HITS Triathlon Naples, the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial and more. For additional ideas on how to spend your upcoming days, visit our online calendar at TOTIMedia.com.

Melanie Pagan is the Assignment Editor/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.

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.