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The Sky is Not the Limit

Originally posted as the Publisher’s Letter in our January/February 2015 Outdoors & Sports edition of Times of the Islands

By Daniela E. Jaeger

Is it just me, or did 2014 make an exit with amazing speed? It’s hard to imagine that 2015 is already here and we have a clean slate—12 months to do with as we please—ahead of us.

Such a wonderful opportunity for fulfillment, excitement and enrichment should not be taken lightly. Think of it as a blank canvas awaiting your creation. And remember, closing the door on 2014 is followed by the new door of 2015 swinging open with a renewed vigor. Therefore, look back, even if briefly, to learn from your past and then forge forward. Here are some ideas to motivate you, ones that always seem to work for me:

  • Set your own goals for the year. Actually writing things down can be a great motivator.
  • Review any disappointments from last year, and see them as a chance to do better this year.
  • Become more of a giver and less of a taker. It’s amazing how good you’ll feel.
  • Nurture your closest personal relationships and reach out to the people you have thought about over the past year—and make a real effort to reconnect.
  • Use every ounce of your talents, skills and knowledge to be the best person you possibly can be and use these gifts to benefit others as well. In fact, make it a habit to do this every day.
  • Focus on your health by eating better, sleeping more and thinking positive with a real purpose.
  • Learn a new language or add a new word to your vocabulary, discover a new hobby or take up the sport that your friends never imagined would hold any interest for you.

One of my best memories is when my husband, Friedrich, and I took “the plunge”—literally—out of an airplane. I have to admit that up until the second we were gently prodded out of the open door, I had wondered to myself: Just exactly what am I doing here? But, the second we were clear of the plane, I felt an almost surreal sense of achievement, pride and success. We had taken a figurative and literal leap of faith, and it felt amazing. All of the planning, anticipation, preparation and apprehension of our skydiving adventure paid off in huge dividends of accomplishment, self-satisfaction and exhilaration.

We knew we could do it, we did it, and it was done!

It’s an experience like this that not only adds an incredible jolt to life, but motivates you to reach other goals whether personal or professional. So next time you hesitate, for whatever reason, remember our leap of faith and go for it! The sky is not the limit, but only a new beginning.

Here’s another example of going for it. Back in the 1970s there were four women on Sanibel who had a goal. In the feature Pedaling the Path to Paradise, we tell the story of how these women started with an idea that resulted in the island’s highly successful shared use bicycle path. Thanks to their perseverance, thousands of people today enjoy Sanibel by riding this trail.

Another person who has indeed reached beyond the sky with his success is featured on page 18. Times of the Islands goes one-on-one with ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman. Read about his 35-year career covering the NFL and other national sports for the television network and how he made his way to our islands.

In closing, I want to challenge you to an earlier thought about adding a new word to your vocabulary. So here it is: hornswoggle. Can you really hornswoggle your way to success?

Daniela E. Jaeger is the publisher of TOTI Media, Inc. 

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.

Ocean’s Allure

By Melanie Pagan

Do you hear that? The open ocean calling your name? Judging by the amount of life on Sanibel these days, the waves are certainly beckoning some souls.

Whether one is physically on island, or just frequently dreaming of a view where the ocean meets the sky in an infinite horizon, our March/April issues cater to the individuals who feel ultimate tranquility at sea.

We cover all things water-related in all four publications, from boating to fishing to seafood, so no matter where you are, you can enjoy the essence of the islands.

In Times of the Islands, we bring you tongue-in-cheek illustrations by Dave Drotleff of a Sanibel dweller’s favorite activity: shelling! Variations of the notorious “Sanibel Stoop”—like the sneaky stoop and the silly stoop—are detailed so beachgoers can identify these characters next time they’re out on the sand.

But it’s not just the humans of the islands the magazine focuses on. Flip the pages and you’ll find out more about the alligators that freely roam Sanibel, and how man and beast have come to coexist over the years.
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Gulf & Main features historical fish houses and the bygone fishing industry they represent. Read further for a story on nautical knots, and the importance of tying one that’s seaworthy.
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Pick up a copy of RSW Living, and you’ll see how we’ve captured the mighty presence of the tarpon in Boca Grande, with insight on what it takes to reel in the powerful Silver King. Also inside, nature-lovers can learn some of the best places to enjoy local waters, from popular spots to hidden gems.
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Bonita & Estero includes one avid surfer’s account of riding unexpected waves on the Gulf, right off secluded Cayo Costa State Park.

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As always, you can expect to find stories about local booming businesses, inspirational people, trends, events and more, but let’s be honest: visitors and residents alike are interested in the area for one main reason, and that’s because we are never truly alone here. We are always surrounded by the sea.

Melanie Pagan is the Assignment Editor and Social Media Coordinator at TOTI Media, Inc. Follow her on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

Hello, Twenty Fourteen

By Melanie Pagan

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At the start of any new year, thoughts of how to make the next 365 days better than the last flood through countless minds.

But while everyone is stuck trying to master changing threes to fours when writing out dates, we at TOTI are continuing to plan stories as far out in advance as November/December. Producing bimonthly magazines requires us to work so far ahead that we can easily forget about the now.

So, this is us reflecting on 2013, and looking forward to the future.

In the last year, we have worked with a number of innovators, expanded our team, grown our loyal fan-base, created a stronger internet presence, attended marvelous events and have done our best to capture special sides of the area we call home.

Like anyone else, we have experienced some bumps in the road, but it’s the mountains and valleys of life that keep the journey exciting. Through trial and error, we’ve managed to keep a consistent mindset: work diligently to give readers a high-quality magazine to indulge in.

Even in an increasingly digital world, nothing beats the feeling of curling up with a magazine in hand, and flipping through glossy pages with dazzling photographs and stories highlighting Southwest Florida’s most fascinating people and places.

We are continuing to implement changes in our 2014 issues to keep this sentiment alive within our readers. With all of the new technology out there, we are easily exposed to hundreds of news outlets, and the shift from just timely articles to in-depth features can be a refreshing break.

So for 2014, our New Year’s resolution is to continue being your source of enlightenment for our beautiful coast. Join us by picking up our January/February issue, kicking back in this gorgeous weather, and reading in the company of Mother Nature. Because everyone needs to unplug now and then, and we promise dozens of great stories for you to get lost in.

Melanie Pagan is the editorial assistant and social media representative for TOTI Media, Inc.

 

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.

Play Here, Stay Here

by Melanie Pagan

Each morning that I drive over the Sanibel Causeway for work, I fall in love all over again. Even after all the years of frequenting the island in my youth, the feeling of serenity I get when I see Sanibel’s endless horizon from the top of the bridge never subsides. The sight of blue skies and waves as they glisten in the sun, quietly breaking and fading into white sand; the sound of swaying palm trees and pelicans diving for fish in the ocean… it is truly a slice of paradise.

I imagine that our seasonal island guests get a similar feeling when crossing over. Visitors arriving at any of Sanibel’s numerous luxury beachfront destinations will be treated to a front-row view of the water, and they can experience that peace daily.

I recently met with Waterside Inn owner Bert Jenks and toured rooms tailor-made for guests who yearn for that kind of experience. Waterside Inn is one of the many hotels that grant visitors secluded beach access just a few steps from their rooms.

But island tranquility is not just attainable out in the open. Beach-inspired color schemes linger throughout the cottages at the inn, and rooms bear just the right amount of sea-themed accents. Private balconies in units and front porches in suites allow guests to hear calming ocean sounds while enjoying the shade.

As I drove away from Waterside Inn, a maintenance man named John waved me goodbye. Just then I realized: guests may have high expectations for their stay on Sanibel based on the beautiful drive over, but those expectations must be met when they stay at one of our fine hotels—and they are! Not only are views from the rooms captivating, but hospitality services are genuine. Perhaps this is because Sanibel employees are truly happy to work where they do. After all, we do get to be at the beach all year long, and we are able to revisit that introduction to paradise each time we drive over the causeway.

San-Cap vacationers: what is your favorite place to stay on the islands and why? To Fort Myers locals: have you ever taken a “staycation” on the island? If so, where did you choose to rest your head? The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva have been ranked as some of the best in the world, so let’s recognize the establishments that make visits here more enjoyable.

Times of the Islands is the only sophisticated lifestyle magazine for the Lee island coast. Find out where to go to the get the most out of your vacation, or what is happening on the island you call home, by flipping through any of our issues.

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

Sights from the Waterside Inn at  3033 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957 (239-472-1345):
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