Tag Archives: Gulf & Main

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.

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.

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.





Bonita & Estero includes one avid surfer’s account of riding unexpected waves on the Gulf, right off secluded Cayo Costa State Park.


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.

Love the one you’re with

By Melanie Pagan

The loveliest holiday of the year is right around the corner! Though it’s important to shower your lover with affection year-round, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take levels of admiration up a notch.

With gorgeous sunsets and dreamy hotel suites, Sanibel Island boasts a romantic atmosphere that is ideal for sweethearts. Delectable eats and exclusive jewels offered on the island also allow for one-of-a-kind keepsakes and experiences. Here are some ways you can spoil your darling on Sanibel in celebration of the big day:


Lily & Co. Jewelers
239-472-2888, lilyjewelers.com

Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry
239-472-2876, cedarchestsanibel.com

Sealife by Congress
239-472-4480, sealifebycongress.com

Thistle Lodge
239-472-9200, thistlelodge.com

Traditions on the Beach
239-472-4559, traditionsonthebeach.com

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
239-472-4151, sundialresort.com

Trader’s Cafe
Trader’s VIP members will recieve a bottle of  house wine, Dante, at 1/2 off with the purchase of two lunch or dinner entrees (not applicable during Happy Hour).  This special will be offered throughout the month of February.
239-472-7242, traderssanibel.com

Spa Time
Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique
239-579-1470, kaycasperson.com

Off island
Mark Loren Designs
239-482-4664, marklorendesigns.com

Gulf Coast Coin & Jewelry
239-643-1616, gulfocastcoin.com
gc coin

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
239-333-1933, sbdac.com

Do you know of other Valentine’s Day specials offered in the area? Let us know below!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hello, Twenty Fourteen

By Melanie Pagan

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.


In Good Health

by Melanie Pagan

At a recent Carrabba’s luncheon, I listened to Andrew H. Singh, MD, MPH (guest author of Healthy Me. Healthy Lee. in our September/October issue of Gulf & Main) give a lecture on workplace wellness.

Similar to what he wrote in the article, Dr. Singh spoke about the Healthy Lee Workplace Wellness Incentive—a lifestyle plan created by the Horizon Council designed to inspire people in our community to make healthier choices.

Turns out, just a few simple lifestyle changes can take you a long way down the road to healthier living. Here are some key points Dr. Singh went over, showing us how to incorporate these choices every day:

Exercise More: Or, as I like to call it, the hardest activity to dedicate yourself to. But, commitment-phobes can relax. One does not need a gym membership to be active, although it helps.

Thirty minutes of exercise in the form of a brisk walk or three 10-minute exercises a day fits in to even the busiest of schedules, said Dr. Singh.

Eat healthier: Even after I opted for tilapia with my pasta instead of chicken, Dr. Singh offered a healthier alternative to our carb-filled dine in.

“As you can see, hardly anyone has touched the pasta at our table,” he said, pointing to a group of health workers with no more than a few bites taken from their plates. They had filled up on side orders of broccoli instead.

According to doctor’s orders, plates should be filled with 50 percent fruits and vegetables, equaling out to about five-to-nine servings a day. Even at restaurants, he proved this is still able to be done.

Don’t Smoke: The smoke-free environment Dr. Singh has implemented at his office promotes the healthy living lifestyle to all his employees. On average, he said, smokers miss about three-to-four more days of work per year directly from smoke-related illnesses.

Get plenty of rest: According to Dr. Singh, seven hours of sleep is the minimum a mind needs to stay sharp throughout the day.

Enjoy life: Isn’t this what we all want to do, anyway? Keeping your mind and body active, Dr. Singh said, is the key to getting there.

I watched as the doctor and wellness advocate kept us engaged through his honest enthusiasm, and it made me realize just how much he has truly benefited from this lifestyle. While most of us were drowning in that sluggish, two o’clock feeling after indulging in empty calories, I wondered how much better I would have felt had I opted for a plate of broccoli instead, too.

To those who have already adopted a more active lifestyle, how does this fit into your everyday schedule? And to those who are striving to be more health-conscious for 2014, how do you intend to do so? We always want to feel our best, so let’s help each other get there and start sharing some secrets to wellness!

For more information on the Healthy Lee Workplace Wellness Incentive and to learn how to implement this into your own workplace, pick up our September/October issue of Gulf & Main on stands now.

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.

Be Still my Locks

by Melanie Pagan

Even if I could handle swimsuit-warranting weather for a big longer until crisp, fall air set in, my hair had made it clear it couldn’t. It was getting more and more impatient; childish, really. Strands were either facing every direction but the one I intended, or causing a scene in public by suddenly doubling in size from frizz. It was time for me to take control.

I flipped to the Beauty Trends section of Gulf & Main’s September/October issue, desperate to learn of a product that could tame my unruly mop. There it was, Moroccanoil, the answer to my hair-care prayers.

I had heard of Moroccan oil in the past, and noticed it had already been added to many contemporary styling products, but had never tried the trademarked stuff. Since I read that it’s the go-to product used on clients at ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva, I figured it must be worthy of my tresses, too.

I searched Moroccanoil.com until I found just what I was looking for. I purchased Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray ($22.20) and the Restorative Hair Mask ($43)—two types of products I have struggled with in the past. Usually, one is either too oily, the other too sticky, but with this brand my hair felt like Goldilocks (no pun intended) when she found the perfect porridge: just right.

I felt immediate improvement as I ran a comb through my knot-free strands after washing out the hydrating mask. My curls formed with bounce, not frizz.

When it came time to style, the hairspray was the ideal finishing touch. Just like the bottle reads, it created a weightless and natural look without any residue. For the rest of the day, I felt I had the hair of a celebrity who just stepped out of a salon.

Since then, the products have earned a spot in my daily beauty ritual, leaving me with the same confidence about my tresses every day. In fact, if my hair could talk, I would imagine it would want to share its gratitude with a speech like this:

“I’d like to thank all the lovely fans who have complimented me since my transformation, and to you, Moroccanoil, for believing in me when every other product gave up. But most of all, thank you Beauty Trends department, for I would have never reached my full potential had it not been for your guidance. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

But hey, maybe it’s best that my mane can’t talk for itself. Nobody likes egotism, and I certainly do not want to suffer from a big head (of hair) again.

Avid Beauty Trends readers: Do you have a favored product that has appeared in our magazines before? Or what about an item you have discovered with help from our beauty department? Please, do share! Also, if there is a product on a need-to-know basis that we haven’t yet featured, let us know! Sharing is caring, and we all know our beauty cabinets could use the love.

For more Moroccanoil products, pick up the September/October issue of Gulf & Main on stands now. Check out more of our latest beauty finds in our currently available issues of Gulf & Main, Times of the Islands, RSW Living and Bonita & Estero.

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