Editor's Letter

Drumroll, Please!

We may not admit it, but we all like to be recognized for a job well done. Some of us may have an “Aw shucks, I’m just doing my job” attitude and decline to accept praise. The least humble of us — such as, oh, let’s see, Grammy Award-winning artist Kanye West, for example, who declares, “I am the number one human being in music” and “I am so disappointed that I cannot see me perform” — can make you want to snatch that recognition right back.

Most of us are somewhere in between — grateful, thankful and happy to receive accolades for our hard work.

This summer, Rowland Publishing won five “Charlie” awards (three of which were first place) from the Florida Magazine Association, which annually recognizes excellence in the magazine industry.

Members of our staff won three individual writing honors. In the feature writing category, Director of Editorial Services Linda Kleindienst won a second-place award for her story about Robert and Daryl Davis, the creators of Seaside, which was the cover story for the April/May issue of Emerald Coast Magazine. She also took home two first-place awards for 850 — The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida, of which she is the editor.

“I was so excited to win the award for the Davis story and then to pick up two more for 850,” she said. “I felt like I was walking on air when I went to pick up those trophies. No matter how long you’ve been in journalism, it is truly a thrill to have your work recognized by your peers.”

Meanwhile, the winners of Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council’s Above & Beyond award program, which provides recognition and positive reinforcement to those who might otherwise be unsung hospitality heroes, were recently shown a bit of gratitude and fanfare.

This year, Maridell McCarty, lead concierge for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, is the Above & Beyond grand prize winner. Darrell Smith, lead concierge for the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, is the silver winner. And Lisa Boecker, massage therapist and spa coach for Fusion Spa & Salon, is the bronze winner.

In addition, this is our eagerly awaited “Best Of the Emerald Coast” issue. We wanted to know who you thought were most deserving of the awards. You cast your votes and expressed to us which are the best restaurants, service providers, shops and entertainment places in the Emerald Coast.

You told us which local restaurant serves the most delicious hamburger (hint: choose from more than 25 varieties — and fast for two days before your visit), which caterer gets top marks (she’s as charming and delightful as her dishes) and which dentist gives the best service and brightest smile (beyond the fabulous results he provides, his serene and inviting practice will put the most dental-phobic patient at ease).

We invite you to join us as we honor the winners of Emerald Coast Magazine’s 2009 Best Of the Emerald Coast awards at this year’s “Best Of” event, which will benefit the Junior League of the Emerald Coast.

Celebrate with us Saturday, Oct. 17, at Destin Commons from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the event and may be purchased at any Beach Community Bank.

Congratulations to all!
Wendy O. Dixon, Editor

At press time, Emerald Coast Magazine learned of the tragic death of Kelli Pate, aesthetician and skin care specialist for Destin Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, who was voted Best Aesthetician in our “Best Of the Emerald Coast” readers poll, which is featured in this issue. We wish her family and friends our deepest condolences.