By Rebecca Sullivan Balkcom

Nicole Paloma has had quite the year. After her wildly astounding runway show last October at South Walton Fashion Week, which was met by a standing ovation and left many guests in tears, Paloma was thrust into the “high-highs” of success. Her business took off like wild horses — and so did her drinking. Here’s her story of how getting sober replaced all other goals and everything she had once deemed important took a backseat to this crucial decision.

30A South Walton unnamed Local fashion designer Nicole Paloma to Show at South Walton Fashion Week 2014How did you first start drinking?

The first time I realized I could block emotional pain and constant goings-on in my brain was when I was 15. Having grown up around art, I drew and took photographs, but I found that drinking released a creative edge that now I realize really just quieted my process.

Were you worried that getting sober would affect your creative process as a designer and artist?

My biggest fear was that it was all going to go away once I got sober. The fear of the unknown is the worst, and it’s more the fear of being successful than the fear of failing. I used the excuse of being an “artist” and that I was supposed to be out of control, crazy and erratic. Where I got to with it was that my life and my children became much more important than being a designer.

When I came home from treatment, I was making a tee shirt for a friend and I had so much anxiety just being in the space and feeling the moment. When my creative brain turns on it’s a physical thing and without alcohol I wondered if it would come. I just started putting simple fabric pieces together and it came. The creativity now comes out less frenetically and as more of a flow. I’m learning not to have anxiety about it and trust that those ideas are still going to come. Continue Reading…

30A South Walton Shaun O’Brien1 New Chef and Restaurant Manager join Fish Out of Water

Shaun O’Brien

New Chef de Cuisine, Shaun O’Brien, and Restaurant Manager, Kyle Davis, have their sights set on making 30A restaurant Fish Out of Water a ‘foodie destination’ across the South.

O’Brien, who joined the restaurant’s kitchen team earlier this year after winning countless trophies and awards at Sandestin’s Bistro Bijoux, has now been appointed Chef de Cuisine.

“I came to Fish Out of Water to work with the great team making this restaurant famous – not just here in South Walton, but throughout the South,” said O’Brien, who is no stranger to the 30A food scene, having previously been Executive Chef at Paradis in Rosemary Beach when it first opened.

“I know from my previous experiences in South Walton that locals and visitors are very discerning,” said O’Brien. “I am focused on providing dishes that will surprise, excite and even amuse diners – but know we have to do it in a way that is true to the special way of life we enjoy on the Emerald Coast.

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Krutz Family Cellars and 30A announced that they are partnering to introduce a new line of premium 30A wines. The announcement comes on the heels of the success of 30A’s new 30A Beach Blonde Ale and 30A Coffee products.

30A South Walton Bryan Krutz 1024x1024 30A Partners with Krutz Family Cellars to Introduce 30A Wines

Bryan and Cindy Krutz

“Locals and visitors alike really appreciate great wine,” said Bryan Krutz of Krutz Family Cellars. “Wine is part of our local experience, and we’re crafting a selection of varietals that will perfectly complement the 30A beach lifestyle.”

After graduating from Ole Miss business school in 2003, Bryan Krutz operated a wine and cheese bar in Rosemary Beach for six years. As the General Manager and wine buyer, he not only honed his knowledge of wine, but of the business of wine, with a special emphasis on sales and marketing.

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30A South Walton Lauren Lege 100 Looking for a New Beach Song Playlist? By Lauren Lege

I’ve been on the hunt for this season’s top sound selections, and I know I’m not alone. With platforms like Pandora, Sound Cloud, and Grooveshark, there’s enough variety swirling around out there to piece together your own concerto grosso. It can be overwhelming, so we did the work for you, in collaboration with Seaside’s Central Square Records to bring you the skinny on this year’s Top Ten Beach Beats.


“Three of [the band members] met while working in the famous record store Amoeba, and their consistent groove suggests they spend their days surfing, skating and chilling out in sun-kissed California…Fuzzy, distorted guitars, maracas, vocals put through vintage microphones and a Hammond organ (‘Catamaran’) create an unmistakably vintage sound. The snag? Hanging out on the beach can get a bit boring. As much as the album is warm, wistful and pleasant, every song is a variation on the others, using similar chords and the same key, although final track ‘Long Journey’ packs more of a punch,” writes NME’s Lucy Jones.



“The moody space of ‘Homesick’ is a fascinating overcast counterpoint to the late-afternoon haze of the rest of the record, while ‘And She Smiles’ builds from soft near-silence into the album’s tightest beat and leanest, most experimental guitar work,” says PopMatters’ Mathew Fiander. “It feels both physical and fleeting. That New Madrid can pull off so many seeming opposites at once on Sunswimmer is impressive, but the fact that they’re housed in such striking, well-crafted songs, is what makes this album so strong.”


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30A South Walton unnamed 30A Songwriter Radios Inaugural BoostaBand Competition   Oct 14

30A Songwriter Radio’s BoostaBand competition is set for Tuesday, October 14th. Pandora’s Steakhouse and Lounge at Grayton Beach will host this year’s inaugural and unprecedented event.

Throughout the year, regional bands have submitted applications in hopes to be one of the six bands chosen by an anonymous panel. Bands must consist of at least three members, and perform all original music. There was no rule on genre, creating a truly unique and exciting event for spectators. The six bands will be evaluated by a panel of three judges. The winner of Boostaband takes all.

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30A South Walton BurntPine9Full 1024x689 Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Reopens After Renovation

The prestigious Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort announced it has reopened following a complete greens renovation to the Rees Jones designed course.

The four-month project, completed by Southeastern Turf Grass from Augusta, Georgia, replaced all 18 green complexes with ultra-dwarf, TifEagle Bermuda grass, plus expanded and restored each to its original size when the course opened in 1994. The project also included strategic tree removal and the enhancement of 18 bunkers spanning multiple holes.

“This project signifies our commitment to providing the highest quality golf experience for all of our members and resort guests,” said Matt Caister, PGA head golf professional at Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin. “Players will notice the difference in the greens immediately and with the subtle contours and ridges added, it will allow us to be more creative with pin locations and make for a fun, yet challenging test for all skill levels.”

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30A South Walton poster cropped Eggs on the Beach Competition Supporting Fisher House of the Emerald CoastEggs on the Beach, the Emerald Coast’s inaugural Big Green Egg EggFest Barbeque competition, will be held at Seascape Resort at Miramar Beach on September 27th, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Presented by Bay Breeze Patio, the family-friendly event celebrates the delicious results of cooking on the Big Green Egg grill. More than 25 teams will be smoking and grilling their favorite dishes while attendees have the delicious task of sampling the results and voting for their favorites.

The competition will feature various teams, ranging from EggHeads and grilling enthusiasts to local restaurants and non-profits. Each team will cook a variety of dishes from meats and seafood to veggies and desserts while vying for the “People’s Choice” award and a brand-new, large Big Green Egg grill. The competition will be heightened by teams going head-to-head with their favorite recipe for a similar dish, and Fat Clemenza’s has challenged Mama Clemenza’s to a throw down.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 11 to 17. Tickets are $35 at the gate.

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30A South Walton debbie 2 Debbie Baker is Coastal Branch Library’s Featured Artist for SeptemberFriends of the Coastal Branch Library announced that their featured artist for the month of Spetember is Debbie Baker. Her works will be on display throughout this month.

Debbie Baker is a resident of Freeport, having moved here in 2002. She moved here with her husband after raising their family in Rome, GA. While working and raising a family her artistic talents were mainly used to create needlework, crochet designs, and decorative tole paintings.

After moving to Florida, Debbie began taking art classes in 2007 from local renowned artist, Skippy Hoffman. She began work in charcoals, pastels, and oils before finding her passion in acrylic. She still does some work in oils using mostly water based oils. She has also done quite a bit of glass painting, i.e. soap bottles and wine glasses.

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