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    The adventure collector

    Photography by Brandi Stage Portraiture | Hair and makeup by Brooke Soto, Electric Lady Hair Studio For a young girl fascinated by pirates, there are few better places to spend your childhood summers than the beaches and harbors of the Bahamas. When Gulfport native Brittany Wilem Kahler wasn’t snorkeling, fishing or swimming, she was reading everything […]

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    The May Day Project 2024

    Breaking the mental illness silence and bringing hope Behind a brave smile, many of us wage a constant battle against negative thoughts and emotions. Although we may put up a good front and seem “normal” to the outside world, some find it hard to get out of bed and function from day to day. Not […]

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    Understanding neurodiversity: There’s no ‘right’ way for the brain to work

    By Ericka Biggs

    I always say, “I didn’t just choose social work; it also chose me!” The love I have for mental health was inspired by my son and his continual struggles. He was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) at age 5, and this was challenging for me. Not only did I have to be his mother, but also his therapist and advocate. Undoubtedly, this fueled my desire to better understand him and my passion for helping other parents, guardians and children/adolescents. My primary areas of focus are children and adolescent disorders like ADHD, ODD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), behavior/conduct disorder, mood disorders and trauma.

    As a mental health professional, my mission is not only to help people develop a better vision and see their lives through a wider lens, but to also create the same opportunity for others to see them from a broader perspective. Life can become blurry when you’re struggling with variations in mental functioning.


    Neurodiversity is a term characterizing variation in brain function. Neurodivergent individuals have diverse perspectives and responses to the world, which substantiates the premise that there’s no particular “right” way for the brain to work. Neurological or developmental disorders like ADHD and ASD are included under the term neurodivergent.

    Some symptoms of ASD include difficulties in social communication and restricted and repetitious behaviors. ADHD symptoms include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, while ODD symptoms include angry moods, defiance, and struggles with authority. Many times, symptoms can overlap with one another, causing complexity for diagnosing.

    Those diagnosed with neurodivergent conditions often are misunderstood and misconceived by their parents, teachers and peers. It is time to respect and celebrate the differences in the neurodivergent community instead of automatically concluding that “something is wrong.”


    Which brings me to the mention of pathological demand avoidance (PDA), an intricate and rare neurodiverse profile that can overlap and interact with other neurodiverse conditions. Although PDA is not formally identified as a mental illness by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it nonetheless can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to function. PDA has characteristics like demand avoidance and challenges with social cues and creating/maintaining relationships that overlap with ASD and ODD.

    Accepting neurodiversity and promoting understanding can create a more inclusive world where everyone can lead a successful life, regardless of his or her neurological profile

    Ericka Biggs, licensed master social worker, works for Catalyst Counseling and Therapy Services and can be contacted at (228) 284-2644 or at www.catalystcounselingandtherapy.com.

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    From busy to balanced: a mental health and wellness journey

    By Mavis A. Creagh

    I laid my head on my desk and began to weep as tears streamed down my face.

    I was strong and fearless — but extremely tired. I was signed up to do just about everything, putting in 14-plus hour days on top of being a full-time single mom. However, this year, I have a new motto: Busy to balanced.

    I understand that other factors can contribute to tiredness, but those who say “yes to everyone else and don’t take care of themselves are my focus.

    I am not saying balance happens overnight, but sometimes you must make hard choices. Other aspects such as self-care, coping and stress relief play a role in becoming more balanced, but reducing obligations is extremely beneficial for your mental health and wellness.

    This new season did not come without opposition, even internally, because I was used to always saying “yes.” One of the questions I ask myself now is, “Are you able to take on anything else, and can you let something go?” One of the pitfalls about lacking balance is that you suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    My new mantra this year: “I don’t have the capacity.” It’s short, sweet, honest and to the point.

    Here are some helpful reminders that support a more balanced life.

    1. You matter. Take care of yourself because there is only one you.
    2. It’s okay to say “no,” and it doesn’t make you a bad person.
    3. Boundaries are essential for establishing what is acceptable in relationships and crucial for your wellbeing.
    4. Do the inner work. Healing is a process that begins with you.
    5. Rest — your body, mind and spirit need a break.
    6. Clear vision and established goals help with better attention and a more focused lifestyle.
    7. Meditation — being able to quiet my mind and spirit has helped me be more at peace.
    8. Pursue peaceful encounters. Position yourself naturally and emotionally in places that aid wellness.
    9. Good company is key. Surround yourself with positive people who enhance your wellbeing.
    10. Make a point to set aside time for yourself. Empty cups pour no juice!

    This is all new for me, but I prefer balance over busyness any day.

    Mavis A. Creagh is executive director of the nonprofit R3SM, Inc. (Recover, Rebuild, and Restore Southeast MS). She is president of NAMI Pine Belt (MS) affiliate. Reach her at mavis.creagh@r3sm.org, or learn more about NAMI Mississippi at namims.org.

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    Preserving your mental health in a fast-paced world

    By Kay Daneault

    We live in a rapidly changing world that can be complex to navigate. About half of Americans can remember a time when we were not constantly connected and could more easily tune out the noise of the world, while the younger half can’t imagine life without the internet.

    Modern life can significantly impact our mental health — for better or worse. The disturbing imagery we are exposed to in the media can be deeply unsettling. At the same time, our current technology also allows us to mobilize and provide collective support more efficiently in times of natural disasters or injustice.

    While our devices make us more connected than ever, loneliness is an increasingly serious public health concern. We can have conversations with friends and family on the other side of the world in real time. However, we also may know that we were not invited to a friend’s party down the street.

    While our devices make us more connected than ever, LONELINESS is an increasingly serious public health concern.

    Finding a sense of calm and focusing on wellbeing when you are having mental health concerns can be daunting in our fast-paced, tech-driven society. It can be especially challenging to know where to start.

    May is Mental Health Month, and the Mental Health Association is raising awareness of the significant role mental health plays in our lives. We are encouraging members of the community to act now to protect their mental health and overall wellbeing.

    This May, the Mental Health Association will focus its efforts on helping members of the community to:

    • LEARN how modern life affects mental health, with new resources to navigate our changing world.
    • ACT by building a coping toolbox to manage stress, difficult emotions and challenging situations.
    • ADVOCATE to improve mental health for themselves, their loved ones and their community.

    Mental Health America has created a toolkit to help individuals determine where to start. The toolkit provides free, practical resources for addressing mental health. Visit mhanational.org/may to learn more.

    If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, you can take a free, private mental health test at msmentalhealth.org to determine the next steps.

    It’s important to remember that working on your mental health takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. By focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of modern life and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis. For more information, call (228) 864-6274.

    Kay Daneault is executive director of the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi. Reach her at kdaneault@msmentalhealth.org.

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    Legacy of love

    Family-focused Judy Alliston sets example of faith, maternal devotion

    Often without her realizing it, Judy Alliston is being watched with a mixture of admiration and awe.

    As a source of unconditional love and support for her family, the woman affectionately called “Mimi” by her grandchildren is reaping what she has sown. The mother of four, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of two serves as a model of maternal strength and grace for multiple generations of her clan.

    “Parenting has taught me to rely on God and learn to be flexible,” says the Long Beach resident and active member of Northwood Church, where her son-in-law is the pastor. “Always leave room for mistakes and learn from them. I have poured my life into my children and grandchildren.”

    Judy Alliston and great-grandson Hudson

    Alliston’s own parents were her biggest role models, setting high standards for her and her siblings. Her mom taught her the basics of being a wife and mother, from making biscuits to cleaning a home.

    Alliston passed on those lessons to her daughter, Ashleigh Butterfield, who also credits her “kind and gracious” mom with showing her how to love God through all of life’s ups and downs.

    “I remember her taking me through an etiquette book as a young teenager; at the time, I didn’t see the value, but it’s actually come in handy throughout my life,” Butterfield says. “I also remember cleaning our church with her as a child for many years. As much as she likes the pretty things in life, she is also a hard worker and will always pitch in and volunteer.”


    Alliston’s excitement and zeal for life, as well as her commitment to God and her church, fill her daughter, Paula Alliston Rainey, with pride. The example her mother set of prioritizing family has left a powerful impression on her children and grandchildren alike.

    “She has inspired me as a parent by always being there when I need her no matter what and always having my back,” Rainey says. “I am the same with my sons.”

    Butterfield calls her mom her “biggest cheerleader” — someone who encourages her to step out in faith and “do the hard things.” The title also applies literally, as loved ones can count on Alliston to be present for moments in their lives large and small.

    “I have vast memories of raising my children and having influence with my grandchildren,” Alliston says. “I have attended the majority of their school events. I have sat numerous times in the rain watching them play football (and compete in) track meets. Those are very exciting times for me.”

    Those moments are equally meaningful to Judy’s granddaughter, Emma Butterfield, who recognizes them as her grandmother’s love in action.

    “Mimi always comes to each event that her grandkids have and cheers them on,” Butterfield says. “She never fails to make me feel loved and cared for.”

    FAMILY TIME AT BEACH | Back row: John IV, Mandy, Judy, Ashleigh, Micah, John V, Kevin, Ryan; next row: Samuel, Emma, Callie; front row: Marin, Alyssa, Paula, Bridget, Aaron


    While Emily Mauffray has heard plenty of words of wisdom from her grandmother, she says Alliston’s best advice wasn’t conveyed with words. Rather, it was the strength and resilience Alliston showed after losing her husband that most impressed and inspired her.

    “My Mimi is the purest soul I have ever been blessed to know,” Mauffray says. “I always look up to her and her faith!”

    Granddaughter Julia Starkey describes Alliston as “the humblest, most loving, supportive, funny redhead you’ve ever met!”

    “Me and my Mimi love to do movie nights! I’ll admit, it has been too long since we have had one,” Starkey adds. “We have that special relationship where no matter how long you go without seeing each other, when you’re together, it’s like no time has passed.”


    Judy Alliston, in green jacket, with her daughters: Ashleigh, Bridget and Paula

    As Mother’s Day approaches, Alliston feels fortunate to have daughters with whom she is close and whom she describes as “women of integrity.” Their quality time together includes activities like camping, beach strolling and shopping.

    One of her standout memories is walking 20 miles alongside two of her children for the MammothMarch in Memphis, Tennessee. Every year for her birthday, she looks forward to traveling for Fairhope with her daughters for an annual shopping trip.

    “My daughters are older, and we are best friends,” Alliston says. “We love to hang out with each other.”

    While her Mother’s Day plans aren’t definite, Alliston knows she will be celebrating with family. The devoted matriarch understands that her greatest legacy lies not in material possessions or worldly success, but in the hearts of her loved ones — an inheritance of love that will be passed on for generations to come.

    “It has been a blessing to be raised by a strong-willed woman,” says her daughter, Bridget Manning. “It has given me strength to stand up for myself, be independent and be confident in who I am as a woman.”

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    Your Coast adventure guide

    Easy ways to embrace the elements and enjoy the great outdoors 

    As the warm Gulf Coast sun beckons, it’s time to embrace the great outdoors and all the excitement it holds. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or nature enthusiast, the Coast offers a variety of activities to suit every taste. Join us as we explore the best local outdoor adventures:


    With temps warming up, you’ll definitely want to get out on the water — and there are plenty of opportunities on the Coast. Here are some suggestions:

    • Rent a jet ski or pontoon and hit the beach or Back Bay.
    • If you’re looking to burn off some energy, grab a kayak, canoe or paddleboard for an up-close (and calorie-burning) aquatic experience. Check out places like Wolf River Canoe & Kayak, which offer trips of multiple lengths, and even full-moon paddles.

    • Whether you crave a relaxing day on the water or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Gulfport-based JetBlast has some great options, from pontoon rentals for leisurely cruises to top-of-the-line Yamaha WaveRunners for high-speed thrills.

    Jet Blast of Mississippi

    Fuel your summer fun!

    Yamaha Boats | Pontoons | Bay Boats | Jet Skis
    Stop by to see our newest inventory or book a rental today!

    3410 A Ave., Gulfport , MS
    (228) 864-2300


    Experience the Gulf Coast in a whole new way — on two wheels. Whether you’re craving a leisurely beachside cruise or are eager to explore rugged back roads and gravel paths, the Coast has several places where you can rent or purchase your ride. One such spot is Biloxi Bicycle Works, located downtown on Howard Avenue — which offers options for every age, skill level or preferred terrain.

    Biloxi Bicycle Works

    Discover your perfect ride!

    Beach Cruisers + Mountain + Road Bikes + Kids Bikes + eBikes
    Rentals available too starting at $20

    993 Howard Ave., Biloxi, MS
    (228) 400-0280

    If you’d rather stay on your feet, there are an abundance of coastal trails that offer stunning vistas while you soak in the serenity of nature. We’re fortunate to have spots like the Davis Bayou Area, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, that not only offer hiking, but a host of recreational activities.


    There’s nothing like setting up camp near a lake, river or beach to get the full, immersive outdoor experience — and you’d be hard pressed to find a better camping location than the Coast. If you haven’t pitched a tent and roasted hotdogs on Deer Island, you’re missing out! While you still can see the mainland, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away. If you want a less rugged experience, this area has no shortage of RV and camper parks to choose from that offer many of the comforts of home.


    With its gentle breezes and mild climate, the Coast is the perfect place for sailors of all skill levels to explore its diverse waterways. From the bustling harbors of Biloxi and Gulfport to the tranquil bays and inlets of Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs, get ready for an unforgettable maritime adventure! Embark on a leisurely day sail on the Biloxi Schooners, or sign up for a thrilling Hobie Cat regatta. Either way, it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling uplifted and refreshed.


    From inshore fishing to deep-sea expeditions, there’s something for every angler in the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s waters. Let experienced captains guide you to the best spots for redfish, speckled trout and even thrilling encounters with sharks and billfish. Don’t forget your fishing license, or let your charter captain handle all the details for a worry-free day on the water.


    Join an outdoor tour to understand more about the history and natural beauty of the Gulf Coast. Explore the mysterious swamps aboard an airboat, encounter wildlife up close, and learn about the delicate ecosystem. For a serene experience, paddle through the tranquil waters of the Pascagoula River on a kayak tour, where you’ll encounter alligators, birds and lush vegetation, or hop aboard the Biloxi tour train for a historic journey through the city’s vibrant past. Like seafood? The Biloxi Shrimping Trip will give you a memorable glimpse into how a shrimp’s journey begins and how it ends up on your plate.


    Indulge your taste buds in the flavors of the Gulf Coast with outdoor dining experiences. From refreshing snow cones to gourmet food trucks, there are so many options to enjoy our delicious local cuisine while enjoying the beautiful weather. For a lively experience, pick a spot that has live music (so many of our restaurants do!)


    Get your hands dirty at one of our awesome U-pick farms, where you can harvest your own fresh fruit, veggies and even flowers. Don’t forget: Strawberries are in season until the end of May!


    As they say, the best things in life are free — and the Coast is a perfect example. Many of the most fun, memorable experiences here come with no cost, so make sure to seize the opportunity.

    If you’d like to explore the coast’s abundant (and free) natural wonders, here’s some ideas:

    • Take a scenic walk along places like Front Beach and the Ocean Springs Bridge.
    • Look for sea glass, driftwood and other hidden treasures washed ashore.
    • Grab your camera or phone and take yourself on a “photo safari.”
    • Pack a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and head to a nearby park.
    • On clear nights, head to a spot away from city lights and gaze up at the stars.
    • Take your yoga mat or simply find a peaceful spot in nature to practice yoga.
    • Grab a pair of binoculars and a field guide and spend some time birdwatching.
    • Get creative outdoors by sketching, painting or doing other forms of art in nature. Bring a book or e-reader outside and find a comfortable spot to read.
    • Join a volunteer cleanup event in parks, beaches, or along trails.

    Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or something more low-key, the Coast offers endless opportunities to connect with the great outdoors and create cherished memories. So pack your sunscreen and sense of adventure, and let the outdoor fun begin!

    Want to be featured in this Adventure Guide, plus get a video reel? View details here.

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    Written by Alexa Harrison

    Alexa Harrison is the owner of Gather Gulf Coast, where she works to empower women-owned small businesses through collaboration on pop-up community events. Follow along on Instagram @gathergulfocast.

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    Coast women living life to the fullest

    The Coast is a magnet and a playground for adventure lovers. From sailing to hog hunting, these local ladies enjoy some extraordinary pastimes:

    Patti Jane Golden

    For nearly a half-century, Patti Jane Golden has sought adventure on the high seas.

    The Biloxi native, who now lives in D’Iberville, started her sailing career as young adult, volunteering to crew on other people’s boats. Fast forward to 2021, and she crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a 46-foot vessel with her husband and four other people.

    “We followed Columbus’ route from Gran Canaria to Cape Verde and ended in Grenada,” Golden says. “Prior to that experience, I logged over 10,000 miles across the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico, in the Caribbean, in the Mediterranean, in the Adriatic Sea and along U.S. coastlines.”

    Her experience earned her membership in the global Ocean Cruising Club, and Golden also is active in the National Women’s Sailing Association, which will be meeting for the first time in New Orleans on June 8. Her insights have been deemed so valuable that Seaworthy Publications, known for its waterway guides, recently published “A Woman’s Guide to the World of Sailing” — in which Golden recounts her unique experiences and adventures.

    In addition to sailing for the pure pleasure of it, the seasoned sailor also has crewed on races, both local and regional. She has owned many sailboats over the years, the most recent being the Gypsy Lady — a classic Hinckley Bermuda 40 vessel that she and her husband often charter for enjoyment.

    Throughout her almost 50 years on the water, Golden has noticed that women tend to love sailing most when the engines are stopped.

    “The quiet, along with the lapping of water as the boat moves through the water under large white sails, recharges them in a way only sailing can do,” she says. “It is an experience that accounts for the large growth in women sailors over the last decade. My goal is to encourage local women to see the Gulf Coast as the optimum sailing experience — a place which makes it safe and accessible to everyone.”

    Nicolette Murphy

    Whether she’s boating, fishing, crabbing or scuba diving, Nicolette Murphy loves being on and in the water. But the Bay St. Louis native is equally adventurous on land – especially when it comes to hunting.

    She started by going after small game like doves and quails, and then about 13 years ago, she took up hog hunting — shooting her first one when she was with her uncle.

    “Once he saw how much I loved it, he sent me to hunt with the Wounded Warrior in Action Foundation …,” Murphy says. “Now I take (the dogs) out every year for the first week of November for Veterans Day.”

    While hog hunting is her “favorite game of cat and mouse,” and she’s also fond of alligator hunting, Murphy is most enthralled with scuba diving these days, which lets her explore the open ocean. Whatever activity she’s undertaking, bonding with family and friends in the great outdoors is what feeds Murphy’s soul.

    “I enjoy the tactics and strategies of hunting and fishing,” she says. “I love the smell of a big boar barbecue, saltwater, firewood and the warmth of the sun on my skin, but also the challenge of staying warm during the winter.”

    Although her track record of daring exploits is extensive, Murphy still has several items on her bucket list: noodling for catfish, skydiving, frogging with her hands, fishing in Alaska, crawfishing and scalloping. She urges other women to follow their own adventurous hearts, reminding them that safety is key and there’s no such thing as being overly prepared. Make sure to check the law, she advises, and always pack a sharp knife and a first aid kit — “you’re going to need both.”

    “Knowledge is power — listen and learn,” Murphy says.  “Don’t be intimidated by the boys; show ‘em how it’s done.”

    Piper Barney

    Coming of age on a self-sufficient farm gave Piper Barney a strong connection to nature, as well as an appetite for adventure.

    “I would lead my brother and cousins on adventures before lunch, walking stick in hand, day pack hanging down my back filled with a notebook, a faded sharpie I wasn’t allowed to have and some broken binoculars,” the Poplarville native recalls. “It was no surprise to anyone in my life when I began traveling after college.”

    Finally able to afford adventures farther afield, Barney saved her vacation days and paychecks to take small trips every 90 days to a mountain, forest or beach. As she said “yes” to every invitation and opportunity that arose, she became more and more encouraged with each new experience.

    Before Barney knew it, she was hiking 14 miles on a mountain trail straddling the Continental Divide in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness and having to emergency land in someone’s backyard while skydiving in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Even more memorable was her 30th birthday, which she rang in with a dozen friends in a treehouse village deep in the jungle-covered mountains of Playa El Valle, Dominican Republic.

    “On my birthday I danced around a fire the locals were hesitant to make so large. The house musician carried a guitar around him and provided background music for the occasion,” she says. “The locals, along with my boyfriend at the time (now husband), created beats and serenaded birthday songs to me late into the night as we all sat next to the rushing waterfall.”

    The unconventional celebrations continued with her wedding, for which Barney flew in on a World War II aircraft before exchanging vows on the runway. She and her husband once built and lived in a tiny house together after Barney sold her possessions and spent seven weeks learning carpentry and plumbing.

    Her words of wisdom: “Do all the things, without needing a reason to; wanting to is a good enough reason.” Someday, she hopes to secure a permit and hike the Havasupai Indian Reservation to Havasu Falls and experience the great monarch butterfly migration in central Mexico.

    “Adventures in nature fill my soul with a nostalgic playfulness …” Barney says. “Like being a child fearless on that back road, exploring shows me that I have the entire world in front of me.”

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    No-sweat tips to keep your home cool, comfortable this summer

    Summertime on the Coast is a vibrant season, full of life and warmth. But with the sun shining bright and the temperatures soaring, keeping your home cool and comfortable becomes a priority. Here are some innovative and stylish ways to incorporate cool designs to not only enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal, but also ensure it remains a refreshing retreat from the heat.


    Blending style and functionality, window treatments are not just decorative elements; they play a crucial role in controlling the amount of sunlight entering your home — thus affecting temperature and comfort. Window treatments can significantly reduce indoor temperatures, making your space more energy-efficient and comfortable during the sweltering summer months.

    Here are some stylish yet practical options:

    • Solar shades: This is a modern solution that filters out UV rays while maintaining your exterior view. Available in various opacities, they allow you to control the light intensity and protect your furniture from sun damage.
    • Plantation shutters: Ideal for coastal homes, plantation shutters create a timeless look. Their adjustable louvers provide excellent ventilation and light control, making them perfect for the Coast climate.
    • Light-colored curtains: Opt for curtains in light shades and breathable fabrics. They reflect sunlight and heat, keeping rooms cooler. Consider materials like linen or cotton for a breezy, coastal vibe.
    • Roman shades or roller shades: These types of window treatments allow for natural light to filter in while still providing some protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Additionally, consider using sheer curtains or drapes to add a touch of elegance to your space while still providing some sun protection.
    • Sun block filters: Invisible shield sun block filters, or window films, are an excellent addition to any home to combat the intense Gulf Coast sun. These films are applied directly to your windows and offer numerous benefits, including heat reduction, UV protection and glare reduction.
    • These filters can be applied to windows, doors or even entire walls to block out the sun’s rays and keep your space feeling cool and comfortable. You can choose from a variety of sun block filters, including fabric roller shades, cellular shades and solar screens. Each of these options provides different levels of sun protection, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.


    During the summer months, it’s important to use lighting that not only provides ambiance, but also helps to keep your space cool. Consider using LED lightbulbs, which are energy-efficient and produce less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs. Additionally, incorporate task lighting into your design plan, such as under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen or bathroom, to help illuminate specific areas without creating a hot, stuffy atmosphere.


    Opt for light, airy colors such as whites, creams, and pastels to create a bright and airy feel. Avoid dark, heavy colors like blacks, navy blues and reds, which can absorb heat.


    Consider adding plants, such as succulents or ferns, to your space to help purify the air and add a touch of greenery. Additionally, use natural materials such as wood, bamboo or wicker in your furniture and decor to keep the atmosphere light and airy.

    When integrating these cool design elements, consider the following tips:

    • Evaluate which rooms receive the most sunlight and prioritize them for window treatments and sun block filters.
    • Opt for a light and airy color palette throughout your home. Light colors reflect heat, contributing to a cooler interior atmosphere.
    • Enhance natural ventilation by strategically placing fans and ensuring your window treatments allow for airflow.
    • Incorporate various textures to add depth and interest. Natural materials like jute or sisal rugs can complement your cool design theme while adding warmth.

    Adapting your interior design for the summertime is crucial in our coastal climate, where the season’s beauty brings a generous dose of warmth. Embrace the summer with interior design that’s as cool as it is beautiful.

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    Written by Jennifer Miller

    Jennifer Miller is a certified interior designer, professional home stager and CEO of Jennuwine Design, Sophisticated Staging. Connect with her at info@DBJfirm.com, www.DesignbyJennuwine.com or (228) 285-1535.

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    GCW photo contest: Let’s hear it for mom!

    On May 12, we recognize that not all heroes wear capes. Many of them answer to “Mom,” and their amazingness isn’t always honored as it should be. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate motherhood and the special bond between moms and their children. In that spirit, we asked you to share some of your favorite mom-centric photos, and we were deeply touched by all the sweet snapshots. Here are some of our favorites:


    “I’m thankful to be a mother because I get to experience a love like no other. Despite how crazy and chaotic motherhood can be, it is the most beautiful and worthwhile journey I’ve ever been on! My biggest accomplishment by far has been bringing my baby boy into this world.” – Lisa Brackeen


    “Motherhood is the most rewarding hat to wear. It has its challenges, but it’s the greatest blessing given to me. My daughter has allowed me to see things in a different lens. Her jovial spirit is what keeps me going! To be someone’s hero or the apple to their eye is the best feeling in the world. She is my firstborn. She is who gave me the title mommy. I will forever be grateful for my wildflower.” – Kyla Jacobs


    “One of my favorite photos of myself and my three beautiful daughters, who are more precious than jewels! I’m thankful and blessed that God allowed me to be their mother! They are all between seven to eight years apart, and I have enjoyed watching them grow up and succeed in their lives. It makes me so happy, and I’m so proud of each of them!” – Darlene Adams


    “My four beautiful daughters. Two of whom are now beautiful moms themselves.” – Eleva Howard


    “My mom had me at a very young age, and we weren’t always very close. I’m so thankful for my mom, though, who today has become one of my very best friends. We talk every day. It hasn’t always been an easy walk in the park, but I’m very proud of where we are today.” – Chantelle Lynn Tiblier


    “My mom — regardless of my age, I will always be her little girl. Our bond is incredibly special, and she is the first person I turn to, whether for good news or bad. She’s my rock, my support system, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be her daughter.” – Jennifer Sandmann


    “My mom is my hero and inspired me to be who I am today. I am so incredibly thankful that God chose her to be my mother. I admire her strength and her immense love for all four of her children. She is a true steel magnolia, and I love her dearly.” – Tess O’Keefe Lawrence


    “Me and my boys — these three are truly my lifelines. I never imagined I’d be a boy mom because I’m so girly. Not only do I have one prince, I have three!!! These three make every day an adventure, and I never know which one is going to make me cry tears of joy, laughter or frustration each day. One thing I know is that they will make me shed those tears daily. These are my three P’s: my Preston, Parker and Paxton — the reason my heart beats, and the reason my head hurts. I’m completely, utterly over the moon for my little men.” – AJenay Dedeaux

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