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Beaches of Bliss
Fifteen beach communities comprise the Beaches of South Walton, a convenient vacation spot for New Orleanians. Just west of Panama City, Fla., the Beaches of South Walton offer homes and accommodations – condos, quaint cottages, bed-and-breakfasts and rental homes – for the array of guests.
Resort communities, including Sandestin, WaterColor and Seaside present a variety of kid-friendly activities such as concerts, movies and festivals.
Says Tracy Louthain, director of public relations and visitor services, the new recreational trend is “YOLO Boarding.” Akin to paddle surfing, the activity features hybrid surfboards that allow riders to stand upright while using a long single paddle to glide across the water’s surface.” Standing up and paddling offers a whole new point of view, Louthain says.
Other points of interest in the region include four state parks. Guided tours are offered, and families can explore on their own.
Shopping is also abundant, and a variety of restaurants in the area are accommodating for all budgets.
“No matter what beach community they choose, families will find that a retreat to the Beaches of South Walton affords them cultural, natural and historical experiences,” says Louthain. She adds that the beaches appeal to all clientele – particularly “people looking to relax.”
Information, (800) 822-687, www.beachesofsouthwalton.com.

Innovation at Isabella’s Gallery
Representing more than 65 artists, Isabella’s Gallery, located in Metairie, offers hand-crafted jewelry home décor, furniture and gifts.
Co-owner and artist Kelly Torres (who owns Isabella’s with her husband, Oscar) describes the art as “fun, whimsical, classy” and adds that it’s all heirloom quality.
The gallery was a product of Torres’ popular hand-made jewelry line (Kelly Colleen). The couple ran the jewelry business out of their home for eight years and finally realized that at they could take this to the next level by bringing it to the public and including other artists.
Some incredibly popular items right now are Trollbeads – a charm system for necklaces or bracelets. “Every bead has a story,” says Torres. Additionally, Isabella’s (which is named after the couple’s daughter) carries hand-blown glass vases, pottery, metal sculptures, whimsical clocks, mobiles, hand-made aprons, cookbooks, candles and more.
For Father’s Day, she says that the gallery will feature moving sand pictures by artist William Tabar.
 “Most of the items we carry are exclusive to the gallery,” says Torres. “You won’t find the same thing everywhere you go. If you’re looking for something different, this is the place to come.”
Information, 3331 Severn Ave, Ste. 105, Metairie; 779-3202, isabellasgallery.com.

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