Aaron / Barefoot 30A Allison, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me. I love your artwork so much and admire you as a person as well. You always have such a positive attitude and your creative spirit is contagious. You are such a loved member of our community and 30A is so blessed to have you here. How did you get into art and working with galleries?
Allison Yeah you bet. I’m so happy to do this interview with you. Thank you. I started working as a professional artist back in 2000 when I moved from Chicago back to my hometown in southern Illinois. I started painting murals and that business grew and grew. I had that business 7 years and realized there were aspects of it that I loved and aspects that I didn’t. So… I needed a change and moved here in 2007. I took my favorite parts of that business, like working with plaster….making stains and applied that to painting what I wanted to paint. I wanted to paint local landscapes in a kind of aged technique that was not common here at that time. I started doing that in 2007 and that took off. I guess I filled a niche and it worked out. In 2011 I was recognized as South Walton’s Artist of the Year. The next I got voted gallery of the year. I’ve been immersing myself in the art community here year after year, and getting more involved. I love it.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A That is really cool. I think that is where I first met you was when you were painting at a space in Rosemary Beach. I remember how you were hanging the art from the ceiling. I had never seen that and thought it was really cool.
Allison Yeah, yeah!
Aaron / Barefoot 30A What do you enjoy most about working as an artist?
Allison On the surface, the best part of this job is that I get to do what I love every day. I get to set my own hours and connect with people in a way that most people don’t get to. I really enjoy interior design as well. It’s really fun to see their style and get an opportunity to enhance that with their style. That is really fun and rewarding. Below the surface the best part is meeting other artists and being able to help artists who are where I was 20 years ago. The knowledge that I have gained from working as an artist has been amazing and I really love sharing that with others.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A You are in a unique position to be able to encourage others.
Allison Oh yes for sure. I love to do it. I wish I got paid to help other people. “laughs”
Aaron / Barefoot 30A If someone is looking for art in our area, what is it about your work that would make it a great choice for anyone?
Allison One of the best compliments I get is the look on people’s face when they see something they have never seen before. All my work is one of a kind. You aren’t going to find anything else like this out there. I want people to feel good when they see the art. I want them to connect with it and find something special to take home with them. It doesn’t matter how big the work is… or what is costs. I hope they can take something small and come back again someday for a big piece.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A That is great that you offer different price points so that everyone can find something they enjoy.
Allison Yeah, yeah thats right.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A What would you tell someone who is looking to buy art for the first time?
Allison I would tell them to get the 30A Art Map. You can find them at any gallery or at artistsof30a.com. Get a map and hit all the galleries. Check them out. There is more along 30A than I even know about. Go in there and see how your body feels. Don’t buy a piece because your neighbor has it or because someone else might think it’s cool. Listen to your body and how it makes you feel. Go ahead and go with your feeling and get a work of art. Sometimes if you don’t go with that feeling and you go home….. you might call back and that one of a kind piece is gone. You gotta go with what you feel. You can tell when you love a piece. Your body knows when it’s found something you love.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A It’s cool how everyone responds to different styles and can enjoy that discovery. There’s so many different styles out there.
Allison Yeah totally! I was in target the other day and saw a painting I liked “laughs”. It doesn’t matter if your body likes it, just go with it if it speaks to you.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A For anyone visiting the 30A area, after they see your artwork, what would you recommend they do next?
Allison Go to the beach of course, but also go on a bike ride. Enjoy the natural outdoor activities. You can take your bike and ride through these beautiful neighborhoods like watercolor. Go on a hike. Grayton Beach State park has these awesome walking trails.
Aaron / Barefoot 30A Allison, thank you so much for your time today and letting me invade your studio. It’s really exciting to be here and to see where you create. Thanks again!
Note: Read more about Allison and her artwork at www.allisonwickey.com
Interview by Aaron Sutton, local artist & graphic designer
The Blue Giraffe is a local art gallery in WaterColor that is owned and managed by mother/daughter team, Christi Sheffield and Debbie Taylor. They have been a favorite art destination locally since 2010.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me about yourselves and The Blue Giraffe. I remember when The Blue Giraffe was over in Blue Mountain and how awesome it was that there was an opportunity to move the gallery to WaterColor. It’s been such a great place for you and everyone in the community not only loves The Blue Giraffe, but also you and your family. I’m so glad you moved here and decided to do business here.
Can you give me a quick history about the Blue Giraffe and how you came to be a part of it?
Christi & Debbie: We crossed paths with the original shop owner who offered us this amazing opportunity. We’ve always felt God’s hand in all of this and we would love for everyone to read our story on the website.
Barefoot Vacations: What is your favorite thing about the Blue Giraffe and what do you enjoy most about your work here?
Christi: Promoting the arts in our community and playing a role in our artists’ lives which allows them to make a living using their creativity.
Debbie: Helping my daughter behind the scenes in our fun gallery. I love being her business partner!
Barefoot Vacations: If someone is looking for local artwork or a gift, what is it that makes the Blue Giraffe a great choice here on 30a?
Christi: We offer a wide variety of styles and prices, as well as exclusivity with many of our artists which makes for a unique shopping experience.
Debbie: Our customers tell us how happy our gallery makes them feel. It’s not just the artwork or gifts we sell, it’s the uplifting energy and great service that keeps them coming back year after year.
Barefoot Vacations: What kind of advice would you give someone who is looking to buy artwork for the first time?
Christi: Don’t overthink it if the artwork speaks to you. Obviously, most people have a budget, but the deciding factor should be how the art makes you feel. Shop with a gallery like ours that will allow you to try artwork “on approval”, and will consult with you about how the artwork fits into your space and design.
Barefoot Vacations: I believe you offer some activities as well, which is great for a rainy day or sunburn recovery…. Can you tell me a little about that?
Christi: We offer classes for kids and adults, such as making art with recycled materials, painting lessons and do-it-yourself art kits.
Barefoot Vacations: For anyone visiting WaterColor or the 30A area, what do you recommend they do next after they have visited your gallery?
Debbie: We encourage everyone to check out all the great shops in WaterColor. Exploring the parks and trails that meander through the WaterColor community is a must.
Barefoot Vacations: Thank you so much again for doing this interview with me. We are blessed to have you here on 30A. I hope some new visitors will discover the Blue Giraffe this year and what a great place it is for local artwork and more.
Find The Blue Giraffe at:
1777 E. County Hwy 30A,
Watercolor, FL 32459
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me about yourselves and Beach Ready Spa. I really enjoy working with you and I’m so glad you moved here and decided to pursue your work here.
Can you give me a quick history about the Beach Ready Spa and how you came to be a part of it?
Linda: After making the decision to open a day spa on 30a in 2009, the location in Seaside became available. The remodeling, product selection, branding, menu of services, development of protocols and procedure took 6 months and we opened on April 15th (tax day) in 2010.
April: I was working at a spa down in Destin. A friend of mine told me about a new spa opening on 30a and recommended that I go and meet the owner. I met Linda and joined the Beach Ready Spa team on April 10, 2010.
Barefoot Vacations: What is your favorite thing about the Beach Ready Spa and what do you enjoy most about your work here?
Linda: What I enjoy most about the spa is providing a positive memorable experience for our clients.
April: I enjoy the calm and relaxing environment that we have been able to create both for our clients and employees. I most enjoy seeing someone who came in stressed out, leaving us feeling relaxed and with a smile on their face.
Barefoot Vacations: If someone is looking for relaxation/spa services, what is it that makes the Beach Ready a great choice here on 30a?
Linda: Beach Ready Spa is the premier spa in 30a because we have an excellent and caring staff
April: I agree. Our staff is highly trained with decades of experience among them. Our massage therapists are talented and are trained in a variety of modalities.
Barefoot Vacations: What kind of advice would you give someone who is looking to try spa services for the first time?
Linda: Massage is our most popular service and our professional staff customizes the treatment based on the needs of the client.
April: Embrace relaxation! There is something for everyone. While massage certainly is our most popular service, we offer a variety of nail and skin services for those who prefer something else.
Barefoot Vacations: I believe you offer some other relaxation services as well, like a sauna, etc…. Can you tell me a little about that?
Linda: Beach Ready Spa was designed with Relaxation and Pampering in mind. Clients can relax in a detoxifying infra red sauna, shower off the sand or simply relax on the porch before or after their services.
April: We have several energy balancing services, such as the Chakra Balancing treatment or the Energy Renewal Ritual that can bring more of a mental relaxation than a physical one. The infrared sauna is wonderful by itself but goes well pre and post massage to enhance deep muscle relaxation.
Barefoot Vacations: For anyone visiting Seaside, WaterColor or the 30A area, what do you recommend they do next after they have visited your place of business?
Linda: Stroll around the shops, a leisurely ride on a bike around the neighborhoods or take a kayak or paddleboard out on a lake or in the ocean.
April: Take just a few steps across the street to our beautiful beach. Sit in a chair or lay out a blanket and breathe in the healing salt air. The white sand and turquoise waters of the Gulf go a long way towards continuing the sense of calm and relaxation you will have gained during a treatment with us.
Barefoot Vacations: Linda, April, thank you so much again for doing this interview with me. I’m so glad 30A has great place like Beach Ready Spa to enjoy some much needed relaxation and more!
Find Beach Ready Spa at:
29 Quincy Circle
Seaside, FL 32459
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Hours Subject to Seasonal Changes
La Loba’s is a local organic, gluten free bakery and cafe in Blue Mountain Beach. They make incredible desserts, breakfast and lunch. La Loba’s has been a local favorite since 1994 and is the only organic bakery on 30A. The rumor is they have the most amazing cinnamon rolls you will ever taste!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me about yourselves and La Loba’s Bakery. La Loba’s is my favorite spot for lunch on 30A. I think about your mouth watering burritos every day at about 11:30. The aromas from your bakery will probably make anyone riding their bike down 30A do a double take!
Barefoot Vacations: Can you give me a quick history about La Loba’s and how you came to be a part of it?
Geni: La Loba’s was started as a bread bakery by Gwynn Baker in 1994. She established the current location in 2008 and we purchased it from her in August of 2015.
Barefoot Vacations: What is your favorite thing about the La Loba’s and what do you enjoy most about your work here?
Geni: The answer to both is the same……I love providing delicious fresh clean food to people and the resulting compliments are icing on the cake.
Barefoot Vacations: If someone is looking for a healthy lunch option or dessert, what is it that makes the La Loba’s a great choice here on 30a?
Geni: 1. We use fresh organic ingredients to prepare our lunch offerings as well as our dessert items which makes them healthy AND delicious
2. Lunch wraps and salads are made to order……not prepared in advance to sit around and get soggy or dry out
3. You can call ahead to order and it will be ready when you arrive to pick it up……casual and quick….just right for busy vacationers who are looking for more time at the beach vs getting dressed to go to a restaurant to have a good lunch. Of course we do have a deck with tables for people to enjoy as well.
Barefoot Vacations: What kind of advice would you give someone who is looking to eat healthier while on vacation here?
Geni: Come to La Loba’s!!!! We can feed you something delicious, clean and different for breakfast and lunch everyday you are on 30A!
Barefoot Vacations: I believe you offer some custom baking as well, which is great for special events and birthdays. Can you tell me a little about that?
Geni: We take custom orders everyday for birthday cakes, wedding cakes, graduation cakes, anniversary cakes……..each cake is prepared with organic conventional or gluten-free ingredients and desiged to highlight the celebrant and the occasion. We prefer to decorate using organic fresh fruits and edible flowers but can also do fondant accents when desired.
Barefoot Vacations: For anyone visiting Blue Mountain or the 30A area, what do you recommend they do next after they have visited your cafe?
Geni: Rent a bike at Big Daddy’s and work it off or take a nap on the beach…..access is right down the block!
Barefoot Vacations: Geni, thank you so much again for doing this interview with me. 30A is blessed to have you here. Thank you for making such amazing healthy and fun foods!! Now I need one of those famous cinnamon rolls!
Find La Loba’s at:
2217 West County Highway 30A, Suite E.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
OPEN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY
7AM – 3PM
Located just west of Seaside, Watercolor and Grayton Beach on 30A. Near intersection of Rt 83. Next to For The Health of It and Big Daddy’s Bike Shop.