Alex and Heather Bailey
Alex is a Florida native who grew up with fresh citrus and love bugs. He always imagined himself as a terrible Southerner, but a halfway decent Floridian. He knows that no matter how a day goes, it begins and ends with beauty. Originally from Texas, Heather has lived throughout the East Coast and is happy to now call Jacksonville home. She is a firm believer in Thoreau’s advice of “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” Both graduates of history from the University of North Florida, they share a love of finding the story beneath the story. Together they created the blog Outside The Den where they inspire others to get outside of their comfort zones through culinary adventures, cultural explorations, community happenings, and natural wonders.
Caren Burmeister is a freelance writer who is drawn to stories about wellness, artistry, spirituality and personal transformation. After 21 years in newspaper journalism, she left the industry, to start her natural skin care business – Second Nature Skin – and a journey toward greater health, joy and peace.
Clyde Butcher is one of the foremost landscape black and white photographers actively working in the United States. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1942. After graduating from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in architecture, he realized he could not draw his architectural designs so he taught himself how to take photographs; with a homemade pinprick camera. He married Niki Vogel in 1963. After losing their 17-year-old son to a drunk driver in 1986, Butcher immersed himself in the Big Cypress National Preserve to find solace. After that retreat, he cut all ties with color photography, destroyed the color photography portfolio and has continued to wow the world with his black and white work. He has a way of capturing the magical qualities of America’s landscapes. Among the many awards Butcher has been honored with, he has received the highest citizen honor Florida can bestow, the Artists Hall of Fame Award.
A member of the Society of Automotive Historians and the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), former senior editor of Racer and Vintage Motorsport magazines, Charles has lived in Jacksonville since 1986 and spends the spring, summer and autumn months following the Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series for the SPEED TV network. Since 2000, his voice has been the American accent on the international English language broadcast of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Radio Le Mans.
Christi is a Jacksonville Beach native and a graduate of FSU and Georgia Tech. She has fifteen years of experience in urban planning and a passion for sustainable development. As a city planner, Christi has worked in such cities as Atlanta, Vail, Orlando and Virginia Beach. When Christi’s not speaking about new urbanism or brainstorming the next urban infill project, you can often find her on a bike with two kids in tow and a camera in hand.
Writer/photographer Maggie FitzRoy enjoys developing stories about people, places, organizations, trends, travel and every subject under the sun. A Ponte Vedra Beach resident since 1991, she has freelanced for the Ponte Vedra Recorder, the Beaches Leader/Ponte Vedra Leader, Ponte Vedra Lifestyle Magazine, the St. Augustine Record, and is a former reporter/photographer and editor for the Florida Times-Union Shorelines community section. Maggie is the author of two books, “Images of America – Ponte Vedra Beach,” and “Images of America – Jacksonville Beach.” Her books, about the history of those Beaches towns, were written in conjunction with the Beaches Museum & History Park, published by Arcadia Publishing, and are available in area bookstores.
Sarah Taylor Gojekian
Sarah Gojekian, homegrown in Northern Virginia, received her B.S. in electronic media from the University of North Florida. She freelances for various outlets, and is co-author of local book Cohen Brothers: The Big Store. She can most always be found serving locals at Ragtime Tavern in Atlantic Beach. Her free time is spent writing fiction, handcrafting cards, correcting others’ grammar and being a fine connoisseur of whiskey. She lives in Springfield and is a vegan, fittingly.
Andy Hayes is a freelance photographer and office manager. His love of photography began at an early age. He loved to see how snapshots of the rural area near where he grew up translated onto film. When he was asked by parents to photograph other kids in his neighborhood he became the resident photographer. Since then he has discovered a love of travel photography and has honed a journalistic approach to wedding and portrait photography. When he isn’t shooting he can be found smoking a good cigar, fixing someone’s computer or spending time with his wife, Lynnell, and daughter.
Lynnell Hayes is a wedding and lifestyle photographer with a love of fashion, styling and vintage. She met her husband, Andy, in college who happened to share her zeal for photography. When some friends asked the pair to shoot their wedding, her career was born. Almost eight years later Lynnell enjoys shooting all over the First Coast and incorporating her unique sense of style and one-of-a-kind vintage finds into her projects. Her one-year-old daughter and two beagles keep her busy when she’s not conceptualizing her next portrait session, scouring antique stores for her collection or shooting for First Coast Magazine.
Woody Huband was introduced to photography while serving in the US Coast Guard in New York City. “The sixties were in full swing and New York was alive with day glow colors, wild clothes and interesting people,” he recalls. It started a life of observing as a photographer and learning how to really look at your surroundings rather than just seeing things pass by. With a major in finance, and photography in his heart, he took a position with the local newspaper as a staff photographer, and later worked for several banks. Today Woody is a freelance photographer and avid fisherman. He might be found shooting a magazine article, a wedding, or maybe on the sidelines at EverBank Field when he is not out chasing redfish with a fly rod.
Anna Jacobson, like Dorothy Sayer’s character Lord Peter Whimsey, “gets so easily drunk on words” that she is seldom sober. This may explain some of her crazy classroom antics as, besides stints as a freelance and marketing writer, Anna has been a teacher for almost twenty years. In both her teaching and her writing Anna seeks to capture authentic voices and engaging stories. She feels it is an amazing privilege to live in and write about Florida, but especially to share her adventures here with her husband Andrew and their two ravenous and silly children.
Harlee James is a college student, a photographer, a bibliophile and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust. Traveling is her first love and the inspiration behind her passion for photography. You’ll often find her daydreaming of foreign cities or fictional worlds.
Michael Legrand is a photographer located in St. Augustine. His corporate, healthcare and editorial clients depend on him to help them communicate their brand through images that are inspired. He relies on his experience, technical expertise and creative edge to satisfy the needs of his clients. Michael has always had a creative eye and an interest in art, but it wasn’t until he completed three years of Architectural Studies at Drexel University that his true passion in photography emerged. He began building his business and perfecting his craft in Philadelphia before relocating to Florida more than 10 years ago. In his free time, Michael chases three kids around with his amazing girlfriend Sarah, flies remote control helicopters, collects Swatch watches and post photos to Instagram.
Growing up, Tiffany moved almost every year, covering the span of Florida from top to bottom. This non-traditional upbringing made her adaptable to change and has given her a confident ease when meeting new people. After serving in the US Navy, she completed her degree in Business at Jacksonville University. Today she runs a successful photography studio where she strives to find the light within each and every one of her subjects by creating a happy environment in which people are free to express themselves, spontaneously.
Tamara McClaran has always known her passion for writing. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor, her specialties include newspaper and magazine articles, blogs and social media, reviews, broadcast and video script writing, public relations and marketing communications, advertorials, advertising copywriting and other business writing. A Michigan native and graduate of Michigan State University, she relocated to Northeast Florida in the late 1990s and currently lives in Neptune Beach. She embraces the quintessential beach lifestyle and in her free time enjoys walking or riding her bike on the beach, sipping Starbucks and practicing yoga.
A native of Jacksonville, Carrie McLaren is a former public relations professional turned blogger/online influencer and mom to Maggie and Molly (born with Down syndrome). She writes daily about her family’s adventures at www.CarrieWithChildren.com. The site started as a way to share Molly’s story with friends and family, but quickly became something much more in September 2010. She renewed her passion for writing and found herself at home in an online community. As VISIT FLORIDA’S Family Insider, Carrie and her family travel the state in search of family-friendly activities – sharing stories and videos with families planning their own vacations to the Sunshine State. When she’s not playing with her kids or feeding her social media addiction, you can usually find Carrie at Walt Disney World or in the North End zone at Everbank Field cheering on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Follow along with her adventures online.
Emily Moody has been an integral part of helping build Jacksonville’s cultural scene. Founder of the famed 5 Points store Anomaly, as well as the live music venue Underbelly; Emily introduced the Jacksonville locals to unique, independent designers while also providing the city with new sounds and experiences from amazingly talented musicians, both local and worldwide. Currently, you can catch Emily as a stylist for several photo shoots, commercials and films, as well as enlightening the art crowd as Public Programming Manager for the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
Keith Moody is a freelance photographer and owner of Grafton Studios in Jacksonville Beach. With more than twelve years in the business, his experience and expertise includes a wide range of work including photo journalism, corporate and commercial photography, product and table top photography, event photography, landscape, sports, fine art and portrait photography. His work is regularly featured on the covers of local and national magazines and newspaper publications. Keith is available for freelance assignments; learn more at www.GraftonStudios.com.
A marketing communications-outreach executive by day, she paints, photographs and writes, too. On the weekends, she’s off in her blue kayak to explore the rivers and swamps, on a plane to Bhutan or at her private CoRK studio. A conversation catalyst and relationship-builder, she has deep roots in the South.
Allie O is crazy enough to think she can live the life she used to dream of. She’s been reading since age 3 and writing since 3.5 so she brings 30 years of experience to First Coast magazine. As a food and travel blogger, she encourages locals to Love where you live and visitors to enjoy your stay the local way with lots of tips on her site www.SimplyStAugustine.com. Allie has been known to wear many hats at once- but she mostly chooses between four favorites. There’s the blogging hat, a freelance writing hat and a photography hat; she switches between them as needed. The fourth hat is always on her head: a homeschooling mamma hat which although splattered with paint and broken in will remain in place for another 14 years.
As one of Northeast Florida’s well known nature and wildlife photographers, Craig has captured thousands of photos within a few miles of our beaches area. His insight as a Florida Master Naturalist allows him to capture images of Florida’s creatures in their natural state. Many of Craig’s photographs have been published in local newspapers and licensed to national publications such as The National Wildlife Federation, Discovery magazine, the State of Florida and Georgia, UF, UNF, The Travel Channel and the GMTNERR (Guana Matanzas Tolomato National Estuary Research Reserve) to name a few. In 2011, Craig was named one of our communities “local heroes” for his commitment to our environmental recourses by The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra. In addition to nature and wildlife photography, Craig is also an accomplished multi-media photographer. His creative artistry has spanned several subjects, such as: photojournalism, professional sporting events and sports figures, major concert events and top recording artists. Craig’s photographic passion and expertise is revealed as he succeeds in exposing the true essence of each of his subjects’ underlying stories.
Born and raised in the Nation’s Oldest City, Shannon is a proud Floridian who loves walking her dog on the beach, making homemade pickles and spending time with her favorite niece. When she’s not cheering on her alma matter, Florida State, she’s colorful novels centered around the First Coast, her slice of paradise.
Leslie Oxford is a Maryland native, but has lived on the First Coast since she was one month old. She recently graduated from Florida State University. Leslie teaches ballet and jazz, interns at YouthQuake Live and freelances as a videographer. She loves the editing process.
Renee Parenteau has always been inspired by art, fashion and beauty. Renee’s professionalism, easy-going personality and her talent for bringing out the natural beauty in women and good looks in men keeps her in high demand in the entertainment industry. She has a long list of celebrity clients. Renee currently works in Florida, Georgia, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles and is available to travel beyond!
Rebecca E. Parsons
Rebecca E. Parsons, an unpretentious Renaissance woman with eclectic sensibilities, proclaims herself to be a ‘possibilitarian’ with a cup overflowing outlook. She lives between the ocean and a woodland marsh on Amelia Island, just close enough to a big city to enjoy its culture, yet far enough away to mollify her disdain of traffic. Serial Entrepreneur. Savvy Biz Girl. She loves books, paper; and ink runs through her veins. Storyteller. Wordsmith. Amateur Photographer. She’s flip flops and mismatched socks. Smart. Dynamic. Colorful. She never stops what she’s doing until she is satisfied that it cannot be done any better. Chef. Creator. Geek Girl. She has had an ongoing love affair with computers since 1983. She knows PhotoShop like the back of her hand. Her artwork wins awards. She lives each day creatively. Funny and fun-loving. Dancer. Dreamer. Artfully Domestic. DIYer. Plate Collector. Embracer of social media. Mother. Grandmother. Spiritual Explorer. Healer. Mother of ReInvention.
Virginia J. Pillsbury
Virginia Jeffries Pillsbury wanted to be a writer in the seventh grade when she wrote her first short story. Her bachelor’s degree in English is from Emory University, and nothing makes her happier about her writing than being told, “You captured who I am on paper.” From Annapolis, Maryland, Virginia loves the First Coast because the water and the Navy remind her of her hometown. She has lived in Orange Park for 22 years and she and her husband Walter have six children, three sons-in-law and two adorable grandsons. On their weekly date nights, Virginia and Walter enjoy the delicious local food available on the First Coast. A youth leader in her church, Virginia also runs, because she loves to cook and eat, and she usually has a candy stash available. Always having a book to read, and a stack waiting, keeps her content. Her favorite and most important role is wife, mother and daughter. She juggles her time between her children, Walter and her 94-year-old mother. Her family inspires her to be her best.
Neil Rashba is an advertising photographer in Ponte Vedra Beach. He has specialized in automotive and architectural subjects for 30 years. He has been a professional photographer since 1974 and his photography work is widely seen in publications and museum shows. When he is not travelling for photography he builds hot rods, races go karts and rides motorcycles. Bio photo by Alice Gould.
Jamie Rich is a freelance feature writer covering travel, food and culture. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally, online and in print publications. Jamie has spent most of the past nine years living abroad, with stints in Moscow; Washington, D.C.; Douala, Cameroon; and London. She now lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with her husband and two daughters. She holds a master’s in journalism from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s in creative writing from Florida State University.
As anyone who has seen her work will tell you, St. Augustine photographer Stacey Sather has a unique talent for capturing the timeless beauty of the nation’s oldest city. A freelance graphic designer and artist for over 25 years, her photography provides a fresh and innovative look at the First Coast and beyond.
I was born in Miami Springs and moved to Minnesota when I was five years old. Most of my family still lives in Florida so I visit often. After talking with my Grandpa last year, I discovered my Great Aunt is Leah Mary Cox, a rather notorious Jacksonville photographer whose work was donated to the Jacksonville Historical Society and published in two books.
Eleanor Snite moved to the Beaches from Philadelphia in 1975 to fulfill her dream of living near the ocean. Since then she has worked for several newspapers and magazines as well as the Greater Jacksonville USO. She has covered a number of beats and loves writing about a variety of subjects now that she is retired. She has received several awards including a first place investigative reporting award from the Florida Press Association. For fun, Eleanor volunteers at her church, the Gator Bowl (now the TaxSlayer.com Bowl) and The Players Championship. She is also a member of the Krewe of Tucks in New Orleans and rides in the Mardi Gras parade every year throwing beads to the crowds.
Sarah Clarke Stuart
Professor Sarah Clarke Stuart teaches composition, literature and film at the downtown campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville. Among her published works are her books Literary Lost: Viewing Television Through the Lens of Literature (Continuum Press 2011) and Into the Looking Glass: Exploring the Worlds of Fringe (ECW 2011). Sarah received her BA in English and creative writing from Florida State University and her MA in English Literature from the University of North Florida. In addition to writing, she enjoys performing with The Improv Effect, making short films, climbing trees and tromping through the woods. Her interests also extend to Jacksonville’s community vitality: she recently established FSCJ’s first downtown urban garden, and she also serves on the planning committee for TEDxJacksonville.
Jon Vredenburg is a freelance writer for First Coast magazine with a strong interest in helping others. When he is not writing, Jon manages wellness programs for active adults in North Florida. Jon is a Registered Dietitian and is also credentialed by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health/Fitness Specialist. His career has spanned from the front lines of the hospital to the sidelines of the National Football League. Jon grew up on the First Coast and received his Master’s Degree from the University of North Florida, but he is also passionate about his first Alma mater: Syracuse University. Jon firmly believes that what you say is just as important as how you say it. He often uses humor to drive his messages home, such as adding fillers and words to get his bio to the recommended 150 word length.
Abigail Wright is a local freelance writer and advocate for the arts and businesses in Jacksonville. Personally, she is passionate about the revitalization of downtown Jacksonville and participates in dozens of events and organizations to create synergy for this cause.