by Jamie Rich | March 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: Time for a toast, friends!

Jamie Rich, Editor in Chief & Publisher; Photography by Ingrid Damiani; styling by Alix Robinson

Jamie Rich, Editor in Chief & Publisher; Photography by Ingrid Damiani; styling by Alix Robinson

The week before this issue of Flamingo went to print in February, I broke away from the office with our editorial team in the throes of fine-tuning layouts. None of us were sleeping, let alone socializing or going to parties. However, I had been invited to Tallahassee to attend a farm-to-table dinner in a refurbished horse barn with a four-course meal prepared by an up-and-coming chef. In spite of our looming deadline, I couldn’t pass up a night under the stars and farm-fresh cooking. Besides, I smelled a story somewhere in that proverbial barn (more on this event in a future issue). So I headed west for the night.

I had planned to stay at the home of author Prissy Elrod. I knew Prissy from working together on the “My Florida” essay she penned for us last summer and from reading her book, Far Outside the Ordinary (which had me boo-hooing on a long flight).

When I pulled up to Prissy’s home, two ivy-covered columns and a flowing fountain welcomed me. The moment the French-style front doors opened, we greeted each other with high-pitched affection, hugging and chatting like long lost girlfriends. We instantly connected. Never mind our age difference—or that this was the first time we had met. Prissy’s daughter Garrett joined us for the evening and the three of us setoff for the farm. On the 20-minute drive down a canopied Miccosukee Road, Garrett asked, “How is it that you two have never met, and you’re staying at the house?”

We laughed and explained the evolution of our fast friendship, which consisted of a handful of phone calls and emails. There are some spirits you just hit it off with, and Prissy was one of them. I have a hunch most people who meet her feel this way. By the end of the night, the three of us were back at her house, sipping limoncello made with lemons from a tree in the backyard and brainstorming the next big Flamingo story.

Connecting with people has been a huge benefit of starting a magazine about Florida. Both new and old friends, especially those from my high school and college days, have contributed to the voice and the success of Flamingo: inspiring articles with their adventures (“Sky’s the Limit” in Summer 2016), or even coming to work for the magazine, sometimes advertising in our pages and often subscribing (you know who you are). I cannot overstate my appreciation for the love and support Flamingo has received.

This time last year, I was excited and nervous to present this new venture to the world. Since then my editorial team and I have traveled up, down and across this state, photographing people and places, interviewing influencers, reading books, discovering music, exploring natural habitats, enjoying great food, and spreading the word about Florida’s only statewide feature magazine.

We launched our premier issue in spring 2016 with an Iconic Florida theme. We brought it back for our one-year anniversary issue because we found endless tales to tell about a state as wild as it is refined and as diverse as it is rooted. Now, in Issue No. 5, we celebrate people, places and things emblematic of the Sunshine State—Bobby Bowden, Daytona Speedway, Lilly Pulitzer, sea turtles, the Estefans and more.

In a nod to my own sunny roots, I’d like to dedicate this issue to friendships and bonding with fellow Floridians. I hope reading Flamingo sparks reunions, gatherings, invitations, conversations and toasts of many homemade citrus liqueurs. We all need to break away from our busy schedules sometimes to connect and enjoy this great Florida life.