Letter From The Publisher
I’m into my eighth year publishing Heartland LIVING and have learned while doing research for the magazine as well as in my personal life that everyone has a story. Every person on this planet has a story to tell, something that makes him or her unique. We just need to take the time to listen. The sheer variety of paths taken in this world, from farmers to CEOs to homeless people to world travelers, is indicative of how much we can learn from each individual. Sometimes the shy, quiet person has the most amazing life story and the biggest dreams, it is up to us to take the time to find out.
Heartland LIVING was created as your lifestyle community magazine and we listen to all ideas, read all of your emails and love receiving your responses on social media. We gather them all together and feature the Heartland’s most interesting stories we think are perfect for each issue. My staff and myself so enjoy to listen to the stories people want to share with us about their unique lives. Most importantly is then we get to share it with you, our readers.
Editor and writer Jessica Pleger brought to my attention that she wanted to tell Michael “Smurf” Horton’s story of being a World Champion Bullfighter and Hometown Hero. Mike was raised most of his life in Zolfo Springs, FL. Speaking with Mike brought back so many nice memories of our past rodeo days. He is still the sweetest and kindest man and I know you are going to enjoy reading about his lifetime dream that he made happen by never giving up.
I have to give a huge Thank You to photographer Mike Rastelli. He went above and beyond, driving from Ocala to meet me with negatives, sleepless nights and hours of scanning to get us authentic rodeo photos from 1987 to 1995. This story would not have happened without you Mike, you are the BEST…
We love sharing with you some of our adventures from our writers, family and myself. This year I was turned on to Airbnb when we traveled to Atlanta, GA. It was a really cool house in the suburbs that we all enjoyed for a long weekend, maybe not in the best neighborhood but we survived. I’m excited to share with you my next experience with the cutest retro beach house right here close to the Heartland in Lido Beach. Not only did I find a place within driving distance, I was also gifted with owner Jenny Acheson who is a professional photographer. The property is a joint collaboration showcasing the skills of her and husband Dale Rieke. I want to welcome Jenny and writer Nicole Carbon to our team with their amazing talents.
We try to spice things up a bit and hope you see the humor in our article “Eight Reasons I’m Singing the Back-to-School Blues,” written by Lisa Beach and graphic illustrations by Bridgette Waldau. We also welcome Florida Magazine Association winner Lisa to our team as well. What an awesome team we are blessed with.
We hope you enjoy reading and looking at all the gorgeous photos in this issue as much as we have enjoyed listening to all the stories, writing and photographing it for you. We look forward to hearing from you on our Facebook page or via email.