fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

LUV Is In The Air

The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach and Spirit Magazine Team Up to Give the Vacation of a Lifetime

By Jordan Staggs

When Kyle Himmerick, a computer programmer from Colorado, entered the “LUV Is In The Air” romantic getaway haiku contest sponsored by The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach and Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, he never really thought he would win. Little did he know that out of over 25,000 entries, his three-line, seventeen-syllable minipoem would be chosen.

The stipulations were to write a haiku (five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third) about love, which has always been the overarching theme for Southwest Airlines—after all, Love Field near Dallas, Texas, is Southwest’s national hub. Spirit Magazine adopted the “love” theme for its February 2011 issue and featured the contest that it cosponsored with The Resort Collection within its pages. Across the nation, press releases and ads sprang up in magazines and newspapers for the “LUV giveaway.” It was advertised on Southwest Airlines’ Facebook page, on TV and radio, and even on the iconic billboards of Times Square.

Haikus poured in for months. After much deliberation, the final decision was made.

luv is in the air; beach; pool

“We were thrilled with the number of entries and the enthusiasm for the promotion,” said Michelle Lacewell, director of marketing for The Resort Collection. “The haikus people submitted were so much fun to read! But in the end, we could only pick one winner.”

Kyle’s winning haiku reads:

Spring and we arise As lovers take to the skies Adventuring on…

Who knew seventeen syllables could win a $30,000 prize package vacation to Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast?

luv is in the air;
Photo by Lisa Ferrick

“You see these things a lot of times and you think, ‘Oh, nobody ever really wins,’” said Kyle, who wrote the haiku in hopes of winning the romantic getaway for himself and Stacy, his wife of seven years. “But I guess they do!”

The Himmericks landed in Panama City Beach, Florida, on May 24, the same weekend Southwest Airlines celebrated its one-year anniversary of service to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The couple was treated to round-trip airfare courtesy of Southwest, and they disembarked the plane to enjoy their free seven-night stay at The Resort Collection’s newest property, Grand Panama Beach Resort.

I can’t believe we were so lucky. I know it sounds cheesy to say, but it really was the vacation of a lifetime.

Anticipation was high as they awaited a ride to the resort, compliments of Sunshine Shuttle, and prepared for their exciting and romantic week at the beach. Their first few days in Panama City Beach were highlighted by dinner at Firefly restaurant (on their anniversary, coincidentally), spending a $1,000 shopping certificate at Pier Park, treatments at Fusion Spa and Salon, and a private dinner prepared by The Resort Collection’s executive chef, Philippe Robles.

“The meal was fantastic,” Kyle said. “Chef Philippe did such a great job.” Kyle enjoyed steak and lobster, while Stacy, a vegetarian, was served seasonal fresh veggies from local growers.

luv is in the air;
Photo by Lisa Ferrick

But the prize package was far from exhausted by a little fine dining and some retail therapy. Kyle and Stacy’s grand getaway week and prizes also included a dolphin encounter at Gulf World Marine Park, an original painting by local artist Justin Gaffrey, and a $10,000 jewelry shopping spree at McCaskill and Company in Destin, Florida.

Walking into McCaskill, the winners were greeted by owner Bill Campbell, who assisted Stacy as she browsed the store’s huge and stunning array of gemstones, pearls, silver, and gold.

luv is in the air; beach

“Stacy and Kyle were a delightful couple—perfect winners!” Campbell said. “I could tell from the moment I met them that they were going to have a great time here. Stacy prefers gold and was drawn to Marco Bicego and Gurhan’s 24-karat pieces.”

After drifting from case to case and trying on numerous pieces of magnificent jewelry, Stacy selected two Marco Bicego necklaces, one solid gold and the other with colored gemstones, each with a matching pair of earrings. Kyle, who watched with bright eyes and offered his input during Stacy’s selections, was not completely left out; he chose a tungsten wedding band from Benchmark. After the shopping spree at McCaskill, the couple ventured into the adjoining store, Sarah Carolyn, and chose several pieces of jewelry for family members.

luv is in the air; coast

“We hope they enjoyed their time in paradise and will choose to vacation here again,” said Bill’s wife and store co-owner Elizabeth Campbell. “And, of course, we hope they’ll stop by to say hello!”

It seemed as if the day could not get any better as Stacy and Kyle left McCaskill and Sarah Carolyn with a bundle of fabulous jewelry—but it was not over yet. Sunshine Shuttle took the pair on a drive down Scenic Highway 30-A, a favorite local area reminiscent of the very best of Old Florida, where they stopped by Blue Mountain Beach and were greeted by artist Justin Gaffrey at his studio gallery.

Gaffrey’s work can be seen all over the Emerald Coast, gracing the walls of such places as Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Seaside, and V Seagrove restaurant. Kyle and Stacy spent time admiring Gaffrey’s work before finally agreeing on a painting of sunflowers surrounded by the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine.” Stacy said they had the perfect spot for it in their Colorado home, allowing them to always have a bit of Florida sunshine around.

luv is in the air; artwork; paintings
Photo by Lisa Ferrick

“I am often asked why I paint flowers, particularly sunflowers,” Gaffrey has said. “I surmise that it is because flowers are that which we behold most beautiful, and so beautiful is this transcendent place, that this is the interpretation that springs forth. Hence the power of symbols.”

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and Sunshine Shuttle took the couple back to the airport. Kyle and Stacy Himmerick boarded Southwest Airlines to return to “the real world”—but not without wonderful memories and treasured keepsakes of their romantic getaway in paradise. When asked, they couldn’t pick a favorite part of the vacation.

“Just all of it,” Kyle said.

And though the Emerald Coast was sad to see them go, seeing a wonderful young couple enjoy themselves was reward enough. The Resort Collection has continued to work closely with Southwest Airlines and Spirit Magazine since the LUV giveaway, providing prizes for Southwest’s “40 Days of Prizes” anniversary event. The Resort Collection also held the “Show Us Your Happiness” Facebook photo contest this summer, providing lucky winners with a four-night stay at Majestic Beach Resort, eighteen holes of golf at Hombre Golf Club, and dinner at Firefly restaurant in Panama City Beach.

“We were very happy for Kyle and Stacy,” Lacewell said. “I believe they had the best Panama City Beach experience possible during their stay. It’s always a joy to see people having fun and sharing memories at our resorts and knowing that we were a part of it.”

“I can’t believe we were so lucky,” Stacy said. “I know it sounds corny to say, but it really was the vacation of a lifetime.”


Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail