Spring and celebrations go hand-in-hand, and this year, thank goodness we are back to that being the rule rather than the exception.

At Coastal Illustrated, getting readers off on the right foot celebration-wise is just about our favorite thing in the whole world, and that’s what the feature is all about. Our friend Elaine Griffin is our go-to for lifestyle expertise. I think she may be my guru. I can literally absorb knowledge from her just by being in close proximity. Anyhow, Elaine is on the board of the STAR Foundation of Coastal Georgia, an organization that helps people transition to gainful employment, and as with most nonprofits, fundraisers are a necessity. Elaine and her board associates, as well as the leadership of the organization, have been for months planning the STARgazing Low Country Boil to be held May 27 at Village Creek Landing. In our feature, led by Elaine, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks to host the most to-die-for low country boil against the fabulous backdrop of Jane Prendergast’s magical home – or whatever other kind of soiree you might fancy, because these steps apply across the board.

In our Coastal Home feature, we meet the awesome moms of some of our favorite designers, and learn how they’ve influenced their daughters. We will talk design aesthetics, fabrics and other elements with Julie Singleton Willis, Elaine Griffin and Adrienne Elsberry. Our moms really are first influencers and developers of our tastes.

Literary columnist Cary Knapp provides us with her annual picks for beach reads, just at the right time. There are several intriguing choices, but I believe I’ll start with the latest, and appropriately titled novel from Mary Kay Andrews, “Hello Summer.” They don’t call Andrews the “Queen of Beach Reads” for nothing. Pour yourself a sweet tea and settle in for a delightful romp with these well-drawn characters.

Anne Ditmer, horticulture columnist, has some sad news. It seems the variable weather conditions have caused a shortage in the early crop of Georgia peaches, and there are some other troubling effects as well. As always, Anne gives solid advice for solutions.

In the Local Q&A, we meet Casey Dart Igel, a wife, mom and “cookier.” Casey talks about enjoying island life with her family, her favorite landmark, and even gives up some of her baking secrets.

In the Realtor Q&A we find Georgia Bailey Usry, whose enthusiasm about St. Simons Island real estate is contagious. When Georgia isn’t working, she likes to spend time on the beach or enjoying meals with friends.

Finally, in our Affiliate Q&A, we meet Douglas Phelps, who is an insurance agent, husband and dad. Douglas enjoys fishing, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs and coaching his sons’ Little League teams.

Gordon Jackson, in the real estate story, explores how newcomers furnish and supply their new homes – and discovers the ripple effect all this commerce has on the local economy.

Like I said earlier, things are slowly beginning to return to normal. We stopped by the Cassina Garden Club’s Tabby & Tillandsia Garden Walk and only got a few pictures before what was thought to be a tornado headed in our direction. We also stopped by the site of the proposed Glynn Haven Park for an update on fundraising, and a chance to say hello to some good friends.

Don’t forget to check out Cheri’s Shore Things. The topic is “Wander and Wonder,” and I think we should take her advice.

As you celebrate Mother’s Day on May 9, remember the many women who are unable to celebrate. I like to think of my own birth mother on this day, and consider how excluded she must feel. In Nancy Mae’s honor, I ask you to do something kind for someone – especially if they live alone – this Mother’s Day.

Until next time, take care of one another, wash your hands and be kind.