St Pete Soul Podcast
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Nicole Lynn Interiors | Episode 3.8
[brittany_ranew_]: Hi everybody, welcome back to the St. Pete Soul podcast. I am super excited to have Nicole here with me today of Nicole Lynn Interiors. She creates beautiful and livable spaces with her signature modern coastal look. [nicole]: Hi there, how are you? [brittany_ranew_]: awesome thanks for being here [nicole]: yes thank you for having me appreciate it [brittany_ranew_]: ah well I feel like we're cheating a little bit today because like we're actually really good friends so hopefully this is just a fun conversation [nicole]: yes I agree [brittany_ranew_]: um andIknow you can't really see my office from this angle but I credit you for creating my beautiful space in here so I love it thank you [brittany_ranew_]: well let's get started and I would love for you to share just a little bit about about yourself kind of like your background where you're from that kind of thing so take it away [nicole]: awesome soIam originally from Michigan, a small town in Michigan and graduated from high school with like ninety people or something like that so just a really small town everyone knows everyone not a lot going on there’s like no Starbucks within an hour, no mall within an hour so you know it was really in the middle of nowhere Michigan. I loved growing up there though and then in collegeI studied abroad in Australia and that really opened up my mind to the world you know like that there's other places besides Michigan and you can live in a different climate and all of those different things and so I actually ended up moving after I graduated to Norway for a year [nicole]:I was an Au Pair, basically like a nanny right so it's like a cultural exchange, but you know it was great I lived with a host familyIgot to travel Europe, but it just again really opened my mind [nicole]: Obviously Australia and Norway are so different, especially the climate and so I realized when I moved back to the states that I had to be somewhere warm. I was just so much happier. I think I was born in the wrong climate so I moved to Naples, Florida because I had some friends down here so I lived in Naples for four years or so I met my now husband um at work and he got promoted and it took us to denver so we moved to Denver [nicole]: We were there for five years and again it's cold [brittany_ranew_]: oh [nicole]: so we moved back here finally a couple of years ago [brittany_ranew_]: okay awesome [brittany_ranew_]: yeah so so so what made you pick St Pete? You've lived in so many different places like very cultured [nicole]: oh [brittany_ranew_]: So what makes you pick St Pete? over all of these different places [nicole]: yes well a couple of things so we happened to get married here which is really cool so it had like a special place in our heart right but we really didn't spend a lot of time down here when we were naples I think we came up here maybe twice [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]: but I was researching places that are warm with like a lot of small businesses [nicole]: like we love breweries we love real good food there were like a lot of requirements after living in denver because we really love the culture there and my husband especially loved it and didn't really want to move but it was important to me to get back to nice weather and you know just be back where I wanted to be too so we could had to compromise [nicole]: and I just did a lot of research and I realized that St Pete is really like the place to be I mean it's got all the culture, it's got soul like you always say Brittnay. It's true though it's different than anywhere in Florida [nicole]: Naples for example everything is like in a strip mall it's all really nice it's beautiful and they do have good food down there and stuff but it's just the feeling here is very different so ultimately I convinced my husband just set his sites on finding a job here and it took a while but we're here [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: and I’m never leaving [brittany_ranew_]: me neither, don’t tell my family [nicole]: yes we're here forever [brittany_ranew_]: yeah um okay so what so what year was that that you moved to St Pete? [nicole]: that was two years ago so it was right at the beginning of January 2020 [brittany_ranew_]: okay [nicole]: right before the pandemic hit [brittany_ranew_]: yeah oh my goodness i've heard so many stories of that with people you moved somewhere and then covid hits so [nicole]: yeah [brittany_ranew_]: a little challenging um cool okay so for you've been in the corporate world you know and now you have your own business talk a little bit about like that transition from the corporate world to to the business and kind of what sparked that idea in that change [nicole]: yeah definitely so it's interesting like going backward so in denver um we bought our first house so we got married in St Pete at the same time we bought a fixer upper and then we just completely gutted it we renovated it all and I loved the process, like everyone was like oh it's so stressful like you've got all these people in your house you know like they're tearing the floors out and you know it's a disaster and I was like it's so much fun [brittany_ranew_]: oh [nicole]: and I loved every single second of it and through that experience I actually ended up having a lot of friends and family that asked me to help them. It is a very similar story to a lot of interior designers or career changers right it's like on accident [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: and so I was just like helping them I was like you know it was my favorite thing to do so everyone was like should I get this? or get that? That was what all my texts were basically [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: um and then our house was done we ended up selling it and moving here and we decided to build a house here and so I went through that entire process which of course I loved as well it was stressful but it was so much fun and while I was in Colorado to just get through the winter time I decided to take an into design course online and so it was just something fun for me. I love learning So I was like I'm just going to do this while I'm working in my corporate job. What else are you going to do in the winter time if you don't like winter and you don't ski and you live in Denver? [nicole]: What was supposed to be just a hobby I wasn't even trying to make money or anything but the more i got into it the course I took was had like a lot of content and details it actually took me two years to get through it because it was so much um but I decided I guess somewhere down the line like maybe this could be like a side hustle um so it was I don't know it just all the stars kind of aligned and about two years ago when I first moved here I was like i'm just going to start this and see where it goes and here i am [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: so yeah [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: so it's been it's been a lot to like it took me a long time I guess to accept the fact that Like I was going to leave la very stable career one that I'd built for so long because I worked in corporate America for ten years. I climbed the corporate ladder if you will, did all the right things I had a team you know working remotely like on paper everything was great I just like knew inside that I really wanted to do something else [brittany_ranew_]: yeah well you're not alone in that right I mean there's so many people that have been in that corporate world and they're dreaming of starting their own business because of this passion so I mean kudos to you because it takes a lot of courage to take that step. What were some of the emotions that you went through when you officially quit your job? [nicole]: yeah it was like two years in right, so I had several projects that were going at this point. I had already registered my LLC like I was a business. I had business cards I had like a secret Instagram and Facebook [nicole]: that people that didn't know me would find me through but I didn't really tell anyone because again it was just kind of like a hobby and something fun for me to do but then you know it started getting more serious and I was getting really busy and so for my corporate job I had to travel a lot and so during the pandemic like we weren't traveling but then we were going to have to start traveling again and I had all these projects going. I was trying to figure out how can I step away you know from these projects that i'm doing and fly across the US for the other job that I have and it was just a lot and so there were some transition or some changes I guess going on at the company that I worked at and I just had a lot of conversations and I just felt like it was almost like meant to be [nicole]: a good time to exit so you know, I fulfilled my duties there um and just took kind of the leap of faith and you know it was scary for sure but ultimately I'm so glad that I did it because it's what I wanted to do.I love it and you know I just want my business to continue to grow and I’m so happy right like I don't miss that at all it's such a strange thing I was like maybe I'll miss it [brittany_ranew_]: yeah yes [nicole]: not yet [brittany_ranew_]: Talk about what's your inspiration like kind - where do you get some of your Ideas? Talk a little about that and the design process [nicole]: yeah definitely so I get inspiration everywhere it's really interesting, so one of my favorite things to do is to walk around the neighborhood I live in, Magnolia Heights and then like Woodlawn is just across the street basically [nicole]: and all the houses are so cute so I just walk around, it’s where I do all my big thinking that's what I always say so I just get inspiration from that. I love it just you know going to the beach traveling it's obviously like a big part of me and my history and everywhere that I've gone there's been like a piece that I've taken with me. That I love to you know put into my designs but at the end of the day it's always about the client and so I get a lot of inspiration based upon theirs right like we go through Pinterest boards or like sometimes they'll just have like magazine clippings that they want to show me or they'll talk out of feeling that they want and then the fun part is that I can make that a reality for them through products. So it's really everywhere I mean even a lot of it's just here in my back yard for sure like just walking around St Pete [brittany_ranew_]: yeah well so like your signature look is that modern coastal you know casual relaxed but refined and functional kind of blending all that. Where did the idea come from for that to kind of be what makes you draw to that style [nicole]: definitely well I think there's a lot of things right so first of all I am that type of person right so i like things to be comfortable I like people who come into my home to feel really comfortable and I don't want everything to feel like just to show room right like I think that your space should really reflect who you are and so for me personally that’s like my personal signature style and I think that because of that that's why a lot of the clients who are drawn to me um you know because they see my website and they see what I'm posting and that's what draws them to me but it doesn't necessarily have to be costal and I think that that's one of the things that i've been kind of working on within my business is like I love to bring nature in so that's like a huge piece of it so whether that's like the ocean or you know the blue sky or just driftwood or you know like really like different textures and wood and things like that. I think that that's really what I want places to feel like. I want them to be modern but I want the spaces that I create to also feel like rustic and lived in and relaxed because at the end of the day we live in these spaces so they should feel that way [brittany_ranew_]: that's really cool so yeah like getting in touch with the earth in a sense and like bringing all those elements together [nicole]: 100% like i'd love to have greenery again just different wood tones I don't want everything to be like just shiny right like you want it to be textured and have layers and so that's my favorite thing to do is to bring all that texture together [brittany_ranew_]: very cool well so that kind of brings me to the question of - what do you feel like your niche is, that ideal customer who would you say that is? [nicole]: you know I do think again that like those that are like coastal modern they tend to gravitate towards me or like boho I have like a boho flare a lot of mid century um but terms of like my ideal client um that has been all over the place right like I think that's the fun part is that I've worked with so many people over the years like whether it's friends and family or people who have been referred to me whatever it may be. I've been really fortunate to work with a lot of different people but what I found is that those who benefit most from you know having an interior designer just in general and those that I work with is someone who is a busy professional so you know they they have a lot going on in a day maybe have children you know maybe they're running around their jobs just really demanding maybe they just don't want to make the wrong decision I think that I have a lot of that where it's like you know they'll I'll talk to a client he'll say like I have a pretty good sense of what my style is like I know my likes and my dislikes however I don't want it to I want it to all mess together andIwant to look curated and have the right scale and everything. So busy professionals who do tend to have a pretty good sense of their own style I also have a full service or new build new construction type clients. I also offer a package that it's digital so it's a digital design. That's more so for anyone so I always say like that's a more accessible way to have a designer look there's some DIY that goes into that the clients that comes to me for that are often first time home buyers or second time or they're going through some type of a transition in their life like maybe they're having a baby and they need a nursery put together. Or renovating just one space. You know busy professionals in the corporate world and then those that are like just starting out or going through a transition [brittany_ranew_]: yeah and you know I feel like I kind of fit into the category of the busy professional when you helped me with my office because I definitely you know I was able to say hey this is like my style this is what I'm looking for but i was afraid of making the wrong decision [brittany_ranew_]: so you hit the nail on the head, also because you're like gosh i'm investing money into buying these different you know pieces of furniture and like if you're going to paint you know that's like all the time and effort to paint or if you hired someone to do it you know so it's like you don't want to make the wrong move and then have to start over [nicole]: yeah [brittany_ranew_]: you spent money you can't get back or whatever so yeah it's [nicole]: so true and there's nothing more frustrating than like ordering a piece of furniture and then like putting it together or getting it there and then realizing like it doesn't fit in the space or like doesn't fit through front door or that the lighting you know isn't right for that color of paint and so I think that having a designer you know help you with that it just saved you honestly time and stress in the long run [nicole]: so that's why I have like two different packages you know one that's like more accessible because I truly believe like everyone should have the opportunity to have a beautifully crafted home like you don't have to spend millions of dollars for it to still be beautiful and functional [brittany_ranew_]: yeah absolutely and you know you helped us with the paint for our house particularly with the exterior, just having someone alongside you, and in my case it was like talking me off the ledge because I thought it was going to be terrible and, you're like hold on it's going to come together like [nicole]: you bet [brittany_ranew_]: but the house is blue [nicole]: but you wanted it blue [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]:I know that is it's scary though I totally get it and it can be shocking you like walk in and it all looks different it takes some time to just get used to it [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: but you know and it is like all the small pieces coming together too which is a really cool part of design is like that's why you see on HGTV it's the grand revel - it’s the perfect way to set a client expectations up for success because if you see it midway through it's sometimes real scary like you don't always want to see all that behind the scene stuff that we have to do to get to that beautiful space [brittany_ranew_]: yeah that's a great point maybe you should implement that [nicole]: yes, you know and just make everyone stay away until it's all done [brittany_ranew_]: I would have had no idea the behind the scenes of the process, it's just having a professional with experience is definitely an added bonus [nicole]: yeah [brittany_ranew_]: I know you're so great with new construction, talk a little bit about the unique process to have a designer with you kind of along that way of building the house, so what does that typically look like? Are you kind of from the start with the plans with the builder or is it kind of like halfway through what's that process look like? [nicole]: yeah good question, so ideally I would be like the first decision made alongside of deciding on a builder right and the reason for that is just because then from the very beginning we're thinking through like what the furniture is going to look like, at the end how you want to live in that space you know how you're going to utilize your living room all of those different things before we decide where the windows are going to be and the architect finalizes all the plans so I love to work with clients at the front end of that process, however sometimes I come into the process when they have you decided on a lot or a builder and they might even have the plans in place already, so I help with some of that functionality however it doesn't always happen that way and that's okay too, but usually the way that I explained is we work on like the hard surfaces first, looking at like the exterior of the house, making the decisions on lighting, flooring and cabinets [nicole]: those pieces that are going to be in the house for a long time that's where you start and then you kind of transition into the furnishing so I always do it in like two phases because the amount of decisions you have to make is a lot when you're building a home. I think people under estimate that but I mean the builder is going to ask you especially if it's like custom or semi custom they're going to ask you every single thing like what color do you want the hinges to be, the knobs like what size do you want them where do you want them placed [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: so you know there's just a lot of thinking and breaking it into two different pieces um helps people to have a little bit of like a mental break and then move to the next piece [nicole]: that's usually how I work with my clients that are new construction [brittany_ranew_]: so sounds like you know getting that base of that foundation right and perfect with you know the exterior and the cabinetry and that stuff and then then moving to the finer details of hardware and lighting and tile and [nicole]: and furnishings yeah because I mean yeah it's like a very fun process but again if you've ever walked in to floor and decor or even like a home depot and you like walk you don't even know where to start [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: so I love to be at the front end of that process to help make those decisions and feel good about them from the start and see how everything is going to go together I think that's a big piece too as it's hard to visualize like how everything is going to look together and so offer like three renderings for example um and that's really helpful for someone who's a very visual person [brittany_ranew_]: yep [nicole]: to be able to see like this is what it's going to look like at the end of the day [brittany_ranew_]: yeah well I mean how do you - I feel like the way your brain works to be able to pull all that stuff together – that’s just amazing to me like you can walk in to Lowes and walk through the you know the picture department and see all the different choices - it's amazing that you can like you know pull all that together [nicole]: well I think the thing is though is that and this is something actually that I think is like I don't want to say like a misconception but I think that I'm like an interior designer especially like people from the corporate world they're like oh my gosh you just play with like tiles all day long and fabric and then you know you just like wave a wand and then it's beautiful and [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: it's so different than that because I used to work in talent acquisition – when I worked in corporate America and it's like sort of the same thing so [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]: when I used to recruit team members to the team right or like help someone build their team I would ask questions around like what they're looking for you know like what's important to you in a workplace all of those different things and that's the very front end of every process our list of whatever I'm doing with a client right like if we're doing a full build a new construction project or one room like I’m asking you a ton of questions at the very beginning [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]: to understand like how you want that to look so that when we walk in you know wherever we're going to go to make selections you know I’m guiding you and I’m thinking through like this is what you want it to feel like - how you're going to function and you know use that space so it's kind of like an art and of science right like there's a lot of beautiful pieces and I love that piece but a lot of it is like a science too because you really have to make sure that it fits the life style the function of that person as well so [brittany_ranew_]: yeah that's that's really cool I mean you know I think that's something that a lot of people, anyone in a service based you know industry when you're trying to pull this kind of information out of client so that you can serve them better, asking the right question asking better questions because that's the only way you're going to uncover what their wants and needs are I mean because sometimes it's hard to like form the words and like as you [brittany_ranew_]: ask those questions then it starts to come out of them so that's that's really cool [nicole]: yeah I agree and another thing that I do so well is show a ton of pictures in different styles and I’ll ask them to just stare at the picture right and like tell me like what do you like about this room like what don't you like and like I’m taking notes you know that a year down the road when we're at the end of the project I’m still thinking through the things that you said in that first conversation so everything is like really thoughtful and strategic in the way that we're going to get to that and products that you're going to walk into and feel like oh it's beautiful I love [nicole]: it you know it feels like me and that's the goal right like you want [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: into your home and it feels like you so [brittany_ranew_]: yeah absolutely [brittany_ranew_]: so all right so let's shift gears a little bit I’d love to hear like what's your favorite thing about having this business now [nicole]: oh my goodness well I love that it's like mine I know that's a little selfish right but um [brittany_ranew_]: I’m with you on that [nicole]: yeah it's like it's interesting because the end of the road is with you so you know at the end of the day whatever decision whatever outcome in your business you have to take accountability for that and I think that you know that could be scary to some people but for me I love it and I you know when I was in corporate America that's one of the things that I was hoping for with my business is that I can set the direction and the goals and like you know set it up the way that I want it to be that's true to me and you just can't do that in corporate America like you can’t build the culture of your specific team you know I had several people who reported in to me at the end of the day we were like all on a ship going the same direction together for the company [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]:I just think it's really cool that now I can set that tone for my company and you know focus and the things that I think are really important so I guess [brittany_ranew_]: you're captaining your own ship now [nicole]: yeah, that's true [brittany_ranew_]: that's awesome yeah so what's like what would you say is your why? when you get up in the morning you're excited to start your day, what is it that drives you? [nicole]: yeah I think all tied together I'm so grateful that everything is kind of aligned for me to be able to wake up and just do this every day to help people make their homes beautiful and functional that's literally a dream of mind it's like a dream come true and so I just remember you know the years that it took me to get here and I’m just like grateful to finally be here so it just drives me to continually get better for my clients and like you know keep getting more education don’t know it's just like I remember when I used to be in corporate America I worked from home and I would kind of roll out of bed like five minutes before the day started [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: and I’d like roll downstairs [nicole]: and now I’m like up and I’m like thinking through ideas and I was up the night before reading or thinking about a product then it's just really cool to feel happy and passionate and lie on the right track you know so [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: yeah [brittany_ranew_]: so what would you say to someone else out there listening that's like has the [brittany_ranew_]: dream and they're stuck in that corporate world or whatever whatever it looks like [nicole]: mhm [brittany_ranew_]: to encourage them to take that step like you did and start there [nicole]: my gosh well first of all I don't think it's just like a leap of faith right like I don’t operate that way [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: so I think that it's like strategic planning like you need to have a and for me it was like a three year plan right like I didn't know exactly when it was going to end like the plan to like actually finally jump but I think just like tiny steps right like get the experience like work [nicole]: with all sorts of different people tell people what you're doing and just you know see what doors and for you because I think that like for me what [nicole]: made me feel like okay i'm on the right track and like this is the [nicole]: way that it's meant to go it's just that like I was already working with clients I was feeling busy people referring me to other people which means that they [nicole]: were happy and so I think that confidence is really helpful and I think you can't really get that unless you like try first right [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: but then eventually you know right and then you just then you go but for me it was like really important to be like financially in a great place and you know like there were just like a lot of things personally for me um that were really important to me so [brittany_ranew_]: yeah that's a cool way to think about it like making a strategic plan around it you know you three years or whatever that looks like no it's I think our culture we just it's instant gratification we want and I mean I’m guilty of that get impatient I want something to happen right away in my business in it's a long term [brittany_ranew_]: investment in yourself and you took the time to think through all right what what does that look like you [brittany_ranew_]: know if i'm going to feel confident to make this change my finances need to look like [nicole]: mhm [brittany_ranew_]: you know what is just all those moving parts so that's a really good reminder like for people to sit down and make a plan you know you're like writing [brittany_ranew_]: out goals like that you're more likely to stick to it in [nicole]: yeah [brittany_ranew_]: take the necessary actions like get yourself to that point so [nicole]: yeah I mean it's a huge life decision again everyone functions differently but like for me it just was really important to have a plan and [nicole]: like all have education like I didn’t feel like I could just because I’ve you know done this for a couple of years doesn't mean that I can just like go out call myself an interior designer like me personally like some people do that but for me I wanted [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: to go through a program and learn the details and learn how to three d render and like put in the work you know and now I feel like I’m so much more [nicole]: thankful and grateful to be where I’m at and more comfortable right to like I can take the time in space to you know work on the things that I need to work on in my business and not feel like oh my gosh like we're going to pay the bills this week you know or month [brittany_ranew_]: this can be very stressful [nicole]: yes [brittany_ranew_]: yeah well so okay so since you've you've quit the other job being full time [brittany_ranew_]: and that's been this kind of this year basically brittany_ranew_]: how have you seen your business grow like you're able to focus all of your [brittany_ranew_]: attention on it instead of a balancing act so how you seen it grow with being able to do that [nicole]:I know where does all the time go to right [brittany_ranew_]: okay [nicole]: like I’m like how did I do this and the other thing and all the [nicole]: other things definitely like no shortage of things to do when you run a business you know this it's like crazy you don't have a team [brittany_ranew_]: no [nicole]: like I don’t have a marketing team or you know [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: if I don’t post on social media nobody's doing it [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: like if don’t source some you know items for that client they won't just show up so there's like so much and I think like where I’ve been focused is really like making sure that like all of my policies and procedures and like [nicole]: template and communicate and like for me it's been really important to get all of [nicole]: that like really well defined and kind of a well oiled machine because again I [nicole]: want to serve my clients I want to build a really strong and great reputation [nicole]: and then I want to be able to hire a team member and have them [nicole]: set up for success so you know it corporate right like these are things I [nicole]: learned in corporate America but I've taken them with me into this and I think that that's where I’ve really been spending a lot of my time I’m [nicole]: doing like the design and all of as well but on the back end I’m [nicole]: thinking okay like this is a business that I want to scale and grow [nicole]: so everything needs to look how I want it [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: and be organized [brittany_ranew_]: building blocks of the business so that you have longevity is sustainable [nicole]: hm [brittany_ranew_]: and scalable like what you're [nicole]: oh [brittany_ranew_]: talking about being able to have team members to help you out because you know [brittany_ranew_]: if you do want to grow then you have to learn how to scale yourself [brittany_ranew_]: because you just will only have so much capacity as an individual person so [nicole]: hm [brittany_ranew_]: you kind of have to match whatever those dreams are you have to match you [brittany_ranew_]: know you actions around that so that you can get there one day [nicole]: yeah yeah [brittany_ranew_]: yeah so okay so what's some long term dreams then for the business [nicole]: like I’m living in my dream [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: no I definitely so I don’t want to be like this huge company like I don't want to have like a team of you know thirty people and like build an empire if you will like none of that is super important to me [nicole]: but what is important to me is to stay like I want to always be [nicole]: connected to my client like somehow I always want to feel like I'm still involved in the design process so [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]:I never want to get so far removed from that but in terms of like [nicole]: just goals like no five years I’d love to have maybe one or two team [nicole]: members on the team and then I would also love to get into like short [nicole]: term rentals I’d love to like not own them necessarily but I’d love to design [nicole]: them and kind [brittany_ranew_]: yes [nicole]: of be like a go to person for that because I think that that really fits with my esthetic and what I love to do and you know what comes [nicole]: easily to me really at the end [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: of the day [brittany_ranew_]: it's cool [nicole]: um and then I would love to have a store front at some point in [nicole]: saint pete like the ultimate dream would be so cool yeah so I don’t know or commerce I just [nicole]: like love curating collections of things [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]: and I would just love to like sell them I just don't know exactly how that would all work but yeah if I’m dreaming there it is [brittany_ranew_]: yeah I love it I love those dreams very cool all right so so what's like a typical day look like for you get up start work kind of what's a typical day like [nicole]: yes so let's see so every day is a little different but a typical day [nicole]: right is something like I wake up have coffee usually take a walk with pups check my emails like when I come back um and then I kind of get into like the workday right so i'm responding to emails like kind of seeing [nicole]: what's going on looking at my calendar usually I have some light consults or at [nicole]: least conversations with potential clients so I like to start my day out with those [nicole]: and then I move into like going on to the sites and seeing what's going [nicole]: on like meeting with vendors or whatever on site or client meetings in person um [nicole]: and then usually I like end my day coming home and you know I’ll usually [nicole]: like again check on e mail and just make sure that everything is kind of [nicole]: wrapped up for the day so that the next day I feel like I’m in a good place to wake up and do [nicole]: it all again [brittany_ranew_]: which is so fun because it's all yours you can do whatever you want with it [nicole]: yep it's so true it is [brittany_ranew_]: awesome well this has been such a fun conversation and like you know I even [brittany_ranew_]: learned stuff that I didn’t know so that's really really cool just to kind of [brittany_ranew_]: pull back the curtain and learn like how your brain works and how exciting [brittany_ranew_]: this is for you so okay so I like to end the conversation with some like hot [brittany_ranew_]: seat questions all about saint pete so [nicole]: okay love it [brittany_ranew_]: all right so where is your favorite spot to go for a night out [nicole]: for a night out um probably like I love to go to like green bench [nicole]: and sit outside [brittany_ranew_]: hm [nicole]: so nice and just walk around that area yeah that's probably like where we're going [nicole]: if it's a night out my husband and I or we're like going for a walk down at vinoy and then ending with like you know a beer or a glass of wine and I love that they have the option of beer or wine there so depending [nicole]: on how you're feeling how both [brittany_ranew_]: hm all right cool what's your favorite pizza place [nicole]: oh this is tough it's hard I know um so I love noble crust and they have this honey chilly sauce that they put on their pizza and it's so good [nicole]: so like that sticks in my mind but I also love paul chicago pizza I don't know if you've ever been there but it's north [brittany_ranew_]:I think so [nicole]: on fourth street when we first moved here we lived in between tampa and saint pete and gandy and so [nicole]: it's up there um and pepper one and mushroom pizza from there [brittany_ranew_]: mmm [nicole]: so good and then they have the best greek salad and I know this is like controversial topic but I love that they put um potato salad in their greek salad so good so [brittany_ranew_]: oh interesting [brittany_ranew_]: okay very cool [nicole]: yep [brittany_ranew_]: all right so when you do get a day off what's your favorite thing to do [nicole]: so sleeping and then wake up hang with the pups um and I loved like again go for a walk listen to my podcast lay by the pool and then a sunset like I just love to go to sunset so go to pass a grill and just sit on the water and relax um that's a perfect day to me and maybe some like yoga [nicole]: i've been going to hot works and so if you can get a good work out in it feels good you [nicole]: feel like you know you've accomplished something so that's a perfect day for me [brittany_ranew_]: ah that sounds wonderful [nicole]: oh and some good food there's so much good food [brittany_ranew_]: yeah [nicole]: to be had so brunt or something somewhere probably with you [brittany_ranew_]: yes, probably yes [nicole]: yep [brittany_ranew_]: yeah we all make our rounds to the amazing restaurants that we have here [nicole]: yes yes so self proclaimed foodies right [brittany_ranew_]: yes absolutely [brittany_ranew_]: awesome well thanks Nicole for sitting down with me and kind of letting everyone in on your on your life and your business - I love to hear your dreams and it sounds like you're you know just working hard every day to build what you want to build so congratulations [nicole]: thank you so much and thanks for having me [brittany_ranew_]: all right thanks guys we'll catch you next time bye
Sol Bistro St Pete | Episode 3.7
00:00:04:13 - 00:00:30:02 Brittany: Welcome to the St Pete Soul podcast. I'm your host, Brittany Renew, a local real estate professional in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and I help people fall in love with the Sunshine City every day. In these episodes, I sit down with local business owners and get to tell their stories. So we pull back the curtain and let you discover what makes Saint Pete so special. So come along with me and let the Sunshine City warm your soul. 00:00:36:20 - 00:00:54:07 Brittany: Hi everybody. Welcome to the Saint Pete Soul podcast. I am Brittany Renew and I am joined today by Debbie and Ron O'Neil, the owners of Soul, a Saint Pete Bistro, which is a conscious culinary experience. And I love seeing that. So hi. Welcome. 00:00:54:22 - 00:00:55:07 Debbie: Hi! 00:00:56:21 - 00:00:57:23 Brittany: How are y'all today? 00:00:58:08 - 00:00:59:01 Debbie: Fantastic. 00:00:59:04 - 00:01:00:21 Ron: Doing well thank you. 00:01:00:23 - 00:01:03:04 Brittany: And thank you so much for being here. I'm excited to have you. 00:01:03:20 - 00:01:05:03 Debbie: Thank you so much for having us. 00:01:05:19 - 00:01:17:22 Brittany: Yeah. So I came to your amazing restaurant and as soon as the meal was over, I was like, and I got a chance to meet you. I'm like, okay, kind of gets you on the podcast. 00:01:18:26 - 00:01:29:11 Debbie: I love it. I just, I love the, the synchronicity of you being Saint Pete Soul and us being Sol St. Pete I think that's just it's meant to be. 00:01:31:16 - 00:01:34:29 Brittany: Well kick us off and just tell us a little bit about you and your background. 00:01:36:11 - 00:02:07:28 Debbie: Okay. So I. I am an Italian girl foodie with a laundry list of food allergies. So I grew up with all types of problems health problems like allergies, rashes, migraines, IBS, and a bunch of other things. And when I was around 18, I realized that I was allergic to a lot of foods, that my parents didn't realize that. 00:02:08:00 - 00:03:15:23 Debbie: So I just immersed myself into holistic health and nutrition, and I started to help others around me, like my friends and my family and others in the community. And then I thought I should probably get some certifications and make some money from my sacred gifts. So I started teaching people about holistic lifestyle and nutrition and helping them to create sustainable lifestyles through conscious culinary classes and healthy daily habits. And just a whole holistic approach mind, body and soul. And then my husband, Ron, he owned a gym and we had some friends who had the restaurant. So it was previously a Puerto Rican restaurant. And when we closed our gym due to COVID, they took us out to dinner and approached us and asked if I wanted to put my concept in it. And so that's how all this came about. 00:03:15:25 - 00:03:48:13 Debbie: But four years before that, Ron wanted me to open a restaurant and I was a private chef for like nine years before we opened the restaurant specializing in allergen free food and really incorporating that into my lifestyle coaching as well. So I was like, No way, I didn't want to open the restaurant because we have quite a large family. We have seven kids between the two of us. Okay, yeah, we have three still at home. 00:03:48:15 - 00:04:17:17 Debbie: So he has a 14 year old son that's still at home. My daughter's 13 and then an 11 year old daughter. So I was like, no way. Because I'm just it's very important to me to be present for our children. So when this opportunity came along, I really had to think about it because it was like, Whoa, that's a lot. It's a big decision. Yeah. So I took like 24 hours to think about it and really meditated on it. 00:04:19:09 - 00:04:51:20 Debbie: And I was driving in the car the morning after and all of a sudden I felt like this flood of just like joy and tears. And I was by myself. But I just started saying like, yes, yes, yes, as I was crying. And I was like, okay, here we go with this. And he seriously did not know if I was going to do it or not. He even considered like putting a smoothie shop in there if I decided not to do it. So I got home and I was like, okay, honey, I've made a decision. 00:04:52:03 - 00:05:02:17 Debbie: And he was like, All right. And I was like, All right, let's do it. I'm all in. I'm going to face my fears and let's do it. So that's how the Sol came about. And then. 00:05:02:28 - 00:05:04:25 Brittany: Oh that is socool. I had no idea. 00:05:08:16 - 00:05:14:21 Brittany: Ron, how did you how did you feel about taking that big leap of faith? It sounds like. 00:05:15:10 - 00:05:47:02 Ron: Oh, I was excited. I wanted to do it for a while. And just the timing was perfect. We were closing down the gym and like she said, we were approached in to put her concept in and didn't really know exactly what the concept would be at the time. It just kind of naturally developed and we had originally sold it, originally come out of us talking about eventually opening up like a sexy lounge downtown with her food as tapas and that's how that whole thing came about. 00:05:47:04 - 00:06:01:06 Ron: And then this was just the natural progression from what she was doing into the next phase. It was just all divine timing was just just everything fell into place. I was very excited. I was hoping she'd say yes because it's what she's supposed to be doing. 00:06:01:16 - 00:06:02:01 Brittany: Yeah. 00:06:02:10 - 00:06:03:00 Ron: Without a doubt. 00:06:06:04 - 00:06:11:05 Brittany: Was it a little bittersweet to close your gym and kind of move on to this? 00:06:11:09 - 00:06:59:05 Ron: It was - it was because that's all I've done for so many years. I trained and owned fitness studios. Before that, I owned a small chain of nutrition and smoothie stores in the Tampa area. So I've kind of had that health and fitness background for quite some time. And then when the gym closed down, this came to be I'm just like, All right, this is perfect. This is what we need to do. And I have a little bit of restaurant experience when I was much younger. So as corporate trained in restaurants, I felt like I had a good background to be able to help in any area that I could, plus the business background mixed with her nutritional background and cooking and chef services. So just a great fit and very excited to be part of it. 00:07:00:15 - 00:07:12:01 Brittany: So I got to ask like, what's it like working together as husband and wife running a business? Not everybody can do that. 00:07:13:01 - 00:07:41:08 Debbie: I mean, it's everything. You know, it's interesting. It's it's very rewarding. I think I can speak for both of us to say that we're watching each other grow in these amazing ways of fulfilling this beautiful purpose. So that's really cool. You know, he works next to me and I'm the boss, kind of, you know, and it's it's my recipes and stuff like that. 00:07:41:10 - 00:08:05:15 Debbie: So I'm very particular. So sometimes, you know, it's like, he's amazing, but I'll be like, okay, no, send it out like that, you know? And so there's an interesting dynamic that goes along because it's like we're lovers and best friends and partners, but we also work together. So that adds a whole other layer and dimension to our relationship. But. 00:08:06:01 - 00:08:39:00 Ron: And this is, of course, this is the first time in well over almost close to 30 years that it hasn't been my concept. The nutrition stories were my concept of the fitness studios were my concept. I had partners in the two fitness study studios I owned, but the concepts of bring them together were were basically my ideas. I was the go to guy for everything and now and I'm happy to relinquish that to her. But it's a new role and took me a minute to kind of find, you know. 00:08:40:07 - 00:08:52:27 Ron: Not necessarily my way, but just kind of letting go of it and realizing that I don't have to be in control of everything, that this is her thing and I'm a supporting role in this. So it's been fun. 00:08:54:29 - 00:09:26:28 Ron: She's definitely doing what she's supposed to be doing, and I'm glad she's doing that. Wanted to do it for a very long time. Yeah and my role was never supposed to be what it is now. Originally, I was supposed to be director of operations and running the front of the house and mingling with the guests and backing the servers up and helping out the kitchen as needed. But finding a chef was near impossible. Or a sous chef basically was near impossible. So we've been cooking together since we've been together. 00:09:27:00 - 00:09:39:09 Ron: And it was just a no brainer to go back there because I know how she does things and kind of know what her next move is going to be and what she expects. So it was a good transition for me to be in the kitchen with her, and that's kind of where I'm happy right now. 00:09:39:17 - 00:09:57:09 Debbie: And he does an amazing job with the people, our team that works with us, especially our kitchen staff. It's like they would never know that he wasn't a cook or a chef. So I'm I'm really proud of him because he's really like stepped up and like we get it done in there. 00:09:58:28 - 00:10:06:13 Brittany: Well, it's a different dynamic cooking in the back of a restaurant kitchen, having to get food out to a table versus at your house. So I can't imagine. 00:10:07:14 - 00:10:25:07 Debbie: It's amazing. He expedites and I'm the creative. I guess I'm all flowing with creativity and he's back there and he's like calling everything out and keeps everything organized and really is in charge of the timing, which is essential. So it's really nice. It's a great dynamic. We work very well together. 00:10:25:09 - 00:10:26:00 Ron: Yeah, we do. 00:10:30:28 - 00:10:43:15 Brittany: Yeah. I mean, they're certainly, you know, people that would say they could never work with their spouse. So I always find it amazing when there's couples that work together really well. That's. Yeah. Kudos. That's awesome. 00:10:44:01 - 00:10:44:19 Debbie: Thank you. 00:10:44:21 - 00:10:50:05 Ron: Yeah, it's exciting. It's. It's it's a fun, fun adventure every day, for sure. You never know where it's going to take you. 00:10:50:18 - 00:11:22:16 Debbie: Yeah. You know, what the really cool thing is though, I am so in my purpose right now that it's like. I look forward to going to the restaurant and I don't feel like I'm working like that. The saying is true. Like when you're doing what you love, it doesn't feel like you're working. I absolutely love what I'm doing and plating and feeding people and inspiring people and nourishing them. So it's really, really beautiful. It's a lot of work and it's hard, but it's so worth it. It's so amazing and so fulfilling. 00:11:22:26 - 00:11:59:22 Ron: And for me it was I had been in the health and fitness industry for so long and COVID was a very trying time and just took everything I had out of me. So it was time for me to move on to something else. I just wasn't sure what that was at the time. And, you know, they say that the universe gives you what you what you need, not what you want. And I was really fighting to save the gym and try to figure out, you know, doing something in those lines. And this came to be and it was just like. I don't even have a single regret any more of the gym having to close this is this next chapter. 00:12:00:03 - 00:12:03:21 Brittany: It happened exactly the way it's supposed to. 00:12:04:08 - 00:12:07:09 Debbie: Everything does. And we just have to go with the flow. 00:12:08:17 - 00:12:18:23 Ron: There's never a minute or a day that I don't like being at the restaurant. It's just it's a great environment. So much to do. It's fun to do. Great staff, great guests. I mean. 00:12:18:25 - 00:12:19:10 Debbie: Oh, yeah. 00:12:19:12 - 00:12:50:21 Ron: We go out after dinner service and mingle with the guests that are left. And, you know, it's just great to see her, you know, get all the praise. And people just people literally cry in our restaurant because they haven't been able to eat the type of food she makes. And it's really it's something else. I've never seen anything like it, you know, in the fitness industry of people that cry because they've lost a lot of weight or they feel good about themselves. But to see somebody this affected by being able to eat garlic bread or spaghetti or. 00:12:50:24 - 00:12:51:09 Debbie: Lasagne. 00:12:51:25 - 00:12:59:28 Ron: Yeah. Now they've had all these food allergies. Like, I can't believe I get to eat this again. Somebody actually gets it and literally tears. It's it's amazing. 00:13:00:09 - 00:13:02:15 Debbie: I cry with them. Yeah. Yeah. 00:13:03:06 - 00:13:06:21 Brittany: I mean, I mean, you're making an impact, so. I mean, that's just amazing. 00:13:06:23 - 00:13:07:20 Ron: Yeah, absolutely. 00:13:08:03 - 00:13:40:08 Brittany: And I can I can totally understand what you're saying, because that that's me. I've been gluten free and corn free for about ten years. I'm from Alabama originally, and there wasn't as many options there. So when we moved here, I was like, I had several of those moments where I was like, Wow, I can eat a lot of these things at this restaurant or whatever, you know? So just a place that's dedicated, gluten free and like so many different options, it's just it's heaven. So thank you. 00:13:41:06 - 00:13:46:09 Ron: Well, you know, what we found from going out is is she calls it, what do you call it? Interrogation. 00:13:46:27 - 00:14:17:15 Debbie: Interrogation with a smile. It's just how it is when you go out to eat with me. Okay, it's really tough. You go out well, we really don't go out to dinner anymore. We just go to Sol now. Yeah, when we used to go out to dinner. It's like I have learned how to interrogate the server with a smile, you know? And most of the times they don't know what the oils are. It's like canola oil, or they say it's olive oil, but then they sneak that 10% and then I'm like breaking out in a rash. 00:14:17:27 - 00:14:46:16 Debbie: So it's like, it's very important and that's why it's so purposeful what we do, because everything is done with intention. Every little ingredient, everything is done with intention. So we want it to be a safe space for not only those who have food allergies, but for everyone to feel like they can eat the appetizer, they can eat the meal, they can have the soup, they can have, you know, the beautiful biodynamic wine and the dessert, and then they still feel amazing, you know? 00:14:48:27 - 00:15:20:19 Brittany: When I remember, like we were talking about after we had our meal, they're like, I didn't feel, you know, no one at the table felt like, Oh, my God, I'm so full like that. Just overdone, bloated feeling that you might have. It was like, Wow, I just had all this amazing food, like appetizer, entree, dessert, and I feel fantastic. So that just tells you, like, the quality and the ingredients, what you're talking about being like intentional with everything that's going in there. Yeah. So it was just it was amazing. I will definitely be back. I can promise you that. 00:15:21:20 - 00:15:22:07 Debbie: Great thank you. 00:15:22:09 - 00:15:23:00 Ron: Thank you. 00:15:23:23 - 00:15:32:03 Brittany: So let me ask, are you both from the area originally or are you guys transplants like so many of us? 00:15:33:02 - 00:16:07:04 Debbie: I am originally from Montreal. I was born there. My whole family is still there. But my mother did move down to Florida with me when I was around five, six years old. So I did grow up here, but I come from an Italian family. I was raised by my mom and my Italian grandparents and my great aunts and uncles. So I have a very you know, that's a lot of influence in what I do. After high school, I met my first husband and moved away to outside of Manhattan and then to Santa Barbara for about six years. 00:16:07:25 - 00:16:23:24 Debbie: I had my first daughter there and then moved back here in 2004 and that's when I met Ron. Yeah, so been here for quite some time and love it. Love, love the Tampa Bay area. I love it so much. So beautiful. 00:16:26:12 - 00:16:56:20 Ron: I'm down here from Ohio. Just outside of a little town called Akron. I moved out with my parents or my mom in 79, and I've been here ever since, originally lived in the countryside area. And then I moved down to St Pete when I was old enough to be on my own. And I mean, I moved to St Pete, there was nothing. I mean, I just love the city, you know, the Vinoy was all boarded up. It was nothing at the time, but I just loved it. 00:16:56:22 - 00:17:09:20 Ron: Opened my first nutrition store on Fourth Street and this little building that's now a cannabis dispensary, I think. Yeah, that, that was kind of how I came to St Pete and I just really never left. I just love it here. 00:17:10:00 - 00:17:13:29 Brittany: Yeah, well, gosh. So you've, like, really seen the city transform? 00:17:14:14 - 00:17:26:16 Ron: Oh, yeah. I mean, you would go when I first came to St Pete, there was a bar downtown called The Big Catch. There were a couple little mom and pop restaurants. The Garden. 00:17:26:18 - 00:17:27:25 Debbie: Yeah there was the garden. 00:17:27:27 - 00:17:50:14 Debbie: That's where I used to go with my friends is the garden, which is no longer there and it's so sad, but I think they are making it the garden again. I'm not sure, but I'll say Pete has changed a lot. Has, especially, I would say in the past like 13 years, like a lot has grown so much into this amazing big little city. 00:17:51:01 - 00:18:06:17 Brittany: Yeah, it is. That's how I describe it to people, because you you have like all of the cool, amazing, fun things to do, but it's not so big to where you can't make connections and like build a community together. So it's a the best of both worlds, I think. 00:18:07:05 - 00:18:17:29 Debbie: Yeah. There's an amazing sense of community. Yeah. And that's one of the things I really love about it. It's not pretentious, it's artsy, know, I just there's so much community support. 00:18:18:06 - 00:18:20:28 Ron: You just feel like everybody gets along here. Yes, you just. 00:18:21:01 - 00:18:21:25 Debbie: Good vibes. 00:18:21:27 - 00:18:35:10 Ron: I never feel out of place or weird anywhere I go. Just everybody is having fun living like it's just a great, great city. I tell you, we say all the time that we're young enough to enjoy it, but old enough to appreciate it. 00:18:35:12 - 00:18:35:27 Debbie: Yeah. 00:18:36:13 - 00:18:38:16 Brittany: That's a good way of putting it. I like that. 00:18:40:02 - 00:18:59:24 Brittany: Well, okay. So you said artsy. Definitely have a good arts culture here and you're in the Warehouse Arts District with your location. So how did how do you find. Well, so it sounded like what you said earlier was you had you knew the owners of Wepa that was there before, is that correct? Okay. I didn't know that. 00:18:59:26 - 00:19:00:11 Debbie: Yeah 00:19:02:00 - 00:19:15:11 Brittany: So you basically were able to take over their existing space. How did that happen? How did that transition happen. It just sounds like an interesting story. 00:19:15:13 - 00:19:46:17 Ron: This is really I mean, we're not restauranteurs. We are now, but we really had no clue. We just knew that she had great food and a good concept and just knew it would work. And we opened the doors, that restaurant, and it was everything in there was fried. So it was covered in grease and it was an open kitchen concept and it was bright orange. And yeah, we just we got in and got rid of the fryers, started cleaning. There was food left everywhere. 00:19:46:19 - 00:20:20:03 Debbie: We pretty much did everything ourselves too, with the help of a couple of, of people. Yeah. Helped us to transform that space into what it is today. And we wanted to really keep it with that artsy type of creative feel in mind because we are in an art gallery. We're in an art gallery which is perfect for what I do because I, I consider what I do art. So, you know, we just love it. It's great vibes. Everyone in the building is amazing. You know, we have a biophilic design there, which is really cool. 00:20:20:15 - 00:20:41:17 Debbie: I worked with my very dear, one of my best friends, Amanda with Design Amanda Lee so she helped me with the whole concept and we just incorporated, you know, a sense of nature into the space, you know, to give it like a really holistic, artsy, biophilic design feel. Yeah. 00:20:41:26 - 00:20:42:12 Brittany: Very cool. 00:20:42:20 - 00:20:44:05 Debbie: Yeah, it's not pretentious. 00:20:45:27 - 00:20:56:11 Brittany: Yeah, not pretentious. It feels like luxurious in there. That's what comes to mind when I think about our experience in there. 00:20:57:04 - 00:20:57:23 Debbie: Thank you. 00:20:58:08 - 00:21:05:10 Ron: Yeah, people walk in quite often. We see them pull out their phones and they take pictures of the ceiling and the hanging shades. 00:21:06:03 - 00:21:06:18 Brittany: Yeah. 00:21:06:22 - 00:21:13:07 Ron: Yeah. We've had some people take some videos and send it to us because it's just it's a it's a cool little space. Very intimate. 00:21:13:29 - 00:21:39:14 Debbie: Cozy with a little mystery, you know. But you feel like you want to sit there and just enjoy and you're comfortable, you know? I wanted people to feel like I'm meeting people in my home, in my space. So that's the feeling that I want people to feel when they're there is that they're being taken care of and loved on. And somebody they love is cooking for them and nourishing them. 00:21:39:26 - 00:21:49:02 Brittany: Yeah. Well, I remember reading the menu when I was there about it being a slow, slow food experience or slow. 00:21:50:18 - 00:21:51:19 Debbie: Food movement. Yeah. 00:21:52:10 - 00:21:56:15 Brittany: That's it. Yeah. So, like, what's what's the idea behind that? 00:21:57:04 - 00:22:31:27 Debbie: The Slow Food Movement is, you know, taking you back to your grandmother's mother's kitchen, where it's a whole concept of, you know, things are sourced from farmers. Like we source everything locally from a handful of farmers. And so everything you're eating was, you know, all the produce was literally just picked. So it's the freshest of the fresh, but it's also going back to making everything from scratch. Nothing is processed like we take our time to put intention and love into everything that we do, making everything from scratch. 00:22:31:29 - 00:22:51:16 Debbie: And we use just very basic, simple cooking techniques. And we don't like adulterate the food or mask it with all of these other flavors. It's just we really focus on what it tastes like and take our time to make everything from scratch in the kitchen and love and intention. 00:22:51:20 - 00:23:22:09 Ron: And it's also, you know, one of our guests wrote a review recently and it said, when you sat at your grandmother's kitchen table did you feel like you were being rushed through dinner? No, you felt like you were being loved on and these were made with a purpose. And, you know, we're not one of those restaurants that looks to turn tables. We want people to come in. She calls it a conscious culinary dining experience where you're just taken care of start to finish. You're not pushed out the door. We want you to take your time, enjoy your meal. The food's not coming out of the kitchen because we have to have it out in 40 minutes. 00:23:22:11 - 00:23:42:02 Ron: It comes out when it's ready. And that's why it's written all over our doors. Our menus, the servers tell you when you get there, you know, if you're in a rush for something, you need to get to a show or we're a stop along the way. They're always are encouraged to let us know that so we can kind of take that into consideration. But we're not a place to come and get a quick meal and leave. That's. That's not our setup. 00:23:42:18 - 00:23:44:03 Debbie: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 00:23:44:14 - 00:24:04:05 Brittany: Well, I appreciate that. It's it's that dining experience you can hang out with the group that you're with, whether that's family or friends and just like, relax. And I definitely can see that feeling about like sitting at your grandmother's table and just enjoying the family time together. So that's really cool. I like that. 00:24:04:15 - 00:24:16:15 Debbie: The really cool thing going back to that is I love when somebody takes a bite of my food and they're like, Oh, this reminds me of my grandmother's like, whatever. And I'm like, Yeah! 00:24:20:02 - 00:24:21:22 Brittany: That's like the ultimate compliment, right? 00:24:21:24 - 00:24:25:25 Debbie: I mean, it is it's amazing. It's elevated comfort food, you know, and. 00:24:25:27 - 00:24:27:17 Ron: The people who get it really. Get it. 00:24:28:08 - 00:24:39:20 Debbie: And the people who don't, they don't get it at all. And that's okay. You know, we know that we can't please everyone. It's not for everyone, but the people who get it, they really get it. And it's it's really amazing. 00:24:39:22 - 00:25:27:00 Ron: And I think what sets us apart is we hear it all the time. Is there's something for everybody? Yeah. You know, there's vegan dishes. Vegetarian. It's not just as an afterthought. There's intention in the vegan dishes. There's intention in the vegetarian dishes. There's intention in everything being gluten free. So, you know, I hear a husband said, my wife's a vegetarian. I come here and have a beautiful steak or, you know, anything I want and she has something she can have. Our friends are vegan we're not. We finally have a place we can all go and get good quality food and a nice you know what do they call us? Casual, or fine cash? Fine casual setting where it's not pretentious, you know, not a black tie restaurant, but you're also not at just a grab and go place either. 00:25:27:02 - 00:25:35:03 Ron: We kind of fit that in between void. Everybody can get a good meal no matter what your dietary appetite or restrictions are. 00:25:35:05 - 00:25:47:09 Debbie: And you know, it's very important for me, it's all inclusive, you know, so I want to make sure that there is something on the menu for everyone that's very important. Yeah. Yeah. 00:25:48:07 - 00:26:01:01 Brittany: So, okay, talk about - everything's organic, locally sourced, all those amazing things. How do you make those connections with your with the farmers and people like that? 00:26:02:09 - 00:26:27:17 Debbie: I just seek them out. I went searching and looking and the universe brought us together and I made some amazing relationships. I have become friends with our producers and our farmers and yeah, I just seek them out. And I asked for it. And it happened to be in the law of Attraction for sure. 100% 00:26:27:19 - 00:26:39:13 Ron: And you know all these farmers like they are, they're surprised that not more local restaurants come to them. They are the nicest people. 00:26:39:15 - 00:26:40:06 Debbie: But they are expensive 00:26:41:12 - 00:27:16:15 Ron: Yes but think of restaurants are having supply chain issues. And I was at the seafood store. We source all of our seafood locally from Key West Seafood. There is another restaurant owner in there picking up some stuff and he saw my shirt said Sol and he goes, oh, Sol, you know, congratulations. I've read about you guys. I don't know how you guys are going to keep doing farm to table. That's near impossible. And I'm thinking it's the easiest way to buy. We never have any shortages. We have a creative chef. Whatever's available, they're able to make dishes out of them. And we don't you know, people joke around that all the restaurants are Sysco to table US food to table. 00:27:16:17 - 00:27:17:02 Debbie: We don't work with any of them. 00:27:17:04 - 00:27:34:14 Ron: There's not a single one of those folks that pull up to our door and even the stuff we can't get through farmers we support local, you know, like Rolling Oats and places like that that, you know, we're still supporting the local economy and in businesses, if we can't get it from the farmers. 00:27:34:16 - 00:27:36:24 Debbie: That's part of the mission. Is supporting the local food system. 00:27:36:26 - 00:27:37:16 Ron: Absolutely. 00:27:37:26 - 00:27:38:20 Debbie: Yeah. Yeah. 00:27:39:01 - 00:27:51:03 Brittany: Well, I think, you know, if you're intentional about having your process be that way, you'll find ways to make that work better. 00:27:51:05 - 00:27:55:12 Debbie: That's how I am. I will always find a way. Always. I don't give up. 00:27:58:09 - 00:28:09:27 Ron: They'll appreciate it. They reach out every week here's what's available here's what's really special this week you can do something with this. And then she sends them back pictures of what she's made with their food. 00:28:10:28 - 00:28:12:16 Brittany: Aw that's really cool. 00:28:12:18 - 00:28:14:24 Debbie: It's really, really amazing. 00:28:14:26 - 00:28:16:28 Ron: We even have one of the farmers working for us on the weekends. 00:28:17:00 - 00:28:46:20 Debbie: Yeah, we actually have two. Two have come to us and asked to work with us. So one of our farmers from Meacham Farms, he works with us in the kitchen because he went to culinary school. So that's amazing. It's literally farmer to table we call it. And then our other now who will be joining us, our hostess. She owns the Florida Fruit Co-op. And so she will be working with us now. So it's such a beautiful team and work family. 00:28:47:12 - 00:29:11:04 Ron: And one of our servers just recently left the Florida Food Council. Yeah, she heard about what we were doing and was so intrigued. She sent us this beautiful letter of how bad she wanted to meet us and that opportunity even work with us. We interviewed her and she was so blown away. She's like, I'm just overwhelmed. I need aday. She called us the next day. She's like, I'm all in. 00:29:12:14 - 00:29:23:17 Ron: So that's kind of the people that have been attracted to what we're doing because it's so unique and and so needed that the people who get it really get it. 00:29:24:00 - 00:29:35:10 Brittany: Yeah, that's really cool. And I hope that like other people learn from what you're doing and try to build on that and do you know more farm to table and locally sourced stuff. Because I think that's really important. 00:29:36:04 - 00:29:50:03 Debbie: It is. I hope they do too. We're sort of the pioneers for what we're doing right now. So it's it's pretty cool in the way that we're doing it. There's other people who do farm to table but with concept, definitely. Yeah. 00:29:51:07 - 00:29:55:09 Brittany: Well, I'd love to hear like where you get your ideas for your all your dishes. 00:29:55:11 - 00:30:48:19 Debbie: From right here. They're all in here. Yeah. They're just swimming around up there. Yeah. Oh there's so much stuff floating around in here. But yeah. So I, like I said, I've been a holistic health coach and private chef for nine years before doing this. So I worked with people to create custom dishes of their favorite foods, but a healthier version of that. And I also teach conscious culinary classes with the same concept is I can literally take any dish that you, you know, tell me you want to make and create a healthy version of it and remove all of the inflammatory ingredients and create something that you feel like you're not sacrificing and you feel like you're eating the same thing you almost would never even be able to tell, but it's actually good for you. 00:30:48:21 - 00:31:01:24 Debbie: So that's where all of these ideas are. And I've got hundreds and hundreds that I've created. And so whenever I see, the produce that we have or what's in season, immediately I come up with an idea. 00:31:06:10 - 00:31:35:27 Ron: There's certain foods that even though being in the health and fitness industry for so many years, I, I eat healthy or what by most standards people would consider healthy, but nowhere near as clean and healthy as she eats. So when there's certain foods that I like that I didn't want to give up, and she's like, I'll just make you healthier version of that. So that's that's how some of the things came to be, for example I like fried green tomatoes. Let's make a healthy version of that. 00:31:36:11 - 00:31:51:14 Debbie: Yeah, people throw things at me. I'll be like, All right. So, you know, I asked my team members sometimes if things don't come to mind, I'm like, all right, so, you know, what should we make with this or whatever? And they'll throw a few ideas at me and then I'm like, All right, let's do this. And then I create it. 00:31:51:26 - 00:32:05:23 Ron: So and it's like she has a term she calls it - elevated comfort food because it really is. It's not any pretentious food. It's not little small plates with microgreens all over it, although they incorporated our dishes. This is real. 00:32:05:25 - 00:32:07:09 Debbie: It's good food. What I do. 00:32:07:11 - 00:32:20:01 Ron: It's real food. It's it's simply made and there's nothing fancy to it or pretentious. It's just real food that's done right and in a healthy way with just the best ingredients you can buy. 00:32:20:16 - 00:32:50:18 Debbie: And I call it food alchemy because there's always a healing aspect to it. So I'm always I know the healing benefits because of my background. And so I'm always throwing things in there that are like super healing and immune boosting. And so it's like, you know, improving people's health one bite at a time, essentially. And a lot of the times you don't even realize it. But I know. And I'm just like, yes, I'm getting them to eat all of these really healing herbs and foods. 00:32:50:20 - 00:33:01:14 Debbie: And so that's why I encourage the servers. I'm like, tell them everything on the plate is edible. Even those flowers. And they have like all of these healing benefits to these amazing, energetic foods. 00:33:02:07 - 00:33:21:29 Brittany: As a society, we've just gotten away from knowing where our food comes from, you know, like you said, Sysco, like just there's so much processed stuff out there and we would definitely all be a lot healthier if we were mindful of that. I totally agree. 00:33:22:10 - 00:33:33:15 Debbie: Yeah, for sure. And there are so many local farms and like support your farmer's markets and start to buy local. It's really important. 00:33:34:07 - 00:33:55:09 Ron: And it's really when you look at it compared to one of our farmers, we were interviewed by a local news channel and they interviewed some of the farmers we dealt with. And one of the farmers made a point, he's like, he held up a thing of kale, and he goes - this is the freshest kale you can get and it's so much cheaper than you can buy it at your average grocery store. You just have to know we're here. 00:33:55:12 - 00:34:02:06 Debbie: It's probably like three or four weeks old at your grocery store. And here it was picked out of the ground. 00:34:02:08 - 00:34:26:02 Debbie: It's like $2, you know, so people just don't know. And that's part of the mission as well, is to educate and empower people. You know, it can be done. And it might seem daunting at first, like, oh, where do I start? But there really are a lot of resources out there and there are a lot of urban local farms. So I encourage people to support the local farmers. 00:34:26:11 - 00:35:00:21 Ron: For me, I had never really shopped much of the farm or the farmer markets. I just got my produce at stores and now that we are getting from the farmers, I'm blown away how long stuff actually lasts. Like from afar. Like I'm like, this is going to go bad in three or four days because that's what you're used to at your home. But when you're getting in fresh from the farm, you realize then how long that food really sits before it gets to you for it to go bad three or four days after you have it. So that's a very interesting thing for me to kind of learn as we've gone through this process. 00:35:00:23 - 00:35:03:05 Ron: This is how fresh food really, really lasts 00:35:03:07 - 00:35:41:10 Debbie: And the difference in taste. Not only that, but your food is as healthy as the health of the soil. So the farmers that we deal with are organic farmers and biodynamic farmers. And so the health of the soil and the microbiome, if you will, of the soil is so essential because you are what you eat, eats. And that is, you know, when you're talking about produce as well, because you like the produce and the vegetables and whatever, it's only as healthy as the soil that was grown and the farming practices. So it's really important to us as well. And to me when I'm talking with the farmers. 00:35:41:13 - 00:35:55:21 Ron: And even a lot of your your organic farms that are larger, you know. Yes, they are organic. They're doing great organic farming practices, but they're still turning crops as fast as they can to keep up with supply, but when you're dealing with your local farmers, they take more care. 00:35:56:11 - 00:36:15:15 Debbie: It's like small batch. Yes, you get good and that's why some items in the restronaut are fleeting.They might make an appearance one, two, three times. They might be there for a week. They might be there for a couple of weeks. But that's one of the really fun, fun things about it. Fun aspects. 00:36:15:29 - 00:36:26:04 Brittany: Yeah, well I've, I've used the word biodynamic a couple times. How would you like describe that to someone who would -well I don't know if I know exactly what that means. 00:36:26:06 - 00:36:28:26 Ron: So it's kind of like organic on steroids. 00:36:28:28 - 00:36:30:21 Debbie: Yeah. Yeah. 00:36:32:11 - 00:36:40:24 Ron: It's basically and we got a good education on it by one of our local farmers. It's using and recycling everything. 00:36:41:11 - 00:37:14:00 Debbie: It's no waste. It's using everything again, on the farm over again. So it's a no waste process and it goes deeper than organic because yes, they're doing everything organic, but they're reusing all of their resources and they use like ancient farming techniques to like dig down deeper, to grab like really nutrient dense soil. And they use, you know, animals and worms and amazing farming techniques as well as like different organic techniques that they use. 00:37:14:02 - 00:37:21:18 Debbie: But it's like the whole process rather than just using like an organic seed and not using pesticide or process. 00:37:21:21 - 00:37:27:02 Ron: Yeah. And basically organic just means they're not using chemicals, too. 00:37:27:06 - 00:37:28:10 Debbie: Or it's not GMOs. 00:37:29:11 - 00:37:36:10 Ron: They're not using chemicals. So it doesn't really go into the the quality and the life of the soil and the. 00:37:36:12 - 00:37:37:15 Debbie: Farming practices. 00:37:37:17 - 00:37:43:23 Ron: That where biodynamic comes in. It's taking it to a whole nother level. It's, just not organic. It's. 00:37:44:17 - 00:37:46:00 Debbie: It's intentional. 00:37:46:02 - 00:37:47:05 Ron: And how important that soil is. 00:37:48:10 - 00:37:51:02 Debbie: Yeah. It's the whole process. It's really cool. 00:37:51:04 - 00:38:15:13 Ron: We've got some biodynamic wineries we deal with. One of the wineries we deal with is biodynamic. You can taste it in the wine. There's just something different and people who are like, wow, this is really good. There's definitely - for me anyway, a noticeable difference in the produce in the items that are farmed biodynamic. 00:38:16:16 - 00:38:22:07 Brittany: And is all the wine organic and biodynamic on your menu or is that. 00:38:22:25 - 00:38:24:25 Ron: All of our wine is no sulfite added. 00:38:25:06 - 00:38:25:21 Brittany: Okay. 00:38:27:06 - 00:38:27:24 Debbie: No sugar added 00:38:27:26 - 00:38:37:12 Ron: All of it is sustainable. I would say about 95% of it is vegan and about 90% of it is organic and or biodynamic. 00:38:37:21 - 00:38:38:06 Brittany: Okay. 00:38:39:13 - 00:39:05:11 Ron: Some of the wines that come from overseas, they don't necessarily call it organic. They just have their farming practices and they don't use the pesticides. They just but they don't certify organic. That's why I say it's about 90, 95%. But we don't deal with any farms that or any of the wineries that don't practice that type of farming on their vines. 00:39:05:22 - 00:39:10:29 Brittany: Yeah. I mean you've got, your whole menu is just totally focused on, on that concept. I love it. 00:39:11:14 - 00:39:20:09 Ron: Even our beers, our beers are all dedicated, gluten free. Our ciders, everything in there is not a drop of gluten in the entire restaurant. 00:39:20:11 - 00:39:22:03 Debbie: There's no B.S. in the restaurant. 00:39:24:20 - 00:39:25:05 Brittany: No B.S. I like it. 00:39:25:21 - 00:39:27:00 Debbie: We don't tolerate any B.S. 00:39:28:02 - 00:39:35:16 Ron: We even our house watered is served. Every guest in a bottle is spring water, and our ice is spring water. 00:39:35:18 - 00:39:41:03 Debbie: Very well. We'll take it to the n'th degree. 100%. 00:39:41:05 - 00:39:41:20 Ron: You can't service spring water with filtered water ice. 00:39:46:01 - 00:39:46:27 Brittany: That's awesome. 00:39:47:06 - 00:39:47:21 Debbie: Yeah. 00:39:49:13 - 00:39:59:10 Brittany: Well, okay, so let's switch gears a little bit. I would I'd love to hear like, what's what's your favorite thing about having this business? 00:40:01:12 - 00:40:32:28 Debbie: My favorite thing is just empowering and inspiring, not only myself, but others and then our children and just fulfilling my purpose. Like I just I never knew that this is what I was going to be doing. But I mean, from knowing that I was an empath and intuitive and destined to be a healer, it's just so in alignment. So really my favorite thing about it is just I, it feels amazing. 00:40:33:00 - 00:40:51:03 Debbie: I love it. I love being there every day. I love the joy that it brings not only to me but to everyone else and to those that we work with. And really the purpose and what we're doing, it's just it's just amazing. Very fulfilling, very beautiful, very purposeful. 00:40:51:15 - 00:41:30:24 Ron: We've both been serving the community for so many years, and for me, it's there is a certain frustration level of watching her work as hard as she was, but only serving five or six families. And I'm like, that's that's where I am. I think the most fulfilling things for me is seeing her do what I know she was supposed to be doing. Yeah, she's busting her butt, feeding six families, working longer hours than she is now. And now she's feeding the masses, which I knew she was supposed to be doing. And watching her kind of, you know, go to that next level and soar and take the lead. 00:41:31:13 - 00:41:37:02 Ron: I don't mind being the backseat driver on this, but watching her do what she's supposed to be doing. 00:41:37:11 - 00:42:00:24 Debbie: And I asked the universe for that. Like, you know, I've done master classes with business master classes and all of the things and, you know, the work. And, you know, one of the things I asked for before we were given this gift in this opportunity was how do I reach more people? And then here we are. And so now I'm doing it and it's amazing. 00:42:01:20 - 00:42:02:13 Brittany: So cool. 00:42:02:18 - 00:42:03:03 Debbie: Yeah. 00:42:03:05 - 00:42:14:05 Brittany: Right. I mean, you're, you know, your impact is limited by the amount of people that you can serve. So when you you're growing that number, so you're growing your impact, it's really cool. 00:42:14:18 - 00:42:49:08 Debbie: And the really cool thing is rather than having to go out and get them as I used to and I really built my business before off of referrals, but now they, they come to us, which is amazing, you know, so I don't have to go do that sales thing, which I'm not really great at. I'm like, okay, that's fine, you want it? Okay, cool. You know, so like people come to us and they love it, you know, and it is a lot of word of mouth. And the really cool thing is often what often happens is we'll go out and we'll hear somebody talking about the restaurant. 00:42:52:26 - 00:42:54:01 Brittany: Oh that's cool. You're like a fly on the wall. 00:42:58:15 - 00:43:32:01 Ron: I go into I always have my during the week, during service, I get up, I put my work shirt on, it says Sol. And I go to so many places and I last week I actually had a gentleman follow me down in the parking lot yelling, excuse me, sir? I was like, Yes. He goes, Are you the chef? And so I said, no, my wife's the chef. And I jokingly tell everybody I'm her lovely assistant. He kind of laughed and he goes, I got to tell you, he goes - Your restaurant is the best thing to happen to Saint Pete since 2000, because I've been there twice. 00:43:32:03 - 00:43:57:16 Ron: Me and my husband are coming again tonight. He was just like, and it happens over and over again. She doesn't wear a shirt that says Sol. She doesn't get it. But I do like whenever I'm working, it says Sol. So I get it over and over every place I go. People are just like, I've heard about your restaurant, we've been there or thank you or It's so needed. And I always relay that back to her and I just wish that she could hear it more because she needs to hear it more. 00:43:57:24 - 00:44:09:09 Debbie: Yeah. I'm like on the DL when I go out. 00:44:10:22 - 00:44:18:07 Brittany: But that's just - yeah, that's amazing. Well, hopefully you will get more of that when this podcast episode comes out for everyone to hear. 00:44:24:00 - 00:44:26:17 Brittany: Did you guys open at the beginning of this year? 00:44:27:17 - 00:44:48:04 Debbie: We did, we opened January 12th. So we got the keys to the place in July and we of course, we knew nothing about having a restaurant. So we thought we were oh yeah, we're going to open this date. And then it was this date and then it was that date. It was like the end of COVID. Like COVID was still kind of around and- 00:44:48:06 - 00:45:10:19 Debbie: Supply chain issues with, you know, even the materials we were using inside from paint to tile to wood to whatever it was that we were sourcing. So. That pushed it out. But everything happens for a reason and it it's all divine timing. So yeah, we opened January 12th. 00:45:10:21 - 00:45:44:19 Ron: We had kind of timed it. My own experience was from building out my couple of food nutrition stores and the couple of gyms that I had owned. And during times when contractors were banging on the door for business, there was a plethora of supplies out there everywhere. And so I just assumed and didn't even think COVID had affected things in such a drastic way. And we got the keys and there was a roof leak and it took a month for a roofer to get out there. And then it was just even getting paint was on backorder and tile was on backorder and this tile came in. 00:45:44:21 - 00:46:01:17 Ron: Well, and then, you know, these companies were so understaffed coming out of Florida, trying to get a hold of anybody to get help or, you know, orders placed. It was just a very difficult trying time. We had so many people say to us, you're opening a business right after COVID. That doesn't make a lot of sense. 00:46:01:19 - 00:46:14:02 Debbie: But well, honestly, you know, because of the nature of how we were gifted this restaurant pretty much and took it over, we hadn't been saving up to open a restaurant and- 00:46:14:04 - 00:46:27:22 Ron: Just came out of COVID, whereas like most people, finances were stressed and stretched to the absolute max trying to make ends meet. When you couldn't open your business, you couldn't work. She couldn't find food during COVID to cook for, I guess. 00:46:28:11 - 00:46:33:29 Debbie: Virtual conscious culinary classes. That'show I pivoted 00:46:34:01 - 00:47:04:28 Ron: We had to completely shut them down for a couple of weeks. And after that it was 25% capacity. And, you know, the gym we owned was a group fitness style with some personal training as well. So when you're used to having 30, 40 people in a class and you can only have 10 to 15, but your bills are still the same, you know. So yeah, that not only was there no ramp up to own the restaurant. Everything that was there had been depleted because of COVID and trying to run your family, keep businesses afloat. 00:47:05:00 - 00:47:12:27 Ron: So how we did it, we're we're still amazed that somehow we did. Where there's a will, there's a way, I guess. 00:47:12:29 - 00:47:14:25 Debbie: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. 00:47:17:08 - 00:47:22:18 Brittany: So is it reservation only or reservation recommended? 00:47:23:06 - 00:47:24:27 Debbie: It's reservation recommended. 00:47:26:28 - 00:47:27:20 Brittany: Because it's a small space. 00:47:27:22 - 00:47:46:20 Debbie: So yeah. So we have six tables inside and six tables outside, which we love it that way. People ask us all the time, you know, Hey, get ready, you're going to blow up, you're going to need to expand. And I'm like, No, I like it exclusive and intimate like this. You know, it just goes along with the whole concept. 00:47:46:22 - 00:47:48:17 Ron: And we have a small kitchen. 00:47:48:26 - 00:48:19:15 Debbie: We have a very tiny kitchen, so we can only handle so much in the kitchen. I don't want us to be rushing around or negativity or anything to affect the quality of what we put out. So yes, we are reservation recommended. People have learned if you're lucky, if you walk in on a Wednesday or Thursday, you might be able to get in, but on the weekends usually not. So we do recommend at least, at least a week ahead of time to schedule the reservation. 00:48:20:18 - 00:48:28:27 Brittany: Well, and that's honestly so many restaurants in Saint Pete nowadays. You know, the good ones get full on the weekends. So you got to plan. 00:48:28:29 - 00:48:59:00 Debbie: Also helps us with, you know, purchasing amounts of food as well. You know, what to expect. Although we have been getting considerably busier recently because we're getting more press. We just had a great article in the Tampa Bay Times Weekender, so we're getting a lot busier on the Wednesdays and Thursdays, so it's just adjusting those amounts so we don't have any waste, you know, the food and everything, but we're getting really good at it. 00:48:59:02 - 00:49:24:21 Ron: And we're coming into season, you know, we've, we were very shocked because all of our restaurantaur friends have told us, you know, that June, July, August, just be prepared to tuck your tail between your legs if you're lucky and cover your expenses. But, you know, don't expect much. And we've actually grown and gotten busier through the summer. And as we hit season, we're excited to see what happens. But it's going to definitely be more difficult to get in here in a few weeks. 00:49:24:27 - 00:49:55:05 Debbie: And considering that we are off the beaten path, yeah, we're really a destination restaurant. We're not like on central where we have foot traffic and people walking by and they see it. It's, you know, might be a little bit hard actually to find us. So the really cool thing is people are seeking us out, you know, because it's such a unique concept. We have a lot of people that come from out of town and just they find us at the top of the list. So that's really cool. Yeah. 00:49:55:09 - 00:50:05:07 Ron: Yeah, we've, won a couple open table awards already since we've been open. We wrote a lot of celiac guides. 00:50:06:00 - 00:50:12:21 People do celiac blogs and yeah, people do blogs with food allergies and we're on just about all of. 00:50:13:20 - 00:50:29:18 Debbie: And the owners have come in and dine with us. Yeah. So we're like, embedded, you know, it's. It's really amazing. I love it. I love that we're getting to be so well known as a safe spot for the celiac and allergy community. 00:50:30:01 - 00:50:49:09 Brittany: Yeah, well, it's you know, it is very needed and there's not enough places out there that cater to that. And there's so many people that, including myself, that have those allergies. And it's just it's it's wonderful to just have that safe space where you can just - Oh, I can have anything in here. It's just. Wonderful. 00:50:49:11 - 00:51:24:04 Debbie: Yeah. And you're also in, like a cool, hip, good vibes type of place. I mean, we put a lot of thought into, you know, the verbiage of the servers and the music and the lighting and the whole experience. So that's what's lacking a lot of the times. Like you can go to any restaurant and ask them, Well, what's on the menu that I can eat? You know, maybe it's like a salad with olive oil and like a healthy vinegar or a lemon. 00:51:24:06 - 00:51:29:23 Debbie: You know what I mean? It can't get boring, so. Yeah, yeah, it's cool to be doing that. 00:51:29:29 - 00:52:02:28 Ron: And, you know, I don't really have any food allergies to speak of. I definitely have intolerances I've learned, especially since I've been eating as clean as I have with her cooking. But. That's what I like I said before about this is - even though we are an allergen free restaurant - you don't have to have allergies to to enjoy the food, or you just can come in there and realize that you're leaving feeling different than you will at most other places. Because there's nothing added, there's no secret ingredients, there's nothing hidden. 00:52:03:00 - 00:52:45:17 Ron: It's just simple spices and seasonings and just really the best quality food you can get. So. Even though I don't have gluten - like celiac disease, I definitely feel different when I eat gluten now, even though I don't necessarily have a dairy or lactose intolerance, I definitely feel different when I have it now. So yeah, that's what I and people who have eaten our food and I've had a lot of especially men, you know, come up to me afterwards. I'd take them and say, you know, I just I really don't have food allergies, but I just feel so much better after I eat this food or I just thought every time I had a steak, I was going to have indigestion. Any time I had spaghetti and meatballs, I was getting heartburn. 00:52:45:27 - 00:53:03:23 Ron: People never get that here. Plus, I just had a big bowl of pasta and I don't feel like I want to go home and nap. I want to go take my wife out, nightcap or go dancing. And that's what people need to understand is not just just because it's allergen free. That's just for the people who need it. But everybody can benefit from. 00:53:03:29 - 00:53:05:16 Debbie: Everybody. It's for everyone. 00:53:05:18 - 00:53:18:23 Ron: And everybody can benefit from eating that that style of food, which is just like she likes it. It's just the way your grandmother made it. She loved the backyard vegetables. Then, you know, go to the butcher shop and get the best meat he had. And that's what you were served for dinner. 00:53:18:25 - 00:53:19:10 Debbie: Yeah. 00:53:19:21 - 00:53:21:25 Brittany: Yeah, that's so cool. I love it. 00:53:22:15 - 00:53:23:01 Debbie: Thank you. 00:53:23:15 - 00:53:46:11 Brittany: Yeah, well, this has been such an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for taking the time and just for sharing your passion. I would say thank you for being brave enough to, just open this restaurant because it sounds like it just kind of like you said, an opportunity presented itself and you took that leap of faith and it's really paying off. So congratulations. 00:53:46:23 - 00:53:59:15 Debbie: Thank you. Yeah, it feels really amazing to be able to share, you know, my lifestyle with people. So I really love it. Thank you so much for having us. We really appreciate you. 00:53:59:24 - 00:54:15:16 Ron: And there's there's some more things to come from Sol. She's planning some in the spring and in the fall, winter and spring, much cooler weather. She's going to do some pop up farm dinners at some of our local farms where the dinners will be put on farms. 00:54:16:06 - 00:54:28:07 Ron: Yeah, that's going to be fun. Then we're also going to start turning the restaurant once in a while into a lounge. It's going to be called - 00:54:28:09 - 00:54:29:23 Debbie: Luna sin Sol - Sol After Dark, 00:54:30:09 - 00:54:38:16 Ron: So it will be closed for service that night. It will be an intimate lounge atmosphere with her food service topics and meditation. 00:54:38:22 - 00:54:42:05 Debbie: So we're going to transform the space, so it'll be really cool. 00:54:44:22 - 00:54:45:12 Brittany: Very cool. 00:54:45:14 - 00:54:48:25 Debbie: Also inspired dinners as well at the restaurant. 00:54:48:27 - 00:54:50:08 Ron: Yeah, we're going to be doing those as well. 00:54:50:10 - 00:54:51:12 Debbie: Private dinners, so. 00:54:51:14 - 00:54:52:05 Brittany: Yeah, cool. 00:54:52:19 - 00:54:53:24 Debbie: Really cool stuff coming. 00:54:54:27 - 00:54:55:17 Brittany: That's exciting. 00:54:56:24 - 00:54:57:15 Debbie: Thank you. 00:54:58:05 - 00:55:13:08 Brittany: So to wrap things up, I always like to ask a couple fun, fun questions. So just, you know, about the area. So whatever first comes to mind. So when you have your day off and you have your favorite spot to go for a night out, what would that be? 00:55:15:22 - 00:55:16:17 Ron: We go to the beach, 00:55:18:20 - 00:55:47:27 Debbie: We go to the beach. It's like no makeup, nothing. Go find a little quiet spot and just go float in the water or just sit there with our reggae music and walk up and down the beach. And I think we've gotten to a place now where we we don't even drink alcohol anymore, to be honest. So, you know, we just like to hang out and chill when we're not at the restaurant, to be honest. 00:55:48:08 - 00:56:22:16 Ron: Yeah. And then every other weekend, we don't have the kids, so we actually have one day to ourselves. And it's literally, like she said, the beach. And we usually bring food from the restaurant or we'll actually stop at the restaurant and stuff because it's hard for her to eat out. So it's rare. We've eaten out once in the last probably six months. And it wasn't a great. It was a very nice, expensive restaurant over in Tampa. And we thought we were being careful and ordering the right things. And she still was contaminated by it, so it's just not worth it anymore. 00:56:22:19 - 00:56:32:12 Debbie: But what I do want to say is we love live music. So whenever we find live music or great concerts or great acts coming into town, we enjoy that. We do a lot of concerts. 00:56:32:23 - 00:56:45:01 Brittany: Okay awesome. Well, I whenever I ask people what they like to do on their day off the beach is definitely like one of the top answers. 00:56:45:03 - 00:56:49:01 Ron: So we have a beautiful beach here. So not surprisingly. 00:56:49:04 - 00:56:50:18 Ron: For us, it's more of a necessity. 00:56:51:24 - 00:56:53:10 Debbie: It's so healing. Yes. 00:56:53:12 - 00:57:01:28 Brittany: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, tell everyone where they can find you online and where your restaurant's located. 00:57:02:22 - 00:57:35:05 Debbie: Okay, so our restaurant is located in the Warehouse Arts District, so we're right next to 3 Daughters Brewing. It's 2149 Third Avenue South, and our door faces 22nd Street south. On Facebook, you can find us at Sol St Pete FL. And then on Instagram, we're at Sol St Pete. And then we are solstpete.Com 00:57:35:07 - 00:57:39:13 Brittany: That's perfect. Easy to remember. 00:57:39:15 - 00:57:51:26 Brittany: Well, thank you again for talking with me. I hope that everyone listening and watching will take a chance to go check out your amazing restaurant. You know, make a reservation, plan it in advance. You will not be disappointed. 00:57:51:28 - 00:57:54:19 Brittany: So thank you guys so much. 00:57:54:22 - 00:57:55:10 Ron: Thank you. 00:57:55:20 - 00:57:57:13 Brittany: Thank you. Bye, everybody. 00:57:58:01 - 00:57:58:16 Ron: Bye. 00:58:06:21 - 00:58:21:00 Brittany: If you want more information about this episode and others, please visit my website. BrittanyRanew.Com You'll find more information about me. My passion for St Pete and real estate there. I look forward to connecting with you soon my friends.
Rooftop Collective | Episode 3.6
00:00:04:13 - 00:00:30:02 Brittany: Welcome to the St Pete Soul podcast. I'm your host, Brittany Ranew, a local real estate professional in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and I help people fall in love with the Sunshine City every day. In these episodes, I sit down with local business owners and get to tell their stories. So we pull back the curtain and let you discover what makes Saint Pete so special. So come along with me and let the Sunshine City warm your soul. 00:00:34:12 - 00:00:52:22 Brittany: Hi, everybody. Brittany Ranew here the host of the Saint Pete Soul podcast and local realtor and welcome back to the show. So today I'm excited to have Gabrielle Troyer on today. She is a lifestyle blogger and founder up a rooftop collective here in Saint Pete so hi, welcome. 00:00:53:15 - 00:00:55:18 Gabrielle: This is so cool. Thanks for having me. 00:00:56:00 - 00:01:07:06 Brittany: Yeah, absolutely. Glad we work this out. Let's see, we we met at, like, a girls networking group book and bottle. Like, I feel like it was forever ago. 00:01:07:21 - 00:01:09:21 Gabrielle: Yeah, it was a while back. Yeah. 00:01:10:23 - 00:01:16:19 Brittany: But we just kept up on social media, like, you know, a lot of us do these days, so I'm glad we could work this out. 00:01:16:21 - 00:01:17:21 Gabrielle: Yeah, me too. 00:01:18:23 - 00:01:23:14 Brittany: Well, to start, tell everybody a little bit about yourself and your background. 00:01:24:00 - 00:01:53:24 Gabrielle: Yeah, sure. So thanks for having me, guys. I've never been on a podcast before, so I'm really excited. I listen to podcasts all the time, so thanks for having me. So yeah, I have a normal job, a 9 to 5. I'm in digital marketing and I've done that for about six or seven years now. And I actually went to school originally to be on television, and I did television broadcast. I really thought. 00:01:54:08 - 00:02:31:00 Gabrielle: I was going to be the next Giuliana Rancic in Hollywood. And I had a very narrow scope of what I was interested in. I was not interested in covering, like, the hard hitting stories of the town. I also I realized after graduating, I wasn't really that interested in moving to the middle of nowhere to get my foot in the door with broadcast. Which is pretty much a necessity. I had been dating my now husband for a very long time. I'm very close with my family, so I was like. Okay, good. What am I going to do with this now? Content creating really wasn't much of a thing. 00:02:31:22 - 00:03:57:24 Gabrielle: You definitely had more popular people on like Instagram and stuff like that, but it certainly wasn't too much of like a full time like, possibility now. So I still do my regular digital marketing job now, but I started Rooftop Collective because when we moved to Saint Pete, we're originally from Sarasota. So when my husband and I moved to Saint Pete, we kind of like started just seeing how much was available to us. In Sarasota. It's a great area, but there just wasn't a lot of like young people that were just kind of getting started in life, kind of trying to go on an upward mobile track. So he came over here for grad school and I started seeing all these people my age and like when I learned to drive back in Sarasota, I would pull up to a red light and thinking there's going to be like some like cool guy next to me and there was always an older person. And I was like, What is this? So my husbandand I moved to Saint Pete and we absolutely loved it. And it just became so clear to me that my 9 to 5, it's such a necessity for us, but it's not like feeding what I wanted to do. I started wanting to create content really ultimately doing, working with people on the red carpet you see all these people in, they're like talking to people and everyone's like, you know, jazzed about it. Now I'm I find myself, I'm like this desk job, which is great, but it's like I'm not creating anything. So I started Rooftop Collective. Pretty much right when the pandemic started or right before. 00:03:58:26 - 00:04:13:28 Gabrielle: And now we're here. So yeah, I have an online website and it's rooftop dash collective dot com. And then I have like so many other people, a small Tic Tok. I haven't quite figured that out yet, but. And Instagram as well. 00:04:14:28 - 00:04:36:03 Brittany: Awesome. So. Well, it's interesting to hear you talk about how your 9 to 5 isn't really feeding your soul, which is what a lot of people say when they're, you know, get start a business, the entrepreneurial spirit, like you have this creativeness inside you and you need to get it out. So yeah. 00:04:36:18 - 00:04:58:00 Gabrielle: Absolutely. And my options, you know, I see these people that they they leave their normal jobs to follow content creating or maybe they even start a social media company. And like I think that's so admirable and I want to do that. I just know, like where we're at right now, like we're trying to save for a house and it's just like the adulting part of me is like, you should probably keep your job for a while. 00:04:58:09 - 00:04:58:24 Brittany: Yeah. 00:04:59:07 - 00:05:00:29 Gabrielle: You know, after hours on my weekends. 00:05:01:17 - 00:05:07:08 Brittany: Yeah. But that's the cool thing about you have this business and you get to do whatever you want with it. 00:05:07:10 - 00:05:34:20 Gabrielle: So pretty much, yeah, there's no like pressures, which is when I started that was like big to me because the minute you start putting expectations and because you know, you can use your job as a hindrance or you can say, Hey, it's kind of a safety net. You don't have to make income right off the bat or ever if you don't want to. I mean, rooftop collective, it's not really I don't make any money off of it. It's just a very expensive hobby I've picked up. 00:05:36:09 - 00:05:58:09 Gabrielle: But it's just something that it feeds my soul. Yeah, it really does cater to that creative side of me and I'm able to have such amazing experience, like the fact that I'm on your podcast right now. That's just because one day I decided, you know, Hey, let's just go for it. Let's create, you know, an Instagram and see where it goes. And I still have like the biggest, like, imposter syndrome going on. You know, there's so many. 00:05:58:11 - 00:06:01:07 Brittany: Oh, oh, I do, too. It's okay. 00:06:02:06 - 00:06:22:09 Gabrielle: I feel like it's so relieving to like, see people like. You doing what you're doing. You know. Like, when I look at you, I'm like, she is like. This amazing real estate agent. She's, you know, connecting people in the area, you have such an important role. It's crazy to me to hear you feel that way, too, so it's kind of comforting at the same time. 00:06:22:24 - 00:06:51:29 Brittany: Yeah, I mean, I feel like especially as women, like, we need to support each other because it's. You know, it's the imposter syndrome, I think, is something that a lot of women especially struggle with. And it takes so long. I feel like it just takes a lot of reps, a lot of like building that confidence and whatever, like avenue that you're in before you maybe feel like you conquer it. I mean, I've definitely made progress, but I'm not there, so I'm with you on that. So yeah. 00:06:52:02 - 00:07:29:16 Gabrielle: I guess it's always good to remind ourselves that there's a difference between feeling like you have imposter syndrome, but or just like having goals you haven't met yet. Like, it's kind of like, I mean, I am not the best person, to use an analogy, to go to the gym like I've been. So I'm very transparent on my social media about where I'm at with my health journey. But I, do feel like when you go to the gym for the first time in a while, you're kind of like at leaset for me, I'm like, What am I doing here? Like, what am I even supposed to pick up? Like what am I doing? And then after going like the reps you set after going for a while, you're kind of like, Oh, wait, I'm kind of like a gym person. Like. 00:07:30:02 - 00:07:36:29 Gabrielle: I got this, and then you start taking pictures in the gym and then you've reached your peak of confidence in the gym. But you got to start somewhere. 00:07:37:18 - 00:08:03:08 Brittany: Yeah, baby steps. Just do something, you know? Even if it's messy. It's action and it'll get you moving, so. So, okay, so you talked a little bit about like you were in Sarasota and just the lifestyle difference between Sarasota and Saint Pete. What's like what's been your favorite thing about Saint Pete? Like, why? Why do you love it so much? 00:08:03:24 - 00:08:31:15 Gabrielle: It's so easy to fall in love with it here. I sound really corny. But I don't even care. Like it's totally the truth. There is something for everyone here. My husband's, like, so big on, like, the outdoors. He loves how many parks we have here. I mean, which is I think Saint Pete has like one of the biggest uninterrupted areas of, park by the water in I don't know if it's the country or Florida, maybe it's not. 00:08:33:02 - 00:09:19:25 Gabrielle: But that's like huge and I'm like big on events and restaurants and new happenings. Like that's what my blog focus is around. It focuses around new restaurants and bars that are opening events that are coming up. Like I just basically want to grow rooftop into being like if you're new to the area or if you have lived here for a while and you're like, Hey, what should we do this weekend? Like you're like, Oh, well, let's go check out this page. I'm not doing that perfectly yet, but like the fact that I live here, it actually makes it quite easy because there is literally so many new things happening, 24, seven new restaurants happening every other day. I'm hearing about and I'm this isn't even an exaggeration. Every other day I'm hearing about. Some new restaurant, either here in Saint Pete or across the bridge in Tampa. 00:09:19:27 - 00:10:07:11 Gabrielle: But I would say that's like an obvious answer. But what I really tell people is that, honestly, people are very casual and friendly here. Everyone has dogs, everywhere is dog friendly. So to me that is such a key part of living in downtown. Like, I know I might not live in the downtown area forever, but for right now, like I want to enjoy that as much as possible because when you move either out of Saint Pete or maybe out of the downtown area, you're going to start running into like, you know, normal life, adult life. Like you might be closer to a target, but you're not supposed to bring your dog in to target. So, I mean, just the friendliness. And the opportunities that it gives people, whether you're starting over from scratch and like you just got out of a relationship and you want something new. Like this is a very welcoming area to get started in. 00:10:08:07 - 00:10:16:27 Brittany: Yeah. I was going to ask you like how you felt like if it was easy to plug in and find community that sounds like it sounds like you feel like that's the case. 00:10:17:07 - 00:11:22:20 Gabrielle: Yeah, I think it is. You have to be as women. I mean, I feel like it's hard to meet new friends. Especially out of school, because all of a sudden, I mean, a funny example is like I had a brief stint in Jacksonville where Tyler and I had to move there for his work before - so we left Saint Pete went there for a couple of months and came back - and I was in Jacksonville and I walked up to these girls in a coffee shop purely because I was just wanting to know where to live. Like I wanted to know, like. Hey. You're my age. Like. Where do you like to live? Like, what's the cool area around here? And I think they thought I was like either trying to like stalk. Them or. Like maybe I was hitting on them or something. They I kid you not pretty. Like they looked at me and scooted away like it was like out of a movie and I was like, Saint Pete could never or would never. No. So I mean, about getting connected and stuff. I think it's possible. I think it's always a little awkward at first, you know, whether you're just like seeing a girl and you're like you kind of vibe and you're like. 00:11:23:17 - 00:12:28:03 Gabrielle: Can I have your number? But like in a non creepy way, I just want to hang out. Like type of thing. But that's something that I think could always be improved. Something that I've been trying to do with Rooftop is this New Girls in Town Brunch. We've had two of them so far. It's just an idea I had because I felt like I wanted friends and I wanted like a non-professional way of making friends because I started going to like the professional networking groups. And those are great. Those serve a purpose, for sure. But I felt like everyone wasn't being like their weekend self. You know, everyone kind of brought their, you know, their suit self. Yeah. And so the new girls in town brunch is something I'm trying to do more often. But basically we get a reservation at a restaurant for brunch and we open it up to people to sign up. It's first come, first serve, and then all these girls that don't know each other show up to brunch and hang out. And it's been really, really well received. So I'm trying to do more of that. But I think for the most part, yes, it's super welcoming, but I feel like there's always could be more opportunities if that makes sense. 00:12:28:14 - 00:13:10:15 Brittany: Yeah, but like people like you, who do you know a new girls brunch.That's what I feel like there's those kind of opportunities here that people are thinking about to do and their cities aren't doing. And I don't know, I feel like it might just be, you know, St Pete, I've always felt like has this like small town vibe to it, even though we're a bigger city in relation to other cities. And of course like the whole Tampa Bay area is large. So I do think that helps. And yeah, it does take, you know, you got to be brave like you're saying to put yourself out there. As an adult it's definitely much different making friends. It is kind of like dating like you alluded to. 00:13:11:19 - 00:13:28:04 Gabrielle: And if anyone hasn't tried Bumble BFF. I recommend it. I've met some great friends out of the area from on there too, so if you're really lookin don't knock bumble bff. There is no shame in the game being. Like, hey, I need to meet some new friends. Like, I love that. 00:13:29:29 - 00:13:56:02 Brittany: That's cool. So you so you mentioned, you know, your original plan in life was to get into, like, TV broadcasts. It sounds like that. You know, that really has helped you with rooftop eclectic because Rooftop Collective, excuse me. So you're able to kind of like know how to present yourself on camera and try to be yourself on camera, which I think is always a challenge for a lot of people. 00:13:56:11 - 00:14:20:15 Gabrielle: Oh, absolutely. It's scary. Definitely. I think - I guess you're right. I guess I didn't really think about it too much until you really said that. I kind of always just tried to do what I naturally felt comfortable doing in school. I didn't really sit there and go, What wouldn't be a good financial decision? Luckily, you know, my family was like, you know what? What are you good at? 00:14:20:17 - 00:14:49:12 Gabrielle: Or What do you have an interest in? And really tried to push me and give me the opportunity. I've had. I mean, I think I've done like doubled in the to the double digits of unpaid internships when I was in college. Like it was definitely something I was committed to. I just didn't think practically about. I guess I kind of just take steps like I don't really think super long term all the time. I kind of just like take things in step. So one of the benefits of that is like you're really in whatever you're doing in that moment. But the bad side, it's like. Wait a minute, what was the plan? 00:14:51:16 - 00:15:46:06 Gabrielle: But yeah, I guess that's true. And I mean, in social media nowadays, it's so easy to get too much in your head. And I've talked a lot about that on my social too. Like, because rooftop isn't my income, I am able to take breaks on there, but I've struggled a lot with okay, well if I take a break now, it's been like two weeks. How do I you know, the algorithm is not kind to people who take mental breaks off of social media. And it's just it's scary because I'll watch my insights, I'll watch my engagement and followers just start tanking. And it's kind of hard to like jump back in it because you start thinking back to square one. Kind of like the gym analogy, like if you stopped going for a while, you get back in there, you're like, Well, I don't even know what a barbell is. Barbell, I don't know. But it shows I have not, been in the gym in awhile. But yeah, it's been scary. 00:15:46:08 - 00:16:46:09 Gabrielle: But the thing that I find like the most therapeutic is just being honest with people on it because I feel like the right people that get it, they'll stay following and they'll sympathize and empathize. But you know, if you're looking for someone that's like churning out content, 24 seven, that's just not going to be me because that's just that's not my life right now. And fortunately and maybe someday it will be. But it's a little difficult being yourself on social. It's always something I'm trying to embrace and promote too. Like I don't use filters that change my face because even though after like two glasses of wine, I've sat in my bed at my door, look at the filters, and you're like, Huh? I want. Don't I look like that? You know, and it messes with your head. And so I always try to just be like, I don't filters as much as possible or I don't use those face shaping filters just because for me, I know it wouldn't be positive for my mental health. So being yourself is scary, but I swear it's worth it in the end. 00:16:47:15 - 00:17:03:09 Brittany: Absolutely. And I think, you know, your vibe attracts your tribe. So you know, like you're saying the right people will come along beside you and continue to follow you, support you. Yeah. You know, for years, as long as you're out there, you know, being yourself. 00:17:03:11 - 00:17:21:03 Gabrielle: So yeah, I'm sure as a real estate agent. I'm sure that's like, exactly like you want to maintain the people you meet in your field and you're like building people's families and you're providing a home. So I can only imagine that's so true. Like, you have to be someone that people really connect with authentically. And clearly you do. You're doing a great job. 00:17:22:01 - 00:17:39:28 Brittany: Well, thank you. Yeah, but it's it's true, though. Like if you're if you're portraying yourself as one way on any kind of online advertising and then people call you and you meet up with them and you're like a totally different person, like that's going to be a turnoff. 00:17:39:29 - 00:18:08:20 Gabrielle: So I know you're like, cat fishing people. It's so awkward. Like, Yeah, I feel you. That's something you have to think about because I don't need to give myself more anxiety over things, you know? So in the moment I may feel like, yeah, snatched love that. And then if I meet them, I might be like, Oh, okay. Like, I wish I looked like that in real life or something. So yeah, people, real people have flaws and you know, like sometimes my face is fuller than it is and other times. And that's just a part of life. Yeah. 00:18:09:00 - 00:18:11:00 Brittany: Absolutely. Yeah. We got to embrace it. 00:18:11:10 - 00:18:12:23 Gabrielle: Yeah, 100%. 00:18:14:28 - 00:18:38:21 Brittany: So. Okay. So you started it with the name Rooftop Collective, which obviously relates to like rooftop bars and that kind of thing. So we talked a little bit about how you've evolved in some of that with the new girl brunch, kind of talk a little bit about like all of the different content and like those different avenues that the blog and all that's taken. 00:18:38:23 - 00:19:59:17 Gabrielle: You know, I think, um. I think what's been really neat is the experiences that this has afforded me. Like I've said, you know, I don't make money off of it, but this is so much more like doing this with you means so much. It's more fulfilling. I was at a shoot the other day, a friend of mine. I mean, this is so cool. I'm in Saint Pete, so I'm meeting girls my age doing things like they are all showing what they feel their purpose is to the fullest extent. So a friend of mine is an amazing makeup artist. She also has an online magazine she started putting out because I'm sure she just wasn't busy enough. But I was able to be in the photos for this upcoming magazine issue, and I was like. Who gave me the right to be in these photos? Like, I'm only here because like. I started something and like, all these opportunities are just things that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to have said yes to had I started this. So I started Rooftop Collective with the concept of, Oh, I want it to be a blog, because my current role is in digital marketing. And I was really trying to learn more about search engine optimization and how to build a website. I was making websites and like when websites came out, I was making websites as a kid. Like my dad like was very. 00:19:59:23 - 00:20:37:06 Gabrielle: He. Shocker. He works with computers and everything. And so me, when I was a kid, he was showing me how to do all of these really cool things. So I knew I wanted to have a website because I was trying to find something that would set me apart a little bit because a lot of people have these amazing Instagrams, but they might not necessarily have a website. And so my website's definitely doesn't receive the same traction as Instagram does, but it was really more of a project for me to see, okay, if I write a blog post about this place, how can I optimize it to try to capture some of the organic searches online? Okay, that was my mindset. So I knew I wanted a blog and I wanted an Instagram because Instagram's way more fun. 00:20:37:15 - 00:21:09:00 Gabrielle: Than a blog. So I started this and I came up with the name because I loved the word collective. For some reason I it there was no like, I cannot tell you what the reason was. I just really liked it. So yeah, I was like collective....I like it. To me it sounds like something that could scale. Like if I ever wanted to have some type of agency or whatever, like it makes sense, like something like that. And then rooftop I just...100% rooftop bars are my jam. You can't beat it like. 00:21:09:02 - 00:21:10:25 Brittany: Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely. 00:21:10:27 - 00:21:28:09 Gabrielle: Yeah. So that's kind of like where the name came from. I was, I think sitting at one of the bars, ou know, the bar in inside of karma, the little tiny karma juice. I don't know if you know what that is like. It's a very small little area. I don't even know if it's open full time. I was sitting there. 00:21:28:12 - 00:21:29:13 Brittany: Oh, yes, yes, yes. 00:21:30:09 - 00:21:41:12 Gabrielle: It's just like this little tiny place. I was just looking for a place to work outside of the apartment. And I started just coming up with names and asking strangers. What do you think of this name? And they're like, okay. 00:21:42:06 - 00:23:08:02 Gabrielle: And that one kind of stuck. So that was the name. But the different experiences you asked me about. Yeah, I've definitely tried to kind of expand out from just having pictures on my Instagram. I work very closely with a good friend of mine named Christina that does most of all of the professional photography on my blog. And so her and I together have been able to approach restaurants sometimes before they open to even just take photos of their cocktails and popular bites that allows me to get content. And then she allows the restaurants to use that as well. And then she has a portfolio. So kind of like this little ecosystem we created, which has been really nice. But with the New Girls in Town Brunch, that was an event. So I started thinking recently after one of my breaks off of social media, I was thinking I was kind of getting in my head. And I was looking at other girls accounts that were really they're popping off, you know, lots of engagement. They seem to always have these opportunities. And I was like, you know, you start comparing yourself and you're like, wait, okay, wait. I can do I can compare myself, but in a constructive way. So I started looking like, what are they doing that I'm not doing that I could be doing? And I realized that a lot of them were like posting very frequently. They're posting content that wasn't like perfect, you know, that was just like here is sharing my life, you know? And I was like, okay, I need to do, I want to do more of that. 00:23:08:12 - 00:23:47:04 Gabrielle: And so then I started reflecting on what has been really popular with my followers since I started, and it was an obvious answer. These brunches have afforded me the opportunity to meet a lot of women that are coming from all walks of life. It gets great new followers that engage with content and it allows you to have fun. Like, who doesn't like a brunch? So New Girls in Town is something that if you go on my website, you can sign up for to be on like a list to be notified of the next event. I just started actually something I'm still in like the beta phase, but I want to find a way to incorporate the same vibe as the new Girls in Town Brunch, but in a volunteering way. 00:23:49:11 - 00:24:37:08 Gabrielle: Yeah, because like, I felt I wanted to volunteer and it's scary. Like, you don't know where to start. Showing up to a volunteer site on your own is a little intimidating. At least it is for me. So I'm kind of trying to work out the situation where you can sign up, like all you can go on our website and there's a new tab there that says volunteer, and you can click that and you can sign up. And I'm trying to work with volunteer opportunities in the area. So let's just for example, we all meet up together and we do a beach cleanup like myself and whoever signed up and then let's go get cocktails after. After we volunteer and doing something really meaningful. So it kind of has that like social aspect, that's philanthropic. 00:24:37:12 - 00:24:58:23 Gabrielle: Philanthropic aspect and you're, you know, making a difference. If we love the city, let's give back to it. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. It's still in like the I'm working it out phase. But if you have any recommendations of places to volunteer? You know, let me know. But I'm reaching out to a couple of places so far, and I think I have some pretty good ideas of how to get it started. But we'll see who's who's interested. 00:24:59:18 - 00:25:25:21 Brittany: Yeah, that's a great idea. I mean, that's I mean, that's like cool way of combining giving back to the community plus the social aspect, being able to meet, meet new people that way. You know, it's I agree. It's it feels great to volunteer, but it is scary to make that step to go by yourself to something. So having a group to do it with is a great way to get started. Yeah, absolutely. 00:25:26:05 - 00:25:38:18 Gabrielle: Yeah, we'll see. I'm excited about it. Even if it's just you and me ready out there. We'll do some water testing or something, and then we'll go get some drinks and some. Some food. 00:25:39:04 - 00:26:00:29 Brittany: Yeah, well, I was thinking, you know, like coastal cleanup, like beach cleanup, that kind of stuff is usually usually a lot of like organizations that do stuff like that and it's always needed. So that is a good avenue. I support Tampa Bay Watch. And they they do have some volunteer events every once in a while. So that might be a good, good place to look at too. So. 00:26:01:02 - 00:26:09:25 Gabrielle: Okay. Yeah, I haven't I haven't reached out to them. I'm trying to get a good mix, right? So I'm trying to get like things that are outside. Inside. 00:26:10:10 - 00:26:10:25 Brittany: Yeah. 00:26:11:00 - 00:26:46:24 Gabrielle: You know, even if it's something that I organize myself, I know that a couple of areas here are currently doing school drives for teachers. I did not know that teachers in the area get $200 for their school supplies for the year. So that's ridiculous. I was shocked. So they're doing these school drives. So I was like, okay, maybe I could like. If people don't have time to go, maybe I could have them Venmo me money and then I'll record myself going to the dollar store. Or something like that. So I think there's so many opportunities because there's no wrong answer. As long as you're trying to do something positive for the community, that's a step in the right direction. 00:26:47:08 - 00:26:58:20 Brittany: Yeah, absolutely. That's awesome. Yeah. So yeah. So let's let's switch gears a little bit. I'd love to hear like what's what's your why? Like, what keeps you up in the morning? 00:26:59:16 - 00:27:03:26 Gabrielle: Well, typically it's my dog, you know in the morning. 00:27:03:28 - 00:27:04:22 Brittany: I'm all about that. 00:27:05:21 - 00:27:59:19 But I think my why it's such a good question, I think it changes and I feel like that's kind of normal in different seasons. My why when I was younger was like, okay, I have to do this. I just it's something I have to go to school, I have to do this, I have to get the grades, whatever. These days I'm realizing, okay, I'm on my own now. Well I'm not on my own. Like, you know, I'm married. But, you know, in my head I'm on my own and I'm thinking. Like, okay, what is my why right now? And right now I'm just trying to this sounds corny, but I just want to authentically provide my personality in my own way by creating content into this space. Like, I know I want to stay in Saint Pete long term. I want to be involved. I want to have an impact somehow, someway. And so I think my why is like I just want to have an. Impactful life. 00:27:59:21 - 00:28:15:22 Gabrielle: In some way. And I think that's everyone to a degree. It sounds really like it's deep and it's scary because like you hear about it. Like there's this ticktock audio going around right now and it's like one day you're going to die and everyone will forget you, you know? 00:28:16:00 - 00:28:54:14 Gabrielle: And then it's like so it's like. So just screw it, do whatever you want. So, I mean, it's very like harsh, you know, but it's kind of like when you boil it down, you start thinking like, after I'm gone, have I made anything? Like, Have I impacted the world? And I think creators, that's how they maybe feel that need. They feel like they want. They create things. So when they're gone, they're still there. And so I think. I think like something that I recognize that I can be good at is I recognize if I'm feeling sensitive in a certain area, like if I feel like intimidated about something, I feel I try to find other people that feel that way and then try to resolve that. 00:28:54:24 - 00:29:25:26 Gabrielle: And so, you know, my why is I want to be authentic and I want to be myself and I want to promote that for other people to feel comfortable to do so. And so they don't feel like they have a risk of getting rejected because that's kind of what scares us all. So I want to be authentic. I want to create and I want to have an impact. So what does that look like practically for my why? Just means getting up in the morning and like doing a little bit better than you did the day before, you know, having grace and and not following a perfect routine. 00:29:26:03 - 00:29:41:18 Gabrielle: So I've been really my way is like really trying to do that consistently. My word for the year this year was consistency. Ironically, that was the year, also the word of the year last year. And I wasn't consistent....So I was like same word. 00:29:42:11 - 00:29:43:15 Brittany: Yup keep it going. 00:29:44:27 - 00:30:05:04 Gabrielle: So just doing a little something and being able to check off something for me on a practical sense every day, like just being able to get up and say, I did something that was on my list of things to do. That's what that looks like everyday for me. But bigger picture, I just want to be able to kind of like impact this area in a positive way, even if it's a small way. 00:30:05:22 - 00:30:47:14 Brittany: Yeah, well, I completely relate to that because that's actually my why as well, making a positive impact. I love St Pete, so I get to do that here at least for now. So I. That's really cool. And it's when you said, you know, being a creator, you know, and I have that creative background as well, which is why I have this podcast. It's just these outlets for people who love to be creative. So I think it's it's a cool way to make that impact and it definitely feeds the soul. So it's really cool to hear you talk about that. I think that's a great why. 00:30:47:16 - 00:31:44:08 Gabrielle: Yeah. You must feel like a rush, I imagine, when you hit publish on your podcast episode right? You created this from nothing. And all of a sudden you've coordinated getting guests on, you know, making your topics, stuff like that. That's all something you fabricated from absolutely nothing. So to be able to like post it and get even one view, like when I get like one, like someone shared something. So I thought this is so, so cool. Someone said, I think it was a girl I follow named Britney and she has such a such a cute Instagram. I think it's called like Hello Sunshine, if I'm remembering correctly. But she shared something about how people kind of get in the habit of going, Oh, I only got like 50 likes on something. But if you had 50 people in a room saying Great job or complimenting you. That would be surreal. So it's just to me, I was like, Holy cow this is the way. 00:31:44:10 - 00:31:55:24 Gabrielle: That we're counting the engagement. And even if it's for like a business reason, you're engagement. You're in like the insights and stuff. We have become so used to just not being impressed by something like that. 00:31:56:06 - 00:32:03:19 Gabrielle: Granted, some double tapping is not the same as two people driving down to meet you somewhere. But you know, when you think of it that way, you're like, holy cow. 00:32:03:21 - 00:32:11:20 Gabrielle: Like, 50 people, liked my thing. Wow, that's really cool. And I was like, That is how I need to do a little bit of a shift in my mindset. 00:32:12:03 - 00:32:22:23 Brittany: Yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, absolutely. So what's like what's your favorite thing about having this business which, you know, you may have kind of already answered this, but. 00:32:24:01 - 00:32:58:26 Gabrielle: I think the opportunities it's making, giving me to really, you know, I was sharing about that the the magazine shoot I was a part of recently and I was talking to some of the other girls that were a part of it. And, you know, two of them did professional modeling part time. And then they're like, and what do you do? And I was like, I'm just a regular person. And so I was like, I was literally, like, thinking, like, wow. Like, this is so cool. Someone asked me to be here, and I'm just a regular person. I don't have a portfolio or, you know, whatever. Well, you got to smize. 00:33:00:25 - 00:33:02:06 Brittany: You do have a portfolio. 00:33:02:08 - 00:33:25:04 Gabrielle: Oh, I guess I do now. Yeah. But, you know, to me, it's like that was really cool. So just the people I've been able to meet and the opportunities that I've been able to say yes to. There's a lot of opportunities I can't do because of the 9 to 5, but the ones that I'm able to do or just, you know, create from scratch, I think has got to be my favorite thing about this for sure. 00:33:25:18 - 00:33:31:14 Brittany: Yeah. Is there any other opportunities that you can think of that have been super cool in the past couple of years? 00:33:32:23 - 00:34:06:07 Gabrielle: I want to do more. There's certainly some I want to start pursuing that I haven't. My opportunities that I've had tend to be a little bit more like reactive than proactive. You know, someone reaches out and that's amazing. It just takes time, obviously. I think I eloquently said in a past Instagram story like dreams don't move forward unless you do. Like something stupid. Sometimes you have to spend time creating those opportunities. Yeah, I would say any time like I got to meet like the owner of Wild Child and I'm such a like proponent of that restaurant, like. 00:34:06:09 - 00:34:07:05 Brittany: I love that place. 00:34:07:14 - 00:34:51:28 Gabrielle: It is a can't miss place. It just truly is. Any event. Like if it's casual or not, like totally I recommend going to Wild Child, but I got to meet the owner and he's such a amazing individual that really he's a creative, you know, you can tell that he wants to leave an impact in this area and obviously he's killing it because he has the wild child. He also owns the Benz down here. Two different places that he's been able to fabricate out of nothing. So just getting to meet different restaurant owners has been a huge highlight. I got to meet the new people that are now own 400 Beach and a couple other places, and they're doing some renovations on what was a Natas originally, which was probably a good reason why I moved here. Nata as exclusively. 00:34:57:17 - 00:35:30:15 Gabrielle: Having the opportunity to kind of like just chat with people that are here for the same reasons. I mean, granted, opening a restaurant is a much larger scale than creating an Instagram reel for sure. But, you know, being able to talk with them and hear their whys and what gets them going has been really neat. So opportunities, just any cool pictures, honestly, that I've been a part of. Yeah, I've been able to be in photos. As for a couple of different boutiques around here, which was really fun, too. Just things that I would have never imagined that I would be asked to do. 00:35:30:17 - 00:35:39:13 Gabrielle: I think and just putting myself out there and being like well, I hope this works out. Type of stuff. So yeah, those have been all really, really fun. 00:35:40:19 - 00:35:51:28 Brittany: Awesome. So what about some, like, long term goals? What would Rooftop Collective look like in the future? 00:35:52:29 - 00:37:01:01 Gabrielle: Hmm. Tough question right. I would love to have this be like my full time responsibility. The only way I would see it going is if I was able to start adding like social media, media management on top of all of what I'm doing. The reason I say that is because I want to protect the rooftop collective that I've created so far to be organically what it is. So like I want to be able to like showcase events and opportunities in the area.For people that are moving here, something that I've been doing is on I used to do a lot more of was during COVID apartment reviews. So I've actually had a few videos where I walked because people were contacting me and like my friends, they want to move here, but you couldn't come down. If you're living in a city, you can't come down, do a tour, and you can do a 3D viewing all you want. I'm going to show you like what the place smells like or anything. So I did a couple. 00:37:01:03 - 00:37:31:24 Gabrielle: I did one for my current building and my old building and another building in the area. And they've gotten a couple thousand views on Instagram, and I've got her on YouTube. I've gotten a lot of people reaching out to me, like asking questions, like follow up questions about that. When people were especially in lockdown, when they were not able to come out or like tour in person, even if they were in the area, these walkthroughs were really helpful for people. And I'm just honest, like, you know, showing what it looks like and stuff. So doing more content like that I think would be really, really neat. 00:37:32:29 - 00:38:01:08 Gabrielle: Having people work with me on this would be really neat. I mean, it's called Rooftop Collective. You're suppose it's a collective is like a mishmash of random things, right? So one of the reasons I probably I just realized this now why I liked the name was because it didn't nail me down into one thing. Yeah. So, wow, I had like a light bulb moment on your podcast, I think. So in the future, I want to I want to do this more. I have so many ideas that I'm not doing. 00:38:01:28 - 00:38:32:23 Gabrielle: And I want to have a list for like when people come and do their bachelorettes here, like where should they go? Okay, well, let me that's easy for me to think of. Let me, you know, put up a list like an option or something like that for people to look at. I want to do more of that and I want to partner more with some of the amazing vendors like out of COVID came so many strong women. Oh, my gosh. So many girls that I've met have either that either lost their job during COVID or realized that their job that they were at was not doing it for them and have created businesses. 00:38:32:25 - 00:39:29:28 Gabrielle: So all of these like pop up like picnic events, beach set ups, charcuterie opportunities. All these companies that I've been able to see grow are born from these women that are like, you know, just hustling. I mean, I am so impressed, inspired, like beyond like these girls that are going up at like 6 a.m., setting up a beach set up by themselves. And then doing the content for it and then tearing it down like that whole concept of like leaving your 9 to 5 to work for yourself to work 24 seven is so true and I'm so inspired. So I want to keep doing it. I want to keep doing this. I want to tell their stories. I want to like network with them, partner with them, you know, in whatever way it works out. But for the future, I want to do more of that. And I don't know, like more events. I think I really think that there's an opportunity and St Pete in Tampa for networking events that aren't networking events if that makes sense. 00:39:30:00 - 00:39:34:15 Gabrielle: Yeah just get togethers and meetups I guess for a social reason. 00:39:34:22 - 00:39:36:12 Brittany: Yeah. Yeah. The social aspect. 00:39:36:29 - 00:39:57:04 Gabrielle: Absolutely. I was even able like one of my good friends moved here and I was able to introduce her to one of the girls that came to the brunch. Who was looking for a roommate and made it possible for my friend to move here. Mind blowing about how you look back and you're like, oh my gosh, like all these connections. So I'm definitely wanting more of that. 00:39:57:29 - 00:40:00:20 Brittany: Well, and that's making an impact right there. So. 00:40:01:00 - 00:40:04:15 Gabrielle: Yeah, I guess you're right. Yeah, this is like very therapeutic. Thank you. 00:40:06:23 - 00:40:17:09 Brittany: Hey, I'm here for it. You know, like I said, I want this to flow organically and that's that's what's happening. So it's good. I think we're keeping with the authentic organic theme. 00:40:17:11 - 00:40:19:15 Gabrielle: So yeah, it's good. 00:40:21:10 - 00:41:02:09 Brittany: Well, the apartment reviews, I, I remember seeing those and I'm glad you mentioned that because that's actually really cool. And you know, from a real estate perspective, it's interesting because, you know, we don't really you know, we don't have access to those apartments. You know, the apartment complexes don't hire a realtor to lease their places. So, you know, I try to often help people move here to relocate and find rentals. And, you know, having there's just not a lot of information for me to give them for these. So like that, that right there is a very useful tool and a resource for people. So if you could do more of those, I think that would be amazing. 00:41:02:20 - 00:41:37:20 Gabrielle: Yeah, I think you're really right. And that what's been interesting for me because I'm not I'm not going through necessarily the apartment complex themselves because I want to show what it's like. Like I don't want to show go show a model unit or whatever. So I want to be helpful to people because if you imagine, like you work with these people all, all day long, they're moving the relocating to a place they've never been to before. Like that's terrifying. So they can, like, kind of see what it might actually be like. And, you know, I'm very transparent. Like I tell, like the opinions I've heard or what I've seen firsthand. 00:41:38:02 - 00:42:02:01 Gabrielle: So, you know, if you guys are watching this and you live in an apartment in the downtown area that I haven't covered yet hit me up. Out of like people that live there because I'll show their unit and get their opinion on what it's like living there so that I could totally use some help on scouting out some more people that live in different apartment complexes. Yeah. 00:42:02:18 - 00:42:11:12 Brittany: Yeah, that's cool. Again, I think that would just be a really great resource. So yeah, I'm glad that you've thought of that idea. So keep it up. 00:42:11:14 - 00:42:14:26 Gabrielle: Thanks for encouraging me to do it. I just. I need to get on. Add that to the list. 00:42:15:24 - 00:42:21:08 Brittany: I know the list. It just keeps growing. So. But that's okay. One step at a time. Right? 00:42:21:27 - 00:42:26:14 Gabrielle: Right. It just goes up to what's your why. Get up in the morning, make a small step in the right direction. 00:42:26:27 - 00:42:34:15 Brittany: Yeah. So what's like what's some of your favorites? Favorite things to do around the city? 00:42:35:19 - 00:43:21:19 Gabrielle: I love walking. Honestly taking my dog out for a walk. I can't really do it in the summer right now. But just being able to kind of like walk without headphones and like listen and kind of like people watch while you walk because everyone's generally in a good mood because, you know, if you're out for a walk, you're not that upset and you're out for a walk. You actually might be from out of town visiting, you know? So people are looking for an ice cream cone, like pointing at the windows. It's verycCute. Yeah. So I like to do that, but I do that because I do live downtown and I can do that. I know some people hate the scooters. I do like going for a scooter ride every now and then. I've wiped out on them before. So, I mean, I get I get why people don't like them. 00:43:22:15 - 00:43:59:01 Gabrielle: But I like doing that also. Something I don't do enough of that I do enjoy doing is going to the museums. I just feel like it's a good thing for your soul. I don't know why. I don't understand the art. Sometimes I feel like it speaks to me. But knowing that we have this in our backyard, I think if I looked into the future and I moved away from this area, I would look back and been upset at myself that I didn't take advantage of how many museums we have in this area. So I definitely want to do more of that and I enjoy doing that, especially since so many of them have changing exhibits, which I didn't know museums did. 00:43:59:03 - 00:44:23:26 Gabrielle: So I need to really take advantage of that. Honestly Tyler and I go out to eat all the time. I love going out for drinks down here. There's just so many great places with more on the way that truly whatever you're in the mood for, you can find. I just went to the arcade bar for the first time. I don't know if you've ever been there. It's called right around the corner. It is so cute. It is like a little house party. 00:44:23:28 - 00:44:42:26 Gabrielle: When you go in there, it's like very low key and they have like very old Nintendo set ups on like little TV screens. And it was fun. You know, you just kind of go there for a chill, like laid back night. And I got to kick Tyler's butt at some Mario. 00:44:42:28 - 00:44:50:15 Gabrielle: So I think just trying new places, to be honest, I like just the experience of trying something new is probably my favorite. Like, that's what I get a rush off of. 00:44:51:06 - 00:44:57:18 Brittany: Yeah, yeah, I agree. I mean, my husband and I go out to eat a lot as well. So just those different opportunities. 00:44:58:04 - 00:45:02:03 Gabrielle: Do you have a favorite spot to go out? Like what's the place you probably go more often than not. 00:45:03:19 - 00:45:04:05 Brittany: Probably Wild Child. 00:45:05:16 - 00:45:13:11 Gabrielle: Really well same. Or like, I feel like. We're addicted to it. Yeah, I definitely agree with you on that. 00:45:14:02 - 00:45:19:11 Brittany: Well, nd Book and Bottle like obviously that's not a dinner place, but they have food. 00:45:19:13 - 00:45:20:05 Gabrielle: Wow. I didn't know. 00:45:20:07 - 00:45:28:04 Brittany: That. I mean, her appetizers are fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm there way, way too much, but that's okay. 00:45:28:17 - 00:45:38:04 Gabrielle: If you guys if you're watching, you haven't been to book and bottle like just after this podcast. You know, tell your boss your loging off for the day and go to book and bottle. It's so cute. I love that place. 00:45:43:03 - 00:45:45:09 Brittany: So when did you move from St Pete to Sarasota? 00:45:45:28 - 00:46:02:26 Gabrielle: We moved here. Uh, I don't know. Probably 2017. We got married in 2017 and we got married in St Pete. So I would say 2017 since we've been here. Yeah. 00:46:02:28 - 00:46:23:26 Brittany: Okay. So I moved here in 2015. It's like I was just going to ask you, like I was just exploded and there's been so much growth. What are your thoughts about that? Like, how how do you see it continuing to grow or are you excited about it? Like, do you see the directions going? You think it's cool? 00:46:24:29 - 00:46:59:09 Gabrielle: I mean, that's such a good question. I love that. Okay. So the other day I was walking around, I call it affectionately, the party block. It is the square of bars. It used to be where McDonald's was. And you know, it's where first Fridays. And my friend started calling it the vortex. Which it.......Woof woof (her dog Paige barks) She's like, Yeah, the party block. This is my look alike, basically. 00:47:04:18 - 00:47:11:06 Brittany: Anyone that's listening on the podcast is like, what is going on? But just go to YouTube and watch the video because your dog is adorable. 00:47:11:18 - 00:47:52:08 Gabrielle: Thank you. So, yeah, we were walking around the vortex, if you will. And, you know, it's just the area where first Friday, as all the bars are down there. And I used to go down there a lot. I used to live a little closer to that area. When we first moved here. We would go out there on Fridays, and it used to be very different than it is now. And I say that, and it almost sounds hypocritical for me to say that, because I know that before my time here, people were already saying that about this area. When I first told my parents we were moving to St Pete, they were like, But why? That's the shadow lands. Like the Lion King, like nothing over there. 00:47:52:10 - 00:48:34:10 Gabrielle: And I was like, no, guys. It's so different. You haven't been there in a long time. My parents remember St Pete, kind of like a not so great area. Obviously it's quite different now. So I kind of do want to acknowledge the fact that even though I say.... Oh so much has changed, like I don't even realize how much has changed until, you know, if you had to ask somebody who's been here for a longer time. So I do acknowledge that. That being said. We're walking around the party block area and there used to be a bar called McFadden's and like that was like I think one of the more popular places. And now it's like a steamer bar, like they're selling like oysters and mussels and stuff and there's something else opening. I think it's the honky tonk bar. 00:48:34:18 - 00:49:57:16 Gabrielle: It's going to be a country bar. Like, I think like the singer is named Chase Rice. He's opening this bar or like restaurant concept there. And it's I'm not surprised because right across the street is they're building I think it's like a hotel slash condo concept or something like that. But they're building so many new, very luxury high end either condos or apartments in the area or hotels that I understand that that party block area, I think slowly it's going to get cleaned up a little bit because you're going to attract people that aren't interested in plastic cups and bottomless drinks and stuff, which there's a there is a time in your life where that's what you want. And like, I recognize that. So I kind of miss some of those old places I remember, but not because I would freaquent with them now, but more of a nostalgic feeling. Aw, it's gone type of thing. You know, I think the direction the city is going is really exciting. I think it's going to bring a lot of really new happenings to the people who are here. My fear, though, is what's already happening, which is the prices have just gone up exponentially. You've obviously seen this. I've seen too many of my friends consider moving or leaving the area because the people who've been here can't afford it anymore, because the people from out of state are paying top dollar. 00:49:57:28 - 00:50:32:13 Gabrielle: So, I mean, my rent went up, everyone's rent went up. And it's just, you know, your work doesn't always see that. They don't really stop there. I guess they don't really care to raise it, you know. So, you know, everyone's talking about inflation and the cost of living. And I think the fact of the matter is this is an extremely expensive area to live in now, and that's not great for the people that have been here. So my concern is that for sure, I'm hoping things start to level out, but that was certainly very shocking and scary and sad because, you know, every dollar it goes to rent is less dollars that you can spend a wild child. 00:50:32:24 - 00:50:36:07 Brittany: Priorities people. 00:50:36:09 - 00:50:40:02 Gabrielle: Yeah. Come on. We need our, cocktails and our chicken sandwiches. 00:50:40:13 - 00:50:40:28 Brittany: Yeah. 00:50:42:13 - 00:51:29:24 Gabrielle: So that was an obvious kind of thought. But also, you know, I think the quirkiness of Saint Pete is at risk a little bit. You know, when you start bringing in very major entities, you can maybe start to lose some of that mom and pop feel that we all love so much. I think it still is doing a pretty good job of maintaining like there are a lot of like individual entities that are moving in. It's not like we have like a Chick-Fil-A downtown or something like that. Yeah. So that's good. I hope it stays that way. That's all I'm saying. I want unique concept, even if it's if they're the same restaurant group like the Hunger and thirst group that owns, you know, 20% of downtown. It feels like they have their dirty laundry, they have parks and rec, they're killing it. You know, they're doing a great. But each place they open is so unique and cool. 00:51:31:06 - 00:51:33:21 Brittany: They're keeping that St Pete vibe with what they're doing. 00:51:34:09 - 00:51:47:02 Gabrielle: Well, I'm for that, so I'm really excited. But I also, you know, I'm a little scared just due to the cost of things in general and, you know, wanting to maintain the weirdness of St Pete. And I say that very affectionately. 00:51:47:08 - 00:52:14:15 Brittany: Yeah, no, I'm with you. And that's that's totally fair. I think the the pandemic really accelerated that growth that we would have seen with St Pete on a more gradual basis. So I think the city you know I'm really involved with the chamber, the St Pete Chamber. So I see the leadership like trying to be as proactive as they can with like, you know, doing affordable housing projects and looking at all that. 00:52:14:17 - 00:52:32:06 Gabrielle: So I think see more of that like being talked about, which I think is a huge step in the right direction and what a task they have. Holy cow. Like measuring or balancing, you know, new growth versus, you know, what the people are wanting. Like, that's. That's a job I would not want. 00:52:32:08 - 00:52:57:03 Brittany: Yeah. It's tough. I mean, yeah, the balance is good where it's really, really hard to balance. But I think, you know, I think we've got a lot of good people in place to try to help with that currently. So hopefully that, you know, stays over the long term and we have good leadership that helps keep it all, you know, keep St Pete funky and weird and special. I mean, that's that's what I'm looking forward to. 00:52:57:19 - 00:53:29:20 Gabrielle: Absolutely. I think too, like on Central, there's a lot of like kind of going away from the water. You know, there are a lot of abandoned buildings and stuff that could be transformed into something really cool. And I've seen ...I don't remember who made it, but somebody was showing like what the these businesses used to be back in the day versus then what happened. And I didn't realise that so much of the area that I'm in, in downtown, we used to be kind of like unused space for a while. So I love the concept of taking an unused space and turning it into something, and I think I have seen a lot more of that. 00:53:29:22 - 00:53:46:25 Gabrielle: You know....It's not like I'm seeing a whole lot of people that have closed down a business that then it turns into something. So the more often that we can see unused space getting maximised, I think that's really exciting. So that's the part I'm excited for. 00:53:47:07 - 00:54:01:13 Brittany: Yeah, for sure. Well, so to wrap up our conversation a little bit. What I would love to ask you....what's a typical day look like for like a content creation day? What does is that look like? 00:54:02:00 - 00:54:37:01 Gabrielle: Okay, well, there is no typical day that is for certain. You know. Sometimes I'm posting on my Instagram story like ten times a day because I feel like I'm doing something. Oher days it's, you know, I'm at home folding laundry and I'm not posting at all. So I've been trying to like show both sides of it because I think that's important for people to see. So a typical like I'll talk about a dream typical day. This is definitely not what is typical because truly it's waking up, going to work and then meal prepping and trying to go to the gym and, you know, folding laundry like truly. 00:54:42:29 - 00:55:14:15 Gabrielle: We're manifesting days here in the future. She wakes up at four. Yeah. No, I'm just kidding. Waking up, taking my dog out on a walk before it gets so hot out. Tyler and I on the weekends, we love going to hot yoga, so you can go to like Sun State or Body Electric. We like both of them. So going to I saw you interviewed the girl who opened Sun State. That was so cool. I started following her on social media from your podcast, so that was really nice. 00:55:15:19 - 00:55:16:21 Brittany: She is a cool person 00:55:16:23 - 00:55:41:24 Gabrielle: I was like go her, I want to open something. But waking up, we love starting our weekends with hot yoga. It's such a good way to kind of like set the tone for the weekend and you feel like you did something physical. So that's always really nice. And then going to a coffee shop we love like Paradeco or Tyler really likes Black Crow. Like that's like our two vibes. I'm Paradeco and he likes Black Crow, which is like so different. 00:55:41:26 - 00:55:42:26 Brittany: Way different. 00:55:43:01 - 00:56:26:17 Gabrielle: I know. Right. And so, you know, we'll pick a coffee shop that we want to go to or something like that. We have some great amenities in our building right now, so we're trying to get the most out of those before we do eventually find a house that has, you know, no amenities whatsoever. But I just if I'm doing like content creation, I'll try to connect with my friend Christina and we'll kind of either work at intermezzo. That's like another favorite spot that we have and kind of just like go back and forth on, like, content, ideas or places to reach out to. Mostly it's myself just kind of sitting by myself, you know, with a cocktail if it's not too early in the day and I'm like trying to either write a blog post or basically make a brain dump of all the ideas I have, and trying to prioritize what makes sense to do. 00:56:27:02 - 00:57:07:03 Gabrielle: I'm personally still getting the hang of that. That is a skill that I know. Some people, when they're doing content full time, they like can batch content like there's no tomorrow. To me, it's still something I'm trying to get the hang of. So just kind of sitting down and making like a workflow that makes sense and also trying to blend what I want to post about from my personal life versus what rooftop generally posts. You know, so finding that balance too is really important to me because, you know, if you start following me because you want restaurant recommendations and I'm like complaining about how I haven't like, I don't know, like cook dinner or I can't cook something at home or something completely unrelated. 00:57:07:10 - 00:57:23:20 Gabrielle: You're like, okay, what am I really getting out of this? So finding that balance is important, but probably doing something like that, getting some work done would be really a positive thing. Kind of romanticizing the everyday, you know, the that girl aesthetic that's been really popular. 00:57:24:13 - 00:57:32:13 Gabrielle: I think, you know what I'm talking about like, have you seen the content? Like where it's like, you know, a girl, she's making a matcha tea, but it's like so aesthetic, you know. 00:57:32:22 - 00:57:34:25 Brittany: I got you yeah. 00:57:34:27 - 00:57:40:02 Gabrielle: Interestingly enough, I've heard two sides to this. Like, you either hate the that girl aesthetic or you really like it. 00:57:40:09 - 00:57:55:06 Gabrielle: You hate it, it's you're probably in the opinion of thinking like, oh, it's you're not showing what real life is really like. You know, not everyone can open their bay front windows to the New York City and, you know, have a cloud couch, you know. And I get that, like, that's not my life. 00:57:55:18 - 00:58:37:06 Gabrielle: But I actually quite like it because it kind of forces me to enjoy the little things. Like if I'm at Trader Joe's and I'm picking up flowers, like, you know, making content of it, it's nice for me and making it look nice is something that I enjoy. So I probably say incorporating some of that in this perfect day. And then probably going to go get dinner somewhere. But yeah, definitely. That would be like a very nice day. Like seeing friends probably like out and about would be really nice too. So I am not like your wake up at 5 a.m. ready to go type of girl but I think up there somewhere in between. I definitely love a good checklist, that's for sure. 00:58:37:22 - 00:58:49:04 Brittany: Yeah. All about the checklist. Yeah. So a couple rapid fire questions. So what's your favorite spot to go to on a night out? 00:58:49:29 - 00:59:26:09 Gabrielle: On a night out? Well, we've talked about wild child a lot. Gosh I don't know. Depends on what the vibe is. You know, if you're new to St Pete, everyone loves the canopy. It's a great spot because you can't beat the views. And that's a great spot if you're trying to stay in St Pete though I would I just tried to happy hour at Savage and Savage is owned by the same a group that owns Rococo as well. So both have really good happy hours. So I would probably say, you know, go get some drinks and light apps out at savage or rococo because you're going to have that really good quality food. 00:59:26:11 - 00:59:58:28 Gabrielle: But it's like a little bit cheaper for happy hour. I think it goes to like six or so. So I'd probably start there and I'd probably, I don't know what I'd do in the middle. Like I guess it would depend on if I'm having a night where I want to go play arcade games or if I just want to set out to book and bottle and have low key wine night, but not really. And I normally always end at intermezzo just because at night it's cool in there, it's dark, you know, they have great a great cocktail list, they have great music. So that's always kind of where I end up at night. 00:59:59:18 - 01:00:09:16 Brittany: Yeah. I love Intermezzo. I'm there quite often. It is a cool vibe in there like and when they do like the holiday pop up. 01:00:09:18 - 01:00:40:09 Gabrielle: Oh yeah that's so cool. Some of my friends and family will like come to St Pete just for the pop up. I also love doing the aerial acts at The Floridian, so if you're into that type of vibe, they'll do really cool, like fire breathing. And like aerial acrobatic acts and stuff like that. So that's something that I find is really cool too. So I'll check out The Floridian every and it's like close by. So I'll kind of peek my head in there and see what's going on. 01:00:40:22 - 01:00:45:05 Brittany: Okay, cool. All right, so what's your favorite pizza place in town? 01:00:45:20 - 01:01:01:13 Gabrielle: Oh, my God. Okay, so very recently, I had friends over, and we bought every single pizza in the downtown area. Oh, my God. It was awful. Everyone's stomach hurt so bad the next day from all the pizza. 01:01:01:23 - 01:01:02:08 Brittany: Wow. 01:01:03:18 - 01:01:13:14 Gabrielle: Like every person had a box. And it was one of my proudest and not proudest moments ever. But it was kind of fun because you got to try them all. 01:01:13:25 - 01:01:20:05 Brittany: Okay? So, like, you should you should be the first person on this podcast that can answer this question correctly. 01:01:23:00 - 01:01:38:26 Gabrielle: Everyone's going to say the same thing, I think. But you can't go wrong with pizza box to me. That's like my favorite. I've only had it a handful of times, and every time I've had it, it's just better than the last. They have, like, a lover boy. Have you ever had that one? 01:01:41:21 - 01:01:43:19 Brittany: I usually get the Honey Boo Boo. 01:01:44:03 - 01:02:09:20 Gabrielle: Oh, I haven't had that one yet. Oh, man. And this is, like, such a good example of why it's so cool, because, I went in there and I think it was the last pizza one time that they were making and I like was chatting with this guy and he ended up being the owner of the place and he was telling me how he built this huge pizza oven with his wife. Where else do you get to just chat with the owner of the pizza place? But I would say pizza box. 01:02:09:22 - 01:02:19:15 Gabrielle: But if you haven't tried Colony Grill and you're looking for something different, Tyler really likes Colony Grill because they have like the hot oil pizza. Personally, that's not my jam, but he really, really likes it. 01:02:23:06 - 01:03:01:06 Brittany: Awesome. Well, this has been an amazing conversation, so great. Yeah. I mean, I feel like I learn so much more about you, and hopefully everyone else has. And everyone, please go follow her online. Because I love the fact that you go to these different restaurants and rooftop bars and it's just like this beautifully, aesthetically pleasing photo with, like, the cocktail or the the appetizer. It's just, I don't know, it really showcases all these super cool places that we have in St Pete. So I appreciate the fact that you're creating that. 01:03:01:23 - 01:03:09:00 Gabrielle: Oh, well, thank you. It's certainly my absolute pleasure. So if anyone is enjoying it that just is the cherry on top personally. 01:03:09:11 - 01:03:13:04 Brittany: Yeah. So okay. Tell everyone where they can follow your life. 01:03:13:24 - 01:03:56:15 Gabrielle: So you can follow me. So my website is rooftop dash collective dot com and that's where you can sign up if you're interested in volunteering like I talked about or a new girls in town brunch. You don't have to be new. New in town. We had tons of girls come there. They've lived here all their life. But you're here to meet the new girls in town, so definitely check that those two sign up areas if you're interested. I'm most active on my Instagram account, which is Rooftop Collective. A lot of times. Like, I didn't have my name on there for the longest time, so I would meet people and they're like. Oh, you're rooftop collective. But they don't know my name. So I'm like. Why did I not put my name? My name is Gabrielle. Well, you can call me Rooftop if you really need to. 01:04:00:28 - 01:04:04:17 Brittany: Awesome. Well, this has been fantastic conversation. 01:04:04:19 - 01:04:18:15 Gabrielle: Thank you so much for having me. This was surreal. So thank you so much for doing this podcast. You're doing such an important role. You're serving our community by introducing people. So I really, really appreciate that. Thank you. 01:04:19:20 - 01:04:35:07 Brittany: Thank you. I appreciate that. It's fun for me and I love seeing all of our cool spots like you do. So it's just fun to showcase that. So yeah, absolutely. I feel like for I feel like we're kindred spirits in that way. Yeah. Like you're great. 01:04:35:09 - 01:04:42:18 Gabrielle: No, you're great. We're both great. Well, thank you again. 01:04:42:20 - 01:04:44:13 Brittany: Thanks everybody for watching and listening. Bye. 01:04:46:26 - 01:04:47:11 Gabrielle: Bye. 01:04:53:03 - 01:05:07:13 Brittany: If you want more information about this episode and others, please visit my website. Brittany where news.com. You'll find more information about me. My passion for St Pete and real estate there. Look forward to connecting with you soon. Bye friends.