An award-winning lighting design on Snell Isle by Decorating Elves. Photo courtesy Nick Schriver.

Let There Be (Holiday) Lights! And let these people put them up for you

“My clients will lose a lot of money if they try putting their own lights up,” declares Nick Schriver, owner of Decorating Elves, which festoons local homes and businesses with holiday sparkle. Let’s take a few seconds to unpack that statement. Decorating Elves generally charges from $3,000 to $10,000 to design and install a lighting […]

Ron Zawistowski in the parking garage behind Cigar Paradise Royal Lounge, with the 150-foot smoke duct above. Photo: Eric Snider

Designing Downtown: Ron Z is making his mark on St. Pete's small-business sphere

Over a couple of decades, Ron Zawistowski has quietly put his imprint on downtown St. Petersburg. His boutique architecture firm, Innovative Design Studios, has no major high-rises or large buildings to its credit, but Zawistowski’s work can be seen up, down and around Central Avenue in restaurants, bars, stores and barbershops. Most of the projects have been renovations, additions and build-outs […]

Kyle, Ron, Beverly and Kent Bailey in an undated photo. Courtesy Bailey Family Foundation.

Benefactors: The Bailey Family Foundation

 duPont REGISTRY Tampa Bay’s “Benefactors” series highlights men and women whose thoughtful philanthropy has enriched the Tampa Bay community in countless ways. The late 1950s was a bad time to look for a job in the coal mines of West Virginia. Automation had drastically cut the need for manpower and coal was not bringing a good price. Still, […]

CAMERA-READY: An elegant Ethan Allen office worth Zooming in on.

Make It Work: Tips on making your home office comfy, efficient and Zoom-ready

Above photo by The Lighting Judge. Remember those bygone days when the boss may have allowed you to work one or two days a week from home? That’s changed, huh? Now, many office employees are working out of the house five days or more — and that includes the boss.  When the world returns to […]

Downing performing on his balcony.

Who's that guy singing up there? The story behind David Downing's "Balcony Live"

On the second floor balcony, there’s a man at his piano.  He croons “Moon River” in a breathy baritone while accompanying himself on the keyboard. The sun is setting. People are arrayed on the lawn of the condo building across the street, safely distanced in couples or small groups. Folks out for a walk in […]

Miragevision retrofits name-brand TVs for outdoor use so you watch them in your backyard — or on deck.

Shelter Upgrades, Part 2: Advice on your devices from a local electronics expert

As our isolation continues, we’re using our devices more and more. And maybe they’re not giving us all that we want.  We called our friend Rick Shook, owner of Rick’s Electronics Boutique in downtown St. Pete, for some upgrade suggestions — from cheap and functional, to pricey and extravagant. First, a consumer tip: If Amazon/Amazon […]

The entrance to Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park. Photo: Eric Snider.

Outdoor Adventures Are Still Possible, and Bill Jackson's is still open

Editor’s Note: The world we’re living in has changed drastically since we published our Great Outdoors issue last month. But Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, which Eric Snider profiled for that issue, remains open 10-5 Monday-Saturday for takeaway shopping. While many of the in-store experiences described in Eric’s story (below) have been postponed for the […]

An amplifier to get amped up about.

Shelter Upgrades, Part I: How to improve your sound system without waiting for Amazon

My amp died.  Technically it was a Marantz SR5005 A/V Receiver. The black box had reliably driven my SurroundSound and audio systems for more than 10 years, so I couldn’t really be mad at it. The Marantz had served me well. It was exhausted. RIP, Marantz. My wife Bonnie and I tried using just the […]

Photos courtesy Olympus Pools.

A Whole New Playground: It's a good time to upgrade your backyard (and your pool)

With people sheltering in place, backyards are more important than ever. After all, a backyard is the safest outdoor area available. The pool that might’ve been neglected over time? It’s now getting a lot of use. Those stains the pool chairs may have accumulated? Scrubbed away, replaced by butt indents. Olympus Pools is getting plenty […]

LPGA stars Brittany Altomare (left) and Nelly Korda.

The LPGA in Tampa Bay: The Pelican Women's Championship moves to November

The 1-year-old Pelican Golf Club in Belleair was scheduled to have its big coming-out party next month as the host course for the Pelican Women’s Championship. The party’s been delayed a bit; due to safety concerns during the pandemic, the tournament has been rescheduled to Nov. 9-15. But no matter the date, this will be […]