WEST SHORE — At Relic, their home and garden shop, Vivian Johnson and Virginia Wyatt sell furnishings old and new, steadfast and true. Like their friendship.
The Cuban natives have been playmates since they were 10, when Johnson's family moved to North Tampa, next door to Wyatt. When both lost their jobs in 2009, Johnson said they took it as a sign "for two middle-aged women to follow their passion."
Off they went to antique shows, estate sales and flea markets, "picking up a little bit of everything, industrial, rustic, primitive, shabby chic, Asian pieces," said Wyatt. "Something for everybody." For the patio and garden: metal critters, wrought iron tables and chairs, concrete urns and benches.
In May, the women fixed up "a horrible building in an awesome location,'' Wyatt said, at the corner of Manhattan and Kensington avenues, one block south of El Prado Boulevard, exchanging repairs for reduced rent.
Three tenants at the moment: local artists Jill Miller and Sue York, who make bird feeders out of saucers and coffee mugs and wind chimes made of silverware. Amy Martin also rents outside space for her business Sprout, making and selling container gardens.
Relic Vintage Home & Garden is located at 3517 S Manhattan Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (813) 835-0715.
'Red carpet look,' minus the expense
The former manager of a high-end boutique in Naples has opened You Boutique to make special occasion wear and everyday accessories accessible.
"I can give you the red carpet look without the red carpet price," said Brigittia Long, who opened the shop in the Carriage Trade Plaza six weeks ago.
"This concept is all dresses and accessories, about 80 percent accessories,'' she said. "Like you'd find at an Ann Taylor or Macy's for $100. I have almost the exact same thing for $30."
There's a wide variety of university logo jewelry, specifically Gators, Seminoles and Bulls.
At the other end of the spectrum are classical pieces inspired by Chanel and Yurman.
"I believe a woman should be able to change up her outfits, but without breaking the bank,'' said Long, 43, a mother of four who lives in Plant City.
She's kept prices for evening gowns from Priscilla Collection, Mori Lee and Partytime Formal under $400. "For homecoming, prom, charity balls or Gasparilla,'' she said, "with the perfect cocktail bags to go with them.''
You Boutique, located at 1704 S. Dale Mabry Highway is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (813) 374-9961.
Get a whole new look, all in one building
Don't think of Vibe Fit Club as a typical gym, because the owners swear it's not.
Memberships here are highly individualized, said Theresa Depasquale, co-owner of the Swann Avenue facility near Armenia Avenue.
"We work on a case-by-case basis,'' she said. "Some people will train on their own. Some will get comprehensive nutrition counseling and behavior modification help."
Everyone begins with metabolic testing to find underlying reasons for fat retention.
One key to the success rate, she says, is acceleration training on Power Plate machines. She said the high-intensity vibration devices give the benefits of a 90-minute workout in 20 minutes.
"The results are insane," said Depasquale. "Doing 30 seconds of abs is the equivalent of 900 crunches."
Depasquale and Nabilah Shamseddine also operate a Vibe Fit Club in Oldsmar.
But their Tampa club has another twist. Red Bamboo Too will offer non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the same building, directed by the doctors of Red Bamboo Medi-Spa in Clearwater, including Dr. Frank Toscano.
Club owners will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 13, followed by a red carpet soiree 7 to 10 p.m.
Vibe Fit Club is located at 2511 W. Swann Ave. Hours, effective Nov. 13, are Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (813) 448-2220 or visit www.vibefitclub.com.
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