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Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer

Katherine Snow Smith

Katherine Snow Smith has been at the Times either fulltime or parttime since 1995. She started as a business reporter then spent a decade writing the Rookie Mom column with stories from her own family and advice from other average moms and the experts. She now covers business in south Pinellas County. Katherine has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina and is married to Times political editor Adam Smith. They have three children, two dogs and still feel like rookie parents much of the time.

Phone: (727) 893-8785


  1. Who can resist Marilyn in black, white and pink?


     For three weeks in a row I peered, face pressed against the window, at the dress made from fabric that looked like newspaper. Problem was each time I passed the Rainbow Shop at Shoppes at Park Place it was early Saturday morning before the clothing store opened.

    I’m there at 8 a.m. for the standing-room-only Weight Watchers meeting led by Anthony. He keeps a crowd of 50 or more laughing at his one-liners and furiously taking notes on his knowledge of metabolism, whole grains, meditation and tons more....

    Smart Marilyn
  2. Lawsuit alleges Bill Edwards drained mortgage company

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The stakes in an ongoing lawsuit against Bill Edwards' Mortgage Investors Corp. were raised after the plaintiffs alleged the St. Petersburg power broker "looted" tens of millions of dollars from the company.

    The plaintiffs — the U.S. Department of Justice and two mortgage brokers — stated in a court filing last week that Edwards made the financial moves to help shield the money in the event that he and his company lose the lawsuit, allegations Edwards' attorney described as baseless....

    Bill Edwards, a St. Petersburg businessman, owns the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Sundial shopping center.
  3. Developers look to old apartments for new homes

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Developers are looking beyond the residential tear-down or rare vacant lot near aging apartment buildings for the latest wave of condos and luxury homes near downtown. And it's the proximity to the Old Northeast neighborhood and downtown, not a water view, that are their main draws.

    Three projects are in the works on the sites of 1950s and 1920s apartments. Quattro on Beach Drive and Towns on Fifth on Fifth Avenue, offer homes in the $800,000 and $900,000 range. At the Dunbar, at 400 12th Ave. NE, there are 600-square-foot condos for $149,000 up to 1,340-square-foot condos for $329,000....

    A key selling point for the Towns on Fifth condos, which will be gated and have rooftop terraces, is proximity to downtown.
  4. Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin


    I didn’t think chin hairs were a blog-worthy topic until they scored a cameo in the latest season of "Orange is the New Black." The inmates were running and someone encouraged the character known as "black Cindy" to keep up the pace.

    Cindy quipped: "Man, I pluck my chin hairs, ain’t that enough upkeep? I got to run, too?"

    For almost two decades I loathed the three recurring hairs that grow out of my chin every two months or so. In recent years, however, they have provided me with something few other things in life offer: complete satisfaction. But more on that later....

    Cindy (center back row) and I share a beauty regimen.
  5. Luxury apartments Altis Grand Central planned for South Tampa

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A burgeoning pocket of South Tampa is slated for two luxury apartment buildings with 296 units dubbed Altis Grand Central. They will rise on Grand Central Avenue on an entire block bordered by Magnolia Avenue, Cedar Avenue and Cleveland Avenue. The site is across from the University of Tampa near Mise en Place and the Oxford Exchange restaurants.

    Boca Raton developer Altman Development has 21/2 acres of property that is mostly parking lots under contract, according to Altman president Jeff Roberts. The block is owned by the Parido and Stoeltzing families. Roberts declined to name the selling price or what the company projects to spend developing the 300,000-square-foot project....

    Construction on Altis Grand Central, an upscale apartment and retail project, will start in Spring 2016.

 Photo courtesy Altman Development.
  6. Give up that cocktail dress you never wear to someone who will really rock it!


    Maybe it’s time to accept it. You’ve been trying to lose 15 pounds to fit into that great cocktail dress at the back of your closet for a while and it’s not happening.

    You know, the one you wore to your cousin’s wedding three years ago. The short yellow one with the square neckline and long organza sleeves....

    This dress didn't come from Belle of the Ball, but is an example of what you can donate.
  7. 'Straight Outta Compton' mysteriously absent from Sundial in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Straight Outta Compton hits theaters today, Tampa Bay moviegoers can see it from Sarasota to Clearwater to Plant City.

    But not in St. Petersburg.

    The city's lone multiplex, Muvico Sundial 19, doesn't have the Universal Pictures release on its schedule despite industry analysts pegging it to be No. 1 at the weekend box office, projected to earn $32 million....

    Straight Outta Compton profiles the group N.W.A., which made a name in the 1980s with lyrics reflecting inner city frustration and anger created by police brutality. Some songs objectified women and romanticized gang culture.
  8. Going for broke with gourmet granola



    If Tanya Brown's dream of having a chain of gourmet granola stores doesn't become a reality, she may at least have the makings of a country music song.

    I sold my viola

    To make my granola.

    She recently reeled off the other things she and her business partner and fiancee, DeLisa Drake, also sold. There was the 2005 Chevy Malibu, a Suzuki motorcycle and an alto saxophone, among other things. Once they raised some money, they quit their jobs at the Capital One call center in Tampa to make and sell more than 50 flavors of gourmet granola....

    The puffed rice low carb Berry Fruity mix.  -  About a year ago Tanya Brown & DeLisa Drake quit their bank jobs after co-workers convinced them Tanya's home made granola was unlike anything else in Florida. Now they are growing a business selling 50 flavors of gourmet granola at markets (including Locale) and farmers' markets. They rent space in an industrial kitchen in Largo by the hour every Wednesday to bake it. They bottle it themselves.
  9. Where should Tampa Bay's downtowns find inspiration? Check out Raleigh, N.C.

    Economic Development

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Downtown Tampa after dark isn't as deserted as it used to be, but it's far from vibrant. Downtown St. Petersburg may be humming with bars, restaurants and new apartments, but it has few corporate employers.

    A decade ago downtown Raleigh, N.C., combined the worst of both worlds. Now it has become a mecca for millennials. They ride the bus, dine at hip restaurants on once-sketchy streets and walk to concerts at an often-packed amphitheater. Some are also highly sought employees for nearby corporations....

    As St. Petersburg and Tampa see their downtowns grow, they might want to look north to Raleigh, NC, which has had a resurgence to their downtown that is attracting thousands of people all downtowns covet most -- millennials. DCIM\100GOPRO
  10. Gourmet pop shop adds to Central Avenue's cool factor


    ST. PETERSBURG — A gourmet frozen fruit bars store is among three new businesses in the 600 block of Central Avenue.

    Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, 627 Central Ave., will serve up flavors such as strawberry-basil, pineapple-cilantro and avocado-coconut by the end of August. The St. Augustine-based company has three stores in Florida's oldest city and three in Gainesville.

    "St. Petersburg and Tampa have been on our growth chart. We knew that's where we would go next," said Hyppo spokeswoman Crystal Libby....

    Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, one of three new businesses on the block, will serve 20 kinds of frozen treats at a time out of its nearly 400 flavors. It will open by the end of August at 627 Central Ave.
  11. Deal Diva on the road


    A Deal Diva may take a vacation from the office, but she never takes a vacation from finding deals.

    I'm in New York just for a couple days and not even leaving Brooklyn. But I was lured into the Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio with this fabulous motto: Look Fabulous. Be frugal. 

    Who'd have thunk that Nieman's, home of the $35,000 cocktail shaker, the $300,000 custom, mini race track and the $450,000 custom perfume in a 24-karat gold bottle would dare utter the word "frugal."...

  12. School clothes available free or at low prices across the area


    While back-to-school shopping may be fun for kids, it can be daunting for the parents who have to pay for it all. But there are plenty of stylish shirts and jeans out there for $7 or less, and even free clothes if you don't mind items that are gently used.

    Thrift-store finds and hand-me-down clothes have gained popularity in recent years, not just because of their affordability, but also for their individuality and the thrill of the hunt....

    A pair of American Eagle jeans for $6.97.
  13. Who wore it better? Oprah, me or Hannah Montana's Mamaw?


    The endless who-wore-it-better comparisons are often mean spirited, but I think celebrities in some cases gain some clout when they are seen as sharing the same fashion sense as another famous glamour girl.

    Mariah Carey must have good taste or a good stylist if she's wearing the same sexy, sheer black dress as Beyonce, the reining queen of music, and, pretty much, America.

    The picture of Caitlyn Jenner wowing the ESPY awards in a white Versace gown has been continuously shown next to Angelina Jolie wearing the same dress a few years ago at a movie premiere. I think Angie (as Brad and I call her) would like being seen as having the same strong and elegant style as Caitlyn....

    Comedy legend Vicky Lawrence, my fashion muse, as Hannah Montana's "Mamaw."
  14. Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach opens rooftop lounge


    ST. PETE BEACH — There's a swanky new lounge with a view called 360 Rooftop at Hotel Zamora. About a year after the Spanish style boutique hotel debuted at 3701 Gulf Blvd., the rooftop is now open to the public with a full bar.

    There are numerous sitting areas with lush furniture and several furnished cabanas. The cabanas can be rented for several hours at a time. Rates vary based on the time and day....

    360 Rooftop, the lounge above the Hotel Zamora, offers seating, drinks and views of the Gulf.

 Photo by  Diamond Public Relations
  15. St. Louis developers buying Raytheon site in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — After at least seven years on the market, lawsuits, angry neighbors and a toxic plume, the long-vacant Raytheon facility is about to get new life.

    Commercial Development Co., a St. Louis company that specializes in challenged properties for development or resale is poised to buy most of the 32-acre property with 500,000 square feet of buildings in the coming days.

    The company talked with city and neighborhood leaders Wednesday to learn what they would like to see on the large tract just west of Tyrone Square Mall on 22nd Avenue N and shared some of the potential outcomes....