Sabrina Rocco, Times Staff Writer

Sabrina Rocco

Sabrina Rocco is an editorial assistant and writer at the Tampa Bay Times covering weddings, features and general assignment stories around the bay. She loves Disney World, sour candy and the smell of books. She is studying mass communications at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Phone: (727) 893-8862

Email: srocco@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SabrinaRocco

  1. From This Day: Pair works to keep relationship healthy through med school

    Relationships

    During a comparative anatomy class at the University of South Florida, Anthony Dedea would often bust out quotes from Zoolander to get a reaction from his cute classmate.

    "There's more to life than being really, really ridiculously good looking," Anthony blurted.

    Lauren Scaglione, who was working on her second bachelor's degree, in biomedical science, was tickled by his quirkiness, but she was dating someone else. So she and Anthony, also a biomedical science major, became friends instead....

    Lauren Scaglione and Anthony Dedea were married in Italy.
  2. Review: Diamonds in the rough in J. Courtney Sullivan's 'The Engagements'

    Books

    As I was reading The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, I remembered a time when I wore a $15 cubic zirconia "diamond" ring to the mall. As I ordered my coffee at Starbucks, the barista taking my debit card almost passed out when she caught a glimpse of the bauble: "Oh. My. Gosh. Look at that ring. He must really love you!"

    I felt guilty. I was nowhere near engaged, so I just laughed and brushed it off....

  3. Review: 'The Lonesome West' is big laughs on a tiny stage

    Stage

    TAMPA — There's not much loneliness in The Lonesome West apart from the ever-flowing tears of a boozy priest desperate to repair the mangled relationship between two brothers. But don't let the sad sap fool you. This Jobsite Theater play, currently running at the Straz Center, is a gut-busting comedy reminiscent of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, similarly about two roommates unfit to live under the same roof....

  4. On 'La Voz Kids' young singer tries her wings

    K12

    One of the greatest things about being 14 years old and getting cast on Telemundo's version of The Voice? "They fly us (everywhere)," said Angela Rodriguez, the teenager from Seminole who has made it to the final episodes of La Voz Kids. "I never had anyone pay for my flight before. It was so cool!"

    Her journey started in December when Angela got a Facebook message from a friend in California urging her to audition for the nationally televised singing competition geared toward the Spanish-speaking community. Angela, who has been an aspiring singer since she was 8, jumped at the opportunity. ...

    Angela Rodriguez performs during an episode of La Voz Kids. The 14-year-old is an incoming freshman at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.
  5. From This Day: Over the top, from proposal to reception

    Relationships

    Jared Gopman and Cher Hubsher flirted over slices of pizza at Satchel's in Gainesville. This first date felt like something different.

    "I remember thinking to myself, 'If I could be with this girl, it would be amazing,' " Jared, 22, recalled.

    Jared, a premed major, loved how Cher, a nursing student, was different from other girls he knew at the University of Florida: "She's strong and independent, has values and morals and isn't afraid to stick up for her beliefs."...

    Cher Hubsher and Jared Gopman were married at Innisbrook Golf Resort on May 26. They honeymooned in Hawaii.
  6. Home Depot helps couple renew wedding vows for 25th anniversary

    Human Interest

    HOLIDAY

    The toilet aisle wouldn't work. The paint section didn't feel right either. But the patio furniture department?

    Perfect.

    Robert Black stood under a gazebo (retail price $399) in Home Depot, unboxing roses his mother had sent from San Diego. The store supplied white orchids ($19.98 each) and a pair of metal flamingoes ($39.98 each) dressed in wedding attire.

    "Let's hang these from the ceiling," said employee Patti Neat, wearing in an orange apron and serving as an unofficial wedding coordinator. She handed Robert some dangly signs that read 25th Anniversary....

    Leslie and Robert Black kiss as they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary Saturday by re-creating the ceremony at the same spot where they were married in Holiday. Back then the site was home to Midway Drive In Theater. Now it holds a Home Depot.
  7. Teen's biofuel invention turns algae into fuel

    K12

    For a fifth-grade science fair, Evie Sobczak found that the acid in fruit could power clocks; she connected a cut-up orange to a clock with wire and watched it tick. In seventh grade, she generated power by engineering paddles that could harness wind. And in eighth grade, she started a project that eventually would become her passion: She wanted to grow algae and turn it into biofuel.

    After four years of tinkering in her garage for about an hour each day, Sobczak (pronounced sob-chek) has finally figured it out. Her algae-to-fuel project won first place and best in category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, beating 1,600 other finalists from 70 countries. The Intel ISEF is one of the largest and most prestigious science fairs in the world....

    Evie Sobczak, 16, a rising senior at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, holds her Cellulose Blaster invention in her garage lab. The device extracts lipids from algae, turning the oils into biofuel without chemicals. Sobczak’s process uses very little energy.
  8. Guest Diva dishes about SJP's new shoe line

    Blog

    I remember the first time I watched Sex and the City The Movie.

    At the very end, when Big gives Carrie her dream closet, she pulls out the most perfect pair of shoes I've ever seen in my life and gently sets them down on her sparkling shoe rack: a pair of royal blue Manolo pumps.

    The next day, I sped to International Plaza like a mad woman trying to find those shoes. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford Manolo's $965 price tag, but maybe I could find some Steve Madden knock-offs....

    THE shoes
  9. From This Day: Jeff Read and Jessica Brown

    Relationships

    Jeff Read held a sheet of paper far from his face and squinted his eyes like he was staring into the sun. A fellow teacher at Oak Grove Middle School in Clearwater asked him what the heck he was doing.

    "I broke my glasses," he told her.

    Jessica Brown, a reading teacher, perked up from behind her computer screen nearby.

    "I was in a mosh pit at the Social Distortion concert," Jeff, a language arts teacher, went on....

    Jeff and Jessica Read of Clearwater married at the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine.
  10. Pet shelters can be part of your hurricane plan

    News

    Pet owners should have a plan in place for their animals before a hurricane threatens.

    Waiting until the last minute or hoping you will be able to take pets with you will only make matters worse. Most public shelters do not allow pets. Even though it may be hard to part with your favorite pet, the best option is to find a hurricane pet shelter.

    Hurricane Katrina was a tragic example....

    An implanted microchip offers a way to reconnect pets that have strayed or gotten lost during a storm with its owners.
  11. Your own field of dreams: Marry on the pitcher's mound

    Relationships

    Saying "I do" on the pitcher's mound or trekking across a football field to the 50-yard line in a tulle gown may be the last thing a bride has in mind for her fairy tale wedding.

    But say a couple meets at a Rays game or gets engaged during halftime at a Bucs game. Maybe they would think about tying the knot right there in one of Tampa Bay's largest sports stadiums.

    At Tropicana Field, there have only been 10 weddings in the past 15 years, said Caren Dana, director of event booking with the Tampa Bay Rays. Only 20 people in nearly a decade have pledged their love underneath the Big Top, which means it probably takes a special kind of baseball fan to go that far....

    Michael and Kayla VanOosting were married Nov. 17, 2012, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. 
  12. Hey kids, how about a game of cribbage?

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Margaret Austin spreads out a trifold presentation board for eight curious students. "You guys do projects for school," she says. "Well, I did one for you!"

    The board's title: "CRIBBAGE CLUB: ORDER OF PLAY."

    Austin, 69, teaches cribbage twice a week to a group of 9- through 11-year-olds at the Northside Boys & Girls Club in St. Petersburg.

    The kids gather around her to refresh their memories of what they learned the week before about a game that involves no electronics, just cards, a board and some pegs....

  13. From This Day: a lemonade toast

    Relationships

    The way to Shawna Sundin's heart comes in yellowy, puckery, sugary form.

    Chick-fil-A lemonade.

    So Brian Hairston, a co-worker who was crushing big time, usually brought her a cup of the stuff when he returned from break.

    Brian, 29, was "one of the cool stock clerks in the back" at Publix while Shawna, 36, was a cashier. She had worked at the St. Augustine grocery store all through high school and college and remained there even as she was a reporter with the Florida Times-Union....

    Shawna Sundin and Brian Hairston met in St. Augustine. Although she moved away, he soon followed her.
  14. Couples share their food plans for wedding receptions

    Human Interest

    Anna Marie Leo Holder, 25, and Jason Michael Holder, 28, of Clearwater

    Married: Dec. 31, 2012

    Ceremony and reception: St. Petersburg Marriott, Clearwater

    Number of guests: 130

    Budget for food: $15,000

    Reception format: Cocktail hour with a combination of passed hors d'oeuvres and stations, including two open bars. Following that, guests went into the grand ballroom for a buffet dinner of Santa Fe chicken, truffled macaroni and cheese, green beans, zucchini and squash, and freshly carved ham. Once through this line, there was a separate station set up as a mashed potato bar....

     Anna and Jason Holder were married last New Year’s Eve and had a Viennese table that was created by Anna’s parents.
  15. Couples cut costs but have fun with specialty cocktails at weddings

    Bars & Spirits

    BY SABRINA ROCCO

    Times Staff Writer

    Buying a bunch of booze and paying someone to mix and pour it puts a healthy dent into an already tight wedding budget. But an emerging trend in weddings can help couples cut spending and personalize libations.

    The signature drink.

    Team up with your bartender, ditch a full-liquor bar and create one or two customized cocktails that represent your taste as a couple. Along with the drinks, you can offer a small array of wine and/or beer — or nothing else at all....

    They fashioned the Lavender Lady for the women and the Don Milardo, with a hand-rolled cigar, for the men.