PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete: Yelp’s Secret Cash Mob

November 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I know, I know. How much Yelping can one person do? There has been life beyond Yelp in the past week, but all the Yelping isn’t giving me any time to write about anything else! So many social engagements…it’s a hard life. I love a full calendar.

Yesterday was the sixth event in Yelp Tampa Bay’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete. It was Yelp’s Secret Cash Mob.

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Click here to read about Tuesday night’s Yelp’s the Mac Daddy event at MacDinton’s.

Click here to read about Wednesday night’s The Gallery of Yelp event at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.

Click here to read about Thursday night’s Yelp’s 50 Shades of Plaid event at The Birchwood.

Click here to read about Friday night’s Yelp Plays with Fire event at Painting with Fire Studio.

Most Yelp events are all about business owners giving Yelpers a taste of what they have to offer. The secret cash mob was about Yelp giving back to an unsuspecting local business. The business in question was kept secret up until the day before the event so that no word of it would leak out. Finally it was revealed that we would be mobbing Sweet Divas, a chocolate shop at 400 Beach Drive. We were told to meet at noon in North Straub Park and it wasn’t hard to find our meeting spot.

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Slowly a crowd of Yelpers began to form.

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This is Sophie, and original Yelper:

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At 12:15 Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager, gathered us all together…

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and led us across the street and up the sidewalk…

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to Sweet Divas Chocolates.

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And then we mobbed it.

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Janice, the employee working at Sweet Divas was helping a customer and had her back turned towards the door…

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as our group of over 30 Yelpers filled the store.

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When Janice finally noticed us her reaction was priceless. She was blown away.

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Brett explained to her that this was Yelp Tampa Bay’s first cash mob and that we were there to show some love to a local business. He told her that we would be patient and were there to spend money.

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My friend Ali was coming later and I planned to hang out and meet her, so I was in no hurry and wandered around the store. There was so much to see!

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Of course the chocolate cases are amazing. Most all of the confections on display are created by the Sweet Divas, owners Christy and Jeanne.

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But there is so much in the store beyond the beautiful chocolates!

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There are many sampling stations throughout the shop.

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I picked up some caramels to use as part of a teacher gift for Christmas.

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Tea Forte and other cocktail fixings!

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I grabbed a couple of these Handmade Marshmallows (each one contained a dozen) for hostess gifts for upcoming holiday parties:

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They have a huge assortment of pretty gift boxes for chocolates.

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And amazing Tea Forte teas.

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I got a couple of different sampler boxes of tea for gifts and a box of this coconut chai latte tea for myself.

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Chocolate sauces and liqueurs:

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Sipping chocolate!

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It’s basically an endless display of deliciousness.

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Sweet Divas homemade ice cream!

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I got a bunch of Christmas shopping done!

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Everybody was so cheerfully buying stuff. Chocolate makes people happy.

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Sweet event Brett!

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Just as the mob was finally clearing out one of the owners, Christy, arrived and got to hear the whole story.

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I think she is a Yelp fan now!

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I had a great time checking out a local business that I had walked by many times but had never visited. So long Sophie…see you at the next Yelp event!

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I did bring home two pieces of chocolate covered Applewood smoked bacon for the boys.

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Cal did a happy dance.

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I tried a bite (for the blog).

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Strange, but good.

Be sure to check out Sweet Divas the next time you are on Beach Drive in St. Pete. Tell them Yelp sent you!

Cya.

Yelp’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete: Yelp Plays with Fire

November 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Last night was my fourth event as part of Yelp Tampa Bay’s amazing eight day PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete extravaganza.

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Click here to read about Tuesday night’s Yelp’s the Mac Daddy event at MacDinton’s.

Click here to read about Wednesday night’s The Gallery of Yelp event at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.

Click here to read about Thursday night’s Yelp’s 50 Shades of Plaid event at The Birchwood.

I have been excited for all of these back to back downtown St. Pete events, but I thought this one was going to be really special because we were going to get to create jewelry! My friend Kelly agreed to be my date for the event and we met up with my friend Charlotte (of Charlotte Smiled) just as we were arriving.

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Painting with Fire Studio is located in the Grand Central district amidst an enclave of creative businesses.

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They rolled out the welcome mat, or put up the welcome sandwich board, for us Yelpers!

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One of my favorite thing about Yelp events is getting to see lots of friends. It is my wish that all of my BFFs would become active Yelpers and attend events so that every event would just be like a private party for my friends and me. Sounds good, right? Well, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the regular Yelpers already, so it kind of already is like that. But I’m on a mission to get all of my friends to a Yelp event with me at some point!

My friends Joe and Crystal:

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When we first arrived I met Jim Lewis, one of the owners of Painting with Fire. He is a foodie and a talented chef…he made all of the amazing food for this event!

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It was beautiful and there were so many options that I could eat (NSNG…no sugar, no grains). Jim also told me that all of the produce and food items came from Keep St. Pete Local business members. I love how KSPL businesses support each other.

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The cocktail sauce did have some sugar as it contained ketchup, so that was my splurge. Otherwise, this was a fabulous NSNG dinner for me. Thank you Jim!

Later in the evening dessert appeared…

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but I was so happy and satisfied with the copious hors d’oeuvres that I was not tempted…much. Yelp provided craft beer and red and white wine at the event, but I just stuck with water since I’ve had several NorCal margaritas lately.

As we ate and drank and mingled I wandered around the store taking in the eclectic and cool mixture of jewelry, pottery, and art.

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All of the workspaces and jewelry/art supplies on display were inspiring me to get my guest room/craft room in order and play with my stuff!

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But soon enough we were directed to the FIRE room where we were going to get to play!

Painting with Fire is a family business started by Barbara Lewis. She enlisted her husband, son, and daughter into the business and you can tell that it is a passion project for all of them.

Barbara also wrote the first book ever to focus on torch-fired enamel. “Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: a Workshop in Painting with Fire” was named the Best Craft Book of 2011 at Amazon. It has a five star rating on Amazon with over 240 reviews!

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Barbara was so welcoming to all of us and she explained about the unique work station/ventilation system and the bead pulling system that she created (patent pending).

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Her son David gave us all a tutorial on how to use the torch and create the enameled beads.

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Charlotte creating her masterpieces:

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Joe and Crystal in deep fire-play concentration:

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David explaining to me how to light a match:

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Me torching the entire studio:

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Just kidding.

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You roll the bead in the apex of the torch flame until it is glowing red then roll it into the ground glass and then torch it again to melt it.

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Then you slide it off into the cooling tray lined with gravel (the stuff that they use in auto mechanic places to absorb oil on the floor, so it is heat proof).

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Then you have to fire up the stainless rod to “clean” it and then dip it into water to cool it before you use it again.

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Kelly getting crafty:

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My beads and Charlotte’s beads (ok, David actually made two of the blue ones in my tray):

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We really were all proud of our creations.

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There were quite a few pieces on display to give me inspiration for how I can use my beads to make something beautiful:

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After playing with fire we went into the other workshop room to create sea glass pendants.

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All of this sea glass was actually collected by Painting with Fire employees (no Shell Factory sea glass here).

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This was our inspiration piece:

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Crafting is fun, ya’ll.

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When it was my turn I picked out three small pieces of sea glass from the tray.

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I used a little E6000 glue to hold the glass together while I wrapped it with silver wire.

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I’m quite happy with my pendant.

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This was a really fabulous Yelp event. I had so much fun. Good friends, good food, good entertainment. What else could you ask for?

Thank you to Barbara and her family at Painting with Fire for hosting us! And thank you to Yelp Tampa Bay (especially Brett, our Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager) for another great event.

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I am FOR SURE going to attend a workshop at Painting with Fire.

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Who wants to go with me? Let’s plan it!

Be sure to check out the Painting with Fire Studio Facebook page to see what they are up to!

Cya.