Women of Charlottesville

Highlighting the unique and diverse amazing women of Charlottesville, VA.

PK Ross

This is PK. She’s an avid knitter, food and wine connoisseur, dog lover and occasionally loves to dress up in a fun animal onsie (see photos below.) She’s a generous and kind human with a big heart for others in our community. She also happens to be the owner (and gelato maker) of Splendora’s–a gelato and coffee shop in town. Chances are you’ve been there at some point–maybe to grab coffee with a friend or gelato as an after dinner treat with your family. And, now, just like many other small businesses in our town, she is facing the incredibly difficult unforeseen challenge of the COVID-19 financial backlash. While they obviously are not open normal hours right now, PK is, however, still making deliveries on the weekend–check instagram for the latest schedule. If you have a hankering for something sweet–please consider supporting PK and Splendora’s. If we all do small things to help–when we are able–we can make a big difference! Enjoy her interview–and then go order some gelato! 🙂

us: PK, tell us a little bit about yourself. . .

her: My name is PK Ross. I own and operate Splendora’s. I volunteer with children–food insecurity is really big passion for me. Anything to do with food is really important to me. I like knowing people’s stories, and I like that we’re in a small town where I am able to remember them all. Mostly I just eat stuff and drink things and talk about it.

us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

her: I had a beef and pea arancini.

The pup in the necklace represents PK’s sweet pup, Gypsy, an American Bulldog/dalmation mix.

us: Does pineapple belong on pizza?

her: I don’t like it, but I don’t see why people can’t have it on a pizza. But, I personally do not order pineapple on pizza.

us: Do you sleep in your socks?

her: I own socks. But, I don’t often wear them–putting on socks is too much of an event.

us: What’s your go-to midnight snack?

her: Pupusas or instant ramen

us: Mountains or beach?

her: Beach

us: Current favorite song?

her: It’s mostly because of the music video, but there’s an Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness song called “So Close.” The video has two people dressed as astronauts doing a dance off. (I had to check it out–you can watch it here. So fun!)

us: Salty or sweet?

her: Salty

 “Knitting is my meditation.  I’m a nervous maker. It’s too hard for me to be still, so I knit.”–PK

us: Pet peeve?

her: I have lots of pet peeves–my dumbest one by far is when people do eight pointed snowflakes. It just makes me physically angry. During the winter–even if it’s a child–I just want to pull the child aside and tell them that water has 32.5 degrees between the hydrogen atoms and an eight pointed star is not existent. I studied molecular genetics in college–basically, I have a degree in shapes.

us: Room entrance song:

her: “Good as Hell” by Lizzo

us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

her: I don’t really have one. I am very bad at travel. I don’t care for planes because my head starts to hurt. I just have good memories of people who are at different places.

us: What’s your favorite room in your house?

her: My kitchen.

us: Who has been the most influential woman in your life?

her: I have the pleasure of having many influential women in my life. I think being a woman in general, means that you have a seed of courage and you just by existing. I was raised in the Philippines which, while it does have a matriarchal society, is still a place where being a woman is hard. Being a woman is hard in most places. So strong people are my favorites, and I am lucky enough to have a ton of them. Gail Hobbs Page runs Caromont Farm, and she is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met in my life. I don’t, know how she has the energy to run a farm, be a decent human, be a classically trained chef and also still be warm and kind to everyone–because that would make me cranky as hell. But then also, my mom got us to America. She left us for two years when I was two until I was four. She was in America, making a life for us. All my cousins are strong too. It’s hard to not find a person who happens to be woman who’s also very strong.

us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

her: I think this past year. Every birthday I think about what I have overcome the year before. And this year, the thing I was most grateful for was to be thanked for being myself. So I think being a self and living that with comfort–enough where other people recognize it. That’s an accomplishment.

PK with the gelato she creates for Splendora’s.

us: If you could give your younger self a single piece of advice, what would it be?

her: Relax. No one cares about what you do as much as you do. Twenty year old me needed a pump the breaks. She tried so hard to just get everyone to like her. Being in my mid 30s, it’s like, I’m good! I don’t really need you to like me, so I’m fine.

us: Can you tell me about a challenge that you’ve overcome?

her: Mental health is is huge. It’s just not only facing the fact that you need help, but also asking for help and getting help. Burnout is very real and suicidal ideation unfortunately came along with my burnout. Getting to a place where I can talk about that without crying. Everyone talks about mental health and self care–but there’s a dark side to it that no one wants to hear about. Being able to have that acceptance of that as a part of myself is a big challenge I have overcome.

us: Where do you find your inspiration?

her: Mostly in other people. I really hate Pinterest and Etsy, because so much of that is aspirational, and it’s easy to conflate the two. The things that inspire me are humans with passion and knowledge. When you can find the inner nerd in someone–to me nerd is a badge of honor because it means that you love something so much that you terrify other people, with how much you know about it. I love a nerd. So anyone who has a thing that they love and talk about so much that it would bother other people–I’m so inspired by those people, because it just makes it okay for me to also be a nerd. I happen to be a nerd about food, but I also have friends are nerds about other stuff.

us: Any embarrassing nicknames we should know about?

her: Well, PK is a nickname. My family calls me Tracy. In college I got the nickname PK from my first year roommate. I chose to use it after college–just because it was faster. The most hurtful nickname was when someone started calling me Pollo Patty. So, the nickname basically meant chicken patty. And, that sucked–but it’s ok. There’s a few people in town that call me Patsy–which is short for Patricia. But, mostly people just call me PK.

us: Any hidden talents we should know about?

her: Not many people know that I can write a mean pep talk letter. When I have friends who have a hard time, I like to write letters and cards, and they’re really good! They have the ability to make people cry!

PK in some of her animal onsies. “I mostly think people take themselves too seriously.  My sister got me my first onesie, a panda, and tooling around my house with it was amazing. It’s a lot easier to contend with impostor syndrome and the seriousness of adulthood when you look at your reflection and you’re a fleece animal. Plus I’m already a visible other–tattoos, wild hair, being Asian in a white majority town. Putting an animal costume on top of that is a breeze.  And it makes all of my wine and food knowledge extra hilarious when I’m chatting with a bartender while wearing one.”

us: What are you most thankful for?

her: My friends and my family. That’s it. I mean, it’s baffling that I’m the person who gets to have the friends I have. It is genuinely confusing, because my friends are amazing, they’re spectacular and my family is spectacular. I don’t know how it happened. And, it’s still happening!

us: What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?

her: I like that you can meet people on a human level, if you take the time to. In bigger cities like DC and New York, people are more worried about networking. When I meet a human here, it just gets to the point where they tell me their stories. Those are the ways that I’ve made connections at different places in town, like the farmers market. Everyone’s got great stories–it’s just a lot easier to get them in a town like this than it would be in other places. It’s also big enough that you’re not in everyone’s business. It’s pretty perfect.

Thank you for sharing with us PK!