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Leigh Roach (left) and Tamara Schneider (right).

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More often than not, the friends you have in middle school are not the friends you have in adulthood. You develop different interests and then follow different paths in life’s grand journey. Longtime friends Leigh Roach and Tamara Schneider, however, are like school girls having the time of their lives. Together, they created a lifestyle blog called Kentucky Taste Buds, launched a podcast based on their blog, and now have a radio show on Lexington, Kentucky’s KISS 96.9. 

To be clear, Leigh and Tamara’s friendship was not without its challenges. “We were inseparable all through middle school and high school. We went off to roommate together in college, and we lasted six weeks. We had a huge falling out and did not talk for 10 years,” Leigh says. When Tamara offered an olive branch, Leigh accepted, and their friendship was renewed. 

Over the years, their friendship has seen them through job changes, raising children, and divorces. Both women experienced what amounted to mid-life crises of sorts, but Leigh found inspiration from her love of reality shows. In May 2017, Leigh called Tamara and said: “I have this fantastic idea. We’re gonna have a little fun. We’re gonna get out, go explore Kentucky, do all these free things, blog about it, and rediscover ourselves.’ I thought I was really going to have to sell Tamara on this because I’m known for my crazy ideas.” 

Tamara’s reply was: “OK.”

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Leigh owns a graphic design company, so she created a website and a brand, while Tamara did the writing for the blog. They started small, going to restaurants and events, and their experiences have evolved over time. “We suffer from the same affliction that a lot of native Kentuckians suffer from, and that’s thinking you have to go outside the state to have a vacation or experience something. We had just barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in our own backyard,” Tamara says. “We have this quest to become ambassadors for the state, so to speak.”

After launching Kentucky Taste Buds, Leigh and Tamara were noticed by local radio shows and invited to talk about their blog. In early 2018, their connections with people in radio soon led them into starting their podcast, Brunch With the Buds, because they had access to a recording studio and professional producer. 

While there is some overlap between the blog and podcast, the podcast allows them to venture a little beyond simply a Kentucky focus. They have talked about being mothers, Southern hospitality, and current events in the country. However, most of their shows have some kind of Kentucky flavor. They’ve featured Jason Whitis, a shrimp farmer in the state; Hannah Hardesty of Kids Cancer Alliance; and Michele Zavatsky, author of Kids Love Kentucky: A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Fun Places in Kentucky.

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As their blog and podcast presence has grown, Leigh and Tamara have gotten new and exciting opportunities that have come with their own unique learning curves, including their new radio show on KISS 96.9, which airs on Saturdays from 10am-2pm. They aren’t talk-show hosts, but rather disc jockeys who provide fun banter between songs. 

Although life gets tiring for them, especially since the blog, podcast, and radio show are not their full-time jobs, Leigh and Tamara are not complaining. “We’re having the time of our lives. We signed up to do this,” Leigh says.

Part of what makes everything work is the fact that Leigh and Tamara are longtime friends who allow each other to use their unique strengths to keep their enterprise and themselves balanced. “Tamara calls me the ‘grinder.’ I’m the visionary. Nothing is ever good enough for me. She’s the grounder. She says, ‘Leigh, remember. We’re here to have fun,” Leigh says. “We would love it to be full-time, but we have different ways to get there.” 

They’ve learned a lot over the past two years and have made mistakes along the way. They’ve learned to not be afraid to ask for help or opportunities. They’ve learned that the benefits they’ve gained from their experiences have far outweighed the pain of their failures. “To have an idea, to take it from nothing to something, and to do it with my best friend; I’m so thankful for that every day,” Leigh says. “Tamara and I are going to ride this train as long as it will drive us somewhere.” 

P.S. Checkout these other podcasts.

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