It’s been nearly two years since I last posted a blog entry on this website. WTH?! Had I really been that busy to even bother posting on here? Truth is, I never even noticed my inactive blogging slump until today, which happens to be my birthday. I woke up this morning
with a bottle of Jack feeling very introspective and reflective, logged on to this website to look back at the past year, and BOOM… my last post was about Cocktails & Couture… in January… of 2015!!! Nearly two entire years had passed. WTF?!
I suppose there wasn’t much to share on here from 2015 besides the usual trips and events. I must have involuntarily gave myself a break from being a blogger last year, and saved my energy for this year and beyond. Let’s face it, these blogs become vehicles for the egocentric and/or insecure to remind you to look at them (with the exception of the guys at NHIE Tampa who do a remarkable job highlighting Tampa Bay), so maybe I should win an award for Best Friend of 2015 for sparing friends and acquaintances from annoying posts that secretly beg for their likes and comments.
2016 was the year of change, and with change comes lessons learned. So without dragging you thru a mundane assessment of 2015, let’s fast forward to 2016, start from Day 1, and sum up the past year with what I learned along the way.
Happy New Year! I suppose since I slept through all New Year’s festivities ringing in 2015, that I had zero choice but to get pretty, be social, and make plans to ring in 2016. A huge group of friends targeted the Rooftop Eve Party in downtown Tampa to celebrate. The last Rooftop Eve Party I attended in 2014 was a
drunken, blurry, hot Transylvania mess fun time, but… unlike those 2015 festivities, this year’s party was just a HOT, humid, face-melting, sweaty mess. I was drenched in sweat by 12:15am, and headed home around 12:30am.
Lesson Learned: Mother nature, if you’re gonna melt my face, please let it be at Sunset Music Festival or Governor’s Ball when someone on stage and behind the decks is in charge of doing the job.
Cocktails & Couture! One of my passion projects with Tribeca ColorSalons and annual favorite events, Cocktails & Couture finally hit its stride this year. We went from attracting 500 attendees our very first year, to 200 attendees our second year, to eventually bouncing back and hitting a whopping 1,200 guests in our fourth year. This recap from 813area.com perfectly sums up the event. Check it out here: Cocktails & Couture Makes Tampa Feel Like A Big City & Save The Date: January 14, 2017!
Lesson Learned: Never give up on something you believe in. The receipts will be there as long as your personal passion still is.
Puero Rico! My annual February trip to Puerto Rico meant more than the coconut cocktails consumed on the beach, the rum guzzled at the Bacardi Factory, and seeing Jack Ü perform for the first time. Neil brought along bestie Ian Michael for the San Juan adventure, and his story, his drive, his fearlessness, and his heart melted my heart (not my face) when he first shared it with me on that flight down to the 51st U.S. state. Check out The Human Hug Project
Lesson Learned: A hug can save the world.
Festa Italiana! Bellinis, limoncello, pasta, meatballs, more bellinis, more limoncello, sfingi, ravioli, er… Jameson Irish Whiskey shots (?). Another Italian Festival, another Sunday Funday on steroids. Save The Date: April 9, 2017
Lesson Learned: Okay, my bartender friends. I confess… I really do enjoy Jameson!
Coachella, baby! Words cannot describe the magnitude of dreaminess that is the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio Valley, California. Those who have been understand the magic that the entire weekend brings. If you are a fan of music, fashion, art, culture, and good vibes, a ticket to Coachella is like securing an exclusive golden Wonka ticket… well, except that there are 100,000 other exclusive ticket holders.This year was my third year attending, but certainly not my last. Coachella has since been upgraded to Annual Must Attend Event on my Google Calendar.
Lesson Learned: You cannot download a live music experience.
Pride & Passion NOW IN TECHNICOLOR! I served on the Tampa Museum of Art’s Pride & Passion steering commitee for five years, before finally becoming Chair this past year. And as Chair, I recruited my own Avengers team of committee members, and put my heart, soul, sweat and tears into overseeing this event from top to bottom during the 9 months of planning. This year’s Pride & Passion became the first to completely sell out days before the event, while also going down as the most attended event in the history of the Tampa Museum of Art. ::drops mic:: After six colorful years and literally ending on the highest note possible, I decided that my time with Pride & Passion had finally come to a wonderful and fruitful conclusion.
Lession Learned: You’re only as good as your team… and I made sure to surround myself with the most talented & hard-working crew.
Viva The RITZ Ybor! The RITZ Ybor, my workplace and my home for nearly the past decade came under new management this past summer. Changes. Changes. Changes. This was nothing new. My entire time working there for nine years was constantly filled with changes. While I am still working at the best mid-size concert venue in town, my role has since changed, I had to say goodbye to some coworkers, and meet & work with a brand new team.
Lesson Learned: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” …and I don’t want to get left behind.
Governor’s Ball! A music festival in NYC during the summer time? Yes, please. What has become an every other year event has since transcended to being another Annual Must Attend Event. Sure I get to cross artists, bands and dj’s off of my Must See List. And yeah, I get to galavant across Manhattan and Brooklyn eating and drinking everything in sight, but most importantly, I get to spend the weekend with old dear friends while (always guaranteed to) meeting new ones.
Lesson Learned: Things are always constantly changing, and just spending one second in New York City will always reconfirm that.
Jonathan L. Myers. I was texted the news. I did not believe the news. I read the news on social media. I called to confirm the news, hoping that it was all some very hurtful and mean joke. The news was true. And my heart was ripped apart.
It still feels like Jonathan is on-duty overseas again, and there will be some sudden welcome back party that causes everyone to call out from work for an entire week. I thought that making my way to his service in Iowa would bring personal closure to this tragic event, and that I would finally be able to accept that he is gone.
Lesson Learned: I used to get really sad whenever past photos or stories of Jonathan would pop up in my feed. Now, I smile knowing how lucky I was to share and spend those very moments with him.
Franklin Manor! My friends Franco and Dave reached out to me over the summer about joining their new venue, a downtown social drinkery called Franklin Manor, to handle and manage their events. I was intrigued and flattered, but did not know if I would be able to make everything work with two existing jobs, an unnecessary travel schedule, and my growing list of Netflix shows that I’ve yet to binge-watch. (Truth!) I accepted this new opportunity that has since become a very fun 2.5 months (and counting) adventure.
Lesson Learned: One can never have too many homes.
Gina & Vince Get Married! My first trip to Chicago ten years ago, I met Gina and Vince. At the time, Gina and Vince were hanging out. And over the entire course of a decade, I’ve seen Gina and Vince transition from hanging out to dating to moving in and nesting to welcoming a beautiful daughter into the world followed by an adorable son. This past October, I finally saw Gina and Vince get married.
Lesson Learned: The longer you wait, the more you appreciate, because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for… especially when you have a smile on your face the entire time.
All Hallow’s Ball! I decided to do something different and dress up for Tampa’s biggest & loudest, annual Halloween party. I nearly forgot that it had been a whopping 12 years or so since I last attended the All Hallow’s Ball, hence my last minute begging and scouring for an invitation and tickets to the party. And unlike the 12 year absence from the party, I probably lasted a mere 30-minutes or so at the celebration due to a extreme hangri-ness.
Lesson Learned: I don’t have a lesson learned here to share. I just wanted another excuse to share a photo my Snapchat Filter Flower Crown that I created by myself.
…and here we are today! I am officially in my late-30s. According to some online surveys, I am older. (Damn you random survey that forced me to check that 35 & up box!) I feel wiser. I feel good. I look good (solely judging by the surprised reactions when I revealed my age to a handful of friends.) I also feel like I give less of a shit with a lot of the shit that used to drive me nuts. (Has my OCD been cured?) With Jonathan’s sudden passing, I’ve realized that if you aren’t happy with something in life, change it, fix it, or shut the hell up and deal with it. Life is way too precious, short and unexpected to be stressing, worrying, and being unhappy.
I used to believe that happiness wasn’t something you find, but something you decide.
Lesson Learned: Happiness is making the most of what you got, and realizing that you already have it all.
“Hold onto nothing as fast as you can. Well… still… pretty good year.” -Tori Amos