Since I was a child and even as a candy-addict adult, I just never got into the whole concept of dressing up in costume, trick or treating, getting spooked out and celebrating Halloween. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve ever dressed up, with six years ago being the last time that I donned a costume.
With Tampa’s largest Halloween party called Temptation taking place at my work on Halloween night, along with one of my best friends hosting a Halloween party at her abode the weekend after, I decided to get into the All Hallows’ Eve groove and break tradition by dressing up. I constructed my first Halloween costume (Fifty Shades of Grey) from Home Depot paint sample color cards for the Temptation party, and lazily threw together whatever I could scrounge from my closet (Dirty Hipster Sex meets Ooooooohhh… on the TLC Tip!) for Jess’s party.
Two Halloween costumes in one year? Sometimes, I spook myself out.
Temptation Halloween Party: The Haunted Theatre
@ The RITZ Ybor on October 31, 2013
Jess’s Halloween Party
Saturday, November 2, 2013
“Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly: Hands down, Mother Monster’s most hypnotic and BEST single since “Pokerface”!
I first fell in love with Jessie Ware after listening to her critically-acclaimed Devotion album. I first fell in love with Mikky Ekko upon hearing his silky-smooth voice gliding across Rihanna’s blockbuster single “Stay” (that he also co-wrote and produced.) What a thrill it was to see both of them perform live at The State Theatre in St. Pete this past Wednesday.
Mikky crooned his way through current single “Kids” and of course the #1 hit “Stay” which he reminded the crowd that he performed at the Grammy Awards earlier this year…. and rightfully so since it was hands down the performance highlight of this year’s Grammy night!
Jessie kicked off her set with a cover of Martika’s “Love This Will Be Done” and kept the cover train going with Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” the latter perfectly interlaced with her debut single “Running.” I can forgive her for not performing the heavenly”Taking In Water” because the rest of her set which consisted of staples “Wildest Moments” and “Imagine It Was Us” along with a brand new song were just as divine. I remember once trying to describe Jessie Ware’s sound to a friend of mine, and could only remark that she is this generation’s Sade… classy, sophisticated and just cool.
It was a welcome embrace to witness two newer artists in today’s crowded music scene solely rely on genuine talent and artistry rather than gimmickry and media stunts to entertain a crowd.
Working in the concert industry, one thing that I love and admire is when an artist emerges from backstage to mingle with the crowd and their fans. I was able to meet (a very friendly + laidback) Mikky Ekko who mentioned that he is still working on his album which should see a release date sometime early next year. He was also a good sport for allowing Rod,
Shane O’Neil and I to sing our “song“ that we wrote together in front of him. Granted, Rod sorta ambushed him with this spontaneous performance, but he seemed to find the intended hilarity in it all. (SEE TWEET EXCHANGE BELOW)
DEFINITELY take a listen to Jessie Ware’s soulful debut album Devotion, check out Mikky Ekko’s catchy “Kids” music video below, see them both on tour while you can, and read my friend Carole’s review on tbt Soundcheck that perfectly sums up the night (and where I “borrowed” two of the above photos from for this post.)
Click on a thumbnail to enlarge / view image:
I had the privilege of attending the Opening Preview of Florida’s very first Eddie V’s restaurant last month. This was an invite-only event to preview the dishes and desserts of the latest culinary offering from the Darden Restaurants Group. I’m not singing praises only because my friend Steven Hickey is the managing partner there, but Eddie V’s completely knocked my socks off and wowed me. My table split the Kung Pao Calamari and Jumbo Lump Crab, shared the Bananas Foster dessert, and I managed to inhale a lil’ bit of everything around me: Aimee’s Pacific Ahi Tuna, Jess’s Roasted Double Breast of Chicken and Shane’s Crab Fried Rice with Scallions & Mushrooms. My Chilean Sea Bass dish managed to rival that of SideBern’s, my most favorite restaurant in Tampa. The entire evening was a fantastic time spent with fabulous friends, and I salivate at the thought of my next Eddie V’s dining experience. THANK YOU Steve for having us as your guests.
Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge / view photo (and please excuse my cellphone-snapped quality shots):
After dinner that same evening, I high-tailed over to my good friend Niely‘s pinup / greaser-themed birthday party at The Dog’s Bollocks Pub. Every year, Niely throws some colorfully-themed bday party for herself. Two years ago, her festivities coincided with Square One‘s Man On The Moon art extravaganza, requiring guests to dress in black and white (not exactly colorful now that I think about it.) However last year’s Nicki Minaj-themed bash featured a Look-a-Like costume contest and a plea for guests to
butcher perform a Nicki Minaj song on the karaoke stage. (Fun Fact: Before believing you can do Nicki’s “Moment 4 Life” karaoke justice, don’t.)
I concluded the evening still feeling dazzled from dinner and still feeling relieved that I stopped myself last year from subjecting my karaoke rendition of “Moment 4 Life” to living and breathing human beings with iPhone and Android video recording capabilities. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Niely!
“I Was A Fool” by Tegan and Sara:
“I Was A Fool” by Tegan and Sara:I never paid much attention to Tegan and Sara until recently. They’ve become one of those artists who lure me in with their new single, and then provoke me to start backtracking, listening and falling in love with all of their previous albums, wondering why the hell I never paid any attention to them ever back then.
pal-in-drome: a word, verse, or sentence or a number (as 33) that reads the same backward or forward
I never understood why people in their 30’s and 40’s feel the need to proclaim that they’re re-celebrating their 21st birthday on their special day. Anytime I told someone that I was turning 33-years-old this year, they jokingly tried to correct me by saying, “oh, you mean 21, right?” which only prompted me to correct them by letting them know that I am proud to be the age that I am. When compared to when I was a clueless 21-year-old, I am in a much better place in life: basically wiser, richer and more connected with who I am and what my purpose in life truly is. Getting older is inevitable, so I fully embrace each new year like a brand new pair of shoes. I am 33-years-old dammit!
Kristin and I decided to host a birthday party for 40 of my closest friends at her house this year. With friends already flying in from NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ohio and Miami for that weekend’s Square One event at The RITZ Ybor the next day, I didn’t want to invite everyone out to a huge group dinner for 40 at (insert restaurant name here). Those type of birthday group dinner gatherings always turn into more of a headache, lack any type of intimacy and just are never any fun: you are forced to socialize more with whoever you happen to be sitting next to, the bill is always wrong, food comes out late, the wrong dishes come out with some dishes not even making it to the table, etc.
Even with the already hectic and crazy work schedule, this year’s birthday party was worth every dime and minute that went into planning it… mainly because I love my friends more than the world. I wish everyday could be my birthday if only I could have as much fun as I did last weekend!
Diamonds by Rihanna
I wear many hats at my job. On paper, I am listed as the Public Relations & Marketing Director of The RITZ Ybor, a special events & concert venue in Tampa, Florida. In reality, I pretty much do a lot of… well… everything: contracts, accounting, scheduling, ordering, hiring, overseeing staff and assisting my corporate bosses, owners and management with making sure that the venue is on its A-game. Another aspect of my job is creating and producing x-amount of in-house events per year to show off the venue in a positive light.
When my friend Dallas first approached me about Tribeca ColorSalon being a part of my fall Square One event in November, the more and more our discussions carried on, the more and more I was convinced that another fabulous event was in-the-works. Brandon, the owner of Tribeca, secured Saks Fifth Avenue to outfit his models for the show and hair product line KEVIN.MURPHY agreed to sponsor the show, and voilà… Cocktails & Couture was officially born.
The past Sunday’s event was a fruitful collaboration between many creative players: Dallas with KEVIN.MURPHY, the Tribeca ColorSalon staff, Tyler and Teresa with Saks Fifth Avenue, Mathieu Stanoch and the Bella Danza team, Doug and Niely with The RITZ Ybor, Ch Hoy with Liquid Tampa. Most importantly, this past Sunday reminded me of how much of a cool city Tampa can be to live and work in. Sashay Shante!
Introducing the show with my good friend (& yoga instructor) Melissa Carroll
Anye Cole belting out “Next to Me” and “Read All About It (Part 3)” by Emeli Sande
Performance Art Installations by Mathieu Stanoch
featuring Bella Danza
COCKTAILS & COUTURE
Sunday, September 16, 2012
The RITZ Ybor – Tampa, FL
…and a featured cocktails menu worth dying for!
Thanks Doug & Niely
“Next To Me” by Emeli Sande
I’m at the stage of my life where the typical hype before any type of monumental life event fails to exist anymore. I hadn’t seen my very good friend Neil or Jason since… I cannot even remember. I had never been to the annual Southern Decadence celebrations in New Orleans ever. I had been feeling burnt out with work, friends, life and everything in between, so suddenly embarking on a new vacation with two of the only people who can read me like a book failed to phase me. What on Earth was going on?
When you get older in life, it seems like you automatically sign a contract with time to rush by faster than ever before. Back in my 20’s, a trip such as the one I took over Labor Day weekend would have been met with “butterflies in my stomach” tossing & turning with anticipation and excitement for at least 3 days prior. However, I didn’t even flinch a thought of the reality of this trip until I needed to secure: (1) a ride to and from the airport (I love you Nicolas) and (2) luggage to borrow since the handle on my carry-on decided to break (I love you Jocelyn).
Let’s just say this about celebrating my first Southern Decadence in New Orleans with Neil and Jason and Tanner… I could not have needed more of a gust of fresh, new air than what that weekend brought upon me. I smiled. I laughed. I laughed even more. I laughed until my stomach hurt. I laughed so much that I should have a six-pack. Neil has always been a constant source of amazement in my life, and Jason Moriarty… the same guy who I could viciously turn sour on at the drop of a hat, became someone that I hold dear in my heart. I never considered someone as a “best friend.” I’ve always been fortunate in life to have a plethora of “very close & good friends,” and Jason has definitely ascended to that category.
Neil lives in Chicago but works in St. Louis. Jason and Tanner live and work in NYC. Every Memorial Day, we made a pact to meet one another in Chicago. Every Labor Day, we made another pact to meet again in New Orleans. The thought of spending time with those two negates the first half of this post, because I will be holding a countdown in absolute excitement until my next weekend that I am able to spend with them.
Coming back from New Orleans could not have been more difficult. Every trip, I crave and obsess over coming back home… being back in my bed… being back in all that is familiar… returning to what has become my home. Something was completely different with this trip. I found myself dreading coming back home. Why was I still living in Tampa? Why did I continue making Tampa my home if returning home was nothing more but upset? These questions clouded my mind, and stayed with me for a good two days after landing.
What could’ve and should’ve homogenized into a full-blown month-long depression instead vanished after this past weekend…
I truly do have the best friends here in Tampa, and feel like I am FINALLY with others who are in the same, exact boat as me. I am 31-years-old and making the most out of every single breathing minute of life. Whether enjoying a spontaneous $100.00 steak dinner with friends on a Friday night, or getting obnoxiously intoxicated the next evening and suffering for it the entire next day… it is all worth it.
I love my friends as much I love life. As Tom Cruise told Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, they, my friends, “…complete me.”