Tag Archives: Evans Jean Baptiste

The Event of 2013!

Okie Group 07

The beginning of summer.  The time of year when your AC thermostat lowers while your electric bill rises.  The start of beach season and sunbathing.  And that time of year when Pride & Passion, arguably one of thee top events in town takes place.

The 8th Annual Pride & Passion was held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at the Tampa Museum of Art, which this wonderful event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for each year.  In the four years that I have attended Pride & Passion, it has rapidly become one of Tampa’s signature fashion events known for its pomp, flash and extravagant entertainment and decor.  This year’s event was no exception and easily tops previous celebrations in grandeur and eminence.

This year’s Pride & Passion also happens to be the first that I sat as the Public Relations, Marketing & Host Chair.  So it was fulfilling to not only attend this kick-ass party but to also help plan this event with the rest of the fabulous Steering Committee members.  If you missed out on this year’s festivities or have (gasp) never attended a Pride & Passion, mark your calendars for May 2014 and make plans to be there!

Pride & Passion 2013Okie Boys Group 01Cake Areis Rayda 01Shane Aimee Mike 01Group 01Group 03Okie Boys Group 04Okie Jonathan Cheri Linley JocelynOkie Jess 02Okie Linley 02Okie Linley Billy 01Okie Jocelyn 01

Photography by Radko Keleman
Select Photography by Todd Montgomery & Ruslana.Studio
Noticeable Photography by Okie Tilo’s cellphone

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…and in dedication to my fan that became the it-prop of Pride & Passion 2013:

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Concrete Jungle

SAT 4

New York City.  The city that never sleeps.  The Big Apple.  The capital of the universe.  The most annoying city ever.

Everybody seems to be moving to New York City.  Everybody seems to be in love with New York City.  I used to believe that people my age only moved to the City to fulfill some delusional Carrie Bradshaw fantasy of shopping, sexting and sipping Cosmos.  Those same people weren’t factoring in the reality of it all: sardine-can sized apartments that were older than Betty White with a gazillion dollar monthly rental rate, the overcrowded streets, the dirty streets and the long waits for just about everything.  I was not a fan.  I was never a fan.  I only ever visited NYC to spend time with my real life Friends who weren’t named Chandler, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, Monica or Ross.

Last month, I decided to fly up to New York to celebrate Jason’s 30th birthday.  It had been nearly 3 years since my last visit, and Jason turning 30 was a huge deal.  I convinced Jonathan, Jess and Areis to join in on the travel fun, and voilà a weekend group trip was born.

I’m not quite sure what specifically changed from my previous trips to this past one, but I kinda fell in love with ol’ New York.  I’ve always been surrounded by the best company when there.  I’ve always ate fabulously and drank and danced the night away.  The people that I’ve met during each visit were always really cool and interesting.  Instead of always asking “why does everyone love New York City?“…   I should’ve been asking the REAL question all along…

…”what’s there NOT to love about New York City?

From the limo ride and fancy dinner at Morimoto NYC to the 4-hour timeframe it required to travel from JFK to HK to the danceathon that occurred at Industry Bar, I had such so much fun that I did not stop to take one photo with Jason or Gary or any of the other NYC crew.

New York City.  The city that never sleeps.  The Big Apple.  The capital of the universe.  The city that one can’t help but fall in love with.



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My latest musical obsession is British songstress Jessie Ware‘s debut album titled Devotion. Check out her latest single “Imagine It Was Us” which is pure and unabashed 1990s pop nostalgia and magic.

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Aquarius Triumvirate

Jess 2013 Bday Okie 2

My dear friend Jess a.k.a. the reigning Queen of running late celebrated her 27th Birthday at Martini Republic in downtown Tampa and at CineBistro in Hyde Park Village over the weekend.

…in all actuality, the entire weekend was spent celebrating Aquarius birthdays.  Three birthdays in one night to be exact.

It was a Saturday night.  My favorite gal-pal Jocelyn and I had plans to start off at her college buddy Mark’s birthday at Mangroves, followed by her sorority sister Michelle’s birthday party at what could only be described as mine and every other red-blooded human being’s dream mansion on Davis Island, and ending with Jess’s birthday celebration at Martini Republic.  Jocelyn and I were no strangers to the party-hopping routine, and have in fact become experts on the subject. (For proof, READ: Legally Fabulous post from January 2011.)

Mark 2013 Bday Jocelyn

BIRTHDAY PARTY #1:  I’ve attended quite a few events with Jocelyn where the statement “all of my friends from UT from back in the day will be there” accompanied her invitation.  Those events are always a good time and Jocelyn’s “old school” crew is always welcoming and friendly.  Mark’s 40th birthday party at Mangroves was no exception.  You can’t help but enjoy hearing any group of longtime friends reminisce with past stories that cement their deep-rooted bond and enrich their history with one another.  (Fun Fact:  According to all of the stories I’ve heard at these blast to the past parties, Jocelyn was just as legally fabulous as a college freshman as she is today!)

Michelle 2013 Bday Jocelyn

BIRTHDAY PARTY #2:  On the way from one 40th birthday party to the next, Jocelyn commented on how “40 is the new 30.”  I used to dismiss those type of statements as something we all say to ourselves and one another as a way to help cure our fears of aging, but Jocelyn is 100% correct: getting older just means more money, better jobs, more mistakes made to learn from and an authentic understanding on who your true friends in life are.

Jocelyn’s sorority sister and college cohort Michelle celebrated her 40th birthday party that evening at her house mansion on Davis Island.  The party was a Hawaiian luau themed soiree equipped with a live band and performers, tiki torches, a balloon entrance arch the size of The Hulk, catering and dessert stations… the works.  As evidenced in the photo above, Jocelyn and I only felt it fitting to pose in corny photos as if we were honeymooners aboard a Carnival cruise ship that actually had running water and working toilets.  Aloha!

Jess 2013 Bday Martini Group

BIRTHDAY PARTY #3 and the final celebration of the night for Jess’s 27th birthday.  Her birthday party was a two-parter this year: Saturday night at Martini Republic and Sunday afternoon painfully watching the dreadful Identity Thief movie at CineBistro.

It’s hard to believe that I met Jess five years ago when she was just 22-years-old, new to the Tampa Bay area from Illinois and also newly separated from her husband.  We immediately hit it off when our mutual friend Harry introduced us that one summer night, and we’ve only been going strong ever since.  Seriously, I love that girl despite the truth that she runs 30-minutes late for every planned event, well except her 27th birthday this year.  But of course.

Happy Birthday Jess & all of the other Aquarii in the world!

Jess 2013 Bday Cinebistro Group

 

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“Losing You” by Solange

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The Year-End Lie

New Years Eve 2012 with Jonathan, Angela & Mike

New Years Eve 2012 with Jonathan & Harry

New Years Eve 2012 Party #1: Mike Hammonds’

Here is the LIE in print as written January of last year:  “I never had a kick-ass New Year’s Eve ever.  I’ve done the whole “go hard or go home” partying, I’ve dabbled in the intimate & lowkey evening with close friends, I’ve even slept through the countdown to midnight.  I just never had THAT New Year’s Eve night that should go down in my personal history books.

Each and every single year, it seems that my friends and I are scrambling last minute to figure out something to do.  We toy with the idea of doing something together, only to be separated from one another on the big night.  The two times that I were with my close friends were the only two nights that were actually memorable.

This particular year, it was the same ol’ New Year’s song & dance routine.  “What are you doing?  Where are you going?  Do you wanna do this?  Should we just go here?” …and on and on.

So, I’ve decided to to host my own New Year’s Eve party this year, that is if the world is still spinning after December 21, 2012.  It is something that I always casually mentioned doing, but kept putting off and never put into action.  So you all read it here first: there is proof in writing that I am throwing a New Year’s party in 2012!”

New Years Eve 2012 with Jess

New Years Eve 2012 Party #2: Jess’s

I lied.  I did not host a New Years Eve party as promised, mainly because I was suffering from event going & planning fatigue that accompanies the oversaturated Fall season (birthday, Thanksgiving and a dozen Christmas parties).  Also, I had already made plans to fly out to California to meet Neil.  When those travel plans fizzled, I succumbed to the usual no-plans for New Years Eve slump.  Staying home to watch the Ball Drop (or sleep through it)?  I’ve done it before and would not mind having to do it again.  Luckily, two close friends decided to throw intimate gatherings at their houses which became my New Years Eve 2012 plans.

I started the year off with a lie, and ended the year with that same lie… but everything in between those lies were fun and memorable times.  2012 was one of my favorite years in recent memory, and that is the TRUTH!

So here is this year’s lie promise, I promise to host a New Years Party in 2013 have plans for New Years Eve 2013 far in advance this year.  Happy New Year everybody!


Taryn Manning – Send Me Your Love (featuring Sultan + Ned Shepard)

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Oops! I Became a Palindrome… Again

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!


33rd Birthday… BEST Birthday Ever!


Diamonds by Rihanna

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Congratulations, Happy Birthday, Farewell!

The past few weekends, I have been booked solid.  After reviewing my Google Calendar, yours truly has been on a non-stop celebration tour extravaganza of my friends: most notably, a wedding reception, a birthday gathering and a farewell dinner.

Congratulations to Gary & Kat!

My friends Kat and Gary tied the knot last month in Antigua, but held their wedding reception celebration in St. Pete, FL earlier this month.  I’ve known Kat for a few years now, and can attest to her being my one friend who wanted to get “made an honest woman out of” more than any of my other friends.  Fortunately, she found something special with Gary, and they both seem to be having the time of their lives with one another right now.

The beach-esque reception was a very simple, succinct and standard affair, and had Kat’s unique style written all over the event.  Besides the opportunity to share Kat and Gary’s monumental day with them, it’s always a bonus to have an excuse to dress-up and hang out with friends that you haven’t spent time with in a while.

Happy Birthday Katina!

My old friend Katina held her celebration in St. Pete as well, but her celebration was in honor of her 32nd Birthday.  Just now typing “32nd birthday” reminded me that I have known Katina for over 20 years now.  20 years?  20 years!  That’s just one year shy of a Robby Nichols!

Katina invited a close group of friends for dinner at Snapper’s Sea Grill (which had the most amazing and award-winning blueberry-teriyaki tuna appetizer).  We dined, we drank, we laughed and I was instantly reminded why I’m such good friends with Katina.  The girl is silly, entertaining, love-able and fun.  It also doesn’t hurt that she laughs at every single one of my idiotic jokes.


 Farewell Nathan!

Nathan was my first roommate (that wasn’t a sibling or someone related to me) ever.  He and I first met nearly a decade ago, became good friends five years ago or so later, and lived together for a little under a year.  (And what an entertaining era that year of rooming was!)

Before he flew up to Minneapolis, Nathan held an intimate dinner with his closest friends at Yummy House China Bistro in Tampa.  I never get sad or emotional during friend’s farewell gatherings, mainly because I know that I will still keep in correspondence with them.  In fact, I’ve spent more time with a handful of my former Tampa resident friends now that they’ve relocated somewhere else.  So fluff the guestroom pillows and stock the fridge Nathan, for you will surely have at least one friend visiting you in Minneapolis very soon.

Congratulations… Happy Birthday… and Farewell to my friends!

Oh… and R.I.P. Zombie Jocelyn!

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