Tag Archives: Gina Farina

Pretty Good Year Lessons

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.

 

January 2016

nye-a

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.

cxc16

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.

February 2016

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.

 

April 2016

Festa 16 B.jpg

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-16-acoachella-16-bcoachella-16-e

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.

 

pp-16-a
pp-16-b

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.

 

May 2016

TRY A.jpgtry-b

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.

amp

June 2016

gov-ball-16-a

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.

August 2016

Jonathan.jpg

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.

September 2016

franklin-manor-bfranklin-manor-a

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.

October 2016

Gina Wedding A.jpg

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.

Halloween A.jpg

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.

November 2016

…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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Fat Love Italia

I am blessed in this life.  I love, and I am loved.  Earlier this month, I flew thousands of miles to see love, to see one of my best friends Cheri get married.  And it was while I was miles away from home that I had a torrid, scandalous love affair with the greatest love of my entire life…

Eating 01

FOOD!

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite pastime is eating.  And anyone who doesn’t know me can only imagine what happened when I traveled to Italy earlier this month…  I feasted my big fat heart out.  If you vacation overseas while on a diet, then you’re living a nightmare you’re not really on vacation.  Because when you are truly on vacation like I was, all control, restraint, the MyFitnessPal app, and restrictions go out the Mini Cooper window.  I was free to order anything and everything on the restaurant and cafe’ menus that I wished to taste.  Veal scaloppine with mushrooms. Risotto with artichoke.  Prosecco. Melon wrapped in prosciutto. Fresh mozzarella and tomato. Fernet Branca and cola. Brioche and pistacchio granita. Cannolis. More Prosecco.  Caponata.  Pan-fried sea bass.  Limoncello.   Arancinette.  Mushroom flan.  Double espresso.  Another bottle of Prosecco.

In those moments, who cared about  caloric intake?   (I obviously cannot flaunt that question ten years from now, or currently to my primary physician.)  Who cared about the amount of Euros being shelled out?  I was in m#thaf$cking Italy bitch, and I was going to take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity to enjoy the culinary orgasms.  There were times I left the dining table so completely stuffed and ridiculously full, that the few steps to the elevator up to the hotel room seemed comparable to climbing Mount Etna.  Dining in Italy was an evangelical foodie revival, and sharing those moments with friends, family, and loved ones was magical, especially when the sole reason any of us being  there was to celebrate love.

Wedding Group 02
There are few people that anyone in their lives would go out of their way, and cross the globe for.  My dear friend Cheri is one of my few.  After all, I was right there the very first time she met her new husband Michael nine years ago in Chicago.  I had invited Cheri to fly to the windy city to meet my friends Gina and Neil, and Michael happened to have been visiting Gina from Los Angeles that same weekend.  Here we were nearly a decade later sitting across from one another at a dining table inside of a castle in Sicily for their wedding.  It was just meant to be.

Just as everyone who traveled to Cheri’s wedding was meant to be there.

So many stories were shared.  So many stories were told.  So many new friendships and bonds were formed.  The most touching moment of the entire trip, and one of the most touching moments of my entire life’s existence was Cheri’s Uncle Junior’s toast to the newlyweds.  Perhaps it was his strength during the darkest moment in life that inspired me while he proclaimed how important it is to love and to be loved, but I was moved.  I was moved to tears.

Whether love padded our midsections and caused planned wedding outfits not to fit.  (Thank God for backup outfits!)   Or whether the love was through stories shared at 1am over hysterical laughter, and endless glasses of wine and champagne…  that entire week in Italy, we were all surrounded by love  …and pasta.

Congratulations to Cheri & Michael.  I love you both.

 

If I ate my heart out in Italy, then I drank and danced the rest of the time in London.  My European adventure continues in London…  STAY TUNED for my next post coming soon!  TO BE CONTINUED.

 

Please click on thumbnail to enlarge / view photo:

 

“Diamonds” by Lane 8 featuring Solomon Grey: I also had a love affair in my earphones with this song while traveling…  If seduction had a sound, it would sound like this!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fine Dining Into Ecstasy

Every year, I host some type of birthday party for myself, with last year’s celebration being the absolute best one yet.  This year, my plan was to celebrate with each of my best friends over one-on-one lunches and dinners in Tampa before jettisoning off to Chicago to spend time with my other family.

And while in Chicago, my vacation goals were as follow:

  1. eat
  2. be day drunk
  3. nap
  4. watch as many movies possible in a horizontal position (but without developing bedsores)
  5. fondle the TV remote control
  6. eat some more
  7. eat some more full-fledge pig out
  8. be day drunk with my friends
  9. watch a 3D movie while day drunk
  10. just effing relax

After all, I had officially entered my mid-30s so it’s all about taking it easy from here on out.  Relax.  Relate.  Release.

My traveling partner-in-crime Mike joined the Chicago fun, and recruited new friend Jonathan to drive-up and join in as well.  I hung out with Sterling and Adam, experienced a drive-by dinner visit from Rusty and embarked on a culinary cruise through Chicago where I ate the most delicious food imaginable.

My first stop began with a visit to Alinea, the #2 Top Rated restaurant in the U.S., the #15 Top Rated restaurant in the world and the venue that served me my most-expensive meal ever.  How to describe Alinea?  It was a ticketed establishment for starters, meaning you had to buy a ticket to dine at the restaurant.  Despite their sold-out schedule, Neil was fortunate to secure 4 tickets to Alinea.  Tickets allowed one to enjoy a finely crafted 14-course meal of molecular gastronomy dishes, with each creation paired with a different wine, champagne, beer and/or sake.  The dishes were so beautiful, that at times, I didn’t want to eat them out of guilt that I would be destroying miniature visual works-of-art.

Desserts that were plated on the entire dinner table and resembling a Jackson Pollock piece… Bites suspended on wires and pins…  Tastings that were time-sensitive to eat because the wax bowl would melt if you weren’t fast enough…  Burning leaves and pine to play with your sense of smell… Dehydrated green apple filled with helium served as a balloon…

There were moments where everyone at the dinner table collectively closed their eyes and sighed upon a first bite.  The dishes were THAT unbelievably and heavenly appetizing and orgasmic.  I failed to snap any photos of the dishes, because I wanted to take in every single second at Alinea.  So the below photos are ones that I found online to help give you a visual idea of what was served.

Alinea 02Alinea 01Alinea 03My food orgasm continued the following evening at Vince and Gina’s Dinner Party at their house.  She recruited her friend Ken to help create an 8-course meal paired with different wines and champagnes.

On the menu that evening:

  • Deviled Eggs a la Spotted Pig
  • Red Kuri Squash and Apple Soup  ::orgasmic::
  • Roasted Beets with Greek Yogurt and Micro Kale
  • Clams Oreganata
  • Pork Tenderloin, Apple Mostarda & Carmelized Onions
  • Beef Tataki with Pho Ponzu
  • BBQ Ribs, Hong Kong meets Memphis Style
  • and the best FLAN that I ever tasted in my life!  ::Heaven on Earth::

Photos of the dishes are below and were taken by moi.  Fill me up with bubbly and I apparently become as snap-happy with the phone camera as I become Chatty Cathy.

Gina Chicago 2013
Leave it to a quote from Gina to perfectly sum up my 34th birthday weekend…

Gina:  “Okie, we’re old now.  This is what we’re supposed to do now.  Dinner parties, wine and conversation.  Welcome to your mid-30s!”

…annnddd I’m not mad at that!  Gina’s fabulous dinner party actually inspired me to host my own Saketini and Appetizer Party for my close friends, and reminded me to always enjoy life by the glass.

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without giving a BIG thank you to Neil for the VIP, non-Gen Pop hospitality and friendship.  Happy Birthday (again) to me!

Here is the souvenir menu from Alinea for those curious foodies:

Alinea Menu







“Play by Play” by Autre Ne Veut:  Yet another song that Neil got me obsessing over and playing on REPEAT…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The MDNA Tour: Chicago

8 years ago, Kristin and I drove to the K-Mart in Sebring, Florida in an attempt to be first in line at their Ticketmaster counter so we could purchase our Madonna Re-Invention Tour tickets as soon as they went on-sale.  We both rationalized that the blue haired retired residents of the city of Sebring would be too busy playing bridge and bingo to have any interest in standing in line for Madonna concert tickets at 9am on a Saturday morning.  We were right, but for whatever reason, Kristin wound up not going to our Re-Invention Tour date in Miami.  Two more Madonna world tours later, Kristin had never seen my her our idol live in concert… ever.

As soon as Madonna announced this year’s MDNA Tour, Kristin and I decided that we would fly up to Chicago to see the Queen of Pop.  Due to the high demand once tickets went on-sale, we were unable to purchase 2 tickets together and were only able to secure solo VIP tickets.  In short, we would be sitting apart from one another during the concert.

The day before we were to fly out, Madonna’s long-time manager Guy Oseary tweeted that he was giving away Golden Triangle Pit Tickets to Madonna’s ultimate fans.  So I entered the contest, texted Kristin to give me a wake-up call at 5am so that I would be ready for the first flight out to Chicago and then went to bed thinking nothing else about the contest.

Fast forward to 5am the next morning, Kristin called me to wake me up as planned.  I laid in bed completely lifeless and not wanting to move.  I rolled over, looked at my phone on my nightstand.  I noticed that I had a new Twitter notification.  I expected to see some trivial tweet about Amanda Bynes, Honey Boo Boo or Chik-Fil-A that I happened to be tagged in, but instead, I saw something else.  I saw this…

…a message from Guy Oseary.  A message from the one & only Madonna’s manager.  To me.  Informing me that I won 2 Golden Triangle pit tickets to that night’s show.

I called Kristin to tell her the news.  She thought that I was having a heart attack.  I called Jocelyn.  I texted Neil in Chicago.  Shower.  Airport.  Flight.  Taxi.  Neil.  Boystown.  Shop.  Eat.  United Center.  Concert.  That 24-hour period zoomed by so fast, it all seems like such a blur in hindsight.

The concert was a tour-de-force show of non-stop entertainment.  This was my fifth Madonna tour, and probably my favorite Madonna tour.  While I highly respected 2001’s Drowned World Tour and 2006’s Confessions Tour as artistic statements and loved certain parts of each show, both did not excite me and felt cold at times.  2008’s Sticky & Sweet Tour was a ball of fun, but lacked the artistic depth of a true Madonna show.  The MDNA Tour reigns supreme because it combines the darkness of Drowned World, the unity and political message of Re-Invention, the beauty of Confessions and the animated hoopla of Sticky & Sweet into one show.

The MDNA Tour is proof that the girl from Michigan is still on top of her game 30-years into her career.  While her rivals are all judging reality shows, performing to theater-sized audiences or promoting a weight loss program, Madonna is selling out stadiums and arenas across the planet with VIP tickets that flaunt a $1,500.00 price tag.  Yes, $1,500.00 for a VIP Floor Madonna ticket!  Is she worth it?  Of course.

Kristin pretty much cried the entire duration of the entire concert because she was so starstruck and in awe.  (Fun Fact: Kristin cried so much that she cried her fake eyelashes off.)  What has always separated Madonna from the rest of the pack was her starpower.  She commands the stage.  You simply cannot take your eyes off of her.  When all is said and done and years upon years later, history will only remember Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Madonna…  and only one out of the four is still touring.  I remember watching an MTV News Segment as a kid back in 1990 when they were covering Madonna’s Blonde Ambition World Tour and a random Madonna fan made the bold statement: “You haven’t truly lived if you haven’t been to a Madonna concert!”  22 years later and that statement rings even more true.  Go see her while you can!

Highlights of the show: the Express Yourself / Born This Way / She’s Not Me mash-up, a rump-shakin’ version of Gimme All Your Luvin’ with a flying marching band, M’s 12-year-old son Rocco joining Mom onstage as a back-up dancer and choir member, stripped-down sing-a-long versions of classics Holiday and Open Your Heart, the heavenly divine Like A Prayer, the grand entrance of (literal) biblical proportions to Girl Gone Wild, a very somber and eerie take on Like A Virgin,  meeting other really cool & very kind Madonna fans and of course, seeing Madonna with Kristin for her very first time.

When I returned back home to Tampa, nearly all of my friends and co-workers asked why I did not take more photos or videos of Madonna since I was a mere 6 feet away from her at times.  I just wanted to make sure that I enjoyed every single second of the opportunity, to be in the moment and to NOT constantly fidget with my camera phone.  Actually, my phone only left my pocket just once the entire show to take the above photo while M performed Turn Up The Radio.

I have VIP Floor tickets to see the final show of the MDNA Tour in Miami on November 20, 2012 and absolutely cannot wait to experience the show all over again.  I cannot think of a more perfect gift to myself for my birthday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Front & Center

with Madonna’s longtime guitarist & guitar teacher Monte Pittman

I met up with soulmate Gina & the gang after the show.

New friends Mary and Rafael


A very special thanks to Rafael Cardoso, Madonna’s #1 Fan, for the warm welcome to the Golden Triangle Pit, for allowing me to use some of the photos in this blog and for simply being a fantastic and kind human-being in this world.  This man has been to every single MDNA Tour show since it landed on U.S. soil!

Madonna the prophet with Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1984

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Anthems of 2012

Every season and especially in the summertime, my good friends Neil and Gina crown a song as our “anthem for the (insert season here).”  “Walking on Air” by Kerli, “Touch The Sky” by Kanye West with Lupe Fiasco and “Hot Summer” by Monrose were all previous anthems of our summertime past.  Being that both Neil and Gina are Northerners who willingly endure the cold winter months just to revel in the warmth of the summer season, these anthems signify a farewell to the gloom and an open arms welcome to the sunshine euphoria.

Instead of crowning just one song as the 2012 Summer Anthem, I’ve instead listed ten singles all worthy of the honorary title.

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you the first 2012 Summer Anthem Soundtrack below:


“Spectrum” by Zedd featuring Matthew Koma

“We’ll run where lights won’t chase us, hide where love can save us…”   Not to be confused with the latest single from Florence + the Machine, producer/DJ Zedd’s collaboration with newcomer Matthew Koma delivers a breakdown starting at the 1:10 mark that has “summer anthem” written all over it!




“We’ll Be Coming Back” by Calvin Harris with Example

“I don’t even care if I know ya, outta our minds, sad to leave it all behind…”  Picking up where he left off with this spring’s anthem “Feel So Close,” current it-boy Calvin Harris teams up with UK singer Example on what can be described as “Feel So Close Part 2″… and that’s certainly not a bad thing.




“No Gravity” by Kerli

“You make me float free…”  Estonian dance-pop star Kerli’s latest single is an aestival concoction of everything sugary-pop and dance.  Bonus kudos: Her “Walking on Air” was the summer anthem of 2008.




“Celebrate” by Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks

“See everybody’s been down in luck, Now finally things are looking up, The sun has chased all the rain away, No more obstacles in our away…”  The first single from the upcoming motion picture Sparkle soundtrack is a celebration of life, love, happiness, optimism and Whitney.  “Celebrate” is a simple reminder not of Whitney Houston, the troubled tabloid persona, but of Whitney Houston, the singer.




“Good Time” by Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City

“Woke up on the right side of the bed…”  As if Miss Jepsen hasn’t already infiltrated your head with her inescapable “Call Me Maybe” ditty, she returns with Owl City to inflict further penetration with another super-catchy pop confection.




“Still Getting Younger” by Wynter Gordon

“I’m like a harbor, I can be your savior, Let me push you under, Don’t want no other baby, I got you covered, our love is growing and getting younger…”  This song is as timeless as its accompanying music video, which could have easily been released in 1987.




“Move In The Right Direction” by Gossip

“I’m moving forward with all of my might, I’m heading toward a new state of mind…”  The second single from Gossip’s A Joyful Noise release is a motivational self-help declaration that will send you straight to the dancefloor.  God bless Beth Ditto!




“Cameo Lover” by Kimbra

“You turn from the skies, You dance with your demise, I’ll be here when you come home…”  Out to prove that she’s not just the girl who sang on the Earth’s most overplayed song, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” singer Kimbra’s latest from her Vows album will undoubtedly help her loosen any potential one-hit wonder shackles.




“Get Free (Bonde do Role Remix)” by Major Lazer

“We’re all together in the same boat…”  From the musical project responsible for that  grating yet enslaving beat sampled on Beyonce’s “Run The World” comes their latest offering.  The Bonde do Role Remix brings a Bollywood-sound to their dance party.




“Birthday Girl” by Starshell

“I’m in here until it’s last call…”  After bursting onto the scene after co-penning Kanye West’s 2008 “Love Lockdown” hit single, singer LaNeah Menzies returns with her first single, an anthem in its own right for any birthday-celebrating lady.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Scandal in Chicago

If you’re expecting to read some salacious, criminal account of my past weekend in Chicago solely based on the title of this post, then you surely are setting yourself up for major disappointment.  I was actually referring to producer Shonda Rimes’ new series, Scandal on ABC that I watched the entire amazing first season of while in Chicago this past weekend.  More about that later.

Chicago, Chicago, Chicago.  Oh Windy City, you and I have been in love since we first met six years ago.  (I actually met you seven years ago, but my overnight layover at O’Hare does not count.)  I’ve been there during most of my best friends’ virgin trips to you, and you have since yet to disappoint.

Last weekend was Mike Hammonds, Bryan and Carlos’ first times in Chi-town.

ROOF at the top of theWit downtown is a must for any Chicagoer

Sterling made the prediction when I first landed that this Chicago trip would be on par with the 50 Shades of Grey weekend of my second trip there.  A blog about that weekend could appropriately be called Scandal in Chicago without any reference to the ABC show.  However, this trip proved to be low-key, yet still a ton of fun.

I have a tendency to become useless and lazy while in Chicago.  Perhaps because I have been up there so many times?  Maybe because I’m on vacation, and partying while on vacation will require another vacation from that vacation?  Whatever the reason, I once flew up to Chicago on a Friday night, sat on Neil’s couch, watched a movie, ordered Thai food delivery, enjoyed a nap, only to repeat the same routine the next day and the day after that.  I literally flew up to Chicago to sleep and watch movies, and didn’t once leave the couch the entire weekend!

So okay, yes, I watched the entire first season of Scandal while in Chicago.  (I was never a fan of any Shonda Rimes’ show, but this one seems to perfectly blend the quirk and humor of her other series with the suspense and intrigue that Scandal begs to evoke.)  And okay, yes Mike Hammonds had to ban me and Neil from starting any other new television shows on HULU, but at least Sterling didn’t have to drag me out of the house like she usually does.

Chicago Summer 2012 Trip “Accomplishments”:

I got to hang out with her and got to know Adam better.  I only had to deal with Firecrotch Rob’s insults and jealousy for day and a half, and had Mike Hammonds around for Rob to make fun of and vice versa

I was able to see former Tampa residents Chase, Kaley, Ian, Carlos and of course Nathan who are all doing wonderful since moving on up (literally).  (Johnna, you’re on my hit list for next time.)

My soulmate Gina brought my tastebuds to an orgasmic climax with her frittata breakfast while making me listen to her favorite K-pop bands.   (READ about how I first met Gina & why I flew to Chicago for the first time HERE.)

From Bathhouse to Bathsalt Bryan

I was finally able to embark on my first trip with Mike Hammonds after being friends with him since vampire hunter Lincoln was in office.  I was also able to be a part of Bryan and Carlos’ annual “Pride in another city” experience.

Most importantly, I was able to spend time with my very dear friend Neil who is the centerpiece of this amazing spread of kick-ass friends and wonderful people we all are fortunate to have in our lives.

Until the next Chicago trip…

Jocelyn…  Mike and I may have temporarily turned into zombies up in Chicago!

Mine and Gina’s Summer Anthem:

“Mr. Simple” by Super Junior

Mine and Neil’s Summer Anthem:

“Zero Gravity” by Kerli



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can We Get Together? [02.17.2009]

Originally posted on MySpace on February 17, 2009:

Two of my most favorite people in the entire galaxy are arriving in town this weekend… Gina & Neil!

It’s been two years since my soulmate Gina was last in Tampa. I actually met her on Myspace through a random message [READ: How I Met Chicago Gina] and anyone who knows me knows how important she is to me and how that random meeting created such life-changing moments [READ: What’s Meant To Be]. It is tradition that I celebrate Gina’s birthday with her no matter where the location… her 30th at Celebrity & SmartBar in Chicago [READ: Gina’s Dirty Thirty Bday]… her 31st at Vince’s place & Boom Boom Room in Chicago [READ: Reciting my Bday Poem to Gina VIDEO]… her 32nd at Avalon in Los Angeles… and now her 33rd here in Tampa, Florida!

Neil was Gina’s roommate during their med school days, and instantly became one of my most nearest and dearest friends. He continually goes out of his way for me and any of my friends… be it housing an apartment full of drunks [READ: 2008 Market Days Weekend]… allowing my friends and I to crash at his place while he is away and working all weekend [READ: Janet Jackson Rock Witchu Tour]… or just plain spending the entire weekend watching movies and eating food with one another [READ: Chicago Lovers VIDEO].

So come out this weekend to play!!! I’M READY!

Friday, February 20th
Steam @ Honey Pot

Saturday, February 21st
8pm: Gina’s Bday Dinner @ L’Olivier (Centro Ybor)
I have Grace’s wedding that afternoon, but I will be out afterwards
followed by GBar

Sunday, February 22nd
12pm: Buddhist Temple
8pm: Travis France’s Bday @ Streetcar Charlie’s

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OMG 2008: The Soundtrack [12.19.2008]

Originally posted on MySpace on December 19, 2008:

Whoever first said that time flies by faster the older one gets is hopefully experiencing an afterlife of well-deserved bliss, because that statement could not have rang more true than it did this year. 2008 rushed by faster than the speed of light. Never have I met so many new people or experienced so much change. Every year around this time, I typically post some fancy year-end blog set to a soundtrack of the year’s most memorable songs… however this year’s blog was a bit more difficult given the 365 +1 days of memories that crammed 2008.

Seriously, this year was ABSOLUTE madness… but in the best way possible.

These are the songs that remind me of the year’s most memorable moments and people. These are the songs that truly capture the momentum and spirit of 2008. So here goes kiddos and blog stalkers, hike up your speaker’s volumes… make sure you’re sitting in a comfy position… and PRESS PLAY below… for this is the soundtrack to my life (the ongoing musical) in 2008…

IF I WERE A BOY BY BEYONCE: Five people will forever come to mind whenever I hear ‘If I Were A Boy’ by Beyonce.

(1) Jess, my Asian Persuasion who first bonded with me over a conversation on Freeport, Illinois at the now defunct 7 14 Lounge. She played the hell out of a Beyonce Greatest Hits disc that I made her which included this song. Plus her ‘hoe phone’ is constantly blowing up every time I am around her. Any guess on what her ringtone is? My favorite memory of 2008 with ‘Okie’s sister’ (as Dallas loves to call her) is our night out together at Eric’s Birthday Party at The Columbia. It was her very first night stepping foot into Steam where she has since become a regular club staple, and the first night that we ever danced together. I wouldn’t want to sing ‘Hot Summer’ or ‘Dirty Pop’ with anyone else but my dirty pop lil’ Kim Chee hot mess on the cob named Jess. Plus, she plays this song at the drop of a dime whenever I am shouting song requests from her car’s back seat at 3am.

(2) Nathan, my morning ‘Christmas present unwrapper’… because for weeks straight he was ALWAYS singing this song. Tired of the club scene, he and I decided to cook dinner together one Thursday night and avoid The Castle at all costs. One shepherd’s pie, one pasta salad, one ‘better than sex’ chocolate cake and two bottles of wine later at his place… here I found myself partying at Georgies in St. Pete with him and then Patron shot-downing at The Castle later. Mind you… I was preparing for an evening of staying indoors, so I was dressed in a wine stained shirt, flip flops and torn shorts. To make sure I wasn’t the only gutter trash hobo present, I forced Nathan to change into matching attire and show off those hairy ass legs before we ventured out. 2008 was the year Nathan and I paraded around the nightclubs and streets of Tampa and New York City as the year’s Partida Drinking Champions.

(Rubbing Nathan’s surprisingly hairy lower back) Okie: Gizmo? Is that you?

(3) Hilary, my unemployed Manhattan socialite favorite… my birthday this year was the best ever because of my New York trip to visit her and Sammie. I remember lying in bed together and playing ‘If I Were A Boy’ on my iPod for her. She loved the song so much that I had to whip out the laptop and You Tube the music video for us to overanalyze and dissect as if it were a Federico Fellini cinematic masterpiece. I still cannot help but laugh and smile at the thought of us walking down the streets of Manhattan on our way to G-Lounge singing this song, changing the lyrics to reference Sammie’s camel toe or forcing Nathan to play his Beyonce ringtone on the subway so we could have our “If I Were A Boy” fix for the moment.

(4) Victoria, or as Cheri likes to call her… VICCCTTTOOORRRIIIAAA VICCCTTTOOORRRIIIAAA… on our way to Doug and Linley’s Annual Halloween Party, Steven popped in the new cd I burnt for him that had ‘If I Were A Boy’ on it. As the song finished, Victoria repeated the track only to post a Myspace bulletin with the song lyrics later that night. ‘Sometimes… Beyonce surprises me.’ As serious as Victoria was when she made that statement, I still giggled a little bit. I believe she’s still rocking out to that burnt cd, because Steven never got it back from her.

(5) Steven MichaelRay, my twin MESSiah brother… if 2007 was our downfall, then 2008 was our comeback. My most favorite memory of Steven has got to be smoking on Neil’s balcony in Chicago trying to figure out what the graphic was on his hat. Was it an astronaut? Was it a seal? Or maybe both? My stomach hurt so badly from laughing so hard with him. Given the juvenile extremities of our conversation, was it necessary to constantly interrupt Neil and Cheri watching their movie by doing ‘Sparkle Grape Soda’ impressions? Amid the excessive silliness, we were reminded of how blessed we were to have our friendship rejuvenated. The overnight layover in Atlanta would have been annoying if it were with anyone else. We slept in those nasty leather seats with the harsh fluorescent light blaring down and that damn custodian vacuuming around our area for what seemed like 4 hours. Reuniting with Steven this year only reinforced the truth that no matter what direction life takes us or how far time separates us, we will irrefutably return back to one another.

I would turn off my phone
Tell everyone it’s broken
So they’d think that I was sleeping alone
I’d put myself first
And make the rules as I go
If I Were A Boy by Beyonce

Give It 2 Me by Madonna: The Seattle crew was in town for Harry’s 29th Birthday Weekend, and it was my first time meeting the much-hyped Jae Jae. I was literally falling asleep when he and Mel arrived in town that Friday night, but their infectious excitement to be in Tampa for the weekend along with Jae Jae’s constant demands for this song to repeat on the way to Ybor remind me of the berserk moments of that weekend. For starters, Jess and I have not ‘twirled’ on the dancefloor since Jae Jae went back to Seattle.

Jeremy Gloff and I ran the same circles of mutual friends but never had an open opportunity to realize how connected we truly are until our ‘Hard Candy’ album release party field trip to the Virgin Megastore in Orlando with Harry and Nicole. We played the entire “Hard Candy” album on the way back to Tampa, but it was ‘Give It 2 Me’ that managed to waken a comatose Harry in the backseat.

Beautiful Boy by Jeremy Gloff: What a delight it was for Jeremy to ask me to help him with his 1987 album release party! After a meeting of the minds at The Cheesecake Factory one weekend afternoon, he and I both came up with the best pr gimmick… the 1987 Cassette Wall photos. Everyone wanted a photo taken in front of the wall. Everyone had a photo taken in front of the wall. Everyone else had their photo photoshopped in front of the wall. It was an exciting time that helped propel us in abandoning any notions of moving to New York City and Chicago next year. Who else would I share hot tea and pie at the St. Pete diner with?

Give a warm round of applause for… Square One presents… because this is a fcking Square One production you btches… Jeremy Gloff’s 1987 Show.
– My heavily intoxicated introduction of Jeremy’s performance at Crowbar

(Shout-out to J-Gloffa: You commented on last year’s 2007 blog about being a complete outsider to my life. How the times have a-changed?)

Let Me Think About It by Ida Corr: Nicole (a.k.a. McShizzle) and I decided to see Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour in Chicago with one another. $500.00 for a tenth row floor seat was a bargain, especially considering that both of us were contemplating plunking down a cool grand each for any floor seat. From the moment we arrived, we were cracking our corny jokes and giggling at the smallest idiosyncrasies. The highlight of that Chicago trip has got to be devouring a huge food order from Duck Walk at Neil’s apartment while You Tube-ing our favorite songs. We were both three sheets to the wind but in complete denial of how loaded we truly were. I kept downplaying the situation, making every attempt to remain cool. Once Nicole played ‘Let Me Think About It’… all bets were off and out came the dancing and singing.

Nicole: ”Yeah, you’re not fcked up!’
Okie: ‘NOT. AT. ALL!’

Holler by Spice Girls: Neil in Chicago is a chef extraordinaire who cooks up the best homemade seafood paella ever. And being the guy who is not afraid to unleash his inner fat boy, I would persistently ask him to make me breakfast every morning or whip up a Bloody Mary for lunch or concoct his famous spinach dip. Every single time like the giving person he is, Neil would oblige. His only request when being my personal Top Chef was that “Holler” play on Rhapsody so he could dance while he cooked.

All I See by Kylie Minogue: A sign that you are getting older: All of your close girl friends either got married or engaged this year.

The apparent year of romance kicked off with Stephanie Brooke marrying Jason. Then Jen married Max. Next up was Katina‘s wedding to Justin. Followed by Kristin‘s engagement to Ben. And then Sterling got engaged to Shira. Accompanied by Donna accepting David‘s wedding proposal. Not to be outdone by Nick popping the question to Gina. Concluding with Linley and Doug finally making plans to get hitched.

If 2008 is the year of romance, then 2009 will be the year of the weddings. I am already slated to be in 2 weddings next year… just 25 more to go to fulfill the starring role in my own version of the movie “27 Dresses.” The song lyrics to “All I See” perfectly capture the happiness of my friends finding their other halves.

Single Ladies by Beyonce: I don’t exactly remember the precise moment that Jonathan and I clicked with one another, because it seems like I have known him forever now. Whether it’s forcing him to cook me lunch or watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta Marathon on Bravo all day, I always picture his “Laze Milan” dancing when “Single Ladies” blared out any given speakers.

Right now, Jonathan is currently overseas in Qatar with the Air Force so everyone pray that he gets back home very soon. He and I have a date at the Buddhist Temple when he returns.

Hot Summer by Monrose: My theme song for 2008, and one of the many songs that Gina, Steven and I always play at Linley‘s house parties where we find ourselves to be the only ones dancing.

Push The Button by Sugababes and Primitive by Roisin Murphy: The “unmentionable” title of Jon La May‘s iPod playlist dedicated to moi was a collection of songs I introduced to him. The two songs that Jon would jam out the most to during our weekly Winghouse Wednesday luncheons were these two irresistibly catchy pop ditties that he initially hated.

Damaged by Danity Kane: David Phan has an enduring tendency to text me random lyrics to any given song of the moment. I never understood why. Neither did Jon La May. It was just something that made the loveable David Phan David Phan. Of all the 129,078,380,397.42 texts messages that he sent to me this year, “Damaged” has got to be his most referenced. The funny thing about his texts is that I can vividly picture him singing the song while pumping his fist in the air each and every time that he messaged me. Waking up to a text message that read “Do… do you have a first aid kit handy?” was not uncommon this year thanks to my special Jacksonville friend who claims I wear butt pads.

INTO THE NIGHTLIFE BY CYNDI LAUPER: I had been friends with Ryan Prado for years, but never had we bonded as much as we did this year. Every morning at work, I would wait for him to get to his job so that we could begin endlessly e-mailing one another throughout the day. Even with how stressful my job became, just talking to him was like a breath of fresh air. When we both decided to travel to Chicago to see the Janet Jackson Rock With U Tour, I had NO idea how much fun was in store. Being the old man that I have inevitably become, I left Ryan at Club Berlin that Friday night to go back to Neil’s apartment to go to bed. When Ryan texted me to come back and save him from the onslaught of attacking trannies, I put my shoes back on and went downstairs to go bring him back to Neil’s place with me. I walk in Berlin. I spot Ryan at the bar. He motions to me that he is ready to leave. “Into The Nightlife” starts emanating from the speakers and suddenly Ryan and I both decide to stay a little longer… well at least one song longer. I literally saw Mr. Prado come to life in Chicago and am eager to go back up there with him next August for Market Days. Corner diner here we come!

Rock With U by Janet Jackson: Ryan Prado. Screaming his head off like an 8 year-old girl suffering from an intense adrenaline rush and sugar high. Nuff said.

Want to dress for you tonight
Under the light
Shot up like a satellite
Into the night
Shirtless wonder wreck my sight
Under the light
Into The Nightlife by Cyndi Lauper

Motownphilly by Boyz II Men: The Saturday get-together at Neil‘s place in Chicago for Ryan Prado brought out the usual favorite suspects: Sara, Aaron, Danny, Firecrotch Rob, Vince and of course… my soul mate, Chicago Gina. I am not sure how we got into our 90’s music kick, but there we were dancing up a storm in Neil’s living room to old-school X-Scape, CeCe Peniston and of course Gina’s request that she just had to hear… “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men. Up went the hair in a ponytail on top her head and out came the surefire ridiculousness that everyone loves about Gina. I’m not even sure she realizes how side-splitting hilarious she is when she is in her full-on “Gina” element.

I Wonder by Kanye West: Sterling scored us box-seats to the Kanye West & Rihanna concert in Chicago. I had just flown into Chicago that afternoon, so by the time we arrived at the United Center Arena… I was literally suffering from headbobs trying to stay awake. As huge of a Kanye fan that I am, the exhaustion began taking over and I was falling asleep at my idol’s concert. It took my favorite song from Kanye’s “Graduation” album to bring me back to life and join Chicago Gina to rock out to the remainder of the Glow In The Dark Tour.

4 MINUTES BY MADONNA WITH JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: It was a random Saturday night at Gbar. I walk inside and notice a group of familiar guys just whispering to one another and pointing my way. I thought, ‘what the hell did I do now?” I ignored their whispers and went over to the other bar. A tap on the shoulder and I turn around to see one of those guys standing behind me.

“Do you think you can give me advice on an event that I am planning?” he said.

I had already began drinking and agreed to do so, but initially shrugged off the random question. Sure enough, Gary Randall called me the next day asking for advice on a show called Square One that he was planning at the old Masquerades. What started off as simply giving advice turned into helping him plan this Square One event which escalated into taking over a suddenly successful business venture when he moved to New York City this past May. I had known Gary for years, but never did we ever exchange any words besides the standard “hello” and hug. Gary seeking me out for his event at the beginning of the year completely rearranged my priorities in 2008, and he and Julia in New York have become family to me.

I met the majority of the people that I speak to on a daily basis through Square One with most of them being acquaintances I had previously known for years.

He may claim that I am always mean and never spend enough time with him, but from never having a conversation with Jason Moriarty the years of knowing him to talking to him daily for at least 4 hours should prove how much he means to me now. He is absolutely hilarious when he makes his obnoxious comments on my weight or his “twink assembly line” of workers that will unquestionably work our events. I’d be lost the last half of this year without “my Daddy,” the Russian Jew… Tampa’s Edward Cullen. I cannot wait to hit up NYC and Chicago with him next year.

Jason: Where the hell did you come from? It was like you were suddenly everywhere overnight.
Okie: I came from Chambers.

Rory and I go way back as friends. Back in the day, she could out drink anyone under the table and was undeniably one of the wildest girls that I know. She since gave up drinking, calmed down, graduated from Ringling and continually kept in touch with me throughout the years. Square One literally recharged our friendship. When I began planning GO! in May, she literally saved the day with the event promos. She will stay up until 2am working on graphic design work I need done for clients on a very last minute basis, and can still ‘slut’ it up like no one else.

Because of Square One, I finally felt that I was doing something that I was meant to do. When I recently got laid off from my accounting day job, I actually felt a sense of relief… as if I was being done a favor. While some of my coworkers were crying, I actually walked out of the office that afternoon with my belongings and a huge smile on my face. Corporate day jobs were never intended for me. Granted I lost my job, but I had Square One and The RITZ Ybor to fall back on. Both of those jobs mean more to me than any job before because I am finally doing something that I am completely and madly passionate about.

Who knew that Gary randomly asking me for advice would turn into a new career path where I was fortunate to meet and befriend some of the coolest people in the universe. Melissa Fair (the regulator). Gina Rathbun (my biggest fan). Jedd Lancaster (my web master). Melissa Ora-ath (my Harajuku baby). Linda Alexander (my favorite teacher). Amel Samuels (the one man corporation). Michelley QueenofQueens. Robert Wegmann. And the list just goes on and on.

If you want it
You already got it
If you thought it
It better be what you want
If you feel it
It must be real just
Say the word and
I’ma give you what you want
4 Minutes by Madonna with Justin Timberlake

Untouched by The Veronicas: A morning without speaking to Robby is like a day without air. Or as he likes to put it, “a morning without speaking to Okie is like a morning without wood.” Whether it’s selling the hell out of his bumper stickers down the streets of Ybor or showering his face with drunken kisses at my birthday, I had a blast with him this year.

Read A Book Parody by D’Mite: I first met Kat Wilson at the GO! Meet & Greet at Streetcar Charlie’s last May. It wasn’t until we toured The RITZ Ybor an hour or two later that she took the gloves off and made a smart comment about the cologne I typically bathe myself in. I always love a smart-ass, so I instantly knew that we’d get along fabulously. She has proven time and time again that she is an asset to Square One and to alopecia.

If We’re In Love by Roisin Murphy: I asked Jose to do Virgin 2.0 way back in May, and am shocked with how long ago that seemed. The highlight memory of him this year is FINALLY seeing him walking out onstage after (eve)olution with the biggest smile on his face, a true representation of the six months he busted his ass for his collection. He may criticize my two-slice pizza eating ways, even though Grace would smile and approve… but I still love him.

Hot N Cold by Katy Perry: Paging the cigarette thief named Ernesto. This is our dancefloor anthem for 2008 because it seems like you and I were always dancing together to this song.

DREAMS (DEEP DISH REMIX) BY FLEETWOOD MAC: Whenever Cheri and I have too much to drink, we find ourselves the victims of the “I love you” mushy fest. There we were on her 26th birthday at 2am at Flirt, hugging each other and crying about how happy we were to be friends. Fast forward to the Boom Boom Room in Chicago last year where we were just holding hands in the middle of the dancefloor telling one another how much we loved eachother. Of course this past February when I went to visit her in Los Angeles was no exception. V.I.P. balcony of Club Avalon and the DJ played this song. Anyone who passed by the two of us sitting in the lounge area would only hear the following silliness: “I love you Cheri… I’m so happy that we are friends. No, I love you Okie… I’m so glad I reunited with you after all these years… No, I love you more Cheri.” (Someone cut off our drinks next time we approach this territory.)

WALKING ON AIR BY KERLI: It is human nature to constantly push ourselves in seeking life’s ‘next big and next best thing.’ Everyone is searching for “it.” I, for one, can testify to always wanting ‘bigger’ and ‘better’; wanting more more more; wanting it all. Despite how beautiful a moment was, I still found myself never feeling satisfied. I would always question, ‘So what’s next? What else is coming? How can I top this wonderful moment?’ I always strived to get to a ‘next’ level of ‘greater’ and ‘better’ and ‘happier.’ I never sat back and took time to look at the amazement around me. 2008 will go down as the year that I actually opened up my eyes and finally realized… that I am already AT that level of “bigger” and “better” and ‘happier.’ No more pushing myself. No more searching. No more feeling unsatisfied …for it is not humanly possible to be as happy as I was the entire year of 2008.

THANK YOU to everyone who touched my life this year. I love you all and cannot to experience what 2009 brings to the table… besides the nine million engagement parties, bachelorette festivities, bridal showers and open bar weddings that I will be readying myself for.

Feel it

Breathe it

Believe it

And you’ll be walking on air

Go try

Go fly

So high

And you’ll be walking on air

You feel this

Unless you kill this

Go on and you’re forgiven

I knew that

I could feel that

I feel like

I am walking on air

Walking On Air by Kerli

This blog is dedicated to my very good friend Mr. Harry Morgan… for continually being that needed shoulder to lean on, for constantly putting up with my high-maintenance narcissism, for busting his ass during Virgin 2.0 set-up and most importantly… this blog is dedicated as a reminder of how beautiful of a person and wonderful of a friend he is. 2009 will be your year baby! Let’s ‘Demi Moore’ that shit up together. (Gym membership… CHECK. No carbs diet…. CHECK. Anti-aging products… CHECK. Young wigger arm candy… CHECK. Cigarettes & alcohol… X.)

And to Kristin… remember my comment about you never getting married because no one would want to deal with your excessive silliness? Well, I guess you proved me wrong. October next year… it’s MY wedding and you’re just the bride.

Monrose’s Strictly Physicalmy favorite album of 2008

The Soundtrack to 2008:
1. Beyonce – If I Were A Boy
2. Madonna – Give It 2 Me
3. Jeremy Gloff – Beautiful Boy
4. Ida Corr – Let Me Think About It
5. Spice Girls – Holler
6. Kylie Minogue – All I See
7. Beyonce – Single Ladies
8. Monrose – Hot Summer
9. Sugababes – Push The Button
10. Roisin Murphy – Primitive
11. Danity Kane – Damaged
12. Cyndi Lauper – Into The Nightlife
13. Janet Jackson – Rock With U
14. Boyz II Men – Motownphilly
15. Kanye West – I Wonder
16. Madonna with Justin Timberlake – 4 Minutes
17. The Veronicas – Untouched
18. D’Mite – Read A Book Parody
19. Roisin Murphy – If We’re In Love
20. Katy Perry – Hot N Cold
21. Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (Deep Dish Remix)
22. Kerli – Walking On Air

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What If It All Means Something [10.30.2008]

Originally posted on MySpace on October 30, 2008:

I have always firmly believed that everything happens for a reason.  Whether tragic or shocking, every event in life is the pathway to another experience… to a new experience.
I went with Nicole to Chicago this past weekend to see Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour. (FYI: The concert was the most amazing & energetic show I’ve seen in recent years… and not just because of the 10th Row Seats we had!)  While there, I began thinking of how fortunate I am to visit that city because of a beautiful stranger who randomly sent me a MySpace message 3-4 years ago.  That encounter led to a group vacation with friends in Chicago… which led to a friend moving up there from Tampa… which led to a friend meeting a man who would help inspire a move across the country… which led to a friend meeting her fiancé in that city… and on and on…

…the explosion that meeting Gina in Chicago 2 years ago created is a bit unbelievable at times…. and everything that happened as a result was all meant to be.

Have you ever met someone that you just know is meant to be in your life?  I have often engaged in discussions on the reality of love at first sight and the existence of soulmates… with me of course always being the optimist.  I may not have known that when Gina first messaged me on here nearly half a decade ago that we would share that special “connection” as friends… but when I first saw her pull up to Midway airport to pick me up, I just knew that we both were onto something good  …just by the mere sight of her pulling up to the curb in her car!

This weekend, a complete stranger in Chicago said something that literally captivated me when I first heard him say it, and has managed to stick with me ever since.

“I was meant to meet you.  We were meant to meet.”

I did not initially think that was the case, but a half-hour wait for the Red Line train… which led to a conversation about the Madonna concert with a stranger… which led to a lost cellphone on the train… which led to meeting back up half an hour later… which led to Jaeger shots at Fat Cat… which led to Nicole being told, “I just KNEW that you would find my phone!”… maybe it was meant to happen?

I find it funny how there are those people who you invest years and years into having a relationship with only for that relationship to chaotically fall to pieces.  No rhyme or reason is ever given, but you both just venture in different directions.  The tragic and bad endings were meant to be.  Then there are those strangers who give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that something more and something bigger will come.  It just amazes me how gigantic this world is, but at the same time… and at the right moment… how small it really is… and how the smallest situations and encounters in life can  sometimes lead to its biggest adventures.

P.S.  I love McShizzle!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Rock Wit U [10.05.2008]

Originally posted on MySpace on October 5, 2008:

They say that I may as well just move to and live in Chicago with how many times a year I am up there… last weekend’s visit marked only the third this year.

Janet Jackson was playing at the Allstate Arena up in the Chi-town area, and JJ’s number 1 fan Ryan Prado happened to score awesome seats for her tour. This also happened to be Ryan’s first trip to Chicago ever.

Everytime I went back “home,” I would bring or be with a friend who had never been to the wonderful windy city. I first brought Cheri and Fabian. Steven MichaelRay came along for the fun the next time around. So did Katina and Billy. Gina followed afterwards. Linley, Doug, Bryan & Eric were up there for last Market Days. Now it was Ryan’s turn.

I have the most amazing friends up in Chicago… especially my Daddy Neil who never fails to make sure that our friends and I are always taken care of. Ask anyone who has ever met him, Neil is the bomb!

“You have some amazing people in your life.”
– Ryan Prado

DUH! 🙂
And to think that it all started with a random MySpace message from a beautiful curly haired stranger named Gina…

Janet and LL Cool J rocked it on Thursday night! It was touching to see her open her tour with “Pleasure Principle” and perform such classics as “Love Will Never Do” and “Alright” and “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Her 2 hour set was jam packed with nothing but the hits!

Sterling and Shira took Ryan and I to the Wired Magazine Nextfest at Millenium Park… something that came as quite a shock to anyone who knows me. For starters, I do NOT do touristy things when visiting a city. Ever. In fact, I had never seen Chicago during the daytime the first handful of times that I went up there. It was always fly in at night. Party up a storm. Sleep the next day away, wake up at night and repeat. …but it was nice to do something different for a change.

Ahem! Cheri and Danny… the above photos are proof that I am capable of doing other activities in Chicago besides laying in bed or lying on the couch or drinking Bloody Mary’s and mimosas all day!

Cloud Gate and the Virtual Waterfalls in Millenium Park were by far one of the coolest things I’ve seen in any city.

…but not as cool as Ryan Prado Jazz Hands in front of the Chicago Theater!

Cheers to Chicago!

Ryan, I am violently happy that you finally came to Chicago with me and witnessed what all the hype is about. I literally saw you come alive up there. This will only be the first trip of many more to come I’m sure. The trannies are coming!

I love you Neil, Gina, Vince, Sterling, Shira, Danny, Sara, Rob and everyone else. See you all again in 3 weeks.

I wanna rock with you
Let’s converse
Talk with your body
Don’t say anything at all
Janet Jackson’s Rock With U

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,