Tag Archives: Hamburger Mary’s

Camp Jocelyn 2013

Camp Jocelyn 2013 A

What the hell is Camp Jocelyn?  Camp Jocelyn is the annual summer weekend where Jocelyn kidnaps her best friend Michelle’s boys from Orlando: Sean (12), Max (10) and Jake (7).  The entire time is devoted to the weekend’s packed schedule filled with trips to amusement parks, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, arcades, and (only because it’s Jocelyn) Drag Shows.

This year was no different.  I was able to join the gang for their first time tasting the infamous Cronut (Nutella-flavored mind you), Drag Show dinner at Hamburger Mary’s, movie date to see Grown Ups 2 (hands down, the most unimaginative movie ever made) and adventure at Busch Gardens where we ran through puddles and dodged potential bolts of lightning.

Camp Jocelyn 2013 CCamp Jocelyn 2013 D

Before & After the SPLASH!

Camp Jocelyn has become a much-anticipated summer tradition.  This is the fifth annual year of Camp Jocelyn, and my third year being involved as an unofficial Weekend Camp Counselor.  I seriously love Michelle’s sons, and only pray and hope that my kids turn out just as respectful, friendly, intelligent and fun.

Camp Jocelyn 2009

Camp Jocelyn 2013 B

Before & After: Camp Jocelyn 2009 & 2013

Until next summer…

Check out last year’s post about Camp Jocelyn 2012:  CLICK HERE

 

Mother Protect” by Nikki & The Dove:  There’s something about this Niki & The Dove song that makes me want to run naked through a forest covered in war paint and beating a drum.  The sound of this Swedish duo’s entire debut album Instinct can best be described as an audio marriage of indie rock and electronica with hints of Roisin Murphy, Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux and even Rihanna.

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The JOKIE 7th Avenue Strut 2013

Jokie 2013

Jocelyn and I are no strangers to the historic entertainment district of Tampa, Florida known as Ybor City.  If Jocelyn and I were pugs, all of Ybor City would be our marked territory: We have eaten here.  We have drank there.  We have partied here and there to the front, to the back, to the right, to the left, to the left – everything you own in a box to the left, sideways, diagonally, zigzag and back.  So when the opportunity arose, and after heavy suggestion for both J and I to officially show our backyard to our friends that were strangers to Ybor City, we immediately devised a plan.  Born was The JOKIE 7th Avenue Strut.

Here’s how it worked:

The Hosts:  JOKIE…  and for those readers lacking any common sense: just as Brad + Angelina = Brangelina and Ben + Jennifer = Bennifer before them, Jocelyn + Okie = JOKIE!

The Players:  John Fontana (Jocelyn’s leading man, Material Boy and Italian stallion), Kali (Jocelyn’s work baby and Hyde Park Village heir-apparent), Andy (Kali’s main squeeze and boo) and Lorena (no stranger to Ybor City, but a friend in need of an Ybor City refresher after her recent two-month stint in Los Angeles)

The Plan:  The Hosts must show the Players key Ybor City destinations, with stops at JOKIE’s signature hang-out locations.  May the odds be in their favor!

Jokie 2013 Gaybor

The Details:  We began the evening with ear candling (yes, ear candling!… don’t ask) at mi casa and then strutted on over to The Columbia for a pitcher of their famous Spanish sangria, James Joyce for a Framboise, Bernini for 1/2-priced dinner entrees and $2 mango martinis, Tampa Bay Brewing Company for the sampler beer tray, The Bricks for an art show and Pisco Sours, Liquid Tampa for a twirl, Bradley’s on Seventh for a whirl, Reservoir Bar for second-hand smoke inhalation and a beer, Hamburger Mary’s for the 10pm Drag Show, Hurricane pitchers and a photo with Mark & Carrie (above), The Castle for dungeon photo-ops and a vodka cranberry minus the cranberry, MC Film Fest for a lil’ shopping, The Honey Pot for shots of Patron and dancing and G.Bar for more dancing but this time with blurry vision and slurred speech.

It was indeed a long night, but the Players threw their hands up in exhausted and inebriated defeat and called it a night.  The JOKIE 7th Avenue Strut failed to reach the final three destinations: an ice shot at CZAR, a hookah at Zoya and a slice of pizza at New York, New York Pizza / Shepherd’s pie at The Dog’s Bollocks.

The Players (minus a few still recovering from the night before) reconvened the next morning at Gaspar’s Grotto for the Booze Cruise Brunch and to officially conclude the inaugural JOKIE 7th Avenue Strut 2013.

Conclusion:  While the Players showed bravery, dedication and very admiral attempts at hanging with the Hosts, and as much fun was had by all…  another JOKIE Strut must and will be planned at a later date and time.

Special Thanks:  Jocelyn and I would like THANK all of our friends who we texted, messaged & called for any special favors, along with their wonderful staff for showing our Players true Ybor City hospitality at its very finest!

Who run this mutha?  For all-intended purposes of this blog post, please press play and replace the words “WORLD” with “YBOR” and “GIRLS” with “JOKIE”…  “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce

Please click on thumbnail to enlarge/view photo:

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Camp Life

My friend Kristin and her family conclude their nine-day camping trip this weekend.   I’m definitely not one for camping (or even glamping for that matter), so when Kristin asked me to join in on next year’s adventure, I politely declined.  I then started thinking about camping in general.  A friend of mine once told me that “camping builds character.”  The first and last time that I ever camped was when I was eight or nine-years-old, and that was only because I was on vacation with my own family.  I haven’t been camping since.

Actually, I take that back.  I have been a part of Camp Jocelyn for two consecutive years now.

Once a year, my friend Jocelyn will take her best friend Michelle’s kids for an extended weekend filled with trips to amusement parks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, Putt Putt Golf, arcades, museums and fun restaurants.  That particular weekend has been coined Camp Jocelyn, because Michelle’s boys escape to Tampa from Orlando for “a weekend of fun” lead by the Cruise Director of fun herself, Jocelyn.  Last year, I joined Camp Jocelyn for a day when I went with the boys to Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s.  This year, my time spent at Camp Jocelyn included a trip to Busch Gardens.

Camp Jocelyn 2012
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

As Michelle’s boys enjoy an annual weekend spent in Tampa, Michelle and her husband are able to enjoy a mini retreat from parenthood.

Last weekend, I met up with long-time friend Gina to finally meet the newest addition to her family, her daughter Lily.  We went to Seasons 52 for lunch, and I was reminded of Gina’s multi-tasking expertise while there: her husband Nick is currently out of town, her two-year-old son Dominick is in the midst of potty training, her daughter Lily is nearly nine-months, she is about to return back to her full-time job in a few days, she maintains a happy marriage and her figure all while taking time out of her overwhelming schedule just to have lunch with me.  Gina may have said that she was surprised that I was able to meet with her since I am so busy, but I don’t think she realizes that her busy schedule just as a parent far surpasses mine.  How does she do it?  Apparently and impressively with a smile.

Gina, Dominick and Lily

So back to camping… why exactly do people camp?  Typically, to escape, to take a break from a routine, to pacify their minds, to relax, to do something different.

One would predict from the photo above that Gina would need some time to go “camping” on her own.  But Dominick digging for gold and Lily crying her eyes out aside, she clearly is in love with every single second of being a mother.  Gina’s lunch date with me was her temporary retreat away.

Earlier this month, I decided to check out Esque Dollar’s Posh Wednesday event at The Fox Jazz Cafe.  The Fox was a different venue to hang out at, and the outing was a break in my usual Wednesday routine of watching Million Dollar Listing, Dallas and Big Brother on TV while horizontal on the couch.  I invited my friends Eric and Kaydinn, who I haven’t hung out with in a hot minute, along with new neighbor Jess to come along.  The event wound up being a lot of drunken fun, but also hangover hell the next day relaxing.  (Damn you Dragonberry Mojitos!)

The venue itself was stunning.  Hands down, The Fox is a place that I would frequent again, and not just because they have a late-night menu.

The Fox Jazz Cafe with Jess, Kaydinn & Eric

At the end of the day, isn’t life nothing more than a camp?  Eric and Kaydinn have been “camping” away from the rest of civilization at their new Channelside condo.  Gina took time from her busy routine to join Camp Okie, and put a smile on my face.  And after two consecutive years of proud service, I’m on my way to becoming an official Camp Jocelyn counselor.

We are all constantly “camping” and building character.


“To Build A Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra

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