Tag Archives: Rayda Martin

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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Food Throwdown: May 2013

One of my most favorite periodic gatherings with friends, the Food Throwdown (the first one of this year) took place last weekend.  What exactly is a Food Throwdown?  My good friends Katina and Justin open the doors to their home and host these Food Throwdowns which are culinary competitions where a specific dish and cocktail are selected for the event.  Anyone from our social network of friends is free to prepare that particular dish and/or cocktail for everyone in attendance to taste, publicly offer their taste buds’ critique ala Bravo’s Top Chef and then anonymously vote for their favorite dish and cocktail.  (Fun Fact: Katina still holds a grudge from the very first Food Throwdown where I criticized her BBQ Short Rib’s pasta for tasting like Chef Boyardee despite voting for her winning dish.)  What’s fun is that anyone tasting the food is completely unaware of who concocted any of what’s being served.  What’s not fun?  The Food Throwdown winner only wins bragging rights.  (C’mon people, can’t we all throw money towards a prize already?)

Previous Food Throwdowns have involved a pasta dish with all ingredients including the pasta and sauces made completely from scratch, and a very fun quesadilla and margarita challenge.  This past Food Throwdown had my friends competing by making their favorite tacos and sangria.  While Rayda’s AMAAAZZZING beer-battered chipotle tilapia tacos with homemade peach salsa and tartar sauce did not come out on top with the other guests, Stephanie’s St. Germain white sangria did win proving that there was some palatable justice after all!

And since I’ve been told that I can typically be a bit harsh on my table comments (Chef Boyardee anyone?), I am making a vow to obliterate the competition enter my very first Food Throwdown as a contestant the next time around to prove that I can take the feedback as  much as I serve it.  (You hear that Katina?!  I’m coming for ya!)

Congratulations to Jesse & Stephanie who won this season’s Food Throwdown and a very special THANK YOU as always to the lovely hosts Justin and Katina!  Bon Appetit!

Food Throwdown May 2013

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Concrete Jungle


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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