Tag Archives: Rod Moreau

Festa Italiana Weekend 2014

Four days of food, wine, cocktails, bocce ball, and live entertainment.  Months upon months of planning, securing, scheduling, ordering and promoting.  Years upon years, 17 to be exact, of culture, heritage and tradition.

This year’s 17th Annual Festa Italiana (i.e. the Italian Food & Wine Festival) opened with the Wines of Italy tasting event and concluded with the main Festa Italiana event in Centennial Park.  Over 20,000 attendees flooded the historic Ybor City district in celebration of Italian culture, the Italian community and of course, wine and pasta!

18th Annual Festa Italiana Weekend
Save The Date:  April 9 to 12, 2015
www.festaitalianatampa.com

WOI 14 GroupWOI 14 DessertsFesta Italiana 14 BocceFesta Italian 14 VinoFesta Italiana 13 FoodFesta Italiana 14 Paul SalosClub Italia 14 GroupClub Italia 14 BarFesta Italiana 14 DitaFesta Italiana 14 IC

 

“Jerk Ribs” by Kelis: God Bless Kelis Rogers! Unhappy with ever becoming yet another one-hit wonder, or the girl who sang that “Milkshake” song, or even the ex-wife of Nas, she has consistently reinvented her sound and image to stay relevant with the current musical landscape.  She fully embraced dance music on 2010’s Flesh Tone album, and now reveals a new electro-soul sound with her recently released, concept FOOD album.

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

Bow Ties & Clutches 2013

BTC13 Okie Corina Jess Areis

Earlier this month, I attended the 2nd Annual Bow Ties & Clutches event at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art (FMOPA).  It was my first time attending the Best of the Bay Award-winning event (which required all guests to either sport a bow tie or clutch) and stepping foot inside the FMOPA downtown.  Bow Ties & Clutches, presented by a local fashion events and marketing company The Fashion Movement was an enjoyable evening of fashion, cocktails and mingling.  Proceeds from the event benefited the Friends of Joshua House Foundation, Inc., an organization that provides a safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children.

BTC13 Okie

For the fashion event, I channeled my inner Lexx Miyake-Mugler and went for a K.Pop boy band meets Rhythm Nation look.  And YES I sported a bow tie… conveniently pinned to my coat.

Bravo to The Fashion Movement for hosting a wonderful event that benefited such a valuable cause.

BTC13 Group 2BTC13 Group 1BTC13 Xmas Tree 1BTC13 Xmas Tree 2BTC13 Okie Rod AreisBTC13 Jocelyn 3BTC13 Okie Girls 2BTC13 Okie Jess AreisBTC13 Okie Jocelyn 1BTC13 Jocelyn HairBTC13 Okie Jess 1BTC13 Okie Rod



“Drunk in Love” by Beyonce with Jay-Z: Despite her obvious Rihanna impersonation in the music video, I just cannot get enough of Mrs. Carter’s new single. In fact, I cannot get enough of BEYONCE, her surprise album and music video collection that was quietly released to iTunes last Friday without any announcement or promotion. Love her or hate her, you have to bow down to Bey’s marketing genius behind this album’s surprise release. She relied on word of mouth buzz to spread the word of her new album’s availability, gave fans no option but to purchase the ENTIRE album, ensured that her entire album was listened to by releasing an accompanying music video to every single track, and sold nearly a million copies in a mere three days.

In today’s social media era of creating gargantuan hype around a project with trending hashtags, teaser photos and videos, release date countdowns, and “surprise” album leaks, Beyonce’s risky gamble of no promotion paid off BIG TIME. BEYONCE: The Visual Album sold more in its first three days than the COMBINED first-week sales of superstar Miss Spears’ Britney Jean, Katy Perry’s heavily-hyped Prism and Lady Gaga’s overhyped ARTpop , proving that you don’t need a golden semi-truck, a helicopter dress, or numerous “personal” Twitter Q&As to sell quality music.

To you Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, I gladly bow down.

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

Jessie Ware + Mikky Ekko concert @ The State Theatre

Jesse Ware Mikky Ekko

I first fell in love with Jessie Ware after listening to her critically-acclaimed Devotion album.  I first fell in love with Mikky Ekko upon hearing his silky-smooth voice gliding across Rihanna’s blockbuster single “Stay” (that he also co-wrote and produced.)  What a thrill it was to see both of them perform live at The State Theatre in St. Pete this past Wednesday.


Jessie Ware B 2013 Jessie Ware A 2013

Mikky crooned his way through current single “Kids” and of course the #1 hit “Stay” which he reminded the crowd that he performed at the Grammy Awards earlier this year…. and rightfully so since it was hands down the performance highlight of this year’s Grammy night!

Jessie kicked off her set with a cover of Martika’s “Love This Will Be Done” and kept the cover train going with Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” the latter perfectly interlaced with her debut single “Running.”  I can forgive her for not performing the heavenly”Taking In Water” because the rest of her set which consisted of staples “Wildest Moments” and “Imagine It Was Us” along with a brand new song were just as divine.  I remember once trying to describe Jessie Ware’s sound to a friend of mine, and could only remark that she is this generation’s Sade… classy, sophisticated and just cool.

It was a welcome embrace to witness two newer artists in today’s crowded music scene solely rely on genuine talent and artistry rather than gimmickry and media stunts to entertain a crowd.


Mikky Ekko Okie

Working in the concert industry, one thing that I love and admire is when an artist emerges from backstage to mingle with the crowd and their fans.  I was able to meet (a very friendly + laidback) Mikky Ekko who mentioned that he is still working on his album which should see a release date sometime early next year.  He was also a good sport for allowing Rod, Shane O’Neil and I to sing our song that we wrote together in front of him.  Granted, Rod sorta ambushed him with this spontaneous performance, but he seemed to find the intended hilarity in it all.  (SEE TWEET EXCHANGE BELOW)


Mikky Ekko Tweet

DEFINITELY take a listen to Jessie Ware’s soulful debut album Devotion, check out Mikky Ekko’s catchy “Kids” music video below, see them both on tour while you can, and read my friend Carole’s review on tbt Soundcheck that perfectly sums up the night (and where I “borrowed” two of the above photos from for this post.)



Click on a thumbnail to enlarge / view image:

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

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

Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge / view image:

 

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

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

Big Foodie Hoes

TOST 2013 Group 2

I relapsed at the beginning of April this year.  I didn’t mean to, but I am powerless against my lifelong addiction.  It completely spiraled out of control from then on out.  Perhaps its time I check into rehab?…  I am of course referring to my endless appetite and the numerous Food Festivals and Food Events that I attended last month silly!

My absolute favorite thing to do in the world is to eat.  I love food.  Everyone who knows me knows that I love, adore, worship food.  Eat, Pray, Love?  Nope… Eat, Drink, Eat!  There is nothing that I have not eaten.  There is nothing that I would not eat.  Seriously, if I were a contestant on Fear Factor, I would win every single one of those crazy food eating challenges.

So imagine my excitement when I nabbed tickets to three of Tampa’s signature Food Events last month.  I took a break from my usual routine of healthy clean eating so that I could binge eat overwhelm my taste buds and indulge.

YTT 2013 Improv 2

My Fat Ass Foodie Adventure began with the Ybor Tapas Trail (part of Ybor City’s Aficionado Days).  18 restaurant stops.  3 hours.  Food samples and a cocktail at each location.  By the time my friends and I passed the finish line, we were all completely spent. All of the eating and trekking in the humid weather took its toll, and I immediately climbed into bed when I got home from the event not wanting to ever think about food again…

TOST 2013 Group 3

…until the annual Taste of South Tampa at Hyde Park Village the very next day.

The Taste of South Tampa featured 27 local restaurants such as Timpano, Jackson’s and Catrinas Cocina y Galeria  each serving a sizable plate of food.  There was live entertainment, complimentary beer and wine, and a text messaging contest for patrons to vote for their favorite restaurant.  Piquant Epicure & Cuisine‘s savory-sweet croissant with sausage gravy was one of my votes, along with JusThai‘s offering of Pad Thai, Springrolls, Fried Rice and Thai Tea.

DCYC 2013 April

The last stop on my obesity marathon Food Adventure was Dishcrawl Tampa‘s Ybor City tour.  The concept of Dishcrawl Tampa is for patrons to dine at four principal restaurants in a specific neighborhood of the Tampa Bay area.  Patrons have zero clue where they will be feasting since each restaurant stop is revealed as you go along.  The chefs at each restaurant are commonly at the dinner table, answering any questions and providing details about their menu items and restaurant.

My friend and fellow foodie Tracy Guida organizes and oversees Dishcrawl Tampa.  She’s also quite a remarkable blogger.  Check out her review of the Ybor City Dishcrawl HERE along with her primary website HERE.

I highly urge any reader to experience a Dishcrawl Tampa event.  Future Dishcrawl stops include International Plaza on May 14th, Downtown Tampa on May 21st, the Westshore district on June 4th and the Dunedin area on June 11th.   Check out all of Dishcrawl Tampa’s events at www.dishcrawl.com/tampa.

Please click on thumbnail to view / enlarge photo:

“Let It Be” by Blackmill featuring Veela…  Robby turned me onto this song a few weeks ago, but I swear I heard this song somewhere else way before his introduction.  It’s a melodic, tranquilizing, groovy tune that confuses me.  I don’t know if I should be dancing, performing sun salutations, or both every time I hear it!

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

Festa Italiana 2013

Festa Italiana 2013

The 16th Annual Festa Italiana took place in Ybor City on Sunday, April 7, 2013.  Festivities officially kicked off at The Italian Club’s Wines of Italy event the Thursday prior, and the celebration continued each day until the main event at Centennial Park.  My work is a huge supporter and sponsor of Festa Italiana which amusingly began as my bosses’ picnic for their friends and family.  Today, a staggering 10,000 patrons attend their lil’ Italian festival picnic.

Way before I ever became involved with and worked for Festa,  I remember loving the event which can best be described as an overwhelming experience of food, drinks, culture and people.  To now officially be a part of a local tradition that honors and preserves a culture’s heritage and traditions is rewarding and very worthwhile.

Viva Festa Italiana!

Festa 2013 Group 1Festa 2013 Group 2Festa 2013 Group 3Photos courtesy of Radko Keleman Photography

Please click on an image to view / enlarge:


I have a slight obsession with Olly Murs whose Right Place, Right Time album has been receiving ample play on my iPod.  Olly rose to fame on the UK version of The X-Factor, and conquered the European charts before storming American shores. His current single “Troublemaker” is rapidly racing up the Billboard charts, and he’ll be playing at The RITZ Ybor next week Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

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

Jameson Bartenders Ball 2013

Jameson Bartenders Ball 2013

Whenever I am out and about with any friend of mine who is a bartender, it is expected to be asked that inevitable question: “Hey, wanna do a shot?”  Inevitably the answer to that question is always of the “uh… f@ck yeah!” variety, but the expectation of ever being suggested to down a shot other than Jameson is always out of the question.  Why is it that all bartenders are Jameson shot takers and pushers? It’s not that I am not a fan of the Irish whiskey, but moreso that it never ceases to amaze me that bartenders + Jameson go together like Lindsay Lohan and court hearings.

Jameson Ball 2013

With that said, the annual Jameson Bartenders Ball took place at The Castle on Monday, February 11, 2013.  It was my second time attending ever the event which changes location every year, and I had a helluva time being as drunk as a Jamesonofabitch.  Bonus points for real drunken food such as brisket sliders and macaroni & cheese being available at the Jameson buffet.

Cheers to next year’s Ball!

Jameson Ball 2013 Group Jameson Ball 2013 Niely


Lost” by Frank Ocean… the feeling experienced after drinking too may Jameson shots!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Whoomp There It Is!

Skate RITZ Group

Last week, I went to my work’s second holiday party for The RITZ Ybor.  Unlike The Radiant Group’s holiday mixer with stone crab claws and champagne, this work soiree was a 1980’s / 1990’s-themed dress-up party at the Town & Country Skateworld with Chex mix, veggie dip and brownies.   My sole responsibility for the function was to dress in costume and to provide an iPod filled with hit songs from the 80’s and 90’s.  So I channeled my inner Bret Michaels: guy-liner, bandana and all, and assembled what I truly felt is the best musical soundtrack to those two fun decades.

One thing that I failed to truly realize when creating that night’s iPod playlist was the extremely diverse and abundant musical landscape (and fashion) that symbolized the 90’s: the grundge era (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), the power balladeers (Boyz II Men, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey), gangsta & mafioso rap (Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg), corny dance pop (Ace of Base, Right Said Fred, Vanilla Ice), the Lilith Fair ladies (Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan), the pop rock bands (Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, The Wallflowers), Florida booty music (2 Live Crew, Tag Team, 95 South) and so forth.

This year’s work holiday party #2 was a blast, and I am very fortunate and blessed to have a cool job working with some amazing individuals.  How fitting was it to celebrate one of the best decades ever with them.  Happy Holidays everyone!

SAMSUNGSkate Okie Corina Rod Jess

SAMSUNGSkate Pyramid 3
SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNGClick on a thumbnail to enlarge:

One of my favorite songs from the early 90’s…  “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” by PM Dawn

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