Tag Archives: Steve Schmidt

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.

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

Black, White & Pink Rockabilly Kids from the 1990s!

The problem:  You have been invited to three different parties that are all taking place on the same night.

The solution:  You accept your popularity and attend all three parties adhering to an unofficial party-hopper timeline.

The problem:  How do you dress when each party has a distinct theme?
More Info:  Party #1 is a fun 1990s-themed bday party, Party #2 is a very classy bday party with black, white & pink as the event theme colors, and Party #3 is the Rockabilly-themed closing party for the Gasparilla International Film Festival.

The solution:  You wear a bright pink t-shirt to Party #1, wear a black blazer on top of bright pink tee to Party #2 and then just make sure that you are way too drunk to care by the time you arrive to Party #3.

PROBLEMS SOLVED!!! Crisis averted.

GIFF 2013 Group B

Party #3:  Rockabilly Revival, the closing party for the Gasparilla International Film Festival

Jaime Bday 2013 AParty #2:  Jaime’s Black, White & Pink Birthday Soiree

Josh P Bday 2013Party #1:  Josh’s 1990s-themed Birthday Party




Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge / view photo:

“Finally” by CeCe Peniston, one of my favorite songs from the 1990s.

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

You’re Not Alone

KVBS Bday 2013 Okie KristinKristin, my best friend that I’ve known the longest, celebrated her 33rd birthday at CHEAP in Tampa last Friday with her most favorite friends.  And in honor of her palindrome birthday, I present three FUN FACTS about me and Mrs. Schmidt:

#1:  POP DIVA CONCERTS & OUR FRIENDSHIP DO NOT MIX WELL…

Britney Spears’ Oops… I Did It Again Tour 2000:  A huge fight over post-its an hour before Brit Brit’s Oops… I Did It Again show nearly derailed our plans to see the Mouseketeer.

Janet Jackson’s All For You Tour 2001:  Our first time seeing Janet Jackson became my first time seeing Janet Jackson, because Kristin and I once again got in a huge fight over Sandy Frink.  (Side note: 10 years later, we finally saw Janet together at her Number Ones, Up Close and Personal show.)

Madonna’s Re-Invention Tour 2004:  We drove to Sebring, Florida to be the first in line to purchase tickets to what would’ve been her first Madonna concert, but I wound up taking someone else because Kristin and I got in a silly fight over who’s the Rhoda and who’s the Mary.  (Side note: Last year, we finally saw Madonna together at her MDNA show in Chicago.)

KVBS Bday 2013 Kristin Cake

#2:  KRISTIN AND I HAVE MATCHING TATTOOS…  and matching tramp stamps to boot!  Sue me.  I was 21-years-old.  I was in in Ybor City with her, and we both randomly made the decision after knocking back a few Jack Daniels’ drinks.  I always told myself that I would never ever get a tattoo unless it was original, designed by moi and had personal meaning.  So the Japanese symbol for “God” may not be original nor was it designed by me, but it does carry a lot of personal meaning because Kristin and I are both trashy and tramp stamped branded with it.

#3:  MINE AND KRISTIN’S THEME SONG IS…  no not that one Madonna song.  And no, it’s not a song by Britney Spears.

Every great friendship has that one song that when randomly heard or played manages to make you instantly think of the other person.  For some reason, Olive’s “You’re Not Alone” (below) is our song.  I do not exactly know how or remember when it was decided that “You’re Not Alone” would be blessed as the one-song soundtrack to our 22-year-old friendship.  Yet everytime I hear that 90’s electronic-trance-pop masterpiece, I immediately think of Kristin.  (And no we both weren’t sporting JNCO pants and sucking on lollipops when this song became our anthem in the 90’s.)




Happy Birthday Kristin!  Click on image below to enlarge photo:

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

Oops! I Became a Palindrome… Again

pal-in-drome:  a word, verse, or sentence or a number (as 33) that reads the same backward or forward

I never understood why people in their 30’s and 40’s feel the need to proclaim that they’re re-celebrating their 21st birthday on their special day.  Anytime I told someone that I was turning 33-years-old this year, they jokingly tried to correct me by saying, “oh, you mean 21, right?” which only prompted me  to correct them by letting them know that I am proud to be the age that I am.  When compared to when I was a clueless 21-year-old, I am in a much better place in life: basically wiser, richer and more connected with who I am and what my purpose in life truly is.  Getting older is inevitable, so I fully embrace each new year like a brand new pair of shoes.  I am 33-years-old dammit!

Kristin and I decided to host a birthday party for 40 of my closest friends at her house this year.  With friends already flying in from NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ohio and Miami for that weekend’s Square One event at The RITZ Ybor the next day, I didn’t want to invite everyone out to a huge group dinner for 40 at (insert restaurant name here).  Those type of birthday group dinner gatherings always turn into more of a headache, lack any type of intimacy and just are never any fun: you are forced to socialize more with whoever you happen to be sitting next to, the bill is always wrong, food comes out late, the wrong dishes come out with some dishes not even making it to the table, etc.

Even with the already hectic and crazy work schedule, this year’s birthday party was worth every dime and minute that went into planning it… mainly because I love my friends more than the world.  I wish everyday could be my birthday if only I could have as much fun as I did last weekend!


33rd Birthday… BEST Birthday Ever!


Diamonds by Rihanna

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

Congratulations, Happy Birthday, Farewell!

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

Congratulations to Gary & Kat!

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

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

Happy Birthday Katina!

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

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


 Farewell Nathan!

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

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

Congratulations… Happy Birthday… and Farewell to my friends!

Oh… and R.I.P. Zombie Jocelyn!

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

My Best Friend’s Wedding Reloaded

I am fortunate to have several people in my life that I consider my best friend.  I have the best friend who I can travel to any city with, and who never annoys me.  Anyone who knows me knows how private I am, yet I have the best friend who I confide everything in.  I also have the best friend who can make me laugh until my stomach hurts.  Kristin is the best friend that I have known the longest in life.

I was 11-years-old when I first moved to Florida, and Kristin’s parents lived down the street from mine.  I remember walking to the bus stop on my first day of school at Williams Elementary when I first met her.  She was wearing a Billabong® jacket and her bangs were hairsprayed higher than any tidal wave that it was attempting to mimic.  She was obsessed with New Kids On The Block, and she had such a bubbly, fun-filled attitude.

Throughout the years, Kristin and I remained very close friends.  I was the first person to ever dye her hair.  (In case you were wondering, I dyed it red like Angela Chase’s on My So-Called Life.)  Our freshmen and sophomore years of college, she would invite me over to her boyfriend’s apartments just so I could “assess” them and give her my opinion.  I stood in line for hours with her twice (and even cussed someone out who cut in front of her) just so she could see Britney Spears in concert.  She stayed overnight with me and dropped all of her plans when I was hospitalized four years ago for a heart condition.  We once rang in New Years together when I decided to take a nap on her friend’s wet lawn outside as she played “Heaven or Las Vegas” by the Cocteau Twins on repeat.  I still smile at her comment that San Antonio was a dirty city because of the “gross, old building” that everyone was congregated around, and me pointing out that said building was actually The Alamo.  We speak to one another typically on a daily basis and this year, we’re flying to Chicago for 24-hours just so we can see Madonna in concert.

Also this year, I was blessed to be invited to her wedding to her husband Steve.  Only immediate family and one friend of hers and Steve were invited, and I was chosen to be the lucky person.  Just being invited and sharing her big day with her family was an honor.  Kristin and I have both grown up a lot since first meeting 20 years ago.  We’ve endured our ups and our downs, but never fail in always being there for one another at the end of the day.

A very special congratulations to my oldest longest best friend Kristin and her husband Steve on their big moment!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements