Sampson at his 1st birthday party. He likes to touch my beard and wear my sunglasses.

Someone set the photo booth to burst mode at our annual Haunted Tiki Party, and I have to say, I’m not mad at it. Happy Halloween.

First comes love, then comes marriage they say, but there’s usually a bachelor party somewhere in between there. From left to right, Drew, Ryan, Giov, Michael, Jesse, Duncan, Jon Kim, Giancarlo, me, Mike, Levi, Ricky (George and Charlie not pictured here). We were a pretty big group. Fourteen strong, coming from all over the country. We chose to party in Denver, Colorado. Most of us hadn’t been before, and It was pretty close to meeting in the middle geographically. It felt right.

We did a lot over 4 days and 3 nights. Usually it’s your best man who puts these things together. My best man was my brother, but planning really isn’t in his wheelhouse. My friend Drew offered to take up reins and get it all figured. He’s a good guy to know to say the least.









Red Rocks Amphitheater. Morrison, Colorado

Our first night we went to Red Rocks Amphitheater to see The Head and the Heart, and Group Love. Don’t even know how to write about this one. Seeing a band you really care about in a place like this… It’s the kinda thing that holds a spot on a lot of people’s bucket list. I drank, I sang at the top of my lungs, I stood shoulder to shoulder with my friends and looked out at the Earth as far as the eye can see. I can happily cross this one off my list, and I look forward to adding a few tally marks next to it.






Downtown Denver, Colorado

That first night had me up and drinking till about five in the morning. You can imagine day two was a little slow out of the gate. We revived ourselves floating around for few hours in our hotel’s rooftop pool. A little hair of the dog helped clear a path for the rest of the night. The plan was to get some barbecue, board a party bus and drive around to different bars, eventually ending up at a casino. We almost made good on that exact plan, but the inhabitants of the bus had spoken and pointed us in the direction of a gentlemen’s club instead of the casino. It’s a funny thing they call it a gentlemen’s club, you won’t find a single one in there. Not a lot of pictures from this night. Probably for the best. It was the drunkest of them all.








Paintball with team Kylerado.

The next day we played some paintball. It was my first time, and hell was it fun. If you get hit anywhere, you’re out. Pretty straight forward rules, but because I was the bachelor, the ref made a new one. I had to be hit directly on my face mask to be taken out, nothing else counted. Friends being friends, they aimed for everywhere on me except my face mask. Gotta say, those paintballs have some bite to them. No idea my body was capable of making such colorful bruises.

We had dinner that night at a bar-restaurant-game room-bowling alley. it was all the right ingredients. We bowled a few games and George got a turkey to beat Drew in the home stretch, it was a whole scene. It wasn’t long before last call crept up on us and we moved the party back to the hotel for a nightcap.









Our last night.

To delight of our bodies, we reached the last day of our trip. Everyone was on their own timeline for travel. I still had enough time to catch one last beer and play the most bizarre form of beer pong I’ve ever seen with Mike, Levi and Ricky. Then the four of us headed back on the same flight to Los Angeles together. Won’t even get into my experience at the Denver airport. In short, what started with a belt left behind at security, ended with me in an all out sprint across what seemed like the entire airport.

And that was that. My bachelor party was everything I could’ve hoped for. Just to shoot the breeze with so many of my friends in the same room at the same time, would’ve been more than enough. Truly. But I’ve got friends like these.

If I’m being honest, I was on the fence about even having a bachelor party to begin with. It’s a tough thing asking people to put their life on pause, to spend their time, their energy, and their money on you. I’ve always struggled with that. But then you remember, that these aren’t just people, these are your friends, and they want to be there. In the end, I’m so glad we did it.

To the only group of gentlemen in the gentlemen’s club, thank you. Especially for all the doughnuts, and of course the shirts.

We had a Haunted Tiki Party. If you host it, they will come.

Christina turns 30, and we add another member to the club.

Levi turns 30, Kristin turns 31, and my toes turn purple.

Levi and Ashley tied the knot. Yes, what I drew is supposed to be a rope being knotted, not links of sausage.

They exchanged vows on a warm Saturday, in Odessa Florida. It was a beautiful day. Felt really lucky to have witnessed it, and to have helped celebrate it. Was a little concerned my dance moves might get me ejected from the reception, but there was no harm done.

A couple days before the wedding, Alexis and I came to St. Petersburg to spend some time with my parents. Hurricane Matthew had other plans though. They had to hang back and secure their house in South Florida, so we didn’t see them this time. We made the best of it though.









St. Petersburg, FL

Our friends Mike and Christina stayed in our extra room, and we spent the time with them instead. We walked around town a bit, checked out the Dali Museum, and paid the bars a visit. We stumbled upon a lip-sync karaoke contest. Mike won it. Not officially, but in our hearts we know. The next morning, before we headed up to Odessa for the wedding, we stopped to see Alexis’ Mom, and took her out for an early birthday lunch.







Odessa, FL

The 24 hours or so that led up to the wedding entailed logging hours in the hot tub, intervening a car accident, and talking politics. The 24 hours or so that followed entailed, sunburn, late night life talks, and literally sprinting through the Dallas Airport to make a connecting flight.

It was a great trip, filled with great people. Congrats guys.

Ricky turns 30.

I asked the girl I’ve been crazy about (and driven crazy by) since the day I met her, to marry me. How we got from there to here is a long story. One that I’ll save for another time. But today, I want to tell you about the best day of my life.

A few days earlier we started to plot our weekend, and talked about spending the day together. No friends, no family, just us. The weather was shaping up to be nice, so I suggested we go downtown to layout at Grand Park. I knew this is where I wanted to propose.

There’s been plenty of opportunities to propose in more exotic, adventurous or even stereotypically romantic places, but Los Angeles is where it was meant to be. It’s always been the backdrop to our story. It’s where we found each other. It’s where we fell in love. I also knew how much this city means to her as an individual. She moved around a lot growing up, and Los Angeles is the first place she’s ever called home and truly meant it. I figured what better place to propose than in the heart of LA, in a sprawling park overlooked by one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

I usually have a hard time getting out of bed, but on this particular day you’d have thought I spent a lifetime in the military. I left Alexis in bed and got breakfast started for us straight away. I had some time sensitive plans in place, and I wanted to get ahead of the day. Thank God she still wanted to go to the park.

We got ready, packed a bag and headed over. When we got there, we found a blaring children’s dance festival of some sort taking place. It was loud and it was weird. Not exactly what I expected. Thankfully, it’s a big park and where we were headed was on the opposite end. It was a hot day, really hot, but we found some shade under a tree to lay our blanket across. We sat down and talked a bit while I doodled the iconic LA City Hall building across the park. I gave up after a few minutes and told her I was going to just draw her instead.

I repositioned myself so she couldn’t see what I was drawing. I lifted my eyes from the page every few minutes to examine her features, all the while she was doodling too. After a few minutes, I said I was done. My heart was racing and was hoping she couldn’t hear it in my voice. With a worried face, I warned her not to be mad, since the portrait didn’t really turn out that great, and didn’t quite look like her. When I spun my sketchbook around, she found the words “Will you Marry me?”

Her eyes lit up and moved from the page to me, back to the page and back to me again. As she stared at me with wide watery eyes, I took the ring from my pocket and offered it to her. I told her I loved her, that I always had, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my days with her. We kissed and held each other. After a few beats… I had to remind her she still had to give me an answer. It was a strong yes, and I finally put the ring where it’s always belonged.

Once our nerves settled, I pointed to a man that was hiding out behind some bushes. His name is Archi, and I hired him to photograph the moment. He’d been there the whole time. We all finally made eye contact and laughed. Honestly, I didn’t even know where he was for a while. True mark of a pro. We spent the next half hour or so taking some photos with him. Some in the park, and some across the street in front of the LA City Hall building. It’s was just too beautiful a building to pass up with a professional photographer on hand. As we were walking up to City Hall, I joked to Alexis that I was really just trying to fast track this thing, and get the papers today.














Grand Park, Downtown LA

We wrapped up with Archi, and I suggested we go sit down somewhere nearby to grab a drink and call our families to break the news. I think both our nerves and minds were still buzzing, so a drink sounded like a great idea. And let’s not forget, it was still REALLY hot out. There’s a little dive bar called La Cita that our whole group of friends has been making memories at for as long as I’ve known them. Seemed fitting to make it a part of the day.

We got there and headed straight to the back patio to find some margaritas, but instead we found 24 of some of our closest friends, waiting to surprise Alexis and celebrate with us.








La Cita, Downtown LA

This was all part of the plan, and I knew it was coming, but man, even I was stunned when we stepped out on the patio and heard everyone’s roar. She was completely surprised, even more so than when I proposed I’d say! Good job guys. To top it off, we were immediately each handed a margarita and a beer, because that’s what true friends do.

People hopped on planes, some spun their odometers, and some took off work just so they could be there for us. We even had a friend there by complete happenstance. We thought he was still living out of state, but he moved back to LA two weeks prior and just happened to be at the bar. What are the odds?







La Cita, Downtown LA

I always knew that no matter how I chose to propose, I wanted to involve our friends somehow. Alexis draws her energy from those around her, and shines her brightest surrounded by the people she loves. For most of us out here, our friends are the closest thing we have to family for a few thousand miles. They say you can’t choose your family, but it’s just not true. Friends are the family you do get to pick. After about an hour of hugging, shaking hands, drinking, and laughing, the whole gang migrated over to Hollywood for dinner.





Delancey, Hollywood

The spot was Delancey, a little Italian place, known mainly for their pizza. Alexis and I have been coming here for as long as we’ve dated, and it’s quite literally one of her favorite restaurants. It’s a small place and we were a group of 26, so when I spoke with the manager ahead of time, I was beyond excited that they’d accommodate us. They even opened up a little bit early for us. We ate, drank, laughed some more, and Alexis’ brother Tony gave an impromptu speech from the heart to top it all off.

We closed out after about two hours, and all started walking down a few blocks to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In the summer time they project films on the side of a huge building that overlooks an open lawn. It’s one of our favorite LA pastimes.







Hollywood Forever Cemetery

We setup and sprawled across the lawn, chatting and drinking for about an hour before the movie. Thanks to our army of friends, we had lawn chairs, blankets, desserts, 120 beers on ice, and the equivalent of four bottles of wine in the form of two beautiful boxes. Even had a custom “She Said Yes” banner setup, thanks to Christina. I really leaned pretty heavy on some folks to pull this part of the night together, and I have no doubt it would’ve been a mess without all their help.

That night they were screening Sabrina, an old Hollywood classic starring Hepburn and Bogart. Alexis and I have always shared an affection for the music from that era. Under the stars, surrounded by the towering palms and our LA family, I just knew it’d be magic. And it was.





Hollywood Forever Cemetery

By the time the movie ended, it was already 11pm and had been a long, full day. I knew some people would wanna call it then and there. What I didn’t know is how Alexis would be feeling. Lo and behold, onward she said. Cue the karaoke.







Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge. Koreatown

An added surprise was Michelle and Stuart made it out all the way from NYC just in time to meet us for karaoke. They were originally planning on being part of the surprise at La Cita, but got largely delayed at the airport. Glad they still got to party with us a bit.

Now, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but man, time really flew by at karaoke. We sang and danced for a couple hours, but I swear to you, it felt like no longer than fifteen minutes to me. Tops. Might have had something to do with drinking for nearly twelve hours. I was told that amidst the dancing, I lost my footing for a moment there, but luckily my fall was broken by John. Sorry and thank you John. Needless to say it was a blast. Our friends Drew and Kelsie were sneaky and incredibly kind to have picked up the entire tab for everybody too.

It was last call by the time we sung our last tune, and the remainder of our party started to part ways. However, no night in LA after 12 hours of drinking is complete without at 2am trip to Denny’s. Thankfully, there was one a few hundred feet away. Afterward, we said goodbye to our last three standing friends, and called it a night ourselves.

And that was that. My only regret is not having asked sooner. Can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved. It was the best day of my life, and Alexis was shining brighter than the diamond on her hand to say the least. And that diamond is pretty damn bright.




Video compliments of Duncan, thanks bud!

Celebrated my 30th in Palm Springs, poolside with some cold drinks and the best people. They came a long ways and spent a good bit of money and time to make sure I knew damn well that 30 ain’t so bad.

SixFootGiraffe_KyleSmith_2016_42-02

I made Mike a fun little thing for his 30th, and he returned the gesture with his own fun little thing. I love it. There is nothing the man can’t do.

Had a few people over Easter Sunday to help us drink some Champagne. We either bought too much, or they weren’t much help.