24 February, 2015

Tattoo Tuesday: I'm A Fan Of Japan

I must apologise for how long it's taken me to post this Tattoo Tuesday. This tattoo was done almost 3 months ago when I was in Japan but I kept forgetting to ask The Man to take a picture of it for me and every time I tried to take one myself, it just ended up looking all weird and distorted. I guess trying to get a good photo of your own hip while hunched over will do that. Anyway, it's certainly about time I shared this with you all. My own little inked memento of my trip to Japan, not to mention even more incentive to go back.
 
 
Balancing out my two stem of cherries which were my first ever tattoo, this stunning little piece by Chihiro is on my left hip and was done by Stroker Tattoo in Yokohama. I wanted something lovely and feminine that as soon as you looked at it, you knew it was Japanese. Cherry blossoms seemed like the obvious choice, but I wanted something more than that. The stunning oriental fan is super feminine and what could be more Japanese than gorgeous Mt Fuji? Although we didn't have time to go up Mt Fuji, we saw it from a number of vantage points around Japan and it truly is a stunning sight to behold. The next time we go to Japan, visiting My Fuji is at the top of my list.
 
 
Now I must admit, for all the tattoos I have for some strange reason this one KILLED! Why is still a mystery to me as I already have a tattoo in the same spot and it didn't hurt anywhere near as much as this one did. I'm not sure if they use a different technique or different inks or needles or what but I was seriously nearly crying getting this done and I was SO close to telling her to stop and not finish. I'm not ashamed to admit it. It seriously hurt more than my chest piece! But the pain was totally worth it, don't you think? I may have needed a little 'medicine' once it was done HA!
 

10 February, 2015

A Close Shave with Johnny Voodoos

To kick off the New Year, I did what every girl loves to do, I had a hair makeover! Something completely new and different. Something fun and exciting. I posted a picture of my new ‘do on Instagram but I’ve been meaning to go into a little more detail on here, but with catching up on my Japan trip, I just hadn’t got around to it. But I had my new style freshened up the other day and I have some exciting news about that so I thought what better time to share!

I felt like something a bit different, and what could be more different for me than shaving my head!? Of course, not my whole head, but I’ve really been enjoying my new look with the side shaved in. Lots of people have told me it really suits me, but best of all I really love it! I love my purple hair too, so I decided to keep that going. But like all vibrant colours, it needs a little extra TLC. Enter Jay and Hayley, from Johnny Voodoo’s Barbershop Springwood.

Carrying on the excellent work of the original Johnny Voodoo’s Barbershop in Camira, these two are now manning the new shop, located in Old Skool Tattoo Springwood. This is very good news for me for two reasons. 1) This is just down the road from my work, which makes popping in super easy and 2) this barbershop not only does some of the best quiffs and flattops in Brisbane, but they’re also doing ladies hair now!!
I’m so excited about this! For ages, I’ve been watching The Man get his hair done in the super cool confines of the Johnny Voodoo’s Barbershop and wishing that there was a place as cool as this for women. Now there is! Covered wall to wall in Kustom Kulture artwork, skate decks and oddities, you can recline in an old school barber chair and let Jay and Hayley work their magic on your hair. Forget about boring gossip magazines and Top 40 radio stations, here you'll find cool tattoo and kustom culture magazines and catchy rockabilly and psychobilly tunes. Not only that, but you can also enjoy a cold beer – now THAT’S service!
Specialising in crazy colours and styles, Jay and Hayley offer a super fun and friendly environment to relax and enjoy yourself. At the moment, you can go and visit them from 10am to 6pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and from 1pm to 9pm every Thursday. Much cheaper than many city salons, it’s just $70 for a style cut and $85 for a full head of colour. Of course, if like me you need multiple services, they’ll do you a deal.
 
So while I enjoyed an ice cold Corona, Jay got to work bringing my new ‘do back to its former glory. Look at that re-growth and old, washed out colour – I’m ashamed! But by the time Jay was done with me I felt like a new woman and left the shop feeling a million bucks! First we bleached my roots, then applied the colour which was a custom mix Jay created just for me from those beautifully vibrant Manic Panic products. After plenty of processing time for colour vibrancy and longevity, it was a nice wash, quick trim and shave and a blow dry that left my hair feeling light, silky and shiny.
I think the results speak for themselves. It’s so awesome that there is finally a place as cool as this for women to get their hair done! The boys have been having all the fun for far too long. In saying that, Jay and Hayley are still right on top of mens cuts as well. In fact, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, they’re offering a mens and ladies cut combo for $80 plus 20% off all colour!! What could be more romantical than getting your hair done together!?
Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s best to call to book for colours so that they can make sure they have the perfect colour waiting for you. For bookings call 3219 8702.

27 January, 2015

Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show Japan 2014

I must apologise for being so slack lately. I finally got around to wrapping up my Japan trip and promised a follow up post for the Mooneyes Hot Rod Show but that was weeks ago. Although, slack isn't really the right word. I haven't really been slack, I've just been really busy with other things. My full time job has been REALLY busy lately plus I've been hitting the gym heaps so I haven't had a lot of spare time. Hopefully things should be calming down now so you can expect more regular posts from now on. Yay! Anyway, you've had to wait long enough so without further ado - the Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show!!



We started the day early to have maximum time to enjoy all the amazing cars and it's lucky we did, because the line up was already way out the door when we arrived - and that was for people who'd already picked up their tickets! Still, things moved pretty quickly and it wasn't long before we were entering the Pacific Convention Centre. The sight that greeted us was amazing, with candy coloured cars and shiny chrome glinting from all angles. It was like the Willy Wonka Factory of Hot Rods - basically, heaven!



We made sure we picked up the limited edition, event-only rat fink metal key ring before they sold out and then we were off. I was like a kid busting for a wee, I couldn't keep my feet still as we stood, so eager to get up close to these marvels of machinery and metal flake. To be honest, I felt like I could have peed my pants haha I was so excited to be there and at every corner we turned there was always something to make me gasp. There were show boats and ratters, customs and cruisers, bikes and builds, vans and vee dubs. They even a little smart car haha They say a picture says a thousand words, so I'll let them do the talking because lets face it, when it comes to eye candy like that I just can't bare to interrupt.





















































































































































































































Also, I got to meet Gene Winfield which was amazing!! He is such a lovely guy and it was so cool to see such a legend being so friendly with everyone. It's clear how much he has inspired generations of hot rodders.


This was the smart car from Hawaii. I've included this one so we can all have a laugh. I'd just like it to be known that I'm actually sitting on the front seat here and that I'm not actually that much of a midget.






















It was an amazing day and we ran into quite a few familiar faces which was nice. The boys stayed right up until close but Vicki and I nicked back to the hotel for a nice hot shower and a quick spruce up, ready for a night out with a bunch of the Aussies. It's definitely the best show I've ever been to and I can't wait to go back. Fingers crossed we'll be at the one next year - the 25th Anniversary show!

07 January, 2015

Domo Arigato Mr Roboto


I’m so glad to finally get around to writing this one because Japan was just so wonderful and it’s high time I shared it with you all. It was looking like we might forgo another trip to the US in order to go back and stay for longer in Japan but we have unfinished business with the US, so Japan will have to wait a little bit longer. But I must say I can’t wait to go back! 6 days just wasn’t long enough and I really fell in love with everything about it. The people, the buildings, the food, the weather – I really just loved it all!
 
After an all-day flight, a train from the airport to Yokohama and a rather late dinner, we fell into bed around midnight on the first night, eager to get out and about the next day. Unfortunately we awoke to some sad news on the home front so opted to switch our plans for the first day around for a later day in our itinerary and enjoy a more relaxed pace. We wandered around marvelling at the beautiful streets and the Yokohama waterfront. We went up to the top of Queens Tower and I just couldn’t believe the view – city as far as the eye could see! All presided over by the very majestic looking Mt Fuji.
 
In the afternoon we went to Stroker Tattoo to get tattooed (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that with you soon in its own post). That night we headed to Shibuya to see the ‘Biggest Intersection in the World’. It was incredible! All the people and the lights! We had dinner at a tiny little gyoza set restaurant in the basement of one of the big buildings and wandered around checking out all the shops and lights and sights.

 
The next day we were a little more centred and started the day with a trip to Sensoji Temple which I must say is one of the definite highlights of the trip. We had to catch several trains to make our way out there, and after getting on yet another train we thought we may have been lost. But a lovely man overheard us talking and offered to help. He told us he was going to the temple and we could just follow him. After buying us a train ticket and refusing to accept payment, he lead us on yet another train and a short walk to the temple. Before bidding us sayonara…and heading back to the train station! The fibber! He wasn’t going there at all, but he got off his train and went all that way just to make sure we got there. See what I mean about the people? They are just so lovely!

 
Sensoji is incredible and there is just so much to see! There is a 200m stretch of road leading up to the temple that is just covered with little shops and markets. As we made our way through we picked up little knick knacks and souvenirs to bring back home. We decided to stop at a little restaurant for a drink – what was to be our first blissful experience of sake. Offered both hot and cold, I opted for cold and was glad I did after sampling a sip of someone else’s hot. Brought out in tiny ceramic jugs with their own little cup, you’d be amazed by just how much fits in one little bottle. Oh sake! We sipped away getting progressively happier until we all had a bit of the giggles going and what shall now be known as ‘sake face’ – which also looks a lot like sloth face haha Sake makes you feel lovely!
 
 
That night we headed to Harajuku to take in all the funky fashion before finishing up in Tokyo. We went to the top of Tokyo Tower and marvelled at the incredible view. We were even lucky enough to witness an amazing fireworks display (which we think was from Tokyo Disneyland) while we were at the top. Once back down the bottom, we found a little hole-in-the-wall ramen restaurant where we proceeded to have the most incredible meal – complete with confusion regarding how the ‘ticket machine’ worked. Yep, you even had to use a ticket vending machine to order your meal! We had a big day ahead of us the next day so we called it a night at a reasonable hour.

We wanted to be on our game for the next day which was the Mooneyes Hot Rod Show! Oh my goodness what an experience! I think the show and after party (the next day) needs a post of its own, so for now I’ll just let you enjoy some automotive eye candy and cover off on everything Mooneyes-related in another post. Seriously, I could go on for days!

 
The next day it was back to sightseeing and we made our way out to Kamakura to see the Big Buddha. It was such a lovely day and a really amazing experience to stand in front of the statue and gaze up into its giant proportions. A gentle giant for sure, it really did have a remarkable sense of peace surrounding it and the detail was incredible. I stood there and stared up into its eyes and it truly gave me goosebumps. The town of Kamakura itself was quite cute and the main street had this quaint air about it that was really worth exploring a little. We couldn’t stay too long though, as we had to make our way to Sankeien Gardens while we still had some daylight.

 
 
Although we got to the gardens closer to dusk, we still managed to see the gardens in all their glory. On fire with autumn colours, the grounds were breathtaking and I can only imagine what they must look like in spring during cherry blossom season. This was my first time experiencing true autumn foliage and the vibrant reds and oranges and golds was as much a novelty to me as it was spectacular. A little further down the road was Mooneyes Area 1, where the after party was to be held. As night fell we made our way there, but not before stopping for a little more sake to warm us up!

 
On our last day we jumped on the bullet train to the seaside town of Odawara. We travelled in style, getting picked up from the station by Nash in the Pussy Wagon before being taken to Pumpkin Sally’s where we met the owner, Shorty and some crazy guys from Switzerland.  We hung at the shop for a while, checking out the cars. Then we headed to’ White Castle’ to check out the gorgeous architecture and equally gorgeous view from the top. That’s a lot of stairs! Unfortunately for us it was time to head back to Tokyo Station, grab our bags and head to airport for our flight home.

 

 
Like I said, 6 nights definitely wasn’t long enough and although we crammed a whole heap in during the time that we were there, there’s just so much to see and do!

30 December, 2014

2015: The Year Of The ?

 
Well it's almost that time again. Time to bid farewell to another year. Can you believe it's already here again? The time just seems to be flying by! 2014 has been a pretty fantastic year for me. Not only did I return to the US for Tiki Oasis and a month-long holiday, I also managed to visit Japan for a week and attend the Mooneyes Christmas Party. A lot of other great things have happened this year too. I've found a great place to live, a nice house with lovely people and I'm really happy there. We even have a dog! I'm still loving my job and in the last half of the year my responsibilities have really stepped up, keeping things interesting and giving me new things to aim for. My family are doing great things in their lives - travel, renovations, personal and work achievements. I can see a lot of my friends achieving, or working towards achieving, big things and it's making them happy. There is a lot of good to see in this year.
 
There have been a few not so great things personally as well as in terms of world events, but that is always inevitable. What's important about these situations is how we deal with them and the way we do or don't let them affect us. I must admit, for the last few weeks, I've felt a rock on my chest. A pervading sadness that I can't explain yet can't seem to shake, that creeps its way into the quiet moments and makes me question myself, my decisions and even those close to me at times. It's just that little voice in my head, being a bit of a meanie. But only if I let it. And I have been trying very hard not to let it. Thankfully, I'm winning. Mostly. For me it is a fight very much worth fighting. Because when I feel like this, I am not me. I am a naturally happy, positive, upbeat, bubbly, funny kind of person who easily finds the joy in the little things. I'm easy going, don't stress the small stuff and am generally just happy to go with the flow.
 
Lately, I haven't felt like many of those things at all. But I've got my butt-kicking boots on and I'm not letting it take over. Sure that little voice takes its pot shots, and occasionally I can feel myself actually starting to listen to it. But never for long. I crank up the volume on my constructive thoughts, try to be more realistic of my expectations of myself and others and combat it with more positive thoughts. I'm sure it won't last long. It never does. I'm not sure if it's just this time of year, or if it's post-holiday blues compounded by two or hormones or, heck the hole in the ozone layer. I can't really explain it. But imma keep on keeping on and look to the New Year for a breath of fresh air. It's the first year in a little while where I have no big plans. No big trip in the works, no grand schemes - it's a blank canvas really.
 
I'm actually quite looking forward to that. Sometimes I think I can get so caught up in what is going to be that I am not truly valuing what currently is. I get so caught up in travel plans and social commitments that I'm not really noticing myself, my own health and wellbeing. Life in the fast lane can be fun, but it also gets very tiring and it's important to me that I don't lose sight of what's important. So this year is MY year. Not to take over the world. To simply reclaim my life. To make more purposeful choices, to truly re-connect with friends and family, to focus on looking after my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. To truly learn to say no and not feel bad about it. To opt for quality rather than quantity. To take deep breaths. To spend more time alone, rather than trying to fill the gaps in my days, my weeks, with distractions.
 
I have no idea what 2015 has in store for me, but whatever it may be, I'm going to be at my optimum so I can tackle it head on and make the most of it. Because if there's one thing this year has taught me, it's that life is too short to neglect yourself, your relationships or your aspirations.
 
Don't wait. The time is now.

23 December, 2014

A Christmas Reflection

I know I’m yet to do the wrap up of my Japan trip but I’ve decided to save that for next week or maybe even a little later. I wanted to share my Christmas message with you first. I would have posted about my Japan trip last week, but after the events that unfolded in Martin Place in Sydney it just didn’t seem right.

A week later and unfortunately there has been more tragedy. The unthinkable up in Cairns as well as some sad news a little closer to home. Perhaps I’m just hormonal and emotional, but I have really been feeling this sadness. I guess everything seems amplified at this time of year. It’s a time that focuses on happiness, togetherness, friends and family and to see these awful things happening now, they just seem so much worse.

But that isn’t my point. I don’t want to depress you. It’s almost Christmas and we should be happy, not sad. This time of year can be difficult for people for all kinds of reasons. So whether you’re apart from your family, are struggling financially or just find the expectation of the celebration a bit overwhelming, I just want to say that the best gift of all is to be kind to yourself.

Tis the season to be jolly. And that doesn’t just mean making everyone else happy at the expense of your own. You have to care of yourself in order to be the best mother/wife/sister/brother/friend you can be. Start small. Allow yourself some quiet time. Even if it means walking out to the letterbox to collect the mail by yourself, taking your time and noticing the lovely gardens of your street. Or treating yourself to something you really enjoy. It could be as simple as a coffee and cake or even a dress or new pair of shoes.

That’s all well and good but that doesn’t put food on the table or presents under the tree I hear you say. And right you are. If you are struggling financially this Christmas, there are lots of places that can help. Check with local churches, community groups and charities for a hand when it comes to Christmas dinner. But remember, your love and care and attention is what really matter most to those you love. And love is free.

There are plenty of things you can do and gifts you can give that show how much you care about someone, without having to spend money. The Bloggess has some excellent ideas including making them a YouTube ‘mixed tape’ of songs that remind you of them, making a Pinterest board just for them or even just borrowing some of their favourite books from the library and reading to them. That’s something they will remember and truly treasure long after the batteries wear out of whatever new toy is out.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a religious holiday. It doesn’t have to be an expensive holiday and it doesn’t have to be a stressful holiday. Quite the opposite in fact. It should be a rewarding holiday that gives you a chance to re-connect with those you love, spend quality time together and remind you of everything in your life to be grateful for. And in case you need a little help remembering all those things to be grateful for, I recommend volunteering with a charity.

Whether you’re serving up Christmas dinner to families who can’t manage their own or delivering presents to families who would otherwise have nothing under the tree come Christmas morning, it will truly make you appreciate what you do have and will remind you of everything that is good in the world. Which despite what we can sometimes tell ourselves, far outweighs the bad.

It’s certainly been a year of ups and downs, but I have achieved so much this year and I truly am so happy with the direction my life is heading. Most of all, I’m so grateful to everyone who has stuck with the blog and supported me so much this year.

An extra special thank you to Stars and Swallows, Megan Rizzo Photography, Western Wac, and Atomic Cherry for their sponsorship and continued support of the blog. Without them I wouldn’t be able to bring you some of the fantastic content and giveaways I’ve had this year. It also just means a lot that these guys are in my corner, backing me up, saying ‘I believe in you’ and the same goes for you reading this.

So thank you, and here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015. Much love to you and your families.

Merry Christmas

02 December, 2014

Turning Japanese

The countdown is well and truly on! Well actually, it's almost over! Tomorrow is my last day at work and then Thursday morning I fly out for Japan!! I am SO excited! Even though we are only going for a week, I'm just buzzing with anticipation about what this trip will hold. I am really excited about travelling somewhere so different, so out of my comfort zone. A non-Western culture, a non-English speaking destination. Different food, different customs, different everything. What an adventure it's going to be!
 
 
Originally we were going to go next year and go for 2 weeks but its highly possible that this year will be the last year that the Mooneyes Hot Rod Show will be held in Yokohama so we had to get in this year, just in case. It means we'll miss a little of the sightseeing we originally had planned such as Mt Fuji, but true to form we're still cramming heaps of stuff in. It just means we'll have to come back again another time to see the rest. What a shame, right?
 
This year's theme is Enchanted World of Colour and I cannot wait to see the amazing paint jobs! I am especially excited to see Iron Orchid in real life! That's the glorious blue and purple 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe by Galpin Auto Sports you can see up the top of the poster there. I know there will be plenty more jaw-dropping cars to check out, but I've drooled over this baby in magazines for a while so to see her in person is going to be amazing.
 
 
Our main sightseeing is Kosoku-Ji Temple and the Buddha Statue at Kamakura, the Enoshima Shrine and Dragon Island Caves, Shibuya and the 'Biggest Intersection in the Universe', the Robot Bar, a Tiki Bar, Hamamatsu, traditional markets, Electric City, Harajuku, a Samurai Ship cruise of Tokyo Bay, Sakuragicho, Sankei-en Garden Kanagawa, China Town, Imperial Palace, Odaiba, Bullet Train, Odawara and of course, Mooneyes in there as well! It's a demanding schedule but you can bet we'll make the most of our time there!
 
I've got my awesome new coat ready to brave the cold and I've been brushing up on my Japanese. I've got my passport ready and all my money converted to Yen and I'm all ready to go. I've got a tattoo booked while I'm over there as well, which was an interesting experience in itself, but I've seen the design and it's so pretty. Will be interesting to see what it's like actually getting it tattooed.
 
 
I'm packed. I'm ready. I'm excited!