22 September, 2014

USA Holiday Roundup

Well hey there and welcome back! It's been a while since I've been round these parts and even though I had a fantastic time on my USA holiday it feels good to be back here. I've missed you guys! I have to admit I was a bit slack when it came to posting pics from the road, well at least to my blog page and Instagram, although my personal Facebook page was inundated with pics so I've got plenty of fun stuff to share with you guys! I figure we covered so much ground while we were over there that it'll be easiest to break it down into little bite-sized chunks for each place we visited. So away we go!


We arrived in Vegas a little worse for wear after the long flight but we were straight into it, catching up with our friends Matt & Elisa at Frankie's Tiki Room on the first night. We spent most of our days doing the tourist thing and checking out all the amazing casinos. On the second night we caught up with Buddy Holiday, our tattooist from last year, who took us cruising in his Mercury to a secluded but awesome BBQ joint for a delicious dinner before heading once again to Frankie's where way too many tiki cocktails were consumed! We finished up our last night in Vegas with a definite highlight, the High Roller. The newest attraction in Vegas, this huge observation wheel is the tallest in the world at 550 feet and at night, the views are absolutely spectacular!


Palm Springs

The next day we headed to Palm Springs which was HOT! It was 109F when we arrived which is about 45C. Phew! Still, it was the perfect weather for this desert oasis and we filled our days here shopping, relaxing and with a little bit of sightseeing. We got to check out the new Tonga Hut that has recently opened up here and while it's not the most 'decorated' tiki bar I've seen it certainly offers great food, great atmosphere and most of all, great drinks! We were even lucky enough to be able to dine in the secret room, which you have to enter through a hidden telephone box - super cool! However the highlight in Palm Springs had to be the Elvis Honeymoon House. THE house where Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned and indeed intended to be married, the house is in great condition and is an absolute treat for Elvis fans and Mid Mod lovers. It was AMAZING! Definitely my favourite thing about Palm Springs!

San Diego

After a little rest in Palm Springs it was time to hit the craziness of Tiki Oasis! It was an amazing weekend filled with so much fun, shopping, gorgeous people and, of course, partying and drinking! The effort some people go to decking out their rooms for the room parties is phenomenal. The symposiums were fun, especially the one by Skipper Josh from Melbourne's The LuWow and the amazing Charles Phoenix - gosh I love that man! I do think I would be a little more selective about which symposiums I did next time, I tired myself out trying to get to them all. It was also really great to catch up with Aussie and US friends I'd connected with on Facebook for so long and finally meet them in real life. However one of the real highlights for me was buying the original line drawing of a Derek Yaniger piece that a number of my friends told me looked just like me. I got to meet Derek and he even personally signed the piece for me - he flipped out at how much it looked like me! He was such a great guy!


New Orleans

New Orleans was quite the change of pace from TO. It was hot and steamy and yes, a bit smelly. But what do you expect in a town that lives on seafood and was baking in the hot sun? The culture and history of New Orleans has always fascinated me and it was an absolute dream to finally get there. It didn't disappoint, the French Quarter was just as magical as I had expected. After a couple of accidental party nights that saw 'just a quiet, early night' turn into major partying with friends until 4am our Segway tour was a surprisingly effective hangover cure. We might have looked nerdy but damned if we didn't have the best time ever! The 3 hour tour covered so much ground and it was the perfect introduction to the many areas and neighbourhoods of New Orleans and the history that they hold. Also, keep an eye out for us in the new NCIS New Orleans, they were filming one night at one of the bars we were at. I hope we don't make it, we were very drunk! Haha


Memphis was a bit of a flying visit, we only spent 2 nights here but there's no doubt we'll be back. We kicked things off with an amazing meal at the best and oldest BBQ joint in Memphis where we had some amazing ribs and spent the rest of the night checking out Beale Street. The next day we visited Graceland and Sun Records. Although not quite as big as you imagine, Graceland was amazing. It felt surreal to be there and I couldn't help but tear up when we got to the memorial garden and Elvis' grave. Sun Records was also awesome and our tour guide was really fun. It was so cool to see such an important part of music history and the atmosphere really made you appreciate the big things that happened in that famous little studio.



We spent 4 nights in Nashville and although we arrived on a Sunday the town was still rockin! It was a case of another of those 'we'll just have an early night' famous last words that saw us partying up in the Legends Bar until 3am. Damn that town rocks! Aside from shopping for cowboy boots and trying some down home cooking, we also visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Oprey and the new Johnny Cash Museum. The Hall of Fame is absolutely phenomenal and although we did it in one day, you could easily spend 2 days in their soaking up all that amazing music history. If you're like me and music really speaks to your soul, prepare to get a little emotional. Originally we were just going to take the Oprey tour and skip the show but come on, if you're there you HAVE to see a show! And so we did. Boy were we glad we changed our minds because it was awesome! Simply amazing. That the show is still going all these years later just blows my mind. The new Cash Museum was also great. It's a little small, but the admission price reflects that and if you're a JC fan then you're sure to love it - I know we did.



Ventura was a dream and just what we needed after all that heat. It was a really laid back beach town with lots of great vintage and thrift shops, bars and restaurants. We were really keen to check out Ventiki, Ventura's own little tiki bar and decided to stop in for a cold drink and some lunch. We accidentally ended up there all afternoon and into the evening. Our friends from Anaheim Mark & Dyanne, decided to show up and surprise us and they wanted to meet us there. 9 rather strong cocktails later we'd made friends with the bartender and a few other people who we ended up partying well into the night with. Which meant that the next day at the Ventura Nationals we were a bit worse for wear but we had a great time anyway and saw some amazing cars. The next day we even got to go on the Reliability Run up and around the coast and Lake Casitas which was SO pretty! Ventura showed us a really nice time!



We spent the next two days at Sunset Beach, right by Huntington Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway. Our aim was to spend a decent amount of time at Don the Beachcombers, seeing as we really only got to pass through quickly last time. This was where we met our friends Mark and Dyanne last year, so not only did they come along back where it all began but we ended up running into a bunch of tiki peeps who we had drinks with in the private room (to avoid the awful karaoke). It was like a little Tiki Oasis reunion, plus we got to meet a bunch of new friends. We checked out Seal Beach, just down the road the next day and enjoyed a relaxing couple of days by the beach.



Then we headed to Anaheim (well, Buena Park actually) to stay with our friends Mark and Dyanne for a couple of days at their house. Boy did they show us a good time! They were so kind and took such good care of us and we had so much fun drinking beer in their pool and listening to some great tunes. They also cooked us up so many amazing feasts! We didn't just hang out at home though, they took us to the Elvis Bar in Garden Grove which was amazing! We also visited Mooneyes in Santa Fey Springs which was extremely cool and the perfect warm up to the Mooneyes Christmas Party in Japan in December!



Then it was on to our final stop in L.A where we were reunited with our friends Kristy and Justin who we met at Viva last year. These super stylish cats showed us a great time and took us to a bunch of cool old historic places around L.A including Damon's tiki restaurant, The Pantry which has been serving breakfast 24 hours a day since 1923 and does THE BEST bacon (it tastes like pork crackling OMG!!). We also did the tourist thing and visited Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier which was another lovely day by the seaside. We went out to a couple of gigs with them too and strangely enough ran into a few people we knew including Brent from the Ding Dong Devils, Deke Dickerson and Eddie Clendening! We just can't go anywhere! Haha We decided we should spend our last night in the US going out with a bang so we went to The Viper Room (yes THE famous Viper Room) and saw The Chop Tops as well as a bunch of other cool psychobilly bands. We stopped in famous Mel's Diner for a middle of the night greasy on the way home too. Our flight back home wasn't until midnight the next day so after nursing a bit of a hangover we headed off to Universal Studios for the day to act like big kids. We had an awesome time! It was the perfect way to see out our very last hours in America. We did this last year as well, so perhaps it will become a tradition.

Gosh we had such a brilliant time! It should come as no surprise that we're already planning another trip back. But first, Japan in December. Of course until then it's just back to the grind and what better way to cure the post-holiday blues than with a new 'do! For those of you that may not have seen my post on Facebook, my hair looks like this now! Wild I know, but I love it!

Meanwhile, tell me what have you been up to? Have I missed any important news?

06 August, 2014

USA All The Way!

Well this is it people. The time is here! In less than 48 hours I will be up in the air and on my way to the USA and the Road to Tiki Oasis! Unfortunately I seemed to have picked up at bit of a bug at GreazeFest on the weekend and I'm feeling a bit under the weather but I've dosed myself up and have my fingers crossed that I'll be feeling better by Friday morning. Below is a little map of where we'll be visiting while we're in the US for those of you that are curious. Keep an eye on my Instagram account as I will definitely be posting some snaps of our travels along the way as well as on the Facebook page. I won't be blogging at all along the way as I plan to be having way too much fun to have time for that, so you'll just have to wait until I get back to hear about all my adventures.
Our route goes:
Brisbane  Los Angeles  Las Vegas
Las Vegas ⛽ Palm Springs
Palm Springs ⛽ San Diego
San Diego New Orleans
New Orleans ⛽ Memphis ⛽ Nashville
Nashville Los Angeles ⛽ Ventura
Ventura ⛽ Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach ⛽ Anaheim
Anaheim ⛽ Los Angeles
Los Angeles Brisbane
Click to enlarge
Until then, be kind to yourselves and I'll see you in a month!

25 July, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: The Giveaway!

Well it's just 2 weeks until we will be up up and away to the good ole US of A and on the road to Tiki Oasis. The anticipation is building and so are the pretty things in my suitcase thanks to the kindness of all the sponsors we've had on board for this feature series. I hope you've enjoyed getting a glimpse into the wild and wonderful world of tiki and the little preview of some of what I'll be wearing poolside at the festival. I know some of you are a bit jealous and to be honest, I can totally understand why. I would be too! So, because I'm not the kind of person who just wants to flaunt this stuff in your face I've decided to do a giveaway!
Everything you've seen me feature in the Road to Tiki Oasis series could be YOURS! That's right, even if you're not off to the San Diego tiki weekender you can still enjoy a tutti fruitti good time. With summer right around the corner you'll be set for when the sun starts to shine and the temperature begins to rise! Sounds pretty good to me, even if I do say so myself! But enough of that, I bet you're wondering what you actually get? Well let me tell you, it's a doozy!

The lucky winner will receive ALL these fantastic prizes!
That's a total prize value of $420!!

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win.


Fine Print: Entrants must leave their email address so they can be contacted if they are the winner. Megan Rizzo polaroids to be redeemed at Brisbane GreazeFest only.Entry open to Australian residents only. Winner will be drawn Friday 1 Aug.  Winner has 48 hours to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be drawn.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for any features in the Road to Tiki Oasis series. Product was provided for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor. I did it to showcase some fantastic local talent because I believe in supporting small businesses and artists. Plus I knew you guys would like it anyway. Win win right? Now I don't have to feel guilty about going and spending a bunch of money on businesses and artists overseas.
Buy local and support small business, ok?

22 July, 2014

Road to Tiki Oasis: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

The final instalment of the Road to Tiki Oasis features (or is it? Oooh mystery!) we’re taking a walk on the wild side with Wayne Hoareau of Wild tHing creations. A carver and ceramics artist from the Gold Coast, Wayne creates unique tiki mugs, carvings and wall art, all done with his bent take on the traditional tiki style. A lover of all things exotic and macabre, Wayne’s freeki art and creepi tiki style is distinctive and truly his own.

When he wasn’t accepted into art college, Wayne began working in music retail in 1988 and didn’t stop for almost 20 years. However when he was made redundant from a long term position in 2009, he reassessed his life and decided to try the arts degree angle again. While waiting for a response from the college, Wayne decided to give a carving a go and hasn’t looked back since. He’s now proud to be what the kids from the western suburbs of Brisbane in the 80s always wanted to be. 

Wild tHing creations was born in August of 2010 with Wayne working out of his house however by April 2011 the operation was booming and he needed to move to a studio and workshop to allow more space for his creations. Unlike most artists, Wayne rarely sketches out his ideas first, rather using the medium he works with to allow the design to emerge. Using the naturally occurring character that each piece of wood possesses, Wayne draws a rough outline and just begins carving. The same can be said of his mugs, which he makes on nothing more than a rough idea and a brief outline, preferring to let his mind control his hands as he sculpts.

Moving into mugs has been particularly productive for Wayne with at least three quarters of his time spent making both commission pieces and his own original designs. Taking up a lot of his time, he experiments with clay slip and earthenware. However wax is also involved and is much easier to carve. Of course, there’s nothing he loves more than getting back into a slab of wood and carving when time permits.

This fine selection of Wild tHing creations’ work includes smaller mugs featuring traditional tiki designs to colourful medium and large sized mugs featuring slightly more cartoon and abstract designs in vibrant colours and Wayne’s trademark freeki tiki style with a large skull-bearing mug created especially for Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant. Each design is unique and is sculpted by hand using a number of carving and sculpting techniques. Each mug is hand glazed both inside and outside and feature a mixture of gloss and matte finishes.

Wild tHing creations can be found at Butter Beats in Southport on the Gold Coast, Feaks Like Us in Nambour, Ruff’n’Ready in Canberra and Two Bit Villains in Adelaide as well as a number of local and independent markets including the upcoming GreazeFest Kustom Kulture Festival in Brisbane. Speaking of GreazeFest, Megan Rizzo Photography will be there too so if you want to be captured in your Sunday best be sure to drop by her photobooth for a tutti frutti polaroid! Megan has been an absolute dream to work with and I am forever indebted to her for capturing such fantastic images to use throughout these features. Another big thank you goes to Rod and Maxine for allowing us to shoot on location in their amazing tiki bar, the Soused Seas.

18 July, 2014

Road to Tiki Oasis: The Thing From The Black Lagoon

What's the Road to Tiki Oasis without some tiki mugs!? The beauty and brains behind Black Lagoon Designs is my friend Danielle, a tiki-o-phile who completely designs, hand sculpts, fires, glazes then markets and sells the amazing ceramic tiki mugs produced under her label. What began as a hobby, Dani has since turned her passion into a business and it’s been amazing watching her grow and expand her designs and client base.

Made from ceramic, the mugs are 100% handmade, durable and hold PLENTY of your favourite drink. Trust me (ouch my head!) Unsurprisingly, Dani's designs are in high demand so her Etsy store is currently sold out but I've heard word from the lady herself that she'll have some pretty new babies restocked soon so be sure to keep your eye out. Until then, join me in drooling over her Facebook page.

The stuff her crazy brain dreams up is pretty awesome and she also happens to make a mean cocktail to go in her tiki mugs. Putting a slightly more feminine spin on the usual tiki mug offerings, the mugs produced by Black Lagoon Designs range in size from these petite pastel shot glasses to the more traditionally-sized tiki mugs capable of holding a bucketful of the best mai tai.
From puffer fish to boneheads, pirates to octopus, pinstripers to head hunters and everything in between there’s a mug to suit your drink of choice. Better yet, Black Lagoon Designs do custom creations so if you’ve got some bizarre idea floating round in your head Dani loves nothing more than to make it a reality. Her mugs generally retail at around $35 but if you want something custom just shoot her a message and she can give you a figure.

Now while I was travelling around the US last year, I collected my fair share of tiki mugs and drooled over plenty more but the designs and stunning glazes that Dani dreams up certainly give them a run for their money. Her designs are beautiful, colourful and inventive and she continues to offer a fresh take on the tiki concept, particularly with newer designs like pink flamingo mugs and these toucan accoutrements. Damn my girl is talented!
And speaking of talented friends, could we ever get sick of the eye candy created by Megan Rizzo Photography!? No. The answer is most definitely no! Shot on location at the Soused Seas, it was great fun losing ourselves in this oasis of cool. Thank you to Rod and Maxine for allowing us to come in and make ourselves at home! A big thank you also goes to Megan for once again not only bringing out the best in me but for capturing the details and gorgeous glazes of these mugs in such fine quality. Cheers!

08 July, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: Kat's Cadillac Hair Flowers

As this is now the third instalment of my Road to Tiki Oasis features, no doubt you've been wondering where on earth I got the stunning hair flowers I've been wearing in the last two features. Dastardly ole me didn't include any information on them in either of the last two posts! Well forgive me, but as I'm sure you'll understand, these beauties are just too divine to be tacked on to another post. They deserve a feature all of their own!

Hand made by Kat's Cadillac Vintage, these stunning artificial hair flowers come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes and can even be custom ordered to suit anything you can dream up. Featuring everything from tropical fruits to a variety of flower species, these beautifully handcrafted flower hair accessories vary from a tropical tiki vibe to pops of sunny spring colour and are the ideal finishing touch to any outfit.
Whether you want to add a touch of vintage glamour to your overall look or want to shake things up Carmen Miranda style, there is just so much variety in size and colour to choose from. If you've got a particular outfit in mind, Kat's Cadillac hair flowers can colour match and design a hair piece to contrast or complement your ensemble.

Made from durable synthetic flowers that won't crumple or fray, these stunning hair flowers absolutely are the Cadillac of the hair flower world (although sold at closer to 1950s prices than most products of a similar quality on the market). Artfully arranged, the hair flowers come backed by a soft felt and large silver alligator clip that fastens securely to your hair and won't slip or slide out of place but also won't damage or pull on your hair.
These versatile clips not only draw an immediate focus for your hair but can also be worn as an eye catching floral statement on clothing and even footwear if you're game. Handmade by my beautiful friend Katrina, these gorgeous hair flowers are designed with an eye for vintage in mind. Having been a dedicated vintage collector for her entire life (she has a whole room in her house filled with amazing vintage treasures and that's not even her personal collection!), Katrina has a deep knowledge of all things vintage. Keep an eye out on the Kat's Cadillac Vintage page for amazing vintage clothing to pair with your hair flowers and strut your stuff as the complete package.

As for me, no doubt I'll be talk of Tiki Oasis sporting these spectacular original handcrafted creations and I can't wait to tell everyone that they're Aussie made! Another spectacular handcrafted original that is Aussie made is Megan Rizzo Photography and once again she has managed to capture all the little details that make these hair flowers and therefore these images special. It was so fun getting flowery and fruity with her and she went above and beyond to make these images really pop, including pulling some impressive poses herself to get her lense right into the action.
I'll leave you now so you can order up a hair flower storm in peace.
You're welcome!

01 July, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: Stars & Swallows

When I put the call out for my Road to Tiki Oasis features, one of the first to jump at the opportunity was long time blog supporters Stars and Swallows. Giving me free reign to jump on their website and choose something I thought would be suitable, it didn’t take me long to decide on the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress. One of the newest arrivals at Stars and Swallows, this colourful cocktail of tropical flora is the perfect outfit for a day of tiki fun in the sun.
Having worn many a Hell Bunny dress in my time, I was confident that this dress would measure up to all the quality and comfort I’ve enjoyed in the past and I wasn’t wrong. I’m an absolute sucker for a halter neck as the bust line it gives is so super flattering, particularly on larger busts. Although sometimes the pitfall of larger busts in halters is the pressure the halter can put on your neck however the ties on the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress are thicker and sturdier than on some of the other Hell Bunny halter dresses and therefore are much more comfortable to wear, particularly for long periods of time. Made from stretch cotton and featuring a centre back zip, the shirring in the side back panels of the bodice ensure a comfortable fit that’s perfect for your size and shape, moulding and stretching with your body.
The design of the dress means that it falls in a nice, full A-line and sits perfectly without a petticoat so if you intend on wearing this beauty in the tropical climates it calls for, you don’t have to worry about sweating under the extra layers of a petticoat. Of course if you’re willing to brave the heat or aren’t lucky enough to be wearing it poolside under the Californian sun, there’s plenty of room for a petticoat to amp things up a notch and make full use of that full skirt. Besides, once you start twirling away (and trust me you won’t be able to stop) you create your own kind of air conditioning.
$69.00 ON SALE - Stars & Swallows

One of the things that struck me the minute I laid eyes on the Maui 50s dress is the beautiful colours popping against the black backdrop. Reminiscent of those famous Polynesian velvet paintings, the colourful flowers and fern print of this dress is practically luminescent. You’ll certainly stand out in this stunner and best of all, with so many colours to work with accessorising is not only fun and versatile, but also cheap if you need it to be as the chances of you already owning some complementary coloured accessories are pretty high.
Still if you feel like splurging and getting a whole range of colourful accessories to match and clash, Stars and Swallows offer everything from tropical tiki bamboo bags to hair accessories, jewellery, petticoats, belts and more. A great way to introduce even more pops of colour, belts help to nip in your waist and create that sexy hourglass shape, or stick to classic black like I did to make it versatile for a night sipping mai tais at the local tiki bar. Don’t forget, it’s all in the details and this adorable tiki mug brooch by Ella Mobbs is the perfect way to say ‘rack em up bar keep’.

I just can’t say enough about the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress and the whole range available at Stars and Swallows. The colours of this dress are even more brilliant in real life and there is just so much opportunity to change this look up every day of the week. I also have to thank Megan Rizzo Photography for capturing this dress and all the little details so beautifully. She has helped to show that the print is far more three dimensional than it looks online as well as the fun and movement that this beauty creates. Mahalo Megan!