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!

25 November, 2014

SUCK EM UP MELBOURNE MAI TAI CRAWL 2014

Well my head has finally stopped hurting from my trip to Melbourne on the weekend. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen a number of snapshots over the weekend of my journey to Melbourne and, the whole reason I was there, the Suck Em Up Melbourne Mai Tai Crawl 2014. Created by Melbourne Tiki-o-phile Careless Navigator, this was the second annual Mai Tai Crawl but was to be my first. Lots of the Unholy Rabble Queensland Ohana made the trip down, as did the Sydney crew and the local turnout was also fantastic. It was like a little Tiki Oasis reunion!
 
 
Beginning at The Beaufort with a bit of a sip and shop, the festivities kicked off at 12 noon. The atmosphere was awesome with so many happy faces and friends being reunited. Some of the local and interstate tiki creative were selling their wares including tiki mugs, pendants, hand carved statues, bracelets, aloha wear and even some vintage vinyl. Not to mention the official crawl t-shirts, mugs and other ephemera. Zombies, Mai Tais, Jerry & Cherry's and whole host of other delicious tiki cocktails were consumed to the exotic sounds of the sitar which just managed to make itself heard over the cacophony of happiness and fun. I had to remember to pace myself to ensure I'd make it to the 2am finish time. Yep 12 noon til 2 am drinking Mai Tai's, now you know why my head hurt!

Image by Paul Fiddes
Side Note: This is the first time I'd ever been to The Beaufort and it was awesome! The area we were in featured cute wooden tables and chairs and astroturf! It was like a cute little beer garden in the comfort of the indoors. We also ate here and the food was amazing!! Great wings, awesome pork ribs and a beef rib that is to die for!! It's so hard to find good ribs (in Brisbane anyway) so I was really impressed! The place had a great vibe and the staff were wonderful, very friendly and somehow managed to stay on top of things despite all the people and craziness. The next time I'm in Melbourne I will definitely be back!

Image by Paul Fiddes
At about 5pm we wandered on down to The LuWow, a firm Melbourne favourite of mine. Despite all my travels in the USA, The LuWow still remains one of the best tiki bars I've been to in my opinion. Run by Skipper Josh, the guy is amazing! Him and his wife Babs have lead such interesting lives and have been responsible for a number of killer bars here and overseas including Deville's Pad in Perth (although no longer run by them). We started in the Island Village to refill our mai tais, grab a booth and nibble on some pupu platters that were very generously put on for us. Then it was time to move into the Forbidden Temple for Skipper Josh to deliver the talk he also gave at Tiki Oasis. Having been lucky enough to be there the first time, we floated between the two.

 
Shortly after, the Nuholani Wahines welcomed us with a hip shaking performance before the Tiki Pop movie was screened. After DJ Jumpin Josh spun some tunes, a burlesque troupe called the Itty Bitty Titty Committee also performed. I was in the Island Village when the burlesque was on but many of the men in the crowd reliably informed me it was good. Next the GoGo Goddesses took to the stage to keep things pumping. Not that the crowd needed any encouragement! It was about 10pm by this stage and we were all well on our way to drunk town haha The headline act was INTOXICA a fun band that blended surf music with a bit of rock, blues and rockabilly for a thoroughly good time.
 

The rest of the night was a blur of mai tais, DJs and silly photos. Although there was one other cool thing that happened...My friends Danielle of Black Lagoon Designs and her man Evan of Johnny Voodoo's Barber Shop GOT ENGAGED!!! How exciting! It was so wonderful and they are such a perfect couple, I am so happy for them. It's rare to see two people who so clearly adore each other so much and who are just made to be together. They are the best couple! I will admit, I may have teared up a little.
 
 
I have to say a HUGE thank you to Rohan and Tan for putting together such a fantastic day. It was my first time meeting them in person and they are just such lovely people! I know they put a lot of work in to organise everything, just so that we could all have a great time. I'm also super grateful to the staff at The Beaufort for being so cool about everything, it really was the perfect place to get things started and line our stomachs. And of course, a big thanks to Skipper Josh for being such a cool cat and making sure we were all looked after and everything went so smoothly. I can't believe how lucky I am to know so many fun, generous, talented, super cool people. I also want to say a big thank you to Tiki Dylans Idol Hands for being super sweet and gifting me a beautiful wooden bracelet that he hand carved. I don't, however, thank him for all his attempts to stick his tentacle up my nose haha 
 
You can bet your sweet bippy I'll be back for this again next year! I only wish it wasn't so far away!

11 November, 2014

Tattoo Tuesday: Pink Elephants on Parade

Yep, it's that time again and boy do I have a Tattoo Tuesday for you! This one has been in the works for a while. This tattoo really is a culmination of a number of life influences, beginning way back in my childhood to collide with a number of vintage and current lifestyle influences. You see as a child, I had an elephant stuffed toy that I just LOVED. Not just any elephant stuffed toy, but a PINK elephant! Man, I loved that thing so hard. Since growing up, my fondness for elephants remains (in fact there is an elephant safari lodge in Bali that I really want to visit, where you can help bathe them, take them on walks, etc). But I digress.
  
As I grew up and became interested in the rockabilly and kustom kulture lifestyle and began searching for vintage items and collectibles I started to come across glasswear and kitsch little serving trays bearing adorable pink elephant patterns. Pin Up Girl Clothing even released dresses made from a pink elephant fabric for goodness sake! And then, one of my very favourite artists, Shag, began a whole collection of artworks based around pink elephants. THEN I actually got to meet Shag at Tiki Oasis AND I bought a pink elephant tiki mug from Tiki Tony. The signs were adding up!
 

Shag - Pink Elephants


 
So, what's the significance of pink elephants you ask? Well, pink elephants are a euphemism for drunken hallucinations. Lets face it, we all know I like a good drink. Think back to your childhood, do you remember that psychedelic scene in the Disney movie Dumbo, when the wee little elephant drinks from a bucket of water spiked with champagne? Let me refresh your memory.
 
 
So with all this swirling around in my mind and some of the pink elephant fate yet to come, I asked The Pizz to draw me up something while he was out here in June for Cooly Rocks On. The life of a travelling artist is a busy one, so it was only last week that my artwork arrived but I booked in for my tattoo straight away.
 
Artwork by The Pizz
I knew fellow Beatnik Mark 'Suicide' of Voodoo Tattoo would do a great job and I certainly wasn't wrong. He banged this out in just an hour and a half yesterday and (I've said it before and I'll say it again) his shading is AMAZING! I changed a couple of colours here and there so there wasn't TOO much pink, but I absolutely love it!! The colours in it are amazing as it is, but I can't wait to see how they come up once it's all healed. I contemplated waiting until it was healed to post it, but I'm so in love with it I just couldn't wait to share! I'll be sure to post a pic of it once it's all healed though.
 
Isn't it just perfection!? It's on the outside of my right calf and is a great size, while still leaving plenty of room for more tattoos - yay! She's so pretty and I love that she is holding a tiki mug! I must admit I've seen my fair share of pink elephants after spending too much time at the tiki bar.
 
So, what should I name her?

30 October, 2014

Jungle Rum Tease


Last Thursday night Jungle played host to it's first ever Rum Tease - a burlesque night with a tropical tiki twist. I was lucky enough to be invited along and I couldn't wait to get back into some of Jungle's tasty cocktails. Being a Thursday night the bar wasn't as packed as a weekend, which was good because it offered the perfect, intimate atmosphere for a night of hip-shakin wahines.


With performances by Miss BB Le Buff and Frankie Mae Felon, the cocktail menu featured a refreshing summer-inspired cocktail in honour of both ladies. The 'BB Le Buff' was a delicious tiki take on a summer slushy that featured fresh blue berries and was as creamy as the skin of the lovely lady herself. The 'Frankie Mae' proved that good things come in small packages or in this case, glasses, with a sweet yet punchy passion fruit flavour.


As usual, the bar was spinning great tunes in between acts, playing everything from traditional Hawaiian sounds to psychedelic surf, rockabilly and even some classic 50s hits thrown in to the mix. The crowd was welcoming, with strangers quickly becoming friends and I managed to enjoy the company of some friends both new and old. It was the perfect prelude to the weekend, and that was even before the burlesque started!


But onto that, the performances began with Miss BB Le Buff where things got a little weird, in the best possible way. Bumping and grinding her way from restless native to flower bedecked honey, Ms Buff got the night off to a cheeky start. Getting her tiki torch on, Miss Frankie Mae Felon wrapped things up with an enchanting act that incorporated fire breathing! Draped in thin cloth and with a midriff that set the room on fire, Ms Felon gave us what we wanted, but left us wanting more.

 
That's where I stand on the new Rum Tease nights at Jungle. Wanting more. It's the perfect way to get your weekend started a little early and is lots of fun, whether you're drinking or driving. I managed to enjoy a couple of excellent cocktails despite the fact I had to drive but I urge you to find a Designated Dave if you can, the cocktails at Jungle are simply too good to deny.

 
Great for a girls night out, a fun date night alternative or just to get the gang together, Jungle's new Rum Tease events are a tantalising way to spend your Thursday night and I for one can't wait until the next one! I'll be sure to keep you updated on any future Rum Tease events. Better yet, why not like them on Facebook and keep track for yourself? Aside from Rum Tease, they host a number of other regular events like Tiki Halloween this Friday! Unfortunately I can't make it so you'll just have to tell me how much fun it was!

 I'll see you next time at the bar! 

05 October, 2014

Danger DeLux - What's In My Make Up Bag



Today I'm being featured over at Danger DeLux talking about what's in my make up bag. Natasha is the brains and beauty behind this Canadian Rockabilly and Pin Up Lifestyle blog. I've been following her blog since it's very early days and it's been such a pleasure to see her grow and evolve into the classy little space on the interwebs that she's carved out for herself. She's a total go getter and I find her drive and motivation really inspiring. She also owns a gorgeous little French Bulldog called Cherry and I love seeing all the beautiful pictures of the two of them together.

Photo by Hello June Photography
The make up bag feature is such a great idea! I'd been mulling over doing something similar on my blog here when Natasha got in contact with me to ask if she could feature me - talk about WIN WIN! I put a lot of thought into it though, so I think I might have gone on a bit. Oh well, I wanted to give plenty of info on the products I use, I always find that type of thing handy when I'm looking at buying new cosmetics.

Anyway, go check it out! Don't forget to follow Danger DeLux

02 October, 2014

Head V Heart



I try to live in my heart, but I must admit I am also a bit of an over-thinker, so I often spend a lot of time in my head, mulling things over and thinking about the what-ifs and the what does it means. Most of the time this isn’t a bad thing as I have a fairly naturally positive attitude and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. But occasionally something will get to me and I become a bit of a Negative Nancy, at least in my own head anyway. I’m not one to lay it all out on social media or post cryptic status updates hoping someone will see it in a passive aggressive attempt at gaining sympathy.

But that’s not to say that sometimes in my head I don’t rail against everything and stand on a mental clifftop, shouting out into the ether. In fact, I was doing this just the other day as I was working out, using the anger and hurt I was feeling to push myself harder physically and get rid of all that pent up emotion. You see, I was feeling angry and hurt by someone who purports themselves as my friend but lately hasn’t been a very good one. Ignoring me, leaving me hanging when it comes to plans and just generally being crappy and selfish. I had been left hanging that very day without so much as a word from this person and I was PISSED. So I took myself off to blow off some steam powering up the hill next to my street.

Although the physical release had made me feel a little better, the time spent in silence on my own also had me disappearing into my own head and thinking thinking thinking. I had gone from anger to hurt (which is where anger usually comes from) and from there, rather than thinking of this persons actions as a reflection of themselves (which it is) I had internalised it and in my mind, made it a reflection of me. I was not worth their time. Not worthy. Ouch. It stung. And as I trudged home up my street, I was feeling pretty low. Lost in my thoughts, I almost didn’t notice two little girls playing on their drive way until I was upon them. They were two Muslim little girls, a younger one and a slightly older one. They were speaking in a language I didn’t understand and as I crossed their driveway they stopped playing and fell silent. I thought to myself I must have looked a sight with my pink and purple hair and tattoos, red-faced and puffing my way along.

As soon as I was off their drive way, the younger one turned to the older one and said ‘she’s beautiful’.  My heart almost burst! I almost burst into tears. It was such a lovely little moment, and it completely brought me out of my head and out of my mood and back into my heart, where I knew that things would sort themselves out, that it was in no way a reflection of me and that some people are just like that you have to either learn to live with it and adjust your expectations accordingly or cut them out of your life. This person is just one of those people. Always has been and I dare say always will be. So for now, I don’t expect much from them and I won’t be disappointed. However, I’m so greatful for the kind and innocent words from that little girl for completely turning my day around. It was such a great reminder of how easily we can twist things in our heads and lose ourselves in negativity.

How do you remind yourself when lost in negative thoughts manufactured by your own brain?

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!

Vegas

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

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.

 

Nashville

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

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!

 

Huntington

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.

 

Anaheim

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!

 

L.A

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!