Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baby Doe von Stroheim: Party Planning Mastermind

2011 was my very first time attending Tiki Oasis in San Diego.  I found out about the event initially through of all places.  I was in search of a Tiki Bar in San Diego and came across reviews for the annual gathering which, little did I know, took place right in my backyard.  The event has become a climax for each year for me and I look forward to the event all year long, count down the days, and outfit plan.  I can't tell you how many times I use the excuse "I could wear this to Tiki Oasis" when making vintage or thrift purchases.  I went on a whim, met some incredible gals, and had an amazing first experience.  I felt like I was at home and right where I needed to me with people who shared in my same passion!  It's an event I love to share and invite newcomers to join every year since first attending.  I volunteered for my first time last year and loved having a hand (as little as it was) to helping contribute to this amazing event.  The event is the brain child of Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim.  They put so much time and effort into creating this spectacular tiki extravaganza.  Below is my interview with Baby Doe in which she shares some incredible insight and behind the scene stories about the formulation and producing efforts by both her and her husband.

Suz - When did your fascination for Tiki begin? Do you remember your first memory of being exposed to tiki?

Baby Doe - Growing up in Southern California I grew up with many tiki influences.  I have fond memories of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and once a year for my cousin's birthday we would get to enjoy dinner at Kelbo's.  I loved the sweet fruity drinks and the mysterious atmosphere and we would all giggle as our Uncle Rocky would, without a doubt at some point in the evening, yell out "Who turned off the lights?".  My sister was the first in our family to start collecting Tiki stuff back in the 1980's.  I was a huge thrift store shopper and every time I would find something Tiki related I would save it to give to her.  By 1990 my sister said she had too much Tiki stuff and needed to make room for her other collections!  I kept finding more and more cheap Tiki items so if I found something Tiki that I liked I would just hang onto it.  Mostly it was mugs but I would also collect records, clothing, and other knick knacks.  I wasn't all that picky at the time.  When I started a website in 1994 I knew that I wanted to include an element of Tiki.  I called the website "Baby Doe's Obsessed" and featured people's Tiki mug collections.  Around that time I was a big zine nut and when Tiki News came out I flipped!  There were other people just like me?!  Little did I know the editor would become my husband just a few years later!

Suz - Do you have a vintage item or tiki item that you cherish the most? Favorite vintage outfit?

Baby Doe - I am a vintage hoarder!  I really love stuff from the 50's-60's and it is hard for me to not want to collect just about anything Tiki or non-Tiki from those era's.  As for my most cherished Tiki item hummmmm....I have so much Tiki stuff I adore so this is not an easy one for me to answer.  I guess from living in San Francisco for 21 years I would have to say that the Tiki Bob mug is a fave mug and I love the history of Tiki Bob's; they used to host daytime lingerie fashion shows!  To be honest, I am not such a hardcore vintage mug collector as I used to be.  I have a hard time paying top dollar for Tiki mugs after finding them for years for so cheap in thrift stores and estate sales so now I collect mostly non-mug items like clothing, paper items like napkins, art, etc.  When it comes to clothing I really love the 60's fashions the best and I have lot of dresses, pant suits, swimsuits, hats and purses for Tiki Oasis.  Even though our in-home Tiki bar is maxed out there is always something else to pick up and collect!

Suz - How did your event Tiki Oasis come about?

Baby Doe - The first Tiki Oasis was to give exposure to the Caliente Tropics in Palm Springs.  Pete Moruzzi convinced the owners to keep the hotel in a Tiki theme during a remodel.  To prove this was worth the risk he asked Otto and Sven and other top Tiki folks to get involved and help throw a big party at the motel.  Sven showed one of his brilliant slide shows, Otto provided the exotica soundtrack and Kevin Kidney projected an episode of Hawaiian Eye while everyone lounged in the pool because it was over 100 degrees; the first "Dive-in Movie" was born!  Since Otto and I had already been throwing Tiki events in San Francisco and love throwing events we decided to do it again the next year and just never stopped.

Suz - Did you ever imagine that it would become what it is today having only had 50 attendees at your very first gathering?

Baby Doe - We didn't expect for the event to expand and grow the way it did; truly it all happened organically.  At first, it just seemed like a good excuse for a yearly family vacation in Palm Springs and to stay at the Caliente Tropics!  Over time we added bands, Tiki carvers, and other elements we like and each year the event grew just a bit more and more!  Planning parties is addictive!  We plan it, people come out, enjoy it and we want you to do it again!

Suz - What is your role in Tiki Oasis and how is it working with your husband so closely?

Baby Doe - The first Tiki Oasis I was pregnant with our first son (we joke that he was one of the few to be at every Tiki Oasis!) and our second son was born in 2005  so in those early years, with such young kids, I was involved more behind the scenes and helping with the planning pre-event.  At the time I really had my hands full with chasing kids, my full-time day job, running my dance group and producing the huge international convention Tease-O-Rama.  When we moved Tiki Oasis to San Diego in 2006 we saw the potential to make the event much bigger and experiment with other ideas to expand the experience.  For example, we had wanted to add symposiums for years just like we did with Tease-O-Rama starting in 2001 but we didn't have the facility until we moved the event to San Diego.  It was with the move to San Diego that I took a much bigger role in the planning and execution of the event.  Today Otto and I blend over in most of our roles but overall he is the artistic visionary for the event.  He says "let's do a car show",  and I figure out how to make it happen.  We work on just about everything together but we each have our strengths and we each have our challenges and we try to balance it all out.  Every night we have our "Tiki Oasis Hours" which is after we do our day jobs and get our kids to bed so our usual working time is 9pm-Midnight seven days a week.  It is a lot of non-stop work for us all year long.

Suz - Do you have plans for expanding the event in the future? Adding more days, events, etc...

Baby Doe - We are always looking to expand the experience that people have at Tiki Oasis.  We are at our capacity for the location we are at but we are always constantly looking for ways to improve upon the event.  We are very happy with the current location at the Crowne Plaza as the staff is extremely easy to work with and very supportive.  We hope to keep the event at this location and just continue to experiment with new offerings.

Suz - What has been your favorite theme so far?  What are some of the other themes you hope to pursue for future events?

Baby Doe - People LOVE to give us a hard time about the themes.  It is actually a joke amongst all our friends who like to berate us with ridiculous themes to consider.  Of course, the theme of Tiki Oasis really is TIKI every year we just add a fun little something that we are interested in exploring.  Usually it is the music that helps to form a theme but sometimes it is just something that touches the genre of Tiki.  We have had so many great themes over the years that I can't really think of which one is my favorite!  A few of my favorite memories.....I loved the art show for South of the Border where we gave the artists unpainted ceramic burros and pigs to paint. For the spy year I enjoyed hosting a scavenger hunt starting out with 100 people and in the end only one person had found the key to unlock a box on stage and was awarded with a golden Tiki.  This year we plan to cover a lot of items in tin foil for our current theme "Yesterday's Future, Today", the themes overall keep an element of the unexpected at the event.

Suz - What has been your favorite performance in all the years you have been hosting this event?

Baby Doe - Preston Epps is by far one of my most favorite performances at Tiki Oasis.  Otto and I produced an event in 1999 in San Francisco called "Bongo's by the Bay" where Epps was the headliner.  It felt full circle to have him come and perform at Tiki Oasis and man oh man, can he still hit that bongo!

Suz - Are there any performers or bands that you hope to have play your event in the future?

Baby Doe - The list is a mile long! We will continue to book the top bands doing exotica and surf.  We especially enjoy booking legends from the past but we are always looking to add acts that are a bit unexpected.

(The Phantom Surfers)

Suz - What advice do you have for first time attendees?

Baby Doe - Dress colorfully, drink lots of water, browse the marketplace, check out the symposiums, dance, and say hello to others because people at Tiki Oasis are friendly!

(Me (SweetieSuz) getting my intake of a much needed water break at Tiki Oasis 2013)

Suz - What are your hopes or goals for the future of Tiki Oasis?

Baby Doe - My hope is for Otto and I to keep producing and event that we would like to attend.  If we want to be there and experience it and we are true to the core of what we like, we will continue to enjoy the event and our goal of happiness will be always realized!

Dave and I have already bought our tickets (which went on sale early April) and are finalizing our plans for our trip back to San Diego (since we moved in August 2014) for this year's gathering which takes place August 13th through the 16th of this year.  Hope to see you there!

Please make sure you check out their website here for more information about the event and a big thank you to Baby Doe and Otto for all that you do in creating this amazing event!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thrift Blog: April-May 2015

It has been a long time since I have typed up a thrift blog as I have been sharing a majority of my vintage finds on my Instagram page (thesweetiesuz).  I had some luck this last month and thought these pieces deserved a blog.

I found this brocade gold and black wiggle dress at a local thrift shop.  I think I paid four dollars for it.  The dress is still on the small side for what I currently fit into but I am working on that.  I'm already three inches down and plan to drop more!

Dave and I of course went thrift hunting while we were in Los Angeles earlier this month.  I had the great fortune of finding this beautiful navy blue rayon 1940's dress at an Goodwill shop in Long Beach, CA for four dollars!  I can't believe the condition of this dress!  There are no holes, no signs of aging, the seams are still strong, and the beads are all intact! It fits but I'm reserving this for very special occasions due to its age.

The label on the dress reads as "Matinee Original".  I did some research online but didn't come up with any helpful information.  If you know anything about this brand please do share!

We went to a friend's wedding in Eagle Rock, CA, while we were in Los Angeles, and had a little over an hour to spare before we had to be at the wedding venue.  We went thrift store shopping of course!  I found this beautiful vintage silk kimono jacket which was marked down to two dollars.

My good fortune continued at the same shop when I stumbled across this vintage quilted lounge coat from Evelyn Pearson.  I just love the color!

The last item I picked up at the same shop in Eagle Rock was this beautiful pink and purple bermuda style handbag for $2.00. I just loved the stitching details.  I believe it is handmade as there is no label or trace of a prior existing label.

This fantastic vintage cocktail tie was my last find in Los Angeles.  I actually purchased this for $2.00 at an Out of the Closet store in Santa Monica the morning before we left to fly back home to Oregon.  

The next few items are thrift finds from nearby where I live in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon.  I spotted this novelty print skirt in the swimsuit section.  It's driving me nuts because I was sure my mom had a matching shirt because I swear I have seen this material print before.  The skirt is handmade and is actually too big for me.  I'm waiting to loose some more weight and then I will have it adjusted to fit me properly.  I just love this print!

I spotted this Korea tourist jacket, circa 1980's, at a "as is" Goodwill shop.  There was some loose material under the armpits but it's an easy fix and worth the $1.00 I initially ended up paying for it.  I just love the dragon design on the back.

I'm saving the best for last of course.  If you follow me on Instagram then you may have already seen these.  I was actually at a street fair in downtown Medford with my parents.  We stumbled into an Antiques store that was near the street fair on the request of my Dad.  I bought these capri gold lame' pants for a mere $15!!!  I still cannot believe I purchased them for such a low price.  They are three inches too small but I'm working on it!  I'm eating healthier, cooking a lot more at home and eating out less and working out at gym or doing blogilaties at home at least four to five days a week!  My goal is to wear these pants to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender next year.  I have 11 more months to do it.....and I will!

Till' Next Time,


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Los Angeles May 2015 Trip

A few weeks ago Dave and I flew to Los Angeles, California to attend our friend Mike and Angie's wedding (See previous blog).  We arrived at LAX airport late at night.  It was a nice homecoming as it gave us a chance to visit friends and family that we have been missing since our move to Oregon.

On Friday we drove to Los Feliz, had brunch at a very cute cafe called Home. Check out their website here.  It was definitely worth it with great customer service and yummy food.  After we finished our delicious brunch we headed just across the street to the salon where I had a haircut and style scheduled with my friend and fellow blogger Missy (Technicolor Cutie).   

Missy did an amazing job on my noggin and I highly recommend her!  If you are interested in scheduling her for your next hair appointment you can schedule an appointment online here!

After my hair appointment with Missy we then ventured onto Huntington Beach where we would be meeting friends from San Diego at Don the Beachcomber for a mini reunion.  We first stopped in at Hula Girls Shave Ice where I promptly got my dole whip craving satisfied!  You have to check out Hula Girls Shave Ice if you are ever in Huntington Beach.  We actually bumped into the owner's husband Jason and had a nice chat and he showed us some ohana love by giving us a pint of dole whip to share with our friend's.  Check them out online here

We arrived at Don the Beachcomber and the fun night began!

It was bittersweet to see everyone knowing that this would be a short visit but I'm glad everyone that came was able to put aside some time to visit with us while we were in the area.  Here I am with the lovely Vanessa.

Dave and his brother from another mother Jonny B!

My cousin Jill and I.

Me and my thrift sister Rosalynn.

Eleanora and I!

Dave, Ivan and Eleanora!

Dave, Jonny and Vanessa.

I was excited that my Uncle Don and Aunt Carla were able to come as well as I hadn't seen them since the wedding.  We decided that our visit was too short and that brunch on Sunday would need to happen.

Dave got peer pressured to go on stage and play the tambourine as part of his "birthday boy" duties. He actually celebrated his 30th birthday a few weeks prior but we considered this a belated birthday gathering as well.

Sunday was our last day in Los Angeles.  We spent the day with Dave's Mom Ana and her fiance' Rob.  We found out that they set their wedding date so we will be back in Los Angeles a few months from now for their wedding!  We had booked our flight home later in the evening so we were able to enjoy most the day with them.  Here are Ana and I on a morning walk to brunch.

Dave and his mom Ana.

Ana and Rob.

My Uncle Don and Aunt Carla joined us for brunch as well. In fact it was my Uncle's suggestion that we have brunch at this specific restaurant; Casablanca Restaurant.

This Mexican restaurant has been in business for more than 30 years.  The restaurant is filled with movie posters and movie memorabilia related to the 1942 film "Casablanca".  There was even a wax Humphrey Bogart statue!

They have amazingly good handmade tortillas!!!  They were so good and came with an equally good green salsa that had cilantro, cheese, and avocado.  That alone will bring me back.  Their brunch menu was very affordable and came with not only your main dish but with your choice of bottomless bloody mary's, sangria, or mimosa's!  And to finish the meal off you also received flan for dessert.

We are excited to return for Ana and Rob's wedding!  We of course did some vintage and thrift shopping while we were there.  I will be sharing my finds in a separate blog which you can look for next week.

Till' Next Time,


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Rosenberg Wedding, Eagle Rock, California May 2, 2015

Last weekend Dave and I flew to Los Angeles, CA for the wedding of our two friends Mike and Angie.  I met Angie several years ago when I first attended Tiki Oasis in San Diego and we have been friends ever since.  She was there the same nights that I met my husband Dave and was present (completely by chance) at the Bali Hai when Dave proposed to me.  Because of all her special present moments in my life we were sure to have her marry us when we got married last June.  When she got engaged I had told her I would be happy to pay the favor back by doing the same but luckily they had other plans and I dodged that public humiliation! (I don't do well in front of crowds)

The wedding was held in Eagle Rock, CA at the Women's Twentieth Century Club.  It was a truly beautiful spot to be married and the weather was gorgeous.

The building was vintage Craftsman style and was built in 1915 and considered No. 537 for the City of Los Angeles historic cultural monuments.

Everything was beautifully decorated! And did I already say the weather was beautiful?

The wedding ceremony was held outside in the yard just next to the venue.

And the reception was held inside the beautiful art deco decorated venue.

I loved her coral wedding colors and Polynesian floral choices.

The tables were labeled with Polynesian Islands as opposed to numbers.  Genius!  We sat at the Tonga table section.

This is a beautiful mural of Eagle Rock as it used to be.  My Uncle was telling us that the piece of the rock that looked like an eagle fell off a few years ago.

Their cake was beautiful and delicious!  It came from Porto's in Burbank, CA.

We arrived early to help set up but they didn't end up needing our help so we just sat back and relaxed and roamed around the venue.

I wore a 80's Hawaiian dress I thrifted a few months back.  The flowers in my hair were actually made for me by Angie for my wedding.

Getting there early has some perks as we got to pick out our seats for the ceremony and we got to visit with some of our friends that are mutual friends of Angie and Mike.  Here I am with my friends Natalie and Le'Ana.

Lisa and I.

Natalie and I were the "fan girls". I'm so happy I remembered to pack this as it got hot with all the fun dancing!

Dave with our friends Ken (who was DJing the wedding) and our friend Paul.

I loved that their signature drink was a Mai Tai!  These were dangerously good.

After the rest of the guests arrived we took our seats and it was time to start the wedding.

Here comes the Bride!!!

Angie's daughter Leanna, who was also the Maid of Honor, was so beautiful!

As were the Bride and Groom.

Angie smoochin' her Smoochie (aka Mike)!

Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg!

I love this action shot!

Ken is ready to put on some good tunes!  I think I was less drunk off the drinks I had then I should have been because I burned it off on the dance floor.

They are too cute!

Everyone breakin' it down on the dance floor!

Cake cutting time!

One last photo of the four of us before we headed home for the evening.

I was so happy to be a part of my friend Angie's big day!  I love her and Mike so much and wish them nothing but the best in their new journey together as husband and wife.

Till' Next Time,