Tiffany and Brendan tied the knot at the exclusive Deux Belettes country guesthouse in the northern NSW hinterland last month.

A beautiful ceremony and fun reception filled with rose petals, black and white lace style decor, cupcakes, balls of roses with Phalaenopsis orchids and one hell of a ribbon mobile centerpiece.

Congratulations to the happy couple who have just returned from their honeymoon to New Zealand. We wish you the best of happiness and the brightest of futures together!

Tiffany and Brendan wedding highlights here

Centerpiece (available for hire) and decor by Paradise Brides. All floristry by Flowers in Paradise.


Andele! Andele!

Its that time of year again, when Brisbane’s entertainment precinct explodes in a mass of colour, people and sound. Held over 2 days and 2 nights starting on the Friday, the Valley Fiesta hosts a slew of local and national musicians and performances. This year the crown is topped by Born Renegades hiphop showcase including The Optimen, Eloquence and Truths, Pure Product, Seven, Vegas Aces and Prophet Rayza.

Best of all, its free!

For program guides for music, art fashion and food, check the site Valley Fiesta


What is there really to say about it? Its Disneyland. You cant really hate on the “happiest place in the world” can you? Sure the lines are miles long and prams/strollers out number people but you’ve gotta be dead inside if you don’t want to don some mouse ears and skip everywhere you go!

Firstly, some advice on planning your day. Once you’ve decided that you’re going, or your girlfriend/kids have nagged you so much you just want to shut them up :p you need to decide where you want to go and for how long. For the uninitiated Disneyland consists of 2 theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure. Disneyland is the classic Disney character affair while Cal Adventure is all the thrill rides and is targeted to the bigger kids. With only a day to spare and a gaping hole in my childhood we went with the classic.

California Adventure park

The best way to get some kind of discount is to prepurchase your tickets and get it combined with a “tour”, which is basically pick up and drop off from your hotel or one of many pick up points. There are so many of these companies and they make a lot of stops so you wont have any problems getting to and from your hotel. We went with VIP Tours who picked up from our door at Double Trees Santa Monica, all inclusive tickets (travel and entry) were around $100USD. There’s even bigger savings if you get multi-day multi-venue passes, shop around, you’re bound to find something. Also keep an eye out at certain times of the year, even Disney has coupon specials.

An additional feature is the Disney Fastpass. Basically you pay a premium so you can jump the queue. Possibly worthwhile if you only have one day and want to ride as many rides as you can but otherwise we couldn’t justify the cost since it only works at certain times for each ride, times are posted at ride entrances and of course you’ll be competing with the thousands of others who thought the same thing.

For ideas on the best days to visit, there really isn’t too much difference as its always packed. Obviously, avoiding school holidays, weekends and the warmer months will give you some relief but expect between 15-30min average wait time and up to 45-60min on some of the popular rides. Also take note of their park hours schedule, rides can be closed for maintenance and some don’t open in the colder months. The schedule also shows special seasonal events like Halloween etc.

While the lines and the sheer number of people is quite daunting, they are very efficient at handling everything the masses can throw at them and all with a big smile. From the fleet carpark shuttle “trains” and the wall of entry booths to the cleverly designed cattle runs for queuing, its clear that its all been fined tuned after many years of capacity crowds. While a lot of the time it can seem futile, most of the masses move reasonably quickly and orderly, as far as “festival” crowds go anyway.

Disneyland shuttle

So you’ve made it through the gates, the first thing you’ll notice is the bright vibrant colours of everything and the quirky shapes of buildings and fixtures and a melodic unmistakable soundtrack playing almost subliminally over the PA system. Take a moment to soak it all in, it may be the last bit of peace you get all day :p plus you’ve got planning to do.

Some people are happy to just wander around the park and check things out but due to the size of the venue and the spaghetti layout you’ll more than likely miss more than you see. A high recommendation is to, at the very least, grab the daily performance times and a map and make a few pokes at it with a stick (with accompanied four finger direction pointing of course).

Its also a time to make note of when and where the performances are and whether you’ll get to them in time for a good vantage point. Also consider grabbing a bite to eat at the cafΓ©/sandwich bar at the entrance before kicking off, this will help you last pass the normal lunch times and hopefully miss some of the lunch rush.

Mickey with marching band

We chose to make a rough anti clockwise zig zag, taking notice of queue times, posted at the entrance and end of queue points at all rides, as we went. In this direction our main priority was the Buzz Lightyear ride, but not before we ran into Mickey’s marching band in Main street. The wait time listed at Buzz Lightyear was 25min but we were through in just over 15min. As you enter the ride, like many of the rides, they have incorporated part of it with the waiting queue, to keep you occupied with a sense of “almost there!”, definitely a welcome for those with impatient kids. It also adds to the flow and “storyline” of the ride. In this case it was characters from the movies and a full size Buzz animatron giving a mission briefing, “blah blah blah, kill zorg, blah blah To infinity and beyond!”. No probs Buzz, shoot the hell out of everything, gotcha!

Buzz Lightyear ride

Now, normally I’m all up for taking out aliens with a eyeball blinding barcode reader gun but with such elaborate and lifelike scenery and characters, I lasered with my left and shot (with my camera) with the right.
Photo tip: If you’re thinking of doing the same prepare to use extremely high ISO, I’m talking up to 256000 if your camera can do it, to help your shutter speed manage the movement from the ride and the targets. Also be ready to lose pitifully on the scoreboard!

Buzz Lightyear ride

A cool feature on leaving the ride is being able to email an in-game photo of yourself from the ride’s photo booth in the gift shop.

The Buzz Lightyear ride is of course part of Tomorrow Land so you also have all the classic rides like Space Mountain but of course with the classics come the long wait times, most hovering round the 60min mark.


If you have kids, there’s a Pad Wan Jedi class, complete with light saber and Mace Windu look alike instructor. No Natalie Portman but the Dads will have no complaints about her stand-ins, if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰

Jedi training


Next up, Fantasyland, Toontown and more!

Disneyland 2010 part #1 here

Complete Disneyland gallery here


Finally a street press publication that is dedicated to electronic music has landed in Brisbane!

For those that haven’t ventured south of the border, 3D World is a Sydney based street press magazine focusing on electronic music and has been doing the rounds for more than 20years. As part of their expansion, they have now opened offices in Brisbane and Melbourne where they will continue to shine a light on the local scene with interviews, reviews and gripping editorials.

First of the weekly issues hit the stands at the usual places last Wednesday. Grab your copy now!


So an era has come to an end. Brisbane’s top level of the Empire Hotel, the Moonbar closed its doors for the last time along with the rest of the building for what some would say, much needed renovations. The rebirth has been rumored as about a year, in the meantime you can chase some of the Empire’s regular night in the Uncle lounge of the Family Nightclub.

Peo De Pitte at Moonbar photos here

Santa Monica pier

If you’re staying in Santa Monica, its only natural that you find yourself making a bee line to the Santa Monica pier, thanks partly due to its ferris wheel beacon. The wheel is accompanied by a small group of amusement park rides and “side show alley” type games. There are also a few restaurants/eateries including Bubba Gump Shrimp (yes the one and the same), souvenir shops and a historic display case to mark the end of the famous Route 66.

We were expecting some spectacular sunrises while we were there with the cooler mornings and clear days, unfortunately the one morning we dragged ourselves out of bed at 4am it was completely fogged over. Not only that, it continued right into the early afternoon! We had never seen anything like it. The fog casted a blueish tone over everything, and with the odd sign board creaking, it definitely added to the eerie deserted boardwalk at that time of the morning. We were just waiting to catch a glimpse of a shadow of a zombie scurrying between the carts of the rollercoaster! Lol

Santa Monica pier

By chance, our stay coincided with the LA marathon (could be why the breakfast buffet was full of people in shorts while it was < 10C outside) so there was some setting up of the festivities for the finish line party on the beach as well as a war memorial for fallen soldiers. [caption id="attachment_571" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="War memorial Santa Monica pier"][/caption]

Photo ops: end of the pier looking back at the ferris wheel, on the amusement park side shooting the pier, down on the beach below the pier and also back on the road just north looking down over the pier and beach. This time of morning is probably the only time you get to see the paths and boardwalk relatively empty as well.

While the beach area is by no means vast and you can leisurely walk down and back in a few hours, it doesn’t beat the fun and convenience of hiring a bicycle to get around. I recommend Sea Mist Rentals, one of the cheapest places, yet the quality of the bicycles are still well above average. For $6/hour or $15/day you get a choice of several different style of bicycles and a bicycle lock, but when in “Rome” you cant go past a beach cruiser. Fixed gear and a fat comfy seat will have you looking cooler than the ‘Fonz in no time. Though if you don’t ride very often or that style of bike you may find the position a little uncomfortable after an hour or 2. Your forearms may get a little sore and sun burnt too so remember to lather up before hand.

Santa Monica beach

Off down the boardwalk, remembering to keep right and watching for the crazies that ride flat out, you’ll see the beach “scenery”, volleyball courts and kite flying areas. Further along, you’ll come across the legal graffiti walls and the Santa Monica skate park. Check out some of the little grommets there, without a doubt the breeding ground for the next Tony Hawk’s. Some of the kids look like they should be singing along at Wiggles concerts but instead they’re busting huge Method-air grabs over transitions 5 times their height!

Legal graffit walls - Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica skate park

Once you hit the markets you can either keep cruising along the boardwalk or dismount and wander through. There’s plenty of buskers and performers but all the drummers and percussion types all seem to culminate to a grassy knoll area where they just go at it like a Swedish masseuse. Picture the dude in the Brunswick st. mall on a Saturday night but times 30-40 in a large circle with belly dancers and hippy types getting down in the center. Quite the aural and visual spectacle indeed. Also keep an eye out for the KUSH Clubhouse a medicinal Marijuana clinic while you’re in the area. God bless America.

edit: as of June 2010 it is now closed thanks to a new ordinance which has ordered over 400 dispensaries of this “nature” to be closed in LA.

Percussion jam session - Santa Monica beach

As the bongos fade and you get further into Venice Beach, the beach side buildings go from tatty markets to lush modern townhouses and New Orleans styled houses. The bike path ends at the carpark for the Venice Beach pier, but you can still pedal up the long pier and see scores of people fishing. Thanks to the fog that day we could barely see the beach from the ocean end of the pier! Back on land, there are plenty of restaurants and seafood eateries to choose from, all bustling with tourists and locals alike.

Venice Beach pier

If you’ve only hired the bicycles for half a day, keep an eye on the clock so you don’t have to pay extra, though if you ride quickly you
could probably make it back in 20-30min.

Early to bed, early to rise, cos next up is a trip to the happiest place in the world, Disneyland!

Los Angeles holiday photos here

Los Angeles part #1 – West Hollywood
Los Angeles part #2 – West Hollywood(pt 2)
Los Angeles part #3 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Shopping
Los Angeles part #4 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Sightseeing

Before embarking on our trip, we didn’t hear the end of how trashy LA is and how much better NYC was, but I’ve always chosen 2pac over Jigga :p
I guess it’s the same as what most Brisbane people think of the Gold Coast, but like the GC, if you avoid the touristy/trashy areas you can appreciate the laidback lifestyle and friendly locals. It also helps if you don’t stay in Hollywood or downtown LA, so what better place to stay than Santa Monica.

The trade off for choosing any hotel in a coastal area is usually distance to beach/view versus cost. We found that unless you were within a block or 2 of the ocean it was pointless spending the extra to wake up with sand in your teeth. If you planning on spending more time in your hotel room than outside, then the extra money will be worth it, but you also have to ask yourself why are you wasting your holiday in doors πŸ˜‰

The happy medium is finding a nice hotel within a short walk of the beach, enter Double Trees, Santa Monica. This is a well known hotel chain in America (they have the one right in the middle of Times Square NYC) and for the average traveler facilities are quite luxurious. Price is a little more than what you would pay for similar places on the Hollywood side of the Pacific Coast Hwy but being on 4th street its only a 10-15min walk to the beach and 3rd street Promenade, which brings us to the shopping.


3rd street Promenade is very much the Queen Street mall of Santa Monica minus the Myer Center. Chain clothing stores, eateries and plenty of boutique stores, everything you’d expect from a buzzing commercial hub. This is also where you’d go to catch a bus to downtown.

Nike SB Greenbay Packers

Sneakers are covered with Adidas, Footlocker, Skechers and Puma. Special point of interest is CCS which stocks a leaning towards skate wear, so plenty of Nike SB’s and Dunks along with the usual skate and skate inspired footwear brands, but is one of the few places I saw in LA that sold Nike SB apparel (tees and hoodies).

Journey has less “sport” brands but plenty of Chuck Taylors/One star Converse and Doc Martins also deserves a quick look in.

For toys, figures and games you can’t go past Puzzle Zoo. They stock a big range of commercial action figures, collectibles and anime. They also cover those little mind game puzzles and quirky toys (unlink the rings, roll the ball bearing thru the wood maze anyone?) similar to what you’d find at National Geographic stores. They’re also big on souvenir and personalised gifts, license plates, mugs etc.

If you need to take a break, grab a Wetzel Pretzel, pull up a bench and watch one of the many street performers that frequent the area. Anything from breakdance routines to juggling. If the pretzel wasn’t enough there’s plenty of places you can grab an “English” pub style lunch and a pint.

Hang around the promenade long enough re: till the sun sets and you will see the street lit up like it was Christmas!

3rd Street Promenade

Lastly for the music heads that want to get their fingers dusty, head in about 1km on Wilshire Blvd from 3rd St Promenade for Second Spin. One of several stores in LA that has a vast collection of new and used music and dvd’s, records and cd’s. Prices are very reasonable and there are usually deals if you spend a certain amount or for multiple items. The stores also carry different stock than the website. I thought I could save on postage by ordering online then collecting from the store but their online stock comes from a separate warehouse and is subsequently sent from there. Turns out this was a good thing since I ended up ordering over 70 albums :p

Boardwalk/Venice Beach
Big multi-nat corp shopping not your thing? Then its time to mosey on down the boardwalk. It, like most of LA is pretty flat so walking is a breeze. If you want to get around a bit quicker (and don’t have too much to carry) then hiring a bicycle is the way to go.

Starting at the Santa Monica Pier end we chose to follow Ocean Front Walk down and then come back via the boardwalk. There’s not much to start with but once you get about 1/3 of the way towards Venice Beach, it quickly becomes cluttered with market stalls, tourist shops and a slow meandering Ekka style crowd. The markets themselves stock all the usual things you’d expect to see, from hand crafted jewellery and ornaments to the “hand painted” clichΓ©s of LA and movie stars. I say “hand painted”, because a lot of the stuff is made to look that way and could very well be, but its mass produced so you’ll see the same “original” pieces over and over again. Also be on guard for anyone approaching you trying to sweet talk you into buying a product or service, they will literally tell you anything to part you from your lucrative tourist dollars!

For a change of pace, head in land two blocks to Main st. This has more of a James st. in New Farm feel with a plethora of boutique shops, designer and quaint indies. For sneakers, Undefeated is the spot, yes the one and the same from the episode of Entourage when Turtle is trying to track down his Fujiyama customs and Vince is pipped by the late DJ AM at this store. Check out the clearance section near the register for some bargains.

Undefeated Santa Monica

Clothing wise there’s plenty of vintage stores but a must see for a nostalgic moment is the ZJ Boarding House shop, better known as Zephyr Skate. Pretty much the birth of skateboarding and further made famous by the movie Lords of Dogtown. Since 2007 it has been officially listed as a LA landmark. Even though the store is now a shallow existence of its former self (looks like every other mass produced surf/skate shop out there) it is still owned by the same people that rebirthed it back in 1988 even if Heath Ledger isn’t drunk off his tits throwing surfboards off the roof πŸ˜‰

ZJ Boarding House

Further towards Venice Beach there are a couple sport stores but none I found of much interest.

Next up, the cheapest and possibly the best thing to do at the beaches… sight seeing! πŸ˜‰

Los Angeles holiday photos here

Los Angeles part #1 – West Hollywood
Los Angeles part #2 – West Hollywood(pt 2)
Los Angeles part #3 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Shopping
Los Angeles part #4 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Sightseeing

Teneriffe, the suburb, not Newstead you know? :p
Well they had a little shindig on the weekend which coincided with commercial dance favourites Nova FM’s 5th birthday.
Market stalls and a bunch of live bands and DJ’s including Blue Juice, Amy Meredith, Lowrider and Stan Walker.

Teneriffe festival photos here


Thrills, spills and excessive force from a bunch of foxy ladies. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from Roller Derby!
The Golden Roughs come away with another win over the Liquorice Short Shorts.

SSRG Roller derby photos here

If you missed the first part of our LA adventures, check them out here

Sunset Blvd

Keep on cruisin down Melrose and you’ll come across a skate shop – few less clichΓ© skate items/brands and a few Nike SB items; Fat Beats for your hiphop music needs; forget trying to find the Footlocker, its gone but is still listed in directory searches; plenty of little boutique clothing and jewellery stores; then a few metres right, into N Fuller Av is JapanLA. As the name suggests, they stock cutsie Japanese inspired fashion, mostly Tokidoki but with more variety and generous sale items. There’s even boxes of clearance items at the back, hello Gloomy Bear figures for $7. The staff are very friendly and very easy on the eyes πŸ˜‰ They also stock Mr. Egg and Mr. Toast! ^__^
Shopping in between season means you get winter bargains like Tokidoki hoodies for $30-40US. Winner!

The vinyl obsession continues a couple doors down with Munky King. This store is set up more like an art gallery than a retail store. Minimal lush fittings and an art space towards the rear of the store. They stock a big range of the usual Kidrobot and associate style vinyls as well as a few other more obscure designs and artists. There’s also a small selection of apparel. Definitely the place to visit if you’re getting sick of Dunnys or Labbits.

On the subject of vinyls and similar toys/action figures, be ready to pull them out of your carry on at American customs, especially those with small parts like Revoltech figures. Thanks to the unusual shapes and small parts, under the x-ray machine they tend to come up as “unknown”.

The shops start to thin off after this, but hook a left into La Brea for a couple of LA’s colourful landmarks. First is Pink’s Hot Dogs, no, not the singer but just as famous with many celebrities choosing to pop in for a quick bite and also being featured in many movies and TV shows. We weren’t disappointed when we walked passed and saw a banner “Pink’s welcomes David Hassellhoff“. Sure enough, The Hoff was there slingin dogs to a line half way down the block. Though a long line up is hardly out of the norm and is classed as part of its charm. We didn’t have time to sample the cuisine but all reports say its worth the wait.

Pink's Hotdogs on La Brea Hollywood

If you didn’t want to wait for food there’s a few fast food places including Macca’s as you head north on La Brea. Couple blocks on, you’ll also come across a Best Buy (like a cross between Office Works and Harvey Norman) and a group of shops including Target. In this centre, if you walk up the stairs to Target, there’s a landing where you have a clear view of the Hollywood sign. Perfect if you aren’t going up in the hills to check it out. Photographer’s tip: for a nice big shot of the sign – point and shoot users – you’ll need at least a 10x zoom; dslr users – 200mm is ok but 300mm if you want to fill the frame. Another photo op is available on Sunset Blvd at the intersection looking west at sunset (they don’t call it that for nothing!) against a backdrop of the clichΓ©d palm tree lined street.

Hollywood sign

A block and a bit further you’ll come across everyone’s favourite tattooist, Kate Von D and her famous LA Ink store aka High Voltage Tattoo. If you’re familiar with the TV series, the store is just as crazy in real life with wall to wall decorations of memorabilia, varies knick knacks and art pieces. Even if you only have a passing interest in the pierced and painted, simply hanging round the store sees all matter of subjects from the quirky to the down right weird! Good luck getting an appointment on short notice tho!

If you’re Google mapping, search for “High Voltage Tattoo” which is the actual store, “LA Ink” shows up as its studio which is further down the block.

LA Ink - High Voltage Tattoo on La Brea, Hollywood

Beginning of Hollywood walk of fame

About 4 blocks after that and passing Jim Henderson’s Muppet Studio, you’ll hit Hollywood Blvd, which is the start of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and home to iconic landmarks such as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe it or not and Capitol Records Tower.

Hollywood Blvd

There are also plenty of tacky tourist shops on this strip, but the pricing for the most part is reasonable and you can pick up multiple souvenir tee’s for $10US. Just check their quality first, even though the design might be the same, the consistency of the shirts tend to vary.

Hollywood Blvd

By now you’re probably just about spent but if you’ve still got a couple bucks left in your wallet and the shopping bags haven’t completely severed your fingers off, jump in a cab and head to the Beverly Center
On the cheap: find a bus that goes all the way down N La Brea to W 3rd St then get another that goes from there out to La Cienega Blvd.

The Beverly Center is probably the closest you’ll find to Brisbane’s own Myer center. Couple large higher end Department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s and then the countless specialty shops with the majority leaning towards female shoes and apparel. There is a cinema and food court on the top level but the real reason to head here is for the view. There’s an outdoor courtyard on the top level with a nice broad 180 degree view of LA.

Photographers tip: bring a tripod to set on a chair to shoot over the glass partition or a point and shoot to sit on top of one of the frame if you’re shooting at night to get pass the reflections, unless of course you carry a black bed sheet around!

LA at night - view from the Beverly Center (click for big)

In the way of sneakers you have a choice of 2 sporting stores Champs and Finish Line and 1 specialist (on the top floor level 8 ) Shiekh Shoes and Footlocker (floor 6). While only Shiekh Shoes has a selection of slightly more obscured models and colourways the real benefit is they all have a good selection of items on sale at great prices. 2 pairs of Adidas Attitudes for $50US? Don’t mind if I do! The Footlocker here is quite large as well so there’s a chance you’ll find a few extra colourways.

Useless fact: In the movie “Volcano” they have scenes when the center was still under construction.

By now, you’ll probably be as broke and broken as we were. We contemplated paying $50 for a cab back to Santa Monica but with a bus stop on the corner, we caught one up La Cienega Blvd to Santa Monica Blvd, got some booze and aspirin from the CVS drug store and then another bus all the way back out to 4th street in Santa Monica for a fraction of the cost.

Back in Santa Monica we hit the hay so we could hit boardwalk the next day.

Next up… Santa Monica and Venice Beach!
Los Angeles holiday photos here

Los Angeles part #1 – West Hollywood
Los Angeles part #2 – West Hollywood(pt 2)
Los Angeles part #3 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Shopping
Los Angeles part #4 – Santa Monica and Venice Beach Sightseeing

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