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From a “Carltha Stewart Simply Existing” magazine clipping found crammed in the back of our mom’s recipe drawer…

Aloha friends! The rare heirloom irises I planted last spring have started to poke their radiant heads out. (Eat your heart out Buffin Von Winthorne Colby, I’ve got this year’s Hamptons’ Gardener of the Year award in the bag! By the way readers, did you know that liquid drain cleaner kills roses? Haha how droll!) Anyhow, Spring has sprung and that means Summer is just around the corner. It’s time for you to poke YOUR radiant head out and shed those elastic-waisted pants you’ve been wallowing in all winter. These warm and balmy days make me think of the tropical breezes my husband and I enjoyed on our Honeymoon in Waikiki. Really makes me want to get away, how about you? “But Carltha,” you whine, “I can’t go on a tropical vacation right now!” Well don’t you fret, I’m going to show you how to bring the tropical getaway right into your very own backyard.

Nothing says Spring and Summer quite like a neighborhood luau. My secrets to a successful luau are mayonnaise, gelatin, and alcohol. With these tried and true recipes and ingredients, your next get-together is guaranteed to be a hoot!! Your neighbors will be raving about your hot pu pus for years to come.

(P.S. If you really want to impress them, be sure to pair your cocktail with a matching pair of goodr Tropical Optical drink-inspired sunnies!)

Luscious libations to get you plotzed



1.5 oz Aged Barbados rum
0.25 oz Allspice dram
0.25 oz Melon liqueur
2 oz Pineapple juice
0.5 oz Grenadine

Shake rum, Allspice dram, & pineapple juice. Strain into a glass over ice, drop in grenadine & melon liqueur, stir once. Garnish with pineapple frond & mint. Do not try to perch precariously on your furniture. Do not attempt to fly. Do not try to perch on anyone’s shoulder, especially if it’s your husband’s boss. Have a cracker if you start to feel peckish. No one likes an irritable bird.


1.5 oz Gin
0.25 oz Peach brandy
0.25 oz Triple sec
1 oz Grape juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup
0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
4 oz Club soda

Add all ingredients (except club soda) to glass, add ice, & stir. Top with club soda. Garnish with a banana wheel & grape. Pound your fists on your chest & swing from your dining room chandelier like you just don’t care!! (Because after 6 of these, you won’t!)


1 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz 5 year aged Barbados rum
1 oz Haitian white rum
0.75 oz Overproof demerara rum
0.75 Blue Curaçao
3 oz Pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients vigorously & strain into a tall glass with ice. Garnish with curaçao-soaked orange wheel. Hide your phone. Upon consumption, you may discover a newfound sense of confidence. You may feel compelled to text the president of the garden club, “Adios mutha flocka!!” Don’t do this.


1 oz Overproof Demerara rum
0.5 oz Stroh 160 overproof rum
2 oz Cold brew coffee concentrate
0.5 oz Orgeat syrup
0.25 oz Dry Curaçao
0.25 oz Half & half
Nylon cord
Safe word

Shake all ingredients (except H&H), strain into glass with ice. Add H&H, stir. Garnish with a dash of ground nutmeg. Have fun & let “Daddy” tie you up. (“Pineapple” makes a great safe word btw.)


1.5 oz Haitian white rum
0.5 oz Elderflower liqueur
0.5 oz Passion fruit syrup
1 oz Pineapple juice
0.75 oz Guava nectar
Dash orange blossom water

Put your shell phone on silent. Oh, you’ll just put it on vibrate? * 10 PM, it vibrates* Don’t look at it. DO NOT LOOK AT IT!!! Argh, you looked, didn’t you?! Are you still here? Fine. I’ll just humor myself & finish the recipe alone. Shake these ingredients & strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with pink flower.


1.5 oz White rum
0.75 oz Peach liqueur
0.5 oz Chartreuse
0.75 oz Fresh lime juice
8-10 Fresh mint leaves
Splash club soda

Muddle mint in lime juice, add rum, peach liqueur, & Chartreuse. Shake vigorously. Strain over tall glass with ice & add healthy splash of club soda. Garnish with a lime wheel. It’s good to exspearmint with new things, just do so responsibly you minty fresh mutha flocka. Just remember, mo Mojitos = mo problems.

Appeteazers guaranteed to please!



1 (3oz) pkg lime-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 (8oz) can drained crushed pineapple
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise (+more for garnish)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup cubed ham
1/2 cup diced celery

Pour yourself a stiff vodka. Bloom gelatin in the hot water. Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup and add vinegar, add enough water to make 1 cup. Add to gelatin mixture. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until cold and slightly set (like my mother-in-law). Mix mayo and mustard and stir into gelatin mixture. Gently fold in the remaining ingredients. Transfer mixture into your most beautiful ring mold. Let chill for several hours while you take a nap, the gelatin should be set by the time you panic awake when you hear your spouse come home. Oopsie! Good thing you stocked up on those frozen dinners. Place plate over top of mold and invert. If it’s a real bitch to get out, you can dip mold in boiling water. If it splits, just frost the entire thing with mayonnaise and call it whale blubber.


7 oz grapefruit soda
6 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (3 oz) pkg lime-flavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup boiling Water
1 small jar Maraschino Cherries
20 oz crushed pineapple
8 oz frozen whipped topping
1 cup Mini Marshmallows

(Shhh, the surprise is mayo!) Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in mayo until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together gelatin and hot water until dissolved, let cool. Combine cream cheese mixture w/ gelatin mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the soda and beat until combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then stir, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. This is a great time to catch up on your favorite soap opera. Slice cherries in half and allow them to dry on a paper towel, squeeze excess moisture out of the pineapple with a paper towel. Fold whipped topping into gelatin mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into a heavily greased bundt pan and refrigerate overnight.


8 oz cream cheese
1 cup savory pickle relish drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
(try saying that drunk!)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Pretzel sticks for urchin spikes

Beat all ingredients (except parsley and green onion) in a bowl until well blended. Shape into a ball and roll in parsley and green onions. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate ball for several hours. Unwrap and place on a serving platter. Shove pretzel sticks into the surface of the ball to resemble a sea urchin. You can imagine it is your husband’s secretary’s eyeballs for inspiration during this part. Is this finished cheeseball adorable or what?!


2 lbs frozen meatballs
1.5 cups SPICY bbq sauce
3/4 cups grape jelly
Penicillin (optional)

Dump everything into your crockpot and let it fester on low for several hours while you make yourself presentable. (Penicillin only needed if you have, or you suspect your spouse or guests have literal screamin’ pirate balls. No judgment from this gal!)


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