The beaches of Hawaii have inspired wanderlust for many a traveler. For Tracy Palac Duñgo, wearing a Tory tunic left, they’ve also been a starting point for her New York-based jewelry line, Kalaki Riot. Here, she takes us through the place she returns to again and again, for both relaxation and design inspiration.
The backstory behind the name
of my jewelry line, Kalaki Riot…
Kalaki was my AIM screen name from when
I was younger. It’s the Hawaiian name for
Tracy, so it seemed fitting. I added the word
“riot” because it summed up a lot of things I
wanted this brand to be — a resurgence of
simple statement pieces reminiscent of
I describe my collection as
beach jewelry because…
I originally started designing jewelry because
I felt like there was a lack of connection
between higher-end “everyday” pieces and
wanderlust. A lot of my designs remind me
of the beach or my travels, and I am
constantly inspired by places I’d rather
be in that moment.
Hawaii is my constant
It’s a place that’s resonated with me my entire
life. I grew up spending a lot of time in Hawaii,
mostly Maui, with family and it’s where I
developed my love for the sun, sea and sand
as well as my inability to sit still — there’s so
much more to traveling than hanging around
a resort all day.
Hawaii packing essentials…
Bikini, DSLR camera and a good beach blanket.
My sister lived in Bali for a month and brought
me back this beautiful handmade batik fabric
that I bring everywhere with me when I’m
on-island — to the beach, on hikes, impromptu
picnics. It’s so thin that it folds up into almost
nothing in my bag. When I’m on the beach, I lay
on that instead and use my towel as a pillow so
it’s never sandy when I actually need it to dry off.
And the best beach there is…
My favorite beach is called Yokes. It’s a wonderful
middle-of-nowhere beach, where cell phones don’t work, on the North Shore of Oahu. The view is a dream and
the beach is framed by these panoramic mountains — it’s unreal. Drive to the end of the road for an amazing hike to Ka’ena Point.
And must-visit restaurants…
On Maui, Kihei Caffe for breakfast — I love everything on the menu — and for lunch, fish tacos (or lengua tacos
for the more adventurous!) from Ono Tacos, this little street-side gem of a taco stand. On Oahu, I love Sweet E’s
for brunch and Fumi’s Shrimp Truck any time of the day (get the spicy garlic shrimp!).
And the best bars…
For me, the best bar is at home — cocktails on
the lanai with friends and family and Hawaii’s
gorgeous sunset as the backdrop. Calamansi
juice is kind of hard to find, but if you get your
hands on it, mix it with POG juice, tequila and
a little guava lime-smoked sea salt — in the
drink and on the rim — for the best margarita,
One little-known secret about
Hawaii only a local would know…
If you do encounter rain while on Maui, just get
in the car and drive to the other side of the island.
Rain in Paia could mean clear skies in Wailea.
There’s always beach weather somewhere.