BoozyLife TV, COMING SOON

Rum for the fat man :)

Rum for the fat man :)

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas that celebrates that one! We had an extremely laid back day at home, complete with new pj’s that we stayed in all day, and a Puerto Rican feast cooked by my husband love. I’m very excited that I was gifted with a GoPro–thank you Eddie–stay tuned for booze, tattoos, and FANCY MOVING PICTURES! 2015 is going to be FUN :) So, what would YOU like to see? Conventions? Tastings? Tattoo artist antics? Sound off, I can’t wait to see where we end up with this ;)

My Last Tattoo for 2014: BoozyLife

Ready for round 2

Ready for round 2 and shading

Well, it seems appropriate that my last tattoo sitting this year will be with my husband, in our shop, and will complete the fancy lettering above my knees–BoozyLife. Why appropriate? Lefty traveled to Europe, Korea, and Japan this year, almost exclusively known for his fancy lettering. Now, I will finally have some of it on me to show off! Plus, I’m pretty invested in my new career path of beverage aficionado, so why not? Beverage aficionado, tattooed lady, dog mom. Sweet!

(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014

(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014

I’ve met some interesting wine writers and professionals that are intrigued by tattoos, and wino tattoo artists that want to tour wineries and distilleries. I’m looking forward to bringing my two favorite things together for another round. Stay tuned, there should be a YouTube channel coming soon…there will be things you need to SEE, not just read about. Trust me, kids.

So, what’s on for 2015? More Finger Lakes wine and spirit recognition, lots more travel, more tattoos….and who knows…who would buy a BoozyLife wine bag? I’m thinking it’s time to start a BoozyLife revolution ;)

 

Eight Year Tattoo Anniversary –My Road to a Backpiece

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From the time I was young, I had an infatuation with New York City. Maybe it was the fact that my uncle had cable, and after school I would watch cartoons that were littered with commercials for magical places like Toys R Us and Macy’s, where children played with toys that came to life. So much excitement, so many things to do! I needed to go there. My first trip to NYC was with my fifth grade art history club. We went to a few major museums, the Village, the World Trade Center (still have pics from the observation windows), and Chinatown, where one of my teachers was pick pocketed in the bathroom of the buffet restaurant by a tricky woman of at least eighty. By the time we made it back to the bus, I was in tears. I didn’t want to leave-there was the feeling that I was missing something, that I was leaving something behind. I would make many trips, always wanting to stay there, missing that other piece of myself when I left.

I finished my time in Upstate NY, and spent the next twelve years moving around the east coast for my job as an event photography manager for Kodak. When the eventual management spot opened in NYC, I fought to get it-and the spot was mine. I managed the Kodak imaging area for the new World of Disney on 55th St. and Fifth Avenue. I also started researching tattoo artists-I had decided to take the next step and start a traditional Phoenix back piece. After almost a year and change, I was introduced to tattoo artist Eddie Molina through a friend of a friend. His tattoo work fit what I had in mind perfectly, and he worked all custom on large pieces, meaning the piece would be drawn on to fit my body’s natural curves.

From outline to color-six months

From outline to color-six months

Eddie was in a transitional period where he was trying to leave the city for a while and get perspective on what he wanted to do in his future tattooing career. I sat for him once a week, sometimes twice, in the fear that one day Eddie would leave and I would have to find him to finish my back. It was an unfounded fear, but one that I had starting such a large piece. My first sitting we lined in the entire bird; second sitting was the entire tail and feathers. Progress was fast, and I was investing most of my spare time to it as well. A back piece is a huge investment, not only financially but emotionally as well as physically. Trust in your artist is paramount.

I was paying hourly for my tattoo, every session, but I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough to compensate Eddie for what he was giving me. My Phoenix is a symbol, my own forever talisman. It reminds me that I am a strong, fierce, powerful female energy, and completion would mark my journey towards being the woman I wanted to eventually be. The divine female power, forever etched in my skin. I became Eddie’s go-to gal, driving him to JFK and saving cab fares for multiple trips. After all, I was still stubborn enough to keep a car in Queens. We became friends outside the studio, spending too many hours trapped in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, and Eddie came to recognize that he was as much of a shaman to me as a tattooer.

Finished main image

Finished main image

We started the piece in June of 2006. We were finishing the final touch up session on my bird November 22, 2006-just six months from the start of the Sharpie sessions. I could not believe how fast Eddie accomplished the goal, and how much the entire process had meant to me as a woman growing into her own skin, to decorate it with meaning. I was over the moon with my new work…and a few weeks later, already missing our tattoo sessions, called him to say thank you again. It turned out my tattoo artist missed seeing me too, and asked me out for dinner and a movie. We went to a lovely churrasco for dinner, then saw Happy Feet in IMAX. (Yes, the penguin movie. Don’t judge, that set me up for a marriage full of animated joys! Ha!) Afterwards, we walked to the train station through Central Park, wandering in the moonlight. Looking back, I’ve never had another night like that.

So, eight years later–We moved upstate, bought a house, got married, and adopted a few fur kids. Eddie built his dream tattoo shop, and here we are, making a go of it.20130423-112450.jpg We’ve both lost a parent, family close to us, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Eddie travels internationally for his tattoo career, sometimes going as far as Japan or Korea. Our life together isn’t always easy, there are challenges and balances and difficulties just like anything else. We have each other, and we figure it out as we go.

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

As for my Phoenix? It took six months to finish the main image of the bird, and the last seven years working on background elements. No rush anymore, so we’ve taken the slow and steady path. My background is now a collaborative effort with our good friend Cory Ferguson , owner of Good Point Tattoo Oakvile ON.

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

Husband's turn

Husband’s turn

The piece has been a reflection of my journey into the tattoo world, so I’m excited to also have a close friend add to it.

progress

progress

IMG_1302I’m not sure how much longer we have to go with my back. Hell, it might never truly be finished, which is now a reflection of my life in the tattoo world. Strangest thing though, whenever I leave NYC now? I never feel like I’m leaving part of myself behind anymore….I think I took him with me. <3

Us.

Us.

Field to Glass Whiskey in New York State–Hillrock Estate Distillery in the Hudson Valley

Hillrock Distillery

Hillrock Distillery

Copper Still at HillRock

Copper Still at HillRock

I love distilleries and spirits. I’ve worked babysitting a still at more than one winery as the cellar rat, and there is something so old school about the process. A few weeks ago, I was tasting through the Hudson Valley with TasteCamp 2014. We were lucky enough to have one of the largest distillery tastings ever in NY, with over fourteen local distillers representing their products and specialties. The tasting was set at Hillrock Estate Distillery, about two hours north of New York City. Worth the trip if you can escape the city for a day, this place is special-and so is everyone involved with it.

Belly up to the bar at Hillrock

Belly up to the bar at Hillrock

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock greeters

Hillrock Estate Distillery is an incredible facility that is focused on showcasing the unique terroir of the area, using estate grown grains that are FLOOR MALTED in their on site malt house, the only one in NY.

Floor malting estate grown barley

Floor malting estate grown barley

Barley in the floor malting process

Barley in the floor malting process

Owner Jeff Baker toured historic Scotland malt houses in order to create a functioning, traditional malt house for his dream distillery. Master Distiller Dave Pickerell (formerly the Head Distiller at a little place called Maker’s Mark) was intrigued by the commitment to small batch quality, traditionalism, and history, and joined on to add his impressive skill set to the Hillrock team.

Fermentation tanks

Fermentation tanks

IMG_1176.JPGThroughout the tour and tasting, it was evident that these craftsmen are one hundred percent invested in the crafting of the highest quality whiskey, bourbon, and rye. The Solera Aged Bourbon and Single Malt Whiskey were an incredible treat for a whiskey lover such as myself, and the price points were completely justifiable considering the quality of the product. Cinnamon and clove are very prominent flavors reflected in the terroir, and the slow hand crafting process creates a silky, smooth sipping delight. Seriously, some of the best I’ve ever had, hands down, kids.

Tasting with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell

Tasting with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell

So, what the HELL is floor malting? Tradition, that’s what. The barley is germinated in the traditional fashion, turned and raked by HAND every six hours on the stone floor, to control the temperature and moisture. Fellow Taste Camper Todd Trzaskos took an AWESOME video of the floor malting, distilling, tasting fun we were a part of at Hillrock. He was nice enough to let me post it–Check it out HERE: Hillrock Distillery TasteCamp Video

Hillrock is open for tastings and tours by appointment only! I would LOVE to get a group of tattoo folks together that might be interested for a BoozyLife field trip. Intrigued? Leave your comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattooing as an Artform, and the Stigma That Is Still Attached: Legitimate Business, or still just for Sailors and Whores?

The Bossman at work-- our business The Hand of Fate Tattoo in Ithaca, NY.

The Bossman at work– our business The Hand of Fate Tattoo in Ithaca, NY.

My husband Edward Molina is an artist. His chosen medium is often skin, but he is more than incredible on canvas, walls, and office envelopes. He is the ultimate in duality; a talented, committed artist, and a business owner that is also first and foremost a tattooer. I was raised by a woman that absolutely hated tattoos, as well as the craft. Draw on paper, please, just not on my daughter. Her mentality never changed, even though she loved my husband dearly. I understood her position, but I never let it change my stance, and eventual tattoo wife-dom. I’m relatively heavily tattooed at this point, and I’ve definitely noticed some changes in the way people tend to react to me at times. Love it or hate it, I’m a heavily tattooed woman, that is absolutely invested in being a collector of custom artwork created just for me.

Today, I was scrolling online and an article in the Democrat & Chronicle Rochester caught my attention. Have a read if you’d like, that is what started my line of thought that led to this post. Are tattoo studios ‘artists’ studios’? Pittsford says NO. Once I clicked on the link, I realized these are good friends of ours! Joseph ‘Jet’ DiProjetto is the owner of Love Hate Tattoo in Rochester, a VERY well established shop, AND the promoter for the Roc City Tattoo Expo, probably the best convention in upstate NY to date. It is the only convention that we attend in upstate NY, because it is by invitation only, and the artist roster is always spectacular talent from around the world. Now, what happens when this very respected businessman tries to open a satellite studio in the burbs for his clients? According to the article:

“The sticking point for the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals was whether the men would work out of an “artists’ studio.”

Defining their workplace was crucial because village zoning regulations specify that artists doing business in the section of Pittsford where these men wanted to set up shop must work out of an “artists’ studio.”

After much back and forth, the board voted 4-to-1 to uphold a decision of the village building inspector that the workplace of Joseph DiProjetto and Ben Wight wouldn’t meet code.

You see, DiProjetto and Wight are tattoo artists and they’re covered in ink.”

Until pretty recently, my tattoos were easy to keep covered. Once I jumped to the ‘dark side’, the reactions I get in the professional forum vary, from interest to disdain, and most folks are happy to tell me what they think without prompting. I understand this is an article that covers a zoning disagreement, but it’s so much more from a tattoo shop owners’ standpoint. I worked in the über corporate Walt Disney World Orlando, and then for EIS Kodak as a location manager in New York City. While most corporations still call for employees to cover their artwork, there is a movement towards a less strict body art policy. When I was the photo manager at Top of the Rock (yes, the big NYC observation deck was one of our multiple million dollar accounts, and yes, a tattoo collector was running the place), I was also dating my now husband. I saw how New York City tattoo shops operated. Trust me, a tattoo shop IS A BUSINESS. Again, quoting from the D&C article-

“Village zoning regulations permit upward of 30 types of businesses there, from jewelers and opticians to supermarkets and drug stores, as well as “other retail businesses and service uses of similar character.”

Ok, there it is–of a ‘similar character’ to already existing businesses. I help run a business that bought us a house, pays for our existence, and keeps kibble in bowls. Compared to my TOTR gig, it’s definitely more of a relaxed environment day to day. In leu of that, I deal with much of the same day to day business goings on that I used to. Advertising, marketing, budgets, customer service, banking–all of this goes into daily operations. It’s a business, it’s an artist studio, and it’s a WAY OF LIFE, not just a job.

What it comes down to? The narrow minded, anti tattoo folks trying to keep the deviants out of their awesome little hamlet. No worries, we go where we are appreciated. Something similar happened recently in our little College Town area as well, so the hill isn’t any better in our seemingly liberal little town–make no mistake. Some individuals still hold true that tattoos are for sailors, whores, and pirates. I kind of dig that, actually. As Jet himself put it-

“It comes down to Pittsford not wanting tattooed people in their town doing business,” said DiProjetto. “It’s okay if a tattooed person is pumping your gas, but a tattooed person opening a business in Mayberry won’t fly.”

What do you think? I’d love to hear your responses below!

Halloween Bulldog Post-*nothing to do with wine or tattoos :)

As many of you know, my loves are wine, husband, bulldog, and tattoos–not necessarily in that order. The following are gratuitous photos of my old English bulldog (daughter) Madison Mae Molina, (also known as Princess Peanut Wigglebottom the first) in the pumpkin patch with her momma and daddy. Fall is my favorite time of year, and Maddie was relatively cooperative, considering this was AFTER a vet appointment. Enjoy her splendor ;)

Annoyed but putting up with us

Annoyed but putting up with us

Maddie showing her good side :)

Maddie showing her good side :)

Maddie & me

Maddie & me

Maddie and dad

Maddie and dad

#DrinkLocal #Wine Week–October 12, 2014 Kickoff #TasteCamp

 

Lucky Row 13 :)

Lucky Row 13 :)

This past weekend, I went out of my normal local zone and a few hours away into the Hudson River Valley of New York. October 12th started Drink Local Wine Week, (DrinkLocalWine.com ) and a few hours downstate is still a local ride for yours truly! In honor of Drink Local Wine, I was lucky enough to participate in TasteCamp 2014 hosted by Lenn Thompson (of New York Cork Report) and Carlo DeVito (author of over two dozen books, and owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery). There will be tons more about this jam packed weekend I was a part of, but just this little jaunt made me rethink a few things. What is local? And, how far away are you willing to go to see what your state is really producing?

 

Recharge your soul.

Recharge your soul.

My drive was less than five hours south and east (still pretty local in my book), but it was eye-opening to say the least. I had lived in NYC (less than fifty miles away), and never really taken the time to adventure up. Don’t make that mistake if you’re in the city! I saw things at a new distillery that had me in absolute awe. Even if you’re not a BoozyLife wine nerd like me, you will find a spot to sit in nature, listening to birds while watching the leaves drop. Recharge your soul for a bit – the city drains your energy.

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite

Lefty and I travel quite a bit, and it always surprises me that the locals sometimes don’t know about local wineries and distilleries in their own back yards. They often research them just to take ME for a visit, oddly enough, then end up really enjoying the time spent touring close to home. As a lifelong New Yorker, I’m almost ashamed of myself to say this was my first real trip to the Hudson Valley to sample local wines and spirits.

Be Still my heart

Be Still my heart

I had no idea how many incredible, young, up-and-comers were in the area, and I will most certainly be back soon. The area shares a passion for the process that I often see in young, new wine makers in the Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes represent!

Finger Lakes represent!

The Hudson Valley area wineries often work with Cornell, as well as with Finger Lakes grape growers, to help with growing issues and cold weather concerns. There is a decent amount of overlap within our wine communities, which is how my now very Upstate self ended up on this tour. I took a few bottles from the Finger Lakes, my back yard, to share with the other writers and wine makers. A few favorites from Boundary Breaks, Goose Watch, and Keuka Spring went along and were a small addition to the amazing spread of BYOB bottles for our final dinner.

Hudson-Chatham Winery

Hudson-Chatham Winery

I am very fortunate to have had the introduction to another incredible local wine area, from one of it’s best winery owners! Carlo’s passion for his area translates easily, as does the pride he feels in the drink local movement. I can’t wait to go on another trip to NYC– there will be a few stops in the Valley, no mistake! Friends and tattooers all want to hear more about this amazing distillery we toured…it was really a special place. More soon, and in the mean time–what are you drinking local this week?