Home Base

Taughannock Falls Overlook

Taughannock Falls Overlook

The southern tip of Cayuga Lake is the place we call home. We drive past part of the inlet each and every day, often my husband’s favorite part of his commute. (We own The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in downtown Ithaca, NY. *Shameless Plug* The Hand Of Fate Tattoo Parlor – About.) Ithaca is also the home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and more restaurants per capita than New York City. There is a lot to eat in our little town, and a lot of choices. (…as long as you don’t want Mexican food. So far, we are severely lacking in that department, imho… L.A. made me painfully aware of that.)

The lake provides us with the real REASON people live in this area. We live on its shores, watching the leaves change from fresh new buds, to reds and yellows, a hot flash before white gorges and piercing blue skies. We flock to the water during the summer months, celebrating the sunshine and swimming every chance we get, in every possible waterfall and swimming hole we can find. We were married outside, in front of a waterfall at the beginning of fall. There is a diving board on the “altar” in the summer months, and we go swimming in our “weddin’ hole” every year.The Finger Lakes are a special place, and Ithaca is our Bat Cave….

During the last ice age, glaciers carved out all eleven Finger Lakes, eventually leaving us with a few sweet spots to grow grapes on their shores. The climate around the larger lakes is much more temperate during the harsh winters and warm summer months, due to the depths of the water. This lake effect helps to maintain a climate that is prime for cool climate viticulture. The slopes are steep enough to provide water drainage during the rainy spring, and protect the vines from the elements when the weather looks more like Upstate NY. I won’t get into all of the hot and heavy grape logistics yet, but viticulture (the study of grape growing) is my latest obsession.

There are now just under twenty wineries on the Cayuga Lake Wine trail, not including farm distilleries. The wines that are produced in this area are starting to garner international industry recognition, with wine makers taking risks and breaking new ground in production. There are hybrid grapes grown next to varietals, blends created by horticulturists and science, bred specifically for our climate and geography. It’s an exciting time to live in the Finger Lakes region, especially if you love wine adventures.

True Romance Tour


Most of the time in this blog, you’ll hear about wine. I’ll track where I travelled to taste it, which ones were amazing, which ones weren’t in my humble opinion. My husband travels a lot, and I plan on taking more trips with him soon…so you’ll read about our travels, our extended tattoo family, artists and tattoo conventions intermittently as well…

This post though, is about my obsession with the film True Romance, and the trip we recently took to Los Angeles.

True Romance is my favorite love story, and my version of a ‘chick-flick’. Two outcasts that end up perfectly fitting together, adventure, danger, and happily never after on a beach in Mexico. I always said I would get married if I found my Clarence. I never thought it would actually happen, let alone that I would marry a tattooer that actually knew the artist that played the tattooer in the film. Luckily for me, husband doesn’t talk to an Elvis figure…as far as I know…

January 2013, we were in L.A. for a little over a week. We put over 1,000 miles on our rental car, before we went on our drive up the Pacific Coast Highway!!! We went everywhere, and I drank quite a bit of wine…but this is about True Romance.

Rae's Restaurant in Santa Monica

Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica

We woke up early(ish) one of our first mornings in Cali, and found Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica.  It’s a real dive diner, classic 1950’s design, probably a lot of the same regulars as the day it opened. Clarence and Alabama went there for pie after their first date at the movies. (Rae’s is actually a breakfast and lunch place, so don’t go looking for coffee & pie after 4pm.) I had a simple bowl of sausage gravy with biscuits, cup of coffee to wash it down…my Clarence had cherry pie (swear to God).

My Clarence with a gratuitous menu shot

My Clarence with a gratuitous menu shot

Food was very hearty, simple greasy spoon fare, easy to eat for under five dollars each. I, however, felt like I was in a fucking dream. I ran around like a tourist of the worst type *fangirl*, taking pictures of light fixtures, the menu, different angles….because I was at Rae’s!

Rae's grill from the door

Rae’s …the real deal view from Clarence & Alabama’s booth

Stuffed to the gills, we took off headed for my next mandatory (and last) True Romance location, concluding my pilgrimage. The Beverly Ambassador Hotel (location for the final shootout) had been demolished in the recent past, so that was a no-go. I had to see the Safari Motor Inn, where Clarence and Alabama took Dick to see the stolen suitcase….and where Alabama would face off with a terrifying hitman, played by James Gandolfini.

Safari Inn cool ass sign

Safari Inn’s cool ass sign

The Safari Motor Inn is a 1950’s themed hotel, located in Burbank, CA. The desk attendant was extremely pleasant, and more than happy to open the pool gates so I could frolic and shoot pictures. *Fangirl* shows no shame, and we had a very memorable visit! The rooms are not decorated in jungle theme or leopard print kitsch, so I skipped the room tour. The sign over the driveway in the movie was also just for filming …so I focused by the pool and that awesome neon sign 🙂

Poolside at the Safari Motor Inn

Poolside at the Safari Motor Inn

aaaaand another one, with my badass new bag scored on Olvera Street

aaaaand another one, with my badass new bag scored on Olvera Street







Tattoos, booze, and shoes.

I love wine. I love booze of all types, actually. I love tattoos. I love my husband…and, like many women, I love shoes.

The infamous shoes my tattoo artist boyfriend scored for me in San Francisco.

My husband bought me a pair of patent leather platforms, back when he was my constantly traveling tattoo artist boyfriend. We met in NYC, he tattooed me for six months, and then the fun really began. I had my own personal tour guide, taking me to unmarked sake bars, hidden cocktail lounges, and spots only known to the seasoned underground local. I was ready for an adventure…and what I found was more. I found love, I found community, and I found an appreciation for the finer things in life…

I fell in love with my tattoo artist boyfriend, and we soon moved out of the big city to greener pastures. Not a retirement, but a rejuvenation. We needed a change. Somewhere we could be inspired, a place that we could call our own for a bit.

Ithaca, Ny was where we landed in 2007. There are waterfalls, trees, farms, and vineyards here. It is a beautiful place. My husband and I opened The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor on October 13, 2007. Once the business was up and running, I fell ass first into what would soon become my newest foray, and my new passion; I was hired at a local winery.