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!

#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, ( ) 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?

TasteCamp 2014 -the Hudson River Valley Tour

Tomorrow, I’m headed to TasteCamp! Check out the link for more info! TasteCamp New York Cork Report

Our starting point tomorrow is Millbrook Winery , so keep your eyes peeled for BoozyLife posts here, and of course on FB, Twitter, and Instagram! Hasta mañana kids

Introducing Aromella, a wine release EXCLUSIVE to the Finger Lakes (and only ONE WINERY!!)

Ah, Cornell. We in the Finger Lakes have often heard of cold temperature tolerant grapes, created hybrids by Cornell Agriculture. Some of these hybrid grape varieties, such as the Seyval and Vignoles, have become stapes while on our wine trails. The hybrid grapes are less delicate, can withstand our growing climate, and often need less pesticides to be protected.

With that in mind, I’ve heard the Finger Lakes described as the Wild West, where anything can still happen, and the risks are taken along with gains and losses. Dave Peterson, owner of Sweedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay wineries, decided to take one of those risks in 2005. He planted Aromella in one of his Cayuga Lake vineyards–and it took eight years for those vines to produce fruit, plus another year in production before the wine would be released. The Aromella release is a limited two hundred cases, and can be found ONLY at Goose Watch Winery on Cayuga lake. Great reason for me to take a quick drive up the lake! I love trying things that are out of the mainstream, and what better wine to try than one that is made exclusively in one place?

Just so you, reader, know what we’re dealing with, Aromella is a white hybrid grape, and parents are also hybrids-Traminette (of Gewurtztraminer lineage), and Ravat 34. It is similar to a Moscato, but less sweet and as more grapefruit and spice characteristics from the Traminette parentage.

The 2013 Aromella from Goose Watch run down: 2.7 percent RS (residual sugar), 11.5 percent alcohol. ONLY available at Goose Watch, 200 cases limited run. Tasting-Aromella was light, with notes of peaches and lychee (I’ll say tropical fruit because I am slightly lychee obsessed!). I was surprised that at 2.7 RS, the wine still wasn’t sweet, and the balance of the wine was crisp and pleasant. A really nice sipper, actually. I love my dry wines, but Aromella has enough Traminette influence to take the fruity notes and mellow them with spice and citrus. Quite lovely, and I’m very glad we took the little adventure. A few bottles came home with us, along with another favorite of mine-Dry Cabernet Franc Rosé, because, well….wine.

Living in a fast growing wine area like this is exciting, and there are new grapes and experimental wine creations happening all over the Finger Lakes area. These vinters have talent, balls (especially the ladies, ahem) and are ready to take risks to forward the craft. How could you not think that the tattoo and wine worlds are very complimentary to one and other? Gotta love the risk takers, they’re the ones that really make strides.

Read more about Aromella on, Aromella is the Newest Finger Lakes Wine. If you get the chance to try it, let me know what you think in the comments below! Enjoy 😉

New York Apples and the Hard Cider Revolution (and how BoozyLife was ahead of the curve)

Harvest season

Harvest season

Last week, the New York Times posted an article that really caught my attention. Article link: Sips from a Cider Spree in New York State. The local hard cider scene has been jumping since we moved to the Ithaca area eight years ago-what’s different is that people are more open minded and willing to taste local creations.

Local hard ciders have a special place in my heart. Personal boozy story: On a visit home to the upstate NY area almost ten years ago, my mom wanted to take me to a new winery that had opened relatively close to our neck of the woods. Black Bear Winery is a spot off of the beaten path and ‘wine trails proper’, but they specialize in hard ciders, meads, and fruit wines. After a tasting, I concluded that I liked the ciders, and particularly the Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider was delicious. Hard apple cider, blended with house made maple syrup. Tart, mellow, slight sweetness, autumn in a glass. I bought a couple of refillable growlers, and have refilled them several times since. Black Bear has grown from a by appointment and event farm rental spot, to open year round and quite successful! At least five years after that first tasting at Black Bear, I married my husband at the end of September, here in Ithaca. We served Black Bear’s Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider for the toast at our wedding, instead of the traditional champagne. The cider had more meaning, and it was so reminiscent of the fall in upstate NY that I wanted our guests from all over the world to experience that flavor; champagne was too formal for our outdoor waterfall ceremony, and the cider was truly a hit!

Cracklin' Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

In the NY Time’s article I mentioned, the author Freda Moon tours the Upstate NY Apple growing areas about five hours from NYC. She hit several local cider stops, and even gave a quick run down of her time spent in Ithaca:

“Ithaca was a decadent couple of days in which cider seemed to appear in every possible form. We had a cider flight with dinner at the too-popular Just a Taste tapas restaurant, where our wait was over an hour. The next day, at Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar, I ordered a Cider Sidecar of Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, a Finger Lakes Distilling’s Maplejack liqueur and an unspecified local cider before a spectacular three-course cider pairing dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.”

The guys at Finger Lakes Distilling are also making some incredible products, and I was glad to see she sampled some of their wares at Maxie’s Supper Club, one of our favorite spots in Ithaca. The Cider Sidecar is a drink that is an anxiously awaited seasonal cocktail, signaling that fall has officially arrived. Sweet and tart, with a mellow maple kick, sitting in Maxie’s listening to live music on the outdoor deck, watching the world go by. I love living here in fall.