Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues Festival 2018

A tattoo convention, in the heart of Santa Rosa wine country? YES PLEASE! Hot rod car culture, live rockabilly bands, and talented tattoo artists…that was the winning formula for (a newly revamped) The 27th Annual Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues Festival, held February 23-25, 2018.

Located at the old-Hollywood-glam-style Flamingo Resort Santa Rosa, packs of pinup girls in full regalia meandered through rows and rows of classic cars outside, eyes stylishly shielded from the sun in retro cat-eye shades…

Once inside, tattoo artists from all over busily buzzed away, while groups of tattoo collectors mingled, perused, and added to their ever growing collection of tattoo work-be it a new tattoo, art hanging, or a hand painted, one of a kind sign for the studio. This is not a huge crowd convention, but has a big main room featuring the bulk of the artists, with a couple of smaller, more private satellite rooms. Hardly any vendors selling merch, but lots of cool tattoo work happening- and the lounge was often jumping with live music, long after the show had ended for the day. Musicians performing included local favorite rockabilly bands “The Rev Tones”, “The Vintage Vandals”, and “The Aces”.img_9378Heads up, when the convention floor is overwhelming….the Flamingo Resort has a pool area (featuring two Olympic sized pools, with lap lanes), a gym (including hot yoga classes), massage therapy, and is the perfect place to get your self-care, pamper-time on! Too bad it was chilly outdoors, the water was quite nice and warm…not lay by the pool weather, even in CA.

Tip for the pinup buffs, hanging on the wall by the lounge, there are some really cool vintage photos of Jayne Mansfield in a bikini, posed by the Flamingo Resort pool in ultra pinup glam fashion, circa 1960.

The updated Flamingo hotel lobby design also features wine displays from Ehret Family Winery in Santa Rosa, which focuses on sustainable growing practices, growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties. img_9456Sonoma and Napa Counties were hit hard during the Thomas fire, and there was structure damage in Santa Rosa–but less than three percent of local wineries were impacted! The best way to support the winery trails are to get out there, and visit tasting rooms. The Santa Rosa wine community is ready to welcome wine tasters and tourists back, complete with open arms and full wine glasses…the least we can do is show up and enjoy the world class hospitality they have to offer.

Full sad disclosure, I was still getting over a sinus infection, so my tasting tour for Sunday was mostly as a photographer–the mustard cover was in full bloom, and it’s on my bucket list to see! We stopped at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens to explore the property and frolic through a bit of ground cover mustard greens (*plus, I wanted to report back to our winemaker friend Nathan Kendall in the Finger Lakes that I had finally visited and toured the notorious behemoth KJ winery that has all the rights to his last name…).


img_9425Even with the sniffles, husband took me for a quick taste (and of course to grab a couple of bottles) of the delicious new 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé at Balletto Vineyards. The tasting room was hopping with guests, and our tasting host was nice enough to give me a complimentary pour of the rosé…even though I was sick, and already sold. Gorgeous light pink blush color, partial whole cluster crush, and juicy ripe fruit on the nose is what I have to look forward to once I’m recovered–a perfect way to end the weekend–with a haul of rosé….

A quick detour to Bohemian Creamery in Sebastopol led to the discovery of a boutique goat cheese spot, crafting some of the most lovely, delicately nutty, funky cheeses I’ve tasted this side of Corsica. We bought a chunk of delight home with us, especially to pair with the Balletto Rosé. Don’t miss it! Super fun spot, and a cheese tasting is always worth stopping off for.

A big thank you goes out to the folks that worked hard to put on the new incarnation of Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues, from the entertainers and artists, to the security and convention center crew. It was fantastic to attend a tattoo expo, right in the heart of California wine country, bringing my two loves together in a way I’ve never seen before! We will definitely be back…and just maybe, next year, there will be an official BoozyLife booth!

BoozyLife is going LIVESTREAM 

Things are happening on the BoozyLife front in California, and the shift has started!

I’m making the move from print blogging to live video streaming–you’ll be able to see FIRST HAND what I’m drinking, what tattoo convention we’re headed to next, our adventures on the road, and meet some VERY cool artists along the way!

So, now the important questions–what do YOU want to see? Wine, tattoo art, tiny houses? Otters? Well?

Comment here, on my FB, or any of the BoozyLife social media platforms…we’ll be getting a schedule plan worked out soon, and if you’d like to be featured? Drop me a line!

Wine Blogger Conference 2017 Santa Rosa, CA

I’m here in Santa Rosa this weekend for my third –and most attended–Wine Blogger Conference in Santa Rosa, California!

Keep your eye on my social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter (@BoozyLife), lots of wine tasting and meeting of the minds will be happening, along with writing workshops and networking galore…always fun to meet new bloggers–or, you might know me as the tattooed lady, or as the blue haired girl (it’s platinum at the moment) from the last three years. If you’re here this year, please stop me and say hello!

FLX Rosé in SLO, CA

Something wonderful showed up in SLO, California for me the other day…a box. A box from the Finger Lakes. A box for me, full of wine! A delivery of happy from Ian Barry and family, proprietors of Barry Family Cellars in Burdett, NY…Grapes that I helped hand harvest, the fall before we left the Finger Lakes, now bottled and ready to drink….Chardonnay, Riesling….and of course, the 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc…because Rosé is my JAM, and Ian knows that! Lucky Boozy woman that I am…

Barry Family Cellars 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc is a light, dry, slightly floral, herbaceous, fruity delight. Pairs beautifully with flavors of tart juicy strawberry and red fruit, bright acidity, and a clean crisp finish. Lovely with a picnic by the pool, at the beach, or on the lake.  It was absolutely a perfect match to my spicy Thai Green Curry with chicken–tempered the heat and still held up with a lovely finish. This is a smaller batch wine, so, if you’re in the Finger Lakes, get thee to Barry! You won’t be sorry, and say hi for me…I miss those crazy guys! 3821 Main Street, in tiny Burdett, NY…garagiste winemaking at its best 🍷

A Sunday By the Bay -Bay Area Tattoo Convention 2017

First tattoo convention for this tattoo wife in 2017 (as a visitor) was this past weekend –the 13th annual Bay Area Tattoo Convention…and, as you know, we love our 13’s! Perfect way to start my first year on the West coast….

The Bay Area Tattoo Convention is held at the Hyatt SFO, and the hotel is attached to the convention venue (always nice for an escape to the room or the pool to breathe) 

Nick and Ellen Chaboya

The show is on the smaller side, but with a high caliber of artists tattooing. Inspiration is everywhere. 

Jeff Gogue

The Bay Area convention is put on every year by powerhouse shop State of Grace Tattoo (Taki is the creator of the viral phenomenon Monmon Cats by Horitomo. Molly, his wife and accomplished chef in her own right, is the author of Knives and Needles blog…a very striking companion to The BoozyLife, for sure! Tattoos, food, booze, and travel….hell yes…)

The show itself had smaller crowds on Sunday, undoubtedly due to downpouring rain the in the area.

Lefty, Grime, Brian 2017

We were able to walk around, checking out work and goings on, and of course socialize with friends that until now were a Coast away. 

This was my first visit to the area, entirely too short, and focused almost entirely on the convention…but we did get to check out Golden Moon Gallery, a stunning new art space in San Mateo. 

Operated and curated by SF tattoo artist Nick Chaboya and his lovely wife Ellen, the gallery features work by internationally known artists, including fellow tattooists. Really quite fantastic to see a space for this incredible artwork, crafted by several of our talented friends–from paintings, to jewelry and sculpture, all slightly flavored with tattoo culture, yet vastly different and always changing. We wish them luck and continued success! Can’t wait to explore this region and spend more time on wine 🍷 

Greece in May 2017-Athens Tattoo Convention and #Winelover Meet Up in Thrace 

Greece is a must-visit for me. I come from Greek heritage on my father’s side, plus my love for wine has led me to time and time again to the region. It’s finally time for me to explore the land of my ancestors, with not one, but TWO events in May that are close to my heart!

The 11th International Athens Tattoo Convention will take place May 11-13th in Athens, Greece. The three day show will feature an impressive list of A-list tattoo artists traveling to Athens from all over the world, artwork, contests, and, of course, tattooing. I’m trying to plan it so this convention will kick off BoozyLife’s Tattoo and Wine Tour of Greece 2017…
May 25th-28th brings the second half of the tour, with the official #WineLover meetup in Thrace, Greece. Luiz Alberto, founder of The Wine Hub blog and LifeLover extraordinaire has teamed up with Ted Lelekas and I Love Greek Wine to celebrate the anniversary of the WineLover community–and I’ve been invited to attend! 

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2016

Well, that’s pretty much it! Harvest 2016, for the Finger Lakes wine area of upstate NY, is in the bag. Winemakers are busy in the cellars, but the backbreaking labor of bringing in the fruit is over. 

Watkins sunset on Seneca

The drought of summer 2016, along with hot late summer temperatures, created a harvest situation different than in years past. Usually, whites ripen first, and there is a window of staggered time to pick the grapes. This year, almost every variety was ready to pick at once, creating a push for helping hands–as well as a more aggressive grape seller’s market. Winemakers that buy grapes had to make fast decisions or be priced out to the next highest bidder. ‘Time crunch’ was the big term of this year’s harvest. 

riesling ready to go

I had the opportunity once again to get my hands dirty and hand pick for a few different, local, smaller FLX grape growers. First-hand knowledge of grapes and fields make for a more educated taster and pourer of wines, so I take the chance where and when I can. 

I exclusively hand picked on Seneca Lake this year-Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. As always, I learned so much from the people I worked with, the experience alone was worth the labor put in. Long hours, little pay (mostly), but you really get out of it what you put into it, and the access you get to the winemakers will absolutely change how you think about making (and drinking!) wine.

Even Master Somm’s sort grapes in the FLX

Look for 2016 vintage FLX reds as well to be exceptional–the extensive drought and heat really created an intense, smaller crop of beautiful fruit. I’ll be back in NY from California next year to try some of the Rieslings, Cabernet Francs, and Gewurtztraminers, that I helped pick, for sure…