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!

Cayucos Sea Glass Festival 

This past weekend was the annual Cayucos Sea Glass Festival, a fun weekend on the Central Coast –full of beach glass jewelry, music, wine, and mermaids! 

The jewelers and artisans of the juried sea glass portion of the show are the main event, with a dizzying array of jewelry, exclusively featuring beach glass. There were unfortunately no photos allowed in the art tent; however, I did ask to feature a couple of artists, whose pieces especially caught my eye. There was just so much incredible work to see, luckily most have Etsy stores as well. 

Kate Samson Design out of San Diego, CA (you can check out her Etsy store here: Kate Samson Design) had some gorgeous pieces, very simple and elegant. My favorites were her heart shaped necklaces in a rainbow of colors, perfect for bridesmaids gifts or matching sister pieces 💙💚💜💛 

Kate’s background in graphic design is evident, with clean lines and beautifully structured pieces. Her booth was busy and I had to run, but I’ll be putting my own Etsy order in! Check out some of her rings as well, and if you DO buy anything lovely, tell her BoozyLife sent you!

Suzanne Morgan is the artisan behind Saltwater Silver (SaltwaterSilver on Etsy is on a short break, but you can reach Suzanne through email or be alerted when she’s back), also from San Diego, CA.

I finally ended up buying a pair of her simply styled silver hoops, threaded with silver beads and a lovely piece of pale green blue colored beach glass. She also makes incredible, mermaid scale-like necklaces that held several pieces of beach glass that I wish I could have taken pictures of. Stunning!

I love promoting local artists work, especially from our new coastal location–be it tattoo art, or something that I enjoy and want to share with all of you! 

Photo by Cayucos Cellars

Cayucos Cellars was pouring tastings of some of their wines as well, so of course I had to swing by! They are a very local, all family run and operated affair that has been making their wines since the 1980’s–and have continued in the same fashion to today. 

I especially liked the 2012 Petit Sirah, an earthy red with lovely deep color, and the fruity, light, easy drinking Zinfandel Rosé. Small batch, family vineyard wines, right here on the Central Coast. Have a look at their website for operating hours at their new tasting room, and more info on their wine club. 

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 🍷 

How To Get a Tattoo At A Tattoo Convention

Tattoo Conventions are a huge part of the tattoo artist lifestyle-travel the world, build a name, and practice the craft on collectors that will appreciate their new wearable artwork. So, you’ve heard there is a convention coming to your city…now what? How do you go about getting a tattoo at a tattoo convention?

  • CHECK THE CONVENTION WEBSITE! Is there a particular artist’s work that you love, or that stands out? Are you looking for a particular design, or is it the style of the artist you’re looking at? Have an idea what you want for your tattoo.
  • CONTACT THE ARTIST! Most convention websites have an artist list, as well as an email address for them. Artists mostly take their own appointments and create tattoo schedules, so act fast or they might be completely booked.
  • SEND THE ARTIST A DEPOSIT $$ You are asking an artist to work with you, and booking some of their precious money making time. Deposits vary from artist to artist, but if you are serious about your work, this should not be an issue. DO NOT FLAKE ON YOUR APPOINTMENT! If you absolutely have to cancel, respect the artist enough to try to give them some notice–there are LOTS of other clients that would love that time, and might be able to fit in! A deposit covers the artist’s drawing and design time–if you no-show, that money IS NOT REFUNDED. SHOW UP FOR YOUR TATTOO TIME!
  • DESIGNING DEPENDS ON THE ARTIST. Some artists will prefer to do a pre-drawing and use a stencil, others might free hand a design directly on skin with markers. Depending on the artist, the process, the flow–DO NOT MICROMANAGE YOUR TATTOO ARTIST. The more free reign the artist is allowed, the better the work. You came to them because you like their style, right? TRUST THEM.
  • THE DAY OF THE TATTOO- show up at the convention on time, with no other plans or restrictions (gotta pick the kids up from practice at 4? Don’t plan your tattoo that day, or get some help.) Eat something, no empty stomachs, and make sure to grab something to drink during the process. WATER OR JUICE, NOOOO BOOZE! You will bleed more, possibly sit poorly, and get light headed or pass out.  Sober sitting is always recommended.
  • BRING CASH. Your artist will give you a price or estimate beforehand, so there are no surprises or price misunderstandings. MANY ARE CASH ONLY.
  • SIT STILL! Sometimes, that is the hardest part…
  • TIP YOUR TATTOO ARTIST! Do you live your new ink? Show them! Extra $$ is always nice, but gifts can also go a long way…from a bottle of whiskey to a gift certificate for a massage, appreciation is always remembered!

Conventions bring some of the world’s top tattoo talent to you, and often help bypass a year (or longer) wait at their home studio. Enjoy the show, the culture, the vibe….and come out with a spectacular new piece of work. This is why we travel the way we do! See you on the road 🙂

A million and one THANK YOU’S to Kaija Heightland from BC, (@tattoosbymisskaija on IG) for custom designing and tattooing a lovely Luna moth on my calf–my new lil buddy is healed perfectly, and no one can believe how bright it is in person! A perfect little bit of tattoo therapy from a lovely friend and talented Canadian lady tattooer ❤️

Art Tattoo Quebec City 2016

imageThe Molina’s made it! From SLO in California to Quebec City with a one day travel turn around…yikes, but with all these great artists and friends here, there’s plenty of good energy to go around! Last minute, I also get to add to my tattoo collection this trip–the talented Kaija Heitland! Have a look at her work on Instagram @tattoosbymisskaija 😊More soon! BoozyLife on the road again….or still…

A Few Pictures from SLO, CA

imageimageLefty and I will be headed from San Luis Obispo, straight to the Art Tattoo Quebec show in Quebec City this weekend! I have so much to write about from this SLO trip, much of which will probably be on a plane (never thought that would be possible for me as a terrible flier, but I’m getting so much better at it!). In the mean time, enjoy some of my favorite visual stories from SLO-words will come later…but are hardly needed. Thank you to Traditional Tattoo in SLO for being amazing hosts, and just a lovely group of fun individuals that run as a tattoo shop team. Isn’t that what it’s all supposed to be about, anyway? #OneLove


BoozyLife in L.A. and SLO Wine Area

Artichoke in flower

Artichoke in flower-Los Angeles 2016


We made it! Left and I landed at LAX and will be spending some time with friends in the LA and Lakewood areas, and then it’s off to SLO wine area for a tattoo guest spot at Traditional Tattoo in Saint Luis Obispo! I’ll be winery touring while husband is at the shop–any vineyards in this area you feel I MUST not miss? Tweet at me @boozylife or shoot me a comment, I’ll even be checking while I’m out and about 🙂


On a side note, ate my first Animal style burger at In-N-on Out yesterday! It was totally delish, but I think left over Valium (nervous flier!) in my system from our flight made it hard work just to chew…excellent natural French fries, perfect and simple. Great start to the week!

More soon! Follow along>>>>

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