Made it to March!

Welcome to March in the Finger Lakes! We have had an incredibly mild winter 2015-16 (so far, not one use of the snow blower), so it feels a bit presumptuous to embrace the upcoming return of spring. Last year on this date, we were sitting on a runway, delayed in snow at Newark, waiting to take off for Paris and the Mondial du Tatouage Paris Tattoo Convention. It was my first international flight, first major European Tattoo Convention…and I was beyond nervous…but did it anyway. No regrets. Get on the bus….right?

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Mondial du Tatouage in Paris

This year, European tattoo travel is on hold until summer, and my focus is on writing. I’ve had an entire world open to me in the last year; travel, tattoos, wine, all mingling in my experience and memory. A wine info book, peppered with tattoo life stories and on the road experiences….what would you want to read about? What are you intrigued with? Help a bitch out! Shoot me a message, I’m all over FB or tweet at me @boozylife 🍷

BoozyLife in Puerto Rico

 

After years of hearing the stories, I finally got to see for myself– Puerto Rico is a beautiful, rich, lush, tropical paradise that lives life and loves to take it easy. This post has a little bit to do with wine–but there was more rum, adventure, and seafood to be had than grape growing! Not to mention that our first morning, husband found a Taste NY spot right down the street from the tattoo shop!

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A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

They’re waiting on their alcohol license, and after that, I hope to bring some of the Finger Lakes to Old San Juan! Get in contact with me if you’re interested in more info….

We stayed in Old San Juan for a week, while Lefty did a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo — the only tattoo shop in Old San Juan, and a solid spot for old school tattoo work, as well as a long list of fantastic rotating visiting artists. Eddie (or The Molina as I heard him called on several occasions) was booked pretty solid, but if you missed the chance to get tattoo work from him, he’ll be back soon.

I had a set amount of time to myself in Old San Juan for shopping, walking, and touristing (awesome little boutiques, local flavors, tourist traps, forts, museums) on foot- all very walkable, wear the good sandals or comfy flats.

It’s also relatively hot and humid, so billowy sundresses were the preferred threads. I showed a lot of tattooed skin, and passed out a LOT of business cards–good for me, good for everyone!

A few days into the trip, we escaped for a day of nature. Rainforest bound, we had to make a stop at Bebo’s BBQ. It’s an open air, pork bbq spot, right across from the airport. Bourdain knows about the porky goodness-I had to find out….it did NOT disappoint…

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Porky goodness at Bebo’s BBQ

Venturing out of Old San Juan, we rented a car (CHEAP) –and the driving is nuts (no blinkers, zippy passing on the right shoulder kind of stuff), but I was with a semi-local, so….we had a day in El Yunque National Rainforest.

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Hidden beauty

I wasn’t completely geared up, but just from the roads and a few light hiking paths I saw some of the most gorgeous natural rock formations, waterfalls, and wild . Next time we go back, I’ll have my Ithaca style hiking gear, for sure! The paths aren’t all maintained, but the views are spectacular, and the swimming holes are local treasures.

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El Yunque colors

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Palm size snail

Later that evening, we drove about half an hour to Fajardo and the bioluminescent bay–an experience I will never forget! We kayaked with a group through mangrove groves in pitch darkness, only to come out into a sparkling bay–the winds were light, the glow was definitely there although low, and I got to hold a glowing, bioluminescent jellyfish. Next trip we will explore others as well! You can find more info here: Bioluminescent Bays in Puerto Rico.

Way too much for only one post, lots more we ate, saw, and tried to do– but what a first visit for me! I’ll always remember rum, pirate friends, parrots, serious pork, Demian and the Sick Of It All evening of hardcore bone breakage, bioluminescence, beauty, and loving the entire experience with my Puerto Rican husband.

 

BoozyLife is in Puerto Rico

SENZALA TATTOO in Old San Juan, PR

SENZALA TATTOO in Old San Juan, PR

A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

Cemetery crypts with one hell of a view

Cemetery crypts with one hell of a view

Old San Juan

Old San Juan


Lefty and I are in PR for about a week, while he does an artist guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan! Many talented tattoo artists travel extensively, working out of shops around the world.

Ocean views

Ocean views

Lefty has international clients, and when we met years ago, he was spending a lot of time on the island of Puerto Rico–enough to have a client base and following here. Still does!

My pirate Lefty

My pirate Lefty

It’s been roughly seven years since he’s been here (owning a shop will unintentionally tie you down for a bit), but I definitely foresee trips becoming more frequent. I love seeing the pirate Lefty in his native environment! This is my first time, so I’m getting the full tour from the entire gang of characters here–gracious group of artists, every one.

Molina working on Demian at Senzala Tattoo

Molina working on Demian at Senzala Tattoo

I have a few boozy excursions planned, not to mention incredible foods,  rainforests, and a bioluminescent bay to visit…stay tuned…

Avacado stuffed with shrimp & tostones

Avacado stuffed with shrimp & tostones

Follow along on my BoozyLife FaceBook page, on Twitter as @boozylife or on Instagram @missusmolina 🙂

 

#BoozyLife is Bound for Puerto Rico and Senzala Tattoo

Puerto Rico Bound

Puerto Rico Bound

Finally, after years of being the airport drop-off driver for this very commonly repeated trip, I’m tagging along to Puerto Rico with the husband! Early December, my man Lefty will be back at it, doing a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico–one of the oldest existing cities in America. I’ll be blogging along the way, hanging out at the tattoo shop, trying local delicacies and boozy beverages galore–when I’m not touring rainforests and a bioluminescent bay…..and beaches, and hiking….

Have any recommendations for stops along the way that I absolutely shouldn’t miss? Leave a comment here, on my FB page, or tweet at me on Twitter @BoozyLife 🙂

Lefty at Senzala Dec 8-14

Lefty at Senzala Dec 8-14

Aaaand, if you’d like to schedule a tattoo appointment with Lefty while we’re in PR, get a hold of Senzala Tattoo for any tattoo availability and booking (follow the link above)!

A BoozyLife Night in Paris at Chez Casimir *100th POST*

BoozyLife in action! Paris 2015

BoozyLife in action! Paris 2015

Big Paris Bus

Big Paris Bus

Side note–this is my 100th post on the BoozyLife! Thank you for reading and following the journey!

The first leg of our trip this month had us flying on a multiple city ticket–last minute flight purchases–and ended up with an overnight layover, to ourselves, in Paris. Terrible, right? What to do…we wanted to stay near the Gare du Nord train station in order to stay close to the morning train commute to the airport…cheap night in an Ibis hotel nearby…research! My husband found a spot called Chez Casimir about 100 meters from us–it’s the sister restaurant to the famous Chez Michel bistro, and actually SHARES A KITCHEN with them. DONE! We walked over and took an outdoor table overlooking the evening Paris streets. Google them if you want to see more articles, they’ve been written up in CNN travel amongst many others….

Paris streets

Paris streets

There is either an ala carte menu or the standard four course pairing (appetizer, entrée, world-famous cheese tray, desert), so we went traditional and ordered off the prix fix menu. At less than forty euros each, the price was more than a casual dinner, but presented to be a more upscale bistro fare. I chose a portion of beef with mushrooms and a pepper sauce as my entré…and then, I got to pick our wine! Best part!

French Beaujolais from Bordeaux Region Séléné

French Beaujolais from Bordeaux Region Séléné

I ordered a French Beaujolais wine (young and fruity red, easy drinking and good with a bistro meal like this) from the menu, and was invited to go grab MY bottle!! The wines were stored in the Cava de Vino (wine cave…in this case, a climate controlled side room/closet area) and you were asked to grab the bottle you want yourself, and a server will open your selection(s) and add them to the bill at the end of the meal. OK. YES. Several of the bottles were small batch, organic, or from harder to find producers! HOW TO CHOOSE? After a good amount of standing still with my mouth open in a happy place, I grabbed a bottle of GAEC de La Tallebarde – Séléné Beaujolais Gamay, a very young red wine, lightly aged and traditionally made in the Burgundy region of France. It also happily had an artsy label, plastered with a painting of Frida Kahlo-which was a nice marketing surprise for me and appropriate as well I suppose!

Lobster salad

Lobster salad

The young red wine -once popped -was fruity, funky, and complex, without being heavy–a fun pairing for casual outdoor dining. The acidity cut through all of the rich flavor of the meal, from my beef and mushrooms, all the way to the incredible treat of the Chez Michel style local cheese platter course.

FRENCH CHEESE TRAY!!

FRENCH CHEESE TRAY!!

Beef with mushrooms prepared perfectly

Beef with mushrooms prepared perfectly

Really, no words–the cheese tray comes after entirely too much food, so plan accordingly! Desert was an incredible raspberry chocolate concoction that melted in my mouth with silky perfection…lovely sweet ending to a delightful night in Paris. Check out Chez Casimir next time you are in town–BoozyLife approved and recommended! See you on the road….

Chocolate and raspberry goodness

Chocolate and raspberry goodness

BoozyLife on the Road in France!#twithaca #Pertuis #AIXProvence #Corsica #HolidayInk5

I love this view...and this man.

I love this view…and this man.

Holiday Ink 5

Holiday Ink 5

BoozyLife is on the road in Southern France! I have amazing pictures and video of the weekend we were invited to from Holiday Ink 5 as well as from some of our travels through Pertuis, AIX Provence, and now Corsica on the Mediterranean! Thank you to David de Pertuis, his wife Stéphanie, and his beautiful and gracious family for hosting us in such comfort and hospitality. Truly, we feel so blessed and can’t wait to see you all in NYC this fall!

Pertuis with friends!

Pertuis with friends!

My wifi availability is spotty at the moment, and the adventure has provided way more than I could squish into one post anyway….so there will be a few on this journey once we return to the States. Currently, we’re visiting friends at the studio Generation Tattoo in Ajaccio, Corsica–incredible local farmers markets, and a view of the port that will never leave me. Enjoy a few GoPro shots and keep your eyes open for more posts in the coming week! See you soon, Ithaca—

The goods

The goods

Art Tattoo Show Québec 2015–First Year and a Big Success in an Old City

Québec City

Québec City

 

Clowning around

Clowning around

Nick Chaboya getting busy

Nick Chaboya getting busy

The last weekend in May (29-31st) was the first ever Art Tattoo Show Québec 2015, put on by the same great crew that runs Art Tattoo Show MontreaI every year, headed by industry power couple Pierre Chapelan and Valerie Emond of Studio Tattoomania in Montreal.  There were artists invited from around the world, and we were lucky enough to be a part of it. The weekend was extremely enjoyable with incredible artwork on display, tattoo contests, and tattoo artists attending seminars and sharing information and ideas. It was just what we needed to gain some perspective from fellow shop owners and artists, in this crazy industry that we all love and respect so much.

Miss Karen holding down the fort

Miss Karen holding down the fort with Rob and Bradley

Québec city is an old town, very reminiscent of Edinburgh, Scotland. There are fortified city walls around the old city, the only remnants of these structures in the Americas. Cobblestone streets give way to the feel of old world, with stone architecture and rolling hills. Wear flats or comfy heels, walking here is a bit strenuous in places! It’s worth the hike to climb into the fort overlooks, and see the bustling city below.

In our booth

In our booth

imageimageThe convention was located in the heart of the old city at the Centre des Congrès de Québec convention center. We were a short walk from several incredible streets, full of bars, restaurants, and all the nightlife you could ever ask for. We passed over the official convention after party to spend time with several friends that we rarely get to see, but did end up taking a few outings with them to other spots!image

Our Sunday night grand finale steak dinner was at a spot named Feu Sacré, a very cozy but not overly masculine steakhouse. The tattoo artist men (and women) generally require a big celebratory meal after a successful weekend of busting their collective asses, and these folks got the surprise of the evening at eight thirty Sunday night…but I’m sure that they will remember us and plan on a full house for next year. The food was exactly what we needed, and relaxing with friends was absolutely the highlight….that, and mushrooms cooked in black truffle infused butter.

After convention steak dinner at Le Feu Sacré

After convention steak dinner at Le Feu Sacré

I ordered a bottle of 2012 Norton Barrel Select Malbec from Argentina to pair, and it it went over well with our tables-nothing overly fancy, but drinkable and delicious with our steaks. A good meal with many friends to cap off the weekend!

Pub St. Alexandre in old Québec City

Pub St. Alexandre in old Québec City

Monday we checked out of the hotel and met up with friends for a pub lunch before we all hit the road (or skies).  Pub St. Alexandre was one of the oldest establishments in the area, with hundreds of international beers, as well as a menu of over fifty plus scotch single malts! The smell of the smoked meat wafting through the air the day prior had made this the ‘gotta go’ spot. Our pals Rob and Karen Hoskins, tattooer extraordinaire and his lovely wife (who also works in the booze industry) met us at the pub-because she doesn’t spend enough time in the one at home while working! At least we felt at home! A lunch of smoked meat, fish and chips, and burgers were happily consumed, along with a few Caesars and pints. We parted ways full, tired, and looking forward to our next meal together. Perfect ending!

If you get the chance, Québec City is a beautiful old historical area to visit. So much to see and do, this will definitely be on our list of annual shows. Highly recommended by this boozy wife, and we can’t wait to start planning for next year!

Fountain from the Bordeaux region of France

Fountain from the Bordeaux region of France

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