I’m baaaack after one hell of a transition to the West Coast, and our first return to East Coast tattoo shows…Montreal 2019, held September 13-15 once again at the stunning Gare Windsor train station.
Our friends and gracious hosts Pierre Chapelan and Valerie Emond, owners of Studio Tattoomania Montreal, organize one of our favorite shows in one of our very favorite places-Montreal, Canada. Lefty and I missed attending the last few years, so it was a fantastic way to rejoin our friends and inspirations on tour!
It was a busy weekend of clients for Lefty, with some amazing meals and artwork punctuating the work with fun, as it should. Artists from around the world embrace the city. Montreal also has some of the most insane murals and street art I’ve ever seen, and wandering around downtown is absolutely not to be missed.
We were also lucky enough to chance get flights and have time to catch AURA light show, an immersive visual and audio experience at the Notre Dame Basilica Montreal. Completely worth the line, wait, and ticket price.
We ate too much smoked meat and had a decadent post convention dinner at Queue du Cheval to wrap up the weekend. Steak tartare was divine and I make no apologies for the two vodka dirty caesars I had instead of something from the wine list….which was extensive.
Icing on the cake, we got to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday with her, meet some fantastic new individuals to the crew, and catch up with artists we haven’t seen in years. Great way to get back to it! Thank you, Montreal, for being wonderful…. and to Pierre and Val for the hard work it takes to put on a great show, year after year!
The Okanagan Tattoo Show & Brewfest 2018’was a great time, with invite-only tattoo artists, live music all three days, food trucks to keep us munching, and local craft breweries pouring their hearts out for thirsty tasters!
Huge thank you’s to Rob and Natalie Jobe, Good Guy Supply, and all of their partners and sponsors– for the hard work and dedication it takes to put on an event like this, you are putting yet another awesome BC tattoo scene on the map! Lefty Bastard and I will most definitely see you next year…
The Molina’s are back on the road, and back in Canada with tattoo tribe! We finally made it (after a ‘leave at midnight’ drive to SFO) and two easy flights, to Kelowna for the Okanagan Tattoo Show & Brewfest, July 20-22, 2018…my first time here, and Ed’s too! The show features 140 invited tattoo artists, thirteen breweries pouring, and live music at the Kelowna Curling Club space. Lefty’s spent some tattoo time in BC, and specifically Vancouver, but never Kelowna…so we get to do this show, for the first time–together!
So, keep your eye on the BoozyLife Instagram, FB, Twitter…and all the rest of my social medias, for blasts and snips of fun throughout the weekend and beyond. Follow along in real time! I’ll have a big wrap up post on here after the weekend, as always…
Back to the trip! After we checked into our hotel Thursday, we scooted to downtown Kelowna to meet up with our awesome hosts (and official convention organizers) Rob and Natalie Jobe, plus a crew of artists and friends that had started to arrive and hang out. Kelowna has an adorable little downtown, full of shopping, sidewalk cafes, and even a local distillery! Yeah….a distillery…
Okanagan Spirits distillery has a fun and informative tasting room down by the water. Obviously, there will be more on that…because they make a true Absinthe that is just lovely….and I chase green fairies whenever possible!
After our flights tasting local vodka, gin, and a absinthe, our hosts were lovely enough to rent two large pontoon boats, and cruise us around Okanagan lake for a few hours! Yours truly went out, but with my seasickness tendencies on top of no sleep and lots of travel, I did end up slightly green around the gills… but absolutely don’t miss City Park and it’s gorgeous views. I’ll definitely be grabbing a coffee or two to sit by the lake and relax (at some point) in the next few days! It’s going to be a weekend to remember….
***sidenote*** from the boats, we saw an inflatable obstacle course in the water…still working on getting there somehow!!
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”.Heads 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. Sonoma 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…).
Even 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!
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!
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!
Moving to California has definitely been fantastic, but we’ve had to make some tough travel decisions and sit out some great tattoo events in 2017. We’re adulting! We’re not homeless! All the good things….but we miss our friends. Friends we enjoy running into and working along side, all over the world.
International artists like Rich Handford, who we see in Montreal, in the States, in Paris at the Mondial du Tatouage Convention–who, this time, had his own show, loaded with a roster of international tattoo talent in Winnipeg!
Organized and promoted in a CRAZY short span of time (about six months) by artist Rich Handford (Instagram @richhandford) and his incredible wife Sheri, they are also proud owners of Kapala Tattoo Winnipeg.
Two more friend and professional tattoo industry couples, Rob and Natalie Jobe (pictured with Rich) along with Lucas and Jaime Ford, are the force behind Good Guy Supply, the second show sponsor. Tattoo supplies for tattoo artists, by other accomplished tattoo artists, of the highest quality!
The dedication, hard work, and tireless effort that it takes a team to put on a convention is gnarly, but in a five month crunch, it would be hard to even imagine the logistics. These folks made it happen in a big way! According to tattoo wife extraordinaire and Winnipeg convention promoter Sheri Handford–
“We’re still married!! We planned an amazing show in 5 months–There was very little that went wrong, and we had an amazing team that helped make everything possible! We all worked tirelessly and it showed–We had plan A, B, C and maybe a D!! We can’t wait to do it again next year! Hopefully you and Eddie will make it, but also glad you’re not homeless!”
With a successful and well received first year behind them, we look forward to Winnipeg Tattoo Convention next year in 2018 for the Molina’s! Congrats to all of the Winnipeg Convention’s crew, team of volunteers, and sponsors for a hugely successful show– we can’t stop hearing glowing reviews from a weekend of tremendous talent–you guys killed it! See you out there!
FLX Damiani Dry Rhysling Special Release was special because two little boys, from two different families, born with heart issues, inspired their parents to do incredible things–from art to wine–to raise money for other heart babies ❤
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)
The show is on the smaller side, but with a high caliber of artists tattooing. Inspiration is everywhere.
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.
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 🍷
First BoozyLife convention visit this year, and it’s happening on the West Coast! Keep your eyes peeled, here and on my social media feeds–we’re visiting the Bay Area this weekend to check out the 13th annual Bay Area Tattoo Convention, and hopefully visit and catch up with tattoo friends we haven’t seen in far too long…and check out Golden Moon Art Gallery!
Seriously, though…is that not the best tattoo convention poster artwork, ever? Check out Horimoto’s Mon Mon Cats E-store for tees, prints, and more-all featuring these virally popular designs! (Monmon cats online store)