Category Archives: Travel

BoozyLife Video: The Okanagan Tattoo Show & Brewfest 2018

Check out my video!! Feel free to share, and follow my new BoozyLife YouTube channel…..

www.youtube.com/watch

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…

We’re at: The Okanagan Tattoo Show and Brewfest 2018

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!!

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…).

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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!

1st Annual Winnipeg Tattoo Convention 2017

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!

Sadly, August 18-20th, tattooer husband Lefty and I had to miss the 1st Annual Winnipeg Tattoo Convention, sponsored by Kapala Tattoo and Good Guy Supply.

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!

*All photos taken by Dwayne Larson Photography

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. 

Explore Montaña de Oro State Park Tide Pools

One of my passions in this crazy life is the ocean. I fancy myself a landlocked mermaid, and also have a sleeve tattoo expressing my ocean love–complete with a mermaid and little octopus dude!I enjoy exploring the sea life in and around our local areas, and photography is much more fun for me here on the central coast. We have California starfish. STARFISH!!Today was our first hike to the tide pools at Montaña de Oro State Park. Low tide is the best time to check out the pools, so check a tide chart before you go. Anemone, starfish, crabs, mussels, are all visible for a short time when the tides recede.

Anemone in tide pool

Starfish

Gorgeous life inhabit each puddle, but you need to take your time and watch your step.
Not terrible life advice, all in all. It was definitely a bucket list afternoon–Bring a picnic lunch for the view and enjoy!

Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach CA

Yesterday, I made a little trip off the wine trails to visit The Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach CA. It was absolutely something I plan on doing often in winter! I have read about the migration of the Monarch butterflies, where colonies of up to twenty thousand spend the winter from October until February. The butterflies cluster on the limbs of the Eucalyptus trees in Pismo State Beach park, a beautiful and tiny area to see such a concentration of wings. On first look, you see hardly any Monarchs, except for a few lilting gently in the breeze. As your eyes adjust, the fluttering clumps of leaves seem to shift before your eyes, an illusion of wings. It’s truly a breathtaking experience. Last year, the count swelled to twenty five thousand in February. Yesterday’s officially posted count came in at around fifteen thousand, which was utterly incredible to witness. A not to be missed, FREE stop, right off of HWY 1 on the coast…bring your own beverages! 

Flying the skies, and keeping it friendly…

 

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BoozyLife in the air

I’m going slightly off topic, here.

I’m not going to talk about wine (yet), or tattoos, or even how the two were a huge part of my trip to Lodi, California and the Wine Bloggers Conference 2016 (WBC Website) this past weekend. I reconnected, we networked, we drank, and it was a fantastic time. More about that soon.

This post is about air travel.

 

It has taken me three years to become what I would consider a decent traveler. I am a nervous flier (but better each trip), get motion sick in moving vehicles, boat sick on the water, and generally arrive in much worse shape than I started in. I am a walking advertisement for Sea Bands, Bonine, and Rescue Remedy….(feel free to sponsor me). Four years ago, flying cross country, alone, would have been an absolute, panic attack inducing no-go.

What happened?

I was tired of that debilitating, paralyzing fear being “my normal.” I wanted to see the world for myself. I went for hypnotherapy sessions. I tried different medications. I exist out of my comfort zone, being afraid and doing it anyway. I’m living life, and occasionally it makes me nauseous along the way! So what. Sick is uncomfortable, miserable…but do-able. Find the tricks that work for you. Eat the Pringles. Chew ginger candies. Valium and headphones work wonders.

So, here’s why I’m proud.

My journey to Sacramento airport from Syracuse, NY was supposed to be a relatively easy, two plane trip. Thanks to air traffic control and the airline I was on (United, not that it mattered, everything was a mess), it became apparent that this first time solo cross country jaunt was going to be a test to my mental fortitude as well. Delays led to missed connections and overnight groundings.

What did I do?

Not panic! I made the best of it, and planned ahead when I could. Always find outlets and chargers. Keep an empty water bottle handy.

 

I bought myself a fuzzy pillow and blanket set when it became apparent that I would be sleeping overnight on the Denver airport carpeted terminal floor. I amused myself at five am playing Pokemon Go (seriously). Buy the good headphones, you’ll be glad you had them. Nap when you can.

I MADE IT. FOURTEEN HOURS LATE.

Don’t freak out. Try to be cool to the other travelers surrounding you. I had some very lovely people give me tips and help me out in a couple of tough spots. Airline staff is also dealing with some major shit, so a little bit of nice can go a long way towards getting you rebooked. Don’t be THAT asshole. You know who I’m talking about.

My very first cross country solo flight? I would call it a “trial by fire,” successful escape from New York.

I promise, more about booze and tattoos soon!🍷✈️🍷

 

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 🙂