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!

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

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 ❤️

Roc City Tattoo Expo and Iron Smoke Whiskey: Local Finger Lakes Love 2016


The Roc City Tattoo Expo is Upstate NY’s only high end tattoo convention, drawing an impressive roster of international artists each year to our beautiful area.


2016 saw the 8th annual Roc City Expo in a different venue, the addition of more local artists and vendors, and a focus on artwork as opposed to entertainment and contests.image





The Hand of Fate has attended every one of these eight years of shows, starting with the first event right after we had opened our business, and relocated to the Finger Lakes. Jet and his crew at Love Hate Tattoo have always focused on bringing the best artists in tattooing, to an area that is often overlooked for larger markets and cities.

Rochester is a fantastic town, larger scale than Ithaca, with an artsy, young, downtown crowd and a flourishing dining and entertainment scene. Due to local Finger Lakes wine trails, breweries, and distilleries being less than an hour away, the locavore movement is strong here, and local vintners and brewers are represented along side menu items, sourced from area farms.

Iron Smoke Whiskey, a small batch distillery located close to home in Fairport, NY, saw the opportunity to join in on the Roc City Expo fun! FINALLY, a local booze producer that saw the potential marketing frenzy that a tattoo convention crowd offers: exposure to an absolute rainbow selection of adults, from all walks of life, that enjoy quality luxuries. A whiskey tasting at a tattoo convention? YES. SO MUCH YES.

imageLet me say, the whiskey tasting was VERY well received, pouring staff were knowledgeable and answering questions, and I’m sure three days of sales reflected that!

Iron Smoke also seem to have a growing distribution to bars and restaurants in the Upstate area, so make sure to keep your eyes open, or request it by name at your favorite watering hole. Iron Smoke Distillery is run by a contact that goes by the name of Skully, and their labeling and merchandise feature a distinguished skeleton, in a suit, smoking a pipe. Very well suited to a tattoo crowd, to say the least. Lots of teeshirts went out the door with that whiskey….


Back to the actual whiskey tasting and my own impressions. Iron Smoke brought two products with them- Iron Smoke small batch Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey, and their Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey. Both were surprising, and I was shocked that as a local booze hound I had never had the pleasure! Jet and the Roc City crew must have known I was coming, and planned the whiskey accordingly. 🙂

imageIron Smoke Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey: small batch, locally sourced grain is mashed and smoked with an apple wood smoking process, before distillation and aging for years in charred, American white oak barrels. With a hint of sweetness on the nose, this smooth amber colored whiskey has a light, smoky, vanilla and apple flavor with a nicely rounded, deep oak finish. Lovely small batch spirit.

imageRattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey: Forbidden Apple Pie recipe of small batch house distilled corn whiskey, blended with all natural upstate NY apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slightly sweet, with the tang of fresh apple cider and a bite of corn whiskey, this potion is delicious on its own, or as a mixer for some beautiful cocktails. Slightly sweet, bright, and luscious long finish. According to their Iron Smoke website, Apple Pie was the winner in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition–for those of you that follow the medals and events scene!

Once again, huge thank you’s go out to Jet and the entire Love Hate Tattoo Rochester crew for all of the hard work and hoop jumping it takes to have such a great show turnout in this area! Hand of Fate has enjoyed the journey since the beginning, and there is always something surprising to enjoy, along with world class tattooing and artwork. This year, BoozyLife felt especially loved! Want to buy your own bottles of Iron Smoke Whiskey? Check out their website here : Iron Smoke Whiskey website –there are awesome cocktail recipes for your newly aquired local whiskey!

Paris and Mondial du Tatouage 2016



Custom Nissan Juke by Tin Tin for Mondial–Ellen Chaboya


Clint modeling a lovely red


Custom Fender by Nick Chaboya


Tattoo Contest crowd

Paris is a magical city. The lights, the people, the wine…the art. The energy is unlike anywhere else, a joy for life and an appreciation for the beautiful things that borders on hedonism. Quality tattoos and tattoo culture are revered and celebrated here, possibly more than any other location. One of the largest and best international tattoo conventions, Mondial du Tatouage, took place the first weekend in March.


Artist supply pack

Last year in 2015, I was lucky enough to attend with my husband as well, to really get a taste of the insanity and the crowds. The Paris tattoo convention was completely unlike anything I had ever seen–Fender Guitars and MTV sponsor, lines that wrap around the convention hall for several city blocks the entire weekend, a well orchestrated madness of entertainment and artwork.


Geoff McMann from Sanitary Electric Tattoo Co. In Vancouver Dawn Danroth

This year, due to business and life not lining up the way we had hoped, Lefty and I had to miss Paris for March 2016 . It’s such an incredible event, that there was no way I wanted to skip a post– so I asked a couple of friends and fellow tattoo wives to send me some photos from this year. One of the things that I absolutely love about being in this tattoo community, is the sharing and support that we often find! Thank you, ladies!! You rock. Truly.

Dawn Danroth, wife to veteran tattoo artist Clint Danroth and owners of Craftsman Tattoo Parlour, BC, kept me updated on what stood out to her-for her first time at the show! Dawn’s highlights were GOOD red wine in food courts (!!), excellent red wine EVERYWHERE, a gift of Pinot Gris from Alsace and Steph at Octopus Tattoo, and reportedly some of the best French Onion soup she had ever tasted at a café on St. Denis!

The lovely Ellen Chaboya also ran a booth with her multi-talented tattoo artist husband Nick Chaboya ( Nick Chaboya private studio, San Fran Bay Area) and sent me some awesome photos of the crowd, the custom Mondial Nissan Juke by Tin Tin, as well as shots of the Fender guitar Nick customized especially for the show! We spent a bit of time together last year, and it’s always a blast.

Until next year, Mondial du Tatouage 2017….

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

This Weekend- Athens, Copenhagen, and Halifax- on the International #TattooConvention Circuit #BoozyLife

Spring has officially sprung, and the international tattoo convention circuit has kicked off with a vengeance. Yes, that IS a thing for those of you not in the tattoo industry. Business conferences often take place in some exotic, lovely locations in order for the conference go-ers to enjoy some travel as well as work–why would the tattoo industry be any different? Serious professional tattoo artists (as well as many tattoo collectors) travel the world to expand their collections, as well as practice their craft on an international level. According to convention calendar, there are at least sixteen major tattoo shows around the world this weekend of May 15th! This weekend alone, there are tattoo conventions in Texas and Nevada in the United States, in Copenhagen and Athens (and even Croatia!!) in Europe, as well as the Maritime Tattoo Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Lots of new upcoming spots to try locally sourced wines and spirits for this Boozy Wife!

With all of this opportunity to travel, it’s fun that my love of adult beverages and body art seem to be working hand in hand. The wine folks are learning quite a bit about the tattoo world, and the tattooers and their assistants usually already have an interest in wines and spirits, but would like to know even more. A great meeting of the minds, over a bottle or two 🙂 See you on the road!