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!
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 🙂
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)!
After a long week of jumping through hoops as a tattoo wife and shop owner, it was a pleasure to attend the Wine Boggers Conference 2015 in the Finger Lakes area of NY, or as I like to call it, ‘home.’
Over two hundred and fifty wine writers and bloggers would be participating in a three-day weekend (plus some pre and post excursions!) of wine tasting, exploration, seminars, and networking. I’m an old pro at the tattoo convention scene— but a wine blogger convention? What was that going to be like? I had a few notions, but seeing that it was to be held in our backyard of viticulture in the Finger Lakes area, I couldn’t miss it! This area is exciting, vibrant, and on the cusp of great things…I wanted to see what the OTHER bloggers thought, as a way to see our area (and my ‘hood) through fresh eyes.
All three days were pretty heavily scheduled with events, some as writing workshops, mentoring, and pro panels, excursions to several different wineries and events, and LOTS of wine tasting.
Keynote presenter Karen MacNeil, wine goddess and author of The Wine Bible, was as inspirational as she was fierce. HERE is a woman to idolize, ladies….strong, professional, and absolutely taking no shit from anyone. Honestly, if that was all the conference had for me…Karen’s words would have been enough. She’ll get a post all of her own, because Karen is an incredible spirit– that the women in the wine industry MUST recognize — as a door opener and trail blazer. She may be in Napa now, but she has the heart and fire of a New Yorker. One of my favorite quotes that she dropped on women in the industry during the weekend was, in relation to sexism in the wine industry: “the barrier has never been sex, it is mediocrity. The door is open, walk through it.” ABSOLUTELY!
Tastings were a huge part of the event, and I counted over seventy-three wine tasting notes over two days that I took–not too shabby! LOTS of spitting, kids….don’t try to be a hero. You will fail and quite possibly make an ass of yourself.
The tastings ranged from the normal table and pour, to a “speed dating” version of a tasting (wine makers came to your table with their bottle, gave some wine notes, and had five minutes with you, then it was off to the next table!), to a mystery bus excursion….get on the bus, go to a secret location, have an AMAZING TIME, return later to hash out where we all ended up!
BoozyLife ended up on the bus headed to Element Winery in Arkport, vision of the incredibly talented and hard-working Master Somm Christopher Bates-whose dinner and wines will get their own post as well, because I saw things happening there that DEFINE what the Finger Lakes can and will be to the wine industry, in the near future and beyond.
In short, the weekend was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and it opened my eyes to magic happening right under my nose! BoozyLife can’t wait to share some of the wine makers and their creations with you all, because the Finger Lakes are where it’s all happening right now in New York State.
Now, just let me sort out all of these tasting notes…
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….
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!
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!
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.
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….
Lefty and I are home from another great trip to Europe this year! This time, we were invited to Holiday Ink 5 artist retreat in Pertuis, France — CHECK OUT MY VIDEO ON YOUTUBE –>>> CLICK ON THE LINK –>> HOLIDAY INK 5 VIDEO
Hosted by David De Pertuis and his incredibly dedicated family and crew, the weekend included artist only events (machine tuning and building seminars), tattooing, painting, vendors, evening dinners and entertainment for artists and their families, and an opportunity for relaxation and networking in Southern France. Not a bad way to spend a July weekend, to be sure!
The weather in Pertuis was HOT, but everyone was in great spirits, and clients lined up from early in the day on Saturday to have work done by artists from around the world. We weren’t the only Americans there, but I think we were the only New Yorkers! Despite the language difference, everyone was very receptive to us and my husband’s artwork, and helpers were working overtime to translate and relay ideas.
The vibe in the shop was upbeat, busy, and all around jovial, as artists worked in close quarters while clients and onlookers checked out the tattoo process and artistry on display. The entire town came out for the party, and the support was definitely a welcome change–the tourism board there understands the DRAW of quality tattooing and artists, and local stores also benefitted from the crowds!
From restaurants to boutiques, everyone welcomed the tattoo show, and we reciprocated–whole heartedly. While I sort through even more photo links and wait for the official video, have a look at some of the first video I put together– from the shop of David De Pertuis, to dinner under the stars after a day of creativity! Lots more to come from this trip, stay tuned –fine wines, foods, and experiences not to be missed!
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!
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 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.
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.
The 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!
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.
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!
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!
So, when I was on the verge of turning thirty, I had finally realized my life dream of living in NYC. I had accomplished a major coup, moving myself through a company in order to get from Orlando to Long Island and finally Manhattan! I decided to mark my move into my thirties by getting a tattoo. I had a couple of very small tattoos at the time, but wanted a Celtic tree of life with an Elvish phrase, marking my moves, accomplishments, and journeys. Yes, I am and have always been a geek.
Like a good tattoo client, I did my research, found a shop and artist in NYC that I liked (Nic at Sacred did my tattoo, and we have actually run into each other at a convention or two since!), had my consult, left my deposit, and signed a contract to get tattooed for my thirtieth birthday. Even before I was a tattoo wife, I had learned proper protocol by getting a couple of shitty, walk in, spur of the moment tattoos. No more of that shit for me…I marked thirty with my first quality tattoo, and it started something I didn’t expect. A love for the craft that would eventually become a large part of my world.
Fast forward ten years: I met another tattoo artist in NYC, fell in love, and we decided to start a life together. We now own a shop and a house, four dogs, and a crazy wonderful, often hectic, life. Today I celebrate forty with ANOTHER landmark–I started my left sleeve at thirty, so my husband will start my right sleeve for me this afternoon, at forty. I’ll be posting updates and all kinds of fun stuff throughout the day with progress, check back in (especially if you’re into mermaids) !! I’m a very, very excited lady, and I’m lucky to be a part of this crazy life (especially with him by my side)….
Well, I’m writing this wandering around the floor of the Rotterdam show, reflecting on my time spent abroad with my artist husband. I’m overwhelmed, honestly. I’ve met so many people with such a powerful drive and commitment to tattooing. Not just to the trade, but the lifestyle and worldwide community that I’m embraced into. It’s a traveling circus, a carnival of oddities, and a selected family. Very open, accepting, and ultimately enjoyable people on our travels.
Some of our most endearing tattoo community members might look rougher intimidating, and possibly might act that way if hungry or stressed out (including yours truly). Most are incredible people, true individuals and accepting, hospitable, and excited to share their culture or country with us–and help with train machines and ticket windows 🙂
Family is important, and we’re all considered as such at this level. Travel gave me a new perspective that I didn’t have before, even though I saw the pictures on InstaGram and heard all of the stories. To actually watch a lineup in Paris reach around the entire hall blocks long is much more intense. To finally meet people that I only existed to on the interwebs was alone worth the journey. I can’t wait to get out there and meet more of you!!
This past weekend was one of the best tattoo shows on earth, Mondial du Tatouage 2015, and I was lucky enough to be a part of the excitement! Thank you to Tin-Tin and his incredible crew and production staff for putting on one of the busiest, craziest, and best shows I have ever witnessed. I’ll have a full wrap up soon, but there was so much to see and do, I’m still a bit overwhelmed (and I’m in Paris playing tourist, so blogging happens whenever the carnival stops for a minute)…much, much more coming up! Until then, here are a few shots from the show – as for the selfie with artist Titine Leu of the Leu Family Iron, that was her idea. I swear. 😉