Tag Archives: The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor

Eight Year Tattoo Anniversary –My Road to a Backpiece

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From the time I was young, I had an infatuation with New York City. Maybe it was the fact that my uncle had cable, and after school I would watch cartoons that were littered with commercials for magical places like Toys R Us and Macy’s, where children played with toys that came to life. So much excitement, so many things to do! I needed to go there. My first trip to NYC was with my fifth grade art history club. We went to a few major museums, the Village, the World Trade Center (still have pics from the observation windows), and Chinatown, where one of my teachers was pick pocketed in the bathroom of the buffet restaurant by a tricky woman of at least eighty. By the time we made it back to the bus, I was in tears. I didn’t want to leave-there was the feeling that I was missing something, that I was leaving something behind. I would make many trips, always wanting to stay there, missing that other piece of myself when I left.

I finished my time in Upstate NY, and spent the next twelve years moving around the east coast for my job as an event photography manager for Kodak. When the eventual management spot opened in NYC, I fought to get it-and the spot was mine. I managed the Kodak imaging area for the new World of Disney on 55th St. and Fifth Avenue. I also started researching tattoo artists-I had decided to take the next step and start a traditional Phoenix back piece. After almost a year and change, I was introduced to tattoo artist Eddie Molina through a friend of a friend. His tattoo work fit what I had in mind perfectly, and he worked all custom on large pieces, meaning the piece would be drawn on to fit my body’s natural curves.

From outline to color-six months

From outline to color-six months

Eddie was in a transitional period where he was trying to leave the city for a while and get perspective on what he wanted to do in his future tattooing career. I sat for him once a week, sometimes twice, in the fear that one day Eddie would leave and I would have to find him to finish my back. It was an unfounded fear, but one that I had starting such a large piece. My first sitting we lined in the entire bird; second sitting was the entire tail and feathers. Progress was fast, and I was investing most of my spare time to it as well. A back piece is a huge investment, not only financially but emotionally as well as physically. Trust in your artist is paramount.

I was paying hourly for my tattoo, every session, but I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough to compensate Eddie for what he was giving me. My Phoenix is a symbol, my own forever talisman. It reminds me that I am a strong, fierce, powerful female energy, and completion would mark my journey towards being the woman I wanted to eventually be. The divine female power, forever etched in my skin. I became Eddie’s go-to gal, driving him to JFK and saving cab fares for multiple trips. After all, I was still stubborn enough to keep a car in Queens. We became friends outside the studio, spending too many hours trapped in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, and Eddie came to recognize that he was as much of a shaman to me as a tattooer.

Finished main image

Finished main image

We started the piece in June of 2006. We were finishing the final touch up session on my bird November 22, 2006-just six months from the start of the Sharpie sessions. I could not believe how fast Eddie accomplished the goal, and how much the entire process had meant to me as a woman growing into her own skin, to decorate it with meaning. I was over the moon with my new work…and a few weeks later, already missing our tattoo sessions, called him to say thank you again. It turned out my tattoo artist missed seeing me too, and asked me out for dinner and a movie. We went to a lovely churrasco for dinner, then saw Happy Feet in IMAX. (Yes, the penguin movie. Don’t judge, that set me up for a marriage full of animated joys! Ha!) Afterwards, we walked to the train station through Central Park, wandering in the moonlight. Looking back, I’ve never had another night like that.

So, eight years later–We moved upstate, bought a house, got married, and adopted a few fur kids. Eddie built his dream tattoo shop, and here we are, making a go of it.20130423-112450.jpg We’ve both lost a parent, family close to us, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Eddie travels internationally for his tattoo career, sometimes going as far as Japan or Korea. Our life together isn’t always easy, there are challenges and balances and difficulties just like anything else. We have each other, and we figure it out as we go.

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

As for my Phoenix? It took six months to finish the main image of the bird, and the last seven years working on background elements. No rush anymore, so we’ve taken the slow and steady path. My background is now a collaborative effort with our good friend Cory Ferguson , owner of Good Point Tattoo Oakvile ON.

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

Husband's turn

Husband’s turn

The piece has been a reflection of my journey into the tattoo world, so I’m excited to also have a close friend add to it.

progress

progress

IMG_1302I’m not sure how much longer we have to go with my back. Hell, it might never truly be finished, which is now a reflection of my life in the tattoo world. Strangest thing though, whenever I leave NYC now? I never feel like I’m leaving part of myself behind anymore….I think I took him with me. <3

Us.

Us.

October in the Finger Lakes – Grape Harvest 2014

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Fall in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate Ny is magic. Leaves change colors against perfect blue skies, fall harvests of grapes, apples, and pumpkins showcase the bounty of the area, and the vintners can be found along with crews in the rows of grapevines.

Fall in the vineyard

Fall in the vineyard

It was a tough winter, with well below average temperatures, a late and chilly spring, a few freak hail storms in late summer, and now one of the sunniest and warmest September grape ripening seasons ever. Insane but inspiring: The 2014 grape harvest might be light due to damages along the way, but what DID make it through looks to be pretty damn spectacular!

October looks to be busy at BoozyLife, so keep checking in-lots of harvest info, talks with a few vintners, tours of a few press pads, and a trip down to the Hudson Valley for Taste Camp 2014 (NY Cork Report) . THIS is why I love living in the Finger Lakes…

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite ti

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite time of year, in one of my favorite places

FLX Wines invade Brooklyn this Wednesday–Barry Wine Cellars at Vine Wine BKLN

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ATTENTION NYC area BoozyLife readers! Have you been hearing all the hype about the upstate NY wine scene? We’re in the NY Times (and every other publication) for having some not to miss out on wines made in our neck of the woods, the glorious Finger Lakes region of New York State. We’re about five hours north of NYC, but it feels like a different world, full of waterfalls, vineyards, and nature. I understand that it’s an undertaking to leave the city and get up here….and sometimes, we come to you!

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Vine Wine Brooklyn is having a tasting this Wednesday the 17th from (6-9pm) as a part of their Vine Wine’s Drink Local September Tasting Series. They’re located at 616 Lorimer St, Brooklyn. Ian Barry of Barry Wine Cellars will be pouring three of his wines – the Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. I love the Dry Riesling, as well as the Rosé which is now sold out, which means I was asleep at the wheel and should have grabbed a CASE when I had the opportunity. Don’t miss out, and tell him the BoozyWife sent ya’!

Montreal Tattoo Art Show 2014 ~ Smoked Meat & Graffiti With a Style All Of It’s Own

Inside Art Tattoo Montreal 2014

Inside Art Tattoo Montreal 2014

Ah, Montreal. I really love this city. It holds vague memories from my college days, partying across the border, and all night revelry in drag bars. I know a slightly different Montreal these days, full of amazing artists, galleries, tattoo shops, and most of all a sense of community and hospitality. Pierre Chapelan and Val Eamond of Studio Tattoo Mania Montreal took over running and hosting the entire show themselves this year, and it was a fantastic weekend with inspiring artists–and the addition of a full service espresso bar was a very appreciated amenity by myself as well as MANY others during the super busy weekend.

Chris Nunez at work

Chris Nunez at work

 

Tin Tin from Paris

Tin Tin from Paris

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Hennig working on a side

Gare Windsor

Gare Windsor

The location for the show is the Gare Windsor which is a beautiful location full of natural light for the artists. No detail was too small to be overlooked, and the crew (as well as Val and Pierre) made the show one of the most efficiently run I have ever been to.  If you needed ANYTHING, no matter how small, they had you covered and quickly. Lines of tattoo fans stood outside in line to get in to see the artists buzzing, and stroll the rows of artwork and booths full of inspiration.

Contests

Contests

I definitely spent a bit less time at the show this year, but I spent much more time walking around the city. Her is one of me cheesing in the booth, though.

In our booth

In our booth

Evan Dowdell-Time Will Tell Tattoo

Evan Dowdell-Time Will Tell Tattoo

After a very successful show, Monday was the day for Lefty and I to hit the town together, which meant smoked meat, poutine, and a Frankenstein combination of the two from Schwartz’s Deli. We stop here every time we are in Montreal, and if you’re a pastrami fan, don’t miss it! We always grab a sandwich and sit at one of the community tables, then head next door to the take out side for stuff to take home (the poutine is only available on this side–DO IT.)

Happy, Hungry Lefty

Happy, Hungry Lefty

Schwartz's Deli goodness

Schwartz’s Deli goodness

Meat and more meat

Meat and more meat

Montreal also has a graffiti scene that has a style and flavor–everywhere you look, there is amazing artwork. Stroll the alleys, search it out. Keep your eyes peeled or you might miss something extraordinary! The street painting is everywhere, and these guys are straight painting with their cans. I took several shots of some of my favorites, but photos really do them no justice, and they might be gone with the blink of an eye.

On plain brown paper

On plain brown paper

Mason mural

Mason mural

In an alley

In an alley

Insane detail

Insane detail

Such an amazing piece

Such an amazing piece

Angles

Angles

Details

Details

Details

Details

Rat

Rat

Details

Details

Mural

Mural

Details

Details

Details

Details

Details

Details

After a day of running around exploring the city, we headed back to Studio Tattoo Mania to say our thank you’s and goodbyes. There was quite a group of artists there, exchanging ideas and working on new tattoos. The energy was everything that tattoo artists and tattoo lovers enjoy–the free exchange of ideas and love for the craft. Thank you to Pierre and Val for hosting a wonderful show yet again–we will see you next year or even earlier!

Studio TattooMania, Montreal

Studio TattooMania, Montreal

Iced Hard Cider from the apple region

Iced Hard Cider from the apple region

Artist huddle at TattooMania

Artist huddle at TattooMania

Outside of TattooMania

Outside of TattooMania

Show Poster 2014

Show Poster 2014

Canada, Coast to Coast, and back to Upstate NY with Lefty & Boogstar

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The journey from Ithaca to Vancouver started at Good Point Tattoo in Oakville, as Canada trips often do. The menfolk took off from Toronto, and landed safely in Vancouver for a magical week of tattoos, artwork, nature, and wild energy. Plus, lots and lots of smoked salmon, seafood, and a ferry ride to Vancouver Island. (Follow the link for a flipagram Cory created Vancouver trip!). The reason the artists were all there was for the Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show, and Eddie and Boog had a Lettering seminar to teach. The weekend featured talented artists in a beautiful setting, sure to recharge and energize.

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My husband was really hard pressed to leave BC- he truly loves the area, and every trip he threatens to stay until forced to leave. He had other obligations coming up, and the Roc City Tattoo Expo forced him back on the plane home. He brought Boog with him for a quick stop in Ithaca before leaving in the morning for Rochester, so I had the chance to cook for a couple of world travelers. What did I feed them? Husband caught steelhead trout with browned butter, fiddleheads, wild rice, and berry shortcake finale. I served a few bottles of my favorite Rieslings from Silver Thread Vineyard and Forge Cellars, and was lucky enough to get a gift of a Riesling Ice Wine–thanks Jay!!!

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After a good night’s sleep, we were off to Rochester for the Roc City Tattoo Expo 2014. I love conventions that are close enough to commute to! The weekend was fantastic as always, and I scored a pair of beautiful new Kali blood wood earrings that I’m over the moon for from Dorje Adornments. Seriously, feel like a rockstar in these….

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The show was crazy busy, and our booth was a fun time the entire weekend. The artists were really enjoying the vibes…

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Boog was gracious enough to take Lefty and I out to dinner in Rochester on Saturday night. We were recommended to try 2vine, a Rochester staple in farm to table dining. It was great to see the list of local farms sourced, including Lively Run Dairy. Having said that, I was VERY disappointed in the wine list, which had NO local wines whatsoever except for a Dr. Frank Brut (really?!? ). I settled on a sparkling cocktail of brut and Pom juice. As for our meal, we shared a selection of entrees; duck, lamb, mussels, salmon, crab cakes, and a few sides, one that came out of the kitchen in awkward timing (risotto was lovely, but was served as the dinner was almost over). All of the food was flavorful, and the mussels and salmon were favorites. Granted, kitchen issues were minor after 10pm on Saturday night, and things were winding down. It was a quiet evening that we all needed and enjoyed. Thank you Roc City, we’ll see you again next year!

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Boundary Breaks Vineyard-Outstanding Rieslings, Sunchokes, and a Locavore Celebrates the Arrival of Spring

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Saturday morning was one of my favorite anticipated days living in this area-first nice Saturday to visit Ithaca Farmers Market on the waterfront of Cayuga inlet. It was chilly down by the water, but the sun and blue sky gave enough promise for spring, so we bundled up and headed downtown.

20140421-101932.jpg Our new friend Kees Stapel, vineyard manager for Boundary Breaks Vineyard in Lodi, NY, had his table set up and was all ready to pour their vast array of Rieslings. They focus on and produce only Riesling wines, from drier styles to the sweeter, and even a silky late harvest. Check out their gorgeous website here: Boundary Breaks Vineyard Their web presence is only surpassed by the quality of the wines produced. The crew at BB take an amazing amount of pride in their vines, fruit, and creative process…and the hands on knowledge shows, along with the dedication they pour with. I went back after the tasting and grabbed the Ovid Line 2012 Riesling. It’s a semi-dry made from a blend of different Riesling grape clones, and is the only blended source wine they make. Bright apple, apricot, lychee favors, with a slight acidic complexity and sweetness make this a very food friendly, flexible wine; the acidity is well balanced and the sweetness not at all overpowering. I am an admitted dry wine drinker, but living in the Finger Lakes has helped to open my mind (and palate) to all of the hidden gems sourced from our area. I recommend checking them out, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast sure have!

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Excitingly, spring has sprung and some of our local farmers braved the chilly air to bring the first of their veggies as well. A time ago I read an article about foraging in the wild, and recalled fiddleheads and sunchokes mentioned as springtime delicacies. I’ve had the opportunity to taste (as well as bring back) fiddleheads from Nova Scotia, and we use them from the freezer stock throughout the year. Sunchokes (also called Jerusalem Artichokes) are the tuber root of a type of sunflower, and a cousin to the artichoke most of us are familiar with. WiKi sunchoke info It looks a bit like a potato or ginger root, and the skin can be peeled but is edible. Raw, the consistency was that of a sweet water chestnut. They can be roasted, added to salads raw, or cooked into a multitude of soups. I excitedly grabbed a pound of the sunchokes in various sizes (along with a bag of kale for roasted kale chips), my bottle of wine, and looked forward to a creative night in my kitchen!

Had to open the bottle of wine first, of course, but the actual dinner prep was a breeze. I treated the sunchokes like simple potatoes-washed of dirt and chopped, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and roasted in a 375 degree oven until they were browned (about half an hour, 45 minutes). I added F. Oliver’s white truffle oil to finish the dish–I love that stuff way too much. I also roasted my kale with the same ingredients (minus the truffle oil), for about 15 minutes in the same 375 oven. Keep your eye on kale, chips become cinders quickly if you’re not paying attention!

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The results? A locally sourced, adventurous and delicious meal! Once roasted, the sunchokes had the flavor of a sweet, nutty roasted artichoke minus leaves–maybe think just the stem, with a bit more potato-y density and starch. The flavor is mild and quite delicate. The wine was a lovely accompaniment to the flavor. Now, I was made aware that some people have digestive issues with the sunchoke, and the reaction can be the same as too much dairy or fiber…(the nickname ”fartichoke” came up once I did a bit more….ummm…research). I had no major noticeable issues, but this might not be the dish to impress a first date with 🙂 On that note, get out to your local farmers market, grab a veggie you’ve never tried, and experiment–you’ll be glad you did! Enjoy locavore adventures in your area!

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Surviving the Polar Vortex: Ice Wine and Good Point Tattoos with Cory Ferguson & Eddie Molina

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to visit our tattoo family at Good Point Tattoos in Oakville, Canada for more work! The shop is owned by our good friend and tattooer Cory Ferguson, who specializes in dotwork, blackwork, and a continual assault of puns. I was there as a client this time, for the continuation of my sleeve, and for collaboration background of my phoenix backpiece. Cory’s geometric work on my left arm now extends across my shoulders, and will eventually scatter my chest as well. My husband Eddie Molina is collaborating with him, and added the smoke tendrils that swirl through the geometric pattern in this last session. I had two incredible artists work on me for several hours this weekend, and I’m so excited to show off their progress! Everything is really starting to tie together, and I dare say I look like a heavily tattooed woman…at least, from the back!

After all of that tattooing, I needed a DRINK! The weather screamed for an Ice Wine tour, so after two days of needle poking sessions, I grabbed my purse (NOT over my shoulder….OUCH) and we hit a few wineries on the way home to the States.

First stop, Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery. The beautiful tasting room has high ceilings and an elegant feel, and I’m struck by the views. I really love grape fields, and they are no less stunning in winter. The tasting bar crew was friendly and helpful, even during a slow Monday afternoon. I tasted their Vidal Icewine 2006, as well as the Cabernet Franc Icewine 2011. The Vidal was an Ontario Wine Awards Bronze winner, silky apricot and pineapple, sweet with a bright acidity. It was fresh and crisp, with a finish of honey. The Cabernet Franc 2011 was a very different ice wine. Aged in Stainless and French Oak, the red was much less sweet, and had a lot of smokey character. Oak balances with strawberry,  honey, and even a touch of currant and citrus on the end. Paired beautifully with a sample of 70% dark chocolate.

Next, we hit Fielding Estate Winery and their Wine Lodge tasting room, complete with fireplace and furry blankets in the loungers. Recognized as one of Canada’s Top 10 Wineries in 2013 according to their press, owner Curtis Fielding was named 2012 Grape Grower of the Year by the Grape Growers of Ontario Association. The view of their fields includes wind turbines, used to help warm the vines with moving air. The bar was pouring tastings of their 2012 Riesling Ice Wine. Aged in stainless steel and neutral French Oak, the color was a lovely medium gold. A sweet intensity was followed by a much softer light mouthfeel, the lingering finish was quite delicate.

Our last Canadian stop was Rosewood Estates Winery – Home. This is essentially where I dropped the ball and the Ice Wine tour became the Merlot stop. What can I say? I LOVE REDS. I tried to stick with the plan. I did. But then, I saw the 2010 Merlot Reserve on the tasting menu. I asked for a pour. “We’re sold out, but I still have a bottle to taste. Would you still like to…?”

“YES PLEASE,” was my answer. Ohhhh, yes.

Winemakers Notes 2010 Merlot RESERVE:  Picked by hand from low yielding vines, sorted first in the vineyard and then at the winery selecting only the very best clusters. The clusters were gently destemmed then separated into small fermentaiton totes. The intact berries were cold macerated for 5 days then were warmed up to allow the natural yeasts to start fermentation, which lasted 3 1⁄2 weeks. Manual punch-downs were perfromed twice daily. Select French oak barrels were chosen for this Merlot, spending 15 months in both new and seasoned barrels, each barrel taking on unique characteristics. Final filtration was completed the day of bottling.

I LOVED it. I was sad there was no more, and it had sold out. I have told countless tasters from behind the bar-“get it while we have it, once it’s gone it’s gone.” Then, something amazing happened. Our taster started pulling tasting boxes apart in the back room, looking for ONE bottle for yours truly. SHE FOUND ONE! I took it home happily, and I ended up with a bottle of Merlot on the Ice Wine tour. Great customer service, on top of a beautifully made wine. We made a break for the US border, it was getting late and I was feeling fine.

We made it into the States and off of the Thruway, and I decided to drive down Route 89 along Cayuga Lake for our last stretch of the journey. It was almost closing time, but I made one last stop-Sheldrake Point – Sheldrake Point Vineyards. I love their winery, I love the tasting staff, their wines are delicious…it’s a local jewel. I had also heard fantastic things about their 2013 Late Harvest Ice Wine, and had to make that the grand finale of our trek. I’m SO glad that we DID–that was our favorite Ice Wine of the day! The best description is ‘winter sunshine in a glass’. Fruity, acidic, sweet, balanced…but MORE. Bright. Gorgeous mouthfeel, silky and lasting intensity. It won BEST AMERICAN RIESLING at Canberra International Riesling Challenge 2013, and was awarded Double Gold from the New York Food & Wine Classic 2013…just in case you don’t trust this palate of mine. Nice to know it’s less than 45 minutes from beautiful Ithaca, NY…or as we call it, HOME. It’s so easy to drink Local here…Ithaca really is Gorges. 🙂