Tattoosday: Hell City Phoenix

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A few weeks ago we attended our first Hell City Tattoo Festival in the balmy dessert of Phoenix, AZ. All weekend long there was a steady flow of convention goers, live music, burlesque shows, contests, and of course the meat and potatoes of the event.. talented tattoo artists from both near and far putting forth their best work for the show.

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Work by Joshua ‘Bacon’ Erickson from No Hope No Fear Tattoo (IG: @bacon_tattoos)

We shared a booth with our friends, James Kern and his lovely wife Ashley. My husband, Josh (or as most know him as, ‘Bacon’), stayed busy tattooing most of the weekend, which left me free to chat with everyone that came by the booth and make my rounds at the convention. There were actually quite a few familiar faces from Portland and others from previous conventions that we’ve worked which made us feel right at home.

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A Pound of Flesh arm by Rich Pineda (IG: @richiebon)

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James Kern of No Hope No Fear Tattoo (IG: @jamesmonster666)

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Painting by Adrian Dominic (IG: @adriandominic)

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In addition to the main stage action there was an Art Fusion Experiment, where five tattoo artists collaborate on charcoal paintings that are then sold in a silent auction, a fine art gallery and a live painting area, and vendors selling clothing, art, sculptures,  and tattoo equipment.

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Carl Grace (IG: @carlgracetattoos)

We had the pleasure of having a booth next to Carl Grace and watched him complete a sleeve from knuckles to shoulder in two days without any stencil or marker. I was in awe at both his client, sitting through two days of tattooing unflinching, and at Carl for just putting needle to skin with only a rough concept in his mind for the design.

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Roman Abrego of Artistic Element Tattoo (IG: @romantatoos)

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Liz Cook, who you might recognize from the Artist Spotlight I did on her a few months ago. (IG: @lizcooktattoo)

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Season 1 Best Ink winner, London Reese (IG: @londonreese)

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Rich Pineda, also another Artist Spotlight feature (IG: @richiebon)

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Tattoo by Phil Garcia (not present at the show). (IG: @philgarcia805)

*For more photos of the completed work from any artists pictured above, I encourage you to visit their websites or Instagram pages.*

Normally conventions feel like a big party and you leave on Sunday feeling exhausted, hungover, and sleep deprived. This particular convention was completely different and it seemed like everyone was there to just focus on their art, network, and of course, unwind. I left feeling energized and inspired by the multitude of talent we were surrounded by all weekend. We’re already looking forward to the next Hell City show which will take place in Columbus, OH this coming May!

Questions or comments? Leave them below!


Fried Zucchini with Spicy Ranch

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I had no idea when I planted my zucchini that they would grow to such monstrous sizes and take over the container I put them in, but it has resulted in a lot of delicious zucchini recipes this summer. Fried zucchini is always a classic summer snack and while I was cooking it up one day, I thought I would document and share the recipe with you all! It only took me about 15 minutes to prep and cook everything and it was a great way to use up all the extra zucchini I had!

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Strawberry Sriracha Swirl Margaritas at Dream A Little Bigger

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If you’re looking to satisfy your urge for something sweet and spicy, look no further than these fresh Strawberry Sriracha Swirl Margaritas! Find more photos and my full recipe, head to www.DreamALittleBigger.com!

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Entryway Mirror Makeover

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Sometimes a simple DIY project can turn into something much more complicated than you anticipated. This mirror turned out exactly like I envisioned, but it took some creativeness and MacGyver-like skills on my part to make it all happen. See the transformation from a beat up $10 thrift store find to a fresh new entryway mirror organizer!

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Daily Life

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Usually after a convention you’re left feeling drained, incapable of thinking or speaking, and desperately longing for your own bed and kitty snuggles. We had heard the stories about the Hell City conventions and went in prepared for nonstop partying and surviving on just a few hours of sleep. This was definitely not the case this weekend..

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When we arrived we were told there were no more King rooms available so they had upgraded us (for FREE) to a suite! Since we haven’t taken our honeymoon yet we felt like we were on a “mini-moon” when we walked into the enormous room to see twenty-foot tall ceilings, a living room with a fireplace, full kitchen, bathtub big enough for two, walk-in closet, and a deck that spanned the entire length of the suite. I waited for the bellhop to leave before running and jumping on Josh while screaming like we had just won the lottery! Our room was also away from the main group of where everyone else was staying so it was nice and quiet.

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The convention itself didn’t feel like work at all. It was amazing to get to see so many world renowned tattoo artists and painters working firsthand. I’ll be sharing more details and photos in next week’s Tattoosday, but here’s a few peeks until then..

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The beautiful and talented, Tara, from Tara O. Photos!

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It was a much needed impromptu vacation that left us feeling refreshed, motivated, and energized (although you probably wouldn’t gather that from the photo below!). It was definitely bittersweet to say goodbye to friends, old and new, and head back home.

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I’m trying to stay on the energy-high from the weekend to power through the rest of this year. We have a friend coming to stay with us for a little while, house-hunting (just renting), more travel and conventions, and a busy work schedule. I’d say wish me luck, but I think the only things to get me through it will be an immense amount of hard work, breaking my habits of procrastination, and embracing change.

What big changes or plans are you working on for the last half of the year?


Bourbon and BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

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Sometimes you just want a “man’s meal” and when I think of the ultimate man, I think Ron Swanson. As he once said, “Bacon wrapped shrimp are my number one food wrapped around my number three favorite food.” How do you make something so simple, yet delicious, even tastier? Marinate those suckers in bourbon and glaze them with barbecue sauce, that’s how! They make a great appetizer or snack and your only regret will be not cooking more of them so I recommend doubling this recipe!

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10 Delicious Rum Cocktails for National Rum Day

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Happy National Rum Day my fellow rum swillers! Even if you’ve only been a Tattooed Martha reader for a short time, you know I post A LOT of rum cocktails and even rum spiked food recipes. I thought I would compile some of my favorite Sailor Jerry Rum cocktails that have been posted here on the blog to share with you on National Rum Day!

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Pineapple Jerry Ginger

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Blackberry Mojito

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Sailor Berry Lemonade

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Jerry Flip

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Spicy Sailor Bloody Mary

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Tropical Heat Mojito

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Sailor Sunset

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Queens Park Swizzle

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Red Hot Pinup

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Strawberry Blood Orange Rum Fizz

Which cocktail will you be celebrating with you today?

And as always.. enjoy responsibly! ;)


Frozen Pineapple Mai Tai

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About a month ago I had an entire pineapple that I had no clue what to do with. I sliced it up into chunks, froze them, and there in the freezer they stayed until just a few days ago. Since Portland has had a sweltering summer so far, I’ve been craving icy cold slushy drinks and couldn’t think of a better way to use up that frozen pineapple than with a delicious twist on the classic Mai Tai! I kind of just threw everything into the processor and hoped for the best, but was blown away by the perfect consistency and flavor of the drink! Smooth and fruity, yet balanced by the spices and notes from the rum. Whip one up for yourself the next time you need to beat the heat!

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Hand Painted Wood Plaque

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No Breakfast Gallery Wall is complete without a quote from one of my favorite fictional characters, Ron Swanson! I found a lot of similar prints and posters on Etsy, but after seeing these wood slices at the craft store, I knew they would make the perfect canvas for this. Since my handwriting is a sloppy mess and my painting skills are on par with a three year old’s, I used stick-on lettering to trace around and then carefully fill in with paint. The wood is also much nicer to paint on than a traditional canvas. The paint seemed to cover better and it was a lot easier to control my paint brush. If I can pull this off.. ANYONE can!

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Daily Life

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It’s been a busy week in preparation for being away from home for a few days. We were able to meet up with our good friends on Saturday for yet another amazing dinner at The Brooklyn House Restaurant. If you live in or ever visit Portland, this is a must! The food is healthy, yet hearty, and the freshest ingredients I’ve ever had! Speaking of fresh.. I finally got a few beets out of the garden! One biggin, and two little ones accompanied by a small yellow squash, two small garlic bulbs, and a handful of cherry tomatoes!

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Today will be spent over-packing for the Hell City Tattoo Festival, whipping up some last minute cocktails you’ll see over the next few weeks, and answering as many emails and comments as I can handle while simultaneously editing photos! Thank goodness I’ll have those drinks to enjoy while I do it! ;) We’ll be in Phoenix for the next few days and I’m really looking forward to it/NOT looking forward to it! Haha the convention will be amazing I’m sure, but the heat! What’s the temperature in Hell you ask? 93 currently and a high of 102 tomorrow! There’s a high probability that I’ll burst into flames once the sun hits my skin. #vamperproblems

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While we’re on the topic of vampers (heeeyyy fellow True Blood fans!), we had a day last week that had me convinced fall was already here. It was dark and a bit chilly and we had pumpkin beer in the fridge. I busted out the Halloween décor and went nuts! I tried so hard to hold off until September, but was overtaken with Halloween Gloom… It’s like Christmas Cheer only morbid and fun!

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Then Portland decided it was most definitely NOT fall yet and we hit 100 degrees on Monday. Josh was off for a boys camping trip to Lost Lake (I’m calling it his Mannymoon since we haven’t had a proper honeymoon trip yet) and we were dog-sitting the Bostons for a few nights, so I scooped them up and headed west! My intentions were to get to Cape Disappointment (sounds like a bummer, but do a Google Image Search for it and you’ll see it’s stunning!), but since they’re doing round the clock construction on the highway out there it made my trip nearly twice as long!

By the time I hit Highway 101 I could either go South and be at Arcadia in a matter of minutes or spend another hour+ driving North to Cape Disappointment. Exhaustion won and we went to Arcadia instead. It was really foggy and beautiful all day and once again I was almost fooled into thinking it was fall! I snapped a couple hundred photos and even put together a very crappy YouTube video for you all! Also.. I didn’t put on lipstick to look nice for the video.. it just saves my lips from getting burned at the beach! And it matched my hoodie! ;) Also ALSO.. I wasn’t driving and filming. I had my car in park due to the standstill traffic. Safety first!

Enjoy!

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