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It begins…

4 Dec

Coffee of the Day (COTD): French Pressed Triple Chocolate with frothed Amaretto Creamer, dusted with Cocoa Powder. My mug of choice is a pink polka- dotted mug that says “HERS”:

Happy Monday Sassinitas!
You may notice a new section to the right of of here. It’s entitled “Coffee Talk”. Anyone who knows me knows I have a not-so-secret obsession with coffee. I like to make different flavors in different ways, enjoyed in different cups. It has also become a routine for me to make a fab cup of coffee, grab my iPad and start writing. I don’t need it to stay awake or jump start my writing process. It has just come to the point where coffee and writing go hand in hand. Like now.

Starting today, I will be posting the occasional piece in the “Coffee Talk” section where I may talk about anything and everything. It might be an inspirational quote, it might be a description of my day, it may be a pretty picture I took or found, it could also be just me ranting or raving about anything and everything or nothing at all. You just don’t know!

So I encourage you to look out for my “Coffee Talk” posts. There is only one catch…

…the posts will be password protected!

So if you want to see what I post – just in this section – you are going to have to request the password from me! Trust me, there will be nothing sketchy posted. It may be serious, it may often be funny. It may have to deal with a personal frustration, or it may have to do with a success story. It could be anything, but I’m sure you’ll be entertained!

So what are you waiting for? Shoot me an email or “Contact Sassy” so you can get the password to keep up with my rants and rambles!

Let’s have some fun!!!


Honk If You’re ….Awesome!

11 Jul

ConfidenceToday was another standard day at my “regular” job. Appointments went smooth, customers were great, conversations were fun. My day ended early, however, because I had an appointment to get some routine maintenance done on my car. On my way to my parking spot, it’s standard procedure for me to cross a very busy road. The closer to rush hour, the busier it is. Today I left before the car chaos began but it was still pretty busy. Before I even got to the curb to cross the road to my car, a large flatbed truck with three guys in it approached my sidewalk position. As I stopped for the fast-moving traffic, the truck occupants proceeded to honk, wave and stare. I’d be shocked if it was the first time this happened, but it wasn’t. Not to blow my own horn (pardon the pun), but it happens about 2-3 times a week. Some women would be shocked or even offended, but at this point, it doesn’t phase me anymore. Some men will just be men. I will take it as a compliment.

Now don’t think I’m a conceited princess who thinks the world stops when I enter a room or walk out a door. In fact, I’m just the opposite. I was the ultimate dork in high school (which was a quite a while ago). Even now, I hate my teeth, I have no boobs, I’m too thin, and I’m trying to get through a major hair mishap that happened six months ago. Sure, my husband tells me I’m beautiful, but I think it’s unwritten marriage law he needs to a few times a month. (He means it though, I know.) Women often express displeasure with my size. The fact that I can eat the entire drive-thru menu at McDonalds for lunch and never gain a pound does not make me many friends. The phrase, “I hate you for that!” has been said on more than one occasion. Seriously, do I have to show you photos of my healthy 6’3″ father who only weighed 160 lbs? Come on people… Please. It’s genetics and metabolism–don’t hate the gene pool.

In my opinion, I’m not beautiful, not gorgeous and barely average. So, why do I get honks, waves and smiles? Well an easy answer could be that I work in a town where there aren’t many “average” girls, but that’s not true. I think it goes beyond that. In fact, it goes into an area where we all could take a lesson or two. And guess what? I’m going to give it to you.
Being “attractive” goes beyond skin deep. Granted, taking care of yourself to keep your skin in great condition and using products to slow the hands of time doesn’t hurt. Wearing the things that fit right and make you look pretty is a plus too. Taking care of your mind, body and soul is youthful–inside and out. But a lot of what turns heads isn’t on the surface. It’s other things. Three simple things, actually:

Smile. A nice smile doesn’t just light up your face, it lights up your soul. It illuminates you. You shine. I don’t care if your teeth need a bleaching or your lips are chapped. A smile shows the world you are happy where you are and life is good. Who wouldn’t appreciate that? You’ve dealt with everything life has dealt you and you’ve still survived with a smile. That’s appealing (and intriguing) to many!

Walk tall. Walk with a spring in your step. Walk like you have someplace important to be. Walk like YOU are important. This stirs curiosity. Who is this girl? What is she doing? Where is she going? People will think “I want to do what she’s doing!” or “Holy composed, Batman, who is THAT?!” There doesn’t have to be a reason for you to bleed confidence–you just have to hold yourself, walk, talk, and stand like you own the world in the palm of your hand. Practice. Put on a pair of heels and stand in front of a mirror. Stand straight. Shoulders back. Smile. Tilt your head. Don’t pose like a hussy but stand like you are royalty. A little confidence goes a long way.

Start the day & finish the day with class. It doesn’t matter if you work 9-5, spend the day running errands or are labeled as the mom taxi. You have no reason to look “frumpy”. Ever. EVER! Even if you stay home all day doing dishes and vacuuming, you better put on some lipstick and mascara to get the mail. Yes, the MAIL! There is no excuse for you not to put on something to make you feel good about yourself: makeup, perfume, your favorite top, tight jeans, jazzy shoes. Anything. Just pamper yourself. You deserve it! Whether it be for three minutes or three hours, treat yourself nice. No matter how boring or routine your day is, lift yourself up. It will lighten your spirits and others will notice. Now, also remember this–how you start the day is how you should end it. Keep your hair neat, makeup fresh, lips tinted, standing strong, being happy. From start to finish–even if you have to paint on a smile–finish the day strong. No matter how tired or drained you are, let no one see it. To them…AND you?
You. Are. Invincible.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Doing these things doesn’t guarantee you a horn honk crossing through the parking lot at your local CVS. But you will at least get you a look from both men and women. Men are attracted and curious about your confidence, your tenacity, your spirit. Women will look too, of course. They will look you over–head to toe (oh, you know that’s how they are). They may be curious about your assurance, your poise and your certainty, but like a typical female, they will also check out your shoes and bag! The fact is, you walked into a room like you owned it. Even though you might be falling apart on the inside, you are totally together on the out. This confidence will not just lift you up to a whole new level, but you’ll be surprised… you might even get a honk or two. Or ten!


The Girl, the Perm, and the Midlife Crisis

30 Oct

MTVI‘m writing this as I sit in a spinning chair at a hair salon getting my auburn locks rolled into “tiny” little yellow perm rollers. When I retired my gummy bracelets, jelly sandals, lace hair bows and pink ruffled tops AGES ago, I vowed–VOWED!–never to get another perm. I also vowed never to get married again, stop drinking Coke, cut down on clothes spending, and give up spiked high heels. Yeah, that didn’t work so well. At all. So here I sit. It’s amazing when you proclaim to yourself that you are going to make major changes in your life what goes through your mind. I’ve “started over” for the last time too many times to count. I’ve been at the lowest of lows when I just basically said, “F&@% IT!” and started anew. Like my favorite quote says: “Rock bottom became a SOLID foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Amen to that.

I don’t get in funks (I prefer that over midlife crisis, thank you) as often as I used to. I find things to keep me busy, keep me happy, keep me content more than I used to. I’m much more happy and satisfied than I used to be “many” years ago. (Note: Yes, I lie about my age, and I will as long as I can! So there!) Now I try to find small miracles and pleasures throughout my daily routines. But sometimes–like now–I get down and can’t snap out of it. Maybe it’s the change in seasons, less daylight, that whole Vitamin D thing, more stressed. Be advised that is when all should be warned something drastic is going to happen. Because I don’t deal with unhappiness for long. From myself or especially others. Ask yourself sometime, how much space, how much TIME do you have in YOUR life for negativity? Umm, yeah, I didn’t have time to do a load of dishes today so there probably isn’t any cheese to go with your whine either. NEXT!

I used to color or highlight my hair years back when I needed a change. I don’t do that anymore, mainly because my auburn hair is my trademark and to mess with that would be like messing with karma. Yeah….. no. But a new cut? A new style? It’s extreme but obviously right now I need to make a bold move before I lose my mind. I need a new do to play with different hair styles, makeup looks, products to test. A new season is here and what a way to lift my spirits then by mixing and matching fashions, trying new nail styles, makeup looks and putting them all with the new hair style. I need a day in my room, a notebook for sketches and ideas. Add a camera to click pictures of my new creations then enjoy the fun of putting them into action.

I’ve done the clothes style change a few times. Tried the preppy look, went Coco Chanel-ish, dressed punk, went Cali girl, went call girl. LoL! Oh epic fails on them all. My style is rocker wild–head to toe! I love my black leather, my studs (ha!), my chains, my skin tight worn jeans and bold eye liner. Yeah, that may be so yesterday but it’s SO me. So even if I changed parts of my style, I’d still be me. And I like me.

As far as being in a funk, I’ve even done the tattoo and piercing route. With as many as I have been through, I am (thankfully) coming to an end with all that. I THINK I’ve pierced everything I want and even things I didn’t know I could. I added five tats this year to my previous minuscule two that I already had. Part of me would like to think I’m done but I’m probably not. I don’t just ink to ink. Everything has a spot, a meaning, and a purpose. So we will see where life takes me, and see if it justifies a tat in the future. Perms wash out–GOOD tattoos don’t. Perms are cheaper too. Remember that if you feel antsy for change.

I’m rolled. My head is covered in elastic rods with hair yanked to the point of tears. What we do for beauty & happiness, ya know? As my girl begins to put the solution on my hair, the smell takes me back to my teen years. I now have an urge to listen to Tiffany and Cheap Trick, maybe even plan a mall tour. God, I need a life.

Tick, tick, tick. Back to the sink. More rinsing, more blotting, more solutions, even MORE rinsing, then the unroll with the final rinse. As I walk back to the chair, peaking through a raveled hole in the towel, I see my hair. It’s wavy, a bit lighter in color, and shiny as hell. I love it! I don’t even want her to dry or style it. I just want to pay the girl and head straight for home so I can style it up (and take some selfies of course!)

So what is the moral of this story? It’s kind of simple, in fact. You don’t have to be as drastic as me when it comes to an “I need a change!” revelation. Sure, you can go all out, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to FEEL like a goddess. Sometimes it can be reading a motivational book. Maybe it’s buying a lipstick in a color outside of your comfort zone. You could give yourself a manicure with a seasonal color or design. Lock yourself in the bathroom, pampering yourself starting with a deep hair condition treatment all the way to a pretty pedi with all the treats in between. Maybe it’s a new sensual scent. You can even take a drive, open the windows, crank up your favorite tunes and just go! (Take your camera…you may see some beautiful scenes!) But you see, I know me. And I knew I had to do something major, something drastic. Go big or go home. And I did just that. Big waves, big curls, big ego, resulting in a big dose of self confidence.

Adam Ant just came on the radio. I flashback to the music I was probably listening to when I got my last perm. Now I’ll take my memories of then, blend them with my new hair and current rocker-style fashions & accessories, stand straight and confident, and be ready to face any day head on. Hello me!!! Beside, how does that saying go?: “You can take the girl out of the 80’s but you can NEVER take the 80’s out of the girl.”? Today certainly proved that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll drink a Bartles & James wine cooler if I can find one (strawberry of course), listen to some Kinks and do my nails…. neon pink, what else?

Sassy Auburn glamming off her new hair-do!

Sassy Auburn glamming off her new hair-do!

Sassy Gets Her Name In Print…..

18 Jul

imageSince becoming a blogger, product reviewer and general freelance writer, seeing my (or Sassy’s) name on the Internet doesn’t carry the same excitement that it once did. Oh don’t get me wrong… if I get ANYTHING published ANYWHERE, I am proud as punch and I get pretty excited. But when your name (spelled correctly too!) gets in print in a national beauty magazine?…. that’s the freaking BOMB!

…… and that’s exactly what happened to me today.

About three years ago, a big fashion mag wanted to use a letter I had wrote them in an upcoming issue. They even called me to fact check my name and info. I walked around on cloud nine for two months waiting to see this small-town girl’s name in one of THE biggest glam rags of all time! When the issue came out, I read it cover to cover, inch by inch. Nothing. I even called the editor thinking I was reading the wrong issue. Nope. No luck. “Sorry…..we had to edit for space and your piece had to go.” Wow. Tossed aside like a bad piece of lettuce. I was crushed. I was back to being just a reader and not a contributor. It SUCKED! But did I quit? Hellz no! I kept on writing.

Two months ago, I received an email from Allure Magazine regarding a collection of articles I had wrote in my blog about tattoos, their care and a tattoo expo I had recently attended. They liked a reference I had made in a post in relation to an article Allure had just done on moles and beauty marks, and wanted to use my comments in their letters section. I said “Sure!” and gave them the information they needed. Oh, I was thrilled, but I had been let down before so I shielded my enthusiasm in case I got “cut” once again.

Today, the August issue of Allure came in my mailbox and I couldn’t help gasping as I thought maybe–just maybe–this would be my chance to have my name on magazine stands across America. With shaky hands, I began to flip each page. One, after another, after another, after another. When I got to the letters section, my stomach dropped as I saw my name was no where to be found on the page. I looked up and down, left to right, at least a dozen time. *sigh* Screwed over again. Unless… unless…. maybe they carried the letters on to the next page? I held my breath as I turned the page calmly, like a slow-motion action scene from a Bruce Willis movie.

…and there it was. My letter in all its glory with my name and little home town plastered right under it. It was exact, it was quoted perfectly, and everything was spelled right! Me–Sassy!–in black & white on the pages of one of my all-time favorite magazines. I felt like a star! I don’t care who saw (or didn’t see) it…I knew it was there and I knew it was my experience and my writing. I did it!

So, for those of you who aren’t sure if you should stick with what you love to do–or wonder if you should give up on your goal or dream–from the mouth of experience….don’t. You do not have to give up everything to follow your heart, but you must do a little something every day to pursue it. Whatever it is. Cook something, paint something, sing something, build something. WRITE SOMETHING! Keep your dream alive and close to your heart…

And never, ever let it go!!


(If you would like to see my letter, grab the August issue of Allure magazine at your favorite store or newsstand. Or, for you gadget gurus, download this issue from the App Store.)

DOs and DON’Ts at a Tattoo Expo

31 May


I didn’t hide the fact that I was not a ink-covered chick when I went to the expo. I have my tattoos in not so out-there places. I have my piercings that I think are fashionable and cool. But I wasn’t covered head to toe trying to explain my childhood with a narcissist mother and a messed up social life with ink and rings. Oh trust me…. those things did play a part in my artwork and piercings! But for the most part, this was strictly a media event for me.

Even as a mild outsider looking in, my fashion and glamour side would kick in when I saw something inappropriate and all I could do was shake my head. It seemed the younger attendees had something more to prove, but girls, let me tell ya: what you were proving will probably be a Maury episode in the future.

So what were my “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” when it came to MY line of work? I didn’t take photos of them…. well, because that’s just wrong. But hellz to the yeah I am going to tell you all about them:

image1. DO–It’s okay to dress provocatively professional. I work from home. On days I “dress up”, I usually wear jeans and a nice shirt. If I put a bra on, it’s a REALLY big deal. If its “casual as hell day”, I bust out a nice cami and maybe some Juicy Couture sweats. Hey, that’s MY casual, not me being a bum. One day at the expo I wore I nice mini with a lace top and caged sandals. The other I wore side-lace up jeans and an animal print top. On paper, both sound like they could be seen inside at your local pole-dancing event. But worn with the right accessories and the right dose of self confidence?…. it looked hot!

image2. DON’T–If you want to wear a skirt to show off your leg ink, don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in. There is a line in the song “Price Tag” by Jesse J that goes: “You got your shades on your eyes and your heels so high that you can’t even have a good time….” Take. Heed!! If you shake and wobble more than Jello or you have to take tiny little steps like you are trying to rid the world of red ants, one at a time, those are not the ones to wear. ANYWHERE! Girlfriend, lemme tell ya…those guys aren’t looking at you because they think you and your shoes are sexy. They are watching to see when your first face plant happens because, I guarantee, there is a side bet going on somewhere.

image3. DO–Feel free to wear something that does show off a bit of you art. If you have a full sleeve, wear a cool graphic short-sleeved tee. If you have a nice piece on your leg, wear a semi-long pair of comfy shorts that shows some of it, doesn’t have to be all of it. If you are a girl, a jazzy cami is perfect for showing off some back and arm ink. Boyfriend jeans or capris with sandals is perfect to show off ankle or foot work.

4. DON’T–Fellas, if you have a nice chest piece do not wear a fishnet tank or a vest with no shirt if you still have every chest hair of winter growth showing. If your demonic skulls have warped into looking more like the StayPuft marshmallow man on Rogaine, mow that lawn down. Or.. (love this one)… the girl who has no ink or piercings but dresses like her first appointment is at 10pm on the 3rd floor and involves no ink at all (if you get my solicitation drift). Please, please just…just don’t. Think first, then dress accordingly.

image5. DO–Think about what you are wearing from head to toe, including accessories for the women. You may have a favorite top, a favorite skirt and favorite pair of shoes, but that does not mean they have to be worn all at the same time. A designer t-shirt, flowered maxi skirt and comfortable sneakers are all necessities in my closet at all times. But you’ll never see me wear them OUT of the house simultaneously. I don’t care if it’s a polo match or a chicken wing eating contest–TASTEFULLY COORDINATE! Remember, if you plan on dropping your artist’s name because you are proud of their work, give them the benefit of the doubt and dress so they’d be proud you’re wearing it!

image6. DON’T— If you have a sexy black bra with matching undies, good for you–you get your groove on girlfriend! If you wear them under a white dress, under a lace top that unbuttons to your belly button or if you wear them under a skirt where bending in any angle will allow me to see more than your GYNO sees? Yeah–RETHINK that!

7. DO— Keep this it mind, a fabulous quote from Tim Gunn: “If you have to ask if a clothing item is a dress or a top, it is always a top.” Case closed.

image8. DON’T— All those buzzing needles, bottles of beer and mechanical bull rides can jar a few important brain cells loose and shift to the other side of your head. Keep your head on straight. Tattoos and piercings should NOT be an impulse decision. Think about it. Then think about it again, sober, after a good night’s sleep. My personal rule of thumb is if you haven’t changed your mind about what you want tattooed, where you want it, or what you want pierced for AT LEAST 30 days, you are probably definite about your decision.

9. DO— Enjoy yourself, but ask questions. If you really see a tattoo or a piercing in your future, talk to as many artists as possible. Look at pictures, talk to former clients, ask how long they’ve had the work. (The longer & brighter the tat?…The better the artist is and the higher the quality of his supplies.) Also, ask about the artist’s tattoo shop. How long have they been there? Is it clean? Sterile? Busy? If a tattoo artist is “available anytime next week”, there might be a reason his date book isn’t full. I always have to wait 3-4 weeks to see my artist. Why? Cuz he’s GOOD.

10. DON’T— Don’t be shy! People have put themselves out there at the expo to show off the work they have had done. Be polite, be personal and show them what you’ve got. Don’t be close minded either. Sometimes artists have an idea about a tat you might want that would take it to a whole new level. And if someone asks YOU what you think about a tat? Be honest! A girl in the ladies room had a tracing of a tiger she wanted on her arm. It was awesome, but it was wicked off center. It wasn’t balanced. She finally agreed and had the artist move it over. He was probably pissed, but it looked a whole lot better! Better rep for his shop too.

So there are your do’s and don’ts when you decided to head to a tattoo expo. Will you be there? Will I see you? I hope so! I couldn’t be happier about each piece of ink I have and my reasons behind them. It’s a hell of a story. Probably will get something else in the future. I’ll know it when I see it. Hopefully someday our paths will cross and I’ll get to show–and tell!–YOU all about them!


A Random Sassy Blogpost: “Approachable”

22 May

imageThis isn’t going to be a long, involved blog post. Actually I am writing it on a whim after a nice light dinner with my husband recently. I don’t know if its because I’m a writer, I used to host a radio talk show or I’m just blessed with the gift of gab. I can–and I will!–talk about anything and everything as long as I have someone to lend an ear. If someone asks me for advice? Oh that’s even better. It’s like a Rachel Zoe meets Dr. Phil combo. And if you need fashion, makeup or glamour advice? Holy smokes, turn on your video cameras because you are about to get a personalized version of Project Runway for the next hour+. I love the business and for someone to ask my help with it is such an honor.

With that being said, I told my husband over dinner about a woman who needed help finding something at the mall yesterday. She was hoping I worked for the store so she could get her question answered. I told her that I didn’t but if she wanted to ask me anyways, I’d see what I could do to help. With a heavy foreign accent, I managed to figure out she was looking for “special” female clothing. “Lingerie” to be exact. Bless her heart–you go girl! I made the explanation of where she had to go as simple as possible, and she was so happy. She walked away thanking me then thanking me some more with a smile on her face bigger than the sun. All I could do was smile back. I took the time to make her feel important and that, in turn, made her feel like royalty. How awesome is that?

My 18 year-old daughter, who was shopping with me, didn’t get it. She didn’t understand why. Why she would ask ME for help, why I WOULD go out of my way to offer my help, why I would ask the customer later on when I saw her in the mall if she found what she was looking for, and why did it make me so happy to help her out? I thought about that for a while. After a long time processing it all, only one word kept coming to mind:



imageMost of my life, because of the turbulent relationship I was in then, I didn’t talk to hardly anyone. I didn’t want to be noticed let alone STAND OUT. I wanted to blend in. I didn’t want to be heard or seen. You see, then that would mean I was drawing attention to myself. And that was a no-no with my then significant other. His goal was to make me “ordinary”, “plain” and “mediocre” and because of his intimidating ways, I became just that. He won. But not for long.

It took a LONG time after leaving that relationship for me to “find myself”. I know it sounds so cliche, but it really was true. I had to learn not to stare at the floor when I was around other people. I had to train myself to talk to strangers. I had to find confidence to wear something that wasn’t on the Brady Bunch first. I had to realized that I deserved everything I wanted, got and had….and more. It isn’t easy. This doesn’t happen in a one semester night class either. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes determination. It takes change. It takes courage. Which means stepping out of your comfort zone. Which means starting to make eye contact with people. Which means taking a compliment by simply smiling and saying “thank you” instead of excusing it with some ridiculous answer. It means telling yourself you mean something in this world and believing it. It means having self confidence. On, it says the following:

“Confidence is sexier Than a Push-up Bra! Clothes, jewels, cars, and cash are lovely, but self-confidence is the ultimate accessory. It can’t be bought, but it can be had.”


imageAfter you reach a milestone of assurance (and it is constantly changing) not only do you feel it, but it starts to show. Not through possessing material things or associating yourself with people who are within 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon. It is in the way you walk, in how you talk, how you carry yourself. It’s the aura that surrounds you, the invisible glow of “I. Am. Awesome.” That’s not you being conceited, that you being self-confident. And being self-confident makes you an open, inviting, personable person. It makes you approachable. And girl?……that is awesome!!

I challenge all of you to step outside of your comfort zone today. Wear something that’s so not you. Paint those lips pretty. Go to a movie…alone…and enjoy having the popcorn all to yourself. Give out five sincere compliments–smile when you say them and mean it! Wear heels and walk tall. Flash a smile at a stranger but don’t hang your head or walk away. See if you get a smile back! You are smiling at them, acknowledging you appreciate their presence. You are not asking for a hook up! And if they think otherwise, remember, YOU are in control! Get in the car, turn up YOUR music! Sing along and dance if your want. Who cares? It’s YOU who matters!

This won’t happen overnight. TRUST ME ON THAT ONE! Fifteen years later and sometimes it’s still not easy. But it’s a step in the right direction. A big step. And before you know it… those steps will be taking you in a direction that’s new, but one you’ll soon be comfortable in!!


Sassy and the Tattoo Expo (Part 3)

15 May

imageIt is here. The final day of the expo. I have had so much fun and hope to be able to attend next year. I am not sure if I will go as part of the media or just grab a weekend pass and a Dunkin Donuts gift card and make it a whole weekend out of people watching. THAT we all know is a story in itself. So, let’s close this out…

Day 3:

Sunday. The last day of the tattoo expo. Part of me wants to just say “thank heavens.” I had done a lot of walking and talking up to this point, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to finish up soon. I was anxious to get the day started off on the right foot so I could close the weekend out on a high note. Too bad my feet started to hurt in less than an hour (poor choice of shoes–my bad). Okay, Sassy’s body, I get it: I’m pushing my limits. The expo was a little quieter than the day before, but I think that was because most of the artists were starting to break down and call it a weekend. That and the fact that judging was going on for many pieces that had been done this weekend and before. Photos of tattoos were being taken and submitted for the various contests. A lot of family members were there to cheer on their loved ones for all different types of trophies. Other people were just staying to see if their favorite artist took home a prize. Although it was a competition, everyone–artists as well–were cheering each other on. It was a feeling of family.

I had two main objectives on this last day, and I wanted to get them done early so I too could break down and get home to rest. I had to get info from my new pal Casey, and as usual, she helped me tons. (You’ll being reading about those conversations soon.) I got what I needed to close out my research. Part one, done. On my way through, I saw Karla who pierced my ear the day before. What started as a conversation about my piercing took a turn early on and brought us to a subject–not related to tattooing and piercing at all–that we found a common bond that we were both (unfortunately) pros on. Although the conversation was not uplifting at all, it was refreshing to talk to someone who knew exactly what I was talking about. I think Karla was just as happy to have someone who “got it”, who also understood things others didn’t. An instant connection was created, and friends were made. That is what is great about this industry: two different people that most likely would have never met now know each other in a way that goes beyond the needles and ink. That is what makes this industry awesome. Plus it solidified the idea that Nora had on earlier in the expo: it gives you a reason to start a conversation that eventually leads to a friendship. And there is nothing wrong with that.

On my last pass-by, I said goodbye to one of my friends and had the opportunity to meet with some of his family. They were funny and personable, and oh duh… their ink was fabulous (of course)! They were there to support my friend and to enter the contests going on. Here is what totally threw me: although, once again, I began talking to them about the stories of their tattoos, the conversation turned towards me! The “mom” HAD to have picked my brain for at least 20 minutes about my writing, my love for fashion and my involvement in the industry. She kept flattering me by saying she liked how I took control of my look. She said I looked stunning yet approachable. Wow! ANYONE in my line of work would know that is the ultimate compliment. We continued to chat a bit more about my line of work as well as theirs for several more minutes till I had to get going. “Mom” insisted I give her my business card and stay in touch on Facebook, which I have. After a few more good bye’s and see ya soon’s, I called it a day. As I looked around the convention hall on my way out, all I could do was smile. I did it!

Working and researching at the convention made it fun to combine my line of work with those in the tattoo industry. Tattooing is not just a business anymore–it’s an art form which is often hushed or goes unnoticed. If someone had a Monet in their possession, I would bet you will know about it or even get offered to see it. But if you have a fabulous piece done by Jay or Brian or Anthony or Noah down the street, probably not many people would take the time to learn its story. That really is too bad, in a sense. But there is a feeling of pride when you have a tattoo since that piece of work is yours and yours only, designed for you or by you, created for you, worn by only you. It’s true, fads come and go like the tide. I’m in fashion, trust me I know! But tats aren’t fashion–they are expressions, they are achievements, they are beliefs, they are memorials, they are personal. They are yours, and they always will be. Before you create an assumption about someone who has ink, know that over 24% of Americans -male and female- between the ages 18 and 50 have ink. That’s gone way up over recent years. And the number isn’t dipping at all. A tattoo means something to the wearer. Take a shot before you judge to stop and ask them about the story of the tat rather than the “What were you thinking?” remark. You may learn something you didn’t know. And better yet, you may make a friend you would have never connected with ever before. And in these days of endless plug-in communications and technology, how freaking awesome is that??

So for myself, I can honestly say I am not done with my ink. I have one piece to be done any day now, and after that I want to design a piece to complete some work I have on my ankle. Piercings? Yeah, think that is done. I might….. might… get my other tragus done. But if I do, it won’t be for a while! I know how to take care of my skin to keep me and my ink looking fresh and young for as long as I can. In the industry I’m in? …. I’ve got knowledge on my side. And with the great new friends I’ve made? ….I have people I can trust and enjoy in my life, tattoos or not!

Sassy and the Tattoo Expo (Part 2)

14 May

imageHere we go, the second day of the tattoo expo. I was psyched now because my goal for the day was to get more info not just on the tattooing industry, but to dabble in the piercing side of things as well. Unlike tattooing, piercings are bit different. Some will say they get them because they like being “different”. Others say the taboo factor is big. There are just some things that shouldn’t be pierced and, well, that’s what they pierce. And even with piercings, there is a fashion aspect involved. Some people think that someone with an unusual piercing lives on the edge just a bit, is a chance taker, and maybe a little bit of a bad boy/girl. Fact being, to some that is erotic. So I set out to get my info for the day. And I did just that, as well as a few other things! Let’s go…

Day 2:

So, I’m back and this day is totally different than last night. For one, its busier. Not a ton more people but definitely more than yesterday. It’s funny–no matter who or how many show up, we all had something in common: an interest in ink. Second, on-site tats are EVERYWHERE! Needles were buzzing at just about every booth, and everyone who is anyone was getting one. I noticed that men getting a tattoo act very similar to how women act when they get a manicure. “Okay, I’ll sit here, this won’t hurt and if it does you’ll never know it. Just make me feel relaxed and you make it look awesome.” The only difference is manicure customers leave with pretty nails–tat customers leave with A&D ointment packets and a body part wrapped in Saran Wrap.

I made my rounds, meeting the people I didn’t get a chance to get to meet yesterday, making connections with people who may be of great interest to me in the future when it comes to my writing. I promised I would meet up with two of my very good friends, Larry & Colleen, who used to work for the actual sponsors of the event (Spaulding & Rogers Mfg and Spaulding’s Tattoo World), which I did. That was fun as hell. Going and learning is great, but going and learning with experienced friends is even better. During my way through endless introductions, showing off body parts drawn with ink and flashing jewels in places where they usually aren’t, I got to meet Karla. She was one of the selected “piercers” at the show, and boy was she was busy! I’m still in shock at what people will pierce, but that (and the displayed photo album) goes beyond words. At the show, however, she was doing basic mainly G-rated piercings (but COULD do others if a customer wanted). Noses, belly buttons and ears were in demand at the expo. Those, I can handle that. In fact I have had my belly button pierced for almost 10 years now and I think a belly ring can be very attractive on a girl. Plus the pain involved in getting it is SO nothing. Personally, it was no big deal.

Then I happen to run into my cousin Alyssa who had just gotten some fresh ink. We chatted it up for a little bit, looking at her newest piece. Looked good, jazzy design. After a while, I spotted her again as I was on a writing break. She came running up to show me her latest “investment”(?)–an ear piercing on a very painful-looking part of her ear. She told me it was called a “tragus”. I began researching: a tragus piercing is the piercing of the tragus, a piece of cartilage which projects from the ear to essentially be a defense barrier to the ear canal. Tragus piercings are generally not very painful, due to the small number of nerve endings there. The hole itself is usually made with a small gauge hollow piercing needle, and the typical piercing jewelry would be a small diameter captive bead ring or small gauge style post depending on the piercer’s preference. I can’t deny, it looked look fun, it looked erotic, it looked trendy, it looked sexy! Yeah…. that sounds like the things I’m often, sadly, looking for nowadays to help with my midlife crisis. I wasn’t completely sure, but I thought I wanted one. I kind of told my two friends I might be “interested” in one. Yeah…..wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong thing to say out loud. Before I could swallow my gum, they were handing me forms to fill out, taking my information off my license, having me sign consent forms, and making me wish I HAD taken that extra shot of tequila when I had the chance. Oh what the hell did I just get myself into?

One thing about me? If I start it, I finish it. If I say I’m going to go buy five boxes of Girl Scout cookies, I will buy five boxes of Girl Scout cookies. If I say I’m going get a tattoo on my wrist, I will get a tattoo on my wrist. And if I want to get something pierced, it WILL get pierced. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. Holy Swiss cheese, I’ve dealt with more pain in the past several years then you could imagine. This would be a breeze. I know the routine: blow out, jam your foot into the table, yell an obscenity or four, and it’s over. Piece of cake.

Sassy laying down getting ready to be pierced by Karla

Sassy laying down getting ready to be pierced by Karla

Karla was fabulous. And SOOOO professional. She kept me informed about each thing she was doing before she did it, showed me the sterile tools she’d be using, how she was going to do the piercing, then went to town. Honestly?… the forms took longer than the piercing did! Of course I had to make things difficult by having thick cartilage and needing two “jabs” instead of one, but I did fine. But how did it look (other than red, painful and a little bloody?) Honestly, it looked AWESOME and I was thrilled! She instructed me how to take care of it, then gave me an instruction sheet as well. She reinforced the the “don’ts” and off I went. Pierced tragus and all.
No, Sassy's fine. REALLY!... I'M FINE!

No, Sassy’s fine. REALLY!… I’M FINE!

Yeah, remember when I said I wasn’t coming home with more holes than I left with? Cancel that. I realized right then, though, that I was POSITIVE I was done coloring or piercing anything else for the rest of the weekend. Things like this must be done in personal moderation. If you’re not 100% ready to do it, you are just not ready. Period. And that’s okay. Better to plan forward than to regret back.

As my ear calmed down, I decided to sit down in the lobby and do some writing and people watching. Let me just say that if you are a people watcher?…you will NOT be bored at a tattoo convention. It’s at least a two large beverage experience. Soon, a few of my new tattoo friends decided to join me and we made a regular party out of this break. Everyone had a story–good or bad–and it was our job to discuss the “what if’s” and the “I bet’s” for each interesting attendee we saw. No one was exempt! Everyone was watched and graded like a Siskel & Ebert movie review. (Read my “Do’s & Don’ts” section for more on this.) If we didn’t stop after an hour, we probably could have stayed all night entertaining ourselves. Sad, yet oh so funny.

I hung around for a little while more, talking to artists and customers again, getting their views on what was going on around them. I noticed no expo attendee seemed to be upset. It was a group of proud and happy people, and that’s all that mattered. And that’s awesome. I was getting tired so I decided to call it a day. On my way to the door, however, a very (drunk) pretty girl named Allison ran up to me and HAD to tell me how “freaking gorgeous and sexy” I was. SO MUCH SO, she had to introduce me to her husband who was getting a shoulder tat around the corner. (Insert the words “extremely uncomfortable” here.) I thanked her for… I don’t know, hitting on me?… but I was heading out. I turned and made a bee-line straight for the door. Phew, close one. Keys in one hand, iPad in the other. Check please–I was done!

THAT is your tragus. Mine now has a hoop in it...

THAT is your tragus.
Mine now has a hoop in it…

Sassy and the Tattoo Expo (Part 1)

13 May

imageWhat you are about to read is real.

Maybe I changed the names, maybe I didn’t. That’s irrelevant. Over the next three days, you will read my observations, endeavors, interviews and surprising encounters during my first tattoo expo that was held in Upstate NY last weekend. I have to say WITHOUT hesitation that it might have been my first, but it will certainly not be my last. Maybe next year I will do more writing, maybe I’ll get my training and be a piercer, maybe I will just get a large latte and watch the crowd for the day. Oh, oh…maybe do a fashion critique article on the attendees and what they (attempted) to wear, which would be entertaining as hell. Doesn’t matter. I’ll be there. So grab a beverage and get a snack. It is going to be a fun and entertaining ride!!!

Day 1:
Okay, I’m here at the tattoo expo and I’m already overwhelmed. I won’t lie: there is a certain kind of intoxicating feeling you get when you hear those needles buzzing. It’s a rush. It’s like when a gambler walks into a room of slot machines where the machines are ringing and humming, and the sound of coins are dropping everywhere. It is that consuming. Now, once you get past the sound of the needles, the environment takes on a whole new ….. ambiance? Everyone from all walks of life are here. Some attendees are just curious–some are serious die-hard ink fans. It was certainly a large variety of people. For the avid people watcher like myself?…it was like Christmas. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Once I got my pass, met and thanked the sponsors that allowed me to attend, I ventured out to size up my surroundings. There were at least 100 various booths, either doing tattoos, piercings, selling merchandise or some other related business. Initially, I talked to a few people that seemed eager to trade “tat stats”–how many, of what, who did it, etc. I stopped at several booths and looked at all different kinds of ink– live and in photos. I had a chance to meet some great people thanks to a few of my friends, and also got to reconnect with an artist that did some work on my ankle who I hadn’t seen in a long time. I think I was a bit overwhelmed and just took my time reading, looking, browsing and making eye contact–which is still a big step in an environment that’s new to me. If I was backstage at the Michael Kors show during fashion week?…I’d be flitting around like a bee. But this was new ground. So I was taking my time, taking it all in.

Although I promised myself I wouldn’t get anything that required ink, I felt I should get something. (That’s the shopper in me talking.) I already have a tattoo artist whose work I’m very pleased with, plus I already had an appointment on the books for my next piece. I think loyalty is very important when your pleased with previous work you have got, plus referrals through word of mouth is the best advertising. But before I could leave the expo room, I had to walk by the piercing section which was FILLED with all sorts of jewels that caught my eye. So I treated myself to two gorgeous belly rings which will look awesome in my belly button piercing this summer. As far as other body piercings go? That’s it for me. Not counting a couple of pairs of earrings that I have had since I was 12, piercing any other part of my body is not my cup of tea! (Or so I thought right then…)

The thing that kind of amazed me is the people’s desire to get ink whenever they get the urge. I mean, as a girl, I personally know the feeling of smelling a perfume sample in a magazine and falling in love with it RIGHT AWAY. If there was a 24 hour Sephora, I’d be there in a heartbeat to buy it. Cosmetics and fashions can easily be an impulse buy, and that is exactly what the companies want–an impulse buy. Even if you aren’t thrilled with your purchase, you can use it for a bit, sell it or return it. Then you can just go out and get a different one. When a person wants to get a tattoo, though, I would think that people would put some thought–some serious thought–into it. It’s yours, ON YOU! Forever!

When people come to these expos, I think this would be the time to really decide if you do want some ink and, if that’s your decision, to find the person to do it. Use this as a way to get to know the artist and see examples of their work. Talk to previous customers, see what they have (an artist almost always makes sure they have clients their to show off their work), make your decision based on that. But there are the people who just want ink NOW and don’t really care who does it. They just want it. Did I say now? Unless for circumstances beyond my control, if my artist couldn’t do my work, I’d either ask him for a personal reference or do a lot of research. Flipping through a few picture books and a two minute “Hi. How much?” conversation isn’t going to do it for me. But that’s how I am. I’d like the people who I work closely with in my life to be nice, informative and professional. A tattoo artist is a professional as well and should be thought of no different.

I decided to call it a night when they were giving last call for bikini mechanical bull riding sign ups. Yeah… well… shoot. I had just dropped my bikini off at the cleaners the day before so there was no reason for me to stay. That was my cue, so I chuckled and left. Tomorrow was another day.

You Know You’ve Made It When…

11 Apr

….you’re Facebook friend’s dogs are even cheering you on! Now THAT’s what I call fans!


Thanks, John!!