Tag Archives: Tattoo


9 Nov

img_1662“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ William Jennings Bryan

Webster’s Dictionary tells us what the word destiny means:
destiny (noun) des·ti·ny \ˈdes-tə-nē\
Simple Definition of destiny
: what happens in the future
: the things that someone or something will experience in the future
: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future

William Jennings Bryan explains simply that destiny doesn’t just happen… you make it happen. And I couldn’t agree more. Especially right now.

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past year. (Oh trust me, I AM writing a book!) I have always taken full responsibility for everything that has gone on, even though I know it has created changes that not everyone is happy with. I just felt it was time to actively pursue my dream of writing professionally, taking some chances and risks, traveling when I needed to expand things, and really putting myself out there. It is so easy to stay where things are comfortable, but nothing changes if nothing changes. So I took on a new mindset, pushed myself to my absolute physical limits and set out to achieve my dreams. But out of the mouths of the band, Dr. Hook:

“But our minds won’t really get blown
Like the blow that’ll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone.”

So, is that what I wanted? Is that what I did? Am I on a rock star magazine? Well, not really. As a fashion writer, the cover of the Rolling Stone isn’t someplace I’d normally end up on the cover of anyways. In my own mind, I know I am a rock star, but that’s just me. I’m not a performer, I’m a writer. A fashion and glamour writer at that. And in addition to that, I love the tattoo industry. I love interacting with the people at the shop I help out at. I am in awe of their talent as well as the reasons why people want their personal tattoos. So it would probably be more of a dream to see my name on the front of a magazine that has to do with my passion of fashion and glamour as well as tattoos.

Recently, I added on to a large tattoo that has been a work in progress for some time now. Where it is right now is absolutely gorgeous, but I know that there is more to come. It will look amazing! I decided to take a photo of my updated tattoo which matches a large tattoo I got several years ago. I lInked how they looked together and posted it on Instagram. I will admit, it was a bit risqué for me. I might be a “girl next door” but I am definitely a shy girl next door (most of the time). Well, to say the least, the photo blew up. Magazines saw it, Instagram followers saw it, other artists saw it. It went pretty big pretty fast. I was a little surprised that this “32+” mom had such a reaction to her photo, but it was very cool.

Soon after the post, I received a message from the founder of one of the select magazines I had tagged in my photo. He liked it. He liked it a lot! It wasn’t just my tattoos that caught his eye, though. It was the fact that I was a writer. He liked that this sassy, fierce redhead had somewhat established herself in the writing world. I took some time to see what he was looking for in regards to the magazine. He wanted someone to talk fashion—about what is hot right now, the trends that are going on. Well that’s me all day! I’m always in the know with fashion, not just for me but for my blog. After a crunch time of getting an article and bio done, I showed him I could do it. And so it came to be:

Sassy Auburn is the new
Fashion Editor for
Sweet and Inked Magazine!!img_1664

Pretty awesome, huh? You won’t miss me here, don’t worry…I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I will be linking some of my other articles from Sweet and Inked to here as well. I will also share some tattoo photos with fashion styles that are great right now. Some things I’ll talk about will even be able to show off some of people’s favorite tattoo pieces.

I’ve been been kind of pinching myself since the issue was released, but I have to say that I couldn’t be happier as well as more fortunate to be working in an industry that embraces both of my loves. There are still things to do and room to grow, but I’m excited for the ride.

So, my loyal and faithful Sassinistas… you are lucky. You some of the first people to learn of my new endeavor! Feel free to talk to me about all things on here from fashion to ink. And don’t worry—I will make sure to keep you up to date on just fashion and glamour goodies on my blog still.

Keep an eye out for me in the tattoo community and follow me in Sweet and Inked as well! I look forward to sharing my adventures with every one of you!



Sassy Simplified (Dances with Wolves, part two)

14 May

So earlier this month I wrote about how I had a new job which was keeping me more busy than I’ve ever been before. My mind is calculating and occupied; my body is feeling a bit tired but balanced; and I’m doing something I find fun & exciting. I can still put my passion into writing but I can also interact with people which keeps me fresh and alive. What’s not to love!?!

Last time, I talked a lot about how I’ve simplified my skin care so I can still keep my face looking young and fresh with the least amount of time and products needed. Now, I’m going to talk a bit about makeup. I will admit, my makeup look is always changing since I tend to base my look and colors on my outfit and mood of the day. What is very important to me now? A look that will LAST! This girl ain’t got NO time to check her lashes, liner and lips every 60 minutes. I want to know my foundation isn’t sliding. I want to make sure my eyeliner isn’t running down on my cheeks. And I need a lip color that is light & easy to carry so I can touch up my lips on a whim without a mirror, keeping them fresh and soft. So what are a few of my necessities? Let’s look:

RimmelFoundationI have no time it bring a bag of goodies to work and touch my face up every few hours. I’m busy! Plus, isn’t that what us women really want: a no-brainer look that stays in place all day? After using many foundations, I really like how Rimmel London’s Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation keeps my look in check–ALL DAY! I don’t get oil breakthroughs, no sliding, no blotchy spots. Just smooth, even coverage all day long. I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of many Rimmel products in the past, but this one has me hooked. $5.49


Eye Shadow:
Well, I have to admit, I flounder here a bit. It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I want a long lasting powder shadow when I want to blend different colors for a mesmerizing smoky look. Other times I like a long-lasting eye pencil that goes on quick without brushes but I can still add a bold pop of color. Then there are the lazy days…the days I want to sweep one cream color over my entire lid without thinking about blending, highlighting, contouring, fading or creasing all day. So that gives me a few different options with my choices–
Powder: Lancôme Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow (55+ shades) $20.00
Pencil: Milani Shadow Eyez 12 HR Wear Eye Color Pencils (12 shades) $6.99
Cream: Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow (10 shades) $6.99
If you have the time? Blend, mix, create! The looks are endless.







LiquidLinerEyeliner used to be my nemesis. I could never find one that could line my top lids crisp, give my bottom lashes pop on the waterline, and keep them in place ALL DAY. Again, sometimes you have to pay more for what you want, and that’s what I found I had to do to get the long lasting look I wanted. They go on smooth, no running, completely waterproof & weatherproof!–
Pencil: Lancôme Le Stylo Waterproof Long Lasting EyeLiner w/smudger sponge (9+ shades) $27.00
Liquid Liner: Lancôme Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner, goes on with a fine sponge point to make your line as thick or as thin as you want. (9+ shades). $30.50







MascaraMascara is an odd animal. No matter how happy you are with the one you have, you always have to try something new. And if you do try something new and aren’t happy with it? You are annoyed beyond words. I try the newest, latest and greatest whenever a drugstore brand mascara comes out. I have to say there are a few select ones that I have been pleased with. But when it comes to a mascara that gives me fabulous looking, long, lush, lashes? I always go back to my ultimate favorite. It’s super water resistant, doesn’t flake, no under eye smudging and coats and separates each lash. They look so fab, I think they almost look fake. (Hence the name!) Seriously, isn’t that what we all want? And I don’t mind paying a bit more for just that! Which is why I love Benefit Cosmetics “They’re Real!” Mascara. $23.00


BlushYou don’t need a ton of blush to make your look natural. And I found very quick you don’t have to spend a lot either. There are some great powder and cream blushes that will go the distance without breaking your bank. And some?…no brush needed. Especially my favorite:
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush. This gel formula lets you dot and smooth right where you want to make your cheeks pop without going a bit heavier as you could with a brush blush. The variety of ten shades are smooth and buildable, if you are looking for a more dramatic look. $7.99


CovergirlOkay, honestly in this department, I’ve got nothing. See, we all have our vice. Some have Oreos, others ice cream. Some have salt & vinegar chips, others have Ring Dings. Me? Well, I have all those too, but when it comes to makeup, I can’t get enough lip products. Seriously, I have scrubs, balms, butters, stains, creams, lipsticks, colored glosses, clear glosses, the lust just goes on. Honestly, I have no favorite. I’m trying to think, though, what you will ALWAYS find in my purse. It takes a “special” product to always be in there, regardless of outfit choice of the day. That’s easy: For Goodness Grape lip tint in Strawberry Sugar Shimmer ($7.00); Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in “Bronze Glow” ($19.00); Covergirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm in “Only U” ($5.99); Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in “Mauve Fetish” ($5.49)







So, it’s true–the Sassy working woman isn’t as simplified in her makeup routine as her skin care routine, but I am more aware. I am more aware of the type of products I use that will last the whole day with few or no touch ups. I need quality items that will make it through all kinds of conditions: hot, cold, rainy, rushed, busy, quiet, stressed, chaotic, hilarious and just plain fun. Finding the right products has taken some time, and I’m sure I’ll be looking for more in the future. But for now? I am very content with my edgy, chic, up-to-date look that doesn’t require a ton of money, time or effort. Just what a stylish nine-to-five tattooed rockstar needs!!


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!


Drug Store Items Tattoo Owners Must Have

25 May

Ok, you’ve heard it all about tattoos this month. The who’s, the what’s, the where’s and the why’s. So now it’s the time where I do a little product recommendation. Usually, after you get your ink, your artist will give you enough ointment (A&D usually) to get you through its healing time. Always remember, a packet of ointment goes a long way–“you don’t have to save the world with the stuff.” But soon after, you will need some basic drugstore necessities to keep your ink at its best. Here are the top items you should get even before you get the art:

image1. Antibacterial Soap. Sounds like a given but you need to put a little thought into this. Bath and Body Works lovers, you’re going to need to slow it down for a while. When it comes to a good antibacterial soap, less is best. In fact, less is NECESSARY. No dyes, no perfumes, no foo foo flowers. Soap, people. Just. Plain. Soap. Save the grapefruit and sweet peas for after you’re healed. Now? Just the basics. Sassy suggests:
Dial Original Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash or Colgate-Palmolive Antibacterial Soap

image2. A Good Lotion. Once you’ve healed, it’s imperative you keep the skin soft. The softer it is, the truer the color and design will stay. Again, perfumes and dyes are drying and you want to avoid anything that’s going to tighten up the skin. Sure, there is nothing wrong with wearing your favorite lotion, fragrance or glitter where it makes you feel sexy. But if where you feel sexy is now covered with a big, plasma-draining rose (sorry so graphic), you are going to want to avoid to avoid putting it there for at least a few months. Definitely put the moisturizer on before bed too. That’s when skin cell turnover is usually at its fastest. Sassy suggests: Eucerin Original Moisturizing Creme and Curel Fragrance Free – Original Lotion for Dry & Sensitive Skin

image3. A damn good sunscreen. This is where things get a little tricky. Because your skin is essentially burned when it is tattooed, it can easily burn more when it is exposed to direct sunlight. Wearing a good sunscreen over your ink is essential, especially if you cant cover it with clothes. Again, you really want to avoid dyes, fragrances and any alcohol-containing product. You want to get at least an SPF50 for the best coverage nowadays. Remember when you thought a 15 was high? Yeah… ummm… like SO yesterday. Between the protection of your tattoo and the prevention of skin cancer, most people will tell you to get an SPF of 50 or higher in a broad-spectrum sunscreen. You need to reapply it frequently especially when in water or are sweating (read here http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/sun-care/how-often-apply-sunscreen.htm for great sun care info). Don’t cheap out on your sunscreen–and use it like you ARE trying to save the world with it. You should apply a shotglass worth all over, whether it be oil or cream! Sassy suggests: Neutrogena® Pure & Free® Baby Sunscreeen Lotion SPF 60+ and Coppertone® Tattoo GUARD™ Lotion SPF 50 Sunscreen

See? There is no need to worry that you wont be able to find the items you will need to keep your new art looking fresh and new for a long time. Your neighborhood drugstore should have all of these things you will need. Make sure of one thing: when you open your products, write the date on them. All skin care products–especially sunscreens–begin losing their main properties and begin breaking down from bacteria in about a year. Instead of using more and hoping for the best just go out and restock! Your skin and your tattoo will thank you.

Take Care Of That Tat!!!

20 May

imageSo I’m at the tattoo expo and one of the main reasons I’m here is to get information on skin care–before, during and after the tat is done. I was trying to explain to my new friend Brian, a local tattoo artist, that it literally drives me insane that people don’t take care of their piece of art–a pictorial expression of a piece of their life–after it’s done. He agreed. “They get it done, and literally forget about it. Most of the time they don’t even use the post-tat cream I give them. Then they either come back [complaining] that I did something wrong or worse…. they take their mess to someone else and [complain] that I [messed] it up. That’s the worst.”

imageWhile at the expo, I had the privilege to be able to talk to Casey, an employee of one of the expo’s sponsors, Spaulding & Rogers. She was not just a doll but she was VERY informed about the tattooing process and the care involved with it. We talked about the skin on the area that you want tattooed. Her and I agreed it should be taken care of beforehand. Me, being in the industry for as long as I have, believes targeted skin care should begin at the age of 18–head to toe–but that’s me. It’s important that the skin you want to tattoo is not dry, not cracked, not scarred. Skin like that can easily split open under a tattoo needle. Not good. After your tattoo is done, the healing process is really important. How you take care of it will make or break the condition, the design or the color intensity of the art. It’s really important….let me say that again…..it is really important!…that you follow your artist’s post tattoo instructions to the letter. TO THE LETTER!! Plus, be aware of the sun. A lot of people don’t realize that the sun is a drastic evil to any tattoo, especially a fresh one. If possible, keep a new tattoo covered when out in the sun for at least four weekss afterwards. Then Casey explained it a bit better: “A tattoo is really just a burn on your skin. You will heal the same way as if were to burn your skin on a stove.” Certainly a different thought process than thinking it’s a scraping filled with colored ink, isn’t it? But it certainly made sense. If you had a sunburn, would you go back outside tomorrow to hang in the blaring sun? Yeah….ummmm…..NO!

imageOnce you’ve healed, now comes the make-it-or-break-it time, believe it or not. Remember, what is on your body is a piece of art. If you inherited an Andy Warhol original, would you hang it in the basement next to the cat box and Christmas lights? Hell no! You’d have it front and center, protected from the elements. DO THE SAME WITH YOUR TATTOO. Keep it moisturized with a lotion that is dye-free and perfume-free. And nothing that contains alcohol. All of those are serious culprits for not just irritating a tattoo even after it’s healed, but can also cause fading of the ink with prolong use. Just because that skin has ink, doesn’t mean it’s “covered” from the sun either. In fact, just the opposite. It’s a burn, remember? Burned skin, no matter how old, has less pigment in it than it would naturally. Tattoo professionals recommend at least an SPF of 50 for smaller tats, a higher SPF for bigger pieces. This also has a lot to do where the tat is. Bony, drier areas like knees and elbows will take much longer to heal so it is important to watch these areas carefully and tend to them exactly how you are instructed.

Remember everyone…this isn’t the lucky tattoo prize that you got in your box of Cracker Jack. This is yours. You own it. And you will have it forever. Think about it: if someone said that you could have ONE car for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you be very selective in what you chose? Wouldn’t you want the person selling it to you to be reputable with satisfied clients and photos of other cars they sold? Wouldn’t you take care of it every day so it stayed in its best condition possible for as long as possible? Yeah….think about just that when you start thinking about a tattoo. Wear it well, wear it with pride, and keep it looking as fabulous as the day you got it!

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 interesting..it 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.