Occupation: stay-at-home Mom
Age of first tattoo: 21. Kurt Vonnegut quote on my back.
Favorite tattoo: I don't know if I could pick- they're always changing and usually my newest is my favorite, but I'd have to say either my chest piece, my "Hank" tattoo, or Henry's silhouette.
Featured tattoo/location: my son Henry's silhouette on my right inner forearm
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Mando Rascon at Immaculate Tattoo in Mesa, AZ
1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning?
For years I had been fascinated with silhouettes, and before Henry was even a twinkle in my eye I knew that once I had a child I would want to get his or her silhouette tattooed on me. I had never seen a silhouette tattoo, and a year before I was pregnant I almost got Madeline's (our dog's) silhouette in the same place. haha. I ended up waiting though, and I'm glad I did. I think the one I have for Henry is just perfect. As far as the process, I just took a few profile shots of H. and brought them to Mando, and he quickly drew up the silhouette, and a couple of hours later we were done.
2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?
I do, and I'll talk about each one below.
I have a Matryoshka doll on the back of my neck done by Cory Lenherr. It's a tattoo of a doll I received as a gift (actual doll pictured below) from my dear friend Lisa, who was my mentor teacher throughout my student teaching, and someone who is very special to me.
My chest was done by Jason Kralovetz. I actually never wanted a chest piece, and to be honest I didn't like them too much when I first started getting tattooed. I did love shoulder tattoos though, so we just did the roses on my shoulders. After getting those though, I felt like I was wearing a permanent Western shirt and realized I actually did want a whole chest piece, so from there we added the heart with "heart means everything" in the middle. From there Jason went back and added the roses behind the banner, and the "Mom" and "Dad" over my shoulders. I really love how it turned out, and I feel lucky it did turn out so well because we didn't really have a plan in the beginning.
I have "HCHIII" over my sternum, which are my husband's initials. Also done by Jason when he worked at Immaculate. Some people think it's insane to get anyone's name tattooed on them but I figure if worse comes to worst I can always get it covered. HA. ;) Just kidding Hank. Also- this photo is pretty awkward but it was much better than the ones I attempted to take earlier. I don't think there's any easy way to show this tattoo so you can actually see the placement, so apologies for this strange one.
3/4 sleeve (left arm) by Jason. On the outside is a Victorian lady in an ornate mirror. She's wearing a white heart around her neck, which is the necklace I wore all through college. Jason was a dear friend of mine, and he did this as a surprise. Crossed behind the mirror are two keys, and if you look closely there are a "D" and "H" in them. Over my elbow is a vintage fan, inside my arm is a perfume bottle. On the inside of my forearm is a heart locket with a pink bow and two white doves. On the outside of my forearm is a diamond on a red pillow with a yellow rose and my sister's name "Lauren." There is absolutely no story or meaning to this whole huge tattoo at all, outside of my sister's name of course. I just think it's all very pretty. My wrist says "reflect" in cursive and was also done by Jason. I love this word and it's simply is there to remind me to stop, pause and reflect on the good in my life.
Left and right upper ribs pieces by Jason. I have "Live the life you love" on my right side and "Love the life you live" on my left. These are lyrics are taken (and shorted from "that you love/live") from my favorite Bane song. I'm not into that band at all anymore, but I still like the song and the meaning behind this tattoo.
Left rib piece by Cory Lenherr. Gypsy girl with roses and peacock feathers. I took the second one just now (hence the poor lighting) to show you that it didn't change at all through my pregnancy. I get a lot of questions about that, and here's your answer. I even wore the same super stylish green sweatpants to keep it similar! hah.
1/2 back piece by Jason Kralovetz. This was my very first tattoo! It's a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five. The quote is originally from an illustration in the book of a tombstone. I wanted a more girly twist to it, so Jason drew it up with lotus flowers and pretty colors.
Right thigh piece. This is my sister tattoo with Lauren. I have "Tea for Two" and she has "Two for Tea." We grew up having tea parties all of the time, so this tattoo is perfect for us.
Over the knee tattoos by Mando Rascon at Immaculate Tattoo. My husband calls me "sweet darlin'" all of the time, so it was only fitting to get it tattooed somewhere!
3) Do you plan on getting more?
Yes, definitely. For awhile I wanted to tattoo things like my hands and sides of my neck, but then I realized that even though I can't imagine it now, I may want to work as a teacher again in the future, and it would be a poor choice to limit myself in that way. I still love the way they look on other people though, but for me, I know that choice wouldn't be wise. Even though I have a lot of tattoos it's extremely easy to cover them up, and I like that. I enjoy having the freedom to keep them to myself if I choose. My next tattoo is a literary tattoo and will be on my left thigh. And I have one more planned in honor of my best friend. In the future I'd like to tattoo the back of my right arm and my other rib panel too. I'm unsure if I'd get any more large pieces outside of those few areas though. I like having some non-tattooed skin, too. Plus, the older I get the more I absolutely hate getting tattooed. We'll see though. Never say never, right?
4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos?
I come from a very conservative, yet open-minded family. No one else in my family outside of my sister (immediate or extended) had tattoos when I started getting tattooed but now I have a couple cousins with them, and my sister has more than I do! Her husband is also heavily tattooed and both of them will probably be fully covered sometime in their life.
When I first got tattooed I didn't tell my parents. I went through various piercings in high school and college- nose, lips, stretched earlobes- but I knew that tattooing my body would not be cool with them at all. One day I was in the backyard painting, and the bottom of the back of my shirt must have come untucked because I distinctly remember my Dad saying (in the scary way only my Dad can sound) "What IS that?" Oh, lord. I was 21 and so afraid of losing my Dad's approval. To make a long story short, he was very disappointed, told me I wasn't pretty anymore, and stopped talking to me for awhile. My Mom cried. In the end my Dad apologized for telling me I wasn't pretty (it was just my back I ruined, haha!), and my Mom came around. Now it's no big deal to them and my Dad often jokes about getting a 1940 Dodge PowerWagon tattooed on his arm.
When I met Hank I already had a few tattoos and so did he- his arms, chest, and legs. He obviously didn't mind that I had tattoos and I think he wouldn't care if I had none or was totally covered. Either way he loves them and we often joke about being old, wrinkly, and tattooed together.
5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos?
The most common thing people say to me is that I don't "seem" to be someone who would have a lot of tattoos. Because I was a teacher and I covered my tattoos at work, if I'd see colleagues or students outside of the classroom they would be shocked! "You're so sweet and nice, I had no idea!" It still makes me laugh when peoples' ideas of what a tattooed person should be like is along the lines of a Sons of Anarchy character. But as far as a singular experience, I'd have to say just any time someone finds it appropriate to grab my arm or any part of my body to get a better look. It's as if because I have tattoos my body I must be free reign for anyone to touch and examine. It's difficult to be sweet to people who invade my personal space like that, but I try and remind myself that they're just curious.
6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?
After 100 of these posts I feel like there's not much I can add, but the main thing is to really think it through. I know a lot of people, half of my friends and my husband included, are more of the impulsive, fun tattoo kind of people...but that's definitely not me. I have to think about my tattoos for a long time and make sure I really want them. Even though a lot of my tattoos don't have any meaning other than just being pretty things I love, I've thought about each one carefully and really committed. I can be a bit of a second-guesser, so I have to be this way. And luckily I don't have a single tattoo I really dislike or regret. A few other pieces of advice: eat before and after your appointment, drink water, and bring healthy snacks for halfway through. Tip your artist like your would a server at a restaurant, and more if they hook you up or if you're really excited about what they've done. If you get your legs tattooed wear athletic shorts under a dress- I find that to be the most comfortable combination. Bring a hoodie if you're in for a long session. There were times I was tattooed for four hours with my head resting on a paper towel roll. Not comfy. If you bring a hoodie you can always roll it up under your head, hip, or wherever to get comfortable. Don't be afraid to ask questions or speak your mind. If you don't like something, or want something in the drawing tweaked, just say so. Don't wait until you're already getting tattooed to mention it, or worse after- when you can't do anything about it. Spell and grammar check with multiple people. Don't get a tattoo in a foreign language unless a native speaker helps you translate. Most of all though, my main advice would be that if you are thinking about getting tattooed, get a few non-visible ones first to be sure you want to make the leap into the world of the visibly tattooed. Trust me when I say it changes everything. Get some hidden ones first and then make your decision. They will be there forever, so it's really no rush!
Happy 100th Tattoo Tuesday everyone! Thank you so much for reading along with this feature for almost two years. Here's to a 100 more!