Today I thought I would do something a little bit different and talk about my tattoos. I get stopped and asked about them on almost a daily basis and since my tattoos haven't been shown very much on my blog I thought it was time to give them a little screen time. I don't have a bunch, just a half sleeve on the lower half of my right arm, but hopefully some day I'll have at least my arms covered. I know exactly what I want to get but my upper arms are not in the greatest shape and I want to try and tone them up before I get much more work done. Plus I've also just been blowing my money on other things (read: makeup and clothes/shoes) instead of putting them towards tattoos. I've had all of my tattoos done by the same artist, Long Chou, and his work is amazing so if you're in the Kansas City area you should definitely check him out. Let's get to it!
I got my hand done first which was started June 29, 2013 and took two sessions and was finished on July 21, 2013. I decided to get my hand tattooed first because I was in a pretty bad car accident when I was 21 and I ended up having all four fingers on my left hand amputated (I have my thumb and about 1/3 of my index finger left). I was very self conscious about how my left hand looked and was really worried people would stare so I figured I'd get a tattoo on my right hand to get people to look at that one instead. I went in with this wolf artwork that I first saw when a hip-hop artist used it on some promos and I really liked the style but knew the exact design wouldn't fit well on my hand so Long came up with his own design which is a million times better than what I brought in (he's actually done a cover-up on someone else of the image I brought in). There really was no meaning behind choosing a wolf, I just liked a design that had a wolf in it and went from there. There is the saying "lone wolf" which I definitely am and wolves are nocturnal and I'm very much a night owl so I found meaning after the fact but I didn't go into this tattoo with a deeper meaning. I also get asked about the pain level with this one a lot because of all the small bones in the hands. Everyone thinks hands will hurt a ton but I didn't think it was that bad so it's just going to depend a lot on each individual and what you can take. I thought I would include the bare bones original photos from when I first got each tattoo so you can see how they've aged in the few short years I've had them. This one just turned four and some of the detailing is starting to slip away, which is to be expected, but the color still looks awesome.
This feather was my second one which I got on April 4, 2014 and it was completed in one day. I wanted to get another tattoo before I went to Australia so I wouldn't look weird with just my hand done because a couple of people thought my hand tat was just a drawing or a stamp...like I would do that every day. I opted for a feather because, let's be real here, they were and kind of and still are a trendy tattoo design. I did want to put a spin on it and get a peacock feather since having tattoos, to me at least, is a form of peacocking (adorning oneself to draw attention). Growing up some of my extended family members called me "feather" so it was also a nickname and isn't completely random like the wolf was. This one was done free hand and Long knocked it out in one go, I think it only took about three hours. I think to me this one hurt more since the skin on the inner arm is really thin, had a strong burning sensation, and that was more uncomfortable for me versus going over bone but still nothing bad. It was only my second tattoo and I was still getting the hang of the aftercare and wasn't keeping it moist enough so I got a few small spots where the tattoo didn't peel properly but it still looks pretty darn good to this day.
Number three was my elbow. My entire elbow in one day, I think about 3.5-4 hours total. I got this one done on September 30, 2014 because I wanted to start filling out more of my arm and work my way up. I freaking love the way tattoos look on the elbow, no idea why I just think it's pretty bad ass, so I wanted to get my elbow done. This design was my own and was something I created for a class back when I was getting my associate's degree in graphic design. The art was one of my favorite pieces from getting that degree and since it's radial I thought it would look cool on my elbow and the colors worked well with my other two tattoos. The center of the artwork doesn't start on my actual elbow bone like I had pictured in my head but instead Long placed it so that from the back it is centered. I think it actually works out way better this way since my design is so solid and would of looked off kilter if it had been placed centered on the bone. I wish I got a dollar every time I got asked if this one hurt because then I could afford another tattoo. I honestly do not think it hurt any worse getting it done than the other two; it was just sore a lot longer during the healing process. Considering it's on my elbow and I have terrible posture and rest my elbows on the table a lot there is very little fading - this one has held up super well!
Literally impossible to show the rest in one photo since it wraps around my forearm. The flowers were started July 3, 2015 and it took four or five sessions to complete the flowers and butterflies and was finally finished on September 9, 2015. The flowers are the only tattoo for me that have a stronger meaning. My grandma and two of my aunts passed away all within a fairly short period of time and I wanted to honor them by getting each of their favorite flowers. Starting from the top; my aunt Vivian's favorite flowers were yellow roses so I got a yellow rose for her, my grandma's favorite flowers were lilacs but I din't want a bush of lilacs so I got a single lilac flower instead for her and my aunt Melinda's favorite flowers were red roses so I got a single red rose for her (all this info is courtesy from my dad so if any of my cousins read this and tell me my info is wrong my dad is in big trouble). The green and orange were added into the yellow rose to give it more dimension and tie it into my other tattoos. I actually hate the color purple, sorry grandma, so Long and I talked about what colors we could use on the lilac without using purples and he came up with magenta and teal/aqua which ties in nicely with my existing tattoos and the pink is perfect for a future tattoo that I want on my upper arm. The red rose is mostly shades of red with some tiny pops of the other colors from my other tattoos in there to keep it from being flat. The eye was a total surprise, not something we talked about at all, and it could not have been more spot on for me. I have this weird thing where I used to draw eyes on all my notes and in my sketchbooks so him throwing that in there was perfect. The butterflies were added to fill in the gaps and Long made them out of triangles to tie into the rest of my tattoos and they ended up looking like origami which is neato. This is just coming up on two years old and the color looks incredible - I get asked all the time if it's fresh or how old is it because the color is still super vibrant.
Those are all my tattoos thus far! Another thing I get asked about or commented on frequently is how do I keep the colors so vibrant? I had a great tattoo artist, quality of work from the artist is going to be the biggest thing in determining how bright the colors will be from the beginning. From there it's all about how well you take care of and protect the tattoo(s). I stay out of the sun as much as possible, I will go as far as to move my arm around when I'm in the car so that the sun is not directly hitting it. I'm also not an outdoorsy person, I'm an inside person, so it's pretty easy for me to avoid the sun by just spending all my time indoors. Moisturizing the skin also makes a huge difference - I put on some lotion before I took these photos so the colors would pop more (I have mega dry skin and my tattoos can look a little ashy if I don't keep my skin hydrated).
When I started my blog I originally had a "Lifestyle" category that I was going to use for miscellaneous posts that didn't fit into any of my other categories but the months went by and I hadn't done anything for that subject yet so I took it down a few months ago. I decided to bring the category back so I could share my tattoos with you since it was something I wanted to talk about but tattoos don't really fit into the travel, fashion or beauty labels (I'm going to try and have a lifestyle post every quarter or so). I'm not playing you when I say I get asked about them almost daily so I thought it would be a good subject to share on here as well and would be a nice little break from my usual topics. I tried really really hard to color balance the photos so that they are true to real life and I didn't fudge with the contrast and vibrancy of the colors as much as I usually do (uploading to web flattens images so I did tweak them a tiny bit though). I hope you enjoyed today's little-something-different post and thank you so much for visiting and have a lovely day!