Funny enough, while filling out one of those Instagram templates about tattoos, I had several people comment that they had no idea I had so many. One suggested a tattoo tour, and here I am! I love all my tattoos, I love the culture and the way they make me feel. In a very conservative city like Miami, they are often covered up, as people here are not always very fond of them, but I’d really like to change the stigma. Sure, it is lifting in many places, but I feel like if you are a young professional mother, they are still frowned upon, which is just the silliest.
I have established really amazing relationships with my main tattoo artists, and I really love that I have mainly been tattooed by women. I’ll be sharing the who/what/where of them, and also their stories because although they are really pretty or cool to look at, they also have deep meaning.
- Butterfly on lower back // Tattoos by Lou // Artist unknown
Lets start at the beginning. I didn’t hesitate one minute when I turned 18. The only birthday gift I wanted was a tattoo, and it was quite the affair. My older sister came with me, along with a pile of my friends. I picked something off the wall, at a generic but popular tattoo shop and put it in the most eye roll inducing spot ever. What can I say? I was a teenager. Yes, I have a tramp stamp. No, I don’t care in the least. I have fond memories of it, and that time in my life. Plus, I never see it. Like, taking these photos is when I was able to really get a good look at it after all these years.
2. Smashing Pumpkins heart // Tattoos by Lou // Artist unknown
My second tattoo was the SP logo. They were my favorite band, with an adorable logo, so it was only natural I would get it tattooed. I know a lot of people get freaked out getting “favorites” tattooed, especially when they are young, but I can honestly say they are still my favorites. If you know me personally, you definitely know this is true. I got this one about a year after my first, so I went to the same shop with my best friend at the time, who got her first that day as well.
There was a very big gap in time between my 2nd tattoo and my third. Like, 8-ish years (?) worth of a gap. In that time, I had a lot of friends that were into tattoos and was way more informed as to what a good shop and a good artist was. This was a totally spontaneous one. My husband and I were at a bridal shower where we had a few too many tropical drinks and started talking about tattoos. Before we knew it, our friend who has beautiful handwriting had scratched out two of our favorite Smashing Pumpkin lyrics and we were at her most trusted shop, Ocho Placas, with its most talented artist, Javier (who is now the owner). Mine is from the song, Fuck You (An Ode to No One) and reads, “Destroy the mind, destroy the body, but you cannot destroy the heart,” while my husband’s is from Muzzle and reads, “I fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone.” Fun fact (s): it was his first tattoo + I was wearing a dress when I got there so I had to go into a private room so I wouldn’t be exposing my goods for everyone to see. Ah, youth.
Unfortunately, this one will be covered up in the near future as it hasn’t aged well due to placement. It rubs up against my pants a lot and has gotten really blurry and hard to read.
Harry Potter means a whole lot to me and basically shaped who I was as an adult so I had to join the throngs that got the deathly hallows tattooed. I went with my husband and a friend and we each got it tattooed on a different place. I, of course, thought I was gangster and picked my ribs. It is beautifully straight and I can only attribute that to Javi’s ridiculous skills because my whole body was convulsing.
I decided to make a huge jump and get a large piece on my leg. I don’t want to hash out the meaning behind it again, because it is very heavy on my heart still, but you can read all about it here. It is when I first met Pooka and we formed an amazing friendship. I love this girl, her artistry and her general aura. This baby took 4 hours, but is so beautiful and near and dear to my heart. Even though I don’t watch Doctor Who the way I used to before, it means much more to me than a madman in a box. This is definitely when I truly got bit by the tattoo bug in a bad way.
This one came about 6 months later, and was very spontaneous. I was at Ocho Placas with my husband who was getting a piece and I saw this on Pooka’s board. Apparently her client who wanted it was a no show so it was just sitting there, lonely. I told her it reminded me of the show, Hannibal, which I was obsessed with. She asked me if I wanted it with some minor tweaks, and I said YAS. She added two chef knives to it and voila! Putting something on my arm was big time. I remember instantly being really nervous about what I may have done. But I can honestly say that it is one of my favorites. It is also the tattoo I lie about the most when asked about its origin. I noticed that a lot of people would stop talking to me when I would mentioned it was a Hannibal tattoo, so now when people ask me if I am a chef, I say, “yup!” and carry on.
7. Magic crystals // Supercon // Erin Odea
I wanted an artist that would give me a lot of color and whimsy, and while discussing this with my tattoo obsessed friend, she suggested Erin. When I looked her up, she was going to be in Miami tattooing during Supercon and had a beautiful flash sheet for the event that spoke to me. This was, unbeknownst to me, the start of my magical sleeve. One of her flash pieces was a cluster of crystals that read “magical” and I was done. For those of you that don’t know, after my miscarriage, I got heavily into divination and it was what really helped me heal during a very, very rough time. Meeting Erin and all the amazing people she rolled with was a pretty spectacular bonus, and she quickly became my go-to artist and one of my favorite humans.
At this point, I realized that I was going to have a sleeve. And there was already a magical feel to it, so I leaned into that vibe hard. I have a very hard time resisting Potter tattoos (seriously, I would have 9 million), and I just really loved the idea of a remembrall on me to remind me to not forget to really value the little things. I love the emoji style and the vibrant colors – Erin really killed this one. (ps; these are out of order in regards to timeline, but since they are clustered together, it was easier).
I could have filled some of the space I had at this point with multiple little tattoos, but I found this beautiful artwork by Lana Jay of magical terrariums and thought this just had to happen. She described them as giving their owners different powers depending on which terrarium they chose, and I’ve always thought mine would give me inner strength. The way the little plant curls just fit perfectly into my arm, and I love that it is so simple and perfect, but still fits into my theme.
The minute Luna was born I knew I wanted a tattoo to commemorate her. I know every mother says this, but I feel like she is just SO special. It took me a long time to find inspiration but then I saw a skeleton hand holding a moon and I knew that was it. I switched the skeleton to a regular hand with witchy inscriptions and knew the honors would go to Pooka, being a mother herself, and being so supportive of me while I was pregnant. It represents that I will always be there for her, holding her, lifting her up, as long as I live. It’s beautiful and makes my heart swell every time I look at it.
Remember how I said I couldn’t resist a good Potter tattoo? Welp, I made sure to earn my stars along with the rest of all the Potter loving nerds out there and piggy backed these tiny cuties on to my Luna piece. They are so small that they have started to rub off because of my watch and jewelry, but I can easily get them touched up the next time I find myself in Pooka’s chair.
Erin was having a Halloween flash day this year, and we knew we really wanted to go. We packed up, complete with little Lu, to be the first ones at the door in her new studio (flipping gorgeous). Although I’ve only played Ouija once when I was like 10 years old (it totally moved by itself, ok), I loved this beautiful design and it tied in with my witchy, mystical vibes. I didn’t know where to put it and decided (dramatic music here) on the ribs. Clearly enough time had passed to forget how terrible this spot is for tattooing, and I’m 99.8% sure my soul left my body while getting this done. But she’s pretty, ain’t she?
So that puts me at 12, with two more planned that will end my sleeve.
What do you think of tattoos? Did you start slow + not expect to get so many like I did?