Back home

So after a quick little trip to Vegas, we are back home! I swear, nothing is better than seeing that "Welcome to Arizona!" sign anytime we drive back into our wonderful state. The weekend was wonderful though, won quite a bit of money and spent some great quality time together. And yes, you heard me right...I gambled, and won! I ended up playing a lot of "Let it Ride," which is a poker game at the card tables. It's my favorite and so fun. I also played this funny little slot machine that has a hamburger theme and won a lot too! Overall great time. It was very relaxing and fun to just kick back a little with Hank and his very generous family. Both sides of his family do so much for us and I always hope they know how much I/we appreciate them. So sweet. So yes, it was such a good time, and I was also able to workout every morning in the hotel gym which made me really happy. The only downfall was being around smoke 24/7 in the casinos- disgusting. My skin really feels gross after being around that for even just a few days.

Now I am just focusing on getting situated and getting ready for some house guests this week! Jonathan and Melanie will be up Thursday, along with Sarah too! My parents arrive Saturday and then we leave for Lake Powell Sunday, so it's a pretty busy rest of the week but I am super excited for all of it. Tomorrow I am spending the day on "me" stuff, relaxing and re-centering. :)

So, here are a couple of photos from the trip!

driving to LV

heading to vegas

view from our wonderful room

just arrived, heading down to eat

next morning, heading to breakfast

gambling legs

Hank playing Let it Ride
my fave poker game!

Hank, his Uncle Bruce, and Grandpa (step-mom's Dad)
hank, uncle bruce, and grandpa

Hank, step-mom, and Dad :)
hank's stepmom, hank's dad, and hank playing "let it ride" poker

another day, another mirror pic, good morning Las Vegas day #3!
"the hamptons do las vegas"

playing that blessed, wonderful Hamburger game! I love it!
i won a lot on this blessed machine

Jubail Celebrates the Midnight Mile

I met Jubail on the corner of 34th and 6th Avenue, and he shared this awesome tattoo:

"Midnight Mile" is a song by Bouncing Souls, and it reminds him of coming home to New York City.

Jubail, who has "nine or ten" tattoos, was a student at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

He was about to earn his commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army when I spoke with him, and he knows he can rely on his tattoo to help him remind him of home here in New York.

He also has the Bouncing Souls logo on the inner part of the elbow, also known as the "ditch," which is one of the most painful places to get tattooed.

Jubail credits his ink to Saka at Tat-Nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV.

Thanks to Jubail for sharing his Bouncing Souls tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

And here's a little "Midnight Mile" bonus:

Where The Wild Thing Tattoo Is

The day after I met one Jared, I met another, out in front of Madison Square Garden.

With a tattoo like this:

how could I not stop him?

As one would imagine, Jared loves the book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

The tattoo displays, on Jared's right forearm, one of the "Wild Things" that is in Max's imagination.

Jared, who was in town visiting from Boston, has ten tattoos. He had been thinking about getting a Where the Wild Things Are piece for several years and finally had it done by Chris Ford in January 2009. Ford had worked in L.A. but is now in New Jersey.

Jared said that he has had a lot of attention from people about the tattoo, in part due to the publicity from the movie adaptation coming out this Fall.

Thanks to Jared for stopping to talk and share his "wild" tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Jared Shares His Vegan Tattoo

I met Jared while he was waiting for a train in Penn Station.

After the Manhattan Mall food court closed last summer, I discovered this wide expanse of Penn Station (especially the Amtrak area) was great for inkspotting when the weather made normal traipsing about unappealing.

Jared's ink runs down the length of his arm, from the top of his right bicep, down to the inner part of his forearm.

As a Vegan, Jared did his research, and sought out a tattoo artist that could give him a Vegan tattoo:

There's a school of thought that some tattoo inks are not "vegan," in the sense that they incorporate glycerine from animal fat, or they use bone char in the black inks. See this article here.

Some artists refute this as gimmicky, and here is a more skeptical view point from a Vegan. But many Vegans who are steadfast in their ideals find the idea of a purely vegan tattoo appealing. I featured another Vegan tattoo back in October 2007 here.

Jared, who is the musical director for the national touring company of the show "Spring Awakening", went to Cary at Body Electric Tattooing & Piercing in Hollywood for this custom design.

The top section of flowers includes at least one chrysanthemum. The bottom part spells out the word "Vegan" in twisting, viny, letters.

Jared's whole arm took three sessions and ultimately embodies the Vegan lifestyle, not just in words and design, but in the ink used to create the art.

Thanks to Jared for sharing his work with us here on Tattoosday!


First of all, I want to say thanks again to all of my readers for the comments on all of my blogs, y'all are the best. And weird, I don't think I've ever typed out "y'all" but I strangely like it.

Now I may be alone in this, but I am such a morning person. I love getting up at 6am (5am when I'm working) and getting my workout done early and just enjoy the mornings. I love going to bed early and waking up early. Today is a good day, so no wonder I jumped out of bed. Hank had to do a few things at the salon this morning, and when he is done we'll be heading to Las Vegas for the weekend, I am so excited to just swim all weekend in Mandalay Bay's pool, shop, and eat yummy food. I'm not a gambler at all I think its sad to just throw money away like that. Last time we were there with Hank's Dad, he gave me a lot of money and had me gamble with it. I played cards and all sorts of stuff and even though it was fun because it wasn't my money, I ended up crying at the end of the night because I felt so guilty for wasting it. But I guess people think its fun and that's why they spend the money. As for me, I hate it. Hank likes to play poker and blackjack, so if he wants to do that I will probably just find a comfy little seat at the nickle slots so I don't feel guilty for throwing money away if I don't win! No tears this trip! Haha. I know it sounds silly but that's really how I feel. So anway, gambling is not my thing, but I do like Vegas a lot because I truly enjoy doing the whole pool thing. Give me a comfy loungechair and beautiful pool anytime. And luckily Hank is the same way. When we went to Tahiti we literally spent almost two weeks doing that, mixed with swimming in the ocean and it never got boring.

Errands now, but in just a bit Vivaaaaaa Las Vegas! Yay!

Tattoosday Boxcars: A Leonine Tattoo and Wearing One's Heart on One's Sleeve

I met Jeff and Jeanie in Penn Station as they were about to board an Amtrak train out of the city.

I've been trying to come up with clever terms for different inkspotting phenomenon, basically creating my own lexicon.

I'll call Jeff and Jeanie "boxcars". Meaning, I approached the two of them and gambled, asking them both to participate, and they came through. Like rolling two sixes on the dice (also known as boxcars). I would even venture to call them "blind boxcars", because I could only make out fragments of their ink, but they still shared.

Jeff went first, displaying this leonine figure on his left bicep:

It's a nod to his astrological sign, Leo, and was also selected for its nod to Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast).

Jeanie shared her tattoo below:

This piece literally has her wearing her heart on her sleeve and is inspired by Mexican art. The tattoo was completed by a friend of Jeanine's named John Flack.

I would have obtained more detail, but the couple had to board their train.

Thank you to Jeanine and Jeff for sharing their tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

She is so happy her Dad is home!

I picked Hank up from the airport this morning and she immediately fell asleep on his chest. It just about melted my heart with the cuteness. Her cone is still on in this photo, but her staple removal just happened today around 4:30 so the baby is currently cone and staple free...back to her normal self!

Gina's Mayan Design

Earlier this month, I met Gina in Manhattan at the corner of 31st Street and 7th Avenue and I asked her about these tattoos:

The main element is a the piece she had inked in January 2007, on a trip to Mexico.

She went on a cruise to Mexico with her mother. While exploring some Mayan ruins, she made a rubbing of the design above, which bears some relationship to Xul, a canine god in the Mayan pantheon. She took the rubbing to a local tattoo artist and had it inked while in Mexico.

I questioned her about the cleanliness of a tattoo shop south of the border and she maintained that the place was immaculate, much cleaner than some of the shops she has seen in the U.S.

Just above the Mayan piece is a smaller tattoo, featuring an outline of Texas, where she was born. When her mother saw this "Made in Texas" tattoo, she asked Gina, "What makes you so sure you were made here?" Clearly a woman with a sense of humor. But, Gina noted, the remark "made [her] throw up a little".

This small tattoo was done by Homer Saenz at 713 Tattoo Parlour in Houston. Work from 713 has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Finally, as a matter of habit, I always ask people how many tattoos they have. Gina gave me an unusual answer, "Nine, going on seven."

When I gave her a puzzled look, she explained that she has nine tattoos, but she is planning on having two removed. As an actress, she feels that two of the more visible pieces may prevent her from attaining roles.

Thanks to Gina for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Mark's Gypsy Tattoo Pays Tribute to the Female Singer-Songwriter

I have mentioned before that I tend to shy away from approaching subway commuters about their tattoos.

However, like most of my self-imposed guidelines, I always make exceptions for work that is transcendent. That is, if the tattoos are supremely blogworthy, I will solicit, for the sake of the reader, people on the subway. One such case presented itself last week on the Brooklyn-bound N train.

I approached Mark Turrigiano as the N emerged from the subterranean underworld and climbed the Manhattan Bridge. He has phenomenal sleeves, intricate work that wraps and surrounds the limbs.

His right arm, with an Asian-inspired theme, is mostly attributed to Elio Espana at Fly Rite Tattoo Studio (whose work has been seen previously here). His left arm hosts an incredibly huge and colorful octopus, which was inked by Lou at Third Eye Tattoo (whose work has appeared on Tattoosday here).

Because of the scale of those sleeves, we opted to go with one of his newer pieces, a gypsy on the back of his left calf:

This piece, designed and inked by Craig Rodriguez at Hand of Glory Tattoo Studio in Brooklyn, is seen by Mark as "a good way to commemorate [his] work with female singer-songwriters".

I like this piece a lot because it contains a lot of traditional gypsy elements, but is atypical in its presentation. It seems much larger with greater detail than the traditional gypsy profile tattoos that are much more common. The vividness of the colors also helps the tattoo pop, and you can almost feel the texture of her scarf.

Mark says the piece was completed in about four hours over two sessions. He estimates that his body is about 30% covered in ink.

Feel free to check out Mark's website here.

Thanks to Mark for sharing this great gypsy tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Leesa's Memorial Tattoos

There are certain signs I look for when I am scanning a crowd for tattoos. Colored hair and/or facial piercings are good, but not always reliable, indicators that someone may be inked. A guitar case, you would think, also favors the theory that its possessor has tattoos, but it's not always the reality.

So when I spotted a tall woman walking out of Penn Station carrying what appeared to be a guitar case, I took notice. And, she had a neck tattoo that resembled this pattern:

Despite being in a hurry, she let me shoot this photo of her forearm tattoos:

She explained that the one on the left arm features her mother's initials (HLH) under the phrase "máthair mo ghrá" and the dates 2-23-25 - 1-5-09". The tattoo is Gaelic and translates to "Mother, my love".

She explained that her mother died earlier this year and, before I could react, she explained that the right arm is a memorial to her husband (AMS), who died thirty-three days later.

Her right arm reads "Fear chéile mo ghrá" which means, "Husband, my love".

In an attempt to express condolences, I said, "Wow, it sounds like you've had a bad year. I'm very sorry".

But she was not down about it and said that actually, despite a rough year from a family perspective, it had been a good year for her personally.

She indicated that she was running late for rehearsal and I asked her if her band had a website. She started to spell the name "L-E-Z..." and I knew instantly what band she was in. The runic tattoo on her neck was familiar because it had stood for the great drummer John Bonham. Leesa is the drummer for the all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band, Lez Zeppelin.

It was only later, after researching a bit, that I learned that the band's guitarist and de facto leader Steph Paynes, had announced on January 5, 2009, that the other members of the band were leaving, and three replacements, including Leesa, were subsequently selected.

I am assuming that Leesa's reference to a good year, personally, had much to do with her joining Lez Zeppelin, and embarking on a tour.

These memorial tattoos were inked by Matt Adams at Sacred Tattoo in Manhattan.

Here's a clip from the band playing earlier this year in New York:

Thanks to Leesa for stopping and talking with me, despite being in a rush. I appreciate her sharing her memorial tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Please check out the Lez Zeppelin website (here) to learn more about this cool band. See here where they are playing later this summer.


good morning sunday!, originally uploaded by daniellehampton.

This photo was from a few days ago but I have such a "hello" look on my face that I thought I'd post it ;). I am actually bored right now, which is weird for me. I have no desire to watch a movie, to read a book, or to really do much of anything so you, blog, are here to keep my thoughts company I guess. After taking a total "me" day today tomorrow will be a fun filled something or other type of day with Amber. I want to see The Proposal but the only other person I know who'd enjoy it with me would be my sister. I am such a sappy romantic and love love love movies like that, and so does she. Perhaps I could coerce A. into seeing it with me tomorrow afternoon but I'm not too sure she'd enjoy it.

Obviously in my solitude today I thought a lot, and I thought about how silly and petty so many things are. I have grown up a lot over the past year or so (I'm not too sure why my 26th year was the year of the most positive growth thus far, very weird), and I have really figured out a lot. Really, all that matters to me in life is my family. Hank first, and then my parents and sister, and my friends who are my family. I know a lot of people add their career in there, but the moment we have kids I feel my number one and most important job (the job I was made for!) is to be a mom at home. But back to the topic of friends, I used to be someone who had so many friends, I loved to be around so many people. But as I've gotten older, I have really narrowed down my list of close friends to a handful. Sure, I have tons of people I care about, but in terms of people I really "let in," those are few and far between. At this point in my life I'm so focused on making my life what I want it to be, really thinking about starting our family, I have no time for anyone who isn't a loving and positive addition to my life. So that takes care of so many people who don't fit into that criteria.

Lately I've really been feeling thankful for Hank- more so than I usually do, if that's even possible. If you know me, you know I am not the biggest fan of guys in general. I cannot stand egotistical jerks who can't show their emotions or creepy dudes or pushover dudes, or un-hygenic dudes...I'm really just not so into guys, seriously. Many of them really gross me out. I dated an awful lot in high school and college and kissed a million toads (and some nice guys too...haha) before I found my prince! I never knew someone could love me, imperfect me, so much. My mind is blown almost daily by how kind and loving Hank is. I see the way he is with Madeline and it melts my heart to know that someday soon he will be the same kind of father, accepting and loving, and never too proud to do or say anything.

Life's funny. It goes by so quickly and in a blink a year has passed, two years, and then somehow I'm officially in my late 20s. I'm married. I'm a teacher. And I literally still feel 17 most of the time. I think when I'm 80 I will still feel that way, and I hope I do. I try and look at everyday in a positive way, even when it's hard. This past year has been a true nightmare for my family, between all of the health problems and complications. But we're okay. And I'm okay! I think it takes a lot more energy for me to be upset than happy. The moment I start to stress I will get anxiety and worry myself sick over whatever it is. If I can avoid that, and just look on the bright side, that's the battle for me. Instead of choosing to be upset, I can choose to be happy and disregard the rest. I am lucky to have a really great support system around me who recognizes that sometimes it is a struggle for me, and does their best to support my choice to be happy. I know in the past, people have asked me, how are you so happy all of the time? Seriously though, I'm not always happy...but I am always working to be happy, and the road to happiness is a lot better place to be than anywhere negative. I've had my fair share of depression, and feeling down- my sister has seen a lot of that in my sometimes tumultuous teenage years- but growing out of that and into a strong, positive woman has been an amazing transformation for me. It's crazy to think about how much changes from the teens, to early this. For the past five years it's been a wonderful shift in both my life and myself, and I really love where I'm headed, and where I am now. :)

If you've read this far, thanks for reading! Have a beautiful night!

Yesterday, Today

Yesterday was an awesome day. I woke up around 7am and said goodbye to Hank, who was flying out to record with a new band. Our friend Matt drove him down to Phoenix, so I was happy I didn't have to make that turn around trip after coming home from CA myself just the night before. I was sad to see him go, but there have been times when he has been on tour for two or three months so a week is not a big deal at all. I actually enjoy it in a way, because it gives me time to do as I please and savor all the alone time. Don't get me wrong, I'm still sad of course to be apart, but by nature I am a bit of a loner at times and really revel in self-time. Plus, Hank is exceptionally great at keeping in touch (he's only toured out of the country twice with no service), and writes me lovely, lovely long emails, calls all the time, bbms, and sends postcards, so it's nice to mix it up and have to rely on writing and other forms of communication. So, after the hubby left I did some cuddling and lounging around with Madeline before I decided to get up and enjoy the day. I met Amber for lunch at Hugo's, which turned into a two hour Mexican food girl talk session. It was great. She got some sort of green chile tamale thing and I got a bowl of beans and veggies. Truly delicious. I haven't had Hugo's since mid-May so it was nice to enjoy one of my favorite spots in town. When Hank is home we usually go once or twice a week so I have been going through serious withdrawals being gone so much. After our lunch we strolled around, got tea at Cuppers and sat and talked more on the square. We ran into Scott, walked a bit more, and I headed home to do some errands. Overall it was a perfect day.

I went to bed pretty early (after watching The Bachelorette, of course) and woke up this morning in a great mood. I decided to take today as a "me" day, and do all the things I love to do. I am currently still in my pjs actually, and enjoying every second. I need to run out in a minute and do a few errands around town, but when I return I plan on watching movies and relaxing until I hit the gym around 7pm. Last summer I was super busy as well I made a point for this summer to take days like this, not hanging out with anyone, no obligations, and just enjoy my time. So here I am!

I hope all of you have a great day!

Madeline is a loved puppy

Auntie Amber came by yesterday with get wells treats and a card for Madeline, from her and Lilly. So sweet.

Sarah Shoulders Her Slavic Heritage

A couple of weeks ago, I had a very productive Wednesday, speaking to five different people about their tattoos.

Sarah is the last of those five that I an posting, and was my favorite of the group that day.

This tattoo was her sixth (she has thirteen or fourteen) and is an homage to her Slavic heritage.

The piece is based on the poster for a 1921 art exposition put on by the Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha at the Brooklyn Museum:

The piece, on her right shoulder was tattooed by Scott Budgen at Lady Luck Ink in Waterford, Michigan.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing this wonderful tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. I came down Friday and met Emily for lunch at Pita Jungle, and it was wonderful to spend time with my dear friend and sit and talk for a long while. We can barely wait until I am with her in Brooklyn next month! It was a beautiful, warm day in Phoenix, a perfect day actually. We both ordered the Macro platter, which is my favorite thing on the menu.

After lunch with Em, I headed over to Alana's where Shirley was waiting, and we hit the road to Long Beach, California. We left around 3pm and made it there around 9pm or so, which was a great time considering we stopped to eat. I usually like to fly when I go to CA but it was so nice to be with the girls and have a long time to catch up on our busy lives! When we arrived Chloe (Autumn and Jason's daughter) was already down for the night so we all just sat around and chit chatted.

Saturday morning we woke up and went for a run along the beach, followed by a yummy breakfast. Chloe's first birthday party (on the beach) was set for noon that day and unfortunately the rain and gloom would just not let up. Regardless though we got ready and walked down to the cove where Jason and Autumn's mom Libby had already set up the tent and go all the food ready. Just as we got there, the sun came through and the sprinkling stopped, it was perfect- a little cool at time but overall great. It turned into a beautiful, sunny day. There were a million kids there, playing in the water and the sand, lots of delicious food and great company. I attempted to play volleyball for a minute but my soccer roots kept taking over and it was hard for me to not use my feet. I'm horrible at volleyball anyway, so I left that up to the girls. The entire day was awesome, Chloe was so happy and her 1st birthday was a total success!

girls girls girls

beach birthday party


alana and me

the loops

birthday girl!

she is SO excited

alana and me walking back to the house

(tons more photos at my Flickr too)

Since Grandma Libby was in town, it allowed all of us to go out Saturday night. We started with a big family dinner at Yen Sushi down on 2nd St. The sushi was okay, definitely not the best I've had but still good.

heading to sushi


shirl girl and me

the loops

After sushi we headed out on the town, we ended up Morrie's Wine Bar and then finished the night at Legends in downtown Belmont Shore. We went to bed super late, so Sunday was a late start, around 9am. I had already celebrated Father's Day with my Dad so it was really fun to spend Sunday morning with the new dad, Jason! We ate brunch at La Creperie and it turned out to be on the best breakfasts I've ever had- super fresh whole foods and great service. Sunday was also Chloe's official birthday so we got her a little strawberry crepe and sang to the happy baby.

la creperie- so delicious




It really was the best weekend and I was sad to leave, but I know I'll be back within the month. I got home last night and was pleasantly surprised by a sparkling clean house and some cute little surprises from Hank! The house was already super clean before I left but he did all the floors for me and hung up some things I had needed to be put up. We got to spend a great night together last night, before he left for CA this morning to record all week. So now it's just Madeline and me! This week should be a good one though- lots of hangouts with Amber Joy, and then Sarah will be coming to visit Thursday, and then Hank and I leave for a weekend in Las Vegas on Saturday. I am so excited for shopping and pool time and good food and gambling! We always have so much fun whenever we go. The moment we get there I will be by the pool- it's weird how it's Vegas but when you're at any of the nicer resort pools you could be anywhere. This weekend should be in the 100s and I am loving that! I know it's weird, but I enjoy hot hot days. Call me crazy. It's so wild how busy we are right now, we get home from Vegas, have a few days to unwind, and then we have visitors that next weekend and then leave for the houseboat for another week! I am really savoring this week at home right now, and it's nice to be able to do some cooking and baking, relax on the couch, watch movies, etc.

In a weird way I am already looking forward to going back to teach in August. It's great to have a profession that I look forward to going to everyday. I'm also excited to meet a whole new group of kids and get to know them, read novels, etc. Next year will hopefully be a really "big" year for Hank and I, and I really can't wait for everything.

So, here's to a new week, positive attitudes, and fun!

Thanks for reading.