The Tattooed Poets Project: Cody Todd

We are extending the Tattooed Poets Project through the weekend, giving those who have been enjoying the poetic ink, a little bit more to tide them over until next year.

Today we are being visited by an old friend, Cody Todd, whose tattoos appeared here last year.

This is his latest tattoo, four weeks old, inked at Purple Panther Tattoos off of Sunset in Los Angeles:

Cody provided this explanation:

Not too much of a story behind this. It is Marv and Goldie from the "The Hard Goodbye" of Frank Miller's Sin City. The artist who did this is from Tokyo, and her name is Koko Ainai. I admire the precision of her work in copying Miller's extremely elaborate sketching. As Marv and Goldie embrace, he is holding a gun he apparently took away from her and a bullet hole is smoldering in his right shoulder as he lifts her off the ground. That tattoo is the first of what is going to be a kind of sleeve in parts in which I take different scenes from noir films or works and decorate my whole left arm with. Upon seeing Farewell My Lovely with my girlfriend last week, I decided to get the front end of a 1934 or 1936 Buick as my next tattoo.

...I am doing my critical work for my PhD at USC on the "western noir," which is a term I sort of coined for a specific genre of film and literature concerned with elements that typically comprise classical film noir, except they take place in cities in the western part of the United States. As we see in the film, Sin City, it has a "Gothic City" feel to it, but it is most certainly somewhere out in western Nevada, or California. I think the motifs of lawlessness, street and vigilante justice, and the disillusionment with the American Dream are all at work in this kind of genre, and that it also borrows many elements from the Western as a genre as well. If anyone wants to read good literary western noir, I would direct them, promptly, to read Daniel Woodrell, who takes the noir theme and brings it to the Ozarks and southwest Missouri. If Chandler and Faulkner had a love-child, it most certainly would be Woodrell.

Head over to BillyBlog and read one of Cody's poems here.

Cody Todd is the author of the chapbook, To Frankenstein, My Father (2007, Proem Press). His poems have appeared in Hunger Mountain, Salt Hill and are forthcoming in Lake Effect, The Pinch, Specs Journal and Denver Quarterly. He received an MFA from Western Michigan University and is currently a Virginia Middleton Fellow in the PhD program in English-Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. He is the Managing Editor and co-creator of the poetry journal, The Offending Adam (

The Tattooed Poets Project: Jozi Tatham

Today's tattoo (and remember folks, we're continuing through May 2!) belongs to Jozi Tatham, who was referred to us by the Milwaukee Poet Laureate, Brenda Cárdenas (thanks Brenda!).

Her tattoo is certainly amazing:

Jozi had this tattoo done by Steve Bossler, who owns Greenseed Studios in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She had met him originally at Papes Blue Ribbon Tattoo in Milwaukee. Steve splits his time between the two locations.

Jozi explains the inspiration behind this tattoo:

I have wanted this back tattoo for years now. Where the Wild Things Are was my favorite book growing up. Because I have since become a writer, it's extremely important to me to remember the childhood imagination and creativity that we are all born with, but which we often "outgrow". I refuse to grow up and let my imagination slip away, and hopefully having the monsters of creativity tattooed on my body will keep that close to me.

Please check out one of Jozi's poems over on BillyBlog here.

Jozi Tatham is currently a poetry MFA student at George Mason University in Virginia. She hails from Milwaukee, WI where she received her BA and the place which serves as "the inspiration for most of my being thus far." She has been published in newspapers and small publications in the Milwaukee area for poetry and nonfiction.

Thanks to Jozi for sharing with us here at Tattoosday!

Thank you.

(image via weheartit)

Wow. Thank you all so much for all of your amazingly kind, constructive, thoughtful comments on my post regarding this blog. I was incredibly touched to hear from so many of you, and it was comforting to know I am not alone in those thoughts and feelings. I didn't intend for it to turn into a place for all of you to tell me how much you enjoy my writing or this blog, but many of you did just that, and I appreciate your unexpected compliments a lot. It's amazing to me to know I affect peoples' lives who I don't even know- it's humbling and also makes me feel quite responsible. And not in a bad, obligatory way at all.

Thank you. I took each comment to heart.

There is NO way I can imagine stopping blogging. I enjoy it way too much, and I believe it was my friend Jessica who said sometime on her blog about how it was the cheapest form of therapy there is. I have to agree. When I don't blog, when I don't get my thoughts out in some tangible form, I can feel them building up with no where to go. I think that my problem was that I was allowing things that I view as less important to take importance on this blog. And even if you couldn't see this as readers, I could feel it. If you know me personally, you know that I love clothing. I love handbags, shoes, all things girly. But by no means do those things DEFINE me. I began to feel uncomfortable when I felt like I was indeed defining myself by these things on this blog. I love outfit posts as much as the next person, but I feel most proud of this blog when I share stories, personal accounts, and all of the thoughts and feelings going on in my head. When I left Livejournal after almost eight years of documenting my life, I left behind a lot of thoughts, writings, and a huge creative outlet. Moving forward in this blog, I am going to try and focus more on those things. And sure, I will definitely still post photos of outfits or things of that nature, but I just want to be a bit more aware of making sure I am doing this for ME, and not just to put some cute outfit out there for the world to see for whatever reason. And I understand that blogs are inherently narcissistic in a way, but in the end, someone must click on a link to arrive here. Sure it's about me, but it's not like a social networking site where you see my information daily on a news feed. You must seek this place out to arrive here. When I arrived at this thought, it put a lot into perspective for me. I should absolutely continue writing for me, and as always, it doesn't matter what anyone thinks about it. I often fear that blogging is too "me me me," but that's really just worrying what people think, as hard as it is to admit. I'd love to think I don't care about that, and typically I truly feel that I don't, but through my apparent reluctance to appear a certain way, I came to the realization that some part of me felt insecure about how I was perceived. This in itself made me uncomfortable and in a way, I blamed the blog for bringing those negative feelings into my mind. I never think things like that, I go about my business, and my typical attitude is "take me or leave me, but I am me" ...but somewhere along the line I must have conjured up some imaginary jury sitting there saying how ridiculous this all was, how self-centered, etc. And like in real life, we all do have people who judge us and think whatever they please. But I don't have to worry about that, or waste any of my positive energy on those thoughts. Like I said above, someone must arrive here, seek me out, to read what I say. Because of that, if someone wants to read it, it is their choice, I'm not forcing some narcissistic slew of myself on anyone. There is no need to feel insecure. My life is changing at a rapid rate, in an amazing way, and with this change I've been thinking a lot about my life, and I'm sure that's where this initial internal dialogue came from. With that comes the subject of feeling an invasion of privacy through this space on the internet. I realized that that emotion wasn't completely about this blog, but it was my overall accessibility online. I have a public blog, a public Twitter, public Flickr, and a Facebook where I accepted all blog readers' friend requests. Last night I went through and deleted any people from Facebook who weren't my "real life" friends, and I felt immediately better. Because I do make my life public, I need to have some level of privacy, and once I did that, this blog wasn't a worry to me at all. Blogs should be a public thing, but in my opinion, having an open Facebook was too far and made me uncomfortable.

So yes, I am absolutely going to continue blogging here. I would miss it way too much, and I know I would deeply regret not continuing this documentation I began in 1999. I love that my children will one day be able to read this, and I relish being able to skim over years of my life on this screen. I'm sure to the naked eye not much will change as far as overall content, but to me, my thought process has made a world of difference.

Thank you SO much again, each and every one of you for being a part of my life via this blog. And thanks for listening to this long ramble of an entry. Rereading it, it makes sense to me, and I hope it made some sort of sense to you, too.

Have a wonderful night!

All my love. :)

The Tattooed Poets Project: Phebe Szatmari

Well I am back in New York and posting this a little later in the day than normal. The good news for those of you enjoying the Tattooed Poets Project is that we will spill over until Sunday, May 2, before resuming our normal activities.

In the mean time, enjoy this amazing tattoo from Phebe Szatmari:

Phebe writes:

Driftwood, for me, symbolizes the worn, the weathered, the old, the beautiful—each piece takes on its own character. My wife and I have a large piece from Richardson Lake in Maine that resembles a leaping elk. Its movement and energy are striking.

I was also inspired by artist Deborah Butterfield who is known for her sculptures of horses (initially created from driftwood before being cast in bronze).

When I found tattoo artist Jason Tyler Grace, I knew that he had the artistic ability to render a realistic image that would also work with the contours of my body. I decided to get my tattoo in order to initiate a new dialog with myself—and because tattoos are hot.
Be sure to check out one of Phebe's poems here.

Phebe Szatmari was working full-time in an office in Manhattan when she learned there was a shortage of poets. She immediately dropped everything and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton.

In her spare time, Phebe freelance edits, teaches writing, volunteers at LIGALY (Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center), serves as a judge for teen poetry slams, and practices parkour. Her poems will be published in the forthcoming Writing Outside the Lines 2010 anthology.

Thanks to Phebe for sharing her lovely tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
Who Wore Splendid Better - Ruby, Suri or Violet?

note: yep, the girls are wearing different styles, but the print is the same, so imho its worth comparing :)

Violet Affleck wore the Pink/Navy Rugby dress by Splendid with matching pink leggings and Navy Canvas shoes by Superga, while shopping for groceries with her mom in Brentwood,CA on July 6th 2008.

Suri wore her Rugby dress sans matching leggings and paired with Gold Shoes from Bonpoint, while visiting American Girl store in LA on July 19th 2008; although we first got a glimpse on this dress while Suri was bundled uo in a blanket on May 3rd 2008. So, technically Suri was the first one to wear this dress! :)

Ruby once again opted for the Tank version of this oh-so-popular Rugby Dress, which she paired with her favorite Classic Crocs in Navy, while shopping with her parents at Fred Segal on July 6th 2008.

Ruby Maguire is my new "addiction" - voting for her!, tank dresses are my weakness and they simply fit better, rather than those loose tunic styles, both for girls & women. 
Suri's shoes are out of this league and just dont go with comfy & play-wear look of this Splendid dress. 
Viloet's safe choice with the leggings is cute, but too much pink imho.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Steele Campbell

Today's tattoo comes to us from Steele Campbell:

Steele tells us how he came to choose this tattoo:

"I debated back and forth about exactly what tattoo to get and where, but this one seemed to come from within. It should.

This is the Campbell Coat of Arms with the Campbell Motto underneath with Claymore swords behind the shield, as it was the Campbell Clan that started the Black Watch. What can I say; we are known for being ruthless. And because the
Campbell blood courses through these veins, and even spills from them on occasion, I could not find a better representation of myself. It was done in Auburn, Alabama at Shenanigan’s Tattoo Parlour by Ember Reign, a hard-yet-sweet roller-derby-girl tattoo-artist (among other things) as a celebration of permanence. But as nothing gold can stay, only this tattoo and my blood have remained. As they will."

Check out one of Steele's poems here on BillyBlog.

Steele Campbell is currently living (and I mean that robustly). He is essentially transient, but has paused his peregrination at Auburn University to complete a Master’s Degree on the fiction of Marilynne Robinson. He is the recipient of the Robert Hughes Mount Jr. Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets two years running and has been published in Decompression, The Boston Literary Review, Rope and Wire and Touchstones. He is the student poetry editor of the Southern Humanities Review. You can visit him at

Tattoo Tuesday V.16

This week I am presenting my gorgeous friend Morgan! I've known Morgan for a long time, via internet and a million mutual friends. She's a photographer extraordinaire and is very talented at what she does. Not only is she quite the looker, she also has some amazing tattoos...including a Weakerthans tattoo that I love love love. So yes, I was really excited when this sweetheart of a lady agreed to let me feature her here, and I know you'll be glad you checked out not just this feature, but all of her photography as well.

Name and blog name: Morgan Olivia Newton

Age: 22

Occupation: photographer

Tattoo/location: Pinup baseball girl on left thigh

Artist/shop/location: Shane Jay, Classic Tattoo, Las Vegas, Nevada

1) Tell us about the tattoo you are sharing with us- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

I got this tattoo for my dad to show my love for him and baseball. I played softball up until graduation and co-ed for a few years with my dad. So fun! My dad was always there to support me. Throughout my childhood, we would always go to baseball games in Las Vegas on Friday "Fireworks" nights. Baseball is still my favorite sport to watch now that I'm older, and I'm very thankful I share a special bond with my dad because of it.

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

flowers on both feet by Chris Cap; script above my left knee "Look Out Below" by Chris Lobes; double woman's face (unfinished) by Marc Nava on front left thigh; 20's woman and rose on back left thigh by Tim Lehi; sugar skull on front right thigh and friendship hands and crown on back of right thigh by Shane Jay; hand with roses "This Could Be Love" on inside right thigh and traditional butterfly by Joey Anderson; "East coast fly" on top right thigh by my best friend Britney Goodman; various traditional butterflies on right thigh by Rachel Skumbag; "How Your Body Still Remembers Things You Told It To Forget" Weakerthans lyrics on side of right thigh by Sean Crowfoot

3) Do you plan on getting more?

Yes. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head.

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them?

My family doesn't approve of them, but doesn't judge me for them either. Most of my friends are tattooed, or are artists so it's pretty normal.

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Get something that has meaning to you and makes you happy.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Lisa Gill

Today's tattoo comes to us courtesy of Lisa Gill:

Lisa tells us:

"Last September, I got a rattlesnake in my living room. (I live rural outside the small town Moriarty, NM). I spent over two hours in close proximity to the snake, and ultimately ended up calling the sheriff's department and getting a deputy to help me catch it and release it off my property. After the encounter I spent months and months writing direct address poems to the snake and ended up with a play where the snake speaks back. The Relenting is both "true story" and archetypal and imagined journey, paralleling the transformation the snake sparked. The encounter, and the writing where I tried to process the encounter, changed my life, and because my life had changed (and is still changing), I wanted a tattoo to symbolize the transformation.

The only tattoo image I considered was the Minoan Snake Goddess.

I understood her intuitively in a way I'm still working to express with words. I worked with tattoo artist Serena Lander. I knew Serena's work on visual artist Suzanne Sbarge, who regularly helps bring Serena to New Mexico from Seattle. I trusted Suzanne and was right to. I had a great experience with Serena, the right kind of energy and contemplative exchange. I wanted line work, one color, kind of ruddy toned. She took images I sent her from archeological digs at the Palace of Knossos and transformed them into the image now on my arm.

I consider the image both a prayer and a mark of a turning point in my life. (I have three earlier tattoos, two black, one white, all smaller, from a decade prior, sparked by a different significant recognition.) The subtext for the new one is this: right before the encounter with the rattler, I'd just made it out of a wheelchair I'd been in for five months due to multiple sclerosis. Arms are not something I take for granted any longer... and the tattoo in that respect is simply about gratitude and facing disability with resilience, as much as I can muster..."

Please venture on over to BillyBlog to read an excerpt from the aforementioned The Relenting here.

New Mexico poet Lisa Gill is the recipient of a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, a 2010 New Mexico Literary Arts Gratitude Award, and just earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico this April. She is a literary arts activist, currently booking poets for "Church of Beethoven," and the author of three books of poetry, Red as a Lotus, Mortar & Pestle, and Dark Enough. A fourth book, The Relenting, is forthcoming with New Rivers Press (June 2010) and can be considered either a play or a poem scripted for two voices, rattler and woman. She'll be touring the play in the upcoming year, starting with a staged reading with Tricklock's Kevin Elder at 516 Arts in Albuquerque in June and then onward to Minnesota, LA, hopefully even to NY.

Thanks to Lisa for sharing her amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

The Tattooed Poets Project: Jeff Simpson

Today's tattooed poet found us by way of Adam Deutsch. Jeff Simpson offers up this cool arm tattoo:

Jeff, a tattooed poet from Oklahoma tells us:

I started reading Horace in grad school and soon grew to be a fan of the odes. The quote, pulvis et umbra sumus—taken from the ode to Torquatus—is commonly translated as, “We are dust and shadows,” but I prefer David Ferry’s version: “we’re nothing but dust, we’re nothing but shadows.” The line offers such a blunt beauty to our mortality, I thought it would serve as a good defense against procrastination, etc. The tattoo was done by David Bruehl at Think Ink Tattoos in Norman, OK. David is an incredible artist. I basically gave him the quote, said I dig skulls, and he nailed the design on the first sketch. This was my first tattoo (I was a late bloomer), and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I’ve already booked another session to start working on a sleeve.
Head over to BillyBlog and read one of Jeff's poems here.

Born and raised in southwest Oklahoma, Jeff Simpson received his MFA from Oklahoma State University in 2009. He is the founder and managing editor of The Fiddleback, an online arts & literature journal that will launch its first issue later this year. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Copper Nickel, Harpur Palate, The Pinch, and H_NGM_N. His first full-length collection, Vertical Hold, will be published by Steel Toe Books in 2011.

(more) thoughts on blogging

When I went to Hawaii I took a small break from regular blogging, and since then it's been hard for me to see the point of all of this. I absolutely love the people I've met, and even the thoughts and emotions I've been able to share in this space, but I truly do not see the point. I feel shallow and ridiculous posting outfit photos, even though I like clothing and fashion. I feel self-centered when I post a run-down of my day and even more so when I post self-photos. It's not that I care what people think, in fact, I believe it's quite the opposite. I don't care, and I think in a weird way I feel silly because it's almost as if posting all of these things I am asking for validation, compliments, and ego-stroking, and it makes me uncomfortable to come across that way, even to myself. There was definitely a point in my life when I was much younger and (unfortunately) attention-seeking, where I would have loved having thousands of readers everyday, all of you lovely people sharing so much with me here...but now I almost feel an invasion of privacy of my own doing. I'm not really sure where this post is going, or what I am trying to say. Half of me loves blogging, but the other half is often weighed down by feeling ridiculous that there is so much ME here. And I know that is the whole idea of a blog, either to share your life or your ideas, or your work or crafts...but I'm just not sure if my life is something I want to keep sharing so publicly. I'm still thinking about it, and at this point I definitely can't see myself stopping all together, but I'm just not sure if I'm still "feeling it," like I have been for the past year and a half. Regardless, I love all of you SO much and I so appreciate all of you coming here so often with your kind words and support. I am going to keep blogging until I truly want to stop, and at this point I guess I'm just thinking it over and hoping for a change of heart one way or another. Right now, I'm just in the middle.

This has been a topic on this blog before, a long time ago. I would really love to hear your thoughts on this though. Do you ever feel weird or silly blogging? Do you share any of the same sentiments I do? I would appreciate it so much if you would share! Love you guys! <333

The Tattooed Poets Project: Cheryl Dumesnil

Today's tattooed poet is Cheryl Dumesnil.

She offers up this lovely sand dollar tattoo:

Cheryl informs us that Amy Justen from Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley did the work, three sand dollars on her lower left leg:

"Before my first son, Brennan, was born, I had three miscarriages. After his birth, I packed those losses away in a box marked “then,” and moved forward into parenthood. Or so I thought. Nearly a year after my second son, Kian, was born, old grief began seeping out of that box, coloring my days. While exploring how those miscarriages were still affecting me, as a way of integrating them
into my life rather than denying their impact on me, I had three sand dollars tattooed on my leg."

What folows is an excerpt from Love Song for Baby X, a memoir about Cheryl's circuitous route to parenthood, that tells the sand dollar story:

There is also a poem of Cheryl's over on BillyBlog here.

* * *

Sitting in meditation, I close my eyes and invite grief to appear. Now that I’m safely ensconced in parenthood, I can do this. Now that I know what I’m grieving: not the loss of parenthood, but the loss of three babies, I can do this. There, I said it: babies.

I breathe in. I see a meadow full of ragweed and green foxtails. I breathe out.

I wait.

Will grief enter as a mountain lion, all creep, shadow, and snarl? Will grief enter as a black-tailed deer, timidly nibbling the undergrowth?

I breathe in. I breathe out. I wait.

From the center of the field, something white and winged flickers up out of the grasses, flies like a lazy spring butterfly across the blue sky and lands on my left leg. It presses an image into my flesh then dissolves.

What I see there: three sand dollars sketched on my skin.

“Really?” I ask.

“Yes,” grief confirms, “really.”


* * *

“I know what my next tattoo will be.” I present this fact to my wife Tracie as she is standing in the bathroom, brushing her teeth.

She spits a mouthful of foam into the sink, “Yeah, the cherry blossoms and humming bird, right?”

“Well yeah,” I say, “that one too, but first I need to get a different tattoo.” I touch the outside of my lower left leg, “three sand dollars, for the three babies we lost.”

Tracie looks at me, blinking, toothbrush held in midair.

When I speak it out loud, the tattoo plan seems weird, a bit extreme. I mean, were they really babies? Were they really important enough to warrant a permanent mark on my body? I say, “I’m gonna sit with it for a few days, to make sure the image sticks. But it arrived in such an authentic way, I feel like I need to do this.”

She’s not a fan of tattoos, my wife. And yet she knows tattoo is a primal means of self-expression for me. This conflict of interests—wanting to offer me her unconditional support, not wanting her wife to look like a circus freak—it hangs in the air. Until we burst out laughing.

A memorial tattoo. A monument to three spirits that passed through this body. A tribute to all I’ve learned through their passing.

* * *

A week before my appointment at Sacred Rose Tattoo, I walk Pajaro Dunes, the beach of my childhood, looking for whole sand dollars. I want to bring samples to the tattoo studio, to present my artist, Amy, with examples of the real thing.

I want her to feel their grit between her finger tips, to trace the gray veins that creep up their sides like fissures in concrete, to see how the five-pointed star is made up of hundreds of needle-thin lines, to break one open and release the three, tiny, porcelain-like doves that rattle around inside.

I know this length of beach like no other. I know where the waves cross over each other, creating pockets in the sand that catch sand dollars, a cache revealed at low tide.

This weekend, for the first time in my life, I can’t find a single whole sand dollar. This weekend, I carry home a small Tupperware bowl filled with bone-white fragments.

* * *

The electric buzz of Amy’s tattoo gun, the burn of ink needled between my epidermal layers, sends endorphins pulsing through me. Lying on her table, I float in and out of the room, memory playing its filmstrip in my brain.

Years ago, while walking along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, troubling through a life-altering break-up, I recalled something my sister had found on the beach when we were kids: a dime-sized sand dollar. Logic questioned the accuracy of that memory: could that really have happened? I looked out at the Pacific: five tiers of gray and churning pre-storm waves. How could something so fragile have made it from there to here? Not possible. Then I looked down at the sand. There it was, not five inches away from my feet: another dime-sized sand dollar on the beach.

Now and then, Amy’s voice swirls into my dream-state: “How are you doing?”

“Mmm. Fine,” I hum.

And then the dream about my grandma returns—she and I standing in the shallow surf at Pajaro Dunes, sunlight glaring so brightly off the water, I couldn’t look directly at it. Reaching blindly into the sea, again and again, I grabbed up fistfuls of broken sand dollars, wanting the whole ones I couldn’t see. “Keep trying,” she said, “They’re in there. Just keep trying.”

As Amy works, etching the hair-fine, single-needle lines into my skin, I learn what the sand dollars are really about: hope and faith, trying and believing.


Winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of In Praise of Falling, editor of Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall, and co-editor, with Kim Addonizio, of Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Indiana Review, Calyx, and Many Mountains Moving, among other literary magazines. Her essays have appeared on,, and in Hip Mama Zine. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and their two sons. Visit her at

Who Wore Splendid Butterfly Print Better - Ruby, Suri or Zahara?

note: yep, the girls are wearing different styles, but the print is the same, so imho its worth comparing :)

Zahara choose the top to show off this pretty Butterfly Print on April 1st 2008, paired with cargo pants and Checked Slip-ons by Vans Kids.

Ruby Maguire wore the tank version of the Butterfly Print in Seashell by Spledid on April 12th 2008, accessorized with her trusty Raeden Sandals by See Kai Run.

Suri wore the tunic version of this Butterfly Print on April 10th 2010, accessorized with Bunny Slippers and Bunny Ears Headband.

These outfits are exactly 2 Years apart... :)

Reason to vote for Ruby - she is my new "addiction", due to her fresh-out-of-the-store style :)

Why on earth did Suri need to wait 2 years to wear this adorable Butterfly Print?
and i am not a fan of Suri's Easter themed accessories.. might be cute for a party, but definitely not cute for a shopping trip.

Summer deliciousness!

favorite warm weather snack!

I am so addicted to Cuties. They are definitely my favorite warm-weather snack and Hank and I buy them by the boxful. I just snapped this photo, and this is the fifth cutie I'm working on at the moment. SO GOOD. I'm just a huge fruit fan overall and that's basically all I eat in the summer. When the temperature goes up, anything heavy just sounds gross, so fruit is really the best choice!

As far as unhealthier snacks go, I can't get enough of Italian Ice! I was just reminiscing about Rita's Italian Ice back East. I love love love that place, and it's such a bummer that we don't have one in Arizona...or anywhere close! Whenever my family and I take our annual trip to NJ and the East Coast we go there about a million times. I also get the cherry ice and vanilla custard gelati. It's seriously to die for and Hank, my sis, and I are addicted to it.

rita's gelatis

I also need to mention another favorite summer treat- Kohl's orange and vanilla swirl cone. Unfortunately this is also an East Coast-only treat, and it can be found on the boardwalks of NJ. This photo was shot last summer at Seaside during our time there. Sigh. Why must all my favorite foods be so far away?

kohl's orange and cream- a boardwalk tradition!

I'd love to know what YOUR favorite summertime treat is! Are you an ice cream gal? Italian ice? Fruit? Do tell! :)

The Tattooed Poets Project: Gina Myers

Today's tattoo comes to us courtesy of Gina Myers, who is the third poet this month to come back to the Tattooed Poets Project after appearing last year. Check out her 2009 contribution here.

Gina sent along this tattoo, which graces the inside of her left wrist:

Gina explains that this tattoo:
"... was done by PJ at Old Town Tattoo in Saginaw, Michigan. In addition to the word bird, I have several other birds tattooed on my body: a pigeon named Franklin, a phoenix, an eagle, and a number of swallows. "Ginabird" is one of my nicknames, and "bird" is a nickname I share with my best friend. I always thought it was weird when people got either their own names or their own nicknames tattooed on themselves, but this seemed okay since it was a shared nickname. It's not really about me. My best friend said she is getting the same tattoo in the same place, but that hasn't happened yet."
Be sure to head over to BillyBlog and read one of Gina's poems that she picked for us here at The Tattooed Poets Project.

Gina Myers lives in Saginaw, MI, where she works as the Associate Editor of 360 Main Street, the Book Review Editor of NewPages, and the Reviews Editor of H_NGM_N. Her first full-length collection of poetry, A Model Year, was published by Coconut Books in 2009.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Amber Clark

Today's tattooed poet is Amber Clark, whose tattoo is not only on a poet, but is itself a line from a poem:

This tattoo is om Amber's upper back, just below the neck. Amber explains how this tattoo arrived to become engraved in her flesh:

"The artist was Randy Ford at Maverick's Tattoos in Destin, FL. He is soft-spoken, gentle and engaged. He also gives guitar lessons. We talked at length regarding the nature of his work - in effect, branding people permanently, acting as conduit for the indelible. And I remember thinking that we both attempt to act in the world in very much the same way; he with ink, I with writing. This is brand new; I got it in January 2010 as a 34th birthday present to myself because I found this line of Mary Oliver's poem returning and repeating in my mind again and again over the years, like a mantra. It pushes me to create, to make, to be engaged with the world - which is both ironic and (maybe) shamefully delightful. Of course, I joke about the shame, but given the context of the poem, the connotations of 'mantra' seem silly."

The following is Ms. Oliver's poem that inspires so:

What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.
Please head over to BillyBlog to read one of Amber's poems here.

Amber Clark teaches English and literature at Northwest Florida State College as well as Gulf Coast Community College. She reads for Tin House, and she will be guest judging the Scratch Poetry Contest in June 2010. While most of her own work can still be found on napkins and matchbooks, in personal journals and private word docs, and on the windshields of friends' and lovers' cars, most recently, her work can also be found in Pebble Lake Review, SandScript, Slow Trains, Underground Window, and Poetry365. A graduate of The College of William & Mary and The Radcliffe Publishing Institute at the Center for Advanced Study at Harvard, she also holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University at Charlotte.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Hi there! Tonight I thought I would share some of my favorite things with you! If you guys enjoy this feature, I'll continue to do this every couple of weeks, so let me know what you think. Here's the first 7 groups of my favorite things! I'd love to know which of these you already love too, or if you decide to check any out, which you end up loving!

I also encourage all of you to make your own "favorite things" list on your blog, and link back here in the comments so we can all enjoy what you love, too!

3 movies to add to your Netflix queue:

"An Education"

"City of God"

"The Wrestler"

3 television series to add to your Netflix queue (and watch in their entirety over a span of one weekend):

Pushing Daisies

Freaks and Geeks

My So-Called Life

3 albums to download (with one of my favorite songs from each album):

Modern Life is War's "Witness"

Aesop Rock's "Labor Days"

Coco Rosie's "Beautiful Boyz" EP

3 books to read:

The Handmaid's Tale by: Margaret Atwood

She's Come Undone by: Wally Lamb

The Glass Castle by: Jeannette Walls

3 blogs to visit:

3 Etsy shops to check out:

3 inspiring online articles to read now:

The Tattoosday Book Review: Tattoo Traditions of Hawai'i

As we wind down through the last third of National Poetry Month and our annual Tattooed Poets Project, I look ahead to the coming week with very mixed emotions.

I will focus on the positive, however, and say that Tattoosday is going on a little excursion, traveling nearly 5000 miles to the archipelago known as the Hawaiian Islands.

There, I hope to spot some ink and meet a member of the tattoo community who I very much admire.

Last weekend I threw a photo on the sidebar recommending the new book by artist and writer Tricia Allen, who tattooed my friend Cat several years ago (I wrote about it here). On Saturday, April 24, Tricia will be having a book release party (and tattoo contest) at the Barnes & Noble in Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.

I will be in attendance, covering the event, and reporting on it to our loyal Tattoosday audience.

But the purpose of this post is not only to announce my travel plans, but to make some more folks aware of Ms. Allen's talents.

Shortly after posting Cat's ink, my awesome mother, who I can't wait to see, sent me a copy of Tattoo Traditions of Hawai'i, written by none other than Tricia Allen. It was a coincidental gift, but a much-welcomed one at that.

As a resident of Oahu for fifteen years, I have roots in the islands, despite my New Yorkerness, which is itself diluted by a dozen years in L.A.

It was with this appreciation of Hawaiian culture that I gobbled up the book and, rather belatedly I'll admit, have decided to review it here on the site.

What sets this volume apart from most tattoo books is that it approaches the traditional tattoos of Hawai'i from archaeological and sociological standpoints. The reader who is interested in the development of tattoo art through history will find this book informative and fascinating.

And despite the subject matter and the minimal existence of historical photography, Ms. Allen still engages the reader, as her respect and appreciation for the art form guide her efforts.

Once she has dispatched the historical aspect of the tattoo in Hawai'i halfway through the book, the author speaks to the resurgence of the art form in the 1970's and beyond.

And although much has been said about Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins and his contribution to the popularity of tattooing in the armed services, Ms. Allen focuses not on the widespread social acceptance of tattoos across the United States, but rather, she breaks the second half of the book into anecdotal sections focusing on specific individuals, their tattoos, and their relationship with their own personal and cultural art.

To the lay person unfamiliar with Hawaiian culture, this exercise is a fascinating journey that analyzes more than just a design; it explores the process and sets the modern Hawaiian tattoo apart from the more common tribal art that took the mainland by storm in the 1990's.

What we are left with is a unique pursuit of the understanding of not just the art of tattoo, but the cultural significance of the practice that has gone from a remnant of an ancient tradition to a new expression of cultural and ancestral pride.

Tricia Allen's Tattoo Traditions of Hawaii is a fascinating look at the art of "Hawaiian" tattoo both ancient and modern. It is important to recognize the history of the tattoo in Hawaii, yet also to appreciate the influence of other Polynesian cultures in the art form. Not only do we recommend this title, but we anticipate that Ms. Allen's new title will be similarly compelling.

To learn more about Tricia Allen, the art of the Polynesian tattoo, and to buy her books, check out her great website here.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Aaron Anstett

Today's tattoo comes to us from Aaron Anstett who had also initially inquired about joining us last year on the Tattooed Poets Project.

Although the quality of the image may have a lot to be desired, the age and nature of the tattoo make it worth a peek, in my opinion:

Aaron explains:
"The main image was based on an illustration by a college girlfriend and applied nearly two decades ago, at a tattoo parlor outside of Iowa City, Iowa (at that time, I don't recall there being a shop in town, but who knows). The words from [John] Donne's The Sun Rising were applied a couple years after that, at a shop in Houston. Donne has long been among my favorites, though other poems more so with the passing of time."
It should be noted that "BUSY old fool, unruly sun" are not merely words from the poem, but the memorable opening line. You can read the whole Donne poem here.

Aaron Anstett's collections are Sustenance, No Accident (Nebraska Book Award and Balcones Poetry Prize), and Each Place the Body's. He's completing the last weeks of his term as the inaugural Pikes Peak Poet Laureate and lives in Colorado with his wife, Lesley, and children, Molly, Cooper, and Rachel.

Head over to BillyBlog to read one of Aaron's poems here.

Thanks to Aaron for sharing his tattoo with is here on Tattoosday!

The Tattooed Poets Project: Daphne Lazarus

Today's tattoo takes my breath away.

The work comes to us from Daphne Lazarus, who does not have the extensive poetry credits that many of our other contributors have, but does write poems. She heard about the Tattooed Poets Project via Theresa Edwards (day 1 of this year's project), editor of Holly Rose Review, an online poetry/tattoo publication in which her work has appeared.

But let's just take a look at the photo Daphne sent, shall we?

The first thing I would recommend is to click on the photo to see it enlarged. Daphne did want me to acknowledge the photographer Irvin Tan at Monochrome Meese Photography. The amazing artist behind this phenomenal back piece is Shane Tan. Clicking his name will take you to the site where you can see several more photos of this work, as it was being created.

With a piece like this, as Daphne put it, the work "speaks for itself". Agreed, but I did seek clarification on the piece at the top on her neck:

This is a traditional Thai tattoo, sak yant, also known as yantra tattooing, which serves as an emblem of protection. The whole work took place over numerous sittings in a one and a half month time span. "Sometimes I had to work the next day," Daphne told me, "it was...a hell of an experience but it marked a milestone in my life. So worth it." Indeed. We are fortunate to have such amazing work displayed here on Tattoosday.

Daphne was born in Singapore. She received her BA (Hons) in Arts Management from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in 2009. She has curated several contemporary art exhibitions featuring emerging Singaporean artists and an exhibition featuring art works of pioneer Singapore artists from a permanent collection of an art institution. Daphne writes for a tattoo website at in collaboration with tattoo artist Shane Tan. She was also one of the event organizers for Singapore’s first body suspension show in conjunction with the first tattoo convention in Singapore.

Daphne’s passion lies in writing about art and tattoo culture and has several articles featured in several contemporary art publications. She has also written a thesis on tattoos for her undergraduate study. She will be pursuing a Master’s in Art History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

Daphne is not a poet by profession, but she uses it as a tool for catharsis. She has published literary works mostly in contemporary art journals and aspires to be an art writer and art historian.

Check out one of her poems over on BillyBlog here.

Thanks again to Daphne for sharing her back piece with us here on Tattoosday!