November Sponsor Giveaway!

Happy November everyone! Today is a super special day for me, number one because this is the month in which our son will be born...and number two, this is the very first month I am doing sponsorship/ads here on Sometimes Sweet! This is all a learning process for me, so as time goes by the way I do this may change, but for this first month, here's how this is going to work:

All of the following (AMAZING) shops and blogs are my larger sponsors, and they are each offering one item for this huge, multiple-winner giveaway! All you have to do is the following:

Leave your name and email address in the comments.

*(and see below for a way to get one additional entry too!)

Yup! That's it! On Monday, November 22nd I will pick 9 different winners at random, who will win the different prizes. I didn't want to get super complicated, and next month I may do separate giveaway posts, or have one big winner who wins everything. But this month I will be choosing nine you have a GREAT chance at winning any one of these super-neat items! Again, simply leave your name and email in the comments to enter.

To get one additional entry, you can blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave an additional comment with a link to that blog or tweet, along with your contact info again.

So overall you can put your name into the drawing twice.

I am just so excited about each and every one of these amazing shops. I got such a big, big response about sponsoring my blog and I am so pleased to present these wonderful women as my very first sponsors here. I also have seven more sites I will be highlighting in my "small ad" post later this week, so you'll have seven more shops/blogs to check out as well. Many of you know I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, so I am just over the moon happy about bringing all of these great people to you, and supporting local/small/handmade businesses and blogs. In the future I am most likely going to keep my ads to a smaller amount, but this first month I thought I would do a few more than I normally would.

Be sure to check out my sidebar for all of the new, wonderful buttons I have displayed there, and give each one a little click and say hello!

And now, without further ado, below you will find a small description of each shop, as well as the item or items they are graciously giving away. The links for each blog/shop can be found by clicking the shop/blog name, and also grouped under the first photo. Have fun exploring and clicking around, and good luck!

1) I'm Kyla Roma, a twenty-something prairie girl living under the biggest sky I've ever seen. When I'm not blogging I'm designing blogs with Freckled Nest and running my etsy shop, A Little Thistle. I'm a black tea aficionado, life long vegetarian, tattooed lady, puppy mama and photography addict trying to live joyfully in every moment I've got.

Giveaway item: Penny Farthing Bicycle Necklace

2) Doodle creates custom, modern and affordable paper goods you won't find anywhere else. We love to make stationery, recipe cards and custom invitations which we mail directly to your door. Each design is original, each card is hand cut and we strive for great quality and quick turnaround!

Giveaway items: Teal Arrow Stationery Set of 8 and the Purple Beads Stationery Set of 8. The sets each include 8 cards and 8 brown Kraft paper envelopes.

3) Studio M.M.E. is a quirky pen and ink art shop where you can find everything from antlered girls to hungry moons. Run by illustrator Megan M. Eckman, the shop abounds with humor, childish play, and the feeling of nostalgia thanks to the mostly black and white prints. For those who are still children at heart, Studio M.M.E. offers a wild visual thrill that embraces those old games of pretend.

Giveaway item: one 5" x 7" print of "Imogene Coming Home"

4) Tumbleweeds Oddities is a marketplace created by Beca Lewis Skeels and Doug Switalski, two southern transplants with a big heart for junk yards and recycled art. From our recovered earth-friendly leather and (vegan) vinyl bike saddles to our hodgepodge collection of vintage and recycled curios, oddities and recovered taxidermy, you can find a whole mess of curiosities in our shop for any collection, at every price range.

Giveaway item: Hot Pink Recovered Suede Bike Saddle handmade entirely from recycled materials (don't worry Vegan friends, all of our leather products are vintage or recovered from the scrap bin and recycled for posterity, we love animals!!) - Worth: $50.00

5) Hi everyone! Over at Happy Owl we are so glad to sponsor the lovely, long time blog friend Danielle! Happy Owl is a warm little space for me to share my musings, our loves, our two young boys and our wild life. We were born and raised in California and are living our dreams in Juneau, Alaska.

Giveaway items: "Alaska Autumn Favorites": Here are a few of my favorite things to share with you; a pair of fabulous metal candle holders (perfect plain or craftily recreated by you), cozy custard fingerless handwarmers made by me, a set of adorable vintage apple tea cups and a surprise gift also made by me. Enjoy!

6) My name is Susannah Bean and I live in the midwest with my hilarious boyfriend Chris and our adorable kitty Mr. Littlejeans. I taught myself how to knit and crochet, and I like to make things that I can't find anywhere else! I have a blog about my life and crafts, and my shop is full of cute and cozy accessories.

Giveaway item: one pair of fingerless mitts (I call them The Lady Mitts, but it's a terrible name haha)

7) Pleasantly Plump [Knits.] is a combination of my love for knitting & all things sweet & plump!! Each pair of booties are hand-knit with love & personality for your baby's tiny toes!

Giveaway item: Gift Certificate for one pair of custom plump booties

8) Hello Dearie is a fiber arts company that designs original dolls and other textile goods. This mother-in-law/daughter-in-law team enjoy collaborating on new ideas and creating together.

Giveaway item: This is our Elf OFF the shelf. He doesn't just sit on the shelf; he is ready for fun...and just in time for the holidays!

9) Gypsy 05 is more than an artistic statement; it is an expression that stands to make a difference in the world. "good planets are hard to find" is the motto that began Gypsy05's exploration to fight against environmental exploitation. Through the art of fashion, Gypsy 05 aims to communicate that the beauty of nature is a marvel. Gypsy's one of a kind designs incorporate organic fabrics, low impact dyes, and water based printing in every collection as part of our mission in environmental awareness. Our story suggests the importance of smelling the roses rather than picking them; of getting inspired by the beauty of the vast ocean rather than polluting it. The message is to Recycle, Reduce, Re-planet and feel naturally confident and free while living environmentally friendly.

Giveaway item: a surprise Gypsy pack worth $225! The winner will provide their size, and Gypsy 05 will provide a fabulous prize pack full of adorable clothing.

So don't forgot, just leave your name and email to enter once, and you can come back and enter a second time by leaving your name/email again in that second comment, along with the link to a blog post or tweet about this great giveaway!

Good luck! :)

p.s., If you are curious about advertising YOUR shop or blog here for the busy retail month of December, I will make a call for ads on November 15th (they'll go quickly!), so keep your eyes peeled. If you'd like to get a jump start and reserve your spot, email me at and be sure to check out my ad info page here.

On nasty, anonymous commenters...

{image via weheartit}

What could I possibly say about this topic that hasn't been said a million times? It's funny because a year or two ago, when I received my first mean anonymous comment on this site, all of my blog friends said something along the lines of "congratulations, welcome to the club!" Getting anonymous comments are (unfortunately) par for the course. If you get a few hundred, or a few thousand visitors everyday you can be assured that there is a large handful of those people amidst that big number who probably can't stand you yet still come by to read what you write! It sounds odd, but it's so true. It goes back to number five on my "things I learned in my 20s part one" (click here to read). The point I made there is that not everyone will like you (and that's okay)! Mean comments don't happen very often on this blog, but they do every once and awhile. I don't care about whatever it is they decide to say, but the fact that someone is out there, so worked up and ANGRY...taking so much of their energy to write something nasty...well, that kind of freaks me out. Luckily I'm at a point now where it doesn't get to me. We're all human though, and if you're not in the right mindset, words can definitely hurt even if they aren't true statements- the anger alone can be the upsetting part. Just this week I had an anonymous commenter come and leave a comment, which was ironic because just the day before my friend had gotten a similar, horrible comment on her blog that we had discussed for a bit. I chose to delete the comment and just quickly respond on the post, telling the person not to come back. I'm sure they're still reading, and that's okay (oh heeey rude anon!), but maybe that person has thought a bit about how silly and sad they really sounded, although that's probably a stretch. Opinions are welcome- yes, even negative ones about me- and I of course support everyone's right to say and feel how they want, but when they turn nasty it's just wrong. So with all of this in mind, I just wanted to share a couple of things that have helped me when I've received rude comments.
  • Remember that you are dealing with a very sad person behind that anonymous screen. For someone to come willingly to your space on the internet, read what you have to say, and then take the time to leave a rude comment, really takes a lot of negative energy. In the past few years I've gotten away from even reacting to these people and instead it's turned into feeling so, so sad for them. What an unhappy life to want to bring others down, and try and hurt them!
  • The happier you are, the more "haters" you will receive. My blog is generally pretty upbeat, I talk about happy topics, use a lot of exclamation points from time to time, post quotes that inspire me, and I make no apologies about leading a life full of love that I am incredibly thankful for. I can imagine this would really annoy some people. You have to remind yourself though that these commenters have come willingly to your blog. Remember that. They have sought you out. Don't let someone else make you feel bad about putting yourself out there, or being happy, just because they're not.
  • Also, remember that the internet is just that- the internet. Don't get too wrapped up in what anyone thinks, be it good OR bad. Blogging is fun, but it should be something that enhances your life, not something that becomes your life. I personally like to take a "delete and ignore" stance on anonymous comments- I responded a bit to the person the other day, which I probably shouldn't have, but I went ahead and deleted their rude comment because I didn't want the entire thread to turn into people "defending" me unnecessarily and defeating the whole purpose of what should have been a positive post. Handle the comments however you'd like, but for me, not even allowing them to exist works well. It can be hard not to want to defend yourself, but by doing that you totally are validating the effect and importance of the nasty words. I used to feel like I had to write back to anything rude or unkind. "Fake?! You want to call me fake? How dare you! blah blah blah!" What an epic waste of energy. Instead, just move on.
  • And don't forget, the rude person often has some reason for not liking you, your blog, their perception of you, whatever, that has less to do about you, and a LOT more to do about them. That phrase "haters gonna hate" fits pretty perfectly into this- no matter what you do, you can't please everyone, so just worry about your own happiness and wish the best for anyone who decides to try and bring you down to their negative level.
Thanks for reading this little list- so much love and happy blogging! :]

Happy Halloween from Tattoosday!

Here at Tattoosday, we're celebrating Halloween by posting the spookiest tattoo seen in the last month or so. Well, maybe not the spookiest, but certainly the most holiday-related tattoo:

This was offered up by Robert, who I met in Borders Penn Plaza last month. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is Frankenstein driving a Chevy (that's the stick shift he's gripping). Robert credits Adel at Addiction NYC with this tattoo.

Thanks to Robert for helping us celebrate Halloween here on Tattoosday!


annnd one for the ole blog

I wanted to make a little post and say "HI!" to so many of you who have recently made your way over here to my blog. Welcome, welcome! If you'd like to leave a link to your blog in the comments, I'd love to pop over and get to know you a little bit better too!

Also, I try and respond to every comment, but the most direct way to ask me a question or correspond is via Twitter or email! or - I will always get back to you...and I'd love to hear from you! You can also "like" this blog over on the left hand sidebar, and that's a great way to communicate as well.

So, welcome to Sometimes Sweet! I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

Ashlee Channels Snow White

This work in progress is on Ashlee's arm:

The tattoo features Snow White at the top of the arm, with the witch's hand proffering an apple, wrapping around the arm:

Ashlee explained that the tattoo is commenting on how superficial the world is and how the idea of Beauty was the downfall of the title character, at least until she was rescued from her poison-induced slumber.

The tattoo is the work of Eric at King Pin Tattoos in Harker Heights, Texas. Work from Kingpin appeared previously in August 2008 on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Ashlee for sharing her work with us here on Tattoosday!

the week in photos

week in photos

from left to right: Madeline lounging in the sun (it's tough being a spoiled pup!), one of my favorite nighttime snacks- fresh air popped popcorn with sea salt, a really funny/cute letter my students wrote to me, my handsome breakfast date, The Bagel Cafe downtown, our delicious bagels, so many baby socks to match, the Lights show with Erin and Hank, hot apple cider/hot chocolate break, the adorable HCHIV onesie from Erin, Madeline and me hanging out in bed, more onesies from EP!

Overall this past week was wonderful! Towards the end of the week work got a little rough- it's hard to be on my feet all day and I found that I was having some increased stomach-area cramping (contractions maybe? I feel like I still don't know what's a contraction or not), and I was just overall uncomfortable. I am thinking that next Friday (38 weeks) will be my last day of work, and it's definitely going to be a little sad to say goodbye to my students. I've talked about it before but this year has been just wonderful- my best year ever. I feel like I finally have gelled as a teacher, which is ironic, but maybe that's just how it goes. Five years later and it's a LOT easier. And really fun! It helps that I'm a huge nerd about my subject area, American Literature. I'm going to miss it for sure but at the same time I'm just beyond excited about my "new" job like I've said a million times before.

So yes, good week for sure. I'm looking forward to these next couple of weeks and really just wondering when I'm going to go into labor (19 days 'til my due date!)! Talk about crazy anticipation. It's wild! I obviously won't be blogging while I'm in the hospital but I'm sure I will be tweeting, so if you'd like, feel free to follow me over there: I'm not going to play by play the birth or anything but I will definitely update when I go into labor, etc. AHH just typing that out makes me feel SO insane but so excited. The count down is definitely on and I am ready (or at least I keep telling myself that).

Workout motivation!

When I had my formspring up, I'd get a lot of questions about motivation in regards to working out. Recently, a few of my friends have asked me how I find the energy to get myself to the gym or out walking so often while pregnant, so I thought I would write a quick post highlighting the things that work for me, with child or not. I should also note that I'm definitely no expert- so for specific workout questions please see a certified trainer. :)

So, here's a quick little list of five things that work for me, and help me stay motivated!

1) Workout first thing in the morning. To me, there is no better feeling than having my workout DONE for the day. I really prefer to go super early in the morning, literally rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth and heading straight into the gym. If you're worried about looking good or not having makeup on, really don't even worry about that. The only people at the gym that early are the people who are there just to workout- no one cares that you have pillow marks on the side of your face or that your unruly morning hair is in a huge bun on the top of your head. Here's a (kind of embarrassing) confession: I have a much better workout when I feel cute. I don't do well when I feel gross. Yes, I know this is silly but it's just the way it goes for me. In the mornings though, I couldn't care less. At 5 and 6am you have the people there, right along side you who are NOT there to socialize, they're there to get their workout in and get on with their day. I love it. If you haven't tried working out in the early morning, trust me, it's amazing. One of my most favorite feelings in the entire world is leaving the gym at 6:30 in the morning, knowing that my entire workout is done for the day. Plus, you get a huge rush of endorphins to start your morning off right, listen to your ipod and get stoked for the day, and when 5pm or the end of your work day rolls around you have the whole evening to yourself, no gym time needed. And one more plus- once you've woken up early, expended energy and worked hard, you are way more apt to make healthy food choices. Give the early morning workout a try, I bet you'll love it!

2) Wear your workout clothes to bed OR set out your workout clothes right next to your bed. This is so, so important. If I'm having a rough, unmotivated week I will wear my workout clothes to bed the night before so when my alarm goes off early I have no excuse; I'm already dressed! All I have to do at that point is lace up my sneakers. If you have everything all ready to go- either on your body or stacked next to the bed, water bottle filled and in the fridge, ipod next to your car keys...when you alarm goes off all you have to do is wake up and get yourself to the gym. Planning ahead is key. And if you're curious about whether or not to eat before your workout, I typically like to do my morning cardio on an empty stomach, but if I'm feeling hungry I'll do a half a Luna bar or half a banana. Just a little boost to get me going and then I'll eat a huge, healthy breakfast when I get home.

3) Play the whole picture in your mind. Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy or unmotivated I seriously just want to camp out on my couch, play online, watch a movie, whatever. This often happens when I haven't made the effort to workout that morning, I've had a long day, and the last thing I want to do is exercise. However, I try to run the entire picture through in my mind. I think of the scenario I'm in: I'm already feeling lethargic and lazy, and I have two choices. I can either continue to do nothing, keep lying around, and then lo and behold, I'm sure to feel guilty later that evening when I realize I made a bad choice. The other side of the coin is that I can get up, get moving, spend some time treating my body well and with respect, and feel SO proud of myself when I am done. Who wouldn't want to feel great? When I think about the whole picture, and focus on how I will feel afterward, I always choose to be active and exercise.

4) Use the 15 minute rule. Even when I don't want to go to the gym, I make a deal with myself that I will go and workout for 15 minutes. At the end of those 15 minutes I can then decide to leave or stay. It's pretty safe to say that when you are already there, you won't want to leave, and you'll actually begin to enjoy yourself.

5) Workout anywhere/mix it up. If you don't have a gym membership, there is NO reason you still can't get a good workout in. Running is great, but not for everyone. Walking can also be a wonderful way to use your body and get exercise. Walk outside at a good fast pace for about 40 minutes- swing your arms and break a sweat- and you will get a great workout. You can do pushups, lunges, squats, etc. in your living room during the commercials of your favorite television show. You can get 5-15 lb. weights at Target and get a full body workout all in the comfort (or privacy if you're iffy on working out in public) of your own home. Nothing motivates me more than finding a new workout to try. Keep challenging yourself to try new things! Zumba, yoga, or even a video! In the snowy winter months sometimes it's just not feasible to get out of our house. In that case, I will go between a few different videos- namely a Billy Blanks Tae-bo dvd and Jillian Micheal's 30-Day Shred. If you are a gym-goer, make it a rule to never do the same cardio machine twice in a row. One day do the elliptical, the next do 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 on the bike. And obviously you shouldn't work the same muscles everyday when lifting weights. Changing things up often will keep you engaged and interested...and make working out fun!

Good luck and happy exercising! :)

Nesting Dolls and a Zombie, Courtesy of Kristin

Last month, I ran into Kristin at the Penn Plaza Borders store.

She has ten tattoos, but the piece on her shin was the first one I spotted:

These Russian nesting dolls represents the friendship Kristin has with her friend Kyle (thus, the merging of their names into "Kryle").

It was tattooed by Bret from Electric Tattoo in Pasadena, Maryland.

Kristin also shared another tattoo, one certainly more appropriate for our current season. Check out this amazing tattoo:

This cool zombie piece was inked by Kike Castillo at Timmy Tattoo in Huntington, New York.

Kristin says that Kike is one of her favorite artists and she is happy for him to provide her with great body art. "He needed someone," she told me, referring to this particular tattoo, and "I'm always game". Tattoo artists love clients that let them do their thing, and you can tell with this great piece of art.

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

Happy Friday!

Isn't this a good reminder? Sometimes I feel that the older I get, the more I lose a bit of my sweetness, my niceness towards others. It's easy to get jaded and start to distrust people- it's simple to become bitter after disappointments come and go, after things don't go as planned. But the world is beautiful. I really believe this. And I think it's so important to remember this, and to hold onto your goodness, and any bit of kindness you have. It's worth a reminder for myself, and maybe for you too. If you look around, and remove yourself from the everyday noise, the daily routines and to-dos, the heres and theres, if you step back and just look at the world and take a deep breath, I think we could all find a lot more beauty in our everyday lives.

I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day!

*I also received an anonymous comment on this post that I deleted. Anonymous person, I don't need to have my readers "defend" me, or even deal with someone who gets so worked up. If you'd like to talk EMAIL me instead of leaving an annoying comment. If you think my life and happiness are so fake, that I talk too much about the things I have, etc. etc. stop coming back here to read what I write. It's my blog and you are coming here by choice. And hello, who asks me for money advice except the repeated questions via formspring (hence me deleting that site)? That's all I'll say. There's no need for me to leave up such a negative comment and have this post turn into ridiculousness- me trying to justify myself (I've already said too much) and comments from people doing the same. I'll just leave it at this: go away.

A Slice of...your town?

for my new blog feature

Good morning and happy Thursday!

I thought I would open up my "Slice of" feature to all of you, to see if any of my lovely readers were interested in sharing their hometown/city here on Sometimes Sweet. I have a LOT of wonderful posts still lined up, but as I was getting together today's feature, I thought that I'd extend it a few more months than originally planned. I'm really enjoying it, and I know that a lot of you would probably love reading about additional locales.

So if you're interested, here's what I need from you-

simply email me at with "Slice of (insert YOUR city here)" in the subject, and then just tell me a little bit about your city/town and why you'd like to be featured. Like I said, I have a lot of other places lined up, and I won't be posting duplicates, so if your city is already spoken for I will let you know. I am looking for high-quality photos and words, and I'd love to feature ANY city or town in the whole, wide world.

So, email away and let me know if you're interested! I look forward to hearing from you!

A Slice of...Wellington, New Zealand!

for my new blog feature

This week's feature is brought to you by the wonderful Alice, (, be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!

It feels strange to be writing about how fantastic Wellington is, because having lived here for four years now, I’ve become sick of the way Wellingtonians preach to the converted, and I’ve been attempting to avoid being sucked into that! We love blowing our own trumpet about the events happening around the city and especially any developments in our growing film industry, but since we’re in such a small country we are usually just talking amongst ourselves. However, since readers of this blog are from all over the world, I’ll make an exception and write a bit of a boast-post.

Wellington really is a fantastic place to live and to visit. It is the capital city of New Zealand, but only the third largest in terms of population. We are known (though perhaps only by ourselves) as the ‘Creative Capital’, and it’s certainly a worthy title considering the variety of arts and cultural elements that are represented here.

I live and work in the Central Business District, and after deciding to write this post for Danielle, I spent a sunny, spring Saturday walking around my “neighbourhood” taking photos. Wellington’s residential suburbs branch out over hills from what I would consider the heart of the city; the waterfront.

The waterfront spans about three kilometres around the front of the city, and is packed full of activities for both tourists and locals. It’s also home to one of the must-sees for visitors to the city, our national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa [Link:].

To be honest, Te Papa is not somewhere that the average Wellingtonian frequents. It’s a huge museum, but once you’ve seen it you only really return to show visitors, or if there’s a special exhibition on. However, tourists love it, and it’s definitely worth spending a full day exploring. It’s an impressive (though I’m not sure whether I’d say ‘attractive’) building from outside, and inside and out the museum is full of Maori and New Zealand history and culture. It’s definitely not a ‘stuffy, old’ kind of museum, there are dozens of hands-on exhibitions, and heaps of exhibits especially for kids. I worked in one of the cafes inside the museum for several months in 2007 and it had a fantastic working atmosphere.

As an artist, I had to include a gallery on my list! My personal favourite is Solander [Link:] on Willis Street. They only exhibit works on, or made with, paper. It’s quite a small gallery, but I’ve never been disappointed by a visit to Solander, they’re consistent about putting together beautiful collections.

Courtenay Place is a street which is party central by night, and basically just a bus and pedestrian thoroughfare by day. But there are a few decent daytime cafes and restaurants along it, and Sweet Mother’s Kitchen [Link:] would be top of my list. The food is a home-cooked style, with lots of New Orleans and Mexican influences. The quality of the food varies a little from visit to visit, but I find the quesadillas and curly fries consistently delicious, and the table service is always fantastic. It’s a very casual but cool atmosphere, and patronage can vary from grungy youths to older people having a snack after the theatre.

Cuba Street acts as a pathway from the more conservative part of town, full of chain stores, corporate businesses and fast food; to the most alternative area, full of independent boutiques, tattoo and piercing parlours, record stores and many cafes.

My favourite clothing store on Cuba Street is the Paper Bag Princess [link: http://] which is full of second hand clothing and accessories, and everything is priced under $20NZ.

Another shop of note, particularly for craft bloggers, is Minerva. They mainly sell textiles books rather than products, but are worth a visit for their crafty exhibitions.

Just off Cuba Street is Southern Cross, a large restaurant and bar with a huge garden bar out the back.

Their bar menu is delicious, however the portions aren’t huge. But it’s a favourite spot amongst my friends to have beers after work, all year round. The barstaff are always friendly, the tables are large and there’s always great local art for sale on the walls.

As I rediscovered while out taking photos, Wellington is a city in which you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great day out. There is so much public art to see, admission to Te Papa is by donation, and even murals and posters in the street are worth stopping to look at. It’s only an hour and a half drive from my rural hometown, so I have a country escape whenever I need it. I’ve never travelled outside of New Zealand, though international travel is definitely my number one long term goal. But I can’t imagine returning to NZ from an overseas experience to live anywhere but Wellington.
October 2010

Suri's Favorite blankets by Little Giraffe are on SALE at zulily for only 35$!

Happy Shopping!

Amanda's Phoenix

Amanda has two tattoos, one of which she shared with me at the end of August in the Penn Plaza Borders store.

This is the tattoo she designed:

Amanda was inspired by the "compelling mythology of phoenixes" and had Bobby at Modern Age Tattoo in Nanuet, New York, translate the design into the final product.

The quote, in Latin, "post tenebras lux" means "After darkness, light". This mirrors the life cycle of the mythological phoenix who dies, bound in flame, only to be reborn from the ashes. Clicking here will display the vast array of phoenixes that have appeared on Tattoosday previously.

In other words, even when things appear their darkest, affirmation is just within reach.

Thanks to Amanda for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Gary's Three Knuckles Speak Volumes

I spotted Gary standing at the top of some escalators in Penn Station. As I passed him, I noticed he had knuckle tattoos so I stopped to ask him about them:

Gary explained that they are Korean characters

that translate to "Soo Bahk Do," or "The Way of the Striking Hand".

Soo Bahk Do is a form of martial arts that originated in Korea.

This unassuming gentleman has studied the form for seventeen years and is a third degree black belt. Gary studied at East Winds Karate in Port St. John, Florida.

The tattoo was inked at a shop on Eight Avenue in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Thanks to Gary for sharing his "striking" tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Today I thought I'd do a little tribute post to one of the weirdest, yet most amazing movies of all time: Welcome to the Dollhouse. This movie came out in 1995 when I was 13 years old, and my sister and I absolutely adored it- we probably watched it 100 times on our old VHS player. It's totally strange (it's a black comedy so keep that in mind), but totally wonderful, fabulous, spectacular, you name it. The film's plot centers around the life and times of a young girl named Dawn Weiner, and the movie follows her as she navigates her way through her often tumultuous 7th-grade life, full of crushes, disappointments, and lots of teasing. No one realizes how freakin' awesome this girl is- HELLOOO, if I was there with Dawn we'd so be bff. Love her.

Here's the trailer- and be sure to check out Dawn's outfits. Those tops, those glasses, the hair baubles?! My spring time wardrobe is totally going to be inspired by this little middle-schooler.

Have you ever seen this movie? What did you think? If you haven't seen it yet, I definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for a quirky little film. Enjoy!

Tattoo Tuesday V.41

I am really excited about this week's feature- when I stumbled upon Viviana on flickr I just knew I had to feature her. She's the sweetest thing, and I'm so happy she wanted to be a part of this. So thank you Viviana! I hope all of you enjoy all of her fantastic photos and words- I know I did!

It's so funny because the closer I get to having Henry the bigger my "tattoo itch" gets, and I have the longest list of "to-gets" coming up. This feature is definitely not helping me in that department. There are so many beautiful pieces of art on these wonderful peoples' bodies that I can't help but get inspired every week. Thank you to ALL of you who stop by here and leave such thoughtful comments for my guests and making them feel so welcome. You're the best! And now, onto the darling Viviana!

Name and blog name
: Viviana Agostinho - I don't have a blog, but I share a lot of my life on my Flickr at . Feel free to stop by!

Age: 33

Occupation: I work for an Internet company

Age of first tattoo: 27

Favorite tattoo: I seriously love all my tattoos, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the phrase across my back, "There is a light that never goes out". It's an understatement to say I love this song, but there are more reasons to why I got it tattooed. I've dealt with depression and anxiety, and had panic attacks for a couple of years, so when I finally overcame it I wanted a constant reminder that there is always a light shining somewhere, even in the darkest of times. Tacky, but true!

Featured tattoo/location: A skeleton key in the inside of my arm.

Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Nick Rodin at Black Heart Tattoo in San Francisco.

Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

The tattoo symbolizes overcoming hardships. I've been through a huge change in 2005 when I moved to a new country -- where I didn't know anyone and had to start my life from scratch. A skeleton key is a key that opens all doors in a house, so the idea is to have a clear path and opened doors in front of me. Fun fact: I got a job promotion shortly after I got this tattoo done. Who knew my skeleton key would really work?

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

Yes! I have a Celtic triskele in my upper arm, a floral piece that goes from my shoulder to my chest, and a wing in each ankle.

Do you plan on getting more?

Definitely! I want to fill my right arm to a half sleeve. I also want a tattoo on the top my right foot and one in my left forearm. Those are already planned, but something tells me there will be more.

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?

Unfortunately I live far away from my family. I'm originally from Brazil and I've moved to the US five years ago. The plus side of this situation is that when my family sees me they are so happy they don't even care about the tattoos! Clever, huh?

I've never had any hard time because of my tattoos, people are just curious about them. It is common however to get the "but what if you regret it?" question, and all I say is "Well, life can be full of regrets, you don't need to have tattoos to experience one". Usually that kills the conversation. :-)

I'm married, and my husband does not have tattoos. He totally supports me though. He actually designed the floral piece I got on my shoulder/chest (with a little help from Mr. William Morris). Plus, he is the perfect companion when I'm getting tattooed because he is super perfectionist and has a great eye for crooked things. I trust his opinion more than I trust my own to be honest.

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

Do your research. Not only for designs, but for shops and artists. It's ok to go to a tattoo shop and just look around. Ask questions. Flip through portfolios. Don't feel rushed to make up your mind, and don't settle for the cheapest -- put quality first, always, even if it means having to save more money. Keep in mind that many tattoo artists have areas of expertise, so try getting an artist whose work matches what you want. For example, all my tattoos are done with black ink only, so I search for artists who are great with shading and like being creative without the need of color. Finally, be prepared: this can be pretty addictive!