Fresh Ink

Farewell It's Been Swell

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Dear both of you who read this blog...just kidding, all four of you,

It may sadden you to hear this but I am hanging up my blogging tools for the moment here on ChicagoNow. Having a tattoo site is not easy to keep up when you've got a million other things to do (that actually pay the bills) and you don't want to get sued. When the going gets rough, get some lube and squeeze the hell out of there, that's what my grandma always told me.

It's been great having a spot to share with you - and give me an excuse to talk to different artists and those who have been drawn on. I'll still be talking to people about their ink, I just won't be handing out my card and telling them to send me pictures (dirty or otherwise). 

Until next time - stay rad and feel free to stalk me keep in touch on Facebook. Also, if you're in to queer lady pop culture & music, you can find my (usually) weekly podcast here.

Yours in whiskey,

Mia
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Tattoos: Happy Birthday April 13!

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Today's blog post is sponsored by, Eikon Devices. Find tattoo machines from EikonDevices.com!

I am still basking in the glow of my experience at the Florence show last night. The drunken fools in front of me who smelled like a bad Korean barbecue were lucky I was in a good mood, otherwise I would've kung-fu chopped their neither regions for coming very close to elbowing me in the head every two seconds.

Anywho we are here to celebrate - and not only is today my friend Faye's birthday - it is also Ricky Schroeder's. There are no tattoos of him that I could find and he has turned into a Republican nutbag to go along with the poster-child for Hitler's army look he's rocked so hard since his Silver Spoon days. Still, I loved that show - so I have to put something up in his honor:

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Time to nurse this hangover - be back shortly with some awesome sewing/knitting-themed tats.

Tattoos: Happy Birthday April 12!

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Today's blog post is sponsored by, Eikon Devices. Find tattoo machines from EikonDevices.com!

Tonight I could not be more pumped to see Florence & The Machine (eventhough it's at the House of Blues and in terms of venues it is one of my least favorite ever). Before I put my dance pants on though - I wanted to wish the April 12th birthdays a very happy healthy one - especially to that bitch Shannen Doherty. I am a little bit taken aback that no pop culture fan has posted an image of themselves with an "All Hail Queen Brenda Walsh" tattoo. But no, some bitch out there fails at being the best they can be. Someone needs to get this tattoo - and they have to get it with Comic Sans:

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So, no one has a Brenda Walsh tattoo but someone has a very nice tribute to the Partridge Family (something is not right with this world). Everyone's favorite Partridge and the one with the most plastic surgery, David Cassidy, is celebrating his birthday today.

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Next up is a man who, like Ed Westwick, makes me rethink my lesbian membership. Well not really - they both kind of look like pretty soft butches. Brendan Urie, the lead cutie for Panic! at The Disco is 23 today. He also has good taste in ink.

Brendan Urie

Also, Brendan was just featured in a fun Butch Walker video promoting Walker's upcoming release.

Speaking of crushes, it's Claire Danes's birthday today. Man, my young teenage years were spent pining after Angela Chase as she pined after Jordan Catalano. When she felt pain, I felt pain. I would've even settled for Rayanne Graff. Danes eventually lost points with me for being a home-wrecker, but for also crying in a really ugly way during Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet


Happy birthday to everyone celebrating today! If any of you are going to the Florence concert, look out for me and say hello!

Tattoos: Happy Birthday April 9th

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Today's blog post is sponsored by, Eikon Devices. Find tattoo machines from EikonDevices.com!

Today is a very special day in both star land and in my world. One of my lil sisters is officially legal to drink! When I texted her this morning to wish her a happy birthday she replied with , "FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK I am so hungover and I have to go to class," so obviously she is following in her big sister's footsteps.

Other peeps celebrating their birthday April 9th:

Hugh Hefner is like 3,000 years old today and still getting more ass than a toilet seat. Way to go buddy.

Playboy Bunny


Leighton Meester is not only hot, she also gets paid to make out with probably the only dude I'd give my lesbian card up for - Ed Westwick. Here she's showing off one of her tattoos:

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I have finally succumb to the madness that is the Twilight series. The first one I had to be drunk for but I watched the second one this past weekend and I have to say - I actually really enjoyed it. More than any of that though, I saw The Runaways and had never been attracted to a mullet until Kristen Stewart stepped on screen. The starlet turns 20 today.

Twilight


I'm not one to watch straight porn (sooooo boring, but not as boring as lesbian porn) but I am one to celebrate when a porn star is Jewish (I get that from my mother). It was my mom, in fact, who texted me one day and said, "Did you know Jenna Jameson is Jewish?"

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Also worth noting: Keisha Knight Pullium, Rudy from The Cosby Show, super hot right now.

New Feature Whenever Possible!! Birthday Tattoos

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Homeboys and Homegirls, I am pleased to announce that the two braincells I have left have decided to make love and come up with an idea worthy of trying out. Today is the first day I'm going to attempt to share Tattoos of Celebrities Whose Birthday It Is! I hope you read that with a big booming voice in your head and a pregnant pause after each word. If you didn't, go back and re-read that shit.

Today's celebrity birthdays only produced two tattoos but one of them reminds me so much of my childhood that if I could only post one - it would be this:

Biz Markie, that gigantic Gummy Bear of a human beatbox, turns 46 today.

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Also another year older and another year hotter? Anouk. I have no clue if I like her voice or just her face/her own tattoos. That is neither here nor there. Happy birthday beautiful!

anouk


Becky's Dope Music Robot Tattoo

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Oh man, my head hurts. I was at a surprise party last night for a dear friend of mine (no, not Jack Daniels) and had a bit too much celebration. Thankfully I was there to experience the night with some of my very favorite readers of this blog. One of you, and you know who you are, had the night's best quote (about me). "You're not A drunk, you just GET drunk." Thank you my friend. Hopefully the floor isn't too sticky where I spilled my drinks all night long.

So, let's get to what we came here for shall we? Last Thursday, I was doing what I do best (getting drunk) and met Becky. She had a KILLER tattoo of a music-loving robot. Obviously I needed to get that on this site and she was nice enough to send it my way. All I know is that it was done somewhere near Lyons Township (or at least that's what the alcohol made me believe).

Music Robot

SO dope! Also dope, the album just put out by Jonsi (of Sigur Ros). Stream it in its entirety!


Tattoos from The State of Brotherly Love

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

My friend Tony (not Danza, though he and I are tight) just went to the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention and he had such a great time that he used only exclamation points about it in his email to me.

In general I am a bit leery of these conventions pretty much only because I do not look like a pin-up girl. Also, I haven't been able to cross my legs since 1991 so you won't find me swinging from any stripper poles.

This convention looked pretty good though. Sure, there were the usual suspect girls, but there seemed to be a nice mix of other "regular" people as well. Here are some of the highlights (in my opinion):

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

View the gallery...

Two Words: Slow Loris

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

This is not a tattoo post - I just need to know what I can do to get my hands on a slow loris. This thing is so damn cute I can't take it.

Bea Celebrates Her Many Sides

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Fresh Ink reader, Bea, isn't from Chicago but she's got a lot of impressive tattoos and is a drummer (I can't say no to drummers). She resides in Jacksonville, Florida and if you're lucky enough to live there and are going to the Blues Fest this year, you can see her performing with her band Willie Randolph.

Originally, she had sent me a picture of her Frog Prince tattoo:

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She said that there isn't much of a story behind this tat but that she's always wanted a frog and the Prince Charming thing is more of a nod to how she treats her significant others. Cute. It was done by David Cavalcante at Inksmith and Rogers Tattoo.

When I checked out her myspace page I came across a bunch of other tats, one of which blew me away:

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This portrait of Louie Armstrong is one of the best I've seen so far. Seriously cool shit with great attention to detail in the shading.

The day Bea got in touch with me, she was going to get another tat - a cassette tape (which you know I love because I got one about nine months ago). Hers says "Tapes" - her favorite Alanis Morisette song.

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Pretty badass. It seems as though Bea has a big love for the ink so who knows, we may see more from her in the future.

Tapes - Alanis Morissette

Intelligent Design on Pablo's Arm

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

The sexy arm you see below belongs to Pablo. Pablo was on the market to get his first tattoo so I sent him over to Chicago Tattoo to visit Dave McNair due to his fantastic line work.

Since I am no scholar (unless it's the study of crispy snacks, Subway salads or The Real World seasons 1 - 17) I had to have him explain the significance of what is now inked onto his arm.

It is a Quincunx, a geometric pattern that some thinkers in the early modern period considered was present in all of nature: skin, leaves, wood, stones, but also art. To them it was evidence of the intelligent design in nature.

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There you have it folks, it's the thinking man's tattoo - which is super sexy.
Here are some tunes to get you through the rest of the day:

The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
Laura Marling - Alpha Swallows
Beck's Record Club - Guns in The Sky (INXS cover)
Chew Lips - Seven (Labyrinth Jackals Remix)


Couple Getting Inked to Raise Money for Wedding

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

$20 won't get you a lot these days but it WILL get you a place in history within the hearts and on the skin of an engaged couple from River Grove. For a measly Ben Franklin, the couple will tattoo your name on their bodies. They're putting the cap at $5,000 for their dream wedding but anything above that amount will go to Cancer Charities (may I recommend the ABTA?).

The WGN news team pitched in $20 - you'd think they'd at least be able to give them a Skilling Snuggie as well. If you're feeling like being generous, you can visit their Facebook page or email Deena directly.

 

A Local Gets Her Imperfect Spine Vine

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Yvonne is not just a badass friend of mine, she is also the lead singer/guitarist in Chicago indie-rock band, The Locals. She's got a sharp sense of humor and the best interpretive dance moves on this side of the Atlantic!

This past weekend, Yvonne got some new ink and sent it my way with a little note attached that said, "It's my perfectly imperfect spine."

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I have a herniated disc l4/l5.  It's a pretty common injury (got it from lifting amps the wrong way for years). They even say that a large percentage of people over the age of 20 actually have them and don't even know it. For some people they have an incident, get pain, then just do some rehab and it gets better in a couple of months, and then there are others (myself included) that have chronic pain from it. So I'll be fine then twist the wrong way and bang, massive muscle spasms, terrible pain and all I can do is lay on the floor for like two days.There really is no good explanation as to why some people continue to have pain and others don't.

It got the point over the last year that I was pretty much in some low level of pain all the time. Standing, sitting, sleeping, it had just become a dull ache all the time.

So because I am a special hybrid of hippy dippy and neurotic virgo, I started researching alternative ways to handle this and WHY it continues for me. I've never been good with "that's just the way it is" as an answer, fuck that.

I found a book about chronic back pain "Curing Back Pain Forever", (here comes the hippy dippy part) and it gave me some amazing insights about the power we have over our own physiology specifically as it pertains to chronic back pain. In fact the last time I had a back "episode" I was laying on the floor listening to this book on tape and started doing some of the meditations and breathing exercises. So long story short. I have almost all but eliminated my chronic back pain. I have one small spot that is holding out on me (resistance is futile, i will defeat it!), but I have a very real sense that I will never be laying on the floor again unable to move.

I could be TOTALLY insane and wrong, but 5 months so far so good.

My new ink is about that. It's nothing or it's everything depending on where I put it in my mind. Wavy, off center vertebrae are just what they are. Sort of like wavy off center people.

I think it's just lovely. You know what else is lovely? SEEING THEM LIVE! When you go, make sure you bring an extra set of undies and bras to throw on stage.

My Tattoo Blog Crush Gives Good Interview

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Not only do I think Marisa Kakoulas DiMattia runs a fantastic blog, Needles and Sins, but it turns out she's a bloody Mary connoisseur much like myself. Marisa, if you're ever in Chicago - you, me, bloody Marys on a patio for Sunday funday.

A few weeks ago, she gave a really fantastic interview to Adam Callen from BodyMod.org. Marisa is a heavily tattooed lawyer and has been sought out to answer questions regarding tattoos, discrimination and employment.


Interview with Marisa Kakoulas from BodyMod on Vimeo.


I'm not so sure how I feel about the dude's use of the term "retards" but the point he was getting at is solid. You can't just cry discrimination and make up some shit about your religion in order to just do whatever you want.

I think, if anything, we should be very happy to be living in the internet age. Many jobs don't require strict dress codes  or the need to meet face-to-face with clients. Part of getting a job is adhering to the rules of your employer though - and you can't just sue every time someone makes you take out your lip ring (eventhough I cried about it once back in my days of waitressing).

Tank Girl Off The Pages Onto Skin

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Tank Girl is pretty much the baddest bitch around. Not only is the comic book wicked, but Lori Petty brought that hotness to life on the big screen. It is only fitting that Tank Girl's persona would live on forever etched into the body parts of those who love her.



Also rad right now:

Marina and the Diamonds - Mowglis Road
BBU - C.H.I.C.A.G.O.
Free Energy - Hope Child (I interviewed these guys last week and they were very sweet despite my being incredibly hungover)
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Round and Round
Wampire - Magic Light
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes- Home

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

View the gallery...

Corey Haim You Will Be Missed

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

This tattoo blog is taking a break to remember the life of my favorite Corey, Corey Haim, who was found dead of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 38. This news, while it doesn't surprise me, is so incredibly sad. Let's be honest, anyone who tuned in to even five minutes of The Two Coreys could see he was in pain and in need of some serious help. That's not the way I want to remember him. I want to remember him as this young kid looking forward to a better life - who was really into Japanese pop funk music. Rest in peace Corey - you will be missed and you will be remembered.


Tattoos of Boobs/Boob Tattoos

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

A friend of mine sent me a picture on Facebook that I find both gross and awesome. Grossly awesome? It's a dude with a woman tattooed on his chest and her nipple (I HATE that word) lines up with his so as to make the tattoo's boob look more realistic. If that doesn't make sense, here it is in all its glory:

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Judging by the molestache he's rocking and the way in which his tattoo is clutching her breast - he is one klassy fellow. He's not alone though, there are others who have either decided to get a tattoo of boobs/about boobs, and others who have gotten their boobs tatted in either hilarious or creepy ways. If you have any more, send em on over.


Gallery sneak peek (5 images):

View the gallery...

Ask the Artist: Nick Colella Answers a Reader's Questions

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Chicago Tattoo's Nick Colella answers another reader's questions:

Is there a particular moisturizer you think works best after getting a tat and is there a soap I should stay away from?

I like original fragrance-free Lubriderm personally, but really any fragrance-free water based hand lotion will work fine.  You want to stay away from fragrances and lotions with a lot of extra ingredients.  Most importantly you want to keep your tattoo clean and dry, and apply your lotion very sparingly throughout the day.

 
With the summer coming up, how long should I wait before I get in a swimming pool after getting a tat? What about trying to get a tan?

The first 2 weeks are the most important for the healing. I recommend no sun or swimming for that time.

 
Are there any tattoo magazines you read or that you think are rad?

Tattoo magazines used to be a lot better than they are today, they used to be more selective in the pictures they print, and who they interviewed, so they're aren't really any magazines that I buy on a regular basis. Skin and Ink usually has a decent tattoo history section, and Tattoo Collector Magazine is the best out there but its hard to find.

Jessie Barber Photography Love

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

I was going through Flickr a few months ago, marveling at both the photography and the different tattoos on display. One caught my eye because it is not only beautiful photography but it is an homage to beautiful photography.

Jessie Barber (visit her site because it is really badass and I basically want to hang out with every person she's ever taken a picture of) is a photographer with a good amount of ink. The old school Polaroid Land Camera 100 tattoo she has on her upper thigh is just beautiful. It was done by Scott Santee at Metamorph Tattoo and as you can see, he captured the image brilliantly.

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I'm Baaaack!!

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

I'm back from a great (albeit shitty-weather) week in Florida. My grandma is just as cute as when she left, my Scrabble has improved, I am now the proud owner of a royal blue terrycloth romper...life is good.

I didn't get too many souvenirs for myself so I think it would be totally harmless to pick up today's hot $10 t-shirt from RiptApparel. Of course, if any of you want to pick one up for me, I'd
let you.
 


You've only got 15 hours left to get one of these, so spend wisely grasshoppers.

Here are some music links to keep your ears busy while I go through the 653 emails I have in my inbox now that I'm back to work.

Shearwater - Baby's On Fire (Brian Eno cover)
Ted Leo - The Mighty Sparrow
Glasser - Tremel
Field Music - Each Time Is A New Time
Friendly Fires vs. Holy Ghost!  - On Board

Reminder: Tonight, Quimby's, Amelia Klem Osterud

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

It's Friday and I'm about to get my ass on a plane to Florida to visit the coolest woman in all the land, my grandma. Before I leave I will be headed to Quimby's in Wicker Park to see Amelia Klem Osterud, author of The Tattooed Lady. If you haven't picked up your copy yet, tonight is the perfect night to go!

The Tattooed Lady

By the way in case you're looking for me, this is what I look like today (and every day but you don't have to know that I wear the same hoodies constantly).

Mia Today


It being almost the weekend and all (and me not updating at all next week) you know I've got to leave you with some jams. So my pretties, here you are, enjoy:

We Are The World - Clay Stones (Turbotito Remix)

Wild Beasts - Still Got The Taste Dancing On our Tongues (Gatekeeper Gregorian Disco Edit)

Phenomenal Handclap Band - Baby

Strange Boys - Laugh at Sex, Not Her

Butterfly Bones - Heart

Telepathe - Devils Trident Big Pink

Augmented Reality Brings Tattoos to Life

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Welcome back from the weekend and happy belated Valentines Day my little tattoo lovers. My weekend consisted of errands and then laying on the couch due to my Boo not feeling well enough to celebrate this very important Hallmark holiday.

In some pretty cool tattoo news an Argentinian company, Think An App, has come up with a way to code a tattoo so that when seen on camera, a new animated form shows up. See the video below and maybe put your own music on because there is no sound.




Yes, the tattoo itself leaves much to be desired and the animated dragon could also use some work but this is just a demo. In fact, I'm not even positive the tattoo itself is permanent. But, when all is said and done, this is pretty cool - it's like every geek boy's fantasy come to life. Eventually I'm guessing they'll make technology so that your tattoo can battle the tattoo of the guy who just cut in front of you at the bar. Your tattoo might be so bold as to ask out the tattoo of the lovely lady you've had your eye on but have just been too shy to chat up. It's like real life Pokemon/Sims - but for your tattoo!!

What do you think - would you get one of these if they gussied up the technology? If so - what kind of animated character do you think you'd get? Mine, would easily be a rock starlet.

Skinhead Tattoos & The Douche with Many of Them

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Needles & Sins put up a very interesting post yesterday regarding skinheads their tattoos and more importantly, tattooing skinheads. The video below was attached and I'm sure you'll recognize the man with the abundance of neo-Nazi facial tattoos (as seen on WTF Mugshots).

The final still from this video is absolutely frightening.


Ask the Artist: Nick Colella Answers a Reader's Questions

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Good day to all of you (I started to write "morning" but then figured you may be reading this at another hour of the day and I didn't want you to feel left out). On Tuesday I told you to send in your questions for tattoo artist, Nick Colella, to answer questions you may have about tattoos. The questions can be about the process, design, aftercare - you name it, he'll try to answer it.

Fresh Ink reader, Kristen, wrote in with two really great questions (Nick's answers in italics):

First, how much is a good tip?  If an artist does a good job, I'd like to let them know it and not come off like a cheap-skate.

Tipping is customary in tattooing, yet many people either don't know to tip or just aren't accustomed to it.  Since it is a service business we recommend treating it like you would at a hair salon or when you go to a restaurant. The tattooers as a rule work on commission-based pay so any extra is very much appreciated. **

My second question is about ink colors on darker skin.  I know that as a person of color, my options are limited, but do you have any suggestions or alternatives to the standard black, red, and green?

Dark skin is something I personally have not had any issues tattooing, but there are some things that should be considered before you choose your colors.  Tattoo pigment is transparent so it will take in the color of your skin before it shows that's why colors show brighter on light skin as opposed to dark.  You are not limited to the standard red, green, and yellow just realize that the lighter colors and colors with a lot of white in them, such as pink or light yellows, will have problems showing clearly.

I hope these helped answer your questions Kristen! Also, where I put the  ** I'd like to make a note. Keep in mind that when you go to a shop, you are getting something permanent, so the work these artists do will make a much more lasting impression than the surf and turf your waiter served you (let's hope so at least). Everyone's budgets are different so I know that Nick and I would never tell you to go beyond your means. But, if you've got money to say thanks for a job well done to your artist, it will most certainly be appreciated.

Please feel free to send in more questions for Nick - and I have a feeling my boy Sarvas would answer any piercing questions  you might have too. thatssochubby (at) gmail (dot) com

More Low-Lifes Tattooing Kids (not even their own)

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Some shmuck in Louisville, Ohio has been arrested for "allegedly" tattooing a 1-year-old girl.

Lee Deitrick, 20, is accused of putting the non-removable tattoo on the child's backside while she was visiting his house with a female relative in November. Deitrick is not the girl's father.

This is apparently a third-degree felony and he could get up to five years in prison. Excuse me but in my eyes that isn't enough. First of all, we don't know the condition of the needles he used or the ink itself. Secondly, part of me thinks this could be a case of not just assault but also molestation. The kid isn't even old enough to know their ABC's and this bastard has scarred her for life.

I'm really rather liberal politically but crimes against children are inexcusable and should be punished to the maximum. My only hope is that his ass gets some unwanted tattooing of its own when he gets to prison.

Had to Share: Winkers

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Holy shitballs. I'd like 1 in each theme and color, thank you.

Got Tattoo Questions? We've Got Answers

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Alright folks, now is the time to ask all of those tattoo questions you've had building up in your brains saved up for a rainy day (or a super snowy day, as is the case in Chicago today). My pal, Nick Colella, has been kind enough to field any questions you may have (within reason that might be able to be explained via the written word and sight unseen) about tattoos. This can be about after-care, design, cover-ups, positions (sexual and otherwise).

Now, think of those questions and either email me at thatssochubby (at) gmail (dot) com or leave them in the comments area. If you need some inspiration, listen to the new album from Local Natives, "Gorrila Manor".


Guest Blog: Adventures in Tattoo Removal

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

My guest blogger, and new BFF, Brad is back with another installment of his tale of tattoo removal.

Part 2: Adventures in Tattoo Removal

OK, ouch.

Now that I have that out of the way, I had my first Q switch laser session to remove the dreaded 90's tribal arm band on Tuesday. For those of you who are thinking about erasing some of your ink for whatever reason, I'll do my best to describe the process, so that you will be a more informed consumer and know what you're getting yourself into.

The first step is finding a place to have it done. Considering how many tattoo shops there are in the city, you have very few options when it comes to removal. After a Google and Yelp search, and a recommendation from Nick Collela at Chicago Tattoo while Mia was getting her gorgeous pin up (SO jealous!), I narrowed it down to 3 contenders: The Reymar Clinic in Chicago, Dr. Memar in Chicago, and The Ritacca Laser Center in Vernon Hills. There were a couple of others, but I had either heard bad things about them or they were inconvenient to get to. I had a hard time scheduling an appointment with Dr. Memar's office, so I decided to narrow my search to the remaining two options.

A Yelp reviewer described The Reymar Clinic thusly: "I was told to go to a laser clinic called Reymar in Halstead Chicago and said that they do great work in a ghetto neighborhood and it is cheap too". Ok, I thought, I like cheap, and although I am a north side gay white boy, I'm no Chris Parker in "Adventures in Babysitting"! I can do this. So I made an appointment and off I went.

Guess what? Maybe I AM Chris Parker. This place reminded me of a 1970's era free clinic. The doors were locked when I arrived for my appointment. Not a good sign. I called and when someone answered, they told me to go around back. I walked in the back door, looked around, clutched my pearls and my smelling salts, walked out, got back into my car, and sped home. I'm cheap, but not that cheap. On to the next choice. (On a side note, when I checked Yelp today, they said that The Reymar Clinic was closed. Readers, I'm not surprised)

My next appointment was at the Ritacca Laser Center in Vernon Hills. It's a Medi Spa, meaning that they do lots of cosmetic procedures like Botox, facial peels, Restylane, and the like. It was clean, the staff was professional, they explained everything clearly, and I decided to have the procedure there. There were some mixed reviews on Yelp, but I didn't feel like checking out every single place in the city, and Vernon Hills isn't that far from where I work.

During my consultation, one of Dr. Ritacca's assistants explained the lasering process to me. Basically, the laser light breaks up the ink in the tattoo into microscopic particles, which are then absorbed into the body and eventually excreted. In order to keep the integrity of the skin and not scar, it takes multiple sessions to achieve the results, which according to them, are not a complete erasure of the tattoo, but more of a fading, as though you had a mild bruise. Older tattoos respond better than new ones, so yay for me, since my armband had faded a lot in the 12 or so years I have had it. Black ink fades first, then red, then blues and greens, so if you have a lot of color, it will take more sessions and a longer time to fade. Again, yay for me since it's all black.

The sessions are spaced every 3 months, to allow the skin to heal in between, so if you have a big colorful tattoo, you're looking at a lot of time and money. My sessions are $225 each, but that varies, depending on the size of area being treated, and they estimate that I will need at least 3 sessions to see substantial fading. I did some online research, and this seemed to be in alignment with what other places were saying, so I felt comfortable with having Dr. Ritacca do it. That's another really important consideration- who will actually be doing the lasering? A medical assistant? Nurse? Janitor? I liked that a doctor was doing the work himself. And off we went....

So's you go in, and your first choice is numbed or not numbed. According to Dr. Ritacca, topical numbing creams containing lidocaine aren't effective, so if you want to pay an additional $25, they will inject you and numb the site. Remember the part when I said I like cheap? Guess which option I chose? Not numb? You are correct, sir! Partly because I AM a cheap ass, partially for you, gentle reader. Yes, I did it for you.

So they fire up the old Q switch laser and begin. The whole lasering process took less than 2 minutes, thank goodness, because it did smart. A lot. Imagine getting tattooed. Triple the discomfort. That's laser tattoo removal. I have a pretty high pain threshold, and I got thru it just fine, but if you don't, get numbed. That being said, I'll probably skip it again myself next time too. In for a penny, in for a pound....

The treated area turns white when the laser hits it, and you feel a heat and a prickly, stabbing sensation. Once the treatment is done, it tingles a bit but doesn't hurt. They bandage you up, give you care instructions, and off you go. You have to keep the treated area bandaged for 7 days, and apply a bacatracin type ointment twice a day, and then you're good to go till the next session. Does it look different right away? Maybe a little, but it's supposed to fade with time, so we'll see what it looks like in a few weeks. I know, kind of anticlimactic, right? Oh well. I'll send some pictures for you to see. I didn't blister or scab, and it's been 3 days, so so far so good. I'll keep everyone informed as the entire process continues.

My next appointment is in May, so this is Brad, your intrepid tattoo removal reporter, signing off for now...

Tattoo You: Tattoo Benefit for the Red Door Shelter

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Hey folks, there's another great tattoo fundraiser happening at Insight Studios (just remember to be very careful when you park and don't leave ANYTHING including your pornography laying out for people to steal).

February 20, 2010 - February 21, 2010
Now is the time for you to get the tattoo or piercing you've been thinking about! Insight Studios will donate all the money raised these two days to the animals at Red Door. Insight Studios [1062 N. Milwaukee, Chicago] does custom-designed work.For more info go to www.reddoorshelter.org or www.insightstudios.com

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Guest Blog: Brad's Breaking Up With His Tat

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

According to laser manufacturer Candela, more than 100,000 Americans will have a tattoo removed this year. This is the story of one of those procedures.

I'm breaking up with one of my tattoos tomorrow. Although it no longer means to me what it did over 10 years ago when I got it, I'm still feeling a bit of, oh, I don't know, guilt maybe? No, that's not exactly right, although a very nice man spent over an hour on it and I feel bad erasing his hard work. I'm not embarrassed by it, not exactly. OK, maybe a little. I'll explain why in a minute. I AM looking forward to what will replace it, but me and my tat have had some good times together and tomorrow a doctor will be blasting him away with a powerful laser. So maybe guilty is the best way to describe how I feel. It's sort of like a relationship that I thought would last a lifetime and, after some time together and some great memories, we have outgrown each other. Or more to the point, I have outgrown my partner, and I'm about to replace him with something younger, fresher, and more colorful. A trophy tattoo, if you will. Well, at least we never had children......

So what is this egregious symbol of my youthful folly that I'm having whacked? It's a tribal armband. Wait, wait, don't judge, there's a back-story. Not a very good one, I admit, but at least let me explain. It was the 90's. Surely I get some kind of special dispensation for getting the most clichéd tattoo of that decade. OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, I also have some kanji - the other most clichéd tattoo. So maybe you CAN judge. But I actually like the kanji, even though I did forget what a couple of them meant (there's a great story about how I got a cute guy to ask a Chinese coworker to read them for me. Buy me a drink sometime and I'll tell you). So my story begins where so many regretful 90's era stories begin, with the boy bands.....

N Sync, 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, you know the names if you were of music listening, video watching age back then.



For every Justin Timberlake that escaped that decade, there are dozens of Nick Lachey's that never did. I personally was not a huge fan, but I did notice, at some point, that a lot of the cute guys at my gym were sporting these very sexy tattoos across their biceps and I can only guess that they were inspired by these hot, muscular performers splashed all across the media. I admit, I DID think Nick and his brother were very cute, and it sparked an interest in getting my first tattoo. Surely, if I thought that they were sexy, other people would see mine and think that I was sexy too. So this whole thing maybe started on a bad note from the beginning, but I have a feeling, supported by watching a lot of Miami and LA Ink episodes, that for every meaningful, well thought out tattoo, there have to be a dozen ill conceived, spur of the moment designs that the owner will at some point look down and think "What the hell was I thinking".

So my tattoo was once in fashion, and now feels a little dated. I don't try to cover it up or anything, but I no longer find it all that sexy anymore. And more to the point, I want to get something that means more to me, and that is more representative of my likes and interests. A vampire girl pin up. There you go judging again.....I thought about doing a cover-up on it, incorporating it into a larger design, but tribal band cover-ups are tricky at best, and it just seems more aesthetically pleasing to start with a blank canvas. So tomorrow, I have an appointment at the Ritacca Laser Center in Vernon Hills for my first laser session, and after 2 or 3 of those, I will be seeing Nick Colella for my Vampirella design. Mia asked me to describe the process of laser tattoo removal, so I'll be sharing the experience with all of you, in the hopes that my pain enlightens, informs, and maybe makes you think twice before getting something trendy. Learn from my mistakes. Today's hot topic might be tomorrow's tribal arm band.

The Tattooed Lady: Book Review

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Mia

Music + whiskey + tattoos= me



Some of you may remember a post from a while back where I mention Amelia Klem Osterud's book, The Tattooed Lady. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and have had a hard time putting it down. In fact, I am a naturally slow reader, but it has taken me about four times as long to get through this gorgeous work because the pictures are fascinating to look at.

A book like this could have very easily been dry - simply relying on the images to move the reader along. Osterud does a great job of pairing imagery with words and takes the reader through the history of tattooed ladies (and the men behind them).

These are the Rosie the Riveters that I connect with and it's great to have their stories documented. Osterud will be signing copies of her book at Quimby's in Wicker Park, Friday, Feb. 19th, 7pm, (1854 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL) - I know a few of you will be in attendance along with me. Pick up a copy of the book for someone you love (or for yourself because hopefully you love yourself too). The photographs are great for the coffee table and the history (like how Winston Churchill's mother was herself tattooed) will give you great tidbits to be the life of any party.

Osterud was recently on a Ripley Radio (P)Oddcast - if you're interested in a good listen. 






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