Celebrity Tattoo of the Day (Bad ‘Habits’ Edition): Tove Lo


While 2014 in the music industry has been dominated by some less than inspiring acts (I’m specifically referring to Iggy Azalea), it has introduced several new performers who show considerable potential because of intriguing lyrics and appealing styles.  One of those new names to make waves this year is Swedish pop star Tove Lo.

ToveLo_Pic02    Born Tove Nilsson, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tove Lo always felt the juices of artistic creativity flowing through her veins.  She grew up writing poetry and short stories, a talent that would serve her well when she turned to music.  For a little while, Tove was a member of a band called Tremblebee.  She eventually went solo to focus on her own singing and song-writing endeavors.

ToveLo_Pic05    Tove’s career took a big step forward when she started working with song-writing kingmaker, Max Martin.  Tove’s narrative talents allowed her to write good songs for many acts.  Among the performers who have benefited from Tove’s storytelling are Icona Pop, Girls Aloud and Lea Michele.

ToveLo_Pic04    Efforts in song-writing notwithstanding, Tove also had desires to get in front of the microphone.  Her debut album, “Truth Serum”, was released in 2012.  It included tracks like “Love Ballad” and “Out of Mind”.


Tove getting the ‘Royal’ treatment

“Truth Serum” also contained another song that is destined to put Tove on the map.  “Habits (Stay High)” is a catchy, yet painfully emotional, song about the self-destructive behaviors one woman is putting herself through to forget a bad breakup.  The accompanying music video gives a powerful perspective on Tove playing the role of the distraught ex-girlfriend.  Taking part in that video was a draining experience for her.  “Habits” had been simmering in the lower-levels of the Billboard Hot 100 until it started getting heavier airplay.  It now sits at #23 and is rising quickly.

ToveLo_Pic01    Later this fall, “Habits” will be repackaged as a track on Tove’s first major album release, “Queen of the Clouds”.  With her strong song-writing skills and emotional vocals, Tove should be around for awhile.

ToveLo_Pic03    It is not difficult to see how much Tove loves tattoos.  Elaborate illustrations are visible on her left upper arm and right forearm (both are by painter Mark Ryden).  The design on her right forearm is a flaming heart with an eye in the center.

ToveLo_Tat05ToveLo_Tat04   On her left upper arm, she has an intriguing female caricature.  It is her most noticeable tattoo and her favorite.

ToveLo_Tat02ToveLo_Tat01ToveLo_Tat0ToveLo_Tat06ToveLo_Tat07    On the front her right collarbone, Tove has a design of a scorpion.  No doubt, it is inspired by her sign, which is Scorpio (She was born on October 29th).  Interestingly enough, she professes to seriously disliking it (I think it’s well done and fits her public persona).

ToveLo_Tat03You can get more info on Tove at her official website:  http://www.tove-lo.com/

You can follow her on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/iamtovelo

You can catch her on Instagram at:  http://instagram.com/iamtovelo



Tattoos in Real Life: My Fourth Tattoo (Tattoo Convention Edition)

DC_TattooExpo_Logo     As I have only been a fan of tattoos for a little over two years, the opportunities for me to attend a tattoo convention have been very few.  I nearly overlooked this year’s DC Tattoo Expo.  However, courtesy of a good friend who knows of love of tattoos, and is a fan of my blog, I learned of it early enough to make plans to go.

4th_Tattoo_12     As this was the first tattoo convention I would be attending, I wanted to try to get tattooed there, if possible.  Since my regular artist, Danny Sebastian of Raw Ink, would not be attending the show, I needed to find an artist at the show that met two criteria:  1.)  They had a portfolio of designs that was in line with the types of colorful, symbolic tattoos I like, and 2.)  They actually had available slots on the day I went.

     I saw a number of great artists, from all over the country, showing off their work (including the wonderful charity tattoo organization Tattoos Cure Cancer).  However, most of them were booked through the end of the day, or did not have styles I liked.  Finally, I came across the booth for Twysted Imagez Tattoo Studio.  Yes, the acronym is T.I.T.S. (‘tats from T.I.T.S.’?   awesome).

4th_Tattoo_01     One of their artists, Dre, who had just recently joined their studio, had an open slot available to bring my desire to have a Libra symbol (I was born in October) inked on my leg into reality. (I should add that I wanted this symbol to have some character to it, not look like a static Omega symbol with a bar underneath it)

4th_Tattoo_11     Dre came up with a nice design of a stylized Libra symbol that used multiple colors and shading to create a textured, three-dimensional tattoo.  As an added bonus, Twysted’s booth was set up right next to the stage where Expo’s tattoo competition was taking place.  So, I got to watch that while I was under the needle.

DC_TattooExpo_2014_021    Below are photos that show the progression of the tattoo experience (keeping with my long-stated policy of recording getting inked.  I believe this is as important as the final result, and encourage everyone to do it).



Dre applying the outline


First layer of color going in


First layer complete


Final layer of color being added


The finished product. Dre absolutely nailed it with giving me the kind of tattoo I was looking for.

Here are a few more photos of the finished product.

4th_Tattoo_064th_Tattoo_044th_Tattoo_04    It is only proper that it shares space on my right calf with my Celtic Shamrock tattoo.  The Shamrock is my absolute favorite tattoo and, now, my Libra tattoo is my second favorite.  As can happen with tattoos, my skin has kicked out some of the color.  In about a month’s time, I will return to the studio (located in Alexadria, VA) for a touch-up.

     It just feels great to have gone under the needle four times for tattoos and it have a 4-0 record with tattoos that I absolutely love.  Not one single regret.  I’m already thinking of what I will get next  :-D.

You can find out about Twysted Imagez at their website:  http://www.twystidimagez.com/


Athlete Tattoo of the Day: Amanda Beard

ABeard_Pic01     The 1996 Olympic Summer Games were notable for many reasons.  First, the Summer Games has returned to the U.S. for the first time since Los Angeles in 1984. Second, it was the Centennial, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympiad.  Third, there were some notable accomplishments, including runner Michael Johnson winning dual gold medals in the 200m and 400m races and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team winning the all around team Gold Medal for the first time in the event’s history.  Finally, we were introduced to a variety of endearing new personalities, including swimmer Amanda Beard.

ABeard_Pic07     Amanda, who was just 14 years old when she competed in the Atlanta Games, quickly wowed fans by securing a Gold Medal in the 4x100m medley relay and winning individual Silver Medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events.  She then proceeded to win the hearts of all spectators by her adorable antics on the medal platform, including clutching her ubiquitous teddy bear, Harold (strangely, as famous as that image is, I have been completely unsuccessful in finding it anywhere).

ABeard_Pic05     1996 was not a ‘flash in the pan’ moment for the young California swimmer.  It served notice that she would be a force for years to come on the international stage and in the Olympic Games.  True to form, Amanda competed again in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.  1 Gold, 2 more Silvers a 1 Bronze joined her collection at those competitions.  She gained more medals (including 3 Golds) in international competition.

ABeard_Pic03    Outside of her competitive endeavors, Amanda embraced a modeling career.  Magazines such as FHM and Sports Illustrated, which are well known for featuring the athletic female form, sought out Amanda to pose in their pages.  In 2006, Amanda posed in the annual ‘Swimsuit Edition’ of Sports Illustrated.  One year later, she showed her comfort in showing off her body with a provocative nude spread in Playboy.

ABeard_Pic04     In addition to modeling, Amanda chose to stay close to the sporting arena when she joined Fox Sports’ “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” to cover major events, such as the Olympics.   More recently, she embarked on her greatest endeavor when she became a mother for the first time after giving birth to her son, Blaise Ray Brown, in 2009.

ABeard_Pic06    Despite her successes athletically, life has been anything but a leisurely swim in the pool for Amanda.  As a student in school, she struggled with a mild form of dyslexia.  However, it was when she became a big name that she endured her biggest battles.  While a collegiate swimmer at the University of Arizona, she dealt with bulimia nervosa, brought about by pressures to adhere to a body image and was not realistic.  This was due, in part, to some of her modeling photos being airbrushed in a such a way that is she felt compelled to match this artificial image in real life.  She ended up also fighting depression, self-mutilation and substance abuse.

    Amanda became a life success story, one worthy of imitating, because she faced down these problems and came out healthy on the other side.  More importantly, she didn’t face this struggle silently.  She knew her own experiences were ones that many other women have had to contend with, and she sought to help them by chronicling her life, highs and lows and, in her autobiography, “In the Water, They Can’t See You Cry”.

ABeard_Pic02      One thing that has been readily apparent over the years is Amanda’s love of body art.  She has quite a few tattoos, some with family meaning, others to signify important memories in her life.  One of her most notable tattoos is a set of three stars on her lower back.  Inside each star is an initial.  The initials are L, A, and T.  They represent Amanda and her sisters, Leah and Taryn.

ABeard_Tat02   On the upper part of her back, she has the symbol for Scorpio, which represents her birth sign (October 29th).  She has also recently been scene with 5-point star outline beneath the Scorpio symbol.

abeard_tat01abeard_tat06    Running down the inside of her right ankle is a script design that reads ‘Ray’ for her middle name.

ABeard_Tat03ABeard_Tat08    On the back of her left calf, she has another star design (can you tell she has a thing for stars?).  Then, on her right calf, she shows her most elaborate tattoo, a stunning, and detailed, wintry snowflake design she got while appearing on the hit reality series “L.A. Ink” (this would be Kat Von D’s tattoo show).

ABeard_Tat07ABeard_Tat05ABeard_Tat04 You can find out more about Amanda on her official website:


Of course, Amanda can also be found on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/AmandaRayBeard

You can also see her revealing interview with fellow Olympic veteran, Amy Van Dyken, here:


And see her feature in Inked Magazine at this location:  http://www.inkedmag.com/articles/amanda-beard/

Celebrity Tattoo of the Day: Jessie James


When you think of the phrases ‘Jessie James’ and ‘tattoos’, your first thought usually goes to the former husband of Sandra Bullock who humiliated her by cheating on her with the unpalatable ‘Bombshell’ McGee (and then later dated Kat Von D before exhausting the “LA Ink” star’s patience).


   Fortunately, the tattooed Jessie James in this feature is the very comely aspiring country singing star.  The Italian-born James, who is a Southern girl at heart, first got on music audience’s radar with her minor 2009 hit “Wanted”.  “Wanted” reached #40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and featured a music video where Jessie was, in the words of Jim Carrey, S-s-s-s-mokin!

JJames_Pic03    James has also had some other appealing songs like “I Look So Good (Without You)”.  She has sought inspiration for her country dreams from the likes of Shania Twain, Shelby Lynne, and Bobby Gentry.  Jessie is also a football fan who has recently become engaged to Denver Broncos wide receiver, Eric Decker.


And, unlike that tool who shares her name, Jessie is not covered in a mess of ink.  Instead, she has few well placed, feminine tattoos that help accentuate her sexiness.  I have been able to locate photos of three of her tattoos (though I suspect she has more).  The first is very noticeable in her music video for “I Look So Good (Without You)”.  It is her birth sign, Aries, on the back of her neck.


The second appears on her left wrist, and is the scripted letters “J J”, which presumably stand for ‘Jessie James’.


JJames_Tat02   The last one I was able to find photos for was on her right wrist.  It looks like it could be feather or even a planet.  If I find a more definitive photo, I will update this post.


   You can find out more about Jessie and follow her singing career on her official website:  http://thisisjessiejames.tumblr.com/

And, you can check her out in the Twitterverse at:  https://twitter.com/TheJessicaJames

Tattoos in Real Life: My Third Tattoo (‘Getting Inked with a Friend’ Edition)

One of the things I had wanted to do ever since I got my first tattoo wayyyyyy back 14 months ago, was to go get inked with a friend.  With my first two tattoos, I knew what I wanted, but the decision on when to get them was spur of the moment.  So, planning with friends was not an option.

Further complicating matters was the fact that the artist who had done my other ink, Danny Sebastian (aka “Danny Deathwish”), had left the shop I had gone to, Pop’s Tattoo.  Then, a few months later, Pop’s shut down for good.  Fortunately, Danny kept in touch with his customers so that they would know where to find him now that he had moved on to RAW Ink, in Gaithersburg, MD.  So, I knew where to go when I was seeking my next tattoo.


   Then there was the matter of finding a friend who was looking to get their next tattoo and wanted to coordinate with me on such an outing.  I was fortunate on that count, too.  Jen, a long-time friend going all the way back to high school, is a big fan of tattoos herself, and she was looking to get her fifth one; which she wanted to be something representing her two-year old son.


  So, we coordinated with Danny to go get inked together on March 16th (personally, I think it’s only proper that I get inked on St. Patrick’s Day weekend 😉 ).  The excitement of knowing that a new tattoo is about to happen in enhanced by knowing you will be doing so with a friend.  On the 16th, we hopped on I-270 and made our way over to RAW Ink.

MyThirdTattoo_07   Jen was first up for her tattoo.  Her concept was to get her son’s birth sign, Sagittarius, as an inscription on her wrist, with the arrow being replaced by his name and birth date.


   With Danny being the skilled artist that he is, he will look at a concept and make suggestions on how to best bring it to life.  In Jen’s case, the complexity of what she was looking for would have resulted in a design that would be too compressed for the wrist.  The details would not stand out and, over time, would end up blending together.  He did a mockup of a larger design, incorporating the elements she wanted, which would need to run lengthwise down her forearm.  While it was larger and had a different placement than Jen had planned, she liked new mockup and Danny got to work.


   I have long been a proponent of recording the experience of getting inked, in addition to showing off the final product.  Getting a tattoo is as much a journey as a destination.  Jen had not done this before with her previous for tattoos.  So, she liked the idea of chronicling it this time (her mother also wanted photos of Jen getting inked :-D).


Finally, the finished design came in to being.


As you can see, Jen is pretty happy with it.


   Now it was my turn.  I had been going back and forth between two designs I wanted underneath my flag tattoos on my left arm.  They were a Libra symbol (my birth sign) and a triskelion, a Celtic symbol representing the holy trinity (it also has significance dating back to the Neolithic times relating to themes of the number 3).  Because I was having difficulty determining what form I wanted the triskelion design to take, I had initially decided on getting the Libra symbol.  Then I found the following image embraced the simplicity and detail that I wanted.  I also liked the symmetry of the triskelion being my third tattoo.


   I sent this design to Danny with the request to see how we could add some color to this design, as well.  Leave it to him to come up with a concept that gave the design some three-dimensional depth that allowed shades of green to be incorporated.


Then the work began.




The halfway point





Wrapped and ready to go.


   Later that evening, I celebrated with a beer and let my new tattoo get some air.  It turned out really well 🙂


   Getting a tattoo is always a great experience.  However, getting to share it with a friend helped make it special.  I was thrilled with my tattoo and Jen was thrilled with hers.  Once again, Danny did great work.

Check him and the studio out at:  http://www.rawinkstudio.com/


Celebrity Tattoo of the Day: Eden Sher


   Eden Sher is a young, comedic actress who first cut her acting teeth in 2006 in a guest role on the irreverant HBO comedy “Weeds”.  She played the girlfriend of Nancy Botwin’s youngest son, Shane.  The unintended consequences of dating a member of a pot-selling family quickly ended that relationship.


   Following that performance, Eden had a guest appearance in an episode of the final season of the teen soap drama “The O.C.” and was on the short-lived ABC comedy “Sons & Daughters”.

   Currently, Eden has continued her work with ABC in the family comedy “The Middle”, where she plays the role of the opitimistic, but very socially awkward, middle child of the Heck family, Sue Heck.  Also starring “Everybody Loves Raymond” veteran, Patricia Heaton, “The Middle” has been moderately successful and is in the middle of its fourth season.  Eden’s performance has garnered her several nominations for Young Artist and Critics’ Television Choice awards.


   As tattoos are becoming less taboo, and younger people are getting them almost as a right of passage, it should come as no suprise that Eden currently sports two known tattoos of her own.

   Her first, most easily recognizable tattoo, is the Venus symbol (the universally accepted symbol for woman) on the top of her right foot.  It’s a cute, demure, feminine tattoo that works well for her. 



   Eden’s second tattoo is not as well known.  At a recent awards show, Eden wore a pretty red dress with several cutouts in the middle.  These cutouts reveal the presence of a piece of body art along her left rib cage that looks like it might be a feather with some lettering. 


   As Eden becomes more well known, we will, no doubt, see clearer images of this tattoo.  I also suspect that she will be adding more tattoos to her collection over time.  These will likely be as nice as the ones she currently has.

You can follow Eden on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/edensher