Sorry That You Are Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

Sorry That You Are Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

"Tattoos are not meaningless. There is a story behind every tattoo."
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You've already made an assumption about me before I can even speak. You assume that since I have inked on my arm that I must be a; convicted felon, loser, trash, groupie or even worse. You don't even know me but since I have decided to put my heart on my sleeve, I must be the underbelly of society.

I see you watching me at the grocery store, spending time with my Mom, and even as I work. Do I intrigue you that much that you have to practically break your neck to get a glance at me as you pass? And as you turn your head for the second time, you roll your eyes in such a way that I know I have offended you. I have offended you. My body offended you. The artwork that I chose to represent myself offended you. Now say that to yourself out loud.

How ignorant it must sound.

Like I said, you don't know me. You don't know where I've been, who I've been, or why I am. There are people in this world that have this natural tendency to progress, to experiment, to break down the walls of conformity built by society.

Tattoos are not meaningless. There is a story behind every tattoo. Even if it was spur of the moment, Spring Break tattoo, there is a story behind it.

I don't expect you to understand. I mean, you have such a closed mind why would you understand? But since we are both here, I might as well attempt to talk to a brick wall. We've all lost a game, a battle, our person, losing is in human nature. When we fail and heal, we find ways to commemorate. How can you look at me with distaste as I display my feelings to the world? You can't tell me I am "trashy" because I have overcame something I want to remember.

Tattoos are for life. We know this. We made the choice to get them. We don't need negative people reminding, "you know they last forever."

How blessed I am to be able to carry something that reminds me of my Grandma everywhere I go. To wear something, no matter what. I will always have something that reminds me of her spirit.


You pity me because I have ink in my skin.
I pity you because your heart is filled with ignorance, malice, negativity. Yet, my skin is filled with beauty.

So what does it matter to you? How is my tattoo hurting you? How is it affecting your job, your life, or anyone else? It's on me, not you. Yet, you blast me behind closed doors and give me false labels. You look at me with pity, shame, and disgust. But when I look in the mirror; all I see is beauty, confidence, and creativity. Our views are distorted, they will never be the same. You judge me, you reject me, but most of all you don't understand me.

Cover Image Credit: Trent Scroggins

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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5 Big Tips for Spray Tans And Tanning Beds

If you spray tan or lay in tanning beds, here are some helpful tips to achieve the best tan.

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Now I'm not calling myself an expert here by any means, BUT, I do happen to work at a tanning salon. So I've picked up some extra tips and tricks along the way to help people achieve the best authentic (or fake) tan possible. Whether you use the beds or actually spray tan, these might help you out on your next visit.

(If you are totally against sun-bed tanning for obvious reasons, please skip over this article. I realize this is a choice at everyone's own discretion, so if you don't agree with it that's completely fine. This is specifically for those who choose to tan because they want to!)

1. Tingle is for your body, not your face 

Please...for the LOVE, do not put a tingle lotion on your face in the tanning beds. Just don't do it!!! This lotion is not made for areas this sensitive. It's horrible for the thin layer of delicate epidermis that your facial skin has (which is supposed to be treated with face-friendly products only). AKA, products that were made specifically for your face and formulated with careful ingredients.

(Side note for anyone that does not know what a tingle lotion is/ what it does: It pulls the blood vessels under your skin to the surface creating a red "tingle" reaction which allows the sun rays to penetrate more deeply and effectively; creating a quicker and deeper tan.)

If you really do care about tanning your face, like I do, then make sure to invest in a quality facial tanner made specifically to tan your face in the tanning beds. This is the safest option with the best benefits (won't clog pores, won't harm facial skin, and it'll have important vitamins for your face in it, etc.).

2. Tan-extender is a MUST 

This is so important with any tanning routine! If you are going to pay money to achieve good color, you need to make sure you're doing everything possible to extend and retain that color as long as possible outside the beds (otherwise, what are you paying for?). Using cheap "tan-extender lotions" from Walmart or local drug stores can contain alcohol, sulfates, and other drying properties that actually strip your tan and take away moisture from your skin.

Big no from me.

That's why it's always important to get a true tan extender from a local tanning salon to ensure the quality of it is real and trusted. Your tan extending lotion should actually be doing something to help your tan, not hurt it. If you're using a tan extender daily in place of your regular lotion, you'll see a huge difference in the life of your tan. (As well as silky smooth skin, so who doesn't love that?)

3. Barrier-cream is your best friend

If you spray tan regularly, I'm sure you can back me up on this. Barrier cream is essential to any sunless-tanning experience. Barrier cream is basically a cream that you apply (before you spray-tan) to areas that are dry, or prone to dryness that the spray tan might stick to while you are spraying. It blocks the spray and helps reduce the amount it will accumulate to a certain area, like normally your hands. Your hands tend to have the ability to turn orange while the rest of your body looks fine. This can be because of dryness, as well as the micro-lines we have from our fingerprints and creases. So lather on that barrier cream like your life depends on it; you'll thank me later. (Most salons will provide this cream, but others might make you buy it. It can vary but just ask if you're not sure.)

4. Pre-spray tan routines are essential

If you regularly spray tan, or are spray tanning for the first time, it is so important to have a pre-spray routine. First couple of things to do/ keep in mind:

1. Shave & EXFOLIATE

I put exfoliate in all caps because so many people can forget this crucial step, but it is such a big deal to have a clean, fresh layer of skin for your spray tan to stick to. This will ensure the best overall coverage and color of your spray.

2. Rinse your body with water and soap

3. Don't put on any body lotions after exfoliating/ shaving, leave it completely dry before you spray

I've seen too many people apply buttery body lotions before they come in to spray tan and then complain when the spray doesn't stick to their skin. This is because lotions like that create a thin film that can allow the spray to slip right off, so just come with a clean layer of skin and you're all set.

4. When you arrive to spray, make sure you have a PRIMER

Using a primer lotion specifically made to prime your skin for a spray tan is what will give you the best spray possible, as well as help it last on your skin. USE IT!

5. Switching between beds will get you the darkest 

This is something not everyone understands (I didn't either until I was educated on it) but NEEDS to understand because it can change your tanning results drastically. If you are tanning in the beds, it's essential to switch up the type of tanning beds you are laying in every time you go. This means that beds that strictly build your melanin (lower level beds) are not meant to be used every single visit. In order to get the color and darkness you want, you have to lay in beds that have bronzing bulbs as well (higher level beds).

This means that the higher level bronzing beds are actually bronzing the melanin in your skin that has been produced, which is allowing you to achieve the deepest tan possible. If you are only laying in a "building bed," you will eventually hit a tanning Plato and your tan will not continue to develop and darken in these beds. It hits a stopping point because your skin can only go so many shades darker until it has produced all it can produce without further help. In order to break this Plato and continue getting darker, you have to bronze the melanin already there.

Same goes for the higher level beds. If you are only laying in higher level bronzing beds and not switching it up every couple of times to tan in building beds, your tan will not excel. This is because the bronzing beds are meant to bronze the melanin that you ALREADY have produced in your skin (since they don't build melanin, they're only meant to bronze it), and if you don't have any melanin produced or being produced, then you don't have anything to actually bronze. You have to have a good balance of switching between the building and bronzing beds in order to actually continue achieving the best tan possible.

(Side note: melanin is the dark pigment produced by your skin when exposed to sunlight — artificial or natural)

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