The Tattoo.

Tattoo copy

Without further ado, I give you…. My tattoo! Like I mentioned in the previous post, Hayley and I are discussing our experiences on getting our first tattoos on her blog. A tattoo is such a controversial little bugger (or big bugger, if you’re me!) and I find it quite interesting how everyone has different opinions on the subject and different experiences when getting them.

Tattoo2 copy

I would first like to say that yes! I do know that this tattoo is big. Everyone was shocked that I got such a large tattoo for my first one. And I did think about getting a smaller one first. However, this is the one I have been dreaming of and I knew what I wanted. I don’t think tattoos should be entered into lightly and have sort of set up my own personal tattoo guidelines:


I didn’t want a popular design or something that would seem silly five, ten, or fifty years from now. I have been thinking about getting a cross stitched saying on my forearm, but then I thought… will I still like this when I’m 35? The jury’s still out on that one.


Designs are trendy, but so are tattoo locations. For instance… anybody remember the tramp stamps on the lower back? Anybody have one? I almost got one when I graduated high school. Whew!


Flowers are about as timeless as it gets. But I also wanted something vintage. So I found this huge vintage floral engraving and trimmed and repieced it in photoshop. I also photoshopped it onto a photo so that I could see what it would look like. I stared at the photo for days and days.


I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo for the past six years. For the past two years, I knew I wanted something floral and vintage. And… for the past year I’ve been staring at the very same vintage floral engraving which now resides on my shoulder. After so long of dreaming, I knew it had to be the one.

One of the reasons I’ve been waiting to get a tattoo is that I kept setting goals for myself that I had to accomplish first. Now I realize that’s just silly. For one- I’m horrible at completing goals. Obviously… or I would’ve had my tattoo before now. And two- I want to get a tattoo because I want a tattoo. Not because I finished a silly goal.

So. That’s my tattoo story. What’s yours?

92 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    it is beautiful…just stunning. and the thought that went into making such a permanent decision is really incredible. just lovely. thank you for sharing!

  2. bd says:

    Great post. I am following Hayley now, too. How brave you two are.

  3. cinnibonbon says:

    Whooo..that’s some work!! Hooray for getting this done. It looks awesome–really it’s beautiful.
    Nope no tats on this chick–you’d think that as a former Marine–I’d be loaded with them… nope. I’m still slick skin!!!
    Loved your story

  4. tiny twig says:

    beautiful! and yes, i’m a bit AMAZED at the pain you endured for FIVE HOURS! :) you are a brave lady. thanks for cheering me on…i am in LOVE with mine now, too. phew!
    p.s.–that last girl’s wristbands are GORGEOUS!

  5. jessica says:

    beautiful tattoo

  6. Sarah says:

    I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m not sure I’ll ever get one, mainly because I’m kind of a sissy when it comes to pain and needles, but if I did get one, it would be a smaller version of yours. I admire your fearlessness and also your beautiful tattoo.

  7. barrentree says:

    I, sadly, am not tattooed yet. :-)
    However, about a year ago I finally settled on what I want and where I want my tattoos (there are three that I want-two small and one large).
    It took me six years of serious thinking to finalize what I want.
    And I can’t wait, because what I want is now so special and unique and me…so glad I took the time to think it out fully.
    (your tattoo is so very lovely-thanks for sharing your tattoo journey with us)

  8. Steph says:

    That tattoo is absolutely beautiful! I love the vintage design and the detail is amazing.
    It’s all so true what you say, I aim to get a tattoo one day and I’ve finally decided what I want but will wait a year to see if it’s still the same! x

  9. Marilyn says:

    What a beautiful piece, very impressive for your first. I have made some careless mistakes with some of my tattoos and I have coverups now as a result. It’s wonderful that you given this so much thought and planning. I’m sure you will still love this when you’re 35, 45, etc. :)

  10. Elissa says:

    Really beautiful tattoo! I love that you thought it out and went really LARGE with it. Nothing worse than a wussy little thing on a big canvas area like the shoulder!
    I totally got an impulsive tattoo when I was 18, and now I sort of hate it. It’s stars that go from my toe to ankle–now EVERYONE has star foot tattoos, and it drives me mental! In retrospect, I see that I just wanted a tattoo to have a tattoo and not because the imagery was really thought out or special to me. Bummer.
    My best friend has the dreaded ex-boyfriend’s initials! She is attempting to fade it with some sort of product. But she also has other tattoos that are gorge, unique, and
    she would never want to remove!
    Definitely important to think long and hard about your tattoo–it is a BIG commitment!

  11. cynthia says:

    This is downright beautiful!!!!!! And I am not a tattoo fan at all. Good Job girly on the choice.

  12. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a prettier tattoo!!
    I absolutely love it.
    Good choice!

  13. your tattoo is absolutely beautiful!! well done on your very thoughtful planning to get this done, i think it has paid off and you will love it forever x
    mine on the other hand while i dont hate it i probably wish it was something else with a little bit more thought. its over 12 years old, although i do like that it reminds me of being younger! i really want another one but cant decide so like you i will be very thoughtful with my next moves to put more ink on my body.

  14. Anna says:

    love your tattoo. very smart guidelines on going to get tattoos…one that i also believe in and follow when getting mine done!

  15. emily says:

    Wow, that is truly a beautiful tattoo. Very timeless, classy and pretty! So smart of you to really put a lot of thought into it, it shows because I don’t see how you could ever regret it.
    I have flowers as well, and it is a cover up tattoo from one that wasn’t thought out and done on impulse. But, I am happy with it now.

  16. That is a breathtaking design!! Congrats! I completely agree and understand your decision process. I finished a full back tattoo that took me years to decide on and then about a year to get finished (5 sessions, 2.5-3.5 hours each). It’s definately a commitment, but a beautiful commitment at that! Again, congrats!!

  17. Jacqui says:

    I love it!
    Beautiful placement too!

  18. tiff says:

    it’s *very* pretty. and definitely timeless. i was definitely surprised that it was so big, but that’s mostly b/c i’m a big baby and am afraid of needles, so i assume that everyone else would be too. haha!
    i really want a tattoo on the inside of my wrist that i can look at when i’m upset or angry–something that will whisper “shh. it’s okay.” i just don’t know what yet.

  19. Moorea Seal says:

    awesome tattoo. i am sure you wont regret it down the line. its just lovely. timeless.

  20. Cali says:

    I love how you took something that was vintage & so timeless & you made it for you. I love the place on your shoulder it looks very feminine. I also have 2 tattoos & am always thinking of new ones. But I try to hold out as long as I can between getting them so I know that i was worth it & meaningful to me.

  21. Zarah says:

    WOW! That’s one GORGEOUS tattoo!!

  22. Lena says:

    it is simply gorgeous!!! and sounds like you thought it out perfectly, instead of rushing in.

  23. Sini says:

    Your tattoo is so beautiful!
    I wanted mine for years, I had chosen a picture for it (plumerian flowers to the hip)and still I couldnt reserve the time.. One weekend, I got into a serious accident and when I started to cover from that and was able to walk again, I called to the tattoo artist and went to have my tattoo. I love it and now after 4 years i want more.

  24. Holly says:

    Wow! I LOVE your tattoo! I thought there was no way a tattoo could ever look vintage, or elegant, or even pretty, but your’s has smashed that belief for me. I almost want one for myself now…

  25. Sasha Farina says:

    Holy Moly that is gorgeous! big, but oh so beautiful!

  26. Becca says:

    Very beautiful, and may I say…..elegant. I love that you picked a beautiful, vintage design. I love those vintage buttons on the girl in the last photo!!! I do not have any. My youngest sister, who has 4 took me out on my thirtieth bd to get either a tattoo or piercing. I went with the body piercing. Which I might add is no longer present~ well done!

  27. Christina says:

    WOW,your tattoo is one of the MOST amazing I’ve seen..!! I mean the design is so,so great!! I’ve want a tattoo for many years tattoo and my criteria are the same as yours.I’m gonna do a small one first (actually a heart locket!) and then something bigger on my shoulder (a bit like yours) or a bird under my elbow,from the inside I mean! :)

  28. Mariah says:

    This has to be the most amazing tattoo I’ve ever seen! It makes me want to get another, but my parents told me they would kill me. They’re convinced that tattoos are just a “generational” thing and one day I will regret having ever had one. I beg to differ, but what can you do?

  29. Genevieve says:

    Beautiful Mandi! I will admit that I did get the ‘tramp stamp’ back in the day-2003 (lower right back), but it’s a little purple flower and I personally have no issues with it now, I see it as fairly timeless (the flower, maybe not the location). I agree with you though, nothing too trendy. You’ll enjoy yours for years to come :)

  30. heather says:

    This could be one of the most gorgeous tattoos I’ve ever seen. I LOVE the flower motif and how it does look like a vintage engraving. Excellent choice!
    I am an admirer of tattoos as art….I love to look at them. But never got one and probably wouldn’t because 1)I’m a big baby about pain…what if I could only stand to get it half done??? and 2) I change my mind on things far too often…
    You have such a beautiful blog here! I came upon you in Artful BLogger and had to come visit.

  31. I’m elated to hear (or read, as it were) that you put so much thought into getting a tattoo. I have 4 small-medium tattoos & gave myself at least 6 months to think over each one.
    I do have a “tramp stamp”, though I’ve never identified with that label, let alone even knew about it when I got the tattoo in 2002. If you’d curious, I have small photos of all my tattoos on Flickr … one day, I’ll take bigger shots that give a better idea of location. Though none of my tattoos “match”, they are a visual reminder of my life & that means more than anything. [
    Of the pics you posted, I adore the little ones the girl in the pink top; cute, quirky, non-traditional – my fav! (as you’ll see by my tattoos, haha)

  32. Diana says:

    It’s beautiful. Great tips on getting them or not getting them. I have my left sleeve done and these are tips I researched over the years as well.
    Love it!

  33. Michaela Namynanik says:

    Love the Tattoo!!
    My story is very similar to yours. almost to a t!
    Im a little behind you, not having the tattoo and all. I have been staring at this design for two years. i am waiting to graduate college to know what i really want to do so my tattoo won’t make it impossible to get a real job. but that is just an excuse since im and art major! haha, well im glad you did it!! Some inspiration for Me!

  34. Victoria says:

    It is quite lovely indeed.

  35. it is *gorgeous*. I knew that 1. Mandi wouldn’t get anything trendy (yay!), 2. that there would be no color in it. You’re just not a color gal. ;-) 3. it would be timeless. 4. It would be unique. You definitely seem to have put alot of thought into it and that is awesome. I’ve been on that tattoo train on and off over the years, but have had a hard time thinking of something non-trendy. And i’m also not 100% i want one. You picked wonderfully! :-) I’m so happy you just WENT for it.

  36. ren says:

    that’s an amazingly beautiful tattoo, as well as impressive for a first! its making me think about one.

  37. JenCoen says:

    oh my goodness. i’ve seen no other tattoo like it. and i am personally in love with it. incredibly beautiful. :-)

  38. Sarah Louise says:

    I adore your tattoo! It is definitely timeless and will age beautifully. I love tattoos that go over the shoulder like that, too, and drape across the body. I have a tree on my left shoulder, my late mother sketched it in her twenties. I wanted to get a tattoo in her memory, and was going to get a black bear, but I hemmed and hawed and decided against it. A few weeks later I found the tree, I just *knew* it was what I wanted, so a few weeks later I got it. I haven’t regretted it (sometimes I forget it’s there cos it’s on my back) but it will age beautifully, is timeless, and the meaning of it is important to me. I think tattoo meanings are very important, and something people neglect very often.
    Anyway, sorry for the novel. Nice to meet you! I love your blog.

  39. Kara says:

    Love love love that tattoo. It’s gorgeous – great choice!

  40. Your tattoo is stunning. Thanks, too, for the guideline.
    I have wanted a tattoo since I was 21 (I am now 35.) My brother says I’m past my tattoo prime. I say I still don’t know what design I want to live with forever. Maybe it will always just be on my wish list – and I’m fine that.

  41. Cristin says:

    You’re tattoo is absolutely gorgeous. If I ever got a tattoo, it would have to be as timeless as your’s. Very well thoughtout and what a big decision. Congrats!

  42. Simply stunning Mandi. I love it! Personally I love tattoos and want more…I currently have three. Two of them I still adore and one I got when I was 18 that I don’t adore so much. Your recent post about tattoos when you were still thinking of designs gave me the fever again and I’m SERIOUSLY considering the one with the tiny little birds. I love it and it would fit well with my sparrow on my back and my wings on my lower back (yes I have a tramp stamp…hush!) LOL! So don’t be suprised if you see me sporting some new ink in the coming months! I got my first tattoo when i was 18 and I really don’t like it but I didn’t really know who I was when I was 18. My second was my wings I got to after I got married because I felt like my husband gave me the wings to be the person I was meant to be. And my third was my sparrow on my shoulder to represent my son. As for the regrets, well I’m 32 now and I still adore the two thought out tattoos I have…and one was when nearly 10 years younger. The way I think of it…when I’m 50, if im that conservative, I won’t be wearing anything that would show that much of my body anyway. And my husband loves them so that’s all that matters. So rock on dear! Sport that ink proudly. And get used to people approching you to ask about it because it’s stunning.

  43. Allison Dee says:

    tis GORGEOUS!

  44. Crissy says:

    that is such a lovely tattoo! and i’m so glad that you put so much thought into it because so many people just don’t and then it ends up being a little tragic. or just bad. but that is a beautiful piece of art and i’m sure you will love it forever!

  45. Sadie W says:

    It is absolutely beautiful, Mandi! I have similar thoughts about getting my next tattoo and you just inspired me even further! It is nice to see something different and gorgeous at the same time. :)

  46. Kara says:

    SO gorgeous. I love itttt!

  47. banjori says:

    Do you put tatoo some other part on your body? I lov to see it if don’t mind.

  48. eyeliah says:

    I have one from when I was 18 (10 years ago right now) that I totally regret) and one that I don’t (a Canada maple leaf). I’ve been thinking about 2 butterflies on my ankle for 10 years now and I still want it.

  49. andrea rodriguez says:

    I really like your guidelines. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo a little over 10 years now…and still haven’t gotten it. I’m scared. I can barely keep the same hair style for more than a year, let alone tattoo, but yet, my mind keeps coming back to it. There are two locations I’ve been thinking of and two different designs. I’m going to ponder your guidelines to see if I can finally stop all the excuses and get one. Your is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  50. Jennie says:

    WOW. It’s just stunning – nice choice. I have been planning a tattoo design for myself for YEARS, but it’s also quite large in scale and I have never taken the plunge. I’ve told myself it’d be my 40th b-day present if I get to that point and still want it, although maybe it will happen sooner (that’s 12 years down the line!)

  51. Emma says:

    wowza. beautiful. thanks for hayley’s story too, she has a great blog!

  52. Leslie says:

    Gorgeous tattoo and story! I’ve wanted one for a long time but could never think of anything that I could live with for a lifetime.

  53. My name’s Nicole and I love your blog. I follow it quite regularly. I was so shocked/excited to see your new tattoo! Congrats, it’s beautiful! I was amazed by it because I have been dreaming about my own and it is almost exactly like yours! Beautiful flowers in a timeless black and white. I wanted to let you know that I featured you on my blog, and showed some of your photos of your tattoo. If you do not like this I am more than happy to take them down, just let me know. I just wanted to show the beautiful work you got. I linked the photos back to your site, giving you full credit of course. Anyway, congratulations!

  54. lindsey says:

    Your tattoo is absolutely beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like it. I also have a large piece on my arm. It’s of an Audrey Kawasaki drawing. It’s very subdued & calm looking. I think of it as timeless, as you do yours, which is why I can handle having such a large piece on my body.
    I also love seeing different people’s reactions to it. I have quite a few others and each one gets a unique response.
    Do you plan on getting more in the near future?

  55. Melissa Mann says:

    absolutely beautiful.

  56. jennifer says:

    I am not a tattoo fan persay….But you look fantastic!

  57. Eeek!! Your tattoo is *amazing*!! :) It may be the prettiest big one I’ve ever seen!! I love it to bits!
    I have a few small ones, but am dying to be covered in them all over. Using my best judgement, I am
    I have a slightly trendy Chinese symbol on my ankle, but it has great memory behind it. And I’ve forever hated those lower back ones. lol. I drew most of mine, so they’re fun to look back on.
    My favorite is the little cartoon skull and crossbones I got on my rib cage/side with my bestie of 10 years – I drew it and love it and it holds a great memory, too. :)
    Yay, tattoos!!
    They’re addicting, huh?

  58. iris ashley says:

    that tatoo is amazing and beautiful.

  59. Congrats on your first tattoo. I have one, a simple butterfly outline on my ankle. Even though it’s a little dated I love the simple outline and I got it in Vegas with my two best fiends from college. We were on a cross country road trip after graduation.
    I’ve secretly been thinking of getting another one. I’ll take your post as a sign that I should dip my toe in and start planning!

  60. Kristena says:

    Gorgeous tattoo! I say, why not do it exactly the way you want it? And you did! Very pretty. I don’t have one, but that is in part because I am scared out of my mind of pain.

  61. carrie says:

    your tattoo is absolutely amazing!! i’m just catching up on my blogs and was floored when i saw this. i loved reading your rules. i’m have two tattoos (a small hand drawn leaf on the back of my neck near my hairline and “this too shall pass” on my inner arm) and i’m planning on getting a big sleeve piece next. i’ve been dreaming about this one for a long time and, like you, i think i’m ready to take the leap! magnificent!

  62. kendra says:

    I’d never be brave enough to get a tattoo (I know I’d tire of whatever design I got) but I like your thought process. I just had to say that’s the prettiest tattoo I’ve ever seen.

  63. amy lapi says:

    yesss i am so proud of you. i love it so much!!
    ps, i have a tramp stamp1!!! i kind of love it. :)

  64. Lyndsay says:

    I think your tattoo is absolutley stunning.
    I only have two tattoos, but one is a full arm sleeve, and it quite shocks people often..i don’t know why, it’s also rather vintage looking but ocean themed. The top part is a mermaid, and I chose a design that didn’t cover her chest, which i love, but some people have problems with.
    I’ve learned to just love my tattoo and think less of others opinions though that being said I cover my tattoo alot now at work (I don’t need to) but i just find discussing it endlessly with people get’s tiresome, more so the right people assume they have to tell you what they think of you, quite shocks me! haha on the contrary I also get quite alot of people who love it as well, not to focus so much on the negative haha.
    Anyways I think your tattoo is beautiful, and you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone but you. <3

  65. Saw your blog in Artful Blogging and had to stop by. Your tattoo is so pretty! I’m including a link to a collage I made a couple of years ago (and featured in Artful Blogging last year)…

  66. Vee says:

    Beautiful tattoo! I’ve been wanting a tattoo for about 10+ yrs but never had the money or parental support to get one. I thought about it a lot & when I went to Miami with 2 friends back in Mar. 08, I decided ok enough waiting, now is the time to get it!
    I knew it could be problems if I worked at a place with no tattoo showing policy so I opted to get mine at the back of my neck. Apparently the tattoo place me & my girls went to was this place rappers & singers like Chris Brown go to.
    The pain wasn’t so bad & I love my tattoo [ It’s located at a spot no one can really see unless I show them or put my hair up but the tattoo was really for me, not to show off.
    But I would love to get another one.. just not sure where & when. Maybe another 10+ yrs lol.

  67. Buy Viagra says:

    One of those tattoos was incredible I could see a woman with a lot of flowers in her Shoulder similar like the tattoo of my girlfriend.

  68. tiffany. says:

    hi darling! i LOVED and featured your tattoo on Drops Of Jupiter’s TATTOO TUESDAY here:

  69. Lauren says:

    Where were you when I needed you? I hate this stupid tramp stamp. XD Lovely blog.

  70. Your tattoo looks great, classic and beautiful. The extra thought you put into it definitely paid off in my opinion.

  71. sarah says:

    Coming from a person who would never get a tattoo, this tattoo is beautiful. I’m actually very interested in early floral engravings and woodcuts. I’m wondering where you got the “huge vintage floral engraving”, I’m super interested in seeing it!

  72. absolutely stunning!!! i have four tattoos, and yes, they have to really be thought out and represent who you are. this one is just brilliant, well done!

  73. your flower tattoo is perfection. I love it.

  74. Your shoulder is amazing, subtle and classic, really beautifully done!

  75. Liza Morgan says:

    I love your tattoo! It is beautiful and timeless. I have a tattoo on my foot. It is black. It says “be strong and courageous”…but in Hebrew. I got it when I was living in LA, at about midnight after an earthquake. I already knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it, but I also like to be spontaneous so that night, I just did it. Hebrew is important to me b/c my grandfather was Jewish and used to sing me Hebrew lullabies. I wanted it to say that b/c of the Bible verse Joshua 1:9. My dad passed away when I was 17 and if I can describe him in just one word it would be courageous. So, in a way it is a reminder to be like him. Tattoos are fun and so are the stories behind them. Yours is great! XO

  76. Colette says:

    who did the tattoo? i’m looking for a similar style & i’d like to find a good tattoo artist…

  77. Rose says:

    Your tattoo is amazing! It looks so good on you and that dress your wearing perfectly matches :)
    I adore the flowers around the wrists in the last photo.

  78. James Brooks says:

    That is a beautifully elegant tattoo! :)

  79. Laura Belle says:

    I’ve been seeing this picture floating around forever but I had no idea it was yours. It’s so so gorgeous and about as timeless as a tattoo can get. Love the placement. Love the etched style. Well done girl!

  80. paislea says:

    i have been trying to find you for about 6 months now. i saved this picture to my desktop and every time i look at it, i fall in love. this is the most gorgeous tattoo that i have ever seen.
    i’m SO glad that i found you, and found your blog!!!
    ? allister bee blog

  81. ana says:

    firstly, your tattoo is stunning.
    absolutely beautiful.
    & i have a ‘tramp stamp’ as it may be. i think every location will be trendy eventually. especially the writs, as that seems to be the new thing now. but mine is located above my very prominent scar (at the base of my spine), which is something special for me. & it happens to be a vintage style rose in black/gray with a old style dragon. i love it and wouldn’t change the location of it ever (i’ve had it for 12 years). i have one on my foot too. ;)

  82. Arja says:

    Oh God, This is one of the most beautiful tattoos I’ve ever seen… Just amazing! I wish I thought of it first :D

  83. Ashleigh says:

    I love love love your tattoo!! I found a scarf while thrifting one day and I fell in love with the pattern for the tattoo I want. I’m now working on drawing up exactly how I want it on my shoulder and upper arm. The pattern is very similar to yours, thank you for posting this… It’s given me more confidence in how mine will turn out xoxo
    ps: I also like the word you chose to describe it… “timeless.” not many people think of that for a tattoo. BEAUTIFUL!

  84. SweetMelissa says:

    Found you on Pinterest. Absolutely gorgeous tattoo and looks fabulous on you. I’m awaiting my next tattoo of two written lines of a song my husband wrote. Just looking for inspiration on accessorizing my idea.

  85. Sally says:

    Beautiful tattoo of course.
    However, one could argue that the “vintage” look is definitely a current trend, so…
    Mostly just pointing that out because I am considering a similar tattoo, and trying to tell myself that the “vintage” look will be classic.. but… I think we can’t deny its current popularity and thus, a possibility it might not be as cool, or unique, later.

  86. Mandi says:

    Sally, normally I would agree with you on vintage being trendy, if we were talking about a design from the mid 20th Century. But since this is an antique engraving from the 1800s, I’m not worried about it ever going “out of style.” Antiques from the 1800s have been classics from over a hundred years, and are really just replications of designs done before. There is nothing new under the sun, as it is written. :)

  87. Lauri Hersh says:

    Having a tattoo is a lifetime commitment. You can’t just erase it and replace it with a new one. I’m glad you’re happy with the design. It truly is timeless. Nice BTW, those are nice photos! Where did you get them? :)

  88. Ant says:

    I really digg this tattoo :). I also experienced the same sentiment concerning goals. It’ okay though, means we want the ink to have meaning to ourselves subjectively.