Engraved at Good Life Tattoos


Tada! I introduce to you the complete finished work of my right arm. As opposed to the six hours of needlework for my last piece, this one only took a delightful two. Kyle accompanied me to give moral support and documented some tender-hearted moments of excruciating pain.


Two years ago, I acquired a large 19th Century floral engraving, from which I’ve been taking pieces to rearrange and repiece for tattoos on my body. Jesse Strother, of Good Life Tattoos and Piercings, did both portions of the engraving, and I was very pleased with the quality and speed of his work.




If you’re curious, there’s a minute and a half of tattooing action shown below (music by Modest Mouse). This was the most painful portion of any tattoo I’ve ever experienced. The armpit area! But it was bearable. And I survived.

52 Responses

  1. brittany says:

    i love the new addition! your tattoo is truly beautiful :)

  2. kim whitten says:

    Looks beautiful!

  3. bargain bex says:

    i’m all tat talk currently (so weird that they want money for the things, right?) but when i do, it’ll be nice to have some proof to the pain, courtesy of your video. thanks.

  4. Kari says:

    Beautiful tattoo Mandi! And I must say, I’m absolutely loving that dress too :) Hope you’re having a great weekend! xo

  5. Alyssa Mae says:

    That is one of the prettiest tattoos I’ve seen. If I ever get brave enough, that’s probably along the lines of what I would want!

  6. birdandtree says:

    I just had to say congrats! Though I don’t have any of my own, I am an absolute fan of the art and I think yours are absolutely beautiful. My husband has both sleeves done you can kinda see them in this post I wrote:
    He always says he has enough for the both of us! I think one day I may brave up enough to get one, but the “what to get” is the hardest part for me… how did you decide?

  7. Mallory G says:

    GORGEOUS. I just finished up my half-sleeve and it was all in that same armpit area…saving the best for last. RIGHT.
    My artist for years and who I apprenticed with just passed away suddenly a few weeks ago and I feel so lost….
    Congrats! It looks fantastic.

  8. Bryce says:

    Wow! I really love this piece. I have been seriously admiring tattoos of mainly outline lately. I’m putting together some ideas for one of my own of that style, so it’s great to see how others tackle it.

  9. It looks so beautiful! I think this is one of my favorite tattoos that I’ve seen. You’re quite the champ, I’m too much of a whimp to get a tattoo.

  10. lauren says:

    love it, the armpit was the most painful for me too! i felt it go all the way up my neck, it was so bizarre.

  11. Anabela says:

    It’s beautiful! But oh man, watching that video and seeing the tear sparkling in your eye was hard!

  12. emily keen says:

    Great post!! That tattoo is spectacular and I feel so bad you had to go through so much pain for it! It looks excruciating actually. At least you got to lay down for it. That makes it a little more bearable too.

  13. courtney says:

    The tattoo turned out amazing. I am getting one in the same spot in exactly one month, courtesy of my brother. I can’t wait. But I am nervous. I don’t do well with pain.

  14. It’s beautiful
    Kel @ ser?en?dip?i?ty

  15. Floor says:

    Oh wow! Beautiful tattoo!

  16. Katie says:

    It’s beautiful and the dress is gorgeous too! :)

  17. emily says:

    ouch! it looks so beautiful. i really envy your tattoo. the placement is so great, the way it creeps into your chest, and now wraps around your arm! my one and only tattoo is in that exact spot, under the arm, so i know your pain! although mine is much smaller and only took half an hour! i was lucky.

  18. Nina says:

    Beautiful!! Suits you perfectly <3

  19. I’ve been tattooed in that painful area, so I feel you. Although as long as I had my lollipop I was good and pain free. This is such a very very gorgeous ink job!!! I think it is so lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hooray! It is nice to finally see what they look like since you were talking about getting another tattoo for a while!

  20. Kirsten says:

    that’s a truly beautiful tattoo.

  21. danielle says:

    ummmm, wow, I go away for a couple months and look at you. Lovely my dear!
    What’s new??? I hve so much reading to catch up on. We’re in Florida, come see me.

  22. allie says:

    Oh man! This looks amazing!! :)

  23. gee says:

    your tattoo is so amazing and beautiful.
    i love the romantic feel to it.

  24. Phara says:

    That’s one gorgeous tattoo! I’m thinking about getting one too, but I have to be 100% sure about it. Although one idea has been stuck in my mind for quite some time now.

  25. Katie says:

    Your tattoo is god damn fabulous.

  26. Lynn says:

    oh my gosh Mandi, your new art is stunning and looks lovely on you!!! it’s something else again; what a trooper you are to hang tough throughout the ordeal, tender placement is what! Jesse rocked it and i adore how it’s edges/detailing are somewhat unrefined. nice one lades, looks awesome total. congrats!

  27. nova says:

    I like the cool liney flower look. Neat!

  28. Amanda says:

    You’re awesome! And your tattoo is beyond beautiful.

  29. zelina says:

    ah! that video made me cringe. looks painful your such a trooper and it turned out looking awesome!

  30. Stef says:

    You’re such a trooper! The results of all that pain are beautiful! :)

  31. Mehgan says:

    About 3 weeks ago I had the underside of my right sleeve tattooed, and you are right, the armpit area/underarm is excruciating. And I thought nothing was going to hurt more than my chest piece!

  32. This is absolutely the most beautiful tattoo I’ve seen in a long time! I cannot believe how well you endured that, good for you…definitely made me cringe just watching! Worth it though, that’s for sure….

  33. Vaness says:

    Wow, you’re brave! Looks beautiful though :)

  34. Krista says:

    I love love love LOVE your tattoos. Thank you for sharing them.

  35. emma says:

    Oh boy, I really have to get back on the tattoo train – you’ve inspired me big time! Yours looks great, and it’s all I can do to hope that I can come up with something for myself that fits as well as yours fits you!

  36. brooke says:

    the whole tattoo looks amazing, I love how much it integrates into your arm by incorporating so much bare skin. so pretty! If I had it I would wear sleeveless things all the time.

  37. K says:

    This new set on Tattly looks similar … http://tattly.com/products/cartolina-set

  38. Heather says:

    Gorgeous tattoo!

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  46. sbort says:

    oh honey… i have tattoos in both of my inner arms. i am really good with pain – i have broken practically every bone on my body, and have herniated discs in my back… i live on ibuprofen ;D AND THIS WAS THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE. omg. at one point on my left arm – i saw spots and almost passed out. whoo! kudos for going across your chest too! i am scared to DEATH to do that as it’s supposed to be just as painful! they’re beautiful and you’re amazing! :D <3