Tuesday, May 1, 2012

76. Earmageddon

Fan voting has begun for Earmageddon! Earmageddon is an ear project competition put on by body jewelry giant Industrial Strength. I entered one of my projects and if you find it fancy, you should vote for me! Clicking "like" equals a vote, and also don't forget to "like" the Industrial Strength page as well, so the vote is valid. :) Here's a picture of what I entered. It's a four point project with green paua shell and regular paua shell cabochons set in green titanium, all of the jewelry from Industrial Strength.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

75. Piercing Ad!

One of my daith heart piercing pictures is going to be featured in a LeRoi Body Jewelry ad! I get my niobium hearts from LeRoi, and I feel so honored that they want to use one of my pictures! I just thought I would share, as I've never been featured in an ad before. I think it's super neat. ^_^

Friday, April 13, 2012

74. A New Perspective On Eating

For over two months now, I have been on a mostly a plant-based and whole grain diet. I hate using the word diet, because most people compare the word diet with weight loss, but weight loss is not my goal. Neither is being vegetarian. Eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what I wish to achieve!

I suffer from a heart condition and it has gotten worse over time. Especially in the last couple of years, there would be times when I would come close to passing out, or fall to my knees short of breath and dizzy after a palpitation attack. Is a heart attack in my near future? I'm thinking so, and I'm only 29. I lead a pretty stress-free existence nor am I over-weight. There is no history of heart disease in my family and I wasn't born with an arrhythmia. Doctors had no real reason why my heart was acting this way, either. Strange, right?

Only in the last six months have I realized that my attacks were triggered by the food I was eating. I would have something with a lot of sugar in it and I would feel super lethargic, nauseous, and of course my heart would start acting up. I would eat some McDonalds or another tasty fast food and I would instantly feel like something wasn't right. My heart was significantly worse after eating fast food as well. I did my best to stay away from fast foods and high sugar foods but even after a couple of months, I was still having the attacks. I was really beginning to think that there was nothing I could do about my condition.

I was browsing Netflix one night and I started watching a documentary called Forks Over Knives that I thought was about environmental degradation and food safety, but it ended up being about the degenerative diseases that afflict humans and how those diseases can be controlled and reversed by refusing to consume processed foods. I was of course inspired to do more research about this specific plant-based, whole grain diet. I read papers on how food affects disease, watched more documentaries, and I was sold. I immediately changed how I ate food.

Before changing how I ate, my general diet consisted of a venti Starbucks (and sometimes a danish) for breakfast. For lunch, we order whatever delivers and I would usually eat Chinese food, Thai food, or pizza accompanied with soda. After work, five or six times a week I would go to Dennys or Village Inn, and for late night snacking, candy. I LOVE cheese, and candy, so much. Haha.

But I knew it would be worth it. No more processed food. No more high fructose corn syrup or monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, additives, or flavors. I made the change with no intentions of looking back. After three days, I was feeling incredible. My energy levels were up, I wanted to go for walks and exercise, my body felt better, my skin looked brighter, my mind was clearer, and surprisingly, no palpitation attacks! Even my restless legs at night were feeling better.

Most of my diet now consists of a variety of raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and raw tofu. For dinner I will steam my vegetables but unfortunately you lose nutrients when steaming vegetables so I have to make up for my intake. I eat chicken and fish a few times a week as well, and organic wheat pasta. I also drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day now. It took about two weeks for my stomach to detoxify and re-regulate, and even after two months every time I eat I feel re-energized. I refuse to put anything else in my body at this point, knowing how it will make me feel! You have to read everything though, and buy fruit/veggies in the organics isle. I scour labels like mad and if I do not understand what the ingredient is, I will not buy it.

What amazes me the most about food is that, only 5% of the grocery store contains food that I will even eat now, and many foods contain ingredients I had no idea they contained! Like ketchup, it has high fructose corn syrup in it! And Hidden Valley ranch dressing? MSG is in the first handful of ingredients and also lots of sugar. Just the other day I was looking at the difference between regular Yoplait yogurt and diet Yoplait yogurt, and the diet yogurt had high fructose corn syrup in it when the regular did not. I've found that labels are completely misleading, especially when it comes to foods that have diet, fat-free, and organic on the front label.

I learned that most of what people consider "food" isn't even really food at all. Processed food contain so many fillers and other ingredients, that you're not really even getting any of what the "food" was originally, nor are you getting it's nutrients and the longer it sits, the less nutrients it will have in the long run, even fruit and vegetables. The more I research, the more I learn that corn based and sugar based (made from corn) ingredients are in virtually everything, these horrible, processed ingredients that are so unsafe for your body. Also, human bodies cannot process preservatives or additives. Crazy!!

What do I avoid on a processed food label now? Here's a list I have memorized if you're interested at all! It's basically a list of sugar, fat and salt.
-High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Fructose, and Dextrose/Glucose are all basically the same thing. I also avoid Sorbitol and Aspartame.
-Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and basically anything with "glutamate" in the title is highly addictive and causes many negative reactions in your body. It can make you feel hungry even if you just ate a lot too. I even have a link to a website that has all of the psuedonyms and hidden sources for MSG.
-Anything that has preservatives, additives, natural colors, natural flavors, enriched, or hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils.

I thought it was going to be really hard to make a change like this, but it has actually been very easy! I've even been able to try new foods that I've never considered making before. I'm always shocked at how many people say they tried this but gave up! Not only do I feel great, but I've also been saving money when I shop at the store. Also, I haven't had one heart palpitation since I started eating this way. I've been turned into a believer when it comes to dietary change and reversing disease! I'm not saying this is for everyone, but if you're looking to maintain a healthy way of living, I would really try it. I've honestly never felt better!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

73. Massachusetts Tattoo Festival

I've just returned from the Massachusetts Tattoo & Art Festival and it was a wonderful time. :) Joe and Irene are such great people and I thoroughly enjoy working for them every time I visit Boston. :)

The convention took place in Sturbridge, MA and I worked in the Zaza Ink booth. I met so many cool people and even hung out with Lyle Tuttle for a few minutes! Here's a picture of us together. He was an incredibly chill guy!

I did so many piercings! I was also able to do two corsets. I entered them both in the temporary piercing contest, but no award. The first one is a 14pt back corset, and the second one is a 39pt. (these piercings are temporary and not intended to be permanent)

My Godspeed You! Black Emperor tattoo won 1st Place in the traditional category. It was very exciting! I even had a photo shoot with Savage magazine, my first magazine shoot ever! I hope the pictures came out well. Haha. I unfortunately didn't have much time to wander around and mingle as I was busy from the time I was on the floor until closing time each night, so I wasn't able to grab many pictures and the ones I did take weren't so good. Ah well. I still had an amazing time. Until next year!

Monday, March 26, 2012

72. MA Tattoo & Art Festival

I'm going to be at the Massachusettes Tattoo & Art Festival in Sturbridge, MA this weekend! I will be piercing at the Zaza Ink booth, and also selling hair clips and necklaces. It should be a ton of fun so if you're in the area, come by and say hello to me. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

71. Another Finished Tattoo!

My boss Russ has been working on my back tattoo in our spare time for the last couple of months and I'm happy to say that it is finally finished! It took about ten hours total. I just LOVE how he turned out...the picture doesn't do it justice!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

70. Just a hello!

It has been a hectic month for me, so I apologize for lack of updates! I have been putting a lot of time into the planning of Moddities...I cannot wait to reveal the final plans as the dates get closer. :) Work has kept me busy as well! I've started carrying lovely Industrial Strength nostril screws and navel curves with natural stones and faux-pals and they are a big hit! I can't believe how easy it has been to get people interested in the IS jewelry and catalog and because of it, I have some really awesome piercings coming up in the next month. Also, I will be revealing a couple ear projects for the Earmageddon competition that starts on March 1st. I'm pretty excited for it so be sure to check back.

Here is more of what I've been doing, piercing-wise. I got a nice shot of this nostril I pierced about six months ago with an adorable flower nostril screw from Industrial Strength.

Here's a cool one...the nasallang! It goes through both nostrils and the cartilage of the septum, making it a slow healer but a unique piercing to have. This is the second one of my career.

There has been a surge in people wanting frenulum/smiley piercings. They're pretty fun to do but definitely anatomy dependent! I love how it looks on this lovely lady here. :)

Here are some wonderfully healed lorum and scrotal piercings.

More in genital piercing, here are a set of dydoes I just downsized. They're healing great. I also did his ampallang.

I suppose that's all I have to report for now. New updates coming soon. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

69. Back Corset

I did another 40pt corset this month, this time on the back of the lovely Miss Katrina. I really like how this one came out. Just beautiful! :D

(this kind of piercing is temporary and not intended to be permanent)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

68. Face Anchors!

I took these pictures of my face anchors last week....they are two years old today! :D

Monday, January 16, 2012

67. RIP to my Philtrum Anchor

I have had this anchor in my philtrum for almost four years and after a hard hit just a week ago, it's finally decided to give up. This isn't the first time I've had it done...it was actually the third time. It's been migrating and having problems off and on for the last year so I wasn't expecting it to last much longer. I'm pretty sad to be honest. It's one of my oldest surface anchors. :(

Sunday, January 15, 2012

66. 40pt Arm Corsets

I did these 40pt arm corsets on Miss Kayla yesterday. Doesn't she look just lovely?? It turned out wonderfully with this ribbon style. :)

(this kind of piercing is temporary and not intended to be permanent)

I also did an experimental lacing style. I like how it turned out, but it didn't turn out exactly how I was thinking. I'm glad I had such a patient model. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

65. Disease & Infection

I've seen a rise in friends sharing jewelry with friends, and even between family members. It's true, you can spread disease by sharing body jewelry when it's not sterilized properly (i.e. autoclave), and even then, not all materials can be autoclaved (like acrylic). Chemical sterilization cannot guarantee the removal of all bacterias. If you think it's perfectly fine, always know you cannot be 100% sure. Even between family members, someone may have a disease and not know it.

I found this picture online of a "tattoo artist" doing a tattoo with no gloves on. This is pretty much what inspired me to write this blog. You can obviously see that the person tattooing has open/healing wounds on their hand. This is one of the many reasons why you should always see a professional tattoo artist working in a licensed shop, and not go to someone in their home. It doesn't matter if it's your cousin or your best friend, there is a reason why they are not working in a clean, SAFE environment. THINK before doing something like this.

I thought I would just share a little bit about infections and diseases.

Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV are generally the diseases most worried over, but many other diseases and infections can easily be spread through direct and indirect contact, like staph/MRSA and other bacterial infections, and blood infections.

Hepatitis B (HBV)is an inflammatory liver disease and is 100 more times infectious than HIV. here's a scary fact too, it can live on a dry surface for seven days. Most people who have HBV don't know it because symptoms are similar to the flu and will generally go unnoticed. HBV is treatable, but 10% of people will develop serious health issues from the disease which often lead to death. Hepatitis C (HCV) is also an inflammatory liver disease, and 80% people who have HCV will become chronically infected and suffer from life-threatening problems (like cirrhosis and liver cancer). Symptoms of hepatitis C are similar to flu-like symptoms as well, and will often go unnoticed for 10 to 40 years. Some people will carry it for 30 to 40 years before developing cirrhosis, or other serious complications.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a chronic medical condition that generally leads to AIDS. Many people infected with HIV will not develop serious symptoms for sometimes up to 10 years, and many of the symptoms are similar to that of the flu. Many people diagnosed with HIV have no symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Over one million people live in the United States are infected with HIV, with one out of every five not knowing they are infected with the disease.

Staph and other infections are often serious and can result in death. Your vital organs can be shut down within days and/or you can experience permanent paralysis from infection. The tenth most common cause for death in Americans is blood infection. It is as easy as not washing your hands to get an infection, so it's important to never touch a healing piercing or tattoo with dirty hands, and to keep your hands as far away from the body art at all other times. Do not let other people touch your new art/piercing either. Some bacteria can jump, or even travel three feet to find an accommodating place for survival.

How can I prevent getting HBV, HCV, and HIV?
-WASH YOUR HANDS. Some diseases can live on dry surfaces for days (i.e. door handles, railings, etc etc).
-Avoid using drugs that require needles, or other drug-related devices like snorting straws. Since HBV, HCV and HIV enter the body through blood or other bodily fluids, like a cut or needle puncture, people who use needles are at a much higher risk.
-Practice safe sex. Barrier protection is especially important. Though using condoms may not prevent transmission of these diseases, it will help reduce the risk.
-Don't share personal items with friends or family members. Toothbrushes, razors, and even old body jewelry could be contaminated with small amounts of blood. (activities like holding hands or hugging will not spread the virus)
-Contaminated food and water can easily spread hepatitis a, which is spread through fecal-oral method. It's more common outside of the US, as fecal contamination of food is uncommon here.

How can I prevent an infection?
-Wash your hands regularly with anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soap, especially after the use of public restrooms. Always wash your hands before touching your new piercing or tattoo.
-Keep your hands away from the piercing or tattoo if you're not cleaning it. Some bacteria can jump or travel.
-Clean your sheets, pillow cases, and towels regularly. Wear clean clothing.
-Avoid make-up, face wash, shampoos & conditioners, body wash, fragrances & dyes, and spray/lotion tan away from the piercing or tattoo during healing. Some piercings will not like make-up or lotions, even after they have healed.
-Don't go in any pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, or any other body of water for AT LEAST two weeks after getting body art done.

Infection generally looks like:
-Severe redness, usually with redness spreading outward, sometimes in streaks.
-Severe swelling accompanied with secretion that is greenish, brown, grey or black in color. The pus will often be mixed with blood. (a whitish to yellowish secretion is normal)
-Heat and severe pain at the sight of infection.
-Some infections are accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.
-If you believe there is an infection, do not remove the jewelry! This could potentially trap the infection inside with no place for draining, potentially making the problems worse.
-Also, if you believe you have an infection, go to the hospital. Do not risk your well being!

What most people believe is an infection, usually isn't. Redness, swelling, and soreness is common in new and healing piercings and tattoos. Especially in piercings, some will have minor redness and secretion throughout the entire duration of healing (common in navels and certain lip piercings) or have off and on scarring and soreness during healing (common in cartilage piercing). Flare-ups are common when the piercing is snagged, bumped, poor jewelry is installed, or make-up is constantly on the piercing which blocks the airflow and prevents natural secretion from escaping. Flare-ups are especially common is surface anchors. If you're experiencing minor problems like this, seeing your piercer may save you a trip to the hospital.

How do you know your piercer/tattoo artist understands what disease control/cross contamination is? OSHA and US federal regulations state that any persons who come into contact with blood or has the potential to come into contact with blood, is required to take an annual Bloodborne Pathogen/Cross Contamination course (BBP/Universal Precautions). If they do not have their card displayed, ask to see it and make sure it is up to date. It should be updated once a year. Don't take a copy of it for an answer either! The back of the card should be filled out and signed, with the front of the card displaying a name and where the training came from. If they do not have one, I would recommend going somewhere else.

It is so easy to spread disease and get an infection, so make safe choices when it comes to your body (even outside of tattoos and piercings). Go to a professional. Make sure they are licensed and have BBP training. Don't share body jewelry. Keep your body art clean! Sleep on clean sheets and pillowcases, and use clean towels!

And don't forget to wash your hands....a lot. I know I do.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

64. It's a new year, 2012.

It's pretty amazing that we have all made it through another year. 2011 taught me a lot about myself and other people, and though a lot of negativity was thrown my way, I'm still feeling positive and refreshed that a new year is here. And with my birthday only a few weeks away, this year will also be the last year of my twenties. Bring it on 2012!

In 2011, I kept to my simple resolution of not correcting people when it comes to their use of improper piercing terminology. I suppose it seems silly, but I do work in an environment where I experience such things like so every day. I started to realize however, that no matter how kind I was about the correction, people were often put off. Some people called me a know-it-all, and a snob. I even saw a review online that said the client felt like I was rude to them about what the piercing was called. I'm not an arrogant person, and I'm definitely not a know-it-all (though there is nothing wrong with education!)! And if it wasn't that, they just didn't care. People would actually say to me "so what?" I hated knowing that people felt this way, even if I went about it in all of the right ways. So I just stopped correcting people. Honestly, if you want to walk around sounding like you think you know what you're talking about, go for it! I'm not the one that sounds like an idiot is all. With all of the information so readily available to others, it amazes me daily how ignorant people are. You wanna ask me how big my "gauges" are? Sweet, they're 44.5mm. You want to look at "piercings for your nose ring"? Awesome, I've got some right here. You want to get a "dermal"? Where at and here is how much it costs. It has made my life not only easier, but I've found at this point, I stopped caring. :)

2011 gave me more patience, mental strength, and skill. I learned you cannot make everyone happy...and that it is okay! I've been accepting many challenges related to my career and pushed myself to become more piercing educated. I took over the official bodymod.org body modification event, which is now named Moddities, and even after much drama related to the event, I'm still happy with the outcome. I had to make some choices this year that were difficult and effected the lives of others, but I'm now stronger for them. I traveled, made many new friends, adopted a wonderful new little kitty, and started learning scarification. Over-all, my year was pretty great. :)

A 2012 resolution? My resolutions are generally not very serious, but I do want to strive this year to generate as much positivity as possible. I want everyone to see that life really is neat and there is so much to smile about. :) I also want to start wearing more skinny jeans. The latter... done. I wore skinny jeans today, that I purchased yesterday. Looks like the year is already off to a great start!

Take care everyone, and Happy New Year! I send my positivity your way!