Emma’s Tattoos

Emma Chapman's tattoosIf you've been reading the blog for very long, you probably have noticed that both Elsie and I have tattoos. So alternative! (He he) 

But, in all seriousness, sometimes folks will ask me about my tattoos. What do they mean? When did I get them? Do I regret them? Will I get more? First, let me show you my tattoos. Spoiler, I really only have two (sort of three depending on how you look at it).

Wrist tattoosThese are my first tattoos. I got them at the same time, so I think of them as one tattoo, but I guess it's technically two. I got these right around my 22nd birthday. I had just moved to LA to pursue acting, and I had recently gone through a pretty heartbreaking (for me) breakup.

I remember I actually wanted to get these done in white ink, but the tattoo artist said that would look really bad (honest much?!). So, he talked me into black. I figured, he does this all the time, so he probably knows if white ink would look bad for this particular tattoo. Whatever.

Emma's wrist tattooSo, what is the deep meaning behind the words "Love Love" on my wrists? It's my dog's name. Yep. I have my pug's name tattooed on my wrists. Obviously, it's sort of open-ended too. I mean, if my dog's name had been Mr. Sparkles, I probably would not have tattooed his name on my wrists. :) 

Sometimes people ask about the font. It's not a font, it's my sister's handwriting. I actually took it off her Myspace page because I didn't want to bother her with writing it for me. 

Do I regret these? Nope. I think I like them even more today than when I got them. (Is that disappointing? Would it be more interesting if I hated them now?)

Emma's tattoosAnd here is my other tattoo. It's quite a bit larger and way more colorful. It is (obviously) an electric hand mixer with the words "Red Velvet" on a banner across the whole thing. I got this one around my 25th birthday when SO much about my life had already changed! I had moved home (feeling like a real failure at first) to work with Elsie in her vintage shop and later here on the blog. I also started a small catering business that stocked our vintage shop with cupcakes, and I catered weddings on the weekends. 

I had a feeling cooking was going to be a life-long passion, whether it was part of my day job or not. And "Red Velvet" was the name of our vintage shop at the time. It's actually still the name of our business. You likely think of us as "A Beautiful Mess" since that's the name of our blog, but our business's name is actually "Red Velvet Art LLC." Which, I sort of like that this part of our name turned out to be not as well known… makes my tattoo feel a little more like a secret. But for me, finding a new dream alongside my sister changed my life! It taught me more about who I am, what I'm good at, and what I love. I am much more confident than I used to be because of our business. So, no matter where life will take us from here, I don't think I'll ever regret this tattoo because it reminds me so much of all these things and that time in my life. Plus I think it's pretty. 🙂

Egg beater tattooMy brother, Doren, and I were talking about our tattoos last week. He has a lot more than me and they're all SO cool. He has plans to get more in the near future, and he asked if I was thinking about getting more. I told him that I had been thinking about writing this post and it had made me reflect on both my tattoos, which I hadn't really done in a while. Truthfully, it's easy to forget about them once you're used to seeing them. 

I told him, one thing I had realized that I hadn't really noticed before, was that I chose to get both of my tattoos during a time of big transition and, frankly, heart break in my life. Which is probably the WORST time to decide to get a tattoo! But, that's what I did. So, I am always thinking about getting another one (off and on), but part of me thinks that until I go through another time of transition in life, I may not. 

Thanks for letting me share a little about my tattoos with you. If tattoos totally aren't your thing, I hope you skipped over this one! They certainly aren't for everyone, but these are mine and my story about them. 🙂 xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Really liked this post…I have been contemplating my first tattoo as I am about to have a big transition in life. I am originally from Melbourne, but have lived in Bali, Indonesia for 2 years. I started my own business here and have been making lots of beautiful, creative things. My signature being bright felt & yarn dreamcatchers. I am leaving Bali soon (off to NZ for a mountain life with my lovely family) and think my parting gift (to myself) will be a dreamcatcher tattoo with the words “Mimpi indah” Sweet Dreams in Indonesian…Anyway, thanks for sharing xx
    Kristel 🙂

  • I love this post! I do not have any tattoos of my own, but I have always been a big fan of them on other people/ in general. When I saw the “Love Love” tattoos, I actually thought that it was meant to be similar to a tennis score meaning “zero zero” at the start of the game! Kind of like an clean slate or a fresh start! Obviously, I was reading too much into it haha, but its kind of interesting that it could be interpreted like that too 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!

  • Have you ever noticed your “love” one upside down almost looks like “Trey”? Kind of neat 🙂

  • I got my first-ever tattoo last week and I absolutely love it. It’s of a swallow – the same placement as your gorgeous hand mixer tattoo – and signifies love and companionship to me.

    I had been a bit scared about whether or not I’d barf or faint during the tattooing process – I did neither, phew! – and it didn’t hurt at all really, turned out to be a really fun experience. I will almost certainly get more and am confident that they will remind me of times in my life as I journey through it.

    Loved reading about your tattoos – they’re great and Elsie’s too.

  • I got my tattoos after periods of unpleasant transition as well. Strange as it sounds, I feel like they all serve to commemorate where I was and the strength it took to get past those times. I was 17, 19, and I think 24? I’m 37 now and have a desire for one more tattoo – something to permanently record my children on my skin, just not sure what. I feel like those first three were marks of my youth (not that I’m old, but you get the idea) and a new one marks adult life.

  • i love the colors in your red velvet one!

    xx nikki

  • I love this post, and you !!! I also have two tatoos, the border of Africa and the constellation of Orion, but I want somenthing so coloured like your electric hand mixer (so adorable) … I hope Elsie too makes a post about her tatoos; kisses from Italy. 🙂

  • Loved this post and love your tattoos! I’ve put lots of thought into a tattoo for many years now, the only thing stopping me is where on my body will it go? I’ve decided on a small and simple pine tree- to remind me of the forest I love so much where my husband’s family has a cabin. We also just recently moved to Colorado so now the pine tree would have a double meaning.

  • I am not one for getting tattoos, but I LOVE seeing and hearing about other people’s tattoos, and the significance of them! Thanks for sharing!

  • Beautiful tattoos Emma! My first tattoo was spur of the moment and during a period of heartbreak… and it’s the WORST, though luckily pretty small and generally out of sight. But I definitely put more thought into planning the others lol.

    PS. I always saw your wrist tattoo upside down and honestly thought it said ‘Trey’. It’s actually so cute how that worked out 🙂

  • I’ve always wanted to see all of you and Elise’s tattoos. Thank you! Your turn now Elise. 😉

  • Totally in love <3 All your blog it’s so cool. I’m brazilian and your blog it’s only blog in english i’m follow.


  • I love how you have the mixer and how Elsie has the spools of thread! Brilliant tattoos!

  • Love your tattoos! I got my first one at the end of my first year of college redux (at age 54), and my second one during my last semester. I love them still, and plan to get more. But like yours, mine are special, and meaningful, so I’m waiting for the right time. Thanks for sharing!

  • I LOVE this post! I would love to read the stories of the tattoos of the whole ABM team! 🙂

  • Thanks for doing a tattoo post! It’s nice to know y’all listen to reader input! <3

  • Every tattoo should have a story. I love your story about how and why you got your tattoos. My daughter has two and they are lovely — especially the story behind them. My husband has a couple too and again, he has a story and purpose for each. They are wonderful daily reminders of dreams, goals, and life.

  • Love the wrist tattoo font! No pun intended. I got my white ink tattoos about two years ago in spite of my tattoo artist’s advice, and they still look awesome. Maybe you can reconsider getting one <:

  • I really love your story! Me and my husband will get one in a year, also after big lief changings… 🙂

  • I absolutely LOVE your electric mixer tattoo, Emma! I’ve always wanted to get one inspired by it, but I’ve been stumped on how to change it up and make it my own because I just love yours so much!

  • Beautiful. I love tattoos and these are stunning, Emma. I only have one – three stars on my left shoulder, to represent me and my two younger sisters. The three of us live in three different countries and that tattoo is a symbol of us sticking together no matter what. I definitely plan on getting more tattoos soon!

  • I love to hear the stories behind tattoos- I know they’re often so personal that people feel uncomfortable sharing, so it’s always a real treat when you get to find out what compelled someone to get this very personal and permanent piece of art on their person! Such a neat way to get to know what makes someone tick 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Emma!

    xo Mary
    Mostly Salty Blog

  • I totally thought your tattoo said “Trey” when I first saw it upside down. Coincidence? 😉

  • I love Emma + Elsie’s tattoos. They’re so fun! Elsie should share her stories, too. 🙂

  • it’s nice to hear the story after the tatoo

    and i like ‘love love’

  • How cool! I love hearing stories of other people’s tattoos. I got mine in honor of my first marathon, and I am kind of like you…I feel like I need another occasion or something to get my next one. I personally love mine more every day, and I like to hear of other folks who feel the same 🙂

  • Ooh I love these! I really like the fact that they mean so much, it’s so so sweet. I especially loove the colours on the ‘red velvet’ one! so gorgeous! xx


  • oh i remember when i first started reading your blog, your shop name is Red Velvet. That’s way before I learn that there’s such a thing called red velvet cake/cupcake. (hey, i’m from Hong Kong. we don’t have that) sort of forgot about the name red velvet when your blog got bigger and bigger. it’s nice to think about the old days. thanks for sharing your tattoos. hope to see Elsie’s tattoo post soon.

  • I love tattoos…on other people. Thank you for sharing the stories behind yours. I find the reasons people get ink and the pictures they choose fascinating. Yours are really beautiful — both the stories and tattoos. It’s so cool that your sister is part of each of them.

  • I adore your tattoos! They’re very unique. Hearing stories behind tattoos is always so fun! My tattoo (a bird) was a very carefully planned addition, and I put it where no one can see it unless I show them. Sometimes I regret this a bit, it signifies the end of my university experience, but it’s kind of boring!

  • I love that you have your sister’s handwriting tattooed of you. That just makes it all the more special. Thanks for sharing the stories behind your tattoos. I love hearing these kinds of things about people!

  • I like the meaning behind both of your tattoos.I like Love Love because i gets people to ask 🙂
    I got my very first one back in December after my dog died. I put it on my wrist. People were like “OMG, everyones going to see it there” Well the whole point of putting it there was for ME to actually see it. I look at it everyday and think it was a good choice. I have plans for another one soon.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • i love to look at well executed tattoos although i don’t have any.

    i doubt i ever will, but there is a running joke that if i ever did i would have full sleeves of gorgeous art work intertwined with curse words written in the most beautiful fonts and flowers. kinda of a where’s waldo of beautiful filth.

  • I absolutely love this post. I love all three (!) of your tattoos and have been thinking for a long time to get something really similar to your love tattoo on my right inside wrist. It’s so pretty – if I had the guts I’d also get a bigger piece like that mixer but I’d have a bit more fear over that I think! I think tattoos like yours and your sister’s (plus Katie’s gorgeous bird on her arm) are a great reminder that tattoos are a beautiful medium of art and can look so pretty and feminine.

  • Oh my goodness, the mixer! wow! I never was a tattoo gal, but I’m starting to love them more and more. Such a wonderful statement!
    x Motte

  • I love this post. So honest. I have 2 tattoos, as well. Both were done in very disturbing (lost) parts of My life. So, do I regret them? Sometimes. I already want to have one of them removed since the artist did such a bad job on it. But the other one is sort of an on and off feeling.
    I do like tattoos. I just don’t know if I’ll ever get another one – at least until I get the bad one removed.

    The Chronic Dreamer

  • Such gorgeous art and wonderful meaning behind them. I live vicariously through other people’s tats because I am a wild thing that cannot make up her mind. Getting inked (or not, in my case) and celebrating who you are is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • It is pretty. They all are. That electric hand mixer looks so amazing. I used to tell myself I won’t get a tattoo but when I saw yours and Elsie’s I told myself “why not”? Also, I’ve read some of the comments that the “love, love” tattoo looks like “trey, trey” upside down. I scrolled back up and it does! How cute. 🙂


  • Thank you for sharing about your tattoos! I’ve always admired them in photos.

    I have 4 tattoos. (Funny thing, I wrote 3 at first; it’s true… you get used to them after they’ve been there so long. I always forget I have them.) The first I got when I was 13! People are always shocked when I tell them that, and it’s a long story, but the short story is I got it with my dad. We’ve always had what some would call a rocky relationship and although I wouldn’t choose now what I got then (I just chose something random from a book at the tattoo shop), it’s one of my favourite tattoos because getting it with my dad is one of my favourite memories I have with him.

    Two of the other tattoos I have are on my wrists and I feel like because they are so visible, people seem to feel more free to make comments about them and even touch me. I’m surprised at how many times complete strangers have grabbed my hands to get a closer look, or made jokes or negative comments about them. Has anything like that ever happened to you?

    People ask all the time if I regret them or “What about when you’re 80?” The way I see it, even if I don’t like a tattoo someday in the future, I liked it at some point in my life, and that’s part of my story.

    It would be awesome if Elsie shared about her tattoos, too.

    On an unrelated note, I just realized (because you linked to your brother), that you kept your maiden name. Can you share how or why you made that decision? I’m getting married this summer and am still undecided on whether to change my name.

    (Sorry I wrote such a long comment. I feel like it’s a novella 🙂

  • I really loved this post! Your tattoos are both really nice and I love the meaning behind them.

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

  • I love the details behind the tattoos! And the tattoos themselves are so awesome!

  • I love the little ones! The big one with al the colors is to much for me but he is really cool

  • I am not a tattoo person, but I really ‘love’ your two Love-tattoo’s, they’re cute and elegant at the same time:-)

  • I really enjoyed this! I have one tattoo that has a lot of meaning for me. I thought about it for awhile but when I actually got it the whole thing was pretty spur of the moment. I’m glad i just went off instinct and did it. I love it and I’m glad you love yours too.


  • What an amazing story about your tattoos, using a transition to mark that time in your life. You are inspiration for the meaning of your tattoos and aunt does the same thing of having meaning behind them. I do not have a tattoo of my one but I know if I get one it will have a meaning to it. I want a Doctor Who theme for my first one because it world of writing that time is not an issue. And Dragon in the shape of toothless due to a ancestry connection to dragons.
    I love that tattoos are a beautiful form of art that have meaning to everybody who want to display theme on their body.

  • Your tattoos are super pretty! It is interesting that growing up I thought that tattoos were kind of creepy, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to like the look of some. I’ve thought about getting one on my left wrist. “La Vie En Rose.” That’s what I would get if I got one. I love the song (especially in the movie “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn) and I like the romanticism of it. One of these days I might end up getting it. It’s my favorite song and I’ve thought of getting it for about 2-3 years.

    Have a lovely day!
    Anna Neumann from The Whistling Willow

  • Emma, I just happened to come across this post totally by coincidence. Long story short, I wanted to show my coworker these heels that your sister is constantly wearing so i decided to come and look for a picture to send to her and first post i see is this one:)
    I LOVE this blog, but I haven’t made the time to wander around on here in quite awhile now, but I am so glad I did today..In my opinion, tattoos are awesome so it’s pleasant to see another female rocking some ink! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • I loved hearing the origin of your tattoos, thank you for sharing them with us. I’ve thought about getting one on and off but I prefer really small dainty ones (like your love tattoo). I’m leaning towards an outline of an elephant (about the size of a penny).

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

  • Come visit, you ladies would love Sarasota, where I live (picture below!)
    BUT- I go see my Dad in Branson every July and have spent sooo much time in Missouri- I lived in Arkansas for 5 years : ) Last year when I was in Springfield, I hung out at that super cute cafe Aviary for like 2hrs hoping I might see one of you roaming around. Do you ever do like tours or invite readers over to the studio? I will be back in July for another visit- it would be a dream come true to ACTUALLY have that cup of coffee with you : )

  • I love this. And I love the anecdotes. The tattoos you got in your younger years are much more flattering than the tramp stamp I have permanently inked on my lower back. lol.


  • I´ve got to be honest: I´m not a big fan of tattoos.

    But I really love your wrist ankle tattoos, they look so aesthetic, I´m thinking to get similar one´s 😉

    Win an 80$ shopping spree! 🙂

  • Loved your story. The mixer is so colorful, I love to bake also. I have 1 tattoo and yes got it while going through my divorce. It was so painful because I gave so much of myself to this man and his kids. I was a widow at 39 meant him at 41 married caught him cheating broke my heart so at age 52 I got my 1st tattoo. I love it my friends love it not so much my mom. Thanks for sharing. I love following you and your sister. Thanks for all the interesting posts.

  • I loved getting to know more about you and your background – love that you chose your sista’s hand writing – and I adore the mixer – so beautiful! You have great taste.

    Warm Regards,

  • Such gorgeous photos, I adore your tattoos, they’re very fascinating!
    Especially the Red Velvet tattoo, that is so cool that it’s actually from your business and everything. I find that really powerful in some way.
    Thanks for sharing this gorgeous post! Xoxo


  • Aren’t tattoos the most personal things? My first tattoo was a crown – It signifies that I was/am a princess (in my familial household!). Alternately, my husband’s first tattoo signified his impression of the cyclical nature of a relationship. Yours are lovely and they have meaning! That is the real test of a good decision, tattoo wise. They MUST have meaning!

  • That hand mixer tattoo is so beautiful! The colours are so soft. I have two tattoos myself, a crescent moon on my inner arm just below my elbow, and the outline of a hexagon on my left ankle.

    Bethany | http://www.lesbiansarereal.blogspot.com

  • I’m not a tattoo person, at least for myself, but I find them intriguing and certainly beautiful art! So don’t discount us non-committals. 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  • as a long time reader, i have MISSED the tattoo posts! i wish there was a weekly or monthly post… all of the “Tattoo Tuesday” posts from everyone’s blogs seemed to have disappeared over the last few years! its good to see it here 😀 i hope for lots more! maybe like a “at home with” ;D just tattoo stories from around the internet…. best <3 <3 <3

  • I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but I’m scared of needles. My best friend has 2 of them, and she told me that once I get my first one, I’ll be addicted to getting them. We’re still working out the details of when we are going to check out some tattoo places locally, but if I do get a tattoo, I’d want it to be something memorable! 🙂

  • So interesting! Nice of you to share. I understand wanting to get something symbolic during times of transition and change.


  • Great post. I love tattoos, but I can never decide on what to get!! ❤

  • I miss your Red Velvet store and your peanut butter cup cupcakes! My family drives through Springfield twice a year when we road trip from Chicago to Austin. We always stop for dinner in Springfield on our way down and we stay there in the hotel strip on our way back home. We would always be sure to stop in to your shop to see your new goodies. My girls especially loved your paper dolls. We’re still sad that the shop closed, but so happy for the the two of you (& friends & fam who work with you!) and all of the success that you have achieved! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! I love the story behind the Red Velvet tattoo – it seems like a daily reminder of how far you’ve come and how you’re reaching your dreams each and every day!


  • I also got my tattoos at a transitional time in my life. However, I was 18 and a lot less mature 😐
    Coulda’, woulda’, shoulda’. Right?! lol

  • I read your blog religiously but don’t usually comment. I just wanted to say thank you for your very timely post. I am in one of those “transition periods” and I’ve been thinking a lot about finally getting a second tattoo, one I’ve been planning for several years but had been putting off. It was one of those things I said I would do “as soon as…” I had already come to the conclusion that I need to just do it and to think of it as a symbol to stop waiting to live my life and start doing the things I always wanted to do. Now, with your post today, I feel like I got another sign from the universe to keep moving in that direction. Thanks again! Love what you guys do!

  • First, I love that you and your sister are in business together. I am super close with mine and one day, we both dream of doing something together. For now, she runs an art gallery and teaches art classes and I am getting a DIY blog up and running while working full time. My sister is getting a tattoo next month, her second, which got me thinking of a second one for myself! I loved hearing the personal stories behind yours and that you were open about your heartbreak and perceived failures. I firmly believe that things happen for a reason.

  • I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I think they hurt. I’ve never been stung by a bee (crazy-I know!) so I’m trying to think of something to compare it to…. hmm. I mean, it’s a needle piercing your skin. The larger the tattoo the longer you sit there and have a needle piercing your skin. It’s not fun. But if you focus on something else, like if there’s a movie playing or if you can strike up a good conversation with your artist then it’s not too bad. But, I’m not super put off by needles. If you faint when getting a shot I would not recommend a tattoo, but that’s just me.


  • Hi Alexandra,

    Thanks for your comment and request. I honestly love being candid with you. I say this fairly often so I apologize if I’m a broken record but I truly wish I could meet everyone for coffee at least once in life. I think we would all feel more “real” to each other, as the internet isn’t always a great facilitator of that. But, I also love the internet for allowing me to connect with people all across the country (and world) at once so I guess I can’t complain (too much).

    Don’t know what you’re going through this year but I’m rooting for you! My 24th year was ROUGH to say the least, but looking back now (I’m 29) it was the beginning of so many good things in my life. I wish I could have known that back then. So, maybe that will be the case for you too. I wish that for you my friend!

    Also I’m super jealous you’re in FL. It’s still pretty chilly here in MO… wish was I somewhere a little warmer this month, but hey, the grass is always greener if you let it be, no?


  • Jaime-consider this an internet fist bump. I think you are SEW awesome! 🙂


  • Ha! Actually my SIL, Kat, always says that those ones look like “Trey Trey” upside down. I certainly did not intend that at the time as Trey and I were not together, but I think it’s a sweet coincidence. 🙂


  • I’ve always wanted to get an HP tattoo! Love that you have the Deathly Hallows one. I read those books from 13 years old until the last one came out around the time I was 21 years old (I think?) so I really think of HP as a big part of my formative years. I think quite a few people around my age, give or take some years, feels the same. So fun how books can impact us like that.


  • Love your tattoos and the meaning! Thanks for sharing.


  • i don’t tat but i really enjoy hearing people’s story, because heck, people’s stories are interesting! looking back now, the white ink really would have been an ‘alternative’ choice! no matter, the black ink story becomes part of ‘the story,’ and that’s what’s cool.
    thanks for the read!

  • I’ve always been curious about tattoo’s and have asked someone how much they hurt and I didn’t really get a straight answer. I guess I should have been more clear, but I want to know another common similar pain that they feel like, such as bee sting etc.

  • I have been reading this blog for many years now and I know that you and Elsie both are making an effort to “be real” with your readers and show vulnerability so that people don’t feel like everything in your life is this beautiful photographic moment (which is all we see) And posts like this or my favorite (when you wrote about your “failures” at 24, Emma) really do a good job at humanizing this blog. It took alot of courage to share your story with us, Emma, and I have always respected you more because of it. Don’t be afraid to talk about matters of the heart- I think alot of people need that sort of advice from people they look up to. I certainly do. Of course you have to keep some things in your life private- but I think a blog post or even a live stream about relationships might be a really good way to connect with us and share your wisdom. (Can you tell I am going through something right now?)
    Now that you are both happily married- maybe you could tell us about the trials and tribulations to getting to this point. I am 24, going through what could be a huge tectonic plate shift in my life, and would love to hear about these moments in your lives as well.
    P.S.- I work in film production in FL Emma, I’m sorry acting didn’t pan out for you- L.A. is rough. Tell me about what projects you did extra work for. You could have totally had a career in Florida!

  • Amazing. I want a tattoo but I think I’m going to think about it for a couple more years and maybe wait until I’m a little older. I’m not one of those people that can just decide I’m going to get one and go for. My favorite thing about tattoos are hearing peoples stories behind them (even though some people aren’t very kind when being asked because of how often they get asked).


  • I love tattoos, and got one the day I graduated from high school. I turn 39 in two weeks, and while I think I am too old to get one, I am really thinking about getting an arrow tattoo on my arm somewhere.

  • I love this post! I love the honesty and I love your tattoos. Its always so interesting to hear the stories behind art especially art people choose to put on their bodies. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Love this post! The wrist tattoos are so cute x
    eleanor’s adventures // UK Fashion & Beauty Blog

  • I love hearing about people’s tattoos and the stories behind them. Thanks for sharing!

  • I started following you guys a couple years ago and I actually got my Traditional style sewing machine on the inside of the right arm because I loved seeing pictures of Red Velvet, and I always thought your tattoos were sew* (pun) awesome. (maybe I chanelled some Gaga too) I also took inspiration from you guys whenever I was feeling down, because I’m in Denver and cool things can come from the middle of the country. Love you ladies. Keep up the good work.

  • I’m so glad your artist talked you out of white ink, I’ve heard awful things about it turning yellow! (note- I am NOT a tattoo artist or anything, so please don’t anyone rage at me if this is wrong! thankyou) plus your ‘loves’ look so super pretty as they are 🙂

  • love the LOVE tattoo..but the big red velvet one, not so much…guess i love tiny ones.. but both looks cool on you though… 🙂


  • Thanks for sharing, Emma:)
    I’m often asked how many tattoos I have and to explain the meanings behind them. But having a bodysuit, I feel (as you mentioned with your “love love”) that I just have one. And the meaning I attribute to it is simply having beautiful imagery all along my body; which reminds me of every stage and transition and experience in my life that uplifted and transformed me. My ex-husband is my tattoo artist, so the work also reminds me of the love and friendship that endures. Also the suit involved hours upon hours of pain which ultimately turned into an endorphin rush… life. No better metaphor, I think;)

  • The first picture shows your love tattoo upside down and at first I thought it was Trey’s name! It kinda looks similar, right? Anyway, I love your tattoos and I think getting a tattoo during a time of heartbreak is a defining way to move on and learn from it in a way. Like that Coco Chanel quote, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” but with a tattoo, it is more personal and permanent. Thank you for sharing!

  • I’m SO glad you did this post. I have been curious for years and years and was hoping all y’all would post about them. I would never, ever get a tattoo myself but I love the art and the stories behind them. I’m definitely a closet LA Ink lover. 🙂

  • I think this is lovely. My first “real” tattoo came during a heartbreaking transition time for me as well… but… it ended up being something that I love so much and a nice reminder of how life is life and I can always make it. Plus my friend did it and I love that as well. Your tattoos are beautiful! Love the color in the mixer! WOWZER!

  • Love this post and your tattoos! I have a colorful forearm tattoo as well as one on my wrist and love them both!

  • Thank you for sharing!

    I only have the one, but gor it after a really important phase in my life, too. I had the Deathly Hallows symbol tattooed on my back and I LOVE IT, still, because it’s the perfect combination of life meaning (for me) and my favorite fandom. Sure, I love HP and it’s such a big part of my life, but there’s meaning behind it, so. I might get another one, because I’d like something in color (my DH is done in greys and only in dots).

  • I love how your tattoos have so much meaning to you, and how it signifies your business and helped to turn your life around 🙂 The love love ones are so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo like it, but don’t have the guts to!

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

  • I’m so glad to finally see this post 🙂 You and Elsie both have such beautiful work and I’ve always wonered about them.

    Thank you for sharing so openly, as always.

  • Such a wonderful post! I love that hand mixer tattoo!! Such great meanings behind them!

  • I love both (all 3) of your tattoos. I would call the mixer one “SO cool” too, so Doren is not the only one with cool tattoos : ) Mine are in the same spots as yours and I don’t believe I will ever regret them. They are piece of my history on my body. This post made me realize I got one of mine during a sad time as well, after the death of an ex boyfriend. It’s his name across my wrist and supposed to be a reminder that life is short, take advantage of opportunities, and to find beauty in my surroundings. That’s what “James” means to me anyway. My other one is a colorful Wonka Bar on my forearm because that was my favorite movie growing up and I wanted something fun, unique, and full of happy memories. Thanks for sharing! I’d be interested to see similar posts from Elsie and the rest of the team.

  • I love them. And I’ve been thinking about getting a tatto on the same placement where you have the Red Velvet one, but I think my husband will be like “hell no!” even tho I have 11 already ahaha!!

  • I have a tattoo for the first time in June 2014 , while I too lived a big transition in my life … A separation that messed many things … .
    On my left wrist , I have a quote from a book by Milan Kundera who is also a German proverb ” Einmal ist Keinmal ” which means many different things to me …
    It felt funny to read your story because writing is one of my big sister, because I wanted to have a bit of it on me at all times …
    I love my tattoo … I often look and I ‘m still glad I …

    Sorry if my english is not perfect…

  • She might. 😉 I’ll have to see if I can talk her into it.


  • I loved! They’re beautiful and you like them, that’s what really matter.
    I have one tattoo on my back and it’s almost the same story that you told us…
    Ah, and I really enjoy to know more about you!

  • love this post!!!!
    i love the placement of your red velvet tattoo! i really want one there but of course i want it to mean something thats why i’ve put it off.

    is elsie doing a post about her tattoo’s next!?

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