For the Love of Tattoos

I have this thing for tattoos; especially black, simple pieces. I love colorful compositions as well, but have have always been drawn to black etched lines for myself. It is a rather thrilling act to get ink on skin – the adrenalin rush involved and then the after – the forever and finality of a piece, my favorite part. And then, it is true, there is this something about one tattoo that keeps you wanting more – an adage that I had always heard prior, but did not understand until I lived it. 
Beyond the act of getting a tattoo, I love the symbolic language in which tattoos speak; one tiny mark could whisper a million words – meanings that are mostly beyond anyone’s understanding but the bearer of the tattoo himself. Yes, a curious cat may inquire as to the symbolism of a person’s tattoo, and the then the bearer shall try to explain his badge as well as possible, but there is still something so private and significant about a piece of artwork that is forever etched on to the skin. 
A tattoo could symbolize a journey – the end of one or the beginning; a time in one’s life; a step forward, even back; a longing for someone lost and gone; a remembrance of a time, a relationship – so many things; why it was done when it was done, who a person was with, what stage in a person’s life he was enduring. A tattoo is different than a hormonally charged haircut during pregnancy, or a bit of a weight gain during a hardship in one’s life because of its absolute permanence. I know this because I have experienced both the pregnancy haircut and the weight gain during a rough time. I can change my weight, my hair, but the ink stays as a true mark of time. 
The placement of a tattoo is also something special to consider: placement is not only key, but meaningful; as is the visibility of a piece – will it be seen, when will it be seen, if at all? Shall it later be tied to another piece?  
There is joy thought and consideration in the art of tattoos, but my favorite thing is the journey leading to a particular choice. Symbolism is one of my great loves. 

Oh, and yes, I will recognize that there is the occasional tattoo that a tattoo-parlor patron may receive on a late-night escapade, but even then, there is a story leading up to the event, and perhaps a rather exciting one at that, if even a little blurry.
Some favorite little pieces that I have found about the Internet that I would love to inquire as to the origins, the stories. Enjoy:

Sources: 1. Sylvie L.S. on Flickr; 2. We Heart It; 3.We Heart It; 4. Need Supply Model; 5. Mary Clair Roman; 6. Razor Blade Salvation; 7. B. Dunlap.

Simple & Sweet :: July

Baby showers and patting preggo bellies,
hunting for the perfect moccasins,
 lots of time with our nephew, Chee’s cousin – Jack, 
red white and blue, 
play time with Maddox and the Pineapple Lily cuties
sleeping late,
 floral prints, 
smoking up the kitchen with dry ice, 
croquet in the back yard,
 more baby Jack – four occasions for visits and holding his cute face in a three week span!

Gucci Hobo Bag Giveaway!!!!

Such exciting news: last week’s Tod Purse Giveaway Sponsored by HipSwap was won by a Joyfully Gray reader! I was thrilled when I learned this news. Whitney Freeman from Indiana will be receiving her new purse within the next week, as it is packaged and on its way! Thank you to Whitney for participating and being a visitor of the Joyfully Gray blog and CONGRATULATIONS!

This is week four of the HipSwap Purse giveaway and a Gucci Hobo is up for grabs! This red-pebbled leather beauty retails for 1,500 dollars and could be on your arm in less than two weeks!!! 

In addition to the lovely red leather, the purse features a navy cotton stripe in front and large gold ring hardware at strap ends. The dimensions are: 15″ x 9″ x 1″ with 10″ strap.

This handbag was provided by the amazing DoubleTake Consignment Boutique of New Jersey & and is being given away via HipSwap

The DoubleTake Consignment Boutique first opened its doors in Short Hills New Jersey in1992 and from day one the store has been packed with women who understand the advantages and value of consignment shopping. DoubleTake, which only accepts the highest quality & current designer clothing and accessories, has been recognized as a unique clothing boutique where huge savings can be realized.

Stay Tuned for next weeks Giveaway! It is going to be even bigger. 

Through Lucia’s Lens

I can hardly keep my camera away from Lucia; she gets her hands on everyday it and goes to town. She captures a little bit of everything from an entirely different angle, which is always fun to see. Not only do I find it endearing, but I think I might have a little artist on my hands. Here is a viewing of her latest work: 
This weekend was packed: from Plaza Live on Friday; to a Saturday with a sweet baby shower, a bit of basketball, an old friend in town and  filling up on sushi;  to Sunday with a trip to Ponca City and back. I feel too tired for it to be Monday!  But it is going to be a good day… here is some Jack White to prove it:
Hotel Yorba by Jack White on Grooveshark

Tod’s White Leather Handbag GIVEAWAY!!!!! + Social Link Party

Guess what?! I have another great giveaway for you!!! Forget Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton (though that is hard to do) – your eye is on a brand new prize: a Tod’s Leather Handbag could be ours for the taking!!! I want this bag in a bad way. 

Joyfully Gray Blog has partnered with HipSwap to promote this giveaway. You only have to complete the the entry requirements by clicking here; you do not have to be a follower of Joyfully Gray to enter, though I would appreciate it so much!! Regardless, I am so glad you came by.

…Go get your bag & don’t forget to link up below.

To enter this contest, click here

To enter this contest, click here

And now … time to link up! Remember, you will be linked not only on my blog, but on Feeding My Temple and Pineapple Lily

Link up your social media below:

Mini-Tour: Chee’s Room

Lucia’s little room is very well lived in, just as any toddler’s room should be. I recently gave Matt’s great-aunt Gladys’ china cabinet a slathering of white paint and place among her pink walls in order to house all of her ga-zillion stuffed animals and toys. I try to regularly clean out her collection of things, weed out what she does not play with and keep things stream-lined, but truly, it is difficult for me.

All of the wall hangings and mirror were found at thrift stores and used to be in her nursery. My dad made the cute doll house shelf – it is just like the one that he made for me as a child per my mom’s very eager request. I found her blue bed at a second-hand store for twenty dollars in my mom’s little town of Ponca City; the poor scrappy thing was quite neglected, a scratched up sad looking wooden piece, but I spruced it up with two coats of turquoise. Amazing what some paint can do for some old shabby blocks of wood.
Curious as to what her nursery looked like in 2009Click here! I was very proud of its pretty and simple sweetness; only now is it blatantly obvious to me that a baby had not yet moved in to our home. Her little place has definitely evolved as she has grown older – books, toys, play kitchens & very-important-dress-up-collections tend to make things quite homey. 

Subway Rides & Serious Love to NYC

Let’s go catch a train,
Let’s you and me go,
Let’s you and me, Let’s go.

Down to the station of the metro,
like the one that Mr. Pound speaks of …

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
� Ezra Pound

Except let’s not be dying
or be reminded of death.
Our immortality cannot yet be broken.
We are more alive than ever.
Just like the city.

Let’s only stop to briefly tie our oxfords.
Or did we wear our boots that day?
Your brother his white sneakers.

Let’s let the white laced feet guide us through the tunnels.
He knows his city well.
The city that I am only borrowing for a few days.
Thank you for bringing me back.
You know I love it.

Let’s only stop to check our patterned dresses.
You in  zebra print and I in some lace.

Let’s only stop to untangle our beads.
They are piled high on our necks.
Of course.

Or better, let’s just check it all 
in the reflection of a train window.
All good.

This is not Paris, it is New York.
Pound spoke of Paris – his station of the metro,
was indeed Paris, I believe?

We speak of Paris while we walk. How we love it. 
We speak of New York City. How we love it.
We people watch and pick our favorite neighborhoods.

Let’s go back soon.
Let’s go to Paris too. 

Let’s wear more oxfords – even our boots.
Beads to decorate our necks.
Patterned scarves.
I’ll wear my red lipstick.
You wear your cat eyes.

Let’s collect more images of faces in the crowd.
Let’s remember what we can 
and collect it all forever in our pockets.

Let’s go catch a train,
Let’s you and me go,
Let’s you and me, Let’s go.
Let’s make sure Nick comes and 
that he brings his jokes.

Forget the cab.
He might not stop.

Down to the station of the metro…
or to the station of the subway, you’ll say.

Avett Brothers: Jenny and the Summer Day

Those cute Avett Brothers are in love with Jenny and the Summer Day.
Except I do not go by Jenny,
so they are not in love with me. 
Though I have a best friend that does go by Jenny,
Maybe I am in love with Jenny and the Summer Day too.
Let’s all be in love with Jenny and the Summer Day.
Jenny and the Summer Day by The Avett Brothers on Grooveshark
Happy Tuesday!

Dreaming of …

Cooler days – save the sunshine and the freedom that summer brings;
simplifying my life (& access to a big truck so I can haul away clutter);
a dusting dog-hair fairy that visits free of charge;
the ability to soundly reason with a three-year-old;
a kitchen assistant – just for a week or two – to get me really started with my pursuit to cook more, teach me the in-and-outs of meal planning and the how-to of throwing healthy and inviting family meals together;
and not much else…. these are all just little flights of fancy I suppose?
…Now back to de-cluttering the guest room so my brother-and-law can have a comfy place to sleep for the next few nights.
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend; we spent ours with Matt’s family celebrating birthdays and father’s day. New York City posts coming this week & another awesome purse giveaway!

And have you seen the new Free People Catalog? I want everything!


Bits of Us & a Bit about Why I Blog

A few months ago I had the privledge of sharing a bit about myself and why I blog on Chalk White Arrow. Yesterday when I again came across these photos of our home and their tiny captions, I thought I would re-share them here on my blog because one of the main questions I am most often asked, when I tell people that I blog is “Why?”

Well, one of the main reasons I blog is that it gives me the opportunity to capture details of my life that I might otherwise take for granted. I love finding significance in a warm cup of coffee or even the fine calligraphy stroke of a pen; recording my days and our home inspires me to count my blessings and find magic in the small things. When I was younger, I thought I would have some creative design job, or live and walk the streets of Brooklyn. I do not have either; in fact, being a literature teacher and living in the mid-west is very different than the “someday” I always considered. But, that being said, instead of Brooklyn and some fancy magazine job, I have many other things instead. Here, at Joyfully Gray, I capture those other things – the blessings – that I am so grateful for and I also get to be creative in the process. 

Today I would like to share some pieces of these things that I find so lovely, not the loveliness in the material items themselves, but instead the stories behind our things and the memories that we have created while sitting together amongst these things, these things where we sit listening to our mountains of vinyl, dancing on the sofa cushions, reading books, and banging on my great-grandmother’s piano. All of these moments are what make our our family what it is. 

Enjoy these polaroid bits. Thank you to Chalk White for having me many months ago. (Also, you can read more about why I blog here.)