First Dermal Punching Experience

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

As someone who has spent a fair amount of time perusing the galleries on BME, I have been researching dermal punching for a couple of years.  It may have been the excessive amount of blood, or perhaps the chunk of cartilidge that comes out of the ear that turned me off the idea.  Also recall that I read an article about how the ear can be shattered if the punch goes wrong.

The truth is that dermal punching is actually better for when you wish to have large gague holes in places like the conch or septum.  When I had my first cartilige piercing experience I was about 12-years-old and had my mom take me to Claire’s.  This was before I really knew about proper body piercing, and the pain was pretty bad.  A couple of years later, I had the left one done at Spencer’s [again, before I knew that needles were good and guns were evil], and it still hurt a lot.  Eventually I had proper 12g jewelry inserted and then decided to stretch them.   For this I used tapers up to 4g, and while I did try tapering to a 2g, my ears let me know they were happy where they were.  The strange thing was, a lot of people weren’t stretching their cartilige at that time, and I distinctly remember people would constantly stop me to ask if had hurt, and how I had done it.

Now there is dermal punching, which is said to be safer than stretching or using a large gague needle, and the piercing heals faster.  Well, my sister was considering getting new ear piercings, so I talked her into going to Starlight.  Met up with Dom outside, who inquired as to how our nostrils were doing.  The photo he took of mine wound up in his portfolio, which I thought was pretty cool.  She explained what she wanted, and we headed downstairs.

Dom convinced my sister that dermal punching was the better way to go.  Of course I was quite interested in the whole process, as it is difficult to tell what is going on when looking at pictures on-line.  There was blood and nice popping noises when he did the punches, and I can only imagine how much it hurt, but I have to say that she was a real trooper, and I am really proud of the way she handled herself.

We had a nice conversation about ear stretching, and he said that I have ideal lobes for that.  According to him I could go to three inches if I wanted to.  At the moment I have no intention of going that big, but is nice to have a second [and professional] opinion about stretching.

Definitely learned a lot, and now I am not as afraid of dermal punching as I once was.  While I had planned to have my conches pierced at a large gague, now I realize that punching will probly be the better way to go.  All I have to do is convince myself the procedure looks worse than it really is, and that no matter how much it might hurt, I will have some really amazing holes for the rest of my life.  Easier said than done.


Ear Stretching

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Even though I have a fair collection of tattoos and piercings, it seems I am constantly making lists of future body modifications that I would like to have.  This changes over time as I do research into what is or is not possible, plus access to certain procedures and availability of funds tends to effect things as well.  Currently there are 28 piercings I would like to obtain.  Eight of them can be done as soon as I can afford them, as they will complete my ear project.  The other 20 will have to wait longer, as they are all facial piercings.

The number of tattoos I want is definitely not one that I can put a limit.  The fact that I already have spent about two thousand dollars already, prepares me for spending a lot more on things I want in the future.  However, I can admit that having money is not a reason to get tattooed and while I do not regret the pieces I have, I do wish I would have put more thought into a few of them.  No one really sees them anyway so I am not terribly concerned about it at the moment.  The one thing I am certain of as far as future tattoo work is concerned, is that I would like to get the crosses on my forearms covered.  Should eventually start looking into artists who are good at that.

Vague plans include having my arms completely tattooed, and getting my legs entirely done up to the knee.  Exact details have not been worked out, but I really love the idea of being heavily tattooed.  Perhaps finding inspiration in figures of sideshow who received steady wages because of the ink on their skin is what motivates me to achieve a similar aesthetic. The head and face will most definitely be the last thing I do, because I need to be absolutely sure I can spend the rest of my life looking at whatever I choose before I actually get it done.  Would also like to have a more consistent source of income, because unfortunately being a tattooed commodity is not a sufficient way of making a living.

Getting back to my original point, my ears have been peacefully resting at 1/2″ for quite some time.  However, I decided that I wanted to take them larger with a goal size of one inch in mind.  Tapers are expensive and not a good way to stretch at larger sizes.  Did some research and it seems there is a method of stretching where you wrap tape around plugs until you reach the desired gague.  Now of course this has to be done slowly because there should be no pain, but it seems pretty simple and so I picked up a couple rolls of the PTFE tape two weekends ago.  All I had to do was wrap the tape around the plug until I was satisfied with the fit and popped them back in.

That was the Saturday before last, and I stretched again the following Tuesday, which was one week ago.  That Friday I tried the 5/8″ flared tunnels I have and they went in with no problem.  Noted here that I also massage my lobes with oil once a day which helps keep the skin soft and pliable.  While I am not sure what it is about having a hole in your ear that you can literally see through, but it puts a smile on my face.

Of course I know that I have to go slow, which means waiting a reasonable amount of time between stretching and not forcing it to happen.  What I am concerned about is the fact that I cannot afford to keep buying jewelry when I know I am not going to stay at a particular size long enough to justify spending the money.  Certainly I do not expect the ones I have in now to get me to those larger sizes either.  Might have to go with the cheaper alternative for temporary wear and save up money for one nice set of plugs.

Though I originally wanted to stop at one inch [it has been my goal since the first time I had my lobes at 1/2″], I changed my mind now that there are a lot of plugs which come in larger sizes.  Now stretching my lobes to 1/4″ or even 1 1/2″ is a possibility.  It depends on how I feel the size looks with my other modifications and overall appearance.

This wound up a lot longer than I expected.  Oh well, this can be a documentation of my progress, so this is for my own benefit anyway.

Kung-Fu Shoes: Think Pink

Unconditional love, compassion, understanding, romance, hope and intuitive energy are all positive traits associated with the color pink.  While it has often been stereotyped as the epitome of all that is feminine and therefor ‘girly’, as though those are bad things, I would like to believe it can be worn by anyone who wishes to add a bit of warmth to their outfit.  Pink represents romance, fuels empathy, inspires and calms – combining it with black, grey, dark blue or green can create sophistication and strength.  Though the deeper hues can come across as assertive and confident, most see pink as non-threatening as it lacks anger and aggression.  Often it springs to mind when one thinks of the circus or carnival and associates memories with getting sticky-fingered with a bag of fluffy cotton candy.  The confection was invented by William Morrison and John C. Wharton in 1897, when the candy makers from Nashville created a device which heated sugar inside a bow filled with tiny holes.  As the bowl spun around, the caramelized sugar was forced through them and formed strands of fluffy candy that melted in the mouth.  Hopefully this selecting of salacious shoes will incite that same intensity when paired with the upcoming Summer trends.

At the softer end of the spectrum one finds baby pink, a gentle hue that invokes images of porcelain-faced dolls with golden curls and luxurious dresses.  Emulating this aesthetic without coming across as creepy is as simple as selecting a pair of Teeze patent leather Maryjane style pumps.

For a bit more shimmer there is always the metallic finish, though I would switch the coordinating ribbon with a black or silver one.

Really let your personality shine with pink glitter pumps, especially when rocking your favorite little black dress.

Speaking of glitter, Courtess is an elegant lace up calf boot with platforms, five inch heels and intriguing detailing at the top that would make these a stellar addition to a burlesque costume.

The textured platform and heel of Illusion along with the silver accents makes this shoe perfect for that balance of retro pinup meet futuristic heroine with an atomic age infusion.

Dame is a classy ankle boot with cutouts on the sides that have been filled with lace and would complete a Victorian style outfit.

Though Vanity has a healthy dose of white, the aesthetics of a spectator style Maryjane pump makes it an instant must have for any pinup’s collection.

The combination of black and pink brings an edge to fashion because it creates a contras that allows one to play upon dual sides of a personality, and is represented well with the hot pink and black stripes of Kitty, a patent leather pump with scalloped black accents and a black bow.

Hondola by Guess has warmer pink striped next to black and accented by a cork heel – the peep toe and open sides with buckled strap make it a great Summer shoe.

Though it is not striped in the traditional sense, Neina still offers bold color blocking and multi-strap design to keep feet cool when temperatures soar.

Creeping into the brighter end of the spectrum, hot pink can be an electrifying color and definitely needs to be paired with at least one neutral toned item so that eyes are not melted.  The simplicity of Bunny by Dolce Vita [or a similar style that is affordable priced] lends itself to customization by say adding some gold studs or spikes to the heel and a coat of black paint to the sole.

Satin roses really set off Lovely People‘s Lennon as more than just another platform pump.


Silver stud skulls create points of visual interested for Iron Fist‘s Sugar Hiccup, which is a slightly darker hot pink with red undertones.

Unfortunately there is a great amount of Ed Hardy merchandise for sale that I find to be fairly tacky, overpriced and a far cry of what the legendary tattoo artist is capable of when it comes to producing quality, though I am aware he is not very involved with actually creating the eyesores that will surely be gracing the backs of every douchebro that invades your favorite Summer time spot.  However, the Coralie Heel is a nice coral canvas printed with a floral design mounted atop cork wedges that feature pinstriped butterflies.

The graphic, eye-catching imagery of Iron Fist is in full effect on these Gold Digger pumps, and one can complete their collection with flats, flip flops, bikini, handbag and wallet.

Wearing pink has become a statement of pride for men, women and those who do not want to be simply categorized by societies gender norms.  The color should be embraced by all whether it is a symbol of femininity with a hard edge, the comfort of men who are not defined by the color of their clothing or simply unites those who have been touched by Breast Cancer.  No matter what reason one chooses to don this blushing hue, pink remains a color of prominence that certainly gains attention and comes in such a wide range that there is tone which can suit everyone.

Flashback Friday

Anyone that knows me on an intimate level or has taken the time to read the archives, is aware that the month of May carries a significant meaning for me in many ways.  Going back to my childhood, it is the honored time when the carnival would appear in the parking lot of the Catholic school I attended.  Apparently it was part of the celebration that occurred annually to celebrate Mary, for whom the school was named.  For me it was the first time I had ever seen a carnival and so I was quite intrigued by these people who had suddenly showed up.  Their trailers lined the field we used for gym and various other outside activities.  Like magic these brightly painted rides and booths appear – the eighth graders are talking about who they are going to take as a date.

May is a time of celebration, as it signifies my initiation into Outlaw Cirkus, the details of which I have never shared with anyone.  While I thought about including it in the First of May article, it remains a very personal experience I do not feel would be understood by outsiders.  Generally I have no qualms about sharing things from my past in a public forum because they happened years ago and just a collection of stories that I like to read from time to time.  Besides, there is nothing I really have to be ashamed of and so whatever people take away or think after reading anything I post here is no skin off my back.  However, I do still bear the scars of that day, and since I had my fill of answering inquisitive questions only to be met with ignorance, the events are not something I freely speak of.

When it comes to the subject of Jon Lovelace, however, I am more than blunt with my words.  Though most of the memories that are attached to May are happy, there is always going to be one that is tainted with tragedy.  Perhaps that sounds more somber than it is meant, as the death of a loved one is certainly not something I want to remember, yet it is difficult to forget.  Jon was much the same way, an incredibly amazing friend I was fortunate to have, who made quite the impression that very first time we met.  In fact, a few weeks after the encounter, I was struck with inspiration and scrapped together a rough poem of sorts.

This bit of writing has traveled with me through all of the times I have moved,  folded, read and re-folded so much that it is worn and faded.  It seems appropriate to immortalize the words here, though admittedly there is not much structure that would really make them an identifiable poem format, and the rhyme scheme is a bit lame.  This was written when I was 18, edited for spelling, and remains as the account of a shy girl who encountered a young man on the streets of New York City in the middle of the night in late December.

Riding the asphalt ocean like a bat out of hell
driving a black Chevy stolen from the devil
living by his own rules; a rebel with a cause
he rolled into the city on a chilly Winter night
throaty pipes roaring down the main drag
blatant disregard for all of the local laws

Hair was bleached by the hot desert sun
blue jeans speckled with red sand
dusty leather jacket clung to his back
he wiped the dirt off his boots with a rag
heels and toes fitted with shiny metal plates
His steel blue eyes connected with mine for a moment
That’s when I knew he was the one

Casual attitude paired with a killer smile
watched him casually walk inside the squat
his aftershave lingering in the air
decided that I would also go in for a while

My presence occupied a corner
girls flocked to him like hungry wolves
not ashamed to display flirtations
tried to entertain as Human Blockhead
but was only met with anger

Went back outside, sitting he curb to brood
a group tumbles out of the squat
fists flying in a drunken fury
the mystery man caught in the middle
shouting words that were crude

Returned my attention to the ground
then I see his shoes in front of me
tattooed hand offered with kindness
wanted to say thanks but couldn’t make a sound

He licked a thumb to wipe something off my face
politely asked me if he could learn my name
Nervously I replied with an unsteady voice
he laughed and said to call him Lovelace

He leaned over and caught me by surprise
our lips met in an awkward kiss
After a few minutes he pulled away
a smile sparkled in those intense eyes

He climbed into his Chevy and drove out of site
but I would always remember our kiss on that Winter night

Kung-Fu Shoes: Leaping Leopard

Being a Jersey Girl, one is subjected to certain stereotypes thanks in part to the numerous reality television shows that actually depict a very small demographic of females from the Garden State.  While there are moments where I am unapolgetically loud, obnoxious and opinionated, I do not feel these traits ultimately define my personality nor should they be used as an example of my overall  character.  Though I have no interest in tanning, acrylic nails or tight clothing, I am not ashamed to admit that I love leopard print.  It is synonymous with a wide variety of alternative styles and often conjures up images of icon Betty Paige.

Wearing leopard print is not for everyone, nor do I feel that every item of clothing it appears on is a particularly flattering one, but I have my opinion and others are welcome to disagree with it.  In sideshow, leopard print is commonly associated with the costume of a strongman, though there were also people that had a skin condition known as vitiligo, who were referred to as being ‘leopard-skinned’.  The pattern is quite prominent in tattooing and can bee seen covering anything from arms and legs to heads and faces.  This guide obviously is going to focus on footwear, and one might be surprised at just how versitile leopard print shoes are.

Though I promise this won’t be another Pleaser dominated post, I cannot help but note a few of their styles – Genie comes in two colors, one of which is this lovely pink, and features a metal tipped stiletto heel on a wooden platform.

Satin peep toe leopard print pump with lace trim and ribbon bow is one of the signatures of Delight, and staring at the coordinating liner too long makes the shoe look like an optical illusion.

The contrast of the black lining in this Delight design along with the tanner print, closed toe and ankle strap brings a bit more demureness to the shoe.

My fondness for this version of Delight is based on the feminine features of the frills combined with a heel that can also be used as a lethal weapon makes these appropriate for those times one might want to summon their inner bad girl.

Definitely on the Must Have List, in addition to the green glitter seen above, Bettie also comes in gold and pink.  The small heel, concealed platform, open toe and darling bow make these great for dancing and go well with zombie or monster inspired ensembles.

Sexy is definitely a word that comes to mind when looking at these lucious purple pearlized pointy toe pumps.  Also available in blue, gold, red, silver and tan.

Five inches of blue sparkle vinyl and three buckle straps are things that make these Maryjane wedges worth a mention, even if they are supposed to be ‘cheetah print’.

Iron Fist has its own collection of festive feline footwear, such as the Pink Friday platform wedge – obviously this nearly neon hue is not for the timid.

Though a slightly darker tone of pink, Love Bites is just a fierce and even has a darling polka dot interior with matching bow.

Betsey Johnson’s Morticia may not be what springs to mind when one thinks of the Addams’  Family’s matriarch, but with silver-filled spots and darling bow adorned skulls studding the toe, these pumps are definitely kooky.

Selecting a more neutral tone does not mean one has to sacrifice style – the lining and the sole of Diskkol are bright neon pink.


One part pump and one part creeper, these acid bright green and purple shoes by T.U.K. are dying to do the Monster Mash.

No matter what shoes you choose to express your inner feline, remember that fashion should also be functional and that there is no shame in selecting flats over platforms, or sneakers over wedges.  One could also certainly get crafty and DIY a custom pair of kicks by using acrylic paint and a steady hand – there are plenty plenty of blank canvases at thrift stores and occasionally the trash.

Yikes Stripes!

Even though one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to the general representation of circus inspired fashion is that people automatically associate stripes with a broad culture.  Whether they are on garments, shoes or accessories, just because an items is striped does not mean that incorporating into an outfit suddenly makes it makes it vintage burlesque or Victorian sideshow.  However, I can readily admit when use of stripes is done appropriately and there are plenty of examples that can be found in previous Carny Style articles.  This particular one will focus on how to execute stripes without being mistaken for a cartoon character, because that only works when one is on stage.

This lovely strapless black and white body suit can not only bring retro chic to your look while relaxing on the beach or poolside, but can also be worn with a skirt and easily dressed up with accessories.

Of course mixing up the color scheme of stripes is a great way to stand out, which is exactly what this navy stripe two piece playsuit does.

The retro cut of this black and pink stripe bikini uses direction to create a chevron pattern that makes the set visually appealing.

Wearing black and white stripes without someone thinking you are dressed in a Halloween costume is as simple as adding solid color garments such as black, red or blue.  The dominate white, horizontal stripes and angular lapels on this Shoulder Pad Jacket by Givenchy are also helpful.

The intersecting ivory stripes on this navy jacket generates interest but is not so extreme that it hurts the eyes.  Pair it with jeans for a smart look or bring an edge to casual wear.

Admittedly the colors here could err towards being too patriotic, but the tailoring on this 1980s Moschino jacket keeps the stripes well matched throughout the garment.  Over-sized buttons and navy trim reminds me of what a talker might wear on the bally stage.

Dress shirts that are striped with white collars and cuffs are mostly seen in the office, though I challenge that they should be sported in other places, especially if they are pink.

One cannot write about striped clothing without mention Jessica Lousie, and I can envision her Cupcake Tank being worn with a black corset, white petticoat and spiked heels.

Stripes do not always have to dominate a garment – the subtle striping seen here on the Sassy Sailor Darling top nicely accentuates the red stretch cotton twill and is tied together with a black elastic belt.

For some reason pin stripe gets overlooked, but the subtly of these stripes do not discount them from be as equally fabulous as its bolder counterpart.  The rich hue of Lip Service’s Gangsta Pranksta pencil skirt is strong enough on its own, but also opens the invitation for that cute guy across the room to come closer.

Not all striped clothing is made by alternative brands – this black and red full-swing skirt by Marc Jacobs has enough structure and volume to create an eclectic outfit.

Technically speaking this is more of an abstract plaid, but really, the purple stripes of this cotton skirt show that one direction is not always interesting, and thus one does not have to limit fashion by stereotypes.

These green and black stripe peeptoe Maryjane wedges have officially been added to the Must Have List, especially since there is a dress and sweater that they would match perfectly with.

Every now and then, there is nothing wrong with mixing polka dots with stripes, and as Not Rated’s Mismosa shows, when one of the patterns is a subtle accent, the two create a sort of whimsical harmony.  These would also look swell with a red dress and fishnet stockings.

Skulls and stripes are an excellent combination, and since the latter mostly appears on the lining of Iron Fist’s Lacey Days platform shoes, one does not have to fear that they are overwhelming.

Taking advantage of striped accessories does not mean one can just pile them on – as with all things moderation is important to prevent an outfit from being outlandish for all the wrong reasons.  A wide variety of items can be found in numerous color combinations and severe as an example of how stripes do not always equate circus, which sadly is something that apparently needs to be repeated.  Though I have a fondness for striped tights, they ones are associated with a multitude of different subcultures.

When presenting personal style, you make up the rules as to what is and is not appropriate, though I certainly do not expect everyone to abide by them.  When making an attempt at creating a specific ensemble and citing circus as inspiration, remember that stripes were mainly found on clown costumes and were not prevalent among traditional wares.

A few things to keep in mind when selecting striped styles is that horizontal ones are better suited for slim, tone figures, while verticle ones give the illusion of elongation.  Diagonal breaks make the pattern more interesting and use of color can make the difference between a couture outfit and being part of a chain gang as a movie extra.  The appeal of utilizing stripes in apparel is that they instantly cause the eye to gravitate towards a particular garment, they command attention and can be visually stimulating, especially in photography.  Below is a collection of images that feature products from Restyle which I feel best showcase how to balance stripes with a complete look.

Lure of the Ocean

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Since the beginning of the warmer weather here in the Garden State, I have found myself inexplicably drawn to the sea.  There are a few theories that I have come up with, to perhaps make sense of this phenomenon.

Could it be that like the turtles that migrate every year to the Galapagos Islands, I too have a born instinct that pulls me to the sandy beach?

There are many memories I have of visiting the ocean as a child.  My mom took my sister and I to many shore points including Keansburg, Point Pleasant, Seaside, Sandy Hook and Wildwood, to name a few.  Usually she would lay on the beach and soak up the sun, while I liked to drown myself in the salty water and get sand in my bathing suit.  The sun bleached my hair and freckled my skin and I loved every minute of it – except for those times where I had painful sunburn.  There is still a memory of one time when we were down in Wildwood with my aunt and uncle, he was so drunk that he fell off the tram car, and it left him there!  My sister and I used to spend hours in the water park or on the boardwalk obtaining cherished prizes that have been long-forgotten.

Obviously I still love to go.  Whether it is 18 miles out to Coney Island or down the Parkway to one of the many beaches here in Jersey, I just cannot get enough.  The sights and sounds and smells that hit you all at once.  The salted aroma of the sea mixes with scents of seared animal flesh, fried fat and teeth-rotting candy confections.  The rumble of a roller coaster.  The blinking and buzzing rides and games.  The obnoxious guys that try to get you to play their obviously rigged games.  Going to the beach is perhaps one of the few parts of my youth that I can honestly look back on with fondness and still enjoy now.

The trip down to Wildwood last weekend certainly helped to renew my love of the sea, and I lost count of how many times I have been down to the Shore within the last month.  In fact, it seems I try to go at least once a week, and even though I went twice last week, I could not resist the urge to go again today, especially since it would be such a shame to waste a beautiful day sitting inside.

Gave Jon a call before I hit the Parkway to see if he wanted to keep me company and he was thrilled at the invitation.  Since gas is absurdly high in price [the average is about $1.80 or higher right now], we met at Sandy Hook.  There is always an awkward moment when I am in the process of parking my car with a mad grin on my face as I try to contain my excitement.  It lets loose when I step out and set eyes on Jon, who is incredibly happy to see me no matter how recently we may have shared company.  He swoops in and catches me with a giant hug, smothering me in scents that seem to be as firmly embedded into his skin as his tattoos are.  My heart swells with so much love I want to cry with happiness but I manage to maintain my composure.

There was a nice fog that had rolled in, which was kind of creepy but fun at the same time.  We strolled along the beach holding hands while passing a joint back and forth.  It is not always necessary for us to talk, because I find soaking in the peace and quiet is part of the point of being at the beach.  The ocean roars and occasionally a seagull swoops down to pick at something the tide left behind.  The air is filled with a salty aroma that I can feel sticking to my skin and my toes sink into the damp sand.  When I turn to see him smiling, the sun catches in his eyes making them sparkle like the ocean, I find myself lost in their brilliant blues and striking grays, wondering how I am so fortunate to be friends with this amazing human being.

Perfection may not technically exist, but I have to say that being with Jon on a beach is about as close as it can get and not something I want to stop doing any time soon.  Every time I visit the ocean, I always come away with a new feeling of determination and other emotions I find difficult to put into words.  No matter what may currently be going on in my life, it’s all forgotten the minute my feet touch the sand.  We do not need a cooler or blanket or any of the other things people drag onto the beach.  If I want to sit down, I use my leather jacket, and I love walking barefoot even though my feet [and sometimes even legs] get a nice wake-up call from the frigid waves that creep onto the shore.

The more I go, the less I can stay away, and I consider myself fortunate to live in a state that is surrounded on three sides by water.  To be honest, I do not think I could ever be in a place that did not at least have access to a body of water.  There is just something about the open ocean that cannot be compared to anything else, and I greatly enjoy being able to go whenever I feel like it.  Having someone to share this experience with certainly helps, but I am no stranger to walking around a beach by myself, because there are times when being alone is needed.

Often I dream up grand schemes of living by the ocean, which is not entirely impossible, but I do not want to be tied down to one place just yet, so visitations will have to suffice for now.