Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Liza Sandanam.

Liza3Liza Sandanam, 40, HR Consultant and Executive Coach in Sydney Australia

It’s probably no surprise that I’m dying to get Henry immortalized as a tattoo, so getting to interview this cattoo collector was so much fun! On her blog The Small World, Liza blogs about all things feline – fashion, art, collectables, travel and a few anecdotes about her own furry friends. Here she is today chatting about her incredible tattoo collection.

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it?
I was in my early 30s when I got my first of many cattoos. Looking back it’s really strange that I waited so long – I loved body art since I was about 12 years old and was definitely into temporary tattoos and drawing on myself throughout my teens.

Liza2How many tattoos do you have now?
I’ve lost count and it’s hard to put an actual number on the work I have now. For example both of my arms are “mixed” sleeves containing the work of multiple artists. There are about 15 different artists on my arms, maybe more – wow I’ve never done that maths before! And that’s just my arms. I should probably attempt to count and cat-alogue them all!

What are your thoughts on tattoo regret? Have you ever had any?
I don’t have any regrets so far, none at all. Given that I wanted them for almost 20 years before getting them it seems unlikely I am going to have major regrets – despite the oh-so-commonly-held conservative views about tattoo regret in old age. I have been tattooed by some truly gifted and extraordinary artists from all around the world and I really do think they are incredible works of art. Like my other collections of feline art my feelings about them are fluid – my favourites change and then change back but I truly love them all. Sometimes I wish some of my favourites weren’t in places I can’t see!! I have an incredible piece by Kim Saigh on my lower back and ribcage which only my husband and cats ever see – however given that I’m running out of space for new work having ink in concealed places has to be part of the process!

Liza1Do you think tattoos need to have a special meaning or can they be purely aesthetic?
I absolutely think they can be either and in my case I have both. I got my late grandma Rosalie’s name tattooed on my wrist on what would have been her 100th birthday. She passed away at 96 and we were incredibly close – it’s a very poignant piece for me. The comical portrait of my cat Archibald eating a chicken leg is also really meaningful. However most of my pieces are purely aesthetic – I LOVE the process of collaborating with artists. With some of the really stylistic artists I have worked with I often just say “I want a cat” and see what they come up with. With other artists I have been more directive. Each of my tattoo memories are as special as the works themselves and I have become good friends with some of the people who have tattooed me repeatedly.

Do you have a favourite tattoo? What’s the story behind it?
I have agonised over this question for a week and I change my mind every few days! Can I talk about a few? My right arm is a “story” sleeve by three artists – a Maneki Neko (japanese beckoning cat) by Chris Garver, a cat-erfly beneath by Hannah Aitchison and a cat-erpillar beneath that by Kim Saigh. Chris then finished it off with the background to tie all the works together – so he started and ended the finished piece. I love that the same character runs through the three works but that each artist put their own very personal style on it. I also have an amazing piece on my upper back by Kim Saigh, and on my 40th birthday (in NYC) Chris Garver did the snorkelling cat on my arm. It’s an image by children’s illustrator Satoshi Kitamura and it’s one of the first feline images I collected and loved from childhood.

Liza4Are there any artists you’re yearning to get work from?
Hell yes! There are two artists that I MUST get tattooed by immediately! They are Akuma Shugi from Brighton UK who does the most amazing samurai / manga style cats, and Horitomo from State of Grace tattoo in San Jose CA. Horitomo is famous for his Monmon Cats (books of his collected works are available under that title). Fortunately I’m on lists for both of them within the next year – I can’t wait!

Want more of Liza’s epic badassery? Check out her blog and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Love, glitter crowns, & furry friends,
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The Birthday List: 27 Before 28.

birthday-listI turned 27 on Saturday and if my weekend has gone anything like I’ve imagined, we’ve been swanning around Paris gorging ourselves on pastries, listening to jazz in underground grottos, and taking endless tourist photos in front of every romantic hot spot.

We’re taking the train back to London this afternoon, so I’ve scheduled this post to share my new birthday list with you!

My birthday list led to so many fun adventures last year, like taking a trapeze class and raving my way into the morning.

I’ve managed to squeeze in as many things from my list into the year as I could and have been relaxed about letting go of those I wasn’t very interested in anymore and adding to this year’s list those I didn’t get around to due to time or financial constraints.

This year I’ve been conscious of trying to find a good balance of tasks. Some big and some small. Some expensive and some free. Some time consuming and others that I can accomplish in an afternoon.

Here’s what I’m planning to do before my 28th birthday:

Go to a festival.

Take burlesque classes.

Drink absinthe.

Learn to do a head stand.

Take a cookery class.

Make a scrapbook.

Visit a country I’ve never been to before.

Go wildcrafting in London.

Learn transcendental meditation.

Plant a garden.

Watch The Godfather films.

Go to an equestrian event.

Attend a free coach training weekend.

Read Wuthering Heights.

Run 5k.

Take the Qoya teacher training initiation.

Ferment veggies.

Go to the Edinburgh.

Read Infinite Jest.

Try voga.

Learn calligraphy.

Host a dinner party.

Learn how to cook an artichoke.

Celebrate midsummer.

Take Veronica’s Parlour class.

Go to the seaside.

Create an art wall.

Have you written a birthday list? I’d love to read it, so please share yours in the comments if you fancy it.

Love, polka dots, & raspberry cupcakes,

Photograph from Oh Happy Day.

Don’t Feed the Fear Gremlins.

dont-feed-the-fear-gremlinsMost of us are carrying around fears that we feed like parasitic gremlins. They found us when we were growing up or they were passed down to us by our parents and we haven’t been able to shake them since. Even when we think we’ve gotten over them, they’re clutching onto our backs or nipping at our heels.

Early on, fear became our lifestyle.

The average person has been thinking the same fearful thoughts for so long that we’re unconscious of even thinking of them. Even when things look great from the outside, there’s a feedback loop of worry, hand-wringing, and worst-case-scenarios circling over and over in our minds.

You can commit to self-love and personal development and still find yourself slipping into fearful thinking at the smallest sign of trouble. It bubbles up and suddenly you’ve slipped underneath and it feels like you’re drowning in fear, even though it was your own thinking that allowed that fear to grow. Fearful thoughts are alluring temptresses.

Why?

Maybe because fear gives us a rush. Or because we’re so used to being afraid that that discomfort is actually where we’re most comfortable. Or because fear makes us a victim and seems to demand that we become the centre of attention – even if it’s not in a good way.

Regardless of the reason, it’s easy to get sucked in by fear and once we do, it feels impossible to see past it.

Because giving space to those thoughts feeds the fear gremlins. When we allow our mind to jump from one fearful thought to another, we make them stronger and more powerful.

But we don’t starve the fear gremlins by pretending they’re not there or by positive affirmationing our way over them. We starve our fears by becoming so intimately familiar with them that we can call each gremlin out by name. When we name our fears we can look at them objectively. We can begin to notice evidence that runs contrary to what we’ve been telling ourselves we can interrupt our fearful thoughtful patterns when we notice them emerge.

So get out your journal or a pad of paper and take an inventory of your fears.

When you think of living your ideal life, what hesitations or fears stand in your way? What negative thoughts and limiting beliefs hold you back from fully loving yourself? What unkind words did you internalize as a child? What destructive patterns can you pinpoint in your life? Drill down by looking for the overlap between your fears until you identify your key limiting beliefs.

Start looking for evidence to the contrary. How have you already proven these fears wrong in the past? What more productive, loving beliefs could you replace them with?

Now when one of your gremlins throws one of these fears at you, in whatever guise, you can stop yourself before you get sucked into a downward spiral of negative self-talk and say “That’s just that tired old thought again and today I’m choosing a different one.”

Because they’re your thoughts and this is your life. You get to design it to look and feel however you want. So, choose to stop feeding those fear gremlins.

Loving you fiercely,
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Photograph via HandBag.com.
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