1 in 8

It’s October and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, I’m sure you’ve all seen the pink ribbons everywhere along with a ton of info floating around social media about breast cancer statistics.

However, that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to share my experience over the past few months that will end with why I’m fundraising through Barbells for Boobs.

Back in December of 2016 I got certified in Cosmetic Tattooing through Cheryl Rosenblum of Permanent Makeup of Atlanta. When I initially inquired about training I was more focused on brow tattooing since a lot of my clients had requested it. When I got there, I was signed up to learn how to do brows, eyeliner, and lip blush. If you’ve read any of my prior blog posts about my training then you’ll remember that I did NOT do well with the eyeliner portion of it. Long story short, anything to do with eyes (ie contacts, visine, rinsing my eyes, etc) makes me really nauseous. And that was the same thing for eyeliner tattooing, I just can’t do it! So Cheryl, being the awesome human she is, offered to swap out eyeliner for areola tattooing since that was another specialty. And I found it to be very similar to traditional tattooing but with other things to keep in mind when working with doctors and compromised skin due to radiation and things like that.

I had worked with previous clients doing areola reshaping and scar cover up but never really honed in on just working specifically with post mastectomy patients. Last year, I was introduced to this organization Barbells for Boobs through my good friend Sabrina Nedab at Crossfit Steadfast. She invited me to take part in a project where we interviewed two survivors about their experiences and I created artwork based on their stories. Boy, let me tell you, hearing these two women talk about their cancer journey was absolutely heartbreaking. I immediately felt the call to do more and to try to turn my 12 years of tattooing into something that could be given back to women like them.

Fast forward to summer of this year where I met an incredible woman named Kim who introduced me to her doctor, Dr. Campbell at Georgia Institute for Plastic Surgery. After meeting him and hearing how many women he works on every week I knew it was time to really get the word out about doing these types of tattoos. I reached out to my personal plastic surgeon, Dr. Barbara Davies of Savannah Plastic Surgery and she said there was such a need for someone like me in the area and that they had someone from Baltimore come down every few months and that the closest person to outsource to was in JACKSONVILLE! What?! That blew me away.

And here we are currently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of women to help them find their new normal. And everyone woman I’ve had the privilege of working with has had a different story. No two breasts are the same, some have severe scarring, some have radiation burns, some haven’t let their husbands see their breasts since diagnosis. Breast cancer takes so much away from these women that I want to do everything I can to offer my services to these women that I hope in the next few years it’s something I can do full time. I feel such a calling and passion to do this that I’m just so incredibly humbled that these survivors and their doctors trust me to close this chapter with them.

I do my best to make as much of a comfortable experience from beginning to end. From a private studio, to the best numbing cream I have to offer, to music choice, color choice, application and aftercare, everything is specifically tailored to the individual. I keep the costs low since I don’t bill through insurance to ensure that every woman has the opportunity to move on with their lives on a high note and not further in debt.

Which leads me to the end of this blog post with a little bit about Barbells for Boobs. This year I’m raffling off a $300 tattoo gift certificate with me that if you win you can choose to use or you can donate it to a survivor to receive a complimentary nipple/areola session. Any increments of $10 will get you a ticket and the more your donate the more chances you have to win. The winner will be chosen this Friday at Crossfit Steadfast’s Friday Night Lights event and you do not have to be present to win. The link to donate is in my News and Events page, and if you want to do a cash donation just let me know so I can add you to the raffle.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I want to dedicate my craft, energy, and time to ensure that resources will be available to those women and hopefully one day with enough money and research we can eradicate it forever. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

And if you, or anyone you know, might be in need of these types of tattoos, please shoot me an e-mail or call the shop to set up a consultation. I have a private portfolio of before and after work that I would be happy to go over with you.

Consultations

So you want to get a new tattoo but don't know where to begin?  Have no fear, the free consultation is here!

So what's the deal with a consultation and why is it so important?

Well, this is your very own time to sit down and discuss your ideas, hopes, dreams, goals, and plans for your next amazing tattoo.  I have set times put aside at the beginning of each day just for consults, because there's nothing worse than flying blind and not knowing what to be prepared for!

Things you should bring to your consultation:

  • Photos, reference pictures, artwork, etc.  Pinterest is totally acceptable but please don't show me 75 images that have absolutely no relation to one another.  Mood boards are great as well notes you have jotted down ahead of time!
  • Wear clothing that provides easy access to the body part you want tattooed.  Especially if it's a cover up so I can get a tracing or photo of the area to keep for future plans.  So if you want to get your neck tattooed please don't wear a turtleneck, and that goes for your appointment as well!
  • Your ideas!  The more information you can provide the easier it will be to create the best tattoo for you, so don't be shy if there's specific things or placement that we need to know about, our crystal balls can be defective at times!

Also during your consultation it's good time to get to know each other and see if our personalities and expectations jive!  Some artists prefer to have a more in-depth consult while some like to just go with the flow, and there's an artist at the Butcher for everyone if we need to shake things up and set you up with someone that's better suited for you.  And the ever awkward money conversation will also be discussed during that time as well, so if you have a budget that you would like to stick to please let me know while we are chatting, no judging!  

When your consultation has ended we can head over to the calendar and set you up an appointment (or four)!  You will be asked for a non-refundable deposit to hold your spot and your dates will be set up.  If you'd like to think about it you can set up your appointment over the phone and the manager can take your deposit then. 

And voila! You are now ready to get tattooed!

I make brow contact before I make eye contact...

A while back I did an Instagram poll on what my next blog entry would be.  Cover up tattooing or cosmetic tattooing and the coverups won by one singular vote, so without further ado....

Here's a post all about Cosmetic Tattooing! 

What is cosmetic tattooing you ask?  Per Wikipedia... 

Permanent makeup is a cosmetic technique which employs tattoos (permanent pigmentation of the dermis) as a means of producing designs that resemble makeup, such as eyelining and other permanent enhancing colors to the skin of the facelips, and eyelids. It is also used to produce artificial eyebrows, particularly in people who have lost them as a consequence of old age, disease, such as alopecia totalischemotherapy, or a genetic disturbance, and to disguise scars and white spots in the skin such as in vitiligo. It is also used to restore or enhance the breast's areola, such as after breast surgery.

Pretty cool stuff, huh?  Now I'm going to break down some of the differences you've seen on eyebrow tattooing, following up with some info on lip and areola tattooing.  Finishing it all off with what makes a good candidate and why you really need to make your follow up appointment!

Brows

I know you've seen the super amazing effects of microblading and powderfill eyebrows.  The two results are achieved by two very different methods of application.  Microblading is a manual technique that involves a multiple needle blade attached to a pen like apparatus in which the technician drags the blade across skin to resemble hair like strokes.  Powderfill, ombre brows, and hair stroke brows are achieved with a tattoo machine and a small grouping of needles, much like a regular tattoo.  Currently I do not offer microblading but I do offer hair stroke (looks very similar) and ombre/powderfill brows!  If you're curious as to what powderfill means it simply looks like you applied makeup to your brows, and that technique is great for all skin types whereas if your skin if very oily microblading won't be very effective.  Getting your eyebrows tattooed is most definitely a 2-3 part process!  In the follow up appointments we can tweak color, shape, and touch up any spots up that might have lightened too much.  I always err on the side of caution during the initial appointment since we can always add but taking away is another story.  During your free consult we can go over your desired shape, color, any medications you might be on, and take a peek at your skin type.  And yes, I do use numbing cream before and during the procedure, I want to make your experience the most comfortable I possibly can!

Lips

Lip tattooing can be a great asset to have if you find your lips not being as defined, have color loss, or in the event of unevenness due to scarring or defect.  Almost everyone is a good candidate for lip tattooing!  One of the only times lip tattooing cannot be performed is if you are having a cold sore outbreak, but once under control and medication is being taken, you are good to go!  I only offer natural colors like pink or red, or a mix of the two.  I use a machine to blend in the color to your inner lip to avoid harsh unnatural lines.  Lip liner is also available if you'd like to do that without the entire fill in.  If you were ever curious as to what you would look like with lip injections you will find out after your first session!  Swelling is completely normal and I use a topical gel with epinephrine to control it as much as possible.  After the swelling has subsided and you've healed we can go back in on a touchup to darken any colors or reapply where needed!

Areolas

We've all seen the amazing photos of before and after tattooing of nipple reapplication after mastectomy surgery.  But did you know you can reshape and recolor areolas after breastfeeding or breast reduction?  Getting an areola tattoo is the exact same as getting a regular tattoo and the aftercare is the exact same.  I try to make every experience of this delicate nature as easy as possible.  I understand that not everyone loves to take their shirt off in front of a stranger and expose the one of the most sensitive areas of the body.  I always perform breast tattoos while the shop is closed and with privacy screens in place.  During your consult we can look at what your situation is, i.e. if we need two brand new areolas with nipples, or mimicking one to match the other, or if we just need to round anything out and recolor scarring.  Please e-mail me for pricing as it is a case by case basis!

Freckles, Hair Fill In, and Eyeliner

Currently I do not offer eye liner or eyelash enhancement tattooing.  For the absolute sole reason is that getting close to people's eyes makes me nauseous.  I can't even put Visine in my own eyes without wanting to hurl so the last thing I want to do it get close to your vision makers and get sick! 

Freckles and beauty marks are a fun addition to any face and I offer a variety of colors to go as dramatic or subtle as you'd like! I'd highly encourage you to draw some on yourself and see what you like.  Whether it be big clusters or a few here and there, it's all about personal preference and the ability to win any bet that you have your face tattooed!  There is minimal pain involved and is one of the easiest procedures to receive!

Hair implant scars, patchy beards, or bald spots can always use a little love from cosmetic tattooing.  These procedures definitely require consultations and a follow up session to add on desired thickness of the hair.

That dang follow up appointment you keep yapping about...

All procedures need a follow up appointment (or two)!   The last thing I want to do is scar your face by over working the area, it's YOUR FACE!  Cosmetic tattooing is MUCH gentler than regular tattooing and your face deals with natural oils, exposure to elements, and sweat which all effects how well your ink will retain.  Eyebrows, lips, and freckles will soften about 30-70% since the ink I use is organic and will break down over time.  This is great if the brow trends away from the Kardashians in a few years!  That's why your follow up is so so so important, so we can reapply, darken or fill in where needed.  And don't worry if the few days/weeks after your initial appointment that your tattooing looks crazy! It goes through many phases of darkening, lightening, new skin generation, etc... and that's why we schedule your followup 6-8 weeks after so we can see exactly what they look like after full healing.  

So that's the real quick (ha!) rundown of cosmetic tattooing that I offer.  Aftercare, pricing, and available time questions can all be asked on the Contact Form at the bottom of the Cosmetic Tab located in the menu bar.  My cosmetic appoitments are always available and not subject to the regular tattoo schedule, you must contact me directly to set up a time!  Consults are always free and can be scheduled through the shop.  I hope that shed some light on the ins and outs of how things go and I hope to see you soon to enhance, correct, or just make fabulous in 2018!

Til next time!

 

 

 

 

C.R.E.A.M.

Cover Ups Rule Everything Around Me

One of my favorite things to work on and something I specialize in is cover up/corrective tattooing.  From tiny initials of an ex-lover to full sleeves of dark black tribal, I've been there and covered that.  A lot of people are curious as to what the process is and what is and isn't doable in the landscape of getting rid of something permanent that you're not in love with anymore.

"I've spoken to so many people who told me there's nothing that can be done.  That I need to get it lasered or I can only get something solid black over it..."

I hear this sentence around two to three times a week.  And trust me, about 90% of the consultations that I have this is absolutely not the case.  I think there is a time and a place for lasering off tattoos but if your goal is to get more tattoos I would strongly urge you to reconsider since most laser removal results in thick scarring, multiple expensive sessions, and it's widely considered to be more painful that the actual tattoo application.

I always always always recommend having an in person consultation about cover ups especially if they involve large, new, or extensive tattooing.  During your consult we can see if there is any scarring to consider, your anatomy, and what your ultimate goals are.  

The most common thing I tell clients is to think of something that you would want if your skin were bare.  At times we can get caught up googling cover-ups to the point where you only think a black panther head or a bunch of traditional roses is your only options (while great options, these are not the end all be all of what you can use).  Another key element to a successful cover up is flexibility.  The more open you are with the design the better the overall product will be.  Sometimes a combination of stencil, sharpie, and background options really make the magic happen, which can't always been seen from an initial line drawing.

Also an important factor is that some projects will require more than one session, even if it's a smaller tattoo.  Especially with large color blends a second session will provide the time to tighten down any details or make a more thorough pass to cover up anything else that might be peeking through after healing.  In most situations I recommend color to cover most tattoos, black and grey requires a 'wash' that doesn't provide the density needed to camouflage old work.  It's not the case in ALL situations but that will definitely be determined during a consultation.

As always I recommend that you do your research with tattooers in your area or if you're considering traveling.  Not everyone offers coverups and a lot of tattooers do not feel comfortable doing them.  Make sure to see healed work as well if available so you can see examples of final product tattoos. 

If you'd like to set up a cover up consultation or have more questions please e-mail me at kellytat2@gmail.com or call the shop at 912.234.6505!  

T.G.I.F. (Tips Go In Friday)

1. Yes I know it's Saturday.  2. Don't let your mind go in the gutter for the title...

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I figured it would be fitting to introduce something that I've been excited about for a few months now...

A few months ago during a 10-mile run (I tend to do my best thinking when out on a run), my heart was speaking to me to do more in 2018, to contribute something through my craft.  In the past years I've donated my wedding dress to The Angel Gown Program (nicuhelpinghands.org), formal dresses to Becca's Closet (beccascloset.org), and donated to multiple fundraisers throughout the lowcountry.  And this fall I participated in Barbells for Boobs through my local Crossfit Box through shirt designs and a tattoo raffle that raised nearly $400 and it was an such an incredible feeling!  So I thought to myself, why stop now, why not do something year round?

Which led me to this!

Beginning January 2018 and continuing indefinitely, I will be donating ALL tips made on Fridays to the charity designated at the time.  I plan on donating to two charities each year, one at the beginning of the year and one for the end.  First one up for January-June 2018 is the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation!  I've already begun fundraising on Facebook for my birthday (friend me!) and we're already at $250!

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Most of you may not know that my husband has been a firefighter since we began dating back in 2011.  One of the biggest standout moments of our relationship is that he was actually healing burns on his ears and wrists on our wedding day from a fire he was in earlier in the week!  His burns were very minor but that isn't the case for most firefighters who get injured on the job.  Not to mention actual burn victims that happen every day!

The SFBF Mission

"Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation provides assistance to families of burn patients being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. This includes lodging at the Chavis House, daily meals and transportation - all free of charge. In addition, the Burn Foundation assists patients upon their discharge with services related to their return to independent living. This includes medication, anti-scarring garments and transportation for follow up medical visits." 

Want to know how your tips will help burn victims?  Here's a dollar breakdown!

  • $25 provides clothing for a burn patient upon discharge from hospital
  • $50 provides one car seat for a pediatric burn patient's return home
  • $100 provides two nights' lodging at the Chavis House
  • $250 provides anti-scarring garments for one burn patient
  • $500 provides one month's supply of toiletries and paper products at the Chavis House
  • $1000 provides transportation for follow-up care for 17 burn patients
  • $2500 provides antibiotics and pain medication for 100 patients

This foundation is incredible and I'm so excited to contribute to them to help continue their mission.  If you'd like more information or would like to directly donate to them their website is www.sfbf.net.  Other charities on my list for future donations include Barbells for Boobs, The Savannah Humane Society, Girls on the Run, Second Harvest, among many others!  What's your favorite charity to donate to? I'd love to know! 

Til then, have an amazing Thanksgiving, reflect on what you're thankful for, spend time with family and friends and I'll see y'all in December!

Hi! I'm Kelly!

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I figured my first blog entry should be me introducing myself so without further ado....

Hi! I'm Kelly Borders!

I'm a tattooer located here in the heart of downtown Savannah, GA at The Butcher Tattoo Studio.  I'm a wife, mother, artist, athlete and all around pretty regular gal.  I have a smokin' hot firefighter husband named Jack and a unicorn-loving precocious little 3 year old daughter named Gracie.  

I have been tattooing 12 years this December and if you would've asked me back then if this is where I would be now I would've laughed in your face.  I started out in humble beginnings at a shop in LaGrange, GA where I scrubbed my fair share of toilets and did probably close to 500 $25 names for the 3 years I apprenticed and eventually graduated to tattooing full time.  After the LaGrange chapter closed I found myself in Charleston, SC after some mutual friends had started their lives over after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans.

During the Charleston stint is where I decided that tattooing would be my career.  Fun fact: I've never taken an art class past elementary school, so I wasn't sure how long tattooing would last.  Everything I've ever learned was from tattooing, amazing what copying flash for years will do for you!  But don't ask me to paint anything, because I don't know how!  Charleston lasted for about a year until I decided to migrate down south to Savannah.

The first shop I worked at in Savannah really formed the type of tattooer I am today.  I did more large scale custom work and learned how to be a more well-rounded artist instead of a one-trick pony.  I was there for about 3 years until I finally found my home at The Butcher where I've been given room to grow into the artist I want to be.  I specialize in Japanese, American Traditional, and my favorite...Cover-ups.  I've recently been training in Cosmetic Tattooing this past year and my ultimate goal is to work with cancer warriors and domestic abuse survivors.

I get a lot of questions about my logo and name.  Honor and Grace is literally the face of what I do.  I think it's important to think of something bigger than yourself so you'll always have goals to work toward.  I had the opportunity to work on my 'brand' with Lowcountry Paper Co and the experience has really formed what I want my career and lifestyle to reflect.  My logo is an ampersand integrated with a sharks tooth to represent the east coast and my unusual love for the many-toothed sea creature.   

In my free time I'm that crazy lady running around Savannah, literally.  I run marathons for fun and have recently become addicted to Crossfit (shout out to Steadfast!)  I'm also very vocal about my sobriety and how that shapes my life as I know it today.  I recently celebrated 6 years and I'll share that story in another post.  I have a pit bull, a mentally unstable cat and two bunnies that keep us busy at home on top of regular family activities.  I'm pretty much an open book and if you have questions feel free to ask!  I'll delve in more on most of these topics in following posts but I figured we could get our feet wet with this one!

Thanks for checking the blog out and I'll try to update every other week or so! Stay tuned!

-K