Jump In Head First

I love my husband very much, but over the years I have had to learn how to jump in head first! So let me tell you some of the crazy adventures that I have been on. First, you have to understand Rudy, when he says he will do something he will and it will happen right away! So in my world it is checking things off the list and moving on to the next adventure!

So ladies, I hope this can relate to you a little bit! Over the past 10 years here are the big moves!  

1. Move PV shop to frontage road all while planning our wedding.

2. Open a shop in Phoenix at Thirdspace in a little cottage.

3. Open another cottage in Thirdspace, so now we have two!

4. Open Spay Painting Mural Bussiness- AZ Spay Art Evolution !

5. Open a retail smoke shop in the second cottage Hi-Me Smoke Shack!  

Holy Crap, I would have to say that is the top 5! 

So let’s just say we are now the proud owners of three business! So how do I do it, work full time and stay sane!  

First and foremost, I jump head first in each new adventure! I am so glad I learned how to swim when I was little! Second, lead by faith, whatever that faith may be! It works with faith and dedication! Third, take time for your self and your family! Sunday’s are our days and we also try to make time to go on dates! Trust me there is always work to do in owning your own business and trust me it will still be there tomorrow if you leave it for a night! Finally, there are times when I have to reign Rudy in and tell him no! With managing the businesses, there are times that I have to tell him that it is a bad idea! 

I hope that this gives you all some insight! Yes, we are a little crazy to take this on but it is an amazing adventure!  

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Till Next Time.... 

XOXO Dr. Laura  

Turn off, Please!

Ok, I know I did vanish over the past week, but Rudy had a mural project for AZ Spray Art Evolution and a tattoo convention all in one weekend.  Let's just say it is a great lead in to this week, My Brain Never Turns Off!

Not matter the time of day, we are constantly thinking about "What Next".  This occurs between both education and the tattoo world.  Over the past few weeks, I have had two big events.  First, I had to run a sub-committee meeting.  This committee is a group of amazing educational professionals that can influence the instrument that I use to conduct my reviews which is the foundation of my job.  So needless to say, I wanted the meeting to be meaningful to all parties involved and productive.  I did a lot of research and planning into making this group meeting successful.  I would have to say I lost a little sleep in the days prior to this meeting or I would wake up in the middle of the night with another idea for the meeting.  Overall, the meeting went very well.  We didn't get all accomplished that we wanted, but we were able to plan our next meeting that will be just as productive as this one.  

Next, I had a board presentation about my year in review.  Now I have given several board presentations in the past, but this was the first one to our current board.  The presentation went great and the board asked great questions.  I look forward to presenting to them in the future.  I wasn't nervous until a colleague asked me if I was nervous.  He saw me going over my presentation in my office prior to the board meeting.  Once he asked me, I was a little nervous, but a few nerves is good for everyone!

When if comes to my husband, he has a one tracked mind that never turns off.  It is amazing how we will be having a conversation about a completely different topic and he will chime in about an up coming tattoo or painting project.  It catches me completely off guard and I give him that deer in headlights look of "What are you talking about?" Then he gets mad like I am not listening to him.  Really, you come out of left field and expect me to read your mind 24/7.  I guess with being together for several years I should be able to do that, but sometimes I am completely lost until he tell me what on earth he is talking about.  Ladies, how many of you have husbands that do this to you?  

He will even wake up in the middle of the night or not sleep well when he has appointment ideas on the brain.  There are times in both world that I wish we could just say "Turn off, Please and let me sleep."  Is this too much to ask our brains to do?

Let me know how your brains keep you all up at night.  Can't wait to see your stories!

Till next time......

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XOXO Dr. Laura

There is always someone watching!

Tattooing and Education are both always in the public eye! Being from a small town where everyone knows everyone it is hard to go out to dinner without students, parents of students, or even my boss being at the same restaurant. When this happens you start to second guess what you are eating and drinking and what perception these people have of you. When it comes to my husband , the shop has been open for 20+ years and well he has tattooed generations of people! Now don’t get me wrong we love all of our clients, but there are days when I don’t want people sitting down at my dinner table at a restaurant to discuss there next tattoo idea or school. It happens more time than not and we just laugh about it and discuss their ideas.

Rudy and I had this brilliant idea that we would spend 1 weekend a month in Phoenix so that we could be invisible and have some time away from school and the tattoo shop! This worked great for three years until he came home one night after his best friends birthday party in Phoenix and said babe, “We are going to open a studio in Phoenix! I think it is time to bring the Electrik Needle back to it’s roots in Phoenix.” I was shocked. We are going to do what? Oh hell no! Well almost four years ago today we have a shop in Phoenix!  

I recently took a job in Phoenix as well, so my youngest could get an education in Phoenix, so we spend more time in Phoenix now and we are more in the public eye! We walk downtown Phoenix and run into clients and friends as it may seem like a big city it is really just a small world! No matter where we go or what we do, we know someone! We have to be careful on what we buy, how we act, or even where we go! It’s almost like being little kids and your parents tell you that Santa is always watching so you need to be good or he will see you!  

This past weekend we went away for Rudy‘s Birthday! He wanted to unplug and relax, so we went to Bisbee, AZ! What an amazing little town! We went to a local show and guess what we sat next to a couple from Scottsdale who were looking for a new tattoo shop! Really you have got to be kidding me, we are three hours away from Phoenix! Oh but it gets better! We did a haunted pub crawl for Rudy’s Birthday were we heard ghost stories and visited five of the oldest bars in Bisbee! We ran into a fellow tattooer and his girlfriend on this event! So needless to say, even though he unplugged all weekend we talked shop most of the time!

We just can’t get away without being in the lime light! Now we love our so called celebrity status! We are just always on guard when it comes to going out because as big as this world seems there is always someone watching! 

 

Until next time.... 

XOXO Dr. Laura   

 

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There are never enough hours in the day!

There is never enough hours in the day. When it comes to education, I will think back to my teaching days and try and describe the world of a teacher, especially a new teacher, as well as the day in the life of my husband in preparing a tattoo to be completed on a client.  

In this post, I am going to discuss Time when it comes to tattooing and education. I will follow up next week with Public Image and the week after with I wish my brain would turn off. 

When it comes to time, I think about what it looks like on the outside.  During my first years of teaching I would teacher from 8 am to 3:45 pm. My contracted hours were from 7:30 to 4:30 M-Th.  In the eyes of the public, I seemed to have that 9 to 5 job per say, but what really did my day look like.  I would arrive at school at 7:30 am and if I was lucky and did have a students waiting for me at the door I would prep my room for the arrival of my students.  I would then teach my four 85 minutes classes and have 1 prep hour.  

Now prep my hour, since I was in a small school, usually consisted of subbing for a teacher who was out, working on fundraisers for upcoming school sponsored events, lunch duty, parent or special education meetings, covering the front office, or anything else that needed to be done.  If I was lucky enough to have time to plan I would.

After school, I would host after school activities for students, especially a class on school bullying with teenage girls or working on the school yearbook.  Once after school activities were over I would stay with the students who were in my after school class and wait for their parents.  If only parents would come on time.  I usually left school around 5 or 5:30 with a bag full of science lab notebooks.

All my students would turn in a school lab notebook each week.  These notebooks would take several hours a night to grade along with making sure that my labs and lesson were set-up and ready for the next day.  Most nights I would work on school work until 11 pm at night if not into the early morning.  This includes grading, planning, and fundraising on my weekend as well.

Even though I might have been contracted to work 10 hours a day 4 days a week. I would usually work at least 15-16 hours a day.  You might be saying well you have Fridays and the weekends off, yes, but I also worked 20 hrs a week at a second job to make ends meet.  Remember that how I got into the tattoo world.

 On the other hand, when it comes to tattooing, everyone gets to come into the shop where their design is usually ready for them when they arrive.  It's like magic. I walk in I get the tattoo that I want in a few hours and I walk out with an amazing piece of art.

Some days, people can walk into the shop with their design in hand.  These designs can be drawn up in a few minutes and a person can be out of their in an hour.  Some of these amazing designs that I am sure we all have include infinity symbols, best friend tattoos, mother-daughter pieces, family symbols, cancer ribbons, or even names.

Now, there are some days were people come in and have a consultation for larger pieces.  Most people want to have a connection to their tattoos as they have a personal meaning that they want conveyed in their tattoo.

So, how does that amazing piece of art come to fruition? The artist has to get inside the client head.  This is usually done by the client providing the artist with pictures of what they want and providing the artist with their ideas.  Then the magic happens.

My husband then spends hours researching the design.  For example, a recent client wanted a quail, roadrunner, cactus, and a sunset to show the amazing things that AZ has to offer.  I am telling you, that this researcher happens everywhere from taking real life photos and to looking up images on the internet. I have never seen someone do so much research from the time he gets done tattooing, to when we are eating dinner, watching TV, have important conversations, or anytime he has a minute.  The phone is in is hand and we have discussions about the up coming tattoo pieces.

Once the tattoo concept is researched, it is about design and placement of the tattoo.  Remember that tattoos have to look pleasing as well as be correct.  In the piece above, the birds have to been in relation to the cactus it would look funny if the birds were huge and the cactus was small.  Drawing of the pieces happen daily, so each day the hours of research and design concepts take up most of his mornings and evenings when he is not tattoo from 12:30 pm - 8:00 pm.  

Not only do design concepts, research and drawings occur there is also the customer aspect.  We love all of our customers and want to give each one of them the attention that they deserve.  If you call, email, text, or message on social media we try and answer you right away.  We both work together to meet the needs of the customers no matter the time of day we receive them.  

Teachers and tattooers do not stop when the contracted time is up.  They work morning, noon, and night to meet the needs of others both professions become a lifestyle not a job.  In both cases, we love what we do in the world of education and tattooing even though it takes us away from our families to meet the needs of others.  We are here to serve all others before we serve ourselves.

Till next time we discuss: In the Public Eye!

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XOXO Dr. Laura

It’s not about us!

In owning the tattoo shop and working in education I have learned that it is all about the people we serve.  There are times where we have long nights and go above and beyond the call of duty!

In education we wear several hats Including: chaperone, fill in parent, teacher, colleague, counselor, disciplinarian, fundraiser, and many more. The same is true at the tattoo shop from: fundraiser, counselor, artist, friend, supporter, and many more.  

We work hard in both professions to what is best for our students and clients alike. It truly is all about them!  

We host events each year to support our Tattoo famile as well as our community. We always want to given back. Recently, we hosted a Friday the 13th event. We do not host these events for us. We host them for our clients and their friends. This is our way of giving back for all the amazing members of the Electrik Needle family. During these events we don’t make any money and we even stay up until the wee hours of the morning to make sure we get to all the customers who signed up. We also host events to collect canned food and school supplies to meet the needs of our community! As much as we love making amazing art it is more important to love and support the community we love. 

The same is true for our educational community! We work long hours and even on the weekends because it is all about the students and their pursuits of their dreams.  We constantly work more than 40 hrs a week we chaperone dances, attend graduations, work fundraisers, attend competitions and watch our student compete to win awards! It’s all about those light bulb moments and the students having a smile on their face. 

In both worlds, we always give back and strive to be the best version of ourselves! It’s all about their success not our! We get to accomplish our dreams all while making others dreams come true in return! 

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XOXO Dr. Laura

Jealousy, Not Allowed!

Jealousy, is something that most tattooer wives can struggle with.  Jealousy is a complex emotion that strikes both men and women and occurs when a person feels that they are not valued in a relationship. As a tattooer’s wife, my husband interacts and flirts with other women all the time.   

I have seen it all being in the shop.  Some people have no couth when it comes to respect.  I understand that there are parts of the body that have to be exposed, but there are ways to tastefully cover up when exposed.  Usually, most clients will come in and wear swimsuit bottoms or tops and cover up with blankets. On the other hand, some people just strip and don’t care how they are exposed. Being in a professional setting it is important to make sure that are clients are comfortable.

One day, I even had one client come it and jump into my husband’s arms to give him a huge bear hug and pretty much lay him out on the ground in front of me.  That is an excessive case, but was I jealous?  No, I wasn’t jealous as I respect my husband’s career and understand the personal nature of his profession.

Do tattooer’s flirt? Well I think that all service industry professional flirt.  Is flirting disrespectful if your married? Absolutely not, tattooers work off of tips.  How do you get tips? You have to flirt. Being goofy, flirting, and making people laugh is important to the tattooing experience.  People are in pain while they are getting tattooed and humor can help with lowering a person stress.

So, how do I do it?  Everything is based on trust!  I trust him to always respect me, our relationship, marriage, and of course he is coming home wiyh me tonight.

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XOXO Dr. Laura

Sometimes we have to say NO!

Over the past week, I have been asked, "How do you do it all?".  As I reflect this week on the past nine years, I sometimes I wonder how I do it all.  Over the past 9 years, I have:

1.     Worked full time in education

2.     Completed both my masters and doctorate degree

3.     Managed two studios: one in Prescott Valley and 1 in Phoenix

4.     Opened the shop in Phoenix 4 years ago

5.     Raised three amazing stepchildren

6.     Moved to Phoenix and Started a new chapter in my career

7.     Spent hours working on marketing and branding our studios

8.     Just recently, opened a new business with my husband for his spray paint art called AZ Spray Art Evolution

Ok so when I reread this I think "holy crap" there is not enough time in the day. Even through there are not enough hours in the day I have learned a few things over the past nine years that I think are very important.  We have all heard the saying, “When mama isn’t happy no one is happy!”

I have focused on this saying over the past year. Don’t get me wrong I have loved my life, but I until recently I never said “NO”, no matter what the task was.  I always wanted to give to everyone else before I gave to myself.  Most of us as women I am sure feel this way. Ladies, I am here to tell you that you have to say no at times and here is why.

First, if you are not in a healthy mind set you cannot give to the rest of your family the way that you should.  There were days, that I woke up at 6 am and didn’t stop until 12 am. It got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore.  I wasn’t sleeping, I was tired all the time, and it was making me sick.  I finally realized that I needed to do one thing for me each day.  It could be watching an hour of TV or reading a book that had nothing to do with working, the businesses, or my dissertation.  Take a walk or go for a run for 30 minutes. Take a bath or get a massage.  So please, do something for at least 30 minutes each day that you enjoy.  Here is the key though, nothing, I mean nothing can get in the way of those 30 minutes.

Yes, that is the hard part, but you have to allow yourself time to decompress and unwind.

Second, fight for what you want.  I have learned that in both my business and professional career that I can’t keep quiet.  People can’t read our minds.  As much as we would love for that to happen it doesn’t. I learned that I had to speak up no matter how tough the conversations are going to be.  I just kept telling myself that the worse anyone could say is “NO”.

Finally, it’s ok to tell people, “NO”.  This is very hard to do, but we cannot over stretch our limits.  It we over stretch our limits then everyone around us is affected.  We come home from work upset and take it out on the ones we love.  We are at home and doing too many things and it effects our performance at work.  Before I say yes to anything, I step back and look at everything on my plate at the time and look at the big picture before I commit to anything.

So, hear me out, I am giving you all permission to take 30 minutes to do what you want to do each day, speak your mind in a professional way, and say NO if you need to. 

Trust me it took almost a year to adjust to this.  I was very over whelmed, and it was affecting my life prior to this realization.  I did not realize how much it was affecting me until I had time to reflect. Take time to reflect and readjust if needed.  It will only make you more amazing as it has made me a better wife, step-mama, employee, and employer!

Till next time….. 

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XOXO Dr. Laura

How to own a room!

Many of you might be thinking that skills that are found in a tattoo studio could not fit into the educational world.  At first glance, this might seem true in that tattooers love to design art and they don't want anything to get in the way of that.  On the other hand, behind every great man is an amazing woman who keeps the business up and running.

In working in the tattoo industry, I have learned professional skills that can transfer into the educational world.  First, professionalism is key to the success in the educational world.  Educational administration pushed from professionalism in all communication, presentations, and presence in the community.  Now you might be thinking how could a tattoo shop be considered a professional place of business, but they definitely are in that the facilities have to meet cleanliness standards set forth by a girl who has a biology degree. 

Second, customer service is key in the tattoo industry, but it also is key in serving students and families in the educational world.  The tattoo shop taught me how to network, communicate with potential customers, and respond to customer questions on email or social media.  I use these skills daily in education.

Finally, how to own a room. Coming into an industry that was foreign to me I had to make sure people would take me seriously and that I am credible to advise customers.  This has transferred into my career, in that I try to own a room when I walk into it.  I know the educational world, but the tattoo world has given to the confidence to make a professional presence when attending meetings, conferences, and working with my peer.

The tattoo world blends professionalism and skills into the educational world.  Now that you know how both worlds mix, next time I have a great story for you.

Until then....

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XOXO Dr. Laura

Transferable Skills - Can you make a copy?

In March of 2009, I went into the Electrik Needle with three of my friends to get tattoos over spring break.  I had just receive word that my divorce was final and my best friend was coming into town from Illinois.  With the divorce and like many other educational professionals, I had to work two jobs to make ends meet.  I was currently selling appliances at Sears, which I enjoyed, but most people don't know that the Sears appliance department is completely commissioned based.  I was only working on the weekends and it was difficult to make ends meet.

The Electrik Needle was extremely busy that day and Rudy had booked the four of us out for the day.  I had decided to go last, since I wasn't sure I was going to be able to afford my tattoo with the extensive budget I was on.  Being in education, I have learned several skills that are needed in both education and the tattoo industry.  First, multitasking, the shop was packed and no one was there to help, so what did I do?  "Hello, welcome to Electrik Needle how can I help you?  Second, we can think on our feet.  I started answering the phones and working with customers.  I did my best to answer the customers questions even though I wasn't sure the exact answer.  

In the admist of the chaos, Rudy then had the nerve to ask, "Can you make a copy? Every educator knows how to make a copy and even troubleshoot a copy machine. I copied customer paperwork and checked them out when they were done. Finally, we are fast learners.  Rudy would set up piercings and I instantly learned how to set them up for him, so he could continue to tattoo and only stop for a second to pierce. 

Basically, that day I ran the shop for Rudy and his other artists.  I did not know at the time that I was looking for other employment, but I was presented with a job offer at the end of the day.  For a split second, the thought went through my mind that I liked Sears, but on the other hand the shop would allow me to have a steady income and make the ends meet.

At times, we get so caught up in the skills that we need for one profession that we don't realize that they can transfer to another. Transferable skills allowed me to blend two completely different careers into one.  I use my educational professional skills during the day and now they transfer into the tattoo world at night.  Next time, let's take a closer look at the tattoo world and merge it into my daily life as a educational professional.    

Until then...

 

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XOXO, Dr Laura

 

Educational Professional By Day Tattooers Wife By Night

So many people wonder how on earth these two professions can merge into one happy life.  During the day I am an educational professional who strives to promote and create career and technical education programs for high school students.  At night, I am a wife to a tattooer and manage two tattoo studios.  

As tattooed individuals, we live with the stigma that something is wrong with us if we are tattooed.  Now the educational world is no different in that tattoos are not as accepted as other professions.  Even through the educational world is getting better it is important to respect the workplace environment. My employer doesn't say I can't show them, but not every person wants to see them.  I am pretty heavily tattooed, but I cover them while I am at work.  Why, you might ask?  Well, I have worked very hard to work my way up in the educational world and I don't want to give anyone a reason to judge my performance or credibility based on my tattoos.  

When I am at the shop or after work, I am more than willing to show off my tattoos.  It does catch me off guard at times when people comment on my tattoos.  I am so use to having them covered that I forget when they are showing.  

On the other hand, my educational background has helped me tremendously in the tattoo world.  Working with students and other education colleagues I have learned how to communicate, business regulations, networking, marketing and promotional strategies, and leadership qualities that I would not have learned just being in the tattoo world. On the other hand, the tattoo world has taught me how to have confidence when I enter a room,  be comfortable in my own skin, and money management.  Both worlds have made me the confident tattooers wife I am and educational professional I have become.

It is important to fight for what we want, but also have the courage to cover up when we need to. In my next blog, I will start telling the story on how I got into the tattoo world 8 years ago.

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XOXO Dr. Laura