In Which I Get My First Tattoo {Hallmark}

by Cate on February 4, 2014

Sometimes I tell you things that happen right away. Like last week’s Cauliflower Steak. Or some momentous event that shouldn’t wait. Like birthdays and rainbow cakes.

And sometimes, well, the blog topic gets added to a unwieldly list of blog topics so I don’t forget to write about it, but just can’t (for a multitude of reasons) right away.

This is that.


When the assignment from the folks at Hallmark came down asking to talk about celebrating life’s special occasions, I knew this was as good a time as any.

To tell you about my first tattoo.

Because it was totally a special occasion. Made even more special by sharing it with friends who were getting their firsts also.

It was last October. Regular readers know that this was something I have gone back and forth about for years. Is it too late to get a tattoo? Am I too old? Will I regret it? I would have days where I would resolutely decide “yes, I’m doing it.” And then moments when I saw someone else’s and it was a turn off and my mind instantly changed. And I knew that I couldn’t be wishy-washy about this. At all. Because, you know, commitment.

So sometime earlier last year, I had finally stopped waffling and decided yes. That was it. But then the where? and the what? For me, the place was simple. Because I didn’t want to hide it. And I knew it would be small. Just one word.

I toyed with a few words, but kept coming back to the same one. I played around with fonts, not settling on anything.

But then one Fall afternoon, it all came together. Magically. Like it was supposed to be.

I was talking to a new friend and noticed she had a tattoo on her wrist. Which is where I wanted mine. She was the first person I had seen with it there, so she was ripe for questioning. And then, a few days later, the topic came up amongst two other friends. Both of whom were closerthanthis to getting their first tattoo.

And both of who wanted it in exactly the same place as where I wanted mine.

And so it was fate.

We decided on a place and my homework began. I grilled the tattoo artist mercilessly on the phone. Conferred with my girlfriends. Made the appointment.

The day before, Chrissie was getting cold feet. So I grabbed her wrist and wrote her word on it in black Sharpie. I told her to see how she felt with it during the day. Did she find herself going to cover it up in certain situations? Or did she keep looking at it wistfully? How did others react to it?

She texted me a few hours later and said “I’m in.” That did it.

And I knew it would be a good test because that’s exactly what I did.

On our way to the tattoo place the next day, we were definitely a bundle of nerves. All three of us being first-timers and all. We decided the biggest scaredy cat, Chrissie, had to go first, and then I would go, and then our last friend, Cara, because hers was the most intricate and would have given Chrissie and I a chance to back out while we were waiting for her, if we didn’t have ours already.


Chrissie got her daughter’s name as her tattoo. In my handwriting. Which I thought was the coolest thing ever. All those penmanship classes in school surely paid off.



And mine? Also my handwriting. I liked the way it looked, clean, personal, simple, but impactful.



Cara got the Celtic symbol for motherhood in white. Completely different.


Before we went, someone had told one of my friends that it felt like the sandpaper of a cat’s tongue.

Um, no.

It feels like someone is burning your skin. Because, you know, they kind of are.

But mine took all of five minutes. And I decided after 27 hours of childbirth (Nick), 12 hours of childbirth (Madeline), and the pain of a gall bladder gone bad, I can totally suck it up for five minutes.

Although my family knew I had been thinking about getting one for awhile, I didn’t tell anyone that I had officially decided to go through with it. My sister was facetiming me at the exact moment that mine was halfway done because she saw a picture in Instagram, but, of course, I waited until it was done to call her back. No backing out.

As we were leaving, we were seriously positively giddy. Feeling a little bad-ass and totally enjoying the moment. We ended the night meeting up with other friends randomly at a local bar, where we, oddly enough, brought down the age curve by some 20 years.

An awesome night … and one we plan to repeat in just a few weeks.

Well, two out of three of us are.

One is still on the fence.

And in the meantime. No regrets. Not a one.

Truly an unforgettable night.

… Now to bring it back to Hallmark. While we typically think of Hallmark for all of the big occasions, they are just as important for the little ones too. Celebrating mini milestones with your kids (first tooth! honor roll!), random holidays (National Frozen Yogurt Day! yes, it’s a thing and it was today), and adult milestones (passing the bar! getting your first tattoo!)… there is a card and a unique way to celebrate for every big and little thing in your life. You can find tons of tips and inspiration on the most special way to celebrate right here.

Happy New Year from Hallmark! Share how you’ll create memories with your family in the new year. Visit for their full product line and special offers. Life is a special occasion so celebrate!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hallmark. The opinions and text are all mine.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne February 4, 2014 at 7:41 am

Crazy!! I had no idea this even happened! And I love your word…it is so YOU and something I know you could never regret.
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debbie February 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

I think the tattoo looks perfect! Simple and beautiful. My middle son has my name tattooed on his chest over his heart. Makes me melt! Never too late for a tattoo or whatever you like…I had my nose pierced about 12 years ago when I was 44. Just a tiny stud but something I always wanted to do. I loved it but unfortunately it just wouldn’t heal right. So I had to have it removed…..
debbie recently posted..Cocoa Fudge Cookies


Meg February 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

Your “love” is simply lovely! Though I can’t picture myself getting a tattoo, I admire them on others and love the simplicity of yours.
Meg recently posted..Classic banana nut muffins


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