What’s better than finding a four leaf clover? Wearing one of course! When it comes to luck, nobody knows better than the Irish, and with Saint Patty’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on that little bit o’ luck. Lucky clover, lucky horseshoes, lucky sevens, and more, all abound to make your St. Patrick’s the best and brightest. There might even be a lucky Irish kiss in the cards, so don’t forget to layer up with these celebratory staples, and let the serendipity work its magic.
The “medusa” or philtrum piercing, is located centrally above the upper lip. It earned the name medusa in the 1990s from Kerrick, a hairdresser and model from Toronto, Canada. The most common jewelry worn in this piercing is a labret stud, though other options are possible. Stretching this piercing has also grown in popularity, and an oval piece, often made of natural stone, is worn at larger sizes.
I recently had the opportunity to experience a philtrum piercing, at American Skin Art in Tonawanda, NY. (James is the expert piercing artist at this location.) The designated area was sterilized and marked, I checked the intended placement, and the forceps were applied to hold my lip. This process can sometimes feel like a pinch or pressure. Finally, James instructed me to inhale and then exhale as the needle went through. The jewelry was put in place, and then cleaned again.
I have several other facial/body piercings and while not excruciating by any means, the upper lip is more sensitive than the lower lip in my experience. I experienced a good amount of swelling in the upper lip for about a week, most particularly the first 3 or 4 days. I’d recommend cleaning the area as instructed by your piercer (and eating popsicles to take down the swelling). New jewelry can usually be put in place about 2 weeks after the procedure, as longer jewelry is originally placed to accommodate for the swelling.
An overall great experience and a fantastic addition to my collection!
As the modified generation experiences a cultural resurgence, many of us our turning to our ancestral roots for a deeper understanding of who we are, and who we want to be. And what better time than at the holy grail of Irish-American holidays to explore the style of our Celtic ancestors? For anyone who has Irish or Celtic blood, discovering the beauty of traditional Celtic and Gaelic design is a perfect vehicle for connecting with our heritage.
There are many intricate tribal elements that were commonly used for tattooing, jewelry, or other adornment by our Irish forefathers, but variations of a few remain popular even today. Amongst the most notable: the Celtic knot, the Celtic cross, and the tree of life. Most often depictions of flora, fauna, and celestial bodies would find their way into tattoos or amulets, as the Celtic connection to the natural world was known to run deep throughout all aspects of their culture.
In modern times, the Celtic knot has become a symbol of Irish heritage, and is frequently associated with Saint Patrick’s Day jewelry. Popular variations of the knot include the “love knot” (generally depicted as a heart-shaped knot, or two infinity symbols crossed over one another), the trinity knot (which dates back to St. Patrick’s conversion of the Irish and represents the Christian trinity), and the square or “shield knot,” which was often placed on the shield or in the tattoos of warriors to protect them from harm.
The meaning of many traditional shapes in knot-work has unfortunately been lost to time, but as long as we continue to have Irish descendents, the Celtic knot will live on, and continue to influence our fashion sense.
The Claddagh ring is one of Ireland’s great historical mysteries, as nobody can be sure exactly how it came to exist. There are literally dozens of origin stories, but many of them are rich in folklore and symbolism, none of them appearing to be entirely factual. A few things however, can be certain, like how this beautiful design got its name.
Centuries ago, the clasped hands and heart ring made its first official appearance in small fishing village located just outside Galway, Ireland called Claddagh. A number of sources connect the specific design of the ring with a particular family or “clan” known as the Joyce clan. Some tales include divine providence or reward, whilst others feature true and everlasting love, citing it as the inspiration behind the joining of three elements: love, loyalty, and friendship.
The heart, representing love, is crowned with loyalty, and held by two hands coming together in a pact of camaraderie. If any Irishman wished to win the hand of a beautiful woman, the presentation of a claddagh ring as his engagement gift would surely have proven his devotion.
Today, the tradition begun in Ireland is repeated by Irish and non-Irish alike. To wear the claddagh on your right hand with the point of the heart facing outward means you’re looking for love, while pointing the heart inwards means your heart has been captured or isn’t open to new prospects. Similarly, when worn on the left hand, a heart pointing out is the sign of engagement, and pointing inwards indicates a marriage or common-law relationship.
One of the more unique things about the claddagh ring in particular, is that it’s used not only by women, but men as well. For many in modern times, the claddagh indicates Irish ancestry, and in simpler versions is most certainly unisex. Over the years variations including gems, colors, or the addition of other Celtic motifs have sprung up, but the symbolism behind the iconic designs remains unchanged and beautifully romanticized.
Today is Mardi Gras, one of the funnest holidays of the calendar year, and the perfect time to get your dress-up on. But bright, flirty, over-the-top accessories don’t have to be limited to just Fat Tuesday and Halloween. There’s a whole slew of traditionally Mardi Gras-tastic items that make awesome additions to your regular party wear all year long, starting with the Mardi masque colors purple and green.
These two tantalizing hues make a top-notch pairing and compliment eachother in unexpectedly beautiful ways. Deep Amethyst goes great with brilliant chartreuse, and fuchsia is stunning with island lime. Make your own mixes and watch as heads turn.
Next on our list is the fab leur de lis, a sweet little french floral element that’s a staple of Mardi Gras festivities. In the celebration capital (New Orleans, Louisiana), there’s even an area that’s considered the Mecca of Mardi Gras, called the French Quarter. All florals have a wistful and feminine appeal, but the fleur takes the cake in terms of ladylike and lavish, featuring even in the Crown Jewels of England.
And last we have a favorite that’s as versatile as it is varied: the feather. Whether it’s belly rings, earrings, hair accessories, or whatever, natural feathers make a magnificent addition to any “night out” wardrobe. Wearing them might not result in a bevy of beads, but it’s certain to cause a stylish stir.
It’s no secret that Americana is making a comeback, particularly when it comes to alternative fashion. Deconstructed stars, antiqued flag print, and venerable hair concoctions in red, white and blue are just a few of the vehicles for the retro-homespun style resurgence. A far greater influence can yet be felt however, in the multimedia creations of the modified generation. Case in point: Lana Del Rey.
Many a pierced and tattooed hunk has hit the heights of fame via interactions with Miss Lana, including amazingly handsome tattooed model Bradley Soileau (whose ears are also stretched), and already rising star ASAP Rocky. Although the era of Americana is certainly bygone, hats off to Del Rey for creating a luxe and atmospheric retro fantasy world populated by rich young socialites who are bored, depressed, and bent on misbehaving. Her onscreen love affair with Rocky in the official music video for her aptly named tune “National Anthem,” is a modern and touching reimagining of the true life devotion between President JFK and his style-icon wife, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis.
Although the patriotism-driven, white-picket-fence life may not always be laced with sunshine and daffodils, it’s these modernized raw and realistic visions of a faded era that truly inspire in today’s airbrushed world. Glamour, expensive cognac, and vintage undergarments aside, being somebody’s national anthem is a unique and perfect metaphor for finding true love wrought with the conviction and passion of a lifelong allegiance; something that all of us can certainly appreciate.
If you’ve seen all of the beautiful new Eastern-style septum jewelry circulating the internet lately and thought that it looked either very expensive or custom made, think again. These type of pieces are referred to as septum “clickers,” and although there are wonderful custom artisans out there, the style has become so popular that a number of gorgeous pre-made pieces are incredibly available for a lot less than you might think.
Many of the clicker septum rings are fashioned with a single jewel or a row of jewels that incorporates a larger center gem, closely mirroring a style of tribal septum jewelry that has been worn in India and Nepal for centuries, the modern version of which is sometimes called a nathori. And it’s easy to see why this more decorative and unique type of nose jewelry has caught on so quickly. Aside from aesthetics, the clicker closure makes it easy to insert and remove the jewelry, and the symmetrical designs lend themselves well to coupling with standard nose rings for those who have their nostrils pierced too. They also create a world-wise and exotic look, which makes them the perfect statement piece for any fashionably accessorized outfit this coming Spring.
Today is National Tooth Fairy Day, and that means it’s time to talk about something that effects the modified in a pretty unique way: oral care.
For those who have piercings of the tongue, lips, or connective tissues inside the mouth, taking care of our teeth takes on even more importance than normal, and this is the perfect moment for an aftercare brush-up. But first, let’s take a second real quick to go over the common piercings that can effect our teeth and gums. Here’s what we’re looking at:
There are many different and unique oral piercings, but these few main types encompass the vast majority of styles. The standard tongue piercing can be performed in multiples and different places, and lip frenulum piercings like the smiley are often done in the bottom lip too, as well as the connective tissues that rest above the canines (usually called a “vampire” piercing).
For those who have gingivitis, multiple fillings, or other oral health issues, it’s especially prudent to follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions after getting one of these piercings. Some professionals will suggest switching to non-metallic, biocompatible materials like bioplast to avoid certain issues, and most will recommend consistent use of alcohol free and/or specially formulated mouthwashes, particularly after eating. Other instructions that are commonly given during healing include avoidance of alcohol, smoking, lip gloss usage, and highly-acidic foods.
It’s always best to find an experienced piercer who has performed the piercing you want to get many times successfully, as certain piercings need to be placed in a particular spot to avoid the possibility of tooth or gum issues. For more about oral piercings, check out our Oral Piercings Category, and don’t forget to thank your friendly neighborhood tooth fairy today!
What’s the new thing of the moment? Well, besides galactic graphics, hyper-real kitten print, and Indian style septum jewelry, the next big trend could definitely be mid finger rings. These are the cute little rings, most often just bands or simple embellishments, that sit between the middle knuckle and the tip of the finger.
Though the middle finger and ring finger seem to be the most popular, these little beauties can be worn on any of your digits, and the more rings you’re wearing, the better things get. Mid finger pieces mixed in with both simple and ornate traditional rings, multi-finger rings, and even interesting thumb rings, are definitely the alternative fashion of the here and now. The general feel of this type of hand jewelry styling hints at a wanderlust, world-traveler kind of vibe, and looks great with finger ink or temporary henna designs.
For simplified styling that moves seamlessly from day to night, work to play, stay within the same family of shades (either warm or cool), and limit really lavish or oversized items to a single statement piece per hand. Other than that, rock it out to your heart’s content. Mid finger rings are just one more thing that’s making alternative Spring fashion fun!
Not that there should ever be a time when reading or telling stories is out of fashion, but for those whose hectic lives sometimes get in the way, here’s a little nudge: Tell a Fairy Tale Day is today, February 26th – so tap into those childhood memories, and create some magic!
Since it falls on a Wednesday this year, it’s a great time to take a breather in the middle of a work or school week to reengage the imagination. Most of what we know as fairy tales have their roots in multiple cultures, mostly European. Others have stories that might not specifically be called “fairy tales,” but the concept is very much the same. Myth and folklore are widespread throughout the world, going back as far as the written word itself (and possibly even pre-dating that, if cave paintings tell fictional tales as well as an accurate representation of daily life). The resurgence of the fairy tale has been brought to television, thanks to the popular Once Upon a Time and Grimm programs (although in the latter, you’re hard-pressed to find stories associated with the brothers).
Popular culture leads us to believe that traditional fairy tales begin with the iconic phrase “Once upon a time” and end with “they lived happily ever after.” However, the content between start and finish is fraught with complexity and adversity. The hero or heroine isn’t beloved for their simplicity, but rather for their strength of character and tenacity in getting out of harrowing situations. Otherworldly creatures such as trolls, giants, goblins and – of course! – fairies are commonplace, to either help or severely hinder the protagonist’s progress. And even then, there was no promise of a happy ending, as shown in the original tales of co-authors and brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Most are familiar with the sanitized versions of stories such as Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel; for instance, the much-maligned stepmothers in the first two were originally mothers (which was seen as shocking and inappropriate, but apparently, stepmothers are fair game), and poor Rapunzel, pre-edits, was knocked up by her visitor (you definitely won’t see that in Tangled).
Regardless of their dark history, this not-really-holiday-holiday encourages all of us, regardless of age, to either read something fantastic or share something bursting with happiness and hope with someone else. And it doesn’t have to be a child: volunteer to read to the residents of a nursing home or a shut-in, read to your pets, or write a brand-new fairy tale to share with your writer’s group or English class. If you feel that the stories of old just don’t do it for you, there are a group of writers who create what are called “urban fairy tales,” using modern settings and adding the requisite monsters and whatnot. One of my favorites is Canadian author Charles de Lint who has taken his beloved Ottawa, Canada and created volumes of these, and adults who want to rediscover the joy of reading a fairy story won’t be disappointed. So share the joy of the story with whoever will listen, and you may find yourself wanting to keep reading fairy tales as you dream of your very own happily ever after.