Life Lessons

I had so much fun doing the October Blog Challenge with Mary over at Mary Speaks that I decided to find a new challenge for November! Although we shall see how it goes towards the end of the month because remember I’m jet-setting to Thailand for Thanksgiving!!!! … BUT I digress.

This new monthly challenge is hosted by A Happy Girl and the prompts are really sweet and fun so here we go!

Nov. 1st: One of the best lessons life has shown you

The best lesson I have been shown is that you never ever know what life will bring you. Just 5 years ago I would have never thought I would be in Chicago, be having a total blast, have THREE animals, and be surround with the most amazing family and friends. I never in a million years would think the people who I love the dearest would be in my life at all. I have made my life what it is, but I’m mystified at how perfect things have turned out. I can only say I am incredibly excited for everything that is to come!


Happy, Happy, Happy

How would you define ‘Happiness’?


I’m gonna take a page from Phil Robertson here and just say life is ‘happy, happy, happy.” If you’ve read previous posts here on GFK, you would have noticed (I hope) that being happy is the main point I make over and over. So how would I define happiness? I think being one’s ‘authentic self’ is true happiness. That means doing your thing – no matter what. I have compromised the things that matter to me before and it’s just a drag. It is amazing to see how inspired and inspiring I can be when I am working towards my authentic self and not forcing myself to go along with things I don’t believe in.

For me happiness can be described as; feeling good physically/mentally (sober bhud), loving family, downa$$ supportive friends, my tribe (aka the Pugkeeks), knitting, sewing, embroider, okay let’s just say crafting, eating well, music, elders, and glitter.

GFK is a pretty happy babe, that’s for sure.


The Front Tip…..

….of the week…. get your head out of the gutter! Geesh! 😉

So the start of this week was WILD. But a fun wild, not an unplanned for wild. I ended up getting my new and awesome jacket in from Black Salt. If you haven’t looked at their store/site yet, please do they are awesome. You will want many shoes/accessories/clothes.

Then I finished all the Halloween cards from Sunday. Just when I thought I got rid of all the glitter under my nails…. Look forward to that when you open them lovely friends and family. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Work has been super busy as we have department training. I have broken up my day by taking shameless selfies – you know how I roll.

Then last night I got to see Orange Goblin again. I saw them back in 2011 or maybe it was 2012 I can’t remember, I’ve been ‘metal – posing’ for so long now I can’t remember. I went alone and HAD A BLAST. Which is great because I have a few more concerts (Red Fang/Pentagram/Queens of the Stone Age/The Kills) to attend solo this fall/winter. Anyways- Orange Goblin are awesome guys in an even more awesome band. Here are some pictures from the show and if you’d like have a listen to the video below. They are doomy-metaly and from the UK (sigh).

Orange Goblin

This video is great – just make it through the intro. Be a metal poser and power through till the music starts.


Ghostface GOALS.

What are your goals and dreams for the future? You can share to us your dream house, dream workplace, or even your bucketlist before you turn 25!

Well since I am over 25, I’ll just ignore that part of today’s October Challenge prompt. I can tell you some dreams for my future though. In no particular order:

1. Be the authentic me – always. Never compromise myself again – for anyone.

2. Get a little professional with GHOSTFACEKNITTER. Meaning gain 5x more followers by next year for example – that sounds like a challenge to me – CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

3. Be tattooed by the greats – by as many well known and unknown artists around the world. Valerie Vargas, Dan Smith, Grime, Jher, Tim Lehi, Walter McDonald, DestroyTroy, Mario Desa, Alexander Grim, Liam Alvy, Jordan Teear, Danielle Rose…. Here are some photos of a few of these amazing artists.

Medusa head by Valerie Vargas
Medusa head by Valerie Vargas
Grime Hand Skull
Grime Hand Skull
By Jher (Mr. 451)
By Jher (Mr. 451) If you live in Denver please go see him
Walter's Facemelting awesomeness.
Walter‘s Facemelting awesomeness.
Alexander Grim. It's just so epic I can't look away. I also tried to source it back this was the farthest.
Alexander Grim. It’s just so epic I can’t look away. I also tried to source it back this was the farthest.

In the books for 2013: Dusty Neal at Black Anvil, Alisha Rice at Th’ink Tank Tattoo, and Ajarn Bpom Monk in Thailand. (You can check out that link to see the actual Monk tattooing with bamboo shoots.)

Dusty Neal
Dusty Neal
WIP sleeve by Ms. Alisha Rice
WIP sleeve by Ms. Alisha Rice
Ajarn Bpom Sak Yant Tattoo Master
Ajarn Bpom Sak Yant Tattoo Master

4. Meet as many crafters/knitters as I can. I seriously love meeting other craft artists. I get along with them and I just have so much fun being able to seriously ask another person if I should hoard yarn now or risk waiting for a sale?

5. Here’s the one I just can’t let go of: Get my PhD. What’s that you say? Dr. Ghostfaceknitter has a nice ring? I know. It’s something I have always thought about whether jokingly or not. It would require the most time and dedication of anything I have ever pursued – but most things that are worth having require that don’t they?

6.Travel! On deck in 2013 alone: Des Moines for knitting at MIDWEST KNITFEST with Jen at MakeXdo. Thailand to visit my MINI ME. Denver for the holidays to celebrate OG style.

7. I just really can’t stress NEVER COMPROMISING AGAIN.

I’m excited I switched gears in my life – actually I got on an entirely different road – and am able to get the most out of me and in doing so, give back to others. I’m stoked to be a part of this blogging world, knitting/crafting communities, helping with the Elders, loving life, loving my family and friends, and for the first time in YEARS loving me.

future Dr. GFK.
*drop mic out*

My Favorite Word: DO.

Okay let’s get one thing straight.… My days of false promises and polite agreements are OVER. Put up or shut up. As Royal Tenebaum said; “I’m not talking about dance lessons. I’m talking about putting a brick through the other guy’s windshield. I’m talking about taking it out and chopping it up.”

I’m talking about DO. Forget ‘I’m gonna.’ That phrase is bull. Anyone who says that to me without a plan wasted mine and their own time. Do I sound angry? I AM. There’s only one life that we are living. You have to DO.

Let’s look at some examples of DO.

You wanna dive into some new hobbies? Do it!
You wanna dive into some new hobbies? Do it!
You wanna ask Santa for a new city and a new life? DO it!
You wanna ask Santa for a new city and a new life? DO it!
You wanna take a nap? Do it!
You wanna take a nap? Do it!
You wanna have a fun weekend with your blood? Do it!
You wanna have a fun weekend with your blood? Do it!
You wanna win friends and influence people? Do it!
You wanna win friends and influence people? Do it!
You wanna put up photos of the people you miss? Do it! (Besides a false promiser never painted over those holes so cover eeet up!)
You wanna put up photos of the people you miss? Do it! (Besides a false promiser never painted over those holes so cover eeet up!)
You wanna finally give up drinking and eat right? Do it!
You wanna finally give up drinking and eat right? Do it! But first maybe wipe off last night’s makeup unlike me….

I know we all DO things on our own time/schedules. I know some times are hard, believe me. I spent YEARS saying ‘I wanna/I’m gonna/Someday/When this happens…..etc etc.’ Now that I’m finally a DO-er I’m only upset because I spent so much time FIDDLIN‘. We all walk our own paths, we make our own lives, but what I want you to know is that time is finite – what are you gonna see when you look over your life at some point? A list of DO’s checked off and the awesome memories behind them? Or a bunch of crusty old “I’m gonna’s” that are as stale as that paper you wrote them on? I’m not saying fill your life of tasks – hell if you wanna just put on your list of DO’s ‘relax’ – DO it.

Take it out and Chop it UP folks. Make yourself proud. DO.

My Thesis: Read it all!

With my Top Five Post earlier and mentioning my thesis journey I realized I never made my paper available to any curious readers. Just remember this is MY ORIGINAL WORK. If you steal from it or use it in a way that is not just reading it for leisure/curiosity/seeing if I can write/write without an attitude – NOT COOL. As Liam Neeson said in Taken “I will find you.” Okay that being said….

Here it is in it’s entirety. The Organic Beauty Industry: A Gendered Economic Review

Can you believe this goofball has a MA?
Can you believe this goofball has a MA?

Top 5 Posts by GFK

The Princess of Hearts!
The Princess of Hearts!

Today’s October Challenge is to pick the Top 5 blog posts I’ve written. This was hard, because everything I write is so amazing – like Nobel Peace Price worthy…. I digress, it wasn’t that hard, I knew which ones I’d feature immediately and I know most of you guys have loved them too based on your feedback and my site stats. Maybe they are new to some of you new peeps, but have a look!

First Best Video post: YOB


In no particular order:

1. Crafter Blood – A basic explaination of when I was infected with the crafting virus.

2. Tattoo Life – Where my tattoos have given me the life I live.

3. Thesis Process Deconstructed – If you’re a new reader you may not know the struggles, the DRAMA, and the saga of me getting my Master’s in Economics. Here’s the condensed version – short and sweet.

4. A Tale of 2 Brothers – Obviously the Ugly Tribe has grown with the addition of Boris. I wrote this silly story in the few days leading up to getting him. Two…nevermore.

5. The Power of Positivity – Despite GFK’s reputation in Boyz Town as being a miserable person – I’m actually a SUPER positive person. I discovered how positive thinking can re-charge your life and make you a person that you’re proud of. Plus you’ll get to read about my couple crush on my Cousin Matt and his beautiful wife Oli!

Honorable Mention:

Sphynx Cat Q&A – wait you have a naked pussy? Let’s all just take a collective moment to do a major *EYEROLL* and read the Q & A’s about Sphynx Cats.

I have so much fun writing this blog – I hope you guys love reading it. Are there any topics you’d like me to explore here in Chicago? Ultimate hotdog stand tasting? Perhaps tattoo shops here in the city? Or WAIT! What about best wig shop?

Lots o’ Love.


It’s Friday! Yay! That means crafting and fun events are upon us! Here’s a look at my Friday in pictures and music videos.

Confirmation of my Thai Bamboo Stick Tattoo in November in Bangkok
Confirmation of my Thai Bamboo Stick Tattoo in November in Bangkok

The Chicago River/Buildings on my weekly walk to Bloomingdales.
The Chicago River/Buildings on my weekly walk to Bloomingdales.

Bloomingdale's Bathroom Selfie. You know you love it.
Bloomingdale’s Bathroom Selfie. You know you love it.

Shoes at Nordstrom that I DID NOT buy. :( Tears.
Shoes at Nordstrom that I DID NOT buy. 😦 Tears.

Boris learned how to get on the fridge - there is no sacred space in my home now.
Boris learned how to get on the fridge – there is no sacred space in my home now.

Bought tickets for Pentagram a few days ago, but I’m really stoked.

I also got a ticket to see Orange Goblin… They are awesome live. My hearing has probably recovered since the last show I went to in 2011.

*it’s a long video but, skip around – they are great.

HAPPY FRIDAY! May your weekend be blessed with crafts/puppies/kittens/metal/love!


Ahoy! Blog Friends!


After much thought and research I have decided to re-brand my blog as GHOSTFACEKNITTER.  I think it suits the content and the personality behind this blog much more than the old name of tattoosandtarts.  ALSO!  You can now visit my blog directly from the domain!  Rejoice! I will also be changing my other accounts to reflect this so look for the changed names in my ABOUT section soon!

This new blog will still have the old things you love, but now it will focus more on crafts and my life! I hope you enjoy and please leave comments and/or suggestions for me.  I LOVE FEEDBACK!



Thesis Process Deconstructed

Well they accepted my thesis. It’s over.  Read my thesis story and give yourself a pat on the back for encouraging me over the past year writing this beast. 


I always had a personal interest during my graduate process about working with an idea of fashion or luxury items.  The idea of selective consumerism was interesting and who doesn’t like an item with a label?  Maybe some granolas? No, even they covet the Whole Foods brand and Tom’s.  Finding the type of story I wanted to tell was challenging.  That was until one of my professors sent me a detailed set of current journal articles all about luxury consumption and its economic impact.  This revealed to me the world of conspicuous consumption aka “keeping up with the Jones.” I was fascinated by Thorstein Veblen’s work in the luxury and socio-economic field.  This was my starting point from here I tried to narrow my topic and find an advisor to support this unconventional idea.   Unfortunately, no professors were ready to join my luxury goods interest thesis process and I didn’t really know what to do.  I didn’t want a mathematically biased or financial biased thesis so they were kind of at a loss for what to focus on.  I decided to deal more exclusively with organic beauty items as my cosmetologist background made this area familiar and approachable.  Fortunately for me I took an Environmental Economics class and found a professor who could finally support my interests and get behind my thesis.  An added bonus was that she was a positive female mentor in the economics department – seriously without a female graduate mentor I was sinking fast in my department amongst the male dominated culture.  (Gender – such an influential topic in our decision making processes.)  I decided organic beauty/the environment/gender all had important economic implications and began my journey.  The best advice I received about my thesis was that you wouldn’t know when it was done until it was done.  So true but so hard to accept this truth.  It should be easy to outline a paper and to easily follow said outline to ensure the paper is well organized and completed in a timely fashion.  Well, this is easier said than done and although I had an outline – in fact I had outlines coming out my ears – it was hard to stick to just an outline especially when the social perspective of conspicuous consumption was conveyed.  So I started with what I knew, reading.  I read and read and then read more – journals, books, case studies, articles, websites, and annual reports.  I read until I figured out the story I wanted to tell – err more or less. 

My actual writing began in the late winter of 2012.  I wrote what I considered an amazing 30 pages about the history of the beauty industry and how the organic beauty industry was formed.  These 30 pages still exist in my paper in roughly one to two paragraphs in the first chapter…..  I soon found that what I was writing was not exactly what a thesis is.  From here I re-outlined my main story and started trying to fill in the gaps with you guessed it! More reading! By the start of the Fall 2012 quarter I had a decent introduction and almost all of a first chapter written.  By the end of that quarter (10 weeks) I had chapters 2 and 3 more or less formed.  This was when we actually starting editing.  See, before all those read marks on my paper were just more clarification issues – trying to make the ideas clear to present them.  Now the ideas themselves were being poked, shaped, removed, or morphed to fit the entire paper and my story.  This was hard – cutting out entire pages of writing, expressing my idea in a way that meant something and was not convoluted.  It was painstaking to time and time again remove repeated ideas that I had expressed in a slightly different way.  To work through an idea at first was very clunky and force, but then started becoming easier and more fluid.  The paper shrunk then expanded and before the conclusion was written it was already 80+ pages.  I reorganized Chapter 3 entirely moving topics around and editing content to reflect that.  By this time it was the end of Winter quarter 2013 and I was restless – I wanted to throw together the conclusion and be done.  My ever helpful advisor was there to slap me back to reality – that I would be submitting a paper worthy of submitting not a ‘thrown-together’ version of my original idea.  How dare she want my thesis to be readable, interesting, and worthy of the degree and department!  In the end it took me weeks to write my conclusion – also as if it were the death or slow finality of the process I didn’t know when it would be finished or what that final chapter really meant until suddenly one day it was done.  Just like the advice I had received before my thesis journey, it was finally over and I knew my paper was whole. 

With some slight edits to the conclusion it was time to send it off to my defense committee.  Who had been patiently waiting since Fall 2012 for my thesis since at the end of each quarter I would have to send them an email telling everyone it was not ready yet – sorry for getting their hopes up.  This, believe it or not, was less than a month ago.  The defense which was two weeks ago was brutal.  In every sense of the meaning it was brutal.  My ideas, my paper, “my baby” was ripped apart – every hole or unmentioned topic was brought up and my thesis looked to me more like a festering sore than something clean and cherished.  There was a moment in my defense during the comments portion as a feminist economist brought up the lack of pessimism in my thesis regarding gender equality that I really thought I was going to fail.  But, after further discussion, the comments portion was more or less exploring where my paper could go – given a future dissertation or a book.  Each member seemed excited about the possibility of further research and writing (which was encouraging).  Then I was told I just had a few revisions to work on and it would be finished. 

Thankfully it only took the better part of my lunch break the following week to finish the items we discussed for revision.  The formatting of the paper was actually the most difficult part of the paper for me and required two nights of edits to make everything consistent with school guidelines.  But then I finally got the all clear that it was finished.  I submitted it and now it is over.  It’s finally over.

There were so many emotions during this process.  Sometimes I felt like I was writing garbage – that my topic did not matter at all and that my ideas were not related to economics.  Thank God I had enough people behind me supporting me and telling me to push onward.  I believe my Dad was the person to just tell me to buckle down and get it done (well he may have been a little more forceful and direct with his word choice)– and finally I listened and did.  This process humbled me as a writer and showed me that even a graduate student can feel as bright as a bag of hammers.  In the end I’m happy I’m done – I’m pleased with my 100+ page project.  It’s been a hell of a year plus a few months and I can’t wait to focus more of my writing energy on this blog and not my thesis.

Hopefully I will be able to post a copy of my thesis here – I’m unsure if DU will be okay with that since they technically own my thesis because I was their little academic mignon for so long.  I doubt many would really want to read it – I don’t know maybe some of you would want to read it.  It’s strange to be done, but I’m overwhelmed with the end being here.  Finally I can stop procrastinating my thesis writing and my life and move forward with whatever I chose. Oh and I guess if I feel super egotistical I can be one of those people who writes MA after my name.  Brianna Connelly MA.  Hmmm Brianna Connelly PhD still looks better.