Archive for ‘tattoo’

October 26, 2011

Was Alberta Bound

by Robyn

A few weeks ago a recieved a facebook message from my tattoo artist in Toronto letting me know that he would be at the Alberta Bound Tattoo and Arts Festival in Calgary. If I wanted to come, he would save a spot for me.

After checking my overall finances and the balance of my tattoo fund, it only took me about a week to decide. I was going. It would cost me about the same to fly to Calgary as it would to get to Toronto, except there was a good likelihood I would get to see the mountains.

I booked my flight to depart the evening of October 13th, and I flew back home at the end of the weekend on October 16th.   I stayed in the HI Calgary City Center, located 2 blocks east of City Hall. Perfectly located for getting around the city.

This was my first time staying in Calgary. I normally drive right through or stop over at the airport enroute to somewhere. Usually when I visit a city, I push myself to the limits. I try to see as much as possible, to the point that near the end of the day, I’m totally burnt out.

I avoided that this time around. I slept in until at least 10am every day and I was back at the hostel no later than 7pm. Then I would relax and watch tv. I spent a day shopping. I checked out the Millenium Skate Park. Took a drive into the mountains. Got tattooed.

I was sad to be leaving and I wish I had had more time in the city. I wish even more that I could have spent more time in the mountains. But alas, I will have to save that for another time. 

When I arrived home, for the last time I passed through what will become the old Winnipeg International Airport terminal. At the end of the month, the terminal will be closed, and in all likelyhood, demolished shortly after. Following it’s closure, the long awaited, $585 million new Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport will open. It’s exciting. The next time I fly will likely be in February to attend a wedding for a family friend in Ottawa.

May 16, 2011

Toronto Breakdown

by Robyn

I’m home from my little jaunt in Toronto. Feeling fantastic considering having just had 80% of my back tattooed less than 3 days ago. I am feeling far better than expected, with my back feeling slightly stiff and not the least bit swollen or tender to the touch.

Here is a general breakdown of my trip costs. It’s not penny for penny, but thats just because I’m really lazy and I hate keeping track on paper of every dollar I spend. I’m better off with just a general average that I can calculate in my head.

RT Flight Winnipeg – Toronto: $378.00

The Only Backpacker Inn Hostel (1 night): $24.00

JacoB22 Bed & Breakfast (2 nights): $124.30

Seven Crowns Tattoo: $800 + $100 tip

Friday’s Lunch (soup-to-go + snack): $5.00

Friday’s Dinner (PizzaPizza): $5.50

Saturday’s Lunch (Sushi @ Ho Su Bistro on Queen): $12.00

Ice Cream & pop Saturday night: $6.00

TTC Fares/tokens (have one token remaining): $15.50

Give or take a few dollars, my total came to $1470.30 total spent for a RT flight to Toronto, with a 3 night stay in the city, steps away from public transportation and downtown and a $900 tattoo I now have permanently etched onto my body. That’s fantastic, considering the $900 spent on the tattoo came in under budget by $100 and the “tattoo money” has been sitting in my bank account well for over a year, so it doesn’t feel like an expense at all.

Not counting the cost of the tattoo, my long weekend in the city cost me less than $600. One evening was spent in a hostel 6 bed mixed dorm and included a full, hot, waffle breakfast with fresh fruit and coffee in the morning. The following two nights I was in a fantastic B&B, and an upgraded room from what I had originally booked, with a private balcony, ensuite and continental breakfast in the morning.

Aside from the time spent at the tattoo shop, I spent the remainder of my weekend perched in bed watching tv. I had general plans to wander the city a bit on Saturday afternoon but only lasted about 4 hours before getting bored and coming home for a nap. My weekend probably would have been much more exciting had it not been overcast and raining, but what can you do? I would have been nice to venture out to High Park (I’ve never been and would have liked to have seen the cherry blossoms) but I figured I would pass due to the threat of rain and lack of decent lighting for any good pictures.

I’ll admit, when I should have been out and about, doing more, I acted like quite a bit of a hermit this weekend. Keeping to myself when I should have been meeting up with friends and acquaintances in Toronto. But sometimes it better to take a vacation from everything, even people you haven’y seen in over  year. With the 70+ hour work week I had leading up this trip, I think my loner weekend was worth it for the rest and relaxation. Plus, the bed was really comfortable.

 

May 13, 2011

Six and a half hours

by Robyn

I worked over 70 hours last week. I was a nervous wreck and spent all of my free time either eating or sleeping. My rest and nourishment was vital with my upcoming trip to Toronto. This trip, this appointment, so long in the making, I had to make sure that I was in the best of health upon my arrival. Being sick would mean losing hundreds of dollars.

Thankfully, luck was on my side this week.  After leaving work early yesterday, my girlfriend dropped me off at the airport and I boarded my Westjet flight. I got to Toronto without incident and checked into my hostel shortly after.

This morning I was a ball of nerves, but Matt gave me little time to let it get to me. Within 20 minutes of arrival at the shop, we started on my tattoo.

The first 2/3rds, starting from the bottom up were manageable. My upper shoulders were absolutely horrible, I spent that vast majority of my time concentrating on my breathing to take away from the pain. It took just over 4 hours to get this first piece completed.

For phase two, we mapped out the images and I held my breath. I was pretty rough by this point, so everything hurt. Again, I concentrated a lot on my breathing and noting where the tips of Matt’s fingers where so that I could anticipate the spot he would go to next. Although Matt congratulated me at the end of our marathon session for not jumping off the table, there were a few times where I wanted to.

This is just the start of a piece that will take countless hours and years to complete. I have one more full session of outlines and finishing details. We opted out of doing some of the detailed texturing on the lower pieces due to my growing discomfort as well as Matt’s time contraints.

At the end of the day, I was in the shop from 10:30 until 5:30, being tattooed for approximately 6.5 hours of that time. I’m happy to report that I came in $200 under budget for what I had predicted that the tattoo was going to cost. So that’s extra money that I can put back into the bank for future travel or tattoo sessions.

Today I kept my meal costs to less than $10.00 for the whole day. That’s including my delicious waffle with fresh fruit, whip cream, maple syrup and hot coffee this morning at my hostel, The Only Backpackers Inn. I had a simple lunch of chicken noodle soup while at the shop, and then pizza this evening on the ecclectic Church St.

I’ve been making plans to get together with a friend tomorrow afternoon. Trying to keeps things as relaxing and low stress as possible. Sushi perhaps? or a movie.

I’ll give a general breakdown of how much I spent on this trip when I get home at the end of the weekend. I also got my MPI rebate in the mail the other day. So once I take a look at my upcoming bills and incoming paycheques, we’ll see if I’ll reach my goal of being debt free by the end of May.

April 27, 2011

Drowning in Accommodations

by Robyn

Who knew that planning a trip to get tattooed would be so much work? And I haven’t even gotten to the details yet of the actual tattoo. For the past 2 days I’ve been mulling over my options for where to stay on my upcoming trip to Toronto. With my slim budget and my few odd accommodation specifications, it’s been a tiring process and I’ve been repeatedly looking over my top choices again and again, trying to weigh out the pros and the cons.

Do they have 24 hr reception? is breakfast included? is the bathroom private or at least semi-private? are they downtown or have easy access to transit?

I’ve set my budget at under $200 for 3 nights. A reasonable budget and one I can see myself staying within. Now it’s just a matter is deciding where I want to stay. I’ve been looking at hostels, bed & breakfasts, couchsurfing and airbnb (which is a cross between a B&B and couchsurfing), not sure if I’m entirely sold on this idea yet.

Clearly I’m obsessing over this a little and I should probably just phone somewhere and book a room already. But when it comes to the potential discomfort I’ll be experiencing with having my entire back tattooed, I think I have a right to be a little bit anal. It’s unlikely that I’ll couchsurf given that I’ll be sore and tired from having been tattooed for several hours. I know I’ll really want some privacy.

I have sent out one couch request to someone I hosted in the past but I’m not expecting anything, other than maybe an invitation for coffee.

Anyways, these are my top choices thus far, the first 3 places I will only be staying in for the night of my arrival, then I will be moving into cozier accommodations for Friday and Saturday night.

Global Village Backpackers – ($22.00 – 24.50) Breakfast included, 24hr reception

The Only Backpackers Inn – ($23.00 – 24.00) Breakfast included, can negotiate a late check-in

Neill-Wycik Summer Hostel – ($24.00 – 38.00) Breakfast included, 24 hr reception

Cozy Toronto BnB – ($55.00 – 70.00) Continental Breakfast included, 24hr hot showers, tv in room

Downtown Home Inn BnB – ($71.00 – 85.00) Open Buffet Breakfast, tv in room

I’ll probably sit on these options for a few days before I book anything. In the mean time, I’ll finish mapping out my routes to/from the airport and scouting for cheap eats, and something relaxing that I can do on Saturday afternoon to keep me occupied if I’m not able to meet up with anyone.

April 12, 2011

The Big Money Drop

by Robyn

One of the best things about being a server is the tips. It’s the tips that make serving, I feel, such a hard industry to get out of. Not only do you make, on average, double your hourly wage, but you also have cash on hand all the time. The downside with having cash on hand all the time however, it that it’s always there for you to spend.

I’m not a hardcore saver, but I think I manage pretty well. Many adopt the habit of never carrying change, EVER. I find this difficult, however, a great adaptation of this habit, is to never keep your change, in the form of tips, and never carry more than $20 cash on you.

After every serving shift I take all my tips and them put them into my tip jars, less the $20 I keep in my wallet. If you can, always change your bills to larger ones, like $50’s. I’m always less likely to spend a $50 bill over a $20.

I keep my tip jar tucked away so that it’s out of sight, out of mind. The back corner of the cubby of my night table. I rarely see it, and almost never count the money in the jar. Until a few days ago. Holy Crap! Somehow I managed to save $740 cash in just a few short months. And that’s just in dollar bills. I haven’t even counted my coin jar. So this afternoon during my lunch break I zipped around to RBC and deposited the money into my savings account. It’s a little scary realizing that you’ve got that much cash just sitting in your apartment and not locked away safely in your bank account. I also got my GST cheque in the mail too.

My change jar is near overflowing so I’ll be stopping in at the credit union later this week to have that money counted, sorted, rolled and deposited. It’s always so satisfying tossing money into a jar for weeks on end because you never know what that collecting will amount too. This jar, I’m guessing at least $300. I’ve got a lot of loonies and toonies in there.

I’ll give you the grand total once it’s been counted. A good portion of this money will be going towards paying off my plane ticket to Toronto and some spending money while I’m in the city, but in the end I’m still up a few hundred.

April 8, 2011

Damn you VISA points

by Robyn

The ticket is purchased, the date is set and appointment made! I’m going on a trip….TO….*drum roll*…Toronto! Not exactly the westerly direction that I’m aiming for in the long run, however, this trip shall treat me just fine. Actually? It probably won’t. It’s going to be horrendously painful, uncomfortable, and expensive. Thank you VISA, for you have saved me $300! So it’s all worth it.

Wait a minute?….no, VISA, actually you didn’t save me $300. You actually cost me $300 because you haven’t arrived in the mail yet. Therefor I had to no VISA card with which to purchase my ticket. Mastercard, you’ve come to my rescue, and probably earned me 18 Airmiles, but VISA, you’ve disappointment me.

In my efforts to organize my finances better and cut costs, I felt it was necessary that I cancel my VISA CLASSIC II card. I haven’t used it in months, and the annual renewal fee was just money down the drain. So I cut up my VISA, and changed back to the VISA CLASSIC rewards card. Annual fee, $0. This I did, two months ago. Where the HELL is my replacement card? It never came. So I ordered it a second time, this time reporting it as lost, and I’m still waiting.

I have 31,677 CLASSIC points, which is equal to $316.77. If my card had come in the mail on time, weeks ago, like it was supposed to, my round-trip ticket to Toronto would have cost me less than $63.

Now it’s costing me 6X that.  =(

But what’s done it done. That’s pennies compared to the money I will be spending while in Toronto. On my glorious, solo trip, to hand over my body for 6+ hours to get this gorgeous masterpiece forever etched into my body!

 

It’s been a long time coming. This beauty was supposed to be started in May of 2010 but was subsequently cancelled  do to a flight rerouting on my way to New Jersey. So now, almost 1 year to the day, we will finally be starting my back piece. Hallelujah!