the story behind tattoos


We had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with outlaw country rocker Boo Ray. At V+V, we are always seeking out interesting ways people tell their story. We got lucky enough to sit down with Boo, and talk to him about his own creative adventure and how his tattoos help tell his story as an artist. Check out the interview below!

IMG_7243VV. Tell us a little bit about who you are as a musician. As an artist, what have you done to define yourself?

BR. As a musician, i reckon I’mpretty song oriented and driven. I consider it a privilege to have someone’s ear and attention for a few minutes and feel obligated to make the best of that time; melodically, rhythmically, lyrically and sonically….  As a recording artist I’ve released 3 albums since 2010 that’re all geting radio play. As a live act I’ve been doing shows coast to coast for 10 years. I’ve had a coupe of good bands in that time and right now I’ve got a smokin’ hot band that I’m crazy about.

VV.  Tell us a little bit about your music. What has lead you to pursue the type of music you have?
BR. Guitars, pedal steel, backbeat trap set drums, flat-wound Muscle Shoals type bass, electric Wurlitzer/Hammond B-3 and Levon Helm/Tom Petty type vocals… I suppose that’s my pallet. I’m glad the kind of music I make and the kind of songs I write are popular and gaining momentum.     
VV. How have tattoos tied into your definition of yourself as an artist? What kind of statement are you making with them? 
BR. Tattoos are definitely tied to the music for me. Not sure I’m trying to make a statement though. But the artists and images I relate to and identify with are kinda rockabilly and trucker… Slap-back echo on vocals & guitars says tattoos to me. Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, Waylon’s ’66 “Mental Revenge”, and Willie Nelson’s ’62 “Funny How Time Slips Away”, those are all tattoos to me, figuratively and literally. When I wrote “Bad News Travels Fast” with Colin Linden I realized that those moments in songwriting when the right phrase is coined and paired with the right melody that an emotional situation is catalyzed and expressed in a permanent way like a tattoo. 
VV. What are some of the wildest stories behind your tattoos? 
BR. I got one of my 1st tattoos at 3am in a cow field at a motorcycle rally in Franklin NC. While I was sitting in a chair getting tattooed my buddies were up on the hillside setting off quarter sticks of dynamite trying to scare the tattooist so he’d screw up my tattoo.
VV. When did you get your first tattoo done? Was it nerve-wracking or exciting? 
BR. I honestly can’t quite figure out which was my 1st tattoo but i definitely didn’t have any hesitations and was way into it.
VV. Do you have a specific style of tattoo you get doneor is it more random? 
BR. I’ve only been collecting black & gray work for last 10 years or so. I do have a few color pieces but mostly black & gray.
VV. At velvet + vinyl, we believe that the most amazing stories are told through creative means. As a song writer and tattoo-connoisseur, what kind of stories are you telling? 
BR. That’s a great question. I think they’re stories of transformation, moments of grace, accounts of tragedies, confessions of sins, testimonies of triumph, affectionate homage payed to guardian angels, admissions of struggles and diaries of searching journey.
VV. Would you consider yourself a “bad boy” because you have a lot of tattoos? Would you say other people classify you as such?
BR. How’s that line go? “If you wanna have a hard head, you better have a tough ass”… I think that’s kinda been my experience anytime i got to thinking I’m some kinda of badass. I got tired of learning that lesson you know.
VV. Any tattoo artist recommendations?
BR. Absolutely. My friend Cole Seigel is great and has an excellent shop “The Order” in downtown LA and Space Ghost is an excellent tattooist there. Also Freddy Negrete’s son, Isaiah Negrete is doing excellent work at Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club. I’ve seen some great work in Nashville from Chris Saint Clark at Kustom Thrills.
VV. Do you believe that all tattoos should have significant meaning behind them? Why or why not?
BR.You mean as opposed to randomly waking up one day and deciding to get an ear of corn tattooed on your thigh or something like that?… No person can dictate tattoo criteria for someone else. It’s just too personal of an experience. I aint saying I’ll never do it, but I haven’t done that yet and doubt that I will ever wake up one day and get that ear of corn tattoo though. 

un-styled and free of trend


Trends easily define every aspect of modern life, we know that. Not just fashion but music, food, books and anything pop culture. And trends are great guides don’t get me wrong, but more and more often we are becoming defined by the trends established on the runway and in stores. The fashion world is a crazy place with overwhelming creativity and what seems like an endless supply of fresh ideas, yet these new ideas are put in boxes by people who are looking to determine their “personal style”.DSC_0649In any fashion oriented environment you can expect to be asked what your “personal style” is and to me this was one of the hardest questions to answer. For years I have been trying to label and lay out exactly what it is I like to classify myself as based on my style, but this style never really seemed like mine at all. I would look online and determine the latest trends, what’s “cool”,  what others at school were wearing, and then try to stick these qualifications along with my personal and creative outlook on fashion into a tiny box labeled something like “preppy”, “girly”, “bohemian”, “classic”, “sporty”, or “grunge”.IMG_3744The term personal style started to lose the personality when I was trying to find my niche in a predetermined look and ended up altering their interests in order to fit in. You have to be able to let go of what others are doing, even what fashion experts are doing, because in no way are other people’s choices going to help you make yours. Not to say a defined sense of style is something to avoid because if you do happen to know exactly what makes you feel powerful and confident then always go for it– as long as it’s you.DSC_0762 (1)

Time and time again I have put an item back on the rack when I absolutely adored it because it didn’t fit the style I was going for or it wasn’t on trend. And there’s no use in spending hard earned money on clothes that feel empty or useless because you bought them in a trendy, fast fashion store. Gather the things you love and take inspiration from them in order to find out who you are in your style. Step outside of the comfort of fast fashion and experience new stores or discover the timeless, recycled pieces of a thrift store.

IMG_3747After experiencing fashion abroad for three months now, where it seems as if everyone dresses for themselves and dresses to impress, I have finally gotten the boost I needed to be confident in how I portray my enthusiasm for fashion. We are not meant to be divided and limited by style stereotypes, because fashion is is a string of trends, interests, and inspirations decided by the individual. Wear what makes you feel comfortable whether it’s on trend or not. Buy what you love simply because you love it. Your style is what you make it so explore new things, be adventurous, ignore your comfort zone, and make fashion fun again because it should never be a chore if it’s something you love.DSC_0239Dress out of the ordinary and ignore the expected, because without that fashion will become everything but extraordinary.

best of bunbury


Cincinnati hosted Bunbury 2017 this weekend and it exceeded all my festival expectations. From Flogging Molly to Moon Taxi, AFI, Jon Bellion and the 1975, followed by Thirty Seconds to Mars and Muse to finish out the night, my one day experience at Bunbury was one for the books.

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bee here, bee you, bee free 

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mikey’s late night slice

It never ceases to amaze me how the art of music festivals brings people together through incredible artists and another caliber of musical talent. In addition to befriending strangers whom I initially had little in common with, just one day at Bunbury was honestly all I needed to feel rejuvenated with inspiration.

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thirty seconds to mars

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hi Jared Leto ❤

Yes, we were literally ten feet from Jared and I actually almost died from going in to shock. What a beautiful man, am I right?

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little slice of heaven

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Favorite sets were Moon Taxi, the 1975 and Thirty Seconds to Mars. On repeat today are All Day All Night by Moon Taxi and The Sound + Love Me by the 1975. Give ’em a listen, y’all.

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What inspires you for the week ahead? We want to know! Share your favorite photos with us on Instagram with @velvetnvinyl.

your quarter life crisis playlist


This is it guys. The big 2-5. Suddenly you find yourself Instagram stalking your younger pledge classes’ house dance outfits and reminiscing about the days when you could stay up until 2 am without feeling like you got hugged by a falling tree. Rent, car payments, electricity, groceries, anxiety meds…they all add up. In addition to having absolutely no money, it’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of life. I’m turning a quarter of a century old on the 31st of this month and have been having one existential crisis after another. Luckily I’m surrounded by amazing girlfriends who love and support me. Kristin, the genius behind the photos you’re about to enjoy, decided we needed a much-needed trip to Cape Kiawanda. If you’re like me and you’ve got mid-twenties blues, here’s a playlist to help you get through it all. While I’m still struggling in life, I’m proud of who I am today, and these songs helped shape me into the woman I am today.


all photos by Kristin Coffman

“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. This song is so classic and so relevant to any woman who has struggled to find her purpose in life. I’ve been so many people in my 25 years, and I’m still figuring out who I am. This is a big one.


“Belle of the Boulevard” by Dashboard Confessional. Sometimes life is just downright hard. It is so important to remember that the struggles you experience make you the beautiful person you are. Never, never let yourself think that you are only worth what certain people think of you.


“Swing Life Away” by Rise Against. When I was a little kid I thought by 25 I’d be married, have a house full of kittens and puppies, and be a successful paleontologist. Today I’m, well, not. That’s just life, and I’m okay with it. Enjoy the simple things in life. You will miss them later on.


“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. I tragically lost my first love a few years back. This song has preserved every happy memory we ever shared. Whether it’s a person, a place, a song, a smell, or an idea–it’s okay to hold on to things. Nobody is immune to tragedy, but it takes a great deal of strength to hold on to the happy times in spite of it all.


“Feel the Silence” by Goo Goo Dolls. The part in this song that always gives me chills goes, “we’re drowning in the water that goes under this bridge/when you’re fighting the current you forget how to live.” Pretty explanatory. We are a highly-intelligent species that have emotions in spades. Listen to them. If you spend your life hiding your hurt, you will always feel pain.


“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. This song was my Gramma’s absolute favorite song, and for good reason. The point of this song, this blog, and my objective in life, is to offer love and support to those who need it. We hear so much sad news every day, and this song beautifully acknowledges that all of life’s hardships can be overcome with the support of a good friend. You don’t need a ton of friends, just one or two solid ride-or-dies. Most importantly, be the friend that you need in your life.


“Love” by Lana Del Rey. I’ve mentioned this before here on V+V but this song is just. So. Good. It takes me back to the days when all we needed was a 6-pack of PBR, a smooth hill to skate down, and a sunset to cheers to. Watch the video and you will understand. The years go by but we will always have that summer that ignited our souls.


“Your Song” by Elton John. Oh Elton. This song has no particular meaning other than it is simply the best song ever written and I will never stop loving it. Absolute genius.


“Wheels” by Foo Fighters. Easily the most under-rated FF hit. Central thesis is that life will never stop being hard. Your challenges will change, but life will never be easy. That being said–there’s no reason to not enjoy the ride.


“For the First Time” by the Script. Does anyone still listen to them? I love them. Shamelessly. Keep making music, guys. All of their songs are so real and so relevant but this one specifically has helped me calm down when I’m sitting on my couch with my roomie and her cat, telling them about how stressfully my apartment hunt is going/how difficult work is/how much I wish I was Lauren Conrad. It’s so good to know you’re not alone in the struggle. Related: watch St. Elmo’s Fire.


Lastly, “I Want to Break Free” by Queen. In addition to having arguably the most interesting music video ever created, this song is so empowering. Whether you’re struggling to accept your identity, or if you hate your job, or if you’re in a bad relationship–this song will get you through just about anything. And will also make you want to vacuum in a leather mini skirt. Or is that just me? Anyway–cheers to 25 years! Through good times and bad, I love you all and wish you all the best in your life. Take charge and be the lady boss we all know you are!


feelin’ smitten


All the heart eyes for this new post because Smitten issue II is finally here.

We collaborated with Shop Libby in Downtown Cincinnati to style this shoot and made straight magic. A local boutique with hand-picked pieces and hand-crafted jewelry, Shop Libby has an edge to it that doesn’t quite compare to mainstream retailers. The character of the brand exudes cool, collected confidence that translates in the feel of every look.

1smitten vol 2 pages3Can you really have a photoshoot without a LBD?45Truth be told, hats aren’t typically my go-to accessory. Still, I decided to defy my comfort zone and silence the self-doubt, and styled this look with minimalistic jewelry and a soft-feel, charcoal colored tee. 6This heart ring is a handmade piece made by Libby, the owner of the shop, and is a subtle, seamless accessory for every look. 78

Takeaways from this issue of Smitten? Dare to wear the things you can’t pull off. Happy styling.

love your mother mother


Every now and then, we have the chance to meet individuals who have a particularly interesting and insightful view on their life and the industry they work in. In the creative world, it is always rejuvenating to talk to these type of people because they remind us why we create in the first place, and why we must always be open to continuously feeling inspired. We were lucky enough to connect with a musician whose introspection, uniqueness and utter genuineness did all these things for us.

Ryan Guldemond, lead vocalist and lead guitarist of indie-rock 5 piece Mother Mother, just kicked off tour with The Kongos. Right before Mother Mother hit Portland, velvet + vinyl had the chance to chat with him a little bit about song writing, Mother Mother’s abstract approach to creating music and how they as a band set themselves apart in such a vast industry.


Check out our interview with him below, and take a peek at the photos from their show at Hawthorne Theatre in Portland. If you haven’t given this band a listen, you are most definitely missing out. Every song is so different, yet Mother Mother does an excellent job maintaining a uniform, recognizable sound. Perhaps one of the most difficult qualities to master, always innovating but never straying too far from what people like about you, Mother Mother no doubt delivers different flavors of their music while staying true to their roots. Dynamic performers with a great stage presence, don’t make the mistake of not seeing them when they come to your town! You can buy their *stellar* new album “No Culture” HERE and check out their tour schedule HERE!


VV: How is tour going? Which places are you looking forward to performing most in?

R: It’s going really well. We just got off of a big headlining tour in Canada, so it’s quite fun and healthy to switch roles and be the opener. We will do some headlining shows of our own once we part with Kongos, whom I might add are some of the nicest people we’ve toured with, and fantastic musicians. I’m always excited to perform in the places we haven’t been, so on this run that would be Crystal Bay, Nevada and Las Vegas. 

VV: If there a certain place you write from? Do you write from a happy, sad, angry, stressed place? Or does it vary?

R: Not so much angry or stressed, but the others work well in getting an idea off the ground. And I’m really all about antonyms and opposites and creating balance, emotionally within a song. If it’s a sad song, there’s got to be a silver lining, and if it’s a happy song, then it needs a dark twist, or sense of irony. Big on irony. 


VV: How is the music scene different here than in Canada? How does the energy differ at all?

R: Who knows!? We show up and play music, and people rejoice, in their way. Sometimes it’s timid, and sometimes tumultuous, but the variance I find to be human conditional rather that geographical. Maybe Americans are a little more pronounced and gregarious over all. 

VV: How and why do you choose to set yourself apart as band? You’ve approached music a unique way with your sound and videos. 

R: We’re not choosing as much as we’re doing what feels natural, then making logical decisions on how to package that. It’s like having kids, makings songs, you don’t really get to choose what they’re gonna be like. They come out how they come out, but then as a parent it’s your job to steer them in the right direction, based on their set of unique proclivities. Our music is naturally a little strange, otherworldly, and quirky, so things ought to follow suit: videos and aesthetics etc. 


VV: How much attention do you give social media? 

R: We take part, and could get better at it, but it’s not anybody’s born talent. I’m not sure social media is making the world a better place, but maybe it’s a platform to help make the world a better place from?

VV: What food do you guys eat a lot of on tour?

R: We’re pretty healthy on tour and shop more than eat out, so grains, tofu and vegetables, sweet potatoes. I probably eat too many Quest bars. Those are all the rage right now. 

VV: For those just getting started in the music industry, do you have any advice to offer them? What are things that “people don’t tell you” when you’re getting started that you should prepare for?

R: Less is more.


VV: What has been the most pivotal or monumental moment for you as a band? 

R: We haven’t had one of those moments, where something happened and then everything changed, and turned way bigger. It’s been a million little moments adding up to now. I hear about these moments. They sound exciting, but no, we haven’t had one. Maybe it was our first open mic, when people stopped talking when we played? That’s probably as good as any. 


VV: What are you hoping people take away from your newest album you just released? 

R: I’d like to leave this cycle having seen more of the world and having made headway in the territories we’ve nurtured over the years, namely Canada and the US. Would love to grow as a musician and writer during this album cycle. I believe chapters of life are, in a sense, instructions for the next chapter, and on and on it goes. So I’d like very much to be informed by these experiences promoting No Culture, of what we’re meant to do next. I want signs and symbols to appear. I want guidance. 


she wore blue velvet


Lana Del Rey is the ultimate definition of a beautifully sad yet ever enchanting celebrity and style icon, portraying her endless longing for love, fashion and beauty through her music. She has the effortless ability to bring together her outward femininity with classic Hollywood style in her own unique way. Del Rey always consistently conveys the trials, tribulations and struggles of a female growing up in a world captivated by the so-called “perfect” beauty image and ideal. Though some may view her music as controversial, she integrates topics such as fashion, beauty and the idea of outward appearance in her music to explore her own emotional response to the obligations society thrusts upon women.

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I have been following Lana Del Rey for years now, and have grown to admire the way her music makes people think and feel. She leaves messages behind in her words that are extremely influential to girls growing up and feeling exactly what she is writing about. Often her illusions and references to physical beauty encompass what someone is wearing and how make-up and nail polish equates to the way these things make them feel: empowered, strong, independent, feminine, young, carefree, girlish. Del Rey frequently mentions the color red and explores characteristics inspired by it, insisting its power inspires confidence.

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h&m tank, ovs jeans, forever21 sandals, tiffany’s necklace

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While recently wearing my favorite blue velvet tank, the first thing that came to my mind was Lana Del Rey’s rendition of the song ‘Blue Velvet’. Known for its beautiful, simple and mysterious lyrics, the infamous song was originally written by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris in the 50s, and has since been covered by a multitude of talented artists. Though Blue Velvet is known for its memorable lyrical style, Del Rey has left her mark on the music industry by sharing meaningful stories and contributing to important conversations through her music. Her willingness to use her songs to discuss fashion, beauty, self-love, acceptance, coming of age etc. leaves a bold impact on those who are willing to listen and absorb the lyrics.