BODY ART IS MORE MAINSTREAM THAN EVER…

Tattoos are traditionally associated with “outlaw” cultures — bikers, gangs, punks, ex-cons, and sex workers. (Can you count how many tattoos you’ve seen in a porn movie lately?) But the 90’s saw tattooing move into the mainstream in a big way.

Since then, everyone has been expecting a tattoo backlash. And indeed, laser removal clinics have been doing strong business for two decades and counting. Lots of people, especially younger ones, seem to think that laser removal allows relatively easy removal of unwanted body art. If so, they may be surprised at the dozens of hours and the thousands of dollars required. And sometimes, the procedure merely fades the art instead of removing it entirely. (A better choice might be a cover-up tattoo from an experienced tattoo artist.)

Some traditional tattoos are sexual in content — think of the topless mermaid who wriggles when a sailor flexes his bicep. Genital tattoos are still rare, but they are done. For some, tattoo-adorned skin can become a fetish in itself. “Tabu Tattoo” is a magazine dedicated to pictures of racy tattoos in naughty places. Photographer Charles Gatewood is famous for his documentary photos of outlaw-style body art of this sort.

Does it hurt? Yes, but the amount of pain depends both on the person receiving the ink and the area of the body that is tattooed. Ink over bone hurts the most; work done over a well-muscled, fleshy area of the body (thighs, biceps, butt) hurts least.

How individual do you think you’ll be if you pick a design off the wall? The designs that tattoo parlors display on the wall is called “flash art.” They’re cheaper and easier to execute than custom designs, but you’re also more likely to run into that black panther stalking across someone else’s shoulder as well as your own. Some people are fans of the old-fashioned flash art style, however, and it a design appeals to you and you don’t mind sharing, go for it. If you do want to work on a custom design, most tattoo artists will happily assist, and can even work up the art for you from a verbal description or rough sketch. Many have extensive libraries of art in their studios, which you can browse for inspiration.

Make sure that your tattoo artist follows sterile procedure. Blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis are easily transmitted by dirty tattoo needles. Your tattooist should use gloves, autoclave their needles, and shave your skin with a disposable razor. Talk to the artist beforehand about their precautions, and take a look at their workspace before getting down to business.

Even with increased acceptance of tattooing in society, think twice before getting a tattoo that can’t be covered. If you’re considering a career in law enforcement, for example, you might want to know that most departments forbid visible tattoos.

And remember, unless you’re already saving up for that expensive laser surgery removal clinic, tattoos last a lifetime. How many times have you broken up with a lover? Dumping a tattoo is even harder to do.

It’s No Shave November… 7 Obvious Reasons You Need To Date A Guy With A Beard

I have a bit of a confession to make: bearded guys make me weak in the knees. There’s just something about a little facial hair that gets me every time: a beard that’s not too bushy (as in, Gandalf status) and not too patchy (like, Michael Cera’s creepy barely-there scruff), but that heavy stubble that’s juuuuuust right.

Sorry, clean-shaven, conventionally handsome Bradley Cooper, but I’m too busy checking out bearded Tom Hardy. And George Clooney? Not even worth a second glance without some scruff on his cheeks. Ke$ha is already on the beard bandwagon (I’m not exactly saying to take dating cues from her, since she also sings about chugging Jack and rolling around in glitter, but I digress…). She knows that even a decent five o’ clock shadow can transform any dork into a rugged, mountain-climbing hunk. And if he’s already sexy? Forget about it. Totally irresistible. (There’s a reason why Allie went back to Noah in The Notebook — and we all know it was his beard.)

Research shows that growing a beard keeps a guy younger-looking and cancer-free. Here are just a few of the infinite reasons why being a lumberjack’s lady has its perks!

1. Beards Have A Storied History Of Badassery
First off, beards go way back as having prestige and power. From the dawn of time, a man’s beard was a symbol of his honor, sexual virility and social status as a man. In the Middle Ages, just touching another man’s beard was offensive and grounds for a duel. Otto the Great swore by his beard saying anything serious. Alexander the Great decreed that soldiers could not have beards for fear that they would be yanked on in battle. For the ancient Greeks, a beard indicated his maturity. (You’ll notice that Zeus — the head honcho of the gods — rocked a full beard versus the baby-faced Apollo, Hermes or Dionysus.) For the early Egyptians, the beard became a symbol of kingship, placing the pharaoh among the deities. And it was the Vikings who really perfected the art of manscaping by plaiting, forking or trimming and nick-naming their face fuzz. So really, beards are rocked by Greek gods, rock stars, royalty … shall I go on?

2. He Has Clear Skin
You’re likely to suspect he has something to hide under that beard, but contrary to what you would think, under that bushiness is blemish-free, baby-smooth skin! Acne and folliculitis (hair-follicle inflammation) are oftentimes the result of shaving. This is because razors can irritate the skin and spread bacteria. As for the secret to his smoothness? His beard prevents him from rubbing natural moisturizing oil off his face and protects him from those bitter winds. No redness or dryness on this guy!

3. His Beard Keeps Him Wrinkle-Free
A beard is the fountain of youth. Funny to think of it that way, but according to recent research from the University of Southern Queensland, a man’s beard blocks up to 95 percent of the sun’s UV rays and we all know that over-exposure to the sun means a higher risk of melanoma. Actually, four out of five cases in men appear on the face, head or neck and the sun causes up to 90 percent of the visible signs of aging. So while we still suggest that he lather on that sunscreen, keeping up his beard will keep that chiseled jawline of his spot-free and baby-smooth.

4. … And Yet, He looks Much Older And Sophisticated!
Asurvey this past summer found that fuzzy-faced fellas look as much as eight years older than those who are clean shaven. When a panel of women were shown a picture of Prince William, who is 31, with a beard, they believed he looked 36. So he looks more mature, without looking haggard or weary — it’s like getting all the benefits!

5. He Looks Insta-Masculine
Sounds like a cliche, but there’s legitimate research behind this: astudypublished in Evolution and Human Behavior proved that the more facial hair a man has, the more masculine both men and women perceive him to be. So if you’re into the burly, testosterone-driven type, he should skip the razor for 10 days — that’s the exact length of time the study found that women find men the most attractive.

6. He’s Trendy
Maybe it’s because of bushy-faced hunks like Ben Affleck and George Clooney. Maybe it’s because of the growing popularity of No Shave November. Maybe it’s because that scruffy hipster look is so “in” right now. Either way,bearded guys are on the rise. More and more men are checking in with their doctors to grow thicker beards, taking multivitamins and even prescribed medication that stimulates the male hormone dihydrotestosterone. Amazon.co.uk found that sales of beard trimmers have grown by 47 percent this year, too. Think of all the men you can date!

7. He Scares Away The Bad Guys
There’s a reason why bearded men are born warriors. Astudypublished last year in Behavioral Ecology found that bearded men appear more intimidating to other men. The researchers think a beard makes a man’s jawline look bigger, which can make him seem more aggressive when he’s angry. You know he’s a big softie on the inside, so you know there’s no reason to fear the beard. You can walk down the street holding his hand on a dark night in confidence.

Marijuana Industry Could Be Worth $35 Billion In 2020, If All States And Feds Legalize It

If all 50 states legalized marijuana and the federal government ended prohibition of the plant, the marijuana industry in the United States would be worth $35 billion just six years from now.

That’s according to a new report from GreenWave Advisors, a research and advisory firm that serves the emerging marijuana industry in the U.S., which found that if all 50 states and the federal government legalized cannabis, combined sales for both medical and retail marijuana could balloon to $35 billion a year by 2020.

If the federal government doesn’t end prohibition and the trajectory of state legalization continues on its current path, with more, but not all, states legalizing marijuana in some form, the industry in 2020 would still be worth $21 billion, GreenWave projects.

In its $21 billion 2020 model, GreenWave predicts 12 states plus the District of Columbia to have legalized recreational marijuana (besides Colorado and Washington, which legalized it in 2012). Those states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to data GreenWave provided to The Huffington Post from the full report. By that same year, the model assumes, 37 states will have legalized medical marijuana. To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use.

“Our road map for the progression of states to legalize is very detailed –- our assumptions are largely predicated on whether a particular state has legislation in progress,” Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave as well as author of the report, told HuffPost. “We assume that once legalization occurs, it will take a little over a year to implement a program and have product available for sale. So for example, for Florida, we expect the ballot measure to pass [this year] yet our sales forecast starts in year 2016. We think the time frame will lessen as new states to legalize will benefit from best practices.”

As Karnes noted, some of these states are already considering legalization this November — voters in Oregon, Alaska and D.C. are considering measures to legalize recreational marijuana, while Florida voters will weigh in on medical marijuana legalization.

GreenWave isn’t the first group to suggest the federal government may end its decadeslong prohibition of marijuana. One congressman has even predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. And as outlandish as it may sound, it’s already possible to observe significant shifts in federal policy toward pot.

The federal government allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect last year. President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it, and the first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing. And in May, the U.S. House passed measures attempting to limit Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on medical marijuana shops when they’re legal in a state.

The GreenWave report also projects a substantial shift in the marijuana marketplace — the merging of the medical and recreational markets in states that have both.

“In the state of Colorado, we are beginning to see the sales impact — i.e., cannibalization of medical marijuana sales by the adult-use market — when the two markets co-exist,” Karnes said. “We expect a similar dynamic to unfold in those states that will implement a dual marijuana market.”

Beginning in July, recreational marijuana sales in Colorado began to outpace medical for the first time, according to state Department of Revenue data.

Karnes writes in the executive summary that just what the marijuana industry will look like in 2020 will largely depend on how the industry is regulated and how it is taxed by that time.

“Since ‘chronic pain’ is the most common ailment among medical marijuana users, it is likely that recreational users can already purchase marijuana without great difficulty in states where medicinal use is legal,” the report reads. “Accordingly, it can be argued that a merged market already exists in medical marijuana states. Less currently popular, but arguably providing more economic stimulus, would be a regulatory regime providing for only adult recreational use.”

Source: Greener Culture (Part of the TwinStar Media Network)