Another Lesson. Another Tattoo.

Well it’s October 18th and I’m officially 35 years old and a day. It’s a surreal thing to have made it all the way to this day after some of the most difficult months I have had personally in a very long time. It’s nothing that we need to get into, but it is important for me to acknowledge the strength it has taken to just get out of bed some days. I have been really trying to focus on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and for the most part it seems as though the hard work is paying off. There are of course still challenging moments, but to celebrate my birthday (for some reason it felt like some kind of milestone) I opted to get myself a tattoo. And I wanted to tell you why and what it means because I love sharing beautiful moments of inspiration with you all when the opportunity presents itself. 

You’ll remember that earlier this year I introduced you to Black Line Studio Don Mills and my amazing tattoo artist Ania. With her guidance and expertise I was able to design a chest piece, which over the span of 16 ish hours, has become one of my favourite parts of my body.

Now, obviously I don’t expect every single one of you to run out and cover the majority of your torso like I did. I had wanted a chest piece for a long time, and Ania was able to work with me around the three tattoos I already had to create a cohesive piece of art. THAT to me is the sign of a true artist. I still find myself staring back at the mirror into the blue eyes of my wolf in awe of what it means to me. And it’s not looking too shabby as I get more into my fitness either if I’m being honest!

Writing that makes me laugh because I remember when I was growing up, my parents always told me I had to wait until I was 18 to get a tattoo. While my Dad loved the ones I had before he passed away, my mom reminds me that I really took that to heart. I like that I take things to heart after all these years and that I love to love. It’s one of my favourite qualities at 35 and I hope I never lose the way I see the world or how I express myself in it. 

So why a tattoo on my birthday? Well, as mentioned above, it’s been both a year of growth and challenges. Just like my hair or my glasses, tattoos are an outward expression of what I have, am, and will one day feel. I consider them road markers on my path in life and each of them means something really important to me. Some are lessons, while others are reminders. So for my birthday – which although I was lucky enough to share with you – I did in fact spend by myself when the social media stopped, I wanted to try and close one chapter so I can start working on the proverbial next. 

While you can click on my #DoTheDaniel Instagram image below to read some of the legend behind the Quetzal I opted for with Ania, I can say that it is a special bird for me. It is magical, full of beautiful legend, and placing it by the rose I use to remember my Dad was no coincidence. I want to always look at it and be reminded of the good it represents, and the guidance it will offer me as I continue to grow. 

I still believe that marking special moments in life with a tattoo is a beautiful way to express something. Some of you will agree, and some may not. And that’s okay too. But I do know one thing for certain – if you are in or visiting Toronto and are thinking about a tattoo, you really should check out Black Line Studio Don Mills or their King Street location. Ania has helped me to express things that are beautiful and so much bigger than me. I can never thank her enough for it.

When she was done, and once I finally got home to be just with myself after a busy day, it brought me to tears. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped for and means something really really important to me. I will proudly remember that day and moment for the rest of my life. 

Tattoos, in my opinion, are an investment in yourself. And I am ready to start investing in myself a whole lot more now that I am 35 and ready for another year of life – no matter what that turns out to mean. I am ready and I have a legend to help guide me through it all. 


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The Legend Of The Quetzal Bird says that long ago in the mountains and rain forests of Guatemala, there was a powerful Quiche leader named Cacique. He longed for a son to succeed him and after many years Cacique’s wife bore him a baby boy named Quetzal, which means ‘beautiful’. His story is legend and explains why today the male Quetzal birds, in heartbreaking sadness, remain silent, and why their breast feathers are blood red. Said to be stained by the blood of their fallen namesake. Moreso, The Mayans believed that the quetzal would die rather be held captive, and so used to pluck a few feathers and set the bird free. The Guatemalan anthem even includes the words “Antes muerto que esclavo” (“Rather death than slavery”). Also, this beautiful bird shares name with the great Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl (feathered serpent), creator of the world and god of wind and rain. The feathers are said to have magical properties of protection and guidance. To celebrate his 35th birthday today, @danielreyescocka turned to @ania_ray & @blacklinestudio to express another moment in life in the most beautiful way. Stay tuned to for details on this amazing studio and why you should check them out for your next tattoo! #BlacklineTattoo #BlacklineStudioDonMills #GuysWithTattoos #DoTheDaniel #Sponsored

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For more information on Black Line Studio make sure to check out their website here. Join in on the social media conversation by following @BlackLineStudio on Instagram@BlackLineStudio on Twitter & ‘Like’ their Facebook page. Keep your eyes open for a familiar face to make an appearance on their accounts! Stay tuned to our #DoTheDaniel channels for some fun videos we are creating around the experience as well! I’ll reveal the final tattoo for you all when we are all done in a few weeks! 

For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures! 

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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Black Line Studio Don Mills & Daniel Reyes 


Daniel Reyes

Mobile photos were taken with my #HuaweiP20 on the Rogers network 

*Please note that this is a sponsored post – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.