Tag: Monique Duclos



          I recently got cute little knuckle tattoos. Laura has been a friend, and an artist I frequently get work from for a few years now. (@lolotattos on Insta) The new knuckle tatts are on my right hand and were spicy, but over with quickly. I’ve also always wanted lil dots under my cuticles, so I got two stacked. (The dots hurt more than the symbols.)

          A few months prior, I got another tattoo done by Laura. It’s her own design of a realistic rose and geometric shapes. It’s by far my favourite. She also put “Inked Caffeine” on both thumbs—I’m realizing right now how many tattoos I’ve gotten in the last few months that have changed my appearance, and I’m laughing. Your hands can change your appearance quite a bit, and I know some people would consider them “risky” tattoos, but I’m in love with them and wouldn’t change a thing (maybe adding more). Along with the galaxy succulent on my left, I love staring down at my hands while I write, or type, or whatever.

           I have a list (mental & physical) of ideas for more, but tattoos are expensive, and I am not rich. Although the other day, I realized that since 2011, I’ve gotten a tattoo(s) every single year except for 2017 (reckless year of spending).

2011: – first ink baby is a little blue star on my right ankle/side of foot. Not my favourite but hurt like a bitch and I have no good cover-up ideas. (Pain: 5/10)
2012: – number two is “Disney” on my ribs on the left side. I’m a 90’s baby and grew up with the classics. This one also hurt like a bitch, and the artist didn’t fully colour in the letters, so I went for a touch-up a month later. I know it’s not huge by any means, but damn I hate the ribs! (Pain: 7/10)
2013: – third is Green Day on my left inner bicep. I can’t say they’re my #1 anymore, but there was a time where I would die for Green Day. On August 18th in 2010, I got pulled up on stage at the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto (now Budweiser Stage) for their song Are We The Waiting. Life changing moment. Did I mention Mr. Billie Joe Armstrong himself smooched me on the lips? (Pain: 1/10)2014: – probably my biggest regret, but my smallest tattoo. On the outside of my right wrist is an outline of a bunny. My lop Thumper passed away that May, and this was very spontaneous. Brian was getting his shoulder piece done, and I was that dick in the background like “hey, can you just throw this on me real quick?”. Gonna cover it later with a better bunny. (Pain: 1/10)

– got a Silver fern behind my left year in NZ when Brian and I backpacked for three months. This particular location makes your brain vibrate. (Pain: 4/10)
2016: – “petite soeur” above my right elbow. My sister has matching “grande soeur” on her left. (Pain: 3/10)– left ribs/underboob are the lyrics “love just a little bit more” from the Hollywood Undead song Sing. (Pain: 7/10)– the top of my left foot has the outline of an elephant and “elephants can’t jump” text. This was the first tattoo Laura did for me. Brian and I were downtown Toronto and went for dinner, and I was like “this is my idea and I want it.”. Originally I was thinking I’d get it somewhere on my arm, but last minute, I decided on my foot. Adrenaline Tattoo on Queen St. W takes walk ins, and Laura was the artist available at the time, and boom! Reference to my favourite USS song Damini, but strictly the live version. IYKYK (Pain: 5/10)

– left shoulder/back is a rainbow watercolour monarch butterfly. (also Laura) (Pain: 4/10)
2018: – my right thigh has a mallard duck feather and guinea fowl feather. I’ve had pet ducks my whole life, and although the guinea fowl were only a few years, they were extremely memorable. This is also Laura, and in the first session (we did two), we added colour to the Damini elephant.
(Pain: 6/10 & 7/10)
2019: – on my left forearm are three trees, representing the different terrains Brian and I camped in on our road trip out west. Done at HIGH VOLTAGE in LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA! (this emphasis is mainly for myself)
This was my birthday present to myself. (Overpriced in my opinion, but worth the experience and bragging rights)
(Pain: 5/10)

– back of my right arm (above the sister), I have a ‘tired but caffeinated’ watercolour fish. Brian has a similar one on his left arm, with different colours, but his fish is distinguished with a top hat and monocle. Both are done by Michelle (@michromatic on Insta)
(Pain: 7/10)

2020(the year from Hell part I): – I got my galaxy succulent on my left hand. Michelle’s own design (@michromatic again). For Covid safety, we both wore masks the whole time, and it’s that little addition of discomfort to make a painful tattoo just that much shittier. Two sessions (one for outline and shading, and one for colour) and very ouch 🙂
(Pain: 8/10)
2021(the year from Hell part II): – I got the realistic rose, Inked Caffeine, and the knuckles and dots from Laura.
The rose and IC were in August.
(Pain: 4/10 & 5/10)
Then the knuckles and dots were just this past December.
(Pain: 8/10)

2022(please behave): – ya’girl has tons of ideas, but ya’girl needs money.

Do you have any tattoos? If so, of what, and where??

Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

54 days.
54 more days until I’m drowning in serotonin.
Brian and I both have a horrible case of Travel Bug and have since we first met. After only 5 months of dating, we planned a trip to Disney World for a week (and didn’t get cancellation insurance, which was a big deal for people at the time because wHaT iF wE bRoKe Up BefoRe We WeNt).

From 10h bus rides to New York City to celebrate New Years
18h road trips to Florida for a single concert
3 months backpacking/camping in New Zealand
to just recently doing a 6 week road trip to California and back…sometimes our trips are planned, sometimes not so much.

In the fall of 2019, we spontaneously decided to drive to Vermont, strictly for the autumn views. We didn’t book a hotel, we just packed clothes and our giant-ass sleeping bag. We spent the weekend and drove around taking pretty pictures, and Brian flew his drone, AND THE CITY OF BURLINGTON IS BEAUTIFUL. 10/10 RECOMMEND!
We’ve traveled a ton for concerts and have become comfortably good at driving for long periods of time. The longest stretch we’ve done so far was to Colorado.
We left my place around 4am and drove 8h to Chicago. Parked and saw what Millennium Park had to offer, got deep dish pizza (obviously), then got back in the car and continued another 16h to Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I believe on the way to Chicago he drove the first four and I did the remaining. Then to Colorado, we did the same, but 8h each. We were incredibly lucky with our weather (it was the end of March), although I hate driving at night when it’s raining, and I strictly remember driving through road construction for like…a solid hour. At night. In the rain. But the speed limit remained highway limit, so everyone was going hella fast and I was so alert about everything and so on edge. Wasn’t a fan. But in case my mom reads this, let’s not freak her out.

I prefer road trips 1000% over flying. I don’t mind flying—I actually enjoy it (airports, not so much), but driving is the way to go in my opinion. Obviously if it’s an option. The trip we have planned in 54 days is driveable, but not realistic. So flying it is. Which is fine. But since Covid is still kickin’, I am a bit anxious. Once we arrive at our destination, I’ll be fine, but I know the airport and airplane are going to have me extremely on edge.

People who know me are probably so sick of hearing about “The Road Trip”, but honestly it was such an incredible adventure. We had just purchased our new Mazda a few months prior because even though it was in the works anyways, we knew we wanted a reliable ride for the 15 something thousand kilometers we had ahead of us, and she did not disappoint. Very comfortable to sleep in too, which was a bonus.

Please find yourself listening to Drinking In LA by Bran Van 3000. The trip started as a week in Los Angeles for my birthday in April because there is a line in that song that says “what the hell am I doing drinking in LA at twenty-six?” and I said to Brian that I wanted to be in LA for my 26th birthday. We started planning and the one week turned to two, because we realized all the things we wanted to do. We branched further and further out from the city, to the national parks, then decided we’d go back to Vegas because it was “right there”. Fast forward to booking 42 days of a road trip, hitting 16 states, and almost hitting 16,000 kms. I scratched off a few bucket list items and experienced things I’d never dreamt of.

Hollywood fucked me up. For some reason, it had always been a fantasy that I’d ever go there. It never made even a mental bucket list because I literally thought I would never go. So when we passed the Welcome To Hollywood sign, I was driving, at a red light, hyperventilating. It’s so silly thinking back to it. I was frustrated that I couldn’t take it all in, because I had to pay attention to the evening traffic. Brian had booked us an Air BnB at this beautiful new apartment on Highland Avenue, which excited me but also terrified me because I had already written Jimmy living in his apartment on Highland. And Brian didn’t do this on purpose. It was just a fluke.
(Please read my book Inked Caffeine: Melrose and Vine if you have no clue what the fuck I’m talking about 😊)
Even the room was a trip because it was two furniture arrangements away from how I pictured and described Jimmy’s apartment. All too weird.
So, we were in LA for a week and the whole time I was scanning and bookmarking and taking in as much as I could because I didn’t know if I’d ever be back, and this was the time to make my story that much more authentic. My Holy Binder™ came for the trip as well and I was constantly making notes and adding and adjusting. We went to certain locations that were in my story, mainly for my sake (fun fact: Dallas’ Starbucks is a gas station and No Regrets is a mechanics. the Mazda needed an oil change and that’s where we went) and like I said previously, I could navigate us around pretty easily without any maps. How sad because I can’t even do that with Toronto…

My birthday was weird because on one hand I wanted to try and “recreate” Jimmy’s birthday with the Taco Bell and the beach and dressing nice and whatever, but I also wanted the day to just play out however it wanted. That being said, it was the only gloomy day of our whole week in LA. I sat in wet paint because I’m stupid and there was no drinking (y’know…the whole drinking in LA at 26…). Which I don’t actually care about. Brian and I aren’t huge drinkers anyways, but it still would’ve made a killer Instagram caption hahahaha!
The wet paint thing upset me way more than it probably should have, but whatever. Brian did a great job at cheering me up and I basically forgot all about it. (Please note that the West Coaster is the smallest little roller coaster I’ve ever been on, but I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my entire life.)

We packed up to carry on the rest of the trip the following day and stopped at Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone, and a spontaneous stop at Badlands National Park in South Dakota

I remember being extremely sad when we got home because it meant that life had to unfortunately go back to reality, but it also meant that I could start editing IC with all my new ideas and notes. To my surprise, there wasn’t really much to change, but a bit to add. Things like…Jimmy, Dallas and Nils going for a walk to the Hollywood Sign, I changed Jimmy’s apartment to be more like The Highland because that’s just fun, so I added the rooftop pool and gym, and SCOOTERS! Scooters were very important for me to add, mainly because they were everywhere in California, and they’re so stupidly fun. Once we rode them once, we wanted to ride them everywhere. I’m still sour Toronto never got them…

Do you have a favourite place to travel? Or somewhere you’ve never been but are dying to see?

California Dreamin’

California Dreamin’

When I first started writing Inked Caffeine, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it would take place in LA. I’ve just always had this odd obsession. I fantasize about going to Disneyland (Disneyworld will have to do), I’ve always wanted to go to Pacific Pier in Santa Monica, and I’ve always wanted to go to Hollywood. Not even for the ‘glitz and glamour’, because I honestly just don’t care (but I do think it’s cute that North America has its own little Rich Club: Members Only). The national parks that the state has to offer are breathtaking. The weather, the beaches, the art, the architecture…
I could go on.

Once I got the idea, the first thing I did was open Google Maps, go to Hollywood, and plan out where I wanted everything to initially take place. Melrose, Vine, and Highland caught my attention, having no idea how iconic they all were to the city. The research carried on from there and I made it that geographically, everything was realistically distanced (there are obviously some places I made up (and some loopholes I created because it’s my story and I can do what I want), but for the most part, everything is a real location with real distances (walking/driving) apart from one another).

I’ve studied Hollywood so many times in Google Maps (street view included), pictures, movies and video games (predominantly GTA5), that when Brian and I went in the spring of 2019, I could navigate us around without the use of a map. Sad? Perhaps. Beneficial to my story? Absolutely! Plus, it was fun.

The series Inked Caffeine is ­very heavily influenced by Hollywood Undead and Green Day (if you know, you know) and I grew up watching The OC and The Hills in the early 2000’s (I know I’m not alone in that), which I’m sure only fed my growing fascination with the state.
That being said, I didn’t want to write ‘the stereotypical Hollywood vibe’. I didn’t want to get into the rich and famous side of things, or gangs and drugs. I wanted to try and write my own version of ‘an average joe’ living in Hollywood, California. Which honestly, I think I did a pretty good job of doing.

I did my best to write accurately. It was a challenge, what with being Canadian and uhm…not living in LA. And even once I thought I had it all perfect…after our trip, I came home and added sooooo muuuucchhh mooooreeee. So many edits.

I hope an Angeleno will read my book and tell me I did a good job!

If you wrote your own story, would you stick to the more realistic side of things, or would you create your own world with your own rules?



How do you even start a blog? I feel like once it’s up and going, it’s smooth sailing. But starting it? It’s gotta be something to attract attention, right?
“Hi, my name’s Monique. I’m a Red Bull addict, and I love long walks on the beach…”. But in all seriousness, those are both true. I’m a sucker for caffeine, particularly in the energy drink department. More specifically, the Red Bull department. Primarily the Red Bull department, actually. And I love walking along the beach, in the shallow end. I don’t necessarily always swim at said beach, but that’s okay.

I have a love for piercings and tattoos and have been bleaching and dyeing my own hair since I was 13 years old. I love traveling and concerts, even more so when I get to travel for a concert! Double whammy! As for the writing thing…that started after I discovered QUIZILLA!

I discovered Quizilla in like…2005? 2006? Does anyone remember that or even know what I’m talking about?! It was a website where people could create their own quizzes, but over silly things like…what kind of pizza are you? Or what Hogwarts house you’d be in orrrrr what character from Friends does your personality resembled the most? They were so stupid. I remember the multiple choices would be so obvious too, so if you knew what you wanted the results to be, you’d just pick those corresponding answers and ta da! Yet I’d always feel so proud of myself at the end if I got the result that I wanted…

Either way, people started using it to write short stories; some original and some fanfic. Sometimes they’d have a lot of thought and work put into them where they’d stick to the multiple-choice layout and depending on what you picked, that would change how the story went. It felt more personal that way. (I know there are a bunch of video games like that, and isn’t there a Black Mirror episode like that? (I wanted to write multiple endings for Inked Caffeine and still might, just for my enjoyment though…)) But then the effort got more and more…I don’t want to say lazy, because the story was still written, but…thoughtless? Sure, we’ll go with thoughtless. The multiple choice turned into one answer only and it’d usually say “Ok :)”. Regardless, I was addicted to them.

So, it was 2006 and there was this girl named S (I don’t know if she wants her legit name in here, so let’s call her S), and she wrote this story that I was so incredibly invested in, I dedicated all my free time to reading it. It was all I talked about to family and friends, until one day I asked my sister (who’s an artist (whether she agrees or not)) to draw the story characters, and I scanned the picture, contacted S through Quizilla and asked her if I could email it to her. AND THE REST IS HISTORY! Hahaha, but no, actually. S is 100% the SOLE reason I started writing, and I can say that confidently. I was so obsessed with her story, that I wanted to create my own.

She stopped posting on Quizilla, we talked to each other on MSN (R.I.P) and she’d email me new additions of her story; sometimes even new stories she was coming up with. It wasn’t until a year later when I wrote my first story. It was terrible. It is terrible. I resurrected it from my old-ass laptop a few months ago and I skimmed it and I cringed. The layout and set up are enough to make your eyeballs ache, and the lack of flow and the plot are just…yeah, we won’t be looking at that again.

Then I wrote a much better story in 2009. That one I can actually read and honestly, maybe if I ever find the time (or energy), I’ll rewrite it to be something legit. It’s pretty lengthy. The following year was a big year for creativity, and I wrote three more stories; although neither one of them are finished, because my brain decided to put them all on hold while it molded the idea for Inked Caffeine in 2011. From that point on, anything that happened to me, any conversation I was involved in or overheard…anything that could influence me in any way, became a part of Inked Caffeine. Some things made the cut, others not so much, but I have everything written down. I just authentically put myself into everything. Every character either has a bit of me, or a bit of someone I know, and the funny thing is, I didn’t do it on purpose or ‘plan’ it. I’m easily influenced, I guess. Or just remember people really well?

That being said, a lot has changed since the original draft of the story. The title, first of all, is totally different than what I originally had (thank god), character names, character appearances, parts of the plot changed a lot…but all changes I am 100% grateful for, because I’m actually extremely pleased with the end result.

I used writing as an outlet for almost everything in life. S was the only person who knew about my writing and was the only one I’d let read it, until I’d start bringing my laptop with me everywhere and continuing to write whenever I was given the chance. I’d write during class, and because I’ve been writing and typing on a computer (whether it be actual writing or talking on MSN) since I was a pre-teen, I’m actually a really fast typer. Unfortunately, fast continuous typing does not sound like note-taking in class, so I’d get called out for it all the time.

People started noticing, would ask what I was doing or what I’m writing, and I’d always lie my way out of it and would never show anyone. There was a pause for almost all of high school while I discovered myself and my independence. Interests changed and there were new life priorities at hand. Relationships came and went until I met Brian in the spring of 2011. We started dating that winter (and are happily still together today) and the writing stopped all together. I had this new chapter in my life and writing just wasn’t what I wanted to focus on anymore.

Fast forward to 2013 and I told Brian how much I used to write and how passionate I was about writing, and he said I should start. I didn’t think too much about and probably honestly said “yeah, okay…” but he’s the reason Inked Caffeine came back to life. I sometimes wonder if I would have gone back to writing on my own…maybe eventually? But I’m so glad I did when I did.

It’s an amazing creative outlet and honestly, has helped me emotionally and mentally on so many different levels. If you’ve ever considered starting to write or have something already started and have stopped, whether it be a journal, poems, short stories, or full-blown novels, all I can say is DO IT! Just do it *Nike symbol* and you won’t regret it. You can write for yourself (like I did for many years) or share what you create with others. I find both rewarding! And you don’t need to have your degree in English or writing or whatever. It’s art! Have fun with it and do what you want.

Aaaand scene! That’s me. In sum, I guess. Blogging is totally new to me and I kind of suck at following any kind of guidelines, so follow along patiently as I try my best not to write full essays. I want to make this thing authentically me, so buckle up because there’s a lot to unfold. Hopefully you’ll be able to relate to some of the things I talk about, but if not, I hope I’m entertaining enough that you’ve at least made it this far!