Fall Mandala Henna

I created this design to help me teach the concept of combining ornamental elements, such as acorns here with a traditional mandala.

I had so much fun working with my model! She was my inspiration and as you can see below, the design came out crisp and very gothic. Gosh, I just love it and can’t get enough of it!

I think dark colored nails and purple glittery background totally helps with all the gothic impression!

The acorns are so cute and lovely! I have the acorns element repeat itself three time throughout the sleeve design.

The fingers were a bit tricky. I used parallel thin lines which got filled in later and since we were two hours in already and it was a bit dark, the fingers took a bit more work. The leaves on the top had finished them nicely, don’t you think?

How Henna Helps with Stress

How Henna Helps with Stress

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a real strong anxiety attack. I can track it down to my previous business attempts. Businesses I tried before I started doing henna.

There was nothing wrong with those business ideas. They were simply not meant for me. 

Two years ago I decided to let go. I remember it so well. I remember a call I had with my business coach for the time. She was certain I was doing great and had a great future in the area. I felt repelled by the whole idea. I realized that just because some people, highly respectable people in the area, think I have all I need to be successful doesn’t really mean it is my way to go.

I cancelled a workshop that had more than 115 people signed up for. I was supposed to teach them how to be unstoppable. That day I cut off my hair and cut off all ties with that business. I do not recommend you do the same. It was something I needed to do. I needed to hear my own voice through all this noise that was seeping through every crack.

Two months later I picked up my very first henna cone and never looked back.

Henna requires top notch concentration.

I have a lot going on. Just like any mom I have a lot to worry about. Have you ever seen this meme about what’s required from a mother in the 21st century? 

“How To Be A Mom in 2017: Make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and social needs are met while being careful not to overstimulate, understimulate, improperly medicate, helicopter, or neglect them in a screen-free, processed foods-free, GMO-free, negative energy-free, plastic-free, body positive, socially conscious, egalitarian but also authoritative, nurturing but fostering of independence, gentle but not overly permissive, pesticide-free two-story, multilingual home preferably in a cul-de-sac with a backyard and 1.5 siblings spaced at least two year apart for proper development also don’t forget the coconut oil.

How To Be A Mom In Literally Every Generation Before Ours: Feed them sometimes.

(This is why we’re crazy.)” – Bunmi Laditan

pretty floral henna hand

When I have a cone of henna on my hand, all of this HAS TO go away. If I break my concentration, my lines become crooked and my designs start to show what’s on my mind. It brings so much satisfaction to see the lines build and create a cohesive, and sometimes not so much, haha, designs!

Henna is monochromatic

henna shins at the Azov Sea

Being a perfectionist and artistically inclined creates one big problem for me. Whenever it comes to color, I can spend hours, if not days, deciding which color combinations would work best together. Painting my house, or, rather, choosing the colors for my house, was agonizing. I still have to paint the master bedroom. We’ve lived here for eight years and I can’t decide on a color combo for my own bedroom! 

This is why the monochromatic aspect of henna is so relaxing to me. I can focus on thick and thin lines, spots and contrast and not worry about all of that coloring. My favorite benefit to that? If I do that with a black marker, it automatically becomes a coloring sheet for someone who prefers to color to relax.

What are your favorite ways to reduce stress?

Awesome Henna: Do’s and Don’t’s

This blog is written to help you enjoy the magical experience which henna is and help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe. There are a few things which, if kept in mind, will help you enjoy your henna art!

 

So here we are, at a henna booth. We are ooh-ing and aah-ing over the beautiful designs in the lookbook. We are remembering someone we know having henna done and having a great experience. They had a gorgeous design on their skin and got so many compliments! It even stayed on for than a few days! Hold your horses, beautiful!

 

Just because one artist was able to provide that experience to your friend, doesn’t mean that the artist at the booth will do the same for you. It is much like choosing a stylist for your hair. You won’t sit in someone’s chair just because they have a sign “HAIRCUTS” and a few pretty pictures, right? If I’m wrong, just skip the reading and get it done, lol.

 

Now, let’s imagine we still truly care about the experience and final result. What do you need to know to make this experience fun?

 

First of all, let’s understand what henna is.

 

Henna is a plant. A plant that can only dye brown. Period. No purple. No red. No black. Different hues and shades of brown depending on where the plant was grown and what used to mix it into the paste.

 

Purple hues may be achieved in a natural way by adding jagua juice to the paste. – but if we are talking a booth at a fair, it is much more expensive and a lot harder to work with, not quite a fair material. More on jagua later.

 

Any other color, especially black, suggests that the henna was mixed with some additional chemicals to change the natural color. If that is the case, be warned and step away. The burns that occur in some cases are not worth the try. Permanent scarring is no joke.

 

If the color looks good, go ahead and ask the artist what’s in the paste. If she can’t tell you, ask her where she gets her paste from. Any artist that works with natural henna would be able to tell you what ingredients are in their paste. If not, – walk away.

 

If you are pregnant, go with only lavender essential oil. All the other oils may not do harm, but they were not researched to the same extent as lavender. And lavender is 100% safe.

 

Keep an eye on citrus essential oils, specifically grapefruit and lime. Some sources suggest these oils are great for better color development. Unfortunately, when exposed to sunlight, they may cause irreversible damage to certain types of skin. To me, the risk is not worth it. I don’t use citrus in my recipe for this reason.

Lots of henna recipes have sugar in them or some other sweetener. The sweetener helps the paste stick to the skin better. If sugar sensitivity is a concern, ask about sugar.

 

Most artists won’t mind if you stick around and watch them work. If you do, though, make sure to keep your hands and other body parts off her table. Nothing compares to keeping a straight face and politely asking a potential customer to remove themselves from the table, haha!

 

Once you sit down at her table, you are her canvas. So, please, put the phone down and try to not to talk with your hands. Believe me, creating the chocolate like lines on your skin is taking a lot of focus and it helps a lot if you can sit still.

 

Once the design is complete, it will be wet to the touch. Some artists squeeze lemon juice and pour sugar on top of the design, others just let it stay. Sometimes they would apply tape to your dry design to help it stay longer. It is usually the artist’s choice and none of the methods is better than others.

 

For instance, I make my paste sticky so I don’t have to seal it afterward.  The seal is usually sugar water with lemon juice. Flies and bees attraction, haha!

 

Here is what to do next. Keep your design on for as long as you can, but at least for an hour. Once ready, scrape the paste off your skin, NO water! Your design will be bright orange for the next 24 – 48 hours and then it will start to settle into that beautiful brown you were so looking forward to!

 

Treat your design (and your skin) to a balm or natural oils (organic coconut oil with a few drops of lavender or geranium is best!) before exposing it to water. Avoid washing it, using soap and scrubs and your design will last longer.

 

Do take a picture and tag the artist on Instagram, this is always appreciated!

 

Henna for Men

Never ever had I thought that my love for henna would inspire my own kids! I couldn’t imagine my boys would like the flowery designs I am so fond of. And they don’t.

They always ask for something manly.

Manly henna… Hmm…

I had no idea there really was a market for henna for men. And then I find all these beautiful and very inspirational images.

So, when my 8-year-old to-be asked for Solar System henna for his birthday, I jumped right in.

Oh my, was this boy happy!

His little brother would ask for little things, like a dandelion or a little pickup truck. Once he requested a “pretty swirly design, just like the one on your hand, mama!” I did my best for the four-year-old who can stay still for exactly 45 seconds.

 This compass henna was done when the big boy said, I need a compass so I will always find my way home.

Melted my heart! SO I dropped everything and gave him a henna compass.

It always makes me smile how his peers think he’s so cool with his henna tats!

 

When I learned that a very good friend of mine wanted her teenage son to have one, my mind exploded! I started brainstorming the designs I could offer to be placed on his biceps.

Designing and sketching are probably my favorite things to do. All the possibilities and options!!!

 

This Tribal Sun makes a great statement without being fussy. I found it on Google somewhere, no artist name attached. If you know whose work this is I would love to give a credit where credit’s due.

 

 

 

 

This design was also found on Google.

I did a bit of adjusting, but this one was his choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you think it looks great in henna???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When this image was shared on Social Media I got another request.

And this is what happened! I’m looking forward to creating many more!

 

 

 

 

 

Henna at a Birthday Party

One of the things I really enjoy about henna business is the fact that clients literally drop into my lap from nowhere!

For instance, this lady wanted me to come to her 15 years old daughter’s birthday party. It only took us a couple of messages to exchange and the date was set.

The way she had it done was that each guest paid for their henna. Although there is nothing wrong with this approach, I think in the future I will be charging for the time I spend at the party instead of per design. The party was great, though!

As soon as I got settled at my table, everybody gathered around me. Their eyes were filled with curiosity and excitement. The young ladies were looking forward to getting their tattoos.

henna back of a hand – birthday girl

this one got smudged and had to be fixed

So I gave them the scoop on what henna is. The all natural dye. It lasts 7 to 14 days depending on the part of the body and the skin type. It doesn’t like to be washed with soap or scrubbed.

I will never get tired of the puzzled look people have when they hear my accent! This is something I try to explain right away, just to avoid having to answer the “so… where you’re from?” everytime new client sits at the table.

when all she wants is the moon and the flowers and some dangles

The birthday girl went first. One of the things that I find very cool about henna is how easy it is to scale it to each person. You see, I am six feet tall and my hand is fairly good size. The hand of a 15-year-old girl is way different. The fingers are slim and the wrist is tiny.

moved the hand design up the arm so the girl could cover it up with a sleeve at school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my first experience and I did let the girls tell me what design elements they liked and pretty much did freestyling on the fly. The good thing about it is that the client got to choose their design and participate in the creation of one. They were very involved and loved it! On the downside, it takes longer and if I just replicated the designs I already had, I’d be done much faster.

 

This one was the last. She wanted to incorporate elements from several designs I had done that day.

 

I have been working on creating my design book and I’m certain it will help to streamline the process and make the parties even more fun!

If you would like to book me for a party, please fill out the form on Contact Me page.

The Rose Henna Tattoo

I am an artist. These words are so strange and so exciting! You see, growing up, I never took any art classes. I never thought I was gifted.

My friends were a lot more skilled when it came to doodling in notebooks at boring classes. I, myself, grew frustrated while trying to mimic their pretty dainty designs.

Drawing a rose was always the top level of the artistry to me. I started and stopped so many times, it seemed very complicated at the time. I admired the people who could do it.

I admired the people who could create, from their heart.

 

While drawing mandalas and flowers, there still was that rose. The rose that always reminded me I was nothing special, I couldn’t draw it.

I was always attracted to vines and paisleys.

 

My free-spirited self never liked coloring sheets that someone else would create. Sometimes I would just buckle in and color one but they were never as satisfying as the ones I created myself.

 

 

Discovering the art of mehndi, also known as Mehandi or henna art, has literally changed my life.

It so satisfying to see the pretty designs appearing on person’s skin through the magic of what seems to be just a simple cone.

Yes, I picked up a cone. I mixed my own henna from leftover henna I used for my hair way back when it was long. I made my very first foot design and I was hooked!

My very first designs were messy and shaky, my lines were fat and unappealing, but I still loved it!

 

The baby elephant design has taught me a lot about the importance of practice and cone control!

 

 

Now it was up to me to practice and not give up. Practice for progress, not perfection. To say I don’t strive for perfection would be a lie. I want my paisleys to be symmetrical and my lines to be thin and consistent. But this comes with practice. It’s not going to happen overnight. It took me three months to get from the first ever foot design to my first ever event! I will share the customer work in a different post because today I want to share the rose!

 

 

My first ever rose, my own rose! I used the Eskimo Rose design created by @kimbrennaarts shared by @mehndikajoeyhenna on Instagram as an example.  I will work on my own and will create one that is mine. But for now, I just want to bask in the glory of the fact that I can draw a rose with henna!

Introvert Empowered

Last year I shared this image on my Facebook timeline without giving it any second thought. The remarks seemed so funny and, being an introvert myself, I just chuckled and pressed Share button.

why introverts are quiet

 

 

So much has changed for me since last year! My awareness of this whole idea of being an introvert had changed into something that is a lot more complicated.

 

When I saw this image this morning, I thought, “This would be a perfect funny for Saturday morning post!”

 

 

 

Yet, I didn’t re-post it. I read each section and realized I am not finding it so funny anymore.

You see, as an introvert and an empath, I care about other people’s feelings. A lot.

 

I decided I wanted to dissect this graphic and see why it upset me.

 

Statement #1 I find you very interesting, so I’d rather listen.

 

This would be true about an introverted heart if you just scratch it on the surface. Looking a bit deeper is, though, asking myself if this is a real reason I prefer to listen.

I am a strong woman and I am used to being reached out to when others need help, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Even though my life is in hot mess express mode for the most time, I still seem to make an impression on others that I’ve got this crapshoot called life figured out.

 

It flatters me tremendously that others think this way about me. It also makes me not want to share my own troubles. I’d rather listen to others so I can avoid having to be vulnerable. Because vulnerability was taught to me as a weakness, not strength.

 

Having coffee with my very good friend the other day (you know who you are if you are reading this!), I allowed myself to be vulnerable. It was liberating and uplifting. Having a friend that can listen and support is as important as having people in your life that you can serve as well.

 

I won’t say I’d rather listen because I find you very interesting and that’s it.

 

I’d rather listen because I want to know your soul and your heart. I am listening because I want to see what is REALLY going on for you and if there is a way I can help you, I will.

 

I am also listening because of my own insecurities. I need to know I can trust you before I bare my soul.

 

Statement #2 I’m daydreaming and didn’t hear a single word you said.

 

This is SO NOT an introvert way! It states that I’d rather stay submerged in my own reality than talk to you. For an introvert, deep and meaningful relationships are the fuel for the thought process. If I don’t want to listen to what you have to say, you won’t find yourself in the same room with me. I know it might sound harsh.

 

If I am looking at you and you are talking, please, know, I am LISTENING.

 

Disclaimer: sometimes we find ourselves in situations when we are stuck in a place listening to someone annoying. The neighbor on an airplane. The co-worker. Even the most outgoing introvert would put the headphones on to appear too busy to support an annoying conversation.

 

Statement #3 My response would probably be over your head, so what’s the point?

 

When I read this one, I thought to myself, how bizarre! I am surrounded by introverts, I am one myself. The best teachers, speakers, and leaders are introverts. Which means we don’t just “not mind”, but we enjoy getting into more complicated concepts with others and seeing how we can break them down and bring them to the common denominator.

 

Unless you are Sheldon from the Big Bang, I don’t think this goes for you. By the way, Sheldon has far more complicated issues and they have nothing to do with him being an introvert!

 

Statement #4 I didn’t want to be here in the first place.

 

Now that sounds a bit passive aggressive to me. I consider myself a high-functioning introvert, some people use the term ambivert. It means that even though I can place myself in the center of attention and be quite outgoing, I still need time to recharge.

 

If I don’t want to be somewhere, there is no way I am going.

 

If you feel like an introvert that’s been pushed around into the things you don’t want to be doing, please, take my advice.

 

Learn how to say NO!

 

Statement #5 The words, I can’t do right when out loud they are spoken.

 

This is a beautiful statement, but it has nothing to do with you being an introvert. I find myself looking for words sometimes, but not because I can’t talk right, but because I take time trying to find the best way to express what I have to say.

 

If you have been bullied into thinking that you are too slow to use your words because you are an introvert, this is something you might want to start working on. Start to express yourself. Try to say it even though they are not listening.

 

We as introverts have a huge advantage over the rest of the world. We speak so little that when we do talk, everybody listens. Try it, you might like it! I am sure you have something HUGE to say.

 

Statement #6 I finally came up with a perfect reply, but now you are talking about something else.

 

I know sometimes I may seem a bit slow in a conversation, especially if I find myself trying to keep up with two or three extraverts! They would be chatting their way through the agenda, bouncing through topics left and right while I sitting back and look like I have nothing. What is going behind the scenes though is an intense mind work, creating links between events that seem to have nothing in common, considering how the decision would influence not only the immediate circle but everyone involved, and coming up with a solution that would make sense and work for everybody.

 

What I don’t like about this statement though, is that it talks about a PERFECT reply. The issue here is the perfectionism, not the introverted nature of someone. There are great ways to bring the conversation back where you want it to be.

 

“Can we get back to that topic we were on? I don’t feel like it was closed/covered enough and here is what I’d like to say.”

 

This is not a word for word that I would say, but close enough. Most extraverts follow this lead. It allows them to shine a bit more at the topic they were so brilliantly expressive at. You may be surprised how open they would be to your introspective (pun intended).

 

Here is my take on what the introvert is:

 

introvert empowered

 

 

Kindness: random acts or a way of life?

Today I stumbled upon this expression.

 

“Commit to one random act of kindness”.

 

What does this even mean? When did it happen that a human being would need a nudge in the direction of committing themselves to making a random act of kindness?

 

Galatians 5:22-23New International Version (NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

 

 

Kindness is the fruit of the spirit. It is a result of something that had been planted into a heart before and has grown into fruition of acts of kindness. And love. And joy… and even self-control!

 

We cannot force a cucumber plant into growing tomato fruit. It doesn’t matter even if a cucumber decides to be a tomato… it is still a tomato. The part that would allow it to be something different is in the seed.

 

It is amazing to me how you will reap what you sew. It is always true about plants. It is not always true about people’s hearts.

 

If you are looking to reap kindness, love, joy, goodness, – then this is what needs to be sown. It needs to be sown into a well-prepared soil of your heart. It needs to be watered and fertilized.

 

Committing to a random act of kindness is as strange as expecting a sweet apple to grow on a jalapeno plant.

 

If random acts of kindness are what you want to do, start with your heart. Show yourself some love and acceptance. Show yourself that compassion. Start with being kind to yourself.

 

Matthew 22:39New International Version (NIV)

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

 

If you cannot love yourself, no matter how committed you are to be kind and loving to others, you will burn out. You will feel frustrated, underappreciated, being never enough.

 

When your heart is filled with the good seeds, not weeds, it will overflow with goodness and compassion to others.

 

When you have compassion, the acts of kindness will happen. Regularly. Naturally. More and more often.

 

Your kindness will be there in how you show up for your family, your friends, your colleagues. Even strangers.

 

So instead of committing to a random act of kindness, let try to commit to consistently taking care of our own hearts so that they would keep growing an abundant harvest of love, and joy, and peace.

 

And kindness.

 

The Rabbit Hole

Fair WARNING: This post is a RAW and OPEN, if you are not upto it, don’t read it.

 

The entity came back. She could feel its sticky breath on her neck as it was whispering in her ear. You are worthless. You will never achieve anything. You cannot move. You are stuck here. With me.

 

Her eyes were filling up with tears as she stiffened her upper lip and again and again repeated in her mind, this is not true. This is not true. This is not true.

 

She couldn’t see its face, actually, she never saw it. It was just there. At night, right before she was going to sleep it would creep in and curl up on her pillow. She could feel it coming closer and closer to her ear. It was reading her mind, accessing what happened during the day and how it would strike.

 

It would remind her of the failures of the day. It reminded her what a loser she was last year and that nothing had changed. It reminded her that no matter of her choice, the likes of her are never successful.

 

You think you can achieve anything, you stupid slut! You are not smart. There are smart people in your class, you are not one of them.

 

You are not pretty. There are pretty girls in your class, they are all whores, and you are not of them, but you will be a whore when you grow up because the only thing you would know is how to be a whore.

 

Today was different. Today, she refused to stay in bed and listen. She tried to get up. The entity sprung its tentacles in a tight embrace and pulled her back in. The whisper was lulling although the words were terrible for anyone to hear. Too terrible for anyone to share. Too scary to be judged.

 

It kept lulling her into the world where she is no one and means nothing.

 

She closed her eyes and out of a sudden, she saw the light. And the voice, as clear as that light was, said, – Get up. You chose what you want you to be. Not him.

 

And she did. She got up. No tentacles around her. No sticky voice in her head.

 

It was morning, dull and gray and a bit damp. Her mother was still in the kitchen. She faced the refrigerator and her hand reached out to grab an egg, she had heard the familiar noise. The slithering and the whisper. She knew IT was there, right there, with her and her mom in the kitchen.

 

She looked at her mom and saw fear and disgust on her face. Her mother was familiar with the entity. Her mother had suffered, too.

 

She looked around. There he was. For the first time, she realized this sticky whisper had indeed a face.

 

It was her father. Reeking of the alcohol, bloodshot eyes and the mouth spitting out things no one should have to hear. Especially coming from your father. She saw his hand closed in a fist. She knew she had to stand up to him.

 

She grabbed the rolling pin that was left out on the kitchen table, swung it over her shoulder and shouted:

– Momma, step aside! Step aside, mom, now! – the words had turned to mush in her mouth.

– Mom! – the swollen tongue, the mouth full of cotton…

 

The sound of my husband peacefully snoring right next to me returned me to present and the reality. I was awake.

 

I never had to grab a rolling pin to protect myself from my father in the literal meaning. I did have to defend myself and my mind from his poison though.

 

In two weeks it is one year since he physically died. In my heart and my mind, he died a long time ago. Before he gave into heavy drinking, he was fun to be around. We tried to fight for him and help him. The more he drank the more violent he got. He threatened to burn down our apartment.  He threw a recliner at me. He cursed, shouted, threatened, manipulated. Anything and everything to keep in fear and under his control.

 

When mom finally found the way out, we all felt free. But we were not. So much was still not talked about. So many hurts need to be healed. Even now as I write this, it has been more than 15 years since I got completely from his direct influence and I still have conversations in my head trying to explain it to him.

 

Trying to get my dad to see what he had done to his own children. And, just as he did a few weeks before he died, he tells me he doesn’t remember it happen. I am too emotional. I am exaggerating.  

 

I find myself running on the same hamster wheel and then falling down the same rabbit hole.

 

This last nightmare was different. When I woke up I was able to pull myself out of the funk induced by it almost instantaneously. I had done a lot of mind and soul work to be able to fall back asleep in the next few minutes and not be influenced by it the next day.

 

He is dead and he still is trying to push me into that same hole. Not this time. Not anymore.

 

This is my life. This is my reality. This is my truth.

 

I refuse to be running in a hamster wheel. I will not fall down that rabbit hole again.

 

I am in control. And THAT was just a dream.