Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Let's Go! Dispersed Camping in Northern AZ

Recently Husband discovered a wilderness area he hadn't been to in over a decade, and it was overgrown and alone and hidden, the perfect spot for dispersed camping in Northern Arizona.  We even drove past cows on our way to the secret spot, of course there are only so many wilderness areas in Arizona, and I'm sure someone could figure out where we are, but I'm still not going to post exact corinaties because as we've discussed while we want people to get our and explore more areas, we think they'll have a little more fun and adventure actually discovering these places for the first time themselves, of course you can follow more campsites on my Let's Go feature, just not going to share all our secret spots from now on...
 This is an interesting thing about Arizona, and other high desert locations, one second you're in the middle of an evergreen forest and the next you're stepping over cacti and agave.
 These little ladies love their weekend getaways even though we don't let them watch ipads or electronics once we're at our destination.
 Arizona does have Fall, y'all.
 I was so fascinated with this tree's roots growing around petrified wood and rocks.
 this area was dense pine needles so we had to clear the area and build our own pit.
 the kids love dancing around the fire.
 and we love sipping on bourbon.
 staying warm under the stars, there's little more I could ask for.
 finally I was able to get a decent shot with a little bit of effort and photography know how, still working on my night time star shots.
 up and early the next morning with coffee and books.
 Husband's Jeep has a removable back sear - I think they all do, and so we pull it out and set it next to the fire and we've got an instant couch!
 on our drive out we saw the cattle marching back to their ranch.
 we found more hints of Fall as we stopped for lunch under this tree.
Vera loved this rock she found.
and some people believe Arizona is all rocks and dirt.  Hope our little weekend adventures inspire you to get outside!  Where are some of your favorite areas in Arizona?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I love the slightly cooler Fall weather and the creativity of costumes and Autumn projects.  As an a mom I thought it would be so fun to do family costumes and would plan elaborate costumes, but the day would come and go and I would scramble to get something together last minute.  And as the kids got older, and I actually considered making their costumes, they'd change their mind a million times and eventually I would just let them pick whatever Hissyfit's had in stock.  This works for us, the kids pick out whatever they can see and feel and be excited about in the moment.  I've abandoned the idea of family costumes - as Husband can't be bothered to participate in my silly ideas and the kids have a mind of their own.  Every year I promise myself I'm going to start the next year's costume in January but never do.  This year is no different.  This year, Sonja changed her mind at least three times, from a rainbow spider (which I was less than hours away from buying fabric for) to a ghost, to "something scary" to a vampire costume we found at Hissyfit's because I remembered that she changes her birthday party themes and costumes with the wind and the investment of making things only for her to change her mind is exhausting and then again after her dress snagged at school and our housemate gave her tiger ears.  Vera had at least three changes as well, in the end, she got excited about a flamenco dancer costume also at Hissyfit's and thanks to some store credit I actually got both for free.  Husband still didn't know what he was going to be just hours out from trick or treating on Halloween.  He remembered at the last minute we had a skeleton onesies he could wear - yes an adult sized onesie. I decided that I would go as a witch, not too much of a stretch from my daily wardrobe and just needed a hat - thanks to my mom for being a hoarder because one text message later and my witches hat was en route.  Maybe next year I'll have something epic or maybe not, it's still one of my favorite holidays no matter what we go as, or how good our costumes are.
 we tried using a soldering iron to carve Sonja's pumpkin this year so I could just trace what she dres, I like my wood block carving tools more.
 skeleton and candles alter
organic lollipops with vitamin c so I don't feel like I'm totally destroying kids immune systems.
These girls had a blast going around the block and watching semi-scary movies with us.

Did you celebrate? What did your family dress up as?!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pero La Luna es mi Amor

Kauai | December 2014
This last Super Moon (October 16, 2016) really worked me over, you guys. The night before it, I was sick all night from stress guilt frustration but in a physical sense which only compounded the stress I was feeling for the next work day. An 18 hour work day, a work day I had over committed to. That's a thing for me, over committing, and wanting to experience it all. 

I know I do this to myself and I even schedule rest days into my calendar,  Because, I will literally fill every waking moment with a project, job or commitment. I don't know why.  I like to stay busy. I like to think I'm living life to the fullest, but can you really do that without a chance to rest and breathe and reflect on the lessons and journey?  I'm starting to believe not.  

Anyway. I called in sick to the first job. There was absolutely no way I could function on literally no sleep. It sucked to miss out on commitments and deadlines, and I felt like I was letting everyone down. but I needed to rest. So I did. I finally started listening to my body. And acknowledging I was toxifying my body with unrealistic expectations and harmful thoughts. I had been creating my own toxic work environment and putting up with toxic people to keep the momentum going. This whole getting sick all night was a physical cleanse to match my emotional one. It was exactly what I needed, my body to scream at me, the only way it knows how. and it was definitely repeating; Stop. Reflect. Change. 

A little background for this new found awareness might have come from this article a friend posted on facebook. Normally, I don't get too into astrology and it's meanings but sometimes the universe delivers messages in hidden and unexpected ways and it doesn't really matter how we get the message as long as it reaches us.  

It was full of advice like "It’s an opportunity to move onward and up in our lives. Many of us will come across exciting new opportunities which weren’t even possible, let alone available to us, before the shift. Now that Mercury has been out of retrograde for just under a month, everything should have fallen back into its normal place by now. If there’s anything that’s still out of whack, fix it asap so you can continue moving forward with nothing holding you back"

hmmm.  Could this be any clearer? I had no less than 3 job offers presented to me the week before the full moon, one for a part time position painting and teaching painting lessons, another odd job for henna and another opportunity to grow my food blog, I had to turn them ALL down because of my "real" job.  I knew I couldn't take on any more, and I felt like I couldn't quit my full time job, so I had to turn down exciting opportunities I definitely didn't think would be possible or available to me when I took my full time job.  Not to mention the fact that any more commitments would take away from family time, and I didn't want to be away from my kids or husband more than I already was.  And that's when the last line screamed at me, fix this asap so you can move forward without anything holding you back!  I listened. 

and it also spoke clearly about being free from harmful relationships, "Break free of toxic people in your life. The relationships that are hurting you or holding you back need to be re-assessed. If you find that someone is not worth the time, effort, and stress, cut the cord and distance yourself from them. Stop letting people walk all over you and instead of following bad examples, be a leader and set good ones!"

If you find that someone is not worth the time, effort, and stress, cut yourself off from them, it was the permission I needed, to let go of somethings and someones.  It was a reminder to continue with the distance I've placed in the past, no matter how tempting it might be to return to a 'normal' comfortable place of bad energy.

Has the moon ever been so closely connected to your life's journey?  Have you ever felt the universe pull you in one direction or another? How do you manage stress and change?

I'll be honest, it wasn't pretty. It was actually really awful and through it, I created more anxiety for myself, knowing I'd have to have difficult conversations with all parties involved but it was liberating stress to know I would be able to function again at my own capacity without running myself sick and abandoning my husband and children.  I resolved my issues and had the conversations.  I trusted in my own creativity to help support my family financially, I know that going back to a modified schedule with more creative hours in a day will be best for my mental health and for my family's.  This is the time we have together to travel, create and experience, I'm not going to waste it stressed and overwhelmed.  I'm going to live my life and enjoy my family and friends.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

La Luna Henna + Henna Con 2016 {a recap}

Earlier this month I attended a conference for henna in Southern California.  I had a great time with my sister for the weekend, I attended classes while she hung out reading and relaxing.  I only recently started on my henna journey. I've been practicing for less than a year and like any new creative outlet I find myself thirsty for so much knowledge.  I want to make every part of the paste and have complete control over my finished product, I'm no where near that level but I did learn a lot and am excited to keep investing into my henna arts.
One of the classes I think was most helpful was the paste mixing class with Joey Anderson.  I use her paste whenever I work on clients because I trust the stain will be the darkest and it's what I learned on. I've made my own paste a couple times but I'm still not totally convinced it will stain as dark as hers.  It was great to mix the paste with other attendees to see how thick or thin we should make it and to see what ingredients each person prefers to work with.  Our group used lemon juice and an essential oil blend from Henna Caravan.
I liked the smell of this one for sure, I'm usually just a lavender kind of girl but I wouldn't mind branching out and trying new oils.
After our paste making class I also took a Henna Glam breakout session with Joey and we all just sort of drew on our hands with the liquid gel.  It's not really henna, because it doesn't stain skin, it's meant to rest on top of the skin and it's water resistant unlike henna paste and stains you can rock this at the pool without worrying about ruining the stain.  It's definitely a fun but not everyday product, and after experimenting with it, I purchased a teal, purple and white, glam so that I could do fun accents to my henna work at festivals and such.
Another class I was so excited to try was the syringe class from Hand of Fatima.  Her work is utterly amazing and in traditional Moroccan style she only uses a syringe.  I'm still learning on the syringe but it's really a fun technique for getting geometric lines and since it uses different hand muscles I feel like it breaks up the routine of using a cone (because when your hand is cramping but you want to keep drawing, you need an alternative).
And while I was in class almost all day, I think the Artist at Work stations are probably one of the coolest components of Henna Con.  For those a little less shy than myself you can ask well known henna artist to add to your collection.
Here's Victoria of Blurberrybuzz doing amazing work on henna by dev's feet.
And this is a jagua piece by Maaz of hussainmaaz 
This gel is straight from the source from FreshJagua.  It's not henna it's a gel fro an Amazon fruit and it stains black, you have to wash it off with soap and water unlike henna which you wouldn't want to get wet.
Watching Joey from Mehndika Joey Henna.  Super fascinating to watch each artist draw freehand the most beautiful designs.  Seriously such a talented group of teachers.
My sister set up a braid trade doing braids on people in exchange for henna.  Not going to lie super jealous since she wasn't in class she had more time to mingle.  

Can't wait for next year! The dates were just announced for October 12-15 2017 and you know as soon as tickets go on sale I'm getting mine! I'm also looking forward to next year's Henna Huddle in the UK where I'm hoping Husband and I can slip off to for a week without kids and we can jump over to Ireland and Scotland.  Anyway that's the plan. 

There's also Spring Fling in Oakland and Polar Sling in Minnesota which are also on my list for future events!

I'ts pretty exciting to see where your creative outlets take you.  I hope someday I can build a life that allows me to travel with my family and create art along our way.