Henna in My Hair

I have a love/hate relationship with henna.  I love the color I eventually get when applying henna to my hair but I easily get tired of it and want to try something new…maybe there are times I don’t want to be a redhead but want to go to a dark honey blonde.

Well I am in the henna loving mood so I conjured up my favorite witches brew and thought that I would share it with you…pictures and all!  

I buy my henna not from just anywhere.  I have to drive all the way over to Moon Beauty Salon located in the in Souq Al Qadeem (Old Souk) area of Sharjah.  It is very popular (almost all the locals here know about it) and is always busy, MashaAllah.  I think that they add some special ingredient to their henna powder but the henna color comes out dark and I believe that their henna is fresh and not stored for a year or more.

Anyway, this is my ‘secret’ witches brew for making henna for my hair.

A package of henna powder from Moon Beauty Salon

You need several sticks of cinnamon, 2 star of anise, 5 cloves, a handful of karkaday (dried hibiscus), and 3 bags of tea

Add 2 cups of boiling water and let it sit covered for about 1 hour.  This will have a delicious aroma but don’t drink it!  It will be so strong and bitter!  

Sift the henna into a glass bowl (you can use plastic but not metal).

You need to sift the henna so that it will be a fine powder and there will not be any huge henna clumps when you mix in the witches brew.

Add enough witches brew to the henna (isn’t it a lovely color?).  Use a whisk to mix it all together until you get a nice and very thick paste that is not runny (sort of like icing).  Make sure you mix it until it is nice and smooth.

Now add the juice of one lemon to your henna mixture.  You need to add lemon so that it will “activate” the henna and help release the henna’s color.

The henna paste should look like this.

Now all you need to do is place a plate over the henna mix and let it set for about 1 to 2 hours.  You know that your henna is ready to use when you see an shiny-sheen on the surface of the henna.  It looks like a bit of oil has risen to the top.

All you have to do now is apply the henna to your just shampooed hair (your hair has to be clean and wet).  I suggest that you wear and old shirt or dress, some gloves on your hands, and apply Vaseline around your hairline and around your ears (or your skin around those edges will be ALL orange when you get done!!!

I just grab a handful of henna and work it into my hair like when I am shampooing.  Try to work it really well into each strand and then sort of paste the henna on, working your hair into a bun.  At this point, you can put on one of those plastic shower caps on your head or wrap your head with saran wrap.  Then tie a cotton scarf onto your head to hold it all into place.

Sometimes I will sleep with the henna on my head over night so that I can get a really dark tint on my hair.  You just need to make sure your head is covered up really well and you place several old towels on your pillow.

When it is time to rinse the henna out of your hair do not use shampoo.  Just rinse it out with water.  It might me a little dry and clumpy but when you wet your hair it will soften the dried parts.  Rinse out until the water runs clear.

One thing about henna, it will be light on your hair the first day or so (carrot top ).  Just be patient with it and by the third day your hair color will settle into a beautiful dark color.

If your hair feels very dry, do a deep conditioning with a jar of mayonnaise (good to use because the egg and oil) or an equal mixture of olive oil and honey.  You can even add an egg into the olive oil and honey mix.  Leave this homemade conditioner in your hair for at least 3o minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

I’ll be putting the henna in my hair tonight after Isha prayers, InshaAllah.  Tomorrow I’ll wake up and be a little sassy and brassy red head for a while. 

Oh….a word of warning to you.  I had mentioned at the beginning of my post that I eventually get tired of the henna on my head and want to try something new.  You should not attempt to dye your hair.  If you should do so you might end up with an ugly head of hair that looks like black-green sludge!!!  I kid you not!!! Before you attempt to add any hair dye to your head you must do a test on a strand of your hair (some hair from your hairbrush will work) to check how your hair will react.

Whenever I dye my hair after henna I will usually wait about 6-8 months to let my hair grow out.  I will then trim it and then apply the hair dye.

For more information on henna for your hair check out Reverend Bunny’s website.  Everything you want to know about henna for all hair types can be found here:  Henna For Hair

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My Husband is in Love With Another Woman…

and her name is Nigella Lawson

This voluptuous vixen in the kitchen has stolen my husband’s heart.  And it all started with this innocent little fruit salad

Mangoes and blueberries and pomegranates…Oh my!  Such a simple salad and weeks of listening to him gush over it.  What got him hooked was her imaginative way of seeding the pomegranate…cutting it in half and bashing it with a wooden spoon over the bowl.

Hmmmph! He says she is a pure genious.

If he should come home early from work and her show is on then all things cease to exist.  I am made to endure his frequent “ooooh’s” and “aaaah’s” and “why can’t you make this for me?”

Dear husband goes into an almost-giggle-filled-sigh (<–that’s DH right there) when she unabashedly opens the fridge and munches or nibbles this and that…or sits on her couch and shamelessly scoops  a heaping spoon of something delicious in her mouth.

“Now that,” he says, “is a real cook!”  Oh puhleeeze…I don’t see you drooling whenever I do that!!! LOLOLOL 

“Look how easy that was to cook!” he says in an exasperated voice.  Well yeah… she has a handful of people who prepare everything in advance for her.  That’s why its so easy.

So dear husband…

Buy me a Kitchen Aid  just like hers

and all her enameled cast iron cookware

And some extra grocery money to shop at some of those gourmet grocery shops.

Oh…and don’t forget a few of her cookbooks too!

Just see what I will cook for you!

I’ll have you licking the bowl, the plate, and your fingers too and begging for seconds…“ooohing” and “aaaahing” after me (my cooking that is) 

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A Dinosaur in the Tree

There was something huge lurking, living in that tree

For a good many years, a friend of the family was always telling her husband that she wanted to move out of their home.  Um Ali always told her husband and children that there was a dinosaur living in their loz tree.  Her family would look up into that tree and never see what Um Ali say.  She was scared to go by that tree and was especially scared to go out at night and pass by that tree.

No one ever believed her.  They all thought that old age was creeping up into her mind and making her see things. 

Then just the other day her son saw the dinosaur that was living in that tree.

It was a huge chameleon…if you can believe it!  How many years that lizard was living in that loz tree.  The family thought that it was a pet and must have escaped from someone’s house back so many years ago.

The son saw the lizard.  Got it out of the tree and with the frantic insistence of Um Ali killed the poor chameleon.

There isn’t a dinosaur in the tree anymore.

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Buses and Trains

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

I have nothing to say but good things about the Dubai RTA (Roads and Transport Authority). All of the people who helped us first-time bus and metro users were so nice and so very helpful. I am so happy for that experience!

I was always so apprehensive taking the bus and metro before. I don’t know why. It was so easy and I feel that a new freedom has been opened up for the kiddos and me.

Two weeks ago was the first time my children and I rode on the bus from Sharjah to Dubai. We took bus E301 from the Jubail bus station which is right next to the Sharjah Fish Market. The kiddos and I boarded a double-decker bus and left Sharjah at about 10:30am and reached the Rashidiya Metro Station at maybe 11:15am. We then took the Red Line all the way to Dubai Mall. It only took like 40 minutes or less. The whole trip was hassle-free. I could only imagine how my nerves would have been shot if I drove from Sharjah all the way to Dubai Mall!

When we reached our destination we did have to take a feeder bus to the mall. The bus driver did wait until the bus was packed until he left and the trip to the mall was only like 5 minutes.

Coming back from the mall, my mistake was to leave there at rush hour (around 5pm) and the Metro was full so there was no seats for us. Getting back home was easy. I suffered no headache from driving the infamous Sharjah-Dubai road traffic! I left that totally to the bus driver.

What I really liked about the buses and metro was that there was a separate section for Ladies and Families.

The kiddos had a great time riding on their first bus ride and train. Our outing to Dubai lasted 9 1/2 hours and we were all tired when we got home!

The cost of our whole trip was pretty reasonable too. The bus ride from Sharjah to Dubai to Sharjah was Dh5 for each of us. So that was Dh25 each way. The round-trip metro ride for 5 people was Dh35 and the feeder bus fare for 5 people was Dh35. Daisy got to ride for free since she is under 7. All in all I spent a total of Dh120…not bad at all considering I was free from driving in Dubai and the headache associated with it! LOL

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Struttin’ Her Stuff

Stupid is as stupid does

A British woman stripped down to her bikini at Dubai Mall after being confronted by a group of Muslim women about the way the Brit was dressed.    Read the article here.

All I can say is that she (the British woman) is a stupid shit

These people come here to the UAE as a “guest”.  I don’t care if you are visiting here or been working here for the past 10 to 20 years.  You, the expat, are a ‘guest’ of the UAE.  Have some consideration of the local laws and the culture and traditions of this country.  Show some respect.  The citizens of this country are not asking you to don an abaya and shayla and cover yourself up but come on now…show some modesty…show some respect.

In the paper it said that there are signs and LCD screens posted in the malls that visitors should dress modestly.  This is a recent development because this was never the case before.  I would go to Deira City Center and see women wearing their hoochie-mama-short-shorts…butt cheeks all peaking out.  Stupid Idiots.

The kiddos and I went to Dubai Mall last week and I didn’t see any signs calling for modesty.  We got off the bus and a crowd of us were walking into the mall behind a Aussie man wearing short-shorts.  WTF????????  Nasty.

Hey Mr. or Miss Tourist or Mr. or Miss Expat if you can’t follow the laws here and show the respect due to the local citizens of this country then go back to where you came.  You aren’t wanted or welcome here. I am not the only one feeling this sentiment.

I am upset.

Over and Out.

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Two more weeks before Ramadan ♥♥♥

Children and Plastic Bags and Doorbells…Oh My!

Yesterday my doorbell was ringing continuously and I was caught off guard for a yearly tradition celebrated by children here in the UAE.

Every 15th of Sha’aban after the Asr prayer and before the Magrib prayer, you will most likely hear the doorbell ring many, many times.  If you answer it you will find a group of children yell “Garga’an!” once you open your gate.  They will all be holding out bags to be filled with some treats.  If you are caught off guard you can always give money.

I don’t know how this tradition originated.  As far as I know only the locals (Emiratis) celebrate this little celebration.  I don’t even know if it is celebrated in Saudi Arabia or the other Gulf States.

Back in the old days little cloth bags would be sewn just for this occasion but nowadays I rarely see the cloth bags anymore.  They are replaced with the plastic shopping bags mostly from the local Co-op.  Most Emirati homes will stock up on treats of candy, chips, box juice, nuts, and money.  The children will go door-to-door and greet the owner of the house with “Garga’an!”

Driving through the neighborhood yesterday, I would see small children (under 12s) walking around and usually accompanied by their housemaids.  The children were happy and possessively dragging their bags which were all heavy-looking and overflowing with goodies.

I saw a few stragglers out and about today too but no one came ringing my doorbell.

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Anything Cold is Welcome

Anything cold, cold, cold on a hot summer day!

Whew!  It is hot and humid outside!

So what feels good?

An ice-cold bottle of Pepsi. (I love Pepsi!)

Ice-cold watermelon taken out from an ice chest full of ice.

Iced tea with a squeeze of lemon.

Ice cream…any kind of ice cream!

A bath with cold water after spending all morning in the kitchen cooking.  For the summertime we have 50-gallon containers of water in each bathroom.  The water in the containers is so cool and refreshing, MashaAllah and Alhamdulilah.  The exhaust fan quit working (I Know That I Am Right!)

Sitting directly in front of the AC and fan.

A kiddie pool filled with water (which is still hot from the hose) but cooled down with 5 bags of ice!  Really!

Oh yeah!!!  It feels gooooood! 🙂

Winter come quickly!

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Like a Bowl Full of Cherries

My head resembles a plastic bowl full of  black cherries

fake cherries

I had a very bad experience.

I colored my hair the other day with haircolor I bought from the store.  I bought the new L’Oreal New Casting Creme Gloss, color #550 Mahogany.   The box said the color was “mahogany” which sort of chocolate reddish brown.

I applied the color.  My head was burning.  I suffered a massive migraine…and my hair turned into a nasty black cherry color that had hints of magenta!!!  Does anyone know who the Plastic Heads are?  They are a  punk band from the 80s.  They were the first things to pop into my mind.  The color made my hair resemble a plastic bowl…a black cherry with a magenta sheen. 

Mahogany…yeah right!

Oh boy!  I wanted to cry!   I am still upset every time I look into the mirror.

The color would have looked good on a young thing who was into a Goth look but not on a 40-yo mama with 5 kiddos! 

Ugh!  Double Ugh!!

My hair looks really fake for sure now…not natural at all.

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Bras, Boogers, and Chocolate

I can only imagine what your first thoughts were!

I love my bedtime conversations with my little 5yo Daisy.  It is funny and awesome if you just think about how a young child views the world and the questions that pop up in their mind.  They are so innocent, MashaAllah.

Well last night Daisy asked me if she would have to wear a bra when she grew up.  I said, “Yes of course you will.”  And she was all like, “Eeeewwwww, that is sooo nasty Mama!”  LOL!

Another question she asked was, “How are boogers made?  And why are they so hard?”  I told her I didn’t know the answer to that.  It was late at night and all I wanted to do was sleep (LOL) not think about how boogers are made.

One other night a while back she asked me where chocolate came from.  I told her it came from cocoa beans and she said, “Chocolate comes from beans?!?!”  She thought that was really nasty.

I guess a lot of things to a 5yo are pretty nasty.

But she also wanted to know if there were any real live princesses in Sharjah.  Out of sleepiness I told her “no” and then I said, “But you are my princess.”  To which she replied, “But I don’t dress like a Princess.” 

“But you are my princess Baby.”  I kissed her and hugged her and said, “Good night.”

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Summertime: Love It or Leave It or…

Remember to count your blessings and be thankful.

Used to when I was little, I would get very excited when summertime would come along.  It meant that school was over for 3 months.  It meant a vacation renting a house at the Texas coast or renting a cabin in Marble Falls, Texas.  Summertime meant non-stop glasses of iced tea and Kool-Aid, BBQs, picnics, ice cold watermelon sucks, almost daily trips to the library, the big 4th of July bash on Lackland AFB, Friday night wrestling on TV :)….so many things.  Ahhhh the memories!

But now, I don’t love summertime nor do I have the option of leaving summertime behind in the awfully hot and humid Middle East.  It is just too darn hot to do anything.  (Drag out the word “anything”).  MashaAllah for all of the people who are able to go somewhere else in the world where the weather is cooler.

I really, really hate summer here in the UAE.  The kiddos and I hibernate in the cool confines of my home all summer long.  Each day during summer we worry if we will be one of the unfortunate ones of the day who will go without electricity for hours on end (Sharjah is famous for its electricity failure during summertime). 

Vacations are out of the question right now.

But then in the end I do count my blessings.  Alhamdulilah. 

We have air conditioning and a generator to use if the electricity should go out.  Alhamdulilah.

We live in a country where it is peaceful.  Alhamdulilah.

We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and running water.  Alhamdulilah.

We don’t have to work outside in the heat like the poor construction workers.  Alhamdulilah.

There are so many things to be thankful for.  I just have to stop myself, contemplate, and remember everything that I have to be thankful for.

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