Creating Sacred Space

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IMG_4088Hello dears. Happy Autumn to you all, I hope the shift has been gentle and the colors are shining all around you.

Today I write, after months of avoidance and distraction from writing. It has been really hard to find time to sit down and lay my thoughts on the keypad this Summer, besides being quite busy traveling, I was really feeling the approaching reality of both our daughters being in school full time for the first time ever, and just really wanting to be present with them and not closed off in my room trying to write in 5 minute increments, which is basically what I have been doing for the last 5 years.

I have been experiencing a really big shift in how I live recently, and the phrase I keep coming back to is this…..‘How am I going to get anything done without the stress of not having time to get everything done?’

Can anyone relate to this feeling? Being a mom to young kids and a partner and a creative person and a business owner means never enough time and always a manic non-stop rush against the clock. This has been my experience. Now, the kids are both in school. We no longer pay for any childcare or shuffle the kids around to meet the needs of our part time work schedules. All of the sudden, I feel this expanse of TIME to get shit done. And I don’t really know where to begin, I’m sort of floating on a cloud and spinning through space. I’m thinking it just an adjustment and just ride the wave.

Life’s a trip. That is always true.

SO through all of this strangeness and change of pace, It has felt right to me to clean house, get rid of shit, dust the corners, decorate with seasonal flowers, and create sacred space within the suspended void of space that I am experiencing. I am preparing for the next stage of my life by working on aligning my outer world with my inner world.

Something beautiful that I recently discovered from a friend of mine is the power of getting things aligned, and then sitting back and waiting for the next thing to find us. Whether it is a new idea, a new project, a new job, whatever it is that we need in life but don’t know where to begin to look. For me, someone who is constantly reinventing and pushing, this knowledge feels like a revolution.

So, let’s see…….Re-learning to operate when the pressure let’s up. This is gonna take some time. In the meantime, getting aligned…….Step one, get my space right.


Creating Sacred Space

When in doubt about what to do in life, I say to myself, create sacred spaces. Find a place and make it beautiful and sparkling, or clean and tidy, or whatever feeds your soul and aligns with your taste and esthetic. To me, recently, this has meant my workspace.

7U6A5091I am currently cutting hair out of my living room. This point alone, the pro’s and con’s of working out of your family living room, deserves it’s own blog post. I will spare you all this for now. The point is, this is my reality.7U6A5099

My partner Jonny salvaged a beautiful hutch for me from his family’s midwest homestead, and he filled it with mirrors, and this is the centerpiece of my little salon. I have slowly been collecting special things to fill it with……Besides my homemade hair products that I use on clients, I have a collection of pretty stones, antlers from my dads hunting days, and a hanging crystal which casts rainbows all around. My tools, brushes and combs are there as well.7U6A5101

We have a low coffee table that sits just under a big window to our front yard, this is where I make floral mandalas and shoot braid videos etc. I like the old wood grain, the natural light and the fact that I can kneel at the table as my alter while I create. Every mandala is a prayer and an intention and this makes my work space feel so nice.FullSizeRender

I spent some time last week making seasonal botanical garlands to hang around the inside of the hutch, and along with a bouquet of flowers from around the neighborhood it feels quite lovely in this space.

7U6A5072I cleaned the mirrors, got rid of some old color and products I no longer use, and set out some new oils that I just finished making. 7U6A4342

On a bike ride, I harvested some cedar boughs and some eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, wild rose, sage…..Some of my favorite herbs and plants. 7U6A4343

I got some twine and scissors and laid the plants in bundles, wrapped the twine around them to create smudge sticks, and let them dry on the table. 7U6A4363

The smell of them was so lovely as they dried in an abalone shell. 7U6A4809

After a few days, I burned one, lighting the end and letting the smoke waft into all corners of my workspace. I have since been in the habit of burning one after every work day, to clear the energy of a days work from my home and reset the vibe back into family home mode.

It make me think of the importance of those of us who work closely with other people’s bodies and energies to cleanse and protect our spaces and ourselves.7U6A5058

While my life feels quite up in the air, my workspace is feeling very sacred these days and It really makes me love what I do.

What makes you love your workspace? How do you shake shake off unwanted energy after a long day on the job?

Thanks so much for being here.

xo, HTHG

 

 

 

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IMG_3625In my experience with hair, the best and most useful lessons come from creative experimentation. For any artist, this means carving out time and space in life to play with your medium, push the boundaries, try something you have always wanted to, get into the process without being too worried about the end results. This is what leads to creative breakthrough which is ultimately the most exciting and inspiring place to reach as an artist.

In the salon, this sort of inspiration is essential to doing great work and loving every minute of it, and it is also essential to building our businesses. Our clients want us to be excited and inspired to do their hair, because it shows in what we create in collaboration with each clients hair. Our clients experience a shift in their lives that is directly related to the work we do with them, and they become both a billboard for our unique craft and an expression of themselves, and  a walking testament to the power of great hair to inspire a fresh perspective.img_4528

With that said, I have been brewing up a new workshop which is meant to inspire creative experimentation with color, celebrating haircolor with intention and nuance and a deep look into the theory and magic of color formulation using direct pigment primary colors.

IMG_4094In collaboration with haircolorist Roxie Darling of Hairstory Studio, Edo Salon in San Francisco, Free Your Hair Education and Manic Panic Color, we are excited to announce a workshop in the SF Bay, coming in November.


Divining the Spectrum

Dive into creative color with Roxie Jane Hunt and Roxie Darling! We will be playing with the primary colors, pastels, muting and everything in between. This class is both demo and hands-on, we will be working on models and on wefts, mixing color and painting prismatic, inspired colors.

With this workshop, learn to color hair confidently with a blend of intuition, color theory knowledge and creativity and embrace full spectrum color application.

In this class we will be:

img_4124-Working with primary colors to blend custom shades. Learning the how’s and why’s of formulating color to achieve specific shades that communicate a message, and exploring the balance of saturation vs muting and how they tie into the emotional lives of our clients.

-Discussing the meaning of color on the psychological, spiritual and astrological planes.

-Toning with Intention: Learning about placement and simple skin tone evaluation, understanding the spectrum and how it effects different skin shades in different ways and learning how to make the CORRECT color balancing decision.

-Learning about Dust and Smoke: Taking your formulation to the next level of nuanced color.

-Working together with color application on models

-Learning about creating a practice or meditation with color that helps develop keener color sense and creative inspiration in our daily lives.IMG_2032

When?

November 7th, Edo Salon San Francisco
11am-4pm

Cost: $350

Bring: Yourselves, a journal, an open mind and a grounded body.

We will provide practice hair wefts, primary colors from Manic Panic, Hairstory New Wash for diluting color, brushes, and a rainbow of inspiration.

Reserve your spot by calling Edo today!  415-861-0131

xo, HTHG

Curl Wisdom and Embracing the Hairbrush with Josie of Curandera Remedies

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I met Josie at this year’s Spirit Weavers Gathering, where we bonded over her gorgeous curls and her love of brushing them. As you all know, I really love to meet a woman who fully embraces her curly hair, and her silver sparkles. To me, embracing the hair is just a small part of a bigger shift in consciousness that leads to healing and change on a much larger level.

I’m always curious about what has led a woman to love her own hair, especially in our culture that traditionally encourages all women to try to make their hair look like Pantene Hair. I also love to see a curly woman who is not afraid of a hairbrush. ( If you are curly or kinky textured you know what I am saying.)

Josie was born into a family rooted in the healing arts of curan-dería, shape shifting and clairvoyance. She is a healer and a maker of remedies which I highly suggest checking out. With her beautiful dark ringlets laced with sparkling silver that blings in the sun, she was kind enough to offer us some insight into her own hair journey, including her brushing routine and some wisdom from her Mexican-Cuban roots.


HTHG JC5What is your full name and where are you from?

My full name is Iosellev Castaneda and I was born in Mexico City, MX

Tell me a bit about what you are up to these days, where you live,
Curandera Remedies and how you got into it.

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I live in Miami, Florida. I relocated about 16 months ago from NYC where I lived for 19+ years. While living & working in NYC, as a Fashion Designer, I found my path as a healer. The hustle and bustle of the Fashion industry burned me out. It was then I began to seek a healthier, more conscious lifestyle. Through Meditatoin, Yoga, and herbalism I found a new way of seeing the world. It is what inspired me want to share these teachings with Curandera Remedies.

Curandera Remedies began as a way to share the many tools I learned for a conscious, happy lifestyle. It blossomed along with my students and clients when I began to make personalized apothecary products. Today the mission is to promote alternative healing and raise conscious harmony in everyone. The brand is inspired by folk medicine, homesteading, and global connection.

What is your heritage on both sides? Where do you think you got that
beautiful hair from?

HTGH JC7

I am a Mexican-Cuban by heritage. My mom has Toltec Indian ‘cabello quebrado’ aka wavy hair and my dad has afro-textured hair. My hair definitely a mix of both, it is super limp and loose when wet but it dries in curls and depending on the weather it is either loose curls or tight curls.

What were you raised with as far as haircare/ hair beliefs/ Hair remedies/
Hair styling

My dad has been an advocate for my curly hair, as photos prove with the afro. But my mom was the one who ultimately took care of it. Because she had no idea how to care for it, and none did either, most of my childhood I had short hair. As I grew up and was introduced to more mixed raced friends in the US, I learned various ways to style my hair.

Did you have anyone in your life that did your hair for you as a kid?

Yes, my dad. He knew how to style and comb out my hair when it was dry.

Any hair wisdom from the cultures you were raised in?

HTHG JC3

Well my maternal grandmother kept her hair jet black with an ash mask made of Mamey pit. I’ve yet to try this, specially with my premature graying hair, lol!! But it’s on my list.

What is your hair routine / MO these days?

Wash and moisturize with alcohol free shampoo & conditiner. Natural hair mask atleast once a week, sometimes it’s a mix of hot oils other times natural avocado, mayo, or egg. Very few times I’ve use a store bought hair mask. I style it with alcohol free mousse or hair pomade. If i really want a sure hold I’ll dab some gel.

As a curly haired woman, what inspired you to start brushing your hair?

A few times in my life I’ve had my hair chemically altered, and these times i always love brushing my hair!! It made my hair very shiny. Today I brush my hair after washing it, to style it. And depending on the day and how I’m feeling, I also brush it before bed.

What do you like about brushing your hair?
HTHG JC6

Brushing my hair wet to style makes the curls pop and I love that!! When dry, it feels delicious on my scalp though the combed out hair isn’t something I’ve yet fallen in love with.

Have you always loved and embraced your curls, or did you have a hair
rebellion at any point?

I didn’t really love my hair until I moved to NYC. It was then I discovered, at age 17, how fall and winter weather affected my hair. I also learned then the use of alcohol free products. A few times I did relax my hair, mostly because I wanted to experience something different. But the more I did the more I loved my natural hair when I decided to ‘go back’.

Do you have a hair mantra?

No but I friend once told me ‘when a gal embraces her curls, she has fully embraced herself’, lovely isn’t it.

Any hair stories from your youth that stick out?HTHG JC1

When I was 15, I had my hair set in rollers and blown out for the first time. It was also the first time someone gave me a hair compliment. Isn’t that wacky? It’s no wonder curly hair gals opt for chemical changes instead of embracing their gorgeous curls!!!

Thanks Josie for sharing your words and wisdom! Please take some time to check out Josie’s offerings here, and follow her on Instagram.

Thanks for reading!
xo, HTHG

VICE The Creators Project Interview

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Hey babes. I wanted to share a link with you to an interview I did with Hannah Stouffer for Vice The Creators Project. I had a great time writing about my creative beliefs and process (full disclosure I totally love being interviewed because I have so much to say in regards to hair and art and expression, as y’all know.)

7U6A06357U6A06217U6A0561

So here it is, and the photos displayed are of work I did specifically for this interview, a little challenge and creative stretch. Bubbles, Moons or Jupiter, and Bitchin Eye.

xo, HTHG

Yoga Braids on my Magic Carpet Yoga Mat

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7U6A9302Raise your hand if you have a yoga mat that you love? ( My hand is raised high. ) I have a beautiful Magic Carpet Yoga Mat that has helped me commit to carving out the time to do a little yoga once a week.

Some times, I do 5 of my favorite poses in 10 minutes and call it good. Other times, I flow through 45 minutes of deep stretching and holding poses as I try and keep my mind from wandering off my beautiful mat, to my nasty carpet that needs cleaning. Meet my mind, the constant monkey. I do what I can as far as trying to calm and soothe it but it is a constant journey.

Why am I telling you this? Because I love my yoga mat so much that I felt inspired to reach out to Sophie, the owner of Magic Carpet Yoga Mats and see how she felt about me featuring a mat in a blog post about yoga and braids. Thanks Sophie for obliging!

Why do I love my yoga mat so much? Because it is so lovely to behold that I feel invited to do yoga every time I look at it. And then, when I hop onto it, I feel supported and strong. And the moments I spend on my mat, though infrequent and hasty, hugely help me function better in life. Taking the time to stretch, breath, and bring awareness back into my physical body is necessary to my wellbeing, I am finding. And practicing things that engage both sides of my brain, as yoga does, brings focus and major mindfulness into my daily life.

Something else that I do to engage both sides is braid hair. Which is another reason why this post came about…….Because hair braiding can be a lovely practice which engages both sides of the brain, and is the perfect opportunity to work a little meditation practice into life.

Read here on the importance of synchronizing both sides of the brain with meditation.

Some feedback that I get very often when teaching people to braid is that it is hard on their body to sit still and keep their arms up, let alone coordinate their fingers behind their own head and stick to the braiding rhythm. That is so many things to do at once!

I tell every person who I teach how to braid this……For best results, think of your body positioning while you are braiding like a yoga posture. Body aligned, breath moving, mind focused, intuition strong. Close your eyes. Feel it in your body. Here. Let me show you what I mean.

Jules is going to demonstrate a braid, using the correct posture and breath that is used in her regular yoga practice. She sits in a grounded pose on the sacred space of her Magic Carpet yoga mat, and what better place to braid your hair than the place that you spend peaceful time integrating your body and mind in a yoga practice?7U6A9321

Begin by sitting cross legged, or on your knees if you prefer. Rest your hands on your abdomen and gently engage your abs, as you tilt your pelvis forwards a bit, rounding out your lower back without forcing it, grounding your tailbone and aligning your back. Feel the gentle strength in your belly. Take a few deep breaths into your abdomen.

Now roll your shoulders backwards, and around in slow circles, working out kinks and loosening them up. Roll them down your back, opening your chest. Let your arms hang loose at your sides. Roll your hands around at the wrist, working out the kinks. Roll your head from side to side, stopping and breathing through the tense areas.

Continue to breath. Bring this feeling of relaxed alignment into your braid practice, breathing into your arms and shoulders, keeping the energy flowing and allowing your hands and brain to speak to each other without the interruption of your tense physical body. NOW you are ready to braid your hair.


Yoga Braids7U6A9333

Begin by making a center part. Bring the hair from both sides of the part in front of your shoulders.7U6A9343

Now make a part that bisects your center part, going straight across the top of your head from one ear to the other. This will create 4 sections of hair.

Take the left front section and make a 3 strand braid with it. Secure the end with a clear elastic.  7U6A9361Repeat on the right front section.

Make a small french braid down one of your back sections. Hold it in place at the base with a hairclip while you do the other side. ( Are you still breathing and keeping your body in alignment? Take a minute to get back in position if you need to)7U6A9420

 

Now pull the front braid from the opposite side across the back of the head and braid it right into your french braid, adding it to one of your 3 braid sections, and braiding all the way to the ends of the hair. Secure with an elastic. 7U6A9428

Repeat on the other side, criss crossing your braids7U6A9436 and integrating your braid into your french braid. Secure the ends, and take a second to appreciate what you just accomplished.

Consider yourself in great shape to strike up your usual asanas, hair braided and energy focused and contained within your body. Did you know that some cultures do not engage in ceremony without braids in their hair?

7U6A9638Here is a different Yoga Braid from that same sunny Sunday at the park. After our Yoga+Braids session, Jules played me a tune on her fiddle then we walked and got burritos down the street.

Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Sophie from Magic Carpet Yoga Mats for sharing her beautiful mats with us.

If you enjoyed this post and are seeking more ways to be more mindful in creating rituals of self-care, I invite you to check out this post on the Ritual of Hairbrushing.

xo HTHG