Traditional Temporary Tattoos: The Art of Henna

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


I have always been intrigued by the art of henna  — I've gotten a flower, a swirl, or a nonsense design put on one of my limbs more times than I can count while wandering a local summer festival, or hanging out at the beach. 

What I didn't know was the history behind the art, which is something that I discovered recently when chatting with a local henna artist (and a bit of research after the fact) while she drew a beautiful design on the back of my hand. 

Henna has been used for more than 5,000 years to dye skin, hair, fingernails, and even fabrics in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. The act of giving intricate henna tattoos is called Mehndi and is traditionally only done on women — never men.

Why henna is not drawn on men

According to the artist I spoke to, these intricate designs are usually applied the night before (sometimes a few days before) a women's wedding day. The elaborate designs cover her hands and feet (often up to her knees and elbows) and tradition goes that as long as they stay on the skin the women does not have to do any housework.

It isn't until the dye disappears that the new bride steps into her new role as a housewife. 

Don't worry though guys, here in the Western world, the rules are a bit different. It is completely ok for you to give henna a try. The artist I met told me that she often gives men tribal or sun designs on their arms or backs. 

And, in some hot desert cultures, both sexes use henna, not for its beautification factor, but its cooling one. Apparently soaking your hands and feet in a paste of henna helps to cool down your core temperature. 

The henna paste goes on black, but dyes your skin a brownish-orange color if left on for at least 5-7 hours

What is henna?

The leaves of the henna plant are crushed and mixed with different oils in order to make the creamy paste that is applied to the skin. My artist used eucalyptus oil and cloves (which left my hand smelling like a spa for the rest of the day).

When applied the paste looks dark brown or black, and stays on the skin until it flakes off naturally (between 5-7 hours), or — in my case — you have to rub it off before you go to bed so you don't wake up with a henna-tattooed face. 

My henna tattoo once the paste was rubbed off.  

This natural dye is completely harmless, and does not discriminate (it works on all skin types).

It works best on the hands or feet, and lasts anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on the type of henna used and how you take care of it (for example if you exfoliate the tattoo every day it won't last as long).

Oh, and it will leave tan lines, so if you lay out in the sun with your tattoo exposed, you will extend the design's shelf-life a little longer. 

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The art of henna
 


Reads For The Road: "The Female Brain" by Louann Brizendine, M.D.

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


I knew that I HAD to read this book by Louann Brizendine, M.D. (a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California) when I saw an interview with Whitney Cummings on Live With Kelly & Ryan (confession: I watch that sometimes), where she talked about how this book blew her mind and inspired her to co-write and direct a movie by the same name. 

The trailer is hilarious: 

The Female Brain had me from the first page where it explains that for most of history, the majority of scientists have assumed that women are basically "small men".

The reality is that there are some MAJOR differences between the male and female brain that affect how we react to different situations, how we see the world, how we make decisions, etc. But, because of the "men and women are the same" assumption, there was (has been) very little research conducted into the female brain and how things like hormone changes actually affect the way that women think and react in different situations. 

The book begins by tackling the daunting question: What makes us women? 

It then goes through the different phases of a woman's life from birth to death and everything in-between tackling how the brain reacts to love, sex, emotions, sexual orientation, and more. 

The text is witty, smart, and fascinating to read. It's like taking a deep dive into your head and coming out with an understanding of what makes you who you are, why you act the way you do, and what you should expect to happen in the next phase of your life. 

To quote Christiane Northrup, who's review sits on the front cover of the book, "All women — and the men who love them — should read this book." 




Banned Books In The USA: Top Books Banned By Genre + Why They Are Censored

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


As soon as a book becomes banned, people all over the world want to get their hands on a copy to find out what the latest "controversial" novel has to say.

More often than not, they are disappointed as the content of the book seems a lot less shocking than something that you would see on TV on an average night. A few curse words are sometimes all it takes to ban a certain book from the average school.

What makes a book being banned so interesting is what it says about the people, place, and time period that thought it was bad enough to be banned. 

Using data from the ALA — the American Library Association — Invaluable has curated a list of the top books banned organized by literary genre that they've turned into an awesome infographic (below).

Check out the top reasons for banning books, the authors that get challenged the most, and what the three top offenders in each genre were banned for below. 



banned-books

The Infographic above was created by and posted with permission from Invaluable

Sources: American Library Association 1 ,2345 | The Guardian | The University of Tulsa | Writer’s Digest University | Banned Books Week | Unbound Worlds | Dallas News | Banned Library 123 | PBS 

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Banned Books In The USA
Banned Books in The USA



10 Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Snowboarding, and Ski Jumping — oh my! I don't know about you, but I am an Olymp-addict — and I can never get enough of the Winter Olympic Games! 

Here are some fun, crazy, and intriguing facts about the Winter Olympics.

1. The very first Winter Olympic Games was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France

Officially called the "I Olympic Winter Games", or Les Iers Jeux olympiques d'hiver in French, the competitions were held at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc and Haute-Savoie between January 25 and February 5, 1924. It was held in the same year as the Summer Olympic Games, which continued until 1992. 

2. There are 15 official Winter Olympic sports

There are multiple events within each category, but there are only 15 main events. They are: 

  • Alpine Skiing 
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh
  • Cross Country Skiing 
  • Curling
  • Figure Skating
  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Ice hockey
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined 
  • Short Track Speed Skating
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping 
  • Snowboard
  • Speed Skating 

3. Norway has won the most medals of ANY other country at the Winter Games

There are 10 countries that rise to the top as having the most medals, they are: 

  • Norway: 329
  • United States: 282
  • Germany: 228
  • Austria: 218
  • Soviet Union: 194
  • Canada: 170
  • Finland: 161
  • Sweden: 144
  • Switzerland: 138
  • Russia: 124

Note: The medal counts are correct as of February 7, 2018. 

4. The Winter Games held in Nagano in 1998 were interrupted because of too much snow! 

5. The Olympic medals are always designed by the host country and represent cultural elements of the country

According to the Olympic website, the medals for the 2018 Winter Olympics "range in weight from 586 grams for the gold medal to 493 grams for the bronze... They are the work of celebrated South Korean designer Lee Suk-woo, who incorporated Hangeul – the Korean alphabet and the foundation of Korean culture – into their design through a series of consonants symbolising the effort of athletes from around the world, who will come together as one to compete at PyeongChang 2018. In total, 259 sets of the medals have been made."

6. Runners do not actually pass the torch

It's true! During the torch relay, runners do not actually pass the torch that they are carrying. Only the flame is passed and each runner is allowed to keep their torch!

7. The wall's of the halfpipe in Halfpipe Snowboarding are 22 feet high! 

8. The most expensive Olympic Games cost $51 billion

At $51 billion, the 2014 Sochi Olympics are the most expensive Olympics (summer or winter) EVER.

9. There is NO talking in the bobsled during a race

For real. 

OlympicRings.jpg

10. The five rings of the Olympic flag symbolize the five significant continents

The rings are interconnected to symbolize the friendships created during international competition, The colors were chosen because at least one of them appears on the flag of every country in the world! 

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10 Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics
Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics



Reads For The Road: "The Wave" by Susan Casey

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


I will be the first to admit that the science section of any bookstore can be a bit intimidating.

Most of the books there are by someone with "Ph.D." after their name and are written in a language that may as well be Greek to me. 

Luckily, Susan Casey writes in a language that I have no problem understanding. 

Waves are not measured in feet and inches, but in increments of fear
— Buzzy Trent, Surfer

In The Wave, Casey (an author, journalist and former editor-in-chief of O, The Oprah Magazine), takes readers with her as she travels the globe trying to learn the dangerous secrets of the ocean and the elusive ship-swallowing, hundred foot wave.

Her book moves between the unbelievable world of professional surfers — who use experience, instinct, and lessons learned by ancient cultures in order to read the water — and the scientific world, that tries to predict the disturbing wave activity of our ailing planet, using equations and logic. 

Fascinating, terrifying, exciting, enlightening, and unbelievable — this read is a ride into a world that will give you a newfound respect for the people that are a part of it. 

Well worth venturing into the science section!




Quiz: Which Book Should I Read Next?

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


which book should I read next quiz

Is your New Year's resolution to read more? Are you looking for something interesting to read on your next trip? Or, have you just finished a book and want to try something new? 

Take our quiz below to see which book you should read next! 

Looking for more great ideas?

Check out The Anthrotorian's Book Reviews in 25 words or less! (Tip: If you click the book title, it will take you to the full review.)