Feng Shui for the Holidays

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This article is taken from my December 2017 Newsletter. Please click here to read the newsletter in its entirety.

     It’s that time of year again. The time of year that many people look forward to and dread all at the same time. Many of us look back on childhood holidays with nostalgia and as adults we wonder where the “magic” has gone. When you really think about it, when you were a child, your parents handled all the stress for the holidays. All you had to do was show up, open presents, eat candy, and enjoy all the fun! It’s the adults who shoulder the burden of making the holidays special, but all too often the stress of the season robs us of the joy we once associated with this once magical time of year.

An important part of every holiday are the décor items we choose to display. Like little time capsules, each item brings up memories and sentiments of people, places, and holidays gone by. That nostalgia is part of what makes the holidays so special. While holiday decorations are an important part of creating the ambience of the season, if they aren’t displayed correctly they can contribute to the stress in our lives rather than being part of the fun.

Feng Shui is all about creating a space that looks and FEELS good. Here is a great way to display your holiday “treasures” in an attractive and organized way, adding more to the fun and less to the stress of your holiday home décor.

Over the years many of us have accumulated an oddball assortment of holiday décor items. Things we have kept from childhood, decorations we have been given and those we have purchased are too often thrown together amongst our every day décor items in colorful chaos. When we have too much visual stimulation and disorganization in a space, the environment begins to feel tense rather than restful. The secret to displaying holiday items attractively and calmly is to group “like” things together. Doing this is easier than you may think.
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First, decide where you want to place your collection. Choose a different location for each display (in other words, don’t place more than one grouping on the same table, mantle, or other display surface). Next, remove your everyday décor items from the display area so that they aren’t competing with the holiday ones. Then choose the items for the grouping.

Items should be grouped either by theme (funky homemade childhood ornaments, angels, Santas, nativities, etc.) or by color (all red items, gold items, etc.). Place a solid colored cloth or table runner under the display to help visually hold the grouping together. Then place the items on the cloth. Not only will the items look more organized, you’ll find that they are also more interesting and attractive when displayed this way. Additionally, if you’re a person who has collections of everyday household décor items, this is a trick that can be used throughout the year with those items too.

To show you what I’m talking about, in addition to my regular Christmasdcs93 tree ornaments, I also happen to have a lot of angel ornaments and a lot of dachshund ornaments (when you have dachshunds, believe me, you accumulate a lot of these over the years!) There isn’t enough room on the tree for all of them, so instead I display them by grouping them together.

I love all of these holiday décor items, but they would look ridiculous if they were    placed in a hodgepodge on a table top. Instead, I group them together in separate areas to create their own little vignette. An attractive cloth underneath the collection (red for the dachshund ornaments and gold for the angels) ties the groupings together and makes them look more organized and attractive.

Grouping your ornaments and treasures make holiday decorating fun and festive without looking disorganized and chaotic. You’ll find that by applying the feng shui principle of organizing and grouping items to cut down on visual clutter to your holiday décor items, your holiday home décor will feel as good as it looks!

Copyright 2017,  Cathleen McCandless, All rights reserved

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Easily Update the Look and Feel of Your Home on a Budget

This article is from my November 2017 newsletter. To read the newsletter in its entirety, please click here.

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Does your house ever leave you feeling blah, or uninspired? So much of the time we get used to the things in our homes that we don’t even notice them any more, yet it is often the very things that we have gotten used to that need to be changed or spruced up in order to give our homes (and us) a lift. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to freshen up the look of your home.

Slipcovers are better than ever. Stretchy fabrics cover couches and chairs in ways that make them look brand new without looking like they are slip covered. It will look like you splurged on new furniture without the cost.

Artwork can become boring and uninspiring, and may not reflect the interests or tastes we have as they change over time. Go to art.com for a huge selection of inexpensive art. You can shop from the comfort of your home and be sure you’ll find a piece that fits your taste, your wall, and your budget!feng shui tips 2

 Area rugs are great ways to give a room a new color scheme and a fresh look. You can use the colors in the rug to add accents to the room with pillows, candles, and accessories to tie the room together. Don’t be afraid to put an area rug over a carpet. It is a much less expensive alternative to replacing an old carpet and will give a tired room new vibrancy.  Continue reading

Six Feng Shui Myths Explained

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This article is taken from my September Newsletter. To read the newsletter in its entirety, go to https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1413134718 Please note that all information in the newsletter and in this article is copyright protected.
More often than I can count, I run into clients, students, and other everyday people who are confused by the contradictory information they hear regarding feng shui. Below are six common feng shui myths and misunderstandings along with information that will help set the record straight.
Myth #1: Feng Shui is a religion or spiritual practice
Fact: Feng Shui is an ancient system of environmental psychology developed to help people survive in both the natural world and the built environment. It has NOTHING to do with religion, superstition or good luck and everything to do with creating an optimal living and working space.
Myth #2: If your stairs face your front door, all your money will roll out of your house
Fact: This is a common misunderstanding of an ancient recommendation to protect one’s family. 5,000 years ago (when feng shui was developed) people didn’t have locks on their doors. It was advised that if your family’s sleeping quarters were upstairs, it was best to hide the staircase as far away from the main door as possible to keep everyone safe from intruders while sleeping. Over time the original intent was forgotten, and superstition replaced the practical purpose for not having the stairs face the main door.
Myth #3: Your front door must be painted red in order to bring good luck
Fact: This front door myth stems from a time when people didn’t have heat or electricity. It was recommended that one should build one’s house oriented towards the south so that the home would experience more daylight during the day and more warmth in cold winter months. In ancient China, as in many other cultures, the southern direction was associated with the life-giving sun. The sun was associated with fire, and the symbol for fire was the color red. Therefore ancient people believed that if your home couldn’t face south, you should have a red front door in order to honor the sun and bring the blessings of the sun into your home. (It was seen as the next best thing to having a southern exposure). To this day the color red is seen as a “fortunate” color in China…all stemming from this ancient practice of orienting a building towards the south for light and heat.
Myth #4: A mirror can be used above your front door to keep away negative energy
Fact: A mirror is a piece of glass and has no inherit “powers”. After all, if it could reflect away negativity, what keeps it from reflecting away positive energy too? Does it have a brain that can discern the difference between good and evil? Of course not. This misunderstanding comes from a time when mirrors were actually made of metal. In feng shui (as in Chinese medicine), metal plays an important role in balancing energy in buildings and in the human body. Mirrors made of glass simply reflect light and can’t do anything more to protect you than a rabbit’s foot, horse shoe, or four-leaf clover.

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Do You Have Good Feng Shui?

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This article is taken from my August newsletter. Please go to https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1413101038 to read the newsletter in its entirety. All material is copyright protected.

Does your home have good feng shui?  Take this simple quiz and find out!
Here’s a very simple checklist to let you know how your home rates on having good feng shui. Simply answer yes or no to any of these questions and keep a tally of your answers. Don’t overthink it, just answer honestly. You can see how you did at the end.

1. Do your spirits rise when you arrive home?
Your home should be a sanctuary and a place that brings you peace and happiness. Make sure that the exterior of your home is peaceful and attractive. Something as simple as adding a new doormat or a pot of bright flowers can do the trick.

2. Do you live only with things you love?
If you are living with furnishings or décor that are uncomfortable, hold unhappy Continue reading

Water, Well-Being & Feng Shui

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This article is taken from my July newsletter. Please go to https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1413066471  to read the newsletter in its entirety. All material is copyright protected.

Water is an essential component in feng shui. In fact, the words, “feng shui” mean “wind and water” in Chinese. Wind and Water represent the fundamental concept in feng shui of flow and balance through time. If you notice water flowing through a streambed, you’ll see the water move around rocks and reeds, and go on it’s way. Too much water, and there is flooding and devastation, too little water, and the water becomes foul and stagnant. Water is a wonderful metaphor for the balance, grace, and movement of feng shui.

We all know that water is necessary for life. We must have water to survive, and our bodies are hard-wired to respond positively to proximity to water. Think about it this way, a home with a water view (a lake, the ocean, a river, etc.) will usually cost more, sometimes much more, than an identical home with no water view. Homes that are located close to water or with a view of water are also usually more expensive than identical homes that aren’t. The higher cost of the home with the water view or closeness to water is a direct reflection of the importance we place on water. It’s as if our survival instinct sees water (whether salt or fresh water) and says, “Water…Good”.

One of the most common questions I’m asked by clients is, “Where should I locate my Continue reading

Feng Shui Furniture Tips

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This article is taken from my June newsletter. Please go to https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1413029712 to read the newsletter in its entirety. All material is copyright protected.

Some people have a natural sense of decorating. They seem to instinctively know what to put where, and how to arrange things, “just so” in order to make a room look and feel wonderful. Other people need more help (thank goodness, or I’d be out of a job!) Below you’ll find some basic furnishing tips for three key rooms to help you choose and place furniture for each room to help make the space function, feel, and look its best. Continue reading

Feng Shui for Your Outdoor Environments

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Warmer weather means spending more time entertaining outdoors. In twenty years of being a feng shui consultant, I’ve seen some great outdoor living spaces, and some not-so-great. Here are ten tips for making the most of your outdoor living areas.

This article is taken from my May 2017 Newsletter. To read the newsletter in its entirety, please click here  http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1412986628   

1. Provide comfortable seating I know that this should be a no-brainer, yet I often find that people will choose hard, uncomfortable outdoor furniture and wonder why they don’t sit outside more often or for longer periods of time. Outdoor furniture should have arms and backs (this makes people feel more secure and relaxed while seated). If you have hard seats, purchase some cushions and pillows. You can get these relatively inexpensively at discount stores and be sure to stock up on these for next year at the end of the summer when things go on sale. Consider too, adding a hammock or swing to your outdoor seating for a comfortable, fun seating alternative.
2. Add a water feature  The soothing sound of water is a wonderful addition to an outdoor living area, particularly as the weather heats up. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate pond or pool. An inexpensive outdoor fountain will do the trick. If you don’t have outdoor electricity, then run an all-weather extension cord from the house when you’re entertaining. You’ll be amazed at how much the water will add to the ambience of sitting outside. Just MAKE SURE not to place your water feature too close to the south meridian point of your home. The south is the Fame meridian and water is undesirable in this area. If you don’t know where the south meridian is, then pick up a copy of my book and it will show you how to figure this out.

Continue reading

Feng Shui for Your Health

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This article is taken from my April 2017 Newsletter To read the newsletter in its entirety, please click here. Please note that all material on this page and in the newsletter is copyright protected.

Often when we think of feng shui and health,  we think of the physical aspects of our homes that may be unhealthy and/or  dangerous (like exposure to high electromagnetic frequencies, toxic mold, artificial scents, etc).  While these factors are very important and certainly necessary,  many of us don’t stop to consider how the look and feel of our surroundings also influence our mental, physical and emotional health.

    Cellular biologists and behavioral scientists are creating an ever-growing body of evidence that supports what feng shui has known for centuries; that our surroundings deeply affect the our bodies, minds, and spirits. Humans, animals and plants have specific environmental requirements in order to survive in their physical environments.  When those needs are met, the species thrives and prospers. When specific environmental factors are missing or damaged, the living creatures in those spaces will experience stress, deteriorate and potentially even die.
    Feng shui strives to reduce and eliminate aspects in the environment that are not contributing to emotional and physical health.  The main goal of Feng Shui is to create a space that feels nurturing and comfortable. One of the most important health perks that Feng Shui assists with is reducing stress.  With stress-related illnesses topping the list for health concerns today, Feng Shui can certainly go a long way to help us reduce the tension in our lives.
Our homes are places that should soothe, rejuvenate, and restore our bodies, minds, and spirits. Feng Shui provides us with an abundance of guidelines on how you can  make your home a more peaceful, healthy space, here are ten great tips to get you started.
 
1. Invite nature and natural materials into your home.  Humans have lived in nature for far, far longer than we’ve lived indoors. We’re instinctively more comfortable around items that come from nature rather than things that are synthetic.  Include items made from stone and wood, and add water features and healthy plants to your space. Views of trees, natural landscapes, and artwork of nature scenes will also bring the outdoors in and make your home feel nurturing and inspiring.

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Feng Shui for Your Office

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This article is taken from my March 2017 Newsletter To read the newsletter in its entirety, please click here. Please note that all material featured in this blog and in the newsletter is copyright protected. Thank you!

Create an Office Environment that Nurtures and Inspires

Do you work in an office? If so, chances are that you spend more of your waking hours there than any place else. Studies by behavioral psychologists and cellular biologists have proven that your surroundings greatly affect your body, mind, and spirit. It goes to follow then, that the more time you spend in your office, the more it will influence your overall health and happiness. Fortunately feng shui has a lot of easy, yet powerful ways for you to create an optimal office space. I’m sharing five of them with you here.

1. Sit so you can see the door
Your survival instincts relax when you feel that you have control over your surroundings. Placing your desk so that you have a clear view of the door will allow you to focus on the task at hand without being concerned about what is going on behind you. If your desk is situated so you can’t see the door and it can’t be moved, purchase a computer “rear view mirror”. These are available online and at office supply stores. They attach to the computer monitor to allow you to see what is going on behind you without having to turn around.
2. Add Plants to Your Space
Studies by environmental psychologists prove that when plants are added to a work environment productivity goes up and moods are elevated. Some plants even work to clean the air and mitigate electromagnetic fields. Make sure the plant stays healthy. “Lucky” Bamboo are easy to take care of (just add water) and are pretty hardy too, so if you don’t have a green thumb, you might try adding one of those.

Continue reading

Two New Free Online Feng Shui Classes

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Two new free feng shui classes!

NUMEROLOGY FOR YOUR HOME AND OFFICE

AND

CHOOSING A NEW HOME WITH FENG SHUI

Go to http://www.FengShuiOnlineClasses.com for more information