Helping you DESIGN the Life of Your Dreams DeAnnaRadaj...Helping You Design the Life of Your Dreams From the Outside In
Hi All-Just a quick post today as I wanted to add some things that I forgot to include in this episode of the DeAnna On Design radio show....
It's VITAL that when looking at purchasing a home in a community w/an HOA that you find out if there is a BOARD of ELECTED members OR if there is an APPOINTED HOA MANAGER! There is a HUGE difference...1 is accountable to the homeOWNERS who live in the community, the other is a hired gun & has no accountability to the homeowners.
From The Management Trust website it is also imperative that you review the following documents before putting in an Offer to Purchase: the HOA covenants and restrictions papers, financial statements, meeting minutes from the previous year, and the regulations document. It is also a good idea to speak with members of the association board if possible. Knowing all of this will help determine how well the community & its financials are being operated. If possible, also get copies of any meetings of sub-committees (i.e. the architecture board who determines who gets any structural changes to their property) & meetings between board members that aren't "official".
If there is an HOA manager, make sure that they are a certified property manager & have the best interests of the COMMUNITY as their motivation & not their own personal agenda (we are dealing w/this in my neighborhood now).
Lastly, before purchasing a home in an HOA-ruled community, make sure that renters are a) NOT allowed & that all property is home-OWNER occupied or b) that there is a maximum CAP as to the % of rentals vs home-owner occupied dwellings. The more rentals in your neighborhood the lower your property value! While there are many fabulous, considerate & responsible renters out there it only takes a couple to lower life quality for all, as well as the "transient" nature of renters. If rentals are a part of your desired home's neighborhood, make sure that renters are long-term (i.e. at least a year lease)
Yep...you read that right! A project that I've worked on for awhile now is the using of various foods & scents to help amp-up & activate the various Life Areas as suggested in Feng Shui. One of my personal passions is using CHOCOLATE! And, with Valentine's Day fast approaching, what better time to post this quick article on how to use Chocolate for some Valentine's Day Feng Shui!!
Feng Shui & Chocolate…for ROMANCE!
Learn how you can use chocolate to help “activate” the RELATIONSHIP Life Area
By DeAnna Radaj
A woman stirring chocolate slowly while sensuous strains of Spanish music play in the background…A couple feeding each strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue….Ahhhh, it’s enough to raise your blood pressure and cause your face to flush….Chocolate has been used in films and romance novels, as well as anyone involved in the candy business, as the romantic, sensuous tool that brings couples together for that magical first kiss to a night of passion. And why not? Chocolate has been used as an aphrodisiac since the time of Montezuma!
BUT, DeAnna, you say….where does Feng Shui come into the picture? Well, one of the Life Areas of Feng Shui is the RELATIONSHIP area (hello…ROMANCE!). We will look at what “activates” this area and how chocolate fits into this. So, when you are planning your romantic evening, or just want to bring more romance into your life, you can rationalize (although who needs to rationalize chocolate?) the chocolate indulgence, or at the very least, impress your friends with this interesting tidbit while you wax poetic of your great first date!
First, let’s look at a brief history of Chocolate and how it was perceived to be an aphrodisiac. The earliest record of chocolate was over 1500 years ago in the Central American rainforests. The Cacao Tree, where chocolate derives from, was worshipped by the Mayan civilization who believed it to be of divine origin. Cacao is actually a Mayan word meaning “God Food”. It was the European explorers who changed Cacao into its more familiar “cocoa”. The Maya brewed a spicy, bittersweet drink by roasting and pounding the seeds of the Cacao Tree w/maize and Capsicum or “Chili” peppers, and letting the mixture ferment. This drink was reserved for use in ceremonies as well as for drinking by the wealthy and religious elite.
The Aztecs of Central Mexico prized the beans so highly they actually used them as currency. They also enjoyed Cacao as a beverage and called this drink Xocolati, which was deemed impossible to say by the Spanish conquistadors who used the easier to say “Chocolat” (which is where the title of the movie came from!).
It was the Aztecs who regarded chocolate as an aphrodisiac and their Emperor, Montezuma, reputedly drank it 50x a day from a golden goblet. He is quoted as saying:
“The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of the precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” (I don’t know about the walking a whole day without food, but I DO know that chocolate can certainly cure whatever the day can throw your way!).
Now, Montezuma not withstanding, there is actual medical data that can back up the “romantic and passionate” stirrings that can occur when you eat chocolate. Cocoa beans have 200% of the antioxidant content of red wine (hmmmm, imagine all the antioxidants if consumed with a glass of merlot!). Cocoa beans have also been proven to have 3x the antioxidants of green tea. So much for chocolate being deemed unhealthy. Take that Surgeon General! The high antioxidant content of cocoa beans is extremely effective at eliminating free radicals in the body, which can help reduce the effects of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Other health aspects of chocolate include:
v Lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
v Increasing endorphin levels-which can reduce stress and increase an overall feeling of well-being… (there you go!)
v Cocoa also contains an extremely high level of flavonoids which are good for the cardiovascular system.
v Improved blood flow which can have a positive affect on learning and memory.
***To achieve maximum health benefits of chocolate, you must consume the DARK chocolate, and chocolate that is 60% or HIGHER of cocoa content. This means no MILK or WHITE chocolate as they have a higher sugar and saturated fat content-which is counterproductive to the actual health benefits of chocolate.***
OK-so chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac AND is healthy…but what’s this Feng Shui stuff and where does chocolate come into play? Literally translated, Feng Shui means “wind and water.” Feng Shui was actually started as a way to identify or select auspicious gravesites in China over 5,000 years ago. It was thought that the better the position of the gravesite, the better the fortunes of the remaining family members. Many schools of thought regarding Feng Shui principles have surfaced over the years, and it is because of this that there is so much confusion. What direction should the door face? Where is the relationship area? Where do I put a crystal? No mirrors in the bedroom? Ahhhhhhh!
The schools are: Form, Compass and the Black Hat Sect School. I have studied the latter, and it’s this one we will be focusing on. The Black Hat Sect school of thought or Bagua School. Bagua is translated to “eight-sided figure” or octagon shaped. This figure is then divided into segments, like a pie, with a center piece-giving you nine areas. These nine areas are assigned different life areas. They are: Career/Life Path, Knowledge/Spirituality, Family, Wealth/Abundance, Success/Fame/Luck, Relationships, Creativity/Kids, Helpful People/Travel, and Health/Well-Being.
The bottom tier (Knowledge/Spirituality, Career/Life Path, and Helpful People/Travel) should always be lined up with the entryway wall of your building floor plan or the individual room you are working on. Then you can super-impose the Bagua over the floor plan and see what “areas” need to be worked on, or what areas you’d like to work on. Once you get the concept of the Bagua and how to properly line up the grid, you will be able to work on any space and be able to identify the corresponding life area. These life areas can be “activated” by using the element, color, shape, item or direction that is associated with that life area (i.e. relationship-hearts.) See below:
Wealth/Abundance Success/Fame Relationships
Purple/Metallic Red Red/Pink/Peach
Water Element Fire Element Earth Element
Wavy lines Triangle Squares
SE S SW
Family Health/Well-Being Creativity/Kids
Green Yellow/Earth-tones White/Metallic
Wood Element Earth Element Metal Element
Rectangle Squares Circles
E Center W
Knowledge/Spirituality Career/Life Path Helpful People/Travel
Blue Black Gray
Earth Element Water Element Metal Element
Squares Wavy Lines Circles
NE N NW
OK- so now we now a bit about the Black Hat School of Feng Shui and how to “activate” the 9 Life Areas. Activate means that you want to “work on” or “bring that energy” into your home and life. Life Areas can also be activated with personal symbols or times. Examples: Career can be activated with business cards, Wealth can be activated by a coin dish, jewelry or anything else that makes you “feel” wealthy…Be CREATIVE, there is no wrong answer-it’s about what resonates with you!
Now…where does the CHOCOLATE come in? Stay with me…Each element corresponds with a different scent and taste. (In the type of design philosophy I practice, Integrative Lifestyle Design, all 5 senses are engaged whenever possible). It is through the ELEMENTS and the sense of TASTE that the chocolate comes in!
Ready for the good stuff?....Working on love, passion, romance and sex…by utilizing Feng Shui and Chocolate! Yes.
***The Relationship Area is for working on SOCIAL, BUSINESS and ROMANTIC relationships. For the purpose of this article we will only be focusing on the ROMANTIC aspect. ***
The Relationship area is the FAR RIGHT corner of any room. This area also corresponds with the bedroom of any home. If you want to work on this area, whether by bringing more into your life, improving an existing relationship or even getting rid of one (just do the opposite of what I suggest in this article). Think of what represents ROMANCE/PASSION/SEX to you. It is this that you should display in this area-not photos of your kids, your in-laws, an ex (!), exercise equipment, TVs…you get the hint. If it doesn’t represent ROMANCE then it needs to go.
This area is activated by the EARTH element. You can also go more in-depth by using the element that PRECEDES it to add an extra “oomph”. In this case, it would be FIRE. These are the elements and their corresponding flavors that we will now focus on. You can also use the colors of the flavor (i.e. strawberry is RED AND SWEET…hmmmm, could chocolate & strawberry be a choice?....) and/or the shape of the chocolate (triangle or square).
When picking our flavors of chocolate for a romantic evening or gift, or you want to bring “romance” into your life, think of these flavors:
Pepper Strawberry Honey
Chili Cherry Champagne
Wasabi Apple Any liqueur ganache
***You can also think DARK chocolate fondue using the above-mentioned fruits and feeding each other!!***
Pair the chocolate with red wine, champagne, port/sherry. For a non-alcoholic option try a sparkling cider! Add some music to set the mood (romantic, passion, fun & flirty or some sappy love songs that neither of you will acknowledge you listen to, but are staples of any romantic evening-remember Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith singing Air Supply?).
***To really get in the mood, add 3E Products RELATIONSHIP Ylang Ylang Environment Spray and/or the Ylang Ylang CLEANSE Body Wash for a (shared?) bath…***
If you are unattached, but want to bring more romance into your life-what about a chocolate fondue party with your friends, or your fave chocolate to enjoy, while watching the movie Chocolat (or some other passionate movie-Don Juan DeMarco, Sleepless in Seattle…you get the picture). All movies that invoke love, romance, passion and/or lust so you can almost feel or “vibe” with the energy you want to bring into your life.
The most important thing to remember when you are trying to bring romance/love/passion into your life is to feel that you deserve it! A simple affirmation to say/think, when you are eating your chocolate, or any time you want to think “ROMANCE” is to say “Thank you for all the love (passion, sex, romance…) I have in my life. I am blessed by the abundance of love I feel right now.”
Beauty affirmation: “My inner & outer selves are radiantly attractive right now…I love my beautiful self.”
Romance affirmation: “I am a romantic person. I release any fears I may have about giving or receiving love.”
Sexuality affirmation: “My sexual self is attractive, healthy and able to experience great pleasure.”
***Beauty, Romance & Sexuality affirmations are all from Doreen Virtue oracle cards***
I hope you got some great ideas, or rationalizations, on how you can enjoy chocolate even more! Romance, sex, love, passion & chocolate go together! History backs us up-Thank you Montezuma! Adding Feng Shui principles, which can show you how to eat chocolate with a specific intention (sex, love, romance, passion) can only add to your romantic experience!
Enjoy, and remember, unleash the inner Feng Shui-Chocolate-Love-Goddess within……
Feng Shui Fabulous radio show: Feng Shui for Valentine's Day! DeAnna offers more Feng Shui tips for a Fabulous Valentine's Day!!
Oh my goodness...SO much going on here to share with you all...Here we go!
I've been taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities w/Amazon & have been working on compiling the almost 100 (yikes!) articles that I've written over the years & put them into book form. They will be under the DesignLEAN series title. There have been 2 published so far: Feng Shui Fabulous & Eco-Shui Design for Companion Animals. Here's more info & links:
Feng Shui Fabulous: Feng Shui Fabulous is based on the blogtalk radio show of the same name by host/author.designer, DeAnna Radaj. Feng Shui Fabulous is the 1st in her DesignLEAN for the Home series of books that compile articles/stories written by DeAnna Radaj for her blog & other print/media. The DesignLEAN series will encompass Feng Shui, clutter-busting & eco-friendly/GREEN design tips that the reader can implement into their homes to start living healthier & designing the life of their dreams!
Eco Shui Design for Companion Animals: This book is the 2nd in the DesignLEAN series of eco-shui, healthy home design ebooks by designer/author, DeAnna Radaj. Eco-Shui Design for Your Companion Animals focuses on...your pet! From Feng Shui tips & helpful hints on pet bed placement (how to avoid the "death position") to creating a healing space for a sick, injured or recovering pet, this book has it. Healthy Home tips cover keeping your pet safe during a remodel & basic design tips to keep ALL family members safe & happy. Enjoy!
I've also released my very first book, Aster, which I wrote as a 10yr old aspiring author for an English class. I will ALWAYS be indebted to my teacher for giving us this wonderful opportunity to express our creativity & then take the time to TYPE up & then mimeograph (I'm totally dating myself w/this one...but who else remembers how freshly mimeographed pages smelled?) 3 copies of each students book! This book chronicles the adventures of a little space alien named Aster & his friends on planet Zeron. I even did the illustrations! Check out Aster here.
These 3 newly published books join my other design/Feng Shui books: Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In & Feng Shui for Teens. ALL books are available for "lending" on your kindle as well!
2013 Designer Trends w/contribution from designer/author, DeAnna Radaj...check out the full article here.
OK...You didn't think I'd forget about Valentine's Day did you? Besides working on the next DesignLEAN book, Eco-Shui Design for Designing the Bedroom of Your Dreams, here's some Feng Shui tips for attracting some LOVE energy into your life:
February is a BUSY month for me...I will be appearing on radio shows across the country AND in the UK. Watch for links to any recorded interviews here so you can listen even if you're in a different time zone & country. Upcoming appearances include: The Sane Mom radio show (recorded) where I'll be speaking about clutter-busting & the health impact that your stuff has on your physical, mental & emotional well-being. I will also be on Entrepreneur Business in the UK (recorded) talking about small business, entrepreneurship & creating an efficient & productive office/work space.
On February 6th, I will be on LIVE w/Dr Mike on Healthy Talk radio show in Miami at 1:30-2p est. Listen LIVE here. The show will also be archived here as well if you can't make the live broadcast.
Kick A** Women Making a Difference:
2/11/13: Daylle Schwartz
1/28/13: archived interview w/DeAnna Wingate of Rippled Purpose
DeAnna On Design:
upcoming topics...HOAs: Home Owner Association or Homeowner OPPRESSION Association, the TINY House trend (think 150 sq ft), PASSIVE housing & smart remodeling: what's an upgrade & what adds VALUE
whew....stay tuned for more!! As always, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn for immediate up-to-date info! Also, if there's any topics you'd like to see me cover/address, let me know here. Remember, we're also available for web/video consultations for your Feng Shui, clutter-busting or well-being design analysis. Contact us here for details.
Have a wonderful rest of your day!....DeAnna :)