Helping you DESIGN the Life of Your Dreams DeAnnaRadaj...Helping You Design the Life of Your Dreams From the Outside In
As we REALLY get into the holiday celebrations...did someone say wine & fudge-dipped chocolate brownies?...I wanted to offer a re-print of one of my most popular holiday articles on bringing some Feng Shui to your holiday decor & celebrations.
Stand in the doorway and see what your guests see upon entering…do they see a festive room with lights and Santa or a jumble of wrapping paper and boxes? Keep this area neat, spacious and smelling nice (a natural candle or incense in pine, cinnamon, or vanilla is sure to set the proper mood). Your guests will feel welcome and ready to experience “glad-tidings!”
Some great tips and gift ideas to add an ancient twist to your holiday celebration
By DeAnna Radaj
Are you getting tired of the same old red-and-green decorations? Would you like to add more meaning to some of your holiday rituals? How about adding some Feng Shui principles to your holiday gift giving and decorations?
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese science of placement and living in harmony and balance with your environment through the use of color, space-planning and accessorizing. About 5000+ years ago, the Chinese developed these principles and applied them to choosing auspicious gravesites. It was thought that the better your gravesite, the better the fortunes of your descendants would be. There are 3 schools of thought practiced worldwide today: the Form School, the Compass School and the Black Hat Sect School. The latter is the one most practiced here in the US. To learn more about Feng Shui or any of the above-mentioned schools of thought, check out books by Lillian Too or www.dragons-gate.com for some great information to get you started.
Now, how do you apply Feng Shui to your holidays to usher in positive energy, new opportunities and abundance for you and your family? Let’s start with the focal point of most homes during the holidays…the Christmas tree. Follow these guidelines and enjoy a beautifully transformed home.
Use plenty of green. The holidays can be very stressful, so it goes without saying that using green, the most relaxing color, can have a cooling and calming affect on you and your home. In Feng Shui terms, green will also help to absorb all of the “fire” (action) energy of the lights, activity and red décor that is abundant in your home.
Angels and cherubs are lucky symbols. These items will help fill the room with good will and peace.
Start a tradition. Ask every family member and guest who enters your home to place something on the tree to put their mark/energy into the gathering and increase the sense of family and community.
Remember the Chinese phrase “five colors blind”-which means too much color, sound, and activity can create a numbing and exhausting affect on you and your family. After awhile, you will tend to look past and not notice things. Don’t put up decorations or play holiday music too early (We’ve all tuned out “Jingle Bells” and its 20+ versions usually by December 5th, right?)
Shake up your holiday color schemes from the traditional red and green, and try to incorporate some of these colors.
Gold & Silver: can strengthen your intuition and represents ostentation, money and fame. Use it if you want more recognition in the community, line of work and/or family.
Red: one of the most auspicious colors as it represents energy, passion and action. Word of warning-too much red can increase tension, anger and anxiety. If the holidays cause you stress and your blood pressure to rise, stay away from a red color scheme!
Blue: represents spiritualism, thoughtfulness, consideration, faith and aids in communication. Use blue to encourage more open conversation with family and friends. Also, it is a very calming and cooling color-great for helping you unwind after a crazy day at the mall.
Purple: considered the most auspicious color, as it is associated with high ideals, loyalty, royalty, truth and love. The color is used by high nobility and indicates power, riches and fortune. It adds a great touch of luxury and abundance to your home.
White: the color of mourning and loss in Chinese culture. Although our society views this color as representing purity, innocence and naivety, according to Feng Shui principles, you should not use this color.
Pink: a healing color also associated with love and romance. A soothing color that represents joy and happiness and lends a warm glow to the room.
Multi-colors: represents a union of all colors. Make sure to use on a green tree to balance and bring about an order and harmony to all of the colors. If you are unsure about what colors to mix, look to Mother Nature where green is a neutral. If you see the color combination outside, it will work on the tree.
Now, let’s examine tips for the rest of the house and tips on gifts to help bring about auspicious reunions, gatherings and events for the season and New Year. If you are hosting an event, make sure your entryway is warm and inviting. Can you enter without tripping over something? Does the door fully open? Remember that less is more here. Stand in the doorway and see what your guests see upon entering…do they see a festive room with lights and Santa or a jumble of wrapping paper and boxes? Keep this area neat, spacious and smelling nice (a natural candle or incense in pine, cinnamon, or vanilla is sure to set the proper mood). Your guests will feel welcome and ready to experience “glad-tidings!”
Adding some crystals, clear quartz or any other light refracting objects to your room will help add “positive energy” and light to the space. Hanging crystals from ceiling fans and lights is a great way to ensure this energy be spread throughout the home and the rainbows and prisms created by the refracted light will always bring a smile to your guests’ face.
Pictures can also help to enhance the holiday atmosphere in your space. Photos of family and friends taken at previous holiday parties will bring back happy memories (if not, don’t display them)! Displaying happy photos is a great Feng Shui practice that can help to nurture harmony and goodwill. Avoid decorating the home/room with artworks and pictures of sad events, overt gore and violence or anything negative, as this will create bad, undesirable energy. It should be noted that this tip goes for all the décor throughout your home/office all year round!
If you are planning on giving gifts this season, here are some items to stay away from:
Sharp Objects- Swords, knives, scissors and letter openers are not Feng Shui-friendly gifts since you can inadvertently send negative intentions, or “cutting” energy, towards the recipient with a sharp-edged gift.
Empty Wallets and Purses- If you wish to gift one of these items to a loved one, you can but remember to slip something inside such as coins, a few dollars and/or a picture. This will help to bestow auspicious “wealth” energy to the recipient.
Roses- These flowers are actually bad Feng Shui as they denote “thorny” love prospects! It’s better to stick to other sweet-smelling or romance related flowers with no thorny stems. Examples are peonies, jasmine, chrysanthemums, narcissus and lilies.
Timepieces- Watches, clocks or other timepieces are never a good idea as they represent a limited life span and always “watching time go by”.
To all of you and your family, have a happy and safe holiday season!
Hi Everyone & welcome to the end of the world as we know it...at least according to the Mayans. Actually, on Dec 21, 2012 we WILL experience an incredible astrogoical event in that the Earth will be in alignment w/the Milky Way or Galactic Center. I won't go into more detail regarding spiritual shifts or consciousness awakenings...that's up to you personally to research & what resonates with you.
Me? I've been busy finishing up the remodels on my new-soon-to-be EX home here in NC. As many of you know this has been a journey, just across the country, but in the rehabbing of this beautiful home that was neglected & destroyed in parts by the previous owners. While the home is looking fantastic & I do have some wonderful neighbors (others, not so much), I just can't get past all the negativity that surrounds this home. I can let it go knowing that it did offer harbor to me & the dogs & let me get somewhat settled here in my new home-city of Charlotte. I've also made some great contractor connections that might have taken much longer to establish had I not been in emergency triage mode for the past 6 months. So, we'll celebrate the holidays here & then it's on to finding a new home.
Bante Design LLC, my design company, officially closed it's doors on November 30th 2012. After 8 years, I feel I've accomplished much, helped many & have grown more as a person, an entrepreneur & a designer than I ever thought possible. It was a wonderful foundation for what is coming...Watch for it!! I truly believe this next step is life-changing for many in how I can use design to affect health, goal achievement & personal empowerment. I am so proud of what I've created & I can't wait to share it with you. So, that being said, December is a bit of a transition for me as I work on websites, new marketing & much celebrating!!!
***If you still need some quick design, clutter or Feng Shui help I can still fit in a couple of consultations in before year end...contact me asap though to get on the calendar at firstname.lastname@example.org.***
...After all, that’s what really drives us during the holiday’s right? What neighbor has the most over-the-top light decorations and what party has the best buffet. You can implement Integrative Lifestyle Design principles to achieve a great color scheme for your holiday decorations, a great seating chart for family harmony and a colorful, balanced menu.....
Celebrating Abundance & Giving Thanks...
This is a previously published article I wrote a few years back regarding Feng Shui, abundance & the holidays & thought appropriate to share again...Enjoy!
With the holidays fast approaching, our thoughts not only turn family and friends, and all that we have to be thankful for, but to our “to do” lists of all we need to get done, presents that need to be bought, food that needs to be prepared and any remodeling projects that need to be finished (or started) and any traveling plans……Is it any wonder that our thoughts, and wishes are for January to hurry up and get here?
With all that we need to do, how can we get everything done and still keep to our commitment to being eco-friendly? First, let’s look at eco-friendly travel to and from our holiday destinations. Whether you are staying with friends and/or family, or planning a holiday getaway, it is possible to travel without the fear of becoming sick from unhealthy interiors. When booking a hotel or other lodging look for places that offer filtrated water, organic bedding, bans of cologne, perfumes and any other scented bath and body products. Another question to ask is if they use natural cleaners in housekeeping, organic pesticides and repellents. From a design and architectural standpoint, the use of GREEN building materials, furniture and textiles should have been used in the space’s build. Bedding should be made of organic cotton, bamboo or jute. Mattresses should be made from wool, cotton or of rubber latex.
***Check out the Safer Travel Directory (www.safertraveldirectory.com) to help find lodging.***
If you are driving to your destination, check out hybrid options for a rental car to help save on travel costs. Most car rental companies offer hybrids as part of their fleet now.
In regards to any unfinished remodeling projects, if they haven’t been started chances are they won’t be finished in time for the holidays. If you were planning on purchasing new furniture for a new look, at this late date if you were planning on purchasing a custom item, you won’t receive the item by the arrival of your first guest. Most custom pieces need to be ordered anywhere between 4-12 weeks in advance to ensure timely delivery. You can purchase an “in stock” item that can be delivered in time if you find one that meets your needs. Any and all major renovations need to be put off now until next year. Obviously if you need a new roof, a tree falls through a window or your furnace breaks you need to get it fixed ASAP. I’m speaking about the need to refinish your cabinets, getting a new countertop or putting in new bedroom flooring.
***In planning for next year, all renovations need to be started by September to be finished by the holidays-no matter what your contractor may tell you.***
OK-now on the good stuff…food and decorations! After all, that’s what really drives us during the holiday’s right? What neighbor has the most over-the-top light decorations and what party has the best buffet. You can implement Integrative Lifestyle Design principles to achieve a great color scheme for your holiday decorations, a great seating chart for family harmony and a colorful, balanced menu.
This time of year is a time of abundance and giving thanks for all that we’ve been given over the past year (or harvest). In Feng Shui, an integral part of Integrative Lifestyle Design, the colors of purple, green and any metallic color are symbols of Wealth and Abundance. The shape is organic, free-flowing lines and the element is Water. Therefore, in your “Thankful for the Abundant Harvest” color scheme use the abovementioned colors for the “perfect” décor. Many decorations include pumpkins, scarecrows and cornstalks-in Feng Shui terms wouldn’t work (although pumpkins are OK for Halloween). Scarecrows are meant to “scare away” crows and other birds that would eat the crops, in FS terms, you don’t want to “scare” away anything, but rather bring it towards you. You want to cultivate good energy and new opportunities. Cornstalks typically used are dried and dead, literally. If you remember from previous articles, you don’t want to use anything “dead” in your décor as you don’t want “dead or stagnant” energy in your space. Instead, use chrysanthemums in a variety of colors as mums are the Chinese flower for Fall, plus they come in many colors to create a vibrant atmosphere. A cornucopia filled with flowers, gourds or anything else that represents abundance to you can be a great tabletop centerpiece that by its nature invites abundance to you. Any type of vines or branches with leaves can be draped in a free-flowing way, to represent water, around entryways, on curtain rods or on railings to bring in the Water element to the design décor. Use accessories that embody abundance to you-it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else. A friend uses sunflowers as sunflower fields represent abundance to her. To another it could be lots of table linens. What works for one, doesn’t work for all. What represents abundance to you? Then use it.
The decorations or party favors should be in purple, green and can incorporate metal accents. Use deep, saturated, jewel-tones here. Personally, I like to use silver as my “metal” of choice. This time of year though, gold is the most popular choice. Gold is warm, along with copper and bronze, while silver and platinum are cool. Gold therefore should be used for smaller more intimate gatherings, while silver should be used for larger gatherings to promote more mingling.
For your party, you want to include foods that represent the colors purple, green and metals (silver/gold/copper).
Examples of green foods are:
v Lettuce, celery, artichokes, green beans, broccoli, peas
v Green bell peppers, zucchini, spinach
v Olive oil
v Green grapes, kiwi, limes, pears, green apples
v Tofu, curds, natural yogurt
v Peppermint, parsley, tarragon, garlic, fennel, comfrey, oregano
Examples of purple/violet foods are:
v Purple grapes, plums
v Beets, radicchio, purple cabbage, globe artichokes
v Purple sage, thyme, feverfew, lavender
From the above examples I’m sure you can already envision a veggie plate and appetizers. Now I’m not telling you to forgo the turkey, but you can make these additions. Here are some menu suggestions to try (recipes can be found on-line or in cookbooks):
v Spinach pasta (or any other green pasta) and asparagus salad
v Avocado dip w/chicory
v Lemon and zucchini quiche
v Glazed baby beets (personal fave!!)
v Eggplant puree
v Purple plum pie
v Purple broccoli salad
v Lavender tea
v Lavender ice cream
It’s most important to remember in planning any type of holiday party, that the object is to be able to spend time with your guests. Make dishes that are easy to prepare and can be shared amongst the guests. Buffet tables that are set-up in different parts of the room for appetizers, main courses and desserts can also get people mingling and moving around the party instead of sitting in the same place.
***For a more formal party, it may be worth it to hire someone to help clear and serve so you can pay attention to your guests.***
You can also create a great ambience using aromatherapy. Each element also corresponds with a particular scent. The water element can be “activated” by using Bergamot and Geranium scents. When using any type of aroma fragrancing in your space, make sure you are using essential oils and/or candles that are made of natural ingredients and burn cotton wicks. My products division, 3E Products, offers Environment Sprays that correspond with the Bagua Board in Feng Shui. The Wealth/Abundance spray is Bergamot.
Incorporating any of these tips can help to make a great holiday party or to decorate for Abundance in this time of harvest and giving thanks for all we have. We are in some crazy times right now and it is important that we keep our family and friends close, and give thanks for all that do and still have. And in keeping with the theme of this column, THANK YOU to all of you who choose to read this column and my family, friends and people who have supported me personally and professionally!
....thanks everyone! DeAnna :)