Q&A Sunday: Auspicious Hours in Feng Shui

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is there a most auspicious time of day on Chinese New Year to open windows/doors for nine minutes? Or does time of day matter?

N L D., Lindale, TX


Hi! Thanks for your question and for all your support on Twitter. :)

Yes, there are more auspicious hours to perform feng shui adjustments. I think most of you are familiar with the Taoist concept of yin and yang, which is a philosophy that describes everything as a dance between two opposites. Some examples of yin and yang (in that order) are: dark and light, moon and sun, cold and hot, feminine and masculine, internal and external, passive and active and so on. Everything in our universe has both yin and yang; that’s why I say it’s a dance. The yin yang symbol represents this constantly moving relationship between the two opposites. Then the little dot of white in the black, and the little dot of black in the white…this means that with yin there is yang, and within yang there is yin. The darkness only exists in relationship to the light.

When we look at how a day progresses in time, there are hours that are more yin and hours that are more yang. 11am to 1pm are the most yang hours of the day and beneficial to activate and start new endeavors with a big push of energy. Similarly, the hours of 11pm to 1am are the most yin hours of the day and may be a more ideal time to unravel and/or clarify internal workings of the mind, or have a more subtle push forward (like a "slow and steady wins the race" type of attitude). 

As you see, feng shui philosophy is layered and is interdependent on many Asian philosophies, which really makes it so rich and powerful. I hope this information helps you to apply some changes in your life in a more powerful way! Let us know if you made feng shui adjustments for the Chinese New Year and how they made you feel! 

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

The Feng Shui Home Cleanse That Will Bring Your Intentions To Life

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Whether you're an entrepreneur or work for a company, most of us have offices in our homes. Home offices can be a whole room, a desk at the end of the hall, or even sometimes the dining room table. In many cases, I've found that a home office comes with all sorts of challenges. The predicament that I hear most often as an interior architect and feng shui expert is "I can't get anything done! I get too distracted."

Well, there are things we can do to help with that. In feng shui, your home office is an important space, as it is a symbol of your career and affects how you succeed in the world. I'm so happy to share a few simple feng shui tips to create the perfect home office and transform how effective you are!

Location, location, location!

It's really quite important to have a spot for your home office away from the bedroom(s) and toward the front of the home. The bedroom area is about rest and relaxation. If you have trouble with focus in your home office, it's best to move the office out of the bedroom and closer to the front door. The rear of the home is more insular and more "yin," quiet and inward, whereas the front of the home is closer to the world and more "yang," outward and active. It's better to be alert and awake when you're working, especially when you have deadlines or need some motivation.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui Bagua Crystals and Missing Areas

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I am placing my nine feng shui bagua natural crystals around my space, and I noticed that, just like in our last home, my Relationship area is outside of my house in the yard. I’m not sure how that keeps happening... see my diagram below. The dashed lines are the outline of my house I traced from a blueprint I had. What do you suggest I do for that area? Do I put the crystal in my yard? Anything special I should do to this space?

Mary K., Dana Point, CA

Hi Mary

Thank you for listening to the podcast, sending in this question, and for purchasing the 9 Feng Shui Bagua Natural Crystals!

First off, good job on laying the bagua. It is definitely interesting that this is the second home that you noticed the Relationship area is missing from your floor plan. Sometimes we are attracted to spaces for a reason. It’s like how we live with habitual patterns. However there’s some intelligence in this, as you may up with spaces that may exacerbate or point out areas in your life that need attention or improvement. Are there any relationships that need some energy or consideration? That can be your primary relationship, business relationships, relationship with your mother or your maternal side or just relationships in general.

You also had a good instinct about completing the bagua by placing something in the yard where the missing bagua area is. That is something we often do as feng shui consultants. The crystal is a great way to do that. You can bury it at the top corner to energetically complete the bagua and “take back” the missing area. You can also do this with a light post, a tree or other ritual feng shui object. Just whatever you do, use the intention that you will be energetically filling in the missing Relationship gua.

One final note, the 9 Feng Shui Bagua Natural Crystals are a wonderful, simple way to activate each area; however, a more advanced technique would be to only use the crystals in the three areas that need the most attention. Since Relationships is missing from the house bagua, the corresponding crystal is one of the three that you can always have in place. Then consider for yourself or your family what other two areas need the most energy. This is something you can revisit every 90 days, or as needed. The reasons are: first, in feng shui, it’s not about fixing everything, especially if there are places that don’t need fixing. And when all nine areas are improved, it’s too perfect, and things then start to fall apart. Second, it’s beneficial to work on only the areas that need addressing. When you focus your energy on those three areas, more change can happen than when you try to fix everything at once.

Hopefully this helps clear things up around the bagua and your new space! Check out our podcast series on what each gua represents, and let us know what areas you end up working with! :)

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Rebecca Casciano's Sacred Beauty

image credit: RebeccaCasciano.com

image credit: RebeccaCasciano.com

I recently met the incredible, Rebecca Casciano, creator of the Sacred Beauty Salon Series. Rebecca's series aims to not only provide women with practical makeup tips, but also to hone in on the relationship between self-love, acceptance and appearance. Beauty does start from the inside, after all! This week, we sat down with Rebecca and sussed out exactly what's behind her idea of sacred beauty and how it relates to our philosophies at Holistic Spaces. Ready for a quick lesson on finding your inner beauty?

AC: What does it mean to have "sacred beauty"?

RC: It means that we acknowledge, honor and celebrate the connection between our inner and outer selves: the mental, spiritual and physical. I believe this is a sacred relationship, one that connects us with our higher power and the deep knowing that beauty comes from the inside out. Sacred Beauty is confidence, connection and sisterhood. 

How does non-toxic makeup relate to the idea of beauty and radiance?

For many years, the beauty industry has relied on toxic products and ideas to sell the standard of beauty. Consuming these products and ideas has negative effects on women's physical and mental health. Choosing more natural, non-toxic makeup is an act of self-care, as it is so much healthier for our skin, bodies and the environment. When we honor our overall wellness, we create a more effective, sustainable approach to beauty. 

Can you offer 3 tips to start the switch to "sacred beauty"?

First, set the stage for Sacred Beauty by preparing the space you use to apply your skincare and/or makeup. Clean off countertops and go through your products, letting go of anything that is old, broken or you don't use. Add a favorite photo of yourself, a candle, crystals and any items that represent beauty to you. Make it a space that feels welcoming, clear and inspiring

Next, create a new intention to bring mindfulness to your beauty routine. Rather than rushing through the task or criticizing your reflection in the mirror, take the time to savor the moment to yourself. Notice the scents of your products, give yourself a face or neck message-- think about this quote that is thought to come from Buddha: 

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection

It's so true!

Last, I like to recommend clients to use their time in the mirror to say beauty affirmations. These are positive statements that reinforce how you want to feel about yourself. Beauty affirmations can be unique to you, you can take a few moments to create your own! Begin by tuning into some of the negative thoughts that come up when you look in the mirror. Then, write out the opposite of that thought, starting with the word I AM. For example, if I say to myself "I am disgusted with my skin. This acne is horrible," then I will replace that with "My skin is radiant and healthy." Even though it may feel untrue, the more you say it, the more your mind will begin to believe it!

What do you find is the most surprising thing your clients learn when working with you?

I would say they learn that they can love themselves/their looks more and that they CAN wear red lipstick

How do you create your own holistic spaces?

I love vibrant colors, bright light, candles, crystals, art, nature and handmade objects. I tend to create little altars with beautiful items I've collected over the years. I love to burn incense, sage and palo santo to bless the space, clear energy, help me to feel more peaceful and grounded. I definitely feel best when my environment is tidy, organized and clean. I think feng shui is an amazing sacred art, and I would love to incorporate it more in my home.

We can absolutely help with that! Keep checking back for more tips on incorporating feng shui into your holistic life style. Thanks so much to Rebecca for stopping in and sharing her thoughts on sacred beauty. I think her series is an amazing way to tap into our inner beauty and make getting ready a thing of joy. We'd love to hear your thoughts on sacred beauty and if you're preparing to make the switch!

by Anjie Cho

Rebecca Casciano.png

Rebecca Casciano is a Makeup Artist, Natural Beauty Expert and Sacred Beauty Coach whose mission is to help women discover the connection between their inner health and outer beauty. She strives to bring this intention to each person who sits in her chair, attends one of her events or reads an article she's written. She loves what she does and from what her clients tell her, it shows! For more on Rebecca's story, her services and her Sacred Beauty Salon Series, check out rebeccacasciano.com

Browse the site and learn all about her makeup artistry, makeup workshops, one-on-one coaching, live events and more. Or contact her with any questions or to set up an appointment. Rebecca's new 3-month membership program, Sacred Beauty Collective, also begins on March 9th in NYC. For more info visit rebeccacasciano.com/collective

Q&A Sunday: Finding a Feng Shui Consultant

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I am writing to see, can you refer me to a Feng Shui consultant or specialist in Chicago? I am looking for ways to enhance different areas of my apartment, and I am seeking an expert to help me.

Cynthia H., Chicago, IL

Hi Cynthia,

Thank you for your question! Unfortunately, I don’t know a feng shui consultant in Chicago that I can refer you to. However I can still offer some advice!

The International Feng Shui Guild has a consultant directory that you can visit. Their website is http://www.ifsguild.org. You can search by location, and may I also suggest you look for the “red ribbon professionals”? Consultants at the “red ribbon professional” level have passed an assessment and have graduated from a qualified feng shui program.

Additionally, I suggest you review the consultants in your area and select three or so to contact. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and open with whatever consultant you hire to support you with your home or work space

I would also recommend that you talk to the prospective feng shui consultant about what you are looking for and your expectations. Some may be more focused on energy, others on the interior decoration, and there are other considerations depending on what school the consultant practices in. For instance, when I receive a call or email from a potential client, we schedule a 15-minute chat to review what their needs are to see if we are a good match. Some people want to have a lot of concrete help on selecting paint schemes, looking at furniture. etc. Others are open to whatever comes from the consultation. Either way, communication is extremely valuable when selecting the right feng shui practitioner to work with.

And…remember, you will share personal details about your life, so go with your intuition and gut on who is the most beneficial match for you. Like many cases in feng shui, intention and energy are the most important aspects, so choose someone with whom you feel positive energy that excites you for your space! Feel free to share what you find for other readers from Chicago!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

This $429,000 Upper West Side One-Bedroom Could Use a Gut Reno, and Here's How to Do It (With Cost Taken Into Account!)

featured this week on Brick Underground by Leah Hochbaum Rosner

The best thing about this $429,000 top-floor one-bedroom at 140 West 71st Street in Lincoln Square is that it’s south-facing, “so it’s going to get a lot of light,” says architect Anjie Cho. Also, she notes that the prewar building, the Danielle, allows owners to sublet their units without any residency requirements—a rarity for a co-op.

That said, the apartment definitely has a few issues, most notably “the weird wavy column on the wall in the living room,” says Cho, mentioning that she supposes it might be some sort of drain. “It could be hard to work with.”

Here’s what she’d do to deal with that peculiar pole, as well as the rest of this outdated Upper West Side residence that she calls “a major major fixer-upper.” Her recommendations:

The living room (pictured above)

The first thing Cho would do is make sure the electrical system is up-to-date. If it isn't, an overhaul is in order since “it could be quite old,” given that the building dates back to the 1920s. And if you are required to get it up to code, you’ll need a permit, which, she says, "could be costly.” But it’ll be worth the expense, removing the danger of the system shorting out when you want to plug in your hair dryer, for example, or worse. Safety is, after all, paramount.

...read full article

Q&A Sunday: Artwork in Pairs

I have purchased the Venus mandala, and I want to hang it my bedroom, but just ran across a post on decorating a couple’s room, and it says to hang artwork in pairs. Do I need to get another mandala, or is this ok, since it symbolizes relationships?

Shayna G., New York, NY

Hi Shayna,

Thanks for your question! I’m so glad you got the Venus mandala. I really love that one. The Venus yantra was the first yantra I ever created; it’s so delicate and pretty. And yes, the Venus mandala relates to romance and emotions, which would be a wonderful addition to your bedroom.

Now onto your question! It is ideal to have things in pairs in the bedroom, such as pairs of pillows, or two nightstands, but it’s not a strict rule. For instance, it makes a lot of sense to have a pair of pillows and two nightstands because there’s something for you and something for your partner. But for instance, artwork of a single woman may not be the best thing for a woman who’s lonely and looking for a partner. In one case, I visited the home of a woman with several images of singular things. It was very obvious. But it’s perfectly okay to have things not in pairs, such as your Venus mandala, especially because the purpose of that mandala is to support your relationship. In fact, I have that first yantra I ever painted hanging in my bedroom, and it’s not in a pair. 

Most principles in feng shui are highly personal, and this one is no different. If there is a beautiful piece of art that you want for your bedroom and really love it, it's most likely acceptable. In this case especially, as the art represents relationships. If you find that the artwork in your room is singular and much of it has to do with being alone or isolated, then you may want to take a look at what that reflects for your life. 

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!