That's So Maven, Episode #57: Anjie Cho - All About Feng Shui and How to Design a Happy and Healthy Home

featured this month on That's So Maven podcast

I'm happy to share my feature on The Healthy Maven's podcast, "That's So Maven"! Listen in as Davida and I talk feng shui, spring cleaning, numerology and more! Listen in to the podcast or check out our media page!


Today on the show we’re going back-to-basics with Feng Shui and some easy principles everyone should know to help maximize and balance their space. It’s a fascinating episode for those who are new to Feng Shui and also for those who are already familiar.

Here are a few things we cover in today’s episode:

...listen to full podcast


Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Sensitive People

Feng Shui for Sensitive People.jpg

Feng Shui cures for HSP/empaths. How can a very sensitive person create a haven of peace, calm and beauty to sooth his/her overwhelmed senses?

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hi Giuliana,

Thank you for your question; it's a great one. Undeniably there are many different types of people, each with different tuning levels to their emotions and the emotions of others. Highly sensitive persons (HSPs), also known as empaths, are gifted with the ability to feel almost all emotions in their immediate surroundings, often picking up the energy of others as well, whether positive or negative. With a trait like this, settling down and finding calm can be a bit difficult, as spending time around others in any capacity often results in an overwhelming collection, and range, of emotion.

Thankfully, some aspects of feng shui are excellent for use in creating a safe, calming space for a HSP, and I can suggest a few simple cures for an overactive emotional field. One of the most important characteristics of feng shui is awareness of one’s environment, and this is especially necessary for empaths. While it may seem self-explanatory that HSPs are aware of their environments, this applies to the physical space surrounding them in addition to the emotions and energy they pick up from others.

Two major focal points for empaths when creating a personal healing area are neatness (lack of clutter) and privacy. Having a clutter-free space, as you may know, is important in any balanced home, but even more so for empaths, as they are already overwhelmed by emotional clutter. As you’re likely to pick up a wide variety of energies outside your personal space, it is especially vital that you create a clean personal space free of clutter and dedicated to positive energy.

One great way to do this is by regularly smudging the space in which you choose to relax. Whether you use your own separate space or the family den on off hours, take care to ensure that your area is clean of all energies so that you do not pick up any additional emotional sludge. You can use any of the methods I’ve discussed, palo santo, sage or orange oil to smudge a space.

Another way to make the most of your personal space as an empath is to incorporate daily meditation, even if only for a few moments. After being flooded with the energies of others, it is very important to spend some time alone to clear these energies and define your very own mood. Consider also including the elements Earth, Fire and Water in your space, as these elements are able to convert negative energies to something better.

Finally, look into healing crystals, stones and essential oils. These products are all very beneficial in balancing emotions and energies, and if you’re willing to take time to find the right stones and oils for you, they can be incredibly helpful in preventing overload for an empath.

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 hellish kitchen in this Hell's Kitchen apartment needs a miraculous makeover

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Hochbaum Rosner

  image credit:  Brick Underground

image credit: Brick Underground

Everything about this apartment “just looks so sad,” says Anjie Cho, an architect and feng  shui expert. 

The fixer-upper unit is a co-op in Hell’s Kitchen at 354 West 48th St.

Cho sums the place up thusly: “The flooring is sad. The paint colors are sad. The kitchen needs a complete makeover. The lighting is really bad.”   

Listed for just $350,000, apartment #2FE, a second-floor one bedroom, is eminently affordable. (Then again, it's a Housing Development Fund Corporation co-op, so there are income restrictions to keep in mind: $36,288 a year for one or two people and $42,336 for three people.) Another bonus for whoever does end up buying the place: the kitchen is big and has an eat-in area.

"It definitely has potential," Cho says.

...read full article


Q&A Sunday: What is the Best Art for the Bedroom?

What is the Best Art for the Bedroom?.jpg

What is the best art to hang in the bedroom?

Magalie R., Los Angeles, CA

Hi Magalie,

Thanks for your question! I remember when you asked if it was good feng shui to have a painting of water in the bedroom. This one seems to be a follow up, as you're wondering what is the best art to hang in the bedroom

There are many times that I go into a single person’s bedroom and see art of single people, or the person's pet. While this is totally fine, usually the single person is looking to meet a partner. In feng shui we would say that by having images of single people you are giving the universe the message that you want to be alone. Now sometimes I see a lot of photos of the pet(s) as well. This may indicate that the single person has no room for a partner as the pet has filled up that spot.

If you want a partner (or already have one), feng shui encourages you to have things in pairs. So images in pairs whether it be people, or two things that are similar but not necessarily identical, give the universe the message that you’re ready to have a partnership that’s balanced and equal with another person. I'm not just talking about image of couples, but perhaps two similar pieces of art in similar frames.

In addition, the bedroom is a place of rest and relaxation. Any artwork that is tranquil and nurturing in color and subject matter is ideal, especially if you have trouble sleeping. Pale, muted or dark blues, greens, pinks and purples in art can create a restful mood in a bedroom. If you want to bring in a little more spice and passion, add red artwork to bring in some fire energy.

If there is a particular piece of art you are looking to add to your bedroom, please feel free to submit it for the next Q&A Sunday!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday" (formerly “Question of the Month”).  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers.  Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Amazon’s New Plant Store Is Going To Be Your New Fave Online Shopping Spot

featured on Bustle by Brandi Neal

If you can't have a pet, plants can also give your mental health a much-needed boost, and the new Amazon Plant Store now lets you order your all-natch-plant medicine right from your phone like a boss. "Active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress," a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology reported. If you're ready to make a commitment to a house plant, or you already have a green thumb, the Amazon Plant Store is a bevy of endless possibilities for every level of plant parent. If you're not good at remembering to water your plants (me all day), get some succulents. Want to grow a grandiose indoor garden? The Amazon Plant Store has your back.

From bonsai trees to bamboo stalks, and everything in between, you can bring some cheer into your home to stave off those mid-winter doldrums with everything green and flowery. "Contact with plants is an intuitive and nonverbal activity that can provide psychological stability and comfort by stimulating four senses in various ways," the study explained. If you've never considered yourself a plant person, it's worth experimenting with bringing the outdoors inside because interacting with and caring for plants can give you the warm and fuzzies when you're feeling all dark and twisty.

If you're into Feng Shui, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that plants can not only improve your home's visual energy, they are also considered good luck. "Bamboo is one plant that is considered lucky. It can be present in the form of flooring, wind chimes, or garden plant. Orchids are also recommended by [Architect Anjie] Cho to encourage new relationships. When placed on table night stands, it helps improves our breathing at night. It is also thought to help attract a respectful and honest life partner."

...read full article


Q&A Sunday: Tips for Spiritual & Healing Providers

Tips for Spiritual & Healing Providers.jpg

What are some basic tips for people who provide spiritual or healing services to reflect a fun, sacred, zen-like atmosphere to spaces/venues that are already designed?

T.F, Stamford, CT

This is a situation that many face: how to create a holistic space with what you have. It’s a little like life, right? We come into this world with our cultural and environmental conditioning and limitations. My teachers would say that if you’re born a Honda you’ll never be a Mercedes, but you can be the best Honda you can be! Similarly, we can work with what we’re given. Most feng shui is remedial - we make adjustments after the fact. With my clients I actually incorporate feng shui into the architectural design. But not everyone has that luxury or foresight.

Space Clearing

My first suggestion is space clearing. In feng shui we use different rituals involving mantras, sometimes rice, sometimes oranges and others. If you want to do this yourself I recommend getting some orange essential oil and placing 9 drops in a bowl of water. With this bowl, walk around clockwise from the entrance sprinkling the essence throughout the space. Lately I’ve also been burning palo santo, a Peruvian wood used to smudge (or clear) a space. Remember when you clear a space, always put positive energy back in.

Commanding Position

Second, use the commanding position to layout the most important areas in your space. For a spiritual or healing provider, this may be your desk or the position in which a client receives your services. The commanding position locates us in an advantageous place so we can feel relaxed and in control of our environment. This position is that which is furthest back from the door, while not in line with or behind the swing of the door.

Five Elements

Third, use the five elements to create a balanced and harmonious space. Take a look at this previous Holistic Spaces blog article or explore our five elements series on the Holistic Spaces podcast.

Bring in Nature

Finally, for a healing and zen-like space be sure to have some green plants. Use non-toxic cleaning products and add fresh flowers when possible. The plants not only improve the indoor air quality, they add life energy to the space. Plants promote kindness and flexibility. Fragrant fresh flowers bring joy and improve energy flow.

There is also something my teachers call “method of minor additions” which involve the use of feng shui adjustment objects such as crystals, mirrors, windchimes, colors, etc. Unfortunately that’s where the feng shui expert comes in. This depends on the particular location, situation, and person.

Good luck with your space, and kudos to you for providing such beautiful services to help others.

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!


Spring Clean Your Bedroom, Any Time of the Year

Spring Clean Your Bedroom, Any Time of the Year - 2.jpg

When our homes were heated solely by coal, oil and/or wood and we lit our nights by candle and lantern, the first hint of spring’s warmer days marked a time to air things out and clean things up. Today our climate-controlled homes don’t require a sunny day to flush out the dirt and soot accumulated throughout the winter. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should skip the tradition of spring cleaning. In fact, a good, thorough cleaning doesn’t even have to wait for spring! Here are helpful tips to freshen up your bedroom any time of the year.

Bedding

Start your spring-inspired cleaning by stripping the bed. Nearly everything except foam pillows can be laundered. Read labels, of course, before you start the wash and be sure to follow the directions. To lightly scent and soften the fabrics of your bedding, combine a drop of tea tree oil with a cup of white vinegar or ½ cup of Epsom salt. Add that the mixture to the wash. If the weather cooperates, dry your quilts, blankets, and pillows outside. As long as it’s not too damp or too cold, using Mother Nature’s drying system is the way to go! If you like to switch up your bedding to match the season, give your seasonal blankets and sheets some outdoor air time also. 

Flip it

If you have a coil mattress, this is a good time to flip it. These mattresses can wear unevenly, so flipping and/or rotating your mattress can help prolong its life. Bring in the vacuum cleaner too. Before you get busy cleaning the floor, run the vacuum’s brush over your mattress. 

Weed your drawers

Clutter can make even the cleanest of spaces look untidy. Your spring cleaning day is a good time to cut the excess. Go through your closets and dresser with a fair and even hand. If you haven’t worn something this season, it’s time to let it go. Donate your discarded items or hit up Pinterest for crafting ideas. You’d be amazed at the beautiful rugs, throws and other crafts you can make with that old, well-worn t-shirt you’re about to toss!

Go bare bones

If your nightstand boasts more covered space than visible table top, it’s time to organize. Grab a funky basket and create your pamper station. This is the place to keep your hand lotion, the book you're currently reading, and anything else you want in close reach to your bed. This basket, a lamp, a clock if you’ve got one, and a box of tissues is all your nightstand needs. 

Let the sunshine in

You probably already have an attack plan for the windows. You’re going to grab your favorite natural cleaner and wipe down the panes of glass with a soft cloth (inside and out!). Your deep clean isn’t done, though. Dust and vacuum the blinds and drapes. Read the cleaning instruction on those curtains. If you can, toss those in the wash too, and add them to the laundry air drying outside! 

Shake it out

If your bedroom features area rugs, take them outdoors and shake them out. Let them air outdoors while you put the vacuum through its paces back inside. Make sure you get under the bed and in the corners. 

Bonus boost

Seasonal changes and deep cleaning days are ideal to swap out your accessories for a new look. Change up throw pillows, switch the pictures hanging on your walls and roll in a new area rug for a different take on accent color.

by Anjie Cho


Q&A Sunday: Numbers and Feng Shui

What is the significance of numbers in feng shui?

Jacqueline R., Cleveland, OH

A few years ago, I was honored to attend a sacred geometry lecture with Robert Lawlor, an anthropologist, mythographer, symbologist and author of several books. The symbolism of numbers goes hand in hand with sacred geometry as well as feng shui. Lawlor remarked sadly that because we have been taught that numbers merely denote quantities, our society has been robbed of a metaphorical language. He further argued that everything in the physical world has three aspects or dimensions, and therefore similarly everything (including numbers) represents symbols at three different levels, and with at least three methods of meaning.

I thought that was a brilliant and very relevant point. So to answer your question, I’ll present the meanings of the most significant feng shui numbers on three levels. In feng shui, each number 1 through 9 relates to a specific area of the feng shui bagua map.

ONE: Path in life, water and career

TWO: Relationships, yin earth and partnerships

THREE: New beginnings, yang wood and family

FOUR: Abundance, yin wood and wealth

FIVE: Health, earth and the center of your life/home

SIX: Benefactors, yang metal and travel

SEVEN: Completion, yin metal and joy

EIGHT: Knowledge, yang earth and self-cultivation

NINE: Recognition, fire and passion

Additionally, nine is the most auspicious number in BTB feng shui. It represents the most complete number. Many feng shui cures require repetitions of nine (such as repeating a ritual nine times, or using a string in increments of nine units). I also receive all my fees in a multiple of nine and in nine red envelopes. The number 108 is a multiple of nine and one of the most auspicious numbers in Buddhism. Malas, which are Buddhist prayer beads, have 108 beads, and many mantras are chanted 108 times.

Five is also auspicious as it represents the five elements or phases. The five elements are earth, metal, water, wood and fire. These elements are related to feng shui philosophy and the bagua map. They create balance and harmony when you have all five present in your environment.

Finally, pairs (or the number Two) are often used in bedrooms for couples. As I've indicated above, the number Two symbolizes a couple and can encourage a balanced and harmonious relationship. If you are looking for a partner, it's also favorable to have paired objects in the bedroom.

Numbers are symbolic metaphors and offer us unique and beneficial ways to look at our environment and the world around us.

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!


23 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life

featured this week in Redbook by Kara Ladd

  image credit:  Redbook

image credit: Redbook

You're probably already planning to give your home a spring scrubdown, but why not take this opportunity to think about sprucing up other areas of your life, too? Here are 23 ways to spring clean your closet, your beauty routine, your diet, and more. 

Feng Shui Your Home.

Switch up your furniture arrangement by keeping in mind how energy flows through your home. “Pay attention to the details in your life and the environment around you, which is directly connected to your internal space,” interior architect and feng shui designer Anjie Cho advises. New to the art of feng shui? A beginner's guide like this one can help break it down for you.

Get Your Broken Stuff Fixed.

Spring is the perfect time to focus on restoring and repairing, so stop putting off that trip to the hardware store. “It's important to repair or let go of broken items," says Cho. "Stress is created when we actively (or unconsciously) ignore tasks. Also the energetics of a broken item in your home may also manifest or point to a broken something in your life.”

...read full article