5 Ways to Embrace the Summer Solstice

It's officially summer! As of today, the 2017 summer solstice, we've moved from spring to summer and are welcoming the fire season after a cold winter! The earth will travel its closest to the sun today, bringing longer days, warmer weather and the official beginning of a new season in the northern hemisphere. We're always fans of the summer season, and in feng shui terms, it's a great time to refresh your space and prepare the coming fire element. Here are our favorite ways to switch to summer in a holistic space!

Clear Your Space

I recommend space clearings on a regular basis to my feng shui clients. They are great ways to refresh the energy in your home, send stagnant energy on its way and welcome positive qi to your space. There are any number of ways to clear the space, but I prefer the BTB feng shui orange peels method or our Holistic Spaces white sage mist during the summer months! The Space white sage spray is finally back in stock, and it's also perfect to travel with during the summer. You don't always want to burn sage when you're staying away from home, so the mist is a brilliant way to clear the space of that guest room without setting off any alarms!

Clean Out Your Closet

We all know the value of closet space, and though it might be necessary to leave out a few warmer pieces for the spring season, summer is hot and vibrant, and it's the ideal time to pack away those winter clothes and make space for light, comfortable summer clothes. You may even find there are clothes you haven't worn that you can get rid of! Each piece of clothing that leaves your space leaves room for a new, quality piece you love. Check out some of our past posts about cleaning out the closet!

Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies

Just as we change our eating habits at the beginning of fall, winter and spring, the summer season brings with it a new list of optimal foods, most notably raw fruits and veggies. With the rise of the heat, fruits and veggies offer a healthy, nutritious way to cool the body, and many (think lettuce, watermelon) even contain a high amount of water to help combat the fire season! My favorite thing is to make watermelon juice. Be sure to juice the rind, too! Watermelon rind contains a wealth of nutrients not found in other fruits and can even help improve blood circulation! 

Swap Out Design Accessories

If you changed up your holistic space to get cozy during the cooler months, it's time to switch back to breezy, cooling accessories for your space. Replace darker colors with light blues, greens and pastels; swap heavy drapes for thin curtains; opt for airy, organic linens and maybe even throw in a few summer-themed pillows! Check out our next My Favorite Things post for our favorite summer design accessories.

Add the Water Element

June is the peak of the fire season, and the best way to balance out excess fire is to add water. You can do this by adding actual water, kidney shaped items, dark blues and blacks and representations of water. Check out my favorite ways to add water to a space!

by Anjie Cho


Prep Your Holistic Space for Winter with Feng Shui

As the seasons continue to change, from summer to fall, and fall to winter, design in our homes is likely to change along with them. In the feng shui philosophy, there is a theme and science to changing up this decor as you transition from warm, bright weather to colder weather that promotes staying indoors. Feng shui philosophy embraces the same sort of changes in fall and winter as the agricultural world, in which the planting and harvest are done, and it's time for rest and planning. So how do you make your space reflect this?

One great way is to change the color scheme up a bit. Adding earthy colors (like brown, orange, yellow) to your space promotes nourishment and brings the qualities of nature indoors. Natural colors are more soothing and nurturing, meshing perfectly with the idea of turning inward and providing the support we need to stay grounded during cooler seasons.

Bringing actual nature indoors is another excellent way to balance out your space and welcome nourishing energy. You can opt for seasonal decor, like gourds, pumpkins and the like, or turn to traditional green plants, which add life energy and help clean the air in our indoor spaces, a great benefit considering we'll be spending more time indoors!

One design update that definitely adds to your comfort level is swapping out linens and blankets from thinner, lighter summer options to thicker, cozier and more warming blankets and duvets. Opting for organic and Fair Trade takes this a level further, as you're adding warmth in addition to removing harmful chemicals that conventionally produced materials can bring inside.

It's also a good idea to ensure that all your furniture is in the commanding position, regardless of the season. In the feng shui tradition, sitting without a clear line of sight to the door, or directly in line with the door, makes the flow of positive chi difficult. With our backs to the doors, we are not able to see what may be coming at us, and if we sit directly in front of the door, we are hit with all the chi coming into our space at once. Neither is good! Instead, aim to kitty corner your most important furniture so that you can comfortably see the door, while you aren't directly in line. If this isn't a possibility, use mirrors or feng shui crystals to adjust. Both are available here in the Holistic Spaces shop!

Finally, check your lighting! When we're spending lots of time out in the summer sun, lighting in our spaces isn't as important, as we're taking in Fire energy while outdoors. When we begin to turn inward and stay indoors, it's important to ensure that the lighting in our spaces is ample for all our activities, from reading to cooking to preparing for sleep, and that it benefits us where possible (think full-spectrum lighting to imitate the sun).

by Anjie Cho


Your Holistic Guide to the Autumn Equinox, with Jill Hoffman

I'm so excited to speak with Jill Hoffman, a Brooklyn-based Health and Lifestyle Coach, about the autumn equinox and how it affects each of us. Check out our chat below, where Jill and I talk shifting from summer to fall and three easy ways to handle the change with grace and holistic style! 

AC: As today is the fall equinox, how does the shift from summer to fall affect our bodies?

JH: During the summer months, most of us experience an accumulation of heat in the body that will turn into dryness in the fall. If we don’t work to balance out this dryness, during winter our sinuses will become irritated and can become a breeding ground for a viral or bacterial infection. Autumn is also the season to retreat. It's your time to savor the abundance of what you've harvested in the spring and summer months and to focus on the health of two of your major organs of elimination ~ the skin and the colon. Just as the leaves start to shed from the trees and reveal their inner core, the fall season beckons us to turn inward and let go of waste. It is a cleansing period and a time of transition for the earth and our bodies.

What are three lifestyle tips to help support this shift from summer to fall?

1. Transition to eating foods that are in season. Fall offers a bounty of grounding and nourishing fruits and vegetables that are important to balance out the dryness that naturally occurs in our body. These might include root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets and turnips. Eating 2-4 apples a day provides good fiber for colon health and malic acid to support your skin. Trade up your raw salads for more cooked, warming foods to help you prepare for the winter months.

2. Increase sleep. It is natural for our bodies to slow down this time of year. As our rhythm starts to bring us more inward, our need for sleep increases. Unfortunately, as our schedules tend to get busier as we move towards the winter holidays, we often ignore this craving. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be sleeping by 10pm. This is so we can stay in tune with our circadian rhythm and support detoxification. If you have a hard time winding down, dim the lights in your home after sunset and avoid using any devices after 8pm. Create a “wind-down” routine that starts at 9pm which might include yoga, meditation, warm bath or anything that makes you feel warm, cozy and nourished.

3. Dry brush your skin. Your skin is your largest organ of detoxification and is also our “face” to the world - we want it to look good! Right underneath your skin is your lymphatic system, which is essentially the garbage disposal system of your body. Waste and toxins are transported through this system so that they can be expelled through the detox organs. However, it is common for the system to get sluggish this time of year. By using a dry brush every morning, you are essentially giving your skin a “workout." It stimulates your lymphatic system and ushers the waste out of your body, thus improving the appearance and complexion of your skin. Also, using a dry skin brush will naturally boost your energy - just like regular exercise!

How have you created your own holistic space?

I love learning about energy and so the concept of Feng Shui has really resonated with me. I am currently in the process of fixing up my home office space. I have been studying the Bagua Map and am trying to apply the concepts to this space as well as my entire home. The first step was to make sure that my desk, stove and bed are in the command position. It makes so much sense how not being in command of your space can create chronic stress in the body. Reducing stress is something I am really passionate about in my work with clients, and I’m so grateful have this new tool to experiment with and to share with my community. 

by Anjie Cho


Jill A. Hoffman is a Health + Lifestyle Coach and has been working with clients since 2013. She specializes in teaching busy women how to be fully nourished so that they can experience radiant joy. Jill received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s cutting edge health coaching program. She is a board certified Holistic Health Coach and a member of the AADP (American Association of Drugless Practioners). Jill is currently working on certifications in transformational coaching and thyroid health coaching and is the founder of the Healthy Thyroid Movement. Jill lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Chris, and 7-year old rescue pup, Toby. You can learn more about Jill and her work by visiting cravehealthwithjill.com.


3 Ways to Bring the Outside In

The summer may be winding down but that doesn’t mean the warmth and relaxation of the outdoors has to go with it. Bring that same summer sun-drenched comfort and vibrancy indoors with these three simple steps.  

Indoor Planters

For many, the warm weather seasons kick off with a mad dash to the nearest garden center. There are flower beds to populate, veggie gardens to plant and a generous assortment of flower pots and window boxes to fill. Just imagine how beautiful all that green and color would look inside your home

Don’t get tied down to standard indoor planters. Traditional outdoor options like window boxes are a great way to bring the outside in.  Start by picking a window box that compliments your décor. You’ll have your choice of materials like wood, iron, cooper, and wicker. Consider creating a kitchen window box and fill it with fragrant and flavorful herbs you can cook with!

Another perk of using a window box? Instead of filling the box itself with dirt and planting directly in it, use it to corral smaller, separate pots of your favorite plants. If you need to replace a plant, it’s simple to just slip out one pot and make the switch. Likewise, when it’s time to water the plants, remove the pots and water the plants in the sink. Once the excess water has drained, return them to the window box. 

Tidy-up

Clutter can make a room feel restrictive. Simply organizing your space can open up the room and make it feel more inviting. As you’re cleaning, use natural cleaners with fresh scents. Imagine the woodsy scent of tea-tree oil or a little bit of lemon lingering in your living room. Makes you smile just thinking about it, doesn’t it? Now, throw open those windows and let the great outdoors shine in! Inviting more natural sunlight will enliven your space. Don’t forget a little TLC for your window treatments too. Wipe down the blinds and wash (or dry-clean) your draperies. 

Draw color and texture inspiration from the outdoors

When you think of being outdoors, what colors do you think of? Whether it’s the lush green of grass, the salty blue of the ocean or the warm yellow of the sun, bringing those hues into your room is a fantastic way to welcome the outdoors into your home! 

While a fresh, clean coat of paint will make your space feel fresh and bright, you’ve got other options when it comes to color. Introduce pops of outdoor-inspired hues with accessories such as pillows, blankets and rugs. Even candles, vases, and wall décor are fantastic options.

What’s your favorite outdoor place? If you’ve got a picture of it, frame it and hang it! Look for paintings, prints and design elements that mimic the scenery and texture of your outdoor sanctuaries. If you’re a beach person, for example, weathered grey wood textures mimic water beaten driftwood, while cool blues, greens and white bring to mind the water and elements like sea glass and shells. Is the forest more your style? Choose accessories in natural wood finishes and greens.  

If you find yourself wishing you could spend more time outdoors but the seasons or your schedule are making it difficult, bring the outdoors in. If you incorporate these steps, don’t forget to come back here and share your pictures! Which step will you try first?

by Anjie Cho