Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon, A Second Thanksgiving

Chances are, you are getting ready to head out for a night of celebrating. Or maybe you're just getting ready to hunker down, getting comfy to count down with Dick Clark - oops, did I just date myself? I meant to say Ryan Seacrest. I know, I know, what am I doing writing a blog just hours before the ball drops? Shouldn't I be getting ready too? No worries my dear readers, I will be getting ready shortly. I just wanted to do one thing before I did.

As many of us are already looking ahead to a long list of 2010 New Year's resolutions, I wanted to remind you to step on the brakes. Today I took a quiet moment to look back at 2009 and I remembered all the things that happened in my life this year. Granted, it wasn't the easiest year but if I really think about it, it was a combination of all those things that got me here to this moment. I found myself filled with gratitude.

Tonight during this unusual Blue Moon that apparently only comes one in a blue moon (ok sue me, I couldn't resist) try to take a moment and do the same. Think back on your 2009, appreciate all the things that have happened, whether good or bad, and be grateful. Then if you have time, do something that you would do only "once in a blue moon", kiss a stranger at midnight (if you're unattached of course), karaoke, or even find forgiveness and bury a grievance. The prior recommendations are definitely fun but the latter suggestion is probably the one I'd advocate the most today. Because in Feng Shui, completion is a wonderful thing. It allows room for new and wonderful gifts to enter into our lives.

Thank you 2009. Here's to a phenomenal 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Domain is Your Domain

I love how I can find Feng Shui in almost anything. This was the last place I thought I could merge my Feng Shui and design skills. When designing websites for clients, I need to explain the technicalities of domain names, hosting, metatags, etc. So I thought that I would google the information to find them a site where they can get the explanations they need. Well I actually should come completely clean, I google everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. If you want to know how much sand it takes to create a beach, I can get you an answer as fast as my internet connection will allow me. When I hit Google's search  button today for my latest quest for knowledge, lo and behold what did I find? A little drawing of a house that explains the difference between a domain name, hosting and data services as seen here. What more could I ask for, a house that explains technicalities of website jargon. You're hired little house!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tap into This

I've been really thirsty lately. It's probably because the heat's cranked up on the days in December that are below 50 degrees. Most mornings, my water bottle gets left on the kitchen counter as I usually decide that my camera and ipod are more important weightwise than H2O. Go figure. And as I don't like buying bottled water for obvious reasons, I spend the day parched like I'm in the Sahara when I'm really just in Union Square. Today I came across this great idea - your own bottle of water that filters regular tap water as you fill it up. Instant gratification! And now I can carry around my empty bottle until I'm thirsty. This genius is the brainchild of Australian company, Half a Teaspoon. Love the idea, love the design, love the marketing. They ask that you pre-order your bottle since they need 10,000 orders before they can start production. Gotta love that small business owner innovation. 

Check out 321Water here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Enter Here: Essex House's South Gate

The hostless Central Park Entrance

View of the Bar, customers backs to the park view 

View of the Main Dining Area

While taking in the holiday sights this weekend, we came across the Essex's House restaurant/bar, South Gate. As we were itching for a late afternoon coffee fix, this seemed to be the perfect location. A view of Central Park, posh interior and a fireplace. But as we tried to pull open the glass door, it wouldn't open. Were they closed for the holidays? They can't be, since there are people sitting inside! So with a little more elbow grease and an increasing need for caffeine, we pulled open the door, then struggled with and successfully pried open a second glass door (we were now experienced door openers!). Once inside, we waited for someone to seat us but unfortunately since there wasn't anyone to greet us, we sat ourselves down at the nearest table.

Our overall experience was not optimal but that is not the point of my post. We only half-minded waiting for menus, our coffees and the bill but what I found remarkable was the challenging flow of the space. A clandestine trip to the restroom confirmed my suspicions. There were three different entries, count 'em, three. The one that we entered in from the park side where we struggled with the doors, an entry in the back of the space near the restrooms that I think led to the kitchen, and the third entry connected to the hotel lobby. A stationed hostess at the latter entrance made me believe that was the main entrance.

Although the design of the space was chic, modern and glam, it seems that the overall flow was overlooked and as you know, flow is a huge factor in Feng Shui. For a business like this one, I believe that service was compromised due to poor flow. I noticed that at the park side of the bar, the bar ends protruded strangely so that the bartender needed to walk around to access the customers seated on the ends. There was confusion regarding where customers entered, were greeted and seated. Several customers who seated themselves left due to lack of service and funnily enough as I was sneaking a last glimpse of the space by exiting through the lobby entrance, the hostess wasn't sure whether to greet us or bid us farewell so she did neither.

In any home or business, flow is important but the front entry is the most important element of the space. This is where all opportunities find you. And in this case, customers. Although in need of improvement, South Gate is a nice place to stop by especially if you've been walking around all day. And after all, the coffee was pretty darn good.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dancing with the Stars

Time to get in the holiday mood! Whether you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukah, try to sneak over to the Shops at Columbus Circle to see the beautiful display of musical stars. Holiday tunes play while the color changing stars dance along with the rhythm. It’s a festive display and not to be missed! I have to admit, I felt like a kid again when I saw this and it reminded me to slow down and smell the roses, or in this case, admire the stars. If that’s not excuse enough though, it’s also convenient place to be if you have any last minute holiday shopping! Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Powerful Office


Many of my friends and new people I meet are working from home. The new work from home trend is probably due to the state of the economy but I think it is a blessing in disguise. Many people are taking the time to re-evaluate, go back to the drawing board and re-emerge with some really great ideas. Whether you are using your home office to look for new work or to start or maintain a business, it's always good to make sure that your working area is arranged so it is conducive to focus and inspiration. 

There are many factors that influence the good feng shui of an office space but I'll only touch upon which I feel are two very important ones - command position and flow. Since it's difficult to give "cure-all" suggestions without visiting the space or meeting and talking to the people who will be using the space, these suggestions are general enough that if followed can make a huge difference in the chi or energy of the room. 

I usually see this common scenario - the desk is set up so that the person working at the desk has the window view, back to the door. This person is not in the commanding position of the room. When seated, you want to be able to see who is coming through your door so that you are not surprised, allowing you the most focus and concentration. Ever notice when you see office scenes on TV that the desk is always set up so that the person at the desk is facing the visitor when they walk in? That is done so that when the camera is rolling, we can get a full view of the person behind the desk and not just the back of that person's head. Feng Shui actually agrees with Hollywood. If this configuration is not possible, hang a mirror up in front of you or place one on your desk so that you can see who is coming in the door without having to move your head.

If your back is up against a wall, make sure that you have proper space behind you so that you do not feel trapped in. Allow air to properly flow behind you. Do you have piles of papers and books on your desk, walls and floor? Take a day or two to file away papers and books, scan in important documents and shred sensitive information. Having things properly stored away gives your brain needed rest and literally gives you room to breathe. 

Here are some images of desks in the command position with nice flow. Now if anyone can just recommend solutions to hide the multitude of wires, I'd be greatly and forever thankful.

Monday, December 21, 2009



Funny thing happened when I went to visit my parents. My mom freaked out when saw my beautiful blue chrysanthemum brooch made of felt that I bought from my friend Rhea's company, Digs, As you can see from the photo, these brooches are wonderful and original. I can understand that it's not everyone's taste but I have gotten alot of compliments since I've been wearing mine. But I didn't expect this, "Why are you wearing that blue flower on your coat?" my mom asked me. I smiled, "Oh isn't it great? I love it!" With a dour expression on her face, my mom said, "When Chinese people wear blue flowers, that means that someone has died." Oh boy. I thought it was just white flowers. I knew that in Chinese culture, white flowers indicate a death. I didn't realize that blue flowers too. My mom suggested that I add something red to it to offset the possible negative perception. After a bit of research, I found that for the traditional Chinese, chrysanthemums indicate long life, but wearing blue flowers, particularly in the hair can indeed indicate a bad omen.

I would definitely encourage you to buy one or more of Dig's beautiful brooches made in Peru. Not only are they beautiful but sustainable since they are made from repurposed/recycled felt used to make traditional Peruvian Andean felt hats. Just be sure if you buy the blue chrysanthemum, add something red to it when visiting my mom!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Maybe I promised you an Herb Garden

As the temperature in NY creeps closer to freezing and darkness falls at 5pm, it’s frighteningly tempting to crawl under the covers and eat microwave popcorn in front of the tube. But of course that doesn’t sound familiar. What I find makes the dreary days of winter more manageable is bringing a bit of nature indoors and what better way than with edible greenery? Planting an indoor herb garden with herbs such as mint, parsley, chives, or rosemary will not only bring nature’s chi or life energy into your home, it will also encourage you to eat fresh and eat locally. I also love recycling tins as shown here. Spring feels that much closer with a cup of fresh mint tea and a sprinkle of chives on your baked potato.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tip Top Design

Call me crazy, but amidst this holiday madness, I have been dedicating my time to networking and attending speaker events on topics that interest me. Maybe that’s my secret way of staying centered. I went to see Jonathan Adler speak at an Apartment Therapy event last night. If you are not familiar with Jonathan Adler, you are probably mistaken. Jonathan has become a household name in the past several years, notably being the main host for “Top Design,” Bravo TV’s interior design show. He is amazingly prolific and his fleet of stores is giving Starbucks a run for their money. He’s a talented potter, interior and product designer, TV personality and entrepreneur.

Although Jonathan’s design aesthetic is not necessarily one that I naturally gravitate towards, it does speak to many people. Like millions. And that’s what I feel is important, being open to all options presented even if it is not in your comfort zone. Before I feng shui and design a room for a client, I listen to what they want and need and I strive to deliver a space that supports these things. I work with the client’s aesthetic, not just mine. It’s always a balance of function, beauty and Feng Shui principles. Therefore it helps to have an arsenal of design references! Jonathan is really inspirational, down-to-earth, and a downright funny guy. I love that he encourages people to find their voice. I love that his vocabulary is sprinkled with words like “groovy” and “dude.” I love the declaration in his Manifesto: “We believe you should throw out your Blackberry and go pick some actual blackberries.”

Some things that he said that I really loved:
• Take risks
• Panic is good – this one is taken out of context but the gist is that panic is a strong motivator in moving one forward
• Find your voice
• Go on blind dates - that’s how he met his husband Barney’s window designer Simon Doonan!

These points are very much in harmony with Feng Shui ideas - Be bold as the unknown can be scary but can produce amazing results. Jonathan reminded me that you can be a successful professional and still having a fantastic sense of humor. I now understand and appreciate his work much more and see it with new eyes because as in Feng Shui, things are not always as they initially appear.