Sunday, December 26, 2010

Multiple Accents

A simple weekend project
photo: Thomas J. Story

Lose 10 better.....get to sleep earlier.....spend more time with loved ones.....These are some usual new year's resolutions. Mine luckily is much easier - to paint an accent wall. I will take some of my own Feng Shui medicine and become my own weekend warrior! Our hallway wall is empty, sad and begging for some Feng Shui love. I know, most people are terrified to choose paint colors and can seem like a daunting task since there so many colors out there. But here's an alternative way to think about it, trembling commita-phobes. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a whole home or room, choose just one accent wall to paint.

A fun idea for a kid's room

As you can see, it doesn't have to be complicated. I am always asked if there are colors that pertain to Feng Shui sections in your life. As a Feng Shui consultant, my answer is yes but what is most important is to choose a color that makes you happy and feel uplifted when you see it. As a designer, I emphasize using color to emphasize what you want to "pop" and make what's less flattering recede. So go on, buy a can and splash on a new color. Worst case if you change your mind, do it all over again. It can be a very dramatic change in a space that is very wallet-friendly!

This wall is comprised of cork! Beautiful AND sustainable!!

 A great solution for slanted ceilings
top photo:, middle photo:, 
bottom photo:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Ancient Wonderland

A wonderful client and entrepreneur, Hayko
photos courtesy of
When I walked into Hayko Fine Rug and Tapestries on the Upper East Side this summer, I was transported instantly to Istanbul. Ok, I have never been there, but it's what I imagined it to be. I was honored to be called in for a feng shui consultation by Hayko Oltaci, owner of this magical store. Hayko and I discussed what he was trying to achieve and together we used this information and various feng shui adjustments to help enhance his business. 

Believe it or not, this respite is right in the middle of New York City!

Many people usually ask me, "Is it ok to have old things in my home?" My answer to will vary according to what the person is referring to. If the objects in question are things left over from exes that make you cringe each time you look at it, I'd say better to get rid of them! But, if it's something that is infused with beautiful energy and brings you joy each time you see it, like one of Hayko's rugs, I would say cherish it and if possible, highlight it by putting it somewhere in your space where you see it all the time. This way you'll lift your chi each time you see it.

Get a glimpse of this talented man and his exquisite products and services in this video:

Hayko Oltaci from mehmet demirci on Vimeo.

Glorious. That is all I can say about the results of his hard work. If you are in the market for a fine rug, a rug weaving class or just haven't had time to take a vacation, go visit Hayko's store and have a cup of hot tea with him in the cafe. You too will be transported and well-taken care of.

Hayko Fine Rug and Tapestries, 857 Lexington Avenue at 65th Street, 2nd Floor. New York, NY 10065. 212.717.5400

Monday, December 6, 2010

An Organic Chi Boost

An unexpected chi enhancer

Looking for a holiday gift for that special someone? Me too. Luckily, my friend Pamela has created a new luxury organic beauty product called The Vanity Pillow. These beautiful pillows are for those who want to look and feel fabulous. It's a simple organic way to prevent wrinkles and relieve pressure on existing wrinkles, by gently supporting your head while you sleep, eliminating facial compression. Sign me up!

You know the scenario, you curl up on your side or on your face (egads!) and in the morning you end up looking like you aged another 20 years. I'm a light sleeper and I think this pillow will help me sleep more comfortably on my back. Not only will that do wonders for my face but also for my chi since I'll sleep better and feel more rested in the am. Yay!

Most people think that Feng Shui is just about moving furniture which affects the energy of the space and eventually you. That is true. But it can also work in reverse - if you have good, strong chi or energy, your space will be infused with your good energy and you'll get more work done, have happier relationships and more energy to do all the things you want to do.
It's that easy to look and feel rested! Your chi will thank you!
photos: Beth Schneck Photography

Best thing of all is that The Vanity Pillow team is generously offering iheartfengshui readers a 15% discount! Thanks Pamela! Just go to and use coupon Code: vpholidayheart at check out. Happy shopping and happy sleeping!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quality time with my Lonnymag

I love Lonnymag and I love this dressing room!
all photos:

I had a wonderfully long Thanksgiving weekend filled with food, friends and family. I worked on my metal element energy and throat chakra by singing some karaoke (believe it or not, I am an amateur!) and I even had some relaxing time to thumb through some of my favorite magazines. A perfect weekend. One magazine that I absolutely love is Lonnymag. It's an online magazine but believe me, the absence of the pages under your fingers will be quickly forgotten once you view all the beautiful interiors and products they feature. 

In the Oct/Nov issue, interior designer Celerie Kemble invites us into her home and it is a dream. Her black and white dressing room shouts luxury, relaxation and command. Celerie will never be startled while she is primping since she has a beautiful mirror that allows her to see behind her so that she stays rested and calm. The rest of her home is equally beautiful and elegant and you can see from the photos.

In complete command of the living room

This photo and view speak for themselves

If you haven't checked yet, do so today. Yes, I do miss the tactile feel of my now "old-school" design magazines, but I will just have to imagine now that my magazine is tucked under my my laptop. Definitely worth the trade off!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adventurous Advent Calendars

The calendar that sparked the idea!
photo: pottery barn

Ahh, the Advent Calendar. Regardless of religion, the concept of the advent calendar is thrilling for every child. Who wouldn't want to have a little surprise or chocolate for each of the 25 days until Christmas? I saw this calendar at Pottery Barn and was completely inspired. Why not integrate the idea of it into Feng Shui? And have some childlike fun while we're at it?
A whimsical calendar that can be made to match any decor

In Feng Shui, we recommend if you perform a task for a specific result, that you do it for 27 days. The number 9 and multiples of it are most auspicious in Feng Shui as 9 is the number of completion. I realize that advent calendars are only for 25 days. So here is my inspired suggestion. Buy an advent calendar that you love – or better yet, make one. When you are buying or making it, keep the intention in your mind of why you are buying it – More money is coming to me or I am powerful and inspired or a healthy, loving relationship is forming. Depending on your intention, fill each pouch or container with a saying, a poem, or an actual object that supports your main intention. For example, if you want a new relationship, in each pouch put two matching objects such as two movie tickets that would signify a fun activity that you and your partner will share. Do that each day until you get to day 26. On days 26 and 27, put these last things on your desk or nightstand so that you will be able to see them everyday and remind you of your intention.
 Two easy to make advent calendars

The purpose of this calendar is to not only beautify your space but to actively shift your qi around your issue and to remind yourself of the wonderful changes that are already happening around you. Most importantly have fun with this calendar!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Presto Wallpaper

Wallpaper that you can actually put up in no time!

Who doesn't love the look of modern wallpaper? It's an easy way to transform a room that needs a little TLC and a shift of qi and style.

One of my favorite motifs!
photos: Lolly Props

Enter Lolli Props. They created Tempaper which offers us the beauty of wall paper but without the headache of application and the fumes of dangerous chemicals. Their fun idea uses the ease of sticker technology for that instant gratification whether you are putting the paper up or changing it out. This is dangerous territory for me since I can see myself changing the paper every other week since it's so easy to do! See the video tutorial here and check out how simple it is to do:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enhancing Your Knowledge Gua

Marrying two things that I love - books and jewelry
photos: www.

Jewelry designer Jeremy Mays is my hero. In a time where most people are downloading ebooks to their ipads or Kindle, because of Jeremy I no longer have to fret over what will happen to the overabundance of printed books. He reincarnates books into beautiful objects that can continue to enhance our lives with his literary jewelry.

This shows how this ring was literally extracted from this book!
On the Feng Shui bagua, there is a section dedicated to skill, knowledge and wisdom (bottom left hand corner). Wearing one of these beautiful pieces of jewelry can help you enhance your knowledge gua where ever you may be.

Combining symbols of love, beauty, and wisdom

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bedbugs go to the Theatre

Ballerinas are not the only ones dancing at Lincoln Center
photo: ap photo/matt moyer

It was on the news today that bedbugs were found in the dressing rooms of Lincoln Center. You're probably wondering, "What do bedbugs have to do with Feng Shui?" I knew you'd ask. Feng Shui relates to many things but especially to mindfulness, your environment and your community. In my opinion, that easily applies to this morning's news flash.

I am a resident of NYC where inhabitants groan but simultaneously relish the idea of living in such close proximity to one another. Living in such tight quarters makes the meaning of community even more so important and it's inevitable that issues will arise.

Although not a bedbug expert, I offer you a few tips to get started on right away that will help the NYC environment overall, your local community and your own home:
  • Mindfulness - Buy a mattress and boxspring protector especially made to protect against bedbugs. Instead of worrying that you'll be the next victim, you can separate from that anxiety and take action. You can purchase these protectors on or at your local Bed Bath & Beyond. Just make sure that they have a zipper protector. Also, think before you toss your bags or clothes on the floor, on your bed or on fabric chairs or couches. This helps transport bedbugs. Hang them up on a hook if you can. Not only will you prevent bedbugs from spreading, your home will be more organized!

  • Environment - Start decluttering. Decluttering is one branch of Feng Shui. Bedbugs love to hide not only in your mattress and boxspring but in other things such as books, bags and other dark places. So while you are decluttering, also know that you are letting go of things that will help your qi (life force) better flow! One thing that's very important to point out is that bedbugs are not a matter of cleanliness. Anyone can get them. Just ask the residents of Park Avenue.

  • Community - Share your knowledge. Inform your friends and neighbors that bedbugs instances are on the rise if they don't know already. Without panicking them, suggest that the tips you have read here. Not only will you be helping your neighbors but also strengthening the community of your building or neighborhood by reaching out.
If you'd like more information about bedbugs, I would suggest websites such as this one that I found. I believe the MOST important thing with this bedbugs situation is to remain calm while taking action. Indeed it's a growing problem but with some precautions and communication, hopefully we can help bring awareness and slow it down.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lightbulb LOVE

Organically beautiful lightbulbs that are ALSO energy efficient!
image: Plumen

Why oh why is it so hard to find nice-looking light bulbs these days? Let me correct myself - Why oh why is it so hard to find nice-looking, energy-efficient light bulbs these days? As a Feng Shui Consultant and overall tree-hugger, I am thrilled beyond belief that almost everywhere you look, people are using the CFL spiral light bulbs to save energy and hopefully, the planet. But as a designer, it is depressing that we are all using the same sad-looking spiral light bulbs that are well, aesthetically depressing. And for those hard-core design junkies, they may even be reverting back to energy sucking versions in the name of style. Dilemma. 

Hark! Until I happened upon this ingenious design from English company Plumens. As their website states,
The Plumen bulb uses 80% less energy and lasts 8 times longer than incandescent bulbs, giving you the opportunity to purchase an ecological product with style. It works just like any low energy bulb but it has a lot more presence.

I'm so in love with these bulbs, I may have to travel to England to get some. Hmm, but I guess that would be negating by my carbon footprint. Darn.

See them in beautiful 3D here:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moon Cake Update

Obviously my first thought was not taking this picture!
photos: L Lanneau

Parents are awesome! In spirit of Moon Festival last week, my dear parents gave me some really beautiful and no-preserved-egg-in-the-center moon cakes. Here's to family!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chinese Moon Festival

Chinese lanterns seen during the moon festival

Although the weather is still pretty steamy in New York, it's hard to believe that fall is already here. At least according to the western calendar. I know that most of us are bummed that the warm and carefree days of summer are soon no more, but there are many things to welcome about the fall - leaves transforming into gorgeous colors, a slight chill in the air and the hint of the holiday festivities on the way.

For the Chinese, this entry into the fall is honored by a Mid-Autumn Moon Festival or the Festival of Lanterns. It marks the end of the Harvest season and family and friends usually gather and celebrate together to eat moon cakes like the beautiful ones shown below and light incense as offerings to the gods. I personally am not a fan of moon cakes as there is a really salty preserved egg in the center! Instead, I usually eat around it, enjoying the sweetness of the red bean paste and reflecting upon what I enjoyed about the summer and what I have to look forward to in the fall. Happy Moon Festival everyone!

Beautiful moon cakes at the Hilton Beijing

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What are you doing this weekend?

This weekend is going to be perfect beach weather! 

I hate to announce it, but the last weekend of the summer is upon us. Kids go back to school, days get shorter and we need to start unearthing sweaters (gasp). But hold on, we still have one weekend left and it's going to be a beautiful one! At least in New York. What are your plans to take advantage of this last summer hoorah?

Ice cream lifts my chi when I need it most!
image: susan chan

I am heading over to the U.S. Open. Oh and having some ice cream. It's free kid's day on Saturday at the U.S. Open and what better way to indulge my inner child during these last days of summer? If you plan to have a quieter weekend you can prep yourself by starting to bring some of the outdoors indoors in anticipation of the cooler months. Maybe that means bringing your herbs like mint and basil from outside and putting them on your window sill. Or making jam with the fresh peaches from the farmer's market. Whatever it is, do it slowly and consciously so you can be sure to make it an endless summer memory to lift your chi when you need it most.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sabbath Manifesto

After posting this blog, this is what my plugs will look like

I came across a site this week that has me hopeful that I can unplug from the computer more often than not. It's called Sabbath Manifesto and they explain: 
"The Sabbath Manifesto was developed in the same spirit as the Slow Movement, slow food, slow living, by a small group of artists, writers, filmmakers and media professionals who, while not particularly religious, felt a collective need to fight back against our increasingly fast-paced way of living. The idea is to take time off, deadlines and paperwork be damned....the ten principles are to be observed one day per week, from sunset to sunset."
My iphone will be sad but I'm sure it needs a rest too

I love it and can't wait to get started. In case you want to turn your gadgets off sooner than later, I have outlined their 10 fundamental guidelines below to help us frazzled folk heal our overloaded circuits.
1) Avoid technology
2) Connect with loved ones
3) Nurture your health
4) Get outside
5) Avoid commerce
6) Light candles
7) Drink wine
8) Eat bread
9) Find silence
10) Give back 
As you see, they are mostly Feng Shui principles that help cultivate our Chi. Being a francophile, I really love numbers 7 and 8. See you again once I'm rested and frenchified!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Art of Networking

An excellent Networking 101 tool by Lovely Design

What kind of networker are you?
a. Net-wah?
b. I sign up for everything but somehow always end up on my couch
c. I can be convincingly sociable when dragged to an event
d. I have 1 million contacts combined in Facebook and LinkedIn

The "Opportunities" section which is located on the bottom center of the Bagua is dedicated to everything that involves career, social connections, work and personal opportunities. Its color is black which in Feng Shui is represented by water, the kind of water that is deep and profound. Think for a moment where you stand in this department. Are you employed at a company and you're feeling stuck or overlooked for promotions? Are you a freelancer and find business prospects bleak? Well it sounds like your Opportunities section needs a bit paying attention to! Whether you are a brilliant networker or networking challenged, you need to literally start "stirring up the waters!"

There are many ways to do this in Feng Shui but an easy start would be to get your contacts in order. Gather and prune what you already have and create a system of how you will organize future contact information that comes in. Will you compile names in an old-fashioned rolodex like the lovely one above? Or you a tech genius and organize your your life on your computer? Whichever way you choose, be sure to make your contacts and calendar are synced to ensure that your calendar of events are flowing as effortlessly as the "ocean of people in which you swim." And most importantly, you must actually use the numbers and contact information. Open up doors for yourself, imagine the limitless horizon of opportunities. Once you've gotten this far, set your intention that this new attention you are giving to your networking will bring in innumerable opportunities that you would never have imagined!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Childhood memories

A familiar yet sometimes embarrassing sight for me growing up.  

I had a conversation with a colleague last week that I keeps me chuckling so I guess it's worth mentioning. I was telling him that I remember when I was growing up that my mom used to keep dried orange peels all over the house. Normal for a traditional Chinese family right? Since I grew up in the States, the "different" things my parents did caused me some embarrassment. I know, not a big deal now these days when foodies are experimenting with things like grasshopper tacos and would think nothing of throwing those dried peels in some quadruple latte concoction.

As a teen though, you can imagine my horrific reaction on the morning of Chinese New Year when I was about to wash my hair and my mom informed me, "No wash your hair today. Bad luck! Wash away good things" ....."but, but Mom! I have to wash my hair!" Chinese or not Chinese, you know the scenario. Just insert whatever you want in the "wash my hair" bit.

So fast forward a couple of decades. Here I am a Feng Shui Consultant and now my best friends are you guessed it, dried orange peels and Chi adjustments. Adjustments that help cultivate one's Chi or life force/energy - exactly the thing my mom didn't want me to wash out of my hair that dreaded teen morning. I'm still chuckling.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Organizing and Helpful Organizations

Container Store employees who gave us great organizing tips and tricks!

Last night, I went to a great event at the Container Store. Yes folks, an event at the Container Store. I know that it was Thursday night and there are tons of other fun things to do in NY. But I can't help it, I just love that store!! Besides it being the mecca for complete home and office organization, it supported a great cause last night. They joined forces with Step Up Women's Network, a national non-profit women's organization whose mission is 
strengthening community resources for women and girls. Through teen empowerment programs, professional mentorship, women’s health activities and social networking opportunities, we educate and activate our members to ensure that women and girls have the tools they need to create a better future.
What I loved most about their organization is some stats that they gave us last night - someone please correct me if I got this off a bit but this is the gist - in New York, 60% of kids graduate from high school. Through the Step Up program, 100% of the girls graduate from high school! Wow!!

Overall, a beautiful and well-organized networking event that reminded me of the some of the things I believe in and the multiple opportunities available to participate and contribute to these causes. In Feng Shui, there is a section on the Bagua that is for bringing in Helpful People (bottom right hand corner) into your life. Let's not forget that we can be a Helpful Person for someone else too. Check here for more information on Step Up Women's Network. Or find an organization that speaks to you and contribute back. Volunteering to help others is really one of the best way to move your own personal chi.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Central Park Summerstage - doesn't this look like fun???

Free music at Bryant Park!

But if you can't get outside, this is a beautiful way to bring 
the outdoors, indoors.  Interior Designer: Steven Gambrel

New York weather has been very good to us. Sure they has been a few sticky days but overall we've been pretty lucky with Mother Nature. We're already full speed into June. There are more daylight hours available. What have you done to start taking advantage of this short window of time that we have to be out of doors?

Of course I'm mentioning it because I'm guilty of the inside-the-walls syndrome. It's so easy these days to get mired in emails and phone calls, forgetting to eat lunch or even to get up to get a drink of water. I've made it a goal, a promise to my own personal Chi development to get outside more even if just for a short walk, breathe in fresh air or even - hang on to your seats workaholic New Yorkers - take a day off and head to the park or beach. I am determined not to let this summer slip through my fingers and neither should you. In case you are scratching your head saying, "I'm ready, but what should I do?" If you are in NY, here is a wonderful summer guide courtesy of the nice people at Vanity Fair of all the fun things going on and alot of them are free! So get out there and ENJOY!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Elevate Your Pet's Chi

Beautiful design for our furry friends too!

Who says that Feng Shui is just for humans? As our beloved cat Keiki (translation: Hawaiian for baby - awh!) gets older, it seems harder for her to bend down to eat her food. Why not also apply Feng Shui principles for her as well? As she is progressing in years, sadly her Chi seems to be slowly sinking. To help elevate her Chi and make it easier for her to chow down - or now chow up - I came across some really lovely yet functional elevated feeding bowls.

Wall mounted to whatever height you desire

This makes me want breakfast in bed!!

Designs from both vurv and trendy pet are sleek and simple. They also allow air and energy to flow under the bowls keeping pets happy and their necks less strained. My only difficult decision now is which awesome design I will choose. Any opinions Keiki?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bagua Love

Fun paintings by Sophie Blackall

I stumbled across this delicate artwork this weekend on Sophie Blackall's paintings appeal to my humorous, light side. Definitely something I'd like to see hanging in our apartment. What do you see when you first walk into your home or when you open your eyes in the morning? Does it make you instantly smile and your heart sing? If not, that needs to change and fast! Your Chi is directly affected by your surroundings, hence, Feng Shui. So make sure what surrounds you is beautiful in your eyes and makes you indescribably happy.

The best part about Sophie's work is that most of them are illustrations interpreting posts from craigslist's "missed connections" section. You can spy on some of the star-crossed lovers declarations below the art. How romantic! Definitely art that can be hung in your Relationship/Love section of your home!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coney Island Fever

What's not to love about this lounge chair? Besides the fact that it's a pretty nice looking recliner, it's actually made of Coney Island boardwalk planks! No kidding! I know what you are thinking...I'm sure that the creators, Uhuru Design did a thorough job cleaning the planks before the construction. I just love the fact that it reminds me of the Cyclone....cotton candy and hotdogs anyone???

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cardboard Box Trees

Wouldn't it be nice if these kids were not walking through this but.....

This?????? Now it's possible!!!

I deal with cardboard boxes all the time. Probably more than I'd like to. Aside from helping my clients organize, relocate and donate stuff (that's a separate blog entry), we've also moved homes quite a bit in the past 3 years. And during this process, I have obtained cardboard boxes in many different ways, but mostly in ways that hurt the earth in the most minimal way - recycling grocery boxes, purchasing boxes from where boxes are gently used and recycled (I've used them many times and are great), or inheriting them from recent craigslist re-locaters.

My all-natural sleeping pills

But when I saw this wonderful idea from The Life Box Company, a big smile creeped across my face. I can finally openly admit that I lay awake at night worrying about what happens to the these poor boxes once the last person is done with them. That is if it's not me of course.

So basically this is the recipe - Use your box/es. Reuse em until you can't or don't want to use em any more. Tear em up. Plant em in your garden. Add water and watch. In about 2 months, little trees will start growing! Eureka! I can now finally sleep soundly. I'll just have to resist the urge to plant them on my balcony with my tomatoes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What are you Thankful for?

Alright, I know the economy is lousy, the unemployment rate is the highest it's been in my lifetime and overall morale is pretty low. But you know what, I feel GREAT!!! How is that possible you may ask? Well I have taking my own Feng Shui medicine and counting my blessings and focusing on what I do have and not what I don't. Yup, it sounds simple but it's not an easy exercise at all. I can fall into the depths of self-pity as easily and quickly as the next person.

I'm finding with regular practice of mindfulness and appreciation coupled with Feng Shui adjustments that my little world is getting brighter every day. I'm not sweating the small stuff like the construction noise outside my apartment or the metro card I lost last week. Seen from this perspective, those are really minuscule things compared to how wealthy of my life really is. So think about it, what are you thankful for today?
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.    - Buddha
The Buddha knows what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Isn't a Catnip Garden

My own private garden

This must be a sign that I need to take a break from the big city and head to the country. I am wishing that everyone I know would send me this card so that I can have my very own gigantic indoor aboretum.
Besides bringing some nature chi into our lives, does the words "Chia Pet" mean anything? I'm a kid again! Now if that's not good Chi, I don't know what is. Take a look at this video and you'll see what I mean. Find your/my card here.

Now really, this is too much fun!