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The Challenge of Combining Households

Tue May 19 2015 | Author: Carol Olmstead
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It’s spring wedding season, and that means clients start contacting me to help with the challenge of combining households and dealing with all that extra stuff. When a couple moves in together and combines furniture, art, and decoration, they often end up with more than they need, and it gets really complicated when one partner doesn’t even like the other partner’s tchotchkes.

My client Lena wrote with the good news that she was engaged to Daniel, the man of her dreams, but that moving in with him was a challenge. Fortunately, Feng Shui principles can help the couple decide what to keep and what to toss.

First, we started with the master bedroom, which is the most challenging, and also the most important, room for any couple. Lena didn’t know if she should move her furniture or use Daniel’s. I told Lena that the first decision was to make sure both she and Daniel liked all of the bedroom furniture. If any piece didn’t fit in with the others, or if one of them truly disliked it, it was a better Feng Shui choice to replace it all.

Lena thought the photo of Daniel’s deceased grandfather that he kept on his dresser was “creepy” (her words), but didn’t know how to ask Daniel to move it. I explained that the only photos in a master bedroom should be of the couple - no children, parents, grandparents. Photos of deceased relatives could be displayed in the Family Area or Helpful People Area, and moving the grandfather’s picture to a more public area would better honoring his memory. I recommended she use this as an opportunity to take an engagement photo for their bedroom.

Daniel kept a teddy bear on his bed that he long ago received as a birthday present from his now-grown daughter. Lena already knew that the bear had to go, especially since Daniel’s relationship with his daughter was currently strained. I suggested packing away the bear and instead displaying a current photo of the daughter in their family room near a picture of Lena and Daniel to symbolize a healthy relationship among the three of them.

Lena didn’t like the two black ceramic cats that Daniel bought on a business trip to China before he met Lena. While Feng Shui principles do suggest keeping things in pairs in the bedroom, if Lena doesn’t like the cats they shouldn’t be in the bedroom. We decided that Daniel could relocate the statues to his home office as a reminder of his profitable business travels. Lena and Daniel are planning to look for a pair of objects to display in their bedroom when they go on vacation next month.

If you’re getting married this spring, or like Lena and Daniel you’re moving in together, have you thought about the things you’re willing to give up? And if you’ve been together for a while, do you secretly despise some of your partner’s “stuff?” The new energy of spring might be the perfect time for a Feng Shui face-off.

Posted in: Love & Romance | Tags: feng shui, wedding, love, marriage, bedroom


A Different Kind of Valentine's Day Tip

Sun Feb 08 2015 | Author: Carol Olmstead
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Tell me they didn’t really do this: Australia-based Jetstar Airways teamed with a Feng Shui Master to launch a Valentine’s campaign called “Love is in the Zodiac Pair” that supposedly uses Feng Shui to match compatible single flyers, then chooses the best seats, destinations, and activities to make them fall in love. For example, single flyers born in the Year of Horse are matched with flyers born in the Year of the Goat, and these couples should sit in row nine, 19 or 29 and travel to Jakarta.

Wait, it gets worse.

In the first seven hours after the campaign's launch, the site had already received more than 5,000 applications.

OK, shoot me now.

It ticks me off when anyone trivializes Feng Shui because I’ve seen it work for so many people, and it’s an especially cheap shot for Jetstar to invoke love and Valentine’s Day. This holiday already makes a whole lot of people feel insecure with its focus on idolized versions of love and the perfect way to spend the day.

Yes, I’ve been as guilty as every other Feng Shui practitioner who writes about Valentine’s Day. Right now the Articles Section of my web site includes 27 Feng Shui Tips to Rev Up Your Romance, Feng Shui Tips to Attract Love, and Romantic Dining Ideas. That last one even got me a mention in the Washington Post a few years ago. Mea culpa!

Does there really need to be so much pressure on one day of the year? My husband and I stopped going out on Valentine’s Day years ago because we got tired of the “assembly line” way restaurants handled the crush of diners. We discovered that if we go out the very next evening or a few nights later, the prices are back to normal and we don’t have to settle for their prix fixe menus. Lovely.

So, this year I’m offering some different tips for Valentine’s Day instead of my usual “rev up your love life” post.

First, let’s talk about how to be alone on V-day. In her great newsletter, Relationship Specialist Kelly Chisholm shares sage advice for spending Valentine’s Day alone in the article “How to Cope With Being Alone on Valentine's Day.” The tips range from getting together with single friends or special relatives and expanding your notion of what type of love this day is meant to celebrate. The message is that a Valentine can be anyone who’s special to you, including you - and that’s where the Feng Shui comes in.

The upper right area of your home is usually referred to as the Love/Relationship Area of the Feng Shui bagua, but it’s also related to self-esteem and self-love. So here’s my different kind of Feng Shui love tip: Plan to do some clearing and rearranging in that area on Valentine’s Day and you just might reap rewards beyond a box of chocolates and a red rose.

Posted in: Love & Romance | Tags: feng shui, Valentine's Day, love, relationship


Make Room For a Relationship

Fri Feb 07 2014 | Author: Carol Olmstead
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In this month of Valentine’s Day, I want to share one of my favorite Feng Shui success stories, plus some tips for attracting the perfect partner or revving up the romance you already have.

First, the success story...

My client Lisa wanted to attract a new love, but her small apartment was stuffed with too many things and there was no room for anyone to join her. I recommended she clear out her closet to make room for a lover's clothes, then add some masculine hangers for him to hang them on. Soon after Lisa made these changes she found love in an unexpected place.

Here's what Lisa wrote:

Shortly after I cleared my closet and put in those "man" hangers you recommended, I met someone in the oddest of places - my nail salon. I went to get a pedicure at the salon near my home and started talking to this handsome man sitting in the chair next to me. I couldn't stop thinking about him so the next day I left my business card at the salon in case he came in again. Turns out, he came into the salon the day after I left the card. He called to say he'd been thinking about me but didn't know how to reach me. We started dating then and now we're engaged. It's another great example of Feng Shui working.

Next, the tips...

Want to make Feng Shui work for you this Valentine's Day? Start by removing clutter and all that "stuff" from your house to open up space for the perfect partner to come into your life. Even if you are already in a loving relationship, clearing clutter will strengthen it. Your goal is to free up 25% of the space in your home, especially your bedroom, for someone else’s things.

Start with these critical places:
• Clear out your bedroom closet, so there will be room for your lover’s clothes, and add some extra hangers.
• Throw away old food like leftovers from the refrigerator and packages of stale crackers and broken chips from the pantry to leave space for another person’s favorite foods.
• Toss expired prescriptions and used-up toothpaste tubes to make an opening in the medicine cabinet or bathroom vanity for a lover’s toiletries.
• Clear off one of the night tables in the bedroom and empty at least one drawer so there will be an open space for a new partner’s items.
• Clear your bed of extra decorative pillows, throws, and stuffed animals so there will be room for a lover to join you in bed.
• Get rid of the art with single or solitary images in your bedroom and replace it with images that are romantic, paired, and coupled.


Posted in: Love & Romance | Tags: feng shui, love, romance, relationship, Valentine's Day


Romantic Dining Ideas

Sat Feb 16 2013 | Author: Carol Olmstead
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It doesn't need to be Valentine's day or your anniversary to plan a romantic dinner for two, just be sure to include some Feng Shui to help set the mood and create the perfect romantic setting. Feng Shui principles teach that by making a person feel good about his or her surroundings, we also make that person feel good about being with us.

The ideal table for two is square or round, with no more than two extra chairs. Too many chairs can make you feel like you’re having a party and the guests didn’t show, instead of making you feel romantic. If your table is a long rectangle, remove some of the chairs and set two places at one end of the table. Place a flower arrangement or other decorative object at the other end of the table to fill up the space. A long table feels empty and can put a strain on intimacy and conversation.

Arrange seating in a cozy arrangement to boost love and romance. Place chairs at right angles, and avoid sitting across from your dining partner because this is considered a “confrontational” position. And be sure to seat your guest facing away from the kitchen rather than into it, so any clutter and dirty dishes won’t break the romantic mood. If you have a dimmer switch, lower the lighting to soften the mood.

Decorate your table with the color red, the traditional color of love and romance. Red also represents the Fire Element in Feng Shui, and using it to decorate your table brings passion to the occasion. Choose pairs of red objects rather than single items to symbolize a coupled relationship, such as a pair of red placements, two red crystal hearts, or a red ceramic vase with two flowers. Place all of your pairs side-by-side rather then spacing them far apart on the dining table or anywhere else in the room. Don’t forget to light a pair of candles, since we all look and feel better in candle light. And make sure you wear something red to activate your own personal Fire Element energy.

If your Feng Shui table flowers includes roses, be sure to remove the thorns. Thorns represent hardship, so removing them represents a smooth relationship. Another flower option is a pair of peonies because these are called the “flowers of love” in Chinese Feng Shui. Tulips are another romantic flower choice. Choose the color of your flowers based on what you are seeking in your relationship: red represents marriage, pink and peach symbolize young love, yellow represents deep friendship, white symbolizes purity in your relationship.

Feng Shui philosophy believes that “you are what you see.” That means you can make your dinner companion feel welcome by removing any artwork that shows only a single person or images reflecting loneliness. Instead, display art that shows happy, loving couples. And of course remove any objects you received from a past love.

Don’t forget to “ignite” the Love Area of the room where you are dining. This is the upper right hand corner as you are looking into the room from its main entrance. Make this area as romantic as possible by adding things like artwork showing a couple kissing, a bouquet of fragrant flowers, or a beautiful lamp to represent a glowing relationship. Move unromantic objects out of this area, especially the trashcan, desk, children’s schoolwork, or the cat’s litter box. Be sure to remove all clutter from the room. Clutter symbolizes “postponed decisions” and “the inability to move forward,” which is something you certainly don’t want to encourage.

Open your windows before your dinner to let out the old, stale air and bring in the new fresh chi. Even if it’s too cold and you can only keep them open for a few minutes, you will symbolically make room for a fresh romance to enter your life.

I originally posted this article in the International Feng Shui Guild Blog.

Posted in: Love & Romance | Tags: feng shui, romantic dining, love, roses




© Copyright 2017, Carol Olmstead