Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your Home as a Safe Haven

In these times of economic upheaval, it’s tough to keep stress levels down. Most of us know some ways to keep stress in control; eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise, meditate. But, did you know that making your home a safe haven can also be extremely beneficial?

The other day, Oprah had Peter Walsh, the organizational expert on her show. The segment was about clutter and how it’s the last thing we need in troubled times, as clutter makes us feel unsafe and anxious.

As an eco-friendly interior designer and Feng Shui expert, I have had the honor of helping many clients transform their lives by changing their homes. Living in a home filled with positive energy, with beauty, a home that is clean, organized and clutter-free makes the occupants feel safe. In safety comes freedom; freedom to be creative, to be motivated and energetic.

Best of all, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to create your sanctuary. I recommend the following steps to create your safe haven:

· Eliminate harmful products and replace them with eco-friendly ones. This step will improve your health and the health of the planet.

· Clean your home well and get rid of clutter! This is huge and you can even make money by selling your stuff! A clean home is a healthier home and just feels good. Clutter, as mentioned previously, causes stress, confusion, depression and lethargy. Get rid of anything you don’t love, need or have used for over a year.

· Clear your home of negative energy with smudging or dowsing. See a previous post of mine on smudging.

· Get rid of processed food and eat wholesome and organic.

· Allow energy, or chi, to flow unobstructed throughout your home. Don’t crowd furniture.

· Use color to your benefit. The cool colors, like blue and purple, are great in the bedroom because they lower blood pressure and help us relax. Social rooms, like the kitchen and living room, benefit from the warm, expansive colors like yellow, red, and orange.

· Place objects in the Bagua to attract whatever you want—love, money, fame.

· Balance each room with all four elements—earth, air, fire, and water.

· Houseplants add great energy and suck up indoor air pollution.

· Treat yourself to flowers every week—simply my favorite way to make my home feel like a sanctuary.

· Learn to decorate with confidence! Don’t worry about what’s in style—decorate to please your unique style.

One last suggestion--have fun while doing this! Transforming your home into a sanctuary is really enjoyable—something we all need a bit of now.

By the author of the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview on The Benefits of getting Rid of Clutter

Love To Know posted their interview with me about the benefits of getting rid of clutter. I discuss the benefits of cleaning and getting rid of clutter, how to decide what is clutter, and tips on getting rid of stuff. Get an early start to spring cleaning and read interview!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Have a Green Valentine’s Day!

First, some bad news…those roses that are such popular Valentine’s Day gifts are probably from Columbia in South America, where they are heavily doused with chemicals. Pesticides usage isn't regulated in Columbia and they pose a great threat to the health of the workers. Pesticide run-off also poisons the waterways and land, sickening fish and wildlife. Even the handling of the roses by florists isn’t safe. If you see white residue on roses—or other flowers—those are pesticides. So, if you are going to buy roses for V-day, make them organic and/or from the US or Holland.

The following are some green alternatives for the holiday. With few exceptions, even a green gift leaves some imprint on the planet. Instead of exchanging material gifts, an eco-friendly option is to exchange services. Something romantic, like massages, or breakfast in bed, or trade favors.

If you give or receive any gift that isn’t liked, it isn’t green, as it is unwanted and will not be used. My husband and I do an alternative to gift exchanging. When we first met, we bought each other gifts. As the years went by, however, we realized that gift-giving was nearly impossible.

However, my husband and I do enjoy artwork and hand-made crafts and buying them together. Just after we moved into our new home, we found a beautiful, eco-friendly, wall fountain that was perfect for our entryway. So, we bought it for our birthdays, which are 12 days apart. Somehow, the fountain feels more special because we bought it together to celebrate our births.

We stick to natural hand-made products and artwork—so it’s green. Plus, because we buy only what we love, we will have these things forever—they are objects that someone will always want and art will never find its way into landfill.

You can find art in your local community, at art and craft fairs, on vacations, even online. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money and your purchases helps support the individual and the arts. And, you get to live with unique and beautiful pieces.

If you are just getting into a green lifestyle, I know it can be confusing to determine what is and isn’t green. The following is a basic guide.

· The closer to home the better—less transportation equals less pollution from transportation.

· Products made from renewable resources are good; non-renewable, meaning only finite amounts of the product are available, are bad.

· Avoid the use of petrochemicals whenever possible. Petrochemicals come from oil which is a finite resource. When burned—like in your car—it emits CO2, which is bad for the environment. Used in a wide variety of products, chemicals can outgass into your home and make you sick; plastic containers in the microwave leech into food. Finally, petrochemical-based products take forever to disintegrate and as they do, they leech into the ground and water. All plastic, synthetic products, chemicals and more come from oil. Whenever you can, avoid using.

· Recycled anything is good—paper, aluminum, glass, etc.

· Wood from sustainable, renewable forests is good. Bamboo is good.

· Think natural, non-toxic, abundant, and biodegradable.

Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shredded Vegetables

I am always looking for new vegetables and recipes to keep them interesting. I love this recipes, because it tastes great, cooks quickly and is easy to prepare if you have a food processor. I've tried many different combinations, but last night used celery root, broccoli stems and choyote and my husband and I loved it!

Use any of the following and shred in food processor:

Carrots, peeled
Broccoli stems, remove hard outer coat
Celery Root, peeled
Jicama, peeled
Choyote, pit removed

Shred vegetables and cook 5-10 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and some lemon juice.