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Archive for May 5, 2012

Feng Shui Home Color Guide

Feng Shui Home Color Guide

 

The ancient art ofFeng Shuiacknowledges  the profound affect of  color on our  physical, emotional and spiritual  well being. According to Feng Shui colors are  connected to the five elements from the natural  world; fire, earth,  metal,  water and wood and play a significant role  in balancing our living spaces.

This is called the Five Elements theory and  it is at the foundation  of Feng  Shui and Chinese medicine. These  elements also have objects, shapes,  seasons,  body organs, chakra’s and  colors connected to them, but the color component is  often the most  powerful.

Listed below are the main rooms of the home and the best wall color choices  for them according to Feng Shui principles. Keep in mind there are other schools  of Feng Shui which may differ. This list comes out of the Western Form School philosophy which  is the one that I  write about and teach.

Use these suggestions as guidelines only. Pay attention  to  your intuition. It is our inner Geiger-counter and is always  seeking  health and balance. The colors you feel passionately about are  most likely the ones that you  actually need to surround  yourself with. Make sure the colors you choose are the ones  that make your heart sing!

Bedrooms:

  • Best colors: Earth tones, flesh tones pastels including  light sages, colors that are more muted.
  • Don’t recommend: Bright colors, fiery colors such as bright  reds, purples, pinks or oranges. Dark colors such as black, brown, greys, navy  blue or dark green are also not recommended.
  • Why? Bedrooms should be calm spaces to promote rest and  rejuvenation. The earth element is best in bedrooms to support being grounded.  Too bright colors are too active for bedrooms and too dark colors are too  depressing. We want the right amont of restfulness but not to the point that it  is depressing.For children’s bedrooms, make sure to NOT paint them purple or  pink. Use  a more restful sage green and accessorize with the purples and pinks   only. These are far too fiery for bedroom wall colors and most likely  you will  find you child will love the room during the day but won’t want  to sleep there  at night. See my article on Yin and Yang for a balanced home and Feng Shui for Children’s and Teen’s Rooms

Bathrooms:

  • Best colors: Earth tones, pastels, whites
  • Don’t recommend: Blues, dark ‘watery’ colors  such as  black, grey, navy, dark brown or green
  • Why? Bathrooms already have a lot of the water element  represented by mirrors along with water from the pipes. More blues adds more  water, creating an even greater in-balance. Earth, however, balances the water  element in the five elements cycle and brings this very watery room back into  elemental balance.

Kitchens:

  • Best Colors: Earth tones as well as brighter colors
  • Don’t recommend; Reds, black, navy blue, grey, dark brown,  dark green
  • Why? Kitchens should be happy active (Yang) spaces but they  also already have a lot of fire and water. The best element to balance both is  the earth element represented by earth tones and terra-cottas. These can be  bright yellow, golds, rich terra-cotta or any other brighter color. The earth  element supports being grounded. In kitchens we are working with fire and  knives, which are unsafe. Using colors from the water element such as black,  grey, dark blues, greens and browns promote a feeling of un-groundedness, they  can also be too depressing for what should be a more active and happy  space.

Dining Rooms:

  • Best colors: Earth tones, sage greens, pastels, more muted  colors
  • Don’t recommend: Reds, unless you want to eat a lot more… red stimulates everything, including appetite! Black, grey, navy blue, dark  green or dark brown are also too watery.
  • Why? Dining rooms should be calm, peaceful spaces. Earth  tones promote groundedness, which is what we need for good digestion. Use any  color that is more muted that you love, but make sure it is not a color from the  water element such as black, grey, navy blue, dark green or dark brown.The same  principles apply here as in bedrooms.

Home Office:

  • Best Colors; Brighter colors are fine for these more active  (Yang) spaces. Choose any color that you love. White and cream colors are  excellent for home offices because they represent the metal element which  supports mental clarity.
  • Don’t recommend; Darker tones or any color that reflects  the water element which is too floaty and ungrounded.
  • Why? Home offices should be more active so that you can get  things done. You can use the bolder colors here. This is not the room to be so  cozy that all you want to do is curl up and read a book!

Living Room and Family Rooms;

  • Same as Bedrooms and Dining rooms. Make them cozy and earthy with more muted  colors.

Exercise Rooms, Laundry Rooms, Hallways, Garages, Study Rooms and all  other rooms :

  • These are all active spaces and can be painted  brighter colors. Choose  the ones that you love and make your heart sing!

Tone it Down

Best rule of thumb for color is to tone it down two notches. The  color you choose on the swatch will not be what shows up on your walls.  If you  choose one or two colors lighter than that one, this will be closer to the  actual color you thought you choose once you get it on your walls,

Be careful with red. The color red comes from the fire element  which is meant to stimulate and get things moving. Use it sparingly in the rooms  that should be more calming spaces such as bedrooms, dining rooms and living  rooms. It is best to use reds for accessories, but not as wall color. If you are  passionate about having a red wall, choose a more muted red such as a burgundy  or a plum purple.

Live with it First

In working with my clients choosing color for their home, I always recommend  they get smaller cans of paint and paint the color choices (I always choose  three per room) on large sheets of construction or art paper, then tape them to  the walls and move them around. Live with them for several days so you can see  what they look like in different light. They may be considerably different  during the day than the night.

Painting is a commitment of time as well as finances. Don’t be in a hurry and  choose the wrong color. Also remember if it seems too bright for the more active  rooms, once you get the furniture in and art up, it will look very different and  may work out fine.

Go Green!

The best brand I have found for low VOC and non-toxic paint is Mythic Paint. Check them out and see if you can find a place  that carries it near you. Their ultra low odor paint provides the durability and  coverage you expect from premium paint without the off-gassing and  cancer-causing toxins that continue to emit years after drying.

If you would like a free Five Elements Color map which lists the  objects, shapes and colors that represent the Feng Shui five elements, click here, Enjoy!

By Erica Sofrina, Author of Small Changes Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western  World.

Erica Sofrina is a nationally recognized Feng Shui teacher, speaker and  author and the Founder of the Academy of Feng Shui. She is the author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western  World.

Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is a motivational speaker, author and life coach  specializing in connecting people to their spiritual essence. She is also an  Internationally recognized Feng Shui speaker, teacher and the author of the book  Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder  of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection.

 

5 Foods That Help You Sleep

5 Foods That Help You Sleep

Should you let yourself have that midnight snack if you’re having trouble  sleeping and you think hunger might be part of the problem? Here are five  foods that can actually help you drift off:

1. Cherries. Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only  natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body’s  internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries and found  high levels of melatonin recommend eating them an hour before bedtime or before  a trip when you want to sleep on the plane.

2. Bananas. Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle  relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino  acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn  is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and  melatonin.

3. Toast. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin  production, which induces sleep by speeding up the release of tryptophan and  serotonin, two brain chemicals that relax you and send you to sleep..

4. Oatmeal. Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal triggers a rise in  blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin production and the release of  sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which many  people take as a sleep aid.

5. Warm milk. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid  L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It’s also  high in calcium, which promotes sleep.

By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com  senior editor

Caring.com  was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other  loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet,  our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better  decisions, save time, and feel more supported. Caring.com provides the practical  information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need  during this challenging time.

5 Things to Do With Bad Wine

5 Things to Do With Bad Wine

Old wine, old wine. Hmm . . . well, it’s not a problem I often come  across,  to be perfectly honest. We’re pretty fond of spiky beverages,  ‘round these  parts. (Some of our neighbors here in Portland even send  their plumbers home with a bottle of wine.)

But  okay, I suppose it happens every now and again. A lonely bottle of   Chardonnay gets pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. Or a  post-party  Merlot gets left open, left out, for far too long to consider  salvageable.  These things happen to even the most dedicated of drinkers.

Then of course, there’s just the tragic occasion when a bottle, brand new and  freshly poured, simply . . . stinks. Much like electrical work, winemaking is an exact science. Sometimes  things just don’t come together.

Ah well. All’s not lost, my friends. As long as your wine isn’t growing fur  or smelling  like something long since dead, you still have options. Here are a few  ideas:

1. Cook with It.

Contrary  to popular belief (sorry Julia Child), it’s actually okay to cook  with  less-than-stellar wine. Blind taste tests have shown that as long as   you’re boiling, braising, or otherwise reducing the liquid, the quality  of the  wine isn’t so important. So add it to a slow-simmered stew or a  from-scratch  pasta sauce. Try an on-it’s-way-to-vinegar white for  cooking down onions or  mushrooms. Don’t worry – no one will be any the  wiser.

2. Bathe In It.

Yes, really!  It’s called vinotherapy and it’s a great way to make use of a  bottle  you opened but didn’t care for. Celebrities such as Teri Hatcher pour a   glass of red wine into the bath each day. The treatment is purported to  soften  the skin, as well as firming it up and adding elasticity. The  magic is  apparently in the resveratrol, a compound found in wine that’s a  powerful  antioxidant. And whether a wine bath really works or not, it  sure does sound  like a way to get some “me time” in the bathroom!

3. Make Artisan Red Wine Vinegar.

Red  wine vinegar comes in two main types: that stuff you buy at the store,   and the stuff that’s really amazing. Want to get your hands on the  amazing  kind? Then make it yourself!  It is a perfect project for wine  that’s already started to sour. It’s  actually very easy and man, the taste is  just incomparable.

4. Use It As Dye.

We’ve  all spent our fair share of time trying to remove red wine stains from  tablecloths, so there’s no doubt that the stuff has powerful staying  power.  This is a great project for a bottle that’s gone well past its  prime, since  there’s no ingesting or immersing involved. Wine-dyed  fabrics have a lovely “crafty” quality, much the same as the popular  tea-dyed look. Try it on linens  or comfy cotton, Boho-style garments,  and anything else that you want to endow  with an earthy, natural vibe.

5. Don’t Forget Compost.

For the bottle that’s really, actually gone, don’t worry – you still won’t  have to throw it away. Wine is completely compostable and can even act as a “starter” to give the bacteria in your heap a little “kick-start”.

By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

Foods that Boost Serotonin

Foods that Boost Serotonin

Serotonin plays an important role in regulating happiness, problem-solving and  concentration. When the level of serotonin fluctuates, it can directly change an  individual’s mood, sleep  patterns, appetite, memory, ability to learn and comprehend, body  temperature, heart performance and muscular functioning. A deficiency in  serotonin is sometimes regulated with medication but consuming specific food  items can boost the level of this chemical in the brain.

Fruits that Increase Serotonin

Various fruits boost serotonin and other mood-improving chemicals in the  brain. Plums, pineapple, bananas and sour cherries can directly influence  serotonin production. Bananas contain high levels of a chemical called  tryptophan. This chemical is converted to serotonin in the brain. Melatonin, a  chemical known for improving sleep, is found in sour cherries.

Serotonin Boost from Protein Sources

Turkey is another food known to contain high levels of tryptophan. Many  people report feeling drowsy after eating turkey. The sleepiness following a  large meal with turkey, such as the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, is somewhat  due to tryptophan and serotonin but it is also due to eating a larger quantity  of food. Other foods that can boost serotonin in the protein family include  eggs, beef, wild fish and most animals that are free of growth-promoting  hormones.

Carbohydrate-based Foods that Increase Serotonin

Carbohydrates can make a person feel full. Any grain or sugar-containing item  is usually considered to be a carbohydrate source. When an individual feels the  full sensation in the stomach, it can be rewarding in different ways. The person  may feel satisfied because basic nourishment has been fulfilled, but the brain  may also produce more serotonin as a result of the sugar and make up of the  carbohydrate-based food. Examples of carbohydrate foods include pasta, bread and  white potatoes. Dairy products consist of sugars that boost serotonin  production. Examples include milk, Swiss cheese and cheddar cheese. The cheeses  can increase other mood-boosting chemicals in the body having the same effect as  an increase in serotonin.

Sweet Treats Boost Mood

Eating a favored sweet treat, like dark chocolate, can increase mood not just  because it is so well-liked but also because it increases serotonin levels in  the brain. Some sugary snacks can lead to a dip in energy, causing the  individual to feel sleepy instead of energized or happier. For the purpose of  increasing serotonin, foods lower in sugar will have a more lasting effect.

Things to Consider

Every individual will respond differently to various foods. The exact  quantity of each food needed in order to increase serotonin has yet to be  determined. Eating foods known to boost serotonin is not a recommended method of  treatment for depression or other mood disorders associated with serotonin  deficiencies. Instead, mood-boosting foods can be eaten during illness or other  short-term events that cause a negative mood, fatigue, trouble concentrating and  sleep problems.

by Sarah  Harding, Contributor to Holistic  Nutrition on Allthingshealing.com

All Things Healing (allthingshealing.com) is an online  portal and community dedicated to informing and educating people across the  globe about alternative healing of mind, body, spirit and the planet at large.  We are committed to bringing together a worldwide community of individuals and  organizations who are working to heal themselves, each other, and the world. We  offer 39 healing categories, 80 plus editors who are experts in their fields, a  forum for each category, and an extensive “Find Practitioners” listing. Our  Costa Rica Learning Center and Spiritual Retreat is coming soon. Join  us!

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