Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn Credits: Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn
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Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.
At her baby shower two years ago, Jessica Stewart received three mini motorcycle jackets and a tiny pair of jewel-encrusted high top sneakers. “They were super cute gifts given to me by well-meaning friends without kids, and they were totally impractical, “ Jessica recalls. “My older sister, who had a two year old, was the one who gave me the best baby gift. It was a bag full of the essentials: newborn diapers and diaper rash cream, a set of bottles, baby nail clippers, a pack of soothers and some stretch mark cream. It was what my baby and I really needed and we used every item within the first two weeks.”
Jessica now makes it her mission to give practical, smart baby gifts to all of her friends. “Before I had a kid, I thought that those hand-knit, artisan, one of a kind sweaters were a great gift. I’m a bit embarrassed about those now that I know how silly it is to pull itchy wool over a newborn’s head.”
Jessica’s go-to shower gift is a homemade keepsakes box filled with baby must-haves: baby lotion, bottles and a nipple variety pack, soothers and a receiving blanket. “The items are all things a new baby needs and the box can be kept to store mementos from the first year, like the newborn cap from the hospital, the ankle bracelet, first pictures, that home-from-the-hospital outfit and more. My mom friends tell me consistently that this is the best gift they received at their shower.”
The next time you receive a baby shower invite or need a gift for a newborn, consider those essentials that baby really needs. Research from PlaytexBaby™ shows that close to two-thirds of new moms receive an impractical gift, while the items that new moms say they really want include diapers, onesies, books, toys and bottles. Moms also say that they love gift cards, so if you are unsure of what to get, a baby store gift card is always a good option.
From September 30 to October 31, PlaytexBaby™ and Babies “R” Us® are making gift-giving easier. With every $40 purchase, before tax, of PlaytexBaby™ essentials, you will receive a bonus $10 gift card.* You can add the gift card to your baby gift to help out mom even more, or keep it for your next purchase. To learn more about this offer click here.
*Excluding all Playtex® Diaper Genie Products®. Program valid from September 30 to October 31, 2016 in store and online. Conditions apply.