Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Having Your First Ever Dinner Party? How To Tips and Hints

Having Your First Ever Dinner Party?

Maybe you have even tried them in the past and are afraid of doing it again. Why? It’s so easy and so much fun! It’s a lot easier than you would think too! There are though a few good points to know and have under your belt to help make your next dinner party a success.

First of all, why have a dinner party to begin with? It’s cheaper than going to a restaurant, you decide how you want the party to go, and even if you not the best cook, you can still have a lot of fun as will your guests.

I have recently found several couples which we have now started rotating every two weeks at the others’ place for dinner. We all have great laughs, maybe even play a silly game such as scattagories which require group effort, mandatory uncontrolled laughs while the coffee and tea is being made.

So you want to have a party…
Please allow me to share some ideas with you that I have found to be hugely successful when creating my next dinner party.

These important tasks and tips when hosting your first dinner party will have a huge effect on the actual success of your party. As I have had too many dinner parties to count at this point, it has become one of my more favorite ways to entertain not only for myself but for others as well. I find my friends keep asking me when my next party is, since everyone has such a good time at my parties – and why is that? For following these few and simple rules.

Being Organized
This is quite frankly the best advice I can give right off the start. I recently, during this last holiday season had three parties only days apart – and it felt like I was doing extra amount of dishes everyday, but each party went extremely well and since some of the guests that came were to be at one or more of these parties, I carefully prepared each party menu so as not to repeat myself with the food menu or themes. In fact I planned each menu and grocery list simultaneously and a extra good time was had by all, including me!

Planning Your Party Stage
First grab a pad of paper and a good pen, sitting down with some coffee or tea and being relaxed, look at your calendar and choose a date far enough in the future to be able to plan everything you think you may need. Give yourself at least two weeks if not more if this is your first dinner party.

Make a list of guests you are willing to feed.

  • Take in consideration the type of personalities that may show up. Try not to mix the heavy drinkers that you know with the non-drinking ones, as example, since this can create awkward environments for all. This may sound silly, but personalities count in having a successful party.
  • Will children be allowed? And who will watch them and even entertain them if they will be a part of the dinner party. (Personally, though I love kids, but at Dinner Parties, not always since this is a time when adults are allowed to be adults – maybe have a babysitter and place the kids in one of the other guests’ homes that are close by for a fun all kid get together.

Decide what sort of party you would like.

  • Will it be a sit down? Will it be a pot luck? Will it have a theme to it (say an Asian feel, since the Chinese New Year is coming up) or revolve around a game of sorts on the TV? All these factors will play into what you might like to serve at your party.
  • Another type of theme could be the type of food - say all French if doing the beef dish as beef bourgeinon.
  • Decorate with images you can find on the internet and print out on your printer to help theme be decorated through out your house. You do not need a lot of money for this...use your imagination - and heck, get the kids involved.
  • You can also simply choose one color to help create a party theme feel, say red and pink for the upcoming Valentine’s Day or Green for say St. Patrick's Day, or light pastel colors for Easter.
  • Choosing one or two colors make their point best, then choose linens, flowersm papered napkins to reflect the colors you chose and place them around will really set your place looking like yo u are a complete designer you knew inside you already were!

Make a list of foods you might like to serve at your party

  • This is not a final list of course, but to use as a starting point. Maybe you have seen recipes on the Food Network channel on TV that you would like to try.
  • I usually do a combo for a sit down, having some finger foods to get the party when people arrive and getting the party rolling while what ever I am cooking or roasting is warming, resting, finishing up or being reheated before dinner is served.
  • This will allow your guests who may have come super hungry to have a little bite to eat.

Decide what sorts of drinks you may want to serve

  • There are a variety of budget-friendly alternatives that will help “stretch-out” liquor should you decide to serve any.
  • I like to present my guests with several options when they enter the “party area” of your home. Having drinks already prepared and ready to be poured help create your party theme right from the start: casual, elegant, theme-based, whatever!
  • Create a party "punch" of some sort or specialty drink - have them ready in a pitcher as people arrive such as pretty sangria that helps stretch "the wine" when budgets are tight.
  • Have pretty glasses that never get used decorated with little umbrellas or cut up fruit slices on a stir straw for extra impact.
  • Have a non-alcohol version of drink available too so that drivers can feel the fun as well without worrying about getting people home safe.


  • Don’t forget the candles either, incense can be too strong for certain noses, but simple candles (being careful of pets of course and little kids especially) help create the atmosphere.
  • You can also switch out some of your light bulbs for interesting colored light bulbs – everyone looks great in pink

Preparing for your Party

What's Next To Do

  • Now that you have your guest list figured out, your theme selected and what sort of party you are throwing, send out those invitations.
  • Kindly ask guests to RSVP within one week prior of your set date to have the party so that you can get all the needed ingredients for your party in time without getting too much food.

Finalize your menu

  • Look at what you think you might like to serve at the party as food.
  • Have you tried these recipes before? I highly recommend doing dishes you have tried before and you have received compliments on, this is not necessarily the best time to do dishes that require a high-level of expertise and experience in cooking with odd ingredients that might cost you and arm and a leg leaving you no money left for alcohol and drinks or even party favors.
  • Create dishes that you know are already successful and crowd-pleasers.
  • You will have more fun at your own party and be more confident in what you are serving.
  • Simply decorate the dishes possibly a little more elaborately than you normally would with parsley, mint or basil sprigs and serve on those pretty platters you never get to use.

A Side story – my mother years ago used a caterer for a extra special event– and chose to hire a very well known caterer from Westchester, N.Y., but it was my mother who created the menu- the caterer owner was very surprised at my mom’s requesting some of the simplest of dishes – not only what it a huge success, the caterer owner then did an article in the New York Times commenting on how her clients were now requesting old-fashioned comfort foods – (our family only smiled knowing we were one of the reasons she said such a thing in the article – the owner knew this event was a huge success as well) – Point being, your menu does not have to be elaborate at all. If you make amazing mashed potatoes and meatloaf – then do that! Seriously!

Review your recipes from your dishes

  • are there any ingredients, especially spices that you will need to get in order to prepare these dishes – remember spices are costly, and keep that figure in your mind when preparing your menu.
  • When creating your menu, pay attention to any special detail like special cookware you might need, the required timing for when you should start and make the dishes paying attention to time when finished, if it can be reheated and monies needed for such.
  • I like to print out my menu for the guests who now have become accustomed and get a huge kick at looking at the menu (it’s also a conversation breaker in the beginning)
  • By having the menu handy for guests to read, I do this to also avoid anyone having issues with any guest who may have allergies I am not aware of - so many people are extra sensitive these days. Also make at least one or two side veggie never know whose a vegetarian these days, either.
  • Create your list of ingredients you will need for your party. Why set yourself to freak out the day of your party when the cake fell or you didn't have a last minute ingredient you forgot you needed?

Organize your grocery list

  • Plan to purchase your greens only one or two days before since that broccoli will certainly look horrid if you purchased two weeks before for example. Who wants icky looking broccoli?!?
  • Serving meat? If you are need a special cut such as a crown roast (super easy to do!) You will need to ask your butcher to order one for you. That’s what they are there for, in fact, you can easily ask them for ideas too what to serve. And don’t forget your fish monger either!
  • Breads? Purchase the day of your party which includes any desserts you may serve that you are not making yourself.
  • Don't forget to add ice, flowers, papered napkins for the bathroom, and toothpicks to your grocery list.

Cooking and preparation

  • Several days and on the day before your party, do as much as you can in preparing your meals and dishes since this will allow you the time to clean and decorate your house and have fun the day of your party. Remember you are to have fun!

Cleaning House

  • Clean the bathroom your guests will use. If you want, purchase pretty colored napkins for people to wipe their hands with. Make sure you have some nice lqiod hand soap too, since today people seem to prefer to use that.
  • Clean your kitchen too, since inevitably people will come into this area to help you (let them!)
  • And clean the areas the gusts will see, such as the front hall when they first come in and the living room and dining room areas.
  • In a jam? Simply throw everything into a guest bedroom or closet, no one will know! Though I usually use entertaining as the reason to clean up my house!
  • Coats, decide where these are going to hang or be placed. Your bed is a great place too if you have limited closet space. - So you may want to spruce up your bedroom too if this is the case with your coat placements.
Almost Ready -What to Do the Day before and Day of Your Party

Day Before Your Party
  • Decorate the day before, choose your linens and colors if you haven’t already.
  • Check dishes and platters you have decide to use, are there any that are dusty from non-use? Throw them in the dishwasher or hand wash accordingly, so that everything will look extra pretty – this goes for those drinking glasses you got from your Aunt Alison last year you never use.
  • Choose the music you will want to have. Remember as the evening goes, so should the music. So start with pleasing music as people arrive, reving it up a bit during the appetizer and drink time, then calming it down for dinner time and lastly, maybe bringing it up a notch while serving desserts and coffee and playing any board games you might have thought of trying.
  • Review your grocery list. Are there any items you still haven’t already purchased?
  • Buy your flowers and set them out so they open for tomorrow. I also like to put a few flowers in unexpected places like the bathroom and front hall so that they carry the theme I have chosen – even if the theme is simply colored based.
  • Review your cooking times and set up a schedule for today’s tasks and tasks for tomorrow on the day of your party.
  • Make any dips that are sour-creamed base.
  • Make any dishes like salsa, chili, chowder or anything you are making that you know tastes better the next day.
  • Cut up any veggies you may use in crudite – but put them in a zip lock bag filled with some ice cubes and place into fridge. Then tomorrow, you will only have to place them on a platter and you will be ready to go.
  • Prepare any dishes or at least set them up – those that can be made but not cooked the day before, say for example stuffing, caserole dishes, etc.
  • Do any last minute cleaning you might have forgotten about.
  • Choose your linens, make sure the glasses, dishes and platers you have choses are clean and ready to use.
  • Prepare your specialty drinks expect for the added soda, seltzers or alcohol and ice. Placing them in the fridge will help save you time tomorrow.

Day of Your Party

  • Why all this planning and preparing? So you can enjoy your dinner party of course!
  • If you are stuck in the kitchen, your guests will have to entertain themselves which can be awkward if there are a few newbies in the group.
  • Buy your last remaining fresh ingredients like the bread and vegetables.
  • Buy more ice than you think you need, especially true in the summer season.
  • Buy your flowers in you didn’t get them yesterday (you should have) to allow them to open in time for your party. Even a flowering plant is pretty. I like to put several around the house with one color using them to enhance my theme.
  • Prepare any appetizers you might need such as crudite.
  • Set out any cheese you will be serving at least one hour before your guests arrive, since cheese should be served at room temperature which is also when it tastes at its best.
  • Light any candles 10 minutes before guests are to arrive, and put on music.
  • Take a deep breath, know your guests can easily arrive later than you have planned – as mine always do.
  • So don’t start cooking the last minute part of your dishes until they have arrived.
  • As people arrive, take their coats, show them to your table you may have set aside for drinks and tell them to help themselves while putting away their coats.
  • When introducing people, say things like, "Oh John, let me introduce you to Susan whose in town for the mac convention - don't you love your mac, John? " Then walk away...let them chit chat about macs for awhile - this way the new people will have something to talk about versus just sitting on your couch hoping that the TV was on...
  • Serve finger foods and appetizers that can be served cold and/or at room temperature while you take a quick step into the kitchen to heat up any warm appetizers and begin to reheat your main dish if you are doing it this way.
  • Very important! Go with the may have planned one thing, but something can come up...I have had my peeps show literally one hour late..which would not have been good for the soufflé I had prepared...but I knew better, and had the prepared soufflé waiting to go in the oven when the guests did finally arrive.
  • So have some flexibility since people may not be ready to eat just yet, and wish to chit chat before sitting down to the table.

Have fun, it’s your party, you did all this great planning, no one will noticed you didn’t shake out the carpet, these are your friends, they love you for who you are and not what you are trying to be. And by the way I did received many oohs and ahs since the soufflé has such a wow factor.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feng Shui for Beginners Part III - Your Bedroom and Getting Ready for the Chinese New Year

SO you think you are having a good New Year? Well, luckily, the Chinese New Year starts on February 7th of this year. And after researching a variety of resources, I have come up with a list of things we all should do prior to the New Year. Some of them I found very interesting as I was unaware of certain rituals people follow and lo and behold, they do make a lot of sense in ensuring a good and prosperous year ahead.

The Chinese and other followers of Feng Shui practices do a lot to prepare for the New Year. There is so much information out there I almost didn't know where to start. In my last article, I mention the amazing properties of Sea Salt and the article prior to that talked about incense - if you are interested, here is some very affordable incense I use for purification purposes: Morning Star Sandalwood Incense (50 Sticks). Today I will help list things one ought to do PRIOR to the Chinese New Year.

By attacking some of these chores, as they will be for some, starting this process now will help ensure you have completed them by February 7th. So do yourself a favor and get out your calendar. Mark down the calendar when the Chinese New Year will be. Oddly enough, I have found several dates for the Chinese New Year - and I know they celebrate all week, so it was confusing to me as well. I have read it starts on the 4th, the 5th, the 7th and 8th. What gives with that? Maybe they wish to start celebrating early or making sure we have all completed the tasks at hand prior to the Chinese New Year.

What I have read has consistently mentioned the importance of completing these task prior to the start of the Chinese New year since you don't wish to bring any of the "bad luck" you may have had with you forward to the New Year - so here goes anything and everything....

Use your calendar to help mark down the necessary tasks I am about to mention will help you keep on track of this project - and hey who doesn't enjoy a calm and organized living space?

Clearing up the Clutter

Yes, I know I discussed this before, but it really is the most important task of all. And why bother you may ask? But getting rid of things that are no longer needed in your home will allow for new things to come into your home this includes most importantly good chi. As of today, we really have only three more weeks along with a couple of days to get these task completed, hey please do not think I have it all together either - I too must do a lot of work. Writing this article I am sure is cathartic for me in reminding me what I actually will need to accomplish for me to also ensure good luck for the coming Chinese New Year.

While you start these tasks, remind yourself frequently you are removing any unwanted negative energies and wash your hands frequently. You will see it will get easier as you go along through the piles of debris. In fact you will be amazed as to what you have collected over time.

You are going to need the following items:

  • garbage bags
  • incense - burning
  • nice happy music you enjoy
  • lights turned on
  • cleaning products, to wash your windows, dust your furniture, vacuum/mop to clean the floors -especially the dust bunnies under the bed!


Starting with this room might be the easiest, since when you start with the other rooms, you will have created a serene place to relax once you are finished and it will help start the process to have all the other rooms in your home clutter free. Get out garbage bags. One bag is for donating items. The other(s) for trash. Hey, you have seen enough of those TV shows that help people who are totally disorganized. And you can see what they go through, usually they never go back to their tired and disorganized ways. And hey, how many times have you bought something only to realize you had a duplicate already? It's a waste of money - and who wants that? No one.

Starting in the closet:

  1. Donate any clothes you simply have not worn for a year.
  2. Throw out any that are stained, torn, ripped, faded, etc. It is auspicious to only wear clothes that are clean, unstained and in good shape. Wearing torn and ripped clothes only brings in ripped and torn energy - you want that?!? Exactly what I thought, no, of course not.
  3. Look at those shoes too. Do any need to be repaired - well get them repaired! Toss any so old, they are screaming to be let free of their burden. Are any too small, hurt your feet - off they go for donation.
  4. Put back that you wish to keep in an organized fashion - you will now know where to find anything you need in your bedroom closet.
Windows and walls
  1. Wash windows inside and outside (if you can) - as this will allow the light to come in more freely - it's scary to see the amount of dirt which accumulates within the year. Vacuum/sweep the walls for any cobwebs or dust bunnies and do not forget the corners and behind any doors.
Furniture and Bed
  1. Clean thoroughly all furniture with polish, dust that TV, etc.
  2. Organize any wires hanging around the TV and equipment.
  3. Get under that bed and get any dust bunnies from underneath it. If you use under the bed for storage, now is a good time to look through those boxes, and remove/toss and donate any unnecessary items.
  4. Lastly, move around the furniture just a bit. Even an inch one way or another will help stimulate chi and assist in refreshing the chi in your sacred bedroom.
Good practices for your bedroom
  1. Do not have any mirrors facing the bed as this promotes outsides influences (infidelity) in one's relationship
  2. Do not have the bed where your feet hang out facing the door out. This is very bad luck as it is thought to "send you to the other world"
  3. Keep out any aquariums in your bedroom - again it soaks up any good chi.
  4. Keeping a symbolic turtle and placing it on your dresser for example is said to being good luck this next Chinese New Year.
  5. TV's are said to be like mirrors, and this is a tough one, since so many of us fall asleep with the TV on, but it is said, it should be covered up when one goes to sleep since it reflects - much like a mirror - see number 1 above.
  6. Hanging crystals in the windows helps bring in good luck as the multi colors reflected from the sun help new and good chi to come into your bedroom.
  7. Open the windows wide at least once a week, to not only allow fresh air into the room, but it also helps any stagnate chi get the heck out of your bedroom.
  8. Selecting the right kind of art is very important to Feng Shui practitioners, make sure any art on the walls especially of your bedroom, are happy and joyful looking. In other words, a picture of a horse reared with a grimacing face of fear would not at all be auspicious nor would it bring any good luck.
  9. If you are single - try and not make it too feminine, and by the way having room in your closet and drawers will actually help bring in the room for your new partners clothes. If they are stuffed to the gill, where the heck will you have room in your life for a partner?
  10. And lastly remember to keep this place serene. This is your night sanctuary. A place where you should have only good things happen it.
I have already attacked most of my bedroom, though I do still need to go through the storage boxes but this have to wait for later today.

Well, I am off to the Dentists for a tooth pulling - whoo hoo! Sounds like so much fun! But alas, I am getting even my mouth ready for the New Year - so that it too will bring me good luck - lol.
As always, stay tuned, my next article will discuss the living rooms and hallways.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Feng Shui for Beginners Part II - Sea Salt

Today's Subject: Sea Salt and Attracting Wealth Tips

Hello there once again! I hope you enjoyed yesterday's posting that mentioned a few ideas to help bring in prosperity and more love into your life. I actually went out yesterday and purchased sea salt to help clean my crystals and add good luck to my home. I will share more about the ideas of Sea Salt and its purifying abilities among with sharing even more ideas in bringing wealth into your life.

So what's the big deal about sea salt, and won't any kind of salt help? Nope. Sorry to inform you, but it has to be sea salt. It has to do with the negative ions from the moving sea that will help stimulate negative chi to move on and help attract the good kind of chi these exercises are determined to offer you. Table salt simply does not have these purifying properties.

So where do we start today? Let's first start with getting you some sea salt. Click here for the lowest prices I found on the web: Sea Salt, 2 lb. Sea salt is an all important tool in applying Feng Shui exercises and tasks to your rituals in help healing and clearing while cleaning chi around you and your home. You can find sea salt at your local grocery store, and do yourself a favor, do not try and get around by using table salt or even kosher salt - both of which I love using in my cooking - but this is for Feng Shui use. Of course, by all means, if you are buying the sea salt, use it freely in your cooking. I prefer to use the course sea salt as with all the types of salts I may use.

So you have now got your Sea Salt, what next? Here are a few tips on how Feng Shui practitioners recommend their clients to use in helping bring their clients luck and wealth.

  1. Place a teaspoon of sea salt and wrap it in plastic and place in your wallet in a secret compartment. Replace every ten days to ensure its potency. This is said to bring the owner of the wallet wealth...
  2. Place sea salt on the center and back side of your entrance door, this is said to also bring luck and wealth to all those who enter - and yes the changing it every ten days rule also applies here as well in ensuring its potency of bringing wealth luck and good chi.
  3. Also if you really are in a jam, placing sea salt in all the corners of your house - simply use little plastic containers - say the ones you may get when you ask for salad dressing on the side at a restaurant. Place the sea salt in them, cover them if you can, then place them in every corner wherever two walls meet. You may need an extra box of sea salt for this - but since sea salt is relatively inexpensive and you are in need of attracting wealth, this really helps absorb any negative energy you house may be harboring. Again, change every ten days.
The best time to do any or all of these tasks is on the start of the new moon. Since energy grows as the new moons grows into a full moon, where as energy dies down after the full moon.

There are many other uses for sea salt besides making your dishes taste great while helping bring wealth luck to you and into your home. Remember that yesterday I discussed the importance of cleaning up and removing any and all clutter from your home just prior to the Chinese New Year. This is also the best time to take any crystals, quartz and stones you may use to bring good energy into your home.

Wash them with soap, then, place in a bowl of salted water made from sea salt. If you can, even better is to let them soak overnight under the light of the full moon. The next day, you should also allow at least four hours in the sun to finish the cleansing process. This is said to remove last year's energies and replenish to good chi in your crystals and stones you have placed in your home.

The use of sun catchers also work great as do crystals that reflect all the colors of the rainbow. By hanging these in your windows where the sun shines in, the multi-faceted colors help keep and bring good chi into your home. This is especially important in your home office and bedroom along with your kitchen areas of your home.

As of this month's new moon, I did several of the rituals I have already mentioned here. I placed a dark blue mug and filled it to the brim with sea salt and placed it in my kitchen in a dry area which is said to bring happiness to couples. I also grabbed a little sea salt and placed it in plastic and placed it in my wallet. I also marked on my calendar when the ten days will be up so that I can recall to change the sea salt. I also did a few other rituals which I have been doing for months and that is going around on Fridays with burning incense to each of the rooms in my place and blessing each room and all who enters with health, happiness and harmony along with prosperity.

Any effect so far? Well, yes! I am pleased I was finally able to purchase today some very needed domain names prior to them being picked up by others. Some of these will be very important to me in the coming months as I have several projects I am now organizing and the need for these domain names in setting up these works online is extremely important. My outlook is very good and confidence high. I also noticed that my fellow and love of my life was suggesting new and interesting dinner ideas to help spruce up our dinners at home last night. Our relationship is smoother than ever and I am more confident with every day passing that I am in a "right and good" relationship that is healthy and harmonious. And hey, who doesn't want that in their life?

As for now, I am off to prepare for his returning home today as we are off to Pennsylvania tomorrow and look forward to having a weekend away (our first serious road trip) with another couple we enjoy spending time with. I am sure we are all to have fun! I'll need to pack some of my sea salt as my boyfriend and I are planning in taking purifying baths together...ahh the delight of a bathtub and the cleansing properties of sea salt! More to follow next week and as I always say...stay tuned...

Divaliscious Feng Shui Tips

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fen Shui for Beginners

Today's comment is not a rant at all, but in fact a rave. A rave on Feng Shui practices and behaviors. I have been applying Feng Shui practices to my business and to my home and personal well being for over three years and can say it does work. It definitely does work and does wonders for one's personal spirit.

But that means you must be at one with yourself. So many of us are too tired to apply anymore energy into anything but the essential tasks at hand from getting the kids to school then running off to work, to dealing with the late report that was due a few days ago to a grumbling boss only to come home to a house that you thought you cleaned only a few days ago, and somehow a tornado has hit the inside of the house.

Well just reading and typing that last paragraph, I know I hit home with several of you, maybe you are experiencing more debt than you would like, a broken relationship, etc. I have found a variety of useful websites so that you can get your Fen Shui on the fly and not be bothered with spending the extra dollars and time that we barely have to expend ourselves with to help assist you with your Feng Shui well being.

I promise you will at least enjoy doing some of the so called exercises in and around your home, and will share where I got this information from so that you too can get the books I have found so useful and this article will probably be at least a three parter. You simply cannot begin to get all the details one needs to have a more zen-filled life that brings more harmony, health and prosperity into your life in one simple article, let alone let people understand the workings of ying and yang that I am sure people have done several dissertations on.

Some of these suggestions are going to be so obvious, you may think why bother? But everything is interconnected - and hey you learned that one in your Freshman year in college! - So here goes anything...and well everything.

Before you start - some pointers on Feng Shui

Feng Shui can be practiced by anyone and everyone. In most cases, it does not cost a thing or can cost very little investment. You can do a lot of the interesting practices to help bring a better balance to your life. I would certainly assure you that your attitude will certainly have a lot to do with the success as you practice some of these interesting 'chores'. Hey who doesn't need more health, harmony and happiness in their lives as we live in these trying times?

I will also note that some of these practices or 'rituals' is what they really are, are going to sound quite silly. But if it's to promote all things good into your life, why not give it a shot and a good try? What have you got to lose? Nothing!

1) For starters, as you start these tasks of clearing away the clutter in your home, wash your hands often, as you attack a pile of papers that need to be addressed or any other task suggested here, remind yourself you are ridding your home of stagnant chi and you are creating a harmonious energy flowing home environment. This will only help your momentum keep going.

2) I would also suggest to put on all the lights in your home while you do this. Brighten up your world. This also helps see what you are doing, to locate those dust bunnies that just have to go while literally enlightening your home environment. Isn't is amazing for whens it's raining outside how just putting on the lights makes you feel safer more lively in your home? This applies very well when you are clearing your home for a better energy of chi to flow smoothly throughout your home which is the whole point of this exercise.

3) Open your windows. Let the fresh air flow throughout your home. Use of a fan may help for those that only have windows on one side say like in an apartment. The idea here is to have the air circulate and be refreshed. This brings in fresh chi into your home, which is essential as you move things about.

4) I would also burn incense as well while doing these chores, use something like sandlewood that helps to purify the surroundings.

Chine New Year will start on February 5th of this year.
While researching this article, I learned a few things that people do and not do as the New Year approaches, and since some of us are behind in our tasks, I mention them here now in January so that we can get ahead on them slightly since some of the tasks at hand will take more time than you anticipated. But I assure you, as you start to do some of these things around your house, you will notice subtle differences in your attitude (it will become more loving and generous) the energy of your home will greatly change (happier and livelier energy creating a harmonious environment for all to enjoy) and lastly all this work will get easier as you progress.

Many people who follow Feng Shui practices, will do a complete clean up of their home from top to bottom for when the Chinese New Year hits. This includes moving even is so very slightly the furniture that hasn't been moved at all for a year. The main idea is to move the stagnant energy that might be lingering in your home from the previous year. And even moving them literally once inch one way or another will help change the energy.

Here are just a few of my fave Fen Shui Rituals to get the fen shui ball rolling for this New Year...

1) Your Entry into Your Home/Apartment:
This space should be free of clutter. This helps good chi enter the home. This means no stacked piles of papers that need to be recycled, no pile of shoes littering the floor. In fact, haven't you noticed at least in the movies how people take off their shoes when entering an Asian house. You do not wish to bring in any "bad luck" or bad chi that came from the outside into your home. So start wearing slippers and shoes that are only used inside the house. The good part of this is that your floors will stay cleaner - that I am sure of.
The other reason besides helping keep your house cleaner, having the entry way into your home being clutter free is to help the good chi roam around this area. You will see this issue being pointed out again and again when it comes to applying feng shui practices in your home and in your office areas.
Now, some of us have kids and the entry way is where we leave all sorts of things that are needed for school, do your best to create bins for them to leave their school bags in or a sitting bench that has storage, etc.

2) Creating a Loving Bedroom Space
This one is interesting and is quite simple. Mind you I will be sharing many more tips about the bedroom and for each room in your house, I simply wanted to list a few tips here to help get you started. Make sure any mirrors in your bedroom do not directly face your bed. Now what you do with watching yourself and your partner on your own time is one thing. But when you are not doing "it" in this way (which is none of my feng shui business quite frankly) make sure you face the mirrors away from looking at your bed. This helps keep matrimonial faithfulness. Or in other words, having a mirror facing your bed can actually bring outside energies into entering your relationship.

Trust me, this one works. As I have experienced the mirror issue vs. marriage faithfulness personally. Hence, why I am mentioning it here first.

Also keep the bedroom clutter free. This is to be a restful space. Sweep under that bed and get all those cobwebs out from under it and just watch the change in your love life!

3) Keeping that Kitchen Clean and Clutter Free
We spend so much time in our kitchens, this is essential place to start allowing good chi to roam free around your living space. As this will help affect everything. Attack that fridge, I do this every week actually, and I really dislike doing the dishes, but as I look at the pile, I always remind myself of its positive energies if its clutter free and clean.

Always throw out old food that has gone bad, by keeping them in your fridge you are only helping stagnant chi remain and grow like the mold on that cheese that's been sitting there on the back top shelf of your refrigerator.

Do your best to create a space where all papers go and come. This would not be in the kitchen if you could handle it, my feng shui suggestion. Its amazing how we collect paper in our world. So create a place in your home where these will stay so that you have only one place to attack your paper pile - and cleaning this pile should be done weekly if not everyday.

4) Attracting more wealth into your life and career
There are so many rituals to help bring wealth into your life, but I will only mention a few here as I will list many more in the next part of this article.

1) I love this one: Take some incense, light it, and using a figure eight or rather an infinity sign on its side, go from one room to the next letting the smoke hit every corner of every room. As you go about the rooms in a clockwise direction you are to say a mantra for the things you wish to materialize. You are to do this seven times, and yes its going to be silly, but I tell you this works. It's been amazing when I needed more clients and had a cash flow problem, I would do this ritual and literally within hours I had results, in some cases, I had results in minutes as the clients would be calling me for orders....

The mantra can be something like this, and I quote: "I bless this house with loving energy for all that enters, and who live here, including (list occupants and don't forget the pets). I bless myself, and ..... with prosperity, health and happiness. The happiness, healthiness and prosperity comes to me now."

And as I mentioned, circle the inside of every room clockwise with the lit incense while saying this mantra. Remember the mantra can be anything (positive) that you would like in your life, say a new job, a better job, a happier home environment, etc. just make sure you know its possible, have faith, yes, faith regardless of your religion or lack of in knowing all is possible if you simply ask for it with the right attitude. Help yourself and you will receive help.

2) Another is using Sea Salt filled in a black or dark navy blue ceramic mug and placing it in your kitchen. Change this every ten days and start this on the new moon. This practice is to help kill any bad luck you may be having and is said to help seriously bring happiness to couples.

3) Lastly, and I love this one, get some dirt yes earth dirt from someone who is wealthy - or a pebble could work too, and place this in a little plastic baggy and keep it in your wallet. This is said to help bring you wealth like this wealthy person has.

Well what else can I say? But, Good Luck! And let me know if you tried any of these rituals and their workings on your life and career.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Happy New Year Message

Today's rant is simple. Why do we have to improve ourselves? Why do we even try? Why do we even write out the same resolutions every year?

I looked up at my list, I could have used the same list from several years ago, and quite frankly, even a few decades ago. Is that embarrassing for me? Well, of course it is. But as I age with every New Year since it's my birthday, I become more wise, but obviously not wise enough to have earned the ability to write new resolutions!

Though I know it has become human nature to want to improve ourselves, for our children's sake, etc. - though I don't have any of those, except for the pets. We, it seems always wish for a few of the same things over and over again: a better job, to lose weight, more wealth in our lives, a new love, better communication with our loved ones, a great vacation, etc. This list could go on with specifics, but you know what is on your list. And I am sure there is one item I listed above that is on your own list. I know it is, so don't even try to hide it.

I start this year one year older than last, though as always, I feel this is the year I am finally going to do something about it or them, my long list of resolutions. Though I do believe there were a few years there that I did not actually write them down, what for - I asked myself? Especially since it seems it's always the same list. I should just change the year.

Oddly though, writing out 2008 was easier this year than last. It usually takes my into March when my hand finally decides it's the next year and stops making mistakes, I know I am not alone in this. But that's how it goes.

Let's all hope for a great year, in getting the exercise we need, to ability to lose and keep those extra pounds off, and the verve and energy to at least try to stop smoking , finding that great job, saving more money, etc. May you all at least complete your list and have success in at least a few of those resolutions on your list! I know I am going to try once again!

Happy New Year 2008!