How to Spring Clean & Green your Beauty Cabinet with Anjie Cho

featured this month on Modern Minerals by Mo Mi

  image credit: Lotus Wei

image credit: Lotus Wei

In the late summer of 2015, I was in Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan where I found a book titled “108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces“. I was in a bit of a rush, but snapped a photo of this because I knew this was something I needed to read. At the time I was with my Mom and said “I would love to meet this designer one day”. A year later, my friend Katie Hess invited me to a super moon soirée on the roof top of building in Flatiron. I sat down next to Anjie and we started talking and I immediately knew we were going to be friends. It wasn’t until in 2017 that I had finally got around to organizing my photos when I found this photo I had taken in 2015 to remind me I wanted to read this book, and to my surprise the author was my incredible friend Anjie Cho! Since getting to know Anjie and watching her on YouTube, I often turn to Anjie when I’m feeling like something could be made better or for practical solutions to improve the flow of energy and balance in my space. Learn more from her podcasts HERE.

I wanted to find out more about Anjie for some advice on how to Spring Clean our beauty cabinets and asked her for some advice…Check it out! full article

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a Garage and Second Level

Feng Shui for a Garage and Second Level.jpg

My garage is located at the center, beside the house with a door linked to the house. The house is longer than the garage. Is the garage included in the bagua? If so, the second level, will have a huge missing spot.

Earl, on Q&A Sunday: BTB and Flying Star Bagua Layouts

Feng Shui for Garage and Second Level - Floor Plan.jpg

Hi Earl,

Thank you for commenting on our blog post: Q&A Sunday: BTB and Flying Star Bagua Layouts, and this is a great question!

To provide a specific, personalized answer to your questions we need to see your floor plan, but since you haven’t sent one in, I can answer more generally.

Yes, the garage is typically included in the feng shui bagua layout if it’s connected to the house. The layout will depend on the entire floor plan, and remember the bagua is aligned at the front door. The image to the right is an example of a floor plan with an attached garage with the bagua overlaid. You can find more information on the bagua here.

Your second question concerns using the same bagua and bringing it up on the second level. In your case, if you do that, you’d have a large missing area. But there's good news! Each level of a home has a different bagua based on how you are positioned when you step foot on that floor from the stairs. So there may or may not be a missing area, but again this depends on your floor plan.

Of course, my recommendation is to send in a floor plan so that I can address your specific situation. If that isn't an option, remember these two points:

  • Align the feng shui bagua with the front door
  • You can work with multiple baguas based on each level.

Many of our readers have sent in specific bagua questions, so I encourage you to take a look at those Q&As for more advice! I've included a few below:

Q&A Sunday: Laying a Bagua with Unusual Door Placement
Q&A Sunday: Does the Feng Shui Bagua Map Include the Garage?
Q&A Sunday: Bagua Layout Basics

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

Buried in Paperwork

featured this month in The New York Times by Ronda Kaysen

  image credit: Trisha Krauss via  The New York Times

image credit: Trisha Krauss via The New York Times

The little round dining table in LaToya and Robert Jordan’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, two-bedroom apartment would make for a great place to eat if only its white lacquered top were not perpetually buried under a pile of bills, unopened mail and paperwork.

“It really becomes clutter, and it becomes this area in your home that tends to hold a lot of guilt,” said Anjie Cho, an architect and feng shui consultant. “It’s an energy drain, even just sitting there, because your subconscious mind knows that it’s there.” full article

Q&A Sunday: Mirrors in the Bedroom

Is it bad feng shui to put a mirror in the bedroom?

Angela M., Los Angeles, CA

Hi Angela,

I often am asked this question about mirrors in the bedroom. In BTB Feng Shui, we believe that there are no issues with having mirrors in the bedroom. In fact, we recommend mirrors in two situations. 

The first situation is if you cannot put your bed in the commanding position, located in such a way that you can clearly see the door while not being in line with the door. If this is not achievable in your bedroom, you can adjust this with the use of a mirror. I often recommend that my clients purchase a new standing mirror and position it so that when you are lying in bed, you can clearly see the door in the mirror.  The command position is absolutely critical in the bedroom because this is where you spend many YIN, or passive, time and you are more susceptible to the energies around you.  

In BTB Feng Shui, we also suggest a round or oval mirror above the bed for couples like in the photo above. The round shape symbolizes unity and wholeness within the relationship. The couple can see their reflection together within this circular shape, without any hard or sharp corners. This adjustment promotes continuity and togetherness in a relationship. Since this is above the headboard, be sure to fasten anything that goes above your head securely for safety. I would also recommend checking out our post on feng shui and headboards.

Note: There are other schools of feng shui that teach that mirrors add too much energy in the bedroom, or that mirrors should not face the bed. In BTB Feng Shui we respect and honor all other schools of feng shui. In fact, I agree that it may be startling to see your reflection while in bed in the middle of the night. If you use mirrors in the two ways I've suggested above, you can't see your own reflection while laying in bed. Remember, the goal is to create a relaxing and conscious environment that supports you and your needs.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

CURERS - Healers and Practices

featured this month on Free & Native

We were inspired to start our Saturday IG Story CURER series to highlight some of our favorite healers teachers, expanders, and thinkers. We asked some of our CURERS to now share their own go-to healers and healing practices with all of you. Stay tuned Saturdays on @freeandnative IG for a new CURER each week!

So honored to be featured among Katie Dalebout's healing practices! 

iii. Katie Dalebout • Let it Out

Feng Shui consultant Anjie Cho of Holistic Spaces (NYC + LA)-- has designed and cleared every space I've ever lived in which as helped so much. I wouldn't live anywhere without first having Anjie clear it and set it up optimally according to Feng Shui principles.

Sacha Jones, Stiggly’s Holistics NYC, Sacha is one of the coolest, smartest, women I’ve ever met. She’s an herbalist, holistic health counselor, and officiates weddings. I don’t know where I’d be without her wellness and life guidance. full article

Q&A Sunday: What about Goldfish?

What About Goldfish?.jpg

For improved wealth, is it better to have three, six, or nine goldfish? And where would you put the aquarium/bowl in your apartment/house?

Keith G., New York, NY

Hi Keith, 

Thanks for your great question! 

I remember reading my first feng shui book many years ago. It was a bit overwhelming, but one thing I got from it was that I should have a living goldfish somewhere! So, I purchased a black Betta fish (close enough, right?) and located the fish in the living room. Soon after, I went through a terrible break up with my then boyfriend and, coincidentally, the fish died at the same time. I clearly remember being really depressed at a party. I just met a new friend and was telling him about the fish, which in a way became a metaphor for the loss of my relationship. I also realized that, on some level, the fish took a hit for me. It was as if the fish helped to absorb the negative energy through this painful time in my life.

What does this have to do with improving your wealth? In feng shui, water is related to wealth and knowledge. Still water is depth of knowledge and moving water is your social network, and flow of money. First, consider what you need to improve to increase your wealth. If you need more cash flow, get an aquarium, which has moving water. If you need more knowledge, a fish bowl, which is still water, may be more appropriate. In both cases, be diligent about keeping the tank clean and change the water as required. 

For the location of your tank, this really depends on your floor plan. As a general rule, for wealth it may be beneficial to place the fish near the front door of your home, especially the Path in Life/Kan/Career area. If there is a water filter on it with any sort of waterfall, it’s best to position it so the water falls into and towards the central part of the home. This represents the cash flowing towards you. You can also place it in Abundance/Xun/Wealth area of the living room. My teacher, Steven Post, suggests locating the tank at eye level, so it’s easily accessible to view and touch.

Once you have your tank location, the question is “three, six, or nine” goldfish? Goldfish are auspicious because, in Asian mythology, they are related to dragons. There is a story of a goldfish, or carp, that transformed into a dragon. Dragons represent luck and power. In turn, goldfish are very conducive to success. As for the number of fish, it depends on how much room you have. If you have a small tank, stick with three fish. Three is a complete and stable number in feng shui. But, if you can handle a larger tank, go for nine. Nine is ideal, but you need a lot more room. Check with your local aquarium store to determine what size tank you will need for nine goldfish. It defeats the purpose to squeeze nine fish into a small tank where they will not thrive. You can also do eight orange goldfish with one black goldfish.

When looking for your fish, keep in mind what kind of goldfish you purchase. The “feeder” goldfish are inexpensive and have a short lifespan.  The fancy goldfish varieties are definitely more beautiful and more expensive. Consider what you can afford, and recognize that what you put into any feng shui adjustment, whether that be energy or money, will be commensurate to what you will receive. So if the feeder goldfish are what you can afford, please do the best that you can to keep them alive and treat them with great care. It is best to replace any fish that die immediately. Finally, my teachers have taught that you should replace any broken/damaged/dead object with another that is of better quality and typically more expensive.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Things You Might Not Know About Coconut Oil

As a holistic designer and architect, I'm all about finding ways to incorporate natural, less-toxic substances into my daily life in place of those harmful chemicals we normally keep beneath the kitchen sink or in the medicine cabinet. One of my most recent discoveries is coconut oil. The holistic perks of this natural oil are incredible, and of course I want to share them with you. Some of my favorite uses are below!

In the Bathroom

Coconut oil is awesome as a natural hair serum. Adding just a small bit to your hair can reduce the frizz we so often deal with as ladies. Be careful here, as you don't want to overuse any sort of oil in your hair. Just rub a dab onto your palms, then distribute evenly throughout your locks!

Try mixing coconut oil with equal parts sugar to create your own simple exfoliating scrub for those long, nourishing showers. 

Coconut oil makes an easy lip balm too! Especially in colder, dryer months, our lips are susceptible to weather and have the tendency to chap and crack. Anyone who's ever experienced this knows it isn't fun! Next time your lips start acting up, try rubbing a bit of coconut oil on as a lubricating balm and soothing agent.

One of the most common beauty products containing toxic materials is deodorant. Unfortunately, this isn't a product we can really do without, unless we're all willing to deal with each others' body odor. Coconut oil can provide a natural remedy for this issue. Using the oil by itself as deodorant is very effective and eliminates the need for harsh chemicals that you may find in other store-bought products. 

Around the House

Aside from its numerous uses for the body, coconut oil also makes a super stain remover and furniture polish. You can rub the oil alone on a tough-to-conquer stain for some help, or mix the oil with baking soda for a non-toxic stain removal option. 

Back in the bathroom, coconut oil works wonders on soap scum, which is great, since bathroom cleaners can be some of the most toxic on the market. Instead of exposing yourself, and ultimately your family, to the toxic chemicals and VOCs in bathroom cleaning chemicals, try using natural coconut oil on a rag instead! 

There are literally hundreds of uses for coconut oil outside the most common uses in cooking. With an increasing number of cautious dieters and, thankfully, individuals concerned for the environment, coconut oil is becoming more and more popular, and with good reason! Next time you're near a natural market, stop in and get some coconut oil to get started on the many things you can do!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui Crystals and Natural Crystals

What is the difference between feng shui crystals and natural crystals, and can you use natural crystals as a substitute for feng shui crystals?

Juania O., New York, NY

Hi Juania, thanks for your question. It's a great one!

Both natural crystals and glass feng shui crystals are useful in the practice of healing and correcting the flow of energy in your home. They do have some differences, and it is important to ensure you use the correct crystals for each adjustment.

Feng shui crystals are generally made of glass, are faceted and are spherical. I prefer Swarovski brand leaded, crystal feng shui balls. Because they are leaded glass, these specific crystals refract more light. Feng shui crystals have many facets so they can disperse chi most effectively. They are used to adjust the flow of energy in a space and are particularly effective for bringing light, brilliance and clarity to your space. 

Natural crystals are found in all different shapes (regular, irregular) and sizes, different facets, and textures (rough, tumbled). While these crystals are very helpful in many aspects of life, they are vibrationally geared to address specific issues based on the color, composition and creation process of the crystal. Most natural crystals do not possess the same characteristics as the feng shui crystals we prescribe for hanging. 

For this reason, in feng shui applications that call out for a crystal ball, you should actually use a feng shui crystal and not a natural crystal. One such situation would be adding a feng shui crystal to a dark and small entry to expand the space. A hanging feng shui crystal, when placed in a dark or small entry, can attract positive energy and then disperse it into your home. Based on the desired outcome of the use of this crystal, it is necessary to ensure that you use a feng shui crystal ball, as these crystals are most effective at dispersing energy.

In general, for feng shui purposes it is very important to hang the crystal balls using a red cord.  Red is a very auspicious color and represents protection. It’s even better if the cord can be a length that equals a multiple of 9 – like 9”, 18,” 27” etc.

These feng shui crystals are easy to find online, and they come in various sizes. In fact, you can find one on my online store! For feng shui purposes, most interior spaces should use crystals of 40mm or larger.

Keep in mind that both feng shui, faceted crystals and natural crystals are useful in making adjustments and shifting energy in the practice of feng shui. Just be sure to use the appropriate crystals for each adjustment. If you aren't sure which situation calls for which crystal, take a peek at some of the articles on this topic below. 

Crystals For Your Holistic Space
How to Decorate With Hanging Crystals
The Healing Powers of Crystals and Gemstones
Natural Crystals and Stones for Healing
Question of the Month: How to Use Feng Shui Crystals

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Welcome the Summer Solstice with Feng Shui

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Happy Summer Solstice! Tomorrow is the first day of summer, finally!

What is the summer solstice? A solstice is one of two points at which the path of the sun is either the furthest north or the furthest south it can be during the Earth’s rotation around it. As a solstice causes a change in the amount of daylight we see on Earth, both solstices (summer and winter) are associated with the beginning of a new season, respectively, in the top half of the planet.

During the summer solstice, the sun travels its longest path through our sky all year, which results not only in longer daylight hours, but also warmer weather in our hemisphere due to the direct angle of the sun’s rays. Thus, the name “summer solstice.” Every year, the summer solstice falls on June 21, and its effects will last until mid-September, when we experience the autumnal equinox, thus beginning fall.

What does this mean in terms of feng shui? This means that we are shifting from wood yang energy into a time of more explosive yang fire energy. We will naturally hold more heat in our bodies and be more active. At this time it’s helpful to balance the hot yang energy of fire with cooling water or earth energies. You could add cooler blues, greens, pinks and grays into your home accents and fashion choices. Also take care to eat cooling, raw foods such as melons and salads.

I also just put away my winter clothing and made way for summer clothes. When going through your clothes, make sure to take time and see what items still work for you. If it has not been worn in three years it is time to donate that piece of clothing. If there is a piece that needs mending, make a decision to get it repaired or let it go. Finally, if it does not fit… again, it is time to let it go.

This is my favorite time of year! Be sure to enjoy it! 

by Anjie Cho