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Toys: A Feng Shui Approach

by Lisa Janusz

There’s no escaping the seemingly endless mountain of toys that builds (and builds) when you have children. Sometimes I feel like it multiplies when I’m not looking! I have my methods for trying to keep toys manageable. But even my methods are being tested these days. With birthdays and Christmas all within a 3-month period, the rapid increase is quickly heading towards overwhelm.

Before that happens, I will do a toy intervention of sorts. If you are experiencing a similar situation, here are some Feng Shui-aligned ideas on how to handle.

Have limitations on toy storage.

This means that when an area is full – it’s not time to find a new area, it’s time to rethink what’s going there. We have enough space dedicated to toys (both boys are still on the younger side): toybox and ottoman in the living room and two closets (not entirely filled with toys). That is plenty of room. When there are too many toys (like now) to fit, we get to work on making room for our current favorites.

Purge. Downsize. Release.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s necessary decluttering to downsize the toy collection. We do this a couple of times a year, keeping in mind we want to be gentle and manageable. First, we dedicate space on our main floor to our favorites (as mentioned above). Then we move toys we’re not yet ready to part with to the basement. These are toys that have been outgrown or just don’t fit with the current play style. They are accessible to make the transition easier (but not readily available). Toys that are played with anyway are kept a little longer, but those that are mostly forgotten are donated.

Make it timely, easy and meaningful.

We sort toys at least twice a year (timely) and as Carole mentioned above, we have a dedicated, ongoing spot for donations (easy). This is key. It’s become such a part of our routine that my eldest has placed items to donate in the spot and let me know he added something. To make it meaningful, as we go through the process we talk about how lucky we are to have so much and that someone with less will enjoy it. My hope is that they view donating as not taking toys away from them, but giving to someone else.

It’s not always easy; sometimes we have to make some “tough decisions” about what needs to go. But for me, it’s a life lesson in that it’s a constant process (even for me). As you know, with Feng Shui, everything is energy so we need to be diligent about what we keep in our space. If it doesn’t support us, it should be given the chance to support someone else.

Chinese Birthday Customs

by Carole Hyder

While we are diligent about sending well-wishes on a friend’s birthday, the Chinese typically reserve birthday celebrations for children and the elderly. Although Western influence has changed some of that cultural perspective, Chinese birthday parties still have special traditions.

Here in the States, a child turns 1 on the first anniversary of their birth. In Chinese culture, babies are 1 year old when they are born. Some celebrate the child’s first birthday party when the baby actually turns two. Others consider the first day of the Chinese New Year (lunar calendar) as the starting point of a new age. This means that if a child is 1 year old when he is born and then one more year is added as soon as he enters the New Year, it’s possible that a child could be two years old when, according to Western tradition, he might be two or three weeks old. This happens when a baby is born on the last week or day of the past year.

If you don’t want to ask an elderly person their age, you can ask for their Chinese zodiac sign. Knowing a person’s sign could make it possible to figure out their age. When someone turns 60 or 80, this warrants a full-scale celebration with a gathering of family and friends. Chinese birthdays must be celebrated before or on the actual birth date. Belatedly celebrating a Chinese birthday is considered impolite and disrespectful.

Birthday cakes are becoming a common part of a birthday celebration. Traditionally the birthday person is required to slurp a longevity noodle in one continuous strand. This long noodle symbolizes a long life. Although many Chinese now opt to give a gift, red envelopes filled with money are typically the preferred birthday present.

Finally, a song is always sung to the one celebrating their birthday. Here are the Chinese characters to the Happy Birthday song (yes, it’s the same melody as the Western version): 祝你生日快樂. Here is the pronunciation guide: zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè. And, if that isn’t enough, here it is being sung for you:

Greetings to all, birthday or not.

Coaching & Feng Shui, a Perfect Match

By Michele Heisler

The practice of Feng Shui starts with intentions, which become your road map to adjustments in your environment. Coaching practices can help you reflect on your life and discover your true intentions. You may have heard the phrase “what you think about, you bring about.” The truth is, we all have the power to manifest, which is even more reason to be careful when creating your intentions.

Here are 3 tips to coach yourself through creating thoughtful intentions.

  1. Be careful what you wish for. Once you have determined what you are manifesting, ask yourself: why? This allows you to go deeper into the essence of what you want. Don’t just manifest a house. Manifest a house that is cozy, safe, and in a friendly neighborhood. Anyone can manifest a relationship, but why do you want a relationship? By going deeper, you can manifest a relationship that is stable, exciting and passionate.
  2. Don’t over-do Feng Shui adjustments. One well-thought-out adjustment to support an intention is better than many less-thought-out adjustments. There are often various adjustments to support one intention. Take your time in selecting and applying the one that resonates with you the most.
  1. Share your intentions. Find someone you trust to confide. Speaking your desires and wishes assists in manifestation. Imagine others are holding your vision for you as well.

Your intentions deserve as much attention as the adjustment that supports them. Take your time and have fun with it. There is a world of opportunities waiting for you.


Michele Heisler is a graduate of the Wind & Water School of Feng Shui. She is a Master Feng Shui Consultant & Professional Coach with her own company, Riverway Consulting.

Feng Shui and Back to School

Back_To_School_Prepby Lisa Janusz

Summer is ending and we’re heading into that time of the year; back to school. Whether you have a little one just starting the scene or one that is heading into graduation year, there is no doubt routines will change. A new school year, like a new job, or any new endeavor, brings with it new energy, excitement and an opportunity to create change. Capitalize on that “newness” by setting your child – or yourself – up for success.


  1. Create structure. You don’t have to write a checklist or get too rigid on this one. But having a plan for the mornings and afternoons can help a child feel empowered (they know what’s happening) and secure. This translates throughout the day.
  2. Micro-manage the bed. The bed is a place for rejuvenation and a place to dream. Make sure it’s comfortable, age appropriate in terms of bedding, has a solid headboard for support and has nothing underneath to disrupt sleep. (Bonus points if you can set it up so when lying in it they can see the door.)
  3. Designate a study spot. Make sure there’s a good chair (another way to “have their back” in Feng Shui) and what they need – pencils, erasers, place for a snack. The importance of the task is communicated by a commitment to it – so in this case, if you think homework is important, show that by having a proper place to do it.
  4. Keep calm. Everything has energy in Feng Shui, so be sure the “things” that surround them during the day and especially at night help create a sense of calm. This might mean covering a bookcase at night, containing toys in baskets or bins, clearing clutter and having room to “breathe.”

These same tips can apply to you if you’re starting a new venture. Have a structure for how you are going to accomplish your goals: designate a time to check email, brainstorm marketing, make calls to clients and prioritizing “to dos.” Also, make sure you have a headboard, don’t store anything under your bed and create a calming room that’s conducive to good rest. Don’t forget a proper desk and high-backed chair, which will add to you feeling supported.

For a few more tips, you can read a past back to school article.

As the new routines become the regular routines, and the days get busier, make a conscious effort to create a calm environment that will serve you and your family. There is so much influence on our energy from what is around us, choose things that spark joy, passion and balance.

Desk Feng Shui: Clear it off

by Lisa Janusz

When you walk into your office, or head to your desk, how do you feel? Whatever is happening there is likely affecting your body’s response. Many years ago, I started clearing off my desk each night. After I did that, I no longer felt overwhelmed. I had “room” to sit down and make a plan for my day.

In Feng Shui, your desk has to do with opportunities, career and vision. So, it would make sense that what’s happening on your desk right now might be related to what’s going on in your life. Here are some desk considerations.

For the top of your desk:

Clear it off. This is symbolic of your vision – a clear desk gives you ample opportunity to see what’s ahead and plan for what’s important. It also allows you to enter your office and feel relaxed. You’re not immediately influenced by a stack of papers, folders, projects, and “to dos.” Create a system that works for you.

  • I put everything I’m still working on at the end of the day in a decorative box; I sort through it in the morning after I’ve made my daily plan.
  • I file or recycle anything I can before the end of the day.

Apply the bagua. If you know the bagua, you can place things on your desk using this system. Where you sit is typically the career area (middle area). You could place a photo of you and your partner in the back right corner (relationship) and put your business cards in the middle farthest from you (fame).

Other desk considerations:

Make it solid. A solid wood desk gives you support and helps you feel grounded. A glass desk doesn’t offer that stability. If you have a glass desk, cover it with fabric to see if that changes anything for you.

Make it fit. This is going to be different for everyone. Your desk should be a good size for you, and appropriate for how you use it. If you are just paying bills, a small desk is fine. But if you’re trying to start a business, upgrade to one that presents the image that aligns with that.

Your desk can be a very supportive element to help align with your future goals. Think about what you want and get started. It’s okay to start small – like taking 9 minutes a day to sort through papers. But do start.

On the road again: Feng Shui when you’re not at home

road-691124_1920by Carole Hyder

There’s no argument that Feng Shui applies itself well in residential spaces.  Historically Feng Shui principles were applied to the land, but now it’s mostly used in homes, condos, apartments or rooms.  The goal is to arrange a space so that it supports its occupant.

But what if you travel?  What if you’re in a hotel room or spending days in the car?  What if you’re staying in your elderly cousin’s basement?  What happens to your Feng Shui intentions then?

There are ways to bring your Feng Shui with you regardless of where you go. And it can be an easy yet meaningful way to do so.  Here are some suggestions you can try:

Bring a reminder of your home with you.  This could be a photo of someone you’ve left behind—–your spouse, your children, your cat, etc.  A small photo set up in the darkest circumstances can shed some light your way.  Place it on a dresser or nightstand so you can easily see it and benefit from its positive energy.

If you love gemstones and rocks, bring one from home and put it in your pocket.  By having it on your body, it will be a constant reminder that all the intentions you’ve created in your home are still with you.

Flowers are always a good enhancement.  Picking up a few flowers when you’ve arrived at your destination can be a great temporary Feng Shui adjustment, particularly if there’s a connection back to your home.  A bunch of tulips may remind you of the tulips currently growing in your yard.  Or perhaps you’ve always had a fondness for daisies which can lift your spirits when you’re in a foreign place.

Write down intention words for the trip.  Decide what the optimal outcome would be for the trip you’re about to take.  It could be Family Connection, Successful Business, Self-Reflection, Relaxation.  Write it down on a piece of paper and place it in a red envelope.  Place the envelope where you will see it every day.

Some people thrive on the thrill, excitement and challenges of traveling; others find it tiring and daunting.  Either way, bringing a reminder of a place that is familiar and safe can make your travels more enjoyable.

Be sure to check out Lisa Janusz’ article about maintaining good Feng Shui in your car.

Feng Shui Weddings

wedding cropped

by Lisa Janusz

June, August and September are three of the most popular months to get married. It’s no wonder with summer vacations and warmer weather. Those reasons definitely contributed to why we got married in August. Even though we had a pretty traditional wedding (Church, reception at a venue afterwards), Feng Shui was part of my lifestyle then (as it is now). I was very thoughtful in representing that part of me in subtle ways throughout the day.

Here are a few of the ways I included Feng Shui – and you can, too.

Incorporate the 5 Elements

I wrote an article several years ago about how I did that through my wedding day “look,” the flowers and the centerpieces. Essentially, it’s about including each element through a color, representation or the element itself to create balance. I used a combination of all of those to make it happen.

Create a sacred space

We write about this a lot – ensuring you have a sacred space that supports YOU somewhere in your home. We often emphasize this during holidays because that seems to be a high-stress time. Weddings are similar. Even though they are joyful, they can be challenging when managing family expectations. I am lucky to live in a house I love, but I was especially diligent leading up to the day to take time to just “be” in one of my favorite places within my home. Taking a few minutes to get centered and breathe was extremely helpful.

Be true to yourself

I got some advice that surprised me a little: be true to yourself during the process. There were a lot of opinions about what to wear and what to plan, but I reminded myself about that and kept us in the forefront of planning. I focused on what was important to us. I even had someone tell me to look like “myself” so when looking back at photos I would see me. (She did her hair and makeup so differently that day when looking back she said she hardly recognized herself.). Although I did get some “flack” for it, I followed her advice. I wore a look similar to my every day for the occasion – hair, makeup and nails – and I’m glad I did. In Feng Shui, when we look at a space, we consider the individual. We want their space to align with their goals – because what works for one person might have a different implication for someone else.

As you embark upon this season, whether you are planning, helping or just attending, we hope that you feel the joy of the occasion.

By Lisa Janusz

Booked on Feng Shui: Your Books Speak Volumes

by Carole Hyder

Most everyone I know owns books.  Some people have skads of them—so many, in fact, that they’re stored in boxes in the basement.  Others wouldn’t think of keeping them in boxes—so they’re stacked in various corners waiting for the right place to call home.

book-stack-books-education-51342Setting up a library or reading area is always a good plan for someone who owns a lot of books.  The extra bedroom could become a quiet reading spot.  An unused dining room may convert beautifully to a library, complete with floor-to-ceiling shelves and a rolling ladder to access the most remote volume.

Because books represent the opinions and stories of others, they do need Feng Shui consideration for proper integration. Here are some ideas of where books can be appropriately placed and where to avoid putting them.

  1. Books should be maintained in an upright and/or horizontal position.  Since books come in different sizes and colors, they can easily turn into a haphazard display.  I’ve taken to storing the books I have in my office according to color—–it works for me! I’ve seen books arranged according to size, which definitely adds an element of intentional placement to a large bookcase.
  2. Never store books in your bedroom nor under your bed.  Books represent the voice/opinion of the author and therefore bring with them a lot of “noise” and vibration.  Other than the book or two you may be reading at night, store the rest of them elsewhere.
  3. Having a nice arrangement of books near the front door sends a positive message to those who come to visit that you are studious, well-read and intellectual.
  4. Arrange your bookshelves with an artful eye by adding photos, plants, sculpture or mementos.  It will break up the intensity ofthe books and add some eye candy.
  5. When all else fails, use shelves with doors so that the doors can be closed on all the book clutter. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem of too many books or scattered energy, but it does lessen the problem.

Books are our friends, so you want to treat them respectfully and with care.  Sometimes we just need to let them go. Libraries are always looking for used books, as well as used book stores. If it’s no longer being read or appreciated, it may be time to turn the page on your books and bring them to a happy ending.

Feng Shui and Art: Placing Art with Intention

by Julie Ann Segal

We place art in our spaces for many different reasons – because it’s beautiful, inspirational, or because it makes a statement about who we are or what we believe in.

With Feng Shui, the placement of art can go one step further, and actually support our intentions – to create a sense of harmony, attract more wealth, support us in our careers, or enhance a relationship, for example.

When I first moved into my apartment after getting divorced, I needed to use Feng Shui to boost my energy. I was starting a new life. I left with no furniture, and only my favorite art and accessories. Low on resources, and recovering emotionally, I knew art would inspire me in work and to be happy.

Red flower JA Segal

Hanging this brightly- colored piece of blooming flowers was one of the first things I did. I placed it in my Wealth area. It has a lot of good energy and movement, which is just what I needed in my own life. In just a short time, my business grew significantly, and I began to feel joy again.

Changes like these are what I have seen many times as a Feng Shui practitioner, in my own life and with my clients.

With Feng Shui, you have the power to create your own life experience according to your intentions.

Looking to boost your Wealth energy? 
Based on the Feng Shui bagua (or life map), the Wealth area is located in the back left corner of your home. First, make sure to fix anything that’s broken and clear any clutter. Then try adding art with one of the following:
* Color: something purple
* Element: flowing water

* Energy: something that feels vibrant

This two-section painting by Carole Hyder would work well in the Wealth area not only due to its color purple but also the message of “doubling” your money.


Remember – Feng Shui works in metaphors. What will you change in your space, to change your life?

Julie Ann Segal is an Interior Designer, Certified Feng Shui Consultant, Art Specialist and President of Metro Interiors.  To design homes and businesses of client’s dreams, she infuses elements of Feng Shui into all design endeavors, revealing environments rich in comfort, beauty, balance, and harmony.

2018 Will Be a Milestone Year

By Lisa Janusz

This month our article is going to be a little different. Although I’m still going to give you some Feng Shui tips; I’m going to start by letting you in on some plans that we have in the works for the upcoming year.

20 YearsFirst (you may want to sit down for this), in September of this year the Wind & Water School of Feng Shui will celebrate our 20th anniversary! Can you believe it? For some of you that’s no surprise – you were in Carole’s very first training class.

The class of 1998 flourished (thankfully) and Carole kept moving forward honing her material and approach. And 20 years later the School is still certifying people that want to help other people create balanced spaces. (Our next program starts in March, for those of you interested.)

That’s a huge milestone and one that we’ll be celebrating. Yes, you’ll all be invited! You can expect to see some details on that mid-year.

We’ve also got some other exciting plans in store. One being beefing up our online offerings. We’ve had such great feedback from Set Sail that we’ll use that general format to offer more virtual, on-demand short courses. Stay tuned.

Those are our two biggies for 2018, but rest assured there are other ideas percolating. If there’s something you’d like us to consider, drop me a line to let me know.

While we prep over here to make a splash in 2018, we hope you do the same. And (as promised), here are some quick Feng Shui tips to help you do just that:

  • Clear off one horizontal surface (desk, table, dresser, etc.)  in your house for at least 9 days. It encourages opportunities and can facilitate clarity.
  • Create a sacred space and start a meditation practice. Give yourself a gift of a calm place to reflect and give your mind the time to do so.
  • Clear the clutter to open some physical – and metaphorical – space. Start in an area that you want change (healthier lifestyle – kitchen, more opportunities – office, more downtime – bedroom). Overwhelmed? Try doing something for 9 minutes a day for 9 days.
  • Write an intention for the year and keep it somewhere where you’ll see it – and celebrate it – day after day.

Blessings to you and 2018,



Minneapolis, MN
Phone: (612) 751-3828