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Feng Shui for Love and Romance – Improve your Love Life through Feng Shui

Posted on March 14, 2011 at 4:08 PM Comments comments (56)
residential plantsAre you and your romantic partner not getting along – is there a lot of disagreement conflict when there used to be love and togetherness? Or, do you not have a romantic partner in your life but wish you could find one? Properly applying the principles of Feng Shui might be just what you need to fix that relationship or find a new one, and it might be as simple as making a few simple adjustments. Feng Shui helps with many important life goals, including career, wealth, education, etc. One of the most important, and popular, Feng Shui goals is Love and Relationship. You can use Feng Shui to find a partner or improve your existing relationship. The back right corner of any room or home is the Feng Shui Love and Relationship corner, but your bedroom is the best place to start to improve your Feng Shui Love and Relationship energy. Examine your bedroom, especially the back right corner of your bedroom, right now and see what items are there – next to your bed, on your walls, in the corners. Is there a garbage pail there? Is that why your love life is in the garbage pail? Do you have a picture of your ex-love there? Is that why you can’t move on? Do you have a picture of your mom there? Something else that is not very romantic? Remove anything that doesn’t scream love and romance to you.Note the color of your walls, carpet and sheets. If they are depressing, dark, or just not romantic you might want to change them, or improve them with highlights like romantic colored sheets or curtains. What are romantic Feng Shui colors you ask? Romantic Feng Shui colors are pink and peach. Use these colors liberally in your bedroom and Love and Relationship area of your home for optimal romance in your life.In Feng Shui two of anything represents a harmonious and balanced relationship, and items that are pairs or couples bring good couple energy into your home and life. Do you have two identical nightstands on either side of your bed with identical lamps? You should. Make sure there are two pillows on your bed with matching pillow cases. Is there a picture on the wall? If there is it should be a pair or couple, not one figure, whether it’s an animal, person, or thing. There should not be a picture of a single person or animal in your bedroom because it represents isolation, the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Your bedroom should represent to you the romantic ideal you seek. Same thing with any statues or figures – they should be matching pairs. Pairs of anything are good to have in your bedroom, especially a Feng Shui romantic cure like love candles or hearts. There should not be any pictures that are not romantic in your bedroom – no photos of children, or sad people. The ideal picture to hang on the wall in your bedroom, if you have a partner, is a photo of you and your partner, preferably a romantic photo or one that reminds you both of a happy and romantic time in your relationship.Do you have room on either side of your bed, or do you and your partner have to squeeze into bed from the same side? Make room on both sides so you both have room to go to bed, and if you don’t have a partner there will be room for one to enter your life. You want your entire room to have the look you expect it to have when your ideal partner becomes a permanent part of your life and your bedroom. And for some extra powerful romantic energy hang a Marriage & Union Hanger in the back right corner of your bedroom. This double coin hanger represents the perfect blending of partners, and brings good luck to marriage and relationships.

Use Feng Shui to Lose Weight

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 7:49 AM Comments comments (319)
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement, which controls the flow of Chi around you. Living a Feng Shui life can help you with many things, including losing weight. If you create an environment that disrupts the natural flow of good Chi, you also disrupt the natural harmony in your life; with the Feng Shui life you can learn how to use good Chi to help balance your life and all that is in it.
Losing weight with Feng Shui in your life simply requires a few adjustments to your surroundings. It's easy and well worth the effort to achieve your weight loss goals. Some ways in which you can add the Feng Shui life to help with losing weight include for example, adding the color red to your surroundings. Red is a high-energy color that helps to keep your body active and burning calories. 
Clear your home of clutter. Clutter has a way of disrupting Chi so if there are areas of your home that you know need to be tidied up, but have just not been able to bring yourself to do it, now is a good time.
As color is often very important with a Feng Shui life, it may not be surprising to learn that there is also a color that can help to deter eating. If you place black on your table, as well as around your refrigerator and pantry, you will feel less of a need to eat when you are not truly hungry. 
It is best to avoid a view of your kitchen from your front doorway. There are ways in which you can obscure the view of your kitchen from the main room in your house by adding a Chinese screen, or hanging beads in the doorway between your kitchen and living room. This will also help offset your urge to eat.
Add lots of mirrors to your living environment. This is an incredible motivator to get you going. The more you see yourself, the better you will remember your goal of weight loss. In addition to a reminder about your goal, mirrors also help to give you encouragement when you are successfully losing those extra pounds.
Practice some meditation before eating your meals. Focus on the food only bringing nutrition to your body and not adding extra pounds. Remember it is good energy that will bring you success with the Feng Shui life. Keep that in mind and you should be reaching your weight loss goal within no time.

Top 10 Plants to Reduce Stress, and Eliminate Toxins

Posted on March 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM Comments comments (53)
Top 10 Plants to Reduce Stress, and Eliminate Toxins
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.  With today’s modern, energy efficient office buildings, the sealed air inside can contain 10 times more pollution than the air outside due to toxic emissions from building constituents, airborne mold, viruses, and other pollutants. 
Improved indoor air quality can directly contribute to good health, improved productivity and ability to sustain living a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the most common culprits are listed here...
•    Carbon Monoxide
•    Nitrogen Dioxide
•    Respirable Particles 
•    Household Chemicals
•    Pesticides
•    Formaldehyde
•    Dust Mites
•    Mold

A sustainable solution for improved indoor air quality is plants.  Plants naturally clean your air of toxins and chemicals, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being.  They also increase eco awareness in your environment.   In fact, NASA research has consistently shown that living, green and flowering plants can remove several toxic chemicals from the air in building interiors.   
As a professional consultant, I suggest that one plant should be allowed for approximately 10 square yards of floor space, assuming average ceiling heights of 8 to 9 feet. This means that you need two or three plants to contribute to good air quality in the average domestic living room of about 20 to 25 square yards.  

My  sustainability consulting practice advises small businesses and individuals of the importance of managing indoor environment.   Following are the best plants to reduce stress, fight colds, and reduce toxins in your environment.  
Plants to Fight Stress
  • Chinese Evergreen - In one study from Washington State University, people in a room of plants including this Chinese Evergreen had a 4-point drop in their systolic blood pressure after taking a stressful test, compared with only a 2-point drop in a group that had no exposure to plants.
  • Arrowhead Vine - In one study, the Arrowhead Vine helped induce a 4-point drop in systolic blood pressure among stressed-out test subjects.
Plants to Fight Colds
  • English Ivy
  • Small openings on the underside of a plant's leaves release moisture into the air, boosting humidity to alleviate cold symptoms. Because of English Ivy's high volume of leaves, horticulturists recommend it as one of the most effective cold-fighting plants.
  •  Heart-Leaf Philodendron - In one study from the Agricultural University of Norway, people with office plants including the Heart-Leaf Philodendron reported 37% less coughing and 25% less hoarseness after 3 months than when they left their offices plant-free.
  • Fragrant Dracaena - This Fragrant Dracaena variety reduced workers' sore throat symptoms and helped cut complaints of fatigue by 30%, in a Norwegian study.
  • Peace Lily - Peace Lilies paired with a few other plants, including the heart-leaf philodendron, can boost a room's humidity by up to 5%, finds a study from the Bavarian State Institute of Viticulture and Horticulture. In the dry winter months, this small increase is enough to relieve dry throats and noses.
  • African Violet - An African Violet works well with other plants to add moisture to the air and kick cold symptoms.
Plants to Cut Toxins
  • Janet Craig - When plants take in oxygen and carbon dioxide, they also pull in VOCs, toxins that are released by cleaning supplies, printers, and other household items. Three Janet Craigs cut VOCs in a 130-square-foot room by up to 70%, finds research from the University of Technology in Australia.
  • Sweet Chico - Six Sweet Chicos, a smaller table-size peace lily, have the same toxin-reducing effect as floor-standing Janet Craig plants, according to Australian research. 
  • Kentia Palm -The Kentia Palm breathes in toxins effectively, cutting VOC levels--toxins that are released by cleaning supplies, printers, and other household items--from a home, according to a study from the University of Technology.
The natural inborn ability of live plants to clean the air means that live plants are a sustainable solution for improved indoor air quality.

Safe and Toxic Houseplants

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (72)
Safe and Poisonous Houseplants
Many homes contain houseplants or other natural materials to add beauty and interest to the décor. Not only are they attractive but many varieties of houseplants serve as indoor air cleaners as well. Lovely and functional as they may be, some houseplants may present a hazard especially if young children or pets share the household.
A poisonous plant is one that contains a chemical substance which produces a harmful reaction in the body of humans or animals when taken in small or moderate amounts. A harmful reaction could include allergic reactions, dermatitis or skin irritation, of internal poisoning. Allergic reactions are not always classified as poisoning and will not be treated as such here. This is because there is a wide range of plants that can cause allergic reactions, and sensitivity to a particular plant varies among individuals. Also, individuals can react in different ways after contact with a poisonous plant depending on their sensitivity level.
It is important that houseplant owners be aware of the potential problems that plants with toxic properties might cause. Be aware of the identity of your houseplants and learn if they pose potential threats to children and pets. If you cannot identify a houseplant, call your local Extension Center or the Home and Garden Education Center for assistance. It is also important to realize that many plants need to be consumed in considerable quantities for poisoning to occur. Often poisonous plants taste bitter or acrid and children and pets may not ingest large amounts. Young children, especially, should be taught not to put unknown plants or plant parts in their mouths.
If a houseplant or natural decoration is ingested by children or pets and poisoning is suspected, call your family doctor, nearest emergency room or veterinarian immediately. The number for the National Poison Center is (800) 222-1222. They can tell you if a plant is poisonous and what symptoms might be expected with a particular toxin. You will need to provide them with the identity of the plant, however.
The following is a list of plants considered toxic. Remember that plants may contain a variety of poisons. They may cause symptoms ranging from a mild stomach ache to serious heart and kidney problems.
Common Name                                         Latin Name
Amaryllis                                                    Hippeastrum spp.
Anthurium                                                 Anthurium spp.
Apricot kernels                                          Prunus armeniaca
Azaleas                                                    Rhododendron spp                            
Caladium                                                   Caladium bicolor
Calla Lily                                                   Calla palustrus
Chinese Evergreen                               Aglaonema spp.
Colchicum                                                  Colcicum autumnale       
Daffodil                                                      Narcissus spp.
Dumb Cane                                                Dieffenbachia spp.
Elephant’s Ear                                            Colocasia antiquorum
English Ivy                                                  Hedera helix
Fishtail Palm                                               Caryota spp.
Holly Berries                                               Ilex spp.
Hyacinth                                                     Hyacinthus orientalis
Jerusalem Cherry                                        Solanum pseudocapsicum
Lantana                                                      Lantana camara
Mistletoe                                                    Phoradendron villosum
Mountain laurel (holiday greens)                  Kalmia spp.
Oleander                                                    Nerium oleander
Philodendron                                              Philodendron spp.
Ranunculus                                                Ranunculus spp.
Rosary Pea                                                 Abrus precatorius
Schefflera                                                   Schefflera actinophylla
Spathiphyllum                                             Spathiphyllum spp.
Yew (holiday greens)                                  Taxus spp.                       
Plants listed below are considered safe and not poisonous. Although eating or touching these plants is unlikely to cause illness, any plant might cause a reaction in certain sensitive individuals.
African Daisy                                             Dimorphotheca aurantiaca
African Violet                                             Saintpaulia ionantha
Aluminum Plant                                           Pilea spp.
Baby’s tears                                               Soleiria soleirolii
Bamboo, Golden                                        Phyllostachys aurea
Bird of Paradise                                         Strelitzia reginae
Bird’s Nest Fern                                        Asplenium nidus
Boston Fern                                               Nephrolepis exaltata
Camellia                                                     Camellia sinensis
Cast Iron Plant                                           Aspidistra elatior
Christmas cactus                                        Schlumbergera bridgesii
Coleus                                                        Coleus hybridus
Corn Plant                                                   Draceana spp.
Donkey’s Tail                                              Sedum morganianum
Dracaena                                                     Dracaena spp.
Echeveria                                                    Echeveria spp.
Figs, Weeping and Fiddleleaf**                    Ficus spp.
Geraniums                                                    Pelargonium spp.
Goldfish Plant                                              Columnea spp.
Impatiens                                                     Impatiens wallerana
Jade Plant                                                   Crassula argentea
Japanese Aralia                                            Fatsia japonica
Kalanchoe                                                   Kalanchoe spp.
Lipstick Plant                                               Aeschynanthus spp
Maidenhair Fern                                           Adiantum spp.
Nerve Plant                                                 Fittonia spp.
Orchids                            Cattleya, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum spp.Norfolk Island Pine                                      Araucaria heterophylla
Palms                                Most nontoxic except fishtail palm, Caryota spp
Peperomia                                                  Peperomia spp.
Piggyback Plant **                                     Tolmiea mensziesii
Poinsettia **                                               Euphorbia pulcherrima
Prayer Plant                                                Maranta leuconeura
Purple Passion Plant                                   Gynura aurantiaca
Sensitive Plant                                             Mimosa puddica
Spider Plant                                               Chlorophytum comosum
Surinam cherry                                           Eugenia uniflora
Swedish Ivy                                               Plectranthus spp.
Wandering Jew **                                     Tradescantia spp.
Wax Plant                                                  Hoya carmosa
Zebra Plant                                                Aphelandra squarrosa
**Sap may be irritating.
Never eat any unknown plant and teach children the same.
  • Keep poisonous houseplants out of reach of children and pets.
  • Learn the names and potential toxicity of all houseplants.
  • Any plant may cause a reaction in certain people. If a plant is eaten, remove the rest from the mouth and rinse the mouth with water. Call your doctor or the emergency room immediately if you suspect a problem.

Top Ten Hard to Kill House Plants

Posted on February 20, 2011 at 8:48 AM Comments comments (55)
We all know that not everyone is born with the magical green thumb. Some people seem to just have the touch and ideas to keep a garden looking beautiful throughout all of the seasons, or maybe they just know how to take good care of indoor house plants. On the other hand, we also know those who seem to be able to just look at a plant and kill it. That’s right; those people with the dreaded black thumb who could probably kill a vase of plastic flowers.Some with the black thumb give up easily on planting, while others still have the urge to fill the corner with a [living] plant, but can’t. In any case, thankfully, there are flowers and plants available that are more on the “hardy” side. So, no matter if your thumb is black, here are ten plants that are perfect for those without a green thumb. Now, if you kill one of these plants, you’re really out of luck
10. Philodendron – Philodendron bipinnatifidumIt is said that the Philodendron has been used as a house plant since the time of the Victorians. As a tropical plant, it requires some sun, but this can be achieved by letting it sit outside during the day, or using artificial light within your home. It can go for days without being watered, but does prefer warm moist air. In any case this is a hard plant to ruin and is a great plant if you lack a green thumb. 
9. Christmas Cactus – EpiphyllumUnlike most cacti, the Christmas Cactus isn’t one that’ll hurt you if you try to touch it. This cactus is an extremely easy plant to take care of, and usually doesn’t require repotting. It’s important to be sure you don’t over-water it, but not watering it enough also damages the plant. To solve this, one thorough watering a week usually does the trick. This plant is extremely easy to take care of, and it’ll bloom once a year to bring some color into your living space.
Christmas Cactus8. Jade plant – Crassula ovataThe Jade plant is definitely one that catches eyes. With its out-of-the-ordinary leaves and pink flowers that bloom during the winter, the jade plant can make a good addition to your home. Because it only requires a little bit of sunlight and doesn’t need a lot of care, it’s the perfect plant that won’t die easily, no matter how much you neglect it.
Jade plant7. Chinese Evergreen – AglaonemaThe Chinese Evergreen in just the last five years has been able to produce more than 20 different varieties. This plant is cold tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of attention to keep it alive. However, it is important to make sure that the plant isn’t over-watered, so making sure that the pot is well drained is a necessity. It is a slow growing plant, so repotting isn’t a big issue until about a year or so.
Chinese Evergreen6. Croton – CodiaeumThough this plant is nothing but leaves, it surely adds a good amount of color to any bland room in your home. You will usually find these in a tropical garden, but recently they have become extremely popular indoor plants. These plants do need more light than most, but stay colorful throughout the year. Its important to water this plant enough, as drying can damage it.
Croton a high light plant. They love sun and the more sun they get the more colorful they become.
5. Spider plant – Chlorophytum comosum. Originally found in South Africa, the spider plant is probably one of the most widely used houseplants. This plant is definitely different looking, as its point long leaves eventually bud into flowers, that then die and turn into smaller spider plants. The spider plant loves a lot of bright light and can stand any temperature. It doesn’t need to be watered everyday, but in the summer watering is very important.
Spider Plant4. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum. Watering plants is an important part of keeping them alive, and since plants can’t talk, it can be ahrd to know when its time to water them, especially if you’re no gardening expert. However, the Peace Lily’s leaves will start to wilt, in order to let you know that it’s literally in dying need of water. The Peace Lily doesn’t need much light, and is marked by leaves that bloom a white tall flower
Peace Lily3. ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas ZamiifoliaThe ZZ plant is one that you can take with you wherever you live. It doesn’t require a lot of space, and it can take neglect extremely well. The ZZ plant can live without having enough water, and doesn’t require a specific type of lighting in order to grow. It is a slow growing plant, but introducing it to more light can surely speed up the process. This plant is great for those die hard black thumbs.
ZZ Plant
2. English Ivy – Hedera helix. Though English Ivy best thrives outside where it can grow up to 100ft. long, it still makes a great indoors plant. When keeping an ivy plant inside, it’s important that it is given enough sunlight during the day. Besides this, ivy is a very easy plant to take care of in your home. Since ivy grows so much, it’s important that you have enough room for it. But, you won’t regret this plant. It cleans your air for you!
English Ivy
1. African Violet – SaintpauliaPutting an African Violet in your home is a great way to add a touch of color. These plants don’t need direct sunlight, and are extremely hardy. They don’t need to be watered more than once a week, and its best that the plant is able to dry out before being watered again. You will find this plant offered in many different colors, including lavender, purple, mauve, and a two-color flower.
African Violet

Houseplants Beat the Winter Blues

Posted on February 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (57)
 Despite the hustle and bustle and wrapping and parties, psychologists say the holidays and the weeks following them can be a very depressing time of year, even for the healthiest among us.Keep the blues at bay this winter by surrounding yourself with healthy, attractive houseplants. No kidding, indoor plants can chase the blues away. They filter the air we breathe, making our interior environments more healthy, and actually caring for plants can improve a person’s mood and productivity.So, go out and get a few interesting houseplants or revitalize those specimens you banished to poorly lit corners. Here’s how I get a dose of green medicine while keeping my houseplants healthy and lush.Less Is Better Proper watering is the key to a plant’s wintertime survival. Decreased light levels make plants less thirsty for water than during the brighter seasons of the year, so I am careful not to be too generous when watering. Overwatering is the No. 1 reason most houseplants die.Rather than watering on a weekly schedule, I check my plants’ needs. I use two ways to see if my plants need water. First, I check the soil color. Moist soil looks like dark chocolate, while dry soil appears the color of milk chocolate. (Chocolate provides its own mood-enhancing qualities, but I water my plants before I tend other indulgences.) Study your plants’ soil before and after you water to see color differences so you can recognize when your plants are dry.If I am unsure about the soil condition, I test the soil with a pencil to determine if it is dry. This works like a cake tester.If soil sticks to the pencil when it is inserted several inches into the pot, then the soil is moist enough, and I do not water. If the pencil comes out clean, then it’s time to give the plant a drink.When watering your plants, be sure to wet the entire soil mass, not just the top inch. Add water until it comes through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Discard water that remains beneath the pot one hour after watering.
Keep Them Clean Another way I keep my plants vibrant is to give them a shower. This is an easy way to dust off their foliage and flush their soil of built-up minerals. It’s also a good time to inspect the foliage for insects.Be sure to look under the leaves and along the leaf petioles and stems for scale, mealy bugs and spider mites.None of these pests likes water. I use my removable showerhead and hose to spray all the foliage from underneath. Good water pressure will literally blast some insects away.If you find insects, you can spray the plant with either a mild solution of dish detergent and water (1 teaspoon per gallon of water) or an insecticidal soap purchased from a garden center. I like to take a sponge or rag with either solution and wipe off the scale or mealy bugs, then rinse the plant in the shower. The plants seem to appreciate a warm-water cleansing and they look better with clean, bright foliage.
No Food, Either In winter, fertilizer can be too much of a good thing for houseplants. While light levels are low and plants aren’t as thirsty, refrain from feeding your plants.I start providing liquid fertilizer again in March when light levels start to increase and the plants begin to actively grow.Even then, I add fertilizer only every other watering.
Location, Location Finally, I enjoy my houseplants as houseplants. I don’t move them outdoors for the summer. If you are experiencing success with your plants indoors, why mess with a good thing?

Top 10 Houseplants for Cleaner Air

Posted on February 16, 2011 at 10:36 AM Comments comments (63)
Houseplants are our often-overlooked helpers in ridding the air of pollutants and toxins, counteracting outgassing and contributing to balanced internal humidity.
Find out which houseplants are our most effective allies in keeping your household air clean and pure.
It is suggested that one plant should be allowed for approximately 10 square yards of floor space, assuming average ceiling heights of 8 to 9 feet. This means that you need two or three plants to contribute to good air quality in the average domestic living room of about 20 to 25 square yards.
Research has shown that these 10 plants are the most effective all-around in counteracting offgassed chemicals and contributing to balanced internal humidity.
  • Areca palm
  • Reed palm
  • Dwarf date palm
  • Boston fern
  • Janet Craig dracaena
  • English Ivy
  • Australian sword fern
  • Peace Lilly
  • Rubber plant
  • Weeping fig
Although many plants like light, they do not all have to be placed near windows. Many indoor plants originated in the dense shade of tropical forests and have a high rate of photosynthesis. These are ideal for the home and can be placed in darker corners. When positioning plants, try to strike a balance between light and ventilation because the effect of plants on indoor air pollution appears to be reduced if they are set in a draft.

Office plants boost staff morale and increase productivity

Posted on February 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM Comments comments (71)
International research has revealed office plants can help a business through hard times by boosting staff morale and improving business performance.
Research from the US, the Netherlands and the UK has found that the presence of office plants can have a positive effect on the work environment, helping to reduce stress and sickness absence, increase productivity and improve well being and air quality.
Research from University of Technology in Sydney also confirmed the role of plants in improving indoor air quality, cooling and noise reduction effects and their contribution to increasing employee productivity.
Ray Borg, Ambius regional director, Asia Pacific said that living plants are “vital in getting the best from employees”, particularly those using a computer.
Creating greener spaces indoors means healthier and more productive workplaces and improved customer environments, improving well being for all.