Monthly Archives: February 2010

WHEN *NOT* TO LET GO: Tenacity & Customer Satisfaction

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t followup when something you’ve paid for turns out to be unusable? Let me give you an example. I bought a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream from my grocery store awhile ago and when we opened it to eat it, there was a chalky weird texture to it. The question is whether to throw it out and forget about the money spent, or, to report it to either the manufacturer or the grocery store (or both)? If you take a moment to report it you’ll be rewarded with a refund or replacement from most grocery stores and if you call Haagen-Dazs to report it, they’ll give you a coupon for a replacement. If you do nothing, you are sending a message to the universe that you don’t value money (so why should the universe send any more to you?). In addition, by calling attention to the problem, you are helping to be part of a solution and getting closure on it. This is good for your karma and good for your feng shui. I have helped friends who had nightmare airplane flights write letters to the airlines and subsequently they were given coupons for free upgrades and one time even a free international flight. The burden of proof is on the complainant, but if you feel you have enough proof and you take the time to present your case well, you will be rewarded.

Another time we were at the movies. There was still a half hour left of the film when a theatre employee pushed a noisy trash can down the aisle. We stayed to watch but our concentration was broken. I would have walked away, dissatisfied but thinking it was no big deal. My friend went to the manager to complain. Guess what we got? Two complimentary passes to another show.

Then we ordered an expensive high end ping pong table that arrived scratched up. We felt we deserved an unscratched pristine surface so we emailed photos of the damaged table. The manufacturer sent us a new table top without requiring us to send back the damaged one. Hmmm…now we have two ping pong tables for the price of one. Setting the record straight can often bring you bigger benefits than you were even expecting. And that is abundance at work.

Do you have any stories of consumer satisfaction to tell? Do you walk away from money or followup with complaints? Do tell!

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Filed under Feng Shui, Self Help, Wealth & Finances

FANCY PAINTED WALLS: Back in Style?

I’ve been told fancy gemstone painted walls are making a comeback. In 1987 I bought a NYC co-op apartment in an Art Deco landmark building. The building is off Gramercy Park and was used as a backdrop in the Miami Vice television series (now I’m really dating myself!).
Anyway, the living room is pictured here. There is a catty-cornered fireplace that is not in view and I haven’t been able to locate my photo album. But check out the malachite stone green faux painted walls (and beams!) in a high gloss lacquer finish. Even the heater cover was faux painted so that it would disappear into the wall.The chair rail molding and ceiling were painted chalk matte white.

The Art Nouveau rug is a vintage mint condition Chinese Nichols brand rug that I still own (it’s for sale if you like it contact me). The sofa–silk brocade and stuffed with down–was bought at auction along with the rug from the original 1920’s owners. The embroidered pillows were from my many trips to Hong Kong, the botanical prints from a shop in Paris, the large gilt framed piece is a Balinese wax resist calendar purchased in Bali. The coffee table is a pre-war Japanese balsa wood table (it’s very lightweight) with a rice lacquer finish in red. Rice lacquer lets mother-of-pearl layers under the lacquer sparkle through to the top. It’s very unique and I haven’t found any like it since although friends in Japan say they’ve seen them in black lacquer. The arm chair was by Ralph Lauren and I basically bought it to try to match the scale and curves of the antique couch. The blinds are custom cherry wood with burgundy grosgrain tape and the burgundy chest to the left is a Balinese altar cabinet from ABC Carpet.

When I listed the property for sale in 1992, the realtors convinced me that the walls needed to be painted beige. I reluctantly allowed that to happen and eventually the apartment sold.

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Filed under Architecture, Design, Feng Shui, Interior Design

HEALTHY FENG SHUI

Having been suffering for a week now with a bout of bronchitis (aches all over, headache, sore throat, and wheezy dry cough), I have had plenty of time to ruminate over old moldy axioms such as “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy,wealthy, and wise.” It really is true that if one has good health, one has everything. Or at least one has the foundation to build everything on. Without health, there is no ch’i energy to draw from. No will to focus on anything. Thoughts of suicide dance in ones head. Aarrgh!

But how we take our health for granted. My bf got the good news today that after one year of 4 hospital stays, a temporary ostemy, two surgeries, and half a year of chemotherapy treatment, his cancer is gone. (Eff cancer!!!) I believe subconsciously I knew he was finally well and thus allowed myself to become sick (I have been exhausted for most of the last six months as the role of ‘caretaker’ finally caught up with me).

This summer while bf was in hospital having the ostemy pouch removed and his intestines reattached, I went looking for feng shui clues in our summer home as much to keep myself busy and my mind off of things as I was really thinking I might find some correlation to his intestinal problem with feng shui. What I found was a basement that had been flooded (we never go down there) and mold growing on the cement floor. I removed 36–count ’em, 36–big black garbage bags of wet moldy stuff over the course of a few days. It was stuff that had been moved in boxes after a contentious divorce and then never looked at. Unneeded stuff. Stuff that nobody would ever miss but that somebody was falsely attached to. The universe flooded the stuff and created the perfect reason to toss it all out. I did and the feng shui of the house immediately felt lighter. Plus, the surgery and subsequent treatment worked.

Do I believe that feng shui “cured” the cancer? No. But I believe unblocking the ch’i by removing the disgusting moldy clutter helped strengthen the ch’i and gave a good foundation for healing and for helping the treatment work. This is how feng shui can help in our day to day lives.

As to my bronchitis, I got support from my medical professional today. But I also thoroughly vacuumed the house of all allergins and dog hair and washed all bedding and comforters of the same. Clearing and cleaning helps your feng shui and your health.

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Filed under Feng Shui, Getting Organized, Healing Energy, Health & Fitness, Qi, Self Help

VANITY FAIR WHITE WASH

What’s wrong with this picture? Since it was taken by reknowned photographer Annie Leibovitz there’s nothing that could possibly be technically wrong with it. But even an old white chick like me is more than slightly embarrassed that Vanity Fair couldn’t come up with even ONE young starlet of color to spice up this lineup of young Hollywood talent. Young and very talented Gabourey Sidibe is up for an Oscar for her breakthrough performance as “Precious” but had too much butt & belly to make this box of beautiful toothpicks. But if skinny’s the rule, and talent the topic, where’s Zoe Saldana, the actress that played Neytiri in only the biggest movie in history (James Cameron’s AVATAR)? Listen up, VF: you’re feng shui is in trouble if you can’t do better than this. We don’t accept this viewpoint of America any more. We want the full rainbow of talent represented else we’re going to stop reading your rag.

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Filed under Celebrities, Feng Shui, Fun, politics, Reading, Uncategorized

POISON ARROWS

When I look at magazine layouts of architecture and design, I look at them with my feng shui eyes. While it’s always impressive to see luxury homes where no dollar was spared, that doesn’t mean they got the feng shui right. Here’s a recent example I found in Dwell Magazine. The first photo is the view of this new Hamptons home from the street. You can see right inside the living area. But not only that, you can see right THROUGH to the backyard! This is a big feng shui no-no. It’s called a “poison arrow” as it is more than one window or door in direct alignment (especially negative when it exposes your home from front to back like this one does). The magazine said there were plans to add some shrubbery for privacy. That’s a good start but more will be needed to solve the feng shui problem. A better design for privacy and feng shui would have been to have a solid wall towards the street side with a clerestory window running all along the top of it, letting in natural light and a narrow view of the trees and sky with NONE of the street exposure.

Another view of this interior shows a long corridor like feel with a bedroom door at the end of it. This is yet another “poison arrow” and it crosses the first one created by the window-window arrow. A better design would have been to create a barrier wall so the entry to the bedroom was unseen and one would have to change directions a few times to enter the room. Keeping the door closed will help a little in the meantime.

What does a poison arrow matter? It creates too-fast-moving ch’i energy. If you’re “caught in the crossfire” of one poison arrow (let alone two or more) you will not feel comfortable or at ease. Often people will move into a house like this and move out within a short time, not knowing why they do not like living there. It’s about the “feeling” and subconsciously we will not feel safe here.

Here’s the master bedroom of the same house. I think it feels rather cold and uninviting despite the sunny yellow upholstery on the chair and the warmth of the wood floors. The feng shui problems: the closet doors to the left appear to be mirrored. In a room like this where there is already so much natural light from floor to ceiling windows, having the mirrors will cause an overabundance of stimulating ch’i. The light and the energy will be bouncing all over the place. Another problem is the choice of lamp overhead. Much cozier and more intimate to have two lamps, one on either side, instead of what looks like a stand up lamp hanging overhead. The window treatments look very industrial. Altogether not a successful room (in my opinion). Do you like it? Let me know why.

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Filed under Architecture, Design, Feng Shui, Feng Shui Home, Interior Design, Qi

HISTORIC DUKE B & B: Thumbs Up!

We stayed overnight in the historic Duke Mansion B & B for Valentine’s Day. It’s located in the gorgeous Myers Park area of Charlotte, NC. For us, that was an easy drive. If you’re coming through town for a visit, to shop IKEA, or just passing through the airport, you might want to consider staying over for this unique experience. The Greek Revival mansion was built in 1915 by Doris Duke’s father and they only lived in it 4 years before it was sold to other prominent families until eventually it was turned into a non-profit B & B by the local historical society. The entry hall is black and white marble tile, with fire lit seating rooms for guests to linger and take part in coffee and cookies. Other seating areas took advantage of the garden view where huge magnolia trees embraced this architectural marvel.

We stayed in a “king porch room” that was very large, tastefully decorated, and furnished with a flat screen wall mounted TV, two cotton robes, and French doors leading out to the screened in porch on the second floor. The inn has 20 rooms, 3 floors, and a wonderful breakfast room with original lead crystal chandelier. Breakfast is served by the friendly wait staff and you have your choice of any of 8 gourmet selections. This touch of luxury was unexpected as the price for the room was very affordable.
Check out their website for more info.

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Filed under Architecture, Feng Shui, Fun, Holidays, Travel

FIDDLE-DEE-DEE, FIDDLE LEAF FIG!

I love this pic from Elle Decor because the giant houseplant–a Fiddle Leaf Fig a.k.a. Ficus Lyrata–demonstrates really good feng shui. The broad shaped leaves without points, the lushness and health of the plant, and the way it embraces the seating arrangement are all wonderful points to consider when selecting indoor plants. Your only challenge is keeping it healthy. Unfortunately, Feng Shui By Fishgirl did NOT inherit mom’s Green Thumb so I don’t know how to advise you in that dept. If it dies on you? Fiddle-dee-dee, just buy another one!

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Filed under Feng Shui, Interior Design, Plants & Outdoors