Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Mercury Retrograde Roller Coaster

By Cal Orey

Welcome the Mercury retrograde period. Simply put, the planet Mercury is linked to communication, truth, and travel. That means when Mercury tends to go backwards or we enter a time when the planet goes into "retrograde" your life can feel like it goes topsy-turvy for a few weeks. Worse, it happens a couple times each year. Fasten your seat belt because we're in the period now which began April 29 and will end May 23. But it's not all bad despite the twists and turns. Read on...

A Few Ups...
* Find lost items. Did you lose a favorite possession? No worries. During this time span you may just find it again! The day before the 29th (the pre-shadow window) my missing cozy slipper (my Aussie doesn't like me to wear socks) magically popped up in the hall closet. I was doing the happy dance in two soft and cozy black leopard print colored slippers that the herding shepherd of my dreams can't remove.

* Hook up with people, pets and possessions of the past. Hello Simon! Yes, my beloved past pooch popped up on Facebook memories on April 29. I needed another visit from him. After all, he was my Rock of Gilbraltar. His timely presence helped me get through a pre-Mercury retrograde challenge of the week (the lost FedEx package--full of my page proofs for VINEGAR, 3rd edition--en route to my publisher; it was found and delivered two days before the 29th!)...

* Discover reality. Ever wonder if something that is going on is really the real deal? During this period clarity can shine through miscommunication. It's like a miracle. If you sense someone isn't giving you the real scoop, you may be right and things will be crystal clear like a reader using a crystal ball. And remember, this is a time your intuition (sixth sense) may be heightened so do tune in not out...

...And Downs
* Travel goes haywire. I never believed in a mix-up due to a planet effect until it happened to me. Last fall I missed my flight connection by two minutes! Yep, blame it on the Mercury retrograde. We were so close yet too far. Two hour delay.

* Computer woes. I must warn you. Do not, I repeat do not purchase a computer during this time of chaos linked to communication. I did it last year. Fast forward. I have not used the new laptop as of yet. Mega mistake. Remember mix-ups with purchases can and do happen this time.

* Do not sign anything of importance to you until after the period ends. If you do sign you may live to regret it because of a myriad of loopholes. Wait, please wait until the 24th of May. Oh, and then you're in the clear until the next Mercury Retrograde period--August 30-September 22.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

BAD Foods Gone Good? Coffee...Chocolate...Fat... Oh My!

Savors "bad" foods in moderation
for good health 
Collection of Bad Foods Gone Good
A few years ago, I was interviewed by someone whom is AWOL but here is part of our exchange that I just found on the Internet... Fun interview, fun foods... 
SF– Coffee can heal me? I’m sold. What inspired you to write about healing foods?
Every a.m. with a splash
of organic chocolate milk
Cal Orey– One snowy winter morning, while sipping java juice, I got an idea. (It’s true. Coffee boosts brainpower and the creative process.) I e-mailed my book editor with words that were short and sweet. “Just thinking a tea book to go with the honey book seems like it would work well.” He quickly responded,” I was thinking of a coffee book since coffee gets a bad rap. Is that a crazy idea?” I typed a one-liner answer, “Not at all. It was my second choice.” After all, during the creation of The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I included a chapter titled: “A Cuppa Coffee and Chocolat.” So, I wasn’t a stranger to coffee and its virtues.
SF– How did you come to find out that these foods have healing properties?
No wine for author but EVVO
paired with real butter
CO– I went to the go-to super food people—the folks percolating with information about the world’s favorite “new” health foods. I’ve conducted hundreds of exclusive interviews with medical doctors, researchers, and people in the industry: vinegar, olive oil, chocolate, honey, and coffee. It isn’t rocket science. I discovered quickly that Mother Nature’s folk medicine is today’s modern miracle!
SF– I had a teacher once who made us drink apple cider vinegar if we coughed in her class. Was she trying to save us from the common cold, or keep us quiet? Care to comment?
CO– She was from the old school of natural remedies. Apple cider vinegar may help in speeding recovery from a cold. Apple cider vinegar may help boost immunity and provide relief from cold and cough symptoms. The Vinegar Remedy to Use: Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 4 teaspoons of honey. Take 1 tablespoon when your cough starts up. Take another at bedtime. Voila!
SF–  Olive oil has a million uses, doesn’t it?  Plus it’s one of those staples for so many cultures. It really is amazing stuff (and makes such a nice garlic sauce)!  What is your favorite use?
Real butter, real scones
CO– While olive oil has been used for everything from health ailments to beauty and home, it’s the  fat I use in my heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. So, it’s sautéing vegetables in a bit of extra virgin olive oil (it’s chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants) and teaming it with a bit of real butter topped on whole grain rice or pasta that helps energize me, and keep me lean. Combining the two fats dishes flavor and good-for-you satiety so it curbs cookie monster cravings.

SF– I was amazed to find out the benefits of fresh ground verses pre-ground coffee beans!
CO– Coffee, especially freshly ground coffee from whole beans, boasts of an amazing antioxidant power. Two mighty antioxidants—chlorogenic acids and caffeic acid—are given credit for health benefits. Java boasts of other health-boosting antioxidants, including benzoic acids, cinnamic acids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins. Stacks of studies show that regular coffee drinkers may help lower their risk of developing cancers (female types, too), heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments. No doubt, coffee is healthy in a variety of ways, and credit is due to the variety of disease fighting antioxidants--and caffeine which can do a body good! and keep it regular. But note to pass on sugar, cream, extra flavorings, and the whip. Go for a cup of black coffee and/or with a splash of low-fat milk.
SF– What is your favorite healing food?  Of course, on the other end, what about your favorite NOT healing food?
Tea with treats

CO– Tea. I absolutely am a devout tea drinker. True, a 12-ounce cup of coffee is on my morning schedule. But tea—black, green, chamomile—spiked with a taste of a super honey varietal like wildflower or tupelo makes my day and night complete. Not to forget a home-baked fresh fruit scone. I only eat super foods. If you look in my fridge, it’s stuffed with fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and Greek yogurt (high in fat but still has some good stuff in it). In my pantry, you’ll find fatty nuts, eggs, and cheese, too. Moderation for all. P.S. I forgot to mention the ice cream in the freezer (but it’s the premium, all-natural kind).
SF– You are a foodie warrior! Mine is chocolate. Speaking of which, thanks for telling me how great it is for me.
Chocolate Gelato? Oh yeah
CO – Yes, chocolate known as Mother Natures’ “food of the gods” can help boost the immune system, lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes—even obesity! Chocolate is chock-full of mood enhancing ingredients, including phenylethylamine (the “love drug”) and feel-good serotonin. I like dark chocolate (if it's the gourmet kind). I do turn to white and milk types, too, if paired with fruits, herbs, and spices.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Is That Healing Powers Series Author, Anyhow?

California-Based Clean Food 

Healing Powers Series 


I'm a born and raised down to earth West Coast girl (nearby wineries, olive groves, chocolate hot spots, honey beekeepers, coffee bean roasters, and tea shops) who keeps it healthy and natural. I pen the "hugely successful" Healing Powers Series (on homepage), now available at Walmart,, and most online and physical bookstores; (translated in at least 20 languages), all have been featured by book clubs, including Good Cook, One Spirit, Book of the Month, and Literary Guild. 

Yes, you can lose pounds
drinking coffee!
As a former Woman's World Weekly diet-nutrition columnist, I dish up--and write up rustic Mediterranean food recipes with fresh West Coast fare. Not to forget my articles (like on The Healing Powers of Coffee book) and articles including other books in the Healing Powers series have graced the cover of national mags...

Update: In December 2015, The Healing Powers of Vinegar tagged a #1 best seller on amazon kindle books in Healthy Cooking, Health, Diet, Nutrition, Alternative Therapies; ranked #1 on kobobooks in Health and Health and Well-Being!; 2nd row, page 1 Diet and Weight Loss on; in January 2016, The Healing Powers of Honey #3 in Nutrition on kobobooks !

So, as the third edition of The Healing Powers of Vinegar gets ready to be released this summer, I am busy in Tea Land--and loving every minute of it. As a devout tea lover this is the book of my dreams to research, write, and cherish.


* Imagination: One of my SFSU favorite professors and poets John Beecher whom noticed my talents and imagination during my graduate work.  He noticed my standout imagination, and creative writing about an intimate relationship with a dog and bold travels across America like John Steinbeck's Travel's with Charley. During my graduate work he wrote the words on one of my canine-related essays: "Vivid imagination... candor shines through." 
* Mediterranean Lifestyle: And there's more...Frances Mayes, author of the novel Under the Tuscan Sun, has greatly influenced my work which boasts an European twist: The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, The Healing Powers of Vinegar and forthcoming Healing Powers collection.
* Heart and Soul: Also, best-selling author Anne Rice was a guest speaker in one of my classes Writers on Writing. Rice showed me, an aspiring San Francisco Bay Area native writer how to put passion and soul down on paper and let it fly into the hearts of readers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Will the West Coast Shake--Linked to the Japan or Ecuador Earthquake?

By Cal Orey
UPDATE: No "megaquake" hit the West Coast on April 22 as forecasted by Geologist Jim Berkland. But his seismic windows are 8 days so...his followers wait. My West Coast earthquake prediction does have a wider window (below I note July 22 is the cut off; and also for the entire year of 2016). Yet on the earthquake website I posted:

Prediction (April 20 2016)

West Coast (B.C./offshore, WA, OR, CA)
Likely epicenters: Seattle, Offshore NorCal (near Eureka), SF, Greater Los Angeles/Coast
7.0+ Apr 20-May 21
Probability: 60%
Notes: Due to Ring of Fire earthquakes, sensitives/scientists feeling something is in the works; and other sensitive signs... (See blog post above; forecasted this Jan. 2016)
UPDATE: Today is Friday, the 22 Full Moon (mini)...I did forecast AK (anchorage) for 2016; destructive quake hit in Jan. Not it though. If and if a stronger quake hits there (again) this year or any of the regions noted above--and shallow--a tsunami alert for the West Coast will follow...If a great quake 8.0+ a big wave(s) will follow.

Last night I was a News Segment guest on Coast to Coast AM. My cameo appearance here in a nutshell: Well, I think I got 2 dish on the recent 4 deadly quakes in 1 week and link to 2011 when the Ring of Fire quakes circled the Pacific Ocean. Remote triggering? Oh yeah. People on the West Coast from B.C., WA, OR, and CA should probably be prepared just in case we're next. You know the drill--or if u need a quickie course:… ... FYI: On Jan. 31 1906 an 8.8 struck off the Coast of Ecuador. On April 18 1906 the great SF quake hit.

Here we go again. Remember 2011? The Ring of Fire Quakes were circling the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believed North America was next in line. After all, take a look at the shakers that hit hard:
* January 2: Chile 8.8
* February 22: New Zealand 6.3
* March 11: Japan 9.0

April is known as a "shaky" month.  Today is the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco quake-fire. Fast forward to 1984 on April 24 when the Morgan Hill 6.2 earthquake rumbled through the Bay Area.  A swarm of  dolphins and whales are doing odd things in Monterey--another sign of the West Coast to move in the near future?

As an author- intuitive (I did pen the book The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes), I write an Earth Changes column every month for Oracle 20/20 Magazine (online and hard copy). I did predict that Japan would rock again (see below) and affect the West Coast. Last week the day before the second deadly earthquake in southern Japan, I forecasted it would occur soon. I looked at the swarm of quakes and got that gut instinct. Less than 24 hours later the news broke and I was unpleasantly surprised...

And now scientists are worried about the cluster of ongoing shakers in the Asian region...  Not to ignore researchers are researching the possibility of "remote triggering" and considering that distance doesn't matter when it comes to a connection of earthquakes despite it being 15,000 miles or more, much like Japan and South America--not to forget the Pacific Ocean is a link.  Take a look at my published predictions for the past and future...


Welcome to a new year with new challenges around the world.  The year of 2016 will be chock-full of Earth changes, including shakers, wacky weather, and political craziness during climate chaos with global warming effects each continent, one by one, faces the wrath of Mother Nature’s surprises. When the Earth acts out as it will each season we often prepare for safety’s sake and peace of mind.

·        Earthquakes
* While we watched the San Andreas film, a great California earthquake didn’t happen in 2015 and shake the Golden state. But it will one day. The silence may be interrupted by a major tremor… in the southern state (near the coast or San Andreas), and/or San Francisco Bay Area (epicenter in the East Bay), or offshore Northern California near Eureka.
* An underwater earthquake may create a tsunami sequel near Japan and wreak more havoc on the country as well as the Pacific Ocean/West Coast from Alaska to Mexico—affecting the land and food chain.
* A great quake like in 1964 may rock Alaska (near Anchorage) causing a West Coast big wave that’ll cause destruction in both the populated city and Washington, Oregon, and California.

·              Spot-On 2015 Predictions

*Greece was rocked by an extremely shallow and destructive earthquake in the fall.
* An autumn earthquake swarm in San Francisco Bay Area, California did occur but only a moderate widely felt shaker was the end result. 
* A tsunami alert on the West Coast—from Alaska did happen as it has before in history.
* In 2015, the year was like a sequel to the film The Day After Tomorrow with crazy climate—from South Carolina flooding to a historically warmer than normal fall in the Northeast.

For the Record. My forecast before the second Japan earthquake...On the earthquake website: Japan Quake-Tsunami Forecasted April 14, 2016, 3:30 PM... Time Frame: Now through July 22, 2016...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

VINEGAR 3rd Edition is on the Stove for SUMMER!

By Cal Orey

A special note from the down-to-earth West Coast-based Healing Powers series author: 
At Canada for research...
Tea Time
for the next Healing Powers book!
It is springtime and I'm busy at work proofing the page proofs of this new, improved edition. It pleases me to be reading the new third edition because I know that you will be able to enjoy it this summer. Clean foods, more creative apple cider vinegar uses, super pounds-off diets, and charming vinegar real-life stories, comfort food recipes, and a Question and Answer section that'll all warm your heart, soul, and body!  Here, take a peek at the back cover:

From Folk Medicine to 21st Century Favorite--Discover the Amazing Powers of Vinegar!

Pre-order with Super $avings!

Revised and updated, this comprehensive book draws on the latest scientific studies and interviews with top health researchers to reveal how apple cider and red wine vinegars--as well as balsamic, fruit, rice, and herb-infused vinegars--can help you stay healthy. Often partnered with olive oil, a key ingredient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, vinegar is the basis for easy, tasty, rustic recipes--including favorites of health spa chefs. You'll also find proven home health cures, innovative cosmetic secrets, lively anecdotes, and environmentally friendly household hints--from making countertops sparkle to cleaning up kids and pets.
*Take advantage of vinegar's natural therapeutic, antioxidant, and culinary virtues as this 5,000-year-old healer evolves in new uses and products--from sipping vinegars to home-cooked foods.
* Learn how vinegar helps lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and bone loss.
*Discover how vinegar's acetic acid kills bacteria, and may help prevent tuberculosis and combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
* Use red wine vinegar to enjoy the same important antioxidants as red wine--without the alcohol.
*Pair vinegar with healthful oils to ease anxiety, boost brain power, enhance energy, and aid digestion.
* Create home cures to treat allergies, arthritis, toothache, sunburn, swimmer's ear, sore throat, and other pesky ailments.
...and discover much more in this invaluable resource to help you slim down, shape up, and enhance longevity!
From Folk Medicine to 21st Century Favorite--Discover the Amazing Powers of Vinegar!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Day in the Life with a Working Author

By Cal Orey
Today is Wednesday. It is spring at Lake Tahoe. This is a time when locals know it's off season, a time to enjoy the quietude of the mountain town. The store, roads, vacation homes, and tourists are less than more. It's a time to rejoice, especially if you're a sensitive author like me.
A while ago, I began writing the text for my next book on tea. Like a puzzle, I input the fun and "easy" parts before I get into the meat of it all.  My pantry is full of tea blends; I've been introducing myself to different tea blends, one by one. Heaven. I confess. I'm becoming a tea snob. 
Bliss at B.C. Canada

But today I prepared for a tea break of sorts. The Healing Powers of Vinegar, 3rd edition arrived on my deck. It's page proof time. That means it's my day and night job to go back to the book and give it a final look. So, tea is on the back burner--but savoring cups of brew is ongoing. Count on it.

First it was to the pool (all mine), hot tub (all mine), store, and dog walk. Then, the new vacuum arrived. I digress. But how in an author's world can I write with Aussie hair here and there? Assembled. I wasn't going to open the big book package until tomorrow but that plan went south. I peeked. So far, so good. Everything is intact. It's like opening a present and you're hoping the gift will be everything you envisioned it to be--but even better.  And tomorrow I will go to work and read my book one more time.
Every author needs a canine companion

My job as author never stops. Like fellow writers I made some quickie stops at social media hangout spots, including Twitter, Facebook (followers seemed to like the "Have you ever used an outhouse?" post--a lot). When I fielded emails I was pleasantly surprising to be welcomed by Newsmax touting my books on Olive Oil and Vinegar. And then it was onward to check out book sales at the online booksellers, including (a new positive review for the vinegar book which has gained more than 40 reviews in about three months).

Then, I pondered about my new monthly column "QuizziCal" (a relationship quiz) and my Earth changes column for May: "Homeward Bound"--a piece about how dogs and cats can find their way home. And that's not all.
I surfed the Net to revisit hotels I stayed at during my last trip to Canada in October.   Georgia or the PNW is on my mind for fall book signings.
I paid a few more visits to Facebook and like always answered the writers' question for the day. Today I think it was about when is my favorite time to write. I answered, when I'm happy, balanced, and after a swim, dog walked, and house clean. Right. It's a challenge to have it all done. But despite my expectations of the perfect writing place, I can and have written under all circumstances and all places. But that is another story, another blog post. And that, my dear readers, is the day in the life with a working author.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dog Lover Behind Snoopy

The Dog Lover Behind Snoopy
A dog woman interviewed a famous dog man

Snoopy debuted in Charles Schulz’s cartoon strip “Peanuts” in 1950 (just two years before I was born). The likable canine character from Daisy Hill puppy farm became part of the children’s strip (and still is today). In fact, with the help of Snoopy’s owner, Charlie Brown, the Beagle’s personality blossomed—big time.
            Of course, Snoopy can’t talk. He thinks. Schulz explained how Snoopy communicates: “Snoopy thinks the sort of things that we believe a dog might think if we knew what they were thinking about. Snoopy’s strength is his ability to overcome all of the problems in his life, but he frequently retreats to imagination to solve a lot of his problems.” For instance, the imaginative Beagle has a dog house that converts into a fighter plane in which he seeks the elusive Red Baron. And, this resourceful dog is a wanna-be writer. Snoopy is notorious for using those opening passages, “It was a dark and stormy night…” The irony is, he thinks he’s great!
            Is cartoonist Schulz a genuine dog person? You can count on it.
            A native of Minnesota, Schulz recalls his younger years being enriched by a variety of canines: a couple of Beagles, a St. Bernard and several Golden Retrievers.
            “Right now I have the best dog I’ve ever owned in my whole life,” mused the 69-year-old “Peanuts” creator. He simply cherishes Andy, his 12-year-old Wire Fox Terrier. And sometimes, Schulz will derive his ideas for Snoopy from Andy’s behavior. For instance, Snoopy’s sudden cookie fetish is really Andy’s thing.
            Schulz borrowed another idea from his senior dog. “When Andy could hear better, I used to hesitate about shaving with an electric razor in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him up,” recalled Schulz.
            Later on, Schulz adapted the real-life situation into a similar storyline for Charlie Brown. At school, the teacher was criticizing Charlie Brown’s writing with a dull pencil. Charlie Brown says, “I know, Ma’am, I should have my sharpened my pencil better. We have an electric sharpener at home but I didn’t want to turn it on this morning. I didn’t want to wake up my dog.”
            In 1981, after Schulz underwent heart bypass surgery, the nurses asked the celebrity to draw cartoons on the hospital wall. For a while the artist just stared at the wall. He didn’t know what to create.
            Then, suddenly, Schulz stood up and went to work. With a felt pen he drew a series of Snoopys in a hospital bed like himself. For starters, the dog was shown performing a post-operative exercise familiar to Schulz. Snoopy was struggling with the inhalator. The goal? To make three balls rise to the top of the apparatus for inhaling oxygen—and remain there for a moment. The last drawing revealed the Beagle collapsing with exhaustion and triumph.
            “I had a good time and had the feeling at that moment—‘This is why I am here’—I just draw pictures, that’s all.”
            But why did Schulz draw Snoopy—not Charlie Brown—on the hospital walls? He replied, “Because the dog breaks the boundaries of age, race, and everything else.”

(Reprinted with permission from Dog World, December 1993 issue.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Author's Cat is a Talker

Chatty Cats, Blessed Creatures

When I think of talkative cats, fictitious feline characters come to mind, for example, “The Cat in the Hat” was my favorite intelligent chatty cat when I was a child. I still remember the headless wonder in Alice’s adventures (another bright feline), her talking friend the Cheshire Cat. And, of course, Felix and Sylvester have intrigued me. But also fascinating are our countless real, live vocal cats who don’t exactly talk like we humans do, but still are very talky.
Zen, my affectionate and vocal Siamese-mix

Some people aren’t accustomed to the chatty feline who has something to say. I, for instance, recall years ago I was at my neighbor’s pet-sitting when first introduced to a very gabby cat. Initially I thought he was hungry, but his bowl was full! When I opened the front and back doors, blue-eyed Charley looked up at me—he didn’t want to anywhere. Yet his meows persisted. I tried cradling the cat like an infant. Still he continued to whine. When my neighbor returned I alerted her, “Something’s wrong with Charley! He won’t stop crying!” My neighbor laughed. “That’s Charley’s way. He’s Siamese. A talker.”
As time passed, I found myself at the local humane society in dire want of a pet cat. It was a toss-up between a gray-and-white longhair and an orange domestic shorthair. Gandalf, the aggressive gray-and-white feline who spoke up again and again, won his freedom. His perseverance had me at first sight. It was as though he were saying, “Hey! I’m the one you want! Take me.”
After years of his talk I had grown to respect Gandalf because he speaks his mind. Sometimes his voice is suggesting that he wants something NOW, and other times his cat talk is communicating that everything is under control—sweet contentment. But best of all, if either of us is in the mood, we’ll indulge in a dangling conversation.

There are talkers and there are talkers. A few years after adopting Gandalf, I was smitten by a litter of adorable Manx/Siamese kittens and took one home without much though. Within a week I discovered my new tailless Ashley was going to be the most talkative cat I have ever known. Yet, I must admit, a while ago Ashley’s loquacious ways were not appreciated by everyone; and yes, on occasion even I thought her consistent babbling was a bit much.
These days, after discussions with experts on vocal cats, I appreciate talkers more than ever. Why? Because I understand her need to talk. You may already know whether or not talkers are your cup of tea. If they aren’t—stay clear of these breeds: Oriental Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Ragdolls, and yes, the Siamese is probably the most outspoken of all.
According to cat experts, there are more than a dozen voice patterns classified in groups. But it’s the vowel pattern that is associated with care, soliciting, and goal frustration. It’s important to remember to look for a physical problem first, and if it’s not physical, experts say, try for the psychological connection. Yes, some talkers are smart and can manipulate you to cater to their whim, whether it’s kitty treats to extra TLC.

The bottom line, cats that are just talkative—like some humans with a gift of gab—aren’t necessarily for everyone. For example, when I was at a friend’s house something didn’t feel right. I felt very comfortable in her loft apartment with healthy house plants, beautiful Oriental rugs, Degas paintings—and to top it off, a handsome Himalayan. A few hours passed, and I realized that although there was a cat present, which made me feel right at home, it was too darn quiet. I was going stir crazy. I actually missed my talking cats. Alex’s yowling to go outdoors, in my study, Gandalf’s aloof way of saying, “Hey, I’m in the mood for a chat. Can we talk?” And yes, even Ashley’s incessant chattering. So, when I came home that day it was clear. I am a talkative person, and I enjoy the company of articulate people. So it should be no surprise that I prefer my cats to be vocal. I’ll take a talker any day--especially when I'm all alone and working on a book.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring into Cleaning with Vinegar, Honey, Oil and Tea

Spring Cleaning with Feng Shui
Spring has sprung. It’s time to move forward and get moving into spring cleaning mode. The cleaner your kitchen is, the cleaner your spirit and soul, which is a good thing for you, yours, and your environment.  Welcome to the world of feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement. Its goal is to bring you harmony. By putting stuff in the right spots in your kitchen it may enhance the flow of positive energy and zap negative vibrations. The end result: good health, happiness, and fortune. Read on--you, too, can enjoy a well-balanced kitchen--with vinegar, honey, oil and tea--that feels good from head to toe like I recall enjoying as a little girl.

1. Use Eco-friendly Vinegar and Olive Oil Cleaners. For starters, brew a cup of herbal tea for its energizing effects tol boost your energy and mood...Then, it's time to clean your kitchen from top to bottom with natural stuff. You'll be doing you, yours, and Mother Nature a favor. Using nontoxic vinegar can help you to: lose the ants; clean stainless steel, get rid of dust, and keep fresh flowers longer. By keeping it green it will provide you with better health and energy.

2. Declutter Your Stuff. Ditto. Getting rid of things you don't use will up your energy. It's true. You feel lighter with less kitchen baggage, starting fresh is exhilerating. I cleaned out both the fridge and freezer. Add a fresh box of baking soda to soak up odors. Then, I tackled the pantry and tossed out olive oil, pasta, rice, soup, gourmet spices (yep, I sadly discovered they don't last forever) and anything else that expired...What's the saying: Out with the old and in with the new.

3. Clean the Stovetop and Oven. This was a chore but it feels right to have the stovetop shine. (My Stepford Wife colors are starting to show.) The inside of the oven is sparkling, too. Tip: If you must use toxic oven cleaner, go over it with the natural stuff. Trust me, this is a feel-good must-do before days and nights warm up.
4. Brighten Up with Lighting. During the colder days without sun you'll want to have sunny-type lighting which can up your energy and mood--linked to good health. Go for full spectrum light bulbs or ones with a nice amber glow.  Speaking of lightening up...

5. Boost Your Mood with Plants. To help wipe out pollutants in your kitchen, fill your space with hardy, happy plants. Your best bet: philodendrons, spider plants or cactus.

6. Bring on the Water. Fish aquariums provide positive energy in the dining room, especially with a gentle filter Ever notice Asian restaurants and the calming ambiance of fish?

7. Fish, Fish, Fish. Today, I read that goldfish can bring you good luck and prosperity. In fact, nine is the lucky number. The colors? Gold and one black one. (Go smaller rather than bigger in size = less cleaning.) My kitchen/dining room/study all are connected. So, the fish aquarium is a pleasant, calming treat for all three rooms. Note to self: Add more fishies.

8. Bring Out the Fresh Fruit. I've got several plump healthful seasonal fruits on display and ready to eat, such as pears placed in a stainless steel colander. According to feng shui concensus, a full bowl may lead to a full life. Translation: Display pretty bowls with plenty of pretty fruit. Empty bowls with just a few pieces of old fruit not so good. And oranges? Nine is the lucky number I've read...Put 'em in a wooden bowl and on the kitchen or dining room table. (Note: If they're pricey, purchase the ones in a bag. Save the separate, sweet and juicy ones for eating.)

9. Conceal Knives and Scissors. My father gave me a black and white marble knife block, cutting board, and rolling pin. I love it. But the knives are out of sight. Bad vibes, say feng shui folks.

10. Hanging Pots and Pans. Get one of those artsy-looking  overhead hangers for your kitchen stuff. If so,  do not  hang it over your workspace. Not good energy, or so they feng shui wizards claim.

11. Hide the Gadgets. Too many kitchen items can clutter up all that positive decluttering you did. So, choose your favorites and recycle as you use 'em. Or, you can always get a kitchen island. A rustic, wooden Mediterranean type is earthy. It would be modest, wooden, but eye-catching, and a great place to stack some kitchen gadgets, and a workspace.

12. Hang Wind Chimes with Crystals. I brought one of mine in from the deck--and put it above the kitchen windows. The one I chose is of a sun with a face. It makes me smile everytime I look at Mr. Sunshine. Feng shui gurus recommend hanging chimes in the doorway to the kitchen or over the stove sings good energy. And sit down, exhales,  enjoy your clean, decluttered surroundings and renewal of springtime!