For some of us, summer is the time of year when we tend to our gardens -- places that bring beauty, tranquility and even a supply of both fresh and dried herbs. But did you know that a garden can also spread a protective aura around your living space, invisibly shielding you from outside negativity and drama?
You can enable this magic in your living space even if you reside in an apartment, or any other type of abode without an attached yard. Simply place potted plants, herbs and flowers on a windowsill or porch; you can also hang house plants indoors. When visitors come calling, even before they enter your home, they will have already been "cleansed" of bad juju, all while experiencing an energetic lift from your enchanted garden!
If you'd like to improve your psychic or intuitive powers, then plant marigold, roses or thyme. If it's a loving and harmonious household you're looking for, cultivate gardenias, primrose, pansy, jasmine and tomato. Happiness blooms alongside hyacinth, lavender, marjoram and morning glory; money comes from tilling soil and filling it with mint, clover, dill, basil and rosemary; protection comes from a perimeter planted with garlic, vetiver, aspen and cactus. And as far as I'm concerned, no garden is complete without a bit of bamboo (for luck) and sunflowers (for recognition, inspiration, honor and reward).
At a time of year that's so ideal for planting seeds of intention, ask yourself, How does my garden grow? If the answer is anything less than "beautifully," then you've got some planting to do!
Maxi-skirts and maxi-dresses might be all the rage this sultry summer, but they'd better be a bit longer than most if they're going to cover the skyscraper-like wedges that are also the runway shoe du jour. Seriously, some of the summer wedges I've seen can climb to six, seven or even eight inches high!
But what does all this stilt-walking do to your poor, battered tootsies? Well, as it turns out, nothing too good. Feet carry a great deal of weight and can rightly be considered the most abused part of the human body, especially if you're teetering around in big blocks posed as shoes.
According to some podiatrists, a full 80 percent of American adults suffer from some sort of foot problem. So, in order to get to the bottom of these appendages, I hereby offer a foot remedy that will help heal you from a hard day in high ones (heels, that is!).
Fill a basin with hot water, then add one cup of Epsom salts and ten drops of lavender essential oil. Fill another basin with ice cubes. With a timer alongside you, soak your feet in the hot water for one minute, then in the cubes for 30 seconds. Continue in this pattern for ten minutes to bring balance and relief to your feet.
Following this procedure has also been known to help lower blood pressure, prevent varicose veins, improve poor circulation in the legs and, if done regularly, even relieve chronically cold feet! (Not the marrying kind, though -- sorry.)
Stand up for your feet so they can stand up for you!
Is the sun frying your skin this summer? Want to know a secret moisturizing trick that all the celebs are using?
That's right. Viscous coconut oil can do far more than simply make your skin feel silky smooth, if you replace your regular moisturizer with this sweet-smelling stuff. See, coconuts possess a different type of fat that's found only in another half-dozen foods on the planet. Known as medium-chain fatty acids, these types of fat -- capric acid and lauric acid -- are extremely rare, but are found in both coconut and palm kernel oils.
Since the outer layer of our skin is partly composed of fat, it's amazing how well coconut oil can keep it smooth and water-tight. And as if that weren't enough, this magical potion acts as a protective layer against toxins, viruses or bacteria floating around the environment, all while creating pH balance in your skin. Coconut oil not only lends you a healthy overall glow, but also firms your skin, prevents the breakdown of natural collagens, promotes the growth of healthy new cells and, of course, prevents wrinkling.
Forget the silly drink in the half-coconut shell. Next time you see one of these tropical fruits, rub its oil all over yourself for unbelievably smooth skin!
As you may or may not know, I am a Jersey girl -- born and raised in a beautiful, bucolic farm town in northern New Jersey. It was always in early July that I would travel with my family to the local farm stand, where my mom and dad would pick some of the biggest, brightest and plumpest Jersey tomatoes you could ever find. This was a yearly ritual for my family, when my parents would pack up us kids into the car on a Sunday morning, attend Mass, then stop on the way home to get those luscious tomatoes that would grace our Sunday dinner table.
As I've become more deeply involved in learning about the power behind certain foods, I have found that tomatoes have an energetic connection to love and money. In fact, certain Latin American cultures would call tomatoes "love apples," since eating them has always been believed to bring luck in love. Lonely Mexican women would even enclose dried tomato seeds in cloth, then wear this charm around their neck to attract potential partners.
Eating freshly sliced tomatoes with sage and rosemary sprinkled on top -- or even creating a concoction that uses tomatoes, cinnamon and a bit of basil -- is said to bring a big boost to both your creativity and bottom line. But, since it's July and tarragon is so plentiful, I've decided to offer one of my own culinary creations this month!
TOMATO AND TARRAGON SOUP
5 1/2 cups of fresh tomatoes, blended or whipped in a food processor until smooth
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup of minced celery tops
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of minced fresh tarragon leaves
Minced fresh scallions (for garnish)
Sour cream (for garnish)
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic and minced celery tops, then cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato juice, bay leaf, fresh orange juice and tarragon leaves.
3. Simmer together on very low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.
4. Add remaining tarragon and simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
5. Serve hot or cold, topped with a dollop of sour cream and minced fresh scallions.
(A few months ago, I began taking a look at ancient Tibetan Feng Shui methods that promise protection and prosperity during travels. As previously noted, this sage advice originates from age-old text given by the Buddha Manjushuri to one of the great Indian pundits, Nagarjuna. All the modern-day information, however, comes courtesy of the venerable grande dame of Feng Shui [and one of my esteemed teachers], Lillian Too, who relates that the aforementioned Buddhist masters offered myriad methods for travel that would smooth over any bumps caused by starting a journey at an inappropriate astrological time.)
As I previously discussed in April, this month we take another look at how to ensure stress-free travels if you're heading north. Remembering that Tibetan astrology claims how specific mantras can be recited to control energies associated with travel, first you should place three mounds of dirt in a northerly direction, then recite, "ma ma, su su, yeh so har." Once you've done this, arrange a small bunch of branches (with leaves or bushy plants around them) while reciting the protective and luck-manifesting mantra, "ma ma, putah putah, yeh so har."
As with any mantra recitation, you're most likely to stop bad luck and overcome any obstacles on your journey if you repeat these enchanted words 108 times. If that seems a bit too strenuous, try to repeat them at least nine times in a row.
And then? Get ready for easy travels!
Maybe it's because tempers have a tendency to rise with the heat index, but I receive more Feng Shui-related email for legal situations in summer than I do during any other season!
Feng Shui says that yin (or calm, receptive) water is the most powerful cure available when attempting to negate quarrelsome energies that can lead to legal entanglements. This advice continues that if you are already involved in a legal situation, you should remove all clocks, chimes and any other moving objects from the vicinity of your front door and, in their place, place an image of a bird in flight there. Position the image with the bird flying outward -- that is, out of the house. This pro-active step is said to possess the ability to reduce the negative energies caused by legal battles, while possibly even ameliorating the problem altogether.
Birds are considered an excellent symbol of appeasement, so be sure to remain flexible and compassionate as you try to leave your lawsuit behind. Speaking of the law and suits, Feng Shui also claims that if you find yourself embroiled in a legal battle, you should wear bird-themed jewelry -- especially that of birds taking to the air.
Put your legal worries and woes in flight so you can get back to the business of soaring your own self!