Elf Yo’ Self

Elfie is the newest member to many families these days. He makes all kinds of raucous in the home with crazy antics and surprising pranks. Elfie can be a great gauge for your kids (or husband) to measure how close they will be to the naughty or nice list this year. While Elfie is busy getting into trouble, the little critters are having so much fun keeping up with him or her that they are staying out of it. Let’s see what Elfie is up to lately…


 

elf-dog

Elfie is tired of walking. Being mischievous is a lot of work. Elfie has borrowed a beautiful Barbie saddle that’s placed on top of Charlie, the family dog. Elfie lures Charlie with treats on the end of a pole in order to lead him around. Elfie doesn’t have to walk so far and Charlie enjoys his snacks so it’s a mutual agreement.


 

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Elfie says goodbye to Charlie because he has to hide 12 candy canes he stole from the Christmas tree before the humans wake up. He can’t wait to see their faces when they read the note he wrote telling them of his maniacal plan. They will never find them all! He is too good of a hider; he won first place in hide and seek at the North Pole Elves Convention.



 

elf-snow

Elfie is sad. It hasn’t snowed at all here this Christmas. He misses the snow and all the things you could play in it. He has an idea. He pulls down flour, marshmallows, sprinkles and all kinds of finds from the baking shelf and spreads them all over the counters. Elfie brings a little white Christmas to the family with flour snow angels and marshmallow snowmen. It’s starting to feel more like home here every minute.


 

elf-paper

The humans need a bit of help decorating. They only have ONE tree up. At the workshop Santa has a tree every 20 square feet and garland covering every wall. Elfie finds their wrapping paper. This will do. He starts with wrapping the cabinet doors. It looks pretty festive but it still isn’t enough. He then wraps the table. Much better. Might as well finish it off by wrapping the couch. Perfect. The humans will be so pleased with the redecorations.

 


elf-bath

It’s almost time for the family to wake. Better hurry. It’s time for Elfie to take a bath so he’s presentable to them. He has bits of paper stuck to his back and streaks of flour in his hair. He rushes to the sink and fills it with cotton ball bubbles. Ah yes. This is the life. He grabs an American Girl robe and a washcloth to wrap his hair. Now to relax after a full morning at work.

 

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Versatile Holiday Décor

The holidays are here and now you have to drag down all your decorations from the attic. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have less décor with just as much holiday flare? It is possible. Before you go out and buy a whole new collection of ornaments for each holiday motif, take a look at these clever creations that may save you space and money.

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Get it on Etsy here: https://goo.gl/xrG62P

Reversible holiday blocks are a precious way to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving.” One side has winter season and one side has fall. You just flip them around when one is over. You can get them custom made on Etsy.


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Find it on Etsy here!

Show a little spirit in your entryway or on your front door with a cute sign with stacked pumpkins on one side. When snow comes to town flip over for a pleasantly plump snowman.


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Celebrate the upcoming events with a chalkboard countdown with Halloween or Thanksgiving on one side. On the other displays you favorite Christmas or Hanukkah countdown. It’s a fun way to keep your kids excited and engaged with holiday plans. They can even change the number themselves.


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A cool way to yule is to have wooden pumpkin cutouts painted then reversed to show festive tree ornaments. These wood discs a person could easily paint themselves with little time and effort to make a big statement piece.


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See all the options here! https://www.thoughtsinvinyl.com/wooden-letters/interchangeable-home-letters

Spruce up each season with these HOME letters that require a different shaped holiday symbol as the ‘O’ for every national celebration. There is a heart for Valentines, a maple leaf for autumn, a Frankenstein monster for Halloween, a bunny for Easter, and several others to choose from. You can keep this decoration up all year round. Everyone will compliment your highly functional piece and how quaint it is.

You won’t have to completely change your entire house around each passing season and fool everyone with your clever tricks.

 

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Why Do We Give Thanks

When thinking of Thanksgiving, we usually think of the main event, which is FOOD. Let’s face it, sometimes that is the only reason you put up with Uncle Joe asking you what you plan to do with your life or those annoying reminders about how your sister’s son got into med school. So why do we do it? Why do we gather around and eat the same meal every year since you were old enough to gum your mashed potatoes to death. Let’s explore this subject further.


 

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It all started a long time ago, 1620, when the pilgrims left England to find freedom of speech and religion in a new land safe from the scrutiny and tyranny of their homeland. The ship, Mayflower, left Plymouth and settled near now Cape Cod 66 days later. The pilgrims had a rough start of things. They barely left their ship that winter because the conditions were too harsh to create proper lodging. Many of them suffered from scurvy and infectious diseases. Only half lived to see the next spring.


 

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Much to the settler’s surprise, they received a visit from an English speaking Native American named Abenaki. After their visit, Abenaki returned later with another English speaker of the Pawtuxet tribe, Squanto. Squanto became a big brother to the weak and defeated pilgrims. Squanto took them under his wing and taught them how to fish, how to gather maple from the trees, which plants were poisonous, and how to grow corn. Then he helped the newly settled villagers to create an alliance with a neighboring Wampanoag tribe. This union lasted over 50 blissful years and is sadly the only recorded harmonious period between English settlers and Native Americans.


 

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In 1621, the Europeans hauled a successful crop. They were so ecstatic that they planned a large party for the Native Americans in celebration of their generosity. I hate to break it to you but there is no record of there being a cooked turkey at this feast. A shocking revelation, I’m sure. They did however go hunting and brought back three deer for the feast. Poor Bambi’s mom. Sigh and sniff. The party was a huge hit. They had so much fun that it lasted for three days. THREE. I can’t even party for 3 hours. The festivities became tradition and mainly celebrated in the North until Abraham Lincoln made it a National Holiday in 1863. Now we can all reap the benefits of an excuse to overindulge. It’s downright patriotic.

 

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Get Your Piece of the Pie

Are you feeling it yet? That’s the rush of the holidays flying by. We are already past Halloween and now shortly coming upo­n Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving you will be prepared. You will not let your Mom and Grandma down by forgetting to bring something to the table. You’re a grown adult now and you can contribute to the feast. How can you possibly do that with such a hectic schedule, you ask? That’s where we come in.


 

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Pie Junkie is a delicious little place where you want something sweet and homemade. The best part about it is that you can order by the slice or a whole pie. They offer frozen and fully cooked pies for your convenience. They have multiple options that makes it difficult to choose just one. There is Apple Crumble, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Crumble, Drunken Turtle, Orange Bourbon Pecan, Coconut Cream, Macadamia Key Lime, Sweet Potato Crumble, and Bird Dog Buttermilk. Stop by here to pick up your preordered holiday pie before heading to Grandma’s and get a little slice for you for the road. The family will never know you didn’t make it yourself, unless you’re an honest person and give all the credit to Pie Junkie because you can’t tell a lie. In that case, good for you. *pat on back*


 

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If you’re tired of the same ol’ traditional desserts, this year you can pick up a dozen of Green Goodies’ seasonal cupcakes. These cupcakes are made with top quality ingredients and various cupcakes available in gluten free and vegan options for the cousin with sensitivities. Seasonal cuppies are Caramel Apple Pie, Chocolate Peppermint, Peppermint Bark, and Pumpkin Spice. Mmmm.


 

Belle Kitchen is known for yummy donuts and macarons. In addition to that they have a few holiday pastries that may tempt even the saltiest of tongues at your gathering. The Rustic Plum Spice Bar looks festive and delightful. Belle herself requires it be paired with hot cocoa.


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Sweet tooth still not satisfied? Grab a pastry from Ingrid’s. If Pie Junkie didn’t have the rare pie you were looking for, then Ingrid’s does. Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb are options for the adventurous. Several fruit pies like Dutch Apple, Apricot, Triple Berry, and Peach for the traditional folk. You can also enjoy some dense cake-like treats of pumpkin bars and cherry pudding bars for a change of pace.

Either way you can’t go wrong with any of these great desserts. Make your family proud.

 

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Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


 

The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.


 

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The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.


 

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Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.

 

 MelissaBarnett.com

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Helpful Hints to Real Estate Investing

Are you ready to invest in Real Estate? It can be overwhelming knowing where to begin or what the specific goals you have in mind are. You may have heard your neighbor talk about how their rental properties pay their mortgage and you want a piece of that pie. It sounds like the hot set up and it is. Though rentals can be hard work, they also are a great way to aid in your retirement or passive cash flow. Most millionaires in the United States started by real estate investing and own multiple properties. You can become a landlord, a flipper, or owner as well. “Property Owner” has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


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Helpful hint #1: Do your research. Find out what kind of investor you want to become. Most people have in mind when looking to invest is to own the property, be a landlord and rent the unit out to a tenant. If this sounds too much to handle then there are investment groups that will give you the benefits of being a property owner without the hassle of managing and maintaining it. You would invest in one unit of a complex and the company will manage it all for you. Flipping is also a popular investment strategy. It is where a potentially livable house is bought and renovated in a short period of time to resell. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have their own show on HGTV…


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Helpful Hint #2: Sweat the small stuff. Start small when investing such as a condo, small home, or duplex. It will be a better option for your checkbook and will give you a steady income to slowly build your empire of units. Once you feel comfortable with how the process works then you can move on to bigger and better buys.


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Helpful Hint #3: Know Your Market. Shop around and don’t settle. Identify what region you want to purchase in. It is recommended to buy in working class areas. Make sure it’s a good investment and a profitable area. Look into any restrictions that purchasing in that area may arise. Research is the key of successful rental ownership.

Don’t stop here. Go research your next rental before someone else does.

 

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Hacks to Paint Like a Pro

Painting your house or rooms can be exciting to renovate a space but at times the actual act of doing it is a chore. I honestly dread it. The best part is picking out a color. I like to bribe friends and family to help with the rest because it’s not my strong suit. In order to prevent having to bribe and beg and your fear of painting, here are a few hacks to keep your paint rolling smoothly.


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In the middle of painting, but have to go pick up Snicker Doodle from the groomers? Save your wet roller in an empty Pringles can and store it in the fridge so it doesn’t dry out. It will keep it perfectly ready-to-use until you get back. If you aren’t into Pringles, Press and Seal wrap will do just as well.

 


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http://www.familyhandyman.com

If your media of choice is spray paint, put the object you are painting in an oversized cardboard box to prevent fumes and overspray from accidentally coloring your backyard or garage.

 


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Make those crusty brushes like new again by soaking them in hot vinegar for 30 minutes. It will soften the dried paint.

 

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Put Vaseline on any area that you do not want paint on. It will resist the paint and will be a lifesaver later.

 


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Dry Swiffer your walls before you start a project. It will remove the dust. After that, use tape to remove fuzzies from your roller. This will prevent you from having to pull dust balls off your walls.

 


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If you’re painting around a toilet then cover it with a trash bag. No worrying about getting paint on your toilet.

 


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Cover doorknobs and fixtures with aluminum foil for quick masking material. Foil can also be used to cover a paint tray for easy cleanup.

 


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Of course, we always forget one crucial item. When in need of drop cloths, run to your nearest dollar store and buy shower curtain liners in its place.

 


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Put a rubber band around your paint can over the opening at the top. This will serve as a way to wipe excess off your brush without leaving paint in the lid’s crevices. Next time you use your paint the lid won’t be glued to the can.

 

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https://www.prettyhandygirl.com/paintbrushes-good-bad-and-how-to-make/

Buy quality brushes. Cheap brushes will shed and leave bristles or streak marks in your beautiful paint job. Save yourself the hassle and spend the few extra dollars.

I’m feeling better about my next paint project already. Arm yourself with the right tools and helpful hints and you can paint the town, literally and metaphorically.

 

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Get Your Ghost On

Ghostly times are upon us. We need to be prepared. We need to make plans to make sure that this October is the spookiest of scares yet. Some of the creepiest places and activities are right here in our own OKC. Read on for more details…if you dare…muahahaha.


 

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https://www.facebook.com/events/261577657653117/

Cycling Ghost Tour: Take a 7 to 8 mile tour of the most haunted places in Downtown OKC. Jeff Provine, The Ghost Guy, will thrill you with tales of sites such as the Myriad Gardens, Film Row, Bricktown, The Skirven, Carey Place, The Plaza District, and The Overholser Mansion. You can rent a $3.50 Spokies bike for the trip or bring your own helmet and bike. The cost is $20 per person for a 3-hour ride of stories. For more information visit SpokiesOKC.com.


 

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http://www.thesanctuaryokc.com/

Cry “Sanctuary”: The Sanctuary is a year round haunted attraction that is sure to psychologically shake you. On its website you can read a full background of its beginnings that will prepare your mind for the story about to unfold. Each level has a specific storyline delving deeper and deeper into Dr. Hammond’s mysterious ways. For $25 each person you’ll have a 40 minute tour of the facilities. If you need a stiff drink to calm the nerves, there’s a full service bar and nightclub in the basement for the faint of heart. Food and refreshments also served on the grounds.




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http://vhsandchill.net/index.html

Sit and Screen: “It Came from the VCR!” is a film festival of old VCR days. Come in costume and enjoy frightful nostalgic films. In between films you can partake in free food or place an order at the bar. This event takes place Oct. 27th at the IAO Gallery. Admission is nada, zilch, zero. Prizes and best costume honors will be awarded so dress your best.

 


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http://okrivercruises.com/specialty-cruises/haunt

Creeping Cruise: On board a Haunt the River Cruise that’s quite a hyped specter. Delight in refreshing snacks, haunting sounds and tunes, some decked out décor, as well as a cash bar. It departs at Exchange Landing. It is $35 per adult. Cruise the river in true horror style while sipping a wicked cocktail.


 

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https://www.okczoo.org/haunt-the-zoo-2017

Got Little Ghouls?: For those with little ghouls looking for something a bit more tame for the tiny beasts, then Haunt the Zoo may be a purrfect pounce. Each year the OKC Zoo holds a trick or treat experience that is a sight to see for young and old alike. It contains over 20 different themed booths with costumed volunteers handing out goodies. There are plenty of photo op stations for your little lion to explore.

Let loose and howl fiendishly into the night. You’ve been waiting all year for this.

 

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Trick Out Your Treats

Halloween is here again, which means it’s time for fun foods and festivities. This holiday really lets your creativity shine with scary snacks and tricky treats. Everyone knows food is the crux of a great party (besides adult spirits…slow wink). To make your next fright fest a monster smash, follow these easy recipes to trick out old treats in new ways.


 

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https://www.homemadeinterest.com/mummy-dogs/

This easy snack will be a delight for the young ghouls and young at heart. A cool twist on Pigs in a Blanket is Mummy Wrap Dogs. You’ll cut your crescent rolls into strips and wrap around your hot dog in typical mummy like fashion. Bake as directed on package. Then when all cooked, add eyes with your favorite dipping sauce.


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https://www.momdot.com/how-to-make-poison-apples/

Poison apples are an advanced version of candy apples. They are beautiful black and blue sheens. These will be sure to give all the neighbors chills. Recipe to follow:

Poison Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon purple gel food dye
  • 1 teaspoon black gel food dye
  • 6-8 granny smith apples

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry apples thoroughly.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and poke firmly with candy sticks.
  3. Line a second baking sheet with buttered parchment paper, and set aside.
  4. Place a candy thermometer in a medium saucepan and add sugar, water, and corn syrup.
  5. Place over medium heat; whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Let the temperature rise without stirring until it reaches the hard-crack mark at 290-310F.
  7. Remove pan from heat and carefully remove thermometer, and stir in food coloring.
  8. Holding the pan at an angle to gather the syrup in one side for easy dipping, dip and swirl each apple in the syrup, let excess drain off back into the pan, and then dip, swirl and drain a second time.
  9. Place on buttered baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with remaining apples.

 


 

MB_0083_17OctB19-3-Lemonade
https://goo.gl/2Dh2ZY

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. Now all you need is a perfect concoction to poison your guests…whoops, I mean serve your guests. You can use your favorite punch recipe, lemonade, or cocktail to make this delightfully dark drink. All you have to do is break open activated charcoal tablets and stir into your beverage until you have a black potion of your desired ebony. Bonus points because charcoal is cleansing to the system.


 

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http://onelittleproject.com/harvest-hash-chex-mix/

Back in my day, my mother would mix peanuts and candy corn and that was our Halloween treat that we would munch on for days. Now there is fancy Harvest Hash, which sounds amazing. This will be the first recipe I try this year.

  • 1 12 oz Box Chex Cereal, flavor of your choice
  • 1 7oz bag of Bugle Chips
  • 4 cups Pretzels
  • 3/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Candy Corn
  • 1 cup Candy Corn Pumpkins
  • 1 8oz bag of Reese’s Pieces

In a large bowl you will mix 1 box chex cereal, 1 bag of Bugles, and 4 cups of pretzels. Melt ¾ cup butter mixed well with ¾ cup brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp vanilla extract. Pour this sauce over your cereal mixture. Combine well then spread over cookie sheets lined with parchment paper to bake for 45 min on 275 degrees. Once baked and cooled you can add 1 cup candy corn, 1 cup candy corn pumpkins, and 1 bag of Reese’s Pieces. Mix well and enjoy some harvest time.

You are now ready to make a graveyard smash.

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Feng Shui Your Day

Our homes are a place where we go to relax, unwind, and get away from the world for a bit. We want it to be as welcoming and warm as possible to ourselves and family. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice to balance the energies in your house. Rearranging your home is a perfect way to have a refreshed space and attitude. Maybe your annoying Aunt Linda will have a better attitude during visits after she sees this transformation.


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Kitchen: The kitchen is a place for gatherings. It is the most important room in the house according to Feng Shui. Use a warm accent color to promote socialization during meals and parties. If possible hone as much natural light in the kitchen. If no natural lighting is available then layer various light fixtures to encourage positive energy. Free your kitchen counters of cumbersome gadgets or dirty dishes for a simplistic open flow.


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Living Room: The living room is a communal room for family and friends. Again, you should optimize the natural light and any large windows. Hang sheer airy curtains instead of heavy ones to accomplish this. Live plants, mirrors, and fresh cut flowers encourage liveliness in the room. Neutral colors should be present to allow coziness with pieces of red for color to bring wealth and add interesting pops of color.


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Bedroom: Choose calming colors for the walls like blue, green, and chocolate brown. Keep electronic stimulation out of the bedroom. Leave televisions, computers, and gaming systems in the family room. This promotes relaxation without distractions. Remove any storage you may have cluttered under your bed in order to provide positive energy flow and deeper sleep.


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Bathroom: A bathroom should be clean and clutter free at all times to create positive energy. This is especially true for mirrors to prevent distortion. Soothing artwork is advised for a spa like feel. Display quality soaps, thick towels, and candles to increase luxury and beauty. A bathroom is meant for cleansing as well as indulgence.

These are just a few starting pointers to start the process of how to Feng Shui your day with positive energies.

 

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