The practice of feng shui dates back thousands of years to ancient China. Feng shui, translating to "wind and water," combines Chinese astrology with the shape, magnetic direction, and age of structures to promote the flow of energy forces, such as Qi (Chi). A good chi creates harmony between a person and their environment.

Feng shui is often used to bring productivity to the work place. Many well-known businesses are known for implementing feng shui practices into their business culture, from Virgin Airlines and Coca Cola to Ford Motor Company. Walt Disney executives even decided to shift the angle of the Hong Kong Disneyland front gate after consulting with a feng shui master. Feng shui is believed to increase employee satisfaction, draw more clients, and generate more wealth. Whether you are looking for advice to add feng shui energy to your home office, workspace, or the overall layout of your business, implementing some of these feng shui tips can help.

Workspace layout

workspace office layout feng shui Photo/Love to Know

Desk placement is important in promoting good chi throughout your office space. Finding the best command position for sitting at your desk will promote productivity. When sitting at your desk, it is best to face the entryway of your office. Having a wall or heavy piece of furniture behind you to support your back promotes positive energy flow. It's never recommended to face away from a window.

If you have no choice but to face a wall, there are still ways to promote good chi. Place a mirror on the wall that will allow you to view the space behind you. Because facing the wall is said to block energy flow, you can promote better flow by placing vibrant artwork and pictures that inspire you. Likewise, if you don't have the option to place backing support behind your chair, try switching to a high back office chair.

Sha Chi, or poison arrows, are known as negative feng shui energy. It's believed to bring illness and depression if you are exposed to them for long periods of time. It's also known to deplete energy. To avoid this bad energy, try avoiding any sharp angles in the room pointing at your desk. If the poison arrow can't be avoided, find something to place in front of the sharp angle, such as a plant, to block its bad energy.

Plants

best plants for office feng shui

Plants are an important part of feng shui. Promoting positive chi through air quality and the wood element, plants bring vital energy to the workspace. In general, any plant (as long as it's healthy and not dying) can be used in the office. However, plants with sharp edges or thorns may stop the flow of chi because of their poison arrows. Also, some feng shui experts believe bonsai plants are best avoided because they are overly pruned and therefore stunt growth. Plants that reach upward, such as bamboo plants, energize new business and wealth. Planterra has a list of great recommended office plants to consider.

Color

feng shui elements

Choosing the right colors in your office can promote good feng shui energy. Colors are known to be an expression of the five feng shui elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.

Using the colors red, orange, bold yellow, purple, and pink represents the fire element. These colors can promote high energy and achievement in your career.

The earth element is represented through light yellow, beige, and other earthy/sand colors. They elicit stability and can have a calming effect.

Grey and white colors belong to the metal element. Using these colors in your office help to eliminate distractions while promoting clarity and efficiency.

With blue and black colors, you can bring the water element into your office. This element promotes a sense of freshness and creativity.

Wood elements are portrayed through brown and green colors. Using these colors can promote vitality, growth, wealth, and prosperity.

Feng Shui Tips for 2020

feng shui tips for year of the rat

With feng shui practices drawing from Chinese astrology, you may benefit in implementing some tips from what experts on the matter have to say on the Year of the Rat (2020). The rat year's colors are blue and turquoise. Priya Khanna, a master feng shui consultant, states that the dominant elements for this year are water and metal. Because of star alignments, Khanna suggests placing water features in the northwest, west, or northeast section of your office. The east is the highly burdened segment this year. To combat any negative energy, try placing a 6-rod hollow metal wind chime in the eastern section of your office.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.