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What to Store Under Your Bed

NOTHING.

The End.

 

No, for real.  You really don’t need to have anything under there.  Okay?

Why?

Because the bed is super-duper crazy-important in Feng Shui, and you want the best energy possible!  You spend 1/3 of your life in your bed, for Cupid’s sake, so don’t cheat on this!

Freely-circulating chi/energy.  That’s what you want under there.  Translation in this case:  air.  (Okay, okay, and maybe a simple Feng Shui cure from yours truly for those special circumstances.)

Do you know that I’ve found taxes under clients’ beds?  I’m talking big piles of taxes and receipts and unopened mail.  Is that conducive to sleep — or sex, by golly — UH NO it is not!

And tennis rackets and skiis and other sports equipment.  All that active energy!  Yikes.

Your psyche “sees” — or feels, rather — everything!  Don’t think because you forgot that it was under there that it’s not having an effect.  It’s ALL having an effect!

“But what about people that live in NYC in a shoebox apartment and really don’t have storage?”

Okay, okay, there are SOME exceptions to this rule, but trust me, you are probably not the exception unless you truly live in a tiny 400 square foot apartment in NYC!

If that is the case, I do not want to be exclusive to you, and I will offer you this.  If you absolutely positively must store under the bed — and this is after a FULL Marie Kondo “spark joy” treatment of the entire space — then you may store something that has a “quiet” energy, like neatly folded sweaters, or a small suitcase, hopefully towards the foot of the bed.

Okay?

But the rest of you, I gotta say, if it’s under the bed, it probably shouldn’t be.  Feng Shui-wise, I mean!

THANKS!  And let me know how much better you’re sleeping (or how much more sex you’re getting) once you get that stuff out from under there!

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Plants in a Space — Real vs. Fake

Did you know that real estate agents, when staging a home, are actually doing a little Feng Shui in there to raise the vibration, and “up the feel,” so that the home is more desirable to buyers?

I even heard of real estate who did zero staging to an empty house except one thing — she put a nice plant in the corner of each room!

It’s no wonder plants make a difference in a space.  From a “chi” perspective (the Chinese word for “energy”), since plants are alive, they do bring a lot of fresh, good chi into a space.

HOW PLANTS HELP:

  • positive, life-giving chi/energy
  • provide oxygen
  • clean the air
  • green is lovely
  • bring in the Wood element, representing growth, expansion, and forward movement
  • pretty
  • recall a connection to nature…and that feels good

NOTE: Some plants that bode better in a space than others.  You’ll want the plants to be healthy, well-maintained (watered, dead-headed, potted in the appropriate size pots, etc.), and exude friendliness.  (This eliminated pokey, spiky, and pointy plants in most cases — sorry, Cacti-lovers!)

All of this begs the question:  what about fake plants?

Well, obviously because they aren’t alive and they aren’t emitting oxygen, a live plant would (most of the time) be more ideal, chi-wise.  However, that doesn’t mean that fake plants don’t have their place!  Maintenance of live plants aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and fake plants these days are looking more and more real!

I say YES, in SOME CASES to fake plants.  If your fake plants give the illusion of “life-giving, happy, and fresh,” then they are Feng Shui approved!  But if your fake plants are looking tired, cheap, dusty, or just plain ugly, please get rid of them.

West Elm; fake plants

West Elm store in Birmingham, AL knows the power of plants — even if they’re fake! photo credit: Emily Cone Creative

Check out this array from West Elm —  no one can deny the liveliness of these!

So, for all you Non-green-thumbs, there is hope for you to have some green in your space yet!  Get creative and make sure to wipe the dust from them every once in a while, and see how some plant life can add so much to your home or office!

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Family: What Sort of Beliefs Did You Pick Up?

This week in my 9-week Feng Shui Journey workshop, we are discussing Family and Heritage, the families we are born into.  Good timing with Mother’s Day coming up!

It’s one of my FAVORITE lessons because I see so many people “feeling resistance” in this area, and just a little bit of focus on this area and clear a lot of energy up!  In short, our parents have passed on some awesome things to us…and also some beliefs that aren’t serving us, a.k.a.  limiting beliefs. 

What is a limiting belief?  

Abraham-Hicks explains a belief to simply be “a thought that you keep thinking.”

That’s it.  It’s not programming.  It’s not ingrained.  It’s not buried in the subconscious.

A LIMITING BELIEF is a thought that you keep thinking that doesn’t feel good.  

Period.

Here are some limiting beliefs we have discussed that people have picked up from their Families:

  • You gotta work hard for your money because it’s hard to make money.
  • It’s not okay to be too happy all the time.
  • Women should look as pretty as possible.
  • Selfishness is really, really bad, and if you’re taking care of yourself first, you’re selfish.
  • Marriage isn’t fun.

Are these thoughts fun?  No.  Are they even true?  No.  And do you HAVE to believe them even if your parents did?  NOOOOOOO!!!!!

This should be great news for all of you!  Because it means that if you’re doing your best to keep your vibration high (a.k.a. feel as good as you can every day), then you can catch these bad-feeling thoughts pretty darn fast.

And no, you don’t need months of therapy to un-do them.

You just have to either:  1) Distract yourself by thinking about something else or 2) Clean up your energy around that topic (Check out the Focus Wheel process by Abraham-Hicks for an awesome, easy way to do that.  Takes 5 minutes!)

That’s it.

So if you’ve been trained to think that your DNA needs rewiring and that your cells need to be reprogrammed, well, Newsflash: those too are limiting beliefs you’ve picked up along your trail!

It does not have to be that hard.  The Universe will bring you the experiences you need in real time that will help you shift your energy around anything that you and your Family may have picked up along your life path.  All you have to do is pay attention to how you feel.

In other words, if you’re taking care of your emotions on a daily basis, you’ll be able to spot a limiting belief before it spins out of control.

How to use Feng Shui for this?

Check out the Family area of your space.  What’s there?  If there are a lot of Metal items, consider removing those and using items that represent Wood instead.  If you have family heirlooms (that you love), this gua is a good place to have them.  Consider photos of your ancestors and a display of your family tree.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!  While there may have been some limiting beliefs passed down through the generations, there are also some empowering and wonderful ones too!  Be sure to share your appreciation of these this Mother’s Day!  

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After Marie Kondo…

Well, surely, you know that I too have watched Tidying Up on Netflix.  And do you know what I am thinking once these noble folks who have gone through the tidying process?  TIME TO FENG SHUI!!!

So you’ve Konmari’d your entire life…now what?

If you’ve really and truly taken the concept of “sparking joy” to heart and gone through your things category by category, then you’re probably basking in a space that feels pretty darn amazing.

architecture-backsplash-cabinets-279648As well you should. Decluttering is powerful work, and it’s big work. So, please, give yourself a thousand pats on the back, and relax, and enjoy. YOU DID IT!

But when you’re ready, I have some “next steps” in line with the ancient art and science of Feng Shui. After all, let’s face it: by following Marie Kondo’s process, you have drunk the cool-aid. “It’s true!” you exclaim. “My place was affecting me so much, and I didn’t even realize it. It’s amazing the difference I feel!”

The ancient Feng Shui masters have been claiming that literally for thousands of years: that our spaces have a direct impact on our lives. And kudos to Marie Kondo for bringing Feng Shui through a back door via tidying up!

Because, from my p.o.v., Feng Shui and decluttering are one in the same. In fact, in my own Feng Shui journey, I came to decluttering because I was obsessed with Feng Shui first. I was quite a slob before studying Feng Shui concepts, and I quickly came to find out that you can’t have good Feng Shui and lots of clutter simultaneously.

In the language of a Feng Shui practitioner, we would say that clutter blocks free-flowing chi (energy), and free-flowing chi allows for harmony and good things in your life.

Unfortunately, there are ten million myths associated with the art and science of Feng Shui, and Marie Kondo even brings that up in her book. I agree that there are schools and aspects of Feng Shui that are confusing and even steeped in mindless superstition.

But Feng Shui, at its heart and root and when properly communicated and executed, is a beautiful and powerful art that comes down to one thing: feeling good in your space. Taking it further, Feng Shui can help you manifest specifically with some easy and fun cures and just a bit of perspective on what your space is saying symbolically.

Here are 3 Feng Shui concepts to consider after (and even during) your Konmari process:

  1. Move your furniture around.  You may have felt a little antsy to move more than just clutter out of your home while you were Konmari-ing. This would only be natural. By freeing up the chi by removing the things that don’t “spark joy,” you’re better able to see your actual furniture in a new light to ask how it’s functioning for you.   In Feng Shui, we like to place living room furniture so that three or more can be seated and have a conversation without having to speak too loudly. Ideally, beds are in the “command” position, so that when you’re sleeping you have some sort of view of the door to the room, even if it’s in your peripheral. Your desk and stove should ideally also be “in command,” and if it’s impossible to move, then strategically placed mirrors can do the trick (even tiny ones work)!
  2. Consider color. Color has a powerful effect! I call paint a “magic wand” for a space because it can change the space almost instantly with relatively little effort. Now that you’ve lifted the space up energetically by decluttering, consider freshening up your walls with new coats of paint. It will make your space feel even more vibrant and clean, and there may be a color that can bring your room together and make things feel more harmonious.arch-architecture-art-277590
  3. Make the outside of your home inviting too. You may have decluttered your drawers and closets, but, as they say, “there’s not a second chance for a first impression.” Your front entrance is what “invites” positive chi (a.k.a. all things good that you could ever want) into your home. Check to see that the outside of your home is up to par, with nice landscaping, clear and visible numbers, working light fixtures, and a clean and happy doormat!

I’m thrilled for you to check out what a little Feng Shui can do for you, especially after having experienced that “life-changing magic of tidying up” (Thanks, Marie Kondo!)

You’ve done the letting go…now it’s time for the letting in.

 

Katie is available for in-home and Skype consultations. Her Money eCourse and 9-week Feng Shui Journey intensive are coming up, so check them out at www..com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019: Year of the Earth Pig

 

art-bright-chinese-lanterns-707265Every year, I do a meditation before Chinese New Year to get a sense of what message the new zodiac animal has for us.

Last year, we were in the Year of the Dog. This year, on February 5, 2019, we welcome the Earth Pig!

animal-blur-close-up-185941

In general, pigs are friendly creatures. They are known to be playful and intelligent. They are also known to be fat, which translates to “living in abundance” in many cultures. Fat and happy. If I had to choose a word for the Year of the Earth Pig, it would be “indulgent.”

If you looked closer at the word “indulge,” it has the notions of “freedom” and “surrender” embedded within. One meaning of “indulge” is to “give free rein to.” Another is to “yield to the desire of.” Looking at the root of the word (to overcome any prejudices we may have about it), “indulgere” is Latin and translates to “to give into.”

I understand that some people look down on the term, “indulgence,” but I have seen so many people be so hard on themselves, so unforgiving, that it seems that we almost need to swing the pendulum the other way to squeeze even the slightest pleasures out of life! In fact, the word “indulge” in religious terms, means to “pardon from a punishment.” Pig asks you in a chuckling and light-hearted way: “Where have you been punishing yourself? What for?! It’s time to give all of that up!”

Pig reminds us that there are times that we must simply enjoy, enjoy, enjoy — to roll happily in the mud of life and lay out in the sunshine, simply for pleasure!  It reminds us to relax, to not take life so seriously, and to accept the beauty and abundance of this world. It’s all around!

Think of the pigs that sniff out truffles – how they are just enjoying themselves, with their snouts in the dirt. Think of the treasures they uncover just by having fun on the job!

In traditional Chinese messaging, Pig stands for “luck and money,” the two biggies in Feng Shui. In fact, the Pig is considered lucky in many countries, including Austria, where they give each other pig candies on traditional new years, again for a lucky year!

And there’s a reason that we have “piggy” banks! Pigs are good signs for money!buy-cash-coins-9660

My message for this year would be this: Just give in. Sometimes, you must just give in. When you surrender and relax, better solutions are allowed to come to you, knowing that in truth, all is well.

“Indulging” can actually lead to better health and less stress, than abiding by strict diets and ways of being. Re-think any rules that you’ve been imposing on yourself or others, for they may be hindering you more than helping. In other words, LOOSEN UP!

This is a year to fully engage in life, in a way that brings you and others great pleasure. Let’s get our hands in the clay and get messy and leave some of the puritan ways behind! The Earth Pig wants to invite us to see what good things are available to us if we’d only just allow them in!

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How & Why I Meditate (and Why I Resisted at First)

I know every one always hears about the benefits of meditation, and some of you are like “Yay!” and some of you are like “SNORE” —

I used to be like, “Ugh, cliché, snore, no, boring, no thanks, sick of hearing about meditation.”  (And images and quotes like this one would irk me.)

download

Now I’m like, “Hell yes, why did I wait so long to take meditation seriously, I have to have it, I was so weirdly resistant, it’s easy, it’s a no-brainer, YES, yay!”  (And now, I see the truth and humor in the image/quote — a meditation practice helps you to have a new relationship with time over all, so twenty minutes is nothing!)

So why the change of heart?

Because I learned what meditation really is:

It’s letting go of resistance. Period. And that’s the key to life and getting in the flow.

It’s connecting to myself in a gentle and easy way.

It’s fifteen minutes to just BE.

It’s fifteen minutes to let my mind rest.

It’s fifteen minutes to bask in that part of myself that is naturally content without needing anything.

It’s fifteen minutes to not be wrapped up in anything.

It’s fifteen minutes to merge with the divine.

It’s fifteen minutes to chill.

It’s fifteen minutes to let my thoughts pass by, without judgment.

It’s fifteen minutes to feel my breath coming in and out.

It’s fifteen minutes to let the birds sing, to let the A/C run, to let the quiet that is there behind the noise take over.

I have learned that everything that we want comes from this release of trying so hard, wanting so badly, figuring stuff out. The mode that meditation creates sets the tone for inspiration and relaxation and trust and ALLOWING all this loveliness in.

That’s why I meditate.

Here’s how I meditate:

I wake up, use the bathroom, drink a glass of water, go to either my sofa or back to my bed, sit comfortably, set my phone alarm for 15 minutes, close my eyes, and BREATHE.

Yes, my mind will go rampant some mornings. So what I do is try to let those pass through without judgment…….

I just try to get “under” them so to speak. I bring my mind back to my breath, or the air conditioner, or the sound of room tone. It’s a gentle process of using the sound and feeling of the breath to focus my mind into a place of release…and not let the thoughts be so loud.

I do this every day. If for some reason, I can’t do it immediately upon waking, I will do it within the first hour of my day, some how some way.

It’s rare these days to miss a session at all, but, when I first started doing this seriously, I would even pull the car over on the way to a client’s house and meditate for five minutes, just to get it in. I would also meditate in the carpool line and still do if I feel like I “need” it.

Sometimes my mind is thinking for 14.5 minutes of the 15 minutes. Sometimes, I am thinking thinking thinking and basically the 15 minutes are up, and I’m like, Huh, not sure if I really meditated there. But I don’t worry about that. I showed up and did what I could. The BEST days are the ones where I am really focused, and I feel myself sort of lift out of my body or tap into something that feels almost like “nectar”…and it feels like a merging with some lovely essence that is just – Divine.

A few moments of that sort of connection – whoa – it’s powerful, and worth sitting down and “looking for” every day.

pexels-photo-267967

So there you have it. The times I’m really loving meditation is where my life seems to have this easy flow to it, and fun things appear out of seemingly nowhere, and happiness is just more accessible.

So—try it.

If you want more on this, I love Light Watkins – YouTube him. And of course, Abraham Hicks has a ton of info on meditation. Just type in YouTube “Abraham Hicks meditation” and click the one that calls to you.buddha-india-mind-prayer-161170

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Different “Schools” of Feng Shui

If you’d tried to learn about Feng Shui via the Internet, I’m sure you’ve run into a mishmash of information, leaving you more confused than ever.

This is because there are several schools of Feng Shui, and while they have overlapping principles, they can also be very different. (By the term “school,” I am not referring to places of study, but rather the different types of Feng Shui traditions that are in practice today.)   So what happens is that you seem to run up against contradictory information.  But by learning which school you tend toward, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and hone in on the important stuff, which, of course, is figuring out what to do in your home and office to create the most optimal chi flow!

Form-school-diagram_cropped-200x181

(image thanks to Luminous Spaces)

FORM SCHOOL:

Form School is the school that started it all. It has to do with landforms, hence the name. Back in ancient China, (and I’m talking ancient as in thousands of years ago), where you sited your home was of the utmost importance to survival. A home needed protection from the winds and storms, as well as from invaders.   Hills and mountains would serve as a sort of shield. People also needed access to healthy flowing water, like a creek or river.   In short, the landscape was the first thing that made a difference in the Feng Shui of a space, and therefore the “luck” of the inhabitants.

Today, Feng Shui consultants absolutely consider the exterior of spaces, but because humans’ needs and exterior landscapes have changed dramatically with modern times, one must take that into account when assessing it.

Form School knowledge is typically embedded into the fabric of the two other major schools of Feng Shui, the Compass (or Classical) School and the Buddhist Tibetan Black Hat (BTB) School.

COMPASS SCHOOL:

As you know, Feng Shui takes into account the interiors and exteriors of spaces. The Compass School is true to its name – practitioners who prescribe to this school use a compass and the directions to determine chi flow of a home. If you’ve read enough about Feng Shui, you’ve discovered the famous Bagua map. It’s a map that you use over a floor plan to determine the different areas of your space that relate to the different areas of your home. This map is oriented to the directions in Compass school using a compass specially made for Feng Shui, called a Luo-Pan.

Bagua Map

Furthermore, Compass school take the birth dates of the inhabitants into account as well as the date the house was built, so that there is an astrological aspect to the cures a practitioner provides. If you’ve heard of Flying Stars, Upper and Lower Heaven, the Four Pillars, or the Eight Mansions, know that these concepts are in relation to the Compass school of Feng Shui.

For a more thorough read on the Compass School, The Spruce website has a lovely description to take you a bit deeper. Read here!

https://www.thespruce.com/feng-shui-history-the-compass-school-1275251

Lillian Tao’s writings are based in this school and are probably the most widely-read.

TIBETAN BLACK HAT

The Tibetan Black Hat (BTB) School of Feng Shui was brought over to San Francisco in the 1970s by Grandmaster Lin Yun, a fifth generation Feng Shui master. The most obvious difference between this school and the Compass school is that the bagua is oriented to the front door of the space, or the Mouth of Chi, as it’s called rather than the directions.   Lin Yun also emphasized the importance of “intention” in Feng Shui, using this concept to implement cures. In this school, intuition plays a large role, while in the Compass school, numbers overrule intuition more often than not.

Similarities between the schools include use of the Five Elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal), which can be found in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the notions of Yin and Yang in a space, and the most common denominator, Chi flow.

OTHER SCHOOLS:Five Element Theory

Many other schools have surfaced as derivatives or combinations of these two major schools, such as Pyramid Feng Shui or Modern Feng Shui.  It seems like new ones are evolving every day, so it’s important to research the ones that fit what you’re looking for.

PERSONAL OPINION ON THE SCHOOLS:

Back in the 1990s, I self-taught myself BTB through years of research and practice, even taking on clients for a small fee with the understanding that I was still learning.  While living in Los Angeles, I sought a teacher to take my studies to the next level. A lovely woman took me on as her student and apprentice in the tradition of the Compass school.   I was eager to learn, and she and I hit it off, so I went ahead with my studies with her, although I was more familiar with the BTB School. It was amazing to learn the complicated mathematical formulas that went into the concepts of the Flying Stars and in relation to the building date of the home and the birth dates of the occupants.

However, as my studies deepened, I recognized that the philosophies within the Compass school were clashing, if not discounting, what I had already come to learn with thorough practice of BTB.   I found that some (not all) of cures that the Compass school called for were counter-intuitive to the point of being superstitious; whereas in BTB, the cures had, in a way, a higher logic in terms of common sense mixed with a little psychology and good old-fashioned smart design.

After a while, I realized that BTB suited my practical nature more, and because I had seen so many amazing results with friends and clients and myself within the tradition of BTB, I decided to study and become certified with Sharon Stasney of the Feng Shui Training Center in Salt Lake City.   It was absolutely the perfect fit, and I recommend any and all of her books.

I am happy I learned what I did with the Compass school, and I hold my collegues in that tradition in high regard.  BTB was just more for me! To be clear, both schools deal with energy, and that is the most important aspect of Feng Shui.

I hope this helps with your own personal Feng Shui studies and if you’re looking for a consultant, please take these schools into account. It’s an amazing practice that has changed my life for the better, and I hope this write up help you on your own path of discovery.

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Year of the Earth Dog, Message for You!

IMG_7485Hi all, Meet Maddie, the mascot I chose for this year, the Year of the Earth Dog.  Isn’t she wonderful?  She’s the biggest baby of my friend and soul sister, Elizabeth deRamus, a talented photographer here in Birmingham, photo courtesy of her!
I wanted to give you some tidbits about the upcoming Chinese New Year, happening Feb 16th!.  As you know, every year with the lunar new year calendar, there is believed to be a “shift in energy,” which is represented by an animal on the Chinese zodiac, as well as an element.  This year, it’s the Earth Dog, or Brown Dog, or Mountain Dog.
In Feng Shui, we like to do everything we can to welcome in this new energy!
I’m personally slightly giddy about this, because I LOVE DOGS.
I admit, the Rooster year was definitely full of wake-up calls for me.  Some of those wake-up calls were a little shocking to the system to be honest, so I’m ready for a little more romping and playing, represented by the Dog.  Let’s look FORWARD!
 
Here’s what I’m picking up for this year’s energy, 2018, Year of the Earth Dog:
Dogs are happy.  Many folks say they are the embodiment of unconditional love.  After all, they are unabashed in their affection for people — wagging tails, licking faces, following their every footstep, pawing at their knees, sometimes overboard by jumping up on them or trying to wrestle.
 
I picture a big shaggy slobbery happy dog bounding up to this year energetically, eager to HAVE FUN with the ones they love and adore. 
This year is about PLAY.  It’s about SHAMELESS EXPRESSION OF AFFECTION.  It’s about stumbling over oneself and not caring.  It’s about rolling in the mud, digging up bones, and just being downright care-free.  ABOUT TIME, RIGHT?
Then there is the other aspect of Dog.  The ever-watchful eye Dog has, the quick instincts, the quick-to-act.  The Protector, the Guardian, the Noble Sidekick.   Dogs set boundaries.  They speak up.  They have keen senses that they rely on, and they are discerning.
So with all the playfulness that comes with Dog, comes a sense of DUTY.  In this case, it would be a sense of duty to oneself, a recognition that we are sacred beings who deserve to have fun, love and be loved, and live freely amongst one another.   But in order to do that, we must be tuned into OURSELVES, our inner knowing and take care of that aspect of ourselves so that everything we do can spring from that special unique place within us.  In this way, “protection” doesn’t mean building walls and avoiding situations at all costs.  A stern look, standing tall, perking up the ears, and a warning bark will do in most cases.
Dogs also represent LOYALTY.  They are unyielding in their devotion.  Add the element of EARTH, which denotes stability, nurturing, abundance, and connection to the natural rhythms, I’d say that we are going to feel a lot more settled this year, like a “coming together” of sorts.
To honor Dog, consider giving your Dog special treats and extra belly rubs on February 16!  Volunteer at the Humane Society.  Offer to take a neighbor’s dog for a romp, or simply make a visit to a dog park and observe and appreciate.  Set out dog treats for neighbors who walk by your house.  Print out a photo of your favorite dog, and hang it where you can see and admire it.  Or, if you’ve been thinking about it, this year is optimum for adopting a dog of your own.  Consider a rescue!
Regardless of how you celebrate the upcoming Year of the Earth Dog, be sure to make it playful, silly, and light, preferably outdoors – just like a dog would like.
ENJOY!   Hoping the Year of the Dog brings you all that you desire!
On Feb 22, I’m offering the Feng Shui & Energetics of Money 9-day eCourse!  Sign up today to start the Year of the Dog in the mindset of abundance!
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