Of Charms and Crystals

It’s only been a recent thing of mine—this fascination with crystals and what they can do. To be honest, I was never a new age kind of girl. I’ve been very conservative with my beliefs, and always avoided discussions about metaphysics, or anything I would label as supernatural. Life is busy enough as it is, I didn’t want to think about things I couldn’t see.

But then, one thing led to another. Being in HR, I was exposed to the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People workshop (Stephen Covey), and it was particularly Habit 1 that struck me the most: Be Proactive. In any situation, and despite any conditions, you always have a choice. Your thoughts affect your words, actions, mood and general well-being. So the ultimate power is to control and choose the thoughts you allow into your mind.

Then my boss clued me in on a video and book called The Secret (Rhonda Bynes), and it was quite a revelation. It shows you that what you believe, what you think, creates your reality because of the energy you create. And since all of matter is energy (quantum physics, anyone?), then the Universe responds to you based on this vibration. Therefore, if you want to be happy, abundant and healthy, you need to start believing, feeling and acting as though you already are, and the rest will just follow. This is how you can manifest your desires into reality. How would you feel if you had everything you ever wanted right now—pretty grateful and overflowing with excitement, right? So start channeling that feeling, be grateful and appreciative of all the big and little blessings, and soon you’ll find even more things to be grateful about, including your heart’s desires. Let the worries slip away because the Big Guy up there has our back, always.

Then I was fortunate enough to have met an energy healer named Michelle almost two years ago…it’s a long story, but at that time I felt stuck in a rut and needed a life shift. She explained to me that she could sense I had issues with control and a lack of self-confidence, among other things, which happened to be spot on. After some meditations she said, ‘get a rose quartz crystal generator and put it on your bedside.’ At the time, I was thinking I had stepped into some new-age Twilight Zone. Wands? Generator? Crystals? But then again, what did I have to lose, right? So yes, I bought a small rose quartz crystal and put it right beside my bed. Over some time, I noticed a shift in how I felt. I was better at letting things go, at making choices that were good for me, at appreciating myself. So I looked up the rose quartz benefits online and it said—self-love and healing. One day, the crystal broke squarely in half, and I panicked. Did it mean I was cursed? The healer said it only meant that it had served its purpose in my life, and I could give both pieces away to whoever might need it.

Last Christmas, my best friend gave me a citrine crystal bracelet. At the time I wasn’t even sure what crystal it was, I just thought it was pretty and started wearing it. In a few weeks’ time, things that I wanted seemed to just come easier, and I felt cheerful and more excited than I did in a long while. True enough, I looked up the properties of citrine and the online source said it was a prosperity and happiness stone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gone batty. This ‘discovery’ has not replaced or diminished my faith or praying habits in any way.   I just feel like the crystals amplify whatever energy I feed into them and remind me to always be positive and grateful.   People who know me know that when I get into something, I usually get really invested in it—so in typical fashion, I bought a crystal book and started reading. Here are some of the uses of the popular crystals and gems we use as accessories:

  1. Jade– This green stone is a special gemstone of healing, calmness and stability. It relieves anxiety and lightens emotions developed from fear, and blocks negative energy or influences from affecting the individual wearing it. Jade promotes wisdom, balance and peace, is said to help you realize your full potential, and can also be used as a dream enhancer if you sleep with a piece of it under your pillow. It is also known for prosperity, and keeping a jade stone where you usually stash coins is supposed to attract abundance.

    jade

    Jade Bangle

  2. Rose Quartz– Named as such for its delicate pink color, this crystal is associated with love, compassion, healing and comfort. It can help dissolve emotional wounds, fears and resentments, and facilitates circulation of love around your aura. Because it allows you a deep sense of personal fulfillment and contentment, it makes it easier to give and receive love from others. It is also known for beauty, and there are treatment centers that use a polished rose quartz stone for facials and massages.

    rose-quartz-crystal-pendant-1

    Rose Quartz pendant

  3. Citrine– With its happy yellow energy, the citrine draws in abundance, success and prosperity and instills self-confidence and self esteem. It is a great crystal for manifesting, imagination, and personal will, helping you transform your dreams and wishes into tangible form. It also encourages new beginnings and fresh pursuits, allowing you to let go of the past and move onward and upward. Your lemon yellow stone also wards away negative vibes, including those who might break your heart!

    citrine

    I’m in love with these citrine earrings!!!

  4. Amethyst– This deep purple stone is said to calm, protect and cleanse the spirit. It can help detoxify the body, removes negative ions from the surroundings, and is even used as an ingredient in those foot detoxification pads. It helps with physical ailments and nervous disorders (nightmares, insomnia) by stimulating and soothing the mind and the emotions, allowing one to remain clear and centered while opening to spiritual direction. Amethyst is also known to enhance creativity, passion, intuition and imagination.

    amethyst-ring

    Amethyst cluster ring

  5. Turquoise– A stone used for protection from injury and evil from the olden times, it is also used for self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and the release of useless regrets. Turquoise is a strengthening stone—good for exhaustion, depression, or panic attacks, as well as enhancing the immune system. It is supposed to be specifically effective for the brain, eyes, ears, throat, relieving migraines, viruses, etc. It can also help calm your nerves and stabilize mood swings. Very cool (literally).

    turquoise

    Turquoise cuff

  6. Lapis Lazuli– This is a crystal of truth, promoting self-awareness, self-expression and inner truth while diminishing repressed anger and disease.  It encourages honesty and compassion in dealing with others, and allows you to communicate or express your thoughts and emotions better. It is physically beneficial to the throat and ears, thyroid, and is said to help with problems like vertigo and blood pressure.

    lapis-tumbled-mrpl-15

    Breathtaking lapis lazuli

  7. Ruby– A fiery red crystal of passion, the ruby stimulates circulation, strengthening your heart and blood vessels. It can act as a catalyst of all forms of love, deepens a couple’s relationship and encourages closeness and commitment. It is also said to help in fertility and also sharpens the mind, helping maintain energy and concentration. Ruby can protect the wearer’s home from fire and robbery, and can transform anger into positive energy. Interestingly, it also frees the wearer from martyrdom and heightens protection of the oppressed.

    ruby

    Ruby-licious!

  8. Emerald– This is a beautiful green stone of vitality, also strongly connected with the heart. You can wear it out of sight (near the heart) to attract love, compassion and balance between partners- in fact it was used as an offering to Venus in ancient Greek history since she was the goddess of love. It is also a stone of wisdom, balancing the mind and the emotions and increasing memory, mental acuity and eloquence in speech, and enhancing success in business.

    emerald

    How to wow with an emerald

  9. Moonstone– This stone is linked to the magic of the moon, protecting travelers in their journeys, attracting first love or new love, reconciling estranged loves, encouraging fidelity and fertility.   It promotes peace, alignment with God, composure and tranquility. For women, it aids in honing intuition and cleanses negative vibes from all energy centers. It stimulates inspiration, serendipity, and synchronicity.

    moonstone

    Mystic moonstone

  10. Aquamarine– Legends call this stone the treasure of mermaids, as it was used by sailors to invoke the calmness of the sea. It is also known as the stone of eternal youth, inspiring truth, trust and letting go. It allows you to articulate your truth with courage and conviction, so it is helpful to those who speak as a profession. It is also good for long haul travel, whether by air, sea or land. Since it is a cooling stone, it can help in treating infections and is good for alleviating problems with breathing or the lungs.

    aquamarine

    Alluring Aquamarine

 

Gosh—now I want them all! So those are the stories behind your famous birthstones and bling. Honor them with your intentions when you wear them and see whether you notice any difference in your energy. And if you’re interested to learn more, visit www.crystalvaults.com, plus read up on chakras (energy centers) at http://www.chakras.info. Tell me about your experiences! Here’s to a more balanced life.

It’s An App World

I was never really a techie girl- it takes a while for me to get the hang of new gadgets and technology, and I usually wait a few months to hear about my friends’ experiences, pros and cons before jumping into the bandwagon.  What can I say, prudence is a virtue? 

However, getting an iPhone about 2 years ago was truly a revelation and I wish I’d done it sooner.  I was a Blackberry user for many years and it served me well especially for business/email purposes.  But the iPhone made me feel like I was living in the dark ages before it!  Everything is so easy and fluid, and except for the pitiful excuse for a battery life, I have no other complaints.  This phone hardly ever leaves my hands, and I don’t see how I can ever go back to a non-Apple gadget.

The best part about it are the awesome apps that have enhanced my life in so many ways.  Here are my favourite Kikay apps—check if you have them, and go install them if you don’t!

  1. Pinterest–  This is still a social media tool, but I love it for its ‘vision board’ features.  You can use it to create pegs for your ideal living space, outfit ideas, travel shots, party plans, beauty guides, and much more!  You’ll get lots of nifty new ideas from all over the world, from what to do with extra wall space or how to maximize storage, what to wear with red jeans, places to see in Osaka, how to plan a nautical party, steps for creating a smoky eye, and countless other possibilities.  My current studio is a result of hours of research on Pinterest on how to do French décor—from the damask sheets to the Tiffany blue walls, black and white furniture and white curtains.   And thanks to all the pegs and tips, everything turned out gorgeous!  You’ve got to try it and see what you can do with all your ideas.  
    My Pinterest board for a nautical themed family reunion

    My Pinterest board for a nautical themed family reunion

  2. Spotify– As a music junkie with a ‘life soundtrack’ always playing in my head, this app is a total dream.  It has music for every conceivable mood and occasion, from lazy Sunday mornings, romantic jazz for two, rainy nights, songs to sing in the shower, a roadtrip playlist, getting over a hangover, total melancholy, a girly sleepover, dinner parties, even sounds of nature to help you sleep better.  Absolutely awesome!  The selection is great and they even recommend songs they think you would like based on the playlists you follow.  It’s like you have your own pocket DJ!  This one’s a keeper.  
    One of my favorite playlists on Spotify

    One of my favorite playlists on Spotify

  3. Flipboard– For those of us who are too busy to chase after different magazines of different themes to read on what’s new, Flipboard is the answer. It collects articles on whatever topics you choose– such as News, Design, Style, Travel, Food, Photography, Film—and organizes it like one virtual magazine that you can flip through at your convenience.  So now I don’t need to worry if I can’t find this month’s issue of Vogue or what the Huffington Post is up to, or CNN breaking news, because it’s all there at the tip of my fingers, and I can read up on all of these updates while waiting for a flight, while stuck in traffic, or while queueing wherever.   Ain’t life grand?  
    Read up on all the topics right up your alley on Flipboard!

    Read up on all the topics right up your alley on Flipboard!

  4. Snapguide– You must all know by now that I am addicted to lists.  ‘How to- anything’ is my catnip.  So imagine my delight when I discovered this app called Snapguide which basically has everything on any topic!  It can teach you how to make a mean margarita, a Christmas wreath, French toast, get rid of garden weeds, makeover your bathroom, make treats for your dog—absolutely anything and everything under the sun!  I can’t tell you how happy this app makes me.   It’s like a life hack right inside your pocket, and it allows you to try out lots of different things.  How can it get any better than this?  
    Want to make rockstar popcorn?  Check out Snapguide!

    Want to make rockstar popcorn? Check out Snapguide!

  5. My Fitness Pal– For Kikay girls trying to trim down or training yourself to eat healthier, this is the app for you. My Fitness Pal can help you monitor the calories you’ve racked up for every meal, the number of glasses of water you’ve consumed, the exercise you’ve done, plus other ‘diary’ entries to help you track your progress towards an ideal goal weight.  For example, you have a goal of losing 15 lbs and your rate is at 1 lb per day for the next 2 weeks.  The app then tells you what your recommended calorie count per day is, and if you’ve gone over it from munching on that extra chocolate bar or eating 2 cups of fried rice (guilty!), it tells you how many calories you need to shave off via exercise to get you back on track.  It’s really easy to use and helps remind you of your goal—so you’re that much closer to achieving your Miranda Kerr beach body in time for next summer!  
    Your pocket fitness pal keeps track of your calories, exercise and breakdown of food groups!

    Your pocket fitness pal keeps track of your calories, exercise and breakdown of food groups!

  6. PS Express– Ever get that perfect photo composition but just can’t get the lighting right?  Hello, photoshop!  This app helps correct your photos and enhance the overall appearance better than your average Instagram filter.  You can manually adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, tint, or temperature of the photo.  You can also convert it into a sketch, use soft focus to have a blur effect, or auto-enhance the photo.  It can also remove the red eye effect.  Now you can have gorgeous, Instagram-worthy pictures! 
  7. Tripadvisor– For the Kikay girl who loves to travel, this app really comes in handy.  Tripadvisor gives you recommendations of hotel and restaurants in virtually any country, complete with reviews and ratings, photos and maps to help you make the most out of your trip and avoid costly mistakes.  You can even reserve and book at restaurants, flights and hotels, find cool places to check out, or get answers to specific travel questions you might have.  Plus you can even use it on offline ,mode so you don’t need to spend on expensive roaming charges while you’re abroad (if there’s no free Wifi).  Genius!  No need to do all the research by yourself on Google as it’s all stored in just one place.  So whether you’re off to Machu Picchu in Peru, some fun in the sun at Mykonos, living the dream in Paris, or skiing in Gstaad, this is the app for you! 
    Wondering which restaurants to check out in Amsterdam?  Tripadvisor!

    Wondering which restaurants to check out in Amsterdam? Tripadvisor!

  8. The 7 minute workout– If you don’t believe you can get all the exercise you need in a day in just 7 minutes, and if you always whine that you don’t have time to get fit, this app will prove you wrong.  The 7 minute workout is composed of 12 high intensity body exercises at 30 seconds per exercise and 10 seconds rest between exercises, designed to get your blood pumping and give you your cardio boost of the day!  It gives you instructions on how to do each exercise correctly and times the whole workout.  From jumping jacks to wall sits, push ups, ab crunches, step ups, squats, tricep dips, planking, High kicks, lunges, side planks, etc, this app has got it all for you (and yes, you can do all that within 7 minutes)!  Don’t push it if you get dizzy the first few times, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it.  Here’s to healthy hearts!
  9. Duolingo– Have you always dreamed of learning another language? Try the Duolingo app.  I’m using it for Spanish and it’s causing all my memories of summer classes and foreign language electives in college to come flooding back.  It’s really easy and interactive, and uses a combination of writing, speaking (yes it asks you to pronounce words and reply in sentences and records your answer) and comprehension for learning.  You’ll be able to speak basic sentences in no time—and I suggest you book a trip and practice talking to a cutie you meet along the way to really test if it’s effective!
  10. Perfect 365– This app works for vain Kikay girls who want to look polished in every photo that appears on social media.  The app can help you lengthen your lashes, improve the texture of your skin, and even apply a full face of makeup (from lipstick, blush to eyeliner!) so you look more put together in the photo.  Just be careful though because enhanced photos can actually look pretty obvious… and fake is not what you’re aiming for!  Use sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.  In fact—if it’s not your best picture, why even post it?  
    Sometimes all you need is a little digital touch-up!

    Sometimes all you need is a little digital touch-up!

So there are my top 10 apps.  Hope you ladies (and even some gents) get to use these and max out your day to day lives.  Cheers to technology and all its wonders!