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Will The Rooster Crow For You?

Chinese New Year celebrations have begun, and it’s one of our favorite times of year — offering the promise of a fresh cycle and new opportunities. This holiday also marks the passing of the torch in the Chinese zodiac, as we shift now out of the year of the Monkey and into the year of the Rooster….

Using a complex and ancient astrological system weaving symbolism and mythology, cosmic forces and subtle observation, the Chinese have discovered a way to find our fortunes in the stars – and we like the idea. We have translated these horoscopes directly from a famous Chinese astrologer and he doesn’t mince words – so be prepared – not all horoscopes are created lucky!

But, luck is ever-changing, so take your fortune with a pinch of salt. We see it as food for thought on the never-ending quest for better living, and we hope you might too. In any case, we can hope that to be forewarned is to be forearmed! Look below to discover your fortune…

Rat: After a year of avoiding potential traps, you may relax and take in your new-found good luck. It’s time to go outside and be social, start relationships and take chances in work. What was old will now feel new! However, beware of trips and falls, disagreements and arguments, keep kindness in your heart to avoid unnecessary altercations!

Ox: Your compatibility to the Rooster serves you well this year! Particularly in love, career and wealth, the stars are in your favor. Take advantage of every opportunity, for you will be regarded in high esteem and many will seek to help you along your path. But, watch out for temptations Oxen, and try not to tangle yourself up in things that do not matter, frivolous distractions do not need your focus.

Tiger: It is your year, Tigers, so give yourselves a round of applause or a pat on the back. Last year had you down on your luck, but now is your chance to soar. A calm and steady year for love, celestial forces will draw you towards career advancements. Remember though, work is not everything, so care for your relationships and spend time with family. But mostly tigers, take action! Be brave and conquer, this is your year.  

Rabbit: Rabbits may find themselves in conflict with the year ahead. Both the Rabbit and its fixed element, Wood, are in conflict with the commanding planet Jupiter, the Rooster, and its fixed element Metal. This bodes poorly for the Rabbit, who may experience setbacks in love and career. However, opposition is not always bad, and preparation may prove the key to success this year. It may feel like nothing is working but, lay low and bide your time, give yourself a boost by changing your look or moving to a new place, and wait for your chance in the wheel of luck.

Dragon: Peach blossoms and peace for you this year! Blessings will adorn you and love and relationship will fall into place with ease and grace. Dragons tend to put excess pressure on themselves, but try not to this year, you and your work will shine with ease. Open the window, feel the breeze, and relax. If you embrace your luck, all the blossoms will surely turn into fruit. Older dragons, take special care of yourself in sickness to avoid possible health problems!

Snake: While last year was not your best, this year is worth celebrating! In love and interpersonal relationships, your compatibility with the commanding planet Jupiter offers you great luck and possibility. Cultivating positive relations will be your saving grace when it comes to your career. Owing to the bad luck of last year, career is still a place of possible struggle, as is wealth, but with uncertain luck coming your way, the effort and care with which you proceed will be to your benefit – and you will not go it alone! Look out for a special helper this year who may make everything just a little easier. . .

Horse: A year of romance for the Horse, and a perfect time to work on your commitments. This year all you need are your friends and loved ones, and all else will follow nicely. Remember though, abundant socializing might be taxing on your body so be sure to exercise and keep healthy! Stay focused on your continued work instead of your accomplishments, and with so many peach blossoms scattered around you – beware of temptation!

Sheep: The sheep face their share of inauspicious stars this year, associated with accidents and negative energy, but nonetheless you should sail smoothly with a little caution. A suitable year for relationships, and potentially good for wealth, this is a steady year for Sheep. Reflect on your past and remember the things you have already done. Live your life and prepare for what may lie ahead.

Monkey: After a year of hard luck, you can smile at the year to come. Things may turn around for you in all areas: love, career, wealth and health. Last year, the year of the Monkey, found you under the curse of bad luck brought to those born in the same year as the ruling animal. However, this may be an extremely social year for you, and good for your romantic life. You will be attractive to those around you so keep up your confidence – and if you have found someone to love, this may be the year to start living with them…

Rooster: You are recovering from a very tired year, but don’t worry, even though you are under the curse of the same year bad luck, your luck is much better than it could be!  This is a good year to focus on business and wealth. You will have the help of those you work with. Be aggressive – but beware of your suspicions and unkind thoughts, as they may be a product of your perceived misfortune. Take yourself to celebrations and places of beauty – do not sit complacently by, use your new energy to fight the curse of the bad luck year and things may turn out just fine!

Dog: Dogs may do best to bide their time this year. Take care of your body, tend to yourself, and try your best to keep up your positive attitude. Conserve your energy and focus inward. Learn how to rely on yourself this year, because you have just what you need to keep you going.

Pig: Last year was excellent for the pigs; this year is a year of preparation. Your luck may falter – and you are advised to take extra caution not to take a misstep – but Pigs are naturally gifted and talented and tend to be motivated by the promise of a challenge. So – stay alert! Remember that it is ok to lose – especially if it is one battle for the sake of the war – so take a rest and store your energy. Sleep, work, learn new things and wait for the day when they will serve you splendidly! 

We hope you enjoyed your fortune! Whether your year is looking up or down, the most important factor in determining your future is the action you take in the present – so take care of yourself, stay mindful, and encourage those around you to do the same. Happy Crowing!

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Vibrant Beginnings

January 28th marks the beginning of the longest and most widely celebrated holiday in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year is an auspicious time, an ideal opportunity to set new intentions, clear out last year’s ghosts and cobwebs, and revitalize. We plan to begin the Year of the Rooster in tradition-infused style and encourage you to do the same.

…Put away the old sweaters for a few weeks, and put on something vibrant and fresh.

Awash in symbolism and saturated hues, Chinese New Year celebrations evoke old world beauty with plum blossoms and paper lanterns, bright red garments and golden embroidery. Ushering in luck, abundance and prosperity are the order of the day. The richness and vibrancy of a Chinese New Year celebration is infectious and inspiring, so, we say – take it as an opportunity.

Dress yourself in brightly colored clothing. Red is a traditional color for Chinese New Year, symbolizing good fortune and joy. Put on your red jackets, dresses, and shoes (or even take delight in a secret red undergarment). Avoid blacks and grays, let yourself look striking against the cool winter backdrop.

Go to the local garden store. If you find yourself with a free afternoon, pick up an amaryllis bulb to plant in a bowl of stones on your coffee table, or find a bouquet whose bright blossoms will liven up your home. An opening flower is a symbol of good luck, so according to tradition you will want to make sure blooms are flourishing around January 28th.

Wear something new. Chinese New Year is a time to wear new clothing, to remind yourself that it is a new year and one in which you are blessed with abundance. Put away the old sweaters for a few weeks, and put on something vibrant and fresh.

Decorate your home with red. Traditionally said to bring good luck and freshness to the New Year, place little bits of red around your home. We like to tie red ribbons around our potted plants or hang little red ornaments from their leaves and branches.

Welcome in the Year of the Rooster with festive ingenuity, and come back soon to see what this year may hold for you as we begin to explore the Chinese zodiac…

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Look Into Our Drawer of Remedies

I’m so pleased today to unveil something that we’ve been working on for the past few months — our latest product offering, a collection of nourishing treasures designed to supplement your regular elixir routine.

Medical texts from ancient China speak of the potency and purity of a whole herb (that’s why we make our elixirs starting with entire plants, flowers and roots.) If you step into an apothecary in the Far East, you’ll find cabinets filled with such whole herbs. Mainly, they are used for brewing and consuming internally, but many can also be used in an external, topical application.

Inspired by this tradition, we’re introducing our line of Bulk Remedies, a seasonal, always-changing collection of plants and botanical-derived products, which stimulate the body’s wellness and skin’s complexion via bathing and cleansing.

Evoking a cupboard with drawers full of precious herbs, and botanical keepsakes from around the world, this collection of bathing and cleansing remedies are sold in bulk (by weight,) and meant to be a luxurious companion to your regular cleansing ritual. Try putting these herbs in a jar in your bathroom and toss them in a bath when you need an extra boost of nourishment or circulation.

Each item is hand-harvested or handcrafted in California, and formulated in accordance with the health culture and philosophies of the East.

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Japanese Seaweed Bath, Traditional Ginger Foot Bath, and Herbal Pure Cleansing Bar
 
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In today’s world of infinite bathing options, sometimes it’s nice to return to the real, original thing — the purity of a single herb.

Learn more about our new collection here.

xo,

Jess

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Chinese Ghost Stories

With Halloween right around the corner, I’m honoring one of my favorite holidays with creative costumes and fun parties, and — in the Reorient style — tales of mystery and otherworldly creatures. I love a good horror movie, but what I love more are the classic Chinese ghost films that I grew up with.

Classic Chinese ghost stories are less about scary ghosts than about immortals, demons and animal spirits that take the shape of beautiful humans. This means old world romance, mystical settings, beautiful costumes, and even a pinch of comedy. They’re both thrilling and intriguing to behold.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

A Chinese Ghost Story, 1987

A folktale about a peasant boy who falls in love with a beautiful ghost in white silk (the movie is named after her in Chinese: “The Ethereal Spirit of a Beauty.”) The ghost is bound and controlled by a powerful tree demon, and the tale unravels in the haunting setting of a dark forest.

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Green Snake, 1993

A reinterpretation of a hundred-year-old ghost story by legendary director Tsui Hark, Green Snake is the story of two sister snake spirits who have learned how to take human form. Beautifully filmed with otherworldly settings of old China and a pair of ethereal actresses that portray the spirits perfectly.

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Mr. Vampire, 1985

Did you know that a Chinese vampire looks like a Qing Dynasty official with white skin and fangs? They hop around at night, blind, and can only hear you if you breathe. This became the concept of a “vampire” to every child in the Chinese speaking world after the horror-comedy movie Mr. Vampire.

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Painted Skin, 2008

Based on a story first published in 1740, the story of Painted Skin centers around a female fox demon who seduces men and eats their hearts. She becomes friends with a family of soldiers and falls in love with their commander, who is already married. A complicated love story of seduction, sisterhood, and mystery ensues. Watch for the drama and the old costumes and hairpieces.

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The Eye, 2002

Set in modern times, this is the story of a blind woman who receives a cornea transplant, and starts seeing ghostly figures. Recently made into a Hollywood picture, but I like the original a little more.

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Happy Halloween!

Jess

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Drawing Spirit from Nature

We’re planning a camping trip this Labor Day weekend, and looking forward to how the open air, green forests, scent of pine can be restorative medicine for the body and soul. It seems like a simple enough concept — that nature is good for you — but the subtle web of interconnectedness between humans and their environment was written in ancient doctrines thousands of years ago. Our beauty philosophy is based in this Eastern concept of interconnectedness and peace with nature.

Take, for example, the ingredients that nature provides for us: plants and flowers that flourish and hold within them great powers. To warm and cool. To detoxify and to retain. To nourish and circulate. Every aspect of our work is in honor of these plants.

Another guiding philosophy is the idea that your body, no matter the condition, can only achieve the optimal health and beauty by being in balance with your environment. We often get frustrated and short-tempered when it’s stuffy and hot, or more commonly, feel light-headed and dizzy when there’s a lot of noise and traffic around us. It’s only when we acknowledge these forces, and counteract them by diet, lifestyle, and herbal practice, can we enjoy wellness that is pure and inherent to all of us.

Being in nature brings us closer to these philosophies. In our home state of California, we are lucky to be surrounded by beauty that quiets the soul, rests our mind, and encourages activity through hiking and climbing.  

At the end of this summer season, we leave you with some of our favorite places in nature, and a reminder to find your own source of rest and natural balance.


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A Cup of Wedding Tea

 

We tend to keep personal news quiet, but last December our founder Jess Ng got married. Traveling back to her native Hong Kong for the event, Jess and her soon-to-be-husband threw a small celebration for their closest family and friends.

Today in Hong Kong, most weddings follow the model of a standard Western ceremony, but many couples still choose to honor their heritage by performing a tea ceremony the morning before the reception. An old tradition from Southern China, the tea ceremony is an ancient ritual that marks the joining of two people and their families.

It starts with the bride, in a traditional red wedding garment, frequently embroidered with gold and silver thread in the shape of a dragon and phoenix, the mythical creatures that symbolize “king” and “queen” in Chinese culture. The couple will then present tea to the bride’s parents as a sign of gratitude and respect.

Tea is used for its important role in Chinese culture and history, as well as its ubiquitous use in rituals. The time-honored herbs — lotus seeds and red dates — are added to the tea to signify good health, fortune, and sweetness in the new couple’s life together.

After this, the bride and groom travel to the groom’s house, to perform a symmetric ritual to honor the groom’s family. The whole ceremony is a beautiful act celebrating the importance of family and honoring the roots of an ancient culture.

We leave you with some images from that day that remind us what we love about our heritage.

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What is
Reorient?

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We are a small botanical haven in SF, inspired by the history and healing traditions of the Orient. We’re currently taking a break from making our remedies, but continue to explore projects for preserving the beauty of this old world art form. This journal is inspired by ancient apothecary cabinets of the Orient, called Chests of 100 Seeds, full of precious herbs and hidden secrets, each one a key to a potential new ritual.

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