Living Your Intention  
newsletter from Intentional Spaces

Welcome to the Living Your Intention newsletter! 


Happy Fall Equinox! The autumn equinox, September 22, signaled the beginning of fall. It is the point where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. In the northern hemisphere daylight hours are dwindling, bringing us ever closer to the shortest day of the year and the start of winter. 


Something is different for me this year: I'm not fighting it. Not that there was ever anything I could really do about it, but I did complain a lot, bemoaning how September was my least favorite month while generally trying to ignore the whole fall transition. 


Perhaps because this Dragon year has been so hectic and unpredictable, any thought of moving toward the potential stillness that winter promises is welcome! 


In the meantime, autumn is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labors, so complete any unfinished projects and allow plenty of time to reward yourself with unplanned leisure and spontaneous playfulness!  




"Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter's deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world's oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter." - Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way

Following Frank, Part 2


This past July we traveled to Mason City, Iowa to stay in the stunning Historic Park Inn Hotel, the second in our "Following Frank" road trips.


hotel lobbyBuilt in 1910 for two Mason City attorneys, the Park Inn Hotel is a classic example of Prairie School Architecture. It is the last remaining hotel of the six designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and served as the prototype for his world famous Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, which no longer stands.


During 2010 - 2011, the Historic Park Inn underwent a 20 million dollar renovation and re-opened in August 2011. One month short of its one-year anniversary, we found ourselves staying in one of the available 27 rooms.(Originally there were 43 rooms, but their 10 x 10 ft size would be unacceptable today.)

room 01


We were enchanted from the moment we stepped into the lobby. As if in response to our delight, we were immediately upgraded to larger rooms. Actually, we found out why later: it was because we were there on a Monday and they weren't fully booked. In the meantime, we discovered our room had a Jacuzzi so we were happy!


bankExploring this gem, we climbed the stairway to the mezzanine balcony overlooking the lobby and dining room. Impressive is the Skylight Room with its fully restored sky-lit art glass ceiling. There is a Ladies Parlor with art-glass French Doors while the former gentlemen's lounge has adjoining wine tasting and billiards' rooms. The attached City National Bank building now serves as the hotel's 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom and conference center.


While generally regarded as America's greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright's career was initially determined by his mother, Anna Lloyd Jones, a schoolteacher with a dominating personality. After briefly attending the engineering department of the University of Wisconsin in nearby Madison, he ventured to Chicago in 1877 to begin work in the office of the man who became his mentor, Louis Sullivan. Sullivan is widely considered America's first truly modern architect.


Wright coined the term Organic Architecture to describe his approach to architectural design - striving to integrate space into a unified whole. It derived from Sullivan's belief that "form follows function." Wright argued, "Form and function are one." In 1895, Wright set up a studio in Oak Park where he and other young Chicago architects developed a coherent new design process - the  "Prairie Style." 



Prairie style architecture is usually marked by its integration with the surrounding landscape, horizontal lines, flat or hipped roofs with broad eaves, windows assembled in horizontal bands, solid construction, and restraint in the use of decoration. Horizontal lines were intended to unify the structure with the native, open, undeveloped, horizontal prairie landscape of the Midwest.


The Prairie School was heavily influenced by the Transcendentalist philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson - better homes would create better people, very much a Feng Shui concept.


A small group of prominent citizens in Mason City, Iowa interested in building a new bank and an up-scale hotel, selected Wright as their architect. The City National Bank and Park Inn Hotel opened to the public in 1910. Unfortunately, a mere ten years later, during the financial crisis of the 1920s, the bank failed and the hotel's style went out of vogue. While the bank section of the building survived by becoming retail space, the hotel declined into a third-rate establishment, its leaking skylight, the art-glass panels and mezzanine all removed. By the end of the 1970s the hotel's sole residents were vagrant pigeons.



This local treasure would have been lost forever, had it not been for a group of dedicated and persistent local citizens who, in 2005, formed Wright on the Park, Inc. (WOTP) and achieved IRS recognition as a non-profit organization. WOTP undertook The Park Inn Hotel's restoration. And here we were, a century later, staying in the Historic Park Inn Hotel, an artistic memorial to one of the country's greatest architects!


Our desk clerk and self-proclaimed hotel "tour guide" shared stories about some of the amazing discoveries that surfaced during renovation.  A private home, once belonging to one of the original developers/owners of the hotel, held the missing art-glass panels from the skylight.  Much of the grillwork from the bank's clerestory windows was serving as a fence at a Clear Lake, Iowa home.  All of these were generously returned in support of the restoration.


We enjoyed cocktails in the former Gentleman's Lounge but were disappointed to learn the hotel's 5-Star restaurant is closed on Mondays. But we loved our luxurious room with its Jacuzzi and wished, in hindsight, we had planned to stay longer, especially to try the restaurant.


The next day found us eager to visit the Stockman House, the first and only Prairie School style house designed in Iowa. While in Mason City developing the bank and hotel, Wright was commissioned to design a residential home for the Dr. G.C. Stockman family. Completed in 1908, the Stockman house represents the first time Wright achieved his important revolutionary goals in a smaller, middle class home.


house 04

The plan that Dr. Stockman commissioned was an adaptation and variation of a $5,000 fireproof home designed by Wright that appeared in the April 1907 issue of "Ladies Home Journal". Created to address the housing needs of the middle class, the plan showed a four-bedroom house in which the largest possible living space was realized by allowing living room, dining room and veranda to flow together in a more open concept. Revolutionary at that time! Unfortunately, we discovered the Stockman house closed for touring; it was Tuesday in Mason City!  But it was well worth the walk-around!


City planners envisioned the potential value of the Park Inn Hotel and bank restoration as both a tourist attraction and a vehicle for revitalizing the city's downtown. This will be increasingly realized as more tourists visit Mason City for its amazing architectural treasures. In order to achieve that, however, its merchants must realize their city can't be in "shut down mode" for three to four days out of the week. In the meantime, we'll be sure to return on a Wednesday or Thursday.


"A House?  Walls cut by doors and windows! Yet, its empty space makes it useful."


tao te ching This partial quote is displayed in the auditorium at the Taliesin West architectural design school located north of Scottsdale, Arizona. It is taken from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (late 4th century BC), the oldest work  identified with the Chinese school called Taoism.


As evidenced by his works, Frank Lloyd Wright was very much influenced by Asian architectural design features. But does that mean he incorporated Feng Shui tenets in his buildings? While he lived long before Feng Shui became known in the United States, some say Wright's buildings suggest Feng Shui ideas.


Feng Shui is very much about design and placement and refers to living in balance with nature. For the first time, an American architect seemed to understand this concept and apply it in his own way.


While my exposure to Frank Lloyd Wright buildings remains limited, research suggests a connection to Feng Shui principles is there (see my August newsletter). Even if Wright's designs didn't always incorporate the tenets Feng Shui as practitioners would today when advising clients who are building, remodeling or redecorating, the harmonic quality of his philosophy is evocative of modern practice.


stockman house front

Asian influence is evident in his characteristically-tiered overhanging rooflines, for example, but that doesn't compensate for his tendency to build homes with hidden front doors, ignoring a basic aspect of Feng Shui: the power and critical importance of the entryway. Referred to as the "mouth of Chi," the entryway is believed to be where all opportunity and overall well-being come in, thus it should never be hidden!


According to Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., in Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House, "To Wright, architecture was a great inclusive agency through which humankind adapted the environment to human needs and, reciprocally, attuned human life to its cosmos; amid continual changes architecture could keep human life more natural and nature more humane." In Feng Shui, as with Wright, it is of utmost importance to live in balance and harmony with nature.


I suspect debate will continue among practitioners of Feng Shui about whether or not Wright's buildings suggest Feng Shui ideas, but to quote Alex Starka graduate of the Yale University School of Architecture and a Feng Shui practitioner himself, "Wright clearly had an intuitive sense of the energies of nature, which are integral to Feng Shui. He wasn't exposed to it as a practice, but Feng Shui is inherent in all of oriental art and architecture, which he studied."


My conclusion? At the very least, Wright understood and respected the most basic principles upon which the practice of Feng Shui is grounded. Perhaps this is why I, like many others, continue to be drawn to his architecture.



 Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age. 

- Frank Lloyd Wright


Get on Board with a DreamTrips Membership! 

Cruise into the Holidays! 




DEPARTS ROME November 16 - November 26, 2012




Day 1 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 

Day 2 Messina, (Sicily), Italy 

Day 3 Day At Sea 

Day 4 Piraeus (Athens), Greece 

Day 5 Kusadasi, Turkey 

Day 6 Rhodes, Greece 

Day 7 Santorini, Greece 

Day 8 Mykonos, Greece 

Day 9 Day At Sea

Day 10 Naples, Italy 

Day 11 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy




boat bar


December 1 - December 6, 2012 



Day 1 New Orleans, Louisiana 


Day 3 Progreso Yucatan, Mexico 

Day 4 Cozumel, Mexico 


Day 6 New Orleans, Louisiana





December 3 - December 7, 2012 



Day 1 Long Beach, California

Day 2 Avalon, Santa Catalina Island

Day 3 Ensenada, Mexico

Day 4 At Sea

Day 5 Long Beach, California








December 10 - December 14, 2012 



Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida 

Day 2 CocoCay, Bahamas 

Day 3 Nassau, Bahamas 

Day 4 At Sea 

Day 5 Port Canaveral, Florida




All-Inclusive, Anyone? Yes!




December 1 - December 5, 2012

This trip will close by November 1st or when booked to capacity.

riu caribe


Escape to the modern comfort of the seaside retreat, Hotel Riu Caribe, an all-inclusive getaway with inviting fresh water pools, a world-class spa, excellent cuisine and supreme amenities. All- inclusive the Riu way means unlimited meals, snacks, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, in-room mini-bar and unlimited liquor dispensers.


And then, there's Hawaii!




February 11 - February 16, 2012

hapuna beach prince hotel  

Situated on the sunny Kohala Coast, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel has defined Big Island luxury since its opening in 1994. As the second phase in Rockefeller's creation of Mauna Kea Resort, the hotel property shares 1,839 acres of oceanfront paradise with the legendary Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. To the north end lies a secluded snorkeling cove. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, the 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course provides ocean views, a driving range, putting and chipping greens, a pro shop, and a fitness center. The Robert Trent Jones-designed Mauna Kea Golf Course is a five-minute drive from the hotel via complimentary scheduled shuttle. Guests also have access to a second fitness center and 13 tennis courts with pro instruction (surcharge) at the partner hotel Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.



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Thank you so much for your interest in Living Your Intention!
I welcome your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you!  Please know that I am grateful for your presence. 

Many blessings,


Hinda Abrahamson


"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions." 

 Oliver Wendell Holmes

In This Issue
Following Frank, Part 2
Get on Board with a DreamTrips Membership!
Frank Lloyd Wright - Life and Work
Shop Online!
 Frank Lloyd Wright:  
Life and Work
FLW huxtable book

"Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable's biography  Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright's masterpieces, from the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder, not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever."  


50 fave rooms

   "Any admirer of the creative talent of Frank Lloyd Wright should not be without this excellent book, which records 50 of his domestic interiors. Diane Maddex, who has written several books on Wright, has assembled a photographic collection of his living and dining rooms as well as playrooms, libraries, and a few public spaces, including Wisconsin's Johnson Wax building and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  Accompanying each photo is a brief description of the clients, their requirements, and what Wright created for them. This is a lovely book that serves as a beautiful historical record of one of the 20th century's greatest architects."

Following Frank? 

More sights and adventures to catch your attention!

house on the rock

 We combined our trip to Taliesin with a trip to the House on the Rock, originally opened in 1959. This is a complex of architecturally unique rooms, streets, gardens and shops designed by Alex Jordan, Jr. It is located north of Dodgeville, in Iowa County, south of Spring Green, Wisconsin.


circus boy 

Baraboo, Wisconsin is home to the Circus World Museum. Almost one hundred years ago, the Ringling Bros. Circus located its winter quarters on the north bank of the Baraboo River. The area was known as Ringlingville. The Ringling Bros. Circus last wintered here in 1918. It is now a National Historic Landmark.


Wilson Home  While in Mason City, Iowa, Music Man Lovers will want to stop at Music Man Square and Meredith Wilson's childhood home.


surf ballroom  Ten miles straight west from Mason City, is Clear Lake, Iowa, home of the Surf Ballroom, the site of the final concert of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. Entering the Surf Ballrom is to step back into history and nostalgia. 


the day  Following that last concert in early February, 1959, their chartered plane, en route to their next concert in Moorhead, MN, went down in a privately-owned cornfield during poor weather conditions. We traveled to the cornfield "crash site" memorial entitled "The Day the Music Died."  A story of fate: who was on that plane and who was not were matters of cost, illness and a simple coin toss!


glasses  A huge replica of the famous Buddy Holly glasses marks the entrance from the dusty gravel road. We parked our car and took the half-mile through the cornfield to the small memorial located at the spot the crashed plane came to rest.


owatonna bank  Then on to Owatonna, MN to tour the Louis Sullivan-designed Owatonna Bank.


spam museum  

From there, we spontaneously decided to visit the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota.


Travel brings its own surprises and opportunities! Allow yourself the flexibility to venture off the beaten path!  

colorful dragon
Shop Online!
In China, the Dragon is the sign of the emperor, as well as a symbol of power and wealth. In honor of 2012, the Year of the Dragon, visit my online store:  

Order Chinese Dragon cards, stamps, stickers, address labels, and apparel!



Passionate about 

Feng Shui


Certified in Western Feng Shui, Traditional Compass Feng Shui and Fashion Feng Shui, Hinda is a founding member and President of the Feng Shui Institute. Through her practice, Intentional Spaces, she helps you explore ways to create a balanced and harmonious environment that reflects your individual personality, life style and personal goals.


 For residential and business consultations, speaking engagements, or customizing a workshop for your group, contact Hinda at (952) 938-0894 or email:

Hinda Abrahamson 



about Travel


yellow suitcase 

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yin yang

The purpose of this newsletter is two-fold: to share ways to incorporate the art of Feng Shui in daily life and to share travel experiences and opportunities you can access.

Each of these, in its own way, can

support mindfulness and intentionality

as we navigate life's journey.


I hope you encounter a new idea, a new resource or a new viewpoint. Perhaps some small insight will answer an unspoken question, provide a helpful tip, motivate or inspire you,

or simply give you a moment to escape from the day's demands.  


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