Hong Kong (CNN) — Wearing a boxy, oversized quilted coat and dark purple lipstick, Thierry Chow looks more like a fashion magazine editor than a Feng Shui master.
But with big-name clients such as luxury department store Lane Crawford and athletic brand Lululemon under her belt, Chow has become one of the most sought-after Feng Shui masters in Hong Kong in recent years.
Chow's sudden fame shouldn't come as a surprise, though. Chow Hon Ming, one of the city's most respected Feng Shui masters, is her dad.
But her bold, stereotype-defying style has earned her fast fans, pulling her out from her father's shadow.
"I tried to hold back and dress down when I first started working by my father's side," Chow tells CNN Travel.
"I think the clients could tell I wasn't myself, so they didn't trust me. When I stopped worrying too much and could be myself again, I found my core and I think the clients can feel it too."
Thierry Chow says the Year of the Pig is generally good for industries and businesses related to the Earth elements.
Maggie Hiufu Wong/CNN
Chow says her father has been practicing for over 40 years, so Feng Shui has always been a part of her life.
"But of course, when you were young, you wouldn't want to do what your dad does," she adds.
Chow studied fine arts and illustration before deciding to join her father eight years ago.
"I called Feng Shui superstitious and old-fashioned when I was young but as I started opening my heart, I realized how Feng Shui is actually everywhere," she says.
"The five elements -- Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth -- can be found in everything from your clothes to your furniture. I found my purpose."
It's all about 'I Ching'
Though most are familiar with the basics of Feng Shui (the study of the environment) and birth chart readings (including the Chinese zodiac signs), it's actually more complicated than some realize.
A year isn't just categorized by one of 12 zodiac animals, but also by a more complex sexagenary cycle -- a combination of one of 10 heavenly stems and one of the 12 earthly branches.
For instance, 2019 is the year of "ji hai" (or gei hoi in Cantonese).
While "hai" represents the earthly branch symbol that stands for the Pig, "ji" represents the heavenly stem for yin and Earth. That's why they call 2019 the year of the Earth Pig.
Both Feng Shui and the Chinese zodiac are based on this 60-year cycle.
"They're closely related as they all come from the same book, 'I Ching,' one of the most important pieces of literature in Chinese culture," says Chow.
"It talks about yin and yang, the five elements, Bagua [Taoist cosmology symbols] and even Chinese medicines. It's about finding better harmony and balance of the five elements and yin and yang.
"It's easy to read one's birth chart to determine luck but there is always a general guideline you can follow," says Chow. "It's lighthearted -- all ways we should deal with life, anyways."
So what does 2019 have in store? Here's Chow's guide to the Year of the Pig.
Travel northwest or to Asia
It's a good time to travel to China, says Feng Shui master Thierry Chow. Pictured: Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan.
Courtesy Jeremy Thompson/Creative Commons/Flickr
"There is no absolute good or bad year -- every year has its good and bad moments because of the elements," Chow says.
"This year's dominant element is Earth so it's a good year for businesses related to the ground in general -- soil, clay and mountains, for example.
"Another element is Water. Earth is actually not very good for Water. So we may see more water-related accidents and disasters like flooding this year.
"The two best stars of the year will be in the middle and in the northwest corner of the sky," says Chow. "So try to hang around in the middle and northwest corners of your house when you're at home -- work, read or take a nap there."
Another tip: Keep lots of plants in the northern corner of your home to ward off bad luck.
"It also means traveling to the northwest and places in the middle of a country, or destinations with names that refer to the middle," says Chow.
"For example, the word 'China' [Junggwok in Cantonese or Zhongguo in Mandarin] -- translates to 'middle country.'"
Asia will be a good travel destination this year, generally, whereas the United States and the United Kingdom, "though not bad places to visit, will both have a dramatic year ahead," says Chow.
"It's an Earth year -- so go hiking or mountaineering when traveling and do fewer water activities."
What to wear? Checkered patterns, boxy designs and the colors yellow and brown are some earthy elements you can consider when picking a travel outfit, she says.
2019 Chinese Zodiac Predictions
The Chinese Zodiac has 12 animal signs. In 2019, it's the Year of the Pig.
For each of the Chinese zodiac signs, luck will depend largely on the positions of the Tai Sui -- the stars directly opposite Jupiter.
if your zodiac sign clashes with Tai Sui -- a.k.a. the Grand Duke of Jupiter -- in a particular year, you might find yourself dealing with disruptions, say Feng Shui masters.
To find out what the Year of the Pig means for you, first determine your animal sign by finding your year of birth before reading Chow's predictions below.
Rat: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Ox: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Rabbit: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Sheep: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Great news, there's no clash with Tai Sui in 2019 for those born in the Year of the Rat.
Chow says it will be a good year for those born under this sign -- especially career-wise, as they'll be headed in a positive direction where matters of work are concerned.
Thinking of learning a new skill? Chow says it's also a positive time for self-improvement.
In 2019, the Ox is aligned with the Horse Star (Yi Ma Xing).
Don't worry, that's not a bad thing. It means those born in the Year of the Ox might find themselves doing a fair bit of traveling -- for work or personal reasons -- with plenty of movements and shifts forecast for the coming year.
But Chow advises those born under the Ox to take time to care for themselves. When you're wrapped up in work and travel, it's easy to neglect your health.
The Year of the Pig represents a very good year for Tigers, says Chow.
Looking for a business partner or a relationship? This might be the year to make that happen.
That said, health is a concern for people born in the Year of the Tiger so do take care to exercise and eat well.
In 2019, the Rabbit aligns with Tai Sui so the Year of the Pig is a great time to embrace celebrations.
And we're not talking small birthday parties either.
Happy events like having babies, getting engaged or getting married are more likely to happen this year, says Chow.
Therefore, focus more on relationships and family.
Those born under the Year of the Dragon may have had a rough 2018 due to the sign's clash with Tai Sui. In 2019 things will start to calm down, says Chow.
It's a year to rebuild your relationships and career, but also a time to rest and recharge.
Focus on recovering from last year's chaos the first few months of 2019 -- adventurous ideas and endeavors can wait until the second half of the year.
Take a deep breath, Snakes. It's your turn to clash with Tai Sui, a force that represents change and instability.
It may sound scary as most people are afraid of change, but fret not -- face it with grace as change often means growth, says Chow.
However, watch out for your health and avoid extreme sports -- or even really high heels. Try flats, she says.
There is no Tai Sui star for Horse this year, meaning it will be a year of stability for those born under this sign.
Horses should try to keep things balanced this year -- don't place too much emphasis on one thing, whether it's a relationship or your career, says Chow.
Similar to the Rabbit, people born in the Year of the Sheep should enjoy a very positive year.
That said, Sheep should spend more time with family and be ready to adjust their old habits while facing changes in their loved one's lives.
Just like the Snake, people born in the Year of the Monkey will face Tai Sui (Ying Tai Sui) this year.
That could mean turbulence in relationships, including misunderstandings between you and your co-workers or partners.
Just remember that when disagreements occur, it's important to be patient and communicate more effectively, says Chow.
People born in the Year of the Rooster will experience the effects of the Horse star this year, says Chow. This means lots of movement, changes and shifts will occur so remember to take care of your health.
It's important to eat better and exercise more. This busy time can also pose a challenge to your mental wellness, so it's a good year to take up meditation and yoga if you haven't already.
Coming out of a tough 2018, things will start to settle down again for people born in the Year of the Dog.
It'll be a positive year and you'll feel the negative energy leave you in the first two months. But don't rush things. You need time to recover, says Chow.
And finally, the Pig.
If you were born under this sign it's your "Ben Ming Nian" -- your own zodiac year.
But in Chinese astrology, Ben Ming Nian also means it's the year to offend Tai Sui, so surprisingly it can be a shaky time.
It's not all bad, though. You can rake in positive energy by traveling more and attending celebrations, says Chow.