Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Switch is Flipped!

It's official! My NEW website is LIVE! 

Special thanks to David Litwin and the folks at Pure Fusion Media for their great work on the website and the overall branding. 

I have been transitioning some of my most popular posts from "The Balance Beam" to my "Sparks of Insight" blog on the new site. I've left a lot here as well, mostly the more personal posts and those focused more on "life balance." After that, all original content will go up on the new site only.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who has supported me here all these years. I hope you'll come on over to the new place and check it out! If you're getting this post by email, then you shouldn't have to do anything other than accept the MailChimp opt-in if/when you get it. 

Following me on Facebook and Twitter is also a great way to make sure you don't miss anything. 

Thanks again!!!










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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm Moving!

Blogger has been very mostly good to me for the past 4 1/2 years. I am grateful. Really. Now that my brand is growing, I need more.

It's not you, Blogger. It's me.

October 1st is my target date to switch the www.charleneignites.com domain over to my new ModX site. (ModX is a content management system that I've chosen over Blogger, Wordpress, or other options as the new home for an entirely new website which will also include a blog.)

So, if you have this page bookmarked under either the beamingbalance or blogspot domain, you'll want to change that. If you are viewing this through the Google reader dashboard, then you'll want to enter your email address in the "Subscribe" space on the sidebar and also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Okay, you don't have to do all three. But it sure would make me happy.

Thanks in advance and watch this space! Until it becomes a new space. Then watch that one.

Best,




PS: Just posted a new video on YouTube about the "Power of Persistence":
http://youtu.be/u96PK1wjwkw







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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business

Thanks for visiting! This post has been moved to my NEW website and "Sparks of Insight" blog.

I'd love it if you would go there and check it out.

Thanks!!
Charlene


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Friday, August 30, 2013

Video Blog: Attracting Financial Abundance

 “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” ~ Will Smith

"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy." ~ Groucho Marx

“They were a people so primitive they did not know how to get money, except by working for it.” ~ Joseph Addison


“When people ask me if I have any spare change, I tell them I have it at home in my spare wallet.” ~ Nick Arnette


"Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the 'gotta have it' scale." ~ Zig Ziglar


Yeah, there are a LOT of good quotes (and even more opinions) about money.   Personally, I'm with Zig on this one. I'm also feelin' Groucho as I would be happy to pay someone to wash my floors and clean my toilets.

Check out my latest video with a couple of quick tips for attracting financial abundance into your life.


Carpe diem! Or as Robin Williams says, "Carpe per diem. (Seize the check!)"







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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Taking on the Whole Life Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my Facebook followers which wellness program I should do next. I've done and blogged about P90X, Insanity, the Quantum Wellness Cleanse, and the Metagenics Metabolic Detox.

A fair majority of people suggested Focus T25 but once I saw it was another Shaun T. nightmare fitness video, I was out. That man is officially dead to me. My sister posted a link to a mindfulness retreat which looked interesting. Someone else mentioned the Crazy Sexy Diet. Nobody suggested a twelve-step program of any kind so I guess that's good news.  Still, I've been really looking for more than a diet, or exercise video, or weekend away.

Separately, a former colleague posted an announcement that she was doing something called "Whole Life Challenge." I never heard of it but geez, it sure sounded like what I had in mind.

I went to the WLC website and clicked on How it Works. And FAQ. And Rules. It was mildly overwhelming at first but I signed up anyway.

Obviously you can read just like I did, but let me give you the CliffsNotes version as well:

* The WLC begins on September 7th and goes eight weeks; 55 days of official rule following.

* Cost is $49. Sign up online. Invite friends.

* It's a game with points and shared scoreboard; high level of accountability via online check-ins. If you are a competitive person, it's a competition. If you're not, then shame self-motivation works too.

* Get and track points daily in five areas:
    1. Nutrition -- start with 5 points; lose a point when you break one of the nutrition rules they give you. They address vegan and vegetarian diets, which I appreciate.
    2. Exercise -- 2 points for 10 minutes of any fitness activity per day. Yup. That's it. Of course, you can (and should) do more, but you don't get more points.
    3. Mobilization -- 2 points for 10 minutes of stretching per day.
    4. Supplementation -- 1 point for taking any kind of healthy supplement each day. Shameless plug for my GanoLife supplements. Note: I'm taking the GanoLife Green Coffee 365 capsules. Ah. Maze. Ing.
    5. Lifestyle - 1 point for doing whatever WLC specifically prescribes at a given time; includes things like water, sleep, mindfulness, etc.

* You can choose Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced level. As far as I can tell, the level mainly affects the Nutrition piece. Higher level = more restrictions on what you can and can't eat. I'm doing Intermediate which gives more options for grains, doesn't restrict sugar as an ingredient in savory items, and allows for a minimal amount of alcohol (vs. none. Have we met?)

* When you sign up, they tell you to join a team. I didn't see one that jumped out at me so I created my own. Wanting to get my team at the beginning of the list with the A's, I named it "All Positive People Welcome." If you sign up, join my team so we can play together!

* Set goals and track progress along the way.

On day one, they have you measure your waist and "the peak of your buttocks." So um, good luck with that. Personally, I think the line in the handy graphic needs to be just a *little* bit lower. Heck, I don't even know if I have a butt peak. If I did, maybe I wouldn't need to do eight weeks of torture. Did I say torture? I meant FUN!

Naturally, I will track my progress here but I'd love to get some more folks involved as well. The more, the merrier!

Good luck!







Non-compensation disclosure: I am not financially compensated in any way by Whole Life Challenge or any of the wellness programs I have done and/or written about on this blog, other than GanoLife for which I am a registered Independent Affiliate.


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Monday, August 12, 2013

When You Whine, You Get Nothing

Recently, I had a conversation with some friends about how the behavior of our children (and sometimes other people's) can affect our mental state and feeling of life balance.

The reality-laced joke is that they all send their kids to my house to experience what they call, "Auntie Charlene's Boot Camp." 

Consider me the sarcastic, overworked, intolerant version of SuperNanny.  I get results, even without an interesting accent.  I swear you can get anyone to do anything in America with proper English diction.

In my domain, manners are non-negotiable. When one of my children says something like, "I'm thirsty," they are likely to get a response from me such as, "That sounds like a big problem."

Child: "I want a drink."   Me: "Good luck with that."

Child: "Can I have a drink."    Me: "No, thank you."

I keep my demeanor calm and dismissive.  I don't explain, "You need to use your magic words."  Certainly you'll never hear a sing-song voice come out of me chiding, "What do you saaaayyyy???"  Just typing it makes me want to throw up a little.

My kids know the rules and there are no second chances. It's a simple formula that any child will learn remarkably quickly as long as you're steadfast and consistent.

Lack of "please" = request denied.  Period. 

I took one of my Spidey's school friends to an amusement park a few days ago. Though I tried to keep it fun, I insisted on the required P's & Q's. My young guest expressed a fair amount of resistance and incredulity for the first couple of hours. There was one point when I thought for sure the kid was going to tell me to go screw myself. Gosh, I wish I had taken an Instagram picture of the wide-eyed look on Spidey's face while his friend "poked the bear."  Ever since then, I've been worrying about what the friend told his mom about me when he got home. I don't know what the eight-year old translation is for "crazy b*tch," but I'm imagining something along those lines.

Okay, so I'm a little mean.  Don't tell my own kids; they have no idea.

Healthy life balance includes setting boundaries.  Funnily enough, kids prefer to have boundaries. Most people do actually. Oh, they won't admit it but it's true.

Positive reinforcement is also really important. Even though they must say "please" and "thank you," I'm sure to give praise every single time they do.

Lots of energy to the behavior I want and as little as possible for the behavior I don't want.  (Yes, it works with romantic partners too.)
.
Along those lines, we have another rule in my house which is, "When you whine, you get nothing."  

My kids know without a shadow of a doubt that they will never get what they want (i.e. wear me down) by whining.   If they lose their minds for a minute and start whining, they know at best they will be ignored. 

At worst, especially if we're in public, I will start singing.  I've said it before and it's true. Amazing how just a few bars of "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" in WalMart will make even the crankiest kids clam right up.

I'm counting on this being even more effective the closer my daughter gets to the teenage years.   I may have to resort to the theme song from Barney for optimal results.

The axiom "when you whine, you get nothing" works for adults too.  Life is so much more rewarding from the perspective of gratitude.  

 It's not always easy to live in a perpetual "no whining zone."  Trust me, I know.  But it's worth the effort.

Anytime you catch yourself being a Negative Nancy, just start singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandeeeee...".  Or, call me. I will sing to you anytime. That has to make you smile!

Cheers!
Charlene


PS:  The countdown is ON for the official launch of my new "Charlene Ignites" website next month. Particularly if you are following me through Google Friend Connect, please be sure to follow me in one of the following alternative ways so that I don't lose you in the transition:
     1) Subscribe by email via the space on my right sidebar
     2) FB follow me at facebook.com/charleneignites
     3) Follow me @CharleneIgnites on Twitter

THANKS!
.
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

My GanoLife Products & Ordering Instructions

As some of you know, I recently launched a new business featuring the world's most delicious and nutritious gourmet hot beverages plus a variety of other wellness products. If you are interested in hearing more about it, I'd love to get together either in person or over video chat. 
In the meantime, here is the product & ordering reference page that many of you have requested!
To Order at Retail Prices: Please go to my Retail Site (link).

To Order at Affiliate (Discount) Prices:  
Please go to my Opportunity Site (link) then click "Enroll Now." 

GanoLife Products


GanoLife Black 365

A bold brew for the coffee purist, Black 365 is a flavorful combination of robust Arabica coffee beans and Ganoderma 365.  With its captivating taste and mouth watering aroma, Black 365 is the perfect way to launch your day… or extend your night.    30 packets / box



GanoLife Latte 365

Discover the unique flavor and tantalizing aroma of our most popular coffee.  Latte 365 is an exquisite combination of gourmet coffee, non-dairy creamer, and Ganoderma 365.  Whether it’s a morning “wake me up,” or an afternoon “pick me up,” Latte 365 is the perfect choice to power your day.  20 packets / box


GanoLife Mocca 365

We’ve selected the finest artisan coffee beans and paired them with an indulgent creamy chocolate; the result is a delicious and comforting beverage that would make any barista proud. And while you savor the rich taste of a Mocca 365.  15 packets / box

GanoLife Cappuccino 365

Cappuccino 365 is a masterful blend of our premier coffee, delightful flavors,  creamy foam, and Ganoderma 365.  Available in rich Hazelnut, smooth Vanilla, and scrumptious Caramel, Cappuccino 365 offers the amazing benefits of Ganoderma 365, and a taste that will captivate the most discerning palate.  15 packets / box

~ Caramel Cappuccino                              Hazelnut Cappuccino                                ~Vanilla Cappuccino




GanoLife Chocolatte 365

We had one goal in mind when we crafted this heavenly, premium Hot Cocoa; to bring the power of Ganoderma 365 to the whole family.  Chocolatte 365 is a tasty way for young and old alike to benefit from the countless wonders of Ganoderma. Health and flavor is one delicious cup – what could be better?  20 packets / box


GanoLife Ganoderma 365

Ganoderma 365 is truly the most potent Ganoderma lucidum supplement you will find in the world.  Created through our patented process, this is Ganoderma in its most concentrated state; a raw, whole food that is hundreds of times more potent than any Ganoderma grown in the wild.  These small capsules pack a big punch by strengthening the body’s natural defenses.  If you are serious about your health, look no further than Ganoderma 365.



GanoLife Immunalife 365

Immunalife 365 is your best choice for an affordable daily immune system support supplement. This amazing capsule contains authentic Immunalife 365  – the world’s most potent immune enhancing ingredient – a proprietary blend of immune-active heteropolysaccharides! With Immunalife 365, you can protect your family from the increasing number of immunity related health challenges they face every day. 


GanoLife Cordyceps 365

Cordyceps have long been studied for their effects on endurance and stamina.  Now you can enjoy the benefits of Cordyceps in a small, but powerful capsule.  Our 365 Laboratory has cultivated the Most Potent Cordyceps ever available. Whether you are looking for more endurance at the gym, or greater stamina in the bedroom, Cordyceps 365 can give you the extra boost that you need.


GanoLife Green Coffee 365

Our Green Coffee 365 is extracted from green robusta coffee beans, which are found to have the highest percentage of Chlorogenic acid. Green coffee bean extract is a proven weight loss aid. When combined with antioxidant-rich Ganoderma lucidum, the result is a product that promotes weight control.


GanoLife Vie 365 

$34.00 Retail (Per Bottle) / $25.00 (Per Bottle) Affiliate

To Order at Retail Prices: Please go to my Retail Site.

To Order at Affiliate (Discount) Prices:    
Please go to my Opportunity Site (link) then click "Enroll Now." 

Thank you!

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Less Words Wednesday: Morning Swim

Thanks for visiting! This post has been moved to my NEW website and "Sparks of Insight" blog.

I'd love it if you would go there and check it out.

Thanks!!











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Monday, July 22, 2013

Update: Kids (Still) Say the Funniest Things

Four years ago, I shared one of those silly Facebook quizzes where my kids answered a bunch of questions about me. Recently, I stumbled on that old post and thought it might be fun to see what their answers to the same questions would be today.  Initially, my goal was just pure silliness. As I'm about to transition this blog to a brand new ModX "business" website, I figured my days of random overshare are probably numbered. Maybe not. We'll see.

Yet, my kids surprised me. It was a much more enlightening experience than I expected.

In most ways, it made me smile and feel good. Some of it is just silly (and there's always a place for that) but I'm also amazed at some of the things they picked up on. The one about what they are proud of is my favorite.

The question about what I was like when I was a child created an ah-ha moment for sure. Wow. My kids (still) know almost nothing about me from before I was their mother. This is something I want to fix. I think about how much I cherish the littlest tidbits of my dad's childhood like burying toy soldiers in the backyard or swimming in the Charles River. When my dad was sick, he talked a lot about his own mother. The expression on his face is forever embedded in my mind as he concluded simply, "She was a nice lady."

In those memories, I see him not as my dying father, but as a little boy and a man with a lifetime of experiences. There's a gift in that which I can't quite explain but would like to find a way to share.

Meanwhile, here is the quiz I mentioned. Enjoy!

FACEBOOK QUIZ: Kids Say The Funniest Things
Answered by: Miss M & Spiderman in 2009 then in 2013

1. What is something mom always says to you?
     M (age 9): Do your homework!   (age 13): Did you feed Sunny [the guinea pig]?
     S (age 4): *shrug* *giggle*   (age 8): Leave your sister alone.

2. What makes mom happy?
     M (age 9): When I brush my teeth.   (age 13): When me & Steven are polite, when we clean up  without asking, and certain kinds of chocolate.
     S(age 4): When I eat dinner.   (age 8): ME!

3. What makes mom sad?
     M (age 9): When we don’t get to snuggle.   (age 13): Sad things. When people die.
     S (age 4): When you don’t eat your dinner.  (age 8): I. D. K.  She’s always happy.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
     M (age 9): By tickling me.   (age 13): By saying random funny things at times when they are unnecessary.
     S (age 4): Poopie pants! (???)   (age 8): By being silly.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
    M (age 9): I don’t know – she never told me any of those stories.   (age 13): I have no idea.
     S (age 4): She wore diapers.  (age 8): How would I know? I wasn’t even born!

6. What is her favorite thing to do?
     M (age 9): Snuggle and have fun with her family!   (age 13): Spend time with us and hang out at the lake.
     S (age 4): Go to bed.   (age 8) Us, work, and Facebook.

7. What does your mom do when you're not around?
     M (age 9): Go to parties, go to work, see Daddy, go to lunch with her friends… lots of stuff!  (age 13): Work. Reading. Talking too loudly to her friends on the phone.
     S (age 4): Cry.  (age 8): Work.

8. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
     M (age 9): Singing.  (age 13): Writing & motivational speaking.
     S (age 4): Singing.   (age 8): Selling coffee.

9. What is your mom really good at?
     M (age 9): Singing.   (age 13): Writing, sales stuff, motivating people.
     S (age 4): Silly faces.   (age 8) Selling.

10. What is your mom not very good at?
     M (age 9): Mommy is good at everything.   (age 13): I don’t know. Can’t think of anything.
     S (age 4): Wiping butts!   (age 8): Playing Minecraft.

11. What does your mom do for a job?
    M (age 9): Go to an office and make people happy or else her boss gets mad at her.  (age 13): Writing, selling, plus something with coffee and really good hot chocolate.
    S (age 4): Wipe butts!!   (age 8): Type on the computer and talk on the phone.

12.What is your mom's favorite food?
     M (age 9): Spicy stuff.   (age 13): Something vegetarian probably. And carrot cake.
     S (age 4): *BURP*   (age 8): Coffee.

13. What makes you proud of your mom?
     M (age 9): That she’s awesome.   (age 13): That she’s doing what she loves to do instead of sitting around an office like most other people do.
     S (age 4): Her smile.  (age 8): That she loves me so much.

14. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
     M (age 9): Wonder Woman… or a fairy.  (13): Can’t think of a cartoon but for a book character, I’d say June from Legend.
     S (age 4): Spiderman!   (age 8): Spongebob Square Pants. (Note to self: more squats.)

15. What do you and your mom do together?
     M (age 9): Go to museums.  (age 13): Shopping, reading, talking about books and other stuff.
     S (age 4): Snuggle.   (age 8): Snuggle.

16. How are you and your mom the same?
     M (age 9): We both like to sing.   (13): We generally like the same books and movies; we have the same sense of humor.
     S (age 4): We both have hair.   (age 8): We both have short hair.

17. How are you and your mom different?
     M (age 9):  I want more money than she does.  (age 13): I’m a teenager & she’s not. I read a lot more fiction and she reads more non-fiction.
     S (age 4): I’m a boy and she’s a girl.   (age 8): I’m a boy and she’s a girl.

18. How do you know your mom loves you?
     M (age 9): Because she always tells me and always gives me hugs and kisses. And all mommies love their children.   (age 13): Because she tells me all the time and we do a lot together.
     S (age 4): Because I do silly things and mom loves it.   (age 8): Because she’s my mom.

19. What does your mom like most about your dad?
     M (age 9): That he’s handsome and smart.   (age 13): That he’s smart and funny.
     S (age 4): Taking a bathtub. (DOH!!)   (age 8): That he’s sweet.

20. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
     M (age 9): Anywhere with her family.   (age 13):  Home. Or maybe someplace tropical.
     S (age 4): Burger King!   (8) Home.

If nothing else, I hope this made you smile!

Cheers!










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Sunday, June 30, 2013

#Editorial: #Facebook #Hashtags

Since this is my blog, I guess everything here is an editorial of sorts. Still, this post is particularly “opinionesque.” Understanding the level of passion some of my friends also have about this topic, I’m sure to get at least one overly long email with some CAPS plus excessive and/or lack of punctuation. 

Controversy aside, it’s just one of those things I feel I must address. I can no longer stay silent.  

So... you may or may not know that Facebook recently announced the addition of hashtags. Maybe you heard, but don’t care? My social media addicts friends will #tell #you #that #you #absolutely #should #care. #A lot.

Here’s what I think:

Advertisers like hashtags because it will someday help them target customers so they can sell stuff and make money. Facebook likes money too. It’s a match made in cyber-heaven.

For those who think Facebook is just trying to make the experience better for you and it's not about revenue, I'm sorry to burst your bubble.

It's a basic rule of commerce:  If it’s free, you are the product, not the customer.  

Facebook isn’t (just) a product that you are using. YOU are a product that Facebook is using. 

That said, if you are leveraging the Facebook platform to sell stuff and/or to exert your influence for a specific purpose, then you too can harness the power of the hashtag. 

You can. But will you? Should you?

Like most decisions in life, it's wise to start by clearly identifying your intentions as well as possible outcomes and limitations. Know the best way to achieve your goal(s) prior to hurling yourself into the hashtag mosh pit. Otherwise, you'll just trample / annoy your entire friend-o-sphere, thereby negating any strategic benefits. I have some additional thoughts on this that I will share in a moment.

In theory, hashtags make it easier to find posts on a theme, make new friends, form groups, and have as much fun as them folks in Twitterland.  

But ya know: “In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.”

Personally, I'm curious to see if enough people will adopt the practice to make it truly worthwhile. To that point, I asked Facebook friends for reactions about hashtags coming to our heretofore #-less space.
Here are the comments:
  • “Hate it.”
  • “I use them when I tweet so why not on FB?” [i.e. "in theory.']
  • “Yes on Twitter. No on Facebook.”
  • “Too complicated for most people."
  •  "Don't like them - just makes words messy and cluttered. Maybe I'm just old?"
  •  "I use them to make a particular word or phrase stand out." [Isn't that what bold is for? Oh right, FB doesn't do that.]
  •   “I haven't had hash in...wait..... Wait... I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing somehow. What are hashtags?!”
If you do decide to venture forth into Facebook hashtagging, I beg of you – as your friend and trusted advisor – to consider the following:

1) Since Facebook doesn’t have a character limit, it makes zero sense to hashtag words in the middle of a sentence. It’s much less invasive if you type your status update as you normally would, then # the keywords you want associated with that post and to be potentially searchable by your target audience.

2) If you INSIST on using hashtags in the middle of your text post, think in context of someone using air quotes in real life. Imagine how annoying it would be if you were hanging with a friend and they did “rabbit ears” in your face every time they said a word. Annoying right? “Trust me.” It’s “wicked” “freaking” “annoying.” Less is more.

3) Run a basic Google search and pretty much every article about Facebook hashtag etiquette says to keep the number of hashtags to a max of three per post. I’m good with that. I’d also recommend variety. Particularly if you are an entrepreneur, remember that social media should still be social.  For example, I sell (among other things) the world’s most delicious and nutritious coffee. Even my best friends and customers will tune me out if I’m all like #coffee #coffee #coffee every single day.

4) Since you are still the product even if you are also selling stuff, you could be targeted with your own hashtags, particularly once Facebook figures out the analytics piece. No whining about "privacy" or being surprised when you “coincidentally” see crazy ads on your Facebook sidebar. Remember that funny sign you saw in #Mexico about #free #Viagra? Yep, so does Facebook.

Finally, please know this: 
Even if you intend to be as friendly, helpful, and entertaining with your status updates as you always have been -- once you introduce hashtags, the dynamic changes. It just does. It’s the difference between having coffee with friends and being on a conference call. No matter how much I love you, when you #hashtag at me, it feels like you are yelling into the Polycom. 

Once video surpasses everything else in social media, this whole discussion about text hashtags might be mute. In the meantime, thanks for listening to my rant #advice.

Yours truly,







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