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The Power of Touch: Learn all about Infant Massage USA

In partnership with the International Association of Infant Massage, the mission of Infant Massage USA is to promote nurturing touch and communication through training, education, and research so that parents, caregivers and children are loved, valued, and respected throughout the United States and the world community.

“We work to empower parents and promote nurturing through parent-baby communication and responsiveness in addition to infant massage education,” says executive Director Ashely Febvay. “As the US Chapter of the International Association of Infant Massage, we have been helping parents and professionals offer nurturing touch and empower families with this incredible tool since 2005.”

The Benefits of Infant Massage: Research has shown many benefits of infant massage and parent education programs, as well as the positive impact of nurturing touch and communication on bonding, attachment, and development. With nearly 4 million babies born in the US each year, the potential influence on society is easy to see because infant massage supports:

  • Infant and Child Development: Infants who experience regular massage often see reduced stress, nervous system improvements, improved self-regulation and body-awareness. In relevant studies, parents have reported improvements in many developmental aspects like muscle tone, joint mobility, gastrointestinal issues, and response to forms of therapy (such as physiotherapy). It is especially helpful for children who require extra support, including babies born premature, babies born addicted, and HIV+ babies.
  • Bonding and Attachment: Research supports that infant massage and infant massage parent education programs can increase parent confidence and attachment, result in greater success in adapting to and developing strategies to cope with parenthood and can benefit mothers with postpartum depression by helping them to relate to their baby and inducing the release of oxytocin.
  • The Quality of Sleep: Bedtime routines, including infant massage, have been shown to improve multiple aspects of the sleep cycle for both the child and the parent/caregiver.
  • Reduces Violence and Abuse: The CDC identifies nurturing parenting skills as one of the most important protective factors for lessening child abuse and neglect, with approaches that enhance parent skills and promote healthy child development having a demonstrated effect on prevention.

Click here to learn more about benefits and research of Infant Massage.

Explore becoming an Infant Massage Educator here.

Neuwirth Associates Consulting: A company on a mission to help millions

Founded by Peter Neuwirth, FSA FCA and Barry Sacks, Ph.D JD, Neuwirth Associates Consulting is dedicated to the proposition that the actuarial perspective is critical for addressing many of the most significant problems that individuals face as they navigate through the current economic environment and grapple with the risks and challenges associated with utilizing their assets to live on for the rest of their lives.

While we do not work with individuals directly, Neuwirth Associates provides analysis and technical support to CFPs, CPAs, Family Lawyers, loan officers, Investment Advisors, and Retirement Plan sponsors in the areas of retirement planning, asset division in Divorce, and Life Insurance/Annuity product analysis.

Our focus is on developing specific strategies and risk mitigation techniques that will enable our clients to solve their client’s problems in a cost and tax-efficient manner.

For more than 40 years, Pete and Barry have each provided cutting-edge actuarial and tax consulting to some of the largest organizations in the world and, since 2017, have collaborated on groundbreaking research in the area of using different asset classes (e.g., Reverse mortgages) to managing risks during the “decumulation” phase of life.

Beginning in 2023, Neuwirth Associates also began to provide insight, advice, analysis, and education to family lawyers and CFPs regarding complex asset division problems among older high-net-worth couples getting divorced (aka Silver Divorce).

We believe that retirement income planning is an actuarial problem of risk management and Asset/Liability matching, even though many advisors focus on their clients’ assets and investment strategies. In complicated  divorce situations where one or both spouses are nearing retirement age, the actuarial considerations can become even more acute while very few of the professionals involved have the background and expertise to address the complex actuarial and tax issues that arise in such situations

In addition to Barry and Pete, Neuwirth Associates has a network of partners/experts in related fields with whom we collaborate to provide comprehensive and cost-efficient solutions to individuals and couples facing financial planning challenges that most advisors are not fully capable of solving.

Philosophy and Perspective: We believe that these days, the actuarial perspective is extraordinarily useful – for individuals and organizations.

For more than 200 years, actuaries and the actuarial perspective on how to balance time risk and money have kept some of the biggest Insurance Companies in the world solvent and able to fulfill a critical societal need to provide safe and secure retirement income and protection against the many hazards of life that make managing our financial lives so challenging.

Today, many actuaries continue to serve that role for the Insurance industry and as consultants to organizations that provide insurance and retirement benefits to their employees. Only today, because of many changes that have occurred, individuals have less of a safety net to fall back on and instead find themselves having to rely on their own resources when it comes to managing their retirement assets and insuring themselves and their families against Life’s contingencies. Many are looking to financial planners and other advisors/experts to help them with that challenge. Fortunately, there are experts like CFPs and other advisors to help, but we also think that occasionally, those advisors themselves could use a little help. That’s the mission that we at Neuwirth Associates have set for ourselves

Over the last 50 years, the world of Retirement and Insurance has changed dramatically. Defined benefit Pension Plans have given way to 401(k) plans, and insurance and annuity products have become more sophisticated/targeted but more complex and difficult to understand. In addition to the proliferation of new/complex financial products, markets and the regulatory environment have become increasingly complex and uncertain. Individuals and their advisors are finding that neither technology nor “rules of thumb” are sufficient anymore to manage their financial lives safely and securely.

As an actuary turned author and a quantum physicist turned tax lawyer,  Pete Neuwirth FSA FCA and Barry Sacks Ph.D. JD has spent many decades watching as the current state of affairs evolved, helping their clients manage through the changes. Since 2012, both Barry and Pete have focused their attention on both the theoretical and the practical ways individuals will need to act to manage their new financial and risk management burdens

They say that everything old is new again. While that may or may not be universally true, we do believe that fundamental actuarial principles that have proven their worth over a very long time are still valid today and fully applicable to the admittedly very new problems of our modern world for millions of Americans approaching or at retirement.

If you or your clients have challenges that you think we might be able to help with, please get in touch. We would love to find out how we can help. Click here to send an email so we can connect.

And click here to read my essay on In Defense of Personal Rates of Discount featuring Jeremy Gold and some “Inconvenient Truths.”

About the Experts: www.NeuwirthAssociates.consulting

Actuary and Author Peter Neuwirth, FSA, FCA Photo by AnnaGibbs.com, 2023

Peter J. Neuwirth FSA, FCA, is an actuary specializing in retirement plan issues. He is a 1979 graduate of Harvard College with a BA in Mathematics and Linguistics. After leaving Harvard, he went to work at Connecticut General Life Insurance, now CIGNA. For the next 38 years, he worked as an actuary in significant leadership positions Aon, Hewitt Associates, Watson Wyatt, Towers Perrin, and Towers Watson. He spent 5 years as a chief actuary at Godwins, 7 years at Coates Kenney, and a year at Price Waterhouse. In 2016, Pete retired from Towers Watson to focus on writing and researching financial wellness issues, including using home equity to generate retirement income. In 2018 he taught a graduate seminar on this subject for the actuarial science department at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is currently associated with the Academy for Home Equity in Financial Planning at the University of Illinois. In addition to his books “Money Mountaineering” and “What’s Your Future Worth?” Pete’s research has been published in the Journal of Deferred Compensation, Contingencies, and the Journal of Financial Planning. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries and is a frequent speaker at the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, Enrolled Actuaries, and Western Pension and Benefits Conference.

Barry H. Sacks, PhD, JD

Attorney Barry Sacks, PhD, JD, Reverse Mortgage/Retirement Portfolio Longevity Expert, earned his Ph.D. in semiconductor physics from M.I.T., then taught at U.C. Berkeley. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and is a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law from the California Board of Legal Specialization. After spending 35 years as an ERISA attorney specializing in qualified retirement plans, he used his breadth of skills to discover a role for a reverse mortgage to help make a retirement portfolio last longer. Barry now has a law practice providing special services to tax professionals in the area of “Offers in Compromise” for retirees living on 401(k) accounts or securities portfolios. With his brother, Professor Stephen Sacks, Barry published the pioneering research paper modeling a strategy that uses reverse mortgage credit lines to mitigate the effects of adverse sequences of investment returns in retirement accounts (Journal of Financial Planning, February 2012). A sequel to this paper expanding the range of applications of the strategy was co-authored by Peter Neuwirth, FSA, and Stephen Sacks. While developing his model for reverse mortgages in retirement income planning, Barry became aware of the particular needs of retirees and soon-to-be retirees in divorce. These needs are of special concern in cases where the retirement savings are divided between the parties or where one of the parties has received most of the retirement savings but not much of the value of the home equity. Barry is a frequent speaker on these subjects.

“Ovation” Life Coach Amy Steindler on the Beauty of Expanded Leadership: Through Your Own Lens®

Editor’s Note: My dear friend illustrator Sally Wern Comport introduced me to Martha Beck-trained life coach Amy Steindler during an outdoor lunch in Annapolis, MD back in the Spring of 2011. Soon after, I hired Amy to coach me as I was building The Inkandescent Group, and in that process we struck up a kinship. I’ve learned so much from this Truly Amazing Woman — not only by what she’s taught me through her coaching, but through her example as a professional perspective shifter, emotional intelligence coach, and facilitator.

You’ll see her magnificence for yourself in the article she penned (below) for Inkandescent Women magazine.

As Amy evolves, so does her business. In 2019, she morphed and merged her brands InsightOut Life and EQ Insight Coaching into Ovation Coaching, explaining: “An ovation is the spontaneous, effortless response of understanding and appreciation that lifts our bodies and our souls. Ovation Coaching was created to provide sophisticated, personable, enlivening, graceful and practical support while you develop the confidence and clarity to become who you were always meant to be. Who you’ve always been, beneath the weighty blankets of expectations and belief systems that no longer serve you.”

Scroll down to read her article, and be sure to give yourself an ovation. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher (more…)

Making fun of fundraising

Summer 2023: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent magazine — It’s always an honor to meet people who have dedicated themselves, and their businesses, to helping others. Such is the case for Stacy LaMotta, founder of Creative Coastal Connections Corp., whose organization has helped raise more than $220,000 for local charities in the last seven years.

Wine, Food, and Music festivals are her fundraising focus. In the organization’s first year in business back in 2015, the festival raised $12,000, which we donated to the Rotary Club of Georgetown-Millsboro’s initiative, End Polio Now. Last year, she donated $38,000 to Pathways to Success, which helps prepare youth, adults, and their families for successful lives, www.pathways-2-success.org. I am so proud that we are growing annually and able to help organizations doing such valuable work in our community.

This fall, a crowd of 500 people will have the opportunity to “Wine for a Cause” when Stacy hosts the eighth Annual Southern Delaware Wine, Food & Music Festival at Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes on Saturday, September 16, from noon to 3:30 pm.

Festival proceeds from the 2023 event will go to Head Start Delaware, which has 13 centers in Sussex and Kent counties. A free service of Children & Families First, Head Start provides high-quality early childhood education programs for children from birth to 5 years old.

“We embrace diversity, welcome children and families of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with special needs, and accept applications year-round,” explains Laura Bartus, Communications & Engagement Manager for Children & Families First, www.cffde.org. Scroll down for more info about Head Start.

Festival details:

  • Tickets are $150/person, and Stacy is expecting a crowd of 500 people to spend the afternoon feasting on culinary delights provided by more than 20 local restaurants, such as DiFebo’s, Seed, and The Federal.
  • Beverages include more than 100 varieties of wines, craft beers, and cocktails.
  • The crowd will be entertained by musicians in three different areas, and there will be a silent auction and blind wine taste test table where novices and advanced-level aficionados can test their wine knowledge.
  • The signature event, Chef Throwdown, will have a unique twist as two teams of creative chefs battle in a “chop-style” competition of who is the best — Northern vs. Southern Delaware.

Stacy’s goal: “This is not only an amazingly indulgent day of wine, food, and music, it’s a celebration of life, laughter, friendship, and togetherness that gives back to and strengthens our community.”

Buy your tickets at www.sodelfest.com.


About Head Start

Early childhood education programs play an indispensable role in preparing children from birth to five years from low-income backgrounds for success in kindergarten. Offering a comprehensive and holistic approach to early childhood education, combining educational, health, and social services for children and their families – these programs provide a safe and nurturing environment that fosters academic readiness, social-emotional development, and overall well-being.

Recognizing the extended periods of lockdowns, school closures, and social isolation posed by the pandemic would have profound and lasting effects on children’s overall development and well-being, CFF Head Start programs adapted quickly to ensure that children’s learning and growth continued uninterrupted. For over a year, CFF Head Start provided families with tablets, Wi-Fi, and a robust remote learning platform, including live virtual classroom time with their teachers and peers, innovative resources, and family-time activities to bridge the gap created by disruption in traditional learning. Dedicated educators and support staff went above and beyond to engage children, encouraging their curiosity and nurturing their cognitive, emotional, and social skills.

Reopening 12 center locations throughout Kent and Sussex counties with the return to in-person classroom learning at the beginning of the 2021 school year, new challenges arose – increased behavioral problems, mental health supports for the whole family, nutritious meals, access to healthcare, and other vital resources – clearly defining an urgent need for the comprehensive, whole family, wrap-around supports.

“Head Start programs have always been crucial in providing a strong foundation for children’s development, and their significance has become even more evident in the pandemic,” said Laura Bartus, Communications Director at Children & Families First. “Through their tireless efforts, Head Start educators and staff have demonstrated exceptional resilience and adaptability, ensuring that no child is left behind and that they have the tools they need to thrive despite the adversity they have faced.”

As we navigate the path to recovery and rebuilding, investing in Head Start early childhood education programs is an act of compassion and a strategic decision. The benefits of high-quality early education are well-documented, with research consistently showing that children who participate in such programs are more likely to succeed academically, have improved long-term health outcomes, and contribute positively to society. “While there are lots of itemized things I could list off about exactly how the proceeds from SoDel Fest will support Head Start programs,” said Bartus, “the very best summary I can give you is this. This funding is the beacon of hope that together we can ensure a bright and promising future for the next generation.”

Click here to learn more about Head Start.


About Stacy LaMotta

When she isn’t planning or running the annual Sodel Fest, Stacy’s life orbits around her devotion to yoga, wellness, and all definitions of fitness as they relate to mind, body, and spirit.  For over 40 years, she has been helping people improve the quality of their lives through healthy living, stress management, and all kinds of movement/exercise.  In addition to being a certified Yoga Instructor, Stacy is a Medical Exercise & Post-Rehab Specialist, an ISSA Personal Trainer, a ZUMBA teacher, a Healthy Living Coach, and a certified Pilates instructor.

As a teacher, her rich history in movement and her matter-of-fact physical clarity is buoyed by her warm personality and her genuine love of teaching.  Every time she speaks of fitness, she is reminded that life is meant to be full of smiles, peace, joy, and happiness. The energy she exudes while sharing her knowledge makes you happy you know her!

Stacy developed a weight loss/better health program, which led to a study that proved that with her program, people could lose weight, get off medications and enjoy life to the fullest.  This program went on to be sold on television and helped thousands of people!

Stacy loves life, thrives on adventure, challenges, and peace in her heart!  She loves to discover new places and new people who share her vision.

Click here to meet Stacy LaMotta on LinkedIn.

“From Emancipation to COVID-19” California educator Suzie Love offers kids a history lesson they won’t forget

Spring 2023: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — I had the privilege of meeting Suzette Love when we took a graduate class in the fall of 2019 at Claremont Graduate University. “Good Work” was taught by world-renowned positive psychologist Dr. Jeanne Nakamura. Since we were two of the oldest students in the class (by far), we’d huddle together when it came time for break-out class discussions. I was always fascinated to hear Suzie’s perspective on topics ranging from “What is good work?” to her term paper’s presentation on black educators’ history and powerful impact in America. Tonight, we have the privilege of interviewing Suzette for our show!

On Season 1 of the Black Lives Matter show, host Tony Farmer interviewed Suzie when she was studying for her Ph.D. in educational studies at CGU. In addition to having been a classroom teacher for much of her career, she spent more than a decade as a professional singer, songwriter, and music producer in Sweden. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Southern California, Suzie admits her claim to fame is the years she spent as a rock star in Europe. Listen to the podcast now and watch it on BlackLivesMatterTV.

Scroll down for her essay, From Emancipation to COVID-19 — We’ve Come This Far by Faith: The Evolution of Black Education.

And be sure to listen to Suzie’s popular song, Black Magic Soliloquy.

Here’s the other power of education! Rock on, Suzie! 


From Emancipation to COVID-19 — We’ve Come This Far by Faith: The Evolution of Black Education

An Essay by Suzette M. Love – MPA; M. Ed

The Civil Rights Movement leaders of the 1950s and 1960s were moved to create a world where their children could take advantage of the economic opportunities so endemic to the American dream. With the precedent established by the Brown Vs. Board decision barring segregation in public schools in 1954, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations, most Black people believed that they were well on their way toward achieving the Movement’s aspirations.

Martin Luther King Jr. and others’ egalitarian ambitions were firmly rooted in a prescient desire to ensure equal access for Black children to America’s education system.

When Emancipation occurred in 1865, nearly 4 million illiterate men, women, and children had to be nurtured, cared for, and educated. Among Blacks, the task was taken on through a more collective approach. Well educated Black men and women answered the call and courageously migrated from the North to the South to uplift their people1.

They understood that educating the nation’s population of newly freed slaves would take more than just teaching them to read and write. For more than 150 years, Black children have been participants in the American educational system. However, the shocking disparities of their socio-economic standing in comparison to White children could leave one speechless. Today, those disparities encapsulated in a history of persistent institutional inequities have become even more apparent with the intensive impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its disproportionate effect on the Black community.

Click here to read more!

Reiki: A History Lesson

A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — When I became certified as a Reiki Master in 2016, I was suddenly able to take everything I’d learned and experienced in my life and give it a focus. What is Reiki, and how does it work?

For insight, let’s turn to the International Association of Reiki Professionals®: Reiki is a spiritual healing art with its roots in Japanese origin. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei), which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy.”

Reiki is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice. It is not massage nor is it based on belief or suggestion. It is a subtle and effective form of energy work using spiritually guided life force energy.

Reiki is the life energy that flows through all living things. Reiki Practitioners understand that everyone has the ability to connect with their own healing energy and use it to strengthen energy in themselves and help others. It is believed that a person’s “ki” or energy should be strong and free-flowing. When this is true a person’s body and mind is in a positive state of health. When the energy becomes weak or blocked it could lead to symptoms of physical or emotional imbalance.

A Reiki session can help ease tension and stress and can help support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. A session is pleasant and relaxing and is often utilized for one’s personal wellness.

The History of Reiki

Dr. Mikao Usui: The man credited with rediscovering the root system now called Reiki is Dr. Mikao Usui. His tradition and methods were passed through several grandmasters of Reiki. Today, Reiki takes many forms. However, The Usui System of Natural Healing is still the form most widely practiced. Practitioners and Master Teachers are trained through an initiation process where Masters pass on their knowledge and expertise to their students. Born to a wealthy Buddhist family in 1865, Usui’s family was able to give their son a well-rounded education for the time. As a child, he studied in a Buddhist monastery where he was taught martial arts, swordsmanship, and the Japanese form of Chi Kung, known as Kiko. He was interested in medicine, psychology, and theology throughout his education. This interest prompted him to seek a way to heal himself and others using the laying on of hands. His desire was to find a method of healing unattached to any specific religion and religious belief so that his system would be accessible to everyone. Dr. Usui traveled a great deal during his lifetime. He studied healing systems of all types and held different professions, including reporter, secretary, missionary, public servant, and guard. Finally, he became a Buddhist priest/monk and lived in a monastery.

In the beginning — Mount Kurama: Sometime during his years of training in the monastery, Dr. Usui attended his training rediscovery course in a cave on Mount Kurama. For 21 days, Dr. Usui fasted, meditated, and prayed. On the morning of the twenty-first day, Dr. Usui experienced an event that would change his life forever. He saw ancient Sanskrit symbols that helped him develop the system of healing he had been struggling to invent. Usui Reiki was born. After his spiritual awakening on Mount Kurama, Dr. Usui established a clinic for healing and teaching in Kyoto. As the practice of Usui Reiki spread, he became known for his healing practice. Mikao Usui founded his first Reiki clinic and school in Tokyo in 1922.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi: Before he died, Dr. Usui taught several Reiki masters to ensure his system would not be forgotten. Among them was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a former naval officer who set up a Reiki clinic in Tokyo. Dr. Hayashi is credited with further developing the Usui system of Reiki by adding hand positions to cover the body more thoroughly. Dr. Hayashi also changed and refined the attunement process.

Hawayo Takata: Using his improved system, Dr. Hayashi trained several more Reiki Masters, including a woman named Hawayo Takata. She was a Japanese-American woman who initially went to Dr. Hayashi for healing in 1935. Very ill and in need of surgery, she strongly felt through her instinct that she didn’t need that surgery to be healed. After asking her doctor about alternative treatments for her condition, she was told about the Reiki practitioner in town. Mrs. Takata had never heard of Reiki, but she made an appointment, even though she was slightly skeptical. Following her initial meeting with Dr. Hayashi, Mrs. Takata saw Dr. Hayashi daily. She found the sessions to be relaxing, pleasant, and healing. As time passed, Mrs. Takata learned Reiki One and Reiki Two. When she returned to the United States, Mrs. Takata continued to practice Reiki and eventually became a Reiki Master. Much of this happened near the beginning of World War II. Mrs. Takata wanted to spread her system of healing to others. She changed her Reiki practice, then used Reiki to help heal others in the United States. When she died, she had attuned 22 Reiki masters.

Reiki today: People who practice Reiki use the methods developed by Dr. Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki. The genius of Reiki is that practitioners can utilize Reiki to help heal themselves and for their wellness and enhanced well-being. Working on self-healing is a prerequisite for offering Reiki healing to others. Modern Reiki masters can offer the Reiki energy to others through gentle static light pressure touch using the specific traditional Reiki hand positions and even over long distances like prayer is offered. Reiki healing complements many medicinal therapies and traditional medicine and can be used to help assist in the potential healing of people suffering from pain, illness, disease, and more.

Click here to learn more about this healing practice at the International Association of Reiki Professionals: iarp.org!

What to expect: About your Reiki session

A session is usually 60 to 90 minutes long. A discussion will usually take place during an initial session with a Reiki Practitioner. They will describe the session to the client, give the client an opportunity to discuss any particular problems or issues they are experiencing, and ask them what they are hoping to achieve from their session.

The client will then rest comfortably on a massage table on their back with their shoes removed. Reiki can be performed with the client sitting comfortably in a chair. Unlike massage therapy, no articles of clothing are removed, and a client is always fully clothed; loose, comfortable clothing is suggested. A session can either be hands-on, where a Practitioner will apply a light touch during the session, or hands-off, where they will hold their hands slightly above your body. If clients prefer not to be touched, they can indicate this to the practitioner before they begin.

The session will then proceed with the Reiki Practitioner moving through specific standard Reiki hand positions beginning at the person’s head or feet. A recipient of Reiki might feel a warming sensation or a tingling during the session or nothing but sheer relaxation. The session should be very pleasant, relaxing, and invigorating.

What is Reiki used to Treat? Reiki is a great tool for stress reduction and relaxation. Many people use Reiki for wellness. Reiki is not a cure for a disease or illness, but it may assist the body in creating an environment to facilitate healing. Reiki is a great tool to complement traditional medicine and is practiced in many hospitals and medical care settings. After experiencing Reiki treatments, a client often will wish to learn Reiki to work with this energy by taking a Reiki I course. This can be beneficial as they may then use this stress reduction and relaxation tool anytime they wish when the cost would prohibit it otherwise.

Click here to learn more: iarp.org

Decide and Conquer: 44 Decisions that will Make or Break All Leaders, by Meetup CEO David Siegel

Fall 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent magazineGet ready to Decide and Conquer this Fall, thanks to author David Siegel, CEO of the powerful networking group Meetup. In the tome, David helps leaders learn about 44 decisions that will make or break their success. The title of his book is more than an idea. It’s a directive on how we can create lives that are happier, healthier, and full of connection.

Scroll down for more information about David and the book, and don’t miss the other features in this issue that shine a light on some of the hottest Meetup groups in the world, including:

  • Introducing David: Don’t miss this video interview with David by our Inkandescent client Marguerita Cheng, host of the weekly podcast and video show Margaritas with Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro. Click here to watch. Click here to listen.
  • Mind: The Joy of Connecting People with Meetup organizer Cherie Werner. In this episode of David Siegel’s podcast, Keep Connected, you will learn how Meetup organizer Cherie Werner practices deep listening skills to connect her group members with like-minded people. Discover what listening to others can teach you about yourself. Read and listen here.
  • Body: Striking the Balance: Organizing a Fitness Group. “Yoga is all about balance,” writes Meetup Content Manager Mary Garcia. “Breathing into each pose and finding comfort while stretching to new positions. Similarly, finding the right balance for organizing a group on Meetup and engaging with members takes focus, dedication, and practice.” She interviews Meetup organizer Bilyana Iliykova shares her story about building a community for yoga practitioners in Barcelona, organizing groups, and hosting online events. Click here for more.
  • Spirit: Taking It to the Streets: Q&A with Street Art Tour Paris Organizer. In this interview by Meetup Content Manager Mary Garcia, we meet Paris-based Meetup organizer and artist Kasia Klon talks about her love for street art and how she decided to use that passion to meet people after relocating. Kasia’s story shows how urban art tours are a great way to get to know a new city or get a fresh look at a city you know. Don’t miss it!
  • Soul: How to Hack Your Happiness with Radha Agrawal Author and CEO of Daybreaker. In this interview on David Siegel’s podcast, you’ll meet Radha Agrawal, author, and CEO of Daybreaker, on a mission to help people feel happier. In this episode of David Siegel’s Keep Connected podcast, you’ll hear tips on activating positive brain chemicals, finding community, and making joy a daily practice. Click here to listen! 
  • We’re all Heart: ride and Community: A Q&A with the Organizer of the London Bisexuals Meetup Group. Meetup Content Manager Mary Garcia explains: When a friend asked John G. to lead the London Bisexuals Meetup group, John stepped up to preserve the space he found so valuable. Now, more than a decade later, it’s one of the largest LGBTQ+ groups on Meetup, with more than 8,000 members. In this interview, John explains some of the lessons he’s learned about building an inclusive and supportive community. Read all about it here.

Here’s to the power and art of Meetup! Enjoy! 


Prepare to Decide and Conquer!

With more than 20 years of experience as a technology and digital media executive, David landed the CEO job at Meetup after running the popular organizations Investopedia and Seeking Alpha. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, teaching strategic planning and entrepreneurship. Currently, David hosts the podcast Keep Connected, which is dedicated to the power of community. In his book, Decide & Conquer (HarperCollins), he lays out the framework for decision-making that leaders can use to ensure organizational and personal success.

About his new book: “Success boils down to one thing: making good decisions,” explains author David Siegel. “Learn the right framework now that can make all the difference later when faced with terrible options, deep anxiety, and fear of failure.”

Decide and Conquer helps all leaders navigate the big decisions that will impact their future and make their organizations a success. David outlines the 44 challenges leaders face when starting a new position, then shows you the decision framework he applied to overcome challenges in his role. David takes you on an epic journey of corporate and personal survival that includes industry titans like Adam Neumann, Barry Diller, Jack Welch, Bill Ackman, and other leaders.

In Decide and Conquer, you will learn to:

  • Apply principles like open communication, transparency, and kindness to inform great decision-making.
  • Set yourself up to succeed, even before you start, by removing potential roadblocks before they become a problem.
  • Be a bold and decisive leader and not succumb to fear.

By applying the principles he had learned in previous leadership positions, David could make the many critical decisions that would mean life or death for Meetup when WeWork decided to sell the company. From deciding to accept the position and negotiating terms to managing a seemingly endless series of crises during the sale and global pandemic, Decide and Conquer walks readers through the key decisions, they will face with invaluable advice for each one. Click here to check out the book!

Rethinking 65: “Sweetheart Scams: My Mom Was a Victim,” explains Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro

April 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — Each month, we bring you stories about the business of mind, body, spirit, soul, and heart. This month we dive deep into a topic that touches all of our lives — the art of aging well.

In this month’s issue, we feature the work of Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro — our longtime Inkandescent client who for decades has been helping people manage their money using her smarts, savvy, and compassion. As the founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth based in the Washington, DC metro area, Rita is not only featured and quoted in some of the nation’s top publications about financial wellness, she is connected to many truly amazing financial experts. Her weekly show, Margaritas with Marguerita, is a popular series that since January 2021 has featured many of her contacts. Several are featured in this issue, and we invite you to meet even more of the woman in her network in the April 2022 issue of Inkandescent Women magazine: The Financial Literacy Issue.

Please scroll down to read an article by Rita featured in Rethinking65.com, “Sweetheart Scams: “My Mom Was a Victim.”

I thank you again for being part of our Inkandescent family and look forward to bringing you more good health and wellness news in the new year. Please subscribe to our Monday Morning Magic newsletter, and be in touch with any stories and shining stars that we need to feature! — Hope


By Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro

February 14, 2022, Rethinking 65Financial advisors have seen their fair share of money mishaps. But sweetheart scams take it to the next level. Clients come face-to-face with financial exploitation instead of a budding romance and companionship.

It can happen to anyone. I know because my mom was a victim of a sweetheart scam.

In 2015, two months after my dad passed away, I bought my mom an iPhone to help her connect with friends and family. She had already been somewhat active online and wanted to meet more people.

I was encouraged to connect with others at bereavement groups and social events. I also told her she should meet new friends during the day in public places. We had discussions about the dangers of sharing personal information.

Unfortunately, she met someone online who tricked her. This contact reported that he was having financial trouble, and my caring, trusting mom wanted to help him out. It cost her several thousand dollars, but it could have been far worse.

The experience made me realize that no one is safe — my mother wasn’t immune, even though my sister is a compliance officer, and I serve on the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Prevention Committee in our nation’s capital.

As financial professionals, there’s much we can do. Here’s how to help clients detect and escape a sweetheart scam.

How Sweetheart Scams Work

Sweetheart scams are a type of romance scam that targets lonely people looking for love. Unfortunately, this includes many retired and elderly folks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports nearly one in four adults aged 65 and older are socially isolated. According to the Pew Research Center, 27% of those in the 60 and older group live alone.

Living alone and social isolation make older adults a prime target, and recently divorced and widowed people are particularly at risk. Scammers typically create fake profiles on dating websites and social media and then strike up conversations with their targets. However, the schemes can also happen in person.

Whether in person or online, they pretend to have feelings for the victim. The fraudster can quickly advance the relationship or develop it more slowly, building the victim’s trust over months. The scammer may pretend they need financial help with something or are in an emergency.

Once they have established a relationship with their victim, they will ask for money in the guise of sending gifts or showing appreciation for the person’s affection. The scammer disappears without ever talking to them again when they get it.

Signs of Sweetheart Scams

Romance scams are financially and emotionally devastating for victims. Scammers leave a trail of broken hearts and empty wallets. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported a 50% increase in romance scams from 2019 to 2020.

As a financial advisor, you can play a pivotal role in protecting your client’s assets. For example, suppose a client requests an oddly specific cash transfer from a managed account to their checking account. The request is for more than $40,000, raising red flags in your mind.

In this instance, you’re able to recognize the transaction as a potential scam. But what about more subtle signs? As you review clients’ financial statements, look for unusual activity:

  • Large transactions that are not typical for the client.
  • Transfers to international locations.
  • Large ATM withdrawals.
  • Large purchases at locations that provide funds transfers.
  • Using lines of credit or pulling from investments.
  • A new name is added to a financial account.

Educate Older Adults About the Dangers

The most important step against sweetheart scams is to stop them before starting. Whether working with a client or communicating with friends or loved ones, develop an open and trusting relationship to show you care for and respect them. A compassionate approach to all communication can help people open up to you and ask questions when facing a questionable financial situation or request.

Contrary to the familiar adage, silence is not golden. Find opportunities to talk to older adults about the signs and dangers of financial scams:

  • For clients, an annual review can be more than an opportunity to reassess their investment and financial situation. It’s also an excellent time to educate your clients on financial warning signs, including romance scams.
  • For family and friends, ask what’s going on in their lives and be an advocate. If they’ve met someone new, use your detective skills to look up the person online and encourage them to meet people in safe, public places.

You can also educate older adults about the specific dangers of a sweetheart scam, such as someone professing their love quickly, asking for money, luring them off the dating site or app where they met, and claiming to need help paying for an emergency, a hospital bill or travel costs to visit them.

Help Your Client Report a Sweetheart Scam

If someone opens up to you about financial fraud, be patient while sharing their experience. The victim may already know they’ve been taken advantage of, but you may be the first person to talk with them about the fraud.

Ask open-ended questions to help you understand the scam — but remember, you are not the fraud investigator. Instead, direct the victim to the appropriate agencies and individuals to find support for their recovery. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the National Center for Victims of Crime recommends:

Because financial fraud can take a toll on a victim’s mental and emotional health, you might suggest they contact a trusted mental health counseling center. Agencies can offer low-cost counseling options if the victim needs financial assistance to get the help they need.

Sweetheart Scams Are Anything but Sweet

Sweetheart scams can be devastating for the victim and their friends and families. Even though I coached my mother about strangers, knowing my mom met someone online who tricked her was a heart-wrenching experience for everyone involved.

Victims can be embarrassed to come forward. In my mom’s case, a social worker noticed the fraud in time to stop a wire transfer large enough to potentially jeopardize her financial stability in retirement.

While I encourage clients, friends, and family to meet people and stay connected as they age, I don’t shy away from talking about the dangers. Con artists can try to lure clients and loved ones into a web of lies as they pretend to be something they’re not. Monitor your customers’ activity for unusual transactions, learn the signs and become an advocate to protect the vulnerable from predators posing as companions.

In my case, I spent the next 6 months determined to help my mom cover the $15,000 less the wire fees. Somehow, contacting the bank once a month didn’t seem adequate, yet every week seemed too frequent. I designated 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. every other Friday to follow up. It definitely took patience, persistence & perseverance to recover my mom’s funds. Now, I am on a mission to help educate advisors on how to detect and prevent elder financial abuse and financial exploitation among their clients and loved ones.

Marguerita (Rita) Cheng, CFP, is the chief executive officer of Blue Ocean Global Wealth. She is passionate about helping clients navigate some of life’s most difficult issues — divorce, death, career changes, caring for aging relatives — so they can feel confident and in control of their finances. Rita is a regular columnist for Kiplinger and MarketWatch, and a past spokesperson for the AARP Financial Freedom Campaign. Rita volunteers her time as a SoleMate, or charity runner for Girls on the Run, raising money to win scholarships for girls.

Can you really “Retrain Your Brain” in 7 Weeks?

March 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — Depression and anxiety. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t struggled, at least a little, with these obstacles. So in this issue of BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, we shine a light on people and ideas that can help us all feel a little better — Mind, Body, Spirit, Soul, and Heart.

Retrain Your Brain: In addition to introducing you to some truly amazing therapists and authors, I want to share a 7-week plan for managing anxiety and depression by using cognitive behavioral therapy by Dr. Seth Gillihan, a licensed psychologist specializing in CBT. He was a full-time faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2012 and taught in the Psychology Department at Haverford College from 2012 to 2015. He has been in private practice since 2012. Seth completed a doctorate in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  (more…)

40% of Brits say their New Year’s Resolutions Involve Being Greener in 2022. What’s yours?

January-February 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the Good News Network. In an era when all the news coming from my trusted sources — NPR, The Washington Post, New York Times, among others — sets my sympathetic nervous system afire, I find a daily reprieve by logging onto this positive channel for insight into what people around the world are doing to make it a better place. The stories are well reported, and always bring a smile to my face, making me know that there is most definitely good news happening all around us.

Case in point: The study the organization conducted of 2,000 adults that found 40% of Brits say their New Year’s resolutions involve being greener in 2022.

  • 24% will begin growing their vegetables
  • 25% will take shorter showers
  • 27% plan on using colder washing cycles
  • 30% will try to cut down on meat intake
  • 33% will continue to carry a reusable water bottle
  • 56% said having a better understanding of how their central heating works will help them have a greener lifestyle
  • 75% of those with green resolutions for 2022 admit that while they “never” normally stick to their resolutions, they want to this year to help save the planet

Good news, right? Click here to read more. (more…)

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor E. Frankl

November-December 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazineHave you tapped into Flow Zone? In this issue of BeInkandescent.com, we help you do just that by learning from the leaders in the world of Positive Psychology.

I had the privilege of attending Claremont Graduate University (CGU), one of two US universities specializing in the curriculum. A founder of the program was world-renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of the classic work on achieving happiness, “Flow.” He taught us that the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. Instead, the best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

We honor his work and legacy in our cover story. You’ll learn more about “Flow” and how it became a cultural touchstone — thanks to a beautiful tribute by Michelle Bligh, CGU’s chairman Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences
School of Social Science Policy & Evaluation.

In this issue, you’ll also discover work by some of the prestigious professors teaching at CGU, including: (more…)

QuaranTeen: New high school grad Rachel Merritt shares her pandemic experience

September-October 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — What I love about this magazine is how fun and flexible we can be with the topics we cover. In this issue, it is a joy to bring you articles for kids and teens, including this article by Rachel Merritt, who graduates from high school this month.

She spent her entire senior year studying online, and the article below shares her thoughts on what it means to be a QuarenTeen. We think it’s as fabulous as she is, and look forward to reading from this talented young woman!

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Take the Challenge: Get Comfortable with the Quiet

August 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, founder, Inkandescent Radio Network and publisher BeInkandescent magazine — When I enrolled in Martha Beck’s Wayfinder Life Coach program in 2019, I knew I’d learn a ton about the tools and techniques that would help me connect with clients looking to eviscerate their limiting beliefs.

An additional benefit was meeting some of the amazing women also getting their certifications. One of those women is Brenda Lee Nelson, our cover girl for the August 2021 issue of BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine. 

Another is my new friend and fellow Martha Beck certified coach Jenn Oglesbee, who is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who helps overwhelmed, exhausted women reclaim the joy and zest in their lives. “I am on a mission to harness the power of coaching to help women connect deeply with their desires, create guilt-free space for themselves, and live by their own rules,” says Jenn. When she’s not coaching, Jenn can be found having impromptu dance parties with her husband and two kids, taking walks around her town of Media, PA, or cozying up with a latte and a book. (more…)

Making a Commitment to Myself: Hello Bodymechanics School of Massage, Santa Fe

By Hope Katz Gibbs, LMT

Flashback: July 8, 2021 — To celebrate my 57th birthday, I took my son Dylan on an adventure to Santa Fe, NM. I’d been living for the past year in Las Cruces, the southern part of the state, huddled up through the pandemic. At last, the world was opening up — and so was I.

We drove up to Taos for my big day, and while enjoying lunch outdoors at the spectacular steakhouse Martyrs, a thought popped into my head: I will go to massage school in Santa Fe.

Crazy, right? I already had a certificate in massage therapy from 1992 — years before I Dylan, now 22, and his sister Anna, 26, were born. I specialized in pregnancy massage and reflexology at the time. Then my life raising kids in Northern Virginia proved too busy to pursue this passion. Still, I never let go of the idea that someday I’d rejoin the world of holistic healing.

I spent the following three decades working as a journalist and building Inkandescent™ Inc., a PR, and publishing company that helps women grow their businesses. It was lucrative and rewarding, but deep down, I needed to touch people more profoundly.

It wasn’t until I separated from the kids’ dad in 2014 that I started ticking off the items on my bucket list: Become a Reiki Master (2015), get certified as a yoga teacher (200+ hours of Kundalini yoga training at Kripalu in 2016), become a Pranic Healer (2018), become a Yin yoga teacher (100+ hours, 2019). And then, I accomplished another longtime goal to become a Martha Beck-trained Life Coach (2020).

What did I want to do with all this training and acquire this depth of knowledge about how the body works?

The answer is as simple and clear: I plan to open the Inkandescent Health & Wellness Retreat Center here in New Mexico where women from around the world can come together to heal, celebrate, and connect.

Fortunately, Dylan is an architect (he graduated with honors in May from the University of Virginia and this month heads to Harvard where he’s studying for his master’s degree). He’s the lead designer on the project that includes our partners — two of his Harvard professors, Alex Yuen and Weijia Song, who own the architecture firm Collective Operations in San Francisco.

To launch the project in 2021, we featured them in my health and wellness magazine: https://beinkandescent.com/issues/january-2021/. And on my birthday, I knew the next step was to become a licensed massage therapist so I would have the education and expertise to open and run the spa at our center.

The question: Where should I go to school? 

When I typed my query into Google, Bodymechanics came up first, and I was impressed with what I read. While still at the lunch table, I called the school and immediately spoke with Akasha, the coordinator, who couldn’t have been nicer or more professional. She immediately made an appointment for the next day for me to visit the facility with director Deanna.

One step inside the door, and knew I’d found my school. The large, clean space drew me in, and after learning more about the program, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. Within the week, I applied and was accepted — slated to start school on Aug. 3. Now I needed to figure out how I was going to move to Santa Fe!

I knew I was taking the right step because within days, I ended my contract for the house I was renting in Las Cruces, and found a room and storage unit in town to rent. My neighbors gave me the gift of volunteering to drive a U-Haul up north for me to make the transition seamlessly.

The day classes started, and I met my fellow students and teachers, and of course, our fearless leader Shari, the thought and feeling that permeated my body was as clear as the voice I heard in my head a month earlier: I was home.

As I sit at a local Starbucks typing the first essay of what will become my monthly column in the Bodymechanics newsletter, I have officially finished the first two weeks of class.

What are my observations so far?

Just as I felt back in 1992 when I studied for my massage certification at Alive & Well Massage School in Marin County, CA, I remembered clearly that nothing makes so much sense to me as learning how the body works. While I was privileged to attend academic institutions like the University of Pennsylvania (BA communications, 1986), The George Washington University (MA educational leadership, 1991), and Claremont Graduate University (MA candidate Positive Psychology, 2019) — those programs paled in comparison to how essential and valuable this information I’ve learned in just these first few weeks.

The teachers I’ve had the honor to meet so far at Bodymechanics are all full of heart and have deep knowledge that they are eager to share. Oliver, our Massage Theory and Practice teacher, is wise. He has guided us through the history and modalities of the practice, equipment, hygiene, and draping — and led powerful and important conversations about boundaries, grounding, and sites of caution.

He set the stage for our kinesiology teacher Pascal, who on day one invited us to memorize a slew of terms, planes/axes, and anatomical positions — that left my head spinning. Fortunately, he jotted those 35 terms outlined in the Trail Guide to the Body onto tiny index cards so my classmates and I could play with the concepts as we placed them in the proper spots. A game! What a wonderful way to learn.

By the time graduation arrives in June, I know this information will become a part of me. Like everything I’ve accomplished in my life, I have found that the only way to succeed is to take one step at a time, one day at a time. And study like mad!

In each article I pen, I’d like to leave you with two parting thoughts: 

  1. What I learned this month: It’s fun to be a student again! Although I’m just a couple of weeks into studying the Bodymechanics curriculum, it is outlined so clearly. Our time spent in the classroom is so organized with PowerPoint presentations and study guides that I am off to a solid start! While I had my concerns about my ability, I know from experience that I will figure out a way to accomplish my goals if I set my mind to it.
  2. What I want other students to know: Trust your gut. Although it is proven that our gut has a mind of its own, the key is to listen to that voice, explore, and then make a good choice. The fact that my landlord let me out of my lease, that my neighbors stepped up as guardian angels to drive the four hours back and forth, and that within days I found a place to live all told me I was heading in the right direction.

Next month: We’ll start doing bodywork this week and look forward to sharing my observations about Month 2! Until then, wishing you endless health and wellness!

The End of Sexism: Filmmakers Sue Lange and Rachel Ofori join Tracy Schott to talk about ending sexism and the power of movies like their upcoming film, “Le Bon Chef”

July 2021: A Note from filmmaker Tracy Schott, creator Voices4Change and director/producer “Finding Jenn’s Voice” and Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine Don’t miss today’s episode of the Voices4Change Show, where you’ll meet two powerful female filmmakers who are my partners in our newest movie venture, Le Bon Chef.

About today’s show: Each episode of the Voices4Change show focuses on stopping the global epidemic of intimate partner abuse. Starting with this episode, we begin shining light on the broader topic of sexism. In Le Bon Chef, we introduce you to Vivienne Martine, a French chef at the top of her game. Unfortunately, they changed the rules, and she must look at her role in a male-dominated industry and world to find her place and decide on her next steps. Click here to watch the promotion for the film!

BIG NEWS: Le Bon Chef script wins Best Script from 2021 Big Apple Film Festival Screenplay Competition! Please scroll down to learn more about the movie and its collaborators.

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“There are only two kinds of wine: yummy and yucky.” — Jim Morris, winery exec

June 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, founder, Inkandescent Radio Network and publisher BeInkandescent magazine — It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Jim Morris — my co-host on the “Women Who Make Us Wine Radio Show.” Known by thousands who have met or follow him on social media, “the wine guy” has spent the past 20 years mastered just about every facet of the wine business.

About the show: From winemakers and sommeliers to winery owners and master chefs, tune in to meet the truly amazing women who have long made an impact in the wine industry. This show co-hosted by long-time winery exec Jim Morris not only stimulates our taste buds — he offers insight into what’s behind every perfect sip.

Your Hosts for Season 1: Jim Morris, VP, Charles Krug Winery and Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Inkandescent Women magazine

Pour yourself a glass and tune for an episode of the “Women Who Make Us Wine Radio Show.” (more…)

Connect Your Mind and Body: Discover 5 Ways to Heal

May 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine — When it was published back in 1998, Dr. John E. Sarno’s book, “The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain,” caused quite a stir in the medical community. In it, the renowned physician explained the vital connection between mental and bodily health, insisting that many painful conditions—including most neck and back pain, migraine, repetitive stress injuries, whiplash, and tendonitis—are rooted in repressed emotions.

His book, which has sold more than 500,000 copies, shows how these conditions can be successfully treated without drugs, physical measures, or surgery. Does it seem too good to be true? Consider this. (more…)

Making Music Makes You Smarter: Here’s Why

April 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine  Any fan of music (and who isn’t) knows that music has the power to make you feel happy, sad, nostalgic, or energetic enough to run a marathon.

It also has the ability to make you smarter, especially if you start young. According to a study by researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, “Music training not only helps children develop fine motor skills, but it also aids emotional and behavioral maturation as well.”

Here’s how they know. (more…)

Go With the Flow

March 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — I am a big fan of the Daily Om, a website that offers inspirational thoughts for a happy, happy, and fulfilling day. I often print these out and always put them into a folder for future reference.

When the topic, the Flow of the Universe, popped up this month, I took it as a good omen as it the theme of the March 2021 issue of our magazine. It is also the focus of my morning meditations as I work with our architects to manifest the first BeInkandescent Health & Wellness Retreat Center.

I learned a long time ago that anything worth building has a rhythm and flow of its own. It is the job of the creators to tap into it as this entry teaches:

Many people live their lives struggling against the current, while others use the flow like a mighty wind. (more…)

A Life Coach Shares his “Quiet Rage” — and offers steps toward healing

By Tony Farmer, host, Black Lives Matter Radio Show

Since the tragic death of George Floyd at the hand of the Minnesota Police Officers, I have been struggling.

I’ve been trying to get my head wrapped around how I feel. I’ve had conversations with people who are seeking explanations as to why it happened. Others want to know how it has impacted the Black Community. Some need comfort and consolation to help them cope with watching a video depicting the loss of a man’s life. The fact is that I just haven’t taken the time to focus on out how I feel until now.

I started digging through memories, recalling situations, scenarios, and experiences that I have suppressed. I swept past the fake smiles that I’ve worn, the artificial pleasantries exchanged, and the micro-insults endured.

Soon my skin felt warm, my muscles tensed, my heart became heavy. Suddenly, my breathing seemed to come in shallow puffs instead of a rhythmic flow of air in and out. As I delved deeper into my caged conscious, one word kept flashing in my mind like a fiery neon sign, “RAGE.” The word rang loudly in my ears, the voice screaming it was mine.

It’s evident that the rage was always there, but I had managed to keep it quiet; today, however, it will no longer be ignored. (more…)

The Art of Saying Goodbye to the Old — and Hello to 2021!

January 2021: A Note from authors Hope Katz Gibbs, Cynthia de Lorenzi, and book designer Cindy Seip — Your 2021 What’s Next Journal — If you are like us, it’s with a sigh of relief that we say Hasta La Vista, Baby to 2020! After months of living with the coronavirus pandemic, a polarizing presidential election, and homeschooling our kids, women everywhere are asking the same question, “What’s Next?” and “Where do we go from here?”

That’s where Your 2021 What’s Next Journal comes in: With our award-winning photographer and book designer Cindy Seip, we have created an aspirational, informational, educational gut check guide to help you master your world, one month at a time.

This journal is designed to inspire you to envision your future. The prompts on the pages that follow each Truly Amazing Woman of the Month encourage you to express what’s in your mind, body, spirit, soul — and especially your heart — as you make your way through 2021.

What you’ll need:  Grab any and every art supply you desire that will help get your creative juices flowing — that perfect pen, paintbrushes of all sizes, markers, the 64-pack of those waxy sweet Crayolas that you loved as a kid. Then unleash your inner artist. (more…)

The Healing Power of Mommom Pearl’s Chicken Soup

From the BeInkandescent Heartful Cookbook Series: Your What’s Next Journal

A Note from Hope, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — When I was a little girl, my mother’s mother, Pearl — my Mommom — always knew how to heal what ailed me. Her famous chicken soup was a recipe handed down by her mother, and her mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother, from the shtetl in Kyiv. I think all that love was poured into every pot of soup.

My sister, Kim Katz Alvarez, grew up to be an award-winning chef and shares recipes for a delicious holiday dinner in this month’s Heart column — named our daughters (Anna Paige and Emma Pearl) after this beloved woman who died when I was 10. In our kids, and with this soup recipe, her love lives on.

“Prepare this family whenever you are feeling punk — mind, body, spirit, or soul,” Kimmy says. “We believe it can also help heal a broken heart.”

Scroll down for this heart-warming recipe! And please add your own special touch to your pot of soup. Don’t like onions or celery? Don’t add them. Love matzah balls? Let me know, and I’ll send you her recipe for the kind that float vs. sink. One of Pearl’s greatest gifts was loving people as they were, and that meant letting them express themselves in life, art, and soup.

The gift that keeps on giving: We always whip up a big pot at the first sniffle of a cold — and especially on the first night of Channukah. Trick: Keep adding broth to the pot, as well as more chicken and veggies, it’ll last all eight nights! — To your health!

Why is chicken soup so good for you? Click here for insights. 

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“Too often we underestimate the power of a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

November 2020: A Note from Hope — Just after graduating high school in 1982, I bought a copy of Dr. Leo Buscaglia’s, Living Loving and Learning, a collection of informative and amusing lectures that he had delivered worldwide 1970-1981. It was an inspirational treasure, as I was eager to accept the challenge of life and to profit from the wonder of love.

In the years since, I have read all 14 of his books, and can’t tell you how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness and wisdom of Felice Leonardo “Leo” Buscaglia (March 31, 1924 to June 12, 1998), known as “Dr. Love.”

He died of a heart attack (of all things) in 1998 and in the years since The Leo Buscaglia Foundation has been created to build community spirit by helping people to help others.  (more…)

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” — US rock band R.E.M.

October 2020: A Note from Hope, publisher, Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — When the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the globe in March, like many of you I reached out my dearest friends including one I hadn’t spoken with for several years. He joked, “Are you connecting because it’s the end of the world as we know it?” For more than six months, that line — and the R.E.M. signature song recorded on the 1987 album Document — has been playing in my mind.

Known for its quick flying, seemingly stream of consciousness rant with a number of diverse references, It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) such as a quartet of individuals with the initials “L.B.” — including Leonard Bernstein, Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs. In an interview with Musician magazine, the band’s lead singer Michael Stipe claimed that the “L.B.” references came from a dream he had in which he found himself at a party surrounded by famous people who all shared those initials.

Another theory: Perhaps Stripe was channeling a vision of what was to come.  (more…)

When it comes to overcoming your fear of letting go of your relationship, here’s some food for thought: “Why Divorce: 5 Reasons to Leave”

September 2020: A Note from Hope — It is with an open heart that I share with you today the website for our newest book from Inkandescent™ Publishing, “Why Divorce: 5 Reasons to Leave” — www.WhyDivorce.us.

Talk about overcoming fear: As we launch the September 2020 of Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, featuring Navy SEAL Don Mann and his book “Facing Your Fears,” I am reminded how hard it is to be brutally honest about the intimate details of your life — much less your love life — in public. While a handful of my dearest friends have held my hand throughout the years of my divorce process, and a larger group knew of my experience divorcing my best friend, like most people I didn’t feel compelled to share any messy stuff with the world at large. That’s likely why it took me so long to birth this book. (more…)

Could You Use a Good Laugh About Now?

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

August 2020 — It’s breathtaking to begin this month with the startling statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I write this note (on Monday, July 20) I am reviewing a Washington Post update explaining that yesterday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. “Six months after the novel coronavirus reached America, more than 3.7 million cases have been detected, and at least 137,000 people have died,” the reporters explain. “The global death toll has surpassed 600,000, fueled in part by recent surges in states such as Texas, Florida and California.”

While it may be tough to haul a cherry to the top of this dramatic life-altering time in our lives — we are going to give it our best Inkandescent™ shot. (more…)

Black Lives Matter: This Land

“For a black male, the sound of the blues is pre-Civil Rights. It’s oppression.” says Gary Clark, Jr. (illustration here by Michael Glenwood Gibbs)

July 2020 — Gary Clark, Jr. is an American musician from Austin, Texas, who is best known for his fusion of blues, rock and soul music with elements of hip hop. He has long been a prolific performer, and in addition to having this fact featured in two releases: Gary Clark Jr. Live (2014) and Gary Clark Jr Live/North America (2017), he has shared the stage with other musical legends including Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, B.B. King and the Rolling Stones. In 2014, Clark took home the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance for the song “Please Come Home.”

This year, he won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for his powerful anti-racist anthem, “This Land.” His lyrics speak directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, which is the theme of this month’s magazine. We are proud to share the thoughts of six African Americans on the topic of BLM. Click read more for the lyrics, and to learn more about the voices in our July 2020 issue.

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My Corona: We’re all in this together!

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

June 2020 — Welcome to the June issue of Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine. Our theme this month is “My Corona” — because that fabulous song by The Knack keeps playing my head. That bit of Shakespearean humor keeps me from falling into the abyss of that global drama that seems to be getting harder, sadder, and more complicated each day.

The goal this month’s issue of Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, and that of our sister magazine Inkandescent Women, is to offer readers thoughtful ideas, insights and gobs of calming wisdom that will hopefully assist in your ability to gracefully get through the unprecedented change that is our new reality. (more…)

Where Can Music Take You?

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

May 2020 — Confucius said: “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” As we live through another month the coronavirus pandemic, at the Inkandescent™ Group we continue to look for ways to stay inspired, and inspire others, to see the light in what sometimes like grim darkness.

In this issue of Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, we look to the age-old joy magnet: music. It triggers memories, calms your nerves, changes your mood, and scientists suggest that music can make you smarter. What’s more, upward of 28 million people in the United States play an instrument, according to statista.com — and odds are good that many of them have dreams of performing in front of a crowd. (more…)

365 Reasons Why Today Is the Best Time to Be Alive

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

April 2020 — “Life is hard, right?” states David Niven, PhD, in his newest book, Up! A Pragmatic Look at the Direction of Life pointing to insufficient health care coverage, a weakened economy, and a fragile environment.

He quickly counters: “Wrong! The reality is that most people would be hard-pressed to find even one example of how things are better today than they were yesterday.” What else does the author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People have to tell us?  (more…)

Our Lucky Stars

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

March 2020 — As the drama of a global pandemic has begun to enter the U.S. this month, we take this opportunity to reflect on the beautiful things in our lives.

Case in point: The pleasure of sitting down with rock legend Roger and his wife and manager Camilla McGuinn. This remarkably down-to-earth couple graciously invited me and my business partner and husband Michael into their home in Orlando, FL to talk about his career, their lives on the road, and the reality of achieving such heights in the music business. In addition to the delicious interview, and a little music by McGuinn who picked on his guitar as we talked, we toast with Camilla’s favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot. (more…)

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Illustration by Michael Glenwood Gibbs

February 2020 —  Fear: It can take anyone down in an instant. When you think too long and too hard about the pandemic that is currently shaking the world, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole and imagine all sorts of doomsday scenarios.

But what would you do if you weren’t afraid? That’s the question we pose to anyone who is just about ready to be brave in the face of whatever may be coming around the corner. No, this is not a level playing field. There are people around the world with few or no resources to rebound. But that is not true for everyone. In fact, many of us have untapped strength that has taken a lifetime to cultivate. And now is the time to find the strength, band together, and take the risk of being courageous — each and every day. For inspiration, we share wisdom (below) from a dozen wise women and men who dared to dream.

Sending heartfelt wishes for health and wellness: mind, body, spirit and soul. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent.com (more…)

Welcome to Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine!

Hello and welcome to the inaugural issue of Inkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — the online publication dedicated to bringing you interviews with the people, organizations, products, and services that will feed and fuel your mind, body, spirit, and soul. The point is, we’re all heart — we sometimes just need some serious support.

I’m Hope Katz Gibbs, creator of The Inkandescent™ Group — and this is the newest division of the communications firm I founded in 2008. In the decade that I ran my PR and publishing company, I utilized the tools of education and storytelling to help my clients build trust and increase their visibility and bottom lines. Not only was I consistently putting to work my years as a reporter, and my MA in educational leadership — I was figuring out how to help everyone harness the power of distance learning through my big hairy impossible dream: Inkandescent Learning. (more…)