Charm America

  • This kid's courage will blow you away

    The next time we face a challenge in our lives, we should all remember Jake’s story. Jake was more or less the common American teenager. Like all of us, he just wanted to fit in at school. Sweet, mild-mannered and well-intentioned, he would’ve made a great friend. His autism was incidental.

    We didn’t mention that Jake was autistic up front because it almost doesn’t matter. We all know that a good person is a good person. However, bullies are a reality for many teenagers, especially for those with a challenge. Jake was bullied for no other reason than he was a little different. Well one day, this brave kid decided he had had enough.

    Check out his heroic moment…

    The consequences of courage

    Unlike the movies, Jake’s speech did not result in an immediate slow clap from the audience. They did not hoist him on his shoulders and suddenly celebrate him as the coolest kid in school. However, this brave moment in Jake’s life did change everything for the better.

    After the video was shot, Jake reported that his quality of life in school had improved. He eventually joined the football team, where his teammates encouraged and supported him on and off the field. The experiences gave Jake a very mature – and accurate – perspective. Bullying may make you feel like you’re on top of the food chain, but you don’t remain there forever.

    What obstacles do you face?

    While bullying is a very real and serious problem, not all of us have experienced it in our own personal lives. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced formidable challenges. You don’t have to get picked on to know what it’s like to feel helpless and even shut out. Let Jake’s story inspire you. Maybe you’re going through a trying time with a loved one, facing a tough new role at work, afraid to ask someone out, or even trying to conquer a physical test, such as running a marathon. The challenge may feel insurmountable, success out of reach. But as that high school junior demonstrated, we can’t let fear control our lives.

    Try setting goals, even if they seem difficult. Jake decided that he would address his bullies in a particular time and place: gym class. What specific actions can you take to move you one step closer to success?

    Do you have a support network?

    It’s important to always have a support network when overcoming an obstacle. Don’t get us wrong. Success is ultimately determined by you and you alone. Self-reliance is key. But using friends and family for support is essential as well. They can prop you up when you feel like the odds are completely stacked against you.

    And of course, you should return the favor when they are in need, or simply let them know that you appreciate them. The one thing many of us forget to do is simply tell our friends, family and significant others, “thanks.” But for the right person, you can show you care with one of Charm America’s gold charms for necklaces. Or perhaps a sterling silver pendant is more appropriate. Jewelry can go a long way to acknowledging how much you appreciate someone’s support, and in turn, encourages them to conquer their particular obstacle.

  • 2 blind girls get the gift of sight; their lives will never be the same

    It’s hard not to get goosebumps when you hear this story… Young sisters and best friends, Anita and Sonia were born blind. Their poor Indian family had to raise them without eyesight. Imagine that for a second: what would your life be like if you had never had the ability to see? Would you be the same person?

    This next fact might blow you away. There exists a fairly common surgery that can correct blindness in certain children and adults. You’re probably thinking it’s prohibitively expensive (like we did), but you’d be wrong. In fact, this normal surgery costs $300 (for a life-altering procedure, that’s pretty modest).

    Unfortunately, Anita and Sonia’s family was extremely poor. Even if their father worked grueling jobs day in and out, he wouldn’t be able to afford the surgery. Their fate seemed to be sealed…

    …Until a non-profit organization stepped in to help.

    Seeing the world for the first time

    When the surgery was over and he bandages came off, the sisters just kept saying “I can see! I can see!”. It’s hard for us to imagine what it must be like to view the world for the first time after living in it for many years, but the experience is without a doubt completely mind-blowing. You’ve been relying on your other senses for so long that seeing colors, shapes, the faces of your family and friends for the first time ever… it’s overwhelming to be sure (in a good way, of course).

    Sisterly bond

    All sisters share a unique bond, especially when they’re close in age, like Anita and Sonia. But when you’re blind as well, it elevates the bond to a new level. In addition to being raised by the same parents and growing up in the same place, you have to learn how to navigate through life in a very particular way. So imagine what it was like when, suddenly, both girls could see for the first time? They went through the incredible experience together, bringing them closer than ever before.

    All sisters have a special bond. You don’t have to have been blind together to be deeply connected for life. How do you acknowledge that bond? Do you talk regularly, or spend time together? Whether you’re best friends or just close in spirit, why not celebrate your relationship by giving your sibling one of Charm America’s sister charms. Whether it’s a sterling silver pendant or gold ring, our jewelry is the perfect way to stay close, even when you’re apart.

    The importance of family

    Of course, despite their own unique relationship, sisters wouldn’t be the same without their families. Parents and siblings play a huge role in shaping us. For Sonia and Anita, their surgery came at a crossroads in their lives. Without it, their parents may have had to put them on the street to beg. While this may seem shocking, it’s actually common in India, where poverty is rampant. Fortunately, her parents were able to access help and through the organization, gave the girls the surgery. And now their lives are forever changed for the better.

  • Get ready to melt when these best friends reunite

    Of all the things that keep us going, especially when times get tough, friendship dominates the list. Unless you’re a dedicated introvert, we all need friends. Life is just more satisfying when you have someone to share it with. A great friend can inspire us, provide a shoulder to cry on, listen to our problems, share a laugh, and so much more.

    It’s hard then when friends become separated. Whether they move away, drift apart or become otherwise unavailable, losing a friend, even temporarily, can be emotionally trying. But as evidenced by the following videos, reuniting with long-lost friends can be a truly uplifting experience.

    Check out these uplifting videos coupled with some words about the benefits of having a great friend.

    Support

    Even the strongest people need a support system once in a while. The truth is that we all encounter obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Whether they’re familial, financial, professional, or another type of challenge, we all get frustrated. In those trying times, we need friends to help us cope. You might need a person to vent to, or maybe even someone who can provide deeper support. No matter the case, good friends are there for us in our most difficult times.

    Personal pep squad



    (You’ll never believe what happens at 1:02)

    Who doesn’t like to hear flattering words of encouragement? Even the most self-assured and successful people love getting pumped up by pep talk. That’s how they thrive, after all. Friends are a great source of positivity. They pick you up when you’re down and act as a private drill sergeant (minus the push ups). And at the end of the day, they deserve some recognition for their awesome words of encouragement. Which is why best friend charms by Charm America make such a powerful statement. Whether you give them a sterling silver or gold pendant, your personal pep squad will surely appreciate the gesture of jewelry.

    Honest advice

    (Skip to 1:56 for the ultimate friendship reunion)

    The best kind of friend tells it to your straight. She doesn’t just say what you want to hear. Sometimes this can be challenging. No one wants to listen to a close friend tell you that you’re wrong. On the other hand, no one’s perfect. It only makes sense that our positive opinion of ourselves won’t be 100% accurate all of the time. Great friends respect you enough to be honest, even when the truth may hurt. Sometimes this can make for awkward conversations at best, and heated arguments at worst. But when there’s sufficient love and honesty in a friendship, the bond only grows stronger from open communication. At the end of the day, unbiased advice improves our sense of self. True friendships are built on honesty, even if it makes the relationship difficult for a short time.

  • Lessons we can all learn from this inspiring group

    For many of us with health and happiness, it’s easy to forget just how lucky we are. The daily grind of work and school can cloud the bigger picture. Petty arguments can make us feel like we don’t get what we deserve. It happens to everyone.

    However, the reality is that most of us have easy lives when compared to the world’s most disenfranchised people. The folks at Change Heroes recognize the discrepancy in quality of living between cultures, and seek to change that.

    While we don’t all necessarily have to devote ourselves to procuring positive change in the world, the Change Heroes mission can teach us a few things about our own lives.


    Help those in need

    To date, Change Heroes has developed over 100 schoolhouses in remote areas of Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nicaragua and more. Previously, children in these areas had little to no access to education. As we all know, knowledge is power, and the schoolhouses help the kids learn about the world, and ideally prepare them for careers.

    The lesson here is clear: help people in need. One of the great benefits of family and friends is the support. Think about it. The last time you needed a little help, who was there for you? While you hear stories about the kindness of strangers, those who are closest to us often are the most helpful and encouraging. Take a nod from Change Heroes, and go out of your way to assist a confidante or loved one the next time they need it. Simply offering a shoulder to cry on can help. A simple gesture of kindness can also turn someone’s bad day around. Whether you buy a sterling silver piece or gold pendant, sister charms from Charm America will delight your sibling, or your closest girl friend. Of course, you don’t have to give jewelry, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

    Contribute to your community

    As demonstrated by Change Heroes’ dedication to improving living conditions around the world, volunteering your time makes a big difference. One of the fastest ways to flip your bad mood around is by helping someone else. It’s that simple. When you provide assistance to a person who badly needs it, you feel rewarded. It’s not a self-congratulatory feeling. Rather, it’s the knowledge that you’ve improved another person’s life, even if only in a small way. Providing help can let you see the big picture. You realize that your bad mood or predicament isn’t as urgent as you thought.


    Make it sustainable

    Change Heroes makes a long-term commitment with its assistance. Rather than providing simple solutions that may or may not last, the company takes a holistic approach. It ensures the well-being of people and their environment.

    How does this apply to you? When you help someone less fortunate, make your effort as meaningful as possible. Donating money to a worthy cause is certainly helpful. But sometime volunteering your time can pay important intangibles. If you work directly with someone, the experience becomes more personal and lasting.

  • Fun, affordable winter activities you can do with your family -- today

    Families often find themselves housebound during the winter months. Whether you live in a place that’s frequently buried in snow, or in a moderate climate with fewer seasonal options for fun, parents need to get a little creative to keep their kids occupied. Fortunately, creative winter activities don’t mean you have to break the bank. If you put your mind to it, you can come up with some entertaining activities to make everyone in your house happy.

    Here are a few quick suggestions to kickstart your list.

    Hiking

    When the snow subsides and the temperature becomes a little more tolerable, try visiting the nearest state park. Landscapes are just as fun and scenic in the winter than in other months – sometimes more so. Find a trail that everyone in your family can handle, and check out snow-blanketed hills and tall trees. You can also make games as you go. Looking for animal tracks can be a fun and educational distraction.

    Ice skating

    Although most designated skate rinks will charge, admission and skate rental is typically fairly low. Plus, can trim costs by buying used skates for your family, or if possible, visiting a local frozen pond for free. Like hiking, ice skating provides a chance for your kids to get a little outdoor exercise, which is important during the cold winter months.

    1,000 piece puzzles

    When the temperature dips low and it’s just too chilly to step outside, you need an activity that can keep your kids engaged for long periods of time. Puzzles are ideal for this. Smaller puzzles are fine, but large puzzles can keep everyone engaged for hours, or for the more difficult ones, can even become an ongoing activity to be done over the course of several days.

    Get crafty

    Crafts are fun during any season, but they become especially important during the winter when you need quality indoor activities. Try going to the library and letting everyone choose their own craft-making book. Then, at home, you can gather around the table with your supplies (beads, string, craft-friendly jewelry, etc.), and get to work. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can make your own necklace and attach one of Charm America’s cheap charms. Whether it’s a 10K gold pendant or sterling silver earrings, we have something for every budget.

    Have a movie marathon

    Another great indoor activity is movie marathons. Maybe your kids are big fans of Pixar films, or maybe you want to share some of the classic family-friendly franchises like Star Wars. Whatever your choice, snow days are the perfect excuse to get cozy on the couch together. You might even consider taking advantage of signing up for a free month trial of Netflix.

    Check out free or discount days at area attractions

    Often in the winter, attractions offer seasonal discounts, as the colder months typically mean smaller attendance. Do a little research, and find out if the local kids’ museum, zoo, or amusement park has discounted admission. Often these same places also offer free entrance on a specific, designated day once per week.

  • The ultimate gift guide for Valentine's Day

    Valentine’s Day may be a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about that special someone – specifically, how you’ll surprise him or her on the holiday. V Day is a special time, but you don’t have to succumb to the pressure everyone puts on themselves to buy the perfect gift. If you’re with the right person, he or she will appreciate whatever you give them, as long as it’s thoughtful and relevant.

    To help you decide how to express your feelings on Valentine’s Day, check out Charm America’s simple but special gift ideas for men and women.

    Prepare a romantic dinner

    Sometimes food is the best way to a person’s heart, especially if your someone appreciates good cuisine. Plan a special menu ahead of time, one that you know your partner will absolutely love. Favorite dishes are an easy way to go, but if you want to surprise (after all, isn’t variety the spice of life?), try making a tweak to the recipe or cooking something delicious that neither of you have had at home before. Go all out and prepare a complete meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert. And don’t forget to include a fine beverage.

    Give a classic pendant

    Obviously we couldn’t talk about Valentine’s Day and not mention jewelry :) Some people assume that jewelry is for women only, but the reality is that some men like it as well. If you’re buying for your man, choose something classic and masculine. Rings and necklaces work well. Meanwhile, women tend to appreciate, well, most types of jewelry. From pendants to charms and everything in between, your gal will certainly appreciate the gesture.

    The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank either. Discount charms from Charm America allow anyone to find the perfect piece at the right price. Whether it’s sterling silver or 10K gold, you’re bound to impress your significant other on Valentine’s Day.

    Surprise your partner with a vacation

    If you have the time to spare and are with someone who doesn’t recoil at the thought of being surprised, a quick vacation is a fun gift. Pick some place that’s not too far away (most likely your partner won’t be able to clear more than a day or two for work), and go on an adventure. It might be a great opportunity to get away and relax poolside, or maybe take in the beauty of nature together at the closest national park. Your man or woman will definitely appreciate all the time and effort you put into planning it.

    Return to the location of your first date

    It’s always fun to revisit great memories. Odds are that if you’ve been together long enough to celebrate Valentine’s Day, your first date was most likely meaningful. Even if it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it’s probably grown in importance in retrospect. Take your partner to that special spot where you first got to know each other. Evoking those old feelings in undeniably romantic.

     

  • These reunited siblings have so much to teach us

    As you may or may not know, January is National Mentoring Month. In honor of that, we present you the story of Tyrese and Lanae, kids who wound up in separate foster homes. The young siblings were upset when they became separated. They had grown to rely on each other for comfort and laughter. If it wasn’t for the positive work of a New York City mentoring organization, they may have never seen each other again.

    While Tyrese and Lanae are sweet and unassuming, their story actually has much to teach the rest of us. Through it, we can learn some pretty important lessons that we can apply to our own lives.

    Family is everything

    It’s very easy to take our families for granted. Whether we see them every day, or connect once in a while, we tend to forget the profound, positive impacts they’ve had on our lives. It’s not until we take a step back and gain perspective that we realize that we wouldn’t be the people we are today without their guidance, support, and love. Tyrese and Lanae were positively ecstatic when they were reunited by their big brothers and sisters. They knew from an early on the importance of family relationships, which should remind us of the value of our own families.

    Appreciate what you have – while you have it

    In life, sometimes the tough reality is that we may not always get to be with our family and friends. Work and life has its own agenda, and we’re required to follow it, no matter how challenging. Siblings, Tyrese and Lanae know this lesson all too well. They share a deep bond, and want nothing more than to live with each other.

    It’s important to let our family and friends know how much we appreciate them in the moment. Don’t wait until you become separated for whatever reason. Show your love with a pendant from Charm America. Whether you choose one of our gold charms for necklaces or a sterling silver piece, the recipient of the gift will undoubtedly appreciate the gesture.

    Everyone needs a mentor

    Mentors play an important role in Tyrese and Lanae’s story. They’re instrumental in reuniting these two kids to try and rebuild their family. But mentors do more than just work with children; they fill all kinds of roles in our lives. Consider the mentors in your life for a second. Whether you had an influential teacher who showed you the importance of education, or a colleague who took you under her wing to ensure that you integrated into your job as smoothly as possible. Mentors serve a variety of needs, and are necessary to everyone’s lives.

    Volunteering makes a huge impact

    Volunteering is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It’s a selfless devotion of your time and energy to a good cause – most likely a cause that’s underserved. As evidenced by the brother and sister in our story, volunteers can dramatically affect people’s lives, bringing happiness and meaning to the disadvantaged. In honor of National Mentoring Month, consider volunteering for a cause that’s close to your heart.

  • Simple new year's resolutions guaranteed to improve your life

    It’s hard to believe, but 2014 is almost over (seems like we were just taking down last year’s holiday decorations!). But as we gather with friends and family and say goodbye to another year, it’s a good time to pause for a moment and appreciate how things have changed since last year, and how you might seek greater fulfillment in the upcoming months.

    Financial goals are on everyone’s minds (as they should be), but what about your personal goals? Are you living life to the fullest? Here are some ideas to help you focus your resolutions for 2015. Whether you follow them exactly, or interpret them to match your own life, hopefully they’ll help you achieve a satisfying new year!

    Make plans with friends – and keep them

    It’s sounds so simple: keep the plans you make. This is a lesson we try to instill in our children, and yet sometimes it’s so hard to follow it ourselves. The simple explanation is that life just gets in the way. Last-minute appointments can interfere with plans, or maybe you’re just too tired after a long week to go out. It’s understandable.

    However, our friends keep us sane. They bring fun, an attentive ear, and camaraderie – all things we need to survive. Take the resolution one step further and let your friends know that you appreciate them. Giving friendship charms by Charm America can solidify a new friendship, or restore an old one. Whether you choose one of our sterling silver pendants or 10K gold pieces, any friend will appreciate the gesture.

    Say Hi to someone new at least once a week

    One of the reasons resolutions exist in the first place is to shake us out of our old habits. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be difficult, especially if it means altering a routine, but sometimes it’s necessary for personal growth and more happiness. Saying Hi to someone new is a simple way to gain fulfillment. Whether it’s the cashier at the grocery store, someone you pass in the hall at work, or maybe a neighbor you’ve never met, this basic gesture will force you to put aside your shyness and connect, even superficially, with another person. And you may actually make someone’s day. Plus, you might even form a new friendship as a result.

    Take more weekend trips with your family

    Most families take vacations throughout the year. They’re key to introducing your kids to new parts of the world, while allowing you to take a necessary break from your work and day-to-day routines. However, you can find the same kind of satisfaction on a smaller scale by scheduling shorter, weekend trips or activities. They don’t have to break the bank, either. Families can go camping together, visit a nearby lake, beach, museum, etc. Basically, if you can make a day out of one or two main-event activities, you’ll find that it can bring your brood closer together in the long run.

     

     

  • The bonds in these adoptive families will make you tear up -- and smile

    You don’t have to be adopted to understand how important parents are. Each of us relied on our mothers and fathers to raise us well, teaching the difference between right and wrong, and maybe even imparting a little wisdom along the way. However, adopted kids have a special perspective on being raised by a caring family. They perhaps have a unique appreciation for inclusion in a way that might not occur to many of us.

    The adopted kids featured in this video discuss that special, impenetrable bond that they have with their parents, and how grateful they are to have them in their lives. Here are just a few themes they all hit on, all of which will sound familiar to most of us.

    Support

    Adopted children feel a unique flow of support from their parents. Whether they were adopted out of a foster home, or taken in when they were very young, children who don’t grow up with their birth parents appreciate the family unit. Without parents it would be nearly impossible to develop a sense of self-worth and belonging. They not only provide the roof over our heads and other material benefits, they instill confidence in us. We simply can’t grow up to become adults without their guidance. Everyone inevitably fails, but only through our parents’ support can we learn from those failures and turn them into future success stories.

    Simple things

    The simple things in life should never be overlooked. Growing up in a comfortable household where you don’t have to worry about getting enough to eat may sound trivial, but it makes a huge difference in our development. For these adopted kids, they are very much aware of the value of life’s simple pleasures. One child claims that he loves the way his dad cooks his favorite meal, “carnitas”. Every kid should have the opportunity to partake in their parents’ simple gestures.

    Whether you grew up in an adoptive household, or were raised with your birth parents, the debt we owe our moms and dads is immeasurable. Fortunately, they don’t expect anything material in return, although it doesn’t hurt to show your appreciation once in a while. For a simple but meaningful way to say thanks, consider a piece by Charm America. From infinity pendants to angel charms, our jewelry ranges from gold to sterling silver, and makes an elegant statement.

    Living and thriving

    When asked to talk about what it means to be adopted, one adolescent responds by saying that there’s a difference between surviving, and living and thriving. The latter is what happens under the care of great parents. Without the proper love and affection, self-confidence and wisdom from our families, we may never fully understand what it means to be a good person. No child should have to worry about survival. In order to successfully grow up, kids deserve a caring environment. Adopting can make all the difference.

  • Holiday tip - pick the perfect gift without breaking the bank

    For many people, the holidays are the best time of the year. In addition to awesome seasonal traditions like bundling up by the fire, decorating, and spending time with family, it’s a great time to express our love and appreciation through gift-giving. However, buying presents can be stressful, as many people want to give something special despite being on a budget.

    The good news is that your value as a friend or family member is not directly proportional to the price tag of gift! So don’t get hung up on buying the biggest, most expensive item on the market. The truth is that there are many affordable options out there, if you know where to look. To help you get inspired, here are ideas for affordable yet incredible gifts for the holidays.

    Handmade crafts

    Are you crafty? Do you like working on homemade, DIY projects in your spare time, or do you want to start? The holidays present a great opportunity to hone your skills and use them for your friends. In many ways, handmade items are more meaningful than mass-produced products. They represent the heart and soul that went into making them. Whether it’s a skirt or ornaments for your tree, a festive wreath, or a delicious homemade jam that you canned yourself, don’t hesitate to put your crafty talents to work.

    Charms

    Okay, so we’re a little biased, but we think that charms make amazing holiday gifts. Premium jewelry never goes out of style (and you can certainly find plenty of it), but these days more and more companies are offering affordable pieces that anyone will love. While cheap charms by Charm America provide a cost-saving solution, don’t assume they correspond to low quality materials. Our selection of discount charms and necklaces are made from high-grade sterling silver and gold. They’re the perfect gift for a wide range of jewelry fans, whether they prefer classic styles or quirky accessories.

    A scrapbook

    Perhaps the best benefit of old friends and family are the memories that you share. In many ways, that’s what defines your relationship. Wouldn’t it be great then to immortalize those memories in a wonderful scrapbook? This affordable option only requires a few simple materials. In fact, the hardest part is deciding which pictures to include. Common practices suggest that you cover a range of years within your particular relationship, celebrating the fun times and love you’ve shared over time.

    Adopt a pet

    The holidays are an ideal time to surprise the pet lover in your life. Pets can bring so much happiness to people’s day-to-day lives, while providing a valuable service as well. The truth is that many animals need a home. There are so many options from which to choose. Whether you’re a fan of lovable pitbulls or prefer quirky cats, contact your local animal shelters about adopting, if a pet is right for that special someone.

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