Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Wednesday’s Words of Wit and Wisdom July 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:28 pm

“True friends are like jewels:  precious and rare.  False ones are like leaves:  found everywhere.”




Tuesday’s Tip: You Are What You Eat July 17, 2012

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Is Tilapia Really Worse Than Bacon?

I love red meat.  I can’t imagine being a vegetarian.  Still, I know full well that red meat is not always good for me.  So, in recent months I’ve worked hard at buying more fish to cook at home.  Imagine my horror when I read the above headline on a recent blog!  What???

The post was by Dr. Axe at who cited a report by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that showed farm-raised tilapia, one of the most highly consumed fish in America, has very low levels of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acid and, perhaps worse, very high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids.  Many of us don’t think twice about eating fish and tilapia tastes reasonably good and is relatively inexpensive.  If it sounds too good to be true, is it?

Yes and no.  It all revolves around where the fish you eat came from. There is a world of difference between fish caught in the wild and farm-raised fish, and it’s worth your while to know just what those differences are.  Turns out, all fish are not created equal.

 Most nutritionists believe farm-raised fish can actually sometimes be bad for you. They may be healthier than some red meats, but they are not always “health food.”  Farm-raised fish may have at least 10 times the cancer causing pollutants as those bred in the wild.  The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease so farm owners give them antibiotics, which can be dangerous to humans.  They are also often treated with harmful pesticides to combat sea lice. 

“For individuals who are eating fish as a method to control inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, it is clear that tilapia is not a good choice,” Dr. Floyd Chilton, a professor of physiology and pharmacology and the director of the WakeForestCenter for Botanical Lipids said.  “All other nutritional content aside, the inflammatory potential of hamburger and pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia.”

In fact, the study concluded that eating farm-raised tilapia may worsen inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and other health conditions, and could be a potentially dangerous food source for those patients.

 It’s not all bad news though, and facts need to be personally tailored to an individual’s health plan.

“Tilapia is not necessarily worse just because it contains less Omega-3 than salmon and more Omega-6 than bacon,” said Dr. Eliza Mei Perez Francisco, a nutrition support physician at St. Luke’s Medical Center. “It still has many nutritional benefits, and cannot be judged solely on its potential to cause inflammation.”

And unlike other fish, tilapia has very low levels of mercury because it is a fast growing- and short-lived fish that mostly eats a vegetarian diet.  It has been around since Biblical times and is even sometimes called “Saint Peter’s fish” because that was the fish the apostle caught that reportedly carried a coin in its mouth.

Originally, tilapia was only raised in Africa, but because of its introduction into fresh water lakes, it is not only a growing food source, but a growing industry.  Today Asia accounts for 63 percent of worldwide tilapia production, with China, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines producing the most.  Dr. Kevin Fitzsimmons, president of the World Aquaculture Society, calls it the “food fish of the 21st century” and is also referred to as “aquatic chicken” because both Americans and Europeans consider it a low cholesterol “white meat.”

Besides Tilapia, the most common types of farm-raised fish are:



Sea Bass



 If you’re looking for a healthy daily does of omega-3-fatty-acids, stick to wild caught fish like wild sockeye salmon.  Taking a high quality fish oil that contains astaxanthin is also recommended for many.  As for buying fish to eat, check local health food stores and make sure you’re buying real wild caught fish. 

 Sources:  Agriculture Business Week 4/16/09, Brad Sylvester/Yahoo,




If The Shoe Fits July 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:39 pm

 Love this Kate Spade pump.

Kate Spade

 I was recently watching one of my all-time favorite movies, “Sex and The City,” and even after numerous viewings, I teared up during several scenes.  I love when sweetCharlotteangrily screams “NO!” at Big when he tries to talk to Carrie after leaving her at the altar…or the stairs in her case.  I also totally relate to the scene where Charlotte, Amanda and Samantha decide to go to Cabo after peaking at a still sullen Carrie sitting on the couch, and, what girl doesn’t love the scene when Samantha spoon feeds Carrie in Cabo?  These are true girlfriend moments and equal any of the funny and romantic parts of the movie.


Yet another scene that always touches me is when Big puts that gorgeous cobalt blue Manolo Blahnik pump on Carrie as he proposes in the closet.  So loving.  So fitting.  Wait, the gesture or the shoes?! 


Okay, I admit it:  I am a self-proclaimed shoe-a-holic.  There, I’ve said it.  Anyone who knows me is aware of this.  I never deny it, I never hide it, and I certainly know I am not alone!  Have you seen the TV ads for…an entire website dedicated to finding you that perfect shoe complete with a shoe consultant?  Have you watched “House Hunters” and died every time a giant walk-in closet is revealed?  But, where is HE going to put all HIS stuff?!


What is it about shoes and women?  Maybe it’s what I like to call the “Cinderella Syndrome.”  It is said the Disney princess is proof that “a good pair of shoes can change your life” and, although I may not agree that a prefect pair of pumps can literally change my life, I do agree with this Marilyn Monroe quote. 

 Cinderella would agree.


Remember playing in “high heels” as a child?  What about all those adorable Barbie pumps?  Were they fun or what?  I am not, by any means, a Wizard of Oz fan, but I get the magic of those ruby slippers Dorothy wore. 

 Pink Barbie shoes!


For me, shoes provide an avenue of style and fun.  They also are a matter of comfort…both internally and externally.  Being a “plus size” woman, I forever struggle with clothes fitting just right.  This is not the case with shoes.  I know I can walk into any shoe store anywhere and find a fabulous fit! 


As I said before, you know and I know I am not the only one who is obsessed with shoes.  Take my dear friend Christie who has more style in her pinky than I do in my entire body but is, at the same time, the original “save the earth” momma.  Yet, during hurricanes in herFloridahome, what does she take with her?  Photos and shoes!  Now that’s a girl I can relate to!  Then there’s my high school friendBeckywho worked for two high-end and reputable shoe companies before going back to college to get a late-in-life college degree.  I am so proud of her and I’m also proud that, where is she today?  Working in the shoe industry and living a fabulous life of fun and travel.


My husband and daughter make fun of my devotion to shoes, but trust me, she is right there with me.  On her Christmas list?  Shoes.  Birthday list?  Shoes.  Have I created a monster or a fashionista…are they the same thing?!   


No essay on shoes would be complete without mentioning Christian Louboutin.  For those of you who don’t know, Louboutins, or “Loubous” are the most coveted shoes in the universe by those who can afford them.  Prices start at around $1,000 and can go up to tens of thousands.  Yes, TENS of thousands!  You may have seen them.  They’re the shoes with the trademark red lacquered soles.  Would I ever spend that much money on a pair of shoes?   Probably not, and I have to wonder if they would be as trendy as they are without those red soles.  Yes many of them are works of art, but so are Manolos and other brands.  I am therefore convinced that JLo, Cameron, and all 500 Kardashians wear them just to show they can.  This, annoys even this shoe-a-holic.


Even as I contemplate my next purchase, I instead admire someone like Kate Middleton who wears her trusty nude pumps over and over.  I also treasure the card that hangs in my closet that my friend Ana gave me during a trying time, which asks, “Do these shoes go with my stress?”  I love it so much I used the wording for a board on Pinterest.  Yes, I OF COURSE, have an entire board just for shoes!  One of the coolest pins I included is this photo of the sole of a bride’s shoe that has a surprise love note written on it from her groom.  That, my friends, is much more special to me than a red sole.

 message from the groom to the bride to be on her wedding shoe. cute!


I have no plans to therapeutically address my shoe addiction and most likely will continue to stock my closet.  I know it’s excessive and impractical, but it works for me and if the shoe fits…


   “Never look back.  If Cinderella went to pick up her shoe, she wouldn’t have been a princess.”


Sunday’s Scripture July 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:15 pm

“I said to myself I’m going to quit complaining.  Lord, help me realize how brief my time on earth will be.  My whole lifetime is but a moment to you and all my busy rushing ends in nothing.”  Ps. 39


Small Things Make a Big Difference July 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:09 pm

“Love ya.”  That’s all the text said yet I’m still thinking about it and even now, writing about it.  It was simple, came from my daughter Kristen and, was more than enough. She doesn’t say it often in a text so when she does, it means the world to me.  Such a little thing that made such a big difference.  Isn’t that what life’s really all about though:  the little things?

Call it what you want…”smell the roses,” “count your blessings,” or simply enjoy the simple things.  Amazingly, even as I was writing this, my friend Karen called to invite me over.  She had bought a strawberry de-corer for me and was ready with melted chocolate, berries and Arnold Palmer iced tea.  It made my day!  A tiny, $5 kitchen gizmo resulted in a couple of hours of quality time with someone I just don’t see often enough. 

Yet another friend, Carolyn, chronicled these very sentiments in her wonderful book “BackyardPearls,” in which she cleverly reminds us that in order to find the gems in our crazy lives, sometimes all we need do is look out our backdoor and into our own homes.  Perhaps Mary Poppins said it best when she told a young Jane and Michael Banks “enough is as good as a feast.”  It has always been one of my favorite quotes and I must say, the British nanny was spot on!

I do love to travel and enjoy getting “dolled up” once in a while, but this photo depicts one of my all-time favorite things to do:  surround myself with good friends, good food,  and good conversation.

 I want all my favorite people around a table this big. :)

 Give me a mason jar full of daisies over an elaborately packaged dozen roses.  For me, a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day brings me as much joy as a little blue box from Tiffany’s.  And speaking of sweets, I do love my Crème Brule but I’m also a full-fledged Brownie fanatic.  And cheese?  Yep, I’m proud to admit I’ll take a bowl of queso any day over a platter of Brie. 

For me, it is about counting my blessings and enjoying the little things.  I actually have a small “count your blessings” sign above my bathroom sink that I see every morning and every night and it serves as a constant reminder that big doesn’t always mean better and expensive doesn’t always mean the best.  I love nothing more than lazy “do nothing” days and I tend to look back more than I look forward.  Nothing confirms this better than our family Christmas tree.  Number one, it’s always real and number two, it’s not lavish.  Nope, it is humbly decorated each year with treasured childhood and homemade ornaments and those bought in far away places.  No color-coordinated, fancy-smancy tree for us.  Give me down-to-earth and give me the real deal.

Totally me!

That sign pretty much describes me – I’m definitely a wordsmith and I do love pretty things – as long as they are meaningful, elegant, or practical.   One of my favorite extravagances, if you will, are expensive sheets and down comforters and pillows.  I LOVE comfy and cozy beds.  But, right next to them in my inexpensive nightstand are not high-end, celebrity-endorsed lip balms, but rather Mentholatum and Rose Bud Salve…right next to my dollar store back scratcher.

I don’t know what kind of sheets my dear friend Janel has, but I do know she always uses cloth napkins, which I love about her.  You see, Janel is one of the most unpretentious ladies I know.  She’s not out to impress anyone.  She’s not trying to save the earth from needless paper napkins.  She plain and simply likes cloth napkins and the grace and polish they represent.   I love scented candles, but as long as one smells good it can be from a posh boutique or an inexpensive chain store.  Keep it simple silly. 

So today, look around.  What little things in your life bring you great joy?  Appreciate them and always remember that someone else is happy with less than you have and that there is always, always something to be thankful for.  What are you grateful for today?

Think about it…

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?


Think About It Thursday July 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:58 pm

Let me first start by saying I am not a millionaire.  I am not even close.  I grew up very middle class in a simple but safe home.  Today I enjoy a good life thanks to hard work and a dedication to living within our means.  Still, it pains me that America used to be a proud nation whose people wanted to succeed and become rich.  More and more we are today a country that wants government handouts for everything.  Being wealthy is actually often considered a negative and failure is accepted and justified.  How did we get here?   What are your thoughts? 

“Before you own the garage, you gotta sweep the floors.”  Kid Rock


Wednesday’s Words of Wit and Wisdom July 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:46 pm



“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”  John Wooden


Tuesday’s Tip: Safe & Sound July 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:27 pm


Summer is a popular time for travel.  This mean family photos, fun memories and favorite spots.  It also means burglar heaven.  It should come as no surprise that burglars love targeting homes during the summer months.   Although thieves are in and out of your home in an average of six minutes, the damage they can do during that short time can last a lifetime.  Protect your home and everything in it every time you leave.  It’s simple and it’s smart.

In addition to home security systems and the ever-popular timers for lights, hiring a house sitter, and a barking dog noise maker, security expert Ira A. Lipman of Guardsmark says there are other ways…many surprising…to be safe while you’re away and while you’re at home. They include:

  • Store valuables in a child’s room rather than in the master bedroom or other common places.  Burglars often leave kids’ room untouched.
  • If your car has a remote-controlled key chain alarm, sleep with it next to your bed.  If you hear anything suspicious, hit the panic button and your car alarm will go off, hopefully scaring any potential predators away.
  • Outside shrubbery is, in general, not recommended around ground-floor windows because it can serve as a hiding place for burglars, but, if you must plant some, plant thorny ones like rose bushes, which will make thieves think twice about scaling them.
  • Keep valuables (including TVs, wrapped presents, computers, etc.) out of sight from passerbys or anyone knocking on your frontdoor.  The more they see, the more they may want.  Be sure to close all window coverings before leaving.
  • Experts say 34% of all thieves come in through the front door. Consider installing double key deadbolts, which require a key to enter and to exit. When you’re gone, hide the key. If someone does break in, getting any of your big items out will be difficult unless they break the door down.  (When you are home, be sure to keep the key in a safe and unvarying spot close to the door.) 
  • Back up all computers before you leave.   In the event they are stolen, you’ll be glad you did! Also, put any portable hard drives in unlikely places like a laundry room or kitchen pantry
  • Ask a neighbor to check your driveway and porch for newspapers, packages, and flyers.  Burglars have been known to leave flyers on doors to see if they are removed.  Best bet:  always cancel your newspaper subscription and mail delivery while you’re gone.
  • Always load up your car right before you leave, not the night before, especially if the car will be parked outside all night.  A packed car tells a burglar you’re leaving.
  • Lower the volume on your home phone and on any audible voice mail machines.  Repeated voice mail “pick ups” could indicate you’re gone.
  • Don’t store anything – chairs, pots, wood, etc. – on a hidden side of your house.  They can serve as ladders for potential burglars.
  • Before heading for the beach, wash out an empty suntan lotion bottle and use it to store your phone, wallet, and/or money in your beach bag.

Do you have any tips to add?  Please do so!

For more tips on locks, alarm systems, and general safety, check out Lipman’s book “How to Be Safe,” available through Reader’s Digest Association. 

Be smart and be safe!


Sunday’s Scripture July 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:03 pm

“Don’t be anxious about tomorrow.  God will take care of your tomorrow.  Live one day at a time.”  Matthew 6:34


The Plane Truth: Life’s a Trip! July 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:36 pm

I just recently returned from a wonderful mother-daughter trip to Hotel del Coronado nearSan Diego.  My husband, who has traveled for business for 30+ years, chose not to make the trip…or any trip this summer…due to his weariness of travel in general.  Who could blame him?   I may have recently blogged that “no one puts ‘websites I want to visit’ on their Bucket List,” but I have also seen first-hand what a big, fat hassle air travel is…even leisure travel.


My daughter and I had a very early (6 a.m.) flight, which meant a 4 a.m. wake-up and a very dark 40 minute drive to the airport.  From there, we had to park our car; climb on board a shuttle bus, and enter what we thought would be a somewhat empty and quiet terminal at the time of day.  No such luck.  The airline counter line wrapped around several stanchions and the security line was equally long and winding.  What?  Why so many travelers so early in the morning?  Crazy, right?


As are most flights, ours was completely full and not a non-stop flight.  We had a layover at LAX but didn’t see one movie star and were surrounded by seemingly very unhappy people.  Who could blame them?  The gate area seating was aligned so socially miserable and awkward that travelers had no choice but to stare vacantly into space, the back of someone’s head, or tap away on their smart phones.  Whoever designed the rows of chairs lined up like desks in a classroom and facing the gate check-in counter must seriously fret conversation and comfort.  There was no talking.  No people watching.  No fun!


From there we flew toSan Diegoon a plane with propellers.  We arrived at the commuter section of the otherwise very large international airport, which proved to be a blessing in disguise.  Used to exiting a plane, looking for baggage claim and ground transportation signage, and climbing onto a shuttle or an escalator, we walked straight from our entrance gate to outside!  Again, what?  The airport was so small we actually walked right past the sole baggage claim belt!  What a pleasant surprise and what a trip back in time.


I remember, as a little girl, going to the airport with my mom and sisters to pick up my dad.  We would watch the planes land and be there at the gate to give him a big welcome home hug.  Those days are long gone but shows like ABC’s “Pan Am” continue to give us a taste of what travel used to be like and what it use to be:  a true luxury.  I adore that show and sometimes still slip and call a flight attendant a stewardess and long for the days when blankets on planes were free.  I love to travel, but if I have a choice between driving 6-8 hours or flying, I’ll often opt for the road trip.  No shuttles, no flight delays, no missed connections, no lost baggage. 


Yes, air travel is stressful and frustrating but I still strongly believe that travel is one of very few things you spend money on that makes your richer.  Hmmmm…where should I go next?



She Wrote the Book

I recently read the book “Cruising Attitude” by flight attendant Heather Poole.  As she notes throughout the tell-all book, being a flight attendant is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.  In fact, according to her (and I agree!), her life is just “plane crazy!”  Here are some of the more interesting tid-bits I gathered from it:


  • If you want to get the whole can of an on-board drink, ask for a Diet Coke.  For some reason the fizz in Diet Cokes takes forever to dissipate and since flight attendants are usually rushed to serve a packed cabin, they will often just give you the whole can.


  • If you like to take sleep aides for a flight, only do so after take-off.  If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you will need to be awake!


  • Count exactly how many rows are between your seat and the exit row, as it might be dark during an emergency.


  • The back of plane is bumpier than front


Random notes I found interesting and hope you do too:


  • Pooleloves her job and takes it seriously, and stresses that passengers aren’t getting bad service, they’re getting “limited service” based on the reduced tools flight crews are given.


  • A flight attendant’s pay clock doesn’t start until the aircraft door is shut and plane backs away from gate.  This means flight attendants saying “hello” as you board aren’t getting paid yet!  Keep in mind that delays affect them as much as they affect us…maybe more so! 


  • Crew naps on long flights are based on seniority.


  • Poolesays the NY-Miami and NY-Vail routes are the ones nearly all flight attendants dread the most.


  • Everyone thinks the benefits of flying free are to be envied, and they are, butPoolereminds us that “Buddy Passes” not free, are good on a standby basis only and for coach seats on domestic flights, and forget trying to fly on weekends or holidays.


  • Pilots keep photos on the underside of their caps to distinguish them from each other’s.


  • AtPoole’s airline (which she never names), flight attendants are required to walk thru cabin at least once every 15 minutes


  • Crew meals are not in their contracts on domestic routes.  Flight attendants have to pay for their own meals during connections and layovers.


  • A flight attendant’s “base” is where trips begin and end.  Many don’t call their base city home.  They are “commuters” and often live in “crash pads” near their base, which are basically homes where many flight attendants “live” just to literally crash between trips.  Most even set up beds in dining rooms of a home and rarely see each other due to their erratic schedules.  Some commuters actually have motor homes parked along the back fence at JFK’s lot inNew York City!


  • Rookie attendants are on “reserve,” which is basically stand-by for flights to work.  They never know where they’re going or even for how long so packing is difficult. Poolesays those on reserve basically have no life and one friend hers quit because she couldn’t get off reserve for her own wedding!


  • Airlines still enforce dress codes for flight attendants and once they are sick, they can’t fly…even as a passenger…so they tend to not report being sick while on a route.


Many people say you can tell what kind a person someone is by how they treat their mom.  I concur, but I also think you can tell their character and level of compassion by how they treat a flight attendant.


Happy Travels everyone!