Beyond Words

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

Touchdowns and Tailgates August 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:41 pm


Today I am proud to announce…football season is back!  It’s been a long, hot summer and even though it’s still hot, fall has unofficially arrived by way of kick-offs and first downs.  I couldn’t be happier!  During every bowl season and every Super Bowl game I am equally excited and sad…excited for hopefully really good games and sad because I know it’s at least eight months before another game.  Why do I love football so much?  Sometimes I wonder myself, but I do know one thing:  I will never be a football widow!



I grew up watching football with my dad.  Maybe it was because I was the youngest of three girls.  He didn’t have a son to watch games with, so I tagged along.  My hometown of Santa Fe had equally divided loyalties between the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.  I remember loving Charlie Waters, Roger Staubach, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones of the Cowboys.  I had Waters’ poster in my room and I vividly recall when my grandma subscribed to “Sports Illustrated” for me.  I still get it to this day and read every issue cover to cover.   Somewhere between Tom Landry and Jerry Jones, my devotion moved north to Mile High Stadium.  The “Orange Crush,” John Elway, and the fans’ famous “in-com-plete” chants had me hooked.  I cried when they lost the big games and was elated when Elway and company finally won their share of Lombardi trophies.   



Football, to me, is more than just a game.  I understand the plays, love its traditions, and can’t get enough of its many storied rivalries.  Even for those who don’t get the game itself, what’s not to love when bands play a fight song; crazy mascots entertain the crowd; and friends get together for some good, old-fashioned tailgating?  I’ve set up tables and tents in the freezing rain and snow in Buffalo and in 100 degree heat in Okahoma and Texas.  It’s always festive and it’s always fun.  Living in Texas means big time high school football too.  As with pro and college games, we’ve tailgated and filled stadiums big enough for many small colleges and universities to watch young boys play their hearts out.   High school football is a religion in Texas and I love those Friday night lights.  


I also love having friends over to watch football on TV.  I can literally watch every televised game all day Saturday and all day Sunday.  One of my biggest fears last season was having to wake up early Saturday mornings and watch ESPN’s “College Gameday” without Kristen, as it was our weekend ritual when she was in high school.  I also love Monday Night Football and have since the days of Howard Cosell, “Dandy” Don Meredith, and Frank Gifford.  When I close my eyes I can still picture little Kristen dancing to the “Are You Ready For Some Football?”opening song.   I wouldn’t be surprised if at her wedding, Kristen’s favorite photo is similar to this one:


Today you’re more likely to catch me rooting for the Buffalo Bills than the Cowboys or the Broncos.  My husband grew up in Buffalo, and despite going 0-for-4 in consecutive Super Bowls, he still loves his Bills and our only cable TV option is DirectTV because it has the NFL Ticket.   He’s happy to swap “Let’s Go Buffalo” stories, but please don’t even think about mentioning “wide right!”


If truth be told though, my football fanaticism is firmly entrenched in college football.  I love the electricity, I love the pageantry, and I love my Oklahoma Sooners!  I take it seriously, I take it personally, and I’m not the calmest of fans.  I’ve broken lamps and tables during Sooner losses and I’ll argue OU’s storied status till the Sooner Schooner comes home…with anyone.  In many ways, I make my own life difficult considering I’m a Sooner living in Austin, Texas.   It’s not easy, but most of the time it’s fun.  Until we lose.  Even then, I take my coffee like I take my crimson:  with cream.


I still remember walking to home games in Norman, driving to Dallas for the OU-Texas shoot-0ut, and attending many Sooner bowl games, including the Boise State Fiesta Bowl loss and the National Championship game against Florida.  Smitty surprised Kristen and me with the trip, and even though OU lost to the Gators, it will always be one of my most treasured memories.  It was a Bucket List item and I’m so grateful I got to check that one off.


Now, many years later, Kristen is going to Sooner home games and the annual Red River Rivalry.  I am thrilled that she is following in my footsteps and that she loves football, but what makes me especially proud is that she’s making tracks all her own.  She’s interning for the OU Athletic Department, is a “stat runner” between OU and ESPN during Sooner home games, and she gets to attend Bob Stoops’ press conferences every week.  I’m  very proud and a little jealous!


It all goes back to the fact that I love sports in general.  I’m not an athlete per se, but I am a decent tennis player and golfer and was a pretty good snow skier back in the day.  I sat on the OU Athletics Council next to Barry Switzer, covered sports as a journalist,  promoted them as a publicist, and now follow them passionately as a fan.  I am not just a fan, I’m a fanatic!


What I don’t like is that, in many ways, sports, and football in general, have become just another big business full of people short on loyalty and big on doing whatever it takes to win.  I remember the days when players and coaches stayed with a team for entire careers.  Today it’s hard to keep up with who plays where or who coaches what team.  Maybe that’s why Tim Tebow struck such a positive chord with fans last year.  Here was a man…a true gentleman…who, despite being a real-life champion, was just as committed to high morals as he was to high scoring wins.  He also wasn’t afraid to talk about God, family, and clean living and I for one found him inspiring and refreshing.


So this weekend this couch potato is so looking forward to sitting back, watching pre-game shows with my coffee and then anxiously waiting for kick-offs with maybe some queso and Buffalo wings.  It’s where you’ll find me every Saturday until January.  Are you ready for some football?!


Tuesday’s Tip August 28, 2012

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Liza’s Lamp August 27, 2012

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“Nostalgia is a denial of the painful present.”  Midnight in Paris movie




I was watching the movie “Midnight in Paris” recently and that quote struck me.  As many of you know, I’m a very nostalgic person but not because my present is painful.  I’m just very sentimental.  I have many friends who are as well, and my friend Liza is the perfect example. 


I’ve known Liza for 15+ years now and have always loved being around her.  She is funny, she is talented, she is genuine, and she’s a great mom.  All of this has now made her somewhat famous.


Liza’s son Grant recently got married, and at his rehearsal dinner she gave him a lamp.  It wasn’t just any lamp though, it’s something she’s been making for him literally his whole life.  The lamp, pictured above,  is one of those hallow glass lamps you can fill with whatever you want.  Liza, the crafty and clever mom that she is, filled it with the treasures she collected out of his pockets before doing his laundry.  She did this as a subtle punishment for not empyting his pockets.   What she ended up with years later were treasures; treasures dating back to his early, early childhood!  Grant loved it so much he posted a picture of it on-line and now Liza and Grant are certified viral!  “The Huffington Post” wrote a blurb on it.  “Yahoo Trending” interviewed them both!  And, it’s even on Pinterest!  The lamp now sits in Grant’s office and he and his wife plan to do the same thing for their future kids.  All this, my friends, because Liza is nostalgic.


I’ve never been as creative as Liza, but I still am surprised at myself for doing something similar for my daughter Kristen.  On her very first birthday, I bought a somewhat “grown up” card about “watching you grow throughout the years.”  Every year on her birthday, I’d write a note detailing the previous year.  I never let her see those notes though, until her 18th birthday, when I gave it to her.  Even she, the non-nostalgic daughter of mine, teared up reading it.  From pacifiers to prom dates; it’s all in there.  It’s still hard for me to read.  It’s also hard for me to watch the graduation video music montage my friend Ana’s son Max made for her graduation.  I remember my husband and I listening to the music from it driving away after dropping her off at college for the first time.  We lasted about two songs before we realized it wasn’t such a great idea!


A recent popular trend right now is to have every teacher in your child’s life write in Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” and give it to them for graduation.  I love that idea!  Scrapbooks are also all the rage, something I never really got into.  I much prefer this t-shirt quilt Ana made for Kristen for her graduation.  It is beautiful and has t-shirts from her entire life! 





I also like looking at the photos I take of Kristen’s hand on top of her dad’s on each of her birthdays.  My hope is to complete the collection with one from her wedding.



In today’s busy world of shuffling kids off to practices and recitals, sometimes it’s hard to take the time to really and truly document their little lives.  It’s never too late to start!


I would love to know if you’ve created something unique for your kiddos.  Do share!



“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”  Native American wisdom.





Sunday Scripture August 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:50 pm


grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


Dressing the Part August 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:22 pm


There is a new book out that I’ve bought and am going to send to my daughter Kristen in college. I told her on chapter night Sundays, I want her and her friends to read a chapter a night of the book!  She probably won’t, but it’s worth a shot.


The book is titled “How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World:  The Art of Living with Style, Class and Grace.”  I loved the title and the cover the minute I saw them.  A little black dress, pearls, and Jackie O sunglasses on a Tiffany blue cover.  What’s not to love?


It is written by Jordan Christy who is a publicist for Warner Bros. Records; lives in Nashville; and has worked with many artists, celebrities and media outlets and written for various fashion and music magazines.  She’s young, modern, and fashion-forward so I figure she knows what she’s writing about.


Don’t take my word for it, here’s a snip-it from the book’s inner flap:   “In a society driven by celebutante news and Facebook profiles, women of class, style, and charm are hard to come by.  The Audreys and Katharines of the world continue to lose their luster as thongs, rehab, and outrageous behavior burn up the daily headlines.  But, despite appearances, guys still want girls they can take home to their moms, employers still like to see a tailored suit, and peers still respect good manners….”   Can I hear an Amen?!


With chapter titles including “Keep Your Chin Up and Your Skirt Down,” “Choose Your Friends Wisely,” and “Dress to Impress” but “Less is More,” the book is bound to have words of wisdom for today’s young girls and even maturing women.  


We start ‘em young these days.  I teach preschool at my church and am often amazed by how many 3-and 4-year-old little girls are dressed like teenagers.  What’s happened to innocence?  What’s happened to wholesomeness?    


One hint might be to look around at moms today…not necessarily the ones I work with…but those everywhere.  Just as toddlers are dressing like teens, so are moms.  Why?!  What’s happened to aging gracefully?  I remember when my daughter was in high school she would tell me she’d be mortified if I dressed like a number of moms did.  They don’t want us to look like them ladies, they want us to be ladies!  Even though you have the figure and the size you’re hoping for fits, it doesn’t mean the outfit looks good and is the right choice.   Keep this simple rule in mind a friend of mine in the fashion industry once told me:  if you wore it the first time it was trendy, when it comes back around you’re too old to wear it again.  Examples:  I sported ponchos and what we called “bell bottoms” when they first came out many moons ago.  I’m too old to wear them now and will gladly leave them to the 20-somethings.


Thankfully Kristen has excellent albeit emerging style.  She’s had ingrained in her head my mantra that casual doesn’t me sloppy and formal doesn’t mean slutty.  I’ve also told her I don’t love her favorite bandage skirts that are too short and I don’t agree with her sometimes “If you’ve got it flaunt it” attitude.  Instead, I prefer she live by the famous rules of legendary Hollywood fashion maven Edith Head, who said. “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”  I can’t force Kristen to believe that, but I hope she does believe that being noticed and envied for your clothes aren’t the same as being respected.  As Coco Chanel once said, “A girl should be two things:  classy and fabulous.”  She didn’t say anything about cool, flashy or even sexy.  Cool, is overrated.


Quite possibly, none other than Audrey Hepburn might have had it right all along when she said:



If all else fails, simply always act like you’re wearing an invisible crown.  If you feel like a queen, you just may act like one.


 So, who do I suggest looking to for style tips?  Well it’s certainly not Snooki, a Kardashian, or Lady GaGa.  Instead how about any or all of these stylish celebs:

The simple & elegant Jennifer Aniston

Designer Carolina Herrera

The incomprable Kate

Reese Witherspoon

Lauren Conrad

Camilla Avila McConoughey

Diana Kruger

Even crazy Katy Perry

Beautiful Blake Lively

Caroline Bissett Kennedy…she had it.

Victoria Beckham…but with a smile!

Red Carpet Angelina Jolie

And of course timeless Audrey



Tuesday’s Tip August 21, 2012

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Playing Games August 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:37 pm


My husband and I recently watched the movie “8 Mile” and actually really enjoyed it.  I’ve always considered Eminem somewhat of a phenomenal, albeit profane, musical genius.  I thought of the movie last week, and Kim Basinger’s obsession with Bingo in it, as hubby and I attended a night of the classic game at our club.   Yes, Bingo!  And although neither of us won a single game or prize, we still had fun. 


We’d signed up with our dear friends Matt and Jenelle and were joined by fellow members Tim and Jeannie at our table.  Waiting for the festivities to begin, Jenelle and I noticed we had two extra seats at our table and we also noticed an elderly couple sitting at a table all by themselves.  We invited them to sit with us and, even though we didn’t really know them, we enjoyed their company all evening.  Looking back, our table was amazing in many ways, one of which was the unplanned and diverse age groups represented at it.


If you started with Tim and Jeannie and went clock-wise, our table was a virtual generational snapshot.  Tim and Jeannie are the young ones of the bunch.  Both fit and fabulous, they represent many of today’s young parents.  They are proud momma and poppa of a five and three-year-old, both hold full-time jobs, and Tim is our club’s sommelier.  The previous night Tim sported his tux as the club hosted its quarterly wine tasting event.  Bingo night, however, found Tim in an LSU t-shirt (even though he’s from Chicago!) and in a relaxed mood.  From there, you find my husband Smitty and me…the empty nesters just happy to have somewhere to go!  To my left were Jenelle and Matt…grandparents but as fit and fabulous as the younger Tim and Jeannie.  Both of them are avid golfers and Jenelle had just shot her best round ever earlier that day, a 90.  Grandparents perhaps, but grand nonetheless!  From there you came upon the elderly couple we invited to our table.  I don’t know their story, but I do know they were fun to be around and made our table complete.


In hindsight, our Bingo table represented life at its finest.  A mix of ages, histories and treasures.  Almost family-like.   It’s no secret that we can all learn something from each other, regardless of age, but outside of family or work, when do we ever really get the opportunity to socially intermix?  Not often enough!


Twenty-five-and-then-some years ago I prided my husband on always connecting with the seasoned veterans in his industry.  He was one of the younger reps back then, but tended to fraternize with many of the elders.  He had an easy-going style with them and I always found it both impressive and respectful.  All these years later, many of those distinguished gentlemen have passed on and now Smitty is the experienced and elder one.  My hope is that today’s young guns can look up to him with the same respect and admiration that mirrors his of days passed. 


I don’t know what all this means, other than perhaps mere coincidence.  I do know that it’s never uncool or too late to respect your elders and that young does not always mean dumb.   Venture out of your box sometimes and you just may be pleasantly surprised at what…or who…you find!  Bingo!