Beyond Words

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

Think About It Thursday August 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:41 pm


How would you punctuate this sentence?:

“A woman without her man is nothing.”

Note:  males and females punctuate it two entirely different ways!  Punctuation is powerful!


Wednesday’s Words of Wit and Wisdom August 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:54 pm

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’m sending today’s entry from one of my favorite blogs, “The Happiness Project.”  Enjoy!



Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

      Guillaume Appollinaire


Lighten Up! August 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:55 pm

Have you ever entered a room and thought, “wow, what a nice glow and what a comfortable feel?”  Chances are, the lighting in that room is what made you feel and think that.  As my daughter will tell you, I am a light fixture freak.  The lighting in a place is always the first thing I notice and the first thing I change in a new home of mine.  I lean toward traditional, but can also go whimsical or contemporary.  Designer Sabrina Soto of “Get It Sold” told “Better Homes & Gardens” magazine that if you can only afford to buy one thing to make a big difference when redoing a room, purchase a new light fixture.  I couldn’t agree more! 

Style is important in choosing the right light fixture, and so is size and placement.  Here, then, are some simple rules of thumb to keep in mind:

Chandeliers/Pendants – You never want your light fixture to overpower the table it’s above.  The fixture’s width or diameter should be at least 2 feet narrower than the table’s length.  If you’re set on a pendant that is too small, consider hanging two of them over a rectangle table or hanging the one over a smaller, round table.  There should be 30-36 inches from the top of the table to the bottom of the chandelier.  Generally, for a room with 8 foot ceilings, hang the chandelier 30 inches above the table.  For each additional foot your ceiling height increases, the light should be raised 3 inches.  Size is also important.  To figure out how large or small a light fixture you need, add the room’s length and width together.  For example, if your room is 12 x 14, you need a chandelier that’s 26 inches in diameter.  When all else fails, too big a light fixture always looks better than one that is too small.  

Table lamps – I am not a big fan of overhead lights in family rooms and bedrooms, and instead opt for table and floor lamps.  Choosing them is purely a matter of choice, but keep in mind that an end table should never rise above the arm of a chair or couch but can be as low as 4 inches below the arm.  Position table lamps on end tables so that the bottom edge of the lampshade is at or just below eye level when you are seated.   Here are some I like:


           Traditional Ginger Jar                Like the pewter with black shade


 Affordable take on classic                          Love the contrast                                Odd-shaped shades                                                Chanel crystal lamp                                        of white and tan                                are a great alternatives

Chandeliers, pendants and lamps are my favorite styles of indoor lighting.  I also adore lanterns, both inside and out, preferably black iron or ones with a rich patina.  I don’t really like sconces, but concede there are certain places where they are the right fit.  It’s all about making the room better and brighter.  Designer Suzanne Kasler told “House Beautiful” magazine that she compliments her signature white décor with light fixtures that make bold statements.  She considers hanging lights similar to creating centerpieces and says they should be a little more decorative than you might expect.    

Don’t every underestimate the power of shades; they can make a simple chandelier “pop” and can dress up an otherwise staid room.

                                                                                                                                                                               Shades come in all sizes,  styles and prices




There are so many fun and creative things you can do with lighting!


Lighting can transform an otherwise tiresome utility room!


Some favorite lighting themes:




 Lantern style!


Love drum shades!



How ’bout a chandelier instead of a bedside lamp?!




Some great shades could make this inexpensive chandelier really “light” up!           









   Bathroom lighting


In the end, buy what you like and have fun with it!


Sunday’s Scripture August 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:37 pm

“Be still and know that I am God.” 

Ps. 46.:10.


LOL! OMG! WTH?! August 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:05 pm


What the heck is right?!   R u either guilty of sending or tired of getting txts from ppl who don’t spell out words?  I am definitely in the first group, and I m starting to worry!  U c, txting has pretty much taken ovr our society and, as stylish and pretty the woman looks in the above pic, a lot of chilling and ugly effects are resulting from this somewhat dominant social trend.


Perhaps first and foremost is the fact that “Generation Text” is lagging in grammar and spelling skills.  Yes, it’s official and not just a “they say” thing anymore.  A new study by Penn State University revealed that so-called “techspeak” is eroding users’ basic grammar foundations.  In fact, the more kids (ages 13-to-17 were used in the study) send and receive texts, the worse their grammar skills become.  Findings were so alarming that this age group is systematically being robbed of a fundamental understanding of English grammar.  For many of them, abbreviated words and entire sentences have become, well, words and entire sentences! 


Although I often text and sometimes even abbreviate, thankfully I don’t need to worry about losing my grasp of English.  Apparently adults not raised on text-friendly abbreviations are able to switch more readily from formal spelling to informal texting.  Sadly, kids today are not.  Computer spell-check programs certainly don’t help the problem. 


Face-to-phone communication is also severely eroding another essential element of a unified society:  the ability to converse in person. 


Eating dinner recently with my friend Ann I was shocked to hear her story about this sad truth.  In a nutshell, she was on a boat with friends and their college-aged kids.  One of them was constantly texting away.  They pulled up to get gas for the boat and Ann noticed an adorable girl at the pump meekly wave to her friend’s son; the texter.  When Ann asked him who the cute girl was, he said, “oh she’s the one I’ve been texting.”  WTH??????   So you can text for minutes and hours on end, but when it comes time to actually talking, both parties shy away?  Something is wrong with this non-Instagrammed picture and it’s affecting how our world conducts business.


It is no longer essential for sales reps to call on clients; they just simply text or email them.  Public speaking used to be an art, now it’s somewhat gone the way of conference calls and webcasts.  What’s most alarming is that those who this applies to the most are the very ones who comprise our developing work force.  They might be able to develop the technology to send a text but will they be able to explain it to the masses face-to-face?  It just might be those same text-aholics who complain some day that they were let go…via a text.  Careful what you ask for; careful what you ask for.  It is indeed a sad, sad day when making a phone call is someone’s third choice of contacting someone.




Remember the days when the home phone would ring and family members would scream, “I’ll get it!”  Today, if that home even has a landline, those same people ask “who is it?” (meaning check Caller ID before even thinking of picking it up), or “let it go.”  Most kids today don’t even know what a “landline” is.  They all, it seems, have cell phones.  A recent study by Mediamark found that in 2009, 80.5 percent of kids between 10-and-11-years-old had a cell phone; up from 36 percent in 2005.  What, pray tell, do that many 10-year-olds need a cell phone for?  Safety is the number one reason parents state, followed by keeping track of them during afterschool and social activities. 


I’ve never been a big phone-talker but my husband is – or was.  Up until maybe just a year ago, he was the first one to complain that “no one ever picks up the phone” and rarely, if ever, texted.  But, today you’ll find him doing just that.  Constantly.  Maybe it’s his Blackberry.  Maybe it’s inescapable.  I think it’s both.


One thing he is not doing…yet…is Tweeting.  If you asked him, he’d probably say it has something to do with birds, not a technological wonder that is picking up where texting hasn’t left off.  Tweets are now even more popular than Facebook status updates among college students.  They “follow” each other.  They “follow” famous people.  And, they follow Twitter’s strict 140-character limit per tweet.  To cram their thoughts into tweets, tweeters turn “with” into “w/” and “love” becomes “luv.”  They also omit “needless” words like “a,” “the,” and pronouns.  Rarely, if ever, do they use the word “I.”  Not only do grammar and spelling take a hit, so does punctuation, as Twitter counts double spaces between words so the ends of sentences often have only one space.  Ugh!!!!


I will admit I truly appreciate the advantage and convenience of texting.  Just last night I was out with three girlfriends of mine and we all guiltily chuckled as, in one fell swoop, we were all either texting or posting.  It’s how everyone communicates.  It’s how we do business.  I know it’s also the most certain method of getting a reply from my daughter. Here she is in an art museum we recently visited:



An ART MUSEUM mind you!  Monet is rolling over in his grave.


There are, however, instances when you are somewhere and you just can’t pick up or place a call, so a text can be an effective way to communicate.  And, I will admit that I’m most guilty of texting when all I really want is a quick comment or answer from someone rather than a long, drawn-out conversation.


I know texting is not going away and I don’t have any magic solutions.  So for now all I can suggest is spell out your words, pick up the phone every so often, call a friend or colleague, and NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE.   TTYL or maybe evn tmrw.  <3. 









Friday Funny August 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:33 pm

…and Steinbeck, and Michener, and Scottoline, and even Sparks.


Wednesday’s Words of Wit and Wisdom August 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:23 pm


I recently saw this and, in honor of the Olympics, thought it was fitting for today!


Heaven is where…

            The police are British

            The chefs are Italian

            The mechanics are German

            The lovers are French

            And it’s all organized by the Swiss


Hell is where…

            The police are German

            The chefs are British

            The mechanics are French

            The lovers are Swiss

            And it’s all organized by the Italians


What role would the Americans play in both?!


Tuesday’s Tip August 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:49 pm



 Have you ever heard that someone has an “exquisite palate?”  Sounds awesome but what exactly does that mean and how can you acquire one? 


According to “Bon Appetit” magazine, when it comes to professional chefs, a “great palate” is the ability to create or refine dishes simply by instinct.


For professional eaters like the rest of us, or for those who just love food, it means the ability to identify flavors, ingredients, and even cooking techniques in a particular dish. 


Happy eating!


Filling My Nest August 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:07 pm



“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.  If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big.  To them, all of it has always been big stuff.”  Catherine M. Wallace


Filling My Nest

Empty Nest.  Two simple words that bring about a sense of trepidation or a spirit of triumph.  For me, it is a little of both.


Just this week my husband and I dropped off our daughter Kristen back at college for her sophomore year.  I thought maybe this time it would be easier than last year, but no such luck.  It pained us not being able to give her a hug and kiss goodbye before we left because she’s in sorority work week “lock down,” and I cried the minute I walked in the house and saw her pile of dirty clothes.  I miss her already.  Who am I going to get pedis with?  Who will I watch late night TV with?  Who will I laugh with?  Who, am I?


I think part of the pain is that I feel I only had her home for a very short time.  I was so excited for her come home for the summer and then, poof, she was gone again.  Last year I’d had her home for 18 years prior.  This year it seemed like 18 hours.  On top of that, for the first time in my life, I feel like maybe I need her now more than she needs me.  Ouch.


Kristen is literally living her dream:  attending her “dream” school and my alma mater Oklahoma, and loving life.  She is thriving, happy, and calls me almost every day.  I’ve also learned to Skype!  Our only daughter is doing what my husband and I hoped she would:  go to college, learn and grow, meet new people, and become a successful contributor to society and the world as a whole.  You’d think I’d be jumping  for joy.  In a sense, I am, but still my heart aches.


It seems like just yesterday a friend told me “hang on tight because high school flies by,” as Kristen trotted of to high school.  I thought to myself, “how can it fly by…it’s FOUR years?!”  Well, I’m here to tell you, they not only flew by, they flew at lightning speed, as did her first year of college!  


As many before me know, sending your baby off to college isn’t easy.  Satisfying, yes.  Easy, no.  Oh, some say they couldn’t wait to do “me” things and have “couple time,” but in their heart of hearts they have to admit those very hearts, just like mine, hurt even if ever so slightly.   




I distinctly remember Kristen dancing to the “Monday Night Football” theme song at 3, jumping horses at 9, and becoming her school’s sports director at 17.  She grew into my buddy and now she’s grown into a young lady who is at a familiar yet far away place meeting friends I don’t know and going to places it seems like just yesterday I was frequenting.   The house is quiet.  Her friends aren’t coming and going, playing loud music, and invading my pantry.  The house, feels empty


There is a silver lining though.  I don’t cringe every time I hear a siren and am not up at midnight waiting for the front door to open.  Instead of my calendar having her activities and dates penciled  in, my days are filled with my life!  I get to set new priorities.  I reflect on my past and my future.  It’s both bittersweet and liberating.  It is a chance to, in a sense, start anew, even though I loved what I was doing before.  I now have time to attempt and accomplish things I haven’t.   This blog is something I’ve thought about trying for a long time, and now I’m doing it!  Yay me!!!!  I’m also volunteering and reading more.  My husband and I immediately took advantage of little couple get-aways last fall, something I hope we continue to do this time around. 


 Empty Nesting, I’ve discovered, can be anything but empty. To the contrary, it can actually be quite full.  Full of fun.  Full of friendships.  Full of memories.  Full of dreams.  This Empty Nester has big plans for the coming months.  Grow and expand my blog?  Yep!  Annual college friends reunion trip?  Of course!    Gun lessons?  You betcha!.  Hold a plank for 3 minutes and lose weight?  Most definitely.  Take horseback riding lessons?  Giddy up!  Just don’t ask me to watch “Toy Story 3,” which Kristen gave me for Mother’s Day right before she went off to OU, “Gilmore Girls,” or “Little Bear!”  I might be newly motivated but I’m still highly emotional.   As John Schaar once said, “the future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.”  My nest may feel empty but my life runneth over with opportunity.



Right before Kristen left for college, my friend Jeannie gave me the book “Beyond the Mommy Years.”  I love baths, I love wine, and I love rubber duckies so it spoke to me before I ever opened it or read a word. 


In the book, which I enjoyed and recommend, author Carin Rubenstein writes candidly about “filling the void” once your nest is empty.  It’s all about learning how to fill both your time and your hearts.  Research has shown that American moms spend 107 minutes a day caring for children, so it should come as no surprise that Rubenstein reports 1 in 10 moms feel a lingering sense of grief when their children move out.  It’s natural.  It’s normal.  Moms just instinctively put their children first and once those children leave the nest, momma bird sometimes doesn’t quite know how to fly on her own.  We miss their hugs.  We miss their messes.  We miss them next to us in the car.  We even miss not grocery shopping for them…something that brought tears to my eyes the first time I attempted it. 


One of Rubenstein’s friends detests the phrase “empty nest” because it sounds too much like “emptiness.”  Things do seem empty though; there’s no denying it.  But, as Rubenstein writes, we need to remember that our time with our children is borrowed time.  We will know our kids longer as adults than we will as kids.  It’s time to give them those wings (and the responsibilities that go with them!) and learn to be a different kind of mom:  the mom of an adult child.  Rubenstein reminds us that it’s a blessing to have children who can leave home and that we should be grateful and proud. 


I am extremely grateful and extremely proud of Kristen.  She is beginning  her new life; a life I pray is filled with joy, health, success, love, and friendship.   As she learns to fly on her own, I leave her with Christopher Robin’s famous words to Winnie the Pooh:  “Promise me you’ll always remember you’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”