Beyond Words

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

Fashion To Fall For September 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:11 pm



Welcome Fall!  Autumn officially begins today and what better way to celebrate my favorite season than to talk about fall fashion trends?!  Temperatures cool down (hopefully!), leaves change color and fall, football is in full gear, and nighttime comes earlier.  What’s in and what’s out this autumn?  Here’s the lowdown on some “all the rage” yet tasteful trends to “fall” for:





For the Feet

Ankle strap pointy heels

(Gianvito Rossi)




(Rebecca Taylor)



Pointy toe shoes (flats and pumps)

(Schultz at Bloomingdale’s)



Velvet loafers and Slipper loafers

(Alexander McQueen)



Loafer pumps

(Alexander Wang)




For the Body

All things black and gold (shoes and clothing)



All things jewel tone (shoes, bags and clothing, especially Hunter Green, Burgundy, and Oxblood)



Trumpet hems

(Jennifer Connelly in Stella McCartney)



Brocade (perfect for dressing up or pairing with jeans and flats)







Glitter and metallic, especially gold










Embellishments (sparkly, oversize, anything goes!)

Military details (embossed and shiny buttons, epaulets, etc.)




For Hair, Face and Nails


Wine red lips

Burgundy nails

Dark blue nails

Edgy French manicures





Jeweled statement necklaces

(Kendra Scott)


Collar necklaces










Colored denim




Riding boots

(Tory Burch)



Hi/Low hems




Patent leather

Printed Pants





Thigh-high boots




Think About It Thursday September 20, 2012

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Tuesday’s Tip September 18, 2012

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The Fine Line Between Confidence and Arrogance September 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:06 pm



Have you ever been around someone whose confidence is bordering on arrogance?  I’m not talking cocky, as in athletic prowess, or secure, as in at peace with themself, I’m talking a plain ole know-it-all.


I recently enjoyed a spontaneous and fun dinner with my friend Karen during which we discussed the difference between confidence with arrogance.  What is the distinction, and how can we make sure we remain proud of ourselves but not full of ourselves?


Webster defines confidence as a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances: the quality or state of being certain.”  On the other hand, arrogance is defined as “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.”  When looking at them that way, it’s easy to see the difference.  Or is it?


In short, arrogant people are what I like to call “braggy.”  If you ask my daughter, she’ll tell you it’s one of three things I detest (the others being sneaky and phony.)  Arrogant people think they are perfect and better than anyone else, they rarely apologize or admit defeat, and they are surprisingly equally disliked and admired.  People look up to them because they are often successful, but once they are faced with any type of adversity, they don’t know how to handle it.  “This can’t be happening to me, I’m perfect!”  And, even though they are sometimes likable they are more often not well-liked because they are…well…arrogant!


Perhaps actress Angie Harmon said it best recently in “Good Housekeeping” magazine:  “I tell my kids everybody needs to be respected.  There is no one on this planet who is better than they are and they aren’t better than anybody else.”  This, mind you, from a stunning-former model-successful actress who’s married to a former NFL star.  If anyone could be arrogant, it’s Angie Harmon!  How refreshing to know she’s the furthest thing from it and is raising her kids that way too.


I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence growing up, which is one reason I made it my goal to raise a daughter who is self-confident.  Since day 1, my mantra to Kristen has been “Believe in yourself.”  I’m happy to report she is very confident, sometimes (I must admit) over confident, but confident nonetheless.  Every now and then she does need to be reigned in though, and I remind her that humility is as impressive and admired as confidence.


Aaahh humility.  How can we, as a society, promote being humble while at the same time encouraging independence and ambition?  Defined as “not proud or haughty,  not arrogant or assertive, unpretentious,”  being humble is not only Biblical, it’s benevolent.  Power and money tend to make even the most humble of people over-confident and ultimately arrogant.  It’s almost inevitable, but as Abraham Lincoln said, “nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”


One of my favorite bloggers, Gretchen Rubin of “The Happiness Project,” recently wrote about something similar, something she calls “oppositional conversational style.”  This, Rubin describes, consists of conversations with someone who disagrees with and corrects whatever you say.  You know the type, you say the sky is blue, they’ll say it’s green.  Conversations with these OCS sufferers, who tend to be arrogant by the way, are draining, unpleasant, and annoying.  They don’t listen, they’re always right, and by mid-conversation, you really don’t care!


In the end, arrogance is often not the result of over-confidence, but rather a deep-rooted lack thereof.  Know-it-alls often times are hurting inside and make up for that hurt by being overbearing.  They know it and it ultimately catches up with them.  They let others down and even themselves, and according to Oprah Winfrey, “there is no greater disappointment than the disappointment in oneself.”  Ouch.


Maybe it, like so many things, just comes down to being happy with yourself.  Confident people don’t have to be everything.  They’re convinced they are where they’re supposed to be and are satisfied with their lot in life.  It doesn’t mean they don’t try to meet goals or achieve great things, they just don’t have the need for constant approval and admiration.  They don’t need to prove anything and they generally aren’t the jealous types.  They are, quite simply, content.  I’m confident if more people were honest, that is what we’d all like to accomplish.  Let’s start today.


“The only cure to envy is happiness, but the difficulty is that envy is a terrible obstacle to happiness.”  Bertrand Russell.


Never Forget September 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:57 pm


I remember logging onto my computer that morning and seeing a headline under the “news stories” section asking “Accident or Terrorism?”  It wouldn’t be long before we all knew it was no accident.


I remember calling Smitty at his office and him immediately coming home.


I remember watching TV news reports with him all day and all night and the horror and helplessness we both felt.


I remember the utter fear I felt when the Pentagon was hit.  I thought, “they’re attacking everywhere and Austin could very well be in their sights.”


I remember seeing the second plane hit the WorldTradeCenter and feeling sick to my stomach.  When both towers collapsed onto themselves, I remember actually crying.


I remember all the people in New York City talking to TV cameras and posting photos of their loved ones, begging someone to tell them they were okay.


I remember hearing the company name “Cantor-Fitzgerald” again and again.  I had never heard of it before, but now 11 years later, I still remember it.


I remember being amazed that even ESPN was covering only the horrific events unfolding.


I remember Kristen getting off the bus that afternoon and I asked her if she’d heard anything in school.  She said something about “bad guys in New York.”


I remember President Bush standing with volunteers and blaring into that bull-horn.


I remember firefighters draping that giant flag on the Pentagon.


I remember being so very grateful that Smitty was not traveling that week.


I remember hearing the Alan Jackson song for the first time.


I remember changing my Fall-themed flag outside my house to a generic stars and stripes one.  It wasn’t the American flag, but it was close enough.


I remember buying a newspaper on 9/12 at a gas station not really near my home.  I’m not sure why I went there to buy it, but to this day, every time I pass it I think of 9/11.


I distinctly remember certain photo images:  the firefighter in the WTC stairwell, the skeleton frame of the WTC standing among the ruins, people dashing into buildings as the towers fell, filling Manhattan with a cloud of dust.


I remember the video of Andy Card whispering in President Bush’s ear while he read to Florida school children.


I remember embassies around the world creating memorials and tributes on our behalf.


When I think back to September 11, 2001 I also think of the fireman I had in my house all day.  He did contracting on the side and had been scheduled to replace my kitchen backsplash that day.  All day I kept telling him to go home to his family but he insisted he wanted to stay, that doing the work gave him something to do amidst all the dismay.  I will never, ever forget what he said when the second tower fell.  He looked at the TV and solemnly said, “A lot of firemen just died.”  How prophetic that I shared the awfulness of that fateful day with a fireman and that firefighters ended up being the true heroes of the day. For many years I called him every September 11 just to see how he was.


How are we today as a country?  We are far from the united front we demonstrated following the attacks and are instead a fractured society that has somehow forgotten what happened that day and how we felt.  How exactly we felt.  I feel it every time I watch a “Friends” rerun and see a skyline shot that includes the TwinTowers.  I have a Barbie book in my classroom that I keep safe and out of three-year-old hands because the “Business Barbie” page includes a photo of the WorldTradeCenter.


Where you were on 9/11/01?  Have the 11 years that have passed changed your opinion of things?  Why?  How?  My hope is that all of you will take a moment today to remember your thoughts of that day and the days that followed.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be truly the UNITED States again?   Mostly, let’s all consider and respect the nearly 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives and the cherished family members they left behind.  It’s all something we should never, ever forget.




Sunday Scripture September 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:36 pm


“God, please give me the courage and strength to be full of the spirit of joy and hope.  Help me put emphasis on the positive.  Give me the grace to interpret all of reality through the basic attitudes of trust and hope.”


Friday Funny September 7, 2012

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“Generation Now” Becoming “Generation Wait” September 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:32 pm

Our daughter Kristen was home over the Labor Day weekend, and I gotta tell you, she’s not finding her sophomore year in college quite as exciting as her freshman year.  Seems she is very time constrained and stressed between challenging classes, a prestigious internship, and a busy social life.  Hmmmm…looks like the real world is setting in and she’s growing up to meet its demands.


In between enjoying my few precious days with her, I read two timely articles that really hit home.  One focused on the growing number of unemployed college graduates while the other one reported the attitudes of those who are employed.  Neither was encouraging.


A recent Associated Press article based on a study by the Center for Labor Market Studies and NortheasternUniversity found that last year about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were either jobless or underemployed in jobs not proportionate with their field of study.  About half of that 1.5 million are in jobs that don’t even require a college degree.  What’s equally scary is that the number of underemployed increased from the previous year and the 53.6 percent is the highest it’s been in at least 11 years.



On the flip-side, it seems employers are finding this age of workers more needy yet less accepting.  The “Wall Street Journal” recently reported that more and more companies are bending over backwards to meet the demands of Generation Y workers…or as I like to call them, “Generation Now,” as in I want it now!   Companies are trying to make the work place more fun and are guaranteeing promotions after as little as one year.  As Esther Cepeda of “The Washington Post” points out though, this is the generation that grew up in an “everyone gets a trophy” society and a “we’re all winners and deserve everything” mentality.  These are the kids who grew up with flat screens in their bedrooms, smart phones in their designer hand-bags, and cable TV on every screen. Their parents drove them to games and recitals all over town and often to other states and they made sure they had every little thing they needed.  They are a coddled and self-entitled bunch and they will make up more than 40 percent of our nation’s workforce by 2020.  Yikes!  They don’t, however, want anything to do with paying their dues at a company or working their way up.  Nope, they want paid vacation, stock options, cell phones, company cars, and tons of flexibility.  They want it all and they want it their way.  In fact, a 2011 survey by Cisco found that 56 percent of 21-to-29-year-olds surveyed would turn down a job offer if they were told they couldn’t go on social media during the work hours.  What?!




Possessing big dreams and high self esteem is one thing, expecting something for nothing is another.  In the new book “Generation on a Tightrope:  A Portrait of Today’s College Student,” authors Arthur Levine and Diane Dean found that 45 percent of undergraduates have taken remedial courses yet 60 percent of students think their grades undervalue the quality of their work.  Again, these are the kids who always made the team regardless of skill and were constantly awarded for mediocrity.  Why are we surprised that they, as employees and students, expect to be indulged and protected?


Finally, there’s the issue of “Boomerang Kids,” college grads who move back in with their parents due to lack of a job, lack of ambition, or lack of both.  Their numbers are increasing at an alarming rate and their presence is not only affecting mom and dad, but our country’s housing, retirement, and health care industries as well.  As former Texas congressman Dick Armey said, “It used to be that the American dream was owning your own home.  Now it’s getting kids out of the home you own.”  If you asked those very kids though, I bet you’d find that these twenty-somethings aren’t any happier living with their ‘rents than their parents are.  Still, many, even those living on their own, continue to rely on mom and dad to help with rent, cell phone bills, or insurance payments.



So, as the parent of a college student in an expensive out-of-state university, what should I do?  First of all, I told her college is her job and that she’s expected to do well and that secondly, her internship is a class that she’s also expected to excel in even though she won’t get graded in it.  It could, after all, maybe just maybe lead to a job upon graduation…in her field!   I also want her to really take pleasure in college and all it entails:  the friends, the fun, and even the learning.  Take interesting electives, excel in your major, and expect the unexpected.  Focus more on the doing and less on the getting it done.  Prioritize.  Rest.  It’s meant to be special and literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it’s also serious stuff.  Have all the fun you want but know that life is not always about fun and what you put into college will set you up for the rest of your life.  It’s a competitive world out there and one in which today’s stresses will only make you stronger and better equipped to succeed.  After that, I’ll keep praying and keep my fingers crossed!


Sunday Scripture September 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:30 pm

“I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not evil and to give you a future of hope. 

In those days when you pray, I will listen.”  Jer 29:10-13