Beyond Words

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

Pumpkin Sighs October 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:53 pm



Happy Halloween everyone!  I say that somewhat hesitantly, not because I don’t hope you have a safe and happy Halloween, but because I am not a big fan of Halloween…at all.  I will say it’s fun to see all the cute costumes the kids at my preschool job wear, but that’s about where the fun ends for me.


First of all, I don’t like costumes and every year I dread coming up with something creative and clever for parties and work.  I also hate the fact that, for some mysterious reason, Halloween is the day so many otherwise respectable and almost always middle-aged women choose to dress sexy, slutty, or both.  Ladies, please, enough with the cleavage, short skirts, and fishnets.  If they don’t look good on you any other day of the year, they don’t look good on you on Halloween either!


Secondly, I don’t like anything scary or creepy.  I hate bugs, I don’t ever see scary movies or read scary books, and you will never, ever find me on a roller coaster.  I truly believe my heart would just stop beating if I ever had to ride a scary one or any scary ride for that matter.  Spin?  I love it!  I can do it all day and love any Tilt-a-Whirl and Dumbo and the Tea Cups at Disney World, but I am scared to death of going upside down.   Scary is not a way I ever want to feel, even by choice.


I don’t even remember loving Halloween as a child.  I can just picture those old-fashioned simple costumes with a tunic-like top and a plastic mask (my favorite was Caspar the Friendly Ghost) but other than that, the holiday simply fades into a memory bank of mine I no longer visit.


Once I had Kristen, things really didn’t change.  Oh I’d take her out Trick-or-Treating and buy costumes of her choice, but it was never an evening I looked forward to.  I don’t know what I dislike more, walking around ringing neighbors’ doorbells asking for unhealthy treats or manning the door at our house and doling out candy.  Once the teenagers start coming around, it’s lights on my porch!


Yes, I guess I’m the Halloween Scrooge.  The Great Pumpkin Pooper.  I love fall and Harvest-themed decorations but you can keep all the ghouly and gorey things.   It has nothing to do with my religious beliefs either.  I don’t consider Halloween a sacrilegious or pagan celebration; I just don’t get into it all.


Still, I hope everyone who loves today has fun and stays safe.   As for me, I’ll be waiting for you with a bowl of candy but the night will be no treat for me.  Boo!


Tuesday’s Tip

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I’m going to paraphrase one of my favorite bloggers and authors, Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, for today’s Tuesday’s Tip by reminding all of you to take memory photos.  As Gretchen said, “you think you won’t forget, but you will.  Take a photo of the most usual sights.  In the future you’ll be a lot more interested in seeing a photo of your dormroom closet or your laundromat than seeing a photo of the Louvre.”


What great advice!  I’m a avid photo taker but even I have to admit Gretchen’s advice hit home.  Don’t you know there are millions of people right now affected by Hurricane Sandy who wish they had photos of what they’ve lost?  And I’m not talking about their trips to a beach or the Empire State Building.  I’m talking about Grandpa’s recliner, a baby’s first crib, and a worn out dog bed.


Treasure and document your memories friends, and may their memories give the millions who are suffering right now comfort and hope.




The Perfect Storm October 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:23 am


I write this as Frankenstorm is bearing down on the nation’s eastern seaboard and am hoping and praying that everyone there stays safe and that Sandy doesn’t wreak too much havoc and destruction.  At the same time, I personally am in the middle of my very own storm:  the perfect storm of technology break-downs.


They say you can judge a person’s true character by how they handle adversity.  I don’t know if I passed any character test this past week, but I’ve certainly been subjected to some adversity.

In the span of 48 hours last week, both my laptop and desktop computers crashed and I got a new IPhone.  This, my friends, is worse than going to the dentist or doing math problems for me.  For several days I literally had no computer!  (this is why you haven’t gotten any of my blogs, which I’m so hoping you’ve been missing!)  What’s a girl to do?!  I couldn’t work, I couldn’t post, and I couldn’t email.  It was all very frustrating and enlightening at the same time.


What was life like without technology, I asked myself.  I remember working at The Frank Erwin Center many years ago and getting the first ever Apple computers.  I didn’t even want one; I loved my typewriter!  Yes, typewriter, the same kind of typewriter I used all the years I worked in TV news.  I also remember my boss Norah getting one of the first ever cell phones…for work purposes only…you remember them, those giant bricks?!  We were so excited though!   And what a momentous day it was when I got my first pager when Kristen entered Kindergarten, just in case the school needed to get a hold of me in an emergency.  A pager?  Whaaat????   It doesn’t seem that long ago, but I had to laugh and cry at the same time when Kristen, just this past summer, asked me what kind of computer I had in college.  Computer????   LOL!  The phone was still attached to the wall back then!  Since then I’ve gone through many a cell phone, albeit I’m almost always one trend away from the latest and greatest gizmo.  I may not be a techie per se, but I have become accustomed to my technology.


What’s very disturbing to me is that fact that almost everyone must use technology in some way, yet very few of us are technology savvy enough to fix, download, upgrade or integrate anything.  If society can produce all these wonderful products, why can’t they be easy to understand and work with?  I can’t tell you how frustrating it’s been just getting my new desktop up and running with all the programs I was used to.  It’s not anything fancy, yet everything that is supposedly “so easy to install” has not been!  And why do 1-800 tech support lines always refer you to their websites?  If I could get to a website I probably wouldn’t be calling for tech support!!!!  Grrrr…..   I was literally in tears on the phone today with Microsoft.  Yes, crying; blubbering crying.  I know all you Apple users will tell me to get an Apple because they are so easy, I just don’t want to have to win the lottery to do so.


In all this frustration I can say that the geeks at Best Buy’s Geek Squad have been awesome and even AT&T has been somewhat accommodating after I reminded them that karma and social media are both very powerful!   I’m still waiting on my laptop, but that has more to do with Toshiba than anything else.  Note to all you potential PC buyers:  my Toshiba laptop’s hard-drive crashed one month past its one year warranty!  Yep, I’ve had it for exactly 13 months and it died…with no warranty to be found.


So now I’m back blogging, posting and pinning, but I’m happy to report that my desk is somewhat cleaned up, recipes are filed, books are read, and stitching has been done.  It’s amazing what you can do without technology!  I don’t recommend it, but when you are given lemons, make lemonade, right?  I love reading, stitching and organizing.  Maybe it was time for a personal wake up call.  As Robin Williams said in one of my all-time favorite movies, Goodwill Hunting, “you will have bumps, but they will only remind you of the good times you haven’t been paying attention to.”


Here’s hoping my technology bumps are behind me.  I’m ready to pay attention to much more important things.


Sunday Scripture October 28, 2012

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Sunday Scripture October 21, 2012

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Choose faith!


Do the Math…at the Mall! October 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:02 pm


I’ve written before about me and my math weakness and anyone who knows me recognizes I am terrible with numbers.  Just ask my friend Ana who, this very week, ever so politely helped me figure out how much I could spend on each of my 12 students if I have $125.  She should have just said “duh Carla,” but she is too nice to do that!


In high school and college I hated Algebra, Accounting, and anything related to numbers but I Kind of understood geometry only because it made a little bit of sense to me.  I could actually see where I might use it someday in real life, even if only sparingly.  Well, thanks to a hot fall fashion trend, I may have a need and a use for geometry again!


Geometric prints are everywhere this fall, with everyone from Prada to JCrew to Target boasting plaids, abstract shapes, color block, and tiny checks on everything from capris to camis.  I’m thinking even my long-treasured stripes and diamonds qualify as math-inspired fashion.  Yay for me!  The newer mod and retro-style prints currently all the rage can be worn by anyone, just remember style in terms of your age (if you wore it the first time it was a trend, you’re too old to wear it the second time around!) and that if you’re a big girl, you should stick to big prints.   Grouping geometrics with other hot fall trends like menswear and leggings takes them one fashion step further.  Although it’s probably not a trend I’ll wholeheartedly latch on to, it’s a form of math I can buy into…literally!








I stumbled upon this trend soon after I joked with my co-worker Tammy when I told her “and you thought you’d never use geometry again in your life,” as she meticulously and professionally spaced photos onto a wall display.  I laughed as I said it, but how true it was.


I guess I do use math more than I think.  I calculate tips at restaurants (albeit in 10 percent increments!), measure while cooking, and whip out my Iphone to calculate the final cost of an item that’s marked 30 percent off.  If I was doing our check book statement when Kristen was still at home and she asked what I was doing, I’d say “math.”  I wanted her to know that even though mommy doesn’t like math, it’s something we all have to do in life.


Now I can just tell her to go to her favorite store and study all the fun geometric prints found aisle after aisle.  It’s like a math-filled field trip!   Okay, I might not go that far but I’m thrilled to know that me and math and math and I can be friends, even if not BFFs.


Happy shopping!


Seeing Is Not Believing October 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:44 pm


I recently attended the grand opening of new tennis courts in my neighborhood, which got me thinking:  “I need to update my sports sunglasses!”



I’m a glasses girl.  Even though contacts have always been popular and supposedly “boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses,” I’ve always considered glasses just another type of accessory, albeit necessary ones.   In my purse I have prescription sunglasses, prescription glasses, and reading glasses.  If I’m going on a road trip or visiting a beach, I also throw in reading sunglasses!  Thankfully glasses are now somewhat cool.  Even reading glasses.  They are trendy and stylish.  But, I’m still envious of those of you who can walk into any Nordstrom, Walgreens, or 7-11 and walk out with cute sunglasses.  Me, I have to make an appointment with my eye doctor and shell out big bucks.  Not fair!


Still, what would Sarah Palin, Tina Fey, Tom Cruise and even Jackie O be without their trademark eyewear?  Sadly though, all eyewear, not just designer duds, is expensive.  Like $400 a pair expensive.  But why?



I’ve also never understood why eye exams and glasses aren’t automatically covered by all health care plans being that those of us who need them really don’t have a choice.  It’s not like we are choosing to have bad eyesight, so why should we suffer at the cash register too?



Lesley Stahl’s recent “60 Minutes” piece on Luxottica, the world’s largest eyewear company, shed new light on the eye and sunglass industry and it was, excuse the pun, very eye opening!  In short, one company pretty much controls a huge chunk of the business of making glasses.  In fact, it is estimated that ½ a billion people around the globe are wearing the company’s frames right now.



Luxottica Group is based in Milan, Italy and was started in 1961 by Italian Leonardo Del Vecchio.  Del Vecchio was a hard-working man who was sent to an orphanage at a young age.  Today he is said to be the 8th wealthiest man in Europe but he literally started from the bottom and is truly a self-made millionaire.  You could say he is the quintessential American dream, only he’s not American.  He was smart though, and the one-time simple cobbler realized eyeglasses are necessary items, but they could also be fashion items.



In 1988 Luxottica attained the first of its many licensing deals when it signed on with designer Georgio Armani.  Today, the company manufactures frames for the likes of Chanel, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, Anne Klein, Maui Jim, Tory Burch and a host of other labels.  Yep, those Chanel sunglasses you’re sporting are not from France, but from Italy.  Your plaid Burberry shades?  They are about as English as I am.  Perhaps most alarming to me is the fact that the company’s “house brands,” brands they downright own, include Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Revo.  In fact, Ray Ban, eyewear originally designed for the U.S. Army, is now the company’s top seller. MacArthur must be rolling in his grave.



A very unique aspect about Luxottica is that its name is not found on its products and its products consist only of frames, not lenses.  But, the interesting part doesn’t stop there.  You see Luxottica doesn’t only make the frames and hold licensing contracts with top designers, the company also owns LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical and many other optic outlets.  They make them and they sell them, with very little competition. They are a manufacturing and wholesale distributor, and a retail distributor.  It gets better though, Luxottica also owns EyeMed Vision Care, the number one visions benefits company in the U.S.



So maybe with eyewear, what you see is not what you get.  You might be getting a quality made product and will more than likely shell out big bucks, but you probably see things differently now.



Wednesday’s Words of Wit & Wisdom October 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:25 pm


“The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.”

Native American wisdom


Tuesday’s Tip October 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:13 pm

I recently ordered some jewelry gifts from Stella & Dot and received them in the mail today.  In the box was a sweet note with “Tender, Loving Care Tips” for the items and I thought I’d share them (and a few of my own!) with you!


From Stella & Dot:

1.  As much as you love your jewelry, it is not meant to be worn 24-7.  It should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.

2.  Put your jewelry to bed in individual sealed plastic or other bags.  Air-tight is right to keep your jewelry tangle and tarnish-free.

3.  Keep your jewels out of water! You wouldn’t jump in the shower or pool with your favorite high heels; don’t do it with your jewels.

4.  Keep your jewels sparkling and tarnish free by cleaning them with a polishing cloth.


My Top Ten:

1.  Although it’s not the prettiest piece of furniture I own, I love my stand-up jewelry case.  It holds my costume and inexpensive necklaces, rings, and bracelets nicely organized.  It’s also handy and it’s solid.

2.  As for pricier and more treasured items, I keep them separate and “out of sight.”

3.  Travelling is a time to take extra care of and with your jewelry.  I never, ever put my it in checked luggage but instead keep it in in my carry on bag.  Once I get to a hotel, I immediately “call” one of the bathroom glasses as the place where I put my jewelry (and everyone else keeps their hands off!) as I take it off at night.  I also always put my jewelry in the room’s safe when I leave if there is one.

4.  I don’t spend a lot of money on trendy jewelry.  I love pearls and some other special items I have, but anything else I know I can find just about anywhere.

5.  I love my perfume almost as much as I love my jewelry, but I never, ever spray it on or near any jewelry I have on.

6.  If the dainty chain of a necklace is tangled, use a long straight pin to untangle the knot.

7.  Although diamonds are very hard and resistant, one diamond can scratch another so store them separately.

8.  I’m not big on mixing metals, although I know it’s considered okay to do these days. If I must, I try to at least keep the metals in the same style family.  For instance, I won’t wear my silver Indian jewelry from Santa Fe with gold but I might mix simple, trendy items together, although very rarely!

9.  Simple is best but best doesn’t always have to be real.  Even Princess Di was known for loving the fake stuff!

10.  Anyone who says “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” never had a dog!


Sunday Scripture October 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:48 pm


“Holy Spirit help me today in everything I think and do and say.”