Beyond Words

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

Pretty or Pretty Ugly? February 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 11:21 pm

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I had planned for the subject of this blog to consist of my favorite and least favorite Academy Awards Red Carpet gowns from Monday night, but since none of the dresses really wowed me, I’m doing a full 360.  I’m not writing more about diamonds and designers, but rather on the true meaning of beauty.

 

How, you might ask, can the same woman who wrote about loving glamour and glitz really be sincere about appreciating more what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside?  Well, for starters, that woman, me, has always loved clothes but my fashion role models tend to be those who I, perhaps hopelessly, believe are as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside:  Princess Di, Audrey Hepburn, Queen Latifah, Sela Ward, Angie Harmon, and Robin Roberts, just to name a few.  Yes, I think Angelina Jolie and Beyonce are gorgeous, but I’m not sold on their genuineness and I don’t really like their style.  Jennifer Aniston has, in my opinion, impeccable style but can seem a bit flakey.  On the otherhand, I think Helen Mirren is stunning and is a fashion inspiration to all, young or old.

 

So, what or who do you regard as the epitome of beauty?  Blonde?  Brunette?  Tall?  Thin? Foreign?  Smart?  Funny?  None of the above?  All of the above?  Is someone beautiful because they’ve had “work done” to make them beautiful?  Would you consider Adele even prettier if she was thinner?  (I think she is prettier than many a thin woman!)  All good questions.  As for me, I think many of my co-workers like Ana, Melissa, and Rosemary are beautiful.  I consider Mother Teresa beautiful, as well as my mom and my husband’s Aunt Teresa.  Are any of them filthy rich and fabulously famous, forever thin and always glamorous?  No, they are simply beautiful inside and out.  Maybe Audrey Hepburn said it best:

 

Audrey happy

 

 

I agree.  A pretty face doesn’t mean a pretty heart and an ugly personality can instantly destroy a pretty face.  I’ve known many a gorgeous woman who are unfriendly or arrogant and guess what, they are not half as pretty as those whose faces light up and whose personalities light up a room.  Take Halle Barry for instance.  Gorgeous, yes, but her eyes don’t project true joy.  She always appears a little sad to me.

 

 

Still, as long as you’re famous you are sometimes considered prettier than if you weren’t famous.  Meryl Streep comes to mind.  In some cases, like say with Jessica Alba, your God-given beauty makes you more famous than your so-called talents.  Still others become rich and famous regardless of their morals or values.  I immediately think of Kim Kardashian, who I think is drop-dead gorgeous but who I don’t believe deserves the fame and wealth she’s been awarded thanks mainly to a pornographic sex tape.

 

This is the society we live in though, and sadly it’s a society my college-aged daughter and your elementary, middle, and high-school aged daughters are exposed to on a daily basis.  Your sons are also witnesses to it all, which is equally alarming.  It’s nothing new however, even the legendary Marilyn Monroe had it figured out way back when.

 

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I also like what designer Alexander Wang said, “Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.”  Indeed Mr. Wang, indeed.

 

In my days off you’ll find me in yoga pants, TOMS, and wearing little or no make-up.  I love those days!  But, I also think it’s important to clean up and dress up.  How you feel externally can often dictate how you feel internally.  Overweight or a size 2, 5’2″ or 5’10”, when one puts on something pretty they feel pretty.

 

Judity Rasband

 

And then there’s the Bible, the most trusted source of right and wrong.    1 Peter 3:3 says, “It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.  No, your beauty should come from within you – the beauty of a quiet spirit.  This beauty will never disappear and it is worth very much to God.”

 

I live to impress God, but am also guilty of guilty pleasure purchases bearing some logo or representing some trend and I have way too many shoes!   But, I love my Target sweat pants as much as I love my Tods loafers.   I also love the saying “always wear your invisible crown,” but maybe in hindsight I like this one even better:

 

Daisy crown

 

 

 

And the Oscar Goes To… February 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:17 pm

Oscar

 

Harry Winston!  What?  Harry’s not an actor or director and he sure hasn’t written a screenplay.  Nope, you’re right, he hasn’t, but what Mr. Winston has done is produce some of the most memorable Academy Awards moments ever.  You see, Harry Winston is “jeweler to the stars” and we are all sure to see many of his dazzling works of art during tonight’s telecast.

 

I have long been a big movie fan, but in recent years I have been disappointed in Hollywood’s lack of imagination, diversity, and creativity.  It seems Hollywood has run out of new ideas and it definitely has become way too political.  Shut up and act, please.  Still, I saw “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” loved them both, and will be watching Red Carpet arrivals today and into the night.  Even though I may not love or admire those involved, I enjoy and appreciate a serious dose of glamour and fashion.

 

So, instead of today’s blog being on who I want to win the Oscar or who should win the Oscar, I’m writing about those beautiful jewels you’ll see on everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Jennifer Lopez.  I’m devoting my blog to Harry Winston and Tiffany and must admit I got the idea watching one of my favorite TV shows today, CBS’s “Sunday Morning.”  I adore that show and this morning it included a feature on Harry Winston Jewelers, which I found fascinating.

 

HarryWinstonStorefront

 

So, just who is Harry Winston?  Actually, Harry Winston died in 1978, but his legend lives on.  Winston’s dad started a small jewelry business after he and Harry’s mom moved to the U.S. from Ukraine.  Young Harry worked in his dad’s store and supposedly bought a two-carat emerald stone in a pawn shop for 25 cents and sold it two days later for $800.  He was well on his way.  After acquiring and redesigning many a famous jewel, Winston opened the doors to his now famous New York City Store in 1932.  Since then, he has held or owned more of the world’s famous jewels than anyone, with the exception of those of the British crown.

 

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It’s only appropriate that Hollywood was extremely instrumental in creating the Harry Winston legend, as he revolutionized the annual Red Carpet spectacle when he loaned Best Actress winner Jennifer Jones some of his famous stones for the 1943 Oscars.  In 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” movie, Marilyn Monroe – decked out in that famous hot pink taffeta dress and dripping in diamonds – sings “Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it” in her signature song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”  Halle Barry and Gwynneth Paltrow were both wearing Winstons when they won their Oscars.  Literally, and I mean literally, Harry Winston is everywhere, as was demonstrated in 2008, when Lauren Weisberger’s chick-lit book “Chasing Harry Winston” became a bestseller.

 

Harry Winston is even somewhat connected to the top-grossing and Oscar winning “Titanic.”  As you may remember, the “Heart of the Ocean” fictional blue diamond is featured prominently in the film.  For the 1998 Academy Awards, Winston incorporated a 15-carat blue diamond into a $20 million necklace worn by nominee Gloria Stuart, who played Rose in the movie.

 

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Two other Hollywood heavyweights, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, also helped put Harry Winston on the movie star map with their Taylor-Burton diamond.  Weighing a whopping 241 carats when discovered in South Africa in 1966, the stone was purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife Elizabeth Taylor in 1969.  Winston created a 69.42 pear-shaped necklace out of it, which Taylor wore to the 1970 Oscars.   It had been previously purchased by Cartier’s Robert Kenmore for a then record $1,050,000, making it the first ever million-dollar diamond.  Burton is said to have purchased it for $1.1 million and following the couple’s infamous divorce, Taylor auctioned it off in 1978 for $5 million and used the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana.  Its estimated value today is unknown…or maybe just incalculable!

 

HOPE DIAMOND

 

Winston is perhaps most famous, however, for the legendary Hope Diamond.  The blue, 45.52 carat stone was acquired by Winston in 1949.  It was reportedly previously owned by none other than Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.  Winston donated it to the Smithsonian Institute – sending it in the U.S. Mail! – and today it is the most visited exhibit at the Washington, D.C. museum.

 

So that’s Harry Winston.  What about his NYC neighbor Tiffany, another star favorite?   Tiffany is considered America’s first great jeweler and its flagship Fifth Avenue store is not only a place to buy all things beautiful, but a tourist attraction too.

 

K at Tiffany

My daughter at Tiffany on Fifth Avenue

 

Celebrating its 175th anniversary last year, Tiffany is also closely connected to Hollywood.  Who doesn’t associate Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly with the NYC Art Deco building and sought-after jeweler?  In fact, the store’s main floor has played a pivotal role in, yes, the 1961 “Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but also 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle” starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, and Reese Witherspoon’s charming “Sweet Home Alabama” in 2002.  But, it wasn’t diamonds or emeralds that put Tiffany on the map, but rather, silver.

 

Tiffany outside

 

Charles Lewis Tiffany and John Young opened a stationery and home goods store in 1837 in New York City.  They called it “Tiffany & Co.” and later earned international recognition when they won the grand prize for silver craftsmanship at the 1867 Paris World Fair.  It was the first time Americans had done so, resulting in the Tiffany & Co. Silver Studio, America’s first ever school of design.

 

Audrey Hepburn Tiffany & Co diamond

 

In 1878 the company acquired one of the world’s largest diamonds and has never looked back.  Named the “Tiffany Diamond,” it was originally cut from 287.42 carats into 128.54 carats.  While promoting her famous film, Audrey Hepburn wore the priceless gem often.  In honor of Tiffany’s 175th anniversary, the diamond was reset and now holds a permanent place of honor on the main floor of the Fifth Avenue store.

 

Tiffany setting

 

Equally famous is the “Tiffany Setting,” considered by many as the standard in engagement rings.  Introduced by Tiffany in 1886, it was designed to lift the stone off the band to highlight it in a way the then popular bezel settings did not.  Today, it is perhaps the most sought after symbol of love the world over.

 

Historically, no jeweler ranks above Tiffany.  Vanderbilts and Astors wore Tiffany.  Abraham Lincoln bought his wife Mary Todd a Tiffany pearl necklace and FDR bought a Tiffany engagement ring in 1904.  In addition, ceremonial swords for Civil War generals were commissioned from Tiffany, as was the 1885 redesign of the Great Seal of the United States, which appears on the $1 bill.  Congressional Medals of Honor are still today created by Tiffany as is the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, presented each year to the Super Bowl winning team.  Even artist Pablo Picasso’s daughter Paloma is part of it all, currently serving as one of Tiffany’s most celebrated jewelry designers.

 

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And last, but certainly not least, what about that beloved “Tiffany Blue?”  The color was originally selected by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for the cover of the famous annual “Blue Book.”  Originally published in 1845, the book was the first ever catalog per se and included the store’s annual collection of silver and gems.  Today, every Tiffany purchase comes in a signature blue box and “Tiffany Blue” and “Tiffany Blue Box” are actually trademarked by the company.

 

So there you have it.  A little history on the gems you may see on tonight’s Academy Awards (also trademarked!) ceremony.  I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes about diamonds:  “Should we get you a diamond?” Big asks Carrie Bradshaw, to which Carrie replies,  “no, just buy me a really big closet!”   Tomorrow, I’ll discuss something right up Carrie’s West Village alley:  Oscar fashion.  Oh what fun!

 

 

 

 

Whiskey or Whisky? Bourbon or Scotch? What’s the Difference? February 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:30 pm

whiskey

 

Whiskey River take my mind
Don’t let her mem’re torture me
Whiskey River don’t run dry
You’re all I’ve got, take care of me

 

Words from Willie Nelson’s famous rendition of “Whiskey River.”  We’ve all heard the song and we all love it.  Many of you may also love whiskey, but do you really know what whiskey is?  I didn’t, but after a fun and informative “Whiskey and Cheese” class in New York City recently, I’m a little bit more, shall we say, whiskey wise.

 

My girlfriends and I weren’t sure what I signed them up for with the class, but it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.  It was set up much like a wine tasting, with several glasses of whiskey positioned in front of us along with perfectly paired cheeses.  The class was held at Murray’s Cheese in the West Village and was brilliantly led by Jon Lundbom and Jordan Zimmerman, a whiskey and cheese connoisseur, respectively.

 

The whiskeys we sampled were:

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey – which is surprisingly clear and looked more like vodka than whiskey.  It is a true American spirit distilled one batch at a time, is soft to the taste, and no sugar is added.

Glenmorangie The Original – floral and fruity Scottish barley-based Scotch

Weller Special Reserve – wheated and very smooth Bourbon and my personal favorite

Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey – straight rye 100 proof whiskey hand bottled on a former dairy farm in Vermont.  This dark amber drink is big flavored with a vanilla and caramel touch that is creamy and “huge.”

Burichladdich Rocks – single malt rye Scotch considered “challenging” by many but respected the world over.

Elijah Craig 12-Year – straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey considered the “Father of Bourbon.”  Firm, malty with a long, smoky vanilla finish.

 

When one thinks of “whiskey,” one probably doesn’t think of southern-style Bourbon or the oh-so refined Scotch.  But, when truth be told, they are both whiskeys!  So, what’s the difference between them and single and double malt?  Wheat or rye?  Barley or corn?  Whiskey or Whisky?  So many questions; so much to learn.

 

It can all get very confusing, but Jon was very good at making it somewhat simple.  In a nutshell, whiskey is a term for a type of alcoholic spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains.  (Our class was actually cleverly named “Do the Mash,” which at first reading I thought was maybe a typo!)  Corn, rye, and barley are all involved and guess what, moonshine is a form of corn whiskey!  Scotch, Rye, and Bourbon all fall into the whiskey category and the production of each one is very regimented and in some cases, historical.   In fact, the manufacture of each of these is regulated by the government of their country of origin.   Don’t mess with whiskey!

 

Flavor-wise, the various types of whiskey differ because of many things.  Scotch is often considered more on the sweet side, Bourbon almost always tastes smoky, and Rye is frequently described as spicy.  Jon also informed us that if you see “glen” in the name of a Scottish whisky, it will probably be smooth and sweet.

 

Which brings me to, what is it, “whiskey” or “whisky.”  It all depends on where the stuff came from and sometimes even where you’re buying it.  In the U.S. and Ireland, it’s “whiskey,” but in Scotland, Canada and Japan, it’s “whisky.”  Don’t ask, just go with it.

 

As with everything there are exceptions.  Bourbon is a “whiskey” because it’s from the U.S., although Maker’s Mark spells its name “whisky” because it uses a process similar to that of Scotch.  Bourbon, however, must be aged in new white oak barrels that have never been used before.  Surprisingly, Jon told us that many of the used barrels are often sent to the Caribbean to be used in the manufacturing of Rum!  So, you might ask then, why is Jack Daniels not considered Bourbon?  Because it’s filtered through maple wood charcoal before being aged in oak barrels, which is an extra step that isn’t included in making Bourbon.  Jack’s friend Jim Beam, on the other hand, is true Bourbon.

 

Totally confused yet?  Try learning all of this while drinking them!  When all else fails, simply remember this:

Scotch is barley based and from Scotland
Rye is rye based and from the U.S.
Bourbon is corn based and from the U.S.
Irish is barley based and from Ireland                                                                                                                                                                                                 Moonshine is Whiskey (okay, maybe this one isn’t so important to remember!)

 

Bourbon is actually the United States’ only true native spirit, while Scotch is a distinctive product of Scotland.  “Irish whiskey” is whiskey that is produced and manufactured in either the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland, and “Canadian whisky” is a product of Canada.

 

Now let’s look at single malt and blended whiskey.  Single malts are usually produced by blending whiskies from different barrels produced within a single distillery while “blends” are typically a mix of malt and grain whiskeys, though there are exceptions.

 

On top of that, there are two definitions of “blend” when talking whiskeys:   a mixture of two or more whiskeys bottled and sold as one whiskey, and a blended whiskey product that contains a mix of barrel-aged malt and grain whiskeys.  Keep in mind that just because a certain whiskey is labeled “single malt” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the product of a single batch or barrel.  In fact, most single malts are blends in that they’re a mixture of several whiskeys.  Bottom line:  a “single malt whiskey” is not the product of a single batch or a single barrel, but of a single distillery.

 

Many people also believe that a single-malt Scotch is not a blended whisky, but it is. Single-malt scotch is indeed a blend, but it’s a very specific type of blend.   Take for instance the wonderful single-malt Lagavulin Scotch.  It contains whiskys from many barrels but they are all whiskys produced at the company’s famous distillery.  Truth be told, nearly all whiskeys on the market today – bourbons, ryes, scotches, etc. – are blends.

 

Looking back on what I’ve written, I hope I got all this straight.  I may have taken a whiskey class but am by no means a “whiskey sommelier.”  If any of you whiskey drinkers out there read this and find some errors, please let me know!  There’s a lot to remember, but as Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

 

 

Spring Has Sprung in NYC February 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:51 pm

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I’m crazy, right? Much of the northeast, including New York City, is still digging out of the blizzard known as Nemo and another storm is on the way, but when it comes to fashion, New York is all about spring.

 

I just got back from a glorious annual girls trip with my college buddies, this year to New York City, and am happy to say we saw glimpses of the early stages of New York Fashion Week. Famous and fabulous designers from around the world were in the Big Apple to unveil their newest clothing lines during what many regard as the fashion shows to end all fashion shows. Much of what is shown is considered “Spring 2013” wear, which means it’s what you’ll see on the racks this spring.  And, as wild and crazy as they may appear on run ways, the clothes often shows up in stores across America in one form or another. They literally, set the trends.

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One of the hottest designers right now is Rachel Zoe, stylist to the stars and the subject of the popular TV show “The Rachel Zoe Project.” I’ve followed her sense of style a bit in the past, but am now a huge fan.  The super tiny and very sweet Zoe roomed right down the hall from us in New York and we ran into her often.  We shared many an elevator with her and her family and found her nothing short of friendly and lovely.  It was enough to make me want to be her next fashion “project!”

 

No such luck, but you don’t need luck to spot what’s going to be hot this spring, including:

White:

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Valentino

 

 

Bold colors and Monochromatic:

color theory-gucci

Gucci

 

 

 
Black Tie and Menswear:

black tie-lauren

Ralph Lauren

 

 

 

Bold Stripes:

stripes-Marc Jacobs

Michael Kors

 

 

 

Sparkle and Shine:

shine2-rachel zoe

Rachel Zoe

 

 

Prints:

Prints
Tory Burch

 

 

Shoe-wise, looks for these hot trends:
Aqua:

Aqua-Joan & David

Joan & David

 

 

 

Block heels:

block heel-kate spade

Kate Spade

 

 

Pop of Color:

pop of color-Stuart Weitzman

Stuart Weitzman

 

 

 

Sliver wedges:

sam edelman2

Sam Edelman

 

 

Bows and Frills:

steve madden

Steve Madden

 

Colorful flats:

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Ivanka Trump

 

 

Shine and Metallic:

shine-Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff

 

 

Pointy Toe/Bright Colors:

manolo blahnik

Manolo Blahnik

 

 

Sporty fun/Urban Athleticism:

sporty fun-kate spade

Kate Spade

 

 

Yes, the calendar says it’s still officially winter, but Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring so it’s never too early to dream or to start, right?

 

Happy shopping everyone!

 

Hugs & Kisses February 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:44 pm

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“It isn’t enough to love; we must prove it,” St. Therese of Lisieux

Today’s the day; the day men live in fear and women live in hope. Men worry they will forget it’s Valentine’s Day all together or not give her the “perfect” gift, women hope they not only remember, but remember in a big way. Women, the nurturers that we are, also love to give and every February 14 is the perfect excuse to go all out. But why does Valentine’s Day even exist, other than to make Hallmark, Godiva, and FTD happy?

 

It all goes back to a man whose name was actually Valentine. Valentine was a priest in the third century and was arrested by the Roman Emperor Claudius II for being a Christian. Valentine would not denounce his Christianity so he was thrown in jail. While in prison he fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter Julia, who would bring him flowers and notes from the village children. Valentine would reply to these notes with letters of his own, which he would sign “From Your Valentine.” He was killed on February 14, 269 but his legend of love and kindness lives on.

 

Then there’s Cupid, that somewhat creepy little diapered baby with a bow and arrow.  According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love. Interestingly enough, the Latin word “cupido” means desire.

 

And what’s up with X’s and O’s? “Hugs and kisses,” or xoxo, is a term used for expressing love, affection or good friendship at the end of a written letter (or text or email or tweet) and dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty.  A kiss was then placed on the cross by the signer as a display of their sworn oath. Since many commoners couldn’t read or write, an ‘X’ was used as their signature and a kiss was then placed upon it to show their sincerity. The “O,” on the other hand, is of North American descent and no one really seems to know how it started. Perhaps it represents a kiss-shaped mouth or open, huggable arms.

 

Finally, why do we wear our wedding rings on our left “ring” finger? Because that finger is the only one that has a vein that connects to the heart.  How heart-warming is that?!

 

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So what exactly is love? Is it the tragic attraction Romeo had for Juliet? Is it the devotion one has for their children? Love, we discover, is not only many a splendored thing, but many things.

 

The word love can be defined either as a noun, “an intense feeling of deep affection,” or as a verb, “a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.” But can’t you love some thing too? I love my husband, my daughter and my family and friends, but I also love gummy fish, lighthouses, shoes, cheese, wine, and dogs. To me, love is a total selflessness and devotion to someone or something; a passion, a commitment. You often adore something or someone you love, but in a healthy way. You would do anything for that person and you often put their needs and wants before your own. Love grows and changes though. The love of a recently married couple is different from that of one that’s been married for many years. Your love for your mom and dad is different than your love for your close and dear friends. But, it’s all love. It’s quite different than lust, however, but it’s still a very powerful feeling and is something we all earn for and crave.

 

According to Philosopher and Writer Julian Baggini, “love is not one thing. Love for parents, partners, children, country, neighbor, God and so on all have different qualities. Each has its variants – blind, one-sided, tragic, steadfast, fickle, reciprocated, misguided, and unconditional. At its best, however, all love is a kind a passionate commitment that we nurture and develop, even though it usually arrives in our lives unbidden. That’s why it is more than just a powerful feeling. Without the commitment, it is mere infatuation. Without the passion, it is mere dedication. Without nurturing, even the best can wither and die.”

 

Nurture those you love today and every day and remember, love is patient, love is kind. I love it!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

 

Sunday Scripture February 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:22 pm

One of today’s mass readings has always been a favorite of mine, 1 Corinthians 13, but I found it especially timely today. It was in our wedding and Smitty and I celebrate our 27th anniversary next week. I also had to memorize the entire verse to be initiated into my college sorority and this week I leave for my annual girls trip with my four favorite sorority sisters. Faith, hope and love…the greatest of these is love.

1 Cor 13.2

 

Living the Dream February 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:44 pm

dream3

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

Do you ever have dreams that stick with you? Do you ever dream the same thing again and again over a period of time? What do dreams really mean anyway?

I’m wondering these things because just this morning I was telling my friends Janel and Ana about my recurring Russian dream. Yep, comrades, Russian dream!

It all started because I asked them if either had seen the new TV series “The Americans” this past week. I was interested in the new show because its premise revolves around two Russian spies living in the U.S. as your basic, suburban mom and dad in the 1980s. The show was okay, didn’t love it but didn’t hate it, and it’s just one more example of the Russian in my life.

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Now back to my dream. I’ve had a certain dream off and on for years now. The details in it vary here and there, but it’s almost always about me either trying to get to Russia and can’t or I’m trying to get out of Russia and can’t. Every now and then Florida is involved. I know, crazy right?

I’ve never been to Russia and have no Russian ancestry but I have always been interested in its history. In college I was forever taking “The History Of” or “The Politics of” Russia electives. And, I would love to visit Moscow.

So that’s my dream, but my Russian connection doesn’t end there. Just recently when we were in Key West over Christmas, we took a pedi-cab and when I asked our driver where he was from he said Russia! On my annual college girls trip last year I tried on a coat and as I asked the girls if they liked it, the store owner said he has a client from Russia who bought the coat in several colors! And, a month or so ago I was driving into our neighborhood and was behind a new model Volvo. I thought to myself, “I like the new style” and then noticed a “RUS” sticker on the back!

My friends and family joke that I must have been a pre-Russian Revolution princess in my previous life. Sounds good to me but could I also maybe be either a gold medal ice skater, gymnast or Maria Sharapova-like tennis champion?! I think I’d like my name to Nastasha.

This all reminds me of one of my favorite lines in the movie “Bull Durham.” Susan Sarandon is going on and on about being someone glamorous in her former life and Kevin Costner asks “why isn’t anyone ever Joe Schmoe in their previous life?” Good question, and quite funny too!

So what could my dream really mean? Do dreams really mean anything? In his book “The Interpretation of Dreams,” the legendary Sigmund Freud said the content of dreams is related to wish fulfillment. Martin Luther King, Jr. somewhat single-handedly rewrote history just by having a dream. You dream it, you can live it sometimes.
Still, according to the psychology section of About.com, “Dreams can be mysterious, but understanding the meaning of our dreams can be downright baffling. The fact that dreams can be so rich and compelling is what causes many to believe that there must be some meaning to our dreams. While many theories exist to explain why we dream, no one yet fully understands their purpose, let alone how to interpret the meaning of dreams. In fact, some prominent researchers such as G. William Domhoff suggest that dreams most likely serve no real purpose.”

So maybe dreams don’t indicate anything life-changing or earth-shattering and maybe I wasn’t a Russian princess, but as Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” Maybe my mouse just happens to speak Russian. Dream on friends, dream on. Spasibo!