Beyond Words

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

My Cup of Tea June 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:51 pm


So for me, nine out of the above 10 I agree with;  cold Chinese food does nothing for me.  But cold fried chicken or ice cold milk?  Now we’re talking!  I love milk and I drink it daily.  If I were Fraulein Maria, I would sing about it as one of my favorite things.

Happy things


Another one of my favorite things are those quizzes that are all over Facebook and Buzzfeed.  They have you choose colors, decades of music, how you like to wind down and other random things to “determine” what country you should live in, what your theme song is, and other fun things.  I love them!   They make me happy.


Happy Peanuts


When we get bogged down by the negatives in our lives, it’s important to remember the positives and the things that give us simple joy and make us smile.  It got me thinking, which is also something else I love to do.  So I thought and thought and came up with this:  the things I consider to be “My Cup of Tea,” in no particular order.  Obvious things like good health and the three Fs:  faith, family, and friends, are not included because they kinda go unsaid.  After reading it, I’d love to hear some of yours!


cup of tea

My Cup of Tea



Deep conversations


The University of Oklahoma

Play Do


Rain, particularly thunderstorms


Easter lilies


Marcona almonds



Sleeping late

Tervis Tumblers


The mountains

The beach

The smell of a new can of tennis balls

Chips and queso

“Gilmore Girls”


Hot tubs


“Words with Friends”



My annual college girls trip

Stone crab

The song “My Girl”

Fruitstripe gum


Cartier Love bracelets




Rosebud Salve

Current events

The song “Ode to Joy”

OU Mom’s Weekend

Ugg Boots

Toms shoes

Lip balm

Adirondack chairs

The Chrysler Building in NYC


Votivo Red Currant candles

The smell of rubbing alcohol

The smell of gasoline


Lantern style light fixtures

“The Sound of Music”



Book stores

Stripes, checks and plaid



Road trips


Lazy days

Board games

Swedish Fish and most gummy candy

Beyonce’s “Halo”



Sinking a long putt

Fields of bluebonnets

Cowboy boots


Geico’s camel “hump day” commercial

Coco Mademoiselle and David Yurman perfume


Hot stone massages

“Seinfeld,” “Friends” and “Will and Grace” reruns

“College Gameday”

“Good will Hunting”

“Sex and the City”

“Legally Blonde”

“Hope Floats”

Kendra Scott jewelry

George Strait’s “This Is Where the Cowboy Rides Away”

Vanilla Suede Scentsy

MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check enamelware

Mary Kay “Toffee”lipstick

Chanel lip gloss





Baby’s  Breath

Peanut butter

Team mascots

Princess Diana

Christmas lights

Winnie the Pooh


Order and organization

Oxford shirts

Lettuce wraps


Wild flowers

The Seed Sower


New Mexico chile

Ping pong

Water volleyball

A great steak



Petit Fors

Dinner at a really nice restaurant


Tim Tebow

Kevin Costner

Rubber ducks

Reading the paper

Crayons and coloring books

Chicken salad


My IPhone

This blog

Saints Francis, Jude, Ann, and Therese

Black, white and khaki clothing


Tiffany blue







Tuesday Tip: Bringing Home Baby June 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:36 pm



Happy Birthday Kristen!


Well, not really but yesterday, June 9, was supposed to be her birthday. It was my “due date” during my pregnancy and I heard the date non-stop for nearly nine months. Isn’t it funny how, 21 years later, June 9 is still a date that stands out to me? It always makes me think of Kristen as a little baby and ironically I just had coffee with my friend Kathy, in town from Florida, who I haven’t seen since…Kristen was that little baby we called “glow worm.”


Do you know someone who has recently welcomed a new bundle of joy to their life? Are you wondering what to take them or how to help them? In keeping with the fact that I wrote yesterday’s blog a day late, I’m doing it again today! In honor of my June 9 due date, here are some Tuesday Tips on how to help someone who just had a baby.


When to Visit and For How Long
First off, always call before planning to visit the new parents and avoid the desire to just drop in. During the first several weeks of having a new baby, 15 minute stays are the perfect length of time to stay, but as the post-baby weeks grow in length, so can your visit lengths as this is the time when long-term helpers and family members have probably gone back home, people have stopped coming by, and spouses have returned to work.


Wash your hands immediately upon entering the home, don’t wear any perfumes or scented lotions as they are often overpowering to both baby and mom whose senses are heightened, and if you have any signs of illness, don’t go!


Something else to keep in mind when visiting a new mom and dad is that the purpose of your visit is, yes to bring a gift and see the new baby, but mostly it’s to be of help. This is the time to do a chore without being asked.  Cook a meal or clean up a mess.  Load or unload the dishwasher. Sweep the kitchen floor. Fold clothes. Take out the trash. Scrub the toilet while using the bathroom.


Equally important is to always acknowledge the new baby’s siblings. Bring them a special treat and greet them right away. But, don’t bring your kids along unless they can independently and quietly entertain the baby’s siblings while you visit with and help out mom.


Generations hands


The Out of Town Guest
First of all, never invite yourself but if you are invited, offer to stay at a hotel.  Chances are you will be welcomed to stay at the home, but leave the hotel option open.


Once in the home, it’s your job to be the new parents’ personal assistant. Drive them to appointments. Run errands. Pick up prescriptions. Babysit siblings. Cook. Clean. Do laundry. Everything! Remember that having a houseful of visitors, regardless of how close you are to them, can be overwhelming so try your hardest to do things independently. The less you ask things like “where are the garbage bags” and “what time does Suzie get out of school,” the better.


Nighttime is a the perfect yet often overlooked opportunity to help. Offer to stay up late with the baby while mom and dad catch some much-needed rest and after night-time feedings, volunteer to burp the baby and put him/her to bed.


Finally, don’t forget outside chores. Lawns still need to be mowed, weeds still need to be pulled, leaves still need to raked, and snow still needs to be shoveled when a new baby arrives.


If you live out-of-town and can’t manage a visit, the best gift is that of paying for services such as housecleaning, yard work, diaper service, food service, and even gift cards.




Other Ways to Help
Anyone who’s had a baby knows the joy of having quiet time either just with the baby or while the baby sleeps. If there are older siblings you feel comfortable with, take them somewhere on an outing. Offer to walk the dog or scoop the poop. Run errands for the new parents like school drop-offs or grocery store shopping. If you are on your way to buy your groceries, call and ask “what can I get you while I’m there?”


Help out anywhere you can but don’t give advice unless asked and keep in mind that parenting techniques and philosophies could very likely have changed since you had a baby, especially if you are a generation older than the new mom.


The Gift of Food
Who doesn’t love having to not cook, right? Well, new parents rank right up there with those who love it most. But, there are some important guidelines to consider before bringing over that spaghetti or meatloaf.


First off, ask about any food allergies or dislikes and don’t take anything that needs to be eaten within the next 24 hours. Also consider cooking breakfast meals, as dinner seems to be what most friends and families drop off. Paper plates, plastic ware, and disposable cups also make great gifts to bring with a meal. Always put whatever you cook in disposable containers and attach heating instructions and a note stating the dish does not have to be returned. In the early days of baby being home, front porch drop offs are more than appropriate, just be sure to notify the family of your delivery!


If the mom is breastfeeding, consider making items that have ingredients known to promote breast milk such as oatmeal, whole grains, dark leafy greens, beans, vegetables, and nuts. At the same time, avoid those that contain herbs like peppermint and sage, which reduce breast milk production.


Most of all, new parents often just want support and love. Ask them how they’re doing and listen to their answers to get a feel for what they may really need. It most likely is simple encouragement and to be told they are doing a wonderful job.


Sunday Scripture…on Monday June 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:16 pm

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:22


I feel horrible.  Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and I failed to write my normal Sunday Scripture blog.  I’m so bummed about it that I’m writing it today…never too late for God, right?


Pentecost Sunday is one the Church’s most ancient feasts and recounts the time when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Christ had promised He would send His Holy Spirit and on Pentecost nearly 3,000 non-believers were baptized and the Apostles were granted the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.   On that day, often called the “birthday of the church,” through the descent of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s mission was completed and His promise to be with us forever was fulfilled.


I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Holy Spirit.  Every day I pray, “Holy Spirit help me today in everything I think and do and say” and I’ve passed that simple prayer onto my daughter and the young man I recently sponsored for the sacrament of confirmation.  It’s fitting, as during the Catholic confirmation process, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are studied at length and it is the sacrament during which we receive and are anointed with the same Spirit of Jesus.  Not a different Spirit or a lesser Spirit, but the same exact spirit.  Hash-tag chills.


The Gifts can be found in scripture and are considered gifts from God.  We cannot merit them and we are not entitled to them.  With the help of these gifts we are to go out into the world and proclaim the Word and our faith.  In a way, they are simple rules on how to live life.  They are:



Gifts of the Holy Spirit

(1 Cor. 12)


“Good sense”

Prevents us from being mislead

Knowing only God can make us truly happy


Helps us have God’s view of things

Helps see God even in suffering


Helps us understand church doctrines and mysteries

Helps us avoid evil

Fear of the Lord

When we see what we’re afraid to lose, we see what we really love

Fear of offending God



Gives us energy to overcome difficulties and pressure

A “holy patience”


Reverence for God and religious obligations

Inspires ministry

Saints’ intercessions are acts of piety


Instructs good judgment

Sense of trust



The Stylish & Saddest of Goodbyes June 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:48 pm




Amazing, right?  Hair stylists are our friends; sometimes almost family.  What to do then, when your hair stylist moves away?



Sadly, this has happened to me.  My stylist of more than eight years, Missy, is moving to West Texas.   Needless to say I am selfishly not thrilled about it but I am so happy for her.  She will be opening her own salon and I wish her nothing but the best.  She’s earned it, she deserves it, and I just know she’s going to “blow them away” in her new home.



Me, I’m losing not only a stylist but a trusted friend.  Missy and I have been through so much together during the last eight years.  I have her cell number.  I’m her Facebook friend.  We’ve shared it all and heard it all.  Nearly once-a-month we have gotten together to not only cut and color but almost more importantly, to listen and support.



I remember when I first stepped into Missy’s booth.  She had been referred to me by another stylist who wasn’t taking new clients so I figured she was going to be good.  The first things I noticed about her though were her numerous tattoos and her funky hair.  Hmmmm…I thought, how is this going to work out?



Everyone knows you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, and boy was I waaaay off base that first day.  I quickly learned that Missy was not only talented and fun; but smart, compassionate, sensible, and very Christian.  In short, she was the whole package:  just enough funk but plenty of faith.






Missy made me feel like a beauty queen and I looked forward to our two or so hours together every five weeks.  Regardless of what was going on in my life, she always had a way of encouraging me and making me smile.  She is one of the strongest women I know.  Ends up this unconventional looking hair stylist and classic looking suburban mom have so very much in common.  We shared many of the same struggles and dreamed many of the same dreams.  We got each other.   I’m convinced it was a God thing.



Tomorrow Missy leaves for her new adventures and encourages me to always do the same.  In the meantime, I am now in search of a new hair stylist.  If anyone can recommend someone, please let me know.  They will have very big shoes to fill, and an even bigger heart.







Friday Funny June 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:55 pm

In light of my Facebook post of today…

“Overheard at the gym today: lady telling our trainer that she was in California and visited a “balance” class but was rudely told that, as a Texan, she probably couldn’t handle the class. She proceeded to tell her maybe not, but at least Texas can balance its budget. Then she went on to work out right next to her and killed it!”


…I thought I’d share some cute and funny workout pics.  Enjoy!


d97d16abb78c1c2d9a37e53be302b1de                    Oh dear


Exercise1             Exercise


Exercise2     e1476f0ff8167300fedce16e4474a09b


Think About It Thursday June 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:30 pm


Sometimes you have to stop waiting for tomorrow and “just do it.”


Summer Style Do’s and Don’ts June 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:36 pm



Summer is upon us, which means summer clothes and swimsuits. It’s the time for shorts, miniskirts, sun dresses and bikinis, right? Well, according to a new survey, it all depends not only on how in shape you are, but on how old you are.


If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? Wrong! Instead, if you’re over a certain age, cover up! I’m not saying no swimsuits and long pants all summer long, I’m saying, and 2,000 women surveyed said, act your age!


Two Piece or One Piece?
Let’s start with pool and beach attire. Being a full-figured girl myself, a two-piece would never “suit” me. In fact, I’m more prone to sport a skirted suit then a two-piece anything. What about you? You may work out, you may watch what you eat, and you may fit in size 6 clothing but according to those polled, if you are over age 40 you shouldn’t wear a bikini.


I tend to agree for the most part. Nothing irks me more than a pool or beach-full of women wearing bikinis that do nothing for them. Yes, they fit but unless you have abs of steel they are not flattering on you.  Legs and arms are often the easiest to tone, but bellies are a whole different beast, even if you consider yourself in shape.  By research consensus, fit does not mean you work out at the gym and attend yoga or dance classes. Fit means you teach those classes and have a six pack rather than drink one. Once you hit a certain age or have kids of a certain age, unless you have a banging body…and by that I don’t mean simply thin or surgically enhanced, a sexy and classy one-piece will be much more flattering on you. It’s time to leave the strings to the younger set.  Still wondering if you should put on that bikini if you’re a mature woman?  Here’s a tried and true test:  sit down in one.  If any of your tummy moves at all, buy a one piece.




Stop With the Crops
Crop tops are all the fashion rage right now but apparently not everyone should be wearing them. Yes, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and other stars do so, but when has anything Hollywood been considered reality? Instead, here’s what the survey said: if you’re over 35 you should put away the crop tops, short shorts, and miniskirts. Belly rings? Don’t even go there!


Again, I tend to agree. I’ve always been a big fan of Bermuda shorts, and thankfully they are staging a huge return this summer. They are a great substitute for short skirts and with heels they are a casual alternative to a pencil skirt. Paired with neutral sandals, they give the illusion of legs for miles. Save shorter shorts for the golf course, tennis court, or track.



Skirting the Issue
In general, skirts to the knee and pants above the ankle make your legs look longer. Another good fashion canon is petite women look best in skirts that hit just above the knee while taller women should wear knee length or longer.


If you do love skirts, consider these rules of thumb:


Pencil skirts define the waist and can show off a curvy figure in a good way but if you have a pear or hourglass figure think about balancing the tapered hemline with volume on top and height on your feet. Two darts in the front will also make your hips and legs look leaner


Miniskirts work best on boyish builds. You also have to be young (under 30) or have great legs to pull off a mini with class and style. The most flattering minis are slightly A-line, are not tight, and never ride up. Looser tops match best with them and think long and hard about your undergarments!  Boots and flats are your shoe best bets.


Full skirts flatter wide hips, create curves, and camouflage thicker thighs. They are best paired with a fitted top or chunky sweater. Avoid boxy tops and jackets with them. They should hit right at your knee. Anything shorter will look juvenile.


Trumpet skirts show off you backside best, which is something to embrace or something to eschew. Avoid wearing anything tucked in with them and the length should never be below the knee lest you look like a Flamenco dancer. There’s a lot going on with a trumpet skirt so keep everything else simple. Shoe-wise, save any style that ties around the ankle for other skirts.


Maxi skirts were everywhere last fall and winter, but in the right fabric, are nice summer wardrobe staples as well. Maxis aren’t only for tall women and in fact, can actually make you look taller regardless of how short you may be, just make sure the hem of the top you wear with one doesn’t hit lower than your waistline. Any of the new or one of your favorite flats work well with maxis, however pointy stilettos or super dressy shoes don’t.


Pleated skirts flatter almost every body type but be sure to choose a fabric that flows and moves. If you’re short don’t wear one shorter then knee-length. This is the skirt to bring out your stilettos for!




The Eyes Have It
To compliment your swimwear or summer attire, add a dash of fun with a playful pair of sunglasses. Keep in mind you should go for styles that are the opposite of your face shape. If you have a round or heart-shaped face, go for square frames and if you have a square or rectangle face, look for more rounded styles. You ladies with oval faces can wear any shape! This summer candy colors, oversize frames in black, and animal prints are all the rage, as are mirrored lenses in gold and metallic. Have fun with them!


Summer is the time to shed those bulky sweaters and boots and show a little skin. Just remember to do so with class and style.


To The Graduates June 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:59 pm



One of my favorite clips from the classic and still funny “Friends” TV show is when “Pomp and Circumstance” is played and Phoebe says, “Oh, the Olympics.” Known the world over as the official “graduation march,” the beloved orchestration is officially called “The Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches” and is really a series of marches composed by Sir Edward Elgar. Performed as the processional tune at virtually all high school and college graduation ceremonies, it was first played at such a ceremony at Yale University on June 28, 1905 when Professor of Music Samuel Sanford invited his friend Elgar to attend commencement and receive an honorary doctorate of music.


As the class of 2017 high school earns their diplomas, they take with them traits unique to them. Every year since 1998, Beloit College conducts an in-depth study on high school graduates and compiles its popular “Mindset List.” The list offers a look at the cultural milestones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. I thought it would be fun to share the findings.


When the incoming class of 2017 arrives on college campuses across America (and beyond) this fall, most of them will be focusing on academic majors that lead to good-paying jobs and some of them will take a few courses taught at a distant university by a professor they never meet. Parents of these incoming freshmen are hoping for four-year degree plans, but odds are it will be longer than that, with the average college graduation being five years.


Born mostly in 1995, these students will use their smart phones in class to read assignments from that day or previous days, record the class and every minute of their college experience, and text and Tweet non-stop. Many of them idolize and admire Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but wonder whether a college degree is all it’s cracked up to be.


Here then, is this year’s “Mindset List” and other interesting tidbits:


For this generation of collegians, Dean Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Jerry Garcia have always been dead.


Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend.


GM means Genetically Modified, not General Motors.


Chatting seldom involves talking.


Gaga has never been baby talk.


They have known only two presiding presidents.


PayPal has replaced a pen pal.


Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phones and Twitter accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.


The U.S. has always been trying to figure out which side to support in the Middle East.


A tablet has never been something you swallow.


Plasma has never had anything to do with a bodily fluid.


Spray paint has never legally been sold in Chicago.


Planes have never landed at Stapleton Airport in Denver.


They have never had to rely on a physical map for directions.


The Olympics have always been every two years.


Smokers in California have never been able to smoke in public places.


They have never attended a concert in a smoke-filled arena or used lighters to light the place up.


Don Shula is simply a steak house chain.


They have never really needed to go to their friend’s house so they could study together.


They have never watched a Celtics game at Boston Garden.


Washington, D.C. tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House.


The only “Cold War” and “Soviet Union” they are familiar with are from their history books.


Bottle caps have always been plastic and they have no idea what pull-top is.


They have no idea what “you sound like a broken record” means.


The original “Star Wars” is so fake.


Answering machines are so old-fashioned to them. The only know voice mail.


They have always had cable TV and remote controls.


Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.


They have no idea that Americans were held hostage in Iran but they do know the U.S. have imposed economic sanctions against Iran for their entire life.


They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television.


They have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives.


They seldom listen to the car radio.


If they miss any TV show or video, they can always watch it on YouTube or DVR.


They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”


There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.


Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.


A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.


They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future.


Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.


The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.


American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.


More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.


Amazon has never been just a river in South America.


Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.


They’ve always gone to school with a Mohammed or Abdul.


They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.


So good luck graduates. Continue to dream big, work hard, and enjoy life. Remember to do what you love and love what you do and to make not just a living, but a life.


Sunday Scripture June 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:50 pm



Yesterday St. Thomas More Catholic Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of our beloved Father Elmer’s priesthood with a glorious mass and reception. Father Elmer, formally Monsignor Elmer, retired five years ago but he will forever be special to all of us. During his sermon yesterday, he talked about all the different positions he’s held during his priesthood and that in each and every one he made a point of finding joy wherever he was. “Bloom where you are planted,” he said.


I took this to heart and was inspired by it. At a somewhat crossroads in my life myself, I will try my hardest to live by Father Elmer’s advice as well as a scripture I’ve always liked but have found hard to live by:


“I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” Phil 4:11

Things may not always be how or what I want, but I am blessed nonetheless. Accepting things as they are is often the first step. From there, I will “bloom” wherever I find myself planted and I will be still. I know that He is God.