Beyond Words

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

Model Behavior? May 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:19 pm

XOverweight barbie


Did you see the recent “People” magazine that had a size 22 supermodel on the cover? I did, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Tess Holliday is undoubtedly a gorgeous woman, as proven by this photo:

Jennifer Holliday

How about this one:



What about this one:



Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about feeling confident in your own skin, but is 5’5” and 280 pounds really something to be proud of? Again, don’t get your size 22 panties in a wad, I’m a full-figured girl myself so “skinnier is better” is not my mantra, but do I wish I was slimmer and healthier? Heck yeah and I’d put my glass house on it that most plus-size women would too! In other words, I know of what I speak…err, write.


If you didn’t see the issue, here are the deets:  29-year-old Tess Holliday has become quite the social media and fashion star by becoming, as “People” dubbed her, “the worlds’ first size 22 supermodel.” Holliday is gorgeous and has overcome a traumatic childhood that included her mother’s death and relentless bullying so the fact that she now is a confident, self-sufficient woman is both impressive and inspiring. Along the way, she’s credited with ushering in the new “body-positive” era and motivating thousands along the way. “The whole reason I do this is to show women that you can be beautiful regardless of your size,” she told “People.” I love the idea that you shouldn’t have to be a size 2 or even a size 10 to be considered beautiful, I just worry about the health issues all this self-acceptance might create.


What about Holliday’s heart? Her knees and her back? I personally know someone who recently had lap band surgery because the weight she was carrying was wreaking havoc on her body. She was too young to be in so much pain. I don’t care how gorgeous or rich you may be, overweight is just not healthy.


Would I feel differently if Holliday wasn’t a tatted up single mother? I honestly asked myself that and the answer was “no.” I firmly believe I would have these same concerns if Holliday was a happily married Christian girl who lived across the cul-de-sac from me. And actually, the more I researched for this blog, the more I had a “you go girl” feeling about Holliday. She’s proud and she’s repping. She’s also found a man who loves her.


The fact that Holliday is a heavily-booked heavy supermodel is – excuse the pun – big news and somewhat good news considering that women who wear size 14 or larger make up 67 percent of the U.S. population. I’m the first one in line to contest the “you have to be thin to be pretty” thinking so when I see someone other than a Kardashian or size 2 celebrity on the cover of any magazine I’m thrilled. Again, I just wonder how big do we want to embrace and does having models like Holliday help the issue or just put more light on the fact that America is overweight? Again, I’m torn. What are your thoughts?




Marilyn. Lovely Marilyn. What would we think of her today? The photo above looks like a “plus size” woman to me! Amen to the many celebs I admire and respect who aren’t size 2s or size 22s. Adele. Barefoot Contessa. Candace Bergen. Kate Winslet. Octavia Spencer. Amen also though to Miranda Lambert and Jennifer Hudson for getting healthy.


Okay, now the kicker. Immediately following the lengthy article on Holliday, “People” included their “Hollywood’s 10 Hottest Bodies” photo essay. Let me just say not one of them was overweight and all of them were either shirtless or scantily clad. All were in tremendous shape and health. You can’t have it both ways “People,” and apparently neither can the rest of us.


Rain, Rain Go Away May 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:20 am


They say when it rains it pours and boy has it been pouring. Buckets. Cats and dogs. In fact, it rained the whole time we were in Oklahoma for Kristen’s college graduation the week of May 4 and it pretty much hasn’t stopped since. In both Oklahoma and Texas. Today is May 23.


That first night in Oklahoma we were in Kristen’s bathroom with our pillows and blankets. My 84-year-old mom was a trooper as we huddled together and listened as warnings and watches were broadcast. I’ve always considered Austin’s meteorologists first-class, but I gotta say, those OKC weathermen are game changers and own the weather. I heard terms I’d never heard before: multi-vortex, the dreaded “rope” in a tornado, and power flashes.


Now we’ve lost a car to the rain and subsequent flooding. Yep, while driving in Norman earlier this week, Kristen’s car stalled in high water right on Main Street and is pretty much toast. Thankfully she is fine. She got out, Smitty drove to Norman to pick her up, I met them in Dallas after work, and turned around and brought her home safe and sound. This happened two days before she planned to drive home. Two days. When Smitty called the dealership where it was towed in Oklahoma City, he was told “that car was swimming when it got to us.” Ouch.


Seems we’re all swimming. Just as OU’s big commencement event at the stadium was cancelled because of severe weather, UT’s was cancelled today. Apparently the Red River Rivalry is alive and well albeit a bit wet.


As I write this, it’s pouring outside and there are tornado warnings. Toto, we’re not in Oklahoma anymore but there are still tornados. Needless to say I plan to go nowhere but bed tonight but poor Kristen has friends in from Oklahoma and Tennessee and I’m sure they’re thinking, “Great, more rain!” She’s thinking things I can’t include in this blog.


Having lived in both Oklahoma and Texas for many years, I’m familiar with severe weather, tornados and flash flooding but this is cray cray. What gives Mother Nature?


It all reminds me of a friend’s recent Facebook post about being in Seattle and understanding the reason for their incessant need for coffee: the gray, rainy weather. I feel their rain.


I know, I know: we need the rain. We need it desperately. Our lakes are thrilled. Our lawns are rejoicing. We are grateful in that sense.


But really. This much this often? The local weathermen are now telling us to take cover. Looks like we’re off to the bathroom again with our pillows and blankets. It’s all kinda raining on my parade.


A Gift From the Sea May 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:17 pm



Happy Birthday to me! As I sit here alone this rainy day, I turn to something I’ve turned to for many, many years:  Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea.” Probably my favorite book of all time, “Gift from the Sea” was a gift from a former boss in 1988 whose inscription on it reads, “To Carla on her birthday.  Inspiration for a lovely lady with a lot of success ahead.” Under the inscription are color-coded years I have subsequently read it. I wish I knew where Lori was today so I could tell her just how inspiring her gift turned out to be.


book inscription


Written by the wife of Charles Lindbergh, “Gift from the Sea” is the author’s own words on life as she refuels and recharges at her beach home. She uses the shells she finds as examples of life’s little changes and struggles. Sounds corny, but it’s anything but. Morrow Lindbergh was an amazing and complicated woman whose life was filled with yes, fame, but many challenges and hurts as well.


“Gift from the Sea” has always been one of my favorite things to give as a present to friends. I gave it to my co-worker and dear friend Karen this month and I of course gave it to Kristen for graduation in hopes that she will read it now, as she embarks on her new and exciting life, and revisit it in years to come. The book was also my Book Club’s choice this month (along with “The Aviator’s Wife,” which I also highly recommend…it’s a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life) and as we discussed it and I said I had given it to Kristen, fellow member Jan was adamant that in due time, I give her my old, highlighted, and tattered paperback version. I’d never thought of that but was so moved by the idea.


book inside


I read the book when I first got it back in 1988 and have done so again in 1997 and 2007-2009. I opened it once again today, on my birthday, in 2015. It’s one of those books that will mean something different to you each time you read it. Your life changes and the pages inside of “Gift from the Sea” change with it.


That first time I read it I was newly married, “retired” from my TV career, and starting my new PR life. I loved my new job and was loving life. “Gift from the Sea” spoke to me in that the world was my oyster and its shell was open to all possibilities.


Turn to 1997 as I read it again as a new mom. Kristen was a mere three-years-old and suddenly that ocean felt a bit intimidating so I chose to close that oyster shell ever so slightly and take care of my little girl. It was such a wonderful life. Her preschool years brought friends into my life that I’m still close with today and although I didn’t fulfill many professional dreams, I wouldn’t do anything differently. As a former neighbor told me at the time, “You will never regret choosing to raise your daughter yourself.”  How right she was.


The next time I read the book, 2007-2009, a lot was going on in my life. We’d moved to Cedar Park; Kristen was in high school, was driving, and celebrated her “Sweet 16;” and our family was travelling to great places like Cabo and Cayman. Ironically my annual college girls’ trips included the one that really solidified our group, The Cloister in Sea Island Georgia, and Nashville. How ironic that a destination on the sea was so significant for us and that today Kristen is applying for jobs in Nashville. Life was good.  But it wasn’t perfect. What life is, right?


And just like that I find myself in 2015. Kristen just graduated from college, I’m working not in the media or PR field but in a preschool, and am officially 55. Life is still good though, albeit far from perfect. I look forward to reading the chapters on accepting, adapting, finding oneself, and enjoying alone time. My nest may be empty but I refuse to allow my life to feel empty.




As I read the first chapter of “Gift from the Sea” this morning, I dove in to her take on the channeled whelk, which she uses as a representation to find inner peace and simplify your life. Amen sista! She wonders why the snail-like creature that once called the shell her home walked away from it. She notes that simplifying means asking how little, not how much, one can get by with. She writes about how her life has been determined by her background and her childhood, which I too have been doing as I’ve spent time with multiple family members at both my nephew’s wedding and my daughter’s graduation. Morrow Lindbergh longs to remain whole, balanced, and strong. So do I. She concludes that the most exhausting thing in life is being insincere; wearing a mask socially. As we age, don’t we all discover this very thing and shed our masks? I particularly loved her ceiling cobwebs metaphor in that “they soften the hard lines of the rafters as grey hairs soften the lines on a middle-age face.” Back in 1997 that line meant nothing to me.  Today, it means the world.


All of this enveloped my every hope and dream as I read the book with raindrops falling outside and hearing the beeps on my phone from birthday well-wisher. Perhaps the line I loved most was “one should lie empty, open and choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” On this birthday in 2015, I’ve come to realize what true gifts are.