Beyond Words

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

Not Your College Roomie’s Tequila June 27, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:38 pm

Raise your hand if you like Tequila. Raise your hand if you’ve taken one too many Tequila shots? My guess is most of you raised your hand to the second question but not the first. You could say Tequila has a bad rap. Common complaints are it tastes horrid and it gets you really drunk. But, I recently attended a Tequila Tasting class and learned to love it and learned a lot.



Entering the class I noticed that each seat looked much like a common wine tasting event. There were stemmed glasses and a spit bucket and hors d’oeuvres were served. No shot glasses, no salt, and no limes to be found.


Tequila has grown up. The national drink of Mexico has definitely come a long way and even tony “Town and Country” magazine called it “the new Scotch” last year. T&C?! Heavens no! Si si. High-end Tequila’s refinement has it firmly on par with Scotch and Cognac.


As with anything, all Tequilas are not created equal and my guess is you’ve had some pretty lame stuff as you chased it with lime in college and woke up with one grande hangover. I personally stayed away from the stuff for years after getting sick on it in high school during Santa Fe’s Fiesta. To this day remember the pain and misery I suffered. No bueno.





During our tasting, I was somewhat surprised to learn that Tequila production is in fact highly regulated. It can only be produced in five regions of Mexico (all genuine Tequila comes from Mexico) and all levels of distilling, production, bottling, marketing, and business practices are verified and controlled by the Mexican government. The country’s esteemed Tequila Regulatory Council certifies the product with a Norma Oficial Mexican (NOM) number and label, which are printed on every approved bottle’s label. It’s important for you, the buyer, to know that all authentic tequilas will have a NOM label. If it doesn’t, back away.


Not only must Tequila be produced in only the five regions of Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, Nayarit or Michoacán, all Tequila must be made using agave of the species Tequilana Weber Blue variety. In fact, true Tequila must be made from 51 percent blue agave, produced at an authorized and designated distillery, and bottled at 40-55 percent alcohol by volume. And you thought it was just a simple icky tasting booze from Mexico!




Tequila-like spirits have been produced in Mexico from the time of the Aztecs, who made a fermented beverage from the abundant plants. In the 16th Century, Spanish conquistadors discovered its alcoholic attributes when they ran out of their favored brandy and sherry. It was long after that a man named Jose Cuervo begin distilling Tequila and Spain’s King Carlos IV granted the Cuervo family the first license to commercially make it.


It’s all about the agave, which grows in deserts and is part of the succulent family, much like yucca and aloe. The Aztecs used it for both food and medicine and the blue agave can reach up to eight-feet-tall and 12-feet-wide. It must grow for up to eight years before being harvested and for Tequila, its flower stalk is removed before the plant can blossom, which causes the stem to swell with the juice later used in the processing of Tequila.


During distilling, the fermentation of the agave’s sugars begins after cooking the plant. Through this process, many factors influence the notoriously high alcohol content of the beverage. Much like a NOM number and label, if a bottle does not say the Tequila was manufactured from 100 percent blue agave, it’s not truly a Tequila, but a “mixto,” which uses added sugars and less than 51 percent agave. You may see labels claiming “made with blue agave,” but unless it says 100 percent agave, it’s not Tequila.


I also highly recommend staying away from Mezcal, which we did taste during class. In a word, EEEWWW! It smelled bad and it tasted even worse. Only certain ones come “con gusano,” or “with worm,” and you will never see a worm in a true Tequila. The worms, which are actually larval from a moth that was found living in and possibly infesting the agave plant, results in an inferior product. Shocker.




Examples of Plata, Reposado & Anejo tequila colors



Most of us may consider a “gold” Tequila the finest, but it’s really not. Tequila can be broken down into basically five categories:


Plata Tequila, known as “blanco,” “silver” or “white,” provides the purest form of Tequila as very little aging occurs during its processing. The Tequila is clear, resembling vodka more than any shot I took in college!


Gold Tequila, also known as “joven” or “oro,” is a blanco Tequila version with added caramel color or a sugar-based syrup.


Top-of-the-line Tequilas are those that are “Reposado,” “Anejo,” and “Extra Anejo.” These fine sipping Tequilas are aged longer and done so in oak barrels. The extended aging creates enhanced flavors, increased aromas, and a golden color.


Blanco tequila is usually harsher and full of boldness while reposado and anejo versions are smoother yet more complex.


Once purchased, Tequila generally does not change color and its quality remains constant even after a bottle is opened. And, unlike wine, Tequila does not require any specific or strict storing guidelines. Again, think of it much like you would its fellow distilled spirits whiskey, rum, or vodka. Simply store it in a constant and moderate temperature with no exposure to sunlight and always properly seal the bottle.


Patron shots


So, how to drink that Tequila you just purchased? The traditional Mexican way is neat and often with a side of sangrita, a non-alcoholic sweet and spicy drink sipped alternately between sips of Tequila. In our class, we sipped the Tequila samples from what looked like short wine glasses. There are official “Tequila Glasses” you can purchase, and snifters are also popular with Tequila connoisseurs. Shot glasses are not traditional and should be reserved for college parties.


Like wine tasting and drinking, there is a Tequila sipping protocol. In a nutshell, you should pour no more than an ounce of the spirit into a tequila glass or snifter and then hold the glass from the stem (never the bowl), look at the drink’s color, and take a sniff. Swirl the tequila in the glass and look for the “string of pearls” beading down the walls of the glass and then take a sip and swish it around in your mouth. Be sure to let it travel across your tongue. You are now an official tequila sipper!


The best sipping tequila is undoubtedly any Anejo, which are often compared to cognac. They are naturally more expensive but worth every penny. Drink them at room temperature but do not add ice to them as it dilutes their fine flavor.


If you must shoot your Tequila, shoot a blanco, oro, or reposado and do it fast. Most people will lick some salt before the shot (which supposedly lessens the burn) and follow the shot by sucking on a lime wedge (which balances the flavor.) If you’re in Germany, cinnamon and an orange slice will most likely be the method. Who knew?!


Tequila is also tasty in a cocktail, including everyone’s favorite, the margarita; as well as a Mexican Martini; and the sweet and pretty Tequila Sunrise. If you’re really feeling frisky and risky, try a Vampira, basically a Bloody Mary with Tequila. Now that should wake you up in the morning!



Most experts and many a bartender will tell you to buy tequila that’s produced by a family-owned business rather than a large conglomerate. I asked our class instructor why her course made no mention of or included tastings of popular “I know my tequila” brands like Patron and Hornitos. Her answer? Marketing. Their reputations are based somewhat on massive marketing campaigns, not distinction or exceptionality.


Of all the types we tasted during class, I enjoyed El Padrino Reposado and Don Julio Anejo, but my absolute favorite was Cozul 100 Reserva Extra Anejo, which is actually clear because it is filtered through charcoal using what many consider the industry’s highest production standards. You know that distinct Tequila smell and taste? These had neither. In fact, a high-end Tequila will have a variety of tastes, including citrus, pepper, caramel, oak, chocolate, honey, and ginger. Our tasting notes varied from clean, dry, sweet, mellow, smooth, light, and warm. Other notes included “coats the mouth,” “like a scotch,” and “bourbonesque.”


It was also interesting to learn that Don Julio designed the iconic short Tequila bottle so that his guests could see each other across the table. Don Julio’s is known for its painstaking production qualities while El Padrino is Mexico’s most awarded distillery. That’s saying something and that’s why I love taking these types of classes: all the interesting things you learn. It reminded me of a fun whiskey tasting class my college girlfriends and I took in New York City or any number of wine tastings I’ve attended.


So there you have it; the 411 on all things Tequila. Even if you think you don’t like the drink, I suggest giving it a shot. Or better yet, a sip. Salud!


Shoes Every Girl Should Own June 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:41 pm

I can’t. I can’t purge or pack another thing today. In the past few days I’ve packed here, there, and everywhere; have had packers here; a photog here; potential buyers here; and I’ve had it up to HERE!  It literally never ends…


In the meantime, I need to do something that gives me joy (yes, I’ve read the book) so I’m going to sit here and write and I’m going to write about shoes. It’s a win-win!


Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit shoe-crazed. Actually I’m a lot shoe-crazed! Yesterday I cleaned and purged my closet and discovered shoes I won’t be wearing but will make someone very happy…and sassy. I analyzed nearly ever pair I own and asked myself something I recently read, “Would I buy these if I saw them in a store today?” No? Chunk ‘em. Yes? Keep ‘em.


I think shoes can either make or break an outfit and best of all, they always fit! I can go into any store or online shop and know I’m a size 9 shoe but that’s rarely the case with clothing, in which I range anywhere from Jumbo to 3 (thank you Chico’s!)


I was all set to write about summer’s hottest shoe trends, but so many of them made me say, “uh no to the n-o,” so instead am going to discuss shoes every woman’s closet should have. Enjoy!





Christian-Louboutin-Decoltissimo Sam Edleman Orella


First and foremost, but perhaps not always most practical, are pumps. Like cowboy boots though, if you invest in a good pair, you can wear them for days. Hi my name is Carla and I’m obsessed with pumps. There, I said it. I have a black pair, nude pair, red pair, brown pair, blue pair, sparkly pair, several colorful pairs, tuxedo pair, and a leopard pair. Now, I’m not saying every woman needs every one of those, but I do think a solid three-inch pump in both black and nude are wardrobe essentials. I know sky-high stilettos are all the rage, but if you can’t comfortably walk in them and look like a fool trying, save your money and invest in lower heeled ones first. And don’t be afraid to invest in an expensive brand. Pumps are timeless, will never go out of style, and you’ll wear them forever. As much as the above black Christian Louboutins are coveted by many, I’m obsessed with my nude Sam Edelman’s above. I love how the top of the foot area is cut with a simple “v” and the heel is the perfect height. I love them so much I have them in black too.




Aldo Maygan Andres Assous Jack Rogers Shelby




When a pump is not what your feet or outfit is calling for, you need look no further than a wedge. It will give you similar leg-lengthening qualities with a little more casualness or youthfulness. At least one pair in both black and nude is recommended. Younger girls can also pull-off flatforms but I prefer a classic wedge, which can be worn with anything from a pleated skirt to jeans to a simple dress and they easily go from day to night. The black ankle-strap ones above from Aldo are adorbs with their white accent and how cute are the middle ones from Andres Assous? The classic girl that I am means I also love Jack Rogers’ simple tan wedge.



If you’re a young girl or woman, flatforms like these silver ones from Aldo complement both jeans and summer dresses.



Party Shoes

Lastly in the heeled area, every girl needs at least one pair of shoes that say “The party doesn’t start till I walk in.” These can be 9-inch Loubs, floral wedges, glittery flats, or anything that makes a statement. Think party not practical and smile when you wear them!  Not comfy choosing a pair? Look no further than Manolo Blahnik’s stunning cobalt blue pumps made famous by Carrie Bradshaw, which in my mind are both the perfect party shoe and the perfect wedding shoe. Something blue anyone?

Manolo-blahnik-heels                  Aldo Whitmill               Aquazzura1

Manolo Blahnik                              Aldo                                     Aquazzura



Ivanka                    Jimmy Choo               Jimmy-Choo-Shoes-Gala

Ivanka Trump                         Jimmy Choo                           Jimmy Choo








Celine      Vince-slip-on-perforated-sneakers   Steve Madden    Toms

Slip on Sneakers

A somewhat more recent trend but one I hope never goes away is a slip-on sneaker. I’ll admit I had a hard time finding one at first that worked on my feet and returned many (thank you Nordstrom’s return fabulousness!) but once I did, I was sold. My white versions of the above black Vince slip-ons were literally comfy from the minute I put them on, and say what you will about Toms, but they make my feet happy. All slip-ons, including Celine’s above adorable plaid ones and Steve Madden’s above quilted ones are perfect for running errands, travelling, and anything else where you want to look stylish but stay comfy. In the winter they are a cold-weather version of flip-flops and yet look a little more polished than true sneakers.




Nikes            Reebok              Kate Spade for New Balance


Whether you’re a runner, a walker, a tennis player, or just want to look like one, everyone needs a good pair of sneakers. I love my Tiffany blue Nikes that were a gift and since I’m not training for any marathon or grand slam, I wear them for just about any activity. Reebok is also popular and I tried my hardest to get my hands (and feet) on a pair of the above Kate Spade “splash” version she did for New Balance, to no avail. It was recommended to me years ago to buy athletic shoes a half or even whole size bigger than your normal size and those were indeed very wise words. Run don’t walk to get a good pair of sneakers. Just do it.




Converse Sketchers Superga


Whether you give it up “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the Athleisure trend is everywhere and it’s not going away and I say “yay!” Keep it classy though and keep it groomed from head to what you wear on your toes. I never thought I could pull-off Chucks by Converse but I love my gray ones and I also love my Sketchers walkers. I know, I know, not the coolest of footwear but oh-so-comfy. If it’s coolness you long for, check out Superga, an Italian sneaker that’s been around forever.




Basic Flats

This is where I can go a little crazy. I love flats. My college girls are forever telling me to “add a little height” to my outfit, which I do when going out, but day-to-day you’ll find me in flats. Whether they are chic leather sandals, custom-made ones from Capri, or standard flip-flips, I’m all over them and think you should be too!


My “go to” flat is probably anything by Tory Burch. Yep, I’m THAT girl. I have several flip-flops and round-logoed Miller thongs, but my favorites are the tan square-logoed Millers I bought years ago but are no longer available. Sigh.


TB TB Miller 5



I also love my new pair of latex nude Vince sandals, my black two-strap and cork-soled slip-ons I found at Target, my beloved glitter Reef flip-flops and very basic but very comfy Havaianas, the now trendy cross-over Lucky Brand shoes I fell in love with last year (who knew!?), and of course my silver “handmade for me in Capri” little gems.


6       4       3 havaianas-slim-sand_grey_light_golden_m1    2       1



It doesn’t end there though. Here is my “dream team” of flats starring Valentino, Hermes, and Weitzman:

Valentino Rockstud              Hermes     Stuart Weitzman








Chanel black and cream Ferragamo Varina

Ballet Flats

Ballets are one of my favorite styles of flats and I DIE for the above Chanel and Ferragamo Varinas.  Overall, I think ballet flats are a timeless closet staple and are ideal for slipping into your bag or carry-on in case your pigs get tired of being squeezed into their heels. My favorite that come in their own little pouch are by Yosi Samra and Tieks are also popular. Genius!


I also jumped on the Tory Burch Reva bandwagon and have several like the ones below emblazoned with a giant gold or silver logo, but I really don’t find them comfortable. I lean more toward a basic ballet like the three below (Target has great ones!), but how fun are the ones with rose accents? Still not sold on a classic ballet? Then maybe consider any of the other embellished alternatives.

Yosi Samra            Reva    Anniel



Rose accents by don't know       Fashion ballets





Classic Spanish footwear, “alpargatas” as they are known in Spain, are like butter for your feet. And, if you love espadrilles as much as I do, this is your dream season as the canvas classics could very well be called the shoe of the summer. You can find your basic flat ones but also wedge ones, lace-up ones, and even chunky-heeled ones. They are oh-so comfy and stylish.


These two-toned Torys are my faves. So in love with them am I that I’m on my second pair. I also like Sole Society’s suede ones and you can’t go wrong with Soludos or Toms…of which I have many.

TorySole Society Soludos Toms



Here are some other takes on the espadrille that I like. A fun and fringed CWonder sandal, Stuart Weitzman’s simple and elegant wedge, a slip on by Ugg that’s easy going, Tory’s block-heeled beauty, and Zara’s popular lace-up version.


CWonder Tabitha           Stuart Weitzman leather         UGG


Tory Positano       Zara



If you’re looking for a bargain, look no further than Asos, which offers 2-for-1 combo packs in an assortment of colors and patterns.







Classic penny by Bass


Ever since the days of Penny Loafers, I’ve been a non-stop loyal fan of loafers.  The slip-on slide style is summer’s update to the preppy classic, which I like, but I’ll forever be a classic menswear style girl.


I tend to lean toward driving mocs and my red Tod’s are my go tos. I also have several Cole Haan versions, including these brown patent leather ones. A more recent purchase that I’m liking are red canvas Cole Haans and I hope to be purchasing these CWonder’s playful “Bee Happy” smoking ones.

Tod's1      Cole Haan1   Cole Haan canvas  Bee Happy C Wonder shoes


Bass Weejuns are classic and timeless as are Gucci’s traditional buckled ones. And how sick are Sole Society’s silver Huxleys and Gucci’s Spring 2016 embellished slip-on block-heeled gems?

Bass Weejuns Gucci       Sole Society Huxley    gucci-pearl-studded-heeled-loafers-profile






Whether you go for a chunky wedge or a celeb fave Weitzman “Nudist,” think minimalist. The key here is seeing more foot than shoe, which elongates the legs. You can never go wrong with a classic nude pump, which is the ultimate leg lengthener. Hey, if Kate Middleton can wear her LK Bennett pump so often, so can we! Don’t limit your nude shoe wardrobe to pumps though, think wedges, flats, slides, and even rain boots.

Alexandre Birman    immy-Choo-Aurora-Patent-Leather-Pumps-Nude-299_04_LRG    LK Bennett Sledge-Patent-Leather-Platform-     stuart-weitzman-nudist-

Alexandre Birman                Jimmy Choo                         LK Bennett              Stuart Weitzman



Cosid                      Emilio Luca                    Jimmy Choo Panna

      Cosid                                              Emilio Luca                                     Jimmy Choo



Sam Edelman                      Steve Madden                  Steve Madden1

    Sam Edelman                                    Steve Madden                               Steve Madden





Rain happens and you want your feet to be prepared. I’m not talking polka dots or puppy dogs (leave those for the kids); I’m talking a classic pair of black or other solid-colored rain boots. You can’t go wrong with Hunter and my quilted black Sperry’s are keepers. If you must have pattern, stick maybe to Burberry’s classic plaid. I’m aware that cowboy boots are liked by many, but with those too, keep them simple. You can go knee high or opt for a pair that looks like a regular pair of shoes. I love my ankle boots. Your goal is to keep your feet dry, not make a statement.

Hunter     Sperry mine      Burberry1       Capelli

Hunter                                        Sperry                               Burberry                             Capelli


burberry-black-check-short-rain-boots-product-1-25545958-0-086864331-normal chooka-womens-side-zip-tribal-ankle-rain-boot Henry Ferrera at WalMart seven7-at JCPenney tretorn-eva-classic-rain-boots-women-s-burgundy-front

Burberry                     Chooka                  Walmart                   JCPenney                  Tretorn



A good pair of flat and cold weather boots should also be in your closet. Ralph Lauren’s two-toned riding boots below are both stylish and safe, as are Uggs. As much as people loathe them, they work! A knee-high boot like Stuart Weitzman’s rich suede pair is super stylish but works best on long-legged and lean ladies.

Ralph Lauren        Ugg       Stuart Weitzman



Me? I also adore my red “game day” ropers and these black ones with bows on the back.


Acme      Free-shipping-2015-women-brand-designer-font-b-boots-b-font-bowtie-Women-over-the-Knee



Finally, consider buying some ankle boots with a simple heel, which add edge and flair and go with just about everything from skinny jeans to swingy skirts.


You can go more casual like these from Rag and Bone, Sole Society, and Steve Madden…


Rag and Bone        Sole Society          Steve Madden



Or glam them up like these by Valentino, River Island, and Steve Madden.

Valentino        River Island                    SMadden




So there you have it: every shoe for every girl. Remember, shop smart and have fun!












Breaking Bad….Bad Habits June 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:52 am

Glass half full




I am not happy today. I’m having to deal with things on the house we are building and am not liking what I’m hearing from the sales rep. I’m also stressed. Stressed from just having moved our daughter from Scottsdale to Dallas, stressed about purging for our upcoming move, and stressed about things that need to be tended to for a summer trip I have planned. They’re all good things but they’re stressing me out. Am thinking maybe I just need to refill my glass.


Then I read my morning “Jesus Calling” devotional that calmly reminded me to chill and leave it all in His hands and I also come across a fabulous article on titled “Breaking These 13 Bad Habits Will Make You Happier.” I was reluctant to read Travis Bradberry’s article but am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness and habits writings and recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Dan Harris’ “10 Percent Happier” book so I dove in and learned some new things that rang true and made sense.


As Bradberry logged, we all are obsessed with happiness and as I’ve blogged myself, the pursuit of it is indeed in the Declaration of Independence, but it’s not listed in the Bill of Rights. Happiness is not a right and it is fleeting, but University of California psychologists recently discovered some fascinating things on the subject.


One interesting discovery was that we all have a happiness “set point,” the place we normally reside that’s sits somewhere between extremely positive or devastatingly negative events. When we get a promotion we are very happy, but it doesn’t last forever. Same with losing a job. We may be bummed, but we take the steps needed to bounce back up.


In other words, we must work and work hard at making ourselves happy and we do that through our habits. It’s important to adopt new habits that increase positivity and also break all those bad habits that make us unhappy. Those are the focus of this blog.


I will list them here (for those of you who don’t want to read this entire thing) and then I will expound on them (for those who really care).


Habits to Break That Make Us Unhappy

Immunity to awe

Isolating yourself







Hanging around negative people

Comparing your life to those on social media

Neglecting setting goals

Giving in to fear

Leaving the present



 Fake grass1

Stop Comparing Your Life to Facebook

I’m going to start with one that I think is both prevalent and underrated: comparing your life to the lives people portray on social media. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other medium, you probably know what I’m talking about. Friends we follow tend to post glamorous destinations, beautiful family pics, updates on their brilliant and talented kids, and inspiring thoughts, but inside and at home they could but anything but full of cheer and glamour. I am guilty as charged. Every now and then I may post something that broke my heart or my spirit, but in general I post all things beautiful and bountiful. But, and I say this pretty confidently, I try not to compare my life to those I see on social media. That, my friends, is a biggie.


So big in fact, that a recent experiment conducted by The Happiness Research Institute (yes, there really is one and yes, I want to work for it!) found that participants who stayed off Facebook for a week reported significantly higher degrees of satisfaction with their lives and lower levels of sadness and loneliness than those were used Facebook. Ouch.


I think the social media habit leads naturally into both Impressing and Immunity to Awe.


The internet allows us to constantly see awe-inspiring things but it’s hard to be truly awestricken if life’s pleasures and treats are there at any given time. In abundance. Another uplifting story? Check. Did you see that gorgeous photograph? Yep. Did you copy and share or just say to yourself, “that’s cool?” Next time take make a determined and genuine effort to really be awed by whatever it was. Be uplifted, not just satisfied.


Social media lends itself to convincing us we are, well, socializing. But, we’re really not. Yes I am friends on Facebook with many I probably wouldn’t ever talk to on the phone, but “liking” a post is vastly different from sitting down for coffee or dinner with someone. Too much socializing on social media can lead to yet another bad habit: isolating yourself. I know this personally because I’ve become somewhat of a home body. I love being home and am never bored at home. Research again and again however, shows that socializing is significant for our happiness levels and that even when we don’t want to, we should force ourselves to get out there to mix and mingle. I know that when I do, I feel good.


Now the biggie: impressing. As Bradberry writes, “Trying to impress other people is a source of unhappiness because it doesn’t get to the source of what makes you happy: finding people who like you and accept you for who you are.” Sounds simple, right? Coveting things will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Once you have said item, what next? Always remember that people may like your clothes, your car, your house, and even your fancy job but that doesn’t mean they like you. Double ouch.




Don’t Be A Negative Nancy


On the flip-side, criticizing others is just as damaging to our level of happiness. We may do it to make others look bad or to make ourselves look better, but ultimately all it does is make us feel bad in a guilty and slimy sort of way. Stay away from it both privately and publicly.



So if it’s not other people’s fault that you’re unhappy, whose is it then? It’s gotta be someone’s right? It certainly can’t be my fault! This type of thought process leads us all down the fast track of Blaming and Complaining. Think about it though, when you complain about the state of your life, you’re basically saying you have no control over it, which will make you anything but happy. Grab that control and watch happiness follow.



But don’t over-control. Yes, feeling like you have control of your life can make you happier, but trying to control too much can lead to unhappiness. Think about it. You can control what time you leave for work in the morning, but you can’t control the traffic. Trying to control someone else is even riskier. Nagging will make you feel helpless and hopeless while threatening or forcing won’t make you feel good about yourself. Control what you can and be done with it.




ComplainingConstant complaining works the same way in that by doing so you basically reinforce negative beliefs and indirectly reveals that you don’t have control of what is going on. Equally bad is the fact that it also drives people away.


Because…hanging around negative people is a real downer and if you’re a constant complainer, you become that negative person. We all know them. they focus on problems not solutions and they are constantly inviting us to their pity parties…invitations you should not accept! Yes, be the kind, listening friend, but draw the line when the complaining has clearly become a habit and a detriment to someone else’s life. Instead of being the forever shoulder to cry on pal, surround yourself with people who inspire and uplift you.



When something negative happens in your life,

the first question to ask is “what does this make possible?


Don't be afraid

Remember, pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy so if you could care less about being happy, be more pessimistic. You’re sure to succeed! We can all go the way of seeing what’s wrong, not what’s right, but just don’t make it a habit. This is not always easy, I know. We see rudeness rather than the kindness all around us. Crimes get way more publicity than acts of kindness. It’s still best to concentrate on really and truly counting your blessings and acknowledging the many things you have to be grateful for. I myself have had to learn that expecting the best is almost always better than expecting the worst. I used to say I wasn’t so much a pessimist as a realist. I think I felt that way because I didn’t want to be let down or disappointed. Living that way left me nothing but icky and iffy though.  We all face life’s lows, but when we do, it’s best to own them, solve them, and move on. Even with all my angst about things I, for years, have told myself either “so what” or “it’s not as bad as I think it is” when something goes awry. Amazingly, such simple words work.



Unafraid bookMaybe you’re not over-the-top pessimistic, but you are fearful. I hear you and I’m right there with you. I’m a remarkable worrier and, as I recently blogged, I’m no fan of change. But, giving in to fear is not healthy. Fear is an oppressive idol and it’s a dangerous one. It robs us of joy, blinds us, and can literally debilitate someone. It can also lead to that aforementioned bad habit of isolation. Truth be told though, what we fear is often a product of our imagination, not real danger. Author and blogger Susie Davis wrote a fabulous book on this subject titled “Unafraid” that I highly recommend. In addition, getting in the habit of tackling and conquering our fears will not only add courage to our lives, but confidence too.



“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles,

it takes away today’s peace.”


Worry Charlie Brown

What do we so often fear? The future. But, that’s not living in the present, which experts say is paramount to increasing our levels of happiness and joy. Remind yourself that you can’t change the past and you can’t control the future so focus on living in today’s present moment. But, not just today’s good, but all of its reality, including the bad. To do this you need to accept your past as well as the uncertainty of the future. That’s where I sometimes have trouble. I don’t necessarily dwell on the past, but if I do it’s usually with the regret of how much time and effort I wasted worrying about things I really didn’t need to. I do, however, often worry about the future. My future. My family’s future. The future of this world. No pressure Carla.


Lastly, we all need to get in the habit of setting goals. Goals allow us to feel good about the future, not have anxiety about it, and working toward goals and accomplishing them gives us euphoria and self-worth. Set both challenging and sure-to-meet goals for a good balance and remember that without goals, nothing will ever change. And, I hear that’s not a bad thing…neither is refilling your glass.