Beyond Words

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

Aging Gracefully May 16, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:35 pm

Thirty years ago today I became a mother when our beautiful baby girl Kristen was born. She has been the joy of my life and my best friend. Today, she is 30. THIRTY! I still can’t believe it. Especially because I feel 40-ish so how can that be? It be. And it be-ed yesterday, as it was my birthday. Yep, Mother’s Day, my birthday, and our daughter’s birthday all in a row. Kristen was almost the best birthday present ever but opted to wait until the middle of the night to be born and have her own birth date. She’s been pretty decisive ever since.



But let’s get back to me; something I’m not crazy about as I hate attention and prefer being in the background. The worker bee. The details person. The observer not the observed. But yesterday it was my day and I woke up feeling very peaceful and very grateful. Truth be told I turned 63. It’s weird to even write or say out loud as like I said, I feel more like 43 than 63. How can it be that I’m actually closer to 80 than I am to 40?! I joke that my age group is now the crazy aunts and uncles at weddings and the age we once thought was so old. It’s also the age I forever thought my grandma was even up until the day she passed…waaaay past 63! It’s all relative though, right?



I’ve learned a lot in those 60+ years and I’m reminded of that annually as I reflect on being a mom, my own mother, another birthday, and the birth of my pride a joy a day later. It’s a lot to take in in three short days but it’s also cathartic.


One thing I know for sure is that prayer matters and prayer works. Maybe not all the time…and trust me I have a list…but we just never know. I know my mom’s undying prayers to this day have saved me many times and I’m forever grateful for them. I pay them forward by praying for my own daughter and many, many others. As actor Mark Walburg says, I stay “prayed up.”



I’ve also learned the art of simplicity. Life can be so hectic and we yet add to the craziness and chaos by adding more. And more. And even more. And yet, the wisest of wise have always valued simplicity, including Albert Einstein as noted above and Socrates who was quoted as saying “the richest man is not he who has the most but he who needs the least.” Salud Socrates and Amen Albert. As I’ve gotten older, I’m learning to adopt this mantra and strip away everything (and everyone!) who is not essential and/or meaningless.


I’ve also learned to say no. No to things and people I don’t want, need, or vice-versa. No to commitments and possessions that are unwanted or unnecessary. The more you say no, the more you have time and space for the things you truly long to say yes to. Just because someone else is doing something, going somewhere, or buying something doesn’t mean you need to. Yeah, you might could but pause on if you should. Savor what and who you really enjoy and you’ll find life a bit more fulfilling.



Speaking of filling; I seem to be filling out. Not in a bad way and not in an unhealthy way, but just what I’m guessing is normal for a woman of my age. I’m not stressed or obsessed about it though. I will continue with my exercise routine that fulfills me and try to eat healthy but don’t deprive myself of foods I love if even just occasionally. I’ll also continue my skincare routine that includes several but not a bucket-full of products and an amazing aesthetician who I swear has hands of an angel. What I don’t plan to do is get any kind of “enhancements” to my face other than my regular facials. I know there’s so much out there and I know many of you get them; they are just not for me and I beg you to stop when others see you and think “boy, she’s had a lot of work done” rather than “she is so pretty and natural.” Age gracefully my friends and embrace it.


As of today, one thing I won’t “let go” is my hair. I’m not sure if I’d be totally gray if I stopped coloring it, but I have a lot of roots that seem to be getting more and more pronounced. Someday yes, I’ll go gray and probably very short and sassy but for now my “natural” hair color will remain brown. Shhhhh!


That’s really what counts, right? I also think Diane von Furstenberg’s quote of “aging is an acquisition not a loss” is brilliant and I will strive to accept and appreciate my new acquisition and consider it a win.



Royal Crown May 6, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:59 pm

Nobody does it like the Brits. Pomp. Circumstance. Royalty. Coronations. Early this morning they did it all for King Charles III’s official coronation and by “early” I mean really early…4 a.m. my time. And yes, I was up and watched it all. IYKYK I’m a huge royal watcher and I watched with one eye open and a somewhat broken heart as it should have been Diana being crowned Queen and not Camilla.



As you might imagine, I wasn’t there so much for the coronation as I was there for the spectacle. Rain or shine…and there was some rain…the Brits do it right and do it big. The synchronicity of the troops and guards was amazing and I loved them all…from the mounted ones to the Beefeaters to the bands atop horses and of course to the bag pipers. It was fun to watch.


I also watched the fashion and instead of this blog being on the actual coronation and all things King and Queen, it’s a sort of best and worst dressed. In short, it was a day of casual elegance and stylish sensibility for the most part. After the fashion spectacle that was the Met Gala last week, it was actually nice to see a group of those who could royally match them crown-to-crown…only with real crowns…keep it classy.  Let’s go…



As with any event she attends, Princess Kate was hands down the best dressed. The Princess of Wales wore formal regal robes and a blue Royal Victorian Order mantel edged in scarlet over an embroidered silk dress by Alexander McQueen. She also paid tribute to her late great mother-in-law Diana with a pair of Di’s earrings and like all other royals in attendance, did not wear a tiara. Instead, she opted for a crystal and silver bullion leaf headpiece. In a word: exquisite.



Next up Princess Charlotte. How adorable was she in her little caped dress and mommy matching headdress? Well done Kate on both counts.



I also thought Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie’s daughter and Charlotte’s cousin Lady Louise Windsor looked beautiful in her Suzannah London flowy dress, as did her mom. I’m a big fan of Sophie and love her quiet yet regal polish.


If there was any trend, it was monochromatic, with many an attendee opting for the look.


Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was perfection in her head-to-toe purple and Crown Prince Federik looked very handsome as did any and all the royal men in their formal uniforms.



Crown Princess Marie Chantal also went for a head-to-toe look with this Mary Katrantzou baby blue design with a unique accent bow. Check out her purse BTW, it’s a take off of the Marcel Proust book entitled “In Search of Lost Time.” I’m not sure what, if anything, it has to do with the day’s activities but at least it matches!



Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria almost always look elegant and she stayed true-to-form in this sleek royal blue dress, pillbox hat, and matching pumps and gloves. King Gustav III accompanied his daughter.



Almost monochromatic was Queen Rania of Jordan in this mellow yellow Tamara Ralph couture dress and accompanied by a suited King Abdullah II. I’m not crazy about the whiteness of her shoes and would have preferred a shade matching her dress, but when you look like she does just about anything works.



Charles sister Princess Ann had no trouble picking out what she wore, as she had a prominent role in the crowning event. She served as the official “Gold-Stick-in-Waiting,” a prestigious position that dates back to the 15th century and one that was created to protect a monarch from harm. The accomplished equestrian rode on horseback behind her brother’s Gold State Coach and led 6,000 armed services personnel through the streets of London in procession and precision. She was the only royal to ride on horseback.



Her daughter, Zara Tindell, could have easily rode alongside her mom as she too is an accomplished equestrian, but instead she stunned in a light blue Laura Green coat dress and matching fascinator. She also wore a stunning pin of her mamma’s.



Staying true to her roots, Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan wore a beautiful purple and traditional kira and King Jigme Khesar also wore traditional attire. Both looked refined and tasteful.



Another standout was Queen Masenate Mohato Seeis of Lesotho who coordinated her elegant long gown with her husband, King Letsie III of Lesotho.



I’m not usually a fan of Princess Beatrice’s choice of fashion but I’m down with her belted fuchsia Beulah London dress and metallic headband. I also thought her choice of nude shoes and pearl clutch bag were brilliant.



Lady Helen Taylor stole my heart in this, to me, very British ensemble albeit with French sling-backs and I feel like it’s something we all could wear.



My votes for worst dressed go to Katy Perry and Princess Charlene of Monaco who both attempted the monochromatic trend but their ill-fitting tan and pink business-like suits respectively missed the mark. And Katy, please refrain from selfies while in attendance. Ugh.


That’s my take on the royal day. For now, I’m off to a Kentucky Derby party for which I’ll be sporting a festive fascinator and feeling all the royal feels as they win, place, and show at Churchill Downs. The very British Winston Churchill would feel right at home.