Clever v Smart

What’s the difference between clever and smart?

If we dictionary it we get the following:

cleverquick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas: intelligent (Oxford Languages)

smarthaving or showing a quick-witted intelligence (Oxford Languages)

When we look at it on the surface, it appears that these are related- it appears that they are virtually the same. However, when I think about these two words, I don’t necessarily think of them the same way.

When I think of smart, I think of someone who is teachable- they can sit in a classroom, or read a book, they will absorb the knowledge and you will be able to question them about it. But I don’t necessarily know if smart equates with being able to make conclusions and think independently. My Husband is book smart- I’ve watched him study for his Master’s degrees, and I know he can read and answer test questions. However, he’s not so great at thinking outside the box, or forming new ideas. He’s not so great at making independent conclusions that haven’t been tested before.

Now, when I think of clever, I think of someone who may or may not have done well at school. They might score a high test grade, or an abysmally low one- sometimes they just can’t get what is on the page or lecture. However, people that are clever notice things that others don’t- they are able to see outside the box; they are able to take practical and learned knowledge and come to an independent conclusion about something. Clever people break ground.

I clearly think that clever and smart are not the same- that there are subtle nuances that distinguish the two, and I would use the words differently when describing people both in person and on the page.

But what about you? How do you define the words? Do you think there are differences or are these words interchangable?



I don’t own jeans.

I don’t wear jeans.

If I say this out loud, I am viewed as an outcast.

Why don’t you wear jeans?

Everybody wears jeans.

Jeans go with everything.

Why don’t you ever wear jeans?

Do you know how many times I have heard refrains such as these? Do you know how many times Stitch Fix has sent me jeans?

I don’t like jeans.

And I am made to feel like something less than because I don’t like them. And honestly, it makes me feel a little bad. And then I read a book…

And here’s the big one: I stopped wearing jeans, because they never felt right on me. Leopard is a Neutral-a really useful style guide– Erica Davies

There was Davies, a fashionista, an expert on style and fashion, telling me that it was OK to not wear jeans…


But the real question is why I needed a book to validate my feelings on on what I wear…

Having grown up with a Mother who was very into clothing, and highly critical of what I wore (along with being critical of a bunch of other things) I guess I always felt judged by what I did and didn’t wear. Being told I can’t wear something because I’m short, or because I have a big chest was emotionally deflating. To this day she will still make negative comments about my clothing. She always manages to make me feel less than. So I’ve had a negative image of myself with clothes for a very long time. Being comfortable with clothing and my body has been a long, hard battle- and I’m still not quite sure who won the battle…

But I can’t entirely blame my Mother- there is societal pressure from women to dress a certain way. Don’t dress provocatively, don’t dress like a frump. Wear sensible shoes, wear high heels. Don’t show your shoulders, don’t wear short skirts. Don’t wear stripes. Don’t wear black. Only wear black…

You get the idea…

No matter what we wear…someone will judge us…

But now I’ve reached the “I’m wearing what I want to wear” stage of my life. And maybe it took a book to make me feel OK with dressing how I want to dress, but that’s all right- at least I got there…

Until I visit my Mother anyway…

100 Things

Awhile back, one of my blog buddies wrote a post- the 100 things they love. I thought I’d take a try at this.

I try not to have too many “things”, but I find that some things make my life a little better.

  1. sweet, milky tea brewed in a teapot, served in a thick mug
  2. my desk
  3. pink gel pens
  4. my tea mug warmer
  5. Nook app for ipad
  6. ipad
  7. my postcard of Madame X and the actual painting Madam X
  8. lighted makeup mirror
  9. Jo Malone English pear and freesia
  10. pink fuzzy blanket that sits on my bed
  11. adjustable bed frame
  12. black pearl earrings
  13. silver heart on a chain necklace
  14. pink moleskin journal
  15. indoor plumbing
  16. sweet cherries
  17. brie
  18. cheeseburgers, medium rare
  19. McDonald’s French Fries
  20. mille crepe cake at Lady M bakery
  21. high tea anywhere I can get it
  22. watching a Met game at CitiField
  23. Exploring art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  24. Tulips
  25. the color pink
  26. getting a seat on the subway
  27. when a book ends perfectly
  28. discovering a perfectly made film/movie
  29. flower gardens
  30. the pile of cards my daughter has made me
  31. when I can do the New York Times crossword puzzle without errors, on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  32. planning a vacation
  33. Concerts at Carnegie Hall
  34. seeing live theater
  35. Film festivals where the director is present to talk about the work
  36. ongoing text conversations with my friends
  37. sitting with a book and a cup of tea
  38. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava
  39. brunch
  40. my planner
  41. sunrises
  42. sunsets
  43. 80s music
  44. my Longchamp purse that I bought in Paris 30 years ago
  45. finding a great quote
  46. a slice of Pizza from Joe’s
  47. air conditioning
  48. fresh flowers in my entryway
  49. the words of Jane Austen
  50. my pink, silky, flowery robe
  51. fuzzy slippers
  52. when I get all my errands done by 11am
  53. browsing the new releases on Tuesdays at Barnes and Noble
  54. long, hot bath with bubbles
  55. getting a pedicure
  56. discovering something I never saw before
  57. one of my pets snuggled on my lap or my feet
  58. when subway connections run smoothly
  59. my daughter’s smile
  60. my 32 ounce water bottle that closes tight
  61. songs that remind me of those I love
  62. Frasier reruns
  63. The Sure Thing
  64. headphones
  65. Trivial Pursuit
  66. discovering a book store when I travel
  67. old school arcade games
  68. tennis
  69. Masterpiece on PBS
  70. gorgeous clothing exhibits
  71. waking up early
  72. going to bed early
  73. walking
  74. black dresses
  75. taking photographs
  76. catching a great busker
  77. writing in the morning
  78. kittens
  79. puppies
  80. screened in porches
  81. lazy weekends at the shore with my besties
  82. hotels where breakfast is included
  83. making my bed in the morning
  84. New York City in the spring and fall
  85. anywhere but New York City in July and August
  86. shopping for a new planner
  87. organizing something in my house
  88. cozy British murder mysteries
  89. Downton Abbey
  90. touring old homes with beautiful furnishings
  91. anything by Bach
  92. Spotify
  93. Farmer’s Market
  94. taking a nap on the couch
  95. Real Simple magazine
  96. trying a new recipe
  97. getting someplace right before it gets crowded
  98. having something to look forward to
  99. having memories to look back on
  100. Waking up in the morning ready to experience the new day

A quote…

All animals are equal except some are more equal than others.

George Orwell

We can debate, discuss, or argue about the following (however- I am not going to debate discuss or argue any of it- but have at it on your own time)

  1. Why Obama chose not to codify Roe between 2009 and 2011
  2. If Trump specifically chose justices he assumed would overturn Roe
  3. If RBG should have retired during the Obama administration
  4. If “my body my choice” is applicable to both abortion and mandatory vaccines, as the answer by both sides is- “it will save lives”
  5. RBG stating that there was faulty reasoning in Roe, and it should have been based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution
  6. How members of certain religions feel that there rights to religious freedom have been trampled upon

What we really can’t discuss is that women in 22 states will not be treated equally with women in 28 states. There is no more equality for women, even amongst ourselves.

What Inspired me: 6/26/22

  1. I was surprised to see WordPress as an answer in Wednesday’s New York Times crossword puzzle- but an easy answer to get
  2. Reading books by LGBTQ+, Black, LatinX, Asian, and whatever authors should not be confined to a “month” or a “day”. Don’t read because you are “supposed” to- read because there’s great literature out there. We should honor all people every single day of the year.
  3. I am done with the Medieval Galleries at the Met- but not the Cloisters…need to head up there this summer
  4. Water Memories is a very interesting exhibit- it’s small but has a nice mix of art and artifacts.

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 6/25/22

I am grateful that I am a Mother. I am more grateful that I had the ability to choose whether or not I would become a Mother.

My prompt for this week is Simple/Simplicity. Here’s how it was used in the books that I am reading:

  1. We can all take actions to minimize our environmental impact, many of which are simple and would collectively make a big difference. Charles Wheelen
  2. The simplest solution is usually correct. Nina de Gramont
  3. What these management consultants with their calculators and spreadsheets will never work out is that the library is about so much more than simply books. Freya Sampson
  4. It has been Byron’s observation that remote sensing, obtaining information about locations without physically being there, is a heck of a lot simpler than gaining understanding of another human being, even when they are right there in the same room with you. Charmaine Wilkerson
  5. I wanted his imagination to run with that, puzzling out different scenarios, each one more outrageous than the last, so when I finally told him, the simplicity of it would be irresistible. Julie Clark
  6. But it’s not that simple, is it? Kazuo Ishiguro
  7. If anything, he wanted a very simple life filled with nature, books, and perhaps a few children. Min Jin lee
  8. Ask open ended questions, not something that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Rob Walker
  9. Simplicity is subtle, so the joy found in it can sneak up on you. Melissa Michaels

How I’m going to look at simplicity this week:

  1. Is simplicity so subtle that we underestimate it?
  2. Why do some think simple is bad?
  3. Are the greatest pleasures in life the simplest?
  4. #2- are the simplest solutions the most correct?
  5. Do we make things more complicated than they need be?
  6. Is anything really simple?
The Poems of Our Climate
by Wallace Stevens

Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations — one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.


Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.


There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

My Month in Books and Movies: June 2022

BookAuthorGenreBeach read/book club/personal introspection/how toRating
Black CakeCharmaine Wilkersonfiction/women’s fiction/relationships/family/resilience/friendshipBook club/Beach read1
Iona Iverson’s Rules for CommutingClare Pooleyfiction/light/intertwined stories/friendshipBeach Read2
Klara and the SunKazuo Ishigurosci fi/dystopianBook Club3
A woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII’s Most Dangerous SpySonia Purnellnon fiction/female spy during WWIIBook Club4
Minimalista: Your Step by Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe and LifeShira Gillhow tohow to5
The Candy HouseJennifer Eganliterary fiction/interconnected people/slight dystopianBook Club6
We came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap YearCharles Wheelannon fiction/memoir/travel journalBeach Read7
Nora Goes Off ScriptAnnabel Monaghanfiction/women’s fiction/rom comBeach Read8
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickensfiction/classics/coming of age/moralisticbook club9
Olga Dies DreamingXochitl Gonzalezfiction/political/women’s fictionbeach read10
The Messy Lives of Book PeoplePhaedra Patrickwomen’s fiction/finding your voice/relationshipsbeach read11
This Time TomorrowEmma Straubfiction/women’s fiction/time travel/findind oneselfbeach read12
Out of the Clear Blue SkyKristan Higginswomen’s fiction/light/divorce/relationshipsbeach read13
Minus MeMameve Medwedwoman’s fiction/marriage/infertility/illness/relationships/beach read14
Beautiful CountryQian Julie Wangmemoir/coming of age/immigrationbook club15
Mindful Thoughts at home: Finding Heart in the HomeKate Peersnon fiction/mindfulness/homehow to16
The Tea House on Mulberry StreetSharon Owensfiction/women’s fiction/light/intertwined stories Beach Read17
Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other CloseAminatour Sow & Ann Friedmannon fiction/friendship/relationshipshow to18
Group TherapyBB Eastonfiction/light/rom com/beach read19
Some of these books were rereads, or really, skims. I did not read all of these cover to cover this month- I just finished them in June. However, as I had a trying month, I did manage to go through quite a few light and plucky books because my brain needed a break. When the going gets tough, LA takes to reading.
  1. Black Cake– Loved this book- it does a rare thing- it’s easy to read, but also gives many layers to think about. Beautiful story about a woman who doesn’t let anything get her down- she just keeps going. Great look at the things we give our children, and how the parent child relationship is often difficult.
  2. Iona Iverson– I loved this book. But let me preface: this is not “the great (insert country here) novel”. There are no lush descriptions or brilliant dialogue, no literary tricks. It’s fairly predictable as to what’s going to happen. It’s just a simple story about an unlikely group of friends, but I was 100% in for the ride. The characters are a bit quirky, which I like, and there wasn’t too much “bad”, so it was a fairly pleasant diversion for me. If you like a light book that really centers around friendship, give this a try.
  3. Klara– Reread for Book Club/fulfills my science fiction square on my Bingo card. I don’t like the genre, but I thought this was a thoughtful and introspective read about what the future holds as far as friends, and what we consider friends
  4. A Woman of No Importance– Reread for book club/fills my book about a spy square for Bingo card. Brilliant story about an unsung hero, who is greatly responsible for how WWII played out. If you want to read about a strong woman- look no further. My book club did wonder about how true some of these exploits were however, because it seemed too much at times.
  5. Minimalista- If you are a fan of the organizing/minimalist genre, this book is same old same old. Though it’s written in a pleasing style, I didn’t learn any new tricks. However, the style of this book is awesome. Gill does a great job of summarizing and highlighting the take aways. The book itself is written in an organized and minimalist style, so I feel very confident listening to her as a authority on the subject.
  6. Candy House– There are some wonderful sentences in this book, with some really inspiring ideas. Egan knows how to write. However, this book is sort of six degrees of separation- she might write a chapter about a character, but then we only sparsely see that character again. There are so many characters, and I sort of forgot the back story to some of them- which means that I was lost sometimes as to both the character motivation, and the motivation of the author. Because of its odd lay out, it’s a stretch to call it a novel. However- as flawed as this book is, I still found certain parts extremely intriguing and thought provoking. But- I do have a hard time recommending it, because I know much of it seems inconsequential.
  7. We Came, We Saw, We Left– Two parents and three teens take nine months off and explore the world. I admit I enjoyed this book vicariously: while I reveled in the adventures that the family had, I know that there is no way I could do a trip like this. 1) lack of reliable plumbing 2) bugs 3) carrying my belongings on my back. But this is a breezy read about the amazing places they saw, and what it’s like to be with your family 24/7 for nine months. My only issue is there are a few pop culture references gone awry- I don’t care about grammar errors- but please don’t start to get facts wrong. I have an issue with the fact that facts are now loosely interpreted. I did email the author about the first error I caught, but after that I decided if he didn’t care, why should I. But- I’m glad my daughter isn’t learning from him. This book fulfills the BN monthly pick spot on my Bingo card.
  8. Nora Goes Off Script– For the record, this is a light book, and as I stated about something else, this is not brilliantly written nor thought provoking. It’s just a simple, slightly unbelievable story about a woman trying to rebound after a lousy marriage. I liked the main characters, it moved quickly, and it had a sort of quirky charm. This was a perfectly nice light, fluffy read .
  9. Great Expectations– I don’t love this book- I think it’s too long, too many words and chapters. However- the writing is beautiful. The bones of the story hold up. It just takes too long to get to the very satisfying last few chapters.
  10. Olga Dies Dreaming– This is not a bad book. However, it takes itself way too seriously. It tries to be political and anti establishment and is full of messages, but at the end of the day it’s a story about a cold, narcissistic, manipulative Mother and the emotional damage she does to her two children who spend their lives trying to make their mother love them. If you take it as a beach read, you will probably be satisfied. If you look at it as literary fiction, be forewarned.
  11. Messy Lives– Patrick is a decent writer- however, this story mucks itself up a bit too much. Plucky heroine and her growth as a person makes sense, but there are these little gaps that make it inconsistent. The book is missing something, but I’m not quite sure what. However, if you’ve ever been 40, and feel a little lost, this is a decent read.
  12. This Time Tomorrow– 40 year old woman wakes up on the morning of her 16th birthday. The old what would you change about your life trope…This is a fairly pleasant read if you like the genre, and accept a touch of sci fi in your novels. Decently written, not too cliché, not too preachy, but fails to give a completely satisfying story. That being said, if this was my airplane book I’d be able to read until I wanted to nap or watch a movie.
  13. Clear Blue Sky– On the plus side, there is clear character growth. On the minus side, pretty much everything in this book. I did not feel for either of the two main female characters in this book- they annoyed me, as women, as mother’s, as friends. as sisters and as partners. However, I know Higgins has a huge fan base, so there are some who will like this more than I did.
  14. Minus Me– I didn’t love the main character, and I think in a light fiction novel it is imperative that you like the main character. To be fair, I also didn’t like some of the other characters in this book- too one dimensional, or too cliché. However, there are days that I need to just shut off my brain, so this book came at a good point in my weekly journey.
  15. Beautiful Country– Memoir about an undocumented young woman’s journey. While this was an interesting story, I didn’t feel that the way it was written moved me very much- it comes across a bit sterile. I needed more feeling. There are many who love this book though, so this is just my take on it.
  16. Mindful Thoughts– This is a simple premise of how to be more mindful about your day to day. While this book has nothing wrong with it, and it is uplifting, it didn’t move me the way other books of this genre have. It’s fine- but nothing special.
  17. Tea House– Read for Tea Book Club. Hmmm.. where do I start? First- this book was written in 2005, and I think it would have felt dated in 2005, much less 2022. I just couldn’t get past some of the attitudes and such. I didn’t like a lot of the characters- and there were a lot of characters. Book was a bit creepy to me.
  18. Big Friendship– This book is supposed to tell you how to maintain friendships. But I will tell you what this book doesn’t say- you can’t be a friend if you are a narcissistic, over indulged person who doesn’t have a clue how to actually put someone else’s needs in front of your own. Do you know how to be a friend? Listen. Communicate. Cut your friends some slack. It’s not about you all the time. Clearly one of the worst books of the year for me, possibly in my life time. I now know why this book had been on my TBR longer than any other book.
  19. Group Therapy– This book is a mockery of so many things- therapy, strong women being at the forefront. There are very few books I will tell you DON’T Read. This would be one of them. Just a waste of words and time. In the running for worst books I read this year.
Title GenreWhere SeenRating
Top Gun: Maverickaction/adventure/sequelTheater/AMC1
Lost IllusionsForeign (French)/period/based on La Comedie Humaine by Honore de BalzacTheater/Film Forum2
Downton Abbey: A New Eraperiod/historical fluff/sequelTheater/AMC3
Fire In The Mountainsfiction/drama/foreign (Hindi)Theater/Film Forum5
Alone Togetherfiction/dramedy/pandemicTheater/Tribeca Film Festival6
  1. Top Gun– I love the original Top Gun. I love the new Top Gun. This isn’t a deep, thinking person’s movie- this is just a plot driven by a crisis, and the story of a man searching for something. I was all in for every second of this ride. I know there are people who are not going to enjoy this, but if this type of movie is your thing- get thee to a theater now. One of the best sequels that I’ve ever seen.
  2. Lost Illusions -This is a really well done film. I have no idea how close it is to the book, but this is an engrossing tale of a young man trying to find his place/get ahead in the world. I thought the film was structured well- where we are sort of peering into his life and watching his ups and downs with him. But, it’s much wordier than most French films, so you have to either speak French or be OK with a lot of reading- plus the whole period thing…
  3. Downton– I am a huge fan of Downton, so this is another case of being all in for the ride. I love everything about Downton, and this satisfies me on all levels. But if you are not a fan, you can skip this- there’s no bells and whistles, just the continuing sage of the Family Crawley.
  4. Lightyear– Very average sequel to the Toy Story franchise. This movie lacks heart and whimsy, and the message gets lost in all the mish mosh. Unless you have a child between 5 and 10, I’d pass.
  5. Fire in the Mountains- Story of an Indian family trying to get by. Proves that dysfunctional families/relationships are universal. Subtlety shows gender gap, bureaucracy, patriarchal tendencies and superstition, which is good, however, it’s sometimes wanders a bit too much. Beautifully shot. All in all, I don’t think I’m telling anyone to run out and see this film.
  6. Alone Together– Katie Holmes directed this entrant at the Tribeca Film Festival. I call it two hours of my life that I will never get back. First off- this is a warning for people to not direct themselves in a movie- you need outside perspective as to what does and doesn’t work. Secondly, she is flat as an actress- I don’t know if I’ve ever seen less emotion. The script is dull- scenes never realize what they are supposed to be: comedy not really funny, emotions seem wooden. There are also so many incongruities- someone needs to teach her how to outline and fact check… This is definitely one of the worst films I’ve seen this year.

And Sometimes…

My Husband and I play WORDLE, and my Husband introduced my Father in Law to the game. he usually texts my husband to tell him how many turns he needed.

So one Sunday morning, where the word was, I think, psych, my Husband gets a text from his Father:

FILDo all words need vowels?

HUSBAND– What do you think the vowels are?


HUSBAND– And sometimes Y

My FIL calls my Husband- incensed. He says that neither he nor his partner have ever heard of this nonsense about Y being a vowel. He thinks my Husband is making this up. He’s yelling that I should ask my parents what the vowels are.

So I call my parents, who not only say Y, they also add that W can also be a vowel.

My FIL challenges my Husband: Name a word that uses Y as a vowel?

My Husband responds: WHY.

My FIL starts to talk: Be… Goodbye Son. Have a good day.

Hocus Focus

I decided I needed to work on improving my focus- so I when I saw an article about improving one’s focus, I jumped right into it.

At the same time I was:

  1. checking my email
  2. monitoring blog comments
  3. watching a show on HGTV
  4. Looking at my TBR to figure out what to read next
  5. petting one or both of my pets
  6. figuring out what time I needed to start dinner
  7. texting my friends and my daughter
  8. figuring out whether or not I needed a pedicure
  9. thinking about what sort of tea I should have
  10. playing a word in Words with Friends
  11. making a list about all the ways that I can improve my focus

The Nightstand

I’m going to be nosy today:

What do you keep in your nightstand?

I admit, this post was inspired by my watching Sex and the City, but for the purposes of this blog, keep the TMI rule in your mind…insert wink here…

On the surface of my nightstand I have:

  1. lamp
  2. picture of my daughter
  3. a mug that my daughter painted which holds: hand cream, sephora lip mask, and nail file
  4. coaster
  5. small wooden cat in sleeping pose
  6. diffuser bottle

I have three drawers in my nightstand:

In the top drawer:

  1. a power strip because I charge my phone and ipad overnight. I have a long cord so I can read and charge before I go to bed.
  2. box of tissues
  3. lavender room spray
  4. Carmex
  5. cough drops (ricola sugar free lemon mint)
  6. pen and notepad
  7. book light

Middle drawer”

  1. fuzzy socks
  2. moisturizing gloves
  3. foot lotion
  4. eye mask (the kind that can be cooled or heated)
  5. flashlight
  6. wooden sticks for essential oil diffuser
  7. essential oil (lavender)
  8. advil
  9. benedryl
  10. nasal spray
  11. thing that gets rough calluses off feet

bottom drawer:

  1. pajamas

Now it’s your turn: what are the things that you think are essential to keep next to your bed? Do you use a nightstand or a table? Tell me how you set up the bed area.