Friday, December 29, 2017

Friend's Friday - Year in Review Photos

2017 Friends and Escapes 

It has been a wonderful year with old friends, new friends, events, lunches, dinners, shopping excursions, Meetups, and days out - Escaping. Thank you all for sharing with me your friendship, kindness, spirit and good will.  

Many of you wrote articles for "Friend's Friday" and others graciously allowed yourself to be the subject of "Friend's Friday".  Many of your article have been some of the most read and viewed post. Your variety of experiences have keep the blog fresh and interesting. I cannot thank you enough and hope you will write and share more next year. Always include a photo.   

Sadly one of the year's event that I help organize was a memorial service. It was a wonderful celebration of a special person's life. We has piano music by famous artists, jazz artist, food and friends remembering. John, you would have loved it. Going into 2018, let's keep memorial services to a minimum - OK.  None will be even better. 

Coming up next year will be my college's 50th reunion. The school that I attended was Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) which became Virginia Commonwealth University the year after my graduation. I will be introducing Rhonda to engineering school friends I have not seen in 50 years. There will be photos. Should be interesting so stay tuned.  

I hope to continue business trips and keep my corperate training gig going. Always check my Sunday post for upcoming trips and cities. Last year I had wonderful conversations, meeting/dinners with readers and made new special friends. I hope to do more of this in '18.     

Thank you all for your friendship, courage, and being a part of my ESCAPES.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tunic Top

Amazon Tunic Top - Made in USA

I ordered this Jersey: (95% RAYON 5% SPANDEX) tunic a few weeks ago from Amazon. It is lovely.  I was looking for something to throw on for a quick run to the grocery store or mall. Over jeans or if I am feeling really daring, shorts. It could even be a nightshirt for cool nights on the road or something for just around the house.

It is too short to be worn out alone especially if you are tall. Maybe tights?

Blending in - Just the housewife out picking up item to cook for dinner.

The price $14.95 and it comes in 41 different colors. That is not a dyslexic reverse the numbers typo - 41 different colors. I may get one or two more colors but not the complete set. I hope it holds up and does not lose its shape. I shall see.

For trips out, I have it paired above with my Keds sneakers and my Tory Minnie flats. Just think what you can do with all those colors. There is the Amazon link. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Bearded Lady - Lessons For Us.

Madame Clofullia

Madame Clofullia was judged by what she said, not how she looked.

The Atlantic Magazine - Sean Trainor

An abridged version: The “bearded lady” is a cliché—a staple of a carnival freak show, a sideshow, a Ryan Murphy show. But despite her success as a cultural meme, the original bearded lady elicited little more than a shrug.

Peering into the daguerreotype glean of a 19th-century Swiss woman’s portrait, it’s easy to see a man in a dress. But the woman in the photo, Madame Josephine Clofullia, was viewed much differently by her contemporaries. The bearded-lady gag, of course, relies on audiences to be astonished by contradiction: A woman with a beard? Impossible! It must be a man. But as she toured America in the 1850s, Clofullia’s audiences saw a mere curiosity, not the crime against gender that was billed. Only rarely, in fact, did they claim that Madam Clofullia’s beard compromised her womanhood or made her look “like a man.” Instead, they praised her elegance and touted her respectability. Her beard, in short, was largely irrelevant to her status as a woman. As a sideshow, she bombed.

Now that transgender civil rights have become a larger part of the American dialogue, Clofullia’s story is instructive. Though Madame Clofullia was not trans—she never shifted her gender presentation at any point in her life—she did force Americans to grapple with an issue at the heart of trans political struggles today: namely, the ability to define one’s gender as one sees fit, despite the presence (or absence) of gendered bodily features. While the nation wrestles with a legacy of violence against transgender people, courts weigh in on trans peoples’ rights to move freely in gendered spaces, and some citizens fret about the presence of trans bodies in bathrooms and locker rooms, Clofullia’s life as the bearded lady offers a useful history.

Born near Geneva, Switzerland, around 1830, Josephine Clofullia (née Boisdechêne) started sprouting facial hair in childhood, likely the result of hypertrichosis. When her family fell on hard times, a late-adolescent Boisdechêne began performing to make ends meet. By 1853, Boisdechêne was a married mother, now known as “Madame Clofullia,” and on her way across the Atlantic to try her luck in America—with the showman Phineas Taylor Barnum.

Today, P.T. Barnum is largely remembered as a founding partner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. But in the decade before the U.S. Civil War, he was better known as the proprietor of New York City’s American Museum: a mass-culture venue that blended the freak show with the natural-history museum. For more than a decade, Barnum had thrilled audiences with his outlandish (and often morally offensive) exhibitions: an aging woman of color named Joice Heth whom he presented as George Washington’s 161-year-old nurse, a hairy horse that he described as a long-lost relative of the wooly mammoth, and a mash-up of fish and monkey parts that he pawned off as a mermaid.

This is not to suggest that none of Clofullia’s contemporaries doubted her womanhood. A Boston newspaper, for instance, claimed that Clofullia “out Herods Herod,” and an influential women’s fashion magazine opined that the bearded lady and other transgressive figures were neither as “lovely as women [n]or respectable as men.” But comments like these were rare. For the majority of Americans, Clofullia seemed to be exactly what she claimed: a middle-class wife and mother—who happened to have a beard.

Despite a body that did not conform to prevailing ideas about sex and gender, Madame Clofullia had the rare option to live the identity she claimed with few questions asked. What made this possible was the willingness of Clofullia’s contemporaries to define her according to what she said and did, and not by how she looked.

Still, for trans men and women struggling with discrimination by those who say their bodies and gender do not align, Clofullia’s story offers a valuable lesson: When people rely only on external features to tell a story about gender, they are bound to fail.

Read the complete article here - It is relevant.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

This Is Me - From the Movie, The Greatest Showman

I just saw a wonderful uplifting holiday movie.  It is likely to be the holiday blockbuster and deserves the accolades. The true story of P. T. Barnam, an exploiter of misfits and outcasts, is upended and he is made into a likable huckster. The songs make the movie and the characters adorable. From Tom Thumb to the bearded lady we relate and sing along.

The above quote is from the the song sung by Keala Settle, The Bearded Lady. Listen to the whole song. During the movie the song and presentation are both powerful.  

If you are looking for any historical accuracy there will be very little. If you want to enjoy two hours of song, incredible CG effects (Barnam arriving at the ballet on an elephant) and an amazing solo high wire dance by co-stats Zac Efron and Zendaya, do not miss this spectacular. 

The Greatest Showman Anthem Song

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Night Before Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas!

Many of you will remember this alternative version of the "Night Before Christmas" from last Christmas eve. I hope this become a tradition for many Christmas eves to come. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  

Cross Dressing Night Before Christmas

Posted to alt.fashion.crossdressing by Shae Guerin  2002-12-23. 


'Twas the night before Christmas, and all thru the house

I was making my plans to look more like my spouse

I carefully laid out my very best clothes

My bra and my panties, my slip and my hose

My stockings weren't hung by the chimney tonite

They were on me instead, feeling sensually tight

My dress was of velvet, a burgundy red

And on my long nails a new polish was spread

With makeup and jewelry, high heels on my feet

I was looking so sexy, and feeling so sweet

When out in the yard there arose such a noise

That I sprang from my bedroom, forgetting my poise

The moon on the snow with it's brilliant white glitter

Reminds me of lace, to set my heart a-twitter

When what to my long-lashed eyes should appear

But a person in red with a sleigh and reindeer

But I couldn't tell, was it a 'he' or a 'she'

The one with the pack was dressed somewhat like me

There in the sleigh was this 'cutsey' old flirt

With a white wig and makeup, a red blouse and skirt

The reindeer were sparkling, with rhinestones and pearls

And their antlers in ribbons, so they all looked like girls

When s/he stepped from the sleigh, to my eyes were revealed

Her knee-hi black boots with their seven-inch heels

Santa just blushed, but I stood there and smiled

And said, "Hello, my dear, can you stay for awhile?"

"Well you finally caught me", he said with a pout

"At this time on Christmas, folks are seldom about."

"I don't go enfemme very ofen at home,

Mrs Clause doesn't like it, so I do it alone.

"So when I give out goodies to make others smile

"I like to feel pretty and femme for awhile."

"So I ride off dressed up, from my hi-heels to wig,

"On Christmas eve night while I'm doing my gig."

I said, "Don't worry Santa, your secret is safe

Why don't you come in and just freshen your face."

We sat and we talked and vented our passion

For feminine frills and the latest new fashions

We finally parted with a hug and a kiss

She said, "I must go now, or some children I'll miss"

I went to my party and had a great time

With music and laughter and good food and wine

But when I returned and looked under my tree

I found some new pretties from sweet Santa to me

Lacy panties, a bra and a soft satin blouse

Perfumes and some candles to light up my house

But it wasn't the goodies that swept away my blues

It was knowing that Santa was a cross dresser too

So next time don't judge all the people you meet

By what they are wearing when out on the street

For in being ones self, there's no 'wrong or right' 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Political Cartoons 12-24

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Gift To Yourself

Source Redbubble Cards

Send a link of this blog post to all your friends as a Holiday Card!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friend's Friday - Support Network

Good Hair Day 
Michael at "Salon di M"  has been cutting my hair for over four years. I dance a thin line between too short, (masculine) and too long, overly (feminine). It is thick enough so I can wash, mousse, blow dry and on a good day have Rhonda's hair look like the photo here. Michael does it best and between cuts, I go in for his styling magic about once a week. Especially when I have an event, job interview or special dinner out with friends.  

This photo was taken in January this year. I found it on a flash card I was cleaning out. It was a cool day and I had done my own hair, so time to do some shopping (mostly looking) on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach. This photo (selfie in a mirror) was in the Ralph Lauren Store. That story is here. This Ralph Lauren store specializes in luxury Purple and Black Label designs for the Palm Beach crowd however, it does carry selected items of the regular Lauren merchandise. Although many of the designer items are outrageously priced, I have made friends with Jaime in the woman's section, who watches for good prices and calls when some I might like, goes on sale.   

Lauren Shearling Lennox Bag
During my last week's visit, I checked in with Jaime and saw this Lauren Shearling Lennox Bag. Cute for winter trips and well over 50% off.  I have added it to my wardrobe as an investment piece. 

Looking our best requires having a support network of a hair stylist, seamstress, personal shoppers, and girlfriends that tell us when something works.  And most important of all - When something does not work!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thank You for Your Service

Captain, Intelligence Officer and Transgender

Army Captain Jennifer Peace remembers her experience coming out in the military and talks about the first time she knew she wanted to serve. Source: CNN

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tax Bill Hypocrisy

Why are the president’s tax returns relevant now that he is elected. Was this not a promise as well a campaign issue? Today the house and senate are voting on a new tax package that likely has provisions that directly benefit the president and his family. If we had his tax return we would know for sure.    

Trump has repeatedly refused to disclose anything about his own taxes, insisting that those documents say very little about a person's financial status and noting that he has filed financial disclosure forms already. 

In every version of the tax legislation up to this point, the bill out of conference and near passage is finally bringing to light a concern:  Which industries benefit from a major new tax break — and which ones are left behind.

Analysis was based on Trump's estimated net worth and his 2005 tax return, the only such return made public thus far. It found that the president could save more than $20 million himself, while his heirs could save $1.1 billion. Source The Hill

Thanks to the particular rules surrounding pass-throughs, wealthy architecture firms are singled out for big gains in the final bill but not in the Senate legislation.  And real estate companies like those owned by President Trump and his family, fare better in the final bill than they did in the original Senate plan.

The particular provision in question allows real estate investors to get a special 20% tax rate like other small businesses -- even without paying significant wages to anybody, unlike other businesses. This clearly helps Trump himself, who holds many assets that he simply licenses out to others to run. Job creation this is not.

Example: The rules would block a baseball star from putting his multi-million dollar salary into an LLC and getting the lower rate. But they also meant a billionaire who inherited a real estate company would get a huge tax reduction while a tiny accounting business would be left out.  Source NBC News.

See a pattern here?

According to Scott Greenberg, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, "It's not specifically intended to benefit real estate, although the way they’ve designed the provision makes it particularly favorable to real estate."

President Trump’s and his family’s most obvious business. His denials that the the bill will not benefit him, are false. 

Also Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, a longtime "deficit hawk," or so-called fiscal conservative, said he will vote for the tax bill even though it has irresponsible deficit impact. Corker himself is a real estate developer and will personally benefit from the provision upon his retirement next year. While Corker has publicly denied that the last minute addition in the final conference bill influenced his mind changing decision, its presence further underscores the cruelty of the bill and reeks of pay for play/vote. The Republican plan privileges the wealthy -- including the ones with large real estate holdings like the President.

If Trump had been serious about keeping his promise to drain the swamp, he would have allowed senators enough time to read the bill before pressuring them to decide how to vote. Or had given the American public time to see its hypocrisy. But if he had done that, the President might have had to think of something other than tax cuts to get his family for Christmas. And who can beat giving their kids millions or billions in extra cash -- especially when others are picking up the tab?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Feminine Differential - Nails

My Nails with OPI Samoan Sand

I love doing my nails.  Sure, nothing beat the pampering that goes with a manicure, however it is hard to justify when the next day I may have a meeting the requires bare nails. The cool and smooth feeling of nail polish (varnish) is so feminine.  

So the few extra minutes that "doing my nails" requires is part of the glorious process. Like the finishing touch - Part of the feminine differential.   

I have found two shades of OPI Nail Lacquer that I adore. "Tiramisu" and "Bubble Bath".  The first may be an older name for the same shade because they are so similar. I typically apply a good base coat of clear before starting with the color. I seem to be able to get away with the base all the time and do wear it when not wearing this nude as a color.  

These two colors are very sheer and depending on the depth of the coats (one or two) it provides more or less coverage. When do I take off any nail polish? My determining criteria is; will I be using a keyboard and having others watching my hands during a training demonstration.  

I love looking down at my nails when polished. The deep reds are a bit to heavy of my hands and not my first choice. I do not have excessively large hands but the addition attention is not necessarily good. The subtle nude colors as above are my favorite. 

Beautiful Nude Polish 
There are two other OPI colors that are worth mentioning; "Samoan Sand" and just a little darker nude, "Tickle My Fantac-y".  I love the OPI brand for its gloss, coverage, and durability.  It does dry quickly.   

How about you.  How often do you do your nails and how do you manage polish? What shades work for you?  Please share with us.      

Monday, December 18, 2017

Banned Words

CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity...

There are some events and activities by the Trump administration that leave us without words to express our disdain.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC) were told of the list of forbidden terms at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials. The officials  who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing were given forbidden terms. They are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

In the case of "transgender" and "diversity" no replacement words were immediately offered.

Will banning a word make it go away?  Will banning a concept make it cease to exist? I remember a time when “Sex” was whispered and homosexual was never ever mentioned in polite company. Are we returning to an unenlightened time where words are banned?  It actually sounds archaic.  

The ban is related to the budget and supporting materials that are to be given to the CDC’s partners and to Congress, the analyst said. The president’s budget for 2019 is expected to be released in early February. The budget blueprint is generally shaped to reflect an administration’s priorities.  

According to its website, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) mission is to "enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. We fulfill that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.” 

As well the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mission is to, "Increases the health security of our nation. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats."

If a condition exists, is involved with a person's, health, and well-being, and requires support/funding to further understand, how is not being able to mention it anything but censorship/complacency. A clear message is being sent that being transgender is of no significance and as in "not to be mentioned". No funding for study or disease prevention in this population will be made available. We are cut off because of political bias.     

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a written statement”

To pretend and insist that transgender people do not exist, and to allow this lie to infect public health research and prevention is irrational and very dangerous.

The Trump administration is full of dangerous science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC. They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop.
Calling the order "reckless" and "unimaginably dangerous," Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also weighed in:

"You cannot fight against the Zika virus, or improve women's and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word 'fetus.' You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola," Singiser said. "You must be able to acknowledge the humanity of transgender people in order to address their health care needs. You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words 'vulnerable' or 'diversity'."

"Here's a word that's still allowed," added Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Ridiculous." 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Attitude is Everything

I found this yesterday on Susan Street's blog "Susan After 60".  Susan's blog is one of the blogs I check every day and she does post several time a week.  She is a beautiful person inside and out with a positive attitude.  Do read Susan's post on attitude - Her life's example is touching.     

Susan and I met a year or so ago and I can tell you that in person, she is the same intelligent, friendly and beautiful woman you see on the blog. I pride myself in knowing Susan. 

When we are out, our single most important wardrobe item is our attitude. Being positive is contagious and is always displayed with a smile. 

Thank you Susan for this beautiful post and your timely advice.     

Susan and I - October '16

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friend's Friday - Another Evening In Palm Beach

Stefanie and Rhonda

I do not have to go into to many details and just need to say that Thursday is a wonderful open evening at Palm Beach Colony's Polo Lounge. Last evening was many of the typical crowd with the exception of Stefanie.   

Stefanie was my guest for the evening. This was one of her first outing and looking beautiful, she fit in perfectly. There is always a glow that sets in when one is comfortable in their skin. Stefanie - a natural.  

After the Colony we went to dinner at the Raindancer Restaurant and we were treated like royalty.  

A wonderful escape evening with a new local friend.  Stefanie, let's do it again.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cute Sneakers

I found these cute stripe sneakers on sale at Talbots.  I think they will go with several of my causal outfits and put together this layout to check it out.  The jeans shirt I have in several variations as well the jeans. One of my favorite jeans are the white bib jeans from Ralph Lauren from several years ago, shown above. They have a great nautical look and feminine cut - (fit nice in the back). 

The Love Print T-shirt just arrived from Venus and will go great with any of the shorts I have or light wash denim jeans. Graphic t-shirts are typically feminine especially when cut with a scoop or boat neck.  This one is more of a scoop neck than the photo shows.  

I read at the blog Fabulous-After-40 a great comment on scoop neck tops. "The scoop neckline on (a) top is so flattering. It elongates the neck in the way a simple crew neckline would not."  Good suggestion.        

So I believe that the stripe sneakers will make be great addition to many of my casual looks. A great find this morning. Enjoy.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

British Theater – “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”

John McCrea

New York Times - Ben Brantley - BRANTLEY IN BRITAIN NOV. 22, 2017

John McCrea, as the boy who wants nothing more than to wear a dress to his school prom, (I can relate to that) in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” Photo credit Johan Persson        

Most of the characters in “Follies” no longer know who they are, if they ever really did. So it was kind of comforting, two days later, to come across a 16-year-old boy who seemed to be precociously sure of his identity.

That’s the title character of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” first staged at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield. Based on a 2011 television documentary, this determinedly inspirational show, which opened at the Apollo Theater in London on Wednesday night, arrives with perfect timing.

Just two weeks earlier, the Church of England issued a statement saying that children should be allowed to experiment with “the many cloaks of identity,” especially involving gender, “without expectation or comment.” Such advice has already been fully embraced by the leading lad (the pale and long-stemmed John McCrea) of “Jamie,” written by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae and directed by Jonathan Butterell.

Jamie has always known that he was destined to be a drag queen, a goal in which he has been encouraged by his self-sacrificing, blue-collar mother, Margaret (Josie Walker, who inevitably sings a number of bottomless love called “He’s My Boy”). Yes, there are obstacles.

Jamie’s absentee father (Ken Christiansen) is a disapproving macho brute. And there is a classroom bully (Luke Baker), who tries to puncture Jamie’s pastel dreams. But all the other students — including Jamie’s best friend, the hijab-wearing Pritti (a very good Lucie Shorthouse) — seem thoroughly schooled in the creeds of diversity and inclusivity.

They really want him to be able to wear a dress to his school prom, despite objections from a hidebound teacher and a few parents. Along the way, Jamie sings of his plight in numbers both snappy and sappy, annotated with improbably extended legs and graceful vogueing.

And I don’t think it’s a spoiler to reveal that he makes it to the prom, looking like a virgin in a sweet white dress. (His sex life, by the way, is never discussed.) Having seen “Follies” a few nights earlier, though, I couldn’t help wondering how Jamie might regard his glamorously girlish self a few decades down the line. Enjoy it while you can, kid.


Are there any readers in London that want to give us a review - Sounds like a great "Escape" night.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

T'is The Season - Holiday Party (Part 2)

The Toys
I attended my auto club Holiday Party luncheon the past Sunday. Before going I made a stop at Toys-R-Us to pick up an item for the Toys-for-Tots drive. I was so over dressed, however I guess the somewhat empty Sunday morning store was used to customers picking up a last minute toy for an event.  

My outfit choice completely changed on the morning of the party. It was cool (60 degrees) and an off-the-shoulder top was not going to work. Plus there are limited opportunities in South Florida for us to pretend winter, so why miss a change to wear something with a little winter flair. The skirt would have been fine but not the top. My choice was a tan scoop neck sweater (Boston Proper) with a matching ancient Spiegel leather skirt.  

I have a friend that I see at my Palm Beach Business Group meetings and he has a vintage 500 SEL AMG Mercedes (European edition). He has been trying to sell it, so I invited him along for the party. The right crowd and one person there was very interested. Scott is an entrepreneur and always has something interesting going. I have been helping with his latest Jet Ski Lacrosse project.      

Scott and I   
Being a new member (joined in October) I was called on to introduce myself again to the group of about 100. With microphone in hand, I accomplished this with feminine grace in my opinion. I also gave Scott an opportunity to mention his vintage MB and after the lunch and raffle his car was quite the hit. "What am I - chopped liver?"  Several came by for a look and one took a test drive - The car. 

I was seated by a lovely lady and we talked grandchildren, trips and the coming holidays. Her husband is a retired CPA and we three discussed the years previous club events. Some of the car show events are likely to repeat this year and she told me, "I must attend". I will.  

I was very impressed with the groups generosity for the Toys-for-Tots drive and after approached the club president to volunteered to help with this year's upcoming efforts and outings. Why not!