Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Island State of Mind

The Palm Beach Colony Hotel is becoming a regular stop for Rhonda. It is a place for business meetings in the restaurant, a place to meet friends and a great stop on the way to a Palm Beach dinner. Caitlin and I are becoming de facto regulars on Thursday evening at the Polo Lounge. We are accepted because we are always elegant, friendly and interesting. To make this point, the gentlemen are encouraged to wear jackets. This is an evening where islanders and visitors meet to get a jump on the weekend. In season (winter/early spring) it is very crowded. Not so during the summer/fall.  


When I mention “Islanders” this is how the Palm Beach crowd distinguishes those that live there. Palm Beach is not exactly an island although the “Islanders” will take exception to me saying that. It is a narrow strip of land fronted by the Atlantic and separated from the mainland (West Palm Beach) by the Intracoastal Waterway. Yes, there are bridges to get onto the island; three to be exact. The north and south ends of the island are inlet waterways. Therefore, by default, it is an “island” by making and mind.  

Yes, being on “The Island” and being with the "Islanders" is unique. A famous quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald during an exchange with Earnest Hemingway describes it well:

"The rich are different – they have money."

Palm Beach has several special “boutique hotels”.  These are loosely associated with chains, but nothing like their cookie cutter hotel cousins. Many of these go back years and have a rich history dating even before the Kennedy family call Palm Beach their haunt. Most of the hotels are exclusive/full during the season. However, during the summer and fall a somewhat reasonable and fun vacation - Think pool and beach. 

The Polo Lounge - Colony Hotel, Palm Beach

If ever in Palm Beach, be sure to check out the boutique hotels, for a cocktail, a walk through the lobby, a cabaret show, or winter stay.  None of these are more than one and one-half block for the turquoise Atlantic.  The Colony is less than one block from the ocean and right next door to the famous Worth Avenue shops.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

An Interesting Scenario

Nature vs Nurture
There is a recurring fantasy/story line that permeates many transgender visualizations. What if I had been raised as a girl? The scenario typically goes like this. Domineering mother wanted a daughter and was distraught at the reality of raising a male child. There was a weak or absent male presence in the home and the mother has free sway as to how the son is dressed, presented and raised. 

Causation as to why we are transgender, child abuse or fantasy come true? You choose. I wrote previously about the classic transgender fiction novelette, Frederique;  A story set in 19th century France. In the story Frederique (Fred), was reluctantly raised to become a beautiful woman by a doting but domineering Aunt.  

This is not my early childhood story. It would be so convenient to think that is why I enjoy femininity. Not the case.  

Question - could this happen? Introduced at an early age, femininity could imprinted upon us and thus we would want to return to that childhood comfort zone.  Therefore, a young male child raised in a total feminine environment could turn out to be feminine or at least be imprinted to more feminine in nature. I suppose this is the old nature vs nurture complication.  

Whenever I read an account of this scenario I am always suspect. The underlying incongruity many time runs between fantasy and self-justification. However, we do live in wonderful times where there are true stories emerging. There is Jazz, a boy who self-identified and there is Avery the cover girl in a National Geographic article.  Both of these stories are very public.  

"Athena Talks" is a site and forum that acts as a hub for conversation to help young women mature and become leaders - It is an advocate for equality. There last week I found the story by Allison Washington – “Girl, Begun: Why my mother raised me as a girl.”  Allison's words:

The author in 1989, age 32, Brussels, Belgium

In my girlhood there was ambiguity, uncertainty, a certain stealth, and, inevitably, an end. From age four, when my mother first began to appreciate the nature of my gender, and for the subsequent eight-plus years, my life floated within the norms of girlhood, albeit with occasional, painful caveats: a couple ill-advised and abortive attempts to enroll me in school, sometimes-awkward statements blurting from my mother’s mouth, strange looks when passports came out…

The story spans over four parts and does have a captivating ring of truth. Allison does identify today as a trans woman. She is a writer and has a blog where she is soliciting patrons/donors - You be the judge. 

In any case - An interesting scenario.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Floral Skirt

This morning I went shopping.  Sorry, I am not doing my part to keep the mall in business, however in my defense I do not believe it was open yet. What is a girl to do - "SHOP ONLINE"! I found this super cute floral skirt at the site, Fashion Mia.  

I have never purchased from Fashion Mia before and cannot determine their location other than it being international; I suspect China.  It has mostly good independent reviews.  

I have ordered from China before, with much success and although not Amazon Prime, delivery typically is less than two weeks. We shall see? The price made the risk worthwhile. The above skirt is 25.95 and shipping $3.43.  As a precaution, I paid with my PayPal account so that no credit card information was sent to the site. A great layer of protection.    

After I finished all the clicks, I put together the above fashion layout. Excluding the skirt, I have all of the items including the Via Spiga Habitat Noce Leather T-Strap Sandal from several years ago. The belt and purse are Ralph Lauren and the denim shirt is Talbots. The watch is Michele which has easily interchangeable bands in many styles and colors - a great fashion accent piece.  
This combination represents a great mix or casual (shirt) and dressy (skirt) - The breaking of fashion rules. What do you think? I will keep you posted on the delivery and quality of the product. I like their other cute skirts, dresses and tops so hope it works out. Fingers crossed on delivery and quality.      

Dress for your ESCAPE!

Update this morning:  This sure looks like the Dolce & Gabbana skirt I found on POLYVOR.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Coffee Table Book

Rhonda's Photo Book

Several years ago my oldest daughter and I, collected many precious family photos and put together a family photo book. Pages were organized by events, vacations, holidays, and were chronological - Many hours of work. Everyone got a copy as a Christmas gift that year. I encourage you to do that. My mother passed away before I became a teen and many of my memories are forged in a wonderful family album she kept. My grandmother continued the scrapbook and I am so pleased she did. My collective precious memories.  

I collected together about 10 years ago a “Rhonda” book.  Not exactly a coffee table book but relevant to the emerging Rhonda. It has early photos, writings and is peppered with cross-dressing cartoons. Something the kids, I hope, will get a kick-out-of  someday as they remember “dear-old-dad”.  

That hard cover photo book I put together myself, from inkjet printed pages and it is held together by a spring-loaded spine. I used Microsoft Publisher to do the pages and the book kit was marketed by HP (to sell photo paper). It can still be found on eBay. It looks good, professional and I made a wood slip box for it. The hard cover has a window where I positioned a portrait photo page and in the slip cover box I made a corresponding window. It was fun to do.  

Google's Photo Book
Apple offers a photo book service as part of iPhoto, although I believe to use this service, you must have a Mac. Walgreen's (pharmacy chain) also provides this service. My reason for bringing this up today is that Google now offers a new Photo Book service. It looks like you upload your photos to “Google Photo”,a great cloud storage solution, then organize. $19.95 for a 20 page hard cover book. A great deal and you have some creative tools available to build/crop/organize your photos.  You can have more than 20 pages. 

Oh, do not have any photos. Who are you kidding - Likely every event and every outfit tried on before the event is documented somewhere. Curate your own collection of photos and document your progress; your early outings (deer in the headlight look), those 90’s shoulder pads and that great red wig. When done - put it on the coffee table.

Page from My Photo Book

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Samplings at a New Restaurant

This past Sunday several of our monthly Meetup social group met to check out a new location. We like where we have been meeting but had an invitation to visit a new and well-reviewed restaurant in City Place, West Palm Beach. Last minute e-mail invitations went out for an impromptu social and three of us attended. We discussed hors d'oeuvre over samples and had a nice quiet late Sunday afternoon time in the restaurant’s large sitting/bar area. We were treated like royalty. We had a super friendly bartender and a lovely time.

The Regional Kitchen and Public House has been open about 9 months and won the “Best Restaurant of 2016” award from The Palm Beach Post. Chef Lindsey Autry has held various chef positions at prominent restaurants along the East Coast and in Mexico and made headlines as a finalist on Bravo TV’s ninth season of “Top Chef.” As a native North Carolinian, Chef Autry describes her cuisine as soulful, embracing Mediterranean flavors with a blend of her southern roots. (Source: The Regional web site)

This was my third visit to this wonderful restaurant and will not be my last. 

Again, I was the recipient of “Treated Nice – The Feminine Differential” by having my glass of wine complements of one of the gentlemen there. I could get used to this. 

Good thing come to those who escape.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nordstrom - Reese Witherspoon Styles

Nordstrom has introduced the "Reese Witherspoon Southern Style - Her Draper James Collection".  It is a fun collection of clothing for summer. To what degree she in involved in the designs is questionable, however I do like the cuteness. Reese Witherspoon, the celebrity, has played some interesting roles and and is a very good actor. At times she is like southern sweet tea - just a little too sweet, but still fun. 

Here is how she describes the collection:

Southern style is about having confidence and about having fun. Southern women like to look pretty and put together, but we know how to take it down a notch. We’re as comfortable wearing a lacy, feminine dress with strappy sandals as we are with cowboy boots.

I founded Draper James to honor my Southern heritage and my grandparents. They taught me everything I know about gracious Southern living. From them I learned to dress and act like a lady, to take pride in my home, to reach out to help a neighbor and to always invite everyone in for a visit. I think our collection reflects these values.
Check out this cute collection at Nordstom - Ideas for summer.  

Reese Witherspoon - Draper James Collection

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chunky - Not Just A Candy

Chunky/Block Heels      70's - 90s - Now

One designer called it going back to the 70's. Another said going back to the 90's - Fashion recycling.  I remember it from the 70's. From whatever generation you remember, chunky heels are the trend for summer and likely fall 2017. The fashion term being for this iteration, "Block Heels". Believe it of not, all of the above shoes, clipped individually, are shoes currently available and not from a vintage site. This is not exactly my favorite style.  

It is not that I don't have several pair (OK more than several) and I do wear then. They have their place. I wrote recently about an evening garden party when I was patio bound by my heels. Also just last weekend I was at a memorial service conducted in a garden and did plan ahead with wedge sandals. Block heels are more stable and practical in many situations.      

Penny Loafer Pump
Because I am not that tall, heel height is not a issue and I do love high stilettos. My normal heel range is the 3" to 4" height. In skirts and dresses heels add to my leg length and help to thin out my "athletic" lower legs. For spring/summer in Florida, sandals are a must. However for fall/winter and pants, my go-to-shoes are a block-heel penny loafer that Johnson & Murphy had a few years back. These are all leather and have about a good 3" heel. I liked them so much I got them in both black and brown. They can be worn all day and I did on many occasions at Rhonda's jobs. They look great with tailored pants. You do pay for quality.    

Helen, over at Huate Business did a great piece on "CELEBRATING THE CHUNKY HEELS TREND?" Did you notice the question mark at the end of her heading. She continues by adding, "How do you like the trend? I can’t say I was excited at first. "  Like her, I too have my reservations. Her conclusion:

Like everything else, you’ll probably find you need to try on a variety of styles to find the ones that most flatter you. I dipped my toe in the conservative pool with a beige suede version, but I’ll be adding a few more options because some of them are really cute.  See her choices.   

Does anyone else remember, Chunky Candy Bars?

Gucci Leather Pump - 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

When to Wear Nude or Black Bras

Vintage Bra Ad

I had a bra discussion back a year ago.  This is further points on the most "feminine differential" one could imagine.  If you only get out a few times a month or just attend conventions that might work for you.  By keeping one's tops to a certain pallet of colors it might also work with the three bra suggestion. However after rereading the article I see fallacies.   First I did not like the illustration showing a white (almost sheer) blouse being worn with a black bra.  That screams for unnecessary attention, which might not work for us.  To me it says, lack of planning – I forgot to pack my white/nude bra.  

For years, women have been wearing white bra and panty sets. Think back to your first bra. Was it white? Most likely! White is the classic underwear color. But, take a look around my gigantic stock room and among the thousands of bras, it’s hard to find many in white. Why is that? Most companies, and my savvy customers, have caught on that nude is the new neutral. Though it may not always be necessary to wear a nude colored bra, it’s especially important when wearing white clothing. With Summer upon us, I’ve noticed a lot of women wearing the wrong color under their lighter clothing. This one’s for you!
Don’t panic! It’s still OK to wear white. It’s just important to know that nude is more neutral when wearing white. White is now considered a “fashion color”. If you love the look of white bras, if you are wearing a printed or colorful blouse, or if you like the bra peek out or show a bit, then go for it! Remember, it’s all about feeling and looking your best. Personally, I think wearing the right size is always the most important part of feeling great. Then, go for the style that makes you feel spectacular.

I really like the look of the t-shirt bra shown yesterday and it is a mush have to have smooth lines underneath a casual shirt, as in t-shirt. In doing so make sure it is low cut enough to wear with scoop neck and V-neck tops plus provides coverage that does not have a lot of hang out/over. Maybe you need a bigger size? Awesome! In putting together “The Feminine Differential” articles I never realized that there were so many rules. – Rules seems so harsh however that these actually exist is a “Feminine Differential”. Therefore, here are a few more bra suggestions:

When to Wear Nude or Black Bras

A good outfit starts with a good foundation, which means that picking out your undergarments can be just as important as the actual outfits you wear. Wearing bras can be tricky. The right bra leaves you looking well put together, while the wrong bra can completely ruin your look. There are times and places to wear black and nude bras. Make sure you know how to get the most mileage out of your bra by wearing it correctly.

With White

Wearing a black bra under a white top is pretty much always a fashion no-no. Regardless of how thick your white top is, get it under the right light and there's a pretty good chance that your bra will show through. When wearing white tops, opt for a nude bra instead of any other color; this includes white, which also shows through due to its brightness. Anything that's going to make your bra an evident part of your ensemble is generally not a great idea.

Colors, Prints and Fabrics

You can almost never go wrong with a nude bra. As in the case with a white blouse, nude is the ideal choice under colors and prints when the fabric or color hue is light enough to allow your underclothes to be visible. Wafer-thin T-shirt fabrics, pastel colors and prints with a light-colored base can easily show a colored bra. Because nude is close to the shade of your skin, it will blend with pretty much anything you wear -- whether it's a little bit sheer or not

When to Wear Black

No fashion rule (suggestion) is completely straight forward. Black, of course, is an ideal choice when you're wearing a dark shirt, such as burgundy, chocolate or navy blue. If you're wearing a sheer black top, it's perfectly acceptable to wear a black bra under it without putting a camisole between the two, even if the black bra peeks through. Just be sure to pick a bra that gives full support. If you're feeling more modest, pick a blouse that's not super sheer so you still get that sexy hint of bra without going overboard.

Have Fun - Escape

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Feminine Differential - Fashion Play

It is so much fun to play with fashion. Here is two looks built around one dress. By itself, with a pair of navy pump it looks good. However the combination of accessories, different purses and shoes make it exciting. 

The Ralph Lauren Polo a-line dress I have and love the way it fits. Cap sleeves work for my arms and the dark color hides a world of problems. It is part of RL's "Fit-and-Flare Silhouette" collection. A little pricey but with Ralph Lauren, all you have to do is watch for the sale.

The Navy/white purse I got at Brooks Brothers, on sale for 70% off and the Banana Republic Madison "Midnight Gingham" pumps were also on sale. Banana Republic always has a sale - Just sigh up for their e-mails and you get daily announcements. The yellow (lemon drop) purse is Brighton and the yellow/white pumps are also Banana Republic, "Madison 12 hour". I am yet to test them for a whole 12 hours.   

Susan's Scarfs
Susan Street over at the her "Susan After 60" blog, had a great article on "How I Choose A Scarf To Buy".  Her comment: 

A silk scarf can make unrelated separates look like the most elegant outfit ever.  
I must admit that a scarf in my least chosen accent.   It really does dress up an outfit. I already have a navy and white scarf similar to the one on the right. Note to self - give it a try.  I do need to try it again. 

The playing with fashion is so much fun. - Enjoy this feminine differential.  

Here is a blog by that very title.
Some great fashion photography from an unlikely place. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Same Model - Different Look

Rain Dove, Androgynous Model, Is Breaking Barriers In Fashion

Rain Dove is an androgynous model making waves in the fashion world with her captivating gender non-conforming look.

Having turned heads during New York’s Fashion week, Dove is slated to participate in the Queer Fashion Week taking place in Oakland, California, April 16-19 (2015). Dove is just one of many models who are changing the face of fashion today as people come to understand the many shades and hues of human identity as it intersects with the world of fashion.

Rain Dove
Every time I put on a new garment, do a new shoot theme, or don new makeup, I am exploring another person’s vision of how they see me. This has allowed me to define and enjoy/face sides of myself I wouldn’t normally. It’s made for some really interesting stylistic discoveries such as the fact that I enjoy the temporary feel of high heels, the pressing of corsets, briefs over boxers. Most importantly the fashion world has led to the knowledge that since every image is of me, it represents me and, therefore, everything I do is perfect stylistically and nothing could be wrong because there is no wrong way to be me as long as I’m choosing to be it. Knowing that nothing was wrong with wanting to wear what I wanted because I wanted to wear it, that was the rewarding part because that’s the part I get to share with the world. Hopefully they will understand it for themselves and discover that satisfying truth in their own ways.

Rain Dove turned plenty of heads at New York's Fashion Week as she walked the runway in both menswear and womenswear, but the strikingly handsome 6-foot-2 model doesn't really care what you think she has between her legs. "The gender thing doesn't exist; it's a social construct you don't have to fit into," Dove told BuzzFeed News.

See other fashion photos that display a complete range of style, sexuality, and masculine/feminine looks. Wow! What a range....

A self-titled "gender capitalist," Dove uses other people's
confusion to her advantage.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Feminine Differential - The Haircut

This goes with my haircut tribute to my mother yesterday and highlights the differential.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day '17 - The Barber Chair

My mother had a wonderful way about her. An imaginative sense of humor and a fun loving spirit. Here is one instance: 

Going to the barber shop was not my favorite thing. The chair intimidated me and reminded me of some torture device with its leavers and ability to go up/down. I had to sit on some board so the barber could reach my head and it had that awful looking leather strap hanging there - "Sit still or I will use the strap", was always in the back of my mind.

My mother would take me to the barber shop and she would wait while I was getting my haircut. I honestly believe that she liked the barber and enjoyed talking to him. His name was Ben Vaughn and I do believe that he and my mother had either dated in high school or she wanted to go out with him. Maybe that was one of the reasons I needed a haircut whenever we went to town. If I remember correctly, 25 cents.  

So, on one of those faithful trips to the barbers shop my story begins. After Ben finished up with me, my mother jumped up in the chair and asked him to trim the back of her head. She had kind of short hair and I will never know if she was just flirting, having fun or really wanted a quick trim.  Likely all three.  

I was beyond horrified. Ben and she laughed their way through it, but that was not the end. The barber shop windows faced out onto Main Street and I was sure that the whole town had passed by for a peek. It did make something of a town scandal and I remember everyone talking about my mother getting a haircut at the barbershop. Remember this was the 50's when women went to the beauty parlor and only men and boys went to the barbershop -  A onetime feminine differential.  

I would like to believe that I have grown to be a person my mother would respect and enjoy. I do have the same fun spirit. I love you mom for not being like everyone else and having such a wonderful sense of humor.

  Happy Mother's Day - I miss you. 

The Barber Shop - Still on Main Street

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Change Management

This Post is dedicated to my fellow blog friend Stana at Femulate. Her life is going through a transition with one job ending and new exciting challenges coming up. We look forward to reading about all of your new exciting experiences. 

Stana, all the best to you as you go forward. 
 We all appreciate your incredible insight and blog!  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friend's Friday - Derby Day by Marie

Slept deep and long. The sun was my alarm clock. It was glorious after three days of low grey clouds and almost incessant rain. A warn long shower and perfumed body wash, and gentle scrub set the tone and mood for what became a very fulfilling series of adventures and excursions which extended more than eighteen hours. My waking schedule was void of any business and personal obligations so the day could be a free-flowing Marie day.

When checking the E-Mail noted a flood of E-Mail advertisements. Included was one from Macey, Dillard’s and TJ Max, all three touting fabulous sales for Monday’s Day. Another from a nearby country hang-out heralded - the traditional drink of the Derby (and a favorite of mine) as well as a “Fancy Lady’s Hat” contest (another Derby Tradition) with a hundred dollor prize to the winner. This latter enticement got my juices going and Marie decided to attend the Derby Party and enter the contest since a perfect large white hat was residing on the closet shelf. The thrill of competing was another motivator and the possibility of if not win, at least show or place.

Had not forgotten the Mother Day' sales. Planned on “visiting” all three sometime during the day. Just as I was about to close down the PC another message came flashing in from Macy’s. This one focused on Lingerie and highlighted several “Shorty Nighties” and full slips. This was very opportune as I had been unsuccessfully scourging the neighbor stores looking for delicious colorful shorties with matching panties and several full slips in my preferred style and colors and quickly ordered two of each. The Marie train was rolling. Hopefully will not be disappointed when they arrive.

With the basic agenda set, and these little delays completed it was time to put together an appropriate outfit and prepare a winning presentation. A long filmy black and white skirt, however, given its relatively sheer material added a black half-slip underneath. This was an extra degree of female silkiness and sensuality to my psychic. Matching lace bra and panty were next, no need for hose, well-tanned legs would do, along with black flats adorned with flecks of silver-crystal. Added a white silk top with a scoop cowl neckline and three-quarter length sleeves. Jewelry was chosen to compliment the black and white motif. A double tiered sparkling necklace was the centerpiece along with matching dangling earrings, bracelet, engagement ring and slender watch.

Had plenty of time before the Great Race and the Hat competition so decided to cruise the sales venues first. Each was a disastrous success. That is each yielded a prize “just had to have”. First was a blue and white summer dress suitable for a cocktail party or lunch with the girls at a lakeside cafĂ©. Found a matching pair of light blue and white heavenly heels a perfect combination. This was a bonus. Had not been on the “Have to Have list” but could not resist – another weakness of mine. The next was a black negligee that would be an outstanding and stunning complement to the Macy Shorty’s.

With this triple find tucked into the back seat drove to the bank to pick up cash before taking the road out to the country and the Mint Juleps. The bonus in both of the department stores was being just one of the girls cruising and appraising the multiple possibilities. Felt perfectly comfortable gliding through the flow of women amid the magnificent spectrum spring colors, fabrics and styles. Did not attach any attention. All the other shoppers, were focused on their own browsing, color selection, piece matching and texture caressing. Juist thinking back and recalling the overall feeling of being just one of the girls was wonderful and further exuded by my anticipation of circulating in the Race Crowd with a Julep in one hand and my Contest Hat nestled jauntily on my blonde crown.

Upon arriving at the Club and after parking under the Magnolias walked to the main Pavilion, purchased my ticket and found my way to the Julep Bar – Selected one Strawberry flavored and one Pineapple along with a Spinach and Three-Cheese Quiche – a perfect ladylike choice. When the waiter delivered the order to Table 37, which was set for a party of two, I tipped the young gal, thank her and stated I was expecting a girl-friend but she was running late – As usual - but hoped she would arrive before HAT Contest as she had a darling number. Learned the contest involved a short walk on the stage where the band was set up. The order was determined by your table number and would not be starting for 40 minutes more. More than enough time to daintily savor the Quiche and begin the second Julep. Had to turn away one young man who was cruising the grounds on the hunt. Fortunately, this was a just few minutes before the HAT Parade was to begin.

The band took a ten-minute break and then came back and played a medley of old south songs to set the mood. Then a young man in a Red Jacket ascended the stage, moved to center stage bowed to the band and then the audience and the MC and positioned himself on the far side and raised his long brass horn and blew the sound familiar to all Derby Fans. Then the MC announced the order of presentation and explained only one contestant would be on stage at time entering from his left and exiting to his right. Each contestant would walk to center stage carrying THE HAT in the left hand at her side and upon reaching that point the band would suspend playing and the drummer would initiate a short drum roll whereupon the lady would gracefully show the HAT to the audience -left and right - and then gracefully position it on her head in a manner of her choice.

When it came time for table 37 my invisible girl-friend still had not arrived and I was nervous as I made my way to the stage steps and the center of the platform. Almost dropped the hat going up the steps, but I was not the only one, and recovered without any further mishaps. Made my way to the center point, and with a big smile presented the HAT-Left and Right- in a very deliberate manner. Then having placed the HAT securely on my blonde crown, remember my training from the Dancing Sisters Act of years before did a very proper courtesy to the audience and proceeded off the stage to a round of enchanting applause. The HAT came in third, but I drove home a winner in a delightful cloud of inner femininity.


Thanks Marie. 
 What a great "ESCAPE" story.
  Wish I had thought to check on a Derby party as well.  Next Year.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sunday Meetup

On previous occasions I have discussed the world of "Meet Up" groups.  With very little effort you can find groups that you can relate to, learn from, and still have fun. I belong to a professional group, mixed men and women and we meet once a month; typically second Sunday. Most networking professional group meet during the week, however we meet on Sunday, late afternoon.  This time and day allows for a casual atmosphere but still provides wonderful networking opportunities.

This previous Sunday, we had a group of about 30 and the upscale restaurant provided hors d'oeuvre and discounts for drinks. Anyone wanting to stay for dinner receives immediate seating. Great food at the Raindancer Steakhouse, West Palm Beach. This evening one of the members, an accomplished piano player, entertained. The photo above is at the piano.  

Do not understatement the relevance of networking. Through this group I have met new friends and found rewarding business opportunities.  A really nice group.  

Charlie, our Meetup group organizer
and Harvey at the piano
Just by going to meetup.com you can search by location, interest and dates. You will be amazed by the diversity. Literally all interest from fashion, politics, social media, and business. Also, many are purely social. Don't see one that you like - start one. Like in "Field of Dreams" they will come. What is there to lose - noting and much to gain. A great Sunday afternoon escape.  



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Secrets of My Life - Caitlyn Jenner

I picked up the Caitlyn Jenner's "The Secrets of My Life" book shortly after it came out a few weeks ago. I am about 1/2 of the way through.  A compelling read no, but has interesting sections. 

I have always contended that when a group of transgender individuals start telling stories of learning, acceptance and coming out, one person can start the story and another can pick the story up mid-sentence and continue.  Thus we go around the room all telling the same story. Yes, the details are different.  

Thus Caitlyn Jenner is relating the universal transgender accounting of past events. I am amazed at her naivety. All of us went through stages of hiding, sealing opportunities (plus clothes/makeup) to get dressed and have clandestine forays. Caitlyn relates how she would get dress in her hotel room, fearfully ride the elevator to the lobby and the walk around before heading back up to her room. Stolen moments of female validation.  

Her accounting of packing her female and male clothes for a trip is a story we all can relate to - almost the same details.    

Caitlyn's limited contact with the transgender community is evident. She is relating universal stories. It is sad that her overwhelming fear prevented her from getting help sooner. We all tend to be intelligent and discover, out of necessity how to cope. Again her naivety cause her to relate these events as she is the only one to ever do this. Anyone not transgender is going to find these uninteresting and those of us transgender are go have the duh moment.

If you interested from a biography prospective how the, then Bruce Jenner grew up, the the book seem to touch all the bases; history about father, family, children etc.  It is quite honest.  

In her book review RACHEL GIESE, stated this:

Like Caitlyn Jenner herself, The Secrets of My Life is both compelling and maddening.

...Had Jenner had a braver temperament, had she searched for community earlier in 1989 instead of 2009, there would be support groups and websites and a vast and vibrant trans rights movement to tap into. Instead, Jenner’s struggles were largely solitary. As a result, she has little insight to offer beyond her own experience and a limited engagement in the struggles of others.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dinner and The Ballet

Dinner before the Ballet 
All my life I have been waiting to put those words together. It has just such an elegant sophisticated sound.  As the song goes, "Everything is beautiful at the ballet".  Who of us has not wished to be a ballerina? 

My Saturday In Montreal was not done. (see part one and two) So after a quick change, act three. Dinner was at the main entrance to the lobby of the Place Des Arts. It is amazing as to how many different events could be happening simultaneously. Just a few hours earlier "Momma Mia!, now in a completely different and large venue, the ballet.

First Dinner - the elegant PLACE DESCHAMPS bistro was beautiful and like dining at an outside cafe only inside surrounded by theaters. Open on three sides, we could watch all the Saturday evening theater crowd go by as wine and a cheese plate was enjoyed. Through a skylight was the street courtyard to the Center's entrances. I could easily closed my eyes and picture myself in Paris; for all practical purposes, I was.  

Just across the hall from the Bistro for this evening, was the ballet theater. This evening, not just any ballet, but the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. One reviewer describes it this way:  

The Dying Swam Solo
Anytime one sees the Trocs, one wonders how they do all that they do. That core strength, the simulation of female roles with male bodies, effectively affected lines, potential tendon-snapping poses and pointe-work — small wonder that this all-male ensemble is world famous for doing just about anything any other male — and female — dancer can do. STEPHAN BONFIELD, CALGARY HERALD POSTED ON JAN 13, 2017

Yes an all male ballet troupe. This was not a drag show. These are world famous serious professional dancers that first played to comic effect brought to hilarious height and at the same time perform serious ballet. The incredible talent was always there. This is a truly a world-class company performing serious/beautiful ballet. At the conclusion of act two the dying swam solo literally takes down the house as the ballerina sheds enough feather to make several comforters.  

The final Don Quixote ballet is a parody of the great 19th century Russian classic played with brief interludes of comic relief. Always the immense talent is on display. The photo below I took at the conclusion of the evening. The standing ovation is clearly shown and well deserved.  

What a special day, evening and stay in lovely Montreal.  Thank your Ron.  I will post a few more of my photos over the next few days.

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