Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Escape - Cape Coral (part 2)

Rhonda and Susan - Dinner
There were two blogs that inspired me - Femulate and SusanAfter60

Stana ever so graciously allows several guest posts on Femulate. That primed the pump for my writing; something I never knew I could do.  (Although the jury may still out on that.) 

I was a dedicated reader of Susan’s blog long before I started writing. I took her advice to heart. The gold standard of how to look “at a certain age” not only existed, but was achievable. "More" in my wardrobe were no longer the goal. Quality and style became the aim. The latest styles on the runway were never going to flatter, but there was a look that could. 

Susan was my inspiration. She is a beautiful woman, of any age, that provides fashion and life advice that really works. Rhonda aspires to be a woman of mature age that represents herself well. Fashion is different in the world of being invisible. You do want to dress to be seen, but not scream,” look at me”.  If ever noticed, I want to be seen as well dressed, put together and admired for being classy. Susan is all of those.

My self-image improved and my confidence soared. I was not about being a woman or being transgender; it was about the way you present yourself and being confident.

Susan also highlighted events that she enjoyed that provided a reason to get dressed up and attend. Be it elegant dinners at nice restaurants, symphonies, or a weekend get-aways. The "all dressed up with somewhere to go”.  When you have confidences you can and should go anywhere - ESCAPE.

During my trip to attend my high school reunion in Virginia, I had an appointment in western North Carolina close by where Susan lives. We planned to have a dinner and the evening was lovely. Many subjects were discussed. We talked well into the evening. Susan’s southern hospitality made the afternoon and evening amazing.

Just this past week we connected again at Cape Coral and our conversation took off where we left off. We shared pool time, an elegant dinner and met for breakfast the next morning. 

Susan is a lovely and genuine person. The advice she provides on her blog is real; as well the person. It is my pleasure to know a person of such value. Susan, thank you for sharing your blog/thoughts with the world and sharing precious time with me.  

See Susan's photos of her vacation - hotel and area.  More of my photos tomorrow.  Stay tuned.... 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Escape Stay - (part 1)

Marina and Hotel

Below is the e-mail I receive last week after my stay at the Florida Westin Cape Coral Resort.  A short escape but so worthwhile. I walked the marina and shops plus enjoyed the pool and restaurants. The hotel was a total resort with many amenities and much to do plus being close to Fort Myers / Sanibel Island. Just sitting and watching all the yachts coming and going was so relaxing.  

I may have been the only Floridian there. While enjoying the pool I had conversations with people form Chicago, Minneapolis, and Cleveland.  The West Coast for Florida for me is just an easy, scenic 2 hour, 45 minute drive.  Notes to self - You must do this escape more often.     

I will write more about the good times I had with a fellow blogger as we compared notes on writing and life. We  enjoyed wine, laughed over an elegant dinner and shared fun at the pool.  Stay tuned...

A very special and needed escape.    

Just leaving the pool area

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cosmopolitan Cover - Breaking Barriers

Laverne Cox - Cosmopolitan South Africa

"My message to Cosmo readers is to let go of fear and live a fun and fearless life." 

Laverne Cox

Our goal is to play a small part in providing viability to the LGBTQI+ community, of which Laverne has become a revolutionary icon. We wanted to disrupt the hetro-normative ideas around February and Valentines and look at love in 2018 including acceptance of self, others and non-binary relationships.

 Holly Meadows Cosmopolitan South Africa

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friend's Friday - Bri and Tory Floral Flats

Tory Burch Minnie Floral Flats
Brian (Bri) and I both love Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats. About a year ago I found Bri's blog and photos wearing Tory flats and decided to try a pair for myself. Bri is the poster "boy" for these. If you do not believe me, just Google "Men Wearing Ballet Flats".    

Back to Tory Minnie Flats. They are so comfortable and I keep a pair in my car at all times. Perfect with jeans. Just a few weeks ago I had been shopping on Worth Avenue and found nothing other than a Starbucks tea. So I pulled into my local mall on the way home. The sandals I was wearing were in the process of rubbing up a blister near my big toe because I had not worn them in while. (Sure, like you have never had that happen to you?) I put on my blue Tory Burch Minnie flats and was good to go. It was that very day, I purchased another pair of Tory Minnie flats at my Tory Burch mall store. The flats shown here.   

I could not wait to get home to write Bri about my wonderful find, thinking I had a pair that had not been added to Bri's collection yet - Silly me. Here is the note back with photos; enjoy.  Thanks for sharing Bri. 

Hi Rhonda,

I'm wearing mine as I'm type this message to you, hehe. Before I ever saw these on the Tory website I was thinking to myself I didn't have a pair of floral flats.  Careful what you wish for RIGHT!   I have some pretty feminine looking flats but the floral pattern on these SCREAMS FEMININE.  A few of my female Tory friends have said they would never buy them cuz they are too feminine looking.  I guess that make them perfect for us. The times I have worn them I have received very nice comments about them but they were from friends that know my tendencies. I can only imagine there's been a few people think to themselves, What The ???. 

I always think of you and just enjoy my Escape.       


Cute shoes and really nice legs!

Thanks for sharing Bri.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fashion Trends Spring '18

Listed below are several of the fashion trends I found for this spring.  It is not like we can go out and find or buy these designer originals but there will be knockoff coming soon to our local Bloomingdale and Target.  Looking is like dreaming and is fun to picture ourselves walking the runway in these little delegates and fun looks.   

Enjoy the trends. My source for the descriptions are Harper’s BazaarSelectSpecs and POPSUGAR


Fendi Spring 2018

It looks as if heritage checks are going nowhere for the season ahead. Balenciaga's came via voluminous coats as seen here, while Victoria Beckham's had a more traditional appeal. Anyone looking for floaty feminine styles should turn to Sonia Rykiel where they were bright and summer-ready. Burberry's homage was perhaps the most overt - expect to see its check caps everywhere next season. 

Modern Romance

Rodarte Spring 2018

Jane Austen would be proud of the Spring '18 lineup that comes with corseted waists, billowy sleeves, and soft, romantic florals. This feminine look was a heroine on the runways — and soon, in your closets.


Bottega Veneta

Fringing made a surprise comeback this season. Far from its most recent (very tired) festival incarnations, Celine, Bottega Veneta and Loewe gave them a sophisticated, empowered appeal. Saint Laurent's fringing boots have already been worn by Rihanna.

Cinderella shoe

Tom Ford

If next season's glitzy sequinned ready-to-wear is too much for you, then perhaps a sparkling Cinderella shoe is an alternative. Preen's feminine floaty dresses were styled with socks and glittery Mary Janes, while Victoria Beckham's take (inspired by daughter Harper) had a more pronounced heel. It should be noted that socks and shoes are making a comeback too.

Retro Specs

Miu Miu MU 06PV
Retro specs have long been a coveted style trend in the eyewear world. From the vintage glasses look embraced by the hipster community to eyewear throwbacks inspired by our favourite movies and today’s TV culture, retro is everywhere.

But in 2018, the retro trend returns with a bit of a twist. For next season’s collections are inspired by chic, uncompromising minimalism. So think simple silhouettes with a touch of vintage charm. Or stark styles with a subtle pop of colour.  This eyewear trend is the epitome of the past meeting the future. Bringing designs from the 50s, 60s and 70s right up to date with the new space age.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

One Of Us - Ben Barres

Mourning Ben Barres, The Transgender Scientist Who Changed Neuroscience

Matthew Herper - Forbes 

Ben Barres
a neurobiologist at Stanford University's
Medical Center
(Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Ben Barres, a neuroscientist who established the importance of glial cells, which comprise 9 in 10 brain cells  died on December 27. The cause was pancreatic cancer, according to a statement from Stanford University, where he was a professor and where he chaired the department of neurobiology until he was diagnosed last April.

“Ben was a remarkable person. He will be remembered as a brilliant scientist who transformed our understanding of glial cells and as a tireless advocate who promoted equity and diversity at every turn,” said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, PhD, president of Stanford University, in a press release. "He was also a beloved mentor to students and trainees, a dear friend to many in our community and a champion for the fundamental dignity of us all.”

Barres is remembered for his trailblazing scientific work, but also for the causes he fought for. He was openly and adamantly transexual, and was the first trans person admitted into the National Academies of Science. He was a tireless advocate for women in academia, and for his students. Professors often hold on to their students projects; Barre insisted they take those projects with them.  He was a figure toward whom a great many other scientists felt a strong emotional bond. I found this out last night when I posted a link to Stanford's news release announcing his death on Twitter, and was blown away by the dozens of heartfelt responses.

Read the whole article using the link above.  A super interesting person and community advocate.   

Ben Barres: "It's No Longer Necessary to Live in the Closet"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Miracle Suit - Breaking News

We interrupt your winter storm alert with this important fashion information.  South Florida should be 75-80 all week.  Beach Time!!!!

My day at the beach in Florida

The T-shirt is Venus LOVE PRINT TOP.

The Shorts are to Levi 501® SHORTS.

The Sunglasses are Tiffany Victoria Cat Eye Sunglasses from Eyes-On-The-Island, Palm Beach.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled activities, already in progress; snow shoveling, ice scraping and blizzard conditions.      

Monday, January 22, 2018

LadyLike - Flying Solo

Cover - LadyLike #33


One of my biggest thrills for my early transgender days was sharing one of my "Escapes" in the pages of a national magazine.  Life, Look, National Graphic - No, JoAnn Robert's LadyLike. It was my favorite magazine; clean, good advice and real stories written by real people.

I knew Joann from attending transgender conferences like Southern Comfort, Be-All, and Holiday EnFemme. We hit it off. She was a strong willed, opinionated, petite, bomb shell. I approached JoAnn with a real experience I had flying coast to coast back in 1988. (OMG - almost 30 years ago.) She said, "write it up".  I did and to my absolute amazement, it was published in LadyLike #33.  JoAnn titled it - "Flying Solo".   

Likely, some of you have read it here, but just in case here are the links:

Trying The Door - Part 3 - Cancelled Connection
 Trying The Door - Part 4 - The Next Day

I have always been grateful to JoAnn for printing my first ever attempt at writing. Joann, I miss you and the conversations we had at the conventions. A true friend.  


My story from LadyLike #33
JoAnn Roberts

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friend's Friday - Marcia's Shopping

Guest Post - Marcia

For many of us, shopping is an addiction. We’d rather shop than do about anything else. However, transition can be hard, and shopping for a decent wardrobe can be daunting, especially now that the anti-trans forces are feeling emboldened. Going out as our true selves might not be in the cards for some of us.

When I was in that stage of my transition, I was scared to death to go out. I finally worked up the courage to present in public as my true self while I was in Chicago on a business trip in 2013. While I was there, I wanted to add to my wardrobe and scheduled an appointment with Nordstrom Personal Stylist, Alice Moran, at the Nordstrom Michigan Avenue store. 

Alice knew this was my first time out in public and my first real shopping experience. She met me at the entrance with a warm greeting and showed me to a room. Before that time, we had talked about style, and my likes and dislikes. I gave Alice my sizes. When I arrived, Alice had several pieces already selected. The outfits were perfect. I wound up buying quite a few pieces. Nordstrom has free shipping, so Alice shipped my purchases for free to my home town. 

In the three and half years since that initial visit, Alice has been an invaluable friend and ally in my transition. She has helped me slowly build a wardrobe. The pieces she picks coordinate with other pieces she has picked over the years. This allows me to mix and match while building outfits. When I feel the need for a new outfit, or a new dress, I e-mail Alice and share ideas with her. She then picks outfits or pieces, photographs them, and sends me the photos by e-mail. I make my selections based on her photos. Alice then ships the clothes to me for free. I must say, actually meeting Alice in person was very beneficial to this process. If you have a chance to meet your personal stylist in person, I am certain you will have a better experience.

When I make purchases with my Nordstrom card, I build Nordstrom points to apply toward future purchases using Nordstrom Notes. To top it all off, if I do not like something, or if it does not fit, I can take it back to my local Nordstrom where I have never encountered a problem making a return.

I encourage you all to use a personal stylist. It has been a wonderful experience for me. 


Marcia, good advice and it helps all of learn good styling sense.  Thank you for the post.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hair Restoration Treatment for Men & Women

By Vartan Mardirossian MD FACS

New Services

Have you noticed that your hair has started thinning in places or has been falling out without explanation? If so, there is no need to despair because there are several medical and surgical solutions available these days that can assist with hair restoration, some of which will be discussed below.

Scalp Micro Pigmentation

This is a non-surgical procedure that helps reduce the appearance of visibly thinning hair, removing the focus away from any bare patches that may be present. Scalp micro pigmentation is usually an ideal option for men and women who may not be suitable candidates for, or who don’t want to use the option of hair transplant surgery.

This option can be used for anyone with thinning hair and who wants it to appear fuller. It can also be used to reduce the appearance of any scars that may be present on the scalp area, including those from any previous hair transplant treatments (if applicable). Scalp micro pigmentation can also be used to improve the results of a previous hair transplant by reducing the amount of contrast between a patient’s hair color and their scalp.

Follicular Regener-8 (FR-8)

Follicular Regener-8 is a non-surgical option that can help with hair restoration and the process is fast, simple and virtually painless. A little blood is drawn from the patient, which is placed inside a centrifuge unit. This device separates protein-rich platelets from the rest of the blood, and the platelets are injected directly into thinning or bald areas of the scalp. This helps stimulate hair repair and regrowth.

This is an ideal treatment option for anyone suffering from alopecia and it is recommended that it be performed alongside other hair transplant procedures. Although one of the main advantages of this procedure is that patients won’t experience allergic reactions or side-effects from it, other benefits include that patients don’t experience downtime afterwards and the procedure only takes around an hour to perform.

Most patients report a noticeable difference in the form of thicker hair within a very short period of time and the results of Follicular Regener-8 are quite long-lasting. However, it may sometimes be necessary for patients to have booster treatments administered every three to four months.

Hair Transplantation Surgery

This is performed on an outpatient basis and patients usually require between one and two surgical sessions to notice a difference.

Both donor and recipient areas will be anaesthetized with a local anesthetic and a section of hair-bearing scalp skin will be removed from the sides and back of the patient’s head where permanent hair already exists. The sites are then sutured closed.

Donor hair is dissected into minute grafts consisting of two to three hairs each, which are inserted into small slits in recipient areas. Hair surrounding donor areas disguises sutures, and these are removed 10 to 12 days after procedure. It can take anywhere between 8 and 12 months before results become apparent.

If you have been feeling embarrassed or overwhelmed because of hair loss, speak with us to discuss your options regarding hair restoration today. If you are having a problem with hair loss call us at 561-642-0900 for a free consultation; (SKYPE or in person).

Note: Vartan is my doctor, business associate, and friend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Redefining Realness:- Janet Mock

I just finished reading Janet Mock's first Book, "Redefining Realness".  I am little late getting to this in that it was first released in February 2014.  Her second book "Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me" was released last June so I felt the need to to get the background before reading the new book.  "Redefining Realness" is an amazing book.

Janet is one of us - Transgender.  On Janet's web site the book is described this way:

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, this New York Times bestseller is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

Real is an understatement.  Nothing is sugar coated and Janet's intelligence, determination and ultimate success is described in her words that flow. Literally I could not put it down. Charles knew early on that he was different and wanted to be a girl. Janet rose above every disadvantage you can imagine. Both of her parents being drug addicted. She was shuttled from Hawaii to Texas back to Hawaii to only end up homelessness along with her siblings because of her uncaring mother. Janet rose above this; going to collage on scholarship,  graduating and ultimately paying for her GRS herself.  This part of the story is gritty and uncensored and told by someone that had great determination and ambition. To escape all that Janet endures is a miracle and I have nothing but respect, despite the journey.

Other that writing a best seller where is Janet today? She is TV host, and an advocate tackling stigma through storytelling. With a Master’s in journalism from New York University she produced HBO’s The Trans List, hosts the podcast "Never Before", and serves as a columnist for Allure. Called a “fearless new voice” and “trailblazing leader”.  Oprah Winfrey said she “changed my way of thinking”. Janet was a featured speaker at the historic Women’s March on Washington and has now written her second book.

Yes, one of us and I proudly applaud her escape, overcoming so much to define her own realness.  I highly recommend the book. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Transgender Umbrella

During this past year, I had many super experiences. I highlighted a few in my year in review. The absolute high points of this year involved making new friends. I have always contended we all have so much in common that there is a collective history we all relate. I am very grateful for the friendship and hospitality we shared.    

I want to believe that much of the division and fracturing in our community has diminished. With that said I must mention one of this past year’s WTF experiences. Prior to arriving for one of my training/trips I was invited to attend a regional “support group" event. The group was not at all new to me in that many years ago, 20 to be exact, I had attended extended weekend events plus dinners with this group. I found the large group at that time to be fun and welcoming.    

I have written in the past about the divisions that TRI-ESS has inflicted upon our community.  Many of its members represent an older thinking and an exclusionary attitude of internalized transphobia and homophobia. One of the things that this group perpetuates is the separation from those who are "to trans". They want to make sure that people know they are just “crossdressers” and some go so far as to look and act the characterization. 

In my naïveté I was thinking this attitude was so last century. Not the case. My invitation was to attend one of their annual “signature events” and was from an existing member in good standing; a blog friend. I was told that before I could attend, an interview was needed. The phone conversation arduous, probing, and detail. The first hint of what was to come. Not being a TRI-ESS member was clearly an issue. Not a subscriber to the doctrine was the big question.  

As I look back now, I am not completely sure I was "granted permission" to attend.  I just went with my friend.        

Upon arriving at the restaurant, I pulled to the front and my host and I started to get out of the car. Immediately we were stopped by the parking valet and told the "side entrance" was where our group was entering. I got the distinct message, “Not the front door.”  Why any group would tolerate this, I do not understand.  

Individuals based on their comfort level should be free to choose, thus providing outreach opportunities.    

The “room” was basically a large storage area with old tables and chairs arranged to accommodate maybe 40. The right side of the room is where the restaurant stored Christmas decorations. The entrance to the main eating area was blocked with a closed door and large folding screen. I was told, “We have our own restroom.”  Message – do not go into the main dining room. The single restroom was more of a cleaning closet than restroom - Mops and buckets.   

The website for this group, that will go unnamed, clearly states their exclusionary attitude: 
Experience has shown that … cannot provide counseling and support to every part of the transgender spectrum as the needs are too varied and sometimes conflicting. Our expertise is in providing help to crossdressers and their loved ones. While we may maintain ties with those persons who are on a path to full transition, we cannot provide them with the support that their situation requires.

I sensed that some were uncomfortable with my presentation and outgoing nature. The fact that I clearly defined myself and wrote about the transgender experience, seemed to threaten. I volunteered to speak briefly and highlight the blog but no opportunity was provided. After dinner, a group, one hour mind-numbing game of “CLUE” was the night’s entertainment. Yes - "Colonel Mustard with a dagger in the billiard room." If only I could have been the lucky victim early in the evening. It the game had gone any longer, I would have been the perpetrator; "Rhonda, in the storage room with a butter knife."

The whole evening was not an endearing blast from the past.  First: Why intelligent and “out” persons would allow a public venue to treat them in such a demeaning way is beyond me. Self-loathing abounding. Second: Why a person who could be reasonably attired, dresses in thrift store rejects just to make sure they look like stereotypical crossdressers, is absurd. Read and study what is acceptable fashion. If this is "crossdressing", know that this is not how modern women dress, regardless of size. Third: The accents may have been southern; the hospitality was not.   

Anyone genuinely looking for support or tolerance, will find neither with this group.  
The truth is that we all fit under the transgender umbrella. The sad truth is that some choose to not avail themselves to the insight, protection, and honor the umbrella provides. Very unfortunate.  Enemies from within are the most destructive.   


Note:  This is not meant to throw aspersion on all TRI-ESS members. I have friends that are participants, organizers and board members. Over the years TRI-ESS served a purpose that was important. It provided a safe outlet for many to meet others for the first time on their proverbial "out of the closet" moment.  

I founded two support groups.  Neither of which were TRI-ESS groups. We were all inclusive.  

However today, acceptance is the new normal and any who desire acceptance needs to practice acceptance. We are a diverse group, living in a diverse world.      


Monday, January 15, 2018

My Kinda 60's - Charles Busch

Charles Busch and Rhonda 
I attended last Friday a cabaret performances of "An Evening with Charles Busch - My Kind of 60's" at the elegant and intimate Palm Beach DramaWorks theater.  I am sure that most of you are familiar with Charles but just in case;

Charles Busch is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright and female impersonator, known for his appearances on stage in his own camp style plays and in film and television. He wrote and starred in his early plays Off-off-Broadway beginning in 1978, generally in drag roles, and also acted in the works of other playwrights. He also wrote for television and began to act in films and on television in the late 1990s. His best known play is The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (2000), which ran for 777 performances on Broadway, Others are , Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Psycho Beach Party, The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question and Charles Busch's Cleopatra. (source Wikipedia) 

His "My Kinda 60s  included  music he remembers from his childhood, growing up in the 1960s. "They’re all songs from pop, Broadway, film, just an incredible and eclectic group of songs.  Included were two Broadway songs, but not ones that will be familiar to a broad audience. He said they are songs “from the time when the Broadway theater was changing. I do early Sondheim,  a very haunting song from Cabaret, ‘What Would You Do?'” which he described as very appropriate for today.  

"My Kinda 60’s" weaves tales of his Manhattan childhood and adolescence raised by his “indomitable Aunt Lillian” during that tumultuous decade, with a musical narrative that mixes the period pop of Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, the Beatles, Henry Mancini, and Bob Dylan, with show music by Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, and others.  He dedicated the song "Those Were The Days" to his Aunt Lillian.  A beautiful tribute. 

After the show there was a champagne reception where I got to speak with Charles and had the above photo taken.  I know Bill and Sue Ellen, the owners of DramaWorks and I thank you for hosting this sold out event for PBC-HRC. What a marvelous event. An enjoyable evening - Life is good.

DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! Favorite Lines -  Charles Busch

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Political Cartoons 1-14

And the award for the week goes to: 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

What Makes Me


I plan on leaving my survey up a few more days.  If you have not already expressed your likes or dislike about Rhonda's Escape, please do. I am most grateful to those who have taken the 1 minute survey. I will share overall results next week.   Thank you.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

British Vogue

First openly transgender woman Featured 

A model, writer and campaigner has become the first openly transgender woman to be featured in British Vogue.

Paris Lees is included in a feature celebrating 100 years since women have had the right to vote in the UK.

She is joined by writer Reni Eddo-Lodge, Women's Equality Party's Sophie Walker, artist Gillian Wearing, MP Stella Creasy, blogger Dina Tokio and Gal-Dem magazine founder Liv Little.

Lees thanked the magazine for including her in the "special moment".  She continued:

"Look how far we've come. We are in the middle of a global movement where trans people are asking to be treated with the same respect as everyone else in society."

"It's insane that I could be in Vogue. A trans kid from a council estate.

"People at school told me I'd never be a girl, would never be pretty enough, would never be accepted - well here I am being celebrated as a woman."

April Ashley, one of the first Britons to undergo genital reconstruction surgery, modeled for Vogue in the 1950's. She was outed by tabloids as trans in the 1960's.

In 2017, French Vogue featured a transgender model on its cover for the first time.  And in 2014, American Vogue profiled trans model Andreja Pejic.


I plan on leaving my survey up one more week.  If you have not already expressed your likes or dislike about Rhonda's Escape, please do. I am most grateful to those who have taken the 1 minute survey. I will share overall results next week.   Thank you.