Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friend's Friday - Meetup Group June '18

June '18 - Second Sunday Meetup

I am on vacation this week so decided to post additional new photos from recent events. Some of the photos are from events I have already described in detail so thought you might enjoy the additional photos.

I am committed to being be out and visible. Like all of us, there are times I ask, what am I doing?  The I finish with the hair/makeup and go. After each event I am delighted I made the effort and the glow of a successful escape lingers. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Woman's Forum June '18

Photos by Tracy Benson Photography 

I am on vacation this week so decided to post additional new photos from recent events. Some of the photos are from events I have already described in detail so thought you might enjoy the additional photos.

I am committed to being out and visible. Like all of us, there are times I ask, what am I doing?  Then I finish with the hair/makeup and go. After each event I am delighted I made the effort and the glow of a successful escape lingers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mercedes Group February '18

Breakfast With my Mercedes Club - February 

I am on vacation this week so decided to post additional new photos from events that had not been posted. Some of the photos are from events I have already described in detail so thought you might enjoy the additional photos.

I am committed to being be out and visible. Like all of us, there are times I ask, what am I doing?  The I finish with the hair/makeup and go. After each event I am delighted I made the effort and the glow of a successful escape lingers.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Golden age of Cruising

Details of a mural in Royal Princess dining room–Photo by Wallace Immen

I am on vacation this week so decided to post additional new photos from events that had not been posted. Some of the photos are from events I have already described in detail so thought you might enjoy the additional photos.

Stay tuned -  I hope to have post scheduled for every day this week.  


Monday, June 25, 2018

Cruise Advice - Life Advice

Labadee, Haiti - One of my stops. 
I should be already on my cruise when you read this.

One characteristic of going on an ocean cruise seem to be the planning. I have been studying for the last two weeks reviews, suggestion and do/don't. I have my wardrobe planned down by the day including the jewelry. Just kidding about the jewelry. There is advice so specific that applies not only to your ports, but your cruise line, your ship and to the time period you are traveling. I found detail reviews only three weeks old for my ship and itinerary. Everyone has advice. Thank you YouTube. 

I am making every effort to not over plan. I remember some of my early transgender conventions where I had Excel spread sheet by day, morning/afternoon/evening;  are you laughing?  You did it too.  

On board the ship I want to be spontaneous and go with the flow - exploring, people watching and having experiences. There are shows, (Broadway caliber), gourmet specialty restaurants, wine tastings, jazz clubs, ice skating shows, tours, cooking classes and pools and more pools. 

One cruise advice blogs provided this:
Don’t let anyone rain on your parade.

At first, I was absolutely terrified to take part in all of the activities available during my cruise. What would people think if I entered the dance contest or tried the ropes course and freaked out? And then I remembered… I don’t know 99.9 percent of these people and will never see them again! By day three, I was making such questionable decisions as singing karaoke (despite having a voice comparable to nails on a chalkboard) and ordering three desserts… and I was also having a blast.

We don’t get a practice life, this is it… so make sure to have as much fun as you possibly can!  

I do plan on having a wonderful time. Maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience; maybe not. In any case escapes, planned/unplanned, are to be savored and remembered. Complacency is never part of my escapes - every Rhonda outing is treasured.     

Maybe you port of call this week will be lunch at an outdoor cafe dressed in your best summer outfit - "cruise wear" as it can be. Or maybe just a little shopping at the mall looking for the perfect sandals to match a summer dress you already have. "Make sure to have as much fun as you possibly can."  Good life advice.  Life is good.  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Do Something That Scares You

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "Do something that scares you"


When was the last time you did something that scared you?  Sure escapes take you out of your comfort zone - they are so worth it.  

"Escape and Live"

Friday, June 22, 2018

How FFS Surgery Helps Patients Who Just Want to Be Themselves

BY: Dr. Vartan Mardirossian

Facial feminization has been classified as a kind of “rebirth” for transgender patients. These procedures provide exactly what a transgender individual craves – for her appearance to match her gender. Facial feminization is life-changing for patients in many ways, but above all else, it simply helps them be who they are.

Comparing FFS to Cosmetic Procedures

One of the best ways to help others understand the difference FFS can make in the life of a transgender patient involves taking a look at cosmetic procedures – both invasive and noninvasive – that are common among cisgender women. 

  •     Makeup – Makeup is completely noninvasive but think about the reasons why women wear it. They want to highlight their features and put their best faces forward – much like transgender women who undergo FFS procedures.
  •     Hair color – Even hair color is a prime example of how something deemed cosmetic can have a positive influence on a woman’s life. Covering grays or maintaining the platinum blonde of one’s youth is common, and it gives women significant boosts to their self-esteem.
  •     Botox and fillers – Cisgender women are some of the biggest consumers of Botox and filler procedures designed to minimize wrinkles and add volume back to the face. Again, these procedures are purely cosmetic, and they help women feel better about who they see in the mirror.
  •     Facelifts and other surgeries – Finally, women around the world undergo facelifts and similar procedures in an effort to turn back the hands of time. When they look in the mirror, they see someone who looks much older than she feels on the inside.

Being Happy with What You See 

It’s well-known that facial deformities and flaws can have a tremendous impact on one’s self-esteem. People who have serious acne, facial injuries resulting in deformations, and even burn scars report low self-esteem and the desire to look more like a “normal” person. When a transgender patient looks in the mirror and sees a masculine face staring back at her, it’s much the same reaction. Facial feminization procedures help to minimize these masculine features, which can boost a transgender patient’s self-esteem significantly and even change her life forever.

For every woman, whether transgender or cisgender, the desire to have a beautiful, feminine appearance is directly related to self-esteem. Every woman wants to enjoy the face looking back at her in the mirror and see it as an accurate reflection of her inner self, and that’s exactly why facial feminization surgery exists today. Surgeons strive to perfect their trades and help transgender women become “reborn” versions of their inner selves.  

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

We both plan on being at the Southern Comfort, Ft Lauderdale Florida Transgender Conference September 6-9.

More information on that at a later date.  We hope to see you there.    

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spiritual Identity

An Amazing Discussion:

This Trans Woman Left Her Hasidic Community To Fully Embrace Her True Self.

Growing up Hasidic, Abby Stein struggled to reconcile her gender identity and her spiritual identity.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Cruise - Dressing Part 1

Six days and counting to Rhonda's big adventure - The Cruise, June 24-July 1. I have read and studied and from my closet planned what to take. Confession; one new skirt that just looked "tropical". Day-wear is for the time on the ship cruising from destination to destination and for off ship excursion. I wrote about the ship’s details and destinations in a previous post. For evening, outfits a little more dressy and I will post that plan tomorrow. 

I am definitely over planning like I do for so many events however, this is my first cruise and Rhonda anticipates enjoying every moment. All of you seasoned cruisers, any suggestion?

Allure of The Seas


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Gender Fluid

I found this on-line and have yet to find a place where it can be purchased.  Anyone know where it can be found?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friend's Friday - Designer Name Dropping

Sunday evening was my monthly Meetup group's cocktail reception. This has evolved into mostly a men's business social however this Sunday we had a very nice group of women attending.  I believe the group has been going for over eight years and I have been involved for about two. If you follow my blog regularly, you remember my speaking of this group as the monthly  Second Sunday "Raindancer Steak House" Meetup. That was a mouth full - the name not the steaks. 

This group has been successful for me in that I have made several very valuable business contacts. One of which lead to a long term event project and another with an international training coordinator.   

To the right is a fashion layout of this evening's outfit. We make an effort to be casual, after all it is on Sunday late afternoon. Sorry to be such a designer "name dropper" here, however all of the pieces were purchased on substantial sale, including the J Crew off-the-shoulder top and Ralph Lauren nautical jeans. Early human development relegated females to the gathering role. I strongly believe that "shopping" is the modern equivalent of gathering. I do so enjoy gathering items at the mall.  

After the cocktail reception some stay for dinner. I did this evening and below is a photo of one of our two tables. Taking advantage of outing like receptions, dinners and socializing is so fulfilling. Your confidence soars plus you get to meet very interesting people. ESCAPE!

Stay tuned - more photos coming up in a week or so.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Be Visable

If you can go out, be visible - network, educate, advocate, volunteer.

If you are shy about going out, support other transgender persons and transgender group that advocate for you.

If you do not know other transgenders persons, join / support an LGBT or "equal rights for all" organization.

If you are not gay, understand we are in this alphabetic soup together. You do not want to be the last when they come for you and there is no one left to speak-out. 

If you think the politicians will do the right thing without you being visible and active – think again. Just look around as to what is happening.

Be visible.  Be active.    Speak-out.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Fathers Day Sale

I clicked on my Macy's e-mail link today and this is what came up. I like the dress in the center.
Happy Father's Day to you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Signing

Thursday Caitlin and I attended a Palm Beach Book Signing.  The Bridesmaid's Daughter: From Grace Kelly's Wedding to a Women's Shelter - Searching for the Truth About My Mother   

I had received a private invitation and the signing was held at a Worth Avenue boutique. It was sponsored by a local mental health organization and featured the new writer, Nyna Giles. During the course of the champagne reception, Nyna spoke and gave a very emotional description of her childhood. Here is how Amazon describes the book:

A daughter's moving search to understand her mother, Carolyn Scott - once a bridesmaid to Princess Grace and one of the first Ford models - who later in life spent years living in a homeless shelter.

Nyna Giles was picking up groceries at the supermarket one day when she looked down and saw the headline on the cover of a tabloid: "Former Bridesmaid of Princess Grace Lives in Homeless Shelter". Nyna was stunned, shocked to see her family's private ordeal made so public - the woman mentioned on that cover, Carolyn Scott Reybold, was her mother.

Nyna's childhood had been spent in doctor's offices. Too ill, she was told, to go to school like other children, she spent nearly every waking moment at her mother's side at their isolated Long Island estate or on trips into the city to see the ballet. The doctors couldn't tell her what was wrong, but as Nyna grew up, her mother, who'd always seemed fragile, became more and more distant. Now, Nyna was forced to confront an agonizing realization: She barely knew the woman on the magazine in front of her.

She knew that her mother had been a model after arriving in New York in 1947, living at the Barbizon Hotel, where she'd met the young Grace Kelly and that the two had become fast friends. Nyna had seen the photos of Carolyn at Grace's wedding, wearing the yellow bridesmaid gown that had hung in her closet for years. But how had the seemingly confident, glamorous woman in those pictures become the mother she knew growing up - the mother who was now living in a shelter?

In this powerful memoir of friendship and motherhood, Nyna Giles uncovers her mother's past to answer the questions she never knew to ask.
If you have been touched by mental illness growing up as Nyna had, I am sure the book will enlist deep emotions.  An interesting subject matter that we all need to understand better in light of the most recent news.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cruise/Resort Wear

I am so looking forward to my first Caribbean cruise.  Less than two weeks. I know I live in the sub-tropics with two coconut palm trees lazily leaning over my pool and the vegetation here is always green. Our tropical climate has a rainy season, May-October and the daily thunderstorms keeps the humidity in the sticky zone.  Yes, the tropics.   

Although Florida sticks out into the tropics, the exotic islands seem to be calling me. Why I have waited so long is a mystery. My excitement is growing for an upcoming Caribbean cruise.

This trip is going to be more about cruising than the destinations/ports. For my first cruise that is great. I want to enjoy all that this mega-cruise-ship has to offer. The island ports are described as eastern Caribbean destinations which include Puerto Rico, Port of Philipsburg on Sint Maarten (Dutch spelling) and the private port of Labadee on the northern tip of Haiti. I see these destinations as just the taste of the islands with cruising (the ship) being the heavy emphasis. The next trip, island hopping on a private sailboat in my bikini; OK - a girl can dream.  

After booking was taken care of, I started studying all about cruising and naturally a girl’s heart turns to, “What to wear?” There seems to be a whole wardrobe class designated “Cruise Wear”, so back to Google. First, here are my ship's (Allure of the Sea - Royal Caribbean) suggestions: 

The Code: Royal Caribbean has formal (elegant casual), smart casual and casual nights. Formal attire includes suits and ties or tuxedos for men and cocktail dresses for women. Smart casual attire includes jackets and ties for men and dresses or pantsuits for women. Casual attire includes sport shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or pantsuits for women; vacation wear. 

Allure's three-deck Adagio Dining Room
The Main Dining room is where the code applies. On my cruise there will be two designated formal nights (day 2 and 6) with the remaining being smart casual attire (dress to impress). This is only for dinner in the main dining room with most of the other restaurants having relaxed standards. Example: "Nightly casual option in The Windjammer cafĂ© is the laid-back evening choice -- though tank tops and caps are not allowed during dinner." 

There appears to be 26 different places (themes) to dine plus room service. The main dining that I have been referencing is Allure's three-deck Adagio Dining Room which had seating for some 3,000.  WOW!   

I believe that dressing for dinner is a cruising tradition going back many decades. Oh darn, must I dress up? Yes, I plan on fully enjoying this carryover  tradition. This is likely a tradition that predates the Titanic. Oh, guess that is a historical reference I should have avoided. Well if I am going down with the ship, I want to be well dressed. Anyone know – Is it still “Women and children first”?

More on Cruise/Resort wear coming up in future post - stay tuned.  Also I am open to suggestions.  What did you wear and see being worn on your cruises? Send photos.     

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friend's Friday - Faces of Pride

June is pride month for the LGBTQ community and to commemorate USA Today interviewed 50 members and their allies.  A beautiful montage of photos, heartwarming stories and support.  Read all if you have time.  Shown below is my friend's Allison Scott's profile.  Thank you USA Today for the articles and support.  

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Women Helping Women

Last evening I attended the Capital Strategies Woman's Forum.  I was invited to attend by one of the women in my lunch group and it was so exciting to be there.  We had about 100 women (only) in attendance and three local women of distinction spoke. These are accomplished, professional woman that shared their strategies, stories and successes.  

I am amazed as to how woman cooperate.  They truly are willing to share how they got ahead and willingly encourage others to do the same. What a concept and a pleasant evening.  

I arrived about 20 minutes before and stayed about 30 minutes after to network, which was encouraged. Many were interested in a new business venture which I will share in a few days.  An incredible ESCAPE evening... 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Celebrate - One of Us

Alexandra Billings 
Success by a person in our community is a good reason to celebrate.  In my experience there is a trifecta of reasons for succeeding; hard work, ambition, opportunity.  Shouldn’t overcoming a disadvantage also be included? I think not because obstacles lie everywhere.

I have had moderate success in spite of dyslexia and the list of those that have dealt with this condition / disability is numerous.  E.g. Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, John F Kennedy, Walt Disney… I am not comparing my self to any of these as to success but know that my disadvantage only meant I had to work harder.  

I know some within our community who have never been able to rise above being transgender. They obsess about gender reassignment surgery (GRS) until this conclusion consumes them. The question that begs to be answered - what do you want to be when you grow up? 

For the last several nights I have been binge-watching the Amazon Prime series, Goliath.  It stars Billy Bob Thornton as a disgraced alcoholic lawyer, now an ambulance chaser. He gets a case that could bring him redemption or at least revenge on the firm which expelled him. Producers David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal), Jonathan Shapiro (The Practiceare great storytellers and this one is A+. I have one episode left to finish season-one and was very pleased to find out that there will be a season-two, starting this month (June '18).  

Today’s celebration runs to Alexandra Billings (Transparent) who is set for a key recurring role opposite Billy Bob Thornton, Morris Chestnut, and Ana De La Reguera in the second season of Goliath. Yes, she is a member of our community. Here is how Hollywood Dateline describes her success.

The role is notable for Billings, who as a transgender actress, is breaking through to play non-trans-specific characters. Best known for her role as Davina, mentor to Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura on Transparent, Billings also stars in the feature film Valley of Bones opposite Autumn Reeser and Rhys Corio, set for release in September. It too is a non-trans-specific role. 

Congratulation - I applaud her hard work and ambition. She is a great actor and deserves this opportunity based on what I have seen of her other roles. Let’s all  celebrate as one of our community does well. As we contemplate our own escapes, let us all find opportunities - Not see obstacles.