-->

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Mission Shopping - RL Denim


I am a huge fan of denim and Ralph Lauren fashions. I have a good collection of dark, medium and white denim skirts; pencil, a-line and flair. I am always on the look out for the perfect length and perfect shape. Ralph Lauren seems to have the edge on the best denim skirts. The above RL pencil skirt hits me at the perfect spot, just slightly above the knee, petite and is a shape that flatters showing curves and style. A timeless piece from likely five plus years ago.   

This skirt and several very much like it are permanent fixtures in my closet. I am constantly in search of the perfect pieces to go with them. They can be casual to dressy depending on my mood. The Palm Beach, Worth Avenue Ralph Lauren store is unique. It typically carries only the top designer, "Purple Label" thus catering to the Palm Beach crowd. Not an outlet by any stretch. 

After all of the snow-birds head back north, I always check in for sales, and they are good. To go with my denim skirt I found the above CELIA BLEACHED DENIM PUMP, and the  Indigo Flag Cotton Sweater.  I know thinking sweater in July is silly but this girl does plan ahead especially when 40% off an already almost 1/2 price.  Mission shopping.    


Ralph Lauren’s “Rivera” gingham evening dress
I have tried these on together and they are a great combination. The heel on the shoes are a bit higher than I usually wear, 4 inches, however after giving them a good test drive in the store, I believe I can manage for a dressy outing. They certainly elevate the skirt and sweater look.  

I love this type of shopping. You are adding to and enhancing your wardrobe with brands, labels and styles that are timeless and can be worn many different ways. These are not thrift store items and I will take quality over quantity any day. You are worth it and investing in your wardrobe enhances your self-esteem and femininity. Head high, smile in place and with a "look at me" confidence.  

Just look at First Lady Melania Trump’s fashion choices.  A look, confidence and attitude to emulate.   


Escape into a beautiful style.  


Note: There is an interesting side story on why Ralph Lauren feels free to merchandise with the American Flag. According to Wikipedia: In 1998, the Star-Spangled Banner, the original 1813 flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem, was historically preserved by a $10 million contribution to Save America's Treasures from Polo Ralph Lauren. The flag was then unveiled on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 in a new gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington D.C.  



    

Monday, July 30, 2018

My First Movie Escape

April - Photo by Lauren

Last week’s discussion of “7 Escapes For This Summer” made me remember one of my first ever escapes in the real world. It was to a movie.  

I had been going to a “Woman’s Bar” (BJ's originally on Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa) and had come to know several of the girls that worked there as well as the owner. I found the women at this upscale bar to be understanding, open and treated me like any other patron; unexpected and appreciated.   

This was a somewhat progressive establishment for the 80's and had two young transgender girls, Edie and April, working as waitresses. Weekly the two would put on a dance/lip-sync show. One of the girls loved my shoes and we wore the same size so she would borrow my shoes for her act. April was young, cute, fearless and was living full time as a female. She had been thrown out / disowned by her religious parents at 17 and now at 21 was just surviving. In spite of this, she was always positive and fun. I tried to tip well. 

April was the catalyst for me finding the name "Rhonda". This was my first choice for a name and it seemed to stick.  As April put it, "Tom just does not work, honey".  She was from North Carolina.

I shared with April that I would love to go out more and be in the real world as Rhonda. April came back after her dance one evening and suggested we go to a movie on her next night off.  

At that time to have someone to shore-up my courage in public and be out was a dream come true. The next week we made a date. What the movie was to be, I did not care. 

I picked up April the next Tuesday and we headed to the large theater complex. Being it was my treat I gave her the money and that alleviated my big fear of going to the ticket counter. She said she understood. As we were walking in, she asked very politely if I would like any popcorn and she volunteered to get it. I gave her the money and she headed over to the concession counter.  

About halfway between the concession counter and where I was standing, she turned and asked in a voice I am sure everyone in the lobby heard, “Mama, do we want butter on our popcorn?” Several attempts to speak produced nothing. Finally, I mouthed, “NO” and something like, “I am going to kill you!”

April was enjoying every minute of it as I stood, frozen waiting for her to return. To my absolute amazement, the world did not come to an end, the gender police did not come to take me away and I did not kill April.  

That was not the last time that April and her “Mother ” went out. Her encouragement meant a lot to me over the next year. Thinking about that evening and April brings a big smile. April passed a few years later. A victim of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s. She is missed.  A free spirit, intelligent and gone way too young. 


________________


There are other stories from this emerging time of Rhonda's early ESCAPES; stay tuned.  Please share some of your early escape stories. "Everyone has a story".  




  


Friday, July 27, 2018

Friend's Friday - Girl's Shopping Afternoon



I had the most glorious girl's day out last week. The wife of the executive director from two of my most recent Rhonda jobs sent a text to ask if I would like to go shopping. She needed help finding a cocktail dress for an upcoming event. After pinching myself to make sure I was awake, I responded "SURE".  The date was set.

Our plan was to meet for lunch, and strike out on the "mission shopping" from there. We met at a restaurant/wine bar and laughed and giggled through wine samplings and lunch. We had catching up to do at our girls only lunch unencumbered by male influence.  

Listed above are all the stores we visited as we traversed my upscale Palm Beach Gardens Mall from one end to the other. We each tried on dresses, helping each other with selections and offering honest and some times brutal opinions.

The final selection was from Nordstrom and is the dress featured above. WOW! Did it look great on her; just as good as it appears on the model. I am soooo jealous!!!  

Our final stop was Starbucks where we sat in an inside garden, had coffee and talked for another hour. Neither of us was in a hurry. That was about three hours of fun and total feminine immersion. A wonderful hug ended our "Girl's Shopping Afternoon", with promises to do it again. 

There are proceedings that each gender takes for granted as being part of their routine. The adventures of this afternoon were such a feminine immersion that at the time I actually had to take a deep breath to allow the events to wash over me. To call it a fantasy, does not fully capture the nature of this beautiful ESCAPE.  One can go through living life routinely by the hour and day, however it is the moments that matter.  What a wonderful day, full of memorable moments.  

My appreciation for life abounds at the reality of being accepted at all levels and having such a glorious escape with a wonderful friend. Thank you.    





An art layout I did for my friend to honor her 2012 retirement.  









Thursday, July 26, 2018

Business Meeting Planning



Last month I had an important business meeting/interview.  First I did all my homework on the company so that I knew their needs. That preparation involved Googling the company and the person with whom I would be meeting; background research. Next several e-mails to schedule and follow-up on my meeting request. Once confirmed I acknowledged the meeting date and time. The day before the meeting I confirmed again making sure to thank them for the opportunity. 

I had my hair done the day before so as to not have the "just out the salon look", that would communicate I was trying too hard. I knew I could get the hair back to a reasonable (messy) "bob" for the meeting.  I checked my nails for chips and touched up.  

I was attending a large business office, so wanted to look professional, but not over done. Florida is almost always business casual so I wanted to err on the side of a just a little over-dressed - under-dressed would put me in a bad light without saying a word.  I was correct.  The person I met with was professional with heels, dress white pants and silk top.  

Also I wanted to make sure that my accessories did not detract and were current. According to Interview Tips for Older Job Seekers, appearance is always an issue, especially for jobs where other candidates are often younger than you. In my case, I know all candidates are likely to be younger.  

My outfit is built around a Macy's recent purchase -  "Lauren Ralph Lauren Petite Flutter-Sleeve Dress". The hem falls just above the knee. Short but not too short - stylish and definitely not frumpy.  Accessories; Lauren leather tote bag for portfolio, with notebook and Coach shoes.    

I will keep you posted on my business meeting. Wish me luck.    





Wednesday, July 25, 2018

7 Escapes for this Summer…


1  Go to a movie

Tickets can be purchased at a kiosk, or online and typically all you have to do is show your ticket and walk in. The theater is low light and then dark.  Be the last to exit and as you leave take a deep breath and let the accomplishment wash over you.  

2  Visit a museum

Again, tickets can be purchased online and interactions are up to you. Find a place to sit and look at a painting or exhibits as long as you like. Move about at your pace and soak up the culture. 


3  A wine tasting




There are restaurants that specialize in wine tastings.  Sit at a bar and taste until you find one you like. Have a full glass and buy a bottle to take home. A great way to expand your wine knowledge. Next dinner out with your friends, impress them with your new found wine expertise. 







 Attend small venue events (book signings, piano/chamber music/tribute band concerts)

Check online for events in your town that are going on this weekend. These take place in old theaters, churches, or outdoors. A bookstore may have a lecture by a notable author followed by a book signing. Fun and interact as you feel comfortable. 

5  Wander around at an outdoor art/craft/music/food festival

Dress in your best bohemianism, hippy long skirt and sandals.  Wear a big floppy hat and big hoop earrings.  Pretend it is 1970 and dress the part.  See my "What To Wear To a Barbecue" for a cool summer outdoor look.  


6  Eat at a really nice restaurant (treat yourself)

There is nothing better than having a four or five-course dinner at an elegant restaurant. Start with wine and end with an after dinner drink or coffee. Why rush. It is the experience, not the food. Put the cell phone in your purse and enjoy the moment. Do not allow yourself to be placed in a far-away table or booth by the kitchen. Just ask “May I have this table instead”.  

7  Get out of town for a weekend  

Choose a place that is a couple of hours drive. Leave home in your best casual travel feminine outfit and give yourself an indulgent “woman's escape weekend”. No one knows you there and no one cares.  Have beach/pool time or explore natural areas.  Be a tourist.






Yes, all dressed up and someplace to go - Escape!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Royal Pains - Nicole Maines

 Nicole Maines in The USA Network TV Show "Royal Pains"
This is a followup to yesterday's post on Nicole Maines, an actor who did not just appear out of nowhere. I did a little research and found that she had appeared in a 2015 episode of the TV drama/comedy "Royal Pains".  This was a show that I followed and remembered this episode. 

The role was insightful to the unknowing public and relevant. There is no need to go into a lot of details other than, "Hank treats a (transgender) teenager and learns her life is more complicated than he expected".

It is worth noting that Royal Pains did win a GLAAD award for this "Outstanding Individual Episode".  


This was posted 5/16/16 On the USA Network Web Site. 


The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honored Royal Pains Saturday night in the category of Outstanding Individual Episode for a series without a regular LGBT character. GLAAD recognizes media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.

"The Prince of Nucleotides," which aired June 23, 2015, featured the acting debut of transgender teen Nicole Maines as Anna, a teenage choreographer who Hank (Mark Feuerstein) treats. He soon discovers that some of the hormones Nicole is taking for her transition may be endangering her health.

Maines is a real-life recent high school grad who made history in Jan. 2014 by winning a landmark transgender rights case in the state of Maine. This was the first time that a state court has ruled that transgender students be allowed to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

See her episode, "The Prince of Nucleotides" (season 7, episode 4), which is currently streaming on Netflix. (and available on YouTube for $1.99).  


__________________

You go Nicole and we wish you much success in other projects. You make us proud.  


Monday, July 23, 2018

Twin Identical Boys - One Always Felt He Was A Girl

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..."  A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a historical novel by Charles Dickens

According to IndiWire here is a  best of times story for our community that we all can all celebrate: 


The Dreamer becomes the first
transgender superhero on TV
With great power comes great responsibility. That’s what Nicole Maines has to say about being TV’s first transgender superhero, as the actress was just cast as Nia Nal (aka Dreamer) in the upcoming fourth season of “Supergirl.” “I haven’t really wrapped my head around it,” she told Variety at Comic-Con yesterday. “It feels fitting to say with great power comes great responsibility. I’m nervous because I want to do it right."

_______________________

Here is an small amount of an article from the Washington Post by Amy Ellis Nutt

Becoming Nicole




Jonas and Nicole Maines

They were born identical twin boys, but one always felt he was a girl.

With the boys about to begin first grade, the family decided to hold a “Get to Know the Maineses” party for the neighborhood. It was a cool, cloudy day as guests streamed into the house. Kelly was still in the kitchen fixing platters of food, but with the party starting, Wayne went looking for the boys. He found Jonas in the den, then Wyatt appeared at the top of the stairs, smiling down excitedly at his father. There he was, his parents’ sweet, irrepressible, chestnut-haired boy — wearing his favorite pink princess dress from Toys R Us.

“Wyatt, you can’t wear that!”

Wayne’s harsh tone cracked through the party chatter, and Wyatt’s little body jerked, then froze. Kelly, who heard her husband’s strained voice from the kitchen, knew something was wrong and rushed out.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“Wyatt cannot — ”

“What did you say to him?”

Kelly followed her husband’s eyes to the top of the stairs. One of Wyatt’s tiny hands grasped the banister; the other clutched a glittery wand. On his face was fear and confusion.

“Are you going to let him wear that?” Wayne asked.

Kelly didn’t answer. Instead, she raced up to Wyatt, hot tears now streaking his face, took him by the hand and led him back into his bedroom. It was, she knew right then and there, the worst moment of her life. It wasn’t so much the reaction of the people at the party, who were mostly stunned into silence — that was Wayne’s issue — but rather the hurt her son was experiencing, and for no good reason other than that he wanted to wear his princess dress to the family’s party. How could she explain to him that he’d done nothing wrong when his father had just scolded him? She didn’t think she was ready for this, and yet she knew it was just the beginning.

“This isn’t really the right time,” Kelly gently told Wyatt, persuading him it would be better, for now, to wear pants and a shirt.

Read the whole article and let's celebrate.






Friday, July 20, 2018

A Moment That Changed Me


Dressing as a woman for the first time at the age of 69 


By: Robin Pickering

From The Guardian 11/24/17







I don’t know why my feminine side lay undiscovered for so long, but finding the ‘other’ me has been a revelation 

A couple of years ago, I was invited to take part in a murder mystery party with a script written by a friend, and we were asked to invent our own characters. I informed him straightaway that I would be a cross-dressing artist, and would attend in my female persona. Well, as an artist, I was already halfway there… The writer was sworn to secrecy.

I can’t say for certain what prompted me to choose that role. I had an establishment upbringing; my father was a military man and Tory county councillor, my mother a product of the Raj. After a public school education, I went into teaching, marrying and having children in my 20s. Although I soon enough forswore conservatism, becoming something of a contrarian and loving a flowery shirt, I had never consciously questioned my gender. Before that evening. At nearly three score years and ten.

Preparing for the event, I was a touch nervous trying on dresses in the local vintage clothes shop, but the staff were used to fancy dress. That evening, my daughter-in-law did my make-up, zipped me up and sent me on my way looking passably glamorous, or as glamorous as a first-time cross-dressing 69-year-old could realistically expect to be. . 


I delayed my entrance to ensure I was the last to arrive, hoping to make a splash. What surprised me was how comfortable I felt dressed as a woman.

The party was a success and the murderer was duly apprehended. Compliments on my appearance were generous – it was probably the wine talking, and I have good legs. But what surprised me was how comfortable I felt dressed as a woman. Soon I sensed a female within who was agitating to get out.  


I began to wear nail varnish most of the time, and my initial nerves quickly dissipated. The only people who commented – invariably women – were always complimentary. I became more aware of my hands and loved the shape of my nails as they grew longer. My piano teacher would rather not hear the clicks that sometimes accompany a Mozart sonata, and I get a few strange looks in the bus, mostly from older men, but otherwise little negativity.

Quite quickly, I realized that although the nails allowed a modicum of exposure, Jill-in-the-box was now straining to pop out in person, so to speak. I began to buy women’s clothes. A friend helped me with make-up and took me for a full-on make-up session. When I asked the beautician if she was seeing more male clients now, she said it was still pretty rare, but I felt comfortable. My first sortie en femme was at a dinner party six months later. Among the same friends, I felt at ease. No need to give Her a name – mine was already suitable. Robin Pickering

It soon became normal for me to dress in women’s clothes whenever I spent an evening with the friends-who-know. I can’t imagine what it is like for them, though we talk do about it. I no longer feel self-conscious, even if there is something slightly incongruous about it – me tending towards the girlie with wig, make-up, frilly dress and heels while everyone else is in everyday clothes – but my friends do a good job of treating it as perfectly normal.

Returning home after a night out, I feel a certain apprehension stepping into cabs, but the drivers, bless them, never bat an eyelid. My only ventures out in public so far have been in the comfortably anonymous surroundings of London theatres (though I may have used the wrong toilet – the gents). I was flattered when a waiter called me madam.

I buy most of my female clothes online, which can be a bit hit-and-miss. At the start, it was easy to get carried away, but I’m now more discerning. There is, after all, a limit to the size of a girl’s wardrobe. I get most pleasure out of going shopping, and although I’m still nervous about smaller boutiques, on the few occasions I have wanted to try on dresses, the assistants have been helpful.

I can’t explain why I like wearing women’s clothes and all the rest, other than that I feel it is me. As time passes, it is becoming more of a need than a choice, though my age and location in a provincial city and prevalent social attitudes all discourage me from routinely cross-dressing in public. It is generally acceptable for women to dress in masculine clothes, but at best, cross-dressing men are still viewed as attention-seeking, eccentric or mildly amusing, while all we are doing is being ourselves.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could have discovered the “other” Robin rather sooner. Friends are curious about when She was conceived and why She surfaced when She did. In truth, I am too. Finding myself single a few years ago allowed me the time and space, and the Eddie Izzards and Grayson Perrys of this world probably played a part, along with fortune’s fickle wheel. 

I don’t feel as though I should always have been a woman. But I do know that the feminine part of me is much more than a role in a murder mystery.

• Robin Pickering has been a full-time artist for 20 years, after a career in further education


______________________


Robin's story rings true for so many of us.  Finding the courage to "Escape" and facing being transgender may seem daunting. However, the rewards and unexpected acceptance make it all so worth it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

My Alumni Magazine




By Erica Naone
Alumni Communications Specialist

Posted on July 17, 2018 by VCU Alumni



Rhonda Williams (A.S.’68/En) has lived a life of dramatic change. She left Halifax County in rural Virginia after high school for the bustling state capital, Richmond. Over the years, she forged a career in the then-nascent field of software engineering, pursued a new path as an entrepreneur, came out as transgender and discovered new skills as an activist for diversity and inclusion.



Her alma mater, Richmond Professional Institute, has gone through many changes, too. Williams’ Class of 1968 was the last to graduate from RPI before it merged with the Medical College of Virginia to become Virginia Commonwealth University. Though well-known  buildings such as Ginter House remain, RPI’s campus, now the VCU Monroe Park Campus, has vastly expanded and changed.

Williams, however, tends to look beyond the surface. “Although it’s changed so much, so radically, over the last 50 years, it’s still got the same spirit,” she says, describing it as artistic, alive and unique.

She believes that she has kept the same spirit, too. A desire for adventure and escape motivated her long before she turned down the chance to take over her grandfather’s rural Virginia general store and instead moved to Richmond to attend the School of Engineering Technology at RPI.

After graduation, her engineering degree helped her land a position with Westinghouse Electric Corp., where she received on-the-job training in computer programming. In 1980, she started a software company, which designed PC TaxCut, the first PC-based tax preparation system, as well as the first PC-based human resource system. The HR system’s customers included Ford Motor Co., NASA and many others.

In her time studying engineering at RPI, the class included only one female student, who wasn’t Williams. (Her classmates knew her as “Tom.”) Though Williams says she spent a significant amount of her life questioning her gender identity, she began to work and interact as female much of the time just in the past two decades.

Williams likes to say she’s “all dressed up with somewhere to go.” For her, the saying is about gaining confidence to enjoy life in public despite the fear that prevents some transgender people from presenting as their preferred gender.

Williams now frequently socializes as Rhonda. “One of the reasons for being out as much as I am is to have people meet and know someone who is transgender,” she says. “Many people can be prejudiced toward a concept, especially if they don’t understand the concept. But it’s a whole different experience when someone actually has to be prejudiced or bigoted against someone who is a person that they know.”  

Williams has encountered issues professionally that seem related to being transgender, though she says she’s fortunate to have avoided some of the other types of discrimination transgender people face, such as physical abuse. As a well-qualified engineer, while presenting male, Williams says, she never went on a job interview without being offered the job. Presenting as Rhonda, on the other hand, she says, it took 51 interviews over two years to get an offer — and then for a position as an unpaid intern. 

She hopes her persistence can inspire and encourage others. Having benefited from support groups in the past, she founded one in 1995 in Tampa, Florida, and later started a second group in West Palm Beach. Now living in nearby Jupiter, she launched the blog Rhonda’s Escape in 2016. The blog has about 2,000 views a day and total views exceeding 2 million.

“I think her story is so empowering,” says Fred Wayne (B.A.’70/H&S; M.S.’86/HP), who retired from VCU in 2003 as a special assistant to the president and has been a friend of Williams since meeting her about 10 years ago at an RPI reunion. “I know that in my own life, there are things that I would like to have done, that I could have done, that I should have done, that I did not do. And I see Rhonda and I think, you did it. I am so happy for you.”

Wayne says that in today’s politically strained climate, Williams’ welcoming, open personality combined with confidence in herself are sorely needed.

Williams’ next chapter is another entrepreneurial adventure, this time offering corporate diversity and inclusion training. “My hook will be ‘Going through the glass ceiling — the opposite way,” she says, referring to the special understanding she’s gained by experiencing the corporate world as both male and female.

RPI, she says, laid the foundation for the entrepreneurial spirit she’s embraced throughout her life. She still comes to campus anytime she’s in the area. On her most recent trip to VCU for Reunion Weekend in April, she visited the new Institute for Contemporary Art with a group of friends and was delighted to discover a large sign that read, “You belong here.”

More than 50 years after leaving Halifax County to attend RPI, Williams is still showing the world that she belongs anywhere she chooses to go.


___________________

Note:  This interview and article came about after my 50 Year Reunion that took place in April. Thank you Erica for your hard work in putting this together.  I am flattered and honored to be included in the newsletter.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Unintended Consequences

Be careful what you wish. I seem to be moving ever so far down the rabbit hole of a social transition, although I have never seen myself as a completely female-identified person. From youth, I have gone back and forth between effeminate to tomboy playing the role that was needed. My clothing and mode of dress reflects the role.  

The role of a student, successful businessman, parent and professional was always clear with no mistaken identity or consequences. Getting older has allowed me to relaxed and feel less constrained by expected societal standards; the necessity to play a role. Oh, what a wonderful luxury.  

That is why I have come to feel that the term “cross-dressing” no longer applied. I am not crossing any boundary other than being myself. Apparel is neither male or female (articles of clothing do not have a gender) and the items are none other than my clothes. I selected and purchased the items with the full intention of wearing. Retail designations are arbitrary.   

What precipitated this full WTF moment, was a recent stop at Home Depot. Yes, females do shop there, however along with the auto parts store they constitute as much of a retail man-cave as one can visit. I was passing down the center aisle heading for checkout when a somewhat older orange aproned man appeared out of the plumbing section.


With a huge smile, he said, “HI – May I help you?” This was not a man-to-man greeting! I gave my typical “no thank you” and continued. About three steps past this encounter in dawned on me – HE WAS FLIRTING.  

Even when not making a conscious effort, I seem to be giving off some form of feminine signals. Maybe the smile (OK - I am happy person) or the androgynous look/hair. I don't know. I am flattered and have no problem being misgendered. However, I am starting to question which one is the “mis”. 


It is one thing to have a door opened (happens a lot), but this went to a new and unexpected level. I can flirt with the best when in a Rhonda social environment, however this flirt was totally unsolicited and a new experience. 


Be careful what you wish.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What to Wear To A Barbecue?



This is an event that would have put me over the top a few years ago. OH NO - I can't do that. I have only a few casual items at that time and casual was not part of my gig. Rhonda was a "one trick pony". She could dress up, be professional/elegant and go out for the evening. A limited repertoire and confined by my own limits. Sound familiar? 

Even when going to work as Rhonda she was the forever professional and one dimensional. The real world is multi-dimensions.  Rhonda needed to be real. She needed real experiences in the wild. E.g., shopping, getting her hair done, job interviewing, volunteering, Starbucks, going to the Post Office and taking walks at the beach. 

Just a few days ago Deborah at the blog Fabulous after 40 was ask the question “What to Wear to a Barbecue?” Perfect timing because my local Mercedes Club was having a barbecue the following Saturday; our end of season appreciation party. I have been perfectly comfortable at our holiday parties, and even casual car collection tours, but I was lost as to what to wear to a picnic/barbecue. This was going to be held outdoors at a local Florida State Park in the late spring - might as well be dead of summer any place else. 

My choice for the day - shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. What I see every day at the mall, Starbucks, and basically everywhere. South Florida is very casual. These were all item I have in my closet, however rarely or never wear. This was also going to be a good test for my upcoming "casual days and excursions" on a seven day cruise. 

How did the choices work out? Very well and yes there was trepidation on leaving home. Once there I did receive several compliments and was asked: “where did you get those cute shorts?” The sandals were custom made at least four years ago and this was the first time wearing; a good match for the outfit. I like the way the outfit came together and most important, I felt confident.

In spite of the humidity the hair even held it's shape. Thank you hair spray. The photo here was takes as I was leaving the event. 

Do take a look at Deborah's suggestions and she has another post on "How to wear Shorts after 40". Here is a short synopsis

When your shorts are colorful and busy, try to keep what you wear up top nice, clean and simple. This creates balance and lets your shorts take the spotlight. A fun hat also adds huge style to a casual shorts outfit, and earrings give you a more grown-up shorts look.
Good advice for those of us a certain age, venturing out.


Challenge yourself to be real and escape into the wilds of your feminine summer. 










Monday, July 16, 2018

Breaking News - Trump/Putin

For the rest of today and tonight there is going to be a lot of coverage that will be labeled "Fake News".  There is nothing fake about the president's actual words and you can see and hear them for yourself unedited most everywhere. Even on Fox News.  .  . 

There will be no denying that today's Trump/Putin news conference was a monumental event. The most clear denouncement of the president's actions are coming from Republican Senator John McCain. His words are unequivocal and strong. The question is now where does the rest of the Republican Party stand on what is also being called "nothing short of treasonous"?

If you are like myself, I wanted to see the full text of what Senator McCain said. Read his full statement below: (source)


“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivetĂ©, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.
“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”

A New and Damming Level of Hypocrisy

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham tells Jimmy Carter that Jesus would kill gay people, not marry them.



 By Bil Browning Thursday, July 12, 2018 

From The




Responding to former President Jimmy Carter’s statement that Jesus would support same-sex marriage, Trump supporter and supposed Christian, Franklin Graham launched a blistering attack on Facebook.

Jesus wouldn’t bless gay couples, the far right minister says. Instead, God would kill them all.

“Jesus didn’t come to promote sin, He came to save us from sin,” Graham wrote. “The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. God defines sin in His Word—it’s not up to our opinion, the latest poll, or a popular vote.”

“God loves us and gives us the truth in His Word. He warns us of the serious consequences of sin,” Graham finished before launching into one of the Bible verses that evangelicals use to condemn LGBT people.

If you’re thinking, “Boy, that sounds a lot like the religious reasons why slavery shouldn’t be abolished,” you’d be right. But you shouldn’t be surprised.

Graham’s father, the late televangelist Billy Graham, was known to eschew blatant politics beyond serving as a spiritual advisor for multiple Presidents and purposefully integrated his followers during the civil rights era.


His son has instead made it a priority to promote the Republican Party – especially the most immoral president in the nation’s history – and endorses discrimination against people of color and LGBT people.


__________________


Shame on You!!!!!!!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friend's Friday - Connie


On one of my first Friend's Friday was a note from Connie. Here is a wonderful followup.


On July 17, 2016, she wrote:

I just discovered this blog site and love it ----I'm going to have my hair styled in a few months hoping to be able to go out without a wig also!!!! I will hope to perhaps post a picture or two and show the result---this salon visit has been WIFE APPROVED as well----she agreed that It's something I do have to experience while I'm able!!!

Here is Connie’s latest note with photos. 

On July 8, 2018, she wrote:

Since I've let my hair grow long I've become more confident in being out in public now. Very happy how the longer hair enhances and helps me present with a much more realistic feminine presentation. As my hair gets longer I get bolder going out and can more easily mix and blend in public.



Now that it is long--- and I have let my wife's hairdresser know of Connie-I'm now seeing her to get my hair done. A bit of a new experience having my hair done with my wife!! Such is the life we in the TG lead at times

Rhonda's Escape brought me to decide to let my grow as I have ---- Love her blog !!

CONNIE JENSEN








Thank you Connie for the notes and for your support/comments. Your hair is absolutely gorgeous. Please keep the comments coming and much success with your ESCAPES.