Sunday, June 30, 2019

Political Cartoons 6-30

This is a powerful message.  We all must speak up now!  Enough!

This part week while on my western Caribbean cruise, I saw the sign below in Mexico. In spite of all the name calling and nastiness, a sense of humor is always best. 

 Sign - Cozumel, Mexico  

Saturday, June 29, 2019

What to Wear Today

Back home tomorrow. Stay tuned  for Cruise photos and stories.  What a fantastic escape!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Stonewall - 50 Years

The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Wikipedia

Trans people were on the front line that night as demonstration took hold.  What has changed - The Stonewall Inn is on the list of National Landmarks and many celebrate 50 years of being out of the closet with Pride.

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera 
Also the two transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are getting a monument in New York. Both key figures in the gay liberation movement (LGBTQ), will be honored with a permanent installation in Greenwich Village. The city says it will be one of the world’s first such dedications to transgender people, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. 

Despite six days of rioting, not one person was killed there in 1969. And yet a lot of transgender blood, as well as tears, have been spilled in the 50 years that have elapsed since the Stonewall Riots. Five decades of fighting to be safe and counted as equals.

Still, challenges to trans existence are popping up in legislatures across the country, and the Trump administration has engaged in an all effort to reverse any and all progress.  

In the face of adversity, we must continue the fight.  The National Center for Transgender Equality puts it beautifully:

Millions of transgender people wake up every day and step into an uncertain world. This is the most common trait shared by transgender people: A strength and resilience for hard and difficult times. If this administration is hoping to demoralize us, they will be disappointed. If they are hoping we will give up, they should reconsider the power of our persistence and our fury.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pink Retreat - Tropic Fashion

The Pink Retreat 2019!

Last Thursday during my visit to the Palm Beach Colony Hotel, I noticed a very large group of women, all wearing Lilly Pulitzer.  I was surrounded in a wash of pink and green - If only I had known ahead about the "Pink Retreat".  I saw two very beautiful women walking around the pool and taking selfies. I ran out and volunteered to help and found the that the two were from Alabama; accent natural and worked. I found out this is an annual thing and there are events planned all around Palm Beach for the whole weekend. Oh next year, I will be there wearing the pink and green. Have fun ladies and enjoy Palm Beach!

Three of the items above are going with me on the cruise.  

Here is little history on an iconic Florida fashion tradition.   Enjoy.  

You may know us as a brand, or a store, or the creators of your favorite printed dress or swimsuit. But we are so much more.  Lilly Pulitzer is a lifestyle. A frame of mind, where the door’s always open and the clothing’s always designed sunny side up.

You may have heard about us, we’ve been around since 1959ish, straight out of the sunshine state of Florida. Palm Beach to be exact.

If you're not familiar, sit back, we’ll spill the juice. And it actually all started with a glass of juice. But we’ll get to that later.

Palm Beach has been the premier resort destination for the chic New York set for over one hundred years. So much so that the New York Times added the Palm Beach Season to their fashion calendar. Even still, resort wear consisted of three basic colors: Navy, Red and White.

Fast Forward to the late 1950's, when our fearless leader Lilly Pulitzer eloped to Palm Beach with Peter Pulitzer (yes, the grandson of Joseph, founder of the Pulitzer Prize).  Few were living in Florida full time back then, but Lilly saw paradise and she thought…why not? Lilly did things her own way.

Everyone wanted to be around Lilly. Her door was always open and her home was always filled with the most interesting and fabulous group of people. Magnetic, cool, authentically herself… everyone was invited to Lilly’s parties and they were a sight to see.

Shortly after moving and starting her family, Lilly’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and, since she started a juice stand in the vias just off the famous Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.  It didn’t hurt that her husband’s family owned orange groves in Florida…that’s Florida farming!

The job was messier than she expected and Lilly needed a way to avoid staining her gorgeous dresses. Most would have bought an apron. Not Our Lilly.

She had her dresses made in “spill proof” fabrics. Brightly colored printed shifts became her uniform at the shop.But soon all of Lilly’s friends wanted her dresses more than they wanted her drinkable fruit concoctions. So she gave the people what they wanted. And soon "Lillys" were seen all over Palm Beach and beyond.

Fast forward to today.  For generations, Lilly Pulitzer has come to represent the resort lifestyle for women of all ages, stages and sunny destinations. From Palm Beach to Nantucket , Naples to Kiawah Island, Key West to the Hamptons, Lilly Pulitzer is for you if your go-to mood is happy, colorful and free. 

Print is the magic ingredient that has always set Lillys apart. From the spill-proof days to today, whether you’re opting for a printed shift or a printed bikini, these custom designed patterns are unique, one-of-a-kind and entirely yours. Pro tip: you can tell it’s a true Lilly if you can find “Lilly” hidden in the print! 

And of course, no piece of clothing can put you in a festive mood quite like a Lilly! And how else do you want to feel when celebrating or vacationing?  Exactly.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Trump's Shallow Words

May 31, 2019 

How can you celebrate something that you marginalize?  Last Friday (May 31) the day before the start of LGBTQ Pride month, Trump tweeted about gay pride for the first time since running for or holding office.  

Before entering the White House, Trump made comments appearing to affirm same-sex marriage.

During Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016, he stated “As your president,” Trump thundered, “I will do everything in my power to protect our L.G.B.T.Q. citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” You can listen here. 

But his approach to LGBT issues since becoming president is largely thought to be influenced by the conservative white evangelicals who helped secure his election and that of Vice President Pence, an evangelical Christian who made national headlines as Indiana’s governor for his opposition to laws that would expand gay rights. The oppression has emanated from within the administration.  

Here is his real record according to Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the country’s largest gay rights organizations. He is clearly disgusted by the president’s comments, taking to social media to tweet:

You can’t celebrate Pride and constantly undermine our rights — including attacking #TransHealth, discharging #TransTroops, refusing to protect LGBTQ youth, and cozening up to dictators who brutalize & marginalize LGBTQ people. This is gross hypocrisy, with an emphasis on gross.

NBC News questioned Trump last October about campaign promises to protect transgender people, he stated: "We’re looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now..."  When NBC followed up, asking about Trump’s promise to protect the LGBTQ community, he said, “I’m protecting everybody.

That is not true!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Travel Stripes - Being A Girl

This is a perfect travel example how you can have three "day time" outfits built  around one top. The top above is a Talbots Stripe Scarf-Tie knit top. This neckline will always flatter. It is very close to sold out but similar can be found many places.  

Stripe sailor tops have been around several years and do not seem to be going out of style. They are flattering to most figures and for summer are super cute.  As we have talked about many times before, the shoe choice changes the outfit for quick stop at the market to a casual dinner with friends.  For a travel weekend out of town or longer, perfect. 

You got to love being a girl.  


Muppets - Cheryl Ladd & Miss Piggy - I enjoy being a girl

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Happy Summer '19

"Sometimes A Photo Is Better Than A 1000 Words"

Style with Nihan
From Styles by Nihan

There’s just something about sundresses that seems to attract everyone – both women and men. Sultry? Yes - Confident? YASS! Sensual? Definitely when styled correctly! Whenever I wear a sundress, especially this one, I get complimented a lot – girls and even guys ask me where I got it...

Everyone have a wonderful weekend.  I am traveling next week and internet coverage may be spotty.  I will post as I can for the next 7 days.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Life List

Most all of us have traveled through life with a tour book of expectations. E.g. religion, education, family, career, retirement, and the inevitable.  Our internal tour book directs each aspect of our life and other than a few potholes or flat tires, we travel along the course scripted in the tour book.  

I looked to Quora to expand the meaning of “bucket list” and found much more.  I believe most of us understand the concept but I personally prefer taking the emphasis away from death (as in kicking the bucket) and applying it to now.  One comment “The term ‘Life List’ is better because it has a clear emphasis on life..."  

If we really want to distill it down to the making of a list, here is the way to start:  "Would I be willing to leave the Earth without having experienced  _________?"   Full in the blank. 

Clearly, there are many items to populate your list.  A few months ago I tried on a wedding dress at a bridal salon.  “CHECK”.  Last year I took a cruise. “CHECK”.  Many years ago I went out as Rhonda and interacted with the world. "CHECK”.  Rhonda became real. "CHECK"! 

Our list can contain everything from the mundane to the breathtaking. Do volunteer social work; skydive; run/walk a marathon; own a sports car; attend a special interest/hobby convention; spend the day as the opposite gender… 

There is one fact for sure:

Your life-bucket list will not check itself.

Within economic constraints, what prevents you from accomplishing or planning the items on your life list?  Be realistic and make sure your list has achievable goals.  Do those now. If necessary, rehearse/save to do the others. Put checks on your list, before it becomes a bucket list. 

 Put down your life’s travel book and take a new/different path.  What is on your "life list"?


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cruse Planning '19 - Dinner/Evening

I found evening on board a cruise to be extra special. First, there are always many evening activities; play/show, jazz jam sessions (real stuff), relaxing music in Central Park, sitting around in a piano bar or a disco flash mob on the Promenade deck.  If that is not enough just walking around and being in the moment.  

Adding to the evening magic is looking out to sea and seeing thunderstorms in the distance or the full moon rising over the horizon. Yes, there are quiet decks where there are no crowds or noise.   

White Lace Dress
Cruise '18 Formal Night. 
Evenings are also planned around the dinners. These can be in either specialty restaurants (Steak, Italian, Mexican...) or in the elegant Main Dining Room. The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas (last year's cruise) has numerous diverse dining options.  

In Royal Caribbean's nicer restaurants and Main Dining Room there are two designated formal nights - although not strictly enforced. If not having buffet or fast food fare, "Formal Night" is an opportunity to step up your look to something special - "Oh darn."  

Ladies can go full formal with long gowns or just as acceptable is cocktail attire. I found the latter to be my choice last year. For gentleman on formal nighs you see coat/ties and a scattering of tuxedos.  After seeing bathing suits and flip-flops all day these evenings bring an added touch of class to dining and being on a cruise.      

Above are my possible choice for this year.  I learned from my last cruise and liked the chance to dress up and be out; be seen. So many vacations do not provide this dual opportunity. There are so many reasons to enjoy a cruise.  Evening dining and entertainment in an atmosphere where formal is encouraged/accepted is but one.    

After my return in a few weeks I will be sure to post photos.

I have not ruled out this Gown for Formal Night.  More on this elegant gown later. Stay Tuned...

X by Xscape Petite Ruffled Off-The-Shoulder Gown
Xscape's site - Off the shoulder ITY with side ruching

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cruise Planning '19 - Day Wear

Yes again!  I really did not have a clue what to expect on last year's cruise.  What became obvious very early; "Why did I wait so long to enjoy this ultimate escape". Traveling on the Allure of the Seas, (at that time the world's largest cruise ship) was at first intimidating; then one of the best ever vacations/holidays.  

You would expect with over 6000 travelers and over 2400 crew there would be a crush of bodies at every turn. Not so! The ship is designed so that activities occur all over the "air craft Carrier" size ship. Never once, during embarking/disembarking, shows, or dining, was there ever such a crowd that you were not enjoying every moment.  

What I noticed was that everyone was in their own space of enjoying themselves. So much to do that few were noticing or studying anyone to the extent that I ever felt any degree of discomfort. 

"Central Park" After Dinner
Above is my outfit "day planner".  I will use this for packing and selecting outfits. During day time activities, such as pool time, or just exploring the ship, casual rules. Everyone seems to make an effort to wear just  slightly "above  average" day wear, but comfort does rule. This is a warm time of the year and I was amazed at the amount of open space a ship of this size offers. One of my favorite times was after dinner enjoying an open-air concert (guitar or keyboard) in a park-like atmosphere. Pull up a conformable chair with a cushion and listen - almost forgetting you are moving on a floating city.  

And, yes last year I did over-pack; I know shocked. This year wiser - Maybe.

Tomorrow, I will highlight my evening wear and what I plan for "Formal Night" this year.  Stay tuned...

Allure of the Seas
 Oasis-class cruise ship owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International
This was heading back to the ship after a day enjoying an island private beach. 



Monday, June 17, 2019

Cruise Panning - Symphony of the Seas

The Symphony of the Seas

Last year's cruise was a marvelous experience. That cruise was on the Allure of The Seas out of Fort Lauderdale with ports in the Eastern Caribbean. The ports were interesting, however the ship itself was a destination with so much to do.  Plus the breathtaking excitement of being constantly out in such elegant, fun surrounding. See my posts from that trip here and here.   

Cruise '18 - San Juan Puerto Rico

This year will be on a similar/newer Royal Caribbean Oasis-class ship. The Symphony of the Seas is larger by a few meters and has been in service only since late 2018 (6 months). Many of the ship's amenities have been updated including a new dry tunnel slide comprised of two side-by-side tubes that drop you nine decks. 

Here is a short list of the many the ship's experiences: Art around the ship, acrobatics/diving at the Aqua Theater, Hairspray (the play) and Flight in the Royal Theater, Ice Shows, Comedy Club, Jazz club, dancing, and Boardwalk/Central Park areas for entertainment and restaurants. There are 4 pools with slides. An adults-only Solarium with restaurant, hot tub and pool. Food - throughout the ship, there are 7 complimentary dining options and 12 specialty dining experiences plus the elegant Main Dining Room.

As if that is not enough, my destination ports  are Roatan, Honduras; Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico and the final stop at a private Bahama Island, water park and beach.  

This week (June 16-21) will be a week of planning and packing. In blog posts coming up this week I will show some of my fashion choices for day and evening  wear. The cruise departs Miami, June 22 and I will post photos upon return.    

Again I am looking forward to a very exciting and fun "Escape".  

The Symphony of the Seas Aqua Theater
Also showing the 9 Deck Slide 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Second Sunday Meetup - June '19

My "Second Sunday Meetup Group" has turned into a great group of friends. We are mainly social, sometimes business, always relaxed and exciting. This past Sunday we had new people, and overall, 50 in attendance.  We meet at one of West Palm Beach's finest steak restaurants where we enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvre and plenty of room.  One of our group members, Harvey plays piano and many stay for a wonderful dinner after. We grow in attendance each month, just by word-of-mouth, and so far have not outgrown The Raindancer Steak House.  

For an area that sees establishments come and go on a regular basis, The Raindancer Steak House is a West Palm Beach tradition. The restaurant has been around about 44 years and the current managers have great food, great service and a great staff. You make us all feel at home. Thank you again Jody, Nikki and Spiro for hosting June. We always feel welcome.

Photos by Chris


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Gingham - Not Just For The Picnic

Jackie Kennedy, Lauren Bacall - You Should Be Wearing Gingham All Summer Long -Town & Country

According to Life Style & Beauty, "Gingham Is The Old-Fashioned Trend Everyone's Wearing For Summer" .  I have always loved gingham. There is never a shortage of ultra-feminine styles that incorporate it. I remember my mother having a gingham dress.  My small town in Virginia had a "cotton (damask) factory" as it was referred to that made gingham table cloths. No picnic in town was complete without one.  
Saks Fifth Avenue

This summer, gingham is having another moment. It’s appearing everywhere ― on runways, red carpets and Instagram.

The big take away from the layout above is that gingham never completely goes out of style. The gingham skirt in the front is from Brooks Brothers, last year and came in black shown and  pink. The black I already have and the pink is on sale now. It is short and sporty but with the right sweater/heels can be dressy.  The gingham pumps are last season's Madison, Banana Republic.   

Put on your gingham outfit, grab the basket and head out to the picnic.  Summer is almost here. Escape.  


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Pride 2019 - Embracing LGBTQ

Proud - Getting out in 2002
I am going to address a touchy subject and dare to ask: "What is the problem with the transgender label and being proud to be transgender?" Many see the term transgender as problematic simply because it is a label. Nonacceptance can run deep. 

If your feminine identity has a name, ventures out in the general population,  socially interacts, has friends and has an outside activity level - Are you still just a cross-dresser?   

From the first time ever I put on a piece of the opposite gender’s clothing, I assumed I was a cross-dresser although too young to understand that the behavior had a name. I knew it to be temporary, aberrant but repeatable. My motivation: I enjoyed it, despite the guilt. I was entranced by the feminine feelings and image. 

Later, I justified my actions by telling myself it was just an activity (cross-dressing). It was a private and secret action. There was no need for anyone else to know. It ran no deeper than the occasional trip down Feminine Lane.  

Cross-dressing for me was an action that provided a simple release of pent-up tension. When career, family, financial pressures overwhelmed, I saw cross-dressing as a temporary way to be completely distracted. An action very much like a long run/swim; private and internally satisfying. A temporary escape.

Denial ran deep and I saw my action of cross-dressing as a non-shareable, private aspect of my life; something I loved and hated. I internalized that if anyone knew I would no longer be respected or loved. In spite of this self-loathing, I would see a well-dressed woman and would try to visualize how that outfit would look. I would shop vicariously and the female members of my family were provided beautiful gifts. 

Then the ultimate challenge arrived. What would I look like and what would it feel like to express this obscure aspect of myself?  How would “she” look completely made up and tastefully dressed? What would it feel like to be out? How would the world react? These thoughts swirled but were always controlled and regulated by the rational argument that I was only cross-dressing.

Finally, I did escape using Halloween as the opportune vehicle. It did not have to be Halloween - Arbor day would have worked just as well; it was time. My motivation was to express a component of my personality that had been denied/suppressed. Justification - This would be a one-time event.

In retrospect, I knew that this was not going to be a one-time event. The most important takeaway from that first outing, the female identity, yet unnamed, was not a costume.  She longed for acceptance.  

I believe that once you cross the proverbial "threshold" and express your inner/second/real self (your designation), you cease being just a cross-dresser. Your motivation is now a matter of expressing or making known one's thoughts or feelings. Can you really deny the intrinsic female feelings and your need for expressing these feelings?  Why else would you do it? 

So look at what motivates you to be gender variant. Be honest - Are you still just cross-dressing? 

I proudly embrace the label "TRANSGENDER".  It makes me part of the LGBTQA group/family. As a group we can work together to foster understanding and enhance acceptance.  My pride now makes me "not alone" in an activity that I once wanted to hide. 

"We are only alright when we can be seen for who we are."  Let me add to that quote, "... not just what we do."