Thursday, April 30, 2020

Integral Steps In Our Shared Journey

I started two support groups and have attended many.  My participation with the groups has taught me that there is common thread that runs through all transgender persons' stirrings of life.  As I have written before, in a group discussion one participant could start their life story and another pick up the narrative mid-paragraph and continue.  

We are not monolithic, however experimentation, denial, concealment, and finally acceptance are all integral steps in our life's journey.

Today I found a story on the Pathways Blog that illuminates the integral steps that make up our shared life's journey. The Pathways site is the official site for a transgender support group in the New Jersey / New York metropolitan area.  Diana, thank you so much for sharing your story published on the Pathway site in 2009

Please comment. 


Diana's Story

I don’t know that anyone really cares, but I’m self-centered enough to want to tell my history, so here it is….

My earliest memory is from when I was about 3.  My sister is 3 years younger than I am, and I remember seeing her body for the first time, as my mother was changing her diaper.  Up until that time, I don’t think it registered on me that there was a difference between boys and girls.  I had just assumed that I would grow up to be a woman like my mom, meet and marry a man like my dad, and have babies.  When I saw my sister, I realized that boys and girls were bult differently.  I asked my mother about it, and she had to explain to me that I was going to grow up to be a daddy…I was NOT happy.

A year or so later, my older sister (13 years my senior) was babysitting.  I went into my mother’s closet and came out wearing a pair of her shoes.  My sister, seeing me, asked me if I wanted to be a girl.  Of course, I said yes.  So, she dressed me up and put makeup on me, and called me “sis”.

Over the next several years I engaged in a number of gender incongruent activities…putting a pillow under my shirt to look pregnant, stuffing socks under my undershirt to resemble breasts, etc.  I didn’t play much with boys in the neighborhood, tending to prefer quieter activities.

When I started grammar school, I quickly made two close friends – both girls.  Nancy, Estelle and I were inseparable.  We spent our entire recess together, and walked to and from school together.  The fact that I was hanging out with a couple of girls didn’t go unnoticed by the other boys.  I was teased quite a bit.

One day, Nancy had the idea of playing “double Dutch” – for anyone that doesn’t know, that’s a form of jump rope using two counter-rotating ropes.  So, it takes 3 people – two to twirl the ropes, and one to jump.  Stupid me, I went along with the idea and spent an entire recess twirling or jumping rope.  That afternoon, on the way home, a few boys decided that I had crossed some line…they cornered me about halfway home and started taunting me.  When I tried to push past them, one of them punched me in the stomach.  The rest then joined in.  That was the first time I got beat up…but not the last.

After that, I stopped going out for recess.  I’d sit in the bleachers in the gymnasium and read instead.  I stopped hanging out with Nancy and Estelle.  I had no real friends in school after that.  But at home, in the neighborhood, I had one friend – his name was Mitchell.  We used to hang out, ride our bikes together, and just generally explore the area.  One day, when I was around 10 or so, I asked Mitchell if he ever thought about what it would be like to be a girl.  Of course, he said no…why would he do that?  “Girls are icky.”  However, Mitchell couldn’t keep his mouth shut and told some of the other kids in the neighborhood that I wished I was a girl.  That was the next time I got beaten up.

All through this my parents were on me all the time to act “more like a boy.”  My mother used to scold me all the time because I “walked like a girl.”  I started wearing her clothes around this time too.  I used to take pictures of myself, and learned how to develop film and make prints so that I didn’t have to send the film out.  I remember once forgetting to take off nail polish, and my mother noticing it.  She tried to be understanding, but she made it pretty clear that she never wanted to see that again.

I didn’t stop of course, I was just more careful.  I dressed at home, put on some makeup, and wore my mother’s wig (a hideous short, curly, frosted style).  Towards the end of the summer when I was 14, I dressed in her clothes completely and went outside for the first time.

I was a bright kid…I skipped a year of elementary school and a year of High School.  Since my birthday is in October, I started my senior year of high school at 14.  My earlier years in high school were mostly marked by a lot of name calling and ridicule.  The most serious event up to then was that someone wrote the word “faggot” on my locker.  The investigation by the school seemed more intent on finding out if it was true, rather than who had written it.

But at the end of PE class early in senior year, as I was about to leave the showers (I usually dawdled so that I could be alone in the showers) three other boys came back in.  They were members of the varsity basketball team.  We had been on the same team for basketball in PE – a game in which my ineptness had contributed to my team losing.  They cornered me and told me they were “going to teach this c**ksucker his place.”  They forced me to perform fellatio on one of them, and then the other two sodomized me.

I never reported the rape.  After the reaction of the school to the locker incident, I didn’t feel I could turn to them.  My grades suffered…I went from a straight A student to a C- student, but no one seemed to think I was having a problem – I was just being lazy.

In my mind, I connected going out of the house in female clothes and my rape – I was being punished for what I did.  I decided that I was not going to be that kind of person – the kind that gets raped, and called queer, or faggot.  So I created a new persona – a facade to present to the world.  I lived inside that facade for the next 38 years.

I had my first girlfriend at 24.  I met my wife when I was 27.  We married 10 months after our first date.  I resolved to never think about cross-dressing or wanting to be a girl again.  I didn’t for 8 years.

But then it started again…the desire to feel feminine…to look like a woman.  I struggled against it, trying to control it.  I did control it for many years.  But I was never able to completely suppress the desire to be female.  My wife and I had a great sex life, and we had two children.  But I always imagined I was a woman when we made love.

Finally, my son went off to college last year, leaving me alone in the house 3 days a week (I work from a home office).  The facade had been crumbling for years, now it totally collapsed.  On an impulse I bought a complete outfit of female clothing, and a wig and makeup.  When I finally saw myself, I recognized my image as my mental image of myself over all these years.  I realized this was no longer controllable, so I told my wife, and we went into therapy.

Several months later, I accepted that I am a transsexual.  Inside, I am a woman named Diana.  My only challenge was to find a way forward that lets me be happy without making my family miserable.  Not an easy path to find, but I keep trying.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I Love A Success Story - Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin: ‘Being visible as a trans woman at Le Mans – a lot of good can come from that’

Giles Richards
Motor sport

Stonewall spokeswoman aims to become the first transgender driver to contest the French classic, seven years after facial and reconstruction surgery

Charlie Martin is a driver with grand ambition, her aspirations undaunted by anything the world of motor racing can throw at her. Martin has faced the very heart of darkness in preparing to take her own life before choosing to embrace a new one through the arduous process of gender transition. Now she stands as a role model, one of the latest “champions” chosen by Stonewall to promote its LGBT Rainbow Laces campaign.

Martin lives and drives with the passion and exuberance of someone who has already decisively conquered their greatest fears and for whom every moment is simply a joy to be seized. Unsurprisingly she has embraced her new position as a spokesperson for Stonewall’s campaign, which begins on Friday, aimed at encouraging the LGBT community into sport.

“I am trying to help create a positive change on society,” she says. “To inspire other people to live without fear and live with their true selves, to take those steps on their own journey. Working with Stonewall really helps, I hope we can together reach more people. I am very proud to be their first sport champion from motor sport. It is a huge opportunity to do good.”

The 38-year-old started this season racing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup but as with so many others, a lack of funding forced her out. Yet she remains as determined as ever. Her plan is to be the first transgender driver to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours. She is vigorously pursuing a drive in an endurance racing series next season, which would be a major step towards her aim. Right now, however, putting herself forward for Stonewall is a positive undertaking she believes she must take. Such a commitment was unthinkable when Martin was so desperately unhappy with her birth gender she could see no way out. “I was suicidal,” she says. “I had decided I was going to take my own life and even knew how I was going to do it. That was the bleakest moment in my life, the way I rationalised it.”

At that point in 2012 Martin was sure of two things. She loved motor racing and had known for some time of her gender issue. Racing was simple. Martin, from Leicestershire, was eight when she went to a meeting and was hooked. “I loved it, being in the paddock, around the cars,” she says. “Everything, even the smell, vintage cars, leathers, greasy spoon cafes. I found it a really visceral experience.”

At the same age there was an even more significant realisation. She read an article on Caroline Cossey, the English Bond girl, Playboy model of the 1980s and transgender pioneer. “It blew my mind,” says Martin. “I realised it was possible for someone to be born one gender and identify as another and change that. I realised: this is me.”

But it did not make her life easier and not knowing how to deal with it, she chose instead to simply “put it away”. Racing, however, remained, attending meetings across the country and Le Mans for the first time in 2001. In 2003 she decided to have a crack at hill climbing in a former rallying Peugeot 205 she bought for £1,500 and restored herself to start racing in 2004.

She, as with all female drivers, sees herself as racer first, with her gender irrelevant on track, but is also aware of the bigger picture, distributing rainbow stickers for cars to mark LGBT pride month at Silverstone last year. “I fundamentally see myself as a driver. I am there to do the best I can to win,” she says. “But me being there visible as a trans woman, a lot of good can come of that. I feel it is almost a responsibility. Anything else would feel like a dereliction of duty.”

It is, from those desperate times to now, an inspirational tale. “Thank God I didn’t commit suicide,” she says. “I completed the biggest challenge of my life and it was an incredible feeling. So I thought: ‘What is next that seems insurmountable that I can have a go at?’” Grand ambitions then, with Martin impressively determined to make a difference as she pursues them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Art of Being Yourself - Caroline McHugh

If nothing else, the Coronavirus has made us all think about how fragile life can be. By now, almost everyone has been touched in some way, either through work, shortages or someone close contracting the infection.  We are, today, face to face with our own mortality and with considering how we will be remembered. 

Caroline McHugh raises the immediate question: "Living is not about life expectancy. It is what you expect from life."

Simply stated - "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are".

This video will help you along the road to "Being Yourself!"

Monday, April 27, 2020

Dress-Up-Play Is Smart...

According to the VeryWell Family "Dress-Up-Play" is smart and important:  

Kid's Craft Room 
There is a reason why you'll find a box of dress-up play clothing in most preschool classrooms. Because preschool teachers know that when kids use their imaginations, they also are working a host of other important academic and emotional muscles.

 When your daughter dons "scrubs" (pajamas) and checks her dolls using a "stethoscope" (for my daughter it was a hair ribbon) her mind is going a mile a minute, practicing what she has experienced herself dozens of times. When he's imagining himself as a race car driver, he's actually learning — not to drive of course — but the actions of sitting in a car, buckling a seatbelt and putting the key in the ignition.
And chances are, your child isn't silent when he's playing dress-up. If a restaurant is the setting of the moment, they are talking about drinks and food and cooking and the order at table two that they need to take. If she is on the moon, looking for Martians with a colander/space helmet on her head, she's got to figure out where to land her rocket and what color rock the alien is hiding behind. Even if your child is quiet while engaged in dress-up play, you can bet that their imagination is going at full tilt.Role-playing, especially when it happens with other children, encourages taking turns, cooperation, and socialization.

 Children that allow their imaginations to run wild become great problem solvers as adults.

I remember playing dress-up and I bet you do too.  Did we ever stop?  In my case I never stopped and  still do, whenever I can.  We are living in a time of social distancing and stay-at-home, however why not make play time when we are home.  Didn't you always want to wear a dress to work?  Now is your chance. 

My good friend Caitlin told me about getting up early, putting a dress, a little makeup and then having her morning coffee.  What to do - Read the blogs and enjoy the solitude of the moment. Sounds like a plan! Even if later the yard service needs a check or the pool person need to be told to do a better job, go change; you still had your escape moment.  

The above fashion layout is build around a Venus - ASYMMETRICAL TOP, in orange.  When we all get out again and I get to do another cruise (hopefully soon), this will be a perfect piece of a port destination walk or casual lunch. The top was actually featured on the Spring Venus catalog cover and it was love at first sight. It provides a generous fit and on sale now for $26.99.  Wear with white palazzo pants, skinny leggings, or shorts - it goes from dressy to casual in a pure moment of Dress-Up-Play.

Dress-Up-Play - Why let the kids have all the fun!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Rhonda's Political Week In Review 4/26/2020

MAGA World Finds Its Coronavirus Scapegoats


Vocal Trump supporters have chosen who to blame: the World Health Organization, Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The through line is that each represents an element of the global and bureaucratic elite that Trump’s more hardline backers blame for overhyping the virus, forcing economically ruinous fixes and dictating medical cures that, they argue, will ultimately financially benefit the elite.

Specifically, they blame the WHO for downplaying the severity of the coronavirus and toting the Chinese government line. They blame Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist who is heavily funding the WHO and coronavirus research, for forcing vaccines that don’t even exist yet on the world. And they blame Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, for contradicting the president, promoting strict social-distancing guidelines and suggesting possible immunity papers to help recovered Covid-19 patients move about freely.
MY Note: Much of the speculation by Trump supporters noted in the above article could be called a fairy tale, if it were not such scary thinking. The consequences of poor leadership.    

The scene in the "B" part of this drawing is a not made up. Photo of protesters at Ohio statehouse compared to zombie movie.  See the real photo - shocking.  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Lavender Graduations

What is Lavender Graduation?

Lavender Graduations are annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University. 

The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation.  It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students.  Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995.  The first Lavender Graduation began at the University of Michigan in 1995, with three graduates.  By 2001, there were over 45 Lavender Graduation Ceremonies at Colleges and Universities nationwide. Graduating students, including undergraduates and graduates, are invited to take part in the celebration, which occurs each year the week prior to university-wide commencement events.

What a lovely recognition that highlights today's pride and openness. My salute to you!  

The significance of "Lavender"

Lavender is important to LGBTQ history.  It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany.  The LGBTQ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols of pride and community.


I have been invited by my beloved Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Lavender Graduation committee to serve as the keynote speaker for VCU's 2020 Lavender Graduation ceremony. The ceremony (was to be) on April 24, 2020 from 6 - 8 pm. 

I will keep you posted on the re-schedule/place and the date of future events.   

Let's hope for next year!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why Is Fashion Still Gendered In 2020?

From: Fashion Journal  1/28/2020
By: Ruby Staley


With the original intention for function – hunting, running, sleeping etc. – clothing was initially shaped in organic ways. Capes and tunics were formed from the natural shape of the arbitrary materials and animal skins used.

The gender rules of clothing then transformed after the Middle Ages, when people went from rocking tunics to caring about the aesthetics of their outfits. The Victorians amped up gender distinctions from simply being the difference in hem lines, men’s tunics were traditionally knee length and women’s to the floor, to assigning gender stereotypes to specific pieces of clothing. Men were seen as serious, sober breadwinners so they wore classic three-piece suits. Women, on the other hand, were regarded as frivolous, superficial and silly so they wore flouncy and embellished dresses. Trousers were a man’s game and it was considered pretty scandalous for women to don a pair of slacks up until the 20th Century.

For so long, and even still so, dressing androgynously was synonymous with female versions of men’s clothing, see: power suits, or female figures borrowing wardrobe pieces from their male counterparts. Lately, we’ve witnessed men’s designers dip into feminine shapes, colours and combinations such as Sies Marjan’s belted jackets and Dior Homme’s experimentation with soft colours and cinched waists.

And while this form of androgynous styling, which could be considered ‘cross-dressing’, has seeped its way into the mainstream, there exists a more nuanced approach. 

We’ve made some strides in separating gender stereotypes from fashion since the Victorian ages. But with the resurgence of puffed sleeves and the corset, we haven’t moved that far.

And while it’s safe to say that gendering clothing is arbitrary, due to the changing nature of its rules and regulations, it’s a trend we’ve never seemed to shake.

Androgynous dressing opens doors for design and styling that falls somewhere in between the two fashion worlds. It’s about more than women in pants and men in skirts.

It’s about innovation and taking it back to the functional roots and purpose of clothing. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How Low Can We Go?

Frank Cerabino
Frank Cerabino is a Palm Beach Post columnist who tweets humorous one-liners on the news from Florida and elsewhere. Since 1992, he has been a full-time news columnist and now writes four columns a week for our local news paper. In 2012, he took first place in Humorous Columns in the 62nd annual Green Eyeshade Awards, a journalism contest that recognizes excellence in news media in eleven Southern states.

Frank is a local treasure and has a direct and humorous approach to the news of the day. I enjoy his columns enormously and even when the subject is serious, like the column below, he manages to bring a reality to the topic. Over my many years in Palm Beach we have bumped into each other enough so that he might say he knows me; "that's my story and I am sticking to it".  

Several of column have been adapted by him into books that provide an amazing, humorous look at the crazy South Florida lifestyle. (Shady Palms: A Condo Caper)

Here is his column from April 17:


Killing grandma as an act of patriotism?

By Frank Cerabino

Posted Apr 17, 2020   

TV pundits keep trying to tell us that letting old people die is an acceptable price for a speedier return to pre-coronavirus gatherings.

Oh, no. Like a bad virus, the toxic argument that two to three percent of deaths in America is an acceptable trade-off for easing and ending mitigation efforts for the coronavirus is making a new comeback.

This argument flared up briefly at the end of March when there was a sudden outbreak of the theory that older Americans would be happy to die if it meant a speedier return to the pre-coronavirus economy.

This was most succinctly expressed by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

“No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” the 69-year-old Patrick said. “And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

Others, like conservative media figures Brit Hume and Glenn Beck, validated that sentiment.

Hume called Patrick’s view “entirely reasonable.” And Beck, who is 56, said people his age should think of the big picture.

“Even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country,” Beck said.

This let-the-olds-die approach — borrowed seemingly from a Dystopian science-fiction movie — lasted for only a few days.

Dead and gone, I thought. But no. This past week the Grim Reaper Caucus made its zombified return. This time on Fox News with a pair of TV doctors.

Dr. (Mehmet) Oz took time out from his sketchy hyping of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a COVID-19 cure, to turn his attention to quantifying acceptable levels of otherwise preventable deaths in the U.S.

“I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2-3 percent in terms of total mortality,” Oz told Sean Hannity. “Any life is a life lost but to get every child back into a school where they are safely being educated, being fed, and making the most of their lives, with the theoretical risk on the back side, might be a trade-off some folks would consider.”

Here we go again.

That was Wednesday night. The next night, Dr. Phil (McGraw) — a non-licensed psychologist — was on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News.

“The fact of the matter is we have people dying: 45,000 people a year from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that,” Dr. Phil said. “But yet, we are doing it for this, and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.”

This is a twisted argument, based on an either/or choice that doesn’t exist.

There’s no reason to shut down public gatherings because of swimming pool and automobile deaths because these deaths aren’t spread by exhaled water droplets.

And we have significant mitigation measures in place to curb swimming and driving deaths, such as seat belts, speed limits, pool alarms and fences.

Deaths from COVID-19 can also be lessened by mitigation measures. It starts with social distancing followed by routine and repeated testing with tens of millions of tests administered to non-symptomatic people on a regular and repeated basis.

“Anybody that wants a test can get a test,” President Donald Trump said on March 6.

It’s still not true more than six weeks after he said it. But making it true would be a life-saving pathway to getting the economy started again while also preserving the lives of the millions of Americans who are too old or too sick to survive the virus.

The economy could open safely with the contact tracing of those nascent infections. As cases pop up, they can be identified and quickly isolated from the rest of the population.

Restarting public gatherings without being able to identify the non-symptomatic carriers of the virus is just a recipe for a relapse into more infections and deaths.

Tragically, some people have concluded that it’s easier advocating for more death than more tests.

So here’s my suggestion. The next time you hear some meathead say that we can’t afford to take measures that would save millions of American lives, recommend the following three-step plan.

Step 1: Designate the relative or loved one you are willing to sacrifice.

Step 2: Conduct an immediate funeral before the infection occurs. Sure, it’s a little awkward with the dead person being alive, but it’s the only way you’ll get to say a proper goodbye. The way COVID-19 is, once the infected person’s on a ventilator, the hospital won’t let you in the room and your loved one will die alone. You don’t want that.

Step 3: Remind yourself how proud this makes you feel for doing your part to “keeping the America that all America loves.”


See this articlet in the HuffPost: Boston Globe Death Notices Fill A Staggering 16 Pages Amid Pandemic 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I Love A success Story - Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders is an American author and blogger. Her science-fiction stories have been published by Tor.com, Strange Horizons and Flurb, among others.

Her 2011 novelette Six Months, Three Days won the 2012 Hugo and was nominated for the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Awards. Her YA novel Choir Boy won a Lambda Literary Award in 2005 and was a finalist for the Edmund White Award. Shes also the co-editor of Shes Such A Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology And Other Nerdy Stuff.

She published the indy mag other magazine and organizes the award-winning Writers With Drinks reading series.

Her writing has appeared in McSweeneys.net, Pindeldyboz, Salon.com, the Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Paraspheres: New Wave Fabulist Fiction, Strange Horizons, ZYZZYVA, Space & Time, and other publications.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is the managing editor of the science fiction website io9. Her partner Annalee Newitz is the editor-in-chief of io9.

She self-identifies as a trans woman and genderqueer and co-organized the Cross-Gender Caravan, a national transgender and genderqueer author tour.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Feminine Differential - Ankle Pants

Pants / trousers have evolved from the average men's look to the comfier and classier culottes, striped pants, wide-legged pants, lace-up empire cropped pants, ruffled tie-waist peg leg pants and more. The transformation of pants from marking masculinity to embracing the feminine has been tremendous. Gone are the days that you cannot look as feminine in trousers as in dresses.

Modern-day women can definitely wear pants and look like a lady at the same time. Here’s a round-up of ideas to flaunt your femininity while wearing trousers at work. 

Tailor-Made - Wear ankle pants cut to fit your figure. A side zip is flattering as shown above.

Tops - Wear a feminine blouse in a bold color or innovate neckline. The Talbots Sabrina Gingham top is a perfect example of a feminine, even retro, neckline. 

Wear feminine shoes - Flats or heels.  Heels will play a key role in exhibiting your femininity while wearing trousers.

Accessorize - Make your outfit look feminine with the help of accessories including a statement ring, eye catching choker, chain necklace, and pearls. In addition to that, you can try cute and eye catching bags or clutches.

The stripe top is is Talbots, "STRIPE GATHERED SLEEVE TOP" and the pants above are Talbots, "CHATHAM ANKLE PANTS".  The sling back pumps are "BCBGeneration Henaya Slingback Pumps" from Macys'.  

Susan at her wonderful fashion blog, SusanAfter60, features this stripe top and talked about how good this combination works for her:

White ankle-length jeans are my first choice for much of the spring and summer. Blue and white will always be a favorite color combination.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Rhonda's Political Week In Review 4/19/2020

Donald Trump’s Greatest Escape!


His critics assume this crisis has to take Trump down, whether for the bungled response or the economic collapse. They’re missing something important: He’s been training for this moment his entire life.

...Many people I talked to said Trump’s already turned this calamity into opportunity, pointing to his nearly daily briefings, which by some accounts are like his rallies only better—because they happen more often and are watched by more people. Their efficacy is very much an open question. Polling is showing the benefits are fading, as the briefings have gotten longer, less focused and more contentious. Struggling with mounting coverage painting him as a heedless, feckless ditherer who ignored numerous dire warnings, Trump has stuck unwaveringly to a characteristic P.R. offensive, accepting no “responsibility,” claiming “total” authority, and presenting himself as an on-it and unassailable manager—putting his name on mailed-out CDC guidelines and stimulus checks while at the same time relentlessly shifting blame for this “invisible enemy” to the World Health Organization, China, states he says weren’t prepared enough, governors he thinks don’t thank him enough.


An amazing article packed with Trump history. This is not Trump's first pass the blame disaster - "I take no responsibility at all". See how he has escaped them all and may very well escape this one. This article helps us to understand his daily barrage of propaganda. A factual article without spin.  A must read!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Leggings - A Tale Of Two Shoes

Even when staying in, running to get dinner take-out or going for market pickup, you can still make the effort to look nice.  Without opportunities, our escapes are limited. However, let's not forget the skills to coordinate and heaven forbid, loose our nerve / resolve. Jeans, shorts and the latest trend, leggings, may have to be wardrobe of choice for a few more weeks. I like the casual look above.  

The only item of note above is the Dillard's "Intro Stripe Print Indigo Lyocell Long Roll-Tab Sleeve Button Down Tunic".  It is permanently reduced to $16.80 and comes in sizes S to XL.  I like the length especially for leggings.  The roll sleeves and tunic flair at the bottom gives it just the right feminine look.   

Tight jeans and leggings seem to be everywhere this spring.  I love the look and although I do not have perfect skinny legs, the right shoes can go along way to pulling the outfit together. The Trend Spotter Blog helps with selection and provides encouragement to try different looks.

As well as being quite possibly the most comfortable pants ever, leggings are also incredibly versatile. Not only are they perfect for the gym, but they can also suit a range of other outfits, including athleisure, casual and smart casual ensembles. Of course, making your leggings look great for any occasion is all about how you style them. In particular, your footwear plays an essential role in how your leggings are perceived. So, to help you look awesome while feeling comfy, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best shoes to wear with leggings. From classic sneakers to chic loafers, these footwear options have you covered almost any outing.

Here are two of the suggestions - Be sure to check all or her suggestions with some great fashion photos.

Lace-Up Sneakers
    Lace-up sneakers are without a doubt the easiest shoes to pair with leggings. Thanks to the sporty aesthetic of both leggings and sneakers, the combination works perfectly together. Although you can wear the look in a variety of ways, it appears particularly chic when styled with an athletic edge. To nail the style, start with a pair of sports leggings and minimal sneakers. Then, add a fitted, high-neck crop top and cap. You can also add jewelry, such as hoop earrings for an extra dose of attitude.

    Think heels don’t work with leggings? Think again. Pumps can actually partner perfectly with leggings for a stylish look. The key to making the outfit work is to strike a balance. As leggings and heels make your bottom half appear long and lean, try offsetting them with something looser on top. In particular, a long shirt that finishes at the top of your thighs can work fabulously with leggings and heels. You can also add a loose sweater or chunky jacket over the top if the weather’s cold.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Fashion History - Chanel’s Ford

Who Invented the Little Black Dress?

The “little black dress*”. quintessential staple of any woman’s wardrobe, isn’t as timeless as most people think. An LBD is a classic in that it’s neither a trend nor is it ever out of fashion, but its history is a surprisingly short one, dating back only about a century to the early 1900s. While history tends to credit French designer Coco Chanel with popularizing the design, the question of who came up with the little black dress first is a little more complicated than that. 

Palm Beach Event January 2020
As hard as it is to believe today—when black clothing is the neutral, flattering norm, and the latest fashion is credited as “the new black”—dark-colored garments were hardly a stylish society woman’s first choice years ago. Through the 1800s, black clothing was associated with mourning dress; in previous centuries, it was a symbol of luxury, as only the wealthy could afford costly black dye for their garments. Public perception gradually changed as history’s fashionistas realized that black was not only a practical choice that did not show stains or spills, but also a stylish one that offset their expensive accessories to good advantage. By the time Coco Chanel came into the equation in the 1920s, black dresses of all shapes and sizes were already quite popular all on their own.

The specific little black dress so famously associated with Chanel appeared in a 1926 issue of Vogue, a simple, calf-length design shown with a plain string of pearls that was distinct in its contrast to the heavily embellished flapper styles that were popular at the time. The magazine called it “Chanel’s Ford”—referring to Henry Ford’s Model T car, the standard for all automobiles to come—and predicted its role as “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.” A 1930 issue of Vogue later featured another black Chanel dress, made of sheer black lace with a matching capelet, which served to double down on the public perception of Coco Chanel having invented the fashion. However, designers like Edward Molyneux were simultaneously promoting their own, similar fashions, just without Vogue’s endorsement.

Audrey Hepburn Little Black Dress
Perhaps the most iconic little black dress of all is a work of the 1960s: Audrey Hepburn famously wore a little black Givenchy dress as Holly Golightly in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the movie that spawned a million Halloween costumes. That level of exposure may have truly cemented the little black dress as a cultural touchstone, so much so that we’ve turned it into an acronym: LBD, which has been included in the official Oxford Dictionary of English since 2010.


My Note: Do you have a LBD?  If not; why not?  It is the no decision dress for a business meeting, dinner out at an elegant restaurant or night at the theater.  Black hides a world of shape difficulties and never goes out of style.  Your feminine wardrobe start here.  

*The dress show in the fashion layout is Boston Proper's - BEYOND TRAVEL™ SLEEVELESS CUTOUT SHEATH DRESS. ($89.50)