Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another View

Today, Meghan reports her experience of our meetup in New York last week.  She also shares some photos she took.  Go take a look at her blog here.

I always find it interesting how two people can do the same thing and have different experiences.  Our perceptions are subjective.  We see, hear and feel depending on who we are and that differs from person to person.

Have you ever learned that someone experienced something you participated in differently than you did?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Living The Dream

I dreamed for years about being a woman.  Decades, actually.  And when I dreamed, I didn't fantasize about wearing a frumpy housecoat.  Or boyfriend-jeans.  No, I dreamed about feminine dresses and pretty gowns.  Elegant heels and dainty jewelry.  I dreamed about female beauty.

So, when I came across the dress I'm about to show you, I didn't hesitate.  Even though it exceeded my normal price-range, I stretched and bought it.  Of course, being in a thrift-store meant the dress was a fraction of its real price so I wasn't overpaying.  Plus, I was on a special shopping trip in New York with my friend Meghan and our excitement over being together affected my judgment on buying stuff.  In a good way.

What do you think of this dress?  I added a gold looped belt for structure and white gloves for elegance.






Monday, July 29, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

(That's a Monty Python reference, for the hipsters among you.)

As adult women, you guys have figured out how you like to look.  You played with options for years and selected among them.  You know how you want to shape your eyebrows, you know which colors flatter you, you know what your favorite hairstyles are.

Me, I'm not there yet.  I'm at the stage of a 14-year old girl, experimenting with everything that's available.  The good thing about this is I'm open to adventure.  I'm willing to try anything.  Since I don't know what will work, I take things for a spin.

I've played with different colors in my clothes but have never changed my hair-color.  Wondering what that'd be like, I popped on a new wig.  It's only a cheap Halloween-type wig ($12) but it gives me a reference point.  It helps me see what something different looks like.

What do you think?  Have you ever dyed your hair?  Tried a bold color?


Friday, July 26, 2013

A Day With Meghan

I met my friend Meghan through blogging.  She has a nice blog and we've got many mutual blogging buddies (like the other Megan).  A few months ago, I travelled to Philly where Meghan lives and we had a delightful dinner.  That experience deepened our friendship.

Today, Meghan took an Amtrak train up to New York City and we spent the day together.  What fun! 

Due to my greater familiarity with New York, I took the lead in planning our day.  I escorted us down to Greenwich Village which is my favorite part of the city.  The neighborhood has a bohemian flavor and is less crowded and less expensive than other areas.  Plus, it has lots of thrift-shops.

We started with an hour of conversation over the most delicious cup of coffee at Bruno's Italian bakery, a place where you put on weight just looking at the pastries.  I've been going to Bruno's for over thirty years and love its Old World charm.  Their baked goods are delicious and the ambiance is distinctly European.

Then we spent a few hours shopping.  Thrift-stores in the city are more upscale than the suburbs.  Prices are much higher but the wares are noticeably better.  I found an amazing white blazer with black polka dots and pink piping.  Meghan picked up a Philly Flyers jacket that she's sure will irritate her boyfriend because he roots for a different team.  I uncovered a delightful disco-era red gown with diagonal ruffles.  The gown must have a built-in time-machine because it instantly transported me back to that era.  You'll see these treasures in the near future.

We had lunch at a cool restaurant called Cowgirls which was crammed with cowgirl memorabilia.  An entertaining place to eat.  I bought us both t-shirts there.

We capped off the day with a refreshing visit to the new "ice bar".  Named Minus 5 Ice Bar, the place exceeded our expectations.  It immediately infuses you with excitement.  We donned parkas, gloves and went into the cold.  It has several ice sculptures which are well-done: a cool one of the Manhattan skyline and another of the Statue of Liberty.  The funniest thing we saw all day was a woman who went into the ice bar wearing sandals -- after realizing how cold it is, she put cloth gloves on her feet!  She looked hilarious.

It was a great day.  Time with friends is invaluable.  Thanks, Meghan!





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Delights

I'm not entirely sure why but I've been having good luck shopping.  Since I go at discount- and thrift-stores, selections are always hit-or-miss.  Despite that, I seem to be finding more attractive pieces than in the past.  Perhaps my "shopping eye" is getting trained to spot better clothes.

Did your shopping improve with practice?  What do you do to increase the odds of finding something good?

I've always wanted sandals for Summer but never found any that work with my feet.  Yesterday, at Nordstrom Rack (one of the few places that carry size 12), I saw a cute pair from Franco Sarto ($49).  On my feet, they look better than usual.  They're very comfortable (wedges feel so good) and I plan to wear them a lot.

Also, last Saturday I bought a nice top at my favorite tween boutique.  The design of the top is quite unusual and neon trim is exciting.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone wear vertical trim like this.  It was on sale for $15.

To complete an outfit, I picked up a skirt on sale at Marshall's for $10 which adds to the top without distracting from it.  Here is the total ensemble.  Thoughts?




Sunday, July 21, 2013

Shopping Bags

We usually pay attention to what's in our shopping bags, not the bags themselves.  I stopped to wonder about this today.  I like examining seldom-contemplated things in life.

What prompted my mental excursion was a visit to the boutique I told you guys about last week.  It's a place for tweens to buy fashionable clothing.  The salesgirls who work there are very nice and I choose to drop on Saturdays during my walk around the neighborhood.

For a small purchase, I got the beautiful shopping bag pictured above.  Rarely do you think of shopping bags as cute but this one has an amazing animal-print.  I'll re-use the bag again and again.

Upscale retailers know that offering attractive bags is part of the "experience" they offer shoppers.  Many establishments distinguish themselves with instantly-recognizable packaging.  Tiffany, for example, uses a unique color for its bags.

Do you notice shopping bags?  Do they matter at all to where you choose to shop?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Generosity Of Friends

When I gave a camera to my friend Emma, I didn't expect anything in return.  I was happy just seeing her grow as a blogger.  If you've been following Emma's blog -- and you should! -- you've seen how much her pictures have improved and how deeply she's dove into learning new skills.

So I was totally surprised when a box arrived on my doorstep today.  Shoes!  Emma bought me shoes.  That's the FIRST time anyone has ever given me shoes.  Because of my ginormous feet, it's hard for me to find women's shoes that fit.  You really need to search for some -- and sweet Emma did.

These blue beauties are lovely.  They have a reflective silver heel.  The shoes will get lots of use in my future outfits.

I'm also wearing another gift -- thigh-high stockings from Bella.  The stockings were a gift for which I've been waiting to find the right occasion.  Today is it.

Don't you feel special when friends give you a gift?!



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Celebrating Baseball

Today is Baseball Day.  At the midpoint of the season, there are several events celebrating the sport.  Tonight is the All-Star Game, in which the most talented players compete in good spirit, having fun being with each other and joking around.  Yesterday was the Home Run Derby which showed players trying to knock balls out of the park.  Before the Derby, my beloved Rockettes danced on top of the dugout.  Those girls can hoof!

As far as sports go, baseball tops the bunch.  It requires skill, experience, strength and cunning.  There is strategy, history and culture.  The deeper you dig into baseball, the more gold you find.  It's a rewarding game to follow.

Unlike football and hockey, there is little violence in baseball.  Camaraderie and good sportsmanship is valued highly.

I played baseball as a child, first in parks and later in Little League.  I loved the sport and was good at it.  My experience was marred, however, by bad parenting from fathers who, frustrated with their own past failures, try to live vicariously through their 8-year old sons.  These fathers don't realize they are raising children; they think they are battling the World Series with professional players.  The fathers yell, curse and act atrociously.  Several times I scratched my head and wondered when these so-called adults would grow up.

Anyway, back to the joys of baseball...  Since the game is on my mind, I thought I'd use it as the inspiration for an outfit-post.  I love being creative and I pondered how to make a baseball uniform look feminine.  Here's my swing at it.

Do you like baseball?  Did you ever play it?  What sports did you play?




Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ear Cuffs

Last night on Fashion Police, I saw a trend which has been around for a little while.  In the past, I've caught this trend out of the corner of my eye, but not really focused on it.  The show examined the trend and, after seeing it more closely, I've decided I like it.

I'm talking about ear cuffs -- earrings which cover more of your ear, extending upward and usually following the curve of your ear.  Worn asymmetrically (in only one ear), the earrings add sparkle and draw attention the way hair ornaments do.  In fact, on my women, they look more like hair decorations than like earrings.  Here are a few examples.

While at first they look exotic, I got used to them quickly and see lots of design possibilities.  Interestingly, they can look either ancient or futuristic, depending on the style.  A throwback to an old culture or visual reference to a sci-fi type future.

And it's always nice to draw attention to your face.

What do you think?  Would you wear one?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shopping Experiences

My outfit-posts always come with stories.  I wonder why that is.  Perhaps it's because I'm so eager to do this that I pay close attention to details and then can't resist sharing them with you.  Thank you for indulging me.

The outfit below is a Frankenstein creation.  Its base is the third dress I bought at Soho Girl last week.  I knew when I selected the dress that it needed help.  The ruffles in the skirt are irresistible to me but the top is troublesome -- it is spare except for two tiny spaghetti straps.  A top like that makes me appear to be the starting linebacker for the New York Jets.  Not the feminine impression I want to create. 

So I need to cover the top up -- and I found a perfect item.  There's the story.

I walk around my neighborhood a lot.  There's a small boutique on my regular path that sells trendy clothes to tweens.  Not teens but tweens.  Of course, their sizes run from small to very small.  I always walk past the store and never go in.  I figure, first, they won't have anything for me and, second, I'll look odd surrounded by tween girl clothes.

Last Saturday,  as I walked past, I thought to myself I want to see what they have.  Even if the clothes are too small, even if I get cold stares, I want to see what the store carries.  I thought that'd be fun.  So I went in. 

The store is lovely.  Full of pretty bright colors and lovely girl clothes.  Yes, most things are too small for me but they have a few loose tops I can fit into.  Like the one shown below.  I found it on the discount rack for $5.  When I touched it, I knew I could find some use for it.  Plus it's airy and cool in Summer.

Even better, the salesgirls were nice.  Friendly.  That may sound ordinary to you but it's not for me.  Entering a women's clothing store looking like a 55-year old man is always anxiety-producing for me.  I used to worry about reactions to my shopping in female domains but experience has taught me that 99% of the time the sales-staff is too bored to care.  I get indifference, which is what I've come to expect.  I've never gotten friendliness -- until this time.  The two girls at the counter were friendly and chatted with me.  They didn't go too far with their conversation but it was a welcome relief from the stony silence I usually get.  I went back there Sunday and bought more stuff.  They greeted me again with friendliness.

Anyway, to the outfit -- what do you think?




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New York's "Ice Bar"

They just opened up an "ice bar" in Manhattan.  So cool -- literally!

Everything in the bar is made of ice, carved by an ice-sculptor.  The chairs, the furniture, the decorations -- even the glasses! -- are made of ice.  The temperature in the bar is 23-degrees F (or minus-5 C).  When you go in, they give you Eskimo gear (parka, gloves, boots).  (More info here.)

The temperature here in New York is hitting 90-degrees outside, so this frigid freezer will be a welcome relief.  I can't wait to go!  Would you venture into such a place??

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I feel really pretty in this dress.  It's the second of the three dresses I bought last week at Soho Girl in NYC. 

I'm attracted to its stripey b/w design and, as much, to its sheer back.  I've never worn a sheer back before -- how lovely.  Not only does the sheer back look chic but it's wonderfully cool in the sweltering heat of Summer.  It's over 90-degrees here today in New York.

I had a really fun time doing this photoshoot.  Can you tell?  I think my face reveals me.

Now I just need a gal-pal to meet for drinks.  Are you free?!






Friday, July 5, 2013

A Poem


One of my friends, Heidi, is a creative writer.  I've enjoyed her work for quite a while.

I was surprised last March when Heidi wrote a poem for and about me.  She gave it to me and I've been savoring it ever since.

Heidi just posted the poem on her blog.  Rather than reproduce it here, I want to direct you there so you'll visit her blog and consider following it.  Good writing is a joy for all of us.

To see the poem, go here.

I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend.  Doing anything special?  I had to put in a few hours at work but still feel relaxed and in the holiday spirit.  Right now, I'm reclined in a chaise lounge in my leafy backyard, wearing nothing by  tiny short-shorts, listening to birds chirp and admiring the bright purple polish on my toesies.  Life can be good!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Secure & Insecure

I just realized something about myself.  It might help you understand me if I mention it.

I have a dual nature.  Despite being innately female, I was forced to grow up as a man.  As a consequence, I developed masculine traits.  I learned how to compete with men and have thick skin dealing with aggression.  It is impossible to upset me by criticizing my male qualities.  I have real confidence in my strength and masculine abilities.  I have proven them many times and am very secure in myself as a man.

On the other hand, my female identity is new -- and I'm insecure about my femininity.  Despite a lifetime of longing to do this, my public display of feminine clothing, makeup and appearance began only recently.  Lacking experience with femininity, and also lacking a mentor to guide and teach me, my female presentation is rudimentary and hit-and-miss.  My first attempts were embarrassingly bad.  With effort, I've improved beyond that but I know I'm nowhere near the competence of a normal woman.  And I may never be, but I strive for whatever improvement I can achieve.

Presenting as female, I feel vulnerable and exposed.  My whole life, especially in my influential childhood, I was told that I'm not allowed to "act like a girl."  So the very fact of presenting as female is something I feel shaky about.  I worry that at any moment cops will barge in and haul me away for crimes against social convention.  At least it feels that way.

It is in this mental context that I summon the depth of my courage and boldly try to create a female identity.  Putting on women's clothing means something profoundly different for me than it does for most people. 

Now to the heart of this post.  A short while ago, I received a mild online criticism of my femininity in a blog comment.  The criticism made me cry like a 12-year old girl.  I reacted emotionally to the remark.  The comment wasn't mean-spirited -- in fact, it was trying to be helpful -- but it pronounced negative judgment on my effort to dress up and the judgment stung me.  After painful reflection, I now realize that my reaction was caused by insecurity within me and not by the comment.  The external comment merely triggered my inner vulnerability.  The comment isn't the problem; I am.

Intellectually, I know the path to growth involves inviting feedback, learning from it and incorporating that knowledge into future action.  I know that.  I welcome your comments, including critical ones.  I learn valuable lessons from your feedback.  So please keep your opinions coming.  They are the key to my future.

I need to toughen up as a woman.  Acquire confidence in my presentation and not be so sensitive to remarks from others.  I need to put on my big-girl panties and stop sobbing like a baby.

This experience taught me that while I'm secure in my male identity, I'm insecure in my female identity.  If I didn't experience that first-hand, I'd question whether such a schizophrenic condition is possible.

Are you secure about some things (like, maybe, your competence at work) and insecure about others (e.g., your appearance)?  Is it possible to be vulnerable in some aspects of life and impregnable on others?  What do you think?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Serendipity And The City

One of the courts I litigate in is located in Lower Manhattan.  (I showed it here.)  I go there by taking a train into the city (LIRR) and then hopping on a downtown subway.  On my way to court, I'm always nervous and don't waste time dawdling.

After my court appearances, however, I relax.  Instead of riding the subway back to the train station, I walk.  It's a four-mile hike running straight through SoHo, a neighborhood replete with wonderful clothing stores.  SoHo has both posh and less-expensive boutiques.

Today, serendipity -- and a pretty window-display -- pulled me into Soho Girl where I squealed with excitement at beautiful dresses.  They were all in my price range, averaging around $20.  The designs are chic and unusual.

I snapped up three dresses which you'll soon see.  Here's one of them, a strapless tube dress with high/low hem.  It appeals to me and is perfect for the season since it's as light as a tissue.

Do you ever find nice clothes when you aren't looking for anything specific?  My best finds seem to happen by chance.