Sunday, September 14, 2014

Things I Saw Today

We had amazingly nice weather in New York today.  I enjoyed the day by riding to see friends at a vintage motorcycle show at the Queens County Farm Museum.  It was an odd mixture of old bikes and cute animals.  Did you have fun this weekend?




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall Plans

Fall is a great season.  For many, it's the beginning of a new year.  Schools start, jobs open up.  The weather becomes more bearable.  And for those into fashion, new clothes and trends emerge.

I'm thinking about new projects.  Fun new ways to enjoy myself.  So far, I've come up with three ideas.

First, I want to meet more of my friends in person.  Next month, I hope to see Ashley and Beth in Minnesota.  I hope the snow hasn't returned by then.  I'd also like to head south to Atlanta to visit my dearest friend Jen and her daughter Juni.  If Elle is around, I'll say hello to her, too.

Second, I want to conceive more interesting blog-posts.  What I'd like to do is vary the backgrounds of my outfit-posts, principally by going outdoors.  I did that earlier in my blog-life, like the pictures shown here, but it's hard.  When I'm alone and taking pictures by myself, I need privacy which is hard to find outdoors.  If I had a friend to assist me, seclusion wouldn't be important, but finding friends willing to act as photography assistants is more difficult than you'd imagine.

Third, I'd like to find a way to convince my friends to allow me to be with them looking as feminine on the outside as I am on the inside.  Chatting over tea would be so much more fun in a dress.  Having the opportunity to be myself is the pinnacle of my aspirations but it's proven hard to create.  In real-life, people expect me to look like a man despite having conscious knowledge of my femaleness.  I'm sensitive to others' comfort, so I don't push and disrupt their expectation of me.  What I need to do, somehow, is learn how to expand their view of me to allow for greater self-expression.

What are your plans for the Fall?  Any fun new projects?  Any advice for me in pursuing my goals?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Booting Summer

I saw a model in a fashion magazine wearing boots -- in Summer.  I didn't know that was allowed!  I love boots and they look very chic with flirty Summer dresses.

That inspired me to create this post.  I pulled my high-heeled velvet boots out of storage and paired them with something cute.  I styled the outfit two ways -- first like a traditional fashion-blogger and, second, like a Bad Girl.  I can be a Bad Girl, can't I?  Every woman has a Bad Girl buried deep inside her.

Which style do you prefer?




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Playing With Dolls

When I was growing up, not only was I raised as a boy but, because I kept protesting to everyone that I was girl, my parents policed my behavior and forbid any feminine activities.  Obviously, things like dolls were strictly verboten.

If I think about the typical female experiences I didn't have, I get sad.  To combat that weltschmerz, I try to re-create those experiences now, even though many say I'm "too old" for them.  My attitude is it's never too late to have a happy childhood.  I'm not dead yet, so I can do whatever I want.  You saw this attitude demonstrated when, on a dare three years ago, I rode my motorcycle wearing a pink tutu.  I've decided not to let disapproval or incomprehension by others stop me from pursuing my dreams.

But... I lack information and wondered if you can help.  I have a few questions which, if you're kind enough to answer, would provide me with important information I really want to know.  Okay?

Is it fun to play with dolls?  What, exactly, does it involve?  HOW do you play with dolls?  Is having a playmate better than being alone?  How many dolls did you have as a child?  What kind were they?  Barbies?  Bratz?  When did you stop playing with dolls?

Thank you for your help.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How To Be Happy

Class!  Class!!  Settle down now.  And Megan, get back in your seat.

I'm going to let you in on a secret.  A secret to happiness in life.

I'm older than you.  In the five decades I've been around, I've picked up some wisdom.  When I apply that wisdom to my current life, I find it works.  Let me share a nugget with you.

We hold the keys to our happiness.  We make multiple choices, many of which directly affect the amount of joy in our existence.  Often we make bad choices, with unfortunate consequences, because we mis-prioritize things.  For example, sometimes we foolishly value convenience over experience, money over friendship.

I've learned -- and scientific research backs this up -- that having friends is critical to happiness.  Friends supply us with emotional support and a sense of belonging.  When we're young, we have ready friends because school puts us in close proximity to others.  But after we leave school, that proximity disappears and it's easy, in fact it's normal, to lose our friends.  We go to work, go home, go to work, go home -- a recipe for isolation and loneliness.  Sure we may have a partner but one person cannot meet all our needs.  Especially our same-sex needs, like the ability and willingness to chat about clothes, makeup and gossip.

Recognizing this, I made a deliberate effort to add more friends to my life.  And it's worked.  The effort began with my search for online ways to connect to promising people.  I found blogging.  Before 2010, I didn't even know what blogs were.  Now they're an integral part of my life.  Through blogging, I've met dozens of lovely people, some of whom have become close friends.

One of these friends is Ashley.  Ashley had a blog and we chatted regularly for several years.  She retired her blog but we keep in touch.  She's available through Twitter and Facebook -- and the occasional handmade card in the mail.  I cherish those.

I've raved about Ashley several times here, including recently when I praised her funny story about shopping for Missoni clothes at Target.

Some people are unwilling to travel to meet others.  I don't understand that.  If someone is important to you, don't you want to deepen your friendship?  Meeting someone in person is A BIG DEAL because it tells you stuff you'll never get through online communication.  Like how tall they are (Gracey), what their accent sounds like (Lynne), how nice they are (Lorena), the depth of their intelligence (Michi), how stylishly they dress (Megan) and their sense of humor (Meghan).

I live in New York but am willing to travel to see friends.  It's a question of priorities.  Sure, it's difficult to find spare time (I'll bet my work-calendar is more crowded than yours) and, like everyone else, I need to watch my spending.  But I accord this a HIGH priority.  Which,  to me, is not only rational, it's smart.

This Summer, I rode my motorcycle five hours upstate to meet Aimee and it was delightful.  We shared fun experiences.  I'll remember that weekend forever.

So when Ashley tweeted that she's having a Halloween party, I considered going out to meet her.  Which is a fairly big deal because Ashley lives in Minnesota.  I don't even know where that is!  But I know they have these big metal tubes that fly through the sky and can carry you anywhere.

Going to a Halloween party at Ashley's is guaranteed fun.  Halloween!  Costumes, games, excitement!  I'm actually trembling with eager anticipation.

After finagling an invitation to the party, I committed to going.  Next month, I'm jumping on a jet-plane and flying to a new place to meet a new friend whom I've never seen before.

That's our lesson for today.  Savor friends.  Order your priorities to make time for them.  Class dismissed.

Have you ever travelled far to meet a friend?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Excitement Down Under

I was surprised at the success of my last outfit.  I drew attention to the bottom-half of my body by wearing an attractive skirt (with a dazzling chevron print).  To keep the focus there, I kept the rest of the outfit complementary but plain.  That was the first time I emphasized Down Under.

The same approach generated this outfit.  I found floral leggings at Charlotte Russe for $12 and thought they'd be a great centerpiece for a new outfit.  Like last time, I'm keeping attention on the leggings and not adding any distractions.

What do you think?  Your opinion counts.

Before I close shop, let me mention two things.  The pink handbag was a gift from my friend Megan who has a fabulous blog.  You should go visit it.  Megan is a chic dresser with impressive credentials in the (real) Fashion World.  (Check this out if you don't believe me.)

Second, everything I've learned about women's clothing has come from you.  Other bloggers have taught me invaluable fashion lessons by their example.  One who stands out in that regard is Lisa whose blog is here.  Lisa's choices and outfits mesmerize me.  I study them to figure out how she creates her magic.  In a real sense, Lisa inspires and educates me.  Thanks, pal!





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Naming Names

I'm named after my father.  Technically, he is Ralph Sr. and I'm Ralph Jr. but, to distinguish us, my family called us "Big Ralph" and "Little Ralph."

I have to tell you that being called Little Anything is annoying to a teenage boy.  I also wasn't thrilled to have an obscure ethnic name when everyone else was Jim, John or Bob.

Currently, I know a dozen Megans/Meghans, including my good friends MeganMeghan and Megan.  What's it like to have a common name?  Is the inevitable confusion a pain?

My favorite name is possessed by my good friend Aimee.  She explained to me that it's the French version of Amy.  Her ancestors are French Canadians.

Do you like your name?  Is it common or obscure?  Did you ever want to change it?