Sunday, June 30, 2013

Date Night

I'm playing with ideas for a night of romance.  A flirty ensemble suited for candlelit dinners and long walks down a scenic river.  An outfit one might wear while holding hands and waiting for a kiss.

This is what I came up with.  Any opinions?




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our Cameras

I bought a new camera!

Like most bloggers, I started taking pictures with a simple point-and-shoot camera.  As I got deeper into blogging, I realized I enjoy artistic photography as much as I want to record outfits so I figured I'd step up to a real d-SLR ("digital Single Lens Reflex").  I asked for and received one for Christmas in 2011.  I got a Nikon D3000 which is a nice piece of equipment.

Recently, I decided I want to try my hand at video.  A video-camcorder costs $500+ and, since I don't know how deeply I'll get into video, I didn't want to invest that kind of money into a device that can only record video.  Looking around, I learned many d-SLR's have video-capacity even though my D3000 didn't.  So I toyed with the idea of upgrading my camera to one that has dual capacity for both photography and video.

I hesitated for a while because my D3000 isn't that old and didn't need to be replaced.  Plus, my frugal nature hated the idea of having two cameras and not using the D3000.  Then, by fate, I read a post of one of my blogger-friends, Emma, saying she wants to graduate up from her point-and-shoot to a d-SLR.  Two problems solved!

I just bought a Nikon D5200 for myself (which can record video) and gave Emma the D3000 for her blogging.  She received the camera in the mail this week and she reports excitement to learn new things about photography.  It's great when a simple act like this can enrich someone's life.  I hope Emma's pictures improve and she find new joy in photography.

What kind of camera do you use?  Do you have any aspirations to improve your picture-taking?

P.S., The sunflowers, purchased today, are my first photo with the new camera.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Childhood Homes

I get nostalgic about the home I grew up in.  Do you?

My family lived in a small suburban house on Long Island, an hour east of New York.  My parents bought the house just as they started having kids and our neighborhood was full of families with small children.  My brother and I grew up on a block with other kids on it.

I pass by that house occasionally now; it's only a few miles from where I live.  Whenever I go down the street of my youth, I'm flooded with memories of riding my bicycle, of our old neighbors and of local sights.  For example, my mother etched the growing heights my brother and I reached on our bedroom doorframes.  Our house had tiny cubbyholes my brother and I would play and hide in.  The view from my second-floor window surveyed a wide swath of the neighborhood.

Looking at the house now, my mood turns melancholic.  I instantly realize the major changes time has wrought.  Half of my family passed away in 1990-1991 and my sole remaining relative (my dad) is far away in Florida.

Childhood always affects us deeply.  Growing up, I thought this house was the universe -- big and comfortable.  So it was unexpected when I returned home from college and found it small and grimy.  Of course the neighborhood hadn't changed; my perspective had.  The grandeur I'd seen in my home vanished after I saw more of the world.

Do you remember your childhood home?  What was it like?  Big or small?  Comfy?  Full of life or quiet?



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dancing In The Street

I had a pleasant, unexpected experience today.

I own two motorcycles, one of which is the speedy sportbike shown above.  (The photo was taken last year at the racetrack where I rode it up to 140 mph.)  I love how my Yamaha handles and I ride it whenever I can.

On my way home from work, I suddenly saw another sportbike in my rear-view mirror.  I noticed it was being operated by a girl.  A cute girl in her late-20's.  Our bikes were similar and we were both wearing good protective gear.

I know some twisty roads in my area and enjoy riding them at a spirited pace.  They're a challenge when taken at high speed.  We were on a straight main road when the girl showed up, so I wondered if she was up for some fun.  I turned off that road onto a series of side-roads.  I was happy to see her follow my lead.

Knowing the curves well, I leaned my bike over and twisted the throttle.  In my mirror, I saw she was right behind me.  I pushed harder and she stayed with me like glue.  We were riding in perfect synch, both navigating tough roads with skill and poise.  Eventually, the roads ran out and we were back on a main road.  With a wave, she turned and took off.

A delightful dance in the street.

Have you ever been surprised by an unexpected partner joining you in fun?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mermaid Parade in Coney Island





















Friday, June 21, 2013

Fancy French Fashion -- Poubelle

There's a chic new fashion coming out of France.  It is called "Poubelle" and it's conquering the haute couture world.  Always on the cutting edge of style, I thought I'd give it a try.

I picked up this fancy new gown yesterday.  It is crafted by the talented designers in The House of Rubbermaid, a venerable establishment situated in the center of Paris.  The color of the gown is midnight black and the piece possesses a very sophisticated design.  Granted, not everyone will like its avant-garde style but true art never pleases the masses.

For something so elegant, I added black fishnets and velvety black Steve Madden platform pumps.

Honestly, what do you think?  Do you feel it needs a belt?


The Mermaids Are Back!

Once a year, something magical happens in New York.  It's my very favorite local event.  The Mermaid Parade in Coney Island!

Organized by artists, the Parade is a celebration of fine weather, female beauty and fun.  70,000 people head to the historic area of Coney Island to watch those souls creative and courageous enough to dress up in amazing costumes.  It's like a Halloween parade on steroids.  The ingenuity -- and often skimpiness -- of the costumes are mind-blowing.

The Parade is tomorrow.  This will be my third time attending.  My first two visits resulted in me taking over 300 photos each outing.  I posted my favorites herehere and here.

Every year there is a different Parade King and Queen.  This year the King is Judah Friedlander and the Queen is Carole Radziwill.  I'll post pictures on Sunday.  Meanwhile, where is that sunscreen??  I knew I put it somewhere...

Have you ever heard of this Parade?  Are there any annual parades you enjoy?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

James Gandolfini (1961-2013)

James Gandolfini died today.  He was only 51.  The preliminary report is that he had a heart attack while vacationing in Rome, Italy.

How sad.  I loved Gandolfini's work in "The Sopranos," one of the best shows ever made for television.  He portrayed mobster Tony Soprano in a way nobody had before.  There was vulnerability in his role, conveying profound sadness in the character's soul.  And, of course, Tony's legendary difficulties with women were at the heart of his problems.

In 2009, I heard Gandolfini was going to appear on the New York stage in a production of "God of Carnage."  I spent big bucks to get front-row tickets.  What an amazing experience.  Gandolfini was terrific in the play and we were only ten feet away from him.  It was magical to be so close to talent.

I celebrate and mourn the man.  He was a great actor.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Favorite Stores

I'm fortunate to live next to an upscale mall.  It's close and I walk to it.  Although I buy most of my female clothes at thrift-stores and discount shops like Kohl's, Marshalls and Fox's, it's fun to look at higher-priced fare in a tonier setting.

My favorite new haunt is Anthropologie.  They sell cute housewares and pretty clothes.  While their normal prices are beyond my reach, they have a big sales rack with deep discounts.  I've found and bought a few beautiful items there.

I'm also a fan of Urban Outfitters which is lower-priced and full of hip, young clothes.  They're building a new one in my mall, where there's also an Anthropologie.

In today's business news, I was surprised to learn that Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are owned by the same company.  The company also owns Free People. 

Do you know these stores?  What are your favorite places to shop?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Elasticity -- Whew!

I'm a big girl.  Larger than most.  I'm six foot tall, over 200 lbs., with 40-inch waist.  Accordingly, most clothes designed for average-sized women don't fit me.

The answer to this dilemma, I've discovered, is elasticity.  With a stretchy fabric, I can fit into ordinary sizes (8-12) whereas with non-elastic material, I'm stuck up at size 16.  When shopping, the first thing I check is whether the fabric stretches or not.  Even a large size might not fit my unusual shape if it won't expand where I need it to.

Imagine my surprise on a ride home from court today when I visited my favorite thrift-store and saw a cute dress.  I wanted it but, checking the label, saw it's a size 0.  Zero!  I didn't even know there was such a small size.  Certainly I could never fit my big-ass size 16 into a 0.  Or could I??

The item is so cute.  Amazingly adorable.  I pulled and pulled on it, watching it stretch like rubber.  But a size 0??  The lowest size I've ever squeezed into before was an 8.  A 0??

Obviously I couldn't try it on in the store.  I don't do that.  I don't want to make a scene or upset anyone.  So it was a gamble... will it fit?  At all?  It was too cute to pass up AND it was ridiculously cheap ($8).  So I took a risk and brought it home.

It fits!  At least enough to squeeze onto my body.  Happily, it has a built-in bodysuit which keeps it from riding up my torso.

Wearing this dress makes me smile like a fool.  I love its delightfully feminine character.

Can you fit into more than one size?





Saturday, June 15, 2013

Physical Exercise

It is vitally important to stay in shape.  We need to move our  bodies to maintain our health.  Plus, fitness feels good and gives you more energy to tackle the day.

This is especially true as we age.  Our bodies naturally atrophy unless we use them.  I make exercise a priority in my life 'cause I want to be around to read your blogs when you are old ladies.

I've learned two tricks about exercise.  First, it has to be incorporated into your life so you'll do it regularly.  Second, it has to be fun.  Nobody wants to face drudgery and a plan without enthusiasm dies a quick death.

I walk.  And walk.  And walk.  Everywhere, all the time.  I look for excuses to move my body, like hiking to the post office a half-mile from my office.  I go there 2-3 times a day.  I walk up stairs when given the choice of them or an escalator.  It's an easy way to include physical movement into my life without a big fuss.  The easier something is, the more likely you'll do it.

New York City just instituted a cool bike-share program with thousands of pretty blue bicycles available at very low cost.  You can take unlimited rides (up to 45 minutes each) for $95 a year or pay less for a week- ($25) or day-pass ($10).  There are 600 locations where you can grab a bike and more will be added soon.  It's a terrific idea that has worked marvelously in other cities.

Walking outdoors, bicycling outdoors, hiking, etc. are fun ways to get exercise while focusing on something other than the wall in front of a machine.

Do you exercise?  What do you do?

Friday, June 14, 2013


The same thing can mean different things to different people.  Giving a poor person a car can change their life while giving the same vehicle to a rich man might merely make him yawn.

Your visits to my blog affect my life.  In a huge way.  Your presence and support give me courage to explore new territory, break social taboos and pursue my dreams.  If it wasn't for your compassionate embrace of this blog, I wouldn't be half as happy as I am now.  I smile now, frequently and deeply, knowing people care and accept me.  That wasn't true a decade ago.  Or for most of my life.

I don't know what the future holds but I know that my present is immeasurably improved by your friendship.  Every person willing to listen to a rare bird like me is doing an act of kindness.  And when you let me play in the sandbox with you, wearing and discussing pretty clothes, my heart bursts with joy. 

Thank you.  From the heart.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Inviting Summer

What says Summer more than a pretty floral dress?!

Despite today being rainy, I wore this dress to invite the new season to arrive.  If we wish hard enough, maybe it will come soon.

I love the colors and print in this dress.  I accessorize it with a glass of blueberry pomegranate juice which is healthy and stylish.

Sometimes I put together and outfit and, despite high hopes, I'm disappointed.  The converse also occurs and today's look was a pleasant surprise.  I enjoyed the dress so much that I played with new poses and ideas. 

Any that you like?