Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day (Girl Clothes)

And now for something completely different...  What do you think?


 
 
  

 
 
 

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine's Day (Boy Clothes)

A year ago, someone challenged me to wear both boy and girl clothes to the same event.  That was an interesting idea and I've tried it on several occasions.  With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd do it again.  What would I wear to a romantic dinner on V-Day?

On my way home from court this morning, I stopped by my trusty thrift-store and was lucky -- I found both a beautiful red dress (for $8) and a pretty red tie (for $2).  Both enable me to meet this challenge.

Here is the boy-version of my Valentine's Day outfit.  Tomorrow you'll see the girl-version.  If you want, you can vote on whether I look better as a boy or a girl.  That's a weird question but I'm not exactly conventional to begin with...

Speaking of romance, I read a good article this week about romance novels.  Romance novels are the biggest genre in book-publishing; they generate $1.4 billion in annual sales.  That's double what the second most-popular category is ("inspirational") and triple the size of "literature."  A lot of women like romance!

Do you read romance novels?  What are you doing for Valentine's Day?


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Opposites


It's surprising how dissimilar a day can be.  I woke up early this morning to drudge into Brooklyn for a court appearance.  Gina was not pleased.  Weather was lousy, traffic was horrendous, and potholes were so large they almost swallowed Gina whole.  Plus, as you can see, road-gunk was ubiquitous.  Gina looks like she went to war.

The trip home was a different story.  The sun came out and air warmed up.  I had spare time so I decided to frolic and detour.  I headed for local twisty roads I know from motorcycling.  I punched "Sport Mode" (which turns on Gina's turbocharger), cranked up Lou Reed's best ("Rock and Roll Animal") and ran through the gears at high rpm.  I felt like Niki Lauda in his prime.  Hitting Gina's red-line was the sign I was doing something right.

Do you ever have days of both drudgery and fun?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Figure Skating


Every generation has its premier female figure-skater.  You can tell someone's age by who that skater is.  For example, I'm the same age as Dorothy Hamill.  People older than me watched Peggy Fleming and folks younger than me watched (in descending order) Katarina Witt, Kristi Yamaguchi, Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Tara Lipinski or Michelle Kwan.  I just read a fun article which tells us what these women have been doing since their days of glory.

The Winter Olympics are almost here and figure-skating is my favorite sport.  It marries grace with athleticism.  And the outfits!  I love the costumes the skaters wear.

Do you have a favorite skater?  Someone you cheered for?

And can you skate?  I can skate but I don't know how to stop, so I head for something stationary (like a wall) to break my momentum.  And hopefully not my leg.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friends

Over the course of the past half-century, I've learned a few important things about life.  One of them is the value of friendship.  Having good friends is an essential component of happiness.  Humans are social-animals and feeling that we're part of a community grounds us.

Friends make us happy.  They understand and support our individuality.  Their presence in our lives give us a vital feeling of connection.  A wise man once said "A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though he knows you are slightly cracked."

By now, you're probably wondering why I'm pining about friendship.  It's because I'm basking in a glow of euphoria.  A friend -- someone who reads my blog and likes me -- had a thoughtful idea and went to the extreme trouble of spending hours to make me a present.  My friend has fierce sewing-talent and being the recipient of her effort humbles me.

My friend's name is Aimee and she has a crafting blog.  She uses the humorous nom de plume "graverobbergirl".  Aimee is super-bright with a degree in archaeology.  She lives in a cold part of upstate New York and has an attitude toward society that I admire.  Aimee is wildly skilled at sewing and her creations are very stylish.  She can make clothes, costumes and cool things like backpacks.

Without telling me, Aimee designed and made a project that suits me perfectly.  You can tell she's a real friend of mine 'cause she "gets" me.  She understands me in a way most people in my life don't.  I cherish that.  Friends like Aimee are rare.

What Aimee made me is an apron!  A frilly apron in my favorite colors and pattern.  Something I can wear while puttering around my kitchen, trying to figure out what to put in the dish cooking on the stove.  Something that makes me feel... natural.

If you know me, you'll instantly sense how perfect this apron is.  And how much I appreciate it.  Thank you, Aimee!

And go visit her blog.  You can never have too many friends.  :-)


 
 
 

 
 
 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Menswear

I never think of showing you clothes I wear as a guy, but there's no reason not to.  Today, I bought a new vest and tie and am curious about your opinions on both.

The vest is made of soft wool in a quiet herringbone pattern.  Vests are rare these days.  When I starting work in the early-1980's, most suits came with three pieces.  Now, it's almost impossible to find a formal or informal vest.  Despite their scarcity, I like the impression that vests create.  I used to own many of them, but this is the first one I've put in my closet in two decades.  I found it at Macy's where it was half-price ($30 instead of $60).

The tie is an interesting story.  Recently, I bought two expensive wool suits for work.  As a reward, the store (Men's Wearhouse) sent me a $50 coupon.  I figured I'd use it on a tie, since their ties cost $55 (which is more than I like to spend on a tie).  When I got there today, I discovered they are running a sale (buy one, get one free) -- so I walked out with two $55 ties at a total price of $5.  Nice deal!

The colors in the tie are unusual,  They really appeal to me.  What do you think?


 
 
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An Experiment

A reader of my blog bought a new wig, decided it wasn't for her, and graciously sent it to me as an unexpected gift.  Thank you, Trisha.

I thought I'd play with the wig to see how it works with my face.  I've never had long hair, let alone curly hair, so I don't know what to expect.  I'm studying these pictures as closely as you are to discover if this hair-style suits me and is something I can pull off.  Normally, I wouldn't expect to be able to, but who knows... no harm in trying.

What do you think?


 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Outside My Window

What a pretty sight in the dead of Winter...


For Christmas, I received a telephoto lens and this is how close you can get to nature with 300mm.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back To The Future

For me (hopefully), my future is female life.  My present, however, is mostly male life with brief tastes of feminine pleasure. 

Often, work traps me in male-mode for days and weeks.  Finding a few hours to escape to my (female) future is hard but immensely satisfying.  That's why, today, I'm going back to the future.

I found a cute leather skirt for $7 and, best of all, it has elastic inserts.  Stretch is my friend.  Materials that expand can accommodate my odd figure.  Leather normally doesn't but, with these inserts, this skirt does.

I also picked up a bright top for the same small amount of money at the same store.  I'm combining them here with new cheap flats from Payless.  The outfit makes me happy, so wearing it is as much fun as showing it to you.

Any thoughts?


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Joy Of Grooming

Most people think of grooming as a chore.  Repetitive, endless work to shave, moisturize and pluck our bodies.  And it can be, depending on your mindset.  But it also can be something different.

I like to groom.  Perhaps that's because I associate it with female life and was forbidden from doing almost any of it when I was younger.  In the past, taking care of your body was considered effeminate.  It's why cosmetic companies have tried and repeatedly failed to get men interested in grooming products.  (Yes, there are a few rare men who do groom, but they're ridiculed as "metrosexual" or mocked as effeminate.)

In the last decade, I've given myself permission to  play with all sorts of grooming.  Shaving everywhere, moisturizing and using lotion, tweezing and plucking, etc.  And I enjoy it.  There's a zen-like state one can enter when focusing on our corporeal physicality.  And repetitive tasks, while boring to some, can open one's mind to potent pondering.  (The closest I came to that in my youth was joyous philosophizing which emerged, without effort, when mowing lawns.)

It's also fun and creative to play with new grooming products.  The selection of female beauty products seems infinite compared to the handful available to men.  My friend Emma gave me a Birchbox subscription for Christmas which I'm enjoying immensely.

Do you feel good about grooming? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Oscar Nominations


This is what cinephiles wait for -- the announcement this morning of nominations for the Academy Awards.  The award ceremony will be on March 2, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

Have you seen any of these films?  Who are you rooting for?

Best picture
"12 Years a Slave"
"American Hustle"
"Captain Phillips"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"Gravity"
"Her"
"Nebraska"
"Philomena"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Director
Alfonso CuarĂ³n, "Gravity"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Lead actor
Christian Bale, "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Lead actress
Amy Adams, "American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Trilogy


I watch a lot of films.  I'm a cinephile who, early in life, considered making movies as a career.  After shooting a few 16mm shorts in college, I abandoned that dream -- but I never lost my passion for the cinema.

I'm going to recommend a trilogy of films.  Given my immersion in cinematic art, it would be wise to pay attention.  I'm suggesting these films over scores of others that pale in comparison.

 
The movies are the life-story of two lovers who meet in their twenties, re-connect in their thirties, and struggle in their forties.  The first film ("Before Sunrise"), made in 1995, depicts youthful love with amazing accuracy.  The second film ("Before Sunset"), made nine years later (2004), portrays the choices and difficulties of middle age.  The final film ("Before Midnight"), made last year (2013), confronts the hardships of aging and romantic diminution.

All three films star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.  When the first one was made 18 years ago, the two actors were unknown.  By odd luck, they both later became famous.  Seeing them together twice again is a rare treat.

I was so impressed with the first film that I feared watching the next two.  But, instead of disappointment, I felt joy -- the films get deeper and more engaged.  The characters' relationship becomes more complex and their dialogue entertains as both philosophically profound and psychologically sound.  My mouth literally dropped open at hearing tangy words of the characters during argument.  Their points and language are truthful.  And brilliant.  And sad.  The dialogue rings with authenticity.

The third film, which made recent Top Ten lists for 2013, is the best of the trilogy -- and the hardest to bear.  You should see it after enjoying the prior two movies. 

This trilogy limns the material of love, romance, philosophy and life.  See it.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Psst...


Wanna know a secret?!  I'll tell you but you've got to keep it between us.  This is a private matter.

There's something different about Pandy.  I mean, really different.  From the time Pandy was a cub, he knew he wasn't like the other pandas.  He felt in his heart he is something else.  Pandy knew, as certain as you or I know that we're human, that he is a butterfly.  A real butterfly.

Of course, when Pandy told people he is a butterfly, they made fun of him.  The other cubs teased him mercilessly.  Momma and Poppa Panda, afraid of being stigmatized, told Pandy this whole idea is nonsense and he must drop it.  But Pandy can't.  He knows he is a butterfly even if nobody believes him.  Pandy feels trapped -- he is a beautiful butterfly caged in the body of a pudgy panda.  Pandy believes someday he will grow wings and fly among the flowers.

Nature creates diversity.  Biologically, it produces a wide range of animals.  Trying to squeeze us into arbitrary categories is a human idea, not a natural phenomenon.  Nature thrives on mutation.

Technically, Pandy is transspecies.  He identifies with a species other than the one society assigns to him.  There is nothing wrong with that; it's simply a fact of nature.  The problem comes when other pandas get together and, out of ignorance or insecurity, they ostracize Pandy merely because he is different.

The real harm is caused by intolerance.  As a cub, Pandy was taught to hide who he is.  When he was alone, he'd sneak into the bedroom, pull his butterfly wings out from their hiding place, and pretend he was flying in flowers.  Those dreams gave Pandy solace -- a sense of authentic self.  Even if it was only a fantasy, those dreams gave Pandy a feeling of truth, of belonging.  Even if nobody else saw him as a butterfly, Pandy learned to accept himself as one.  This is Pandy's true identity.

I know you readers are an informed and compassionate group.  I hope you will welcome Pandy in all his fullness and not make fun of him for being different.  Of course, he sometimes puts his wings on wrong and makes mistakes from not being raised in a cocoon, but we should cut Pandy some slack.  He's had a hard life.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Unexpected

 
I don't currently own a dog, so imagine my surprise when I looked out the window into my backyard
and saw this handsome devil!
 
I grabbed my camera.  Graciously, the visitor posed for a portrait.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ask Pandy

 
Two years ago, I found Pandy at a Summer festival in Long Beach.
He was lonely and we became friends.  I carried him home on my motorcycle
and he loves to ride.  Pandy is a great companion.
 
Since then I've learned Pandy is a natural advisor.
When I have a problem, he has an answer.  I thought I'd let Pandy
answer some of your questions, so here we go!
 

Dear Pandy,
I'm going to a party where there will be lots of smart people.  I'm not completely dumb but I'm not as bright as these super-geeks.  I mean, like, the only news I get is what I see on Twitter and I'm feeling a little intimidated.  Is there something I can say to impress these smarty-pants? Signed, Awed.
 
Dear Awed:
First off, don't worry.  Intelligence is not the measure of a man.  (Or a woman.)  While it's nice to be educated and informed, there are many unpleasant smart people.  Just as there are sweet dumb people.  So be nice and that will carry you most of the way.  If you need a comment to carry you over the goal-line, just mention that "Bitcoin is a disruptive technology that will re-shape American commerce."  Nobody will know what you're saying but everyone will think you're smart.
 
Dear Pandy,
I love my boyfriend but there's a problem.  He's started staying over my apartment and we now share a bathroom.  I worry about him hearing me through the bathroom door so I'm quiet when I get down to business.  He, however, has no inhibitions.  Sometimes, I need to put on loud music to drown out his icky noises.  Plus, we once took a shower together and I was shocked to see where he puts the soap.  What can I do?  Signed, Grossed Out
 
Dear Grossed Out:
Some boys aren't taught how to behave in front of others so it may not be his fault.  But that doesn't excuse his habits or mean they should go uncorrected.  Try to gently suggest ways he can improve.  If he does, great; if not, realize he'll be this way forever.  Most of all, buy two bars of soap, one for him and one for you.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A New Idea

I'm always looking for new ideas.  Concepts to develop into fun projects.  I find the challenge of creating something new to be fulfilling.  That hard part is coming up with a good idea.

I just had one.  It occurred to me while watching a video this morning posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Thera.

This idea is this -- to create outfits inspired by different animals.  The outfits will be fairly-normal (in that you could wear them in public) but they will possess a distinctive animalism.  The outfits won't be costumes, but my makeup may be more extreme than one might wear to work.

An underlying genesis of this idea is my grave dissatisfaction with being limited to photographing myself indoors.  I want to go outside!  I want to pose in front of trees!  I want my skirt to flow on a swing!

My nosy neighbors make posing in my backyard troublesome, so I've asked a friend who has a beautiful backyard garden if she'd let me pose there.  She said yes, so that started me thinking about what I could wear in a garden.  Which morphed into what I could be in a garden.

My first idea is a butterfly.  Their multiple colors, their flitting beauty.  You may be surprised to learn I already own butterfly wings, which I've worn on the blog before.  Time to pull them out of the closet and strap them to a quasi-butterfly outfit.

A second idea is a cat.  Who doesn't like cats?  I can just picture myself painting whiskers on my face.

What do you think?  Would this work as a project?  Have you ever done anything similar?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Icy Blue

I found a new top and skirt at a thrift-store for pennies.  Literally pennies.  The pieces appeal to me because of their color.  A pleasing blue with complimentary hues.

I hope you're staying warm; it's cold around the country.


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Legs

I believe a woman's legs are the pinnacle of female beauty.  Their shapely contours, their smooth surface... they are a delight to behold.  Nature made women pretty and everyone can appreciate that.

Fortunately, our legs are the last thing to go.  With a paucity of attractive assets, my legs are my best feature.  That's why I display them so often.  Go with your strength, I believe.

I just bought a pair of shoes specifically to NOT be looked at.  I bought nude pumps hoping they'd disappear when people look at me.  I want them to function as extensions of my legs without calling attention to themselves.

The pumps are an inexpensive purchase from Payless.  Occasionally that store has size-12 shoes, so I pop in every so often with the hope of finding something.

I wore these shoes today with an outfit that isn't shown in the pictures.  To avoid posting too many photos, I'll show you the clothes tomorrow.  In the meantime, here are my legs.

Do you like your legs?  How do you present them?  In heels?  With colored or patterned tights?


 
 
 

 
 
 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

First Outfit Of The Year


Happy New Year!

Considering my first outfit-post of 2014, I decided to make it special.  I broke out a stylish new piece from Rachel Roy that I picked up in a thrift-store for $8.  Eight dollars!  It's brand-new and fits me like a...  well, you'll learn.

This "dress" is actually a romper.  Yes!  I've been searched for rompers since they popped up on blogs last year.  I like their femininity and ease.  The shorts underneath the skirt obviate anxiety about hem-length -- and you know I prefer short.  Of course, going to the Ladies Room is a complicated dance but that's the price you pay for fashion.

I like how the romper drapes.  I like its color.  I like its epaulets.

What do you think?