Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Big Duck

I visited The Big Duck yesterday. It's my favorite attraction on Long Island. It's a building in the shape of a duck.

The Duck has an interesting history. It was built a century ago by a duck-farmer to promote his business. Later it was bought by the government and is now operated by the State Park Department. Inside the Duck is a gift-shop with cute offerings.

The kitsch of the Duck attracts tourists and makes everyone smile. One interesting feature is that the eyes of the Duck are made from the headlights of a Model T Ford automobile.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pistachio Nuts

I recently heard two fascinating stories. They are about ordinary things that changed over time. If you're old, you'll recognize the changes when they are pointed out. If you're young, you won't know about them because you aren't aware things were different in the past.

The first story is about pistachio nuts. The second story is about grammar. I'll tell you the first story now and leave the second one for a later post.

When I was young, pistachio nuts were red. Bright red. The experience of eating them was memorable -- your fingers and lips got stained red. You never forget that. For kids, it was fun.

It's been a long time since I've seen a red pistachio nut. I wondered what happened to them, so I did a little research. Here's what I learned.

In the middle of the last century, pistachios became popular in the West. They were imported from the Middle East which was the only place they were grown. The nuts had blemishes so growers dyed them red to conceal the unsightly marks. Humans are hard-wired to avoid food that looks bad and nut-sellers used red dye to cover up blemishes on perfectly-edible nuts.

Later, farmers in California started growing pistachio nuts. With better knowledge and machinery, they learned how to grow nuts that don't have blemishes. This eliminated the need for dye and farmers started selling un-dyed, naturally-beige nuts.

Eventually un-dyed nuts replaced red ones and now it's almost impossible to find a red nut.

If you're old, you remember red pistachios and probably wonder what happened. If you're young, you've probably never seen a red one. Ask your parents or older friends about this and you'll hear their memories of red pistachios.

Friday, May 29, 2015



Summer's here. And people have started to enjoy it.

Two of my favorite bloggers just announced they are taking the Summer off completely, with no blogging until September. Others have been away for this week or plan to vacation soon.

What are your plans for Summer? Going on any trips? Will you blog more or less?

I'm riding my motorcycle to Woodstock in June. In July, I'm attending a convention of bloggers in Vancouver. (You can read about it here.) I've never seen the west coast of Canada before, so I'm looking forward to visiting that area and meeting a bunch of bloggers in person.

Ironically, I'll be blogging more during the Summer 'cause that's when my work lightens up. I blog at the exact opposite frequency of most bloggers -- I blog more when I have free time (weekends; holidays; Summer) which is when other people disappear online. How 'bout you? Will you be blogging more or less this Summer?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meredith ("Mad Men")

Good afternoon, Mr. Draper. Here is your coffee. Black, no sugar.

Your wife called while you were out. I told her you were in a meeting. Excuse me but I think you should probably change your shirt before going home. It smells of perfume.

Yes, Sir.  I'll be at my desk if you need me.

*Back at desk*

Oh, hi Cindy! No, I'm free. How are you? That's a cute suit. Where'd you get it?

Yes, he still makes me cover for him. Only he doesn't call it that. He says I should "manage people's expectations" -- which is his way of saying I shouldn't tell people he's out drinking or flirting with other women.

The things men get away with! I wonder if that will ever change...



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mona Sterling

Oh, hi Betty! So nice to see you. How's Don? And little Sally?

What a hoot to run into you here! Yes, it's a fab boutique. When we moved out of the city, I was afraid I'd never find good clothes again. Just in case, I left Roger instructions to bury my ashes at Bergdorf.

That's a pretty dress. Where'd you get it? It's awfully snug; is it comfortable? Oh, this old thing? I picked it up last season. Roger says I can only replace my wardrobe every other year; he's not partner yet!

I'm on my way to the beauty parlor? Want to come? Yes, Gladys is a magician. The things she does for me. Men don't understand how hard we work to look good for them. It's a full-time job. Well, at least we get time off for cocktails.

Do you need a light? Yes, these matches are very cute. I got them at Henri Bendel. For all the money I spend there, the least they can do is give me free matches. Roger says Lucky Strike is going to put us on Easy Street soon. Fingers crossed!




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Looking Back In Time

Most of my wardrobe is contemporary. And most of it is bold. Short dresses with dramatic prints; top/skirt ensembles in interesting combinations. Those styles were a natural way for me to ease into feminine apparel.

But I'd like to expand beyond them. I'd like to explore clothing worn by women in real life. Last year I experimented with modern pencil skirts and formal office attire. That was fun. It made me feel more connected to real-world female experiences. Instead of play-acting, those clothes feel more authentic.

Last week I re-watched the entire seven seasons of "Mad Men." Among the show's virtues is its detailed and accurate focus on Sixties fashion. I found myself transfixed by the women's outfits.

A style I want to play with now is the skirt-suit. On "Mad Men," there were two types -- pretty, colorful ones worn by office workers and glitzier, more elegant-looking ones worn by wives. I've never worn or even thought about wearing a skirt-suit. But due to my admiring how good the female characters on the show look in them, I'm yearning to try them. I'm actively scouring thrift-stores looking for examples of these two styles.

I bought one of the latter today which I'll show it to you soon. I'm eager to find one of the former, but they're proving hard to locate. That style of skirt-suit isn't common any more and actual vintage clothes are never big enough to fit me. But I'm actively continuing the search.

Have you ever worn a skirt-suit?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fashion Math

I have a fashion math question for you. How can a $10 gown make you feel like a million bucks?



Saturday, May 16, 2015

The End of "Mad Men"

"Mad Men" is one of the best-written masterpieces of television. After seven seasons, it ends on Sunday. I'm sad to see it go. I watched the first episode when it appeared and got instantly hooked. I've seen every episode since then and am entranced by the fabulous characters. Don, Peggy, Roger, Betty, Joan.

In addition to the top-notch drama, the accuracy of earlier eras' fashion and objects is exceptional. I recognize the telephones, the lamps, the furniture. And the widespread drinking and cigarette-smoking. The show depicts those times so well.

Here's how I feel...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Summer Skirt

Among the sentences I never thought I'd get to say in this lifetime is -- I found the prettiest skirt and can't wait to show you!!

Is your wardrobe ready for Summer?




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I'm Odd But Happy

I have two deep passions -- thrifting and motorcycling. Both bring me joy.

Last month when the weather finally turned nice, I vowed to ride more. But where? My brain searched for destinations. Then it hit me -- I can travel to thrift-stores in faraway places that, because of their distance, I'd never been to before. It's a brilliant concept -- I enjoy the long rides there and get to shop in new stores.

Thrift-stores offer me treasures -- feminine clothing that not only expands my wardrobe but broadens my life-experiences. For an affordable price ($5-10), I get a ticket to female adventure. It's great fun to learn how maxi-dresses feel on your body, to grasp why bodysuits are loved and hated by many, and to explore new styles. Most of you know I have deep yearnings to attend a prom or fancy ball; wearing elegant gowns may be as close as I'll ever get.

Today was a good day. After knocking off work early, I rode my trusty steed (BMW K1200LT) to two thrift-stores in distant lands. At one, unknown to me, I was watched as I pulled in. As usual, I headed first to the fancy gown section to see what was available. I spotted an elegant, long grey gown that retails for $300-500. The price was marked $19.99 and, because it's Wednesday, everything in the store was 50% off. So I bought an expensive fancy gown for $10. That's a bargain!

As I was leaving, a well-dressed older gentlemen stopped me and complimented my motorcycle. He launched into a long conversation about how he's wanted to ride motorcycles his entire life. We chatted for over twenty minutes and he ate up my tales of motorcycling adventure. Many non-riders love the vicarious thrills we riders offer through our stories. The man and I had a nice time talking. Then I saddled up and headed off, as he admired the smooth poise of my graceful handling of a big machine. I control this 800-lb monster like a part of my body.

During our entire conversation, I was holding a woman's fancy ball-gown in my arms. Yes, there's something incongruous about wearing biker-gear (black leather jacket, heavy boots, etc.) and browsing through racks of dainty sundresses. But it's what I enjoy doing and, currently, it's legal.

Do you do things that surprise people?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Back To The Seventies!

I grew up in the 1970's. I was twelve when they started and 23 when they were over. Those are critical years. I focused on fashion, culture, music and life.

I loved what the girls were wearing then and was sad I couldn't join them. My memories of those clothes are suffused with poignancy and longing. So when I heard recently that the Seventies are coming back into fashion, I thought here's my chance! Here's my opportunity to do now what I couldn't the first time around.

I was shopping at a store called Joyce Leslie last week and spotted a white bodysuit. I wrote about bodysuits recently and was eager to try one myself. This beauty is white and lacey with, best of all, flared sleeves! Nothing says Seventies like flare.

What do you think? Would you wear flared sleeves?



Thursday, May 7, 2015

More Michi Magic

During our photoshoot, Michi took over 200 pictures. We selected nine of them for editing. I showed you five in the first post; here are the other four.

It's interesting to reflect on these images, particularly from a distance. They feel surreal in a way, decidedly detached from my normal life. And yet, undeniably, that's me in them. I'm appearing like I've always wanted to appear -- and never thought I could. It's kinda like waking up and realizing, through the haze, that what you thought was a dream is actually real.

What's your experience with dreams and real life?



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sensual Pleasure

Have you ever worn anything that gave you sensual pleasure? I mean, pleasure through your senses? I just discovered an item that is blasting me into sheer bliss.

I have little experience wearing long skirts and used to think they were dowdy. But dozens of friends claim that maxi-dresses are fun and pleasant. I doubted them but thought I'd experiment. Last week, while visiting a TJMAXX for the first time, I spotted a cute red-and-white striped maxi-dress for only $16. I snapped it up as my first foray into long skirts. I'm glad I did!

The dress is clingy but stretchy. Its super-soft fabric caresses me like a full-body hug. Wearing it, I'm constantly aware of its presence as every move reminds me. I smoothe, pull and tug it which sounds annoying but is the exact opposite -- a frequent reminder of how sensual the dress is. Honestly I've never worn anything that made me feel so feminine. I find myself smiling unconsciously as bliss bubbles to the surface of my mind.

Plus, its bright-red color matches my toes perfectly!

You may think this odd but the joy I'm getting from this dress -- which I wear non-stop every day lounging at home -- isn't how it looks but how it feels. Sure, I catch glimpses of it in the mirror but the real pleasure is how my body feels when it's on. This morning, I woke up thinking I can't wait to get a chance to wear it today just for that feeling. The feeling is like the euphoria people get from drugs. I'm addicted!

Have you ever experienced this? With what type of clothing?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Majorette Ally

In our dreams, we're young and pretty. In reality, not so much. But it's healthy to pursue our dreams anyway, at any age.

From the time I was little, I wanted to twirl a baton. But I was never allowed. Now, I'm old and there's nobody to stop me so I bought one last month. I've been playing with the baton ever since. Twirling is fun and harder than you expect. There are many different moves and they aren't easy.

I've watched every twirling video on YouTube for instruction and pleasure. It probably seems weird that a 57-year old man is learning how to twirl a baton from a 8-year old girl but, hey, that's my life.

I tried to take some pictures but honestly they came out lousy. I don't have much opportunity to shoot outdoors and the lighting was bad. Plus, my photos will never compare to the high quality Michi just exhibited so I'm almost embarrassed to show you these. Focus on the twirling and poses instead of the mediocre photography, okay?

Do you have any childhood dreams you never fulfilled?  There's still time, you know!