Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Taking Stock

Last November, I had an idea for a post -- to make a list of major experiences I've had in life. I wrote the post for myself, to remind me of the many important events that have occurred to me. Such a reminder is valuable because it generates insight and contentment. The effect is similar to what happens when you feel gratitude for life's good bits.

I'm pleased to see one of my readers, a lovely woman named Carrie, was inspired by the post. She did the same thing on her blog (here). Her post is interesting reading. In it, we learn that Carrie is a teacher, a twin and  a black belt in the Japanese martial art of aikido. You might not have guessed that just from looking at her cute outfits.

Why don't you try doing a post like this? I enjoyed it, and so did Carrie. You will, too.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Michi Magic

I spent a wonderful day with Michi recently. She offered to take my picture at her studio in Brooklyn. Michi does professional photography and she suggested we get together for a fashion photoshoot.

We had a marvelous time. We discussed human behavior and psychology. We commented on social trends. We chatted ceaselessly for five hours. Michi is very bright and insightful; listening to her is an education.

Michi taught me a lot during our time together. She instructed me on how to pose like a model, how to position my body like a woman, and how to use props. Her skill with a camera is top-notch -- she went to art school and studied photography for years. Michi knows how to light a scene and capture images. Back in the days of film, she worked in a darkroom developing and printing her pictures. Now she polishes her digital work with computer programs.

Proof of Michi's talent is demonstrated below. In my opinion, these pictures make me look better than ever. Michi did my makeup and what she did with it exceeds anything I'm capable of. I'm deeply appreciative of this generous gift by a dear friend.

Here's an idea for you -- hire Michi to take your picture! She's very creative and takes high-quality photographs. You'll never look better. Michi can be reached at her studio here.

What do you think of my pictures?




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stuff In My Life

There's no unifying theme to this post, just a roundup of stuff that's in my head. It's a pretty scary place to visit, so put on a raincoat. :) Candidly, I consider my blog to be autobiographic so there's a purpose to these musings. For me, at least.

The pictures Michi took of me last week are SOOOO good! I'm so eager to show them to you. They are, without doubt, the best photos ever taken of me. I feel like I can die now; I achieved a major dream. The photos are in editing and we can't disturb the artist while she's working. I'll share them in a few days when they're ready.

I just planted four varieties of hot peppers in my first garden. I'm surprised at how excited I am for these little babies. Every day I water and talk to them, even though they haven't sprouted yet. Grow, babies, grow!

Have you ever gardened? Why is it so engaging? Perhaps it's because I'm a born nurturer. That's my natural instinct. To help, to support, to praise growth.

I'm heading into NYC today to see a Broadway play. If you ever visit New York, our theater is a prime attraction. We have the best of the best and their talent will stun you.

Did you see the Bruce Jenner interview? It drew a huge audience, which means the subject is gaining visibility. After decades of obscurity, the existence of transgender people like me is finally being acknowledged and, in some circles, respected. That's positive. On the other hand, raising the topic is provoking bad stuff, too -- mockery, ridicule and stupidity. Those reactions are usually borne of ignorance. A recent study shows that while 87% of Americans say they know someone who's gay, only 6% say they know a transgender person.

My experience is that prejudice can be combatted by personal interaction -- when people realize an unknown group is human like them, fears generated by ignorance melt away. There's a sudden awareness that we're more like you than different and that our difference isn't reason to hate us. So public visibility is a good way to educate those who've never confronted us before.

That said, it will be a while before many get the memo. Prompted by the interview, some "friends" of mine on Facebook have posted insulting transphobic remarks. Not everyone on that site knows I'm transgender so they felt free to spout bullshit without expecting any blowback. I plan to talk to these people privately, tell them about myself and ask if they hate me. Based on their response, I will adjust my future connection to them.

In more positive news, I bought a baton and am learning how to twirl! It's great fun. I'll incorporate the baton into future pictures as a playful prop.

How are you doing??

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Combining Pleasures

What do you get when you take a nice Spring day, time off from work, a long motorcycle ride and add a blogger meetup and shopping? Fun!

Today, I rode my comfy big bike east to Sayville where I met Emily. I've known Emily for a year or two but have never met her in person. Today was the day for that. Emily announced on Facebook this morning that she has a booth at a street fair where she would be selling attractive handmade fabric crafts she creates herself. That provided incentive for me to ride east.

Ironically, even though Emily grew up on Long Island, I met her through Ashley who lives in Minnesota. Emily and Ashley were once pen-pals and they continue their friendship to the present.

Emily now lives in an apartment in Manhattan, where she works and hobnobs with celebrities, but she comes home on the weekends to see her boyfriend and family. And sell her crafts. I bought the cute animal-print clutch shown above. Inside, it's bright pink which sealed the deal.

I was pleased to discover that Emily is as sweet in person as she is online. Both she and Ashley have great senses of humor, so chatting with them is always entertaining. Seeing Emily was the highlight of my day.

Emily's well-made bags and purses are available on Etsy. Go take a look!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Grooming On The Run

Last week, I was driving Gina and pulled up to a red-light. I glanced over and, next to me, was a woman driving her car. She was about 25 years old. The woman's sun-visor was down and she was staring intently into its mirror. I watched as she applied mascara. Then I saw her use one of those medieval-looking metal devices to curl her eyelashes. Then she started the process on her other eye. She was totally engrossed in her personal grooming.

The traffic-light changed to green. I pulled away and noticed her car didn't move. Obviously it was going to take her a while to shift from grooming-mode to driving-mode. She had to put the mascara-brush back in its bottle, tighten it up, move her grooming equipment, and start driving her car.

What do you think of this? Do you ever groom while driving?

(I was tempted to take the woman's picture but didn't 'cause I didn't want to embarrass her. The photo above is snagged off the Internet, which shows how common this activity must be for the 'net to have lots of pictures of it.)

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Bodysuits, which have always appealed to me, are making a fashion comeback. They were very popular in the Sixties and Seventies, made a splash in high fashion during the Eighties, and were worn by tweens in the Nineties. Now, a few designers like Alix are bringing them back.

Bodysuits are usually described as leotards with snap-crotches but the new ones don't all look like leotards upstairs; some have long, fluffy sleeves and some aren't form-fitting.

Bodysuits are versatile and look great with jeans or a skirt. They can appear in both casual and formalwear.

Would you wear one?




Monday, April 20, 2015

Female Life: Does Our Audience Matter?

Occasionally a woman will relate an experience on her blog which stuns me. Its truth is plain and its existence startles me. As much as I study women, I haven't had many of their life-experiences so I'm not fully aware how it feels like to be female in modern society.

One blog just reported an experience I'd like to relate with the question: Do you do this?

Amber is a pleasant young woman who recently switched jobs. She used to work in an all-female environment. Now, she's the only woman among male co-workers. She blogs that her wardrobe and makeup have changed solely due to her audience at work. Here are her words:

"With my new job I am the only woman in the office. I have found that more thought and planning now goes into my outfits as a result. Even my makeup has changed - where I would normally feel free to experiment with a bright lip color or even false eye lashes, I now wear more neutral and natural tones."

How does our audience affect our presentation as women? Men often believe that women "dress up" for them, yet many women dispute that and say the opposite -- that because men don't appreciate fashion and beauty, women dress up only for other women (such as on Girls' Nights Out). Dressing for the workplace adds additional concerns 'cause ambitious women want to be taken seriously.

My first question is: When you're deciding how to dress and present yourself, does it matter whether your audience will be male or female? My follow-up question is: If it matters, how does that affect your choices?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Follies

I'm heading out to Brooklyn to do something I've never done before -- have someone else take my picture! All the photos on my blog are taken by me with a remote shutter-release. As many of you know, simultaneously being a model, photographer, lighting assistant and wardrobe stylist is hard!

Today, my friend Michi is performing the duties of photographer. Michi is talented with a camera and she also draws beautiful illustrations, such as the one below which she gave me as a gift. Michi recently offered to take my picture in her photography studio and I leap at the chance. We'll use props and I'm bringing two new outfits. It'll be fun!

Have you ever had someone talented take your picture?

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Damn, I forgot how fast my motorcycle goes! My sportbike (Yamaha FZ-1), that is; my other motorcycle (BMW K1200LT) is a luxury cruiser which sails like a yacht.

The last time I rode the Yamaha hard was in January, but it was cold and miserable back then. February and March were full of snow in New York and the beginning of this month had poor road-conditions (e.g., potholes; sand), in addition to my work which was intense the past two weeks. (I argued a critical appeal in the biggest case of my career [$6 Million].)

Cracking open the throttle on the FZ-1 is like igniting a bomb. In a split-second, pistons explode with power propelling the bike's light weight forward faster than humans are meant to travel. Your eyes are pushed into the back of your head, your fingers strain to hang on to the handlebars, and your body compresses from physical force never before experienced. Primal survival instinct gets aroused and your mind wonders if you're dying. When you realize you aren't, a crazed smile breaks over your face and you laugh maniacally. It's natural to wonder how such a thrill can be legal. People aren't meant to be this happy.

Some people will tell you that slow is good -- but I'm here
to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this
in spite of the trouble it's caused me.
Being shot out of a cannon will always be better
than being squeezed out of a tube.
That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba...
Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jones Beach

The most famous place on Long Island (where I live) is Jones Beach. It's a State Park with a huge beach; it draws thousands during the Summer. It also has a terrific boardwalk that's three miles long.

I prefer Jones Beach when it isn't crowded, which is Spring, Fall and Winter. Only a few diehards visit then. I went last weekend and walked the boardwalk, with my camera of course. I saw quite a few unexpected visual sights. Here are some of them. Which is your favorite?








Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Whimsy

To reward myself for working hard, I wandered into my favorite retail store. It's actually a discount place but with good clothes, some designer-brand. I found two delightful dresses which are great for Spring.

Here's the first one. I like its shape and bright colors. Plus, it's perfect to introduce my new pink earrings which were a gift from my friend Meghan. They look like sneakers! How cool is that?!

Are you ready for Spring? Is your wardrobe?




Thursday, April 9, 2015

In A Pickle

Pickles are like Rodney Dangerfield -- they don't get no respect. Which is unfair because pickles are tasty and good for you.

A pickle is a fresh vegetable (cucumber) in its raw state, marinated with flavor. While commercial pickles are weakly-flavored, artisanal pickles are delightfully intense. I recently searched for and found my own source for great pickles.

I visit a lot of local festivals and observed long lines at a vendor-booth selling pickles. Despite shabby handmade signs, the booth always has a long line. Unwilling to stand and wait, I searched the interweb to see if I can buy their pickles when a crowd isn't around. I found a rudimentary website which gave me an address for their "store." After driving in circles, I discovered their store is actually a tiny counter they rent in a big supermarket. Located in a really bad neighborhood.

But their pickles are fabulous! They come in a dozen flavors. The pickle itself is juicy and fresh. The flavors are tasty and strong. My favorites are "Hot & Spicy" -- which are truly hot and spicy -- and Cajun which has a delightful flavor from Cajun spices. I buy a large container of each for only $6 which lasts me a week or so. I've been returning to replenish my supply regularly, now that I know where to go. It almost feels like you need to utter a secret password to get access into the hidden Den of Pickles.

The company is a small family business started by the father of the current operators who are a brother and sister in their thirties. They're very pleasant and also throw in a few extra pickles for free. I'm on my way to becoming a regular customer so they like me.

Do you eat pickles? Have you ever tried a good one?


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

M&M (Part 2)

Here are more pics from my weekend with Meghan and Megan Mae...








Monday, April 6, 2015

Savoring The Moment

I've learned that it's great fun to meet fellow-bloggers. We share many interests and find chatting easy and enjoyable. That is a cogent reason to visit online-friends in person.

A second reason I do this is my age. When you get to my stage of life, you realize nothing should be taken for granted. We see friends and family members get ill and die; we discover there's a finite time left for us. Life is a precious gift that should be savored. Don't postpone having fun until tomorrow; you might not be around then.

Famous comedian George Burns commented on this point. At his 90th birthday party, George said he doesn't put anything off. His exact words were "At my age, I don't buy green bananas..."

Do you know who George Burns was?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Another Blogger Meetup

I've been following Christine, who blogs at Madame Ostrich, for two years. I admire her vibrant style. Christine writes and photographs well. Her blog is an entertaining read.

Because Christine lives and works in New York City, I've long harbored a wish to meet her in person. We finally got together tonight. We went to see "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and had dinner afterward at Virgil's BBQ.

Christine is as charming in person as she appears on her blog. She told me about her childhood in California and how she moved to New York to pursue her dreams. Her goal is to become a fashion journalist and she's currently working for a major cosmetic company. Christine is so smart and literate that I assumed she was older than her actual age (25). She has, by the way, beautiful red hair. We talked about hair and wigs for quite a while.

Have you ever heard of "Hedwig..."? It started out in obscurity sixteen years ago, was later turned into a movie (2001), and last year was revived as a big Broadway show -- and won the Tony award for Best Musical. The show was created by John Cameron Mitchell who originally starred as Hedwig in the first stage-production and the movie. When the show hit Broadway, Neil Patrick Harris played the lead and won a Tony for her performance. I saw the show last Fall with Andrew Rannells as Hedwig. I went back because, for a limited time, John Cameron Mitchell returned to the lead and I was dying to see him in person. For me, he is Hedwig. He didn't disappoint.

John Cameron Mitchell initially turned down the role on Broadway because he believed he was too old (52) for it, but his age actually works for him. He brings emotional weight to it now that wasn't there two decades ago. The performance has touching depth.

"Hedwig..." is a poignant, funny and buoyant musical with a rock-score. It's about a boy who grows up in East Germany during the Cold War, wants to become a girl and has a botched sex-change operation (leaving her with "an angry inch"). She ends up in a trailer-park in Kansas, pining for a boyfriend who stole her songs and became a rock-star. Along the way, Hedwig utters seriously-witty sarcasm and sings beautifully. Among the lines is: "How did some slip of a girly boy from communist East Berlin become the internationally-ignored song-stylist barely standing before you?"

As you can see, the "Hedwig..." plot is unconventional and many people were surprised that it resonated with a mainstream audience. For years, the show was a cult-hit kept alive by fans like me. Now, couples from the suburbs come into the city to see it. The world is changing...

Seeing the show was a great occasion to hang out with Christine. We enjoy each other's company and I hope we're on the path to friendship.