Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes
For 2014!
May You Roar
To Your Heart's Delight
Enjoy The New Year's Possibilities

Saturday, December 28, 2013


New York evolves.  What existed yesterday is gone.  Years ago, Manhattan had some fancy parts and some seedy parts.  Now, there are no more bad areas -- all of Manhattan has been colonized by the rich.  Even formerly-sleazy neighborhoods (e.g., Hell's Kitchen) are now populated by the wealthy who can afford super-high prices.  You literally have to be a millionaire to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

This change affected other parts of the city.  Brooklyn, which has long been New York's neglected stepchild, is now attractive to those who aren't wealthy.  Despite its prior reputation for crime and grit, Brooklyn is drawing middle-class families and bohemians who simply can't afford a million-dollar residence in Manhattan.

Some parts of Brooklyn are tony (e.g., Park Slope [a favorite of the upper-middle-class]) while some are still grimy.  One interesting area is Williamsburg -- an odd mixture of hipsters and Hasidic Jews.  I went there today.

You can quickly sense that Williamsburg is a happening place where change has come fast.  A mere decade ago, there was only one respected restaurant here; now there are dozens.  Chic boutiques, bars and nightclubs sprung up as hipsters migrated here.  But the neighborhood still has some grit, as you realize after it gets dark.

What drew me to Williamsburg today was the opening of a record store.  A record store!  In my youth, every town had one; now, they're virtually extinct.  A big company in England (with two locations in London) just opened a cavernous space in Brooklyn that's a tribute to music.  In addition to selling records, they have a performing stage for new bands, books about music, Ping-Pong tables and a cafĂ©.  The place is called Rough Trade.  (Great name, guys.)

The opening of a record store is such big news that it was mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine.  Everyone today buys/steals music digitally; what has been lost is the personal touch.  Stores where you can browse, discover stuff you never heard of before, and gawk at fellow music-enthusiasts.  That's why I was excited to visit Rough Trade.

Here are some pictures.  Have you ever visited Brooklyn?  Do you want to?





Thursday, December 26, 2013


Names fascinate me.  They are tied to time and place, even though we rarely register that.  Proving my point, how many people do you know named Gertrude?  Or Ethel?  Those were popular names in my mother's generation.

I just saw the most popular baby names in 2013.  Many surprise me.  Do they surprise you or have they become familiar to your generation?

Top 12 Girl Names:

1. Imogen
2. Charlotte
3. Harper
4. Isla
5. Amelia
6. Evelyn
7. Penelope
8. Eleanor
9. Cora
10. Violet
11. Katniss
12. Olivia

Top 12 Boy Names:

1. Asher
2. Declan
3. Finn
4. Atticus
5. Oliver
6. Henry
7. Emmett
8. James
9. Jude
10. Owen
11. Milo
12. Jasper

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!
Wishing You Lots of Love and Hugs


Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Do you make resolutions?  What are yours this year?

I've made two.  The first is to work less.  I need to restore balance to my life.  This year, I worked way too hard and the stress took a toll on me.  Even my blogging suffered from a work-schedule that was relentless.  I need more leisure in my life.

Second, I want to up my beauty game.  With makeup and feminine grooming, I went from completely-ignorant to barely-presentable in the past three years.  Then I plateaued there.  I got comfortable at that basic level and stopped trying to improve.  Now, I'm inspired to get better.  I'm aiming for almost-as-good-as-the-average-gal.  With study and effort, I may reach that goal.

By coincidence and pleasant surprise, for Christmas my blogger pal Emma just got me a subscription to Birchbox.  The first package just arrived and already I'm loving it.  They send you several samples of beauty products you can play with without splurging on entire bottles.

I like everything in my first box.  Sugarbomb lip gloss (Benefit Cosmetics) fills a void in my makeup kit and feels nice on my lips.  Hello perfume (Harvey Prince) is delightfully citrus-y and perfect for my wrists.  Beauty Protector hair spritz adds silky luster.  And glittery nail polish (Ruby Wing's Ride 'em Cowgirl) changes color in the light.  I've tried all four and will incorporate them into my female life.  Yumm!

Do you try beauty samples? 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013


The New York Times just reported the results of a study on housework.  The study had two major findings, both of which are fascinating.  I want to throw those ideas out to you for discussion.

The study examined changes in housework over the past fifty years.  It looked back at what your families were doing when your parents were young and compared that to what your generation is doing now.

First, researchers examined the extent of men's performance of housework in homes shared by a heterosexual couple.  What they learned is that young men today are doing no more housework than their fathers did.  This surprised researchers who were looking for and expecting an increase for men.  The common belief that men are becoming less sexist wasn't proven in this regard -- men remain largely unwilling to pitch in with housework.

Does this accord with your experience?

The second finding is equally interesting.  The hours per week women do housework has decreased by roughly one-half.  This isn't because men are doing more; it's because less work is being done.  What used to be considered essential housework is now left undone or thought of as optional.

I find this to be true.  When my mother cleaned our home, she would spend hours vacuuming drapes, ironing sheets and polishing "the silver".  Today, we rarely see anyone do these chores.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Individuality is freedom lived."

                                                                         (John Dos Passos; American novelist)

We are all unique.  We are individuals with particular strengths, weaknesses and quirks.  I believe we should celebrate our unique qualities, not hide them.  They make us special.

Society pressures us to conform.  Group norms, by their design, squelch individual expression.  When social pressure inhibits us, we lose the chance to be our true selves.  That's a shame.

In my life, I try to express my true nature -- even when it deviates from common practice.  I face the fear of criticism by valuing my happiness above the opinions of strangers.

I encourage you to consider doing the same.  Whatever your passions, embrace them.  And dodge any cold water others try to throw on your dreams.  We only live once, so we should do it our way.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013



Gifts For Yourself

When shopping for Christmas gifts for others, I always see things I like.  I used to wish someone would get me those things, but they seldom did.  And I'd wind up feeling disappointed.

I cure that problem by now buying gifts for myself.  I appreciate my thoughtfulness and good taste.  :-)

This year, I bought myself three things.  First, to improve my blogging, I bought a professional photography backdrop.  It's a large cotton sheet that hangs from steel poles.  It will eliminate the problem I have when I shoot in front of a wall -- the intersection of the wall and floor bisects my legs at the ankles and makes my outfits look bad.  This will get rid of that problem because the sheet goes all the way down to the ground and you stand on it, so there's no intersection.

Second, I bought David Bowie's new album.  It was the first thing he's released in a decade.  I like Bowie's music (and cheered his culturally-important gender-bending in the Seventies).  Plus, the album got good reviews.

Third, I bought a big box of Goo Goo Clusters.  Goo Goos are my favorite candy and I've blogged about them before.  You should try them if you haven't already.  They're scrumptious.

Do you buy gifts for yourself?  What'd you get this year??

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dangling Heels

I watch women dangle their heels, apparently absent-mindedly.  I often wondered why they do it.  For fun?  To flirt?  Most men find it irresistibly alluring, so the latter explanation would make sense.

Then I started wearing stockings and heels.  And I discovered dangling shoes is fun.  It's a pleasant physical activity.  At times, it relieves the discomfort that often comes when wearing high heels.

Do you dangle?  Why?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Have One Word For You...

One of the biggest and best movies of the Sixties is "The Graduate."  In it, Dustin Hoffman plays Benjamin, a young man leaving college.  Benjamin is bewildered about what to do next with his life.  During a conversation with an older businessman, Benjamin is given a cryptic message.  The man, trying to steer Benjamin into emerging technology, says, "I have one word for you, Benjamin -- plastics."

Plastics.  Benjamin makes no sense of the word.  But there was a truth to it.

Each period has its transformative technology.  In the Seventies, plastics revolutionized consumer products.  What we bought was no longer made of wood and natural materials; products were made from molded plastics.  I remember televisions made out of wood and metal; now, there are none.

I always have my ear to the ground.  Listening carefully, I pick up on new technologies and social events before many other people.  Let me tell you about what's going to happen next in our world.

In the Eighties, the one word was "computers".  Before then, nobody even imagined owning a computer, let alone relying on one.  You lived in an analog world and did everything on paper or in person.

In the Nineties, the "Internet" emerged and exploded.  That technology transformed our lives.

In the Aughts (2000-2010), the word was "Facebook" (meaning social media in general).

In the Teens (2010-2019), the word is...

Are you listening?  Like Benjamin, what you're about to hear will confuse you.  Most of you will have never heard this word.  But it has existed for four years and its explosion in 2013 was the biggest financial story of the year. 

The word is "Bitcoin".

Bitcoin is a form of currency, like dollars, only it is not issued by any government.  It was created digitally and is used most often in online transactions.  Its nature is fascinating but technical so I won't bore you with the details; if you want to learn them, you can easily find explanations.

In a few years (3-5), you will be using Bitcoin to store value and buy things.  In a decade, you'll look back and wish you'd listened to Ally when she mentioned this on her blog.  Although Bitcoin is not designed as an investment, it can function as one.  The value of Bitcoin holdings fluctuates -- and its meteoric rise in 2013 was the biggest financial story of the year.

The value of Bitcoin rose from $15 in January to over $1,200 in December.  It's moving wildly at this time but to get a sense of this growth, realize that if you'd owned a mere $1,000 of bitcoins at the beginning of the year, you'd be a millionaire right now.  Wow.

Bitcoin can (and I predict will) shake up society.  It has many attractive features that are tailor-made to our developing digital economy.  The U.S. Senate held hearings on Bitcoin this month and, apart from widespread confusion among senators, not a bad word was said about the technology.  That lack of criticism (and possible regulatory control) has hugely emboldened many to invest in Bitcoin.  A prominent venture capital firm just put $25 Million into Coinbase, a San Francisco company which will make buying and selling Bitcoins easy.

Years from now, I'll remind you of this post...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Other Passion

Every year there is a motorcycle show in NYC.  Every year I go.  I went today and had fun.

Part of the joy is running into friends, which always happens.  The other part is seeing new bikes.  This year, the star of the show are the new Indian motorcycles.  Indian was a marque that began in 1901 and sadly ended in 1953.  It was the primary competition in America to Harley-Davidson.  Indians, in my opinion, had lots more style, with distinctive valanced fenders and a lit-up Indian-head sculpture on the front wheel.

A large company named Polaris bought the right to the Indian name and built a new machine which looks like the old motorcycles but with modern technology.  They built a new engine which is getting rave reviews.  The bikes themselves are very handsome.  Today was my first time seeing one in the flesh and they're impressive.

Have you ever been on a motorcycle?








Friday, December 13, 2013

Suspend Your Doubt

There are so few areas of fun fashion for men that, when I was young, I grabbed all of them.  For example, believe it or not, as a teenager I walked around with a pocket watch on a chain.  I thought it was coolly retro.  I'd whip my watch out, flip open the lid and check the time.  I needed to know the time most often when a pretty girl was around.

The Seventies were a great time for fashion because wild clothes were everywhere.  Every town had a record store and a hippie boutique.  You could blow your mind and dress any way you wanted.  I pushed the envelope for male attire and simply didn't care when people thought my gender-bending was improper.  A newspaper recently described the Seventies as "The Decade Men Stopped Being Men".

There were two pieces of clothing I wore that, in hindsight, seem silly.  Even absurd.  But I liked them then and I like them now.  Only now they're nearly impossible to find. 

Can you imagine what I'm talking about?  Can you guess what obscure old-fashioned clothing I adorned to the opprobrium of many and delight of a few?  Here they are...

1. Suspenders.  Yes, suspenders!  The over-the-shoulder straps that keep your pants from falling down.  In the Seventies, suspenders became briefly popular.  They came in bright colors, stripes and many designs.  Mine were always vivid and fun like these...

2. Vests.  Back then, vests also became briefly fashionable for men.  And not just plain vests but ones with color and funky designs.  Mine were always wild, unlike this tame example...

It amuses me greatly to see stylish young women today sport vests, like this gal...

Would you ever wear vests or suspenders?  Or a pocket watch?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

We Have Begun Our Descent...

Whew... my trial is finally over.  I'm exhausted.

And I wonder what happened with you guys in the meantime.  Did Beth have her baby?  Did Sheila pull out her sparkly purple skirt?  Did Daphne wear her shaggy coat and leather pants?  What's the news in your world??

By the way, I saw a funny news story this morning.  Did you know you can commit a crime with lipstick?  A woman driving an expensive Mercedes was upset that someone parked too close to her car.  So she reached in her purse, pulled out her lipstick (cherry red) and wrote on the car's window "Learn How To Park!"  Police charged her with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree.  I wonder if there's a special prison for beauty crimes.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Young Love

I've fallen in love twice in my life.  The first time, I was young (21).  The second time, I was older (42).  The experiences were very different.

Young love has wonderful aspects to it.  I was reminded of them tonight when I saw a 1995 film, "Before Sunrise".  The film covers the day two young people meet on a train, fall in love and spend an evening together walking around Vienna.  It stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.  There was a sequel nine years later ("Before Sunset") and another this year ("Before Midnight"). 

When you fall in love for the first time, it's euphoric.  You feel deeper emotions than you thought possible.  At times, you feel like your very life is at stake.  Everything is new and exciting.

My first love was an artist named Maura.  She was super-intelligent and unbelievably cute.  Her bright red hair and round cherubic face were irresistible.  Also, Maura was extremely unconventional and that appealed to me.  I was looking for someone to help me escape the Procrustean conformity of my upbringing.  I needed to grow and Maura's bohemian nature expanded my knowledge in many areas.  Maura taught me about art; she taught me how to cook; she taught me about feminism.

Maura had deep-seated needs and I filled them.  We fit each other like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.  Together, we grew up in important ways.  And shared experiences that I'll remember my whole life.

When you're young and in love, you do crazy things.  At least I did.  Maura and I spent the first seven years living apart as each of us stayed in different cities for our education.  We spent a lot of time on Amtrak.  Every time I put her on a train, as it took off, I'd run alongside it and wave.  And wave.  And keep running and waving until the train pulled out of the station.  I didn't care that bystanders thought I was nuts; I was in love.  I couldn't bear separating from her and tried to savor every second of being together.

Now, three decades later, I recall those events and feelings.  With fondness.  We should engage life in all its glory and pain.  I know I did.

Did you fall in love in your youth?  What was it like?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ahead Of My Time

I just learned from Patti's blog that Pantone has chosen the top color for next year.  They call it "Radiant Orhid".  Whatever you call it, compare this color to the background of my blog and the hue you see most often in my clothes...

Yes!  It's mine!  My favorite color has finally hit the spotlight.  Next year, everyone will look like me.  Well... not exactly, but you get the point.

Would you wear this color?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Work/Life Balance

My blog has been completely silent this week.  There's a reason for that. 

I'm conducting a trial in federal court of a $12 million dollar environmental case.  While the litigation has been going on for over a decade, I was brought in at the last moment because the lead attorney had a stroke and they asked me to take his place.  The case involves twenty years of facts, hundreds of documentary exhibits, and multiple expert witnesses.  Mastering the complexity of all that takes a tremendous amount of effort.

The federal courthouse is situated in Brooklyn which means I need to get up ridiculously early to arrive in time; rush-hour in New York is brutal.  Later, after a full day of exhausting battle, I have to go to my office for an hour or two of more work before I finally return home.  I have no time or energy to blog.

Fortunately, the trial will only last two weeks.  After it's over, I hope to restore my life to normal.  I miss blogging and reading your blogs.  That leisure-activity sustains me emotionally.  Being deprived of it is almost painful.

Do you ever work too hard?  How do you manage?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Me On A Mug!

I was hugely honored last April when Anne drew an illustration of me.  She perfectly captured the spirit and joy I find in feminine attire.  I had Anne's artwork framed and it's on my wall at home.

Browsing through Facebook, I discovered Anne put her illustration of me and several other bloggers on a coffee mug.  How cool!  I instantly snapped one up.  You can get one for yourself here.

Immortalized in art!  I'm beaming.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Alchemy and Irony

Alchemy is magical transformation, like turning lead into gold.  Irony is when what exists is the opposite of what we expect.  Today is both alchemic and ironic for me.

The alchemy occurred while creating a new outfit.  A few weeks ago, I bought a pretty orange top -- with ruffles! -- at a thrift-store.  I wasn't sure what I'd wear it with but I figured something suitable would emerge.  Then yesterday, while walking on Main Street, I saw a cute peplum floral skirt on an outdoor rack.  I used to be too embarrassed to shop for women's clothes on the street -- you can't get more public than that -- but I've gotten over such shyness.  Now, I'm proud of who I am and if a bystander has a problem with me engaging in lawful behavior, that's their problem, not mine.  Their negative opinion means nothing to me.

Anyway, alchemy!  The two pieces mesh like they were made for each other.  In fact, they could be mistaken for a dress.  I like their combination.

To emphasize the vibrant orange color of the ensemble, I surrounded it with white tights, white shoes and white jewelry.  The white directs attention to the delicious orange.

Irony?  Where is the irony, you ask?  It's here... 

Dressing up is perhaps the greatest joy in my life.  It makes me profoundly happy.  Sharing it with you guys is integral to that joy.  The irony is that the free time I have to engage in this activity (weekends) is when you guys are off doing other things.  Most bloggers post and comment during the week and disappear on weekends.  Yet that's when I'm dressing up and posting.  Oh, well... ironic.





Friday, November 29, 2013

Cara's Closet

I like Cara and have been following her blog for years.  What I like most about Cara is that she's a real woman.  By which I mean that she's authentic.  She is an individual with her own choices about behavior, presentation, fashion and life.  Cara doesn't conform to any societal role: she is herself.  I respect that.

When you read someone's blog for a long time, you get to know them.  With Cara, you can sense her intelligence, her strength, her uniqueness.  Those traits aren't as common as you might believe.

Some women have told me that their relationship to femininity isn't easy and has a long history.  Pushed into a prescribed role from birth, these women find femininity to be an ill-fitting suit.  For them, the choices are difficult -- rejecting conformity risks social criticism; adopting unnatural behavior feels inauthentic.  It's rough terrain to navigate. 

As someone with a lifetime of analogous struggles (publicly suppressing my attraction to femininity and displaying fake masculinity), I relate.  Boy, do I relate.

So I've often detected glimpses of Cara's difficulties in blogged descriptions of her life.  And been intrigued by them.  And sympathetic to them.

Today, Cara posted her reflections on this subject.  Her thoughts are profound and important.  And they came without any warning.  I opened my Bloglovin reader this morning and saw... my face!  And not on my blog!  I instantly knew something was up.

Cara uses me as an illustration of her point and I believe she's right on target.  Despite being the least-likely candidate for feminine presentation, I strive to achieve it with grace and poise.  In so acting, I celebrate the feminine in all of us.  That effort resonates with some women, including those who've had their own struggle with gender and presentation.  I'm extremely happy if I can give anyone else confidence and strength; that's a wonderful effect to have on the world.

Go read Cara's blog!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.  Are you seeing family or friends?

The news is reporting bad weather around the country which is making travel difficult.  I hope you don't face that.

Many people will shop this long weekend.  I might do a little, but nothing serious.  I'm not sure why people get up early Friday to stand in line and combat crowds.  It seems unpleasant.  And I certainly don't understand why people would ruin their holiday by shopping on Thanksgiving. 

What are your shopping plans?

Monday, November 25, 2013


Here are some pictures I took recently.  The first one shows a rainbow I saw.  The photo doesn't do it justice. 

Have you ever seen a rainbow?  Aren't they glorious?