Tuesday, October 29, 2013


New York has always been a place where immigrants enter the country.  They come in, grab a toehold and hope for a better life.

My father was an immigrant.  In 1950, he came in a boat to New York, knowing no one and having no money.  He built a life and created a family.  He changed his name from Rolf to Ralph and worked to lose his accent.  (I was named Ralph Jr. after him.)  Fortunately, my dad is still alive and well, living in Florida.

The presence of immigrants in New York is visible by the ethnic names floating around.  Today, I was on my way to court and saw this sign.  The name on it is striking, don't you think?

Do you have any immigrant stories?  When did your family come to this country?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Halloween Costume

Meet Sydney Bristow, female secret agent from the TV show "Alias" (2001-2006).  Portrayed by Jennifer Garner, Sydney is a smart, talented and beautiful woman who infiltrates evil lairs, usually during elegant parties, secretly sneaks into a villain's private office, copies incriminating records and escapes while being pursued by henchmen.  With her talent at martial arts, Sydney kicks her way out of trouble and accomplishes her missions. 

Sydney has grace, strength, beauty and aplomb.  Who better to be on Halloween?!

If you're dressing up, don't forget to send me a pic so we can include you in our annual online Halloween Party.





Monster Zucchini

I love fresh food.  And I'm lucky enough to have a friend with a garden.  She grows tasty veggies and when she has too many, she passes along some to me.

This week, I got two amazing treats.  The first is a monster zucchini. And I mean monster!  This sucker is 45 inches long -- almost four feet!  I doubt you believe me so I took a picture (below).  The zucchini dwarfs my fruit-bowl, pumpkin and New York Times.

Along with the monster veg came habanero peppers, which are very very hot.  Some of the hottest in the world.  One of these babies will make a pot of food almost unbearable.  Accustomed to heat, I usually use 1-2 for my meals.  My friend gave me a year's supply since you can't use more than one or two at a time.  Plus, their color and shape is pleasantly attractive.

Do you eat fresh veggies?  Where do you get them?


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Birthday Season

I believe that when something is good, you milk it for all it's worth.

I love birthdays.  They're a great excuse to celebrate yourself.  Our existence is a mathematical improbability so we should jump with joy at simply being alive.  I appreciate that fact every day.

Plus, birthdays are good occasions to reflect on our lives.  Look back with sentiment, look forward with hope, and assess the present with as much clarity as we can muster.

I believe that birthday celebrations shouldn't be limited to one day, they should receive at least a week of celebration.  So, since my birthday is in one week (Nov. 3rd), I hereby officially open the festivities!

Do you like to celebrate your birthday?  Has your attitude toward it changed as you've gotten older?  (I'm older than dirt but I still enjoy the day.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Sixties

Dressing in vintage clothes teaches you many lessons.  Interesting lessons.

People who didn't live through the 1960's often associate it only with hippies and bold fashion.  But that development didn't start until the late Sixties.  The early and mid-60's were different.  They were a mix of Fifties traditionalism and newly-discovered freedom.  In women's clothes, this translates into conventional dress-styles but in brighter colors and more interesting fabrics.

Tamera recently gave me a vintage dress from the Sixties.  Like today, orange was popular.  The style of the dress is traditional and could be from an earlier time but its vibrant color is definitely 60-ish.
I'm wearing it here with matching scarf, jewelry and lipstick. 

I feel like an off-duty stewardess.  (They weren't called "flight attendants" back then and they weren't male.)  I'm in between flights and looking for a wild party, preferably one with movie stars and athletes.

To be historically accurate -- and because the dress reveals one's shape very clearly -- I am wearing what today is called "shapewear" but, back then, was called a girdle.  Despite being torturous, there is something irresistibly feminine about girdles, at least to me.  They are a sign of how hard women are willing to work to look good.  I'm willing to squeeze myself into one of these garments, just like my mother was.  I actually delight in the process.

Any thoughts?




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is right around the corner.  Next week, in fact.  So join our annual Halloween Party by sending a picture of your costume.  You can put a link in the comments or e-mail a photo to me (fhu@pipeline.com).

Don't be left out of the fun!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My New Life

I've described this blog as a combination of autobiography and art-project.  That's true.

An idea popped in my head for a visual metaphor of my changing life.  Using skills I've developed from blogging, I created this image.  I believe it graphically illustrates "My New Life."  What do you think?

P.S., For those of you who want to know, this lip-color is from the New Vivids collection by Maybelline -- "Hot Plum" (900).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shopping Magic

I had no idea shopping could be so much fun before I started buying women's clothes.  Finding something cute, at a good price, can make your whole day.  Let me share some recent shopping stories with you.

Two new stores just opened within walking distance of my house -- Urban Outfitters and Target.  I was browsing UO and noticed they were offering 50% off everything in the store.  I went to the sale section where items were already marked down and asked if these, too, were half-price.  They were!  They cost only half of the sale price.  What a bargain.

I snapped up two pieces that really appeal to me.  The first is a leather skirt -- real leather -- in lavender.  Lavender!  Wow.  Making this even better is the price -- originally $40, on sale for $20, and only $10 at half-price.  I paid $10 for a real leather skirt in a rare color.  I also picked up a cute striped dress for $13.

At Target, they were selling colored tights in a variety of bright colors.  Normally, $10 a pop, they were two for $8.  So I snapped up four of them which will be perfect for creating fun Fall outfits.

Here's the skirt and one of the tights.  Aren't they great?!  Do you have any shopping stories?  Tell us!




Friday, October 18, 2013


For most of my life, I've observed female behavior from afar.  Unable to participate, I watched with envy how girls help each other.  I thought it amazing that women share clothes with each other.  Guys never do that.

When I started blogging (2010), I noticed some bloggers give clothes to one another and write about it.  This again triggered my respect for women's support of one another.  I craved being invited to that party but figured it'd never happen.  I didn't think anyone would ever accept me as female -- or even close enough to female to send me clothes.

I was wrong!  Thankfully, gratefully, I was wrong.  After blogging for a year or two, a friend sent me a skirt.  I was thrilled!  And then another friend sent me some jewelry.  And then another friend sent me a top.  The dam was broken and precious water started flowing into my life.  The crops in my heart are irrigated and growing.

Every time someone gives me something female-oriented, I'm euphoric and appreciative.  Their gesture gives me more than just an object.  Their gesture displays real kindness -- recognition and support of me at my most authentic level.  I had hoped for such recognition for five decades and, until recently, never believed it would happen.  I'm still surprised it is occurring.

I'd like to take a moment and thank some of the wonderful women who've done this.  They are Megan Mae, GraceyLynne, EmmaFinnley, Lorena, Jen, Megan, Maggie, Bella, Jazmin, Tamera and Lynn.  Thanks, guys!

What's prompting this post is a package I just received -- from South Africa!  Blogger-friend Lynn (whose sister Wendy also blogs) sent me a gorgeous necklace.  A real statement piece.  I took a picture of it this morning (below) and will wear it soon.

Do you ever give clothing or jewelry to friends?  Have you received any?  How do you feel about sharing?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Do You Blog?

Blogging takes effort.  Behind that work is a psychological motivation.  A reason.  Why we do it.

What's your reason?  Why do you blog?

The impulse for my asking just arose while reading someone's fashion blog this morning.  I could sense the blogger isn't into fashion, per se.  Her daily posting of similar, ordinary outfits seems like an excuse to blog, not the reason.  I believe, from reading her blog for months, that she wants attention and connection.  She wants people to see her and talk to her.  The blog is a calling card.

These are normal human needs that everyone shares.  Perhaps the blogger isn't getting appreciated enough in real-life and is seeking social interaction online.  To be honest, that motivated me when I started blogging.

Why do you blog?  Is it because of your ostensible subject (fashion, beauty, etc.) or something deeper?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Your Party

Let's play make-believe.  Let's imagine that the holidays have arrived, that you graciously invite me to one of your holiday parties, and that I'm deciding what to wear.  Something fun, but serious.  But not too serious.  Something elegant, but kicky.  Something that expresses my perky personality while showing respect for decorum.

After much deliberation, I chose this outfit.  I hope you like it.  By the way, your canap├ęs are delicious!




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Magical Outfit

I had fun today.  I really did.  I worked on an outfit and, like magic, it came together.  Exactly the way I hoped.

The outfit started with two pieces -- a new skirt given to me by blogger-friend Maggie and a pair of red plaid flats.  With those items in hand, I put on my blogger-cap and thought.  The skirt is black (and white) and the shoes are red (plaid).  Red and black is my favorite color-combination.  With that germ of an idea in my head, I cogitated.

Wading through my closet, I pulled out a top I haven't worn in years.  I retrieved some fun colored tights.  I played with them and then did some ironing.  In the past, I've worn wrinkled clothes out of laziness but you guys deserve better.  You deserve ironed clothes.

Here we go.  Are you as excited as me?!! 

And, if it's not too personal, do you wear wrinkled clothes or go to the trouble of ironing?






Monday, October 7, 2013

Come To A Halloween Party!

Last year, I hosted a virtual Halloween Party and 18 of you sent in pictures.  That made for a wonderful time.  Many of you wore terrific costumes of your own creation.  That's why I love the holiday -- it opens the door to playful experimentation.

This year, we're having another party and you're invited!  Send in a picture anytime by link or e-mail (fhu@pipeline.com).  I'll post the ones I receive on October 31st.  I'll also add any stragglers that come in after that date.

Of course, every picture will be accompanied by a link back to your blog.  This is a nice way to attract new visitors to your site, many of whom may start following you.  Connecting bloggers is my favorite goal: it builds a community of friends.

Here's your chance to show off your creativity!  Start thinking....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back In The Saddle Again

To me, wearing nice clothes is not only fun, it's relaxing.  Deeply, profoundly relaxing.  It allows my inner self to emerge.  I not only enjoy that, I find it therapeutic.

Lately, the demands of work have been crushing me.  No time for fun, no opportunity for relaxing.  Being unable to dress up magnified the strain.

So today, for the first time in a while, I carved out a little me-time.  A chance for Ally to express herself.  It hardly mattered what I wore; what counted were calming moments.  I shaved my legs, painted my toes and put on something feminine.

I'm wearing a thrifted dress that cost practically nothing.  Since animal-print can be overwhelming, I'm toning down the dress with matching tights and heels, letting a belt serve as the only accent.  This is a simple outfit but, for purposes of relaxation, a satisfying one.  Creating and wearing this ensemble makes me feel good.

Does fashion ever make you feel good?  How?




Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Countdown Begins...

I was raised to believe that birthdays are important.  Every year, my mother would plan parties for my brother and me, get us birthday cakes, gather our relatives and have an event that made us feel special.  We'd open gifts and feel like the center of the universe.  Those are nice memories.

I like to share this brand of fun.  I've thrown many birthday parties for friends and family.  I've also learned that if you want to enjoy life, you can't wait for others to make fun happen.  So I throw birthday parties for myself as well.

I start getting excited around this time of year.  My birthday is November 3rd and I can't wait.  This year, I'm treating thirty of my friends to a Saturday night gala at the fanciest restaurant in town.  It's the same place I took my friends to on Halloween last year.  I reserved a private room for us and ordered the best menu, full of delicacies.

You guys are extra-special to me and I'm trying to figure out some way to celebrate with you.  So far, no ideas come to mind.  If you have any clever notions, let me know.

Do you like to celebrate birthdays?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Beginning Of Photography

Most of us take photography for granted.  Photographs surround us -- on the news, in blogs, in advertisements.  We seldom think about how wonderful they are.

Despite our species having lived for thousands of years, photography is relatively young.  It was 125 years ago that Kodak sold its first camera (named "No. 1").  They were large, cumbersome objects that cost the equivalent of $600 in today's money.

A museum is displaying some of the very first photos taken with these cameras.  Ordinary people, not professionals, used this equipment for the first time.  Here is a sample of those pictures, from the 1890's.

I find them poignant on several levels.  What do you think of them?  Do you like to take pictures?




(Just kidding with this last one.)