Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Turning It Around

I hate whining and I'm sorry if my last post came off that way.  Part of my bad attitude was from being sick with a cold; physical discomfort pushes me into negative emotions.  I realize now that feeling crummy affected my mood.

Generally my attitude in life is to seek joy, no matter how distant it looks.  I can't emphasize enough how grateful I am to you (the blogging community) for the warm embrace you've given me the past four years.  My lifelong dream of expressing myself has largely come true; I rejoice in that, and shouldn't bemoan what isn't on my plate yet.

So I'm spinning my attitude around.  Thank you for being here.  I savor the pleasures of zipping up a slinky dress, slipping into heels that make my legs look better, and enjoying the process of creating outfits in my head.

Today, I put together an ensemble with happiness as its goal.  Constructing the outfit, pondering its pieces, putting on the clothes and twirling around was fun.  Real fun.  I enjoyed it.

Sharing those efforts with you is equal pleasure.  Here's what I came up with.  Thanks to Meghan for giving me the necklace last week.




Saturday, April 26, 2014


Creating an outfit today, I had two thoughts.  I'm curious if you can relate to them.

First, I was inspired by a single item.  I found a silver top in a thrift-store that really entranced me.  It's shiny with patterns and shadows.  I can't stop admiring it.  So I snapped it up for a pittance ($4) and brought it home.

Wanting to show off my top, I build an outfit around it.  Have you ever done that?  It seems odd to construct an outfit with only one centerpiece, but that's how my mind worked.

The second thought is more profound.  Before the Internet and blogging, I wore women's clothing in private but there was nobody to see me, nobody to share myself with.  It seemed odd to put such effort into a futile exercise but dressing relaxed me.  It made me feel comfortable.  It made me feel "right".

Blogging changed that dramatically.  It gave me an audience for the first time.  Blogging offered me a goal (i.e., to look better) and I improved my skills with your helpful feedback.  I'll always be immensely grateful for the opportunity.

But... lately I feel I've lost something.  I conceive an outfit, put it together, apply makeup, do a 1-2 hour photoshoot, strip off the clothes and post pictures on my blog.  It's almost like a job.

I haven't been enjoying the clothes.  I barely wear them except for pictures.  I seem to have lost the relaxation and deep joy I used to get from living in female attire.  So I want to change that.  Last week, I dressed up solely for personal pleasure.  No pictures.  Today, after taking pictures, I relaxed and kept the clothes on for the afternoon.  I didn't rush to put up this post; instead, I savored the experience of presenting as female.  Of course, I had no audience or company but being alone is nothing new to me.  Even isolated, I enjoyed the experience. 

I think I'm going to do this more -- enjoy my efforts at female presentation and harbor less concern for public display.  I wish I had company IRL to share this with, but the absence of that won't hold me back.

Do you understand?



Friday, April 25, 2014

Back In The Saddle Again

Last Sunday, I took a nice, leisurely ride around Long Island.  I stopped at two places on the water which are always lovely this time of year.  Here are some pictures.





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Day In The City

I took a rare day off work today and spent it having fun with my good friend Meghan.  I met Meghan two years ago through her blog and we have several mutual friends.  (Are you listening, Megan Mae?)  This was the third time we've met in person (I visited her in Philly where she lives and we spent an earlier day thrifting in NYC.)  We were joined today by Meghan's friend Brenna who came in from Massachusetts.

Meghan has palpable charm and we enjoyed long conversations about her new job, her boyfriend, her fiction-writing and her life.  Meghan wore a dress she made herself featuring owls in the print.  She also wore an owl necklace.  I admire her sewing ability.  She offered to teach me that skill and I may take her up on the offer.

We planned today months ago in order to get tickets to the hottest show on Broadway -- "Kinky Boots".  Kinky Boots won the Tony award last year for Best Musical.  Its music was composed by Cyndi Lauper (who became famous in the Eighties with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun").

The show was great.  A rousing song-and-dance musical with top-notch performances.  The outfits and choreography were amazing.  We were lucky to score terrific seats -- second row, center -- which gave us the best view in the theater.

"Ladies, Gentlemen, and those who have yet to make up their minds...".

Here are some pictures from our day.  Why don't you come visit New York??



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Magical Journey Begins...

The magical pink boxing gloves have started their trip around the world.  They are traveling to faraway places and will adorn innumerable blogger-hands.  I'm really excited about this fun project!

The first person to wear the magic gloves is Gracey in Oregon.  The gloves had to cross the country to get to her.  Go visit Gracey's blog for more pictures.  You can sense the excitement and creative expression in Gracey's post.  In my opinion, she's a knockout!

It's never to late to join the list!  Just mention in the comments or an e-mail that you want to wear the gloves and they'll arrive in your mailbox some day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Too Revealing?

Actress Maitland Ward, who is 37 years old and used to appear in "Boy Meets World", wore a sheer dress last week that attracted some attention.  In fact, it attracted a lot of attention.

Maitland says she was surprised at the attention it got.  I'm not.  Are you?



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shorts and Color

You guys help me more than you know.  Not only do you support me as an audience, you inspire me with your ideas.  When you put together unusual outfits, I feel free to follow your lead.

So when someone as stylish as Larissa wears shorts with colored tights, I believe I can too.  Without role-models, I wouldn't try half the things you inspire me to do.

I'm playing here with bright colors.  I mix several and hope they gel.  (I'm wearing  pink tights; they almost disappear in the photos.) 

What do you think?





Saturday, April 19, 2014


How tough are you?  How well do you respond to hardship?  Are you strong or weak?

I know the answer about myself.  I'm tough.  I'm stoic.  I endure pain, suffering and mental stress better than most people.  Compared to your average overfed, lazy, middle-aged suburban man, I'm tough.

Let me give you an example.  Six weeks ago, I had a motorcycle accident.  I didn't tell you (or anyone else) the full extent of my injuries.  I fell on my right arm and twisted it badly under the weight of my body.  For a month after the accident, I had excruciating pain every time I touched something or simply put  my hand in my pocket.  Since I'm right-handed, searing pain occurred about every hour.  I couldn't write or type without suffering.

Yet I didn't miss a day of work.  I even conducted a trial a week after the accident.  I can't shake hands without wincing in pain, but showed up for battle regularly. 

My blogging barely slowed down.  I conceived creative, fun posts about a variety of subjects.  I learned to eat with my left hand.  I drove Gina with my left hand reaching across my body to move the stick-shift.

Despite this daily misery, I refrained from complaining online.  I didn't whine about my situation.  I didn't ask for sympathy.  I just pushed forward.

A week or two ago, my right arm started to heal.  I can move my wrist and forearm again.  There's still pain but I'm back to doing things.  Yesterday, I got on my motorcycle and rode for an hour.  It hurts to twist the throttle but I can bear that.  It feels good to be flying in the wind again.

An article in the new issue of The New Yorker describes how the best cave-explorers in the world climb miles underground, in the dark, for up to 14 days.  Without knowing what's in front of them, they squeeze through tiny spaces, fall down tall heights, wrestle with animal-life and bacteria, injure themselves -- and push forward on their mission.  They endure almost-constant suffering to do what they set out to do.  These guys are tough.  Compared to them, I'm a wimp.

How tough are you?  How well do you climb back from adversity?

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Old Days

Do you remember back before I became famous?  Before my blog was national news?

In the early days, my labor of love had a few dozen readers, most of whom became close friends.  We used to chat about fashion and life.  Our casual conversations were refreshing and fun.

Then a post of mine unexpectedly went viral; hundreds of thousands of readers flocked to my blog; I started making so much money from advertising that I quit my day-job; journalists interviewed me constantly on national programs; and relatives I barely knew called asking for loans.

Now I hobnob with celebrities; A-list actors try to appear on my blog; and I party all night in fancy hotels.  I don't even write my blog anymore... I have a team of assistants who produce daily posts.  Overnight, everything changed for me...

...oh wait... was that a dream??

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Search Of Adventure

This picture is from a story in today's news.

A 3-year old boy in Nebraska was reported missing by his mother.   While she was in the bathroom, he scooted out the front door.  He was later found in a bowling alley across the street -- he climbed into the toy claw machine and was playing with the toys.   The police got him out of the machine unharmed.

You know he had fun.  At that age, we're just following our instincts.

Have you ever done anything like this?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Our seasons are so screwy this year.  Winter was bad and never seemed to end.  Despite a few nice warm days recently, it doesn't really feel like Spring yet.  And last night it snowed!  In New York, not Alaska.  Snow in the middle of April -- that's rare.

I'm not a gardener and know little about plants.  Three years ago, I planted two batches of flowers in my backyard.  They grew nicely that year.  The next year, I was startled to see them come back -- I wasn't aware they are the kind of plant that returns.  I thought they were a one-shot deal.

This year, they popped up again.  What a nice surprise.  I'm sharing them with you here.  If any of you are plant-literate, perhaps you can tell me what they are.

I hope these beauties survive the snow.  Do you have plants?  Are they blooming?


Saturday, April 12, 2014

"The Past" (2013)

I love good cinema.  And I'm willing to go overseas to find it.

Today, I saw a foreign film that's one of the best I've encountered.  I was drawn to it because the filmmaker (Asghar Farhadi) is a talented artist who made an excellent movie I enjoyed ("A Separation" in 2011).  This current film, made last year, is even better.

"The Past" is skilled filmmaking of the highest order.  Farhadi insisted on spending two months in rehearsals with his actors before breaking out a camera.  That devotion shows in the depth and reality of the acting.  You believe you're watching real life, not a movie.  The subject is family and personal relationships, which have a reality that transcends the usual fare at the multiplex.

Plus, the film stars Bérénice Bejo, who you may remember as the adorable Peppy Miller in "The Artist."  Bejo is a superb actress who shines in this role.

The film won many awards at Cannes and was nominated this year for a Golden Globe.  Nicole Kidman sat as a judge at Cannes and admitted to crying after watching this film.

The film was made in France and is spoken in French with subtitles.  The filmmaker is Iranian, as is the main actor; Bejo is Argentinian.

Not everyone likes foreign films or subtitles, but this movie is exceptional and worth the effort.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1964 World's Fair

Exactly fifty years ago, New York hosted a World's Fair.  Situated in Queens, the Fair ran for two years and showcased cultures and technology from around the world.  Thousands came to see the many exhibitions.

I was six at the time and have an odd, almost-embarrassing memory to tell you.  In addition to visiting the Fair with my family several times, I performed in it.  Really!  In one of two structures built for the Fair which is still standing (New York State Pavilion), I played accordion in a group of accordion-players from the music school where I studied.  We performed for a large crowd of visitors.  I remember dragging my large accordion-case (almost as big as me) to and from the concert.  Weirdly, we played songs written by The Beatles which, on the accordion, sounded truly bizarre.  But they were popular songs at the time.

The second surviving structure is the Unisphere (pictured above).  It has been used since then in several movies, like "Men In Black" and "Iron Man 2".

You can see the Pavilion where I played in the picture below.  It's gutted now and they're contemplating whether to demolish it (cost - $14 Million) or renovate it (cost - $50 Million).  Attached to the Pavilion are three columns which have what looked like spacecraft on top.  They were observation decks you could travel up to look around.

World's Fairs were popular in the last century.  They gave people in an analog world the opportunity to see new sights, new technology and foreign cultures.  I haven't heard of any since then, which is sad.  Have you ever been to one?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Return Of Ally Cat

Last Saturday I took my girlfriend Debbie shopping.  She'd never been to my favorite thrift-store (Savers), so I did a public service and showed it to her.  Debbie's enthusiasm was immediate, as she grabbed up armloads of $3 tops.

I wasn't expecting to find anything so I browsed listlessly.  Or, as they say in the law, "without intent to buy."  Lo and behold, a treasure suddenly appeared before me -- footed pajamas in purple with animal-stripes.  In my size (large).  I pounced like a cat and trapped my prey.

Best of all, they were only $6!

Here's my first attempt to style them.  My girlfriend Jamie agreed to let me use her backyard later this year to pose outdoors in these pajamas.  I think they're perfect for a trip to the jungle.

What do you think?  Would you wear these??




Monday, April 7, 2014

George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh"

It's interesting how we can live through something and not really know it.  For example, in the Seventies, I heard about George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" (1971) but I didn't see it or hear its music.  At the time, I was in ninth grade, living an hour away from the concert (which was held in Madison Square Garden in NYC).  This weekend, I finally caught up with it.

My trip to the past was facilitated by my recent re-embrace of vinyl.  I found a 40-year old boxed set of (three) records of the concert, complete with photos.

The concert, thrown together quickly,  drew attention to the plight of refugees in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan).  The concert attracted big names, like Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston and Leon Russell.  None of the performers were paid.  Clapton was visibly sick from heroin withdrawal.

The concert was the forerunner of future charity benefits, like Live Aid, et al.  Most people tuned it because it was George Harrison's first appearance since The Beatles had broken up two years earlier.  Seeing him back with Ringo was a major thrill.

George performed some Beatles songs and wrote the title song, "Bangla Desh".  After listening to the entire concert thrice, I say Leon Russell steals the show with his cover of "Jumpin Jack Flash."  He got the place rockin' at high volume.

Have you heard about this event?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Finally A Princess

When I was little, I wanted to be a princess.  Desperately.  But that was not allowed.

Fifty years later, I still have the desire.  The difference is that, now, there's nobody to stop me.  So, when I spotted this beautiful gown in a thrift-store, I snapped it up.  Only $12, it was made by "Jessica McClintock for Gunne Sax".

These pictures show me on my way to the Prince's Ball.  I plan to have fun, but must be home by midnight.  You know why...

Two confessions.  First, I spent hours on this photo-shoot.  Part of that was I wanted the result to be good; a bigger part is I wanted to ENJOY it.  Often, I rush through the process of photographing outfits to show them to you, but I don't actually get to enjoy wearing the clothes.  Tonight, I really wanted to immerse myself in femininity -- to wear the clothes; to sit in them; to watch TV in them.  I did that and took the extra step of polishing my fingernails which (for me) is a big deal (since I have to remove it before going out).  Maybe watching TV in a ball-gown isn't the same as flirting with a prince at a fancy party, but we do what we can...

Second confession: I made an aesthetic mistake.  I should have chosen a different lip-color, one from the orange family.  I misjudged that choice and regret it.  Oh, well... nobody's perfect.

When was the last time you wanted to be a princess?