If this seems like the type of event that you might enjoy, plan now to attend and let me know you’ll be there.
This year’s event is September 14-18 2016 in Ogunquit Maine – “a beautiful place by the sea”.
If this seems like the type of event that you might enjoy, plan now to attend and let me know you’ll be there.
This year’s event is September 14-18 2016 in Ogunquit Maine – “a beautiful place by the sea”.
I’m home from yet another fun Keystone Conference and thought I’d share my feelings on this one.
The Good: The weather in Harrisburg PA was almost summer-like. The drive, both ways, was nice and it was great to go out each night with just a light jacket or sweater.
Once again, the nice people at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel treated us very well. I booked a room on the Club Floor, as I always do, because of the little perks available up there and it was fabulous as always.
Friends! Got to hang with my best event friend Dianne. She’s made a marvelous recovery from back surgery and was rocking the heels once again.
My Kim and I got to spend a lot of time with our newest friends, D and C! Wanted to bring them home with us and keep them forever .. haha! … but instead we’ll just look forward to seeing them again soon. (I’d love to post a pic of Dea and I here but will seek her permission before doing so. Update: ‘Permission Granted”!! Photo below)
And that hot chick from Kentucky was there. It was a pleasure, and fun, to hang with Barbara Ann again.
I got to see Scarlett, from Scarlett’s Makeovers, again. Should have had her do my makeup but I didn’t. But I got the word that Scarlett’s Maine Event is on again this September. But more on that in another post.
The conference lunches in the ballrooms each day were fabulous. They just get better every year.
The dinner restaurant selection was excellent and the transportation to and from the various restaurants was wonderful. Carrabbas Italian Grill in Mechanicsburg, watchng the thoroughbred’s race while dining at Mountainview Restaurant at Hollywood Racetrack and Casino, and gourmet pizza at Bricco … enjoyed them all.
The Not So Good; Keynote speakers each day were almost intolerable for someone like me. Who do they think they’re talking to?
US politics was on everyone’s mind and discussing it was unavoidable. I understand the passion, but not the presumption that everyone there is bend in the same direction.
That feminization lady from New York (I won’t mention her name), who I had spoke so highly of in the past, was snotty to me. It appears we’ve gone from being on a first name basis to completely voiding eye contact. I can only assume it’s because I’m not viewed as a potential revenue source. Oh well. Everyone comes out of her makeup sessions looking like clones anyway. haha!
In Conclusion: I’ll very likely go again next year, but I suppose it depends on if my friends will be there. As much as I love this conference, I’m starting to feel as though this event, like most of the others, needs to work harder for someone like me if they hope to continue receiving my registration fees.
I need a keynote speaker to stand up there and tell us, without being patronizing, that it’s okay … no, more than okay .. it’s fabulous to NOT go full time and to NOT have surgery. To thank us for keeping our shit together while the few try to push their way into society via legislation.
But I’m going off on a tangent, aren’t I?
Keystone is a wonderful event. And, in my opinion, one of the best of the big ones. You should go!
As many of you know, I’ve always enjoyed online chatrooms. It’s a way to keep a finger on the pulse of the trans community, can be relaxing, and unlocks opportunities to meet people from all over the planet.
It’s much more ‘immediate’ than email conversations yet not as invasive as one-on-one instant messaging. And for a wallflower like me, it’s often fun to ‘listen in’ on the conversations of others without feeling the need to become engaged.
So I thought I might provide you with a review on a few of the chatrooms out there. These are my feelings only, as of the fall of 2015, but are based on hours and hours of experience.
This is really where is all started for me. It’s where I found my ‘home’; the first place online where I felt truly comfortable. And back in the mid/late 2000’s it was a rockin’ room. I made several friends there that I’ve got together with in person and who I’ve stayed in touch with. Oh sure, there was drama .. many lost site of the fact that Alt dot com is a site for alternative lifestyles and would seem insulted or behave in a condescending way when kink was brought into discussions. But it was a hoot. Me, and several others, would live webcam while chatting. I met a fabulous couple from the desert southwest here and became friends for life! I also met the infamous “Man in Black” (from my video) there; we’ve dated, he’s visited me at Casa Seleena and we still stay in touch.
Sadly, the Gender Exchange room is but a shadow of it’s former self now. The interface is still crappy but the cohesive group is gone.
This was the first chatroom I ever experienced. Although it was fun to watch all the outgoing girls chat like they owned the world, I never really found a way into their clique. I deleted my profile and never returned for, like, a decade. And when I did, it felt much better.
But within a year of my return, the site was in peril and the founder announced it would be shut down. It was rescued in the 11th hour by someone who professed to have business experience but it’s been all downhill ever since.
It’s a shame because the Urnotalone name was known far and wide from retailers to surgeons and from newbies to the experienced to the working girls. But recently, discussion of URNA at trans events is met with scowls and frowns.
The chat interface on this site is one of the better ones but the user turnaround seems high and the ability to retain a core group of quality people seems elusive. Traffic moves between extremely slow and “I can barely keep up” busy. In my opinion, this one should have been allowed to die a dignified death instead of the slow, painful one it’s experiencing now.
A UK-based site where, unlike the others, it’s okay to be a non-full time, non-surgery seeking trans person. Overall, the girls here care more about their presentation, appearance wise, than many on the US-based sites where there’s a mindset that you can’t appear pretty and be a real trans woman. There’s only a handful on this site who are not from the UK and it seems we foreigners are all looking for an alternative to the aggressive, often mean-spirited demeanor common on “this side of the pond”.
My only complaint with ‘Chix” is the interface. Tiny text on my high rez screen and not easily resizable, eye strain is a problem for me. Oh, and time zones. I love chatting for a couple hours before bed at night and only the extreme night owls are still awake in the UK.
This is my current favourite. Although almost everyone seems to prefer conversing in private over publicly chatting in the chat room, and although the small screen text hurts my eyes, the kinder, gentler, sexier and the less judgmental UK crowd makes this one very cool. Side note: I need to attend a trans event in the UK in the near future. Maybe Sparkle.
My time on this one was very short-lived. The site that professes “We Are One” just felt so divisive, so wrong on many levels and the chatroom was Deadsville. The site is owned and managed by someone who, in their own reality, feels they’re a compassionate (“I’ve been there”) ally but who’s behavior and demeanor comes across as arrogant and controlling.
I had to laugh. At one point, she made a rule that no selfies would be allowed on her site. She found them to be low quality and low effort. But in all honesty, selfies are about the best many girls can come up with. Tight budgets and the need for discretion just makes it impossible for some to get elaborate or to hire a photographer.
The chat interface is nice, traffic is extremely low and, if you’re not into discussing surgery or hormones with a bunch of it’s-my-way-or-it’s-the-wrong-way geniuses, your time might be better spent elsewhere.
Wonderful people! Well, with an exception or two. Actually, someone there took an immediate dislike for me and it kept me from really becoming one of ‘the Sisters” but that’s okay. The sweetest personalities in the chat world might very well hang out in the ES chatroom .. lol.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend some in-person time with 4 or 5 girls, and a couple guys, who I met here and they’re as nice in person as they are online.
The chat interface is the standard Ning software and it works well. All in all, a low traffic chatroom that’s a great place to meet sweet girls and guys who are both fun and supportive.
This is Katie, from Frock magazine’s, website. Like the magazine, it’s slick, informative and geared towards a wide segment of the community. Good info, nice people, a great look but the chatroom is very underused. To the point where it’s almost not worth including here. With just a small handful of dedicated regular chatroom users who are mature, non-judgmental and reflect Katie’s classy philosophy, this one could be big, in my opinion.
But I continue to check in occasionally in hopes it comes to life but, so far, there has been no change.
Update March 1 2016: well I spoke too soon about that “classy philosophy”. I’ll tell you why I’m saying this.
I recently got an email from the website saying that someone had commented on one of my photos. The email contained a link to the comment. But when I clicked on the link, I was informed that only paid subscribers have access to that area. How can this be? It’s ~MY~ photo and I can’t see the comment? So I went over to their tech forums and asked the question. The forum moderator was very responsive and quickly explained that yes, only paid subscribers can see this. I understood what she was telling me but she proceeded, not once but twice, to try to make me feel like a cheapo for not paying the subscription fee. (I just can’t subscribe to every site and this one is definitely a low benefit proposition).
So I’ve deleted my account on Gender Society and have withdrawn my support for Frock magazine as well. The link to the current issue of Frock has been removed from my main menu. Sad, Katie. Very sad.
I’m not sure what exactly to call this one. I get to the chat site from TgTalk but I believe there are other front end sites too that all lead to the same place. So you may be familiar with this site by a different name. TGGuide is another way to get here, and there are others.
This one is actually a pretty good chat room. Lots of diversity and maybe a little less drama than average. The site rules, and the moderator’s who enforce them, are a little bit much for me but they’re trying to make the experience good for the majority so I won’t complain.
Average interface, average traffic flow and moderators who lurk invisibly while making sure that not only the person who committed the infraction is aware of their wrongdoing, but every user in every room sees a quoted rule flash across their screen.
All in all, a pretty cool site but, like tvchix, much of the chat goes on in private windows.
Added 12/30/15: I recently found this one. It’s technically not a trans site but since almost everyone there is into wearing pantyhose, it kinda fits the bill.
I struggle with this site. On one hand, the people are fabulous. Really nice, very non-judgmental and egos aren’t out of control. But the prevailing mindset is somewhat disturbing for me because the site is loaded with images that appear to be ‘borrowed’ from the web. I asked the site owner about this and she`s very unapologetic. She’s of the opinion that all images on the internet are fair game.
Although I go there often right now, I`m guessing I won`t pay or stay forever because of this. I just can`t accept that “because it was posted on the internet, I`m entitled to use it” mentality. But the site is so sweet because it’s the only place I’ve found where guys can talk freely about their need to admire and wear pantyhose. And the trans girls and genetic women who frequent the site are very supportive.
If nylon is your passion, maybe consider checking this one out. And if I’m in the chatroom, please stop by to say hi.
I know of no tgirl who feels accepted in the general meat market world of Adult Friend Finder. A few have “stealthed” their way into a few months of chat room fun but, for the most part, when their cover is blown things get ugly, and rightly so. Deception is always a bad thing.
And Crossdresser Heaven is the first and only site that makes my skin crawl. No, it’s not a chatroom but I still feel the need to mention it. It appears to be the brainchild of all that is wrong within the transgender hierarchy. They’re obsessed with the word “crossdress” and feature way too many photos of genetic women as headers for articles about trans stuff. They’re just not capable of using the word “dress” without putting “cross” in front of it. “Learn how to crossdress like a pretty crossdresser for a crossdressed date with a non-crossdressed guy who loves crossdressers.” I exaggerate but you get the picture.
To the vast majority of of us, we feel that we dress for a date .. we don’t say we cross dress for our date.
Sadly out of touch.
Chat rooms certainly aren’t for everyone. But while the majority of you are sitting on the couch watching television shows, I’m one of those girls who prefers to casually interact with other girls.
Give a chat site a try. You might actually have fun! And please say hi if you see me there.
If you have a favorite chat site that I’ve missed, please let me know. I’d love to join and eventually add to this review. Also, if your feelings on anything I’ve mentioned differ from mine greatly, please let me know.
I just got home from the first annual Scarlett’s Maine Event, and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more.
Centered at the Meadowmere Resort in Ogunquit Maine, the September 9-13 event is the brainchild of Scarlett from Scarlett’s Makeovers in Thompson CT. If you’ve been to any of the major transgender event in the US in the last several years, you’ve probably run into Scarlett. Okay, I may be overstating her attendance but she goes to lots of events. She’s a very talented, hard working makeup artist with a deep and personal understanding of the trans community and is an absolute pleasure to be around. She’s also gorgeous and can rock a fab pairs of heels.
This event is unlike many of the others because of it’s totally a la cart pricing. It was only $35 to register (goodie bag included with lots of helpful info, stuff and a very cool event pendant) and registrants pick from the list of add-ons according to their preferences and budgets. There are no bundled activities like so many other events where we invariably end up paying for things that don’t interest us.
The Meadowmere Resort is one of the largest resorts in the beautiful town of Ogunquit Maine. It’s a sprawling property with several interconnected buildings, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, bar and beautifully landscaped grounds. And the hotel was quite busy during our stay .. unusually busy, it appears, for that time of the year.
Dinner each night, for those who chose to dine with the group, were served at Jonathan’s; the fine dining restaurant on an adjoining property was not only conveniently close for those of us who like to drink and not drive but the food was fabulous! Salads, entrees and desserts were all totally yummy. A wonderful dinner for just a $40 add-on per night.
Efficient, attentive and personable wait staff too. I was able to chat briefly with Larry, the manager. (I hope my memory isn’t failing me regarding his name!) A classy guy, soft spoken, generous (he paid for our drinks the first night!) , very professional and quite happy to have us there.
Some of the add-on activities were:
Scarlett also brilliantly provided a hospitality suite at the Meadowmere complete with water, soft drinks, coffee and snacks so there was always a place to hang out.
Value related to the cost: Excellent. The complementary large continental breakfast buffet was great and meant most of us didn’t need lunch. And the event cost, with add-ons, was totally reasonable.
The Venue: Very good. The Meadowmere Resort is a wonderful hotel. Every staff contact I had was fabulous. My room and room rate was fine; the hotel property was meticulously maintained.
The City: Ogunquit is a very cool, artsy seaside resort. Think Provincetown but more elegant, less hilly, less expensive and less ‘in your face” LGBT friendly. Typical Maine architecture with lots of boutique shops and very few national chain stores. For $2, several trolleys on a circuit will take you to most of the cool places in town and bring
you back as well. Lobsters, fishing, boating, beaches. Everything you’d expect by the sea. Oh, and the Marginal Way .. a very cool hiking path at the edge of the cliffs along the seashore .. very picturesque and an easy walk on a paved path. (I did the entire walk in ballet slippers while carrying a heavy camera bag.) Ogunquit did seem like a very trans friendly town. No rude or even inquisitive comments at all for this girl, even though I rarely dress totally age or venue appropriate.
I felt like I’d been misplaced in the cosmos and I belonged in Maine.
– Terry Goodkind
The Attendees: Not as many attention whores, egomaniacs, party animals, shy newbies and seasoned veterans as one would expect. Yes, the ‘dance club girls” seemed to keep to themselves but everyone else was very easy to be with. And there was a relatively high percentage of spouses in attendance too. Always a good thing when Kim comes with me. But to be totally honest, this was one of the nicest groups of people I’m ever spent time with. I think it all stems from Scarlett herself. You know that old “birds of a feather” idiom? Well, sweet gravitates toward sweet.
Speaking of sweet, my sweetie and I felt lucky to have met (and fell in love with) a couple couples (lol) who we look forward to spending more time with in the future. But to be totally honest, good friends from Canada were there too so it would have been fine if we hadn’t connected with anyone.
Dining: The included continental breakfast at the hotel was very good while dinner each night at Jonathan’s was fabulous. I can’t say enough about the restaurant; it’s decor, the food and the service.
The Event: Very good. The day I arrived, it was very hot … mid 90° temps but it cooled off lots and the rest of the week was very comfortable. But honestly, this event was about the people.
From the keepsake pendant in the goodie bag to the Farewell Brunch, everything was nicely done. The Nubble Lighthouse Boat Cruise was a highlight for me as were the dinners. Did I mention Jonathan’s? haha!!
I regret not signing up for the Million Dollar Quartet at the Playhouse .. it’s a live theater musical about the night Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash all came together at a recording studio in Memphis for one of the most iconic jam sessions ever. Everyone who attended said it was fabulous!
Will I return to Scarlett’s Maine Event? Absolutely. Indications from Scarlett is that she plans to do it again next year and I’ll be there. I’ll also do my best to help spread the word once a date is confirmed. It’s the type of event many would appreciate.
I predict good things for this event and wouldn’t be surprised if attendance grows exponentially next year, as it should.
Scarlett’s Maine Event was that good!
Just got home from First Event in Waltham MA and thought I’d share my thoughts on the event.
This year’s event, presented as always by the Tiffany Club of New England, was the 35th annual and was held on January 21-25 at a new venue – the Westin in Waltham MA on the western edge of Boston.
My darling Kim came with me to the event. We decided to leave home for Boston on Tuesday but stayed Tuesday night in Auburn since it wasn’t possible to get an extra day at the Westin. Some of you who have visited or ordered from the Glamour Boutique’s TG Fashions might be familiar with Auburn Massachusetts.
So we arrived at the event hotel early on Wednesday. The hotel was quite impressive and checkin was very professional and smooth. Undergound parking, very nice room, very elegant lobby and smiling staff.
Although parking and internet are usually at additional cost, both were free to those attending First Event.
On Thursday, after a rather pricey but fabulous breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I hit the event registration desk to get my name tag and event program before spending time socializing with friends in the hotel lobby area. Also had a wonderful chat and a couple glasses of Merlot with my friend Samantha in her hotel room.
Event registration wasn’t easy to find and was not exactly efficient but was relatively friendly.
On Thursday night, we were off to Club Cafe in downtown Boston using provided transportation. The trip to the club took us down Boylston Street and the site of the marathon bombing.
Buffet dinner and Merlot was good and the drag show, featuring Judy Garland and Bea Arthur impersonators was very well done but I’m not sure how well suited it was to our crowd. I stayed for the entire show but many left early. Community Service Awards were presented prior to Ms Garland to Jennifer Levi, the GLAD Transgender Rights Project and to John Warrener, the founder of The Glamour Boutique.
Back to the hotel .. drinks in the bar! And a rather late night.
Friday was a shopping day. After a quick breakfast and lots of coffee, I visited Hera at the Klymaxx Unlimited spot in the vendor area. I bought some fabulous bling and Kim bought a very cool handbag. I should have bought the glitter clutch purse.
Friday night dinner was an oriental buffet at the hotel in the ballroom. It was excellent, and was followed by the fashion show. Now, I’ve been to, and have participated in, fashion shows before but this one was the absolute best ever. Great music and dynamic commentary, an awesome runway, a fast pace and gorgeous models.
To the other events that do fashion shows, consider learning from this one. It was that good.
My friends Samantha, Stephanie and Lauren participated and all did a wonderful job.
After the fashion show, we went for drinks in my friend Pauline’s room. More vino and it was wonderful, and the conversation was a lot of fun!
After a late breakfast on Saturday, I did a little more shopping. Bought a very high quality, “gently used” pair of oxblood Italian heels from the Tiffany’s Closet fund raising shop for $15 .. my bargain of the year. Enzo Angiolini’s are typically sold at finer department stores and these have barely noticeable wear similar to a store demo pair. Not exactly sky-high stilettos .. they’re just under 4″ .. but they’ll be fabulous when I have to be on my feet all day.
Spent most of the day chatting with friends around the hotel. Finally got to meet a girl I’ve been chatting with on and off for a decade. Melissa is a sweetheart and I finally got to give her a hug in person.
I also got to meet someone I only recently started chatting with online. Sara is a stocking lover like me and is totally gorgeous.
Saturday evening was the gala. The ball. The big event. And it was wonderful! Hors d’ouvres, good wine, a nice dinner (I had the chicken and it was good. Sorry beef people .. lol), the best keynote address I’ve ever heard (you can read about Wayne Maines here) and the fab jazz group, Dale LePage and the Manhattans, were there after dinner for dancing or listening.
But what impressed me the most that night was how everyone looked and behaved. The evening was to be elegant and everyone looked elegant. It was the first time I ever felt that everyone made the effort to look they’re best. And it does something to the air. The vibe just feels so right, and it was a fitting way to conclude a wonderful conference.
In summary, I wish I had made the effort to attend this event in the past. In my opinion, it was one of the best events I’ve ever attended. A good value, the volunteers are efficient and nearly invisible, the organizers weren’t all about patting themselves on the back, the best keynote speaker ever, and all in a very, very nice hotel.
According to my friends who attended many seminars, the seminars were also very good.
From the comments made by organizers both online and in Waltham, there was 500+ in attendance over the 4 days although it seemed that just under 400 were at the gala. Huge growth over previous years.
And lastly, one more shout out to the Westin in Waltham MA. The hotel is beautiful, staff were excellent, no waiting for an elevator, great event room rate, wonderful restaurant. The bar was cool too but it was a little difficult to get a drink at times, especially on the final night.
They made us feel very welcome and even posted on the event Facebook page prior to the event, to tell us they were looking forward to our arrival as well as to thank us when the event was over. Very classy.
Grace, Andrea and crew … you ladies rock.
As the years go by, our appearance changes. Sometimes the change is barely noticeable and sometimes it’s a little more dramatic.
I keep feeling like the years are not being kind to me but when I look back at photos that are 10 or 15 years old, I become aware that I really haven’t changed all that much.
I have a few age lines, very few actual wrinkles but the thing that has bothered me a little for the last few decades are my jowls. That droopiness in the cheeks beside my mouth.
I had read about how to minimize the look of jowls, had discussed it with a makeup professional and learned the basics of using the medical tape solution. But getting the effect “just right” was always a challenge.
So at a recent conference I attended, the topic came up in casual discussion. A friend (thanks Cynthia!) recommended a product called Secret Lift so I thought I’d give it a try. “Easy to use and very adjustable” she said.
Her suggested supplier was Cosmesearch. Upon investigating, I discovered they had two versions. The “original” and the “pro” version. I ordered the original, and in a shade for those of us with dark hair.
Secret Lift is basically two elasticized face-lifting bands with barbs on the ends and a hook to connect both sides and a bunch of adhesive tapes with a hole for the barbs. There is also a single lifting band for the neck.
While looking at yourself in a mirror, place your index fingers on your cheeks just in front of your ears and gently push your cheek back or up. Note the effect. Move your fingers up and down, forward or back and watch the changes to your overall face. This is basically what Secret Lift does.
I spent a minute or two trying to determine my sweet spot while looking in the mirror. That sweet spot is the spot on my cheek that will give me the most flattering look when pushed back a little.
Once I found that spot, I wiped the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any lotions or skin oil that might negatively affect the adhesive tapes. Before attaching the tapes, I pushed the barbed end of each of the two lifting bands through the small hold in the tab part of the tape. Next I peeled the backing off the tapes and pressed them to my face in the spot I had previously determined to work best. Getting the tapes in the right spot with the lifting band attachment tabs pointing in the right direction wasn’t easy for me and will likely become easier with practice. I think I was very close on my very first attempt.
As instructed, I pressed firmly and rubbed the tapes for 30 seconds. I didn’t connect the lifting bands together to attain the lift just yet. Instead I went ahead and did most of my makeup. When I was almost done, I pulled the lifting bands together at the top of my head and noted the effect it had on my face.
Pulling too tight looked gave my face a stretched look; not tight enough minimized the effect, but somewhere in between I found the right amount of tension.
Wig cap, wig over the lifting bands and a quick touch-up to my foundation and powder and I was all set.
How did I look? I looked marvelous! It really did knock a few years off my appearance!
The manufacturer’s short instructional video can be found here.
Now I didn’t go into great detail about the lifting band connection but suffice to say the bands are easy to connect and there’s a lot of adjustment.
The kit also contains a lifting band for a neck/jaw lift. I’ll try that at some point too and will report back to you on it’s benefit.
That first day, I wore Secret Lift for about 5 hours and was mostly indoors in a very controlled climate. The next time I used it was while attending an outdoor garden party. It was a very warm day and I was outside into the evening; about 9 hours in total, and the bands stayed where I put them and there was no issues with the adhesive.
I removed the adhesive tabs when I got home and they had been quite kind to my skin.
The cost of the kit was around $20 including shipping from their Amazon checkout. The kits included three lifting bands (two for the face and one for the neck) and 40 adhesive tapes. So that’s 20 wearings when using it for the face only. Tape refills are $12.95 for 40.
Although the product sheet shows women with their hair pulled back wearing Secret Lift, I can’t comment on how detectable the adhesive tapes would be. But for a shaggy, hair-in-the-face girl like me, no one would have ever suspected I was wearing it. And it’s comfortable. After 10 minutes, I really wasn’t aware it was there working it’s magic.
Just how perceptible was my overall change created by Secret Lift? When I came down from my makeup room, my darling spouse raised her eyebrows and gave me a “wow! You look fabulous!”
For those of you who are not aware, Fantasia Fair is an annual transgender event held in Provincetown Massachusetts. It’s the longest running trans event in the US, possibly the world, and it celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year.
I attended the conference once again in 2014 (my 5th) and had a fabulous time as always. But reflecting on my time there, I have to admit that my enjoyment came more from the town and the time I spent with friends than it did from the actual event.
So what has changed? Did I change or did the event change? A little of both, I suspect.
I’ve changed in that I expect more for my event dollar than ever . Or more accurately, although I’ve always felt that financially supporting events like this is a good, honorable thing to do, I’m feeling like an outsider who’s enjoyment is on no one’s mind. The kumbaya stuff from years ago means little to me now and seeing a handful of new introverted girls “blossom” has lost it’s shine.
**** And due to the “wedge” that still seems to exist due to a persistent “I’m more trans than you” hierarchy, I’m just not comfortable financially supporting an hugely unbalanced itinerary. I felt this at Southern Comfort Conference and I felt it at Fantasia Fair. It cost me the same to attend zero seminars as it did the person who attended them “all”. ***
But the event has changed too. In my opinion, it’s gotten a little more cliquish than it was, and has lost a lot of it’s youthful vibe.
Side note in this regard: Online warnings prior to the event about the hazards of wearing heels in P-town felt excessive. No matter how good the intentions of the ‘flats-only’ preachers, the vast majority of the tgirls out there and potential attendees love their heels. Yet rather than provide advice on how to make high heel wearing work on the streets of Ptown, the official word was “don’t” – you’re foolish if you do (I paraphrase). Talk about scaring away potential newbies and making the heel-wearing crowd (me, included) feel self-conscious!
Fan Fair spends way too much time honoring someone (usually themselves) and not enough time with the peons who pay the bills and quietly attend looking for a fun time.
But on a positive note, the lunches were excellent and the (provided ) dinners were decent. The registration process was lightning fast and, although my “package” lacked a couple “coupons” for things I had paid to attend, hassle-free.
The welcome reception at the sushi restaurant, Saki’s, was a lot of fun but the “Town and Gown” event was good and not so good. Christine Howey’s one-woman play, “Exact Change” was fabulous! But the event was billed as a Town & Gown event. A handful of us did dress accordingly yet they served hamburgers and hotdogs, buffet style for dinner. Wasn’t expecting that .. lol. Did I not get the memo?
One thing that I did miss this year was the charm. Each year we’ve received a Fantasia Fair keepsake suitable for putting on a bracelet, yet this year, and on an anniversary year at that, there was none. I later learned that only those who attended the farewell brunch got one. No explanation offered and no apologies given if it was an oversight. Kinda makes heeding the”let’s all be there to celebrate our 40th” request seem a little one-sided.
But back to my thoughts on the planned activities. The Saturday night Gala was fun! Our friends at The Crown & Anchor did a wonderful job with the room and the food. Bravo to all involved. And seeing everyone looking so glamorous is always a treat.
The Wednesday evening fashion show was fun too but, to be totally honest, I miss hostesses Robyn and Liz terribly. (Their removal as hostesses smells political and seems quite unfair.) The current hostesses are wonderful individuals but the cohesion between them is still developing and is painfully missing. Please, can we have Robyn and Liz back?
Now the talent show, the Fantasia Fair Follies, was a train wreck, in my opinion. Far too much lip synch without a dynamic stage show to support it. Yes, there were a few lip synch performers that were a little fun to watch but they were the exception. I do understand how being supportive is a good thing and that participation in something like this can be a confidence booster for some but still .. townspeople, as well as the rest of us, pay money to attend and therefore a show with a slightly higher degree of entertainment value and professionalism seems only reasonable. The townsfolk seated in my general area spent more time looking at each other with a raised eyebrow than they did laughing or applauding. And I could totally sympathize with their feelings and felt embarrassed.
To further mess with my trannier-than-thou sensitivity, a post op girl did a comedy(?) bit about her vaginal dilation exercises after genital reconstruction surgery, complete with her collections of dilators/dildos. I’m no prude but found that performance pretty tasteless. Although I’m no stranger to dildo’s, the entire bit seemed to be a “look at me, I’ve had the surgery!” ego trip. My spouse, a genetic woman, was in attendance and found the entire piece quite disgusting.
As well, there was the “Fuck You” song. A song that repeatedly used to phrase “fuck you”, played to a slideshow of US Republican politicians and conservative public figures. Also, not funny and very tasteless, in my opinion. The phrase “Fuck you” is NOT offensive to me, in fact, I love CeeLo Green’s Fuck You song but this event is no place for silly US partisan politics. The song’s words a quite judgmental and more than a little hateful … not exactly appropriate for a group that pleads for tolerance. But then tolerance is a one-sided concept, isn’t it?
I know, I know. Why so negative? It’s because I spent almost $1200 USD for my Kim and I to attend an event that barely made me smile. And that’s the conference cost alone. Accommodations in P-town were way more than that.
But I still did have a great time! I shopped at Klymaxx Unliminited, Provincetown’s premier shop for bling, cosmetics, skin-care for both men and women, jewelry, drag accessories, wigs and handbags. I bought some fabulous bling and a new shoulder bag from Hera and Michele.
I also shopped at the Golden Horn where I found more great bling.
I stayed at the Brass Key Guesthouse again and was totally delighted as always. Thanks, Rick, for being so cool.
Away from the event, evening dining was fabulous at Jimmy’s Hideaway, Ross’s Grill and The Mews as were the Fantasia Fair lunches at Bayside Betsey’s, The Post Office Cabaret and Cafe and The Crown & Anchor.
So, in closing, I had a fabulous time! The best time ever in Provincetown but little of it had to do with the Fantasia Fair event. I’ll certainly return in the future but will be much more selective regarding how much money I give to the event. And no more donations to the scholarship fund for this girl.
Sadly, I have to wonder what the future holds for this event.
Move over, SCC, as you grasp at redefining yourself. You’ll have company soon.
I’ve been looking for one of these bras for a long, long time – I just wasn’t willing to pay the UK price (converted to $US and then to $CDN), plus shipping, plus import tariffs without knowing if it would work for me. But I recently found a listing on eBay and it was in my (rather small) size too!
These bras are designed to provide maximum cleavage (hence the name OMG!) and add up to 2 full cup sizes. They would typically sell in the UK for the equivalent of around $50 USD. So I was thrilled, and quite surprised, to find a listing that included, not one but two, new (with tags) 34AA’s in black. I bought them both for $9.95 USD plus shipping from New England. Not that England, this one!
After examining the bra and trying one on, the reason they work became very obvious. First off, there is no stretch to the band. If you’ve ever worn a vintage bullet bra, you’ll know what I mean. It fits tight enough that it will remain exactly where you position it and no flesh can escape past the band. Had I known this, I would have probably looked for a 36 but by adding one of those bra band extenders, it became quite comfortable.
The cups contain quite a lot of liquidy gel and, although it can move around in the cup freely, gravity tends to cause it to fill the lower part of the cup. The gel feels cool at first but warms to body temperature quickly.
When I tried the bra on, the third brilliant feature becomes obvious. The cups are attached quite close together compared to most other bras. In my case, this pushes a little of the fleshiness that’s just in front of my underarm into the cup.
Update: It appears Ultimo has discontinued the liquid filled gel bras in favour of an OMG version with regular padding so the discontinued gel bras are on sale!
I’ve never been one to use tape or any type of banding to create cleavage and this bra does a wonderful job creating cleavage all by itself. So I’m able to wear it with no added “enhancement” at all.
Does it add two cup sizes in my case? I would say it does not, but it does create ‘plus two cup’ cleavage. Not ideal when a busty profile is desirable but for the small-boob low cut top look, it’s perfect.
Emma Clark’s MaxCleavage.com‘s “Oomph Guide” rates this bra a “3 – Maximum Cleavage Boosting Power” and I agree.
My breast tissue has only recently grown to the point where I could even consider wearing just a bra so this is my first experience with this type of bra; I’m sure there are other mega cleavage styles out there that work on the same principle.
The OMG is heavy compare to a standard padded bra; in my case, 255 grams compared to 60 grams for one of my standard padded bras.
So if you’re a a small-breasted woman or t-girl (or even a large breast person, I suppose) looking for some serious cleavage enhancement, maybe give something like this a try.
Consider going up one band size if you usually wear your bras tight, but be prepared for something quite impressive.
I’ll add a couple more photos to this post when I can so you can see the profile effect but regardless how impressive it looks from out there, the view looking down from up here is fabulous! *giggle*
As I recall, I first became aware of Ms DeMilo back in the days of backseam dot com, a forum for nylon enthusiasts. Later, we both had clip stores on the now defunct clippette dot com. My earliest recollections of Jenny was that she was a very sensual woman, classy, articulate, intelligent, creative, strong and compassionate.
I also knew she did erotic hypnosis and that she was, and still is, at the top of the craft.
I was recently given the opportunity to select anything from Ms DeMilo’s catalog for review. This is my review of her Ass Bitch hypnosis session, but first, a little background.
I have had no prior experience with hypnosis nor do I even understand the concepts totally but maybe this is a good thing. It helped me enter this new world with a totally open mind.
I was concerned that my headspace .. the tgirl thing .. would clash with what Ms DeMilo offers and I found that it did to some extent, but only in selecting an appropriate session. Looking through her catalog, there are a number of titles related to the “sissy” experience and, of course, dressing in women’s clothing has no humiliation factor for me. I also can’t relate to being a gay man or forced bisexuality. But it seemed that most everything else was something I could get into.
Most of her work is in mp3 form but there are also “assignment” files in text form and short videos too. A lot of her hypnosis offerings include a sample audio file. The samples give an opportunity to hear her voice, her inflections and the background sounds.
She and I both felt that I would enjoy reviewing an audio hypnosis session. So on to my experience.
I selected a session called Ass Bitch based on the following description:
Listen, learn, be trained and turned into an anal whore, a real ass bitch. Be programed to be aroused by being trained to give up your ass and take what ever is dished out. Dished out to your soon to be stretched out ass. You cant stop yourself from the desire to be a fully trained, greedy, reedy ass bitch. Go deep into a trance, hear the triggers, the deepers, the subliminal back tracks and be programed and trained by powerful femdom hypnosis to need, crave and want to be transformed into an ass bitch, under my control. You wont be able to resist my hypnotic voice and implanted triggers.
I waited for a time when I had a clear head and was certain I would not be interrupted during my 18 minute session. With glass of wine in hand, I turned the lights down, put my best headphones on and sat down to enjoy the experience.
I never touched the wine.
The first thing that struck me was her voice. Oh. My. God. Total perfection in this context. Firm, sexy, trustworthy and really just a beautiful voice on any level. And she was speaking to me! Not to just anyone who bought this session but to me .. personally. That’s how it seemed.
Inside my calm exterior is a person that’s always wound up and her voice quickly helped me to relax. And relaxing made it easy to put myself into the place I think I was supposed to be.
Hypnosis equals real relaxation. I wasn’t aware of this. But for the balance of the 18 minutes, I listened to her speak to me. A strong yet soothing voice in a soundtrack that contained pulsation, echo and comforting sounds I couldn’t identify. I embraced her suggestions; found myself nodding subconsciously as she told me I would crave the feelings of having my ass filled with larger and larger objects. That I would crave being stretched and filled by huge cock. Although there was suggestion that I would get a huge erection thinking of large things in my ass, huge didn’t happen for me physically (the tgirl affect, I assume), although I did find my hand in my panties and I was quite content to leave it there, stroking. I was wet and my state of arousal was quite high.
I listened to the suggestions that I would have cravings, and that they would come to me at any time or place, and this just seemed so “alright” to me. At one point, I became aware that I was clenching to the pulsating rhythm but I don’t know how long I had been doing this and if it persisted until the end.
At the end of the session, she gently brought me back from where I was relaxing and, to some degree, I felt refreshed.
Will I listen to the session again? Absolutely. Would I do anything different to prep for the session? I don’t think so. Will I be looking for lasting effects from it? Yes, and I welcome them.
Will this turn me into an “Ass Bitch”. Probably not. I’ve been halfway there for years.
I recommend this experience for my tgirl friends who have submissive leanings and are sexually attracted to women and are either into strapon play or are curious about play with men. And to the open-minded guys out there … particularly the guys who admire trans girls like myself .. take your openmindedness to the next level.
Experience this! You just might find the final piece to your own personal puzzle.
Thanks for following along with me on this new experience. I do hope you enjoyed the little change of pace.
Now I’m off to explore that special shelf in the toy cupboard that’s home to my collection of huge dildos and butt plugs. *winks*
Jenny DeMilo’s website can be found by clicking the banner below. There is also a banner and link to her site on my Links page.
Gal’s Spring Fling is the premier transgender event in Canada. It’s primarily a Gender Mosaic (Ottawa ON) event, with assistance from Xpressions (Toronto ON). I’m a member of the latter. It’s more of a social event and less about support and education (which is perfect for this girl) than some of the other events.
It’s an annual event held late in May.
Gananoque (pronounced gan-a-NOK-way) Ontario, or “Gan” to the locals, is the host city for this event. Gan is known as the Canadian Gateway to the Thousand Islands, a scenic area where the Great Lakes, and more specifically Lake Ontario, empties into the St Lawrence River, which connects the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
Although this is closest trans event to where I live, the timing has always been difficult for me. But this year, the planets aligned and I was able to attend. And what a pleasant surprise it was!
What really set this one apart for me were the people .. the attendees. Around 60 of us were in attendance including a relatively large number of significant others. Friendly? Yes! This was, by far, the most approachable group I’ve encountered at a trans event.
Of those in attendance, a couple were friends, I had met a couple more and had chatted online with another two so it wasn’t like I was among strangers, even on the first day.
The town is just starting it’s tourist season so it was pretty quiet. I sensed almost everyone we encountered were locals, and they were quite welcoming. A couple of the girls mentioned hearing comments they didn’t exactly appreciate but none were humiliating or confrontational.
The Ramada Provincial Inn was quaint. Motor Inn style. Park outside the room; enter the room directly from outside. The rooms were on the small side of average size but were comfortable and clean. Not exactly SCC-luxurious but they were fine. The room rate was very good and a full breakfast was included. Grouping of fifteen or twenty attached rooms were scattered around the rather large property so depending where your room was, the walk to the restaurant or bar could be substantial, especially in heels and bad weather, but it certainly was not a problem for this girl.
The weather this year included mostly sunny, mild days with rain showers late in the afternoon or evening.
I arrived the day before the event started, got checked in, unpacked and met a small group of girls in the lobby area. We all went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in town called Riva. Although dinners were included in with the conference registration, Tuesday night’s dinner at Riva was not but it was fabulous! In my opinion, the nicest dinner I had all week. Classy, a wonderful menu with fabulous food and top notch service (although a gentleman a few tables from us suffered some type of medical emergency during dinner and required EMT’s and transport to the hospital. Hope he’s okay!)
The 1000 Islands boat tour was awesome. Dinner on the boat while traveling around a gorgeous part of Canada was great fun andtook up most of a sunny and warm afternoon. Just perfect!
Although I didn’t attend, the free makeup sessions in the cosmetic department at Shoppers Drug Mart were well received. And the fashion show girls had a great time selecting clothes and getting fitted at Sear in Kingston ON.
Side note about the fashion show; the organizers like to get first time attendees to participate in the fashion show. I was to be one of the eight but while talking with a girl I had just met, I sensed that, although she was on standby (the 9th girl in an 8 girl show), she seemed more keen than me to get involved. So I spoke to Amanda, the organizer, and opted out so the other girl could jump in. And it worked fantastically well. She did a great job and had a lot of fun.
Besides .. the event I really wanted to participate in was the Best Legs Contest. And guess what? I won! Quite an honor considering the other leggy entrants but my leather short shorts, Wolford hosiery and Santana stilettos surely helped. I get to keep the trophy at home until next year’s even when I’ll get my name engraved on it for posterity.
The other conference event that always gets a lot of attention is the evening at the Legion. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92 puts on a big dinner and dancing evening for us every year. It’s our best opportunity to mingle with the locals. Dinner was good and so was the band but honestly, I can’t really get into an evening of dancing and drinking. And having to drive back to the hotel afterwards adds another challenge.
Finally, the Gala. The big dinner dance on the final night. This one was held at the host hotel and is was wonderful! Food was great and a wonderful slide show during dinner reminded us of the fun we had all week. And I was able to have a whole lot of adult beverages but again, didn’t dance much. And, of course, dance music makes it difficult to chat (Listen to me? Do I sound like an old lady? haha!)
But honestly, playing footsy under the table in a dark piano bar is more my speed these days. Did enough dancing when I was young and even survived the disco years so I‘m just not interested in that anymore.
To this event, I wore my long black skirt that’s “slit up to here”; a sheer black turtleneck under a purple satin bolero jacket and black sheer to waist pantyhose from Stockingirl.com. I know .. stockings and a garter belt are my usual legware but there would have been no way to hide my stocking tops with the rather extreme slit skirt and it just didn’t seem like the slutty look was right for this one.
GSF is a fun event! Relatively inexpensive; extremely friendly people, a nice laid back feel, a good motel and held in a beautiful little town. I came away from this event with more new friends than I ever have at any event in the past. Did I mention friendly people?
Yes, if transportation between events was provided I could have hit the wine a little harder. Yes, registration was a little confusing. And yes, me and a small handful of others would have preferred a little less dancing but, all in all, this event is a great time. Although attendance growth is usually a sign of success, I hope this one continues forever and never grows. This size was just perfect.
My spouse accompanied me to this event and she had a wonderful time too! So if you’re thinking of attending, and have a supportive spouse, please bring her or him along.
It appears that circumstances this year left a single girl with the responsibility of organizing and planning the entire show. Amanda Ryan, your selflessness and organizational skills were greatly appreciated. Not only did you do so much yourself, you were totally sweet during the whole event. I’ve never come away from an event in the past where I felt like I needed to hug an organizer (and never let go) but I did this time. You’re a special lady and I hope you have the energy to continue to do this forever.
And to my non-Canadian friends, come to Canada! You’ll have a great time.
It’s strange how this works. My girl side is much luckier than my guy side. She wins things – little things, but he never does. Let me tell you about my latest.
I’ve always been a big fan of businesses and personalities who actually use social media. It makes them interesting, approachable and more attractive to someone like me.
One of those personalities I’ve followed for along time on Twitter is Lady Sonia, the British MILF porn lady. Her “schtick” is the unfaithful wife fantasy. I’m not sure if she or her husband does the social media work but she’s quite entertaining. Sexy, interactive, fun and very real. She also posts some very hot “teaser” photos.
So a few days ago, she asked the question “Quick competition for a free 24 hour pass to lady-sonia.com what are the *BEST* sheer-to-waist pantyhose (gusset-less) of course?” I pounced with an answer “Cecilia de Raphael 320’s” and won! So I had tons of quality porn to watch for 24 hours.
Lady Sonia is a very sexy, well-spoken, charming woman with a pretty face, a fabulous body and very large boobs. She almost always wears hosiery and stilettos, her shoot location is fabulous, she plays with lots of gorgeous, extremely hung guys (some black, some white) and even some who are site members. She does some light fetish stuff and occasionally has other women join in but the core of her site is vagina sex, big cocks, blow jobs and hand jobs. Notably missing is anal and girl-girl.
My tastes are a little too pervy to be a member of her site but, I have to say, the action is hot. You can check her out here.
Now, back to my contest winning answer. If you’re a pantyhose fan, you have to check out Cecilia de Raphael. Italian-made and quite luxurious, they have many great styles. My personal favourite are the 320’a. They’re totally seamless, including the gusset area. Although that look is quite interesting on a girl like me, I think it works best on a genetic woman. And for those who are into oral sex through pantyhose, the 320’s are totally yummy. Not inexpensive but worth the price, in my opinion.
They also make what could be the shiniest pantyhose on the market for those of us into the ultra high-gloss leg look.
Do a web search or visit your fave retailer. Check them out!
Being a tgirl has it’s advantages (haha!) when it comes to style and the creating the appearance we strive for. We have no life long attachment to our girlish physique and therefore can be very flexible without it feeling weird (lots of irony in that statement!).
I’m a girl who’s always felt we have the somewhat unique opportunity to make the boobs match the outfit .. not vise versa. Wearing a top or dress that could use a little more “fullness”? No problem! Use larger breastforms! Front buttons about to pop? Smaller boobies!
Unlike many women, I don’t identify with a particular cup size. Sometimes I’m a D, sometimes I’m a C and sometimes I’m just me (barely an A). So it surprises me that I hadn’t paid much attention to those self-stick cup-only bras made famous by Nu Bra and their ads in the media.
But while at an event recently, a discussion about these little wonders and their ability to assist in cleavage creation came up. “But don’t pay $70 each for one. Walmart sells them for $20”, I was told.
Harris K Telemacher (Steve Martin): I could never be a woman, ’cause I’d just stay home and play with my breasts all day. – L.A. Story
So shortly after I came home, the Fresh Look version appeared on my favorite designer sell-off site at 2 for $19.99 (beige and black) so I bought the pair. Not Nu Bra .. Fresh Look.
Not knowing what to expect and how they really fit, I had no idea what size would be right for me. Could I wear the bra over breastforms? Were they a me-only deal? I decided to try a C cup.
Well, it turned out that the entire cup is adhesive inside and quite sticky (at least when new) so I don’t think I’d risk sticking them to $200 forms.
So here goes! Right after my shower, no lotion this time, I separated the cups, peeled back the protective plastic film on the beige one, turned it inside out as recommended and aligned the center of the cup with my nipple. Smoothed it into place. Did the same with the other cup and connected them via the center clip.
And voila! Cleavage! Not my best ever (like in the photo above) but “all me” cleavage without any silicone. I’m not sure how much of this is due to the fact that my breasts are quite “10 o’clock – 2 o’clock” but the bra pulled them nicely together.
These little darlings certainly haven’t made me a C cup but for times when a less boobalicious look is preferred, these will work nicely. They`ll also be perfect under a totally sheer top. No more visible straps or band across the back.
Next time I wear them I`ll be sure to measure them for cup size and will post the results in an update here. I’ll also let you know if I get anywhere near the 50 wearings the manufacturer suggests.
And in closing, I lifted my top and showed them to my sweetheart. She approved, tried to `tweak`my nipples through the bra and bingo! I got that all-to-familiar hugely erotic feeling that makes me purr and makes my knees weak.
But that’s a story for another day.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her. Since most of my crowd is more mature, I assume many of you have not. But, in my opinion, she’s the face of transgenderism for the next generation. And she’s a fabulous spokesperson. Intelligent, sincere and very pretty although not as “girly” in appearance as some of us strive for, Laura Jane Grace is a songwriter and the lead singer/front person for a band called Against Me! Transgenderisn appears often in her songs, which I would call dark folk with a grunge influence. Not my cup of tea but I do respect her work.
Below is the link to her interview done by George Stroumboulopoulos for the CBC up here in Canada. It’s 22+ minutes in length but well worth a peek.
Strangely, most of the transgender community seems united with their positive feelings about the interview, although many have expressed displeasure because she failed to correct George when he said something about her “choice to transition”. Personally, I had no issue with that and even if Laura Jane did, rather than get into a discussion which likely would have caused Strombo to correct himself for his choice of terms, she had the class to move forward.
“You want them to notice, the ragged ends of your summer dress. You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot. They’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick.“~ from Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me!
Aside from being a good interviewer – he does his research – George is really a non-judgmental guy who truly does understand.
Laura Jane mentions she suggested the book Whipping Girl by Julia Serano as recommended reading for those wanting more information on gender dysphoria. Although I’ve heard of the book, I haven’t read it but likely should. If you’re interested, it’s available here.
Yes, Laura Jane has it easier than many of us. Her generation isn’t a locked in to the rigid gender “rules” quite as tightly as my generation is, she lives in the music crowd – a stereotypically non-judgmental grup – and is married to an artist, but the internal challengers and conflicts she once experienced were the same.
Although she’s doing a wonderful job bringing transgenderism to the young masses, there’s something going on behind her eyes that I find somewhat worrisome. I wish her well.
And to George Stroumboulopoulos, well done!
I thought that rather than do a review of the conference as I did last year, I’d just tell you about some of the fun I had and drop a few names along the way but, in the end, it feels just as much like a review as my ramblings last year.
This year, I arrived a full day early. This gave my spouse Kim and me extra time to explore and relax too.
A financially-painful side note to adding an extra night at the Sheraton to the original booking: no discount was available on the extra night, even though it was a Monday and consecutive with the existing multi-day reservation. It cost almost $100 more than all the other nights. Yikes! The event room rate was good for this class of hotel but take it from a girl who loves nice hotels; the regular rate is too high for a place like that.
The registration process was nothing to write home about .. “too early! We don’t open until 1:00 pm”; well excuse me. Not exactly a personable group at registration; no welcoming words or explanation of the package contents. So off to the bar to have a drink and read the conference guide in search of seminars that might interest a girl like me.
I thought the offerings this year were slightly better than last year, even though I still struggled to find anything really interesting. But Monica Prata was there! Yay! I’m a Monica groupie so I was at all of her seminars. Awesome as always! More about Monica, her presentations and her services in another post.
Last year, it seemed that Kristina was the hostess at all the outings I attended. This year it was Suzane .. awesome lady! I even had lunch with her in the hotel restaurant during one of Monica’s seminars on girl dining. Very cool and she had it together. Hopefully, moving us around safely and efficiently wasn’t too much like herding cats for Suzane.
Once again, I wasn’t impressed with the keynote speeches; but it’s that way for me (and many like me) at most events. Although a relatively small percentage of attendees either are currently or are planning to live full time as women, keynote topics all pertain mostly to topics and issues of interest to those who are. And it always seems like a forum for speakers to tell us how great they are, how much adversity they’ve overcome and what a great job they’re doing for us.
And there’s rarely an acknowledgement that the audience is international. Some of us are not too interested in hearing about changing interpretations of the US constitution, which US states do and which US states don’t, or who pays for which treatment in America. But it’s a U.S. conference so I suppose we shouldn’t complain even though I’m not the only one who felt marginalized and excluded.
Laughter is universal and positive. How about a daily dose of comedy instead of similar speakers delivering similar messages?
Are you tired of me whining yet? ha!
The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey was wonderful .. clean, pleasant, no elevator issues. Luncheons were quite good, especially considering several hundred people were dining at the same time. Service in the dining area was wonderful too.
The hotel bar, the Dog and Pony Lounge, was packed every night; live entertainment or karaoke .. fun!
On a personal level, this was the first event I’ve attended since I quit smoking several months ago. As expected, I really did miss the socializing in the outside smoking areas. For those of you who don’t smoke, there’s a certain rapport … a friendliness .. that persists in the smoking area. Although I know my cigarette smoking days are over forever, the quick, fleeting, friendly encounters that happen, usually in less than pleasant weather, will always be missed. Y’all might hate me for saying this but, in my opinion, smokers are just cooler people.
To the two girls who didn’t attend this year because they felt the Vanity Club presence was too much last year, please know that it appeared to be less this year. But in my opinion, the Pink Essence presence was significant and the huge photo background in the lobby was a bit much.
Carrabbas Italian Grill in Hershey was nice; the food was very good and the service was excellent. A chain restaurant doing it right. A perfect place for our welcome dinner.
Dining in the Mountainview Dining Terrace at the Hollywood Race Track and Casino was also very good and lots of fun! Our server, Monique, was fabulous.
Char’s at Tracy Mansion was wonderful fine dining in an elegant setting on the river. Yummy coconut martinis too. Char herself even dropped by to welcome us. I highly recommend Char’s to anyone looking for something upscale.
I did overhear a slightly unsettling customer dialog at Char’s as we all entered. Woman: “what kind of group is that?” The response was unintelligible to which she replied “oooooh”. But all was fine and, frankly, I can’t blame anyone for wondering about our group.
So, to Dianne V – my best event buddy from far, far away; Monica P – an inspiration; Scarlett T – my fave makeup artist; Suzane O – our fearless leader this time; Kat W – one classy lady who always seems to look at me like I’m from Mars (haha!); Penny P – my best friend from Erie Sisters; Samantha J – another best friend from Erie Sisters; Roxanne M – an event rookie who seemed like an event pro; Davina and Cyndi G – the very cool road warriors; Tania W – a wonderful lady, a hottie and a pleasure to chat with …. the minutes or hours I spent with you all were special, and I thank you for that.
And to that sweet couple from somewhere in New England (I think), “Patricia” and trans spouse with the killer heels and awesome furs, I really wish we would have shared contact info. If either of you happen to stumble upon this, please get in touch.
I took no pictures at all this year (other than the one at the top of this article that I scooped from the dash cam video). None. Zero. Nadda. Zilch. Wow.
The hotel, although very nice, is not on the same level as the gorgeous SCC venue in Atlanta or even most of the hotels and B&B’s in Provincetown but the facility is a step up from the rather “rustic’ Fantasia Fair event locations. The place was spotless, they treated us well and the food, both in the banquet hall and the restaurant was very good. All in all, a wonderful venue for an event like this!
I didn’t find the event staff to be excessively personable (Suzane was the exception this year); definitely not even close to the smiling, chatty, fab volunteers at Fantasia Fair. But the schedule worked, the buses were there when expected and I believe the seminars all happened as planned.
There did seem to be an awful lot of makeup artists in attendance. I’m not sure how well any of them did financially since supply seemed much greater than demand.
But if you can only attend one event each year, I think the Keystone Conference is the one to attend. A much better value, more organized and more fun than Southern Comfort Conference; less expensive (albeit shorter in duration), less weather-affectable and less geographically spread out than Fantasia Fair and a little more high heel friendly.
And to some of us, that’s really important!
Here’s my review of the Keystone Transgender Conference in Harrisburg PA. My darling Kim is joining me on this one so I’ll be reviewing the conference from her perspective as well as mine. The conference starts on Wednesday March 13th and runs until Sunday March 17th.
I’ve been told there are usually around 300 in attendance but this year attendance will much higher than that. Since the Be All Conference in Chicago has been cancelled, likely indefinitely, it seems that many of the regular Be All attendees will be at Keystone. This would make the Keystone Conference the 2nd largest in North America.
Hope the organizers can handle the sudden growth.
My bags are packed for an early morning departure! Since the event runs over four days, eight changes of clothes should be sufficient. So I’m bringing twelve! No worries about checked bag limits this time. Harrisburg is a 6-ish hour drive … maybe 8 hours in total including stops along the way .. so waiting around the airport for a short flight in to Baltimore, renting a car and driving a couple hours back towards home doesn’t really make sense.
Rumor has it that the host hotel is totally booked, a second hotel is full and late reservations are using a third hotel. I imagine it’s just another day for the folks at the Sheraton but, personally, I worry a bit about messed up reservations when hotels are this full.
Also looking forward to spending time with my best girl friend Dianne. I haven’t seen her since last October and she’s flown over 16 hours to be here.
But so far so good. The online event registration process worked like a charm; the hotel handled our room upgrade wishes and my questions to the organizers got quick responses although general communication from the event organizers has been light.
The drive to the conference was nice. Not exactly colorful but still quite scenic.
The hotel is very nice too. Much nicer than it appears online. Clean, modern, spacious and the staff is very nice to us.
Had dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Mechanicsburg. Carabbas Italian Grill was quite busy, but the service was perfect. After a long day, I chilled back at the hotel in the Dog and Pony Lounge with friends and went up to sleep a little past 1:00am. Service in the bar was somewhat slow.
Thursday March 14, 2013
Slept until after 9:00am … I needed that! Lunch at the hotel was nice. Excellent keynote speaker. Kye Allums is a young female-to-male transgender who spent some time in the national spotlight in the US in the basketball world.
After lunch I checked out the vendor area. It was interesting but I really didn`t see much there that appealed to me. But late in the afternoon, I attended a seminar on Comportment by Monica Prata, Feminine Image Consultant. Monica is in the process of launching Nouveau She, a service that “provides full-range femininity training in-person and online for individuals who are cross-dressing, transitioning or integrating their masculinity with their femininity.” Monica is very knowledgeable, is totally gorgeous and a lot of fun.
(Side note story about Monica: Did I mention gorgeous? She is. Picture this; she’s wearing a sexy, frilly black top, tight grey mini, dark hose and black heels .. and she’s talking to us about feminine movement and stance. With legs spread a little and her weight on both feet she said “Don’t stand like this! It doesn’t look feminine.” But when standing like that, she looked very sexy. Next she said “Shoulders back, but not your chest out. It looks off-balance and silly” but again, when she stood that way, she looked fabulous, and again, very sexy. 🙂 So for most of us there, remembering only her words will help with our appearance but we need to erase the images she presented from our mind. Only goes to show, when you’ve got it (as she does), there isn’t much you can do wrong. But when you don’t have it (like the rest of us), attention to detail is important. )
In the evening, took the motor coach to the Hollywood Casino in Hershey. Again .. nice dinner, great Merlot, lost a few dollars gambling and then back to the Dog and Pony lounge for karaoke. The place was crazy. A couple vodka tonics there (no karaoke for this girl) and I`m off to sleep again.
Friday March 15, 2013
Took it easy this morning … the late nights are already catching up with me. Coffee in the Club Lounge, got caught up on my email and went to lunch with the conference group. But on the way to lunch, I stopped by the vendor area to be sure that Scarlett from Scarlett’s Makeovers was here. I have an appointment with her right after lunch for an advice session. Got to meet Scarlett’s partner while I was there. She’s gorgeous and very sweet.
Noticed as soon as I got towards the banquet room that attendance is still growing. Wow. It seems that many don’t come for the entire conference. There might be twice as many here now as there was on the first day.
Lunch was excellent (bravo again Sheraton!) but the keynote speaker, Mara Keisling, didn’t interest me very much at all so it was okay that I had to leave during dessert for my one o’clock appointment with Scarlett. I chose Scarlett because we had met at Fantasia Fair in Provincetown last October and I thought she was very cool and very talented. She gave me a few tips; foundation is a little heavy, concealer for the darkness around my eyes (too many late nights!), heavier blush, some shading tips to take the focus away from my nose (the “nose that could stop a bus” .. hehe!) and some eye lash suggestions.
I don’t wear false eyelashes all that often but the one’s I do wear are a little extreme for my face. So I’ll be replacing by Red Cherry #100’s with #510’s … and I need to start trimming the lash length (left to right .. not the length of the individual lashes). All great advice. I left Scarlett looking much nicer and am very appreciative of the time I spent with her..
Dinner was downtown at Raspberries. Around 40 of us were there. Food was very good and the staff treated us fabulously. It was a short walk to the Open Stage Theater. The theater was great fun! The cast is very talented and the other theater-goers were cool with us joining them. Christy Snow and Hayden were our escorts for the evening and they took wonderful care of us. Christy’s a darling and she works so hard to keep us organized. And Hayden was awesome too. It’s great having a trans guy looking out for us.
The “faces” of the attendees seems to have changed again. The crowd is even larger, which I imagine confirms my suspicions that many only come for the last couple days.
Another wonderful lunch provided by the nice people at the Sheraton, and another token keynote speaker to tell us the same old story. This time it was Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. , and personally, I found her political references silly, boring and exclusionary to those of us in attendance who are not from the USA . So what if she met Michelle Obama? I met Judy, the bus driver, and I sincerely believe Judy wasn’t nice to me simply because she wanted my vote. haha!
Back to my room to dress for the gala. Three outfits to choose from!
I met quite a few local people at the Gala on Saturday evening that identify as lesbian or gay. Although it’s considered to be a great party, many appeared to be there mostly to support the local trans community. I found it very impressive that so many in the central PA LGBT really do support each other. We spoke to several gays and lesbians in attendance and they were funny, sincere and just a pleasure to chat with.
Now about that party. Hors d’ovueres we’re everywhere and the cocktails were generous but not exceptionally pricey. Dinner was very good (I had the pork ..lol).
But the speeches .. hmmm. Another self-serving Keynote speaker .. this time it was Dr.Jillian Weiss, Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College. .. who basically gave us yet another of those rah-rah pep talks about how the trans community is “one”. Wishful thinking for the activists and those who are looking to advance the acceptance of those of us who have or will transition. But I personally believe that majority of those in attendance didn’t fit into that category. (Dr Weiss is currently on the board of Lambda Legal .. an organization I respect a lot. )
Aside from the keynote address, the conference organizer spent much podium time thanking some vendors and those who provided financial support for the event but I would have much rather been able to applaud the individuals who’s hard work made the event possible. I prefer to think of them as the heroes and heroines as opposed to those who were there to generate revenue, regardless how generous they were.
So to those who worked so hard behind the scenes, please know that many of us think you’re awesome and are very appreciative.
On a personal note, I’d like to give a special shout-out to the following people for making my Keystone Conference so memorable:
Will I return to the Keystone Conference? Quite possibly. I really did have a great time but, as always, the fun comes from the socializing that goes on during and after the scheduled events.
Nylon. Of all the fabrics commonly used today, there might be none that invokes a deeper erotic feeling for so many of us. I know, along with latex, it does for me. And I assume it does for many of you too.
“I don’t go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons” ~ Billy Wilder (Austrian-born American motion picture director and producer)
In all the time I’ve had this website, I’ve never ever got a comment from a visitor saying how much he or she would like to take my stockings off. And there hasn’t been a single request for bare legs photos. So I know you feel the way I do.
On this note I have something really exciting to share with you. Through a Twitter connection I found the most wonderful website. A haven for those of us who love nylon .. and legs, heels and lingerie for that matter.
MyBackseam.com is a very new world with a very friendly user interface and a wonderfully classy look. But the really exciting thing about it is the people. Yes, I’ve joined many sites in my day but have never found a group like this one. And as time goes by and as content grows, this site will be
something you want to be a part of. And it’s not all about stockings. Pantyhose, garter belts, heels, girdles, toes are all there. There’s even a wonderful section where members post their own candid “nylon sightings” captured out in public.
Oh sure, there’s a lot of reposting photos from the internet but there’s also a lot of original content there too. And that realism makes it very exciting for me.
No, it’s not a t-girl site .. most of the people there are men and women .. but they’ve accepted me, and those like me, with open arms. The people are real, the dialog is very sexy yet intelligent, the photos are steamy yet classy and the blogs and stories are extremely hot yet professional.
Lisa and Nick are the site owners. Nick has an unsurpassed eye for finding nylon hotness in the world and Lisa is sweet, intelligent and oh so sexy.
And the best thing of all … the site is totally free, There’s no “this is the free part but if you pay you get this too” stuff. All totally free!
“No. Better research needed. Fire your research person. No fishnet stockings. Never. Not in this band.” ~ Gene Simmons
No … I have no commercial interest in promoting MyBackseam.com .. and you understand me well enough to know that it takes some pretty intense feelings for me to promote anything or anyone here but this is something I really feel strongly about.
So please, if nylon, legs, feet or heels are your thing, give MyBackseam a try. And please don’t just surf as a guest. Sign up. It only takes a minute.
And add me as a friend if you do. It’s become the place where I’m the most interactive and I’d love to chat and share thoughts and feelings with you there. As I begin to sunset my profiles on MySpace and Yahoo, this is likely where you’ll find me going forward and I look forward to seeing you there!
For the past couple of months, I’ve been following Jessica-Who on Twitter. I believe Jessica found me there, and as always, I checked out her tweets to see if a reciprocal “follow” was in order. Wow, was I impressed!
Twitter is used by many to bring attention to their “other” initiatives and this is the case with Jessica. Her tweets are always fun and include the latest TG happenings from the news and entertainment world but the excitement starts at her linked website.
Jessica-Who.com is a very professional, great looking, informative, entertaining blog site centered around all things transgendered. It’s written with personality, humor and compassion, and is updated often. Not all topics will apply to everyone but I honestly believe that you’ll enjoy most everything there.
Jessica’s married and quite young by (ahem) my standards (I won’t tell you what she said upon learning of my employment status .. lol) and brings a fresh outlook to many of the life experiences we’ve all been through in the early stages of our transgendered “careers”, albeit many years ago.
I’ve chosen an email subscription but there are other ways to follow Jessica, if email isn’t your style.
Please check her out! Jessica-Who.com.
Those that know me, know that I prefer to shop on eBay. I find that the power of “feedback” works very well in assuring reasonable service. I’m really not after any special “exceeded my expectations ” service. But it’s quite difficult to get advice when buying on eBay so sometimes I leave the relatively safety of that world and venture into the world of internet vendors.
I’ve had some frustrations recently with that I’d like to share.
First off, I bought a “high quality” corset from Nightshade Corsets back in October with the intention of wearing it to the Fetish Ball in Las Vegas. Based on the advice I got, I ended up with the wrong size (I know, I’m a tough fit). Graciously, the store offered to exchange it. I immediately (same day) returned the corset and paid for another one. When my return was received I was immediately credited for it’s cost but a few critical days went by (with unanswered email expressing my willingness to pay extra for expedited shipping) and eventually I was told the replacement item was shipped. Of course, the corset arrived after I left for Las Vegas.
Well now, after only a couple rather gentle wearings I’ve noticed that one of the steel bones is poking out of the bottom trim. I’ll try to have it repaired but honestly, I’ve gotten better wear out of a relatively cheap $200 corset and this one was substantially more expensive.
My other frustrations is regarding MAC Cosmetics online. For whatever reason, my emails to them keep going unanswered. Twice I’ve had to resend, only to get a “thanks for your patience” reply. The delays have caused me to miss the big annual online sale, and I was planning to spend a ton of money. I’ve been told that MAC is “friendly” to girls like me so I imagine the problems might just be procedural, but who knows.
I’m sticking with Dermablend.