29 December 2012

This year's Christmas nails

I'm a bit late getting around to this post, but here are this year's Christmas nails, which I had done on the Wednesday before Christmas.

I've followed the same theme of alternating textured green and smooth red as I did in the previous 2 years. Two years ago, I went with a single colour on each nail. Last year, I added gold tips, but after a few days found that I felt that the tips emphasised the length of the nails in a way that made them look disproportionate.

This year I decided to go back to a single colour on each nail, but to change the shades. I was so happy with the green that I used for my Halloween Tinkerbell costume that I decided to use it for the Christmas green. The red this time is the one that I used when I went to the Lindy Charm School.

Unfortunately, on the day before my nail appointment, I tore one of my nails off part way down the nail bed. It's the first time that I've torn a nail off this badly since I've had acrylic on them ~ they usually snap across the tip past the nail bed. In fact, I can't remember ever tearing a nail this badly, but that could just my memory getting worse in my old age. :P

The result was that I had 9 nails done on the Wednesday, leaving the damaged one to heal for a few days then going back to get it done on the Saturday. That meant that I had them all done in time for a family gathering on the Sunday, and for the rest of the Christmas celebrations.

14 November 2012

1950s makeup

For years, I've followed the warm/cool colouring and seasons concepts of co-ordinating makeup and clothing colours with your skin and natural hair colour.

It came as something of a shock, then, to be told on Saturday that lips must always be bright red, blush pink and eyeliner black for 1950s makeup. When I say pink blush, I mean bright pale pink!

While clothing might be coordinated to hair and skin tone, doing so was less of a consideration back then, and these basic makeup colours are constants, independent of everything else.

Then I stopped and thought about it and realised that the whole colour coordination seasons concept appeared in the 1980s as far as I know, so it's not that they were breaking the rules in the 1950s, but that the rules hadn't been written back then.

So, while pink blush and black eyeliner might not be the best colours to compliment my natural colouring, they are period correct colours and I won't achieve an effective retro look without using them. I'm also still getting used to the idea that no matter what colour clothes you wear, the lipstick is always bright red.

So what are the differences between retro makeup and modern makeup?
  • Foundation is basically the same ~ matched fairly closely to skin tone, but nominally no highlighting and contouring. Because I tend to do very subtle highlighting and contouring, I think that I can still get away with it. :) With the hairstyles revealing more of my hairline where I colour it in, I'm going to have to blend the edges more than I have been.
  • Blush is not only a completely different colour, but it also goes in a completely different place. Smile so that you get a pair of bulges either side of your nose, and that's where the blush goes. It's still blended of course, but this position is quite different to the modern line along the cheek bone way of doing blush! I'd already applied a bit of my usual colour blush in the usual place before the class, so my results weren't as effective as they could have been.
  • Eyebrows are longer. Over time, I, along with a lot of women, have reduced the outer ends of my brows and even though my moderately thin brows are okay, they needed to extend in a bit of a curve out and down from the ends to frame my eyes more.
  • Eyeshadow is almost a non-event. At most, a slight hint of white under the peaks of the brows, very lightly applied and blended in.
  • Eyeliner should ideally be a bold black line over the top lid, rising at the outside end of the eyes, but my eyelids are too hooded for this to work. If I apply the ideal line with an eye closed and let it dry, it vanishes into the fold when I open the eye. I'm still not sure what I can do about this short of surgery. There should be absolutely no eyeliner below the eye!
  • Mascara, like eyeliner, is for top lashes only. Full top lashes are the aim, and false lashes or lots of coats of mascara are fine. My bottom lashes are so blonde that they are invisible, particularly since I can no longer get them tinted, and I'm yet to work out whether I should apply one coat of mascara just to define the lashes or leave them completely invisible.
  • Lips not only have to be red but they also need to be full and balanced top to bottom with a bow on top, which means a little overdrawing for me, as well as the usual slightly unbalanced application to correct for my uneven lips. Contrary to appearance, my lips were even in the photo accompanying this post, but it was a candid shot where my mouth was a little wonky.

The explanation for mascara and eyeliner being on the top only was that movie cameras and lighting of the era tended to create shadows from any makeup under the eyes, resulting in the appearance of dark circles. By avoiding makeup under the eyes, they avoided the shadows, and because that's how the movie stars had their makeup, everybody else copied!

The headaches and sleepiness that I mentioned last week are back, so I haven't managed to do any makeup or hair styling since Saturday, but I really hope to have a go at it again within the next few days.

As a footnote to yesterday's post about using Brylcreem to treat dandruff, last night I found a post from last year from when the problem started. It was caused by a Minoxidil solution that I trialled and saw very little result from.

13 November 2012


Yes, I know that I said yesterday that makeup was next, but this just came up and I was so impressed I wanted to write about it first!

On Saturday, it was suggested that we buy either a special flyaway cream or Brylcreem (from the men's grooming section at the supermarket) to control flyaway hairs. The idea is to get a tiny bit of it on the bristles of a comb, then comb it into the problem areas after completing styling but before spraying with hairspray.

Fair enough.

So on Sunday, I went to Charlestown to pick up a new brush (something else that I'd discovered on Saturday that I needed) and a pot of Brylcreem. When I found it, I realised that there were 2 types ~ regular and anti-dandruff. The anti-dandruff version contains pyrithione zinc 0.1% W/W (by weight). This is the same active ingredient as used in many anti-dandruff shampoos.

I've been having a bit of trouble with peeling skin style dandruff, just near my hairline around my forehead, both across the middle of the top and down the sides, so I decided to experiment by rubbing in the lightest smear of Brylcreem using a couple of finger tips. It actually released most of the peeling skin from the scalp. Problem solved!

So now I have discovered a product that has been around for decades, and I have multiple uses for it. I'd call that a win. :)

12 November 2012

There's no substitute for hands-on experience

I'm gradually working my way through all of the things that I learned on Saturday. It's amazing how much you can absorb in one day, and how long you can spend trying to get it all sorted out again!

This wasn't meant to come out sounding like an advertisement, but I suspect that it will. In fact, I started this post with the title "1950s makeup", but got so far off track that I've decided to change the title of this one, and do the makeup post next. I assure you, though, that I haven't been paid to write this post, I'm just an incredibly happy customer!

In effect, these blog posts following the lesson are my notes on what I got from the day. I'm pretty certain that if you were to search the internet, you'd find all of the information that I've learned and more about styling from the mid 20th century, so I don't think that I'm giving away any trade secrets.

I think that my experience has demonstrated very strongly, to me at least, that with something as practical as hair and makeup, what you can get from the internet is never going to be a substitute for doing a class with experienced teachers.

Like the lessons that I've done in the past in rockabilly dancing, belly dancing and yoga, as well as my university degree and apprenticeship (and all the other stuff that I can't think of off hand), when you've done the hands-on training, you are far better equipped to understand and use information that you can find on line or in books.

It's likely that as I work on trying to gain proficiency in vintage hair, makeup and styling, I'll combine what I learned on Saturday with quite a bit of information found on line, but I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't done the lessons I did on Saturday, I would still be trying to figure out where to start, assuming that I could even motivate myself to start. Saturday was a big kick in the posterior for me, and has got me moving. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to keep that momentum up. :)

If you're in Australia and you're interested in learning about vintage hair and makeup, I'd encourage you to take a course with The Lindy Charm School. If you're somewhere else in the world, have a look around to see if there is something comparable where you are. If not, perhaps it's time to start planning a holiday in Australia. :P

11 November 2012

I need a haircut!

Back in August last year, I mentioned that when I straighten my hair, about 4 inches at the ends didn't straighten properly, and that Sharon, the manager at Tree of Life in Charlestown had said that it needed to be cut off.

Later, the hair dresser that I went to at Maitland (because he came highly recommended) insisted that it was great and just needed a bit of a trim.

I've since had it trimmed again by a local hairdresser while getting my first lot of foils done just before IMATS. She didn't say anything about the condition of the ends, but I've already found split ends since that trim.

At The Lindy Charm School yesterday, Sharon's comments were confirmed when one of the teachers observed that the last 3 inches or so of my hair is damaged, limp, lifeless and is weighing the rest down. That's the 4 inches or so that was a problem last year, less the couple of trims that I've had since.

I did several hairstyles yesterday, and those damaged ends were an issue, particularly with the 1940s to 1950s wave styles that were done using the hot rollers. I know that it was my first attempt using hot rollers, but the damaged ends did exactly what the teacher suggested, weighing the rest down and looking scruffy.

I'll have to talk to the hairdresser who did my foils recently. If she can't see the damage, I'll have to try to find someone who can. I'm not all that happy about taking that length off, but it's clearly going to have to go, and I want to get it cut by a hairdresser who actually recognises the damage.

10 November 2012

A great day

By the time I had organised myself for The Lindy Charm School today, I didn't get to bed until 12:45am, with my alarm set for 5:45am...

I have to say, it was worth it. It was a great day!

I filled my pilots case with hair and makeup gear, having to pack the last of it after getting ready this morning. That made for very un-feminine weight lifting exercises getting it in and out of the car and carrying it up and down the stairs at MisKonduct Klothing, even if I was doing it in 5" Siren stilettos (the ones at the right end of the row in my recent post about Choosing high heels.) :)

Any doubts that I might have had about whether the staff at MisKonduct knew about me were dispelled today, in a quite positive way. Similarly, I was made to feel completely welcome by the staff and other students at The Lindy Charm School.

After looking enviously at the beautiful bright auburn hair of Chelsea, one of the other students who looked vaguely familiar, I discovered at lunch time that this wasn't the first time I'd envied her hair ~ we used to belly dance together several years ago, and she used to work where we bought drinks and icecream when shopping at Charlestown Square around the same time. She now lives in Sydney, but came to Newcastle for the weekend to go to the Charm School (because it was booked out last time it was on in Sydney) and to visit family. It was great to catch up with her. :)

There's a lot more that I could say about the day, but having packed everything away, I'm too exhausted to do much more tonight. I'll probably post a bit more about it in the next few days.

09 November 2012

Rapid preparations

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to Lindy Charm School tomorrow. I'm feeling a combination of trepidation and elation. Trepidation because I don't know how I'll be received, how well I'll be able to keep up, or even if I'll be able to get everything organised in such a short time. Elation because it's something that I've wanted to do since the first time I ever heard of it, but never thought that I'd even be game to ask.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my nails done in a nice solid slightly orangey red, and took off a bit of length to get them somewhat like the 1950s style.

I also dragged out my makeup brush roll and thoroughly washed the lot, whether I thought they needed it or not. I was a bit of a shock to realise that of the 24 brushes left after I threw out a disintegrated foam tipped applicator, I use around 18 of them for a normal makeup application!

On the information for what to take with you, it says

Your own make up – Don’t stress if you do not possess much but a mascara, eye liner, foundation, cheek stain, & lippy would be good.
I'm looking at what I'd tend to pack thinking that I could be embarrassed for the opposite reason ~ having way too much makeup, too many brushes etc. 

I also have 3 new brushes still in their packaging, including a 2nd foundation brush that I'll put into my roll when I wash the other one after doing my makeup in the morning. Makeup is one of the reasons I'm not sure how I'll go. I guess that we'd be expected to turn up without any and apply it during the lesson, but I don't think that I could go out en femme without makeup ~ my skin just isn't good enough to do that! I'll go for minimal eye makeup and try to keep the rest subtle so that I can build up over it. That's about the best I can do.

It also said that, for the intermediate class (the afternoon session), I'd also need to take

2 Slide Combs (matching your hair colour)
Hot Rollers and/or Hot Sticks
I didn't have any of these, so I did a little shopping last night and picked up a couple of packets of slide combs and a hot roller set. I couldn't find the bright orange combs that used to be common, but for less than $3 each, I grabbed a pack of clear and a pack of darker brown. I suspect that the clear will work better but at least I've got the option.

I see the hot rollers as an investment. I've never done much with my hair before, but I liked the way the huge bun worked for me, so this might be the start of much more adventurous hair styling for me. :)

I still have to work out what to wear. I've got so many pairs of heels that would work well with many of my dresses, but I don't have flats that would look right and I'm not sure that my modern heels would be the right thing to wear...

08 November 2012

Lindy Charm School

I just got news that I've been accepted for the Lindy Charm School on Saturday. I'm literally shaking!

For those who don't know what a charm school is, it's a day of workshops on how to do hair and makeup and select clothing in 1940s and 1950s styles.

I've seen them advertised before, but I'd never seriously considered applying to do one! I wasn't sure that they'd be happy for me to go, so I sent a link to my flickr photos and blog in an email explaining who I am and asking if they'd have me, and the answer that came back was yes. The only real question was whether it was all my own hair (which it is), since wigs and synthetic extensions cannot be styled using the techniques to be taught at the workshop. :)

To do what I want to do for the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I really need to do this first, so it just suddenly feels like things are coming together.

And guess where it's being held? Upstairs at MisKonduct Klothing, who were also asked if they thought that it would be okay for me to go, and also said yes!

I've got to go shopping to get some hair accessories for Saturday, and pay online, but that's easy! Oh, and work out what to wear...

I guess I'll get my nails done red today. Maybe not favourite orangey red but a 1950s style red red. Hmm. Still don't know which shade but it'll be red! ;)

07 November 2012

Breaking a drug habit

No, I haven't got myself addicted to illicit drugs, or even legal drugs for that matter. I don't drink alcohol, I don't smoke or inject anything, but for a while now, I've been taking ibuprofen for headache and back pain.

The problem is that instead of just taking it occasionally, I got to the stage of habitually taking 2 with breakfast and 2 with dinner, every day, as a precautionary measure because when I don't take it, the pain comes back...

Unlike codeine, which is often combined with ibuprofen to make addictive extra-strength pain relievers (which featured on the ABC 7:30 report last night), inbuprofen is not an addictive drug, but it is the part of the combined pain relievers that actually causes major medical problems if used continuously and excessively.

Ibuprofen is not supposed to be used continuously, as people addicted to codeine do, and I had been until about a week ago.

I've been aware of the potential medical problems and trying to convince myself that it's not that bad because the instructions say that 6 per day is the maximum dose, but I've only been taking 4. About a week ago, I decided that I needed to face reality and stop taking ibuprofen for a while. I'm just going to have to toughen up and get used to living with the pain.

If my sciatica becomes bad enough to be debilitating, I'll have to take it again, but only for a short period until the sciatica settles down again. That's how I originally used it, and that's how I've get to go back to using it.

That means that I'm currently adjusting to living with dull to moderate levels of pain in all sorts of places including my back, and the occasional bad headache or migraine that goes along with cutting out ibuprofen for a while.

My work productivity is shot because my concentration is shot, so I'm stressing about the work that I'm not getting done. I struggle to get out of bed at a reasonable time, but after a few days I'm actually finding that I'm more aware of being tired earlier in the evenings, which might help me to finally start getting my sleep pattern under control.

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that I didn't go out last night even though it was Melbourne Cup day. Aside from working towards my plan to go to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival next year, I have no specific plans to go out en femme soon. I need concentrate on getting myself sorted out, and if opportunities present themselves along the way, I'll try to take them.

06 November 2012

Returning to the scene...

Shortly after typing up yesterday's post, I headed out to Cardiff to do a couple of little errands. Since I was nearby, I wandered into the Lifeline shop, where the full length Halloween photo was taken.

The manager, Brenda, was there. I commented to her that she hadn't been there on the Saturday, and she replied that no, she wasn't there, but she'd seen the photos. I'd forgotten that while a couple of photos were taken using my camera, Bev was taking photos with her phone. In fact, I was looking at Bev when the photo that I used here was taken.

I can't remember Brenda's exact words yesterday but there was something in there about needing a fire extinguisher because I was so hot. :P

05 November 2012

Dreaming about green nails

It seems that my nails have made into my dreams.

I rarely remember dreams, probably mostly because I don't get enough sleep to dream all that much. When I do remember a dream, it's usually just a tiny snippet rather than a whole dream.

True to form, today I remember a tiny snippet of a dream.

Snap. Oops. I look down at my nails, which are painted in the current green polish and realise that I've snapped the tip off the left pinkie. My reaction is "Damn, my nail appointment isn't for another few days yet."

Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup day. Unlike last year and the year before, I've done nothing about a special outfit for cup day. I looked in my wardrobe last night and found one dress that would go okay with my green nail polish, but I'm not all that keen on it. No, I'm not counting the Tinkerbell costume as an option! :)

I have quite a bit of preparation work that I need to do if I'm going to go out to the cafe night tomorrow night, and I'm now trying to decide whether changing nail colour should be part of that, as I have several dresses that I would like to wear, none of which go with my present nail colour.

I wonder if changing nail colour would also reduce the chance of breaking a nail. :P

04 November 2012

More comments arising

I blame Meg from Call Me Meg for getting me into Freecycle. After she mentioned it in her blog, I found out from a few people locally that there was a Freecycle group in my area.

Like Meg, I've picked up and given away some clothes through Freecycle. I've also picked up and given away other completely unrelated items such as giving away my father's old concrete mixer and a couple of garden sheds, and picking up various other items.

So it was that today, I borrowed a friend's trailer and drove about 30km (20Mi) each way to pick up a piece of machinery that had been dragged out of the back of an elderly American guy's garage because it was easier for him to buy a new cheap Chinese unit than to repair a minor fault in the  home-made one that he'd made 25 years ago.

He was quite friendly. I deliberately backed the trailer into his driveway while keeping the car almost parallel to the street, putting the trailer almost sideways relative to my car while neatly taking it over the invert without scraping the kerb and he complimented my ability to manoeuvre a small trailer. We chatted about how much easier it is to manoeuvre big trailers than small and a few other things while loading the machine onto the trailer.

Of course, coming out of the back of his shed, the machine was quite dirty. I keep gloves in the car for such occasions, and I used them to load it onto the trailer, then kept them on while tying it down.

I commented that I wouldn't normally wear gloves while tying ropes, but that the rope was dirty. Without the slightest hint of disapproval, he commented something along the lines that I'd want to wear the gloves particularly with those nails.

I mentioned that the nails were green for Halloween, and the conversation moved onto the decline of Halloween in the USA because of social changes that have made it too dangerous in some places. After a bit more small talk as I secured the load, I thanked him for the machine, he thanked me for actually showing up to collect it (apparently failure to turn up to collect something that you're getting for free is a big issue with Freecycle!?!), we shook hands and off I went.

Of all of the colours that I've had my nails, this green has been the best conversation starter of the lot. It's not really a great polish, as it took 3 coats to get a reasonable application, and it's not a colour that goes with much of my clothing, but it's a great one for getting people to comment.

Ironically, the only person who I can recall ever saying anything negative about my nails is my mother, who would prefer that I go back to having normal male nails.

As an aside, one of the other guys that I chatted to at the party on Saturday night was clean shaven with one stud in each ear. I'm probably completely wrong, but I can't shake the feeling that I may have met him before en femme.

03 November 2012

Yeah, Occasionally ~ Revisited

Work has overwhelmed me again over the past few days. I had intended to post another follow-up on comments arising from Saturday, then I intended to post about an interesting little intersection of people from different parts of my life, and now there's a much more interesting story to relate, so I'll just put the three little stories together as one post.

On Thursday night, I went back to Price Attack in Charlestown Square, where I had bought the hair buns and the green nail polish for the Tinkerbell outfit. Having picked up the nail polish for $5, I thought I'd go back and see what other colours they had in the $5 basket. It was close to closing time, and I ended up in a conversation with the staff there about the hair bun donuts that I'd bought, including the fact that the height caused me to hit the garage door and have trouble fitting into the car.

That led to showing them the two photos that are on here, and explaining that I'd done it for the Saturday in Cardiff.

Apparently I should have spent more time wandering around, as there were some shops around the edges of the area that I didn't go to, and one of the women working at Price Attack was handing out lollies at her mother's hairdressing salon on the day.

So next year, I've not only got to improve on this year's costume, but I also have to try to get there much closer to 9am.

On Friday afternoon, I was working close to a shop called MisKonduct Klothing, that recently went from being an online store and selling at markets to having their own shop selling 1950s inspired clothing. To tie in with that, they also have a 1950s style cafe area in the back of the shop. It's run by a couple, with the girl running the dress shop and the guy working as the barista in the cafe.

I wandered into the shop in boy mode hoping to have a look at dresses, since I intend to go to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival next year retro en femme. Because of other people that we know, how unsubtle I am, etc, I'm assuming that they know about me, but nothing's ever been said.

I got talking to the barista, who has been a client of mine for years, then realised that one of the Vespa riders who turns up at the Lotus restaurant on Tuesday nights (when our group are there for our cafe nights) was there. I had a bit of a chat with him as well. Until then, he only knew me in girl mode, but he said nothing that would out me.

So after chatting for over an hour, I still didn't get to look at the dresses let alone try any on. I'm thinking that I should just go there in girl mode. :)

This afternoon and evening (Saturday) proved to be far more interesting than the previous two days combined!

I went to a birthday party in boy mode tonight, for the mother of one of the boys my son goes to school with. I have mentioned this family before, in the post Yeah, Occasionally. Several people asked about my green nails, and I said that it was for Halloween, and explained the whole Cardiff Saturday morning arrangement.

Of course, someone then had to ask what I went as, so I said "Tinkerbell". They didn't believe me until I showed them the photos. ;)

I ended up showing the photos to several people and relating the story of the bun being so high that I hit my head on the garage door and couldn't fit into the car properly.

The husband, who was the one who had previously asked if I dressed up to go with my nails, said tonight that he was hoping that I'd turn up "as [my] alter ego", and I told him that I would not do that unless specifically invited to do so. Consequently, I've been told that the next party that I'm invited to at their place, I'm to go in girl mode. :)

30 October 2012

Comments arising

A few comments have been made in the past two days, that relate to Saturday, or my nails being green, which was of course for Saturday. All of the comments have been positive.

I had to drop into the building society on Monday afternoon to ask about something. The manager, who I think may have been one of the two staff members present on Saturday who I didn't speak to, answered my query.

Before I left, one of the other tellers who had complimented me on Saturday commented "You look different today", and smirked. The one who had been outside on Saturday and not recognised me until I turned around greeted me by name as I walked past, as if nothing had ever happened.

I bought a wig back in 1999 from a salon that has since moved and changed owner, but the original owner still works there part time. On my way between clients today, I decided to drop into that salon to ask about getting my wigs washed, since they have been sitting out on stands getting dusty, and I haven't worn them in ages.

The current owner commented on my nails, assuming that I was in some sort of show. I told her that I always have my nails done, but that this colour was for my Halloween costume, then showed her the full length photo from Saturday. Aside from being quite complimentary, she asked if I went to the Lotus restaurant, which is where the regular cafe nights are held. I explained that I used to go there all the time but circumstances have prevented me from getting there much this year.

After the hair salon, I went to see a client. The two women at the front counter often comment on my nails, and always in a positive way. Today, the obvious question was why were my nails green. I told them that it was for Halloween and that's all that was said. They didn't ask what my costume was that needed green nails. Like many people, it's a case of knowing but choosing not saying anything.

I guess I'm just a pessimist. I keep expecting bad things to happen because so many other people claim that they do, but I'm happy to say that they haven't happened to me any time recently.

29 October 2012

Tony Bianco Egypt

I got an offer of 30% off one online purchase from Tony Bianco during October because it was my birthday this month. Given my love of high heels, of course I wanted to buy myself a birthday present. :)
Early in the month, I didn't see anything that was enough different to the shoes that I already have to want to buy. Part way through the month, I checked their web site again and found a new release called Egypt, which is a 14.5cm (about 6") stiletto heel with a 3.5cm platform. Those numbers are the same as the TB Popstar, which has proven to be my favourite shoe.

From the photos on the web site, I assumed that the underlying design was the same as Popstar. The obvious difference, aside from a colour that was different enough for me to be interested (Sand suede), was that the heel is wrapped and the underside of the arch is covered with a continuation of the leather that covers the platform, rather than having the sole extend up the arch and down the front face of the heel. For comparison, I've used the left Sand suede Egypt and the right Nude patent Popstar in these photos.

When they arrived, I was a bit disappointed to find that the box had been squashed, but I've been assured that they will happily swap the box in store. I just have to sort out where I can do that, since I'm nowhere near a TB store.

When I took the shoes out of the box, I thought that they looked more delicate than Popstar. I don't mean delicate as in likely to fall apart ~ they are well made. What I mean is delicate in their proportions and appearance. The heel is noticeably thinner and the sole smaller. The heels are so thin and the soles so narrow that it feels as though they are flexing, because it's difficult to get enough weight onto the sole to keep it flat on the ground!

These are delicate shoes, which call for wearing only in the right places. If I'd had these before I went to IMATS, I would have considered wearing them, as the whole time I was in heels was spent inside the venue, on concrete or carpeted floors on one level. In contrast, I knew that they were not suitable for wearing around the uneven, sloping footpaths of Cardiff (complete with cracks and holes that could swallow a heel) with my Halloween costume, and didn't even consider them when selecting shoes for that outing.

Overall, the Tony Bianco Egypt is a beautiful shoe that is suitable for experienced wearers of very high heels who have good balance. Because of the fine heels and small soles, I wouldn't recommend them for inexperienced wearers of very high heels, or anybody who doesn't have good balance.

28 October 2012

As I said a few months ago...

I finally did something that I said in a blog post a while ago that I was planning to do.

I paid someone to come in and mow our overgrown yard, and arranged for them to come back fortnightly to maintain it and progressively tidy up the details that haven't been done yet. The idea is to reduce the list of things that I personally need to do.

No big deal, huh? That's what I thought until I realised that the blog post where I said that I was planning on doing that was from January last year!

As a side effect of that, I was able to stand in our back yard yesterday to take a few photos of my costume, including this one. A week ago, I would have been waist deep (or worse) in weeds!

Something else that I said I was going to do a few months ago was the whole pregnant Tinkerbell or Disney princess Halloween costume, which ended up simplified back to just doing a reasonably straight Tinkerbell (albeit in 6" stilettos).

As a result of a post on my boy Facebook profile and a few comments that arose from that, I am now led to believe that someone that I would not have expected has been reading my recent blog posts.

I won't say who it is, because I have absolutely no desire to embarrass them, but it is someone who initially freaked out when they first learned about me but has since overcome some of that. I'm very happy to know that I no longer freak them out, and I want them to know that they're welcome to add me on Facebook at any time if they want to. :)

27 October 2012

It's Tinkerbell

Warning: very long post!

Sometimes it's fun to have young children pointing at you and smiling when you're in a dress, high heels and makeup. When the dress is a Tinkerbell costume and the children are pointing and calling you Tinkerbell, it's very easy to smile and enjoy what you're doing!

In spite of my earlier ideas of doing a pregnant version of a Disney princess or Tinkerbell, I got busy with work and didn't complete the pregnant bulge let alone trying to sort out a costume that could accommodate that bulge.

All of a sudden I realised that it was only a few weeks away, and I didn't have a costume. I looked around several costume shops and found nothing even close to what I was looking for. I looked at photos on google images, and ended up deciding to get 2 different costumes, both California Costumes brand, through an eBay seller who combined postage.

I tried both costumes on the night that I got them. It turned out that I'm a little too fat for the top of the Little Red Riding Hood dress, so Tinkerbell became the only option. To get ideas on accessorising the costume, I looked at images of the original Tinkerbell character. She had her hair up in a large bun, fairly subtle makeup, bare legs and shoes that would be best described as green ballet flats with white pom poms on the front. No earrings, and no noticeable nail polish.

I looked at how to do a bun and realised that I needed to buy a hair bun donut. I looked at the size of Tinkerbell's bun and decided that what I needed were 2 of the largest size donut I could find, to stack one on top of the other. Unfortunately, there were none even close to my hair colour, so I got two in a yellowish blonde. While buying those, I also spotted a green Orly nail polish called Here comes Trouble on special for $5. It was darker than the costume but a similar enough shade.

I tried putting my hair up in a bun, but found that the if the hair wasn't perfectly spread around the donut, the yellow colour showed through prominently. I mentioned this on facebook and a friend suggested using a stocking leg to cover them and help hold them together. Since I had a pair of pantyhose with runs in them that were going to get thrown out, I cut the toe and brief off one leg to get a long straight tube, which I fed around the pair of donuts twice, starting at the inside, through, over the outside, up through inside the original start, back over the outside again, then up inside, leaving only one end loose inside. While the colour is not a match to my hair, it's a lot closer than the colour of the donuts, and makes them into one piece.

With today (Saturday) being the day for the Halloween event, I got the green nail polish put on at my regular nail appointment on Wednesday. It's a lot different to any colour I've worn before. It's bright and very, very obvious, and I find myself smiling just looking at it. :)

When I tried the costume on the first time, I realised that the skirt, which had ties on both sides to allow the length to be adjusted, was shorter than my body shaper. To hide that, I did as I've done before and wore lace patterned tights over 2 pairs of pink ballet tights. The ballet tights almost hide the colour difference between the body shaper and my legs, and the lace pattern breaks up the edge enough to make it invisible unless you know to look for it.

Since I don't have any shoes even vaguely like the original Tinkerbell ones, I had to choose a combination of tights and shoes that would look right with the costume and be comfortable to wear. The first 2 options that occurred to me were the nude Tony Bianco Popstar 6" stilettos (that I wore at IMATS) with cream tights, or my mustard ballet flats with mustard tights. I was concerned that the TBs would be too high for the uneven and sloping footpaths, but didn't think that the mustard was going to look right. I considered the alternative of a pair of nude Bloch dance shoes that I bought back when I was belly dancing, but after looking at the shoes side by side, chose the TBs, which of course meant wearing the flats to drive and changing when I got there.

When I first tried on the dress, I also noted that the neckline didn't show as much cleavage as I wanted, so on Friday night, I tried the dress on again and used 2 small safety pins to gather the vertical elastic between the breasts more tightly than it did before. It improved things, but didn't fix it entirely.

In a common (judging by google images) departure from the original Tinkerbell look, I chose to wear green eyeshadow to match the costume, rather than neutral browns. I used 3 shades from one of the palettes that I bought at IMATS in 2011, which is the first time I've used those palettes!

The costume came with a small pixie dust pouch, which meant packing very light! I put my license, credit card, money, house and car keys and camera in that bag, and took powder, lipstick, brush etc in another small bag that I left in car.

Before I even left the house, I had my first wardrobe malfunction. I went to pull the skirt down, as it tended to ride up on my hips a bit, and in the process tore out the gathering ribbons on one side of the skirt. Oops! I fixed that by yanking on the other side ribbons, which came out too. No more adjustable length skirt. On the way to the car, I hit the next hurdle. My bun was so high that it hit the garage door while wearing flats, and didn't fit in the car. I had to duck to get my hair into the car, and had to recline the seat more than usual and drive leaning back hard against the seat just so that it cleared the hood lining.

I didn't get to the building society to deposit some money on Friday, so that was my first job for the outing. One of the staff giving out lollies at a table outside the front door recognised me and greeted me, but the other only saw me from the side or back and was surprised when I turned around, then greeted me by my male name while trying to pick her jaw up off the ground. Two of the other 4 working in the branch also greeted me by name. Now that I've broken the ice of actually turning up there en femme, I might do it again some time. :)

My next wardrobe malfunction was that the left wings kept wanting to fold over onto right wings, which led the woman behind me in the line in the Building Society to say to me "Let me fix your wings for you", which she then did. I later tightened the wing straps, which reduced the problem but didn't fix it entirely. It really needed something across the hinge to hold them in place, and something to keep them level, as the wings were wonky in the photos.

I walked around the area a bit, and while doing so, I had several young girls point to me, calling out Tinkerbell. I also had one girl who felt the need to tell me that I was very tall, in a way that reminded me of the blog The Junoesque. I think that that was an unintentional compliment, in as much as I think that she, and many of the girls pointing at me and commenting, saw me as a woman dressed as Tinkerbell, not as a crossdresser dressed as Tinkerbell.

After a while, I made my way to the Lifeline op shop, where I was photographed a few times both with my camera and with Bev's phone. That's where the photo at the top of this post was taken. I also went across the road to the other op shop before heading back towards my car. On the way to my car, I greeted one of my neighbours who lives a few doors away around a corner.

My final wardrobe malfunction for the day happened just after I got home, when the middle of the adhesive bra that I use to create cleavage went pop, which I assumed meant that the clip had broken. When I took it off, I discovered that it had not broken, but that the plastic tab that attached the clip to one cup had come unstuck from the cup, so if I can find a suitable glue, I can fix it. Yay. :)

In spite of very few adults being in costume, I enjoyed the outing and wearing this particular costume so much that I'm already considering next year. Tinkerbell's original costume has a much shorter skirt, like a dance leotard with the zig-zag edge of the skirt over it. This one has a net piece around the waist that's a bit like that zig-zag, but over a longer straight skirt. I'm thinking that I'd love to get a matching small diameter tutu with integral undies and a full circle skirt sewn on in place of the straight skirt, make a weighted tail for the wings that keeps them at a nice V angle to each other and keeps them level (like a pendulum weight), and wear it again next year. :)

02 October 2012

Choosing high heels

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with Magda at IMATS, various compliments that I received for the shoes that I was wearing, and subsequent discussions on the Beauty Heaven forums and on Facebook.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a large number of pairs of high heels. I just opened a cupboard dominated by shoe boxes, and without opening any boxes, did a quick count of heels that I know are 2" or higher, and came up with 24 pairs.

And how many of those do I like and choose to wear often? Six pairs, all closed toe courts with stiletto heels 4" to 6" high.

The list of favourites includes five pairs of Tony Biancos (TBs) ~ Samaire in black kid, Palais in dark chocolate brown kid and in red suede and Pop Star in nude patent and in orange suede. The one other pair are Siren Marcs in red leather, which are at the bottom of my preference list because they aren't as comfortable for me as the TBs.

I have only one other pair of TBs, which I've never worn because of the colour. They are Samaire in blue suede, which is a colour that has just never suited any outfit I've ever worn. If I could re-colour blue suede to olive green, I'd wear them until they fell apart. I want olive green heels but have never found any, and make do with my well travelled chocolate brown Palais instead.

Ironically, typing this has got me wondering about seeing if I can find someone who can dye those shoes for me, as I don't think that I could bear to do it myself in case I ruined them, but if someone else did it and it didn't turn out well I'd be disappointed in them, not me. :P Also, looking at the colours, I think that the timber heels and platforms would look better with olive than they do with the blue.

So why do I choose to wear the most expensive heels that I own, and leave all the cheap ones languishing in the cupboard?

Well, there is style, of course. I have some shoes that I used to wear a lot that have shorter, thicker heels. I could still wear them, but I've got better so I choose not to. I've also got a couple of pairs of proper Bloch dancing shoes with 2" heels, that I haven't worn since I stopped taking belly dance lessons. They would still be suitable for dancing or perhaps for a period costume around WWII.

I have other shoes that are horrible to wear, and aside from being colours that I don't otherwise have, I really don't know why I've kept them. Perhaps I'm keeping them to protect other people from buying such rubbish from whatever charity I'd donate them to, or perhaps I'm just a hoarder.

The highest heels I've got, the TB Pop Stars, are my absolute favourites to wear. From them, I've learned that a good quality platform is no harder to wear than a non-platform shoe with the same rise from the ball of the foot to the heel, and in fact they are easier to step forward onto the other foot because of the rising curve under the toes.

Thinking about why I find the Pop Stars so wearable, I’ve noticed about they have a non-slip patch in the middle and the sole under the platform is very flat across from side to side, even though it’s curved front to back. Being so flat across makes it much easier to keep the foot properly upright. To tilt a foot sideways deliberately for a photo, I find that I have to consciously take weight off that foot and lift and tilt that shoe on the edge.

If you’re looking at high heels, try to find a pair of TB Pop Stars to try on, or at least look at the design, and look for shoes that have that same flatness across the soles. That flatness makes the shoes far more stable, helping to keep the feet upright and reducing the risk of twisting an ankle (or both).

I've lost count of the number of times I've seen women walking in heels with both heels tilted quite badly, and worried about the loads that this puts on the ankles. I used to think that this was all to do with tilting the whole shoe because the sole wasn't flat enough, but I've got some shoes that got me thinking that it is a different problem entirely.

Regardless of heel height, you’re looking for shoes that are rigid from the heel through to under the ball of your foot. Non-platforms that don’t have the curve up under the front are likely to have a bit of flex under the toes to make it easier to roll your foot forward to step off onto the other foot, but if there is any flex between the ball of the foot and the heel, the heel will tilt sideways whichever way you tend to roll your feet. Many seem to be rigid from the back of the sole up to the heel, but aren't rigid enough between the back edge of the sole and under the ball of the foot, so the whole back half of the shoe twists relative to the ball of the foot!

If you put a shoe on and, while standing with your weight spread over the heel and ball of your foot, you can push your heel sideways and feel the heel of the shoe tilt, the shoes are garbage! I have a pair of Miss Shop brand shoes that are a perfect example of this. They are so unstable that I’m pretty sure that I only ever wore them once!

01 October 2012

IMATS Sydney 2012

I'm happy to say that I got there. :)

I bought the ticket last month just before the prices went up, then virtually forgot about it (along with my blog) while concentrating on work. A couple of weeks ago, I realised that it was getting close and made a big effort to get work done to catch up so that I could afford to take the day off.

On Friday night, I was still quite short on sleep and not at all organised. I packed a few things into my pilot's case, epilated my face, shaved my legs (which I hate doing, and only do when I don't have time to wax or epilate), straightened my hair and did several other preparatory jobs.

I ended up getting to bed at almost 1am and putting my alarm back to 5am because I figured that I had to try to get 4 hours sleep.

Dragging myself out of bed at 5am, I struggled several times with things that I usually have no trouble with. Even when I'd finished my makeup and had breakfast, I was still seriously considering cleaning myself up and going back to bed, but I kept reminding myself that I'd paid for the ticket and I wasn't going to waste it.

Like last year, I drove to Wahroonga and caught a North Shore train into the city rather than catching a train all the way. This time, I was looking for a specific exit from Town Hall railway station that kept me indoors for longer while walking towards Darling Harbour than the path that I used last year, and it turned out to be called Town Hall Square. At the northern end of the station is the connection to the Queen Victoria Building that I used when we farewelled Su back in June. The end of Town Hall Square is about half way along the western side, and using it kept me indoors for almost a whole block further than the route I used last year, and saved me climbing stairs only to walk back down the hill along the street.

I arrived around 10am, and even with a pre-paid ticket there was a queue to check the tickets and enter. As soon as I got into the venue, I made my way to the cafeteria area at the back to change my shoes. I'd worn the same flats as I wore last year, but this time the left shoe had rubbed into the back of my ankle through my pantihose and chafed the skin quite badly. It was ironic, then, that putting on my almost 6" Tony Bianco Popstar stilettos was a relief from the flats because they took the pressure off the sore spot on my ankle! Yes, that's two 9-volt batteries stacked between the shoes to give an idea of scale. :)

Unlike last year, I hadn't arranged to meet up with anybody else, but through the course of the day I chatted with several people I already knew and a few that I knew on line but hadn't met before. I also had some random conversations, including 2 women I don't know who complimented me on my shoes and a woman in the cafeteria at lunch time who asked me about my bag, asking if it was a beauty case (no), where did I buy it (a bag shop), etc.

While sitting alone eating lunch (in contrast to last year when there were a dozen of us eating lunch together), I noticed a couple of women looking for a table so I invited them to join me. They turned out to be some of the American staff of IMATS who were running the show. :)

Unlike last year, I wasn't focussed on looking at the sales stands, so after wandering around and finding it unappealingly crowded around most of the stands, I stopped to look at what one of the speakers, Becca Gilmartin, was doing with body art, and was so impressed that I stayed for the rest of her presentation, then the special effects presentation by Thomas Surprenant that followed. Even when you watch them being done step by step, it's amazing how convincing makeup bruises, grazes etc are when they're finished!

After chatting with a few people I knew including some who I hadn't met in person before, I had just about decided to head home when I sat down at the back of the main stage area to change my shoes for the walk back to the station, had a look at the program and decided to stay for another session, presented by Donna Mee.

The revelation for me was that the speakers are actually more important to me than the shopping opportunity. I had an enjoyable day at IMATS, in spite of buying nothing but my train ticket and lunch. :)

I had a slightly odd moment when, in the middle of the day, I forgot how I was dressed (stilettos and all), and was surprised when the guy at the register in the cafeteria addressed me as M'am. :)

In the whole trip including the trains both way, walking to and from Darling Harbour and the whole time in the venue, I never once even felt that anybody was seeing me as a guy. I guess I'm convincing enough for some people, others aren't taking any notice, and the rest are simply too polite to say anything. Even a girl of about 3 years old on the train didn't even look twice.

I have some notes for myself for next year, that others may also benefit from.

* Take a jacket, cardigan or shawl. Sitting down for an hour at a time to watch presentations can get a bit cool in the big, draughty exhibition hall. My cape is too big for this!

* I'd really like to be there both days and catch as many of the speakers as possible. I could easily ignore the entire sales side of it and just be there for the presentations and to meet up with other people.

* Take the time to read the program of speakers online before hand to decide who you'd like to see, and plan to be there all day both days. To make that possible, make sure that you get enough sleep in the lead up to the event, and preferably take the Friday afternoon off work.

* Catching trains to Sydney and back and staying within walking distance of Darling Harbour on both Friday and Saturday nights would be a really good idea, although I could probably settle for staying somewhere close to a railway station around Hornsby if I could park my car there safely from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

19 August 2012

Sydney 2012 IMATS tag

I'm not sure where this tag started, but I read this series of questions and answers about the 2012 Sydney International Makeup Artists Trade Show (IMATS) on Caitlin's blog and originally answered it there, but it appears that that wasn't the right way to do it, so I'm posting it here instead.

This weekend is the time to make the decision on whether you're going or not. On Monday, the online ticket price goes up from $30 for one day to $40, and from $50 for the two days to $65. The prices at the door are $45 and $75 respectively.

I'm about 99% decided that I'll go, and will make my final decision tonight and if the answer is yes, I'll buy my ticket before I go to bed. The only thing that makes me pause is that I got up at 4am last year to get there, and I'm not sure that I want to do that again!

For practical reasons, I don't really want to stay over night in Sydney on Friday night. While I could get up later, I'd still have to get up by about 6am, then do makeup etc in unfamiliar surroundings while mostly asleep.


1. Have you been to IMATS before?  Yes, last year.

2. What day are you going to IMATS in Sydney?  Saturday.

3. Who are you going with?  So far, nobody, but I'm probably going to drive to Wahroonga and catch a north shore train and walk from Town Hall station. It's a big car with plenty of space so if anybody else from Newcastle wants to come with me, let me know!

4. Is there anyone you want to meet at IMATS?  Yes. That will be my main reason for going. :)

5. What makeup brand/exhibit are you most excited to see?  I'm considering doing a Stacey (Stay C on Beauty Heaven) and putting together a large Inglot (magnetic) palette.

6. Do you plan to be there the whole day? Yes.

7. Will you be having Mcdonalds for lunch with Beautybybrittneyx & Shellbarbie? Nope. McDonalds and I don't agree with each other.

8. What days will you be in Sydney? Saturday. Day trip there and back.

9. What do you want to get out of IMATS? Seeing people I already know, meeting people I know online but haven't met yet, checking out the exhibits and buying stuff, all while showing off in a pair of 5" stilettos. ;)

01 July 2012

Getting organised

As I said I was planning to do, yesterday I went shopping (in boy mode, sadly) and bought myself a wheeled pilot's case and a spare battery for my camera.

I looked at several styles of wheeled case, and ended up choosing this one because of all that I looked at, this one had the largest single inner compartment, a sturdy retractable handle and a convenient centre handle. Most of the others were divided into lots of small compartments, had flimsy retractable handles that didn't move easily up or down and centre handles that retracted flat. I could just imagine snapping a nail or two while trying to get the retractable handle down then grab the centre handle while in a hurry to get on or off a train, but the handles on this one behave well.

It's black, and it's only vinyl. I'll see how it goes and if it disintegrates, I'll trade up to leather, hopefully brown.

I expect that this one will get it's first femme outing at IMATS, but there's no guarantee of that. Something else might come up between now and then.

With the size that this is, it should be easy to put a pair of shoes in it along with a jacket or even my cape, and still have plenty of space left to stash shopping. :)

Come to think of it, without the need to fit a wig in my luggage, I think that this would go close to fitting everything that I'd need to change from male to female, including an outfit or two, underwear, breast forms, makeup, hair straightener, etc. Not that I'm likely to need that any time soon ~ I generally get ready at home and go out in one mode or the other and stay that way until I get back home.

30 June 2012

Aching legs and shoulders

Have you ever done exercises that you haven't done before and the next day experienced aches in muscles that you didn't even know you had? That's what Thursday was like for my legs, after all the walking that in did in heels on Wednesday. My shoulders also ached from the weight of my handbag and the shopping bags that I carried home.

Do I regret wearing heels on Wednesday? Not really. If I was going to do the same again, I'd wear flats while travelling (even if they didn't quite suit the outfit) and put the heels on while I was at the event. Aside from the balls of my feet getting sore, I actually enjoyed being in heels in large daytime crowds. I pushed my comfort zone in more ways than one, and discovered that the physical pain was the only drawback.

I have, however, come to realise that I need to buy a piece of luggage that I've seen quite a few people using in Sydney. I believe that it's called a train case, and is like a cross between an oversized briefcase and a miniaturised hard suitcase, with wheels and an extendible handle. The ones I've seen used by solicitors, accountants etc. are about the right size to fit a notebook computer, files, books etc into.

I don't need anything as big as the makeup train cases that Michelle bought at IMATS last year, though!

With a wheeled case like that, I could put some of the stuff from my handbag into the case, along with whichever shoes I wasn't wearing at the time. I could also have packed the things that I got from Su and my shopping into the case for the return trip.

I'm thinking that having a case like that would be great for IMATS this year.

The irony is that I could also use a case like that for work, and today (30th June) is the last day of the financial year here, so I need to go shopping. I might also get a spare battery for my camera while I'm out. :)

28 June 2012

Thank you, young lady

I made it to Sydney yesterday. I decided to catch the train all the way rather than driving part way then catching a train.

I also decided, by default, to wear the outfit that I had selected for Saturday, including the Tony Bianco Palais heels. I say by default because if I had selected something else, I almost certainly wouldn't have worn heels, but I didn't end up even looking at other options.

The plan was to walk the 800m to the railway station, but by the time I was ready, I was worried enough about missing the train that I got my wife to drive me to the station. After walking that 800m home in heels in light misting rain, I now know 2 things ~ (1) I will never attempt to walk down a hill that steep in heels again, and (2) if I hadn't got a lift to the station, either my outing would have ended before I got to the station because I would have missed the train, or I would have turned around and come home to get different shoes.

Seriously, if I hadn't been wearing my lace tights, I would have walked home barefoot! In hindsight, I should have taken my tights off and could easily have done so, since the train carriage was mostly empty a while before my station, I was wrapped up in my cape (sorry, I didn't get a photo of that) and it would have been very easy to slip them off but I didn't think of it at the time, and I underestimated how bad it would be walking home in the heels!

Getting up and down stairs at Central to change trains was a little bit of a challenge, but I took it slowly and managed okay. Escalators in heels was a new experience but I managed that better than expected ~ I'd always thought that the ribs on escalators would be a problem for such small heels but they weren't.

Aside from not being able to find the underground walkway between the QVB and Westfield Pitt St on the way there (for future reference, take the escalators down from the level that the walkway from Town Hall station is on and ignore the signs that send you up to street level!), the biggest problem was how sore the balls of my feet got from the distance that I had to walk. I have a pair of gel inner soles that I haven't used in years and I'll be using them again soon!

Thanks to a school teachers' strike, there were several teenage girls on the trains in both directions but the worst that happened was that one looked at me and giggled. I have no idea whether she read me, or even whether the giggling had anything to do with me. In the entire day, there were the usual odd looks that could have been people reading me, admiring me, or just noticing that I was overdressed and wearing the highest heels that they saw all day.

The highlight of the travelling part of the trip to Sydney was when two transit officers came through checking tickets. I took out my ticket and held it up, and when the officer got to me I don't know if he even looked at me but he looked at the ticket very briefly while I held it and said "Thank you, young lady." :)

The group consisted of Su and her son, Sarah and her daughter, Jasmine and I. At Su's suggestion, we went to the food court on the 5th floor and found ourselves a table. We sorted out a few things that Su was offloading in preparation for her move overseas, chatted and had some lunch. I was quite impressed with the food court and suspect that it might be the venue for some future Sydney Beauty Heaven meet-ups.

Sarah left to collect her son before we took photos, so unfortunately she isn't in the group photo, but it was great to see her again.

After I said goodbye to Su and Jasmine, I walked up the Pitt St mall to the Valley Girl store there and bought a couple of pairs of light brown lace patterned tights similar in style to the dark brown ones that I was wearing, then made my way back to the railway station. They're not the mustard colour that I thought that they had, but the colour that I got is one that I will use, and they were on sale for under $5 a pair. :)

26 June 2012

Paralysed by indecision

I know that it's an old phrase, but I'm finding that paralysed by indecision is an accurate summary of where I've been at quite often recently. Being a Libran and an engineer, sometimes over-analysing things makes the decision easier. :P

I mentioned that the farewell lunch for Su from Beauty Heaven had been cancelled on Saturday, but we've now organised to try again for lunch tomorrow (Wednesday). It appears that we may have a better turn out than we would have had on Saturday, including some of the group bringing their young children along. I've decided that this time, I will be there. I just have to figure out the details.

The weather looks as if it will be cold, wet and miserable. On the upside, there are underground walkways connecting Town Hall Station and Westfield Pitt St via the Queen Victoria Building, so I don't have to worry too much about the weather in Sydney.

This leaves me quite undecided about two things.

I mentioned that I had reservations about the outfit that I'd chosen for the trip to Sydney on Saturday, which consisted of an olive green hooded cape and a dark olive brown dress teamed with the shoes, tights and jacket shown in the photo at right. Part of the problem is that I'm not sure that I want to try to wear 12cm (~ 5") stilettos travelling by train and walking a bit in the city. The shoes are quite comfortable, but I worry that I'll stand out by being vastly over dressed and tall. I still haven't decided whether to go with the outfit I'd already chosen, or to try again and see if I can put together something more daytime, with flat shoes, that I can fit into at my current weight.

The other thing that I have to decide is how to get there and back. There are several options, but my preferred one of driving to the end of the freeway and catching a train from Wahroonga doesn't work during the day on a week day, as I simply wouldn't get a parking spot near the station as I can at weekends or of an evening.

Catching a train from home would mean walking to the train in heels, which I could do, and the trip would take about 2.5 to 3 hours each way including changing trains at Central. Driving part way but not being able to park at Wahroonga would mean parking at Berowra, where fewer trains stop. It'd be about one hour 20 minutes driving and one hour by train each way. Add in slow traffic due to the weather and waiting for trains and it could also be up around 2.5 to 3 hours each way, but means that I'm in the relative safety of my own car for part of that. I'd also need to fill the car up tonight or on the way...

With the miserable weather making driving slower, I think that the balance is tipping in favour of catching a train all the way. I might even take some time to do some shopping before heading home, even if I have to carry it all home from the station. :)

So I've got to decide what I'm wearing and how I'm getting there before I go to bed tonight. I've already blown any chance of getting to the cafe night tonight but I need to decide and prepare, then get to bed early for a change!

24 June 2012

Not obvious

Part of the reason why I missed my train home on Friday was that the battery on my internet tablet is playing up, and it decided that it was flat, leaving me without a clock or train timetable. I turned it on again later and it indicated that the battery still had about 4 hours of charge left.

Not knowing when I needed to get to the station, or that there would be over an hour between trains, I stopped to look at an op shop that I was walking past anyway. The shop is a small privately run place, and I had read a positive review of it on a crossdressing forum, where another member said that they had been there in boy mode and had tried on and bought a couple of dresses with help from the friendly, accepting staff.

While I was browsing, there was a young woman working in the shop who appeared to be one of the staff mentioned in the review. She asked if I needed help, and whether I was looking for something for my partner, because it's all ladies here. I replied that no, I didn't need help and I was just looking. That response satisfied her, and she turned her attention elsewhere.

So, in spite of the very obvious freshly tinted lashes, the fairly obvious long hair, pierced ears, long painted nails, etc, she either didn't make the connection or chose to pretend not to. So, like the staff at my local Subway, it's hard to know whether she noticed and just didn't say anything or whether she simply didn't notice. Either way, it doesn't actually matter.

That got me thinking. I know of crossdressers who have beards and a profusion of body hair because they are so fearful that just the lack of that hair will cause people to realise that they are crossdressers. They live most of their life in hiding, hiding who and what they are as much as they possibly can and often struggling with depression as well. I find that quite sad, since it actually seems to take a lot of effort to tip people off to the fact that you're a crossdresser, and even when you do, it doesn't usually actually matter.

So, if you want to grow your hair long, get rid of facial and body hair, get your ears pierced, get your lashes tinted, etc, just do it. Most people won't even notice, and those who do will probably think that it's an improvement without ever even considering the possibility that you're a crossdresser.

Painting your nails, growing them long and having acrylic overlays like I do might be too much of a hint for most people but even that's not guaranteed. :)

23 June 2012

The wheels fall off

Sometimes, we make plans and the wheels fall off. Yesterday's appointment and today's planned lunch in Sydney are good examples.

Yesterday, I was a couple of minutes late getting to the station to catch a train for my waxing and lash tint appointment, and ended up having to wait about 45 minutes for the next train, which got me to Newcastle station at 11:59, with about a 5 minute walk to my noon appointment... Yes, being late was my own stupid fault, but why such a long wait between trains? The return trip was worse, as I again missed the train by a few minutes and had to wait over an hour for the next one.

Of course, the result was that I got back to work a full hour later than intended, with a headache from the cold wind prevalent in the post-apocalyptic wasteland style streetscape that is the Newcastle CBD.

I stayed up late last night organising myself for the planned trip to Sydney, got less than 5 hours sleep then woke at 7:15am to find that one eye was swollen and quite sore. I suspect that the cause was a mild allergic reaction to the lash tinting combined with having fished a loose lash out of that eye last night, possibly leaving some goop behind, but whatever the cause it was bad enough that, on top of the lack of sleep, I cancelled my trip.

I also had some reservations about the fact that the outfit that I'd chosen for the day made 5" stilettos the only shoe option. I'm too fat around the waist to wear any of my trousers or skirts at the moment, so, at my wife's suggestion, I chose a dress that would work with my full length cape, added the lace tights and lace jacket then found that the only shoes that would look right and fit were my brown Tony Bianco stilettos. In general, I wear flats during the day and keep heels for going out at night. I also haven't tried wearing stilettos when catching trains or on escalators. I also tend to tower over my Beauty Heaven friends even when I'm wearing flats, and heels would exacerbate that!

Sadly, most of the other people planning on going had also dropped out, so the whole thing was cancelled. With any luck, we might get another time organised within the next week.

The only bright spot in all of this is that it prompted me to polish my brown Tony Biancos, which is a job that had been on my to-do list for months. :)