Monday, August 31, 2015

Curves

People often look at my pictures and ask me how I manage to create such feminine curves. Well, I must sadly admit that they are not my real curves and that my hips and waist are just an illusion. Ah well.

In the interest of simplifying it, I created a graphic a while back that I share.

Actually I had never heard the term "under armor" before and didn't realize it was a
clothing company. 


The truth is that hip padding really does help with looking feminine, though it does have its draw backs. Firstly, you're just wearing a lot of extra stuff, which isn't great it hot weather, especially with a wig as well. You end up with a lot of layers. Yes, I have been known to overheat. This summer, I tried to go out for a cocktail night with my girlfriends, but it was like 95 out, with 95% humidity and the speakeasy we went to for some fancy cocktails didn't have A/C and was super stuffy. Ugh. I ended up cutting out early because all I wanted to do was get home and take all my gear off, something you just don't have the option to do in public without looking a little weird.
One picture that whole night. Luckily I looked good. 
The other issue with all the padding is that it makes it a little tricky to pee. Not impossible. Just a little more difficult. Let's just say I'm happy that stalls have doors. One time as I was getting dressed after peeing in a tiny stall, I realized I accidentally dropped one of my hip pads in the toilet! It was soaked. There was nothing to do but fish it out (luckily I had flushed) and toss it in the trash. Luckily I was wearing a more A-line dress at the time so it wasn't too noticeable. 

Despite the difficulty, I like having the padding, even if it's a little bulky. Next to having my own curves (stupid nature not giving me what I want), they're the next best thing. 

How can you say no?






Brooklyn Beer Garden Tour

One of the great joys of summer is a drink outside on a hot Saturday afternoon, relaxing as you let the day slowly melts into evening, the temperature slowly dropping as cool breezes come in with dusk. It's a joy. And since New York is cold for six months out of the year, I try and enjoy the warm weather as much as I can. And I especially love it because it's dress weather!

Sure, you can wear a dress in winter, and I have plenty of times, but you always have to wear tights or leggings and you really don't get the full, free feeling that makes wearing a dress so much fun. This summer has been pretty mild with lots of great dress weather. So when I heard about a new beer hall, Grand Prospect Hall, opening up in Brooklyn, I was so excited to get dressed up and go check it out!

My first ten years in New York, I lived in Astoria Queens, home to the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, which was one of the best bars in the city. It's a huge outdoor space full of picnic tables, with good food and plentiful beer by the pitcher. On nice weekend nights, there's often a line around the block, but luckily it's not always that crowded. Actually, going there dressed up as Faith was one of the first times I ever felt like I could really pass. The crowd there tended to be a lot of bros and it had a kind of fratty/sorority/New Jersey kind of a vibe for a while. But going there, and walking around in that huge crowd, wearing a little dress, and actually fitting in, not getting weird looks or anything felt so utterly amazing.

Me on the way to Bohemian Hall that night. 


Sadly, Brooklyn doesn't quite have any places as good as Bohemian Hall. So, a couple friends and I set out to explore the new beer garden in Brooklyn. So I wore my new dark green LOFT dress, which I really like. Not only have I been dying for that color to come back into fashion, but the dress is a-lined, which means I don't have to wear a corset or any padding for curves. It's the full, 100% natural dress feeling. Plus this dress is made of a silky-type fabric and has great movement. I love it!

This is totally a picture of me, I promise. 


What I didn't quite love was the "beer hall." Okay, they had German beer and big pretzels and places to sit outside so I'll give them that. The place was actually kind of hilarious. It was like a chintzy mid-priced wedding reception hall that hadn't had the decor redone since 1979. There was a lot of fake brass, a small waterfall and even a musty stuffed horse. So we stuck around for a couple drinks before heading out somewhere new.




Luckily we were in Park Slope, so there were lots of other places to try. And we ended up at Black Forest in Fort Greene. And Luckily, they have the perfect lighting in their bathroom, I could snag some selfies.  















Friday, August 28, 2015

Lower Manhattan Night


My partner and I decided to do a night out in Lower Manhattan, first hitting Bavaria Bierhaus German-themed place we like on Stone Street. If you've never been, Stone Street is this little cobble-stoned street near the Southern tip of Manhattan. It's been closed off to traffic and there are now picnic tables and rows of different restaurants (though I think they may all share the same kitchen). 
It's nice when there's not a World Cup game on. 
For the night I wore the Banana Republic dress I'd recently picked up as part of my ongoing attempt to bring more color into my wardrobe. More often than not, I'll just throw on a little black dress when I go out, and when I shop, I basically have to stop myself from buying any more black! Quite often I'll be shopping and find something I really like, but then have to stop and say "Okay, I like this because I already have it at home in my closet!" So, now I'm trying to wear more colors. 

Wear all the colors! 

Stone Street can get pretty busy, and is often full of douche bags and tourists, but I've discovered that Sunday evenings are the perfect time to go there. You can sit outside, enjoy the nice summer air and just relax. It was super nice. After a couple of huge, German-sized heffeweizens and a giant pretzel, we headed even further South, down to Pier A. It's a 19th century pier that's been converted into a huge restaurant and bar. 

Pier A! (Piers B-Z have been torn down and replaced by condos)
Pier A has a huge outdoor area right on the Hudson River (over the river actually), where you can have a beer and enjoy the beautiful view of New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty. We got there, grabbed our drinks and headed to the deck where luckily the sun was setting and we had some beautiful light for lots and lots of photos! 



Let's not kid ourselves. All the tourists are actually there to see me.




Selfies just to show off my makeup and manicure. 
Pier A has a huge outdoor area right on the Hudson River (over the river actually), where you can have a beer and enjoy the beautiful view of New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty. We got there, grabbed our drinks and headed to the deck where luckily the sun was setting and we had some beautiful light for lots and lots of photos! 

Inside where they have a gallery of fish! 

After that, we headed up to try and get a few more shots in Battery Park City, but wouldn't you know it, the sun set and killed our light. Ah well, we got a few! 

Me with an unidentified building in the background.





Thursday, August 27, 2015

Clocked

Hanging out in Central Park (the most central of all parks)

Okay, I'm going to start this off with a little bit of a brag. For the most part, I think I pass. And by that, I mean that when I go out people assume that I am a genetically born woman with two X chromosomes, a vagina and a fertile womb just begging to grow some babies. There area few reasons I say this. In stores, I've been shopping and have had female sales clerks offer to get me started with a changing room in the women's fitting room area. In clubs, I've had club employees waive me toward the ladies rooms. In restaurants, I've looked around and had servers ask me if I were looking for the ladies room. I've gone out with friends who've brought their friends who then hung out with me. Later I learned those friends thought I was a regular genetic girl. That would explain why they they asked me if I ever used menstrual cups (okay that was one weird friend of a friend). In the end though, my goal is to pass. To pass. To blend in and just be treated like any other girl.

A little bit ago I wrote about this sort of thing on reddit:

"So, I have an awesome new female friend, who I've hung out with a few times and have a total friend-crush on. This week, hanging out, I accidentally outed myself to her. While I sort of wish I hadn't been outed, her response made my week (if not my year). She was like "Wow! Wow! Wow! I thought you had a sort of deep voice, but lots of women have deep voices. Wow!" So yeah, passed 100%! I'm so excited. That just makes me have to rethink every single interaction I've had! It makes me super happy!"

Mostly though, I feel that I can pass because I go out often and don't get weird looks and I don't get hassled. Of course, I'm never sure if that's just because people are polite. See, for years I've always wondered if I passed with new people, or if people were just being nice by not saying anything. But it's so frustrating because you can never ask!

What's the absolute worst is when you've been clocked though. You see, sometimes I think people see right through me, but it's super rare that anyone says anything.

So, I've been clocked a few times. It hurts every time. It digs deep into me and twists around and then kicks me and takes my milk money. It sucks. I hate being clocked. I hate it when someone sees me and knows that I'm a genetic male. It hurts to my core. It makes me feel like I'm some absolute weirdo freak who shouldn't even be out in public. It makes me want to run home and cry in the dark while listening to sad, sad country music (the music of pain).

Just this past week, I thought it would be fun to go up to Central Park to take some photos in Frederick Law Olmstead bucolic oasis. Think of the amazing shots you could get with Bethesda Fountain or the Mall, or the Brambles or the Belvedere Castle as a background! So I took the subway up and headed into the park, camera and selfie-stick in hand.

And, proceeded to get zero good pictures. It was a bright mid-day so the shadows were harsh and the light through the trees gave off weird, uneven dappled light that was just not the least bit flattering. For a little bit I hung out by the duck pond and snapped some shots before giving up and heading back into the concrete jungle of Central Park West and Midtown Manhattan.

That area, near Columbus Circle and Park Avenue, is a weird mix of tourists, posh people and office workers. Also, because it's New York City (the city that never stops building), there are lots of construction workers. And so I walked by some construction works right out of central casting. You know the type; working class, gruff, from New Jersey (they are never actual New Yorkers), probably Republican, As I walk past one of them decides he has to say "That's a man!"

Fucker.

You know, I really want to turn around and yell "Listen, assshole, I spent an hour getting ready, I am wearing a new dress that I am rocking, I just got a new manicure and I've spent years practicing makeup to look this good! I am beautiful and awesome and this is my city. And I am gonna walk down the streets of my city and I am going to be fabulous! You don't get to have an opinion about me, or my clothes, or my god damned gender!"

Then the crowd would cheer and J-Law would come up and offer to be my best friend and we'd go take a helicopter ride and then go shopping.

No, instead I just ignored it and kept walking. I buried it all deep inside and just kept walking. I had tried so hard to pass, to blend in, to be an ordinary girl. And some jerk had to go and ruin that for me. That day I had even planned to walk down to Macy's or maybe the Housing Works on 17th and go shopping, try on awesome dresses and see how I looked. But instead all I wanted to do was to get home as soon as possible, just get away from people, and be in my house by myself. It just hurts.

The truth is, that not everyone who's clocked me is trying to be mean. Some of them even bought me drinks. Go figure.

But, that one is another story...


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Trip to Governors Island


For those not in the know (which I think would be basically anyone outside NYC and probably two-thirds of people who live here) Governors Island is a park situated in New York Harbor, about halfway between Lower Manhattan and Red Hook, Brooklyn. It used to be a Coast Guard base, but was later abandoned and then sold to the city for the sum of $1.00.

They couldn't let me make a counter offer? I'd have gone to at least a buck seventy-five.


While the full development into a park is only about half way complete, for six months out of the year you can take a ferry from either Brooklyn or Manhattan and an amazing, wide open spot in NYC with grass, trees, several forts, food, drinks, concerts and crazy art projects. It's fun!

Along with Coney Island and sweating like pigs on the subway platforms, Governors is kind of a summer tradition now. This year I took the opportunity to get dressed up to visit the island. I thought it would be fun and plus there's something I just love about wearing a dress on a boat.

We explored the island and of course got tons of pictures too!



One of the new places on the island this year is the Holocenter, a gallery/museum of holographic art. Strolling through the rooms, once can check out holograms of skulls, nature or abstract shapes. And, once can also find some strange lighting that makes for some great photos.







Then exploring Fort Jay, we found the perfect spot for some great shots. 

It's a beautiful spot, but the wind means forgetting about having a good hair day.  
Eventually this will be my album cover (note to self: learn to play music)


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday Evening Happy Hour

A few weeks back, some girlfriends and I did a Friday night out (I'm happy to say that these girls' nights have become a regular occurrence). After a few drinks, my friend Kate started asking a few pointed questions about whether or not I planned to transition to full-time and live as a woman 100% of the time.

Now it's been a few years since I first came out to her rather abruptly. Actually I'd come out to all my friends by showing up at a cocktail party in a classic little black dress, 2" patent black heels, a long dark chestnut wig and flawless makeup.

I'm Classy

Of course, while I was now out and proud, I hadn't exactly specified what I had come out as. Was I going to transition to female, was I just a serious crossdressing or just into some Eliza Dushku cosplay? Actually, I hadn't said.

But in the couple of years since then, I've basically been going out any chance I got and had been setting up girls' nights with my friends. Since that first party I think a few of the more periphery friends haven't seen me in guy-mode and for even some of my regular friends have become much more used to seeing me in a dress. For my friend Kate, I think I once went about four months where she had only ever seen Faith.

So it made sense she wanted to ask. Plus she identifies as queer, so I think there's a little bit of an understanding there. Maybe a little bond over what it means to be out of the cis or hetero binary. Of course,  I didn't quite feel like having the big conversation with her in a large group of friends, so we made plans to meet up and talk about everything.

She picked a spot in DUMBO and I got dressed up and met her after work. We'd hung out fairly recently, so it took a bit to find a dress to wear that she hadn't just seen me in. Not that it mattered necessarily, but I don't want to be seen always wearing the same thing.

Luckily, I showed up a few minutes before her, because it was windy and I knew my hair needed a serious touch up. My current wig is one that I love, but it may be nearing the end of its useful life. This makes me kinda upset, because the one I got was the last one the store had and I can't find the company or the model anywhere. Well, I had just given it a wash and done some maintenance, so it still worked.

Quick bathroom selfie - yay, my hair is okay!

We talked over a few micro-brew IPAs, first just about our lives, jobs families and NYC, just to catch up. A few more drinks in me, and I was happy to talk more about my feelings. And so I laid it out. Mostly that I was just confused. Obviously, I have transgender feelings and have for my whole life, but that I'm still not sure if living as a woman is the right thing for me. It's such a huge change with so many expenses, imperfect results and risks. And I showed her some older photos from a decade ago, and how I worried that maybe I had missed by chance by not transitioning earlier when I was young and thin and prettier. Previously, Kate had told me that she thought I passed and that my voice was getting much better and that as a queer person she could do nothing but encourage me to transition and live as a woman.

Yeah, I'm always the one with more makeup. 
But Kate listened, and she told me to talk to my partner and be honest, and that also I could start some more basic things like laser hair removal for now and then work toward anything more permanent changes if I were comfortable with them. It was good to just be able to talk to a friend in person about everything.

She also said one thing that made a serious impression on me. She said that I seemed much happier as Faith, and much more natural. This really struck me as she's not the the first person to ever tell me that. I guess I am just noticeably happier and more comfortable as Faith. It makes sense. Being out as a girl, just walking down the street does feel totally natural to me. And it does make me happy.

This is "happy" right? 






Friday, August 21, 2015

Getting Dressed Up for Some Face-time

At this point in my life, I have a few friends who only know me as Faith. They've met me, hung out, friended me on Facebook as Faith and have never known me any other way. This is great for me, because I love being able to interact with people without any male baggage being brought along. On the other hand, this can be a bit tricky, as I have to remember who only knows me as Faith and make sure I never accidentally hangout with them in guy mode. This a fun conundrum.

My friend Christin is one of these people. She now lives in DC, but we've been trying to come up with something to collaborate on, maybe a short film or a feature. Who knows. She knows a lot of people and is great with networking, fundraising and all that stuff that I'm terrible at. Mostly I've been writing (or trying to write as people keep coming up and visiting and taking away all my free time).

So Christin and I chat on Facebook or text. But sometimes we Face-time, and I literally have to schedule our Face-time sessions to make sure that I'm a girl for those. Yesterday was one such occasion.

Earlier in the week, I'd found a yellow eyelet LOFT dress on eBay. Yellow? Yes, yellow. It's a color I dislike and probably my least favorite. But, at one point purple was one of my least-favorite colors until I tried on a purple Ralph Lauren dress that was pure perfection. Actually, on a shopping trip to the Macy's flagship store in Manhattan, I'd tried on what I thought was a particularly silly yellow Calvin Klein dress. In fact, I only tried it because I thought it utter ridiculous.



Remember that style from a few years back? The dress is like one molded piece of plastic with the skirt bowed out like that permanently. I seem to recall that once Emma Stone looked okay in one. Needless to say the style didn't catch on. If Emma Stone can barely pull it off, what chance is there for the rest of us?

So I posted this one up on Flickr and people loved it! Everyone said the color looked great on me. How weird. And so the next time I went shopping I found another yellow GUESS dress to try on.



This one I could actually wear out. Sadly, it was too expensive for me to get. But, people loved this one even more than the first and I determined to find a yellow dress.

LOFT is a company I like, and I know my sizes there, so I went on eBay to search for a yellow LOFT dress or maybe something from Banana  Republic. And so I got one that fit perfectly.

And, the first chance I got was to wear it to FaceTime with my friend.



Unfortunately, FaceTime is not something I'm too used, especially considering that video phones are really something from the future like rayguns and jetpacks. But I managed okay. Honestly, I prefer to chat. Ah well. At least I think I looked pretty. Yes, it may seem a little silly to get dressed up just for a FaceTime chat, but then again, I'm always looking for a good excuse. 

While I did go out a little bit, my iPhone didn't give me much of an opportunity to take a full length shot of the yellow, but I'm hoping to get one soon. Maybe next week. <3 



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Awesome Street Find!


New Yorkers are like Jawas. It's true. No, not because of our glowing eyes (you really have to see it in person to get the whole effect. It's really quite eerie). It's because we're scavengers. For those unfamiliar with our fair city, all the trash just goes out on the sidewalk. And since there are private trash companies with different collection routes, you can find trash on the street almost every day. My first apartment was stocked almost entirely with other people's discarded furniture. When we pass a pile, we always look. It doesn't matter how much money you make or if your tiny apartment is already full, you're going to look. We all look for treasure amongst the trash. Call if freecycling if you will.

Now, because everyone's always looking, when people want to get rid of perfectly good stuff they just don't want, they tend to leave it out on their stoop. Books are a popular item, but so are kitchen gadgets, cups, frying pans, candle sticks, air filters and baskets. There are always lots of baskets. No one loves baskets. That and printers. Never buy a basket, an air filter or a printer. A few lucky times I've found clothes and once a Coach purse that I still use quite often.

Mostly, it's all junk though.

But, yesterday, I was walking and saw some stuff out. On a stoop was what I at first thought was software since it was a cardboard box the right size. Then, upon closer inspection I realized it was makeup! Free makeup! And free makeup brushes! I was just thinking about buying some new brushes! Perfect! It was a completely unopened Bare Escentuals - bareMinerals Beyond the Basics 7-piece kit (a $39.99 retail value)!

All still plastic wrapped - a rule I should really follow when finding Starbursts on the street. 

This was great, because I've been seriously working on my contouring. A year ago, I didn't even know what contouring was, but then I started reading Reddit's Makeup Addiction board and posted up some photos for critique.

2,500 upvotes and a spot on the front page.

Not only did that earn me quite a bit of karma, but I also learned about such things as proper use of lip liner, how to do my brows properly, primer, blending and yes, contouring.

It's easy - you just do this about a hundred times till you get it right.





So, I couldn't wait to get started with the Bare Escentuals - bareMinerals Beyond the Basics 7-piece kit (a $39.99 retail value)! In fact, I was excited, I broke a nail trying to get the little stickers that were blocking off the holes.

But, I finally did them open and tried them out. Actually, I was really, really pleased. Especially with the two lightest shades that really gave me a nice glow. So, yeah, I'm a fan and would definitely recommend them (especially if you find them for free!). 

What do you guys think?

Swirl Tap Buff Swirl