Tick Tock!

The Maine Event is just over 6 weeks away, and I'm sure some of you are still in vacation mode and not thinking about September yet.  BUT!  Time is running out on the group discount on rooms for the Maine Event, so I'm here to remind you to book. 

We have a phenomenal discount at the Meadowmere Resort in Ogunquit, ME.  We are saving $50 off each night for Wednesday and Thursday, and $75 off the usual weekend rate.  September is still considered peak season, so any unreserved rooms from our room block will get released on Monday, August 1st.  They will take a one-night deposit on the room when you make your reservation; if you need to cancel your reservation, there is just a $25 fee if you cancel with at least one week's notice. 

The finalized activity list and registration form will be posted here shortly, but for a really good idea of how the event runs, check out the schedule and pricing so far on the Maine Event page.

To make your reservation, call the Meadowmere directly at (207) 646-9661.  If you have trouble booking, just call or text me at (860) 965-5125 and I can help out!

 

Diva or LuWow?

Two great options for anyone looking to get out tonight: Heather Leigh's Diva Social at Partner's Cafe in New Haven CT, or FishNETS LuWow party at Fran's Place in Lynn MA!  It's great there are so many options for people who want to get out, socialize, and dance!

Marlaina's Shoe Corner

Spring has finally sprung, at least it has here in the Pacific Northwest! It's time to put those clunky winter boots back in the closet and start talking about staple footwear you should have in your wardrobe this summer.

Now I know all you ladies love a heel, and really, who doesn't? They can make you feel feminine, sexy and easily dress up any outfit. But I want to talk to you about other options…some may even say more comfortable options.

Ballet flats are a fantastic option for the summer! If you don't already have 12 pair like me, then get it on that to-do list! And yes, I know I'm an enabler, just ask Scarlett, but I am obsessed with shoes. Flats are comfortable, versatile, and practical to wear all day and all night long. Dresses, skirts, pants - ballet flats will compliment them all, and with the variety of styles, patterns, and colors there is something for everyone! 

Now that I've convinced you all to increase your collections, let's chat about something super awesome happening in the world of flats! In 2013, the famous Christian Louboutin brand expanded their "Nude" collection.  Nude is typically a representation of the peaches and cream complexion, which we all know applies to only a small fraction of shoe-loving women.  Louboutin has now taken nude “from a colour to a concept”.  Now, with seven different skin-tone shades, more women can have the leg-elongating effect of nude shoes! What a huge breakthrough for fashion! Louboutin started out with the most popular heels, and now it has been announced that Louboutin is expanding the "Nudes Collection" to include ballet flats! Click here if to indulge yourself!

As excited as I am about this development, I don't personally have that kind of cash flow to purchase $600 Louboutin flats, so I'll make do at DSW to find affordable nude flats this summer. We can only hope that other designers will be soon to follow suit and bring this concept to the masses. 

I know ballet flats may not appeal to everyone, despite their comfort and practicality, so for the ladies who want to show off those summer pedicures without the heels, you should invest in some sandals! Remember, “sandals” does not mean just “flip flops”. Much like flats, sandals come in all shapes, styles and colors and can easily transition from day to night! I do recommend trying sandals on and walking around a bit, since the placement of some straps may be irritating to the skin for prolonged periods. But what goes better with a sundress than a cute pair of sandals? 

Here is my current sandal obsession: Nessa Thong Sandal from Chinese Laundry

The biggest downside to CL is that their sizes run small, and their size options are limited.  But what I love about these sandals are the colors and the scrollwork pattern, making them fun and quite dressy for a thong sandal.  Some others I love (that come in a much wider range of sizes) are the Ava Sandal and the Bachelorette Flat.  

For those of your who are just not convinced that giving up those high heels for flats is for you, there is good news in store for you this season! Block style heels are currently in trend! I know, I know, “block heel” sounds clunky and awkward, but the heel in your mind should be that of a high heeled Mary Jane!  The thicker heel is still flirty and fun, without the threat of teetering over after one drink!  Check out this t-strap platform, this lace-up gladiator sandal, and the Immortal Sandal, and then come tell me the block heel isn't as sexy as any stiletto you'll find!

But if you do feel unsteady, just remember, flats can easily hide in your purse, ready to save the night at a moment’s notice!

JD Coopers

Sometimes, after an Open House, a bunch of girls would pile into cars and head out to dinner.  One of my favorite haunts was JD Coopers in Putnam.  It was a decently sized restaurant, martini bar and sports bar all rolled into one place.  It was one of my favorites because there was never a wait, and the variety of food was always very tasty.  Best meal?  Chicken Piccata, by far.

I went to JD's recently only to find...it's closed for good.  I don't know the why's, or even when it closed.  But it's closed, and I'm feeling sad, like saying farewell to a friend.  All I can say is thanks for the memories!

It does appear that their website is pushing traffic to Grill 37 in nearby Pomfret, so I'll have to head over there sometime to check it out.  After all, we will need to find a new place to frequent on Open House days.  By the way, the next Open House is on April 21st.  Come, have a chat, and maybe explore the new restaurant with me.

Open House March 2015, enjoying JD Coopers.

Sophia's Sorority - April 1st

There was a group of girls meeting regularly at Sophia's in the Peabody Marriott, and since I hadn't been in a few months, I decided to head up and check it out last Friday.  I haven't heard much out of the group for awhile, but thought I would take my chances.  

Many of you know that the Peabody Marriott was home to TCNE's First Event for many years.  The event moved in 2015, and I've been back to the Marriott very few times since.  Let me tell you, the transformation of the lobby and lounge area is unbelievable!  Hardwood flooring in an ashy-natural tone with more open dividers between areas gives everything a much-needed update on the look.  The bar is also longer, and in addition to the typical bar height with appropriate bar stools, one end is lower and includes regular seating.  There are also two large square seating areas for bigger groups, and many smaller, more intimate seating areas.  I cannot overemphasize the difference in atmosphere since the last time I was there.  A definite improvement from the days of hosting First Event.

I wound up seeing just two people there: one visiting from out of town, and one local girl I've never met before, but even though it was just the three of us I had a really enjoyable evening.  We each ordered a drink or two and some food, and just chatted away.  Though our out-of-town friend may not be back for quite awhile, I hope to see Jacqueline at the Spring Bling next week!

Katie's Keystone experience

Keystone Conference 2016 in Harrisburg PA was awesome.  I went with Scarlett again after missing last year.  I had gone with her in 2014 and 2013 and we had such a blast, so it was disappointing to have to miss 2015.

On the drive down on Wednesday Scarlett and I stopped in New Jersey to see David, owner of GlamourBoutique.com.  We visited with David for about an hour, and picked up some products (by request) for people at Keystone.  We got to Harrisburg late Wednesday night but decided to meet up with friends at the hotel bar.  It had been such a long travel day but we still stayed up late laughing and catching up with friends that trickled in from far and wide throughout the evening.

Thursday we woke up early to set up Scarlett’s table in the vending room, and then I got dolled up early and spent the next three days enjoying life.  It truly gives me a different perspective on life to be able to doll up for three days straight and hang around with accepting people.  Letting my feminine side show can be a very effective antidote for a stressful life.

Those three days were a blur of working in the vending room by day, and fun activities in girl mode at night.  We took a trip to the Hollywood Casino for dinner and horse races on Thursday, and dinner at the Fire House Restaurant on Friday with RJ and Jaimie.  The Fire House Restaurant is located in a repurposed fire station, making the atmosphere very unique.  The meal did not disappoint either; everything we ordered was delicious.  

After dinner we went back to the hotel for dancing with a DJ who played many legendary disco hits. Afterwards, we made our way back to the hotel bar where we stayed up chatting much later than we should have.  Saturday night (right after I bought a tiara) there was live music that was simply amazing.  I danced until I was dizzy, and when it all closed I was still in a pink fog of sparkly shoes and perfume.  We were still chatting in the hotel lobby long after the hotel bar kicked us out; none of us wanted the weekend to end.

But it did. And now I can’t wait to go back.

 

Katie Lynne, author of this post

Spring Bling 2016

Hosted by the newly formed Fish-N.E.T.S (New England Transgender Socials), the Spring Bling will be held on April 16, 2016 at the Best Western in Marlborough.  Fish-N.E.T.S is an extended group of friends who are using the group (found on Facebook and Yahoo groups) to keep each other aware of social happenings within the trans community.  I will be available for makeovers throughout the day at the Best Western, and will attend the party when everyone is happily made up.  Without further ado, here's some details on the Spring Bling.  

Where:
Best Western
181 Boston Post Road, Marlboro MA
http://www.bestwestern.com/ 1-508-460-0700
Discounted room rates are available until March 31st.

When: 
Saturday, April 16, 2016   8pm-1am

Admission: $10 - check in at the table outside the function room

Food and a private Bar will be in the Function room along with DJ Edwina Kelly keeping the dance floor hopping with some great music. 
"Miss Spring Bling 2016" and 2 runner ups will be crowned with tiaras.  This is a fun, safe, friendly event, open to anyone.  Spouses and significant others are welcome and encouraged to attend.  

Diva Las Vegas

Diva Las Vegas is usually held in March, and this year it’s so late in March it creeps into April (3/28-4/2).  A week-long event, it is as loosely organized as an event can be.  This is not a bad thing, just not what most people expect if they’re used to the conferences where there is something scheduled for most of the waking hours of the day.  It allows people to take the days as they come, and doesn’t make attendees feel like it’s a relaxing vacation instead of a super structured TG trip.  Upon signing up for DLV, attendees can see the list of planned activities and are asked to sign up for what they want to attend for the sake of having a rough head count for planning purposes.  Each activity has someone as the coordinator, so you have a time to be at a certain place, and know who to check-in with to actually participate.  There are a few exceptions, but much of DLV is pay as you go.

One of the things about Las Vegas I found surprising my first time out there was the scale of everything.  I’m used to cities, and thought I had done a reasonable job planning out the three days I was spending there.  It was a long weekend trip with my sister to get away from the New England winter that had us both feeling restless and slightly depressed.  My usual method of planning social trips to new places is to pick one thing to do each day I’m in a place (sometimes with a second thing to do as a backup), and let myself just go with the flow for the rest of the time.  Since it was a short trip and equally my sister’s vacation, we each picked something for each day, and decided the rest of the time would be spent wandering around Vegas or sitting by the pool.  It turns out that without some really good planning on how to get from one place to another you waste a lot of time on the strip outside of casinos thinking “It’s right next door, how is it taking me so long?  Is the casino moving further away as I walk towards it?”  In one case it took us 45 minutes to get out of our hotel, cross the street twice, and make our way to the pool of the other casino.  For the record, it was not worthwhile.

I was more than a little naïve and underprepared for the trip.  There is so much information about Las Vegas out there, and some of it is relevant to planning a trip, but a lot of it is just useless noise.  I had trusted too much to just being a leaf in the wind, and wasted a lot of time in the process.  I’ve convinced myself that it’s not an uncommon mistake to make, and the problem only compounds when you throw in the additional time it takes to get ready with makeup and wig ready to withstand the heat of the desert. 

DLV organizers tremendously reduce the amount of wasted time by providing very helpful and succinct information about how to get where you’re going.  There’s information on how to get to each activity if you’re travelling by public transport, cab, or walking, making it easy to figure out where you’re going and how much time you’ll need to get there.  Remember, even if you pull up to the correct casino on time, it might be another 15 or 20 minutes walking through the casino to get where you’re meant to be meeting up with the group.  Luckily, the flexibility of DLV means that if you’ve signed up for way too many activities and haven’t left enough time in between for going back to your room for an outfit change or a nap, you can easily notify the organizers of your changes in plans. 

While it’s understandable for first-timers to cancel out during the week, hopefully most seasoned attendees know better and plan their attendance accordingly.  It can get extremely frustrating for organizers when the headcount is constantly shifting for any particular activity.  Remember, it is all volunteers making DLV happen, and they deserve to have a mostly stress-free, fun experience too.

While I've attended DLV several years in the past, I will not be going this year.  I can only make so many trips each year, and DLV is just not in the cards this year.

There are several TG-focused events in Las Vegas every year.  In addition to Diva Las Vegas, there is also Wildside (May 9-15), which fans of the club/dance scene might be more interested in over DLV.  

Keystone 2016

I know, there’s been a long stretch of silence on the blog front.  I’m going to jump back in though, and hopefully get into a better schedule of updating not only the blog section, but the rest of the website as well.

I’ve recently returned from the 2016 Keystone Conference in Harrisburg PA.  I’ve been to Keystone several years in the past, but had to miss it last year due to scheduling conflicts.  I truly missed going last year, much more than I thought I would.  For many people, different conferences are almost interchangeable, but for me each has their own unique tone, making them all fun in their own ways.  Personally, I love Keystone because I see people I don’t get to see at any other event.  Being located in Harrisburg makes it easy for many people to get to, so the geographic diversity represented at Keystone is really fantastic.  Although there are many people I know and care for at Keystone, the girls I cherish catching up with are people I’ve known since I first started my involvement in the trans community (almost 10 years ago now…wow!). 

The first weekend away I ever attended was an event called Beauty at the Beach held in Rehoboth DE.  It was a small event, a group of about 60 people, meeting at a hotel in Rehoboth the first weekend of November.  In 2007, my first year attending, BATB had been in Rehoboth for more than 5 years and was the successor of Paradise in the Poconos.  Paradise in the Poconos was started in 1983 by JoAnn Roberts as an offshoot of an earlier event.  All this is to say many of the BATB attendees had known each other for many years, some even remembering that first year in 1983, giving the event the most informal and family reunion -like feeling.  If everyone wasn’t so friendly, I would have been supremely intimidated (I was much more self-conscious then).  But the enjoyment was infectious, and anyone that walked into the hotel was immediately embraced with nothing but goodwill and laughter for the weekend.  Since I last attended in 2009, the attendance has dropped, but the event survives JoAnn’s passing in 2013 thanks to her spouse’s dedication.  More information for anyone interested can find it HERE.

All this is to say that when the Keystone Conference was started, I was overjoyed to reconnect in person with those first friends I had in the TG world after chatting only by email for the previous few years.  There’s nothing to compare with getting a hug and sitting down for a nice long chat with someone in person, especially when you only see each other once a year.  I missed that aspect most of all when I missed Keystone in 2015, and made sure Keystone 2016 took a higher priority.