Counting down to Ghouls' Night Out!

Ghouls’ Night Out is now less than one week away, so get ready to join me at The Manor! 

As a reminder, the party is at The Manor at 42 West Boylston St, W. Boylston MA on Oct. 21st from 8pm until 1am.  DJ Edwina will be keeping everyone on the dance floor, and Kendra will once again be helping to capture the evening with her photography skills.  

Some additional details and reminders will help you all prepare for the evening.

The bar is CASH ONLY!  There is an ATM on site, but try to come prepared.

Tickets are still available at the discounted price of $15 if purchased before 10/19 from  Tickets at the door will be $20, cash only.  The check-in table will be in the lobby.  You will be asked to remove any full-face mask when approaching the registration table.

The nearest hotel, Classic Suites and Inns, is sold out, so listed below are some other great options within a 10-20 minute drive.

Heather Leigh and Mandi will be available for makeovers in the bridal suite at The Manor starting at 3pm.  Please contact me directly at for an appointment with either artist.

There will be another Halloween party in the other ballroom that will be ending around 9:30pm.  Please be mindful of this, and respectful of others in common areas.  There is an alternate entrance that allows for a quick walk to the Grecian Room without passing the restaurant or the other ballroom.  When looking at the front of the building, the entrance is on the left (there is a white railing and a small patio). 

Keep costumes appropriate for a public venue, and be conscientious of others when taking pictures at the party.  These parties have always been safe, friendly, and problem-free; let’s strive to keep them that way so everyone can have a great time!

Extended Stay hotel - $118, 5.2 miles away
50 Oriol Dr, Worcester

Days Inn, Shrewsbury/Worcester - $110, 10.5 miles away
889 Boston Turnpike, Rt 9, Shrewsbury

Motel 6 Leominster - $90, 15.2 miles away
48 Commercial Road, Leominster

Days inn Leominster/Fitchburg - $103, 16 miles away
482 N. Main St, Leominster

SCC Programming

I just returned from the Southern Comfort Conference, now located in Weston, FL.  SCC was held in Atlanta for 24 years before moving down to Weston in 2015 for its 25th anniversary. I’ve attended as a vendor every year since 2010, but decided, for many reasons (but primarily because of the timing of my Maine Event), to skip last year.  After the conference concluded, I heard mixed reviews from attendees I knew.  Some people were pleasantly surprised by the change of venue, and some were disappointed when comparing 2015 to prior years.  I decided to bite the bullet and see for myself how SCC would be in its second year in its new home, and I have to say I fall into the latter camp.

There were several issues I saw, both with the conference, and with it being located at the Bonaventure Resort.  Some are fixable, some are not (at least, not without another location change).  My main concern though, is in the programming.  I saw very little for people not planning to transition, and nothing specifically aimed at people who are gender fluid, non-binary, or crossdressing part-time.  I was asked by one first-time attendee if all the conference seminars are basically doctor infomercials.  I also heard of several presenters that simply didn't show up, and those presentation slots were not rescheduled.

I had offered to do a makeup demo when I signed up to be a vendor, and was told I’d be contacted by the presentation coordinator.  I never was so I assumed, apparently incorrectly, that maybe someone else was already doing something along that vein.  I know other events I’ve been to, notable First Event and Keystone, seek out presenters when they see a gap in content for their scheduling.  It always behooves conference coordinators to try and make sure there is something for everyone at any point in the day.

There was also a noticeable lack of vendors.  There were plenty of tables with resources for attendees, but very few selling either products or services.  Again, there were no vendors with wares for the part-time crossdresser. 

So that leaves me wondering how SCC will sustain going forward.  In my experience, many people stop attending conferences after transition, or at least scale back their attendance of seminars.  If that segment of the TG community is where SCC is placing all their effort, it means constantly finding new attendees for the conference.  There are so many other ways to find resources outside of conferences; how long will people continue the expense of travelling to and attending SCC if there’s not a more diverse offering?

There’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to see Southern Comfort go the way of Be All or Gold Rush, or any of several other conferences.  I want to try and make it better, offer presentations on foundation garments, makeup, and deportment.  The feedback I've offered regarding the future of SCC has been met with a resistance that makes the other part of me just want to focus on supporting other events or direct my focus on organizing my own.

Feeding into my decision will definitely be an awareness that next year could be the last, or any year after that.  I usually plan my travel for the conference season in June or July, so I have plenty of time to decide whether to attend.  For now, I’ll keep my focus on Ghouls’ Night Out, followed by the Lake Erie Gala, and First Event on the more distant horizon. 

Bathroom Laws in New England

As the discussion of gender-identity and bathroom laws sweep the nation, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss what the legal guidelines in New England are.  I mean, when you gotta go, you gotta go, but when you’re cross-dressing it can be a little confusing as to which restroom to use.

First off,  if you’re cross-dressing from male-to-female, you should consider using the women’s restroom. If you’re at a TLGB bar or event, you’re free to use any bathroom you identify or express yourself as. Obviously, not all private businesses are open to this idea, so exercise your judgment. There are no specific bathroom bans in New England as of yet, however, the ability to use public accommodations vary by region.

Connecticut and Rhode Island added gender identity and expression to its anti-discrimination laws in housing, employment, public accommodations, and public schools. There have been a few attempts to exclude public restrooms from this list, but they have failed. Connecticut defines gender as something you are either assigned at birth or you physiology, and they may require a person provides evidence such as medical history, birth certificate, etc. Rhode Island, on the other hand, defines gender-identity and expression as something that can be perceived by their gender related appearance or self-image.

Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont provide specific protections for transgender individuals. These laws also extend to a person’s gender expression when using public accommodations.

As for New Hampshire, there are no state laws prohibiting the discrimination of transgender individuals.

Now it’s time to talk about being able to actually to use a restroom. Simply because public accommodations may extend to someone’s gender expression, that doesn’t necessarily mean that private accommodations are required to offer these same protections. Some cities across New England, may have ordinances protecting a person’s gender-identity or expression in private accommodations. This is not the case for all cities. The safest bet would be to use restrooms at companies that are either trans friendly, or have specific policies allowing a person to use a restroom according to their gender identity. Companies such as Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Target, Ikea, the Home Depot, JCPenney, Sears, Nordstrom, Disney, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Macy's, CVS, and Walgreens.

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'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  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