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.  

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

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. 

2015: Year of change

The year is not yet half over, and yet 2015 has been a year of so much shifting and changing, I can hardly keep track.  Some negative changes, such as the closing of Triangles, have been followed by very positive changes, such as the increase of other groups and meetings across the region.  I've also had some personal changes in my life which have made me less able to keep up with these broader changes across the T community. 

I have finally updated my calendar to reflect the changes I know of, and will continue to do so as much as possible.  If you know of something happening and want me to add it to my calendar, please let me know!

As a reminder, I also have a Meetup page.  I send out a monthly summary of upcoming events, and Meetup will also send you an email reminder of any events you have RSVPed to as well. 

On a more personal level, I attended Esprit Conference in Port Angeles WA for the first time, and had a wonderful time.  I will be spending more time on the west coast in the future, and love getting connected with the T community out west.  As an added bonus, WA was a totally different kind of beauty than in the northeast, and I was just enchanted driving around and taking it all in.  I will working on a post about my experience in Port Angeles to hopefully go up soon.

And finally, I am still working on my Maine Event.  I have 95% of the details nailed down, and so will be posting some updated information soon, including registration information!

So take a peek at the calendar and decided what social gatherings are going to help you get out of the house and meet new friends, because who wants to stay home alone with such wonderful weather and the chance to meet people outside?

Holiday Open House

By persistent request, I'm adding one more open house for 2014!  Stop by on December 11th for the usual refreshments and conversation, but with the addition of a Christmas tree!  Most likely be some of us will be heading out to dinner at a local restaurant around 5pm, and everyone is welcome to join.  Any questions, just drop me an email or text!

I will shortly post all the dates for 2015 Open Houses and Triangles parties. 

What I've been up to

The last couple months I've been running almost non-stop, and for that I am very thankful.  So here's a quick recap to bring you up to date.  I may be adding some pictures later on.

September is the month of SCC.  This year was much the same as other years, except for one teensy announcement; SCC will spend it's 25th anniversary in the greater Fort Lauderdale area instead of in Atlanta.  The move is brought on by many factors, but regardless of the pros and cons for both the organizers and the participants, everyone can agree it will be an interesting change of pace.  I haven't been to Florida since I was a kid, and never to Fort Lauderdale, so I am personally looking forward to the change.  Time will tell whether it is a good move for the conference overall or not.

October was, of course, filled with Halloween everything.  Two parties back to back were well over-booked for me (again, thank you everyone!), so I had the opportunity to introduce two new assistants to this wonderful community.  I look forward to bringing one or both of them with me to First Event and other parties in the future.

Of course, I've maintained my Open House dates.  September's open house was followed by a trip to Foxwoods, October's we stayed in, and November's was followed by a large group of us heading to a local restaurant.  November 6th was the last scheduled open house, but I've had calls to have a holiday open house in December.  I am still thinking on dates, but I will announce soon if I do pick a date.  How would everyone feel about a tree-trimming party followed by dinner out?

Next week I'll be heading to the Lake Erie Gala for the 6th year running.  I love heading out to Erie because there's enough people attending for it to be interesting and for the event to always be a little different year to year, but it's also small enough to feel very intimate.  I always have such a great time at Erie, and I've made some wonderful friends over the years. 

My biggest project I've continued working on is making arrangements for my Maine Event.  We have a group rate at the Meadowmere Resort for September 9-13, 2015!  More info to follow as it becomes available, but I'm so excited to have a definite date!  Feedback and suggestions as I look at activities for the group are definitely welcome.

Big announcement!

I have had the privilege of attending many different transgender events over the years.  I've gone to big conferences, getaway weekends, and events that fall somewhere in-between.  There are events like this all over the US, and in many parts of the world.  If you think there's not something near you, think again (and then get to Google-ing "TG events YourState")!

Of course, some areas have more options than others.  I feel fortunate in New England that not only are there so many options for going out in public and more options opening up every day.  We have several TG conferences including First Event, and fantastic regularly scheduled club nights (I'm looking at Tiffany Leigh and Triangles specifically).   I've taken people to mainstream restaurants and clothing stores and local parks with no incident.  And I'm very thankful that I live in an area that there are all these great options and resources to point people towards.

However!  We have a gap in the getaway-weekend department. 

There is so much to be gained from conference seminars, but after going to several, some people have gleaned as much as they are going to, and want an event where they can really focus on the social aspect of the event.  That is where getaway weekends come in; roughly the same span as a conference, the focus is totally different.  Think of it as a vacation organized with a bunch of friends you haven't quite met yet. 

Over the last two years, I've considered many different locations to host a Thursday through Sunday event, and have finally decided on Ogunquit, Maine.  Activities I'm looking at include a scenic sailboat cruise, a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse, the Museum of American Art, and a trip to the Kittery Outlets.  I haven't quite decided on timing yet (currently Fall 2015 seems the best), but hopefully I will nail down a weekend soon.  When I do, it will be posted here!

Southern Comfort

This time next week I will be frantically throwing everything I can think of into (hopefully) two big suitcases and one carry-on.  Why?  Southern Comfort Conference is upon us once again!  I'll be heading to Atlanta for a few days of catching up with old friends, enjoying warmer weather than Connecticut boasts at the moment, and of course doing makeup!  I've been booking appointments since May and am pleased to see I'll get to spend time with many of the same people as in past years.  There are some new people coming to see me as well, and I'm also very glad for the opportunity to meet them, hear their stories, and form new friendships.

SCC has many positive features.  It attracts a variety of people from many places; it is in fact one of the largest gender conferences in the US.  As such, the programming at SCC is diverse, and there is sure to be something for everyone on the seminar schedule.  For those who want to go out in Atlanta, there's no shortage of friendly restaurants and clubs in and around the city.  There is also a large shopping mall across the street.  I've never met anyone who regretted attending SCC. 

For more information about Southern Comfort, visit their website: www.sccatl.org

Charming Charlie's

As promised, here are some photos from the latest Open House adventure.  After a full day hanging out at the studio, five of the girls decided another outing was due.  We discussed going to Foxwoods (to compare to Mohegan Sun, of course), but the vote showed more interest in shopping and dinner.

Charming Charlie is a huge accessory store; think of it as a classier Claire's that you might find in a mall.  We went to the one in Northborough, though it is a chain and has many stores in other locations.

Before heading out on our adventure.  L to R: Cheri, Chrissie, Jayne, Chardonnay, Katie, and Jill.

Before heading out on our adventure.  L to R: Cheri, Chrissie, Jayne, Chardonnay, Katie, and Jill.

Jill became enamored with hats on this trip.

Jill became enamored with hats on this trip.

After over two hours of wandering the store, we all had narrowed down our final purchases.  It was definitely not easy to decide what came home with each of us and what should stay on the shelf.  The store is huge, and has options for every person's taste.

We had to practically drag Chrissie out of the store.  Even after we had, she went back in for a final purchase!

We had to practically drag Chrissie out of the store.  Even after we had, she went back in for a final purchase!

Finally done shopping!  Whew!

Finally done shopping!  Whew!



As everyone knows, shopping works up an appetite.  Purchases in hand, we headed to a 99 Restaurant nearby for a late dinner. 

Thanks for another great Open House girls!

Open House date change

I have had to move the September Open House from Thursday September 18th back one day; the new date is Wednesday September 19th.  I hate to move Open House dates once they are set, but unfortunately there's no getting around this change.  

Completely unrelated, but I will be unavailable by phone until August 18th.  I am taking a real vacation with my spouse for the first time ever!  While I'm away I may check emails once a day, so just be patient with me.  I know Southern Comfort is fast approaching, but I promise I always schedule appointments on a first-contact, first-served basis. 

I will be posting pictures from the August Open House after I return.  A group of six of us had a fun shopping trip to Charming Charlie and then enjoyed dinner at the 99 Restaurant.  Stay tuned!