More Out!

2017 04 21

Got TONS of compliments today!
Going in to the mall, a woman going out held the door for me and said that I looked beautiful.

Then a small girl, about five, came up to me and said I looked pretty.  ALL of my protective instincts were out at that time.

While eating dinner in the food court a woman passing buy told me I looked pretty.


That evening we went to a dance.  Got a few “lovely”s there.  I was the only one in pink, only one wearing a hat, only one of a very few in a dress or skirt wearing an ankle bracelet, only CDer.

Two professional photographers at the dance.  I pretty much ignored them.  The dance was a part of the annual kick off for the volunteers to a HUGE art show and contest that opens in six months.  One of the photographer, a man, was milling about nearby.  I noticed him and could see he was waiting for a good shot.  I was dancing so I struck a pose for him.  I could hear him say “Yes!” as he clicked away.  The woman eventually ended up about eight feet from me with her camera pointed right at me.  No one behind me, nothing else but a wall.  She was taking pictures of just me.  Later when we were sitting to rest our heeled feet, she came and talked to us.  Probably for a closer look.

Then off to a bar.  LOTS of “beautiful”s, and “nice legs” there.

At least I can be somewhat comfortable in that I am not visually offending anyone.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

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Memorable Daze

2017 04 17

Twice a month The Grand Illusions gals go OUT enfemme.  Once a month after the IN Meeting and once a month for all of the OUTing.  Sometimes we end up clubbing at an all inclusive bar, some people refer to this as a “Gay bar”.  Most of the time we go to a General Population club.  Every time is an experience, some better than others.  Some just downright fantastic.  We had another just downright fantastic day.  It was as if the Grand Rapids GPs (general population) opened up their hearts and decided to vote with their smiles and hugs.





We met for lunch at a sorta fast food sub shop.  The employees of the shop have always been accepting and even friendly.  This day there was something in store beyond our wildest imaginations.  Of course just being there, doing this, wearing this outfit, for me was beyond my wildest imagination.  Because the first time I ever considered CDing was September 21 2012.  Before that I didn’t even know that CDing to look real, not just a “plumber in a dress”, was something people actually did.  Since then I have had some truly memorable experiences.  I have been to places most guys can never even imagine.  Experiences that have changed me.  Yet the old me is still there, but smiling a lot more.  Why?  Because instead of being a guy by default I am a guy by choice.  Except once a week I choose to experience the world looking like a woman.  Which makes me all the happier that I am not.

But the experiences this day would be truly memorable.  Like a once in a lifetime level.  Since starting The Grand Illusions CDer Group a bit over four years ago I have had quite a few of these lifetime days.

We had just finished our lunch and having a chat.  Well continuing our chat.  We never seem to run out of things to gab about.  All fun talk.  And talk to support each other.  Anyway a man came up to our table, complimenting us on being ourselves,  and politely asked if he could take our photo.  Telling us he was proud that we were being ourselves.  That everyone should accept each other.  It would have been impossible to say no to his wide grin, sincerity, and warmth of voice.  After he took our picture with his phone, Amy, being closest to him, asked if he would take our picture with Amy’s phone.  He agreed enthusiastically, spent some time getting it exactly right.  Afterwards I told him that he was likely the coolest person in the restaurant.  I asked him if he would mind posing with us.  He agreed, a tiny bit less enthusiastically, but a yes no less.  Much conversation from him about people all being the same, life, kindness.  What an amazing find he is!  I asked him to run for office so I could vote for him.  Then his SO used my camera and took a few pictures of us for me.  A beautiful couple making the world a better place.  People tell me that The Grand Illusions is changing the world, their lives.  Perhaps.  But of this I am certain, I told that guy that HE is changing the world, making it a better place.People can be surprising.

Off to the Art Show………
We went back to The Network and changed in to strolling outfits.  Or at least I did.  And flats.  Or at least I did.  Now Amy was adamant that she was capable of walking all day in her Mary Janes but I wasn’t so sure that I would be walking downtown in their equivalent.  I had on ballet flats, VERY comfy.  We will see.
Off to the bus stop………
It was almost 70 degrees and sunny, a bit breezy but entirely satisfactory for me in my floaty skater skirt.  I LOVE the warm breezes on my stockinged legs, that which you can see, and that which you can’t.  As the breeze rustles my skirt.  I could feel the warmth of the reflected sun off the pavement on my legs and the bare top of my feet.  Bliss.
As we waited on the opposite side of the street, a couple passing by on the south side of Lake Street complimented us.  As did the people passing by on our side of the street, with their warm smiles.
The bus driver was kind.  The passengers board, too board for a second glance.  We sat in the back of the bus.  Doing the usual gabbing and giggling as the bus made it’s way downtown.  How do we find so much to be happy about?  To gab about?  All the while adding and discharging passengers.  All too bored to notice us much.  Perfect.
Getting off the bus downtown, we were immediately complimented by passers by.  And as we walked, ignored by others.  But the complimentary ones will be rewarded when we win the Powerball.
Strolling the downtown in the warm sunshine.  Bliss.
The art was good to great.  Mostly pen and ink, engravings, water colors, mixed media.  Looked like mostly school age artists.  Not like child art, this was adult professional class level art.

I am OUT quite a bit in Grand Rapids, especially downtown.  People come up to me and say they remember me form……  Always kind.  Always happy.  Other may remember me but choose to keep it a secret.  Those that share their joy of life, we together revel in the moment.  Separating thereafter with a warmth reserved only for the blessed.  A beaming young lady came up to me and said she remembered me from an event in February.  After hugs and a picture by her friend with her cell phone, she took this with my camera.  So Sweet!  I am SO blessed!

Grand Rapids is straddling the Grand River where there are some not especially grand rapids.  Any lack of grandness in the rapids is made up by the grandness of it’s Grand Rapidians.

There is a river walk along the east side of the river behind the tall buildings for most of downtown and along the west side for a couple of long blocks.  Bridges carrying traffic are outnumbered by bridges repurposed for walking and absorbing sunshine, on the odd days when it shines.  This is after all West Michigan.

Today was a banner day.  Sunshine from above, sunshine from our hearts.  Posing on the river walk.  Squinting because West Michigan natives are not used to the sunshine.

Note that Amy by now had given up on her Mary Janes after accumulating two lifetimes (for a normal person) worth of compliments on them.  I was worried that her head would swell and her hair would somehow magically no longer fit.

A stroll up Monroe Center and more compliments…….  Can this ever get old?  NO WAY!

To the bus stop on Ionia.  While waiting the two ladies also waiting for the bus engaged us in pleasant conversation.  Until a car pulled up to the red light, front heavily tinted window rolls down.  Frantically working the cell to get the camera going before the light went green, the woman in the right front street praised us.  As the right rear window rolled down and the two ladies in the back complimented us.  As Amy jumps in to the street to accept the lead role in the impending photoshoot.  But alas the light turned green before anyone could get her cell to go to camera.  Ain’t technology such a time saver!

The bus ride back was as much fun as the ride there.  Except we were on a natural high from the positive interactions we experienced.  How can we gab so much and never run out of things to gab about?  I LOVE these gals!!!!!!!!  They are SO much fun!

We drove to the Branns Restaurant on Leonard.  Good food, good service, great prices, and the wait staff are beyond anything a CDer could hope for.  Like hugs all around from your waitress.  Or maybe we just added some fun to her shift?

When we walked in, there were some quick takes from the other patrons.  Stares that are intense for the maximum time but ended before they could be thought of as impolite.  Then we ate, with occasional cautious stares.  Mostly ignored.

West Michigan at its best today.

Off to Rivertown Mall to show the gals the new Charlotte Russe Plus Size store.  I had already purchased two dresses here.  And my beloved SO picked out a third this day.  Gawd I love that woman.  But I did not buy it because, surprise SURPRISE, I already have pink lace dresses.  Somehow I gotta be responsible.  “I will not buy anything new that isn’t totally different and totally perfect!”  Repeat.  Repeat.  Even through  the dress was on sale and a bargain.  But I did get to meet Ashley, the store manager.  She is a terrific choice by the parent company to open ONE OF ONLY TWO Charlotte Russe Plus Size stores in the USA.  This gal is the PERFECT choice to take a brand to the level of Destination.  And everyone working this store has been totally welcoming since it opened about a month ago.
To make the east end Rivertown Mall in itself a CDer destination, across the hall is Torrid.  Everyone working this store has been totally welcoming and very helpful since the mall opened years ago.  If you want rings that will fit your fingers, not those elastic thingy rings, go to Torrid.  Because the larger ring sizes are so scarce anywhere, Torrid can at times be out of them.  Don’t be discouraged.  You can call and ask if they recently got any in, before you come.  You can get three or four in a “set” for about $15.  Kayla found a perfect dress on sale.

Back to GR Pride to change in to Club Wear and off to dance!

Days like these leave me in a daze!

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:




Fashion Destination

2017 04 13

When a woman goes shopping for a new outfit at the local mall, it is as if the retailers have no idea that, according to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design Technology and Education, the average American woman is a size 16.

This is the article, see for yourself

So I think it is time for all average American women to join together, rise up, and demand that the stores be relabeled.  Hence forth the stores will be either “Average American Women Sizes” or “For the Emaciated with Unwearable Tiny Sizes on The Sale Rack”.

The available clothes that have any style are all size 4, 6, 8, maybe 10, rarely 12, and almost never 14. We rejoice to find a size 16. We see on the racks for each dress maybe two or even four each of size 4, 6, 8,10, one or maybe two of size 12, and possibly one of size 14. It is difficult to near impossible for we larger gals to find something stylish and colorful in size 14, 16, 18, 20.

In Grand Rapids at Rivertown Mall since the mall opened there has been a store at the far east end of the mall with larger sizes. Torrid has a good selection of larger shoes, dresses, and everything else. And the staff has always been very accommodating.  They even have rings that fit.




About a month ago Charlotte Russe, a typically size limited Junior’s store, opened a new plus size store across the hall from Torrid. So far I have purchased two dresses there. The prices are similar to the Juniors store. Although the Plus size store does not have the variety and colors of the Junior’s store, the selection is WAY better than any other store in the mall except Torrid. The staff at the new store is very accommodating too! BTW there are only two Charlotte Russe Plus stores in the USA. And their main office chose wisely to put Ashley in charge to open the Grand Rapids store!

So for we larger gals, or should I say AVERAGE sized American women, the east end of Rivertown Mall has become our destination for fashion that fits.

Last Saturday I took some of the Grand Illusions gals for their first time at these two stores.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:



OUT and having FUN!

2017 04 10

This skirt suit came from the boutique known as GWs.  Well boutique to me.  At about six bucks and a mauve color in a so soft knit, I couldn’t resist.  The necklace came from Charlotte Russe.  I bought four at five bucks each.  I used one as is and with the others made earrings, a wrist bracelet, and an ankle bracelet.  I had lunch and spent the early afternoon going through some more “boutiques”.

I found this blazer at GWs for about five bucks.  The obvious additional piece would be a black or pink skirt.  Black is easy.  Pink is a bit les easy because it has to be very close or way off.  But I like hems that move when I walk or in a breeze.  Then I found this skirt at GWs for about three bucks.  But the dots were white.  But the skirt is organza and that I love, and oh the vertical ruffles!  Swoon!  So I bought some fabric paint in a pastel pink and in spare time here and there I changed the dots from white to pink.  I have a few left to do.  A work in progress.  After lunch I wandered through a Sears that was just three days from closing.  These stores use liquidators to staff and run their Going Out Of Business stores.  Sears and K Mart are selling off assets like real estate to fund a business model that can’t possibly survive.  Their clothes, shoes all at too high prices for quality not any better than cheaper and more stylish versions at Pennys.  Furniture way over priced.  Appliances available now at Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, ABC, independent appliance stores, even Pennys.  Craftsman tools once only at Sears now at KMart and Ace Hardware.  No wonder the Sears stores are never busy.  Except when they close.

Then a stroll through the mall.  I love to look at the new clothes in Pennys and Macys.  The prices when first on the racks are just too much for me to justify.  In can buy maybe ten or even fifteen outfits at GWs for the price of one at Macys or Pennys.  And I don’t get to wear them as much as I would like.  If I wear everything I have, going OUT once per week, three outfits per OUTing, one wearing per outfit per year, and go through everything I own, I will go at least a couple of years before I have to repeat. I may wear a dress maybe four to six times.  At $5.99 (from GWs) that is $1.50 to $1.00 per wearing.  At $90.00 that is $22.50 to $15.00 per wearing.  I like the variety and GWs is the only way I can justify it.

Another GWs find for the usual six bucks.  The shoes I recolored along with the hat.  Off to a club.  Once I untangle my legs!

There are CDers who have disposable income to fund a CDer wardrobe to die for.  I admire them and envy their funding.  More power to them.  I mention the prices and sources I pay to encourage those with less disposable income to find alternate sources.  And to show that although I have a sizeable wardrobe, I was able to stock it largely from resale.  This does not have to be an expensive endeavor.


Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at: