Thursday, November 8, 2012

Natalia At The Bora Bora NUI

Tropicalia Natalia Wearing Palm Spring Silstone Barbie's Coral Caftan.
This is also the suite at the Bora Bora NUI that Peter and I stayed in.

Recently while staying at the beautiful Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando during the FR Convention in 2012, the theme and the resort reminded me of the time that Peter and I got to spend an equally wonderful time at another resort – IN BORA BORA! The resort was called the NUI and to get all the way to Bora Bora it took exactly 24 hours, but it was worth every minute once we got there.

To be among the beautiful flora and fauna of French Polynesia was absolutely mind-boggling. It in fact, took us a few days to believe that we were actually in the magnificent place. It was like Dorothy when she left her real life of sepia toned Kansas and woke up in the Technicolor land of OZ. The air was permeated with coconut and vanilla. The room (which is the setting that I placed Natalia in the picture above) was spectacular. They were called “Motu's” and were constructed on beams over the water. They were completely luxurious and had the most amazing amenities one could ask for. We had our own private sun bathing deck that we could dive straight into the ocean from. The bathroom was like heaven and the sheets on the canopy bed were like butter! (Additionally, every night the native ladies that attended the rooms would leave floral patterns using tropical flowers and leaves on your bed for turn down service….I took of picture of it every night…they were soooo intricate and beautiful).

Peter and I with Kathy Griffin In The Beautful Blue Water of
Bora Bora During A Private Lunch On A Near By Island.
You are probably asking yourself,”Why were those lucky bastards there anyway?” Well, we were very fortunate to have been the media sponsor on Kathy Griffin’s Emmy Award Winning Show “My Life On The D-List”. Our magazine www.whatshappeningmagazine.com was chosen to be sponsors in Florida for the show to promote people from the South East to go on the trip. The season our show was featured (which was Season 4 Episode 7) was also an Emmy winner for her. Kathy, Tiffany and Tom (her assistant and tour manager) were amazing and we were also able to share this beautiful experience with many of our friends. Among them was model/artist/entertainer India Brooks (who was our official hostess with the moistest), Karen Brown (of Straight Girl In A Gay World fame), Jim & Eric (our good friends, one of which is a hairstylist…we had to look good for TV) and Mario Cantone (from Sex In The City) and his partner Jerry Dixon (his brilliant musical arranger).
Jerry, Mario, India & Me. Ugh...I was so sunburned on
the first day that we went out on the beach!
Peter and I will never forget this amazing experience (mostly because we own the DVD of the season we were one…lol…and it on youtube.com at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKAO4vQdXnM . The episode is called “Busted In Bora Bora” in case you want to see the whole thing on Hulu.com or something). It was a dream come true. There was only one problem. After a year of preparing this trip between all the guests and Kathy’s people, Peter and I “stress-ate” and put on the most weight we have ever been. Apparently, we forgot TWO very important facts: WE WERE GOING TO BE ON NATIONAL TV and THE CAMERA PUTS ON 10Lbs (There were several cameras going at the same time.. LOL) ! Well, I wish I would have had a fabulous caftan to wear like the one made for Barbie with the coral design that now looks so spectacular on Natalia. Maybe soon I will get another chance...here's hoping!
The Whole Bora Bora Gang After The Shooting Of My Life On The D-List: Busted In Bora Bora Episode

Photoshoot with India Brooks On A Catamaran.
I pray to God I’m able to see the blue water and night sky of Bora Bora again….but if not there are some very special memories I will always carry with me:

1-      Getting to become friends with Kathy Griffin and her incredible crew.

2-      Watching Kathy perform up close and personal.

3-      Skinning dipping (drunk off our asses) with Mario Cantone…I have pictures Mario…don’t piss me off…lol)

4-      Booger Drag night….that’s when you use anything in your room to create your drag outfit.

5-      Being terrified out of my mind when I had to swim with the sharks and sting rays…just a couple of months after Steve Irwin was killed. I couldn’t stop thinking of him the whole time.

6-      The beautiful black pearl farm that we visited (I still have and wear the pearl that I got there)

7-      The photoshoots with India.

8-      The massages and pedicures with Karen.

9-      The romantic evenings alone with Peter.

10-   The amazing drink, food and native people that made us feel so welcomed in their beautiful country.



Yarana! (Hello and goodbye in French Polynesian)

Xoxo,

F

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Flame Rouge Veronique Doll On Tall Handspeak Body Wearing Platinum Jordan's Dress
& Convention Imogen's Purse and Shoes. GORG!
I’ve been collecting dolls now (collectively) for almost 20 years. I first collected Barbie (my first was Silver Screen Barbie from F.A.O. Schwarz) and then I took close to a 10 year hiatus from seriously collecting. When a doll would come out that would fetch my eye…I would get it, but they were far and few between in those years. When I came back to collecting full throttle it was mostly due to the Integrity Toys line. They had been out for a couple of year at that point, but I had really not noticed them. It was not until, I met one of the designers and bough his inaugural line that I was truly hooked again. It was like black tar heroin. On hit and I was back at square one.

I’ve never been a completest. I’ve always just collected what I “like”. The problem is with Integrity Toys….I love all of it! I try to hold off and only order a all my “must haves”. Inevitably, I always regret the ones that I deem I don’t “need”. So, I end up chalking it up to my theory of putting what I want out into the Universe and hopefully they will come (or won’t) sooner or later.

I have “grail dolls” like Venus Eugenia, Optic Verve Agnes…etc., but I try to not obsesses about it. Again, I try to be grateful for the wonderful collection that I have and enjoy and not for the few dolls that have escaped my grasp.

Sometime though….you just get lucky! At this year’s convention , I was able to do a bit of serious room shopping for the very first time. As many of you know, I don’t buy anything first night of convention. I’m usually too busy catching up with friends and /or mixing drinks. Also, friends don’t let friends “drink and shop”. I did that the first year and blew all my money on the first night (shut up David Carr). I’ve met some great people over the last couple of years of going to the FR Convention. Every year I come back with a “grail doll”, spend less than I would have on ebay and additionally have a great story to accompany the purchase of the doll. I tend to attach memories to things that I get from special people. This year I was able to get a very special doll (that I’ve wanted for eva…) from a very special person.

The story starts at the 2011 Convention, when I met three very sweet guys that were sharing a room together that they were selling out of. Two were a couple and one was a single, handsome strapping tall bearded man (just like I like ‘em…hehehehehe) named Frank Villa. After finding out that we had very similar taste in dolls (they all had great things to sell from their room….even a Superman Tonner doll for Peter) we all became good convention friends. To the point that I was so exhausted (and/or hung over) that I slept (and drooled alittle) during one of the workshops in 2011 (which wasn’t entirely my fault…there was a slideshow presentation in which the professor turned out the lights to see the screen better  and like a Pavlovian dog I went right to sleep. I do it at movies I PAY to see too. I always have to catch the end of everything on Cable).

This year I did not fall asleep on Frank again (although I totally would of..he’s very cuddly) but I did buy a doll from him…..drumroll please…..FLAME ROUGE VERONIQUE nude! A doll that I thought I would never be able to afford….EVER! Well, now she is finally re-transplanted on a tall handspeak body and dressed in the a combo outfit that I also got at this year’s convention souvenir room (Platinum Jordan’s dress and convention Imogen’s shoes and purse….red in homage to the “flame” namesake of the doll). Now she is GORG! (inside joke!)

So, I again I repeat…your grail dolls will find their way to you if you “put it out there…let go….and let GOD (or whatever greater power that you connect with).

Thanks again Frank…everytime I look at her I think of YOU my friend and how you made a dolly dream come true for me!

Xoxo,

F

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wearing Your HEART On Your Sleeve

Lana "Love Story" Wearing Josephine's "La Divina". I Borrowed RuPaul's RED Gloves To
Represent Wearing Your HEART On Your Sleeve. ;-)


I just realized this weekend (while watching a marathon of Inyanla episodes on OWN…the only good network left on cable) that I have been passive aggressively holding a grudge against a person I love for about a full year now. I had an "a-ha" moment.

People that really know me, understand that I have many acquaintances but consider few people REAL friends. Basically, it's because of two main reasons. The first is as a young person I was "stabbed in the back" by many "friends" and when I grew older I learned (mostly due to my mom's advice and mentoring) that eventually everyone disappoints you and that all we truly have in this life that we can count on is our "family". 

Sadly, when I came OUT (of the closet) even my family turned their backs on me. So, because I did not cultivate friendships easily and due to my family turning me away when they found out I was gay, I created a wall around my heart and I told myself,"I don't need anyone." That's a very sad existence. It's lonely and depressing. I've been working on tearing down that wall around my heart for years now…with Peter's help (he is much more open and optimistic than I am)…but every once in a while, when I feel like someone has let me down or hurt me, I inevitably put a couple bricks back up. It's a slow process, but I'm "doing my work" like Iyanla says.

Now, because Peter and I have owned and published a popular GLBT nightlife and entertainment magazine (www.whatshappeningmagazine.com) for seven years now, we are fortunate to get many perks. We've gotten used to people being "nice" to us in order to be on the receiving end of one of the perks (like free tickets to concerts and events, meeting celebrities, VIP status as bars…trust me…it's not as glamourous as it sounds). We've had people "use us" for those fringe benefits and it hurts. Nonetheless, we understand that it comes with the territory and after this many years in the "scene" we can now see individuals with ulterior motives coming a mile away. 

Peter and I are by nature generous. We like to share and enjoy our life and all the bonuses that we are blessed to have with those we care most about. That is how we were both raised. Not to be greedy, to give the shirt off your back to someone who needs it and that good times are made better by sharing them with others we love. But, I would be lying if I didn't say that MY (not Peter's) antennas are not constantly up. It is as if I keep EXPECTING people to disappoint me….and that's when I got it. I'm allowing other peoples actions to change ME and take ME back to being the completely closed off person that I fight becoming again. Ding-Ding-Ding! My "a-ha" moment.

Last year, around this time, I was hurt (unintentionally I believe) by a person I had been getting to know as a REAL FRIEND. Slowly, I went into protective mode, which was to pull away from that person. I didn't even realize that I was doing it…but, instead of speaking to that person and saying,"Hey, I really didn't like what you just did…." or "Do you know that what you said really just hurt my feelings…." I did what I normally do and just started taking inventory of this person's actions and words becoming more and more sensitive to them. I was hurt…and hurt turned to passive aggressiveness. Which lead to distance I feared that having another injury to my heart at the time would be fatal to my faith in humanity as a whole. I was going back to my corner…my safe place.

I don't want to LIVE in that space anymore.

I learned a few things, out of this experience and from Iyanla's wisdom:

1- Our family, friends and loved one are NOT MIND READERS. If they do something that hurts or upsets us WE MUST LET THEM KNOW and not carry the baggage with us that will eventually hold us down and ruins the relationship. Plus, they might not even be AWARE that they did anything in the first place. All that leads to is building resentment towards those we care about. And let's face it, our loved ones deserve honesty not resentment. 

2- We ALL do the BEST we can…and when WE KNOW BETTER…WE DO BETTER. 

3- You can't control other people's actions. You can ONLY control how you respond.

4- Give of yourself and expect NOTHING in return. Not even gratitude. WE SHOULD GIVE TO OTHERS FOR OURSELVES.

5- Be who YOU are….if you are a "natural spring" that enjoys to openly share of your blessings with others….YOU MUST CONTINUE TO DO SO. The river of blessings must be allowed to flow so that it can continue to grow. Be grateful to God for granting you the blessings to share with others.

6- DON'T BLOCK YOURSELF OFF. No one can hurt you…unless you let them. Live in the sun. Remember, sometimes you'll get burned…but without the sun - NO LIVING THING CAN GROW.

7- DON'T TAKE INVENTORY OF WHAT YOU DO FOR OTHERS....and what they do in return. It's not a contest. 

8- BEFORE YOU BLAME SOMETHING TOTALLY ON SOMEONE ELSE….look in the mirror and see what part YOU had in the misunderstanding. It takes two to tango!

9- WASTING TIME arguing over small issues with family or friends is STUPID. They can be taken away from us at any moment. Our time together in this life is precious…spend it enjoying each others company and not harboring petty grudges. 

10- We are NEVER to old to learn or change your course of life. When we stop evolving and learning is when we are truly done in this life.

I leave you all with one last piece of advice from one of my new gurus and spiritual mentors Miss Iyanla Van Zant.....
"FEEL….DEAL…THEN HEAL."

PEACE!
xoxo,
F

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Plum Tired...But Really Excited!



Latest Issue Of WHM With Exclusive
Interview With Sharon Needles
In a couple of weeks on December 2nd, I’m planning on having one of the best times of my life aboard the Carnival Glory for the ALandCHUCK.travel Drag Stars At Sea – Revenge of the Wench cruise. We are going to be hosting over 1000 passenger to watch perform, meet and greet and drink themselves into oblivion alongside some of the most popular gurls of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars from Season 1-4 and the current ALL-Stars currently on Monday nights on LOGO TV at 9pm. Needless to say the anticipation is killing me, but in order to be able to have everything in order for me to be able to leave and just be able to enjoy the trip itself, I’ve been working double time on my magazine (www.whatshappeningmagazine.com) and my responsibilities as Marketing Director at A&C to be able to disconnect while I’m on board. Needless to say, I’m plum tired (hence the picture of Agnes that is being featured today).


Manila Luzon & I At THROB Earlier This Year.
Since I got back from convention a couple of weeks ago I’ve felt like I’ve been on a hamster wheel that won’t stop. The following weekend after the FR Con found Peter and I working all week long at A&C and preparing for the following weekend to be in the Orlando Come Out With Pride Parade (which we were sponsors of…so we HAD to be there). Luckily, we had a stretch hummer Limousine brimming with Veuve Clicquot Champagne and nibbly things (not to mention hot boys ins speedos). I never saw the outside of the Limousine and I literally fell out of the car “Patsy & Edina” style by the conclusion of the parade. Thank God PRIDE season is over. I’m as PROUD as one GAY can be for one year. The following week Marl Davidson and I hosted the Orlando Doll Club over on Saturday morning for our monthly doll meeting. It started at 11am at Marl’s house and ended at 6pm at my place. Then it was time to start setting up photoshoots and interviews for our next issue due to the printers for distribution on the first weekend of November. Gurl….tired….I mean tired. I’ve been falling asleep during my lunch breaks at home, taking cat naps after I get off of my day job and fall asleep coma-style every night after Chelsea Lately (btw: love the new studio…hate the new theme song…sorry Pharrell Williams, I think you are a genius but that theme sounds like something right out of a 80s video arcade. Annoying!)
Chad Michaels As CHER....AMAZING!


Getting back to the cruise that will be departing Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, December 2nd. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the stars that I’ve yet to interact with specifically Chad Michaels (who does an incredible Cher impersonation), Sharon Needles (because Peter has met him and his partner Alaska Thunkfuck and thinks we will become instant friends) and Michelle Visage (because I was obsessed with her in the early 90s due to her short stint in the music industry with a song called “Lovely Day”…Youtube.com it she is totally doing early Madonna with no shame). Finally, it will also give me an opportunity to get to see Drag Star friends again like Latrice “Mutha Effen” Royale, Manila Luzon and JuJu Bee….those girls are just fun on a stick! This is going to be the largest reunion of all the girls including all 4 winners of the seasons and most of the All-Stars (all but 3, Tammie Brown,  Raven and Nina Flowers….scheduling conflicts. They are very much in demand right now). I will definitely take tons of pics and will be doing my best to blog during the entire time to keep all my doll peeps abreast of what’s happening aboard what is affectionately being referred to online as the Carnival Glory (hole).
Go To ALandCHUCK.travel On Facebook "LIKE" Them & Enter To WIN!!!

And to quote Ru,”And may the best Wo-man….WIN!”

Xoxox,

F

Ps. If you are interested in coming along pls. don’t hesitate to contact an ALandCHUCK.travel travel specialists soon….as space is quickly running out!

Pss. The deck that Agnes is strolling upon in my pic above is that of the Carnival Glory….sneak peak y’all! OMG….I just might take her as my travel doll. The lifesize gals will just GAG!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Victoire Roux: When Stars Hung Brightly In The Sky....


I long for the good, ole days of glamour. Call me a hopeless romantic but I’m just not into this “celebrities are real people too” crap that everyone from People to In Touch magazine is trying to feed us. I like my celebs to be living a lifestyle that I can dream about and aspire to. I don’t want to see Christina Aguilera wearing cut off shorts in her Ugg boots coming out of a Starbucks with her Venti Machiatto Late in one hand and while holding a $10,000 Marc Jacob bag in another.

In the fifties and sixties, our stars were always presented to us as complete packages. We either saw them in their featured movie, photo spreads in a glossy magazines alongside interviews that had been edited (if not written) by the studio’s publicity departments or a photo reel news flash at their latest opening. They were shining examples of the perfection that we could all marvel at. Stars back then….shined from a distance and glowed with intensity.

That’s why I was so sad when the Hollywood Legends series was discontinued by Integrity Toys….and so happy when the Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Sabrina, Victoire Roux and the soon to be released Funny Face set are coming our way in 2013 (can you believe that they are going to use Veronique and Vanessa’s original facemolds…I almost died at the convention when the images came up on the large screens…the facepaint is perfection and looks infinitely more like Audrey than the Breakfast set).

Victoire to me represents a fabulous time in the forties and fifties when women were ladies (and looked like them) all the time. The only person that I still know that lives by that standard today is my friend and world famous transsexual Amanda Lepore. She is a paragon of femininity. That woman does not step out to the grocery, gym or outside her door to pick up the paper unless she is completely DONE! Not unlike Victoire, she is a model and a sometime actress/singer that knows that every book is judged first by its cover.

I’m happy to say that I own every last one of the Victoire’s that have come out to date. I hope that IT makes them a bit easier to acquire, like they did at the convention. It was by the grace of God that I was able to get the raven and redhead version of the dolls. I’m so grateful that I have them and they hold a very special place in my heart and collection.

Here’s to the ladies!

Xoxoxo,

F

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Looney Over Lonnie Lawrence


How can you NOT be utterly in love with Lonnie Lawrence?

Poppy’s new friend is the cat’s pajamas! How many dolls are so popular and likeable that in less than four years they get a cute boyfriend, a girlfriend that is Motown up and coming Diva and now finally an actress fresh off the Broadway stage. It’s like your best friends are a young Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand! Really, to have lived in those times when young people where taking the world by storm and the youth culture was prevalent in every aspect of popular culture and the media, must have been absolutely exhilarating.  

Not only do I see endless possibilities in the lives of Poppy, Darla, Chip (which by the way…maybe a new boyfriend should be introduced soon or a cat fight  might break out between these gals fighting over the only man in THIER world) and Lonnie. I’m especially excited by the direction that they seem to be taking Poppy next year – the 1964 World’s Fair! That was such a spectacular time in American history! At that point in time, we were starting to see the world as a huge planet yet through television the different cultures of the planet were becoming incredibly influential to us – not only in the food we ate and the fashion we wore, but more importantly in our philosophies. It will be very cool for us to revisit that time through the eye of Poppy and the gang.

All of this, of course leading up to the Woodstock era. That should be fun to see how the IT designers interpret flower power, hair-flowing, peace-loving hippies. Personally, it has never really been one of my favorite eras in fashion. I mean really, there is just so much tie-dye and leather fringed vests that you can take (although, Darla in a Christie Love style Afro and a dashiki…I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT! Shades of MOD SQUAD…Google it)….but I’m glad that will not be coming for a while and we can continue living it the wonderful world of innocence that Poppy is currently exploring.

But, I digress - back to Lonnie Lawrence! When we finally received her as the table gift during the Poppy Luncheon…I was literally jumping up and down in my seat. That alongside what I now refer to as my Anne Margaret Poppy (the workshop version), I could not wait to get them home and try some of my early 60s vintage inspired clothing on them. The particular outfit that Lonnie is currently wearing (above in my picture) is the one that came with the amazing build-a-doll Point of Departure Eurgenia last year. I’m so glad that I kept it even though at first I was indifferent towards the outfit. Just goes to show there is always a perfect doll for each outfit. I love the new face molds and characters…it is always so cool and they really do offer dimension to the world of the main character.

 I can’t wait to see what the IT designers will do with Lonnie in the future. What plays will she star in? What hair colors and styles will she be featured in next? It just opens up a whole new world of options to explore during that tumultuous  and exciting time.

My advice….GET HER NOW! You will be kicking yourself once she becomes a HUGE star…afterall….this is her FIRST APPEARANCE! Let’s welcome her with open arms.

Xoxo,

Frank

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"So, YOU'RE Randall Craig...?"

Vanessa 3.0 In An Original One Shouldered Turquoise Brocade Column Gown. 

Imagine my surprise when on the first night of the Fashion Royalty Topicalia Convention I walked into a room that was just buzzing with people. As I looked closely (through my Vodka induced haze) I saw that the dealer was selling several Randall Craig Designs especially made for the Orlando Convention. I figured the lady sitting behind the register who was dressed in a lovely yellow brocade sheath dress was  a dealer that specialized in the designers clothing that I had never met before. I sat on the bed and watched as many of the shoppers in the room were in a frenzy, grabbing and pulling at the tiny couture that glistened from within their perfectly packaged boxes simply label "RTW". In the corner of the room, I saw a fashionable young man sipping on a drink wearing a pair of aquamarine skinny jeans and a wonderful pair of espadrilles. I thought to myself,"He's cute." Then, when my friends were done, I got up from my perch on one of the two full sized beds in the room and we tra-la-la'd away onto the next room.
I hate shopping on the first night of the convention. Everyone is buzzing with excitement and running from room to room to scoop up the best deals. That's just not me. I really don't "hurry" or "run" anywhere. I think one of Sting's old lyrics stuck with me a long time ago - "A gentleman will walk...but never run." So, I tend to wait until things slow down and if I miss out on a deal or two....oh well, c'est la vie. 
The next day, after I was done with my shift of doing custom hairstyles at the Color Infusion Style Lab, I started wandering from room to room picking up deals here and there. I went back to the room that had been hopping the evening before and saw that there were only a fraction of the lovely fashions that had been there at the beginning of the convention. I saw the young man there again and began to chat with him. This quiet, shy and painfully styllish man turned out to be the designer himself - Mr. Randall Craig. Well, color me embarrassed when I said upon my realization,"You're Randall Craig?" in disbelief. For some reason, I had imagined someone completely different. His design have always been so classic, simple with a nod to retro-fab that I just assumed it had to have been designed by someone a bit older. I was definitely not expecting the person standing in front of me...who looked like HE could be a model himself.
Later, we were going to be hosting a few of the "boys and girls" from he convention to join us at one of the most famous establishments in Orlando - the world famous Parliament House. I invited Randall to come along fully expecting him to politely excuse himself, when to my surprise he answered that he would love to join us. Well, I was tickled pink that he decided to come along and I was happy to find that he was a very sweet, fun-loving, easy-going guy that fit in quite nicely with the rest of the party goers that evening.
After an evening that went on into the wee hours in the morning, we all made it home tired but having had a great time. Later on after nursing a spectacular hang-over, I meandered back to Randall's room (who to the untrained eye looked perfectly put together on the outside...but I could tell "Auntie Mame" was a "bit hung" when I looked closely into his eyes), and I decided that I needed to own a RTW original for my collection and I bought one of his nude muses that were also laying on the bed ready to go home with another collector to hopefully be loved as much as he had.
I look forward to seeing Randall again soon, considering that he lives close to me in Florida (again, much to my surprise) or at least seeing him at another doll event. Hopefully, he will take me up on featuring him in the December Issue of my magazine - www.whatshappeningmagazine.com.
I've included images of his amazing works of art to accompany this article (for your enjoyment) from his website: www.randallcraigrtw.com

Enjoy!
Frank

Friday, October 19, 2012

If You Don't Like Something....CHANGE IT!

2012 Titian Workshop Veronique Wearing Altered 2012 Tropicalia Convention Dress.

     Ok....I'm kinda in a mood today. I'm sick of the whinny, ungrateful nature that seems be the order of the day when it comes to our society in general.

     Case in point, this years FR Convention Doll. By now, everyone has heard, criticized or gossiped about the mix up between this years Build-A-Doll and the Convention doll at the Tropicalia Convention. Here are my two cents. First off,  WHAT OTHER COMPANY GIVES YOU A DOLL, SWAG & ACCESSORIES AT EVERY SCHEDULED EVENT....ON TOP OF THE TWO (COUNT THEM) 2 CONVENTION DOLLS. Whether one was the "Build-A-Doll" and the other the Official Convention Doll - WHO CARES! WE GOT TO TAKE THEM BOTH and got them on the same night. Why as people and collectors can we not be GRATEFUL for that? Putting on an event of that magnitude is hard...very hard. I've done it several times and no matter how hard you plan in advance some things always go awry. Cut these people some slack, they try to outdo themselves each year and to my experience in the last 4 years they have!

     Now, let's just say the Convention Doll (whichever it was) is not your taste for sake of conversation. Have you ever tried to make 450 people (not to mention all the collectors at home) happy? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. Some people like suits, some people like gowns. Other prefer vintage inspired. While another segment prefers avant guard cutting edge couture. The point is, if it is not your taste - SELL IT, GIVE IT AWAY OR CHANGE IT and get yourself what you want online from a previous convention or your "grail doll" that you've been saving up for.

     I for example, thought the Prada inspired resort wear was very cutting edge and the dolls themselves were AMAZING! But, since I went with my partner Peter I always get two of everything. This year I decided that I would do some "altering" to the gown for the NEW 3.0 Vanessa to wear. Like many starlets do for the red carpet, I altered the gown to be the silhouette that I LIKED. So, I took it in to my local dry-cleaner and asked them to hem the gown for me to cocktail length and added a crinoline. Viola....I LOVE IT! And I have nothing else like it in my collection. So, I'm keeping the altered one and giving my friend in South Florida (who could not afford to go to the convention) the other. Now, two people are happy and grateful. I also decided to redress my workshop Veronique because to me...her coloring worked better with the dress. Of course, that's only MY OPINION.....and just like another piece of the human anatomy....EVERYONE HAS ONE.  I've decided to dress my Vanessa in a gorgeous gown by Randal Craig instead....that I will share with you tomorrow (come back for it ;-).

     Think OUT OF THE BOX people!!! Stop complaining about it...it's irritating and immature. It especially bothers me that the IT Team should for a minute think we are ungrateful for all the work that they do for us. They are so generous and agonize over every decision that is made to "wow" and impress us EVERY YEAR FOR 9 YEARS. Whether or not you agree...can we at least be grateful for the EFFORT? I don't think that is too much to ask.

     Thanks for hearing me out. Like Oprah says,"If you live in GRATITUDE...you will have a blessed life." I prefer to live that why...so officially, I want to say (once more) THANK YOU INTEGRITY TEAM for another job well done. I really enjoyed every second of it!
With sincerity,
Frank
p.s. Wait till you see what I did with Imogen too....You'll regret selling yours if you did...because she awesome!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Of All My FR Dolls, Eugenia Speaks To Me....

2011 Helper Doll Point Of Departure Eugenia In Agnes' Truly Madly Deeply Chartreuse Gown.

Until recently, I had never really read the bios on the Integrity FR dolls. I thought it was “cute and creative” that they all had a back story, but I never had the time or interest to delve much further than that. To me, their names were just a way to differentiate the face molds. Until, I recently read the “bio” for Eugenia Perrin Frost, who happens to be my personal favorite. I don’t know why exactly. Something about her “personality” as expressed in her facial screening and mold has always “spoken” to me. Perhaps it was her pouty and bored expression with the hint of disdain that attracted me to her (although, Agnes still remains the Queen of devastatingly-drop-dead-droll-DIVAS). Now, I’m hooked on the soap-opera like backstory of the characters. And, it adds so much more dimension to the collectible line. How scandalous! It is better than Dallas, Dynasty and a Univision Spanish novella all rolled into one! Beautiful bitches pitted in a femme cat-fight while wearing gorgeous gowns and couture!

So, that then leads to the question – “What character do you identify with in the FR Cast of Characters?” I’m dying to know. Are you a virtuous victim like our Veronique (who by the way needs to start sharpening her claws and get a fresh coat of “Jungle Red” painted on them)? Or a conniving, straight up she-devil like Natalia Fatale (gurl, who knew?).

My friends and I are always re-casting movies. Like for example in the cast of Sex in the City, I’m always Samantha. In Steel Magnolias, I’m perpetually Clarisse (the original by Olympia Dukakis not that mess by Queen Latifah…although I must confess…I did shed a tear….I’M HUMAN!). In the cast of Golden Girls, I’m a Dorothy. I guess my friends are trying to tell me that I’m a “loveable, truth-telling, smart-ass”, as all those characters seem that share that common thread. I think Eugenia falls into that category as well (or she will in a few years when life’s hard knocks teaches her lessons the hard way). She reminds me of a more fearless yet na├»ve version of myself. Perhaps that is why I have always gravitated towards her.

It seems that every year at the FR Convention, someone asks Jason Wu who his “favorite” character or muse is. Of course, that is like Sophie’s Choice but for the last couple of years he’s answered that questions sheepishly by saying Agnes Von Weiss (who I understand is Alain’s alter ego…which totally makes sense because we only see her at special occasions like the convention once a year….not unlike Alain…lol). Maybe Jason also identifies with Agnes’ persona deep down inside. I see him more as a Vanessa though – a good girl with a rebellious streak. Of course, I’m sure his close friends could let us know which character Mr. Wu would be cast as in Fashion Royalty: The Movie! (Please….could you imagine…we would all  collectively DIE!)

So, now I turn the question on to you….my friends:

1-      Which character do you identify with in the FR Cast?

Or

2-       What actress or model do you think would be the perfect FR DIVA in Fashion Royalty: The Movie?

 

You all know my answer for question one – Eugenia.

My quick answer for question two…just off the top of my head:

Veronique: Emma Stone (it’s the eyes….)

Vanessa:  Bonnie Wright (from Harry Potter films)

Agnes: Angelina Jolie (duh…who else?)

Natalia: Nina Dobrev (from Vampire Diaries…I think she could play a young fiery Latina…of course if we wanted to cast her older there is always Sofia Vergara…although in FR Land she would be a Plus model….hey…there’s an idea!)

Eugenia: Emma Watson (I’ve had my eye on Hermoine…and so should you)

Luchia: Selena Gomez (mostly cause of the shape of her face)

Erin: Jennifer Lawrence (really loved her in Xmen First Class as Mystique)

Collette: Vanessa Hudgens (she can tan well…and let’s just face it the girl is gorgeous)

Eden/Lilith: Anna Sofia Robb (set to play the new Carrie Bradshaw)

 

That’s the best I can do on short notice…of course there are still so many characters to cast. I mean there are still the boys (someone…anybody would have to be Chris Helmsworth!).

Looking forward to reading your ideas!

Xoxo,

Frank (Miss Frost…if you are nasty!)


 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Think Pink....For Breast Cancer Awarness Month

2012 FR Convention High Point Eugenia Wearing Agnes' Suit. INSET PIC: My Partner Peter
(In The Black) With Our Friend Jose Mora (In The White).

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone is showing their support from our local group of Red Hat ladies (who I saw all wearing pink hats this weekend at brunch) to football players wearing hot pink cleats on the field this Sunday – people from all walks of life are showing  support against the insidious disease of Cancer.

For those of you that are personal friends, you know that both Peter and I have lost several friends in the last six months to Cancer. So we are very sensitive to this horrble disease. We've had many women on both sides of our family fight and win while other's succumbed to it. Recently we lost one of our closest friends and although it was not to "Breast" Cancer....it was still still due to the big "C".

This year, we attended the funeral of one of our dearest and oldest friends Jose Mora. Jose was one of the individuals that could just make you laugh out loud until your sides hurt. He had been one of my partners  childhood friends since the age of 17 on. A few years ago they found a small growth in one of his lungs and they removed it orthoscopically. He didn't get chemo because they thought they caught it in time.  A few years later when on a routine visit to the Dr. he found that his blood work came back with indications that something was wrong with his system. Of course, like all men he hesitated and waited to go in to the Dr. to get an MRI exam for a couple of weeks. He feared the news would be bad, and it was. He had a hotdog shaped tumor in his lungs that had connected itself to his sternum. Immediately he was started on chemo and began his first fight against the deadly disease.

To his credit, I’ve never seen anyone have such a positive attitude. If he went through any fear, grief or anger none of us ever saw it. Every time we visited him his spirits were up and he was cracking wise the whole time. When his hair fell  out from the medication (which he nicknamed his Poison Martini) all of us that were close to him showed solidarity by shaving our own heads. Every couple of weeks he would send us a picture of himself in a new outrageous wig and make us all laugh. We all thought that his positive attitude and all our prayers helped him kick it the first time. We all thought we had dodged a bullet.

Some time passed and we received one of his regular calls to find out how we were and when he was planning to visit next (he loved visiting us in Orlando…because Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and The Boston Lobster Feast were his favorite places on the planet). At the end of what seemed like a regular conversation he ended by saying,”Oh, I almost forgot. That bitch Cancer is back.” We were dumbfounded. Immediately we started bitching at him and asking why hadn’t he called us earlier to let us know what was going on. He simply said,”I beat that it once before….I can do it again. Don’t worry. You Cubans are always making such a big deal out of nothing. Drama Queens!”. We could tell that he was just putting up a front for us. This time he was scared, you could hear it in between the sarcasm in his sentences. We knew this time it was bad.

He fought for over a year after the 2nd diagnosis, but we noticed he was wasting away before our very eyes. But he would just not quit living. Every time we talked he was going to visit a friend, planning a trip with his family or going out to dinner or a movie. He refused to stop living life every day to the fullest. I can honestly say, that Jose was an inspiration to all of us especially in his last days. Any time we wanted to feel sorry for ourselves about anything and bitch about whatever little problem we were dealing with in our life, we would think of “Joser (pronounced Hoser)” and things would return to their proper perspective.

Jose Mora drew his last breath in June of 2012 earlier this year. We went to his funeral but I refused to see him in his casket. I wanted to remember my friend laughing and healthy in my mind’s eye. I don’t regret that decision. He insisted we all wear red and wear Mickey Mouse shirts at his funeral. All his closest friends abided by his wishes. His family was appalled. He picked out his own suit for his viewing. A navy jacket, a royal blue shirt and a graphic Mickey Mouse tie held down by a “blinged out” tie pin. He held a rosary and a Mickey figurine that was flipping a “bird” to everyone. Everyone laughed and cried. Till the very end, he wanted all his friends to be happy and gave us one last laugh. His family was mortified.

On the 27th of October, his birthday, a group of us are going to come from all over the U.S. and celebrate his life at his favorite place in the whole world – EPCOT Center in Orlando. We’ve rented a home that we will all be staying in for the weekend. We are going to eat lobster and tell “Jose” stories. At the end of the weekend we are going to light paper lanterns (we are trying to be green and not use red balloons) with messages written on them in red to him and release it on midnight. We hope to do this in his memory at least once a year.

For everyone that is currently fighting Cancer or has loved one that is fighting – learn from Jose,”Fight that BITCH!”

For those of us that have lost loved ones to this horrible disease remember their life and all the happiness that you shared with them. To only remember the sorrow lets the Cancer “win” and we just can’t allow that.

We miss you Jose….but I know that if you have web access in Heaven (and you probably do) and are reading this blog right now, you would say,”I love you too….Petey & Lechuga….fuckin’ drama queens!”

P.s. Jose had nicknames for all his friends – Peter was always “Petey – My Beeeeeeest Friend” and he would always say it just like that. I was “Lechuga” which translates to “Lettuce”. He gave me that name because I was always so “fresh” and always had a quick verbal come-back to anything that he flung my way. 
P.s.s. Jose also loved my doll collection. Especially the IT one.....he used to say to me,"They look like bitchy Drag Queens....no wonder you LOVE them! LOL!
 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sometimes Things Are More Than Just Black & White....


I heard someplace before that the colors that people are attracted to means different things about their intellect or their personality.

I love the colors yellow and green. On some sites it says that people that gravitate towards those colors are actually very intellectual and for the most part have sparkling personalities. I think that’s true (LOL). It also says that people that are attracted to red and orange tones are fiery (makes sense) passionate people and have very strong feeling ethically. Blue and violet people tend to be our peace lovers and spiritual healers, but have a hell of a time making any kinds of decisions. Finally, white and black (the absence or totality) of all color are reserved for those people that love simplicity and are clear thinkers. Most leaders gravitate towards black and white….coincidentally, so do most babies. Maybe that is because we are as smart as we are ever going to need to be in this life when when are at our most vulnerable age. Interesting.

Two weekends ago, while at the FR Convention in Orlando I had a very healing experience with someone that mirrored one that I had myself many years before. While doing a bit of “room” shopping, I came upon a room that was filled to the rim with some of the most amazing early FR dolls for sale. These would be considered many people’s “grail dolls”. A Brighter Side Kyori, Sound Advice Gift Set, Baroness Agnes….the list went on and on. You would think that this person was just a ball of sunshine with so many treasures in her room, but immediately I noticed a hint of sadness in her demeanor. She was nervous and seemed very uneasy about something. Well, call me “Iyanla”, but I had to know if this lady was ok. So, I began to talk to her and find out a bit more about her convention experience, because for me it is the happiest week of my year (most of the time). She told me that she was very nervous because some individual’s that she had belonged to a “club” with, whom she never thought she would ever run into at a FR Convention were there and she was scared. My heart went out to her. I had a similar situation with a “club” many years before that  spoiled collecting dolls for me for almost 10 years. I immediately went into protective mode. I don’t know whether it is because I’m a Cuban male and I’m very protective of the ladies around me or because I saw my own experience reflected in her teary eyes, but I was ready and willing to come out as her defender and knight in shining armor.

Low and behold, as the story unfolds I come to find out the identity of some of the people that had put this fragile individual in such a state. I knew them. Hell, I considered them all good friends. I was shocked. Dumbfounded and ultimately ashamed that these individuals that I knew to be great people had probably unwittingly made this poor person feel so unwanted in our ranks. Well, I don’t know about all of you – but I like “peace”. I hate for things to be be in “pieces”…so, I did what I do….I set out to fix the situation even if just a little.

Later on that evening I saw one of my friends, whom I knew to be a kind, loving sweet individual and shared the story with him. He was, I could tell, taken aback by the whole story. I asked him to please try to heal this situation with this lady and he was willing. I couldn’t have been prouder of my friend. I brought the two of them together and they began to talk with my as an intermediary, but once the ice was broken I took a step back and let them figure things out for themselves. Ultimately, I don’t know if the whole wound was healed, but I knew that at least conversation has started and that is always the right path towards healing.

Collecting dolls should be about love – pure and simple. The love of dolls, fashion, friends and a return to childhood good times. We as adults that indulge ourselves in nostalgic collectibles for different reason are hopefully passed many of the immaturity that cause us to bully or hurt each other’s feelings when “playing together” with our toys now. I urge you, if you have had a falling out with a friend, loved one or group – broach the subject and start the healing. We are here to learn from each other people and become better spirits in the end. All it takes is one person to start, one person to put out their hand, one person to allow the vulnerability of a child to possess their mind and hearts if even for a moment. Seems pretty “black and white” to me.

Xoxo,

Frank

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Color Me Style Lab


Couldn’t we all use a little more color in our lives? I wish I was bolder with color. I’m always attracted to it, but when I see something hanging on the rack in the store, I can’t help to gravitate towards the darker tones (although I do occasional dabble in jewel tones…they look good on me too). Yellow, Magenta, Bright Green, Cyan – you’d think as an artist I would be all over them but when it comes to my own wardrobe I hear a little voice in the back of my head that says,”Black is slimming.”

Well – SCREW THAT! Thank God for this year’s Color Infusion Style Lab at the 2012 FR Convention in Orlando. The wardrobe for these dolls were simply resplendent with color! The dolls were too! Every shade of the human rainbow. But, I think we can all agree that the boys stole the show! First, there was the amazing Auden-ish young man with the platinum hair, the handsome Latino with the five o’clock shadow, the boyishly sexy ginger stunner, and the dark, mysterious long locked Adonis with the St. Tropez tan. The guys came with two different outfits to choose from. They both came with so many pieces that it was easy to interchange them with one another and come up with endless combinations. I immediately wanted to see what the other boys in the set were were going to look like in the outfit other than the one they were featured in the promo shots. So, I mixed and matched my little heart out and came up with the ones that were perfect for me.

I wanted to thank Integrity for keeping the build a doll workshop (although I could of lived with a few less choices in dolls and more outfits to dress them in….I can never decide which one’s I want so I end up getting all of them and then can let them go once I own them….I know, they probably make a pill for my condition). This section of the convention is always one of my favorites because it allows for interactive play with your dolls. I feel almost like IT give us a hand at designing the “perfect” doll for ourselves at these workshops.

This year I got the opportunity to help the individual’s doing the workshop to get the hairstyle of their dreams done for their new dolls. I’ve never rolled so many upswept dos, pulled back that many swirl  ponytails or pinned in chignons IN MY LIFE!  It was very fun! And my favorite part was that I was able to have one on one time with many new and old faces from my hair workshop classes from last year. What a delight it was to see them walk away with a doll sporting the hair style of their dreams for her.

My girls will probably end up with simple ponytails for “factory hair”. I mean really – how can you improve on IT perfection! And after all, you know what they say, “Cobbler’s kids have no shoes.”

Xoxo,

Frank

PSP: and by the way.....these kids need BIG SHOES!
Fun Fact: I found out that Mattel’s Monster High shoes and Starr Barbie Shoes fit’s them perfectly. And, the new Jem Collection shares the body (and shoes) with these great dolls!

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 FR Tropicalia Convention...Highlights!

My wonder Lana that I was missing from my collection that I bought during room shopping from
AMC & Outfit from Rob's Doll!

Ok….I’m finally recovered enough (barely) from my back to back weekends in Orlando. First for the fabulous Tropicalia Convention and second for Come Out With PRIDE (Orlando’s Pride parade). I don’t mind telling you that I look as attractive as one of the walking dead right now…but I’m still enjoying the afterglow of the wonderful time that I had with all my friends at the FR Convention in Orlando.

First let’s start with the Dolls – FIERCE. The convention collection (although not a “total home” run for everyone) was one of my personal favorites. I love resort wear and the Prada influence was noticeable to those of us that follow fashion as was the nod to the true Tropicalia Movement on the runways. It was very on  point! I of course had my favorites but could not resist getting them all….including the extra workshop dolls and the Fashion Style Lab featuring the Color Infusion fashion and dolls (this was one of the best part of the whole convention for me).
I loved volunteering this year in another capacity. This year instead of teaching a class, I was hands on in the Style Lab doing hairdos for collectors. I’ve never done so many upswept ponytails and curls, side swiping bangs or stylish buns in my life! But, although my fingers were pricked to death and are still a bit blistered, I enjoyed getting one to one time with many of the collectors face to face!
This year I also hosted a table of all my friends once again. I was a great time….as always! Many lovely table gifts were given out especially by Marl Davidson (
www.marlbe.com) and of course as a host I could not disappoint without having my now traditional paper dolls to give out. This year’s Muse was none other than Ms. Victoire Roux! I’m glad that I was able to get those done and printed just in time for the convention.
The Workshop Veronique With An Outfit Given By
A New Friend Starla From Sound Advice! Love Her!
And the piece de resistance….THE table dolls…..OMG! Could they have been any more beautiful….gowns for days! And, for those of you complaining about not have any gowns in the collection…did you forget Agnes Force of Nature, Dasha in that luscious polka-dot dress from the FR2 luncheon, The Eugenia from the last night and the Amazing  Vannessa 3.0 doll/dress that we got on the first and last night. I thought there was something for everyone!

Other highlights of the weekend:

*Hanging at the beautiful resort/Jacuzzi with all the boys for our “water kiki” at midnight!

*Daniel Miagany, Juan and Marti in gorgeous Kardashian style dresses….you had to be there to believe it! LIVE!

*Going out with all the boys to Phouse and showing them the otherside of Orlando!

*To my husband Peter for letting me go absolutely bat-shit nuts buying whatever my heart desired…even though it was HIS birthday weekend!

*Enjoying getting to know Randall Craig….”YOU’RE RANDALL CRAIG? Lol”

*Doing tons of room shopping…which I never get to do (when I have workshop schedules!) Might have gone a bit overboard actually on the shopping…but no remorse here! I was also thinking that it was utterly brilliant that IT put all the vendors that were doing room shopping on the 5th floor! That made everything so much simpler and fun….because we all kept running into each vs. having to Text message each other from floor to floor when we would find something that we liked or knew that a friend needed! It was FABULOUS! I found all my “grail dolls” except for ONE – Jenn FL….you know which one that is! Lol!
Beutiful Tim Gunn Outfit Being Modeled By A
Gorgeous Eugenia That I Bought in Randal's Room.
Also, The Background Are The Rooms At The
Grand Cypress HYATT RESORT!

Finally, let’s hear it for the IT team:

*Alain for always outdoing himself!

*Carol Roth for being charming no matter how miserable she was from her cold ;-)

*To Vaughn for always keeping us up to our eyeball in gorgeousness!

*To Chris S. for being so much fun to talk and hang out with ....and for VICTOIRE! Miss Showstopper herself!

*To David for always keeping a positive attitude and the rest of us having fun…no matter how exhausted he is! ;-)

*To Jason Wu for never letting us forget how much he appreciates our support of him…in all his ventures.

*To the Newsum Family for working as hard as they do to make sure that we all have the best vacation every year! They are one of the sweetest family’s you can possibly have the pleasure of getting to know and I hope that they know how much we appreciate them and all they do on our behalf.

Well kids…as I slowly start unpacking my girls and boys….I will start share them with you!

Xoxoxo!

Frank

p.s. here are the Victoire Papaper dolls I gave out as gifts at my table ;-)
Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Carpe Doll Diem or Enjoy The Doll...NOT Their Boxes!

2010 First Workshop Poppy Wearing A Dress Maker Detail Outfit
(doll sold nude with no packaging/dress sold in baggie) - RARE & Super Valuable on Ebay & Other Auction Sites!

I know what you guys are thinking by now,”Has Frank gone Poppy-NUTS or what?” I know that I’ve been a bit “Poppy heavy” in my blog for the last couple of weeks, but the truth is, I’ve been having so much fun with that particular segment of my collection that It just seems that I’ve been head over heels lost in Poppy’s world. Please indulge me….tomorrow I’m expecting a few new girl (Agnes & Erin) and I will probably be as head over heels in love with them as I’ve been with the Pop-ster for the last couple of weeks.

Actually, I started taking inventory of my current dolls room situation in so that I could better anticipate the usual avalanche of dolls that come home with me after the convention. I don’t mind telling you that I’m concerned….hell, I’m down right scared! I keep thinking at any moment I’m going to have a friend turn me into one of the new “Out of Control Collections” reality TV show that start to make me sweat the moment they come on the are.

I decided a while back that I’m not a “box collector”. To me if something is left in the box it is truly not being appreciate. I say,”Carpet Doll Diem!” If you are not going to remove your dolls from their cardboard traps – THEN SELL THEM & BUY SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO ENJOY IN THIS LIFETIME!

I love the Integrity Toys has decided to really think about this concept in regards to their merchandising. After all , one cannot really appreciate all the detail that is painfully paid attention to if never you never remove an IT doll from their packaging. Not only that, but to further inspire you to not be a “MIB” collector, they have designed their dolls to be easily removed and replaced into the box after display or play time is over with. Furthermore, their boxes are now pretty much all exactly alike - All DG boxes are differentiated only by the band that is wrapped around the identical glack gloss box. Same goes for Poppy, FR, FR2...etc. Almost none of their packaging has any special illustrations that pertains exclusively to one doll or another in the series.

To further illustrate this point, IT last year created very inexpensive “pastic” sleeve boxes that their table dolls were distributed in. Other dolls were given out strictly in plastic “baggies” and still others (like the Design A Doll DGs) came completely loose and only their clothing came in cardboard backed shrink wrapped packaging. THE VALUE OF THOSE DOLLS ON THE SECONDARY MARKET DOES NOT VARY AT ALL FROM LOOSE TO STILL IN THE BOX/BAGGIE. It is the product itself that is desirable to the collector not the packaging . IT dolls retain their value regardless. It has more to do whether the doll is “Mint & Complete” and the limited number of the production line as to whether or not the doll commands big secondary market value.

So, please, stop obsessing about the “packaging the meat comes in” and “eat the steak already”. You’ll be glad you did! Just like a great meal, a beautiful displayed doll - enjoyed in her 360 degree glory nutures the soul. ;-)

See you in exactly 10 days!!!!

Xoxox,

F