Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Big Audition

Something happened this week. It was BIG. Mortifying. I felt like fainting several times, and a stranger, a man around 30, kissed my hand - more than twice. A crowd was watching and nobody intervened! Because I let him kiss me. Gaaa!!

In an email I told Suzanne Carillo what happened and she wrote back:  "Seriously. I would have crapped my pants, thrown up, run out screaming, had a panic attack midway to the door and passed out in my own vomit. They would have had to carry me out on a stretcher." She always sees the bright side of things.

The Brady Bunch gone very, very wrong
Here I am stretching out my face when I got home like a true athlete.

Yes, I went to an audition. I turned on my computer one morning last week and, boink, there it was, an email from a casting agency. Gaaa! They wanted to know if I would like to audition for a big TV campaign for a luxury product, megabucks, no acting experience needed – they just wanted "a look." They found out about me from the fashion shoot photographer, Katrin (details here). It would be a speaking part but I'd only need to remember one line for the audition.

When I came to, I wrote back, oh, okay, pfft, I suppose I can fit you in between lunch in Milan and dinner in Düsseldorf. Are you kidding? Yes!, I said. After I clicked SEND, I got started right away FREAKING OUT!! I had an exemplary base to build on from the photo shoot last month.

I needed to dress like I'm going to a swanky East Hamptons do, and not even as the wait staff! How ironic that of all my clothes I had nothing East Hamptonish, except linen trousers, so I got into character and went shopping in search of a million-dollar look for a tenner.

This is the dress I found, a Calvin Klein from the consignment store, sadly more than $10. I also bought a whack-load of new spanxy underthings to keep me erect and semi-spiky heels, which reminded me of Cher's shoes in Moonstruck - lucky for sure. When the audition was over, I quickly changed into pants but put this back on when I got home to show you, minus the support gear and pantyhose. I also wore small vintage gold earrings and my gold lava pendant (here), also removed.

You can see the little shiny black nibs on the shoes in this photo. 
When I arrived at the studio for the audition, there were about 50 impossibly handsome 30-something men in black tie sitting along the walls of the holding pen in eerie tomb-like silence, like a scene in a David Lynch movie. The clack of my spiky heels was the perfect soundtrack as I walked to the receiving desk with 100 eyeballs at my back, the only woman and the only oldster there, dressed like a frigging Normal no less.

I waited and waited. Finally it was my turn. 

Let me just say my nerves were pretty much under control until I stepped into the Room. From then on, it was CHAOS. Who were all these people?!

There were black leather couches arranged on risers at the back, where ten or so men awaited their turn on stage at the front, two huuuuge monitors, plus a cameraman, director, and presumably a Somebody. I felt the rigor grip my face. Relax relax relax - such useless stupid words. I could have twisted a steel pipe with my spanxified sphincter, in a dignified Hamptons way of course.

I also wore this vintage coat and doggy scarf for good luck. And a lucky ring O made me. I left my hair flat for sophistication but could have used the power boost of lighthouse hair.

Without going into detail, in my scene I had to pretend I was in a car looking around outside. I channeled my inner bobble-head. The director said encouragingly, Okay, try it again. Just try and relax and breathe.

Are you kidding!!? 
Do you think I'm a pro & can just breathe on demand?! 

How could I relax when the butterflies in my stomach were devouring my flesh from the inside out!! I was a little shaky Chihuahua. In each take, my Fake Husband next to me gently took hold of my hand and kissed it. Oooh, sweet escape. I'm surprised I didn't jump into his lap and start licking his face. Although I think I squeaked, for real.

This is how I looked on the inside, in a good way. Except you can't see the carnivorous butterflies. 

The Director said I looked great on camera. All I could think was, that's what you say to all the grotesque failures!! After just over five minutes it was over

I was awful, horrible, hideous, although my catatonic gaze must surely have induced a case of mass hypnosis because when I was finished everyone applauded. (Not a dramatic slow clap, just regular clapping.) Granted, it was after I heaved a huuuge sigh of relief and said, This is my first time doing this, I SURVIVED! Everyone was so happy for me (and there's a special joy that comes from the thought, Oh, man, at least I won't screw up that bad and I'm young!).

Walking home, I mentally made arrangements to sell my new imaginary Beverly Hills home, and I treated myself to a hot French roll with butter at Terra Breads, so much more relaxing than worrying about hiring a gardener and a pool boy after all. 

There's nothing like a little mortification to feel truly alive.


I few days later, not having received a call-back of course, I wrote to the casting agency apologizing that I choked and blew it, and expressed my relief that I didn't bark or pee on the director's leg. Most importantly, I thanked them for giving me a shot in the first place. End of story.

Not! The agent wrote back and said I was "awesome," "beautiful," and "didn't look nervous at all," that they'll "definitely be in touch again." When I came to, I wrote back and said, I fell off my chair and I'm laughing now. Thank you! No, I didn't get this; I got lots to write about though. And I didn't humiliate myself as much as I had feared. Heh.

I'll be linking this fancy Normal look up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike even though I had to dress according to a guideline. Her theme is ruffles. My nerves were ruffled; that counts. The last photo is of a bag I bought, $5. I can't help but smile when I see it. Arf.

Edit: I have also just linked to Cherie's Shoe and Tell at her blog Style Nudge for the first time. After all, I'm wearing my new-to-me Moonstruck shoes. Couldn't miss this one.

So, you never know, right? I would not have had this audition opportunity if I hadn't been blogging and trying new scary things. Thank you for your support always! Mwah, mwah!

Didn't they outlaw exclamation marks in the UK? This post would get me arrested for sure!!
Have a great week!

Monday, 25 April 2016

The trend that ate her brain

Trends - they're inescapable. One minute I'm laughing at the fashion lemmings running full tilt toward the cliff, then, blam, I'm reaching for the hideous onesie on the $5 rack.

I figure trend messages are like little bits of dirt that stick to me wherever I go. They come not through TV or fashion magazines, but style blogs and high-end retailers where I ogle opulence and dig for DIY ideas.

yellow trench coat, Bag and a Beret

So my latest downfall and touchdown - the yellow trench coat, worn here with my happy doggie scarf.

Most of the trend particles are usually expelled; I like to go my own way. But once in a while they get wedged in dark crannies in my brain where, after weeks of constant abrasion, they are transformed into frigging pearls. (I wish it worked like that with cash in my wallet.) This particular pearl was thrifted last week.

Below is the heavy blue satiny dress I wore under the coat, fully lined with pockets. It's "laundry by design" brand. Thrifted. I've had it for years and seldom wore it because I thought it was too short.

dress, laundry by design, Bag and a Beret

While I usually can't pinpoint the origin of my own lemming leaps, in this particular case I can: Not Dressed as Lamb. I shall blame Catherine. Hahaha!! And thank her too because, come on, a yellow trench coat? It's not that she was pushing yellow trench coats like a dealer on the street or a trend hound, but one week she had a link-up theme on yellow and two weeks later a theme on trench coats. Blam!

I'm sure there are other fabulous bloggers who are complicit in this purchase. You know who you are. I of course absolve myself of any responsibility whosoever. I'm clever like that. You may admit your guilt in the comments below. Heh.

Digging the onesie trend over 40, Bag and a Beret

Two cases above where I've succumbed to trends. Left: the denim onesie, vintage, thrifted before all the hoopla, but still. And right: the red onesie, thrifted when the trend was dying.

And yes, I've also been wearing my shorter dresses lately, but with opaque tights instead of jeggings or slim-fit pants. This switch seems like a big deal, maybe because tights in general have a rep for being more slatternly than jeggings or jeans, especially on 40+ women wearing suspiciously high hemlines. "Oh, that hussy. She thinks she can disguise those five layers of tights as jeggings or pants? It's a disgrace."

Short dresses with tights over 40, Bag and a Beret

At least my dresses are being worn once again as they were intended - as dresses, not as tunics or long tops. I can't foresee going barelegged with a shorter dress, but never say never. And don't get me wrong, I like tunics, but they don't suit me when I'm in this edgy, pissed off mood.

My style is in flux, as it always is. I just wonder what will happen if someone hosts a linkup featuring green vinyl bikinis one week and pink faux fur the next. Vix? Can you at least give me a little warning so I can corner the market over here when that trend takes its grip? Heh.

Short dresses with tights over 40, Bag and a Beret

I'll be linking this demure little trench to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and to Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.

That's all, kittehs. It's an interesting week ahead. I'll tell you all about it later.

Also, Katrin Braga, the photographer for Claire Cormeau's Nuage line, posted a new portrait of me. Oh! If you want to see it, check it here.

Also, on his blog Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen posted a brilliant piece written by Debra Rapoport in response to criticisms of her style made on Ari's Facebook after he posted Debra's photo. Excellent writing! Exactly!! It's HERE.

Monday, 18 April 2016

But is it still a T-shirt?

Finding your art oomph after it's been lost for weeks can be a religious experience. I had been wandering listlessly through a haze of bleh, pfft, and meh. I was practically drooling in lethargy. Daily I would stare with blank eyes at my art materials and fabric carefully arranged all over the living room floor in emergency preparedness and as hopeful prompts for a fark attack. (See glossary below for clarification.)

Upcycled T-shirt, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

Then, WHAM!!! Turn down the volume!! I got the fever. I farked a T-shirt! Hurrah!! This white XL T-shirt is now a kimono-y T-shirt with dual-purpose sleeves - short or extra long. It was a transcendental farkathon. 

It's a mysterious world. Oh yesh. 

Upcycled T-shirt, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

This calls for some singing: "I can bring home the bacon, ba-rah-da-dum, Fry it up in a pan, ba-rah-da-dum, And never ever let you forget it's not spam..." Cause I'm classy like that. Getting my fark beat back makes me feel almighty. I want to sing like Peggy Lee.

Blue brows above. I wore them that morning with a manly outfit and my black moto jacket, no lipstick because I was digging the sallow pallor. When I finished the shirt in the afternoon, I decided to team it and the brows with my farked rocker pants and boots for a shoot in the concrete box round about midnight. Lipstick was essential.

Upcycled T-shirt with big sleeves, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

Note the hair cut, courtesy of O. Above is a jeans photo I took today, when I actually wore the T-shirt outside for the first time under a vintage ivory Asian-style silk jacket. 

[Skip to the end if this stuff bores you. There is no test.]
I sliced the T-shirt up the front middle, overlapped the two sides and stitched them in place with contrasting thread. I had an old blue cardigan and I cut off the sleeves, then separated the front and back pieces. I folded the front piece in half length-wise, keeping it buttoned, and sewed it shut to make a tube. Then I sewed the waistband end to the T-shirt sleeve. Now I can easily stick my arm through wherever I like.

Upcycled T-shirt with big sleeves, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

I did the same for the green floral shirt, except in reverse - I sewed the green shirt collar end to the T cuff. I also kept the short-sleeve on the green shirt so I can have short sleeves or long.

The slit opening at my right wrist used to be the cardigan V-neck. And there's the green shirt armhole at my left elbow. I turned the sleeve up in this photo - they are both very long, which I like. 

I also took up the shoulder of the white T on the left side, added a black patch for detail, and slit the side seams a little bit. The tag came off so I had to sew it back on because I like that mess.

I love my new T-shirt. I was originally going to write all over it - "I am not a brand!" - but I hesitated at the last minute. Some things are done when they're done. I'm not sure about this piece yet. 

There's something slightly zombie about this photo.

Zombie in upcycled T-shirt with big sleeves, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

The blue cardigan and green top were already bagged for donation, too small, I shouldn't have bought them in the first place but I was seduced by their colour and the pattern. I was sad to see them go, so I enlisted them in my T-shirt project figuring if I make a mistake, no big deal, they were goners anyway. And of course, that's exactly the thinking I need to cozy up to the sewing machine and sew like a madwoman!! 

And have a blast! Threads flying! Machine wheezing. Pins poking and sproinging pell mell. It was quite a vortex of energy. O hid.

Upcycled T-shirt with big sleeves, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

You should see me whip those sleeves around like little helicopters. And note the cowlick in my hair. It comes from my whorl. When cows tongue-bathe their young, they create swirls in their hair, hence the word. Lovely. Ain't nobody going to be licking my hair!

Anyway, I proclaim this:

art oomph - creative spark
bleh, pfft, meh: words that kind of mean blah with a negative edge if you can work up any emotion whatsoever
fark - farked, farking, farkathon, words I made up, a combination of f*cked/faked/farted, in reference to altering, upcycling, or refashioning an existing item, especially clothing, with unexpected results
digging - member of the groovy, heavy, far-out family of words only dorks like me use these days, meaning loving
whorl: the twirly part of your hair usually on top of your head, which you curse and hide or, like me, play up like it's meant to be there - can't beat 'em, join 'em. Question: Do whorls goes the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere, like water going down a drain?
the lyrics: From a song made famous by Peggy Lee. Instead of "spam" the real lyrics say "man."
pell-mell: Means here and there in a chaotic way.

Blue brows with upcycled T-shirt, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

My blue brows and my green sleeve and blue sleeve, shoulder patch of olive mesh and black fleece. That's a ring O made me from scratch. See, yes, I do get wife bonuses all the time (in reference to last post). O is awesome.

I'll link something here up with Patti's Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed at Lamb. And a big thank you to Catherine for her post this week HERE on how more brands should be enlisting 40+ blogger women in their campaigns. And I'm happy to see Claire get this exposure for her brilliant designs. Thanks, Catherine! 

And I can't believe with all these colours I'm not wearing amethyst, Anne's prompt at SpyGirl for 52-Pick-me-up. Oh well, go have a look anyway and link if you're wearing amethyst.

What have you been up to lately?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Hey, where's my wife bonus?!

When everything is for sale, so much depends on making a good pitch.

But a good pitch alone isn't enough. You need to have a clearly defined target audience, aka friends. In a bid for self-improvement, I shall reprogram my internal algorithm which will convey my value more arithmetically not only to others but also myself, thereby enhancing my brand appeal and user interface. Hurrah! Whaaa...?

The mural backdrop is a snapshot of my existing algorithm. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Mel Kobayashi - OH NO! I forgot to have kids!! DIY T-shirt
My algorithm is fecked. That's it in the background. Of course my user interface is whacked. My DIY T-shirt.

Even kids are on board with this stuff, "Hey, mum, I expanded my target audience at school today." "Well done, honey. I think you just added points to your Daughter Bonus for that." Twinkle-eyed winks.

It's essential that you sell yourself in all aspects of your life; making deals should be second nature. Demand payment up front and never undersell yourself. Heh.

For example, I'm still waiting for my Wife Bonus from O, you know, for managing an efficient and attractive home. I am a strict and elaborately-dressed taskmaster when it comes to cleaning staff and rearing our children stellarly. Okay, so the kids are little silverfish (not a metaphor). I kill them regularly, well, no, I can't bear it - they are so cute - but I yell for O and he takes care of them.

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - floral splendour, heh.
I'm working hard for my wife bonus! The same frilly blouse as the previous post but with a colourful jacket made in Korea. You can see the fabric texture on the arms. Swoony. 
I have been known to body double the cleaning staff. That should get me points! Not only that, I shall demand triple Wife Bonus points for doing dangerous stunt work - it ain't easy hanging over the side of a tub juggling cleaning products and a sponge.* I was thinking I'd buy a sailboat.
(*Don't be fooled, it's all part of my pitch - I don't think I've ever done that!)

I kind of missed out on the Push Ring for pumping out a real kid. But hot-diggity-dog, it may not be too late! I've just found out that a grandmother somewhere, perhaps in an asylum, gave birth to triplets. Ooh, if I have quintuplets that means five rings, right? Tiffany, here I come! (O has just picked up the phone. I think he's calling the asylum, perhaps for himself.)

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - gothy jacket
My lovely gothy/rock jacket with mini-ruffled, neon orange, high-collar blouse and flocked Anthropologie pants. New (old) lace-up ankle boots. I wear outfits like this to clean the oven, which is full of electronic goods. 

Holy cow, adding up the Wife Bonuses, the Push Rings, and the profits from my new algorithm and sales strategy, I'll be living on easy street! That's what happens when you put your best foot forward or, in this spectacular example of marketing genius, two best feet forward at the same time. Yes, I'll be the one hopping down easy street like a bunny on crack, wearing a tiara and pushing a quintuplet stroller on my way to the asylum to visit O.

Melanie Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - my algorithm is busted!
Lacy dress with black slip. I almost donated it. What was I thinking?
I'm linking up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I'm sure I'll see you there.

Of course, I am definitely NOT for sale. My only pitches are in dodgeball, and they are really quite pathetic. My easy street is on the floor stuffing my face with sweet and salty popcorn or Cheesies. But I am definitely open to Mel bonuses to celebrate my mere existence. Heh. (Case in point: gothy jacket self-gift)

Melanie Kobayashi - DIY T-shirt - I am not a frigging brand! Bag and a Beret

I made that T-shirt a while ago, "I am my own brand." I'm ready to revise my statement: "I am NOT a brand. Kiss my ass." Look for it in a future post. Okay, I won't put the second sentence; that was just a general cry, but not to you, my friends, my valued target audience. Mwah!!

Claire Cormeau was just featured in a George Straight newspaper article, hurrah! She's the uber talented clothing designer of the line Nuage, which I wrote about in my model-ish post here. The article includes my favourite photo. Heh. It's all HERE.


A team sport where players throw a ball with the intent of hitting players on an opposite team thereby eliminating them from the game. I was about eight years old the last time I played. Heh.

An expression of delight or excitement. 

Push Present
A push present is a gift, usually jewellery, given to a woman by her partner after "pushing" out a baby (such a sentimental term). This is a true phenomenon - the jewellery and the pushing. If I had a baby, I'd want a push penthouse, a push billion dollars, a push nanny, a push personal assistant... In fact, I said shove it to the whole thing many decades ago. Shouldn't I get a Shove-It Ring?

Wife Bonus
The term wife bonus was first revealed in a non-fiction book called The Primates of Park Avenue, as the money paid to a Manhattan wife by her banker husband for a wifey job well done. The book was later recalled and marketed as fiction. A hideous concept! O is not the boss of me nor I of him - usually. There is no Daughter Bonus - I made that up.

AND (jeez, she just won't shut up) -

I LOOOVE Mexico! I was featured in Elle magazine's online Mexico edition as one of the 40+ Bloggers You Should Know, along with Accidental Icon, une femme d'un certain âgeStyle Crone, and Not Dressed as Lamb. And the translation wasn't mangled at all! Bwahaha! I was shocked to be included. And of course very happy.

Thank you, ELLE! Well, and thank you to everyone who visits me up here in the colonies. Mwah!

Okay, now I'll shut up. Heh. Have a great week you's guys.

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