Sunday, 11 November 2018

Hardboiled moonshine and me on TV, but not at the same time

It wasn't very late but already it was dark on Granville Island. My partner O and I have been heading there more regularly now that the crowds have dissipated, taking the Aquabus over in lieu of the car (or my yacht or private luxury submarine). Riding that cute boat (HERE) makes me feel like I'm on holiday.

As soon as November 1 hit, the Christmas/holiday lights came on. The mood was moony, crisp, and blue. O got some great photos. (I was always bummed when on the TV series Gilligan's Island the castaways didn't believe Ginger's prediction that they will be rescued when the moon is blue, read about it HERE.)

This next moon shot O took from our window in late July, but it reflects the feeling of this post so I asked to use it. Don't confuse this moon shot with shooting the moon; that is not my moon. Or with any rocket moon-shot attempts, although I was feeling rather spacy.

Crescent moon in Vancouver, photo by Osamu Kobayashi 2018

I remember going to the Vancouver Space Centre's Planetarium, a 360-degree theatre, in about 1984, to watch the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon show. Trippy. Wonderful - all dreams an arm's length away. Sometimes still are, or even closer.

Still wishing on a star, even if it's only in LEDs. I'm wearing my Emporio Armani suit and man shoes from My Sister's Closet, jacket from Yuzhe Studios, a gift a couple of years ago, and a blouse from last year's flea market at West Vancouver United Church.

Mel Kobayashi in Armani suit, Yuzhe Studios coat, Granville Island, photo by Osamu, Nov 2018

Then yesterday (a relative term) I dressed like the moon or a marshmallow, below. You decide. Or even Mr. Clean, a cartoon character dressed in white to advertise household cleaning products on TV. Yes, an animated version of myself is definitely required for handling household cleaning supplies.

I don't need a cartoon version of myself to handle marshmallows, although if I went all paranomal I would resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the movie Ghostbusters HERE.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

Of course, these are "autumn" whites, and then in a month or so they will be "winter" whites. In summer, they are simply whites. In every season I am Mel, Mel, Mel, and Mel or Melanie, depending on my mood. At the coffee shop, my name could be Cleo or Krissy or something else entirely; it would depend on my mood as well, not the seasons, which may in fact affect my mood.

In point of fact, I have never used a fake name at a coffee shop. I would feel like a scofflaw, like I'm walking through a crosswalk when the red hand is flashing!!! But I shall start, even though the baristas pretty much all know my real name. If they raise their brows I'll say: A) the truth is not the truth, walk away in a huff, and look back to see if their brows go even higher; or B) (shout) YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!, like Jack Nicholson in that annoying movie, A Few Good Men. 

It's amazing how much drama you can wring out of the simple act of ordering coffee.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

I discovered when I got home that the faux leather has started flaking badly in the armpits. Sweat is bad enough but toxic sweat now? This aging thing sucks! And then I noticed it around the elbows too. Phew, in a way. At least I don't think I have toxic-sweating elbows. The jacket looked fine when I went out, but the stress of movement must have triggered the peeling. 

The jacket was packed in a vacuum-sealed bag for a few months, as was another faux leather jacket that also started flaking. The bags do not warn against storing faux leather in them, but I suspect the packing, not simply fabric quality, played a hand in this premature deterioration. I'll roll with the flaws and try to make more flaking, like it was meant to be like this. Flaking farking or maybe even painting will be required. Just like with my face and hair.

And a final set of photos, also taken by O on Granville Island a little while ago, not posted on my blog before. 

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

I belled those bottoms myself, bottoms as in pant legs, bell as in ding dong. The coat is by Danier, a defunct Canadian leather goods store, a generous gift from Shelley a year or so ago. I call it high-muppet, rock-star glamour.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

This next shot might go on the cover of my new 8-track cassette.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu


Nordstrom Canada has just released its national holiday-season campaign, and there I am, along with many of my cast mates from the Toronto shoot. I won't go on and on about it - I don't want to bore you with the details - but it was another grand adventure. Have a look.

And they also posted a making-of video, behind the scenes. Check out that snow. It was a hot day in August. Gotta love that movie magic.

Finally, since Bag and a Beret is kind of like my very own magazine, I have decided to finish this post with a festive, theme-related recipe. Don't feel bad if you can't replicate it in your own homes - this is not for the novice chef.

Mel Kobayashi egg recipe Bag and a Beret Nov 2018
I give you Moon Egg.

The trick is in the cooking time and the temperature of the boiling water. In fact, rather than depress you with the complexities of the recipe, I shall leave you to gaze at the perfection of my own culinary skills. Also good with Swiss cheese and a cow jumping over it.

Now I don't know whether to arrive at the linkups early this time or say I was too late for the last ones. Augh. I shall link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike when it goes live too.


Do you use fake names? Spill - your secrets, not your coffee, unless it's fruity-tasting. Pitui!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Cosmetic surgery over 50 and inhuman perfection

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret after cosmetic surgery

Face lift, chin and lip implants, fillers, chemical peel, botox, hair colour, and hair extensions, followed by professional makeup and a photographer with good lighting. And to think, you only saw me less than two weeks ago. That was fast, right? The miracle of modern science.

BEFORE (photo I posted here less than a year ago)
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret before cosmetic surgery

I'm glad I know photo editing so I don't have to do the makeover for real to see the AFTER because, despite the wrinkles and sags, I'm okay with my aging face, although some days much more okay than others. I still catch glimpses of myself in window reflections and mirrors and wonder, who's that? WTF?! And walk a little faster.

But I keep telling myself over and over, I'll never be as young as I am at this very second. Deal with it. Revel in it! It's not the package that counts - it's what's in the package. I repeat: IT'S WHAT'S IN THE PACKAGE. Sigh. Those frickin' mantras.

Here they are again:

Mel Kobayashi and new younger Mel Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret

So what did I do? Apart from keeping my original nose/eyes/brows and basic facial structure?

enlarged my chin 
enlarged my mouth 
smoothed the wrinkles
erased the shadows
coloured my eyes green
changed the tint
added glam and skin-smoother filters 
blended two wigs 
recoloured my faux-fur jacket 

I used to have contact lenses that exact green - they caused quite a stir whenever I wore them and I stopped. Plus, they were not comfortable. I also think I might have repositioned my entire head or stretched it or tilted it (can't remember, I was lost in the moment).

My partner O and I both agree that the AFTER looks slightly creepy, no doubt due to my editing technique. There are probably apps these days that do all of these things with one tap. I know there is a skin smoother and lip plumper app. I often see the smoothing filter on IG.

It's also doubtful that these effects could be achieved even with extensive surgical/cosmetic interventions, but it was great "trying" them out.

Would I ever get a "procedure"? Never say never. I think it's important to feel good about ourselves.

But the search for perfection is pervasive!
And unwinnable.

Did you know that some popular Instagrammers are simply cgi figures, not real humans at all? Their perfection has won them (their creators) millions of followers in some cases and lucrative sponsorship deals. Is this where our search for perfection ultimately leads?

The following are all examples of hugely successful non-human influencers on Instagram.


An LV ad with a fake human here (below).

Who needs humans anyway?

I do. You do. We all do! Why this rush to do away with ourselves? Heh.

Sigh - again. I haven't booked any procedures yet, but I suspect they will grow in both ease and frequency of application for all genders. This is a topic for another time. I just farked that photo and thought, wow, that's pretty weird. That new me probably speaks fluent French. Heh.

And because this is also a style blog, I'm sharing this next photo, something I wore yesterday, which I can also link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll see you there!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, wearing black in the stairwell

What do you think about cgi influencers and our obsession with perfection? Another question: once you achieve perfection, what else is there? The search, the process, is where all the good stuff happens.

That's all for this week. I've responded to your comments from the last couple of posts if any of you are interested.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

How to wear a men's oversized jacket

Leaves' last hurrah. These beautiful autumnal colours are also, unfortunately, harbingers of the scourge of urban existence - the dreaded leaf blower. Rakes, rakes! More rakes, please - the kind with prongs, not wastrel womanizers.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

This oversized men's jacket is not a Marc Jacob's artful, oversized men's Power Suit $$$ for women, as sported by Lady Gaga recently, with much fanfare, at a Women in Hollywood event. No, this is simply an oversized men's jacket, a gift from a good friend.

Handmade in Italy from a cashmere/wool blend and luxurious silky-smooth lining, this jacket also boasts an impressive nine pockets cleverly concealed in the design. Pockets in pockets in pockets - it could be a Dr. Seuss book.

It's difficult enough trying to find things in a single handbag, so I can't imagine trying to remember where I put things in nine pockets.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

Leaves were wafting down all around me. So beautiful.

With the jacket I am wearing a luxury oversized men's tuxedo shirt - from the same kind friend - which I farked by adding a monster truck image on the front and other things you can't see here. And that's a men's vest snatched from O's wardrobe. Heh.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

The jeans I farked by adding the embroidered eyes on the knees. Then men's (maybe) cowboy-style booties. Of course there's the loupe O made me and his ring too, which is hidden by the super-long sleeves.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, jeans

Dick, my tripod, worked diligently this morning. The first shoot was right in the middle of the sidewalk and I had to move my setup aside when people were coming. Thankfully, there was no fear of traffic at this woodsy location.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret

That's a huge honkin' maple leaf below. Canadian, eh? Except it's golden, not red like the one on our flag, which, incidentally, has recently been toppled from the apex of Canadian leaf royalty by another similarly-shaped leaf.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, with maple leaf

And preparing for my fan dance using maples leaves instead of fans in true Canadian style. That'll be the day. Hahaha!!

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret

I love this outfit. Any ill-fitting garment suddenly feels fitting for any occasion when it's made from luxurious fabric.

That's all this time. I'll link up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.

Thanks for stopping by!!! We are all in seasons of change right now. I hope you are getting the fortifications needed to combat the storms that seem to be wreaking havoc on our barometric pressures on a daily basis. Hang on!

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