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Friday 31 August 2012

I woke up this morning with white hair!!

...that's because I had it "done" yesterday (as if it were somehow unfinished before). I had forgotten the pleasures and discomforts of sitting in a salon for 2.5 hours. This platinum is actually a primer coat for bright red, then shades of brown on my way to dark brown. I may get sidetracked along the way, but that's perfectly fine too because there are NO RULES!! in Style Universe.

A few weeks ago I ran across some (old)?! photos of me wearing my hair like this in Tokyo about 25 years ago and was obviously hitnotized. At the outset of my inspiration walk yesterday morning I suddenly found myself making a detour into the salon. Thankfully, Angel received me with open arms. (He's my colourist.)

The artworks engulfing me are all fairly recent.

For a change I belted my tunic and wore high knee socks over my jeggings. From a distance it looks like I'm wearing tall boots. I call this look "irritating chic." When I walk down the street in this, swinging my flirty little candy heart, I think, "Ohayou, genki desu-ka? (Mornin' y'all, how are ya? in Japanese) Mwah, mwah, mwah (Kiss, kiss, kiss, in Vapidese, I'm fluent.)"  Let's all send Miss Simmonds some good vibes so she can go to Japan too!

Details of this outfit:
  • stretchy wool-blend black tunic, Metallicus sample sale
  • riding-pant jeggings, retail (suedine inset runs down inner leg)
  • knee socks, retail
  • brown crackle-leather Miu Miu boots, laces with side zips, thrifted, Wildlife Thrift Store
  • belt, purchased in Kunming, China, mid-80s

This weekend bandmate Sandra and I will be working on visuals for our "travesty-of-music" video. We call ourselves Just Bad Enough. Listening to the latest mix, I think we should be called Smut Mouth. If I'm brave I'll post the clip. Trust me, we're more than just bad enough!

I hope you'll all be doing something fabulous this weekend, and looking good doing it!! Three cheers for NO RULES.

Thursday 30 August 2012

I'm not a seamstress, I'm a sewer

I like to say I'm a sewer rather than a seamstress because the latter title implies the sewing of seams, which I do rather irregularly timewise and faculty-wise. By the way, the word is pronounced "sower" not "su'er," although some of my work does exude the overwhelming air of effluence.

As an example of my extreme slackness with needle and thread may I direct you to the following photo?

I was enamoured with this man's shirt with baby-blue embroidery down the front, which I found at a wonderful thrift shop called F as in Frank on Main Street. Its neck, among all the other parts, was too large so I fixed it like so, sew, sewer...

I did in fact replace all the nicotine-coloured buttons on the shirt with lovely pale blue ones, except for the button which I sewed directly onto the collar in my extreme slackness. Actually, I rather love the end result more than if I had gone the complex route of a professional fix. The neck fits now and I like that delicious pop of nicotine madness mixed in with the lovely pale blues and white. The collar surprisingly does not pucker much with this method. Another reason I like this shirt is that it requires cuff links. Dreamy. They are slightly visible in the photo.

At least I did not use a Button Magic studder on this project, if you know those. I wonder if any of you have had the pleasure of trying one? Do speak out. There is no shame here.

Details of the outfit
  • men's oversized shirt, thrifted, F as in Frank
  • high-waisted jeans by Grey Ant, new a couple of years ago at Two of a Few
  • platform Michael Kors shoes, thrifted, Value Village
  • soft brown leather belt, thrifted, Value Village
I hope you're all having a great week. What day is it again?

PS. Below a clip for Button Magic but this seems to be a newer version than I remember when I was a kid. The one when I was young seemed much easier-looking than this!!

Monday 27 August 2012

Good outfit posts require a neutral background...

I used this neutral backdrop to bring out the subtle patterns and muted palette of this outfit. Bwa-ha-ha.

This is my Breakfast in the Himalayas look. In this outfit I can also imagine sharing hot apple cider and chocolate croissants with Indy Jones in an alpine chalet. I don't know why exactly but this ultra-polyester paisley vest turned inside-out and worn with my beret always elicits references to the Himalayas and Tibet. Last I checked these were not fashion staples there. Maybe it has something to do with the soft leather belt strapped around my upper torso or the capris?

You'll note the double-bagging, courtesy of a reminder from the magnificent Desiree about the joys of doubling your bag pleasure. My love affair with the heart bag continues...

Details of this outfit
  • silk blouse, several sizes too big, hand-me-over
  • leather belt, thrifted from Value Village
  • vest, inside-out, several sizes too big, thrifted from True Value Vintage for pennies
  • capri pants, side zip, consignment shop Turnabout
  • patent leather shoes, thrifted from True Value Vintage for pennies
  • heart bag, thrifted from Wildlife Thrift store
  • brocade bag, gift for plant-sitting

The secret to this outfit is my shoes, which have invisible hydrofoils on the bottom so I don't actually have to walk, I just skim the top of the sidewalk. And I didn't have to pay extra for that!

The backdrop is courtesy of some mischievous elves who broke into my studio the other night intent on creating me a decent neutral backdrop for some professional-quality studio photos. Weren't they sweet? I don't think they're finished yet - a little more neutrality is definitely required. (Aren't elves that visit in the night supposed to make me new shoes!?)

I'll be prancing about in this outfit at Patti's stupendous Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. I must see you there. Hugs, everyone.

Friday 24 August 2012

Meet my new Liebster Award picks

First, thank you to Gorgeous Lyosha at Inside and Outside for my Liebster Award! (Picture my hands frantically fanning my face hoping that the wind action might dry up the tears destroying my make-up.) Seriously, it is an honour to have my blog recognized with an award. I really appreciate it. Lyosha is phat and sexy too!

As a reigning awardee I must perform my duties thusly.

Answer Lyosha's 11 questions:
1. If you had to choose a totem animal which one would you choose?
Nessie of Loch Ness
2. What's your favourite sports activity? Walking in heels
3. Mall or small shops? Depends on my mission: mall for escaping the rain, small shop for shopping
4. Which location do you find perfect for a girls' night out?
The royal yacht in the Mediterranean 
5. Do you do motivation boards? What is the most common something you add there?
I don't do motivation boards but I journal.
6. If each day you had 30 minutes just for yourself what would you do?
I don't understand - every day is me, me, me! I make an effort to journal, sketch, and paint daily.
7. Flats or heels? Heels, definitely
8. If you could change something (but only one little part) what would you change and why?
I would like stronger fingernails.
9. What do you do when you feel sad and tired?
I sleep in a blanket roll, eat chocolate, and watch old movies.
10. Why did you start blogging?
I wanted to share the positive energy that comes from dressing in things that make me feel alive and savour the vibes of other bloggers who shine in their pursuits.
11. If you decided to write a book what would it be like? Would you publish it afterwards?
I am writing and illustrating a book - slowly, slowly. It would be like savouring the scent of lilac on a summer's evening. I would probably give it away online.

Write 11 facts about myself:
1. In an ice cream shop I get so excited by all the flavours that I usually end up with vanilla.
2. I sometimes dream about tsunamis.
3. I have almost no photos of myself when I was little.
4. Fact: I need more platform shoes.
5. I believe that everyone has an artist inside themselves.
6. I believe in the power of the individual to effect global change.
7. I don't believe that women are necessarily more peaceloving than men.
9. I lack the gene for wedding-gown ecstasy.
10. I used to work with pop idols in Japan.
11. I am surprised that painting your teeth black has not become trendy.
12. I think the absence of a cellphone should become the new status symbol.

Name 11 new awardees (and notify them of their nomination):
Obviously I love many bloggers dearly. You all know who you are!

Ask the new awardees 11 new questions: 
1. On a desert island, which would you choose, a pocket knife or a solar-powered e-reader?
2. As one of 27 island castaways, what would be your job: hut-builder, chef, caregiver, tailor, banker, other?
3. Would you like some fries with that?
4. What's the meaning of life (in ten words or less)? 
5. Zip-lining in a rain forest, deep sea fishing in the Bahamas, or spelunking in Brunei?
6. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
7. One night of guilt-free lust, who with: Prince Charles, Steve Buscemi, Mister Ed (a talking palomino horse from a 1960s American sitcom by the same name), Portia de Rossi?
8. What's your favourite flower?
9. Do you ever dream that your teeth are falling out?
10. Which is your favourite: mice, spiders or snakes?
11. Which way is north?

Good luck on your mission awardees. You are all beautiful!

To recap, here are the rules:
1. The new nominee must post 11 things about him/herself.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who gave you the award.
3. Choose 11 new nominees and link them in your post.
4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you've nominated.
5. Go and tell them that they've been nominated.
6. No tag back! (I don't really know what this I ignored it.)

That's all folks!! I'll be back with outfits in the next post. 

Tuesday 21 August 2012

PS - My Sexy Street Style is in Vancouver Magazine

I have to let you know my secret...

September issue
Last month I was asked by editors of Vancouver magazine if I would like to contribute to a piece on Vancouver street style. Yes! So now my street style blog, Culture Serf, is featured in the magazine's September print issue in the article "Sexy Street Style." Two other bloggers are also included.

Vancouver magazine is the city's premier print magazine, voted the top fashion/lifestyle mag in western Canada; you can guess how happy I am to be included as a relevant voice on style. This issue is on newsstands now but there should also be an online version next month.

Thanks, everyone, for fuelling my energy here at Bag and a Beret! And for those of you who sometimes visit Culture Serf, your comments are soooo appreciated not only by me but I'm guessing by the fabulous people who consent to having their photos taken.

Monday 20 August 2012

Must we all be sexy and wicked sick?

I am so tired of the word sexy I want to scream!! Sexy's rightful home is in the brain and so far they don't make lacy push-up brain bras, although Dear Helen Hartman has made a lovely "bullet-bra bonnet" from a bisected football. Must I wear lingerie in public (although I sometimes do that), swan about with my eyes half-closed (I do that too), and talk with a husky voice, which I only do when I'm coming down with something nasty ("Oh, Doctor, she has a bad case of wicked sick Sexy") or when I'm trying my hardest to be uber-cool and end up sounding uber-stupid, to qualify as sexy by mainstream standards?

So I surrender to sexiness. My Visible Monday outfit today at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style, as below, is not only uber-sexy, but it's also a wickedly-ill seasick ensemble of red, purple, pink, and orange.

Whose heart would not beat faster at the sight of this bright floral-patterned maxi dress with clashing pantyhose-fabric neon-pink top and hat? Of course my amour-red beret is keeping a lid on all that exploding brain sexiness - I wouldn't want it just spewing out at innocent bystanders on the sidewalk. And the wickedest sick part of today's outfit is the Heart bag, which I have had for a while but don't often use because the shape is very inconvenient and I have to carry a shopping bag to hold most of my sexy accoutrements, like pencil crayons and my reading glasses. I was going to wear something conservative, but then my overwhelmingly ill outfit compelled me to enter this forbidden Garden-of-Eden post-apple sinscape of sexiness.

Details of the outfit
  • thrifted maxi dress with ruffles removed, Wildlife Thrift Store
  • thrifted red beret, Community Thrift Shop
  • thrifted red shoes, Hush Puppies, Value Village
  • thrifted heart bag, Community Thrift Shop
  • thrifted vintage neon-orange/pink sunglasses, Gastown shop

So a big Heart from Ms. Bag to everyone. Happy Visible Monday. Patti, you rock as hostess of your wonderful weekly party. This week I'm spiking the punch (more than usual). Of course I had a head schtart...hiccup.

My next post will (re)introduce you to 11 fabulous bloggers as part of my Liebster Award from Lovely Lyosha at Inside and Outside.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Sometimes simple is best on a trip to fake Paris

No shagariffic boots or bright colours here, but I feel just as visible in this black and white outfit as I do in my most brilliant plumage. This is exactly what I needed to wear on my stroll to my favourite cafe in fake Paris, or maybe fake Italy - does it really matter where? It's all in my head anyway. I'm putting this in Patty's wonderful Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style (even though it's already Tuesday). I've also put this up at Everybody, Everywear, which coincidentally has a monochromatic theme right now.

I'm looking rather dazed here, like a cat that has suddenly gone rang-y for no apparent reason. In fact, I'm feeling rather rang-y myself. 

Sorry, just venting here...effing, yeah! (heavy metal side effect)

The black things hanging down the front the outfit are the ties of the skirt. I carry a straw bag with this demure outfit and wear my other camera slung across my torso for style scouting. They're not in this photo because I needed to unburden myself as soon as I got home, which is when I snapped this. 

The Outfit
  • wide-brimmed black hat, retail
  • wraparound circle skirt, retail many years ago 
  • flats, Geox, retail many years ago
  • light cotton boat neck, three-quarter-sleeve top, thrifted, Value Village

This is the cartoon I drew of me in this outfit on my way to fake Paris (or Italy) with two of my favourite feline friends.

I'm including another outfit cartoon below. O and I had seen a marmalade cat hunting a dragonfly one night which I mentioned the next day when I saw Lisa at Dreamz n Wishz wearing fabulous firefly earrings, plus she had gone out for dinner at Firefly restaurant. She suggested that the cat might make a good cartoon. 

I was wearing Steven Madden slim trousers with ankle zips, and a shirt-dress, which Joni at Walking Colors had reminded me of, pointed black shoes, and my beret.

It has been hot here. By that I mean mid-20s tops. Compared to some places I should not be complaining, but I have been wilting terribly. No amount of watering is able to revive me. I have TREMENDOUS respect for all those bloggers weathering greater heat who manage to look so cool and fabulous, even in light jackets! I sleep sometimes with an icepack wrapped in a towel at my feet or under my neck, which helps. I hope it's not hot this week because I want to wear tights, but the odds are against me...

Other Housekeeping...

I drew this cartoon based on an incident that Curtise at The Secondhand Years had with Ms. Grabby Hands at a thrift sale. In the real story, Ms. Grabby TOOK Curtise's treasure. I could write a not-so-sweet heavy metal song about that too!

I sketched the cartoon below a while ago; it made me think of Robin at her blog a little sewing.

Okay, that's all. Whew. 
I hope you have a tremendous week! I've only been managing to post once a week lately, but I still make the rounds even if I'm not commenting as much as usual. You guys are all ROCK STARS!!!

Sunday 5 August 2012

My new heavy metal band in the Guvernment

Gentle readers, I have always been disturbed by the antics of profligates in the Guvernment, Toronto, and I took it upon myself to do a personal investigation - I went in. Warning: These images are not suitable for mature audiences.

This is what happened.

Mick, eat your heart out! I've always wanted to do this...

What better time than the present to start a heavy metal band? 

Who cares that I can't really play anything professionally or sing that great - I've never let a lack of talent stand in my way. In fact, in this case it's rather an asset. I don't like listening to heavy metal either, but I like what it is - serious rocking out like action painting with sound. At the last minute I conscripted a friend, Sandra, to be my band mate. She can't sing or play either (her words, not mine) so we're well suited, plus she is a true rocker chick at heart and already has the proper wardrobe and hair!

And I have to say...

I mean it -

Above are the photos from our very first rehearsal, July 27. We went in with no scores and no lyrics but it was better that way... I was planning on going alone to the booking, but when I ran into Sandra at the coffee shop before I left, I asked if she'd like to join me. She said, "Why not?" The rest is history. 

Neither Sandra nor I swear - I can't even WRITE swear words - but we can certainly SCREAM expletives until we're hoarse and bandy them about with calm logic as they pertain to our "lyrics." We are equal parts profane, rude, silly, and vain in the studio and we capture this in sound and through photos. Sandra is also a great  photographer - she took these shots of me.

Sandra brought refreshments to our second rehearsal, Friday. How thoughtful. Some lovely iced tea.

Oops, I carry my reading glasses in my tool belt (pocket on the right), and when I put them on I could see why this tea was so special. (Neither of us drinks in the studio - in fact I don't really drink at all - but it was a great prop!) 

Mag Ruffman, eat your heart out (very cool Canadian actor and handy-woman who had a TV show). Below is my Curtise pose!

Details of the outfit:
  • leatherette hot pants with front zip, $5, Wildlife Thrift Store
  • mustard tights
  • thigh-high leatherette boots, belong to Sandra
  • tool belt, gift, used as reading glasses holder
On the way to the studio I wore flats and a demure skirt over my stage wear.

"Songs" so far are below but I need a little more tutelage from O to improve my recording skills. I am on keyboards, which I manage reasonably unwell, and Sandra and I both do "vocals."

Songs so far:
  1. We're going to the f***ing mall
  2. We're two hot *itches
  3. Have another look
  4. She sure swears a lot
I suppose we're more of an abstract expressionist art project with lots of punk and heavy metal thrown in the mix. The point is to enjoy the process - any product that results is a bonus. Raw is best. After two sessions, we are both somewhat hooked!

We play at Soundhouse Studios, a new rehearsal space near downtown Vancouver with extremely reasonable rates. Each room is named after a famous studio from cities around the world - ours happened to be Guvernment. You should check them out if you are looking for a space. If you mention my name I get a discount next time we go. Tee hee! 

Have you ever dreamt of being a rock star? All it takes is 10 bucks for a studio rental for an hour (unless you're lucky enough to have your own place) but you'll come out feeling like a million. And hats off to the many people who have serious talent and play in bands for real! 

I'm linking this up with Patti's Visible Monday over at her fantastic blog Not Dead Yet Style. I certainly felt visible in this even if I only wore it to the Guvernment. What would you wear to the Guvernment?

PS. A big Thank You to beautiful Lyosha at Inside and Outside for nominating me for a LIEBSTER AWARD!! I'll include a proper response in an upcoming post!!
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