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Tuesday 28 July 2015

40-plus Blogger Meetup Flashback, Part 1

The bar was set rather high for the International 40+ Blogger Meetup in Vancouver, but reach it I did, several times in fact. It was no easy feat. I had to practise being nice and a good co-host alongside Our Fearless Leader Suzanne (Suzanne Carillo) and Sue (A Colourful Canvas), while fretting how to maintain the gross facade of my blog. Plus, a doyenne of hostessing, Trina of Tea Time with Trina, would be attending. Gaaa! This blogger attendee sadly picked up my anxiety.
Heh heh, there was a mini-pyjama party. I have several TOP SECRET photos worthy of a mini-VOGOFF at a later date. My stress, by the way, instantly melted away with my first blogger meetup, lunch with Sylvia of 40+ Style and her son, followed by an afternoon of shopping. From then on, I knew this event would be a joyful experience. 
Pao of Project Minima tried to help brace me for the ensuing onslaught of manners in the midst of chaos. True to form, I was more interested in the sweaty naked men on her vintage fabric than what Dr. Blah Blah had to say. Anyway, I'm already a top pro at stress; I don't need lessons on it. With the thoughtfulness of a true hostess, I generously shared my wisdom and experience in the field with all our blogger guests.
40-plus blogger meetup in Vancouver, Pao
Greetje of No Fear of Fashion seemed untouched by my sagacity. As you can see, my tutorials had no effect on her whatsoever. No wonder...
40-plus blogger meetup in Vancouver, whaaaa...?
Photo by Tracey Rossignol of Fashion Forward 40
In the photo above I am wearing a tiger playsuit with palazzo pant legs and a matching maxi quilted overskirt from Pao. Her mother made and wore it, and although she has sadly passed away, this outfit and her cool taste will live on.  I hadn't brought a change of clothes for dinner at Boston Pizza and didn't have time to zip home, then there was Pao to the rescue!! Thank you! (You'll probably see better photos of it elsewhere.)
Greetje had her own master technique for handling stress: baby steps. Professionals everywhere recommend this approach. The genius of Greetje is that she has exponentially enhanced its impact with a literal interpretation and an assistive accessory.
40-plus blogger meetup in Vancouver, baby steps
This photo was taken on Sunday afternoon at My Sister's Closet, a charity shop which funds support services for abused women. Purchases were made. I bought some oversized white Olsen brand baggy pants. Afterwards we headed to Timeline Boutique, a consignment shop a block away.
On Friday afternoon, a group of us took refuge from the rain at Holt Renfrew, Vancouver's upscale fashion department store. The positive energy blasting from our little group was contagious and we definitely got special treatment as result. Very special thanks go to Sales Associate Corey Mah. Holts, you need to give this guy a Big Promotion!! Everywhere our group went we heard this: Are you artists? Do you work in the style business? Heh. Of course, darling.
Now that I look back on the blogger event, it is mostly a blur.
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, it's a blur
On Sunday, ready to hit the road back to California, Anne of SpyGirl kindly dropped me off at My Sister's Closet with the bags of unclaimed clothing swap items. Pao joined us. The swap was a blast but there was no blood-letting at all. Hm. Sheila kindly lent us her room for the event and helped me pack up afterwards.
The lack of focus could perhaps be attributed to the smoking of dodgy substances at Prohibition, the speakeasy at Rosewood Hotel Georgia. In this photo Greetje and Suzanne display their uber-cool, sophisticated Pretz smoking style. As a rank amateur I put out the flame when I tried to light my stick. A word of caution: these particular unfiltered Pretz leave a distinct garlic aftertaste.
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, smoking Pretz
Yes, we were being juvenile. Absolutely. On Friday night, after dinner at Boston Pizza, quite a few of us went to the bar. It was dark and lovely with a jazz/blues band and candles, also great as lighters in a pinch. We were nestled together in a cozy corner. And yes, there was dancing involved. On Sunday night, I met Patti, Sylvia, and Pao for drinks at Hotel Vancouver.
Here is Patti after she had just executed a lovely sidewalk twirl. I think this photo kind of sums up how I felt about the meetup.
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, smoking Pretz
And a few bloggers about town, very Sex and the City.
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, bloggers in the city
I was so caught up in what was going on that I didn't pull out my camera at all on Thursday night, which involved an impromptu pre-event dinner with lovable Trina and her husband, and Sylvia, Greetje, and Suzanne down at English Bay, nor on Saturday, the day we went to Granville Island and Earls. I did, however, manage on Sunday to get photos of 11 people for my street style blog, which I resurrected. 

If you would like a full chronological rundown of the goings-on, Sheila of Ephemera has done an outstanding post, which also includes a list of attendees. I suspect there will be many more posts more coherent than this one, heh, and I can't wait to read them. Click HERE to see the Instagram posts on the event. You don't have to be signed up to view the photos.

Thanks to everyone who came, especially those of you who travelled far to get here. You are all schtellar!! I've never felt such an affinity with a big group of people before, except maybe in clubs at school. Smart, funny, talented, stylish - each and every person I met was a true beauty inside and out. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to connect with everyone in such a large group, but people naturally broke up into smaller groups off and on throughout the event. 

To those of you who couldn't make it, don't worry, we were talking about you all the time. Heheh. But in the best possible way of course. 

And now I need time to recover. I'm wiped out!! Gaaa!

I also put up a photo-only post to give you a sense of the time we spent together, Part 2. 

Finally, a huuuuge thank you to Sylvia40+ Style, for her gobstoppingly 
humbling post she did on me. 
She was smitten with my flowy robe. Heh.

Cheers! I'm off to take a nap, another one.

(Photos in Part 2 are HERE.)

40-plus Blogger Meetup Flashback, Part 2, Photo Recap

40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Melanie Kobayashi
Left: Melanie and Anne at Forage, Sun.; Right: Pao and True Love at Prohibition, Fri. night
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Melanie Kobayashi
Left: Anne preparing for road trip home, Sun. afternoon; Right: Patti at Forage, Sun. afternoon
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Melanie Kobayashi
Left: Melanie and Sylvia at Forage, Sun. afternoon; Right: Greetje at Timeline Boutique, Sun. afternoon
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret
Left: Pao at Hotel Vancouver, Sun. night; Right: Sylvia with Patti at Breka Cafe, Sun. afternoon
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Forage
Left: Tracey Rossignol at Prohibition, Fri. night; Right: Greetje and Melanie at Forage, Sun. brunch
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Forage
Group photo at Forage, Sun. brunch
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Forage
Tiina, Shawna, Ally at Forage, Sun. brunch
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Forage
Greetje at Forage, Sun. brunch
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Forage
Pao and Vancouver Barbara at Forage, Sun. brunch
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Breka Cafe
Sylvia, Trina, Sheila, Suzanne, Greetje at Breka Cafe, Fri. morning
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Prohibition
Jodi, Ally, Shawna, Sylvia, Tiina at Prohibition, Fri. night
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Prohibition
Jane, Sheila, True Love, Pao at Prohibition, Fri. night
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Blue Horizon
Greetje, Sue, Suzanne at Blue Horizon, Fri. afternoon
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Prohibition
Tracey's hand with danger Pretz at Prohibition, Fri. night
40-plus blogger meetup Vancouver, Bag and a Beret, Hotel Vancouver
Melanie (tunic from Patti at the clothing swap), Patti, Sylvia, Pao at Hotel Vancouver, Sun. night 
These were photos I managed to capture, or someone else did on my behalf, when I happened to have my camera out, so they are fairly random in terms of subjects and times. Again, please check other blog posts for better coverage, especially Sheila at Ephemera.

Saturday 18 July 2015

When a good deal is bad

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, colourful tunic thing
I bought this maxi tunic/beach cover-up on deep discount at Topshop in their summer apparel sale, and wearing it today I kept thinking about how "factory," how mass-produced it felt compared to most of my clothes.  

The fabric is filmy in an irritating modern way and snagged from previous try-ons by strangers. I can imagine this garment falling apart in a short time. That's not what I want to think about/feel when I'm wearing something. Under the cover-up I'm wearing my jeans and a white tank.

Lesson: Try to resist the magpie allure of flashy discounted clothing at fast fashion retailers. It's not worth the investment pocket-wise or mind-wise. 
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, sketch doing splits
I know you're tired of hearing it, but the meet-up is on my mind. I feel pressure to look good, make my city look good, and be a good hostess. Usually when I feel like this, I take a deep breath and... 
Surrender to the chaos. 
If I still had a big studio, you would see paint flying. There's nothing I can do or make that will be good enough to meet my own expectations, let alone those of the people coming, so I shall try to meet none. Such a relief. In doing so, I shall gain the peace of mind required to look good, make my city look good, and...You get the drift.
It's an endless vicious cycle!

Other random thoughts:
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, bird girl with rat head
Bird girl with rat-on-her-head. 
I sometimes see a woman downtown with a rat that is always on her head. 
She often feeds it from her own mouth. 
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, sketch with sequins
This is how I looked on a day I wore my gold sequin top. 
I wore the sequins with a colourful striped blouse, untucked, my houndstooth 
Steve Madden stretch pants, and my mustard shag coat and running shoes.

It's a short post but I needed to say a big hello! I have been strenuously practising the art of non-obligation blogging lately as part of chaos mode (and work mode). Commenting has been random and fleeting. Regular programming will resume after the meetup. Until then, breathe...

And I must thank Sally at Already Pretty for the shout-out on her weekly Lovely Links of July 10 for my post on compliments that go bad. It's always an honour to be included in her eclectic lineup.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

July blogger meetup in Vancouver!

Aaaack! The International +40 blogger brawl meetup in Vancouver is SOON!
Melanie's interpretation of plus-40 blogger meetup in Vancouver, July 2015
So far, about 25 bloggers from around the world will be descending on my fair city. And I challenge those of you who have a passion for dressing up to make this the most stylish convergence of +40 women Canada has ever seen. (Believe me, it won't be hard, especially in Vancouver - even with practical walking shoes.) Maybe you'll inspire me to restart my street style blog!

Many of you are staying at the Blue Horizon Hotel downtown. Imagine the pyjama parties, the junk food, the imbibing, and the blackmail photo ops! Partaking in such childish behaviour of course will be at your discretion, or lack thereof, although it's possible we'll be too wiped out to keep our eyes open past midnight. We'll blame it on jet lag, shall we, despite the fact I live here.
Mover and a shaker sketch by Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Meeting you will be like meeting celebrities. Miz Bagg is, of course, non-plussed by the whole thing seeing as how her entire life is about ego and celebrity. She recently invited me on set for the Vancouver photo shoot of her friend, who hitched a ride back to town on the private Bagg Jet after wrapping up a sold-out concert tour of Europe. Imagine the sound of my jaw hitting the floor when I heard the friend's name: Sue of A Colourful Canvas.
This is Sue of A Colourful Canvas.
Sue of A Colourful Canvas on Bag and a Beret, Miz Bagg's guest
Well, that is the Sue I knew at any rate. All light and sunshine and creativity... It turns out she has a secret life, a darker life, a lewd life as a nasty international rock guru and top spokesmodel for hit products. Rumour on set was that Nike has just signed Sue for their new campaign: Don't do it!!
Sue is full of attitude on Bag and a Beret
Sue's signature snarl. I know - can you believe it?
Really, at every turn it was "*&%$ this" and "#$!#* that." She's the only person I know, except Diavola, who can hold her own, expletive-wise, with Miz Bagg. Attitude, I've never witnessed anything this extreme.
Sue is full of attitude on Bag and a Beret
In the middle of the shoot, without warning, Sue disappeared into her trailer with Miz Bagg and several roadies and photographers for a couple of hours, for "a nap." When she finally tumbled out, she gave me the finger (below)! And Miz Bagg mooned me (sorry, no photo).
Sue gives me the finger!
I managed a few days ago, through Miz Bagg's assistant Enid, to get my hands on a mock-up of a print ad featuring one of the afternoon's shots, which will headline an orange juice campaign in the UK later this year. Apparently, Sue was paid over 5 million euro by Orange Growers of the Arctic for this endorsement. That's Sue flashing the crew! Sue leads the negative advertising trend - in fact, she pioneered it with Miz Bagg.
Sue does advertising for OJ on Bag and a Beret
Bwa-ha-ha!! I had so much fun on this shoot. I happened to have a couple of wigs in my bag when I met Sue for coffee (who doesn't?), and I was wearing the robe. On the shoot I kept yelling at Sue (the fan was loud), "Look angry! Look pissed off! You're a b*tch! You're a b*tch!", which only made us laugh more. I'm sure people in the highrises around us were entertained: me, stumbling in my high geta sandals then crouched on the ground very pro-like, trying not to get piss hand, and Sue, flapping in front of the high-power air vent asking, "Do I look angry?" 

We also got lots of excellent glam shots - Sue posted a couple here - but in this post I chose to share the other Sue. (FYI, Sue said it's okay so we're still friends. Right, Sue?!)

For me, the point of the meetup is something like what these photos are. An escape. A holiday. A time to play and get to know each other better. To explore.
Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi manicam illustration
If you're thinking of joining the meetup, it's time to get on it! Suzanne needs your information as soon as possible, at least before July 15, so she can organize everything. And don't worry; if Miz Bagg scares you, there are all kinds of women coming with a variety of interests and talents. I'll be there, me, Melanie. I'm not sure if Miz Bagg's schedule permits. And Sue will be there, the good Sue. And of course, Suzanne, not sure which one. Heh.

Suzanne Carillo's blog.
See you later? 

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Let your clothes choose your profession, and Hat Attack

I start out well. Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. Lovely clean home. Lovely clean mind. Decluttering! Hurrah!
Meditative Trashing by Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret
Then I degenerate into this. I'll spare you the inner dialogue; it would all be punctuation marks anyway.
Meditative trashing takes a detour, by Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret
I could have used a massive dose of the Dalai Lama at Glastonbury. Or maybe just Glastonbury. Or maybe just a few Glastonbury beverages - not the milk.

As it was, I made do with this: the "Coffee and a Muffin" special. The coffee was nutty. No refunds were requested. No baristas were harmed. It was a face muffin, a muffin as big as my face, almost as good as face doughnuts.
Mel Kobayashi eats a face muffin on Bag and a Beret
All this cleaning (which also includes more space-bagging), all this caffeine, all this muffiny goodness, it opens my mind to the universe.

So I wore this vintage barkcloth maxi the other day. You may have seen it before - but not with my lovely lava pendant paired with that other one, looking very, dare I say, fly? And bracelets. I don't wear them often because my wrists are small and the bangles clamp my hands when they dangle down. 
Am I vulcanologist? Am I Clouseau? asks Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret
So here we have a Hawaiian-made dress with lava jewels and hiking boots (with fringe and platforms, an improvement on the standard fare). Do I sense a pattern here? Why, of course - I should be a vulcanologist! It's so clear now. Open your mind. Let your clothes guide you!! 

Pffft. Although I wouldn't mind investigating a black-sand beach with a lovely Mai Tai.
Vulcanology bling, Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
The sun has been wickedly strong these days and I scurry about in the shadows, and hide, very Clouseau-like, in the shade of light standards at intersections. The loud clop, clop, clop of my wooden soles and the billowing neon-yellow robe I sometimes wear instead of sunscreen, which I detest, of course enhance my sleuth appeal. Wait, now just wait a second - it's coming into focus. I should be a bumbling detective! 

Okay, I'd be good at bumbling but not detecting. And keeping up a fake accent would be tiring.
Neon yellow robe enhances sleuthy appeal, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
And below is what I wore today, a scarf instead of a hat for Judith's Hat Attack 24 at her blog Style Crone, where she's wearing a beauty designed by Carol Markel. My scarf has cute little drawings of dogs all over it. With the proper attention my hair stands up like little stalks growing from a head planter. In terms of cosmic profession messages, I was getting mixed signals. Rock star or...
Saint. (The halo around my head might be mistaken for a decorative plate on the wall.) 
I would suck at sainthood. Nunh. That's a pure silk maxi dress with the same jewels as my first outfit and then some. I boosted the saturation to make it more saintly. 

Explanation for this post: 
It's been so hot it's hard to type, it's hard to move, it's hard to keep a thought in my head unless it's to do with eating, drinking, taking little naps, and colouring. 

What career are your clothes telling you you should be these days? 

To my fellow Canadians, Happy Canada Day. We are 148 years old, although our flag recently just turned 50, younger than me. I'M OLDER THAN OUR National FLAG?!!! Friggin' FRIG!!

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