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Wednesday 30 September 2015

Cloud storage and SEO for middle-aged women

If you don't know what SEO means you might as well pack up your blog and stick your head in the toilet in shame. That's what they would have you think, them, those ones who want you to monetize your blog, flog your blog, flog yourself, flog others. Apparently, the more flogging you do, the greater your success. I already beat myself up about my blog and I certainly don't get monetized for it. Maybe I should beat you up too!
Black and white plaid and stripes, Bag and a Beret
No, flogging doesn't interest me, it's so piratical, neither does self-flagellation, although it does give me an idea on how to optimize my personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  

How bad is it, the Mel Search Engine? - Where did I put my keys? Where did I put my glasses? Where is that thingy, that book thing that wrote about, you know, that guy and the green cover? It's like in middle age everything in my home ends up in cloud storage, supposed to be very cutting edge, but jeez, it's not very effective is it? So yeah my search engine sucks - my stuff is in a frickin' cloud. If I had money I'd have Help. But let's get serious. Plan B.
Black and white plaid and stripes, Bag and a Beret
Kids have strings on their mittens threaded through their sleeves. Effective! I could just tie everything I habitually lose to the end of a long knotted rope, belt it on, and drag it behind me like those tin cans they tow behind cars after a wedding. Instead of a sign on my trunk that says "Just Married," my trunk would say "Just Menopausal."

My keys, my book thingies, the garbage I have to take out, O trailing along at the end - I can't forget him - all so convenient. Everything within reach!

Melanie Kobayashi in plaid and stripes, Bag and a Beret
But maybe it would be like that kids' book, Too Much Noise, where an old man covers up the creaks in his house by adding other noisy things until he gives up and appreciates the original creaks. I'm not saying I'd appreciate my creaks, no matter how original, but a trailing rope? I'm envisioning tangles and filth already, and I hate cleaning as much as losing things. 

Well, it was an idea. Too bad I can't patent it and make millions so I can get Help, serious help. The Clapper might be good, but O won't wear a Clapper and everything else in my home would beep when I clap. So back to square one - I'm done before I even get started. What's the point? No, seriously, what was my point? Heh.
Mel Kobayashi in plaid and stripes, Bag and a Beret
The Outfit

I'm jonesing on fluffy white sport socks, flats, glasses, and too-short pants these days. Whaaa...? Feck it. I like it. I'm going to wear the shite out of this stuff - because I can.
  • Weird B&W drop crotch, too-big plaid pants that twist around and bag weirdly; 
  • Striped Zara jacket plucked from the clothing swap leftovers at the last minute at the charity shop. Who brought that? Jane, was that you?* After I painted over a couple of stains with acrylics you can't even see them when I move fast or hold my hand in an odd position; 
  • Scarf/shawl;
  • Sample sale long-sleeve T, white sport socks;
  • Ultra-magic loupe.
How's your cloud holding out? Thunderstorms? Fog? Those dudes in Silicon Valley think they invented cloud storage? Puh. We middle-aged women laugh in their faces.

Edit: The jacket is from Sylvia. Thank you! She wore it here. She also mentioned SEOs when we met up. Hahaha. How appropriate that the two come together in this post. It's meant to be!

Saturday 26 September 2015

Brain sexy

Ooo-eee, isn't she some sexay biatch in those crazy-ass earth tones? Yeeeah baby, the sweet neutral boxiness of straight-cut vintage with baggy-butt high-waters. And whoa, don't look now - nubbly knee socks. Holy hot non-mama, I'm faint! Can she just stop ramping up the heat? 
Mel Kobayashi does androgeny with Jacqueline Conoir trousers
It's a brainporn outfit. I felt androgynous and sweetly outside the fray-for-pretty on the streets, partly because the glasses were a physical shield between my head, which is my primary residence, and Out There, where everyone else runs around. And while not hot, the cool oddity of the clothing mix still felt attractive and empowering, especially with the Einstein hair and ruby red lipstick. 

For me, this look says, I'm outside the market but you can still gape and be confounded. 

I wielded my toolbox handbag with the fierce abandon that comes from knowing I'm in charge. Of what, I don't really know. I  need staff when I wear this so I can order them around.
Mel Kobayashi in brown, vintage jacket and baggy pants
Wearing brown: boxy vintage wool suit jacket; high-waisted, short wool trousers by local designer Jacqueline Conoir; men's shoes, miraculously narrow, so pointy they have upturned toes; blue T-shirt; vintage men's tie knotted '70s style; magic loupe; brown knee socks. Except the socks, everything was thrifted or gifted, including the Firmoo prescription glasses, which sit low like reading glasses. 

I read an article about a psychological study done at the University of Minnesota, which said women use their luxury handbags as a signal to other women to back off their man.* Yeah, if a rival saw my toolbox handbag she'd be afraid I have a hammer inside. See? O, who gave me the bag, is all about the mind games: I win before the game is even on at a fraction of the price. Hahaha!

There are so many things wrong with the handbag finding - don't get me started - although sadly I don't doubt the result or their other conclusions.

*I found the link at Inside Out Style by Imogen Lamport, her Weekend Reading Sep. 12, but the link destination is persnickety. She always has cool links.
Melanie Kobayashi, cartoon, drawing at her desk
That's all. Happy weekend!
I'm linking this up to Patti's Visible Monday, of course, at Not Dead Yet Style when it goes live on Sunday. 

PS I've linked this up to TARDIS Tuesday as well because Kezzie thinks this is a very David Tennant Dr. Who look. Although I haven't watched the show, I'm happy to join the party! The more the merrier. You'll find me and the gang at KezzieAG and Maricel's My Closet Catalogue.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

How to Unfollow Someone on Google Friend Connect, 2015

Oh dear, oh dear. How many times has this happened to you?

When you started following "Natasha's" blog on Google Friend Connect she fed your appetite for Satan worship, but now her blog is full of angel food cake with pink sprinkles and glitter tiaras. No more devil's food! So, you want to boot Natasha out of your feed, and Google Friend Connect laughs in your face.

You may have seen tons of helpful posts telling you to simply click the little gear thingy that appears on the right side of your "Reading list" page in Blogger.

Unfollow a blog on GFC in 2015

When you mouse-over it, it says, "Manage Reading list." Ooh, lovely. With high hopes you click it. And then this pops up.

How to unfollow someone on Google Friend Connect

The "Please try again shortly" tends to lose its promise after several years of BIG MASSIVE COLOSSAL FAILURE. THIS DOES NOT WORK!

So here's what you do.

How to Unfollow Someone
on Google Friend Connect

Type the following address in your location bar:

Click Settings, shown below, for any one of the sites you've joined.

Unfollow a blog on Google Friend Connect, 2015

You'll then be asked to sign in using your Google, Twitter, Yahoo or other account.

After you've signed in, the following window pops up. On the right side you'll see the elusive miracle link called Stop following this site.  CLICK IT IMMEDIATELY before GFC shuts down this feature.

Un-follow a blog on GFC, 2015

Ta-da!! You're free! FREE!!

I am braced for my GFC numbers to plummet now; I won't force you to stay at my party if you're feeling sick and it's time to go home, and, really, I'd rather you work off that hangover in your own bathroom. 

On the other hand, if I've answered this vexing Unfollow question, maybe you will Follow me on GFC as a reward! - especially now that you know where the Exit door is. Heh. "What care I about Follower numbers?" I trill, biting my own hand with anxiety. 

I leave you now to sweep out your Reading list. Cheers. (Please don't leave me, please don't leave me. Ow, my hand!) If you already know all this, well, yeah, you just wasted your time here, didn't you? Oops, did I just hear an Unfollow click? Gaaa!

Since I'm posting, this what I wore today. I call it:
"White by any other name is okay after Labour Day"
Scandalour white after Labour Day, Mel at Bag and a Beret
Wearing: Is it off-white, winter white, antique white, eggshell white, chemical white, snow-white, alabaster, chalk white, lily white...? Feck that. I'm wearing white: white moto jacket, white long-sleeve T-shirt, way-too-big white silk/linen blend trousers, fully lined (also worn here), men's black leather belt, and black Steve Madden army boots.
"No White after Labour Day" is one of those quaint rules/rituals from simpler, earlier times, kind of like, oh, burning witches at the stake. There doesn't seem to be one clear reason for it (the no-white-clothing rule or the witch-burning for that matter) and most of those reasons I've come across originate with the upper classes. 

I suspect that if I were a housewife in olden times without the luxury of help, human or machine, I would rejoice in a rule of No White After Labour Day too, given the seasonal onset of harvest in cold and muddy fields. 

For the first time a few days ago, I heard someone walking by me say to her friend, "That guy was so hot." I've only ever heard the phrase in media or read it in magazines or books, never first-hand. I was beginning to think it was an urban legend. Okay, I don't get out much. Cut me some slack.

That's all. See ya! What am I forgetting? I must be forgetting something.

Saturday 19 September 2015

A celebration of consumption

A store opened today. A big one. A Nordstrom in Vancouver. I had been looking forward to this since that city block was locked down over a year ago, and I planned to be there this morning when the doors opened at precisely 9:30 to celebrate its revival. I piled on my blue glitter eye shadow in readiness. Unfortunately, my hair was intent on a fashionably late entrance. 
Mel Kobayashi, DIY origami tartan jacket
Hurling myself into the throng of shoppers and gawkers when I arrived, yes, late, and breathless, was like being back in Shibuya or Ginza, Japan - exhilarating, the bustle, the chatter, the furtive smiles back and forth between strangers, the gentle jostling. Apart from athletics and concerts, this opening is probably one of the few events capable of drawing together such a large, eclectic, and enthusiastic crowd. Shopping - the great unifier. 
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
I can't see myself buying retail at Nordstrom very often given my love of thrifting and vintage, but I'll visit regularly for its coffee shop and bistro, design inspiration, and, importantly, shelter from inclement weather when walking to point B down the street. 

In terms of the store itself, I was delighted to see the high-end menswear section located right next to the children's wear and baby clothes. Heh. And I liked the art on the walls everywhere I looked.
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
I was also sad to see such a grand and hugely expensive celebration for what? A new bastion of consumption. Of course I am a consumer and planned on attending this opening weeks in advance. Still, it made me ponder what Earth will be like 50 years from now with such a huge daily drain on her resources. "Hurrah for thrifting," I feebly consoled myself in the midst of such luxury.
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
Dramatic high-waisted palazzo pants with my favourite DIY cropped tartan jacket and towering black glitter booties created a tree-like effect, and the reactions that greeted me as I strolled down the gleaming new aisles (like I owned the joint of course) were startling.

Below, a selfie taken in a mirror in the hall leading to the washrooms, which of course I had to inspect. Happily, all was in order.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, at Nordstroms opening, Vancouver
A street outside Nordstrom had been shut down to accommodate tents where the store ran a free Beauty Event that started at 7:30 AM(!); they probably sold tons of under-eye concealer - clever. I caught the tail-end of the action, and surprise, surprise, they were offering a real free breakfast (reference to the Ted no-toast Baker opening I attended). Plus, there were food trucks with mini doughnuts. Hurrah!

I have more photos of merchandise in the store, mostly colourful menswear, but I've had enough of Stuff for one day. I enjoyed the circus-like atmosphere of gaiety, but the soundtrack, if you listened too carefully, tended to warp into slo-mo like some B horror movie. Thank goodness the reset was only a flash of colourful faux fur away. 
I celebrate the rebirth of this downtown section of the city. It's my city after all, and I love that I can tromp through its core street and anchor store once again. Just don't expect me to buy anything there. Okay, maybe from the reject pile. Oops, there's that slo-mo music again. Make it stop!
This is for Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style in case I don't post again before Monday. I never know when the blogging muse will strike. It's also for Catherine's #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb whose prompt this time is Statement Shoes - my sky-high glitter booties.
That's all. Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom? Yay or nay? I'd never been in one until today. 

ALSO - If you haven't already treated yourself, you must be sure to check out the following hilarious and inspiring post:
Suzanne Carillo's styling of
the Freakish Yellow Skirt
Yes, the Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show is back in action. See the previous post for details.

Thursday 17 September 2015

She's baaaack! The Freakish Yellow Skirt.

She's been photographed in one of the world's most prestigious European art galleries, in a manure pit, on beaches from Cuba to New Zealand, in forests, on bicycles, in chicken yards, alleys, and work sheds, and even on a terracotta horse. I speak of course of the Freakish Yellow Skirt (FYS).
Photo by Suzanne Carillo, (c) 2015
The tale started in 2012 with a rattling comment left on Bag and a Beret that launched FYS into furious flights of joy around the world as a unifying symbol of friendship and freedom in a project known as the Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show. In her travels, FYS was styled and adorned with exuberant abandon by women with a passion for FYS's message. (The full story behind the skirt is HERE.) 

In late 2014, enthusiasm for the project seemed to be waning, which was not unexpected after a few years on the road, and the skirt was summoned back to Vancouver where I gently placed her in my closet and ruminated on what to do next. She is a formidable garment, practically pulsing with the energy that has been poured into her by everyone who has worn and adorned her. She clearly did not "belong" to me anymore, nor was meant for mere storage.
A gallery exhibition? A book? These were suggestions which Shelley of Forest City Fashionista, who was working with me on the project at the time, and I discussed, but I couldn't seem to act on them. Every time I opened my closet door FYS would sigh dramatically with boredom. I toyed with the idea of sending her back on tour, almost like a Hollywood has-been, despite her persistent glow.

This summer I carted FYS to the blogger meetup in Vancouver. I needn't have; I was so caught up in the event that I didn't even pull her out for circulation. Then, when I went to bring her home from the hotel, she was MISSING!
Suzanne Carillo had run off with her!
- And had her way with FYS in the forest and her backyard while her husband looked helplessly on from a ladder to get a better view. Hahaha. (Read details on her post HERE.)

In short, Suzanne relit the fire! She has woven magic back into this wonderful skirt with her inspired breakaway. As a result, FYS is on the road again, firing on all lemony cylinders and raring to make up for lost time. None of this namby-pamby selfie crap - this FYS is used to the best and won't accept any less. One only need look through the gallery, HERE, to know what I'm talking about.
So do you think you are up to the challenge? Think you can make the Freakish Yellow Skirt sing like the previous FYS'ers have? If so, send me an email and you'll be put on the send list on a first-come/first-served basis with no geographical logic whatsoever. I would love to see what high notes you can hit with FYS! Go HERE for my email address and details on how the project works.
Thanks again, everyone, for your incredible support of this Travelling Yellow Freak Show and your patience during her sabbatical. If you are not interested in styling FYS yourself, I am happy that her positive energy can rub off on you from the photo gallery. Cheers!

Friday 11 September 2015

Most Joyful Nature Woman in a hot pink gown

Melanie Kobayashi, pink gown in the park
How many more opportunities would I have to fark around the park in this stellar gown before it gets too cold? So I seized the day to create a fairy tale of sorts, wearing hot pink instead of red.
Mel Kobayashi, pink gown in Stanley Park, with sprayer
For a romantic reading of this photo, my dress is caught on brambles, not a stick, the sprayer is a lantern, and that's an enchanted forest, not Stanley Park, Vancouver.

I was afraid a ranger or a Mountie - not quite a prince but still on horseback - would find me and arrest me for spraying bug killer in a public park. It was in fact water, but even watering is prohibited with restrictions still in place from the drought. For art, I risked it. 

I made a short video, about 40sec, of me communing joyfully with nature. It's called:
As I romped through the woods laughing and jumping and skipping, I noticed a canopy of little spiders swinging lazily mid-air on invisible threads, watching me, itching to nest in my hair. A squirrel came to watch as well. 

Hikers on the nature trail nearby would have cocked their heads in amazed wonder upon hearing the rare cry of a-hahaha-ha, accompanied by flashes of hot pink plumage. I could almost hear the flurrious flipping of pages in their guides to rare birds. 
Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi, pink gown in Stanley Park
This special old dress is past her prime for forest frolics, at least with Miu Miu heels, but she was still a star, despite the teensiest rrrip sounds every few minutes (even more alarming than the spiders), and my boots kept getting caught in the hem as I clumsily negotiated stumps and roots on a forest floor slippery with damp pine needles. Gentle tending is required. I shall happily do it.

Below, getting serious. This is how all big-time movie directors look. Gaffer! Where's my gaffer!? More importantly, where's my fecking spider wrangler!!
Melanie Kobayashi, Joyful Nature Woman
After the shoot, I wore this dress out for my morning coffee, as originally planned. I've posted this gown previously, here; she billows with playful elegance and a sibilant swish. My Miu Miu boots keep her grounded - too grounded it turned out. Everything I'm wearing is thrifted or a gift. 

Feeling quite pleased with my impromptu escapade on this crisp summer day, I drew a couple of Turnip Heads to celebrate whilst nursing my splendid Italian roast. 

No animals were harmed in the making of this video, except my pride. If you had a chance to watch, I hope you liked it as much as I had fun making it. I love the process; I love the resulting evidence.
Melanie Kobayashi, Joyful Nature Woman, Stanley Park
I'm linking this up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style when it goes live on Sunday. She's baaaack! Hurrah!! I look forward to seeing you all there again.

And I'll link to Catherine's new #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb when it goes live Monday because by chance I am also wearing sheer, her prompt for the week. Thanks, Catherine!

I woke up this morning (next day) with hair that looked like Einstein dressed like a Bay City Roller for Halloween. It's a look - yeah, look away. Okay, bye. Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Sunday 6 September 2015

Friends wigging out, and Hat Attack

Mel Kobayashi in a straw hat and big sunglasses, Bag and a Beret
Hat Attack! 
This is my contribution to Judith's excellent Hat Attack #26 on Style Crone. I've worn this straw hat before for Hat Attack but not with these zingy clothes. Blam! A blast of sunshine!! The sunglasses and pants are new to me and the belt has been in regular rotation lately. 

AND - 
At the 40+ blogger meetup in Vancouver in July, Shawna of The Director of Awesome invited the last women standing - Sheila of Ephemera, Sylvia of 40+ Style, and me - to her room for a little pyjama party after the jazz bar. We were determined to stretch out the merriment for at least one more hour. 

Of course I brought my satchel of wigs. As we know, wigs are to a blogger photo shoot what monkey bars are to a playground. Here are a few of the shots I took - I messed with them slightly to enhance a particular mood. Aren't these women stunning?! 
Shawna, The Director of Awesome, supermodel '60s
Above, Shawna, quintessential woman of the '60s. I love this long-legged sophisticate look. In her hand is a blue wig (also on Sylvia later), but in black and white you might think it's Fifi (or a tribble). She's wearing a faux fur stole, also from my bag, and those are the ties hanging off the bed.
Sheila of Ephemera, meow-tastic in pink wig, Bag and a Beret
Sheila of Ephemera, meow-tastic in blue wig, Bag and a Beret
Sheila is the best sex kitten! She is a fearless model and I had to be quick to keep up. She looked spectacular in every wig and every shot.
Sylvia, 40-plus style, wigged out and supermodel cool, Bag and a Beret
"The Supermodel." Sylvia put on "Fifi" and then wrapped the fur stole around it. I never would have thought of it. She was a natural in front of the camera but I'm not showing you all of the photos I took, except to say we laughed a lot.

Below are Sheila's pink bossy pants - she calls them that. I love her confidence but I don't think she's bossy - that would be me with my camera. 
Sheila, Ephemera, working motel look with pink wig, Bag and a Beret
If you hang around me with my wigs and camera, you're bound to end up in compromising situations. Of course, I obtained permission from everyone here to post these photos. And thank you, Shawna, for being such a mod, gracious hostess. 

I feel like a cat who nonchalantly drops dead birds and other little animals at my human's doorstep when I post unexpected photos and videos. You are summoned by my meowing, poke at my offering to see if it's still alive, and think, oh, she's been at it again, as you watch me saunter away. 

Which brings me to this.
Sheila sent me three pairs of shoes during her closet overhaul: Fluevog (correction: Gold Button, but I love them like Vogs) booties, heeled granny shoes, and sandals from the Mountains of Italy! Her gift inspired this 30sec video.
I had some cool footage from an outing on an elevated train so I wanted to play with green screen. The sound is poor but it's betta' than nuttin' ya sorry mutts. Heh. Thank you, Sheila!!

Have a great weekend, everyone, as if you need me to tell you. It's a long one here with Labour Day on Monday. I'm so jealous of those dames having a meetup with Sylvia in New York. Ya wise guys!

Edit: I just found out that Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb has a new Link-up thingy under the theme "I Will Wear What I Like" in response to hideous style rules for women over 30. Thirty? Bwahahaha!! For me dressing is as much a political act as a statement of aesthetic preference, so I shall wear exactly what I please.
"Use it or lose it"
We must cherish our right to freedom of expression 
and not be cowed by cows

Catherine's last round was only for Instagrammers but she has broadened it to include blog posts as well, so I'm goin'! - at least this time because I happen to meet this week's theme: Colour. 
Not Dressed As Lamb
Maybe I'll see you there. 

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Is it comedy or is it simply life?

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret wears old palatial palazzo pants
Look who's wearing the big pants now!
Pants as in trousers, but not just trousers: my palatial vintage palazzo pants, fully lined so they swish. The fuchsia of the ruffled blouse clashed madly with the red in the pants. Luckily, both sides surrendered in a detente refereed by an elastic orange neutral zone. Treaties were ratified and eaten. I was elected president. Hurrah.

No matter how I style these pants, I can never come close to Curtise of The Secondhand Years in her unforgettable RED Valentino pants, made even more so by her always-witty text. Here. Her pants are the stuff of blogging legend.
Next outfit:
Bag and a Beret, Mel wears an anime dress that's too short with loud tights
I'm standing in poo. I thought it was important to share that with you. Urban parkland. Man or beast, who's to know? Was this some of kind of cosmic life lesson on the dangers of veering off the beaten path? Or a comment on this selfie/outfit? Have you ever tried to clean poo from glitter booties?

I bought that anime denim tunic/dress from a consignment shop during the meetup. Now I know it's too short for comfort without jeggings or pants -  next time. But I love the psychedelic tights.

And a new comedy video. 
In it I'm recovering from the let-down of the awards ceremony and the discovery that my statuette is in fact a rubber glove over a dumbbell, not "gold made to look like rubber," which they told me.

The clip is also based on some emails with Suzanne Carillo and Sue of  A Colourful Canvas (we're bound for life after the meetup). This video is in part a response.
Oops! This video was a limited-run feature. It is now closed. These are stills from the video.

I also got a couple of AWESOME packages in the mail from Sheila of Ephemera and made a video of that, but I'll save it for the next post. I don't want you to barf from overload.
Bag and a Beret, Mel wears her vintage palazzo pants
You've come a long way baby! 
- referring to these pants for surviving the decades intact. Yeeeah. 

I'm linking this up to Anne of SpyGirl and her 52 Pick-me-up: Honey/Service/Loyalty. The pants have a couple of shades of honey and their service is keeping my lower half decent in a groovy way. Also, the day I wore this outfit I bought a cell phone - I promptly returned it the next day. Close call.

After my last couple of snarky and also crude posts, I lost a few followers. I'm afraid things will only get worse from here.

How's your week been?

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