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Wednesday 23 December 2015

We should get medals for fun

You know what it's like when you have a big event the next day and get everything ready the night before? That's not me.

That's why, instead of strolling 20 minutes to the light rail train station, as I sometimes do, I power walked/ran, cursing, coattails flying, and chest heaving, to the hotel near my home, where I screamed to a taxi, "TAKE ME TO THE TRAIN STATION!!" If this wasn't Vancouver and I wasn't me, it could have been a scene from a movie.

Mel Kobayashi and Suzanne Carillo at play, Talize, Delta, BC
Melanie Kobayashi and Suzanne Carillo at play, Talize, Delta, BC
Suzanne in her "cowboy" hat and me in my "toque."
Over-40 CANADIAN style!! (photos by Sue)

Why the drama, other than that's just my life? I went to an epic blogger meetup with Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo: Style, Smiles and Stories, who had flown into town for a few days from Toronto, and Sue of A Colourful Canvas: Stitch, Style, Smile - almost one year to the day since our first meetup, here. Hurrah!!! Definitely worth heaving for. Heh.

Now you might be familiar with blogger meetups in Canada's motherland (the UK), where bloggers meet in bustling historic villages and towns and spend a relaxing afternoon popping in and out of quaint thrift shops located in old castles and bath houses, followed by a debriefing over a pint or four at a local pub. (Of course we all wish we could join them!)

Suzanne and Sue chilling with the Bag at Earls

Well, we do things a little differently up here in Canada. 

We hop in our cars (and trains) and barrel our way to the burbs, where the concrete is barely dry, for some roll-your-sleeves-up, bronco-bustin', mud-slingin', serious strip mall thrifting. Yeeeah baby, it was pedal to the metal on the bargoon highway of secondhand love. (Uh-oh, sounds like a song.) Sue mercifully picked me up from the station and drove me the rest of the way to Talize. THANK YOU, Sue.

Suzanne Carillo, licensed to shop with pro cart at Talize
Is she licensed to drive that thing?!

Of course size matters. No namby-pamby hand baskets here. Puh! And forget Nascar - that's a circuit-certified Canadian cart with Suzanne at the wheel. She's definitely licensed to shop in that maxi with the shrinking violets gone nuclear, and while she didn't wear a helmet she did try on a cool leopard-print cowboy hat with a pink flower.

And are those bathroom doors on the change rooms? you ask. Heck, yeah!! If only the change rooms in all thrift stores were so clean and secure. 

Sue of A Colourful Canvas and Suzanne Carillo in reject dresses, Talize

Instead of passing toilet paper between stalls, we sometimes passed our clothes relay-style down the line. For example, we were all grabby for that cute little sparkly dress but it didn't make the grade for any of us. Too bad you can't see Sue's awesome navy over-the-knee boots with rear zips. Gaaa! 

The store was Talize, which is a fairly new chain sweeping across Canada. Sue and I were first-timers but Suzanne showed us the ropes as a regular to the Toronto-area store and helped us become card-carrying regulars. 

Talize is like Value Village, except cleaner, more organized, and more reasonably priced, yet with all the vintage, designer, and quirky pieces required of a satisfying thrift experience. I hope they don't let it slide.

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret at the Talize checkout, Delta, BC
Suzanne took this shot.

The face of a satisfied customer - in need of caffeine.

Sue of A Colourful Canvas at Talize in Delta, BC
Suzanne took this photo too.

Another satisfied customer. We were all unforgivingly enabling - "Yeah, Sue, you've got to get this baton-twirler fringed vest. Seriously!" That's it in my arms behind her. It was another relay-type item that ended up at my finish line.

Suzanne Carillo, Sue of A Colourful Canvas, Melanie of Bag and a Beret
Photo by our server at Earls

After our work-out on the racks we went to Earls, several suburb-sized blocks away. Great food, good service. It's a different location in the same chain as the one we dined at during the summer blogger meetup event.

Sue and I had the Timbuktu (can't remember the real name). I was ravenous after shopping and ate like the Queen after a three-week cleanse, doing my best to maintain my dignity while shoveling food in as quickly as protocal allows. Fish tacos for Suzanne. And of course, sticky toffee chocolate pudding for dessert. No boozing - in the burbs everyone drives.

So there you have it, friends. What a FUN DAY we had!!! I took some video footage which I'm saving for something special. Thank you, Sue and Suzanne, for a STELLAR!!! outing.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stellar maxi denim coat with faux fur trim

This is my new Talize maxi denim coat with faux fur trim, which SUZANNE pre-scouted for me while she was waiting for me and Sue to show up. WOW! Do I love it or do I love it? $25.00, Parasuco, fully winterized with heavy lining. Oh, that woman knows me. And I'm wearing big earrings.

It's Patti's Visible Monday at her blog Not Dead Yet Style, oldest linkup party on the net. I must catch up with the gang before the big holidays kick in, always so much fun. Who's bringing the peppermint schnapps? Heave. I'll see you there.

Thanks too to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for featuring my gala gown as a favourite from her #iwillwearwhatilike linkup last week. Teehee.  I shall link this photo to this week's theme-free #iwillwearwhatilike as well.

O's engineering-related art is in the news again. Hahaha! Again, courtesy of the amazing Jean Thilmany, who wrote a story about O in late 2013 after she discovered him via Bag and a Beret being a big-time thrifter herself! (Jean, we're waiting for your blog!) My post about it is HERE.

This new article is for a major engineering site called IHS Engineering 360. The title of Jean's piece is "Finding the Crossroads of Engineering and Art," HERE, and it explores the connections between art, analytics, and the brain, and includes info on O's latest piece, which is a micro-sized walking kinetic sculpture inspired by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who makes gigantic free-walking sculptures called Strandbeest.

Osamu Kobayashi, smallest universal joint, 0.65 mm in diameter
Working universal joint for O's kinetic sculpture, 0.65 millimeters in diameter,
almost invisible, smaller than a standard needle. THAT'S SMALL!

I just realized today that O and I have both been associated with brain professors. IS THAT WEIRD?

When I did a talk at the time of my art exhibit, the other featured speaker was former Harvard professor Dr. Paul Swingle, a neurotherapist specializing in biofeedback with a particular interest in the effects of art on the brain. His talk was called "Art and the Brain."

This latest article by Jean also features Dr. Jose Contreras-Vidal, an electrical and computer professor at the University of Houston, who studies the effects of art-making on the brain with the goal of improving brain-machine interface. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

The difference is my brain works on chaos; O's brain works on control.

Anyway, if you're interested in the sort of thing O does, I hope you enjoy the article. Thank you, Jean!!! This story is a great holiday gift not only for O but for me too. You can see more of O's work HERE.

I hope you all have holidays!


  1. Mel

    It looks like a fab time was had by all. I love Vancouver; my brother-in-law lives there and we were last there in 2000. We couldn't find any thrift shops when we were there - boo hoo!

    Your hairstyle is lovely and the coat - wow! You look fantastic.

    Have a lovely Christmas,

    Peace and love

  2. Ha ha! I love that photo with Sue looking annoyed and me with my tongue out! Doesn't that just say it all?

    The photos turned out well! The lighting in that place is quite decent. I swear the next time we are going there and making a full on-video.

    How fabulous do you look in your new coat? Did you have to move the buttons? Your shoes are perfect with it.

    It was so nice to get together with both of you.

    Congrats to O and his piece in Jean's piece. It was so interesting. I've seen that Strandbeest and it is incredible, like an alien. I cannot wait to see this super tiny version by O.

    Like Ren and Stimpy would say, "Happy happy joy joy"


  3. You should get medals!!!
    Happy holidays, Melanie xox

  4. Fun post Melanie! Aren't I an awesome photographer, LOLOLOL. Seriously though...I love the pics with you and Suzanne in Canadian headgear!

    Too much fun...too little time!

  5. so cool you are meeting up with your blogger friends...and you all look fabulously stylish!!! Happy holidays<3

  6. Oooh, what fun!!! That coat is Amazing!!! She has good taste!!
    How cool to have such a fun meet up!!! Those pom poms are epic!!Xx

  7. thank you Melanie for all the smiles and laughs. Merry Christmas and hope 2016 is a wonderful year!

  8. I will read the article when I'm not drunk. You are gasp-worthy faboo in that Parasuco denim jacket - I would arm wrestle you for that! Wow.

    I feel like I was there (I might have snagged the glittery dress) so thank you for sharing your blog meet-up. Talize, eh? I wonder if Victoria will get one - it seems very hipster, and we are TEEMING with hipsters.

    Wishing you and O a very Happy Whatever, and a wondrous New Year In Which L and I Shall Visit Yet Again.


  9. SO. Envious. Not only for the blogger meetup, but for Talize and (dare I say it) *efficient* vintage shopping! Your maxi coat is awesome!! I think I need to plan a Vancouver visit in 2016.

  10. I need to get to Canada and check out that thrift store! Looks like you ladies had a blast!

  11. Did they have 5000-watt lighting in that store or was there a little photo manipulation going on? Doesn't matter - I love the light and bright colors on everything! You must have spent about, what, 5 hours in that place by the looks of those armloads and cartloads. They should have made a commercial using you three!

    You always look fantastic in long, lean pieces like that coat, and your haircut looks adorable. Did O do it? I must go read that article, and one day you must post a photo of him.

  12. Oh heaven.. to spend time together and thrift shop at such a scale with such finds like your gorgeous coat (nice and warm eh?). And have lunch. What a perfect day. It will have been a lot of chat chat laugh laugh. Wonderful. Would have loved to be there. So thank you for this report on the day.
    Your hair looks great. Very arty and very lovely. I have said it before, it doesn't matter what you do with your hair, it will always look nice.
    I was quite surprised that O was unspired by Theo's Strandbeest. I have seen a documentary of how Theo makes them, been to the museum to see one. He makes different ones all the time and so many that I think he never sleeps. I hope you share photos (if possible) of O's tiny sculpture when it is finished,
    Have a lovely holiday time dear Melanie.

  13. Oh how I want to be there! You three are glorious and full of glee. There's a bit of enabling that goes on when we shop together, but all for the good! Enjoy your holiday and keep that fabulous mind humming for 2016's adventures. xox,

  14. Wait a second. A thrift store big enough to require shopping carts??? I think I might faint. I've never Imagined such a thing! I've always had fantasies about diving head first into the famous Value Village but Taliesin or whatever this place is called looks epic! And I would love if you three would travel ahead and pre shop for me. Thank you very much. I'll even drive so you guys can have cocktails. What a second. I just realized that Taliesan is a Frank Lloyd Wright house. I want to go there, too, but I want to go to Talize first! Bee-yoo-ti-ful coat. But I think you could wear a garbage bag and look awesome. Have you worn a garbage bag? Okey doke. And since you know I am a fan, I'm off to check out O's Art. Cheers!

  15. Did Suzanne really buy all those clothes? That cart is the stuff of DREAMS. Love your haircut, Melanie--so chic! And it looks like you are on your way to the best most fun holiday ever.

  16. I love it that Suzanne doesn't do her thrifting in half measures. Oh no, get the goddam trolley and load it up HIGH, baby! THAT, is the way to do it!
    Your newly purchased coat is fabulous, Melanie but oh, I spotted those shoes - those adorable 'I'm in my prime, Miss Jean Brodie' shoes. Swooooooooooon!
    I can't wait to read that article when I have more brain cells firing.
    I don't see separation between art and science in the way that some people do. It's all creativity - just different variations of, so it's fascinating when science folk study how art (or movement or anything in fact) can affect the neurology of the brain.
    Have a riotous or quiet-ous Christmas break, Melanie. (delete as appropriate)

    PS - my blog post about my coat that you liked on instagram is up that you expressed wanting more of - end of shameless plug!

  17. Looks like you three had loads of fun on your meetup, including an epic thrifting adventure at Talize. We have had a Talize here in London for several years, and I tend to find much more interesting stuff there than at other thrift chains. I laughed a the photo of Suzanne with her piled-high cart, as that is generally what I look like when I shop there.

    Isn't it cool when other people find stuff for you - the Parasuco coat looks fab! Suzanne and Sue both look sooo cool in their colourful dresses - you are a trifecta of superb stylishness.

    I enjoyed the article about the relationship between Science and Art, and would love to see a photo of Osamu's "Beest" when it's finished.

  18. Melania, I SWEAR I'll be coming to one of these meetups ... one of these days; because I'm desperate to be let loose in a Canadian thrift shop with the likes of you three Wacky, Wonderous Women.
    In Italy it's already Christmas Day so, Buon Natale dear Mel, and have a lovely one.

  19. I LOVE the Canadian Over 40 style so much! big fan! You girls had a blast, and everything is perfect about this maxi denim coat, that's for sure! You look fantastic in this outfit, love the kitten heels and enormous earrings.

    I read articles about O's truly amazing art in the past and will be happy to read a new one. Congratulations on the news! It always feels wonderful when our art is appreciated.

    Have a wonderful time, Melanie! Warmest wishes for the holidays to you and O!

  20. So funny and happy girls! Best wishes for hollydays :)

  21. My favorite kind of thrift store, huge it used to be a supermarket sized. Or I love the tiny small ones. Who am I kidding, I love 'em all. My kind of day. I can't get over the dress with the giant flowers.

  22. I don't think there are any blogger meetups around here. Oh well. Meh. You're looking super faaaaaaaabulous!

  23. Your day of thrifting with Sue and Suzanne is what dreams are made of. Fabulous photos of the three of you. Wishing that Talize would make the decision to move to the US! I'm mesmerized by your denim coat with faux fur trim.

    Congratulations to O! I'm always interested in articles about the brain, so I'm off to read what sounds like a fascinating piece. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I 've skipped past all the other comments, cos I know we'll all be thinking the same - That looks like fun, and I wish I had been there too! Trolley shopping is what I do best as at least you don't miss anything that's vaguely interesting. Oh how I have shopping envy now. Love that coat with fluffy trim. Talk about a perfect fit x
    Anna's Island Style

  25. What a dangerous store! Love your denim coat and your pompom hat!

  26. All three of you wonderful ladies are contagious ! I'm feeling your fun ~ thank you !
    Come visit the shops and me in Seattle! xo, W


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