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Sunday 27 March 2016

Selling yourself, a life of hyperbole

I went to a Function a few days ago. I went to another one today. I am not really a Function person but once in a while I go just to reconfirm my non-functionality. I should be a Function person because that is where you sell yourself and what you're doing; you make money and become Somebody. (My last function was on the opening of the Ted Baker store in Vancouver, here and here.)

Mega-huge vintage palazzo pants, chartreuse blouse, stretch leather booties. I had to disinfect my soles before crawling around on the blanket. I'll take photos here again; I love the lighting and it's easier than going to the concrete box.
Technically, it was a media preview event, heavy on the networking. "Hi, I'm blah blah, I do blah blah, here's my card, laugh laugh, wine sip sip – next!" Why not just put me on the Down escalator and tell me to walk Up? I'm exhausted just writing this. I had a few crappy self-printed cards in my bag with my blog name on it, scattered somewhere under my plastic-bagged running shoes in case of a persnickety toe emergency on the walk home, rattling Tic Tacs, and prehistoric tampons kept in an old business card case, which thankfully I didn't mistakenly whip out and shove in someone's face. 

What I wore to the Nordstrom meet-and-greet for Caroline Issa, international street style star, proprietor of the magazine Tank, and fashion designer in a collaboration with Nordstrom. My friend Sue joined me. Excellent nibblers! After the event Su and I shopped around for more inspiration. 
I usually skulk about the periphery of such things and hoover hover over the buffet, but if I'm caught in the network ritual, I say. "Oh, me? I have a blog, it's quite decrepit really, a street style blog, on its last legs, hahaha – which I updated last week by the way, for the first time in seven months – and a personal style blog where I, you know, post awkward outfit photos and laugh a lot. Let me give you my card" - fumble, fumble, spill, oof, gasp...

But then, out of nowhere, when my glass was empty, like a scene from a fairy-dusted Disney movie, I changed my script: "My blog is where I have fun with and make fun of fashion." What?! Such coherence! Clearly I was possessed or drunk. The glazed faces across from me couldn't see the touchdown dance in my head; they were still waiting for the main play: they wanted to know how I make money from this and how they can get some. Without that, I could just as easily have said I enjoy cleaning my oven in my free time.

You may recall this as the tartan jacket I upcycled from a vintage blazer, here. I didn't wear a coat over it but bundled instead with this cozy scarf. Double socks there with the shoes. For the cold? Weeell, yes, but also because the toes are worn, cloth and flesh. Heh.
What I should say is:
  • I am the publisher and editor of a globally successful fashion magazine for 40+ women (VOGOFF has had tens of thousands of viewers. True. Heh.); 
  • I am a freelance stylist. My latest runway show was for a fundraising gala attended by David Suzuki and other local celebrities at a posh downtown club (guest stylist for thrift boutique My Sister's Closet); 
  • I am a clothing designer (okay, a mender and upcycler, although I had a clothing design company for two years a lifetime ago); 
  • My artwork is in private and corporate collections and embassies worldwide (weeeell, technically yeeees, and at one embassy); 
  • I currently specialize in styling 40+ women by appointment and editorial photo shoots (I blog, don't I? And take photos of my friends in wigs);
  • Oh, and I am writing a novel, but then who isn't, hahaha (and roll my eyes drolly). 
Pleased to meet you.

I'd then convey a handshake through my facial expressions - mutual body contact, even a fist bump, while holding running shoes, wine, and canapés, would be ludicrous. I'd ask them to pluck a business card from my preloaded hair as the least encumbered and most accessible part of my body. 

"Multi-tasking," I'll say, and wink, "I'm a master of that as well." Even this minimal one-sided body contact would establish professional intimacy. (No doubt if I used that spiel, I'd ask them to pluck a card from my ass if I weren't wearing pants.)

It's a life of hyperbole. I'm worth 10 billion, 2 billion, 5 billion. What day is it? That's what I'm worth. I'm not good at it, not in real life, just here, although in comparison here sometimes feels a whole lot more real. I would feel like a fraud saying all those things - I'm not sure why given that I've met enough designers about 25 years old who have been working professionally for the past 15 years and "best-selling" authors who have sold self-published genealogies to family members. The motto these days seems to be, Let's PUMP IT UP!!! Gaaa!

It's enough at the moment that I have work-work (which is what's kept me from commenting anywhere this past week). So much for schmooze, booze, snooze - although at least it has gotten me out of the house. And I'm happy to say that I met some brilliant people at these latest events as well. Maybe someday I'll get the hang of being functional. Are you good at schmoozing?
True story: One time when a professional-looking man sitting next to me at a coffee shop asked me what I do, I said, "I'm a motivational speaker with no audience." Turns out he was a for-real, honest-to-goodness motivational speaker. Hahaha!!
And guess what?! Last week I had so much fun with...

Yes, Sheila of Ephemera and her husband L. They were in town to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary. I love getting together with them! - especially for macaroni with bacon at Acme Cafe. I always feel privileged to be part of their weekend. Sheila did a stellar post on our get together and their trip here. And thanks to them I updated my street style blog. You can see the post here.


The events I attended were a media preview for Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week, which I support (there are a few photos with me on their Facebook page) and the Caroline Issa/Nordstrom meet-and-greet today. I may post about these on my street style blog. Great food at both functions, by the way. Heh. I wore my pyjama top and tie outfit from my previous post to the Eco Fashion Week function.

I'm still running to catch up - and failing miserably!!

I'll be linking up with:
Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and
Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed at Lamb.

See you there, maybe, if I can swing myself out of this horrible running-behind feeling.

Sunday 20 March 2016

Yellow Skirt Freak Show Update!! and pyjamas with a tie

punky grey hair, pyjama top with a tie, not giving a feck, Bag and a Beret

My silk Donna Karan pyjama top, low-rise trousers, big fat '70s Pierre Cardin tie. On top I wore my burgundy faux fur maxi coat. Here's the feedback I got from strangers: "Kick a hole in the sky!" "Annie Lennox" "Diane Keaton" "Yalie" "Katherine Hepburn". Hahaha! And I was already in a stellar mood - I mean, who doesn't like to wear pyjamas with a tie to coffee? 

punky grey hair, pyjama top with a tie, not giving a feck, Mel Kobayashi

I probably paid less than $40 for the whole outfit, minus the coat, but I felt like a million bucks, no, 10 million with inflation. Even the marble-sized dollop of hair paste was worth its weight in gold. 

And (almost) breaking news, a Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show update:


She clutched her skirt 
and ran
and ran 
across the snow,
ready to fly -
and she did.
On the wings of the
Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show

- No. 28 -
Beate Grigutsch
Go ! Go Now !!

Number 28?! How did that happen? We just saw Sacramento at Mis Papelicos. Beate wanted snow for her shoot and the day she received the Skirt she got it. So if you weren't a believer in the magic before, are you now?! Hahaha. 
Thanks, Beate, for joining the show. So happy to have your energy in the Skirt now. Link to her blog post above. The whole gallery is HERE.

And back to my style journal...

punky grey hair, Calvin Klein dress, Mel Kobayashi

My toe continues to persnick so these runners are a frequent go-to shoe. I wore this lovely linen Calvin Klein dress for a meetup today (Sat) - you'll find out with whom soon enough. I love the long cuffs, the way the collar stands up, and the attached narrow fabric belt that wraps around and around; plus, it feels chic and expensive. This was purchased a couple of years ago at a Value Village free-for-all with Sandra (her IG is here).

punky grey hair, Calvin Klein dress, Melanie Kobayashi

I ran into a friend in the coffee shop when I went casual a few days ago, below, hair down. He thought I looked like a teenage boy. Yay. For bundling, I wore my maxi denim coat with faux fur trim and a beret, which added a feminine snap.

I got those divine brown velvet pants from Anna of Anna's Island Style, along with a few other goodies. These pants are now favourites, so soft and dreamy. Thank you, Anna!

tomboy style, punky grey hair, Mel Kobayashi

And the last photo, just so you know I haven't gone all conservative/monochrome on you. Well, I'm still kind of monochrome here, but you know what I mean, right? Hahaha.

I'm trying to keep up with blogging with mixed results. For now, I'll link up to:
Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style and
Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb.

punky grey hair, not giving a feck, Bag and a Beret

That's all. Make sure you go see Beate if you haven't already!! Connie of snow in the air is looking like a Hot Harridan in her latest post. And Forest City Fashionista flashes some skin, here. There's so much misbehaving going on! Hurrah.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Flashing in the dark

I am in the bowels of my building, where all the garbage goes. These photos were taken next to mountains of styrofoam awaiting shipment to the recycling depot. It was here or outside in the rain; I chose here.

This place was almost pitch black, which made camera setup a challenge. When I was ready, I positioned myself in the darkness and hoped that when the flash went off something human would show up, preferably just one. I could have turned on the lights, but that would have been too easy. And I liked the cloak of darkness.

Running to Styrofoam Mountain. (People aren't supposed to put egg cartons in there. Doh! Can't they read?!) Except for slight blurring on a few edges below, this is how the photos turned out with a flash in the dark.

I have a need to be hard-edged, not that I'm feeling grim, not in my thinking anyway (as long as I stay away from news), but in my aesthetics. It's the season that brings it on - the drudge of darkness battling the inexorable advent of spring. Darkness will lose this time. Suckers!!! Hysterical Testerical laughter. (And yeah, I'm totally pissed off how all the good insults/slurs are usually female-oriented.)

Grasping my talisman, the magic loupe O made for me, gazing glaze-eyed into darkness, then a flash. Gasp. 

Wearing: floral spring pants, thrifted Versace, with winter somber top, geta-style summery sandals with winter socks. All wrapped up in my anime-animal (faux fur). 

Note the surly expression below. Not because the garbage stinks, but because I like it like that. You already know I have teeth, why belabour the point? 

I felt rather idiotic when my friend, who is on the strata council and in charge of recycling, came by while he was giving his mother from out of town a tour and found me with my camera and tripod in the dark. Oh don't mind me, I was just taking pictures - in the dark - next to the garbage. Thank goodness he knows me. "Carry on." What are the odds?

His mum had her camera too, to take pictures of cherry blossoms outside. My blossoms are on my pants. Next to the trash heap. Picturesque.

While I was walking to the coffee shop after this mini shoot, I ran into another friend who gave me the March issue of Tatler magazine, the fashion edition. He saves thing like this for me. He is a kind person.

Below is a shot from a few days ago, yes, belabouring the teeth. Sigh. That's the ring O made me a while ago, stainless steel and ruby. And the scarf: one side, with the blue bits, is sparkly, although you can't tell in this photo, and the other side, with rich wine tones, is the softest velvet. It's heavy. Thrifted of course.

I'll link this up with Visible Monday, even though I was in the dark. That's at Patti's place, Not Dead Yet Style. And of course I'll also link to #iwillwearwhatilike at Catherine's place, Not Dressed as Lamb when it goes live. And this last photo has lots of blues, so I'm getting myself over to 52 Pick-me-up: Navy/Quest at Anne's place, SpyGirl.

Welcome to my new followers. I'm not sure where you all found me, especially on March 7 and 8, but I'm happy you're here. (My stats didn't tell me.)

Also, there is a new Freakish Yellow Skirt stylist. Look for it in my next post! She's awesome!

Finally, lately I've felt in danger of being swallowed by so many linkups and authorities and comparisons and urgencies and pushes and pulls and rankings. That's why I've decided to return to basics by engaging more with you guys when you visit.

I'd love for my comments section to be multi-directional rather than a one-way flow. I know some of you have responded to comments all along, so have I in the past as well, but it's just time for me to do it again.

Thanks for dropping by!

Weirdest place you ever took your photos...?

Monday 7 March 2016

6 facts of life. Live like a dog.

Well, now that I'm in my 53s I should be facing facts. 

1.  I'm never going to be six feet tall unless I wear really, really high platform shoes (see also #4) and I'll never be an international flight attendant, well, probably not. But that's okay. I don't like serving food anyway and I don't like flying unless I'm in Royal Ultra Supreme Class. 

Thrifted hand-knit poncho with caterpillar fringe, never worn, with new tags attached. $5, My Sister's Closet. 

2.  South becomes a popular destination. Our face, our boobs, our ass, even our frickin' knees, all go there - but please not our 'tude! 

3.  People go to Florida (or another warm southern place), at least many CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) seasonally migrate south, no longer to spawn but merely to frolic, if health insurance and exchange rates allow. (But don't go too far south; that's called the everlasting pit of damnation.) 

Considering how many CARP head to warmer climates every winter, I often wonder why my country doesn't trade some awful Canadian place, definitions to vary, for a tropical island. Of course we couldn't take one over by force; we'd be too busying apologizing for our aggression. 

Jimi Hendrix T in dark olive, Hilfiger thrifted pants, magic loupe, thrifted coat. On my way home today, there was an impromptu conference about my coat among strangers on the corner. We all parted with huge grins on our faces.

4.  I'm supposed to be grown up, although ironically I'm probably shrinking, literally. And I'm sure to be grounded even more as my ability to wear heels (and be six feet tall) diminishes. Every time I get ready to go out there is a massive General Assembly of my mind and body. My feet and brain get three votes and my vision only gets one. Why? Because it's rigged, that's why!! I think we need to take someone down. Or build a frickin' wall, I'm not sure how that would work.

5.  I'm probably as mature as I'm going to get. (Stop your tsk'ing!) Yup, I've already mentioned the words boobs and ass here. I never minded those Ps and Qs or Ts and As. But I'm probably as polite as the next CARP; it helps when I don't talk and I slow down my movement by 50 percent, like a fish in cold water. But I do have manners. I rank right up there with the other bottom-feeders.

Full impact photo with mug-shot face. Hair about 6 inches tall because I'm not getting any taller, ya know.

But all of these facts are nothing, nothing, if you consider that we're being whipped around the Earth at 10,000 mph day after day after day. It's a wonder we can function at all. Ever thought about that?

I guess the best way of dealing with facts is to picture a dog with its head sticking out a pickup truck window, tongue wabbling, ears flapping. All that at only 30 mph. Heck, when we're bootin' down the highway at 60 mph we should be three times the dog, our heads hanging out our windows, hair getting messed up, drooling at each other and running out of wiper fluid it's so gosh-darn drooly out there. There should be a category in the traffic report: heavy drool, Hwy 99.

If I said my tongue was like a lizard, would you believe me? Now, get that thought right out of your head this instant!!!

Considering our earlobes don't stop growing, or our noses, every year we seem to be moving closer to our doggy friends who know how to take advantage of a good thing. I'm in my 53s and I want to be more like that dog (which would make me just over 7 years old in dog years, heh). I may not get any taller or smarter or nicer, and that's a fact I can take if I can live like a dog.

The coffee after the coffee walk. Wearing my new thrifted poncho. 

Did I just write this? Hahaha! Which brings me to the last, all-important fact:

6. Proofreading and editing are for wusses. Heh.

I'm linking this up with the usual suspects:
Patti, Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday - Rumour has it there will be spiked punch? Bwahaha!! You probably think I've already been there.
Catherine, Not Dressed as Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike
Anne, SpyGirl, 52 Pick-me-up: Electric Blue / Impatience (my socks qualify)

Have you got any new facts to add to my list?

Friday 4 March 2016

Is that an alien in my closet? Scary post.

AAACK!! Slam!! (pant, pant, pant)
That's the sound of me opening my closet then slamming the door shut before I'm sucked in and eaten. And the sound of my relief at living to tell the tale.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, the closet problem
Evidence. EVIDENCE! Partial view of my closet.
Yeah, it's that bad.

It's a common problem, right? Right up there with gross grout and sweat between double-glazed windows the day after the warranty expires. Honestly, if you hear anyone say, "Oh, my closet? My clothes hang like they're in a high-end designer boutique, they don't touch each other, they're colour-coded and sorted by height and weight, and the hangers are padded," that's when it's time to say to the bartender, "Quick, get her another absinthe. This will go viral for sure! I hope my batteries last."

Mel Kobayashi, painting, Bag and a Beret
Voyaging into the closet of the unknown. A painting I did, acrylic on thick paper.

Already I have vacuum-sealed spacebags of clothes hibernating in my storage locker. I peek at the colony from time to time with my crime scene flashlight to make sure they're still breathing behind the padlocked door, resting in their plastic eggs in silent, cold darkness (heaped in tottering towers but the visual wrecks the in-space-nobody-can-hear-you-scream image). And we know how Alien ends, don't we? Those damned tentacles pull us in. And your space ship always breaks down so you can't get away. And then what? Mad bouts of sexless replication that can't be stopped?! There are so many things wrong with that.

Melanie Kobayashi with pod, Bag and a Beret
Pods. PODS!! PODS!! Keep me away from the PODS! Me when I had bleached hair. And a pod in my living room.

Capsule wardrobe? An alien movie by any other name. All those pods. Clothes pods. Space pods. iPods. Sod the pods. Just thinking about it makes me want to put on a mega robo-suit like Ripley* and start whacking stuff around and screaming, "Get away from me, you B*tch Pods!" I'm preemptively exhausted. Let's not even get started on where I'd store a giant robo-suit. Eighties shoulder pads are challenge enough. *Heroine from movie Aliens.

Melanie Kobayashi, prepare to space bag!, Bag and a Beret
YES!! MORE, I say with righteous voice, MORE EVIDENCE. Summer clothing now hibernating in pod abyss.
Sometimes I am giddy with the idea of throwing everything out, O-U-T, out! No more clutter, clenched sphincters, and squinty eyes. Instead, a confounding profound serenity. Like the scent of jeans fresh from the freezer. Clouds would be fluffier. Doritos would be healthier. I'd take up yoga, do downward dogs and sideways cows, and start saying all those namasty things. And drink green fluids with stringy bits. (Well, maybe not.) But I'd definitely cleanse - release the toxins: "Be free, Little Toxies!!" I'd feel great! And I'm sure I'd smell good. And I would be kind. And to celebrate, I'd change out of yoya pants. (sound of screeching brakes)

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, shaggy red coat
This is just a boring shot of what I wore today.

Then I think, I should dress like Lyn at Accidental Icon. Yeah! That's what I'll do. If I can't get a simple mind (okay, don't comment on that), at least I can get simple, clean clothing lines. Oooh, all that lovely architecture. Black. White. Purity. I'm sure I can find a few Issey Miyake pieces at the thrift shop on the $5 rack (first gross lie to myself). And I'll just add a little accent or two (second gross lie to myself), like maybe a colourful wrap, plaid platform shoes, psychedelic tights... (sound of screeching brakes)


Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, shaggy red coat
Linda Blair in The Exorcist can spin her head around and spit green toxins; I can do this. It's uncanny.

Until I can figure this clothes thing out, I'll be wearing extra-long tattered sleeves; I'll create a trend: "Closet Sleeve," the sleeve that was wrested from that dark space, the diabolical place, like that horror movie with chewed bits from Chuckie* hiding in my closet. Well, no, there's no room even for little Chuckie. There no room even for skeletons, which is fine - I keep those in my dishwasher on the rinse cycle anyway.

Thinking about Chuckie gnawing my clothes in the dark, biting my hand, I'm freaking myself out. It's bad enough already. See what I do to make you happy? - happy at my misery?! Hahaha. Look, and now I'm laughing at myself. *In the Hollywood horror movie Child's Play, Chuckie is a heinous boy doll that murders people.

Illustration by O and Melanie Kobayashi, Scary Place
An illustration by O and me. A scary place.
Bartender, quick, another absinthe! Pffft. And chips. No, healthy Doritos. I'm coming down with a viral.

How has your week been? Are you keeping your closet demons at bay? Does your space ship break down at the most inconvenient times?

PS: Thank you for your stellar comments on my last post.

Another PS, Nov 12, 2016: I have linked this up to Not Dressed as Lamb, Saturday Share Linkup, in case you missed this the first time around.

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