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Monday 30 May 2016

Middle-aged tweens storm Vancouver

Forget the dainty finger sandwiches! Shelley of Forest City Fashionista came to town for a few days and suddenly life became larger than life - it was triple-whipple-decker life, like a hamburger so honkin' huge you can't jam another slice of pickle into your mouth.

Forest City Fashionista and Bag and a Beret
Exhibit 1: Photo farking. We stopped roadside and sidewalk traffic at this busy downtown location. Models/Styling: Shelley and Mel. Photographer: Tripod and "Dick" the magic wand. Behind us is the installation artwork called Alien Terrarium by Elisa Yon and Amanda Arcuri, which is part of a series of public artworks in Vancouver, read about it here.

Bascially, we ate and drank and walked and shopped and vogued and repeated. I even managed to get invitations to a by-invitation-only charity/fashion/art Event: elevated list of key influencers in Vancouver and those who are notoriously savvy in the art scene: a truly high-fashion mix of local socialites and celebrities, models, photographers and up and coming “cool” kids that have both industry legitimacy and international resonance.
That's definitely who we are. Hahaha! I thought hanging out with the local glitterati for an evening with Shelley might be interesting, or at least a good excuse to dress up and sip wine, not that we need excuses. When it was over we agreed that we hadn't been so love-bombed in years. [Edit: my writeup about it is here]

Shelley of Forest City Fashionista
Above is Shelley at the Nordstrom restaurant where on her first day here we mapped out a plan of action.

One night Shelley and I went cocktail-hopping at luxury hotels because, hey, what else do you do when it's raining? We were at a swanky lounge called Bacchus, swilling drinks and eating fries, when a couple we both liked from the Event came in. It's a small world.

Mel of Bag and a Beret wears a huge honkin' Moschino wrap

This little Moschino wrap at Nordstrom was marked down to $1,500 from $3,000. I have to figure out how to DIY my own, but better. There was a plastic-y tubular skeleton under this mass of fluff, which was annoying but gave the piece body. We found lots of inspiration on the racks but naturally we spent more time at thrift and vintage stores.

Shelley, Forest City Fashionista, supermodel
EDIT ALERT: This photo was included in a stellar lineup of women at the blog Warning: Curves Ahead in a post called "24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear." It went VIRAL. Shelley is a STAR! - but then you already know that.

More photo farking. Shelley is a natural model. I swear - she has got the moves! She decided her makeup scheme and I applied it. If you go to her IG, here, you can see her purple brows and gold eye shadow (and other photos of her trip). Stunning! We also both wore our colourful brows to the Event.

Shelley, Forest City Fashionista, supermodel

Try as I might, in the photo below I couldn't bring out the true colour of this robe - NEON pink, the pinkest pink you've ever seen. I hadn't worn it before because I wanted to fark it to look less robe-y. So far I've only added some silky ties at the front but I knew it would be perfect for our shoot and bundling in the cool weather.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, neon pink robe

Confession: I'm not wearing a pant slip with these vintage lace pants. Hussy! Slattern! The pink under the pants are tights. The robe provides adequate modesty, but seriously, if you want to freak out about seeing through my lace pants, go for it. Isn't there a fashion rule for women over 50: if the pubes don't stick out, you're okay.

In the next photo you can see a piece of blue masking tape stuck to the hem from one of my earlier failed farking attempts. (Really, the colours are so washed out!) I got that amazing silk blouse a couple of years ago in a giveaway by Thorne Garnet.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, neon pink

And finally, below, my favourite photo. We used my tripod as a hanger for our bags and clothes. Now, you know my cardinal rule for shooting on the streets, right? Don't let anything touch the ground! This is my face when my robe fell down. I squeezed the remote trigger as a reflex response like happens in those murder movies. Thank goodness the sidewalk here wasn't gross. 

These photos are not for VOGOFF, they are too tame, although my facial expression below is slightly Voggy. I still have to put up the guidelines. Yikes!

Shelley of Forest City Fashionist and Melanie of Bag and a Beret, photo farking

Shelley and I had brunch with Louisa of Damselfly's Delights and Sue of A Colourful Canvas at Acme Cafe (where I go with Sheila and L when they're in town) on Shelley's last day here. I have a few photos from then and some from the Event, but I figure this is enough for one post. I'll put the others up later. And maybe a little video [Edit: It's in the next post here. I can't stop laughing when I watch it]. Hee hee.

I was not online all week trying to squeeze in all my 3D life activities - hanging out with Shelley and working like a fiend to meet my work deadlines. I don't know when I can catch up with your posts but I'll try.

Hugs to all of you. Aren't blogger meetups the best?! Shelley was everything and more than I thought she would be. Sympatico. Thanks for making the trip, Shelley!!

I'll link the pink up to:
Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style,
Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb, and
Anne at 52 Pick-me-up: White/Instinct, SpyGirl.

Shelley's post on our get-together is HERE.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Becoming a better blogger, and vintage Versace

My stair pose, taught to me personally by the one who made it famous: Sheila of Ephemera. I'm wearing my vintage 100% wool Gianni Versace Couture pants, made in Italy, with front zip and inner ankle zips, $15 maybe - I forget now - newly sprung from a spacebag. And a bold fuchsia oversized silky top and red earrings. That's my red journal on the steps.

And now, onto important matters.

Vintage Gianni Versace pants, Bag and a Beret, Melanie Kobayashi

I reeeeally, reeeally want to be a better blogger and Instagrammer. That's why I was so happy when Suzanne sent me a link a while ago to a YouTube video by wildly successful Aimee Song, who has 3.5 million IG followers and almost 300,000 followers on Bloglovin' (Song of Style) - geez, that's a lot.

I thought I'd try out some of her tips. Here we go.

I have to take a bird's eye photo of what goes into my body in the morning. She had an artful cappuccino photo with her clutch and sunglasses. Well, I forgot to take a "before" shot, but this is the dirty bowl from my oatmeal, plain, with milk and half a sliced banana and Kashi cereal sprinkles.

Not bad, but not as good as Aimee's, even though I placed an artboard on the tabletop because it is more arty than the regular tabletop and I included my napkin bit for visual punch. Still, it's a bit boring.

Above: Definitely better. Oh, there's a little Kashi nugget at 4:30 on the bowl dial.

Below: Nighttime dining photo. Aimee says when dining in a dimly-lit restaurant with friends, it's a good idea to illuminate your food as a group using light from your cell phones. This is the best I could do.

I knew I wouldn't be dining out this evening so I practiced by dragging my breakfast tray into the bathroom where it was dark and lit it with a flashlight because I don't have a cell phone, or friends. There's that nugget again!

Next: Aimee says to make sure you take multiple detail shots of your outfit, especially your shoes and your pedicure.

I call this photo Fun With Band-aids. This is a springtime look many gals know too well as our warm-weather sockless footwear bites the crap out of our tender winter feet. I decorated my Band-aids with Sharpies and white-out. Nice, right? Those are my white platform flip-flops.

And finally, more accessories.

I used these for making this post. That's the flashlight on the left. I had it turned on but it's hard to see. You know why, right? Aimee suggests using natural light so I did.

Aimee has lots more fun suggestions, like asking strangers to take your photos and being bossy about it, using back-lighting to get a halo effect and natural light to look good. She didn't mention anything about having a team of professional photographers to take your photos though.


Okay, so maybe not. Pffft.
To be fair, Aimee's video was helpful in that surreal if-only-I-were-normal kind of way.

So back to reality...

Vintage Gianni Versace pants, Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi

You can see the purplish tones in the blouse in this photo.

Mel Kobayashi, journal collage, Bag and a Beret

And I've been making collages lately. This is one of them.

That's all. I'll link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. Catherine kindly included me in her lineup of "9 Fashion Bloggers with a Really Unique Sense of Style." Thank you! I may not have 300,000 followers, but I have you guys - you're the BEST!!

Have a great week!

Monday 16 May 2016

Yellow Skirt Freak Show Update!! and great walls

When you can't decide what colour or pattern to wear, of course you wear them all.

And below, just so you don't think I've gone all soft and happy and positive - the look I throw on 1) if I sense some style-rule 'tude coming my way, my withering regal glare or 2) to convince gawkers in the surrounding highrises that I know exactly what I'm doing in the alley. Bwhahaha! 

Who needs Mr. Bean when you've got me bungling around with my bag and the tripod and my alcohol spray, flappy pants, and my remote, and that stupid thing there, and, geez, what is that?, my purse, thinking all the while, DON'T LET IT TOUCH THE GROUND!! Oof, arf, ack - it's my distinctive cry.

Oh yes, everything under control here. Yes-sireedy-deedy (no meaning there, Greetje).

Wearing: hip-slung oversized palazzo pants from Used House of Vintage, top from Value Village long ago, corset belt from I-forget-where, shoes from the reject sale pile at Topshop a couple of years ago, earrings from My Sister's Closet. I tucked in the top and decided I also needed the belt.

I have lots of photos but, puh, enough of that. NEXT!!! she screamed (like that screamy Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers. You can see her true magic here). But first -

Breaking News
The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show continues.


Never has the 
Freakish Yellow Skirt
blown so much HOT AIR
She RISES to New HEIGHTS of 
Fa-byuu-luss FREAKINGNESS!!
Buoyed by elan and grace and great gobs of elegance
She breaks fresh wind

* S  a l  l y *
(click blog name to link)
with sunshine from Umbi

you will truly be AMAZED!!! (for real)
G O ! !   G O   N O W ! ! ! !


I knew Sally was a madly-skilled sewist and stylist with a wonderful sense of humour, but this FYS project blew me away. Hahaha! You must see her post here, well, all her posts - so worth it. Soon she'll also put up a "Making of the Yellow Skirt" post as well. You'll see why.

Thanks, Sally!! And thanks also to your artistic director, photographer, the villa custodians, and of course your gifted son, Umbi. Your joyful styling made my day! The skirt is now winging its way to the USA.


Refreshed from that interlude, are you? You must be ready for NEXT OUTFIT!!

Yes, a little off center, cut off, with a crooked horizon. Just like my life. My superb thrifted vintage jumpsuit from Used House of Vintage, which features a persnickety rear metal zip, worn with my vintage leather belt and thrifted Miu Miu boots. Earrings from My Sister's Closet. Hair from my head.

Another quickie blankie photo with a scrap piece of black fleece as a backdrop and disinfected soles.

And one more photo for the road because I have it and I like it and I risked my humility once again to take it in a new location. It seems everywhere I turn these days I run into another great wall. Oof.

That's all from here. I have been a failure at visiting everyone. I'll try to catch up.

I'll link this up to:
Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style
Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb
Anne at 52 Pick-me-up: Ivory/Rejection, heh, SpyGirl.

Have a great week.
I love that yellow skirt.

Thursday 12 May 2016

My Seinfeld life, the highs and lows

As I stepped off the curb at the light downtown, something shiny on the ground caught my eye. It was a big slimy slug. OHMYGOD, that poor slug is going to roast in the sun. I continued walking. I thought, I should have brought my little water spritzer, I could refresh him. But maybe that would accelerate his dessication. How horrible!

Or maybe I could assist him (obviously male) into the sewer drain half a foot away. But, geez, who knows what's in there. That could kill him! Plus, I have no tissues to carry him anywhere. How did he end up so far from his leafy soil home? Maybe someone will step on him! Usually my heart is not so soft towards invertebrates, but this little guy was so sad.

By this time I had been swept across the street in a throng of pedestrians and, let's not kid ourselves, I knew I would do nothing. I felt a bit bad and continued on my way.

And then it happened. Weird sickening redemption - what if it wasn't a slug?! [caution for next bit] Maybe I was feeling bad for not spritzing and refreshing and transporting a loogie?! Or worse! GAAAA!! I think I guffawed and choked at the same time. For real. It was only a glimpse after all. Of course I had to go back for confirmation. Hahaha. No way. (I just wrote that to see how screwed up you think I am.)

Then, when I got a block from home I saw a white-haired man stuck in the driver's seat of his shiny red Lamborghini. The uniformed valet from the swanky restaurant across the street, where the driver was probably headed for lunch, was bent over him, tugging to get him out. I thought, wow, there are worse fates than being stuck your Lamborghini. Even if I had it, my water spritzer wouldn't help this case. I hoped the valet got a good tip.

So that's the high and low of things from here. It's an exciting Seinfeld-esque life.

This new pink flamingo top is organic, so organic I could probably eat it, the danger there being I'd end up naked on top and run the risk of developing a taste for fine fabrics. Heh.

I got lots of positive attention when I was wearing this. I'm not sure if it was for the top alone or for how the top made me feel that brought it on. Probably a bit of both. Thanks, Greetje, No Fear of Fashion, for this linen flamingo top, which was designed and made by her niece who does this sort of thing for a living at Päälä. This shirt has positive vibes aplenty. By the way, this is unpaid, non-sponsored praise.

The pants are by Free People, bought at a big sale at a consignment shop. Elastic waist - we all know what that means: Bring on the buffet!! They are magnificently flared and wave like a queen. The thrifted jacket may be vintage, I can't really tell. Maybe not. But I still like it and it's getting a lot of wear lately.

I'll post the VOGOFF details in the coming days.
Soon it's the weekend. Hm, I'm not sure why that makes me happy - it has no impact on my daily schedule anymore. I guess it's just tradition to love it. Have you got any traditions like that?

Monday 9 May 2016

Catwoman. And VOGOFF returns!!

Oh yes, I've got my happy dog head stuck out the pickup truck window while I boot down the highway, tongue flapping, spit flying, tail wagging. But you know what happens, right? Bugs. Lots of them, stuck to your tongue. Eat 'em or spit 'em out - does it matter? The point is, they're there. It also means bad hair. And the risk of road rage from the poor sods drenched in drool behind you. Tailgaters for real! Actually, I'm wearing a CAT HEAD, not a dog head.

Stink, stank, stunk! Back in the alley. Mind where you put your feet. No bugs on this tongue though. If she gives me any lip, I just zip it. That's my Route 66 jacket which I asymmetrized* with a diagonal zipper.

So what am I saying? Bliss is fleeting and it requires attention on the right things, kind of like that line in the Bill Cunningham documentary (NY street style photographer): If you look for beauty you will find it. 

It also involves taking a risk. If I focused on the bugs and bad hair and road rage, I'd never put my head out the window in the first place. The gamble that the open road will mask the taste of a fly or two makes me brave.

I bought this T-shirt at a Value Village shopping spree with Sandra of Standard Deviations (IG here) a couple of years ago. I just hauled it out of a space bag.

In celebration of the bliss in our midst, I'm doing another issue of the online magazine -

Pissed Off Towards Ecstasy or 
So Joyful It Frickin' Hurts

I could have done just the ecstasy/no-hurting part, but talk about boring. Eating and drinking and sex and sleeping, who wants to see that!? Heh. Besides, it doesn't exist in a sustainable form. And you'd get bored of it (yeah, you would!, stop arguing, Suzanne). And there'd be the indigestion, maybe a couple STDs, sleep disorders, and possible bankruptcy. And then lawyers. Well, and then you'd start looking for bliss in a bottle or thermos or 7-Eleven.


The way I see it, life is a giant come here, come here, come here, get away, get away, get away, not a one-side-takes-all proposition. And usually, for me, my best work springs from a place of discontent or restlessness or just plain piss-offedness. The transformation from crap to rapture is powerful. Henceforth, I shall call it crapture. (Didn't Deborah Harry sing a song with that title? - I may have just ruined that song for you forever! Heh.)

Oh look, it's Batman and Cat Woman!! White, super-soft brushed cotton chinos, Tommy Hilfiger, thrifted $5, hip-slung, three sizes too big, not quite falling off, dreamy.

In blogging, I've gone through a spell of getting pissed off but I'm not sure at what. The homogeneity? The pressure to be extraordinary? To be special? To make money? Pfft. Maybe I'm tired of other people's drool on my own windows, not put there by bliss but carefully constructed illusions of bliss. Oh no!! It's FAKE SPIT!! That's where I draw the line! When you come here, believe you me, you only get the good stuff, the genuine spit.

So you want to VOGOFF with me this time? I'll post details about what to do later. Think about it, will ya's? The previous issues have had tens of thousands of viewers, truth. Not bad, right, for a bunch of non-conformicators*?

To see past issues, go HERE.

I'm linking this cool cat head up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her weekly Visible Monday, and also Catherine at her weekly linkup #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. See you there!

Mini Glossary
*non-conformicators: made-up word, noun, compound of non-conformist and fornicator
*asymmetrized: made-up word, verb, to make something asymmetrical
*overall meaning of this post: there's nothing to help you there. Heh.

Sunday 1 May 2016

My Big Audition

Something happened this week. It was BIG. Mortifying. I felt like fainting several times, and a stranger, a man around 30, kissed my hand - more than twice. A crowd was watching and nobody intervened! Because I let him kiss me. Gaaa!!

In an email I told Suzanne Carillo what happened and she wrote back:  "Seriously. I would have crapped my pants, thrown up, run out screaming, had a panic attack midway to the door and passed out in my own vomit. They would have had to carry me out on a stretcher." She always sees the bright side of things.

The Brady Bunch gone very, very wrong
Here I am stretching out my face when I got home like a true athlete.

Yes, I went to an audition. I turned on my computer one morning last week and, boink, there it was, an email from a casting agency. Gaaa! They wanted to know if I would like to audition for a big TV campaign for a luxury product, megabucks, no acting experience needed – they just wanted "a look." They found out about me from the fashion shoot photographer, Katrin (details here). It would be a speaking part but I'd only need to remember one line for the audition.

When I came to, I wrote back, oh, okay, pfft, I suppose I can fit you in between lunch in Milan and dinner in Düsseldorf. Are you kidding? Yes!, I said. After I clicked SEND, I got started right away FREAKING OUT!! I had an exemplary base to build on from the photo shoot last month.

I needed to dress like I'm going to a swanky East Hamptons do, and not even as the wait staff! How ironic that of all my clothes I had nothing East Hamptonish, except linen trousers, so I got into character and went shopping in search of a million-dollar look for a tenner.

This is the dress I found, a Calvin Klein from the consignment store, sadly more than $10. I also bought a whack-load of new spanxy underthings to keep me erect and semi-spiky heels, which reminded me of Cher's shoes in Moonstruck - lucky for sure. When the audition was over, I quickly changed into pants but put this back on when I got home to show you, minus the support gear and pantyhose. I also wore small vintage gold earrings and my gold lava pendant (here), also removed.

You can see the little shiny black nibs on the shoes in this photo. 
When I arrived at the studio for the audition, there were about 50 impossibly handsome 30-something men in black tie sitting along the walls of the holding pen in eerie tomb-like silence, like a scene in a David Lynch movie. The clack of my spiky heels was the perfect soundtrack as I walked to the receiving desk with 100 eyeballs at my back, the only woman and the only oldster there, dressed like a frigging Normal no less.

I waited and waited. Finally it was my turn. 

Let me just say my nerves were pretty much under control until I stepped into the Room. From then on, it was CHAOS. Who were all these people?!

There were black leather couches arranged on risers at the back, where ten or so men awaited their turn on stage at the front, two huuuuge monitors, plus a cameraman, director, and presumably a Somebody. I felt the rigor grip my face. Relax relax relax - such useless stupid words. I could have twisted a steel pipe with my spanxified sphincter, in a dignified Hamptons way of course.

I also wore this vintage coat and doggy scarf for good luck. And a lucky ring O made me. I left my hair flat for sophistication but could have used the power boost of lighthouse hair.

Without going into detail, in my scene I had to pretend I was in a car looking around outside. I channeled my inner bobble-head. The director said encouragingly, Okay, try it again. Just try and relax and breathe.

Are you kidding!!? 
Do you think I'm a pro & can just breathe on demand?! 

How could I relax when the butterflies in my stomach were devouring my flesh from the inside out!! I was a little shaky Chihuahua. In each take, my Fake Husband next to me gently took hold of my hand and kissed it. Oooh, sweet escape. I'm surprised I didn't jump into his lap and start licking his face. Although I think I squeaked, for real.

This is how I looked on the inside, in a good way. Except you can't see the carnivorous butterflies. 

The Director said I looked great on camera. All I could think was, that's what you say to all the grotesque failures!! After just over five minutes it was over

I was awful, horrible, hideous, although my catatonic gaze must surely have induced a case of mass hypnosis because when I was finished everyone applauded. (Not a dramatic slow clap, just regular clapping.) Granted, it was after I heaved a huuuge sigh of relief and said, This is my first time doing this, I SURVIVED! Everyone was so happy for me (and there's a special joy that comes from the thought, Oh, man, at least I won't screw up that bad and I'm young!).

Walking home, I mentally made arrangements to sell my new imaginary Beverly Hills home, and I treated myself to a hot French roll with butter at Terra Breads, so much more relaxing than worrying about hiring a gardener and a pool boy after all. 

There's nothing like a little mortification to feel truly alive.


I few days later, not having received a call-back of course, I wrote to the casting agency apologizing that I choked and blew it, and expressed my relief that I didn't bark or pee on the director's leg. Most importantly, I thanked them for giving me a shot in the first place. End of story.

Not! The agent wrote back and said I was "awesome," "beautiful," and "didn't look nervous at all," that they'll "definitely be in touch again." When I came to, I wrote back and said, I fell off my chair and I'm laughing now. Thank you! No, I didn't get this; I got lots to write about though. And I didn't humiliate myself as much as I had feared. Heh.

I'll be linking this fancy Normal look up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike even though I had to dress according to a guideline. Her theme is ruffles. My nerves were ruffled; that counts. The last photo is of a bag I bought, $5. I can't help but smile when I see it. Arf.

Edit: I have also just linked to Cherie's Shoe and Tell at her blog Style Nudge for the first time. After all, I'm wearing my new-to-me Moonstruck shoes. Couldn't miss this one.

So, you never know, right? I would not have had this audition opportunity if I hadn't been blogging and trying new scary things. Thank you for your support always! Mwah, mwah!

Didn't they outlaw exclamation marks in the UK? This post would get me arrested for sure!!
Have a great week!

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