Monday, 26 November 2018

Furry things, dingle bits, and Turnipheads

I down went to the scary storage locker where my alien pods are hibernating, pods referring of course to my clothes in their vacuum-sealed space bags. There was definitely a rustling sound, maybe even muffled giggles, as I tugged open the padlock. 

The key to survival in there is to be quick and efficient and carry a big vacuum hose. It helps that I have an Excel spreadsheet now that catalogs my clothes by description and bag number. 


One reason I went down is to pull out this ice-blue faux fur because I knew it would go magnificently with a new addition to my closet - a luxury bag from Jamin Puech Paris. It was a gift, a mini collaboration, but rest assured my opinions are my own: I LOVE IT!!

The next photo is what happens when I get excited by a new bag - I wave it about so much you can't really see it! Please kindly skip to the photo after this one for a calmer view.


This bag, Chair, is from their Tingshas line. Dingle bits, velvety softness, high-factor swingability, and satisfying planetary orbs that click open and shut. It is a truly unique piece of handbag art, which is why I was so happy to accept this collaboration. Even the packaging was exquisite.

And look, the cuffs of my thrifted Scotch & Soda blouse match the dingle bits perfectly. Spooky, right? Hahaha. And I didn't even plan it. I'm also wearing my fake stripper track pants that zip all the way down the sides and my brown cowboy-style booties.


No one comes between me and my Jamin Puech. 


Seriously, this is a fine bag and I know I'll use it often. It was very difficult choosing which bag I want - all their designs are absolutely stunning, and I don't say that lightly. Go have a look and you'll see what I mean. Thanks, Jamin Puech

And below is the Chair with another outfit. I like this pairing equally well, especially with the silk velvet scarf in the mix.


Now moving along. Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, lounging on the concrete steps in outdoor wear, as one does, leafing through my journal.


What am I wearing? All things from my closet, thrifted or gifted:
  • black-and-white graphic print vintage coat with red lining from my friend Su
  • heavyweight vintage jacquard pants 
  • men's pointy brown shoes 
  • silk velvet scarf
  • "Soho" glasses, gift from Vint and York in NYC in the summer
  • Jamin Puech Paris handbag
Just so you know, below is the kind of sketch that litters my journals. I have hundreds of them over many years, mostly featuring Turniphead (that's me), wearing the same thing I was wearing that day, and Kitty, often Royal Kitty, wearing whatever strikes my fancy. If you spot me in a downtown cafe, chances are I'll either be sketching or colouring one of these with pencil crayons.

I also wore this black-and-white pattern-mix outfit a week ago to a Uniqlo store in Burnaby, which is a 30-minute transit ride from downtown Vancouver. Uniqlo is an international fashion retailer headquartered in Japan and I went there not necessarily to shop but to hunt for a photo of me from a global print and commercial campaign I did with them earlier in the summer. And look! 


My friend Elizabeth (IG and website) accompanied me and took the photo. I was featured in the stretchy pants section. Awesome! Hahaha. 

I hadn't mentioned the campaign to anyone because I didn't know what happened to it. Then, cincinnata_demetria, whom I know from IG, wrote that she had seen me in the Amsterdam Uniqlo. What a surprise! When I asked, she kindly sent me a photo that I posted on my IG, HERE

That same night, people O and I know in Japan also called, surprised to have seen me in their local Uniqlo as well.

Of course I was excited and contacted Greetje of No Fear of Fashion, who lives not too far from the Amsterdam store, and she generously went down and took a bunch more photos. Huge thanks to Greetje! And to her husband Ron, who drove the getaway car. She has a funny story about that on her blog, HERE. One of the photos she sent me is below. 


That's me in the commercial above the photo too. I'm an architect. Greetje didn't even notice until she got home that I was in there and she'd captured my scene by chance. I'm not keen on the camera angle in the ad and told Greetje, DO NOT USE!!, but I'm over it now, it's life. This was an awesome shoot. 

That's about it from here. I'll finish with this photo - showing the wall who's boss. ???!!!


I'm wearing a short lurex dress with sport-style neck and cuffs. Those are Zohara tights, which they sent me over a year ago. They have a great collection. 

Nothing else to say really. I'll end with this little journal sketch.


It's a giant cat or a little tree. You decide. A windy autumn day. 

I'll link up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for her #iwillwearwhatilike

Thank you for visiting!!! I hope you all have a stellar week. Until next time...



Sunday, 11 November 2018

Hardboiled moonshine and me on TV, but not at the same time

It wasn't very late but already it was dark on Granville Island. My partner O and I have been heading there more regularly now that the crowds have dissipated, taking the Aquabus over in lieu of the car (or my yacht or private luxury submarine). Riding that cute boat (HERE) makes me feel like I'm on holiday.

As soon as November 1 hit, the Christmas/holiday lights came on. The mood was moony, crisp, and blue. O got some great photos. (I was always bummed when on the TV series Gilligan's Island the castaways didn't believe Ginger's prediction that they will be rescued when the moon is blue, read about it HERE.)


This next moon shot O took from our window in late July, but it reflects the feeling of this post so I asked to use it. Don't confuse this moon shot with shooting the moon; that is not my moon. Or with any rocket moon-shot attempts, although I was feeling rather spacy.

Crescent moon in Vancouver, photo by Osamu Kobayashi 2018

I remember going to the Vancouver Space Centre's Planetarium, a 360-degree theatre, in about 1984, to watch the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon show. Trippy. Wonderful - all dreams an arm's length away. Sometimes still are, or even closer.


Still wishing on a star, even if it's only in LEDs. I'm wearing my Emporio Armani suit and man shoes from My Sister's Closet, jacket from Yuzhe Studios, a gift a couple of years ago, and a blouse from last year's flea market at West Vancouver United Church.

Mel Kobayashi in Armani suit, Yuzhe Studios coat, Granville Island, photo by Osamu, Nov 2018

Then yesterday (a relative term) I dressed like the moon or a marshmallow, below. You decide. Or even Mr. Clean, a cartoon character dressed in white to advertise household cleaning products on TV. Yes, an animated version of myself is definitely required for handling household cleaning supplies.

I don't need a cartoon version of myself to handle marshmallows, although if I went all paranomal I would resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the movie Ghostbusters HERE.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

Of course, these are "autumn" whites, and then in a month or so they will be "winter" whites. In summer, they are simply whites. In every season I am Mel, Mel, Mel, and Mel or Melanie, depending on my mood. At the coffee shop, my name could be Cleo or Krissy or something else entirely; it would depend on my mood as well, not the seasons, which may in fact affect my mood.

In point of fact, I have never used a fake name at a coffee shop. I would feel like a scofflaw, like I'm walking through a crosswalk when the red hand is flashing!!! But I shall start, even though the baristas pretty much all know my real name. If they raise their brows I'll say: A) the truth is not the truth, walk away in a huff, and look back to see if their brows go even higher; or B) (shout) YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!, like Jack Nicholson in that annoying movie, A Few Good Men. 

It's amazing how much drama you can wring out of the simple act of ordering coffee.


Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

I discovered when I got home that the faux leather has started flaking badly in the armpits. Sweat is bad enough but toxic sweat now? This aging thing sucks! And then I noticed it around the elbows too. Phew, in a way. At least I don't think I have toxic-sweating elbows. The jacket looked fine when I went out, but the stress of movement must have triggered the peeling. 

The jacket was packed in a vacuum-sealed bag for a few months, as was another faux leather jacket that also started flaking. The bags do not warn against storing faux leather in them, but I suspect the packing, not simply fabric quality, played a hand in this premature deterioration. I'll roll with the flaws and try to make more flaking, like it was meant to be like this. Flaking farking or maybe even painting will be required. Just like with my face and hair.

And a final set of photos, also taken by O on Granville Island a little while ago, not posted on my blog before. 

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

I belled those bottoms myself, bottoms as in pant legs, bell as in ding dong. The coat is by Danier, a defunct Canadian leather goods store, a generous gift from Shelley a year or so ago. I call it high-muppet, rock-star glamour.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

This next shot might go on the cover of my new 8-track cassette.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

And in OTHER NEWS

Nordstrom Canada has just released its national holiday-season campaign, and there I am, along with many of my cast mates from the Toronto shoot. I won't go on and on about it - I don't want to bore you with the details - but it was another grand adventure. Have a look.


And they also posted a making-of video, behind the scenes. Check out that snow. It was a hot day in August. Gotta love that movie magic.


Finally, since Bag and a Beret is kind of like my very own magazine, I have decided to finish this post with a festive, theme-related recipe. Don't feel bad if you can't replicate it in your own homes - this is not for the novice chef.

Mel Kobayashi egg recipe Bag and a Beret Nov 2018
I give you Moon Egg.

The trick is in the cooking time and the temperature of the boiling water. In fact, rather than depress you with the complexities of the recipe, I shall leave you to gaze at the perfection of my own culinary skills. Also good with Swiss cheese and a cow jumping over it.

Now I don't know whether to arrive at the linkups early this time or say I was too late for the last ones. Augh. I shall link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike when it goes live too.

Tra-la!

Do you use fake names? Spill - your secrets, not your coffee, unless it's fruity-tasting. Pitui!


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Cosmetic surgery over 50 and inhuman perfection

AFTER
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret after cosmetic surgery

Face lift, chin and lip implants, fillers, chemical peel, botox, hair colour, and hair extensions, followed by professional makeup and a photographer with good lighting. And to think, you only saw me less than two weeks ago. That was fast, right? The miracle of modern science.

BEFORE (photo I posted here less than a year ago)
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret before cosmetic surgery

I'm glad I know photo editing so I don't have to do the makeover for real to see the AFTER because, despite the wrinkles and sags, I'm okay with my aging face, although some days much more okay than others. I still catch glimpses of myself in window reflections and mirrors and wonder, who's that? WTF?! And walk a little faster.

But I keep telling myself over and over, I'll never be as young as I am at this very second. Deal with it. Revel in it! It's not the package that counts - it's what's in the package. I repeat: IT'S WHAT'S IN THE PACKAGE. Sigh. Those frickin' mantras.

Here they are again:

Mel Kobayashi and new younger Mel Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret

So what did I do? Apart from keeping my original nose/eyes/brows and basic facial structure?

enlarged my chin 
enlarged my mouth 
smoothed the wrinkles
erased the shadows
coloured my eyes green
changed the tint
added glam and skin-smoother filters 
blended two wigs 
recoloured my faux-fur jacket 

I used to have contact lenses that exact green - they caused quite a stir whenever I wore them and I stopped. Plus, they were not comfortable. I also think I might have repositioned my entire head or stretched it or tilted it (can't remember, I was lost in the moment).

My partner O and I both agree that the AFTER looks slightly creepy, no doubt due to my editing technique. There are probably apps these days that do all of these things with one tap. I know there is a skin smoother and lip plumper app. I often see the smoothing filter on IG.

It's also doubtful that these effects could be achieved even with extensive surgical/cosmetic interventions, but it was great "trying" them out.

Would I ever get a "procedure"? Never say never. I think it's important to feel good about ourselves.

But the search for perfection is pervasive!
And unwinnable.

Did you know that some popular Instagrammers are simply cgi figures, not real humans at all? Their perfection has won them (their creators) millions of followers in some cases and lucrative sponsorship deals. Is this where our search for perfection ultimately leads?

The following are all examples of hugely successful non-human influencers on Instagram.

lilmiquela






An LV ad with a fake human here (below).

Who needs humans anyway?

I do. You do. We all do! Why this rush to do away with ourselves? Heh.

Sigh - again. I haven't booked any procedures yet, but I suspect they will grow in both ease and frequency of application for all genders. This is a topic for another time. I just farked that photo and thought, wow, that's pretty weird. That new me probably speaks fluent French. Heh.

And because this is also a style blog, I'm sharing this next photo, something I wore yesterday, which I can also link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll see you there!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, wearing black in the stairwell

What do you think about cgi influencers and our obsession with perfection? Another question: once you achieve perfection, what else is there? The search, the process, is where all the good stuff happens.

That's all for this week. I've responded to your comments from the last couple of posts if any of you are interested.

Until next time!




Tuesday, 23 October 2018

How to wear a men's oversized jacket

Leaves' last hurrah. These beautiful autumnal colours are also, unfortunately, harbingers of the scourge of urban existence - the dreaded leaf blower. Rakes, rakes! More rakes, please - the kind with prongs, not wastrel womanizers.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

This oversized men's jacket is not a Marc Jacob's artful, oversized men's Power Suit $$$ for women, as sported by Lady Gaga recently, with much fanfare, at a Women in Hollywood event. No, this is simply an oversized men's jacket, a gift from a good friend.

Handmade in Italy from a cashmere/wool blend and luxurious silky-smooth lining, this jacket also boasts an impressive nine pockets cleverly concealed in the design. Pockets in pockets in pockets - it could be a Dr. Seuss book.

It's difficult enough trying to find things in a single handbag, so I can't imagine trying to remember where I put things in nine pockets.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

Leaves were wafting down all around me. So beautiful.

With the jacket I am wearing a luxury oversized men's tuxedo shirt - from the same kind friend - which I farked by adding a monster truck image on the front and other things you can't see here. And that's a men's vest snatched from O's wardrobe. Heh.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, autumn leaves

The jeans I farked by adding the embroidered eyes on the knees. Then men's (maybe) cowboy-style booties. Of course there's the loupe O made me and his ring too, which is hidden by the super-long sleeves.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, jeans

Dick, my tripod, worked diligently this morning. The first shoot was right in the middle of the sidewalk and I had to move my setup aside when people were coming. Thankfully, there was no fear of traffic at this woodsy location.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret

That's a huge honkin' maple leaf below. Canadian, eh? Except it's golden, not red like the one on our flag, which, incidentally, has recently been toppled from the apex of Canadian leaf royalty by another similarly-shaped leaf.

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret, with maple leaf

And preparing for my fan dance using maples leaves instead of fans in true Canadian style. That'll be the day. Hahaha!!

Mel Kobayashi, men's oversized suit jacket, Bag and a Beret

I love this outfit. Any ill-fitting garment suddenly feels fitting for any occasion when it's made from luxurious fabric.

That's all this time. I'll link up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.

Thanks for stopping by!!! We are all in seasons of change right now. I hope you are getting the fortifications needed to combat the storms that seem to be wreaking havoc on our barometric pressures on a daily basis. Hang on!


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Style rules, and mending vintage leather pants the easy way

Bad ass. Elegant. Bad ass. Elegant. Elegass. Badegant?  Whatever. 

Wearing my vintage leathers - leather pants, leather jacket, leather booties - with denim jacket and tuxedo shirt. And of course my magic loupe that my partner O made me. You can buy one HERE. And a ring he made me too, which you can also buy there, unless he's sold out. Plus I'm carrying my swell, elegant, swellegant clutch. 


The word swellegant reminds me of the movie High Society with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong (remake of Philadelphia Story) and this song, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," although the word itself is in "Well, Did You Evah" by Sinatra and Crosby. I love watching this movie on a cold rainy day, with hot chocolate and popcorn or tea and chocolate digestive biscuits.


Back to the outfit. These leather pants are snug, and you know the rule about that, don't you?

Rule 573.2 (REV 22.1a): 
One must never wear one's snug leather trousers without one's jacket covering one's posterior in case one's trousers explode when one is downtown.
I know, I know I said I don't believe in style rules, but this case is a definite exception. Thankfully, my trousers did not explode. But I had reason to believe they might.

They are snug, as I said, but there are also little rips in the inner and outer seams at the knees on the left leg, suggesting there may be more seam weaknesses elsewhere. I am quite pleased with my leather repair work: I slapped two-inch long pieces of clear packing tape onto the outside of the pant legs.

When I was downtown I went shopping in all the high-end designer stores - Prada, Gucci, Dior - and I can only hope everyone in the shops was familiar with this rule:

Rule 93.115 (REV 39-81):
When one has wardrobe malfunctions, one must patch one's clothing with what one has at hand whilst heading out the door and then proceed to wear one's repair like one is a super-stellar trendsetter and rock star.
And that's what I did. Perhaps next time I go downtown I'll see more people with packing tape on their pants. Or tape on the clothing on the racks. [Don't forget, I'm Canadian and we believe that duct tape and WD-40 (oil) can fix anything.]


Wearing my leathers it seemed fitting that I would unexpectedly encounter KISS playing in the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza for the Hallowe'en Parade and Expo - well, they were in fact called Alive 'n' Kissin', I think. For a couple of songs I whooped in homage to my sustained youth, heh. There was a gaggle of kids at the foot of the stage who scrambled for candies when the band threw them into the crowd.


I admired the band's outfits, makeup, and stamina. The man on the left lifted his arms once in a while to reveal amazing bat wings! I regret not staying to catch a photo, but it was raining and umbrellas were jostling for space.


Love those boots!!

But my destination was Canada Place down by the waterfront for this:


Hahaha! The first time I saw this sign I was with Sherry of Petite Over 40. I said to her, "Sherry, there I am. Oh my god, THERE I AM! I NEED A PICTURE. I NEED A PICTURE!!" She fumbled in her bag for her phone. Of course I didn't have anything at hand. The ads were scrolling and I knew I'd come around again, so I became more level-headed:

HURRY, SHERRY! HURRY!! 
IT'S GOING TO DISAPPEAR!! QUICK!!!

Sherry scrambled and fumbled frantically in her bag as I waved my arms and jumped around her. I'm pretty sure my hair stood even higher than usual too. No pressure. Hahaha. A tourist walking by said, "Don't worry, it will come back." Sherry and I laughed.

Eventually we both got a picture, but the bright sign was almost whited out in our photos against the dark night sky, and neither of us wanted to stick around to adjust our devices for the next scroll-around.

So today I went down in daylight, rainy-day daylight. Great conditions.


I'm huuuuge, literally. I confess, this was a big rush. I stood there for a while waiting for me to scroll around, my camera pointed up at the building. Of course when you look up at something with a camera, people around you start taking photos of what you're looking at too, along the lines of, if she thinks it's good, I better get a shot too.

And a photo of me on the stairs, jackets off.


Also, Margaret Manning of Sixty and Me has posted articles based on a couple of YouTube interviews I did with her. Thanks, Margaret!

  1. FASHION OVER 50 – 5 INSIDER TIPS TO BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE (MOST PEOPLE TOTALLY MISS #4!)
  2. 5 WAYS MAKING VIBRANT FASHION CHOICES AFTER 60 WILL EMPOWER YOU!

They might be fun to check out. If you found my blog through Margaret, thank you, too, for joining me!

AND, a FREAKY FACT:
Your age plus your birth year equals 2018. Every time. This only happens once every 1,000 years.
Think about it. Heh.

Finally, I'm going to link with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.

Whew. Congratulations! You've made it this far. Keep on bein' the stellar creatures you all are. Live! Live! Live! Be strong! I'm so happy you stopped by. Although I'm sorry I ate all the powder sugar doughnuts before you got here, and the chips too. But I still have some Twizzlers left (twisty red licorice ropes).

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends, well, ALL friends for that matter.



Monday, 1 October 2018

If it's raining I must be a rock star

Goodness, it's a lot of work being a rock star. It doesn't help that my electric guitar is out of commission. I sent it to a monastery in the Arctic for repair when it lost its spark, but I forgot to put the AIR MAIL sticker on the box. Sigh. Five years ago. Fortunately, I am a virtuoso air-clutch-bag player (air-guitar is so over). It's really fun being so multi-talented! Witness my skill below.

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - rock star in vintage neon pink robe, rubber boots, blue sweatpants, photo Frankie Cord
 big thanks to Frankie Cord of unsplash.com for this photo

My outfit for this tour was made by the World's Greatest Fashion Designer "iqi" (pronounced "icky"), whom you may recall from my platinum 8-track cassette on how to pose like a pro. Or refresh your memories HERE, darlings, then assume Pose 4.

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - rock star in vintage neon pink robe, rubber boots, blue sweatpants, bckgrnd photo Lane Smith
big thanks to Lane Smith of unsplash.com for this photo

It may look, to the unenlightened, like I'm wearing a vintage fuzzy neon-pink robe. Bwa-ha! Harrumph. So sad. And thrifted rubber rain boots, bell-bottom hip-slung sweat pants, and an old men's t-shirt. If so, then clearly you have not put on your space goggles today.

I had considered wearing a new puffy COMME des GARCONS outfit, but it wouldn't fit through the hatch of my private submarine (yellow) (tour buses are so passé), although I inadvertently discovered that the puffy CDG bits are excellent flotation devices.

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - vintage neon pink robe, rubber boots, blue sweatpants, photo Adi Goldstein
big thanks to Adi Goldstein of unsplash.com for this photo

Sadly, getting from the stadium in Calgary, Canada, to Abilene, Texas, was a challenge. Several of my impudent crew quit during our overland portages. I don't understand it - I fed them the tastiest grubs.

Above, wrapping one concert, on my way to the next. Below, more superior air-bag-playing, and my adoring fans.

Mel Kobayashi - Bag and a Beret - vintage neon pink robe, rubber boots, blue sweatpants, photo Frankie Cord
another big thanks to Frankie Cord of unsplash.com for this photo

Oh, the places one can go!

big thanks to Dick (my remote control) and my tripod for this photo

That's all for this week.

Except for this video I made. It includes a new super-cool manicure technique by my partner O. More of his artwork is HERE, Etsy HERE.



I'll link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. And Catherine at Not Dressed at Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike.

Big hugs all around. Make sure you buy your tickets now for my rilly, rilly big show coming to a stadium near YOU! Hahaha!!! And special thanks to Unsplash.com and photographers Frankie Cord, Lane Smith, and Adi Goldstein for helping this experience come to life.

Have you been a rock star lately? Do tell!!



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