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Tuesday 1 May 2018

Fifty and Other F-Words: Reflections in the Review Mirror

I occasionally allude to the menopause here on Bag and a Beret - it's hard not to. Mostly I feel majorly ripped off by the whole thing. "Pause" it is not! More like high-speed skidding on hairpin turns in the Alps (not in a good way) with a smile on my face that says I'm on a jolly holiday - "Tra-la, having a grand time!" - just playing my role in what must be the biggest brainwash of all time.

So when Margot Potter asked if I'd like an advance copy of her new book on the Pause and other life challenges, which she called Fifty and Other F-Words: Reflections from the Rearview Mirror, I thought, hell, yeah. I've known her online for years and she always cracks me up. We are the same age and she has pink hair, I mean, really, really pink. Those are Qualifications in my world.

Mel Kobayashi reads Fifty and Other F-Words by Margot Potter

Margot has also been in a rock band, auditioned for real Hollywood TV shows, has regularly appeared on stage and TV locally and nationally, and she was an on-camera shopping channel product expert for 11 years. As you know, I've misted my toes (doesn't qualify as a full-on dip) in some of those waters too, but Margot has plunged full cannonball! And she has authored seven DIY design/craft books and an e-book on personal branding.

So to the book.

The Outside: Excellent bright blue jacket with glittery bits, bubble-gum pink hard cover under it, satisfying heft at 220 pages, published by Sterling Publishing New York. And the colour age-progression shots of Margot on the facing paper are the perfect intro to what's to come.

The Insides: When I sat down to read, I kept turning pages and turning pages until there were none left. It was like a cleansing, invigorating shower, and I sighed with contentment when I was done.

Fifty and Other F-Words by Margot Potter

I tagged all the places I laughed out loud or considered vital bits for backup during a harrowing hairpin turn.

Each chapter is a unique riff on an F word - fearless, frazzled, flabby, fashionable, feminist, et cetera - essays, poems, and other wry takes on life, from the highs and lows, to the sideways and side-eyes.

There were many Vulcan mind-meld* moments, like when Margot writes about her life path as a creative. I'm sure many bloggers and artists can relate: a company/buyer says, if you donate this amazing thing to us, we'll reward you, not with money, but something waaaay better - with amazing exposure! She laughs, if you're a knitter, try paying your landlord with yarn. Bwahaha!

I steamed and nodded my head at some of the off-the-cuff remarks she (we all) has fielded as a woman with visible life lines: aren't you a bit long of tooth for that? to be wearing that? to think that? Particularly remarks from men. Ouch. But Margot lobs her ripostes like scoops of ice cream, sweet, sticky, sometimes tooth-crushingly cold, which we catch joyfully in a crunchy sugar cone - decadent, calorie-free. Truly badge-worthy humour.

The top of page 41, bwahahaha! It's in Frazzled. You'll have to get the book. Heh.

Mel Kobayashi reads Fifty and Other F-Words by Margot Potter

Botox, high heels, chiskers, slutty pilgrim costumes, the Cheez-It problem/solution, private investigators, the unmiraculous powers of kale, muffin tops and Bundt cake, it's all in there, with lots of sprinkles and glitter on top, but no kale, definitely no kale.

The take-aways? We are not alone. Any time is a good time for reinvention, but especially after 50. She writes, if Julia Child can do it, so can we! Margot celebrates, cheers, cries, and high-fives us forward, buoyed by everyday magic. I recommend Fifty and Other F-Words: Reflections in a Rearview Mirror. I hope this becomes a bestseller. I do.

Margot's WebpageFBYouTube (book trailer) 
IGThe Lady Party (Margot a.k.a. "Madge")

Also, Margot interviewed me as part of her book launch. 
It's HERE, Mel Kobayashi: Fearless Fashion.

Melanie Kobayashi at Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza, Missoni trousers

*reference to Star Trek sci-fi TV series, a telepathic mind convergence
I was not paid for this review. And Margot didn't give me yarn either. I'm not sure if she knits.

For this shoot at Vancouver Art Gallery, I wore beige tan caramel butterscotch light brown Missoni pants from My Sister's Closet, a striped silk blouse by Scotch and Soda, a felt coat by Yuzhe Studio, and Italian ankle boots from MSC.

Melanie Kobayashi at Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza, Missoni trousers

The plaza is a very public place to use my tripod, but pffft, I'm such a pro these days. One kind woman stopped and asked if I'd like her to take my photo. Dick was doing a good job (my remote control) so I thanked her and declined. 

Those banners are advertising the Takashi Murakami Exhibit at the gallery, almost over. If you want to see it, you better hurry! Below is Turnip Head in my outfit, reading this book.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret turnip head sketch
I'm linking this outfit up with Visible Monday at Patti's place at Not Dead Yet Style, and #iwillwearwhatilike at Catherine's place at Not Dressed as Lamb. I also linked this up to Catherine's #SaturdayShareLinkUp, where you can share links to any topic. Thanks for that, Catherine.

And thanks for visiting!!


  1. It is not fucking over at 50 and it's bullshit to think otherwise. Fuck disappearing! It looks like a fun book!!

  2. Looks like a must-read! I love her Instagram and Pinterest, thanks for the introduction. Love it when Kitty reads over your shoulder too, xox


  3. As I read the title of Margot's book, my brain kept changing it to "Fifty Shades of Gray." Yikes. Even with that freudian slip, I'd rather read Margot's book. I'm in my late-40s but it seems like a good companion to take into my 50s.

    Also, are you a Trekkie too??? And here I thought you couldn't get any cooler. :)


  4. I'm putting it on my list -- even though I have passed the whirlpool of the fifth decade (really I guess it's the sixth) and am now sailing the steadier seas of 60+. Off to the Socials!

  5. Ooh, my pick is up soon for Book Club, so I will add this to the list of books I'm thinking about. Thanks for the tip, Mel!

    Looking fab in those decidedly NOT beige pants, and striped blouse. Just you and Dick, out for a stroll, heh heh.

  6. Like Anne I am UP There and menopause is just an old bad dream. But this book sound like a kick and Margot is cute as a button and you and the turnip head and the kitteh get better and better all the time. Invisible? Oh hell no!

  7. Excellent review! The photos of you laughing (and your description) have convinced me to put Margot's book on my "to read" list.

  8. Pee Ess... thoroughly enjoyed your interview!

  9. I loved your interview with Margot too! You continue to be absolutely amazing, darling! Hoping to reading this book - though my 50’s are but a distant light in my rear view mirror. So now we need someone to follow up for our 60’s and 70’s and beyond, don’t we?

  10. The book looks like a compulsory reading for we older gals - thanks for the recommendation. Your interview was brilliant; inspiring as ever!

    Anna x

  11. Being right in the middle of all the "fun" this book seems like it was written for me! Sadly it's not out in Europe until June - can't wait. A big thank you for sharing! Moreover, what do museums do with the banners after an exhibition is over? Wouldn't it be fantastic to cover a wall at home with one of them?

  12. ooo, sounds good. I'll have to check it out even though I'm way past the pause years, even the full stop years. I guess I can sit back and laugh about the way it was. ha. You are on fire (no pun intended).

  13. You are a super nova! Thank you for shining a little of your dazzling light onto my book launch! So glad we've connected. xoxo, Madge

  14. Will reading this book make me crave a refreshing hot flash? It takes a sisterhood to get through life and this book sounds like a bonding experience. Love, Jude

  15. Wow, my lovely friend, you are all over the place – in a wonderful way. This sounds like a great read and something that I can well relate to. I was thrown into menopause with a course of high-dose steroids and a side of chemotherapeutic drugs. I had hot flashes before that happened, and let me tell you sister, this was no fun at all. At all!!
    This book sounds like a great read and something that will put me in a great headspace. The fact that you are part of this book gives me even more reason to want to read it. Wishing you calm days ahead with plenty of breeze...

  16. it looks like the kind of book I would enjoy (love a good laugh and some 'matured lady' humour is so welcomed!), so I'll add this book to my list. Thanks for sharing it!
    And you look fabulous, your smile is like sunshine!!!

  17. This book sounds great. Fortunately for me, I am passed menopause. Way past it. And annoyingly for women who really suffer because of it, my “transition” was a cinch.


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