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Thursday 30 August 2018

How to be in an ad campaign

Pinch me! No, don't! I want to ride this surreal wave for as long as possible. You may ask, what's going on, Mel? Well, I'll tell ya. 

I'm in Nordstrom's first-ever Canada-wide advertising campaign. Gaaaa! Picture me happy dancing around the room when I was asked, the Mel football touchdown dance, as it were, not a pretty sight. Be glad there's no video footage or a soundtrack, which would go something like this, "Oof, oof, ouch," as I ran into furniture.

Of course, I should be droll and say, Oh, pfft, another campaign? Pulleeeze, make the carousel stop. I need another break in St. Tropez STAT. Pick me up in the yacht at eight. And shoo those pesky paparazzi off the driveway!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in Nordstrom's True Nord media campaign
Just so you're not confused, Mel in the red dress is BEFORE, normal-sized head; Mel in the suit is AFTER, swelled head. (Campaign launch party, Broadview Hotel, Toronto, Aug 27)

This campaign is called True Nord, which is a clever play on words: Nord, short for Nordstrom, and nord, French for north. The team flew me into Toronto for several days last month and put me up at a fine hotel, then flew me in again for the launch party earlier this week. 

What did I have to do in this project? Well, try on new, fabulous Nordstrom clothes, pose like mad, and act, just a little. Oh, and get paid for it. Hahaha.

There are several key points I learned from this experience I'd like to share with you. 

1.  Being in an ad campaign is a lot like being a secret agent

You're not allowed to talk about it. This was verrrry difficult. Someone would ask me, "What'sup, Mel," and I'd shrug and mumble, "Oh, you know, same 'ole, same 'ole," maybe jingle the keys in my pocket or look up and comment on the weather, while inside I'm screaming my head off with excitement. 

Now I know why secret agents can be tortured souls - they get a big break and they're not allowed to say anything. Next time you ask your friend, "Hey, what'sup," and she shrugs and says, "Oh nuthin'," you'll have to ask yourself, whoa, is she in an ad campaign?!

2. It takes a village to look good

Hairstylists, makeup professionals, style/wardrobe gurus, executives, creatives of all sorts. It was incredible being surrounded by so much talent, all top of their field. So, yes, it took a village to make me camera-ready. 

But what was so cool is how everyone on set and off brought their personal best to the project, not merely to do their own job well, but to bring out the best in their colleagues too, like they did with my makeup, hair, and wardrobe. There were ricochets of positive energy everywhere. True teamwork on every level. So impressive.

3. I am proud to be Canadian

The True Nord theme of the campaign really made me think about Canada and what it means to me. I shamefully admit that I had forgotten the words to our national anthem because they have changed through the years, so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Imagine my delight to discover that four of the song's ten lines have exclamation marks. Vindication! I use !!!'s all the time because it's in my friggin' blood, people!! 

Also, the campaign showcases how Canada is inclusive, diverse, and welcoming. Right on! Other keywords enshrined in our anthem are in there too, such as "strong and free." I celebrate all of this. Plus, Canada grows the best comedians. I think there's even a statistic for that in our GNP.

4. Friends make everything better

Yeah, I always knew this, but the point really hit home at the launch party. Shelley of Forest City Fashionista bused in from London, Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo drove in from across town, and Patti of Not Dead Yet Style flew in all the way from Florida. What a night we had celebrating each other, dreaming big, laughing, and taking pictures. Suzanne did a write-up here. Shelley did a write-up here.

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista and Mel Kobayashi before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
Patti, Suzanne, me, Shelley taken with Suzanne's selfie stick. Hurray! The only photo of us together. Check their blogs and IGs for more photos. And the Nordstrom website/IGs.

We met in my room at the Broadview Hotel beforehand and Suzanne surprised us with celebratory drinks and gourmet chips. She knows me so well! After the party, we went to a nearby restaurant for a late-night bite. 

On the way out, I heard crickets and cicadas in the park across the street - absolute magic. It's been a long, long time since I've heard them as they seem to have abandoned downtown Vancouver. So friends and bugs, it doesn't get much better than that.

True Nord commercial 

This campaign speaks to my heart - it emphasizes such a great message of hope and acceptance. I was thrilled that they included me, an "oldster," (word from Lost in Space TV series, 1968, "Promised Planet") who is also from Canada's West Coast. 

It was a privilege to be in a scene with Harjas Singh and his "daughter," Estelle Habermayer, which was filmed while riding a streetcar through Toronto. I couldn't even make this stuff up. There is a multitude of people whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for making this experience possible.

Below are a few photos from the pre-party and party taken by Suzanne and Shelley. I was too busy working the room, as they say in the biz, to remember my camera. 

 With model/stylist Mirian Njoh. She is a designer and sewist as well.

With Ishie Wang

True Nord cast with Michelle, Nordstrom Canada Executive VP, next to me

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
 Patti, Shelley, Suzanne

Patti Not Dead Yet Style, Suzanne Carillo, Shelley Forest City Fashionista and Mel Kobayashi Bag and a Beret before Nordstrom True Nord campaign party
 Patti, Suzanne, me still with clips in my hair

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret with Nordstrom photo from True Nord campaign August 2018
It's the end of a long day. A framed photo from Nordstrom worn as badass necklace. They also gave all of us bottles of champagne when we left the party.

And that's my story, folks, or one small part of it. I've been feeling squished in my blogging lately, needing to keep all of this news under wraps, cloak and dagger. Consider this post a big exhale, a great big satisfying exhale. Now you know. 

What else have I been up to? "Oh, nuthin'." Jingle, jingle. "Nice weather we're having."

I'll link up this amazing outfit, which is also from Nordstrom, to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. See you's guys there!

Exhale!!!! ←Exclamations because I'm Canadian, eh? Has anything caught your breath lately?

Monday 20 August 2018

Zip me up, zip me down

Ah, the beach! Tidal-line trails of plants, bugs, and plastics, grit in your hair, in your clothes, between your toes, under your fingernails, critters, fallen food that can't be saved by the five-second rule, unless you're partial to a little extra crunch. Yes, the only trouble I have with beaches is sand. Minor detail.

Today I wore my boots to the beach. So practical, seriously. I felt I could stomp safely anywhere I wanted on this wide, empty stretch of sand downtown.

The weather was cool enough that I could wear long sleeves and boots without breaking a sweat.

It's still peak tourism season and this waterfront was deserted. More space for me!

I bought the T-shirt, XXL, and track pants by Triple Five Soul at Talize thrift store on two separate expeditions. Note the cool feature: the pant legs zip open from the hem - air-conditioning on demand.

See? I wasn't kidding about that zipper action. I can unzip them "up" all the way to the waistband.

Below, a photo suggesting motion because I certainly was not exercising in this sporty attire. Get real! Well, except for the jumping shots. I had to go have iced tea after that.

But wait! Below, check out this extra extra bonus feature: the pants also unzip down from just under the waistband to the hem. Double-wide air-con!

These pants are ultra handy for, for, for showing off your underwear! They aren't really stripper pants though because, while there is bi-directional zip action, you can't separate the front panel from the rear. If you were working out at the gym this venting might cool you off, but wouldn't you just wear shorts?

The flapping pant legs would add attractive flourishes for when you break into ballroom or flamenco dancing. I guess it doesn't really matter what the zips are for; these are damned cool track pants. And a few passersby appeared entertained or scared; sometimes it's hard to tell what those crooked smiles mean.

Being at the beach, such a summery place, made me think of this favourite song by Chicago, "Saturday in the Park," except the park in this particular song is filled with people celebrating - singing, laughing, eating ice cream, and playing guitars. My beach was filled with sounds of me taking photos - beep beep beep, oof, ack, grrr, pffft.

The boots are from My Sister's Closet, which is run by Battered Women's Shelter Services. And the RayBan sunglasses are from Ah Love the Pug's family, here.

And there I am with one of my journals. I seem to have two on the go now. I fill their pages with sketches, ideas, bad poetry, lists, prose, and musings on my day. 

That's all from me this time. I am well again! Bwahahaha! Thank you for all your powerful healing vibes.


Margaret Manning of Sixty and Me, her second batch of interviews with me are now all open on her YouTube channel. Go watch, have a laugh. It's great fun chatting with her, part of my great big show and tell. (I'm 56 so don't freak out):

  1. Fashion After 60: One Signature Piece = Many Amazing Looks!
  2. Fashion for Women Over 50 Acquiring Awesome Accessories
  3. Fashion After 50: The Search for Funky Treasures
  4. Fashion After 50 *SHOCKER*! Should We Borrow From Men's Style?

Okay, now that's all. Heh.


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

Stay cool, my friends. I know you do!! xo

Thursday 16 August 2018

Surrendering in a green oasis

"I surrender to the chaos" is what I painted on this tank dress a few years ago. I don't surrender all the time. For the big stuff, I fight back with vigilance and persistence, snarling, gnashing of teeth, and curled toes. 

These shots were taken by my friend Elizabeth Zvonar in a little green oasis not far from my home. I'm still shaking off vestiges of that pesky summer cold, so this nearby location was perfect. The next photo is my favourite of the bunch.

I like being dwarfed by nature. It's a feeling I definitely could use more of. 

Again, my mug by artist/stylist/designer Anne M Bray (IG and other links), which features many of my favourite bloggers. You saw it my last post too, on sale here. And my Lily-Lark parasol. All unpaid mentions.

I was going to choose a song for this post, but they all made me tired. Nature sounds are what I really crave right now. Get me away from the trucks and honking and screaming and loud mufflers (a pathetically great oxymoron).

Don't feel you have to stay on this page while you listen to the whole YouTube. Heh.

When I put a photo of this dress on IG, lots of people thought it said, "I surrender to the chaise (chair)." Yes, in fact I do.

Those legs really throw off my camera's white balance.

Below is my "flat lay," nothing to do with the bedroom, folks. Get your minds out of the gutter! It was in another post on the "Silver Foxes and Vixens" party I went to at Vancouver's Fluevog shoe store, where I got to meet the man himself, John Fluevog. He was immediately drawn to my elven shoes, which he told me are rare, made in a limited run. I bought them in the late '80s. Too bad they bite my baby toe, although that's probably what has kept them so pristine.

Soaking up some rays. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. 

It's a rather tame post this time. A rather tame life at the moment. 

I'm linking to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.

I hope all of you are keeping cool, or warm, as the case may be. Thank you so much for visiting. xo

Monday 6 August 2018

Floral vintage jumpsuit with microscope

Don't you hate it when you go into one of your favourite cafés and you can't find an outlet for your microscope? Right? I hate that. 

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, vintage floral jumpsuit and microscope

Who said only laptops and cellphones and tablets can go for walkies and coffee? Really, how tiresome. 

Bye-bye woman-with-coffee-and-laptop selfie; hello woman-in-awesome-vintage-'70s-jumpsuit-with-palazzo-pantlegs-with-coffee-and-microscope selfie! I think the security guard understood what I was doing.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, vintage floral jumpsuit and microscope
Coffee mug by Anne M Bray, featuring sketches of 
many of my favourite bloggers. You can buy one here.

What would the world be like if scientists suddenly starting taking over cafés with scientific gear, setting up mini research institutes each afternoon with free outlets and caffeine on call. 

I suppose occasional shouts of "Eureka!" would crack the humming silence as breakthroughs were made in solving world hunger or health and wellness issues. If I were a savvy shop owner, I would create a "Eureka Lunch Special" with a sandwich and your choice of soup or salad. 

Clearly, below I am hurtling toward my own Eureka moment. 

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, vintage floral jumpsuit and microscope

Ice cream - diet ginger ale - chocolate chip cookies! And a giant pretzel for something salty. 

This past month has been a white-knuckle ride that has tested my fortitude and gumption, in a good way. I've come through intact, with a big silly grin even, except I caught a bug on a plane. Cough cough pitui!

As a result, I have been in the wearying daily routine of wearing a face mask. Believe me, this is a bug I don't want to share. I'm almost cured now, but a summer cold? There's a heatwave and I have a friggin' cold?!!! GAAAA! This shoot was my first real solo outing in a week.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, vintage floral jumpsuit, face mask, and microscope

I'd like to share details of what I've been up to, but I am contractually bound to secrecy. It's all very cloak and dagger, just the way I like it.

I leave you with the following photo - just another day at the café. Probably nobody uses microscopes like this anymore (I bought this one for O a couple decades ago), but it's my Year of the Prop, and this instrument caught my eye as I was going out the door. My first prop shoots of the year were here and here

A tricky tripod shoot in a café - I had to snap and scram. 
Can you see my tripod?

While I'm at it, I propose a caffeinated toast to women of science. You blaze trails and inspire. Thank you. I hope you have better gear than I do. And I suspect that a lot of it is in your laptops. Hahaha!

I shall link up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike - if I can still remember my way there. Heh. 

Stay fabulous, everyone. All will be revealed in the weeks to come.

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