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Friday 26 April 2019

The giant Vancouver mind-meld with friends

It's no longer a blogger meetup; it's a gathering of friends who happen to blog. That's what happens when you start to know women as well as I have come to know Suzanne Carillo, Patti, and Sherry. Sue was of course also included in our weekend, and although she is not in these photos at her request, she was part of our group, twice joining us for the day.

photo by @vancouverbarbara
Below, the excitement as my friends started arriving at Blue Horizon Hotel on Robson Street, who sponsored our stay (see previous post). Sherry and Patti came in the same taxi. How serendipitous that the bus in the background says Vancouver Community College, VCC, because I had to run down there that morning to pick up some awesome outfits that their Fashion Design & Production students had custom-made me during a collaboration. I thought they might be fun for our shoot - and they were!

Sherry wears a blue-cord overall dress that she made herself. So good!
This year we went a bit more "pro" for our photo shoot. My friend Suzy Thomas, @thasooze (IG), a career makeup artist, came to our room at Blue Horizon and did our faces. What a master! As Suzanne said, it was like a face lift with makeup. Too bad it had to wash off, but like the old samurai saying, we must appreciate the beauty of falling cherry blossoms. Or, did I just make that up?

Suzy working her magic on the already-magical Sherry.

In hindsight, we all seemed to have signature poses for the weekend. Clockwise from top-left: Suzanne, the kiss face; Mel, constantly trying to perfect my Zoolander face and FAILING - you open your mouth to simulate stupefaction, then suck in your cheeks for a high-fashion model look; Sherry, Godspell meadow sprite; Patti, '20s Broadway doyenne. 

Once our makeup was done, @vancouverbarbara (IG) joined as a photographer at the hotel, which offered a range of great locations. The newly-renovated pool and fitness area were our primary stages.

Below we are rehearsing for our new movie Pose Hard, a gripping suspense about middle-aged women on a chocolate-fueled selfie rampage through Vancouver. Madam Goochie, a friend of Sherry, was the costume designer.

photo by @vancouverbarbara
Patti is wearing an iridescent stretchy vinyl top designed and made by VCC students Armita Azadmanesh,Victoria Stephenson, and Kiera West @kierawest. The Elizabethan thick vinyl ruff collar and skirt were made by Nataly Kingsley, Cayce Vanderzalm @caycescustoms, and Shadi Arastehmanesh @shadi.arastehmanesh.arts. I'm preparing a separate post about these pieces.

More rehearsal. I'm terribly disappointed that Suzanne and Sherry aren't posing harder, harder!! Twirl, ladies! Twirl HARDER!! Feel the burn!

photo by @vancouverbarbara
I look pensive because I am riding for a cause. Invisible thought bubble: apple rhubard crisp, apple rhubard crisp, apple rhubard crisp. Yeah, Abode restaurant off the hotel lobby area had great food, especially dessert. I should have been riding that bike for real!

photo by Suzy via Sherry, I think
Suzanne fake-testing the water. The pool area was wonderful! We didn't bring our suits and weren't ready to pose in our scanties, nor was the public ready for that, so this is what you get. So very ultra-high-fashion, right? Doing something totally wrong yet so right.

Patti does a Broadway number poolside. Standing ovations from everyone, heaps of bouquets, and sworn allegiances. This is a great shot of the outfit too, but it only came to life because Patti wore it so divinely and with disciplined fortitude. She was definitely hot under the collar. (groan, heh)

photo by @vancouverbarbara
Next, me, pre-shoot, hair in clips for extra sproing. And you can see the makeup job Suzy did. Another failed Zoolander face. I'll call it Melander. 

photo by Sherry
Lounging by the poolside, as one does.

photo by @vancouverbarbara
In this next photo, Suzanne misbehaved. Some may mistakenly think she is trying to steal my shoes. No! She is trying to steal my thunder by hauling me off the deck so she can hog the spotlight! Typical. Hahaha. And I was right in the middle of my Burt Reynolds tribute medley!

photo by @vancouverbarbara

But I got my revenge on them all! Bwahahaha!!! Heh.

And secrets revealed: Patti and Sherry are royals. Shhhhh. Yes. They really don't want anyone to know, so their secret is safe here. This lobby chair was their substitute throne for the weekend. I love how they can pretend to be commoners while maintaining their blue-blood dignity and hauteur.

Sherry was highly displeased upon discovering that the shop had just painted her '63 Ferrari GTO in gumdrop green rather than the paisley print she had ordered. Patti, her royal sister (and Broadway doyenne), is tired of dealing with her whims, so bought her a helicopter coated in unpaintable 24K gold.

The Royal Portrait

My grandmother hand-made me the collar Sherry is wearing over 40 years ago, I think. This is probably only the second time it's been worn, the first time maybe for rollerskating. Definitely it will be worn more now.

And some random shots from our time together.

Many thanks to: 
  • @vancouverbarbara for her photography;
  • @thasooze Suzy for her dazzling makeup skills and photo-taking; 
  • Blue Horizon Hotel for the room they generously sponsored; 
  • Sam, Manager of My Sister's Closet eco thrift boutique for her hospitality during a thrifting expedition there; 
  • VCC for creating such amazing clothing; and 
  • my friends for coming all the way to Vancouver. 
I feel like this is an acceptance speech. Hahaha. Yeah, acceptance of how awesome everyone is and the power of positive energy. For more coverage, check out Suzanne's post here, Patti's post here, and Sherry's post here, complete with video

Have a great week, everyone. If you're one of many starting to wonder why you keep blogging, this weekend is one reason I'm still here. The connections I've made with like-minded cool people on this platform and in real life are irreplaceable. 

I'll link something up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday

photo by Sam, Manager at My Sister's Closet @msc_bwss (IG)

Saturday 20 April 2019

Best staycation at Blue Horizon Hotel

This is a sponsored post, but I tell 'ya, I am absolutely delighted to write it. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Question: When best friends come to Vancouver for a visit, is it be better for me to go home every night to sleep or stay with them at the hotel? Duh!

Thank you, Blue Horizon Hotel, for an excellent weekend of hospitality lavished on me, Suzanne Carillo, Patti of Not Dead Yet Style and Sherry Dryja of Petite Over 40. Sue from A Colourful Canvas also joined in a couple of times.

me, Suzanne, Patti, Sherry (photo by Sue)
F O M O  no more!
(FOMO means fear of missing out)

A staycation has never been so much fun. Blue Horizon, a boutique hotel, was the perfect home-away-from-home for our visit. We had the pleasure of experiencing one of its private bedroom suites

Below is what the living room looked like when I arrived, pristine, except for my little wheelie cart on the right. There was a Keurig coffeemaker, a kettle with complimentary tea, and a fridge for storing our leftover nibblers and other snacks. Chocolate treats and chips were in constant view for spiritual training purposes.

Located on the southwest corner, our room was flooded with natural light, which is always good for style bloggers armed with cameras and their most fun outfits, but there were blackout curtains as well. Isn't that a groovy armchair on the left? Of course I had photos in it. 

I call this shot by Suzanne, Upholstery Camouflage. I could have stayed in the room for weeks without anyone noticing I'm there. The groovy vintage jacket and pants were a gift from Suzanne in the summer.

photo by Suzanne

Below, a mirror selfie of me grinning in anticipation of my friends' arrivals from planes, trains, and automobiles from Toronto, Florida, and Seattle. 

And, gulp, check out that view, stunning from our balcony on the 29th floor. The green area is Stanley Park and that main drag is Robson Street, one of Vancouver's preeminent shopping areas. The hotel is walking distance from it all, including the Art Gallery, fantastic thrift stores, the Convention Centre, and more.

Along the water's edge on the left is English Bay, where I sometimes pose with big logs. Heh.

The only thing better than a view like this... a view like this with friends, Suzanne and Sherry.

We enjoyed sunny skies for part of the weekend, but it also rained and even hailed. If we were outdoor athletes, it would have cramped our style, but indoors? Meh, nothing cramps our style except too-tight, sky-high shoes, even then we grin and bear it.

And there we are united on the sofa. I set up my tripod with the remote for this one.

Left to right: me, Sherry, Suzanne, Patti. 

The private bedroom with a king-sized bed was spacious and bright with it's own private bath. The living room area also had a mini wing with a private washroom. Having two facilities in our room ensured peace and harmony throughout our stay. 

You know you're having fun when the photo above starts to look like the one below, and that's just part of it.

I brought two large suitcases stuffed with clothes to play with for our photo shoot. As a local I didn't have luggage restrictions and hotel attendants happily provided extra hangers.

We made full use of Blue Horizon's pool, fitness area, and lobby during our stay. You'll have to wait to see what I mean by that in a follow-up post. Heh.

Our room was set up well for hanging out but we also spent quite a bit of time in Abode, the hotel's restaurant and coffee/cocktail bar. Below is the view from the dining area toward the lobby.

The food was delicious and the service was fantastic. This server is from Australia and we had the pleasure of her camaraderie and care on a couple of occasions.

photo by Sue

It's possible that below we were discussing Abode's famous apple rhubarb crisp with ice cream. I (and someone else - Suzanne!) ordered it twice during our stay. She'll probably post about it. Her photo was waaay better than mine.

photo by Sherry

There's Suzanne with her buddy "Marilyn" in the elevator. The blue patch is a reflection of my phone. Each lift features a fun photo of "Marilyn" in a series of speak/see/hear-no-evil poses. Hahaha! You can read more about her on the hotel website, here

There is also a large back-lit cibachrome colour photo of her with curlers in her hair and a martini in her hand in the lobby. Can you think of anything more welcoming and appropriate for our group? I found this partial view in one of my photos. Isn't she great?

Finally, there I am on the last day, captured by Sherry on the balcony.

Truly, getting away, even in my own city, staying at a place that took good care of me, and spending time with good friends gave me a fresh perspective on the world of possibilities ahead.

photo by Sherry

Thank you again, Blue Horizon Hotel, for your role in making this such a memorable weekend. The only complaint I have is that our time was too short. We'll have to do it again!

Stay tuned for our photo shoot post!

Monday 8 April 2019

Royal classy fresher knows how to travel

Several looks, several realities.


I am gaggingly high class, as you know. For a little je ne sais quoi, I casually toss around foreign words like I know what I'm saying. I don't laugh; I nod imperceptibly, careful not to disturb my limbs. In fact, nothing is funny; everything is oh so dull and droll. Eye roll.

I speak softly, like a firefly - flit flit flit - no stranger to multi-syllabic words either, not I. Sometimes I even use a rich raspy "fry" voice (see what it is here). My face is of course a portrait of serenity and super-mega-awesome enlightenment. No wonder poise is my middle name. And elegance, too. Mel Poise Elegance Kobayashi, MPEK, not to be confused with MPEG for transmitting compressed audio and visuals, although sometimes I am compressed as well.


My clothes are draped over pillowy silk hangers in a closet the size of a suburban garage with room for four Ram-tough pickup trucks. My home is Frank Lloyd Wright original-ish and a creek gurgles down the middle of my living room for ambiance and sophisticated meditation. That's classy.

There's a little gong beside me too, which I've trained my dachshund to hit with her nose to chakratize my namastes, and so I don't have to reach for the mallet myself - so crass. I made her a special metal nose cone so it works right. And I sip stringy green drinks, which usually end up in the creek, which is great because it looks like algae.

Above, I gaze into a brilliant future of sophistication and expensive sun chairs.

O took these photos on Granville Island. I'm wearing the grey sweater-dress and maxi boiled wool cardigan jacket from my Talize shopping video. The tights were a gift from Zohara.


I'm so excited about my new school! I've got my uniform, my pack, and my pencil crayons, freshly sharpened. My DIY monster truck tuxedo shirt shows just the right mix of I'll-kiss-your-ass-if-you-kiss-mine relationship I hope to cultivate with faculty and my peers. I am confident it will be a good first day - I have brought a gift for the teacher. Nothing says "accept me" more than gifts and wads of cash.

Wait, what? What do you mean detention?! Are you out of your mind? Seriously, who wants apples when you can have an appletini?!!

What? Suspension?! Expulsion?!! Hahaha! Excellent. So meet me in the parking lot for some seriously delinquent chocolate brownies. And I didn't want a wing named after me anyway!! Wings are for birds, pantiliners, and planes, pfft.


Waiting for my magic carpet. It's late. Again.

I may need to go by foot passenger - I always manage to buy the only tickets. Sadly, this mode of transport is getting slower, more expensive, and more uncomfortable by the year. Although boarding is usually easier now with lower platforms, there may be a foul odour when I disembark.

The on-board entertainment sucks, especially when I'm humming, there is usually no food, unless you count cough drops, and they ask annoying security questions like, are you bringing any dangerous goods on board? Well, I do have a wicked side eye. Does that count?

Plus, they always check for extra weight - cheeky!! - and want to know if I have anything to declare. You bet I do, but it's not fit for print!

The robe and scarf are from a good friend. This is their first outing. The earrings were heavy so I wasn't able to do much jumping. I hate when that happens. It's like, jump, ow, jump, ow, jump, ow.


Full circle. My royal subjects. If I were queen, this would be my portrait.

Look who came to town! It's Sheila of blog Sheila Ephemera! And L, too, but to see them in full splendour, you'll have to go to her big-ass weekend roundup about their annual trip to Vancouver to celebrate their wedding anniversary, their 22nd this time. Woo hoo! Congratulations! I'm always thrilled to be included in their plans.

We put in some time at the Telus building, where we were serenaded with rock tunes played on a Fazioli grand piano. Very cool. Then we had brunch at Medina before I had to head out.

L took both these photos.

These two are always knockouts. People get googly-eyed over them wherever they go. As for me, I'm wearing a velveteeny '70s suit that Suzanne gave me with my fave ruffled blouse and my neon orange men's XXL coat on top. Again, see Sheila's blog for more photos.

That's all for now. There's been lots going on here. I can't wait for my next several posts. You guys are the best!! Thanks so much for dropping by. Appletinis for everyone! And brownies! Send me cash and I'll name a wing after you. Hahaha! I hope you are enjoying your season change.

So when it's time I'll be linking to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. See you there maybe?


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