Monday, 21 August 2017

What to wear in a stairwell

Think outside the box? 
I think not!

Wearing: Calvin Klein linen dress with very long ties - Sandra of @standard.deviations pointed it out to me years ago at Value Village - and knee-high Converse runners with cheaty rear zips and lunch-bag hand bag, both from My Sister's Closet. Plus magic loupe and ring from O, of course.

Donna Quixote battles a wall in knee-high sneakers. 
No sword, but she has a fabulous trailer lunch-box hand bag.

Most of my photos are in the box. I am in the box. My brain is in the box. 

My imagination is wherever the feck I want it to be. 

For example, below it looks like I'm in the box, but in fact I'm driving a classic convertible Bugatti through Monaco. Oh, and there's my yacht on the horizon. Is that Claude in the skiff coming to pick me up? I think it is! I shall wave in my traffic cone dress. I hope O got back from his atelier in time. (Do you see what I see now?)

Those are my red sandals and dress from Talize thrift store, belted this time (unbelted here), and my happy doggy scarf, and sunglasses. Of course, I'm also wearing my magic loupe and ring from O, which you can buy HERE.

Next, when using one's wristwatch teleportation device to travel to Paris for dinner, one must bring a lunch-bag hand bag for unexpected delays. 

My travel wear consists of an NLST "Harem Flightsuit" (here) - how perfect! - my radiation-proof mega honkin' sunglasses, my pseudo-gladiator sandals, in case the teleporter transports me to that gladiator era by mistake, magic loupe and ring for magic, and my lunch-bag hand bag again.

What?! They kicked me off the teleporter! 
I pay extra for First Class molecular handling!! 

Massive delay. And the only things in my lunch bag were inedible, unless you count my lipstick - but only in super-duper emergencies.

Thank goodness I'm in the box so I can set things aright!

Boxes get such a bad rap. 

Kitties love them, and so do I. They play in boxes, hide in boxes, and even poop in boxes - although I don't do that. What geometric shape do you think inside of, outside of? It's a ridiculous question of course.

I'm linking up with Patti's Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed at Lamb. I know I'll see you there! Hugs.



Sylvia of 40+ Style has featured me on her blog today, HERE

"Having fun with makeup and hair – A beauty interview with Melanie"

The interview is part of her Beauty series. I had fun answering her questions - it's not a topic I think about much. And there are a few never-before-seen photos of me. Thank you, Sylvia. I owe so much of my confidence to you! Check out the other articles in her series. So good.

 Greetje, of No Fear of Fashion, another favourite blogger, has translated from Dutch to English the piece about me in the Marie Claire Netherlands May print magazine. I've added it to my previous post, HERE, to accompany the original article. Huge hugs to you for doing that!

 My friend Judy has launched a blog - Fancified. She is a madly talented upcycler and crown-maker. Case in point below: a repurposed jacket "hot off the waffle iron." 

You'll have to go to her blog to see all the AMAZING detail. I've featured her before on my street style blog, Culture Serf, HERE. I encourage you to have a look. I know you'll be inspired by her creativity.

That's all!! For now. 

Dang! I keep forgetting to do my flat lays!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

How to pose the RIGHT way. A meetup. And Marie Claire magazine.

There have been lots of posts around lately about blogger fatigue. (See list at the bottom of this post.) To that I say, of course we are sick of blogging, and the reason is clear: simply, we're not doing it right. We're bad posers and we don't wear the right clothes. Fear not - help is on the way!! This week I share with you some excellent posing tips I picked up online.

So yeah, we may hate social media, but it's also our mythical highway to Viral Nirvana - or, in my case, a gravel road shortcut with pot holes, dead-ends, construction, and signs saying "No gas for 10,000 miles," and my favourite, "Treacherous conditions. Does anyone know you are here?" But best not to worry about that. Our GPS says to take the road less travelled and it is never wrong.

Below. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I am looking normalish! Bad. This is a prime example of bland, I-can't-believe-I-ate-the-whole-thing-shock, if-I-don't-move-I-will-remember-everything, nothing-going-on-in-there posing. Who wants to see that? I can already hear screamy Frau Farbissina: "NEXT!!!" (She is from the Austin Powers movies, ex. here.)

Get your "squinch" on. I learned about squinching from New York/LA photographer Peter Hurley in his YouTube video, "It's all about the Squinch!" He's great! And he uses exclamation marks. 

He didn't explain it like this, but the trick to a good face is to think about chocolate, plots, and sexy secrets. Think about ways to adapt your leaf-blower into a duster. Think about what's under Fabio's gold lamé shorts. Okay, better not. Think about how fast a train must travel if it leaves point A at 11:00 and needs to arrive at point B at 1:03 if B is 7,031 km away, and will Sarah bring apples?

I know this pose but I always called it something sleuthy or high-noon cowboyie.

Squinching is a squint, but only using your lower lids; your upper lids aren't supposed to move. See? My face is sooo much better now: a face of intrigue, of mystery. It says, yeah, I ate the cheesecake, what are you going to do about it? Viewers will stop and stare, then say, we better get outta here, she's up to no good. Much more fun.

If you go extreme, it can look like you have indigestion, which can happen along that lonely road.

Below I am squinching again. And again, it looks like I've got stuff on my mind: how can I fit in a couple more hours of sleep, that workout really sucked, I have to write another blog post?!

But this photo is not for demonstrating the squinch. It's to show you Hurley's next tip, which he calls, "Hold Your Sub to look slimmer in photographs!" for upper arms. The "Sub" refers to a sub sandwich about 5 feet long. This is really brilliant.

Note my upper arms. Simple flesh bags. Nothing wrong with that, but they could be better.

I didn't have any 5-foot subs left in the fridge so I decided to Hold the Broom. Just hold the broom. Okay, frig - I just wanna ride the broom. (It's an old broom and I don't know why it's still in such good condition!?)

Note how my upper arms curve inwards at the top now, looking waaaay more toned than reality. It's the best kind of non-fake fakery. I told you it's a good tip. I think Hurley really meant this pose to be for upper body photography, with the sub off camera, but why limit ourselves? We could all carry our brooms everywhere, look fabulous (at least our arms), stop sweeping our floors (check!), and open a bar called Coven.

In the next photo I am doing dramatic squinching and Holding the Sub Broom. It's like you can read my mind: what do you mean brooms are for sweeping? Are you a doofus?

Hurley has another video called "It's all about the Jaw!" about how to create a defined jaw line, which requires sticking out your neck and chin and putting your forehead forward. In real life it looks ridiculous, but it looks great in photos with young models. When I try it, I get fantastic definition too - of my jowls and string neck.

The amazing photographic 3-D effect of sticking out my neck.

Plus, sticking out a neck with poultry-like tendencies is not a good idea, especially around Thanksgiving. I suspect that doing this pose while standing on my head would be a big help, although I'd have to watch out for bags over (under?) my eyes.

And there you have it. By employing these simple techniques, soon we'll all see tons of traffic on our blogs and sit waving to each other on the backroads to Viral Nirvana. If you get a clean break, be sure to honk as you go by. I'll cluck back.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on how to dress right.

In all seriousness, I love Peter Hurley. He is funny, engaging, and knows how to make people look their best. It's good entertainment and information. Have a look.


Carolyn of blog Handmade by Carolyn was in Vancouver from Australia and we local blogger gals rallied. It was like meeting a star! - Carolyn of the handmade clothes, of the handmade shoes, of the handmade boots! Revered sewista of finished seams. She and her husband C had been travelling on the Northwest Coast of Canada and the US and, happy day, they fit in some hours in Vancouver. He took this photo of us.

Left to right: Sveta of blog Sewing Sveta and IG @svetadolsi, Barbara of IG @vancouverbarbara, Sue of blog A Colourful Canvas and IG @acolourfulcanvas, Louisa of blog Damselfly's Delights and IG, Carolyn of blog Handmade by Carolyn and IG @handmadebycarolyn, and me.

We played hard in what little time we had, including a trip to some fabric shops and one of my favourite local alleys. I'm putting in this photo below so I have something to link up with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. More photos are on Carolyn's and Barbara's social media.

It's so cool too that Carolyn was also wearing her loupe from O. We were loupe-de-loupe! See HERE on Barbara's Instagram.

PS During "brunch," we (except Barbara, driving) had grapefruit mimosas and I had bacon and egg porridge with maple syrup, the perfect drink pairing. Interesting.

Some months ago I sent photos to Marie Claire Netherlands for an article they were doing. I was very excited, naturally. And then I heard nothing. I thought they killed the story. Then on Instagram recently, I got a comment from @roosevaels saying she had seen me in there!?

I wrote to MC again and they said, "Yes, so sorry, we forgot to tell you." So I'm in the May print issue of Marie Claire Netherlands, which is happy news. Bwahaha! Along with Sarah Jane Adams @saramaijewels, Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon and @iconaccidental, and Helen Van Winkle of @baddiewinkle. HUGE THANKS to Marie Claire for including me!!!

Because you can't buy the issue now, it's from May, I'm including the piece on me below. In Dutch, I don't know what it says. "She loves smelling stinky running shoes and eating ladybugs!" Don't believe a word of it. (Bacon in my porridge was true, just that one time though.)
EDIT: Greetje of No Fear of Fashion has translated this article. Thank you!

The machine translation said "All that beige and stretch will bump you off." Hahaha. Close.

And that's my report, done. Yippee!! I know, I know, this could have been several posts but I like doing it in one fell swoop. I hope you made it! 

This is not squinching.

And I'm not really done-done - I've been to other great blogger meetups and to an excellent Slow Clothes fashion show, where Vivian, my personal style client, strut the catwalk. She was soooo good, like a younger Vivienne Westwood.

Okay, NOW I'm done!
May your days be filled with hope and good food! Also, I have responded to all your comments from the last several posts. I really enjoyed it. You guys are the BEST!

The posts about blogger and/or social media fatigue are here:
Suzanne Carillo: Why Bother Writing? Why I Love To Hate Social Media
Samantha at Fake Fabulous: 5 Reasons I Don't Like Social Media
Shelley at Forest City Fashionista: I've Lost The Will To Blog

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Social media tutorial, heh

Part 1: How to use Instagram 
My "student" has her new phone, whilst I, Grand Master Supreme, demonstrate my superior IG expertise with my phone.

Me: Okay, and then you click that button there and you should see that. Oh, you don't see it. Well, go back. No, back, back. And click that. Oh, hmm, not THAT, wait, go back. Oh, yeah, this is a good feature, just click there and then you see... Oops. 

Yeah - no! NO! Click NEXT. Wait, your phone doesn't have NEXT and mine does. Why don't you have NEXT? So we'll go back, no, not there, probably it's here somewhere...

Highly productive, highly. At least we had some booze and breakfast and photo-taking, hot booze, the kind that burns going down but looks so innocent, the colour of fruit. 

And we baked on a rooftop, not as in kitchen. The heat was good just the same, although I didn't get golden brown and a toothpick didn't pop out of my head when I was "done," which would be a neat trick.  

Part 2: How to upload photos from a laptop to Instagram
My "student" has her phone and a laptop. I, Grand Master Supreme, have nothing, absolutely nothing, except a few crumbs of toast on my top.

Me: Right, so, if you upload to here you can... No, wait, not to your laptop, let's try your phone. How did you do that? Show me again. Okay, I see it. Great! It's there! (high fives all around) Hm, I forget what's next.

Student: Didn't you say to go here?

Me: RIGHT! Very good. Now, how about you delete some of this stuff here? No, don't. DON'T! Go back, BACK. Okay, good. Where's your thingie? That little box thing... 

Student: You mean the icon?

Me: Jeez, looks like you're full so you can do another account over here then move those to here and delete those and then just upload there and there. Did you write that down? Oh, oops, forget everything I just said.

The high point was when she clicked on a button that neither of us knew what would happen and it worked. I can't believe how good I am teaching social media! I constantly surprise myself. If you would like to book a tutorial, meet me in the bar. Or find me baking on the roof, chocolate croissants with alligator oven mitts.

I'm throwing a little hibiscus in the mix.
From bark cloth. 
From Hawaii.

Can you hear the ukuleles?
Click HERE to hear the LAVA love song. 
(Thanks, Sue)

I'll link up with Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. I'll carry the punch bowl for you this week! In fact, I hope you just put your feet up and enjoy the show. And I'll link up with Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb too. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Never too much colour

This dress is originally from the bastion of fast fashion, H&M, one of their eco-recycled-garbage (ERG) collection, but I bought it pre-loved. Of course there is a real feel-good, corporate-speak name for it but I can't be bothered to check - I like ERG.

I blogged about it the first time HERE as my entry in an H&M contest, a completely different styling with an alley shoot - lots of fun. But I didn't win - my fizz was apparently too flat (or maybe too fizzy) to refill these recycled PET bottles. Judging by the women who became finalists, my contents were decidedly past their best-before date. All I can say about that is - old food can be good. 

Cases in point. Have you ever experienced the dry chewiness of an old marshmallow? Bliss. Or the ecstasy of eating a chocolate bar you'd lost in the glove compartment for over a year? (Question: Did anyone ever really put gloves in a glove compartment?) And what about grapes? Old grapes taste great in wine, although some of my old ones are just sour. Well, semi-sweet.

The bell bottoms are by Rip Curl, thrifted. The booties are thrifted too, not my first choice for this outfit but I needed a heel. Many of my shoes are in sick bay right now with heel ailments. Seriously, footwear should come with insurance or a Dr. "Bones" McCoy fix-it wand from Star Trek.

You can see all the extra stuff below: magic loupe pendant and ring by O, available HERE, handmade ghost-on-a-swing necklace by friend Monique, a hoity-toity brand leather wrist wrap (gift), leather belt with silver buckle by Josef (say it like it's French), booties, DIY T-shirt, and my favourite DIY praying mantis pendant made from an on-sale Liz Claiborne Christmas ornament. Those insects are amazing creatures. Did you know that the female often devours the male after coupling?

A woman wrote the following comment in response to an article about praying mantises in Entomology Today, which I stumbled across while doing research.

WARNING: This paragraph deals with the animal kingdom. Don't read it if you are squeamish.
I followed a female mantis that took up eye-level residence on a pepper plant last summer near my door, and she eventually mated with at least four different males, and for several days had two on her back at the same time with more males standing around expectantly. The female nibbled an eyeball of each mate, then finished the other eyeball, then eventually ate the whole head. Each male stayed attached to her for several days, ending up as discarded wings on the surface of the flowerpot a foot below after a new male took up position.
Moving right along... With a cart.

I dug this neon lemon robe and red, white, and blue hooded garment out of the alien pod vault a few days ago. Static, just hanging there, this outfit looks like almost nuthin', but in motion it flies. The robe gently laps at the legs of unsuspecting passersby with the slightest breezy provocation. I wasn't sued for it either. Or devoured.

These weakling pixels - they just can't seem to capture this neon colour. I bumped the saturation on the photo below but it didn't help much.

I got those Zara shoes out of the vault too. The dress thingy is sleeveless and has a front slit and zip. The Chanel sunglasses are also a gift. The loupe and ring, O made me. And that's a mechanical Tissot watch, which, if you've forgotten, means you have to wind it up by hand. And it has 17 jewels! It's old too. O reconditioned it and machines custom parts if it gets stuck in the past.

I posted about another outfit this week on Instagram if you're interested, HERE.

That's all for now. I had a wonderful meetup with some fellow bloggers this week, but that will have to wait.

I'll link up to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, hosted by Patti, and #iwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb, hosted by Catherine. See you there.

I wish a company would sell old marshmallows so I don't have to age them myself. They seldom survive to old age in my home. What about marshmallow wine?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Masculine-feminine style, wearing cartoons, and life as a stylist

What do you wear when you want to wear something masculine/feminine, high brow/low brow? You wear this. 

The main ingredients are my thrifted vintage Emporio Armani jacket, thrifted men's Diesel T-shirt (size Impossible with super-long sleeves), women's Bardot jeans from a sample sale, and men's thrifted narrow shoes.

The jacket, T, and shoes are all from My Sister's Closet (MSC), a social enterprise that funds Vancouver's Battered Women's Support Services. If you've got any good-condition cast-offs lying around, this is a good place to take them. And then go for a shop! (unpaid endorsement)

Of course, the most essential ingredients of this ensemble are my magic loupe and ring, which O made me. You can get them now too from his Etsy store, HERE. And naturally, I've thrown in my gold glitter ankle socks and favourite lipstick. I even wore my glasses because A) I love them, and B) the cool clip-ons make them so baaaad (say it like a sheep, should be shoop, heck, just say it like a goat).

But to add to the feminine side I did this, below.

I wore O's little leather pouch - I think it's designed for carrying gems!? Anyway, I swiped it. Hahaha. And I tied the strap around my neck with this feminine blue ribbon to secure it to my body. Without it, the pouch slides off, and wearing the pouch inside the jacket adds wretched bulk. Unacceptable! Plus, I adore this soft, colourful touch.

You can see all the magic elements there. And below, the whole damned thing. I walked down the sidewalk like an outlaw in a Western, ready to draw. Yes, I mean it - I had paper and my special pen with me, which also added a soft touch.

Carrying on with this dissection theme, we have my J.Lo workout jumpsuit in black velour. As if I'm going to work out ... Hahaha. I posted it on Instagram before, when it was oh-so-lonely, just plain 'ole black velour. But as you can see, the mystical melanization process has brought it to life, much like how Dr. Frankenstein reanimated bodies, except this cartoon doesn't have someone else's criminal brain, I'm pretty sure.

Yep, now it's a fun velvet painting. Keep on truckin'. It still may not make me want to work out, but it makes me want to have a good time, which is why I went to the alley. (No, you perves, I don't mean that kind of good time. Get your mind out of the gutter - unless that's where you do your best creative work too.)

See? This new, improved jumpsuit made me jump! Just a little. Just for a few ten-shot photo bursts. But I did some videoing in this outfit with my fabulous dotted cart, with lots of running and Flintstones twinkle-toeing, like here, well, as much as I could in platform runners. The men unloading the beer truck blocking the alley probably thought the lab switched the brains.

The extra bits below. Humongous sunglasses, an absolute must, and my platform runners, which I bought in a moment of weakness (or strength of will?) super-duper sale retail. I loove these shoes. They scuff easily though. And of course, my magic ring is there and my magic loupe.

See? With these little style vignettes, this is just like a REAL style blog now. Pffft. Kiss my cartoon!

And next, who do we have here? Why, this is Vivian! She was my personal styling/closet-rooting-around client. I had to share photos of her; we had such a good time. First, we went through her closet, and after, we went on a field trip to the store. It was a two-day thing.

Below, the Before photo from shopping. It's hard to believe we could "up" this starting point, but we certainly zigged and zagged and got her lots of new, fun, and lasting pieces for her wardrobe.

You know how there is that popular style guide called Dressing Your Truth? Well, my version is more Dressing Your Dare. Vivian showed how it's done. Shoes! Scarves! Dresses! Coats! Bring it on!!

Nah, she didn't buy the stole, we're waiting for the Bigger Sale. Hahaha! But she was game. And check out that lime green and burgundy wine designer dress behind her. Yes! No. She didn't get that either. The super-long pointy collar was impale-worthy. But it was a time of exploration, functional play I call it, taking stock and restocking. There are more photos of Vivian on her Instagram, HERE.

I got permission from Vivian to post these photos, so don't go sweating all over yourself if you've gone all gaspy. Seriously, we had lots of fun and got lots done.

If you're in the Vancouver area and feel ready for a little Frankening of your own, contact me through the email on this blog or via my Instagram. I haven't done it by video yet, but probably we could work something out. Maybe.

That's all for this week, my little shoops, meese. (Goose, geese, right? That's how it's supposed to work.) Not that I think any of you are mutton! Or mooses! No! Okay, clearly, it's time to sign off for this week. Heh.

I'll link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday. Yeah - refill the punch bowl, I'm bringing my Super Big Gulp cup!* And I'll link up to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike.

Have a good one, everyone. You figure out what that "one" is. Have a good multiple. !!! Okay, it's really time to go.

Thanks for visiting. My appreciation is unbounded. Too bad I ran out of cheese nippy hors d'oeuvres to feed you.

*Super Big Gulp is the SUPER HUUUGE drink size you can buy at 7-Eleven convenience store, 1.3 L/44 US oz. Who? Who buys this size? There's even an X-treme Gulp - 1.56 L. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

I can't hear me. The Big Interview.

I painted my eyebrows white, well, very light blue, before I went out in the morning, and in this photo, taken when I got home, you can't even tell. So what happened to my makeup? Was it sucked into my body?! 

It's a pancake type from MAC, which means it's not tested on animals, a plus, unless you count myself. At least it washes off very easily, the part that your body hasn't lapped up already. 

My Big Interview was recorded a while ago for a podcast that went live a few days ago. The show is MaturePreneurial, hosted by Elaine Benoit. If you ask how it went, I would say it was kind of like snapdragons growing out of rocks, like these, which I photographed recently. I felt nervous but I pushed through it - I won't go so far as to say I bloomed madly, but I conquered another fear, and that's worth celebrating.

I arrived at the sound recording booth early, having decided to use the pro studios at Vancouver Public Library's Innovation Lab. A Skype interview. The facilities are free with a library card - computer, mic, mixer. The tech promised to set me up, but when I couldn't hear my own voice through the headphones, only the interviewer's, the tech said, "It's supposed to be like that." ?! NOT.

As a result, I was not only nervous but also flustered from the outset and didn't have a chance to review my notes. But I survived. Maybe it was better not to hear what I was saying. Heh. At least I could hear Elaine.

When the interview was over, I noticed something weird. My pant legs had been hiked as high as they would go, and when you're wearing palazzo pants, which I was, that's pretty high. Yes, I had subconsciously been raising my pant legs throughout the interview, a nervous tick I suppose. Hahaha! Thank goodness I wasn't wearing a dress! - there was a tinted window in the booth where anyone could look in.

So if you want to know more about me, have a listen HERE. Elaine has interviewed lots of interesting people, including Lyn Slater, who gave a detailed account of how her social media presence was born. The mysterious rising pants are in the bio photo there. A big thank you to Elaine for having me on her show!

That's a Desigual T-shirt that Shelley of blog Forest City Fashionista gave me, with "RAINBOW" splashed across the front in sequins, and butterflies, so I farked it. Shelley suspected I would. Nobody tells me happy words and gits away with it! Heh.

I added the phrase "Existential Angst" to balance things out a bit and wore it the first time with my tuxedo pants and a jacket I got from Sylvia of blog 40 Plus Style during the clothing swap at the big blogger meetup a couple of years ago. This outfit made me think of Tom Waits. And I'm wearing a couple of rings that O made me, also available in his Etsy store here.

And I'm wearing BROWN. Whaaa?! It was nippy and this dress is a stretchy wool blend. If I hadn't had the striped tights, I wouldn't have put it on. And I'm wearing my watch choker. It's easy to tell time because it's broken and time stands still. Of course you see my magic loupe too, also available in O's shop here, a handmade piece. He even shaves the lens to a custom size.

I don't know what I'm doing in that pose down there.

And one more outfit for the road. My huuuuge pants that will definitely fall down without my unisuspender or that chain belt I'm wearing. They are so cottony soft, double ply, by the Vancouver label Babs. And on top is my silk Donna Karan pyjama shirt. 

On my feet are my Velveteen Rabbit D&G shoes.

Ahhhh, summer is here. I like it. Not too hot, not too cold. For now. 

That's all for this week. I had a whole post written and scrapped it at the last minute. I took time to write it too. That often happens when I think too much. Sigh. 

In my last post I wrote how I just got a cart. Pffft. I keep forgetting to take it out, or don't take it out on purpose thinking, oh, I'm not going to buy anything this morning, and then what?! All-natural peanut butter, $3 off per jar?!! Heh. Must. take. cart. And fan.

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

I hope youse guys are in your groove, making the most of each day. As always, thanks for dropping by!!

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