Connections made when a layover turns into a stay over

Have you noticed that while social media helps keep you updated on friends far and wide, it doesn’t really connect you? Inspired by those stories of people who journeyed to meet up with all of their contacts (on Facebook or LinkedIn), I have decided to reach out and make memories with more of my friends. I won’t be making it a mission to hang out in real life with all of my contacts, but it is a priority to spend time with friends – current or from the past.

Making time to connect

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a conference in San Francisco. The flights that made sense to me had lay-overs in the LA area. With the idea of connecting with a good friend I haven’t seen in ages (12 years to be exact), I made plans for an extended stop-over and see my college roommate, Nancy. It worked out that I could stay over and spend a Wednesday morning together – so she brought me along on a “work” expedition to make it an Adventure!

Nancy and her sister, Amy, are very creative people. They are passionate about pop culture, and in fact call their company Pop Culture Passionistas! To promote their business, they started creating celebrity sock puppets. What started as a lark has turned into an art form.

An Adventure in Sock Puppet Making

This particular Wednesday they were full of excitement with the start of an homage to an iconic band celebrating the 50th anniversary of a major album. Once they let me in on what their project was I joined in on the joy. Nancy and Amy were recreating the Beatles dressed as Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. I grew up singing along to the Beatles, and knew every lyric to every song (not bad for a girl who was not only hard of hearing, but tone deaf too!) For our adventure they took me to LA’s fabric district.

LA Fashion District

The LA Fashion District, spanning 90 blocks, seems to be incredibly bigger than the condensed 1 mile square of the NYC Fashion District.

Tutus in the LA Garment District

So many tutus! The bright colors are so cheery

LA Garment District fabric store

Next time I adventure to this area, I’m giving myself more time! This is the inside of just one of the many stores selling all kinds of fabrics

LA Garment District faux fur store

Faux fur in all their glory. Prices are much cheaper than NYC (so I bought several yards of a fun neon color!)

Store owner in LA Garment District

This store owner heard me talking about Burning Man, and gifted me this special prism material. He says he hasn’t been yet, but he may someday.

Amy and Nancy showed me what they use as a base for the puppet- a custom dyed sock. Nancy says depending on how complicated the subject will dictate how much time it takes to create it. For example the Elton John puppet in his Bob Macki outfit took three days, not including the sourcing and shopping for the fabric, feathers and extras.

Elton John puppet in Bob Mackie

Word got back to the designer, Bob Mackie, about these puppets. He loved the tribute! Elton John appearing in The Muppets 2/6/78

Cher in Bob Mackie

Cher in Bob Mackie creation at The Oscars, 3/24/86

We walked past dozens of fabric stores and headed to a trim shop. This store was huge, compared to what I was used to! It equaled at least 3-4 trim stores in the NYC garment district.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop!  I couldn’t buy much as I was traveling and my bags couldn’t fit much.

LA trim store in garment district

A trim store in LA is 3X the size of the ones I know in NYC.  Amazingly enough, Amy and Nancy couldn’t find the right size trim to use as fringe on the epaulets on the band’s costumes.  Amy showed me her folder filled with notes for all the parts of the outfits they recreated.

To understand the scale of their project, they told me that the pirate hat George wore could not be human head size, but total circumference is about the size of a coffee mug. Appropriately the trim, patches, epaulets, roping, buttons all have to be tiny. Nancy says often they have to make details from clay to get them the right size.  I was surprised at how precise they were about all this – they even consulted a costumer who specializes in Beatle costume replicas (for adults).

So may I introduce to you the act you’ve known all these years…

Beatles Sgt Pepper PC Passionistas

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – celebrating the 50th anniversary

Ringo The Beatles Sgt Pepper


John The Beatles Sgt Pepper


Paul The Beatles Sgt Pepper


George Sgt Pepper The Beatles


Paul Detail Sgt Pepper Beatles

Notice the delicate fringe, the teeny military cross…so many amazing details. I admire the patience this must have required!

People may scoff at what seemingly is a children’s craft. Watching them compare trims, find colors and decide how to recreate the costume with fine detail was fascinating, was watching art in process.  Inspiration for art comes from many places, so why not something that made you smile as a kid? It was energizing being with people who loved what they do for their career, making money following their passions. While I did post a few photos on social media of the day we had, that wasn’t the goal for this Adventure Wednesday. The goal was to find materials for their project and the wonderful outcome was deeper connections, and importantly, shared fun!


Is there a long time friend you haven’t connected with in a long time?  One who you keep meaning to reach out to because you enjoyed laughs in the past?  What can you do to connect with them in a way that creates memories?  Send a funny postcard, call them on the phone with a joke that reminds you of them, or see if there’s a way to travel.  Tell me your ideas of how you’d like to or have connected with people you normally only see on social media.  Let me know in the comments below how this personal connection enriched your adventure!

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