at home she…feels like a tourist

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ok, i couldn&#39t resist the nod to the post-punk band Gang of Four song from the 80&#39s when i titled this post…

because it made me think of how i feel, when as a formerly embedded NYC dweller, i see products that remind me of the place as if it was not just a city – but a former lover; i get all anthropomorphic about my emotions attached to that city as if it were a person…and when i see things that harken to the place, i get these weird pangs – kind of like brazilians describe the word and the sentiment of &#34saudade.&#34

so the other day i ran into this little genius paper (yes, paper!) clutch by Kate Spade while out shopping, and i felt like i had to have it. it looked just like a map! i didn&#39t buy it…but it conjured up a memory so strong that i have to admit, i was a little bit obsessed.

when i first moved to NYC after college, i had a very certain street map (which of course i didn&#39t DARE pull out in public!) after i began to find my way around the concrete jungle grid, i still kept that map close at hand. one summer day while in a sublet in Westbeth i had the windows open, and a big gust of wind blew my beloved map right out the window and onto the abandoned train tracks several floors below (which is now part of the High Line). i was CRUSHED. the torture! it sat there for days. i mean…i *could have just gone to any news stand on any street and bought another map; but the truth is, i was attached to it, and it represented my small-town-to-big-city struggle – not to mention progress.

it sat there on those train tracks for 2 days. i looked at it; *LE SIGH.

then on the third day, i was looking out the window, and i saw another gust of wind carry it into the air and jettison it down to the sidewalk…several more floors down. i RAN to the elevator and hauled ass to get that map; and i did. it was no easy feat before it got blown away into the skyscraper landscape.


i still have that map to this day, 25 years later.

Aug 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
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global reach…

african dress in airport

traditional african dress, Atlanta airport

how beautiful is her national costume.

what you can&#39t see in the pic… (moving too fast!) was her adorable, impeccably dressed preppy little boy, with his stylish graphic teddy bear knapsack.

from whence…i came

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buggy1 barn2 shoofly13 shooflypie4 apple_butter5 amish_painted6 pickledeggs7 peppers8 tomatoes9 ards10 huskingbin11 barn212 distelfink13 dutchcandies14 sheep15 lic_plate16

recently traveled back to where i come from and grew up – and it&#39s strange…but once you&#39ve left somewhere for a long time, you tend to notice cultural things that you once regarded as the norm, but now are fascinated with.

mostly germanic with a heavy dose of both Mennonite, Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch…i sometimes wonder if environmentally that has contributed to my mostly peaceful, laid back nature. i say that in self retrospect, since i&#39m adopted – and i&#39m actually neither germanic nor Mennonite…but rather more from excitable ethnicities, and so it makes me wonder:
nurture vs. nature?

here are a few things that i re-fell in love with while there – green for miles, red barns a-plenty, the Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs that protect and bring good luck, including the Double Distelfink (hung on the side of every barn), amazing farm fresh vegetables from the amish farmer&#39s market (yummmmm, tomatoes, my love!). also, you may notice there are no photos of the amish from the front; they feel that cameras steal their soul, and it is taboo to take pictures of them.

and a little-known culinary wonder not eaten anywhere else in the country except wherever the Pennsylvania Dutch, Amish or Mennonites reside:

shoo fly pie!

oh, and the ubiquitous pickled eggs. (again….yummmm.)

and apple butter (usually eaten in tandem with cottage cheese. very delicious.)

Aug 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera


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packing…for time travel

since happenstancing involves a lot of travel…and because i just returned from a short trip, i thought maybe i&#39d show you what my favorite packing essentials are. these can easily work for both men and women – i&#39m an equal opportunity packer.


packing and trip essentials


1. packing cubes. love them. they can separate things out so that if you have to pack, then unpack, then pack again quickly  – you only have a minimal mess and not have to re-do everything from scratch. i really like these from ebags; they come in many different colors and in sets. they squish, they mold, and you can use each for different things; one for shirts, one for pants, etc. Eagle Creek™ also makes some popular ones.

2. for all of your wayward and unruly technology components, get yourself a Cocoon from Grid-It. you&#39ll never have to dig for your swallowed up, tangled peripherals again!

3. my fav pillow for the plane, a Snoozetime. i like the shape; it&#39s filled with microbeads, it fits pretty well in a carry-on bag, (unlike the U-shaped ones) and if you can&#39t sleep on a plane, it doubles as an armrest. and if your pillow is absolutely sub-par wherever your final destination is – you can use it in the hotel to add some padding.

4. planes are so cold, so i always have something fashionable that serves as a blanket. this one happens to be a huge warm linen blend scarf from one of my go-to stores, Zara – but you can also search on ebay or Nordstrom for great lightweight pashmina or other scarf/blanket options. besides…airlines these days are so tight on money… that who wants to use a recycled, non-laundered blanket…that is, if you even get one?

5. ok, these are some necessities:

first, Evian mini facial spray (not as much on domestic flights, but they are a lifesaver on international flights – your exhausted, dried out face will thank you; and you&#39ll avoid that &#34i-feel-so-grimy-after-14-hours-in-the-air&#34 feeling.) you can get them on amazon, or at Ulta, Sephora, and sometimes just in Walgreens or CVS.

next, i never get on a plane without eyedrops. any eyedrops. Visine or Systane. you&#39ll feel better when you land when your eyes aren&#39t like scorched orbs in their sockets!

then…you won&#39t think you need this – but you do. even the guys: Origins Sensory Therapy™ Peace Of Mind™ On-The-Spot Relief. it&#39s a small little bottle that you use a tiny dab of fluid and put it under your nose..and voilá! your nose and sinuses will open up while flying, and the clean pepperminty/eucalyptus smell will make you oblivious to any bad plane smells… or unfortunate seat neighbor odors.

finally…yes, that is a mini MagLite flashlight. because you know what? if the plane goes down,
i sure as hell am not going to be the one in the dark 😉

6. the purple plastic capsule…i found in Michaels in the craft section. it pinch hits for everything and can be an eyeglasses holder; it fits a razor; it&#39s a mostly airtight container for beach trips when things don&#39t need to get wet; it fits & conceals several (*ahem) womanly things, or keeps your keys safe and dry. and… it even fits an iphone in it.

7. the ultimate clear 1 quart TSA bag for your liquids & toiletries. to me, it has just the right width, you can pack it chock full, and it is more substantial than a ziplock baggie. and, i just love the plane graphic. also, if you didn&#39t already know about this amazing travel size website – bookmark it:

8. a little homemade trick of mine: rubber grip shelf liner. yup, straight out of the kitchen aisle in Target. (or Walmart, or Lowe&#39s, etc). cut a piece that&#39s approx. 9″ high x 12″ wide… and that will fit your tray table on the plane. so those pesky wandering drinks, or your laptop, pens, your glasses and all the things on your tray table will stay put…and not slip & slide. then just roll it up and toss it in your bag when the flight&#39s over.

9. large micro mesh pouches from The Container Store. semi-see through and aerated, they are great for packing your underwear, socks & tights, scarves, or anything thin & that otherwise gets jammed and lost in the nether-region pockets of your suitcase. easy to access, easy to grab & go.

p.s. ALWAYS, always throw a clean pair of underwear in your carry-on bag. if your baggage goes missing, you can carry on your trip without missing a beat. my mom taught me that!

portrait: gent with…a jaunty hat

gent in jaunty hat

happened upon, in an elevator, a charming english gent with a festive jaunty hat. His name is Martin, and he&#39s a photo stylist.

i think the hat may have been the secret source of… his magnificent sartorial style.

potato…with a halo

potato with a halo in a latte

i have a whole series of images about mysterious shapes that appear accidentally in my lattes.
i say &#39accidentally,&#39 because most of them happen in Starbucks, where in fact they are:

a) NOT allowed to do coffee art

b) their equipment has become homogenized (pardon the pun) to the point that it does not produce the right foamy conditions to be able to do so (according to my secret sources!)

with that being said…sometimes the milk defies the odds and a shape appears. this one, as named by barista and cool guy Milan, is titled:

&#34potato with a halo.&#34

it doesn&#39t take a lot to keep me entertained.

Jul 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera

coffee klatch, things

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scissor kick…

scissor sister

recently have taken up yoga…and after years of trepidation, it is the best damn thing i could have done.

so i&#39m bending forward into a downward dog..and i see this woman in front of me with an intriguing scissors icon tattooed on her foot.

and yes, as it turns out…she is in the cosmetology industry.

Jul 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera

people, stylized

COMMENTS No Comments

when it rains…do a rain dance

rain in spain

ok – so i did something that i said i would not do since starting this blog…and that is…that i fell off the wagon a little.

i&#39m actually pretty disappointed; because it&#39s the one thing that i look forward to, and even though i&#39m still &#39happenstancing&#39 daily, i let the grinding gears of daily life and a bunch of things i needed to handle get in the way of my blogging. so… let&#39s not do that anymore!

thought this photo summed up exactly how i felt; a little puddle of rain in a deluge, that was a relief.

ok, so i&#39m not really in Spain. (but i wish that i was.)

in fact it actually rains very seldom where i live…therefore fortuitous that the skies opened up and let my creative juices downpour, as they normally would. and not get stuck in some billowing rain clouds that are hovering… and needing to let loose with their mammoth, cleansing droplets.

most of you may already know that negative ions produced by rain (and water in general) actually have positive effects (increasing seratonin) on humans.

ergo…negative can sometimes = positive.

my grandmother used to do a cool thing when i was little; whenever she heard the forecast predict rain…she sent me & my sister out to do a little &#39Native American&#39 rain dance (and by the way, we are not Native American.)

and we danced; and it did.

so 9 times out of 10…we thought we actually had the power to make it rain.

clever woman.

Jul 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera

places, thoughts

COMMENTS 2 Comments

the forties, flowers…and feet

flowered feet

came upon a girl named Courtney who had these amazing flowers tattoed on her feet; which were sitting pretty in some very retro 1940&#39s persimmon colored peep toe wedges. she told me that her boyfriend, Cole Dirt from Artistic Encounter, did them for her.

we&#39re both in the visual profession – and so i appreciated a great vignette like this.

this blog really isn&#39t only about shoes…although it seems that lately…my accidental &#34happenings-upon&#34 have been a lot of self expression happening with people&#39s feet.

hmmmm…a theme or a thread… of very expressive feet.

Jun 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
COMMENTS 2 Comments

socks, stripes…and serendipity

while sitting at a hair salon, i happened to glance sideways and saw a cool Stüssy cap perched on the station; and so i carried my glance further to see who it belonged to. it belonged to a very chill and stylish guy, who looked like he walked out of an ad in Surfer magazine, and an arbiter of style, at that.

my eyes were riveted downward, to his footwear…how great is this. like a little vignette of righteous self expression…but not at eye level; at FLOOR level.

and, i might add, he was very gracious to let me snap a pic… so that i could show all of you.

stripes man

soak it in.