This week I’m celebrating my self employment with a long overdue visit to California to see my mom. Although the weather in North Carolina attempted to sabotage my plans with a crazy snow storm, I managed to make it!
Our first day was spent on the high seas! Okay, just off the port of Los Angeles. We had great time on a whale watching tour, where we actually got to see some whales. Well, parts of whales. (They are underwater after all.) We did see a tail, a flipper, and some backs. It was all too quick to snag some decent photos, but it was amazing to see.
I did get a picture of these cuties hanging out on a buoy. They were supremely unconcerned with our boat.
Monday was a lot of walking! We started out at The Last Bookstore, which is huge and amazing. The bottom floor is all new books and some movies and music. The building was originally built in 1914 as the headquarters of the Crocker Citizens National Bank. The inside still retains a lot of the original details. Coupled with the cozy chairs and natural light from the high windows, it makes a lovely place to curl up and read.
The second story features a gallery and studio space for local artists.
Most of the upstairs is taken over by a literal labyrinth of bookshelves stocked with used books for a dollar a piece. Bookcases from every design aesthetic stick out at off angles from each other, stacked haphazardly with odd books. If you’re lucky, the section may be labeled with a sticky note, but mostly you just have to start looking through books to figure out what’s there. It was pretty amazing.
Going through the tunnel of books, you’ll find more carefully curated used book section. Mysteries and crime books are kept in the old bank vault, obviously.
After browsing through the books, we headed a couple blocks down to the bead and fabric districts. Our first stop was The Bead Factory. It was huge and amazing and slightly overwhelming. Row after row of bead strands, floor to ceiling. Packages of studs, charms, findings, rhinestones, you name it. Their items are wholesale, so the prices are incredibly reasonable.
I was obsessing over these strands of agate just a little, they were so gorgeous!
We checked out several other bead stores in the area and then wandered over to the textile district a block up to peruse.
After nearly shopping until we dropped, we headed a few miles over to Echo Park to check out Sunday’s Best Thrift Apparel. The shop is teensy, but well curated and items are very reasonably priced. The main section is a regular thrift store and there’s a smaller room offering vintage pieces. I was happy to walk out with two cute dresses for $9. We also headed over to Out of the Closet Thrift Store. Proceeds go towards providing free HIV testing, HIV and AIDS medication, and patient advocacy programs.
We headed over to Sage Vegan Bistro and ate way too much before heading back to the hotel for the night.