The Fable, London….

A book-nerd AND foodie paradise.

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Sorry it’s a little blurry! The Fable, London. January 2016.

I’m back in London!

Okay, well I was. This week is quite hectic – well, the next two week really. This week I’m graduating with my master’s degree (today in London) after spending a day in Cardiff and (re)wandering my old London haunts. Now I’m writing from a Paris-bound train for a four day stop over. Then it’s home to LA for a day before flying back east for three(!) job interviews.

I’m tired just typing that!

Anyway, on to the books and food:

Last time I left London (a month ago), I was a bit disappointed that I never managed to hit any of the amazing looking bookstore bars listed on Chelsey Pippen’s Buzzfeed article.  While a good chunk of these were hard/impossible to hit due to distance, timing, or inaccessible to the public (private clubs with higher pay-ins than I am ever expecting to be able to shell out), I was over the moon to be able to hit the trendy and book themed The Fable Bar and Grill. Absolutely everything about this location has me raving!

There are three levels to this space – the upper floor bar, the middle floor which looked like an event space, and the lowest level which serves as the grill and where book nerds will want to spend most of their time.

Pictured here and on the gallery portion of the site, Fable houses some awesome décor which surrounds you while you get to dine on beautifully crafted dishes.

IMG_8206.JPGWe entered the top-most floor and took the inner stairs down to the grill following this whimsical neon sign, ready to be Alice once again whisked down the rabbit hole.

As we were dinning early on a Monday, there wasn’t a crowd but they do recommend making a reservation just in case. The site has a reservation form online which is easy to complete but you should call ahead at least the morning of or day before depending on which meal you are looking for as sometimes thee forms don’t make it through – this happens everywhere, of course, so nothing against Fable.

IMG_8210 (2).JPGWe were tempted to cuddle into the amazing book nook – who wouldn’t! – but decided to save it for a larger group,opting for one of the tables near the windows so we could people watch.

The food was amazing – tasty and well portioned for every dish we ordered. I got the butternut squash risotto followed by a brownie a la mode and was more than happy with both the price and that ‘just right’ full feeling.

You should definitely read all of the menus including the descriptions because there are some truly awesome details and titles in there. Even If you don’t drink, the drink menu is well worth the gander – like the “Winter is Coming” cocktail and the Tipsy Affogato, an alcoholic pour-over coffee dessert which is presented in a pair of tea cups!

The whole look of the grill begs for pictures and, as long as you are respectful of servers and other diners, the staff won’t say anything about you taking a quick wander around the dining room for a few pictures – as long as you are a customer obviously! In fact, all of the staff we talked to while wandering and eating were awesome.

This is one stop in London I would recommend to anyone, but to book-nerds in particular. It’s a treat that you can go to over and over again!

But that’s all the raving I can do for now, so below I’ll add in any last pictures as they say so much more than I ever could and until next week,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

The Fable, London….

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles….

Not really (or not yet and hopefully it won’t be) but isn’t that a catchy name?

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Whole gallery. Los Angeles, California. January 2016.

This past weekend my dad (FINALLY!) drove us down into the city to visit one of the most amazing bookstores I have ever seen (and I’ve gone to quite a few): The Last Bookstore.

This bookstore, located at 5th and Spring in downtown LA, is a large two story building which, beyond just selling books, houses small art boutiques and other varied nooks.

What I loved about this building’s construction is it’s not built like a regular two story shop. Rather, you have a first story which for the most part looks like your average bookstore – there are books lined up on rows of bookcases, but the second floor has a balcony view down to the shopping floor. This second floor houses the boutiques as well as a book section called “The Labyrinth”.

The Labyrinth is made up of sci-fi and fantasy books (as well as other related genres), then the “decorative books” which are colorful books which you wouldn’t read but look fun on the shelves. This floor made me feel like Alice lost in a wonderful Wonderland of books. They were configured in an enclosed hallway as well as a looking glass (aka a nice book frame perfect for getting your picture taken through). The stacks on this level a staggered rather than organized rows which leads the search for your next read to fell like an adventure all your own, wandering through this labyrinth.

Within the labyrinth is also one of the stores many themed nooks—the horror nook. The door to this section is a vault door!

There are a range of book nooks organized by genre with fun labels done up in creative ways, making these sections so much fun. A few of these include the graphic novel and rare book sections. The main stacks also have fun shelf labels (though I can’t name any for the life of me) as well as great section signs which are hung from pipe rails. I loved the industrial designs contrast with the Grecian/Roman pillars.

The stairs up to the second floor, as well as a few other places throughout, have book and paper themed art littering the walls and almost everything is free for you to photograph (some of the galleries ask you not to for obvious reasons). I love the large Mammoth head mounted on one wall off set by twinkle lights hanging above on the second store railing. Let’s not forget the checkout desk which is designed to look like a huge stack of books!

This whole store is so eclectic! I just wanted to live here!

There are also couches and armchairs on both levels which you can stop and take a break at, however, they ask that you don’t take a nap or use the space as a library, again for obvious reasons (it’s still a store!).

This is another cool bookstore which offers to purchase your good condition, used books so you can come prepared! You will also have to check bags and show your receipt when leaving but it’s all worth the hours you can spend here.

This is an amazing store which brings in a lot of people both interested in shopping and in exploring and taking pictures, and both are accepted. My final plea if you do get the chance to visit is to purchase at least on book and help keep The Last Bookstore running—it really is a treasure worth keeping around!

All in all, I’m a happy book nerd!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Ps. here’s a gallery of pictures from our adventure!

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles….

Dancing at Bus stops…

One thing that you can’t live anywhere without, AKA one of my best memories/nights in London.

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South London. September 2015.

I’ve given a lot of advice about a range of subjects from how to pack to dealing with travel companions to sites to see, but for me the thing that I think is the most important to keep in mind, whether you are traveling or moving somewhere new, is finding friends or people to surround yourself with who let you act silly and enjoy yourself.

One night back in September (which I mentioned briefly in another post), I went with a friend of mine to see her friends band. After the show, we all stayed out despite the cold singing all the way down in the southern part of London. The night was a riot.

By the time we all got to the tube station, the last train back north (where four of us girls lived) had just departed, meaning we were fated for a long wait across three buses spanning 2 hours.

It took about 5 minutes of standing around (out of a 30 minute wait for the next bus)  in the cold for us to decide that freezing was not worth making good impressions. Soon our quartet turned into a mess of giggles and dancing in the middle of the night (a little after midnight).

Between the Electric Slide/Hustle and a very enthusiastic variation of the Cha-Cha, which accidentally flagged down a wrong bus or two, we were all fast friends, doubling over practically to tears and plenty warm. This only intensified as we watched the expressions of passersby who were obviously not use to our kind of antics. More than once, we watch people almost give themselves whiplash from noticing and then eyeing us as they drove by.

Now that I’ve moved back home and am contemplating where I will be heading next, this is a memory that jumps out at me.

If I can give anyone any advice about the people to surround yourself with, it is people who you can just dance around in public with with no fear about making an ass out of yourself or looking like a complete idiot.

I have found that this can be a lot easier if you are traveling since you can tell yourself that you will never see any of these people again, but I think it’s important to (and I’m trying to) bottle that feeling and incorporate it into the rest of my life (along with saying what I mean as bluntly and straight forwardly as possible – another skill picked up through traveling).

This was quick and a little scattered but of all the thing I think traveling can teach is figuring out exactly what you want to do and the kind of people you want to surround yourself with.

But again, this is just what I’m looking at moving forward. Sorry this is a little less travel-oriented, but I needed to get this down. So until next time:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Dancing at Bus stops…

Just some points of planning well

Some advice for traveling out of London…Part two of my London travel summary

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Here is my Heart: London, England. December 2015.

If you are stationed in London, whether living here or just as a home base to travel out from on vacation, this city is close to everything so it’s a great spot to travel out from, especially if you are looking for smaller outings. If you are looking to do more of these small trips as I wish I had during my time out there, there are a few pieces of advice you should keep in mind:

First, you don’t (and I really mean never) need to pack as much as you think. You can really go weeks at a time living out of a backpack or carry-on sized bag if you pack it correctly. By this, I mean both HOW and WHAT you pack.

Most travelers know that rolling clothes takes up less space in your bag, allowing for more room for other pieces which is a great tool, however, if you pack a good mix of durable items (even if some are thinner) you can get away with not packing very much at all.

A pair of basic blue of black denim pants can generally stretch across weeks with no problem, especially if you pack them in with dryer sheets and/or a small bottle of fragrance spray. If you pack two pairs (say if your trip is longer than a week) you can switch back and forth to let things air out during the day rather than all night which is the best idea with a single pair. Adding a pair of leggings or two helps with this rotation as well while still keeping things light.

Tops are a bit harder because they tend to be less resilient, however, if you are careful, follow the same patterns as stated for jeans, you can get away with double wearing shirts—triple wearing if we’re talking about a thicker material (like you’ll find in a unisex top, thicker thermals and plaid button ups). Think about packing stuff that goes together and you shouldn’t run into any issues!

This changes if you have to plan for events, of course—I’m graduating soon which includes a week of travel between countries, meaning adding in outfits for multiple nice events/nights out as well as the cold of Europe in January.

For a quick trip (call it a week,) I pack a pair of jeans, a pair of thick leggings, one jacket, one sweater, 4 shirts—two of which are long tops—and pjs. I’ll wear boots and pack a pair of easy sneakers and/or flats that I can walk in.

But this isn’t just about packing, so moving on to point two:

Before you even think about what to wear and where, plan a few small day to weekend trips at a time without any dates necessarily attached. This lets you schedule them in once you have ideas of what you want to do and around your non-travel schedule. Once you are more settled in, this pre-planning will make it much easier to actually get things set up.

A note here: when I say plan these trips, I mean write them down and in detail; don’t just keep ideas in your head. You have to know how long you want these trips to be or need them to be going into the later stage of planning (ie. nailing down your details) so you don’t waste time.

I also really recommend using the favorite feature on Google maps. You’ll be able to plan your day to day excursions based one where things are in relation to each other, as well as find easy links and time tables for when things are open and the time it will take to get from one stop to another. It also lets you discover places you physically cannot get to whether because of lack of transportation, time, cost, or any of the other issues which tend to pop up. I check this everyday I’m traveling just to check where I stand.

After you finish up one of your trips, make a list of everything you wanted to do that you weren’t able to get around to. You’re more likely to go to the same place multiple times if it’s not far or hard to reach, so having this list already created will make it easier later. I’m experiencing this now while planning a few days with my parents in Paris. While my mom is doing a lot of it with my father in mind—he hasn’t been to Paris in a very long time—I was able to send her some places from my list that would work for each of us.

But my biggest piece of advice for traveling out from London—or really any European hub city—is to do at least one solo trip with these bits of advice in mind.  It’s an experience that lets you grow in ways you probably won’t expect and lets you figure out what YOU want out of traveling, which if you’re reading this, seems like the whole point.

Today was hectic and this was a quick piece, but if you have other key pieces of advice you’ve picked up along your travels, I’d love to hear your travel codes!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Just some points of planning well