Where Bookworms Go To Party

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What: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Where: University of Southern California


While it seems nearly everyone left the city over the weekend and migrated to the scorching Indio desert for the annual Coachella music festival, I stayed in town and partied at the other one…the festival where bookworms go. Yes, I’m a total nerd (and proud of it).

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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is an accomplished mixture of live music, art, food, and of course, all things books. Its goal is to unite authors and readers, those with pure love for the written word together in one venue for a two-day celebration. Approximately 150,000 people make their way to the esteemed USC campus to hear talks with authors; attend poetry readings while lying on the warm grass; rock out to up-and-coming bands; indulge in food trucks galore; and walk booth after booth of local merchants, organizations, and booksellers.

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{People everywhere!}

And so, this past Saturday afternoon found me making the trek East to the other side of town to finally see what all the fuss is about. After a not so happy $10 parking fee (ugh), I quickly perked up at the sight of food everywhere as soon as I stepped out of my car, particularly when I saw the elusive Grilled Cheese Food Truck (that’s been on my list of places to try forever). I perked up some more when I saw the sign for funnel cakes, and full-blown elation hit me when I saw Lindes Almonds and fresh kettle corn one booth over. Yes, this was going to be a special Saturday, indeed.

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{The Grilled Cheese Truck.}

As I walked away from the food trucks (making a mental note to return later), I soon noticed myself grooving to the melody of soulful R&B music, looked up and joined the crowd in front of a large stage and listened to a band that I instantly fell in love with, Idesia. Their sound was fresh, their vibe contagious – the audience clearly feeling the tune to their song and I was one of them. I ended up staying through their entire set.

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{Idesia.}

Having had a feel for what was going on on the food and music front, I turned toward books. I strolled along lanes consumed with booths full of works covering every genre imaginable. I smiled to myself often, thinking about how much I’d always loved being around books, something that stems from my childhood (that I’ve fondly written about before here).

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{Books, books, books!}

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{Again, people everywhere!}

The afternoon found me wandering, people watching, then joining a poetry reading by Douglas Kearney from his collection of poems in Patter. I sat on the grass listening as he lyrically emoted his personal account of struggling with infertility with his wife.

poetryATG{Douglas Kearney poetry reading.}

I browsed the endless rows of booths throughout the day, particularly impressed with Yes & Yes Designs, a company that designs jewelry exclusively made from books! Pretty cool, huh?

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{Yes & Yes Designs jewelry booth.}

As the sun started to set later in the day, I made my way back to the food trucks and finally stopped at that elusive Grilled Cheese Truck, but not before a visit to the Lindes booth to gather those famous glazed almonds and a bag of fresh kettle corn to-go. It was almost a 20 minute wait, but as I bit into my Cheesy Mac Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with country-style mac and cheese – it was worth the wait (and the calories).

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{Grilled cheese heaven.}

I made my way back to the car, relaxed and happy – high off that first bite of my grilled cheese sandwich. I had sweet treats to indulge in at home, a couple of books in my bag, a new band that I was excited about, and one memorable Saturday afternoon under my belt.

The LA Times Festival of Books just might become an annual party.

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{I loved this saying.}

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights

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{ #1 Day 13: Farmers’ market happy.}

One of the things that I love about this time of year, is how much I look forward to being outdoors. One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon is a walk along the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica (frozen yogurt in hand, of course) while window shopping, people watching, and gazing at the ocean in the distance.

And when I can muster up the strength to get out of bed early enough before it gets too hot outside and the trails too crowded, a hike is always something I like doing that I wish I did more of, but find myself preferring to sleep in, taking a more leisurely approach to my weekend mornings.  And yet, when the beach is involved (my absolute favorite thing to do on warm weekends) it seems much easier to get out of bed bright and early to grab a good spot on the sand. Somehow that whole exercise part of hiking hinders me more than lazily sitting on the beach with a book. (Hey, it’s the California girl in me.)

A ritual that seems to reoccur around this time of year and through the summer months is finding myself on Sunday mornings even doing my grocery shopping outdoors for the week’s produce at the local farmers’ market. Though the farmers’ market goes on all year, there’s something about the next few months that find me particularly more excited to stock-up on fresh strawberries, lettuce, and my other addiction (besides lattes and Hot Tamales) freshly made, still warm in the bag kettle corn.

Last Sunday found me at the farmers’ market for the first time in months not only due to the amazing weather, but because this is the time of year when strawberries and other types of produce taste better. It’s certainly more of a process gathering groceries for the week at the farmers’ market than making my structured weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, but I like the atmosphere that comes with buying from local merchants – there’s a relaxation to it that you just don’t find walking the aisles of the grocery store.

Reflecting back on this week, the highlights were largely based off that one trip to the farmers’ market. I smiled to myself often as I chopped up my salads, made smoothies for breakfast using fresh strawberries, and happily snacked on Kettle corn while blogging or watching TV. It’s something that I hope to continue to do.

It’s supposed to be another sunny, but more temperate weekend ahead. There’s plenty going on around town this weekend, but I have a rather long to-do list, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to squeeze in. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books event starts tomorrow through Sunday at USC and the bookworm in me has always wanted to go and check out the festivities: exhibits, talks, poetry readings, live music, and of course be around books for an entire afternoon!

I’m starting the weekend with a very rare visit to (*in my best British accent*) “The Theater.” My boyfriend scored free tickets to a play in Westwood tonight, making it a welcome change of pace to our otherwise more typical boring Friday nights in watching Shark Tank.

I’m now on day 18 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge still going strong. My top 5 favorite photos since we last talked are also other random highlights of life lately.

I hope you all have a good weekend!

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{#2 – Day 16: I’m becoming fast friends with the Barista at my go to morning coffee spot. My iced latte was served more decoratively than usual, much to my delight.}

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{#3 – Day 14: I finally bought a new fun polka dot notebook to keep handy to jot down blogging ideas no matter where I am!}

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{#4 – Day 17:  A new straw clutch for spring. And it doubles as a cross-body. Win, Win.}

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{#5 -Day 15: Fresh farmers’ market strawberries. Smoothies and Belgian waffles were especially delish this week.}


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