Posts Tagged With: bookshops

grateful for a brain reset

This summer felt weird.
Almost like it didn’t really start until we came home from Thing 2’s at the end of June.
Then I blinked and July ended.
Now it’s all gearing up to get ready to go back to school.

I find myself searching for something just out of reach…
Perhaps I’ll focus on what was worth celebrating.
Perhaps a little brain reset?

I’m looking at all things for which I am grateful.
What better brain reset could there possibly be?

This is what I’m grateful for in May:
four negative COVID tests
YBW being only a little bit sick
Amber (she does my hair)
Jessica being here
Nicole and Jon being here
Baby K finally meeting (and loving) Nicole
two of my three alternative health care providers
Essie Willow in the Wind

What I’m grateful for in June:
LAST DAY OF SCHOOL (Dobby is a free elf)
celebrating at two graduation parties
Essie Aruba Blue
Baby K weekend
a day at Nats park with my darling nephew
an unexpected Holly day
finally being at home with Thing 2 and Boyfriend M
new ink
celebrating Josie at her surprise birthday party
one of my three alternative health care providers

What I’m grateful for in July:
celebrating twenty-five years of Thing 2
an extra long Baby K weekend
Democracy jeans
Six at the National and cocktails at Round Robin with Thing 1

dinner with Nora and Dale
Essie Spice it Up
a Bards Alley trip with Baby K in which she discovered kaleidoscopes
Thing 1 creating the perfect labels for my pantry containers with her Cricut
two of my three alternative health care providers

I’m chock full of gratitude this summer for:
being able to read so many books
fresh peaches
time on the roof terrace

a new grill
tequila
brewing some damn fine iced tea

Even though things are weighing heavily on my brain and heart, I’ve got so much to be grateful for!
I hope y’all’s summer has you chock full of gratitude too.

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day four

When YBW asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I made a list.
I mean of course I made a list…

On that list was three things.
1. Meadowlark
2. kebabs
3. 2 Silos

Even though it was cloudy and cool, we spent about two and a half hours at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
Here are a few of my favorite shots.

This is lily of the valley, birthday flower of May babies

At the pond

This right here is some Dr Seuss looking tree

Peonies are starting to bloom (big ol’ SQUEE!)

We just came up this path – last shot of the day

Before we left Vienna we stopped in at my favorite bookshop, Bards Alley.
And I ordered kebabs from the Afgan joint we love the most to be picked up on our way home. The sun finally came out so we ate late lunch on the porch.
Then we had beers with Nora and Dale at our local brewery.

It was a VERY Roby sort of day!

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art festival day

The Alexandria King Street Art Festival was this weekend.

It just happened to coincide with our monthly date with friends. So the four of us went in to Old Town, had brunch at Union Street Public House. I ate some mediocre shrimp and grits and had two French 75 cocktails!

After a quick visit with, and a whimsical art purchase from Patti Ballard, we left Alexandria for dessert and coffee in Vienna.
Of course while we were in Vienna, I had to take our friends to Bards Alley.

Cocktails, art, coffee and dessert, and books. So many of my most-loved things squeezed into one day. And date days/nights with our friends are some of my favorite days, but on this gorgeously sunny, first Saturday in Autumn, I was content to simply walk down the street holding the hand of my precious husband.

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the best of places

“You see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. They are, simply put, the best of places.”
― Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book

Bookshops are really and truly magical.
I’m fortunate to be able to frequent some seriously
Used bookstores are a fascinating combination of the scent of excited humans and the slightly mildewy smell of old paper. One thing I love about them is using mad detective skills while searching. There’s a sort of Indiana Jones feeling about it, never knowing what treasure you’ll find mixed in with dog eared paperbacks.

Right here in Manassas we have McKay’s. Y’all this place! From vinyl to blu ray discs, from board books for babies to fat biographies. McKay’s is our go to for donating and shopping. They’ll take your old books and give you store credit. (Much to Thing 2’s chagrin, you can’t use it to buy vinyl.) They also have this free bin out front, that if you time just right, is filled with the most random collection of books you can imagine. Occasionally I’ll choose some with cool fonts just to use for future projects. As a matter of fact, I have a stack under my work table, waiting for the perfect project.

I don’t get to Capital Hill Books as often as I’d like. But, it’s one of the coolest used bookshops I’ve ever entered. And the truth is one could actually get lost in this shop. Not because of the size, my God, it’s teeny and so packed with books you almost can’t get around them, much less other browsing humans, but because of the sheer volume of merchandise in the store! The owner is knowledgeable but crotchety, so be prepared to ask well thought out questions, he suffers no fools.

Prospero’s Books is here in Old Town Manassas. I don’t really like visiting this shop as much as McKay’s. There’s something about it that feels…well, off, somehow. I’m not sure how to explain it. I always feel like something bad is going to happen when I’m in there. But, it does have that delicious mildewy smell about it, and you know you’re in a building that’s seen a century of life in Manassas. This shop has an excellent first editions section, especially if you’re interested in the American Civil War.

Second Chapter Books in Middleburg, and Page Master Used Books in Front Royal are also good for a look.
In the five points area of Columbia (SC) there’s a little shop called Dr Books. Y’all this store has it’s own kitty! The people who run it have been doing so for a couple of generations. Eight or nine years ago, I was tickled to find a f.e. of Homage to Clio here for less than ten dollars!

Sometimes it’s simpler to get on the internet and search. I buy loads of books from both Abe Books and Alibris.

And while Amazon is handy for online shopping, and and B & N has a in store selection, I’m much more inclined to visit independent booksellers.
I adore Bard’s Alley! Vienna is a quick trip and grabbing a glass of wine and a snack in the bookshop is pretty much Heaven! The ladies here are well read and seriously helpful! I’ve been delighted by the books I’ve picked up in this shop. I swung by recently because I was early for an appointment and had just enough to browse, make a selection, and purchase before arriving on time at my appointment. Sometimes those are the best moments!

Politics and Prose has two locations in DC. The one at the recently revitalized Warf is chock full of great reads, fun little gifties and a knowledgeable and well read staff. They’re displays are playful and interesting. I love that! I think it makes it more of an adventure finding your next read! And I’m all about book adventures! The other location hosts some seriously cool authors on a fairly regular basis.

When spending time with Jessica, a trip to Kiawah to visit Indigo Books is always on the schedule. This shop has a small, but well thought out children’s section. The staff is helpful and can order pretty much anything into the store for pick up. This shop feels more casual than the ones in VA and DC, I mean of course it does! It’s on an island. It’s laid back atmosphere makes you want to search for beach reads and books to spark your imagination, but I’ve found some pretty cool serious reads there too. A mystery book for Thing 1’s Christmas Eve book came from this shop. My girl loves mysteries!

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King
Dude knows what’s up.
I love to find my portable magic in these unique spaces!
Where do you get your book on?
What do you love about those spaces?
Let me know in the comments!

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