May 20, 2013

Hello, Monday {California Love}


Today I'm sharing a recent book find, a score at one of my favorite, secret home decor shops, The Alley.  Its a small chain mostly located in the desert communities around Palm Springs, but we also have one here in my town.  (I also wrote about it here, in a post featuring another cool book find at The Alley.)

I love the "Little Big Book of..." series. We have both the "Moms" and "Dads" editions,  gifts from my mother-in-law. (We used to joke with the kids that they were parenting instruction books, and they believed us.) The books are small and chock-full of ephemera art and quotes and songs and recipes and book excerpts. So imagine my delight when at a recent stop at The Alley, I found a big stack of sale books of The Little Big Book of California
It was clearance priced for only $2.99.  Crazy!

The book is really lovely, and lovingly put-together. There are recipes for guacamole, churros, and huevos rancheros, and the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's "California" and other songs. There are essays about the gold rush, Hollywood as mindset-over-place, Cesar Chavez, and the water wars over the Colorado River.

It's a great mix of fun and more thoughtful pieces, and interspersed on nearly every page are vintage art and woodcut illustrations: 

Half Dome at Yosemite. Been there!
A California Mission. Been there (more than one)!
The great state seal, as seen in Sacramento, our capitol. Been there!
Bougainvillea beside a swimming pool: looks like Palm Springs. Been there! So. Many. Times!  (Hint: each of those words has a link to a different Palm Spring post.)

Hello, my little blog.  I'm still here as "The Reading Nest." Late last week, I started thinking about my blog's subtitle, "La Vida California," and became convinced that I should change my blog name to that. I've realized lately that most of my posts are about my road trips and day trips, and my life here (and the weather).  Not so much at all about either "reading" or "nesting,"  although I still do quite a lot of both.  For some reason, I just don't feel as inspired to write about those topics.

"Oh, but California..." to quote Joni Mitchell. For whatever reason, I get really excited talking about places and ideas and writers and musicians that are California-centric.  I've always been fascinated by the concepts of place, geography and regionalism. It's the same reason I was so enamored of "The South" that I went to spend a year in Mississippi.

 In the end...I just changed my banner up there to something a little cleaner and brighter, with a California poppy illustration from the book. I realized that changing the blog's name would probably confuse and alienate my 14 readers, and why do that to you? If you frequent the blog, you already know that I love my state and talking about travel and our Sunday drives.

So maybe expect a little more California love here on the blog. Summer is coming, and already I have trips to Rancho Mirage and Lake Tahoe planned, that I can't wait to take and then share with you. And rather than beating myself up about hating to write book reviews -- even though I'm a writer & bookworm -- I've decided to simply share a photo each week (or so) of whatever book is in my lap. So there ya go.

Hello, Monday. I'm still here. Still loving books (especially pretty ones that only cost $2.99). Still dreaming of road trips. Still listening to Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstandt and old school, mellow 70s yacht-rock.   

Still embarrassed that I've never been to the East Coast, though I'm pretty sure which one I'll always consider the best coast.
Happy Monday, wherever this may find you. 

Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello, Mondays.


  1. Hello! I'm a new Follower and I'm so pleased to meet you. Come visit and Follow Me, too! I'd love to have you! LOVD tidings, Lilly

    1. Thanks & welcome, Lilly! So glad you're following along. I look forward to reading your blog.


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