The Bryan Stow Fund

If you know me at all, you know I love the Dodgers with a passion. I was brought up listening to Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda was one of my childhood heroes, and dad told me stories about the great Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and countless others... All my life I've adored my team, which makes the recent tragedy hit home so much harder.

What can you say when some gutless thugs mercilessly beat a man simply for liking the other team? Yes, there's a heated rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants; but in the end, it comes down to basic human decency and respect. Please, let's not continue this vicious cycle. I've been hit and had things thrown at me for visiting Angels stadium while wearing Dodgers gear, violence is not unique to one team's fans... But if you're a true lover of the great game of baseball, please respect others.

If you can, donate some money to the Bryan Stow Fund. You can go directly from a PayPal account by clicking on the Send Money option then going to Personal: Gift and sending the donation to stowdonations@gmail.com.

"There's no room in the game for hatred and violence. This is America's national pastime, let's keep it that way." -Jamey Carroll


The Book Loft, Solvang, CA

The last store in my ramblings through the little town of Solvang was The Book Loft. It's unique in every sense of the word: embodying a Barnes & Noble-esque downstairs, a lovely used and rare section upstairs, the Hans Christian Andersen museum and the cozy little Bulldog Cafe.

Don't panic, I say Barnes & Noble merely because the downstairs is comprised entirely of new books. It's still a used bookstore at heart. Of course, I milled about downstairs and marvelled at the Authors Playing Cards (an item I fully intended to create myself), journals, puzzles, games etc... But the piece de resistance is upstairs. It contains a fabulous American/Military history section, a bit of poetry, a wall of fiction, cases of rare books and the lovely museum dedicated to one of my favorite authors.

As I wandered among the many shelves, one of the employees noticed my epic reading list and asked if he could help me find what I was looking for. Now although they didn't have the incredibly obscure book, he hopped online and found a copy he could order and ship to me. Now that's service! Go. Wander. Enjoy.

If you visit, here's a little tip: the stairs leading to the used section has a long bookshelf built into it... It has beautiful classics and poetry books for great prices!

Martin's Book Exchange, Solvang, CA

It's tiny, it's sweet, it's exactly what I love in a used bookstore. Martin's Book Exchange in Solvang, California is such a cute little store, I always find books to suit my taste. In the interest of writing this recommendation, I branched out and checked the other sections of books to give you an idea of what they've got. Of course, when I go in, I always make a beeline for the classics and poetry, but I saw romance, history, children's, foreign, health, art, science fiction and rare books (there are more genres than that, I encourage you to go check them out!).

Good prices, the owner is helpful and sweet, and it has that gorgeous book smell!


Valley Books, Solvang, CA

Be still, my beating heart! While on vacation for a few days this week, I scored big time. I found books all over the lovely little town of Solvang, California. What can I say, some people buy little windmill magnets, some spend their cash on Aebleskiver, I used all available funds (and then some) on my beloved books.

I'm recommending some neat little book shops because if you happen to love literature and you find yourself in the vicinity, you'll love these stores. First up, Valley Books. There's something incredibly comforting and wonderful about this store. Unlike some bookstores which are total dives, Valley Books is clean, easy to find your way around, well organized and filed, not to mention the fact that they only sell books in good condition. -This is a big selling point for me, being a girl who's more than once bought a book in a fever of excitement only to get home and realize it smells like my Great-Great Aunt Alice's living room. -

Back to the point though, you can revel in the used and new books, buy some yummy coffee and sit in the comfy chairs all around the store. Also, another big plus: the people who work there don't hover and bother you, if you have a question, they're more than willing to help, but they understand what bibliophiles require above all: time and space.

I found 3 more books off my reading list for under $10! Seriously, go check it out, it's worth it and you'll find some great deals!