Wordless Wednesday: Spanglish en K-Town

Better late than nunca…

(It’s still miércoles in my neck of the woods and I just might get away with my usual Wordless Wednesday post.)

Pure Drinking "Agua" is available at the corner store on 8th street in Korea Town, LA.

Kim's Discount "La Baratita" miscellaneous store is right next door.

Just up the street, you get Alkaline Water, a KTown local shop (no entiendo el sign) and "Expresión Market" directo desde Oaxaca, México. Grillos, anybody? They make a tasty snack.

A visit to The Last Bookstore in DTLA

The Last Bookstore is located on the corner of Spring and 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

For those of us who love books, finding a new bookstore that speaks to our nerdy sensibilites as well as to our aesthetic values brings new thrills which are hard to describe. For me, I guess it’s one of those things that makes me want to do a happy dance. No me da pena admitirlo, estas son las cosas that get me all excited.

So it was a particular joy to discover such a place right in the middle of the vibrant downtown LA reinvention, on the corner of Spring and 5th street. The place is called “The Last Bookstore” and it is awesome.

Originally, I had read of about this bookstore in a fabulous article/list which was shared on Twitter called “The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”. (Click on the link to go to the list.) I was particularly excited to see that El Péndulo, in Mexico DF (La Condesa) had made the list. I’ve been there several times and yes, it’s beautiful. But since one of the bookstores mentioned is right here in LA, I knew I had to visit. (I hereby proclaim a newfound obsession about visiting them all, even if it takes years to travel around the world.)

Lucky for me that my friend Olivia is also a nerd (I say it with respect and admiration) and was psyched to go along for the discovery. So off we went. The site is a wonderful building with great “bones” and architecture. Its wide open space and columns made me think of an opulent time from the past in downtown LA, when it may have been a bank or financial institution, but thankfully has been rescued/recycled into a place of knowledge.

You can read the story about The Last Bookstore here, and you may be curious to know, they buy books in good condition (no encyclopedias, no books that are falling apart or smell like kitty litter) and they are usually interested in classical literature in hardcover. Pero yo les voy a llevar algunas novelas/libros en español que talvez puedan quedar en mejores manos…

Here are some pictures, and just so you know, you can find books on almost any subject here at a great deal. Most of them are very cheap and you won’t feel like you are breaking the bank.

Happy Reading!

A wide angle view of the bookstore.

The cashier is a beautiful sculpture of books.

Grab a book and make yourself comfortable.

Just don't stay there too long, lounging and not buying anything. This is a business after all. There is a one hour time limit for sitting and reading. ¡No se vayan a dormir!

La sección de libros en español. I personally plan to contribute to new reading material, since I think they could use more titles.

Hey, you can find paperbacks from James Joyce and the book of Dream Interpretation from Freud. (I have a few dreams I have to analyze myself!)

Olivia finds a Decca record she likes. They have a huge selection of LP's for 99 cents.

She also found a disco de Menudo, from the early days, and I almost flipped. Look: Miguel, Xavier, Charly, Ricky, and Jhonny!

They also have a coffee bar that serves "Cafecito Orgánico" coffee and other treats.

The lovely Miss O at The Last Bookstore.

Frivolous Friday post: How I love thee, Kate Spade

TGIF and Happy Friday everybody.

Can you believe it’s almost Easter? Ya falta bien poquito.

I remember when I was a kid, we used to get new dresses for Easter Sunday and we used to love it. I thought about recreating that for this year, pues traigo ganas de estrenar vestido.

So the first place I thought of  for a dress was my favorite designer, la Kate Spade. It is pretty incredible that everything she has in store is everything I would want in my closet. But you need to win the mega jackpot for that to happen.

Pero pues como soñar no cuesta nada, I was browsing through the Kate Spade website and found lovely things (although carísimas!) and came across a great ebook  made for her blog called “things we love,” and I fell in love with it.

You can see a link to the book here.

One of the pages of the "Things we Love" book on the blog from Katespade.com

I really like this brand, have always loved her clean designs and girly-cutesy-preppy-fresa style, but lately their branding and marketing has been so original and fresh that I take my hat off to the team behind it. It’s pure feminine inspiration. They make a jeans and t-shirt girl want to dress up, so that is a miracle.

A  few months ago I took this picture at one of their stores and I thought, my God, does Kate know me or what?

I think Kate me conoce bien, me describió a la perfección, especialmente the part about losing the umbrella and calling my grandmother. This big board decorated the cashier at Kate Spade's store.

Of course, I had this beautiful Kate Spade iPhone case last year, which was my absolute favorite thing ever, but I broke it TWICE and have not been able to use it since. They don’t make it anymore, she has new designs, but I managed to get the iPad Case on sale, so I guess I can’t complain.

You can imagine tears were shed over this one: my broken newspaper print case is now unusable. The classified NY messages circled with red lipstick are Brooklyn Book Club and Piano Lessons in NYC.

Wordless Wednesday: El Corner Deli de NY

The Corner Deli is also called La Esquina. Loved the neon sign. Photo CB2012.

They sell Tortas, Tacos, Cerveza and Jarritos at the Corner Deli/ La Esquina in NY. Photo by yours truly.

The Earthquake in Mexico reminds me it’s time to update my earthquake kit

Today a 7.6 shocker jolted al DF, la capital mexicana, and it was a wake up call, AGAIN, for those of us who live in California. Thankfully there was not that much damage, that we know of yet, as the other temblores que han pegado, like the one in September 1985. We’re still keeping our chilango friends and families in our prayers. Animo!

Here’s a post I wrote almost a year ago, give or take a few days, after the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan. I made a kit soon thereafter, which I have since not kept updated, to tell you the truth. But I will do so asap.

It’s also time to revisit and to rethink our strategies for when the earthquake hits in LA and around California. They keep telling us that it’s a matter of time. Y no es para asustar, this is only a reminder that we live in a earthquake prone place. So make a plan and be ready. My new motto is: Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared. (Maybe I should copyright this one.)

Click on the image to read about my kit, which will be replenished tonight! And check out these sites for more information:


Be Prepared California

California Emergency Management Agency

Earthquake Kit

My earthquake kit needs to be replenished.

I knew it, now the NYTimes says it: “Bilinguals are smarter”

Pues el New York Times hoy dice que los bilingual people are smarter and more adept at understanding the world.

SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

I kind of want to frame this article and show it to all the naysayers (y la gente gacha) que se burlaba de mi bilingual way of expressing myself. Back when I was growing up, they didn’t call it “Bilingual/Bicultural” or anything fancy. They called you a “pocha” que no se sabe expresar bien en dos idiomas. The word Spanglish didn’t even occur to us then.

“Que pocha eres” was a constant thing I heard when I was growing up, and I have to say, people didn’t say it in a nice way.

But karma is good para todos los bilingües, and here we are in 2012 embracing all the cultural know how and brain empowerment that speaking 2 languages provides.

Thank you New York Times!

Here’s the link to the article. Happy Sunday reading!


Busy Weekend en LA: Casa de Mi Padre, St. Patty’s and LA Marathon

Parece que va a ser un busy weekend en LA, de esos en que hay something for everybody.

If only the weather would cooperate. Seems like we are on stormwatch all over the place, from the valleys to the beaches, and that does not bode well for the thousands of runners doing the LA Marathon on Sunday.  I have a theory that it always rains on Marathon Day and this year the forecast even calls for hail in the mix. Damn!

The forecast for LA is not too pleasant for the weekend. From http://www.abc7.com

De todas maneras, les deseamos a todos los corredores lots of luck and a good finishing time. It takes a lot to train and finish a marathon, so just by getting to the starting line, they have all my respect and admiration. I was thinking of going out para echarles porras, as I usually do each year, pero con la lluvia, se me hace que solo les mandaré la buena vibra por televisión. Besides, the city is practically undriveable on Marathon Sunday. There are street closures all over the place.  Here is a link to a site with all the details and what streets to avoid. The race starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

The map and course route for the LA Marathon on Sunday March 18, 2012. It is called the race "from the Stadium to the Sea."

On another note, if you like to go to the movies on rainy days, there is a new movie coming this weekend out which has been getting a lot of buzz.

“Casa de Mi Padre” stars the wonderful Mr. Will Ferrel and el Diego y el Gael, because that’s what we call them at our house, “el Diego” (Luna) y “el Gael” (García Bernal). I do believe I’m going to enjoy it. Look at the trailer and tell me you don’t think this is hilarious. So cheesy, so camp! Yes it’s a spoof, but who cares. Me encantó. And a few of the producers-distributors are mexicanos, of course.

This week, Will Ferrel has been doing all the promotion, and he visited Jimmy Kimmel where they had a very funny interview, completamente en español! Y hablaron bastante bien. Will practically has a perfect Spanish accent. Go Will!

Here’s a clip from the show that my dear friend Olivia sent me (thanks Olivia!) and please watch it until the end. There is something I’ve never heard before, not on English TV, not on Spanish TV.  Shocking!

Here is Will Ferrel En Español.


Let us not forget that Saturday March 17th  is Saint Patrick’s Day. Un día muy importante, since all the mexicanos are practically half Irish (somos como primos hermanos de cariño, we love them so much) and since it’s practically a national holiday in the USA, how about we have a celebration? Here’s a list of places to go to, my personal favorites being Molly Malones on Fairfax and Casey’s in DTLA, although be careful, it tends to get a little crazy.