The Last Bookstore: a Photo Essay from Downtown LA’s Bank District

Arches cut through books at the Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles

Good brick and mortar bookstores are few and far between these days. Fortunately Los Angeles has a few, including The Last Bookstore.

The Last Bookstore puts the crime section cleverly in a bank vault

The Last Bookstore combines two things I love: books and re-purposed buildings. Located in Downtown LA’s Old Bank District, The Last Bookstore is over 16,000 square feet of inspired space filled with books, records, and pop up galleries filled with the works of local artists. Best of all, it smells like books.

One section of the bookstore is organized by color of the book spines

The Crime section tucked away inside an old bank vault. There’s a section arranged by the color of the book spines. And there are plenty of nooks and crannies where you can grab a chair and read. 

Comfy seating chairs at The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore has become a hot spot for everything from intellectual hipster weddings, holiday parties, and movie shoots (that steamy “library” sex scene in Gone Girl was shot here).

If you get a chance, check it out.

The Last Bookstore

453 S. Spring Street, ground floor
Downtown LA | 213.488.0599
Mon-Thurs: 10 AM-10 PM
Fri-Sat: 10 AM-11 PM
Sun: 10 AM-6 PM

The Emirates First Experience… in GIFS

A smiling air hostess aboard an Emirates flight from DWF to DXB

I’ve flown a few legs on Emirates in First Class recently. Since nothing is going to top the video my husband and I made back in 2009, I needed to come up with another way to capture the experience.

The Emirates Flight Crew at DFW airport GIF

I thought it might be fun to do GIF post.

2004 Dom Perginon prior to take off GIF

I shot these images as stills on my iPhone 6 and then turned them into GIFS using the Giffer Pro App ($3.99)

Dates before take off on Emirates First

Emirates is known for hiring very attractive “brand ambassadors” as flight attendants. Here my husband enjoys one of the dates offered to Emirates First prior to take off.

Arabic coffee pour with a smile GIF

Small cups of arabic coffee are poured prior by an Emirates flight attendant. I love their I dream of Jeannie style hats. Giffer Pro also offers fun filters which help compensate for bad airplane light.

The Emirates First shuttle at Dubai International Airport

Giffer Pro also allows you to turn video into a GIF, like I did with the video I shot on my iPhone above.

Mexico City: a Lazy Daisy Experience

Editor’s Note:

Anastasia Chernykh is this blog’s Social Media Manager. She lives in Kharkov, Ukraine but recently we met up in Punta Mita, Mexico for our annual work retreat. Anastasia then spent a few days in Mexico City. Here is her guest post about navigating logistics, street tacos, and Mezcal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

- Jen Pollack Bianco

Eclectic city architecture: view of Plaza de Bellas Artes and Torre Latinoamericana

After a relaxing Punta Mita experience, lively and vibrant Mexico City was a bit hard to embrace. Yet I tried to stay on my Pacific chill wave even in a place with a population of 20 million.

Mexico City has a huge number of attractions and tourist places, so the challenge was to narrow down the list and not to skip something really cool. The logistics were also difficult, as the distances are large and nobody wants to spend all day on the road instead of enjoying their visit.

The starting point was obvious for me – Palacio de Bellas Artes. Located in the historic center of the Mexico City (and conveniently close to my hotel), this impressive white building isn’t only an architectural delight, but also an important cultural center.

Palacio’s main facade is made of Italian white marble

Palacio de Bellas Artes is home to Mexican Symphonic Orchestra and folklore ballet. It also hosts a variety of notable events from live performances to art exhibitions.

Together with Alameda Park, it is surrounded by crowds all day and its Plaza turns into some kind of social scene for Mexican City youth at night… I’ve never seen so many kissing couples at the same time!

Alameda Central park

After a short visit to Alameda Park I headed to Zocalo, the main square. The best way to get there from Palacio de Bellas Artes is to walk down pedestrian Francisco I Madero street and enjoy colonial buildings, street music and mime acts.

Madero Street walk

Mime angel on Madero street

Plaza de la Constitución, or simply Zócalo, is the heart of the Old Mexico. It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times and it’s one of the largest city squares in the world.

Zócalo, the main plaza of Mexico City

Since a visit to pyramids was on my bucket list for Mexico, I was incredibly happy to discover the one right in the middle of the Mexico City. The Templo Mayor or The Great Temple of of Tenochtitlan lies just to the northeast of the Zocalo. 59 pesos get you an entrance not only to active archaeological site, but also to The Museum which houses the Templo Mayor Project and its finds.

Templo Mayor or Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan

An offering at Museo del Templo Mayor

Aztec goodies

Friendly squirrels in Chapultepec park

The city gets even better at night. After a long day walking the best thing is to treat yourself an authentic street taco and watch the city life just in front of you.

Casual Mexican dining + people watching at Salón Corona

What else is a must while in Mexico City? I’d say mezcal tasting. I was happy enough to have my dear friend Fabiola Santiago showing me the great place to try this tequila’s “country cousin” (no cocktails! drunk straight, served with sliced oranges).

Daily special at Bósforo Mezcalería

And a cherry on the top was my walk home, the illumination is just stunning in Mexico City at night!

Palacio de Bellas Artes, beautifully illuminated at night

Where to Eat in Punta Mita, Mexico: The Mita Mary

Warning: lobster tacos can be addictive

Who needs food trucks when you can eat at boat restaurant… right on the beach?

Carl Emberson, the General Manager of the St. Regis Punta Mita is a serious foodie. He imported his favorite empanada recipe from a hotel in Argentina and organizes food & wine festivals. He’s also very, very creative and always wants his guests to have something new to experience.

The Mita Mary

Since the St. Regis is surround by beach (and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course), there are no roads for food trucks. The solution is the Mita Mary, a repurposed boat turned pop up restaurant right on the sand.

Guacamole and a margarita in Mexico’s answer to a Mason jar

The vibe is of-the-moment yet laid back. You can plant your toes in the sand while ordering your fresh seafood grilled or transformed into tacos and other tasty bites. While I initially fell for the shrimp tacos, the lobster tacos, delicately laced with the right amount of spice quickly became a favorite.

Behold: shrimp taco perfection.

The margaritas are great and the juicy Mexican limes elevate your bottle of Pacifico Cerveza and take the whole meal next level. Señor Emberson sure one upped the World’s Most Interesting Man with this shipwreck bistro thing.

Spectacular sunset views at the Mita Mary

The Mita Mary has two dinner seatings. Book the earlier one if you want a prime location for stunning sunset views.

Fairy lights and great service make the Mita Mary both casual and romantic

Fairy lights strung from palm trees add to the atmosphere after dark.

The octopus tacos weren’t bad either

Even if you’re not staying at the St. Regis, book a table for top notch service and a memorable meal. Tables are limited, and reservations are highly advised.

Live musicians at the Mita Mary

Mita Mary Boat Bistro at St.Regis Punta Mita Resort

Punta De Mita, Nayarit, Mexico

+52 329 291 5800

Disclosure: I was treated to my first meal at the Mita Mary. But it was so good I came back three more times on my own pesos.

Where to Eat in Punta Mita, Mexico: Si Señor

You say “when” on the tequila pour for your margarita at Si Señor

It’s always fun to venture off the resort grounds and eat at a great local restaurant. A few years ago I asked Carl Emberson, the General Manager of the St. Regis Punta Mita, for a restaurant recommendation in the sleepy town of Punta Mita, he insisted we try Si Señor. I’ve been recommending the restaurant to friends ever since.

Left: The signage isn’t fancy Right: the colorful entrance to Si Señor

Si Señor is funky, atmospheric and all about the fresh fish. If you go, have your camera ready because the whole restaurant has a fun, show-like atmosphere and delicious Mexican cuisine and very strong margaritas.

The atmosphere at Si Señor is colorful and fun

From the giant clam shell at the hostess desk to the Mexican serapes strung between palm trees to provide diners shade from the sun, the restaurant feels like fun from the moment you enter.

The waiters at Si Señor make you say “when” when pouring the tequila

The menu at Si Señor

While fresh seafood is the standout here, Si Señor does great with all the traditional Mexican specialties. The guacamole is made table side and the queso fundido is pure cheesy goodness.

Guacamole prepared tableside

Be sure to ask what the catch of the day is, because that is when a meal at Si Señor gets really fun.

Here’s how you get shown the catch of the day at Si Señor

Si Señor Catch of the Day GIF

Our entrees have arrived!

Tacos chilapa (hard chicken tacos soaked in chicken broth) were also super yummy

Your catch of the day can be prepared to your liking

The catch of the day can be prepared a few different ways: Arriero (with potatoes, onion, chile guajillo, garlic, wine, olive oil and paprika); Mexican Cajun style (chiles secos, curry, olive oil, garlic and mushrooms; or sauteed with lemon and capers. Your waiter will be sure to offer advice and the best preparation for whatever fish you choose.

Si Señor’s resident parrot is quite the showman
Don’t miss the exceptionally charming resident parrot at the bar. He’ll shake his tail feathers while taking a birdbath making for a memorable meal.
Address: Av El Anclote,
63734 Punta de Mita, NAY, Mexico
Phone:+52 329 291 6652

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