Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Muse: Armchair Backpacker (#3) - United States!

Hey there everyone! It's Monday, and as you've already known, it only means one thing (1D pun, get it? Yes, I know I'm very much slightly obsessed)... it means Monday Muse!! Your one stop awkwardness happiness to amazing Monday! You know you love Monday Muse! XOXO. Now before I start to sound like bad ads, let's see what country we are coming to in our journey today!

Tataratarataratara!! *le getting bored of drum rolls*

America!! I know that most of you guys are from America, but I myself am very excited! So, without further ado... enjoy! ♥ 

The bookie in action

Hi there all! My name is Rachel and I love books, obviously!  I live in a Southern California in a suburb about forty miles north of Los Angeles. I recently joined on the lovely Jasprit’s book blog, The Readers Den and have been having a blast, amazed that I’m a co-blogger with someone in the UK while I reside in the USA!  I feel so honored Hilda asked me to be a part of this feature because I just adore Hilda’s blog and I think her feature of showing other locals is a brilliant idea.  So let me tell you a little about California.  California literally has anything and everything you can imagine or want to do.  From our stunning beaches to our gorgeous mountains, and the exciting city of Los Angeles, there’s something for anyone who visits.  These are just some of the places I like to go, or are part of my life on a regular basis.

One of my favorite places to visit is The Huntington Gardens and Library in San Marino.  It’s gorgeous and the mansion library would make any booklover salivate with dreams of being locked up in there. The home has one of those staircases that make you wish you had a ballroom gown so that you could descend, making a graceful entrance! (Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos of the interiors.) The afternoon tea is wonderful, and the surrounding 120 acres of gardens are magnificent!  Each garden has a different theme: Japanese, herb, rose, desert, and tropical.  Every season holds a different beauty in each of the gardens. I’ve visited Butchart Gardens in Canada, and I think this just as, if not more beautiful.   I highly recommend this stop!  

Hearst Castle is about three and a half hours north and totally worth the drive.  It is situated on the beautiful rolling hills of San Simeon and has spectacular views of the ocean that go on forever.  Every room is grand, but it has one of the most drool-worthy libraries I’ve ever seen! Can you imagine sitting in one of the chairs curled up with a good book?!!


One of my favorite things to do is see music concerts and we have so many.  My favorite venues are small, so you feel up close and personal.  The Ford Ampitheater, and The Music Box, in Hollywood and the The Wiltern in Los Angeles are my favorite.  The Kooks, Young the Giant, and The Airborne Toxic Event are just a few that I’ve seen recently.  All of them are brilliant live!  I don’t know why I didn’t get a shot with The Airborne Toxic Event in the photo on the left, but you can see The Kooks below at The Music Box. 


For the booklovers in all of us, the Los Angeles area has so many author event signings.  I personally love Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena and Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose. Both are wonderful as a bookstore and author event location. They draw a lot of big names, and they have a wide selection of YA titles. Below you can see: Anna Carey, Cynthia Hand, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, and Veronica Rossi.  Just below them are: Elizabeth Miles, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Moira Young. 

Well I suppose this is last, but in my book, it’s certainly not least!  I love Mexican food, so this literally a weekly affair: Chips, salsa, and a margarita=I am a happy girl!!

Final note

So if you come out here, I promise to look for an author event so we can go be star-stuck, forget any pertinent questions, and babble like idiots; because this is what I do every time!  Then we can chat and gossip books forever over Mexican food and margaritas!  What are you waiting for?!

Yes, what are you waiting for?? I don't know about you guys, but I feel like moving in to Southern California now! It just seems like such a fabulous place to live, agree? I mean, look at The Huntington Gardens and Library! Imagine curling up and reading your book in Hearst Castle's library! The awesome venues to watch your favorite band!! And ooh, don't get me started on the awesome authors living in the US! It's so unfair that you can always meet and shake hands to those rock stars, Rachel! ;)

Don't forget to check out Rachel and Jasprit's beautiful blog at The Readers Den!! If you missed Jasprit's equally amazing guest post about UK, you can check it here. :) Both are bloggers extraordinaire with ability of weaving words into gold! Go go go visit their gorgeous blogs and say hi in the comment box! They're extremely friendly and you know you want to be friends with them! ♥ ;)

As always, we have map to help marking our journey! :)

Get ready to SWAG, because our next destination is INDIA! Yay, let's go visit the hometown of those amazing Bollywood actors and brilliant movies! ;) NAMASTE, everyone! ♥ :)


  1. EEEEE >_< GORGEOUS! *o* Thanks Rachel for the awesome post and to Hilda for hosting! It looks like such a beautiful and livable place, and gosh, look at Hearst Castle! >_< Love the map too, by the way!

    With Love from Canada,
    Vivian ~

  2. The Huntington Gardens and Library is gorg & I'm also a fan of the Getty Villa. The Hearst Castle sounds so lovely, I'm a big fan of castles. Also In-N-Out should TOTALLY be in the food section. /In-N-Out stan

  3. I live in America and I've wanted to visit California for what seems like forever, but I never have! Gosh, now Rachel makes me want to jump on a plane and go there ASAP! I loveee India though, so I'm really looking forward to your next segment of Muse Armchair Backpacker! I've lived there for three years and visited every summer, so I'll be excited to see how authentic (and awesome!) your next post is! ;)

  4. California! I love living in the US, especially since there is amazing mexican food all around the country. Just last night I had the most amazing guac and fajitas for dinner. I love mexican food too. I really want to go to Hearst Castle Rachel if I ever visit you in California, it looks beautiful. Love the garden too, and the book stores. I love the name once upon a time bookstore!!!!! Fantastic post Rachel and Hilda!!!!! Can't wait to see what India brings next week!!!!

  5. Hilda! I seriously starting to really really love this Armchair backpacker's of yours! Your unleashing the vagabond in me, I want to go to all these places! Now! Haha! California is one of the places I want to go in the future! The Huntington Garden and Library looks fantastic. Is that cherry blossoms in the picture? The Hearst Castle library is indeed look totally drool-worthy. I'll be sure to visit that someday! Ha! Visiting California is definitely on my life-goal list now! So we're going to India next? Awesome! I look forward for that. Great post Hilda and Rachel! :D

  6. California sounds amazing!! Hearst Castle is completely drool worthy! I love that Rachel included some of her favorite concert venues because I love going to concerts! And, I'm totally jealous of all the AMAZING authors she has met! Nobody ever comes around here =( As always, I LOVED this weeks Armchair Backpacker!! <3

    I like the new blog design!! =D

  7. The Harington Garden looks lovely and gorgeous! I would love to go there! :)

  8. Hilda, thank you so much for hosting such a fun feature! :)

    @elena-I should've totally included In-n-Out in the food section! My favorite hamburger and French fries ever!!

    @Eunice-Those are magnolia blossoms. Aren't they gorgeous?!! They have so many varieties there. :)

  9. I clearly need to move! London is a complete bore compared to all of this! Wow, Hearst Castle looks fantastic. I've always wanted a library like that in my own home (I still plan on it!... One day...) The author events are to die for too. Thanks for sharing, Rachel and Hilda! :)

  10. Rachel your post totally rocks! I've been salivating just looking at the gorgeous photos, I would totally love to dive into one of those chairs at Hearst Castle, it has such a ancient comfy feel about it! Also you definitely get the best author events out there too! I should definitely make the time out and visit you! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post with us Rachel and Hilda! :)

  11. California! My hometown! I was so excited that Hearst Castle is featured and all wonderful things. Some I didn't know so that was pretty cool! I wished hamburgers where featured. XD but that was an amazing post, Rachel. I will definitely be scouting out for those bookstores! I've been living here and didn't realize authors actually visit Californians!

    As usual the Monday Muse is awesome! And, Hilda, your new design is wonderful! Its very vintage-y chic. :)

  12. That does it, I am packing up and moving to California!! *o*
    ....No not really, I but now I want to! I've only been once and loved the scenery. Hearst Castle is just gorgeous! And don't even get me started on all the different restaurants and book stores!!! >w<
    Awesome post Rachel and thanks for hosting Hilda!! I can't wait for the one about India next week! :)

  13. Great post! I'm in the U.S. but not anywhere near California, so I'd love to visit some day. I just recently saw The Airborne Toxic Event live and they were great!!! I need to listen to them more. I'm jealous you have so many author events...we're starting to get more authors coming by my area too (near Cincinnati, Ohio...). Can't wait for the India post!

    Thanks Rachel and Hilda!


  14. Rachel! First things first. Shame on you for going to see The Airborne Toxic Event without me! Some friend you are. Totally not talking to you.
    However, I could be persuaded to change my mind with some mexican food, a good author event and a healthy dose of margaritas. and good company, of course. :)

    Tahereh Mafi just turned my world upside down, just seeing her makes my little heart beat faster. :)
    LOve this post, ladies!

  15. What a great post, Rach! I hope I get to spend some time in SoCal with your next year! We can go out for Latin food, I can't wait :)

  16. HILDA! This is your feature?? O.o I always thought it wasn't for some reason! You created this??? O.o WOW pretty sure you win the award for best new event!!! <333 Rachel, Southern California seems AMAZING. The picture of the Mexican food made me start drooling! I LOVE Mexican food so much! Tacos, nachos, salsa... <333 Thanks for an amazing post, guys! India?? WOOT! Namaste indeed! Love Indian food. SO good and spicy. Can't wait to see the guest blogger!! ;D If you ever need someone for Singapore, you know who to ask... ;)

  17. Hearst Castle's library! Oh, that is SO pretty! And I also love the bookstores. It must be a wonderful place to live! :)

  18. Eeep! California seems so awesome! The Huntington gardens look absolutely gorgeous. I could probably take a nap there! ;)
    I must find time to visit California when I have some time of break during my college time.
    Hearst Castle seems amazing! I think California's is one of those places you have to visit for like a month in order to see all the places.
    I'm so glad you're doing this post, Hilda! It's so much fun to read about the bloggers from different parts of the world. I can't wait to see India next! <3

  19. Hilda, this is so much fun! Southern California looks GORGEOUS. With Hearst Castle and th awesome book events and general prettiness :) awesome post, Rachel! <33 and once again, I love this feature Hilda!!

  20. Oh, I love this post Hilda and Rachel! :) Hilda, I'm wondering if are going to visit my country- Canada, anytime soon? If not, then I should totally do a post about it. ;)

    I adore the photos of the gardens; they're really exquisite! And it's always been my dream to visit that gorgeous library in the Hearst Castle- it's truly magnificent, I can imagine! Lovely post, ladies! <3 I look forward to 'virtually' visiting India... ;)


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