Favorite Places | Little Dickens

Is anybody else confused about what’s going on with independent bookstores? It seems like everyone is talking about how they’re surviving with the e-book and Amazon boom, but no one can decide whether they’re going to die out or not. Personally, I hope that Chuck Wendig is right, and that indie bookstores will thrive in the post-Amazon market — by doing more than just selling books. My favorite bookstores are the ones that are a little quirky, have a killer selection of books, and are really tuned into the community around them. But I might be a little spoiled, because I grew up with a fantastic bookstore practically across the street from my high school.


Little Dickens


This bookstore is definitely quirky – it has two names (Little Dickens and Givens Books) and some of the most unusual decor I’ve ever seen. It really hasn’t changed much since I was in elementary school, and it has definitely carved out a niche in the community. It has a permanent spot on my must-visit list whenever I go back to Lynchburg.



Little DIckens_Robot


This is probably the most kid-friendly bookstore I’ve ever visited. There’s more than enough grown-up books for the parents to look at, but half the store is full of books and toys to keep the kiddos entertained. It’s so fun! And they also have the largest selection of teaching supplies in Lynchburg, which is great if you’re a teacher — or a teacher’s kid. Whenever my Mom would go shopping for teacher stuff I’d have an excuse to go book-shopping.


Little Dickens_4


There are reading nooks with comfy armchairs scattered throughout the store, although it’s almost impossible to get a spot by the fireplace — I really lucked out the day I was here. Also, I love that there are Christmas presents stacked around the portrait of Edgar Allen Poe.

There’s also a great cafe called the Drowsy Poet in the back of the store. There are sandwiches named after famous authors and novels and yummy baked goods, but my favorite thing to get is the Milton milkshake – a coffee cinnamon milkshake that is to die for. I crave it, and I was so excited when I found out that Starbucks’ Cinnamon Dolce Latte is basically the perfect doppelganger. So even if I’m not in Lynchburg, I can get a Milton – minus the ice cream.


The photos don’t really do Little Dickens justice (I managed to snap a few on a last minute Christmas shopping trip when I was in town), but it is the most colorful, wacky, fun bookstore ever. Now whenever I visit a new place I always seek out the independent bookstores (for the record, Nicole’s Literary City Guides are my secret weapon for finding new bookstores, restaurants, cafes, even libraries). I’ve found one or two favorite indie bookstores in Houston that I love, so I might have to write about them sometime soon. As long as I don’t get chased out of the store for taking pictures – one store has a very strict no-photo policies. So we’ll see!

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Input/ Output

Have you ever heard of having creative input and output days? I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately– especially since I’ve been trying to remember where I first read about them. It’s really bugging me that I can’t think of it, but I am still really excited by the idea! The past two weeks have definitely been more focused on input more than output, and while I love inspiration days, I think I’ve gotten a little stuck. I totally agree with Abbigail in her post about why she writes — when I haven’t been writing or “outputting” enough I feel mentally sluggish and frustrated, so I’m hoping that next week will be more focused on output.


Input Day


1. Emily Henderson’s Materials Girl #5: I’ve been reading Style by Emily Henderson religiously so I can soak up all the interior design advice I can, since decorating isn’t exactly my strong suit. I’m basically going to do my best to copy her entire house in my new apartment. But not in a weird way, obviously. I thought the mix of colors and pattern in her latest Materials Girl post seems like a grown-up, livable version of my wedding colors, which I kind of love.

2. Lettering Set by Noel Shiveley and Alex McDonell, via Kelly Purkey’s Five on Friday: I think I need this quote written above my desk or tattooed on my forehead. It’s something I need to hear every time I start over analyzing my writing, work, life choices, outfit…

3. SMP Living’s Behind the Scenes with Britt Bass Turner: I loved everything about this post– I love Britt Bass Turner’s art and reading her thoughts on her art and career was really encouraging and inspiring. If I lived in Atlanta I would definitely sign up for the next Studio Session!

4. The EveryGirl’s Rebecca Atwood Career Profile: Another really inspiring career profile, but this time with textile designer Rebecca Atwood. I have a whole new appreciation whenever I walk into a store and see how much work went into the textiles for upholstery, towels, clothing, etc. I’m definitely inspired to play with pattern and colors, both in clothing and decorating.

5. The Effortless Chic’s California Dreaming: It’s so funny to me how much pink there is in this photoset, because I don’t wear much pink. But I LOVE that pink backdrop! I also really like her sweater and the reasons she loves LA. It definitely makes me think of all my favorite places in my hometown, and inspires me to do more exploring in Houston.

6. 100 Layer Cakelet’s Lucy Roux’s Favorite Things First Birthday: Is it weird that I’m a little jealous of this birthday party? It’s so darn cute, and I love that the theme was based on her favorite things. I also LOVE the calligraphy and the illustrations used to decorate the cookies. So. Cute.

7. Design Love Fest’s Dress Your Tech: I’m pretty sure that the Dress Your Tech series is the coolest idea. I think it’s so great that Bri posts desktop backgrounds by different illustrators and graphic designers every week. I love this desktop background by Elizabeth Doyle, and it’s making my desk top extra pretty.

8. The Tomkat Studio’s Calligraphy Eat Cake Balloons: So the pink balloons + calligraphy are so cute that I couldn’t resist including them. I’m not sure if it’s a reference to Julia Child’s famous quote about cake, but I like to think it is.

9. The Vanilla Bean Blog’s Buttermilk Cake with Blood Orange Frosting: There are so many great things about this post! The cake recipe looks delicious, and since it’s blood orange season and they’re Teddy’s favorite, I think I’ll definitely have to make this soon. Also, Sarah announced that she’s writing a cookbook, which is so exciting! And I loved that she mentioned the Nancy Drew/ Narnia/ Sweet Valley mashup stories she wrote in middle school, because that sounds a lot like the stories I’d write when I was 11 or 12, and I would have definitely loved her stories back then.

10. Have you ever seen The IT Crowd? It’s a hilarious British TV show (that’s on Netflix, in case you’re curious). Moss is my favorite character, and this is one of my favorite quotes. Sometimes you have to rely on your weirdness and sweet sense of style.


Most of these aren’t writing-related, but I’m just going with it. Here’s to having a good balance of input and output days!

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Ideas
{Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}
I’ve secretly always liked Valentine’s Day, even though we’ve had a bumpy relationship in the past. Looking back over the years is both amusing and embarrassing.
  • 8 years old: wondering if the roses on Zeb’s Valentine meant he liked me.
  • 9 years old: my Mom always gave us candy, a card, and a small toy before school every year on Valentine’s Day. My favorite was the stuffed animal schnauzer like our dog Henry.
  • 16 years old: My high school let you order carnations, which lead to a crisis about which color to pick – if you bought a red flower for a boy, everyone would think you liked him, but white was “too boring.” So on Valentine’s Day everyone got pink carnations. I loved that all the girls bought each other flowers, although finding out that Mrs. Sattler was your “secret admirer” was always disappointing (no one wants a pity Valentine, especially from your teacher).
  • 20 years old: Sophomore year of college, stuck in a dorm room with Lisa’s heart decorations on every surface, and Karen who HATES hearts. Also, Karen mentioned that Teddy, the guy I’m not-quite-officially-dating, is getting me something, so I should get him a present too. Cut to a desperate last minute Walmart dash trying to find the right gift for my not-quite-boyfriend.
  • 22 years old: Gift-buying panic mode because I have 7 birthdays around Valentine’s Day; two sister-in-laws, my mother-in-law, two college roommates, Teddy, and me. And I’m still recovering from Christmas gift shopping… And it’s our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple! Oi…
In the past it’s been really easy for Valentine’s Day to either feel overwhelmed by the barrage of pink and red (which also happens to remind me that I’m single), or an unspoken pressure to have a “perfect” romantic celebration. And honestly, I think that takes all the fun out of what should be a fun, kind of goofy holiday. I think that Valentine’s Day is really what you make of it. Mad at your ex? Grab some Nutella and a friend and watch John Tucker Must Die. Single and tired of all the hoopla? Invite your girlfriends over and bake some salted caramel brownies (and scoop up all the discounted candy on February 15). Too tired to get all dolled up to go to a hectic restaurant? Have a cozy date night in with some pretty grocery store flowers, a fun pink cocktail and your comfiest pjs.
Personally, I’m hoping for a date night in with This Means War, something spicy, and something chocolaty. What about you? Do you have any fun plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you love it or hate it?
 Treat Yo'self Flowers
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