Review: Face in a Book

All my life, I have lived near bookstores.  Or it has seemed like it, because I come from a family of avid readers, frequenting bookstores since I was a child in India.  I have an almost atavistic response to books: I use nearly all of my senses in experiencing them (except for taste.  I’ve yet to lick a book.  Give me time.)  The feel of the cover, the rustle of the pages as they are turned, the snap of flipping a page for the first time, the roughness of the edges if they are the torn style, the smooth edges if they are gold-tipped, the smell when you stick your nose right up into the binding, the beauty of the cover and binding… it’s almost spiritual.

When Borders closed up shop a few years ago, I was devastated.  That was my local refuge from the home, from the demanding needs of my then infants, my escape into new worlds and experiences.  Yes, there were books at Target, but that didn’t really count.  There was no sense of the almost-holy when you walked through the aisles.

So when I heard that Face in a Book was opening up in Town Center (El Dorado Hills), a couple miles from my home, I was thrilled.  And I’ve been a frequent visitor ever since.  My children and I go there almost every weekend, and relish the calm, almost sanctuary-like feel of the space.  It is tiny, very tiny, but it still imparts that hallowed feel you get when you are in the presence of so much knowledge just waiting to be ingested.

The owner has done a fantastic job of incorporating herself into the community, hosting local authors for book signings and readings, book clubs, and kid-friendly events.  She also has a frequent buyer program (which I just cashed in) where you get ten dollars off after your tenth book purchase.

Prices are not discounted, so if you know what you want, and are willing to wait for it, I’m sure you will Amazon your purchases.  And I do that, definitely.  I also buy books for my Kindle on Amazon.

But I also buy books for my kids here, since I want them to experience what I did, growing up.  The tangible pleasure of walking into a bookstore, seeing the visual beauty of all the possibilities in front of you, selecting, touching, feeling the weight of a book in your hands, then the joy that comes from purchasing and walking away with something that will give you hours of escape into your imagination.

Amazon can’t do that.

Face in a Book
4359 Town Center Blvd
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 941-9401

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Review: Fringe

I love this place.  Every time I come here, I end up buying something.  While the prices are not cheap, I find things that I don’t see elsewhere, so that makes it worthwhile for me.  Browsing through the racks of one-of-a-kind vintage dresses, tops and skirts, trying on Louboutin shoes, posing in designer bags and belts, all makes for a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

The owner, Audrey Wells, was working this past Sunday when I stopped in for a few minutes.  She immediately zoomed in on my vintage Chloe bag, which I’d bought at Fringe back in March, recognizing it as one of hers.  Now that’s a savvy shop owner!  She is very easy to talk to, giving suggestions for ways to wear different pieces of clothing, helping me find non-traditional ways to look at clothing options.

You know how you’re supposed to walk away from potential purchases, and only get them if you think about them over the next few days?  Well, there’s a pair of parrot green 4 inch heels made in Spain that fit me beautifully.  I can’t stop thinking about them.

Hmmmm.

Fringe
2409 21st St
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 706-0216

Review: Anthropologie

Come Armageddon, and the only choice I have is to hide out in a store, I would pick Anthropologie.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t wait for Armageddon…I would move in tonight, if they’d let me.  Hmmm.  I wonder how good their closing procedures are.  I have loved this store ever since I walked into their flagship store in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, oh so many moons ago.  I was on a business trip, and this store was a few minutes away from Market street…and I walked in and I was in love.  And I have stayed in love all through the years, purchasing clothes, shoes, home accessories, gifts for staff, paging through their catalogs which look like art house books…The beauty of the clothing they carry?  Like jewels, they are precious, seem so individual and eclectic…and no matter my size (which has ranged through the size spectrum over the years, pre- and post-kids!), I am always able to find something to fit me, which will also look divine.  Anthro has inspired me to veer out of my comfort range in clothing…find my inner hippie, yet keep it professional enough for the corporate career I find myself in.  And I never get rid of my Anthro clothing.  Can’t bring myself to do it.

I recently walked into the local branch in Roseville and left with more jewels for my collection.  One day, I hope to introduce my daughter to this mecca.  

And watch her eyes widen the way mine did…the first time.

Anthropologie
1182 Roseville Pkwy
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 789-9100

Review: Capital Beer and Tap Room

Full disclaimer: I am not a beer drinker.  I know very little about beer except for the fact that I don’t like the ones that look like piss and have lite in their name, and I tend to like the ones that are smooth and dark and full-bodied.  
 
I was invited to go to the Capitol Beer and Tap last night by a friend who is ALL BEER ALL THE TIME.  His yelp quote is “I’ll have the IPA.”  His profile pics on yelp and Facebook generally show him drinking a beer or making beer.  Yeah, that’s right, he makes beer.  Out of his house.  Every month, because he needs to keep his supply coming.  He brews 50 bottles worth.  I told him he should say he makes boutique beers.  Sounds far better than some of the alternatives I was thinking (considering he stores the beer making thingy in the spare bathroom.  See earlier comment about beer that looks like piss.)Why wax rhapsodical about my friend, you ask?  Isn’t this a review about Capitol Beer and Tap?  Why yes, yes it is.  However, I wanted to provide an offset to my disclaimer about my inexperience with beer, with my friend’s obsessive immersion in the stuff.  See, now it all makes sense, doesn’t it?

Okay.  So I had to circle the block (or triangle) of Howe/University/Fair Oaks a couple times looking for parking and finally scored with one right out front.  The place is set back from the front of the buildings, tucked away on the side, but you can’t miss the frenetic energy you sense almost immediately as you approach the patio.  The place is packed with men between the ages of 24 and 60.  Score.  Wait, I’m here for the beer.

I entered the place and it looks like I entered the wrong place, initially.  I was expecting to be dumped right into a bar/pub area but instead I was greeted by a small grocery store looking place, walls lined with refrigerators and shelves showcasing beers from all over.  I quickly walked through to the back, where I saw the crowds of people.  Seriously, ladies, you have no idea.  Don’t hang out at Fats or Sienna or even Bandera next door… Capitol Beer and Tap is where all the men are!  I saw maybe three women guests, and maybe 3 to 4 female servers.  That was it.

Anyway,  Found my friend quickly, tucked away in a prime corner spot with his bud (who deserves a review of his own.  Really.  He’s a golf blogger.  Oh the stories that are just waiting to be unearthed.)  My friend was already pretty happy after having been there since 5pm, and was insistent that I try the beer he had, and what he called the “elixir of the gods.”  Yes, an India Pale Ale, also known to the beer afficionados as an IPA.  I’m an accountant.  To me, an IPA sounds very close to an IPO, an Initial Public Offering, which makes me sit up and take notice.  This, my friends, would have bombed on opening day in the stock market.  I tried it, and the bitterness settled in the back of my mouth and I couldn’t hide my distaste.  Luckily, my friend, let’s call him R for ease, didn’t take offense and instead asked me what I liked.  So I explained what I said up there in my disclaimer.  He was able to translate that into a glass of a pretty awesome Obovoid (by the Boulder Brewing Company.)  Dark, nitro enhanced creamy head, delicious.  Now we’re talking!  Quickly realized that the place doesn’t serve food, but you can order in food from Tokyo Fro’s next door.  Pretty accommodating.

Oh…I forgot to mention why I was even dragged over there…for the Knee Deep Tap Takeover.  Something I knew nothing about until two days earlier, when R explained it to me: when a local brewery brings several of their beers and “takes over” the taps at the pub, and then the pub is swarming with beery men salivating for a taste of the manna from heaven.  Or something like that.

The place had a great energy, lots of conversations going on, happy, excited, unrestrained.  So this is what its like when women aren’t around.  Interesting.  The counter ran along the entire length of one wall, but the bar only came to half the distance…looked a little awkward to me, but the patrons had enough to look at on the wall…lots of little framed chalkboards with great drawings by one of the servers…who draws tributes to the beer being highlighted at the moment.  Not bad, supporting the arts…I am liking this place more and more!

I stayed for little over an hour, good conversations with my friends, a lot of beer knowledge was imparted (in one direction, to me, the novice) and then I headed off to midtown to meet another group at the Pour House.  From beer to whiskey.  That’s the life.

I will definitely be back.  And I’m not sure if I will bring my girlfriends with me.  Kinda want to keep this all to myself and my guy friends.  Selfish?  Maybe.

 
Capital Beer and Tap Room
2222 Fair Oaks Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 922-1745