Inklings, Travel Adventures

A Hobbit’s (or Anyone Who Loves Books and Snacks) Guide to New York City

If you aren’t familiar with Hobbits, here’s one thing you need to know: They like food. There’s breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and then supper.

They also much prefer to stay home, curled up in their Hobbit holes, with a toasty fire, perhaps reading a book or two. Unless, of course, a certain wizard stirs up trouble and suddenly they find themselves on an adventure.

So if consider yourself much like a Hobbit and support multiple meals, but also find yourself in New York City, here’s a list of verified places to eat:

Posto NYC Thin Crust Pizza in Gramercy: Of course you have to eat thin crust in NYC. This was right by where I stayed. A cozy spot I’d definitely hang out if I lived near by.

Magnolia Bakery: Things I won’t pass up – a bakery. This one was the Grand Central Terminal location. A cupcake is a great pick-me-up!

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment: This place was recommended by several people. There’s a variety of fun drinks and the Harvest Collins was very refreshing! The decor reminded a bit of Austin – random, yet not :).

Wo Hop Chinese Restaurant: When you’re eating Chinese food in NYC, you have to go to Chinatown. If you get the chance to go to Wo Hop, you can expect a wait, large portions, and bring cash. All worth it though!

Ben’s Cookies: It started in Oxford, so I was supporting Tolkien and Lewis.

Levain Bakery: This place was recommended quite a bit as well and yes, delicious! I brought some home too. Also, DON’T JUDGE ALL THE BAKERIES I WENT TO INTERNET.

Sapori D’Italia: This place was fabulous! Located in Little Italy, it was super cute, everyone who worked there spoke Italian and it was packed late at night. I hope to one day make it back!

Black Tap Craft Burgers: I may have ate the burger before I got a good photo. My bad! I was really hungry. Definitely worth trying. They also have ridiculous milkshakes (we’re talking a piece of cake on top of the shake), so there’s that option as well.

Ess-a-bagel: I’m not much of a bagel person, but when in New York right? Photo by my friend Leslie.

I got so many incredible recommendations for food and all the places we eat at were recommendations. Since there’s about 50 I still need to try, just gotta go back right?

Finally, need a place to find a corner and read? New York has you covered. (You can read more about each store over at @bookstoreandlibrarylove)

And if you find yourself going on a big city adventure soon, be sure to download City Mapper App before you go. It shows all public transportation arrivals, travel times, routes, and everything you might need to go exploring. I’ll be using it for all future adventures!

Thanks for joining in the NYC adventures!

Bookish Radness

Because I Love The Insta

I finally made it to two Indie bookstores in Denver this past weekend and because I might have an obsession with Instagram and books, I may have started a new account featuring bookstores and libraries I visit. I’m all about living the Nerd Life Internet. Plus, supporting them is pretty much supporting myself, so wins for everyone 🙃.

It’s @bookstoreandlibrarylove if you want to follow! In case there’s any issues with the link and photos below, you can find it here!

Travel Adventures

Bambi and Baboons | Miyajima Island, Japan

We liked Miyajima Island so much, we went twice. Plus the hour long street car ride from Hiroshima is perfect for recovering from adventures, people watching and being in air conditioner. Known for the numerous deer that like to be your friends, one famous gate and a beautiful view from a top the mountain, this place reminded me once again how incredible this country is.

The sweet little guy
Ohtorii Gate in front of the Itsukushima Shrine

The first day we made it when the tide was low, so we were able to take pics right by it. We came earlier on day two, so tide was high and it looked so pretty floating on the water!

Then we took these to the top of Mt. Misen and guess what? Beautiful! We didn’t really know where we were headed, so there were surprises left and right!

Sometimes the ride was a bit shaky…
Beautiful view!

On our way back to the ferry we thought we’d skip the bus and walk back down ourselves. We missed the turn (obviously) ;), so we ended up having an added nature walk as part of our adventure. This was where we spotted a baboon. I froze, slightly panicked and then began prepping my ninja moves. Why you ask? I mean, have you searched baboons on YouTube?? Once I was convinced my life was no longer in danger, I added that to the list of cool things I’ve seen in Japan.

Okonomiyaki is a dish this part of Japan is known for and even though I really had no idea what was gonna happen, I dove right in. Mom and Dad you can add that to moments I’ve made you proud. It was tasty too, so thanks Japan for the food adventure!

Oh and if you’re ever eating at the Spanish-inspired restaurant by the train station in Hiroshima, “cheese fries” aren’t fries covered in cheese, but rather fried cheese balls. That’s our free lost-in-translation lesson for you ;).

Travel Adventures

August 6th, 1945 at 8:15 a.m. | Hiroshima, Japan

On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m., an American B-29 bomber dropped the first atomic bomb used against humankind exploded about 600 meters above Shima Hospital in Saiku-machi, utterly destroying all people and property below it.

Among the burned ruins stood the skeletal of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (now the A-bomb Dome), a grim reminder of what had been (*info taken from plaques around the A-bomb Dome).

Because the blast struck almost directly above, some of the center walls remained standing, leaving enough of the building and iron frame to be recognizable as a dome.

The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. By December 1945, over 140,000 people died as a result of the bomb.

Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender in World War II in a radio address on August 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”

“I fought with myself for 30 minutes before I could take the first picture. After taking the first, I grew strangely calm and wanted to get closer. I took about ten steps forward and tried to snap another, but the scenes I saw were so gruesome my viewfinder clouded with tears.” Yoshito Matsushige
The children’s memorial
“これはぼくらの叫びです これは私たちの祈りです 世界に平和をきずくための”
“Kore wa bokura no sakebi desu. Kore wa watashitachi no inori desu. Sekai ni heiwa o kizuku tame no.”
“This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world.”
“Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil.”
This monument embodies the hope that Hiroshima, devastated on 6 August 1945 by the world’s first atomic bombing, will stand forever as a city of peace. The stone chamber in the center contains the Register of Deceased A-bomb Victims. The inscription on the front panel offers a prayer of peaceful repose of the victims and a pledge on behalf of all humanity never to repeat the evil of war. It expresses the spirit of Hiroshima – enduring grief, transcending hatred, pursuing harmony and prosperity for all, and yearning for genuine, lasting world peace.

Lord, may your peace reign.

Travel Adventures

Another Day, Another Adventure | Kyoto, Japan

Hello friends! Thanks for joining me on adventures :)!! Day two in Kyoto included conquering the beastly heat, seeing the oldest temple in Kyoto and exploring Gion. Just so you know, the day included a nap too – I know, we’re pretty awesome!

Kiyomizu Temple is the oldest and most visited temple in Kyoto. It’s made only of wood and they didn’t use a single nail. Wha?? I really would like to have seen it being built. I mean, I can barely get legos together. So yeah – pretty awesome. It’s more than just a tourist place too. Many people make the trek to worship.

I think I might need to come back in the fall – I can only imagine how gorgeous it is!

People pay for holy water throughout the temple.

No nails people. No nails!

As we walked the streets of the Gion district, there was so much to take in. Whether there were random shrines, cranes or people bustling through the streets, there was always something to see.

And here’s one of the two amazing ladies I get to explore with. And yes, every picture we are glistening ;).

So anyone want to pay me to travel and take pictures yet? Anyone???

Travel Adventures

A Little Piece of Kyoto, Japan

What a city, what a country! The history and tales of Japan are both fascinating and intriguing. Whenever I’m outside of America, learning of another culture, I’m blown away by how old things are. Like our country wasn’t even a twinkle of a twinkle of a twinkle in England’s eye compared to Japan’s history. But before y’all turn away because of my history nerdiness, here’s some pics and tales of Kyoto adventures.

First thing you must know about Japan is they ain’t playin’ when it comes to heat or humidity. Yes, I live in the great state of Texas…but I don’t stand outside all day in the summer heat, so walking around a city, climbing hills and catching buses = the three of us looking like we ran a marathon. I didn’t know I could sweat so much folks. But I promise I’m not complaining, this trip is amazing!

These are from the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, home to the bamboo forest and other pretty sights.

A lot of students came up to us and asked us a few questions to help them learn English. It was fun. 😉

The Golden Pavilion – what a sight! It’s surreal I got to see this in person, it really is stunning. The Kinkakuji Temple is gold plated and looks so beautiful against the green backdrop.

Before heading back we stopped by the Imperial Palace, but it was closed. Lesson learned: If you want to visit, sign up beforehand.

So instead of seeing the Imperial Palace it started pouring rain. Y’all we could not stop laughing.

This is when we decided to make a run for it after the rain stopped.

Internet, I’m not sure how much longer Japan can handle this crew!

So speaking of travels, where’s a place you’ve been and love??

Travel Adventures

Jet Lag and Hilarity in Japan

Since jet lag is still hanging out and we’re up before things open, what better thing to do then blog? So here’s a few iPhone pics of the adventures so far! We’re in Kyoto for the next few days and I know it’ll be amazing. The history of this place is incredible (Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years) and I can’t wait to explore!

My first Japanese sunset on the way to Nagoya from Tokyo.

Erin and I arrived after (for me) about 26 hours of travel. It was so nice to have the three flights finished!

Kicking it off immersing ourselves in the culture 😉

The Bullet Trains and insane! When one flew by as we were waiting for ours, it came by so fast and loud, it scared the McDonald’s out of me.

Our hotel was only 10 minutes from the station, but it may have taken us an hour and a half to find though. What! What!

This is the prefect picture of how we felt while sweating our faces off searching for our place 😉I almost passed out when I saw they had a Cafe du Monde in Kyoto!!

The photo booths in Japan are hil.a.r.ious. They made our eyes huge! We could not stop laughing!

Alright internet, thanks for sharing in the hilarious journey so far!