Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 3 (Part 2) - DTLA and The Last Bookstore

January 25, 2016 (continued): The next place I wanted to check out was The Last Bookstore which was in walking distance from Grand Central Market.


On my way there, I spotted another cool electrical box with the Egyptian God Anubis, painted in a way that reminds me of Sanna Annukka’s scandinavian style animals.


I passed through the Historic Core of DTLA with many beautiful buildings having an architectural style dating back to the early 1900s.


Upon entering the store, I could see why this was a highly recommended place to visit as it was part art installation/gallery, part bookstore. There were sculptural pieces made of books everywhere in the main room, including the checkout bar station.


When coming from the front the room to the left is the art/design books section, so of course it had to be filled with little bits of artistic expression. On the walls were these beautiful, largely detailed pencil(?) drawing murals. The back of the room had a large gallery of paintings in different styles, from thrift store chic to modern, contemporary works.


Even the stairway area had little bits of art thrown in, albeit a bit creepy, even more so when I was editing this image and noticed reflected in the security mirror, that there was a person standing in the stairwell.


Hanging above the stairs was a gothic-esque sculpture.


Further up was an art installation reminiscent of something out of Harry Potter, where the books come alive appear to be “flying” out of the bookcase.


Part of the upstairs has a few mini shops selling cool vintage trinkets, to paintings, to stationery bits and bobs.


Once you reach the end of the loop of mini shops, there is an entrance to the upstairs part of the bookstore. Here, are even more sculptural book wonders, from little windows, to a lit up cave.


Also sprinkled throughout are more artsy influenced installations including 3D murals, color categorized bookshelves and various vintage sculptures.


Their inventory of books is a mixture of new, and secondhand with a few hard to find thrown in. I would recommend visiting whether you’re a bibliophile or quirky art connoisseur!


On the way back to my car, I spotted a few more representations of DTLA’s eclectic mix of artistic inspiration like this pretty black and white building.


To the *ahem* creepy.


To the amusing.

Secret Message: Morse Code Design

I had a little inspiration for a new design project that incorporated my love for typography, but using it in an unconventional form. I came up with a visual morse code design that you could express an inside joke to yourself or to someone else. Each letter is represented by the dot or dash combination to create the word. Now those who know morse code could potentially read it, but wouldn't necessarily think of it in visual form at first, hence the secrecy of it all. 

When the words are repeated, it creates an amazing visual melody, great for a pattern with a hidden message. Check out my initial offerings below, in the form of "Love" and "Savage" (in the urban dictionary sense). They are available in a singular, minimalist word version and in a repetitive pattern on all sorts of art prints, apparel and homeware items in my Society6 shop.

Five Holiday Gifts Under $50: Traveler Edition

It's that time of year again, what do I get family and friends for the holidays?! To help with this quandary, I've put together a little list of gifts for a type of person that I'd think would not only get enjoyment and practical use out of it, but also be kind to your wallet in the process. Today's gift list is for the traveler, whether they are seasoned or newbies I think there's at least one thing on here that they would be grateful to receive, and all under US$50.00!  

The following items are things that I either have used or something similar that has helped me in my travels.

Atlas Obscura (Hardcover) by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, & Ella Morton - $17.50

I've enjoyed Atlas Obscura's website for many years, it is a great planning tool for places to visit that's off the beaten path and not on many normal travel guides. I think this book would be perfect for the seasoned traveler who's probably seen a lot, but wants new places to visit.

Fire Tablet (7" Display, Black) - $49.99

Where else can you get a tablet for under $50.00! This is a great companion for those long haul flights where maybe the movie selection isn't that great and you're looking for other things to occupy your time. It's compact enough to fit in your carry on and now Netflix has decided to allow downloadable content, they can watch it on the go without wi-fi connection. 

If you've got the budget for a little more or this is a gift for someone special, I'd opt for a package deal and give them a gift of an Amazon Prime Membership so they can watch movies on the go, or visit the Kindle Lending Library, where you can borrow pretty much any book for free. Ever since I switched over many of my books to eBooks (I have a Kindle Paperwhite), it changed my life - no more clutter around the house, and you get to take all your books with you wherever you go with just the weight and size of the e-Reader.

eBags Large Packing Cubes (3pc Set) - $31.49

Packing cubes are an essential for any traveler, it keeps luggage organized and compact. Also for all those security inspections that are rampant nowadays, at least your underwear won't fly out as easily and be a little more discreet. I recommend getting down to the extra small sizes for electronic cables, stationery and those little odds and ends that somehow always end up at the bottom of your bag when you need it most. 

Map (23"x17" Art Print) by Mark Ashkenazi - $43.68

When your nomadic loved one is at home, give them something to remind them of their travels with a little decorative wall art map. This gallery quality giclee print, would be a great gift to those travelers that seem to have everything and also support an artist's work directly.

Anker PowerCore 10000 - $23.99

As I mentioned in my Solo Travel post, a battery bank for your phone is a life saver when traveling. Especially when going to an unknown place, whether it was finding locations, seeing when the next bus was coming, translating things, or taking quick pictures I couldn't get my big camera out fast enough for, my phone was my everything. My phone being my everything meant the battery was nothing within a few hours, and sometimes you are caught in an area where there aren't many places with an available outlet. The battery bank will help you not get stuck out in the middle of nowhere. This particular one has 10,000mAh and small enough to fit in your pocket which means it charges fast and it won't take up too much space.


[Disclaimer: Megan Matsuoka is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to or All opinions and selected items are my own choosing.]


Happy Thanksgiving! Get your Christmas shopping done early, because I'm having a 25% off my entire Etsy store "thankful for all of you" SALE from now November 28 to December 2 (Midnight PDT). Just use the coupon code: THANKFUL25 at check out.

Also just to note - my shop will be going on vacation from December 3rd - so get in quick!


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Aloha loyal and new readers! Sorry it's been a bit quiet around here and the shop. As with all things in life - just when you think it's going one way, it can turn in an instant and your whole world as you know it has changed completely. I'm still gathering my bearings in all of this so my etsy shop will currently be on hiatus until I'm able to get back to it. However, my work will still be available to purchase through my Society6 shop which has art prints, iPhone/iPad/Laptop cases, t-shirts, bags, etc.

I will be adding new work to my shop as often as I can. If you don't see a piece of mine that you would like to see in the shop or have any questions please email me at and I will look into adding it for purchase.

Right now there is FREE shipping worldwide through Sunday so get in quick! Thank you and please check back at the blog to see when my Etsy shop will be back up and running!