Day at the Museum -The Natural History Museum

One of my favorite museums in Los Angeles is the Natural History Museum which is located in Exposition Park.  The museum is a beautiful building that is adorned with grand pillars and a massive domed roof. It houses four floors of exhibits featuring over 80 million items that include prehistoric creatures, dinosaurs and life-size replicas of mammals that date over 65 million years!  It also showcases a butterfly pavilion and a beautiful nature garden exhibit. L.A. County Residents get free admission from 3–5 pm Monday through Friday. If you are 17 and younger but live outside of LA County, the admission is only $12. You can pretty much spend the whole day there, as there is so much to see and do!

One of my favorite exhibits is the Dinosaur Hall, which features an extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons and fossils. The hall showcases a 67-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Stegosaurus but there are also a wide range of others like the Brachiosaurus and the Velociraptor. The models are incredibly realistic and there is a variety of fossils and skeletons from different periods of the dinosaur era. There are also very cool interactive displays that allow you touch real fossils and participate in a virtual reality experience that puts you in an simulated dinosaur habitat!

There many other exhibits like the African Mammals exhibit that highlights various life size mammals found in Africa. The Age of Mammals exhibit, which is another completely different exhibit, shows the evolution of mammals over the past 65 million years. Also life size! There is an Insect Zoo that displays live insects from around the world. The Gem and Mineral Hall houses the famous 563-carat Star of India sapphire, as well as many other remarkable gems and minerals that you’ve probably never even heard of before. The Nature Lab which is an interactive space. lets you explore the natural world and learn through hands on fun. There is a lot! Although all of the exhibits are pretty incredible, I think the most important part of the museum is that it serves as an educational resource for the city. There are a lot of educational programs and workshops for students and teachers that are designed to engage learning and interest in scientific exploration. There is also a focus on environmental conservation and sustainability which reminds us to be mindful of the impact that we have or leave on planet Earth. This is a pretty phenomenal museum that you should visit at least once!

Album Review: Evermore by Taylor Swift

In July of 2020, acclaimed singer-songwriter Taylor Swift surprise released her eighth studio album, Folklore. Fans were shocked by her abrupt dive into the alternative-indie genre after being a global icon of pop music for years. On December 11, 2020, she followed up by surprise releasing her ninth album, Evermore, shocking her fanbase once again.

Evermore is a 15-track album of alternative rock and indie folk songs. Swift collaborated with Aaron Dessner on the album, and most of it was recorded at the Long Pond Studio in the Hudson Valley. It features the bands Bon Iver, Haim, and The National. As a cottagecore-inspired escapist album, Evermore is most known for Swift’s incredible and haunting storytelling and poetic lyricism, which is backed by fingerpicked guitar, melancholy piano melodies, and soft percussion. This album is a musical storybook full of tales of marriage, infidelity, heartbreak, grief, love, and human emotion. In my opinion, the following are the most well-written songs on Evermore:

Track 2: “champagne problems” – This song is the story of a woman who turns down her partner’s marriage proposal, shocking all their family and friends. As Taylor Swift stated, the characters were “longtime college sweethearts [who] had very different plans for the same night, one to end it and one who brought a ring.”

Track 5: “tolerate it” – This beautifully written song tells of a never-ending struggle where the narrator wants love from their partner, who isn’t paying attention to the narrator at all. Swift drew inspiration from the novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, explaining that the young woman in the story put in much effort to impress her husband, yet he merely tolerated her love.

Track 9: “coney island ft. The National” – This song features back-and-forth conversational lyrics between two characters who were previously involved in a relationship. Through somber and nostalgic lyrics, the narrator regretfully apologizes for not loving their partner enough.

Track 10: “ivy” – In “ivy,” Swift sings about a woman falling in love with someone who is not her husband, leading to a secret affair.

Track 15: “evermore” – As the title track of the album, “evermore” is a piano ballad about the narrator’s journey from an endless stretch of deep depression to a place of hope and healing.

To conclude, Evermore is a beautiful album that stirs up emotions in listeners. I would absolutely recommend this album, especially if you enjoy reading classic literature and can appreciate the beauty of Taylor Swift’s lyricism.

Happy listening!

The question pounds my head
“What’s a lifetime of achievement?”
If I pushed you to the edge
But you were too polite to leave me
And do you miss the rogue
Who coaxed you into paradise and left you there?
Will you forgive my soul
When you’re too wise to trust me and too old to care?

-Taylor Swift, “Coney Island”

-Lam T.

Day at the Museum-LACMA

One of my favorite museums is LACMA. The LA County Museum of Art is located in Los Angeles and It is the largest art museum in the western United States. It houses a collection of over 145,000 objects and covers over 6,000 years of artistic history.  It showcases works of art from many different cultures and time periods, which is why it draws such a wide audience. For anyone 17 and under that live in Los Angeles County, admission is free! I think that is amazing because the value of the museum is priceless. Also, there’s not a lot free out there that’s cool, interesting as well as interactive.  If you’re 17 and under but live outside of LA County, the admission is ONLY $10. I say it is ONLY because there is so much to see and actually do there. 

There are five different buildings of art and experiential activities.  You can take an art class, you can take a docent tour, you can participate in a community program, and then there’s ALL that art to see. There are also music, design and film programs, as well as concerts every Friday night. That’s a lot for free, or $10 if you’re from Orange County.

If you don’t have all day to take advantage of any of the numerous programs that are offered, and just want to view the art, the exhibits at LACMA  are overwhelming (in a good way) in range and style. The permanent Picasso and Warhol exhibits are definitely highlights but past exhibits have covered everything from Monet to Yoshimoto Nara and the Obama Portraits. The ever changing exhibits are windows into different perspectives of historical and current issues, as well as beautiful or repugnant reminders of the human experience. I’ve been to many museums all across the country and for many reasons this one holds a place because I’ve been going there since I was three years old. I didn’t quite get it when I was that young but in retrospect, I believe that any cultural experience you have offers a frame of reference into your future panoramic view and that’s worth a lot more than $10. If you can take a day trip to LA, definitely make it to LACMA, even if you are not a huge museum person. You will see crazy, beautiful and completely unique things that you will not see anywhere else!

Teen Crochet 101 at the Library

Last Saturday the Library hosted its first Teen Crochet 101 class. This free new program is for teens ages 15-19 and was created and led by Aspen, one of our Teen Advisory Board members. Teen Library Intern Alyssa assisted with the class.

Teen Crochet 101 classes are designed for beginners and limited to teens ages 15-19. No experience is necessary and all materials are provided. The first class covered materials and basic stitches. The next class will cover patterns, color switching and more. A beginner project will be introduced in the third session.

On the day of the event, we were surprised by a large donation of yarn from a community member, so all attendees were able to choose several colors and sizes to take home and practice.

Join us for the next two classes!

Session 2 Sat. Oct. 22, 2:30-4:30 pm

Session 3 Sat. Nov. 5, 2:30-4:30 pm

For more information or to register, please email

My Top Five Crochet Blanket Patterns

I find in summer that I have a lot more time to sit back and relax, and I spend that time crocheting. I enjoy making blankets, either to be donated or to be used as Christmas presents, so here are my top five favorite patterns.

5. Tesselated Hearts

Tesselated Hearts (Fiber Spider)

This is a very simple tesselated hearts filet pattern that I enjoyed making very much. I chose a gray yarn to make this pattern with, and it’s working up well. The only thing I don’t like about this pattern is that it is worked in rows, not rounds, and I don’t much enjoy working in rows.

Fiber Spider’s tutorial (Part 1):

4. Bavarian Stitch

Bavarian Stitch Blanket (The Spruce Crafts)

The Bavarian Stitch Blanket is a great blanket to make. It involves post stitches, which creates lovely texture. However, it is a bit more challenging than some other blankets.

I used Hooked by Robin’s tutorial to learn how to crochet this blanket:

3. Star Blankets

12-Point Star Blanket (The Loophole Fox)

There are two different star blankets that I’m thinking of, the 5 point star and the 12 point star. Both are worked in-the-round. I made the 12 point star for my baby brother as his own baby blanket, and it turned out really beautiful with a variegated teal yarn. (I used Red Heart Super Saver Ombre in the color Deep Teal) The only downside is that it’s not a round or square blanket, it’s star-shaped.

Bella Coco has tutorials for both types of stars: and

2. Virus Blanket

Virus Blanket (Christine Pennylegion)

The first I made the Virus Blanket was for my mom, and I used a really bright variegated yarn pattern (Lion Brand Yarn Cupcakes in the color Clown Car). It turned out absolutely amazing. The only downside is that there are a few holes, but other than that, it’s a great in-the-round blanket.

There are so many different tutorials on this blanket, but the one that I used was Bella Coco’s:

1. Lotus Blanket

Lotus Blanket (Hooked by Robin)

This is my absolute favorite blanket pattern. Ever. I made this for my aunt for Christmas, and it was so stunning. The only thing is it’s just a bit complicated, but you get rewarded with such a pretty design! Find Hooked by Robin’s tutorial (Part 1) here:–tTTLAi5A

So, there’s a list of my top five blanket patterns, and if you crochet I hope you make an amazing blanket you enjoy. If you don’t crochet, maybe it’s time to pick up a hook and a new hobby! (You’ll definitely never run out of Christmas ideas too!)

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever made any of these blankets. 🙂
~ Kailyn L.

The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

SHAKUR,TUPAC & VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Rose That Grew From Concrete - Music

Released three years after Tupac’s murder in 1996, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is his writings from the time he was nineteen to just a few months before his passing. The poems are simple and concise, written in rhyme and Tupac’s loving shorthand.

Again, I tend to shy away from celebrity poetry and posthumous collections/albums- both of those labels usually hint at money grabs. However, I decided to make an exception for Tupac- and I’m very glad I did.

Tupac is an almost mythical character in the American psyche. He was a pioneer of hip-hop, of rap, of social justice in a way that is often downplayed. He knew it too- his writings hint that he always knew he was destined for great things. Still, these poems serve to humanize Tupac in a way that has never been presented before. Although the poems are a little clunky at times, they speak of a person– of a human being who fell in love, fell out of it, wanted better for himself, had hopes, had dreams. The poems being presented in his handwriting, as written, only adds to this. They prove that, at the end of the day, Tupac was just as human as the rest of us- just as pained and angry and lovelorn and real as anyone else. And this is the true essence of this book- far beyond the words on the page.

-Vaidehi B.

Expanding Our Musical Tastes

Recently I went to a very different kind of concert. My sister is in college and took an Early Music class that required her to play different types of recorders. While at this concert, it got me thinking about expanding my music taste and trying new things when I am listening to music. Often, I find myself listening to the same couple of songs over and over again. I find that even though I get bored of the music I’m listening to, I can never actually take the time to find new songs. Going to this concert made me realize that there are so many different types of music that, though I might not listen to all the time, could be interesting every once in a while. 

A lot of music streaming services offer radios that are designed based on the music we already listen to. Often, they have pre created playlists that feature one type of song. Using these, I have seen myself learning about songs that I would never have any other way. These premade playlists are also great for the holiday season when they have all our favorites in one place. With these, we can learn about artists that are just starting out, as well as ones that might not always be deemed “popular.” 

As we head into the holiday season and the stress of school and gift giving, take the time to find some new music. I have always found that music is a great way to destress. Listening to my music always helps me relax and focus on the tasks at hand. So however you listen to your music, try out some new things with your listening habits. 

-Danielle B.

The Most Beautiful Libraries Around the World

  • Biblioteca de Convento de Mafra: This library is located in Mafra, Portugal. It is filled with leather-bound books from the 14th to the 19th centuries. This library had once been a part of the Mafra National Palace and it’s exquisite structure still stands today because of the bats sleeping in the shelves to keep away any pests. You should see it if you are ever nearby!
  • National Library of China: This library is located in Beijing, China. Several shelves consist of archives dating to the Song Dynasty and even some made of tortoise shells and bones from the Qing Dynasty. In the year of 1909, this library had been granted by the Xuantong emperor as an ordinary library but after the Revolution of 1911, it was taken over by the Ministry of Education and eventually led to being the country’s national library. People of all different interests in books find this library absolutely astounding.
  • Abbey Library of St. Gall: This library is located in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The paintings on the roof and the fashion of the book shelves leaves people breathless at first sight. This library is attached to the church of Abbey of St. Gall and has archives that date back to 820 CE. In the mid-18th century, the library had been redone in the Renaissance art style and architecture. A must-see that doesn’t allow any photography inside!
  • Starfield Library: This library is located in Seoul, South Korea. A unique characteristic of this library is that it is located in an underground mall! This library seems to be one of the most recent of beautiful libraries as it was built in 2017. Its two-story athenaeum shows the space as glowing and the plush sofas there are very relaxing.
  • Klementinum National Library: This library is located in Prague, Czech Republic. The original library of a Jesuit library became the “Baroque pearl of Prague” national library of the country. The adorn ceiling came from the artwork of Jan Hiebl and a portrait of Emperor Joseph II is placed at the head of the hallway with all of the works done throughout the centuries that had been in libraries that no longer exist anymore.

-Saanvi V.

Ways to Stay Creative

Photo by Pixabay on

Many of us have probably experienced a creative block, whether it be for writing or art, at some point in our lives. Often, such blocks can be difficult to break out of, and can lead to us abandoning the task altogether. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here are five tips to stay creative and get rid of artist’s block!

1. Create Distance

When you hit a block in your work, it’s actually a better idea to step away than to continue struggling. Create some distance between yourself and the task- go for a walk, talk to a friend, or even just step away from your desk and eat a snack. For bigger blocks, take a day or two off, and push the thought of the task to the back of your mind. That way, when you come back to it, you will feel rejuvenated and re-inspired.

2. Let Yourself Get Bored

Rather than try to chase down inspiration on the Internet or social media, let inspiration come to you! Put down all your devices and mental stimuli, and feel yourself get bored and start to daydream. Daydreaming, with no support from a stimulus, has been found to boost creativity.

3. Surround Yourself with Blue

It is exactly what it sounds like. Whenever you feel a creative block, try surrounding yourself with blue objects- sit in a blue room, or go outside so you can see the sky. Studies have shown that blue, being linked to peace, calm, and nature, can help us feel more creative and explorative!

4. Get Emotional

Inspiration most often tends to strike us when we are highly emotional. So do something that excites you! Go to a theme park or organize an outing with friends. However, negative emotions can also help stir up creativity- so you can even watch a sad movie or read a sad book!

5. Meditate

Meditation has long been used as a process to calm the mind and help shake loose new ideas from your brain. You should try it! If you feel incapable of sitting still and quiet for ten or fifteen minutes, try it in increments of three minutes. It will relax your mind and really help get your creative juices flowing!

-Vaidehi B.