• This time last year I took my first road trip up California's 395 through the eastern Sierra mountains. I went on to Mammoth, Truckee and Yosemite.

It was epic.

The highlights for me were Bodie (Check out my highlights for "ghost town"), Mammoth (reminded me of the Canadian Rockies), and seeing the Donner Party Memorial/area.

It's a super hard state to live in, but it sure is beautiful. (PS: I made a Spotify playlist for just the drive:
  • I posted this in stories but  got so many comments I had to post it here.

I'd read an article which said how common an electric kettle is in the UK/AU but not in America. 
This was so interesting to me because my kettle is probably my most used appliance. But when I stay in homes here I can never find one.

A lot of Americans told me they use their microwave for hot water or they have a stove top.

And @astridpiepschyk explained it had to do with voltage. "Most Americans donโ€™t own an electric kettle because the electricity voltage is too low to power a kettle effectively. In Australia, UK the voyage is 240, but in America itโ€™s 110, and not very effective in boiling an electric kettle. It works, but takes a long time. This is why stove kettles are much more common." So what started as a post about how I love my half shelf for teacups in my 1930s cupboards turned into a great cultural and scientific conversation.

This is why I love Instagram ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Ten years ago I moved to Philadelphia to build Anthropologies first Social Media, Content and Community programs.

It was a dream come true for two reasons. One I loved the company and two I was moving in July which meant I'd have an east coast fall.

It did not disappoint.

I spent every weekend out in nature with rosy cheeks, drinking hot apple cider. All this time later, that fall is still one of my favourite s and I miss it every year.

PS: the last photo is my old garage on my one acre property in Chestnut Hill. I had an 18th century stone home which I loved. I don't think I ever really wrote about this place because i never really settled in. Something I wish I'd done but I was just so consumed with work.
  • I like taking photos at Disneyland that don't look like Disneyland.
  • This is my aunt on my french fathers side. During WWII, she got tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium to recover.

To pass time, she and her other young female friends would doll up, take photos and send them plus letters to soldiers to flirt with. Some they knew, some they didn't. Like old-fashioned Bumble. ๐Ÿ˜€
She was incredibly smart, witty, and fierce. In this photo she was full of possibilities and hope.

She married soon after to an abusive alcoholic, had four sons and quickly got trapped by circumstance and the era.

She was my favourite family member even though I didn't see her that often. I have one hand written letter from her and this photo which are the few family things I have.

I loved her because she always listened to me - patiently and sincerely. She saw who I really was and was so kind about it and oddly relatable. She gave me direction without advice. She laughed often, was direct when needed and sometimes acted soft. She was the only one who ever called me sweetie (my family nickname at the time was Chuck! and my family never used soft names with each other. So sweetie felt so amazingly special). I had 5 other aunts but I called her just "Aunty" as she defined them all. It was only to her that I felt a connection, unconditional love and a sense of family.

Her situation was always pitiful and dire,  but she never acted like a victim. When I saw her on her deathbed she was so small, weak and wilted from a hard life. But somehow she had always given me courage and strength, as if to say to be the possibilities she couldn't be.

Recently I hung out with my two young adult nieces and they both just called me "Aunty." Not Aunty Alex or Alex. Just Aunty.

It made me feel so special and like we have formed the same bonds that I had with my own Aunty. And that I was now being to them what she was to me. 
But more importantly, they helped me change my idea of her - the one that she never accomplished something. 
Because she did. 
She taught me how to be a good Aunty - one of my favourite things to be. That's her legacy which I think is really beautiful.

Well, that and dressing up when you feel poorly. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
There's something so magic and calming about Ojai and this place taps into it so perfectly. And they have the best massages.

My recs? Avoid weekends and holidays. It's insane and the spa isn't as relaxing because it's just so overcrowded.

For rooms, avoid the ones above Libby's Market/Pub (I think they are the original rooms). They're just louder & smaller. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
I've had a suite with a patio, bedroom and fireplace down by the spa that was heaven and I've had a larger room by the main restaurant (I can't remember that buildings name) and both were amazing. This past room was in the Topa building which is their main building and it was really lovely (and had a balcony overlooking the golf course). โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € I've  been here with girlfriends, alone, on retreats with work and loved all the experiences. I know a lot of people who come here with kids (@couldihavethat has a recent post in IG and her blog on why it's great for families) and it's also totally dog friendly (@ScoutStCharming has been). โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € I  paid for my room ๐Ÿ˜€ and received zero things for free. So not am ad, just sharing what I love.
  • I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
  • Possibilities.
  • "After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains." Happy 200th birthday, Walt Whitman
  • Spring is always the most alive after the darkest and rainiest of winters. #hyggehouse
  • "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C. S. Lewis. Or, as the Secret Sisters sang, "Tomorrow will be kinder."


Cookery Danish Life

Spring Asparagus

May 6, 2016

I think the only (spring) food that Danes like more than their new potatoes are perhaps Asparges (asparagus). After a long, cold, winter the spring is welcomed with everything asparagus; soup, salad, open-faced sandwiches, and as alone as a simple side dish. If there is a way to incorporate itย into a meal, the Danes will find a way to do so.

However, it’s only recently I’ve come to really appreciate, love and cook Asparagus. With access to the famous Santa Monica Market, I’ve been meeting local asparagus farmers who are so passionate about this vegetable that they could give any Dane a run for their money. When I bought a couple of stocks a few weeks ago, one of the growers asked me how I was going to cook them. I gave him my tried and true recipe: put on pan, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and broil.

He looked at me with great disappointment and said that his asparagus were so amazing, so tender and sweet (it’s the season) that they deserved to be the full meal and not a sad side dish. He gave me a simple recipe which I have to confess to having for either lunch or dinner every day since. It’s the perfect light but satisfying meal that I intend to keep having until the season is over. Besides, there’s an old-wives tale in Denmark that says it’s bad luck to eat asparagus after June 23rd (Saint John’s Eve).

Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesan

I love this recipe because it’s so quick (perfect for when you’re hangry) and light (unlike a lot of egg dishes). It’s also gluten free.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed (I just snap off the bottoms where they naturally break)
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I omit this and just use a little more olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or half a lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (optional if you’re dairy-free).
  1. Break eggs into one small prep bowl or cup. Fill a large, low sided pan with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Take a spoon or spatula and make a circular pattern in the pan so that the water is moving in a big circle. Then slowly drop 4 eggs into the middle of the pan. The swirling action will create wonderful poached eggs. If you don’t like this method, use your preferred methods for poaching. Poach eggs 2-3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus spears, cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus with tongs, set aside.
  3. Dry the medium saucepan. Add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sautรฉ about 1 minute. Turn off heat; add butter (or a little more olive oil), and swirl pan. Add lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper. Add asparagus and two tablespoons Parmesan then toss with lemon-butter sauce to coat.
  4. Divide asparagus among 2 plates. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, blotting bottom of spoon on towel to absorb excess moisture. Place 2 eggs on each mound of asparagus. Pour any remaining sauce of each and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  5. Serve immediately.
  • Reply
    JayneNo Gravatar
    April 16, 2009 at 8:26 PM

    Mmm…asparagus, one of my favourite veggies right from when I was a child. Nice recipe – all the other elements together are kind of ‘Hollandaise-ish’ without the hassle and heartaches. I think I’ll be trying this so, thank you.

  • Reply
    katrinaNo Gravatar
    April 16, 2009 at 9:23 PM

    I’ve missed you Alex :)…the site is looking wonderful. So I guess we really are Danes. Growing up we ate it just as it came on as well. We enjoyed it with my visiting parents and brothers Easter Sunday, and a couple days ago as well. I love that your grower friends believe it deserves more attention! This recipe you’ve shared looks divine, can’t wait to try it. I think we’ll make some asparagus soup this coming week while visiting my parents…:) And thanks for the wives-tale warning…June 23rd huh? Oh, so intruiging!

  • Reply
    ellen p.No Gravatar
    April 20, 2009 at 12:12 AM

    Hi Alex,

    Love your revamped website. Must explore it all. Been awhile.

    I went over to one of your sites where you recommended SkinCeuticals Phyto+ (a product that excludes hydroquinone [sp?]) to deal with bits of skin discoloration. I have extremely fair skin that marks easily. (Just had some lovely under-skin cysts that left red marks on the surface. Yaay.) Anyway, I’m hoping that this product can smooth away the remnants of these episodes and, perhaps, even out skin tone a bit (mine is not that bad, thankfully).


    Ellen P.

  • Reply
    DaveNo Gravatar
    June 30, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    that sounds incredible, I think we’re going to have to try that out this week. Mmmm.

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