• 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 don’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 it’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 😀
  • 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. 😀
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. 😀
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 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). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I  paid for my room 😀 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

Sweet Beets

June 28, 2008
beet fields in Denmark

Beets have always played a huge part in Denmark; it’s one of two major crops (the other is potatoes) and it’s also harvested for sugar (there’s even a museum dedicated to it). There’s a 99% chance that if you are invited to lunch, nedlagte rødbeder or pickled beets, will be on the table for your smørrebrød (open faced sandwich).

This has always terrified me. Actually, most Danish food has terrified me (Liver Paste/Leverpostej?) ! And so despite having sat at countless tables with beets upon them, I just couldn’t ever bring myself to eat them. No matter how much “oohing” and “ahhing” my mum made over their taste.

However, recently my doctor suggested to me that I should juice some carrots, celery and yes, beets together to help with some health concerns. I’d heard of this tonic before (it’s been suggested as a great hangover drink) and how it helps the liver function. I’ve been an avid juicer but only with things green. I wasn’t sure I could add beets.

But I did.

Into my juicer went one large beet, three carrots, one lemon, half a stack of celery, a bit of ginger and a cucumber for good measure. I wasn’t sure I could drink it but in the name of health I did. And then I did some more. And some more. I couldn’t believe how sweet it was – I had fallen in love with… beets!

I don’t know if I’m into pickling or roasting yet (one step at a time) but juicing them has been tasty and easy. I’m not sure about all the health benefits yet but thankfully I’m now loving beets for their taste instead of doing it out of healing obligation.

My mum will be so proud.

Other beet ideas:

  • Reply
    Felicia Sullivan - Author, Foodie, Rockstar » » Blog Archive » monday morning love (when you’re too tired to actually post)…
    June 30, 2008 at 6:23 AM

    […] This: Alex finds gastronomic joy in the beet. My last experience with beets involved a cake, a napkin at the ready and a good deal of face […]

  • Reply
    EmiraNo Gravatar
    June 30, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Alex, I can not recommend roasted beets enough. Best to get some nice wee ones from the farmer’s market and simply crank your oven (say 400ish?), wash and trim the beets (cut off tops and bottom nubbin) then wrap in a little tin foil purse with a crack of pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Roast until they start to smell divine (depending on the size of beet this is 25 mins to 40 mins), remove from the oven, let cool and then you can slip the peels off with your fingers. These are truly divine in a salad, I put them in a (tuna-less) nicose salad that I make in the summer and they’re just too yummy. I usually roast a bunch more than a need and keep them in their little foil purses in the fridge to pull out and add to summer salads all season long. You will love them. I promise as much.

  • Reply
    HannieNo Gravatar
    July 1, 2008 at 1:26 AM

    I enjoyed your post about the Danish food. My parents in law are Dutchies who emigrated to Denmark a few years ago. Altough they are not to fond about the Danish eating habits they embraced Leverpostej, grillpolser and grovhakket. I can’t stand those. My sister in low really loves them; every time she visits her parents she brings loads of grovhakket to Holland and takes Dutch bread to Denmark because my in-laws don’t like the Rugbrød in Danmark. I enjoy the sandwiches with fish and Rødgrød med fløde. But I would prefer other more southern European cuisines.

  • Reply
    TallyNo Gravatar
    July 2, 2008 at 12:39 PM

    How about grated red beets? Mixed together with grated carrots and whatever is on hand, e.g. radish, apple… spiced up with cress and/or some sprouts, may be mixed with arugula.
    Add good olive oil, salt and pepper. Or a bit of your favorite dressing.

    I love it and have it quite frequently as a “go to work” lunch.

    Hello from Hamburg
    -not quite Dänemark but not far away-

    ps. as teenagers we used to have competitions about how many danish hotdog with red polsers one can eat immediatly after crossing the border 🙂

  • Reply
    RachelNo Gravatar
    July 3, 2008 at 8:32 AM

    I actually loved eating pickled beets as a child. We traveled often. Seeing beets on the salad bar always made me comfortable and happy. I agree with Emira’s method for roasting them. I may add a drizzle of olive oil over the beets before they bake. You can also roast the carrots. Which get lovely and caremlized. Terrific tossed with some fresh mint, salt and pepper. A nice borscht is another way to prepare beets. I love the pink color on the spoon.

  • Reply
    KimNo Gravatar
    July 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM

    Coming from a Polish family, I’ve grown up with beets on the table for every major holiday. Either served cold with a bit of vinegar and seasoning or in beet soup. There’s something indescribable about the tasted that I really love.

  • Reply
    LizNo Gravatar
    July 7, 2008 at 8:30 AM

    As an avid beet-lover, I find myself in the minority wherever I go.

    For a beet-palate pleasing lunch, try them sliced, stacked alternately with goat cheese and then roasted. Wow!

  • Reply
    AWNo Gravatar
    May 1, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    oh, Love the beets. Red, white, and anything else found.

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