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  • It's a Southern California fall day like this that makes me miss my Topanga house in the mountains. You can see more photos on the blog.
  • 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: http://bit.ly/mountainroad).
  • 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 😀
 #hyggehouse
  • 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.

Pps: I've done a fall clothes clean out and am posting things for sale at @hyggehouseshop this week
  • 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.
  • The bridge next door and the buildings in the park across the street burned down in the Woolley Fire. But the Old Place still stands which makes me so happy. It's my favourite place in LA and I have missed hanging out here. It's nice to be back.
  • 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

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Danish Life Wanderlust

Copenhagen Sights of Note

February 14, 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark

Arriving into town at 8AM after a flight from New York, my mum and I weren’t exactly wide eyed and bushy tailed (especially since I couldn’t sleep because I kept watching Marie Antoinette. Those visuals!) So when we checked into the Front Hotel in Nyhaven (a once bad area that is now trendy and charming) we weren’t sure if we should sleep or go out.

We chose to go out.

Walking outside for awhile the cold weather got to us and slowly my brain started to fade; I found it hard to remember where things were and it was too early to go into shops. What were a couple of tourist girls to do? Hop on a warm little tour bus for a few hours and have someone else tell us what things were and where to go.

Normally I’m not a fan of the tour bus but the two and a half tour (which runs at 11AM outside of the Town Hall) is something I’d highly recommend; especially if the stylish Finnish women in a red coat is giving the tour. The (very comfortable)bus takes you all over the city, allowing for only a few stops. This, I think, works well as it helps you to learn the city and then decide where you’d like to go and spend time later on. For me, I discovered at the end of the tour I really needed to see my bed as I had dozed off and missed the last part.

Walking back to the hotel we window shopped, remembering which places we’d would return to tomorrow. When we arrived back at the hotel my stomach needed something and so, to the lobby I went. It was Valentines Day – not something ordinarily celebrated here but it is slowly, but surely, coming into fashion. The restaurant had red, pink and purple gothic style wine glasses on all the tables alongside flowers in the same hue. It was an interesting mix of old with modern decor; something that is very Danish.

After a light meal we returned to the room, washed up and was out at 5PM. Waking up at midnight for a snack before returning to sleep until 9AM the next morning. After a busy few days in Los Angeles, New York and Copenhagen, the luxurious bed with the fluffiest of duvets was a much-needed thing indeed.

My mum celebrating her birthday in Copenhagen

My mum celebrating her birthday in Copenhagen as a Dane would – with coffee at 10PM!

Then, today I asked my mother what she’d like to do for her birthday. Her reply? Shop! She’d never really shopped Copenhagen before and so we headed over to Strøget and Købmagergade; the famous walking streets. Some areas are nicer than others (try starting in Nyhavn) but it’s worth it to walk it all. I’m not much for shopping (I secretly love to window shop at night when the lights are on so you can see everything) but it was good to have a place to dash into when the weather outside was a bit too nippy. Although, I must confess to being very happy about the Bodum Store where I snagged a little milk frother (which can go on a gas stove) and a tea pot that had a tea-light candle warmer underneath! And I was also happy to find that I could get a discount at the Urban Outfitters Europe store for a top that I fell for and as well as scoring a beautiful $60 coat at the H&M! I also swooned over a couple of pieces at very Danish stores, Georg Jensen (Gee-ree-ehn-son) and Royal Copenhagen but decided to think about them and, if at the end of the trip they’re still in my mind, I’ll pick them up then.

When dinner came, it was time to celebrate my mothers birthday and since Cap Horn had been recommended to us by several people, we decided to give this “global organic kitchen” a try.

What might have seemed like a little unassuming restaurant/pub was a culinary experience; fresh, organic foods bought from local markets were cooked to perfection. Not being able to eat gluten due to a food allergy, they knew how to accommodate me (this has been the norm thus far in Denmark whereas in America it’s very hard to eat out with a gluten sensitivity). And, like France, the restaurants here expect no turnover; when you take a table it is yours for that night (or, in our case, 2.5hrs!). When the meal and coffee were done, it was time to head home to the hotel where we got up on the days photos, emails and dish from home. Ah, Copenhagen!

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