• 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 πŸ˜€
  • 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. πŸ˜€
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. πŸ˜€
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
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. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
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). β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € 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). β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β € I  paid for my room πŸ˜€ 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."


Decor Ideas

Installing removable wallpaper

October 21, 2016
Hygge House Wallpaper

My childhood homes all had wallpaper but my adult homes?Β Never. It’s not because I had a bad 80’s experience with floral print but because I either moved a lot or rented and found that painted walls were just easier and more cost effective.

But I’ve always loved the drama of wallpaper and have a slight obsession with it; I always snap pictures to Instagram or collect pictures in my Wallpaper Pinterest Board.

So I was determined in my new home to have wallpaper somewhere. I initially thought on some plain pantry doors but the opening and closing of them is already scuffing the paint – I worried about wear and tare on paper. I thought about peek-a-boo places like cupboards or doors but nothing really fit.

Whilst browsing Hygge and West’s wallpaper selection, I found a large, bold print that was so beautiful that I instantly knew what I’d wall paper.

A 14′ wall on a landing that connects the first floor to the second.

Wall Before

Going up or coming down all you see is a high white ceiling and a door out to the backyard. I’d thought about curtains over the door, prints above it, but couldn’t think of anything that’d bring both drama to the space but at the same time not be too overwhelming since I look at this several times a day. There’s no hiding this space.

The Otomi Tiles in red were perfect for so many reasons. The red was vibrant but not harsh – it was a very Danish red. The pattern looked Scandinavian to me but the pattern actually comes from the Otomi people in Mexico. Since half my fella’s family comes from Mexico, I thought it’d be a lovely blend of two cultures – the Danish Red and the Mexican print.

I measured out the walls and the door, and sent the measurements to Hygge and West who helped determine how many tiles I’d need. I’d made the decision to go with removable wallpaper because I’d always been curious about it – how does it apply? How does it last? How does it come off? The latter was important just in case the red was too dramatic and I wanted to take it down. So I needed tiles versus roles and ended up using about 16.

I wasn’t familiar with tiles or how removable wallpaper looked so when I got them and saw that they weren’t trimmed (meaning, there were white edges around them), I knew I’d need to hire a professional to install. My cutting and pasting skills are what had me fail art twice in school so I didn’t want to mess with tiles that’d be going up on the walls!

My installer told me that removable wallpaper is really better for smaller projects – like cupboards and doors. The reasons? With rolls, you glue it to the wall and that glue allows you to move the role around to really line things up perfect. And because you’re not trimming tiles you get cleaner, crisper seams. So removable wallpaper provides challenges in larger spaces.

It took the installer about 2.5 hours to cut and paste all the tiles to the wall. When he was done, I was really, really impressed. It had changed the whole look of the space.

Hygge House Wallpaper

It was exactly what I was hoping for – hygge, dramatic but not overpowering. The door goes to the backyard and you can see a lot of nature through the glass and the pattern compliments that. The pattern was the perfect size as well – I think anything smaller for this space would have seemed to busy or harsh.

I didn’t notice any seam issues either close up or far away, so all in all I’m really happy with the removable wallpaper tiles. I’d just suggest if you’re going to use them for a larger space to get a professional – it makes a huge difference.

  • Reply
    gabrielleNo Gravatar
    October 23, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I absolutely love this! I have textured walls so I’m wondering how it would work – off to check the site now to see if I can get a test sample πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Abbey Lile-TaylorNo Gravatar
    November 8, 2016 at 2:19 AM

    This is Heavenly! I’d love to try it in closets that I use frequently…a nice little surprise when I go in looking for something.

    • alex at hygge houseNo Gravatar
      December 2, 2016 at 10:13 AM

      I actually put some of the left over in a little half closet/cupboard I have and it actually made a huge difference. It went from a “chore cupboard” to a “oh i LOVE OPENING THIS” cupboard πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Beth RNo Gravatar
    December 5, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    It looks beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sarah JacksonNo Gravatar
    January 15, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Have never heard of this. What a fabulous idea! Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    PeterNo Gravatar
    October 29, 2017 at 12:58 PM

    Absolutely love this. I have a bland end-of-hallway wall with a window that this will be perfect for.

Leave a Reply