• 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."


Everyday Hygge

Bucket List of 101 Things To Do

October 25, 2017
Bucket List Ideas on

I’d once created a bucket list of 30 things to do in my 30th year and am happy to report that I’d actually done most of them. I’m not generally a list maker but I get why people do it – it was so satisfying to tick things off both big and small.

But there were about 10 things I hadn’t gotten around to and couldn’t just leave them. So I began to think about more things I’d always wanted to do from the mundane (cook) to the big (Ritz Paris).

And so, in 2009, the 101 Things To Do Bucket List was born.

Below is a list of things to do and a list of things I’ve done. I’m sure it’ll take me a lifetime to accomplish them all which is totally fine. My goal is to cross off at least two a year. We’ll see how it goes.

The Bucket List (To Do)

  1. Travel on the Royal Scotsman
  2. Stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora
  3. Have my work have meaning like it used to (mentoring, building, giving, creating etc.)
  4. Donate over a million dollars over my lifetime
  5. Own a king size bed
  6. Have a maid
  7. Learn to sleep consistently more than 4 hours a night
  8. Better my penmanship and write by hand more
  9. Fly a plane
  10. Stay at the Ritz Paris
  11. Own a Fortnum and Mason hamper then have a picnic
  12. Take all my best girlfriends on a weekend getaway at once
  13. Own a claw foot tub
  14. Have a dressing room or large walk-in closet
  15. Watch the sunrise over Santa Barbara from sea
  16. Use only all organic/natural skincare and makeup
  17. Grow an edible garden (and actually harvest it)
  18. Drive a golf cart
  19. Own a (Airstream Nest type) trailer or camper.
  20. Have a partner in crime
  21. Buy every book on my Amazon Wishlist at once
  22. Take a photo every day for at least a year
  23. Have weekly floral deliveries from a company like Farm girl flowers
  24. Own a first edition of “Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  25. Make a tent like the one in the movie, “The Holiday”
  26. Make a difference
  27. Visit Moray Firth Coast
  28. Be on ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me
  29. Do an unassisted handstand
  30. Feel sophisticated
  31. Get a makeup lesson from Lisa Eldridge
  32. Own chickens or ducks
  33. Be a mentor
  34. Own a classic Chanel and Louis Vuitton bag then pass down to my nieces when they turn 30
  35. Try the trapeze
  36. Make my home 100% green and sustainable
  37. Own a beautiful chandelier
  38. Learn to sew
  39. Karaoke
  40. Own a pony
  41. Have a gluten-free chef
  42. Own couture
  43. Ride on the roof of a train in Ecuador
  44. Learn how to really use my camera
  45. Volunteer with my dog
  46. Have a saline pool
  47. Read every book I own (I have a habit of buying without reading)
  48. Swing dance
  49. Have a stocked and large linen closet.
  50. Take Sunday’s off for at least a year
  51. Visit Gaspe Bay
  52. Have a massage every four to six weeks for a year
  53. Have theme music follow me for a day. Like in a movie
  54. Belong
  55. Love my home, my city and work – all at the same time
  56. Own a Rust custom ring
  57. Have one home base for the rest of my life

The Bucket List (Done)

  1. Get a ukulele again and play it often (November 2017)
  2. Get rid of (and stop collecting) all moving boxes (Done June 2016)
  3. Linger (Done)
  4. Have breakfast in bed and then stay there for the day (Done)
  5. Take a self defense course (Done September 2015)
  6. Own real Belgian Linen curtains (Done in 2014)
  7. Eat a great gluten-free croissant (Done 2014)
  8. Have the most comfortable, cosy bed. (Done 2014)
  9. Take a trip with my BFF (Done in October 2013)
  10. Try paddle boarding (Done in August 2013)
  11. Go back to Maui (Done 2013)
  12. Work for a non-profit (done 2012)
  13. Have a trip planned for me. Even just a day (Done 2012)
  14. Zipline (Done in 2012)
  15. Horseback ride on a beach (Done Feb 2012)
  16. Not move for an entire year (Done in 2012)
  17. Create a home that I adore (Done in 2011)
  18. Upgrade my camera (Done in 2011)
  19. Buy a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses (done 2011)
  20. Visit the Channel Islands (Done in 2011)
  21. Get a pedicure. (Done in 2011)
  22. Be met at an airport (Done in 2011)
  23. Have Babycakes again (done 2011)
  24. Swoon (Done in 2011)
  25. Cook/eat at home everyday for at least a week.(Done in 2010)
  26. Own Lightroom (Done in 2010).
  27. Unpack everything. (Done in 2010)
  28. Condense all my web sites and like at least 1. (Done in 2010)
  29. Figure out WordPress. (Done in 2009)
  30. Have better and prettier shoes. (Done in 2009)
  31. Stay at The Plaza and read Eloise. (Done in 2009)
  32. Buy and wear a pair of jeans (Done in 2009)
  33. Photograph for Anthropologie(Done in 2009)
  34. Drive through the East Coast in Fall. (done 2009)
  35. Eat Oysters and drink champagne. (Done in 2009)
  36. Stay at Hotel Particular Paris (done 2009)
  37. Have a stone home (done 2009)
  38. Cook an omelet that’s edible. (done 2008)
  39. Find a signature parfume. (Done in 2008)
  40. Speak French without having to hesitate or throw in an English word. (done 2008)
  41. Hire a financial planner (Done in 2007)
  42. Make someone else’s dream come true. (Done in 2007)
  43. Refurbish my farm chairs. (Done in 2007)
  44. Buy a fixer upper house and remodel it (Done in 2006)
  • Reply
    Shiju ThomasNo Gravatar
    October 25, 2017 at 7:20 AM

    I’ve been looking for a great GF croissant too – and I am resigned to baking one myself, any tips on where to find one in Sydney – or where did you get yours?

    Love your list – I started one too after reading about and attending a talk, it’s great to put things down – and it’s great to read your writing again.

    • alex at hygge houseNo Gravatar
      October 27, 2017 at 6:55 PM

      I have not been successful on baking one ever and there’s not a lot of recipes out there. So if you figure out the baking part, let me know! 🙂 I used to get mine when I lived in San Francisco at the Ferry Building from I don’t think they ship to Australia 😉 but they did prove it is possible to have a really good tasting and pretty realistic GF croissant!

Leave a Reply