• 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."


Everyday Hygge

Fall for the rest of us

October 3, 2011

[youtube_video id=”uwIcGIt_HhU”]
While I definitly love summer (long days, beach time, bbq’s, travel, warm breezes), autumn truly has my heart. Crisp weather, reason to wear boots with tights, hot apple cider, leaves falling, light changing, cosyness, warm meals….

However, living in Southern California, fall doesn’t really exist. The change is subtle; the light is different, there is a slight coolness in the air but you can still wear shorts, leaves go fall but chances are they were already brown, and tights fill shoppe shelves but wearing them makes one overheat.

For me, this proves a challenge – how do I survive my favourite season if it doesn’t really happen? I had this challenge in Texas, in my travels to warm places, and then I thought there might be other’s out there who love fall, who read about it in magazines or on others’ blogs yet don’t get to truly experience it.

So, I wonder, what does fall for the rest of us look like? Here’s a few ideas I’m trying:

  1. Seasonal produce. I live in a place with a lot of access to things year round but I’ve bought a couple books on seasonal eating and am going to stick with that. Sorry, strawberries – I’ll see you next year.
  2. Light show. I love light. I pay attention to it (if you’ve ever seen Bright Star I think you’d agree that light was the 3rd main character). Seeing the shift in it, shadows, length, the softness, helps remind me that it’s fall.
  3. Dress for it. Oranges, browns, greens – seasonal colours. Plus boots! I don’t get to wear my winter coats but the boots are coming out even if I have to balance it with a lighter dress.
  4. Trips to where fall is happening; whether its 2 hrs out of town to see an apple festival or a cross-country trip to see the real deal.
  5. Smell it. My summer candles which are normally floral change to warmer scents with names like ‘cashmere’ ‘fireside’ and ‘campfire.’
  6. Design for it. I change out linens; fall colours come out, warmer textures appear, different duvets and sometimes even curtains.
  7. Read. I pick up books that talk about fall, devour home magazines that have it and read bloggers fall trips with envy. This isn’t always a healthy step to take!
  8. Bake lots of pumpkin somethings.
  9. Garden. I plant seeds, I clean up what’s there and I make sure there’s food/water for the birds.
  10. Cosy up. From candles, to warm foods, to reading with a blanket tucked over with a window open – fall=cosy to me.
If you love fall but don’t have it, what tips would you add?
  • Reply
    Tracy D.No Gravatar
    October 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    I have this same problem here in Sacramento, CA. It’s been in the low 90s, upper 80s and any signs of fall seem to be visual ones. (although today is quite cool and overcast, huzzah)

    What helps me: nature sound cds (like rain or stormy ocean), candles, starting to bake desserts again, cutting out soup recipes, buying a few new “school supplies” (I work from home), movies set in Fall/Autumn, and day trips to look at fall colors.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    SoleNo Gravatar
    October 23, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Imagine here in Panama! Summer: hot humid and sunny; Winter: hot, hiper humid and rains. Love your post!

Leave a Reply