• 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

Friday Loves – Etsy

May 23, 2008

These are my current favourites on Etsy.

It took me awhile to come around to Etsy though I can’t tell you exactly why. For years I have been singing the praises of independent artists and supporting them and have done my best in the offline world to pick up individual pieces here and there. I think my initial reaction to Etsy was that it was just crafty things that perhaps weren’t so great or useful. How wrong I was.

My love affair with it began last winter when I was in need of a coat rack – something small, beautiful and would fit in perfectly with the seaside cottage I was renting. All my usual stores didn’t have anything close or, if they did, were ridiculously over priced. A quick search on Etsy revealed one from Willow Oak Home Decor and that had me hooked.

Since then I’ve purchased a few things from tea cosies to camera straps to my favourite, Travel Kitty. And there’s still some more on my wishlist.

One of the bits of advice I give to people who ask me how to have a successful career as an artist, freelance or entrepreneur is that you must support what you want to be. I can’t tell you how many people want to be artists but have never bought a print, how many people want to run a small business but buy stuff from big stores. After having used Etsy successfully for awhile, I really believe in it and think it’s a wonderful thing to support.

  • Reply
    Greta WilliamsNo Gravatar
    May 24, 2008 at 8:07 AM

    I stumbled upon your site a few weeks ago and have been emailing its link en masse to my friends. You speak from the heart of so many overworked and overconsumerized persons living today. In our attempts to make our lives ‘convenienced’, we have complicated it with fast food high blood pressure and stylized Gap t-shirts.

    Thank you for reminding our souls that simplicity is what it truly craves. I have tried to incorporate the simplicity theme into my life these past few years. Yet I continue to find it very difficult to embrace “white space” in my life. If there is available time, then it must be filled with productivity. so.not.true! Sitting back and seeing the refreshing plainness of empty time is a new habit that can be difficult to form; but rewardingly appreciated.

    Thank you for a new term in my life: hygge. My friends remind me when I’m getting too overburdened, “Are you living the hygge principle?”

    And daily, I am doing better. Giving things away. Reusing and repurposing what I have. Delighting in small symbols of joy and happiness that occur in my life daily. And saying no – to myself and to The Joneses – to the things I don’t need. Because in the end, there is so very LITTLE that we actually ‘need’.

    I can’t think of anything that will free us from the world’s pressures of busyness and solidly tie us to our true inner core than that: little is needed; much is to be enjoyed.


  • Reply
    jamesNo Gravatar
    May 29, 2008 at 8:14 AM

    I am thrilled to be featured in your favorites … thank you Alex! I love your various blogs and sites and have been a reader for a little while now. How lovely to see my work here. Cheers!

  • Reply
    MeganNo Gravatar
    June 5, 2008 at 3:57 PM

    I’m so excited to see my wren notecards are on your favorites list! Thanks so much for featuring my little cards. Following your bliss is hard work and takes a lot of bravery. I learn that lesson every day. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Hygge House » Blog Archive » Etsy Love
    November 4, 2008 at 3:55 AM

    […] written here before on my Etsy Finds and also on Pet the Pretty Things (where I actually highlight some of the things I’ve bought). […]

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