• 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 donโ€™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 itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜€
  • 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. ๐Ÿ˜€
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. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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. โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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). โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € 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). โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € I  paid for my room ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 Everyday Hygge

From Colour to White

January 16, 2007

When I first started renting flats I was stuck with white walls which I always dreamed of painting but didn’t dare (I always needed the deposit back so badly!). But then years ago a friend whose flat I loved told me to just discard the deposit fee and think of it as “I need to live here fee” and had me start to paint my walls. Which I did. In a slightly crazy form I must say!

Then I got the hang of colour, how to make it work and began to put vibrant, bold colours in my home (usually just on a wall or two). Deep Rose Reds, wonderful burnt yellows, warm greens and dark greys filled up my home. But at the same time, I kept collecting images from Victoria Magazine (anyone remember that?) and bought every book that Rachel Ashwell wrote for Shabby Chic. With all the colour in my home, I started to fantasise about white walls.

Now I find myself torn because I love colour but also love white. I love the cosy places in the Pacific Northwest with their dark woods and warm tones as well as the pale colours I’ve often seen in French Chateauxโ€™s. Aside from my office, my current home’s painted walls are colours that were decided by the people I bought it from. And since the house will be on the market soon, I’ve decided not to paint over it (they’re those neutral colours that are supposed to appeal to everyone. They don’t appeal to me). So as I live in a home of painted walls that aren’t my thing, I’m really thinking about my next place and what to do colour wise.

I’m leaning heavily towards white or very pale colours, especially after seeing the photo above and the site in which it came from. My wardrobe is colourful, my work is colourful, my accents are colourful and I think because of that I need some quiet in the home to balance it all.

I have all white furniture which has worked well in every kind of home with every colour choice. But when I tried to do all white before I think I did it rather badly and want, instead, to make it cosy and beautiful instead of cold and bland. But I’m not sure where to find the right pale paints (I once tried a pale pink that was so Peptobismal/old people’s home looking that I had to go with a deep red instead), the textured fabrics, the accents to compliment that wouldn’t be too frilly or girly (something I find happens to things that are pale) or how to go from so much colour back to white.

What’s the trick?

  • Reply
    decor8 HollyNo Gravatar
    January 17, 2007 at 2:42 AM

    I’m a lover of white, too.
    It doesn’t get ANY better
    than Benjamin Moore’s “Decorator’s White” in my opinion. It’s not stark white, but it’s also not greyish or blue or pinky, it’s just dead on beautiful white.


  • Reply
    LindaNo Gravatar
    January 17, 2007 at 9:17 AM

    All the walls in our home were white but when my husband’s son told us that it looked like a musuem-hey, we had just moved in-I decided to add some color and painted one wall textured ochre and a little wc Provencial blue. I love both of them and am now ready to paint a wall in our bedroom. Haven’t decided on a color yet.

  • Reply
    TomoeNo Gravatar
    January 18, 2007 at 5:45 PM

    I like white walls, but like you, I’ve been living in places where I haven’t been able to paint and I’m getting desperate for color. If you want to stick with white walls, but want to spice it up a little, how about selecting a white on white brocade wallpaper for your walls? It’ll turn otherwise blah walls into elegant and beautiful walls that’ll add to your room without committing to color.

  • Reply
    EmiraNo Gravatar
    January 21, 2007 at 1:26 AM

    I struggle with this one too! Right now most of the walls in our house are some colour or another, all of which we painted right when we moved in. Now that we’ve been here for a while, and lived with the light, space, etc we’re thinking of repainting. And, I’m half drawn to white for exactly the reasons you quote. That said, my sweetie prefers very bold colours, so it is always a struggle.

    I can say, that one of the tricks with white really is finding the right white for a room. I second Holly’s thoughts on the BM decorator’s white, but can also say that in some rooms different whites will read really differently. In our office for example, we wanted a nice soft white and picked some chips we liked, but in the end, in the space we picked one that read on the chip as having a lot of purple in it (not mauve, not lavendar, but actually really purple). In the space, it is exactly what we wanted: soft, a bit of depth but not beige or dirty looking and I would never have chosen it based on the chip alone.

  • Reply
    Carolyn CooteNo Gravatar
    February 11, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    I love your use of white. We are yet to do the interior of our house but it will be using a colar called Polar white. We have one green feature wall in the house in the lounge which has a series of leadlights in it but the rest will be white with off whitre ceilings. The outside colurs will refelct enough through the windows.

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