Instagrams

  • 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: http://bit.ly/mountainroad).
  • 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˜€
 #hyggehouse
  • 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."

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Everyday Hygge

Frugality not Miserly

August 7, 2007

Being frugal allows me to live very well. I’ve spoken to this topic before but it seems to continuously confuse; frugality is often seen with being cheap or poor. But I believe in spending money when you need to and saving it when you need to – it’s not just buying $700 shoes because you can but it’s not about going without, either.

The Worsted Witch posted the following today which I think sums it all up rather nicely:

From Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul by Tracey McBride, on frugality versus miserliness:

There is a vast difference between practicing frugality and being miserly. To be frugal is to set higher standards for your thoughts, behavior, activities, surroundings, and possessions. A frugalite (a word of my own making) is one who enjoys comfortable, attractive surroundings and endeavors to transform the simplest foods into a feast. You exult in keeping the bonds of family and friendship alive through simple and elegant entertaining. You enjoy quality accoutrements to daily living, although many frugalites have a (sometimes stringent) limit to their income. Frugalites prefer to make wise decisions on how to spend money and time โ€ฆ They know that money, saved by wise spending, can be used to enhance their lifestyle, contribute to worthwhile charities, or both.

Born from the Latin word for โ€œwretched,โ€ miserliness is the absence of generosity. A miserly person will spend money reluctantly and deprive himself of all but the barest of essentials, for the sole purpose of hoarding money. In my humble opinion, to live a miserly existence would truly be wretched. To wait for โ€œsomedayโ€ is the ultimate futile exercise.

I wrote an article “How to Save Money Shopping that speaks to this.

  • Reply
    phillippaNo Gravatar
    August 8, 2007 at 10:02 AM

    I live a similar lifestyle; spending most of my money on travel, own a few quality items and very little otherwise. For birthdays, I purchase dinners and services as gifts, rather than objects. I’ve never, ever encountered criticism for my frugality, and I grew up in America (and now, live in France). I wonder the criticism that you encounter is more a result of your immediate environment or the fact that there seems to be such a gross generalization about Americans and the implication of our low standards that provokes this backlash. I have many friends and acquaintances on both sides of the fence – total consumers and not – and nobody really talks about other people’s things or how they spend their money. On the other hand, I know quite a few French friends who buy everything under the sun and whose homes are overflowing. And then there are those, like my husband (and I) who barely own anything, aside from his collection of books. And those people exist in the US as well.

  • Reply
    erinnNo Gravatar
    August 8, 2007 at 3:18 PM

    Wonderful and perfect timing. My husband and I are working on a budget for the first time…to be more responsible and mindful of our spending…it will be called ‘the frugal wenrich’s budget’!

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