• It's a Southern California fall day like this that makes me miss my Topanga house in the mountains. You can see more photos on the blog.
  • 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.

Pps: I've done a fall clothes clean out and am posting things for sale at @hyggehouseshop this week
  • 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.
  • The bridge next door and the buildings in the park across the street burned down in the Woolley Fire. But the Old Place still stands which makes me so happy. It's my favourite place in LA and I have missed hanging out here. It's nice to be back.
  • 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


Everyday Hygge

I fall for fall

October 23, 2006
fall on

When I was 18 I went to a little town in the Canadian Rockies during the fall, fell in-love and decided to stay for awhile. With crisp weather, the most awe-inspiring scenery and enough to keep me, my friends and my (rented) horse happy, I thought I’d never leave. There was a cosiness to putting on a heavy sweater in the morning before running off to the Chateau for breakfast and coffee with friends. The sun was always out which made being active easy and hitchhiking into the nearby town of Banff was possible.

However, winter came and I wasn’t quite prepared. Standing on the side of the road in -40C weather for a ride was no longer charming; hiking had stopped and ice climbing took its place but storing all that gear plus skis became hard in a room shared with two other girls. There was never enough coffee in the cafe and all I seemed to want to do was lounge by the fire or cosy up to my boyfriend. Although, I must confess he became my boyfriend because he walked me home late one night when the snow was falling and I swooned.

When my birthday came in February my friends asked me what I wanted. “Warmth” was all I could muster. I had been cold for so long that when my job ended at the hotel, all I could think was to go to New Zealand where summer was in full force.

I settled there for awhile, thinking myself rather special as I surfed with the boys whilst my Canadian and European friends shuffled snow. And as summer turned to Autumn I settled in Queenstown in the south of the South Island and fell in-love with the season all over again and decided to settle.

In Queenstown I repeated what I had in the Canadian rockies; leaving in February and returning to England before returning to Banff. I spent two seasons in the Canadian rockies, learning to love them all, but it was always Autumn that had my heart (though Spring had my hopeful and summer always had me in-love).

When I lived in Seattle, Washington, it felt like winter 11months of the year with low, gloomy clouds that never seemed to leave. The damp weather was never charming and the autumn there seemed cranky. I moved to Los Angeles part for work (film) and part to believe there was such a thing as sun (there was). And the fall once again became my favourite; chilly enough for hot chocolate and a sweater but never gave way to a real winter.

It’s been a month since I moved to Texas and in that month, it’s been mostly 35C/95F with humidity. No fall to speak of. It has been during the days full of sweat and moisture that I realised how much I wanted fall to come. When you opened the window and the cool air would woosh in and make everything smell fabulous. When you’d walk to the post and come back with rosy cheeks. When you craved hot chocolate and cookies out of the oven. When you’d wear your favourite sweater over and over, no matter how tired or haggard it’d become.

But fall never seemed to come and I confess that I’d become a little sad. I tried all sorts of things to feel better; the whole “chin up!” girl scheme didn’t work, petting pretty things didn’t work, concentrating on home and work didn’t work. The heat made me cranky and irritable. No, I thought, there is nothing charming about heat. This I found slightly amusing since I had always hated the cold and often ran from it. But I realised I’m a goldilocks of weather – not too hot, please. Not too cold either. Just right. Just Autumn.

I’m happy to report that Autumn arrived yesterday. A sweater was on, a bike ride taken to the cafe, a coffee drunk (twice!), cookies baked, windows open, work done and a sitting on my front porch to just listen to leaves rustle about in the slight wind.

And that did more good than any prozac ever could.

  • Reply
    AbbeyNo Gravatar
    February 8, 2007 at 1:05 AM

    Have we been separated at birth???

    I came across your site randomly yesterday and was immediately taken. Today I am sick, making it a nice distraction to sit on the couch and read your archives to “catch up.”

    I just have to say that I love this site and I love what you stand for. I can’t wait to continue my reading!!

  • Reply
    EmilyNo Gravatar
    August 10, 2018 at 4:49 PM

    this is beautiful!

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