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  • 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: 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 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˜€
 #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.

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

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Everyday Hygge

Life After Domino

February 15, 2009
life after domino

My parents never subscribed to any magazines while I was growing up and I honestly don’t think I could have told you what one was until I saw my first National Geographic about age 8. But when I hit 15 I discovered Vogue and my magazine obsession began. Fashion magazines were my main indulgence until my early twenties; I learned Italian through Italian Vogue, I feel in-love with the 16 series in New Zealand and then, in America, found InStyle.

But when I got my first real home – the kind where I bought furniture and knew I’d be around awhile – my magazine interests changed to decor magazines. Back issues of American Victoria, Country Living, Elle Decor, House and Garden along with the English magazines Country Home and Country Living, my French staples Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idees, and Maisons Cote Sud and my Danish loves Boligliv, Isabella’s.

There came a point, however, a few years ago when I was so tired of magazines; the same old, same old. So I stopped getting them and last fall recycled dozens and dozens of them.

But one magazine I have really liked – and was even going to subscribe to this year – was Domino. I couldn’t tell you one person who didn’t like it. In fact, when I went to the newsstand today, the two men that run it said, “You know it’s the last issue, right?”

“Yes,” I said, “It’s a sad day.”

They couldn’t understand why it was stopping publication since it was their best-selling magazine. They told me how much they both enjoyed reading it (big, tall, scruffy men reading Domino. Loved it!) and didn’t know what they would read in its place.

Neither could I.

One of my favourite features was the fact they included paint colour names for most of their stories. I also loved how they combined fashion with home, frugal items with luxury ones, were young and fresh but had lots of traditional ideas, too. It was a great mix of ideas that I often find lacking in other magazines which focus one just one idea (modern, country living, arty etc.).

So with Domino gone, what are you reading now? Are there any magazines you can replace it with? Web sites that are filling the void?

  • Reply
    Hygge HouseNo Gravatar
    February 26, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    Although it’s not like Domino at all, I’ve been really enjoying the re-energised Sunset Magazine because it seems to focus on more regional, fresh and accessible ideas that I can actually take part in from home to travel to cooking. I went for years not really liking it but have found I’ve picked up a copy almost every month for the past six (and am anxiously awaiting the new copy to see eco-designer and friend, Kelly lePlante’s home tour!).

  • Reply
    lynnNo Gravatar
    February 26, 2009 at 5:08 PM

    I’m not reading anything!! Domino is a really loss in the shelter magazine arena. I went to the book store today and left without a purchase. There is nothing worth looking at. I’m anxiously awaiting something new. Does anyone know of anything?

  • Reply
    AntonellaNo Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 2:47 AM

    I suggest english Livingetc.
    it’s a nice mix of styles.
    rip Domino!

  • Reply
    chez shoesNo Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    I fear for Sunset’s future, because I really like the “new” Sunset – and, pretty much every magazine I really like (including Domino) has met its demise over the past couple of years.

    Another one that’s gotten a bit of a makeover is Country Living – it can still be a little bit twee for my tastes, but I like that there is now more of a focus on crafting, handmade, and indie items than there once was.

  • Reply
    ellen p.No Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    Well, now that “Victoria” magazine is back in publication, that’s definitely a choice pick. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    ellen p.No Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    By the way, “Victoria” has an especially great issue this month. It just came out. Love it.

  • Reply
    katrinaNo Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Oh, I’m so glad you addressed the Domino Dilema. It truly is a sad day. I was just talking with a librarian last week, wondering if they would be recycling their old issues. Apparently, she takes them home. Sweet as she is, I would never have guessed that she was a “Domino lover!”

    So it affirms the broad audience they are reaching…bringing beauty at every turn of a page.

    I’m glad to hear about the Sunset Renaissance of sorts, and am so grateful for those of you who have suggested some other wonderful Domino alternatives…I think I’ll take this list to the librarian. πŸ™‚

    ps. Looking forward to hearing about your birthday celebration with your mum Alex. Hope you had a wonderful trip!

  • Reply
    MaureenNo Gravatar
    February 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    I found some worthy websites:

    Atticmag – the online magazine of home design and dΓ©cor:
    http://www.atticmag.com/

    Living.Etc http://www.livingetc.com/

    Ideal Home Magazine http://www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk/

    House To Home http://www.housetohome.co.uk/

    My Home Ideas http://www.myhomeideas.com/myhome/

    YourHome http://yhmag.co.uk/

    ELLE DECOR Magazine http://www.pointclickhome.com/elle_decor

    Canadian Home & Country http://www.canadianhomeandcountry.com/

    The Decorating Diva
    http://thedecoratingdiva.com/

  • Reply
    EmilyKateNo Gravatar
    March 1, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    living etc from the UK is prolly the closest… there’s also this Australian magazine…. not quite as high-end but still very stylish is realliving magazine:
    http://realliving.ninemsn.com.au/

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