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  • One of my favourite places.
  • 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.

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Everyday Hygge

Moving 101

March 14, 2008
La Jolla Hygge House

When I say I’ve moved a lot, I’m not exaggerating. I moved almost every year of my childhood and then at 18 became a vagabond in which I lived all over the world for the next 6 years (out of two suitcases which made packing rather easy). In 1999 I immigrated to America and have since lived in 13 homes in 4 states – packing up everything from a studio flat to a house. And whilst in Ireland last month, I learned my Carmel by the Sea home had been damaged by storms and had to come back and pack up what was left and move out quickly.

Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. For smaller, easier moves (for me this has been a 2 bedroom house & flat about 1100 square feet) I’ve found the best/easiest/most economical way to move is a combination of movers from eMove.com and renting a uHaul or Penske truck, driving it myself (Budget does not have ramps which makes moving difficult and longer). I used Atlas Moving Vans and had a great (but expensive) experience from my Seattle-Los Angeles move but a bad (and expensive) move from Los Angeles-Austin (including lost boxes, delayed delay, and a very slow unload with lots of things broken). Penske is more expensive for a self-move, however, for long drives (2 days or more), it’s a lot more comfortable.
  2. When packing use no peanuts. They’re not environmentally friendly so just don’t. I wrap some things in towels, in my linens, between pillows (like vases, lamps, bigger objects that are light) and then use bubble wrap for smaller things. And to close the bubble wrap I use painters tape – it keeps it shut but makes it easy to open after.
  3. I pack according to room and to type. So the bedroom will all be packed together, with bedroom lamps in a box, then linens in a box and everything very easily marked on the box (with a number which I then write in a Word File with a description). I never let a box go unmarked. This way when I unpack I know which room to put it in, if I need to unpack it right away, if it goes into long term storage and where everything is.
  4. I pack a few boxes with big red letters that say “UNPACK NOW” – these items are dishes, bathroom bits, medicines or food I need.
  5. I always unpack two rooms first – bathroom and bedroom – so I make sure these boxes are easily accessible during the move. You’re going to want to shower and sleep after moving!
  6. Don’t ask friends unless you are broke ass. I say this because moving is no fun. So unless you are prepared to let them go – don’t do it. Besides, if you hire movers, it’ll go so much faster because they know how to load and unload goods and also pack things into a truck much faster. I always make a Starbucks run for my movers and supply lots of water and food. This makes them happier and actually work better since they’re not starving.
  7. Fragile stickers almost never work for movers – they just seem to ignore them. So make sure valuables are really packed tightly and safely. Like I said, I wrap in bubble wrap then maybe a layer of towels or cushions. Then I make sure these boxes go in the mothers attic on the truck or that I see where they go.
  8. Which leads me to say that before the move, I stack like boxes together in an empty room. So all the heavy boxes are in one corner, breakables in another corner, light boxes in another. This way I can better direct movers when packing and loading up – it makes things move faster.
  9. I have a lot of rugs which I roll up together. So grab two carpets, put them good sides together, roll and then secure with string and put them in a large garbage bag (or two). I generally forgo rug bags – they’re an unnecessary expense and garbage bags work wonders on covering up a lot of things. I do, however, buy mattress bags – especially those with handles. It makes moving large mattresses way easier and keeps them clean.
  10. Β Any furniture with slipcovers are stripped to the bones. That way the covers don’t get dirty or dinged.
  11. 11. Mirror boxes are a must for obviously mirrors but also for artwork. It really does protect them and you can easily cut two to fit larger pieces.
  12. If I have furniture with edges I’m concerned about, I’ll apply some painters tape so that the edges don’t get dinged when moving. And the paint doesn’t strip the furniture when you remove.
  13. I use moving as a time to purge. So whilst packing I’ll really examine what I need and want to move and start making piles – to throw out, to give away, to garage sale, to eBay. This gives me an opportunity to start fresh in my new home.
  14. For food, I pack it in coolers to transport but again, I get rid of anything old or stuff I could donate.
  15. If you have pets, either keep them in an empty room during moving day, at a friends or think about putting them with a pet sitter. You don’t want dogs walking around as they can get in the way and some movers are scared. Cats will hide with a lot of noise and moving so if you put them someplace, they’re easier to find. If you choose to put them in a room or a bathroom, place a HUGE note on the door that says, “PET INSIDE, OPEN DOOR SLOWLY.” Also make sure pets have food and water not just during the move, but once you have moved to the new place.

What are your tips?

  • Reply
    MonicaNo Gravatar
    June 3, 2008 at 7:43 AM

    When I was in college and didn’t have a lot of stuff but was moving a lot between different apartments, I invested in 6 really big Rubbermaid containers. I could fit all my stuff in them, I wasn’t searching around for mix and match boxes and they all stacked into each other for compact storage. Now that I own a house with a garage, I use them for extra storage.

    I would also recommend (if you have the storage space) to keep the original packaging for breakable or sensitive to movement items. I kept my the box my computer came in with all the custom-fitted styrofoam inserts so it was always really easy to pack it back up and not be worried about it getting jostled during the move.

    And amen to #6. πŸ™‚

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