• 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."


Everyday Hygge

Play Nice with Images

June 24, 2008

I’m a visual girl; it’s one of the reasons I’ve worked in film and do photography. A picture really does say 1000 words. There’s been more times than I can count when I’ve fallen in-love with an image and have wanted nothing more to post it here, just for you to look at too. But I don’t because the image was copyrighted.

While most people’s intentions at taking images are good (they fall in-love with something and want to share it or illustrate a point), that doesn’t make it right. All images and content on this site and on my others are copyright which means unless you’ve received permission you can’t use the images. That’s not because I don’t believe in sharing, but because I have to protect the work I do. I’ve had a lot of issues in the 13+ years I’ve had web pages with content stealing/sharing from identity theft to my images being claimed and sold by other people.

The other issue arises when people take images and innocently host them on other serviced hosting sites such as Blogger or Typepad. The problem with this format is lack of credit back to the original image owner – even if you put in a text link below the image. The image itself will look like a blogger/typepad/hosted filename and in some cases, the terms and service of a host provider claims ownership of anything hosted! Which means an image of mine taken by you and uploaded to your server can become a legal battle of who owns what.

This is why 99% of the time I use only my own images on this site. If I want to illustrate something I will ask permission to use an image and if I don’t receive permission or am just to lazy to ask I just link to it. This is really important to do because it shows respect, kindness and real support to other artists. It’s also important because as someone who profits from photography via personal collections, licensing and magazine work, I can’t have an image I’ve copyrighted and profited from being used for free on other sites or worse, being used to promote things that have nothing to do with me.

There are some sites where people don’t mind their images being freely used and some Flickr pages allow you to easily blog others’ photos. The great thing about blogging a Flickr Photo is that Flickr automatically links back to the original owner and you can clearly see the owners copyright information/permissions. If you see an image on a blog that you’re really wanting to use, just take a moment to search the site for copyright info or just ask. Sometimes even an old image-clenching stiff like me will allow images to be used (and provide better resolution images!).

But when in doubt, please leave it out.

  • Reply
    kathrynNo Gravatar
    June 30, 2008 at 4:51 AM

    linking to an image on someone else’s server can be bad etiquette. it means that all traffic to your site will tax their server and thus count against their bandwidth at their host. photo sharing sites like flickr, or big commerce sites, are obviously made to handle lots of requests, but someone’s little independent web page may not be. so i would encourage folks to consider the source before pulling images directly into their page. many times the considerate course of action really is to copy the photo to your own server, and link back to the original. that way you are not putting the weight of your entire readership on someone else’s resources.

  • Reply
    laurel saulsNo Gravatar
    June 30, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    A friend, who is a photographer, just recently explained this to me. I had no idea! I thought that as long as you linked to the artist, and didn’t try to claim it as your own, it was fine. I am guessing that there are a lot of people like me, who just didn’t understand the ramifications of it all. Now I search under “creative commons” pics on Flickr. Not as many choices, but at least then I am not inadvertently stealing someone else’s work! Yikes!

  • Reply
    Hygge HouseNo Gravatar
    June 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM

    Kathryn that’s a great point and something I learned the hard way about 10 years ago. I had a really popular personal site, linked to another image using the other persons source (like ) and about a week later got an email saying that because I had pulled so much bandwidth, they were slapped with a $300 extra bill.

    I ended up paying this and it was an expensive lesson to learn. I had no idea at the time about this sort of thing or using images either.

  • Reply
    french toast girlNo Gravatar
    July 2, 2008 at 11:15 AM

    Hear, hear! Thanks, Alex, I’ve been meaning to write about this myself as I’ve just found another wave of my illustrations used for people’s avatars, myspace accounts, and websites, and not one of them requested permission. I’m still amazed at how many people don’t know (or consider) the first thing about copyright or the rights of the artist.

    You’ve explained it well; I will definitely be pointing to your article. ♥

  • Reply
    AaliyahNo Gravatar
    July 6, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    this is such a great photo, i love dogs and their sense of “checking things out” with immediate input to the mouth

Leave a Reply