• 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

Recycling Magazines

August 27, 2008

Over the past couple of years I’ve developed quite the magazine collection; some were bought for ideas, some were gift subscriptions (best. gifts. ever.) and some I received because I’d written for them. I’d always been pretty merciless about getting rid of them (giving them to friends, using them whilst working at Anthropologie, recycling the really chopped up ones to the recycle bin) until I met Alicia.

When I stayed over night in her spare room, she had a massive book cased filled with magazines; all Martha Stewart, old issues of Victoria, Marie Claire Maison. I don’t think I slept that night because I literally laid in bed going through all her magazines, page by page. I always thought this was a charming thing to have for guests – easy reading material – and so I began a collection of things I thought my mum or friends might find interesting when they stayed.

So I have schlepped heavy boxes from flat to flat and save for my last home in Santa Monica, didn’t really have a place for them. I’ve found a new place for my favourites (Boligliv, Marie Claire Maison & Idees, some Martha’s) but there’s a huge pile of wonderful ones I’m ready to part with.

The question is, how do you get rid of them?

My local friends have taken ones they wanted but still I have stacks. It seems a shame to just recycle them – any ideas?

  • Reply
    athenaNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 3:58 PM

    freecycle! someone offered a big stack of architectural digests on my local freecycle. i asked my friend, who is a feng shui consultant, if she wanted them, and she said yes. she used them for inspiration pages for herself and her colleagues and for her clients. i’m sure someone could use them for that.

  • Reply
    cindy kNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    first, i’m so envious that you stayed at alicia’s house – lucky you! how about donating them to a local library?

  • Reply
    sharonNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    Freecycle is a great option. Also sometimes nursing or other group homes or day programs welcome magazines (either for reading or collage material)

  • Reply
    StaceyNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 6:54 PM

    quiet, geurilla assault… leave them at any doctor or dentist office you may happen upon. The receptionist will never know they are there. I can’t tell you how thrilled I’d be to pick up a copy of Marie Claire Maison instead of a 3 year-old People or Redbook while waiting to get my teeth cleaned.

    I’m a magazine freak myself… actualy prefer to browse and buy newsstand. I also happen to work at a magazine in the production department and cannot bring myself to clip out the pages I want and recycle the rest.

  • Reply
    payalNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 7:17 PM

    I donate mine to my local library, public hospital, as well as the art department of the public elementary and high schools.

  • Reply
    chrisNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    I used to drop off all my magazines at the senior assisted living home. They always have a common/social area and a desk person, who would happily take them to scatter around the room.

  • Reply
    KerryNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 11:39 PM

    What about saving images you like to create holiday cards or collages?

  • Reply
    AliNo Gravatar
    August 27, 2008 at 11:48 PM

    I try to pop one into any parcels I’m sending out. They always go down well with the recipient.

    I also pass them on to a couple of friends locally when I’ve read them.

  • Reply
    ellen p.No Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 12:43 AM

    Nursing/retirements homes. Not the most ritzy ones either. Imagine being a resident there, day after day after day (perhaps with no regular visitors to look forward to, either). Can you imagine how welcome the vivid photographs, articles, …any material new and fresh would be to many of them??? It would be even better if you requested that they go to the residents who are least visited. Perhaps they would allow you to hand them out yourself. It would be the highlight of many-a-Gals’ day..or receive a colorful magazine from a Danish girl. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    RowenaNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 12:52 AM

    Yes, I would echo the nursing homes and assisted living places. Love Ellen P’s idea. There are several across the city and if you have a large stack you can distribute them.

  • Reply
    KayNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 3:06 AM

    I try to give them away – either to friends who don’t have that subscription or to the library or nursing homes. When the pile is getting particularly big, I cut out my favorite parts and put them in my inspiration book (which is supposed to be nicely ordered, but more often than not is a big pile of ripped-out lovelies…)

  • Reply
    KimNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 8:30 AM

    I second (or 3rd, or 4th) freecycle! they’ll be snatched up in a minute and put to good use – lots of elementary school teachers look there for crafting supplies etc.

  • Reply
    ChristinaNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 11:28 AM

    I donate mine to the local library–they then sell them for a dime each. That way, the library benefits, and the next reader doesn’t have to pay $3-5 or more to enjoy it πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    katrina bergNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    I like to gift wrap with them…here’s some photos of some that I have done:

  • Reply
    Stefanie FraserNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    I recycle magazines in many ways. Like Katrina I use magazine pages as gift wrap but I also make cards, gift bags and tags out of them. I shred them with a paper shredder and use that instead of styrofoam peanuts in parcels that I mail. You can make sturdy containers from magazine pages and also weave strips into ‘baskets’. Right now I am in the process of creating invitations, escort and place cards as well as gift wrap for a friend’s wedding and am using pages culled from magazines to make these. If I think of any other ways, I’ll get back to you!

  • Reply
    sinclaireNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    I’ve had a bit of a pack-rat issue when it comes to magazines, however, when it cam time to move over seas I donated all of my magazines to a local college- the art students use them for inspiration and collage projects.

  • Reply
    KateNo Gravatar
    August 28, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    While I fully endorse the freecycle option, or leaving a stack at the dentist’s office it could also be worth selling collections of magazines on ebay. I realise you’re probably looking for suggestions that are a little more altruistic (although you could sell them for charity) but other readers might be interested in trying it. Another idea might be to set up a magazine swap and exchange your magazines for someone else’s, especially if done internationally as it can be difficult or expensive to subscribe to foreign magazines. Also try local education centres, particularly arts programmes – I took a textile course and loved flicking through magazines for inspiration. Presenting an ideas book can be an important part of the assessment so magazines were really useful in that regard.

  • Reply
    MichelleNo Gravatar
    August 29, 2008 at 3:49 AM

    Many great ideas have already been mentioned. Art Departments of local schools, afterschool programs, and YMCA’s are always looking for donations especially if they aren’t in the most affluent areas. I came into piles of magazines and mat board, which i promptly donated to a local inner city high school and the YMCA. Art programs, tend to be cut first, so every little bit helps.

  • Reply
    Stefanie FraserNo Gravatar
    August 29, 2008 at 5:20 AM

    Ooh, I forgot to mention envelopes (I haven’t bought any since 1998), paper beads, and Christmas crackers. All of these can be made from magazines. Magazine covers are sturdy and can be turned into gift boxes which you can wrap with the magazine pages, natch!

  • Reply
    AlecNo Gravatar
    August 29, 2008 at 7:02 AM

    I love to stack them up in my room for a colorful column of paper. Later, maybe go through them for collage clip-art.

  • Reply
    Michele BlueNo Gravatar
    August 31, 2008 at 2:49 PM

    if you can’t find a way to freecycle…
    nor can you find a way to donate them…
    and if you are creative (which i believe that you are)
    try several ways to re-use them in your own unique way…
    etsy envelope
    etsy collage
    etsy necklace
    Search magazine and you will come up with a bunch of ideas!

    I also have a magazine “fetish” and never knew what to do with my magazines. I couldn’t bring myself to trash them, or donate them…so there they sat. I learned to use mine for wrapping paper a lot (a page can wrap a CD normally). And i love to use people in my collage paintings or just add cut out word/people on brown paper bag wrappings.

    good luck!
    Michele Blue

  • Reply
    RebeccaNo Gravatar
    September 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

    I just came upon this website and I am starting a magazine collection. If anyone has any old magazines that they would like to get rid of, I would love to take them off of your hands. E-mail be at and we can figure something out regarding shipping. Thanks everyone!

  • Reply
    It’s Not Going To Read Itself « neither big nor tall
    October 10, 2008 at 4:09 PM

    […] for media reuse ideas (they’re a little more creative and crafty than those listed above): Hyyge House and […]

  • Reply
    Hygge House » Blog Archive » Life After Domino
    February 26, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    […] 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. […]

  • Reply
    Hygge House » Blog Archive » Earth Day
    November 27, 2009 at 11:09 PM

    […] It’s a great place to look for items you might need, too. Freecycle was great when I had a million magazines to get rid of. A local art organisation came and picked them […]

  • Reply
    EricaNo Gravatar
    December 2, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Donatr them to a local school art department to inspire future designers! Or a local women’s and children’s shelter. These are always looking for resources for the women and kids to make crafts or just provide some downtime. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Lee AnnNo Gravatar
    August 2, 2018 at 9:12 PM

    All my magazines go to my nearest hospital. Exxcept for a couple that I stick into a neighbor’s mailbox;, as requested via our neighborhood listserv. These are folks I don’t really even know save by this connection.

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