Instagrams

  • 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 😀
 #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. 😀
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. 😀
  • The @ojaivalleyinn is one of my favourite places either for a day trip or an overnight. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I always go when I need supreme rest and healing because I really really get that here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 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). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I  paid for my room 😀 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.

Instagrams

Hygge House General Policies

Q: What’s your policy on advertising and affiliate linking?
Hygge House is not a job for me – it’s a personal project that I do because I enjoy it. I created HyggeHouse.com in 2004, long before you could make money or get free stuff, so that’s never been my motivation.

I am a 100% ad-free/sponsored-free blog. I do not do sponsored blog or social media posts at all. I do not accept advertising or payments for links/promotions at all.

This has always been an ad free blog so if I share something I like, you can trust that I really do. However, sometimes use an Amazon affiliate links in my posts and as of May 2017 I also sometimes use affiliate links for products I’ve actually bought on sites I really shop at (Nordstrom, Sephora, Anthropologie).

Affiliate links mean if you click on a link and purchase something, I can get a small financial kick back. It’s important to note: I don’t link to things I don’t buy/use and I don’t write posts based on those links. They’re added only after a post has been written and make sense for that post and for you. I only link to things I’ve bought and stores I’ve actually bought from.

Q: Can I use your photos on my blog?
Yes but please use only the photo(s) and not the entire entry. And please make sure to credit the photos clearly with “Photo from HyggeHouse.com” and link back directly to the specific post (permalink) you took them from.

Technical, Blog & Design

Q: Who designed the HyggeHouse.com blog?
I did! Well, technically I customized a WordPress theme from Themeforest. I’m a huge believer in both WordPress (have used it since 2002) and have found using themes helps me create the style/mood I want. I change the design about once a year or so.

I host my wordpress blog on Dreamhost. I’ve been a loyal customer since 1999 and run all my blogs with them. They’re inexpensive, they offer a lot of great services and their support has saved me (and the blogs) more than once. If you sign up and use the promo code ‘hygge’ you’ll save 19% on a year’s worth of hosting. Trust me, they make it very easy to do.

Q: What cameras do you use?
Generally, I use my iPhone 6 for Instagrams and some site photos. But as of November 2016 I’m using (and loving!) the Canon G7 because it’s so compact & easily fits into my jacket pocket or bag for travel. The video and photo quality is amazing and it’s a very affordable camera. Super easy to travel with.

Before 2015, I used the Canon Rebel T3  with the 35mm f/2 wide angle lens, 17-40 f/4 Ultra Wide Angle Zoom lens and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Telephoto Lens.

Home Life

Q: What paint colors did you use in your house(s)?
I am a huge lover of Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove” paint. If you see a white room, that’s the colour. If you see a blue/grey paint, it’s Benjamin Moore’s “Paper White” which is another favourite. I always use low VOC.

Q: Where do you live?
As of April 2016, in Topanga Canyon, California just a few miles from Santa Monica and Malibu. After 10 years of city life, I finally got my dream of moving back into nature surrounded by the nature, wildlife and not much else. It’s heaven. (

As for April 2018, I moved back (for the 4th? time!) to Santa Monica, California. The fires, floods, road closures and isolation of Topanga became hard to manage with work and my dog. So I once again live by the beach in a 1930’s little home with two secret gardens. I’m happy to be back in a walkable/bikable city.

I have lived in: Denmark, England (London & Kent), Ireland (Cork), France (Chinnon), Canada (Lake Louise, Banff, Vancouver), New Zealand (Wellington, Dunedin, Queenstown), America (Seattle WA, Bowling Green KY, Franklin TN, Santa Monica CA, La Jolla CA, Santa Barbara CA, Carmel by the Sea CA, San Francisco CA, Philadelphia PA, Austin TX).

I’ve chronicled some of Hygge House Homes.

Q: Why do you move so much?
Good question! Since I was 18 I’ve lived in over 50 homes and since 2005 I’ve lived in 16. When I was younger I just wanted to travel and worked seasonally around the world. As I’ve become older I get recruited by companies to lead their content and social media teams so I’ve been moving since 2004 for work.

Personal Bits

Q: When’s your birthday?
February 17. Aquarius. But only the good bits.

Q: What kind of dog is Scout St Charming and how did you get her?
Scout St Charming is some kind of Jack Russel Terrier Mix. She was born in June 2012 and was seen living on the streets for the first two months of her life. Because she was so small and fast, no one could catch her. But luckily the non-profit, no-kill shelter DAWG did.

The next day, I went to DAWG looking for a large, male, older dog and I randomly saw this two month old, 4lb female that they had just brought in. It was literally love and first sight and I brought her home the next day. I never thought I’d love a little dog but she’s the perfect companion for me and goes pretty much wherever I go.

Beauty Product Favourites + Shops

Q: What are your favourite shops and sites?
See my favourites here.

Q: Hair: let’s talk about it.
I have naturally curly/wavy medium blonde hair that’s fine but there’s lots of it. I’m a disaster with styling it which is why I tend to keep it long and never change it. I can’t even plait it despite an obsession of YouTube plaiting videos circa 2014! So since 2005 I’ve seen the amazing Tracey Cunningham, co-owner of Meche Salon in Los Angeles about every 5-6 months for colour which is generally a few highlights around the front (mostly for volume since I like my hair on the natural/darker side).

For cuts, there’s no one better than Miles Jefferies, also at Meche. He keeps long hair long and knows how to deal with us curly girls by creating layers that grow out so beautifully. He makes it possible for my hair to air dry and look good!

I really only wash my hair 1-2X per week because it’s so dry and curly. I tend to also air dry it as much as possible and then go in with a curling iron just around the front or any crazy pieces to make it look OK. If I’m in a rush, I use my Dyson and its diffuser to speed things up. Or if I straighten my hair which is very rare, I use the blow dryer and a large round brush. And that’s it!

Q: Makeup and skincare favourites?
I’m always surprised that I get asked this one! I have pretty minimalistic routines for both but tend to favourite more money/time/effort on skincare than on makeup. I also try to go as natural or as organic as I can. I have dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin that likes to break out once in awhile (then leave a red mark forever) so gentle and natural just tend to work best for me – and I think I’ve found some true winners that I highly recommend.

Travel Recommendations

Q: Travel: can you recommend a hotel in…?
I travel a lot – both for business and pleasure. And I’m picky about where I stay whether it’s a luxury hotel, a little in or a home rental. So I’ve listed my favourite places to stay on a Pinterest Board and I often share my favourite guides, places to travel and tips on Hygge House.

Q: What is your favourite luggage & travel gear?
I keep an updated list on my pinterest board but you can also read this post for more details.

Q: Copenhagen Favourite places to see/do?
I’m slowly getting around to writing all of this but you can see my favourite things to do in Copenhagen here.

Q: Danish Favourites?
I’ve got a lot scheduled but in the meantime, here are some of my favourite things about Denmark

Below is a Google Map of all my favourite places in the world. So click through to your destination to see if there’s anything near you.