• I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
  • Reminder: There is always light at the end of the tunnel(s).
  • 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."
  • "It was here in Big Sur where I first learned to say amen." Henry Miller

Friday afternoon I decided to take a last-minute trip up the coast. Every time I've driven it, I've  always had some place to be and up against time.

But not this trip.

Friday I spent time in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.

Saturday I spent time in Steinbeck country (of Mice and Men is one of my favourite books) and finally drove the G16 across to Carmel before heading up for a quick stop to see of my friends who I would literally drive 8hrs for only to spend 2 hours with.

Today I got up super early and got a super big coffee so I could drive down highway 1, through Big Sur and hopefully beat the crowds.

Henry Miller is the author of some of my other favourite books so as I drove though Big Sur I thought of him and Steinbeck and how they wrote about what they knew, what they loved, and what they questioned. I've had this idea in my head for a new project and community that I know will resonate and mean something but just unsure how to begin.

So I made sure today to stop when I wanted to. Linger when I needed. Drive wherever for however long.

And, after all the times driving through Big Sur, I finally stopped at a beach. I spent two hours here practically alone and just was.

People say it but there is something magic about Big Sur and today was the first time I felt it. I felt the shift, the inspiration, the hunger. And I felt wet sand between my toes. 
I'm ready.

  • Instagram Image
  • That time I wore 👖
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  • Last week I drove through the area of Malibu that was most hard hit from the fires. It was completely devastated only last December but now, life is blooming again in a way I've never seen it before. The scars are there and it will take 20yeara to get back to where it was but life is back. That's the amazing, heartbreaking and beautiful thing about life. #malibustrong #earthday



Love Notes

December 16, 2010
Letter Writing on Hygge House. Photo by Annie Spratt

When I left home at eighteen I had two suitcases – one filled with clothes and the other filled with books and stationary. My fountain pens, inks, cards, envelopes and other bits were more important to me than anything else because that’s how I communicated with people – by mail.

In every country I lived, in all my travels, I wrote to friends and family. I wrote thank you cards, ‘just moved’ announcements (lots of them!), thinking of you notes, holiday and birthday wishes and more often than not, simple love notes.

Christmas cards, however, were always my favourite to write. I’d have stocked up on the perfect cards, turned on the holiday tunes, picked up my favourite pen and then would sit down to write. I took this time to really reflect upon my friendships and write that down for them whether it was thinking about something we’d done together, that’d they’d accomplished on their own, on any major changes that came (first year as a mum, as a married person or alone). I know it sounds cheesy but as I wrote these letters, I’d smile. To be able to sit down, think about and acknowledge friends and mail it off, well, I couldn’t think of a nicer gift.

I used to average sending about 150 cards a holiday season, each having a personalized note. Going through my address book was as joyful to me as a good, dishy mag. But over the years, people would move and I’d lose contact, or people just didn’t give addresses anymore because of email & facebook. And those are the same reasons why I used to go from receiving cards during the holiday to receiving only three last year.

And I’ll confess, that broke my heart a little because there is, I think, nothing sweeter than a note, a piece of mail, of knowing that someone took the time to think of you, write it down, and put it to post. A note from a friend and a cup of tea was the perfect break in the day. And truthfully, writing them was, too.

But somehow we’ve become a culture of, ‘that’s too much effort’ to put pen to paper. Technology has changed what ‘connecting’ means – and from what I’ve seen if often means being reminded by a social networking site that it’s a friend’s birthday and that an electronic ‘Happy Birthday’ note will suffice because we’re all so busy.

But I think sometimes ‘busy’ is just a polite for ‘lazy’ and that the things that matter to you should always find a way into your (address) book. Your friends should mean more to you than “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Birthday” on their Facebook wall. Even if only once a year you can write someone, do it. Take the time to write a love note to your friend, your family, the person that helped you this year. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll write you back.

I know I would.

  • Reply
    MeganNo Gravatar
    December 16, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Hooray, I am so happy you’re back and am going to pretend it was my recent comment that spurred it, ha ha. Happy holidays.

  • Reply
    RachelNo Gravatar
    December 16, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Hello Alex,

    I’m coming out of lurkdom.
    I found you via frenchtoastgirl and I have been folllowing you for years.

    Thanks for everything.

    Happy Holidays

  • Reply
    StephanieNo Gravatar
    December 17, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Dear Alex,

    I’ve been a big fan of Hygge House ever since you opened it, and I’m so happy to see an update, especially one on one of my favorite topics! I’m not a big fan of “the holidays” but I love writing letters and notes and communicating through the mail. However, your talking about how you’d write personalized notes talking about the year has evoked a nostalgic response in me and I almost wish I had had time to write meaningful New Year’s cards, at least. Writing letters is a great way to celebrate the time you’ve shared with someone else and to keep in contact through these hectic times. I will now try to remember to put people’s birthdays in my address book and over the weekend I will endeavor to write a few letters. Thank you for yet another cosy, insightful post.

    Sincerely yours,

  • Reply
    BeckyNo Gravatar
    December 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    I actually run a site dedicated to letters and connecting with the written word ( Stephanie (above) and I write letters to each other, as a matter of fact, and we both definitely appreciate this post. This year I’ve sent out a bunch of cards and only received some back, but it’s worth it anyway. Taking the time to slow down and pen out a card or a letter is infinitely more rewarding than sending a twitter message.

  • Reply
    Jane AnnNo Gravatar
    January 5, 2011 at 12:29 PM



  • Reply
    Jess BNo Gravatar
    February 6, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    In going through a very stressful time in my life, I was in search for some positive energy when I discovered your site. After reading only a few posts, I’ve already found so many things I want to try in an effort to bring Hygge into my life. The charm, coziness and connection to the things that are actually important in life that you speak of makes me so happy. I can’t wait to read more of your posts and start incorporating some of these ideas into my life. 🙂

  • Reply
    MarieNo Gravatar
    October 14, 2018 at 3:43 PM

    I feel so badly for my children and others their age. In my closet, I have a chest full of letters and cards written from friends and family while I was off living my life. Can you believe that my college friends and I even wrote letters during Christmas break?? I would have bet my house that my brother never wrote to me while I was in Basic Training (not his style)…but…there they were, 4-5 of them wishing me well and giving me news of home. There are letters and funny cards from people I forgot I knew as well. This trunk of treasure will never be known to many in modern life… Facebook and email are instant…but the written word can be savored forever.

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