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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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My Hygge House

La Jolla, California Cottage

May 15, 2013

In all the years I have lived in Santa Monica California, I had never made my way down to San Diego. When a work opportunity popped up there last fall, my initial reaction was to disregard it. I hadn’t had any desire to go to San Diego let alone move thereThe company was persuasive and offered me a trip to come down and visit. After meeting with them for a full day, I drove at sunset along the coast, through La Jolla and snapped this:

La Jolla, California

Two weeks later, I moved.

Initially, I thought finding a home would be hard; the city seemed to be filled with vacation-rental, 80’s condo’s with blue carpet. Finding something my style seemed impossible to find.

But I did.

A 1928 cottage by the sea, aptly called, “Dream Cottage.” It’s one block from the beach, with two large and private yards, a fireplace and white, white walls. The cottage had been in the same family for over 40 years and you felt that vibe inside. I bought my first grown-up table here (the West Elm Emerson table I had coveted for years!) and had lots of morning coffee (a new thing for me), had my mum visit with me and one of my sweetest friends and her husband stay for a few days. There were lots of long conversations on the couch, nights spent in the backyard watching stars and many, many trips down to the cove.

In two weeks my work winds down, I’ll be leaving my cottage to return to my adopted hometown, Santa Monica. But before I leave, I wanted to share a few captures of the cottage:

  • Reply
    HeatherNo Gravatar
    May 15, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Wow, that view is stunning! You’re a few years younger than me, but I want to be you when I grow up. πŸ™‚ I think you’ve lived in &/or visited all the places I’ve ever wanted to, and you always manage to find the nicest homes to live in! What’s your secret to finding dreamy cottages like this one? And perhaps more importantly, if you’re back in Santa Barbara, does that mean this one’s available now?? πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    RashidaNo Gravatar
    May 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Absolutely lovely and magical!

  • Reply
    KyNo Gravatar
    May 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    How lovely. I want to hang out there and read books.

  • Reply
    MarieNo Gravatar
    May 25, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Absolutely beautiful! I dream of having a lovely little place like this someday.

  • Reply
    alisaNo Gravatar
    July 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    where did you get that handbag? :~)

    • alex the girlNo Gravatar
      July 24, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      I bought it from Anthropologie way back in late 2006. I read the very faded tag and I think it’s made by venera arapu paris.

  • Reply
    TriciaNo Gravatar
    August 12, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    What a gorgeous cottage! I’m from La Jolla but am now living in England (worlds apart!), so it was lovely to find a piece of home here. So glad to hear you enjoyed your time in San Diego!

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