Everyday Hygge


Gray walls at Door Sixteen. I’ve always loved gray and have always kept my living room in different hues. Now I’m slightly obsessed with yellow and gray!

Carpet America Recovery Effort
A site find local carpet recycling centers. I have a 6X8 carpet that got totally wrecked and haven’t known how to dispose of it until now.

Ads are not the new online tip jar
Great article on how to support your favourite sites. I do have ads on my sites but the revenue generated from them goes to different charities. This sites’ funds goes to Habitat Humanity’s Women Build! Program.

Gypsy Life
Her photography is just absolutely stunning and inspires me to some day learn how to work my camera! I also connect with her writing in so many ways.

amazing dress from Makool on Etsy
Yes. Please.


Carmel’s Romantic Hotel Holidays

I’m asked a lot about staying in Carmel since I lived there for several months this past winter/spring and have stayed in several hotels there over the years. So I’ve decided to share my favourite Carmel by the Sea/Big Sur area hotels with a focus on those best for a romantic or indulgent trip (since that’s the number one question I’m asked!):

The Cypress Hotel: This hotel is famous; it’s hard to read any article on Carmel and not read about this one. But I think it’s lazy journalism and the fact that it is half owned by Doris Day who makes the place very dog friendly and not because of service, amenities or rooms. Now, for Carmel it’s one of the luxurious properties and the location is fabulous but don’t set really high expectations if you’re used to 4 star deluxe properties. The front staff is generally useless and the front office manager is scary (if you see her, you will know who I am talking about!). I have stayed here 4 times as the owners also owned my flat complex when I lived in Carmel. And when my flat was destroyed I was able to stay here (though I stayed here on my own before I moved). The rooms tend to be small but my favourites were the 1 bedroom suites that faced Lincoln street. It had a fireplace, a love updated washroom, a really nice sitting room and faced a courtyard on one end. It’s great if you have dogs because you can just open your door and you’re on the street. I stayed in a corner suite again with a fireplace and a massive amazing tub that I would recommend for a rendez vous. The downside is that it’s overpriced and loud – you’ll hear your neighbour, you’ll hear street traffic, you’ll hear the maids hoovering at 6AM. But the beds/linens are lovely and it’s a nice place to sit for coffee in the evening. But it’s always crowded which, if you want privacy, might not be for you. And if you don’t like dogs, do not stay here.

L’auberge Carmel: Opened in 1929, this hotel has recently been redefined with old school elegance and charm with new school pricing. The location is hard to beat – it’s right in town, blocks from the beach and a block from the main drag, Ocean Avenue. With only 20 rooms, it’s very private and intimate with luxury details you’d expect to find in every room. It can sometimes feel a little too “done” and you’ll see a lot of suits from San Francisco here but there’s no denying that it is beautiful, architecturally stunning and cosy.

La Playa Hotel: I haven’t stayed here but I would walk past it almost every day on my way to the beach. It looks like one of those old grand beach hotels and from walking the halls on the inside, seems to live up to it’s old world sophisticated appearance. It’s only a few short blocks from the beach and from any ocean view room you’ll certainly be able to hear the waves crashing upon shore. The cottages – which are set just off from the main hotel, look amazing, private and very Carmel.

Post Ranch Inn: If you have money, stay here. It is undeniably one of the best hotels not just in the area, but ever. The details, the linens, the privacy, the luxury – it’s all here and understated which is something I love. It brings nature inside in a delicate, beautiful way that really makes you feel peaceful. The views are just some of the most amazing I’ve ever seen, especially from the infinity pool. This place spells romance with in-room massage to Prix Fixe dinners that allow to organically dine for hours. The hotel has even won several green lodging awards. The only downside if you can call it one, is that it is not in Carmel or in walking distance. But if you need a getaway, this is where to go. Drive into crowded Carmel instead!

Bernardus Lodge: Located in Carmel Valley, this luxury hotel spells romance and quiet. Featherbeds, tubs for two, roaring fireplaces and a winery to boot, this place is worth the drive (it’s about 10 minutes to downtown Carmel). There’s also a spa which I haven’t been to but the menu looks amazing and eating here does too (the restaurant is always highly rated).

Tree Bones Resort: What it lacks in luxury (no TV, phones, or private restroom) it makes up in views and simple pleasures (heated ocean-view pool, access to coast line, privacy and quiet). The rates are steep for something basic but this is Big Sur and nothing is ever really cheap. This is more luxury wilderness sleeping but it’s lovely.

Carmel River Inn: Just off Highway one and not in walking distance to town, this is a great value property if you stay in the recently renovated Cottages. I really loved the one I stayed in as it has a gorgeous fireplace, the fluffiest, comfiest bed, a two person tub and a private garden which was great since I brought my dog, Jack. You’ll be nestled amongst trees and birds so you’ll have quiet and privacy and be reasonably close to downtown Carmel. The best parts? You don’t pay the usual area rates!

Cat + Dog, Wanderlust

Travelling With Pets

Since I travel a lot and own both a cat and a dog, I’m often asked what happens to them. Do they travel, too?

Why yes they do!

I’m a huge believer that both pets and children can be great travellers if exposed early enough and done the right way. When I first got my cat Grace, I lived in a studio flat on a beautiful tree-lined street next door to a park. So I put her on a leash and took her out for daily walks just to expose her to different sounds and situations. And since I didn’t have a car, I’d have to take her to the vet on foot which I did by putting her in a large cage that I carried through the city streets – again so she could see everything and get used to noises. She actually seemed to enjoy the outings, especially since she is 100% an indoor cat. She can do long car trips and actually loves being in hotel rooms (she explores then cuddles in).

My dog Jack, however, was different. Spending the first 10 months of his life in a shelter, he had no idea about the outside world, being a dog, or how to walk (his back leg was gimped at first from sitting so much). The day I brought him home, he had no idea how to get into the car and I had no idea how to coax him in! I tried for about half an hour until one of the shelter people came over and helped me literally push him in. He was terrified of the car (sat curled up and panted heavily), terrified of people, terrified of going anywhere. And since I travelled a lot and wanted a walking companion, that would have to change.

I took him to AKC’s Canine Good Citizen classes at the Dog Boys Ranch in Austin TX. I also boarded him there a lot and had him do a lot of day visits just to get used to being social and having the training reinforced since the trainers also worked the ranch. I also took him on lots of day trips in the car to get him used to driving and I took him to shops (he has spent a great amount of time at Anthropologie!) and places that allowed pets to get him used to being around people. All of that along with a lot of patience, Jack has become an amazing traveller – a fabulous walker, happily gets into the car and even sticks his head out the window to boot!

Now that Jack is Canine Good Citizen certified and has had a lot of exposure, having him stay in hotels hasn’t been a problem. At first, he’d do quiet woofs when he heard people walking past the door but through training and lots of hotel rooms, he no longer does this. Bringing in his certificate to check in desks, I’ve had a lot of hotels forgo the “nightly pet charge” they sometimes give. Although I tend to stay either at Kimpton Hotels or Four Seasons – both of which are very pet friendly, have no surcharge and provide treats. But having him certified and knowing he’s a great traveller, I can stay at B&B’s or house rentals with ease.

Now, both pets have driven across country several times, have done lots of day trips, and have stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels around. So here’s what I take and do whilst travelling with them:

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Everyday Hygge

Recycling Magazines

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?

Danish Life

Hunde Parkering

Dog Parking

All little towns and communities in Denmark have a village grocery which is often a good little walk to get to if you live out in the country. So if you have to get some milk, you end up taking your dog along for exercise which is why you see these hunde parkering spots on the side of many of the grocers. Brilliant!

You wouldn’t think these dogs need the divider but just a second later, you can see why it’s there:

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Decor Ideas

Movie Set Decor – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I can sometimes love a movie just for its decor though with Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day I confess I fell in love everything!

Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending a lot of time with my BFF, Jessica, who is one of the most glamourous yet down to earth girls I know, but my style (both home and clothing) has been changing. And after seeing this movie, all I want is more hats, under pinnings, dresses and chandeliers!

Amy Adams fashion in the movie is amazing though I have to say the item I fell most in-love with was the pink bow she used in the bathtub scene in her hair. Although I do want to get more silk gowns and robes like the ones in the movie and in this Frou Four Fashionista blog post. Just for washing dishes, you know.

There seems to be a pattern of my favourite sets involving wall paper. This was the case in Antonement and now in the bedroom scenes in this movie. Did you see the doors were even wall papered? I’ve got to find a reason to buy some wall paper.

And as much as I loved the set, I loved the sound track. Just a good bit of inspiration all around for someone who’s trying to get a little more polished and have a lot of fun in the process.