• 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 😀
  • 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. 😀
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.
  • 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 Wanderlust

The Real Hygge

February 22, 2007
Snow in Denmark

Yesterday morning I woke to a surprising site – snow. A severe storm was slowly taking over Denmark and, being on Jutland, this was a concern. Instead of staying the two nights planned in Aarhus, it was decided to take the two and a half hour ferry ride to Sealand at 3PM that day instead. Where we were to stay that night would be planned when the boat had docked and we could see the road conditions.

The long, bumpy ferry ride kept us on edge and, when we landed in the dark, the tension wasn’t relieved; snow had overtaken the roads. We had planned to return the car to Holbæk and have our cousin meet and drive us back to her home but the roads were too severe for that. Instead, we decided to just pay for an extra day with the car and drive straight to her house + slowly.

It was near white out conditions on unfamiliar roads for over an hour until we stopped at a very little sport center near my cousin’s home. There was a small cafeteria with low lights and candles and so we read Danish home magazines while drinking tea as we waited for my cousin to meet us to lead us the way to her country home.

When she arrived, we got back in the car and drove once again in the winter storm. The 7KM drive seemed so much longer and i didn’t feel at east until we drove into her driveway, stepped into her house, and took off my coat.

And then, then I relaxed. There were candles on the walls, glowing in that inviting way. There were candles in the living room. She had food all prepared, ready for us all to eat – which we did over a four hour time frame in between lots of talking, laughing and sometimes just being.

When I woke up this morning I was happy – we were snowed in. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to see. At home, quiet, with family. And so I took a walk by myself, up the little country streets in the quiet snow. It was peaceful and I was content – even though it was perhaps the coldest I’ve ever been.

When I returned home we lingered over breakfast; tablecloth on the table, all the dishes properly set, candle burning, coffee brewing and lots of conversation. These are how the Danes are; easy ceremony and lots of talking with ease. They have a little magic in them, I swear, making you not want to leave. Just when you are to rise from the table they offer you more food, or more conversation. They never want the hygge to end. And neither do I.

My cousin Britta (Bree-tah) son, Brian (bree-ahn), came over and all of us (my mum and Britta’s husband Bussa (boos-zah) sat again for hours talking about family, politics, weather, the U.S. (they had just come from a 3 week tour), Denmark and all its changes and life in general. Of course, we ate with candles as our backdrop.

After a few hours, I napped in Britta’s office (our temporary room), which was heavenly: she’s a holistic healer with acupuncture, acupressure and massage. Her office has a beautiful pink wall with white accents and duvets and lots of candles, which make the room smell so divine. It was a good nap and now, here I am. I can hear my mother and Brian talking as they prepare dinner and I am looking forward to yet another meal and entertainment that is only provided by us.

If someone were to ask me which of the days has been my favourite, it would have to be today. There were no grand sites to see, no luxurious hotel rooms to sit in, no shopping done at all but instead, a day spent being with family, eating good food, looking outside to the snow, relaxing fully and just loving every minute without having to explain why – that is Hygge. And as the Danes would say, I will leave tomorrow being very hyggelit.

  • Reply
    LindaNo Gravatar
    February 27, 2007 at 6:56 AM

    Your comments make me want to visit Denmark. It hasn’t been on my list of places I want to see, but I have now added it. It sounds lovely and peaceful.

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