Meet Author Alexandra Stoddard

Phyllis People 32 Comments

I have been an Alexandra Stoddard fan since my friend, Barbara Cockerham, and I found a copy of her book Living a Beautiful Life in Rizzoli bookstore in Williamsburg, Virginia. We have a custom, when we travel together, of sitting at the end of the day with a cup of tea and reading aloud from a magazine or book. We call this time our daily ‘poetic reading.’ On that long-ago December evening, we fell under the spell of Alexandra’s work. 

In pondering the name for my blog, I recalled meeting Alexandra ten years ago at a book signing. Inscribing her signature in my newly purchased copy of Things I Want My Daughters to Know, she placed a length of ribbon in its pages as her special way of adding a grace note to the moment. I named my blog as a tribute to Alexandra and the gracious lifestyle she promotes through the twenty-eight books she has published. Alexandra and I have been friends since that day and she served as Writer-In-Residence for Victoria magazine in 2008.

More about Alexandra:

 Alexandra Stoddard has spent her life helping others understand the path to true happiness. An interior designer by training, she credits Mrs. Eleanor McMillin Brown, her mentor, with her ability to shape spaces that allow homeowners to thrive in their own environment. I feel she had brought us an awareness of our surroundings and has encouraged us to find pleasure in details. The design of her small volumes speaks to the feminine spirit. For those who experience delight through touch, her books are an experience in luxury. The velvety paper, the tinted ink, the practice of including her endearing ‘grace notes’—all these combine to create a sense of bliss.

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As a result of her writings, she has made us aware of the beautiful things we have in our lives rather than focusing on the things we don’t have. She has helped us become mindful of the length of our days, and taught us to maximize the joy that we fill those days with, even when things in our lives might be challenging. She seeks beauty in the world, even in small measure. I recall that she wrote in one book of painting a band of color inside her kitchen cabinet doors, so that when she opens a cabinet, she is greeted with a bit of brightness that lifts her spirits. After hearing her describe her writing room, I want to go there for a visit and experience its splendor: This space is white with a beautiful white desk. Alexandra’s view out the light-filled front window is of her gardens where beautiful French hydrangeas bloom.

She prides herself on writing on French paper with fountain pens rather than opting for a computer. “I love the sight of ink flowing and the sound of the pen as it moves across the paper, plus I have beautiful handwriting. The sunlight drenching the room gives me great energy as I write.” One of my favorite books of hers is “Gift of a Letter”. For it is with our written words that we create a legacy of our thoughts and gratitude, and thoughts between family and friends. Thank you, Alexandra, for inspiring us to celebrate the joy of each day.

Comments 32

  1. Just checked into Alexandra’s site to read her newsletter. I have not been to her site in such a long time. This is where I found the link to your beautiful site. My friend Mary, introduced me to Alexandra many years ago with her book, Gift of a Letter. We have collected all her books over the years and I have them all proudly displayed on my bookshelf. I remember in a flood in 1998, I lost my home and most of my possessions. We had to set up a very small travel trailer and live in that till we could find a place to move to. My dear precious friend came to visit me and she presented me a paperbook edition of “Living a Beautiful Life” to replace my hardbook that was lost in the flood. I began to read this book again in my cramped little quarters and it encouraged me to add elegance, order and beauty and joy to each day. This helped me get through a very traumatic time in my life as I began to rebuild. Thank you so much for the reminder that we do indeed Live a Beautiful Life with beautiful people to inspire us such as you and our dear friend Alexandra!

  2. I love everything she writes, I have all her books. I wait for her newsletter each month. She is a gift to the world, simply amazing.

  3. I love all your publications and your new “ribbon” blog is lovely! What a wonderful tribute to Alexandra. My husband and I attended her Happiness Weekend in 2006 and I blogged about it on my writing/lifestyle blog and she also graciously let me interview her for two wedding magazine articles I wrote. Alexandra has blessed so many with how to live a beautiful life. Thanks for sharing her books with your blog readers. I love your new cottage living blog too!

  4. She’s my favorite and I wait anxiously for the first of each month to read her newsletter. She has inspired me for so many years! I have all of her books and love the way she encourages the reader to live fully….right where we are!

    She’s the best. I really enjoyed it when she was “writer in residence” for Victoria.

    1. Alexandra’s books remain an inspiration in my life. She spoke so lovingly of Stonington Village that my husband and I made the trip a few days after our wedding, in December 2001.And we were not disappointed. We walked the wintry beach, I, wrapped up in a warm coat. My new husband, so loving and happy. Sadly, he passed away ten days ago. And while we also traveled to Paris that summer, our trips to Stonington Village remain such beautiful memories. A dear friend sent me this quote and it has touched my heart. “No one can heal the loss of a love, but no one can steal the memories of love.” So, as I find this wonderful blog, I shall continue to feel his presence in my life, as I look forward to what God has planned for me .But my husband shall always remain with me. Another beautiful quote from a novel, has always resonated with me. ” And in this life, nothing good is truly lost. It stays part of a person, becomes part of their character. So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever. My love, my darling.” From the novel, The Shell Seakers, by Rosamunde Pilcher.
      Bless you all,
      Peggy

      1. This is the first I am reading your blog. So sorry about your husband.
        I also love that quotation from the Shell Seekers.

  5. Phyllis, finding other kindred spirits is one of the joys in life. As a fan of Alexandra Stoddard for decades, I was
    always amazed at how she found the time to send a handwritten reply to one of her admirers. Tea time is one of my favorite luxuries. When my dear mother was housebound, setting a lovely table for tea with my sister and a close friend gave her something to look forward to with a lovely table setting, small bites, and a cup of tea. Thank you, too, Phyllis, for bringing Victoria magazine back to life. It is my very favorite of all time. Wishing you all the best!

  6. Hello ladies. I was just blessed by my daughter Victoria, whom I named for her spirit, and she sent me an invitation to this blog. She is an old soul in a 19 year old’s body. She knows I have been collecting Victoria Magazine for years. The old issues and the new versions. I believe every women yearns for this romance. I grow brides to become amazing wives and mothers. This is what is missing in our society. I plan weddings from the inside out and I teach young girls etiquette and social norms. To retain me as a wedding planner, they need to agree to attend my coaching and training during the preparation of the wedding. Everything I teach is off Biblical principles with a touch of romance and beauty. I have the issues you discuss because it is part of the world I want these young women to embrace. We have lost the romance in our lives. There is no more courting. The mystery of a phone call. The excitement of receiving flowers sent by an admirer. I have put together a non profit called “Titus 2:4-5 Women, Inc.,” which is a bible verse that states that the older women will teach the younger women to be good wives, and mothers according to God’s way. I am looking for older women to mentor to the young women I am reaching out to .

    Thank you for this blog and for your vision. I have been keeping journals for years and if I can leave you with something, it is that every women out there has a sleeping princess inside. We need to wake her up so she can live the life God made her to live. Embrace the beauty of a day, the gift of a friendship, every beautiful thing He has made. We are all here for a short time. Put away the cell phone and embrace the present moment.
    Blessings.

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    6. Brussels sprouts are always a bone of contention at our holiday table. I'm sure your recipe with the cranberry pistachio pesto will convince even the naysayers of this much maligned vegetable. I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

    7. PS: forgot the most important one: the players will know how to SET clean, hard screens, not some “drifting” towards Kobe and helping/inviting the defenders to crowd his movesremember some games ago when Kobe was setting those screens for Sessions? he was free as a bird – floating toward the basket.

  7. I’m thrilled to see two of the women I admire the most coming together on such a fantastic project. I’ve read all 28 of Alexandra Stoddard’s books multiple times and I cried when I got the card in the mail letting me know that Phyllis had brought back my beloved Victoria magazine. I read quite a few other magazines from Hoffman Media. I look forward to seeing what you both share with us loyal readers in the future.

  8. Alexandra Stoddard has been a favorite source of lifestyle wisdom and insight for close to 3 decades. I loaned Living a Beautiful Life so often that I finally bought a second copy just for lending and that’s a practice I’ve continued with all her books. They are treasures.

  9. Sandrs, I read with great interest your comment about Alexander Stoddard. I am a West Virginian born and educated in Charleston. I have lived in Virginia for over 30 years. I’d love to know how your garden club secured Alexander for a speaking engagement as I’d like for my garden club to do likewise. We are located in Southside Virginia. Thank you so much for your post as the word West Virginia always “catches my eye” when reading magazines, posts, etc.

  10. Alexandra Stoddard has also been one of my favorite authors, beginning with her book “Gift of a letter”. Revisiting her books provides insights into living a life of grace, courtesy, and respect. I am very grateful that she continues to connect with us through her writing.

    1. I have many Alexandra Stoddard books in my library. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have purchased every book she has written.

  11. OK, Phyllis, now I KNOW we are kindred spirits! I have loved Alexandra’s work ever since I coveted her book Living a Beautiful Life and not being able to resist it when I found it in a bookstore in Annapolis, MD. I sat in the car and read it the whole way home to Pennsylvania (I was not driving) Ha!. Several years ago, I noticed on Alexandra’s website that she would be speaking in West Virginia. I immediately called the number, got tickets and my dear husband made the two and a half hour drive to take my daughter and I to see her. She autographed my three favorite books (I own all but one at this point) and placed a pink polka dot ribbon in them. We took pictures, she hugged me, told my college age daughter (studying interior design) how beautiful and intelligent she was. It was a grand day that I will never forget. She even featured the photo of us on her website! Later, we went to lunch at a french cafe that had been recommended and she and Peter were there! She came to our table to chat and was so gracious. A beautiful woman with a beaurtiful heart. Love her.

  12. I have been an Alexandra fan for many years and have most of her books. They have been read and re-read many times over. I was happy to see her as Victoria’s “Writer in Residence” a few years ago and enjoyed “catching up with her” through that column. Although I have never had the pleasure of actually meeting her in person, I feel that we are old friends introduced and connected through her books. Such a beautiful lady and a gift to the world.

  13. The first book I read by Alexandra Stoddard was “Gift of a Letter.” I was just out of college living in my very first apartment, setting up a home of my own for the very first time. I was far away from family and friends, but excited about a new chapter in my life. Letters home were a way to share the adventure with those I loved, and her book just spoke to my heart. And so began a love affair with writing, of reading Alexandra’s books, and my collection of her works. I felt as if she was writing them just for me — they were that special. And they still are…

  14. I have always believed that there are no coincidences in life. Rather, I believe the universe creates these moments that start from our own intuition and awareness. Two great joys in my life are Victoria magazine and Alexandra Stoddard. Both have inspired me and enriched me in so many ways. Journaling is also a love of mine that, unfortunately, has not been afforded much time in the last few busy years. When cleaning a drawer yesterday I came upon a journal of mine from 2001 and, as I read through it, I remembered those inspired moments when I was so eager to write. I decided it was time to make time for it again. Today I remembered I had not yet read the April newsletter on Alexandra’s website and was disappointed to find the website had been down since April 7th. I hope this is only temporary. I then went to the Victoria magazine website and read about this new journaling blog you started, inspired by your meeting Alexandra! I’m so excited to follow along on this journey and continue to be inspired by kindred spirits!

  15. Arlene Vanderbilt
    April 9, 2014

    Palos Fine Arts Association had a fund raiser for the preservation of The McCord House in Palos Park almost 10 years ago. Alexandra spoke about her “Happiness” book to a crowd of 300. She was warmly received by all. I too have read all her books and find them uplifting. Peter was delightful as well. My husband found him stimulating.

  16. My garden club had the great joy of bringing Alexandra Stoddard to our small town in West Virginia, April of 2008. Alexandra presented a program titled, “Beauty Inspires our Joy for Living.” Truly an unforgettable experience. I spent two days with her and her husband, Peter. There are just not enough good things to say about her and her talk. Meeting Alexandra was life changing for me. She is truly a fine and dear lady and in every way, “Scatters Joy.” She is an example for all of us!

  17. I “met” Alexandra when she was your Writer in Residence for Victoria…and immediately began my search for all her books, in used book stores and sales….today I have 12 of her books and continue the hunt as I treasure her insight and style, thanks for the introduction to her!

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