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.
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.