Catching Happiness Inspiration--Alexandra Stoddard

August 19, 2019

Back in March, I wrote about one of the authors who inspired my mindset when I started Catching Happiness. Today I want to introduce you to another: Alexandra Stoddard.

Stoddard began her career as an interior designer, working with Eleanor McMillen Brown. She became a top design professional, and established her own design firm, Alexandra Stoddard Incorporated.  She also became an author, penning 28 books and giving lectures on not only design, but on personal happiness and living a more beautiful life. Her website lists her as “contemporary philosopher, author, interior designer, and speaker.” All this at the age of 77!

Her mantra is “Happiness is the first principle of life. Love & Live Happy.”

Once again, I can’t remember how I originally found her work, but over the years I’ve read probably half of her books. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been remaking her acquaintance by rereading some of my favorites.

As much as I enjoy her books, Stoddard has a more formal approach to living than I do. I’m a California/Florida girl and I’m ultra casual in almost everything. But I aspire to her tranquility and her cheery outlook. I love the idea of making our daily surroundings as pretty and uplifting as we can, as well as her belief that we have a role in creating our own happiness. (She also has no computer or smart phone, and hand writes manuscripts using a fountain pen. I start most of my writing with pen and paper, but couldn’t do my work without both a smart phone and a computer…much as I might like to sometimes.)

A few of my favorite Alexandra Stoddard quotes:

“In my work in interior design, I’ve noticed that many people have a tendency to save up 95 percent of their money and effort to spend on 5 percent of their lives—festive occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and the special, more public places in the home, such as the living or dining room. Instead, the way to live a beautiful life is to make the daily 95 percent of your life wonderful.”

“Whenever we want to learn to do something well, we have to go into training. Just because we’ve been given eyesight doesn’t mean we know how to use our eyes to look and really see.

“We have to train ourselves to look at all things and see things well. We must not be limited by the familiar but must instead look and look again. Seeing well is a process of opening our mind as well as our eyes. We will be intrigued and curious, but in the beginning we also need to discipline our mind and eyes and discern through practice.”

 “I love the idea that bees gather nectar from flowers and herbs and then go home and make honey. We are like bees in that way. We move about, going from here to there, having thousands of different experiences, and learning how to cultivate our own. We take everything in, then we make our honey, our own dreams come true, our own happiness.”

“When you greet life choice by choice, detail by detail, aware of how much more happiness you can experience, you will be living a good life.”

We live in a frightening, frustrating time—but what era has NOT been frightening and frustrating? There is, there has been, and probably always will be suffering as long as we are humans. Despite, that, we have a choice whether to live our lives in sadness, fear, and discouragement or to embrace what we have, make it better, share it with others. We can try to inspire and encourage rather than tear down, divide, or add to the fear and frustration around us. Even though that’s quite often the larger challenge.

I do it imperfectly, but I choose to seek after and share happiness.

What are some of the little things you do to make your life happier and more beautiful?

For a list of Alexandra Stoddard’s books, click here.

You Might Also Like


  1. Kathy I have read quotes from Alexandra Stoddard and even have one of her books on my shelf. She is certainly an inspiring lady. Thanks for reminding me of her lovely outlook on life. Hope you are having a great day. Hugs!

    1. You're welcome, Debbie. I'm currently, slowly rereading You Are Your Choices. You have a great week!