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Living A Beautiful Life: Alexandra Stoddard

by | Feb 3, 2008 | Authentic Living, Inspired Living

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Living A Beautiful Life: Alexandra Stoddard

Where It All Began

I have such a wonderful experience to share with you!

First, let me share some background. As a young girl, I was full of fanciful ideas about life, love and creating a home. A true romantic and idealist. I loved the thought of a beautiful life within my own four walls. I imagined fairy-tales and happily ever afters. Pretty things on ordinary Mondays. Creating a lovely home and a beautiful life was my one true dream, something I was passionate about from my earliest memories.

Living A Beautiful Life

One day as a young bride 20 years ago, I was at work passing by the receptionist’s desk when I saw she was reading a book. She said she was done with it and handed it to me. The title of the book was Living A Beautiful Life by interior designer and author Alexandra Stoddard. As I cracked open the cover, I entered a world that mirrored what had been in my own mind and heart from my childhood days. Ideas put to words, my dreams leaping off the pages, and inspiring words that would forever cement my fanciful notions into a way of life.

A Kindred Spirit

Alexandra was like a kindred spirit, delighting in details others seemed to miss. I adored her books, one after the other. Piled high near my pillow I’d read them over and over. I would quote her endlessly, “Alexandra says…” until my husband would ponder along with me when faced with a dilemma around the home, “What would Alexandra do?” as if she were one of my friends with all the best advice.

Daring To Be Myself

Although her words were profoundly inspiring to me, the real impact of her books on my life was a freedom and permission to live the way I always imagined life should be. If it was good enough for Alexandra, maybe my ideas weren’t so fanciful after all. I should experience beautiful things even on ordinary days! I felt empowered, more confident and assured in my thinking. She was such a positive contributor to my life that my husband would often say that I needed to go hear her speak in person, to thank the woman who inspired me so.

The Inspired Room

Not too long ago I had what I truly feel was a divine inspiration in my own life. I was seeking purpose and a direction for the next phase of my life (as my children were growing and no longer in need of my constant supervision). I was ready to do something more in life, but what? I awoke one morning to what should have been an obvious thought, but the day before had not even been on my mind. I had a passion for creating beauty and enjoying that beauty every day. Yet I was using that passion only for myself and my own family! It was though a cloud had lifted from my vision and suddenly I could see exactly what I was to do next. I felt compelled to share my enthusiasm in life and help others in the process of discovering their own authentic style and beauty in their homes. And thus my business, The Inspired Room, was born.

Flash forward

As I opened my mail last week and sorted through the usual stack of bills and credit card offers, a postcard fell to the table. There, written in green ink, were words I never imagined I would read! Never in a million years! It began “Dear Melissa…” I scanned quickly to the signature to see who was writing to me! “Great love to you, Alexandra Stoddard ALEXANDRA STODDARD?! Within the note she gave me her phone number and said I could call her! Me? I could call her? And she gave me permission to share our conversation with YOU.

Hello? Alexandra?

To say I was nervous about calling her is an understatement. The scheduled time ended up being in the middle of a design consultation! I had worked for three hours on a client’s family room and kitchen, took a half hour break to call Alexandra (eek!) and then spent another two hours or so working on the client’s study. It was a full day but everything about it was a dream come true. I was helping one woman discover her style and pull together the beauty in her home and life and in the middle of it all I was speaking to the queen of beautiful living herself, Ms. Alexandra Stoddard. Oh my! Talk about a fulfilling day! Amazing how life feels when you are doing what you truly love to do and are surrounded by people who inspire you and challenge you.

The Inspiration Ahead

So now you know the background of my life and the profound influence Alexandra Stoddard has had on me and my career. Stay tuned for the conversation with Alexandra, I cannot wait to share what we talked about! And of course, stick around because we have a full week of inspiration ahead! Click HERE for the INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA STODDARD!


  1. dawn

    Wow! What a beautiful story! Reminds me of so many things in my early life (as a residential Interior Designer) that I truly took for granted, maybe God is calling me back to it! Thank you so much for your inspiration!

  2. Adla

    What a wonderful story of the moulding of your life Melissa, Truly enjoyed reading that , Alexandra sounds very empowering. I look forward to the next instalment of inspirations :)

  3. Debra W

    Hi Melissa,

    I am so incredibly excited for you! You must still be floating through the clouds! Good for you for following your dreams, and achieving such a fantastic goal; to interview one of your heros. I cannot wait to read the results of your fantastic experience.

    I have no doubt that someday, you will be the source of somebody else’s excitement, as you share your experiences with them in an interview. You are on your way, girlfriend, and I, for one, am one of your biggest cheerleaders!(as you already know) You make me proud!

    Big hugs and love,

  4. M.Kate

    its really a beautiful life and i really look forward to seeing and reading more, have a wonderful week ahead :)

  5. Neutral Dwelling


    I am so proud for you!!!! How terribly exciting! I can’t wait to hear what she wanted……………

  6. janet

    I knew it, I knew it. I am so excited for you! Can’t ai to read about the conversation :>)


  7. Christi from Charm & Grace

    First, I want to thank you for visiting my blog. I have been a fan of yours for quite some time, so I was really excited when I saw your comment.

    I think we must indeed be kindred spirits because about 20 years ago, as a newlywed who delighted in dreaming of the ideal life, I purchased Living A Beautiful Life and began my journey toward realizing those dreams. I remember taking small steps toward adding beauty to daily life. I began to purchase fresh flowers regularly and place them around the home. I polished all the silver that I had been given for wedding presents and began using it. I wanted to actually use my fine china instead of looking at it in the china cabinet. And over the years, there have been so many, many more instances of adding those kinds of little touches which make day to day life lovely.

    So, in reading about your actually getting to talk to Ms. Stoddard, I was thrilled for you in a very empathetic way. It’s not often you get to do that with someone who has made a very real impact on your life from a distance. I am so happy for you!



  8. All Things Bright and Beautiful

    Dear Melissa

    The joy of Divine inspiration – God is good non?

    I have little tears in my eyes at the thought of His kindness to you

    Hugs to you and hugs to “You There Upstairs” too

  9. rochambeau

    Hi Melissaa,
    How AMAZING to talk to Alexandra on the phone!! Besides the wonderful experience for you, It must of brought her the greatest joy to know she had changed a your life, through writing her book.

    Sending smiles!

  10. rochambeau

    PS I’ve never heard of her book. I just looked it up on Amazon.
    Thank you for sharing. We can all learn from one another!!

  11. all the best

    Wow, I can’t believe your story. I have been a fan of Alexandra Stoddard for about 15 years. The first book that I read was Daring to be Yourself and it had a profound impact on me and my thinking.

    She quickly became a favorite of mine as well as my dear friend Peggy. About 10 years ago I sent Alexandra a letter asking her if she would sign a book for Peggy’s birthday. She agreed and I mailed the book to her. Alexandra not only sent the book back inscribe, but beautifully wrapped the gift herself. She also sent a note to me with her phone number and asked me to give her a call, like you I was so nervous, but of course she was wonderful and gracious. I still have the note.

    Alexandra Stoddard is truly a special woman.

  12. the feathered nest

    She has been an inspiration to so many people and that one book has had such a profound impact on so many lives! Can’t wait to read about your conversation.


  13. JO

    First off CONGRATULATIONS !! To Linda!! Lucky you to win such a fabulous prize!!

    As for you Ms Melissa … you are a woman of many surprises and all I can say is …. I am thrilled beyond expectation for you … To be so lucky to speak with Alexandra Stoddard… that must be like a dream come true!!…. I think the day will come when we will be lucky enough to see your books in print and say we knew her when she was just a little blog bunny…..

    Can’t wait to see/hear more of your conversation with such an inspirational woman


  14. Rhoda

    What a wonderful story! That is very exciting. I must be the only one who hasn’t read Alexandra’s books. I know who she is, of course, just have never read them. I will definitely look them up in the library & see if I can find them.

    What a thrill that must have been. Can’t wait to hear about the conversation. I too, feel that I’m on my way to doing what I was meant to do too & can’t wait to get started.

    Happy for you!

  15. Vee

    A wonderful dream come true for you, Melissa; I’m very excited to hear what you and Alexandra discussed!

  16. Polly

    “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans for hope and a future”… And what a future He has given you! What a current/present He’s given you… I’m so, so happy for you! Blessings… Polly

  17. Kathryn Bechen

    Dear Melissa,

    Your blog post is beautiful and I knew you would love Alexandra! Isn’t she just as wonderful on the phone as she is in her books? I feel privileged to know her and you so beautifully captured your story and your own client work in your blog post. Congratulations to you, Melissa, and keep penning your beautiful posts to the world!



  18. Tara

    Hoe nice to hear from someone who has so inspired you! Doesn’t that feel great!

  19. Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread

    What a wonderful story of God’s blessing on you, Melissa! To have someone you admire contact you personally! Alexandra Stoddard is an “inspiration icon”. You, yourself, have set a standard in blogging when it comes to encouraging the beautiful life. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with us.

  20. Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

    Wow, that’s an awesome story! Life really is amazing sometimes, isn’t it!? Congratulations on your win Linda! Have a wonderful day sweetie!
    Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

  21. Linda

    Wow , what a great story! I love Alexandra Stoddard too….I meet her at a book signing our Junior League sponsored. She is a lovely, beautiful and gracious lady!

  22. Louise

    What a delightful story, a pleasure to read.
    I loved the part about your husband joining in
    on your admiration for Alexandra.


  23. Mrs. Fox

    Congratulations! What a wonderful experience!

  24. this is glamorous

    Melissa, you set up your conversation wtih Alexandra so beautifully. I loved hearing about the series of events that lead to The Inspired Room and am really looking forward to the interview!

    Happy week!

  25. Linda

    What a wonderful story and how exciting to speak to someone who has been such an inspiration to you. I’m looking forward to when you share your conversation.

    Talk about being excited…I was so thrilled to learn I had won Time Alive . I adore Alexandar Stoddard. She is wonderful …an inspiration to so many as are you Melissa.

    Thank you ever so much. I know I will most certainly enjoy this book. Linda

  26. anne

    What a wonderful story, so inspirational. I loved it, it must of seemed like a dream!!! xox

  27. Julie

    That was a fabulous post and I couldn’t be happier for you! It’s amazing when a dream comes true. Congratulations to Linda, too!


  28. Alice

    Wow…what a story! …and a very lucky person to have spoken to Alexandar Stoddard herself. That was certainly inspirational in itself. What an absolute honor. Congratulations to the winner….I’m sure she will enjoy reading this book as I have reading others written by Ms. Stoddard.

  29. A Fanciful Twist

    SQUEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Little bits of dreams fusing alltogether!!! xoxoxoxooxox

  30. hookedonhouses

    Thanks for stopping by my Hooked on Houses blog because your comment led me to your gorgeous site! I can’t wait to have time to explore it all, but just seeing this post about Alexandra Stoddard has me SO excited. I’ve got all of her books and she was a big inspiration to me as a newlywed years ago, too. I’ve Bookmarked you and will be back to read it all soon! Thanks! -Julia

  31. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    What a wonderful story! I am looking forward to reading all about your call to Alexandra.

    Congrats to Linda on winning the book!

  32. Paris Parfait

    How wonderful how it all came about! So pleased you had the opportunity to speak with Alexandra – and were gracious enough to share the joy with us!

  33. Lynda

    What a wonderful story, Melissa! I’m so glad you shared it with us … and your interview with Alexandra! ~ Lynda xo

  34. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    Hi there sweet lady!

    I have been soooo busy here and have not made my “usual rounds” to visit all of my friends lately! Oh I so missed out on the whole last week and a half! Shame on me for being busy!

    Wowzers! You got a note AND spoke to Alexandra! Isn’t that thrilling to say the LEAST! I am so excited for you….I would be equally thrilled if Tom Selleck gave me his phone number! Like that would EVER happen!

    Melissa, good things happen to good people and it is wonderful to read your blog and share your world with you through your beautiful posts and writings.

    love ya oodles and bunches,

  35. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, how absolutely fantastic!!! We are so happy and excited for you!! J & j xo

  36. Mary Mia

    Hello, Melissa,
    I just discovered your website/blog because I Googled Alexandra Stoddard after I returned from a brief vacation in Stonington CT last week. She and her darling husband were staying in the same small inn as we were because their house just down the street is being remodeled. I sat near them each morning we were there eating breakfast and was captivated by her grace and beauty, and with the lovely way she and her husband interacted with each other. I knew she was a writer because of her stack of books and note cards and colored papers and pens. I was too shy to ask who she was and didn’t find out her identity until the day we were leaving when I asked a waitress in a neighboring restaurant who the lovely couple were across the way. Her name was familiar to me, but only now, after reading this blog do I realize who she is. I wish I had spoken to her, because I think now I would have had a delightful time visiting with her.

  37. marnie

    Melissa – I tracked back to this post today after I read your “Solitude: A Daily Ritual” post on July 23, 2008 – I think the same way – something rang true and voila – the Alexandra Stoddard connection – I, too, discovered her about 20 years ago as a young married – and have become quite a fan – her Grace Notes book is on my desk or bed side table – and is loaded with all my own grace notes.

  38. Karen

    Hi Melissa,
    Like Mary Mia, I just discovered your website when I Googled Alexandra Stoddard. I also adore all of Alexandra’s works and I am so excited because I have now discovered your website and posts. Thank you for your inspiring messages and ideas and I look forward to visiting your site often.

  39. Janet

    Although this post is two years old, I had to drop a note here and let you know that I have felt for many years the same sense of joyous discovery in reading Ms. Stoddard’s books and understanding that beauty is in the everyday things and moments. Very nice to know that others have felt the same, and how delightful that you had such a personal communication with her!

  40. Angela

    After I had switched my major to interior design 20 years ago, I too discovered Living a Beautiful Life. It was amazing. I was young enough to still be quite daring and wrote to her. She sent me a wonderful, inspiring postcard too. Thank you for reminding me of this!

  41. Glenda Childers

    Thanks so much, Melissa, for sending me the link to this old post. Now I do remember that I read it ages ago. That is really cool. We never know how our words, actions and believes can help another person.




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