The Platinum Blonde Commandments

Jayne Mansfield, The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

Before we get to The Platinum Blonde Commandments, here’s a joke that my mom used to tell when I was little…

She’d ask my dad, “Honey, will you love me when I’m old & grey?”

To which he’d reply, “Beth, I’ve loved you through 12 colors already.”

By the time I reached my mid-20s I’d been a number of colors myself. There was the sun-in phase at 15 and the stoplight red phase at 22. The latter was quickly followed by that time that I tried to go blonde from auburn and ended up looking like Lucille Ball. (Pro Tip: Going from fake red hair to fake blonde hair is lunacy.)

I Love Lucy, crying | The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

But the week before my 28th birthday, I decided to try blonde. Platinum blonde to be exact. I decided that one should probably make any really crazy hair decisions before 30 and 28 was nearly 30 so if I completely botched the whole thing, then I could go pink and probably not be judged too harshly for it. (And yes, as I near 30, I’m recognizing the flaw in this theory.) So my lovely stylist friend and I set out on our mission. She lifted the color twice over the course of a few weeks, and there I was.

Dolly Parton, The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

I now truly can’t imagine myself going back, but it was considered several months ago. While I’d cut back on shampooing, I hadn’t really changed my hair routine, which was inadvertently causing a lot of damage. Luckily, around that time, I learned some tricks to keep my platinum ‘do in tip-top shape. So today, I present to you…

The Platinum Blonde Commandments

1. Thou Shalt Not Over Wash.

Lifting my hair to this extent really dried it out so I wash my hair every five to seven days. I’ve learned to embrace the messy with funky updos and boho style braids because letting my natural oils do their thing seems to be best.

Condition, The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

2. Thou Shalt Deep Condition.

This is THE BIG ONE. This is the one I didn’t know to do in the beginning. I have used a leave-in conditioner or oil from day one but deep conditioning treatments are what really bring my hair back to it’s natural texture and shine.

Color Theory, The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

3. Thou Shalt Practice Color Theory.

The question I get the most often is about the shade of my hair. I’m happiest when the blonde is white and violet so I was thrilled to learn this trick. The nature of fake blonde hair is to get brassy, orange & yellow tones. My friend Lynsey informed me that stylists use the color wheel all the time. To balance the brass, just use a purple shampoo!

Green Acres' Ralph & Lisa, The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

4. Thou Shalt Protect Thy Locks.

Here are a few things to remember:

Use a heat protectant every time you style. No exceptions! This means putting a spritz on before blow-drying, straightening, curling, or rolling.

If you’re going out for a day in the water, cover your hair with leave-in conditioner first. This acts as a little shield for your hair. Then, rinse thoroughly as soon as you get out of salt water or chlorine.

Finally, take extra precautions to protect your hair from the sun. I wear a lot of scarves and wide-brimmed hats in the summertime… and that’s not just because I’m Southern!

Brigitte Bardot,  The Blonde Commandments, Hannah & Husband

The Boxes Are Winning

The Boxes Are Winning | Hannah & Husband

There is a scene in the 3rd season of West Wing where Donna is looking through boxes and talking a little crazy. I have assumed throughout the process that eventually this day would come and this weekend–packing, thinking about our crazy schedule over the next two months–I got very close to this point. The boxes are winning. They are taking over every inch of our house.

We’ve been able to take our time packing (quite the luxury), and WE CLOSE ON FRIDAY! So it’s probably time to get this blog back on schedule, right? I’m currently working on a couple posts about finding a house and a realtor as well as some non-move-related summery things. But right now, I’m going to go back to the Beach Boys and my day job. Talk soon!


The 10 Stages of Moving to a New Place

Moving is a cold, cruel lover. I know more about contracts now. I have a better grasp on the power of social media than ever before. And, most surprising to me, I can tell you exactly how a septic system works. (*Knowledge is power, y’all!) So for those of you that have never experienced this little tango for yourselves, today I present to you: The 10 Stages of a Moving to a New Place.

You find the perfect house.


You make the decision to rent/buy/lease the perfect space.


You put in an offer.



You play it super cool.


You wait.


And you wait.

Stages of Moving | Hannah & Husband

There are negotiations.

Your offer is accepted.


You start packing.


You move.

The 10 Stages of Moving | Hannah & Husband

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Marriage Advice Courtesy of Binge-Watching Ina Garten

Today I was reading this post (which is great btw: “Ina Garten On How to Run a Business and Do What You Love”) on This inevitably led to a YouTube search that ended with [Ina on] CBS Sunday Morning as YouTube searches often do. I think it must have been because it is Friday, the day that ushers in the weekend, but this time I noticed something new. So here is my “Marriage Advice Courtesy of Binge-Watching Ina Garten.”

You know how Ina is often waiting for Jeffrey to arrive at the end of her shows? “Roast chicken… Rosemary… When Jeffrey gets home… I hope Jeffrey likes it… Pours white wine… Jeffrey!” He’s practically become a character himself.

Did you know they met when she was a teenager? She quotes him with a smile and a laugh anytime she’s interviewed, which today made me think…

Marry someone you can’t wait to come home to.

Marriage Advice Courtesy of Binge-Watching Ina Garten | Hannah & Husband


Also, it doesn’t hurt if they do dishes.

Big Announcement… Big. Huge.

Big Announcement today. If you’ve noticed that things have been a little quiet here on the home front for the last week, you would be right. But there’s a really good explanation. At the moment, we are a teensy bit buried in boxes because WE’RE MOVING!

I’ve been trying to write this post for two days. Despite the fact that we’ve been in the middle of this process since late March and are currently buried under mountains of boxes, it still doesn’t quite feel real.

Dexter and the boxes | Hannah & Husband

Last year, we’d planned to move to New York City for both of our careers, but in late November James was offered a position here in Tennessee that was just too perfect to pass on. So we made the decision to stay in town and hopefully find a new project house. We looked around for about a month in an area we really dug, but just couldn’t find anything that screamed us. Then, late one Saturday night we ran across THE listing. Within the week we’d seen the house and put ours on the market. BTW, the power of social media still blows my mind.

House for Sale | Hannah & Husband

On Sunday, we had four showings and on Monday, it was sold! We will close and move in the next two weeks so posts, and we are so excited.

Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

Our “new” home, built in 1904

Needless to say, we will be sharing a lot about this move on the blog. The house has a rich history and will provide us with (seemingly endless) projects. We’ve learned so much during this process that we want to share with you!

That said, I’m currently working on a new series about buying and selling our home so I’d love to hear if you have any questions!

Are you considering buying your own house?
Is there a part of the process that really freaks you out?

Click this link to send us a message, comment below, or tweet us: @jamesaslaughter & @hb_belle.

Paper is Cool and Other Things That Don’t Sound Like News

Last week, several things popped up on my radar that I couldn’t help but comment on. A couple were from a different but equally reputable news sources (NPR and the New York Times) while others were bloggers or instagram superstars speaking about the power of notebooks, paperbacks, and pencils. Yet they all were talking about some version of the same idea: Paper is a novelty that people can’t believe is still a thing. So today, I just wanted to record a few things that came to mind when I realized people were using the internet to say, “Paper is cool.”

Paper is Cool | Hannah & Husband

Thought #1:

I have a friend who is collecting special edition notebooks–more specifically Aaron Draplin’s Field Notes. When I heard Draplin speak a couple of years ago, I got really excited about these notebooks because he put a lot of thought into them. They were modeled after the notebooks that farmers would keep in the pocket of their overalls in the early 20th century and the kind that we found stacks of when my grandparents died. They were simple to make and meant to be used. And yet, my friend is hesitant to use them.

We live in the age of the internet where people put up numerous Facebook posts and instagram posts a day. (Did you see the #donutday #selfie?) But the written word is still sacred. There is both a tangibility and a permanence to that moment that you are writing. It begs the question:

What would be worthy of record?

Thought #2:

I read recently that students who write in notebooks retain more information because they must hear and then process the information before actually writing it down. Think about it, writing is a physical act. You must think about what you’re writing next and you don’t want to mess it up because the paper has no CTRL+Z action. Another quote I found last week:

Paper is Cool | Hannah & Husband

And yes, that’s an unintentional typo because I wrote in pen… LIKE A BOSS.

Thought #3:

Does the act of writing make you feel more open to new ideas? I recently posted an article I found called “How Nostalgia Fuels Creativity” that said we often open ourselves up to new ideas when we feel nostalgic. I like to think it’s sort of like Linus with his blue blanket–feeling nostalgic comforts us enough to feel empowered.

Because a majority of us now spend more time in front of a screen than ever, is the act of writing considered nostalgic? Does it open us up to new ideas? I’ve recently read about people who keep journals–writer David Sedaris for instance–and how the of recording helps them work through situations. And, to be honest, I definitely find this to be the case with my own work.

I’ve carried a notebook with me everywhere from a very young age. (And yes, my favorite book was Harriet the Spy.) Whether it’s a website or a blog post, most everything starts with a doodle or a series of quickly scribbled notes. So I suppose the point of this entire post may just be to tell you that I’m cool. I’m trendy. And gosh-darn-it, the writers & notebook carriers of the world are poised for a takeover. Who’s with me?

What is a CSA?

This time of year, we get asked the same question a lot: “What is a CSA?” So today, I made a little video to tell you all about it.

Just a little more info:

If you are in East Tennessee and are interested in a CSA, Mountain Meadows still has a few slots left for their Summer CSA. You can pay online, and there are a slew of pick-up locations.

The website I mentioned to find a CSA or farmers market near you is

What’s your favorite way to #eatlocal?
Tell us in the comments below.


Reclaimed Book

Last week, in Video 002, I shared a peek at this reclaimed book I’ve been working on. Today I thought I’d give you a closer look.  It’s a library book that was withdrawn after years of wear & tear and left in the free bin at a local book store.

I started on the page with the Random House logo, and ideas proceeded from there. If you look closely at the dedication page, it reads:

Dedicated to the memory of my dear home life.

Happy coincidence, no? Now with the help of pens, paste, and colored pencils, it’s slowly becoming a book about our home, our favorite objects and activities.

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband

Reclaimed Book Project: Home | Hannah & Husband


Weekending, petunias, and Dexter. | Hannah & Husband

Hello & Happy Friday! Below are some very unrelated TGIF! links that I bookmarked over the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

If you have kids or live in a world around them, you must read this essay our friend Yale wrote for Harry’s Five O’Clock about raising two daughters. The premise is summed up well in this line:

It is my responsibility to display that substance in such a way that my daughter (and her sister, when the time comes, and I hope to God it’s not soon) sees it as the sine qua non of what constitutes a “stand-up man.” 

The Jealous Curator has become one of my happy places on the internet. Danielle Krysa has a beautiful aesthetic and shares the art she’s admiring each day. She recently gave a fantastic Creative Mornings talk on “Humility” that anyone in a creative field might find inspiring.

Art for Your Ear with Martha Rich

However, the real link is to this podcast she’s started. It’s called “Art for Your Ear,” and while her original plan was to be a bi-weekly show, she’s decided to post a new podcast each Saturday. Click here to read about her first episode with artist Martha Rich and click here to subscribe to the show.

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

Fast Co. Design posted an article this week called “How Nostalgia Fuels Creativity” that I found pretty fascinating. The idea is that nostalgia makes us feel more open and, as a result, it’s easier for us to be creative. In a way, I think the research is saying that nostalgia can create a safe place to allow our minds to work. Definitely worth a read. I’d love to know what you think of the premise.

seth-godinI get Seth Godin’s email delivered to my inbox every day. This one titled “Is it meeting your needs…” really resonated recently–as in, I copied it into a notebook to weigh things against in the future.

Finally, I’m just really excited for this…

#TBT High School Graduation

#tbt High School Graduation | Hannah & Husband

Yep, that’s us! 11 years ago and a year into our relationship. How crazy is that?

As high school graduation time rolls around and all the related activities that go with it, I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve learned since high school.

I was telling someone just the other day that this ten year span has been weird because it went a little something like this:

2004: Hannah graduates from high school and can’t believe how many classes there are to choose from in the freshman catalog. She’s going to learn everything! 

2005: 3 semesters and 14 majors later, Hannah settles on graphic design. She has found her true calling, and she will be an artist! 

2009: Hannah graduates from college. She is completely convinced that she does, in fact, know everything.

Fall, 2009: Hannah starts making her way in the real world; finds she was sorely mistaken. 

Which really brings us to present day, 2015: Below are a few things I’ve named when talking to young ladies and gents about their next steps. It borders on slightly sentimental & gets terrifyingly close to that “Dance like nobody’s watching” malarkey. Please let this slide for posterity’s sake.

Make the effort to be an active learner. This expands your worldview, but also really helps the way you approach encounters with others. Every person and situation can teach you something, but it helps to be actively looking for these moments.

Listen with discernment. Lots of people will tell you lots of things. It’s your job to discern what you actually take to heart. Kick the rest to the curb!

Be willing to say when you don’t know. With knowledge comes the discernment to know your limitations. This doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. It just means you’re being honest with yourself and respectful of the people asking something of you.

Be confident when do know. Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook:

Ladies (& ‪#‎notetoself‬): Stop preceding statements with “I feel like…” Just say your opinion with confidence and trust your own know-how. Then, stop talking.

It’s not that I think this is a exclusively female issue, but I do believe it’s a predominantly female issue. Why are we raising girls to feel the need to qualify every statement they make?! Be confident in your own abilities! Be proud of your gifts and recognize your achievements.

The people in my life that I believe are #killingitasagrownup (my lady Lish’s phraseology) make time for killer hobbies. Challenge yourself to try new things, stretch your brain, and blow off steam.

What’s one thing you wish you’d been told at 18?


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