Life Lately at Rivermont

View from a Rivermont window | Hannah & Husband

We’ve been home for the week between menswear shows, and I thought this would be a good time to just share a few pictures of life lately. That view above is one of my very favorites. It’s looking out a second story window at Rivermont down to the workshop. In the top, you can see the bell that guests and delivery people ring when they arrive. It’s just the best sound!

Zinnias at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

 

On Saturday morning, friends came over to see the new digs and brought this beautiful bouquet of zinnias from the farmers market. Zinnias are some of my favorite flowers–so colorful and cheerful. They always look like they’re having a good time.

(And yes, I am still obsessed with that dining room wallpaper. #glitter)

Blackberry Patch syrup from Thomasville, GA | Hannah & Husband

Peach season is in full swing here in East Tennessee, and we’ve been eating them with about every meal. The other day, I picked up a bottle of this Blackberry Patch syrup at Whole Foods and was delighted to see that it’s made in Thomasville, Georgia. The label cracks me up: “The Southern version of maple syrup.” No surprise then that it went perfectly with my peach pancakes!

Guest Room | Hannah & Husband

We were delighted to have our first house guests this weekend, and I’m happy to say we managed to pull together at least a few rooms to greet them. I have this theory that heirloom quilts and fresh flowers can cover a multitude of sins.

Guest Room & Dexter | Hannah & Husband

Staying up late at night to catch up with friends you don’t see often is just one of the best things in the world. Caryn and I even got to sneak away on Monday afternoon to do a little thrifting. That’s where I scored this old glove mold.

Thrifting Find: Glove Mold | Hannah & Husband

We’ve been eyeing the ones at Fish’s Eddy for a while, but running across this one by chance was even better! It fits perfectly in our living room upstairs where these fab curtains also reside.

Amaryllis at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

An amaryllis also bloomed over the weekend. One of the coolest things about moving to a new place is watching what pops up in the gardens. A friend told me that amaryllis are often called “naked ladies” because they bloom with no leaves. And now, of course, I’m hoping they pop up everywhere just so I can say to my friends, “Come see the naked ladies at Rivermont!”

 

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TGIF!

Hello & Happy Friday! Since I haven’t done a round-up of random links in a few weeks, I thought it was high-time to share all the things I’ve had bookmarked. Here goes…

The Fire Wire on the grill in action. | Hannah & Husband

The other night I took my cooking to a new frontier: The Grill. We’ve had so many amazing goodies in our CSA basket, and there’s something about veggies in the summer that’s just begging for that little accent of charcoal. If you look at the peppers and onions in the picture above, you’ll see that they make a circle. That’s because I used my new favorite kitchen doohickey: the fire wire. It’s a long, flexible kabob skewer, and you can order one here for under $10.

Jon Batiste's Social Music

It is rare that I listen to an album from start to finish, but today I listened to Jon Batiste’s Social Music.

It.

Was.

Phenomenal.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can listen to it here, or the album’s on Spotify. His version of St. James Infirmary is absolutely incredible, which is rare for a song that is covered by everyone in the genre. If you recognize his name but aren’t sure why, he will be the house band for Stephen Colbert’s new Late Show.

Wayne White in The Bitter Southerner

We are big fans of Wayne White (who you may remember from this post). Recently, The Bitter Southerner did an excellent profile on the artist that’s definitely worth a look–even if it’s just to swoon over the photography by Kendrick Brinson and David Banks.

Finally, it’s national tequila day! Here’s a little something to get your celebration off to a good start.

Happy Friday!

Photography Extraordinary and Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Sculpture in Central Park | Lewis Carroll's  Photography Extraordinary on Hannah & Husband

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig! One unplanned detour through Atlanta and we are home–after a wonderful, whirlwind of a trip to The Big Apple. On this trip I tried not to take as many pictures and really just soak everything in. But on Sunday, one of my favorites and I went to see the 150 Years of Wonderland exhibit at the Morgan Library. It was there that I read about Lewis Carroll’s humorous essay “Photography Extraordinary” and, if you’ll excuse the pun, went down a bit of a rabbit hole.

Sketch of the White Rabbit from the Morgan Library's Alice in Wonderland Exhibition | Lewis Carroll's Photography Extraordinary on Hannah & Husband

In 1855, Carroll published an essay anonymously in The Comic Times called “Photography Extraordinary” that spoofed this new invention of photography. (It’s worth noting that Carroll later became an accomplished portrait photographer himself.) You can read the full text here, as part of the Morgan Library’s online exhibition, which is really fantastic in its own right. The premise was that this new machine could capture the idea of a dunce and, through further development, make it sound brilliant. He then suggests that the same mechanism be applied to the speeches of Parliament. Ha!

As I started thinking about this idea of repetition leading to full development, I started seeing it in John Tenniel’s illustrations for Wonderland as well as the work of many other artists. For instance, The White Rabbit, shown above, appeared repeatedly on sketches throughout the collection. Little details like the lines around his eyes or the length of his ears would change but his essence was always there. (For the record, of all the rabbits, the sketch above was decidedly my favorite.)

Alice in Wonderland Sculpture in Central Park | Lewis Carroll's Photography Extraordinary on Hannah & Husband

Much like an artist, the chef works out the flaws of a knife technique as they become more comfortable with the practice. A musician works out the nuance of a piece as they become more in tune with the placement of actions and the rhythm. The truth and meaning come out as the writer employs different ways of stating their opinion. And perhaps your mother was right: Practice does make perfect.

Related Post: How to Work Through an Idea

Hello, NYC!

Friday morning, we flew to NYC for the menswear show. Remember when we came to Mrket in January? This trip has been a lot of fun and oh-so busy! James will be working Mrket for the next few days, and I’ll be visiting it as well as a couple other shows while we’re in the city. I’ll blog a full report but here are a couple of shots I took yesterday before things were up & running.

This trip, I’m trying to pay more attention to the details. One way I’m doing that is: less pictures, more doodles. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory since I read this article in the NY Times about some performance art Oliver Jeffers has been doing. 

What we see as individuals is so interesting because it’s often different from what others see. What our brains remember is a totally different story that’s even more exclusive. Fascinating, right?

 But there’s one place k haven’t been able to resist the urge to take more than a few photos. We’ve gotten to take a couple of boat rides, including one that went all the way around Manhattan and right by Lady Liberty. Thus, the rad views in the photos below…

 

As i said on Instagram, we did pose for some photos, but somehow this felt more realistic ;)

 

   
 I love this city!

Rivermont When We Bought Her

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandToday, we want to share some pictures with you of Rivermont when we bought her. The first time we walked through, I believe the only thing I photographed was a doorknob (seen here). We were both so overwhelmed by the house. She has quite the presence, and this is only a smattering of rooms. In fact, my favorite rooms aren’t included. We’ll look at those at another time!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

We are pretty in love with the green, which is good… because it’s everywhere!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

2 words: China Closet. I will post a detail of this wallpaper on instagram, but it is amazing! It’s yellow with gold (dare I say glitter?) and practically perfect in every way.

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

The kitchen needs some love, and I don’t really want to talk about the brown sinks. (Was that really a thing in the 80s?) As I’ve mentioned, the only room I miss from our Nobel Street home is the kitchen. But I made Husband take a picture of me hugging our old fridge before we moved out–so there’s that.

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandRivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & HusbandRivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

These are not my favorite bedrooms, but you can see the wood floors and the beautiful built-ins. So. Many. Built-ins!

Rivermont When We Bought It | Hannah & Husband

Worth noting: There’s a bell in the top of that building on the right that guests ring when they arrive. It’s one of my new favorite things!

Isn’t she grand? I can’t wait to share the history and some of the stories we’ve learned. More to come soon!

Pruning Roses

First a little disclaimer: This is a life lesson post not a gardening post. In fact, I really know nothing about raising roses, but there happens to be a rose bush right outside our backdoor with the prettiest pale pink blooms!

Pruning Roses: a life post not a gardening lesson | Hannah & Husband

My father-in-law and I were walking around the yard the other day, and he was identifying a few of our plants for me. When we stopped by the rose bush, he pointed out that some of the branches had dead ends. “Trim these off,” he said. Apparently the plant will just waste energy trying to get rid of the dead itself instead of concentrating that energy on growing. But the gardener can help the plant refocus its energy and get the air and room it needs to grow stronger simply by trimming it up.

Pruning Roses: a life post not a gardening lesson | Hannah & Husband

So while sipping coffee on Saturday, I took a sharp pair of garden scissors out and trimmed our roses. And as I was doing so, I started thinking about what a great metaphor this was.

Pruning Roses: a life post not a gardening lesson | Hannah & Husband

The need to drop dead weight is seen everywhere in nature. In fact, as we grow our brains actually do something similar. Synaptic pruning is a process that happens during childhood in which our brains drop superfluous cell connections while the important connections become a lot stronger.

So here’s the question: does your life need a little pruning? Are you wasting too much energy dealing with dead weight? We make so many choices every day about where to set our focus and what will occupy our brain space—whether it’s deciding how to spend our free time or worrying about something we cannot change. But are we picking the things that will give us what we need to grow stronger?

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Wimbledon Whites

As Wimbledon heats up across the pond, Mornings with Fox 43 invited me on this morning to talk about rocking the strictly white look. The idea of “Wimbledon Whites” stems from the club’s strict rules that players wear predominantly bright white on the court–no cream, no off white, and not more than 1 centimeter of trim in a single accent color. (Click here to read more about the fuss that Roger Federer’s red soles made a couple years ago. Scandolous!)

So watch below for a few of my ideas for both men & women on how to own this sporty style.

Finding a Realtor

Finding a Realtor | Hannah & Husband

What? You didn’t make your realtor take a selfie with you at closing?

I’ve never had to date as an adult, but I’m pretty convinced that finding a realtor was a similar experience. Think about it.

There are two ways to meet your realtor. One is through the introduction of a trusted friend. The second is by noticing that you frequent all the same places. (i.e. You see a lot of their signs in your favorite neighborhood.)

Next, you vet them online. Who are they friends with? What have people said about them?

Finally, you start analyzing the details and looking for common interests. Do they specialize in a certain style of house? Have they sold several houses in the same neighborhood you want to be in? Are the pictures they’ve taken up to your standards?

When people found out we were looking for an old house, they’d say, “Oh, you must meet Jessica! That’s what she does. You’ll love her!” And they were right. We’d already picked the house we wanted, but we called Jessica because of her expertise. For instance, because she deals with old houses regularly, she hired an inspector who lived in an old house himself and would know what to look for.

Also, as a side note, her website was beautiful. I know I’m a bit partial because of what I do, but the real estate agents I’ve enjoyed working with in the past have easy to navigate, beautiful sites. They know I’m going to be searching listings at midnight in my pjs, and they’ve chosen to make the experience a good one. Plus, if they’ve taken the time to take good photos of the houses they’re listing, it says that they care that much more.

But, be prepared. Once we found the one, the dating feeling only got stronger.

4 Ways It Will Feel Like You’re Dating Your Realtor:

1. You have to find someone that “gets” your vibe.

2. You spend a lot of time talking about your ideas for the future.

3. You sometimes avoid text messages you don’t know how to answer.

4. You can spend an entire weekend with them and still not get lucky!

So hopefully this has given you some points to ponder if you’re searching yourself. The important thing is to find someone that you relate to and trust… because it’s gonna get personal.

How to Care for Butcher Block Countertops

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

Today we’re going to talk about how to care for butcher block countertops. The main reason for this is because I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to care for butcher block countertops. But the real reason is that we’ve been in the new digs for about a week, and I really miss my kitchen. Like OMG with Barbra Streisand singing “The Way We Were” miss my kitchen, you guys.

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

There are two parts to caring for butcher block countertops: conditioning the wood and cleaning the wood.

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

To Condition:

You’ll need to season the countertops when you first get them–much like you would an iron skillet. This means sealing them with several coats of oil until they are well-conditioned. When the wood is raw it is super thirsty and will soak up several (I believe ours took about five) coats of oil. However, when the wood is conditioned it looks rich and beautiful and drops of water should bead up on the surface.

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

Once your counters are seasoned initially, you’ll only need to oil about once every two to three weeks. We alternate between the mineral oil and the oil with beeswax. The beeswax just adds an extra layer of protection. Our brand of choice is Howard but just be sure that whatever oil you choose is food safe.

Generously apply the oil at night, wiping in one direction with an old, clean tshirt. Tshirts work best because they don’t leave any fuzz behind like you’d get with a rag or paper towel. Then, wipe off any excess that’s left in the morning. That’s it!

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

To Clean:

Wood has natural antimicrobial properties so most of the time, I just wipe the counter down with a damp cloth. When you really want to sterilize, I suggest filling a spray bottle with a mixture of 1 part water, 1 part distilled white vinegar, & a few drops tea tree oil. Vinegar is a cleaning agent (& the smell dissipates quickly so no worries!) and the tea tree oil is antibacterial.

How to Care for Butcher Block | Hannah & Husband

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? Over time, the wood counters will get a couple stains or dings. That’s just the nature of wood. The main thing to remember is that you never want to leave a cold beverage on your butcher block. It will leave behind a ring just like it would on any other piece of wood. But I have to tell you that I loved how much the wood warmed up the kitchen. (Click here to see the before and after pics!) And yes, I have already started doodling plans for the new kitchen! More on that to come.

Poetry Reading List


Isn’t that quote just perfect? It is from the poem “Evangeline,” and was written on the chalkboard at the entrance to one of my favorite bookstores: Sundog Books. Wooden floors, tall shelves, and tables stacked high with books make it the perfect early morning stop in Seaside. Plus, there are giant mimosas next door to sip once you’ve found the book you’d like to spend the afternoon with. So today, inspired by Sundog, I’m sharing my poetry reading list.

“Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’m familiar with this title because my favorite aunt’s name was Evangeline, and she had a beautiful antique copy of this epic poem. But I confess, I never read it. So after the chalkboard’s gentle reminder, this one has gone to the top of the list! The plot follows Evangeline in her search for her long-lost love, Gabriel.

“Telling the Bees” by Faith Shearin

Garrison Keillor has read several selections from this poetry collection recently on the Writer’s Almanac, and I have loved the subjects Shearin chooses to write about. There’s something about the sense of place she describes in her poems that I find incredibly comfortable. My favorite was “My Grandparents Generation”…

I am going to miss their attics, 
their ordinary coffee, their chicken
fried in lard.

“O, What a Luxury” by Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor’s poetry, much like his radio show A Prairie Home Companion, is just fun. There’s a chapter in this book titled “Was Ethel Merman a Mormon?” because sometimes alliteration is awesome. Among odes to Minnesota and the Lutheran Church, he even writes his own “Thong Song.” It’s definitely worth a read!

So tell me: Do you read poetry? If so, what else should be on my list this summer?