99% Surprised

I have been attempting to write since New Year’s, but it is surprisingly hard to be creative when there’s an alien creature inside you eating your brain. However, now that the two of us (2.5 of us?) are a little more used to what’s happening and my energy is coming back, I think I’m ready to dive in. 

Let’s all take a moment for the soap box; shall we? Now just picture me falling face first off of it singing Christmas carols because that’s basically what happened.

On Christmas Eve I had the bi-annual conversation with my mother that we’ve been having for years now.

Her: I know you’ve chosen not to have children…

Me: Just because we’ve made the decision to put my career before kids does not mean we will never have children. It means that women in this century don’t have to get pregnant as soon as they get married… … Women’s lib… Feminism… etc. etc. 

In fact, I was writing a post about this very conversation the day I found out we were pregnant. I was going to title it “Lessons & Carols,” and it went something like this:

Beginning your annual rendition of “Santa Baby” with a treatise on not needing a man to come down your chimney when you can buy your own presents is not as endearing at your family celebration as you may think.

Singing about ‘decking your halls’ with birth control will not make your mother feel better about the fact that you’re 30, and she still doesn’t have grandchildren.

I’d also made a note about “The Little Drummer Boy” song, but we can save that for the actual holiday season. So that’s where we were when we were surprised shocked baffled by this news. In fact, we were 99% surprised. And, as a little PSA for all of you sweet readers, I thought I’d post a chart from our doctor’s office.

Birth Control Effectiveness Chart

It is true to say that no one in our household was willing to make the lifestyle change to 100% prevent children, but had we seen this chart sooner, we probably would have picked a method with more than 1 FREAKING STAR.

So I suppose I’m writing this post to tell you this: People don’t always talk about the feelings you have when you’re surprised by a pregnancy. We’ve been watching our friends try to get pregnant, struggle with miscarriages and infertility, go through the laborious process of adoption–these people have such a beautiful desire to love children of their own. We just didn’t feel that desire quite yet.

So when we found out about this “joyous news,” we were so stunned that we went underground. For the first week, I couldn’t decide if my nausea was baby-related or caused by the fact that I’d be a mother before 35. 

This kid is coming into the world with an extreme desire to be the center of attention. And I’m happy to report that we are both finally more excited than shocked.

99% Surprised | Hannah & Husband

After all, a dose of crazy is the way some of the best things in our lives have started. 

Fear not—Hannah & Husband will not become (God forbid) a “mommy blog.” But, like today, I will be noting some baby-related things that happen every once in a while for posterity’s sake. Tomorrow, I’ll even things out; I promise. 

Monday, Monday…

Monday, Monday. 
Can’t trust that day…

But no, seriously. This morning started out with coffee, makeup, and a little on-camera chat with Abby Ham. It quickly turned into the dog having a little party in our absence, and me writing this email to my coworkers: “Dexter made some bad decisions this morning. I’ll be in ASAP.”

Dexter | Hannah & Husband

Dog ownership is not for the faint of heart, people. You’d never know as he sits there so stoically that he had been a little tasmanian devil just moments before. I’m bringing realism today, folks!

Now onto the fun stuff…

I instagrammed this pic last night so I thought I’d better share a link to Alton Brown’s hot cocoa mix. It is delicious, and we always have some on hand.


This weekend, Husband did a ton of work outside including building us a little wood shed! Isn’t it cute? He is going to add shingles to the roof, and we’ll paint it white to match the house come Spring.

Husband built a wood shed | Hannah & Husband

I’ll show you a pic of my own weekend project later. It’s getting there.

Finally: This morning we talked Christie Brinkley, Aziz Ansari, and Luke Skywalker on Mornings with Fox 43. Watch the segment below!

Rivermont Lately

Rivermont Lately | Hannah & Husband

This is one of those “life lately” posts that doesn’t really have any particular point. There are a few happy things I’ve wanted to share that don’t fit in any particular box so I’m dumping them here. For instance, I snapped this pic of Rivermont on Friday night from the mailbox. I just couldn’t get over the colors. The leaves are almost completely gone, but while they’re here, I’m taking as many pics as I can!

Rivermont Lately | Hannah & Husband

Dexter love *love* loves the fireplace. He will lay there for hours alternately staring at the flames and warming his back. I have said since we got married that our next house would have a fireplace, and nightly fires are every bit as fulfilling as I hoped they would be.

Rivermont Lately | Hannah & Husband

On that same topic, I bought a decorative jar the other day just to replace the plastic bag so I could store my marshmallows by the fireplace like a lady. How’s that for adulting?

tie display, Rivermont Lately | Hannah & Husband

Finally, a little peek at the bedroom paint job. Truth be told, I am still searching for the perfect bedding, curtains, etc. But, in the meantime, we really dig the color. Also, men take note: Ties look like art if you display them right!

That’s all from Rivermont for now, but more soon! In the meantime, thank you so much for your sweet, encouraging comments on social. I love how the internet connects people. And I’m happy to have my own little corner of the interspace to call my own.

Related Reading: Opposites Attract

Weekend Foraging at Rivermont

Fall in East Tennessee at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

If you follow on Instagram, you know that Fall is in full swing in East Tennessee!  Can you get over those colors? This weekend was good for my soul. We made some progress here on the home front, I did a little foraging, and I made meatballs.

Meatballs | Hannah & Husband

I know under normal circumstances meatballs aren’t really that big of a deal. But for our poor Rivermont kitchen, which seems to pride itself on always looking like a disastrous “Before” picture, that evening of smelling delicious was homey bliss. So let’s just celebrate them for a second, ok?

*/blissful thoughts about meatballs… Dean Martin singing in the background…/* 

Thank you. Maybe the best thing that’s happened in the last week was getting the chimneys inspected and repaired. A fireplace was high on my list of requirements for our next space so I was ridiculously excited about this. So excited, in fact, that we’ve been going through firewood like it’s our job.

Fire + Fall Mantle | Hannah & Husband

Kindly ignore the oddly-sized mantle decor and the wood box in the left of that picture; I couldn’t resist the snapshot. When your house is one big work-in-progress, you’ve got to just roll with it.

Nandina Berries & a white pumpkin atop our mantle | Hannah & Husband

On Saturday, I did a little foraging in the backyard. That’s where I clipped these beautiful berries from the nandina bushes. I’m pretty in love with their color, which is a very orangey red that’s perfect for autumn decor. I also went on a little treasure hunt for these beauties.


Pecan | Hannah & Husband

Guess who learned to shell pecans this weekend? I even have the little cuts on my thumb to prove it! And you see that guy below? That’s a brownie I baked with pecans FROM OUR BACKYARD! Foraging with delicious results is the best kind. I just can’t get over it. (Click here to get the recipe for Woo-Woo’s Quick-as-a-Wink Brownies.)

Woo-Woo's Quick-as-a-Wink Brownies with  Pecans | Hannah & Husband

So Happy November from Rivermont! I hope your weekend was absolutely lovely.

Happy November | Hannah & Husband

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning

True Story: I started writing this post on my lunch break and got completely sidetracked looking at pictures of skinny Elvis. So you can expect that next week…

I have always believed the old adage that if God had intended for me to see the sunrise, he’d have put it at 10 o’clock. I have never ever been a morning person and, like most things in life, I blame my mother. We both have this gene that keeps us awake until all hours of the night, but in bed until the last possible second.

In high school, the only in-school suspension I ever got was for too many tardies. I was the Lorelai Gilmore of Alcoa High waltzing in at 8:05, eyes bleary, and coffee in hand. And while I appreciate their smiling faces and whistling, you’ll forgive me if I consider morning people…

But last week I recently stumbled across a few things that made me think, like most things in life, Marilyn had the answer. So let’s all put on our WWMD bracelets (which are obviously covered in pink diamonds), and learn 4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning.

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning | Hannah & Husband

1. Wake up slowly.

In a 1952 issue of Pageant magazine, Marilyn said…

“By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness.”

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning | Hannah & Husband

How fabulous is that? “…luxuriate in every last moment of drowsiness.” (Click here to read the full article on Into the Gloss.)

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning | Hannah & Husband

2. Be a little [over] easy.

Ok, Marilyn didn’t say this. She actually preferred to whisk 2 raw eggs into a glass of warm milk. But in the interest of a totally applicable pun, there’s nothing like a good lay to get he body moving, right?

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning | Hannah & Husband

3. Don your morning dress.

If you need a little extra help in the morning, make your morning dress something you love to wear–whether that’s a bathrobe or your favorite fur. Putting on something you love to wear will lessen the SSA (sheet separation anxiety).

4 Ways to Marilyn Your Morning | Hannah & Husband

4. Pour a cup of morning Joe. 

There’s nothing quite like relaxing with that first cup of Joe. (Get it? cuz it’s Joe DiMaggio in the picture. Ok, I’ll stop now. Really.)

In truth, I have no idea if any of these will work. But, if nothing else, we’ll all look fabulous trying!

Hello, Autumn!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Hello, Autumn–you taunting vixen you! It’s been so dry here that leaves were falling from the trees without changing colors, and I was beginning to wonder if Fall, my very favorite season, was just going to let us down completely.

Then yesterday, it happened! After a couple good rains, I caught a few glimpses of color in the trees on my drive home. Sure enough, I stepped out of my car and felt that familiar *crunch* under my feet. It is Autumn after all!

I always wonder if Fall energizes everyone the way it does me. Fall makes me excited, inquisitive, and restless all at the same time. Do you think the school year begins in September because Fall is the time that children get the most curious and mischievous? Or is it the other way around?

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & HusbandWhen I was in college, early morning walks to class in the Fall were so invigorating. I’d put Outkast on my iPod (remember the year of Hey Ya?) and clutch my coffee for dear life. It wasn’t quite cold enough in the afternoons to warrant tights with my skirts so there was a cold, damp chill on my legs might as well have been caffeine.

Art history classes, design classes, drawing classes, and printmaking followed by time at the library leafing through art books that were too heavy to carry home. In the afternoon, I’d grab a caramel apple cider and spend hours with my sketchbook. So many ideas!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking to a group of students in the graphic design program at UT. I’m so excited to spend another early Autumn morning on campus.

Usually around this time of year, I’m setting goals for things I want to accomplish over the next year. (You can see a past list here.) For this season, I think my only goal may be to spend more time reading art history books, asking questions with no answers, and doodling in my sketchbook. Just making room for new ideas.


Opposites Attract

I am a big believer in the theory of “opposites attract.” For instance, he has dark brown hair, while I have dark brown hair that has been dyed beyond all recognition of any color found in nature. (We won’t even talk about the perfect curls.)

He likes vanilla bean ice cream. I like strawberry ice cream with crushed up Oreos (but only if they’re real Oreos—no off brands for this girl) served in a waffle cone please and thank you.

He says tomato. I say tomato. Etc. Etc.

He is great at executing projects while I sometimes (read: all the times) get caught up in the details. Like this 8″ tall, 3″ wide piece of wall the other day.

Opposites Attract | Hannah & Husband

Hannah stop pulling on things. This is a painting project not a time capsule.

Yes, dear.

Be thankful for the differences. If it weren’t for those, you may never get anything done.

In related news, we’re painting our bedroom. Can’t wait to share it!


Last night, I got home around twilight. I pulled a can of champagne from the fridge (Yes, that’s just as ridiculous as it sounds. See comments below.), and proceeded to take a little walk around the yard.

The angel trumpets have exploded and there are several new flowers that I need to look up. There’s a path I’m hoping to line with bricks this weekend. Then, when I walked into our side yard, I looked up and saw the waxing crescent moon perfectly framed between the silhouettes of the trees.

Twilight at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

Quiet walks outside can offer the most brilliant moments of peace, don’t you think?

Katharine Hepburn at 30

On the occasion of my thirtieth, I found myself going down one of the many rabbit holes of the interwebs. I began googling all my favorite stars to see what they were up to at 30. Katharine Hepburn at 30, Myrna Loy at 30, Oprah Winfrey at 30, etc.

If you choose to do this yourself, it would be my suggestion that you just go ahead and skip Beyonce and Grace Kelly. Trust me. You say you’ll do it anyway? Fine: Bey (2011) was the highest-paid performer per minute in the world her 30th year. Grace Kelly (1959) had already completed her acting career and moved on to the title of princess. It’s alright, they’re not the star of this post anyway. Let’s move on.

When Myrna Loy turned 30 (1935), she’d just started playing Nora Charles–the seemingly definitive role of her career. (Click here for the Thin Man cocktail guide.)

Mary Richards was moving into her Minneapolis apartment. (Click her for the style file.)

Oprah (*/cue angels singing/*) relocated to Chicago to host a half-hour morning talk show. The first episode aired 27 days before her 30th birthday (1984). (Click here to read my open letter to Oprah’s hair.) 

And Martha Stewart? (All hail Martha. Martha!) In 1971, homegirl hadn’t even started her catering company yet.

Katherine Hepburn at 30 | Hannah & Husband

So why is this post titled “Katharine Hepburn at 30”? Well, Hepburn had just starred in two of my favorite films of all time–Bringing Up Baby and Holiday–both with Cary Grant, both playing strong female leads. In fact, Bringing Up Baby is now considered a definitive movie of the “screwball comedy” genre. But it was after these two movies and around her 30th, that Ms. Hepburn was labeled “box office poison” in Hollywood.

Box Office Poison?!?

A little harsh, don’t you think? Haters gonna hate.

So what was a girl to do? Well, Katharine Hepburn bought out her contract with RKO. She turned to the stage to play Ms. Tracy Lord in “The Philadelphia Story”–a role written specifically for her by Philip Barry. The role was so perfect for her that before the play hit the stage, she acquired the rights to the film. (Her friend Howard Hughes is said to have bought them for her as a gift.) Then, she sold them to MGM on the condition that she would star. Which she did alongside who else? Cary Grant, of course! It got her praise, accolades, another Oscar nomination, and Spencer Tracy–well lots of movies with Spencer Tracy and then, eventually, Spencer Tracy.

Katherine Hepburn at 30 | Hannah & Husband

“It’s life isn’t it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.”

-Katharine Hepburn

And, just because I think it’s a cool, Grace Kelly played Tracy Lord sixteen years later in the musical version, High Society. It was her last film role. (Click here for the style file.) 

This Is 30

This is 30 | Hannah & Husband

The reaction has been funny (or maybe sad) and always the same. “Thirty, huh? How do you feel about that?”

So to answer the question once and for all: Today I am 30, and I am freaking stoked about it!!! 

I’m not kidding. Today I was grinding my coffee while dancing and, as the beans kept flying out the top of the grinder, I was all like, “La la la, I’m 30!” 

I sang and danced all the way to work this morning. (Seriously guys, this album.) 

Life is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but I’ve never been one of those “oh, to be 22 again” sorta gals. I have better stories now. I have a better marriage. I have more challenging conversations. I have better friends. And I have more fun! 

Over the past couple of years I’ve been reminded that life can end at any moment. Let’s love people and party on the regular—preferably with sparkly drinks and fine china.