What a Week, Huh?

Lemon, It's Wednesday | Hannah & Husband

You guys, this week is a little crazy. There are Rivermont projects in the works, we are both busy at work, I turn 30 tomorrow (THIRTY!), and last night our fav newslady profiled us. You can watch the clip below. (disclaimer: I’m mainly posting this for my parents who don’t live here in town… Hi, Mom! Hi!!!)

Hello! & salutations to the new readers who I’ve noticed popping up on our Facebook page & instagram. Today, I thought it would be fun to share eight random facts to break the ice.

1. In seventh grade, James was voted best dressed. He was wearing an Elvis costume.

2. When Hannah was 5, she wanted to marry Johnny Carson.

3. When we first started dating, we bonded over old-school jazz like Ella Fitzgerald. (Read about My Love Affair with Ella here.)

4. We love road trips. (Click here to see the pics from our trip to Middleton Place, an old plantation in Charleston, South Carolina.) 

5. We shop vintage. (Click here to learn Husband’s trick for getting the goodwill smell our of thrifted suits. Click here to see what I did with Nana’s button collection.)

6. We drive old cars. (Like this one and this one.)

7. You’ll want this recipe for Woo-Woo’s sugar cookies.

8. And, finally, (because I’ve been asked several times this week) here’s how I do my hair.

So glad to make your acquaintance! We’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.


Detroit airport | Hannah & Husband

The Detroit airport is epic. EPIC. Detroit is actually on my list of places to visit soon. But next time I want to see the city not just the airport.

*/cue Willie Nelson/* “On the road again…” This time, after a quick layover in Detroit that included rad views of planes like the one above, we are in Chicago. I love market season! I’ll be sharing some to the trends we’ve seen a bit later in the week, but today I just thought I’d share some snapshots from the last few days.

in-flight selfie | Hannah & Husband

In flight selfie–I am very easily entertained!

"Look Into My Dreams" by Jaume Plensa | Hannah & Husband

This Jaume Plensa sculpture brings a beautiful presence to Millennium Park. It’s called “Look Into My Dreams, Awilda” and stands 39 feet tall.

The Art Institute of Chicago | Hannah & Husband

I love visiting the Art Institute of Chicago! Their collection is pretty amazing. Favorites include: the Impressionist collection, American folk art, and the sculptures in the Modern Art wing

Hair Goals | Hannah & Husband

Portraits & busts of men from the early 1800s always make me think of Husband. #hairgoals

Sketching in the Plitzker Garden | Hannah & Husband

This time I spent some time doodling in the Pritzker Garden.

in The Art Institute of Chicago | Hannah & Husband


rosé at Roof | Hannah & Husband

I’ve also been indulging in very sparkly cocktail hours. Prosecco at the Palmer House, Rosé at Roof. (*Please note the quote on the menu.)

view from Roof | Hannah & Husband

The views from Roof were pretty unbelievable. If you look closely, you can see “Cloud Gate” and Millennium Park.

I’m off to do some more exploring! It’s going to be a very busy week so stay tuned.

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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

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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The Summer of Yes

For us, this summer has been the season of saying, “Yes!” In the past week we closed on our new house, took a trip to the beach with my in-laws, moved into the new house, and spent an afternoon in Virginia partying with the prettiest bride I ever did see. When asked last week about our crazy schedule, I just had to reply, “Life’s short! Who wants to miss out on anything?” So, if you’ll humor me, I must share a few pictures.

Teal on Closing Day | Hannah & Husband

This is a selfie in our new living room a few hours after closing. We can’t brag enough on our real estate agent, who I’ll talk about more later this week. At closing, she brought us a bottle of champagne with a teal bow to match our new living room.

Teal Mantle | Hannah & Husband

Aqua Hat  | Hannah & Husband

The next day, we drove to the beach, and I bought a new hat. It was at that moment, that I started to sense I may have a teal/aqua addiction. Are there groups for this sort of thing?

Eastern Lake, Santa Rosa, FL  | Hannah & Husband

Seaside Cocktails  | Hannah & Husband

Beach Beard + Turban  | Hannah & Husband

While at the beach, James grew a beach beard and I wore a lot of turbans (please see The Platinum Blonde Commandments for reference). I’m posting this picture to remind you that you’re not the only one who looks a little wacky on vacation.

rainy moving day  | Hannah & Husband

Back in Tennessee on Thursday: moving day. And the rain came. At points, it came down Noah style.

clothing on the moving truck | Hannah & Husband

Wedding Selfie  | Hannah & Husband

Friday, we cleaned up and drove to Virginia for a wedding. I have to tell you, it was the most stylish wedding we’ve ever been to! I sense a summer wedding style post in the near future.

Hannah & Julie  | Hannah & Husband

Here is the beautiful MRS! Julie and I were best friends in elementary school and had summer camps every year til we graduated. It was such a special treat to be able to share her big day!

Jon & James  | Hannah & Husband

Naturally, the MRs needed a picture too!

Unpacking  | Hannah & Husband

And then we came home to unpacking. We are officially moved out of ye olde house on Nobel Street where we spent the last 9 years. But I must tell you, the family that bought it was so wonderful that saying goodbye wasn’t really that hard.

On to the next adventure!

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 Forbes.com. 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.

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?


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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