In Which I Fall in Love with Grey Gardens and Go Down the Rabbit Hole

I did a lot of things in art school. I stood out in the middle of Circle Park pretending to be the tree so that I could draw the tree. I learned how to weld. I figured out a way to turn every project in drawing class into a cloaked feminist message just in time for critiques. But I never managed to do one very important thing: Watch Grey Gardens. You know the seminal 1975 documentary made by the Maysle brothers? Yep, I never watched it.

Little Edie with Grey Gardens poster | Hannah & Husband

I don’t really know why except that, with marriage and a career, my college experience was a bit busier than that of some of my peers. Then again, it may just have been that the Edies were so engrained in the art school rhetoric that none of my peers had actually seen it either.

When we moved to Rivermont, the references to the duo and their unbelievable house multiplied. I choose to blame the paint colors of our house and not the hoarder habits on display in my studio.

Edies in the pink room at Grey Gardens | Hannah & Husband

Finally, about a month ago, a designer friend of mine finally managed to talk me into YouTubing the old doc when he told me that Angelica Huston had cited Grey Gardens as inspiration for her portrayal of one of my very favorite characters: Morticia Addams.

“I was fascinated by the way they’d found a certain serenity in their eccentricity,” Huston explains. “You realized that it didn’t matter if everyone else thinks you’re highly peculiar. You accept your own eccentricity.” [LA Times]

Sold! From the “best costume for the day” to the feeding of the raccoons, I was hooked. If only we all could ‘accept our own eccentricity’ with such pride.

Grey Gardens Little Edie's Best Costume for the Day via Hannah & Husband

“…then you can pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape. So I think this is the best costume for today.” [Little Edie]

So fast forward to this weekend: Husband and I were flipping through Netflix and stumbled upon IFC’s Documentary Now.

IFC Documentary Now's Sandy Passage via Hannah & Husband

Episode 1: Sandy Passage is perfect, comedic eye candy for every Grey Gardens lover. Fred Armisen and Bill Hader play Big Vivvi and Little Vivvi and nail the details of the original doc.

Little Edie dancing in Grey Gardens via Hannah & Husband

So, without giving too much away, if you’re a fan of the original Maysle brothers doc or have a love for mockumentaries in general, this one is worth Netflixing tonight.

And Hader’s flag dance? It may be my new favorite thing.

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Have a Nora Ephron Halloween

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

There was this unexpected thing that happened when Husband and I watched our first Nora Ephron movie together. He ruined it. Ok, ruin is a harsh word. It didn’t happen right away. At first, it was just an annoyance as I started to notice the things he pointed out. Like when we were watching While You Were Sleeping (not a Nora Ephron movie), and he said, “You know what the best part about this movie is? No one is cheating on Bill Pullman.” *sigh*

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

Then one day, I was watching Sleepless in Seattle thinking, “Annie Reed is a crazy person. She’s a stalker! Who hires a PI to stalk someone they don’t know?! If this happened in real life, Annie Reed would be committed.”

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

Maybe it’s just time to say it: Nora Ephron gave us all some very unrealistic expectations about how the world works. Apartments in New York City (that you can afford without a trust fund) are about the size of Kathleen Kelly’s bedroom. No grocery store in Manhattan ever has enough room to practically dance around with a grocery cart the week before Thanksgiving. And, let’s face it, Joe Fox was catphishing by the end of You’ve Got Mail. Beyonce-era women would have a serious come-to-Jesus with their friend Kathleen about boundaries and honesty.

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

Which leads me to the question of Why? Why am I still so in love with Nora Ephron movies when I can’t unsee the noxious themes? I blame The Nora Trifecta.

The Nora Trifecta

1. Setting
2. Soundtrack
3. Characters with enough cuteness to cover the insanity

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

Nora Ephron gave every girl who grew up in a small town unrealistic expectations about New York City. But, here’s the thing, walking through Central Park on the right day in late October, Central Park is exactly the way I imagined it would be when I was daydreaming about it in seventh grade. The giant trees are the colors of candy-corn and pair perfectly with giant, expensive drinks from Starbucks. If you listen hard enough, you will absolutely hear Harry Connick Jr. singing in the background and get that determined Kathleen Kelly skip in your step. (Of course, most of that illustration is from When Harry Met Sally, so maybe Ephron totally nailed it with Sally Albright.)

Anyway, today I’d like to propose something. I propose we all dress up as our favorite lunatics for Halloween: Nora Ephron heroines. Put on a jumper, paired with a storybook lady hat, and carry that bouquet of sharpened pencils with pride, honey!

Have a Nora Ephron Halloween | Hannah & Husband

Go in search of your very own Tom Hanks… or just start responding very intimately to all those emails that go to your spam folder. Someday your prince will come. Or you’ll find him via the perfect hashtag, track down a PI, in his area, and see if you can make contact with his child who will then show up at a location of your choice. Happy hunting!


Joking aside, I do love Ephron’s writing. Check out this post for a little about reading Nora Ephron with a book club…

Start a Book Club


Cozy Up Your Home with “The Holiday”

I will be the first to admit that there are some movies you watch solely for the eye candy… The ProposalIt’s Complicated, anything Diane Keaton has ever made (with the exception of The Godfather & Father of the Bride), and, of course, The Holiday. Admit it, while Jude Law is pretty darn adorable in that little sheet tent with twinkle lights, the movie itself really isn’t all that fantastic. But that house? To die for! So as the temperatures drop, I’ve been brainstorming ways to cozy up our own little home, and I thought it only appropriate to share my notes.

1. Every English cottage should have at least one velvet, over-stuffed ottoman.  It’s a foot rest, it’s a place to set your tray of tea and crumpets, plus it is extra seating for guests.

2. Blankets, Blankets everywhere. Blankets here and blankets there. It’s a cottage, which means that, at a moment’s notice, you should be able to drop everything and curl up under a blanket with tea and a good book.

3. Scent is so very important in any home. I especially love this old trick of fruit pricked with cloves. It’s also something to do when you have busy hands and don’t want to do anything that requires too much thought.

1. I just adore this metal apron on a deep sink. Along with the big knobs and tall counters, cabinets and cart, this kitchen acts as a perfect study of contrasts in big and small. I think bringing large things into a small space like this makes for a fun, whimsical, comfortable style.

2. Every cottage should have a handmade garland. (Tutorial to follow this weekend.)

3. Every home (anywhere) should always have tea kettle on the stove. Not only does it humidify the air in the winter, but it also is great in case you have unexpected guests.

1. If you are lucky enough to have a home with good bones, show them off.

2. I love eclectic touches in a classic home. This drum topped with a mirror makes for the perfect, quirky little side table.

3. In a cold, English cottage there should be lots of rugs thrown about to add texture and warm things up. This striped stair runner is a perfect way to make sure that texture connects the 2 floors and that your toes stay warm as you walk up to bed!

1. A classic white iron bed will make any room seem cozier.

2. Blankets & Throws & Quilts, oh my!

3. To add to the coziness and that warm snuggly feeling, one must have a fireplace in the bedroom. And, of course…

Who wouldn't want to soak in this tub?