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


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

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?

Do You Have a Pen Pal?

Do you find the idea totally antiquated? This is something that has been on my mind of late because of the desire to stay in touch that I mentioned last week.

I remember when I was young exchanging letters & packages with 2 of my very best friends–one in Ohio and the other in Virginia. I couldn’t wait to get home each day after school to see if there was anything waiting in the mailbox. In return, I spent hours putting together random pictures and doodads to send with letters about what I’d been up to that particular week, where I’d been, and how I was feeling.

Then, when we all got Facebook in college, the letter writing turned into simply ‘liking’ photos or commenting on random updates shared with the world. What happened to those letters? Have we really become so self-absorbed that we don’t have time to sit down and personally address the people we care about?

Jane Austen | Secrets of a Belle

The funniest thing to come out of the constant social media stream? I’ve gained the most unexpected of pen pals! The people I’ve found myself writing to most recently, be it an email or an actual hand-written note, are people I’ve met on social media. Sure we talk in 140 characters or less several nights a week, but I’d be lying if I told you that a letter didn’t make me giddy each time it was received.

So this week, I challenge you to get a pen pal!

Whether it’s getting in touch with an old friend, writing a note to a shut-in you know in the neighborhood, or finding someone else who just loves to write–find someone and stay in touch! Looking for a pen pal? Let me know. We could start a trend!