Wednesday, November 30, 2011

National Novel Writing Month that is turning into two

So remember that novel I was going to write in one month?
Looks like it's going to spill over into two months.
I am trying to be okay with that. Here's what I've learned so far in the process...

Writing, like anything else, takes discipline.

Some days the words come easy and some days not so much.

Characters will come alive and guide the story if you let them.

And when that happens, it's pretty magical and you step back and go, Damn.

It's good to have friends who are strong, creative souls doing the thing along with you.

They understand when you email things like, This is insane! Why am I doing this?!

And then they remind you, You can do this. Take a break and come back to it. In the end, when you hold your novel in your hands, you will be so glad you stuck with it.

I think writing a novel makes you one part genius, one part crazypants.

Word count and character count are two very different things. But we've already established that.

Talent is cheap. What matters is discipline. ANDRÉ DUBUS

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

unsung heroes + parade tips

One of my favorite moments of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade occurred just after the horses trotted passed.
The Sanitation Team aka pooperscoopers came strolling along and the crowd burst out with applause.

The more we applauded, the more they hammed it up for us.
Good job, fellas. Good job.

Here are my suggestions for parade success...

Arrive early.  
We arrived at Central Park West and 67th at 6am and we were some of the last people to get a spot on the front row.

Dress in layers and don't forget your feet.
Amber's toes were a bit frosty in the 30 degree chill.

Drink at your own risk.
You will want to drink hot coffee and lots of it because it's early and it's cold.
But then you'll probably need a restroom and those are scarce.
Either get happy about using a port-a-potty or make friends in the hour and half long line at Starbucks.

Go with friends.
It's way more fun to spot RuPaul when you're with people you love.

Take your camera.

Make brunch reservations for after the parade.
Here or here or here.
The parade finished at our spot (CPW & 67th) around 12noon and we had reservations for 12:30pm.
Perfect timing.

Clear your schedule for the morning and the afternoon.
You will be happy and full and you will want to take a nap. Trust me.

Check out other great tips at one of my fave blogs NYC taught me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

a note to myself + scenes from a very happy Thanksgiving

Dear 15-year-old Molly,
You're watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade while Mama makes the ambrosia that Uncle Tom loves so much and Dad sharpens the turkey carving knives.
You sit crossed legged on the den floor still amazed at all those big floats just like when you were 5.
Snoopy is still your favorite even as a teenager.
You will wonder today if you will ever get to visit New York City.
Mama says maybe we could all visit one day with someone who has been to NYC before, who can help us navigate the big city.
You sigh and think to yourself, Maybe so.
But how about this?
One day you will be married to a man that makes you more happy than every boyfriend combined.
I know you can't imagine it now, but it's true.
And not only will he make you happy, but he will take you on adventures you really only dreamed about.
You will not only see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with your very own eyes, but you will live in that big city you've loved for so long.
And your parents will come visit you and you will be the one to help them navigate your big city because it is, in fact, your home.
It will be magical. Just you wait.
your grownup self

my NYC friend Amber and her parents visiting from Texas

this made me want to bake something

As this guy was approaching I said to Amber, Look it's RuPaul!
Yeah, I totally meant Paul Frank.
That's Julius the monkey, one of Paul Frank's most famed cartoon characters.
At least I got the Paul part right.

he's still my favorite one of all

Alabama's Homewood band represented us well

as did Mobile's trail maids

What's Thanksgiving without Neil Diamond? This is America, after all.

In the air one minute...

and directly in front of me the next. Spiderman is nothing if not stealthy.

My Dad would have loved hearing these guys.

And then... and then!

It's Santa Claus! Let Christmas officially begin.

Unfortunately, Justin's work schedule didn't allow him to join us at the parade,
but we did have an amazing meal with our friends.

Amber's berry cobbler was the star of the show.

We did it. We celebrated Thanksgiving in NYC.
It's been our home for nearly a year now.

It really is better than I ever could have imagined.
Told you so, Molly Mitchell. Told you so.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thankfulness of heart

Rockwell source
I was sitting on my couch in my New York City apartment making the final check over my Thanksgiving meal grocery list when the feeling nearly overwhelmed me... I have much for which to be thankful.

A husband who makes me feel loved and valued and protected. He makes me laugh and he's super handsome, too.

My family who mean the absolute world to me, who hold places in my heart like none other.

An array of lovely and talented friends. Some I've known for years, others I just met this year.

Health and shelter and sustenance. Even more, I have luxuries like soft pillows and extra blankets. Stacks of books and a stocked pantry. Wardrobe choices and jewelry and perfume.

I hate the cyclical trap of thinking I need more, desiring to have more... when really I am surrounded by more love than some people will ever know.

And at the end of the day, that's all I really want.

To love and to be loved.

And that's my wish for you, too.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you are surrounded by people who love you fiercely.

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.
Samuel Johnson

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on Earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the Beauty of the Earth, Folliot Pierpoint

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.
Willie Nelson

Happy Thanksgiving, all.
You are loved.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a peek sneak

We took our Christmas card pictures last weekend... here's a little peek for you of my man.
He wanted to keep it real with functional flannel and a nod to the Kurt Cobain look of his high school days.
Our friend Amber was our photographer for the day.
She asked us what we were thinking for the shoot, what ideas we had.
Justin answered, "I'm thinking our vibe this year is provocative."

Maybe our cards should read, Merry Provocative Christmas from The Cobains.

And there you have it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving last year was a bust

Last year, Justin and I spent our Thanksgiving in the bed with a stomach flu.
It was awful.
We couldn't even think about turkey and all the fixins without making a run for the bathroom.

This year, Lord willing, will be a different story.
Justin has to work on Thanksgiving Day, so we will be staying in NYC.
Here's how we are going to celebrate...

Skype with my family in Alabama and maybe some friends, too.
Turn on some tunes, pour a glass of wine and get in the kitchen with my man and cook cook cook.
Celebrate with gracious friends with a big ole meal on Friday.
Make a classic southern dish for J's northern coworkers.
Go to the parade. And maybe even watch the process.
Watch the Iron Bowl. Shop holiday markets. Drink the Rigo Swazzle.
And then say hello to one of The Most Wonderful Times of the Year.

How are you celebrating? Are you traveling? Are you staying put?
I will miss being with my family, but being in NYC on Thanksgiving?
It's kind of it's own form of magic and we are determined to celebrate every minute.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Questions Answered, part 8

You thought I had forgotten about the little deal we made, didn't you?
The one where I said you could ask me anything and I would answer you?
I didn't forget, friends!
So, here we go.
. . .
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
. . .

Oh, I like this! Let's see, when I grow up, I want to be...

A mother.
A mama, actually. I don't want to be called Mother. Too formal for my blood.

An even better wife to Justin.
I hope I am a good wife now, but I don't ever want to get to a place where I think I've arrived.
I always want to be good for him, good to him.

It makes me so nervous to even type that out, like I'm gonna jinx it or something.
But I said I'd be honest, so there. Now you know.

A good listener.
Really hear what people are saying, and not merely with their words.

A knitter.
A really talented one like Whitney. I want to be all, Oh, this fly sweater? Yeah, I made it.

A painter.
I love the idea of painting and wonder what might happen if I really tried.
I'd want to have an easel on my porch out in the country and paint like Allie Hamilton did in The Notebook.

A friend you'd want to have.
I read a quote on pinterest last week that said something like, Be the kind of friend you'd want to meet.
I want to be that kind of person.

 And last but not least...

A salsa dancer.
Ummm, hello! Those ladies have some serious moooves.

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be an astronaut and
when I was in middle school, I wanted to be a nurse.

I lost interest in the first and married the other,
so I'd say my chances are pretty good for accomplishing at least part of this list.

Happy Friday to you and you and you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

'round here

I don't want to take for granted the little things in life that make my heart happy.

colorful Fall leaves outside our apartment

a headband that stayed in place while I ran around in the rain

apples nestled into bags

vibrant hued flowers at the bodega

things on my table

the shadow of my umbrella and my very own feet on the ground in this city I love

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
Remember that what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Brooklyn Art Library

The Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is home to The Sketchbook Project.

The Sketchbook Project is a collaborative series of art books created by thousands of artists from around the world.
Anyone- from anywhere in the world- can participate in the project.
Sign up to receive a blank sketchbook, then fill it up and send it back.
Your work will be cataloged in The Brooklyn Art Library.

You can check out finished sketchbooks at The Brooklyn Art Library for your enjoyment.  
Whether you have a second cousin who participated in the project, an inexplicable fascination with Iceland, or a love of pop-up books, we will be able to find a sketchbook for you. 

The library also functions as a storefront purveyor of notebooks,
art supplies, stationary and vintage ephemera.
So if you're feeling inspired after browsing through the archive of visual inspiration,
we'll have everything you need to start working on your own projects.

Vintage ephemera, indeed.

Cool things around every corner.

I wanted every artistic soul I've ever known to be able to experience this place.
Amy, Lindsay, Rachel M, Amber, E, DrewJones came to mind...

I loved this place and I'm so going back.

Now if I could get the gumption to particpate in The Sketchbook Project myself...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By Popular Request // The Swazzle Recipe

The Rigo Swazzle
our version of wassail or cider

apple cider
an orange
cinnamon sticks

Many of you were curious about our delicious swazzle recipe, so I thought I'd share it with you.

+ You'll need apple cider juice, not to be confused with kid style apple juice. Ahem, side eye, Justin.
Use the whole gallon if you are making swazzle for a group of folk or simply pour the amount you and yours will consume into a boiler.

+ Slice up the orange, leaving the peel on and place it in the boiler.
If you are making a smaller portion of swazzle, use only a small portion of the orange.
Example: For two mugfulls, I'd use two orange slices approximately 1/2 inch thick.

+ Next up: cinnamon sticks. Use three sticks for the whole gallon, just one stick for a smaller portion.
Place your cinnamon sticks in a square of cheesecloth and then tie up your bundle.
This will allow the cinnamon to flavah your swazzle, but will filter the spices.

+ Now that your cider, orange slices and cinnamon bundle are in the boiler, bring your swazzle to a boil.

+ Then turn on low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
The smell alone will make you want to slap somebody.

And then. And then!

Pour yourself a mugfull of swazzle it will be hott!,
turn on some spirited seasonal tunes, sit by the fire bundled in your tartan throw, 
and tell all the people around you how much you love The Rigo Swazzle,
I mean, how much you love them.

Change it up:
Add clove, allspice, nutmeg to your cinnamon bundle.
Add a shot of brandy or rum if you are feeling especially jolly.
Making the swazzle in your crockpot works really well for serving a larger group.
Crockpot directions: Bring ingredients to a small boil on high, then simmer on low for 15 minutes and serve.

Now go make some Rigo Swazzle. And try not to slap anybody.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's all fancy all the time and I'll prove it

Last week, I knew we'd hit the ultimate in our fancy lives with His & Hers cough medicine.
Not only is it fancy, but it's really sexy, too.

In other equally exciting and fancy news, we are now the proud owners of a new
Crooooockpooooot! (Oprah voice)
Our original crock, gifted to us when we married, is packed away in storage in Alabama.
We survived one NYC winter without our beloved crock and we shan't do it again...
because nothing equals a fancy meal like throwing a ton of ingredients in one bigA pot and watching the thing do it's magic.
Hello potato soup and chili and all other forms of crockery goodness.

Here's one last fancy gem from us Rigo's...Swazzle.
That's what my man calls it. Perhaps you call it wassail or cider.
However you say it, the swazzle is here and as you can tell, it's very fancy and highly difficult to make.

Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down. Name that tune.