Wednesday, February 29, 2012

friends + slices of orange

I remember the first time J took me to meet the McGowins, I was so nervous.
It probably didn't help that he said something to the effect of These folks are some of the most important people in my life.
They are like family to him and they became family to me, too.
Their daughter, Molly Kate, was barely a teenager when we first met and now she's a freshman in college in Connecticut.

Molly Kate and her friend Sarah visited us in the city not too long ago.
I had the best time with them.
We shopped and ate at Serendipity and shopped and shopped some more.

They had a real New York hotdog straight from a street vendor. I was so proud.
And knew Colleen would be, too.

And lest you think otherwise, let it be known that we made an appearance at DASH...
Owned by the Kardashian sisters themselves.
You could be the proud owner of a cotton tee with DASH written across your bosom for a mere $60.

That same weekend, we celebrated our friend Melissa's birthday.

These guys taught us to take our tequila shots with a cinnamon sprinkled orange instead of the tired ole salt and lime.

It was good. Both the tequila and the friends.

Monday, February 27, 2012

new york city in a list

Some of you have asked what we like to do here in our big city in preparation for your own trips to the Big Apple.
Here's a list for you of places to eat and things to do in NYC. Drumroll, please...

The Rigo's List of Fave NYC Eats and Sights
if you've never been to nyc before or if you're only going to be here a short time

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge + Eat at Grimaldi's

Make sure you have cash on you and prepare to stand in line for some original NY pizza.
But know this... it's so worth it.


A hotspot destination made popular by movies like One Fine Day and Serendipity, but also very worth it.
Call ahead to make reservations for a meal... they have quite a wait list.
All the hype you've heard is legit: get the frozen hot chocolate and you won't regret it.
Also, the Summer Bries sammy is my fave.

Roosevelt Island Tram
After your meal at Serendipity, walk less than a block for a ride on the Roosevelt Island Tram for some amazing views of the east side. It costs only one ride on a metro card.
Probably one of the least expensive things to do in all the city. Day or night, the views are incredible.

Dylan's Candy Bar

If you didn't make the reservation list in time at Serendipity, don't fret.
Show up at the restaurant about 30 minutes before they open and put your name on the list as soon as the doors open.
Then, treat yourself to a stroll through Dylan's Candy Bar located just down the street from Serendipity.
Owned by Ralph Lauren's daughter, Dylan Lauren, this place is a treat for young and old alike.
Bloomies and Zara and H&M are also really close if you prefer to shop while you wait.

Cheesecake from Junior's
Junior's is a restaurant native to Brooklyn.
There are several locations now in Manhattan including Times Square and in the lower level of Grand Central.
Treat yourself to a piece of Junior's original NY cheesecake.
It's creamy and perfect and you'll be sad if you miss it.

The Hurricane Club

If you want to dress up for a fancy night on the town, might I suggest The Hurricane Club?
With modern glam decor, you'll feel very SJP in the city at this swanky bar & restaurant.
The menu is unique and amazing. While you and the girls sip your cocktails, the men can take an excursion downstairs for a shoe shine and a cigar.

Shake Shack
Great burger joint with several locations.
Awesome milkshakes, too.

Southern Hospitality
The claim-to-fame of this BBQ pit and pub is it's owner... the one and only J. Timberlake.
Perhaps you've heard of him?
I'm quite partial to the name, giving a subtle nod to my endearing Southern roots, but also to the best margaritas in the city as well as their bbq chicken nachos. Call me and I'll join you.

Molly's Irish Pub

Another place I love for the name alone.
And the food delivers strongly, too. The bleu cheese burger will make you slap somebody.
Other great features? Wood-burning fireplace that you'll appreciate on chilly nights and a charming waitstaff with authentic Irish accents.

All-in-one market + bistro + wine bar in the Flatiron District.
Some of the best Italian meats and cheeses and breads you'll find this side of Sicily itself.
Typically crowded, but worth it.

Grand Central + The Campbell Apartment

The main terminal at Grand Central is handsdown one of my favorite architectural landmarks in all NYC.
It's dreamy and nostalgic and well... grand.
Take time for a swanky little happy hour at The Campbell Apartment located in Grand Central.
It feels like you're stepping back in time a bit with it's tagline Cocktails from Another Era. Love it.

Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock provides excellent 360 degree views of NYC.
Rivaling the views from the Empire State Building, some selling points for Top of the Rock are:
you can actually see the Empire State Building, the cost is less and the lines not as long.
You can also purchase a Dawn/Dusk pass allowing you entrance twice in one day for views during both daylight and nighttime.

Staten Island Ferry +  Lady Liberty

Take a ride aboard the Staten Island Ferry for free! and enjoy excellent views of Lady Liberty.
Also, once you get off the Ferry, take a right for a walk along the boardwalk to the 9/11 Memorial on Staten Island.
Then, board the ferry for your ride back to Manhattan for more breathtaking views of the city.

South Street Seaport

Enjoy the beautiful shops and restaurants and vendors at the quaint cobblestone market that is South Street Seaport. You'll get some sweet views of Brooklyn and the East River, too.

The High Line + Chelsea Market

The High Line is a public park that was built on an old railroad on the West side of Manhattan.
It's a great place to take a stroll above the fast paced NY life.
Then treat yourself to a tour of Chelsea Market, home to the Food Network and other awesome joints like Jacques Torres chocolate and Eleni's and Fat Witch Bakery.

Central Park
Central Park is quentessential New York City to me.
Take a picnic or even just a stroll through quite possibly the most famous American park.
Eat a hotdog from a vendor or take it up a notch at The Boathouse.
ps... There's a swanky part of The Boathouse and then a snacky less expensive part.
The latter has some of the best lemonade in all the city... perfect for a refreshing afternoon treat.

Times Square at night
If you've never been to Times Square, you should go at least once. 
I don't know of another place as bright and big and in your face.
And don't forget there's a Junior's close by.

Some other places you shouldn't miss: The Met + MOMA + Museum of Natural History.

A few city-savvy tips:

Hopstop is a great tool to help you navigate.

When taking a cab, make sure you give directions to the cabbie with cross streets.
For example, Junior's in Times Square is located on 1515 Broadway, between 44th Street and 45th Street.
Instead of saying 1515 Broadway, say, Broadway between 44th and 45th.
You'll be more likey to land at your desired location.

On an escalator? Stand right, walk left.

Need to check your phone or map? Stand with your back against the nearest building. It'll allow you to get out of the hustle and bustle on the sidewalk and the pedestrian traffic will thank you.

Lastly, give me a shout if you are coming to nyc!
molly.rigoloso at
I'd love to meet you for a drink or a slice of pizza. Or both.

The End.

Friday, February 24, 2012


He eats one thing on his plate at a time. No bite of steak, then bite of potatoes.

He doesn't like hot drinks.

He is great with stressful situations.

He likes his eggs over easy.

He asks really good questions and then listens to the answers.

He has a healthy respect for both Dave Chappelle and Charles Spurgeon.

He is boss at Trivial Pursuit.

He was called Rigo by nearly every person on our college campus.

And then I fell in love with him and started calling him J.

Tomorrow is his birthday and we're going to celebrate. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

Happy Birthday Eve, J.

I love you so.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

beauty for ashes

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
A day to purge ourselves of self-indulgent pursuits and to remind us of the hope we have for tomorrow.

beauty for ashes
strength for fear
gladness for mourning
peace for despair
crystal lewis

Dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory.
Living for something is the hard thing.
Living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition.
We live for what we believe.
donald miller

/ / /

ps . . .
All of you who sent beautiful words of encouragement my way over the past few days?
You are each amazing and make me thankful for the ability to string a few words into a sentence.
Love you guys.

Friday, February 17, 2012

for me

I first started blogging on an absolute whim.
I didn't really commit until Justin and I moved away from all we'd ever known in Alabama
slap across the country to California.
I decided my blog would be a good way to keep family and friends updated with what we were experiencing in such unknown land.

I remember the first time I received a comment from someone who wasn't my family or a friend.
How did she find me? Why did she want to read about my life?
I was clueless how big the blogosphere was.
Somewhere along the way, reading big blogs and little blogs and medium sized blogs,
I learned a few things.

I learned that having a large number of followers and a ton of comments on your posts meant you had arrived.
And you know what I did? I fell prey to those numbers.
I got one follower that wasn't my cousin or my bff and I wanted another one.
I got 50 and I wanted 75.
I got two comments and I wanted four.
I got 15 and I wanted 20.
I convinced myself that I was as good as those numbers told me I was.
It has been a roller coaster of striving and succeeding, striving and failing. Repeat.

Then, there was yesterday when I got a fairly nasty Anonymous comment.
Suffice it to say, Anon thought my content was a bit lacking with my post about the candle from Target and decided to tell me so... saying something to the effect of give better content or lose readers.
I'm not going to lie, the words stung.

But they also provided a clarity I had been longing for, only I hadn't realized it.

This blogging thing? It's for me.

I write because I like to write and I write because I want to remember. All of it.  
Where we ate and where we danced and what song was playing.
The big things and the little things and the cashier from Target who paused to sniff my candle.

Nobody pays me to sit down and write in this space.
If they did, then they'd have a rightful say over my content.

Those of you who enjoy coming here and reading my words, thank you. For real.
I never knew blogging would bring real live friendships into my life, but it did and I am thankful.

I also hope you'll stick around because you sure make this place fun.
Where else in a day could you have a conversation with Erin from California and Colleen from New York
 and Candis from Ohio and Sarah from Alabama and Lauren from Oregon?

And Anonymous? If you don't like what you are reading here or anywhere else,
I hope you'll politely move on to another place where you find yourself happy.

But here's the deal...
My self-worth does not hang in the balance of what a few numbers tell me.
If another soul never reads my words again, I will keep writing.
Because I am writing for me. And I am exceedingly happy about it.

I hope your weekend finds you just where you want to be even if you didn't know you wanted to be there.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mandarin Woods

Yesterday I went to Target.

I bought a candle in a cute little tin.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think it was from Anthro, except now I told you.

Even better? It was on sale. Was $10, got it for $4 or something like that.

Pretty sweet, right?

I fulfilled the rest of my list and proceeded to checkout.

The cashier, upon scanning my cute tin candle, opened the lid, smelled the candle, and without making eye contact, shrugged her shoulders, made a meh face, and scanned the next item.

She hardly even broke her stride.

I couldn't decide if I was offended at her shrugged shouldered mehface judgment or impressed at her quiet confidence or maybe a bit of both.

Oh, Harlem Target, you are too much.

But you do make me laugh and I, for one, like your clearance aisle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We ate some more & got crafty // Ohio, No. 3

Martha would have been so proud of us.

Just look at that concentration.

Car onesies and stripey socks. The cuteness knows no end.

Drew Jones giving a great rendition of Ryan Gosling in Drive.

Candis introduced us to North Market where we ate some more.

It's amazing to look through your camera lens and see people you love so.

Oh my heart.

Really? Yes, really.

Some of my favorite hydrangeas made an appearance.

One of each, please.

Coffee... a good idea always and all that.

These pretzels were our saving grace after a failed attempt to be blogger chic and eat crêpes.
The crêpes disappointed. Thankfully, the pretzels did not.

We may or may not have eaten Jeni's again. I'll let you decide.

Thank you, stranger, for taking a group shot.

Candis treated us to one of her famed necklaces and we got to pick out our own colors. So rad of her.

It was late.

Drew Jones' slips. House slips, that is.


And again.

I love you guys. All of you. And miss you already.
Candis + Drew, thank you for some October days in early February...

I remember it as October days are always remembered,
cloudless, maple-flavored, golden and so clean it quivers.
Leif Enger, Peace Like a River