Top 8: Tamara Rigney

Tamara Rigney has proven plants can be a beautiful art. But calling her a florist seems limiting, like saying Jay-Z is a club owner. At Rigney’s store in Kakaako, Paiko, the interior design and foliage boutique, she and partner Courtney Monahan have brought inspiration and advice to many aspiring green thumbs (or, at least, people who aspire to own plants). Their store has been called “Pinterest in real life” by customers, and this week, they reopened after renovations that will soon include additional space for local artists’ work, as well as a coffee bar hosted by downtown favorite, Brue Bar. Here, Rigney gives us her Top 8.

Tamara Rigney: Some numbers on this list represent monumental parts of my life and some are things I’m really into this summer. I often go through deep obsessions lasting for a season, burn out, and then repeat in a year. Thank god I don’t do this with work or friends or I would be a terrible person.

1. Tantalus. I love living on Tantalus, because when I’m up here, I feel like a better version of myself. I relax, forget about the ruckus of town, and when I’m out running or exploring in the jungle I get some of my best inspiration. My tiny house is too small to have people over, but nothing makes me happier than having picnic parties on my lawn.


2. Mangos. If summer had a flavor, it would be mango. Cold, off the tree, in yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies—it’s basically a Forrest Gump-and-shrimp thing for me. My parents’ house in Aina Haina has a mango tree and has thankfully been supplying my habit.

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3. My Spring Suit. Surfing makes me a happier and nicer person, and without my wetsuit I probably wouldn’t surf. I go out late in the day to save my haole skin and to have a semblance of a productive day, and, until I discovered O’neill women’s Spring Suits a few years ago, I could only last 30 minutes without freezing. Surfing is a big reason why I moved back to, and still live in Hawaii, so when I’m not getting in the water, sometimes I start to forget why I’m here.


4. San Francisco. If I didn’t live in Hawaii, I would live in SF, and, to be honest I still wrestle with this on a regular basis. I love the energy of SF, and some of my best friends and family live in the bay. I credit my frequent trips up there with keeping me sane, and keeping my taco cravings in check.

5. My Kitchen. I’m in a big domestic phase right now, and am really into cooking from scratch, like I’m in “Little House in the Prairie.” Recently, I’ve made beef stew, roast chicken, stock, mustard, mayonnaise, and kombucha from scratch. All of a sudden, I really want chickens and a goat. Is this what happens when you turn 30?

6. The New Yorker. My subscription makes me feel smarter and connected with my other favorite city. When I don’t have a book I’m into, the New Yorker is my favorite way to consume good writing, and it’s become a sort of nighttime ritual. I usually have a halo of magazines surrounding me in bed.

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7. Rainforest at Kilohana Square. Michael Miyashiro, at Rainforest, is the most beautiful florist in Hawaii, and luckily, working there was my entry into flower design. In college, I helped out in the summers, and then Michael was kind enough to let me return years later after burning out from a career in landscape architecture at age 25. Helping in the shop restored my creativity, and it was enlightening to watch someone make a living doing something they loved.

8. Pinterest. It’s not only for crafters and bridezillas. As a creative, Pinterest has become one of my favorite tools, and I’m so jealous it didn’t exist when I was in design school. Besides using it to compile ideas I see online, I try to log in once a week to find inspiration, and yes—once in a while I stumble upon a good hummus recipe.


9. Kakaako. I was done, but I realized this list wouldn’t be complete without naming the hood. Kakaako has become a huge part of my life over the last two years, and is where I spend a good chunk of my waking hours. The Kak block (as verbal laziness has lead us to call it), has brought so many amazing people into my life, and has allowed me to fulfill my crazy vision of opening a plant shop. It’s like a magical land (albeit a dirty, noisy, and sometimes smelly land) where dreams come true.

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