I love you, Mom.

May 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm (Uncategorized)

 

Mom’s make the world go round. Whether it’s by kissing a scrapped knee or baking cookies on a rainy day, Mom’s always know what to do to make the world just a little brighter. I know my Mom does. To this day, I crave her homemade pancakes, chocolate chip cookies and our Mom/Daughter traveling adventures. So my Valley friends; this Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9 for those of you who forgot), treat your Mom to an entire day dedicated to her and things she likes to do. For those of you looking for some ideas, run these past your Mom’s list of likes and pick something that’s just right for the day!   

For the Eclectic and Vintage Lovin’ Mom

Technically, it’s the Melrose District and technically it’s on 7th Ave in Phoenix, but for those of you who can’t sneak away to LA’s Melrose this weekend, I like to think of this as a happy alternative. Hidden on 7th Avenue between Indian School and Camelback Road, this area is full of the most adorable vintage and boutique stores you could imagine, but you have to keep your eyes open because one blink and you could miss it!      

Melrose Agenda       

Begin the afternoon with a Mom inspired lunch at My Florist Cafe on McDowell and 7th or Postino Wine Café on Central and Camelback.   After your delicious lunch, head over to 7thAvenue and Indian School and park. From there, let the stroll begin! Start walking North on 7th Avenue and explore every vintage and artsy store.  Be sure to check out Zinnias   (just west of 7th Ave) and Paris Envy  (closer to Camelback Road).       

      

If the walk works up another appetite, have a taco at America’s Taco Shop and let me know what you think of the Valley famous tacos!

    

During your stroll, don’t forget to look for shops like Figs Home and Garden. After you’ve emptied your pocket book for secret finds, take a drive through the historic neighborhoods surrounding the area. These houses are some of Phoenix’s oldest and finest gems.      

       

Art in your Mom’s Heart

We may not have the Met, but we do have some well-known art galleries and of course, our very own Phoenix Art Museum. Leave room in your heart for some art this Sunday.      

Old Town Scottsdale Art Galleries       

Begin your morning with brunch at Arcadia Farms: the ultimate Mom and Daughter lunch spot.      

   

After your lunch, leave your car parked and stroll through Old Town Scottsdale to explore the unlimited art galleries in the area. Tourists travel from all over to visit Scottsdale’s well-known galleries. Consider it Old Town’s art museum, but if you are looking for an “official” art museum, stop by the Scottsdale Center of Contemporary Art  at the Civic Center.      

Sweet Tooth Craving? For the true Old Town Scottsdale experience, visit the Sugar Bowl and share a Banana Split (or have your own!) with your Mom to end the day with a cherry on top!      

   

Downtown Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is one of my favorites. With the architectural genius on the outside, you just know it’s going to be interesting on the inside… and it is!    

   

On Sunday, they really have Mom’s on their mind with a special member’s only Mother’s Day event before the museum opens. It’s not too late to buy a membership!       

Members Day: Celebrating Moms!   

May 9, 11am – 2pmMrs. Miniver   

11am – 2pm: Complimentary refreshments and sweet treats
Get a temporary tattoo to show Mom how much you care
Take a fun family portrait in our photo booth
Create a Masterpiece for Mom
Enter to win a variety of gift baskets and prizes for Mom
11am – 12:30pm: complimentary chair massages for Moms
11:30am: In the Mood docent tour
12:30pm: In the Mood docent tour
1pm: Classic film

**Special offer: Moms receive a FREE Mother’s Day dessert with purchase of any entrée at Arcadia Farms at Phoenix Art Museum. Offer valid May 9, 2010.

For the non-members in the room, come by at 12:00 and have lunch at the art museum’s Arcadia Farm Café and then explore the exhibits featuring Ansel Adams, Claude Monet and William Merritt Chase – just to name a few!   

   

After your visit, if you’re still craving culture, visit the Herd Museum down the street for a taste of Southwest history.     

High Tea is for my Mom and Me

Is it time for tea? If it is, then you’re in luck because some of Phoenix’s daintiest hotspots are open for business.   

Ritz Carleton Mother’s Day Tea for $35 a person features traditional tea sandwiches, scones and other sweet treats while listening to the enchanting sounds of Nicole Pesce on piano.   

English Rose Team Room    

Pull out your best Sunday hat, grab your Mom and stop by the very authentically British “English Rose Tea Room” for Sunday high tea. Sunday’s Mother’s Day menu features:   

A Cup of Creamy Mushroom Soup   

Petite Salad w/ Mixed Berries & Candied Pecans   

Trio of Tea Sandwiches   

Roasted Chicken with Tarragon & Toasted Walnuts  Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese   

Cucumber with Orange & Mint Butter   

Dessert Courses    

Warm Scones served with Devonshire Cream and Dickenson’s Strawberry   

Strawberry & Banana Frangipani   

 Miniature Chocolate Orange Cheesecake   

Fruit Tartlet   

Chocolate Éclair   

Lavender Shortbread Cookies   

Assorted Chocolate Truffles   

All served Mother’s Day Rose Scented Tea.   

$55.00 per person   

 A happy early Mother’s Day and special thanks to all the hard-working women who are raising families!

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Save a horse. Ride a Bull.

May 4, 2010 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized)

 

Arizona spends many sleepless nights fighting its Wild West reputation. With our fine dining, trendy hotspots, high-end shopping and five star resorts, the Southwest has slowly become a desert oasis destination for world-class travelers from afar. But, try as we do to hide our Southwest flavor, some days we just have to embrace the Cowgirl (or boy) in us all. After all, we live among cacti and horseback riding; why not give true desert living a try here and there!

True to my philosophy, this weekend I traded in my stilettos for cowboy boots and joined the cowgirl’s way of life for a night. On the agenda: a night out in Cave Creek to experience the truest form of cowboy living around; live professional bull riding. Yes, in Arizona we have western venues with live professional bull riding shows and it’s just as spectacular as it sounds! Nestled in the heart of cowboy country known as Cave Creek, Buffalo Chip Saloon showcases live professional bull riding, live country music, free dancing lessons, authentic home style BBQ and even the opportunity to make your very own genuine Cowboy hats!

A very detailed calendar of events:

I think the staff at Buffalo Chips Saloon must sleep at the saloon with such a full calendar of events! Let me take a sip of my sarsaparilla before I begin…

Monday Mike Night: Do you have what it takes to be the next Garth Brooks in town? Well, now’s your chance to showcase your talents. Stop by Open Mike Night on Mondays from 7-10 pm and belt out the country hits with the best of them.

Top Notch Tuesdays: Deeming it “Chick’s with Picks” Tuesdays, Buffalo Chip features a new female artist from 7-10 pm. If you want to meet the next Carrie or Shania you should stop by!

Wacky Wednesdays: Now comes the daredevil fun! Live. Professional. Bull Riding. If you can’t make it to the rodeo, here’s your chance to witness professional bull riders take their life and the reins in their own hands.

Thirsty Thursday: Are you thirsty for some two steppin’ dance moves? From 7-8 pm listen to live music and learn some new two stepping moves to impress your friends. If you want to keep the night going into the weekend, stick around for the Pat James Band from 8-Midnight.

Fabulous Fridays: Now this is the TGIF of all Fridays. All you can eat BBQ buffet, all you can eat seafood, live music & dancing, and not one but three live professional bull riding shows. My personal requirement is that you show up with cowboy boots, hat and have a very hungry appetite! P.S. the buffet is mandatory in my opinion, some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had!

Satisfying Saturdays: After your wild west Friday night, stop by for some more live music and dancing from 9 pm – 2 am.

Who done it!? Once a month, on the first Sunday, you can join the cowboy mystery and help Buffalo Chips figure out who committed murder! Detective work builds up an appetite, so enjoy dinner during the show…all for just $35!

Now what’s a virtual tour of the  Buffalo Chips Saloon without some much-needed photos!

Real cowboys or wannabe cowboys for the night, anything goes at the Saloon

Excited about turning cowboy for the night but missing the key essential for making it official; a hat? Not to worry my friends. You can even buy genuine cowboy hats, fitted for your head right in front of your very eyes!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mental break for the day, but before you ride off into the sunset, I think you need to visit yourself and let me know if it passed your Cowboy adventure test.

Packer’s Presence! Before I go, I failed to mention one last minor detail. Packers fans … this saloon is green and gold friendly and they even offer the “Packer Green and Gold Club” membership.

Hungry yet?

While you’re in Cave Creek, be sure to stop by:

Harold’s Corral

Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House and Lounge

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Time for the Easter Bonnet Parade

March 31, 2010 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

I can hear the Easter bunny hopping down the street in anticipation of the approaching spring fever holiday. Yes, spring is in the air right now not only in sun kissed Arizona, but in cities all across the US…except the poor states  back east where it’s flooding. I hope the rain fairies let up on you by this weekend. So, pick out your favorite Easter dress and join me in paying homage to three springtime musts. Chocolate, Sunday Brunch and Flowers — you might say random, but I think they define the bunny holiday!

Chocoholics Anonymous

I blame the Easter bunny for the chocolate temptations around town lately. It seems like everywhere I look another scrumptious treat is staring at me, begging me to give it a taste. I don’t want to hurt feelings, so of course I must have a small itty bitty bite.

But, chocolate each day keeps the doctor away, right? Ok, so my waistline might not agree but a little dark chocolate is good for the heart and as a true believer in a heart healthy lifestyle, a tribute to this dark treat is only fitting.

The chocolate pick of the week.

Cerreta Chocolate Factory – Glendale, Arizona

Sadly, Arizona isn’t home to many headquarters, but the ones we have deserve all the desert love they can get! Did you know we have our very own chocolate factory nestled right in the heart of Glendale, Arizona? Cerreta has been in business and family operated for over 40 years. Home to not only delectable chocolate (trust me, the second you walk into the factory you’ll leave with bags full), they also offer factory tours, free and fun children’s activities (like Italian Chocolate Pizza making) and custom chocolate treats for special occasions and parties. As you step inside the factory, you feel like you’re home for Sunday dinner. So, keep our local spots in business and fill your Easter baskets with treats from Arizona’s very own chocolate factory.   Did I also mention the family is about as sweet as the chocolate they serve? In the midst of the Easter Mayhem, Marisa (the wife of Joe, the owner) dropped the yellow Easter bunny she was decorating and created adorable gift boxes for my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. That’s the true definition of customer service. www.cerreta.com

Make it a Sunday Affair

I live for the weekends, don’t you? Whether it’s by taking a road trip, spending time with friends and family, lounging the day away or working on projects that slipped away from you during the week; weekends are your oyster. But, Sunday’s are a day of rest. The Bible says so. In honor of lazy Sundays, why not spend the day brunching. Brunch is a universal concept, so look around your town and find your favorite brunch spots to choose from. Arizonian’s, here are just a couple of my local favorites.

Le Grand L’Orange – This is a post- church hotspot so be sure to arrive early to secure a coveted table outside. I love Le Grand L’Orange because it makes me feel like I’ve left the desert and traveled to a far away European village where the pastries are moist and the fruit is fresh.  Purchase homemade English muffins to keep the experience going through the week! http://www.lagrandeorangepizzeria.com/

Olive and Ivy- I’m not biased. You can visit Olive and Ivy any day of the week (not just Sunday) and nibble on their flatbread pizzas and salads. Try the Mediterranean Salad. I give it two thumbs up. www.foxrc.com/olive_ivy.html

Camelback Inn – Nestled in the heart of the Camelback Mountains, locals and visitors alike will enjoy the breathtaking views, scrumptious food and live music. It’s the perfect stay’cation for a Sunday afternoon. www.camelbackinn.com/

Arcadia Farms Cafe – Salad lovers beware. The menu is so tasty you will want to try everything … at the same time. Arcadia Farm is perfect for a girl’s lunch or even a baby or bridal shower. It’s another gem that’s hidden from the outside world making you feel as if you found the key to the secret garden itself. www.arcadiafarmscafe.com

Postino Wine Cafe– Winos, this is your weekend spot. Panini’s, brucshetta and wine. Need I say more? Ok, I will say one more thing. Great patio. www.postinowinecafe.com

The Flower Children of Phoenix

The jury’s still out on whether I posses a green thumb or not, but I’ll pretend I do until the votes are counted. The good news about the heavy rainfall this year is that the desert actually has some green to it. Not a lot, but as Phoenicians we take what we can get. Take full advantage of the blossoms and visit some of the floweriest spots around town. Hay fever victims, don’t forget the Claritin.

Desert Botanical Garden – Jazz and Flowers http://www.dbg.org/

The desert botanical gardens use their gorgeous grounds year-round and they don’t let us down in the spring. Jazz fans, this is for you.  Fill your Friday nights with music and jazz in a garden of your dreams. Performances run from March-June and include well-known names like Blues musician Big Pete Pearson and Latin Jazz performers such as Fuerza Caribe. Be sure to purchase your tickets early. The shows will sell out! http://www.dbg.org/index.php/plan/calendar/jazzingarden

Wildflower walks at county parks

According to AZ Central, this is a once a year opportunity to witness beautiful wildflower blossoms in Arizona. Visit Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area or Cave Creek Regional Park to partake in a walk on the wild side. The wildflower side that is. Visit AZCentral for more details: http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/events/articles/2010/03/29/20100329wildflower-walks-spur-cross.html

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

When: 8-11 a.m. Friday; 2-5 p.m. Saturday; 8-11 a.m. Sunday.

Where: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek.

Admission: $3 per person park entry fee.

Details: , maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross.

Cave Creek Regional Park

When: 1-2:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek.

Admission: $6 per vehicle park entry fee.

Details: , maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek.

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I love you. I love you not.

February 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm (Around Town, Uncategorized)

Valentine’s Day – Some cringe and some smile as the holiday sneaks up on us like the five pounds at Christmas. Women look around and all they see are couples, chocolates, flowers, balloons and romance. Men look around and all they see is…nothing. Do men even realize Valentine’s Day is coming? Who knows. The Hallmark holiday can cause friction for both lovebirds and the single’s club, but how you handle it is what that really matters.

Still searching for Mr. Right? Get your ladies together, go out on the town and meet new men or buy some wine and have an 80’s movie rerun night.

Taken? Don’t stress about what your guy does for you. Savor the moment and enjoy the time you’re spending together. Think about it, there are 364 other days in the year for your boyfriend to go above and beyond and you won’t even have to thank Hallmark for telling him to do so!

Looking for ideas? Check out some heartfelt tips on how to make the most of Valentine’s Day, or better yet, use these to make every day of the year Valentine’s Day – single or taken.

Movies in the Park

  • Visit Biltmore Fashion Park in the fall and spring and check out Friday night movies in the park. Pick up a picnic dinner to go, grab a blanket and snuggle up under the stars as you watch a timeless classic. http://www.shopbiltmore.com/events.asp
  • Saving money? Why not make your own backyard a movie in the park. Set up a projection screen, put down a blanket and make a savory picnic meal. Your backyard will never look so good!
  • Not a desert resident? Google movies in the park in your city and chances are they have something similar.

Savor the Desert Flavor

  • Rustler’s Rooste – A slide, a real bull and they serve snake (along with BBQ chicken and steak of course). If you are ready for a cowboy adventure, visit: www.rustlersrooste.com
  • Greaswood Flats – Picnic tables, live music and a wild west of a good time. www.greasewoodflat.net
  • Schnepf Farms – With peach festivals, pumpkin farms and an olive mille next door, this is a farm adventure that you’d never expect to find in Arizona. www.schnepffarms.com
  • Horseback Riding – You’re not an Arizonan until you’ve tried it – www.cavecreekoutfitters.com
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides – Take a look at Arizona from a different angle – www.hotairexpeditions.com

Dinner Dates

Here are just a few local spots to try with your sweetie.

  • Rokerji – Nestled in Central Phoenix with a fireplace and deep wood furniture, this spot is perfect for a romantic dinner for two. http://www.burningembersphoenix.com/
  • Dick’s Hideway – Richardson’s is now under renovation but in the meantime; try out Dick’s Hideaway which is the quaint and charming brother of Richardson’s. Built off the kitchen, it’s cozy and the food leaves you counting the days until your next visit. http://www.burningembersphoenix.com/
  • My Florist Café – Make sure you go there for dinner and eat your scrumptious meal to the sound of live music. http://www.myfloristcafe.com/

Side Note – If you’re looking for a post-dinner drink, check out Sidebar or The Rhythm Room (live jazz!)

  • Chelsea’s Kitchen – Homecookin’ at its finest. www.chelseaskitchenaz.com/
  • Capitol Grille – High quality steak in a cozy setting. www.thecapitalgrille.com/
  • Radio Milano – Be sure to eat there on Neighborhood Night (Mon & Tues) and you’ll get an appetizer or dessert and entrée for $20! www.radiomilanobar.com/
  • Pizzeria Bianco – It’s world famous, but be ready for a 2-3 hour wait. The good news though is that there is an adorable wine bar next door to help you pass the time! www.pizzeriabianco.com/

Take a class that leaves you wanting homework!

Cooking Classes

Massage Classes

Wine Tasting

Revisit your childhood

Wine and Cheese Please

Wine Nights

Wine Tasting Adventures

Home is where the heart is.

  • Make it a night in, cook together and play your favorite board games.

Stay-cation

  • Can’t get away? Local resorts are the perfect vacation at a home away from home.

Road Trip

  • Vegas, Flagstaff and Sedona are just a stone’s throw away. Grab your honey or your best friends, visit www.priceline.com and take a weekend to get out-of-town. Don’t forget the road trip music mix!

For more ideas take a look at these sites:

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November 12, 2009 at 12:09 am (Uncategorized)

Have you heard of Shoestring Magazine? Why spend money when you can find a bargain on this site for just about everything you could think of?

 

 

 

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First Date Dress. Not just an outfit.

November 11, 2009 at 11:50 pm (Uncategorized)

First dates are rough. Will I like them? Is this the one? Where are we going? What should I wear? Will I say the right things? Finding the perfect first date dress is a metaphor for just about everything we do in life. Where to eat, how to meet people, what to do on a Friday night, where to find the best first date dress bargains. We only live once. Why not wear the perfect dress along the way.

 

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