Have You Heard About Frida?

Frida Kahlo has always been the face of strong, independent, badass women. I have admired her since a very young age, when I was personally trying to find my own place and voice in the world. When I was introduced to her work in early high school, the repetitive “self portrait” idea didn’t really strike me as interesting, since they all seemed to look the same and I couldn’t understand why she would highlight her imperfections for the world to see. 

As I entered adulthood, I really understood it, and actually admired her more because she was able to look at herself in an honest light. Despite what the norms of society tried to force us to accept, she wanted everyone to see the real Frida, facial hair and all. Being proud of who she was made me actually become quite obsessed and intrigued by this mysterious woman.

Going to the Kahlo/Rivera exhibit at the Heard Museum was even more of an eye-opening experience. Besides short, surface level biographies I read, I had never really delved into her entire life and the relationship she shared with Diego Rivera. What a soap opera! There were so many layers to their relationship, her passionate nature and other heart-wrenching events that took place during the course of their marriage(s). 

I won’t go into too much detail and ruin the element of wonder and surprise, but I will say that her famous self-portaits, which I thought I would stand and admire for hours, became a side note to her other symbolic work and beautiful photographs taken by photographers, friends and lovers. 

The exhibit is only open until August 20th. Tickets are $18 (for adults) to enter the museum, and then another $7 for entrance to the Kahlo/Rivera exhibit. It was worth every penny and I may even return before they shut it down.

**Admission discounts are offered for kids, senior citizens and students with a college ID. 

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All of the Lights

The Phoenix Zoo is already one of Arizona’s most-visited attractions, but add millions of Christmas lights, and it becomes a dreamy, winter wonderland! 

Since I’m originally from Pennsylvania, Arizona winters are anything but festive for me, since I associate this holiday with snow, scarves, fires and sledding. Walking in to the Zoo Lights entrance immediately had me feeling at home…(the 45° weather also helped). 

I really didn’t know what to expect going in, but I definitely left feeling impressed. There were displays of all of the animals that I imagine are present at the zoo. A lot of the displays were animated and moved to different music, which made it visually appealing for my 2 year-old son.

We stopped to watch families taking advantage of the $5 camel rides, and even contemplated going down the Polar Slide until I realized I would be riding solo! I hopped on the carousel with my son, and we admired a 360° view of the whole zoo instead.
We stopped to purchase a bubble gun and some slushies, then walked around some more. We found a little play area for kids, which was extremely helpful when the stroller just wouldn’t do anymore. 

Some of the things I found  most impressive were the intricate displays of Lego statues that were completed by individuals and small groups of volunteers and sponsors. Imagining the hours of patience and intense concentration had me mind-boggled!
Overall, I give this event two thumbs up and will certainly be returning next year!

Where To Go: NYE 2016

Even though we are keeping it low-key this year, I wanted to share some of the amazing party opportunities in the Phoenix area for you more adventurous folks. 😉  Here are my top three NYE picks in the Valley of the Sun:

#1 If you are looking for an all-inclusive, dinner and party setting, the Talking Stick Resort is offering a decently-priced special. For $150, you receive a dinner package with an all-you-can-eat buffet, and for $125, you can get the party-only special, which includes 6 complimentary drinks for the evening. For entertainment, there will be three rooms, all with different themes and music. This one sounds like it’s going to be a great time!

#2 Mill Ave is another spot that has never disappointed me in the past! Tonight they are having a block party, where select bars will be offering a variety of live music, dinner and drink specials. You can walk up and down the avenue, taking advantage of what Tempe has to offer, or post up in one spot for the night until that big ball drops!
#3 For the music lovers, I highly recommend going to see one of my favorite bands! The Dirty Heads are playing at the Marquee theater in Tempe. They are amazing performers and have a Sublime-type of sound. Grab some friends, grab some beers and have an Irie evening with DH!

Wherever you end up this evening, remember to be safe and be responsible! Call your local Uber or Lyft driver for all of your transportation needs! 

#whattodo #nye2016 #phoenixarizona

Hemp Heals With Mother Green

I’m so excited to finally write a blog for this beautiful family of young entrepreneurs! They are the true definition of passion, dedication and perseverance.

Hayla, the creator of Mother Green’s Boutique, started out in direct sales as an Arbonne consultant, but soon found out that she would rather be selling products she truly believed in.

“I wanted to make a difference and not just sell products, so I created my magical beauty products to help save the environment, animals, educate on Hemp and Cannabis and mostly to be a stay at home mom.” 

Her dream didn’t become a reality so easily, as she struggled to make ends meet, take care of her daughter, and still pursue her passion of making quality products that were safe and effective.

 I became a customer after following her personal Instagram account for a few years. I saw how dedicated she was to her craft and I also began to see positive testimonials flooding her timeline.

 Being a Rodan + Fields consultant myself, I stick to my brand, however I like to branch out and use homemade products once in awhile. I also believe in the healing properties of the Hemp plant, and supporting a small, struggling family was the cherry on top of my first purchase. My first order consisted of the Zen Den spray, which is an amazing room and/or body spray with Nag-Champa oil (my favorite) and the Hemp chap stick. I recently ordered a bunch of the face scrubs as stocking suffers for friends and family,but decided to try the Anti Gravi-tea scrub myself, and the hemp oil leaves my face so soft and smooth!

Face and body scrubs are just a few of the products you can find on Mother Green’s website. She has a small line of products for men, healing balms and salves, essential oil sprays for hair and even an all-natural bug repellant! 

Through her persistence, Hayla, her new husband and daughter were recently able to purchase a location to open their first retail store. There, Hayla sells her own products, as well as the products, artwork, jewelry and creations of other artists and crafters. 

Support small businesses and your local economy! It really is what makes our country’s clock tick. 

If you’d like to shop the Mother Green Way, visit http://www.themothergreenway.com
…or if you’re in the New England region, stop by 40 Thorndike St. Suite J Concord, NH.

A Little Southern Comfort at Buttercup’s Kitchen

I don’t think any of us can truly say that we don’t like splurging on delicious, comforting food once in awhile, especially now that the temperatures are dropping and we can put our salads, green smoothies and bikinis away for the summer! 
Southern comfort food has always been one of my favorites, but since I’ve moved to Arizona, I don’t get to enjoy it as often as I did when I was a country-dweller. That is why I was SO excited to stumble across this mommy-of-three-owned, food service called Buttercup’s Kitchen! She advertises themed menus from her home in Tolleson, where all the magic happens!

I immediately wanted to know as much as I could about this little business, because I’m sure I will be earning my frequent flyer miles! After speaking with the owner and creator, Bianca Earvin, I was even more inspired by her story.
“I have always loved to cook comfort food since I could remember. I was always in the kitchen with both of my grandmothers, mom, aunts, or whoever was cooking”.

Bianca just recently had her third child and needed to take some time off work. She and her husband put their heads together and decided that they could produce a second income from something she loves: cooking! 
“With encouragement from my husband, two preteen sons, family and friends; I decided to give it a try.”

Bianca loves this new business venture and hopes to one day cater full time and open her own restaurant in the Phoenix area. “I can’t wait to expand and eventually share my love of cooking with everyone!” I will definitely be one of the first customers when that day comes!

* To order, text 623-277-6908 (text only)

* Pick-up near 87th and VanBuren, Tolleson, Az

AYL SoundFit Plus Speaker

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I love music. That’s probably no secret, and for as much time as I spend outdoors, until today, I had no means of good music quality for my long days of yard work, gardening and playing with my son. I began looking for a durable, wireless speaker to have for all of our family outings. The AYL SoundFit Plus Speaker was extremely affordable! I was skeptical of ordering online before holding it in my hands first, but when I opened the package, I was immediately happy with my purchase!

The advertising shows it as a bicycle speaker, but the AYL Speaker is light enough to tote around at the beach, hook to a bike, OR even strap it to a Camelback when you hike (which is what I plan on doing soon)! Since I have no hikes planned until the Arizona heat diminishes, I decided to test the speaker in the back yard!

Every evening, I set a sprinkler to water my small garden. I had some other work to do on the far end of the yard, so I set the speaker on the table near the sprinkler, connected the Bluetooth to my phone and started jamming out to some Stephen Marley! The music was loud enough for me to hear anywhere I walked, and the distance of the Bluetooth devices never affected the sound quality! I watched as the AYL speaker was being drenched by the water and it continued to play crystal clear music until my plants were satisfied and my work was done.

I have purchased a few cheap speakers similar to this, and I couldn’t tell you where any of them are. The sound was static, they weren’t water resistant, and they weren’t heavy duty and geared for the rugged outdoors like the SoundFit Plus.
Some of the features are:

*Line in for an aux cord

*Rubber stopper for a water tight seal

*USB charging for universal convenience

*Dust proof, so you can enjoy your favorite music, even at the beach!

Another amazing thing I noticed about this product and the company, is they are enviro-friendly. Their packaging is 100% recyclable and are printed with vegetable-based inks! I can’t wait to check out other products from AYL!

You can get your own AYL Speaker at :

 http://amzn.to/2c1TeYY

#AYLSpeaker

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New Appreciation for Old Litchfield 

I have a slight addiction to new foods, breakfast cocktails and places with a great atmosphere. Luckily, my best friend shares the same addictions as me! While running some errands the other day, I decided to scoop up said friend and check out this little spot on Old Litchfield in Goodyear, called Park Cafe. I have never been to this part of town, but I’m glad it registered on my radar that day. What a great find! 

If you are familiar with the West Valley, you might know that Litchfield Park is a gorgeous little neighborhood, however, I was always under the impression that it was mainly geared toward older folks and snowbirds…I was very wrong! After we parked and started walking down the street, I noticed a whole strip of cute little restaurants and shops. One of the Cantinas was having a breakfast happy hour with mimosas and Bloody Marys at their outdoor bar. There was a large crowd of younger people, loud music and delicious-looking  food.

Park Cafe was at the end of the street, on the corner. We stepped inside only briefly to find a hostess. It was small, but very open and well-lit. We were the only diners who opted for the outdoor seating, which was fine, because we had a lot of chatting to catch up on. Back to my obsession with atmosphere, the outdoor patio was perfect! Every angle of our view had palm tree-lined streets, beautiful housing developments, and behind us, the Wigwam.

We each started with a Bloody Mary. I’m pretty particular about my Marys, and this one won my seal of approval! I ordered the caprese flatbread as my lunch, which was smothered in delicious mozzarella, basil and balsamic (my three favorite things all rolled up in to one meal). 

My lunch date had the Chipotle chicken sandwich, which also looked amazing, and was highly recommended by our server.

My portion of the bill came to $17.29. Overall, a great, affordable lunch with great company! I can’t wait to return to Old Litchfield and check out the rest of the scene!