I heart Arizona

Happy 100th Birthday, Arizona. I do love this weird, wily place and am proud that my ancestors helped settle the state. It’s still home to the people I love most.

Scarlett and I made Arizona a birthday cupcake, and I scoped out a few more valentines to Arizona below.

(And here’s why Arizona’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day: We were originally slated for statehood on Feb. 12, but the calendar czars in Washington, D.C. thought that would be disrespectful to the memory of Pres. Abraham Lincoln, since Feb. 12 is his birthday. And Feb. 13 seemed unlucky, so the 14th it was.)

Arizona Valentines:

State love, $30.

Mirror, $135.

Roots, $40 (available in many colors).

Grand Canyon dreaming, $15.

Wear your love $17.50.

City skylines, $20. (Tucson also available.)


Because no one is really from Arizona, $30.

Say cheese, $40.

Vintage map print in sunset colors — download and print your own, $4.

Customize to your personal color palette, $25.

Cities on the grid: $12.50

Couch love, $158.

Home is wherever I’m with you, $17.75.


By |2012-02-22T07:48:40-07:00February 22nd, 2012|Style|0 Comments

The post in which we all gain five pounds

I hope you’re hungry.

One, it’s Arizona Restaurant Week. The girls and I are going to Beckett’s Table. T and I have French-themed plans. My friend and fellow reporter Richard Ruelas has already been to Petite Maison (below)and brought rave reviews to work this morning. Also good ideas: Binkley’s (if you can get in), Christopher’s, Citizen Public House, Vincent’s, House of Tricks.  Mangia, mangia — you have through Saturday night.

Two, a happy date night discovery: Chris Bianco’s sandwich haven — Pane Bianco on Central — is now serving those killer Pizzeria Bianco pies. We ventured in at 7 p.m., shared a wood-roasted appetizer plate, a pizza with pistachios on top, and chocolate Italian ice.

(And if you didn’t know, Pizzeria Bianco is now open for lunch, and on Mondays, so 11-10 pm almost every single day, and THERE IS ALMOST NO LINE. Yes. Glorious.) Pane closes at 8 p.m., pizza for dinner only. While you’re there: buy some of Chris Bianco’s gorgeous canned tomatoes to make sauce at home. He drew the label’s letters. His dad painted the tomatoes. This is a man who believes in handmade things. (Photo courtesy Carrie at Cracking Good, one of my favorite Phoenix reads.)

Three, and you really do NOT want to know this, but Tammie Coe is now making and serving maple bacon scones on Saturdays. Yes, that’s right: buttery scones, filled with bacon bits, and a maple glaze on top.  Also . . . that’s just the beginning.

Also on Tammie’s menu these days: Crack Cake, named for good reason. It’s basically a truffle in the shape of a kit-kat bar, and I will be serving these svelte (hah) little sticks on top of scoops of store-bought ice cream for all future parties. I can’t make anything that tastes better. They have them right now at the Roosevelt Street shop, just in case you need one immediately.

Also this:

I haven’t had one yet, but I’ve heard the Buddha Bar legend from people who know how I feel about marshmallows. And Butterscotch. And evil.

So, yeah. I need to go find some lunch now. The salad I planned sounds sad indeed. And this, my friends, is why one should never blog at lunchtime.

By |2011-09-19T18:05:10-07:00September 19th, 2011|Travel|2 Comments

Forty-two pounds of peaches, Angela, and me

On a Saturday morning in May, Angela and I donned hats and trekked out to Schnepf Farms to pick Arizona peaches. We laughed the whole way. It felt like the drive took 10 minutes.

It was a glorious day – a rare cool morning – and our hats (and Angela’s British accent) were the hit of the farm.

We bit into the juiciest, sweetest peaches of our lives. I think I ate 10. Possibly 13.

We picked piles — 42 pounds between us. We played “photo shoot,” giggling at our getups.

In one of the trees, Angela found a tiny bird’s nest with elfin eggs tucked inside.

We went into the Schnepf Farms Country Store, where we loaded up on jam and syrup and peach salsa. And then, we saw this:

Pancakes, with fresh peaches and whipped cream. Bacon, too. Owner Carrie Schnepf (at right) insisted that we sit and partake. We obeyed. (And yes, sugar-free me happily caved. It was worth every bite.) We told Carrie it was the best thing we’d ever eaten.

And so she brought us into the bakery and showed us these:

Handmade cinnamon rolls the size of your face, with fresh peaches inside. When they’re finished baking, Carrie slathers them with icing she makes out of peach juice.

So we tasted one of those, too. After, we headed to the Olive Mill, the Pork Shop, and my dad’s garden to raid his tomatoes. In the end, I felt like this:


By |2011-05-15T20:54:30-07:00May 15th, 2011|Travel|0 Comments

Localove: Gazing Arizona

Loving where you live is currently a stylish little movement.  All over, there are T-shirts and  wall art offerings that pay homage to the places we call home. Arizona has some pretty cool products. Behold:

From  I Heart Mesa: the diving lady sign on a T-shirt. This classic piece of neon is a fixture outside the Starlite Motel on Main Street, and something I’ve loved since I was a little girl. I grew up in the East Valley, and when I was really little, Main Street was where you went for dinner . . . say, King’s Table, or Pizza Mart, or Ned’s Krazy Subs (OK, on Broadway, but close enough.)

Also from I Heart Mesa, a state love shirt:

I’m pretty into this sunrise photograph of the diving lady sign on Etsy, $20:

I appreciate local artist Jason Hill and his ability to make our cool places look even cooler when they’re framed on our walls, like so:

I also appreciate tHill’s new T-shirt design featuring the Westward Ho — a favorite of mine — and available in many colors at local shop Holy Pinata, $25.

(Holy Pinata also offers this:)

More from Jason Hill: chair prints, also in his Etsy shop.

You can show Phoenix pride on your car or your upper half with the the Frances classic: first a bumper sticker, now also a T-shirt.

This print is available in varied day-glo shades, from the JanuaryJones shop on Etsy, $12:

Printable versions of our state in many patterns, $10:

And here’s some love for our adopted summer hometown of San Diego/Coronado from Orange and Park, $22 to $30 — and these prints are the ones I’m actually buying, because I believe in delusional decorating.

By |2011-04-12T14:03:49-07:00April 12th, 2011|Style|2 Comments

Thanksgiving decor from the back yard (in hot pink and brown)

I got up early this morning. Really early. I made a grocery list. I made plans. I made cranberry-orange sauce, squeezing fresh orange juice until my whole kitchen smelled lovely.

Right now there are cranberries popping on the stove. Tyson said, “Tonight we need to bake, right?”

We. I love that. He makes the pumpkin cheesecake every year — and he’s so excited about it. It’s cute.

This week I’m posting my Thanksgiving table greatest hits — everything and anything you can use to decorate your table. We begin with the most recent: Saturday’s story about using recession-friendly decor from your backyard. This surprised me — it turned out really gorgeous.

Yes, those are bouganvillea — they’re so happy outside right now. They think Thanksgiving is all about them.

I used creeping fig as napkin rings – it twisted really easily.

An urn rimmed with citrus leaves and topped with a pumpkin makes for a pretty placecard holder. You can also use the citrus leaves as an old-fashioned candle bobeche — traditionally used to catch dripping wax.















Everyone has a little lantana — or at least the community planter near your house has some. (Confession: that’s where I got mine.) Cut it and put it in tiny vases or (like these) votive candle holders.

I use citrus leaves to decorate all the platters – put them around your turkey, garnish the dessert plates — everything. (This is Tammie Coe’s pumpkin pie. Ever had one? Amazing. It’s a wonder why any of us bother to bake.)

So, what do you think? A hot pink and chocolate brown Thanksgiving table? Why not?

Photos by Michael McNamara.

By |2010-11-01T03:31:47-07:00November 1st, 2010|Parties|2 Comments


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