Grassfed Beef

2014-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson   If you’ve noticed that everything from fashion to food has a way of swinging wide then circling back around to its roots, you’re not alone. After years of shrinking, cell phones are back on their way up in size; disconnecting from the Internet for days at a time is once again all the rage; and retro-inspired looks are popping up in closets and living rooms with new vigor. What’s old is now new, and there is perhaps no better example than what’s making its way to our dining room tables.   Less than a decade ago, few people had heard the term “slow food,” and “organic” and “sustainability” were hippie terms that were scoffed at with mistrust. That’s no surprise, since convenience in the form of fast food, processed dinners and engineered “food-like products” have been a thread of our American fabric for nearly half a century.   According to highly acclaimed author Michael Pollan (“In Defense of Food” and “The... More

Excuse me, There’s an iceberg on your skin: Why skin cancer kills and how to prevent it

2014-06-29 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

On June 16, 2011, a killer tried to perpetrate harm on Shelby Voss. A police report wasn’t filed, but an advocate emerged.   When Shelby was 31, the killer showed up in the form of a mole on her back. “My husband and mother pestered me to get it looked at, so I finally did,” says the young Cave Creek mom.   The mole was determined to be melanoma. “It was pretty bad,” recalls Shelby, explaining that skin cancer is considered a silent killer because, although it’s thought of as topical, it can sneak back in any form. When it does, it spreads quickly, typically targeting the organs.   Now she has a life-long commitment to regular checkups and warning others. “I’ll live with this forever,” she says, noting friends who use tanning beds and tan outside.   Another young mom she knows lost the fight. “I didn’t’ really understand skin cancer before this, and I know most people don’t realize that the threat of skin cancer is very high,” says Shelby.   In fact,... More

Dominique Troyanos Breaking Language Barriers

2014-06-27 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Barb Evans Photographer Jerri Parness When Cactus Shadows senior Dominique Troyanos entered first grade at Desert Willow Elementary School in 2003, her classroom looked like any other classroom at the school: desks were neatly arranged, books were organized by subject, and colorful educational pictures decorated the walls. But she knew her first-grade experience was going to be different than some of her peers, because half of her day would be taught in a foreign language – Spanish.   Dominique’s mother had enrolled her in a new program the Cave Creek Unified School District initiated that year, Spanish immersion. As part of the program, Dominique and her classmates would be “immersed” in the language by learning math and science in Spanish, and language arts and social studies in English.   “I remember being so scared on the first day of school because I thought ‘I’m not going to understand anything (the teacher) says; all the posters are in Spanish,’”... More

Amber Hochstatter: Tennis Star

2014-06-24 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Young Anthem tennis star Amber Hochstatter has learned quite a few things on her way to becoming nationally ranked in the Top 10 of her grade. They all boil down to two key lessons.   Lesson 1: Older opponents will try to intimidate you and stop short of nothing to win. At one of her first tournaments, when she was just 7, she couldn’t reach high enough to turn the card keeping score. Her opponent, who was 12, turned the cards when she won, but refused to turn the card for Amber. As a result, Amber lost. Which leads to Lesson 2, preached by Juraj Sekera, Amber’s first coach: “You learn more when you lose than when you win.”   Amber Hochstatter does not like to lose. She is a quiet, shy 11-year-old, about average for her age at 5-foot-2, 100 pounds. But get her on the tennis court and she flips a switch and becomes a fierce competitor.   “She’s a little shy when you first meet her,” says Jon Perran, her coach, “but she gets out on the court and she’s an animal out... More

Marcella Baietto: More than Beauty

2014-06-22 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Sixteen-year-old Marcella Baietto will be spending her summer this year preparing for something she’s never done before: competing in a pageant. The Anthem teenager will compete with other girls from across the state for the title of Miss Arizona Junior Teen at the National American Miss pageant in Scottsdale July 19.   It’s the title, not the tiara, that Baietto is aiming for. She set the goal for herself because she wants to represent Arizona and meet people across the state, but admits she’s not one for glamour and glitz. “I’m trying to do it in a different way than what a typical pageant contestant would do,” she says. “I’m not glitzy at all, but I think that will help me. I don’t want to be just another sparkle up there!”   Baietto entered the pageant after a friend referred her. When she got the letter in the mail inviting her to attend the open call, she immediately thought of the show “Toddlers and Tiaras.”   “I wanted to see if the pageant... More

Harmony in Space

2014-06-22 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Werner Segarra
Writer Donna Kublin   Photography by Werner Segarra Elizabeth’s portrait photographed by Allison Tyler Jones Interior designer Elizabeth Rosensteel is thrilled to be living in Carefree. “Carefree suits us beautifully and I have never been happier,” said Rosensteel who with her husband, Barry, moved there last October after spending 21 years in Paradise Valley.   “This area is stunning with its unique mountain ranges, coloration and ecosystem,” she said. “Contemporary architecture fits so well in this landscape as it blends and becomes part of the surroundings, and well-designed interiors complement it all.”   She would know. Owner of successful interior design firm Rosensteel Design Studio, which opened in 1999, she is known for her timeless, contemporary and architecturally driven interior design.   Her history in Arizona began when she moved to the Valley in 1978 from the East Coast and began a winding path leading where she is today. Trained in graphic design,... More

The Man Who Gives

2014-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Dennis Mitchem, a cherished figure affectionately known around Phoenix as “Denny,” was getting a bunch of wrong-number calls; apparently, the answering service for a physician’s office gave patients the wrong number, which turned out to be Denny’s.   He took the inconvenience with patient good nature, even joking with one caller about how federal budget cuts were probably were behind the mishap. Amongst the wrong numbers was an intentional dial, son Scott Mitchem calling his father “to hit me up for a donation.”   Ah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, even a sturdy, far-reaching tree with limbs stretching out farther and farther, wherever fruit is needed, wherever giving will help.   For most of his 83 years (his birthday was May 26), Denny Mitchem has been giving. When not being hit up for donations, he is often putting the arm on friends and colleagues to make contributions to non-profits around Phoenix. On top of that, he has served on dozens of committees,... More

ARTWORK: With Wit, Wisdom and Wonder

2014-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken,” the words of Oscar Wilde, are the inspiration and title of a painting by nationally-known artist Nicolette Bonnstetter. In her piece, a Raggedy Ann doll is suspended upside down and seems to be metaphorically “spilling” her experiences and impressions of her world portrayed by a conglomeration of objects. While Bonnstetter has her interpretation, she encourages the viewer to make his or her own.   Part of Bonnsetter’s new series based on quotes by Wilde, known for his wit and comedic plays, other pieces include: “Hear no evil, speak no evil and you’ll never be invited to a party”; “I’m not young enough to know everything”; and, “The world is my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.” The interplay of objects, design and color tells a story that relates to the quote and the resulting image is intriguing.   Exploring concepts, ideas, relationships and memories, Bonnstetter’s artwork is full of imagination, vibrant colors... More

Push Ups for Veterans

2014-05-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Lynsi Freitag Cory Schidler blends his passion for fitness with his passion for public service. He is not only the owner of local athletic gym Core Fitness, but Schidler is also a national guardsman and reservist, positions he has held for over 16 years. So when Schidler heard about the Push-Ups for Charity Event with the slogan: “Get Fit. Have Fun. Make a Difference,” he knew he had to be involved.   “Being in the fitness business, I wanted to find a charity that is fun and promotes fitness, but also contributes to those who serve our country,” explains Schidler.   The annual fundraiser raises awareness and support for military veterans and their families by challenging teams of participants to complete as many push-ups as they can in 90 seconds. Individuals collect donations and pledges based on the number of push-ups they complete, or for simply finishing the challenge.   “Veterans are near and dear to my heart,” says Schidler. “These men and women are... More

The Color of Music: Tales of an Era in Rock & Roll Photography

2014-05-15 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Amanda Christmann Larson Photography by Celtic Serenity Photography, Cat Wyatt, Bill Watters and Kim Prince of Proven Media Before the days of American Idol and iTunes, there were bands who reached superstar status not by shotgun exposure to the masses, but by making music that people liked and playing stages in hole-in-the wall bars and ballrooms. If bands were lucky, they could get bookings in concert halls where they’d play for a couple of hundred people. A few of these groups made it big, earning appearances on black and white television, their music playing on record players throughout the country.   The UK was no different. In fact, in the early 1960s, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London were all incubators for a young, new sound: voices that would define a generation like never before. Alongside these bands were a small number of people hidden behind camera lenses. It was through their eyes that the world would get to know some of the most memorable icons of... More

Hope Will Always Whisper

2014-05-04 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Facing life’s curveballs is part of what it means to be human. Challenges come in all sizes and forms – big and small, physical and emotional. At times, obstacles can seem insurmountable. It feels far less painful to withdraw inward, when in actuality these are the moments when we desperately need to make a connection, to bond with someone who will provide peace and comfort to us during difficult times and above all, give us hope.   For children with special needs, companionship may not always come easily in the form of friends or family members – at least not the two-legged variety. Fostering connections with pets has long been encouraged, and numerous studies tout the benefits of animal therapies, such as those with dogs or horses.   The people who work for Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation know that sometimes, help can also come from unexpected confidantes: a llama, goat or donkey. Maybe even a turkey, goose, duck or peacock. The source doesn’t matter. Hope given from these... More

The Frisell Show Highlights Magnificent Month of May at MIM

2014-05-04 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Bill Frisell is the kind of master musician that places like Seattle’s Experience Music Project and north Scottsdale’s Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) were built to honor.   Bill Frisell’s thrilling, half-century partnership with the electric guitar brings him to the MIM May 17. For years, the Seattle resident’s guitar has been instantly recognizable for its meditative, crisp, slightly playful character. Though he is normally described as a jazz musician, Frisell is not one to be pigeon-holed, as the New York Times noted: “Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he’s found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play.” Frisell has long been a favorite of American music critics who value his creativity, sincerity and depth – setting him apart from our era of aloof, somewhat cynical pop.   His records aren’t platinum; they’re just priceless.   In recent years, Frisell has been somewhat fixated on the music of John Lennon. His May 17 concert... More

The Balladeer: Dolan Ellis

2014-04-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson Photographer Bryan Black Dolan Ellis is an Arizonan inconveniently plunked into the Kansas prairie at birth. Grains of wheat and herds of cattle may have surrounded young Dolan in his formative years, but cactus-studded sunrises and rolling monsoons have always been the rhythm of his heart and the beat of his soulful ballads.   For nearly five decades, Dolan Ellis has been singing the songs whispered to him through the howls of coyotes and the cooing of mourning doves. As Arizona’s first and only official state balladeer – named so by former governor Sam Goddard and redesignated by each of the 11 governors in the 48 years since – Dolan takes his job, and the evolving legacy he is leaving, seriously.   He is, above all, a performer; but you won’t catch this crooner compromising his message of nothing less than pure love for the state where he’s hung his hat and parked his boots for over half a century.   It wasn’t music that first brought... More

Chasing A Dream

2014-04-27 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Peni Long Photographer Bryan Black   When young, newly married Susan Thompson underwent the trauma of a radical hysterectomy in 1972, she began taking a prescription drug to manage her condition – a drug first created in 1942. Like anyone else at that time, she followed the doctor’s orders and had no idea of the source of the drug, just that she would need to take it for the rest of her life.   Six months after the hysterectomy, she and her husband moved to Lake Havasu to be near her parents. “Waiting for me there was a horse named Golden Boy. He was my first horse and really helped me survive pain and disappointment. He was part of my life for 33 years.”   Then in 2002, she saw a headline: “Premarin Horses Go to Slaughter.” That was her drug, the one that was supposed to be her life partner as a woman. But what she read was to change everything. What she read led her to believe that she had unknowingly contributed to the abuse and death of many mares and their... More

April 22: A Broken Badge Healed? The FBI, a Special Agent, and the Cancer within Both

2014-04-20 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

  Visit the Desert Foothills Library from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 22 for an interesting and provocative presentation as former FBI Special Agent Frederic Donner traces the FBI’s history and provides a thoughtful commentary on its structure and operations, drawing parallels from his own battle with cancer. As a 20-year veteran, Donner has worked primarily in undercover capacities, combating narcotics and terrorism in cities around the United States and the world. This experience has allowed him to closely observe the transformation of the bureau from a predominantly crime-fighting group to one that combats terrorism domestically and abroad. Signed books will be available for purchase. Seating is limited, please register by phone.   480-488-2286 More