Tuft & Needle

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Shannon Severson   Young, successful innovators use their software development backgrounds to take a startup from problem-solving idea to multimillion dollar industry breakthrough. It sounds like a Silicon Valley Cinderella story, but it’s happening right here in Phoenix at online mattress retailer Tuft & Needle.   John-Thomas “JT” Marino and Daehee Park were longtime friends who met at Penn State University and were burning the candle at both ends at an early stage, heavily financed Palo Alto, California software company. They had tossed around the idea of starting their own company for a long time, but didn’t want to follow the same old formula: become a founder, then find an idea to build a company around, followed by collecting massive amounts of investors’ cash to get things going, all while working endless hours until a buyout makes everyone involved massively wealthy.   “We wanted to do it differently,” says Marino. “We wanted to look at our own... More

Behind the Scenes: Four Phantoms

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Rebecca Zaner   “Softly, deftly, music shall surround you …”   On August 12-13, the music of the night at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort will feature “The Four Phantoms,” a brand new national tour featuring four of the most iconic stars of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “The Phantom of the Opera”: Brent Barrett, Franc D’Ambrosio, Davis Gaines and Marcus Lovett. Each of these actors have performed the role of Phantom in professional venues on and off Broadway during their careers.   The new concert will include beloved songs from the show, as well as other Broadway favorites from “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “Miss Saigon,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “West Side Story” and more. The four artists will also be joined by Kaley Ann Voorhees, the youngest female performer to play the role of Christine in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.   Brent Barrett performed in the Las Vegas production of... More

Luxury Urban Living

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Grace Hill   A new era in luxury home development has emerged in Arizona. Homebuyers are being seduced by a more upscale, urban lifestyle — one where they are in the heart of the city, with easy access to high-end shopping, trendsetting dining destinations, art districts and local music venues.   In order to meet this lifestyle demand, a slew of impressive homes are being built as close to main streets as possible. These homes are masterfully designed and full of modern luxury. Resort-style features permeate throughout, including concierge services; gorgeous rooftop and courtyard gardens; sophisticated and upscale interior amenities; one-of-a-kind mountain and city views; secure indoor parking; sprawling entertainment spaces; and so much more.   No detail has been overlooked and no expense has been spared. Luxury living is now possible in areas bursting with life.   Contour on Campbell Avenue Located in Phoenix’s character-rich Campbell Avenue, Contour offers more than... More

Going with the Grain: Daniel Germani Designs

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Michael Woodall
Writer Shannon Severson   For Daniel Germani, furniture design began as a creative outlet, not as something he thought would become his livelihood. Today, his furniture; residential and commercial interior design; and skilled architectural renovation are in demand, drawing attention both here in Phoenix and around the world.   Originally from Argentina, Germani first studied architecture at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, then spent the next eight years pursuing entrepreneurial and creative projects in Rome, Madrid, Brussels, London and Amsterdam. In 1998, he landed in Phoenix to pursue his master’s in international management from Thunderbird. His now uber-successful career as a furniture designer began simply, as a way to reconnect with his passion for design.   “I decided to return to it slowly, designing small furniture pieces that would give me a flavor of seeing and touching something I created and built,” says Germani. “More commissions started coming my way, and... More

Flamenco Flair

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Rebecca Zaner   Originating in Southern Spain, flamenco dance is known around the world for its Spanish attributes and sensual movements. Heavily influenced by Spanish culture, flamenco portrays an array of human emotion through notorious expression, power and passion.   Julia Chacon is a local choreographer and flamenco dancer, born in New Mexico, but raised in Arizona. Her local dance company, Inspiración Flamenca, was founded in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2008 before relocating to Phoenix, where Julia remains the artistic director. Inspiración Flamenca's mission is to “share a connection; to celebrate the community nature of flamenco and to promote cultural understanding through this rich and complex art.”   “When I started my dance company, I named it Inspiración Flamenca because it translates to ‘flamenco inspiration,’ and I know how much it can inspire,” Julia shared of the first stage of building her company. “I have always loved teaching. My mom was an... More

One Plate at a Time

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Katherine Braden   I follow Christiane Barbato across her backyard and into a small white hut. Inside, dozens of unglazed clay pots and bowls rest upside-down on shelves, waiting. It’s bright and dusty, and the air smells earthy, like dirt and sunshine. A long table stands in the middle. Christiane turns to me, smiling.   “This is my studio,” she says.   For Christiane, it all officially started a few years ago. Unhappy with the plates she had at home, she decided to make her own. She’d been making pottery since high school, but it had always been a hobby. Once friends saw her homemade plates, however, they asked if they could order some for themselves.   With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business, Christiane sensed an opportunity. She sold to her friends and started a website, putting her work online. In 2013, she relocated to a house in Phoenix. But there was a problem: The door of her new home was a nasty shade of green. Undeterred, Christiane painted... More

Recipe: Strawberry Champagne Granita

2016-07-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Monica Longenbaker
Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker   If you are craving a reprieve from the soaring temperatures this summer, this Strawberry Champagne Granita is a refreshing frozen treat that is also incredibly easy to make. As opposed to sorbets, which tend to be creamy and dense, granitas are icier and airier in texture and require no fancy machinery. In this recipe, fresh strawberries are pureed, then simply popped into the freezer and scraped over time until flaky. Adding some bubbly Champagne to the strawberries takes this refreshment to the next level, resulting in a fruity, invigorating treat that’s definitely worthy of a toast.   Strawberry Champagne Granita Yield: Serves 4   1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 cup Brut Champagne 1 teaspoon lemon juice   Directions:   Place the strawberries and sugar into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Optional: Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the... More

Bow, Barn and Brush: Alex Bauwens

2016-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Shannon Severson   There’s never been a time when art and horses haven’t been defining elements in the life of Alex Bauwens. An accomplished professional artist, the 27-year-old has found her true home in Arizona, a place where she can paint and pursue her passion for horses, mounted archery and competitive reining — and be part of a thriving community of creatives.   Bauwens is constantly on the move, yet nothing she does centers on immediate gratification. It’s antithetical to today’s fast-paced, wait-for-nothing mentality. Each accomplishment has been carefully prepared for, studied, shaped and earned.   “I started riding and drawing when I was 3 or 4,” says Bauwens. “My mom is an artist and she rode horses. Riding was my reward. If I could sit at the barn and draw while she was riding, I would get to ride after she was finished.”   In fact, there wasn’t much young Alex wouldn’t do to get the chance to be on a horse. She pulled weeds, mucked stalls,... More

Go Beyond Off the Shelf: Patrick Gibbons Handmade

2016-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Patrick Gibbons Handmade
Writer Lara Piu   Whether it seems like yesterday or decades ago, in 2008 you were likely affected by the housing collapse and economic recession. For North Scottsdale resident Patrick Gibbons, it marked the end of a flourishing business and successful career in land development, but it was also a chance to shake things up.   “I thought, here’s an opportunity to do something different with my life,” Patrick recalls. “So I asked myself, ‘What would you do tomorrow if you could do anything?’”   The answer came quick and easy: golf. Patrick was not on track to be a professional golfer, but he had an appreciation for high-quality golf accessories, thanks to his grandfather. In fact, at the end of his life, Patrick asked his grandfather to leave him one thing: his golf bag.   “It was an old bag that he had for decades, but I liked that it was made in the U.S., and that it had a quality that had nothing to do with today’s disposable society,” he says.   Starting with... More

An Ode to Whiskey

2016-06-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
Writer Amanda Christmann   Lance Carver leans back in his chair, happily worn from a good day’s work. Pausing for a moment, he raises a tulip-shaped glass to his nose and takes a hearty whiff.   “The first thing is the scent,” he explains, then holds the amber liquid under his nose once again, taking a calm, deep breath.   “That first sniff clears your nostrils. It’s the second and third sniffs that give you some of the true flavors of a good whiskey.”   With that, he takes a small sip and rolls it around his tongue, then swallows and smiles. Whiskey is a drink that has personality and distinction of its own. It defines its enthusiasts as much as they define it, and Carver seems to fit the image.   By day, the longtime Arizona resident can be found outdoors, hiking, biking and enjoying all that the desert foothills have to offer. As hard as he plays, he works even harder. By evening, he manages Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, one of the busiest restaurants in the... More

Sculpting Space: Elizabeth Rosensteel

2016-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted by Elizabeth Rosensteel
Writer Shannon Severson   Resourcefulness and reinvention is in Elizabeth Rosensteel’s DNA. Her interior design firm, Rosensteel Design Studio, is the culmination of many years — and careers — that have molded who she is today: an artist, furniture designer, sculptor, art director, inventor. Even further back, Rosensteel recalls stories of her maternal grandfather, an artist and organic gardener (before sustainability was a “thing”), and her industrious grandmother, who supported the family by weaving, making lace and working as a furrier — anything to keep her family afloat on the sparse income of an artist.   This combination of hard work and creative talent lives on in Rosensteel, but did draw concern from her mother, who feared her daughter would encounter the same hardships she had as a girl.   “I don’t think my grandparents even had running water until 1972,” says Rosensteel. “My mother said to me as I was growing up, ‘If you go into any form of the arts,... More

Against the Wind: Jason Magee Takes a Swing at Conventional Golf

2016-06-04 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
Writer Nigel Spence   Below the Titleist ball cap and latest threads that Peter Millar has to offer, Jason Magee is a little more complex than meets the eye. To the casual observer, he looks like an average golf professional. He calls a patch of turf at the southern end of the McCormick Ranch Golf Club driving range his office and, like most instructors, his golf bag, embossed with his name, is overflowing with training clubs, swing aids, gizmos and gadgets.   But spend a little time with Jason and you will find he is as generous as he is sarcastic, and as self-deprecating as he is confident.   Most of all, he is devoted to making a difference in the golf industry.   Born and raised in small town Louisiana, Jason was not exposed to country club life. While other pros grew up taking aim on carefully manicured greens, Jason perfected his swing on the family farm, using animals in distant pastures as targets.   “If I could make them move, then I figured I’d hit a good shot,” he... More

Growing Community: The Orchard Phx

2016-06-03 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer Shannon Severson   Step onto the two-acre grounds of The Orchard Phx and and you’re hit with the keen desire to relax and stay awhile. What began as a citrus farm in the early 1900s is now an unexpected oasis in Central Phoenix, mixing old and new elements to create a space that feels warm and welcoming — as if it has always been here. The signature water tower, representing the well on the property, is surrounded by pomelo trees, and the scent from the 80 citrus trees on the property perfumes the air. With three different dining options and ample outdoor space, it’s certain to become a favorite for couples, families and large groups.   “We are here to celebrate Arizona, the history of Phoenix and the five Cs of Arizona: cotton, copper, citrus, cattle and climate,” says Lucia Schnitzer, one of the owners of the project, along with her husband, Ken, and partner, Jerry Mansoor. “We have tried to capture that in the decor and on the menu. We hope that we have created... More

The Next Stage: Desert Stages Theatre

2016-05-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Desert Stages Theatre
Writer Rebecca Zaner   For more than 20 years, Desert Stages Theatre has called Scottsdale home. In 1995, auditions for its first production, “The Ugly Duckling,” were held in the parking lot of Scottsdale Fashion Square. Gerry and Laurie Cullity, co-founders and executive directors, auditioned 13 young hopefuls, all of whom were cast in the first of what would become more than 250 productions.   Gerry was a classically trained musician holding a master’s degree in fine arts from the Mason Gross School of Fine Arts. His career included jobs as an actor, director, playwright, lyricist and musician. Sadly, Gerry passed away a few years ago, leaving Laurie to continue the success of the theater alone. Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from Rutgers University and spent the majority of her life owning and operating dance schools.   “Gerry was a humble actor when we met in New Jersey,” Laurie shares of their beginning. “I was passionate for dance and musical theater.... More

Paper Dresses: Annie Lopez

2016-05-26 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Donna Kublin   Over the past several decades, nationally exhibited artist Annie Lopez has consistently created new bodies of work exploring a variety of subjects. Through it, she presents a dialogue about race, stereotypes, the local art world, relationships and family, all done with a combination of frankness and humor.   A fourth-generation Phoenix resident, Lopez was recently honored with the 2016 Governor’s Arts Award for individual artist. Her work has been exhibited at museums across the country, including “Paper!” at the Phoenix Art Museum; “American Voices” at the Smithsonian Institution; “The Show” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe; “In Celebration: A Century of Arizona Women Artists,” which traveled throughout Arizona; and, most recently, “Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period” at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. Two of her pieces are currently on exhibit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New... More