Celebrate the Spirit of Craftsmanship

2015-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Whether you’re a craft beer regular or have just wondered what the fuss is all about, you’re in for a treat this month. The Real, Wild & Woody Craft Beer Festival is coming to the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, bringing with it 50 of Arizona’s most outstanding home grown breweries and their caches of original brews, beer cocktails and other small batch favorites.   It’s a fantastic four-hour event featuring beer, beer and more beer, with paired food favorites from some of the Valley’s best restaurants. It lasts from 2 to 6 p.m. (just enough time for a relaxing afternoon getaway) and promises to be an event you’ll remember in the beer aisle for months to come. To get in the mood, let’s take a walk down memory lane into an abridged (and very loosely translated) history of beer.   Sometime around 5500 B.C., early man figured out that barley and yeast stuck in water under the hot sun would eventually form a broth-like substance that could form alcohol. Eventually,... More

Trail Blazers

2015-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Brenna Zumbro
They whir through the desert nearly stealth-like, their breath a hard, steady rhythm as pedals and chains whisper in sync, driving treaded tires harder, faster along winding, dusty trails. Over rocks and around cholla-rimmed curves, the mountain biker becomes part of the desert landscape, developing a rhythm and flow, leaving behind only the imprint of rubber tracks in dirt.   According to the International Mountain Biking Association, more than 40 million people spend time on mountain bikes in the United States each year. It’s an astounding number for a sport believed to have originated in northern California as recent as the late 1970s. The combination of exercise, challenge, outdoor experience and ever-evolving gear has led casual and hard-core riders alike to take the trails on two wheels.   With hundreds of miles of trails ranging from tranquil toodles to technical tests of skill and balance, it’s no wonder that the North Valley is quickly becoming a mountain bike... More


2015-04-27 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Enjoy a great round of golf at two of Scottsdale’s premier private golf courses while supporting St. Vincent de Paul and other local charities at this event sponsored by Carefree’s Knights of Columbus, Council #11116. 11:30 a.m. Troon Country Club, 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr.; Desert Highlands Golf Club, 10040 E. Happy Valley Rd., 480-616-5321, More

Anthem Gem and Mineral Show

2015-03-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

The Daisy Mountain Rock and Mineral Club hosts this show featuring more than 25 vendors showcasing gems, minerals, fossils, jewelry, beads and geodes, many of which are found in Arizona. $3, adults; $2, seniors and students; children 5 and under, free. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Diamond Canyon School, 40004 N. Liberty Bell Way, 978-460-1528, More

ProMusica Arizona Presents “The Unpredictable Adventures of Henry Hicklebee”

2015-03-18 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

This one-of-a-kind concert experience features classical music and audience participation to help Henry Hicklebee choose the next stage in his journey of personal discovery. Check website for times and ticket prices. Camelback Bible Church, 3900 E. Stanford Dr., 623-326-5172, More

March Man-ness at The Manor Open House

2015-03-14 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Celebrate manliness with a straight-razor shave, beverages and complimentary shoe shine, or kick back in the Vitality Lounge featuring men’s hormone therapies, energy boosts, hair services and more. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Manor, 20945 N. Pima Rd., 480-636-8911, More

A Love of Antique Automobiles Spans Three Generations

2014-12-13 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Barb Evans     Arizona will soon become heaven on earth for thousands of classic car collectors and antique automobile aficionados when collector car week converges upon the Valley next month. Numerous car auctions, sales and events, most notably Barrett-Jackson’s auction at WestWorld, will take place in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Among the crowd will be my husband, son and father-in-law, who have had the week circled on their calendars since last year.   When Steve and I married 17 years ago, I knew he was passionate about antique cars. After all, he had picked me up in a 1963 Buick Riviera on our first date, and one of the requirements for when we were planning our wedding was to not schedule it for the first weekend in October, the standing date for the Antique Automobile Club of America’s annual Fall Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to which he had gone with his father every year since he was 7 years old. But not until a few years ago did I realize that I should have added... More

5 Arts Circle

2014-12-07 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Donna Kublin     Efforts to keep the arts alive in the Phoenix metro area take many innovative forms, all with a large measure of dedication, commitment and passion.   One such effort began 15 years ago with an idea that has led to nearly $4 million being raised for five of the Valley’s premier arts groups: Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Cultural Council and the Phoenix Symphony.   Know as 5 Arts Circle, its founder, Howard Hirsch, conceived the idea on a golf course in December 1999, a time when Arizona’s population was booming but donations to the arts were not. Hirsch issued a challenge within his foursome to enhance cultural offerings in the Valley by supporting five Phoenix arts groups. They responded by not only writing their own checks, but also going on to secure additional private donations. Thus began the membership-based non-profit, which today has 50 members and 10 corporate partners.   “We are thrilled to be celebrating 15... More

Desert Reach Program Reaches Out

2014-12-07 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Peni Long     As the Desert Awareness Committee (DAC) turns 40 this year, its Desert Reach program turns 10 — and has so far reached more than 5,000 students. The creative and organizational talents behind this flagship program are Diane Vaszily and Fran Wylie. Both came to Arizona from different parts of the country, but with their training, talents and dedication are now focused on a mutual goal of fulfilling the DAC’s mission to “educate all in understanding, conserving and preserving our fragile desert, its plants and animals, its water and wildlife.”   Volunteers Making a Difference for the Future Diane is first and foremost an environmental educator. Since joining the DAC in 1992, she has been an advocate for our desert resources.   “Personally, it is important to me for people who live in or visit an area to understand how it functions, how it fits into the larger ecosystem and especially how it impacts them,” she says.   Diane brings a substantial... More

Ageless Spirit

2014-12-06 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Donna Kublin   “The spirit never ages,” said Chilean writer Isabel Allende. Giving testament to this truism is an exhibit of artwork by three accomplished, passionate, professional artists at the Holland Gallery of Fine Art this December.   On display are works by master printmaker Ann Otis, abstract-expressionist painter Kay Orton and Hank Keneally, who integrates digital art, photography and painting. With their 238 years of combined experience, they are shown together for the first time with more than 50 art pieces representing a body of work that reflects on the past and looks forward into the future. The exhibit is a completely modern expression of art and the artists, all in their 70s or 80s, are ardent, energetic and full of spirit.   Ann Otis is a storyteller. Using her prints as visual means of communication, she comments about life, culture and nature, keeping a light touch and a bit of humor throughout, as well as a measure of fantasy. Working with copper plate... More

Clarkdale Comes Into its Own

2014-12-04 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Suzanne Wright   I settle into my first-class seat in the Sedona car. Brandon, who introduces himself as the bartender for our ride, is offering passengers their choice of champagne or apple cider. I opt for the former and raise a glass to my seatmates, a foursome of well-coiffed friends from Scottsdale and Minnesota who are sitting across the aisle.   I’m aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, which leaves from Clarkdale, 22 miles west of Sedona. It’s a clear, chilly November day; a bright cobalt sky stretches above, with puffy clouds suspended high over green-studded mountains in the distance.   “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” is the railroad’s slogan, and it’s certainly apt. Over the next four hours, we travel just 20 miles, hugging the Verde River through the rugged inner canyon wilderness of high desert rock interspersed with prickly pear cacti, cottonwoods, willows and white bark sycamores blazing autumnal gold.   Locomotive-themed music —... More

The Long Goodbye

2014-12-03 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Paula Theotocatos   “My fellow Americans, I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease … I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.”   President Ronald Reagan wrote those poignant words in a letter to the American public when he announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease and was preparing for the “long goodbye.”   Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, does not discriminate; its victims include not only the average person but also many well-known celebrities:   Entertainer and Scottsdale resident Glen Campbell now resides in a nursing home in order to manage his worsening Alzheimer’s condition.   Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” suffered from dementia and thought her husband, Denis, who had passed in 2003, was still... More

Glimpsing Masters of Painting & Woodworking

2014-12-02 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Donna Kublin     Pam and Steve Rusch both enjoy the process of creating. While Pam prefers an unplanned, spontaneous interaction with paint on canvas or paper, Steve opts for a completely planned approach to working with wood. They each love what they do and often collaborate on each other’s work. Having celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year, they are used to working together, though they admit they don’t always agree.   Their pre-retirement careers were in education in Jefferson County, Colorado. Pam taught visual arts at a junior high school, while Steve taught woodworking, drafting, architecture, science, aviation and computers to high school students, among other subjects.   In 2001, they moved to Anthem, where they found the perfect spot to pursue their post-retirement interests. Pam returned to her passion for painting. She considers herself a colorist and her work a form of expressionism.   “It is a process-driven approach to painting based on... More

The Simple Farm

2014-12-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Brenna Zumbro
Writer Lara Piu     When I meet Lylah Ledner, she is multitasking like any good farmer-rancher-confectioner-cheese maker-businesswoman. Counting her goats on one hand, on the other she tells me the story behind The Simple Farm and how she and her husband, Michael, transformed a three-acre property into a residential farm and thriving business in the middle of Scottsdale’s suburbia.   The 60-something-year-olds have been married for 28 years. The pastor and his bride met in Tucson and after one year, moved to Oregon with their two daughters. Twenty years ago, the couple returned to Arizona to make good on a promise to live closer to Lylah’s grandparents.   Plum, one of their goats, hollers for Millie, who is in heat (a fertile period), as Lylah explains: “We jumped into this adventure even though we didn’t know what the heck we were doing.”   In 2009, the Ledners proposed creating a public garden with the unused property owned by their community of faith. At the time, the... More