Fess up, we all hate the buggers, and for our money there's nothing better for terminating the two-winged terrors than the fatal fly swatters we got at the 99 Cents Discount Store. Sure, they cost more than the ones you find in supermarkets and hardware stores, but face it, those vendors really want you to purchase some industrial-strength repellent or $100 bug zapper, so they try to paw off ineffectual swatters that bend and tear against hard surfaces.
In contrast, these 99-cent jobs are fierce and fearsome, with deadly smashing planes the size of elephantine oven mittens. And unlike those sissy swatters that come in fluorescent pinks or greens, these babies only come in basic primary killing colors like fire engine red and jungle green, the better to keep your mind on what you're actually doing -- singling out one of God's most graceful living organisms and squashing him into gutsy bug mush.
On a test run, we were able to take out three flies at a stroke -- although, in truth, two were fornicating at the time. SPLAAAT!
There are pans and electric rice cookers here big enough for a potlatch, as well as pricey copper stockpots and a complete line of Le Creuset enameled cookware. You'll even find a chic sauté setup for creating cherries jubilee among at least 11 different chafing and fondue (yep, it's baaaack!) dishes. Not to mention a myriad of melon ballers, microplane graters and citrus zesters. And real Moroccan couscous steamers and tagines.
The equivalent of a fun shop for kitchen magicians, this culinary hardware store also carries related non-cooking items, like candles for intimate dining à deux or products to clean those pesky red wine stains some uncultured slob unceremoniously deposited on that favorite antique tablecloth.
The more ingenious in the cooking/construction crowd will also find a treasure trove of restaurant-strength appliances, like eight-burner gas stoves and large refrigeration suitable for a serious kitchen remodel. The store also stocks used equipment, like stainless-steel prep tables with built-in wash sinks or under-counter freezer units -- stuff that not only looks cool, but is sublimely utilitarian to boot.
For everything in the kitchen -- up to and including that proverbial sink -- this is the place.
Need more proof that aerobics is good for you? Just look at Linda. We thought she was our age, only to discover that her children are our age.
Created by a Phoenix aesthetician, philosophy has been a hit in high-end department stores across the country; skin care experts dig the products. The company entered a new age this summer with the opening of its first store -- on Mill Avenue. Now Mill Rats and sorority chicks can cruise the aisles, contemplating "message in a bottle" (shower gel), "the supernatural fingerpaints" (glittery makeup) and "be somebody" (body lotion).
Self-help? Try "shelf-help."
This fast-growing fitness trend, pronounced "pul-LAH-teez," increases strength and flexibility while developing an athlete's awareness of one's center (abs, back and butt). Using specially designed machines, LaPierre (whose New York accent perfectly complements her unique, no-nonsense approach) can lead you through an infinite number of exercises, all designed to put your flabby abs -- as well as some other muscles you never knew you had -- firmly back in place.
LaPierre maintains that Pilates is for everyone, regardless of their physical condition, and anyone reluctant to join group fitness classes should take heart: Pilates is performed on a private or semi-private basis. You'll appreciate LaPierre's candor, not to mention her workout's effect on your love handles.
Yes, you're at the Yoga Institute, where trained instructors lead you through 27 different postures in a room heated to a balmy 110 degrees. This is Bikram's yoga, and may well be the most challenging workout you've ever had. The Institute's instructors are knowledgeable, friendly, informative, and well aware of everyone's limitations ("You can mess with the gods, but don't mess with your knees" is their mantra).
Grab a few towels and a big jug of water, and prepare yourself for 90 minutes of sweating, grunting, contorting, and the most exhilarating feeling any ground-based legal activity can possibly offer.
Shoppers looking for a less illuminating experience, meanwhile, will take a shine to Go Kat Go's extensive inventory of faboo furnishings, keen kitsch and groovy garb.
What happened to that cactus, we don't know, but we hope it found a loving home with the folks at Spur Cross Gallery. For more than 17 years now, the gallery's owners have been scavenging fallen saguaros and making them into beautiful art. (Don't try this yourself! It is illegal to take saguaros, living or dead, from the desert without a permit, and no permits have been issued since 1991.)
It's impossible not to be touched by the grandeur of these once-green giants, now stripped to skeletons of wood bleached gray, white and yellow. They soar from the top of the Gallery's roof, lounge against its fences, and decorate its cool interior.
Some are small and smooth, made into wall sconces. Some are medium size, and hollowed out to be fitted with a light bulb inside. The largest -- hundreds of years old -- are untouched, their gnarled bases formed like melted candles, their tall arms still reaching for the sky.
Such beauty doesn't come cheap. Plan on shelling out $200 for smaller specimens and as much as $8,000 for the gallery's tallest cactus, a 20-footer. (In the interest of botanical discretion, we'll refrain from making any jokes about "sticker price.")
Estrella Mountain Ranch
11800 South Golf Club Drive
Estrella Mountain Ranch
11800 South Golf Club Drive