Even if you can't afford their to-die-for letterpress invites and other lovely goods, you can still live in high style, because the ladies of Scottsdale's SeeSaw design are giving it away for free, so to speak, on their beautiful blog. Angela Hardison, Raquel Raney, and Lindsay Tingstrom share "daily inspiration" — basically, just design images cherry-picked by women with really, really good taste. The images aren't necessarily Arizona-based, but a potpourri from across the web — recent pickings came from the likes of Elle Interiors, HGTV, and Stylepark. Sometimes the SeeSaw-ers will feature picks from their etsy shop, also linked from the blog and a place to get deals on their best thrifting pickings. (Well, maybe not the best — sometimes they keep those for themselves, but trust us, there's still good stuff on there!)
When it comes to local music blogs, we're sorta partial to our own, Up On The Sun. However, if your computer won't pull up our page for some reason, or when you want to read even more indie-rock news, you should definitely check out Electric Mustache. We love the brother-in-law team — primary writer Mike Escoto and primary photographer Shawn Anderson — so much that we've hired them to contribute to our blog with the express directive that they cannot — they must not — stop doing their own blog. Electricmustache.com has a great feel, with witty, quick-hit posts and tons of embedded music and videos. Oh, and there are rants, too, like the time Shawn (a west-sider) let a reportedly douche-y Scottsdale crowd have it with both barrels. The 'Stache tends to focus primarily on indie rock, which is nice for anyone who can't stand, say, to read even one more effing word about that talentless strumpet Miley Cyrus. Personally, we just love all the new music we've been able to hear on the site.
With apologies to our own sweetheart, Chow Bella, our favorite food blogs are super-personal, penned by one obsessed foodie with no agenda beyond telling you what she or he is eating today. And that's why we've fallen for Lunch Bucket Bento. Lisa LeComte started her blog in 2007 with a simple concept: She packs her lunch, takes a picture and tells a story.But she doesn't pack just any old lunch. LeComte's into bento — a Japanese tradition of packing a single-portion meal in a box (hence the name bento box). Bento can be simple or elaborate, and LeComte's have run the gamut. We like that about her, too. She shares recipes and even holds an occasional contest, but we love her best for showing us what she packs every day, be it elaborate sushi or an artfully displayed hot dog. Makes us want to go packin' ourselves.
For some folks, Phoenix is more than a pit stop on their way to whatever city their company transfers them to next. Some people care about the Valley of the Sun — its history, its topography, its architecture. And no one, it seems, cares about Phoenix as much as Tazmine "Taz" Khatri Loomans, a first-generation immigrant born in Mozambique who attended high school in Mesa, then went to ASU for a master's in architecture. Loomans moved away from the Valley and then, like so many others, came back. Unlike others, she launched a blog that celebrates what there is to love about our city — and candidly criticizes what's wrong with it, too. In cannily written essays about wasted infills, the value of historic preservation, and the peculiar visions of Mayor Phil Gordon, Taz sets out to positively impact the city she loves. Even Phoenix haters (and they're legion, right?) might well be swayed by Taz's clear-headed, well-wrought prose about light rail and dust storms and "the urban forest." It's a heroic feat, sticking up for Phoenix — here's to Taz!
We have long loved The Willows Home and Garden shop — we've followed Beverly Burch around Phoenix, from location to location over the years (her current spot is at 3734 East Indian School Road) — and now we love The Willows even more, for its blog. Burch shares news about her family and friends, and shows off pictures of her gorgeous remodeled kitchen and her not-yet-organized craft room. It's never TMI, in her hands, just lovely musings and even lovelier, drool-worthy photos, interspersed with must-have items for sale at The Willows and blurbs about other local businesses. It's just what a shopping blog should be.
So your boyfriend popped the question, and now he's your fiancé. That means you're a fiancée, and you've been saddled with the 10-ton burden of planning your own wedding. Don't bother going to Mom (or, worse, his mom) for advice. What's a bride-to-be to do? First, have a meltdown. Then, wipe up your smudged mascara and rush to the magazine section of your local grocery store for the latest issue of Arizona Weddings magazine. This 500-page annual publication will stop that anxiety attack in its tracks with complete, updated lists of local ceremony and reception locations (with, OMG, yes, contact information), a how-to guide to getting your marriage license, and a wedding planner checklist. Not to mention that all the ads are from local companies. Get the magazine, visit the website, calm down, and feel great again about the man you're about to marry.
You may be surprised to hear that the best resource for finding out what's cool in and around the light rail is not associated with Metro light rail at all. Raillife.com is a site maintained by local folks who care about how light rail is changing our city. Perhaps you're looking for a home near the route. You're covered. Hungry? Raillife.com has tons of listings for local eateries just steps away from the tracks. You can even receive the Twitter updates to find out if stations are temporarily closed or other pertinent infobits to make your rail life an easy one.
The call went out on Twitter, on iPhones, and in e-mail blasts. Meet at the light rail and prepare to take your pants off. In conjunction with the national improv organization known as Improv Everywhere, local boys Improv AZ hosted their second no-pants light-rail ride on January 10. The results were liberating. Pantsless participants stormed a downtown Starbucks to keep their energy up. It turns out you burn a lot of calories laughing very hard at the perplexed faces of the people you walk by. This momentary lapse of reason couldn't have worked without smart phones and various forms of Internet communication. Ah, technology! Where would we be without it?
Daniel m. Davis needed a way to pass the time during his wicked work commute. He let his imagination loose and daydreamed the daily distraction we know and love as Monster Commute. Davis describes the comic as 1984 meets The Wizard of Oz. Chronicling the misadventures of Beastio (a small demon), Chadworth (a machine with a skull head floating in fluid), and Kip (a Halloween goblin) through the vector-art world of Monstru, Monster Commute's childlike creativity and beautiful illustrations keep us coming back to see how the commute is progressing.
Local cinematographer Webb Pickersgill takes a full-on pro approach to the Probed Signals web series, using state-of-the-art filming equipment and a professional crew and cast that includes actors Leslie Wall (the short film Appetite for Justice and Hale Centre Theatre's production of Lend Me a Tenor) and Hanna Leister (ASU productions of Frame by Frame and Autobahn). But the real hook of this short sci-fi series is screenwriter (and star) Kevin Herrmann's storyline: A mysterious, possibly extraterrestrial signal begins following a Phoenician named Carter Fox (Herrmann) everywhere — on his cell phone, on the radio, on TV — and he becomes convinced he's being singled out and watched by somebody or something. Of course, he is, and it all goes back to a paranormal event that happened in his past. Things get freakier as Fox and his friends begin to unravel the mystery. There's a detailed story behind the series, which is impressive, considering there are eight episodes, and each is three to five minutes long.

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