Burlesque queen Kitty Victorian is on a quest to transform the mousy wallflowers of the Valley into empowered va-va-voom vixens of stage. And she's doing it one tassel twirl at a time via her Burlesque University. Based out of its studio within the historic Laird Apartment building near Third Avenue and McDowell Road, the school offers a pair of six-week courses of study to instruct women interested in embracing their more sensual side, learning the art of the tease, or joining the ranks of professional dancers. The first, Burlesque 101, sees Victorian teach would-be peelers how to shake their lovely lady lumps, put together a routine, and assemble costuming (among other topics). It all leads up to a graduation performance at the school's ongoing Birthday Suit Burlesque revues. Students can continue their training in Burlesque 201, which tackles the business end of the trade (like learning how to market yourself or applying to festivals) and teaches how to accentuate one's burgeoning talents through various drop-in sessions concerning fan-dancing or pin-up modeling. For those who aren't trying to become the next Dita Von Tease, who are more interested in overcoming shyness or spicing up their relationships, the school also offers fun one-off sessions with subject matter ranging from "How to Strip For Your Lover" to "Confidence for Curvy Girls."

Cyphers: The Center of Urban Arts

Herbie Hancock's groundbreaking 1983 song "Rockit" was a landmark piece of DJ culture. It introduced the art of record scratching to the masses while inspiring thousands of future wax workers, including local selector Jay "Akshen" Valdez. And its historical and personal impact is why he uses the song as the basis for some of the many lessons that make up the various "Turntableology 101" curriculum he teaches at Cyphers. Akshen, who's been spinning for 28 years, covers the ins and outs of the ones and twos at the Center for Urban Arts via a few different options. On the final Friday of every month, Valdez conducts a two-hour symposium (open to potential platter jocks of any age) that's aimed at introducing them to the art of DJing using a hands-on approach. It features loads of history — including the contributions of Kool Herc and Grand Wizard Theodore, as well as "a lot of nerdy stuff" — and firsthand experience with turntables and mixing gear, and guest appearances by such local club scene veterans as DJ Reflekshin. (Additional less-structured versions focusing solely on kids ages 5 to 12 also are offered separately on various Saturday afternoons.) Teens and adults eager for additional schooling can then enroll in a more comprehensive 12-week program that starts in late fall and emphasizes such vital skills as beat-juggling, cuing, and song-selecting. Valdez already has led at least one prodigy to major success: his son, DJ Yeah, who was recognized in 2004 as the youngest scratcher ever, at age 5. So, if he can teach a hyperactive tyke how to light up the decks, we're sure he can school you — or your kids.

For a girly vintage fix in downtown Phoenix, Andrea Engelsberg's Annie Boomer Vintage fits the feminine bill. Engelsberg cops to loving frills, pleats, lace, and delicate details. But the shop girl's eye for grown-gal style means the shop's stock promises delightful, not babydoll, duds. The bungalow boutique holds fringed flappery dresses and hand-painted wedges, plus kookier finds like a two-piece blue leather motorcycle outfit.

Blue Jean Buyer

1810 North Scottsdale Road, Tempe 480-947-8245Looking for the perfect pair of broken-in Levi's 501s? How about a nicely distressed denim jacket? Maybe some beautifully frayed high-waist cutoffs, while we're at it? Jot Blue Jean Buyer down on your shops-to-visit list. Now. The small store packs in a whole lot of the everyman's heavy-duty cotton textile. In fact, you'll find a whole wall dedicated to it, a wall covered with more cuts, colors, and styles than you'll find on your best day of Goodwill hunting. Unsure of how to style your rocker-biker item? No thing. You'll find nicely worn band T-shirts, leather jackets, turquoise jewelry, and rugged boots and belts, too.

We were rooting around in the family safe and came across Dad's old Bulova wristwatch. A gorgeous rose gold with a tinted, magnified crystal, it had been Mom's wedding day gift to Dad in 1946 and was inscribed to him with love. It was dead as a doornail, but how could we not send it out for restoration? We braced ourselves: Restoring a nearly 70-year-old watch would not only be costly, we figured, but might also mean dealing with some snotty weirdo who wanted to talk us into buying matching earrings or something else equally annoying.

Boy, were we wrong. A quick Internet search for "vintage watch restoration Phoenix" turned up — huzzah! — a Phoenix-based service called Vintage Watch Restoration, which resulted in one of the best jewelry experiences we've ever had. In the watch-repair business since 2001, owner Bruno Park (a charming, French-speaking fellow from the island of Mauritius) not only came and picked up Dad's watch from our office, but ended up charging us less than his already-low estimate for repair and restoration. (Park also accepts watches through the mail and reportedly does international business as a restorationist.) We wear Dad's watch every day now, and it not only looks great and makes us feel closer to him, but it tells time, too. Now we're scrounging around, looking for other broken watches for Mr. Park to repair.

Easley's Fun Shop

From Halloween to Easter, it seems we never run out of reasons to play dress-up. But when the seasonal pop-up shops are gone and all you can find online are sexy substitutes, there's one place in town that keeps the role-play rolling. Easley's Fun Shop has been bringing the fun to Phoenix for more than 60 years, starting as a magic store, expanding with gag gifts and novelty items, and ultimately filling its floor space with one of the largest selections of costumes in town. Easley's is a hard-to-miss yellow warehouse wonderland offering costumes for sale and for rent, for kids and adults, for dogs, and, well, you get the picture. Whether you're just looking for the final touches of a wig and makeup or the full get-up to buy or rent, Easley's is the easy answer to all your costume needs.

Let's get real. You're never going to get through your list of Pinterest to-dos. Nobody has the time to stencil cat patterns on her walls, make a lampshade from old dishtowels, and paint intricate patterns on her fingernails. And that's a-okay. Because nobody in town does nail art better than Scottsdale nail bar Terés. Whether you want each nail to resemble a tiny watermelon slice or a reverse glitter fade is more your style, the nail techs at this salon pride themselves on creativity. Heck, they even post their coolest hand creations on Instagram to inspire — and maybe show off a little, too. And don't worry about keeping track of your favorite colors and combos. The salon keeps track of all the manis you've had, from single-tint plain-Jane projects to arty gel works, on a bar tab-style card that ensures you'll never have to worry over remembering the colorful name of your favorite shade.

Ask any beauty parlor frequenter what her upkeep budget is, and it's likely she'll tell you that keeping up appearances can cost a pretty penny. That is, if she's willing to spill her secrets and doesn't give you the old "I just get plenty of rest and drink lots of water" routine. We call B.S. Chances are good that, unless her bank account is bottomless, she knows where to get a smokin' deal on nail treatments and haircuts. Such is the allure of one of the Valley's newest beauty schools, Aveda Institute Phoenix. Sure, the reason you get great deals on treatments like the Yume Japanese Hair Spa Experience (which includes a deep-conditioning hair treatment, scalp massage, and facial starting at $40) is because students are performing them. But they're fully supervised by trained staffers who make sure everything goes as smoothly as you'll feel after one of Aveda's waxing treatments, which cost anywhere from $12 to $45-plus. Also on the menu are gel manis for $25 (including removal of your old gel), makeup lessons for $35, and the divine sounding Rosemary Mint Awakening Body Wrap at $35.

Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Scottsdale

Between Camelback and Mummy mountains is our favorite retreat. The Spa at Camelback Inn is the perfect place to spend a day unwinding solo. It's quiet. It's tucked away. There's no traffic. No TV. No phone. You'll just hear the sounds of flowing water and gentle, gentle music in the background. With the purchase of a one-hour service (which could be a massage, facial, or body treatment), you'll receive a one-day spa pass that grants access to pools, saunas, private cabanas (you can reserve one), and fitness facilities. Our advice? Block out a whole day to spend at the supremely relaxing facilities, and walk the tranquil grounds of its resort once your time's up.

Vintage by Misty

Misty Guerriero is a daring dresser. Pattern, color, texture, and shape are all to be played with. And if you take a trip to her Phoenix storefront, that's all you'll want to do. Guerriero dares her shoppers to push their style boundaries. Try a bold print. Give a powerful silhouette a shot. Put 'em together and you'll have something aligned with her globetrotting fashion sense; she likes to call it gypset style, a movement associated with boldly dressed world roamers (Gypsy plus jet-set equals gypset). If the head-to-toe anything isn't for you, don't fret. Guerriero has an unparalleled eye for color and pattern, and she'll share her tips and tricks for wearing her worldly goods well.

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