Best Right-Wing Blog 2014 | Seeing Red AZ | People & Places | Phoenix

Seeing Red AZ is the blog to go to if you want to explore the bizarro-world mind of the average Republican activist in Maricopa County. Granted, it's a journey into darkness, but one where you will make some astonishing discoveries. For instance, so-called "Common Core" is not a matter of higher standards for school kids, but rather a commie plot to force all Arizona students to read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Attorney General Tom Horne? He's the best politician ever, and if he wants to hire his mistress with taxpayer money, that's his business. Senator John McCain is the spawn of Satan. (Okay, we'll give them that one.) And Sheriff Joe Arpaio should be worshiped like Jesus Christ come to dinner.

Don't bother arguing with the commenters, because opposing views are not welcome and will be deleted. But the blog's opinions are true to the kind of folk you'll find over-populating any mandatory meeting of the Maricopa County GOP. And visiting Seeing Red's website is much less scary than attending one of those conservative confabs. Hence, the site's value for reporters and researchers.

Ashley Eaton, she of mobile vintage boutique Merry May Handmade, got married. Now she goes by Ashley Eaton Denton. And in chronicling her wedding to Trevor Denton, he of local band Sun Ghost, the duo created our new favorite locally run lifestyle blog. Field & Fellow follows the newlyweds as they decorate their home, take a stab at gardening, look through their wedding pictures, try out new recipes, and practice yoga — among other things. With beautiful photos, great stories, and a compelling couple at the helm, the blog's worth a check-in every once in a while.

If you thought you would never get to see the inside of an adult video arcade, think again. Photographer Michael Max McLeod has been documenting these ever-disappearing establishments across the country for the past few years. Beginning in Phoenix, McLeod eventually branched out; after a summer trip through The Lone Star State, Texas Porno Roadtrip was born. The zine is ingeniously divided into sections signaled by different paper size and texture — it's a small detail, but one that really sets the book apart. Texas Porno Roadtrip puts you right there in the arcade, dick pics and all, but the quality of McLeod's photos is what legitimizes the book, making it a true work of art.

This award-winning library serves the residents of Cave Creek and Carefree and surrounding areas, and it serves them awfully well. When's the last time you visited a library with its own grand piano? Desert Foothills has one, and it uses it, too, for its live music events. The library also hosts monthly art openings, because the place is lousy with gorgeous work — paintings, sculpture, photography — by local artists. And if you've never been to a library where the staff is not only friendly but smiles at you and engages you in conversation, head to this giant book nook at once. While you're there, stop in for a long look at the library's used-book store, the largest one in the North Valley, with over 15,000 hardcover and paperback books in all genres. You'll find mind-blowing deals on special books, CDs, and DVDs. After you find a book, settle in for a cozy stretch on the long, wide patio out back. If you can tear your eyes from the amazing desert views, you might even get some relaxing reading done.

Three words regarding Alexis Hamilton: Girl. Can. Walk. Not in the everyday, putting-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other sort of way. No, it's more of a pretty-sure-she-could-win-Top Model type of vibe. And Phoenix's fashion scene is all the better for it. When Hamilton powers down the catwalk, it's damn near impossible to not think of Naomi Campbell. Named Phoenix Fashion Week's model of the year in 2011, Hamilton continues bringing garments to life on the runway. Doesn't matter if they're impeccably crafted gowns or poorly executed pieces, Hamilton's look and energy are immutable.

Bunky owners Rachel and Jim Malloy and artist Joseph "Sentrock" Perez go way back. Sentrock, a Phoenix native based in Chicago, came to Bunky looking for a new shirt to wear to his first-ever exhibition opening. In the seven years since, the Malloys and Sentrock have stayed tight, with the pair supporting the painter's burgeoning career as both muralist and studio artist. Now, they've collaborated on a fashion-meets-art project that pairs Sentrock's bird city character with wearables like shirts and hats. Talk about wearing your art on your sleeve.

Phoenix Fashion Week 2013 opened with a bang. The annual style outing brought together emerging and established designers to show off their wares. But local fashion icon and boutique owner Robert Black brought to the runway something a bit different. He styled pieces from his eponymous shop with a Southwestern flair that frankly set the bar a little too high for the work that followed. Still, bringing in one of Phoenix's most established and treasured institutions to its not-quite-established annual fall fashion week brought increased credibility to the event. But we sure felt bad for the designer who was up next.

The Creative Center of Scottsdale, an eco-friendly co-working space set to be completed later this year, is a collaborative project by owner/photographer Michelle Pelberg-Biely and green designer Christina Noble of Contour Design Studio. The idea is inspired: a social hangout and networking hub for local creatives. In addition, this 6,000-square-foot property, formerly the home of a gun supply store and an auto body shop, will be the first in Scottsdale to uphold the International Green Building Code. Put all that together and The Creative Center carries a word not often found to describe life in these parts: sustainable.

Best Phoenician to Follow on Instagram

Helen Yung

If you've been to Sweet Republic for ice cream (and who hasn't?) you know that ice cream maker Helen Yung has great taste — from the Toffee Banofi sundae to every sweet detail in the new Central Phoenix outpost of the tiny ice cream empire she and business partner Jan Wichayanuparp run. From time to time, Yung does post ice cream-related images on Instagram, but more often than not, she's sharing amazing shots of the Asian food she seeks out around town. If you want to know where to find Yung's favorite dim sum or her latest veggie discovery, follow her on Instagram. And if you ever meet her or catch a glimpse of her on IG, you'll wonder where on earth the diminutive Yung puts all that food.

He's charming and funny, and if you aren't lucky enough to know Robbie Sherwood personally, you can follow the political consultant on social media. His posts are newsy, smart, and entertaining — and he never takes himself too seriously. Hey, Robbie, maybe you should run for public office!

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