Best Belly Dance Class 2015 | Toolbox Dance Studio | Goods & Services | Phoenix

Earlier this year, Amanda Rose led the dance company she directs, the Raqs Sharki Movement Collective, to first place in the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition (the universe!). That should give you some idea of the sheer awesomeness you can expect from her Tuesday night class at Toolbox Dance Studio. As a dancer, Rose has a playful sense of musicality and a natural talent for stringing together shimmies and hip lifts in an organic way. Her instruction is on the cutting edge of modern belly dance trends, but it still manages, somehow, to maintain the authenticity of the centuries-old dance form. She keeps beginners comfortable and experienced dancers challenged.

We stumbled into this place once, desperate for cold coffee while driving around north Central Phoenix on a busy weekday, our eyes caught by the "espresso" sign on a window. "What's this, a bike cafe? C'mon . . .," we remember thinking skeptically. Then we went inside and fell in love with the place. We saw right away that it truly was both things it advertised — there's the counter for sandwiches and drinks, there's the rows of new bicycles for sale, there's the stands hoisting bicycles in for repair. The place even smells like coffee, new bicycles, and bicycle grease, an aroma that blends together well, believe it or not. Ever since that first magical trip — yes, the iced mocha kicked ass — we've been back to look at the bikes and bought equipment including gloves, a helmet, and biking shorts. Be careful about going to lunch there — it may cost you $2,000, but you'll be leaving with a sweet steed.

Readers Choice: Slippery Pig

We didn't think a pair of socks could change our lives. That is, until we went to Runner's Den and the staff pointed us toward a pair of running socks that since have become a fitness wardrobe staple. See, the people who work at Runner's Den are runners themselves, which means they know what you need even if you didn't know you needed it. Since 1978, this locally owned store has been a haven for both casual and serious runners. The knowledgeable staff go through a full fitting process before even suggesting you purchase a new pair of shoes, and if you're struggling with a nagging hamstring injury, they've got bi-monthly free injury clinics. We also suggest signing up for one of the Good Form Running class. These free 70-minute clinics will help you perfect your form for faster, safer running. With all these resources in one place, the only thing left to do is finally sign up for that race.

When the name of the region in which your state is located is a mix between the South and the Old West, cowboy boots are bound to be a given in the attire of the populace. But you'd better believe that just because these boots are worn more for fashion or comfort than assisting in wrangling a herd of cattle, it still matters where they are made. If they are the best of the best, those boots came from Espinoza Boot Maker. David Espinoza channels all 40 years of his experience working with leather into the boots he makes, and each pair is truly a piece of art. The boots start at $699, but we say splurge and go for a completely custom pair. After all, can you put a price on wearing art handmade specifically for you?

Check the tags on a few of your favorite pieces of clothing and chances are good that none of them will read "Made in America." Creating clothing that people want to wear is one thing. Creating that clothing ethically is a whole other. It costs more time, money, and energy — and Scottsdale denim brand Diego Milano is all about it. The line of rock 'n' roll-inspired jeans is more than boundary-pushing fashion, with its 3-D pockets and curve-enhancing piping. It's about creating clothes that people can feel good about wearing. We can't think of a better trend to get behind.

Though we generally agree that being a stylish dude is easier than being a stylish lady, we concede that finding menswear that is neither douchey nor bro-ish does prove more challenging than, say, finding clothing that one would not find on a Kardashian. That's not the case, however, when it comes to HUB. With an emphasis on elevated basics like super-soft T-shirts and designer denim, it's hard to go wrong at the Central Phoenix clotherie. With brands including Red Wing, Nudie, and Gant, the curated boutique could send even the most clueless guy out into the world with an easy, breezy look, like a model in an Esquire spread.

More than just a boutique, Central Phoenix shop Frances has turned into a cool-girl clubhouse. Thanks to workshops that feature local creatives like Lynne Bonnel and Brendan McCaskey and range in topic from the basics of knitting to embracing natural skincare, Georganne Bryant's store has become a bona fide hangout spot where making new pals and learning new crafts is actually super-fun. So's the shopping, as featured brands include Matt & Nat, Free People, and Bando. Not only can Frances get you all dressed up, it's also someplace to go.

Whether you're shopping for your mother in law, BFF, slacker brother, or your kinda friendly co-workers, Bunky Boutique's the place to go. The tiny CenPho boutique carries all manner of little odds and ends — from locally crafted jewelry by Pure Life and supremely comfy Overthrow Clothing T-shirts to high-end grooming products by Baxter and handmade greeting cards. Where the shop really shines is in its selection of Arizona pride products that are exclusive to Bunky — baby bibs, ball caps, and tees that make for lovely souvenirs (and didn't come from the airport).

Smell this! It's something we've commanded friends — and, okay, maybe a couple strangers — to do when browsing through the candles that Standard Wax offers. Too bad these will one day be burned because we can envision never removing our noses from the simple ceramic containers, which house scents such as the warm and outdoorsy Fireside and the bright, lively citrus and black currant. Thanks to its addictive fragrances and a willingness to collaborate with local artists like ceramicist Tom Budzak, the Phoenix-based company unsurprisingly has earned a following and even a nod from the Martha Stewart American Made Awards.

It seems every young artsy couple that gets engaged these days is tagging one particular Phoenix maker in their Instagram engagement announcements. That'd be Mother of Gideon. Helmed by Charis Elliott and Seth Fainkujen, the Valley's go-to edgy jewelry purveyor has earned a following with its one-of-a-kind pieces and willingness to work closely with shoppers looking for a ring, whether it's hyper-detailed and Renaissance-inspired or clean-cut and classic. That, and MOG is dedicated to reusing materials like recycled gold and silver, as well as locally sourcing its precious gems. We like to think Beyoncé would approve.

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