Danese Creations

Any bride that's made her way to the altar can tell you that planning a wedding isn't so simple as black and white — emphasis on the white. Finding your perfect dress to say "I do" in is rarely done in a day, let alone in a one-stop shopping trip. That's where Danese Creations comes in. For more than 40 years, owner Sylvia Danese has been helping brides-to-be make their must-have gowns fit like a glove — even going so far as to make them from scratch if she must. Come for quality alterations, stay for fairy godmother-esque words of wisdom for your big day, because at this point, Sylvia knows a thing or two about weddings.

He went to the mall? Well, that's too bad. Especially when you consider that he could have given you a custom-made piece from local jeweler Mother of Gideon. Business owners Charis Elliott and Seth Fainkujen specialize in one-of-a-kind creations that are as edgy as they are beautiful. Whether it's a crown, a wedding ring, or something in between, the creative duo will work with you to bring your idea to life while not straying away from their signature style of being sustainable, ethical, and unique. Adding to their elusive charm, Mother of Gideon recently closed their brick-and-mortar location, so interested buyers must seek them out at their Phoenix studio by appointment only.

Christina "Xappa" Franco has a thing for darkness. Among her favorite works of art are Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal and Frank Frazetta's Cat Girl. Different styles, sure. But when you consider the fantastical mysticism of the former in conjunction with the snarling lure of the other, Franco's jewelry starts to make a whole lot of sense. Under the banner Xappaland, the artist crafts metal jewelry that blends minimalism, goth tendencies, and statement making in a way that looks distinctly Arizonan. There's a beautiful but eerie heft to the dangling pendulum earrings with an earthy pink patina, her wiry crowns that wouldn't look out of place in a nymph-filled fairy tale, and the stabbing point of a stackable copper ring. They're pieces that merit a double take — and a spot in your jewelry box.

Dunno if you and your denim jacket have heard, but pins are happening in a big, err, we mean small way. And in Phoenix, nobody's on their pin game quite like Bermuda Press, a subsidiary of local apparel company Hello Merch. A bizarro mix of Arizona pride, pop-culture obsession, and sci-fi allure, Bermuda's stocked locally at Frances, but you can order online, too. At $10.99 a pop, go ahead and fill your lapels with Illuminati logos, a drippy Paul Is Dead proclamation, Bob from Twin Peaks screaming into oblivion, potted aloe, and an Arizona sunset in old-school Suns colors. Putting a pin in it never looked so smart.

Arizona Natural Remedies' selection of concentrates made in house
Nate Nichols
Arizona Natural Remedies' selection of concentrates made in house

The most creative pieces of dispensary marketing this year were the T-shirts at Arizona Natural Remedies. In the style of the classic D.A.R.E. campaign, these shirts celebrate Arizona medical cannabis with just the right amount of humor. The shirts read, "D.A.N.K. Keeping locals supplied with quality medication." Pick one up next time you're checking out Arizona Natural Remedies' truly quality medication.

Close up of strain jars.
Nate Nichols
Close up of strain jars.

TruMed is committed to bringing quality medicine to Arizona patients at competitive prices. The dispensary distinguishes itself from others through knowledgeable and friendly customer service. President Lauren Gooding, RN, is a registered oncology nurse who prides herself on helping patients become acquainted with cannabis as medicine while tailoring treatment regimens to their individual needs. TruMed's design is unparalleled, clean, modern, and inviting; this is a place you wouldn't think twice about recommending to friends or family. TruMed's flower is grown in house and represents some of the best genetics and attention to detail in the Arizona market. Many extracts are available at the dispensary's "dab bar," and Butane Hash Oil Shatter, Rick Simpson Oil, CLEAR (alcohol-extracted concentrates), and shatter pens are all made in-house to exacting standards of quality. TruMed also stocks a wide variety of edibles, many made by their in-house brand, Baked Bros.

Harvest of Tempe

Grown exclusively by Harvest of Tempe, Verde Electric is a genetic cross unique to Phoenix. This strain is a mix of Durban Poison, Platinum OG, and Sherbet genetics. It is known as "electric" because of its energetic, relaxed, and clear-headed but potent effects. The buds are a bright, light green color, giving the strain the "verde" moniker. Patients report decreased nausea and improved digestion after use. For a fantastic strain that is truly unique to the Valley, Verde Electric is a must-try.

Close up of strain jars.
Nate Nichols
Close up of strain jars.

Baked Bros Pourable THC Syrup is a revolutionary product in the world of cannabis-infused edible products. Flavors include Grape, Cherry, Strawberry-Kiwi, Mango, and Watermelon. Each batch is strain-specific, allowing patients to choose between sativa, indica, and hybrid options. It can be purchased in bottles containing either 300 or 600 milligrams of THC. With 10 milligrams being a widely accepted standard dose of THC, the active ingredient responsible for the "high" of cannabis, either bottle will last a while for most patients. What sets this product apart from imitators is the consistency of the syrup, which doesn't separate over time. It can be added to drinks or simply consumed on its own. Similar to a tincture, if you choose to hold the liquid in your mouth, it will be absorbed sublingually and you will feel effects in five to 10 minutes.

Melting Point Extracts is on the cutting edge of cannabis-extraction technology. Their Butane Hash Oil (BHO) shatters and waxes are flavorful and potent, with impressive terpene retention that allows you to smell and taste the plant matter that went into these extracts. However, for those who are terpene-obsessed, they also offer flavorful and aromatic live resin. Live resin is an extraction method where plant material is frozen and extracted immediately after being harvested, instead of waiting for the material to be cured as would be the case for a traditional extraction. Many of the compounds in cannabis are volatile and can be lost through the curing process; live resin extraction helps preserve as many of these as possible. For those concerned about the purity of their extracts, MPX offers CO2 extracts as well. In this method, super-critical or liquid CO2 takes the place of traditional hydrocarbons like butane. The result is an extremely clean and unique extract. What is even more impressive is the consistency or texture that MPX has achieved with their CO2 extracts; they rival the glass-like BHO shatters on the market.

Monarch's flower offering laid out in jars with informational cards
Nate Nichols
Monarch's flower offering laid out in jars with informational cards

For those unfamiliar with cannabis as medicine or looking for a personalized treatment plan for their specific ailments, it would be hard to find a better consultation anywhere than at Monarch, a dispensary in Scottsdale. New patients are offered a private consultation with one of Monarch's knowledgeable and friendly staff members. They are happy to discuss any and all questions related to cannabis and offer recommendations of products and treatment methods that patients should try. First-time patients typically receive a follow-up phone call a few days after their visit to inquire about their experience with their products. Monarch truly goes above and beyond to help patients and put them at ease.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of