Best Impression 2016 | Hazel & Violet | Goods & Services | Phoenix

Donning vintage garb is one thing, but actually working with vintage equipment is quite another. That's exactly what happens inside Hazel & Violet, founded by longtime friends Nancy Hill and Beverly Wolfe. The small custom letterpress printing shop, located inside the historic Bragg's Pie Factory, has five letterpress printers — including two built during the 1920s. Hazel & Violet has mastered the fine art of mixing century-old technology with contemporary digital tools to create masterpieces ranging from humble coasters to super-slick posters — although the letterpress actually specializes in wedding invitations, announcements, and letterhead. Hazel & Violet is even happy to share the letterpress love through tours and workshops that give the rest of us a chance to make a good impression ourselves.

The Melrose District in central Phoenix did in fact say yes to the dress when the boutique Cleo & Clementine opened in 2012. Monique Sandoval is the owner and dressmaker — a combination of designer, seamstress, and overall creative type — who, along with her small team, produces unique wedding, prom, and special-occasion gowns. Sandoval learned to sew from her grandmother, borrowed her aunt's sewing machine growing up, and even participated in family projects like reupholstering the couch as a kid. Sandoval first started the more young-woman focused OUMA line, and later developed Cleo & Clementine. The gowns are designed in-house — the fabric handpicked, hand-dyed, and hand-stitched — and range in color from beige, cream, and white to soft pinks and blues, gold sequins, and solid black — some of which have been featured in Rock N Roll Bride and New Times.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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