Author Archives: Daniel Escobedo

Smile makeover

Smile Makeovers: Improving Your Smile Throughout The New Year

Beaming beauty: Local dentists offer advice on smile makeovers and improving your smile throughout the New Year.

At the start of a new year, people tend to reflect as they make resolutions for personal improvements. While some focus on ways to lose weight or improve their style or fitness, many decide to focus on ways to improve their smile. Experts say that people who have a great smile have an increased boost of confidence and positivity, all of which transcend into personal and business relationships.

“Improving one’s smile is absolutely important,” says Dr. Ann Sielicki of Sonoran Dental Design in Scottsdale. “A smile can be the mirror for a lot of people. A smile is really the first impression of each person to the rest of the world. People want to improve their smile so that they can invest in themselves and give off a better outward appearance.”

But for those who are interested in improving their smiles, two factors come into play: cost and time. Sielicki and other Scottsdale dentists say it’s possible to enhance your smile while keeping your budget and time in mind.

1 hour: teeth whitening

For those who are looking for a quick fix to brighten up their smile, there is no better or more affordable way to upgrade your pearly whites than to get them whitened. Dr. Jeffrey Clark of Scottsdale Dental Excellence offers a special type of whitening called Opalescence Boost Bleaching, which is guaranteed to leave your teeth sparkling new.

Perfect for people who are big fans of coffee or tea, Opalescence Boost Bleaching is one of the most advanced whitening services on the market, utilizing a special, chemically activated formula solution that is painted onto the teeth in 15 minutes intervals. Patients can see the color of their teeth improve up to eight shades lighter in one visit.

If one hour is too long to set aside in your schedule, Clark’s practice also started a new program called Mini-Bleaches, where patients have the opportunity to get their teeth quickly whitened via a whitening solution at the end of a teeth-cleaning session. The solution only takes 10 minutes for the application, and patients can see fast results.

An additional incentive to getting your teeth cleaned is that patients can participate in the “Forever White Program” at Clark’s office. The program allows patients to get custom-made splints for their teeth, and if committed to daily cleaning visits, they are given free whitening solutions at the end of each visit. That means you can have a fresh, crisp smile all year round.

Teeth whitening procedures in Clark’s office can run anywhere from “free,” such as with the “Forever White Program,” to approximately $525.

1 day: porcelain veneers

Sometimes, we find more grooves and ridges in our teeth due to normal wear and tear, whether it is due to the food we eat or from grinding our teeth too much. Because of this, the shape of our teeth can change or become smaller. One way to remedy this is to get porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin layers of material that are used for restorative purposes and are generally placed over the front of the teeth. They can either be used to change the way your tooth looks or protect a tooth that may have been badly damaged.

Typically, the process of getting a veneer takes more than one visit, but Sielicki has a special piece of equipment that only requires one visit. The Chair side Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (or CEREC) unit is a dental restoration product that will take a picture of your tooth right away, allowing the dental practitioner to create a 3D model of your new tooth. The information is sent to another machine that will actually create your new tooth using a block of high quality ceramic.

With the use of the CEREC unit, patients can see new and improved smiles within a couple of hours with no need to pay for an extra visit.

Costs for porcelain veneers run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the nature of each case.

1 month: porcelain crowns

There are times when the holidays get the best of us, and unfortunately, we get a cavity from the many delectable treats we’ve eaten. To protect our teeth compromised by decay, Dr. Paul Douglas of Douglas Family Dentistry says that a porcelain crown is the way to go. It can even protect teeth that have had root canals or have been cracked or fractured.

The process of obtaining a crown usually takes two visits — sometimes more — depending on the severity of the case. During the first visit, the tooth is prepped and an impression is taken. Afterward, a temporary crown is placed on top of the tooth that needs attention. After about a week, the permanent porcelain crown is placed after the removal of the temporary crown.

Each visit usually takes about an hour, and the average cost of the procedure is typically $1,000.

1 year: teeth straightening

While teeth whitening, veneers and crowns can most certainly make the biggest difference in the way our smile is perceived, one of the more drastic procedures is teeth straightening.

The most typical way to straighten your teeth is through the use of braces. The only disadvantage to braces is that it brings more unwanted attention to your mouth due to its unsightly appearance. To combat this, Clark suggests Invisalign, an invisible plastic aligner that gradually shifts your teeth in place according to how your dental plan is detailed.

According to Clark, aligners are switched out every two weeks until treatment is completed — usually taking 12 months or less for patients to see their desired results. The best part? Invisalign makes it easy for you to keep your teeth clean, rather than having to adopt new yoga poses just to floss in between your braces.

Prices can range anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000.

For more information about smile makeovers and improving your smile through the year, visit:

Scottsdale Dental Excellence
8765 E. Bell Rd., #201, Scottsdale
(480) 585-1853

Sonoran Dental Design
7500 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., #204, Scottsdale
(480) 419-9595

Douglas Family Dentistry
10630 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 948-3680

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013


Valley media company creatively adapts for 40 years

There’s a quaint studio located in the East Valley that houses beautiful backgrounds, sets and camera equipment that can make any business owner or musician feel like a rock star. With its innovative technology, it is no wonder why so many different customers flock to Image Ave Studios, which is located on the border of Chandler and Gilbert. While the brand-new studios opened just three years ago, this video production company has deep roots in Arizona that go back almost 40 years.

Founded in 1972 by Arizona native James Rinkenberger when he was just out of college, the company started out offering only photography and other media production services. As the business became successful, Rinkenberger discovered an opportunity that would allow him to expand his business and reach more clients throughout the Valley. Rinkenberger decided that in addition to his photography services, he would also offer video production services to local companies.  From this concept arose Video Media Productions in 1975, which strived to create videos for businesses that would increase business-to-business communication.

“The challenge for me was, ‘Does anybody want what I do?’” Rinkenberger said. “I wanted to create clear and concise images to communicate. I have been passionate and overzealous about this topic because visually, in the 1970s, people just were not trained properly.”

The studio quickly made a name for itself in the Arizona business community and soon, Video Media Productions landed big-name clients — including the United States Supreme Court for a campaign to allow cameras in the courtroom; the National Guard during Operation Desert Storm; various cities to promote Senate bills; and with President Ronald Reagan on a public service announcement for the Boy Scouts of America.

As Video Media Productions continued to evolve, Rinkenberger wanted to create a definitive space for producers and their clients. So, in 2009, James founded Image Ave Studios, a company that combined his video and photo companies and allowed both businesses to operate as one entity. Very quickly, however, the company faced challenges because of the economic crisis. Despite the economic setback, Image Ave Studio was able to stay afloat by continuing to think of methods that differentiated itself from the competition.

“Starting in the middle of a recession, it made my company more creative and more efficient,” Rinkenberger said. “It is a whole new world now because there are so many creative kids and they offer their services cheaply. The only difference is that we have more experience with creating and meeting the needs of businesses today. We have had to re-invent ourselves and we have had to find more ways to fit in. Our success back then doesn’t mean anything now.”

Even with early hardships, Image Ave Studios has proved that it can stand the test of time. As Rinkenberger approaches retirement, he hopes his company will live on and that his love and passion will be shared with generations to come.

“My dream for the future of my business is, I’d like to pass the studio down to someone,” Rinkenberger said. “It has to be someone who is passionate and loves making communication processes for businesses like I do.”

Image Ave Studios
175 S. Hamilton Place, #115, Gilbert

federal transportation bill

Arizona Forward hopes to guide Arizona’s transportation systems

As Valley Forward transitions to Arizona Forward to encompass a statewide focus, it’s only fitting that the association with a 43-year history of success tackling environmental issues — including land use, water management, air quality and energy — turns its attention to an issue that impacts every resident and every business in Arizona.

“Valley Forward has always valued transportation as one of the organization’s key areas of interest,” says John Godec, president of Godec, Randall & Associates Inc., which helps governments and businesses solve public and stakeholder challenges. “The Phoenix and Tucson metros have seen radical transportation changes and improvements in the past decade, so we’re asking, ‘What’s next? Are we good to go now?’”

Just as it did last year with parks and open spaces, Valley Forward hopes to answer those questions as it unveils its stance on transportation, covering topics such as transportation planning, how it impacts the quality of life in the Sun Corridor and how transportation affects Arizona’s economy.

One issue that Valley Forward wanted to address in its Transportation Primer is one on the minds of every Arizona: traffic congestion and how to better connect cities with each other. According to a policy report written by Byron Schlomach for The Goldwater Institute, the average Phoenix commuter spends an average of 38 hours a year in traffic, while a commuter in Tucson spends roughly 42 hours in traffic.

In an attempt to remedy traffic congestion in Phoenix, voters adopted Proposition 400 in November of 2004, which allowed for the renovating and extending of current freeways and the addition of more public transportation, such as the Valley Metro Light Rail, all of which connect small communities with larger cities. In Tucson, Pima County voters approved the $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Plan, which saw the construction of a modern streetcar project throughout the city, giving more people a chance to get around, while getting cars off the highways.

However, the question that has been asked by Valley Forward is, is it enough, especially since Arizona only seems to be growing in size?

“At least half the transportation systems that the state will need in 2050 have yet to be built,” says Sally Stewart, deputy communications director at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Valley Forward member. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Arizona’s growth is not over. It is not a question of whether the Sun Corridor — one of the emerging megapolitan regions in the country — will be a reality; it is simply a matter of when.”

According to a study published in March 2010 by ADOT, it is expected that Arizona’s population will more than double, from 6.4 million to about 16 million people in the next 30 years. Maricopa County’s population is expected to increase by 90 percent, from 4 million people to about 7.6 million. The study suggests that because of this population explosion, travel times for various destinations in the Sun Corridor could increase by about 100 percent by 2050. This could mean that a trip between Phoenix and Tucson, which currently is about a 95-minute drive, could take up to 5.5 hours in 2050 (assuming that the Interstate-10 freeway is widened to about 10 lanes).

Valley Forward experts say that Arizona must plan ahead to improve this possible transportation dilemma, especially if the state wants to see more business activity and economic improvement.

“Transportation is key for economic development,” says said Eric Anderson, transportation director at the Maricopa Association of Governments. “The ability of a company’s workforce to commute on a predictable basis is critical. The movement of freight in and out of the region is also important. Companies looking to locate in the region always look at the adequacy of the transportation system in providing mobility and travel options.”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates 36,000 jobs. Despite the fact that policies, such as Proposition 400, have created and funded transportation projects, Valley Forward says that there is still not enough money allocated for Arizona’s travel needs.

“Arizona’s future economic development will be tied closely to the state’s willingness to commit funding and resources to improving and expanding its statewide transportation system,” says Craig Hughes, CEO and founder of Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab in Phoenix and Tucson. “Without a firm commitment to building and maintaining an efficient, integrated transportation network, the future could be one of congested freeways, inadequate rural highways, gridlocked city streets and under-funded and under-utilized mass transit.”

Valley Forward hopes that its stance and data findings will help create a dialogue not only among Phoenix and Tucson residents, but also policymakers.

“Arizona’s business community is a vital participant in guiding policymakers regarding the infrastructure challenges facing the state,” Stewart says. “If Arizonans want to enjoy a better quality of life based on a vibrant economy, then the business community must work closely with policymakers to make the difficult, but necessary decisions regarding transportation infrastructure.”

Adds Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, “We want to bring together the public and private sectors. Valley Forward’s goal is to try and drive the conversation to the middle and take the politics out. We want to drive up solutions so that Arizona, as a whole, can advance and can sustain itself.”

Bee Sting Facial, Photo: Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa

New Bee Sting Facial Treatment Creating A Buzz In The Valley

A new facial treatment has been creating a lot of buzz in spas across the pond. With customers like Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, requesting it, the bee sting facial treatment is has finally taken over spas in the Valley, including the Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa in Phoenix.bee venom facial treatment

“Once you give this facial treatment a try, you will think that this is Botox in a jar,” says Dannielli Marcelino, senior esthetician for the Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa. “We are very excited to introduce the bee sting facial treatment to the Valley.”

The new bee sting facial treatment, which utilizes bee venom from a bee sting, will have you looking younger and more refreshed than ever before, according to the latest research in agriculture. Scientists have found that bee venom can actually encourage the production of collagen in your skin, increasing the skin’s elasticity. The reason why collagen is produced in the skin when stung by a bee is the venom makes the skin tingle, which stimulates blood flow to the areas that have been stung.

“This treatment is different than Botox because it causes the muscles in the skin to relax and encourages stimulation, which helps produce collagen,” Marcelino says. “Collagen is important because it nourishes the skin and prevents the skin from aging, giving people a more radiant and young look.”

Additionally, the been venom also plays a part in increasing the number of keratinocyte cells in your skin, which acts as a barrier against things like sun rays, decreased moisture and bacteria.

Despite its name, however, customers are not expected to sit in a chair and allow a bee to sting their face. How the treatment works is researchers first have to extract the ‘sting’ venom from the little pollinators themselves. They do this by placing a piece of special glass alongside a beehive, and a small electrical current is run through the entire hive. The current encourages the bees to sting the glass, while also maintaining and keeping their abdomens intact so that they do not die. The venom is then harvested from this piece of glass, and it is dried and purified, all before being incorporated into facial moisturizers, cleansers, masks and serums.

“The products that are used have a nice, light aroma of honey to them,” Marcelino says. “Customers can expect to feel a little bit of tingle or sting on their skin while the products work their way into the areas that are being treated.”

All of the products offered by the Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa are shipped from London, and the treatment lasts for approximately one hour. It costs approximately $145.

For more information about the bee sting facial treatment, visit

Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa
3313 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
(602) 952-8446


Phoenix Children’s Hospital, TGen create Molecular Medicine Institute

Phoenix Children’s Hospital announced the creation of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine Tuesday, in a joint venture with The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and The University of Arizona’s College of Medicine.

The three organizations are joining forces with the hopes of unlocking genetic codes in child, adolescent and young adult cancer patients and develop drug therapies in real time to improve the outcome and treatment in these young demographics.

“Our goal is to bring genomics to the forefront of pediatrics,” said Robert L. Meyer, Phoenix Children’s president and CEO. “Research and development of novel treatments for pediatric diseases has fallen short over past decades.”

The reason why the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine is focusing on young patients is because there have been hardly any new therapies introduced to this population in the past two decades. The new institute hopes that clinical studies on children will lead to a better understanding of specific differences between children and adults, which will hopefully lead to the development of safer, more effective and more age-appropriate drug treatments that can be provided in a faster amount of time.

“A challenge with existing molecular medicine programs is the amount of time it takes to develop a new drug or treatment,” Meyer said. “Our collaboration with TGen and University of Arizona opens the doors to making a portfolio of drugs and compounds available immediately.”

The institute will also focus their clinical studies based on underlying genetic and molecular functions of different pediatric cancers, rather than specifically on tumor type. Furthermore, physicians will then create various treatment plans specifically for each patient treated based on the drug therapy that will attack and correct the malfunctioning genes.

With the start of the new institute, a special team of physician scientists will be brought on board to help start out the genomic profiling: Dr. Timothy Triche, a pediatric pathologist and former director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles; Dr. Robert Arceci, a pediatric oncologist from Johns Hopkins University; and Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, a medical oncologist at TGen.

“We are trying to figure out a way to have children get appropriate drugs,” said Dr. Robert Arceci. “We all want to know what causes diseases and how we can treat them and I think it takes a special team of people to do this and it takes a lot of unselfish commitment.”

A founding member from whom the institute gets its name, Ronald A. Matricaria, a member of the board of directors for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, is excited and hopeful for what the new institute is capable of doing in the world of pediatric care.

“Based on my knowledge of the institute and many years of working in the medical field, I’m confident that we can chart a new course for addressing the unique needs of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” Matricaria said. “We could have a huge impact on children’s live and what could be better than that.


Building snowmen at Hidden Meadow Ranch.

Hidden Meadow Ranch Offers Mountain Oasis For A New Year Celebration

When it comes to ringing in the New Year, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Times Square? We see it on television every year: the thousands of people wearing the goofy glasses as they dance to the songs of their favorite performers and watch the magical crystal ball drop during the exciting 10-second countdown. Of course, who could forget all of that multi-colored confetti as it rains down on the crowd as the clock strikes 12? Despite the excitement of Times Square, sometimes there is nothing better than to get away from the crowd and noise to celebrate the start of a new year. And here in Arizona, Hidden Meadow Ranch may be just the place.Snowy Cabin at Hidden Meadow Ranch

At Hidden Meadow Ranch, one can find tranquility and bliss among confetti of snow as they celebrate with friends and loved ones. Located in Arizona’s White Mountains, guests wanting to escape the city can experience the wilderness in luxury as they make their stay in elegant log cabins amid aspen groves, whispering Ponderosa pines and twinkling lakes and streams.Eagle's Nest at Hidden Meadow Ranch

“What better way to wrap up the past year and welcome in the new than to take a peaceful stroll through a meadow at dawn and catch a glimpse of visiting elk, deer or bald eagles?” asks Jane Lenci, general manager of Hidden Meadow Ranch. “Make your first New Year’s resolution to ring in 2013 in a most relaxing, restorative frame of mind.”

As part of the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Hidden Meadow Ranch, guests can expect a special menu from Chef Kurt Jacobsen, the Ranch Roundup evening children’s program from 6-10 p.m., music from the Desert Thunder Band from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and a special champagne toast at midnight with party favors.

Get away from the city this holiday season and make a trip to the Hidden Meadow Ranch as you let go of the old and celebrate exciting possibilities with the new.

For more information or to make a reservation, please call (928) 333-1000 or visit

Hidden Meadow Ranch

620 County Road 1325,
Greer, AZ 85927
Toll free: (866) 333-4080
Local: (928) 333-1000

Sprinkles Cupcakes, Red Ribbon Cupcakes, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Sprinkles Cupcakes To Donate Proceeds On World AIDS Day

Although Giving Tuesday, a day in which people from around the country were asked to donate to the charity of their choice in the spirit of giving back, has passed, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to give back. And this Saturday, you’ll have your chance.

In honor of World AIDS Day on Saturday, December 1, Sprinkles Cupcakes will donate 100 percent of its proceeds from sales of its famous red velvet cupcakes, specially decorated with red ribbons, to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is an organization with a mission to prevent pediatric HIV infection and to eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy and prevention and treatment programs. Elizabeth Glaser and her two friends, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis, founded the foundation after the death of Glaser’s daughter from AIDS. Unbeknownst to Glaser, she passed the virus onto her daughter Ariel through breast-feeding and to her second child, son Jake, who contracted the virus in utero. While trying to treat Ariel for her illness, Glaser realized that doctors had no clear idea on how to treat the child because most drugs on the market for HIV treatment at the time was aimed at only adults, and no HIV drugs had yet been tested and approved for children. When Ariel lost her battle with AIDS in 1988, Glaser feared her son was also in danger. It was then that she decided to set up a foundation to raise awareness and money for pediatric HIV research.

Glaser lost her battle with AIDS in 1994, however, her legacy lives through Jake, Glaser’s two friends and the millions of women and children around the world who have been helped by her foundation.

Since Sprinkles partnered with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in 2010, the company has raised $11,000 toward the cause. This Saturday, show your support for women and children everywhere by simply indulging in your favorite dessert treat.

For more information on Sprinkles Cupcakes and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, please visit and, respectively.

Sprinkles Cupcakes
When: Saturday, December 1
Where: 4501 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Contact: (480) 970-4321

Phoenix Art Museum, Zhang Ken, "Before Marriage"

Phoenix Art Museum To Host ‘Healing’ Chinese Art

Starting December 15, the Phoenix Art Museum will debut an exhibit showcasing rare art, as collected by Gerry and Leslie Jones, from the post-Cultural Revolution in China called “Visions of Humanity: 20th Century Art from the Gerry and Leslie Jones Collection.”

Starting in the 1960s and venturing through the 1980s, the collection will provide a gateway into a time in Chinese history when artists were only able to work for themselves, with no hope of an audience ever viewing their work. Most of the work was done during and after the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, when the country began destroying old customs, culture, habits and ideas, starting with the destruction of artwork and historical artifacts that represented centuries of Imperial Rule. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the Chinese government began to create policies that created space to allow painters to work publicly, creating a new hope for the people of China and birthing a new generation of artists for a broader audience.

“What is most distinct about the art of this period is not just what it depicts, but whom it depicts,” said Janet Baker, PhD, the curator of Asian Art at the Phoenix Art Museum and organizer of the exhibit. “The artists of this time developed a new artistic language for their homeland, and that meant depicting ordinary people, something that was highly uncommon prior to 1950.”

The subjects of many paintings in the collection include workers, soldiers, peasants, children, elderly persons and how they lived their day-to-day lives.

Gerry and Leslie Jones, who lived in China during the 1980s, were able to gain special permission by the Ministry of Culture in China to visit the homes and studios of artists across China in order to assemble this collection.

In addition to a 30-minute film in the gallery featuring an interview with Jones, Gerry will host a special gallery talk in the Orme Lewis Gallery on January 2, 2013 at 12 p.m., highlighting his favorite pieces in the collection.

For more information on the exhibit or about the Phoenix Art Museum, please visit

Visions of Humanity: 20th Century Art from the Gerry and Leslie Jones Collection
Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
When: December 1, 2012 – April 14, 2013
Contact: (602) 257-1222


SWEEP Provides Energy Efficiency Ideas for Arizona

Since its inception in 2001, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP as it is more commonly known, has tried to find new and innovative ways that will advance energy efficiency in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Covering such topics as buildings and transportation efficiency programs, SWEEP mainly focuses on electric utility programs and the impact they can have on each state if they were to be adopted.

Recently, founder and executive director of SWEEP, Howard Geller, spoke to a group of industry professionals about the new study conducted by the company that analyzes “best practice” utility energy efficiency programs and their benefits not only for the Southwest, but more specifically how they benefit the state of Arizona.

In the new study, SWEEP introduces 18 new programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers based on “best practice” programs that are offered by leading utilities and other companies and each were selected to demonstrate maximized cost-effective energy savings by 2020. Some programs that Geller believes should be implemented are to provide affordable weatherization services to homes, allow buildings and homes to receive retrofitting services, provide education and incentives to both homes and companies for using energy-efficient lighting, to implement a program for refrigerator and freezer recycling and provide incentives for both homes and companies to install proper cooling and heating units. According to the study, investing in high-energy efficiency programs like the ones listed above will allow commercial and industrial companies to see an average cost of saved energy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hours (kWH) and residential units to see an average cost of saved energy of 3.6 kWh.

With the implementation of these programs, in addition to the other programs included in the study, SWEEP believes that by the year 2020 the state of Arizona can see a net economic benefit of $7.3 billion. With these allocated resources, Arizona would have the opportunity to invest in more energy efficiency programs, resulting in the creation of 10,400 new jobs. In addition to the economic impact, the state of Arizona would see a large decrease in air pollutant emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions, which result from cars and power plants, would be reduced by 9.6 million metric tons per year by 2020. This is the equivalent to taking approximately 1.9 million passenger vehicles off the roads in Arizona. Other toxic gases such as nitrous oxide and sodium dioxide would have less of a presence in the atmosphere, resulting in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as fewer hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases throughout the Valley.

However, just like how the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money” goes, the cost of obtaining these benefits costs a pretty penny. Gellar suggests that Arizona, and the Southwest region as a whole, can one day see these amazing benefits if they are willing to invest $17 billion collectively. Despite this, SWEEP is confident that by the year 2020, the Southwest region could see up to $37 billion in utility and public health benefits, meaning that the region would see a net economic benefit of $20 billion. Gellar stated that the only way Arizona and the Southwest are going to see this “$20 billion dollar bonanza” would be to adopt energy savings goals, decouple utility fixed costs and electricity sales, reward performance of adopting the programs, maximize participation by increased funding for all programs and allow all utilities to be involved.

Arizona is currently in the lead in the Southwest region toward adopting more sustainable and energy efficient programs.

For more information on the study conducted by the Southwest Energy Efficient Project or to read the full report, visit







America's Tallest Tree at Outlets at Anthem

Outlets At Anthem To Feature Tallest Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree

With every holiday season, people around the globe have the opportunity to experience the joys and wonder of each fantastical winter. Whether it is through delectable treats or grandiose Christmas decorations, winter always has something fun to offer.

This Christmas holiday is no exception at the Outlets at Anthem as the upscale shopping center is set to feature America’s tallest fresh-cut Christmas tree during its 11th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular. Hailing from Northern California, the tree has made its magical journey to the Arizona desert after passing through various cities in California, such as Mt. Shasta, Sacramento and Los Angeles. The special Christmas tree stands at approximately 110 feet high, making it an exciting new addition to the many marvels in Arizona.

America's Tallest Tree at Outlets at Anthem“The opportunity to showcase America’s tallest fresh-cut Christmas tree at the Outlets at Anthem this year is an incredible experience we’re greatly looking forward to,” said Outlets at Anthem Marketing Director Sallyann Martinez. “Our holiday festivities have long-been a favorite throughout Arizona, drawing visitors from around the state and attention from across the nation. We are proud to grow this to the next level and bring visitors additional elements, along with a few surprises still to be announced, this year.”

To prepare for its close-up at this year’s lighting ceremony, the tree will be decorated with a total of 180 strands of LED lights and more than 6,000 ornaments, causing the total weight of the tree to increase to more than 16 tons. Guests and shoppers are welcome to attend the tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, November 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., which will be accompanied by performances by Roshon Fegan and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

Come to the Outlets at Anthem for Christmas cheer, music and family fun.

Outlets at Anthem Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular

Where: 4250 W. Anthem Way, Phoenix
When: Saturday, November 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Contact: (623) 465-9500
Website | Facebook

Jurlique Spa at FireSky Resort & Spa

Escape, Relax And Win Prizes At Jurlique Spa's Spalidays Event

As the holidays quickly approach, Arizonans are thinking of magical places where they can escape the day-to-day and take a much-needed vacation. Naturally, there is no better way to celebrate the end of another joyful year than to treat yourself on a peaceful “Spaliday.”

Jurlique Spa's Spalidays eventJurlique Spa of the FireSky Resort and Spa will host its 5th annual Spalidays event on Dec. 6, offering guests a great reason to celebrate the new season. This special seasonal event will have spa-lovers of all ages basking in the winter glow as they indulge in complimentary services, exclusive discounts and exciting prizes.

Guests are encouraged to grab a glass of wine and swag bag as they enjoy such services as chair massages, Clarisonic Opal eye treatments and NuFace quick lifts. Jurlique Spa will also feature a team of beauty consultants from Jurlique products, Spa Ritual, Jane Iredale, Clarisonic and Rhonda Allison to assist anyone who wishes to make a splash at their upcoming holiday festivities.

After enjoying some of the relaxing spa services at the party, patrons will have a chance to win special raffle prizes, including spa services at Jurlique, dinner at Taggia and wonderful vacations at FireSky Resort and Spa, Hotel Palomar Phoenix and Hotel La Jolla.

Tickets for the momentous occasion are on sale for $20 a person, 50 percent of which will be donated to the Phoenix Dress for Success program, a local nonprofit organization that promotes economic independence of disadvantaged women.

Kick-start your holiday with delectable treats, exhilarating prizes and calming spa services with this special Spalidays event.

For more information about Jurlique Spa’s Spalidays event and to purchase tickets, call (480) 424-6072 or visit

Jurlique Spa’s Spalidays
When: Thursday, Dec. 6 from 6-9 p.m.
Where: 4925 N. Scottsdale Blvd., Scottsdale
Tickets: $20/person
(480) 424-6072
Website | Facebook | Twitter
pheromone party

Sniff Your Way To Love At Arizona's First-Ever Pheromone Party

Are you a fabulous, single professional looking for love in the Phoenix area? Well, you are in great luck because Phoenix Mingles and Fascinations have a special event that is guaranteed to help you “sniff” out your potential lover from the sea of singles.

If you feel like you have a great sense of smell, then you should attend the first pheromone party ever to be held in Arizona.

According to the Athena Institute, pheromones are naturally occurring odorless substances excreted by the body, providing information to, and triggering responses from, the opposite sex of the same species. These pheromone parties, which have been held in Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta and San Francisco, among other cities, are based upon the scientific theory that pheromones can trigger sexual attraction.

So instead of vying for a rose from a potential mate, a la “The Bachelor,” you will be on the hunt for the correct T-shirt. For best results, guests are encouraged to bring in a T-shirt that they frequently sleep in. It is important to not wear any sort of perfumes or colognes, and slip your T-shirt into a Ziploc bag.

At the party, your special Ziploc bag will be marked with a number, and guests will sniff each bag and pose with their bag of choice. These lucky photos will then be displayed throughout the venue so that you know when you have picked a potential suitor.

Take a gamble on your heart, and nose, as you search for love in Phoenix.

The party will be held on November 16 from 6-9 p.m. at the Red Revolver Lounge in Scottsdale. Tickets are $35 and include one raffle ticket, one beer or cocktail and appetizers. You must be 21 and older to purchase a ticket.

Attendees will also get the chance to hear from pheromone expert Dr. Shannon Chavez of SHE (Sexual Health Experts) and Fascinations’ Love Expert Meg Krein about the difficulties of dating in a digital age.

Want to know more about pheromone parties? Check out this video:

To register for Phoenix Mingles and Fascinations’s Pheromone Party, visit

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Lagoon Lights

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Brings Holiday Cheer With “Christmas At The Princess”

As the warm, desert air begins to cool with the fresh, crisp fall breeze, signaling the end of the long Arizona summer, the anticipation for the holiday season begins to grow as winter slowly approaches Arizona’s doorstep.

And what an exciting holiday season this will be as the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort celebrates another magical and enchanting season during the annual “Christmas at the Princess” festival. The festival, which runs from Nov. 27 – Jan. 6, 2013, will transform the Fairmont Princess into a winter wonderland with some new and exciting activities and treats.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Christmas Lobby 2011Kicking off the festivities, guests and visitors can attend the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Grand Opening of the Desert Ice Holiday Rink on November 27. The special ceremony will take place in the Princess Plaza at 6:30 p.m. and the centerpiece of the night will be the grand, four-story musical Christmas tree as it springs to life with Christmas music. The special tree contains 65,000 LED lights, which all twinkle and dance to 10 different holiday songs and are sprinkled with beautiful, glistening snowflake decorations.Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Accompanying the tree lighting will be the debut of the Desert Ice Holiday Rink. Nestled in the quaint Cactus Garden, the ice skating rink will make its debut with professional performers demonstrating cool ice tricks before it opens to the public. The price per skating session is $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 years old and younger, and $5 for skate rentals. A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The evening will also include musical performances, Fairmont Scottsdale Princesscarolers, sugar cookies and spiced cider, which all will surely invigorate the holiday spirit for anyone who attends.

To top off the splendor of the evening, the Princess Express Train will open, offering guests a chance to take a journey through a winter wonderland landscape and Lagoon Lights. While exploring the lagoons, visitors can see swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship and 14-foot poinsettias, among other fanciful displays.

Another important aspect of the evening will be the start of the Fairmont Princess’s toy drive for Toys for Tots. The Scottsdale Fire Department will be present to accept gifts and donations on opening night, and the resort will hold a drop-off location through Dec. 20 in its lobby.

And, of course, the Christmas season would be incomplete if Santa weren’t at the party! People of all ages can have a visit with Santa as he joins the Fairmont Princess on Friday and Saturday nights to make all wishes and dreams come true. Patrons can take a photo with Santa as a keepsake of the visit and can whisper to Santa what they’d wish to see underneath their Christmas tree.

Whether its marshmallow roasting, drinking hot cocoa, decorating stockings or making dreidels, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has something for everyone to enjoy. So bring the family down this holiday season to experience all the magic that the resort has to offer.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 585-4848


Taylor Swift, Photo: Flickr, avrilllllla

Special Artist Exhibit At MIM To Honor Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Exhibit: Banjo“We, are never ever, ever, getting back together!” sings Taylor Swift on her newest smash hit. With its fun, bubblegum-pop feel and easy-to-memorize lyrics, it is no wonder why Miss Swift has hit another homerun on the pop charts and radio waves. It would seem these days that fans just can’t get enough of the doe-eyed, blonde beauty as they await the impending release of her fourth studio album “Red.”

However, fans everywhere can rejoice as the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix has a special surprise for people who love all things Swift-related. MIM is proud to announce the opening of a Taylor Swift exhibit in its artist gallery. The gallery will open on October 20, two days before the release of her new album, and will honor the artist’s achievements in the music industry.Taylor Swift Exhibit

The exhibit is divided into two sections, with the first detailing the beginning of Swift’s career. This section will showcase various milestones, such as when Swift began playing guitar and writing songs, to when she released her very first single, “Tim McGraw,” off her self-titled debut album. Some of the objects that will be on display include her handwritten lyrics for the song “Tim McGraw” and her signature, six-string acoustic guitar and cowboy boots that were featured in the single’s music video.Taylor Swift Exhibit

The second section will tell the story of Swift’s rise to super-stardom, demonstrated through the use of instruments, stage wear and set pieces from her “Speak Now” World Tour. The artifacts that will be on display for this part of the exhibit include various instruments used during the world tour, such as a Deering banjo, a Leilani ukulele and her sparkling-red Gibson Les Paul electric guitar that she played during performances of her hit-single “Mine.” The centerpiece of the exhibit is a large prop bell and interactive set piece that was used during performances of her song “Haunted.”

MIM President and Director, Dr. Bill DeWalt, is excited for the new artist gallery and hopes that fans see the extent of Swift’s talents when viewing each part section of Swift’s career.

Taylor Swift Exhibit“Not only is Taylor Swift one of the most successful musical artists in the world,” DeWalt said in a press release, “she is also a multi-instrumentalist and an extraordinarily talented songwriter. We are honored to showcase some of the important artifacts from Swift’s career, and we hope this exhibit inspires our guests of all ages to play an instrument and make their own music.”

To celebrate the addition to MIM’s artist gallery, the museum will host fun activities for visitors during the gallery’s opening weekend (October 20-21). Guests can participate in a songwriting workshop with the Arizona Songwriters Association, watch Taylor Swift music videos in the MIM Music Theater and listen to students from Rock ‘n’ Roll High School sing songs from the singer’s music catalog — just to name a few exciting events.

For more information regarding the Musical Instrument Museum’s Taylor Swift exhibit and a complete list of activities, please visit

If You Go: Taylor Swift Exhibit Opening Weekend

When: Saturday, October 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050
Tickets: Free with museum admission
Contact: (480) 478-6000
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Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Takes Over The Airwaves, Festivals — And Scottsdale

It’s taking control of the airwaves, music charts, night clubs, music festivals, possibly even your iPod: electronic dance music, or EDM as it is commonly called. Not only are some of these DJs making millions of dollars, but they’re breaking records on the Billboard charts as well. Just this week, David Guetta’s single “Titanium” broke a record on the Billboard Dance/Club Chart by having the longest stay on the chart since Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

EDM has gained quite a large following in the past five years — so much so that music festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza have increased the number of EDM acts showcased at each event. There have even been festivals created that are solely dedicated to the genre, including the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, which attracted 165,000 visitors at this year’s event; and the wildly popular Electronic Daisy Carnival, which attracted approximately 320,000 guests at this year’s three-day event in Las Vegas and generated $207 million in revenue.

Still think EDM is just a fad? Looks like it’s here to stay.

So it’s of no surprise that EDM has found a lovely home and fan-base in the Valley, with night clubs hosting EDM artists to DJs performing at hotel restaurants (a la the District American at the Sheraton in Downtown Phoenix).

“Our proximity to Las Vegas and Los Angeles has helped our local scene grow,” says Matt Brough, director of talent for Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations (SLE) in Scottsdale. “With parties like EDC, and clubs like Marquee, the fans have an unparalleled access to the world’s top DJs and parties.”

However, EDM has always had a following, dating back to the early 1980s when synthesizers became popular with bands like The Eurythmics and Depeche Mode. It wasn’t until nearly 20 years later when high-profile DJs began to notice their music cross over to a mass audience. The reason for this cross over? According to Steve LeVine, CEO of SLE, it’s accessibility.

“Great dance music has been around for many years,” says LeVine, creator of the Sound Wave music festival, an electronic music festival held in Tempe, which hit its all-time attendance record with nearly 10,000 people attending this year’s event. “I believe the popularity has increased because people can access music easier than ever and there are more mediums playing many different genres.

“As DJs, we became the trend setters that introduced dance music to our own individual markets and now many years later, dance music has taken over the airwaves and is what you hear everywhere,” LeVine adds.

And it seems to be played by just about anybody, too. Remember when Paris Hilton tried her hand at DJ-ing? Or perhaps how Solange Knowles, younger sister of Beyonce, started record-spinning a couple years ago? Although it may seem like fun, easy even, a lot more work goes into being a DJ than one may think. The skill is something more than just splicing together a playlist of top radio hits; it’s an art-form, according to Alexander Siordian, Radio Technician at KISS FM. For many DJs across the Valley, it’s about feeling and knowing the music and experimenting by trial-and-error, he adds.

“Technology is an amazing thing,” Brough says. “Right now is the easiest it has ever been to be ‘a’ DJ. To be a ‘good’ DJ is a whole other story.

“Anyone can download the Beatport Top 20 songs and mix those together with the Sync button. It takes years of skill and talent to know how to program the right song at the right time to take the dance floor on a real journey,” Brough said.

While the radio and YouTube has introduced many to the genre and its nationally recognized names such as Deadmau5, David Guetta and Steve Aoki, closer-to-home venues, including Smashbox, Wild Knight and El Santo, are taking the initiative to showcase local talent. For instance, El Santo Cantina in Scottsdale is hosting a month-long DJ series this fall, which was kicked off by Paul Oakenfold’s performance in September.Paul Oakenfold at El Santo.

“Electronic music has an energy behind it that generally is not captured with traditional radio music,” Brian Ruede, owner of El Santo Cantina in Scottsdale. “It also often incorporates remixes of popular radio songs that allow it to cross over to mainstream listeners.

“EDM is a high energy, feel-good music that brings a great crowd. We love the crowd and the energy that comes with these shows.”

And for those of you who believe EDM merely a trend, it appears that it’s here to stay. Not only are some DJs making millions for their services — like Tiesto, who is reportedly the highest-paid DJ in the world with $22 million in earnings — listeners can expect EDM to evolve. According to LeVine, EDM will continue to change, constantly. And that includes collaborations with artists outside of the EDM bubble, including Leona Lewis and Avicii’s “Collide,” Calvin Harris and Florence Welch’s “Sweet Nothing,” and Bassnectar’s remix of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.”

“We’re starting to see a lot more hip-hop and rock with dance beats,” LeVine says. “Also, reggae, alternative and adult contemporary music genres are all being remixed into dance versions. Additionally, there will be many variations of dance music that surface sooner than we think. Some will be short lived and others will be embraced for many years to come.

“Just look at how much dubstep has grown in the past year,” Levine adds. “It’s pretty amazing to watch the entire genre continually grow.”

For more information about Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations, El Santo Cantina, or to view their upcoming events, visit and, respectively.

Dres for Success Stylist Scholarship, Fashion Phoenix

Fashion Phoenix Accepting Submissions For DRES For Success Stylist Scholarship

Calling all fashionistas! Have you ever dreamed of a career in fashion and personal styling? Well, now is your opportunity to get your foot in the door because Fashion Phoenix has just announced that it will hold the DRES for Success Stylist Scholarship video contest this week. The contest will award one complimentary DRES Stylist Online training course to one lucky fashionista who demonstrates how much they love styling.

Kira Brown, a certified DRES Stylist and founder of Fashion Phoenix, an online site that delivers fashion, style and beauty news for the Valley, is holding this contest in collaboration with the DRES System. The system — founded by professional wardrobe stylist Margaret Spencer of Seattle, Wash. — is an online training program for independent, personal wardrobe stylists with a vision of providing every woman with a DRES Stylist. These two companies hope that the contest will bring forward stylists who aim to empower others through fashion and want to start a career in fashion or take their career to the next level.

“Personal styling and personal wardrobe consulting blends fashion, fun and empowerment to others,” says Brown. “It’s such a great joy to help a man or woman look, and subsequently feel better about themselves and communicate to themselves and others more effectively through the best clothing choices.”DRES for Success Stylist Scholarship, Fashion Phoenix

The guidelines to winning? They’re simple. Contestants just need to create a two-minute video, stating their name, why they want to be a personal stylist, who their style icons are and their career goals in fashion. Once your video is submitted, a special judge panel, which includes guest judges Britany Simon, of HGTV’s “Design Star” and local interior designer of Britany Simon Design; Margaret Spencer, DRES founder; and Kira Brown, founder and shoperone of Fashion Phoenix; will review your answers to see if you have what it takes to break into the styling industry.

All video submissions should be uploaded onto YouTube, with the title “DRES for Success Scholarship by Fashion Phoenix” by Monday, October 8 at 12 p.m. MST. The YouTube video link should also be sent to Fashion Phoenix directly via email to Winners will be determined the week of October 15.

For more information about the DRES for Success Scholarship and/or Fashion Phoenix, please visit

Panic Park logo

Zombies And Hellbillies At Panic Park In Scottsdale

It is almost that time of year when children, teenagers and adults alike dress up in their best costumes with the hopes of obtaining a bag full of candy ― all while being chased and frightened by zombies, vampires and goblins as they rise from their slumber. You can almost sense the doom in the air. That’s right folks, Hallow’s Eve is approaching.

During the Halloween season, it’s always fun to try and scare your family and friends. While practical jokes may suffice, one great way to spook your loved ones is to attend a haunted house. I had the great opportunity to preview a new, truly frightening park that is sure to deliver on shrills and chills ― Panic Park.

Legend has it that Panic Park used to be a lovely community pool and park. Things were going well for the owner, until one day he faced financial troubles. In order to solve this problem, he decided to start storing toxic sludge for nuclear companies in order to earn more money. What he didn’t anticipate, however, was that the sludge would change his employees into flesh-eating zombies. The zombies overran the park and to this day, they live there with the hopes of finding new flesh to eat.

As I toured the zombie-filled park, I had the chance to enter three terrifying main attractions. The first was the Toxic Waste 4D maze, where guests are required to wear 3D glasses as zombies and deformed “employees” jump out at you from almost every corner. I was truly afraid during this tour because the 3D glasses make the zombies seem farther than they really are, until you realize it is too late to run as they descend on you for your brain. The second was the Hollywood Back Lot Tour. In this fun maze, guests are able to walk through old movie sets and watch as the actors and directors become manic as they obsess over their murderous roles and try to make you stay for a starring role in their horror films. Beware of this maze because you just may become a victim of their movie!

The last, and most certainly not least (scary, that is), is the Hellbilly Hideout. This was my least favorite only because it was the one that made me the most nervous, scared, jumpy ― and the one that truly made me scream out loud. Upon entering this maze, you walk in-between these large wooden fences and all you hear … is silence. You can’t see anything and already begin expecting the worst. Then you are brought into the maze, where all you see are bushes, small homes and a skinny, black pathway leading you into the darkness. Then “hellbillies” pop-out of nowhere and try to convince you to stay for dinner ― or more like stay and become dinner. The characters and visual settings were eerie and disturbing, providing me with chills, goosebumps and many high-pitched screams.

After finally escaping the “hellbillies” as they tried to chase me down, I was able to tour the rest of the grounds safely. Some other fun attractions include a small Kid’s Zone haunted house, a zombie shoot-out game, where guests can try and fight zombies with a paintball gun, and a “How To Train Your Zombie” show, which teaches guests how to fool a zombie into not chasing you.

The haunted attraction proved to be fun and spooky for people of all ages, and I’m happy to say that I survived the nigh

Panic Park will open for tours starting Friday, September 28 and last until Halloween night. Attend this spine-tingling event with the family if you think you stand a chance against zombies, but beware because you may just lose your brain!

For more information about Panic Park, please visit

Panic Park

8800 E. Indian Bend Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 999-0303
Tickets: $5, general admission; $27, all access pass; $35 super pass


5 Uncommon Beauty Tricks

Five Uncommon Beauty Tricks & Tips

Living in the desert, one may find that it can be quite difficult maintaining a good appearance throughout the day. It happens to the best of us: we get ready in the morning, feeling clean, fresh and sexy; then we walk outside and begin sweating profusely. Or, perhaps the dry, dusty air ravages our skin; or, better yet, the humidity makes our hair frizz and curl.

It can be difficult trying to find methods to make these issues go away, especially when you are on the go. However, Dr. Paul Alexander Budnick, M.D., founder and medical director of the DreamBody Medical Centers in Scottsdale and his team have shared five uncommon and very interesting beauty tricks that are sure to save you time and money.

5 Uncommon Beauty Tricks:

Hask Placenta Hair Treatment

uncommon beauty tricksLooking for new ways to make your hair condition and shine? Look no further than the Hask Placenta Hair Treatment. The product is made from a sheep’s placenta, and this conditioner provides your hair with natural protein, resulting in stronger, healthier hair. Simply spray it on your hair after showering, and watch your hair glisten and shine.

Scotch tape cures dry lips

uncommon beauty tricksDry skin is something that occurs frequently for anybody living in the Valley, and our lips are no exception. Most people like to use Chap Stick, however, one thing that most people don’t know is that your lips are not cured from dryness by simply applying Chap Stick. Like the rest of our skin, our lips need to be exfoliated and moisturized. If you want healthier lips, simply apply a strip of Scotch tape to your lips, and slowly peel it off. This will remove all the dead skin cells from your lips. Afterward, apply Chap Stick as you usually would, and your lips will look fresher than ever.

Castor oil will help your eyelashes grow

Uncommon beauty tricksWe see the commercials all the time for mascara and other various beauty products that promise to add volume and length to your eyelashes. But have you considered castor oil? Castor oil is effective in eyelash growth because it moistens and hydrates them. Simply apply the castor oil along your eyelash line, and watch them grow longer in a quick amount of time.

Bounce dryer sheets will tame your mane

uncommon beauty tricksI know what you’re thinking, “Use Bounce dryer sheets on my hair? Are you kidding me?” Surprisingly, they work the same on hair as they do on our clothes when they are drying. Whether you are commuting to work or traveling for business, Bounce dryer sheets can be a lifesaver. Simply pat your hair with a sheet, and watch it work its disappearing act on frizz.

The four new tricks above are for use during the day as you travel to and from work, from picking up your kids from school or rushing to meet your significant other for a date night. However, if you have the time and are looking for a more long-term solution, there is one special treatment that is taking the Valley by storm.

Dr. Budnick offers a special stem cell facelift, which lasts for approximately two years. This is longer than both Botox and Juvederm and results in less money spent on upkeep. The stem cell facelift utilizes the stem cells from the fat in your body, so nothing synthetic or foreign is placed in your face, and it replenishes and builds off your own system. This results in a look that is more natural, clean and defined. The procedure is minimally invasive with no risks associated with the injection, such as bruising.

These five uncommon beauty tricks are excellent ways to combat common beauty problems.

For more information on Dr. Budnick and the beauty treatments he offers, please visit

The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald

Phoenix Symphony Invites Larry Fitzgerald To Conduct On Opening Night [PHOTOS]

Upon fall’s arrival, one may hear the sound of beautiful music grace the Downtown Phoenix area as temperatures begin to simmer down. Where is it coming from you might ask? At the Phoenix Symphony, of course, as it prepares to open its doors again to the public. And if you decide to venture out to Symphony Hall this Thursday night, September 20, for its season opening, you may be in for a real treat. Arizona Cardinal wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will conduct the “Star Spangled Banner” with the Phoenix Symphony.

Fitzgerald had a chance to rehearse with the symphony early Tuesday morning, proving to all that he does indeed know how to keep a beat. He ran through the National Anthem two times before speaking about how important the event was to him.

“It truly is an honor to be here,” Fitzgerald says. “This is something really special for me because I’ve never done anything like this before. I feel honored and humbled to be here.

“It is so special to be an American because of the freedoms that we have, and I never thought I would get an opportunity to do something like this.”

At the rehearsal, Fitzgerald seemed to command the Symphony with ease and grace; however, he said he has never expected conducting to be harder than football and offered advice for any others who may be thinking of following his footsteps.

“This orchestra is very well-conducted, and I feel that this is tougher than football,” Fitzgerald says. “Three things that I learned from this experience is first, don’t drop the baton. Second, be natural, be confident and be poised. Third, is just have a good time.”

After Fitzgerald finishes his conducting duties Thursday, guests will have the opportunity to see Sarah Hicks conduct Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, with encore performances for Friday and Saturday evening.

Larry Fitzgerald rehearsing with the Phoenix Symphony:

The Phoenix Symphony The Phoenix Symphony The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald
The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald The Phoenix Symphony, Larry Fitzgerald

If you would like to attend a show at the Phoenix Symphony, below is a small list of events. For a more detailed schedule with listed times, please visit

September 20-22: Opening Night! Sarah Hicks Conducts Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
September 28-30: Wicked Divas
October 18-20: Tito Munoz Conducts Ravel’s Piano Concerto
October 26: Savor the Symphony
October 26-28: The Texas Tenors
October 27: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
November 8-10: Ignat Solzhenistyn Conducts Stravinsky’s Petrushka
November 23: Michael Christie Conducts Bernstein and Stravinsky
November 23-24: Michael Christie Conducts Carmina Burana
November 30: Joseph Young Conducts Holiday Pops

"A" Mountain (Tempe Butte), Photo: Daniel Escobedo

A Harrowing, Hilarious Hike Up Tempe Butte, Or “A” Mountain

Standing at the base of the mountain, I look up toward the black asphalt path that lies in front of me. It seems smooth with a slight incline. Heat is rising off the asphalt up into the sky as the sun repeatedly bakes and pounds the pavement with unrelenting heat. Wary that my competitors are quickly approaching, I must make this hike fast. I begin my ascent to the peak of the mountain, appreciating all of the native foliage that surrounds me: small shrubs lining the main hiking path, with small cacti sprinkled across the dirt terrain.

I’ve barely made it around the first corner to reach my destination, and I’m already out of breath. As I make the slight turn that will lead me up to the finish line, wood stairs appear in front of me, each one carved deep into the earth. I begin to climb the stairs but get tired quickly due to the heat. I barely make it halfway up the stairs when I begin to panic because I’m already exhausted; my heart is beating dangerously fast, and I’ve brought no water with me on my journey. Small beads of sweat begin to collect on my forehead, while streams begin to run down my back. I can’t make it up this hike. It is just much too difficult for me, despite the fact that I’ve only been exercising for about 10 minutes.

Tempe Butte ("A" Mountain), Photo: ASU“A” Mountain (Tempe Butte) proved to be a lot tougher than I thought.

Now, I realize that it may seem like I just described hiking up Camelback Mountain — a large summit that rises 2,700 feet high to a peak that can take some up to two hours to reach — located just behind Camelback Rd. and 44th St. But before you make fun of me for hardly making it up “A” Mountain, the iconic hill that lies directly north of the ASU Tempe campus, let me give you some back story on why this adventure was so dramatic.

It was last August 2011, and I had just been hired to be a Community Assistant (CA) in the residence hall of ASU’s downtown campus. The 24 of us that had been hired were required to undergo a two-week training course, and at the end of this training, we had to engage in a team bonding activity. So, one of the veteran CAs decided that it would be fun to do a scavenger hunt from Phoenix to Tempe, and we were split up into groups of four or five. Each group was given a list of clues that represented a place, and we had to solve each puzzle, head to the location and take a picture in front of it. When it was time to solve the final clue, it was soon determined that the location was “A” Mountain. However, what the teams didn’t expect is that we had to hike up to the top in order to win the competition. And, to boot, we had to do it in 116-degree heat!

Because none of us carried water to share, all 24 of us were exhausted fast. Some of the team barely made it halfway up the hill and turned around to get water, while the rest was randomly scattered on the hiking path. Two people from the team were suffering mild symptoms of heat exhaustion, and, thankfully, we were able to get them water from a restaurant nearby.

I know that this adventure seems like a horror story and some of you may not be feeling up to a hike anytime soon, but there are ways to avoid having an experience like the one I had. First and foremost, do not go for a hike when it is 5 p.m. and 116 degrees. It is probably best to do it early in the morning while it is cool or later at night. Secondly, drink water before you decide to do any sort of physical activity. In fact, according to WebMD, you should also drink water every 15 to 20 minutes during your exercise activity, as well as after you are finished, to avoid being dehydrated. Be sure to wear proper athletic attire (and not black jeans paired with black Toms like I did) so that you are more comfortable and have better foot support.

My colleagues and I have learned from our mistakes and have hiked up “A” Mountain many times since. With proper preparation, hiking can be quite an enjoyable experience.

The best part? When you reach the top of, you’re exposed to expansive views of Tempe, Phoenix and the whole Valley — all while enjoying the fresh air and the serene, quiet oasis that exists only high above the city lights.

For more information about Tempe Butte (“A” Mountain), visit