Author Archives: Julia Swem

About Julia Swem

Julia Swem is an intern at AZ Big Media and a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She enjoys music, fashion and of course writing and reporting. She loves the fact that this profession allows her to meet interesting and influential people on a regular basis as well as learn something new with every story covered.

Perla Modena

Natural Stone Countertops: A Cost-effective Way To Update The Look Of Your Kitchen

The natural stone age: Natural stone countertops are a cost-effective way to update the look of your kitchen.

Want to transform your kitchen for your family and friends to enjoy while simultaneously increasing the value of your home? Think twice about gutting it floor to ceiling; install a natural stone countertop instead.

Go with granite

According to Robin Fallone, co-owner of Fallone Building & Remodeling in Scottsdale, granite countertops have been a popular choice among homeowners for quite some time.

“We’ve been in business here for about 10 years, and since we’ve been here, we’ve seen that granite has been about 95 percent of the way people go. People love it,” Fallone says.

Ariadna Papagno, manager of Papagno’s Marble & Granite, Inc., says installing natural stone countertops is an inexpensive way to update one’s kitchen and give it an entirely new look.

“It looks a lot more elegant, and it brings out life in the kitchen,” Papagno says. “The granite warms it up, and it feels like you are bringing something from the outside in.”

Ediveth Saenz, interior design consultant for Aracruz International Granite, agrees; she says it adds character to a kitchen.

Unique and practical

Natural stone comes in a variety of colors as well as one-of-a-kind patterns, including veins and minerals like quartz and mica, which can give the granite a sparkle effect.

Isac Libardi, one of the owners of Aracruz International Granite, says each and every color will have a different look.

“It’s like a fingerprint; every slab is unique,” Libardi says. “It brings a whole different style to the house because you’re bringing something inside from Mother Earth; you have a natural piece of the mountain in your house.”

Not only do natural stone countertops look beautiful, they are practical as well.

“I think it’s a really nice, durable surface that you can do anything to and it will still look new,” Papagno says. “You don’t have to worry about scratching it, burning it or anything else that can happen with other common countertop materials.”

Mix and match

One popular trend is mixing more than one color or material. Papagno says she’s seen people mix granite with stainless steel, concrete or glass, creating a sophisticated look. She’s says they’ve even done granite integrated with wood inserts and butcher blocks.

Fallone adds that granite countertops are also great to help achieve a modern, contemporary look.

“If people are going toward the modern look, they’re going for the dark cabinet with straight lines with dark floors, and then they’re going with a backsplash that is very contemporary and granite countertops,” Fallone says.

Dawn Atchison of Granite Transformations of Arizona in Phoenix adds that, regarding countertops and backsplashes, a contrast of materials will be popular in 2013 — “i.e., granite with recycled glass or mosaics and recycled glass countertops and splashes that create an ambiance of elegance, diversity and depth.”

As far as color schemes go, Saenz says contrasting colors, and mixing and matching lighter and darker shades, are popular trends. However, Papagno suggests not to get carried away with too many patterns.

“I always tell people if they want to do different colors, think about it as if you’re wearing something,” Papagno says. “You wouldn’t wear plaid with flowers; so you always want to do something solid and something with design.”

An educated decision

Pricing for slabs can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the slab.

Papagno adds that the difference in price is due to the design of the stone not the quality. The most inexpensive slabs are going to be the standard colors and the most expensive slabs have a lot of veining and unique characteristics.

Most suppliers and designers recognize that character can bring a kitchen to life but also understand that so many choices can become overwhelming to the client. Papagno says client involvement is key to their happiness.

“We feel that educating customers empowers them to make the right decision,” Papagno says. “We want to ensure our customer is happy with what they are getting and that they are fully informed when they make their choices.”

5 tips for choosing the perfect countertops

Don’t know where to start? Dawn Atchison of Granite Transformations of Arizona offers these helpful tips when looking for the best countertops for your kitchen.

  1. Research and find a reputable, licensed, bonded and insured company that will stand behind and warranty their products.
  2. Go with a company that uses only their own certified employees and doesn’t sub-contract the work.
  3. Choose something that won’t go out of style tomorrow.
  4. Go with a countertop that will make your life easier by choosing a maintenance-free material.
  5. Seek help when you find yourself overwhelmed from someone knowledgeable — i.e., make an appointment with a certified design consultant.

For more information about natural stone countertops, visit:

Papagno’s Marble & Granite, Inc.
15716 N. 76th St., Scottsdale
(480) 948-4282

Aracruz International Granite
2310 W. Sherman St., Phoenix
(602) 252-1171

Fallone Building & Remodeling
(480) 473-2109

Granite Transformations of Arizona
2205 W. Lone Cactus Dr., #23, Phoenix
(623) 581-5056

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013

irregular hormone levels

Do You Have Irregular Hormone Levels?

Another medical diagnosis for similar symptoms to thyroid disease is hormone deficiency. Dr. Angela DeRosa, internal medicine doctor for DeRosa Medical in Scottsdale, says as women age, they become more at risk for irregular hormone levels; this includes both estrogen and testosterone. She adds that hormone deficiencies begin earlier than many women think, with the majority of women developing testosterone deficiency in their 30s followed by estrogen deficiency in their 40s.

Symptoms for estrogen deficiency:

  • Unstable emotions — moody, anxious and irritable
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Memory fogginess
  • In some cases, heart palpitations

Symptoms for testosterone deficiency:

  • Low libido
  • Unstable emotions — irritable, depressed, anxious and, in some cases, panic
  • Forgetfulness
  • Low energy
  • Poor response and recovery from exercise
  • Weight-gain in the hips and stomach


DeRosa says natural treatments for both estrogen and testosterone deficiency include maintaining a healthy lifestyle — working out, eating properly and limiting alcohol intake.
DeRosa and Dr. Alan Christianson of Integrative Health in Scottsdale agree that if deficiencies in both testosterone and estrogen are prominent, bio-identical hormone replacement generates the best results. DeRosa says these are the safe hormones that are not passed through the body orally and do not cause harmful side effects.

DeRosa says hormone pellets are the best supplemental treatment for both estrogen and testosterone replacement because they do not pass through the liver as with oral supplements; instead, they continually release hormones your body can regulate.

For more information about hormone pellets, visit

DeRosa Medical
9377 E. Bell Rd., 361, Scottsdale
(480) 619-4097

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013

Gena Lee Nolin

Thyroid Disease Can Happen To Anyone, Just Ask Gena Lee Nolin

Making waves: Thyroid disease can happen to anyone, just ask ‘Baywatch’ star Gena Lee Nolin.

Are you struggling with exhaustion, noticeable weight-gain and severe moodiness? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you may be dealing with thyroid disease.

The thyroid gland manufactures hormones that control metabolism. Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland is either creating too many hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism). Although hypothyroidism is much more common, any type of thyroid dysfunction affects critical body functions such as energy level and heart rate, according to the American Thyroid Association.

Dr. Alan Christianson, a naturopathic medical doctor for Integrative Health in Scottsdale, says thyroid disease is not a common topic of conversation, but it may affect more women than most  research shows.

He says that if one were to look at optimal standards, it’s likely that 20 to 25 percent of the adult population may have some degree of thyroid dysfunction, compared with 10 percent shown by most conservative evidence.

Christianson adds that women are especially vulnerable to thyroid disease during pregnancy. In fact, one of Christianson’s patients, Gena Lee Nolin, a Scottsdale resident and former star of “Baywatch,” says she suffered a severe case of thyroid disease during pregnancy. She says the worst part was being misdiagnosed with possible psychological problems and atrial fibrillation (AFIB) due to irregular heart rates.


Christianson says thyroid disease is often overlooked because the symptoms that occur in the earlier stages, such as depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain, are symptoms a lot of people have for other reasons. Most doctors are only trained to identify thyroid disease when it is very advanced — and usually that’s five to seven years down the road, he adds.

Nolin says she was up to 175 pounds (pre-pregnancy), felt achy and was sick with constant flu-like symptoms.

“They tested me for Valley Fever; they tested me for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — pretty much everything,” Nolin says. “And then the doctor threw out all these things and said, ‘You need talk to a psychiatrist. It could be in your head.’ So he gave me a card, and I left the appointment crying.”

Later, when Nolin was seven weeks pregnant, she was walking on the treadmill and noticed that her heart started to race and beat irregularly. She was misdiagnosed with AFIB because of her symptoms. In realty, it was thyroid disease, for which she was never screened.


Christianson says even if a pregnant woman does not have symptoms of thyroid disease, she should always be tested for it during a routine checkup.

“There are changes that take place within the immune and the body’s hormone system during pregnancy that can push thyroid disease over the edge if it’s in the shadows waiting to start,” Christianson says.

After her diagnosis with AFIB, Nolin had another cardiac attack — this time seven months into her pregnancy — and was rushed to the hospital where, again, she was never screened for thyroid disease.

“When I was there, they wanted to cardiac-convert me, which is like what you see on ‘ER’ when they put the panels on someone, and the body jumps,” Nolin recalls. “They wanted to stop and restart my heart with (me) seven months pregnant, which is just crazy.”

She was never diagnosed until a routine checkup. Christianson says it was sad she wasn’t tested for thyroid disease until then because it could have saved her a lot of trouble.

“(After the diagnosis), I was relieved to hear that I was diagnosed with something and that it wasn’t in my head after all,” Nolin says.

Nolin is a frequent public speaker and thyroid patient advocate. She even created a Facebook page called “Thyroid Sexy” for thyroid awareness and support. The page has more than 16,000 members.

Nolin says she feels as though it’s her mission to call attention to thyroid disease.
“I went through so much for so long, and I suffered silently,” Nolin says. “If I can shed light or help somebody else out there that is frustrated, alone and not taken seriously, then I’ve done something.”

For more information about thyroid disease, visit:

Integrative Healthcare
9200 E. Raintree Dr., #100, Scottsdale
(480) 657-0003

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013

K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple Stupid, opens in Old Town Scottsdale

K.I.S.S. Opens In Old Town Scottsdale With Mayor Jim Lane

K.I.S.S., an East Coast-style pizza and beef joint, makes its debut today, December 3 at 11 a.m.

K.I.S.S., or Keep It Simple Stupid, pays homage to classic American favorites found in the heart of Chicago and New York City. The menu features Chicago and New York styles of pizza (offered whole and by the slice) along with Chicago dogs, antipasto salads and any type of grinder sandwich one could imagine, with an emphasis on Italian beef and sausage.

David Twigger, director of sales and marketing for K.I.S.S and The Venue Scottsdale, says everyone involved, especially Chef Anthony Crocenzi, wants everything to stay true to the East-Coast style.

“Our chef Anthony Crocenzi is from Chicago,” Twigger says. “He got all his training there, grew-up there and fell in love with food there. It’s really important to him that we make sure everything is authentic.”

Twigger says that’s why we use a water-filtration system to create the same composition of water used in Chicago pizzerias. This process plays a role in the flavor of the hot dog and Italian sausage as both are immersed in the water while cooking.

Not only is K.I.S.S. dedicated to the type of food they provide, but it’s also dedicated to the community as well. K.I.S.S. is kicking off its grand opening with Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and donating $1 from all sandwich sales the week of December 3 to December 10 to Vista Del Camino.

Vista Del Camino provides a variety of services to Scottsdale residents to prevent homelessness, meet the basic needs of individuals and families in crisis, assist individuals to maintain self-sufficiency and relieve economic and emotional stress.

“We chose this charity because of the local connection,” Twigger says. “Scottsdale is a wonderful community, and Vista Del Camino helps maintain it.”

Mayor Lane will arrive at K.I.S.S. on December 3 at 11 a.m. to cut the ribbon for the official grand opening and get involved in the kitchen by creating his own pizza.

“Mayor Lane has been a long time resident (of Scottsdale) and is very supportive of small business,” Twigger says. “We felt like we had to include him, and we hear he’s a pizza fan.”

K.I.S.S. is also offering a grand opening special that includes $1 New York style slices and $2 deep-dish slices of pizza today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

K.I.S.S. is located at 7117 E. 3rd Ave. in Old Town Scottsdale, and its weekly hours are Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and closed on Sundays.

K.I.S.S. Grand Opening with Mayor Jim Lane

When: Monday, December 3 at 11 a.m.
Where: 7117 E. 3rd Ave. in Old Town Scottsdale


Scottsdale-Based Hearts Helps Make Social Awareness Fashionable

Fashion has and continues to have a profound influence on shaping culture and society around the world. The amount of influence may vary depending on where you are, but there is no arguing that the influence is there.

What if a group of like-minded people did more with it — cultivating the power and influence of fashion for the greater good? Well, no more what-ifs because that group now exists, and they go by the name Hearts.

Hearts is an ethically conscious fashion brand that offers consumers originally designed handbags and accessories that are fashion forward but also socially aware.

As of November 21, Hearts, a web-based retail company headquartered in Scottsdale, unveiled more than 500 uniquely designed handbags, jewelry and accessories. Design styles range from vintage to modern and most have cultural influences.

“Fashion is a powerful vehicle for the expression of our individuality,” says Creative Director Stephanie Petro. “Hearts’ designs provide a stylish and easy way to actively support environmental and social causes while driving positive transformation at the community level.”

Each piece is made with the people and the planet in mind, representing Hearts’ core value system. The company believes they have a social responsibility. Hearts’ design philosophy incorporates ecologically conscience materials and minimum footprint manufacturing processes with the goal of positively affecting specific social issues like access to clean water and human equality.

For example, the website offers “iHeart” bracelets, created with recycled glass beads in varying colors and a gunmetal chain. The different colors represent a specific cause, including the Chile to Kili organization for cultural awareness, Pencils of Promise for education awareness and The Shine Project for human rights awareness. Some of the bracelets were even handcrafted by local, Arizona teens.

Hearts focuses on educating people on the effects of modern consumerism so they can make more conscious choices while shopping. Hearts makes that easy with its transparent approach; each product is listed with artisan statistics, materials and the manufacturing process.

Hearts continues to lead by example by joining the CarbonFree Shipping Program. Through this program Hearts will offset their carbon emissions generated by the shipment of products to Hearts costumers. The CarbonFree Shipping label will also appear on all packages to assure Hearts customers that they are fulfilling their promise.

“Hearts is dedicated to changing the ways products are made and distributed and setting an example for other fashion companies to do the same,” says Hearts Owner, Hart Cunningham. “At the end of the day, our vision is not about selling products, but about making a difference in the world we live in so that our children can inherit a cleaner planet than we did.”

Check out Hearts’s Lookbook:

Hearts Lookbook
Hearts Lookbook
Hearts Lookbook

For more information about Hearts, visit

Eagle Mountain Golf Club

Eagle Mountain Golf Club Offers Girls, Girls, Girls Golf Package

If you were to ask vacation-goers what they believed were the usual activities of men and women on their weekend away at the resorts, many would probably answer that the men hit the golf course while the women relax at the spa. But who says the green is only for your guy?

Eagle Mountain Golf Club and The Inn at Eagle Mountain are now offering their Girls, Girls, Girls package that combines golf, lodging and a one-hour massage or facial at Blu Sol Spa.

Eagle Mountain Golf Club is perched high above Scottsdale in the city’s famous McDowell Mountains. The 18-hole, par 71, Scott Miller designed course snakes it’s way around mountain peaks and through desert arroyos setting Eagle Mountain apart from other Arizona hot spots.

While eating up that eye candy, ladies can simultaneously have breakfast each morning as part of the package. And when everyone is ready to step off the course, they can indulge in the gift basket, filled with wine and other snacks, provided for them upon arrival. This combined with the boutique atmosphere at The Inn at Eagle Mountain Resort meet all the requirements of fostering that special girls bonding time every woman craves. So, ladies, leave your men at home.

“This was our first package targeted specifically to woman golfers verse couples,” says Bret Greenwood, general manager of Eagle Mountain Golf Club. “It was created because we hadn’t done one before and feel that a stay at The Inn at Eagle Mountain and a visit to the new spa was a good fit.”

The Girls, Girls, Girls package is available through December 24 and starts at $199 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and taxes are not included.

For more information about Eagle Mountain Golf Club or to make reservations, call (480) 816-3000.

Eagle Mountain Golf Club
14915 E. Eagle Mountain Pkwy., Fountain Hills
(480) 816-1234

Photo - Jordan Prudente

DLA helps Grand Canyon student thrive

Jordan Prudente – Soft-spoken, shy smile, and a calm nature. But if the time is taken to look closer you’ll notice something more – an unmistakable glimmer of confidence in his eyes.

Prudente, a freshman at Grand Canyon University, says the Diversity Leadership Alliance is responsible for that.

“Before I joined the DLA, I was a really, really shy student,” Prudente says. “No one really knew me and then when DLA came in I became more confident. I wanted to speak out what was in my mind and that’s what they do.”

The DLA is an organization that has monthly workshops that aim to build leadership, diversity and equality through teamwork and encouragement from others.

Christine French, executive director, founder and co-chair of the DLA, says she soon realized that the next generation needs to be raised with these skills and values, which led her to partner with the Phoenix Union District.

DLA works with every high school at the Phoenix Union including Willow Canyon High School where Prudente originally joined the program.

Prudente says the main reason why he was so shy was because he had recently moved from the Philippines and was having trouble adjusting to the culture. His assistant principal suggested to him to join DLA at the end of his junior year and he says he is grateful the program was and continues to be there.

“I think I wouldn’t survive college if DLA wasn’t there for me,” Prudente says. “I’d still be a shy student. I still wouldn’t be out there.”

French says Prudente has been “transformed” and that was best demonstrated when he won the top $3,000 scholarship for the best speech created at the public speaking workshop. He later delivered his speech at the DLA’s most recent conference.

“When I first met Jordan he wouldn’t even look at me when he talked to me,” French says. “He looked at his feet. And other than yes and no I didn’t hear much from him. If you were to ask 1,000 people who came to the conference and heard him they would say, ‘are you sure you’re talking about the same young man?,’ because he was powerful. He was heartfelt. He had a message to deliver and he delivered it.”

Prudente says DLA strives to make a leader out of everyone and that he was no exception.

“They always say that there is a leader in you and they made me find the leader in me,” Prudente says. “Actually, the first workshop I went to I was pretty upset because I was like, why did they call me? I’m not even a leader. Then the next day they told me why I am a leader and showed me how I can be a leader.”

Prudente is utilizing his scholarship at Grand Canyon University and his plans for the future include preparing to apply to the school’s nursing program and continuing to attend DLA workshops.

French says it’s extremely important that young people like Prudente get involved.

“I want DLA to cultivate a generation of leaders that will transform not only themselves but transform their environment, their community, and everything they touch because as a leader you either transform your team or you deform them.”

Studio Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. Hardt

STUDIO Joy Li Puts The Client First, Debuts 2013 Lifestyle Collection

Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. HardtSTUDIO Joy Li isn’t your typical retail store or boutique. The home of Joy Li’s clothing line streamlined to accommodate today’s woman, STUDIO Joy Li is filled with knowledgeable stylists, including Li herself, to help guide women toward their perfect outfit.

Co-owned by Li, the designer, and Jean Bartolomei, CFO of Joy Li Concepts and STUDIO Joy Li, this boutique has not only been able to stay afloat in the rocky economy and thrive locally, but it is also gaining national attention.

Both Bartolomei and Li say they credit the company’s success to their ability to cater to their clients, from their experience at Studio Joy Li and Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. Hardtthe timeless, comfortable fit of Li’s designs, to creating quality relationships with vendors and paying meticulous attention to detail.

“You don’t cut corners on anything and everything,” Li says. “All the way down from greeting a customer to walking them out the door and to their car, that whole experience has to be the best of the best. Same thing with the garments; from the button to the spread that you sew that button on has to be the best quality because otherwise you’re not going to build your brand.”

Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. HardtBartolomei says many small businesses, especially in this industry, don’t even make it off the ground. She said she noticed a lot of wonderful lines out there, some with a lot of money behind them that were “kind of in business today and out of business tomorrow.”

Bartolomei says they genuinely care about their clients and work hard to be a trusted adviser instead of a sales person and who gets noticed.

“I think any costumer that walks into the studio that’s experienced Joy or any of our staff in the store will say, no matter their life’s circumstance Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. Hardtcoming in, that they have been treated with respect and the creative process that you know has made a profound difference in their lives,” Bartolomei says.

Bartolomei says to keep up this quality of service to their clients, they opted not to send the collections to many other boutiques except on a very selective basis. She says one of the reasons they gathered clients to begin with was because they tested the collections first in STUDIO Joy Li, which meant clients were essentially wearing next year’s fashions not yet available to other boutiques.

Li says this created loyal clients who helped them expand.

“We’re a destination,” Li says. “It’s worth it to them to drive Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. Hardtfrom North Scottsdale to Old Town. They’ve had this experience, and they know they’ll walk out of there with something no one else has.”

Another aspect that led to their success are the collections themselves. Li says she wanted to create fashionable but simultaneously wearable clothes for today’s woman.

“I couldn’t find what I wanted to wear,” Li says. “I want my clothing to accommodate me; not me being a slave to my clothing. I want people to say, this Joy Li STREAK collection. Photo: Sylvia S. Hardtis what I want to spend money on — things that have value and a life beyond a trendy season.”

Li adds that she and Bartolomei go the extra mile and sacrifice themselves everyday.

“Jean and I are not millionaires,” Li says. “It’s not you’re doing this because you want to be rich. You do this because you love what you’re doing. You care about the product, and you care about the experience of who you’re doing it for and that they’re happy with it.”

Bartolomei says they have developed a reputation and worked hard to do so.

“Just to be able to hold our heads up and know that everyone we do business with, on a retail side or where we’re the customer and they’re the vendor, knows that we will do what we say we are going to do, that we are going to do it when we say we are going to do it, and we can be relied on to do it well,” Bartolomei says.

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Joy Li’s on a STREAK

Joy Li will debut her 2013 Lifestyle Collection, STREAK, on November 3 at the newly re-designed STUDIO Joy Li in Old Town Scottsdale.

STREAK puts the look in the woman’s hands. The collection consists of 25 day-to-night pieces that can flatter any shape. STREAK will encourage women to mix, match, layer and feel confident with the look they create.

“I design for the modern woman who strives day in and day out to balance work, family and personal well-being,” says designer Joy Li. “Fashion can be empowering in this amazing endeavor — and that’s what I hope to offer my clients with every collection I put together.”



For more information about Joy Li or STUDIO Joy Li, visit or, respectively.

Where: The Mix Shops
7144 E. Stetson Dr., #115, Scottsdale
Contact: (480) 970-1043
Facebook | Twitter

David Meister Gowns, Photos:

Celebrity Designer David Meister Creates Fashions Suitable For All Women

David Meister Cocktail DressThe next time you’re shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue in Biltmore Fashion Park, you may notice a couple new additions — celebrity fashion designer and dress guru David Meister’s fall 2012 and signature collections. Whether you are walking the red carpet or enjoying a picnic on a warm, fall day, Meister has a dress that will flatter and suit you.

Meister says his fall 2012 collection will consist of a lot of shine, both metallic and sequins.

When describing his fall 2012 collection, Meister says there will be a lot of color, but dark, subtle colors. “There are still going to be touches of illusion and embroidery with the sequins, but it’s mostly really great, easy, clean shades.”

Known for using fabrics with ample stretch and give, Meister says an important aspect to keep in mind while designing is not only ensuring the garment looks great, but that it feels great as well.

“I think stretch and knit is so important because it’s more David Meister Cocktail Dressmodern,” Meister says. “It’s comfortable, fits more body types, travels well, and it doesn’t wrinkle. I think very rigid clothing just doesn’t really suit or fit in with many women’s lives today.”

Speaking of suiting women, he has recently expanded his collections to include sizes 14W to 24W. Meister says some dresses work in larger sizes better than others; it’s all about finding the perfect fit — which is No. 1 on his list of styling tips.

“Fit is so important,” Meister stresses. “I always tell people that you can take a $10 dress, and if it’s altered beautifully to your body, it can look amazing. And you can take a $10,000 gown, and if it doesn’t fit, it looks like 10 bucks.”

No. 2 and No. 3 on his tip list include wearing the right undergarments and making sure you feel confident in what you are wearing, respectively.

David Meister and Sophia Bush, wearing one of his designs.“In order to look great, you have to feel great,” Meister says. “If someone is fidgeting and pulling at themselves, they are not going to look good because you can tell that they are not comfortable with themselves.”

These tips apply to everyone, including celebrities.

Meister has dressed countless celebrities, including Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Viola Davis and many more. He says he wants his clients look and feel great and that his designs are timeless both on and off the red carpet.

“To me as a designer, something that is well designed should have a sense of classic-ness or timelessness to it,” Meister says. “So if the dress is beautiful now, you should be able to pull it out five years later, and it should still look beautiful and wearable.”

For more information about David Meister, visit

To view Meister’s fall 2012 and signature collections in person, visit Saks Fifth Avenue:
Biltmore Fashion Park
2502 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 955-8000

Furne One, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion Week

Phoenix Fashion Week 2012: Highlights, Standout Designers

Phoenix Fashion Week 2012: What a hit! From established to emerging designers and wearable to high fashion collections, Phoenix Fashion Week is Arizona’s biggest and most prestigious fashion event. It may not be New York, but Phoenix Fashion Week has a unique appeal — and that’s variety. The average person will “ooh” and “aah” over high fashion but also likes to see designs they can picture themselves wearing. Phoenix Fashion Week allows spectators to do both.

Here are the Phoenix Fashion Week 2012 designers who stood out and why:

Silvia Bours

Silvia Bours — love her! Her designs are right up my alley. On her website, Bours describes her style as, “theatrical and sweet but always feminine.” Think of an even higher-end Betsey Johnson; amazing right? I really feel it appeals to the tutu-wearing little girl inside all of us.

I would say she is more high fashion but not over-the-top high fashion. Some of her designs are wearable, but not a lot of it. It just depends on how bold you are with your fashion sense. I want to wear it all. But then again if I could wear a gown and diamonds everyday and not look like a crazy person, I would do that, too. Realistically, I’d say about 65 percent of her designs are wearable to a fancier event. They’re statement dresses.

Silvia Bours, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion Week Silvia Bours, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion Week

Envy by Khanh

Envy by Khanh, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion WeekLet me guess — do you love feeling sexy, but feel like clothes along those lines are getting trashier and trashier? Well, I would agree with you, but am pleased to tell you there’s a glimmer of hope and that’s Envy by Khanh. His collection is very wearable. Think high-end clubbing dress. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Khanh Nguyen uses bold colors, sexy silhouettes and asymmetrical accents that will do nothing but flatter a women’s body. You’re sure to stand out and attract attention, as in lust or envy — depending on what sex is checking you out.


Élevée: custom-designed suits and casual wear for the rich and the famous. According to its website, “Élevée is a luxury brand that has been creating custom, hand-tailored wardrobes for high-profile executives, professional athletes, and celebrity elite, for over a decade.” Yeah, they’re that company. And turnaround can be easily achieved in 24 hours. This is the best wearable clothing money can buy. The overall quality of this company is awe-inspiring. The fabrics and tailoring speak for themselves. Wearing something Élevée created specifically for you let’s everybody know you are a high roller.

Élevée, Photo: Élevé Élevée, Photo: Élevé


JHaus, Photo: JHausBrand.comIf you only glance at JHaus you’ll probably say, “Alright, another designer jean brand has hit the market; yawn.” But JHaus is so much more than that. JLynn Hausmann is a small-town girl who stays true to her Midwest roots and her definition of America. That’s strength and durability. Her jeans and flowy, but subtly sexy tops are very wearable, and I believe most women would also feel comfortable in her collections. Her jeans are formfitting but not rigid.

What I like about her is she sticks to who she is. She had a couple statement pieces go down the runway that I loved. One was very similar to a high-fashion gown with an oversized train but made out of burlap sacks. Yup, I just said that, and that’s what I meant — burlap sacks, like what you use in a sack race. And the others were gowns made of denim. Now, I’m a very firm believer in the philosophy that denim is for jeans only but she is the only designer that I’ve seen make denim look good in other forms. Check out the gown to your right. The netting accent in the back is actual chicken wire. Very original.

Furne One

Furne One, the grand finale — and what a finale that was. This is high fashion to the max. Giant-horned headdresses, trains that take up almost the entire runway and over-embellished gowns, bodices, bodysuits — all of it. Cue the “oohs” and “ahhs,” folks. Celebrities around the world, including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and many more, have worn Furne One. Obviously most of his designs are not at all wearable. This is high fashion. This is art.

Furne One, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion Week Furne One, Photo: Style Image Studios, Phoenix Fashion Week

For more information about Phoenix Fashion Week 2012, visit

Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Go AZ Motorcycles logos

Bob "Go Daddy" Parsons To Debut First Annual Bob's Biker Blast

Most of us know Bob Parsons as the founder of Go Daddy, the industry’s leading web hosting site, or the mastermind behind of some of Arizona’s biggest parties in history; but there’s a side to him not everyone may know about — he loves motorcycles.

Bob's Biker Blast 2012

Parsons will kick off the first annual Bob’s Biker Blast on October 20 at Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Go AZ Motorcycles from 10 a.m. to midnight. It’s projected to attract thousands of attendees, making it one of the biggest biker events to date.

Parsons is an avid motorcycle rider and is using the event to promote the grand opening of Go AZ Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale Training Facility.

The must-see spectacles of the day, though, are public demonstrations of the first-ever, commercial application of a motorcycle simulator Bob's Biker Blastthat was originally created for the U.S. military. It allows a rider to feel what it’s like to actually ride a motorcycle all within the safety of the simulator.

“If you have never ridden a motorcycle before, this is your chance to get a really good idea of what it’s like without actually getting on a moving bike,” Parsons says in a press release. “You won’t find a motorcycle simulator like this outside of a few military bases.”

The all-day event includes live music, food and a variety of activities. Concert gates will open at 4 p.m. starting with a Fear No Ice Thrill Show followed by a concert featuring 38 Special and George Thorogood. Tommy Flanagan, who currently plays “Chibs” from Sons of Anarchy, will also make an appearance from noon to 7 p.m.

Admission is free to all riders with a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license and is good for the rider plus one guest. There is a $20 fee for all others that will be donated directly to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

For more information about Bob’s Biker Blast, call (480) 905-1903 or visit or


If You Go: Bob’s Biker Blast

Where: Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Go AZ Motorcycles dealerships off Frank Lloyd Wright and the 101
15500 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
When: October 20, 2012, 10 a.m. to midnight
Contact: (480) 905-1903

El Dorado in Scottsdale

El Dorado In Scottsdale: Not Your Average Vacation Resort

El Dorado is Scottsdale’s newest boutique-style vacation hot spot — or is it? It’s certainly a hot spot, but not entirely new.

El Dorado in Scottsdale has been a vacation rental since the 1960s and is located in a back pocket of Scottsdale that was known as a vacation destination at the time. The suites are set up much more like personal condos opposed to the typical hotel room or even villa.

While the vacation property did remain open, it began to lose popularity as the decades passed — until Franco Calabrese, current owner and designer of El Dorado in Scottsdale, decided to give it a facelift.

“I’m in the apartment business,” Calabrese says. “So the apartment deals I’m used to doing are not furnished and really not this kind of thing, but when I saw this, (El Dorado in Scottsdale) I loved it. It had a really good energy, and I got a feel for it from the first sight.”El Dorado in Scottsdale

Calabrese acquired the property last November and says his vision was to remodel while at the same time preserving the original vacation property as much as he could.

He says it needed paint and flooring, but for the most part it was in good condition. He kept the bones of the property, including the pool, countertops, doors and cabinets, as is.

“We could have torn down all the drywall and make it completely crisp, but everything is brand new in Scottsdale,” Calabrese says. “We want to be different. You go to places like New York, and you see redone items, and they have character. Everything we’re doing we want to have character.”

This can be seen in the suites themselves. Each suite is furnished completely differently with décor that mixes modern with retro.

El Dorado in ScottsdaleCalabrese says he didn’t plan on it turning out that way, but it instead evolved into that look.

“We didn’t know exactly what each room was going to feel like before we got into it,” Calabrese says. “We just found ourselves starting to say, ‘Wow, I really like that chair.’ And from that chair it grew into this sort of goes with that chair.”

Calabrese says having all the rooms furnished differently allows the vacation property to appeal to a much broader audience. From the couture suite and Frank Sinatra suite to something simply more modern or historic, El Dorado has something for everyone.

Not only are the suites vastly different from a standard hotel, but Calabrese says he also strives to make the experience vastly different.

“We want people to feel like they can go pick a lemon off the lemon tree, walk out in their bare feet to the pool and just do whatever,” Calabrese says. “We don’t have hours at the pool and stuff like that. And that’s what we’re going for — more relaxed.”El Dorado in Scottsdale

He says this atmosphere is perfect for local residents as well those who just want a change of scenery or want to get away for the weekend.

The vacation property offers one- and two-bedroom suites along with one three-bedroom suite. Most are two-bedroom suites and include a common room and fully functioning kitchen that can be stocked upon request.

Calabrese says the great thing about the two-bedroom suites is most are two king suites, and each has its own bathroom. He says it’s much more private that way and is perfect for couples traveling together or any sort of get together for that matter.

“It’ll be better for local people who want to do parties and stuff,” Calabrese says. “I had a couple birthday parties, and they want to go to a place where they feel like they are taking over the place, like they’re in their backyard and can use the barbeque or whatever. Guests can do that here.”

Calabrese says the main theme of El Dorado in Scottsdale is different.

“We wanted to do something, just to be different,” Calabrese says. “It’s as plain and simple as that. The building and the location itself is already unique as it sits.”

For more information about El Dorado in Scottsdale, visit

El Dorado in Scottsdale
6825 E. 4th street, Scottsdale
(480) 946-3021

Scottsdale Polo Championships

Nic Roldan, Polo Prodigy, To Play Scottsdale Polo Championships [VIDEO]

We all know and love the Fiesta Bowl, Waste Management Phoenix Open and Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car Auction, but now a new player is joining that list of must-see annual events — the Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower.

The event, which takes place October 20, is projected to attract thousands of viewers and will showcase a three-match showdown featuring some of the biggest names in American polo — including Nic Roldan, one of the highest-ranked players in the United States.

Scottsdale Polo ChampionshipsThe two strongest teams in polo will play against each other – The Hamptons, led by top-ranked, American polo star Tommy Biddle Jr., verses The Bel Air Polo Club captained by the equally-as-famous Roldan.

Roldan, 29, says he’s looking forward to competing in the Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower.

“These events bring a lot of attention, and I think that’s fantastic,” Roldan says. “I want the sport to expand, and I want it to become as mainstream as possible. I think it’s a great sport, and it has a lot of potential.”

Roldan has won countless tournaments, including the U.S. Open Polo Championship at the young age of 15. This made him the youngest child ever in the history of polo to win that tournament and helped earn him the title of Young Player of the Year.Scottsdale Polo Championships

“That was an amazing experience,” Roldan says. “It really determined and made my decision on what I wanted to do in life.”

Although he became professional at 14 and came from generations of polo competitors, Roldan says he never felt pressured.

“My father put me on a horse before I could even walk,” Roldan says. “He used to stick me inside of a paddock by myself, and I had to figure it out on my own. He never put pressure on me to do anything; it just sort of fell into place.”

But it isn’t just Roldan’s success in polo that has put him in the spotlight; he’s a GQ model as well. From magazine features to modeling jobs and TV appearances, it could be said that he’s becoming a bit of a celebrity, and he says he believes it should positively impact the sport.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Roldan says. “Not only that but we are promoting the sport as well, which is ideally what I want to do.”

Roldan says he thinks polo has grown immensely, especially in the past five years, and will only continue to grow.

“It’s a great spectator sport,” Roldan says. “It’s fast, it’s intense, it’s physical, and I think people like that. The fact that we are riding horses, animals that have a mind of their own, has that uniqueness.”

The Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower not only allows you to enjoy great polo, but will also offer a sneak preview of both the 2013 Scottsdale Arabian Horseshow and the 2013 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.

For more information about the Scottsdale Polo Championships or to purchase tickets, visit A portion of the proceeds will benefit Work to Ride and Scottsdale Healthcare’s Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health program.

Meet Nic Roldan:

Video by Cooper Rummell


FireSky Resort & Spa

Grab The Girls For A Getaway At Kimpton's FireSky Resort & Spa

Sometimes ladies’ night needs to be expanded to an entire weekend. Why? Because your girlfriends are the perfect companions to help you relax and have fun. To take it one step further, how about turning ladies’ night into a weekend vacation?

The “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” package at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa takes the headache out of having to plan your girls’ getaway because the attractions are either on-site or nearby.

The package includes welcome cosmopolitan cocktails at Taggia’s bar, a 25-percent discount at Jurlique Spa, certificates for shopping discounts at Scottsdale Fashion Square and two eye masks to wrap up the weekend.

FireSky Resort & SpaLocated in the heart of Scottsdale, FireSky Resort & Spa has everything a girl could need, including spacious rooms equipped with a private patio or balcony; a lagoon and pool with a sand beach; Taggia’s restaurant, which serves authentic coastal Italian cuisine; and the award-winning Jurlique Spa, which uses certified organic and biodynamic herbs and ingredients to help you relax and refresh.

As most of you know, Scottsdale is an active town with high-end shopping, art galleries, museums, dining and nightlife. For example, downtown Scottsdale is home to more than 80 wine bars, lounges and clubs; and with more than 250 shops, Scottsdale Fashion Square is the largest shopping mall in the southwest.

Now if you’re thinking, “this sounds great, but it’s probably expensive,” think again. Rates start from $124 through September 30 and $224 October through May. It can be booked on FireSky Resort & Spa’s website by entering the rate code “PGRL” or by calling 1-800-528-7867 and mentioning the package by name.

For more information about the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” package and Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa, visit

Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 945-7666


TOPMAN, TOPSHOP Arrive At Nordstom In Chandler Fashion Center

Looking for that hipster look without as much grudge and more of a sophisticated, European edge? Well, you’re in luck because today marks the opening of TOPSHOP and TOPMAN in Nordstrom at Chandler Fashion Center. I’ve actually been in these stores when I went to the U.K. this summer and the best way I can describe them is the Urban Outfitters of Britain.

The Hipster Trend

TOPSHOPThe hipster trend is hot right now, and I love it. Most of the true hipsters out there, though, are probably cringing seeing their once original look become totally mainstream. In the hipster culture this is considered a tragedy because the original point of the look was daring to be different and now it may have become everything they fought against. Well, whether they like it or not, they became trendsetters, and I think they should embrace it. I understand that they may feel like they are selling out, but in my opinion, copying is the highest form of flattery.

The only difference between American hipsters and British hipsters (and Urban Outfitters verses TOPMAN/TOPSHOP) is that, well, they’re a little more British. All that means is some of the clothing and accessories are a little more formal or have a little more of an edge to it. I love that because it makes the trend a bit more wearable for me, personally, and attracts to a wider audience.


TOPSHOP is your shop and is located on the second floor of Nordstrom.

Here’s what to expect: A lot of nice skirts or dresses paired with hipster pieces, such as large headphones, chunky boots, oversize graphic sweaters and funky jackets, to name a few. Also expect some edgier stuff like bold makeup and black leatherette/lace.



TOPMAN is your shop and is located on the first floor of Nordstrom.

Here’s what to expect: A lot of suits, dress shirts and blazers in funky colors and denim, both casual and formal. They also seem to be keen on the knit pompom hat. That confuses me a little bit, but, hey, those oversized glasses came back and are now hugely popular, so who knows.


Pulling It Off

Unfortunately, I can’t rock this look as much as I would want to. If I tried it, you might as well put a giant sign on me that read poser in bold, black letters.

This is another one of my rules that I think everyone should know: Be aware of your look and which looks make you appear as though you are trying way too hard. If you’re still in love with the look, though, like me with the hipster trend, you can add little touches of it. For instance, I just bought a pair of Versace sunglasses that are 90 percent high-fashion but also have a slight hipster undertone.

TOPMAN/TOPSHOP at Chandler Fashion Center

Regardless if you’re looking for a couple of pieces or a full look, TOPMAN/TOPSHOP is well worth browsing in. The line at Chandler Fashion Center officially hits the floor on September 10, and Nordstrom is hosting a fashion and styling event on September 15. The event takes place all day and includes exclusive merchandise, TOPMAN/TOPSHOP stylists to help you get the look, a gift with purchase and a sneak preview/free application of the TOPSHOP makeup line. There will also be a live DJ from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event is perfect for people who want to sport the look but don’t know where to start.

For more information about TOPMAN/TOPSHOP at Nordstrom, visit


Nemi of JANI Model Management wearing plum-hued lipstick. Photo: Mike Mertes

Plum Lipstick: The Art To Wearing It And Other Bold Hues

Be bold, sexy and fabulous this fall with plum lipstick. I embrace every opportunity to wear a bold lipstick because, if done correctly, it can be the pop of color that pulls your whole outfit together. The key phrase here is “if done correctly.” This look can go south very quickly and is probably why a lot of women love the look but get the jitters thinking about trying it themselves.

Here are some pointers on how to wear plum (or any bold color) lipstick safely:

Light on the eyes

Plum lipstickIn my opinion, the most important tactic to remember when wearing bold lipstick is to keep everything else simple. The lipstick is the focal point of your entire appearance, so remember to allow it to have the spotlight. This starts with your face. Too much face and eye makeup with bold lipstick is the quickest way to look like you’re applying to clown college. But this also doesn’t mean you can’t wear any face makeup either. My suggestion is to use foundation, eyeliner and mascara. I do not put any eyeshadow on, but if you’re dead set on it, do a matte neutral color and apply lightly. Be very careful.

Wear neutral or complimentary colors

Plum lipstick

Again, the No. 1 rule applies here with your outfit. Keep it simple! That means absolutely no patterns or statement pieces, unless you’re going to Phoenix Fashion Week or something similar; otherwise, don’t do it. Most people seem to have pretty good common sense in that department. What I see more of is missteps in colors. The safest way to get the look right is to stick to neutral colors like black, white and beige. But if you want to step out of the box and play up the whole fall experience, you can pair plum lipstick with the right burnt orange. But I must warn you people are either going to love or hate that combination. Never try to pair it with burgundy, and be extremely careful with the addition of more plum. It has to be the exact same color of the lipstick to work.

Be aware of your audience

One of the things I’ve noticed about bold lipstick is that it isn’t liked by everyone. I personally love it, but it is very loud, and it can be a turn off to certain people, especially certain men. I’ve found they either love it or hate it. So know that if you go out for some drinks and are wearing bold lipstick, you become less approachable and may end up impressing more women then men. On the other hand, some men love it and it may get you noticed. As a general rule, I’ll never wear it on a first date. I also suggest staying away from bold lipstick on a job interview. It can come off as obnoxious or distracting to some people, which may hurt your chances. Otherwise, I say go for it.

With these things in mind, you should be set to try the trend yourself. Whether you’re on a shopping spree or a night on the town, you will be looking like a fashion master instead of a fashion disaster.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

Retro, Prints and Ruffles: Swimsuits Are Bolder, Brighter Than Ever

All The (Retro) Rage: Ruffles, neon, prints and retro — swimsuits are bolder and brighter than ever

Four trends are going to be huge this summer, and the biggest trend of the season really follows the out with the new and in with the old attitude …  wait … nope, that’s right; we’re going retro.

Ladies, grab a corseted or bandeau top paired with a high-wasted bottom and get your Marilyn Monroe on. Or, unleash your inner girlie-girl with ruffles; nothing says feminine and carefree more than sporting ruffles.

But maybe classic is more your style. If that’s the case, stick with the tried and true — the nautical trend. The blue/red and white stripes give you a crisp, clean appearance that is timeless.

And finally, don’t be afraid of color. Save those neutral hues for fall and winter, and make a statement with bold, neon suits. Plus, the brighter the color, the tanner you’ll look. And if you’re bold enough, opt for prints — floral or animal.

Trend: Print/Retro

Trend: Print/Cut Out

Spring Swimsuit Spring Swimsuits
Becca, Sweet Indulgence
Top: $72, Bottom: $60
Exquisite Swimwear
Luli Fama, Sexy Senorita
One piece cut out: $150
Everything But Water

Trend: Nautical

Spring Swimsuits Spring Swimsuits
Born with Stripes
Top: $119, Bottom: $110
Beach Bunny Swimwear
We Found Love
Top: $88, Bottom: $87
Beach Bunny Swimwear

Trend: Retro

Spring Swimsuits  Spring Swimsuits
Seafolly, Pinup (magenta)
Top: $80, Bottom: $72
Exquisite Swimwear
Kkini, Monroe Bathers Tank
Exquisite Swimwear

Trend: One Piece

Trend: Ruffles

 Spring Swimsuits Spring Swimsuits
Carmen Marc Valvo, Palm Harbour
One piece bandeau: $139
Everything But Water
Betsy Johnson, French Pastry
Top: $88, Bottom: $86
Everything But Water

Find these swimsuits at:

Beach Bunny Swimwear
15147 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 948-1112

Everything But Water
7014 E. Camelback Rd., #1112, Scottsdale
(480) 941-4623

Exquisite Swimwear
7000 E. Mayo Blvd., #16-1068, Phoenix
(480) 419-6344

Photos taken at the Hotel Valley Ho’s OH POOL:

6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
(480) 248-2000

Special thanks to Deborah Maddox Agency and make-up artist, Kerri Metcalf.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

Swimsuit - Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

What Swimsuit Suits You?

Not sure which swimsuit to buy? Or what would look great on your unique shape? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.


Full coverage and support is key. Curves are a beautiful, and the best way to show them off is to make sure they stay put. A full-coverage bottom and a bra top will highlight your bombshell body that will make other women green with envy.

Straight (petite/athletic)

Your goal is to create curves and interest. Ruffles and bottoms with a skirt will look great on you and will add the extra oomph you’ve been looking for. Or, try cut-outs; these will help create the illusion of curves. Own it; this trendy look is difficult to pull off.


It’s all about balance. A full-coverage bottom will give you the support you need for a “bootylicious” behind, and a ruffled top will give you some fluff upstairs.


Again, it’s all about balance. Although you need support up top, stay away from bra tops because they will make your shoulders look broader. Instead, look for a sportier-cut bikini, this way the girls are secure, and the halter-style top minimizes the shoulder area.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

In the RA Fitness

In The RA Fitness: "Divine" Yourself

Do you find that you have to drag yourself to the gym because you’ve become bored and tired of the same old workout? Or maybe you’re a person who loves to work out, but going to the gym feels more judgmental than your high school hallways. It’s time to ditch the gym because there is finally a place that understands you, and it’s called In the RA Fitness.

Serina Kappes, owner of In the RA Fitness, says their studio is a place where real women can work out, feel comfortable and have fun.

“Our mission is for any body type to be able to walk into one of our fitness classes and be able to workout, sweat, have fun and feel comfortable in their own skin while they work toward their personal goals,” Kappes says.

In the RA FitnessShe says this emphasis on creating a comfortable environment was a personal decision for she has struggled with insecurities herself. She began teaching Zumba at 218 pounds and is now down 67 pounds since taking her first class.

Kappes says she has always been into fitness, but once she started up her own marketing business, she just lost touch. It wasn’t until she accidentally walked into a Zumba class that realized she could still have fun and dance no matter what her size.

Kappes says that she continued to fall in love with the class and decided she wanted to teach it someday, after she lost the weight. But after discussing it with friends, they managed to change her mind, reasoning that she could probably touch and inspire a lot of people at her current size.

“And I did,” Kappes says. “I have women come up to me and say, ‘We just love that you’re a real person who is sweating along with us and that the workout even looks hard for you sometimes. We see you losing weight and all of this really makes us feel more comfortable coming to your class.”

While creating the classes offered at In the RA Fitness, Kappes says her No. 1 goal was fun. Some of the classes offered include Zumba, Flirty Girl Fitness, Tut Your Butt, RealRyder Indoor Cycling, Yoga, line dancing and Pilates fusions.

Although most of the classes do incorporate a fun dance element, she says she focuses more on the fitness aspects of the workouts.

“Our classes are fitness first,” Kappes says. “It’s all about burning the calories, making it fun and keeping it simple. We do a lot of repetitive things. It’s not a dance class; it’s a fitness class with really good music and fun dance moves.”

She says it was important to her to have the atmosphere to go along with the class. In the RA Fitness has a state of the art sound system and incorporates club lighting during all classes.In the RA Fitness

“I wanted to make sure that we really did have a club feel to make it more of a party atmosphere,” Kappes says. “So when you get off of work and you’ve had the worst day ever, you step into here, and by the end of the class you forgot about the stress and are smiling. You’re just there, present and having fun. The lights really do make a difference.”

This atmosphere also exists in the RealRyder Indoor Cycling classes. In the RA Fitness is the first studio or gym in Arizona to carry the RealRyder bikes that function more like a real bike than traditional stationary bikes; the bikes lean, tilt and turn 20 degrees to the left and right. Kappes says this gives you much more of a full-body workout, and you will also burn 20 percent more calories.

She says this class can also be a workout for all skill sets because of the resistance on the bike. She says an advanced rider may pump up the resistance three turns opposed to a beginner who may only turn it a half turn.

And here’s a fun fact for you. In the RA Fitness is named after the Egyptian god RA who represents power, health and breath. She says she thought it was very fitting and everyone is encouraged to pull out their inner god or goddess during their workout.

“Overall, at In the RA Fitness we want you to ‘divine’ your health, your fitness and yourself,” Kappes adds.

For more information about In the RA Fitness, visit

Wide-brimmed hat

Fashionably Bold With Wide-Brimmed Hats

Let’s talk about something that everyone can agree is fashionable, but no one seems to wear. I’m talking about wide-brimmed hats. And I’m here to ask, “Why not wear them?” I personally love wide-brimmed hats and dare you to sport the look, too.

OK, I understand why people are hesitant with them. First, hats, especially of this nature, haven’t been popular for more than 50 years, and we’re just not used to them. They’re large, loud and on the top of our heads of all places. Of course, they feel a little foreign, but sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is what makes us fabulous.

This is certainly not a trend for the shy, but for the fashion lovers out there who like to make a statement, these wide-brimmed hats are for you.

Be retro fabulous

What I love about wide-brimmed hats is it plays off the retro trend and makes me feel like I’m playing the character of myself in a different time. My Depression-fabulous name is Stella … really. I’m not ashamed, and to be honest, every time I wear my black wide-brimmed hat with its large cluster of black feathers on one side, I get zillions of compliments. You just have to get into character, which is a really fun way to wear this look. So go full-blown retro, meaning a knee-length skirt or a conservative dress with red lipstick, some pearls and, of course, the hat – the statement piece.

The bigger, the better

I, for one, also love wide-brimmed hats on steroids. Yes, Kentucky Derby or royal-wedding status, but that doesn’t mean losing your best judgment. You don’t want to end up looking like Princess Beatrice, who in my opinion didn’t look trendy but instead just plain ridiculous. Lady Gaga called, and she wants her “hat” back. Again, this look is only for the bold and needs to be taken lightly. Have fun with it and chances are onlookers will catch the vibe and enjoy it, too. And if not, well you made a statement, and if you’re willing to wear it in the first place, I’m guessing you’ll laugh over it instead cry over it. (By the way, I’ve spent hours ogling the website the photo to the right came from. Check out

Or, tone it down

For the less daring, there is a wide-brimmed hat for you as well. Try a neutral color like a white or a brown, and the brim doesn’t have to be supersized. The hat shown on the left, for example, has a nice, neutral color and doesn’t scream in your ear, “I am hat; hear me roar.” And if you’re still a little hesitant, try it at the beach first. This way you’re using the hat for a purpose; plus, you avoid feeling foolish for “wearing your sunglasses at night.” And, as an extra bonus, you live in Arizona; so the hat really does have a reason to be there 24/7.

Protect your face in style

For those lounging poolside, there is a special type of wide-brimmed hat that resonates there, and that’s the oversized brimmed. The pool, in my opinion, is the only place you can wear a hat like this because, well, you’re lying out in the sun. One, it certainly protects your eyes from the sun; and two, you’re not moving around a lot or focusing on anything too important. If you are doing anything more than just lying around, this type of hat is a pain because you can’t see anything except the brim of the hat. So, find a supersized hat with a wire build into the brim, that way you can mold it to the position that suits you.


ActiveRx: Choose How You Age

ActiveRx redefines the way people age by providing strength therapy, a proven system that gives seniors the opportunity to maintain their independence, autonomy and the ability to continue to do the things they love to do.

A couple, both well into their 80s, knew their granddaughter’s wedding was approaching and were worried about being able to attend. With the wedding across the country, traveling had become more difficult for them.

However, by receiving strength training with the ActiveRx team, they would not only surprise themselves in their ability to make it to her wedding, but they would surprise guests as well — on the dance floor.

“As they got to know each other, our therapist started to bring in music and dancing became part of the therapy sessions,” says Bob Berkman, vice president of sales and marketing at ActiveRx. “So the first time they danced wasn’t at the wedding; they have been dancing for weeks in therapy.”

Berkman adds that this story illustrates why ActiveRx is making the effort to put time and care back into healthcare.

Through medically supervised exercise, ActiveRx provides senior physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to enhance function and independent living for seniors and aging adults.

But what makes them unique, according to Berkman, is the relationship building with personalized plans geared toward individual’s specific wants and needs. For instance, the aforementioned couple’s therapist made the wedding their goal to reach and later began to incorporate dancing into the sessions after learning that the couple loved to dance and would enjoy dancing at the wedding.

ActiveRx“Do you think something like that would come up if they just came in and were asked ‘What seems to be the problem today?’ Then passed on?” Berkman asks. “No.

“With our model, you get to know what they really value, what they fear and what’s important to them.”

Older adults now have to power to choose how they age.

Matt Essex, founder and CEO of ActiveRx, says that, yes, one will physiologically decline and lose a lot of strength as one ages — if he or she doesn’t do anything about it. He says the average person will lose 30 percent of his or her strength by the time he or she is 65 and then another 30 percent every decade thereafter.

Essex adds this loss will also cause a major drop in a person’s functionality and mobility, eventually causing seniors to lose their independence, which can also lead to an increase of falls and a decrease in bone density.

Strength therapy can change this.

“Even people well into their 90s can rebuild their strength,” Essex says. “I’ve seen it. This is what changed me 15 years ago; I saw a man that was in his mid-90s and has just about every condition imaginable go from between a wheelchair and a walker to not having to use either of those anymore.”

Essex says part of ActiveRx’s goal is to correct any misconceptions. He says most of his clients are happy to participate in the therapy after receiving the facts, knowing that there is now a place that understands them and their needs.

“I think most seniors think they need to be active but are being told by their doctors andActiveRx even their loved ones that being active means walking more,” Essex says. “They are rarely being told to really crank out some heavy weights so they can maintain their bone density and strength.”

And this doesn’t take as much time as one would think, according to Essex.

“You don’t need to be on a body building routine where you are lifting weights for two hours a day, everyday and eating 12 raw eggs,” Essex says. “You need to make it a priority, but we are only talking about two percent of one’s week. We are talking about two to three hours out the total hours you have in a week.”

Berkman says that ActiveRx is not only for the person who has had an accident or has lost his or her function, but it is also geared toward the person who wants to be proactive and preserve his or her health.

“Ultimately, it’s not just about me here; it’s not just me who’s done this,” Essex says. “It’s everybody here at our company who believes in this and has taken the leap to try to get the word out because we feel it’s so important.”

For more information about ActiveRx, visit

7331 E. Osborn Dr., #410
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 443-0409
Colored jeans

Spring Trend: Spring-Colored Jeans

Spring fever is by far the best fever that exists in my opinion, so grab that lavender sundress, mint green baby-doll top or lemon yellow pumps, and face the day. But wait, I forgot something, your legs are feeling left out. You’re probably thinking it’s a little too cold still for shorts, which it may be true depending on the day, but there’s a solution — spring-colored jeans.

Now don’t get me wrong, spring-colored sundresses and breezy tops are classic, but it’s time for something new to have it’s moment. So step out of the black and white film of winter in a new, unique way and jump on the colored jeans bandwagon. But be careful; the rule “look before your leap” applies here. This trend should be handled with care, or you will look like a giant, walking Easter egg, and I wouldn’t want to be caught dead looking like that. To make this easier for you, I have included examples of how it’s done right.

Pair them with basic colors

Let’s start with the queen of colored jeans, Jessica Alba. Seriously, this woman must have a pair of jeans in every color you can think of, and she shows them off. Also, fortunately, she has figured out how to tastefully wear them. The jeans are always going to be the showcased article of clothing, so don’t pair it with anything thing else loud. And that doesn’t mean you have to keep it simple. In both photos, Jessica is sporting a lot of accessories but all of them are either black or grey. This is a fail-safe way to wear this look.

Pair them with color, cautiously

Here we have Jessica Alba, again. The reason I am pulling these two photos is to prove to you that you can pair the jeans with color, too; you just need a really good eye. The way to do it is to match the color with the pants. Jessica executed this concept to perfection in both photos. But please be careful because this only works if both pieces you choose are the exact same shade. If you just read this and thought, “What do you mean? Yellow is yellow,” please don’t try to pull this off. Also, make sure you have something to break the color up. You don’t want it to look like a onesie either.

Feel comfortable in them

For some reason, this trend only comes in skin-tight skinny jeans. Well, not only, but 95 percent of them are, and that style can be difficult to pull off. If you have larger hips or are simply not comfortable in that style of jeans, fear not because there is a solution. To avoid feeling like every curve is on display, all you need to do is balance it out. Khloe Kardashian demonstrates this by pairing her colored jeans with boots. And, sidebar, just because we think of pastels in spring doesn’t mean bold colors are off limits.

Avoid sporting mom jeans

Another style flaw is a lot of colored jeans come with an awkwardly high waist. And that’s not a cool, high-waist look either; it’s that dreaded mom jeans look. To avoid the unflattering disaster try searching for a low-rise jean. (I know American Eagle carries that style.) But if you’re unsuccessful don’t worry; the look is still salvageable. Just pair the jeans with a looser-fitted top or a tunic. This way the waistline is hidden.

To me this is a fun, new way to spring-up your wardrobe — not to mention it’s a spring 2012 must-have item.


Springtime Finds: Decor, Items To Brighten Up Your Home

Spring is here, and moods are instantly lifted. So why not add a little life to your home as well? Celebrate spring with the right home decor. Here are five ideas that will bring spring to you, brightening your home while simultaneously lifting your mood:

Add pops of color in your decor

Nothing says spring more than bright colors, and adding it to your home is an easy way to transition from winter to spring. However, that doesn’t mean repainting your walls meadow green or lavender (unless you want to, of course); instead, simply add a pop of color. It’s an easy solution without sacrificing results and will give your home a fresh, spring look without transforming it into a giant Easter egg. Try adding some bright throw pillows to your living room couch or hang an elaborate picture frame. Here are some examples from HouseBeautiful.

Plants and flowers

SpringWho says spring has to be left outside once you close your front door?  Take a literal approach to spring decor by bringing the outside in. Adding flower arrangements throughout your home will allow you to savor every minute of spring that fades all too quickly. For an extra touch of luxury, add spring flowers to your bedroom and leave your windows open overnight (just a crack does the trick) for fresh air. You’ll think you woke up in your garden the next day. Plus, flowers are another fun way to add your pop of color. Check out for examples.

Prep your porch

Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you can’t accent its natural beauty by getting into the spring spirit. Redecorate your porch, and put up a giant umbrella in a bright, uplifting color. Not only does it provide shade, which is needed in Arizona, but it also creates a fashionable focal point that can be seen inside the house as well. Then, add smaller, festive items like lawn ornaments and outdoor-friendly kitchen wear. Pier 1 has some great ideas.

Select some trinkets

Some of you may be cringing or rolling your eyes at this, and the idea does usually need to be supervised. Just a few seasonal trinkets can be cute, but because they are so cute, it can be easy to get carried away, and that can get tacky pretty fast. A lot of it depends on personal style as well. If you’re the type that loves an Easter chick on a bright welcome flag hanging on your front door, go for it; but for those of you who think that’s the only way, think again. Try an antique, standing rabbit statue that is festive but subtle, or Pier 1’s hummingbird ornaments that are beautiful and elegant. Want some more ideas? Head back to Pier 1′s website.

Spring in the kitchen

SpringBring spring to your kitchen by placing spring-inspired desserts on display. For example, take symbolic favorites like Peeps or chocolate bunnies and creatively arrange them in a covered glass container or cake stand. Also, try displaying some fancier desserts like spring-colored cupcakes, iced lemon pound cake, petite fours and strawberry shortcake. This will brighten up your kitchen as well as provide your family and friends with yummy treats. For recipe ideas, check out

Cacti 2

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Desert Haven For Plants and Animals

Boyce Thompson Arboretum proves that the dessert is not deserted. The Arboretum features thousands of desert plants living in harmony with the original landscape and wildlife.

The arboretum’s mission is “to instill in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research and conservation opportunities associated with arid-land plants,” according to the website.

This mission is achieved through your enjoyment of the collection of wildlife, variety of trails and by learning about and observing the thousands of plants that surround you.

The Arboretum offers various services from guided tours for children’s fieldtrips or any visitor that is interested to allowing the space to be used as the venue for a wedding.

It’s also a destination for all ages and breathes of familiarity. For the casual visitor it is an orientation to the vegetation of deserts around the world and for the plant enthusiast it is a rare opportunity to observe and closely examine a large variety of arid-adapted plants.

The Arboretum is composed of several gardens that focus on different types of plants including cacti, trees, legume (pea family) vegetation, and water-efficient residential plants that can be used in your own home gardens. A butterfly and children’s garden are also available for visitors to enjoy and explore.

The Arboretum hosts a collection of water-efficient plants from around the world and a lot of the landscape is radically different from our popular image of the southwest. The landscapes are a mosaic of colors, shapes and textures that differ according to the area’s specific environment.

The Arboretum’s gardens are irrigated by Ayer Lake, which is a man-made oasis that also provides a haven for local wildlife. Waterfowl, waders and shorebirds are a common sight along with two species of endangered desert fish introduced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Animals are not hard to come by at the Arboretum. Over 300 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians inhabit the area for visitors to spot. The Arboretum’s protected lands and irrigated gardens provide a haven for local wildlife against the harsh elements of the desert.

The Arboretum gives the desert life and is a great chance to get connected to nature in an untraditional way.

For more information, visit