With love, from Practical Art

The Beatle’s sang, “all you need is love.”

Victor Hugo wrote, “To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”

George Eliot posited,”What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life?”

For centuries, artists, authors, philosophers,and individuals from all walks of life have defined, grappled with, imagined, and sought the greatness of love. Love– from family, friends, or that special someone–inspires. It inspires kindness, passion, charity, music, art.

February is the month to celebrate love, in all of its forms! To help, Practical Art has put together a Valentine’s day gift guide. Each one-of-a-kind piece is paired with a literary quote about love, to help inspire your creativity and affection. Find a unique, hand-made piece of art that expresses your love!


Covered Heart Dish by Sheila Cavanagh

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” Roald Dahl

Flower Vase by Annette Weaver

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.” E.E. Cummings


ValentinesDay_06Earrings by Alex Ozers

“She is a mortal danger to all men. She is beautiful without knowing it, and possesses charms that she’s not even aware of. She is like a trap set by nature – a sweet perfumed rose in whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush!” Edmond Rostand


ValentinesDay_04XOXO Coasters by Hazel & Violet

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” Robert Browning



Heart Bowl by Sheila Cavanagh

“You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.” Boris Pasternak

Vase by Tom Budzak

“You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.”William Faulkner



Soy Candle  by Standard Wax

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” Leo Tolstoy


Earrings by Laura Cardenas

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” Margaret Mitchell


Arizona Mugs by Jillian Schimmel

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”  A.A. Milne

Happy Valentine’s day from Practical Art


Friendly Friday Blog: The BEST of the BEST of AZ, by YOU!

We love Phoenix.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that some friends of mine are moving out of town and that I was attempting to entice them to stay put with all of the reasons there are to love it here. I put out the call for more input on Practical Art’s Facebook page, and you responded with resounding and genuine enthusiasm about why you love Arizona!

Many, many of you locavores expressed an interest in seeing this list in its entirety on our blog or on our website so that you could regularly reference all of the fab recommendations. And, without further ado, the BEST of the BEST of AZ, by YOU, the residents!  (We’ll eventually post this blog on our web site with some picks of our own, but for now, this is all you Phoenix! Feel free to leave further suggestions in the comment section! The page on the website will be more ‘list’ format…. this is more ‘Kara’s Long-Winded Story Format’.)

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We’ll start with what was obviously one of the more engaging topics, and let me just start by saying, man, Phoenix, you like to stuff your face. (Don’t worry, I’m right there with you.) Troy Harris suggests that, “Phoenix has a sneaky good food scene,”  and goes on to list some of his favorites, including, “The three amazing pizza places–Cibo, Pizzeria Bianco, and Parlor, Los Dos Molinos, Tuck Shop/Vovomeena/Astor House, Coronado Cafe, Gallo Blanco, and anywhere that serves MJ bread.”

Folks were definitely behind Troy regarding the pizza offerings of our Metro area. Pizzeria Bianco cropped up in the thread quite a few times, and other recommendations included Pino’s Pizza in Phoenix, Pizza Re in Scottsdale, Piazza Al Forn0 in Glendale, and Oliveo Pizza in Tempe.

–Regional Flavor?
Another recurring theme. The very flavors that make our regional cuisine extraordinary– all the peppers, herbs, and traditional recipes from the Southwest, Mexico, and Latin America. Towards convincing my amigos to stay, Erica Blaire Pederson says, “The insane amount of glorious Mexican food should be enough! La Condesa, Barrio Queen, Barrio Cafe, Original Burrito Co, Someburros, Gallo Blanco, all sorts of styles and types, yum! And with Mexican food comes margaritas, naturally!” Also mentioned were: La Parilla Suiza in Phoenix, Frank & Lupe’s in Scottsdale, and Restaurant Mexico and Mucho Gusto in Tempe. (Make sure you’ve noted Los Dos, mentioned above, in this list as well!)

–Food Trucks?
And how remiss would we be if we didn’t mention another regional phenomenon: Food Trucks! Short Leash Hot Dogs was mentioned specifically, but Kristin McKinnon Swanson and others are thrilled with the wide swath of offerings on wheels and the round-ups that occur for Food Truck Friday at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, the Truck Stop event on Fridays and Saturdays in the heart of RoRo, and Scottsdale’s Food Truck Caravan on Saturday nights.

Still not satiated? Well, it seems there were a lot of people on our Facebook wall making themselves hungry, so here’s a quick list of other greater-metro-area suggestions by your neighbors:

–Coffee? GIANT Coffee, Lux Coffee, Greater Than Coffee

–Italian? Il Posto, Timo, Crudo, Postino

–Euro-Style? Touch of European Cafe, Beaver Choice

–Vietnamese? Rice Paper, Pho Nhat

–Japanese? Moira

–Thai? Thai Basil, Siam Thai Cuisine

–Asian? Zang’s

–Middle Eastern: The Phoenicia

–Indian? Delhi Palace

–Irish? Casey Moore’s

–Greek? Golden Greek, Oliveo Grill

–Ethiopian? Gojo

–Jamaican? The Breadfruit

–Healthy/Veggie? True Food, Green, The Farmer’s Markets & CSAs, Fresh Mint, Juice Core

–Steakhouse? Feeney’s (their beef wellington comes highly recommended), Durant’s, and The Stockyards with the note, “Only the bar! Best place for an afternoon drunk affair, and chock full of Arizona history!” from Arica Eshelman.

–‘Merican? Kitchen 56, Blue Hound, The Yard, Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles, O.H.S.O. Eatery, La Grande Orange, Welcome Diner, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe, Texaz Grill

–Dessert? Sweet Republic

Carole Bachert Glenn also noted that here in the ‘off-season’ a.k.a. Melt yer Face season, she loves that we all can get seated at the best restaurants– no wait list!


So, what mates better with dining than shopping? Eating = Exercise. Dining = Shopping. See the difference? Good. Well, when I originally tossed up the question about your favorite Phoenix Metro locales, Aanya Bananya didn’t miss a beat with “Practical Art!” And we certainly blushed when nine other people immediately concurred! Aw, shucks, you guys. Your other Cenpho favorites? The Grand Avenue Arts District, First Friday, the whole Central Corridor, Union at the Biltmore, GrowOp, Lawn Gnome Books, and EyeLounge Gallery. Also, there was a preemptive vote for Changing Hands Uptown!

Other entertainment to round out an evening? Nikki Armstrong says, “The Crescent Ballroom has exponentially improved opportunities to see a ton of great bands.” Sean D. Sweat and Julie Baier felt similarly, and Julie also threw FilmBar into the mix.


Maybe the funds are tight and you’re more in sight-seeing mode? People chimed in touting many of our esteemed cultural institutions; here’s a quick list:

Phoenix Art Museum
The Japanese Friendship Garden
The Musical Instrument Museum
Burton Barr Central Library
Civic Space Park
Phoenix Zoo
Desert Botanical Gardens
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West
Boyce Thompson Arboretum


Some towns that are worth a saunter-’round for some sights and sites:
Old Cottonwood
Old Town Glendale (antiques & indie restaurants!)
Sedona (for star-gazing!)
Tucson (for the Kartchner Caverns!)
…and we’re only an hour flight from the coast, to Vegas, to Puerto Penasco!


There was a huge number of contributors to our list who credited the natural lay of the land as the reason they stay ‘Zonies. Leslie Locklear says, “There’s lots of nearby hiking. You can easily hike a couple of times a week during all of our cooler months and never repeat a hike.”  There’s Dreamy Draw, North Mountain, South Mountain; great camping in the pines a mere two hours away; and the lakes! The lakes!  “Bartlett Lake has amazing scenery, nice cool water and if you like fishing, there is that too! Lake Pleasant is also nice but the scenery isn’t as nice,” according to Sue Patterson.

And then, of course, there’s The Weather.  It brings us the brief intensity of a good monsoon and allows us to grow gardens and bicycle all year round. There’s no shoveling snow ever. No mosquitos.  This is a short section, but given its importance, I’ve made the whole thing bold. 

Lastly, and this is something that always ‘gets me’…. it’s the people. So many folks felt it was the people. I feel that it’s the people. It IS the people. If you don’t feel like you have found some sort of non-blood-related family here, consider opening your arms just a little wider.

Probably the best thing, is that it’s a big city that still feels like a small town.” – Troy Harris

“More than anything, what I LOVE about Phoenix is that you can be anything, any body here, the sky is the limit. And too, I really do LOVE the weather here, even Summer, when everyone is else complaining that it’s too hot, I’m out getting warmed up because indoors are overly A/C’d. Oh, and the people. I kinda like the people here too.” – Cat Slye

“Introduce [folks] to the people behind the cool stuff Phoenix has to offer. It’s more about the community than it is about the trappings, and our community is becoming more connected and active, particularly with the efforts of groups like Local First that provide greater exposure to local small biz and cultural resources.” – Patrick Brennan

“It’s a real community. People who support each other.” – Laura Dragon

“It’s the people and experiences. I love north central and call it my home…it just keeps getting better!” – Trisha Staudt Bigler

“Emmett and I had been planning on moving to CA this year, but I finally realized that I love this city, and the strange romantic magic of the desert. We are happy here, and there are so many things to discover and take part in in this ever changing city.” – Kristin Bauer

You guys. Man, we love you guys. Let’s go do some of these things this weekend.

Friendly Friday Blog: Bunky Boutique!

Friendly Friday Blogs are about extolling the virtues of CenPho, the locale we call home. And by virtues, we mean the amazingly eclectic and wonderfully charismatic neighborhood establishments, and the entrepreneurs they own.

This week’s send up? Bunky Boutique!


Not only is Bunky Boutique, located on 1st street just South of McDowell, the purveyor of all things urban and sizzlin’-climate-chic, but owner Rachel Malloy shares our love of community. Tomorrow, the day before Mother’s Day, Bunky is hosting a ‘Necessities Drive’ for Maggie’s Place which helps mothers in need.


Look at that! You get to do something great for moms, AND get entered in a raffle for prizes (a little birdie told me there’s a Practical Art prize in there!), AAAANNNDDD get 20% off that day! A discount could entice me to do a lot of damage on their inventory of sassy wares. (Here’s a sneak peek into the shop:)


They have dude stuff, too! And I know Lisa’s been after another one of their AZ Heart Shirts:


Like Rachel says in her interview with The Story Exchange, “Success is kindness and compassion for others. Success is being able to give back.”

So help Rachel help the ladies through Maggie’s Place this weekend, and you can also help us help the ladies through our featured charity o’ the month, Soroptomist International of Phoenix, by participating in either the raffle of Troy Moody’s glass dish, or through our Fourth Friday Charity Pie Night!

And if you happen to need Mom’s Day gift suggestions, make sure to check out this blog!