I thought December was full of activities for the Greater Phoenix area. January is packed and some offers for February are included. As I mentioned before, I get this information from the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. I share it, because I enjoy knowing what is happening where I live (even though I’m gone a lot).


The OH Pool Bar + Cabanas at Hotel Valley Ho was ranked as one of the “World’s Coolest Pools” in the December 2009 issue of Travel + Leisure. The Pool is among only fifteen others around the world to make the list and is the only pool in Arizona featured. The review notes the Pool’s unique retro-style furnishings and martini glass design and poolside performances by past celebrities including Katy Perry and John Legend.

The Arizona Biltmore hopes to make a significant difference for the needy and disadvantaged in the community this holiday season by involving the resort in a variety of charity efforts. The Arizona Biltmore’s fund-raising programs will benefit Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Homeward Bound, Celebrity Fight Night Foundation and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The economy may have cooled down, but at the Royal Palms Resort— romance has not. Director of Romance Robert Vickrey reigns in romantic ideas that create a truly unique and heart-melting experience. Vickrey’s role goes beyond ordering flowers and making dinner reservations to focusing on every detail of an evening, leaving guests enjoying each moment in complete relaxation. A few imaginative details used to enhance special memories include violinists, flamenco guitarists, poem readers, rose petals, diamond-laced desserts, white doves and fireworks. The Alegria Garden, Cervantes Library, Mansion Courtyard and Bell Tower are among the list of favorite venues Vickrey recommends for romantic rendezvous

The Fairmont Scottsdale has introduced “green” welcome packages and “green” gifts for meeting planners to send to their group attendees during conferences. Some items include reusable aluminum water bottles that are 100 percent biodegradable, reusable tote bags, recycled notebooks, the New York Times best-seller “the green book” by Elizabeth Rogers and much more. The Fairmont Scottsdale offers a creative coordinator who can customize unique, affordable mementos for any group outing. These gifts can also be arranged a la carte to fit within any budget.

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa is offering the Triathlon Package for tri-athletes coming to train in Arizona’s warm climate. In addition to spa treatments at the end of each day, this Triathlon Prep Program will personalize a three-day exercise regime with suggested meals. Triathlon hopefuls can harness the expertise of Sanctuary’s on-property fitness staff that includes Olympic swimmer, Misty Hyman. The package includes 3 nights’ accommodations, a power breakfast daily, 3 days of training on core (swimming, biking, and running) and 3 spa treatments geared toward the muscles and feet. The program is available through May 16, 2010.

The Boulders is commemorating their 25th Anniversary by inviting guests to celebrate January 2010 with special promotions the entire month and throughout the year. From architecture to amenities, guests still celebrate The Boulders’ dramatic desert location and sense of place. Promotions range from a Silver Anniversary package, to golf and spa silver surprises–even a Silver Sip cocktail. In addition, the month of February brings a victorious package in celebration of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Boulders “Go for the Gold” package offers guests its own version of the 5 Olympic rings. Guests can get the 5th night free when they book four nights and have the option to combine additional golf and spa specials.

The Fairmont Scottsdale will play host to a weekend of Chicago-themed events, promotions, room packages and activities in honor of the most anticipated spring training game in the Cactus League—a head-to-head battle among Chicago’s Major League Baseball Teams of the Cubs and the White Sox. The Fairmont will include shuttles to and from the game on Saturday March 20, which will take place at Camelback Ranch.

Amongst the red rocks, picturesque sunsets, and mild temperatures, the Enchantment Resort will be offering guests cooking demonstrations, sweetheart yoga, and workshops to enhance romance during Valentine’s weekend. Other offerings include an aura soma color reading or a sensual dinner at the award-winning Yavapai Restaurant. A special Suite Romance Package for Valentine’s Day Weekend will feature 2 or 3 nights at Enchantment Resort, a Romance gift upon arrival, one 60-minute spa service per person once during stay, and various dinner options.


For nearly four decades, the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has been recognized throughout the world for offering only the finest selection of quality collector vehicles, outstanding professional service, and an unrivaled sales success. From classic and one-of-a-kind vehicles to exotics and muscle cars, Barrett-Jackson attracts only the best. The World’s Greatest Collector Car Events™ have captured the true essence of a passionate obsession with cars that extends to collectors and enthusiasts throughout the world. In addition to the amazing vehicles, attendees enjoy a lifestyle experience featuring fine art, fashion, and gourmet cuisine. In every way, the legend is unsurpassed. This event takes place from January 18-24, 2010.

The 55th Annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is taking place at Westworld, Scottsdale, Arizona from February 11-21, 2010. Come experience the show that set the pace in the Arabian horse world. The event has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2000 horses bringing top owners, trainers and breeders from around the world competing for a change of winning. It is the largest Arabian show in the world and a must-see event.

The 25th anniversary of the 2010 RoadRunner Regional Rodeo takes place over President’s Day weekend February 12-14 hosted by Arizona Gay Rodeo Association. It’s going to be a great rodeo with fun, games and thrills for all. Enjoy Cowboy cooks outs, dancing, live entertainment as well as Cowboy karaoke finals.

The state’s largest Indian market will bring the best of the Southwest to one of its most significant cultural events on March 6 & 7, 2010. The Indian Fair & Market at the Heard Museum will bring 700 of the country’s successful American Indian artists to convene for the fair’s 52nd year. The world-acclaimed festival will feature the best American Indian art, music and dance performances and a wide array of delectable food to taste—there’s no wonder it draws nearly 20,000 visitors!

Join us for a celebration of Jewish life, culture, identity and history at the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival. This year’s event promises a terrific slate of new feature films and guest speakers including Jack Baxter and Rabbi Daniel Bouskila. It’s an event note to be missed, sure to enlighten, educate and enthrall…and one you don’t necessarily need to be Jewish to enjoy.

In addition to 48 non-profit organizations in the Phoenix Area, the Arizona Science Center received an award of $10,000 of the $270,000 raised by Cox Charities employees. Cox Charities grants are awarded on an annual basis focusing on youth and education. Funds are raised through employee-driven fundraisers and personal contributions throughout the year. Arizona Science Center is a proud recipient of Cox Charities grant dollars and appreciates the support given to contribute to the center’s ability to serve our greater Arizona communities with hands-on science discovery programs that inspire, educate and entertain people of all ages about science. Funds from Cox Charities will go directly to support the Center’s Free School Admissions program benefiting underserved youth and teachers from Title 1 schools by underwriting free field trips to Arizona Science Center, as well as free teacher workshops and educator resources. In 2008 Arizona Science Center saw nearly 40,000 students from Title 1 schools.

Come attend a special panel discussion about the work of Allan Houser moderated by Sara Cochran, curator at the Phoenix Art Museum on January 15, 2010. With free admission, the discussion begins at 6 p.m. In partnership with Arizona Opera, there will be an 8 p.m. performance by lyric soprano Jennifer M. Stevens, Oneida, at the Heard‘s NU (Native + You). Stevens was a soloist for the Green Bay Civic Symphony with conductor Patrick Miles, a National Anthem soloist for the Oneida and Wisconsin Veterans’ “Moving Wall” and a guest soloist for the Club Zitalo-American of Green Bay.

The 6,000 square-foot exhibit Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear, an exhibition developed by the California Science Center, will premiere atArizona Science Center Jan. 31, 2010. Through fun, interactive challenges, guests can experience fear in a safe environment and discover the science behind their physical and emotional responses. There will be several aspects of the exhibit that explore this universal emotion that can save our lives.

Sami’s Fine Jewelry – 7th Annual Meet the Miners event will take place Saturday, February 6, 2010. The miners of the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine will recount the interesting history of the mine and the Arizona Amethyst. They will share stories about living and working at the mine. Miner food will be served along with beverages.

With promises of hour-long flights and short drives from Los Angeles, Mesa has been selected as the next home for a proposed Hollywood-style studio complex called Gateway Studios. The project is still awaiting approval but if accepted, it would be the first and only major soundstage complex in Arizona. The plans feature a $70 million motion picture production complex that would utilize design on green building techniques. The site will be a 55-acre parcel developed in two phases. When complete, the complex should include four soundstages ranging in size, facilities for feature production and postproduction, storage, auditorium and a large back-lot production area for street-size sets.

Opening in February, the new exhibit Play Ball: the Cactus League Experience at the Arizona Museum for Youth is kicking off Arizona’s spring training season. The colorful history of professional baseball in Arizona will be celebrated through interactive and educational exhibits– giving visitors the chance to hear stories of the players, teams and ballparks. The expanded exhibit will be moved to an entirely new space specifically designed for the collection as part of Arizona Museum for Youth’s renovations, which finished completion in December. The exhibit’s existing displays will be transformed into areas for player conditioning and the popular Wii baseball game. The Mesa historical society has received incredible support from baseball fans across the nation wanting to contribute to the exhibit.

Recently opened in November, the $4.5 million Campeones (Champions) family entertainment venue will honor legendary Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez. At 30,000 square feet the attraction will feature an authentic Mexican restaurant, arcade games with children’s play area, and a state-of-the-art sports bar for viewing sports from around the globe. In addition, the venue boasts a 10,000 square foot events center perfect for accommodating concerts, boxing matches, quinceañeras, corporate and community events for up to 1,700 people. Also on-site is access to the World Boxing Council satellite museum and Legends of Boxing, which features various memorabilia.

Visitors of the Heard Museum can experience the first of the exhibits created from the Dr. E. Daniel Albrecht Collection with the arrival of the traveling exhibit Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection. The exhibit opens Saturday, January 23 and features 150 sculptures, textiles and graphics. It is a rare opportunity to view more than 2,000 years of Canadian Inuit artwork crafted from stone, antlers, tusks, whale baleen, paint, wood, pencil and pen that vividly portrays the everyday life of Inuit communities. Also view the stunning newer works by award-winning Inuit artists such as Othniel “Art” Oomittuk.

Celebrating its second season, MacFest has returned to Downtown Mesa. The free arts and cultural festival takes place every Saturday in October through April along Main Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival features opportunities for guests to purchase handmade creations from artists, taste food from local restaurants and enjoy live music and performing artists. MacFest! A farmers market on McDonald is also included as part of the free festival on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering visitors the latest produce and unique items provided by Arizona vendors.


Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, AAA five-diamond award winner, has recently unveiled their new menu combining inspirations from desert to seashore. Kai uses locally harvested ingredients where available, and is featuring Native Harvested Squash Puree with chile scented cotton candy and tiny greens appetizer salad made using handpicked lettuces. With the new menu guests can discover ingredients from around the globe, from Sea of Cortez grouper to desert rabbit loin and braised Hudson Valley duck breast with lingonberries. Executive Chef Michael O’Dowd has created two tasting menus that tell a story. Kai is also offering a “Kai Cares” prix fixe menu that includes handpicked lettuce salad, grilled buffalo tenderloin and traditional fry bread.

As a 20-year consecutive AAA-Four Diamond restaurant, Different Pointe of View at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort offers unparalleled Valley views, more than 700 selections of rare vintage and international wine varietals and an upscale dining experience at new moderate prices. The mountain top dining destination has debuted new America cuisine entrée items that range from as low as $24 to $39 and include prime selections such as lamb, veal, filet mignon, lobster and other fine seafood delicacies. Different Pointe of View also offers a tour of their new entrée selections with the “Chef’s Featured Tasting Menu.”

For the seventh consecutive year, deseo at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa was awarded with the AAA Four Diamond Award. deseo is one of 70 Arizona establishments who received the AAA Four Diamond status for 2010. Showcasing imaginative Latin-influenced cuisine, deseo- meaning desire in Spanish- features a distinctive and skillfully blended combination of flavors. Inspired by James Beard Award-winning Chef Douglas Rodriguez, deseo features a ceviche menu and a Muddle Bar, where exotic cocktails are created by smashing together the freshest of fruits and herbs with a “muddler” to release their intense flavors. Gracing the walls of deseo is bold and colorful artwork by Resident Artist Nelson Garcia-Miranda.

Wine-down in Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale with a series of “Vine & Dine” evenings ongoing from December through March, featuring artfully crafted cuisine paired with specialty wines from premier California vineyards. The unique evenings feature a four-course tasting menu and select wines from a guest winemaker, who will roam from table to table and share insight about each pairing.

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa will celebrate the spring equinox with wine, astronomy and astrology at the Dining with the Stars Dinner on Saturday, March 20, 2010. The dinner will feature a three-course dinner showcasing the seasonal gifts of the resort’s 5,280-square-foot Organic Garden. Noted Astrologer Tom McMullan will discuss the symbolism of Astrology and guests will learn how the movement of constellations and planets will influence their lives in 2010, all while enjoying offerings from Arizona Stronghold Winery, the featured winemaker.

The Grill, located at the TPC Scottsdale, has introduced an all-new menu featuring the highest quality sustainable seafood. The Grill has partnered with the CleanFish Alliance, an organization that carefully selects fisherman and artisan fish farmers around the globe to support sustainable practices that are healthy for the fish population, consumers and the planet. This Fairmont Scottsdale restaurant has gained acclaim over the years with its decadent dishes and world-class views, and this menu is no exception, featuring fresh catches and daily market grilled fish, with structured entrees along with a fun new Clam Bake on Friday nights.

Recently the Sonora Brewhouse in Phoenix transitioned to SunUp Brewing Company. SunUp retains the brewhouse’s charm, including the wood beam ceilings, well-worn wood stools and the rotating selection of local art on the walls. Kobe beef burgers and cottage pie are still on the menu, and they recently added a handful of new selections such as a Philly cheese steak wrap and tortellini alfredo. SunUp has six beers on tap, including a vanilla porter, the adorably named Light-Rail Pale Ale and Trooper Ale, a customer favorite. Since the swap, beers have been renamed so they could be distributed in stores.

Foodies can learn about Scottsdale’s history while sampling the city’s culinary delights with two new tour companies. Arizona Food Toursoffers “A Taste of Old town Scottsdale” walking tour and Foodies Like Us features downtown trolley tours to select area restaurants in December, January and February.

Camelback Inn, which recently received its 34th consecutive AAA Five Diamond Award, has launched a series of “Meet the Winemaker” wine tastings at Rita’s Kitchen. Guests can ask questions and mingle with the winemaker in the restaurant’s indoor dining room and outdoor patio area. Upcoming events are January 13th “Barra Wines of Mendocino” with owner Martha Barra, February 3rd “Hanna Winery and Vineyards, Sonoma County” with president Christine Hanna, and March 3rd “Panther Creek Cellars, Willamette Valley” with owner Liz Chambers. Wine tastings take place from 6pm – 8pm, and include three glasses of wine and appetizers from the southwestern inspired Rita’s Kitchen.

Check out Mesa’s newest wine bar and restaurant, il Vinaio which means “wine merchant” in Italian. Executive Chef Patrick Boll spearheaded il Vinaio’s transformation, giving guests a chance to enjoy traditional American breakfast and lunch dishes centered on home-cooked hearty favorites, and dinners that promise an elegant yet casual affair with daily specials and entrees paired with boutique wines and micro-brews. The food reflects influences of Greek, Mediterranean and Italian with dishes such as bruschetta topped with creama and buttered gnocchi with roasted chicken, zucchini, tomato and herb pan sauce. Il Vinaio also offers winemaker dinners and Sippin Saturdays, a regular series of wine tastings paired with live entertainment.


Tocasierra Salon and Spa, a premiere full-service luxury spa and fitness facility at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, is offering special treatments for Valentine’s Day. Seduce your senses with the sinfully sweet aroma of chocolate raspberry with the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Body Scrub or wrap yourself in chocolate with The Chocolate Fondue Wrap, a chocolate lover’s dream! Enjoy a luxurious skin conditioning treatment with chocolate exfoliation and then masked with a chocolate mousse followed by an application of butter which includes combined benefits that detoxifies and tones.

Enjoy Valentine’s “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” Therapy at Agave, the Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Spread the Valentine’s Day love during the month of February with Agave Spa’s “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” therapy. Whether it’s getting ready for a night out or simply giving your head, shoulders, knees and toes some tender-loving-care, book three of the following 25-minute Valentine’s Day-inspired spa therapies.

Pink isn’t just for princesses at the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale. Anyone can experience the royal treatment and “Power of Pink” program while supporting breast cancer awareness at the same time! Willow Stream Spa will be supporting the Susan G. Komen Found
ation by donating 5 percent of proceeds from any Pink Massage or Pink Pedicure a guest receives. That’s not all- in addition to other special discounts, breast cancer survivors can receive 15 percent off on both spa and salon services on “Pink Mondays.” The program will run from October 1, 2009-October 1, 2010 in preparation and support for the valley’s Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk for the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.


The Boulders Resort has added a new “Golfcation” package that includes playing 36 holes of golf at one of the country’s top golf courses and a custom golf club fitting. Hot Stix Performance Center provides a personalized golf fitting that includes a complete six-hour station circuit fitting. The package is available through March 31, 2010 and includes two nights in a private casita, two rounds of golf at the Boulders, complimentary cart rental, and Hot Stix Performance Center Game Fitting.

For the first time ever, the award-winning Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club will allow daily fee access to the club as an “Associate Member” with the “Pay and Play” Program. Under new ownership, the club will alternate one course each day allowing non-member guests access to premium tee times at the private golf club. Located at the base of the Superstition Mountains, the club is home to two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses and is renowned for their immaculate fairways and challenging layouts. The Prospector and Lost Gold Golf Courses have earned accolades from numerous professional golfers who play and reside in the Phoenix-metropolitan area and were most recently featured inGolfweek magazine’s 2009 list of 100 best residential courses in the country.

W Scottsdale recently announced a golf package, the first W Hotel to do so. The package features unlimited play at The Phoenician Resort & Spa, transportation from the hotel to the course, W Scottsdale golf balls and golf bag tag, a cigar and cool cocktail to end the day. Additionally, the package includes a Wonderful room with rates starting from $269 during the peak travel months.


Stellar Adventures is the first Phoenix-based outdoor adventure company to power their fleet of desert off-road vehicles with alternative, locally-produced biodiesel. The company transitioned all their diesel-powered vehicles, including h1 Hummers and Military Blazers, to the new fuel in an effort to reduce their emissions and invest their fuel spending into Arizona’s local economy. In addition to saving energy in the production of biodiesel, studies have also shown that the fuel can reduce carbon dioxide emissions nearly eighty percent in comparison to petroleum diesel. Guests can experience unique, environmentally-friendly off-road tours for individuals and groups. Stellar Adventures can custom design tours or even incorporate photo hunts, wine tastings, astronomy tours and catered events.

Operated by Maricopa County Parks, one of the largest regional park systems in the United States, the Center at Usery Mountain RegionalPark is the newest offering for guests seeking insight into the Sonoran Desert. Before exploring more than 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, stop in for sunrise yoga, scorpion hunts by blacklight, or animal “hide and seek” walks. Rangers of the center are available to guide guests, also offering everything from stargazing sessions to fitness hikes. The center was built with U.S. Green Building Council principles in mind. While making efforts to minimize disturbance to natural landscape, the center is fully functional, sustainable, and energy efficient.

If you love strolling the flea markets, the Heard Museum Guild Library Book Sale offers hours of entertainment and bargains galore. The event, January 30-31, is named the Valley’s “Best Low-Stress Used Book Sale” by New Times 30th Annual Best of Phoenix in 2008 and draws hundreds of treasure hunters/book devotees to a weekend of relaxed shopping. In its 14-year history, the book sale has raised more than $350,000 to support special projects of the Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives of the Heard Museum. This year’s event boasts more than 30,000 titles ranging from children’s books to cookbooks. Books range in price from 25 cents to $20, while a silent auction on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will feature rare and unusual books.

Come support our Arizona home grown garden at the new Wild Horse Pass Farmer’s Market open every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The market will feature produce from the community’s 2.5-acre organic garden, local farmers, artisans, vendors, kids activities, cooking classes, breakfast and story telling in Akimel Basho, the newest frontier attraction. There will also be a mechanical bull, live music, and college football in the Golden Belle. You will find the best produce and plenty of family activities at this unique farmer’s market.

For more information on any of these events, please contact the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau Media Department.

Big Blend Magazine

“Success” was Indie Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards