Frank Martin, owner of Crooked Sky Farms and a believer in ecologically sustainable agricultural methods, developed a profound respect for seeds and their eventual bounty as the child of a farmer and an organic gardener. The farm's humble beginnings date back to 1999, when Frank began cultivating seedlings in his own backyard and showering the plants with water and nightly bedtime stories. The South Phoenix–based farm has expanded to four urban locations, and supplies in-season offerings to local farmers' markets and members of its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative. Each week, members of the CSA visit the farm to collect their eight portions of fruits and vegetables, ideal for culinary pursuits or heightening the realism of Carmen Miranda fashion tributes.
Crooked Sky Farms' crops spring from the Earth without the addition of chemical insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers, earning them a certified naturally grown accreditation. The farm's abundant lanes of dense plants glean their enrichment from compost produced by the farm or sourced from organic providers, as well as natural and time-tested agricultural methods such as crop rotation, the use of protective buffer plants, and serenading clouds to make them rain. The picturesque planting grounds serve as a backdrop for seasonal events featuring cuisine crafted from the farm's produce and live entertainment under the romantic glow of the desert sky.
Michael Huhn founded Desert Divers to share the love of diving he cultivated while swimming among the menagerie of colorful sea life in the warm, limpid waters of the Sea of Cortez. Over the past 30 years, he’s recruited a staff of dedicated instructors that schools nascent underwater explorers in introductory lessons and intensive scuba-certification classes. The staff members equip students with most necessary gear for the classes, which cover maritime topics ranging from first aid and fish identification to deep diving and how to fashion sleeping octopuses into temporary helmets. Many classes require that participants first take an open-water scuba course, which bestows diving fundamentals and can eventually lead to certification. The center welcomes all past open-water students back for free refresher courses, helping former pupils sharpen their skills in advance of upcoming dives and snorkel-throwing tournaments. To further refine aquatic abilities, Desert Divers leads new graduates out on field trips to such dive-friendly locales as San Carlos, Mexico, and Key Largo, Florida.
From its online storefront, The Cupcake Café sets taste buds aflutter by shipping 20 varieties of handcrafted dessert delectables to sweet-toothed stoops. All cupped cakes are made from scratch and recipes derived from close friends, family, or maternal Ouija boards. The southern red velvet seduces all senses, with smooth cream-cheese frosting that occasionally croons "baby" and a dusting of red glitter. The Banana Dream dresses moist banana cake in a buttercream-frosting pinafore topped with a figure-enhancing banana chip, while a cinnamon-spangled churro cupcake lassoes bucking tongues and rides them like ecstatic steers. Indecisive indulgers, however, will prefer the Baker’s Choice dozen, which uses the southern red velvet as a cornerstone for a winning mélange that might contain the Guinness-infused Dubliner, Great Pumpkin, or mexican hot chocolate.
Just a Tease recently underwent its own beauty transformation when the boutique salon was revamped with a darker color palette, more Zen-inspired decor, and even a new name, Salon Beauremy. But even though the beauty haven's image has changed, its staff's dedication to providing custom hair and skin services has not wavered. In fact, the center's stylists still reach for high-quality haircare products, such as sulfate-free Enjoy and sensitivity-friendly HBL products, as they style freshly trimmed and colored tresses. In the spa area, aestheticians enhance facials with skin-clearing products from PCA Skin, Circadia, and Janssen, and use mineral cosmetics from GloMineral and Advanced Mineral Makeup to enhance facial features with perfectly matched foundations and eye shadows. And to cater to all their patients, they offer a variety of specialized facials that prevent and treat skin conditions with cutting-edge skincare treatments such as microcurrent facial toning, epidermal leveling, and oxygen-infused facials. On the way out, beauty-goers can peruse the salon's updated art and clothing boutique stocked with apparel and accessories from Tigerlily, and framed with original artwork from local artist Renee Bau.
Lance Muzslay has completed 20 Ironman triathlons, and his tally keeps on ticking. This means that, in races alone, he has swum 48 miles, biked 2,240 miles, and run 514 miles—the equivalent of a car-less road trip. At Sole Sports Running Zone, he applies his expertise toward outfitting runners with the garb, gels, and kicks they’ll need to pound the pavement. Muzslay works alongside a team of equally passionate runners at locations in Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale. Though the franchise has peddled its wares for five years, the Glendale location opened about six months ago and has the sharpest new-shoe scent. In 2011, the franchise clinched Phoenix magazine’s vote as the best athletic-shoe retailer in the valley.
Emilie Davidson Hoyt's interest in natural beauty products can be traced back to a single bar of lavender soap tucked beneath her pillow. A memento from one of her father's business trips, the fragrant bar remained close to Emilie while she slept, comforting her with its calming aroma. Throughout her childhood, Emilie suffered debilitating migraines that made her ultrasensitive to the chemicals and fragrances typically found in cosmetic products. Her condition was so bad that one of her high school teachers predicted she wouldn't succeed in college or keep a steady career.
Not only did Emilie graduate from college, she went on to found her own natural skincare company, LATHER, which initially only made olive oil–based soaps. Those soaps have since been mentioned in The New York Times, and the company has gone on to produce a full line of body, face, hair, and home products, which have appeared in other renowned publications. Emilie’s products nourish customers not only at three retail locations, but also at spas, boutiques, and hotels across the globe.
LATHER’s holistic, organic-leaning products beautify users without synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, or animal testing, and contain paraben-free preservatives and sulfate-free cleansing agents whenever possible. They also serenade olfactory senses with essential oils, vitamins, and rare fruits and herbs, and now arrive in earth-friendly EcoPure packaging, which, unlike a mummy's “No Microbes Allowed” t-shirt, accelerates natural biodegradation. LATHER maintains environmentally conscious practices, such as an in-store container recycling program and donations to worldwide reforestation projects.