Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Classic

Parts of the Valley of the Sun are growing so fast that visiting them seems like visiting a totally foreign city.  That is exactly how I feel about Tempe Arizona and I used to live here at one time.  I decided to take a walk down Mill Avenue earlier in the week and although there were some familiar places, there was so much growth and construction all around that some landmarks were hard to recognize.  One place that looks exactly the same is the old Valley Art Movie Theatre.

It not only looks exactly the same but, it's still in operation.  I remember coming here for the first time back in 1970!

The theatre is now operated by Harkins Theaters, a local chain of theaters but, they are preserving this one!  Good for them!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  If you like wild animals, check it out.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

No Sleigh For This Guy

I took a drive way down on the southern tip of Phoenix yesterday to have lunch with my friend David at his office.  He started a new job earlier this year and I hadn't been to his new location yet.  On my way to his office I passed this most unusual holiday decoration.  It's Santa with his sack full of goodies riding on a rocket.  So that's how he gets all the way around the world in one day!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Holiday Light Show

Wednesday evening, I joined my friends Julie and Dave to take a drive through a holiday light show that was set up on the far north edge of the city.

These first two shots were taken from the slowly moving car so they are a little on the "fuzzy" side.  Too bad you have to be moving the whole time because  the displays were gorgeous.   I wish I could have captured them all.

At the end of the drive-through part, there was a little village set up especially for kids that we could walk through and I got a few better pictures here.  I loved giant ornament.

The giant snowman was also cute.

And the giant Christmas Tree made of colorful orbs was also fun to see.

I hadn't seen one of these light shows in many, many years and this one was a lot more elaborate than the one I saw eons ago.  It was all timed to music that you tuned in on a radio station.  Great fun!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Simple and Pretty

I found these simple but pretty decorations placed in a planter at the end of the driveway of a home.  I like them.  It's just a touch of holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Busy Season

The last few days have been a flurry of activity with shopping, planning, dinners and parties.  On Christmas Day I joined my good friends Julie and Dave (many of you know them) at their house for an afternoon of cooking and then eating.  I took the top photo from their patio around the time the eating began.  The sun was getting low in the sky and lit up the distant mountain beautifully.

I caught Julie and my good friend David putting the finishing touches on the main dish.  We had a Moroccan themed meal for our Christmas dinner.  Julie picked all the recipes and our group got to work putting it all together.  We had a persimmon and pecan salad, a chilled mango soup, an aromatic and delicious lamb tagine and roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with spices and parmesan cheese.  I baked an orange almond cake for dessert and Julie made some orange and pistachio ice cream to go with it.

It was a nice enough day to have our first two courses on the patio.

I snapped this photo while we were enjoying our salads around the fire pit.  It took a few shots to get the fire lined up perfectly but, I finally got it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Frosty is hoping that everyone had a fabulous Christmas, got a few nice gifts, ate delicious food and treated yourselves to something sweet.

I know that I did!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

I think this colorful Nativity scene is perfect for a Christmas Eve post.  I found it on the roof of the chapel of the Valley Lutheran High School.  It seems a perfect setting under that stained glass window.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm peeking into some Holiday shop windows.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Five Thousand Dollar Christmas Tree

I've written several times about AZ88, the very eclectic restaurant located at the Scottsdale Civic Center.  They always have changing contemporary art exhibits that decorate the restaurant and they always have some very creative Christmas decorations.

This year's tree is no exception.  It is literally a $5,000.00 tree because it's composed of about 5,000 one dollar bills.

Here's a close-up view.  They are real dollars, I asked just to make sure.

The star on the top of tree is made up of shiny new pennies.

From the table where we were seated, I liked looking at the view of the tree in the big mirror that is on the back wall of the restaurant.

I go to AZ88 because I love the atmosphere and the food but, the creative art keeps me coming back time and again.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday iPhone Snaps

Today I have a selection of iPhone photos that I've taken during the Holiday season when I've been out and about and looking in the shops.  I loved this cheese plate from Williams-Sonoma but, even though tempted, I didn't buy it.

A bucket full of fuzzy candy cane ornaments caught my eye.

This little elf (and his half-hidden buddy) was found leaning up against a silver ice bucket at my local Pottery Barn.

But, what really caught my eye was this holiday raccoon (is it a raccoon?) that was peeking out from inside the silver ice bucket.

This year's poinsettia tree at the Biltmore Fashion Park shopping center was as pretty as usual.  They used to have this tree as the main tree in the center courtyard of the shopping complex but, now they've moved it down a little way between the shops. They now put a big green tree in the courtyard spot with Santa's big chair in front of it.  The poinsettia tree is still my favorite.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Atmosphere at the Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden does a good job of decorating for the holidays every year.  They almost always fill the fountain at the entrance with poinsettias and they did again this year.

The Christmas tree looks very nice this year with both large and small bulbs adorning it.

Around the corner, they always put up a poinsettia tree and this year was no exception.

And they've decorated every door with really beautiful Christmas wreaths.  Because of the annual event "Las Noches de las Luminarias" the garden gets a lot of traffic during the month of December so, decorating for the holidays is very important.

You can even pick up a Santa Cactus in the garden gift shop.  Now there's a gift idea!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Shoe Gallery

You probably realize by now that I have a "thing" for shoes and although I limit myself to the flatter variety these days, I still think a stroll through the shoe department is good for my soul.  I've noticed lately that there have been a large selection of rather unusual and what I'd call "one-time-wear" shoes in many of the better shops.  I think the shoe above is actually kind of cute but, it really is a shoe that wouldn't see a lot of wear.

Same goes for these butterfly-wing shoes.  Actually, I can't imagine wearing these even once. 

This shoe looks like something someone in the Star Wars movies would wear.  If I put that one on, I'd break a bone or two for sure.

And, here is another shoe with a fuzzy look to it.  In fact, I saw quite a lot of shoes that looked more like bedroom slippers than party shoes.  I wouldn't wear any of these at this stage of my life but, I do enjoy looking at them.  Sometimes they even give me a good laugh.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Prime Directive

I'm not referring to the Prime Directive of the United Federation of Planets, rather what seems like the standard prime directive for all of us during the the holiday season.  That is To Shop.  I was following this car when I spotted that special license plate.  It appeared to be an official license place with the proper stickers but, I had never seen a special plate with a black background before.  So, I did some research and the black custom license plates belong to the FFA (Future Farmers of America) organization.   It took me a while to figure out why an FFA plate would carry the message of SHOP.  I get it, shop for farm fresh groceries!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tribute to a Phoenix Architect

Here is a mural that I would never have found on my own.  It's in a rather obstructed location at the front of building used by a branding company called The Kitchen Sink.  I read about this mural while researching another mural and so I decided I needed to find this one.  You can't see it from the street, so I had to park the car and do some walking to locate it.

The mural is by Berlin-bsed artist Karl Addison and it depicts the architect Frank Henry.  Henry was a Phoenix architect who was a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and created some beautiful buildings in and around Phoenix.  One of them is an all-time favorite of mine that I featured a few years ago.  It's the midcentury modern Chase Bank located not far from where I live now.  I love the mural and I'm glad I found it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

On the Fast Track

Does anyone else feel like we are on the fast track to Christmas this year?  I can't believe it's less than 10 days away. December has just flown by.

In the blink of an eye, it will be here so if you still have shopping to do, you better get going.  If you've got some baking to do, now is the time.

Get that Christmas spirit in gear!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  An English cathedral is on the agenda.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holiday Wreaths

I have a variety of holiday wreaths to show you today.  This one was for sale at Berridge Nursery.  It's made from some dried flowers.  I like it.  I might look to see if it goes on sale right after Christmas.  When I got my old wreath out, it was looking a little haggard.  It might be time for a new one.

This one was on a shop door and features Nova check ribbon (one of my favorite patterns) and some huge snowflakes.  That's a pretty one too.

This one was on the side of a house.  It's simple but perfect for the season.  I see a wire going to it so I think it lights up at night.  Even better.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas at the Pub

Yesterday was our work group holiday luncheon and this year we had it at the George & Dragon Pub.  Typical British pub food was on the menu and we were seated in one of the private rooms with the fireplace and Christmas tree.  I had the fish and chips while some had the bangers and mash and a few had shepherds pie or Cornish pasties.  I think everyone really enjoyed the food and the company.  I couldn't leave without snapping a photo.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Festive Doors

I've noticed a lot of festive doors around my neighborhood recently.  Quite a lot of people are into decorating for the holidays.

Some of them have a rather elegant look as though they hired a designer or florist to fit them with the perfect trim.

And, some of them are just plain fun.  I bet there are kids in this house.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter in Phoenix

Al fresco dining in December.  I snapped this photo when I was out shopping last weekend.  This is why we put up with the searing hot temperatures in the summer.  The morning air is a bit nippy in the low 50's (12C) but by the afternoon we reach around 79 degrees or 26C.  It's just about perfect right now.  It's that fun time of year when we run our heaters on the drive to work and run the air conditioner on the drive home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tasting Champagne!

Last Saturday I met some friends at a place just down the street from me for a champagne tasting event.  The store had sent invitations to their regular customers to come in for a free champagne tasting that included some very expensive champagnes.  I do on rare occasions get to enjoy a bottle of Veuve Clicquot but, I haven't indulged in the very expensive versions since my days in the consulting business.  I got to taste an all-time favorite of the Clicquot family of bubbly, the Grande Dame along with a wonderful vintage rose'.

I also got a taste of the famous "Cristal" that I've heard so much about.  That is one I had never tasted before.

The event drew quite a crowd and the small shop was wall to wall with people, glasses and bubbles.  It was a lot of fun.

I was glad to find a few that were excellent and yet still in my price range.  Let the celebrating begin!

Monday, December 11, 2017


Someone told me about this mural so I went looking for it.  It's located in the Coronado Historic District on the side of building sitting on an alley.  It's called Mas Alla which translates to "Beyond".

The pretty lady is looking out into space with the moon to one side of her.  The mural was painted by Mata Ruda (Karlito Miller Espinosa) with help from his girlfriend Lucinda Yrene.

Karlito was born in Costa Rica and raised in Venezuela before moving to Arizona when he was just 11 years old.  Today he paints all over the world.

It has a dreamy look to it that I like.