AZ Local: Cool Things To Do & Yummy Places To Know About

I am still reflecting after enjoying an action packed weekend last week that reminds me of some of the cool places the Valley of the Sun offers.  Be sure to check out some of these ideas if you haven’t already.

On Friday, my daughter and I enjoyed a nice breakfast in Tempe at the always good Snooze restaurant. She was out of school for an early morning doctor’s appointment on the other side of town, so we decided to enjoy a meal afterwards.  If you haven’t tried Snooze, put it on your list for one of the best breakfast spots in town.  snoozeSnooze has several locations.  We chose Tempe and it is always fun to feel the college vibe at the eatery since ASU is back in full swing.

Last Friday night’s attire for me included wearing slippers to an NCL (National Charity League) event called the Slippers & Sangria Social.  It was nice wearing comfy shoes to a party and I especially loved that each guest brought a new pair of slippers to donate.  What a great idea for an event.   Have your

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

guests wear something fun and then bring one extra to donate to those in need.

Saturday morning I am proud to say that I made a 6:30am workout at my favorite small gym, Body by Design.  me-after-gymOn my early morning drive to my gym, it was refreshing to see all of the early risers up and at em’ jogging, biking and walking because that means that our awesome fall weather has arrived.  I could feel it this morning and this is an exciting time for us Phoenicians!  My favorite mountain to recommend hiking is South Mountain’s Telegraph Pass.  I think it is one of the easier climbs, but still gets the heart rate going.  If you haven’t tried this one, be sure to as the view is really pretty. signPost gym I went to my favorite real deal healthy clean food restaurant, Pomegranate Cafe to have a wellness shot that is made with ginger, turmeric, lemon, apple and cayenne.  I swear whenever I start to feel like I may be getting sick, I have one of these and so far, so good…knock on wood!  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had earned a free breakfast since I participate in the restaurant’s electronic punch card app.  pom-breakfastMan this was incredible fuel for my body.  The So Cal omelette with sweet potatoes hash browns, super seed bread with homemade jam.  So tasty!  In fact, Pomegranate was in the top 10 best vegetarian restaurants in the nation by Forbes a few years ago.  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you will like this place.  Real food with a bakery, too!  Delish!

That evening called for a girls night out as we celebrated a fun birthday for one of my best friends, so we wanted to be sure the night was special.  The long running Ruffino restaurant on 48th Street & Warner was recently sold and is now Trattoria D’Amico.  I am very happy to report that that this place is scrumptious with a great atmosphere, too. I made reservations there the day before the bday dinner for my friend and the staff took great care of us.  j-bday-nightIf you go, I highly recommend the red sangria followed by the incredible Tuscan Garlic Chicken.  It was so good that all five of us gals ordered the same entree!  I wish I would have taken a picture of the food. The Tuscan dish is angel hair pasta, garlic and olive oil tossed with grilled chicken breast, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.  Bon Appetit for sure!

After dinner we headed over the newly remodeled AMC Ahwatukee 24 and I love the changes!  The red leather reclining movie sets recline into an almost flat position.  So comfy.  The bar that is stocked with different varieties of wine, beer and movie-themed cocktails is great and we love that drinks can go inside the theater with us.

And to round out the weekend, on Sunday my daughter and I drove to Peoria to see our friend perform in the lead in Les Miserables School Edition and he…and the entire cast…were absolutely incredible! julianSince my daughter has performed in local community theater for the last nine years, she has many pals who now perform in different productions all over the city.  We have been thoroughly enjoying making the rounds to see our many young friends perform.  Theater Works School Edition blew us away.  The acting, the singing, the stage, the special effects.  The show runs through September 25th and although I heard it may be sold out, it is definitely worth checking to see if any extra tickets can be had.

And speaking of local children’s theater, be sure to check upcoming productions for Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre and Actor’s Youth Theatre.  My daughter has appeared in numerous productions at ACT and was cast in 13 over the summer at AYT.  ACT’s Christmas Carol is always a joy and gets one in the holiday spirit of gratitude for sure.  great-xmas-carol-shotA wonderful local tradition for families so be on the lookout for that one in December.

So much to do here in the Valley of the Sun, especially this time of year!  Share your favorite Valley spots in the comments section and get out and do stuff with your people.  Especially those of you with little kids because you won’t believe how fast they grow up and leave home.  Trust me!


Heartfelt Words From A Worried Kid: What My Children’s Theatre Means To Me

My daughter is worried.  We got word this week that my daughter’s beloved second home (as she calls it), the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) may have to close their doors.  Once she heard this, she sat down at the computer and thoughtful words poured out of her heart and on to the keyboard.  She first reflected on just how long she has performed at ACT and the fact that she started there at the tender age of 5 years old as seen in this ACT show choir photo below….

At only 6 years old, she was proudly singing a sweet little solo with the Ahwatukee Children's Theatre All Keyed Up Show Choir at a Phoenix Zoo performance.

At only 5 years old, she was proudly singing a sweet little solo with the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre All Keyed Up Show Choir at a Phoenix Zoo performance.


7 years later in ACT's Treble Makers Show Choir.

7 years later in ACT’s Treble Makers Show Choir.

After you read her sweet and very honest comments, you may want to donate and your donation is tax deductible and you can donate here.

But first, here in her very own words, is what a local community children’s theatre means to kids.  Lexi has experienced much growth since she first set foot in the ACT doors eight years ago.  She is now a teenager and here is her story with very little edits from me….

Lexi says:

head shot







What ACT Means To Me

Where do I begin?  I guess I’ll start where it all started, when I was five.  I began at Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre at that age, and I can still remember that my first play was Cinderella as an evil step sister along with Emma Horn and Megan O’Neall  as our mother. Cinderella with Evil StepsistersIt was so much fun that I had just had to do another play with ACT the next time around.

My second play with this theatre was Sleeping Beauty and I proudly got the part of Maleficent (this was one of my favorite roles ever), and guess what? It was so much fun again I just had to continue with this.

Once again landing the evil role of the evil queen in Snow White, I realized that I must of had a knack for evil characters!  Snow White & Evil Queen
as CruellaI especially enjoyed playing Cruella Di Vil and Mom tells me that was her favorite character that I have played.  It was so much fun!

Now I don’t want to sit here all day listing every part I had ever since I was five, but I’ll definitely tell you that not every part was nearly as special as my beginners luck in the first part (that I referred to in the first paragraph) and that’s honestly what it was, beginners luck.

I’ll tell you once I got used to that, it was a pretty big shock when I got a part that didn’t even have a name. I thought my world was over and kept feeling that way over the years every time my assigned character wasn’t what I had hoped for after auditions.  But the experience definitely made me grow and become wiser.

Now I realize that every part that I was assigned, regardless of the character, really did make me stronger and better at what I love to do.  cast picAnd that makes me appreciate even more now when I do get a part that’s close to the top of the cast list….if you know what I mean.

It excites me even more to know that I still have so much to learn about this profession that I hope to continue in.

ACT helped me learn, thrive, grow, and mature in so many ways that I can’t even describe.  I want that to continue for boys and girls of new generations for as long as possible. Don’t you, too?

lex in oliver playIt’s funny how writing this to you guys is bringing tears of joy to my eyes as I think about all the amazing lessons that I’ve learned and memories and the friends I’ve made at ACT.

Traveling with my show choir two summers ago.

Traveling with my show choir two summers ago.

We also like to go see our friends in ACT plays and cheer them on. erin in play

I have felt a lot of love over the years at ACT. echo

I hope they continue fighting and receiving donations so they can keep this amazing place going and sharing the love that they have bestowed upon me.
alex annie stage

Please help them out in their fight to reclaim confidence of keeping this amazing place going for years to come. Even the smallest donation of $20 helps unbelievably.  rolesPLEASE HELP KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN!!!

Before I sign off I want to give a special thanks to some of the people that have helped me grow, both as a young actress and a person….with directors

*Bailey Isenberg for giving me amazing opportunities to thrive as an actor and for dealing with me as a toddler!

*Melissa Snow for keeping me on track and focused throughout my roles and my dancing.

*Kendall Snow for being so sweet and kind and showing me so many more things that I’m able to do with my feet….and letting me sleep that one time during dance practice when I didn’t feel good.

*Lori Olawski for being one of the best neighbors ever and inspiring me to keep it together and organized as you have done!

*My family for supporting me and believing in me and coming to every show and accepting me when I was young….when I had those fits when there was no reason for one.  family 2014And for paying the bills and working so hard to give me the best life possible.

And to Michele Rubino who has shown me so much throughout the years.  You always give me a laugh when you know I need one and even when I didn’t.  Thank you for helping me so extremely much with my voice and acting and everything.  I always feel like you have my back. with Mich

I think you’ve all heard enough to understand.  Well this is Alexis signing off.  Thanks for reading my article.  Please consider making a donation to my beloved children’s theatre.  Any amount helps so much!  You can simply and easily donate here.