Category - Reviews

1
An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert
2
Modern Map Art
3
Angle New York: Luxury and Sustainable Activewear Have Met Their Match

An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert

Cloth & Flame, desert dinner, Phoenix, desert

I had first heard about the Cloth & Flame desert dinners when I met Matt Cooley and Olivia Laux during Phoestivus 2016. The duo come from two different backgrounds. Olivia worked in chemical engineering; while Matt worked in tourism in Alaska, and worked wholesale for an ice cream shop in Oregon.

Cloth & Flame was born on the premise of encouraging community, and inspiring people into helping protect the Sonoran Desert and wilderness areas here in Arizona. According to the website, “We pay to lease land for our dinners, so areas that might otherwise be developed can act instead as a source of income for the landowner. We also give 10% of every dinners’ proceeds to great coalitions that work to preserve migratory routes and wild places in our inimitable state.”

They had first included the dinners along with their balloon tours, but as of December 31st 2016, they branched out to also just do the dinners. “We just realized that more could be done with it. It’s just stunning out there and so many people in our community never have the chance to really spend time in the desert, or just don’t know where to begin. We started collaborating with local chefs and artisans, and realized that others are inspired by the desert too, and the rest is history,” Matt further explained. 

I had the chance to experience this magical desert bespoke, alfresco-style meal recently, and was just so impressed at the whole concept. I arrived that their North Phoenix office, which was the official meet-up point. After a brief introduction, and what to expect, we were loaded into two vans and drove to the destination.

About a half-hour later, we arrived in the heart of the desert; away from the city and freeways. The long community-style wooden table and benches were set up amongst the saguaros and cholla. The table was set with desert florals, china, and silverware. It was like a bohemian fairytale.

We started out with a cocktail hour, accompanied with an appetizer. While most everyone had the ceviche, myself and a couple other vegetarians had the kimchi “crackers” and guacamole. It was actually really good! It had just enough spice for a small kick, but the guacamole leveled it out with just the right amount of flavor.

 Kimchi and guacamole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Kimchi “Crackers” and Guacamole

 

After cocktail hour, we all gathered at the table, where Matt and Olivia introduced themselves and told us about the company. We then feasted on the first course. My vegetarian version was the Charred Spring Pea Toast. Again, didn’t disappoint. I definitely could’ve eaten more than one of those.

Charred Spring Pea Toast, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Spring Pea Toast

Next up was the pozole. Again, I had the meatless version. Mushrooms floated in this amazing broth, that had somewhat of a spicy kick. The cabbage and lime were added as extra flavor. Definitely one of those dishes that I could eat over and over.

Vegetable Pozole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Vegetable Pozole

The main entree for me was the Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, and Spring Vegetables. I really loved the flavor of the charred cauliflower, which I also mixed in with the kimchi potato salad, making for an effortless flavorful combination.

Charred cauliflower, kimchi potato salad, spring vegetables, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, Spring Vegetables

Our last course was dessert. We had the Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon. Goodness, what a great way to end an evening in the desert.

Pistachio pound cake, citrus, mint meringues, and citrus sabayon, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon

I want to personally thank (and e-hug) the following people that made that night possible and inspiring: Chefs Brent Kille and Donny Hawk from Okra and The Gladly respectively. The Cloth & Flame team: Olivia Laux and Matt Cooley- Co-Owners, Alana Tivnan- Events and Growth Manager,  Holly Ruggerio- Director of Operations, and Derek Christensen- Head Chef.

Be sure to also follow Cloth & Flame on Facebook and Instagram.

Modern Map Art

Modern Map Art, Phoenix map, home decor

Modern Map Art, Map of Phoenix, home decor, Phoenix map

Head over to Modern Map Art to get a clean and modern map of your favorite city or country. You can also use their handy customizer to create a custom map that best suits your needs. The company uses museum-quality, acid-free matte paper, which is fingerprint resistant. Everything is made and printed in Los Angeles. I chose a map of Phoenix in black and white, and chose a black frame for a minimalistic look .  These make great home decor gifts! Be sure to use my referral code when placing an order.

Angle New York: Luxury and Sustainable Activewear Have Met Their Match

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that staying active is highly important. Now that I’m in a place where maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle is the norm, it’s also time that I maintain a functional, yet chic workout wardrobe. I could go to the mainstream shops to pick up usual gear that everyone else is wearing…

…Or I could shop Angle New York – a luxury activewear brand that focuses on fit and functionality, equality, sustainably; and is proudly made and manufactured in the USA. The brand’s founder- Kathy Angele, goes on to explain, “Fit and function are at the core of our brand. We are equally committed to eco-sustainable fashion. Our fabrics are technically advanced; including moisture wicking properties, antimicrobial fibers and UPF protection. Recycled yarns and eco-enriched fibers raise the bar in athletic fashion.”

Their debut collection, ‘The Original 9,’  was inspired by a group of nine professional women tennis players, who were fighting for equal rights in the 1970s. These women were led by tennis champion and women’s rights activist- Billie Jean King. Every garment is named in honor of one of those nine inspiring athletes, and features retro-inspired silhouettes. The website even gives mini bios on these women, along with the product descriptions and such.

I had the opportunity to test out some of their signature pieces, which you see in the photos below. I was able to pick out a couple choices, so I thought….well, golfing and hiking are pretty popular here in Phoenix area, so let me focus on that! I must say that after spending some time wearing Angle New York, they definitely stay true to everything- fit, functionality, and breathability. The fabrics were flexible and light, making it easy to get a hole-in-one. I especially liked the Peaches Hooded Jacket, with the convenient pockets and the little “secret” zippered compartment in the back; and the Crissy Tri-Layer Angle Skort due to its sleek design, and also that I can not only wear it for working out, it’s also cute enough to run errands in right after.

** A Golf Outing at Encanto **

Angle New York , golf wear, golf, encanto golf course

Angle New York , golf wear, golf, encanto golf course

Angle New York , golf wear, golf, encanto golf course

Angle New York , golf wear, golf, encanto golf course

Angle New York , golf wear, golf, encanto golf course

I’m wearing: the Valerie Top, Chrissy Tri-Layer Angle Skort

 

** A Hiking Excursion **

 

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

Angle New York , sports wear, hiking, mountains

I’m wearing: Martina Tailored Short, Althea Gusset Tee, Peaches Hooded Jacket

** Images by Leslie and Kim of Lucida Studios **

Let me know in the comments, what your favorite Angle New York garment is, and what your favorite workout routine is.

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