Tag - Phoenix AZ

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FOUND:RE – Phoenix’s Newest Boutique Destination
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Feeling Zen with Ahimsa Essentials Natural Skincare

FOUND:RE – Phoenix’s Newest Boutique Destination

FOUND:RE Hotel in Phoenix, AZ

What do excellent service, amazing farm-to-table-to-farm food, cozy rooms, and a painting of a Burt Reynolds/Britney Spears hybrid have in common?

Downtown Phoenix’s newest boutique hotel- FOUND:RE is a combination of the aforementioned. While the present hotel (located near the artsy Roosevelt Row) is new, the building itself is from the 1970s, and served as a hotel (Lexington and a Best Western) and restaurant. The hotel’s designers knew the space needed an overhaul, but loved the structure’s old bones; so they sought to expose them. The name “FOUND:RE” was chosen based on the concept of ‘foundry,’ which ties to the industrial, urban aesthetic of the hotel, but with the focus on arts and discovery. “We wanted to play more with the “FOUND” portion of the name – separating it with industrial rivets “:” and spelling the end like the abbreviation for “regarding”… It opened so many possibilities for us to communicate our message in a playful way:  RE vive, RE vitalize, RE fresh, etc.  You’ll find this wordplay at work in signs all around the hotel,” Parley Stock- Director of Sales and Marketing, explained.

Having said that, the city’s latest destination also pays homage to Roosevelt Row and its funky, urban, and artistic culture. The hotel’s lobby features numerous photos, sculptures, paintings, and mixed media pieces by local artists, such as: Randy Slack, Cheryle Marina, Shauna Thiboult, Diego Perez, Ronna Nemitz, Travis Ivey, and Linda Ingraham. What really captured my eye, in a comical, yet borderline genius way, was the massive painting of a nude Burt Reynolds with a blonde Britney Spears- esque wig that was hanging over the reception desk. That piece is called- “That was Then, This Is Now,” but is mainly referred to as: “Burtney,” which is Slack’s vision of Burt Reynolds’ 1972 spread in Cosmopolitan magazine. I also thought that Linda Ingraham’s “Reveries”- five large scale portraits with matching throw pillows, really draws attention to the lounge area. You’ll find whimsical art all over the hotel, from the reception area, to the event rooms; the fitness room, and the pool area. Most of the artwork is also for sale.

I stayed at the hotel over the course of two days in one of their 8th floor suites. The reception staff was really attentive, friendly, and delivered a breezy check-in. The suites even have their own separate elevator. The overall hotel room hallways have grey walls, with the room doors a lush navy blue. Each room number plaque was handmade by local artist- Cheryle Marina. The suites are large with rolling barn-style doors that close off the living room with the bedroom. The decor, I would say, has an urban industrial inspiration with furnishings and artwork that were done by local artists. The bar has a mini fridge, a Keurig with a small variety of coffee and tea, and a cocktail mixer kit. There is a restroom off to the side, with the large shower area (I do literally mean ‘shower area’ because of how big the space is) at the back of the bedroom. There are two shower heads in the space, which is also equipped with C.O. Bigelow bath amenities. The shower itself is enclosed in glass, but with no door (it’s still easy to keep water in the designated area, just try not to splash around). On one side, the glass was frosted, with the saying “Not so sexy,” while on the other side, the glass is clear, with the saying “Sexy.” I guess it just depends on your mood. Other bathroom amenities that made my stay comfortable was a bathrobe and slippers. There is a small area to hang clothing, but the rooms (all 105 of them, in fact) are equipped with industrial-style luggage carts. The custom carts were locally designed by Bang Bang Designs. A good night’s sleep was easily had, due to the cozy bed. There were plenty of outlets for keeping my devices charged. The rooms also come equipped with tablets, where guests could order room service (coming soon at the time of this post), order spa treatments, and request housekeeping and guest services. I LOVED the large balcony. Mine overlooked downtown Phoenix and the mountains. I was even able to catch glimpses of the sunrise and sunset on both days. There is a nightly turndown service, where they leave Salted Serenity caramels and a postcard.

I was able to dine at the hotel’s signature restaurant- Match Cocktails and Cuisine. Match got its’ name from the concept of a foundry being a place where metals are forged in- fire. It is also a nod to their numerous menu items that come from the wood-fired Forno Bravo oven and wood-fired grill. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner; with all ingredients coming from local farmers. They use the “farm-to-table-to-farm” program, where they receive the produce from local farmers, then return the waste to Recycled City for composting. That compost then helps new local crops to grow. The constantly-changing menu is spearheaded by Executive Chef Akos Szabo, and focuses on globally-inspired sharable plates. I experienced their Christmas Day menu, where I had the following:

Chestnut Soup with Noble Bread, Match Cocktails and Cuisine, Phoenix dining

Starter Course- Creamy Chestnut Soup + Noble Bread

Eggplant Lasagna, Noble Bread, main course, Match Cocktails and Cuisine, Phoenix dining

Au gratin potatoes, Match Cocktails and Cuisine, Phoenix dining

            Entree- Eggplant Lasagna + Noble Bread + Au Gratin Potatoes

White chocolate peppermint cheesecake, dessert, Match Cocktails and Cuisine

Dessert- White Chocolate and Peppermint Cheesecake + Decaf Vanilla Latte

The lovely Lauren was my server that evening. She was incredibly hospitable and knowledgeable on the food.

The meal started off with the choice of a starter dish. I chose the Creamy Chestnut Soup with bread from Noble Bakery. It was almost like a creamy mushroom soup…only BETTER! The ingredients for this yummy dish (that I wish I currently had in my refrigerator) include: roasted vegetable stock, roasted chestnuts, housemade crème fraîche, thyme, bay leaf, Blis Bourbon maple syrup, Mirepoix (according to Wikipedia- a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery), and Minnesota wild rice. This is probably a seasonal soup, but I’d eat it anytime. It was just such a different flavor, and not to mention, comforting. The slices of Noble bread paired nicely alone, and for dipping into the soup. I chose the Eggplant Lasagna with Au Gratin Potatoes, and Noble bread as my main entree. Along with the griddled Japanese eggplant, other culinary ingredients included: over-dried heirloom tomatoes, wood roasted artichokes, mascarpone, ricotta, goat cheese, Bianco tomatoes, provolone, mozzarella, garden basil, and Pistou. The au gratin potatoes had Welsh cheddar mornay, russet potatoes, caramelized onions, Noble bread crumbs, and chives. The entree was filling, yet so good and fresh! I chose the White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake for my dessert. It was HEAVEN… so much that I’m still dreaming about it… Aside from the obvious ingredients, it also had coffee crema and dark chocolate bark. I felt that it had the right amount of richness and incredible flavor.

Thank you FOUND:RE for being my home away from home during the Christmas holiday. I want to also personally thank: Carolyn, Francis, Dave, Gabriel, Lindsay, Max, Tracy, Parley, and Je-Hyen.

The next time you are visiting Phoenix and are looking for a great place to stay, ‘FIND YOURSELF’ at FOUND:RE.

** I was given a complimentary stay and food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Feeling Zen with Ahimsa Essentials Natural Skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

I was first introduced to Ahimsa Essentials when I was perusing the Certified Local AZ Festival. Ahmisa is Sanskrit for causing no harm or injury. I met the owner- Queenie, who told me about her line of safe and natural skincare. She had body butters, natural deodorants, and therapeutic balms in a variety of scents on hand to try. I smelled several scents; each smelling amazing, of course.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The small company launched in January 2015, and made its’ debut at Phoenix Public Market. These natural and uber-Earth-friendly are created in Phoenix, AZ by the husband and wife team- Sean and Queenie Scherer. They create these products out of their home, using only plant-based and sustainable ingredients. Sean goes on to explain, “We are a team of a Naturopathic Doctor and an Environmental Engineer, so it is in our “nature” to strive towards making the planet a more sustainable, healthy and natural place!  When we started looking at how to make our mark we found that the bath and body care industry is loaded with synthetic ingredients, unnecessary fillers, unethical practices and animal testing.  We decided to create our own brand and named it ahimsa Essentials for two reasons; 1. ahimsa means to do no harm in thoughts or action 2. We only use the essential ingredients that make products effective, no fillers, no synthetics and absolutely no animal based ingredients.  We have created a line of products that are completely plant-based and sustainable while also being incredibly effective! ”

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

They currently offer five lines (all information is c/o Sean):

1.)  Moisturizers. They only use organic Shea butter and essential oils,  which are ultra-rich and natural moisturizers that are very pure and effective with only a small amount needed.

2.) Balms. Only organic Shea nut oil and essential oils are the only ingredients. These have both therapeutic benefits and nice natural scents. They are useful both as a parfume and for a variety of other therapeutic benefits (examples; Bliss – immune boosting, Rescue – tension reducing, Zen – anxiety reducing).

3.) Sugar Scrubs.  Organic EVOO, Fair-trade organic sugar and essential oils are the only ingredients. These work as exfoliators, which leave a lovely moisturizing effect behind.

4.) Deodorants. Organic Shea butter, organic coconut oil, Arrowroot powder, baking soda and essential oils are the only ingredients. Effective all-natural deodorants with our signature scent blends and a mix of essential oils, which are anti-bacterial to prevent the growth of bacteria, which lead to odor.

5.) Soaps. We have two different soap products; one is a liquid Castile soap, which is an organic olive oil based soap that can be used for nearly every purpose one can think of!  The other is an Hawaiian Loofah soap, which is a natural coconut oil and macadamia nut oil bar soap molded around a vine grown loofah.

After reviewing these products for a week (so far), I’m never going back to store-bought skincare care again…

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The Zen Organic Whipped Body Butter is kind of amazing, especially since it’s getting colder and drier here in the desert. I mainly use it after getting out of the shower. It is infused with lavender, peppermint, and bergamot essential oils, which are PERFECT to help aid relaxation before bedtime, or just after a stressful day. They recommend using about a dime-size portion to use on your hands. I personally use a smidge more, because sometimes I feel like I need it. It comes off as somewhat oily, but once you rub it all in, the oil feel eventually goes away. I find that I can go all day without adding more to my skin, thus the product lasts longer.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The Rescue Tension Balm is an essential oil roll-on that helps to relieve tension, mental fatigue, body aches, etc. I’ve used it a few times, for minor headaches, and just to help ease my mental state after a stressful day at work or whatnot. I really love the minty fragrance that it gives off. I’ve found that it doesn’t necessarily relieve 100% of the aches, but it helps to a degree. I do find that it really helps my mind relax.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Lastly, I chucked my store bought deodorant in lieu of the Zen Natural Deodorant. I was kind of skeptical at first, as I wasn’t sure if it would work or not. After a solid week of being on it (hiking, working, etc), it seems to do the job. They recommend a pea-size portion, but I need a little more, as every body functions differently. When I first used it, I rubbed it in all the way, and it didn’t work as well. So now I’m leaving it on, and it works! Again, please note, this is just from my observations, not everyone may experience the same results.

I’m definitely glad I made the switch to Earth and human friendly skincare products. I feel that if I make the mistake of it getting into my mouth, lips, eyes…wherever… I won’t freak out, because there aren’t any harmful chemicals.

You can find Ahimsa Essentials ONLINE, @ahimsaessentials #ahimsaessentials on social media, OR in person at the following markets and retail locations: Uptown Farmer’s Market Wednesday and Saturday, Phoenix Downtown Public Market Saturday and Tempe 6th Street Market Sunday. Retail Locations- The Henna Shoppe (4 locations around Phoenix area), Ahimsa Medical Center in Mesa, Green Goddess House of Herbs in Melrose District and Lotus Day Spa and Salon in Yuma.

They welcome ideas, comments, or desires for particular products!

*I received product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

 

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