The Best of Arizona



Sara led the SMB team over the last year as the editor-in-chief. She is relocating to Colorado and we wish her much success in all her endeavors. Good luck, Sara!

Here is a list of what made her life easier living in AZ: 


It’s been eight wonderful years that we’ve spent living in Arizona, and before we pack up and move to Denver, I wanted to leave you with my “Best Of Arizona” list of people and services I couldn’t have lived without!


pagonaMassage: Pagona Xenos at Scottsdale Integrated Therapies has the most magical healing hands I have ever been massaged by. She kept my body in check through my pregnancies, works my 6’2″ athletic husband using myofascial release and deep tissue massage, and simply knows how to treat human beings and their bodies for optimal functioning. Did I mention that she’s a fascinating, world-traveling, magnetic soul? You want to experience a massage by Pagona and associates.

Stray SalonHair Stylist: Selena Orsak at Stray Salon saved me from a mullet over six years ago and I have never strayed (see what I did there?!) from her services since. She gets to know your hair and understands how to work with its texture and your personality to create a natural style. For four years, she never pushed me to shake up my long layered look, but as soon as I decided it was time to chop it off, she delivered a super cute bob and found just the right highlights to spunk myself up a notch. Love her and I love the salon – which now offers aesthetic services, too.

Nail Salon: Tammy and the employees at Creative Nails are customer-friendly, easy to communicate with, and offer top notch service. Plus, it’s a little out of the way so you can usually sneak in for an appointment within a few hours and develop a great relationship with the team there.

Chiropractor: Me? Originally highly skeptical about spinal care. Husband? Arrived in Arizonatlcscottsdale_logo15e seeking a new chiropractor. Sonya Bladow & Chris Bonin at Total Lifestyle Chiropractic taught me enough – through straight education and also experience (um, hello, no more heartburn) – to welcome their regular adjustments into our life. They have even adjusted our children since they were born, ever since we learned that traumatic childbirth can affect young ones – and since we learned that allergies can be dramatically alleviated through regular chiropractic care. Plus, the office also offers nutritional counseling, massage therapy, corrective exercises and lifestyle advice for a well rounded approach to your health.


joecostelloLive Music / Drummer: If you ever find yourself looking for live entertainment in town, contact Joe Costello. His crazy drumming skills can handle jazz, pop, funk – and even better, he and his Onstage Entertainment Group pull together bands for a variety of gigs ranging from those at the fancy resort lounges to private parties. Did I mention he also gives drum lessons to students of all ages?

Spa: azspagirlsAre you looking for information on the best deals to pamper yourself with? Look no further than AZ Spa Girls, the insider’s guide to spas, salons & beauty in the Valley! The site also offers DIY beauty recipes, expert advice, and tips for making the most of your spa experience. For a novice like myself, it was an invaluable resource, especially when my out-of-town friends wanted to join me for a special staycation weekend.

shineSelf-Improvement Classes: I really can’t say enough good things when it comes to the courses that Jaime Myers puts on. I attended her Shine retreat in Sedona in 2014 and it changed the way I live my life; I’ve dialed into a variety of her interactive tele-classes (I hear AMAZING things about her latest Truth series and can’t wait to listen when it comes around again) and, despite assuming as a life coach I already “knew” this stuff, I really didn’t. Her sincere, unassuming, curious approach belies her impressive 12-year experience as a highly sought after PAX instructor around the country. She’s going places with her new company, and if you’re even a little curious, check it out.

Restaurants: I tend to appreciate healthy-ish, delicious food. My short list of restaurant / take-out recommendations include: Yasu Sushi Bistro (the most authentic, delicious Japanese food in the area – coming from someone who lived in Asia for 5 years!), Indian Paradise, Saigon Nites, the Salt Cellar, True Foods, and Virtu.


Cabinet Painter & Stainer: Kristen Ongstad absolutely transformed our cabinets by re-painting them, taking a rather bland kids’ bathroom cabinet to a well-finished, quality room, for an incredibly reasonable price. She introduced us to the magical Glenn of The Furniture Service, who entered the house with an arsenal of canisters to match the stain we had on our kitchen cabinets and who, with nothing to go on but his own eye and experience, perfectly matched the stain that had worn off by the sink and garbage areas and made the cabinets look like new. Also, did I mention his reasonable pricing? Highly recommend.

shutter_doctor_briter_logo_jzp4_x480Shutter Repair: Do you have those plantation shutters with staples that break, leaving one lone wooden shutter to hang uselessly while the others open and close with ease? We ended up with at least 10 of these broken staples over the years and didn’t know what to do – our contractor and handyman had no idea what to do. Enter the Shutter Doctor. Referred by a local blind company, this guy rocked it with his specialized tools and years of experience – completely fixed them all. Don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago!

fengshuiFeng Shui Consultant: If you are even remotely a believer that you can “feel” when a house is right for you, then you understand the concept of spatial energy. Enter Rosanne Rusnock, a graceful teacher and practitioner of Feng Shui, the study of how to arrange environments to enhance one’s life. Her business, Elements & Energy, has been booming and I can understand why – we asked Ro to review our current home before we put it on the market, and that went so well that we even asked her to advise us on the home we will be moving into in Denver. Feels right to us!



brenlieKids Music Classes: Brenlie Nagy rocks the children’s music class scene. With a beautiful voice, engaging personality, and years of highly successful Kindermusik curriculum behind her, Brenlie offers The Class that you want your young babies and toddlers to experience and grow with.



Summer Camp/ Preschool: I LOVE Camelback Desert School. We were introduced to it at first as a summer camp, where our reserved little girl felt safe enough to morph into a playful, confident little lady. With access to two swimming pools to burn off energy, sincerely engaged, playful teachers who have the ability to offer individual attention, and a gorgeous, contained, cozy campus, we decided to send her to preschool there as well – and this remains the most significant thing we will miss when we move.


Thank you, readers, for all of your support. If you want to keep in touch, find me on Instagram or Twitter!


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