This is a guest post by Kathy Cano-Murillo, Crafty Chica.
The cacti trend is still going strong, which means Creativation is on point by coming to Phoenix – a city that celebrates all things succulent!
See what I did there? Hyper-excitement will do that to you! I’m still in disbelief that Creativation is taking place in my beloved home town. My two worlds are colliding to create a giant burst of glittered happy-face confetti. I’m a third generation Phoenician, both sets of my grandparents raised their families here, as did my husband’s. My dad worked as a civil engineer for the city, proudly drafting the plans for streets and parks. Phoenix has afforded my husband and I to raise a family while making a living from our art, writing and music.
I’m loyal. Bring on the cacti!
People say the desert radiates a tinge of magic, and I believe that. Creativity thrives here. Which is why it’s perfect for those of us attending Creativation.
The Craft and Hobby Show, now known as Creativation, has always been a highlight of my annual business travels. The show helps me set intention and focus for my company for the year. Not only that, but connecting with such a fabulous group of people kickstarts my inspiration.
Just so you know, I’ve had a one-on-one pep talk with my city, I told it to come through, a lot is riding on it! And I’m happy to report, Phoenix, all sunny and flirty, offered a confident wink in return.
We got this, guys. I promise you’ll be wooed by the gorgeous January weather, the decadent concoctions from local eateries, the southwest charm, and the multi-culti artfulness. I’ve compiled a list of my personal city favorites for you to try out. These are the places where you’ll see me shopping, eating, shopping, dancing, meeting with friends, hanging out.
Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles: OMG. OMG. OMG. Homemade southern soul food that will make you bust a tear in delight. I always order the Betty Boop (a chicken breast and a waffle), with a side of cornbread. Aside from their name, you’ll also be privy to Red Velvet Cake, mac n cheese, fried catfish, Kool-Aid in every color, and my personal weakness – the banana pudding.
Welcome Diner (Garfield location): Planted smack dab in the center of a Central Phoenix neighborhood, sits this chunk of heaven. The team works their edible magic (gourmet biscuit sandwiches!) inside a refurbished 1940s nine-seat Valentine diner, while guests take a seat on the outdoor patio. What I love is it’s open until 2 a.m., perfect for that late night poutine or watermelon salad craving! Seriously, if you have a midnight craving, text me. We’ll Uber or Lyft our way there!
Short Leash Hot Dogs & Rollover Donuts (Roosevelt Location): OK, people. Think mixed media, only with hot dogs. The ingredients sound crazy, but they will make your taste buds break dance. My go-to is the BEAR: the all natural gluten/nitrate free dog comes loaded with peanut butter, smoked gouda, bacon, BBQ sauce and Cracker Jacks. CRACKER JACKS. I told you! And for a side, the fried pickles or cheese curds will lift your brows. You’re welcome.
Luci’s at The Orchard: This is an indoor-outdoor park-inspired eatery where they serve fresh baked goods, ginormous artful salads, sinful desserts, coffee, wine, ice cream, and sell whimsical finished goods. This is a great place to bring your laptop to work, have a meeting in a cool setting, sketch ideas or just daydream.
Rosita’s Place: Classic, authentic, Mexican food. This family-owned eatery is a longtime valley favorite and once you taste the rice and beans you’ll know why.
La Santisima Taco Shop: If you love Day of the Dead, Latino art, and artful Mexican food, this place will be a treat for the senses!
All in the same area: Postino for bruschetta and wine;, Joyride for crazy tacos; Windsor for steaks, fish and/or burgers, loaded chips; and Churn for everything ice cream.
My go-to downtown coffeehouses: Fair Trade Cafe, Lola Coffee, Lux Coffee.
Changing Hands Bookstore (Camelback location): This indie bookstore has two locations and is one of the gems of the city. It’s hosted events from A-list celebrity book signings to writing workshops, “drink and drawing” classes and my personal favorite, The Arizona Craft Rave (which I founded!). There is a beer and coffee bar with baked goods, kitschy gifts, and of course books for the creative mind. If you are free on the 19th, I suggest the storytelling workshop!
Frances Vintage: You’ll need a friend to go with you to this cheery shop – to stop you from buying all the local handmade goods that are as clever as they are cool. I’m talking lots of emerging trends, you’ll gasp at least half a dozen times. And here’s a bit of trivia: The daughter of the owner is a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. If you are a fan of Aidy Bryant, you can pop in this store and tell her mom, Georgeanne, to say hi for you!
Purple Lizard Boutique: If you love Frida, Day of the Dead, loteria, and the like, check into this lively spot that is teeming with silver jewelry, shrines, wall art, books, clothing and more.
MADE Art Boutique: Closer to downtown, this former house-turned-shop features all functional locally made goods. Very edgy, trendy and oh-so-Phoenix!
SAS Fabrics for obscure and bulk textiles and craft embellishments. Arizona Art Supply for all types of mediums and supplies.
Phoenix Open Air Market: Located in the parking lot of the Phoenix Public Market (an eatery and shop), this popular community gathering runs every SAturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. You’ll find locally made food products, art vendors, food trucks and music performances.
Practical Art: This gallery/boutique is unique in that in order have your merchandise to be sold there, it has to be 100% handmade. From scratch. If you see a beautifully painted wood box, it’s likely the artist built it as well.
Phoenix Art Museum, Eye on Fashion: The Phoenix Art Museum is a main staple in our city and community. It’s huge compound with plenty to see and do. This fashion exhibit just opened last month and is sure to inspire.
Heritage Square: If you feel like hanging out or holding a meeting at someplace close that is lush and atmospheric, come here. The star of this corner is the Rosson House, built in 1895 and is haunted! You can take a tour to see the original furnishings, shop in the boutique, or sit and enjoy coffee or lunch at one of the four restaurants.
Arizona Latino Arts & Culture Center: Pinturas Vivas: Walking distance from the Convention Center, this Latino-themed gallery and shop has a pretty wild event taking place – a body art competition inspired by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. You’ll witness Phoenix artists showcase a variety form of temporary body art including; body paint with brush and sponge, airbrush, costuming elements and more. This is a real time, live competition event! Watch as they transform models into Frida and Diego masterpieces!
Grand Avenue or Roosevelt Row: If you are into the local art scene, clock in a stroll down one of these areas!
Crescent Ballroom: There’s always a concert going on here, or for a quieter pace, go on Sunday for brunch on the balcony to hear DJ Shane Kennedy spins some tunes.
The Rose Room at Valley Bar: Named after Rose Mofford, Arizona first female governor, this is the perfect spot if you want a neighborhood speakeasy/bar with sass. You’ll find more than 50 cocktails (all named after AZ politicians!), the usual bar munchies, a game room and if you are in the mood for a concert, you can step into the music hall next door.