Thursday, December 18, 2014


Group Free

Local Products

BEST NAIL POLISH
Scotch Naturals
Eco-chic localistas can glaze their nails with Scotch Naturals, a water-based line of nail lacquers (45 colors to choose from, plus base coat and top coat) and a soy-based polish remover that condition and detoxify nails instead of stripping them with harsh chemicals. Available online and in select Valley shops and salons. 
scotchnaturals.com

 

BEST FASHION LABEL
State Forty Eight
Wear your state pride on your sleeve with State Forty Eight’s line of Arizona-emblazoned T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, hats and more. The social-media-savvy designers encourage customers to share photos of themselves in SFE gear, so snap a selfie and you might get a shout-out. statefortyeight.com

 

BEST GREEN COMPANY
Sitgreen
Cardboard boxes are rescued from the trash heap and turned into minimalist furniture with a rough-hewn elegance thanks to Sitgreen, ASU alum Jon Irons’ sustainable brainchild. Irons and company fashion everything from seating to office décor to custom pieces, all from other companies’ discard piles. 2828 N. Central Ave., 623-282-2685, Phoenix, sitgreen.com

 

BEST SOAP
Strawberry Hedgehog
Vegan, eco-friendly and affordable soaps that also smell good enough to eat? Count us in. The lush scents and sumptuous moisture of Strawberry Hedgehog’s handmade soaps and body care products will have you counting the minutes until your next shower. Available at Whole Foods and at strawberryhedgehog.com.

 

BEST HANDMADE FURNITURE
Levi Christiansen
Photographer Levi Christiansen took his creativity to the third dimension with his line of handmade furniture, from a modern acrylic and leather sling chair to geometric wooden vases inspired by pomegranate seeds. levichristiansen.com

 

BEST COSMETICS STORE
Verde Maison
From the ashes of personal tragedy (owners Roxana and Sean Cooney’s parents’ cancer) rose Verde Maison, a cozy, spa-like emporium of premium, nontoxic (read: non-carcinogenic) cosmetics, skin care and hair products, some locally made and others imported. 15037 N. Scottsdale Rd. #189, 480-563-0449, Scottsdale, verdemaison.com

 

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR CAT SHAVED
Wag N’ Wash
You love your cat, but the damn thing leaves more hair on your sofa than a Persian volleyball team. And the one time you tried shaving him at home, he nearly severed your jugular. Next time, outsource your pussy-grooming needs to the kind folks at Wag N’ Wash, who use a variety of range-limiting contraptions to painlessly keep your feline friend in a prone posture while they go to town with the clippers. ‘Cause nothing beats a smooth, clean kitty. Two Valley locations. wagnwash.com

 

BEST GENDER-EQUITABLE SHOPPING
Fans and Fashionistas
For those with traditionally feminine tastes, this boutique offers sportswear, jewelry and other accessories for the cute and sassy Valley fan. On the masculine side, the joint has T-shirts, hats and other essentials for showing your diehard sports freakdom in a properly butch idiom. The theory, presumably, is that since opposites attract, there ought to be a place where both can browse in psychological comfort. 2470 Happy Valley Rd. Ste. 1191, Phoenix, 623-587-1400

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY A JUNKY USED BIKE
Try Me Bikes
You can buy shiny new two-wheeled toys at this venerable bike shop, but that’s not its claim to fame. Suppose, just hypothetically, you have a competitive 11-year-old who got a new bike for her birthday, and you want be able to ride with her without showing her up – or breaking the bank. Try-Me offers perfectly usable rusty old warhorses for under a hundred bucks, less still if you’re a capable haggler. 1514 W. Hatcher Rd., Phoenix, 602-943-1785, trymebicycles.com

 

BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION HAIR SALON
Salon PhD
Big nights call for big hair – or big style, at least. Whether you’re getting gussied up for your wedding, a work fête, a photo shoot, or just to feel glam, Salon PhD (for Professional Hair Designers)’s chic shop is where you want to be. The salon’s five stylists approach each client’s hair as a team, which means you have your own celeb-worthy glam squad to beautify your mane. 3514 N. 24th St., 602-955-1228, Phoenix, salonphdaz.com

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY CRAFT BEER
Gilbert Convenient Mart
Not every convenience store has a 4.77 out of 5 rating from Beer Advocate. Then again, not every one fills growlers with craft faves like Dragoon IPA, Papago Orange Blossom and Rogue Imperial Russian Stout. The knowledgable owners offer recommendations on brews, rare wines and esoteric liquors, plus regularly update facebook.com/gcm.liquor.3 when new craft cases arrive. 118 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, 480-926-4478

 

BEST USED BOOK STORE
Books
No cute play on words for this store’s name. As you pass, all the signage out front says, boldly and seductively, is “BOOKS.” Nor is this false advertising. The place is a biblio-hoarder’s dream house, crammed front-to-back with high shelves that are, in turn, crammed top-to-bottom with hardbacks and paperbacks, in editions old, new, collectible or so ratty that they’re fit only to be, you know, read. 9201 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-678-4576

 

BEST HEALTHY SHOPPING-SNACKING COMBO
Chakra 4 Herb Co. and Pomegranate Café
One-stop shopping isn’t easy when you’re looking for frankincense, myrrh and vegan brownies. Or it wasn’t before everyone’s favorite tea-and-herb merchant opened an outpost in the same Ahwatukee center as everyone’s favorite vegan-vegetarian-raw café. Now you can stock up on mental focus tea, aromatherapy oils, and culinary spices just an astragalus root’s throw away from a gluten-free California love wrap and organic kombucha beer. 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix, 480-759-0695, chakra4herbs.com; 480-706-7472, pomegranatecafe.com

 

BEST SHOE REPAIR
Tony’s Shoe Repair
Busted boot zipper? Dog-mauled stiletto heel? Sole-less tennis shoes? Tony’s takes care of it all. From teens sporting their grandfather’s holey combat boots to people who spend thousands of dollars on fancy French footwear like Louboutin, everybody trusts Tony to get their kicks fixed. The shoe gurus here are humble to the point of severely underselling themselves: They’ll look at you like your repair is hopeless – they may even say your scuffed leather is impossible to fix –  and tell you to come back in an hour or a day. But your repairs will likely be masterfully done in half that time, and rarely set you back more than $40. And that scuffed leather? What scuffed leather? These shoes look brand new. 3110 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-266-8081

 

BEST RECORD STORE
Revolver Records
Aside from the big Billie Holiday mural on its west side, the building that houses Revolver Records is modest and unassuming – it certainly doesn’t look like the temporary crash pad for more than 25,000 vinyl albums. But there they are, in wall-to-wall bins, packed together like hippies at a Grateful Dead show, encompassing every genre imaginable. If you’re an LP lover, you could seriously spend an entire day browsing from Abba to Zappa. Digital devotees, fret not – Revolver’s also loaded with CDs and DVDs, and the occasional rare (or local) cassette tape. About the only format not on tap is the old 8-track tape – which makes sense considering they were phased out of the U.S. market by 1982 –  but if you’re really just dying to hear Olivia Newton-John sing “Totally Hot” from the console of your 1979 Chevy van, they can probably track it down for you. 918 N. Second St., Phoenix, 602-795-4980, revolveraz.com

 

BEST FARMERS MARKET
Singh Farms
Wizened, full-bearded, dairy-hating Ken Singh is our urban farming hero, having transformed 20 acres of barren Pima desert into a sustainable Xanadu of peppers, gourds, greens and what-have-yous. Singh mainly deals wholesale to Valley restaurants and groceries, but every Saturday from 8 a.m to 1 p.m. he opens up the joint to regular, produce-loving proles like us, offering local products like MJ Bread and artisanal honey in addition to his on-site inventory. Just don’t ask for milk. He’s got some unfavorable theories about milk. 8900 E. Thomas Rd., Scottsdale, 480-225-7199, facebook.com/singhfarms

 

BEST RETRO BOUTIQUE
Green Gurl
From swinging sixties to pin-up punk, Green Gurl stocks hard-to-find alternative clothes and vintage threads perfect for a Mad Men soiree. On recent visits, we’ve peeped Hell Bunny’s flirty nautical dress and a zombie unicorn frock, as well as adorable Mary Janes from brands like Poetic License and T.U.K. There’s some sticker shock with higher-end brands, but scour the shop for a bargain and you could score a handmade cigar box purse or a Jackie O.-inspired green wool sheath for just a little green. 3122 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-956-0464, thegreengurl.com

 

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