This week I am excited to bring to you my darling friend Anita's feature on downtown Phoenix. I adore Anita and I'm so happy that she wanted to take some time out of schedule (she is a busy mama to the cutest little girl named Lola Birdie!) and snap some photos with her husband all over beautiful Phoenix. In recent years this area has really had a bit of a revival, and if you haven't been down there to check out all of the amazing shops, restaurants and gorgeous houses, definitely do so! I am loving this feature so much because I feel like I'm adding all of these must-gos, must-sees and must-dos to a running list in my head. Pretty awesome. Also- the day Anita went out to snap the photos with her hubby Sam some of the shops were closed. So check out the websites for interior photos of the shops, or better yet, take a trip there yourself! And thanks again Anita for this great feature. I love it. And be sure to check out her blog: http://anitameans.com/
Danielle, thank you so much for letting me gush about where I live- Downtown Phoenix, Arizona! Well, I call it downtown, but I think I technically live between Downtown and Uptown Phoenix in the Historic District of Willo. I have been a resident of this part of Phoenix for going on four years now and I love love love it. I truly don't see myself living in any other part of the valley. I moved to a suburb of Phoenix called Tempe (on the east side of Phoenix) in 1990 with my family. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Yes, I went from one extreme to the next. My dad was born and raised in Alaska as well and he was sick and tired of the cold, so he wanted to move to the hottest place he could find. I went to high school and a tiny bit of college in Tempe and moved to Peoria (another suburb, but on the west side) when I got married and hated every minute of it. My husband was in a popular touring band (The Format) and he was never home, so I begged him to move closer to my family and my job, so we agreed on Downtown. We love the central location. It's close to everything, especially the airport. Before my daughter Lola was born, Sam and I did quite a bit of traveling. I've been to Japan, England and to almost every major city in the country.
I love all of the old buildings downtown.
This is the Westward Ho, where the opening scene of Alfred Hithcock's Psycho was filmed.
Sam's parents actually own this building. It is next to a big beautiful park the city built and right next to the YMCA and the new Arizona State University, Walter Kronkite School of Journalism.
So here are my 5 favorite parts of Phoenix:
1) My neighborhood: Willo Historic District (http://willohistoricdistrict.com)
It's a cute little historic neighborhood thats one square mile that is filled with homes built in the 1920s-1930s. Its' a close knit neighborhood that has home tours and block watch meetings, pancake breakfasts with our firefighters and movies in the park. It has been featured in many national magazines and we have even had movies filmed here. We actually had a movie filmed in our old house, it was a horrible 1990s movie called "The Vagrant" starring Bill Paxton.
Our current house (which is the second house we have lived in here) was built in the 1930s and has all original wood floors, original windows and is a cozy 1100 square feet. It has a raw brick wall inside and lots of charm. The front and backyards are big (at least to our standards her in Phoenix) and as I look out of my kitchen window, I see big buildings and when I sit on my front porch, I can hear the "chime" of the light rail and hustle and bustle of the city. We occasionally see fireworks from the Arizona Diamondback stadium or hear Native American drumming coming from the Heard Museum.
2) My favorite place to shop: Frances (http://francesvintage.com)
This is the cutest store ever. I always said, if I could open up my own store, it would be EXACTLY like Frances. Frances is filled with handmade and unique jewerly, clothing, shoes, candles, stationary, accessories and more. I love to go there at least once a month and look at all of their new stuff! The people that work there are very nice and every once in awhile, I hear my husbands band come over the speakers in the store :) I have purchased many gifts from Frances. They pay attention to every detail. They have the cutest bags and they even gift wrap! If you are ever in the area check out Frances. And while you are there......check out the next place on my list because its 2 doors down...
3) My favorite place to buy candy and take photobooth pictures: Smeeks (http://www.francesvintage.com/smeeks/smeeks.html)
Owned by the same people as Frances, Smeeks is a cute little candy shop filled with lots of retro candy, toys, games and novelty items. Again, if I could open up my own candy store, it would be exactly like Smeeks. You grab a basket and fill it with the candy you want, or you can buy packs of gum, candy cigarettes, funny hats, fake moustaches, and other cute knick knacks. Oh, and they have a photobooth! My husband loves taking my daughter in there to take pictures for me on special occasions. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you should run, not walk, to Smeeks!
4) My favorite place to eat: America's Taco Shop (http://www.americastacoshop.net)
I love love love this place! We eat here at least once a week. They are known for their carne asada tacos and ceviche, but me, being 90% vegetarian (I occasionally eat a burger or bacon) get the bean and cheese burrito as well as the America's Corn. America's Corn is a roasted corn on the cob topped with mayo and white cheese. My husband and I split their guacamole and chips. We usually order it to go and bring it home to eat, but when it is cooler, we like to go there and sit outside on their patio and eat.
5) My favorite place for coffee: Copper Star Coffee (http://www.copperstarcoffee.com/)
I am a huge fan of coffee, and before I started going to this local place, I admit, I was an everyday Starbucks coffee drinker. But, after I tried Copper Star, I realized what real coffee tasted like and I haven't been to Starbucks since. Copper Star is in an old gas station just a couple miles away from my house on a curb called the "Melrose Curb." It is home to a few cute vintage shops and places to eat. They just won a 'Best of Phoenix" award for their black and white cupcake, which I keep trying to taste, but every time I go there, they don't have any! I always get the same thing, an Iced Latte. It is the best tasting latte. Its not too strong or bitter, it's just perfect. The people there are friendly and they have punchcards, so every 10th coffee is free! Yay. They have a drive-thru too, so it's super convenient for me. I don't have to unload my daughter and go in, I can just drive up through their full service area, which still has two vintage gas pumps.
Well, I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did making this. Thanks to my husband Sam for the neat photos.