Local Shop Spotlight: Rubymint General

rubymint general

This weekend I made a stop at Rubymint General, a local shop that I’ve been dying to check out.  I’m so glad I did! Located at 1441 E McDowell Rd #2, in Phoenix, the shop is located next to Smooth Brew Coffee in a cute little house turned business. I met one of the owners Kat, and she is a lovely human being. I was impressed by her locally sourced Continue Reading

Meet Amy, Fiber Artist Extraordinaire & Local Creative behind Moss Points North

Macrame….

little strings of heaven strategically knotted and twisted to form aesthetically pleasing hanging decor for your walls, or to serve as functioning household items like plant hangers and curtains. It adds texture to any space and makes a great house warming present or maybe a hey, I-was-just-thinking-about you-just-because-gift. Perhaps the gift really lies in the art of learning how to macrame.

A close up of some macrame.

Like I do with many local businesses, I found Moss Points North (MPN) on Instagram.  We had just purchased our new home and it was a blank slate to do whatever I wanted with, Tom declared I officially had carte blanche on the house.

I was at the height of my new found interior decorating awakening, toeing the line of jungalow-style-boho meets mid century meets eclectic glam- er something like that, and macrame fits really well with all of those things. I enjoy seeing that Phoenix has some great local makers in the re-emerging fiber arts industry.

A student practicing square knots.

After a few weeks of drooling over MPN’s macrame pieces I spotted her booth at Phoenix Flea, a modern market curated with local vendors at Heritage Square downtown and I popped in to say hi. Amy was so sweet and a breeze to talk to. We learned she had recently moved from Philadelphia, which clearly sparked up a convo about our favorite show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

My spirit animals.

I signed up for her email list so I could stay up to date with macrame happenings, and she reached out shortly after to let me know of upcoming classes.  A few weeks after I signed up for her wall hanging class, I saw her again at The Teapot’s Spring Market.  She showed me the wall hanging we would be making in class and I was pumped. Macrame wizard, show me your ways!

Her class was so fun and surprisingly, I left with a decent looking wall hanging that I later gifted to a friend for her engagement.  That particular class was at The Farm at South Mountain and was a beautiful backdrop to a bunch of furiously knotting ladies under the twinkling lit gazebo. I also longingly recall how it was a little chilly that night, the complete opposite of our current weather situation.

I appreciate the gift of macrame that Amy is sharing with us.  Sure, just buying a macrame piece can spark joy, but imagine the joy you feel when you walk out of a class with a tangible creation that you thought maybe would be difficult for you.  Maybe you’re a natural at everything and my previous statement made you chuckle…. that’s great too.  But it’s about the time spent making it, and the connections you make with your friends or loved ones, or maybe you’ll make some new friends from class.

Amy showing a student how to properly hang the rope before starting their piece.

I had the opportunity to hop into one of her classes recently and snap some photos which was a fun experience for me.  Held at Handcrafted at Heritage Square, I took a moment to appreciate the full circle nature of first meeting Amy there and then months later watching her through the lens of my camera effortlessly lead her students through crafting their own masterpieces.

A side note about Handcrafted…. take a peak at their website to learn more. You can go there to immerse yourself in the experience of pre-electronic technologies like a Kelsey letterpress, pedal scroll saw, wood working, and even weaving.  They offer various workshops too!  Their next event is July 20th, Adult Summer Camp: Flashlights & Squirt Guns, or Star Gazing & S’mores the following week.

You can check Amy’s site any time for class availability or you can request one-on-one and group classes. I took some time to chat with Amy about her creative brand and business, and enjoyed learning more about her.

Interview with Amy Guerrero of Moss Points North

Hi, Amy…. thank you for taking the team to speak with me today.  I’ve been following your company now for a few months on social media, and I am thrilled to be collaborating with you on this post! First things first….

What’s your sign, girl?

Taurus 🙂

Where abouts are you from?

Upstate New York!

When did you move to Phoenix?

It’ll be 6 years this August.

Ah, I see you moved here during one of our finer months. 🙂 What brought you to the Valley of the Sun?

Friends with a free guest room and the ambition to try something new.

Do you have any personal mantras or words of wisdom you can share with our readers?

I’ve never really thought about that– off the top of my head, I’m a firm believer that the right thing will work out (say a new job or buying a house) you just have to keep yourself open to opportunities that come your way.

Can you tell us a little more about Moss Points North?

My business, Moss Points North, is where I share my love of fiber art. I create home decor and accessory items that I sell online and at local pop up markets. I also offer macrame classes throughout the Phoenix valley to share my knowledge and spread the joy of fiber art to others.

How did you get your start in the fiber arts? (woah, that rhymes)

Fiber arts have been an interest since an early age. It probably started with friendship bracelets and hemp necklaces, but I quickly moved onto cross stitch, knitting, crocheting etc. I’ve had an online shop since 2009 but it was 2016 when I started focusing on fibers and growing what the business looks like today.

Moss Points North is an interesting name, how did that come to life?

Moss Points North is a name that speaks to my east coast roots and my love for mystery novels. I’m pretty sure I learned this survival tip from my obsession with Nancy Drew growing up.

Where have you been shopping locally lately?

Lately I’ve been shopping for plants! Hitting up The Bosque on Roosevelt and their sister store, The Pueblo, over on Garfield has been the perfect place to find new plant friends.

I really enjoy when you do local business love shout outs on your insta-stories.  Can you highlight a few of your faves?

I love the bath and body products Strawberry Hedgehog creates, their shop smells the best! Bunky Boutique carries the best gifting items and curates a selection of unique local goods. I’ve walked away with many an adorable pin or tea towel when I browse through their goodies. There is also a wonderful new ice cream shop off Grand Ave called Novel Ice Cream that I’ve been telling everyone about, I recommend you check it out!

Are there any small business owners or creatives that inspire your work?

I am inspired by DIY business owners that have started small and built their career into what they want it to look like. I think we live in exciting times where we have the chance to make our ‘work’ work for us and really shape the way we want our lives and our time to look like.

I am so inspired by your go-getter attitude and how you make fiber arts accessible for average joe’s like me.  Reflecting back on your business’ growth, what would you tell someone considering starting their own business or side hustle?

Work hard and work smart. It is easy to compare or even try things that have worked for other people and often you need to make sure you’re focusing on what will be best for YOUR business. If something seems hard or confusing have the confidence that thousands of other people have accomplished what you’re trying to do (whether its figure out sales tax or start selling things wholesale). There are a lot of resources online and willing business owners to share their experiences if you reach out and ask.

That’s great…thank you! Are there any happenings going on with your business that you want to share?

I’m teaching my first macrame class in LA on July 15th and several classes around the valley throughout the summer. You can always check my website for upcoming class and event information! (https://www.mosspointsnorth.store/)

Thank you Amy!

Again, I really appreciated Amy taking the time to chat with me and let me into her class.  See some more of the pics I snapped below.


Happy Friday everyone!  Thanks for stopping by.

Sending sunshine,

Audria

Living Soulfully with Marian Mellen of The Zen Bird

Life is full of paradoxes.

Such as: the only constant in life is change, the more afraid you are to fail, the more likely you are to fail, or the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. Or perhaps you’ve experienced the paradox of having so many choices to choose from, the less happy you are with your decision.

How the heck are we supposed to navigate these ironic ideologies? Many of us suffer through them and some of us handle them with grace like it ain’t no thang.  If you’re not part of the latter, how do we move to that space where we are gentle with others and most importantly, ourselves?

A floral arrangement at a heart + soul curriculum workshop.

The old adage such as “it’s all about the journey, not the destination,” is one of my favorites, and something I truly try to remind myself on a daily basis.

But, doesn’t it seem like we’re always looking ahead, planning our next move, while simultaneously trying to live in the now? This tends to happen on a larger scale mostly (where will I be in 5 years?), but what about on a smaller scale?  If your life is dictated by a calendar on a daily basis then you know this first hand.

Marian Mellen personal coaching offers the heart + soul curriculum.
The Heart + Soul Curriculum helps people navigate the paradoxes of life, and settle into their authentic selves.

For me, life’s paradoxes and ironic guidelines can make a girl crazy.  I struggle with the opposing concepts of things like having structure and just going with the flow.  I like to be organized and plan ahead, but I also really value spontaneity.

Studying yoga through Sutra Studio’s yoga teacher program, helped me settle into my being a little more, and helped me to wrap my head around some of these ideas, because lessons we learn on the mat can be applied off the mat within our daily lives.

yoga teacher training
Sutra’s Yoga Teacher Program was an amazing growth opportunity for me and my peers.

I can confidently say I know I’m not alone in this soul searching.  I’m not the only one looking to strike that balance. We’re all out there trying to figure ourselves out and to be accepting of the world around us.  We’re all trying to be the change makers and the good-doers, and the leaders by example. We’re all reaching for that feel good, soulful and purposeful life.  What is our gift, and how do we share it for the good of the world?

Although I am not a yoga teacher, Sutra Studios has been instrumental in my personal growth over the past few years. Had it not been for me attending one of Sutra’s free community yoga classes, I most likely wouldn’t be able to genuinely share my love for the person who is the center of today’s feature.

A few weeks before my 28th birthday, the stars aligned and I met Marian, the mastermind and creator of The Zen Bird brand. These super cute groovy headbands can be found at a hand full of local boutiques and yoga studios across the valley, or online on her etsy shop.  If you own one of these chic and stylish headbands, you’d know that quality is one of it’s best features. Simply put, it’s the best headband I’ve ever owned and no other headband will EVER do.

Last summer Marian had posted on Instagram that she needed some gals to join her marketing team, so I reached out intrigued by the opportunity. With her warm smile and gentle spirit, she welcomed me into her home to have a chat over some coffee.  I went in to find out more about a job opportunity and left with so much more than that.

How could you not want to work for this lady? Just adore her!

I remember telling Marian that day, that I didn’t really have a good reason for being there, but I felt like it was just where I was supposed to be. My intuition was telling me to follow this gut feeling I was having….things would make sense soon enough.  Let me just say, I wouldn’t recommend using that line on any potential future employers in most instances, but because Marian is who she is, she was accepting of that answer. I promise though, I had a good reason!

On the drive over to a community Sutra yoga class, I started thinking about headbands for no good reason.  After I rolled up mat I noticed two women having a chat by the pool. The dusky sky was beautifully lit and all the fun lights were coming on at The Palomar rooftop, so I asked if they wanted a picture taken.

Naturally, I was wearing a Zen Bird headband during class, and one of the women complimented my headband, which was a Mother’s Day gift from the hubs a few weeks earlier.  I started telling her how great her own product was, and she just smiled at me. She introduced herself, “I know, because I made that headband.  I’m the Zen Bird.”

I thought to myself “of course you are.”

I would go on to work for The Zen Bird for only a few short months, but man! Those were an impactful few months.  This is where I became more engaged in the creative Phoenix community, this is where I would make connections with local vendors and creatives, and ultimately where a passion was ignited. This is where Marian and I established that one of a kind, authentic connection.

Marian is still slingin’ super cute groovy headbands, but her life’s work is evolving and transforming through personal coaching and helping others to live the one life they’re given in an authentic and soulful way.  She has crafted The Heart and Soul Curriculum, and uses this as material for her monthly workshops. She has even brought forth this curriculum in meetings with various charter school boards, proposing that it should be incorporated into student’s education.  How cool is that?

One thing I love about Marian, is that she is a real life human being. Although she promotes a well lived life, she’ll be the first to tell you that things don’t always go as planned.  It’s all in how we handle those moments of vulnerability or anxiety.  It’s about being gentle with yourself and allowing yourself to make those mistakes and to learn from them.  It’s about just going for it, answering your calling in life.

heart + soul curriculum workshop at The Teapot in Phoenix AZ with Marian Mellen.
Marian speaks to a group of women at one of her workshops.

If you take one of her workshops you can expect a powerful and informative experience.  You can expect to connect with a small group in an intimate (and usually chic) setting.  You can expect local goodies and a light snack.  Need I say more?

Gifting services provided by Meg Staren of Darlin Darlin.
Desoto central market room provides an intimate and cozy setting for a workshop.
An intimate setting for a workshop at DeSoto Central Market.

I had the opportunity to chat with Marian for this feature and I was thrilled to hear about how much growth has occurred for her since we met.  It’s all good stuff….see for yourself in her interview below.

An Interview with Marian of the Zen Bird

Hey girl, whats your sign?

Aries sun, Taurus rising, Leo moon 🙂

Where are you from?

Westby, WI- population 2,000 humans.

How long have you called Phoenix home?  What brought you here?

I have been in Phoenix 4 years and moved here on a whim thinking I would be in ‘transition’ and move back to the mid-west. I came here to teach Spanish and soak up the sun. Little did I know I would fall madly in love with Central Phoenix and decide to buy a home here. I love the energy and the people.

Do you have a personal mantra you can share?

I release the need to move onto the ‘next step’ and will feel completely the very present moment in which I am currently experience. AKA- slow down, sister– you gotta feel the NOW.

What is your craft?

I am a life coach and empowerment workshop leader for women who are coming into their authentic selves. I allow space for healing and work with women to dig into their core essence of who they are. We work on shedding the image to let the world SEE who they truly are at the heart level.

What kind of topics do you cover in your workshops?

You can see my workshops here.  We talk about soulful things such as peace, love, joy, and body image.

How was The Zen Bird born?

I got started creating Zen Bird Bands- headbands worn to remind us of the power of our thoughts and to choose the ones of love, gratitude and authenticity. My mother ship company, The Zen Bird, started 4 years ago when I was on summer break from being a school teacher. I had just experienced yoga and wanted to create a headband for class. I threw myself into being a domestic goddess that summer and re-learning sewing. I remember that first headband I made- took about 18 hours to get it right!

How did you come up with your business’ name?

The Zen Bird- I find myself spreading soulful, Zen energy with the people I come into contact with. I also feel as though my life has been one of a bird- traveling and living in various places sharing my heart and soul with the people. This is the reason for Zen Bird 🙂

Where is your favorite place to shop at in Phoenix?

Frances Vintage

Are there any local businesses you love supporting?

I adore supporting local businesses. A few of my favorites are Be You Jewelry, Strawberry Hedgehog Soaps and Sunny Brooke Co.

Are there any small business owners or creatives that inspired the work you do?

Leanne of Dream Rock Living was (and still is) a huge inspiration for the work I do. I remember the first summer launching my headbands I followed her Instagram and the retreats she did for small businesses. She had a genuine feel to her brand and made me feel very connected to her. I later went onto be coached by her 1:1 and this is where I found inspiration in coaching women.

What words of wisdom would you share with someone who is considering taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

To simply check in with your center. There is a knowing and so often we over look the FEELING side of who we are and only THINK through our dreams. Begin by checking in with yourself on a deeper level through breathing or meditation to uncover what your soul is asking you to pursue. You have all the answers.

Is there anything exciting happening with your business that we can look forward to?

Yes, ma’am! I am launching a self study book on my Heart and Soul Curriculum and lemmmmie tell you- it is DARLING and POWERFUL. You can look for the release of this by August and will be doing pre-sales in July. Rachel of Pink Puddle Studio created the beautiful cover and Nikki has been the design lady behind the workbook. It is a road map filled with hands on activities, challenges, journaling and soulful writing to allow readers to dig to their core and feel radical self love.

If someone is interested in being coached by you, where do they begin?

Yes! I host workshops every month around the valley and also work 1:1 with clients looking to find that deep, inner self love and meaning in their life. All can reach me at thezenbird@gmail.com

Do you know the muffin man?

I do, he makes the best corn bread muffins. Would love a few of those this morning. 😉

Thank you Marian!

All smiles after a powerful workshop on “purpose”.

Marian is available for personal coaching, speaking engagements, and workshops. She recently spoke to Pinegate Road about her creative brand, listen to the podcast here!

You can keep up with the newest and cutest headband prints on The Zenbird Instagram account or Marian’s personal coaching account Marian Mellen .  Or join her Heart & Soul Workshops Facebook group. 

Marian continues to be an inspiration for me personally.  She is a delight to know, and I look forward to working with her some more in the future.

Looping back around to that whole paradox thing,  I’ll leave you with some thought provoking lyrics….

I think @Zhu ‘s song “Good Life” on his album GENERATIONWHY, does a great job at portraying some of life’s more ambiguous paradox’s through its intelligent lyrics.  I also appreciate that this song is a jam….

“Life is all about you and not at all about you.
Now, that’s two opposing thoughts and yet both of them are true.
How can you experience everything you choose to do,
While observing the experience you’re having from a higher view.
See, it’s the question, not the answer, that’s the higher view,
Otherwise, you couldn’t differentiate between the two.

Awareness? But of who?
You think you hurt me, but I promise I was letting you.
They say we’re all one, but where have we been headed to,
I’d rather die free than have to live inside a petting zoo.
I am the journey that I’m getting to.

Gratitude is my destination,
My destiny is perfectly aligned with this location.
I am the map, so I travel back in time,
I have everything I want cause my imagination is mine.
But mind is not enough for me cause I am not my mind,
I could see it all, but never get to see I’m truly blind.
I could be it all, but all identities intertwine,
The moon is only bright cause it reflects the sun’s shine.

It’s not the human race, it’s just the human race
There’s nothing left to chase, we do not run this place
But both medicine and poison’s an acquired taste
So I started taking selfies of somebody else’s face

I could be it all, I’ll make a good life
Let me lose my mind, it’s the only way to love
Only way to, only way to love.”

BOOM.

Zhu dropping some truth bombs on us.  I love it.

Sending you sunshine,

Audria




Photo’s Contributed by:
Lara Gabrielsen of Exhilaration Photography
Rachel Fischer
Anna Marisol Photography
Molly McElanney
Sarah Hoag Photography

Pussycat Gelato: An Eclectic and Adventerous Experience

I’m excited to announce….

…that today I am kicking off “Feature Friday”, where I’ll spotlight a local business or creative.

This blog stemmed from the passion I have for connecting with the local community and sharing experiences with all of you. Go figure, I launch the blog and then write about travel for a majority of it. So like me to do things backwards.

Today I’m featuring Pussycat Gelato, a vivacious gelato shop in Old Town Scottsdale serving small batch locally made artisan gelato.  PC Gelato just opened their first Phoenix location about 3 months ago.

We live in Old Town, so I’m always surprised when I notice a business and I think to myself, “Has that always been there, and I’m just not very observant?” Luckily, my level of observance was not in question here because in this case, this business is new to Scottsdale.

Cozy up in the PC Gelato Lounge.

I’d like to start off with a pop quiz, can anyone tell me why we call Italian ice cream “gelato”?

This is going to blow your mind…. the Italian word for ice cream is…. you guessed it!  G E L A T O.

Really deep stuff here, guys.  Alright, I’ll proceed.

“I’ll take one of each, please”

When Tom, Clara, and I waltzed in to Pussycat Gelato a few weeks ago, I instantly knew I was going to feature them on my blog, it was quite the experience! Plus, I’m all for the support of new business owners.

PC Gelato is housed in a quaint little space tucked away on 5th Ave in Old Town that boasts fun colors, 70’s themed western posters, classic white and black checkered flooring, chic lighting, and a cozy sitting area with Josie & The Pussy Cat Dolls (J&PCD) projecting onto a screen.

Frederic and Rhonda at their Bisbee store ribbon cutting, provided by PC Gelato.

The owners, Frederic Watson and Rhonda McFarland are lovely people. Rhonda’s smile was so warm and welcoming, and Frederic’s cool demeanor and French accent intrigued us.

Rhonda immediately opened the gelato case, with taster spoon in hand, and asked us what we would like to try.  She kept shoveling out the samples….I’m pretty sure we tried most of them between the 3 of us.  She offered us a 1 scoop split into 2 flavors which didn’t make the decision any easier, everything was SO GOOD.

They serve their gelato with a cute little biscotti on it.  Biscotti is Italian for cookie.  Boom! You just learned 2 Italian words in 30 seconds.

Scoop of gelato topped with a yummy biscotti.

Frederic and Rhonda scored bonus points with us when they offered us a “local’s discount” after learning we were their neighbor.  Love that!

Clara wound up with a half peanut butter and half banana scoop, because that’s just what made sense.  She made herself right at home on one of the colorful arm chairs, digging into her gelato, watching J&PCD on the big screen.

Not to our surprise, she didn’t want to leave, and didn’t budge when we tried our usual “alright, well we’ll just have to leave you here,” as we inch towards the door move. We inquired, they weren’t hiring… Clara would have made a great mascot.

I popped in a few days later and Frederic greeted me with an equally warm smile.  He made me an affogato, an espresso poured over gelato, and we started chatting about gelato, and the emergence of his business.

Afternoon delight- espresso poured over Butter Pecan Gelato.

Continue reading “Pussycat Gelato: An Eclectic and Adventerous Experience”

A Sweet Mother’s Day ft. Pink Puddle Studio & Ruze Cakehouse

This week has flown by and I have never felt so under accomplishedin my life!  I’m just starting to feel like my normal self again after being sick this week.  Despite that, Mother’s Day was still perfect.  My hubs spoiled me in gifts from one of my favorite local boutiques, Frances Vintage. I spent the morning soaking in a pink rose petal lush bath and then tried my hand at Continue Reading