“Me-Time Monday” – Spa 810

spa810-logoI have terrible skin. I’m not acne prone, but I suffer from flakey dry cheeks, an oily forehead and all over patchy discoloration. And I’m paying the price today for my aversion to sunscreen in my youth. In addition, I am a hopeless insomniac and the frequent fatigue causes sag and dullness. I try to make up for my dermal shortcomings by sticking to a strict cleansing and moisturizing routine but sometimes it’s just not enough.

Enter Spa810 and I am happy with my skin again! A couple weeks ago I had a HydraFacial at Spa810 at Arrowhead and my skin is still bright and fresh. I’ve had many (much needed) facials in my life but never one like this. This is a non-invasive, multi-step treatment that uses a unique Vortex-Fusion serum delivery system. This system exfoliates the skin of dead, dry skin, extracts impurities and replenishes vital nutrients. The whole process takes about half an hour and you are left with vibrant, radiant skin after just one treatment without the irritation and redness left behind by some facials. One of my least favorite things about facials is the discomfort, extractions can be painful, and with my skin, irritation is almost inevitable but you get none of that with the HydraFacial at Spa810.


I was floored with the results my skin looked healthy and glowing and it felt silky smooth. I am prone to redness due to the dryness on my cheeks but I had the LED enhancement added to my facial which helps with healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. If you’re up for it, your aesthetician will show you the “bi-products” of your HydraFacial, meaning a vial of what was cleansed and extracted off your face. It’s pretty gross, but pretty amazing and serves as verification of how well the treatment works.


Spa810 also offers regular customized facials at great prices. What sets a Spa810 facials apart are the luxurious capsules you relax in while your skin is being worked on. I have never seen anything like these capsules. They are relaxing and comfortable and they vibrate so you get a massage while you’re in it. The pods also provide aromatherapy to further enhance the experience. And get this – somehow, through science (and magic) you burn calories while having your facial. I have no idea how, maybe through heat and vibration but I burned 20 calories in 15 minutes while I snoozed in the facial capsule. So cool.



Spa810 is fabulous and affordable. Friendly faces greet you in a cheery bright orange lobby where you check in. You can pre-purchase treatments but it is not a hard sell, which can be so deflating after a fantastic massage.

Yes, Spa810 offers massages as well as amazing facials! All the therapists on staff are highly skilled and will customize your massage to meet your therapeutic of relaxation needs.


They also offer Bare Beauty Laser hair removal. I was very nervous to try laser hair removal but the technology used by Spa810 is absolutely pain-free. I opted to have my under arm area done and was told it may feel like tiny little pin pokes, but it really felt like nothing more than the cool gel being rubbed on me. Spa810 believes in their Alma Soprano ICE pain-free laser so much they invite first-time clients to try one small area for FREE!! Pain-free, indeed! And while, optimal results can only be had after several treatments, I can already extend the need to shave by an extra day or two after only one treatment!

Last month Spa810 opened their location in the Arrowhead area at 75th Ave & Bell Rd and many grand opening specials are still being offered. As stated earlier, they offer pre-paid and membership pricing where you can get 60 minute massages or facials for as little as $49. Introductory prices for first-time guests are also $49 for an hour long massage or facial and as I said, there is no pressure to buy a membership, but with such great pricing it’s hard not to take advantage of the pampering you deserve!



Disclaimer: I was invited to experience several of the treatments offered at Spa 810 at no charge to help facilitate this post, however, all opinions are entirely my own. 



AZ Dining – Ra Unveils New N. Scottsdale Location

ra-logo-preferredA couple weeks ago my favorite sushi joint, RA Sushi opened their doors at a new swanky location. Moving from the Kierland, which closed September 30, the new north Scottsdale RA is located just a couple miles up the street at the Scottsdale Towne Square shopping plaza located at Scottsdale and Thunderbird Rds.

“We are incredibly proud to launch our new location in North Scottsdale and showcase the fresh new design for a brand that was launched here nearly 20 years ago,” said Mike Johnson, vice president of Operations for RA Sushi. “While the design has been updated to reflect a more modern dining experience and special design features, RA Sushi’s commitment to innovation continues to be the driving force behind everything we do.”

The new location will continue lunch, dinner, sushi and their signature RA’ckin Happy Hour in 6, 515 square feet that includes a vibrant bar area, spacious wrap-around covered patio showcasing a fabulous fire pit. There is bar-side seating for smaller groups and a full dining room with booth and table seating and the sushi bar can accommodate larger group with it’s unique design.


Guests can expect all their menu favorites served with the same energetic vibe. A new smoke-inspired menu debuted just in time for fall. These seasonal menu items include table side cooking on Japanese hot rocks and smoke-infused cocktails, like the Smokey Paloma, made with Casamigos Tequila, Combier Pamplemousse, Montelobos Mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice and grapefruit slice.


The new location opened on October 3, 2016 with 50 percent of the proceeds made that day benefitting Every Kid Counts, a local non-profit that gives Valley youth the opportunity to participate in programs that will teach them how to be involved and find solutions to the challenges facing today’s society.

If you haven’t already, go check out the new RA location, you can’t beat the energetic vibe, friendly staff and excellent food that has become synonymous with the brand.



Disclaimer: I attended a media preview of the new RA location and had the opportunity to sample various menu items at no cost, however all opinions within this post are entirely my own. 




AZ Dining – Marigold Maison

Chef Sunil Kumar, Marigold Maison (photo courtesy of Marigold Maison)


Enthusiasm is contagious and you are sure to catch it at Marigold Maison Indian Cuisine. Aside from the delicious food, one thing that stood out as remarkable to me during my recent visit was the enthusiasm of corporate executive chef, Sunil Kumar. Traveling to India every year to maintain a knowledge of the food culture, he shows pride and enthusiasm for the plates he puts out.

And I am proud to proclaim I have a love affair with Indian food. I love the warmth and heartiness of the dishes, I love the complexity of the spices, and I love naan. I could polish off a dozen pieces of the blistered Indian flatbread and will still crave more. The naan at Marigold Maison is perfection. The Mirchi Naan arrived at our table piping hot and covered with chili, cilantro and other spices. It was a taste sensation that matched the boldness of the other dishes. The Kashmiri Naan was a new taste to me, sweet and more dense than what I am used to but absolutely delightful with fleck of sweet, chewy bits of dried fruits. Our meal actually started with traditional papadums (crispy lentil crackers) served with a trio of sauces and chutneys. Spicy, delicious and satisfying.


The Butter Shrimp that followed was rich and flavorful, succulent shrimp generously bathed in a velvety chipotle cream sauce.


Next up was a Mango Salad that acted as a palate cleanser with the brightness of the fruit and the fresh greens. Tomato, seeds, almonds and raisins added a blast of textures and flavors. The whole thing was tossed in a mango mustard dressing that added the perfect balance of flavor contrast to the business of the salad. The marriage of ingredients was as beautiful to look at as it was delicious to eat.


Chef Kumar’s dishes stays true to the traditional tastes of Indian cuisine but lightens them up using ingredients such as olive oil instead of butter and coconut milk instead of cream. The complexity of flavors are still there but his dishes are more modern than what American palates may expect from Indian food. He is able to maintain the distinctive tastes by using spices he grinds in-house and by staying true to his culture and heritage. I got a sneak peek of his wall of spices in the kitchen and was a bit overwhelmed by the vastness and variety. Dozens upon dozens of large see-through containers stacked upon the shelves, creating a colorful kaleidoscope of powders, pods, herbs and blends; some I had never even heard of. It was amazing and it gave me and idea of how intricate this type of cuisine is.


The Marigold Briyani is a classic Indian dish made with dum long grain rice and Briyani spices. Savory chunks of lamb are studded throughout the dish and it had a heat that crept up on me. The creamy yogurt raita was a welcome addition to help cool things off. Chicken Vindaloo is my favorite Indian dish and the one I find most approachable, it’s a spicy, yet comforting stew made with wine, vinegar, mustard and cumin seeds creating a rich orange hued gravy that enveloped succulent pieces of tender chicken, it’s served with fluffy basmati rice studded with fresh green peas. The Malai Kofta is a dish of pillowy dumplings made with paneer cheese, potato and cauliflower all swimming in a creamy saffron sauce. Again, comfort food on an international scale.


Marigold Maison recently expanded their space to include 64 additional seats in the main dining room, a 24 seat private dining room and a full indoor/outdoor bar with patio seating.

Indian food may still be a little intimidating to some tastes but Marigold Maison would be the perfect place to get addicted to the bold flavors. Chef Kumar puts love and thought into every dish and his contagious enthusiasm can be tasted in every bite.

Marigold Maison is located at 4720 E Cactus Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85032.


Disclaimer: I attended a media dinner and received a complimentary meal to help facilitate this write-up, however all opinions stated in this post are entirely my own. 

“Me-Time Monday” – VH Spa for Vitality & Health


One of my favorite places in all of Scottsdale is the Hotel Valley Ho. I love the casual retro vibe of the property and I adore ZuZu; the onsite restaurant, helmed by Chef Charles Whiley, offering up innovative eats and fabulous cocktails in mid-century modern surroundings. Every time I visit the property I am transported to the simplistic vintage glamor of a bygone era.

Recently, my love for the Valley Ho increased beyond measure with a relaxing trip to the Valley Ho’s VH Spa for Vitality & Health. I booked a Sunday Spa Party Package, which included my choice of 60 minute treatment (classic massage, LomiLomi relaxation massage, seasonal facial or classic pedicure) plus a 30 minute add-on (full-body aromatherapy scrub, custom mini facial or foot reflexology).

VH Spa is small and very intimate and unlike some hotel/resort property spas it’s easy to get to, you don’t have to wander around to find it. Upon check in you’re greeted by friendly faces who offer water or tea and then whisk you away to the waiting lounge and dressing room area. In your locker you will find a plush robe and spa sandals.


The spa has a full gym with plenty of machines to get in a good work-out and a movement studio that offers fitness classes such as yoga, pilates and yoga (for an additional fee). Through the VH Spa you can also rent a bike, hire a personal trainer or a hiking guide to take you up scenic Camelback Mountain. My spa day was treatments only, although next time I visit I will schedule in a yoga class before my massage.


As part of my package I chose the classic massage and custom mini-facial. My massage therapist, Rebecca, was remarkable. I asked for light/medium pressure and she was very accommodating. My knots and tension melted under her skilled hands. When my 60 minutes were up I was a relaxed and content. She walked me back to the waiting lounge with a cup of water and I felt like I had a new best friend. Next up was my mini-facial. It was fast, but effective. The aesthetician, Liz, was very friendly and knowledgable. She cleansed my skin using a Clarisonic brush, then gave me another incredible scalp and shoulder massage before slathering me up with moisturizer and plumping lip balm before sending me on my way. At this point I was nothing more than a limp noodle with a glowing complexion. I posted a selfie of myself and got lots of compliments about how radiant my skin looked!


After my treatments I spent about 10 minutes in the dry sauna and then relaxed on the patio with a hot cup of green tea, taking in the charm of the property and relishing in how great I felt. I chatted up some other spa goers about their treatments and experience at VH Spa and there was nothing but praise. One woman was treating her aunt to the Istanbul Hammam Experience, a full body treatment inclusive of massage, cleanse and exfoliation that left the hallways of the spa smelling incredible from the aromatic products used. I can’t wait to return to try that out, and it just so happens to be on special!

From the valet attendants who parked my car to the front desk attendants who checked me in to the skilled therapists who calmed my tired muscles and brightened my aging skin, the entire experience I enjoyed at the Hotel Valley Ho VH Spa could not have been better. I was made to feel welcomed and relaxed. I left with a feeling of tranquility and appreciation.


Check out the current seasonal specials at VH Spa for Vitality and Health and book your appointment now!

Istanbul Hammam Experience
90 Minutes | $145 | Regular Price $185
Savory aromas of coffee, fig and tangerine mingle as your skin is made new with a full-body exfoliation, butter crème hydration and a citrus misting. Next, sore spots and tensions are given the royal treatment with a massage fit for a sultan or sultaness.
Spiced Pumpkin Pedicure
60 Minutes | $85 | Regular Price $125
Pumpkin has long been known to oxygenate and bring out a healthy glow to skin. Add in spices for increased circulation and your toes will be warm and oh so cozy. Finish with a plethora of rich color options from Morgan Taylor. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
Pomegranate Anti-Aging Facial
60 Minutes | $85 | Regular Price $125
Idebenone is one of science’s most powerful antioxidants, providing long-lasting results for brighter and more youthful-looking skin. Pomegranate is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, instrumental in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. A light lactic-acid peel renews skin and will give you a look worth celebrating.
Disclaimer: I was invited to experience the treatments mentioned above at no cost to help facilitate this post, however all opinions are entirely my own. 

AZ Dining – Bobby Q Now Open in Mesa


As a native of Arizona, I grew up driving past Bobby McGees just off of I-17 and Dunlap in Phoenix. I remember the restaurant turned into a nightclub that my older brother’s frequented. Eleven years ago, owner Bob Sikora, changed the Bobby McGees concept entirely, fulfilling his dreams of opening a BBQ joint, and Bobby Q’s was born. Serving up legendary, award-winning BBQ, the smokehouse has since become a Valley mainstay and just a few days ago they opened up a second location in Mesa, on Stapley and US-60.

I was recently invited to preview the new east valley Bobby Q’s location before it opened to the public and you better believe my RSVP was a big ol’ YUP!! I LOVE BBQ! I ate light all day in anticipation of the gut-busting meal I knew I would enjoy and I most definitely was not disappointed. Everything exceeded my expectations, from the rugged yet chic interiors and the tasty, clever cocktails to the delicious and generously portioned grub.

The hubs and I started off with a couple cocktails; for me, the Coconut Lime Mojito, a tropical take on the Cuban classic. This drink was smooth and sweet, but not cloying and heavy. The coconut was pronounced and the lime lightened it up. This is a drink you have to be careful with, it goes down dangerously easy. My husband opted for the Q-lada, a blended pina colada drink finished with fresh strawberry puree and rimmed with toasted coconut flakes. He liked his drink so much he was on to the second before our appetizer arrived.


As an appetizer we selected the Spinach Artichoke Queso Dip. The dip was served with both toasted garlic bread and tortilla chips for dipping. This pleased us both immensely as I prefer bread dippers and the hubs, chips; although before the dip was gone he switched to my buttery, garlicky bread slices. The addition of pepper jack cheese gave the spinach artichoke dip a little extra kick and every last bit was devoured.

For our entrees, I chose the three meat combo, selecting brisket, hot links and pulled pork with a loaded baked potato and beans for my sides. Oh, man, do I love a good baked potato and Bobby Q-s spud was perfect – lightly salted on the outside, hot and fluffy on the inside, they were generous with the butter and sour cream. The beans were smokey and full of pork flavor, a rich and zesty sauce made them delectable. But the show stoppers on my plate were the meats. The brisket was melt-in-your mouth tender, the pork was shredded and delectable and the hot links were satisfying, all were smoked to perfection and seasoned and juicy enough as to not need the accompanying BBQ sauces, but the sauces were so tempting I slathered my meats with them anyway!


My husband went for a more refined option, the filet mignon with mac and cheese and fries for his sides. His filet, oh, his filet, so tender it needed only a little prodding with a fork, cooked to medium rare perfection, it was juicy and beautiful with a blackened char exterior adding a nice smokey taste. I begged for a few bites even though my plate was already overloaded with meat. The mac and cheese was a marvel, so creamy, sinful, rich and sooooo cheesey, I had a few bites of that too. No shame in me when it comes to good ‘que and all the comforting fixin’s.

Once we were delightfully stuffed, and our attentive server had our leftovers packed up to take home, we headed to the bar for more drinks. Bobby Q has an impressive lounge and bar headed up by Chris Ortega, a friendly face full of cocktail and spirit knowledge and a knack for creating tasty libations. It’s always a pleasure to see staff take pride in their jobs and Ortega really shines in this department, his enthusiasm is contagious and his warmth welcoming. We entrusted him to select our after-dinner drinks and by just looking at us he knew just what to make. For my husband, he shook up an Old Fashioned, made with Redemption Rye Whiskey, barrel smoked maple syrup and Peychaud’s bitters. My husband proclaimed it “the best Old Fashioned he’s ever had” and I would have to agree. The whiskey classic is usually way too strong for me but this one had a nice sweetness from the maple syrup that made it smooth and took the edge off.


Ortega pegged me for a fruity drink girl and insisted I try the Pineapple Passion, he was right! Served in a frozen, hollowed out pineapple and made with Plantation Pineapple Rum, Clement Mahina Coco, coconut syrup and fresh pineapple lime juice, this drink was right up my alley – sweet, fruity, tropical and fun!


Bobby Q also boasts a nice lounge area, fittingly called “the living room.” The details in the “living room” are impressive and unique, beautiful tables inlaid with sparkling gems, minerals, precious metals and LED lights and oversized armchairs and couches make it the perfect place to relax and savor a cocktail after your meal. On designated nights a DJ comes in to provide music and ambiance for a wonderful, one-stop evening out on the town!


You may have noticed there were no desserts mentioned in this write-up. That’s not because Bobby Q lacks in that department, they have several sweet options I am dying to return for; we were just too full to even consider another bite. But Bobby Q’s knows a sweet ending is a MUST for any good meal so they send every customer home with a brown paper bag of complimentary, freshly made, cinnamon-sugar mini donuts. No joke. How cool is that?! Free donuts to take home with you!! You can even watch the donuts being made up front by the hostess stand. I was floored and thrilled by this! And let me tell you, you will go back just for these pillowy gems of fried-dough delight!

donuts donuts-beauty

If you like great barbecue and awesome steaks than Bobby Q is for you, the longevity of the original location speaks volumes. Known for amazing food and awesome service the deliciousness and hospitality has carried over to the Mesa digs. Try it out for yourself. I can pretty much guarantee you will love it as much as my husband and I did.

Bobby Q in Mesa is located at 1610 S Stapley Dr., Mesa, AZ 85204

interior interior2


Disclaimer: We were comped our meals and cocktails as part of a friends and family preview event at Bobby Q’s new Mesa location, however all opinions within this review are entirely my own and in no way influenced by the free meal. 


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